Bounding Into Comics Ember War Interview

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Bounding Into Comics interviewed me yesterday about The Ember War, which is linked here. Interesting how they’re the only comic media outlet to pick up the announcement, with The Ember War books outselling the vast majority of Marvel/DC comics. It’s almost like the media doesn’t want any competition to the Big 2. Oh well, we’ll show them how to make great comics anyway! And Bounding’s work is appreciated. Very nice interview which you can read here.

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Comics Publishing Sinks To New Low In Blackballing

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Megan Fox breaks it down in a crazy new expose on what’s happening at the independent comic level. Marvel wouldn’t even HIRE someone who’s conservative in the first place, so this ends up the last place Wil Caligan can get a job.

Caligan, a conservative Christian, had little chance of survival in that environment. One hint of wrongthink could spell curtains for any artist, writer or producer in today’s comics climate. In Caligan’s case, he made the catastrophic mistake of voicing his opinion about a pop culture story about a straight man rebuffing a kiss from a transwoman.

A few weeks ago, rapper Ginuwine was caught in an uncomfortable situation where a transgendered male to female tried to kiss him. When he rebuffed the advances, the internet accused him of transphobia. The lesson here seems to be that if Harvey Weinstein tries to kiss a woman, that’s assault. But if a transgendered person tries to force someone to kiss him there is a requirement for the victim to prove a lack of transphobia by complying. Caligan posted his thoughts on this situation and then all hell broke loose.

It’s absolutely crazy that he can’t state what he thinks about a really dangerous sexual assault on his own facebook page without the PC police trying to destroy his livelihood. This is what anyone who speaks out faces  I talk about this article and more on my YouTube:

We have to start supporting people like Wil to allow artists to speak freely and create the art they want at the independent level. The time for buying products from people who hate us and blackball us is over.

I create a lot of content on a daily basis from books, to stories, to articles, to videos on the cutting edge of culture. You can be a part of expanding this platform and bringing it to the next level. Support my Patreon and get exclusive stories and content every month!

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Richard Fox’s The Ember War: Comic Adaptation!

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Yesterday, Castalia House made a big announcement,  which is going to make a much bigger splash in the entertainment world than a lot of people might realize. I’ve signed with their new comic imprint to adapt Richard Fox’s bestselling military science fiction novel The Ember War into a graphic novel. Fox is one of the biggest science fiction authors in the field right now, including having won the Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction last year.

The Ember War itself is a masterpiece of military science fiction. When I first read the book I immediately messaged Fox with, “Wow, this reads just like a movie.” And it does. It’s fast paced sci-fi action with an incredibly epic plot and memorable characters. If I were in Hollywood, I’d be optioning this for a film immediately. It’s really that good.

I’m not in Hollywood, but I am in comics.

Vox Day and I have been talking about Alt-Hero, brainstorming for our co-written work in the universe for the last couple of months, and as he’s ramped up his new comic publishing house Arkhaven Comics, he was looking for additional content to keep the ball rolling while they’re building up the brand. Both being huge military science fiction fans, we started talking what genre books would be the best to adapt over several conversations. Between Vox and I, we have access to a lot of the greats, and you’d be very surprised as to some of the books we could get the license to and were in our discussions. But The Ember War kept coming up in those conversations as one of the best, and being so hot in the modern market, it made a lot of sense to pursue adapting this book in comic form.

We both contacted Richard Fox independently, and he was about as gracious as possible with the idea of his world being turned into comics. We’ve had several great conversations about a lot of things he’d like to see, and questions I’ve had to make sure we create the most faithful adaptation possible.

I’ve actually had the news for a couple of weeks, all the while I’ve been working on diligently on rereading the novel and starting on the script. You might have seen my social media posts about my “super secret comic project”. This is it. My paper copy of the Ember War is dog-eared in more than a hundred places, highlighted all over the place, I’ve pulled direct lines and descriptions from it. We’ve also got all the descriptions for the physical appearances of the main characters done, which Richard Fox worked on with me. It’s been a lot of work so far but it will be well worth it!

Right now issue 1 is on track to be written script-wise this week. We have a phenomenal artist who’s one of the best in the industry lined up for this, who has also worked on a lot of books you’ll probably recognize. I can’t wait for that to be announced. And it will be soon. His work is absolutely beautiful and will be great on this series.

As Castalia House mentioned in their announcement, this book will break down into 5 issues, about perfect for graphic novel form. We expect to have the first issue ready to go by summer, and barring any timing issues on the art front, the full graphic novel complete by the end of the year.

