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Exclusive: Archaia Announces ‘Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons’

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Jim Henson's The Storyteller is in contention for the title of greatest TV show ever made --- it's basically between that, The Wire, Deadwood, and The Great British Bake-Off. Originally running for just one season of nine episodes in the late 1980s, the show combined European folklore, Jim Henson's muppetry, and respected British character actors like John Hurt, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Bean, Brenda Blethyn, and Jennifer Saunders, to spin standalone traditional tales that, watched once, would stay with you forever.

Archaia first revived the brand in 2011 as part of its Jim Henson line, with some of the best up-and-coming creators spinning their own takes on classic folktales in comics form. More amazing creators stepped up to conjure occult yarns for 2014's The Storyteller: Witches, and now ComicsAlliance can exclusively reveal the next installment in Archaia's Storyteller series: The Storyteller: Dragons.

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Exclusive: Witches Rule in Scott, Matthews & Matthews’ ‘Toil And Trouble’ #1 [Preview]

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By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes, and it's a very welcome kind of wickedness. The first issue of Boom Studios' witchy new series Toil And Trouble by writer Mairghread Scott and artists Kelly and Nichole Matthews arrives in stores next week, telling the tale of Shakespeare's Macbeth from the point of view of some of the most famous characters in fiction to never get names; the witches. Boom has provided us with an exclusive preview, so if your thumbs have been pricking strangely, now you know why.

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Anatomy of a Cover: Archaia’s ‘Americatown’ #1 by Mike Choi

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Have you ever wondered how an artist settles on the right image to place on the cover of a comic? Which elements to include, what's important, and how to show it?

Americatown is a new Archaia series from The Americans screenwriter Bradford Winters, Borgias screenwriter Larry Cohen, and newcomer artist Daniel Irizarri, which tells the story of Americans fleeing a collapsed economy to build new lives in a Buenos Aires slum. It's a story about family, politics, and poverty, and the challenge of devising a single image to capture the mood and intent of that tale fell on cover artist Mike Choi. In this feature, Choi reveals his process in putting that cover together.

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At What Cost? Mairghread Scott Talks Magic, Macbeth, And ‘The Third Witch’ [Interview]

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What comes to mind when you think of Shakespeare's Macbeth? There's a good chance the three witches are high on your list, with alll their double, double, toil and trouble. Beyond their brewing, however, they're a relatively anonymous bunch — until now.

Mairghread Scott, with Kelly and Nichole Matthews on art, plans to bring the mysterious three to brilliant new life in The Third Witch, on sale September 2nd from Boom's Archaia imprint. Riata, Cait, and Smertae have been the unseen force behind Scotland's kings for countless years. When a disagreement erupts between the sisters, however, their fell powers threaten to change the course of history. ComicsAlliance sat down with Scott to talk Shakespeare, magic, and music to write witches to.

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Becky Cloonan, Ryan Lang and Aaron Conley Tell the Final ‘Legends of the Guard’ [Preview]

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Sad news; the third volume of Boom Studios/Archaia's Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard comes to an end next week with the fourth of its collections of short stories by some of the most talented artists in the industry, spinning their own mousey tails tales within the world of David Petersen's Mouse Guard.

But good news! The series is going out just as strong as it came in, with new stories illustrated by True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys' Becky Cloonan, Big Hero 6 animator Ryan Lang, and Sabertooth Swordsman's Aaron Conley in stories of ghosts, monsters, and a drunken journey into the belly of the beast. And best news, we have a two-page preview of each story for you to enjoy.

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S.M. Vidaurri on the Magic and Meaning of ‘Iscariot’ [Interview/Preview]

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Iscariot is the story of Carson, a young woman taught magic by a rebellious old magician in order to save her from cancer, and of her struggles to adapt to what her life becomes. It promises to be a powerful tale, beautifully told by author S.M. Vidaurri --- and readers who want an advance preview can see a few pages right here, or pick up the Boom/Archaia Free Comic Book Day comic this weekend.

