Tag: IDW Publishing

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    March On!

    On November 16, 2016 March: Book 3 won a National Book Award. It’s the first graphic novel ever to receive this prestigious honor. And it doesn’t take long to see why it was worthy of such accolades.

    marchbook3
    March Book 3

    For those unfamiliar, the March trilogy is Congressman John Lewis’ first hand account of his experiences on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. But it’s far from a dry history lesson. Rather, March is a powerful and stirring boots-on-the-ground look at the heroic figures and hard fought battles of the movement.

    Civil Rights in an Unconventional Medium

    The choice to tell this story in a comic book format is an unconventional one. However, almost from page one it becomes clear it was the right one. The stunning black and white art from Nate Powell conveys the intensity and passion of the scenes. You can feel each sequence viscerally from the terror and the violence of mob attacks to the passion of the speeches during the March on Washington.

    Powell’s command over the sequential art form makes the book compulsively readable. You’re swept up in this turbulent time in American history–even if you know the facts. Seeing history played out like this creates a breathless reading experience that pulses with emotion. It brings out a life and a beating heart that would be sorely missed in a history textbook.

    A First-Person Look at the Movement

    Another big impact is that the story is told from the perspective of John Lewis, a sitting member of the US Congress. He’s been a champion for equal rights since he was a teenager. This personal perspective creates great empathy with the reader. Often the importance of such historic events can be lost when they are shown in an objective and broad scope. But this is John Lewis’ story and through him it becomes the story of an entire movement.

    marchbook1
    March Book 1

    The storytelling in March is another brilliant stroke by Lewis and co-writer Andrew Aydin. The three books are framed around Lewis preparing for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. While getting ready to leave his office, Lewis encounters a woman with her two sons. She is star struck by Lewis. He then recounts to them his days in the Civil Rights Movement. This creates the first person narration that will carry throughout all three books. Lewis’ warm and candid voice is a key to the success of this book. You feel his presence. It’s like you’re one of those children in that room being told this story.

    With Lewis as our protagonist in this sweeping story, March becomes as much memoir as it is history. We start with Lewis as a child. We follow the experiences and events he witnessed from a young age that created his passion and drive for equal rights. Through this focus we get another of the book’s great achievements–a rich humanity.

    A Human Portrayal of Historical Figures

    It’s often easy to cast historical figures as two dimensional characters. Their achievements and failures come to represent them more than their individual personalities or beliefs. In March, luminaries of the time are painted as very human figures. Martin Luther King was a resolute leader in the movement, but he also had fears and doubts about what was being done. Robert F. Kennedy sympathized with the movement, but felt his hands were tied by the rigidness of the political system.

    It’s in the moments of confusion or doubt that these real life characters come alive in this book. Although we know the outcome of the events, you can feel the fragile nature of what’s being built. There was no real roadmap for what these activists were doing. And while morally justified and committed to their cause, there’s no denying what they were doing was scary. And they could face terrible consequences.

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    March Book 2

    One of the most powerful sequences occurs near the beginning of March Book 2. Following the violent outbursts during stand-ins at Tennessee movie theaters, the movement’s leadership comes together to discuss ending the protest. Lewis simply states, “We’re gonna march.” He repeats it again and again–despite the outcry from fellow organizers. This is the type of heroism portrayed throughout March. There were people fighting for what’s right despite the potential danger. This is really the type of heroics that comic books are built on. And it’s much more impactful to read a story of real people overcoming the societal pressures and their own fears to stand up for truth, justice, and the American way.

    The Movement’s Lasting Impact

    One of the most beautiful and moving parts of this story is the movement’s commitment to nonviolence. Such racially charged events like the ones recalled by Lewis obviously created an emotional boiling point.

    It would be understandable to see people lose control in these situations. Leaders such as Lewis and Dr. King knew change would only happen if the protests were peaceful. Understanding this from an academic standpoint is one thing, but it’s another to see the horrific and hateful acts of violence perpetrated against the members of the movement. It further demonstrates the strength, conviction and beliefs of people like John Lewis. And it clearly emphasizes why this movement was so special and impactful on history.

    March belongs among the ranks of Maus and Watchmen as one of the most important works in the comics medium. Beyond being a great piece of comic art, March has so much value as a history text. And it provides a relevant message about tolerance and peaceful protest.

