Tag: Chad Bowers

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    Get Ready to Go on an Epic Quest in Swordquest #1

    Swordquest #1 begins in the Atari exhibit of a video game museum. In the opening panels of this new Dynamite comic, a sword is displayed prominently encased in glass. Fans will immediately recognize it as the “Sword of Ultimate Sorcery,” the ultimate prize in a five-round tournament. Each round corresponded with a new game in the Swordquest series, but Atari cancelled the series after the third game and the sword never found a home. If you’d like to read more about this mystery, check out the full story here.

    Swordquest #1 Review

    In Chad Bowers and Chris Sims’ world, the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery appears to be sitting awaiting it’s champion. Peter Case is just such a champion, sort of.

    Swordquest #1 Is a Throwback To Times Gone By

    Case, a middle aged man who has lost his home and given six months to live (see Swordquest #0), is on the hunt for one last adventure. While digging through boxes in his childhood bedroom, Case remembers his early obsession with the 1980s Swordquest series. Case and his friends Amy and Alvin Perez had a fixation on solving the puzzles of the Atari games and corresponding DC comics in order to win the ultimate prize. They dutifully mailed in their answers and kept a notebook of strategies. However, when the series ended after the third game (Waterworld), the friends moved on with their lives. Now in their forties, these characters find themselves drawn back to the quest for both Sword and glory, in this charming 1980s nostalgia piece.

    The art by Ghostwriter X echoes the pixelated style of Atari 2600 games. The best examples of this style include a Pac-Man-esque creature devouring Case in a moment of emotional confrontation and panels devoted to player “Game Tips.” The style and throwback design elements are a nod to the book’s concept that the Swordquest game never ended for Case and the Perez siblings. Bower and Sims’ characters are both players of, and characters in, Atari’s game.

    Whether you played the original series or are just a fan of ‘80s nostalgia, this series is worth a read. Its combination of heartfelt throwbacks and genuine attention to the struggles of growing up makes this comic stand out.

    Check out all of our Swordquest issues and don’t forget to subscribe!

    Swordquest #1, Dynamite Comics, Released June 21st, 2017, Writer: Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Art: Ghostwriter X, $3.99

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    NCBD – Batgirl, Adventure Time & X-Men ’92

    With SDCC behind us, it’s back to buiness – and this week for New Comic Book Day we give you a glimpse at Batgirl, Adventure Time Comics, and X-Men ’92! Remember theses are only a few of this week’s new releases that stood out from the crowd. Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to like, comment and 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.

    Batgirl #1
    By: Hope Larson, Rafael Albuquerque

    Batgirl has left Burnside. Since Barbara Gordon returned to her post-Oracle role as Batgirl, she was forced to revisit her past a number of times. She has ventured beyond Gotham City, and will have to put the pieces of that past behind her in order to look forward.

    This future appears bright in the hands of writer Hope Larson, who weaves an excellent voice to the series that brought a sense of audio to a medium without it. Batgirl’s international sleuthing is precisely the kind of story that is refreshing in the current age teeming with talent and brave new direction for comics as a whole. Barbra has been revitalized since Burnside and continues on an inspiring path to make an exceptional character evolve further. Progressing from her past, we may be seeing a new fighting spirit – and style – emerge for Barbara Gordon. Count me in on this rebirth of Batgirl! [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

    Adventure Time Comics #1
    By: Tony Millioire, Erin Hunting

    This series is definitely for those who are big Adventure Time fans! It’s a collection of short stories written and illustrated by some well-known names such as Art Baltazar (Itty Bitty Hellboy, Aw Yeah Titans), Katie Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) Kat Leyh (Co-writer and cover artist for Lumberjanes) and Tony Millionaire (Sock Monkey).

    Mini stories include: Finn’s grave problem of running out of toothpaste and meeting the Tooth Paste Fairy, Finn saving a beastly friend in danger, and a fun cameo from Lumpy Space Princess. This comic had me giggling the whole issue with the cute charm every Adventure Time comics must have: Quirkiness! It is a great comic for all ages and I highly recommend Adventure Time Comics to any one who needs a good laugh. [Darcey M. at

    X-Men ’92 #5
    By: Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Cory Hamscher, David Nakayama

    With Scott leaving the X-Men in the last issue of X-Men ’92, he and Jean reside in Scott’s hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. While they have a joyous vacation away from all the chaos that is the X-Men, their daughter from the future, Rachel Summers, has used the Phoenix to bring them to the year 3992. In hopes of defeating Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister once again. What I really enjoyed about this issue was that it re-told “The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix” story from 1994.
    X-Men ’92 is always fun to read, especially growing up with the cartoon. Chris Sims’ writing is on par with the original series, utilizing everything that made that cartoon great.

    If you’re missing the X-Men cartoon of the ’90s or wonder what could have been if it wasn’t canceled, X-Men ’92 is here to help! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

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

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    Exclusive Interview with Cover Artist Adam Riches

    profile photo, adam richesQ: When did you get interested in comics, and what’s the first comic book series you remember really liking?

