Welcome!

It looks like 2014 is beginning in earnest this week. We've got three All-New Marvel NOW! re-launches, the beginning of zero issues at Valiant, the return of the Gold Key heroes and, of course, a couple of hundred other titles to talk about.

So let's get to it!

THE CAPTAIN'S PICKS

APOCALYPSE AL #1 (of 4)

Story J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI

Art SID KOTIAN & BILL FARMER

Cover A SID KOTIAN & BILL FARMER

Cover B RYAN SOOK

36 PAGES / FC / M / $2.99

In 2013 MTV Geek announced plans to publish a new four-part miniseries entitled THE ADVENTURES OF APOCALYPSE AL, written by J. Michael Straczynski (SIDEKICK, TEN GRAND) and drawn by Sid Kotian (TWILIGHT GUARDIAN), with colors by Bill Farmer (EPOCH). The series follows the action-packed, fast-paced, surreal, and comically strange tale of Allison Carter, a private investigator whose beat is the end of the world ... or, more precisely, preventing same. When MTV Geek closed its doors in October, imperiling the project, Joe’s Comics and Studio JMS leapt in to reacquire the material with the assistance of MTV’s Tom Akel.

Consequently, in February 2014, THE ADVENTURES OF APOCALYPSE AL debuts from Joe’s Comics with an oversized first issue containing 30 pages of original story, unbroken by advertisements, and accompanied by an audio dramatization that has become the trademark of Joe’s Comics. All four issues — 107 pages in all — are written, drawn and inked, guaranteeing that they will come out on time. In addition to the covers by Sid Kotian, covers will be provided by Francesco Francavilla and the legendary John Romita Jr. This marks the first time Romita and Straczynski have worked together since their celebrated run on The Amazing Spider-Man.

When a mysterious figure gets his hands on the Book of Keys, whose secrets can cause the destruction of the world, Allison Carter is the only one who can stop him. Her journey takes her through a world populated by zombie cops, machine-gun toting imps, techno-wizards, closet trolls, demonic theme parks, other dimensions, Ultimate Darkness and an undead ex-boyfriend.

“After doing three titles about demons, despair and death, more or less in that order, this is the first title from Joe’s Comics that’s about sheer, unadulterated fun,” said Straczynski. “It’s light-hearted and funny, its heart is in the right place, the action never stops and it features a smart, strong hero who has a habit of saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the right moment. If you liked Ghostbusters and Men in Black, this is the book for you.”

India-based artist Sid Kotian is a fast-rising star in the comics field, having worked on such titles as Hawken and Twilight Guardian. “His work on The Adventures of Apocalypse Al is some of his most stunning to date,” Straczynski said. “His work has a modern, fresh and fluid look; it’s just a beautiful book. We were so knocked out by his work on Al that we hired him to do the art for DREAM POLICE, a twelve-part maxiseries coming out from Joe’s Comics later in 2014.”

“Joe’s script for Apocalypse Al is a balance of noir, humor, horror and just the right amount of serious moments at the right spot,” said Kotian. “It was challenging trying to match the visuals to the soul of the story. I don’t think I’ve ever redrawn so many pages trying to do just that. I had a great time drawing it though and I'm sure the fans will love it.”

“With Apocalypse Al Joe blends a supernatural adventure story with a pulp sensibility crafted around a character who is one part Indiana Jones and one part Ellen Ripley. Allison Carter is the take charge, fast talking action heroine with a sharp tongue and nerves of steel fans have been waiting for,” said Phil Smith, Production Editor.

While most of the major comics companies are shortening their titles, each issue of THE ADVENTURES OF APOCALYPSE AL is oversized, giving readers more story and more bang for the buck at the same price as a regular issue. Issue one has 30 pages of story; issue two, 28 pages of story; issue three, 28 pages of story; and issue four, 21 pages of story plus additional pages of bonus features.

For information, updates and more go to www.imagecomics.com and www.studiojms.com.

Legionnaires familiar with the Captain's tastes know that he's not currently the biggest fan of J. Michael Straczynski's work. But 'twas not always so.

Back in the dim, dark days of the late 1990s, JMS launched an imprint at Image called "Joe's Comics." It only lasted about seven years before Straczynski and Image had a falling out, but in the meantime I quite enjoyed two titles, Midnight Nation and Rising Stars. Both fell on hard times toward the end, but in the beginning they seemed like fresh takes on tired genres. So I know that the work of JMS -- despite such disappointments as "Sins Past" and "Grounded" -- is sometimes something I will enjoy.