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    March Box Set

    It’s a book that reminds us how bad things once were and how far we still have to come. It doesn’t shy away from the horrors that occurred. But it also shines a bright light on the hard won victories of a passionate group of people who struggled to create a better world. It’s a work with limitless impact that will continue to educate and inspire generations to come.

    ORDER THE THREE-BOOK MARCH BOX SET

     

    March, Published by IDW Publishing and Top Shelf Productions, Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Art by Nate Powell

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    A Very Michelangelo Christmas

    After some rough times in the last few issues, everybody can agree the beloved Ninja Turtles need a little break from turmoil. This exactly what leads Michelangelo to throw, in his words, “The Most Awesomest Christmas Party Ever!”

    In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65, all four turtles put their individual skills to use celebrating the yuletide. Mikey’s making the snacks. Donnie is on lights. Raph is in charge of security. And Leo is coordinating everybody. This being the Turtles, it’s impossible to things to go off without at least of couple of hitches.

    Mikey’s “small affair” quickly spirals out of control as the Mutanimals get word of the party and show up uninvited. But the problem of the ever-growing guest list is a gift to readers as it leads to cameos from the majority of the Turtle’s supporting cast.

    The Party’s About to Get out of Control

    Fan favorites like Casey Jones and April O’Neil are there, of course, and they continue their will they/won’t they flirtation. There’s the Turtles’ beloved pizza deliveryman Woody ,who develops a crush on no-nonsense street brawler Angel Bridge. Baby Protoceratops Pepperoni is also on hand to devour all the pizza she can get her dinosaur hands on. And Pete the Pigeon brings his karaoke machine to belt out a few classic Christmas carols.

    This is a fun, one-off Christmas special that can be enjoyed whether you,ve been following the series or not. Lots of good gags (including a great Christmas Vacation homage) and classic character beats fill this issue. There’s even a surprise cameo of a famous character taking on a Santa Claus role in the final pages. A definite Christmas treat for all TMNT fans out there.

    SEE WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TURTLES AND PRE-ODER TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #66

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65, IDW Publishing, Release date December 14, 2016, Written by Tom Waltz, Art by Mateus Santolouco, $3.99

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    Welcome to Lovecraft Country

    Locke & Key vol 1 and Harrow County a love letter to HP Lovecraft

    H.P. Lovecraft’s name is indelibly linked to the horror genre. A true master of spinning the mundanely macabre into cerebral terror that pesters the mind long after you’ve finished reading his works. Lovecraft’s voice reaches out of his grave and aims to scare us into our own. The Lovecraftian horror stories are his legacy, and some of today’s top creators are carrying the torch.

    He’s introduced the psychological and the existential to our fears, invented incredible monsters to feed upon us, and shone new (albeit flickering) light on the oblique things that have always quickened our pulses. It’s no surprise his influence has exerted itself all things horror, including comic books.

    In many ways, Lovecraft has found his true successors in a couple of notable comic book series: Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook, and Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Harrow County is an exhilarating ongoing series produced by Dark Horse comics and is a lead feature for the company, with a TV series currently under development with the Syfy channel. Locke & Key is arguably one of the most talked about horror comics ever written.

    Locke & Key is something of a comic phenomenon. It’s been re-released in several reprints including a master edition and a holiday set. It’s also been turned into a coloring book, a card game, adapted into an audioplay, and there was even an infamous TV pilot.

    Both the Harrow County and Locke & Key series share a legacy of Lovecraftian horror that helps to define them as something beyond mere scary stories. While there are countless comics that have been influenced by Lovecraft’s work, these two series stand apart when looking at the elements that truly make Lovecraft’s work singular.

    What makes a Lovecraftian story truly different than your average tale is its execution. Lovecraft tales are an intricate combination of a gothic story of inherited guilt, a monster story about a powerful otherworldly being, and part psychological trauma. These stories offer more than just your typical jump and scare horror. Lovecraft’s stories are dark and threatening, pushing readers beyond their boundaries of belief.

    Harrow County is Ripe with Lovecraftian Horror Touches

    Harrow Couty Volume 1Slow burning, lingering terror is what you expect when imagining Lovecraft’s work and it’s absolutely what you get in Harrow County. It’s a visceral new take on the tradition of small town witch stories. It builds a sense of dread, slowly unveiling the truth of the dark magic that haunts the eponymous county. The heroine, Emmy, finds that she is intimately tied to the terrible legacy that has mired Harrow County in fear for generations, leading to revelations that stain the rest of the unfolding story. Harrow County takes this classic structure of a witch story and broadens it with Lovecraftian themes of inheritance, the resurgence of eldritch powers, and toxic superstition.

