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Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

As a little kid, most of my favorite movies were either super-saccharine 90’s Disney flicks or the grisliest horror the 1980’s had to offer. Therefore, it is with great honor that I was able to secure a preview for BOOM! Studios’ Hellraiser #1, written by one of the masters of horror (and the series’ creator), Clive Barker.

While preparing for this review, I took the liberty of re-watching Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, and that totally insane video where Pinhead plays poker with Lemmy Kilmister. Then I tried watching Hellraiser: Bloodline. After being bored out of my skull after only a few minutes, I realized that without the guidance of Barker, this franchise seriously disinterested me.

Thank God he’s back in charge of the Cenobites. Barker’s twist on the happenings of the amoral servants of Hell remains as creepy and as imaginative as ever. Pinhead still goes on being extremely articulate and frighteningly intelligent, all the while manipulating those into helping him achieve his goals. Everything about the character will seem familiar to fans of the original film, which is welcome when compared to some of the downright goofy things he said in the later films (“Welcome to the worst nightmare of all… REALITY!”). The issue still explores the line between pain and pleasure prevalent in the films, with the first issue featuring both the most violent and sensual panels I’ve seen in a comic produced by BOOM! Both of these mental states are skillfully drawn by Leonardo Manco (Hellblazer, Hellstorm, every other comic that ever had the word “hell” in the title), which ultimately leads to one emotional and frightening comic.

My only real complaint (which might be my own fault) is that I’m a little confused as to where in continuity the story actually takes place. Pinhead appears to be flanked by the Female and the Chatterer, both of whom were killed in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and never seen again, yet a reference is made to Kirsty Cotton’s marriage in Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker. Perhaps somebody who has seen more of the later sequels can clear this up. Either way, enjoy the (totally for mature audiences) preview to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser #1.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

BOOM! Studios has given me permission to present to you a downloadable PDF for “At the Tolling of a Bell,” an original, self-contained eight-page Hellraiser story by Clive Barker and Leonardo Manco not slated for public release until the trade paperback collection in, like, forever from now! Basically, we’re giving you some free comic book goodness from an industry legend! Enjoy!

Click here for PDF of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Prelude!

If you were born in the mid-8os like me, you have fond memories of watching the Disney Afternoon line-up of cartoons. Nothing beat coming home from first grade, plunking down in front of the TV, and binging on Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, TaleSpin, and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers all in a row. BOOM! Studios has already released their surprisingly popular Darkwing Duck book so the next logical step would be to tap into another property that we’re all nostalgic for.

With Darkwing Duck writer Ian Brill taking on scripting duties, BOOM! is taking a crack at the Chip ‘n Dale franchise by not only giving the beloved series its own title but immediately making it an ongoing. Add Marvel Super Hero Squad artist Leonel Castellani, and this book seems like it’d be perfect fare for the kids, not to mention the grown ups who still ong for the feel-good nineties.

Thing is, this book seems to be geared more for people who grew up watching the show rather than those unfamiliar with the characters. While the team tries to recover something called the super-key and fight a bunch of crazed animals who are all surrounded by a weird red aura (none of which is explained at all yet), the book gives us little peeks into the pasts of Gadget, Monterey Jack, and even Zipper which help explain why the characters are the way they are. As a former fan of the show, Brill does an amazing job of keeping the characters just as they were. Chip is still the same unlikeable douchebag he was on the cartoon, Dale is still cracking jokes left and right, and Zipper still wants to be the most heroic housefly that’s ever lived (two week life span be damned).

If you’ve enjoyed Brill’s work on Darkwing Duck or were a fan of the old series, chances are that you’ll get a kick out of this book, out Thursday.

Now I guess we just gotta hold out for BOOM’s inevitable TaleSpin comic (half-joke?).

It always kind of bums me out when two great things come out at once and only one of them gets a lick of attention. After twenty minutes in my local shop, it seemed like everybody was singing the praises of Kick-Ass 2 and nobody was talking about (or picking up, for that matter) BOOM! Studios’ Soldier Zero #1. And, for reals, those folks are missing out.

Soldier Zero is the story of Stewart Trautmann, a former Army captain who was paralyzed after his convoy ran over an IED in Afghanistan. Attempting to go about his post-war life with his brother and prospective lady-friend, Stewart finds himself in another freak accident when a dying alien crashes into him. He gets Abin Sur’d (yup, that’s a verb now) and develops superpowers (including the ability to stand) and an admittedly bitchin’ looking suit. But the question remains, what was the alien doing near Earth in the first place?

Soldier Zero was created by Stan Lee and is the first in a series of three books from BOOM! Studios produced under his guidance (the other two being The Traveler and Starborn).Soldier Zero follows Lee’s tried and true old formula for a superhero origin: take an underdog and make him realize his full potential. Paul Cornell (Captain Britain and MI-13, Action Comics) is the man in charge of making a book out of this character and he does so eloquently, quickly fleshing out our hero’s civilian life while simultaneously showing the alien’s dramatic final space battle. Plus, Javier Pina’s (Suicide Squad, Manhunter) art is visually spectacular as well (particularly the space action shots).

For what is more or less a quick origin story, this book is a damn fine read. If you have a love of all things Green Lantern Corps or Guardians of the Galaxy related, I have a feeling that this book will be right up your alley.

