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  • Six Reasons The Wicked And Divine Is Better Than Any Other Comic Book

    Wicked and Divine #23 comic book review at TFAW.com

    Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as teenagers. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.

    The team behind critically acclaimed Young Avengers and Phonogram have taken us on a hell of a ride for the past two years in The Wicked and The Divine, and the series just keeps getting better. We were able to get our hands on a copy of the WicDiv #23, and I’m here to give you the skinny on the issue and lay out the case for why this is the best series on the shelves.

    Keiron Gillen’s Writing

    Wicked & Divine #23 Cover B by Kevin Wada at TFAW.comThe Wicked and The Divine #23 is unique in that it is set up not as a traditional comic, but a one-off issue that reads as an issue of “Pantheon Monthly,” a magazine that has exclusive interviews with some of the series’ principal characters.

    I couldn’t think of a better case study to attest to Gillen’s talents as a writer. I’ve been a fan of The Wicked and The Divine from day one, but this issue has really amplified my love of the series. I was reminded of Marvel’s Front Line series of the past decade in that this issue gives us a different perspective of characters like The Morrigan, Baal, Amaterasu, Lucifer, and Woden. I like that the team is experimenting with these one-off issues because they make the reading experience unique.

    Diverse Set of Characters

    It’s clear that Gillen has put in a lot of effort in charting a course for the series and its characters. With a principal cast of 12 gods and several supporting characters, there’s a lot going on in this series, which has been why WicDiv has been at the top of my reading list for the past two years.

    We’re learning more about the characters each month, and The Wicked and The Divine #23 is no exception. One thing that’s struck me for awhile is that the series features one of the most diverse set of characters we’ve seen for awhile. This isn’t a reboot series where a woman or person of color steps into the titular character’s role–LGBTQ and people of color have been represented from the get-go. It’s refreshing that the WicDiv team is actively trying to create a story for everyone.

    McKelvie x Wilson = Art That is Out of This World

    Writing is only one part of the equation. With comics being a visual storytelling medium, I would argue that art is even more integral to a book’s success. To borrow a baseball term, Jamie McKelvie continues to knock the cover off of the ball–meaning that he isn’t hitting home runs, he’s hitting the art with such ferocity that you can’t help but fall in love in each panel.

    As Gillen has a firm grasp of where these characters’ stories are going, McKelvie’s character designs have been fleshed out. Each character has a unique style and attitude. That’s not to say that things are static–the art has continued to evolve with the characters as they have grown in the series, particularly in the case of Persephone. If you haven’t been reading along, I seriously suggest picking up the Wicked and Divine graphic novels so you can immerse yourself in this art.

    I’ve also been on board with Matthew Wilson’s colors from day one. Collaboration between artists and colorists (also artists, but differentiated as such for sake of clarity) happen every day. This kind of partnership, however, isn’t the norm–McKelvie’s linework and Wilson’s colors go together like fire and heat, milk and Oreos, or conjoined twins. They belong together.

    Mystery & Onions

    Wicked & Divine #23 Cover A by Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson at TFAW.comFrom the beginning, we’ve known the score: within two years’ time, these characters will die. The premise almost dares you not to read the series. The stakes are high and we never really know who’s going to go next. I was surprised at who was killed first as I really liked that character, which kind of makes Gillen the George R.R. Martin of comics.

    We’re always peeling away layers of these characters to find out more details of their motivations, past lives, or the story’s bigger picture. WicDiv represents a type of storytelling that is much more than punch this foe, foil that bad guy’s master plan.

    They’re Effing Gods

    The other thing that really resonates with me is the idea that The Wicked and The Divine expertly deals with themes of fandom, devotion, and religion–these are, after all, gods. Some people love them, others loathe them. It was really fun to read the “interview” with Woden because he is in the latter camp. He’s a racist mysogonist with an inferiority complex.

    I dig the “god” angle of the series a lot.

    It’s a Bold Series

    Like I said before, this is a bold series with a complex set of characters who are brash, powerful, and coming to terms with their fates. Each issue of The Wicked and The Divine is an opportunity for Gillen and McKelvie to yank the rug out from under us. This has happened several times so far, and WicDiv #23 provides a little perspective on the fallout of those moments.

    The team is willing to take this book and its characters to a place where other books from the big two wouldn’t be able to tackle, an that makes this one of the best books on the shelves today.

    ORDER YOUR COPY OF WICKED & DIVINE #23 NOW
    SEE WICKED & DIVINE BOOKS AT TFAW

    Have you been reading WicDiv from the beginning? What’s your favorite moment from the series so far? Are you thinking of trying out for the series for the first time? Join the conversation below.

    The Wicked and The Divine #23, Image Comics, Releases November 2, 2016, Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson; $3.50

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  • Violent Love Mixes Romance and Crime

    Interview with Violent Love creators Frank J Barbiere and Victor Santos

    Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley were two of the most notorious bank robbers in the American Southwest. And then they fell in love. Sometimes you read a description of a new comic book and know a book is going to be something special. In less than 25 words, I was immediately hooked on the premise behind Violent Love, the newest pulp-infused criminal romance series by Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts, The Revisionist) and Victor Santos (The Mice Templar, Polar).

    We had the chance to chat with the Barbiere and Santos in an exclusive interview, and we think that you’ll fall in love with this series too — both creators are throwing their all at Violent Love and their passion comes through in the preview pages that are included below.

    TFAW: Victor, what’s it like going from a series you wrote and drew in Polar to just drawing this series?