    Harrow County is the kind of story that sits on your chest, making it subtly harder and harder to breath as the panels pass. It’s makes you feel anxiety about putting your feet near that unthought of gap between your bed and your floor, and reminds you that you really should run up the basement stairs.

    It’s not just a New England Witch story. It’s a story about the things we see in the dark and the what they could become if only given the right injection of magic. It’s not just a ghost story. It’s the story of the primordial things that made us first image them away as ghosts.

    Locke & Key Echoes Lovecraft’s Love of the Forbidden

    Locke & Key vol 2Much like Harrow County, Locke & Key is filled to the brim with its share of monsters. The Locke family is faced with ghosts, a manipulative echo that lives at the bottom of of their well, living shadows, giants ,and demons that threaten to rip apart the very fabric of their world. The story reminds us, however, that the most dangerous monsters can be the people that have been right next to us all along.

    From the very beginning, it is evident that Locke & Key draws on Lovecraft for inspiration. References to his work are made throughout, but most importantly, the very first issue finds the Locke family relocating to the New England town named Lovecraft after the murder of their patriarch. The true significance of this is because Lovecraft’s settings are so iconic, with many of his works taking place in pastoral villages or small towns in New England. In fact, this type of setting is so deeply associated with the late writer that it’s gained the nickname “Lovecraft Country.” This setting is used with purpose, as these places resist modernity and foster an eerie isolation that glances at the modern world, but shies away from it.

    In Locke & Key, you see echoes of Lovecraft’s fascination for the forbidden, especially when it comes to the idea of hidden knowledge. Several of his stories touch on the subject of the erasure or obscurement of memory, and the discovery of secret things hidden from the minds of others.

    These stories find their answer in the magic of the Keyhouse as it blurs the lines between memory, fantasy and reality. To Lovecraft, knowledge was a primeval power that upon looking into its depths could drive a person to madness. This destructive quality is threaded throughout Locke & Key, with the blooming knowledge of the Keyhouse becoming poisonous to the people tied to it and reaching beyond the pages to disturb the minds of the people who read about it.

    Harrow County and Locke & Key are those rare series that will linger in your bones for long after you’ve finished reading them. Both  share a similar heritage that makes them something more than just your run of the mill scary comic both as they are heavily influenced by the master of horror craft, H. P.  Lovecraft. Both embrace the themes he used to terrify his audience while translating them into a new medium, all the while haunting an entirely new genre with them.

    CHECK OUT LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR AT TFAW
    VISIT OUR SPECIAL HORROR SECTION

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    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 #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 #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 #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 #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!

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    New Comic Book Day — Reviews for New Suicide Squad #18, Agents of SHIELD #3 & More

    This week had some really strong new releases, and we wanted to highlight a few quality issues from this week’s new releases that could get lost in the shuffle. Check out our other New Comic Book Day 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.

     	
New Suicide Squad comics at TFAW.com New Suicide Squad #18
    By: Tim Seeley, Juan Ferreyra

    Twist and Turns Ladies and Gentlemen! If you want them, the newest issue of New Suicide Squad has them. Harley delivers a whimsical yet informational recap of a seemingly pointless story. However, stick with it, it leads somewhere exciting.

    This issue is rich with character development and the team sets us up for a whole new (possibly disastrous) plot. We also get to catch up with Amanda Waller and get a reminder that she is NOT TO BE TOYED WITH!

    Tim Seeley delivers yet again with an issue that contains great dialogue for all and is fantastically displayed in the artwork by Juan Ferreya. [Sean W. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Amazing Spider-Man #9
    By: Dan Slott, Matteo Buffagni

    Amazing Spider-Man #9 From owning the biggest company with top notch technology to being known as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker has it all! Er, well almost… Unfortunately, all of Parker’s successes have led to villains tracking his every move. In the previous issues, we are introduced to the terrorist group, Zodiac. They steal Peter’s latest technology to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s security system to find a super rare artifact. What are they going to do with this artifact? World domination of course!

