Indie Cover Spotlight: Unicorn Isle #5

Since I kicked off the week with an 80s fantasy comic, I figured I’d stick to the theme, so here’s the cover to Unicorn Isle #5:


Cover art by Nicholas Koenig, published May 1987 by Apple Comics (issue 1 & 2 came out through WaRP Graphics). I know nothing about this series, though. And I have a feeling it never completed its planned 12-issue run.

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    Meet me at the Ohio River Festival of Books 9/20

    I will be a guest this Saturday, September 20 at the Ohio River Festival of Books, at the Big Sandy Convention Center in Huntington, WV ‎.

    There are programs throughout the week, though, including the Keynote event on Friday, September 19, at 6:30 p.m. with Marc Brown, author of the bestselling Arthur books, as well as the creator of the six-time Emmy Award–winning (with 17 nominations) PBS animated Arthur series. Featured authors will include Craig Johnson, S.G. Redling, Bethany Griffin, Anna Smucker, and many others.

    I will be presenting a panel titled “A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels” on Saturday, from 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

    Dara Naraghi

    The event is free to the public, and also features music and activities for kids. Be sure to check their website for the full schedule of panels, signing authors, and other events.

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      Splash Wednesday: J.H. Williams III, Walt Simonson, John Buscema

      So my friend Matt Kish has been posting some cool splash pages from older comics on his Facebook page lately. This reminded me of a weekly feature we used to have on my old Ferret Press blog called Splash Wednesday, which was originated by another fellow PANEL Collective member, Craig Bogart. Matt suggested I resurrect that feature on my blog.

      So here we are.

      Every Wednesday, I’ll feature a new splash page, plus one from the Ferret Press archives (we had 97 posts in that category, so I’ve got plenty of material!) And since this is the inaugural post in the new(ish) feature, I’m going to do you one better and throw in a 3rd page as well. Don’t ever say I did nuthin’ for ya!

      Kicking off the new stuff is the breathtaking art of J.H. Williams III, from Batwoman #16:


      Next up, a page contributed by the aforementioned Mr. Kish. This is a double-page splash from The Mighty Thor #380, the classic all-splash-page issue by the legendary Walt Simonson:


      And finally, here’s a classic Splash Wednesday page from May 5, 2010, with original commentary by Mr. Craig Bogart:

      A long while ago I commented on the overuse of splash pages to pad a book that is light on story. Most new comics I’ve seen have half a dozen full page pinup shots whose sole aim is to rob the reader of additional story, and no moment in a story is too mundane to get the full page treatment. While reading an older book the other day I was reminded that splash pages can be kinda cool if they’re used for an actual dramatic moment or to showcase an outstanding piece of artwork. So, I had the notion to start another weekly blog feature: Splash Wednesday.

      Our first entry is from the comic that got me started on this line of thinking: Thor # 237 by John Buscema. Behold Hercules averting disaster at Coney Island in the form of a falling ferris wheel.


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        Indie Cover Spotlight: Dragon Of The Valkyr #4

        Starting this week, the ICS feature will be moving to a Tue/Thr update schedule, so I can free up Wednesday for a new (old) feature. What could it be? Tune in tomorrow and find out!

        Today’s cover is from a black-and-white fantasy comic titled Dragon Of The Valkyr, published in the mid-80s by RAK Graphics:


        That’s the same publisher of these previously featured comics.

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          So Hollywood wants to make a movie from your comic book property

          I love behind-the-scenes type posts from pros. On his blog, British writer Pat Mills (co-creator of Marshal Law, amongst many others) talks about some of his misadventures in Hollywood. Here’s a snippet:

          “Then there was the boss of a media company that’s a household name who ‘definitely’ wanted to do a whole range of projects featuring my characters, including Marshal Law. They were ‘very, very serious’. This time there was ‘definitely no bullshit’. Lots of time-consuming meetings and presentations ensued. This was followed by sending me some really expensive and impressive state of the art gear. It would be relevant for the projects they had in mind for me. So that made me think, wow, they must be serious! Six months went by with no news and no response to my emails and I finally realised it was dead. But I think I won on that one. I got a good price for all that gear at Cash Converters.”


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            Indie Cover Spotlight: Heart of Empire #1

            Another Dark Horse Comics in the spotlight today, this time the amazingly talented and under-appreciated cartoonist, Bryan Talbot’s Heart of Empire: The Legacy of Luther Arkwright.


            Published in 1999, this was a sequel to Talbot’s The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, originally published in Englad in 1987 by Valkyrie Press, and later reprinted by Dark Horse in 1990.

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              Want to be an editor for Vertigo?

              If you’ve ever wondered what the qualifications are for an editor at DC/Vertigo, here you go:

              DC Entertainment – Burbank, CA
              DC Comics seeks an Editor for the Editorial-Vertigo department. Manages a line of editorial product within the Vertigo imprint.

              Performs full editorial function for a minimum of 4 monthly titles.
              Manages the creative process from conception through publication. Ensures that schedules and budgets are met and product quality is at or above Vertigo’s standards. Seeks ways to keep ongoing series fresh and exciting.
              Identifies and develops new editorial products for Vertigo.
              Identifies potential new talent and maintains relationships with current talent.
              Ensures that other DCE staff members have the materials required to maximize service to the product.
              Writes solicitation copy for monthly publications
              Supervise and develop a junior staff member.
              Performs other related duties as assigned.

