Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Tue
21
May

Capes, Cowls, and Coming Out: History of the Batwoman

Batwoman from then to now

When the superheroes became popular, lo many decades ago, an attempt was made to draw in more readers by adding characters that would be (or so the theory went) relateable to girls. There was already Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and others, but none of them had quite the popularity of a Superman or a Batman.

And so the quick-and-easy path seemed to be to create female versions of these characters. It was a hit-or-miss process, with more misses than hits. In the Superman comics, a Superwoman was introduced in Action Comics #60 in 1943. She was easily forgotten (although has resurfaced in one incarnation or another over the years), and largely eclipsed when sixteen years later Kara Zor-El made her debut as Supergirl in the pages of Action Comics #252.

Tue
21
May

Golden Age Gets Brassy with Heroes at Large

Heroes at Large 2

So many comic book superheroes passed into the public domain that they have become golden again -- golden for independent publishers that is, who are free to use these characters to tell their stories. They're at the heart of Dynamite Comics PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS series, and have shown up in other various series.

Mon
20
May

Cyberfrog is Officially Late. Or Is It?

Cyberfrog by Ethan Van Sciver

To date, there's only one comic book hero who, at the mere utterance of his name, has the ability to evoke either dreamlike awe or cold fury from the comics fan who hears it. His name is CyberFrog, and he's the creation of comic book artist Ethan Van Sciver.

Originally created in the 90s, CyberFrog is finding new life through an Indiegogo project which has drawn acclaim for its detailed preview artwork, and criticism for it being behind its self-imposed schedule. To date, CYBERFROG: BLOODHONEY is eight months behind. If this were a car, it would be repossessed by now.

Thu
16
May

Matthew Rosenberg is Tearing the X-Men Apart and That's a Good Thing

Marvel scribe Matthew Rosenberg has warned readers that no X-Man (or woman) is safe during his run. And with Jonathan Hickman poised to reboot the X-Universe, Rosenberg is playing with old toys that are about to be replaced.

He is a bull in a china shop right now. And it's astonishing.

***Caution: MAJOR Spoilers Ahead***

Thu
16
May

The House of El is Re-United in Superman #11

Brian Michael Bendis is uniting a family that has been divided for so many years.

***CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD***

While Batman has enjoyed spending time with his "family" for many years, Superman has typically run solo. It something that's always seemed to separate the two. As Batman leans heavily on his ensemble cast of characters, Superman isolated himself by dealing with his problems alone.

Which is completely opposite of what you'd expect. Batman is the brooding vigilante and Superman is the family loving boy scout. Now, under the guidance of Bendis, Superman is in a fight for the future of his family alongside his father, son, and now his cousin!

Wed
08
May

Dangerous Opinions: Facebook Disconnects 250K Fans from Bounding Into Comics

BiC Censored

The landscape of opinion is a shifting mass of quicksand these days. The Internet, once a bastion of free speech -- and all the ugliness that comes with that -- has undergone a transformation to rein in opinions, protecting the eyes and ears of the many from anything that might be deemed offensive by the few.

It began with politics. When the deplatforming of Alex Jones and his InfoWars site occurred, the 1st Amendment let out an "oof" of having been punched in the stomach. No one heard it over all the cheering, however, and the social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter were emboldened to continue their pogrom against information and opinion.

The idea was to stifle politics with which the social media overseers disagreed. The inherent problem with that is this: everything is political. And so we find ourselves at a point where a comic book review website (not this one, yet) loses its presence on Facebook.

Sun
10
Mar

Tales to Astonish No One: Parody of Comicsgate Figures Fails to Create an Audience

Astonishing Gaters

If you are a comics fan who goes to your local shop, checks the shelves for new items, spends a few minutes in the back issue boxes, and goes home to enjoy your purchase, you live in the best of all possible worlds.

If you have a social media account, you've shattered that utopia, and have likely been told to pick a side in the ongoing culture wars -- or been forced into a side whether you chose or not. It's called ComicsGate, 

In much the same way an irritant in an oyster causes the generation of a pearl, the mainstream comic industry and the creators who  have aligned with ComicsGate have worked together -- reluctantly, unwittingly, unknowingly, anything but admittedly -- to create some gems (and some malformations) through the crowdfunding platforms that have financed their own comics, several of them to the tune of six-figures.

Tue
26
Feb

Who Watches Peter Cannon? Peter Cannon Does, in Thunderbolt #2

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #2 Dynamite Comics review

When I first reviewed PETER CANNON: THUNDERBOLT #1, I went over the relationship the character has to WATCHMEN, and how the premiere of this series not only paid homage to that series but also absorbed it into its own story. Too brazen and in-your-face to be called a rip-off, Kieron Gillen and Caspar Wijngaard gleefully took the keys from Alan Moore, jumped in, and peeled out for a joyride in his jet-black Magickmobile.