    This issue kicks off a new story arc in which Nick Fury and Spider-Man team up to find Zodiac’s leader, Scorpio. If you really liked Superior Spider-Man, I am positive you will love this storyline. I mean after all, the same team that brought you Superior Spider-Man is doing this series! [Darcey M. at Universal TFAW]

     	
New Suicide Squad comics at TFAW.com Batman/TMNT #4
    By: James Tynion IV, Freddie Williams II, Jeremy Colwell

    The Turtles are trying to get home, but they’re up to their shells in trouble. With the help of Batman and an old friend, it looks like they may finally have some luck on their side.

    We are now four issues deep into the awesome Batman/TMNT crossover and James Tynion IV’s story is still as intriguing as ever. Freddie E Williams II and Jeremy Colwell are a fantastic pairing on art–I especially enjoy the decision to give the turtles different styled face masks.

    As the story continues it gets more and more clear that each turtle shares traits with Batman. With Raphael being Batman’s darker boding personality. Donatello, his tech side. Leonardo, the martial artist, and Michelandelo….uh…maybe not all.

    If you haven’t caught this from the beginning, go back and start. With DC/IDW doing second & third printings of the series you know it has to be good. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

     	
Green Lantern #50 comic book review at TFAW.com Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3
    By: Marc Guggenheim, German Peralta

    Picking up from an excellent cliffhanger from the previous issue, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 jumps immediately into the action and keeps a solid pace, despite having to dump a lot of exposition on the readers who might not be caught up on Marvel’s Avengers Standoff crossover. Character sum up what’s been happening so far without too much stilted or forced dialogue. The chase for Whisperer is the best part of the book and (Spoiler warning if you haven’t read the first two parts of Standoff) Rick Jones uses things that don’t seem unrealistic for a character with his history to have access.

    Peralta’s art is clear and dynamic, and Guggenheim fills the script with nods to both the current events of the Marvel Universe but nice bits of history as well. He’s been a part of a great team on the DC TV side as creator of Arrow and Flash and now doing and excellent adaption of Marvel’s most well-known network show. This one is highly recommended. [Dustin M. at Universal TFAW]

    X-Files Deviations (one-shot)
    By: Amy Chu, Elena Casagrande

    The X-Files Deviations is a wonderful parallel for fans of the first episode. In this new story, wrier Amy Chu recreates what started it all with one major twist — Dana Scully is partnered with Samantha Mulder. Samantha’s brother Fox was the one who went missing all those years ago and now the two must work together to find the truth that is out there.

    The story moves along at a good pace and Casagrande’s style matches the tone of the story. For most fans, the relationship between Mulder and Scully is probably the most iconic thing about the show, but without it could the series thrive? This issue has me thinking yes. It’s a must read for any X-Files fan. Don’t forget about the other IDW Deviations one-shot issues starring the Ghostbusters, TMNT, Transformers & G.I. Joe. I’m really looking forward to those now that I’ve read this issue. [Travis S. at TFAW.com]

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

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    Star Trek Manifest Destiny is Coming — buy’ ngop!

    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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    Voting Opens For The Best Comic of 2015


    You’ve read our write-ups on the best comic book series of 2015. Now through 1/14/16, you have the chance to vote for your favorite and help crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    For those who may have missed one of our Best Comics of 2015 articles, check them out now:

    You can vote once per day now through 1/14/16.

    VOTE NOW FOR THE BEST COMIC OF 2015

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    The Best Comics of 2015 – Part 5 of 5 – Indy Comics

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

    So many great comics hit the stands last year, and we’re looking to you to choose the Best Comic of 2015! What follows is the final article in a series of five Best Comics of 2015 pieces we’ve produced since December. Missed the earlier installments? Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, and Part 4. Starting tomorrow, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in and help us crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    Creator-owned series and indy publishers are great if you want to cast the shackles of shared universes and decades of canon. You’ll find some of the most creative stories and unique artwork in the pages books like these.

    The Best of Indy Comics (in no particular order):

    Lumberjanes
    By: Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Carolyn Nowak, Brooke A. Allen

    Here’s what I told my sister-in-law about Lumberjanes: “It’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Baby-Sitters Club meets Camp Nowhere.” Here’s what I told my ten-year-old niece about Lumberjanes: “It’s about a five girls who go to summer camp and become best friends. While they’re there, they fight monsters, go on adventures, solve magical mysteries, and KICK BUTT.”

