Comic books and graphic novels


Grimm Tales of Terror Delivers Twist, But Not Surprise

Grimm Tales of Terror #6, Cover Art by Giuseppe Cafaro, Simone Di Meo and Ylenia Di Napoli

Monster Underneath
Writer: Shane McKenzie
Artwork: Claudia Balboni


The notion of a monster under the bed is, perhaps, one of the oldest bogeyman tropes in horror -- specifically because it's one of the most prevalent childhood fears.

Young Mindy is an orphan who is convinced that her bed harbors a slathering creature, and the other boys in the orphanage take advantage of her fears to torment her. But when Mindy's paradigm is challenged by her older foster sister, Rose, it puts a twist into the story that changes the dynamics of the relationship between Mindy and her monster.

Shane McKenzie's story has its ups and downs. It's established as a framework, with the adult Mindy having a first date. We immediately know the guy is a boor, so his intentions are quickly telegraphed to the reader.


TenNapel's Nnewts Epic Fantasy of Amphibious Proportions

Nnewts - Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel

Doug TenNapel introduces a new world to his fans with the first book of the NNEWTS series, ESCAPE FROM THE LIZZARKS. At its most basic level, NNEWTS pits peaceful amphibians against aggressive reptiles. Both sides employ different magics, with the Nnewts relying on their magician and the Lizzarks relying on their Wizzark (and yes, TenNapel knows how that sounds, and even pokes fun at the idea himself within the story).

When the Lizzarks invade Nnewtown, they kill ruthlessly. The only apparent escapee is young Herk, who has been cursed with tiny back legs which prevent him from walking out of the water. His flight leads him to a lost kingdom, a confrontation with an evil deity, and a lost colony of Nnewts, with hints of mystical connections Herk never knew he had.


Review: Cinderella: Age of Darkness (2 of 3)

Title: Cinderella: Age of Darkness (2 of 3)
Publisher: Zenescope
Creative Team: Joe Brusha and Pat Shand (story), Pat Shand (writer), Ryan Best (artist), Thiago Dal Bello (colorist), Micah Myers (letterer), Nicole Glade (editor)

Picking up where he left off on this twisted version of Cinderella, Zenescope scribe Pat Shand continues his story. Cindy is off on her quest to assassinate Hades, the last surviving God, while the Dark Queen has plans of her own. How Cindy plans to find Hades, while the aforementioned god is mounting his own attack is anybody’s guess.

Well, unless you read the book that is…

The Story


The Bare Necessities: Mark L Miller and Zenescope's Jungle Book

Mark L Miller and Mowglii

Zenescope has carved out a niche in the comics industry through their unique and sexy adaptations of fairy tales. In their Grimm Fairy Tales universe, they've established realms for adaptations of Wonderland, the titular Brothers Grimm characters, Neverland, and others.

Standing apart from these intersecting worlds of fantasy is Zenescope's THE JUNGLE BOOK, now entering it's third miniseries with FALL OF THE WILD, In anticipation of the advent of this new chapter in the adventures of Mowglii on the island jungle of Kipling, we corralled series writer Mark L. Miller for a little Q&A about some of the mysteries of Mowglii.

THE JUNGLE BOOK: FALL OF THE WILD is advertised as the third book of the trilogy. Was it planned to be a trilogy from the beginning, or is it something that just evolved that way after it had begun?


Afterlife With Archie Makes Long Awaited Return

Afterlife With Archie 7 - Betty RIP Part 2, Betty's Diary

After what seems like an interminable wait -- always the sign of an anticipated comic -- AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE returns to the shelves with the seventh issue of the horror series.

It's been a month since the zombie apocalypse originated out of Riverdale, and the zombie plague has been spreading with alarming, exponential speed. On their own, and left to their own resources, Archie, Betty, Veronica and a handful of other survivors of Riverdale decide to make camp and observe a Thanksgiving. But the threat of the horde -- led by their former best buddy, Jughead -- is always out there, and it's been following them.


Shaft #1

Shaft #1

I met Richard Roundtree a few years back at a convention. All I could do was shake the man's hand and say thank you. I was completely star struck. Roundtree's powerful presence and commanding demeanor were still evident decades after starring in "Shaft" and it's two sequels. Considering that Sam Jackson also starred as "Shaf,t" it's going to take a talented creative team to bring that type of style and presence to a comic page.

It all starts with David Walker who gets who John Shaft is and what makes him tick. I recently read an interview with Walker and he's basically a historian of the blaxploitation genre and an avid reader of Ernest Tidyman's original "Shaft" books. Damn right! Walker's story is a prequel to the material that's come before. It follows Shaft as a rising boxer. The pugilistic arts have always been a notoriously dirty field and this gritty late '60s version is bleak as can be.


