This week, Chris and Matt talk about how much they love Big Trouble in Little China, and how much they enjoyed the first issue of the new comic sequel by Eric Powell and Brian Churilla in spite of some art hiccups; then it's on to Nailbiter #2 by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson; and finally they discuss the first volume of Afterlife With Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla.
Rascal, the savvy young heroine of Antony Johnston and Christ Mitten’s Umbral, is a thief with both feet planted firmly in the muck. She lives by her dexterous fingers, her knowledge of the city’s side streets, and an arsenal of four-letter words for anyone who stands in her way. Whispers of myth and monsters at the fringes of her world fail to turn Rascal’s head—in fact, she fears and loathes magic and its practitioners. Too bad she’s the heroine of a fantasy story.
Over the course of its first volume from Image Comics, Umbral creates a world rich with ethnic conflict, class struggle, human emotion and totally wicked looking monsters. A cast of scholars, refugees, thieves, and magicians populates its pages, simmering with glimpsed backstories and murky intentions. At its heart is Rascal, staring down a grand destiny she never wanted. As the first volume hits the shelves, ComicsAlliance spoke with Johnston and Mitten about fantasy tropes, developing character voices, and the importance of The Dark Crystal.
Alien invasion stories have always been fertile ground for allegory. Throughout the history of the sub-genre, spaceships filled with arachnid creatures, little green men, shape-shifting Skrulls, omnipotent super-beings, and brain-eating slugs have come to represent oppressive and militaristic governments, Communism, the disenfranchised, and several more variations of the great and unknowable Other, usually influenced by politics or social issues. Yet with all the metaphoric territory the alien invasions have covered, in Image Comics' Trees, Warren Ellis and Jason Howard prove there's still plenty left unsaid.
A great comic book cover has a lot of work to do. It’s both an advertisement and a work of art; both a statement and an invitation. Sometimes they convey character, sometimes mood, sometimes moment
Writer Kieron Gillen has a brand new comic with Jamie McKelvie and colorist Matthew Wilson (my nemesis) called The Wicked and the Divine, which comes to comic shops June 18. Certainly you could go to your local comic shop that day and hope to pick up a copy, but it isn't guaranteed unless readers pre-order it by the order cutoff date, which is Monday, May 26 and give your retailer an idea of how many copies to order (or to order it at all). "Pre-order?" you may ask. "How on earth do I do a thing like that?
Gillen's got you covered.
MPH, the new super-speedster book from Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo, debuts from Image Comics this week. And apparently it's pretty awesome, because it's already getting its own movie, optioned by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura just one week after Fox bought the rights to Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu's Superior. If Millar didn't already have a tight-enough grip on the nexus of Hollywood and comics, Superior and MPH movies would give him the metaphorical finger-strength to squeeze it into a diamond. So is MPH worthy of the same treatment as Kick-Ass and Wanted? Please read this next part with the inner voice of Dateline's Keith Morrison: Or is Hollywood, much like Roscoe Rodriguez in MPH, moving a little... too... fast? Thank you for playing.
Last week, Image Comics announced that Jim Zub and Steve Cummings' Wayward would be launching in August. Billed as "the perfect new series for wayward Buffy fans," the new ongoing series is focused on a group of teens in Tokyo, dealing with the monsters of Japanese mythology, and it's Zub's first creator-owned title since he launched Skullkickers back in 2010.
To find out more, I spoke to Zub about the inspiration for the series, why you won't be seeing Rori, the main character, running around with a slice of toast in her mouth, and how her feelings of being isolated reinforce what's going on in the series. Plus, we have an exclusive first look at the variant cover for Wayward #1 by Adam Warren!
The first couple hours of Telltale Games' newest episode of its video game version of The Walking Dead, "In Harm's Way," feel a little strange. Things move fairly slowly, and most of what the player does is fairly mundane. You do chores, basically. There's high drama, for sure, but a lot of it is happening around the lead character, Clementine, rather than to her.
Then the last act hits, and things go absolutely crazy. The story gets darker and more intense than it ever really has in the series, which is a high hurdle to clear. The shift, along with a few distracting creative decisions, make for what's probably the most uneven chapter in the series so far, but that seems to kind of be the point.
Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips have collaborated on a number of different spins of the noir variety over the years: hard-luck stories (Criminal), supervillain parables (Incognito), even mixing in Lovecraftian on occasion (Fatale). Now, the creative team is taking on another aspect of noir: old Hollywood's seedy underbelly.
The first project announced since the two inked their five-year carte blanche deal with Image Comics, The Fade Out will kick off August 20 with a 40-page first issue which will include exclusive back-matter articles not to be collected in later editions. Readers can also buy an oversized "movie magazine replica" edition of The Fade Out #1, with eight extra pages of art.
Get ready for more insanity from the Power Persons Five.
Writer/artist Ryan Browne's God Hates Astronauts, which started as a webcomic about crude, perhaps psychopathic superheroes battling outrageous villains and each other, and was eventually published in hardcover thanks to a massively successful Kickstarter, is coming to Image Comics as an ongoing series this August, and he promises all the silliness of what came before, though the plot may be a little more defined. We sat down with him at this year's C2E2 show to talk about what's in store, what has changed about the series, making deadlines, and what else might be in the pipeline.