    Far from being a kids’ book, the Eisner Award-winning Lumberjanes manages to be truly “all-ages,” appealing to kids and adults alike. All you need is a sense of whimsy and a love of adventure. The book has an energy that picks you up and carries you through every issue, and the main characters — Jo, April, Ripley, Mal, and Molly — are written so well that they feel like your real-life best friends. The art is both cute and sophisticated, using brilliant colors and great linework to evoke moods and emotions. On top of all that, this series champions diversity in a subtle, natural way. It offers characters and storylines that are outside of the box, giving all sorts of young kids the chance to see themselves reflected in their comics and imagine a more vibrant, inclusive world. It’s serious stuff, which is why it’s extra impressive that each comic is so damn fun to read.

    This series is exciting, funny, and sweet — though it’s crawling with supernatural creatures, every issue proves that the real magic lies in friendship. With two collected trade paperbacks (and a third on the way), a hardcover deluxe edition, and 21 issues out so far, there’s plenty of ways to join this series. [Steven M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    By: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz, Cory Smith, Mateus Santolouco, Michael Dialys, Ken Garing

    It’s been four years and 52 issues since IDW started its TMNT journey with Tom Waltz and Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman back in 2011. If you haven’t been keeping up with the series, 2015 was a good time to join.

    Waltz masterfully blends previous incarnations of the Turtles together culminating in deep, and intriguing storylines. So even if you started with the comics back in the 80’s, or the cartoon of the ’90s or ’00s, you’ll find something to keep you coming back each month.

    This year also saw a massive event that took the Internet by storm. Donatello was left to defend the homestead in TMNT #44, and was attacked by Bebop & Rocksteady (yeah, those ones). Although Donnie tries his hardest, and even with the help of Metalhead, they get them best of him. Find the issue or pick up TMNT TPB Vol. 11 to see for yourself.

    This series has been one of the most consistently good series on the stands. With all the variations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mythos to pull from, it’s always cool to see how our favorite ancillary characters are brought in to the mix. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Sixth Gun comics at TFAW.com Sixth Gun
    By: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Bill Crabtree, A.C. Zamudio, Tyler Crook

    We were spoiled this year. Not only did we get to see the beginning of the end of the the ongoing Sixth Gun series, but a host of great artists came together to contribute to the deeper Sixth Gun lore in the Days of the Dead, Dust to Dust, and Valley of Death miniseries.

    Set in the wild west, The Sixth Gun is firmly rooted in western themes and settings, but it’s so much more than that. With elements of adventure, supernatural, humor, and drama, this series transcends the genre it’s built around. I cannot wait to see what Bunn and company have in store for the final three issues later this year. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Red Sonja comics at TFAW.com

    Red Sonja
    By: Gail Simone, Sergio Fernandez Davila, Walter Geovani

    Gail Simone is a modern legend. She has penned countless amazing comics for almost every major publisher and, most notably, had multiple essential runs at DC Comics (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, and more!). Red Sonja is a classic fantasy/sword and sorcery character that, while still popular, was in need of something (or someone) special to push her into the modern, mainstream spotlight. It turns out, this whole time she had been waiting for Gail Simone. When this book was announced, it was suddenly a no-brainer: of course Gail should be writing Red Sonja! Why hasn’t this happened already?

    And to no one’s surprise it is fantastic! Simone manages to tell a story that feels familiar and new at the same time, deftly marrying classic elements with modern storytelling sensibilities. Meanwhile, Walter Geovani pencils some haunting pages that will linger in your mind. Throughout this epic, the She-Devil with a Sword is taken to unfamiliar, dangerous places that will leave scars both physical and emotional. Along with new depth to the hero, we are introduced to several characters that are welcome additions to the mythos.

    If you are a fan of Gail Simone, Red Sonja, or simply great comics, look no further. This is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers, with plenty of twists and turns for veteran fans as well! [Jeff B. at Portland TFAW]

    Escape From New York comics at TFAW.com Escape From New York
    By: Christopher Sebela, Diego Barreto, Maxim Simic

    Christopher Sebela triumphantly brought Snake Plissken back from the dead in the ongoing Escape From New York comic book series this year. This is by far one of my favorite series published by BOOM! Studios in recent years.

    The comic book series starts off 5 minutes before the ending on the first Escape movie, then with Snake on the run he goes to the only place safe from the USPF (United States Police Force) — Florida.

