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Exclusive Interview: Artist Mark Wheatley

mark wheatley self-portraitQ: When did you get interested in comics, and what’s the first comic book series you remember really liking?

I was very young. Maybe 5 or 6 years old. The kids in our little neighborhood would trade stuff – toys and comics. I traded something I had for several coverless comics. In fact, these comics also were missing the first sheet or two, so the first 2 or 4 pages of story and the final 2 or 4 were also missing. I enjoyed reading them – I had to imagine the beginnings and endings of the stories because those parts were missing. And every time I read those stories, I would imagine different beginnings and endings. It was good exercise for the imagination.

It took me many years to figure out that I was reading a couple issues of Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories.

A year or two later I traded for two issues of Spider-Man. These comics really caught my imagination. I loved the quirky art by that Steve Ditko guy. And since the stories were continued, I kept reading them in different order in an attempt to get the story to connect and make sense. Again, my imagination was put to good use connecting the plot points! It was a few years later that some kid explained to me that the numbers on the covers were all about what order to read them. I then learned that I was reading two issues that were quite a few numbers apart. So they really did not connect. But that never stopped me making up my own stories to fill in the blanks. I guess I’m still doing that!

Q: First published work?

My first commercial published work was some poster designs that my school system commissioned me to do while I was still in high school. But I had been publishing my own fanzine about comics and science fiction for a few years at that point. The zine was called NUCLEUS and that’s where I first connected with John Workman, Bob Smith, Howard Chaykin, Marc Hempel and a few other guys who also went on to make professional comics.

doctor who, the 9th doctor adventures, art by Mark WheatleyQ: What other artists influenced and continue to influence you and your style?

I’m influenced by anything that is good and even a good deal that is bad! My personal favorite artists are many. In comics, the list includes Steve Ditko, Roy Crane, Winsor McKay, Will Eisner, and really – the list just goes on and on. I think my visual style is informed a bit by N. C. Wyeth, Nick Cardy, Alex Toth and Alex Nino. But I collect old magazines and books for the classic illustrators who worked from the late 1890s through about 1965. And all of this material exerts an influence on my approach to any of my projects. I know that I aim for a different look on each new project that gets a bit closer to the heart of the subject and mood. I don’t know if that comes through in the final work – it might all look the same to my readers.

I will also say that there are a growing number of amazing artists working today who impress me with their drawing and imagination. I stand willing to learn from anyone!

Q: Do you use computers, tablets and software, or are you old-school with pens and a scanner?

Yes.

I use all of that, and more. But my typical work flow is to draw on the computer in Photoshop, using my Cintiq. At times, I’ll print out that drawing and then pencil and/or ink a version or portions of the image that can then be scanned and brought back into the computer for digital painting. And I even will paint some real media strokes and details that will get scanned and combined with the digital painting. I’ll do whatever I think will give me the look and result I’m aiming for – all within the limits of my deadlines. The hard truth is that there are times when I would like to do the real media elements and instead I have to pull out all the digital chops and get the work done in an hour or two, because digital is faster and allows for easier changes. And since I’ve been doing a great deal of work for TV in the past decade, and TV people ask for many, many, many, many changes, digital is a life and deadline saver!

Q: What are you reading nowadays?

I live in a house full of books. I have read about two thirds of them. And I read constantly. But I never get past the two thirds mark because I keep getting more books to read!

Right now I am reading a history of magazine publishing, THE MAGAZINE IN AMERICA 1741-1990. I am also reading THE ANNOTATED MARX BROTHERS: A FILMGOER’S GUIDE TO IN-JOKES, OBSCURE REFERENCES AND SLY DETAILS by Matthew Coniam, and HAROLD VON SCHMIDT by Walt Reed, I usually am reading a novel, but the long hours I’ve had to work these past few months on a new TV pilot for ABC has interrupted that. Next I’m looking forward to reading THE DRAWING OF THE DARK by Tim Powers. As for comics, I’ve been reading the John Severin edited issues of TWO FISTED TALES.  I also am reading all sorts of magazine articles from the old magazine issues I collect. I enjoy reading about the then current events. It gives an illuminating view of history to read about it while it was happening. Very instructional for seeing how modern events are portrayed in our media and how they might be remembered years from now. Also, it tends to make it very obvious how much of our society is playing out a loop of recurring events for the past 150 years or so.