    Victor Santos: Even though my career in Spain and France was as a complete author, I’ve worked mainly as artist in the USA. Polar books (and a little collaboration in the Boom! Regular Show series) have been my chance to write again, but they feel a little restricted because my native language is Spanish. I don’t think working with writers is an imposition, it’s a marvelous school for me. I’ve learned from Azzarello, Glass, Oeming, Van Lente, and all the people I’ve collaborated with. There isn’t a rulebook for this, so every writer has their method. I enjoy it. And most important: having another writer forces you to surpass your safe place and improve.

    And there’s something more readers don’t notice. Working with Frank is easy, the story is great and this is important, of course. But the world is full of talented writers, and in the day-by-day you mostly need an effective and generous collaborator. Frank’s vision of the story is so clear and direct, he really quickly evokes great images in my mind…I usually forget I’m reading in another language and believe me: this is an unusual talent!

    Violent Love Comics by Frank J. Barbiere & Victor SantosTFAW: People have likened this series to a Bonnie & Clyde or True Romace comic, would you say that’s a good comparison?

    Frank J. Barbiere: Both of those stories are extremely influential, but while this certainly is a “criminal romance” our story focuses a lot more on our female lead, Daisy Jane. There’s also a pretty unique frame story in play — the story of Daisy and Rock is being told to a young girl many years after it happened — and I think it gives the story a bit of a American folk tale vibe. It also leans into our “inspired by true events” tag line — we know we’re not going to see anything totally out of genre like aliens, monsters, etc., so the whole thing feels very authentic and like the reader is part of something bigger.

    Santos: Of course, this is a noir tradition! I could name Gun Crazy (1950) and Badlands (1973). Romance and crime have been linked often. We love to match the highest and the lowest feelings: true love vs. violence, generosity vs. greed. I’ve read a lot of good noir in comics in the latest years, the genre has been revitalized, but I always missed more romantic elements on it. Maybe all the characters were too amoral, darkly moody (in my own books too, even in the last Polar there is a romance subplot). So I really felt we need to recover these tales of “we’re together against the world, babe.”

    Violent Love is meant to really evoke a feeling of nostalgia and Americana.

    TFAW: You mentioned the tagline. Can you elaborate a bit on this story being inspired by true events?

    Santos: Well, I think I used the “Criminal Romance” title in some “concept art image” because I loved how it sounds…I’ll leave this mystery of true events to Frank (ha, ha).

    Barbiere: When Victor and I began developing Violent Love we both decided we’d love for it to have a “true crime” feel to it — to be a story that you could imagine happening in the real world, despite having exciting genre elements. By telling our readers upfront the story is inspired by true events we offer them an idea that the story has a feel of authenticity and that everything you’re seeing is being recalled — it gives it a very unique and fresh feel that also works in tandem with our frame story. Violent Love is meant to really evoke a feeling of nostalgia and Americana, and our “inspired by true events” tagline is another tool to help. In terms of the specifics…our readers will just have to do some thinking on their own to figure that out.

    Violent Love Preview Page 1TFAW: Can you tell us a little more about the inspiration for Violent Love?

    Santos: The movies we’ve discussed, pulp novels…I love the ambiance of Jim Thompson’s stuff, the spirit of the Wild West. Some ’60 and ’70s comics — I love the ’70s Marvel comics, with people like Gene Colan or Paul Gulacy, with more noir, blaxploitation and kung-fu. And classic romance magazines, with people like Alex Toth or Dan DeCarlo charming the female readers. There is something maybe is not so apparent: I love classic comics but at the same time, I belong to the manga and anime generation, so they have a big influence on my work. I find the expression of the emotions crucial, I put a big part of my efforts on it, and Japanese books play this game terrifically.

    Barbiere: Victor is one of my favorite artists working and I knew I wanted to dive into something with him when we wrapped Black Market at BOOM! Studios. Violent Love is the culmination of all of our interests and genre loves — it really is a dream project, and a very pure vision from us. We wanted to challenge ourselves to tell a love story within the genre as well, to grow and do something new. This book is a labor of love on our end and we’re extremely proud of it — we hope to keep readers on board for a very long time and constantly surprise them.

    Violent Love Preview Page 1TFAW: Victor, I loved the style you put into your Polar series, but it was different than your work on Mice Templar. Violent Love seems to be somehwere between, can you speak a little on that decision?

    Santos: I try to transform myself into the artist that every unique project I work on requires. Maybe it’s not the best decision for my career, maybe I should have a line/style totally unique and never change it…but it’s so boring! I love to change and experiment. Polar is pure styling, high contrasts of black and white, a world where almost superhuman hitmen live. Its storytelling is a exciting artifice and every page is like a jigsaw. Violent Love is more “on the ground,” it’s not completely realistic, but it plays in real places, real starting points, a real age. It needs more texture and a different color approach, with grain and sand.

    TFAW: Anything new on the horzion that we should be keeping an eye out for?

    This book is a labor of love on our end and we’re extremely proud of it.

    Barbiere: Violent Love is going to be a long haul for us so we’ll be promoting it for many months to come! It’s really become my focus — we’re both committed to telling the absolute best story we can, and I’m glad I’ve been able to hunker down and focus on it. I’m also working on a book called The Revisionist at Aftershock Comics that I’d love more people to check out — it’s the story of a time traveling assassin and does a lot of fun stuff with the genre.

    Santos: I just finished the third Polar: No Mercy for Sister Maria, and my plan is to close the trilogy there. Right now I’m also working with Dark Horse on the US edition of one of my Spanish noir graphic novels, Rashomon: A Case of Heigo Kobayashi. As you easily deduce, it’s a noir story set in the Feudal Japan, and it’s inspired by the tales of classical writer Ryonosuke Akutagawa (with a touch of James Ellroy). It will be published next year.

    Violent Love Preview Page 1TFAW: What are you most excited about with Violent Love?

