Category: Reviews

With Further Ado #218: Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles

With Further Ado #218: Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles

Although I’ve been a fan of westerns my whole life (comics, movies, TV shows, classic art and illustration) I was late to the party discovering Tex.  The character Tex Willer debuted in 1948 and has been published continuously ever since.

(I wrote about Tex last year in my With Further Ado column entitled “Jes’ Who is this Hombre Called Tex”?)

I just received the latest adventure. It’s called Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles.  This is a gorgeous, hefty hardcover written by Mauro Boselli with stunning black & white inked artwork by the insanely talented Michele Rubini.

One of the great things about comic conventions is running into entrepreneurs and creators that you hadn’t planned on meeting.  I had the pleasure of meeting Rubini at San Diego Comic-Con. He was billed as Epicenter’s special guest from Italy. I found the only thing that could surpass his artistic talent was his overwhelming charm and generosity. Continue reading “With Further Ado #218: Tex: In the Land of the Seminoles”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/05/2022: Dark Ride #1, Earthdivers #1, Kaya #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 10/05/2022: Dark Ride #1, Earthdivers #1, Kaya #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a three terrific books for you. The first is Dark Ride #1 from Image Comics, and the second is Earthdivers #1 which is from IDW Publishing. Finally, there is Kaya #1 also from Image Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS or wherever you buy books on October 5, 2022.

Also the rest of the #NewNumberOnes for October are here.


Dark Ride #1
Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Andrei Bressan
Colors by Adriano Lucas
Letters by Pat Brosseau
Cover Art by Bressan & Lucas

Original Solicitation:

Devil Land has been the world’s premiere horror-themed amusement park for over 50 years, home to the scariest ride ever created – The Devil’s Due. But when lifelong fan Owen Seasons begins his first day on the job, he will discover the true horrors happening behind the scenes, the truth about the park’s reclusive creator Arthur Dante and that the job of his dreams might just be a living nightmare.

PCS Review:

I really enjoyed this book. The dark and twisted parallels to the “House of Mouse” that guide the premise to this book are apparent and engaging. Williamson is a fantastic writer and the narrative of this book gently slides the reader into a comfortably ensconced alcove of this world and gives them a bird’s eye view of the bizarre reality of it. The assumed protagonist is an interesting character and well…. I don’t want to give anything away but it is well done.

Andrei Bressan’s designs for this “amusement” park and the overall tone of the book are perfect. It is just normal enough to pass but the normality is fraying. Adriano Lucas meshes perfectly with terrific coloring work on this book. Pat Brosseau does an excellent job adding the sound to the display with both excellent lettering and sound effects.

Ultimately I feel like we have just made it to the top of the first hill on this roller coaster and the park is laid out before us in all its glory, as we prepare for the stomach churning first drop. Can’t wait for more.


Earthdivers #1
IDW Publishing
Written by Stephen Graham Jones
Art by Davide Gianfelice
Colors by Joana Lafuente
Cover Art by Gianfelice

Original Solicitation:

Stephen Graham Jones makes his ongoing comics debut with Earthdivers! The year is 2112, and it’s the apocalypse exactly as expected: rivers receding, oceans rising, civilization crumbling. Humanity has given up hope, except for a group of outcast Indigenous survivors who have discovered a time travel portal in a cave in the middle of the desert and figured out where the world took a sharp turn for the worst: America. Convinced that the only way to save the world is to rewrite its past, they send one of their own on a bloody, one-way mission back to 1492 to kill Christopher Columbus before he reaches the so-called New World. But taking down an icon is no easy task, and his actions could prove devastating for his friends in the future.

PCS Review:

Before anything, I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Davide Gianfelice. I absolutely love his art style and execution. This book is a perfect vehicle for him to shine. The visual narrative is expertly crafted, the set designs are wonderful.

The story from Stephen Graham Jones is definitely captivating. The premise of assassinating Columbus is certainly a popular concept in some circles, but the framing of that in this story gives it urgency. The character development in this first issue is well done. We are definitely interested in seeing this story play out.


Kaya #1
Image Comics
Written by Wes Craig
Art by Craig
Colors by Jason Wordie
Letters by Andworld Design
Cover Art by Craig & Moreno Dinisio

Original Solicitation:

A jam-packed series premiere with 31 gorgeous story pages, plus bonus material and a Jack Kirby-inspired variant cover by DEADLY CLASS co-creator WES CRAIG!

