Tagged: Graphic Novel

Graphic Spotlight: Atomic Blonde

Blondes do have more fun…guns help, too.

Oni Press re-releases a gem of an espionage thriller, Atomic Blonde, that you need to stop and gawk at for a few minutes this week. Yeah, that’s Charlize Theron on the cover, there’s a new movie coming out that’s got a badass trailer for it. But that’s all window dressing to get your eyes to stop on this title and appreciate what’s before you. If you’re a crime and spy genre enthusiast like me then you need to pay bloody attention.

It’s November 1989. The Berlin Wall is getting ready to fall. MI6 spy Lorraine Broughton has been sent to Berlin to investigate the death of another agent and track down a list that would reveal the names of every operative working there. Lorraine’s returned from the formerly titled coldest city of the Cold War to tell her tale and what she has to say is shocking.

Double crosses, assassinations gone wrong, bodies popping up where they shouldn’t be and enough twists to knot you into a pretzel layer this spy thriller. If you’re looking for a straight up adrenaline rush that’ll make James Bond blush and Jason Bourne want to forget everything all over again, congrats because this is the read you’ve been wanting. It’s not about reinventing the wheel of what makes a great spy thriller, sometimes it’s a treat to experience an excellent execution of the basics, with some twists of course. Why are you still reading this? Don’t you see Charlize Theron’s on the cover? Pick it up or face the wrath of Furiosa!

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Graphic Spotlight – Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One

We Could All Use Some Wonder In Our Lives…

Wonder Woman has been balancing two stories since it began in this DC Rebirth era. While writer Greg Rucka worked in Wonder Woman’s present-day with artist Liam Sharp over in Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Lies, he’s been telling the story of Diana Prince’s past with Nicola Scott in this tall tale, Year One.

On the one hand it’s brilliant strategy, keeping the artists fresh and the pacing even across the series. On the other hand, it’s a challenge to divide the readers’ attention with two stories told simultaneously. That’s a bit more than one might want to keep track of. Fortunately, with Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One, we can finally see the big picture that Mr. Rucka and Mrs. Scott have been making for us.

Wonder Woman’s origin story has been told and retold and told again for seeming ever. We’re all set to see a movie depicting it in theaters everywhere next month. Why does ever creator want a crack at the beginning of Diana Prince’s path to becoming Wonder Woman? Because it’s a great story that allows for writers and artists to make it their own. It’s a tale of hope and inspiration, empowerment through the embracing of one’s journey into adulthood, facing down fear to move forward in finding one’s place in the greater world. We know some of the gist from the versions that’ve come before this one: Diana Prince’s people, the Amazons, living in seclusion in Paradise, are rudely intruded upon by a crashing pilot named Steve Trevor. Trevor’s arrival is the end of their isolation as the Amazons must choose a champion of their own…one willing to sacrifice her home among her sisters to save a world she’s only ever heard of. She will be Wonder Woman and this is her first year as the world’s greatest protector.

Collects WONDER WOMAN #2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14.

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Graphic Spotlight – Roughneck

Jeff Lemire explores the dangers of hockey, heritage, and the haunting of our mistakes in this new OGN!

It’s no secret that Jeff Lemire is one of the busiest writers in all of comics. Between his work for Marvel, Valiant, and Image he currently has at least six titles coming out (Old Man Logan, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn, Royal City, A.D. After Death, Moon Knight) and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head! Add in his previous body of work at DC Comics and Vertigo and you wonder how the heck he finds time to sleep, eat, or create his latest character study, Roughneck.

Roughneck takes Lemire back to his roots, closer to the likes of his seminal opus, Essex County, which in 2010 was named one of the five Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade by CBC. After five years, Roughneck finally arrives on shelves this week, that he not only wrote but also drew. That’s right, over 270 pages of brand-new Jeff Lemire artwork is coming our way! The story?

