Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Christopher Sebela on Welcome Back

This is probably one of the most interesting new series from Boom Studios (who is actually impressing me immensely this year) to come out this summer. They've found newcomer Christopher Sebela and scooped him up with this awesome new mini series Welcome Back. This story features the war between two characters who are continually reincarnated to fight. Yet they are fighting a war and either one of them really remembers why. I'm very excited to have had the chance to ask him some questions about this exciting new series!

You can expect to see Welcome Back in store on August 19th.

TFQ: I really like the innovative take on reincarnation and this eternal struggle between characters. How did you develop this take on reincarnation for Welcome Back?

Chris: I tend to drift towards ideas that confuse the heck out of me, logistically speaking. I’m not sure where the germ of the idea came from, I think I came up with the phrase “reincarnation assassins” and I got really hung up on that, on exactly how that world work. And I couldn’t. I really wanted it to work but I couldn’t figure it out, so I put it away for a bit and when I came back to it, it wasn’t just about one person, but two, and they’re hunting each other over and over. Figuring out how reincarnation works was hard, because I like to have some foundation of “reality” in place with my ideas, even when reality doesn’t apply. So I did a lot of research on all the different theological takes on reincarnation, just to get a baseline and then I worked it out to where my take sort of gets along with the vague historical take on reincarnation. Except then I put a gun in reincarnation’s hand. Then I met Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and really figured out what it was all about. Stories are jerks like that, they can take forever to make themselves visible.

TFQ: The early images released for the series looks very futuristic. What time period do we begin in and will we ever see flashes of the previous lives lived by the main characters Mali and Tessa?

Chris: We start in the present, but we have eyes on the future and the past at the same time. We kinda have to keep all these plates spinning at once. I’m a real nerd for logic so I’ve made sure to go back and document each previous life that Mali and Tessa have lived, even marking down their birth and death years. Some of these past lives are a lot more shaded in than others, but we’ll definitely be seeing glimpses of when our two main characters have met before and how they got along then. (Spoiler: not well)

The future is kind of a third main character in the book. We never see it, but it’s always hanging over Mali and Tessa’s heads like a storm cloud. They’ve spent all this time growing up, becoming fully-formed individuals who (in Mali’s case) have a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds. Then they get the rug yanked out from under them and find out they’re fated for something much bigger, but much bleaker. They get their futures taken away from them, which is kind of a crappy tradeoff if you’ve just hit the point in your life where you think you might be starting to figure out what you want to do with it.

TFQ: The main characters of this series are female. It always interests me when male writers center their story on females antagonists/protagonists. Do you feel there is any challenge in writing a story from a female perspective?

Chris: No. I mean, the only challenge is the same challenge I face writing any characters, which is trying to make them feel real and human, like someone I want to follow and watch and learn more about. There’s nothing inherently difficult about writing women as opposed to men, anyone who says there is is either lying or just wrong. The hard part for me is writing a person into existence that I give a crap about. And for me, it’s easier to give a crap about someone who doesn’t look like me. I’m a white dude, I’ve been absorbing white dude-centric stories all my life and I have to live with myself 24/7, the last thing I want to do is saddle myself with living with a couple more of them in my fiction too. In a lot of ways, it frees things up for me, makes the creative process more fun and challenging. Looking outside myself prevents me from drifting into autopilot or default mode, which is easy to do sometimes, getting lost in the plot and ignoring your characters. I want to write about lives I haven’t lived and experiences I haven’t had. Otherwise it just feels like treading water to me.

TFQ: In Welcome Back we've got two characters who have been fighting a war with each other so long, they no longer really remember why. Is there any clear "good guy" in this story?