    Barbiere: The chance to tell a story with Victor that we are both extremely passionate about with Image Comics. Image gives us 100% control of the material down to the type of paper we print it on, so this is a completely authentic vision from Victor and I. We really hope readers connect with it and care for these characters — this book encompasses everything we love about comics and genre, so we hope people follow us for many issues to come.

    Santos: I think this is a kind of story you would love if you are a classic noir fan, but at the same time a new reader will enjoy a lot. We have been working on a daring storytelling but accessible. That’s the kind of comics I love because even with the movie references I told you, it has that artisan and care level a movie never will have. This story is told with the resources, technique and heart make comics so fun.

    TFAW: What comics are you enjoying right now?

    Barbiere: I try to keep extremely current with the comic book industry, as well as always diving back and checking out things I’ve missed. I’m really enjoying Steve Orlando’s new Supergirl title and on the creator owned front I’ve been absolutely floored by Kill or be Killed and Black Monday Murders. In terms of prose, I’ve been reading The Fireman by Joe Hill.

    Santos: I love all the stuff from writers like Brian Azzarello, Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Warren Ellis. A lot of creator-owned from publishers like Dark Horse, Image, and Boom.

    I’m not totally connected with what all the big publishers are doing, but I buy all the stuff that artists like Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Javier Rodriguez, Declan Shalvey, Chris Samnee or David Aja are doing in the US mainstream books. I’m superfan of the Panel Syndicate online, too. Outside the U.S., I’m reading books by Osamu Tezuka, Koike/Kojima reprints, or the French hit Lastman — they are some of my favorite books right now, too.

    We want to thank Frank and Victor for taking the time out of their busy schedules to chat with us about this exciting new series!

    ORDER VIOLENT LOVE COMICS NOW

    Have you checked out other books by Barbiere or Santos? Are you as excited about this new series as we are? Join the conversation by posting your thoughts below and use the buttons below to share this article.

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  • Pathfinder Worldscape: A Who’s Who of Fantasy Characters

    Exclusive Intervie With Pathfinder Worldscape Writer Erik Mona

    Pathfinder fans, you’re in for a real treat in Dynamite’s upcoming six-issue Pathfinder Worldscape miniseries written by Erik Mona (Pathfinder: Hollow Mountain) and art by Jonathan Lau (Red Sonja and Cub, Miss Fury).

    We had the chance to chat with series writer Erik Mona about his favorite part of writing this series and where he hopes to the story. Read on for insights into the series and see how you can win a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Mona and series artist Jonathan Lau!

    TFAW: You have plenty of awesome Pathfinder comics under your belt–dozens of adventures. Each one leads us on a new journey. What is different about this one?

    Erik Mona: Pathfinder comics to date have taken us into dark and deadly dungeons, into the winding streets of treacherous cities, and even into the unknown corners of our heroes’ pasts, but things really jump to the next level with Pathfinder Worldscape, which transports our heroes to an entirely different dimension — the Worldscape. The Worldscape is an ancient trap created by a long-dead wizard to gather the greatest warriors from three worlds — Pathfinder’s Golarion, John Carter’s Barsoom, and Earth, including its remote history during Red Sonja’s Hyborian Age.

    In the course of the 6-issue series, the Pathfinder heroes cross swords with the likes of Red Sonja, John Carter of Mars, Tars Tarkas, Tarzan, and the jungle heroes Thun’da and Fantomah, among many others. The character interactions are a huge highlight for me.

    Crossing over Pathfinder characters with heroes created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Frazetta — artists who inspired the fantasy roleplaying hobby that ultimately inspired Pathfinder itself — definitely counts as new and different!

    “I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 1TFAW: With this huge cast of characters, did you find this story more difficult to manage or does it just come at ease at this point?

    Mona: The enormous cast of Pathfinder Worldscape presents some challenges, to be sure. You want to give everybody a chance to shine and do their thing while still having pages left over to tell an actual story. When you’re mashing together multiple properties in a dimension informed by the cultures of three different worlds (and at any time during the history of those worlds), there’s a strong temptation to over-indulge in world-building and wheel spinning about how this or that minor detail works into the overall character of the Worldscape dimension itself.

    My background in writing for tabletop RPGs has me thinking about all kinds of details that will never really play into the story. I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking about the role of bullets in the Worldscape, as an example. While most of the Worldscape’s inhabitants come from eras or lands that fit well with traditional sword & sorcery themes, it’s perfectly likely someone trapped in the Worldscape will encounter a World War II soldier, a pistol-toting hero of America’s high plains, or a musket-wielding, fanatical street-fighter of Revolutionary France. Assuming they appear in the Worldscape with only the ammunition they bring with them, that makes their bullets a very rare and valuable commodity.

    I imagined a whole barter economy based around warriors seeking out the appropriate bullets for their chosen weapons, but after spending a considerable amount of time thinking about this, I snapped back to reality and realized that details like this — while perhaps quite interesting, useful, and even necessary to support a Pathfinder RPG campaign set in the Worldscape, probably weren’t going to enter into the comic book story too much.

    Happily, I’m fairly certain all that world-building will come into play in Worldscape-oriented Pathfinder RPG products down the line, but right now I’m putting my full effort into the comic book.

    TFAW: What exciting lands/places might we see on this adventure?

    Mona: The Worldscape itself is as exciting as you can get, with elements literally ripped out of the worlds in conjunction with it.

    Frank Frazetta’s jungle hero Thun’da, for example, lives in a place called the “Dawn Land,” a sort of time-lost valley filled with cave men, dinosaurs, amazons, and weird monsters. I always thought it strange that the subtitle of Thun’da’s comic was “King of the Congo,” when so many of his adventures took place in a much more interesting (and, from today’s standards, a much less politically fraught) location.

