The SW Best Comic Book Reads of 2015

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2015, a splendid year for the sequential arts in comic books, for printed and digital.

This year presented well for readers craving more variety in creative storytelling and visual arts. With prior success in creator pushed titles like Chew, Saga, Locke and KeySex Criminals; I see more investment in fresh ideas from companies also focused licensed properties as well including IDW, Boom!, Dark Horse. While the Marvel and DC are still focused on their superhero flagships, they also have experimented with interesting new takes on licensed characters. Meanwhile, I feel Image Comics led the charge on new creator-owned, imaginative worlds for new readers in 2015.

I missed some comic titles, while less drawn to some entire genres (manga, superheroes, webcomics, multi-title crossovers). Not that such things I dislike, as some I read are hidden throughout here.  Some missed has received critical praise elsewhere, of which are probably missed on my list. I swear I will get around too, and perhaps give appreciation in some other way later on (Wytches, Squirrel Girl, Nimona, Through the Woods)

Here below, are the best of what I enjoyed in 2015, according to each heading that mattered in my buying decisions. Each title has their matching publisher, and shares equal credit with the other two as I have trouble deciding further on. I hope for some nods from readers who share in my reflections, while igniting the fires of curiosity to others. Dig in and feel free to approve, question, or challenge these decisions in the comments section further down..

BEST NEW SERIES of 2015

Paper Girls (Image)

Omega Men (DC)

Arcadia (Boom)

BEST LIMITED SERIES of 2015

Divinity (Valiant)

Richard’s Matheson’s The Shrinking Man (IDW)

Star Wars: Lando (Marvel)

BEST ONGOING STORY EPICs of 2015

Saga (Image)

Chew (Image)

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye (IDW)

BEST USE OF LAYOUT FORM IN STORYTELLING in 2015

Sandman Overture (Vertigo/DC)

Omega Men (DC)

Zero (Image)

BEST STORY ENHANCED USE OF COLORS in 2015

Papergirls (Image) –

Descender (Image)

Low (Image)

BEST IMAGINATIVE WORLD-BUILDING  SETTINGS / CONCEPTS  in 2015

The Spire  (Boom! Studios)

The Empty (Image)

Saga (Image)

BEST SOCIAL POLITICAL SATIRE in COMICS of 2015

Bitch Planet (Image)

Prez – (DC Comics)

The Devastator #13 (Devastator Press)

BEST MYSTERIOUS HAPPENINGS of 2015

Twilight Children – (Vertigo, DC)

The Beauty – (Image)

Paper Girls – (image)

BEST UNSETTLING HORROR SERIES of 2015

Nameless (Image)

Archie Vs Predator (Dark Horse)

I Hate Fairyland (Image)

BEST ACTION PACKED AWESOMENESS of 2015

Godzilla in Hell (IDW)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals (IDW)

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso (Dark Horse)

BEST SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY in 2015

Moon in the Trees (Inverse)

Pressure Sensitivity (Wacom)

How to be Happy (Fantagraphics)

BEST CREATIVE USE OF POP-CULTURE ICONS in 2015

Jughead (Archie)

Star Wars: Darth Vader (Marvel)

Transformers vs. Gi Joe  (Inverse)

BEST USE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY in 2015

Barrier (Panel Syndicate) – A pay what you want digital comic

Faster than Light (Image) – Print version makes use of matching augmented reality app

Z-Men (Double Take) – Digital only motion-comic

BEST FULL LENGTH GRAPHIC NOVEL STORIES of 2015

Wrenchies (First Second)

Scupltor (First Second)

Last of the Sandwalkers (First Second)

BEST REPRINTING OF COMICS HISTORY in 2015

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-comic Collection (Dark Horse)

The Don Rosa Library Collection (Fantagraphics) – Volume 1-4 (each are equally great)

Batman: the Jiro Kuwata Batmanga (DC) – Volume 2

BEST COLLECTED ISSUE VOLUME PRESENTATION of 2015

Multiversity: the Deluxe Edition (DC)

Wayward: Book One (Image)

Chew Smorgasbord Edition Volume 2  (Image) 

That’s all for now. Let’s see if next year can top this!!

Orion T

 

DragonCon Parade & Cosplay Photo Frenzy

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On Labor Day weekend, 70,000 cosplayers, comic fans, sci-fi enthusiasts, and gamers descended upon downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con.

Celebrating it’s 29th year, it truly is nerd Mardi Gras. Boasting a 24-hour convention schedule with hosted panels, parties, and gaming, the con never really ends. Even the main bar area is at its livliest at 3a. This is Dragon*Con!

Dragon*Con is also the only convention widely known to have a parade. It spans .9mi and enables anyone to come check out the amazingly creative costuming that happens during the convention. An estimated 85,000 people will watch the parade in person, but Dragon*Con also streams the show to a closed-circuit channel in all of the hotel rooms.