Roughneck centers around siblings Derek and Beth. Derek Oullette was a hockey enforcer whose best days are behind him. Derek, now living off of his reputation and his fading glory since a violent incident on the ice ended his career, is back home in the small northern Canadian community where he grew up. He drinks too much and fights anybody on a whim. When his estranged sister, Beth, comes home to escape her abusive boyfriend’s torturous treatment, she and Derek make an excursion to a hunting camp in the woods where they hope to escape the seemingly cursed nature of their family. Unfortunately, the demons of their world won’t give up on them that easily, as Beth’s ex-boyfriend comes closer to finding them, threatening to shatter their newfound peace after fighting so hard to leave their paths of self-destruction behind them.

For fans of Jeff Lemire this is a homecoming. Definitely welcome Roughneck with open arms.

 

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Graphic Spotlight – Black Hammer Vol. 1: Secret Origins

What happens when the world’s greatest heroes are trapped on a farm?

Okay, so that seems like a bit of a crazy setup, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. The first collection of writer Jeff Lemire (Royal City, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn), artist Dean Ormston (The Sandman), and colorist Dave Stewart (Hellboy), brilliant new series, Black Hammer,  has at last arrived. Here’s your choice to get to know the mysterious past of the heroes of Spiral City. In these first six issues you’ll learn more about Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien! Get glimpses of what happened ten years ago that forced them into seclusion on a timeless farming town where they lead simple lives including dinner parties the likes of which you’ll never forget. As they attempt to free themselves from this pastoral limbo, a new outsider will force them back into one heroic action, perhaps, for the last time.

The creators will take you on a whirlwind tour-de-force of character-driven storytelling. There’s so much love for superheroes in this series while at the same time Lemire, Ormston, and Stewart are fearless in offering twists on all the familiar tropes. Your expectations about who these heroes are and were will be exploded and rewarded. The plotting is structured in such a way as to keep you guessing but without feeling as though anything is unearned. Everything you love about heroes is in here and everything you’ve come to be weary about the genre is addressed. There’s almost nothing you can’t enjoy about this series.

Evoking classic tales of 1950’s superheroics and still presenting a “family” of compelling characters, this may be the best new superhero universe in years. If you’re looking for a book to rekindle your love of what superhero comics are capable of, then read Black Hammer. ‘Nuff said.

Collects issues #1–#6 of the series.

 

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Graphic Spotlight – BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDE

Batgirl’s world tour starts here!

No corner of the DC Universe hasn’t been touched by the events of Rebirth. For most all of DC’s titles it’s been an incredible fresh slate, not a reboot, but a new point to jump on and take the characters towards stories that feel earned, logical, self-contained without being disconnected, and delivering some the strongest stories from the publisher in a long time and on time. DC’s promise of a new direction for its characters in a way that doesn’t discount the last five years while still providing a new jumping on point for new or casual fans continues in the first collection of Batgirl’s newest adventures, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside.

Barbara Gordon’s return to the cape and cowl was met with great trepidation back in the old days (you know, 2011). Gail Simone wrote a three year story of healing, both physically and emotionally, grounding Barbara in overcoming the trauma that put her in a wheelchair for years of her life. It was a tricky line to walk and Simone began with a good jumping off point that grew into one of the best books DC was publishing. Then came the pop-tastic makeover by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr.

Barbara was given a neighborhood of Gotham to call her own, the eponymous Burnside. It was a fresh new take on Babs and her world, where she was a brilliant student and a superhero establishing her own independence from the Bat-family.

Now, New York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) and Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) will take Batgirl on a journey to elevate her skills. The trek will include stops in hotspots like Okinawa, Singapore, Seoul, and even Shanghai. Everywhere she goes, Batgirl’s life will be threatened by lethal warriors who all bear a mysterious mark indicating “The Student.” Which, of course, baits the question that if there are students, Batgirl will need to track down their teacher…

As Batgirl goes on her own international hunt for the leader of this mysterious group of fighters, she’ll improve her own skills and cross paths with legendary heroes. If you’ve been waiting for Barbara Gordon to ascend into the grander scale of the superhero community then the wait is over.

Collects Batgirl #1-6

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Graphic Spotlight: Britannia

Behold, the world’s first detective is on a case that threatens his very soul…unless he can defy the lore of the gods!

