Comic Books Archives

Today at the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I talk about Captain Marvel.

Way back in the 40’s, Fawcett introduced a character named Captain Marvel in the pages of Whiz Comics to cash in on the popularity of Superman and Batman with a superhero of their own. Marvel comics registered a trademark for ‘Captain Marvel’ in the 60’s, forcing DC, who had the character now, to call their book Shazam! Marvel launched their character, Captain Mar-Vell, who was an alien with the Kree Imperium, soon therafter. Since then, there have been a LOT of characters at Marvel given the name ‘Captain Marvel’ (due to their need to keep up the trademark). Carol Danvers is the latest, and perhaps the greatest, of those characters; intelligent, capable and a damned lot of fun.

To read the rest of the story, please click over to my piece about Captain Marvel on Kirkus Reviews.

#BestMashupEver: Batman vs. Darth Vader

Of all the mashups I’ve seen, this is a pretty damn good one. Epic, even. Watch and tell me I’m wrong.

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This week on the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I dive into Star Wars comics. From the post:

Since Star Wars is on everyone’s mind, including mine, I thought I’d take a moment here on the Kirkus Blog to look at Star Wars comics, and specifically, some of my favorites. There’s a vast span of time after Return of the Jedi in 1983, and the publication of Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire in 1991. A lot of people like to call this ‘the wasteland’ as far as Star Wars is concerned. During that time period, you basically had some (good, some bad) arcade games, a pair of family-friendly Ewok Movies (Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor), and the Marvel line of comics, which ended in 1986, to sate your Star Wars cravings.

To read the rest of the article, click over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog.

[GUEST POST] Guy Hasson’s Impressions from the Con


Guy Hasson is the CEO and head writer of New Worlds Comics. His sci-fi series, Wynter, was called by many reviewers “The best science fiction series on the shelves today.” He is also the author of The Emoticon Generation and Secret Thoughts. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Impressions from the Con

by Guy Hasson

We just got back from our first convention, in which we had a booth and sold our first trade paperback ever, the Goof TBP.

Here are some of the thoughts and experiences we had at the con.
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Skullkickers Treasure Trove V1

Over on the Kirkus blog this week, I take a look at Skullkickers Treasure Trove: Volume 1.  From the post:

I’m gonna be honest. I picked up SkullKickers Treasure Trove: Volume 1 before Pathfinder: Dark Waters Rising. But I read and reviewed the Pathfinder book first. I bring this up because the two books share a writer – Jim Zub. SkullKickers is almost a resume for Zub to be able to write the Pathfinder comic. As a stand alone, SkullKickers is a fun homage to that dark corner of genre where sword and sorcery meets fantasy and gaming to become something irreverent and well worth your time, and mine. In fact, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.  The book follows the adventures of two mercenaries. As near as I can tell, we never know their real names. We have a Dwarf (Shorty?) and a Human (Baldy?) working for hire. The story begins in the town of Mudwich where our heroes are dealing with an overweight werewolf and his cult of followers.

Click over to the Kirkus Blog to read the rest of the review.

My introduction to producer Adi Shankar‘s work was the awesome Punisher “bootleg” short called Dirt Laundry, which starred Thomas Jane, who starred in the official 2004 Punisher film.

But I’m not here to talk about the Punisher; instead I want to introduce you to Shankar’s new work: Judge Dredd: Superfiend. As Shankar explains, this is not official production, just something borne out of a love of the characters. I think his imtent — to capture the look and feel of a 90’s MTV cartoon — is successful.

The first 6 episodes are enbedded below for your viewing pleasure…
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Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I’m taking a look at a new graphic novel adaptation of Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows.

From the post:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks is the first book in The Night Angel Trilogy. Yen Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group has just released a graphic novel adaptation by Ivan Brandon and Andy MacDonald. I first learned about the graphic novel when Weeks visited Denver as part of his book tour for The Broken Eye, book three in his Lightbringer series. Having enjoyed the Yen Pres adaptations of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate books, I was excited to see how Shadows transferred to the comics medium. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed.

