Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

Nicholas Diak, Fanbase Press Contributor

Fanbase Press' coverage of the 2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards continues with the "Countdown to the Eisners" series. From Wednesday, May 29, through Wednesday, July 10, 2019, Fanbase Press will highlight each of the Eisner Awards' 31 nomination categories, providing comic book industry members and readers alike the opportunity to learn more about the nominees and their work. Stay tuned for Fanbase Press' continued coverage of the Eisner Awards, including live coverage of the ceremony at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, July 19.

Sabbath is the newest novel from Nick Mamatas (I Am Providence, The People’s Republic of Everything, Bullettime) slated to be released this November from Tor Books. The story is about Hexen Sabbath, an English warrior from the 11th century, who is killed during the Battle of Assandun but is propelled by the celestial being Abathar to Manhattan in 2016. His task is to behead each of the personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins within seven days in order to stop the end of the world. During his divine mission, Sabbath encounters Jennifer, an art dealer, who becomes his source of common sense and guidance in the strange, new world. With sword in hand, Sabbath sets off in the metropolis, clashing with each Deadly Sin and their minions. It’s a story that evokes the best of The Terminator, Highlander, and even Army of Darkness.

When it comes to the sword and planet genre, Edgar Rice Burroughs was certainly the genre progenitor with his Barsoom series of books starring John Carter. Maybe not as renowned as the Barsoom books, but just as beloved, is Burroughs’ other sword and planet line, the Venus series with Carson Napier. This series of books imagines Venus (long before the Soviet Venera probes exposed the planet as a hot, harsh, and unforgiving place) as a oceanic planet, much like Earth. While the Venus series of books concluded decades ago, Napier’s adventures continue in other media, with American Mythology’s comic series, Carson of Venus: The Flames Beyond being the newest story arc.

Time Corps is a time-traveling comic book series concerning the titular Time Corps: a ragtag group of individuals plucked from various moments of time right before they were supposed to die but now are assembled under the unifying cause of keeping history unchanged by other forces. The particular group focused on in Time Corps is the crew stationed in Venice Beach in what appears to be the present period and includes Gaius Equitus Brutus (Roman centurion who adds a neo-peplum element to the story), Smoke Jaguar (a Mayan ball player), Garabaldi Dilvorno (Prohibition-era gigolo), and Paulina Popova (Russian spy during Czarist Russia). 

Issue twelve of Time Corps focuses on the behind-the-scenes bureaucracy, red tape, and grabs for power occurring at the Celestial Bureaucracy, the overseeing organization of the Time Corps. The Inspector General and Grunfeld are at odds with each other, each running clandestine operations in conflict in the year 2657. Meanwhile, the famous Mata Hari, during a respite in an amorous encounter, is sucked out of a spaceship and into the offices of Celestial Bureaucracy. In the distant future of 3114, a technophile named Mallory takes umbrage to the dealings of the Time Corps and begins assembling her own time machine to stymie them.

Every year for the past six years, various folks that are part of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. host a panel at WonderCon to discuss recent and future activities with the different Edgar Rice Burroughs properties. For 2019, the panel was moderated by Scott Tracy Griffin (author, Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration) and included Jim Sullos (president, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.), Christopher Paul Carey (author, Swords Against the Moon Men), Thomas Yeates (Tarzan comics artist), and Robert de Young (filmmaker, Tarzan Revisited) talking about their different projects, new projects from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and even spotlighting projects done by other companies.

From March to July of 2018, Dark Horse Comics published the five-issue miniseries of Frank Miller’s neo-peplum comic, Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and The Rise of Alexander. Xerxes was a continuation of Miller’s prior sword and sandal epic, 300, which became a pop culture juggernaut in the mid-2000s when it was adapted into a film by Zack Snyder. Dark Horse has now collected all the issues of Xerxes and published them in a handsome hardcover collection.

The Lupanarium: Book 1 of the Many Trials of Matt-Lin and Jak is a pornographic, neo-peplum novella written by the anonymous Adele Leigh. The novella continues the dialogue of exploring sexual debauchery of Rome of antiquity as allegory for other issues, a path explored by predecessor works such as Tinto Brass’ Caligula, the Spartacus series on Starz, and even the Czechsploitation films from Lloyd Simandl’s Boundheat Films (Slave Tears of Rome, Caligula’s Spawn, etc.).

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the eleventh entry in Ubisoft’s popular Assassin’s Creed franchise, following the release of last year’s Assassin’s Creed Origins. While the series has flirted with the historic epic genre since its incarnation, having settings during the French Revolution, the Third Crusades, and even during the Age of Piracy, Odyssey is the first title to embrace the sword and sandal genre, specifically drawing influence from contemporary neo-peplum films such as Gladiator and 300.

As Halloween is fast approaching, the Fanbase Press staff and contributors decided that there was no better way to celebrate this horrifically haunting holiday than by sharing our favorite scary stories! Be they movies, TV shows, video games, novels, or any other form of entertainment, members of the Fanbase Press crew will be sharing their “scariest” stories each day leading up to Halloween. We hope that you will enjoy this sneak peek into the terrors that frighten Fanbase Press!

“Fundamental Comics,” is 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 examines 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.

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