Archive for May 2nd, 2012



Detective Comics #9 Review

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Detective Comics #9

Rating: 5/5
Publisher Name: DC Comics
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel/Szymon Kudranski
Number of Pages: 40 pgs.
Price: 3.99
Color: Color
Safety Content Label: T+ TEENS AND UP – Appropriate for most readers 13 and up, parents are advised that they might want to read before or with younger children.

Publisher’s Blurb:
• BATMAN has been poisoned at the hands of the deadly MR. TOXIC!• Featuring a TWO-FACE backup story written by TONY S. DANIEL with art by SZYMON KUDRANSKI

Reviewer’s Comments:
Detective Comics #9 is perhaps my favorite issue since the series began. I have loved all the issues that have come out but this issue in particular stands out for me.

It begins with the corruption of a cop by a couple of guys offering either drugs or alcohol to the cop. Their car catches on fire, and two good cops stop them as they are alerted to the escape. Jeremiah Arkham introduces his worldview on Arkham. He thinks it is the safest and best place for his patients and himself, and gives his two cents worth about Blackgate; mainly that it is a terrible place for criminals. He feels he can best rehabilitate them here. He discusses with Officer Cash how he has been targeted by the Court of Owls, and he should move to a more secure location. Arkham disagrees stating Arkham Island cannot be targeted as it is an island (separate from the main city), and it is best for his patients if he remains free. The reader is introduced to examples of his patients such as Clayface and Nocturna (who I am left wanting to know more about since we are not privy to much information about her). Roman Sionis or the first Black Mask is brought back from the dead here in the New 52. He has apparently been suffering from mental problems with his normal side and his Black Mask side. Daniel references his previous Batman run where Arkham became the second Black Mask. However, he seems to have cleaned up his act, and been allowed to practice medicine again. As he speaks with Black Mask about Sionis’ situation, the lights go black, and the talons arrive. As they come in, Batman attacks. Arkham blames Batman for leading them here. Bruce tells him to move quickly as there are several points of escape for the asylum. Arkham thinks about how all are welcome to gain help at the asylum, and he wonders whether he might be able to rehabilitate Batman. Arkham sees his being forced to flee the asylum as if he is fleeing his home, and he feels he must fix the situation quickly on his own. He gives Sionis his mask back, and promises he will give him any comfort possible afterwards. As Batman is being choked, Clayface joins the fight as he is angered greatly by the intrusion of the talons. Just about all the inmates are too as they begin to leave their cells attacking the three talon invaders. As Sionis tries to mind control Batman with the mask, Batman stops him quickly before it affects him anymore. As Batman stops him, he demands the location of Arkham who is locked away in a room. As one of the talons begins to open the door, Batman stops him, and takes the doctor with him. As the police wonder where Arkham is, they notice the Batmobile speed off. As Batman leaves, he speaks with Dick who says he can take Arkham off Bruce’s hands, and Bruce remarks in the finality of how he must speak to Lincoln March, the head of the Blackhawks……

The backup continues Two-Face’s interaction with Sterano, a man who might be able to get Harvey back in the District Attorney’s seat. Sterano says the charges can wiped clean or made worse. If Harvey wants his seat back, he will have to find his old friend Freakshow. However, as he finishes talking, three mysterious men inform Harvey he has been chosen by their leader.

Tony Daniel keeps churning out great stories, and this is one of the best he has written. Not only does he reference his previous stories, he builds upon them, and creates a fascinating different look at Roman Sionis aka Black Mask. He also gives us another look into Jeremiah Arkham’s head, and we see what happened to him after the arc Daniel did where Arkham becomes the second Black Mask. Not only does he manage a great narrative, his art is just amazing. He churns out some great sequential art that flows well with the structure of the story he wrote.

In the backup, he again manages to create another great tale. I thought the last issue’s backup was good but this keeps it going. He re-introduces Two-Face in a great way, and gives me a resolution I would like to see: Two-Face becoming D.A. I would love to see that happen, and the effects it has on Gotham. However, that may not be the case with this group of mysterious men who interrupt his meeting with Sterano. However, I cannot complain much elsewise as it is good. The art by Szymon Kudranski is awesome. Coming off of Penguin: Pride and Prejudice, he brings his film-noir sensibilities to this book, and it completely captures the tone Daniel seems to be going for along with the type of dark story he is telling.

