Precinct1313 is a dilemma within a mystery, contained in an enigma… it has been over five years since this majestic and malefic mansion first welcomed us into it’s darkened ceaseless corridors, herculean hallways and cavernous crypts, yet even now, after all this time we are still discovering new chambers and secreted areas. Recently uncovered is a mysterious new room aptly named ‘The Scrying Chamber’ within this portentous place stands a single stone table bathed in ethereal light upon which sits an ominous black crystal ball.
So, gaze deep dear readers, unto manifold destiny through Precinct1313’s mystical crystal ball of wonders towards an apocalyptic future where the Earth itself has been laid to waste, and only one solitary hero can ultimately save humanity from itself…
DC Comics’ notable recent imprint – Black Label is a line of limited series aimed at a distinctly mature audience that began with the bombastic – Batman: Damned. Building upon the success of that first series DC have regaled us with other classic characters within this more adult format, with the next in this superlative series starring our hallowed hellenic heroine, the Themysciran Titan herself – Wonder Woman!
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a four part, forty eight page prestige format mini-series written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, due for release in December 2019.
Princess Diana originally left her home of Themyscira and her beloved Amazon sisters to save the world from mankind itself, yet, after waking from an unexpected centuries long sleep and discovering the Earth has been reduced to a nuclear wasteland, she knows she has ultimately failed in her divine mission. The Earth has been destroyed, and it’s former protectors, it’s pantheon of Superheroes have failed and are long gone. Trapped and alone, in a post apocalyptic dystopia, Diana is tasked with protecting the last human city on the planet from dire monsters that have overrun the Earth, whilst also uncovering the dark secret behind the planet’s demise… and how she may be responsible for it!
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth will be published monthly with both standard and variant covers available, and if it’s anywhere near the quality of DC’s other Black Label titles is definitely a must buy, plus it stars the World’s greatest hero, so no other excuse is needed to pick this up! Dead Earth is upon us, the monsters are circling and only the Greek Gods’ favoured daughter can save us from a hideous fate.
Well hey there fellow fans of fantastic fiction , and welcome once again to another enticing episode of ‘Comic Cover Of The Week’ and may I just say that I am being completely self indulgent with this particular post, ’cause this week’s cover(s) are by yours truly!
Now, if you’ve been an agent of Precinct1313 for awhile, you’ve probably seen me post about our incoming visual novel – The Chronicles Of Cassandra Vala – a tantalising and terrifying tale wrought from my fevered imagination. In fact we’ve already introduced you to the two main stars of the show through our fifth anniversary post – Five Years In The Precinct – and – The Black Rose Gallery –
Well, I have been working on a little prequel comic to the series entitled – Tales Of Black Rose – I’ll be honest, I am a better writer than artist but absolutely love to draw nonetheless, it just takes me awhile (a long, long while) to finish up a piece of art. That said, things are going pleasingly apace, so I thought, ah hell, let’s share some of the interior images (some finished, just waiting dialogue panels and some still in process) and in particular the comic covers themselves. Amanda Conner and Adam Hughes I ain’t, but they turned out (I think anyway) pretty damn okay. Thanks for visiting the Precinct friends, and normal service (DC Comics news, natch!) will resume shortly…
Black Rose and Cassandra Vala are copyright: Precinct1313.
Having just finished reading the Tom King and Mitch Gerads masterpiece comic series – Mister Miracle for the third time, I reasoned it was be about time for an impassioned plea as to why (if you haven’t already, of course) you should rush out to your local comic-book emporium right now and scream at your local comic shop employee until they hand over a copy of the collected version of this stunning story (please don’t actually scream at them, that was just hyperbole on my part, and screaming at someone is very, very bad and could end up with you – getting kicked out the shop, derided by your peers, or even locked in a padded cell, and you aren’t a super escape artist like Mr Miracle… so it’s probably best not to!)
