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ADC Comic of the Day: AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE

27 Mar

by Orion Tippens

photoWriter: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Artists: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli
Publisher: Archie Comics Publications
Start release: 2013 – ongoing
Frequency: monthly, ongoing

Synopsis:

Jughead is hungry…for human flesh?!

Yes. Afterlife with Archie is set in an alternate, less cartoonish continuity of popular Archie comics, where the small town of Riverdale is overrun with a horrific zombie epidemic; after local teenage witch Sabrina casts a necromancy spell in an attempt to revive Jughead’s dog, with unintended consequences. Living death spreads throughout Riverdale, sending America’s favorite teenager, Archie, and his non-infected friends fleeing for their lives. Their youthful life of milkshakes and sock hops is now a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

photo 1Thoughts:

Who would have thought that Archie Comics could be a source for modern horror, suspense, and drama? Yet here we are – and the result is terrifying, brilliant, and fun.

As a fan of horror and comics, I was hooked from the opening page. Not so much for the tired gimmick of zombies; but the attention to what makes the best of this sub-genre wonderful: the stage environment and the players present. We have suspense and supernatural horror mixed with casual social commentary. When done well, any overplayed genre can be made fresh and enjoyable.

Plus, I love the biting and screaming.

photo 2The Continue reading

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Comic of the Day REVIEW: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1

10 Mar

(Another winning write-up by Orion, folks! Do the Doctor Who comics live up to the TV show’s greatness? Does the story’s young-female Doctor Companion function as a Mary Sue for a middle-aged British writer? Are comics readers and DW fans ALL Special Snowflakes? Read on, and find out…)

by Orion Tippens

photo 1ADC Comic of the Day: Doctor Who Special 2013 #1

Writer: Paul Cornell

Pencils: Johnny Broxton

Published by: IDW Publishing

Released: Dec. 2013

Notes: One-shot, self-contained story

STORY:

The Doctor meets…Doctor Who?!

After a mishap send the TARDIS astray, our favorite Time Lord stumbles upon a world most familiar to us readers.

photo 3This is our real world, or as the Doctor puts it; a world of “anti-fiction,” “non-fiction,” and “un-fiction.” Here, all of the exciting moments in the Doctor’s life are passed off through stories, through a fictional TV show called “Doctor Who” staged with special effects. “Doctor Who” is well-received by its huge fandom base, very popular at geek conventions, and a growing oncoming merchandising storm.

The Doctor is Continue reading

Comic of the Day: Shifter

24 Feb

Comics of the Day Review:

photo 2Shifter: Interactive Graphic Novel (for mobile devices, IOS version)

by Orion Tippens

Writer: Brian Haberlin and Brian Holguin

Pencils: Brian Haberlin, Geirrod VanDyke, Kunrons Yap, Chan Hyuk Lee

Letter: Francis Takenaga

Published by: Anomoly Productions

Date released: Jan 23, 2014

Pages: 875 panels of art, appendix text (book is 224 pages)

Rated: 12+

Notes: Also in print as a graphic novel with augmented reality options.

The UAR app for Shifter is a separate app and not a subject for this review. The app reviewed is currently the iOS version (Version 1.0) read on my iPad 2

The following review contains mild spoilers, and focuses on the story and app viewing technology.

photo 1Story:

Shifter is set on an ultra-modern-day planet Earth (after a mysterious prologue, that occurs six months later): we meet Noah Freeman, an everyman centered on his job of drone-controlled environmental data collection. All seems well with his secure job and upcoming engagement, until a casual hiking trip goes very wrong; Noah is thrown down a waterfall by a duo of sinister mystery men, and survives only to stumble upon a portal leading into some strange, other-dimensional plane of existence.