Dragon*Con Parade 

Dragon*Con Cosplay

The cosplay here was some of the best I’ve ever seen. Cosplayers bring their A-game, and it shows. There are multiple areas that elaborate shoots happen in, and at the DC shoots, the legendary George Perez came by to ham it up.

Dragon*Con is about celebrating fandom and is very inclusive. First-year con-goers are welcomed with open arms, and southern hospitality is a very real thing. Charity is also a pretty big deal- the proceeds of the auctions and donations go to support the Lymphoma Research Foundation. They have so far raised $100,000.

We hope you enjoy these photos!

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This installment of Dragon*Con adventuring brought to you by Pinguino from Cuddli (an awesome dating app for geeks)

Exclusive Interview – Tim Seeley – The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

STRANGER WORLDS INTERVIEW:

Writer Tim Seeley, of the Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (now on shelves from Dark Horse Comics).

By the Power of Grayskull..

Those words forever echo in the minds through fandom, for over three decades. These words of Prince Adam would begin the transformation from mild-mannered prince of Eternia into the muscle-bound hero, He-Man. Now he and and the Masters of the Universe have an acclaimed 320-page full-color book detailing the art, history, and fantastic insight into this ever-expanding iconic franchise.

The hardcover book was made possible through the dedicated work of writer/artist Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, G.I. Joe vs. Transformers), and his brother Steve Seeley. Together, they assembled most of the content and notations for this tribute.

At the 2015 San Diego Comic Con, I met Tim Seeley as we discussed The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. We also chatted a bit about his favorite He-Man toys and thoughts on this Eternian pop-culture powerhouse..

From your perspective, tell us about the Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe book, and how you got involved?

Tim Seeley: I’ve worked for Dark Horse for a number of years, on some horror comics, and they got the deal with Mattel to do the mini-comics that were packed with the figures. They knew I was a big fan of MOTU as I talked to my editors and they were sick of me hearing and talking about it,…so when the possibility came up do to an art book, they asked me if I can do it. I was a little busy at the time but I wasn’t going to turn it down. So, what if I work on this with my brother (Steve), who is also an artist and a writer. He and I can get together and be like when we were kids playing with He-Man toys, except we would be writing a book about the art.

So, we got together. Mattel had a bunch of art for us to choose from and they also asked us if there was anything that we thought should be in the book. We picked up a bunch of art and sent it to them. With a group of fans, who curated and preserved MOTU art, called the Power and Honor Foundation and we worked with them to get some of the art. They helped us write some of the sections of the book that were there areas of expertise and in the end we put together this amazing collection of MOTU art covering the toys, the packaging, the cartoon, the comics, the movie, the magazine, and some weird products and cool into one big, massive tome.

Tell us about your own connection to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. How long you have been a fan?

Tim Seeley: So, I grew up in the country. I didn’t have a lot of neighbors when I was a kid. When I was five years old, my grandma got me the He-Man and Battle Cat set. For some reason it clicked with me on the box art, with a sort of lava spewing out of a volcano and some barbarian dude with a giant tiger, and I liked tigers as a kid. And it was the perfect thing for me, and I begged my parents to buy me the toys. The comic that came with the toy was the first comic I ever read and loved it so many times it just fell apart and it put me on the path of comics after that. The cartoon came about 6 months after I got that toy..and it was such a part of me and my brothers playtime. As we were little kids in the country with not a lot of neighbor kids, the collecting of the MOTU of the toys and playing with them, the comics, and cartoon where a huge part of our childhood.

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When I was 13 as 13-year-olds are, I sold my MOTU toys at a rummage sale for $30, all of them. I used the money so I can hang out with my friends at a Brewers game or something. As a 20-year-old I realized, o-crap I miss my He-Man guys! So at 20, I started to collect them again. Between 20-35 years I collected the figures. I had mostly everything except for some European exclusives. But, I have lots of He-Man guys, lots of knock-offs, almost all the She-Ra figures, and that became my passion. I decided I needed a hobby, as He-Man became my hobby.

Which MOTU figures are your personal favorites?

Tim Seeley: Teela is my favorite. As I a kid, I had weird crush on that figure. And then, Faker, the blue He-Man. For some reason on the color scheme of that toy, me and my brother just loved it. To this day we had this weird affection for that combination of orange and blue..just from that toy. Dragon Blast Skeletor, as a kid I loved with the squirting. Sy-Clone was also a favorite as a kid..really cool. The thing is when we were kids, as my parents were nice and bought us all these toys. What we would do is we would try and split them up into factions. We would try for the entire line, but with three brothers. For example, I get King Hiss, you get Tongue Lasher, you get Rattler, and cover all the Snake Men this way. That was a big deal in my house.