You may be thinking to yourself that this post’s title is a tad controversial considering how many fantastic comic-book tales have been rendered over the decades since Alan Moore’s seminal opus ‘Watchmen’ released in 1986. Of course all views are subjective, and opinions are just that – opinions, but I am definitely not alone in my view that Moore’s daring and controversial take on the popular Superhero medium was (and still is) the greatest literary take on costumed vigilantism of all time, and despite all the stunning storylines and thrilling tales that have been wrought upon the spandex loving comic-book populace over the years, for me, Tom King’s recent 12 issue series for DC Comics ‘Mister Miracle’ is the greatest piece of comic-book fiction since Moore’s superlative scope.
Tom King and fellow master of the miraculous – artist Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle monthly maxi-series was unleashed unto the fans in August of 2017, in honour of the literal King of Comics – Jack Kirby’s 100th anniversary since birth. Jack Kirby was an American comic-book writer and artist, who is widely regarded as the most influential and innovative creator of the medium, ever!
Kirby has created some of the most famous heroes and villains in comic history, aside from our eponymous protagonist Mr Miracle, King also created The New Gods for DC Comics (which is currently being turned into a movie by director Ava Du Vernay, with a script co-written by Tom King) but it’s his work for Marvel Comics that really brought his genius to the forefront for most fans. King ushered into virtual life well loved characters such as Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Captain America and many, many others for DC’s rival comic book giant. Yet the bubble eventually burst for the Marvel stalwart, after creating, illustrating and writing a plethora of characters, with his books always in high demand, and critically praised by both fellow peers and fans, behind the scenes things were very different for Kirby during his long tenure at Marvel.
Kirby ultimately (and quite rightly) felt he was being unfairly treated by Marvel, his perception was that he was being treated as a mere writer/artist for hire by the company as opposed to what should of been his status as it’s foremost creator having given the company the majority of their most beloved and best selling creations, so, in response to Marvel’s apathy on the subject, he left the company in 1970 to join it’s rival, DC Comics.
Initially signing a three year contract with DC, Kirby went on to create some of his most memorable heroes and villains, from the aforementioned New Gods, plus Etrigan the Demon, The Forever People, Morgaine Le Fay, through DC’s biggest SuperVillain – Darkseid, and of course the titular star of this post, one Scott Free, better known by his costumed moniker Mister Miracle, a super escape artist, whose creation (as I have posited once before) could be seen as the perfect allegory for Kirby’s flight from Marvel to DC, breaking the shackles of his previous employment to forge new horizons.
Phew! after that exhausting (yet hopefully entertaining ) look into the initial creation of Scott Free by his cosmically compelling creator, let’s move on to the latest (and also prodigiously talented) creative team charged with bringing his fans, the next chapter in Miracle’s convoluted life as a super escape artist and costumed hero – Tom King and fellow comic conspirator, Mitch Gerads. King and Gerads’ awe inspiring take on Kirby’s esteemed creation has been an absolute delight from the premier issue onwards, returning us to the daedalian, poignant and ultimately tragic life of the fourth world paragon.
Miracle has always been an immensely popular second tier character for DC, with a myriad of mini-series and ongoing monthly titles. He was also a welcome addition to the ranks of the Justice League (alongside his wife – Big Barda) in the mid to late eighties version of the team by the excellent Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis. The much anticipated return of Scott Free has, thankfully, not only exceeded all expectation but has, quite frankly, blown said expectations out of the water, the torturous wait for Miracle’s heralded return is worthy of it’s Kirby heritage, of that there is no doubt.
Mister Miracle is a masterfully woven tale of anxiety, depression, ardour and ultimately family, it is an uplifting fable that eschews the atypical and familiar Superhero tropes to deliver an inspirational and enlightening chronicle about a man ill at ease with the world, searching for meaning beyond what is. King and Gerads’ Miracle is wholly different beast from what many people believe that godlike heroes are, it’s a story about subsistence. Throughout this tour de force of mental dissonance, Scott is represented as just a man, not a new god (as he is) or a Superhero, just a person attempting to make sense of existing, it’s a startling and ultra realistic take on mental health instability, written with a knowing authority yet, compassionate and impassioned to the cognitive disability. In fact the very first chapter begins with Scott (apparently) surviving an attempt to take his own life, the renowned super-escape artist, cheating death itself (possibly)
As Scott’s beleaguered chronicles continue, his depression becomes more pronounced, with it’s effects on his nearest and dearest, especially devoted wife Barda explored profoundly by the creative duo of King and Gerads. It’s not just the narrative of Miracle though that strays from the well worn path of Superhero fiction but also its astonishing artwork, Gerads experimental illustrations are phenomenal throughout, with my favourite being the distorted panels occasionally punctuated through the story representing Scott’s reality being called into question. In fact fourth wall breaking is brilliantly played in Miracle with at one point in the narrative, Scott literally touching the hand of his own creator as he encounters Jack Kirby’s Hollywood star on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard.