Here, Noah finds himself conversing with a sentient, spherical device. With that, he discovers a power within his surroundings to travel back to select times and places, but only through a choice of collected creatures and persons. Many specimens are extinct, and are of different sizes and personalities. One is human – a female Celtic warrior – with whom he develops a friendship. As a possessor of each specimen, he also shares its experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Such new explorations are exciting for Noah, but he seeks out a way to revisit to his old life. But he discovers himself wanted for murder – and a grand conspiracy behind it all. Now, he must use these new powers to set his original life right… Continue reading

Comic(s) of the Day: Injustice-Gods Among Us v2 #1-3

17 Feb

by Orion Tippens, ADC

Injustice 4Comics of the Day Review:

Injustice: Gods Among Us volume 2, #1-3 (single digital issues)

Writer: Tom Taylor

Pencils: Bruno Redondo

Inks: Julien Hugonard-Bert

Published by: DC Comics

Note: The single digital issues of Injustice are later collected and released in print.

Story:

Set in an alternate DC universe and based on a videogame (as a prequel, so far), Injustice: Gods Among Us brings us a familiar continuity gone horribly wrong.

Spoilers ahead:

These issues continue a long story from Injustice Gods: Among Us volume 1, in which Superman is now a megalomaniacal psychopath with murderous tendencies, much later after the death of his wife and unborn child. He declares himself sovereign of Earth and drug dealer of special performance enhancers – all for the making of his “better world.” Meanwhile, Batman is recovering from bad injuries, remains in hiding while building his own insurgency to this super-regime. Also, cosmic forces are showing an increasing interest in this developing situation.

Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of this series, my favorite guilty pleasure in mainstream comics: not so much for the videogame tie-in but for the creative writing and freedom involved. The writer from the very beginning took this control, and the destinies of our familiar DC universe cast, and ran away with it all. Injustice is Continue reading

ADC Comic(s) of the Day: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-30

12 Feb

Orion Tippens

All Day Comics

photo 1Comics of the Day Review:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29-30

Writer: Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

Pencils: Kevin Eastman and Ross Campbell

Published by: IDW Publishing

Notes: Current single monthly issues of an ongoing series, a separate re-imagined continuity to the more widely known TV series and movies.

Story:

In the countryside of Northampton, Massachusetts, our Ninja Turtles and their master Splinter find themselves in desperate need of recovery, both physically and emotionally, after a difficult battle with their nemesis the Shredder. Helping them along are their human friends, Casey Jones and April O’Neill – who provides shelter in her parents’ farmhouse.

photo 2The Turtles engage in the simple life, and must bond once again as brothers. However, complications happen with Leonardo’s developing PTSD, resulting from brainwashing by the Shredder. Add an unwelcome stowaway: Alopex, a mutant fox and former ally to the Foot Clan. Meanwhile, April uncovers her own family secrets, adding to and expanding the Turtles’ origin. And a mystical connection develops through Tang Shen, the spirit mother to our Turtles. All may never be the same again for our Heroes in a Half Shell.

My thoughts:

I engaged in reading the latest issues after admiring the magnificent covers, and connecting back to my childhood nostalgia. I had yet to read the previous issues, but I’d heard good reviews of the overall run. This fresh arc also seemed like a good jumping-on point. Also, the synopsis was Continue reading

ADC Comic of the Day – Chew: Special Agent Poyo #1

8 Aug

by Orion Tippens

ADC Comic of the Day

 

Chew: Special Agent Poyo #1

Writer: John Layman, Artist: Rob Guillory

Image Comics, July 2012, One shot?

Poyo coverBehold, the deadliest cock on Earth!

Meet Poyo, the vicous rooster spinning off from the pages of Eisner Award-winning comics series Chew. In the past, Poyo was a champion cock fighter, now a government agent with the violent temper retained. In a past issue, he ripped a human heart out, with his beak. Poyo is “concentrated mayhem. feathers, rage and hate.”

Secret Agent Poyo is the perfect expansion to the Chew writer/artist John Layman and Rob Guillory maddening world of cloak and platters. Unfamiliar readers to the Chewverse may also enjoy this odd story. All readers need only prepares themselves for a hefty round of absurd violence and hilarious nonsense. To hell with bigger pictures, as Poyo is brilliant escapism.

So, a story begins anew. Poyo is dead, awaiting a resurrection involving his journey through Hell and cybernetic refitting by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The follow-up is his new assignment; teaming up with a British agent in the investigation of a recent downpours of raining farm animals.

Yep, that is the world of Chew I know and love. Let us continue on.

