A magickal Halloween

A few weeks ago I wrote about some new releases from Image Comics; this one made it just in time for Halloween. Black Magick is a dark fantasy series about Rowan Black, a detective for Portsmouth PD who’s also secretly a witch. In this first issue, Detective Black finds herself in the middle of a hostage taking orchestrated by a perpetrator who seems to know all about her dual identity.

DSC00207

Black Magick #1 by writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott. Cover A by Scott, magazine cover by Rick Burchett, cover B by Jill Thompson.

I really like it when Image releases magazine-sized issues. It’s always a treat to read comics in large formats – even more so with Scott’s art.

DSC00214

DSC00210

The illustrations are mostly done in grayscale, which sets the tone very effectively. The use of color in some panels makes the scenes more intense and just really eye-catching.

DSC00215

Story-wise, the first issue sets up the mythos well, revealing just enough about the protagonist without giving too much away. You get a good sense of the type of world in which the narrative exists, and the writer teased just enough to make you feel that something big is coming. And, again, the art is simply magnificent. Anybody who’s a fan of magic should definitely follow this series. This might be the best we’ve seen from Rucka and Scott, and I can’t wait for issue #2.

Saturday night reading list

This weekend I’ll be checking out three new releases from Image Comics. Over the past couple of years, Image has been silently taking over my comic book reading list with their catchy, unique and oftentimes over-the-top serials. If you’re interested in trying out graphic novels but feel like the superhero genre isn’t quite your thing, I suggest you check out their titles. Here’s what I picked up.

Saints

DSC00158

Saints #1 by writer Sean Lewis and artist Benjamin Mackey.

“Blaise, Lucy, and Sebastian discover a Holy War is erupting and they, unwittingly, are the next generation of Saints poised to fight for a heaven that God has abandoned.”

From Under Mountains

DSC00157

From Under Mountains #1 by writers Claire Gibson and Marian Churchland. Art by Sloane Leong.

“In the first issue of this new fantasy series, old feuds and new monsters rise up to haunt the isolated northern fortress of Karsgate.”

Paper Girls

DSC00155

Paper Girls #1 by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artists Cliff Chang and Matt Wilson.

“In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure.”

Check out more from Image Comics here: https://imagecomics.com/comics/series

Halloween in June

I’ve been picking up a lot of horror books lately – both graphic novels and classics. Here are some of the titles I read last month.

Archie Horror

You read that right. Archie as in Archie Andrews. As in Betty and Veronica. As in Jughead, Reggie, Moose, Midge and the rest of the Riverdale crew. Some very creative minds at Archie Comics got together and launched the imprint Archie Horror. Its first title, Afterlife with Archie, debuted in 2013 with Escape from Riverdale, a five-issue story arc. In the series, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla gives the childhood favorite a fresh take as they pit Archie and the gang against flesh-eating zombies – And it’s brilliant.

DSC00114

The first four issues of Afterlife with Archie in over-sized magazine format.

Also released under the Archie Horror franchise is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Written also by Aguirre-Sacasa, and this time with artists Robert Hack and Jack Morelli, the series gives another childhood icon a dark makeover. How dark? Witch covens and devil worship…But with teenage/high school issues. Unfortunately the series was delayed a few months so it’s only on the third issue of its first story arc. Each issue, however, has so far delivered solid content, art and story-wise. Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

DSC00117

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, issues 1-3.

Dracula

And here’s my sixth novel for the year. I tell you, no movie can ever capture how good this book is. Bram Stoker’s Dracula has so many things going for it – mystery, adventure, dark fantasy.

drac

A leather-bound copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Cover art by Jessica Hische.

This is horror done right. I like it when the author throws a veil over the monster; You can guess what it is through the silhouette but you won’t know what it really is until the veil comes off. And that’s what’s so good about this book. You get bits and pieces at first and then Stoker reveals the true nature of Count Dracula at just the right moment. Things only get interesting from there and before you know it, you’ve been taken for a ride. Truly a must-read for horror fans.

