If you read our interview with Steven Universe comics creators Jeremy Sorese and Coleman Engle, then you saw them talking about the story that would become Steven Universe #2. Originally set to be the first issue of the series, it revolves around the annual Beach City Bike Race, with Steven dead set on entering, despite complaints from the Crystal Gems, because they're afraid that the danger would result in his death and they're uncomfortable and unfamiliar with ideas about mortality among humans. Really.
A few weeks ago, we covered the announcement of Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel, the new miniseries from Valiant by Peter Milligan and Cary Nord, and showed off some of Nord's absolutely stunning art. If, however, you are one of our more sharp-eyed readers, you may have thought "hey, these pages don't have the color or lettering that I usually see in my superhero comics! I wonder what they'd look like if they were finished?"
Wonder no more, dear reader! Today, you can have a look at the first six pages of the story in beautiful color, complete with Milligan's dialogue. The story focuses on an adventure from the early days of Gilad Anni-Pada, one of a trio of immortal brothers that also includes Armstrong (of Archer & Armstrong), and it gives Nord's artwork an amazing opportunity to shine.
When I talked to writers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire about their new Valiant Comics miniseries The Valiant at San Diego Comic-Con this year, they said that the kernel of the story, the real heart of it, was something small and personal.
It's not that I don't believe them -- the new, nine-page preview of the series released by Valiant this week includes one page in which Geomancer has a conversation with an unseen person in a library, and it's fairly quiet -- but the eight other pages are full of historical battles, prehistoric battles, future battles, and mythical battles. There are a lot of battles, with Eternal Warrior in the center of some, and Bloodshot in a few others. Artist Paolo Rivera makes it all seem gigantic.
One of the best things about digital comics is that you can read them online pretty much anywhere, but sometimes, every now and then, you want to read them in print. Whether it's the extra features that inevitably come with a printed collection, the texture of paper or just the comforting reminder that physical objects exist and you are therefore not alone and isolated in a formless void, printed webcomics have a lot to offer today's discerning reader, and Dark Horse is stepping up to give you three of the most exciting collections of the year.
Set for release next spring, Eisner winning digital comic Bandette and the webcomic Polar: Eye For An Eye are returning to Dark Horse for the book trade customers, but the third, Murder Book is a newcomer, and it looks awesome.
When it was announced back in January, we knew three things about ODY-C, the new Image series by writer Matt Fraction and artist Christian Ward: It was a retelling of The Odyssey, would take place in space, and the characters would all be gender-swapped.
What wasn't as clear was just how trippy and brutal it would be, but if the five-page prologue Ward posted to his Tumblr last week is indicative of what the whole series will be like, those are the words to describe it.
Ward was sure to note that these pages won't appear in the first issue of ODY-C, so get a good look at the prologue -- with its positively luminous color palette, sometimes unorthodox panel layouts, and one big scene of someone getting sliced in two with a sword -- now.
Andrew MacLean is an illustrator and comics artist we've been admiring for a long time. Part of the uniformly excellent stylists at Brand New Nostalgia, MacLean has appeared in our Best Art Ever (This Week) feature and earned couple of solo spotlights as well for his great work, which is an uncanny blend of a kind of simple, airy animation style with detailed manga, woodblock art, sci-fi Eurocomics and old fashioned American adventure comics. In storytelling, MacLean's biggest claim to fame has been the self-published Head Lopper -- which is, blissfully, precisely what it sounds like, a swords-and-scorcery type comic that affords MacLean to show off his talent for action and humor. Additionally, his work is featured in Brand New Nostalgia and Out Of Step Arts' kaBOOMbox anthology, a particularly cool-looking collection funded with Kickstarter that will be available at conventions later this year and online soon.
But MacLean's going to make a much bigger splash in the comics scene in 2015, when Dark Horse releases his debut graphic novel ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For End Times. The 96-page book features story, art, color and lettering by MacLean, who, based on the preview pages provided exclusively to ComicsAlliance, has leveled up in a big way since beginning work on Head Lopper.
Inés Estrada's psychedelic science-fiction epic, Lapsos is releasing next month in a collected, English language edition and it's something that should be on your radar. Published by Swedish imprint, C'est Bon Kultur, and debuting at the Helsinki Comics Festival, the new hardback edition is limited to 1000 copies, and includes the original series in addition to 40 pages of new content. Lapsos follows the adventures of two friends who discover the existence of various dimensions between their home city in Mexico, and the gradual realisation that everything is connected, it's marked with Estrada's signature gross-but-touching humour and vivid characterisation.
When the New 52 launched back in 2011, one of the interesting things about the lineup of titles was the presence of a lot of books that attempted to break out of the standard superhero genre, at least a little. There were horror, fantasy and war comics, but the most creatively and commercially successful by far was DC Comics' All Star Western, featuring Jonah Hex. Now, however, All Star Western is coming to an end after three years with a story where Jonah Hex is faced with what may be his toughest foe yet: Jonah Hex.
This issue marks a pretty notable conclusion for a few reasons, most notably being that, if you count the Jonah Hex series that launched back in 2006 before rebooting as All Star Western, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are two of DC's longest tenured creators, having written over a hundred issues about Jonah Hex, the disfigured old west era bounty hunter originally created by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga in the early 1970s.
The second is that the issue marks the auspicious return of award-winning artist Darwyn Cooke to the character for his final adventure.
If you weren't already sold on writer Jason Latour (Southern Bastards) and artist Robbi Rodriguez (FBP) doing a re-imagining of Gwen Stacy in which she is a new version of Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, what if I offered you this to sweeten the deal: Gwen is the drummer in a band, they're called the Mary Janes, and they have a song that ruminates on Mary Jane Watson's classic "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot" line from Amazing Spider-Man #42.
Wait, you thought Gwen Stacy was dead, right? Edge of Spider-Verse is a prelude to Marvel's Spider-Verse event, which brings in "every Spider-Man ever," including versions from alternate universes, to fight a common threat. This version of Gwen Stacy is one of those alternate universe characters. Possessing her own spider-powers and a rad costume, she's already been a hit with Spidey fans based on the few images seen so far.
In her review of the first two issues of Natasha Allegri's Bee and Puppycat comic, ComicsAlliance's own Juliet Kahn declared it to be the product of "a creator raised on Jim Davis and CLAMP," and really, that's the best way you could possibly describe the aesthetic heritage of this project: a perennially unemployed twenty-something magical girl and her strange, eternally scowling and space-faring pet of indeterminate species going on adventures in an equally uncertain but nevertheless compellingly cute universe of weirdness and wonder.
For the third issue of BOOM! Studios' comic book version of the Cartoon Hangover animated series, Allegri hands her creation over to cartoonists and storyboard artists Tait Howard, Aubrey Aiese, Madeline Flores, Ian McGinty, Fred Stressing and Anissa Espinosa for a quartet of new stories. For their chapter, Howard and Aiese pit Bee and Puppycat against an apartment in desperate need of cleaning, and shows just what they're willing to do to get out of washing dishes. I think we can all relate.