Chris: I think they’re both the good guys in a way. One of the things that helped me find my way into the story was thinking about that phrase that says ‘the villain is always the hero of their own story.’ That sort of tied up all the war stuff in a way I could process. In every war, each side thinks of themselves as the heroes, while the other side does their best to paint the other side as the villains and themselves as the heroes. The war that Mali and Tessa are in, it’s been going on since people were painting on cave walls, so each side believes down to their essence that they’re the good ones and the other side are the bad ones. Mali and Tessa both believe what they’re doing is right and honorable. That’s what they’ve been taught to believe. I think each soldier who signs up for a war does so believing they’re fighting for the side of good, especially since no one is completely privy to all the moving parts that go into a war breaking out. Occasionally there are clear-cut villains, people who relish being the bad guys, but I think most people in life are the good guys in their story, even the ones who lie, cheat, steal and exploit their way through life, they’re justified and heroic in their heads.

TFQ: How did you come to work on this story with Jonathan and what can you tell me about your process?

Chris: My editors at Boom, Eric Harburn and Chris Rosa, suggested Jonathan right away once we started working on the book and I’d already been admiring his stuff on his Black Mask book with Matt Miner, “Critical Hit.” Of course I said yes right away and we started talking pretty soon after that, about what we wanted to do on the book. I had a version of the story in my head, but then we were kicking ideas back and forth and this new version of it came bubbling out and we both got really excited about it. I wrote out character descriptions for Mali and Tessa to give to Jonathan and his character sketches got us excited all over again.

Process-wise, it’s deeply collaborative. We mostly talk on facebook messenger late at night. While I’m scripting, I’ll ask Jonathan what he thinks of this idea or that sequence, and he’ll come back with another idea or he’ll be into it. Then we talk about planning out a big action sequence in the next issue and what bands Mali and Tessa like and eventually it devolves into us sending stickers to each other. When I’m writing, I mostly try to not get in Jonathan’s way. He’s already taken my script pages and turned them into something I never had in mind when I wrote them, so I set the stage without too much micromanagement. Then when Jonathan has the script, I start on the next one, just fill up a couple pages in my notebook with ideas and outlines and overthinking, and I run a lot of that stuff by Jonathan too. Comics works best for me with a lot of collaboration with my co-creator, so I try to keep it a team effort for as much of the process as both of us can manage.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Royal Jelly: July 28th 2015

LOW #8



Special quick mention here of Batgirl Annual #3 illustrated by Bengal!! You best be grabbing it!! Other than that, it's a busy week for me! You might see slow updates from this week ! I shall try my best to get the reviews out! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hugo Broyler Kickstarter Fund!!

Hiya folks. I wanted to mention a Kickstarter that deserves some attention and funding. You know I don't get behind a whole lot of kickstarters, one because I'm poor and two because a lot of them just don't offer your anything for your investment which can typically be very large. Comics however are a worthy investment. Hugo Broyler 104 page graphic novel featuring the talent of various comics book artists including Bengal, Rafael Albuquerque, Djet, Matteo De Longis, Eduardo Risso, German Peralta, Fransisco Ruis Velasco and many more! The story is written by Mike Kennedy who describes the story as a fast-paced, future-noir.

If you're looking to invest in your next comic book kickstarter, as I know this is actually a thing for people, this is one Kickstarter with pledge packages from $1 to $500! Currently, they have met $3, 031 of their $7,500 goal! Of all the kickstarters I see and am asked to publicize, this is actually a really reasonable goal! Some other comic book projects are looking at upwards of ten thousand!

Check out all the details on the Kickstarter page itself RIGHT HERE!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Royal Jelly : July 22nd 2015

Archie vs Sharknado One Shot
E is for Extinction #2
Disciples #2
Hawkeye #4
Wolf #1


Spider-man & the X-Men

A smaller list from me for this week but the titles are none the less special. For first releases we have Wolf #1 from Image Comics. Ales Kott recently known for Material, The Surface and Zero also from Image Comics, is bringing us a new werewolf story! I'm excited to check it out. Should do that tonight actually ;) Review to come.

I fell in love with the first part of E for Extinction and will definitely be grabbing issue two! Get that tomorrow as well! It's a two parter so cherish it while you can. I'm fricken in love with this artwork. Seriously. Awesome.