So it is with that hope that I approach Apocalypse Al. I don't recall humor being a Straczynski strong suit, but the set-up -- which looks kinda like Planetary after a few drinks -- seems remarkably light-hearted and potentially entertaining.

 

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG: ARCHER #0

Written by FRED VAN LENTE

Art by PERE PEREZ

Cover by CLAYTON HENRY

Pullbox Exclusive Variant by JOE EISMA

Variant Cover by ANDY KUHN

$3.99/T+/32 pgs.

Valiant is proud to present an advance preview of Archer & Armstrong: Archer #0 – an all-new jumping-on point for the smash hit series that IGN calls "the most ridiculously fun comic on the stands." Start reading here on February 5th as Valiant superstars Fred Van Lente and Pere Perez reveal the never-before-told truth behind Valiant's very own boy(ish) wonder – the incomparable Obadiah Archer!

Who is Archer, where did he come from, and how can he do the incredible things that he can do? (Which is everything, remember?) Get ready to learn the startling secret of Archer’s origins with an exciting look into the classified archives of Project Rising Spirit with an all-new starting point, perfect for new readers and longtime fans alike.

Then, discover Valiant's next wave of breakout characters with three more standalone zero issues from some of the brightest talents in comics today in Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps: H.A.R.D. Corps #0, Quantum and Woody: The Goat #0 and Harbinger: Bleeding Monk #0!

For more information on Archer & Armstrong and the rest of the Valiant Universe, visit Valiant on Facebook, on Twitter, and at ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit Valiant.CinderBlock.com.

This looks like fun, and it also looks like it will inform the ongoing series, which I enjoy. So, yay!

"[The] Archer #0 story is fairly dark and grim, because it involves Archer’s mind-numbingly horrible childhood," writer Fred Van Lente told Newsarama in an interview. "It’s a breather in the sense of less things explode and there are less crowd scenes than “Sect Civil War,” but I think on an emotional level and a character level we maintain the same steamroller pace."

BLACK WIDOW #3

NATHAN EDMONDSON (W)

PHIL NOTO (A/C)

Variant Cover by TBA

32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

The Finely Woven Thread - PART 3: “FOLIAGE”

• She’s the kind of woman you call when you need to escape from a South American prison.

• Don’t miss the book everyone is talking about (and it isn’t even out yet!)

You are all buying this series, in order to support my dream of a successful Black Widow ongoing, right? RIGHT? Don't make me turn this car around, young man!

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT VOL 1 TP

Joshua Williamson (W)

Fernando Dagnino, Victor Ibáñez, Pere Pérez, Roger Robinson (A)

Ego (C)

Felipe Massafera (Cover)

FC, 120 pages, $14.99

TP, 7’’ x 10’’

In the forties, he was an American hero, a daredevil fighter pilot, a technological genius . . . a superhero. Since he rifled out of the Bermuda Triangle and into the present day, Captain Midnight has been labeled a threat to homeland security. Can Captain Midnight survive in the modern world, with the US government on his heels and an old enemy out for revenge?! Collects Captain Midnight #1-#3, Captain Midnight #0, and the Captain Midnight Free Comic Book Day story.

• Written by Joshua Williamson (Masks and Mobsters, Ghosted)!

I didn't pick this up right away, given that "World War II hero in the present day!" is a theme that has been beaten to death (not only Captain America, but Doctor Tomorrow, The Twelve, Major Glory, the list goes on). But, as always, the crucial element is execution, so I'm going to pick this up to see how they're doing. (Plus, I'm in the middle of Dark Horse's Golden Age Captain Midnight Fights the Nazis collection, and a comparison will be fun.)

Bonus! The Baron chimed in on this topic as well: "It's a shame the Old Man isn't still around to see this. He was a big fan of Captain Midnight's radio show back in caveman times. I wonder what he'd think to know that his old hero is still being re-visited today?"

My guess? "You kids get off the lawn!" Oh, wait, that was my dad.

LOBSTER JOHNSON: GET THE LOBSTER #1 (of 5)

Celebrating 20 Years of Hellboy!

Mike Mignola, John Arcudi (W)

Tonci Zonjic (A/Cover)

Dave Stewart (C)

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

A Manhattan sporting event goes terribly wrong as the ref is killed in front of a live audience by two crazed — and seemingly bulletproof — wrestlers. Who is behind this new reign of terror?

“The necessary thrills to justify every cent spent on this comic.” — Comic Book Resources

There is absolutely no reason for the entirely derivative Lobster Johnson to exist, or for me to enjoy him so much. But I do. If you're like me, or just want to be like me (and who wouldn't?) here's the chance to jump in the ground floor of a new Lobster Johnson adventure.

LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD #1

Written by AL EWING

Art by LEE GARBETT

Cover by JENNY FRISON

Variant Covers by FRANK CHO

Animal Variant by MIKE DEL MUNDO

32 PGS./Rated T+…$2.99

Old God - New Trickster!

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD #1 from the spellbinding creative team of Al Ewing (Mighty Avengers) and Lee Garbett (X-O Manowar, Batgirl). LOKI is back and craftier than ever as the All-Mother’s secret weapon against Asgardia’s strangest threats. With his serpent’s tongue, debonair charm, and taste for the uncanny, there’s no assignment Loki won’t take—including the untimely stabbing of THOR! The surprises only start here for the Prince of Lies, as the most conniving corners of the Marvel Universe are blown open this February in LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD #1!

Would we lie to you? This is LOKI, true believer -- we’re lying to you RIGHT NOW!

That last line would have sold me on this, even if I wasn't inclined to get it anyway after Kieron Gillen's masterful run on Journey into Mystery showed me how much fun Loki could be. If this is half as good as JiM, then it's worth the money.

 

MS. MARVEL #1

Written by G. WILLOW WILSON

Art by ADRIAN ALPHONA

Cover by SARA PICHELLI

Variant Covers by ART ADAMS & JAMIE MCKELVIE

Design Variant also Available

32 PGS./Rated T+…$2.99

Ms. Marvel will center on 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Muslim-American teenager living in Jersey City, New Jersey. Like any teenager, all of her opportunities are in front her and she is full of potential, but her parents’ high expectations come with tons of pressure and has led Kamala to carve out a future that she has little interest in.

"At her core, Kamala is just a 16-year-old girl, exploring the many facets of her identity when she is suddenly bestowed with super-human powers that send her on the adventure of a lifetime,” says Marvel Comics Editor In Chief Axel Alonso.

The series, and its central character, are brought to life by an all-star creative team, led by acclaimed novelist and multi-Eisner nominee, G. Willow Wilson (Air, Mystic, Alif The Unseen). Her writings about modern religion have appeared in such outlets as New York Times’Magazine and The Atlantic. Critically-acclaimed artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force) brings his vivid artistry to the project capturing the vibrantly rich and kinetic world in which Kamala lives.

Series editor Sana Amanat states, “The inspiration for the new Ms. Marvel series stemmed out of a desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective and yet, this story isn’t about what it means to be a Muslim, Pakistani or American. Those are just cultural touchstones that reflect the ever changing world we live in today. This is ultimately a tale about what it means to be young, lost amid the expectations bestowed upon you, and what happens when you get to choose.”

Writer, G. Willow Wilson: “I wanted Ms. Marvel to be true to life, something real people could relate to, particularly young women. High school was a very vivid time in my life, so I drew heavily on those experiences -- impending adulthood, dealing with school, emotionally charged friendships that are such a huge part of being a teenager.” Willow continues, “It's for all the geek girls out there, and everybody else who's ever looked at life from the fringe.”

For more on Ms. Marvel & All-New Marvel NOW!, please visit now.marvel.com and join in the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #MsMarvel.

I have to support this on principle, given that Muslims aren't very popular in a lot of places in America, and female-starring solo titles don't usually sell well, either. That's two strikes against the book before it ever hits the stands, which means Marvel's editors are very brave, or that they need to get out of New York City once in a while.

But aside from principle, I'm genuinely curious how this will handled. I've read G. Willow Wilson's work before, which sometimes works for me and sometimes doesn't. I'm hoping the new Ms. Marvel will be as much the former and as little of the latter as possible.

THE PUNISHER #1

Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON

Art & Cover by MITCH GERADS

Variant Cover by SALVADOR LAROCCA

Animal Variant by CHRIS SAMNEE and Young Variant
by SKOTTIE YOUNG Also Available!

Blank Variant Also Available

32 PGS. / Parental Advisory …$3.99

Frank Castle’s one-man-war on crime continues in an all-new THE PUNISHER #1 – from the explosive creative team of Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads! For years, the Punisher has called New York City his home – keeping a watchful eye on the city through the sight of a gun. But when a lead on a major source of drugs, weapons, and more leads Frank out west – he sets his sights on Los Angeles. And the City of Angels isn’t ready for a devil like the Punisher! But not everything is as it appears, and Frank will soon find himself toe-to-toe with a highly trained military strike force known only as the 131! Who are the mysterious 131? And why are they out for the Punisher’s head? Find out when the high-octane new series kicks off this February in THE PUNISHER #1!