    I’m far more interested in struggles against pterosaurs and shaggy cave men than I am in fights against stereotypically primitive African witch doctors, and during a thorough review of fantasy-oriented stories and characters from the jungle comics of the ’40s and ’50s, Thun’da’s stories stood out as exceptional because of the weird monsters and lost cities.

    Naturally, when I started constructing the Worldscape plan, I drew in not just Thun’da and his savage girlfriend Pha, but also the entirety of his Dawn Land refuge, ruined cities and all. The central location of the Worldscape series, the brutal city of Shareen, is in fact drawn from Thun’da’s early adventures.

    Beyond that we’ve got misty valleys stuffed with Barsoomian white apes and a cadre of trained killers, another ruined city inhabited by the simian scum of three worlds, and the jungle itself, nominally ruled by the Council of Jungle Kings and their enigmatic and elusive First King, Tarzan of the Apes. Whether traveling by foot, by thoat, or by airship, the lands of the Worldscape promise death and danger at nearly every turn.

    “The character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah.”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 2TFAW: Was this an idea that you had brewing for a while? How did this all come together?

    Mona: I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years, since shortly after signing on to Dynamite and becoming more familiar with their roster of amazing licensed characters.

    So many of their heroes are based on the same fiction and characters that inspired tabletop gaming back in the early ’70s, and in particular Pathfinder has always been a gaming brand firmly in touch with its “pulp” roots.

    Working with characters created by Burroughs, Howard, and Frazetta…it’s just too tempting to try to put it all together and do something cool. Add to that that each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape contains a Pathfinder RPG rules appendix that provides official RPG statistics for these legendary heroes — in some cases heroes people have wanted game adaptations of literally for decades — and I had to try to put something together.

    At the time Dynamite had already teamed up many of their modern-day pulp heroes in their Masks comic, and Bill Willingham had just mashed a bunch of them together in a steampunk-inspired series called Legenderry. It seemed obvious to me that crossing over their awesome fantasy characters was the next logical step. In the meantime, Dynamite also launched the Swords of Sorrow series, which teamed up nearly all of their female characters, and Worldscape is the next logical progression.

    At a certain point I’d put so much work and thought into how to make it all happen that Dynamite offered me the chance to write the series myself, which is a huge, humbling opportunity!

    “Jonathan [Lau] has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 4TFAW: How did the artist, Jonathan Lau, become involved with this epic adventure?

    Mona: Jonathan was my favorite of several artists Dynamite suggested for the project. I was familiar with his work on former Pathfinder writer Jim Zub’s Red Sonja and Cub from a few years back, so I was already familiar with his visual sensibility and his strong action compositions.

    What I didn’t know at the time was that Jonathan has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit that fills every nook and cranny of the book with interesting things to look at.

    His Tars Tarkas is probably my favorite version of the character I’ve seen in comics to date, and it’s fascinating to see him adapt characters like Thun’da, Fantomah, and the immortal empress Camilla, who haven’t really been in active production since the ’40s or ’50s (barring a limited series or guest appearance here and there).

    I’m thrilled to be working with him on the series, and each page I get from him on the earlier issues inspires me to put even crazier characters and scenes into the later issues I’m writing now.

    TFAW: With such a large roster of characters, have you found that you favor one more than others?

    Mona: I’m honored to work on all of them, especially Red Sonja and John Carter, two titans of fantasy publishing.

    Oddly, the character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah, the beautiful, nigh-omnipotent skull-faced woman introduced by literal madman Fletcher Hanks way back in ’40’s Jungle Comics #2. I’ve been mystified by this character (and by Fletcher Hanks) ever since reading about her in the incomparable “I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets” collection/biography by Paul Karasik from a few years back.

    When Dynamite challenged me to add some public domain fantasy heroes to their already impressive roster, I immediately leapt to Fantomah, and I’ve never really looked back. Hanks portrayed Fantomah as this unstoppable force of nature capable of just about anything. Unlike staid jungle heroes of the era, it was never really clear whether Fantomah was a hero or a villain, just that you never wanted to cross her, lest she rip the skin from your flesh, turn you into some crazy plant creature, or dispatch you in whatever weird way Fletcher Hanks could concoct between bottles of whiskey. In Pathfinder RPG terms, she’s basically a god, which opened up another interesting element of philosophy for the series.

    Each of the three worlds involved — Earth, Barsoom, and Golarion — have very different relationships with religion, and what it means to be a god. For most of the people of Earth — certainly the more or less modern ones like Thun’da and John Carter, “God” is something to be inferred as a matter of faith.

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 3On Barsoom, religion is a fraud designed to deliver the dying to a valley where they are drained of blood by bizarre plant creatures so that their bloodless corpses can be eaten by a cannibal priesthood of Holy Therns (also, by the way, in Worldscape). Burroughs’ “The Gods of Mars,” the second of his John Carter books, is largely about that religion.

    Then you’ve got the Pathfinder world of Golarion, where gods are literally, indisputably present and real and divine. It’s not so much a matter of belief as it is acknowledgement of existing supernatural forces, and that gives me a lot to play with in terms of how my characters interact with the world and their predicament as captives of the Worldscape.

    John Carter and the cleric Kyra get a nice juicy conversation about this, but Fantomah plays an important role in this aspect of the story as well, and I’m thrilled to be able to use her!

    “I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue…”

    TFAW: Do you have any other projects coming up that we should know about?

    Mona: In addition to running Paizo’s day-to-day publishing operations, managing the creative staff, and making diabolical plans for the future of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, most of my focus these days is soundly on Pathfinder Worldscape.