What’s changed, what’s to come

Hey guys!

It’s been over a year since I last wrote here. If you’ve been following my blog you might have noticed some significant changes on my site. I initially set up this blog to showcase my comic book collection and to share my hobby with the rest of the world. Little did i know then that my passion for reading would grow into what it is now. I’m still a huge fan of the comic book genre and I will continue to publish posts on that subject. But on top of that, I’ll also be talking about novels, both classic and current.

If you want to read about how I got hooked on pretty much every form of written fiction over the past year and a half, click here. In the meantime, here’s a preview of some of the books I’ll be featuring in the coming weeks. Talk to you soon.

FullSizeRender

The Brave and the Bold

???????????????????????????????

In 1955, DC launched an ongoing series entitled The Brave and the Bold. It originally featured done-in-one stories of varying heroes from issue to issue, and eventually became a vehicle for experimenting with new character ideas through team-ups. Its most notable issue – The Brave and the Bold #28 – brought together, for the first time, the world’s greatest superheroes: the Justice League. The series was quite successful, running for almost three decades and producing 200 issues of odd pairings and crazy adventures.

From my collection: The Brave and the Bold #99 (Nov. 1971), where Batman gets possessed by an evil spirit and the Flash comes in to save the day.

Hot n’ Cold

 

IMG_1883

While supervillains have become a staple in today’s comic books, it wasn’t until the Silver Age (mid 1950’s-late 1960’s) that readers saw a boom in their creation. Golden Age comic book stories (late 1930’s-mid 1950’s) were mostly characterized by conflicts between the superhero and everyday bad guys such as bank robbers, mobsters, common thugs, crooked politicians, and – perhaps most notable for that era – the Nazis.

With a newly revamped Flash that debuted in Showcase #4 (Aug. 1956), Carmine Infantino and his crew proceeded to introduce an array of supervillains to pit against the Crimson Comet. Showcase #8 (Apr. 1957), Barry Allen’s second appearance, gave birth to one of the Flash’s most prominent rogues: Captain Cold. But the hero in red wouldn’t be the Captain’s only rival.

Making his first appearance in Flash #140 (Sep. 1963) is Mick Rory, a.k.a. Heat Wave. In the story, the two criminals initially hit it off as Heat Wave helped Captain Cold escape with his loot by attacking the Flash just as the icy criminal was about to get caught. However, things quickly turned sour between the two. They found themselves at odds with each other after a short conversation revealed they were after the same girl – a TV celebrity widely known by her stage name, Dream Girl.

This was the beginning of a rivalry that has so far lasted for half a century. Although the two supervillains belong to the same super group (fondly called the Rogues), readers still find them constantly butting heads over issues such as who should be the leader of the gang or whose fault it was that the job didn’t go as planned and so much more. This volatile relationship caused by their constant bickering has created a unique dynamic among the villains of the Flash mythos, and has kept its readers entertained through several decades.

From my collection: The Flash #140 (Sep. 1963), Heat Wave’s first appearance – one of my favorite Silver Age stories and cover art.

It’s a race!

It's a race!

Who’s faster? Superman or the Flash?

This has been the subject of so many debates over several decades of comic book history. Nowadays, it’s quite established that the Flash has earned the title “Fastest Man Alive” (perhaps most decisively in June 2009’s Flash Rebirth #3). But back in the 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s, people could only guess. It wasn’t until June of 1967 in Superman #199 when comic book fans finally got to see the Man of Steel and the Scarlet Speedster in a showdown to see who’s the fastest.

Needless to say, it was a big hit. And having their first two races end in a draw only captivated readers even more. In the decades that followed, Superman would go on to race not only Barry Allen, but also fellow Flashes Jay Garrick and Wally West. Most recently, sidekicks Superboy and Kid Flash raced for the very first time in Superboy #5 (Mar. 2011), proving that comic book fans still appreciate a good old-fashioned high-speed throwdown.

From my collection: Superman and Flash race for the second time in The Flash #175 (Oct. 1967).