It took me years to start reading The Punisher regularly. Actually, it took Garth Ennis, because up to that point he wrote The Punisher  I found the character distasteful and was discouraged to see the writers altering characters to keep Spider-Man and company from throwing Frank's mass-murdering @$$ in jail.

But thanks to Ennis I look at the character a little differently, more like Judge Dredd than a straight-up superhero title. He's still a mass-murdering psychopath, but now I see a glimmer of self-parody, and can enjoy the book thataway. And, yes, there's a little part of me that enjoys The Punisher as a revenge fantasy, too -- I'm only human.

So I'll probably order this new Punisher title some time in trade when the I'm in just the right mood and near a computer. And for those of you who enjoy the character straight up without hems and haws, here ya go!

TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #1

Writer: Greg Pak

Art: Mirko Colak

Cover: Bart Sears

Variant cover by Jae Lee

Variant blank cover

Variant store-name cover by Robert Castro

Rating: Teen + / 32 pages / $3.99

THE GOLD KEY UNIVERSE BEGINS HERE! Classic Characters by some of Comics Hottest Creators! - Magnus, Solar, Turok and Dr. Spektor! Dynamite is proud to present an all-new adventure ongoing from superstar GREG PAK (Batman/Superman, World War Hulk) and incredible artist MIRKO COLAK (Red Skull: Incarnate, Conan)! Shunned from his tribe, a young Native American named Turok fights to survive, making a lonely life for himself in the unforgiving forest. But his hard-won cunning and survival skills face the ultimate test when man-eating THUNDER LIZARDS attack his people! Why are dinosaurs here? How have they survived? And will Turok use his abilities to save a society that's taken everything away from him?

Evidently Dynamite plans to return the "superheroes" of Gold Key's Silver Age years, starting with Turok this month, adding Magnus in March and continuing with Solar in April. (I have not heard anything about a Mighty Samson title, but wouldn't be surprised to see one in May.) 

I've always had a weird fascination for the Gold Key heroes, especially Solar, but I don't know if they will ever fascinate me again, because they will never be competing in the 1960s comics market again, and I will never be 10 years old again.

But these are famous and time-tested characters, and it's an ambitious project, plus, you know, dinosaurs. That's enough for me to make Turok a Captain's Pick.

WOLVERINE #1

Written by PAUL CORNELL

Art & Cover by RYAN STEGMAN

Variant Cover by Jerome Opeña

Animal Variant by Katie Cook

Design Variant by TBA

Blank Variant Also Available

32 PGS./PARENTAL ADVISORY …$3.99

WOLVERINE NO MORE?

Experience the next thrilling chapter in the life of Marvel’s most dangerous mutant in the explosive WOLVERINE #1 – from the blockbuster writer Paul Cornell and superstar artist Ryan Stegman! And you’ve never seen a Logan like this before – working for a … small-time super-villain?!

Beaten, bloodied and left for dead by Sabretooth, Logan is out for revenge! And he’s going to get it by any means necessary! But before he can take on Sabretooth again, he’ll have to get better, stronger and smarter than ever before! But that’s not as easy as he may have thought

And soon he’ll find himself turning to darker, more sinister means of getting what he wants – all in the name of retribution! Even if that means operating on the wrong side of the law to do it!

“The first arc is called ‘Payback’ and that’s where we find him: working for a crime boss called The Offer, alongside a 'family' of low-rent super-villains,” said series writer Paul Cornell in an interview with Marvel.com.

“Paul and Ryan’s take on Wolverine is bold, modern and dark as hell,” says Editor Jeanine Schaefer. “In the aftermath of KILLABLE, Logan is a changed man, and readers will be getting to know him all over again. And wait until you see Ryan’s art – he’s never looked better!”

Can Logan fight back his demons and find the hero within? Or is this the beginning of a Wolverine who’s gone over to the dark side? A bold new direction for the Marvel’s most dangerous mutant begins this February in WOLVERINE #1!

Each issue of Wolverine includes a code for a free digital copy on the Marvel Comics app (for iPhone®, iPad®, iPad Touch® & Android devices). Additionally, each issue of Wolverine features special augmented reality content available exclusive through the Marvel AR app – including cover recaps, behind the scenes features and more that add value to your reading experience at no additional cost.

I don't really need to say anything, do I? Marvel's most popular mutant debuts with a new series, with another new #1. Whatever the premise -- and, frankly, the description above sounds pretty hokey -- I'd be remiss in not mentioning it.

