Friday, May 18, 2018

Great Art: Invaders by Tom Grummett

Tom Grummett is one of the greatest talents in comics, a criminally under-rated talent in modern comics. The fact he's not regularly drawing a book for either of the book two is sheer insanity to me. It does mean he's working on Section Zero however, a graphic novel I cannot wait to see.

His rendition of the core three Invaders seems like an apt choice this week, with Memorial Day only days away.

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And after you're done admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on the site this week!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Unsung Greats - Superman: Panic in the Sky

Much going on at SPF Central right now, so here's a classic look at a classic comic. 

Maybe I am in the minority for thinking this, but the world needs more comics like Superman: Panic in the Sky.

The trade paperback cover by Dan Jurgens & Brett Breeding.
This six part story arc from late 1991 and early 1992 came only months before Superman’s much ballyhooed death storyline and by most of the same creators. It focuses on the return of War World, Mongul’s evil battle world from the Superman in space stories from a few years previous. Now the planet is ruled by Braniac who uses it to amplify his own psychic powers. He has an army of alien soldiers at his disposal as well as his allies Maxima, Draaga, and a mind-controlled Matrix/Supergirl.

The cover that drew me in.
With War World on its way to Earth, Superman gathers a group of heroes together to battle against the coming threat. DC mainstays like Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain Marvel and Aquaman join forces with the New Titans, Metal Men, New Gods, and a few former members of the Giffen-era Justice League to take on the threat. For the first time in the post-Crisis DC Universe, Superman shows his leadership abilities, aided and abetted by his chosen second-in-command… Deathstroke.

Most importantly, the fight between Brainiac’s forces and Earth’s heroes comes off as a heck of a lot of fun.

I was twelve when these issues originally hit stands and they were my second Superman story arc to purchase, right after the Supergirl Saga of a couple years before. The return of Supergirl on the cover to the prologue chapter drew me in, and my young mind was fascinated by a bunch of characters I only knew from some Batman issues, a couple Who’s Who magazines, assorted Justice League comics, and a few random annuals from 1989.

I was most intrigued by Deathstroke, a character whose costume I loved but I only knew as a villain from a Secret Origins Annual. It served to make the young me want to learn more about these heroes, even while I learned about them over the course of the story.

I’ll be honest: the tale isn’t anything ground-breaking to the comics world. Instead it is a great team-up multipart story that doesn’t involve the purchase of more than four comics a month. And those comics were only a buck a pop.

Sadly, most modern comic readers would probably take a look at a huge chunk of the gathered heroes and villains and be really confused. This version of Superman and Braniac have pretty much been retconned out of existence, Deathstroke is suddenly a psycho killer, and about a third of the cast is dead.

Still it does nothing to take away from the enjoyment of this series for me personally. I think any long time comic fan could read it with the same level of enjoyment. This right here is just plain good superhero comics.

The book is currently out of print (though not hard to find in the secondary market), but a new edition is currently available for preorder at Amazon.

Monday, May 14, 2018

A game of Cat & Mouse (Kickstart the Week 63)

Art by Dean Zachary. 
It's been a very long time since I last posted a Kickstart the Week on this column. It's been a year since I last ran a Kickstarter and almost as long since I last backed one as I have worked hard to pull myself out of the hole I buried myself in in 2017. But that has changed as of now, with the first comic I couldn't resist backing upon its return.

Flashback to the early 90s. As a twelve or thirteen year old, I first learned about the wild world of indie comics and I really wanted in. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to a comic shop regularly in those days. Fortunately, I was able to find the early issues of Malibu's Protectors as the publisher made in-roads into newstand publishing. I quickly became a fan of a bunch of stuff from that line, but didn't learn of the precursors to it until years later.

One of those precursors was a series called Cat & Mouse, which was something of a crime and martial arts comic mixed with superhero tropes. It wasn't quite as all out superheroic as Protectors would be, but it certainly had similar traits. And the editor of Protectors happened to be the writer of Cat & Mouse.

Roland Mann proved to be a great writer in the early 90s, even if the death of Malibu cost him most of his avenues for comic writing work. Thankfully, the power of Kickstarter has changed that for him as he's launched a new version of Cat & Mouse right now on the site.

As a bonus to yours truly, one of my favorite artists of that Malibu era is back working in comics to draw Cat & Mouse. Dean Zachary has worked on books from The Ferret to Stargods to Hawk & Dove, but hasn't done a lot in the last few years. It's great to see his line work back as the artist to the new edition of Cat & Mouse.

Go check out the new series over at Kickstarter now. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Cosplay Friday: Two Mummies for the price of one!

Ancient Egypt has been on my mind as I continue my work on the next few chapters of Quadrant. I can't really say why without a bunch of spoilers, but it seemed like an apt time to show off some mummy cosplay. Of course, I couldn't find just one great one so everyone gets two great pieces. First up is legendary cosplayer Yaya Han as Anck-su-naman of Mummy Returns fame. Then I've got an Ahmanet from the otherwise lackluster 2017 The Mummy as portrayed by It's The Fa. Enjoy!

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on Super Powered Fiction this week!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

WIP Wednesday Late Edition

It's been a hectic week so far, hence this post hitting as the midnight hour nears.

I'm hard at work on the second draft of Project FOXHUNT as I type this. I hope to wrap it in the next day or two and get it submitted to the fine folks at Pro Se Press. From there, it will be up to them to see it come full circle for publication.

Quadrant falls by the wayside for a bit as I focus now on edits for a couple long gestated projects and the prep stages for my next mystery project for Pro Se. This one is going under the code name INDEPENDENCE. This tale is much closer to my usual super powered fiction wheel house than FOXHUNT. It's honestly the anthology project I'm most looking forward to working on this year as it features a character I'd like to write a lot more about.

Once I finish the edits on the three outstanding projects and the final draft of FOXHUNT, I hope to bounce between INDEPENDENCE and the next chapter of Lightweight. My current hope is to start a full fledged publication schedule for Quadrant and Lightweight early next year, but I need to get at least a half dozen tales for each in place before I start to look for new avenues for delivery of the tales as serialized content.

Today's image is the Marvel Comics character Free Spirit, created by Mark Gruenwald and Dave Hoover. This is a recolored version by original artist Hoover, and sticks quite in my mind as All American heroes are definitely brewing in this twisted head of mine.