Michele Brittany

Michele Brittany

I'm biased: I thoroughly enjoy ghost stories, so I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review Nancy Hernandez and The Black Widows, published by Los Angeles-based independent publisher Diablo Comics. Scott “Diablo” Marcano and Jaime Zevallos co-wrote a story about a vengeful spirit of an honor student who seeks out her killers – a middle school gang of vicious girls – and one by one exacts unique methods of revenge that match their nicknames. Juan Romera illustrated this tale that is based on a true haunting.

Heretic #1 is a relaunch title from Off Shoot Comics, an independent publisher founded by Walter Bryant and David Clarke. Originally created in 2011, this year, the series has been illustrated by artist Johnny Flores (El Toxico), with co-founder David Clarke penning the story. The first issue is currently available, and the follow-up issue will be available at WonderCon 2016 next March.

Hum is a graphic novel from Diablo Comics, an independent publisher based in Los Angeles specializing in horror, science fiction, and fantasy stories. Founded in 2005 by Scott “Diablo” Marcano who wrote Bio-Dome, Marcano shared writing duties with Tom Lenoci for this 2008 story. This beefy, 250-page graphic novel, available at Amazon, was illustrated by Renzo Podestra. This review focuses on the first issue, or approximately the first 40 pages.

As a Judge Dredd fan, this is an exciting week! IDW's Judge Dredd: Mega City Zero: Part One #1 titled “Terms of Service” marks a new beginning for our strong-chinned, perpetually frowning masked cop. It was nearly forty years ago when writer John Wagner formed the idea of a futuristic cop and was visually realized by legendary artist Carlos Ezquerra. Over the intervening years, the gravelly voiced “I am the Law” cop has experienced all manners of adversity – earthly and heavenly. With that much material, it can be an intimidating task to know where to enter the IP, and series editor Denton J. Tipon explains in “Dreddlines” at the back of the issue that Mega-City Zero gives longtime fans a new story while offering an opportunity for new readers to have a place to jump in and develop an appreciation for Dredd and Mega-City.

It was sometime after the announcement from CD Projekt RED that they were developing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings game in 2009 that I learned that the game was based on stories written by a Polish economist, Andrzej Sapkowski. I went hunting for the novels since I was curious about this new character named Geralt of Rivia, a mutant hunter earning coin by killing monsters as he traveled the world. What made Geralt so appealing as a protagonist was his ethical stance in spite of his detached nature towards others.

I was not familiar with The Private Eye nor did I remember seeing single issues in my local comic book shop prior to the release of the “Cloudburst” edition from Image Comics last week. Then, while reading the supplements in the back of this deluxe hardcover release, I discovered that this ten-part science-fiction/mystery series had been published online at PanelSyndicate.com, where the creators offered their comics directly to their readers in DRM-free formats. In turn, readers could pay what they could afford, or even nothing. The Private Eye received critical acclaim and was recognized with an Eisner Award this past summer in the category of Best Digital/Web Comic – honors that are well-earned and deserved.

In 1981, John Carpenter's Escape from New York introduced filmgoers to anti-hero Snake Plissken, the one-eyed former Special Forces soldier turned criminal. Cynical and hypocritical of the government, he's a bad boy - a survivor at any cost with humor as sharp as a switchblade. Plissken has made periodic returns to the public eye via the silver screen in the 1996 Escape from L.A., but his story has been featured in comic book form with The Adventures of Snake Plissken (1997 one-shot from Marvel Comics) and John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles (2003 four-part series from CrossGen and Hurricane Entertainment). This month, BOOM! Studios released Escape From New York Volume 1: Escape from Florida, written by Christopher Sebela, with art by Diego Barreto, colors by Marissa Louise, letters by Ed Dukeshire, and cover art by Tim Bradstreet. The first volume collects issues one through four - the rebellious bad boy is back!

Located in close proximity of the London docks, the district of Whitechapel drew immigrants from afar, looking for a better life from the lives they left behind. From 1888 to 1891, a cluster of brutal murders took place in the area by a shadowy figure referred to as the “Whitechapel Murderer” and “Leather Apron” at that time, but who is more commonly known as “Jack the Ripper.” Of the eleven murders, five are canonical to Jack and brought world attention to the district that was already rife with unsanitary living conditions and extreme poverty. Speculation as to the identity of Jack has alluded authorities and ripperologists since 1888, and, as such, Jack has become the subject of speculative and alternate fiction.

Out on comic book shelves this past week was the first issue of Black Jack Ketchum from Image Comics. From artist Jeremy Saliba comes an engaging cover of a tall, thin man wearing a young Lee Van Cleef Jr. expression from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with a teenage Annie Oakley type by his side, standing defiant in the middle of a deserted main street right out of the Old West. I was drawn to this series for the weird western aspects after reading the brief synopsis for this four-issue series.

When Archaia merged with BOOM! Studios, I was concerned that the quality of the publications released by the independent publisher would suffer; however, the partnership has consistently continued to impress me, especially where it concerns The Jim Henson Company stories. Dragons is the second group of stories from Jim Henson's The Storyteller series. Like The Storyteller: Witches mini-series, the Dragons series will feature a story based on a central theme, written and illustrated by a variety of writers and artists in the industry.

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