Tag: Vertigo

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    The End of Clones

    Our New Comic Book Day got cloned! With a new series from Vertigo, and a super spy. As always these are only a few comics to come out this week 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.

    Clone Conspiracy Omega #1
    By: Peter David, Christos N. Gage, Dan Slott, Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, Cory Smith

    As the Clone Conspiracy event winds down, it’s clear that Spider-Man’s life will never be the same again. With the Jackal’s clones breaking down across the world, friend and foe alike are suffering from grief and despair. Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 does an excellent job at showing the pain that Peter feels. Especially with the promises he made that he couldn’t keep.

    Writer Dan Slott provides an emotional ending to this saga. All while threading in some teasers for future stories involving Rhino, Kaine, and The Lizard. The issue features two small back-up stories. One story leads into Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider #1, and the other is a teaser for Amazing Spider-Man #25. Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 is a must-read comic for fans of this arc and provides a satisfying conclusion to this tale. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]

    FIND OUT WHAT BROUGHT US HERE

    Savage Things #1
    By: Justin Jordan, Ibrahim Moustafa, Jordan Boyd, John Paul Leon

    This brand new mini-series from writer Justin Jordan, inker Ibrahim Moustafa, and colorist Jordan Boyd; Savage Things is about a covert team trained to do nothing else but kill, and never be caught. So what could go wrong? Well, it looks like someone is trying to expose the truth.

    It’s an interesting breakdown from past to present in this issue. The first page introduces you to who I can only assume is our “hero”. Then jumping to the present we’re given the gruesome scenario I’ve been a fan of Ibrahim for a while now, and Justin Jordan’s stories have always been a great read. This covert-team-gone-rouge scenario should be a wild ride. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    SUBCRIBE AND SAVE

    James Bond – Black Box #1
    By: Ben Percy, Rapha Lobosco, John Cassaday

    James Bond #1 from Dynamite Entertainment is an exciting new entry in the James Bond series. Writer Benjamin Percy, known for his work on Green Arrow and Teen Titans, is joined by artist Rapha Lobosco to create a story that thrusts Bond into the 21st century. In “Black Box Part 1”, Bond is attempting to stop a data breach that could put a cavalcade of secrets online. However, while Bond is hunting down the source of the breach, a mysterious assassin is also hunting him.

    The action is as gripping as the story, as Lobosco’s action scenes are both exciting and easy to follow. Percy does an excellent job capturing Bond’s voice, and you’ll likely read his lines in the voice of your favorite Bond actor. The only downside about this new James Bond comic from Dynamite Entertainment is having to wait another month to get the next chapter. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]

    GET CAUGHT UP WITH ALL OF DYNAMITE’S JAMES BONS COMICS

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

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    You Choose The Best Comic Book of 2016

    Best comics of 2016

    A lot of amazing books have come out in 2016. With Marvel revitalizing their line, DC’s Rebirth, to so many independent and creator-owned books dominating the stands, 2016 has certainly been a comic book year to remember.

    With that in mind, the staff at TFAW took a look at sales numbers, fan buzz, and our personal favorites of the year to create a list of the 25 best comics of the year. Now we want you, our awesome customers, to vote on this list to decide definitively what the best books of 2016 are.

    Voting will take place from Jan 1st through Jan 31st, so head on over to our  Facebook page  and cast your vote. Let your voices be heard and recognize all these amazing creators and publishers for all their hard work.

    Superman Vol. 01 Son of Superman
    By: Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason
    The New 52 Superman is dead, but hiding among us for years was the original Big Blue. Now, a world without a Superman is in desperate need for Clark to leave the good life on the farm with Lois raising their son. This story simultaneously brings Superman back to formula, but also takes him in a direction he’s never really been before.

    Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch
    By: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma
    Powerful and gut-wrenching, Bitch Planet continues to explore themes of patriarchy and non-compliance. A must read for SJWs, feminists, and people who truly appreciate comics as an artistic medium.

    Wonder Woman TPB Vol. 01 The Lies
    By: Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark
    Wonder Woman has been interpreted in many ways over her 75 year existence. Instead of trying to hide this, Greg Rucka’s approach is to embrace this to try and get to the real heart of who Wonder Woman is. Not just a great jumping on point for new readers, but a definitive take on the character that will hold true for years to come.

    Black Hammer Vol 1: Secret Origins
    By: Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart
    Black Hammer is another in a long line of grand ideas by one of comics brightest stars, Jeff Lemire. This book has a unique take on superheroes and the art by Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart instantly ensnares the reader.

    Rough Riders Vol. 1
    By: Adam Glass, Pat Oliffe
    History in the making! Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Johnson, Annie Oakley, Harry Houdini and Thomas Edison make up an American dream team engaged in an epic shadowy war! Monsters and Mayhem folks!

    The Mighty Thor Vol 1: Thunder in Her Veins
    By: Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman
    Marvel is changing things up by casting Dr. Jane Foster as the new Thor. The goddess of thunder shines in this series as she comes to grips with heroism and her own mortality. Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman are the perfect pairing. Also: Loki.

    Divinity II
    By: Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic
    After Abram came crashing home in Divinity vol 1. Spending his entire life in the depths of space, Divinity II tells the tale of Myshka. Still beliving in the Communist ideal. She intends to play a very real role in the return of Soviet glory

    Old Man Logan Vol 1: Berserker
    By: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino
    What happens when an older, more gruff version of Wolverine comes to the main Marvel Universe? A whole lot of fighting. He’s on a mission to to prevent a terrible future from happening. Andrea Sorrentino’s art is breathtaking.

    Detective Comics Vol. 01 Rise of the Batmen
    By: James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Al Barrionuevo
    Batman is notorious for being a lone wolf (bat?), but he’s always had his family behind him. Now it’s time to take the Bat-Family to the next level. Lead by Batwoman, Batman puts together a team of Red Robin, Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Spoiler, and Clayface to be ready for whatever threat comes Gotham’s way.

    Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than Man
    By: Tom King, Kevin Walsh, Mike Del Mundo
    Vision has the perfect family: a wife, two kids, and a dog. Look elsewhere for over-the-top nonstop heroics; this book proves it’s the little moments that matter. Truly impeccable dialogue and top-notch art await!

    March Book 3
    By: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
    The third and final installment in civil rights activist John Lewis’ story in the battle for civil rights in the United States. 1963 was an incredibly turbulent time in America’s history, and John Lewis was not only in the middle of it, but a leader in getting us out of it, long before becoming a congressman. March will remind you there are real heroes in this world.

    Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol 1: Black Squadron
    By: Charles Soule, Phil Noto
    With crisp and clean art by Phil Noto, Poe Dameron is one of the most beautiful of Marvel’s new Star Wars comics. Charle Soule explores Dameron’s uncanny skills and matching bravado.

    Paper Girls Vol. 2
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang
    Continuing where Vol. 1 left off, the misfit group of paper girls from 1988 find themselves transported to present day. Our main characters are forced to look at who they are, and who they may…or may not become. This superstar team continues to tell one of the craziest sci-fi stories currently on the shelves, while staying focused on the heart of any good story, the characters.

    All New Wolverine Vol. 01 Four Sisters
    By: Tom Taylor, David Lopez, Bengal
    With the death of Logan, clone daughter Laura Kinney (X-23) steps up to be Wolverine and the best she is at what she does. This book is bloody, emotional, hilarious, and beautiful. This is one of those unique books that can present adult subjects in a way that people of all ages can understand. Clone or not, All-New Wolverine definitely has soul.

    Dept. H Vol. 1: Pressure
    By: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt
    Not your average murder mystery! An in depth(see what I did there) story taking place on a deep sea research station. Family, lies, secrets and creatures make for a spectacular, well-paced adventure.

    Steven Universe & Crystal Gems Vol. 01
    By: Josceline Fenton, Chrystin Garland, Kat Leyh
    They are the Crystal Gems. They always save the day! If you think they can’t. Here is proof that they always find a way!

    Monstress Vol. 1
    By: Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
    A fascinating look at an alternate 1900’s Asia where monsters of god-like power are normal. Witness the journey of one teenage girl struggling to survive while trying to tame her own MONSTER.

    Black Panther Vol. 01 Nation Under Our Feet
    By: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze
    Wakanda under the microscope. On the brink of civil war, treason and terrorist attacks ensue in T’Challa’s homeland. Witness Black Panther fight to save his country from all fronts.

    Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 01
    By: Kyle Higgins, Jorge Corona, Goni Montes
    “It’s Morphin Time!” This fantastic new series starts after the Green with Evil Saga. Takes us through a different path from the show, one that keeps it at the top of my reading every month. Perfect for fans new and old.