After the destruction of their village, a young girl with a magic arm and a fighting spirit is tasked with delivering her little brother to a faraway safe haven. There, he’s destined to discover the secret to overthrowing the all-powerful empire that destroyed their home.

From writer and artist WES CRAIG comes an astonishing new ongoing fantasy-adventure series about siblings surviving in a world of monsters and mutants.

PCS Review:

Yeah. This is good. Wes Craig is hitting on all cylinders with this book. The main characters are immediately appealing in both design and characterization. The setting is bleak and harsh and there is an instant sense of empathy for these two refugees tossed against and unforgiving landscape.

One of the difficulties of a executing a solid first issue is maintain the balance of giving just enough character and setting history while on the run and getting the current story going. Craig nails that. Everyone knows that I am sucker for Jason Wordie’s coloring, and boy, did he hit it out of the park with this one. Along with the expert letters from Andworld, this book is technically and spiritually on track for great success. We are eagerly looking forward to the second issue.

Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Jeffrey Burandt and Sean Von Gorman Talk Ghost Planet.

Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Jeffrey Burandt and Sean Von Gorman Talk Ghost Planet.

Our latest spotlight interview brought us to a team of collaborators about to bring a sci-fi horror comic to stores near you this October. Writer Jeff Burandt and artist Sean Von Gorman have Ghost Planet releasing on October 19th from Scout Comics.

We spoke with the two creators about the inspiration for the book as well as the interesting history of what went into getting it published.  Ghost Planet is a forty-page one-shot comic about a family of space explorers that land on a planet with a terrible secret. The first two chapters were released on Webtoons as part of a weekly challenge.

This pair have been frequent collaborators, and we talked about some of the cool things that they are working on besides Ghost Planet.

This conversation was a lot of fun. We hope you listen to the Squadcast below and then check out the info about Ghost Planet including our exclusive review following the audio.


Ghost Planet #1
Scout Comics
Written by Jeffrey Burandt
Art, Colors, and Lettering by Sean Von Gorman
Cover Art by Von Gorman

Release Date: October 19, 2022

Original Solicitation:

A family of deep space explorers rushes to solve the mystery of Ghost Planet before their recently-dead loved ones return to kill them next! Murder birds, eye stalks and space pigs abound in this 40-page graphic novella. Ghost Planet is a classic sci-fi tale with a body horror twist.

PCS Review: Continue reading “Spotlight Squadcast Interview: Jeffrey Burandt and Sean Von Gorman Talk Ghost Planet.”

With Further Ado #215: A Tale of Three Treasures

With Further Ado #215: A Tale of Three Treasures

This past weekend we spent some time on the south end of Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. We were just north of the town of Hammondsport, which is almost famous for the nation’s fourth oldest winery and as the hometown of Glenn R. Curtiss, the guy who actually flew before the Wright Brothers. As the story goes, the Wright Brothers got the patent first, and all the fame too.  (More info available at the Curtiss Museum.)

When were there, we spent most of our time listening to live music and visiting a few entrepreneurial start-ups. If you were to guess they were mostly wineries and craft breweries, you wouldn’t be wrong.

We visited some antiques shops too. (Don’t you dare call them junk shops.)  And I found some wonderful comic books, and comic-adjacent treasures.

There’s a certain charm to the last issue of a comic, especially when the creators realize the party is almost over. Charlton’s The Partridge Family #21 (Nov 1973) is a perfect example.

The Partridge Family was an early 1970s TV series about a single mom and the musical act that she and her kids created.  From my pre-teenage point of view back then, it was kind of like a slightly hipper version of the Brady Bunch. And like that show, it was on every Friday night.  As a kid, I was a bit interested in Laurie Partridge, played by Susan Dey. As an adult, it’s the mother who’s the most interesting of the bunch.  How did I ever get so old?

Anyways, I picked up a nice copy of The Partridge Family #21, the final issue of the series, for just $6 bucks. I was initially drawn to it because the cover artist, Don Sherwood, captured the actors’ likenesses pretty well.

But the surprising part is that just about the whole comic is a series of full-page portraits. Don Sherwood, bless his heart, draws portraits and a few girls in bikinis for the beach scene, and the Partridge Family’s version of their Batmoblie, an old school bus repainted to transport their musical equipment.  I don’t think there was ever a comic, even the most bombastic 70s Kirby issue, that had so many splash pages!

