Tag: J. H. Williams III

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    Don’t Fear The Batman

    The third annual Batman Day is September 17th, and who deserves a day of celebration more than the Caped Crusader? No one. It’s hard to overstate the impact that Batman has had on comic books.

    Quite possibly the most recognizable comic book character, Batman has appeared in more than ten thousand issues to date. He’s a genius detective who dedicates his time and incredible resources to the pursuit of fighting crime in his beloved Gotham City and beyond. He’s a complex and nuanced hero, whose story has been told again and again, subtly reforming in the same way that we build myths.

    For long time fans, Batman has changed significantly over his nearly eighty-year run, and with each new capitulation, he brings exciting new storylines. But for casual fans, or for those who have never picked up a Batman comic, the call of the Bat-Signal can be intimidating. Those thousands of issues represent quite a big backlog of reading to catch up on!

    So, in honor of Batman Day, we bring to you a new reader’s guide to the very best that Batman has to offer. Below, you’ll find several titles that help a new reader to gain some insight on the Dark Knight so that you’ll become a shining star on your Batman trivia team.

    Batman: Year One

    Batman: Year One

    As the title suggests, Batman: Year One chronicles the very beginnings of Batman as he starts out to become the savior of crime-riddled Gotham. Written in 1986 by Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) — who had already gained quite a reputation by then — and drawn by Dave Mazzucchelli (Daredevil: Born Again), Year One was the reboot that everyone had been waiting for after DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths event.

    The story itself follows Batman as he struggles to gain footing as a vigilante and slowly rebuilds the entire story of the Caped Crusader. As this title was DC’s attempt at restarting Batman’s legacy, it is essential to read and a perfect starting place for a new fan. From here, you’ll know enough about the dynasty to explore even the most loose canon titles.

    Batman: The Long Halloween

    Batman: The Long Halloween

    By Jeph Loeb (Superman Batman, Fallen Son: Death Of Captain America) and Tim Sale (Hulk: Grey, Grendel), The Long Halloween is the quintessential Batman series, now collected into a beautiful graphic novel. Long heralded as one of the best Batman storylines, Long Halloween is a great starting point for new readers because it features the character at his best.

    The story unfolds as Batman hunts down an evasive serial killer who strikes Gotham on holidays, coming to critical mass at the titular Halloween. This story reminds the reader that Batman is a master detective and it artfully illustrates the relationship between Batman’s alias, Bruce Wayne, as the action unfolds before you. (Pro tip: Check out the awesome Batman Noir edition that came out in 2014. It’s absolutely beautiful and this is the exact story that’ll make you glad for investing in a nice copy.)

    Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

    Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

    Written by comic legend Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Creatures of the Night) with art by Andy Kubert (Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Flashpoint), this is an unlikely pick for new readers to the Batman saga because it takes place right after Bruce Wayne’s death. Many new readers shy away from this particular title because of its place right in the middle of a major story shift, but it’s easily one of the most critical pieces of the Batman mythos. It is the narrative answer to a recap for Batman’s extensive history, featuring appearances from every major character from the comic series’ past.

    While it is not a typical Batman story, preferring poetics and a shifting narrative, it examines the character deeply and in a way that is liable to make even the oldest Bat-fans fall in love all over again.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Doom Patrol) writes and Dave McKean (Violent Cases, The Sandman) illustrates this intense and psychologically challenging series that casts a long, dark shadow on the Batman story.

    Set within the heart of the legendary Arkham Asylum, where Gotham’s most disturbed villains have started a riot, Batman must face both his classic foes and himself to save the day. Arkham Asylum has a visceral story and Dave McKean’s surreal art leaves a lasting memory of the darkness that Batman has to face during its telling.

    This comic is essential for those readers who understand the importance of well-crafted villains for heroic storylines. While we don’t recommend this title as the very first Batman story you read, it should definitely be picked up shortly afterward.

    We Are Robin Volume 1

    We Are Robin vol 1

    Even more than Batman’s villains, the Caped Crusader’s allies are hugely important to his story, and there are none more so than his perennial protégé Robin. Writer Lee Bermejo teams up with artists Rob Haynes and Khary Randolph to explore another side of the city of Gotham through the eyes of several aspiring teenaged vigilantes, who all take up the mantle of Robin.

    This series reinvents the character of Robin, placing it not as the moniker for a single side-kick that works alongside Batman, but as a call to arms for the youth of Gotham. We Are Robin is cathartic and refreshing, reminding the reader that Batman doesn’t exist in a vacuum, because his influence inspires a generation of young people to take action against the corruption that they have uncovered in their city. We Are Robin is diverse and not at all pandering, while it discusses the themes of everyday heroism that began the Batman legacy in the first place.