Q: Favorite comic book -> movie adaptation and TV show?

I was very happy with the first Sam Rami SPIDER-MAN movie. I also thought the first IRON MAN movie was exceptional. I don’t know about TV. Although the 1960s BATMAN TV show is what started me drawing my own comic books. I got all charged up by the BATMAN craze and drew stories that featured a duck version of BATMAN. Probably the best adaptation of anything to TV that I’ve ever seen is THE EXPANSE on SyFy. But that’s from the science fiction novels by James S. A. Corey.

Q: Share some of your work: A first pencil sketch to a finished panel. Do you do all your own inking, coloring, and lettering?

mark wheatley doctor who cover creation

Progression of cover for issue #8 of the 12th Doctor Adventures, Year Two, by Mark Wheatley.

Above is the sequence for The 12th Doctor Adventures, Year Two, Issue #8, left to right, starting with my graphite sketch of Peter Capaldi. It was very simple, but I was mainly going for the likeness that would work with just half the face. Then I scanned the sketch and painted it in Photoshop. Finally, the finished cover from Titan.

FLUFFYPUSS: DOOMSDAY CAT, a new Sunday Comics series by Mark Wheatley.

FLUFFYPUSS: DOOMSDAY CAT, a new Sunday
Comics series by Mark Wheatley.

Q: What’s next for your career?

Right now I am working on a lavishly illustrated YA novel with steampunk master G. D. Falksen. We are two years into the work and should be announcing it in the next few months. I’m also working on the new edition of BREATHTAKER that I did with Marc Hempel. We have fully remastered it and are working on an additional new story together. There will be some major public events tied into the new edition, including a major touring show of the original art to a number of museums. And I just completed work on the SQUARE ROOTS pilot for ABC TV. We will know in May if it will go to series. I’m also continuing to paint covers for DOCTOR WHO at Titan, STARGATE ATLANTIS at American Mythology and THE THREE STOOGES at American Mythology.

Did I mention FLUFFYPUSS: DOOMSDAY CAT? It’s a Sunday Comic I’m launching from Golden Bell Studios and I do it all, from story to art.

And there are even a few more things I’m not yet allowed to announce!

Q: What’s one title you think is a good example of your art / writing here at TFAW?

My current comics work is mostly covers, that I already mentioned.  I think my story, “NIGHTMARE” that I did for the Dark Horse JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN this past year was nice. But my favorite works are EZ STREET from ComicMix/IDW and BREATHTAKER soon to be out from Titan.

Q: Where were you born, what did you study in college, what are the names of your pets, if you have any, and where do you live now?

I hail from Virginia, where I attended Virginia Commonwealth University. The school trained me to be an art director. And I worked as an AD for three years before I got into comics. I have two beautiful, young kitty cats – Amber & Autumn and they and my lovely wife, Carol live with me here in the wilderness of rural Maryland in our house full of old books.

Q: Do you have any personal appearances coming up?

I do! I hope to see a lot of my fans this summer. I’m preparing for a busy convention season that starts at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, followed by 3 Rivers Comicon, then Awesome Con and the San Diego Comic-Con International and then the Baltimore Comic-Con – oh and FCBD at Redd Skull Comics in Calgary, too!

You can keep track of me and see my latest works at MarkWheatleyGallery.com and on Facebook at @WheatleyMarks.

Are you a creative professional in the comic book or graphic novel industry? We’d like to interview you! Please send an email inquiry to Dave Taylor at TFAW as the first step.


Review: Negative Space #1

Written by

Apr 28 2016 at 9:23am

Posted in Product Reviews

negative space #1 coverIt’s not often that a comic starts out by introducing its protagonist – on page one of Negative Space #1 – wallowing in suicidal depression. This is where we find Guy Harris, sitting a small room surrounded by the clutter of someone who has better (or worse) things on their mind than cleaning house. Most notably is the noose that sits on top of the clutter on his desk. Like all writers do at some point or another, Guy is struggling with writer’s block. Unlike most writers, the piece he is having trouble writing is his suicide note.

