Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Comic Cover of the Week

Happy New Comic Book Day! There are some good books coming to us today. This includes the amazing Hawkeye #8 written by Matt Fraction and drawn by David Aja (yes, he's finally back). Another book I highly recommend is Journey Into Mystery #649 with words and pictures by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti, respectively. From Image Comics comes The Activity TPB Vol. 2 penned by Nathan Edmondson and pencilled by Mitch Gerads. It's one of my favorite books out. You should definitely check out the trades for some military/special ops action. Comeback #4 is the penultimate issue in an interesting sci-fi miniseries centered around time-travel. It's a collaboration between writer Ed Brisson and artist Michael Walsh.

And since we're on the topic of awesome books, here's another. It's the variant cover to Uncanny X-Men #2 by Frazier Irving.

Of course you have to start with how Irving has Cyclops' image in the hands of the people, particularly the center one. This just shows how much Cyclops means to the world. He's trying to save the mutant race. The two characters in front using their arms to hold up the "X" finish the piece off perfectly. That gesture became an instant classic the moment Cyclops first did.

Mutants are back, people. And they're here to stay.

Monday, February 25, 2013

IDW Partners With Cartoon Network

IDW Publishing has announced their partnership with Cartoon Network to publish comics based on some of their beloved characters. IDW is home to properties such as Ghostbusters and G.I. Joe. You can read the full press release here.

Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack stand out to me. I'm no stranger to the adventures of Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, so I'll be looking out for that book. The Powerpuff Girls have seen comic book action before with a 70-issue run published by DC Comics from 2000-2006. Ben 10 and Samurai have also touched comics as well, but in a much more limited fashion.

This connection not only means the return of franchises enjoyed by people of all age groups, but it will also impact the state of comics designed for kids. We're in an age when many publishers want to push gritty and mature books and it leaves younger readers behind. The industry needs to do all it can to bring in new readers, especially younger ones. While there are comics geared towards younger fans, they don't often get as much press. And sometimes they're just watered down and corny. The series announced are based on quality, enjoyable characters and stories. There's no denying those cartoons were aimed at children. Even with that said, if your story attracts viewers of varying demographics, you know you have quality storytelling. This of course works for comics as well.

Going back to demographics, we need to look at young girls. If IDW pulls it off, they can pull in plenty of new, younger readers with the Powerpuff Girls. I don't say that to mean this will act as a gateway book, but hopefully the book will stand on its own merit. Here are three young, strong female characters with distinct personalities and can kick butt with the best. Obviously they're more than that, I'm just making the point that there's plenty there for kids, especially girls to connect with.

It's too early for release dates to be announced, but I'll be covering some of the news, so stay tuned for updates. Which series are you excited about? Which series do you hope will be announced?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Comic Cover of the Week

Happy New Comic Day! With another week comes another set of interesting books to look forward to. From IDW Publishing comes G.I. Joe #1 written by Fred Van Lente, drawn Steve Kurth, colored by Joana Lafuente and lettered by Neil Uyetake. The Joe brand sees another relaunch as the world at large now knows of the G.I. Joe team. Over at Image Comics, Spawn #228 starts the next chapter in the life of Jim Downing as he's discovered many of the answers he sought. This comes to you from the minds of writer Todd McFarlane and artist Szymon Kudranski.

Another book I'll be picking up is Captain Marvel #10. And it just so happens to have my favorite cover art for the week. Credit for this emotional piece goes to Joe Quinones.

I rarely look at previews for books I know I'm going to read. My reason for stating that is all I know about this book deals with Carol being "grounded." That leads to why I like this cover. That one word and the cover art, which can actually stand on its own, carries some weight. You can see from the look on her face that something heavy is going on in her head. It's the way she's standing there looking up at the sky. The title done to look like a constellation is a nice touch. The fighter jets in the background don't hurt either. I've been a longtime fan of them. On a final note: her new costume is slowly growing on me.

I still recommend Captain Marvel. Even though there have been several artists in these first 10 issues, Kelly Sue Deconnick's writing has been consistently good. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Comic Cover of the Week

Happy New Comic Book Day! There are a lot of noteworthy books on shelves today. The Strain #11 from Dark Horse Comics is the final issue of the first series which will return later in 2013 as The Fall. Artist supreme Chris Bachalo is back with Uncanny X-Men #1 joined by writer Brian Michael Bendis. Also available today is the return of the paranormal investigators and eliminators we all love in Ghostbusters #1. Writer Erik Burnham, penciller Dan Schoening and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado (one of my favorite colorists of 2012) unite a new team to take down any of those spooks, spectres or ghosts haunting you.

This segues into my Comic Cover of the Week perfectly. Ghostbusters is one of my first loves and to celebrate its return to comic shops (after a brief break), here is the retailer incentive variant for Ghostbusters #1 by Xermanico.