You should also grab Spider-man & the X-men. I really enjoyed this series and perfect for that special comic loving kid in your life.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Silver Surfer #13 (The Last Days)

So my wonderful and favorite Marvel series has been penetrated by the inevitable touch of Secret Wars. Shhhhh don't worry... it's not terrible. Slott is still writing the story and I find he has a tremendous gentle hand at working in these Marvel crossovers (even if this one does result in the destruction of Marvel universe-as-we-know-it).

If you have been keeping up proper, then you know that the Silver Surfer and Dawn Greenwood kissed for the first time, at the end of issue 12. Oh calamity and drama has stricken our lovers and flung them into abstract existence as the universe implodes and disappears. You'll have to read the issue to find out but the end is nigh and our Silver Surfer universe will surely change. 

Not much is known to me about the state of Silver Surfer as a series to come. How will it survive the epic tear down of the current Marvel universe? I remember reading some time ago that there were no plans to terminate the series. Yet creators have been echoing that very thing since Secret Wars was announced, loudly proclaiming "my series will not die!!". Jason Latour himself to me that Spider-Gwen will survive the Secret Wars as there was no plans from Marvel to terminate the series. I only beg forgiveness that I have not had the time to reach out to Slott or Allred with the question of what is to become of our dearest Surfer. However if the words of Dawn Greenwood in this issue is any indication (and I feel this is a message from Slott to his fans), the future is alright and everyone will be fine!! 

So I leave you with that. Pick this one up, it's very important and as usual, visually stunning. Five Stars. You know I couldn't give it anything less. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Long Walk to Valhalla

This is author Adam Smith's first full length graphic novel and I hope it isn't his last. To have such a powerful voice in your first publication ? It's the type of book you'd expect from someone with more experience under their belt. I'm so excited to see what he does in the future. You're probably wondering what the hell this book is about? Allow me to give a brief summary from the back of the book:

"There are many things that Rory would like to forget about his childhood growing up in rural Arkansas. Sometimes, he'd even like to forget about Joe, his mentally challenged older brother, both his closet friend and biggest problem. But when a young girl named Sylvia shows up, claiming to be a Valkyrie sent by the Norse god Odin to deliver Rory to Valhalla, he will have to face the past he's tried to lock away. "

That doesn't even begin to describe the type of heart wrenching adventure you're about to get into when you pick up this book. Not to mention the beautiful and fantastical artwork bestowed upon the book from the inner eye of Matthew Fox. The illustrations are done in a black, and colored in tones of blue and a gorgeous royal blue highlighting throughout. Blue is actually associated with the heavens and wisdom so it is really the perfect color for this book.

I tried very hard to compare this book to something but couldn't think of a single graphic novel it reminded me of. It's so unique and so thoughtful in how it combines the mythical with reality and manages to make a story of inner turmoil so profound and up-lifting. When I initially picked it up I thought "well this is probably going to be a downer". After all, I know what Valhalla is. Yet for any sad plot points the overall experience reading the book left you with a very positive and warm feeling. Archaia really picked a gem when they signed up for publishing this one.

Long Walk to Valhalla is out tomorrow. I hope you'll check it out! FIVE STARS!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Royal Jelly: July 15th 2015

Empty Zone #2
The Fiction #2 (of 4)
Island #1
It Will All Hurt #2
Reanimator #4 (of 4)
Silver Surfer #13

The 6 Voyages Lone Sloane Vol 1 (of 3)

So obviously there's a very important book for me out this week. The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane by Phillippe Druillet is being released by Titan. They are releasing it in 3 volumes and of course the first one is out this week. A little background, the book hasn't been published in English since, 1991(I believe) but it was originally written and published in Europe in 1972. Phillippe Druillet is one of the artists responsible for Metal Hurlant (better known in North America as Heavy Metal Magazine) which is started with Moebius.  The only piece by him which I currently own is Lone Slaone Chaos so I'm very excited that Titan is making it possible for me to add the 6 Voyages to my personal collection.

In other news, Silver Surfer if chugging right on through the Secret Wars trauma. Very excited to read this months issue.