In putting together this book, was there anything in particular that surprised or found especially interesting you in discovery?

Tim Seeley: Well, as me and my brother discovered the internet in 1996 or whatever..we already begun collecting information for years..with pictures, anything we could find, we have putting on our discs and hard drives for the past 15-20 years almost. So most of the you’re stuff familiar with, a lot of it on the account of the popular website He-Man.org run by Val Staples, and Emiliano Santalucia who runs the Power and Honor Foundation..we knew a lot of stuff from that. Mostly the fun things we have not seen that were surprises to us were the original marking documents that Mattel had done and they had. It was really entertaining to see how they came up with the boys toy line, and what they thought would make a good boys toy line, which was pretty amazing.

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And also, a segment of the MOTU movie script which was really violent, and had all these notes from the executives that was like..no, it’s a kids show, no severed heads.” We love that stuff and it was something we never seen and that was something Mattel had.. and it was great to just see the screenwriters trying to get away with anything they could and Mattel would be like no, we need to sell these to 10-year-olds..not give them terrible nightmares.

Is any of that in book?

Tim Seeley: Oh yeah, those pages are in the book..the original marking documents and the script page.

Yes! Are there any favorite artists of He-Man your favorite in this book, past and present?

Tim Seeley:  Earl Norem is my favorite past Universe artist. Earl Norem did all the posters that came with the magazine, he recently passed away but he had a long career in illustration. When he took on He-Man he became one of the defining artists on it. William George was also the painter and did a lot of the original packaging art, beautiful stuff. Whenever I saw He-Man, it was his packaging art. Alfredo Alcala drew the original mini-comics, continued to draw some of the main comics, an amazing artist who worked on Conan, was from the Philippines. With fantastic stuff, beautiful art; he really defined what I choose as my art style to this day.

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After so many decades of He-Man being a part of pop culture, what is about He-Man and the world of Eternia do you feel kept such a large fan base for so long?

Tim Seeley: My theory is that is that the toys came first. It was all about the toys, and the selling of the toys and the toys looked cool. They didn’t need a justification. This guy is called Blast Attack and he blows apart, there ya go..that’s the story. And over time, people added to the mythos and there is different conflicted origins for the characters. But the thing is the toys are so flexible that you can add your own story to it. You can choose what to go with one story, any iteration with them could be a different take on the characters.. It’s the flexibility of the figures that I think is very inviting to fans. You can have a favorite character because they are cool. In your head they can have a different story that was in the mini-comic, or the cartoon, or in the DC comic, it didn’t matter.  Zodac the Cosmic Enforcer.. he was a bad guy in some iterations. He was a watcher in the distance for some. It didn’t matter. He just looked cool. So, I think that idea allowed MOTU to be flexible, to able to change to fit and fit the audience. Also, to be very inviting and allow the audience to come in and add their own tale to it.

So what’s next from Eternia for you? Will there be more MOTU projects for you coming?

Tim Seeley: Dark horse is doing an edition, collecting all the mini-comics (from the toys) with the entire history of the Masters of the Universe, which is about 1000 pages. It comes out in November. I have an interviews in that, as I am working on it. It is a great book, with Val Staples (He-Man.org) who is putting that together..beautiful.

For the future, I got to do my Masters of the Universe thing. I was certainly well to write for it at some point with part of my interaction of this as a fan. I feel good about not circumposing my will on it. But if a comic came up, I would certainly like to do a cover or draw an issue. I’m just happy I got to do this art book, and the mini-comics. Now I get to watch the next generation enjoy the Masters of the Universe like I did.

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is out in stores now in hardcover (released in mid-spring) Look for it at all the great comic book shops and retail book stores in your area or online.

– Orion T, (personal favorite MOTU toys are Cy-Clone, Modulok, Tongue-Lasher and Moss-Man.)

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Paul Cornell, Tony Parker – THIS DAMNED BAND comic series

STRANGER WORLDS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

Writer Paul Cornell and Artist Tony Parker, on their new comic book mini-series, This Damned Band (starting this August from Dark Horse Comics).

Tony Parker, Paul Cornell

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(Tony Parker, Paul Cornell)

We had fun at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con in chatting with Paul Cornell; award-winning writer of comics, novels, short stories and television screenplays (his Doctor Who episodes “Family of Blood/Human Nature” and “Father’s Day” being among my personal favorites).

To my surprise and an awesome bonus, we were joined by Eisner-nominated artist, Tony Parker. Parker has published work with pretty much all the main comic book publishers over the recent years including Marvel, DC, IDW, Image, IDW, Boom!, Dark Horse.

And now, they unite to form this dark comedy mini-series published by Dark Horse, This Damned Band – a tale of rock n’ roll and occult devilry. In person at the Dark Horse booth, they shares with us more on this project of which we asked questions and got some intriguing answers…

From your own introductory perspective, share with us what your new series This Damned Band is all about..