For now, you canhttps://www.amazon.com/Ember-War-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B010PSY6YW/delarroz-20 if you want to get in depth with the universe. Or if you’re new to me, check out my book, For Steam And Country. 

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Quickshot Comic Reviews

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I hadn’t been to the comic shop in a couple weeks with the unprecedented craziness that went down last week, but I did yesterday, and I caught up on my comic reading last night which was very fun. Here’s a little bit of what I’m reading and my thoughts on it:

The Tick #2 by Cullen Bunn, Jimmy Z Johnston and Duane Redhead. This was a lot of fun. I thought the first issue was really amusing, but this was even better. Ninjas vs. clowns! The Tick meanwhile is poisoned with some drug that’s making him relive his origin while Arthur tries to keep him from hurting himself or others by accident. It’s fun, fast paced, and actually decent for all ages which makes me happy.  8/10

Grass Kings #11 by Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins. Anyone who follows me knows I’m a huge Kindt fan. Grass Kings is honestly the best book out there no one’s talking about right now. It’s about the quirkiest story I’ve seen in a long time, no superpowers, no supernatural stuff, just pure character drama in a really cool concept set up. This issue resolved the first arc but still left a lot of questions, and it was very intense character drama. I love the pretty watercolor indie art. My shop also got me a variant cover (pictured above) which is one of my fav covers I’ve seen in awhile as well.  10/10

Star Wars Forces Of Destiny: Rey #1 by Jodie Houser and Arianna Florean. This is a “grrl power” gimmick event by IDW. Female creators! Strong female leads! Finally! It gets really old seeing one of these month after month by publishing companies. But judging from the book itself and not the editorial mandated event, Jodie Houser actually crafted a pretty fun book. Rey and BB8 are on Jakku trying to survive in a tale set in the middle of The Force Awakens. It’s just action, survival and fun. Art is pretty decent too. The style works really well for this kind of story. I had fun with this 8/10.

Bloodshot:Salvation #5 by Jeff Lemire and Lewis LaRosa. This art is just stunning, like most Valiant books, but it’s still the wrong feel for a book like Bloodshot. It’s the gritty “Punisher Max” sort of attempt to make Bloodshot more a “real” character. This answered some questions from #3 and concluded a fight, with a Deus ex. Ninjak element to it. I’m glad we finally got to some action in this series. That with the pretty pencils was enough for me to enjoy the conclusion to this arc. 8/10

Dejah Thoris #0 by Amy Chu and Pasquale Qualano. I picked this up because of the 25 cent price tag. Art was pretty decent all the way through, but I found it a bit hard to be gripped. A lot of setting the stage and telling us what’s going on, and the pacing was a little bit slow on it. It was alright enough that i might pick up the #1, but hopefully that issue has a little bit more to it. 7/10

Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe #1 by Eliot Rahal and Joe Bennett. This was everything I wanted out of a Valiant book and have been asking for forever. It was pure fun. Action. spy drama. Superheroics. Crazy antics. There’s a little suspension of disbelief issue with the plot but I don’t care because it was just that fun. Art was nice and fit the book’s tone perfectly. Valiant should more more in this direction than trying too hard to be arty with their superhero books. 9/10

And that’s it for this week. If you like my tastes or thoughts on fiction, you’ll probably like my fiction even more. I deliver short stories to my Patreon subscribers every month and more! It keeps the blog going, keeps me writing, and helps me to make my own comics. Support and get some of the best content in the business! 

 

 

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Comic Review: Port Of Earth #1

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Port Of Earth automatically made it to my excitement list when I  saw the concept — aliens use water for fuel  and  made earth into a stopping point along their transit routes. They built  a port, which is supposed to be away from human society and supposed to not have them interact with humans, in exchange, humanity got to get access to unlimited power, ending our energy dependency. Wow!

Of course, eventually, aliens act as tourist, and problems occur. Those problems lead to a  lot of deaths in situations, so an agency is formed  to both protect the aliens and the humans from each other.

The drawings are pretty solid, though  the colors are a bit washed out — I  guess which was an intentional stylistic choice, but it does make a  little monotony to the issue, which is amplified because of the  pacing.

The pacing of this book is really out of whack. It opens up with  several pages  of backstory “telling” which probably could have been condensed some. We don’t actually meet the main characters until the staple page —  halfway through the book. So the set  up, while it’s a great concept, is a lot.

