Mary and Brian Talbot set to release their next graphic novel, RAIN.

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Dark Horse Comics recently announced Rain, a new upcoming graphic novel from acclaimed writer/historian Mary M Talbot and artist (and husband) Bryan Talbot, set for this Fall.

Rain is the story of the growing relationship between two young women, one an environmental activist, set against the backdrop of the disastrous 2015 floods in northern England. Their local wild Brontë moorlands are being criminally mismanaged, crops are being poisoned, and birds and animals are being slaughtered. While the characters are fictional, the tragedy is shockingly real.

Rain is the fourth graphic novel collaboration between Mary M Talbot and husband Bryan Talbot, a partnership that has produced the award-winning Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette (with Kate Charlesworth), and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

The Rain graphic novel will go on the retail shelves of comic and book stores everywhere, on October 11, 2019, in hardcover, landscape-format, and will retail for $24.99.

New Comics Preview: Sugar: Volume 1

Here is something fresh from a recent news release from Image Comics and Top Cow; a preview for Sugar: Volume 1, arriving on bookshelves soon.

Writers Matt Hawkins and Jenni Cheung unite with artist Yishan Li for an original, new graphic novel companion to Sunstone and Swing in the romantic and sexy, Sugar: Volume 1, scheduled to be released soon in late July.

In Sugar, a couple embarks on a relationship that starts off as more of an arrangement, but ends with them falling in love—at a cost. Neither has ever done anything like this before, and the emotional swings they face threaten to undo what could be a perfect match.

Check out this sneak 6-page preview, provided by Image and Top Cow Studios:

 

Sugar: Volume 1 will arrive in comic stores on Wednesday, July 25th and bookstores on Tuesday, 31st.

Upcoming Graphic Novel Preview: My Heroes Have Always been Junkies

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Image Comics recently shared a little preview for its upcoming original graphic novel, My Heroes Have Always been Junkies

The story itself is a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness… and what she finds there.

My Heroes Have Always been Junkies is the team of Ed Brubaker (the award-winning writer of HBO’s Westworld TV series, and numerous other comic titles over many years). and artist Sean Phillips – both who worked together on Criminal, Kill or Be Killed, The Fade Out, and Fatale. This new tale will be their first work as a full graphic novel story.

My Heroes Have Always been Junkies will be released in hardcover graphic novel format in comic book stores on Wednesday, October 10th and bookstores on Tuesday, October 16th.

In the meantime, here is a three-page preview (thanks to Image Comics, through a recent press release).

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Daniel Warren Johnson’s EXTREMITY, sets off new story arc this Fall

Extremity, the acclaimed new comic series from writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson (Space Mullet) and colorist Mike Spicer will kick off a new arc for its dystopian epic, this October from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment.

In Extremity, an endless cycle of violence has taken an incredible toll on two cultures—and one family in particular. Thea was once a gifted artist, but in the wake of a brutal amputation, she became consumed by a thirst for revenge. In this seventh issue, Thea and her brother Rollo enter the Ancient Dark, where they are hunted by things that dare not live in the light above.

“The second arc is something I’m excited to share with everyone,” said Johnson. “I put a tremendous amount of time into building up the world below that readers haven’t seen yet, so it’ll be refreshing to finally show it off!”

Extremity #7 hits comic shops Wednesday, October 4th. The first volume trade paperback collecting the first arc will be out in September.

CAPTAIN’s NOTE: For those who missed out on the earlier issues, I highly recommend the Extremity: Vol. 1 trade paperback when it comes out!)

BOOM! Studios welcomes new readers to FENCE

BOOM! Studios recently announced Fence, an all-new original comic book series from best-selling novelist C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince) and popular online sensation Johanna The Mad, set for this November from the BOOM! Box imprint.

Fence brings together the worlds of teen soap opera with the adrenaline rush of competitive fencing, an exciting journey of self-discovery that challenges readers with one simple phrase: En garde!

Fence follows the rise of sixteen-year-old outsider Nicholas in the world of competitive fencing, as he joins the team at an elite boys school,” says Pacat. “Readers will experience the world of fencing, its elegance and danger, and the high stakes of a combat sport. But most of all, Fence is about the characters—with intense rivalries, lifelong friendships, and the thrill of romance between teammates—a diverse cast and a story that is exuberantly queer.”

Fence means the world to me,” says Johanna The Mad. “It has always been one of my biggest dreams to draw comics, but I never thought I’d be able to work on one that I’d end up fangirling about!”

“Johanna’s artwork captures everything that is hot, dangerous, and exciting about fencing,” adds Pacat.