Paul Cornell: This Damned Band is about the biggest rock band in 1974. We like to say in a pretentious British way that they worship the devil only to discover that to their surprise and horror that actually, they worship the devil. It’s a Ghostbusters style horror comedy. It’s told straight to camera like The Office. There are all sorts of different levels to it, as we have people saying one thing and doing another.

Interesting. How did this idea come together for Dark Horse to publish? 

Paul Cornell:  We came together as I pitched it to Dark Horse, and they gave me a choice of artists. Tony’s work is incredible,

Tony Parker: I was very lucky.

What were your personal inspirations in bringing together This Damned Band?

Paul Cornell:  I really like stories where people are very good at one thing, and blindsided by something completely different. Because in this case, they are insisting all the time they know all about better the thing…there is a certain deliciousness to that, I think..

The timing of the early 70s, where the idea of rock music being fresh is an interesting era and a turning point for pop-culture. Then along comes the devil and the idea of this being his music by some religious groups? What was it for these bands, do you think made this connection  as “devil music”?

Paul Cornell:  Well, there was a point in the 70s where occultism is much more pop than it is now and it’s a really interesting time. Dennis Wheatley is suddenly becoming popular again even before the Exorcist, and the Stones recording, “Sympathy for the Devil.” I think there is a part of the counter-culture also seemed to be against organized religion. And that went quite a lot into what a lot of musicians talked about at the time. I’m sure a lot of it was sheer pretense, and that really intrigues me. I think there is something about people pretending to believe stuff which is really interesting.

Tony Parker:  That combined with conservatives saying “that’s devil music!” Okay for devil music we will bring it, in fact well make money off it. So with a big counter-culture, we get all the teen money, therefore it adds into it.

Did either of you listen to any music that were frowned upon by the elders, considered perhaps to be that “devil music?”

Tony Parker:  All music of the youth..that’s one thing about it.

Paul Cornell: That’s what music is for when your 14. But you know, I’m slightly the wrong generation for that, as I was born in 1967..so I was out of my age precisely for the teenage audience, so I missed. But one of my earliest memories is with my brother who is a lot older than me who lived in a squat in London, and I remember going down a flight of stairs and seeing a mural painted on the wall of a cellar which was an enormous devil. I suspect that buried memory has resurfaced for This Damned Band.

I would love to see that turn up somehow in this book, perhaps.

Tony Parker: We shall find out.

Tony Parker: For me ..I lived in a very conservative area so that was anything that wasn’t soft mellow 70s gold. Even though that wasn’t the 70s, it was after the 70s so that was still the devil music. In the 80s and 90s, we had the metal bands, the hair bands, thrash bands, punk bands were all. The only thing that isn’t, (and I love Barry Manilow) that wasn’t Barry Manilow was a tool of the devil.

With your fictional band, Motherfather.. I’m sensing an amalgam of different bands here and there but are there any in particular pop bands for you that eclipsed the others in the bringing to fictional life, this band?

Paul Cornell:  I think there is satire and certain tropes that recur, so in Motherfather we certainly have the Who, the Stones, Led Zeppelin in there..certainly lead as Tony draws them to be absolutely perfect amalgam of them.,, Robert Palmer, Roger Daltrey and Mick Jagger…

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Tony Parker: And that’s why we did it..part of it was because I wanted to people think..I really love Mick Jagger or I really hate  Mick Jagger..so that’s going to affect the story..with more nuances of its got hints of this, or that as a measure of tropes a bit and play with that so they can enjoy the concepts of the character versus the logging in of the specific creator.

As the series progresses, what can us readers expect to absorb of this strange world of occultism and rock music?

Paul Cornell:  One of the joys of this is because it’s all meant to be filmed, there are certain sequences where they couldn’t film it.. So like the road trip in the first issue is related to a local artist who than has to draw it..like when a court reporter has to draw for television on the news. So in Issue 1, the local artist is Japanese..so Tony had the idea of doing it in a manga style.

Tony Parker: Which I never drawn manga before..but I love manga. I am a huge Otomo fan and Matsumoto Shiro, and we are trying to find a manga style that was 1972, 73,74 so that we can fit into that as well..and treat it with respect.

Paul Cornell:  In later issues we go to France so we get some Tintin, and some Windsor McCay in there..

In your plans, is This Damned Band a limited series or are there plans for a continuation for years ahead?  

Tony Parker: It’s a finite series,  and a complete story. I think a lot of people will appreciate that. It’s not a volume 1, with a trailer for 500 issues. You have the whole thing alone which you can enjoy by itself.

After this, are there any future projects to your fans and followers of this work to look forward to?