There is such an emphasis on drawing faces that stories leave out things like “the rationale” and “the end”. One story is clearly missing pages. But in the end, who cared? I gather this was meant to be a fan magazine so that young fans could cut out the pictures. Continue reading “With Further Ado #215: A Tale of Three Treasures”

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in September 2022

New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in September 2022

As the calendar turns to September and summer starts to fade, hopefully, we have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers of some of the cool new comics that are coming out this month. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

This month, we have books on the list from: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, AfterShock Comics, Image Comics, Boom! Studios, Ablaze Comics, AWA/Upshot Studios, Valiant Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Dynamite Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Ahoy Comics, and Scout Comics. We also have two smaller publishers in Opus Comics and Comics Experience Publishing.

There are some interesting titles this month that are revivals of older series that haven’t been around for a while. We are interested in checking those out.

We will bring you reviews of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 9/7/22
Week of 9/14/22
Week of 9/21/22
Week of 9/28/22


Week of September 7


Alien #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by Julius Ohta & Yen Nitro
Cover Art by Björn Barends

PHILLIP KENNEDY JOHNSON AND JULIUS OHTA LAUNCH A NEW ALIEN EPIC! MAN, MACHINE, AND THE MOST TERRIFYING CREATURE IN THE UNIVERSE…IT’S AN EXPRESS ELEVATOR TO HELL, AND YOU’RE GONNA WANT TO BE ON IT! A small colony of synths have settled in secret on a backwater moon. When a company of United System soldiers come to them for help retrieving biotechnology on a hostile planet that could be the key to saving humanity, the synths must decide whether the prospect of peace between man and machine is worth the risk of betrayal.

Release Date: September 7, 2022

PCS NOTES: We are interested to see where this arc goes. Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been doing excellent things on this series. You can check out our recent interview for more about his work on Alien. 


All-Out Avengers #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Derek Landy
Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, & Frank D’Armata
Cover Art by Land & D’Armata

INTRODUCING: THE ALL-NEW AVENGERS SERIES THAT STARTS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EXPLOSIVE ACTION AND RACES TO A SHOCKING CLIMAX! An alien attack. A missing piece of wormhole tech. A city warped, its citizens transformed into hideous creatures loyal to an Empress from the far side of the universe. And a certain Captain Marvel, looking to her fellow Avengers with murderous intent… Plunge into the action and take a deep breath because you will not be allowed up for air as a thrilling new series kicks off in the strongest, strangest way possible.

Release Date: September 7, 2022

PCS NOTES: Well, if superhero action is what you want, this is the place for it.

 


Antioch #1
Image Comics
Written by Patrick Kindlon
Art by Marco Ferrari
Cover Art by Ferrari

FRONTIERSMAN creators KINDLON & FERRARI pick up where that series left off with an all-new ONGOING SERIES!

A king from a lost continent enters the world of man with a purpose: to stop us from killing the planet. But when he finds himself in a superhuman prison, his title is useless and his powers only matter if they help him survive!

Release Date: September 7, 2022

PCS NOTES: We are interested in this based on the concept and the trust we have in the creative team. Continue reading “New Number Ones: New Comics Series Coming in September 2022”

Spotlight SquadCast Interview and Review with Cecil Castellucci, writer of Shifting Earth

Spotlight SquadCast Interview and Review with Cecil Castellucci, writer of Shifting Earth

We have a special post today. This is a presentation of an interview that we did with writer Cecil Castellucci a few weeks ago as well as a review of her newest graphic novel, Shifting Earth.

Cecil is a fantastic writer and never fails to capture my attention. She has written comics, graphic novels, prose, opera, and was a rock singer at one point. Some my her favorite works of hers include: The Plain Janes, Shade: The Changing Girl, Girl on Film, Batgirl, and Female Furies just to name a few. We are very excited to get this recorded conversation to our audience. We delved into some of the interesting process that she uses in her writing and talked about her motivation for the stories she tells.

Cecil created her latest book, Shifting Earth, with artist Flavia Biondi for Dark Horse Comics’ Berger Books imprint. It is in stores now and it is wonderful.

The Squadcast linked below is a fun conversation that covers a lot of her work as well as her super interesting hobbies. We hope you enjoy the conversation.