    Like most kids growing up in the early ‘90s, comics were very accessible due to so many factors: the record-breaking sales of Jim Lee’s X-Men, Rob Liefeld’s X-Force, Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man (and the subsequent Image boom), the X-Men and Batman animated series, the live-action Batman films, plus tons of merchandising and licensed products, so it’s hard to know exactly what it was that first got me hooked, because I loved it all!

    The first comic book series that I really liked…I don’t know if I can name just one! As a kid, I would get comics at the grocery store, pharmacy, book store, sometimes as random issues in multi-packs, etc. I mention this because what really made an initial impression on me was the characters and the art, simply because I didn’t have enough of any run to understand the continuity, I couldn’t get invested in the stories. So, I would just look through the same comics over and over, getting lost in the art. To try and answer your question though, some of the first books that I remember getting really excited over…X-Men Adventures (based on the Fox Kids TV series), G.I. Joe A Real American Hero, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

    Q: First published work?

    My first published work was a pin-up page in Tales Of The TMNT #52, titled “A Cowboy, A Cowlick, and A Cowabunga!”.

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

    I have too many influences to even try to list them all! I admire, and am inspired by, so many artists for so many different reasons; creativity, style, generosity, fearlessness, business acumen, resourcefulness, work ethic, passion, etc. etc. Without writing an essay qualifying each one, my personal artistic Mount Rushmore is: Drew Struzan, Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman, and Todd McFarlane. Though I could easily name hundreds more!

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

    I work in a mix of both digital and traditional media, it largely depends on the type of work, the look I want to achieve, the deadline, etc. In a perfect world, it’s always nice to have a tangible piece of original art, so as much as possible I try to work traditional, but these days I’m about 50/50.

    gi joe arah 225 grunt action figure cover
    For the last few years I’ve been illustrating the packaging art for many of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe action figures. Because of this, IDW asked if I’d interested in doing a series of retro-inspired toy covers for the comic. Each cover was painted traditionally in acrylic, gouache, and Prismacolor pencils. After the painting is finished, I scan it, and draw the bubble digitally (in Photoshop) to help give it a sleek 3D appearance, separate from the art, as well as add all the logos and text.

    Q: What are you reading nowadays?

    Right now, I’m really digging IDW’s current run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s a fresh take on the TMNT but culls from elements of all their history. Kevin, Tom, and Bobby have consistently written one of the best TMNT books ever in my opinion, and Mateus Santolouco’s art is nothing short of amazing.

    X-Men ’92…Chad Bowers and my buddy Chris Sims are currently writing my dream X-Men book, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s like getting all the best parts of my childhood version of the X-Men back, but with the perfect blend of new characters, and tongue in cheek humor. I’m so happy it’s back as an ongoing!

    IDW’s Back To The Future… generally licensed books can be pretty hit or miss, but with BTTF co-creator Bob Gale co-writing this book (with John Barber), they’ve managed to perfectly capture the tone of the films in comic form.

    I could go on and on, so a few others I’m currently or recently enjoyed (in no particular order)…Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, The Fade Out, Bitch Planet, G.I. Joe A Real American Hero, Squarriors, Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl.

    back to the future 6 7 8 vault collectibles
    Pretty much from the second I’d heard IDW acquired the license to produce BTTF comics, I was dying to work on it, seeing as it’s my favorite movie of all time. So when I got the offer to paint these, I was over the moon! I tried to paint them in a style somewhat reminiscent of Drew Struzan (my favorite illustrator, and the artist who painted the original BTTF movie posters), which meant using all traditional media. In this case mostly airbrushed acrylic paints, and Prismacolor pencils. Because I was hired to paint this as a triptych, it was important that the covers obviously felt connected, but I also wanted to make sure each cover had its own unique look and feel. To achieve that, I did a variety of quick thumbnail sketches before it was ultimately decided on having the cover transition from a cool (#6) to warm palette (#8), creating both an interesting visual transition, but also helping each cover have its own identity. I shot hundreds of photos of a replica DeLorean Time Machine, and cross referenced them with movie stills to get the details as accurate as possible.

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

    My all time favorite comic to film adaptation is probably the 1990 live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, it holds up remarkably well even all these years later. A close second is Batman Returns.

    TV show…this is probably going to sound like a really funny answer to some people, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Swamp Thing: The Series (1990-93, USA Network). It’s campy and weird, and has aged horribly, but the theme song still gets me pumped up, and I got to visit the set as a kid at Universal Studios in Orlando (where it was filmed).

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

    As a cover artist, coming from an illustration background, my comics work is usually very rendered, so I do everything myself. Though, I’m certainly open to the idea of the occasional collaboration, especially with artists who’s style is very different to my own. I’m always curious to see what two unique styles can create when put together.

    Q: What’s next for your career?

