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Patrick A. Reed

Five Ghosts, White Suits, Black Market, and Beyond: An Interview with Frank Barbiere

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Frank Barbiere is quickly becoming one of the most prolific and visible writers in comics, having built his reputation working on both original and company-owned properties for a number of independent publishers, including Blackout and The White Suits at Dark Horse, Black Market at Boom Studios, Solar: Man Of The Atom at Dynamite, and the fan-favorite Five Ghosts at Image.

Now he's expanding even further, writing an Avengers title for Marvel, inking a deal to develop Five Ghosts in other media, and preparing to re-team with Boom for the launch of his new original series Broken World. In the midst of all this, he's somehow found the time to sit down for an in-depth conversation about his career to date, and his plans for the future, and bring us an exclusive first look at Broken World's characters, and some samples from this week's Five Ghosts #16.

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Best Comic Books Ever (This Week) – New Releases For March 18, 2015

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The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.

It's with these challenges in mind that we've created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.

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Conversing About ‘Convergence’ with DC’s Dan DiDio [Interview]

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Convergence is drawing ever closer; a massive not-quite-in-continuity crossover event that replaces all of DC's monthly titles for two months this spring, to throw together interpretations of characters from throughout DC history on an isolated world where they will end up fighting a lot. The event is comprised of a weekly miniseries by writer Jeff King and artists Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz that delivers the central overarching plot line, and a number of character-focused two-issue miniseries that will expand on the themes of the weekly series, provide additional context, and revive fan-favorite versions of many classic DC heroes and villains.

It's a huge, massively ambitious undertaking, so we spoke to DC co-publisher Dan DiDio to get a better idea about the publisher's plans, the company's overall goals for the event, and the impact it will have on the DC universe in the future.

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A Human Story in a Dystopian World: Lee Bermejo Discusses ‘The Suiciders’ [Interview]

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This week sees the debut of The Suiciders, a new ongoing Vertigo series from writer/artist Lee Bermejo set in a post-apocalyptic near future Southern California where enhanced gladiators fight to the death for the public's entertainment. It's Bermejo's first major comics work in a few years, and his first ever original ongoing series, so we took some time to talk to him about how he conceived of the project, and the disparate elements that he's blending together to create this story.

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Research, References, and Structuring Stories: Scott McCloud Goes In-Depth On ‘The Sculptor’ [Interview]

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Two weeks ago, First Second Books released The Sculptor, Scott McCloud's long-awaited, five-years-in-the-making, latest graphic novel. It's a complex and nuanced work that functions as both an emotionally rich personal statement, and a masterclass in graphic storytelling (not surprising, given McCloud's authorship of the seminal Understanding Comics, and its two sequels, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics), and it's become an immediate commercial and critical success, shooting to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, and garnering a wealth of rave reviews.

The book tells the story of David Smith, a young sculptor living in New York City who makes a deal with Death that gives him only two hundred days to live, but allows him to shape any material, creating art with his bare hands from whatever he wishes… Which seems like a great deal, until he meets a mysterious woman named Meg, and falls desperately in love with her.

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All Stories Have Endings: Mike Carey and Peter Gross Close Out ‘The Unwritten’ [Interview]

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In the closing days of January, Vertigo released The Unwritten: Apocalypse #12, the final installment in Mike Carey and Peter Gross' fan-favorite meta-fictional fantasy saga. The series told the story of Tom Taylor, a man trying to live down the fact that his father used his name and likeness for the Harry Potter-esque hero of his best-selling fantasy novels. As the series begins, Tom is quickly pulled into a world where the lines between fiction and reality are not so clearly drawn.

To mark the conclusion of Carey and Gross's long-running narrative, we talked to both creators to learn about the entire history of the series from initial conception to final curtain.

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Love, Art, Memory, And Reality: Scott McCloud Discusses ‘The Sculptor’ [Interview]

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Since Scott McCloud first shot onto the cultural radar in the mid-80s, with his "reconstructionist" superhero series Zot!, he's been known as one of the modern masters of the comics form – his seminal 1993 volume Understanding Comics set a benchmark for intelligent analysis of graphic narrative language and technique (and became a go-to reference for college courses worldwide), his sequels, Reinventing Comics (2000) and Making Comics (2006) met with critical and commercial success, and his 1998 graphic novel The New Adventures Of Abraham Lincoln remains a fascinating and underrated attempt at melding the worlds of traditional and computer-generated cartooning. He's written a heaping handful of Superman stories, spoken and lectured around the world, and established himself as a comic creator, commentator, scholar and theorist without peer.

And this week, First Second Books is releasing his latest work, the five-years-in-the-making opus The Sculptor, the story of David Smith, a young sculptor living in New York City who makes a deal with Death that gives him only two hundred days to live, but allows him to shape any material, creating art with his bare hands from whatever he wishes…

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Things Go From Bad To Worse In ‘The Names’ #6 [Preview]

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We at ComicsAlliance are suckers for a good mystery, and over the past six issues Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez's The Names has proven to be exactly our cup of tea – this high-suspense psychological financial thriller follows Katya Walker, a woman seeking information about her husband’s sudden death, who comes into conflict with a world-dominating techno-financial cabal called The Names, and finds herself in an uneasy partnership with her stepson Phillip, fighting for her life while searching for answers.

It's a story full of brutal action, advanced technology, hairpin plot twists, and carefully layered concepts, populated by psychopathic murderers, mind-controlling financiers, corrupt cops, and mysterious digital beings known only as "The Dark Loops" – and, courtesy of DC/Vertigo, we're excited to bring you this exclusive first look at pages from issue #6, which hits comic shops next week!

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Tim Seeley Talks Celebrity Culture And Small-Town Spookiness In Vertigo’s ‘Effigy’ [Interview]

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This week sees the debut of Effigy, a new Vertigo title from Grayson/Revival scribe Tim Seeley and Madame Xanadu artist Marley Zarcone. The series follows Chondra Jackson, a woman who, as a child, starred in a beloved kids' sci-fi/mystery TV show, and now lives a quiet life as a police officer in small-town Ohio – until she gets pulled into a mystery involving ritual sacrifices, a shadowy celebrity-worshipping cult, and pieces of her past coming back to haunt her.

To mark the launch of the book, we spoke with Seeley about his work process, his inspirations, and how the world of celebrities and comics intersect.

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Tom Taylor Takes His Final Bows In ‘The Unwritten: Apocalypse’ #12 [Preview]

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When Mike Carey and Peter Gross launched The Unwritten in 2009, it seemed like a concept tailor-made for a Vertigo series. It's the story of Tom Taylor, whose name and likeness were used by his father as the foundation for a wildly popular series of Harry Potter-esque fantasy novels, who grows up to find himself embroiled in increasingly bizarre situations, fighting for his life against supposedly-fictional adversaries.

Now, seventy-odd issues, an original graphic novel, and a widely acclaimed crossover with Bill Willingham's Fables later, Carey and Gross are bringing their tale to a close with tomorrow's release of The Unwritten: Apocalypse #12, a special oversized finale that sees Tom come face-to-face with his father, and battling for the fate of the world. Vertigo have provided us with an exclusive seven-page preview, so read on for your first look at the final act...

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