As this book continues, I cannot see any reason to depart it. It is indeed still one of the best books sent out by DC today……




Creator Owned Heroes in June

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Creator Owned Heroes in June

HEROES GO INDEPENDENT CREATOR OWNED HEROES anthology debuts in June

“American Muscle”: a race against nothing across a post-apocalyptic America. “Triggergirl 6″: the perfect assassin — except for her conscience. These are the first two titles showcased in the new Image Comics anthology, CREATOR OWNED HEROES, edited by Jimmy Palmiotti.

“Creator-owned” isn’t just a business model — it’s also a publishing philosophy that focuses on creators of comics, who retain the ownership and all the rights to their creations, rather than on “properties” that are corporate property. CREATOR OWNED HEROES was created not only as a vehicle for creators’ creativity but emphasize the importance of this model to the reading public.

“With Creator Owned Heroes we wanted to not only have a place to introduce new ideas and concepts, but to give the reader a place to come each and every month to interact and explore the world around us,” said Palmiotti. “This is a personal project that will continue to grow with the support of our readers and I for one am looking forward to its evolution. ”

In “American Muscle,” written by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) with Kevin Mellon (HEART) on art duties, a group of rebels break off from the last stronghold of human civilization in search of a fabled paradise on what used to be the West coast of the United States. What they find, however, is something much different…

“Triggergirl 6,” by Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex, QUEEN CRAB), Justin Gray (Power Girl, Jonah Hex) on the writing side and art by Phil Noto (Avengers: The Origin, THE INFINITE HORIZON) offers a very different kind of future, one where a woman designed to be a perfect killer can be created in a tank and then let loose on the world.

The first issue of the monthly anthology also includes interviews with comics and literature superstar Neil Gaiman and with cosplaying twins Juli and Alex Abene, who created a Triggergirl costume based on an incentive cover of the first issue.

CREATOR OWNED HEROES #1 is a 40-page, full-color comic book for $3.99. It is available now for pre-order from the April issue of Previews (cover A: APR120420, cover B: APR120421, cover C: APR120422) and will be in stores on June 6.




Supercrooks # 2 Review Review

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Supercrooks # 2 Review

Rating: 5/5

Publisher Name: Icon Comics (Subprint of Marvel)

Publisher Website: http://marvel.com/

Writer: Mark Millar

Pencils: Lenil Francis Yu

Price: $2.99

Publisher’s Word: In A World Where Pickings Are Slim And The “Heroes”‌ Are Everywhere. Now, With Little Left To Lose, He’s Convincing His Pals That Their Last, Best Hope Lies Overseas. But Will Culture Shock Get To Them Before The Policأ­a Do? Continuing The High-Stakes Escapade From The Creative Team That Brought You Superior!

Reviewer’s Thoughts: Fans who read Millar and Yu’s previous collaboration Superior may have been surprised at how light and upbeat the book was.  Superior had weaknesses in story, but it was mostly compensated by fantastic passion in the writing and artwork.  This time around in Supercrooks, Millar is clearly writing in more familiar territory.  While Millar is fun to read for his superheroes, he is probably even better at writing anti-heroes and supervillains.  Supercrooks #2 avoids becoming too heavy handed or bogged by slow pace and embraces itself as a high concept mini-series.  I admit that while reading the first issue I felt that this book was going to be very disappointing as it seemed to be too obviously Ocean’s Eleven meets Wanted.  But luckily Millar picks up the pace and introduces a series of fun character moments and begins hinting at the heist which will presumably taking up the second half of the series.  Despite some gaping plot holes that Millar somewhat explains away Supercrooks is turning out to definitely be a worthy succesor to the pure fun that was in Superior.

In regards to the art Lenil Francis Yu is clearly a master at storytelling creating some dynamic action scenes and good expressions on the characters.  My one complaint with him is some of the characters look a little too similar to each other at times.  But other than that this is some great writing that is only sweetened with a fantastic artist.

 




Tall Tales from the Badlands: Thicker Than Water and Abigail Review

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Tall Tales from the Badlands: Thicker Than Water and Abigail

Rating: 3/5
Publisher Name: Black Jack Press
Writer: Sean Fahey/Seamus Kevin Fahey
Pencils: Lisandro Estherren/Jose Holder
Number of Pages: 27 pgs.
Price: $0.99
Color: Color
Safety Content Label: T+ TEENS AND UP – Appropriate for most readers 13 and up, parents are advised that they might want to read before or with younger children.