    Sebela’s writing artfully captures all those colorful characters we saw in the ’81 movie without relying on tropes to tell a fun story that feels like an Escape story. Sebela does a great job creating the entirety of the state of the world that John Carpenter started to show us. This is one of my first reads every month, and I can’t wait for more of Snake’s adventures. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Honorable Mentions:

    Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog to see how you can help us crown the Best Comic of 2015. Voting opens tomorrow!

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

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    October Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    Silent Hill Downpour Annes Story #1 review at TFAW.comEvery month, our customers submit hundreds of product reviews that help others determine how great (or not-so-hot) certain comics, graphic novels, and other collectibles are. We took a look at the reviews that were submitted in October and are awarding $25 gift certificates as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. And the winners are (insert drum roll here):

    Our first contest winner is Coniah in Tacoma, WA! Coniah wrote a review for the all-new Thor #1 caught our eye:

    If you’ve been out of comics for a while or not following the main Thor title, this issue does a good job of helping catch you up to the most recent events leading up to Thor Odinson’s being unworthy of Mjolnir, and there’s a great sense of action and scale as well. Overall, it’s a pretty solid issue with only one drawback, in my opinion, not enough of the new Thor.

    The Strain Volume 1 HC review at TFAW.comOur second winner is Mary from Manhattan, KS. She had this to say about Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1 (of 4):

    If I could give this six stars, I would. HAWKEYE. DRESSED UP AS HAWKEYE FOR HALLOWEEN. Also: plot thickening, villains somewhat revealed, and shenanigans. Love this series!

    Grayson #1 review at TFAW.comLast but not least, John from South Dartmouth, MA dropped by to share his thoughts about the new Ghostbusters #15 (Subscription Variant):

    I have been a GB fan since I was a kid and was very excited for the comic book series when it came out. Good story in the spirit of the original movies. I love how some of the variant covers are throwbacks to not only the original movies but the Real Ghostbusters cartoon series like this cover.

    Thanks so much to everyone who wrote reviews last month. You’re helping people decide what to get (or what to avoid) next.

    Remember, you don’t have to write a novel to win. Product reviews can be short and sweet, or highly detailed — as long as they help other customers, that’s what we’re looking for. So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    HOW TO SUBMIT A PRODUCT REVIEW:
    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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    September Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    Silent Hill Downpour Annes Story #1 review at TFAW.comEvery month, our customers submit hundreds of product reviews that help others determine how great (or not-so-hot) certain comics, graphic novels, and other collectibles are. We took a look at the reviews that were submitted in September and are awarding $25 gift certificates as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. And the winners are (insert drum roll here):

    Our first contest winner is Erin in Delaware! Erin wrote a review for Silent Hill Downpour Annes Story #1 caught our eye:

    This is a very encouraging start. Anne’s Story features the jaw-dropping imagery Silent Hill fans love, with excellently done flashbacks and good hints at symbolism to come. Anne is a fascinating character in her own right and, thankfully, the book doesn’t allow more familiar characters to steal the stage.

    The Strain Volume 1 HC review at TFAW.comOur second winner is John from Knoxville, TN. He had this to say about The Strain Volume 1 HC:

    This is the greatest vampire story of our time. Gone are the days of the vampires that turn to diamonds in the light, and have a horrible urge to hang around teen girls. The Strain puts the fear of vampires back into people’s hearts. They’re ugly, loathsome beasts again and it’s amazing. Much praise to Guillermo Del Toro for his beautifully scary story.

    Grayson #1 review at TFAW.comLast but not least, James from Leavenworth , KS dropped by to share his thoughts about the new Grayson series:

    I’ve never read any of the Nightwing comics but was interested to find out where this story would lead after Justice League Forever Evil. I am very pleased with this new storyline, and I’m excited to see where it leads. A must read.

    Thanks so much to everyone who wrote reviews last month. You’re helping people decide what to get (or what to avoid) next.

    Remember, you don’t have to write a novel to win. Product reviews can be short and sweet, or highly detailed — as long as they help other customers, that’s what we’re looking for. So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    HOW TO SUBMIT A PRODUCT REVIEW:
    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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    May Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    Empowered Special: Internal Medicine review at TFAW.comNo two reviews are the same! You guys have once again outdone yourselves by sending in so many spectacular product reviews to choose from last month! Picking just three of you for this month’s winners was as hard as picking the original Multiple Man out of a whole group of dupes. However, after reading through the hundreds and hundreds of uncanny reviews, we have hand picked three of our favorites as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. Below, you’ll find out who won from May’s Product Reviews. $25 TFAW gift certificates are on the way to the folks who posted them.