ARCHIE COMICS

ARCHIE #652

Script: Dan Parent

Art: Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski, Jack Morelli

Cover: Dan Parent

Variant cover: Stephanie Buscema

32-page, full color comic, $2.99 U.S.

"Rockin’ the World, part 3 — Blunder Down Under" The Archies continue their world tour in the sunny downunda — Australia! Everyone’s enjoying the sand and surf, until Archie and Valerie get stranded at sea! Will they find their way to land in time for the big fashion expo headlined by none other than supermodel Katy Keene, and featuring Betty, Veronica and Amisha as supermodels? Will Bingo Wilkin steal The Archies’ spotlight? Find out as the Archie's Rocking Tour rock and rolls on!

THE FOX #4

Fox Plot/Art: Dean Haspiel

Fox Script: Mark Waid

Fox Art: Dean Haspiel, Allen Passalaqua, and John Workman

Shield Script: J.M. DeMatteis

Shield Art: Mike Cavallaro, Terry Austin, and Steve Downer

Cover: Dean Haspiel and Allen Passalaqua

Variant cover: David Mack

32-page, full color comic, $2.99 U.S.

The battle for the final fate of the diamond realm has begun! Emmy Award winning writer/artist Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, HBO's Bored to Death) and Eisner Award winning writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, Thrillbent) continue the saga of the legendary, pulp-style hero The Fox in FREAK MAGNET Part Four: "The Voodoo You Do"! It’s a knock-down drag-out brawl between The Fox and the mad King of Diamonds. Who will win this all-out battle? And where is the Queen? The answer is sure to surprise you! Meanwhile, in "The Face of Hate Part 3: A Mind of Shattered Glass," the Shield is at the brink of defeat at the hands of a mysterious and powerful attacker! Identities are revealed, stories collide and *SPOILER ALERT* "Freaky" reinforcements are on the way in this penultimate chapter! Featuring all-new variant cover art from acclaimed artist David Mack (Daredevil: End of Days, Kabuki)!

Every solicitation for The Fox raises my anticipation for the trade.

SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH: THE MAGIC WITHIN 4 TPB

Publisher: ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS

Script: Tania Del Rio

Art: Tania Del Rio, Chad Thomas, Lindsay Cibos, Jim Amash, Phil Felix, Teresa Davidson

Cover: Tania Del Rio, Jim Amash, Rosario “Tito” Peña

$10.99 U.S. / $11.99 CAN

5 ¼ x 7 ½”

Trade Paperback, 272 pages

The popular manga-style take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch returns with a fourth fantastic installment! Full of romance and the paranormal, Sabrina is torn between two worlds and two boys while attending both a mortal and magical high school. When Sabrina is granted a magic wand, will she be able to control the magnitude of magic it possesses, or will it control her? Throw in a hidden pirate ship, unicorns, elves and the battle of a lifetime, and you’re in for a whirlwind of supernatural suspense! It’s Sabrina as you’ve never seen her before in an enchanted adventure brought to you by super-talented writer/artist Tania Del Rio, collecting her acclaimed run on everyone’s favorite teenage witch! Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Magic Within 4 collects Sabrina the Teenage Witch #90-100.

... but I won't be getting this one. I'm OK with this manga style in general, but it just looks wrong on Archie characters to me. I'm too steeped in Dan DeCarlo, I guess, and too old to change! I'll bet the target market thinks it's awesome, though, and that's as it should be.

SONIC UNIVERSE #60

Script: Ian Flynn

Art: Jamal Peppers, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli and Matt Herms

Cover: Tracy Yardley, Jim Amash and Matt Herms

"Alien Invasion" Variant cover by Vince Riley

32-page, full color comic, $2.99 U.S.

Shadow and Team Dark versus an invading alien army! "Shadow Fall" Part Two: The mission to save humanity is falling to pieces! With Rouge, Omega and G.U.N. are on the run from murderous aliens and Shadow battling for his life – and his free will – against the malicious Black Death and Eclipse, the world is running out of time! Loyalties are tested, aliens are blasted, and NEW characters make their debut in this space-faring new issue! Featuring cover art from Tracy Yardley and an Alien Invasion Variant from Vincent Riley (Native Drums).

There's a reference to a character called Rouge in this solicitation, and -- to my surprise -- that really is her name. Usually when you see "rouge" on the Internet, it's someone misspelling "rogue." When you see Madame Rouge (actually Madame Rogue from Doom Patrol) it kinda works, but it's pretty startling to see "rouge elephant." Would that be a pink elephant with a sunburn?

