“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level. Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or less-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.
“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level. Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or less-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.
Transmissions is a new, four-issue series published by UK-based publisher TPub. Writer/letterer Jed McPherson (Jacob, Deadbeat) heads up the creative team and is joined by artist Marco Perugini (Samuel Stern, Heavy Metal), colorist Shannon Bennion (If We Shadows), and editor Neil Gibson (Twisted Dark) who is also the founder/CEO of TPUb.
B.A.E. Wulf: The Shadow Over Innsmarch is a new, long-form comic book that will release on March 2 from independent publisher Markosia Publishing. A mashup of an Old English epic poem about the hero Beowulf and H.P. Lovecraft stories, this is a modern-day tale about a disgraced journalist who - while investigating a series of crimes - learns that an island has been the locale for mysterious (occult) deaths. The journalist seeks answers in an old journal of a townsperson from a hundred years prior and finds that the events recorded decades earlier are eerily otherworldly and similar to what she witnesses during her investigation.
Last summer at San Diego Comic-Con International, I met artist Don Aguillo while he was signing copies of The Sequels written by Norm Harper (Rikki) and published by Fanbase Press. At the time, Don shared some pages from his portfolio which gave me an inkling to his incredible skill as an artist. So, I jumped at the opportunity to review the first five issues of his series, Rise, published by Scout Comics.
In his introduction, writer/translator Zack Davisson discusses the accidental beginnings of the feline character, Michael, who appeared in a How to Draw Manga instructional guide by Makoto Kobayashi in 1982. The cute feline was a departure for Kobayashi who had been writing/illustrating sports-oriented stories targeting young boys. His editor knew that Michael was special and, as a result, the What’s Michael? series was born.
In 2018, comic book readers were introduced to a squad of feline warriors in a new series titled Battlecats from the Miami-based independent comic book publisher Mad Cave Studios. The medieval fantasy epic story was continued in a second story arc last year, and, this week, the first issue of Battlecats: Tales of Valderia takes readers back to the beginning, to the reign of King Eramad I. Scheduled for four issues, these prequel stories will be written and illustrated by a variety of creators who will help shape the world of Valderia.
Wardens of Eternity is a new Young Adult novel by Courtney Moulton that released this week from HarperCollins. Moulton is an author of fantasy novels beginning with Angelfire in 2011 and followed up with three sequels.
In the past, my interaction with comics had been limited. As a child, I read Casper and Richie Rich for a brief period of time to overcome reading challenges I was experiencing, but, once my reading improved, I was off reading books, and comics became a distant memory rather than an integral part of childhood experience; however, working with comics over the past handful of years, I came to the realization that as a (film) historian, it had become my passion to better understand the intricacies of this visual medium, its history, and its impact on popular culture. Why? Because I wanted to engage with sequential art as a more informed and well-read individual.
Stan Lee worked in the comic book industry since the late 1930s and was integral to the evolution of Marvel Comics and the “Marvel Style.” For seventy years, he was a writer and editor who co-created the Mighty Marvel Universe, including fan favorites Spider-Man, The Avengers, and the Incredible Hulk. Lee worked with many rising stars and established creators over the decades, endowing him with invaluable knowledge about the industry. As a veteran and legend, Lee shared his experience in a series of books that includes Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics, Stan Lee’s How to Write Comics, and Stan Lee’s How to Draw Superheroes. And, last month, the fourth book of the series, Stan Lee’s Master Class, was released by Watson-Guptill (Penguin Random House).