Meanwhile, at Kindred Tower, “everyone’s favorite multinational,” Guy’s suicide is the object of discussion. Or, rather, his lack of suicide is; his suicide is so important to Kindred that the company begins working to increase is depression and despair, pulling strings to covertly push him closer to the completion of his note and the utilization of his noose.

Before succumbing, Guy drops by Woody’s house, where he finds the beginning of an answer to why – unbeknownst to him – Kindred is so interested in his tragic end.

The hideous creature on the cover of Negative Space #1 teases at a more exciting chapter than you’ll end up reading, but the story nonetheless pulls you in immediately. Ryan Lindsay’s story and Owen Gieni’s almost emotional art make for relatable characters and the promise of great things to come. In particular, Gieni creates faces that can tell a story without a single word of prose. In particular, look to Guy’s face and feel all the sads. Gieni brings characters to life in a way few artists can.

Negative Space #1, writer: RYAN K. LINDSAY, artist: OWEN GIENI, letters: RYAN FERRIER, $3.99

Review by Rob McKinney.


New Comic Book Day — Reviews for X-Files, Avengers, We are Robin, & Aliens

Another Wednesday, another set of great comics for New Comic Book Day! This week Avengers take their last stand before Civil War II, X-Files goes back to #1, We are Robin continues to amaze, and Dark Horse brings us back to the horror that is Aliens. Remember these are just a few of this week’s new releases many more came out this week. Check out our other blog articles to see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

ALIENS: Defiance comics at TFAW.com

Aliens: Defiance #1
By: Brian Wood, Tristan Jones, Dan Jackson, Massimo Carnevale

In this new chapter of the terrors that are the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, we find that they’re looking to gather the Xenomorphs and use them as weapons. They will be stopped. They must be stopped.

Brian Wood’s story is an interesting departure from what we’ve seen before — instead of surviving, they’re going hunting. The way this issue was built seems like it would also work as a TV or movie script. With a strong foreshadow, then going back in time for an introduction to the characters and places.

Tristan Jones and Dan Jackson do a great team up with the art and colors. I love the emotion that Tristan brings to the characters faces. You can really see disgust and fear exceptionally well in this issue. Dan’s colors give it that dark atmosphere. You can hear the gun blasts, hissing, and screaming from the Xenomorphs in your head, a true testament to the immersion you’ll get with this issue.

Overall, if you haven’t kept up on Aliens, Predator, or Prometheus stuff, Aliens: Defiance #1 is a great to start. If you want to read more, may I suggest Fire & Stone? [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega Comics at TFAW.com

Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1
By: Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuña, Angel Uzueta

This is my favorite Standoff series yet and I will tell you why — all of the events in this issue are cinematic.

Daniel Acuña and Angel Uzueta really nail the head on the coffin with the amazing artwork making it feel like a movie. If you are not keeping up with the Standoff series, this issue masterfully summarizes everything that has been going on.

S.H.I.E.L.D. got ahold of a cosmic cube and made a prison that seemed like reality for most of Marvel’s cruelest villains. However, a special well-known villain figures out the fake reality and uses it to their advantage!

This issue tackles a lot of questions we have about Steve Rogers returning as Captain America next month. It also tells us how all the Avengers from different universes work together as one.

Grab a copy of Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1 today! [Darcy M. at Universal TFAW]

We Are Robin comics at TFAW.com

We are Robin #11
By: Lee Bermejo, Jorge Corona

We Are Robin #11 is a turning point for The Robins — or what’s left of them. With a homicidal Joker gang on the loose in Middletown High, it’s up to a few to save the many.

Jorge Corona has this cool style that reminds me of Skottie Young’s early work on Deadpool — it works really well for this series. Corona also has a knack of making the environment interesting to explore. Don’t worry, you never feel it’s too cartoony or childish.