Once  we get there, it’s very slow. The second half of the issue is pretty much filled with talking heads, that, with the washed out colors.

Now it sets up an interesting story where these ESA agents are going after an alien, and the media is actually going to watch them with drones to show what  they do.

The next high point in t he story is the characters. They’re  well written, rounded, and  people you can connect to as a reader. The we have one “straight guy”  character and  one over  the top type  who seems hellbent on getting them into trouble. The relationship between the main character and his woman is very well done also.This plus the concept and solid line art  is enough I’m certainly going  to pick up a second issue.

There were a couple dialogue spots where it could have used some editing. One panel has two complex sentences end in the same word choices in a row, which looks a little clunky, and there’s a couple of other spots that could use tightening up.  This didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment or the characters.

There’s a lot of potential here, but the issue itself suffered from those pacing issues.  Hopefully as the arc continues we get past the infodumpy portions. It’s worth continuing reading, and I’ll review issue #2 next week (it’s already out) to let you know if it picks up.

7/10

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After Sampling Alterna Comics – They Might Be The Company We’re Looking For

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Alterna Comics ran a 25% off sale over black Friday weekend, so I opted to check them out a lot more than I had in comics shops prior (I’d picked up a couple of issues). I picked up their entire catalogue of books from June – October for about $25, pretty incredible given the giant stack of books I received.

This morning I read through a few of them so I could accurately report my findings on the company.  They’ve been intriguing me as they push a lot of cool creator owned content that looks a little different than your average fare — and then the best part, is their books are $1.50. They’ve done this by just printing on newsprint and not on the fancy paper that most comic companies use these days.

Here’s the first hot take: the reading experience of a comic is not any different being on newsprint. 

The colors bleed a little more and aren’t quite as crisp, but for the most part that doesn’t really impact the book. It didn’t deter my enjoyment at all. Now I don’t think a hyper-realistic style that some of the modern books use would work in this, but for real comic art, it doesn’t pose a problem in the least.

I read through at least the first issue of all of their titles that came out from June – Oct last evening, and I found most of them to be throughly enjoyable. The books are all over the map in terms of content, and what’s advertised has pretty much been what the books are. So if you’re into some more uplifting fun stuff, family friendly, science fiction, horror, post-apocalyptic serious stuff — it’s all there. You can easily pick and choose to your tastes or go through everything like I did because it’s so inexpensive. The covers are pretty accurate in telling you about what style or age range it’s going to be in.

Regardless, here’s my quick takes on what i read:

Adam Wreck – Super fun science fiction. A boy crashes a space ship (hence wreck). Cute characterization, good fun, interesting color schemes, though it is kinda odd  to look at and it  makes the art look a little undetailed. It still works well as a story with a lot of fun elements  from space pirates to giant tentacle creatures. I  read  the whole story, and it was good,  though probably  could have been condensed to 2 issues (there’s a prequel story halfway through issue 3 to round out the content). Enjoyable. B

Amazing Age – This is a story about a kid who drew comic heroes, and eventually re-found his work in high school after everyone had kinda grown out of it. He and two friends are sucked into the comic book, where the world is about to go into an epic battle of good vs. evil. It’s really cute all the way through, and is apparently based off of creations made by the writer when he was a kid. 3 issues are currently out and this really put the fun back in superheroes. A

The Chair – By far the darkest book of the Alterna line. this is really heavy dark horror. Which is very much not my thing, so it makes it a bit hard to judge for me on  that front. The tone of the dialogue and the story are definitely on track. However I have to say — the  layouts and the art make it a bit hard to read. Sometimes the lettering really eats up the page, and the art is sparse on detail and leaves a lot of black background a lot of the time. Tough book. C-

Croak – Strange things in the woods kind of horror. Art was pretty nice, and good for the genre. It  opens up in the first issue into something pretty darn interesting,  but it takes awhile to get there. There wasn’t enough of a hook at the beginning of the issue, though there is  by the end. I  wish over the course of  the series there was a little more of the characterization to make us care about the characters, and some more explanation for events. B-

Lilith Dark –  Pretend time Lilith plays at being hero and has great adventures in her mind She goes down a rabbit hole alice in wonderland style and some really cute hijinx ensue. I’d read this before and it’s what drew Alterna to my attention. A+

