The Wall Street Journal published Diamond Comic Distributors' list of the top-selling comics publishers for 2014 Friday morning, and for the most part, it's all the usual suspects. Marvel was No. 1 with more than a third of the market share, in both dollars and units. DC was reasonably close behind. Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Dynamite and Boom Studios took the next spots.
Then comes number eight. Eaglemoss Publications. Wait. What? Who?
For a comic that's only two issues in, we've talked about David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely's Shaft comic a lot. There's been a review of the first issue, an interview with Walker, and now, with the second issue hot off the presses this week, we're going back to the well to talk about it again. The reason for all this ballyhoo from your pals at ComicsAlliance is simple: It's already one of the best comics in recent memory, and well worth your attention and ours.
The first issue started that trend, but in the second, things are heating up, and while the storyline follows a pattern that you probably expected going in, it's executed in an incredibly entertaining way.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below.
Evil sorcery is a problem for the people of a certain age undreamt of, and apparently it's gotten so bad that one Hyborian hero is no longer enough to stop them. That's why in January, we're getting a team-up in the form of Conan/Red Sonja, in which a pretty fantastic creative team of Gail Simone, Jim Zub and Dan Panosian are teaming up the two heroes to stop -- you guessed it -- evil sorcery.
Of all the comics that could indulge in one of my beloved Holiday Specials, Flash Gordon seems like a pretty unlikely candidate. I mean, now that I think of it, if comics can give us that story where Superboy gets caught up in the Christmas Spirit and decides to get the Legion of Super-Heroes to hunt down the star that the Magi followed to the manger and ends up rescuing a race of alien bird-people from a flood in what can only very charitably be called a miracle, I guess you can wring a little holiday cheer out of just about anything. Still, the adventures of three humans trapped in an alien empire full of tree monsters and beast-men doesn't quite seem like it would easily lend itself to the spirit of the season.
And yet, that's exactly what the folks at Dynamite have done with the new Flash Gordon Holiday Special one-shot, and while I could not possibly be more in the target audience for this thing -- my interest in space adventure is only outstripped by my love of Christmas -- it's well worth picking up.
David Walker and Bilquis Evely have teamed up at Dynamite for the first-ever comic adaptation of Ernest Tidyman’s ‘Shaft’ character, delivering an exhilarating, game-changing opening issue to a series that should make stars of the entire creative team.
Surprisingly, the book deftly skips away from the John Shaft seen in film and TV, instead dialling back in time to look at the young Shaft, just out the military. The original books talk briefly about this time in the character’s life, mentioning his brief stint as a boxer; this is where Walker chooses to focus as his series starts off. The story of the first issue sees Shaft just getting started as a boxer when he's asked to take a dive, and that hook is all Walker needs to create a solid sense of place and character. The story gives us a look at a confident but less seasoned John Shaft, still feeling out his place in the world and deciding what kind of mark he wants to make.
In this second and final part of our in-depth interview, Simone talks about her initial concerns about working on Red Sonja at Dynamite, her relaunch of Secret Six, her passionate fan base and her "secret" comics agenda.
Annuals get a bad rap. I'm pretty sure it's because they formed the core of some truly terrible crossovers starting in the '90s -- lookin' at you here, Bloodlines -- but there's nothing congenitally wrong with them. In their purest form, annuals are just extra comics, and since we all like comics, that ought to be something to get excited about. And in the case of Dynamite's Flash Gordon Annual 2014, we've got something worth getting excited about.
Flash Gordon is already one of my favorite books on the stands, and this week's Annual continues that trend by providing a fantastic roster of great stories -- including a solo tale for Dale Arden that needs to be made into an ongoing series yesterday.
Of all the spooky characters that I throw the spotlight on at Halloween, there's one that I've never really written too much about: Vampirella. That seems like a pretty big oversight, too. I mean, I once wrote about the Tomb of Dracula anime for Halloween, you'd think I could muster up a few words for one of the most recognizable horror characters of the '70s, right?
Well, the fact is, Vampirella's not actually that scary. I mean, despite her name, she's not actually a vampire. She's an alien from planet Drakulon, a planet where water has the same composition as blood. Or at least, I think that's how it worked, until 1997, when it was revealed that Drakulon was the product of memory implants and she was actually the daughter of Lilith, mother of all vampires, who sent her to destroy a 2,000 year-old conspiracy organized like a vampire Catholic Church (complete with a Vampire Pope) with the help of a time-traveling nun. Hoo boy. This is going to get complicated.
Next month, the world's most famous fictional Private Dick / Sex Machine / Bad MotherSHUTYOURMOUTH will make his first-ever appearance on comic shop shelves, when Dynamite Entertainment releases the premiere issue of Shaft, by the creative team of David Walker and Bilquis Evely. And while John Shaft is a well known figure to moviegoers and soul music listeners worldwide, this title promises to focus on the rough-and-tumble version of the character that originated in Ernest Tidyman's series of novels. We spoke to series writer Walker about the character's long history in multiple media, and his plans for the comic incarnation.
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