Fall of the Wild Third Mini in Zenescope's Jungle Book Trilogy

Jungle Book, Fall of the Wild #1 cover by David Finch and Ivan Nunes

It may or may not have been officially declared as such in Zenescope's GRIMM FAIRY TALES UNIVERSE, but I believe there's a fifth realm (perhaps even more) in Zenescope's multiverse: The Realm of Kipling. That seems to be supported by Zenescope's adventure series based on the Rudyard Kipling novels. Mark L. Miller pens the third miniseries installment of THE JUNGLE BOOK, THE FALL OF THE WILD, where Mowglii (female in this version) lives among talking animals who segregate into species-based factions to war against each other. (It's sort of like LEGENDS OF CHIMA, with blood and revealing outfits.)


Contest: Ring in 2015 With Zenescope's Grimm Girls

Zenescope 2015 Grimm Girls Calendar


Seong P. of Lucerne Valley, CA

Stephanie M of Milwaukee, WI

Doug B of Plymouth, MN


Congratulations to all our winners!

So, I'm barely getting used to not writing 2013 on my checks, and now 2015 is barreling in on me like that asteroid in ARMAGEDDON.

So, if you're days are numbered already, you may as well enjoy the numbering as much as you can. And what better way than with the gorgeous pin-up art stylings of Jamie Tyndall and his representations of the Grimm Girls of Zenescope Entertainment?


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Krampus with Zenescope's Holiday GFT

Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition

It would be an easy, predictable thing for the folks at Zenescope to make a mythical character like Santa Claus the focus of their holiday issue. Which is probably why they did exactly the opposite, and chose a more obscure holiday-related icon to weave a story around: Krampus!

What's that you say? You've never heard of Krampus? (Why do I feel like an animated Burl Ives should start singing an introduction here?)

You can do your own googling of the puckish little imp who leaves coins in the shoes of good children on Christmas, while shoving the naughty ones into a bag and beating them with a stick. Zenescope, of course, is going to have their own modified take on the legend, beginning with an origin story out of Myst. It's a tale told to the next generation of guardians-in-training, who meet it with their usual cynicism -- but it's one with far too much current relevance to one of our heroes, who must face off with Krampus in the here-and-now.


Zimmerman and Scott Unveil Area 51 History in Graphic Novel

Area 51

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. And sometimes, fiction is a lot more fun.

For much of my life, I've heard the strange tales about Area 51, Groom Lake, Nevada and the Roswell, New Mexico UFO story -- always connected, even though the two sites are a 14 hour drive apart. Oh, the theories that were generated about the strange lights in the sky, the rousting of trespassers, the autopsies of aliens and all advanced technology that we simply couldn't have come up with on our own. It was the seed from which the best science fiction stories blossomed.


Hooray for Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse!

Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse 1 of 2

When unknown actor Michael May gets cast in the lead role of Captain Liberty, he thought it was the beginning of a dream. Instead, it was the first day of a living nightmare. While participating in a full-dress script reading with his co-stars in the "Defenders of Liberty" movie, May finds himself suddenly fighting off a zombie apocalypse alongside the likes of Kevin Could-Be-Hart, Dwayne Might-be-Johnson, Tom Looks-Like-Cruise, Bryan Not-Bad-Cranston, Selena Gotta-Be-Gomez, and Shia Quite-Possibly-Labeouf. God help us all.

There's so much to like in this pop culture parody that marries together elements of ARMY OF DARKNESS with zombie films like ZOMBIELAND and Yard Dog Press's BUBBAS OF THE APOCALYPSE. The script from Ralph Tedesco and Joe Brusha is, in my estimation, screenplay ready for this to be adapted into one of the best science fiction B-movies, if only the right actors could be convinced to take on their roles.


Review: Cinderella: Age of Darkness (1 of 3)

Cinderella: Age of Darkness

Title: Cinderella: Age of Darkness (1 of 3)
Publisher: Xenoscope
Creative Team: Joe Brusha and Pat Shand (story), Pat Shand (writer), Ryan Best (artist), Renato Guerra (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer), Nicole Glade (editor)

The latest offering by upstart indie company, Zenescope, is a Cinderella story like you've never heard before. Of course ALL of their fairy tales are unlike any you've heard before; that's kind of the point. In this version of the tale, 'Cindy', has drawn the ire of the Dark Queen for her repeated failures as an assassin. Rather than just kill Cindy herself, the Queen has decided to task her with a suicide mission: Hunt down and kill Hades, the last living God. Armed with her own sword, three 'gifts', and repeated advice to just run away, Cindy is out to prove once and for all that she's not an idiot...


Death Comes to Roman Dirge's Lenore

Roman Dirge's Lenore #11, Titan Comics

In this issue... someone dies!