    Most of the scripting is out of the way at this point, but I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue. I just finished official game statistics for Red Sonja, for example, and now I’m noodling around with Tars Tarkas, who will appear in the second issue. After that we’ve got Tarzan, Thun’da, and a whole host of others. How much damage does a radium pistol do? What’s the Strength bonus for a green Martian? I dunno, but I will know soon, and it’s really exciting to map the game designer part of my brain over the story I’ve been composing using my comics writing circuits.

    You can keep up with my projects and get some insight into the Pathfinder RPG adaptation process behind Worldscape by checking out my blog at erikmona.com or following me on Twitter @erikmona.

    TFAW: What comics are you enjoying right now?

    Mona: Oh, man, there are so many! I went in way deep on DC’s New 52 a few years back and am working my way through a longbox of backissues of Snyder’s Batman, which has been fantastic, of course. I’m always keen to follow former Pathfinder comics writer Jim Zub on whatever he’s doing, and I really like what he’s been rolling out with Wayward, as well as his new title Glitterbomb, from Image. I’m highly intrigued by DC’s Young Animal imprint. The first issue of the new Doom Patrol was fantastic, and I can’t wait to break out a copy of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. As far as comic titles go, that’s probably the best I’ve heard in a long time!

    We want to thank Erik for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us! Make sure to order your copies of Pathfinder Worldscape.

    ORDER PATHFINDER WORLDSCAPE ISSUES

    Are you looking forward to Pathfinder Worldscape? Tell us which character you’re looking forward to seeing in the Worldscape in the comments below and you’ll be in the running to get a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Erik Mona and Jonathan Lau!

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  • Britannia Shows a Side of Rome You’ve Never Seen

    Britannia #1 review

    Britannia comics at TFAW.comRome has a long, and storied history of dominance across the world stage. Britannia is set during the rule of Emperor Nero, and follows a Roman Centurion named Antonius Axia.

    Political intrigue winds its way through the threads of fate for Antonius, set in motion by the Great Vestal Virgin, Rubria who appears to have plans that run much deeper than any of the cast could imagine. Antonius is being steered toward the land of Britannia, while a cult following the Lord of the Cave, Orkus appear to be looming in the shadows, out of view.

    Antonius is bestowed a codex, some greater depth of knowledge by the Vestals and it seems as though they are the ones truly guiding his path ahead. To what end? There is a dark, supernatural force lurking beyond Orkus, and the cult who revere the deity.

    This book has gripped me, though I strongly urge that this is strictly for mature audiences only. If you enjoy tales of characters such as Conan, Valiant’s own Eternal Warrior, and the like, you should definitely check out this new title by Peter Milligan (Animal Man, The Discipline) and Juan Jose Ryp (Clone, Wolverine).

    Crisp, direct, and expressive artwork was popping on the uncolored review copy which I read, but with the depth that is sure to sweep through the title in final copy, you can bet that the series is going to dig hooks in to you and draw you back for more.

    With this introduction, you need not worry about having to have read any previous comic titles as this is setting out an all new path that is so often claimed in comics these days, but unlike other titles, Britannia actually delivers.

    Swords and sorcery tales typically have a very different feel, but with Britannia being set during the Roman Empire, the series is set to deliver new feeling to the genre entirely. What are the Vestal Virgins attempting to do with Antonius, and Nero? Looks like we will have to wait and see as details emerge further with each new issue. I am ready for this journey.

    ORDER BRITANNIA ISSUES TODAY

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  • The Legend of Zelda Lives On

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    Like many Millennials who grew up with video games, I really love The Legend of Zelda. I’ve played almost all of the games and there are not one, but two Link Nendoroid figures holding court in my living room at this very moment. I even have a Wind Waker-era Link tattooed on my arm—and I’m planning on more Zelda-themed ink in the future.

    Link from Wind Waker tattoo The story that Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka released in 1986 has grown into something I’m sure they never could have imagined it becoming. The first game was a simple fantasy about a boy named Link, a courageous Hylian, who is tasked with saving Princess Zelda. Her kingdom in the land of Hyrule has been plunged into chaos because of the evil Ganon, who invaded her lands and stole the Triforce of Power, a piece of an ancient magical artifact. In order to beat Ganon and regain order and peace, Link must undergo many trials, battles, and adventures.
    Legend of Zelda Concept Art

    Zelda Toys & Statues

    Of course, The Legend of Zelda truly is a legend now: now in its 30th year, the universe has expanded to encompass 18 video games (not counting spin-offs), an animated TV series, music (including its own original symphony), clothing, and beautiful collectibles like the Twilight Princess Link and Ganondorf statues from Dark Horse, or the incredibly sculpted Skyward Sword Link figure. For those of us who still like to play with our toys, the Nendoroid figures come with lots of different accessories, including weapons, masks, fairies, and more, which can be set in tons of different action poses.

    Zelda Comics & Art Books

    And, of course, there are countless print adaptations. There are Zelda original graphic novels, manga series that correspond with almost every video game, novels, game books, and official companion books devoted to the art, characters, and details of the games.

    In 2013, Dark Horse Comics published the international edition of The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, which was a runaway success. It was so popular that it took the number one spot on Amazon’s sales charts away from 50 Shades of Grey! It’s an amazing collection of everything you could want to know about the series, all wrapped up in a beautiful hardcover edition fit for any library. It’s full of concept art, a complete history of Hyrule, an official game chronology, and an exclusive prequel comic. This was like a crown jewel in the series’ publishing history.

    The Legend of Zelda: Art and Artifacts cover Hyrule Historia was practically an instant classic, and that’s why Dark Horse is following it up with The Legend of Zelda: Art and Artifacts in 2017. Art and Artifacts will contain over 400 pages of rare promo art, illustrations from the games, official character designs, interviews with the artists, and more.