Click over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog to read the rest of the review.

Last week, I attended the Austin Comic Con (aka Wizard World Texas). Oddly, the show ran Thursday through Saturday. No Sunday at all. Since Saturday was Yom Kippur, I only went on Thursday evening, which ran from 4:30-9, and Friday, 2 until sundown.

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The recent graphic interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book afforded me the chance to interview the legendary artist P. Craig Russell. I lept at the opportunity which lead to a discussion that touched on a variety of topics including Neil Gaiman, art, young adult fiction, Busby Berkley, and why Russell had no social life for three months.


RICK KLAW: Unlike your previous adaptations, you worked with a variety of artists. How does your approach differ when you aren’t doing the art?

P. CRAIG RUSSELL: The only difference in my approach to the art when working with other artists is that I put a little more effort into designing the picture within individual panels. If I’m doing it for myself I only need a few squiggles to remind myself weeks or months later what needs to be drawn in that panel. For other artists I spend more time on a recognizable composition, sometimes adding/suggesting background details.
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As epic terrors imperil the cosmos, Fred Kiesche, Jeff Patterson, and the newly cyberneticized John E. O. Stevens blaze across the heavens wielding wit, fortitude, and implausibly potent weapons of dubious origin to discuss the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Hoarsemen share their opinions on the movie (SPOILER ALERT), then turn their attentions to the comics which spawned it. Fred wrestles with the convoluted continuity of Marvel’s cosmic playground, while life-long readers John and Jeff endure the dual threats of retcon and reboot. Why was the first iteration of Jason Quill such a jackass? Will we ever see Mantis on the big screen? And can anyone defeat Taserface!

As usual, the chaotic cosmic conversation concludes with the customary captivating chronicles of Culture Consumed. (Long-time Marvel fans, see what I did there?)

The celestial vastness awaits! Quickly! Before the spacetime continuum is torn asunder!

Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes.

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Comic Con or Bust! Or Not. Plus: Guardians!

Around this time of year, in “Nexus Graphicii” (how do you pluralize that?) past, I have tended to write up an Our-Man-In-Havana dispatch about the San Diego Comic Con, and what I may have seen or gleaned while there, since I generally go, and am up the road, a mere (but crowded) train ride or (very crowded and slow) car ride away.

However, I didn’t get to Comic Con this year.

I didn’t get to it last year, either. Then, I was in Israel. A trip that now seems half a lifetime away, given how radically the situation in the Mideast has changed (or how rapidly so many tamped down energies have come roaring fatally to the surface.)

This summer, I thought of going to the Con for a day or two, but my Ex turned out to be out-of-town (not at Comic Con!) the same time, and I was on “dad duty,” such as it still is, in these days of “emptying nests” in my life.

But there’s still chauffeuring that needs doing, and groceries to be gotten, and meals to be shared.

So, like you, I got my Comic Con news virtually, almost in real-time. The notion of how readily available so much of what had once been “exclusive” to the Con, has become, was encapsulated the night after the convention had wrapped up, and I was with eldest son to see a Guardians of the Galaxy screening (about which, more in a moment).
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10 Great Comics You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

by Jacques Nyemb

Let’s face it, when it comes to comic books it has been ingrained in us to believe that quality only comes from big publishing companies. With their massive advertising budgets and box office hits, we rarely notice the lovely gems just beyond our periphery. I myself publish all-ages independent comics (which you can learn more about on our site, or on our Kickstarter page), so this topic is near and dear to my heart. This means that today is your lucky day: I’m going to share with you some comics you might not even know exist, and hopefully get you to look at something you may not be aware of!
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Nexus Graphica: Midrash

I’ve been reading a lot of “Midrash” these past weeks, comics-wise. What is “Midrash?” Well, according to one online dictionary, it’s “a Hebrew word referring to a method of reading details into, or out of, a Biblical text.”

