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.
In his decade-plus as a comics writer and artist, Jeff Lemire has worn a lot of different hats: Indie darling, trailblazing Vertigo comics creator, DC Comics' go-to superhero writer.
Now, he's found something like a middle road. He's got a superhero book with an indie flair (Hawkeye), a creator-owned book with big sci-fi ambitions (Descender) and a new Valiant Comics series unlike anything he's ever done before: Bloodshot: Reborn, which is such a vastly new take on the character that plot details are hard to come by.
We talked with Lemire about his somewhat daring take on Valiant's most violent character, and also posed some questions about his varied career.
On the surface, Valiant's Ninjak is an almost silly fantasy character: He's a hyper-capable ninja with the word "ninja" in his name. He's also a British spy. He lives in a castle.
The first issue of the new Ninjak series by writer Matt Kindt and artists Clay Mann and Butch Guice certainly embraces those preteen wish-fulfillment elements, but adds some surprising depth, too, with character flashbacks and quieter moments that dig deep into who this updated version of Colin King really is.
We sat down with Kindt to talk about how he struck a balance between the silly and the serious in the new series, as well as the trippy sci-fi action of Divinity, his new Valiant series with artist Trevor Hairsine, which debuted earlier this month.
A Netflix (or perhaps a Spotify) for comics may have arrived.
Scribd, an online depository of books and audiobooks that gives subscribers unlimited access to a massive library for an $8.99 per month subscription fee, announced today that it has added more than 10,000 comics from publishers including Marvel, Valiant, IDW, Top Shelf, Archie, Boom! Studios, Top Cow, and Arcana to its subscription service.
DATELINE: MOSCOW! The top men at the KGB have sworn to beat America in the space race, spreading the red tide form behind the Iron Curtain to a colony of Stalinist Stars! Fifty years later, their Soviet Spaceman returns from his journey to the stars with powers far beyond those of mortal men! He is a threat to worldwide democracy! He is Abram Adams! He is... SPACE COMMIE!
Or at least, that's how I would've sold it. It seems Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine opted for a slightly more subtle approach in the latest title from the Valiant Next initiative, Divinity. And sure, it might not have quite the excitement of a title like "The Super-Soviet From Outer-Space!", but it still looks pretty great. Check out a preview!
A few years ago, around the time that Matt Smith was gearing up to replace David Tennant, I briefly made an attempt to get into Doctor Who. Sadly, it didn't really take -- as much as I liked reading stuff about the show, and as much fun as I had with bits and pieces of it, the show never really hooked me the way that it did my friends, and I ended up being quite possibly the only person in the world who liked Doctor Who Magazine more than Doctor Who.
Last week, though, it all clicked into place with the release of Fred Van Lente, Clayton Henry, and Brian Reber's Ivar, Timewalker #1 and its story of time-spanning action and underlying mystery. Basically, this was the version of Doctor Who that I actually wanted.
Quantum and Woody got problems, y'all. I mean, that's basically their entire deal. They're two brothers who hate each other but are forced to team up as superheroes under the threat of a quick and explosive death if they don't bash their magic science bracelets together every day. And the thing is, that's not their main problem. That's just where it starts.
Next week, things are going to get pretty rough for them once again as writer James Asmus and artist Steve Lieber send them into a new adventure with the ominous title Quantum and Woody Must Die! And if you thought things were bad already, wait until you see this poor sap who gets splashed with a truckload of radioactive chemicals.
AW SNAP Y'ALL, NINJAK IS BACK!
Seriously, folks, I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. Ninjak, if you don't know, is a ninja named Ninjak, and my love for him just based solely on that is as pure and unironic as you are likely to find, and I've been waiting for him to slice his way back into an ongoing series since Valiant first relaunched. But if that simple fact isn't enough for you, here's something that might get you a little more interested: The new ongoing series, kicking off in March from Matt Kindt, Clay Mann and Butch Guice, is hitting shelves with 40 pages per issue, including a full length lead and a new origin story, all for $3.99. And it also involves Ninjak fighting a lady whose hair can cut through metal and start fires.
Could we have found... the perfect comic book?
Those of you who have been keeping up with Valiant may have wondered just what's in store for Bloodshot (the character who has the best, most '90s comics name of all time) in the future. He's currently teaming up with the rest of the universe (including Ninjak) in the pages of The Valiant, but that's only a four-issue miniseries, so what comes next? Well, if the art for the new Bloodshot: Reborn ongoing series is any indication, we know exactly what he's going to be doing for the forseeable future.
Crunches. Lots and lots of crunches.
When the Valiant Universe returned a few years back with some of the most entertaining and engaging superhero comics on the stands, I think we all knew that it was only a matter of time before some world-shaking calamity brought a bunch of the heroes together in a big ol' crossover event. That's exactly what's happening in the form of The Valiant, in which Ninjak and other, less important heroes are gathering to prevent a scary monster from plunging the world into a new dark age.
It's pretty exciting stuff -- five years ago, I don't think any of us would've expected to see a big superhero event comic written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt -- but the biggest draw for me is the art team of Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera. Thanks to his work on books like Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, Paolo Rivera is easily one of the best artists in comics today -- and when he draws Bloodshot kicking the living crap out of a door, it looks amazing. Check it out in an unlettered preview below!