DARK HORSE

#1 for $1: MASS EFFECT: FOUNDATION

(W) Mac Walters

(A) Omar Francia

(C) Michael Atiyeh

(Cover) Benjamin Carré

FC, 32 pages, $1.00

One-shot

Explore the vibrant, engaging world of BioWare’s blockbuster science fiction epic — for just $1! Mass Effect: Foundation starts with a bang, introducing readers to an enigmatic agent and revealing the story of her time spent on the violent mining colony of Themis!

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER -- THE SEARCH LIBRARY EDITION HC

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

(W) Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Gene Luen Yang

(A/C/Cover) Gurihiru

FC, 240 pages, $39.99

HC, 9” x 12”

The biggest mystery of Avatar — the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother — is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1-3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!

Featuring annotations by Eisner Award–winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American-Born Chinese) and artistic team Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four) and a brand-new sketchbook, this is a story that Avatar fans need in an edition they will love!

• The official continuation of Airbender from its creators and best-selling writer Gene Luen Yang!

• Collecting The Search Parts 1–3, with tons of extras!

“A wonderful reintroduction to the world of Aang and his merry band of benders.” — Nerdist

They keep promising it's the last airbender, but it never is.

AXE COP VOLUME 5: AXE COP GETS MARRIED AND OTHER STORIES TP

Axe Cop animated TV series now airing on FOX!

(W) Malachai Nicolle

(A/over) Ethan Nicolle

FC, 160 pages, $14.99

TP, 6 5/8” x 10 3/16”

After a messy divorce with Abraham Lincoln, Axe Cop is determined to find a new wife to help raise his newly adopted bat and monkey children in Axe Cop Gets Married! Also features the epic bowzer battle story The Dogs, multiple “Ask Axe Cop” episodes, guest comics, “Axe Cop Presents” and much more awesomeness!

Axe Cop Volume 1 has sold over 20,000 copies to date!

• Winner of a 2012 YALSA award!

• Foreword by Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation)

Can you believe this series was born from the mind of a child? You can? Yeah, me too.

BAD BLOOD #2 (of 5)

Welcome to the vampire underground!

(W) Jonathan Maberry

(A/C) Tyler Crook

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

An unlikely ally aids our hero in his hunt for vampires. Using her expertise in the seedy underground, they travel to back alleys and dungeon haunts. But when the real vampires attack, will she become another casualty?

• Bram Stoker Award winner Jonathan Maberry (Ghost Road Blues)!

• Eisner Award winner Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D., The Sixth Gun).

Weirdly, the vampire victim above already has vampire fangs. Do they bite each other? Is that vampire sex maybe? Or has she just not taken a shower since turning? Hygiene is important, young lady! Do you want your potential victims to smell you coming?

BALTIMORE: CHAPEL OF BONES #2 (of 2)

THE FINAL SHOWDOWN!

(W) Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden

(A/Cover) Ben Stenbeck

(C) Dave Stewart

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Miniseries

Vengeful and doomed, Lord Baltimore finally catches up with the vampire who murdered his family ... but it turns out the vampire has been waiting for him.

• From Hellboy creator Mike Mignola!

“It still takes something special to impose a unifying vision, and Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden have got it.” — The Wall Street Journal

The problem with trade-waiting is books like this, ones that I want to read RIGHT NOW.

BLOODHOUND: CROWBAR MEDICINE #4 (of 5)

(W) Dan Jolley

(P/Cover) Leonard Kirk

(I) Robin Riggs

(C) Moose Baumann

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

Cape hunter Travis Clevenger’s biggest case becomes his most personal! As Clev learns the terrible secret behind Dr. Morgenstern’s ability-granting Power Chip, he’s also reeling from the family tragedy it’s caused. All that’s left is the choice between self-destruction and unleashing brutality on a level even Clev’s never reached before!

• The penultimate chapter of the acclaimed series’ return!

• Dan Jolley (Prototype 2) and Leonard Kirk (X-Factor) don’t pull any punches!

“Five Brass Knuckle Sandwiches out of Five.” — Fanboy Comics

CATALYST COMIX #8 (of 9)

“Catalyst Comix is a must grab!”— Comics: The Gathering

Joe Casey (W)

Ulises Farinas, Paul Maybury, Dan McDaid (A)

Brad Simpson (C)

Paul Pope (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $2.99

Miniseries

Things come to a head in the penultimate issue of the comics event of the year! The Agents of Change buck authority, but are they ready for the consequences? Frank Wells faces his demons! And Amazing Grace engages an alien menace in a cosmic battle royal!

• Joe Casey (Sex, The Bounce) pushes comics to its limits!