Publisher’s Blurb:
An annual Western anthology published by Sean and Seamus Fahey, and edited by Dave Davis. Volume One. Some of the most exciting emerging talents in comics come together to tell five tall tales of the American West.: “A Thousand Deaths,” written by Seamus Kevin Fahey, art by Juan Romera. An aging gunslinger struggles with his fear of the inevitable. “Thicker Than Water,” written by Sean Fahey, art by Lisandro Estherren. After turning his partner in to the Pinkertons, in order to save his brother’s life, a remorseful bank robber pays a visit to the man he betrayed and learns the true meaning of family. “Abigail,” written by Seamus Kevin Fahey, art by Jose Holder. Isolated and alone after her husband joins a posse to capture a band of murderers, an unusually resourceful frontier woman taps into her most base maternal instincts in order to protect her children from a brutal home invasion. “The Runt,” written by Sean Fahey, art by J.C. Grande. A scrappy, weathered old dog gives new meaning to the phrase “Man’s Best Friend,” when he is left to defend his fallen master from a series of blood thirsty scavengers. “Easy Livin’,” written by Sean Fahey, art by Borja “Borch” Pena. A good natured slice of frontier life piece honoring the adventurous spirit and tireless work ethic of the trappers and mountain men that succeeded in opening up the American West, in the face of endless challenges and constant hardship.

Reviewer’s Comments:
Tall Tales from the Badlands starts off in a 3:10 to Yuma type of way. The first story is Thicker Than Water, and gives us a portrait of a relationship between two brothers.

The first story begins with Hank coming by to see Nathan. Nathan blames Hank for his situation in prison, and believes his brother sold him out over money. Hank reveals who threatened his family, and his past. He is actually not the brother of Nathan. Hank then headed west. He then said after the Springfield job, he had no choice. Nathan asks Hank to come by tomorrow, and says he will. In the morning, they discuss breakfast and what the afterlife will be like. As Nathan walks to his death, he asks Hank to deliver a note to his estranged sister. Nathan dies, and Hank does that. Upon his arrival, Nathan’s sister Sarah greets Hank fully. They have a meal, and Hank reveals why he’s here. He says Nathan is dead, and he wanted her to read the note. After she reveals her true feelings about her brother (that she always loved him), she kills Hank when the note reveals what Hank actually did to Nathan.

The second story is titled “Abigail,” and is about a woman and her protection of her son. It begins with an interaction between Jesse and Dave who discuss the hiring of an injun as they discuss tracking people. The story then transitions to David and his family. His wife is Abigail, and he tells his son Daniel to obey his mother. Abigail and David kiss as he begins to leave. David gets on his horse, and goes tracking. The mother eats with her son, and has to protect her son when things begin to go bad. She is threatened, and Daniel runs. Abigail is able to break free, and defend her son. She defeats the invaders as her husband comes home.
For the first story, Sean Fahey does a decent job. He seems to take a lot from the aforementioned film I mentioned, and the story does not seem to cover much new ground; that is to say, it does not stand outside of what has been seen before. The art is quite good however. Lisandro Estherren does a great job capturing the feel of the old west, and the black and white makes it that much better capturing the lack of gray area within that world.

The second story is a bit different. Seamus Kevin Fahey does evolve past that threshold the previous author cannot seem to move past. He empowers a mother figure, and shows that females of the old west were just as tough as the men. In that sense, it is good to see the female perspective brought into it rather than just the male characters. The art is also fantastic. Jose Holder captures the old west fully like Estherren does. He captures every detail on the characters and setting, and that works well with the old west being a desert area and having sand everywhere.

Hopefully in the next entries in the anthology, they take more chances than rely on past story ideas/formulas…..




Image Comics Celebrates Free Comic Book Day!

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Image Comics Celebrates Free Comic Book Day!

IMAGE AND TOP COW CELEBRATE FREE COMIC BOOK DAY Something for every reader in IMAGE 20 and WITCHBLADE: UNBALANCED PIECES

This annual Free Comic Book Day, Image Comics will be celebrating 20 years of success in revolutionizing the comics industry with two new comics. Both provide great examples of what Image excels at providing: a diversity of genres and styles —something for everyone.

Both IMAGE 20 and WITCHBLADE: UNBALANCED PIECES will be available to the public at comic book stores on May 5, 2012, and they’re absolutely free!