 

Shifting Earth
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Cecil Castellucci
Art by Flavia Biondi
Colors by Fabiana Mascolo
Letters by Steve Wands
Cover Art by Biondi & Mascolo

Original Solicitation:
In a not-so-distant future, a freak particle storm has landed botanist Dr. Maeve Millay on an idyllic yet strange parallel Earth, with no way back home.

Here, two moons rule society, and nature outshines science. But just like her own climate ravaged planet, this verdant Earth has a sinister side. Children are rare. Humans must serve a purpose or pay an unthinkable price. Astronomer Zuzi battles this underlying darkness every day—just like Maeve did at home. Both women are fighters, and both face a choice: forge new paths, or save the worlds they’ve always known? Maeve will have to decide, and fast—because she’s fighting for more than just herself.

PCS Review:
I was blown away by this book. There are a lot of moving parts to the plot to this book and it is difficult to land on the proper cadence and pace of the story. Castellucci does not falter in that endeavor. The plot reveals seem to always come at the appropriate moment throughout the book. The interesting environmental and political topics that are explored in this book serve as a backdrop to a tale of two brilliant women and their struggles to both be heard and save their respective worlds. Continue reading “Spotlight SquadCast Interview and Review with Cecil Castellucci, writer of Shifting Earth”

Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street

Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street

With the current format of comics publishing, it makes sense at times to wait and and evaluate the work after it has been completed. When I was younger, the norm was that when a comic series was green lit and published, it was perceived to have no end date. The limited series or mini-series were the exceptions, but more recently, the never ending ongoing series has become the exception. The limited series tend to have an intentional story and are filled with overarching themes that are better explored as a whole rather than issue by issue.

My point here is that with a complete story, evaluating a series as a whole feels like something I should be doing more of, and I am going to start that with the recently completed Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. The eight-issue series was written by Tom King with lineart by Bilquis Evely and colors by Matheus Lopes. Clayton Cowles did the lettering, and Brittany Holzherr edited it.

It is important to note that comic creators are telling the stories that they want to tell more often without continuity constraints. The concept of shared universes and continuity really began to take shape in the sixties and came to a head in the eighties.  At the very beginning, there were issues with it. Legend says that the Avengers were a thrown together group intended as a sort of a one-off, and not part of a grand concept of one great Marvel Universe. Stan Lee is said to have given the reason for the original Avengers leaving and being left with Cap’s Quirky Quartet because it was too difficult to keep stories straight between the Avengers and the individual heroes’ books. While a lot of deluge has flowed under the bridge of comic continuity, both Marvel and DC Comics have more recently provided readers with stories about their favorite characters that may or may not be in continuity.

Tom King while working mostly for DC has been a master of telling compelling comic stories that do not necessarily fit into current or historical continuity. His Mister Miracle, Strange Adventures, Omega Men, and even Vision for Marvel are all complete stories that can be read without any context of what is going on in the larger comic universes. I think that is a good thing. When the time is taken to tell an extended story, and the creative team executes that story without continuity interference, it makes for excellent comic book storytelling, and that brings us Supergirl. Continue reading “Continued after the Next Page #019: Telling Complete Stories From Supergirl to Danger Street”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/18/22: The Fox, I Hate This Place, and Shaolin Cowboy

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/18/22: The Fox, I Hate This Place, and Shaolin Cowboy

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a three terrific books for you. The first is a one-shot called The Fox: Family Values #1 from Archie Comics, and the second is I Hate This Place #1 which is from Image Comics. Finally, there is Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel To Be Kin #1 from Dark Horse Comics.

You can find these books at your LCS or wherever you buy books on May 18, 2022.

Also the rest of the #NewNumberOnes for May are here.


The Fox: Family Values #1
Archie Comics
Written by Dean Haspiel, Vito Delsante, & Alex Toth
Art by Haspiel, Richard Ortiz, & Toth
Colors by Matt Herms
Letters by Jack Morelli
Cover Art by Haspiel

Original Solicitation:

Archie Comics is setting the stage for the return of everyone’s favorite “Freak Magnet” Paul Patton, Jr. in The Fox: Family Values #1. Coming to comic shops and digital retailers May 18, 2022, the new one-shot comic will follow the adventures of the Pattons, The Fox, She-Fox, and their son Ghost Fox, as they try to be the best hero family of Foxes they can be! Featuring all-new stories by writer/artist Dean Haspiel, writer Vito Delsante, artist Richard Ortiz, and colorist Matt Herms with veteran letter Jack Morelli, The Fox: Family Values #1 will also include a reprint of a classic The Fox story by Alex Toth, providing new readers with a perfect introduction to this family of iconic characters.

