Stela is a new smartphone app that offers original, exclusive comics optimized for the phone-reading experience. Chapters release every week, and you can read them all for a flat subscription fee of $5 a month. Reading the comics in Stela is smooth and intuitive. Each chapter is read via a downward scroll, and it totally works. Stela moves beyond Comixology's Guided View technology to offer comics that were born to be read on phones, and the result is extremely effective and, at its best, beautiful. However, there are some things about the app that I don't love.
All I want is to look at a simple list or menu of the titles available, but Stela doesn't want to give me that, just a sliding visual menu along the bottom of the screen. Also when I was reading a comic, I wanted to be reminded of the title, and there seems to be no way to bring that up without exiting the reading experience. But let's take a look at opening wave of comics available so far to help give you a sense of what Stela has to offer.
So you remember a while back when we told you how there was a Miami Vice comic coming out by Joe Casey and Jim Mahfood, and that it was probably going to be one of the weirdest things on the stands? Yeah. Turns out we were right, except that it's way weirder than I think any of us actually expected it to be.
Instead of stylishly solving crimes in pastel blazers, Casey and Mahfood's take on Crocket and Tubbs has found them caught up in a nefarious plot to flood the streets of Miami with a new designer drug that turns people into shambling zombies. It's called Miami Bath Salts, and in next week's issue, Tubbs himself has been hit with a dose and sent spiraling into disco psychosis. And yes: those are all words used within this comic.
Licensed comics are a strange beast, especially when they're adapting movies or shows that never had anything at all to do with comics. I mean, there was a Scarface comic with a pretty great creative team a few years ago that was based on the idea that Tony Montana survived the end of the movie, which, just in case you haven't seen it, is both extremely improbable and also contrary to the entire point of the film.
Sometimes, though, you get something that sounds so awesome that it's hard to believe that it's really happening.
Which brings me to the fact that Joe Casey and Jim Mahfood are doing a Miami Vice comic.
Among the colorful cosplay, massive booths, interactive displays and walls of merchandise at Comic-Con International in San Diego — colloquially known as SDCC — remains the most important component of the show: comic book creators. ComicsAlliance photographer and Loikiamania podcast host Pat Loika hit the show floor to catch the men and women who tell our favorite stories in sequential art and captured the enthusiasm that comes from fans getting to meet their favorite storytellers at one of the biggest conventions of the year.
Check back with ComicsAlliance throughout the weekend for more of Pat's great photos from San Diego.
In the final few hours before San Diego Comic-Con opened its doors to the public for Preview Night on Wednesday, Image Comics Expo took place in an upstairs ballroom at the nearby San Diego Bayfront Hilton, where the publisher welcomed a group of press, creators, and fans to watch as the company announced, discussed and otherwise promote a great variety of upcoming Image titles.
One of Jack Kirby's most celebrated (if short-lived) post-DC creations is once again getting an all-star treatment from its latest publishing home at Dynamite Entertainment. Coming this July is a new Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers series from writer Joe Casey and an army of artists including Farel Dalrymple, Ulises Farinas, Michel Fiffe, Nathan Fox, Jim Mahfood, Benajmin Marr, Jim Rugg and Connor Willumsen.
The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this all-new recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
With a name as audacious as D.I.S.CO. Destroyeryou've really got to deliver the kind of insanity and style conjured up by that combination of letters. Rest assured that cartoonist and illustrator Jim Mahfood, comics and animation writer Joe Casey and film producer Scott Mosier have turned in something that lives up the title, a beautifully designed, senses-assaulting animated project for MTV"s revival of the great Liquid Television about a hot-rodding rocker and his race against Heaven and Hell for the fate of mankind.
WARNING: The following video may be considered NSFW.
If Sex is Joe Casey's seedy, R rated take on Batman, then The Bounce is the writer's attempt at a modern portrayal of Spider-Man. Created by Casey and artist David Messina and published by Image, The Bounce stars Jasper Jenkins, a slacker who spends a good chunk of his day getting high. But at night, Jenkins is the Bounce, a superhero blessed with the ability to, well... bounce (think the New Warrior's Speedball, but minus the colorful bubbles). Certainly, the differences between Spider-Man and The Bounce are profound -- at one point Jenkins tries a new drug from street villain the Fog -- but as the story evolves, you see there's much more to the character and the title than that. Like Spider-Man, Jenkins is a young, funny, engaging, and relatable hero. Unlike Spider-Man, he smokes a lot of weed.
In issue #4, the Bounce takes on the Horror, and fights through a language barrier to figure out whether or not he's really his enemy. Image Comics has provided ComicsAlliance with a five page preview of The Bounce #4, which you can view below.
Remember that feeling you got when you first read the great comics of the Eighties? When fantastic deconstructions of superhero characters and genre fiction idioms introduced you to a new level of sophistication? When dozens of mainstream books were possessed of a style and edge that scaled up your spine and sent electricity licking through your neck? When sex and violence were done right? Do ya miss it? Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski might just have your fix: if you miss the honed sense of danger you got when reading The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and American Flagg! it might be time to check out the Image comic Sex, the coolest new Batman book on the shelves.
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