Image Comics sets up VS, a new dark satire sci-fi series for early 2018

VS

Image Comics recently announced VS, a new dark satire science fiction series from artist Esad Ribić (Secret Wars, Uncanny X-Force) in his creator-owned debut, writer Ivan Brandon (Black Cloud, Drifter), coloring by Nic Klein (Drifter) and designs by Tom Muller. The new comic series is set for arrival in early February 2018.

War has become a spectator sport. Privately funded armies of superstar soldiers march into battle for fame, profit, and the glory of their sponsor nations. When a new generation of soldiers arrive, top gladiator Satta Flynn is about to discover how fleeting the limelight can be—and how punishing.

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“Making VS is a dream,” said Ribić. “After all these years, it feels great to be able to create my own world and tech from scratch.”

“Working with Esad is mindblowing,” added Brandon. “I want to live in this world. Probably very briefly, as it’s incredibly dangerous.”

VS #1 will have two covers,  cover A by Esad Ribić and Cover B by Esad Ribić and Tom Muller. The first issues will arrive in comic book stores on Wednesday, February 7th.

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Dark Horse Comics to release Chuck Palahniuk’s coloring book novella LEGACY

Chuck Palahniuk has a new written novella coming this fall, Legacy: An Off-Color Novella for You to Color.

This new work follows the Fight Club author’s first coloring book from Dark Horse Books, Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color. Chuck Palahniuk’s new novella, Legacy: An Off-Color Novella for You to Color, will feature colorable illustrations by Mike Norton (Battlepug webcomic), and Steve Morris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic series).

The novella is a dark but colorful fable with aspiring immortals, an amoral banker and his despicable family, a stalker and the kind of extreme storytelling and biting social satire is best known for.

“Imagine if Joseph Campbell produced a coloring book,” said Palahniuk. “Legacy will be one part Art Bell, one part Carl Jung, part George Noory, and right brain from cover to cover.  All cultures have their myths about attaining immortality, but Dark Horse, Mike, Steve and I are the first to slap such high culture anthropology into the low culture world of coloring.”

Legacy: An Off-Color Novella for You to Color will have an 8.5 x 11-inch hardcover album, with uncoated and white interior paper stock, accompanied by a cover illustrated and colored by Duncan Fegredo and designed by Nate Piekos.

Legacy: An Off-Color Novella for You to Color goes on sale at comic book stores and bookstores everywhere, on November 7, 2017.

BITCH PLANET returns with TRIPLE FEATURE series coming in June

Image Comics recently announced Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, a new anthology series featuring stories within the satirical world of the critically-acclaimed Bitch Planet series.

Expanding upon the very original work of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine DeLandro, Bitch Planet: Triple Feature brings together talent from across the comics industry.

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 will feature “Windows,” by Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Maria Fröhlich; “Without and Within,” by Andrew Aydin and Joanna Estep; and “The Invisible Woman,” written by Conley Lyons with art by Craig Yeung; all with lettering by Clayton Cowles.

“For me, the most fascinating thing about working on the anthology has been that very few of the initial pitches that came in were satirical,” said DeConnick. “Most were heavy (tonally) and very straight-forward, which made me reconsider our approach to the main title—because these young people were pitching based on what they perceived our tone to be. We got there—some of them are so on point that I’m jealous!—but the fact that we had to develop to get to satire tells me that we haven’t been hitting our mark on the main title and that we will need to push harder going forward.

“Satire is difficult,” DeConnick continued. “And it’s particularly tough to sustain long-form. So that’s at the forefront of my mind right now. I love this book. I wish we’d done it sooner.”

“I’ve been enjoying the energy that our new collaborators have been bringing to our anthologies,” said De Landro. “It’s cool seeing new creators and friends getting together and adding some terrifying and heart-wrenching perspectives to BITCH PLANET.”

“As a fiction writer, this is my first time working in comics,” said The Invisible Woman writer Conley Lyons. “Writing for the BITCH PLANET universe is thrilling, especially since I get to team up with such a hands-on, experienced crew. Kelly Sue, Val, Craig, and the Milkfed team have been so welcoming. I can’t wait to show off our hard work.”