There is also a very exciting release from Brandon Graham. He;s teamed up with Pretty Deadly artist Emma Rios and together they are giving us a new magazine which showcases the work of new artists. It said to be an ongoing magazine and each issue will be the length of approximately three average comic book issues. Sounds exciting and as a huge fan of the both of them, I'll be grabbing it.

Last thing I want to mention is that you ensure you grab the last issue of the Reanimator! Super fun mini series about your favorite Mad Scientist. Well, he better be your favorite  :P

Friday, July 10, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Creators of Man vs Rock!

Hey all, something a bit different for a Friday. About a month ago I reviewed a crazy comedy called Man vs Rock. It was a really in-your-face- political comedy about man's struggles against their ultimate enemy... THE ROCK! (not the wrestler). Authors Victor DeTroy  and Kevin Bieber got together with talented illustrator Jared Lamp to bring the world this monster of a comic! I got to ask them some questions about the books. There are currently three volumes available! Check em out and check this out: 

TFQ: This story is so unique, what inspired it?

Kevin Bieber: Because of Obamacare, we had to take a geology class in order to get our driver's licenses back from the government. While we were in that class they spewed all sorts of nonsense about how dangerous it is to use Tinder while driving. I would expect that sort of drivel from a bullshit Ayn Rand philosophy class, but not a geology class that helps All-American oil companies like British Petroleum get rich and become pillars in the community!

Anyways, I started listening to those foolish teachers and stopped Tindering while driving. Then one night, there I was: driving just as they told me to: completely Tinder-sober, not swerving one bit, both hands on the wheel ... when all of the sudden an old cougar jumped in front of my car while she was Tindering. Normally I would be completely hammered and I would naturally swerve out of the way. But not this time... I was as dry as a nun in the Sahara desert. I drove in a straight line and I murdered that poor innocent old cougar. I spent the next 50 years of my life in solitary confinement. Luckily, I was able to find a friend that could help me escape; he gave me a rock hammer. I would slowly chisel away at the wall behind my poster. Each day I would pour one pocket worth of rubble into the yard. Eventually I was able to escape to the distant paradise of Buxton, Maine. There I built a cabin in the woods and started to put all the pieces together. From the geology class to the rock hammer... something wasn't right...

Then it dawned on me... what if our greatest enemy was right under our nose the whole time? What if the enemy was just "playing dead" and doing a really great job of convincing others it was inanimate? That's when I realized that I must warn the world about the terrible, stiff villain known as ... January Jones!

TFQ: The story seems to hinge on the same kind of comedy that drives a lot of black comedy where everyone is really, really stupid and/or crazy? Is that the intention here? Are all the characters insane?

Kevin: Like a rock's genitals, it is intentionally ambiguous. And are you saying that we're just like every other black comedy out there? Because if you are then ... THANK YOU! You see, here at Man vs. Rock, we believe that individuality is a dangerous thing, like marijuana or a marketplace with more than two comic book publishers. Remember kids, Konformity is Kewl!

As to our intentions, our main intention for Man vs. Rock is to pay off all our gambling debts before the sharks find us and take Victor's other ear.

TFQ: I really like this art style, can you tell me what inspires your artwork? 

Jared: In art school I did close studies on Peter Paul Rubens and Caravaggio, so I feel in love with anatomy, tissue, sinew, and this is an art form of extremes, so I can bend the characters into anything to match the comedy and derangement of the script.
TFQ: Are there any artists you look up to?

Bernie Wrightson, Frank Frazetta, Simon Bisley, pre-“Spawn”-era Todd McFarlane – anything from the 1970’s is cool. I’m just anti what’s "in" right now, the whole video game, Manga influence. I'm not knocking those artists, they do fantastic work, but I’m very pleased to be able to work with Victor and Kevin who are giving me creative carte blanche to do something different that goes against the grain of everything coming out in general. Viva Buck!

TFQ: How long has this story been in the making and what's next for Man vs Rock?

Kevin: Since the beginning of time, or at least since Donald Trump became a lock to be elected the next President of the United States. We wrote this book one day when we realized the quickest way to strike it rich was to write an independent comic book and, a dozen identity thefts later, we're still pinching ourselves.