IMAGE 20 is jam-packed full of exciting stories from new, upcoming comics and returning favorites. Titles include G-MAN from Chris Giarrusso, Robert Kirkman’s GUARDING THE GLOBE from Phil Hester and Todd Nauck, Mike Allred’s IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS from Jamie S. Rich and Mike Norton, CRIME AND TERROR by Steve Niles and Scott Morse, NEAR DEATH by Jay Faerber and Simone Guglielmini, and REVIVAL from Tim Seeley and Mike Norton.

In “Witchblade: Unbalanced Pieces,” new and lapsed WITCHBLADE fans will get the perfect chance to try out the brand new creative team, Tim Seeley and Diego Bernard, and a fresh new direction of Top Cow’s flagship title. Since the events of ARTIFACTS, Sara Pezzini’s entire life has been altered in immeasurable ways, not the least of which is she’s living in a new city and has a new career. But one thing remains constant — the Witchblade. For fans who get hooked, “Unbalanced Pieces” continues in WITCHBLADE #155 — and they can pick up the WITCHBLADE: REBIRTH VOLUME ONE trade paperback for only $9.99.




Your First Look At FF #18 Previews!

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Your First Look At FF #18 Previews!

Your First Look At FF #18!

Marvel is proud to present your first look at, FF #18, from superstar creators Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta! The kids of the Future Foundation suit up for their first field trip…to the Negative Zone?! That’s right True Believers, Johnny Storm plays substitute teacher for a day and takes the team deep into his sovereign dimension, but when the locals aren’t too happy with the Human Torch – chaos ensues! Can the FF and Johnny make it out of the Negative Zone with limited scratches? Find out in FF #18, hitting comic shops, the Marvel Comics app http://www.marvel.com/marvelcomicsapp , and Marvel Digital Comic Shop this May!

FF #18 (MAR120598)

Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN

Pencils by NICK DRAGOTTA

Cover by KALMAN ANDRASOFSZKY

Rated: T…$3.99

FOC -5/7/2012, ON SALE – 5/30/2012




CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. WOLVERINE In AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 – ON SALE NOW!

Written by on May 2, 2012
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CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. WOLVERINE In AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 - ON SALE NOW!

CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. WOLVERINE In AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 – ON SALE NOW!

The war is here! Today in Avengers VS. X-Men #3, by the blockbuster creative team of Ed Brubaker and John Romita Jr., Captain America splits the Avengers up all across the Marvel Universe to find Hope before the X-Men do! But Cyclops and his team are hot on the mutant messiah’s trail and are not letting Earth’s Mightiest get in their way. With Wolverine’s loyalty still in question – Captain America must make a harrowing decision and the result will have everyone talking!

Plus! Join the Marvel ReEvolution as Marvel brings fans a new comic reading experience! Every issue of Avengers VS X-Men comes packaged with a code for a FREE digital copy on the Marvel Comics app http://www.marvel.com/marvelcomicsapp and Marvel Digital Comics Shop.

And that’s not all! Take the Avengers VS X-Men enjoyment even further by unlocking access to exclusive behind the scenes extras utilizing special augmented reality technology with the Marvel AR http://www.marvel.com/marvelar app powered by Aurasma. This is exciting bonus content that you cannot access anywhere else!

Which team will reign supreme? Join the conversation on Twitter with #AvX https://twitter.com/#!/search/avx> !

Here comes the pain as all your favorite super heroes enter-and only one team will emerge victorious! Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime comic event in, Avengers VS X-Men #3, on sale now in comic shops everywhere, on the Marvel Comics app http://www.marvel.com/marvelcomicsapp , and the all-new Marvel Digital Comics Shop!

For more on Avengers VS X-Men, please visit http://avx.marvel.com http://avx.marvel.com/

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 (MAR120530)

Written by ED BRUBAKER

Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR.

Cover by JIM CHEUNG

Rated T+…$3.99

ON SALE NOW!




Comicmaniac Spotlight: Alan Kistler

Written by on May 2, 2012
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Welcome to the Comicmaniac Spotlight! Here is where I will feature or interview a person or persons who are either in the comic industry or they’re doing something that’s awesome and geeky/nerd related.  This weeks spotlight is author, actor, Agent of S.T.Y.L.E., and Crazy Sexy Geek Alan Kistler.  He has recently published The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook: From Direwolf Ale to Auroch Stew! and has two more books on the way. I sat down with Alan to talk about his book, his thoughts on writing, as well as what other awesome projects he’s working on.