Emotional, poignant, groundbreaking are well deserved superlatives to describe this narrative work of absolute genius, from the exemplary talents of Tom King and Mitch Gerads, an unreserved masterpiece and a must have in any ones literary collection… THE greatest piece of comic-book fiction since Watchmen!
Great Hera! Today marks the official celebration of everyone’s favourite feisty fictional female, the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman!
That’s right fellow fans of fantastic female fiction, October 21st commemorates Diana’s first ever appearance in ‘All Star Comics #8’ which released in October of 1941 courtesy of her celebrated creator William Moulton Marston, and DC Comics. That’s a sensational seventy eight years in her illuminating presence!
We love Wonder Woman here in Precinct1313, she’s actually our favourite comic-book creation of all time (sorry Batsy!) and I personally have been reading and collecting Wondy comics, movies and memorabilia since I was a mere nine years of age, she has always been an inspiration to me. Unlike her superheroic peers, Diana doesn’t necessarily rely on her fists… her strength lies within her power to understand, and forgive, to first extend a hand of friendship rather than wield her sword. Diana’s mantra is love and compassion, and in the rather unpredictable world we live in today, she is very much the hero we need…
So, to honour the dynamic daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the pantheon of Greek Gods that bestowed the wondrous one upon us, let’s share in some inspirational, enlightening and quintessential quotes courtesy of the Princess of Themyscira. Happy Wonder Woman day, my astoundingly awesome Amazonian associates!
A Dynamic Duo Of Delightfully Dazzling And Delectable Drawings…
“Well hey there fellow fans of fantastic fiction and welcome once again to another enticing episode of Comic Cover Of The Week. And this week we have some rather resplendent renderings for your discerning delectation!”
DC Comics’ recent imprint – Black Label is a line of limited series aimed at a mature audience that began with the somewhat controversial (though, not in my opinion) Batman: Damned in September of 2018. Building upon the success of that first mini-series, DC subsequently launched several new Black Label series which include – Batman: Last Knight On Earth, Superman: Year One, and most recently ‘Harleen’. Their newest recent entry to this distinctly adult line is the Kami Garcia penned – Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity, and the variant cover by marvellous Mike Mayhew is an absolute corker, it has to be said.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity charts the first meeting of one Dr Harleen Quinzel and the Jester of Genocide. Kami Garcia offers up an interesting twist on the titular troublesome twosome by re-imagining Harley as forensic psychologist and criminal profiler tasked with helping to hunt down a prolific serial killer with a penchant for murderous theatrics known only as The Joker. Joker/Harley; Criminal Insanity is scheduled for a nine issue run and is available from your local comic-book emporium right now, and in our opinion is well worth investing your time in if you’re in any way, shape, or form a fan of Ms Quinzel and Mr J.
And next on our cosmically cool and collectable comic cover countdown is this really rather rapturous rendering from wonderful Warren Louw of the pernicious plant powered eco-terrorist Poison Ivy.
Continuing on from last month’s premiere issue, we find our lovable (yet highly dangerous) duo, Harley and Ivy on the run from the fractious felon Floronic Man, who is determined to force Ivy to accept her place in connection to the green. With Gotham City even more unstable and treacherous than ever thanks to its recent overthrow and internment by SuperVillain Bane, Harley and Ivy literally dive into a rabbit hole by seeking sanctuary with none other than former Arkham patient Jervis Tetch, more infamously known as The Mad Hatter. Yet what they’re about to experience couldn’t be further removed from a Wonderland!
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exhilarating episode of The Week In Geek where we love to share our favourite Comic-Book, Video-Game and Cult movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…
Birds Of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn
Well what can I say, but, how excited am I right now… really, really excited! I just finished watching the first trailer for DC’s newest upcoming blockbuster movie ‘Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn’ and after viewing it for the umpteenth time I must say… I absolutely love this movie already.