              JOB REQUIREMENTS
              BA/BS degree in English, Journalism or Communications preferred.
              3-5 years editorial experience, comic books/graphic novels preferred.
              Ability to manage a creative team.
              Knowledge of comic book industry strongly preferred.
              Knowledge of art (ability to discuss composition, design, etc…) required.
              Copyediting and proofreading skills preferred.
              Ability to meet deadlines required.
              Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing required.
              Ability for some light travel strongly preferred.
              Must have the ability to communicate effectively and tactfully with managers and other levels of personnel.
              Must have the ability to pay close attention to details.
              Must have the ability to organize.
              Must have the ability to work well under time constraints.
              Must have the ability to handle multiple tasks.
              Must have the ability to meet deadlines, manage multiple project elements simultaneously.
              MAC /PC proficiency required.
              Domestic travel up to 5%.

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                Indie Cover Spotlight: The Blue Lily #2

                An unknown mini-series from Dark Horse Comics, back in 1993: The Blue Lily.


                Created, written, and drawn by Angus McKie, featuring the character Rusty Spade, Metaphysical Metal Detective. Each issue was 48 pages, in the “prestige format”. I remember enjoying the heck out of it, but if memory serves me right, it was supposed to be a 4 issue series, but only 2 issues were ever published.

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                  Review: The Losers (movie)

                  Zoe Saldana!
                  Chris Evans!
                  Idris Elba!
                  Jeffrey Dean Morgan!

                  All good actors. All very likeable and popular actors. None of them a stranger to genre films, especially comic book-based ones. All doing a good job with the script they were handed.

                  And therein lies the problem. It’s a terrible script, full of suck.

                  Thank goodness I borrowed this film from the library, because while I ended up wasting my time, at least I didn’t waste any money on it. Based on the Vertigo series of the same name by Andy Diggle and Jock, it was a flop at the theaters, and I’m here to tell you there’s a good reason for it.

                  It sucks.

                  And not in that “they changed it so much from the source material” way that usually makes comic nerds upset. No, in the “wholly unoriginal, cliche-filled turd” way.

                  God, what a horrible waste of money and talent. If you were going to make a shitty mid-80s action flick with bullshit macho dialogue, an unbelievably over-the-top evil bad guy, and an ending that’s the biggest “f*** you” to the audience who invested their money and time in this thing, why even waste a penny “optioning” a property? Just make your shitty movie, call it Extreme Patriots or Double Cross in Bolivia or Gunfight in L.A., release it straight to DVD, and save yourself the embarrassment, not to mention about $20 million off the budget.


                  I should have stopped watching, when in the first 20 minutes of the movie, the bad guy, CIA insider “Max”, proves he’s indeed bad by a) asking our CIA covert ops protagonists go ahead with the bombing of a drug dealer’s compound, even after they find out he has 25 innocent kids on the premises, b) having a US jet fighter shoot down a US helicopter evacuating said 25 innocent children, killing them all, and c) thinking he’s killed our heroes, who have been serving their country selflessly. But wait, there’s more! As if that wasn’t enough to convince you he’s really, really bad, there’s a scene where he’s walking on a beach, and has an attractive female assistant carrying an umbrella to shade him from the sun. But when a gust of wind blows the umbrella away for just a split second, and the assistant apologizes instantly, Max grabs a gun and shoots her! Because, you see, he’s a bad guy. A real bad guy.

                  But wait, there’s even more! So the entire point of the movie is that our heroes are on a quest for revenge, trying to expose Max’s slimy, evil ways, and restoring their good names so they can get their old lives back, but…

                  SPOILER ALERT (not that you care)

                  Max gets away in the end. There is no closure. It’s just one huge, open-ended, “let’s set it up for a sequel” ending.

                  As in: “f*** you, audience, for expecting a resolution.”

                  So in that same spirit, a hearty f*** you to Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, who wrote the bullshit screenplay for this movie, and all the assholes involved in greenlighting and making this movie.

                  What a complete waste.

                  (A version of this review appeared on my old Ferret Press blog on January 12, 2011)

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                    Indie Cover Spotlight: Lost Heroes #0

                    Wow, hard to believe, but this is the 200th installment of ICS! Be sure to check the archives for all the previously featured covers.

                    So I had almost forgotten about this rather strange artifact of the late 90s, which I have in my longboxes somewhere: Lost Heroes.


                    Created, written, and drawn by Rob Prior, and published in 1998 by Davdez Arts (which, surprisingly, are still around, though not, it seems, as an active comic book publisher). It was a modern fantasy-adventure series about…honestly, I don’t remember at all. It ran for 5 issues (including the #0) before publications ceased.

                    And yes, that’s Mark Hammill and Julie Strain on the cover. In fact, the book’s whole schtick was that all the characters’ looks were based on the likenesses of actors, used with permission. Who else “starred” in Lost Heroes?

                    • Kevin Eastman (TMNT)
                    • Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
                    • Jason Carter (Babylon 5)
                    • Walter Koenig (that famous TV sci-fi series, and Babylon 5)
                    • Peter Jurasik (Babylon 5)
                    • Bill Mumy (that old TV sci-fi series, and Babylon 5)
                    • Richard Biggs (Babylon 5)

                    …and more.

                    Hey, I’m detecting a pattern here…what TV show ended in 1998, leaving a whole bunch of actors with plenty of free time on their hands? Oh, right, Babylon 5.


                    Now I want to dig out my back issues and re-visit the series…

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