I’m cheating here, a little. Did it come out this week? No. BUT there’s a newer must-read in town and it’s my duty to make sure you know about it. I present to you, dear readers, Britannia from Valiant Entertainment.

Do you love the snarky and dark adventures of anti-heroes like John Constanine? Are you addicted to the political and fantastical drama of Game of Thrones? Do you want a great read for just $9.99 that’ll blow your mind with gorgeous art and smart characters? Then you’ve no excuse not to pick up the tale of Antonius Axia.

In 65 A.D., everything was considered the “will of the Gods.” Rome is at the peak of Nero’s reign. You owned nothing and nothing about you was considered your own. In this time, Antonius Axia serves for the glory of the Roman Empire as one of its veteran soldiers. After an experience that nearly ends his life, Antonius finds himself on the outskirts of Rome when he’s summoned by Caesar himself. He’s to be sent to one of the edges of the known world and investigate reports of abnormal and potentially monstrous events. Now, the world’s first detective will be thrust into a situation where belief and proof collide, where the most basic truths about existence as he’s known it will be challenged, and the lives of everyone on the journey are at stake.

Peter Milligan (Justice League Dark, Hellblazer) brings his comics genius to a world where the power of gods and the prowess of men will be shifted. This terrific tale of terror and temptation jumps off  the page by powerhouse artist Juan Jose Ryp (Clone, Wolverine: The Best There Is). Follow them down this disturbing and fascinating path as they craft a story that will scratch all the darker itches on your pull list.

Collecting BRITANNIA #1-4.

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Graphic Spotlight – Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional

Deathstroke‘s rebirth will be his most personal and deadliest yet!

Deathstroke has been a character whose stock has risen in the last few years with exposure on the Arrowverse of shows on television. However, while his profile has spiked that hasn’t always been the case for the quality of his comic book adventures. Fortunately, amidst the plethora of improvements to DC Comics’ line in its Rebirth phase, you can be sure to count Deathstroke as one of those who has benefitted from this breath of creative fresh air.

Finally, the first collection will allow those who’ve trade waited, for whatever reason, to dive in and devour some of the best Deathstroke in too long of a time. Deathstroke the Terminator returns and this time his assassin’s eye is set on saving his daughter Rose a.k.a Ravager.

Slade Wilson will need all of the genetically enhanced strength, reflexes, healing, and intellect after a long thought dead ally resurfaces while on a mission in a war-torn African country. Why is this ally still alive? Why, to provide our anti-hero/ruthless villain/contract killer with a code with the news that his greatest vulnerability, his daughter, is in danger. Now, one of the most feared man on the entire planet will have to break his self-imposed rules of killing, betray those he’s considered trustworthy, piss off his most powerful enemy, and battle against his addiction to violence.

Will Deathstroke be able to conquer the most challenging gauntlet of his life and come through the other side with his daughter and honor having avoided being shattered?

Find out in Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional! This new thrilling chapter of DC’s greatest assassin comes to us from the legendary writer Christopher Priest and artist Carlo Pagulayan. This collections includes issues #1-5 of the well reviewed new series plus the Deathstroke: Rebirth one-shot.

 

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Graphic Spotlight: SEVEN TO ETERNITY VOL. 1- THE GOD OF WHISPERS

This week we put the spotlight on Rick Remender‘s latest sci-fi sensory overload!

Rick Remender is no stranger to crafting amazing science fiction stories. If you haven’t read FEAR AGENT then you’re missing out on the greatest space western of all-time (yeah, I’m looking at you Firefly and Cowboy Bebop). In 2016 Remender brought us a vast amount of genre treasures in SEVEN TO ETERNITY. This week, the first arc of one of 2016’s best series comes out in trade paperback with an accessible price tag of only $9.99!

Do you love space operas like SAGA? BLACK SCIENCE? PROPHET? Do you love characters whose backs are against the proverbial wall pinned down by overwhelming enemies? Are you a fan of crazy ridiculously beautiful artwork that will expand your mind with new worlds? Then get to know the seven who will hold the fate of a world in their hands with what they do, what secrets they keep, and how fast they can do whatever’s necessary.