OH SNAP, PREVIEW PAGES.

Vampires are everywhere right now (really, X-Men? Really?) and when I saw that a book with a title like Dracula: The Company of Monsters was coming out on BOOM!, my first thought was, “Oh, shit, not you guys, too!” But then I saw a glimmer of hope shining through my funk of apathy for the genre: Kurt Busiek.

Dracula: The Company of Monsters, written by Busiek (Avengers, Astro City) and Daryl Gregory (Pandemonium) and illustrated by Scott Godlewski (Codebreakers), tells the story of Evan Barrington-Cabot, a research and development guy at a corporation that’s fallen on hard times. His boss (and uncle), Conrad, has a three-point plan to save the company:

  1. Resurrect Dracula
  2. ????
  3. Profit

Pffft. Yeah, no way that can go awry.

It’s refreshing to have a vampire book that’s actually doing something (gasp!) original. It’ll be interesting to see why anybody would ever actually want to resurrect Dracula rather than, you know, do something sane. What’s he gonna do, sic him on his competition? Wait. Oh, shit. Now that I said that, that’s awesome. I hope that’s where this book is going.

Anywho, here’s the first 12 pages of the first issue! That’s, like, half the book for free!

I’ve always been a bit curious about foreign comics. Aside from a few old Astérix comics I’ve flipped through, I’m pretty much in the dark about any comics from the non-English speaking world. Meanwhile, over in France, Delcourt Productions has been reprinting translated versions of a bunch of American and Japanese comics including Invincible, The Goon, and BECK. Well, it looks like BOOM! is out to return the favor, starting with a 2007 comic originally printed by Delcourt, 7 Psychopaths.

7 Psychopaths written by Fabien Vehlmann (Spirou, Green Manor) and brilliantly illustrated by Sean Phillips (Criminal, Marvel Zombies) tells the tale of seven people with varying mental disabilities on a mission to hopefully end World War II by parachuting into Germany and assassinating Hitler. Yeah, something tells me that’s the kind of thing that’s easier said than done.

If this sounds like something you’d be into, check out the first seven pages below.

Oh, by the way, BOOM. If you want to keep releasing English translations of foreign comic books, I certainly won’t complain (especially if some Gil Jourdan comics start popping up).

Christmas came early this year! This morning, I woke up to a five page preview of BOOM! Studios‘ upcoming Darkwing Duck title. I’ve been a little nervous ever since the miniseries was announced because this thing has the potential to completely ruin my childhood. I needn’t have worried. Darkwing is safe under the stewardship of writer Ian Brill and artist James Silvani. Brill’s Darkwing effortlessly blends irreverence with cantankerousness, Launchpad is an idiot, and Megavolt shows up with a stupid, stupid, scheme.  Disney Afternoon enthusiasts will get a kick out of seeing Darkwing back in action,  people who hate happiness won’t be interested.

Check it out!

The soaring popularity of Alan Moore‘s League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Vertigo’s Fables has inspired a slew of seeming copycats, enough that at this point the meta-literary comic could be given its own sub-genre. This month, IDW offers up Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery’s Kill Shakespeare, a story that “pits Shakespeare’s greatest heroes against his greatest villains.”

The greatest challenge of a meta-literary comic is to integrate its source material without alienating readers unfamiliar with it. Thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio, everyone and their mother knows the basic plot of Romeo & Juliet. Kids who went to public school might recall Hamlet and Macbeth, but believe it or not there are perfectly intelligent people who’ve never actually read a single work of Shakespeare. (Because modern society is hopelessly pedestrian and the public education system is broken I tell you, BROKEN! Ahem.) Kill Shakespeare #1 clears the source material hurdle handily, making itself accessible to readers who don’t exactly know their Shakespeare. The plot more than holds up without having read Hamlet or Richard III, though of course a working knowledge of Shakespeare makes reading Kill Shakespeare a delightful exercise in Brit-Lit geekery. (Lady Macbeth as an evil villain? Yes, please!)

Kill Shakespeare‘s action sequences are, well, action-packed. While Hamlet and pals (yes, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern) are sailing to England, their ship is overrun with pirates, resulting in a six page battle rendered larger-than-life by artist Andy B. My 14 year old brother could easily be tricked into reading this book, believing it was nothing more than a totally sweet comic about pirates, ghosts and kings. (You know, if the title didn’t make it clear that it’s all derived from Shakespeare, which is like, you know, smart stuff.)

Perhaps Kill Shakespeare‘s strongest selling point is how well the book captures the epic scope of Shakespeare’s works, binding them into a merged universe. These stories aren’t just pretty poetry, even his comedies are dirty, grimy, gritty, bloody, dramatic, and to be honest they lend themselves so much to a comic book meta-universe aesthetic that I can’t believe no one’s tried it before.

You could give Kill Shakespeare to your pre-teen kids, thus tricking them into reading Shakespeare of their own accord. In fact, if I were a high school English teacher I’d be ordering Kill Shakespeare in bulk.

Fun book. I read it drinking coffee because it was the MORNING and I’m not a total alcoholic. (Geez guys). But if it’s 3pm or later, get your paws on some homemade honey mead and check out Kill Shakespeare #1, in stores April 14.


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