Lee Bermejo, who has been on the book since the beginning, seems to have an overall arc that he’s working toward, which is always a plus when reading an ongoing series. Although I’ve only read a few issues of this the series to date, this issue made me go back and read it from the first volume. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

X-Files comics at TFAW.com

X-Files #1
By: Joe Harris, Matthew Dow Smith, Menton3

Do you still believe? After this issue, I believe something is going on. With a mass shooting at a mall, our good agents are called in for an unknown reason. Why would a shooting spree fall into the line of “X-Files”?

Something is sticking out like a sore thumb and by the end of the issue, Mulder knows it. It wasn’t just an accident that they were sent on this case. There is something more sinister in the background; much like there always seems to be with the X-Files.

If the mini-series that recently hit the airwaves didn’t fulfill your weekly dose of Mulder & Scully, give IDW’s X-Files a read. Something to note is that there is a handy reader’s guide for both the newer stories and the classic comics in the back of this issue. Perfect for any fan looking to explore the comic book continuity. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!


Review: Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #2

deadpool and mercs for money #2 lim variant coverDeadpool and the Mercs for Money #002 follows the story of Deadpool, and his team of mercenaries, attempting to sell a future predicting robot to the highest bidder. As might be expected when dealing with criminals, demons, and megalomaniacs, these negotiations don’t always go smoothly.

Deadpool is, well, Deadpool. Constantly talking to himself, insulting everyone around him, and breaking the fourth wall. The comic also serves to introduce the other members of Deadpool’s team: Stingray, Slapstick Solo, Foolkiller, Massacre and Terror. All the other members apart from Stingray are out trying to negotiate deals for the robot.

The Mercs for Money serve as nice contrast from the Avengers and X-Men, all trying to save the world. The Mercs only care about one thing; money. They couldn’t care less if the world gets taken over, ravaged by war, or even destroyed, so long as they get paid. So, they turn to the highest bidders to sell the robot, all of whom happen to be people that want to do one more of the aforementioned things.

From petty criminals to world domination obsessed executives and megalomaniacal demons, Deadpool ends up with a lot of potential buyers. However, instead of taking the logical route, Deadpool comes up with an idea that’s just about as crazy as he is.

As a first impression, the art style was nice, not too overwhelming. The storyline was well organized and each piece tied back into the larger plot. This comic serves as nice Deadpool refresher, even after the movie. Reading it let me appreciate how accurately the movie portrayed the character, and made me like an already great character even more.

Note that Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #2 has two variant covers. The regular edition can be found here: Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #2, while variant 1 can be found here: Action Figure Variant Cover and variant 2 (shown above) can be found here: Lim Variant Cover.

Deadpool and & the Merc$ for Money #002. Writer: Cullen Bunn. Artists: Salva Espin, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. Published March 16, 2016 with two additional variant covers. $3.99 US.

Review by Ben Getchell.


Review: DKIII The Master Race

dark knight master race #3Dark Knight III: The Master Race is based upon the legendary The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, and it’s excellent, so do yourself a favor, pick it up and get on it!

Good. Now let’s get into this, and start with a

SPOILER ALERT!

Ready? Okay, here’s my original headline: WAKE UP, SUPERMAN! Your daughter is no longer daddy’s little girl, and THAT may be a problem for us ALL!

In all seriousness, both Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and The Dark Knight Strikes Again were two of the most well-read and well-loved comic stories in… well… the history of comics, I’d say. Both have been reprinted, since their original releases, so that new readers can enjoy them the same as old, not to mention the multiple movies that were made based on Miller’s vision. DKIII picks up after The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

It has been a long time to wait to have Frank Miller’s world of the Dark Knight revisited in comics, and the storytellers are sparing no expense when it comes to strange new events and intriguing character developments. Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, Klaus Janson, and Brad Anderson have been working hard on delivering a powerful new story segment, and deliver they have!

Again, SPOILERS TO FOLLOW, so beware!