A paranoia has spread to every part of the kingdom of Zhal. It destroys like a plague of fear whose source is the God of Whispers. His spies hid in ever hall spreading mistrust, fear, and breeding acts of cruelty that destroy communities and even families. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house is put to a dangerous choice: Will he help a band of hopeless and homeless band of magic users in their attempts to free the world of this evil God? Or will Adam give into what his heart most desires, accepting a promise from the God of Whispers himself. Free the world or free yourself?

Writer RICK REMENDER reteams with collaborators JEROME OPEÑA (UNCANNY X-FORCE, FEAR AGENT) and MATT HOLLINGSWORTH (TOKYO GHOST, WYTCHES) take you down a hard read where men have surrendered their freedom to fear and one last free man is left to choose. Collects SEVEN TO ETERNITY #1-4.

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Pacific Rim Hits Theaters Today

…But we’ve had some great merchandise for it for some time now!  Here’s the rundown on what’s available:

The magnificent art book, Pacific Rim Man Machines & Monsters:

Pacific Rim Art Book Wayne Barlowe etcThe prequel graphic novel from Marvel, Tales from Year Zero:

“Chronicling the very first time Earth is menaced by incredible monsters known as Kaiju, these inhuman beasts rise from the ocean depths and threaten to extinquish all mankind! Witness the race to develop massive robot fighting machines called Jaegers, each one controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. This action-packed tale features many of the key characters from the the film as we follow them in their early careers. Witten by Pacific Rim screenwriter himself, Travis Beacham, and with del Toro’s hands-on supervision, this volume is beautifully illustrated by Sean Chen, Yvel Guichet, Chris Batista and Pericles Junior; inks by Matt Banning, Steve Bird and Mark McKenna; and fully-painted cover by superstar artist Alex Ross!”

HEROCLIX!

Pacific Rim HeroclixAnd neat-o toys from NECA!

Jaeger Crimson Typhoon, Gipsy Danger, and Kaiju Knifehead:

Pacific Rim Action Figures fpnyc Forbidden Planet

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Game of Thrones Merchandise Available at Forbidden Planet

With season 2 of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic making its premiere on HBO this Sunday night, now’s as good a time as any to go over the plethora of Game of Thrones product available at and from Forbidden Planet NYC.

The original novels, house sigil magnets and patches, the gaming modules from Fantasy Flight, mugs, journals, and the brand new graphic novel can all be found HERE.

Keep in mind that some items will cycle on or off that page when things go out of stock and/or are added to it, so check it back if you’re looking for something not there.

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Morgan Pielli’s Pile of Minis: Woman King and The Trials of Sir Christopher

For a some time now I’ve been considering expanding the scope of this column. What is a mini comic? They come in all shapes and sizes and are drawn by people as all levels of skill and success. Many are self published, but just as many are published by small imprints or other indie cartoonists. The idea that they come from people on the fringes of the medium; perhaps once true, is no longer the case. Though mini comics, in many ways, came out of ‘zine culture, the mini comic has transformed from an object to a genre. As such, it now encompasses a broad range of comics.

With that in mind, we will be looking today at two graphic novels from artist Colleen Frakes; Woman King and The Trials of Sir Christopher.  In the interest of full disclosure, Colleen Frakes was a classmate of mine at The Center for Cartoon Studies.

Additionally, I was part of the critique group in which Frakes workshopped Woman King, and I was a member of the studio where The Trials of Sir Christopher was drawn. I will endeavor to remain as objective as possible. However, I have had the unique privilege of seeing both of these books as various stages of completion, and will likely draw upon that for my review.

Woman King is a lush and powerful book. Like much of Frakes’ work, Woman King has a timeless fairy-tale quality to it. It is the story of a girl who is adopted by a tribe of bears and groomed to lead them in their war with men. Like the best fairy tales, there is as much blood as there is sweetness, and Frakes’ spare drawing style heightens the grim circumstances in some unexpected ways.

Continue reading

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Recommended: Casanova TP Volume 1, Luxuria

Reason numero uno to be cheerful if you’re a comics fan on this January Wednesday?  The re-release of Casanova in graphic novel format.