Here, we have some attempt at character development for this Angriest Bird. As readers, we have hints of an attempt at normality as Poyo almost finds love and eternal peace. Yet, violence drives his nature and propels his place in stories involving his precense. Stakes are high, as an evil force defies our hero and threatens all well-beings with torrental bloody sheep and livestock. A call to action for Poyo, is swiftness and style. Perhaps, a reward will come as a result.

Poyo excerpt 1

That in itself is a fun, short story. It is uncertain, if the Poyo comic will continue as a series. The stylings of Chew writer/artist duo are present – sight gags, unfamiliar tropes, comical expressionism, heavily detailed absurdity. As readers and fans, we should accept and welcome every possible expansion of their work equal to or greater than Poyo. I certainly do.

As a bonus, Secret Agent Poyo also contains a brilliant cover gallery by contributing artists. Some personal faves include John McCrea. Jim Mahfood, and Ben Templesmith.

Poyo excerpt 2

Grab Chew: Secret Agent Poyo #1, hopefully still available at better comic stores. If not, download online through all major Image digital outlets.

 – Orion Tippens, writer of things and devourer of comic books. Currently, he is looking for a good time.

Currently Reading: SAGA

6 Jun

A recommendation by Orion Tippens

Saga 1 cover

The cover to Saga #1 (1st printing)

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Pencils: Fiona Staples

Published by: Image Comics

Notes: 3 single issues out so far (#1: 5 printings, #2: 2 printings, #3: 2 printings)

Saga is an epic sci-fi fantasy adventure drama unlike no other.

What this comic series is about:

Marko and Alana, alien lovers from opposing sides of a galactic war, give life to a newborn baby girl (who is also the narrator of the story, reflecting back). The three are threatened by warring armies, deadly hunters, and otherworldly creatures. Their journey in search of a safe haven takes them through strange landscapes, surviving on little. Meanwhile, there are interludes and other subplots involving other interesting players…

This ongoing story has much adult, mature-heavy content. I mean, there are robots having sex, an armless spider-woman with exposed boobs, surprise gore, and much expletives. So, not intended for children or others sensitive to such. For the rest of us, cool.

Why I enjoy this:

Saga is the perfect example of why I continue to explore new realms of science fiction, fantasy, and imaginative works in general. Nothing in Saga is too familiar to our contemporary times, except for our modern language and some camp additives. The rest is an escape to another universe with fantastic habitation meshed with galactic drama involving robots, beasts, wizards, and other weirdness – all wrapped in a captivating story, reminiscent of other epics including Dune, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones in which personal struggles balance with a grander conflict.

Saga excerpt 1Saga is written by Brian K. Vaughan – best known for his last critically acclaimed comics series, Y: the Last Man. The art is wonderfully drawn by Fiona Staples, an underrated artist who in time will be more widely appreciated for her work here. The two work perfectly together on Saga.

For me, the heart of Saga is the drama of its protagonists. We have this incredible love story: The find each other at opposite ends where Marko was a prisoner of war, Alana the jailer. They escape together and eventually bear a child. To continue this wonderful new family, they must still leave the conflict and start their own life (not easy). It’s a simple, beautiful premise.

The characters are interesting thanks to their unusual and ironic traits. Marko has this peaceful, gentle nature; unexpected for a alien with ram horns. Alana is tough and foul mouthed; unexpected for a woman with fairy wings. And the narrator (the baby) has wisdom gained from the experience.

There are forces both natural and unnatural that will affect their journey in some way – we just know it, because the other characters are that interesting, with names like “The Will,” “The Stalk,” the “Horrors.” They Continue reading

All Day Comic of the Day: ORC STAIN!

26 May

by Orion Tippens

Orc Stain: Volume 1

Writer, Artist, Colorist – James Stokoe

Image Comics, 2010

Collects issues 1-5 with some extras

 Orc Stain TPB cover


Here is the very reason I enjoy reading comic books: to be enveloped in an unfamiliar universe, where certain elements occasionally rip and rebuild the foundations of the imagination!

Orc Stain: Volume 1 by James Stokoe delivers a fantasy world like no other, perfected in the sequential art form.