    David from Philadelphia, PA stopped by with his five star review of superstar writer Adam Warren’s Empowered Special: Internal Medicine from Dark Horse Comics:

    Empowered one-off while awaiting the trades. Don’t let the dessert cart of cheesecake fool you – Warren always spins a rich, interwoven story peppered with character, humor, and hyperbole courtesy of the Caged Demonwolf. While not my favorite of the one-offs–the ending teaser forces my hand to a “5.” ’nuff said.

    Superior Spider-Man #31 review at TFAW.comOur second winner is Kenneth from Flushing, NY. He had this to say about the Superior Spider-Man #31:

    The look on the Green Goblins face when he realizes that it is actually Peter Parker he is fighting, not Doc Ock is priceless. Some readers had problems with the art in the second half of the book, but I am fine with it. When Spider-Man confronts J. Jonah Jameson at the end if the book, it is very moving and memorable. It made this series finally truly “superior.”

    My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #17 review at TFAW.comLast but not least, Jeremy from Middletown, RI wrote a review for My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #17 that we had to share:

    The MLP comic series continues to delight and inspire. These are the first comics that I have ever read and I am hooked forever by this point. They have even spurred me to start buying comics and graphic novels from other series and genres. I’m proud to say that I’m a comic book guy now.

    Thanks so much to everyone who wrote reviews last month. You’re helping people decide what to get (or what to avoid) next.

    Remember, you don’t have to write a novel to win. Product reviews can be short and sweet, or highly detailed — as long as they help other customers, that’s what we’re looking for. So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    HOW TO SUBMIT A PRODUCT REVIEW:
    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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    Joe Harris Reveals the Truth Behind X-Files Season 10 at IDW

    X-Files Season 10Since The X-Files television show ended in 2002 after nine seasons, millions of fans have wanted to believe it could somehow continue. This fervor for the beloved FBI team of Dana Scully — the skeptic — and Fox Mulder — the believer — and their paranormal investigations have led to two movies (with a third hinted at during New York Comic Con), and now IDW’s popular The X-Files Season 10 comic book series, written by Joe Harris (Great Pacific, Fury of Firestorm).

    As part of Horror Month, we sent Harris our questions about working on the X-Files, Scully’s son William’s true parentage, and what’s coming next.

    WARNING: IMPLIED NUDITY IN IMAGES BELOW. MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR READERS UNDER 18.

    Enjoy Harris’s in-depth responses below, as well as an excellent five-page preview of X-Files Season 10 #6, out November 20.

    TFAW: How does it feel to have been given the reins to The X-Files?

    Joe Harris: It’s been exciting. A little scary and intimidating, to start, but mostly cool at the moment. I try to just go with it and not psych myself out. It’s amazing to have gotten to do this, I’ll be honest with you.

    TFAW: What’s your personal history with the show?

    JH: I was, I think, right in the prime demographic when the show debuted back in the early 1990s. My brother and some friends got onboard first, and eventually, I relented and started tuning in. The X-Files kept us all company on some lonely teenaged Friday nights. By the time the show really started taking off and finding a broad audience, along with a choice Sunday night time slot, I was in deep.

    TFAW: How have Mulder and Scully changed, since the TV show and the movies?

    JH: Well, they’ve got some experience on them. They’ve been through the wringer, like, 10 or 20 times, and they’re aware of what they’re up against, in the actual and the broader, overall landscape.

    X-Files Season 10 #6 X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page 1 X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page 2

    TFAW: What advice, if any, has Chris Carter had for you?

    JH: He reminded me that the “science” — meaning the scientific explanation Scully would end up going to when she and Mulder were confronted with whatever paranormal situation happened to be on tap that week, had to be sound. And then he recalled the simple, obvious but essentially crystal clear paradigm the show followed — that Scully has to have reason to be convinced that something paranormal is not going on, and that the paranormally inclined Mulder is always right, in the end.

    TFAW: You’ve got the first arc under your belt now, with the conclusion of “Believers” in X-Files Season 10 #5. Are there any differences to how you’re plotting and writing the next one?