First, let’s mention the language of the DKIII books, so far. While a bit wordier than Miller’s typical works, the modern use of texting-speak is quite unique in the DKIII comics, and is likely influenced heavily by co-writer Azzarello’s difference in style. It also harkens back, a bit, to the insertion of newscaster comments within TDKR.

The artwork shown in this issue, as well as in the two issues prior, is sequential-art storytelling at its finest. Kubert and the art-team have produced dynamic and intense pages of visual greatness. Their visuals effectively pull we viewers out of our chairs and into the vivid universe of The Dark Knight, just where we all want to be.

The Justice League, and most specifically for this story so far, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, DC’s holy trinity, have all pulled away from their previously focused world’s spotlight as heroes. Bruce Wayne has all but stopped doing the work of the Batman, and his complex present state of aging, makes him [somewhat sad to say] seemingly NOT the focus of his own book. Rather, Superman, Wonder Woman, and their daughter are now garnering more focus.

Superman, three years ago in the story, had gone into hibernation in his Fortress of Solitude and is now re-awakened by Bruce Wayne and his protégé Carrie Kelly in hopes of gaining the Man of Steel’s help protect against earth’s newly emerged and powerful foes. Quar and the other Kandorians, from the Kryptonian bottle-city of Kandor, are now becoming the major threat to our world. So far these villains have not been portrayed with enough depth, for my taste, and wish we could get more of an introspective view into the “why” behind their attacks and their demand that the entire human race surrender to their dominance.

Will Lara, Superman and Wonder Woman’s now grown-up and über-powerful daughter, side with we earthlings, or with the Kandorians? Guess you’d better pick up this issue, and probably the next few, in order to find out!

Oh, sorry, one last thing: Each of the three DKIII books, so far, has a mini-comic inserted within the comic, under the title “Dark Knight Universe Presents.” Issue one contains The Atom, two has Wonder Woman, and three has Green Lantern. All also worth checking out, but those are another set of interconnected stories to be discussed at another time.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3. Story: Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello. Pencils: Andy Kubert. Inks: Klaus Janson. Colors: Brad Anderson. $5.39.

Review by Steve Oatney.


Review: Deadpool #8

Written by

Apr 25 2016 at 9:12am

Posted in Product Reviews

deadpool #8Released this March, Deadpool #8 follows Deadpool in his hunt for Sabretooth, whom he blames for the death of his parents. In Deadpool #8, Deadpool continues his search by spending a whole lot of time searching for fingerprints, and chasing down henchmen. This comic takes up a more serious side of Deadpool. He is still killing everyone who gets in his way, but without the dark humor and constant rambling and fourth wall breaks that is normally Deadpool.

It appears that in this comic, a rare event has occurred; Deadpool actually cares about something.

In many ways, Deadpool #8 reminds me of the recent Deadpool movie, and perhaps with good reason as it came out around the same time. In both stories, Deadpool is on a self-driven mission that involves going through a bunch of henchmen to reach the ultimate baddie, to rescue, or in this case get information about someone he loves. Unlike the movie, the comic is by no means a love story, however the tone of it is similar. Despite its slightly darker tone, the comic does have some classic Deadpool humor such as him demanding Jarvis to refer to him as “my dope ass fresh prince,” along with some brutally funny deaths. It’s worth mentioning that the Mercs for Money are briefly in this issue, enjoying their full paychecks now that Deadpool is away.

The writing style is nice, although I do prefer a lighter, more sarcastically cynical version of Deadpool. The scenes jump around a little, with little to no filler storyline, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A noticeable absence in this issue was the fourth wall breaks. The story was relatively contained within Deadpool’s world, which in my opinion made the tone more serious.

Deadpool #8. Writer: Gerry Duggan. Artists: Matteo Lolli, Mike and Laura Allred. Published March 3, 2016. $3.99 US.

Review by Ben Getchell.


Exclusive Interview: Artist Matt Haley

artist matt haleyQ: When did you get interested in comics, and what’s the first comic book series you remember really liking?

A: Neal Adams’ Batman reprints ruled my little world, loved when he had a thirty-foot long cape and a tiny Bat-sports-coupe. There’s something that hits me viscerally to read them even today.