That’s right fellow fans of fantastic fiction, the hellacious hellcat of hi-jinks is back, once again brilliantly brought to life by magnetic Margot Robbie cementing her hold on DC’s wild child villain/anti-hero with what looks like another priceless performance as Ms Harleen Quinzel. This time though she isn’t in the corruptible company of the Suicide Squad or her former lover Mr J, but is striking out with the feisty, fiery, femme fatale’s and all round arse kicking bodacious baroness’ of broody brawls -The Birds of Prey.
Based upon DC’s top rated comic-book series, The Birds of Prey weaves the tale of Gotham’s favourite female fighting furies, and the costumed crime-fighters from this popular series being brought to the silver screen include two of my absolute fave female Superheroes – Black Canary as portrayed by Jurnee Smollet-Bell and The Huntress, ably brought to crossbow wielding life by the marvellous Mary Elizabeth Winstead. And if that wasn’t enough of a geek overload, brilliant British thesp – Ewan McGregor is cast as big, bad Batman villain – Black Mask! Revel in the trailer below, and whilst you do I’m off to invent a time machine ’cause I’m not sure I can wait until February 2020 for this to appear…
Grim, gritty, surly, sullen, stern, morose, brusque… all these terms define the infamous vengeance driven creature of the night known as The Batman, and why wouldn’t they? I mean, he’s not exactly had a great time of it overall, let’s be honest. He lives in the cesspool of a city known as Gotham, watched his parents gunned down before his innocent eyes at the tender age of 12, and has spent the past eight decades abusing both his mind, spirit and body as he seeks redemption for his parents death by dressing as a giant bat and pulping bad guys to within an inch of their miserable lives… where’s his silver bat- lining, huh? Well, that’s embodied by an equally traumatised, but resolutely more positive minded costumed creation who goes by the name of Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman.
The Bat and The Cat have been dancing around (probably to the Batusi!) each other emotionally since their first ever encounter in Batman #1 in March of 1940. That’s close to eighty exquisite years of puurfect passion procrastination, though the Dark Knight Detective has had other fleeting love interests over the decades (the most significant obviously being that of Talia Al Ghul, R’as Al Ghul’s daughter) none have had the emotive impact on his melancholic life more than one Selina Kyle.
Their lives have been irrevocably romantically intertwined since that first meeting in 1940 and their devotion has continued throughout their many dalliances to this very day, even culminating with a recent wedding proposal from The Bat himself, though in typical Batman fashion, it definitely did not go as planned as Batman’s notorious rogues gallery stepped in to ruin the one shining light that could of led Bruce into new and unfamiliar territory… happiness!
I love Batman and Catwoman, have done since I first discovered the characters from the tender age of six, and have always rooted for their eventual sanguine intimacy. But have always understood that any kind of inherent contentment would ultimately end the crime fighting career of Batman… it’s the pain and loss that life has served him that ultimately makes him the Batman, yet, even the sullen stern alter ego of the masked manhunter deserves some relief from his disconsolate existence and fortunately there is Selina Kyle. So, why not join us as we embark on a visual tour through their long and (mostly) loving courtship that has had Batfans the world over holding their Bat-breaths for almost eighty years. The Bat (most definitely) loves The Cat…
Long Live The Bat And The Cat, And May They One Day Finally Find The Time To Truly Be Together… Forever.
Batman and Catwoman are copyright: DC Comics.
“Otanjoubi Omedetou” to the big ‘N’ themselves – Nintendo! Initially founded in September of 1889 as ‘Nintendo Koppai’ by Fusajiro Yamauchi, they began their long and successful run as a playing card company making ‘Hanafuda’ cards (translation: flower cards) which are used to play a number of different card games in Japan.
In 1947, Fusajiro stepped down to be replaced by his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi who successfully moved the company’s (now many) products into the international market. In 1963, they changed their name to Nintendo Co. ltd and began to diversify from their playing card heritage with such unusual and somewhat outlandish things as – taxi services, television networks, and (yep, really) love hotels!!