    But 2017 still feels like a long ways away! So to tide us over until then, we can look forward to November 2, when The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition, Vol. 1: Ocarina of Time. This book is going to be AMAZING. Ocarina of Time is often referred to as a fan-favorite installment of the Zelda series, and for good reason: its memorable music, exciting action, thought-provoking puzzles, and beautiful design make it a game that holds up to our cherished memories of it. Its manga series has been equally revered, and this deluxe edition will do justice to the beloved story.
    The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition, Vol. 1: Ocarina of Time cover
    In the upcoming Ocarina of Time graphic novel, Link has to undergo a long and dangerous quest in order to find the spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce. Then he has to deliver them to Princess Zelda and defeat the Great King of Evil himself: Ganondorf. The stakes couldn’t be higher, because whoever controls the Triforce could easily rule the world!

    This Legendary Edition kicks off a new series of 2-in-1 releases of the 10-volume fantasy adventure. In this one, parts 1 and 2 will be contained in an oversized format, and they will feature new covers and artwork by renowned manga series creator Akira Himekawa.

    Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director for Perfect Square, says “The Legend of Zelda is an unforgettable and tremendously loved property among multiple generations of video games, pop culture, and manga fans. We are very excited to bring fans The Legend of Zelda in a comprehensive new way with these collectible omnibus editions.”

    Don’t miss out on this fantastic edition of the best Zelda story ever The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition, Vol. 1: Ocarina of Time! It will be out just in time for the holidays, so preorder it now and save 30% for yourself and for everyone you know who loves video games, engaging fantasy worlds, and thrilling adventure!

    SEE BEST-SELLING ZELDA PRODUCTS AT TFAW

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  • AN INTERSTELLAR COLD WAR LOOMS IN HADRIAN’S WALL

    Review of Hadrians Wall #1

    Hadrian's Wall coverKyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis launch an all-new sci-fi noir tale, set nearly 70 years in an alternate future in which the Cold War was ended through a joint space colonization effort between the U.S. and Russia.

    The story opens with the mysterious death of Edward Madigan, a worker for Antares Interspace, with ties to our protagonist, Simon Moore. Simon’s tasked to investigate this death on the labor ship, Hadrian’s Wall, located in an area with mounting hostilities. The story that begins to take shape has all the hints of intrigue, conspiracy, personal relationships, and seedy characters that are cornerstones of great noir tales.

    The book takes on a tone reminiscent of classic sci-fi films such as Blade Runner and Alien, while also delivering it’s own unique contribution in the form of ship design, fashion, and use of technology. The main character’s life seems to be more sterile and organized, which is at odds with the world around him that’s shown as more gritty and industrial.

    Hadrian's Wall page 1Hadrian's Wall page 2Hadrian's Wall page 3

    Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman Beyond) and Alec Siegel (Batman Beyond, C.O.W.L.) work great as a writing team. The dialogue seems to bounce with ease from character to character. The pacing of the panels is done with precision. And most impressively, the quiet moments in space are beautiful, lonely, and terrifying.

    Rod Reis (C.O.W.L.) delivers beautiful visuals that, even when full of blood, darkness, and scope, still feel focused, clean, and easy to follow. The aesthetic, while obviously inspired by sci-fi staples, feels like it’s a fresh take on those classics with interesting choices for fashion and interior design. Unlike a lot of sci-fi that feels like the creator’s idyllic world or worst nightmare, Hadrian’s Wall is more realistic in its depiction of the future.

    Hadrian’s Wall has the unique ability to stand on its own as a noir crime tale with a sci-fi setting, that we don’t often get exposed to. If you’re a fan of either genre, Hadrian’s Wall is something you should definitely check out.

    ORDER HADRIAN’S WALL #1
    DISCOVER OTHER NEW COMIC BOOK SERIES

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  • Star Trek Manifest Destiny is Coming — buy’ ngop!

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    Star Trek Manifest Destiny #1 Subscription Variant at TFAW.comThe crew of the Enterprise is about to embark on their five-year mission to explore the unknown, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until July for follow their exploits! IDW Publishing has been publishing stellar Star Trek comics for years, and the upcoming four-issue Star Trek Manifest Destiny looks amazing.

    We had the chance to chat with series writers Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott, artist Angel Hernandez, and the book’s editor, Sarah Gaydos, about their favorite Star Trek memories, where the idea for Star Trek Manifest Destiny came from, and what kind of action we can expect from the series. Read on!

    TFAW: How did the idea of Star Trek: Manifest Destiny come about?

    Mike Johnson: We aren’t doing a movie prequel this year, but we wanted to do another event-worthy series to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. What could be more event-y than a showdown with the Klingons? And this time both sides are out where no one — human OR Klingon — has been before.

    Ryan Parrott: The Klingons are seminal but we really haven’t gotten to see a lot of interactions between them and our crew in this particular reality. Since the comics have always been great for filling in the cracks or expanding on moments, it just seemed like there was an appetite for a story that could help justify all the upcoming bad blood.

    Star Trek Manifest DestinyTFAW: Can you give us a behind the scenes tour on how you two worked together to write the story?

    RP: Our stories always begin differently — one of us has an image we want to see or an idea we want to explore. This one started with — who’s the Klingon “Captain Kirk?” What does their “Enterprise” look like? How does the Empire explore? So we did some research into the Vikings and Mongols, just to establish a base — which helped flesh out our characters — then Mike and I start throwing the story back and forth until we’re both happy . . . or one of us just gives in.

    TFAW: None of you is a stranger to the world of Star Trek comics, how does this story relate to or build upon your previous work in the Star Trek universe?

    Angel Hernandez: My first contact drawing Star Trek comics was the Star Trek Green Lantern crossover. I felt very comfortable with the universe of that project. I had been drawing several series of superheroes at DC Comics and it was an exciting change. I really wanted to continue working in this universe and this project has given me the opportunity to keep doing it, and I love it.