It can also be used, in Judaism, to explain the reasons “why” a certain law or Rabbinic precept exists. They are stories, in other word, used to plug in the gaps when people ask, “Well, wait a minute, but why?” (or, perhaps, “how?”)

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On the August 17, 1995 episode of his TV series, conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh held up a copy of Joe R. Lansdale and Tim Truman’s Lone Ranger and Tonto (Topps, 1995) graphic novel and chided their portrayal of an intelligent, independent Tonto as “political correctness.” In his typical, uninformed manner, Limbaugh didn’t even research the offending material (“I have far more productive things to do than read comic books.”) The creative duo would attract even more controversy in 1996.
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Golden Wolf recently teamed up with Warner Bros Animation and MOI Studio to help bring their vision for Superman’s 75th anniversary to life. And done well, I might add.

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Ghosted: Haunted Heist

Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I have a new post up on Ghosted Volume One: Haunted Heist from Image comics.

From the post:

Imagine Ocean’s Eleven if the heist was all about the supernatural, specifically, stealing a ghost.  In Ghosted: Haunted Heist (978-1607068365) by Joshua Williamson and Goran Sudzuka, Jackson T. Winters is tasked with that very mission: steal a ghost.   Continuing the Ocean’s Eleven comparison, imagine if during the middle of that movie, everyone except Clooney’s character was killed, and he ended up in prison.  Then someone broke him out of prison, dragged him to a rich, possibly insane, multi-millionaire collector of the supernatural, who offers him his freedom in exchange for the one thing that will make his collection the envy of his peers: a ghost.

Click over to the Kirkus Reviews Blog to read the rest of the post.

Nexus Graphica: Amazement, Fear and Fastballs

Greetings, dear reader.

Rick explained the origins of “Nexus Graphica” in his reboot column last month — in fact referring to our original chat where we came up with the title, I discovered that my predilection for cutting prepositions was, well, predilectin’, even back then.

Which, given my sideline as a journalist, is no surprise. I’m always trying to cut those preps when and where I can.  Though I guess “sideline” brings up its own conundrums: Am I a journalist moonlighting as a novelist, or is it the reverse? Or am I a writing teacher who does both? It probably depends which of those particular hats has last paid for a bag of groceries.
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Things I’ve written: a few novels, a few short stories, a column on this very website extolling the virtues of comics as a medium for speculative fiction. Now, for better or worse, I’ve written an actual comic too: Rogue Trooper, published by IDW, issue #1 of which is in comic book shops and digital outlets including but not limited to Comixology this very week.

So what happens when a novelist tries to write a comic? Herewith, a select few of the very many things that have occurred to me as I’ve begun to learn this new craft.
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Author Guy Hasson Launches New Worlds Comics

SF Author Guy Hasson writes in to tell us that he has launched New Worlds Comics, an digital-only comics line that promises to “bring the highest level of science fiction and fantasy to comic books.”

At launch, New Worlds Comics is available for the iPad only via iTunes. Within two months, it will also be available for the iPhone, then Android, then the web.

Following is New Worlds Comics manifesto
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Top Ten Superhero-Free Dystopian Comics

The last fifteen years have seen an enormous resurgence in the popularity of comics. So much so, in fact, that some are arguing that we are living in the second golden age of comics. Everywhere you look, our culture is inundated with comics; their imagery pervades our toy shelves, our theaters, our televisions, our tablets, and our game systems. Yet, even amid skyrocketing sales and increasing cultural ubiquity, there is still an ever-present mainstream majority that looks upon comics with contempt, as though somehow, the very medium were somehow inferior to other storytelling traditions.

Sadly, the latest round of comic-shaming was recently launched by industry giant Alan Moore himself, who claims that our ongoing obsession with superheroes could prove to be “culturally catastrophic.” But I’m here to tell you, that comics aren’t always about superheroes. In fact, some the best comics ever published are completely superhero-free. And, far from “having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in,” many young adults are turning to comics not to escape, but to better understand the world that they are living in through allegory, metaphor, and satire.
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