Harlan Ellison has written short stories, essays, teleplays, screenplays and books, but though he’s repeatedly talked about how influential the medium was for him as a boy, he has scripted relatively few comics. His enthusiasm and interest in the medium has never waned, however, and he’s taken time to praise the work of many books and creators over the years — in between winning almost every science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror and screenwriting award possible, that is.
Review: Al Rio Tribute Art Book – Volume One by Jerry Whitworth
Three years ago this month, the comic book industry lost one of its stars. On the short list of modern day “good girl art” masters, illustrator Al Rio passed away in January 2012 leaving behind a wife and three children. Following his loss, steps were taken to support his family in a tribute art book put together by Rio’s friends and collaborators resulting in a Kickstarter campaign last summer. With a goal of raising $5,500 to finance publication, the book went beyond the goal amassing over $8,800. Further, with a projected publication date of April 2015, the book instead saw print last month. Available to the public now through Al Rio’s website, the Al Rio Tribute Art Book – Volume One (2003-2005) opens with a brief biography of the artist followed by three chapters each outlining selected pieces of art Al Rio produced during the years 2003, 2004, and 2005. The hardcover book’s three chapters feature seventy all color pages of art including sketches and finished art with characters from many of the industry’s most well-known publishers.Read More
The Nocturnals Return Down a Sinister Path by Jerry Whitworth
On the heels of the release of Nocturnals: Legend, an art book by Big Wow! Art celebrating twenty years of Dan Brereton’s Nocturnals, a Kickstarter campaign to fund Nocturnals: The Sinister Path has recently gone live. The first original story centering around Brereton’s band of Halloween-inspired pulp/horror characters since 2008, the Nocturnals tells the story of occult adventurer Doc Horror, his clairvoyant daughter Eve (aka Halloween Girl), her silent guardian Gunwitch, and their band of monstrous allies as they deal with aliens, mobsters, and, of course, creatures of the night. For Sinister Path, a new band of elder Nocturnals emerge in the Children of the Judge, a malevolent mirror version of Horror’s group, as Eve is haunted by alien spirits in her dreams terrorizing her from the nether realm. First published in 1994, the Nocturnals have become the greatest work produced yet by painter and writer Dan Brereton, also known for his work on Batman: Thrillkiller, Superman and Batman: Legends of the World’s Finest, and JLA: Seven Caskets. Sinister Path will see the return of favorites like Polychrome, Starfish, Firelion, and the Raccoon as well as the addition of Jammybottoms, another doll in Eve’s menagerie of possessed poppets linked to the phantasms that now stalk her.Read More
Top 10: WWE “Legends” Dream Match-Ups by Jerry Whitworth
In the upcoming storyline “Legends” in the WWE Superstars series, wrestlers from across the thirty five year history of the WWF to today’s WWE will compete to tackle age old debates comparing legends of the past against modern day stars. From the minds of Mick Foley (multi-New York Times bestselling author and retired wrestler) and Shane Riches (R.P.M., Afflicted), the arc will feature such bouts as Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Randy Orton, Ultimate Warrior vs. John Cena, and Hulk Hogan vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. However, matches already announced only scratch the surface of the dozens of high profile talent that have come through the WWE. Lets then take a look at some possible battles we could expect to see this Fall from Super Genius Comics.