    MJ: We’ve shown the Federation and the Klingons mixing it up before, but this story raises the stakes because both sides are on their own, far from any reinforcements. The Klingon ship is a match for the Enterprise in size and power. This is probably the most intense battle we’ve shown in the comics yet, and the most personal.

    RP: Up to this point, I’ve only ever done stories set at Starfleet Academy — so the opportunity to write the real crew on the five-year mission was a dream come true . . . and I finally got to cross “Scotty” off the bucket list.

    Star Trek Manifest Destiny #2TFAW: I really dug Angel Hernandez’s art on Star Trek Green Lantern. Can you talk about your collaboration with him on Manifest Destiny?

    MJ: I was lucky enough to work with Angel on Trek/Lantern and I quickly learned that he can draw anything a writer can dream up. We’re excited he’s on board for this event, and he’s already producing pages that make our jaws drop.

    TFAW: What can you tell us about the new villain, Shotok?

    RP: There are some great villains in the original series, but outside of Khan, they’re mostly races — Klingons, Romulans, etc. So our goal was to try and create a worthy adversary for Kirk — someone personal, who thinks and acts like he does. Shotok is an outsider who doesn’t conform to the traditional Klingon code of honor. And because of that, he’s dangerous, unpredictable, and a bit of a wildcard when he first encounters the Enterprise.

    TFAW: How much research did you have to do for this story so you felt comfortable that you’d have a viable story set in the canonical Star Trek universe?

    MJ: We really want the book to feel like a big summer action movie, so it’s not so much research but we’ve been thinking in terms of what cool epic scenes we want to see, how we want to pace it in a way you don’t always see in comics, things like that.

    RP: Like I mentioned before, when we knew we wanted to see how Klingons explore, it was pretty obvious they wouldn’t do it the same way the Federation does. So we looked at examples in real history, aspects from all the different series and even stuff from expanded Klingon mythology — like “The Klingon Art of War.” Then based off all of that — we built the version that made the most sense to us.

    TFAW: IDW is also producing Klingon Language Editions for the series? Who came up with that idea, and how can we thank them?

    Sarah Gaydos: I can’t claim that we’re the first one to translate a Trek comic into Klingon (see: IDW’s Star Trek: Klingons: Blood Will Tell, and more!) but we just could not resist. We really want to highlight how badass the Klingons are, but also how incredibly deep their culture is — to the point where they have this fully fleshed out language. We’re working with several great folks from the Klingon Language Institute to make this possible!

    TFAW: What kind of creative freedom did you have on this book, Angel?

    AH: I have had total creative freedom. I had worked with Mike before, therefore I already knew where the lines were, but I have always understood very well what I wanted to convey in every page of script and within those parameters I have been able to move with absolute freedom. To agree with the rest of the team about the visual issues allows you to work more comfortably on the other aspects of the project.

    Star Trek Manifest Destiny #2 Subscription Variant

    TFAW: What influences did you draw upon for character designs in this series?

    AH: Visually, I followed the parameters of the new films (J.J. Abrams) but I have referred to the classic saga in order to capture the essence of some species. And I don’t want to tell more to avoid spoilers.

    TFAW: Was there a panel or page that was particularly challenging to draw?

    AH: There is not any particular panel that has been more difficult than another, but in this comic there are many action scenes involving a large number of characters. Ensuring that it does not become a mess and that the reader can follow the sequence correctly is always a challenge for an artist. And this comic includes many of those challenges.

    TFAW: Artists often sneak Easter Eggs into their work, whether it’s a wink to the fans, or including likenesses of friends/family as background characters. Can you clue us in on any you included?

    AH: I do not normally include personal references in the comics I draw, but in this case I have included some environments that surround me, especially in the landscapes that can be seen in some scenes. I come from a volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (Canary Islands) and many Hollywood productions come to shoot here. It was logical that I successfully exploited those spaces to include them in the comics I draw and the places visited by the crew of the Enterprise often match with places that I can really visit.

    Star Trek Manifest Destiny #2 Variant Cover by J.K. WoodwardTFAW: What is your favorite Star Trek memory?

    AH: There are many special moments in the saga as for example, Spock’s death or the destruction of the Enterprise. I also find memorable the death of Spock’s mother and everything that happens around that. I think it is very emotional and, at the same time, a very spectacular moment. But, certainly, the encounter with the Klingons in the film of 2013, the whole scene is a moment that I love.

    MJ: My favorite memory is playing with the big Original Series Mego figures when I was a kid. Real cloth uniforms! Giant blue phasers!

    RP: For me, it will always be, “There Are Four Lights!” The majority of Star Trek episodes end at the exact same place they started — with everything pretty much back to normal. But that story — what Picard went through and his mental state at the end — it felt like it had resonance. It was such a strong performance (by both Patrick Stewart and David Warner), I just knew I’d never forget it.

    TFAW: Who is your favorite Captain?

    AH: Chris Pine. For professional reasons I have developed a very close link with him, he is almost like a coworker.

    MJ: Can’t lie: Picard.

    RP: Picard, 100% — but Pine’s slowly creeping up the ladder.

    TFAW: What comics are you reading right now?

    AH: Lately I do not have much time to read, but as soon as I have a moment, I’ll start with Saga and Fables. And I have accumulated Blacksad, Magneto, O’Boys, Hellboy on the shelf because I do not have time to read everything I would like, and that it is a lot.

    MJ: I just read the new Asterix book. My favorite series growing up, and it’s still going strong.

    RP: I can’t get enough East of West and Casanova.

    We want to thank Michael, Ryan, Angel, and Sarah for an excellent interview! Make sure to order your copies of Star Trek Manifest Destiny, including the Klingon Language version, today!