    I’ve got several things in the works right now, but of what I can talk about…I’ve got some exclusive Back To The Future covers coming through Vault Collectibles, a cover coming up on ROM I’m really proud of, and I’m currently doing an ongoing cover run on Micronauts. Other than those, hopefully just to keep working on lots of cool projects, and maybe some creator owned stuff in the not-too-distant future!

    Back to the Future #6, sketch in progress
    Back to the Future #6, sketch in progress

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

    TFAW currently has most of my G.I. Joe A Real American Hero action figure covers available, and I’ve had a lot of great feedback on those.

    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 was born in Orange Park, FL (though we moved from there when I was still a baby), I graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design and studied illustration there. I’m currently based in the Tampa Bay, FL area.

    Q: What was your first-ever comic book?

    I’m pretty sure the first comic I ever received was The Spectacular Spider-Man #180 (Sept 1991). Sal Buscema’s striking cover image of Spider-Man and Green Goblin entangled in battle, is forever etched into my memory!

    Q: Where can fans can follow your work?

    You can get in touch with me, and keep up with all my work at AdamRiches.com or find me on Facebook as AdamRichesArt.

    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 davetaylor@tfaw.com as the first step.

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    New Comic Book Day — Reviews for the Fight Club 2 Finale, X-Men ’92, Saga & More

    Has it really been a week since our last New Comic Book Day comic book review? Man, time flies. Here are a few of this week’s new releases that stood out from the crowd. Check out our other blog articles so 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.

     	
Fight Club 2 comics at TFAW.com Fight Club 2 #10
    By: Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, Dave Stewart, David Mack

    The End. With Tyler seemingly seizing control, Sebastian and all of Tyler’s followers are hunkered down with the world’s most precious art in a salt mine and the world is ending. Tyler won. We start over.

    Not quite. What happens after, is a weird twist/ex-machina, that turns the written world of Fight Club into our own. Seemly putting Palahniuk on the stand for the crime of his own creation. Fans were not liking the way things turn out to force themselves to create “a better” ending.

    It’s a great finish for Fight Club 2, a series that took on a life of its own from fans of the film and book. Chuck gives this an existential twist that really makes you think about not only the original story and what it meant, but the purpose of literature. To be free. To become something else entirely. To escape. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    X-Men ’92 #1
    By: Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Alti Firmansyah, David Nakayama

    If you love the classic X-Men with mesmerizing art, then this comic is definitely the one for you! When there’s a big shakeup like the one we just had in the Marvel Universe (Marvel’s Ultimate Universe died), it’s always nice to go back to the classics.

    The series starts off with Hank McCoy’s first day of teaching and he’s already late! He finally arrives and just as he’s about to start teaching he is interrupted by Maverick bursting through the window with a frantic warning to the X-Men. Shortly after, the X-Men are fighting The People’s Protectorate. Omega Red wants top secret information that Maverick has! What information does Maverick possibly have that causes a war outside of the school?! You’ll just have to read X-Men ’92 #1 to find out! [Darcey M. at Universal TFAW]

     	
Aquaman comics at TFAW.com Aquaman #50
    By: Dan Abnett, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund

    Let’s play a bit of catch-up before we jump into Aquaman #50: it has been decided that Atlantis should establish an embassy to the surface world to present land dwelling humans with a bridge between cultures, with Mera serving as the perfect public face for Atlantis in her new role as Aquawoman.

    In this issue, Aquaman must face a new mysterious force that is capable of coming through any water like a portal, whether it be a swimming pool on top of a skyscraper, a fountain in the middle of town, a puddle in the road, and this foe comes from a dark new place where we are likely to see more from in the future.

    Of course, Aquaman will do whatever he can to save the day for any threat intent on harming the innocent, and he does so with the moral compass of a great King. He’s not only regal, and willing to protect all life, but he does so without becoming hardened to the darkness of our world. Fantastic story for our hero, and this issue gives me high hopes for the future of the King of Atlantis. [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

    Saga #35
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

    In the last issue of Saga, we left off with Marco and Alana finding Prince Robot IV and Ghus (and of course Friendo) and coming up with a crazy plan to go rescue Hazel and Marco’s mother, Klara, from a Landfall prison. Meanwhile, The Will has kidnapped journalists Upsher and Doff to find the whereabouts of the person that killed The Stalk. In the midst of all that, Hazel is caught between her grandmother trying to protect her and her schoolteacher trying to break her out of the prison…

    In this new, exciting issue of Saga, we learn about the plan that Marco, Alana, and Prince Robot make as journey to find Hazel and Klara. Prince Robot wavers between helping them or turning them in to get back his former life as royalty. The Will struggles with working with his new captives get the much-needed information he needs to exact his revenge — oh, and The Stalk (who is still very dead) is egging him on to kill everyone that gets in his way. What is in store for Hazel? Will her teacher get her safely out? Will her parents be able to rescue her? Will their attempts tragically fail? You’ll find out this and much more in this amazing issue of Saga, written by the iconic Brian K. Vaughan and featuring the beautiful, one-of-a-kind art of Fiona Staples. [Steve M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

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

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