Oh, sure, big deal. Happens in comics all the time. It's even happened in this comic series before. In fact, someone dying is the reason this comic has a protagonist -- Lenore, the "cute little dead girl" who flits through life with her otherworldly friends with all the innocent macabre of a zombie Harveytoon.

Where else can you find living pickle hats? Or see the absurdly logical and lethal extension of the Austin Powers peeing scene for someone who's been asleep for thousands of years instead of just tens? Only in the darkly comic tale of Roman Dirge's Lenore.


Archon 38 Encounter: The Art of BatSpats

Michelle Benz of BatSpats

Archon 38 continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! Nestled amongst the many vendors set up in the expansive dealers room, I chanced upon a chillingly familiar looking couple: The Joker and Harley Quinn!

But there was no need to scream or fire up the Bat-signal: this was the booth for Michelle Benz, the creative genius behind, and some intriguing and refreshing takes on familiar comic book characters as well as other pop culture icons and tropes.

Here's a snippet of the encounter. Enjoy!


IDW Does America a Favor with Puck Collection

Puck from IDW

A picture, so the expression goes, is worth a thousand words. That being the case, the political cartoon is worth a thousand words and change, the art form being one that conjoins the satirical image with paucity of pithy text. Which brings us to one of the pioneers of the form: the magazine called Puck, the subject of this lavish (and heavy!) compendium from IDW and The Library of American Comics.


IDW Publishes Complete Wonder Woman Newspaper Strips

Wonder Woman The Complete Newspaper Strip 1944 1945

When you have someone list three superheroes off the top of their heads, without thinking, they usually recite the holy trinity of heroes by rote: Superman, Batman...and Wonder Woman. They've been on top of the media since they began, not just in comic books, but also in newspaper strips and (later) animated cartoons.

Wonder Woman's newspaper strip didn't have what one could call a lengthy run, but it certainly was an interesting one. William Moulton Marston, inventor of the polygraph and dabbler in polyamory and bondage play, introduced the need for a feminine hero while he sat on the editorial board for DC Comics. Tasked with creating the character, Marston gave the world Wonder Woman -- an Amazon princess with powers from the Greek gods.


Titan Comics Kick Off Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor with "Terrorformer"

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald on the cover of Titan Comics Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #1

"Terrorformer" is the first comic book representation of Doctor Who as portrayed by Peter Capaldi, and, given what I've seen of the current series and the new Doctor's eccentricities, writer Robbie Morrison has accurately captured the essence of this version of the Timelord from Gallifrey.

The Doctor and Clara arrive on Isen VI, chose for Clara's skiing lessons because of it's icebound climate. Only Isen VI isn't so icebound any longer -- it's a lush tropical paradise, thanks to a team of engineers laboring in the employ of a multi-kajillionaire who wants his own planet. And as is to be expected, the technology goes in an unexpected direction.


Robot Chicken Serves Up Second Helping of DC Comics Insanity


Lex Luthor in an 80s hair band? Batman baring his feelings of emasculation with Green Lantern? A Starbucks in the headquarters of the Legion of Doom? The real origin of Superboy?

It's your favorite DC heroes and villains as you've never dreamed of them before. Well, okay, maybe once before, because this is, after all, ROBOT CHICKEN DC COMICS SPECIAL 2 (#RCDCS2VIP). Nevertheless, even the first ROBOT CHICKEN DC COMICS SPECIAL wasn't enough to prepare you for the utter ballsiness of the R-rated humor Seth Green and the boys throw at you here with utter irreverent abandon.


New Collection of Fossilized Failure in Hugh Murphy's "T-Rex Trying and Trying"

T-Rex Trying and Trying

When Hugh Murphy's first collection, T-Rex Trying, hit the shelves, I shared it around the office as we all found several of the situations of the "I've got a great big head and little bitty arms" plagued dinosaur to alternate between thought-provoking and hysterical.

T-Rex Trying and Trying is the natural evolution (see what I did there?) of the series, putting our beloved and beleaguered tyrannosaur through even more mundane pitfalls, even as his own life expands to include She-Rex and, inevitably, Wee-Rex. Yes, T-Rex is now the patriarch of a prehistoric family, and they all fall prey to the same... shortcomings.


CBS Greenlights Supergirl Series, Sparking DC's Crisis On Infinite Networks

Supergirl artwork by Michael Turner

It's a good time to be a DC fan.

No, let me amend that. It's a great time to be a DC fan -- especially if you enjoy your comics characters brought to live action. Arrow is entering a third successful season, The Flash is preparing to launch in early October, Gotham is preparing to tell the story of a pre-Batman era James Gordon, and CBS has just announced that it's going into production of Supergirl.

The problem? Arrow and The Flash are on the CW, Gotham is on FOX, and Supergirl -- a one hour drama -- will be on CBS.


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