Q: First published work?

A: “Star Trek: The Next Generation Annual #2”, reprinted in “The Best Of Star Trek:TNG” TPB from DC Comics. Bob Greeneberger got my samples in the mail when I was in college in New Mexico and hired me. I’ve apologized for the ulcer I gave him!

Q: What other artists influenced and continue to influence you and your style?

How much room have we got? Early on in comics, it was Gil Kane and James Sherman. Also Neal Adams and Michael Kaluta. Was a devourer of art books and museums as a kid, lots of representational artists in there. These days, it’s all over the map. Was recently introduced to Kehinde Wylie who is blowing my mind. Lots of inspirational artists I follow on Instagram.

Q: Do you use computers, tablets and software, or are you old-school with pens and a scanner?

Both – for commercial projects like “Gotham Stories” it’s digital, since the art had to be prepped for animation. For covers like Ninjak #13, it’s a combination of old-school art and digital coloring. Lately I pencil in Procreate on an iPad Pro!

Matt Haley panel sketch

Q: What are you reading nowadays?

Right now, “Paper Girls” from Image. Also have enjoyed “Faith” from Valiant, and thankfully NEXUS by Mike Baron and Steve “Dude” Rude is back. Also “The Four Norsemen Of The Apocalypse” from Devil’s Due/First with art by John Lucas, terrifyingly good stuff. it’s a great time to be a comics fan!

Q: Favorite comic book -> movie adaptation and TV show?

It changes – still love the pilot for “The Incredible Hulk”. Bill Bixby’s acting made it such a great updating of the “Jekyll & a Hyde” story. Watch it on Netflix, it’s still scary good.

tangent comics #2Q: What’s next for your career?

Lots more writing and developing my own stories. Have directed a television pilot and am eagerly looking forward to more of that. Have two scripts out and writing has really grabbed me lately!

Q: What’s one title you think is a good example of your art / writing here at TFAW?

The Tangent Comics TPB Volume #2 from DC Comics. Loved and adored creating Tangent: Joker with Karl Kesel and Tom Simmons, would love to revisit her some day. Lots of leaping figures and weird high-tech environments!

Q: Where were you born, what did you study in college, what are the names of your pets, if you have any, and where do you live now?

From Texas, grew up in New Mexico. College was a way for me to escape and while I didn’t study hard, ENMU was a growth experience. My professor emeritus was Jack Williamson, grandmaster of science fiction!

You can learn more about Matt Haley at MattHaley.com or on Instagram as @MattHaleyArt for random art giveaways and new sketches. And check out his art for Fox’s Gotham Stories too!


Marvel’s “Star Wars #1” sells for $7,200

marvel star wars #1 comic book coverEvery comic book collector dreams of having that one amazing title, the one issue that proves to accrue in value at a rapid pace and surprise you with its market value. Issue #1? That’s the crown jewel of any comics series and really great series like Detective Comics can be worth enough that they live in a safe, not sitting on the coffee table.

Which is why it’s notable that PBA Galleries recently auctioned off a collection of comic books from collector Wayne Martin. The auction was held via proxy bids, telephone bids, real-time bidding via the Internet and even some collectors at the actual auction.

The highest bids came in for a very fine copy of the rare $0.35 variant of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 from 1977, which sold for a quite impressive $7,200. According to collectors, this particular comic is considered to be one of the most valuable of the so-called Bronze Age of comics (1970-1985). The back story: Marvel tested price changes on a limited basis and only printed 1,500 copies of the 35 cent version, every other copy being the then-usual 30 cents. Nowadays an almost unimaginably low price for a comic book.

Also sold at a good price at the auction were a first printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, which sold for $3,900. That issue features the origin story and appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Splinter and Shredder, with a wraparound cover by Kevin Eastman. Giant Size X-men #1 sold for $1,080, X-Men #94 sold for $300 and there were some Golden Age rarities too, including Flash #101 and Flash #104 from the 1940’s, selling as a pair for $2,700.

