Comic Books Archives

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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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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Alan Moore’s Nemo: Heart of Ice

This week on the Kirkus Reviews blog, I take a look at Alan Moore’s Nemo: Heart of Ice.

From the post:

Moore revisits the world he created in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman in a new book, Nemo: Heart of Ice, which focuses on Janni Dakkar, daughter of Captain Nemo, and her trek across Antarctica to prove herself by recreating Nemo’s own Antarctic expedition. Moore draws from several sources, including H.P. Lovercraft, to create a dark and mysterious continent full of dangers and madness. As a character, Janni feels the weight of the Nemo name and legacy set squarely on her shoulders, and struggles throughout the book to come to terms with that.

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

Today at Kirkus: A Review of Lazarus One

This week on the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I take a look at Lazarus One from Image Comics.

From the post:

In the future, the world is split not into countries, but fiefdoms controlled by the Families.  The human population is divided into three segments: Family, who control everything, Serfs who have the skills and intelligence necessary to serve and be useful to the Family, and the Waste, who serve no purpose at all.  Each Family has one member who is trained to be something more.  Warrior, messenger, protector, envoy – whatever the situation calls for, the Family Lazarus is there to further the Family’s ends, and protect them from all threats, internal and external.  The Lazarus can be shot, cut, beaten, blown up, take an enormous about of damage, and walk away – eventually.  Their bodies can heal themselves, bones can reset and nit, cuts close, bruises fade.  A Lazarus is nearly indestructible.

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

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

When Mark London Williams and I decided to move our long running SF Site column Nexus Graphica to SF Signal, we decided that we needed to announce our presence with a bang. Hence, this Mind Meld was born, in which we asked our esteemed panelists this question:

Q: What graphic novels are part of your desert island collection?

The only caveat we gave the contributors that their selections could not include the obvious books such as Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Maus, and their ilk.

I’ll return next month with the first installment of the new Nexus Graphica and Mark issues his first SF Signal contribution in March. We’ll alternated columns every other month, culminating with a special two parter in December, featuring our annual best of the year lists. But more on this in February.

For now, enjoy the confab.
(And be sure to check out Part 1!)

Joe R. Lansdale
Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over thirty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in eighteen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies. He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, and many others. His novella Bubba Hotep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. He is currently co-producing several films, among them The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero.

DC archives. All of them. Dell and Gold Key archives. End of story

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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

When Mark London Williams and I decided to move our long running SF Site column Nexus Graphica to SF Signal, we decided that we needed to announce our presence with a bang. Hence, this Mind Meld was born, in which we asked our esteemed panelists this question:

Q: What graphic novels are part of your desert island collection?

The only caveat we gave the contributors that their selections could not include the obvious books such as Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Maus, and their ilk.

I’ll return next month with the first installment of the new Nexus Graphica and Mark issues his first SF Signal contribution in March. We’ll alternated columns every other month, culminating with a special two parter in December, featuring our annual best of the year lists. But more on this in February.

For now, enjoy the confab.
(And be sure to check out Part 2!)

Walter Simonson
Over the years, Walter Simonson has written and/or drawn a lot of comics for various companies including the NY Times bestselling Alien graphic novel, Manhunter, the Metal Men, Superman, Batman, Thor, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, RoboCop vs. the Terminator, X-Men vs. the Teen Titans, Orion, Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer written by Michael Moorcock, and The Judas Coin. Currently, Walter is writing and drawing Ragnarök, a creator-owned comic book, to be published in 2014 by IDW.

Sharaz-De by Sergio Toppi. Beautiful beautiful drawing, and at last, there’s an English version!

The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius (as it was originally called) by Moebius. Completely wonked-out story with drawing ranging from cartoony to super-elegant by Moebius. Lovely work.

The entire Modesty Blaise run of Peter O’Donnell and Jim Holdaway. It’s not in a single volume so I’m not sure how this works for a desert island, but it’s my favorite run of a newspaper strip and very influential in my work.

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VIDEO: The History of The Joker

Is there any other villain in comics more reknowned than the Joker?

Here’s VariantComics’ excellent look at the history of the Clown Prince of Crime…

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Planetoid by Ken Garing

This week over at the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I take a look at Planetoid by Ken Garing.  Holy crap.

From the post:

In my constant search to find new and cool things for this column, I came across a cover that made me pause and stare for a bit.  I know, I know – you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover.  But still, we do it all the time.  In this case, the cover had this vibe about it, harkening back to the pulpish covers without the usual exploitation – there was no scantily clad vixen clinging to the over-muscled hero type.  As much as the cover invoked the pulps of the past, there was also this starkness to it.  All of these things resonated with me.  I couldn’t help but pick it up.  And now, having read the book cover to cover in one sitting, I have to say – I’m certainly glad that I did.

Sounds cool, right?  Well, read the rest of the review over at the Kirkus Blog.

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