ABOVE: Character concept art by Johanna the Mad

Fence #1 will have two different covers. The main cover is by Johanna The Mad. The variant is by artist Kevin Wada (Scarlet Witch). Rebecca Nalty will be the series colorist.

“Teen drama, pretty people, self-discovery, and the thrill of competitive sports? Fence is everything I love in one comic,” says Dafna Pleban, BOOM! Studios editor. “C.S Pacat and Johanna The Mad have created a truly special comic we can’t wait for people to read.”

Fence #1 will strike at local comic book shops and through popular digital comics apps, this coming November.

Dan Panosian sets up high stakes thrills with SLOTS, coming in October

“When the chips are down, all bets are off, in Slots

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment recently announced Slots, a new series written and drawn by artist Dan Panosian (Daredevil: Back in Black, Conan/Red Sonja).

SEE 4-PAGE PREVIEW BELOW!

You can say this about the life of Stanley Dance: he did it his way. Unfortunately, his way never took getting old into account. Now, the former boxer is on his last legs, and looking for redemption…but he’ll settle for going down swinging. Slots is a bold new take on Las Vegas, where everything old can become new, and superstition influences how the chips fall.

“Producing this story is really a dream come true for me, and I have Image Comics and Skybound to thank for the experience,” said Panosian. “People throw the term ‘labor of love’ around pretty often, but every aspect of creating SLOTS has been a true joy for me. I’m very happy we can finally announce and share it with everyone.”

SLOTS #1 arrives in comic book stores Wednesday, October 4th.

 

Comic Reading Review: Extremity #5

Extremity #5

  • Writer, Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • Colorist: Mike Spicer
  • Published by: Image Comics, Skybound
  • Publish Date: July 5, 2017
  • Notes: Continuous monthly series.

Synopsis:

“Thea has followed her father’s every order in their war against the Paznina. But how far is she willing to go?”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

First off, Extremity has been a favorite new series, for its character development and awesome world-building. If you are reading this and curious yet have not read, head to your comic store and get the early issues; or look for the first volume trade paperback schedule for retail book market this August.

Meanwhile, I just picked up this 5th issue. Does this issue push the action and drama forward, with more character development?

The first few pages are amazing for the opening exposition alone. This features a flashback, of young Thea bringing a drawing of her mom to Jerome, her dad. Such is a bittersweet joy, and emotional considering where it all goes for her future. And also, there is an amazing two-page spread of the castle tower dwelling, which is highly detailed and worth framing is a print ever comes of this. Such is beautiful work, for any reader who appreciates good fantasy art to pause and admire the grand details.

But then we cut to the present, and a very dark moment involving torture-based interrogation. It’s a sad, terrible scene of a man’s goodness stripping away at itself as the torturer, Jerome and it gets worse as he calls in his daughter Thea, now a little older and joining in the grisly act. There is a contrast of past and present, which works great with the panel composition.

Meanwhile with Thea’s brother Rollo, deals with his lack of cruelty toward the enemy and disappointment from his father. He observes the dark changes in his sister, and misses his mother. He is likely the hero of the story, because the war hasn’t quite transformed him yet. Though he considers himself a coward, his strength carries on the story in a positive, idealistic direction. But then back his sister and father, a twist happens back with a heightened act of cruel murder. Such is horrifying, and character defining for his sister. I feel now all is lost in the soul of Jerome, but feel interested in the directions of his children for the future issues, and how they will relate back to the father.

So, the 5th issue is flat-out emotional and amazing for its art and solid mix of drama and fantasy. However, it is very dark and grisly’ far from any feel-good fairy tale or spirited Disney-inspire tale. The art and awesome coloring keeps the focus on the story, with the attention past the gore. My only gripe is the actual gore itself, of which I am not a fan of for being a bit too graphic. While, I believe it is necessary for the artist (who is also the writer) to carry out his vision while not limited himself; there is a slight distraction for me maybe not expecting this much out of a fantasy story called “Extremity.” Or maybe, that is the point of the title (which, I initially didn’t like, but drawn in for the art). I suppose from here on, to expect more graphic moments; though I hope such will not be too frequent and gratuitous.

Still, I am on board for future issues, and this remains a top pick for new reads in 2017. This is an unforgettable issue, which will set the tone for many more to come. I look forward.

 

LAST DAY OF JUNE, a bittersweet interactive story in development

Italian independent studio Ovosonico and indie publisher 505 Games recently announced their first project together,  Last Day of June, an interactive adventure.