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Ninty became the company we now know and love – the family friendly video game giant that has given us such wonderful gaming delights as the Legend of Zelda series, Metroid, and of course the Super Mario Bros games. They have successfully held their head up over the decades through stiff competition from major console manufacturing companies – Sega, Microsoft and Sony, and their current hybrid console – the Nintendo Switch is resolutely outselling the competition on a month to month basis. Happy Birthday Nintendo.
Mario, Zelda and Metroid are copyright: Nintendo.
That’s right Batfans, today charts a crucial chapter in everyone’s life… Batman Day! Join DC Comics and millions of fans worldwide in celebrating the world’s most popular and significant cowled crimefighter. From the printed page through cinematic excursions and video game adaptations, toys, collectables and onward, the dark and surly one has been a major part of many peoples lives for eight exquisite decades.
My first encounter with the Caped Crusader was when my Mum purchased me an old issue of Detective Comics from a local car boot sale when I was a mere six years old, this was not only the first time I had ever read a Batman comic, but was in fact the first time I had ever read a comic.
I remember reading the issue a dozen times over in one sitting and was eager to divert more of my attention to this amazing hitherto unseen world that contained fantastical characters who really captured my young burgeoning imagination in a way nothing else previously had, I have been fanatical of the Dark Knight since that time.
Detective Comics #466 marked my initial encounter with the masked manhunter, and told the tale of Batman’s clash with villain Signalman, not exactly an iconic member of Batman’s notorious rogues gallery it has to be said, but it was my very first brush with a Supervillain. This wonderfully nostalgic comic issue also introduced me to the fact that Batman shared a universe with other Superheroes, thanks to a very enjoyable back up story, that regaled the young me with the daring adventures of the Emerald Archer – Green Arrow.
So, a very happy Batman Day to you, my bodacious Bat brethren, and why not sound off in the comments below about your very first encounter with the Dark Knight, and what you will be doing to celebrate another year in the company of Gotham’s greatest grim and gritty guardian angel.
Batman is copyright: DC Comics
“Rorschach’s journal – 2019, ten years ago I starred in one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all time. In it the streets were extended gutters, and the gutters were full of critics, and when the drains finally scabbed over, the fans looked up and shouted save us… and Zack Snyder whispered “Yes”
A decade ago, the greatest piece of comic book fiction ever wrought was finally released on film by visual auteur Zack Snyder. His triumphant cinematic reworking of the supposedly un-filmable comic series from the eighties was hailed by the fans as a masterpiece of modern dystopian Superhero cinema, but received tepid reviews from critics (Mmmm, now this seems familiar)
(Warning: Spoilers ahoy)
The Watchmen limited comic series was released by DC Comics in 1986, it was a collaborative effort of three superstar British comic book creators, Writer Alan Moore, Artist Dave Gibbons and Artist/Colourist John Higgins. Moore originally posited to DC that he wanted to use their acquired Charlton Comics characters as the basis for the story (Blue Beetle, The Question, amongst others), but DC’s managing editor of the time Dick Giordano, persuaded Moore to create new characters instead, as the usage of DC’s now integrated (into the DC universe) Charlton heroes would have rendered them almost unusable in future timelines because of the direction they would have taken as a result of Moore’s suggested storyline.
Alan Moore is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic book authors of all time, aside from Watchmen, Moore has also introduced us to V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it is Watchmen that propelled Moore to the rank of numero uno in the highly competitive comic book market
Alan Moore’s writing often takes a dark and dystopian route through pre-existing tropes, subverting and twisting characters to fit into his alternate timelines. Watchmen is a satirical look at superheroes, that reflects the era it was written, be it through the politics of the time (80’s Britain was a particularly political hot-bed) or emerging trends and people’s apprehension of the future.
Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985, and follows masked vigilante Rorschach as he and other retired members of the Superteam – The Crimebusters, investigate the murder of one of their former colleagues – The Comedian. In Moore’s universe, costumed heroes first appeared in the 1940’s, and were a collection of former Police officers and disgruntled citizens who ‘masked up’ to take down an increasing number of criminals who had taken to wearing costumes to disguise themselves from recognition.