Paul Cornell:  Coming up in September..I have a novella coming up from Tor.com called called Witches of Lychford, which is about 3 women who are brought together to fight the supernatural evil of a new supermarket chain.

What?! (laughing with interest)

Paul Cornell:  And, I got a collection of short stories coming out in September called A Better Way to Die.

Tony Parker: I can’t say right now but I got a project set up right after this..but I got to say, its got a long history to it..and I’m real excited about it!

My curiosity senses are tingling. I look forward to all that and This Damned Band. Thanks for sharing! 

This first issue of This Damned Band is scheduled to come out on August 5th, 2015 and continue monthly for a limited time. Look for it at all the great comic book shops, stands, and digital apps that carry current Dark Horse published titles.

– Orion T

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Favorite Comic Covers this Week 5/6/15

My choice favorite covers for comic books released this week…

Featured below…

 Dead Drop #1 (Valiant Comics), by Adam Gorham

Dead Drop 8

Afterlife with Archie #8 (Archie Comics) by Francesco Francavilla

Archie 8

Afterlife with Archie #8 variant cover (Archie Comics) by Francesco Francavilla

afterlife with archie

Bandette #10 (MonkeyBrain Comics), by Colleen Coover

Bandette 10

Arcadia #1 Cover D variant cover (Boom! Studios) by Scott Pfeiffer

Arcadia b

Convergence: Superman #2 (DC Comics) by  Brad Anderson

Convergence: Superman #2

Feathers #5 (Boom!) by Jorge Corona

Feather 5 Boom

Halogen #3 (Boom Studios) by Afu Chan

HALOGEN 3

Angel and Faith: Season 10 #14 (Dark Horse Comics) by Scott Fischer

Angel and Faith: Season 10 #14

Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #1 (Dark Horse Comics) by Ben Stenbeck

Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #1

Names #9 (DC Vertigo) by Christine Duart Peter

Names #9

Punisher #18 (Marvel) by Mitch Gerads

Punisher #18

Kanan: Last Padawan #2 (Marvel Comics) by Mark Brooks

Kanan: Last Padawan #2

Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 (DC Comics) by Steve Pugh

Convergence: Harley Quinn #2

Special thanks goes to the r/comicbooks Reddit board, originally featured some of these covers sans titles and other text. Link to more textless comic covers here.

Check out your local comic stores and digital outlets for the great stories inside!

– Orion T

Wanderings at the Emerald City Comic Con 2015..

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From the recent Emerald City Comic Con, in Seattle.

Here are some wonderful memories and favorite cosplay..

(Note: some pics and notes were taken from a recent entry from my own blog, travelingorion.com. This entry is an expanded version with much more content)

 

IMG_3905The gathering of Spider-Mansand related Marvel Comics cosplayers. Among them were many Deadpools, and some Spider-Gwens (a new character to the Marvel Universe, long story), and a classic Electro (a personal fav to my childhood cartoon viewing).

IMG_3894I noticed an abundance of loose action figure toys. Much of which I feel somewhat amused, that an appreciation of plastic detailing and articulated mobility could still be a fun novelty, in my grown-up years.

IMG_3945Paul Tobin (writer) and Colleen Cloover (artist), of the Bandette comics; a personal favorite (and highly recommended) series of a whimsical super-hero thief. Both a married couple hosting their own booth, and a joy to meet.

IMG_3940Long Vo and Joe Ng, at the Udon Booth. Both, drawing two video game favorites; Mega Man and Akuma (Street Fighter). I cam back at short times a bit later to see what they were up to. Both very friendly, and put much love into their work

IMG_3951Christopher Pike, and Harry Mudd cosplay; from the Classic Star Trek series.

Photo Mar 29, 12 19 10 PMI love seeing comic book covers of different areas on display and in boxes. There is an awesome nostalgic beauty to all this.

IMG_3910-0DC Comics “Bombshell” versions of Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Harley Quinn, and Batwoman. All brought to life, from a series of variant comic covers showing the heroines with vintage pulp cover twists. Well done.

Photo Mar 29, 1 40 54 PMAlana and Marko cosplayers, from the Saga comics series. Saga (by Fiona Staple and Brian K. Vaughan) is the best sci-fantasy comic series currently released on the shelves now.

IMG_3930A vintage Batman playset still in the box. Will Batman save Robin in time, or will the Joker have the last laugh?

IMG_3947Jim Mahfood, an admired artist over my last two decades of comic reading. He is the perfect match for the new Tank Girl series coming out. He also drew me a cool Batman sketch.

IMG_3936And here, are the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Seattle is safe for now!

IMG_3880Doctor Doom vs. Judge Dredd. Place your bets!

IMG_3899They let me go, after showing them the droids they were looking for.

IMG_3924Sailor Scouts, crossplayin

Photo Mar 28, 11 15 37 AMThe Gundam Wing 1/100 Endless Waltz model kits. Not shown is my favorite, Duo Maxwell and his Deathscythe Hell Custom.