• Cover by Paul Pope (Batman: Year 100)!

• 28 pages of story at only $2.99!

CONAN: THE PHANTOMS OF THE BLACK COAST TP

First time in print!

(W) Victor Gischler

(A/Cover) Attila Futaki

(C) Jok

FC, 128 pages, $19.99

TP, 7’’ x 10’’

King Conan is haunted by the ghost of his first—and some say greatest—love. If he is to ever know peace again, he must put her spirit to rest. Who is the mysterious sorceress Conan enlists to aid him in his quest, even as she secretly plots against him? And can the barbarian survive the danger-filled journey across the never-ending ocean, back to the forbidding temple on the coast, where his lost love met her end? Collects Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast #1–#5.

• From the artist of The Lightning Thief and Scott Snyder’s Severed.

Waddayaknow, a Belit sequel. Has anyone done that before? You'd think so, but offhand I can't think of one.

CREEPY ARCHIVES VOLUME 1 HC

(W/A) Corben, Williamson, Wrightson, Severin, and more!

Various

FC, 288 pages, $49.99

HC, 8 3/8” x 10 7/8”

Fresh and bizarre terrors abound in Creepy Archives Volume 18, collecting issues #84–#88 of Warren Publishing’s flagship horror anthology. Reprinting issues themed around doomed sports scenarios, classic monsters, Christmas-time atrocities and the entrancing planet Mars, this beautiful hardcover also features all original fan pages and letter columns!

• Includes Bernie Wrightson’s illustrated poem “A Martian Saga.”

Both dark ... and darkly funny!

“With solid writing and unforgettable art ranging from ultra-realistic to bad acid trips, Creepy rightfully holds a place in comics history.” — Fangoria

I'll post some reviews of recent Creepy collections soon, but the nut graph is that these reprints are in a seriously good period right now. Almost nothing but big names.

EC ARCHIVES: THE VAULT OF HORROR VOLUME 3 HC

(W) Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, Jerry De Fuccio

(W/A/C) Johnny Craig

(A) Graham Ingels, Joe Orlando, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen, George Evans

(C) Marie Severin, Carlos Badilla

FC, 216 pages, $49.99

HC, 8 3/16” x 11”

The Vault of Horror Volume 3 comes to you courtesy of Dark Horse Comics! Presenting twenty-four terrifying tales illustrated by timeless talents — Johnny Craig, Joe Orlando, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen, Graham Ingels, and George Evans — this terrorizing tome also features digitally remastered colors, based on the originals by Marie Severin! Collects The Vault of Horror issues #24–#29 in full color!  

• Dark Horse reprints the legendary horror comic series!

• Features stories drawn by all-star comic artists Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Joe Orlando, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen and George Evans!

Foreword by Mike Richardson!

Wheee!

FORBIDDEN WORLDS ARCHIVES VOLUME 3 HC

Exploring the Supernatural!

(W) Richard E. Hughes

(A) Ken Bald, Jon Blummer, Al Camy, Sam Cooper, Jay Disbrow, Art Gates, Harry Lazarus, Edvard Moritz, Charles Nicholas, Charles Quinlan, Pete Riccia, Charlie Sultan, and King Ward

FC, 224 pages, $49.99

HC, 6 5/8” x 10 3/16”

Chased by a wax sculpture of Adolf Hitler, cursed by a snake goddess and forced to marry an oozing swamp monster — life has never been easy for the residents of Forbidden Worlds! Issues #9 through #14 of this wonderfully bizarre 1950s anthology are collected in a deluxe hardcover, which features a new introduction from Timothy Truman (King Conan, Hawken) and contributions from golden age creators King Ward, Harry Lazarus, Charlie Sultan, Jon Blummer, and others.

• Features all original ads, text pieces, and letters columns!

I need to review some of these, too. Pre-code Forbidden Worlds was a little harsher than other (and later) ACG material -- but that's not saying much!

GRIMM'S JOURNAL

5 1/2” x 8 1/2” spiral-bound journal, foam underlay cover

128 pages, $12.99

As fans of the NBC hit series Grimm know, one of the key elements is the series of Grimm journals discovered by Nick in his aunt’s Airstream trailer. These record the encounters Grimms have had with the supernatural creatures known as Wesen.

The NBC production team has provided original art from the show props, subtly printed on the interior pages in duotone. This new journal is the perfect compendium for your exotic potion recipes and your own Wesen encounters.

