Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

Orphan and Dymphna are back in this latest one-shot story titled Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In that releases this week in local comic book shops around the country.  The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book series that began with “Stray” in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings (2003) and then in 2009, given its first four-issue story arc treatment. The world of talking dogs and cats that investigate paranormal occurrences in their community of Burden Hill was created by Evan Dorkin, illustrated by Jill Thompson, and lettered by Jason Arthur. Over the years, Dorkin has often been joined by Sarah Dyer for shared script duties.

*Be sure to find out how to win your own copy of The Jack Reacher Field Guide: An Unofficial Companion to Lee Childs Reacher Novels below the review!

Like many filmgoers, I was introduced to the character Jack Reacher in late 2012 when I saw Jack Reacher staring Tom Cruise. Not a consistent reader of the thriller genre, I was, however, aware of Lee Child's name, because I would regularly see at least one (or more) of his books prominently displayed on the bestseller shelf at the local bookstore and his paperbacks in the local grocery store on the magazine rack. I took from the movie that Reacher was enigmatic, intense, and deadly; I wanted to know more! Thanks to Smart Pop and BenBella Books, they have just released George Beahm's The Jack Reacher Field Guide: An Unofficial Companion to Lee Child's Reacher Novels.

Protests to block an environmental waste dump and strange, unexplained deaths plague small town America in The Pilfered, a digital comics book series from Level 21 Boss Publishing available in an iOS app. Created by Alan I. Djivré and developed by Philippe Blaise, the four-issue mini-series blends the typical anatomy of a comic book – panels, speech balloons, captions, and such – with elements of motion and music by utilizing DAZ Studio and Photoshop software. Three years in the making, the result is an engaging and dual-sensory reading experience.

Early cinema fair often turned to literature for inspiration and source material. The space horror genre is no different; its roots can be traced back to early 20th century science fiction writers such as H.G. Wells (The War of the Worlds, 1898) and Robert Potter (The Germ Growers, 1892), featuring alien invasion storylines. As films grew in popularity, filmmakers were looking past the reality shorts that defined the medium, realizing that this new format could be used to tell stories that entertained.

Be it pin-ups, Steampunk, or channelling Alphonse Mucha's art nouveau style, Aly Fell's art is versatile and breathtakingly beautiful. It comes as no surprise that the Elizabethan era clothing of doublets, collars, flowing cloaks, ruffles, and flourishes have been expertly illustrated by Fell in his first comic book series, The Shadow Glass in which he also created the cover and wrote the story. The second issue (of six) is out this week from Dark Horse. 

It was almost thirty years ago that comic book readers were first introduced to an icy Earth environment, a man named Scully, and his companion Rah-Rah the badger in Winterworld, a post-apocalyptic tale penned by comic book writer Chuck Dixon and illustrated by Jorge Zaffino. A follow-up story arc was unrealized and, eventually, the series went out of print. Fortunately, IDW released the original story as well as the sequel a handful of years ago which has led to the series' rejuvenation. Winterworld: Better Angels, Colder Hearts is the latest IDW title that includes four Dixon tales that were originally published as Winterworld #0-7 and Winterworld: Frozen Fleet #1-3.

IDW has released a brand new trade paperback that collects three individual comic book stories into Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Omnibus. “Forgotten Realms” was written by Ed Greenwood and illustrated by Lee Ferguson, while “Cutter” and “Drizzt” were written by R.A. Salvatore and Geno Salvatore and featured the art of David Baldeon and Agustin Padilla, respectively. Each story includes their original covers in this edition.

Beneath a broken canopy of threatening rain clouds and rays of sunlight, square white tent peaks dotted the manicured green lawns of the urban campus, and it felt like the opening of a sweeping English novel as the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books got underway Saturday morning, April 9. Held at the University of Southern California campus, this cultural zeitgeist is touted as the largest of its kind in the U.S, annually attracting 150,000 visitors over the two-day event. In addition, on Saturday evening, the event hosted the 36th Annual Book Prizes with honors going to novelist James Patterson, among others.

Assassin's Creed is a licensed property that gained in popularity back in 2007 with the release of the video game by the same name and available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The novelizations, written by Oliver Bowden, followed in 2009; the eighth book in the series was released last November. And, later this year, fans will be treated to an action/adventure film which will expand the existing universe. Templars is the second ongoing comic book series offered by Titan Comics. Written by Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies, Iron Man), the first story arc is set in 1927 and features a mysterious Templar going by the name Black Cross. Rounding out the creative team of the first five issues are artist Dennis Calero (Cowboys & Aliens, X-Men Noir) who illustrates and colors the interiors as well as creates two alternate covers and Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt and Richard Starkings on lettering.

Published by Level 21 Boss Publishing, The Pilfered is a digital comic book series three years in the making. The four-issue mini series is only available as an app on iOS devices and features “motion FX, cinematic music, dynamic transitions” according to the comic website. The comic was created by Alan I. Djivré and developed by Philippe Blais. Djivré, posting under the moniker “MonkeyTalks” on a DAZ forum, explained his process, “I used the DAZ renders with a toon shader and then imported it to [P]hotoshop and worked on it a lot until I got the style I was looking for.” The resulting product presents an engaging, unique reading experience.

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