    Saga Vol. 6
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
    Set three years after the end of Vol. 5, our story opens with Hazel in kindergarten. For a story that’s followed a family on the run through space since issue 1, Vol 6 shows them living a domestic and stationary life for the first time…and it doesn’t go too well for them. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to be a dominating power tag team.

    Sheriff Of Babylon Vol. 01 Bang Bang Bang
    By: Tom King, Mitch Gerads, John Paul Leon
    Currently known for his fantastic work on Batman, Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s The Sherriff of Babylon, is a suspenseful crime noir tale set in Bagdad circa 2003. King’s CIA experience in addition to Gerad’s life-like art style gives this series the accolades it deserves.

    Beauty Vol. 01
    By: Jason Hurley, Jeremy Haun
    The first STD that people actually WANT! In this world, The “Beauty”, transforms your body into its most beautiful version. People are literally dying to get it but the public is unaware of the side effects. Detectives Vaughn and Foster are on the case.

    Faith Vol. 01 Hollywood & Vine
    By: Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Jele Kevic-Djurdjevic
    Starting off as a side character in Harbinger back in 2014, we were given a full ongoing series of Faith Herbert this year. Written by the wonderful Jody Houser. This is a series meant for Fan-boys/girls, as Faith herself is as much of a geek as we are.

    Gotham Academy Vol. 03 Yearbook
    By: Brenden Fletcher, Moritat, Mingjue Helen Chen
    Our favorite students go back after their adventures last year, telling tales before everything went to chaos. Gotham Academy is an all-ages series perfectly suited for those wanting to move to Gotham, but are not old enough to drive there.

    Legend of Zelda Legendary Ed GN Vol. 01 Ocarina Time
    By: Akira Himekawa
    Viz does it again. While this is a reprint, if you’ve never read the Manga adaptation of the celebrated N64 game Ocarina of Time, this is a perfect time. Collecting vol 1 and 2, You get the complete tale.

    DON’T FORGET TO VOTE BY THE 31ST

    Honorable Mentions

    2016 had so many amazing titles that it was nearly impossible for us to narrow it down to 25. With that in mind, here are some honorable mentions of books that you should definitely check out. Odds are they made your own personal top 25.

    Batman Vol. 1 I Am Gotham
    By: Tom King, David Finch
    Gotham City has two new heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. With these super powered saviors doing what Batman can’t, is he really what Gotham City needs anymore?

    The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 04 Kissed Squirrel Liked It
    By: Ryan North, Erica Henderson
    I an age of dark and gritty superheroes, The Unbeatable Squirrel decides to have fun with the universe it lives in instead. Be prepared to smile.

    Dark Knight: A True Batman Story
    By: Paul Dini, Eduardo Risso
    Legendary Batman writer, Paul Dini, was beaten within an inch of his life. This autobiographical tale shows just how these iconic characters like Batman can get us through the darkest of times.

    Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse
    By: Chris Roberson, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Wes Dzioba, Dan Dos Santos
    Set after the events of the previous series, Leaves on the Wind, No Power in the ‘Verse continues the tale of our favorite Browncoats

    I Am a Hero Omnibus Volume 1
    By: Kengo Hazawa
    A slightly crazy artist, and one of the few people in Japan that actually owns a gun, is neck deep in the zombie apocalypse.

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    Between the Occult and the Detective

    Between the Occult and the Detective

    There are two comic themes that when combined can make for enthralling reading — detectives/private eyes and magic. This coupling of sleuthing and the supernatural (including religion, the occult, sorcery and more) is pervasive in comics and the noir characteristics just heighten the thrills.

    hellblazerAnd no one fits that bill better than the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. Created originally in Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing in 1985, it wasn’t until 1988 when Hellblazer #1 hit the stands. Ever since, John has been working his magic in comics, on film in the Constantine movie, and in the short-lived and underrated Constantine television show. He’s  also part of pop culture in general (the Supernatural TV series borrows heavily from John Constantine for Castiel’s character).

    With 30-plus years of this character’s history, it can be daunting to know where to start. A good entry point is a graphic novel. Surprisingly, it’s not the  first volume — John Constantine, Hellblazer: Original Sins, but the fifth volume: Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits. Written by longtime Hellblazer writer Garth Ennis, this volume actually inspired parts of the 2005 Constantine movie.

    The story is pretty simple — John’s dying. All those cigarettes have caused an advanced terminal lung cancer. Knowing that his soul is damned and Hell is ready for him, John moves to cure his disease and save himself. What happens after he sets down this course is truly amazing.

    Another must read Hellblazer arc was created by celebrated crime novelist, Ian Rankin, for Vertigo’s crime imprint called Dark Entries in 2009. This was the first Original Graphic Novel (also called an OGN), meaning it was never released as single issues. The plot involves John trying to figure out why a house on a reality TV program is haunted. Of course, he can’t stop production, so he joins the series and starts to unravel the mystery.

    One of the big draws is the inclusion of religion within the series. It’s not just focused on Christianity. Voodoo magic is used regularly not only by Constantine, but his frenemy Papa Midnight. Although Catholicism is most prominent, the series never ignores the idea of other religions in the world.

    Look Overseas for Great Horror Comics

    Hellblazer isn’t the only series to blend magic and religion. Around the same time, Italian writer Tiziano Sclavi was introducing the world to Dylan Dog. A self-proclaimed Nightmare Investigator, Dylan, unlike John Constantine, was likeable. By 2011, Dylan Dog reached 300 issues, but only a handful made it to the United States.

    Dylan’s occult interactions mainly revolve around the classic monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Although, demons have crossed paths with him a few times.

    Many were first introduced to this character in the Dylan Dog Case Files from Dark Horse Comics. This graphic novel featured selected stories that were translated and released just prior to the Dylan Dog: Dead of Night film that starred Brandon Routh. The Dylan Dog Case Files is a great compilation of stories from the Italian series, but up until September 2016 it was the only source of Dylan Dog stories available in the U.S. Now, new stories are starting to come out from Epicenter Comics. Reportedly, there will also be reprints of past stories.

    How to Steal a Ghost

    ghostedAnother series that blends crime and the occult is Joshua Williamson’s Ghosted. Williamson is currently heading up The Flash series in DC’s Rebirth, and it’s been great.

    Ghosted, published by Image Comics, is further evidence that Williamson is the real deal. The series follows one of the world’s greatest thieves as he’s pulled into the world of the occult. He’s broken out of prison and offered the chance to steal something no one else has — a ghost.

    Think equal parts Ocean’s 11 and The Shining. Things are never as they seem, and our hero has to rely on more than his wits to get out of this situation. Pulling together a team of experts to help him steal this ghost, he assembles a psychic, an occult historian, a tech guy to record the ghost, and a skeptic. Overall, if you want to add a little heist into your horror, Ghosted is for you.

    Don’t Fear, The Slayer is Here

    buffyWho could really forget about the hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Buffy hunts vampires, but her adventures go WAY further than that including her best friend going into full-witch mode on her!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Buffy Summers, the chosen one in a long line of young women destined to battle evil forces. She becomes “The Slayer” giving her increased physical strength, endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance. Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Giles, whose job is to train and assist the Slayers. Then it gets more complicated.

    But when the TV show ended, the fun didn’t. After the official comic book continuation of the series in Buffy Season 8, 9, and 10, we’re poised to jump into Buffy Season 11 in November 2016. Unencumbered by network television show budgets, this comic has gone to some great heights in recent years.

    The World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator

    hellboyHellboy is one of the longest running, most widely celebrated horror series. With hundreds of issues and dozens of spinoffs, Mike Mignola has done something really amazing with this series by creating a new universe.

    Aside from DC and Marvel, there really aren’t a lot of big universes in comics, especially ones that walk that horror/mystery line so well. Hellboy or the “Mignola-verse” is a rich tapestry that features a variety of complex characters set a world that draws on centuries of folk-tales, yarns, and fables.

    Hellboy remains one of the few series that begs you to re-read the stories regularly. It’s great for curling up with during inclement weather or when you find yourself with an extended weekend.

    There are plenty of other occult and horror comics that split their genre with detective and noir storytelling. What are some of your favorites? Let us know below.

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    Walking in a Winter Wasteland with Frostbite #1

    frostbite #1 review

    frostbite #1 coverThe year is…well, it’s unclear what year it is. All we’re told is it’s been more than half a century since the Earth’s temperature dropped, leaving once-balmy regions like Los Angeles steeped in sub-zero conditions. Welcome to the world of Frostbite, the new Vertigo comic book series from Joshua Williamson (The Flash, Nailbiter, Birthright) and Jason Shawn Alexander (Empty Zone, The Secret).

    To survive amid the severe change of climate, most people have congregated in large cities, resulting in over-crowding, rampant crime…you know, the standard state of affairs in dystopian urbania. What’s more, the chilly conditions have brought about a new disease known as “frostbite,” an apparently contagious ailment that causes the infected to freeze from the inside out.

