In honor of the newest Alien film, Alien: Covenant (read Keri’s review here), this reporter has decided to take a closer look at some of the franchise’s other pursuits, primarily comic books because comic books are rad. The Alien comic-verse has been helmed for close to 30 years by Dark Horse Comics and has become one of the longest movie/comic tie-ins in comic history. One of the earliest successes was a work titled Aliens: Salvation, penned by Dave Gibbons and illustrated by a young Mike Mignola in 1993. A gritty, maddening tale of the last survivor of an Alien attack, the comic marks the beginning of Mignola’s career into horror, preceding Hellboy by only a few months. Though initially doomed to die in obscurity, Salvation was re-released in a fancy, hardcover graphic novel in 2015 and has made its way into my grubby mitts.
I know what you’re thinking: how often am I going to talk about Adventure Time? It’s like I think it’s the best kids show to have come out in the past 20 years and that I’m absolutely heartbroken that it’s coming to an end and holy crap, have you seen the new episodes!? The answer is a lot, so get used to it. Way back a few months ago, I reviewed the initial issue of Adventure Time Comics (not to be confused with Adventure Time which is a similar but separate series that is currently on issue #64), and absolutely fell in love with it. Each issue features a collection of short, grayble-style work handled by different artists and basically just added cute little stories to the very expansive universe. Now at issue #10, the work is just as fun and easily digestible as the first time around and has even opened up its artistic borders to allow for more individual takes on the Adventure Time gang, creating a wholly original work that’s still tethered to the quirkiness of the original source.
After three attempts at bringing IDW’s Locke and Key to both the big screen and the small screen, fans might finally see their favorite supernatural mystery in a live-action adaption. The series is getting some headway with what I’ve been told is a promising script written by the comic co-creator, Joe Hill, and has garnered the interest of Dr. Strange director Scott Derrickson, who is set to direct the pilot episode. The adaptation has officially been picked up by Hulu, who have ordered the pilot episode, and, depending on reception, will order an entire first season.
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.