    JH: I feel like we’re rolling a bit now. In terms of story, we’ve re-set the table and can operate with a foundation under us that’s directly comics-based. And so far as writing these characters goes, I think I’ve got a good read on Mulder and Scully. Going into this, I was drawing on the television episodes for backmatter and research. But they’ve got new experiences we’re going to be building off of too now.

    That said, I’m still doing tons of research, shuttling through the shows and films for backmatter and inspiration.

    X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page #3 X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page 4 X-Files Season 10 #6 Preview Page 5

    TFAW: As a fan, is there a scene you’re just dying to write?

    JH: Oh hell yes. As I’m always scanning through old episodes, I make note of little hooks and references that might later work their way into a Season 10 story and cement us a little more within the mythology.

    There’s a lot I’m looking into right now, and I really don’t want to reveal and spoil anything here. But I can give you two examples of moments and bits that would ring some bells with the fans, and which I really want to illustrate as either the center of an upcoming issue, or in a scene somewhere down the line, etc.

    The first involves Mulder’s trip to a Washington, DC “head shop,” as mentioned in the Stephen King co-written episode, “Chinga,” where he ends up buying the iconic “I Want To Believe” poster that hangs on his basement office wall. I mean, can you imagine Mulder browsing through the bongs and glass pipes before he gets to the blacklight posters and patchouli?

    X-Files Season 10 The other involves Monte Propps, the killer who was the subject of young Fox Mulder’s famed work as a profiler before founding the FBI’s “X-Files” division, and who was mentioned in the very first episode of the show. I’d like to expand and expound upon that bit of lore a little at some point, too.

    And I’d love to show more of Mulder and Scully’s past, at some point, if it works within the context of what we’re doing in the present.

    TFAW: How large will Scully’s son William figure in the overall series?

    JH: I read this question a couple times thinking, at first, you were asking me how big he was these days!

    It’s all a mystery, wrapped in a puzzle, inside of an enigma. William is, obviously, a core concern for Mulder and Scully — for Dana, especially. And the events of our opening “Believers” arc didn’t do anything to lessen that.

    But William is also a dear concern for Chris Carter, and I know he has business he wants to get to on that front, himself. So we’re touching upon things where appropriate, and when expected . . . but we’re being careful for other, very cool reasons too.

    TFAW: Are we going to get a definitive answer about his “true” parentage?

    JH: You sound like my Twitter feed! See above. 🙂

    TFAW: The X-Files has always been an fantastic blend of horror and sci-fi. What are your personal influences in those genres?

    JH: I’m a huge horror and sci-fi nerd. I’ve written a few horror movies and directed a few short films of my own, having grown up on a steady diet of John Carpenter and Friday the 13th sequels and all sorts of other influences. I am a Richard Matheson junkie and a Rod Serling lover, too.

    X-Files Season 10 TFAW: Can you give us any hints about the alien invasion, or whatever else is coming next?

    JH: If I told you about “the alien invasion” Chris Carter would excommunicate me . . .

    But I can tell you that we’ve got lots of hooks and permutations of the X-Files “Mytharc” to explore, and new conspiracies to dig into. Lots of old friends, enemies, and characters difficult to classify as one or the other will be returning . . . some in unexpected ways, with motivations and secrets that keep this a forward-leaning series, rather than just a trip down memory lane.

    We’ve got everyone’s favorite monster, Flukeman, returning in a two-part sequel to the immortally beloved Season Two episode “The Host” beginning in issue #6, and Mulder’s mysterious informant “X” makes a return from beyond the grave in issue #8.

    Issue #9 is going to spotlight our first original “Monster of the Month” that I’m super excited to reveal. It’s going to be a pretty creepy experience, I can promise you that.

    After that, we’re going to expand on the presumed history of everyone’s favorite nicotine addict a bit, both as a love letter to one of my favorite episodes, “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” as well as an uncovering of some new details regarding the mystery of CSM’s reappearance in the pages of The X-Files: Season 10.

    And all of this will propel us toward the next big, shocking multi-part storyline beginning in issue #11.

    Our thanks to Joe Harris for answering all of our questions! You can find The X-Files Season 10 comics and graphic novels right here at TFAW; save 10-20%

    BROWSE X-FILES COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

    Are you excited about The X-Files Season 10? Post your comments below!

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