    Frostbite #1 Preview at TFAW.comFollowing an ominous introduction, we are introduced to a small team of transporters (smugglers?), headed by the female protagonist, Keaton. Readying for their next long haul, the group is approached by a pair of doctors, father and daughter, who are seeking transport from L.A. to Alcatraz Island. The pair’s quality attire makes Keaton question why they’d want to hitch a ride with a hauler rig, but she ultimately agrees. Her suspicions are substantiated when the team is suddenly attacked by a unit of assassins, under orders from the sinister and mysterious crime boss known simply as “Fuego.”

    The artwork culminates in a stunning minimalism that nicely fits the simple, yet stark reality the story is set within.

    Turns out these doctors have something Fuego wants, and are willing to kill to obtain it. Now, without supplies or means of transportation, Keaton and her team must find a way to get their precious human cargo to Alcatraz before Fuego catches up with them.

    Frostbite #1 Preview at TFAW.comIn both concept and execution, this book rides the current zeitgeist of female-fronted dystopian sci-fi. Every element here feels familiar, like someone combined the best elements of Mad Max: Fury Road, Judge Dredd, and Snowpiercer.

    As intriguing as the story itself is, where this book really shines is in the artwork. Artist Jason Shawn Alexander’s scratchy, shadowy inking is great to look at, especially when he zooms in on a character’s face and amps up the detail. Even better is the watercolor work by Luis NCT, which relies on a spare color spectrum (basically blue, orange, red, and brown), and every few pages features a really cool ink spatter effect. Altogether, the artwork culminates in a stunning minimalism that nicely fits the simple, yet stark reality the story is set within.

    Frostbite #1 Preview at TFAW.comI look forward to seeing what the creative team does with the premise going forward.

    Frostbite #1, Vertigo Comics, Released Sept 28, 2016, Written by Joshua Williamson, Art by Jason Shawn Alexander, Colors by Luis NCT, Letters by Steve Wands.

    Review by James Florence.

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    NCBD – Double dose of Harley, a Doctor and The Sheriff of Babylon

    NCBD reviews of Harley Quinn, Doctor Strange, Suicide Squad, and The Sheriff of Babylon

    With Suicide Squad hitting the theaters this weekend, New Comic Book Day Is give you a double dose of crazy with Suicide Squad Rebirth #1, AND Harley Quinn #1! Plus Doctor Strange concludes The Last Days of Magic arc, and we talk about an amazing crime series from The Wire writer Tom King – The Sheriff of Babylon. As always these were only a few of this week’s new releases that stood out from the crowd. 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.

    Suicide Squad comics at TFAW.com

    Suicide Squad Rebirth #1
    By: Rob Williams, Philip Tan

    There is a high profile Suicide Squad movie coming out at the end of this week, and with DC’s Rebirth taking place across their publishing line, now is a hotter time than ever to reintroduce the concept of Task Force X (the Suicide Squad’s official title) and a few of those characters!

    We are given the purpose of the team – and a structure is formed for brand new readers hoping to jump on board. We get right into it, with Philip Tan’s dynamic artwork that screams action from the start.

    Whether you are headed to or from the movie and looking to check out the comic book incarnation, you won’t feel lost at all starting out fresh, right here in this very issue of Suicide Squad Rebirth [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

    Harley Quinn #1
    By: Amanda Conner, Chad Hardin

    Wowzah! This issue is one for the books! Wacky Harley is back at it again with chaos, a good laugh and…zombies? That’s right folks, you heard me, Zombies!

    Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor are the creative team making this beautiful series and they use every wild card they have! This issue is all what you need to know about Harley Quinn: Her origin, Her triumphs, and that she’s freakin’ crazy! With small references from the ongoing Harley Quinn comic, new readers shouldn’t be too confused.

    Now Back to the zombies, yes…zombies. Harley Quinn and Red Tool run into an unexpected encounter with the undead. Instead of asking questions, they jump straight into action. As blades and hammers are flying and smashing, Red Tool is bitten by one of the undead. Harley, whose not going to lose her friend, chops off his arm to save his life. Then she catapults him in the air! What? Why do you ask? Guess you’ll have to read Harley Quinn #1 to find out! [Darcey M. at Universal City Walk]

    Doctor Strange comics at TFAW.com

    Doctor Strange #10
    By: Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, Kevin Nowlan

    It’s the finale of 6-issue event Last Days of Magic. Stephen is at his end, with no magic left to help him against Imperator – who seeks to destroy all magic and leave science to rule.
    This finale felt like a great conclusion to the fight that Doctor Strange had been engulfed in. With help from fellow Marvel mystics and mages Scarlet Witch, Magik, and others. Jason Arron was able to create a creative, action-packed, arc surrounding the idea of Science vs Magic. The art is hard-edged and painterly, just as I would imagine Doctor Strange’s personality.

    If you’ve been reading The Last Days of Magic arc as I said, this is a great final issue. If you’re just jumping on board, maybe wait until the next issue of Doctor Strange as things may be a little confusing for first-time readers. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    The Sheriff of Babylon #9
    By: Tom King, Mitch Gerads, John Paul Leon

    Things start to collide as the third act starts in the 12 issue story The Sheriff of Babylon. I’ve been on board this series from the start. A crime comic smack dab in the middle of the 2004 Iraq war.

    Written by Tom King (Batman, Vision, and the hit tv series The Wire) this well paced episodic story feels like watching a 12 part tv series. Mitch Gerads (Punisher) has been leading the way in this visually stunning noir.

    I really can’t say enough good about this series. Everything feels real, as the twists come you don’t feel like they are out of left field – as if Tom King has already written out everyone’s lives and motives from the get go. The Sheriff of Babylon is only 3 issues away from finishing – and I’m not sure if I’m excited to read it, or sad that it’ll be over. [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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    Post-Killing Joke: DC’s Next Animated Film – Justice League Dark

    If you’re any sort of fan of DC Comics, then you’ve heard of the Justice League, but did you know that there’s another league in the DC universe? One that handles weird and supernatural situations that the more visible Justice League can’t? Of course I’m talking about Justice League Dark, or JLD, featuring John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, The Changing Man, Shade, Swamp Thing and Zatanna. First introduced in Justice League Dark #1 back in November 2011, JLD brings a much needed sense of the eerie and mysterious to the DC world.

    With the recent release of the animated Batman: The Killing Joke on DVD/Bluray, Warner Bros. animation announced that its next project would be none other than Justice League Dark, releasing a dynamite eight minute sneak peak at San Diego Comic Con 2016:

    If you haven’t heard of Justice League Dark or its individual members that’s ok, because I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce some of the team.

    John Constantine:
    A Magician originally appearing in Allan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing, he grew out into his own Vertigo series Hellblazer. Lasting for 300 issues from 1988 to 2013. Then John joined the DC universe with the New 52 and has been there ever since.

    Sorcerer, con-man, stage act, asshole. John is a lot of things, but what has kept him around for so long is his mischievous, manipulating ways. Reading his stories, you feel for him when he’s in danger, but know this: He ALWAYS has a way out.

    Swamp Thing:
    Debuting in House of Secrets 1979. It has had various incantations, such as (the original) Alex Olsen, Allan Hallman, and Aaron Hayley. The most well known and longest lasting person to take on the mantle is Alec Holland.

    Swamp Thing has the ability to control any plant life, native or extraterrestrial. Along with controlling it, he can also travel by the plants getting from one spot on earth to another in a matter of seconds. If wounded he is able to regrow parts to heal.

    Zatanna

    Zatanna:
    A stage illusionist, and magician. Zatanna first appearing in 1964’s Hawkman series, over the years has appared in several DC books including Detective Comics, Seven Soldiers Of Victory, Vertigo’s Hellblazer series and even Neil Gaiman’s The Books of Magic.

    Being one of the most gifted Sorcoress’ in the DCU. Zatanna has the ability to control elements, conduct energy based attacks. Even heal. Most of the time she has been limited to conducting spells if she cannot speak them. In some cases she has been able to write a spell down to cast it, or in rarer occasions cast with doing either.

    Deadman:
    AKA Boston Brand, first appearing in Strange Adventures in 1967. Brand was a trapeze artist kill during a performance by The Hook. His powers were granted to him by the Hindu Goddess “Rama Kushna” in order for him to obtain justice.

    Deadman is in all context dead, he is a ghost. What he can do is posses living creatures but is limited by their physical limitations. So say he possessed you or I, he couldn’t fly, but if he possessed Superman, he could. Deadman also has the ability to pass through any object, and has the ability to travel to both the land of the living and the dead.

    Ready to rock ‘n roll with Justice League Dark?