Photo Mar 30, 7 32 42 AMA new Mega Man figure coming from Bluefin toys. Multi-articulated with LED lights, and pop-out compartments. This was originally promoted as a Kickstarter campaign for fans, now with all goals met.

Photo Mar 30, 7 29 13 AMThe Image Comics booth, once again standing tall as my favorite current comics publisher.

Photo Mar 28, 8 19 50 PMSome of the later stage cosplayers showcased that Saturday weekend night. There were many groups, with incredible detail and craftsmanship. The Troll from World of Warcraft (fifth from the left) I think won “best in show.”

Photo Mar 28, 8 27 36 PM Prohibition era Mystery Incorporated

IMG_3871On the last day and outside the convention, lucky fans got an up close performance from the D20 Brass Band. Many cheered to the Legend of Zelda theme, and other classic tunes.

IMG_3903Gotta love the some of the really geeky merch. I was seriously considering buying that Chewbacca robe in the top right corner.

Photo Mar 30, 5 13 25 PM Not sure what these two are from, but I like the craftmanship!

Photo Mar 30, 5 15 43 PM I think this is League of Legends, not sure.

Photo Mar 30, 7 28 25 AM Warhammer 40K, right?

Photo Mar 31, 7 21 04 AMThere were some free pinball games to place on one of the upper floors, to promote an upcoming Pinball arcade show. I loved this particular one.

Photo Mar 28, 2 05 49 PM Albert Nguyen, a cool artist man who drew me a sweet picture of Leonardo (see later on down in these pics).

Photo Mar 28, 2 10 31 PM M.O.D.O.K (Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) with A.I.M. Soldiers (Advanced Idea Mechanics)

Photo Mar 28, 2 12 57 PM  Radioactive Man!

Photo Mar 28, 10 24 02 AM From Mass Effect. I have yet to play the game, yet been told I should..

Photo Mar 28, 10 30 00 AM The TARS Robot from Interstellar

Photo Mar 28, 11 29 02 AM One of the Spocks who gathered, in memory of Leonard Nimoy, who recently passed.

Photo Mar 29, 1 45 25 PM Jubilee from the X-Men, in the classic 90s style outfit

Photo Mar 29, 2 18 24 PM A Weeping Angel (from Doctor Who)

Photo Mar 30, 7 27 22 AM Viewtiful Joe cosplay action!

Photo Mar 31, 7 11 48 AM Avatar the Last Airbender

Photo Mar 31, 7 55 03 AM A live group playing of the game Artemis, a Spaceship Bridge Simulator. Here, a group of strangers band together for a bold mission in space. It was a lot of fun to watch, as some were not very experienced with the mechanics of space travel.

Photo Mar 28, 10 36 48 AMRob McDaniel at work, sculpting with clay one of this amazing creatures. For the show, his work is inside the fantasy anthology series, Monsterpedia.

21923_10153111978863159_1712772259610341081_nMy obtained sketches on small trading card sized boards, from the show. From the top and left…Leonardo by Albert Nguyen, Batman by Jim Mahfood, Miniature Man by Steven Butler, random lady sketch by Enfu (local Seattle Artist), from the upcoming Faster Than Light augmented reality comics by Brian Haberlin (Anomaly) Inspector Belgique by Colleen Cloover (from Bandette), and Gyro Gearloose by Don Rosa!

IMG_3939Well, that’s all for now, with Gender Bender taking us out.

Until the next Con (probably San Diego in the summer)..

– Orion T

COMIC READING REVIEW: Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #4

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Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (#4)

  • Writer:  Eric Shanower
  • Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Published by: IDW
  • Pages: 20, Publish Date: March 18, 2015
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis: 

“Nemo’s first new adventure in Slumberland concludes in gorgeous and surreal fashion, courtesy of Shanower and Rodriguez!”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Another fantastic issue!

Though a little late for reasons I do not know, as #3 came out in December. However, the wait is worthwhile. The art from Gabriel Rodriguez continues to amaze and imaginate. The writing style continues on its playful course, keeping us patient readers back on the adventure.

The story itself, is nothing epic..just awesome to its full potential. It can stand alone, as many dreams do. Readers at this point I feel show just go with the flow, and enjoy Dreamland for its many twist and turns, without looking to the end. For Nemo, his adventures have no limit and I feel grateful for my view as the audience, sharing in these crazy adventures.

At this point, Nemo is fully accepting of his strange place in Dreamland. This is a good conclusion to his first adventure, as we find him somewhat mastering his place in Dreamland. That being out of control, and moved by the strange currents of happenings throughout. There are moments of danger, that wake him up at times throughout the book, but then his excitement for the new happenings pops him back in. He learns to best go with the flow in the 4th issue, with helpful guidance by his new friends.