    PRE-ORDER STAR TREK MANIFEST DESTINY ISSUES

    ORDER STAR TREK/GREEN LANTERN BOOKS

    *buy’ ngop means “that’s great news” in Klingon, literally translated as “the plates are full.” Gotta love the Klingon Language Institute!

    Are you looking forward to Star Trek Manifest Destiny? What’s your favorite Star Trek comic to date? Post your comments below!

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  • David Marquez Brings Invincible Iron Man to Things From Another World

    David Marquez Brings Invincible Iron Man to Things From Another World

    Things From Another World is thrilled to announce a signing with David Marquez, the artist behind Marvel’s all-new all-different Invincible Iron Man. Be sure to visit the Portland TFAW on Wednesday, October 7th from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. to purchase the debut issue of this exciting new series and get it signed by David Marquez, while enjoying free beer (for those 21 or older with valid ID) and food!

    Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez previously collaborated on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Now, they are teaming up for Invincible Iron Man, which finds Tony Stark at a crossroads following the universe-changing events of Secret Wars. This new ongoing series will feature new armor, new villains, and a new love interest. Plus, we get to find out who Tony’s birth parents are!

    “The All-New All-Different Marvel is an exciting entry point for comic book fans to join new series as they begin!” said TFAW Marketing Manager Elena Wellard. “We are over the moon to have David back in our store to celebrate the launch of Invincible Iron Man!”

    Copies of Invincible Iron Man #1 and other titles featuring the art of David Marquez will be available for purchase at the event. Sketch variants will also be available.

    Don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet the artist and get the first issue of Invincible Iron Man signed on October 7th at the Portland TFAW!

    Be sure to RSVP on Facebook today!

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  • Aaron Lopresti Signing at Things From Another World

    Aaron Lopresti Signing at Things From Another World

    Things From Another World is pleased to announce a signing with Aaron Lopresti, the talented artist behind such titles as DC’s Wonder Woman and Justice League International and Marvel’s Captain Marvel and Planet Hulk. Stop by the Portland TFAW on Wednesday, September 23rd from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. to celebrate the release of Aaron Lopresti’s new creator-owned series that’s been years in the making! 

    Power Cubed, a four-issue miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics, is a comical coming-of-age tale set in a fantastic sci-fi universe. For his eighteenth birthday, Kenny Logan gets a piece of alien technology that lets him create literally anything he can wish for. Now, Kenny must use this unique matter-reinterpreting device on a weird and wonderful adventure to save his abducted father.

    Copies of Power Cubed #1 and other titles by Aaron Lopresti will be available for purchase at the event.

    Be sure to visit the Portland TFAW store on September 23rd from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. to meet this accomplished artist and get your very own sketch!

    RSVP on Facebook today!

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  • Plutona Signing With Emi Lenox at Things From Another World

    Plutona Signing With Emi Lenox at Things From Another World

    Things From Another World is excited to host Emi Lenox at our Portland store for a Plutona signing on September 4th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and we hope you’ll join us to celebrate the release of Plutona #1 from Image Comics.

    Emi Lenox is best known for her work on EmiTown, and has also worked on Madman, Sweet Tooth, Glory, and more. She’s reuniting with award-winning writer Jeff Lemire to launch the new five-issue Plutona miniseries.

    Plutona follows the story of five suburban kids who stumble upon the dead body of a superhero in the woods. It is a character-driven story that touches on themes of innocence, science fiction, superheroes, and mortality.

    Copies of Plutona #1 will be available for purchase at the event. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the up-and-coming star Emi Lenox and get the first issue of Plutona signed on September 4th at the Portland TFAW!

    Be sure to RSVP on Facebook today!

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  • Things From Another World Welcomes Back Christopher Sebela

    Things From Another World is excited to announce a signing with Christopher Sebela to celebrate the release of the intriguing new series from BOOM! Studios entitled Welcome Back. Be sure to stop by the Portland TFAW store on August 19th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to meet this Eisner-nominated writer.

    Christopher Sebela is best known for writing Dead Letters and High Crimes. You can also catch his work in Escape from New York from BOOM! Studios and in Alien vs. Predator and Ghost from Dark Horse. Now he is working with Critical Hit artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer to bring to life a story of two reincarnated assassins who are caught in a never-ending war.

    Mali and Tessa have lived hundreds of different lives throughout time. Caught up in an eternal cycle, neither of them remembers what they’re fighting for anymore. As Mali becomes self-aware, will she continue to fight? Will Tessa, who is already on the hunt, be on the same page?

    Copies of Welcome Back #1 and other titles by Christopher Sebela will be available for purchase at the event. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet one of the most exciting new comic writers and get the first issue of Welcome Back signed on August 19th at the Portland TFAW!

    RSVP on Facebook today!

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  • Things From Another World Welcomes Aaron Lopresti

    Aaron Lopresti signing at Things From Another World

    Things From Another World is excited to host a signing with Aaron Lopresti, the accomplished artist behind such titles as DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s X-Men, Captain Marvel, Planet Hulk and Ms. Marvel. Be sure to visit the Beaverton TFAW store on Wednesday, May 20th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. to meet the artist and get your very own sketch.

    Aaron Lopresti is now bringing his artistic vision to the soon-to-be-released Convergence #7 and Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 from DC Comics. In Convergence #7, the heroes of The New 52 join the largest battle in the history of the Multiverse. While in Convergence: Wonder Woman #2, Diana Prince takes on vampire versions of The Joker and the rest of the Red Rain ghouls.

    Copies of Convergence #7, Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 and graphic novels featuring Aaron Lopresti’s art will be available for purchase at the event.

    Stop by Beaverton TFAW on May 20th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. to meet this amazingly talented artist in person!

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