    After the success of Batman: The Killing Joke, I’m definitely eager to see what Warner Bros. does with the colorful cast of Justice League Dark. If thi animated feature does well on the small screen, along with Doctor Strange in the theater, perhaps we’ll see that live action Justice League Dark Guillermo del Toro spoke of years ago?

    Catch up on the entire Justice League Dark story here at TFAW.

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    That Old Black Magic: Caitlin Kittredge Talks Coffin Hill

    Caitlin Kittredge Coffin Hill
    Caitlin Kittredge, writer of Coffin Hill for Vertigo Comics.

    Just in time for Halloween, Vertigo Comics debuts Coffin Hill, a supernatural horror series written by novelist Caitlin Kittredge (author of the Nocturne City and Iron Codex series) with art by Inaki Miranda (Fairest).

    Coffin Hill stars Eve Coffin, a rebellious, teenage lowlife from a high-society family with a curse that goes back to the Salem Witch trials. Following a night of sex, drugs, and witchcraft in the woods, Eve wakes up naked, covered in blood, and unable to remember how she got there. After a stint as a Boston cop that ends in a bullet wound and unintended celebrity, Eve returns to Coffin Hill, only to discover the darkness that she unleashed 10 years ago in the woods was never contained.

    Coffin Hill debuts October 9 — read our exclusive interview with Caitlin Kittredge below to learn more, check out a four-page preview of Coffin Hill #1, and pre-order the series to save 20%!

    TFAW: Can you introduce us to Coffin Hill?

    Caitlin Kittredge: Sure, I’d be happy to! Coffin Hill is a wonderful, supernatural horror comic — written by me. (Laughs.) It’s about a woman named Eve Coffin, who 10 years ago participated in a black magic ritual that irrevocably changed her life and the life of her three best friends. She’s now a former Boston PD officer who’s forced to go back to her hometown, the site of the ritual, and she finds out that the evil she called forth is still there, and she’s probably the only one who can put it back to rest.

    For a decade, she’s tried to escape it, and there are a lot of dark family secrets, black magic, and there’s also a mystery for her to solve, because when she comes back to town, she finds out that kids who are roughly the age she was when she conducted the ritual have been disappearing into the Coffin Hill woods, which are these spooky, dark, primeval woods outside of town that people tend to get lost in for inexplicable reasons, and report strange happenings, and see strange things.

    So all of that is waiting for poor Eve when she comes back from Boston, not in the best of shape, and kind of looking to settle down for a bit. In a nutshell, that’s what you can expect from the first issue.

    Coffin Hill ComicsTFAW: Awesome! What do you find most interesting about the character of Eve Coffin?

    CK: I think Eve is interesting in terms of characters that I’ve written before, in that she’s probably the most morally grey of the protagonists I’ve written. My protagonists tend to be a little more good and lawful than she is, and I’m having a really good time exploring what she is and isn’t willing to do, in terms of doing bad things for the right reasons.

    It’s also an interesting contrast to write her when she was young, a decade ago, because she was pretty happy using black magic and getting what she wanted, not really caring about anyone else. Which of course led to some pretty bad consequences for her.

    She’s definitely tried to turn it around since then, but she’s still quite flexible on what is or isn’t lawful, or good or bad. She does what she thinks is right, but maybe not what everyone else considers right, or legal — or justified, even! It’s been really fun to get to explore someone who’s more of an antihero.

    TFAW: I was wondering how someone could be a “lowlife from a high-society family.”

    CK: Yeah! (Laughs.) Her family is very old, they’re very wealthy — they’ve been in New England forever. They have tons of blue-blooded old money. They have lots of high-society cred, and Eve’s just not interested in that at all. When she was a teenager, it was because she was rebelling. She didn’t want to be a debutante. She didn’t want to go to tea parties and take ballroom dancing lessons, and she kind of went out of her way to be a jerk to her parents, as we all do when we’re 16 or 17.

    Coffin Hill #1 Preview Page 1Coffin Hill #1 Preview Page 2Coffin Hill #1 Preview Page 3Coffin Hill #1 Preview Page 4
    All images courtesy of DC Entertainment.

    Her family has a lot of powerful black magic, and she was able to take it further. And then, when she saw the result of what she had done, she tried to conduct this ritual that went horribly wrong. It kind of skewed everything being part of this high-society family had to offer her. So she said, “Write me out of the will, I don’t want to have any contact with you, I’m going to make it on my own in Boston.”

    Then 10 years later, she’s starting off a very successful career in the Boston PD, and she’s really badly injured on the job in the first issue, and she has to come home, because she has no more money and no more prospects. She has to come limping back, and face her wrongs and her family and say, “Well, I can’t make it on my own, I guess I have to come home now,” and then she finds out things in her hometown are not as great as she thought. She gets sucked back into everything she left when she ran away 10 years ago.

    Coffin Hill ComicsTFAW: Which family members is Eve going to be interacting with? Who’s left of her family?

    CK: She is definitely interacting a lot with her mother, whose name is Eleanor. She’s basically the rich high-society matriarch from hell. Just add some magical powers to the mom from the TV show Revenge, and you’ve got her. She’s kind of hell on wheels and she’s awful, but awful characters are so fun to write that I try to fit her in here and there wherever possible.

    You get to see her in the past in the first issue, interacting with Eve when she was a teenager. It was so much fun to write because I remember when I was 16 — “No Mom, I hate you, get away from me!” and mix it all up with black magic. Their screwed-up family dynamic was just so much fun.

    Eve also has a very strong connection with her grandmother — she was the one that she felt closest to as a kid, and the one who gave her what little moral compass she has. Her grandmother was very different than her mother. She wasn’t selfish and out for herself. She took legacy of black magic the Coffin family has very seriously. It’s like a weapon; you have to be careful who you point it at, and only use it when it’s absolutely necessary.

    Eve’s had a tiny bit of good influence from her, which is what I think saved her from turning out terrible like the rest of her family. I hint at other Coffins in the first couple of issues, all the way back to the Salem witch trials, and I can say maybe, possibly, you may see them later on in the story arc, all the way back to the 1600s. But I don’t want to give out spoilers.

    TFAW: Eve, like Luna Wilder from your Nocturne City series of novels, is a cop. What is it that captures your attention about the combination of the supernatural and the police life?

    CK: I think, on a basic level, it’s because when you’re a cop, you have to be very logical, and very reality based and fact based. And obviously, when you’re dealing with the supernatural, that flies right out the window.

    Eve is unique because she’s always known that such things exist — she herself has the ability to tap into otherworldly powers and abilities that most people don’t consider to be real, but then she’s also trying to get as far away from that life as she can. I thought being a cop was a pretty natural job for someone who was trying to help people, and base herself in reality as much as possible. I really like the juxtaposition, on a personal level.

    For a long time, before I got into writing, I thought I wanted to go into law enforcement. So it’s a field I feel an affinity for. I find cop characters very interesting when they’re morally grey, like Eve is, and it leads to a lot of interesting paths for your character to take, and interesting conflicts for me, as a writer, to explore. It’s one of my personal things that I like to poke at again and again with my stories, and see if I can tease out new, interesting fault lines from it.

    Coffin Hill ComicsTFAW: Coffin Hill is your comics debut, right?

    CK: It is, it’s the very first thing I’ve ever written for comics!

    TFAW: What was it about the premise of Coffin Hill that made it a comic rather than a novel, for you?

    CK: Coffin Hill started off as an idea I had for a novel years and years ago, and I think the reason it never worked is it needed to be laid out in a specific way, and it needed that visual punch to bring all of these twisty, disparate plot elements together.

    It has such a dense, labyrinthine plot, and sometimes that can be hard to shoehorn into one book, without confusing your reader. Since comics are a visual medium, you can switch points of view, and you can switch time periods so easily. You can convey in one panel what it would take three pages to describe in a book, so it lends itself really naturally to a visual story.

    I describe the plot of Coffin Hill as a snake swallowing its own tail. Eve thinks she knows what happened, but then at the end of the first issue she discovers that she really doesn’t know what happened that night, and what she thinks she saw was just one tiny part of the bigger picture. Her story arc goes on as more and more of the layers start to peel away, and she starts to get deeper and deeper into this labyrinth of family secrets.

    TFAW: What’s been the most surprising aspect of creating a comic book series?

    CK: For me, coming from the world of print novels and prose novels, it’s been how fast everything has moved! When you write a novel, you can spend literally years waiting for it to be published.

    I started working with Vertigo at the beginning of this year, and Coffin Hill #1 is coming out at the beginning of October — that’s breakneck speed compared to what I’m used to! The artist, Inaki Miranda, and my editor, Shelly Bond, they get back to me so fast — I think they just never sleep. They must drink all the coffee in the world, because I’ll turn in a script, and 12 hours later, Shelly will say, “Great, here’s all my notes!” And Inaki will say, “Here’s my preliminary art!”