“I’m honored and excited to be able to play in this wonderful sandbox that Kelly Sue, Valentine and the Milkfed team has created,” said The Invisible Woman artist Craig Yeung. “Conley has crafted and brought to life a wonderful character in this short that I hope the fans will come to enjoy and love as well!”

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 hits stores Wednesday, June 14.

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 

SW Comics Recommendation: PREZ, Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief

 Prez volume 1

Prez – Vol. 1: Corndog in Chief

  • Writer: Mark Russell
  • Artist: Ben Caldwell , Mark Morales
  • Published by: DC Comics
  • Pages: 161, Publish Date: February 9 2016, Age Rating: 12+
  • Notes: Collects 1-6 of the monthly series started in 2015, and seemingly discontinued. Available in print and DC digital apps

Synopsis:

“America’s first teenaged president is on the job in this contemporary twist on a DC classic! Oregon teen Beth Ross has just been elected President of the United States of America. Age restrictions were abolished when corporations gained the right to run for office and voting booths have been replaced by Twitter, making just about anyone eligible for the nation’s top job, including the viral-video-famous Corndog Girl! Now the eyes of the nation are on Beth. But in a world so out of control that the poor are willing to shoot themselves on TV for a chance at a better life, will even the new president have the power needed to overthrow the nation’s true leaders-Boss Smiley and his corporate shadow government?

Writer Mark Russell (God Is Disappointed in You) teams with artists Ben Caldwell (JUSTICE LEAGUE BEYOND) and Mark Morales (X-Force, Secret Invasion) to revive and reinvent a classic! Collects PREZ #1-6 and SNEAK PEEK: PREZ #1.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

There is a lacking of something I from today’s comics storytelling, missing from the overall scope of costumed melodramas, laser guided dystopias, rebirthings, cosmic angst, and the usual civil disagreements. I don’t see much satire, hitting hard on familiar modern issues without pandering to any particular political mindset. I feel a popular mindset upon those who dare try, tend to focus upon the obvious disturbances of dystopia building, whether it’s privacy or the unending reach of the data-mugging social networkings.

But, along comes this new (and I think cancelled too soon) comic series based on an obscure short-lived series from the 1970s, Prez. The new series stands alone with little to do with the original other than the premise of a teenager president. The overall setting nor is a somewhat mix of the present, the coming present, and the far more reaching (yet less far-fetching with the absurdity of today’s headlines) style of the movie Idiocracy.  Prez invokes thought, while holding a fun house mirror to our current American views and changing ways of life. Such thought is not necessarily too serious or overlay pretentious; just brilliant in the execution that brings the reader into a strange new world of border guarding mechs and holographic politicians.

The premise of Prez one would assume is simple for the simple-minded, probably dumbed down it was for a movie, or passed off as a junior reader book. Beth Ross is a sort of victim of chance as her accidental online fame on Twitter, brought upon by a fast food accident. While raising money on a Kickstarterish health care program to her suffering grandfather, she finds more fame through and Anonymous 4-chanish prank to propel her into the Oval Office candidacy. As the title destined, Beth is eventually sworn in as Commander-in-Chief. But with that great power, comes great influence from private interests and sinister forces.

Beth Ross is a bit of conundrum in modern storytelling where the main character is not as prime as we would be lead to believe. Like our real presidents, we ponder just what they can change, with the grip on everything around her and then reaching out to her. Her very appearance is a sort of every-person, with a grasp on her own individuality and natural compassion for family and friends. She treats new problems with her own logic and fairness. It is perhaps through the reader’s sense of what’s wrong with her world and ours, is there a connection to her actions and reactions and if they truly can overcome the overreaching process. We can only wish, for there are some consequential developments in her decisions.

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The self-contained world of Prez is one with lunacy and far-fetching absurdity, or is it? Food delivery drones, health-care driven sickstarters, calculated pop-culture, war-machine driven entertainment, game-show immigration, and faceless industrial heads hidden behind images looking to graft their twisted culture and advert imagery unto us. Such things have elements of familiarity in our world, as all great satire should.

The trade paperback is a nice package of the first six issues, the sneak peek prologue story, and some extra goodies at the end providing a little insight and commentary. The art is well defined, with colors that pop-enough to tell the story. I hope there for a continuation someday, though more doubtful as time passes (sigh). Otherwise, still a worthwhile purchase for the content so far.

– Orion T