WWE Superstars Goes to War by Jerry Whitworth
For Fall 2014, Papercutz’ imprint Super Genius will explore its series WWE Superstars in a more typical comic book fashion by taking readers through time and across space. From the minds of Mick Foley (multi-New York Times bestselling author who famously wrestled as Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love) and Shane Riches (R.P.M., Afflicted), “Legends” is inspired by Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (while riffing on Monday Night Raw is War) and summons performers from across the last thirty five years of WWE history beginning with its days as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to today as World Wrestling Entertainment. While the exact details of the story have yet to surface, what is known is performers from throughout time have been captured and brought to the world Battleground where they’re forced to compete across a variety of stages. Featured in the story is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Daniel Bryan who must uncover the mystery of their abduction and, more importantly, how to get home. Thus far, the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Iron Sheik, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Junkyard Dog, Honky Tonk Man, Mr. Perfect, Ultimate Warrior, Undertaker, Road Warriors, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, Randy Orton, Wyatt Family, and “Bad News” Barrett are set to appear (as the likes of Sgt. Slaughter, Big Daddy Cool Diesel, Vader, Big Show, Kane, Triple H, Rey Mysterio Jr., Sheamus, Great Khali, Alberto Del Rio, and the Shield have been pictured in art released at this point).Read More
The Red Planet on the Four-Color Page: Mars in Comics by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, NASA landed the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars providing a vast resource of information on the “red planet” that we never before had access toward. Man has told tales of the fourth planet from the sun for many years, a medium frequently employed in this way is the comic book. One of the earliest stories applied to the four-color page was from a source predating comic books by several decades. The Barsoom series written by Edgar Rice Burroughs describes Earthman John Carter as he is transported to Mars where he becomes that world’s champion and weds its princess. Created for pulp magazine (one of the chief progenitors to the comic book), Carter’s story would be applied to a comic strip for the Chicago Sun in 1941 but would be published for comic books in 1952 for Dell Comics, 1972 for DC Comics, 1977 (and again in 2012) for Marvel Comics, 1996 for Dark Horse, and 2010 for Dynamite Entertainment.Read More
Untold Tales of the Punisher Max #1 Review by Derf
Writer: Jason Starr
Artist: Roland Boschi
Color: Dan Brown
48 Pages – Full Color
The Punisher is one of my favorite characters of all time. That is why his books are some of the only titles that I get from Marvel. The first time I was introduced to the Punisher was in the Amazing Spider-man vol. 1 #135. When I saw this vigilante dressed in black with a large skull on his chest, I was immediately interested.
Let’s fast forward to 2012. I just read the Untold Tales of the Punisher Max #1 and I was very impressed. For those of you who do not follow Marvel, the Max titles are the ones with explicit content and are not suitable for minors. Issue #1 tells the story of a man named Jimmy who is asked to kill someone to clear a debt he has with a loan shark. If he doesn’t do it by midnight the next day they will come back and kill him. The comic shows the anguish going through his mind and follows him throughout the 24 hours he was given. Well, eventually his decisions lead to a meeting with the Punisher. And for those of who know how the Punisher operates, you know that can’t be good.Read More
The Comic Book Industry: Creator Rights or Wrongs? by Jerry Whitworth
The American comic book industry was largely built from anti-Semitism. The United States (the Americas in general) started from one people imposing their will on other people, Europeans came to the Western hemisphere’s prominent continents and claimed the land therein for their native nations, often pushing out or killing natives that opposed them. This continued on throughout its history, with the prevalence of slavery and minority rights that have since legally made those of different skin color equal but the struggle remains today between people and their differences (skin color, religion, sexual-orientation, economic class, etc). A hatred that continues to fester today is that against the Jews, a hatred since ancient times when the Egyptians held them as slaves and later when Europeans saw them as unscrupulous money lenders and Christians and Muslims held their own special contempt for them. The United States of America, founded as an independent nation with the freedom to practice whatever religion you believed in, made it illegal to hate someone for having different beliefs, but that didn’t stop people from discriminating despite this fact. Jews, regardless of their skill or ability, were often the target of being blacklisted from work. It was often the case you would have a Jewish businessman hire almost exclusively Jewish workers, under the idea of looking out for their own people, but likely more prevalent with a knowledge it would mean cheap labor. Jewish publishers like Maxwell Charles Gaines, better known as M.C. Gaines (formerly Max Ginzberg), Martin Goodman, and Harry Donenfeld founded companies like All-American Publications, Timely Comics, and National Periodical Publications, respectively. Donenfeld, a salesman turned printer, founded National with Jack Liebowitz and was compared to a gangster in Gerard Jones’ Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book (2005) for his aggressive approach to business, promising clients the world and bullying his employees to get what he wanted.Read More
Through the Ages: Transition in Comics – Part Four by Jerry Whitworth