    It’s been great, it’s been gratifying to me as somebody who’s been used to the slow pace of prose publishing. It’s been fun and very different, and just such a different medium, because there are so many elements, like the art, and all of the editorial input and everything, it’s been really just a great experience so far. So — knock on wood — I’m just going to stay enthusiastic and starry eyed about this as long as I can.

    Coffin Hill Comics
    The cover of Coffin Hill #3, courtesy of DC Entertainment.

    TFAW: How has it been working with Inaki? Were you part of the selection process for the artist?

    CK: Shelly Bond actually brought us together. She said, “Here’s an artist working on Fairest, and I think he’s willing to do some concept art for you,” and his concept art was amazing, and he ended up coming onto the book, and I could not be happier. I am not visually inclined, or artistically inclined at all, so I should not have been allowed to make the selection.

    I’m so glad that Shelly took the wheel there, because Inaki worked out better than I ever could have hoped. His style is a wonderful match for the kind of story I’m trying to tell. It’s got this wonderful dreamy quality that’s perfect for Eve’s story, especially. In the first issue you see the ritual, and you see the opulent parties she was part of as a teenager, and this sort of stark, gritty, unhappy life that she has now as an adult in Boston. Inaki does such a wonderful job with the juxtaposition, and all of the creepy, magical stuff that goes on. I’m very fan-girly about him.

    TFAW: What’s coming up next? Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

    CK: I’m really so excited about Coffin Hill right now, it’s been my focus for the last six months, because I wanted to do the best job possible. And I am writing novels. I’m working on a brand-new urban fantasy novel series right now, but the comic has been my life. It’s been an awesome experience.

    Big thanks to Caitlin Kittredge and Vertigo Comics for a fantastic interview! Browse Coffin Hill comics now and pre-order to save 20%.

    ORDER COFFIN HILL NOW AND SAVE 20%

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    Mike Carey & Peter Gross Chat About Unwritten Fables & More

    Unwritten FablesThe Unwritten, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, debuted in 2009 and follows Tom Taylor, who was his father Wilson Taylor’s inspiration for a series of hugely successful Tommy Taylor children’s fantasy novels — much like the Harry Potter series. When we first meet Tom, his cold, distant father has long since disappeared, leaving Tom jaded and disillusioned, scraping together an existence signing his father’s books on the convention circuit.

    When a woman named Lizzie Hexam shows up and questions whether he’s the real son of Wilson Taylor, Tom’s world explodes, with half his “fans” believing he’s a fraud, and the other half believing he’s the living incarnation of the Tommy Taylor character come to save the world. Framed for multiple murders and on the run, joined by Lizzie and journalist Richie Savoy, Tom is suddenly thrust into a world where stories literally come to life, and he’s pursued by a mysterious cabal who wants to control what people read — and believe — at any cost.

    Unwritten explores the sheer power of stories — and of readers’ beliefs — making it an intense, engrossing read. To make things even more interesting, Unwritten is traveling to the world of Fables, another Vertigo superstar, starting with Unwritten #50 this June. Plus, September marks the arrival of the original hardcover graphic novel, Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & The Ship That Sank Twice, the graphic novel “adaptation” of the first Tommy Taylor book!

    We chatted with Fables writer Bill Willingham last month, and now we’ve had the opportunity to interview Unwritten co-creators Mike Carey and Peter Gross. Read below for a fascinating look into the past, future, and present of Unwritten, as well as a four-page peek into Unwritten #48, available now!

    TFAW: Unwritten is such a multi-layered, surprising series. How did it come together, and how much did you have planned out when it debuted?

    Unwritten #50Mike Carey: Thank you! Well the gestation process was really a very strange one. After we wound up on Lucifer, Peter and I really wanted to do another book together, and we pitched a whole lot of ideas to Shelly Bond, our editor, but for one reason or another none of them made it through the triage process. And then after a while we stopped pitching because other stuff intervened. Peter went off and did American Jesus, I did Crossing Midnight and my Marvel stuff.

    And then we met up again at San Diego Comic-Con in (I think) 2009, and Vertigo editor Pornsak Pichetshote was there too. We got a dialogue going, and we carried it on after we all went home from the Con. But basically Peter had one idea and I had another, and we weren’t sure which one we wanted to develop. “Put them together,” Pornsak suggested, “and see what happens.” We did, and what happened was The Unwritten.

    Peter Gross: My idea was about a kid whose father wrote a famous book using the kid as the main character, and then disappeared afterwards, leaving the kid with the awful fallout of being famous and abandoned. Mike’s idea was about a guy who is given a magic horn that if you blow it, the world changes. When we started merging them together, we basically had the opening scene of The Unwritten!

    And from there we planned out what we wanted the book to be about, and came up with the ending and the main stepping stones along the way. As we’ve developed and executed it more, those beats have altered and some characters have been added, made more important, or even determined their own paths, but the ending has remained (in our heads) essentially the same as what we planned at the start.

    Unwritten #49TFAW: What was it that most interested you about the character of Tom Taylor?

    MC: I guess for me it’s that I like heroes who start off completely clueless and out of their depth and have to grow into the role. Nothing turns me off quicker than a James Bond-like protagonist who’s always got exactly the skill set he needs to survive. Tom, when we first meet him, seems to have no skill set at all — but he does have the “literary GPS” that his dad drummed into him, and that turns out to be relevant. Apart from that he’s a babe in the woods. But gradually he pulls it together and manages to survive, against all the odds.

    PG: I think for me it was the challenge of dealing with the reluctant hero. That’s actually the sort of character I oftentimes find frustrating and unsatisfying. And I think at times, to be honest, Tom can be frustrating, especially because he’s a character caught up in a lot of big story ideas — within the pages of the series, and within our intent. So Tom’s challenge is to find his humanity in all that.

    TFAW: What do you think is the biggest change Tom Taylor has undergone during this series — besides learning to believe in magic doorknobs and such?

    MC: He becomes someone who’s capable of compassion. The Tom of the early issues is really all about himself — very selfish, quite self-pitying, more than a little obnoxious. Then when Cosi and Leon Chadron die right in front of him in issue #8, he starts to realize what responsibility is. Which is why, when Lizzie starts to fall apart, he responds in the way he does. He’s prepared to risk himself to help her, not because of the whole romantic/sexual thing between them, which hasn’t happened yet, but because he feels responsible for what his father has done to her on his account.

    Unwritten #48PG: Not only is Tom a reluctant hero, but he’s also a very reserved one. He was terribly hurt as a kid, and there wasn’t anyone in his life to open up to about it. So he’s very reserved and doesn’t reveal himself. But I think more and more, we find out the reasons for that, and he’s able to open up more. But it’s a long slow process for him. And I think it’s all very tied up in the role his father has tried to design for him. But on one level, Tom’s story will always be about becoming more human.

    TFAW: One of the main themes of Unwritten is the power of words, and of readers’ beliefs. They can influence reality, and literally change one into a different person! How do you see this relating to “real life”?

    MC: Peter and I talk about this side of the story all the time, and I think we both see it as the single most important thing we’re saying. And weirdly, it’s Pullman who gets to voice it most clearly, in the very next issue. We don’t actually live in the real world, although we generally think we do. We live in ideas and situations that we build for ourselves — stories about the world, overlapping, sometimes contradicting, but empowering in the sense that the stories allow us to function. They provide meaning, and without meaning we’re just deterministic ping pong balls. We react, blindly, to external circumstances.

    So yes, I think it’s true that we live in a narrative of our lives. And therefore the construction of that narrative becomes very, very important. People will constantly offer you stories that you can choose to buy into. Big government is killing you. Immigrants are swamping our country and destroying our values. Jews are evil, or Muslims or Communists or gays are evil. You have nothing to lose but your chains. Jesus will save your soul. These propositions furnish your world. You effectively choose to live in the world where they’re true. And obviously there’s a much wider set of propositions that’s just about you. The story of your life becomes your life.

    Unwritten #48 Page 1PG: I think, more and more, as we worked on this book we’ve learned of other examples of how our lives are based on narrative — both biologically, and culturally. But the underlying principle of that is that narrative is always a lie we tell ourselves. At their core, all stories are lies, and all storytellers are liars. Not sure where to go with that, but I guess we’ll find out by the end of The Unwritten!

    TFAW: Peter, there’s a big focus on the power of words, but you also have the challenge of presenting this visually to the reader–what are the easiest and most difficult parts of illustrating Unwritten?

    PG: The most challenging is trying to find ways to illustrate “books” in comics and still have it feel like a book. The opening scene of the series is an example of that. Mike wrote the whole Tommy Taylor [interlude] as prose, and we were going to have it just as text, but I was worried it might turn off some readers. So I did it as a mixture of text and visuals that became our way of doing a book. A similar thing happens with finding ways to show web pages, TV, and other more modern ways that information gets delivered in the digital age.