How did you get into comics?

Alan: I found a rocket ship lying in a crater. Inside there was an indestructible red blanket, a living computer called Mother Box, and a very bitey radioactive spider. At this point, a robot dog appeared and gave me a key to a dimensionally transcendental time-ship that resembled a blue… No, wait, wait… Sorry, that’s all imaginary.

Honestly, it was an accident. Right place, right time. I was very into science fiction as a kid. I devoured Isaac Asimov and any book that dealt with time travel, parallel universes or space vampires. Loved Arthurian legends, Anansi stories and certain mythologies. When I was about 7, a friend/babysitter thought I’d enjoy a nearby sci-fi convention and took me. It turned out to really be a comic convention and there was a raffle at the door that I won, which left me with a dozen free comics. I knew some characters from cartoons, movies and TV shows. But for the most part, I had no idea who these characters were, these X-Men or Justice League teams or this blond woman in black called Ms. Marvel. I recognized Spider-Man but had no clue who his friends Iron Man and Black Panther were.

I read them over the weekend and my mind was blown. Whenever I watched TV or read books, I constantly thought, “What if these characters could all meet?” What if Columbo met J.B. Fletcher? Would they get along or get annoyed? But that would never happen. Comics, though, had shared universes! And sometimes the heroes didn’t win. The Flash in this comic had once been a sidekick named Kid Flash and the guy who had been the Flash before him had actually died! That was startling!

I talked about it with my grandparents and it turned out they knew Jack Burnley, who was a comic book artist during the 1940s. He worked on Superman and Batman and co-created the original Starman. So they took me to meet Jack and we chatted for a couple of days about Golden Age comics and Silver Age comics and what events in history inspired certain characters and stories. He showed me his collections of different Batman stories over the years, how the art, writing and personalities changed. After that, there was no going back. I was interested not only in comics but in their evolution and the history behind them.

 

What advice can you give writers?

Alan: You have an idea? Fantastic. Stop talking about it and do it.

It’s one thing to pitch an idea or share a premise with a friend, but so many writers, artists and the like get so enamored with the idea and don’t actually do anything with it. Or they think it needs to be perfect, so they focus solely on plotting and planning everything “perfectly” rather than actually taking the next step and creating something that can be developed and then shared. That’s as effective as imagining a relationship with someone you have a crush on but never have the guts to actually ask out. Make the damn thing. Write it down, beginning to end. You can always re-shape it later, but at least HAVE something to work with instead of just the idea of what it could be.

The other biggest advice I can give is to pick your battles when it comes to editing and criticism. Whatever you write or film or plan, changes WILL be made and sometimes we’re too close to our own work to see the edges that need smoothing out. Don’t ignore others or else you won’t evolve. That being said, if you feel passionately about the core of a story or what message the audience is supposed to get at the end, stick by it. The minute you stop caring and just do what you think others will like, the audience will sense it.

 

What inspires you to write?

Alan: I’ve wasted a few opportunities and I’ve seen my share of death and it’s made me sensitive to use my time as best as I can. Admiration and anger are both good motivators. A story that excites me also makes me want to cause the same reaction in others. On the flipside, a story with a decent idea but terrible writing makes me shout, “I can do better than this!” And then the other side of the brain says, “Really? Stop talking about it and do it.”

But more than all that, the actual act of writing inspires me to write. Sounds hokey and evasive, but that’s the truth. Even when I plan things out, I never know exactly what’s going to happen when I start writing. You just have to get into that rocket, launch it and then improvise with whatever strange, new worlds come across your path.

Imagination and thought are the results of chemicals and lightning in your brain! What’s not inspirational about that process? When I finish one project, I never say “well, that’s done then,” I prefer to ask, “What’s next?”

 

As a comic book historian, what fascinates you about comic book history?

Alan: There are comics that are very personal stories, of course, but if you look at the large picture of the industry and the big superhero genres, then you can see that like art or fashion or a lot of sci-fi in film and TV, the comics reflect society. What are people afraid of and what do they hope to achieve in the future?