While Grant Morrison and Alex Ross helped nudge a new direction in the comics industry, they certainly didn’t get there alone. Two men who helped push this new direction to what it is today are Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio. Johns was an up-and-comer in the film industry mentored by legendary director Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon series) when he met DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza who offered Johns the opportunity to pitch ideas. One of those ideas reached fruition with Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., an update on the DC property Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy. However, his next two projects at the publisher would provide much more fanfare. The Flash, coming off a longtime critically-received run under scribe Mark Waid, needed a fill-in team to cover the book while an ongoing team could be established. Johns came aboard with the storyline Wonderland and fans enjoyed it so much, DC found their new ongoing writer. When James Robinson moved on to work on projects in Hollywood, Johns would replace his position as co-writer on JSA with David S. Goyer and he struck gold again. Meanwhile, Dan DiDio, who was a writer and story editor for Mainframe Entertainment (ReBoot, Beast Wars: Transformers), was hired as an administrator at DC, first as vice president of editorial in 2002 and two years later as executive editor for the DC Universe. It was around this time DC Comics vigorously pursued exclusive contracts for work at the publisher, including luring talent from Marvel.Read More
Through the Ages: Transition in Comics – Part One by Jerry Whitworth
History for the American comic book has traditionally been broken into eras, known in the industry as ages, that generally denote some change in the approach, representation, and writing of the medium. This isn’t necessarily uncommon in any medium but it’s more discussed for comics because where many works go through progressive, gradual alterations, comic books have often had fairly significant leaps. So, lets take a look at this form of media as it progressed.Read More
Here is what’s coming from Zenescope Entertainment this March:
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Alice In Wonderland Issue #4
Raven Gregory (W) Robert Gill (A) Jason Embury (C)
Cover A: Sean Chen
Cover B: Stjepan Sejic
The adventures of Alice continue…
Alice escapes the clutches of the Mad Hatter and the tea party only to find herself captured by someone much worse… someone who embodies the very insanity of wonderland and who’s thirst for bloodshed cannot be matched. Hold on to your heads because it’s about to get a whole lot more insane! Zenescope’s newest Wonderland series that every fan has been waiting for is here!
Follow us back down the rabbit hole!!
32 pgs, FC, $2.99
Charmed Issue #20
Paul Ruditis (W) Dean Kotz (A)
Cover: David Seidman
Magical beings run amuck in the streets sending the powerless into hiding. Cut off from the Elders and the Angels of Destiny, there is no one to turn to for help. All hope seems lost in a world in which The Charmed Ones are no longer Charmed!
32 pgs, FC, $3.50
Philadelphia, PA October 10th, 2011– Zenescope Entertainment has announced plans to release a brand new Wonderland prequel series under its Grimm Fairy Tales label entitled Alice in Wonderland. Zenescope’s initial visit to Wonderland came in the form of a trilogy that first hit shelves back in 2007. Return To Wonderland was the original release which quickly found a loyal and rabid fan base as it sold out of multiple re-printings.
Return was followed by two equally successful mini-series (Beyond Wonderland and Escape From Wonderland) as fans flocked to pick up the edgy publisher’s dark and twisted reinvention of Lewis Carroll’s famous writings. Return To Wonderland followed Alice’s teenage daughter, Calie, as she journeys into a realm of madness called Wonderland and tries desperately to find a way out. Zenescope’s new series will now tell Alice’s infamous story with the dark twists and horror-laced tone that Zenescope is best known for.
“After we finished the trilogy we agreed that we would only do another Wonderland series if there was a great story to tell. What none of us wanted was to run this into the ground.” Said Zenescope’s Editor-in-Chief Ralph Tedesco “After a while we threw around the idea for an Alice prequel and it didn’t take long to realize the potential. We had created this entirely new mythology by reinventing Carroll’s original characters and also introducing entirely new characters into the mix. There is so much material left to explore and many of our fans have been waiting patiently for more Wonderland. So that’s what we’re going to give them.”
The new series will follow Alice Liddle, a young girl who decades ago was sent by her own family to a mysterious realm that feeds on the sanity of all those who enter. Alice grows up as a prisoner of the terrifying yet mystical realm and must learn to adapt to her surroundings or perish.
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Alice in Wonderland #1 hits shelves in December and will feature covers by Artgerm, Eric Basaldua and Nei Ruffino. It is currently available for order through Diamond Previews at 32 pages for $2.99 and in full color. Go to Zenescope’s website at www.zenescope.com and Facebook page www.facebook.com/Zenescope for more information.
Zenescope Entertainment was founded by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco in 2005 and has quickly grown into one of the top comic book and graphic novel publishing companies in the world. Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales and subsequent spinoff series such as Escape From Wonderland, Neverland and The Piper, which put a dark twist on classic fables, are some of the best-selling and longest running original independent comic books on shelves today. Zenescope’s licensed titles include the on-going, critically acclaimed Charmed series, based off of the long-running popular television series, as well as Se7en and Final Destination, based off of New Line Cinema’s successful film franchises.Read More