    The easiest part is . . . actually, none of it is easy — but the funnest part is when we divert to other story styles and I get to bring in wildly different artists to do “finishes” over my layouts to give the chapters a distinct and separate look.

    TFAW: In the current story arc, we finally get some answers about Pauly Bruckner. Is this going to be the finale of this character?

    Unwritten #48 Page 2PG: No! Pauly is a character who was not planned from the start, and he’s the character who has most demanded more scenes and a greater role in the story. He’s our wildcard factor, and we never quite know where he’s going with things.

    MC: Absolutely! Pauly is along for the duration, and still has a very important part to play. Every book needs a sweary rabbit!

    TFAW: Pauly has become such a compelling character — absolutely repugnant, totally self centered. He literally thinks everything is about him. Does he represent something to you guys? Is he a stand-in for something?

    MC: If Tom is the clueless hero, Pauly is the villain hero — our Richard the Third. Like you say, he’s a monster, but he works really well as a viewpoint character. We did the monster as Everyman in Lucifer — and there’s a sense in which Pauly is like Gaudium in Lucifer, except that at rock bottom he’s a tragic figure. He tortures himself by assuming that every place he finds himself is unbearable. Willowbank Wood, when you think about it, would have been heaven for some people, but for Pauly it’s Hell. And now we meet Pauly in Hell and we think, you know, maybe this is how it’s always going to be for you. You make your own weather.

    PG: Pauly is Mike, if Mike was American and not a polite British fellow! 🙂

    MC: I’m gonna take that as a joke.

    Unwritten #48 Page 3PG: Well there was a smiley face and all . . .

    TFAW: Richie has had such a character arc — a journalist who glommed onto Tom, then became a vampire, then rejected Tom to go live his own story. What’s next for him?

    MC: The next time we see Richie, those two aspects of his character — journalist and vampire — are both going to be crucial. He’s in a very extreme situation, trying to avert a catastrophe or at least slow it down. But he’s got to go against type in some ways, and do some things that don’t sit right with him. Because he does have a conscience, even though he tries to hide it. I tend to see Richie as an idealist who’s pretending to be a cynic.

    TFAW: Lizzie is another character who has undergone a huge shift — from a troubled orphan girl to a brainwashed Dickens character, programmed to help and love Tom — and that’s before she died! Can she and Tom ever have a relationship as equals?

    PG: Both Lizzie and Richie exist partially because they have to. Tom’s father has created pathways of story that Tom’s life slips into to build on the power of the Tommy Taylor stories. Tommy Taylor, boy wizard, had his companions Peter and Sue, so Tom Taylor attracts his own companions, Richie and Lizzie, to fulfill those roles. So the challenge for them, just like it is for Tom, is to hold on to their humanity and not get swept up into the greater currents that Wilson Taylor has set into motion.

    TFAW: What can you tell us about Unwritten Fables, the next arc?

    MC: It’s a stage in Tom’s odyssey in which he finally comes face to face with some unwelcome truths about the fictional characters he’s been meeting, and maybe to some extent about his own nature — and the backdrop in which he makes these discoveries is the Fables Homelands. Sort of. But with a very scary twist. Because the Fables side of this equation is a crisis that we had every reason to think was over and done with, and it comes live again in a really alarming way. I think there are big narrative payoffs for readers of both series.

    TFAW: An UnwrittenFables event seems like a perfect fit — both center on the power of stories and belief. How did the idea germinate?

    Unwritten #48 Page 4PG: Bill Willingham was a big supporter of The Unwritten from the start, and kept saying he wanted to do a crossover or something shared. But as close as the two books are in concept, they each take a different approach to the subject of stories and characters from stories. Ours is that the stories happen, and then characters might appear because of the stories. Bill’s is that the characters were real, and the stories came from their actions.

    Those are two pretty opposed ideas, and it wasn’t until we got to a point in our story that those ideas sort of demanded attention, that doing a shared arc with Fables finally became a possibility. The nice thing is that this isn’t just a throwaway event designed to boost sales — it’s an essential story tipping point for us. If we couldn’t do this story with the Fables characters, we’d still have to do the story somehow.

    MC: Although it wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun. Using the Fables cast has been pretty much pure pleasure.

    TFAW: What is your favorite thing about Fables?

    MC: I love the feeling you get from Fables that nobody is safe and anything can happen. It’s like the fairy tales and folk tales that are part of its source material — it portrays a world where the worst outcome can always come to pass, and where life and happiness are precarious. That’s part of what makes it such an exciting read.

    Unwritten #51And of course I love the vivid, evolving characters — my all-time favorites being the Thirteenth Floor witches.

    PG: I like the powerful simplicity of what Bill brought together. I think it was Fables that led the way with all the fairy tale-based movies and TV shows out there now. And I love that after 125 or so issues, it’s still compelling and readable. It’s one of the few comics that continue to catch my jaded interest and that I make sure to keep up on.

    TFAW: Bill Willingham mentioned that he begged to write parts of the story, because, I quote, “I’ll never get a chance to handle certain characters in this way again. One hopes.” Care to shed a little light on that?

    MC: We go to some very dark places with this story, and we see some harrowing things. More than that, I think, we get to see good people making bad choices because all the good choices are gone. If we do it right, parts of it will hurt.

    PG: Bill and Bucky had a lot of input into the story, and there were some things they talked about that they had wanted to do with Fables until the stories went off in another direction. Because of the nature of fiction in The Unwritten, we are able to go in some of those other directions.

    TFAW: What else are you reading right now?

    MC: The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. Very, very clever stuff. Too clever for its own good, sometimes, but man it’s a great read.

    Unwritten HC Tommy Taylor & The Ship That Sank TwicePG: I haven’t been able to read anything in a while because I draw most every minute of the day. But I’ve been slowly listening to audiobooks of Game of Thrones!

    TFAW: What else do you have coming up that you’re excited about?

    MC: I’ve got a novel coming out in January of 2014 that I’m very proud of. It’s sort of a retelling of the myth of Pandora in a post-apocalyptic future. And my superhero series, Suicide Risk, is debuting over at BOOM! Studios.

    Oh, and I just got the green light to go to script on a movie version of one of my own novels, which is really exciting.

    PG: I’m excited about our graphic novel adaptation of Wilson Taylor’s famous first novel, Tommy Taylor and the Ship that Sank Twice, coming out in the fall of 2013!

    MC: Yeah, and that . . . 🙂

    Our sincere thanks to Mike Carey, Peter Gross, and Vertigo Comics for an excellent interview. Pre-order Unwritten #50 and Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & The Ship That Sank Twice and save 20%!

    PRE-ORDER UNWRITTEN #50 AND SAVE 20%

    BROWSE ALL VERTIGO COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

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    Bill Willingham Fables Signing + Stumptown Comics Fest Kickoff Party 4/26

    Bill Willingham Fables Signing

    Looking for cool stuff to do next weekend? We’ve got two amazing events April 26 at the Portland TFAW, and we wanted to make sure you know all about them. It’s going to be an unforgettable night leading into Stumptown Comics Fest, the Northwest’s largest creator-focused comic convention!

    First, from 5 to 7 p.m., we’re excited to host a signing for multiple Eisner Award-winning writer Bill Willingham, creator of Vertigo’s immensely popular Fables series and a special guest brought to us by Stumptown Comics Fest. We’ve stocked up on Fables comics and graphic novels, so come pick some up and get them signed! Plus, enjoy free food and beer — we’re firing up the grill at 5 p.m. for hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie options.

    Stumptown Comics Fest Kickoff Party

    Then, at 7 p.m. we’re segueing into the Stumptown Comics Fest Kickoff Party! This is the official start of Stumptown Comics Fest, taking place April 27 and 28 at the Oregon Convention Center. Meet guests of the Fest, mingle with Portland’s comics community, and enjoy exciting entertainment:

    • Free food and beer (for those 21+)! Come enjoy burgers, dogs, and more.
    • Music by Jeff “Switch” Sorenson (Dangerous Kids) & Bobby Roberts (Welcome to That Whole Thing).
    • Video games from Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade.
    • Prizes from Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Dark Horse, OryCon, Ground Kontrol, Wonder Northwest, and more!
    • A greenscreen to pose in front of to commemorate the event, with background art supplied by Stumptown guests like Erika Moen, Sina Grace, Jon McNaught, and more!

    You thought we were done? We’re just getting started! You can also visit Things From Another World at Stumptown Comics Fest at Booth #F01 April 27 and 28. Come say hi, and save 20% on all graphic novels! We’ve got a lot of the newest and most popular books for this special convention, so stop by!