The Last Day of June is an interactive adventure from an all-star collaboration of creators including critically acclaimed director Massimo Guarini (Murasaki Baby,  Shadow of the Damned, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja), award-winning musician and record producer Steven Wilson, and Jess Cope (animator on Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” and director for Metallica’s “Here Comes Revenge” music video).

Last Day of June aims to be a true artistic innovation. Visualizing a bittersweet story told through a welcoming, painterly world, the role-playing exploration game showcases the beauty of life and love, but also the contradictions of loss, as seen in the first teaser trailer:

“With  Last Day of June, my vision is to create a riveting emotional experience that connects with the broader audience of human beings,” said Massimo Guarini, founder and CEO, Ovosonico. “People feel comfortable broadly saying they don’t like video games without ever really trying them, but never say that about movies or music or art – there’s always something they can identify with. I believe games can be just as universal and relatable, and that’s what we’re attempting to show with this project.”

Last Day of June is a poignant single-player journey that progresses participants from a viewer joining Carl and June on what begins as a magical outing to their favorite spot, to a character deeply intertwined in the narrative, as they try to unlock the sequence of events that could save the day – and June’s life. In this cinematic experience, players will solve emotionally challenging puzzles in an attempt to turn back time, compelling them to ask themselves “What would you do to save the one you love?”

Last Day of June is currently in development for PlayStation 4 and PC and planned for release later in 2017.

All-new LAZARUS X+66 miniseries by Greg Rucka, coming soon

Writer Greg Rucka returns to Image Comics, with Lazarus: X+66; a six-story, six-issue miniseries set in the world of Lazarus.

The Eisner-winning series writer (The Old Guard, Black Magick) joins with series designer/writer Eric Trautmann, with writers Aaron Duran and Neal Bailey, and six different artists for Lazurus: X+66, which will set the stage for the series sixth story arc in July.

For Lazarus: X+66 #1, artist Steve Lieber (The Fix, Superior Foes of Spider-Man) lends his talents to the trials and tribulations of Casey Solomon as she fights to survive Dagger training. Ever since she caught the eye of the Lazarus, Casey has learned that gaining the Family’s attention can be as much of a curse as a blessing. Will Dagger Selection destroy Casey, or will survival mean something worse?

Subsequent issues will feature art by Mack Chater, Justin Greenwood, Alitha Martinez, Bilquis Evely, and Tristan Jones. Each issue will feature a cover by series artist Michael Lark.

“Part of the joy of writing Lazarus for me is exploring and defining different aspects of the world, and in particular the characters who inhabit it,” said Rucka. “Following the events of Cull, and gearing up for the inevitable trauma that will be Fracture, this was the ideal time and place to look into some of the corners of our universe that had been, for one reason or another, neglected, while at the same time buttressing and expanding on the overall ‘main story’ that Michael and I are telling. Every one of these stories is important in the larger narrative, and getting to provide a laser focus on them is simply something that we can’t do in the confines of the pages of the monthly.”

“And, speaking purely selfishly,” Rucka added, “it’s a chance to work closely with some amazing talent in both writing and art at the same time.

Lazarus: X+66 #1 arrived in comic book stores Wednesday, July 19th.

A Stranger Look towards Black Mirror: Season Three

  • Created by: Charlie Brooker
  • Executive Producers: Charlie Brooker and Annibel Jones
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Satire
  • Production Company: Zeppotron
  • Distributor:  Endemol UK
  • Time: 43 to 75 minutes

Synopsis:

“A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology.”

The current series sits at two seasons adding up to a total of six episodes and a Holiday special. A third season will première on October 21, 2016.

A look back (Spoilers)

Having been described as a modern-day take on Twilight Zone, Black Mirror presents a new storyline coupled with new characters every episode, all presenting the theme of technology and postmodern life. Despite the role of technology so heavily driving the plot, it is not an overpowering presence; allowing it to frame the progression, and not lead it. Black Mirror features plot progression through interaction, not focusing mainly on plot devices. This way, the events seem more real, and relatable than a typically jam-packed action plot of the typical American sci-fi.

Illustrated through a new plot every episode, Black Mirror takes a psychological approach to the topic at hand, allowing the viewer into the mind and thought process of the characters in question. It allows a deeper connection and understanding, granting more relatability to the character than through thoughts and actions alone.

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Dark, emotional, intriguing, and mysterious, this show leaves the viewer questioning almost to the end about what will happen. Through out each episode, I analyzed the plot and created predictions, expecting the storyline to follow accordingly; but every single time, I was wrong. Following the plot, the change is so smooth that the initial hitting factor is not out there and ridiculous but slow enough to a real and understandable shock.