You may know Vidaurri's work from his contributions to Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches, or from his exquisite and affecting previous book, Iron, Or The War After, a tale of post-war reconciliation and resistance told with anthropomorphic animals. ComicsAlliance spoke to Vidaurri to find out what inspired this new tale, how he chose the visual language, and why cardinals play a recurring role in his comics!

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Fatherhood, Facebook, and Finding the Monster: An Interview with ‘The Realist’ Author Asaf Hanuka

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Asaf Hanuka is an Israeli illustrator and cartoonist whose award-winning webcomic The Realist began as an account of his adventures in house-hunting, but quickly transformed into a much more ambitious and inspirational exploration of his life as an artist, husband, and father as he tries to make sense of politics, technology, and his daily anxieties. Combining visual flourish, moments of fantasy, and startling use of color, Hanuka is brilliantly effective at putting his inner thoughts and fears on the page.

Archaia has collected Hanuka's strips in English for the first time, including some that have never been collected before. We spoke to Hanuka to find out why he started cataloging his life in this way, how fatherhood and technology have shaped him, and what inspires him to make such effective use of color.

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David Petersen’s ‘Mouse Guard’ Inspires Great Stories and Awesome Lego [Preview]

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One of the highlights of last weekend's Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle for me was a secluded spot in the basement of the convention center that was absolutely packed with Lego. Not just people selling Lego, but some extraordinary structural works built entirely out of Lego, including giant superhero heads and an entire city overrun with heroes and villains. But the standout, spread across several tables, was a Lego tribute to David Petersen's Mouse Guard, with little custom mouse minifigs going on quests, setting off to sea, and sneaking around a terrifying giant owl.

It's easy to see how David Petersen's wonderful world of tiny epic adventures could inspire such a vast undertaking. Petersen's work is gorgeous, and the wonder that infuses it carries through into the work being done by other authors in Archaia's Legends of the Guard stories. We have a preview of the second issue, featuring contributions from Kyla Vanderklugt, Dustin Nguyen, C.M. Galdre, and Nicole Gustafsson. These are stories that can delight young minds just as easily as a room full of Lego!

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‘Mouse Guard: Legends of The Guard’ Returns For Third Volume Of Beautiful Art And Drunken Mice

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Archaia tells ComicsAlliance that the publisher of David Petersen’s multi-award winning Mouse Guard is working on a third volume of Legends of the Guard. The anthology project invites some of comics’ most talented creators to tell stories set throughout Petersen’s endlessly charming, frequently funny and always harrowing mediaval world of mice.

Launching in March 2015, the book celebrates the tenth anniversary of Mouse Guard with new work by Petersen and such talents as Skottie Young (Rocket Raccoon), Ramón K. Pérez (Tale Of Sand), Dustin Nguyen (Li'l Gotham), Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Hannah Christenson (Jim Henson's The Storyteller) and Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man), with more yet to be announced.

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The Knife’s Edge Of Western Colonialism: Sergio Toppi’s ‘The Collector’ [Review]

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One of the lesser explored stanchions of the Western genre is the fairly consistent notion of the dominant invading culture moving into indigenous lands and, over time, brutally removing said peoples from that land. Usually our focus is so narrow within the genre that we rarely realize that this is exactly what is happening. The dreaded “Indian raids” of many a John Ford classic are lensed so thoroughly through the perspective of the white-faced hero or anti-hero that an audience can’t help but miss the absurdity of maligning sovereign nations responding to mass invasions by another sovereign nation. Go try and start a mass migration into Putin’s Russia and see how that goes for you.

I bring this up because Sergio Toppi’s The Collector is acutely focused on this precise issue. The collection of stories which make up this stunning tome from Archaia all occur on the knife’s edge of colonialism and western expansion -- and almost without fail, Toppi’s Collector sides with the invaded side rather than with colonizers the way his forebears -- and, really, antecedents -- might.

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