Tue
26
Feb

Triple Crown: Best Comic Book, Comics Writer, and Comics Artist All Awarded to Single Indy Title!

Tap Dance Killer Best Comic Book 2018

Some say that fandom is fickle. But fans are also a fiercely loyal bunch, and there's no better example than in the Critical Blast awards for 2018's Best in the comics industry. Last year, we saw DC Comics sweep all three categories, with DARK NIGHTS: METAL taking Best Story, with TOM KING taking Best Writer for BATMAN and ETHAN VAN SCIVER taking Best Artist for his work on HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS.

But this is truly a first, because we have another sweep -- this time going to an independent publisher, and all for the same title!

Fri
22
Feb

Van Helsing Finds the Sword of Heaven, Guarded by a New Breed of Monster

Van Helsing Sword of Heaven 5 Zenescope

Liesel Van Helsing and Lilitha Dara have both infiltrated the castle of Prince Sawar, a creature known as a baital that can animate -- and astrally inhabit -- the bodies of the dead. Sawar is the keeper of the Sword of Heaven, an artifact that can eliminate all vampires from the face of the Earth.

However, things have taken a turn for the worse, as Liesel's partner is fell during the battle, allowing Sawar to turn his full attention on Liesel, attacking her psychically by sending her mentally on a never-ending downward fall through a hellish landscape. Sawar's ultimate plan is to kill Liesel and inhabit her body as his own. But first he would have her experiences. He, too, sees the vampire population as a plague. But where Liesel wants to exterminate them, Sawar simply wants to control them and keep them in check. And the vampires, well, they're aware of this as well.

Wed
20
Feb

How Much is That Child Porn in My Comic Book?

Savage Dragon 236

We've seen it happen before in comics and animation. Some artist gets bored, slips in a sly little reference to this or that, just to see how many people it will slip past before it gets caught, if ever. In UNIVERSE X SPIDEY #1, artist Al Milgrom famously hid a secret message telling off his old boss, Bob Harras. NEW MUTANTS had some spicy conversations in it, if one bothered to translate the demon-language substitution cipher of lettering. And don't even get us started on all the rumors about what people think they see in Disney animated films.

But there's no real guessing at what's involved in Image Comics' SAVAGE DRAGON #236, which features the four offspring of the titular character. The storyline, called "Savage Little Dragons" finds they tykes doing various kid activities -- crawling out of the crib, fighting with each other, watching underage rape porn on the television.

Wait. What?

Sun
17
Feb

Zenescope's Archer Becomes Most Wanted in Robyn Hood: Outlaw

Robyn Hood Outlaw

Zenescope's ROBYN HOOD has gone through a few iterations with the books she's appeared in. With this latest miniseries, ROBYN HOOD: OUTLAW, she finds herself framed for the attempted murder of the police commissioner, found shot and dying in Robyn's trashed apartment late at night. On cue, police officers bust into her home, and they're not interested in making an arrest.

With dirty cops on her tail and an unknown person who is also a near-expert archer directing the players, Robyn makes a run for it, uncertain as to whom she can trust and unwilling to fight back against the police because she can't tell which ones are the bad cops and which ones are the ones only doing their duty but acting on misinformation. Along the way, she ends up rescuing a nameless smartass girl, leaving us with a breathless cliffhanger while we await the second issue.

Sun
17
Feb

A Tale of Two Cities: Destiny NY Volumes 1 and 2

Destiny NY

What if you had a destiny you had to fulfill in your life? Something specific, if vaguely worded, prophecy that defines your life? What if you went to a special school that prepared you to meet this destiny, and gave you direction on how to succeed beyond it?

That's the world of DESTINY, NY, which follows the messed-up life of Logan, a young lady who fulfilled her destiny while still a tween, and who now looks for direction in her life. Along the way, her life crosses paths with Lilith, who has a destiny of her own to fulfill -- and a psychopathic sister out to destroy her.

With two volumes under his belt, Pat Shand had built an intriguing graphic novel series, but it's not without certain issues. We put the books under the microscope and give them a good critical blasting. Check it out.

Sat
16
Feb

Wonder Twins Debut Less Than Wonderful

Wonder Twins 1

The latest in the Wonder Comics imprint from DC Comics is WONDER TWINS #1, taking the memorable teen sidekicks from the SUPER FRIENDS television show and bringing them into...well, not the mainstream DC continuity, at least as far as we can tell so far. If anyone can correct us on that count, we'd be happy to hear it. But for now, it seems that, at least WONDER TWINS, exists in its own little side-continuity of a parodic DCU.