GRINDHOUSE: DOORS OPEN AT MIDNIGHT #5 (of 8)

“Not to be missed.”—Comic Book Bin

(W) Alex de Campi

(A/C) Federica Manfredi

(Cover) Francesco Francavilla

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

Brace yourself for Grindhouse’s most disturbing tale yet! On what should be the happiest day of Branwyn’s life, atrocity beyond comprehension strikes. With everything she’s ever loved destroyed by reavers, all she has left is revenge, in “Bride of Blood”!

• Cover by Francesco Francavilla!

• Art by Hack/Slash and True Blood’s Federica Manfredi!

• Eisner nominee Alex de Campi (Smoke/Ashes)!

I have seen that face before! Was it on a movie poster? In a monster magazine? Is it Diana Rigg on a bad day? Seriously, I'm guessing a Hammer horror-movie still or poster from the 1960s or '70s, but I can't put my finger on it. Anybody know where this cover is swiped from?

JUICE SQUEEZERS #2 (of 4)

David Lapham’s scrawny kids versus giant bugs!

(W/A/Cover) David Lapham

(C) Lee Loughridge

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

When inquisitive Billy Farnsburger stumbles upon a group of his classmates digging around a series of intricate tunnels, it threatens to expose the covert Juice Squeezers before their secret mission can be accomplished. Oh, and don’t forget the dog-sized bugs Billy keeps seeing! This new town is definitely weird!

• David Lapham (Stray Bullets, The Strain) writes and draws a new creator-owned series!

• A new series spinning out of Dark Horse Presents!

“I’m ready for ... [a] full-length comic with these characters.” — Comic Book Resources

MASS EFFECT: FOUNDATION VOLUME 1 TP

Mass Effect’s lead writer does it again in this next installment of the sci-fi franchise.” — CultureMass

(W) Mac Walters

(A) Tony Parker, Omar Francia

(C) Michael Atiyeh

(Cover) Benjamin Carré

FC, 96 pages, $16.99

TP, 7’’ x 10’’

Introducing Rasa, a mysterious agent working behind the scenes for the Illusive Man and his human-survivalist paramilitary group, Cerberus! First, learn how she began her life as a covert operative—then, follow her investigations and witness formative events in the lives of signature characters Urdnot Wrex, Ashley Williams, and Kaidan Alenko! Collects issues #1–#4 of the Foundation series.

• From Mac Walters, lead writer of Mass Effect 2 and 3!

• Art by Tony Parker and Mass Effect veteran Omar Francia!

• Ties into the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack!

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  The only Nos4A2 I know of is the vampire character on Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

http://blosc.wikia.com/wiki/NOS-4-A2



Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

Re: NOS4A2. It's the title of Joe Hill's novel that these comics are taking off from. It's spelled like that because it's the license plate on the vampire-like character's car.

I couldn't get past the first issue.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Really? Oh, I really liked it -- particularly the second issue, where he's fighting his wife. Loved the monologue there.

I did something I almost never do: bought a new comic. It was digital, of course, but I bought Ms. Marvel #1. In my opinion, it's important to show support for a title featuring someone who isn't a) male, b) a W.A.S.P., and c) (as someone else said) a soldier.

It was OK. My main problem is that it was a good second or third issue. I want a first issue to have action. The title character should appear before the last page of the story. Telling how Kamala reaches the point of being Ms. Marvel is a good thing to go back and tell after we're interested in the superhero aspect of the character.

Will I be reading the next issue? Maybe. OK, let me amend that. Maybe I will buy the next issue. I will definitely be reading it but I may be waiting for it do be available in Marvel Digital Unlimited.

Luke Blanchard said:

I believe the woman on the Grindhouse cover has been drawn to look like Barbara Steele. The image of Steele with the holes is from Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio, 1960), but the movie posters Google found for me don't have the same layout as the cover

Richard Willis said:

Looking at the Black Sunday poster, I think the cover artist was inspired by it (colors, etc) and one or more actresses, and changed it enough to not really match anything. That way the lawyers don't have anything to latch onto.

 

Captain Comics said:

Good points, Richard, about Black Sunday, et al. I could swear I saw that image somewhere, though. And likely when I was young enough for it to stick.

 

I've partly changed my mind about the woman on the cover being based on an image of Barbara Steele: I can't see a reason for denying it when I compare the face to the young Ms Steele's feature by feature, but the woman on the cover doesn't quite look the same to me. I found a collection of Hammer posters here. They mostly aren't in a stark style. Angled knife imagery occurs in the posters of a number of Italian slasher films but I haven't found one with a corresponding face element. The face might be based on a photo (but posters may have photo elements). The artist of the cover, Francesco Francavilla, has a website here.

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