In the early eighties with the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, and with an outcry by the general populace against masked vigilantes, costumed heroes were outlawed, and most faded into retirement or (in the case of the Comedian and Dr Manhattan) went to work covertly for the Government. Rorschach though continued to fight crime unsanctioned, wanted by the Police he refused to abandon his principles and castigated his former team-mates for their cowardice in the face of the costumed vigilante ban.
After the murder of The Comedian, Rorschach manages to convince former team-mates, Nite-Owl II and Silk Spectre II to come out of retirement and help investigate what he believes is a conspiracy to kill masked heroes. Moore’s take on Superheroes is not for the faint of heart, it is a mature and sometimes shocking take on a popular medium, set in a totalitarian, regressive society consumed with fear and anxiety
Unto this premise comes visual mastermind director Zack Snyder, riding high on his successful conversion of Frank Miller’s “300” graphic novel, he set his sights on DC’s Watchmen, and in 2009 presented us with perfection in comic book to film form. His film mirrored its source material beautifully, condensing the story somewhat, but still supplying every nuance and important depth of plot that the original comic series conveyed.
His choice of actors were astonishingly close to their fictional selves, especially the casting of Jackie Earle-Haley as titular protagonist Rorschach. This film has ultimately become the cornerstone of Zack Snyder’s career, only equalled (in our humble opinion) by his take on DC’s Trinity in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which shares many similarities to Watchmen in both tone and visual style.
Ten years on and Watchmen is now more highly regarded amongst its former critics, still loved by the fans and is one of the first ‘R’ rated (18 rated here in the UK) Superhero movies, long before characters like Deadpool were ever conceived for the big screen. Snyder’s film is visually enthralling, deep and concise in its portrayal of the original classic series, as much a must watch now as it ever was, not only one of the greatest comic book movies of all time… but literally one of the greatest movies of all time!
Who Watches The Watchmen?… You Should!
I’ve been actively reading and collecting comic-books since I was a mere six years of age, my first ever encounter with a Superhero was through the dark and surly one himself – The Batman. From there I became a superfan of the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman, and eventually over the decades became a devoted stalwart of DC Comics and their menagerie of costume clad heroes and villains.
Not being content to just absorb the wonderfully fantastic stories wrought from the fevered minds of the various comic creators over the years, like most things I love in life, I was also heavily into the creative process behind the formation of the thrilling and titanic tales brought forth by said tomes… especially the diverse styles of the sundry artists who have regaled us with their wondrous takes on classic characters.
From an early age my favourite artists included such talented individuals as Neal Adams, George Perez, Brian Bolland, Norm Breyfogle, Adam Hughes, Phil Jimenez, Nicola Scott, Emanuel Luppachino and many, many too numerous to mention. Picking a favourite from these would always prove to be an insurmountable challenge… that was until I discovered the astonishing art of one Amanda Conner, from that point on anybody enquiring as to who my fave artist was, would not be able to shut me up as I enthused and rhapsodised over her awesome artwork. Quirky, zany, fun, and instantly recognisable… for me personally, Amanda will always be numero uno!
Amanda’s creative career began in the late 1980’s working for companies such as Archie Comics, Marvel and Harris’ Comics on their Vampirella series (which is where I first discovered her phenomenal oeuvre) But it was her work on the sundry female DC characters that led me to fall in love with her adroit artistic endeavours, especially her work with Starfire, Harley Quinn and Power Girl, which all remain (and always will) my absolute favourite versions of those iconic characters.
On May of this year at the Comic-Con Revolution event in California, Amanda was honoured as the recipient of the Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller award, a prestigious achievement given only to the most outstanding comic-book creators, who exemplify both Joe Kubert’s artistic talent and commitment to the nurturing of the comic-book community. And long may she reign…
DC Comics have a long and storied history of female characters, be that hero or villain, DC have been regaling their fans with fantastic tales of inspirational women overcoming adversity and empowering their readership for decades. Though the most obvious comes to mind, that of feminist icon and groundbreaking creation that is Wonder Woman, DC have, probably, the largest roster of super-females in their progressive catalogue than any other company… most of which have been in continuous publication, within their very own monthly series, for over seventy years.
