Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eye of Newt issues 3 & 4 (and some talk about Banned Books Week)

I don't often like heavily narrated comics. There are only a handful of authors who can lead me that way. First authors that spring to mind being Neil Gaiman, Peter Milligan and Frank Miller (there are dozens more but lets keep a short list shall we?) In comics, we often think of speech and thought bubbles but narration happens almost as often. Eye of Newt is about 80% third person omnipotent narration. There is very little script otherwise. This kind of descriptive narration is so often seen in children's fantasy books which this author has been accustom to illustrating. Keeping that in mind, it is easier to appreciate this type of story telling in a graphic novel.

My only difficulty with this story is the heavy narration, but the artwork makes it all worthwhile. With over forty years of experience in illustration his first graphic novel is a masterpiece. This is a four part mini series from Darkhorse and it's loosely of based on Arthurian legend.

I regret my earlier assertion that this graphic novel was suitable for children but only because today's parents are so over protective. Everything is apparently disgraceful. Here it is, in issue 3 there is a nude scene. It's really not sexual in nature although the word virgin is used. It's really not sexual but I just know some immunization-fearing breeders will absolutely freak out that their child may have laid eyes on a drawing of a nude person. I however find the charm in it because of how non-sexualized the panel is. This part of the story references ancient myths and one that most people will recognize. So don't get your book burning torch just yet because you should actually read the story.

The reason I'm focusing on this so much is due to the upcoming banned books week (Sept 21-27). I love controversy as much as the next very boring person but I despise the banning of books. Graphic novels being no stranger to the pointing fingers and accusations of over protective parents.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Tony Sandoval on his new book DoomBoy

I was really lucky to get an advanced copy of Doomboy from Magnetic Press. Tony lives in Germany which is not at all close to me. So I count myself lucky he was able to take the time to talk to me. Although Magnetic Press has not listed an official date for the release of Doomboy on their site, I'm told it is set for the end of September/early October. 

This fascinating journey about a lonely boy who begins to broadcast songs to his deceased girlfriend. It's difficult to describe which genre this falls under. The story is full of symbolism and magic. You truly have to read it to understand that Doomboy is in a genre of it's own. Written and illustrated by Tony Sandoval, the work has been translated into English from it's original form. Below is my interview with Tony who's first language is not English but I didn't want to adjust the sentence structure for fear of losing his original sentiments. 

Doomboy will be released in a landscape hardcover format. I know it will be on my bookshelf so make sure it's on yours.

Q: I didn't quite know what I was getting into when I first began reading Doomboy. I wasn't sure if it was going to be all fantasy. I don't even know what genre to assign the book. I just know I loved it. How would you classify this story?

Tony: It's just a kind of book I will like to read. Strange story maybe, I can't say is fantasy but it has some elements of that. It's just a little weird story if we can call it like that.

Q: I've been a doom metal fan for years, so when I saw the facebook posts by Magnetic Press I knew I had to read it. Why doom metal? 

Tony: ahh doom! Well I am fan of doom as well. Me and a friend used to make fun of fan of doom, because we thought there were not many. So a doom fan will be mostly lonelly person, so I start making little drawings of doomboy. It just happend.
Q: And can you tell me your favorite doom metal bands?

Tony: It depends of the period, but I like mournful congregation, my dying bride, forest of shadows. Well I don't know if some of those are really doom. Like swallow the sun or mar de grises for mentions some.

Q: Character D has lost his girlfriend to a possible illness. Can you expand on this? What was she sick with? Can you tell me about why you chose this sad path for D?

Tony: I though about of course, but I decide to let it unknow for readers. It fit better with the story  I think.

D is a strong guy. I think this hard time for him was to go ahead and learn. I like the mystery in him. That is why I don't say what happens to him after. If he keeps doing music or not, it was just a piece of his life to us to see.

Q: I can't figure out if D's music is creating magic or if it is all symbolism. Could you explain D's music and where it comes from?

Tony: I like to think magic is just a interpretation of nature, but of course there are different kind of interpretations, like feelings through music. In this case D believed he can do it and did. The rest was a consequences of it and interpretation of the others. I like this kind of things.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Dan Slott & the Future of the Silver Surfer

Q: The end of the last story arc for Silver Surfer has left our heroes with endless possibilities for future adventures. Can you give us any hints on just where they are going to go?

Slott: Space! Seriously though... We're going to corners of the Marvel Universe that no one's ever seen before. Anything can happen! You're going to see a planet of "perfect" people, there's going to be robot slavers, an alien orphanage, characters from long ago making their first appearance in official continuity... And that's just in the next 3 issues!

The first three issues acted as our "pilot". The next two issues were an adventure on Earth that showed us why Dawn should go off and travel with Norrin. And now that they're out there-- now that they're off in space-- this is when the series really kicks in! We're going to live up to the promise of our tagline: "Anywhere and Everywhere! Hang On!"

Q: We got to see some of the Defenders and The Guardians of the Galaxy so far in this series. Who else might make an appearance?
Slott: There might be some cosmic characters showing up. Along with Doctor Strange, Hulk, and the Guardians, we've also seen important cosmic entities, like Eternity! And we've met all-new ones, like The Never Queen. There was a hooded character in our first 3 issues, just the fact that we had to hide him probably means he's someone Marvel fans might already know.