We're really into small cons, so the next con Man vs. Rock will be at is something called San Diego Comic Con, at table H-10, where we'll be debuting Volume 4 (we also have all our merch online at ... we only accept payment in POGS though). If anyone even shows up at that con, we'll let you know.

After that, the next step for Man vs. Rock is to sell the rights to Michael Bay so that he can adapt it into a film that turns the rocks into giant robots and Man into a giant fleshlight. It has always been the glorious death we have envisioned for Man vs. Rock.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Strange Fruit #1 *SPOILERS*

This one seems mighty timely. With June 26th's ruling in the good 'ol US of A that has made same-sex marriage legal nation-wide, there's been a lot of hate on the confederate flag and with good reason. Unknown to many perhaps is that the actual history of the flag which was created and rejected as the national flag in 1861. The confederate flag was a recognized symbol of southern America and what else do we remember about southern America (besides sweet tea)?? Slavery.

Strange Fruit's focus however is on the Mississippi river in 1927 (not gay marriage) where many slaves are free but that doesn't mean things are peachy keen. Not by a long shot. The klan shows up to start lynching at the cusp of flood when something strange falls out of the sky. What or who, is it?

I'm a big fan of post American Civil War stories. America changed so much yet when I look at the timeline, how long it took for America to become "united", it really puts things into perspective. There's a lot of hate on America from Canadians. You ask anyone and they'll say "America is racist" but there's so much racism in our back yards too. Whenever I read stories about slavery, I get to thinking about how our nation (Canada) was founded. It wasn't really any better although so many consider it so. I mean, the soil we call Canada was stolen from many tribes of Aboriginal peoples now known as the First Nations. Anyway I'm suppose to be talking about a comic book. This is what happens when you read historical fiction.

So obviously this story isn't going to be 100% realistic, I mean some dude just fell from the sky. At least I think that's what happened? It's not totally clear to me.  What I can say is that the artwork is beautiful and THAT is realistic. It's like something you would see in a vintage add selling cigarettes or maybe Coca Cola. The script is bang on and keeps you turning the pages which is, in my opinion, what a script is suppose to. So many comics rely on the artwork these days. It's nice to see the dialogue stand on its own feet here.

All in all, I give it a solid four stars. I dunno where it's going but I'm going to find out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Royal Jelly: July 8th 2015

1872 #1
21st Century Tank Girl #2
The Amazing Spider-man: Renew Your Vows #2
Civil War #1
Constantine the Hellblazer  #2
Descender #5
Harrow County #3
Invader Zim #1
Negative Space #1
Providence #2
Saga #30
Shutter #13
Tomorrows #1
The Walking Dead #144

The Amazing Spider-man Vol 3

Creepy presents Alex Toth
The King in Yellow

Lots of goodies out tomorrow! Just a few things I want to mention:

Check out The Tomorrows #1!! Here's my review and my exclusive interview with writer Curt Pires. I really enjoyed this issue and I think you will too! There's only four issues so be sure you add it to your subscription!

Negative Space #1 is out and I was really impressed by this issue! This is another mini series you simply HAVE to get. Check out my exclusive interview with writer Ryan K. Lindsay.

Of course we got a lot of Marvel books out this week for the Secret Wars. You will the want to note that the third volume of the Amazing Spider-man is out this week!

I wanted to mention a very special hardcover that's come out. Busy man I.N.J. Culbard has illustrated Robert W. Chambers' classic The King in Yellow.  The book is published by Self Made Hero and has a mighty 144 pages. This is one I'm very excited to read!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Ryan K Lindsay on Negative Space!

I am very pleased to bring you this Q&A with Ryan K Lindsay on his new series for Dark Horse called Negative Space. What immediately attracted me to the series was the cover. OBVIOUSLY! Then I took notice of the names on the cover and was like WOAH! I like both these guys! I'm reading this now.  