Shea Fontana, the author behind DC Superhero Girls, Wonder Woman: Heart of the Amazon, and Batman Overdrive took to Twitter recently to announce her newest project for DC Comics – DC: Women Of Action. This hardcover, 176 page book celebrates the greatest female creations that have emerged from the Superhero publishing giant over the past eighty years. The beautifully illustrated tome profiles the most independent and popular female heroes and villains and the real life female authors and artists who have proven a fundamental and intrinsic reason behind their continued success.
The book will feature such paradigmatic characters as Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Black Canary, Starfire, Hawkgirl, Amanda Waller and many, many more exemplary creations that have graced us with their empowering presence over the decades, all wrapped up in a must buy volume which is available from your local comic book emporium from October 22nd.
Well, I know I’ll be purchasing this titanic tome when it releases in October, who else is with me, fellow fans of fantastic female fiction…
You know, we live in a world now so utterly dominated by social media and online critical presence, that nothing is really given a fair shake of the proverbial stick anymore. There used to be a time when the general populace at large would actually, actively make up their own minds on whether they liked or loathed something… by actually experiencing said thing! Now, well they just read and/or parrot what some random critic or stranger on the other end of this magical digital conveyance known as the internet is spouting. Critics and online meta-data collecting sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic are (in my eyes at least) doing a huge disservice to both the the hard work put in by film directors and the film industry itself, critics tend to now have the power of whether a movie succeeds or fails, not through how objectively good or bad it is, but often according to their own set criteria.
(May I just say, right off the bat, that even though I do review both comic-books and occasionally movies, I never, ever review things I have not enjoyed… can’t quite see the point in it, heaping negativity onto something that clearly wasn’t aimed at me but might have given other people pleasure seems, pointless.)
Neil Marshall’s most recent celluloid outing – Hellboy immediately springs to mind as a really rather splendid conversion of it’s original source material (a classic indie comic-series by artist/writer Mike Mignola)but one that is apparently, according to online film critics an uninspired remake of Guillermo Del Toro’s original Hellboy twosome (which admittedly were a fun time, mostly due to Ron Perlman’s presence) They are (in my humble opinion) incorrect, Marshall’s Hellboy take is fantastic, and in a lot of ways better (yep) than Del Toro’s own variant!
Director: Neil Marshall Writers: Mike Mignola and Andrew Cosby (screenplay) Actors: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane, and Thomas Haden Church.
British film director Neil Marshall has given the world such delicious delights as Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Centurion and Doomsday. He has also directed and produced a number of episodes of HBO’s televisual success – Game of Thrones. He is a huge fan of horror, fantasy and comic-books which made him the perfect choice as replacement for Del Toro. Marshall’s Hellboy is a gory, uber violent, and zany take on Mignola’s much beloved character, and a lot closer in tone and style to the original comic creation, with Mignola himself on-board as co-writer.
England 517 AD, and Blood Queen – Nimue (Milla Jovovich) has unleashed a cataclysmic plague upon the populace. Legendary King, Arthur and his faithful magician, Merlin thwart her nefarious plans by severing her limb from limb utilising the mythical blade Excalibur, and secrete her dismembered (yet still very much alive!) body across the British Isles.
Back in the present day, Hellboy (David Harbour) is mourning the accidental death of fellow BPRD agent and friend, Esteban Ruiz, who, dispatched to investigate a suspected vampire cult is bitten and himself becomes a creature of the night. Hellboy accidentally impales Ruiz, who with his dying breath informs Big Red that a prophesied end of days is close. Almost immediately after returning to BPRD headquarters, Hellboy is sent to England by his adopted human father, Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) to help an arcane Demon hunting group known as The Osiris Club in tracking down and killing three giants who are gleefully on a murderous and hungry rampage across jolly ol’ England. Elsewhere a hog faced faerie named Gruagach seeks the help of witch, Baba Yaga, in seeking out the arcane (de-limbed!) sorceress Nimue and once more unleash a dark plague of epidemic proportion upon the world.