And, of course, you can't do a SILVER SURFER series without having a major Galactus story! I honestly think our Galactus story is one for the ages. It is epic! This one's going to be high space opera in the Mighty Marvel Manner! If I get to write one Galactus story in my career, this is going to be it! And the way Mike Allred renders Galactus blows me away! Wait till you see the covers!

Q: Dawn Greenwood is my favorite new Marvel character that completely lacks superhero powers which is pretty new for the Silver Surfer. What made you want a sort of powerless travel companion for the Surfer?

Slott: I'm not going to dodge or duck this. I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan. I've been watching the show since I was 11. And I got deeper in when my family moved to London when I was 13. This iteration of the SURFER came about when Marvel's Tom Brevoort asked me what I would do with the character. We had just been to a corporate retreat earlier that week where a number of people had pitched for a SURFER book, but nothing stuck. My schedule with Spider-Man is pretty tight, Tom knows that, so I thought we were just goofing around. I honestly was not pitching for the book.

So he asked, and I told him, "I'd do a soft reboot, like the way Russell T. Davies did with the new Doctor Who. I'd give him a human companion, an eye-level character for the reader. And by having someone like that around, it would make a stiff/alien character like the Surfer far more human and relatable. The book wouldn't just be about exploring space, it'd be about Norrin Radd exploring his own humanity."

After I said that, Tom laughed and mentioned that he said pretty much the same things to Mark Waid at the retreat. And then Tom and I just kept bouncing ideas of each other about this Surfer book-- that I wasn't going to write and that he wasn't going to edit. This went on for hours. And at one point he said, "Write it up. I WANT to edit this!" And it was out of that same original bull session that Dawn Greenwood was fleshed out.

And the moment Mike Allred turned in his first sketches of her... she was suddenly real. And the fun of it has been making her a good foil, friend, and match for Norrin Radd. I just love that one of the first things she ever says to him-- after mistaking him for a fellow alien abductee-- is "Don't worry. I'm Dawn Greenwood and I'm going to save you!"

She started out as a "Doctor Who Companion", but she's evolved into an "Allred Girl", someone we constantly refer to as a "Miyazaki Heroine" (very much in the vein of Kiki, Fio, or Sophie*), and I see a lot of my twin sisters in her too.


Q: In terms of accessibility, the Silver Surfer is in my opinion, the most easy Marvel series to jump into right now. How do you make a story so friendly for new readers while being this exciting and entertaining?

Slott: One of the things we've been hearing a lot is that it's a book that parents and their kids like reading together. Also that it's a book that readers can give to their non-comic-reading significant others to break them in. And we get that across gender and sexual orientation. Which is FANTASTIC! I couldn't be happier with that. The honest answer to this-- because I don't think it's been by design-- is that Tom, Mike & Laura Allred, and I are just putting out a book that WE want to read-- and this is very much our gestalt/hive-mind sensibility. Tom's wife busts my chops when I'm running late the most, because it's her favorite book to read, and she wants the next issue!

Q: How does the Silver Surfer differ from you're other current and past projects? What makes it special?

Slott: Honestly? It's something I write for the FUN of it. I'm a giggling idiot when I'm typing up a SURFER plot. I'm an applauding fool whenever a new page from Mike shows up in my email. It's my dessert. It's the best part of my day. It's the first comic I've written in a long time where I don't read what other people are saying about it on comic book message boards. I'm not letting one negative vibe reach me on this one. And I think that bleeds through into the work. This is a comic that isn't afraid to be joyous-- to be spirited-- to take you by the hand and say, "Let's go on an adventure!" It's Mike and my take on Norrin Radd. And, end of the day, it's one of the things I've been most proud to work on.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Northern Highlights: Q&A with artist Jason Copland

Taken From the Pages of Pop #1

Q: How long has Pop been in the works? How do you feel about the reception? 
Jason: Curt and I started talking about working together at ECCC 2013 and then shortly after that Curt sent me his pitch for POP. I loved what I read and told him I was in. The pages for the pitch were done in the summer of '13 and they were sent out with high hopes in the fall. Dark Horse picked up POP in late fall. I didn't start working on issue until Spring, once my gigs at Marvel and BOOM! were complete. So far Curt and I have been thrilled with POP's reception. Readers and retailers have shown a lot of enthusiasm for the book., which is very gratifying.

Is there any possible continuation of this story or is it complete as a mini-series?

Jason: It's a complete mini-series. Yeah, it's over at #4. But, Curt and I are brewing up a new book that will be a little longer in issue number and as equally ambitious as POP, so I'm excited to get that going.

Q: Can you tell us about what future projects you are working on? Can we expect to see anything in print soon? What's next for you?

Jason: I have a few new things in the works but nothing I can talk about just yet. Something for Marvel and then something for Dark Horse. 2015 is going to be an awesome year for me.

Q: What is your opinion on breaking into the comic world as a Canadian? Are there any hurdles to overcome that might not be similar in other countries?