Within lies the creator’s interpretation of the orc, familiar in too much fantasy literature as mindless, savage beasts, often in the service of a greater evil. But in the world of Orc Stain, we see a contrasting, truthful lifestyle, a more independent environment of the orc: much of it filled with otherworldly dwellings, gargantuan creatures, and dangerous vegetation. Here the resources and surroundings in orc life are complex, organized into necessity for such creatures to survive and exist. Concepts of good and evil need not apply, as purpose and necessity are more apparent to the survival of the orc inhabitants. They have savage instincts, but with a bizarre sense of logical direction that collectively evolve, which develops into a world as imaginative as futuristic sci-fi lit.

We, as readers, share in the survival of the protagonist, a one-eyed thief Orc, with a knack for hitting pressure points with his hammer. On his journey, he is eventually thrust into a grander situation, becoming the target of dominating forces and a mysterious prophecy. Along the way, discovery and treachery happen, guiding our hero in doing great and terrible things by instinct and bravery, propelling the story forward.

Orc Stain excerpt

The story elements are a perfect complement to the art. For the Continue reading

Today’s All Day Comic: the genius Transformers parody, Incredible Change-Bots!

25 May

by Orion Tippens

Incredible Change-Bots

Writer/Artist: Jeffrey Brown

Top Shelf Comics

Vol. 1 – Sept. 2007, 146 pages

Vol. 2 – March. 2011, 146 pages

Incredible Change-Bots cover

More than just machines!

Finally, a story about fighting robots with all of the emotional depth and drama that comes with the consequences of personal change…into vehicles.

And within that tale, questions arise. Did the Incredible Change-Bots evolve from word processors? Can Shootertron handle a sudden existential crisis? Can a robot police car and a robot truck explore their forbidden love? Can Big Rig become a credible leader to his gang of Awesomebots? Can’t we all just get along? Answers to those and more happen in this epic two-part graphic novel.

change-bots banter

YES. THIS. This x 1 million.

Incredible Change-Bots is the underrated work of Jeffrey Brown, better known for his self-reflecting autobiographical works including Clumsy and Unlikely and the recent hit Darth Vader and Son. Brown carries a unique sense of dry wit often focused on the observed irony and melodrama of the mundane. For the visuals, he keeps it simple and fun with everything crudely hand-drawn, sticking to the basics of a bored child stuck in after-school detention.  For Incredible Change-Bots, Brown adds all of that to this colossal parody of the Transformers.

The story is simple: the Awesomebots (led by Big Rig) fight against the Fantasticons (led by Shootertron). The Change-Bots engage in their lengthy conflict carried over from their war-ravaged planet of Electrotronocybercircuitron over the usual reasons: Continue reading

ADC Comic of the Day(s): HEART OF A CORPSE

23 Mar

by Orion Tippens

(Mike here – this is one of my favorite things about comics: finding a cool gem that I’ve never heard of before. Orion’s review here has convinced me to check this out – you’re going to want to, too! But there’s one thing I’m wondering: is creator Justin Sane the same guy from the band Anti-Flag, or is there more than one walking the earth?! – UPDATE: See comment from Mr. Sane below for the answer!)

Heart of a Corpse #1, #2

Writer, Artist: Justin Sane

Slave Labor Graphics 2011, complete story in two acts

#1 – 58 pages, #2 – 83 pages

Heart of a Corpse cover

Looking for something new, something wonderful in the sequential art format? Do you also desire creativity, an extended display of shapes and colors that tell the story more than words could? How about a romantic story with a spooktacular vibe?   Then do check out Heart of a Corpse.

What is this wonder? Heart of a Corpse is a simple story in a Victorian style setting about a hearse driver named “The Gentleman,” and his courting of the mortician’s daughter, Annabel. This leading to a proposal in marriage. But trouble happens, as another man, “the Brute,” wants Annabel to himself, and proceeds in nefarious acts against our romantic protagonist. Supernatural and abstract elements develop, adding to the entertaining twists that guide us to a thoughtful, beautiful ending.

Heart of a Corpse art 1

The execution of the story is beautiful, classic. Like a silent movie, we as readers must rely on basic visuals, with a few necessary placards for the entire story. The Continue reading

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