Mother Russia – I looked at the cover and conceptually based on what I’d thought, I wasn’t super interested. Seeing black and white inside also scared me, but actually, this might be my favorite Alterna comic. A girl survived a zombie apocalypse in WW2 Russia and teams up with a couple other survivors (including a dog and a baby) to try to survive. My only complaint is I wish there wasn’t swearing in it, as I think it doesn’t add much to the story, including the feel, as the dialogue is supposedly translated from Russian. The dialogue comes off sounding very 2017 at those points which is unfortunate. Still the plot and art and characters are wonderful, I love it.  A

Mr. Crypt – This is off the wall comedy, sorta reminding me of a Frankenstein or Casper the Ghost concept. Crypt’s on the run, cuz no one wants a skeleton around, but when he puts on a top hat and mustache, no one can tell who he really is! He makes friends with a rat. It’s a bit disjointed on the writing end, more like a series of shorts than something super cohesive in the first  issue, and i wish there were a tad more story to it. Silly and fun though, so I cut it some slack. B-

Scrimshaw – This book gets a lot of promos on the web and in their advertisements. It’s a future where the world went through an apocalypse and came out the other side, and some strange stuff is happening. I’ve only read the first issue, but it didn’t give me quite enough meat as to what’s going on in the geo-political sense for me to hook into it. The art is a bit confusing and overdrawn, which makes it a tad hard to read. Interesting world, and I’ll keep reading but not my favorite so far.  C

Tresspasser  – Another one I wasn’t so sure I was going to be interested  in based  on  the cover. Nice art, again  maybe  one of the nicer of Alterna’s  but it looked to have a kinda darker tone to it  (and I like lighter tones). The tresspasser, spoilers, is an alien who shows up. It’s pretty decompressed but dang I’m interested in this story. It’s kinda creepy horror but  not shock-dark. Pacing is a bit decompressed and slow is the only qualm with it. Great characters. A-

Wicked Righteous – Interesting Post apocalypse where a bunch of adults seem to have died from a virus. The first issue was interesting and I like the characters introduced, but I still don’t quite get the world, it needed a little more definition to those world building elements for understanding. Could be fixed in future issues but it needed more of a grounding for the first here regardless. Art is one of the better for Alterna’s work. We’ll see how this proceeds. B

 

As you can tell, the whole line has interesting points to it, and as I said the tone and style were all over the map so it’s a bit harder to judge based on what an Alterna book should look like, so I focused on storytelling elements. I’ll probably continue to pick up their whole line going forward cuz it’s like $6 a month to get 4 books or so, which is ridiculous, and I like what they’re doing.

If you like my thoughts on storytelling, you’ll probably enjoy my book, For Steam And Country. Check it out here.

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Wonder Woman Page A Fake

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My bad, I should have verified the info before posting but it turns out that last WW quote was not real from the book.

This was edited:

This is the real:

Mistakes happen, and we’re definitely so used to seeing it it’s easy to jump at these things that sound exactly like they would be in a comic. Fortunately, it appears DC has some standards.

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Marvel Ousts Alonso, Promotes New EIC

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It’s been reported that Marvel has ousted Alonso. They’ve promoted C.B. Cebulksi who, refreshingly, seems to tweet mostly about creativity and art and not politics.

Marvel Entertainment, the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment company, announced today that C.B. Cebulski has been promoted to Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief effective November 17, 2017. Former Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso has mutually parted ways with the company. The announcement was made by Dan Buckley, President, Marvel Entertainment.

In his new role, Mr. Cebulski will oversee all day-to-day editorial and creative aspects of Marvel’s publishing division. This includes driving the overall editorial creative vision, shaping the larger story direction of the Marvel Comics line-up, and bringing to Marvel the world’s best and brightest writers and artists. Additionally, Mr. Cebulski will be furthering Marvel’s efforts to expand the publishing division internationally.

Now I hope that the international efforts don’t mean further efforts to stagnate or pause the classic characters for movies… which was made easy by replacing them with SJW knock-off versions in the last couple years. Legacy has been a failure, as it didn’t create any real change in the company from what’s destroyed it. It just let the same people back in and used a gimmick holo-cover type thing to try to get it going.

I’d recommend CB clean house. Drop everything and start from scratch, rebuild Marvel from the ground up. Cut anyone who uses autoblockers and treats fans like garbage on Twitter, and cut the most vitriolic political shills as well. Bring in fresh faces, do something new.  I’d even maybe call it Rebirth.

On the creative side – expand creator owned content. Don’t just make an Icon imprint for like your pet 1-2 to do their thing with no promotion. Encourage creativity and newness. You’re not going to be able to live off of Stan Lee’s creations in the print form alone for another 50 years. It’s already been milked dry.