    Batwoman: Elegy

    Batwoman: Elegy

    Batwoman is in many ways the true successor to Batman himself, and in Batwoman: Elegy, she is at her best. Perhaps the seminal work of Batwoman’s library, Elegy also happens to be one of the best works that helped to define Gotham outside of Batman himself. While his influence is felt throughout the story, the true hero featured here is Kate Kane, an heiress who chooses to use her vast resources to better Gotham by taking on the Bat cowl.

    During an investigation into a crime-worshipping cult, Batwoman faces off with a new villain who emulates Alice in Wonderland’s title heroine with a deadly obsession. Her encounter with Alice sends catastrophic ripples through Kane’s entire life and cuts to the core of what made her become a hero in the first place.

    Acclaimed writer Greg Rucka tells this engaging, fast-paced story which is brought to life by award-winning artist J.H. Williams III’s breathtaking work. Elegy is sparkling with action, and you’ll find yourself torn between dying to read what happens next and wanting luxuriate in William’s genre-defining layouts. Most importantly, Elegy introduces new readers to Kane’s own legacy and illustrates the lasting power that the cowl wields.

    SEE THESE AND OTHER GREAT BATMAN PRODUCTS AT TFAW.COM

    So what do you think? What is your favorite Batman comic? Join the conversation and leave your suggestions in the comments or hit us up on Twitter and Instagram at @TFAW.

    Batman Day at Things From Another World


    Visit any of our four locations for Batman Day to get in on special Batman Day savings on graphic novels and more. Plus, bring the kiddos so they can participate in fun Batman Day activities.

    LEARN MORE ABOUT BATMAN DAY AT THINGS FROM ANOTHER WORLD

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    December’s Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    Walking Dead #147 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 December and are awarding $25 gift certificates as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. The winners who submitted product reviews in December are:

    Arturo from Chaparral, NM had written several reviews for Walking Dead comics last month, here’s what he had to say about issue #147.

    I’m a big Walking Dead fan and when the TV show came about, I loved it even more! I love the characters, I love the story line and I love the fact that it’s all about survival and not just about the dead. I thank you for sending issue #147 perfectly on time. I will always trust your service. You have so much to choose from that I constantly go to your site. Thank you for the awesomeness.

    The Walking Dead has been on a tear lately, and although it’s hard to wait for each month’s issue, it’s totally worth it.

    Doctor Mirage review at TFAW.comOur second winner is Michael from New Orleans, LA, who wrote a 5-star review of the Doctor Mirage TPB by Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre:

    I was surprised at how good this book is, it captured all of the elements a good story should have and paced it just right. The art supported the supernatural feel, I’m a fan of the Valiant universe and this is one of their best books.

    Sandman Overture comic book review at TFAW.comLast but not least, Violet from Largo, FL dropped by to offer her thoughts about Sandman Overture Deluxe Ed HC:

    Well it’s the Sandman. Neil Gaiman’s beautiful brain baby. This prequel/overture is full of the storytelling loved in the first stories. It’s answers some questions, gives you more questions, and expands on things merely mentioned before. Also, while the art was beautiful before, the art in this is incredible. Very surreal.

    Honorable mentions from December’s Product Reviews at TFAW:

    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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    The Best Comics of 2015 – Part 3 of 5 – DC Comics

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

    Happy New Year from your friends at TFAW! Now that we’re in 2016, we want to stop and remember the great books that were released last year. What follows is the third in a series of five Best Comics of 2015 pieces we’ll be posting through January 6. Missed the earlier installments? Check out Part 1 and Part 2. Starting January 7, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in and help us crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    It all started with DC Comics. Superman. Batman. Green Lantern. The Flash. These are the heroes we’ve grown up with, and the ones who epitomize what it means to be a hero. DC was dogged by critics and fans this year, but the following comics demonstrate that the publisher still puts out great books month after month.

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

    Batgirl
    By: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr

    I’ve got to start by giving due recognition to Gail Simone. She’s an all-star writer who made me fall in love with Barbara Gordon and her work in the New 52 was solidly in the top of the class. When I first heard that DC brought on a new creative team for Batgirl, I was upset. Really upset. That being said, I cannot recommend the Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr Batgirl series enough.

    Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher’s take on Barbara Gordon is a revelation. She’s more complicated than most of the other heroes in the DCU. She’s confident, yet vulnerable. She’s a college student, a romantic, a caring friend, a superhero. This series could serve as a great character study in college classes across the country.

    Babs Tarr’s art perfectly matches the tone of the writing, and suits Barbara’s character. It’s fresh, fun, and cute (in the best way). The redesigned Batgirl suit is modern, functional, and steps a thousand feet away from hyper-sexualized female costumes we’ve seen time and time again. Tarr has a great eye for human form and visual perspective. Her consistent attention to detail in each and every panel shows how much love she has for the book and the medium. She’s a superstar, and I’m looking forward to following her work in the coming decades. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Sandman Overture
    By: Neil Gaiman, J. H. Williams III, Dave Stewart

    Sandman is back! Neil Gaiman has returned to one of his most beloved creations with Sandman Overture. One of the most anticipated books of the last several years came to its jaw-dropping conclusion in 2015 and is now collected into a hardcover that can join the Sandman collection on your shelf. We finally learn the story leading up to the events of Sandman #1 and how Morpheus came to be in the situation we found him in all those years ago.

    Revisiting a classic story is often risky. Comparisons to the original are inevitable and it would be so easy to fall short. Fear not! This is Sandman in every way you could want. Gaiman is able to pick up and dust off his characters as if it hasn’t been over 10 years since we last saw them. Reading Sandman Overture feels like going on a strange, new adventure and visiting with old friends at the same time.

    Sandman has always been blessed with amazing artists, but J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart will blow you away! With chameleon-like ability, Williams’ style can drastically change depending on the needs of a particular scene. His pages are full of hyper-detailed, realistic panels to psychedelic landscapes (and everything in between) all set in the most unique page layouts we’ve seen all year. [Jeff B. at Portland TFAW]

    Omega Men comics at TFAW.com Omega Men
    By: Tom King, Barby Bagenda, Toby Cypress, José Marzán, Jr.

    When DC announced that Omega Men would end with the sixth issue, fans cried out for more. Even though the series had comparatively low sales numbers, DC decided to publish the rest of the 12-issue run. That was great news for fans and new readers alike, because you don’t have to be well-versed in DCU lore to read this series. It’s driven by a compelling story with characters I wasn’t fully aware of when I started reading it.

    Starting off with a death of a well-known character is definitely a way to get attention, and it doesn’t happen all that often. After breaking the neck of White Lantern Kyle Rayner, the Omega Men pose an immediate threat to the Lantern Corps. The reader is instantly drawn into the series and we find ourselves trying to figure out where this series is going next. A really great series. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Fables comics at TFAW.com

    Fables
    By: Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha

    Fables has the impossible task of living up to the stories that inspired these characters…and it does so in spades. Bill Willingham never pulled a punch in thirteen years of writing this series. Every character was filled with pathos and gravity. These were weighted characters in a fantastical setting and as a reader you couldn’t help but feel every victory, every death, every defeat. Every character had a journey, and a role within the story, and some of these played out over thirteen glorious years.

    While Willingham’s words were powerful, they were truly brought to life by his partner in crime — Mark Buckingham. He renders every emotion exquisitely. Most of the big name artists and books go for the big splash page, or action sequence and ignore the details. Not Bucky. His strength is in the real character work in each panel. Every character has their own unique expressions and the reader can’t help but feel what the characters are being put through. The rest of the creative team also made Fables truly great — Klein’s beautiful lettering, Leialoha’s inks, etc. Fables is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. No other series can compete with Fables‘ brilliant thirteen year run. Comics in 2016 is going to be a much darker place without new issues of Fables on the shelves. [Dustin K. at Universal TFAW]

    Justice League comics at TFAW.com Justice League
    By: Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, Francis Mapul

    This is what superhero comics are about, and one of the biggest advantages of a shared universe. Massive threats to the entire DCU, heroes coming together to face seemingly impossible odds, epic throwdowns.

    Geoff Johns’ Justice League has been a thrill ride from day one, and this year’s Injustice League and Darkseid War have built on several years of strong storytelling. This is one of DC’s flagship titles, and they’ve put a lot of effort into pairing Johns with artists like Ivan Reis and Jason Fabok to produce one of the best books on the shelves every single month. These guys are all at the top of their game–just crack open an issue and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
    [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Honorable Mentions:

    Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog in the coming days as we’ll be posting two more Best Comics of 2015 lists. At the end, YOU will decide which one will be crowned as the Best Comic of 2015!

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

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