PCS Review:

This book is chock full of goodness. There are three stories in this thirty-four page book. Each of them are fun morsels of comic excellence. The first story, written and drawn by Dean Haspiel, is in the same vein as his previous endeavors with The Fox. Haspiel takes some metaphysical swings in the storytelling and delivers a dynamic story filled with heart that leaves us wanting more from this incarnation of the character.

The second story written by Vito Delsante with art from Richard Ortiz goes back to the wedding of The Fox and fits in very nicely with familial themes of the first story. Delsante and Ortiz do an excellent job of crafting an action packed tale with an emotion filled ending. Solid storytelling by the whole team on this one. Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/18/22: The Fox, I Hate This Place, and Shaolin Cowboy”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/11/22: Eight Billion Genies #1 and Grim #1

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/11/22: Eight Billion Genies #1 and Grim #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a two great books to review for you. The first is Eight Billion Genies #1 from Image Comics, and the second is Grim #1 which is from Boom! Studios.

You can find these books at your LCS or wherever you buy books on May 11, 2022.

Also the rest of the #NewNumberOnes for May are here.


Eight Billion Genies #1
Image Comics
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Ryan Browne
Letters by Chris Crank
Cover Art by Browne

Original Solicitation:

If you had one wish…what would you wish for? Now, what if everyone else had one wish too? That’s EIGHT BILLION GENIES, the new eight-issue series from CHARLES SOULE & RYAN BROWNE. At exactly the same moment, everyone on earth gets a genie and one wish. All hell breaks loose, in a very entertaining way…and that’s just the beginning. Buckle in for the wildest ride of the year!

PCS Review:

This book feels very much like a book that was made by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne, and that is a wonderful development. This issue is a excellent mix of a high concept global events that localizes the reader to a single location. Charles Soule has a wonderful habit of encouraging his readers to dream about the impossible, and then just as the bubbling wonderment begins to float them off, he slams down rules and consequences for touching the untouchable.

Ryan Browne is a perfect partner for Soule’s high concept scheming. His rendering of a world that experiences eight billion individual genies is brilliant. Besides the grand chaos that he brings to the page, Browne also creates endearing characters that help with the localization of the story. Crank is a great letterer and does excellent work in this book.

We are definitely interested in seeing how this world develops and what happens within the Lampwick Bar and Grill.


Grim #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Flaviano
Colors by Rico Renzi
Letters by Tom Napolitano
Cover Art by Flaviano

Original Solicitation:

Jessica Harrow is dead. But her journey has only just begun!

PCS Review: Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/11/22: Eight Billion Genies #1 and Grim #1”

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/4/22: Archer & Armstrong, Metal Society, The Panic, & Twig

Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/4/22: Archer & Armstrong, Metal Society, The Panic, & Twig

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.

This week we have a whopping four books to review for you. The first is Archer & Armstrong Forever #1 from Valiant Entertainment. We also have Metal Society #1, and Twig #1  from Image Comics, and the last is The Panic #1 which is a digital only from Comixology Originals.

You can find these books at your LCS or wherever you buy books on May 4, 2022.

Also the rest of the #NewNumberOnes for May are here.


Archer & Armstrong Forever #1
Valiant Entertainment
Written by Steve Foxe
Art by Marcio Fiorito
Colors by Alex Guimarães
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Art by Bernard Chang

Original Solicitation:

When Armstrong seemingly loses his immortality, Archer refuses to let his best buddy go gentle into that good night. But when you live for millennia, you rack up plenty of enemies who’ll be thrilled to find out you’re no longer indestructible. Archer & Armstrong’s globetrotting quest for (more) immortality begins here!

PCS Review:

As someone who is not super familiar with this Valiant property, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is engaging and dynamic with lots of action and plenty of story. There is some heavy lifting that needs to be done in a first issue for a property with a big history, and Steve Foxe did an excellent job of passing on information without letting it interfere with the story being told. Continue reading “Preview Reviews for the Week of 5/4/22: Archer & Armstrong, Metal Society, The Panic, & Twig”