Superman comes out of the Depression Era and first focuses on fighting gangsters, slum lords, abusive husbands, war profiteers and corrupt politicians. We were angry, it was a dark time, and here came this brightly colored guy who said, “You’re right, this isn’t fair. Let’s do something about it.” In the 1960s, we’re in the space race and Clark’s focused on meeting aliens. Now, Superman’s been relaunched and he’s fighting aliens still, sure, but he’s renewed a major focus on corrupt politicians, slum lords, gangsters and our new recession era fears. None of that is an accident.

Superhero comics in particular give me hope for the human race because most of them are morality tales. Help others, don’t abuse power, don’t give in to base emotions, don’t take the easy way out all the time. The original Avengers line-up is basically a fairy tale about cooperation. The literal god of lies and manipulation shows up and who fights him? A self-absorbed rage ogre, an arrogant knight, an anachronistic prince, a social butterfly and an introverted explorer. And these people all have to learn that they are stronger by working together and embracing their differences than they would be if they all worked alone and did things their own way. The fact that we’re still telling these morality tales gives me hope for society. Obviously, we still think there’s merit in such lessons.

 

Where did the idea for the The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook: From Direwolf Ale to Auroch Stew! come from?

Alan:
It’s not an original idea by any means. There’s been an Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and an  Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook and various such things. When I was a kid, I bought a book with recipes inspired by the Dragonlance novels. My friend Bonnie Burton does books on Star Wars crafts and Jenn Fujikawa does wonderful geeky-themed baking over at JustJennRecipes.com.

Adams Media was aware of my work and asked if I’d be interested in doing an Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I enjoyed Martin’s books, so I said absolutely. It wasn’t as easy as that, of course, I still had to write samplers so they could see what kind of book I wanted to write and what recipes I’d put together and whether or not this was what they were looking for. But fortunately for me, they really loved my samples and after that, we were off and running.

 

Besides the cookbook, you also have two more books coming out: The Unofficial Spider-Man Trivia Challenge and The Unofficial Batman Trivia Challenge. Can you give some background about the creation process for these two books?

Alan: Writing those books was one of the most insane experiences of my life. Basically, Adams Media was really happy with my cookbook and wanted to use me again since they knew my forte is history and trivia related to superheroes. With both Batman and Spider-Man having movies out this summer, they wanted tie-in quiz books covering the comics, tie-in novels, newspaper strips, foreign interpretations, video games, films, TV shows, etc. At least 800 questions each book and also several information sidebars for each chapter.

They offered that I could write either book or both. Here was the kicker, though. This project had been proposed a bit late in the game, but they still wanted the books to come out in time for the movies rather than a couple of months later. So whether I agreed to write one book or both, I had about five weeks and that was it. So I had to ask myself, can I research and write 1600 questions in one month for two characters with decades of history? Or do I just want to play it safe and only write one book? But how could I choose between Peter and Bruce? I love both characters so much.

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a dare. Two books? Sounds like an exciting challenge. Finally, I spoke to my friend Kiri Callaghan, a great writer herself whose work Funeral Potatoes and The Lily or the Tiger can be found on Amazon. And she said, “Dude… What would Captain Kirk do?”

And that was all I needed to hear. I said yes to both and started writing that night. It was a damn marathon for several weeks, but I did it and they liked it and I’m excited to see the books hit shelves soon. You can pre-order them already on B&N’s web-site and on Amazon.

 

I love your Agent of S.T.Y.L.E column on Newsarama. What inspired you to create this column and what other characters can readers look forward to being featured in the future?

Alan: In a way, it started when I was a kid. Not many people know this now, but I used to draw quite frequently when I was younger. I used to carry a sketchpad around at all times and I often drew what I called “comparison” pieces. I’d have a page full of Spider-Man in different costumes or different temporary transformations. I’d have Superman flying alongside Bizarro and Superboy and the Superman of the 853rd century. The Adam West Batman standing next to the original, Bob Kane Batman. The differences in design always interested me.

A couple of years ago, I met Tim Gunn and realized he had a respect and knowledge of superhero comics. And I just thought, wait, what an interesting thing this would be. Me and this affable fashion authority gabbing about different designs a hero or villain had and discussing what worked. We did a couple of videos together and it was great.

I then started thinking that there must be a website out there that showed a clear, linear evolution of all the looks a particular hero or villain would have. And to my surprise, I couldn’t find any. There were several sites that showed dozens of Spider-Man costumes or Batman uniforms, but the images weren’t in order and they gave you no context. I thought, there really should be something that does that, maybe I can do it. I had already spent a couple of years writing various articles on different web-sites discussing the histories and character evolution in comics. Maybe I could evolve that style into a fashion/design history.