I’d even considering bringing back CrossGen.

If you like good creative action adventure, you’ll probably enjoy my novel For Steam And Country, which will make a great comic some day in addition to a novel series.  Check it out here.  

 

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Indie Comics Is Where It’s At

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With all the troubles Marvel is having, even after their supposed “relaunch”, and while DC is certainly producing high quality art… it just doesn’t have  the emotional stakes. Part of this is because of the way the big two are set up with their comics — to keep their characters the same: iconic and unchanging in order to produce films and television and try to capitalize off of residual sales from that. It leads to stagnation, no matter the creative team.  And it’s unavoidable when you have characters who can’t change, or if they do, it gets reset so they’re back again.

I’ve turned my comic reading to other sources. As those who read the blog regularly know, I pick up almost every Valiant book, of which the storytelling has varied pretty significantly depending on who’s writing it, but the art has been top notch all the way through. I’m sill very much enjoying X-O Manowar,  which I think is the best comic released in years. Reading that got me looking at Matt Kindt’s other work, and i found a treasure trove  of beautiful indie stories.

Mind MGMT is the one that blew me away. It’s about the government running a secret psi program of people with different abilities. They’re erasing memories, keeping us and each other pacified, leaving coded messages everywhere. It’s a head trip in a head trip, and super gripping all the way through.

Dept H is a murder mystery in an underwater science base. There’s some crazy stuff and I really still don’t know exactly where it’s going. I keep looking for volume 3 to come out, but it’s got a ton of potential and cool characters.

3 Story – This is a tragedy about a giant. I love the pun title and I couldn’t put it down.

The Tooth –  A twist on the superhero. This goes into the ridiculous realm which I’ve had a lot of fun with. It also got me looking at Cullen Bunn’s work, as he  wrote this story while Kindt drew it. His stuff comes next.

Cullenn Bunn is doing the relaunch of the Tick, which I picked up for fun, family friendly entertainment to share with my kid. He provided that. But he also does horror books which are really creepy. I don’t usually like horror but this is more an action/adventure style horror so it works for me. I’m a bit nervous about some seeming anti-Christian themes in his books, but of what i’ve read it hasn’t gone too far, and I haven’t found it offensive. It may just be the horror tropes and getting into that dark spiritual realm that necessarily has that feel. I hope I don’t get to a point where I see anything too far but I’m enjoying what I’ve read. These are not family friendly below:

Darkark – this is currently on #2. Satan made an ark along with God and the task is to save the supernatural spirit realm. I don’t have a link to this!

6th Gun – Weird west. I don’t know how I missed this originally as weird west is something I usually grab off the shelves immediately as I see it. I read the first volume and it’s dark horror fun with six-shooters. Loving it so far.

Alterna Comics is another interesting group. They are  making REALLY CHEAP (not low quality) comics. You can buy most their titles for $1-2 but only a few shops carry them. They are also on comixology. I’ve read LIlith Dark and Adam Wreck  of their titles, and i”ve ordered a whole  bunch more. I’m not sure how their business model is going but I love this kind of thing, and i love they’re using newsprint to be able to get things out to us and not charge us $5 a book because of print costs. I highly recommend checking out your catalogue and having your local comic shop order from them so they can expand their reach: https://www.alternacomics.com/  very little risk at the price point!

And on the cutting edge front:

 

I want to talk a kickstarter project by Brant Fowler. I’ve been mentioning it on social media, but yesterday it finally funded. It’s about a teenage pyro girl. The art looks really solid and I’m excited to get to read this story. It’s really cute that he works with his girlfriend who does colors on the book too. I  like that kinda thing. Matt Kindt’s wife also colors Dept H, so he’s in good company.The kickstarter link is:

 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brantfowler/the-last-ember-1-teenager-by-day-fire-goddess-by-n

Brant is a great guy who I’ve watched stick by comics for years, and we used to do comic reviews at ComicRelated.com.  If you want to be on the front lines of getting new indie projects going, supporting Brant’s kickstarter is the way to go. He is the next generation of great indie work and I’d love to see this get to the point where it turns heads at the bigger companies. I’ve backed this myself. Hurry though, it’s the last day to do so!

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll let you know what else I find.

If you like good indie action adventure stories, you’ll love  For Steam And Country, the hottest new steampunk novel series of 2017. You can buy it here. 

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