I was really impressed with the character design of this book. Not only is the book visually unique but so are the characters. I am highly anticipating issue 2 and issue 1 isn't even out yet!
Issue 1 debut's this Wednesday, July 8th so you best be adding it to your pull list. 

So without further delay, here's the Q&A:

TFQ: This story almost reminded me of a much more sinister version of the Truman Show. Can you give me the synopsis in your own words?

Ryan K Lindsay: Guy Harris is a writer who sits down to pen his suicide note and gets writer's block. The poor bastard. He goes for a walk to clear his head and stumbles across a generations-long conspiracy involving the mining of emotional feelings and messed up emotion eating monsters from beneath the waves. Across 4 issues, this miniseries examines the reality of depression, the scary nature of mega-corporations and what they are truly capable of, and we do it all through a weird Cronenberg adapting Philip K Dick lens of warped reality and personal invasion.

TFQ: What inspired you to write this story?

RKL: I came up with the very first page, Guy at his desk, broken, empty, his suicide note wordless before him. I then started building a story around him by wondering why he wanted to commit suicide, why he couldn't, and the kicker was to imagine who might benefit from his note and how pissed they would be that he was stalling. From there, with discussion with Owen Gieni [series artist] and Daniel Chabon [series editor] we cooked up something we are all really proud of.

And I should also mention, just getting to write about men's mental health was something I found important to me as I see it go silent far too often. It's an insidious killer - I've known too many of victims - and to shine a little spotlight has been a writing experience full of growth for me.

TFQ: I'm a big fan of Manifest Destiny so I was really excited to see you joined forces with Owen for this one. Can you tell me how you got together to collaborate?

RKL: I've known Owen for years and we'd been hoping to line something up for just as long. Before I took this story to Dark Horse, Owen and I collaborated on a 2 page short and when I showed it to Chabon we knew we'd found our copilot. Now I can't imagine the story, and the characters, and the world, having been crated and gorgeously illustrated by anyone else.

TFQ: On the cover there's a very creepy plant monster, will we be seeing a lot of different monsters in this story from Owen?

Absolutely. One of the earliest things we did was work out the way these creatures work, and their biological system, as well as societal structure. We worked out more than we need but it means when they appear in panel they have purpose and their own logic.

There's some really cool stuff in issue #2 that Owen does with designs and such and the more I saw, the more I scripted some very cool and insanely crazy stuff moving forward.

TFQ: How do you feel about working with Dark Horse for this release? Is this your first series with the label?

RKL: This is my first series with Dark Horse and I'm obviously honored to be now among their ranks, but I also found the experience a real level up. Working closely with Chabon on the story was aces because he's a sharp mind and he brought some great twists into proceedings. I have also found Dark Horse immeasurably supportive of me and of this book so I'm very grateful for that. I'm a nobody so they have really put their support behind me and it's been such a gonzo trip.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Spire #1

I've been anticipating this book for quite some time. Jeff Stokely does a great job of promoting his work and my twitter and facebook new feeds were constantly displaying beautiful images from the book. Gentle reminders to pre-order your copy. I can't stress how important it is that you support your favorite creators by pre-ordering their issues. I know sometimes I forget too but it shows demand, and drives sales. Often, it determines whether something goes to print a second time and it shows the label that an artist or writer are in demand. So, show your support!

I really didn't know much about the series until I read it. I knew it was a fantasy based story but I didn't realize that it's main character is a lesbian. I like this. Often in comics, female characters who are homosexual are generally drawn for a male audience. They are sexual objects to the men who read comics. Stokely's illustrations of Sha make her feel real. She's not objectified and has an actual partner. Even the most intimate scene is real and not gratuitously showing girl on girl action as if it's some porno. This I very much appreciate.

The story is easy to follow. A monarch dies and the thrown's successor is a woman who is very upset at the news of a recent murder within the lower rungs of the city. I wish I could tell you a little more about how the cities class system works. I'm sure there will be further explanation over time.

There's going to be eight issues in this series and I will definitely be grabbing all of them. Add it to your sub list now! Five stars for one of the most beautiful issues I've seen this year.