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The supporting cast of friends old and new, comes together; to guide each other through dangers. The Princess, taking a more active role, leads this strange crew of Dreamland players to her city home; this time with Flip, Dr. Pill, Bon Bon, and Fruckus.  Some wonderful interaction takes place, as the Princess shows compassion for Flip; who in turn initially does not. By the end, they seem like good friends, but I feel that Flip character will be up to no good again. I love Dr.Pill, with his little suitcase of strange remedies. I can only wonder, what else he has for Nemo besides a growth pill..

Overall, the storybook telling is fantastic. The way back leads to new friends, a discovery of a volcanic themed land with a possibly great new ally. There are some odd terrors, though a bit regular for Slumberland. just go with the flow, whether by fish chariot or magic balloon. All lead to the next new adventure, which hints toward the end; the lost crown of the Princess. Our heroes seem well prepared at the end, and excited for what is too come. I am with Nemo to the last panel, and curious for what comes next.

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– Orion T

 

 

 

COMICS: Image Expo 2015, many new series announced

Recently announced at the Image Expo 2015 show. New coming series coming:

A.D.

AD

  • Creative Team: Scott Snyder & Jeff Lemire
  • Coming: November 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site):

“AD: AFTER DEATH will be set in a near future where death has been cured and one man must come to grips with what comes next.”

Black Road

Black Road

  • Creative Team: Brian Wood and Garry Brown
  • Coming: September 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Set in Viking Age Norway, BLACK ROAD follows Magnus The Black, a fixer for the Christian Church who loses a Roman official to bandits on the infamous Black Road. Heading north to fix the problem and complete his contract, he uncovers a secret, something so big it threatens to change the balance of power in all of Europe. But with one foot in the world of the pagans and the other in that of the Church, who can trust where his loyalties lie?”

Heaven

Heaven

  • Creative Team: James Robinson & Philip Tan
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “HEAVEN introduces readers to a distant future where the forces or man and alien combined have used religion to conquer this universe and are now ready, about to invade the next one — Heaven itself. The “Good War” between man and angel will span galaxies and dimensions, building to a final conflict that threatens to negate all of reality itself. Along the way many players on both sides of the war will be featured; soldiers, spies and politicians all with different goals and agendas even as their two distinct and differing realities explode around them.”

I Hate Fairyland

I hate Fairyland

  • Creative Team: Skottie Young & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
  • Coming: Fall 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Bestselling artist Skottie Young (Fortunately, the Milk, Rocket Raccoon, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz) and Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz) would like to introduce you to Gertrude, a snarky, slightly deranged 40-year-old with a battle axe who happens to be trapped in a Shirley Temple-esque body and confined to the technicolor funworld that is Fairyland. I HATE FAIRYLAND is an all-new series full of morbid, dark humor and snark—perfect for fans of Invader Zim and Fight Club.”

Island

Island

  • Creative Team: Various
  • Coming: June 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “ISLAND, a collaboration spearheaded by Ríos and Graham and featuring a murderer’s row of the most interesting artists in comics, will be an oversized 72-page monthly magazine, scheduled for June 2015. “The idea is to make longer-form stories in each issue than you get in many anthologies,” explained Graham. “The chapters will be 20 to 30 pages each. So it will be like a bundle of several comics in one book.” “

Kaptara

Print

  • Creative Team: Chip Zdarsky & Kegan McLeod
  • Coming: April 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “KAPTARA follows Keith Kanga, a young bio-engineer flung across the universe onto a strange planet filled with weird danger. And if he doesn’t get home then Earth—the place where YOU live—is DOOMED!”

The Ludocrats

Ludocrats

  • Creative Team: Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, Davide Lafuente, & Ricardo Venancio
  • Coming: Summer 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “The Ludocrats is a decade-in-the-making opulent fantastical comedy,” said writer of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE and PHONOGRAM, Kieron Gillen, “This is a book which has hyperbole as its baseline, and considers the impossible as an aim only fitting for underachievers. It’ll change your life. Primarily by letting you own a comic called The Ludocrats, where BARON OTTO VON SUBERTAN and PROFESSOR HADES ZERO-K are the last defenders of a ludicrous aristocracy against the insipid forces of normalisation.”

Monstress

Monstress

  • Creative Team: Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
  • Coming: Summer 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “In MONSTRESS, readers are transported into the early 1900s, where immense Leviathans roam the Earth, wielding unimaginable powers that many have long desired to exploit. When a teenage girl with a mysterious past forms a tenuous psychic bond with the most dangerous of all the Leviathans, she becomes the target of both human and otherworldly authorities who will stop at nothing to possess her—to control her, and control the Lord of the all the Leviathans. What they don’t count on is the courage of the girl herself—and the fact that she is slowly becoming more than human..”