A week later, I got an e-mail from David Pepose at Newsarama who had seen my videos and wanted to know if I could thought I could write a few articles along the same lines. It was perfect timing and I said sure, so we agreed to have me write about six pieces and we’d see if they got a reaction. After the fourth one, I was told ok, people really like this, we’re making it a column.

Moral of the story? If there’s a product or a story you really want to see and you can’t find it, make it yourself.

 

You co-host of the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast with Jill Pantozzi as well as the host of the web-video version. What can listeners and viewers look forward to on future episodes?

Alan: Yeah, the videos were something I did first, but I never had a stable crew and various circumstances led to there being no set schedule. Later, Jill and I were talking about how we found certain podcasts wanting and we decided to do one ourselves. She said we should just continue using the “Crazy Sexy Geeks” label I’d used on my videos since it was a good title. In future podcasts, we’ll be chatting with more comic writers, more novelists. Possibly more actors. Definitely a couple of cosplayers. We’ll also be focusing a bit more on people who make independent content in comics and web-shows, etc.

I’ll be doing some new web-videos too that will be focusing on the history of the superhero genre. It’ll be educational for new fans and pretty funny for old fans, I hope.

 

On Twitter, you’ve mentioned that you’ll be doing a radio play later in the year, can you talk more about that?

Alan: I’ve been scripting out a radio play mini-series based on a classic science fiction story that is now public domain. I have a crew and equipment. The script needs to be finished and edited and then we need to hold some auditions, but after that we’ll be rocking it out fairly quickly I believe. I’ll be in the cast as well. If it goes nicely, I’d like to continue by either adapting another classic sci-fi story or ancient mythology.

I love radio plays and it’s a shame to me that the United States considers them “old fashioned” and practically irrelevant. I love listening to new audio plays from the BBC and Big Finish Productions. It’s such an interesting medium and a great way to tell some stories when you don’t have a budget of over $90 million.  

 

What other projects are you working on?

Alan: Wait, seriously? The radio play, upcoming podcasts, upcoming web-shows, and weekly column aren’t enough? No, wait, you’re right. There are still empty hours in the late night, after all. Have you noticed how many stories and songs reference 4 am as this hour where bizarre events and strange feelings happen? For me it’s sometimes the best part of the night.

Along with the projects I’ve mentioned, I’ve been cast in a friend’s web-series pilot and may become a recurring character. We’ll be shooting the pilot very soon. I’m also co-writing a film with a friend that may involve a woman hero physically kicking ass. And when I finish a couple of these projects, I’m moving on to getting a web-comic published that I can’t discuss but involves a penguin with a gun at some point and a steampunk dinosaur villain. When you hear the villain’s name, you will laugh. It’s awful and funny.

I’m also writing another book right now. This is a much more involved book, inspired partially by Grant Morrison’s wonderful work Supergods.

 

Who’s a favorite comic book character of yours?

Alan: Oh, God… You know, it often depends on what kind of story I want to read. My absolute favorite comic book characters are Spider Jerusalem, Izzy S, Batman, Spider-Man, Nightcrawler, Barry Allen, Vixen, Wonder Woman, Superman, Anya Corazon, the Joker, Dr. Doom, Carol Danvers, Captain America, Supergirl, and Reneé Montoya. If I have to whittle it down further, Batman, Spider Jerusalem and Barry Allen.

Batman is so interesting and admirable because he has so many reasons to become a villain yet chooses this heroic path and is selfless to a fault. And we all need a little Spider Jerusalem in ourselves, this angry voice that says stop kidding yourself. Truth no matter what.

As for Barry Allen AKA the Flash… well, on top of having his amazingly designed uniform, his story is the dream of every superhero fan. He grew up on comics, wanted to be a superhero and then one day, thanks to chemicals and lightning, it happened. He became a superhero and wound up fighting alongside Superman, traveling through time, visiting parallel Earths, hanging out with aliens, and discovering secret societies of intelligent gorillas. He was a dreamer and a scientist and one day all the impossible worlds became real. Basically, he’s imagination incarnate. No wonder he never stands still!

And wouldn’t you know it? Answering this question just gave me an idea for a story.


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