The auction also included Detective Comics #142, featuring the second appearance of the Riddler. It sold for $1,200. Three issues of DC’s 1950’s Mysteries in Space, featuring art by Frank Frazetta and Gil Kane sold for $1,020. Issues of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and The Submariner sold for hundreds each, and the weirdest and most unique of the collection was Our Gang Comics #1 from 1942, featuring stories and art by Walt Kelly, going for $300.

Star Wars #1 is definitely cool, but the coolest item in the collection was Dick Lupoff’s history of comics, All In Color For a Dime, which sold for $1,440. Not because the book has any value, but because it was filled with autographs and sketches from the legends of the comic book industry including Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Marion Zimmer Bradley, R. Crumb, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Jaime Hernandez, Marv Wolfman, David Prowse, Sergio Aragone, Art Spiegelman, Rob Liefeld, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine, P. Craig Russell, Arthur Adams, Charles Vess and many others. A truly one of a kind item for fans and collectors that was a steal at the price!

So keep those comics clean and pristine, particularly if they’re #1 or really important to a particular storyline. You never know what they’ll be worth down the road…


Review: Grayson #18

Written by

Apr 21 2016 at 11:27am

Posted in Product Reviews

Grayson #18Issue eighteen of Grayson opens up in a way that that reminds me why I love this comic. This issue wastes no time putting you right into the action at St. Hadrian’s School for Girls as all hell breaks loose. Helena is in trouble as she goes out of her way to save the students. Dick Grayson, in the face of hopelessness, still finds hope to hang onto. He never misses a conversational beat while beating up the bad guys.

There are a lot of characters to keep straight in this issue. Any good spy story will keep you continually guessing who is on who’s side, and who the real faces and heels are. There is an appropriate amount of suspense, and a couple surprise character returns.

Two remarkable traits about this issue and all its predecessors are the coloring and the layout. Cox’s colors put the reader in just the right mood as the story zips from scene to scene. Lanzing and Kelly don’t really let their readers become too comfortable, shifting focus on just about every other page. Cox knows exactly how to evoke the right emotion for the right characters by staying consistent with his stylistic choices of color. Also, the comic never feels too cluttered, and the action flows seamlessly from page to page.

Grayson #18 will get readers’ hearts pumping with action, betrayal, hope, and loss. Luckily, the writing and artistry of this title remains consistent as the New 52 beings to wind down, and that is something to be appreciated. Though we already know that Dick Grayson will be returning to a mantle we all know and love, Grayson continues to ensure that fans won’t go hungry for the things that they love about the character while we anxiously wait for the rebirth of Nightwing.

Grayson #18, written by Jackson Lanzing, artwork by Collin Kelly, Roge Antonia, Mikel Janin, published March 23, 2016.

Review by Brendan Allen.


New Comic Book Day — Reviews for Star Trek: Manifest Destiny, Divinity II, Dept H, Extrodinary X-Men, & Wonder Woman

This week we take a look at 2 Sci-Fi, a Mystery and 2 Superhero books for New Comic Book Day. These are just a few stand out new releases this week. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

Dept H comics at TFAW.com

Dept H#1
By: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt, Jeff Lemire

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? However, this is not your typical whodunnit!
Journey with Mia as she takes on what I can only imagine may be the hardest thing she has ever had to do; discover who murdered her father!

Death, love, an enclosed environment and a ton of suspects have me hooked in to this series for sure! The beautifully drawn and colored book really has a way of letting you grasp what it would be like to be on this ocean adventure.

Furthermore, there are small details in the art and writing that capture each scene; down to an obvious accent that really adds to a character. Matt and Sharlene Kindt have created something special here!

Dept H #1 [Sean M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

Star Trek Manifest Destiny comics at TFAW.com

Star Trek: Manifest Destiny#1
By: Mike Johnson, Ryan Parrott, Angel Hernandez

Star Trek Manifest Destiny #1 fits right in with the “JJ ‘verse” (for non-Trekkies that’s what the new timeline that JJ Abrams has created with his two films). From the accurate-yet-comic-feel of the art to the perfect style of dialogue, this book just FEELS like JJ Trek. You can’t help but hear the actors voices as you read through each panel. As for the story itself, Trek fans were clamoring for more Klingons from this new timeline and this series looks to deliver — starting with a Klingon invasion and the setup of a new Klingon villain. This book is a great way to start celebrating Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary this year AND get ready for Star Trek Beyond this summer. Qapla’!