I had never heard of Xermanico before now, so I did a little research and I can dig his style. I like images of the Ghostbusters lined up and blasting away at some supernatural entity. While nothing will compare to the original team, the new group still looks good letting it fly. The lighting effect is a beautiful touch. The energy from the proton streams shining back on the uniforms finishes the piece off nicely.

Now get on over to your comic shop. Buy some comics. Read them. Talk about them. And for the love of anything and everything, don't cross the streams. Well, unless of course you're being chased by a 100 ft. marshmallow man.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Comic Cover of the Week

Happy New Comic Book Day! Last week contained some good reads and this week looks promising as well. Winter Soldier #15 welcomes a new creative team consisting of writer Jason Latour, artist Nic Klein and letterer Joe Caramagna. A book I've been looking forward to is Fearless Defenders #1. It's written by Cullen Bunn, pencilled by Will Sliney, colored by Veronica Gandini and lettered by Clayton Cowles. This book is notable for it's all-female team featuring the headliners Misty Knight and Valkyrie. This book is first on my reading list for the week.

One book I'm sure many people will be picking up is Harbinger #0 from Valiant Entertainment. Here is the variant by Lewis LaRosa and Brian Reber.

What really stands out to me is Reber's colors. The orange and yellow of the explosions and flames makes this cover pop. It's almost hidden by what's happening in the foreground, but the explosion sets the backdrop. Coming forward is a kid surrounded by a ball of energy. Oh yeah, can't forget the people around him. Though I'm not exactly sure what's going on with them, we can see their skeletons and that's usually not so good. It's the liveliness of the image that put it above the rest.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Comic Cover of the Week: An Anniversary Edition

This is a big week for one of the most popular Indie comic books on the stands. Image Comics' Invincible is 100 issues in the game and joins the club as one of the few current titles with a triple-digit issue count. It must be noted five of the other books come from this same publisher. A lot of people complain about Big 2 constantly re-numbering their books. Well, those Indie series keep on rolling.

We all know what comes with 100th issue anniversaries: variant covers. To celebrate that milestone, I'll give you my favorite of the bunch. Here's Art Adams' variant for Invincible #100. And yes, it is the cover I picked up this week. I made sure of that. Now onto death some cool art.

The aspect which puts this cover above the rest is Death wielding the scythe. Death + scythe = I'm sold. The wings don't hurt either. You might know I'm a fan of winged characters. They make for some amazing visuals. The other part I like about this image isn't the characters lying around, you know, dying, but the skeletons crawling around. And of course the tombstone. Because, well, it's a tombstone with the main character's name. I haven't read it yet, so I doubt he dies, but it still makes for a nice visual.

Comic Cover of the Week (1-23-13)

Browsing this week's releases left me without an eye-catching cover image. Now the good news. The show must go on, so I'm switching it up for this week. Instead of presenting you with one cover image, I'm giving you five. But of course I have to give it a twist. So here are five covers showcasing awesome female characters.

Astonishing X-Men #58 by Phil Noto

The Shi'ar warrior featured here is Warbird. Here's a relatively new character who's been receiving a lot of attention not only in this book, but also in Wolverine and the X-Men. Warbird is no stranger to Comic Cover of the Week and she's certainly welcomed back.

Cobra #21 by Antonio Fuso

Yo Joe! Though the book is named after the criminal organization, the overall focus is on a small team of Joes. One of whom is Ronin. Who doesn't love a lady with a sword?

Batwoman #16 by J.H. Williams III

If there's anything you should know about this book it's the amazing visuals that Williams has provided. Here, we see what Batwoman and Wonder Woman have been up to during their team-up.

Winter Soldier #14 by Daniel Acuna

Black Widow. She's one of the deadliest WITHOUT powers. Cool character drawn by an amazing artist. Natasha's stock has risen exponentially thanks to mainstream media focus from her appearances in the films Iron Man 2 and Marvel's Avengers. Sidenote: this is Ed Brubaker's final issue on the title and it's a memorable one. I highly recommend it.

Uncanny X-Force #1 by Olivier Coipel

This final piece drawn by Coipel, who I would certainly love to be doing more ongoing work, features two of not only my favorite X-women, but also favorite characters in general, Storm and Psylocke. Joining them are the six times as deadly Spiral and newcomer Cluster. Spiral has not been seen in a while, so it'll be interesting to catch up with her. If you caught the solicit not too long ago, you were probably wondering who the female Fantomex was. That question was answered at the end of the previous Uncanny X-Force series.

This part may or may not seem confusing but if it does, don't worry, it happens. Fantomex had three brains: one being the Fantomex we've come to know and love, a second being this version known as Cluster and the last one who is a not-so-nice fella. Fantomex died during the "Final Execution" arc. He was brought back at the end of that storyline which was also the end of that book. During his resurrection, his brains were separated and placed into their own bodies. You still with me? Okay, well that's where Cluster comes in and here we are. The final page of this book caught me, and I'm sure many other readers, by surprise. I'm definitely looking forward to the second issue.