Let's dig into the book by Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne and see what's behind those covers--and determine if it's anything more than the controversial Pon Farr scene that we were treated to in the previews.

Wed
13
Feb

The ComicsGate Culture Battle Shifts from Cold War to Hot

Simeti Targeted

Fans of Alterna Comics got more than they bargained for with their nightly livestream. Some time around 10pm on February 12, Publisher Peter Simeti was discussing what was new with the comics from Alterna, when the livestream was interrupted.

By the police.

 

 

Tue
12
Feb

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Ashin' in Dynamite's Army of Darkness / Bubba Ho-Tep

Army of Darkness - Bubba Ho-tep 1

Scott Duvall's title for this comic issue's story was so perfect, I had to steal it for the headline on this review.

ARMY OF DARKNESS / BUBBA HO-TEP is a Bruce Campbell fan's dream come true. Ash, upon reading of sightings and events about Elvis fighting some mummy, decides to head for East Texas and a retirement home where he expects to find The King. Of course nobody there is quite obliging to help him, except for an old fellow named Dillinger who escorts him to a somewhat rundown home occupied by none other than Elvis Aron Presley himself.

But as much as Ash wanted to find Elvis, even he is sceptical, and ends up getting into a fight with the karate-chopping singer while they engage in a trivia-competition about Elvis history -- which, of course, Elvis wins.

Tue
12
Feb

Vampirella Valentine's Day Special Goes Overboard in Cajun Country

Vampi Valentine's Day Special

The Ergun Gunduz cover to Dynamite's VAMPIRELLA VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL almost justifies the $4.99 price sticker. Heck, it justifies at least seventy-five percent of it, so that's close enough. It's completely evocative of the cover artwork that used to grace Vampi's original series, back in the day when she was published in glorious black-and-white in magazine-size format.

The interiors by Maria Sanapo are a different style altogether. Not a bad style -- quite good, in fact -- but a different one that doesn't quite have Vampirella being as tall as one would expect. Of course, that's a matter of scale, so it could just be everyone else was pretty tall as well. Regardless, the pencils and inks were done in a quality comic-book style, with the colors by Ceci de la Cruz adding depth and dimension to everything.

Sun
10
Feb

Closing in on 19 Years of Broadsword Comics with Jim Balent and Holly Golightly

Jim Balent Holly Golightly 2019 Interview

Over two decades ago, Jim Balent had a comfortable gig with a big time publisher, bringing his own inimitable style to CATWOMAN for DC Comics.

Then, in 2000, he walked away from that to go independent with his own imprint, Broadsword Comics, and his own creation, TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE. And he did this without the benefit of the existence of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any other crowdfunding assistance.

It was a huge leap of faith, and now, 19 years later with nary an issue missed of the 114-book run, Broadsword Comics is still going strong with Jim and Holly Golightly doing everything from writing, drawing, lettering, coloring -- the whole shebang.

We were privileged to get this livestream interview with The Busiest (and Most Fun) Couple in Comics, to talk about Tarot, comic books, and... STAR WARS? We hope you'll have as much fun watching this as we had doing it!

Sun
03
Feb

Will Tragedy Break Raven Hex for Good? We Review Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #114

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #114

Raven Hex has turned down the proposal of marriage from Gala-Pen-Lot, the Dragon Prince, and now she is having second thought, recriminations, and engages in some serious soul-searching about what she really wants versus what she has always struggled for. When she finally opens her heart and allows herself to express her true feelings, a burden is lifted from her. Delighted and enlightened, she prepares to change her life and go onto a new path -- just as tragedy is revealed to her.

Holly Golightly gives this issue a very muted color treatment this issue over Jim Balent's pencils, which adds to the whole reminescent mood of Raven Hex's ruminations. The book is the lead in to the 19th anniversary issue of TAROT, WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #115, appearing March 2019.

For a full review on this issue, check out our livestream video below.

Thu
31
Jan

Heroes in Crisis, Readers in Remorse

Heroes in Crisis 5

We've reached the exact midway point of Tom King and Clay Mann's murder mystery series, HEROES IN CRISIS, and things are adding up less and less.

We start with the cover, which shows the case file for the murder of Jason Todd. Except he's alive as the Red Hood. We've gone over that whole thing before when Batman gave his confession at Sanctuary about so many of his partners dying when they're all alive and kicking.

Add to this the polluting of past heroes during their Sanctuary confessions, some unbelievable confrontations, a major revelation that's actually more of a plot hole than anything else, and HEROES IN CRISIS begins to shape up into one beautiful mess.

Key points in this issue include:

  • Batgirl lying to Batman (unconvincingly) and getting away with it.
  • Booster Gold getting the drop on The Flash.
  • Superman giving a longer speech than the one that got cut from SUPERMAN IV.

Here, take a look for yourselves:

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