Star Trek: Manifest Destiny #1 [Dustin K. at Universal Citywalk TFAW]

Extrodinary X-Men comics at TFAW.com

Extraordinary X-Men#9

By: Jeff Lemire, Ken Lashley, Humberto Ramos

We left off on the last issue off Extraordinary X-men with the newly formed X-men team being confronted by the new horsemen of Apocalypse, fronted by a broke down Colossus. In the midst of this, the younger team of X-men are sent to the future, were the new lord Apocalypse has bent the world to his will.

In this new issue of Extraordinary X-men, you get to see what happens with the young team when they’re sent to this new, dystopian future to face the horrors that lay before them at the hand of its new ruler. Will Piotr be able to help them get safely back to their time and save the earth from this new future? Will they all make it back in one piece–or even the same? How will the Storm-led team deal with one of their loved ones being used as a hand of doom? “Mutantkind ends here: so says the lord Apocalypse.” Or does it? Find out in Extraordinary X-men #9.

Jeff Lemire (All New Hawkeye & Descender) showcases his unique ability of bringing real human emotion to the fantastic in this book; he is accompanied by Humberto Ramos’ (Amazing Spider-man) striking artwork.

Extraordinary X-Men #9 [Steve M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

Divinity II comics at TFAW.com

Divinity II #1
By: Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine, Tom Muller

Historically I’ve not read many Valiant titles. I’ve picked up a few books here and there. Nothing really drew me into the universe that Valiant Comics has to offer — Until I read Divinity II. And that’s kinda the funny part; this is the second part of the Divinity story. So really, I should be blind as a bat and have no clue as to what is transpiring in this comic. But because Valiant has done a fantastic job of telling new readers about what came before (nestled within the second page prior to the story that takes place in this first issue) I had no problem at all following the characters Matt Kindt writes about in Divinity II, issue #1.

Within 24 pages I immediately cared about all of the characters. I was completely engaged with the back story about the main character, Myshka. From becoming one of Russia’s first cosmonauts, to traveling to the farthest reaches of the known (Valiant) universe, we learn about Myshka’s childhood and upbringing. Learn about what she’s had to endure from the other test subjects in Russia’s space program and we begin to understand what makes up the fiber of Myshka’s being and why Myshka is able to possibly become…something more. The art by Trevor Hairsine is lovely, dark and at times haunting (inker Ryan Winn & colorist David Baron have a lot to offer with the amazing atmosphere of this book also).

As Myshka is pushed to the edges of human capability, it’s clear that Trevor and Matt, et. al, care very much about what happens to Myshka and how their story is interpreted by you, the reader.

If you’ve ever wanted to dive into a Valiant Comic but didn’t know where to begin, I think this would be a great place for you to start with Divinity II #1. I’m definitely in this one for the long haul.

Divinity II #1 [Ethan S. at Beaverton TFAW]

Wonder Woman comics at TFAW.com

Wonder Woman #51
By: Meredith Finch, Miguel Mendonca, David Finch

Building off the events of the last issue we find Wonder Woman going deep into Themyscira to help Zeke. We see her deepest fears as it tries to tear her apart, down to her core.

Meredeth Finch does a fine job planting you inside Diana’s head. With most of this issue speaking through captions. It works great due to how weird it would be talking to yourself out loud for that long.

Miguel Mendonca, Dexter Vines, Diana Egea, Stephen Downer and Ulises Arreola all do a great job with the art in this issue. Giving Themyscira creepy orange and red tones, along with heavy dark lines pull off how scary this place could be to visit.

If you are currently reading Wonder Woman this is a fine issue in the story arc. If you haven’t been, you might want to go back a couple of issues just so you’re not lost.

Wonder Woman #51 [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!