Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Contributor

It was a drizzling Saturday morning as I joined the line standing the length of Dave & Buster's at The Outlets of Orange on January 23rd. While the weather may have been uncooperative, it was, however, an auspicious start marking my first comic book convention of 2016. Organized by local comic book store Phat Collectibles and Toys, it was my third time attending this annual free one-day event.

Victorie City is a new, four-issue comic book series from the collaborative partnership of IDW and 44Flood. Filmmaker turned writer Keith Carmack and member of 44Flood has written a dark noir psychological crime thriller of a good cop investigating a missing girl case while navigating the precarious waters of a saturated corrupt police force. On the flip side, readers also see inside the mind of an intelligent and articulate serial killer. Carmack is joined by artist Vincent Nappi (who also completed the subscription cover), letterer/designer Jessi Adrignola, and editor Carlos Guzman. The regular cover, a fantastic wrap-around brilliantly capturing the dark, gritty tone of the story, was created by guest cover artist and one of the founding members of 44Flood, Ben Templesmith.

Historically challenged “dimension-hopping ambassadors of rock” Bill S. Preston, Esquire, and Ted “Theodore” Logan, hailing all the way from sunny San Dimas, California, are back! BOOM! Studios has just released a huge hardbound edition of Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book Archive which collects between its covers the single 72-page issue of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) and the Eisner Award-nominated, 11-issue comic book series Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book (1991-1992), both published by Marvel Comics. Remastered and in full, bright color that any '80s enthusiast would call bodacious, this release features both comic book titles plus a foreword and timeline from Evan Dorkin who wrote the screenplay adaptation and script, as well completing the pencils. In addition, there are several behind-the-scenes artist galleries, as well as the original letters' column. The dudes got the royal treatment with this release, and it was a “most triumphant” blast from the past.

Jonathan Maberry is back as editor and co-author of V-Wars: Night Terrors (IDW), the third installment of vampire and werewolf stories that began with V-Wars: A Chronicle of the Vampire Wars in 2013. In the original volume, Maberry commenced with the premise that a dormant bacteria was unleashed with global ramifications. And, as with the first and second volumes, Maberry is joined again by leading authors of horror and science fiction, creating an ongoing and ever-expanding tapestry of stories about the Beats (humans) and Bloods (vampires). 

Battlecats is a new digital comic book series from Mark London and Carl Bevan, founders of Mad Cave Studios. This series follows the tale of a squad of warrior cats whose king requests they find and bring back the head of the kingdom's archenemy. London wrote the script with Bevan heading up creative direction. From their studio, Andy King completed illustrations/pencils and Michael Camelo completed colors/lettering. Colorist Alejandro Giraldo and graphic/cover designer Miguel Angel Zapata rounded out the creative team.

BOOM! Studios knows how to start the new year off with a BANG! Out this week in local comic book stores is the new, four-issue series, The Last Contract, about a geriatric hitman who is forced out of retirement when a mysterious person threatens to go public with a list on contracted hits. Writer Ed Brisson and artist Lisandro Estherren created the story with Niko Guardia on colors and Brisson completing the lettering. Artist Vanesa R. Del Rey was tapped for an incentive cover which resonates the comic's dark themes.

This month Dark Horse Comics is releasing the Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians trade paperback, which collects the four-part comic book series published last summer by artist Ricardo Delgado with Ryan Hill as the color artist. This is the fourth installment of the Age of Reptiles series that commenced with Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare (1993) and was followed up by the Eisner Award-winning Age of Reptiles: The Hunt (1997) and Age of Reptiles: The Journey (2003). In this installment, a spinosaurus, one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs to have lived, is the featured protagonist.

To be honest, information literary does not scream excitement for most people. It's a dry topic and will likely give sleep-deprived students the opportunity to catch a quick nap during the professor's lecture on this subject.  For students and researchers who missed that discussion or are looking for a refresher course, then Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research (2015, University of Chicago Press), co-written by Matt Upson, C. Michael Hall, and Kevin Cannon, might just be what the professor ordered.

Los Angeles-based independent publisher Diablo Comics published The Unwanted, a graphic novel in which a secluded re-education detention center for troubled youth becomes the battleground between an ancient demon and a handful of teenage kids and teachers. Scott "Diablo" Marcano and Mark Michaels co-created and wrote this contemporary tale with artist Juan Romera completing the illustrations and Jason Arthur on lettering.

Sagas of the Northmen is a visual anthology comprising of seven standalone tales of Norse men and women during the time of Vikings. Edited by Sean Fahey, this graphic novel is from independent publisher Black Jack Press and is the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this autumn. Black Jack Press is known for Westerns, such as their comic book series, Tall Tales from the Badlands. Lettering and production design for this Viking-inspired collection was completed by Kel Nuttall.

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