    RSVP FOR OUR BILL WILLINGHAM SIGNING ON FACEBOOK
    RSVP FOR OUR STUMPTOWN COMICS FEST KICKOFF PARTY
    RSVP FOR OUR STUMPTOWN COMIC FEST BOOTH

    Are you planning on going to Stumptown? What are you looking forward to? Post your comments below!

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    New 100 Bullets Miniseries Follows Brother Lono to Mexico

    100 Bullets continues this summer with the new Brother Lono miniseries.It’s been over four years since 100 Bullets ended with a bang. That’s why we’re psyched that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are teaming up for another chapter of the award-winning series this summer. 100 Bullets Brother Lono is a brand-new eight-issue miniseries that follows one of our favorite characters to Mexico.

    When last we saw Lono, Dizzy Cordova had shot him through the chest. . . but Lono always was too tough to die. Now, after the final events of 100 Bullets, Lono finds himself in Mexico working on the side of the angels. But there’s always more to a 100 Bullets story, so pick up this extra-size first issue to see what’s really going on with Brother Lono, the cold-blooded killer you hate to love!

    Good news for those who already have series subscriptions set up for 100 Bullets–your issues of the Brother Lono miniseries will automatically be ordered and sent to you when they get here!

    You’re going to love this series. June 19 can’t come quick enough!

    PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF 100 BULLETS BROTHER LONO #1
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    Bill Willingham Chats About What’s Next for Fables & Teaming up With The Unwritten

    Bill Willingham FablesSince its debut in 2002, Fables has attracted hundreds of thousands of fans — as well as 14 (and counting!) Eisner Awards. Created by writer Bill Willingham and artist Mark Buckingham, Fables asked the question, what if our classic fairytale characters were real — and lived in New York? Since then, Fables has become darker, richer, and more engrossing, bringing readers to colorful new worlds, delighting them with enthralling storylines and characters, and breaking their hearts with shocking twists and turns that most comics wouldn’t dare attempt. Think of the original Grimm Fairy Tales, before Mickey Mouse got his hands on them.

    In anticipation of our Bill Willingham Fables signing 4/26, we sat down for an interview the writer, fresh off his successful FablesCon event, of which Things From Another World was a proud sponsor. We chatted with him about the latest story arc, Cubs in Toyland, the current one, Snow White, and upcoming Fables crossover with Unwritten, beginning with issue #50. SPOILER ALERT! While we’ve tried to avoid specific details, we do discuss recent events and their impact on certain characters.

    New to Fables? Check out our discussion of (SPOILER ALERT!) Fables Volumes 1-11. Live in the Portland, Oregon area? Make sure to RSVP for our Bill Willingham Fables Signing on Facebook, or see him at Stumptown Comics Fest April 27 and 28.

    TFAW.com: For readers who haven’t picked up the book yet, what do you think is the most important thing to know about Fables?

    Bill Willingham: I think the most important thing to know about Fables is that it’s a fun book of romance, action-adventure, drama — and everything else. Anything that we can think to put in it!

    Fables Comics and Graphic NovelsTFAW.com: The thing that most surprises me about Fables, especially with Mark Buckingham’s sweet, pretty art, is how many dark and out-and-out horrific moments there are in the book. Do you ever surprise people who expected a Disney-fied story, but instead got a more authentic, Grimm Fairy Tales-style experience?

    BW: I think we do, I think we surprise some of our readers. Surprising the new readers is always a good idea; surprising the longtime readers is the best thing. If you’ve got a longtime reader who’s used to what you’re doing, if you can still take them by surprise, that’s a good thing. Certainly, going grim and dark is one way to do it.

    I think Buckingham is one of those guys — he looks so sweet and he talks so nice, and he seems like such a gentle soul, that it is a surprise to everyone to when they learn, as I have, what a dark and sinister heart he has. I am certain right now that if he’s not actually drawing, which he should be, of course, because we’re perpetually behind on things, he’s probably foreclosing on some poor widow’s mortgage or something. I think he just goes out to do evil for the sake of it from time to time. Just for sport.

    TFAW.com: I was definitely shocked by the end of the last story arc, Cubs in Toyland, with Therese and Dare. It got so much darker than I expected. With a storyline like that, with a beloved child in danger, usually someone swoops in at the end and everything is happy and jolly, and pretty much the exact opposite happened here. What kind of reaction have you gotten?

    BW: Well, we’ve gotten exactly that kind of reaction, which is, that it was not at all what readers were expecting. We’ve built it a couple of times where we were dropping the hope that some kind of last-second magical fate could come at the last moment; we did that with Boy Blue and his deteriorating sickness, and we did it with Dare, in the sense of him trying all of these things to get out of the fate he kind of knew was hanging over his head.

    Fables Comics and Graphic NovelsI mean, he knew what was supposed to happen, and eventually figured out what his part was to play in it, and then like so many, he starts bargaining: “You know, I’m prepared to make a sacrifice, certainly, but, is it necessary in this case? Is there some other clever thing I’m supposed to think of, or figure out, in order to make it all come out right and happy in the end?”

    And the answer is, sometimes, no matter how clever you are, or inventive you are, or how good your intentions are, the bad choice is just the only one available. And if anything was the theme of that story, I suppose that was it. And that, more than anything else, Mark and I had a tough time pulling the trigger on that final moment. Right up to the point where we did it, if you’ll forgive the terrible and probably inappropriate pun, we were asking ourselves, “Dare we do it? Can we instead try to pull a rabbit out of the hat and save him at the last moment?” And we could’ve — I mean it’s our book, we can do what we want, of course, but we wanted to get the best story out of it.

    TFAW.com: In the current story arc, Snow White, you’ve got Prince Brandish [previously known in Fables as Werian Holt, a cohort of the evil Mister Dark], Snow White’s childhood love, revealing himself and claiming his bride. Where has he been, pre-Mister Dark?

    BW: Well we will see some of the “Where has he been,” so if you don’t mind I won’t answer that. How he gets involved with Mister Dark is some interesting back story that we want to reveal.

    TFAW.com: Why is he popping up now? Snow White has been a prominent member of Fabletown, and it seems like he should have been able to find her before now.

    BW: You’d think so, and “Why now” is, this is the opportunity, this is moment he has to control. You know, there are a lot of creepy ex-boyfriends out there. And they always do seem to show up when you’re at low ebb, when the chips are really down and you wonder, “How can this get worse?” For Snow, it’s “My husband is off, and I’m all alone, and we’ve got kids missing, and there seems to be a very slim chance that we’ll find them.” And just when it seems like things couldn’t get worse, at that moment the creepy ex-boyfriend shows up.

    Fables Comics and Graphic NovelsI think half of our readership can relate to that, although it’s written in a pretty fantastical way. It’s the bad penny from your past. And the other half, our male readership, at least probably knows someone — hopefully they don’t relate to the story by being the creepy ex-boyfriend. All of our Fables readers are too nice and wonderful for that. But it is, in this kind of fantasy setting, a story that everyone can understand, some with happier memories than others.

    TFAW.com: So is Prince Brandish evil, or is he just old-fashioned? It seems like he thinks he’s obeying the letter of the Fables’ law, and indeed, with the research the others have done, that’s what they’ve discovered.

    BW: That’s a philosophical question — I’m not going to hand the readers the answer on a silver platter, but that’s what you wrestle with. King David, who is one of the more celebrated personages of the Bible, had 900 wives, and still sent a beloved general out to get slaughtered so he could get that extra one. Now was he evil, or was he just the product of his time, too? Back when slavery was allowed, I’ll bet there were a lot of slave owners who were considered not evil, but just part of their times. By today’s standards, they absolutely would be considered evil people. Figure it out for yourselves, I think.

    TFAW.com: One thing I’ve really enjoyed about Fables is how a lot of the female characters, who have been more passive in their own stories, are now cast as the heroines. You’ve got Snow White, who became the deputy mayor, you’ve got Cinderella, who’s a spy, you have Rapunzel running all over the world. So one of the shocking moments of this storyline is how helpless Snow White seems, and how no one can defend her. Is that the patriarchal order of their original world coming to a head here?

    Fables Comics and Graphic NovelsBW: The story is certainly about the old way of doing things, and we’ve included in that deal the old way of doing fairytales, which is usually — with one or two rare exceptions — if it’s a female character, the story is about the things that happen to her. She doesn’t do a lot on her own; all kinds of things happen to her, until eventually she is rescued. Often with the male characters, you also get the wily trickster who is able to outwit sorcerers and witches and kings. You don’t have a lot of wily trickster female characters in the old tales.

    So in that sense, yes, it’s like Snow White, against her will, finds herself as the star in one of those old tales. The difference of course is, is she going to accept that status quo? Is she going to accept being someone locked away in a tower who has to be rescued? And in answer to that question, I would say, maybe you should check out the final issue in this story arc!