Much like The Twilight Zone, the viewer delves into a fully developed and thriving world, left to observe and create conclusions based on what is in front of them. This world, much like our own, has distinct differences and an order that which all characters follow accordingly. From rice-sized memory recording chips to the ability to fully block a person in your physical life, each technological advantage frames but does not lead the storyline. In drastic contrast to other sci-fi series of similar nature, the technology does not absorb the narrative. Apart from a few differences, most of the world is recognizable, leaving all other aspects unchanged.

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Through out each episode, the storyline focuses on the characters involved, highlighting their relationships, interests, occupations, mindsets, and overall characteristics to create a personal and intimate understanding of them. In no way is it difficult for the viewers to place themselves in the character’s shoes, looking at the topic at hand through their eyes. I do not believe there was a single character that I could not empathize with, the connection so strong that all motives were understood.

Black Mirror does a wonderful job on manipulating viewer emotions, not only through that deep connection but through setting. The series is no stranger to using lighting or music to its advantage. In the second episode of season one, one of the main characters uses a song for an audition, ultimately disappearing and never being seen again. To hear those lyrics being sung five episodes later brought back those initial emotions, flooding me the sorrow and fondness I had initially felt.

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Personal Thoughts (Spoilers): 

Black Mirror can easily be described as one of my new favorite shows. Upon watching the first and second episode, I fell in love with the characters, storyline, and general theme coupling its execution; all in all creating an experience that I had not witnessed with any other show. Black Mirror prides itself on taking the topic at hand and breaking it down into smaller segments, covering each part in such a way that even the tiniest details are shown in depth.

Through out the six episodes and holiday special of season one and two, my favorite episodes would have to be episode one and two of season one. The thought and emotion put into these plots really grabbed me, leaving my eyes glued to the screen until the very end. With the goal of grabbing and pulling a viewer and their interest in, I would hands down say that Charlie Brooker did a wonderful job.

Episode one, The National Anthem, presented many different takes on one situation: the kidnapping and holding of Princess Susannah, the Duchess of Beaumont. Through out the narrative, the situation highlights the lack of privacy and opens conflict in a modern world. In 12 hours, news had spread from a youtube video left up for seven minutes, to a global knowledge. With the kidnappers making the ransom video publicly known, it allows the information to be open to anyone, not allowing the politicians to keep it hidden and discreet. Par the request of the kidnappers, the Prime Minister must perform unsavory actions with a pig, promising the Duchess’s safe return if all conditions are appropriately met. On top of the struggle to save Princess Susannah, a moral and emotional dilemma is added to the mixture by means of the Prime Minister.

To have such a curious and far fetched idea be the first episode of a new series, the viewer cannot help but be drawn in from the questions that surrounds the topic. How will they attempt a safe return? What steps does the government take to go around such a vulgar demand? To what further extent do the kidnappers go to ensure they get their demands met? And finally, what is the ultimate decision of the Prime Minister?

Upcoming: 

As of late 2015, the movie streaming company Netflix has now commissioned the creator for a third season, originally consisting of 12 episodes. Currently, Black Mirror is set for its Season Three of six episodes. Perhaps a fourth will follow with the same amount will follow.

Thoughts for Season Three:

Based on the trailer alone, I do have high hopes for this season, wishing that it will fit those shoes season one and two had filled. The presence of technology in everyday relations seems to flow over, but the sci-fi aspects and societal changes appear to be one of the ultimate differences. Whereas the original allowed the world and its holdings to remain unchanged, the snip-it suggests that everything has changed following the advances of technology. The tone and drama are still there, themes appearing to highlight smaller aspects of a larger problem.

Initially, I was very excited for a third season. The two previous captured me, holding my attention tightly and not letting go until it was over and there was no more. In short, I wanted more. According to my personal bias, I am always against sequels, feeling that the original fit the picture the best; but in this instance, that bias was completely thrown away. Following the brevity of the past two seasons, I felt that a third one would fit along perfectly. To now hear that this third season’s creation is through a separate vendor, I find myself uneasy.

While Netflix has done a wondrous job with titles in the past, I fear that it will not have the same tone and success as the original did at captivating an audience. I fear that while it will hold the same name, the emotion and message will be lacking now that the episodes are not so far, far, and artfully crafted. It is a commissioned work, however, so it can be assumed that the same themes and aspects that we all know and love about the original will carry over.

At the end of the day, I hope for the best. Just like all other fans, I await anxiously for another installment.

 

-Katherine A