Marshall’s Hellboy is a fun and fantastic rollick, a hyper stylised, gory, violent romp with one of comicdom’s most entertaining indie characters. As mentioned previously, I thoroughly enjoyed Ron Perlman as the titular character in Del Toro’s original duo of movies, but actor David Harbour (Stranger Things) is a damn fine replacement as Big Red. With a standout back up cast that includes Milla Jovovich hamming it up (in the best possible way) as Blood Queen Nimue, the always reliable Ian McShane as Hellboy’s adopted father and decent performances from Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim… not to mention a surprise appearance from (and yes, I was fanboying hard on this one) one Lobster Johnson, brilliantly brought to life by Thomas Haden Church. Hellboy is silly fun from gory beginning through to overtly violent conclusion, yet throughout has it’s tongue firmly embedded in it’s (red, right) cheek! Recommended.
By the golden girdle of Gaea, how in Tartarus did this one slip by me, my astounding Amazonian associates. ‘Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me’ has been sitting on my local comic-book emporium’s shelves for the past month and yours truly (quite possibly… the World’s biggest Wondy fan) failed to notice it’s resplendent release! So, I hereby revoke my honorary Amazon status and hang my head in shame… but before I do that, let us visit the golden shores of the paradise island known as Themyscira, and catch up with the wondrous one’s odyssey once more…
‘Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me’ was originally published in DC Comic’s – Justice League Giants #3 and 4, oversized volumes that were exclusive to the Walmart chain (which means they were never available here in the UK… boo!) These terrific tales of the Themysciran Titan are now available as an ongoing mini-series courtesy of the astonishing Amanda Conner (my fave artist) who co-writes Diana’s chronicles alongside her hubby, jaunty Jimmy Palmiotti… Amanda also takes on duty as cover artist, delivering her always astoundingly accomplished artwork, and as usual each and every cover image is a joy to behold.
Military pilot and Wonder Woman’s beau – Captain Steve Trevor is called in to test fly an experimental new aircraft, but his mission goes awry and he winds up lost in the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Diana, and best friend Etta Candy manage to track his perilous path to a mysterious and most certainly dangerous island, can they manage to liberate Steve from the clutches of this malefic, mythic Isle before it’s too late…
As always Conner and Palmiotti deliver an absorbing and amusing tale, they really are marvellous masters of mystery and mirth. Conner’s covers are beautifully rendered works of art, bright, colourful and full of emotion. Interior art duties are handled by Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair, two wonderful mainstays of the comic-book universe and as ever their renderings are exquisite. Highly Recommended.
One Cover To Rule Them All…
“Well hey there fellow fans of fantastic fiction, and welcome to another exhilarating episode of Comic Cover Of The Week. And this week we have a cornucopia of cool and collectively creative covers for your decidedly discerning delectation”
Before we begin, picture this scene… yours truly hasn’t darkened the doorsteps of my local comic book emporium for just over a month due to circumstances beyond my control (look, someone had to stop that rampaging horde of evil ninjas, right!?) So, there I am crossing the treasured threshold of my favourite purveyor of superheroic saga’s, when the proprietor looks me grimly in the eye – “been awhile Bruce” he proffers ” you may want to sit down, the shock of your pull list may take you back a bit” he continued with a wry glint in his eye, as he realises that he may be able to shut early even if I only buy a modicum of my haul. From my back pocket I could hear my, near sentient, wallet groan and sigh when the inevitable mountain of comics slammed down on the shop’s counter with such force, that the planet almost tipped off it’s axis and hurtled into the sun! There were quite a few, that’s for sure…
So let us begin by careening into a chasm containing a cavalcade of cleavage clad comic-covers starring the delightfully delectable and exquisitely enchanting – Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
I buy as many variants of the voluptuous vixen vamp’s monthly adventures as I can possibly seize my hands upon… I am a massive fan of the charming Cassandra Peterson alter ego… I mean, you can never have too much Elvira in your life!
Next up is this captivating Catwoman variant (actually based upon a golden age original – Batman#42 from 1947) by the stunning Stanley (Artgerm) Lau. Lau has become one of my absolute favourite cover artists over the years (joining other greats such as Amanda Conner, Jenny Frisson and Adam Hughes) Stanley is one of the best artists working in comics today as you can see for yourself with this rousing rendition of the classically costumed Selina Kyle (an extra bonus, as this is my personal most beloved costume of the calculatingly cool and capricious cat-burglar)