    TFAW.com: Mirroring this, and speaking of wily tricksters, there’s another arranged marriage in the works between the Blue Fairy and Geppetto. However, it seems like it’s being played for laughs. What made you decide to go there?

    BW: In a way that I could never do justice, it’s almost my Groucho Marx story. In all of those wonderful movies, you have the upset dowager, who is aghast at the hijinx of the Marx brothers, until Groucho somehow manages to flatter her and woo her and turn her completely around for awhile, in such a surprising way that she’s completely off balance. To a certain extent, it’s my take on that. Also, in more of a serious context, if Geppetto doesn’t pull off this trickery, someone’s life is on the line — possibly his!

    Mrs. SpratTFAW.com: Another intriguing character is Leigh, or the former Mrs. Sprat. She was a background character, a nurse who was possibly torturing Boy Blue, then she partnered up with Mister Dark, and went through her own extreme makeover, eventually developing feelings for Werian Holt, now Prince Brandish. Now she’s a discontent in the background again. Do you have bigger plans for her?

    BW: Yes.

    TFAW.com: Could you tell us any of them?

    BW: Oh, you want a more elaborate answer? Yes, in the wake of the Snow White arc, and during the next big arc that follows, which is called Camelot, we see her put her plan into motion. Basically, she and Brandish had teamed up to hatch their schemes. It was implied that they may have been coordinating schemes, and we see now that they are. But their separate schemes can be put into motion: Brandish is doing his now, and she will have her chance in the next arc. There are some definite things going on with her, that she will . . . well, we’ll just leave it at that.

    TFAW.com: Do you have more immediate plans for the cubs? We know that Therese ages to an adult in Toyland and comes back. Can she really come back to the family now? Also, Winter is off in training to become the new North Wind. Will there be a continued focus on that?

    BW: Yes, we’ll continue looking in on the cubs. If you’ll notice, we’re sort of doing a one-on, one-off kind of thing, where a story focuses on the cubs, and then we go back to the original adult cast. Right now we are definitely looking at the original adult cast. Camelot will sort of be a mix of the two. While Therese showed up at the end of Cubs in Toyland, we’ll see what happens in Camelot, right after that scene.

    TFAW.com: So another upcoming Fables event is the Unwritten crossover, beginning in Unwritten #50. How involved are you in that?

    BW: Pretty involved, to the extent of, let’s say Mike Carey, and Peter Gross, and Mark Buckingham, and I all decided to go on this road trip together, but Mike is the one driving the car, in the sense that — I know he and Peter work on the story together — but he produced the script. With his evil concoction, the Unwritten group came up with a delightfully sinister storyline that involves their characters interacting with the Fables characters. For Mark and I, our contribution was mostly, “Oh dear, you seemed so nice, but we will never turn our backs on you guys again!” It was really just wonderfully wicked.

    Unwritten FablesBut we are playing a little bit. There are certain scenes, particularly in the first issue, that I begged Mike to let me step in and write, because I’ll never get a chance to handle certain characters in this way again. One hopes. So Mark and I will do a little bit in each issue. It’s not an out-and-out crossover because you won’t see the storyline reflected, at least not immediately, in the Fables storyline. It takes place entirely within Unwritten. But when it all shakes loose, there will be ripples that lap up against our shores, if I can be forgiven a really terrible metaphor there.

    TFAW.com: It sounds like a match made in heaven, because one of the primary themes of Unwritten is the power of words, but also the power of readers, and of readers’ beliefs. And that’s certainly been reflected in Fables — for example, when Snow White was shot in the head, she couldn’t die, because too many people believed in her. How do you see that reflected in real life, and with comics?

    BW: In comics and in the fantasy and science-fiction genres, it’s reflected a lot, and there’s a term for it called consensus reality, which is the power of the belief creates the reality. To a certain extent, in real life, you can find situations of consensus reality. Let’s look at economics, for example. Economics is an entirely fabricated thing. Money is made up, it has no real meaning or worth, other than what we assign to it. But the fact is that the willingness of so many people to assign value to these pieces of paper, of course makes it real. Makes it real and wealthy, and makes it something that people will put their lives on the line for to try and rob, or that people will dedicate their lives to make more of, or that people will feel miserable because they don’t have enough of.

    To a certain extent, we assign power to things, and because we all kind of agree, it becomes real. With politics, it’s the same thing. No military commander has the physical ability to force hundreds of thousands of men to rush into harm’s way. But somehow he says, “Go,” and they go, because there is this consensus that the power and authority reside in him.

    Unwritten #50So yeah, we play consensus reality all the time. Art is valuable because we say it is, this location is better than that because we agree it is. All of our lives are shaped that way. So we kind of formalize it in these books and say, “Yes, there is an actual cause-and-effect physical relationship going on.”

    TFAW.com: You’ve been writing Fables for more than 10 years now. Do you have an end point planned? How much longer can you guarantee that we get to read it?

    BW: Mark is in the process of buying an island right now, so I’ve been informed that I’m not allowed to stop until he has it all taken care of. No, I don’t really have a serious answer to that. Yes, I have one or more possible endpoints. How much longer is dependent largely upon the readers. If they want more, I’d be silly not to do it.

    Fables is not just a single story idea, it’s more of a setting or storytelling engine out of which almost any sort of story can flow. So in that sense, there’s always going to be new ideas and new things we will want to do with it, if we can. I think the “If we can” part of it is entirely up to forces outside of ourselves. If the readers keep wanting it, obviously we’re going to be interested in producing the stories, and hope DC will continue to be interested in publishing them.

    TFAW.com: Looking back, is there anything you would change?

    BW: Oh, god yes! Hundreds and hundreds of things. In almost every situation, I can look back at a story and say, “What if a character did this instead of that, what story might spin out of that?” I’m not sure I would, but there are certainly lots of things I would want to change, going back. I don’t think there’s a writer in the world who doesn’t play those kind of “What if” questions with his own work.

    TFAW.com: Going forward, what else are you excited about?

    Fairest in All the LandBW: I am excited that after FablesCon, I get to go back to being a writer. That took almost a year — not entirely off — but it truncated my ability to write for about a year to do this. And it was worth doing. But my perfect life would be one of the almost total recluse, where every once in a while I poke my head out of the ground, to see if people are in fact still reading, but could otherwise disappear into my writing and write. So I’m looking forward to about a year of that. Hopefully that will translate into all sorts of new and wonderful projects like the Fairest in All the Land original graphic novel, which is what I’m working on now.

    TFAW.com: Can you tell us about that?

    BW: It’s sort of in the same vein as 1,001 Nights of Snowfall. It’s a series of stories tied together thematically by the Magic Mirror, who finally gets fed up with being asked who’s the fairest in all the land, and gives the answers he’s been waiting to give, rather than the ones the questioners are usually expecting. It’ll be out this fall.

    TFAW.com: Is Mark Buckingham the artist?

    BW: Mark will be doing one of them. It will be multiple stories written by me, each drawn by a different, wonderful artist. Every time I do a project like this, I get to check off a few of the artists I’ve always wanted to work with. We’ve got a few coming up here that I’m rather excited about.

    TFAW.com: Well, thank you so much for your time, we really appreciate this.

    BW: Thank you — we’ll be seeing each other in not too many days!

    Our thanks to Vertigo Comics and Bill Willingham for the delightful interview — hope he’s ready for quite the party at the Portland TFAW 4/26! Make sure to browse our collection of Fables, Cinderella and Fairest comics and graphic novels, and pre-order the conclusion to the Snow White arc, Fables #128, and Unwritten #50. Plus, come back and pre-order Fairest in All the Land, featuring fantastic artists like Adam Hughes, Chrissie Zullo, Mark Chiarello, Karl Kerschl, Gene Ha, Chris Sprouse, Renae De Liz, Phil Noto, and more.

    BROWSE ALL FABLES COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

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    Are you a fan of Fables? What do you think of the current story arc? Post your comments below!

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    Bill Willingham’s Fables Spinoff Fairest Begins in March

    Bill Willingham begins new ongoing Fables series in March.This March, New York Times best-selling, award-winning creator Bill Willingham presents Fairest, a new series starring the female characters from his Fables series. Balancing horror, humor and adventure, Fairest explores the secret histories of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, Snow White, Rose Red, and many more.

    The first 6-issue arc follows the misadventures of Briar Rose after she is stolen away by the goblin army in Fables #107. Fan-favorite artist Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, The Invisibles) returns to Vertigo to pencil the opening storyline. Award-winning cover artist Adam Hughes (Wonder Woman, Batgirl) provides covers, starting with a wraparound cover on issue #1.

    ORDER FAIREST #1 TODAY

    SUBSCRIBE TO FAIREST STARTING W/ISSUE #2

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