There’s something about a good comic fantasy that really speaks to me. The high octane adventure, the bizarre creatures, the musclebound heroes, the world creation; the list goes on and on. With almost unlimited freedom to create and play within a world of the creator’s imagination, rules need not apply when it comes to magic and mayhem. Rose #1, named after its red-headed lead character, brings both of those elements head on in a land ravaged by an evil queen and the one person destined to stop her. Following in the footsteps of such comic greats as Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, and Berserk, Rose doesn’t stray too far from the tried-and-true formula, but what it does with it is pretty damn fun.
For those who are enamoured with the high octane fantasy of Conan but wish there were a few more sassy talking clouds, Adventure Time has filled that gap perfectly. Despite the animated TV series announcing an official end in 2018, there are plenty of adventures still left, and the creators have recently announced a new mini-series entitled Elements which comes with its own unique opening song.
The Golden Age of comic horror illustration (i.e. 1950s-70s) has just recently lost another monster of the pen, Bernie Wrightson, at the age of 68. Most famously known for creating Swamp Thing with writer Len Wein, his career just passed the fifty year mark and includes work for comics, books, magazines, and newspapers. He has worked for both Marvel and DC including a solid line-up with most major companies of the present and past. While his death may mark the passing of a man, his iconic artwork will remember him as a creator and an artist.
There was a time in the history of comics when things went truly shit-bang; a Wild West of comics, if you will, and that time was called the late 90s to early 2000s. Marvel had filed for bankruptcy and was selling off movie rights to whoever would toss them a dime, DC’s market comic value dropped to pennies after it turned out that creating new imprints to flood the market with #1s of new characters was NOT a viable investment, and everyone else either went out of business or started expanding into other endeavors. Image Comics, not one to stagnate or call it quits, did just that and started releasing waves of toys under the Todd McFarlane line and leaving the comic end to fend for itself. It also helped that they were one of the first companies to allow comic creators to own the rights to their creation, something that was very unheard of at the time.
Once again, legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki has come out of retirement to direct a yet-to-be titled film. Miyazaki is an internationally renowned anime artist and director who has released such critically acclaimed works as Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro (among others), and it looks like he’s not done yet. Originally announcing his retirement in 2013 following the release of The Wind Rises, during this year’s Oscars pre-show, it has been confirmed that he will be returning to his animation studio, Studio Ghibli, to work on a full length feature to be released in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Though there has been no confirmation about what the movie is, many speculate it is a film version of the Ghibli short Boro the Catpiller, which he spoke about in a TV documentary about his life that aired in Japan on November 2016.
Immortality is something that has long been sought for but never achieved (supposedly). The Fountain of Youth, eating a mermaid, a vampires bite, there are many ways to not die, but what would you do with all that time? Finally take up knitting? For the four soldiers of The Old Guard, it’s doing what they do best, fighting for the highest bidder. Written by Eisner winner Greg Rucka, The Old Guard has him step away from his usual superhero fan-fare and allows him to come back to his first passion, original comic work with longtime collaborator, Leandro Fernandez. While I don’t usually use the words ‘action-packed’ and ‘a mile-a-minute thrills,’ this work has a cinematic quality to it rarely seen in the graphic world. A tight read that never lingers, The Old Guard is a solid baseline from the finickiest of comic readers to full blown addicts.
It’s ‘classic horror comics meets classic horror writer’ madness in the latest continuation of everyone’s favorite swamp monster, Man-Thing! RL Stine, the mastermind behind such hits as Goosebumps and Fear Street, has teamed up with Marvel to release a new story titled simply, Man-Thing. The comic will be starting from the Man-Thing’s origin story, that is, with scientist Ted Sallis who in an attempt to recreate the super solider serum, accidently turns himself into Deadpool. Kidding! He actually turns himself into Man-Thing when he tries to save himself and his formula by injecting the serum straight into his veins. Now a lumbering creature of the night, Man-Thing spreads his unique form of eco-justice through a fear toxin that pours through his vines.
Death and the Wild West go together like chocolate and peanut butter or Australians and vegemite. From the harsh weather and even harsher land to forced labor and just-plain villainy, it’s no wonder that the horizon of US expansion is littered with the bodies of the dead. But from all the bad, something good always comes and in this case, it’s a rich history of legacy, traditions, and wild gods that still shake the earth something fierce. In BOOM! Studios newest release, Death be Damned, we see how far one man goes to find his wild gods and the length one woman goes for retribution. A retelling of the classic revenge story, the comic attempts to take a peek behind the veil in the bloody west but drops short of a truly distinctive experience. That’s not to say there aren’t good things about it.
What can be said about Back to the Future that hasn’t been said for the past thirty years? Yes, it’s a great family favorite that has surpassed its life expectancy and is still as entertaining today as it was thirty years ago and yes, we still love the sequels! Did we get our hoverboards and holographic Michael Jacksons as promised in the BttF sequel? Well, sort of. But you know what we didn’t get that I’m sure all franchise fans have been hankering for? An answer to how in the world big bully Biff became such a world-dominating powerhouse just by betting on a few horses. Wait, you never wondered, you just assumed there was thirty years of alternate plotline between 1955 and 1985 that just wasn’t important enough to get its own movie? Why am I asking so many hypothetical questions instead of getting to the damn point? Because life is chaos and nothing matters! But also, thanks to IDW Comics, there is an answer to what Biff has been up to in those three decades and it’s a whole lot of no good. A fun romp into the backwoods of the main storyline, readers can finally have a main character they don’t want to root for yet still can’t help but want to see succeed.
Japan is filled with strange and creepy creatures and I’m not just talking about the sleep-deprived salary men floating through the streets of Tokyo like underpaid zombies. Deeply rooted in its own culture, Japan has a rich history of ghosts and ghouls that go hundreds of years back and even today, the country has managed to keep the tradition going with its urban legends. One such legend is Kuchisake Onna: The Slit Mouthed Woman. A beautiful woman who sports a stylish Glasgow smile, she is rumored to approach unsuspecting victims and slit them from ear to ear. Her success has led to appearances in movies, manga, and anime, but what is Kuchisake’s real story? Did she ever really exist or was she a fever dream of a million over-worked students?