Jason: With the internet, there are no real boundaries. Everything is done electronically, in terms of sending scripts/image files/etc. As long as you can get online, there really aren't any extra hurdles to overcome. Although, going to conventions can be more expensive due to travel costs and money exchange rates.

Q: If you could work with anyone in the comic book industry, who would you KILL to work with?

Jason: Joe Casey and John Arcudi are two writers that I would love a chance to work with. And I've had the chance to work with Mark Waid, but I'd love to get another chance at that, as well.

 For more information about Jason Copland and his work, please visit 


Royal Jelly: Queen's top picks for Sept 17th

This is another exciting week for me. Lots of my current favs come out today. Current favorites being Manifest Destiny and Shutter. In addition to that, the second issue of Dark Horse Presents 2014 is out this week. This issue will be released in a new 48 paged format featuring art from Steve Parkhouse, Andy Kuhn, Aaron Conley, Ryan Dunlavey, Paul Lee and stories from Peter Hogan, Brendan McCarthy, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Damon Gentry, Fred Van Lente, Chris Roberson. The series is also being released at a new price $4.99. So here's my list:

Dark Horse Presents 2014 #2
Eye of Newt #4
Hulk Annual 2014
Manifest Destiny #10
Shutter #6

Sugar Skull by Charles Burns
2000 AD PACK AUG 2014

Most critics praise Charles Burns until they're blue in the face. This hasn't been my own attitude towards his work. Having read a good chunk of what he's put down, there have only been a few stories that appealed to me. Sometimes I found his writing so hostile towards women that it got to me.  This however contains the ending to books X'ed Out and The Hive. It's worth noting that this volume is in full color unlike his most famous work Black Hole.

It's worth mentioning that the Attack on Titan franchise has pushed out another collectors book to suck up your funds. This one is called the Guidebook Inside & Outside. I won't be grabbing that but it may interest many of the Titan fans.

Shutter #6 comes out this week! That means we'll be seeing a trade pretty soon here as this ends the first story arc of the series. I had the opportunity to speak with Leila Del Duca after the first couple issues were released. You can check out that interview HERE.

I also wanted to mention the Hulk Annual #1 hits the shelves. The cover is especially amazing. We're being told that a very close friend of the Hulk dies.. any guesses!? ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MPH #3

Finally some more MPH. There have some hold ups coming from Millar's work and I was really itching to get this issue. Image says that we will have the final two issues November and December but I'm not so sure if that's a promise they'll be able to keep. The variant cover art for this issue was done by one favorite artists, Paul Pope. I was happy to find THIS one in my sub box because if not, I'd have to be all like "BUT I NEED THE POPE VARIANT!! I NEED IT!" and such displays can be embarrassing to me and the company I keep.

In this issue, Roscoe and his group start robbing banks. They also do a Robin Hood impression and start dumping ten percent of their earnings on the people of Detroit. No one has gotten caught and it appears they are living the high life, literally making a get away on raindrops at one point.

I'm still not a huge fan of the artwork in this series. It's not horrible! I'm not saying that at all but it's not my style. Now if Pope was creating all the artwork.. well, then I'd have some hefty things to say. I think I'm going to go re-read Escapo

Friday, September 12, 2014

Batman Future's End #1 *SPOILERS*


I wanted this to be awesome. I flipped through the issue in the store and thought, this artwork is pretty great. This could actually be okay. Then I got home and started reading it.

This story is set five years in the future. Apparently five years was enough to make Batman a pile of rotting flesh and bone. Wasn't he virtually fine in present day Batman? They're implying he's falling apart from battle or is he diseased?? It's really unclear.  I can't claim to know that much about the New 52 because I haven't read ALL of it. I read pieces and wasn't impressed so I moved on. That's what one does, but every now and then I try to grab a new Batman story. Sometimes I'm happy and sometimes... well sometimes you get this.

The largest problem with futuristic Batman stories that are not set in the very distant future, is that I compare it all to Pope's Year 100. Of  course Future's End is suppose to take place five years from the present New 52 plot and Year 100 takes place during Batman's 100th year alive where most of Gotham believed his to be some myth or boogieman of the streets. Yet Future's End has so much bullshit technological jargon in it, you'd think it took place in space. Fawkes and Snyder kinda got lazy with this script me thinks. It's too bad because artist Aco is brilliant here. I feel like they really let him down. You might have noticed Aco lately in the Constantine series which is also written by Fawkes. It's something I pretend just doesn't exist. I am still bitter about DC's decision to end Hellblazer and start this Constantine abomination.

Besides being over-all too much plot to shove into a one-shot, the ending just made me angry. Cloning is the #1 lamest way to push a story forward in the face of a dying character. The only time I ever really liked it was Alien Resurrection and I MUST be the only person on the planet that enjoyed that movie. Even Wheddon practically throws his hands up in the air and backs away from it claiming it merely a learning experience in his writing career. I realize this whole cloning issue isn't new to the DC universe, I just really dislike it. I can do that for serial right? Just like people who don't like the phrase "for serial" can choose to throw my opinions right out the window. FOR SERIAL.

So my end to the Future's End rant? I feel let down. Poor Aco. Your work deserves more than this.