Matt Fraction Gabriel Ba Fabio Moon Casanova Luxuria Comics Graphic Novel Meet Casanova Quinn: prodigal son of a law-and-order family hell-bent on keeping the world safe and sound, now blackmailed into betraying his father and the international law enforcement organization he controls.  LUXURIA collects the first volume of CASANOVA as its titular star transforms from devil-may-care thrill-seeker into the most dangerous man in the world.  What happens when the ultimate player gets played?

Gorgeously re-colored and re-lettered by hand, this staggering psychedelic spy-fi epic is collected for the first time as it was meant to be made.  By the Eisner award-winning team of Matt Fraction (INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN), Gabriel Ba (UMBRELLA ACADEMY, BPRD: 1947), and Fabio Moon (DAYTRIPPER, SUGARSHOCK). With all-new, all-different, never-before-seen bonus material!

Easily one of my favorite comics in years, Casanova is one of those rare books I get a absolute thrill out of selling to newbies and well-read comic fans alike.  Mind-bending, genre-bending, funny, sleek, sexy… it’s light years ahead of much of what the medium churns out these days.

Enjoy!

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Releasing Next Week & Recommended: American Vampire HC

AmericanVampireHCFrom writers Scott Snyder and Stephen King, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire – a more vicious species – and traces the creatures’ bloodline through decades of American history.

This first hardcover volume of the critically acclaimed series collects issues #1-5 and follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King, both with art by future superstar Rafael Albuquerque. Snyder’s tale follows Pearl, a young woman living in 1920s Los Angeles, who is brutally turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European monsters who tortured and abused her. And in King’s story set in the days of America’s Wild West, readers learn the origin of Skinner Sweet, the original American vampire – a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before.

Don’t miss out as Snyder and King set fire to the horror genre with this visionary, all-original take on one of the most popular monster stories! This beautiful collection features a new introduction by Stephen King and bonus art including character sketches, variant covers and more!

It can be found on Forbidden Planet NYC’s webstore here.

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Nightmares NYC and The Zombie Survival Guide

Nightmares NYC and a Zombie Survival Guide

by Jeff Ayers

For those of you who’ve not experienced NIGHTMARE’s annual haunted houses the last few years here in NYC you’re really missing out. Those in the know will tell ya, the productions are top notch, the creatives involved dedicated and intensely passionate, and the whole shebang is usually a scarifying adrenaline rush rarely obtained outside of an encounter with a Lamia (watched Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell last night, hence the reference… Man alive was that neat-0). NIGHTMARE creator Timothy Haskell and his crew work on this show all year long and it shows.

I went through on opening night 2009 with the folks from Abracadabra, a staple costume shop on 21st St., themselves appreciators of the macabre and horrific, and I must say with no hyperbole it was my best experience yet. Continue reading

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Action Packed Graphic Novel Releases

Interesting Recent Releasesby Jeff Ayers

Umbrella Academy vol 02: Dallas TP- A fractured team gets thrust into new adventure involving a plot to kill JFK.  An FP bestseller, The Umbrella Academy Dallas maintains the vibrant cool of volume one with Dallas well.  Written by Gerard Way (lead singer of My Chemical Romance and a former guest of FP and an overall swell fella) with glorious art by Gabriel Ba (Casanova), who never disappoints.

Prison Pit- Yaaaaaaaaaay!  New Johnny Ryan comics!  This time we’re served an original graphic novel from the Angry Youth Comix maestro, a hyper violent and darkly comical tale of intergalactic bloodbath as protagonist CF is thrust into the Prison Pit. Powered by Johnny’s brilliant sense of humor (more heaping handfuls of gross blech than you can imagine, more offensive imagery than socially acceptable), this book is billed as a mishmash of influences- WWE, video games, Gary Panter’s Jimbo, and the Berserk manga.  I like to think of it as R. Crumb draws Tim Vigil’s Faust, minus the draftsmanship. Recommended.

Buffy Season 8 Volume 5–  So I guess I’ll be seeing legions upon legions of Buffy fans this week in Forbidden Planet. Okay then. See ya then. Continue reading

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