No Mercy

No Mercy

  • Creative Team: Alex De Campi & Carla Speed McNeil
  • Coming: Spring 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “It was just a trip, before college. Build schools in a Central American village; get to know some of the other freshmen. What could go wrong? After tragedy strikes, these once-privileged American teens must find their way home in a cruel landscape that at best doesn’t like them, and at worst actively wants to kill them. No phones. No passports. No mercy.”

Paper Girls

Paper Girls

  • Creative Team: Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, & Matthew Wilson
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “PAPER GIRLS is the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who experience something extraordinary one day..”

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl

Phonogram

  • Creative Team: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matthew Wilson
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Emily Aster’s the hyper-acerbic cover-queen whose one liners are sharper than her fringe; she’s been the one people love and love to quote. In this new chapter of the PHONOGRAM series, readers discover how she got that way, and where it got her. She sold half her personality for power. This is what happens when that faustian deal catches up with her, and what that half her personality has been doing all these years.”

Plutona

Plutona

  • Creative Team: Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, & Jordie Bellaire
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “PLUTONA follows the story of five suburban kids who make a shocking discovery while exploring the woods one day after school… the body of the world’s greatest super hero, Plutona, laying dead among the mud and grass.”

Revengeance

Revengeance

  • Creative Team: Darwyn Cooke
  • Coming: June 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “REVENGEANCE is a psychological thriller with darkly humorous overtones. When Joe Malarky is faced with a criminal tragedy, he sets out to make things right on his own. What follows is Joe’s odyssey through the underside of the city and the madness that seems to drive his crazy world. REVENGEANCE takes place in Toronto in the mid-eighties and is part crime story, part psychotronic melodrama, and a wholly fond look back at the author’s hometown.”

RUNLOVEKILL

RunLoveKill

  • Creative Team: Eric Canete & Jonathan Tsuei
  • Coming: Spring 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “The story follows a wanted woman in hiding named Rain Oshiro. The narrative style will prominently feature two very different but significantly connected moments throughout her life: “The Past”—which will explore her history as an impressionable student, an abiding soldier, and a wanted fugitive; and “The Present”—which will show her as she is now and how she copes with (and runs away from) the decisions made in her past. At its core, the story is an exploration of choices—both good and bad. And now, how her choices have formed her into the person she has and will become. Set against a background of a futuristic world as only artist Canete can imagine, Rain has just 24 hours to escape a barricaded city while trying to evade a military force determined to either capture or kill her.”

Savior

Savior

Creative Team: Brian Holguin, Todd McFarlane, & Clayton Crain
April 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “A man appears with no background, no memory, and no place to call home. But this much is clear—this individual possesses certain powers, abilities that harken from the Old Testament… Could he possibly be this corrupted world’s SAVIOR in the flesh? Or will he be the world’s undoing?”

Sons of the Devil

Sons of the Devil

  • Creative Team: Brian Buccellato & Toni Infante
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “SONS OF THE DEVIL is a dark look at a blue collar 25-year-old orphan who learns he is the son of a cult leader. Like True Detective and The Following, SONS OF THE DEVIL is an exploration into the dark side of human psychology. It’s a grounded take on cults that balances the real world with the supernatural. It’s gritty, character-driven, and tonally lays somewhere between SOUTHERN BASTARDS and NAILBITER.”

Starve

Starve

  • Creative Team: Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, & Dave Stewart
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “STARVE is set in a world where chefs are practically royalty, and access to them is the ultimate status symbol. Chef Gavin Cruikshank, back from self-imposed exile, finds his little foodie television program “Starve” transformed into a gonzo arena sport where chefs slice and dice rare and endangered species for their super-rich patrons. Since his personal life is as much a shambles as his professional career, Chef Cruikshank works to repair his relationship with his grown daughter while dismantling the monstrosity that Starve has become.”

Tadaima

Tadaima

  • Creative Team: Emi Lenox
  • Coming: 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “Throughout childhood, Emi visited her Grandmother in Japan frequently. But through the years of high school and after, she hadn’t been back in nearly twelve years. Sadly, within those twelve years, both her Japanese grandparents passed away. TADAIMA is a travelogue documenting a trip back to Japan with her mother for a memorial service to renew the sobota, a wooden grave marker, at her grandparents’ tomb in Fukushima. Touching on Japanese spirituality and cultural differences, TADAIMA is more than a book about landmarks and foreign cuisine. It’s about family.”

We Stand On Guard

We Stand on Guard

  • Creative Team: Brian K. Vaughan & Steve Skroce
  • Coming: Summer 2015

Synopsis (from the Image Comics site): “WE STAND ON GUARD is an action-packed, military thriller set in the 22nd century. The series follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians-turned-freedom fighters who take up arms against a violent invasion of their country by a technologically superior nation: the United States of America.”