I’ve recently begun working as an Assistant Editor at ComicBookResources.com, but even more fun — I’m now a contributing writer, too. Huzzah! Mission accomplished! Super pumped for this gig.

Here are intros to my articles with CBR thus far, mostly being coverage of Comic-Con International in San Diego last month and a couple reviews. Click through to the full articles if they interest you.

“Black Kiss II” #1 Review — Click to read entire article

“Black Kiss” couldn’t be any more mature and still considered mainstream — it’s more layered than “Tarot,” but far from Manara. Gratuitously lubing crime noir with erotica and a spurt of horror, “Black Kiss” is Howard Chaykin’s definitive mark on all three genres.

The original “Black Kiss” takes violence to the extreme with a secret undertone frequently implied but never confirmed. It’s great stuff — stuff you should keep in-between your mattress so unsuspecting eyes don’t find it. “Black Kiss II” has a lot to live up to, and while the original is not required reading for newcomers, this issue gives off strong prequel vibes, taking place roughly 70 years before the original.

RetroSTUFFED: Valiant’s 1992 “Harbinger” #0-7 — Click to read entire article

In 1992, Valiant promised a dramatically different alternative to Marvel and DC’s superhero lines. The company aimed to offer readers quality superhero comics sporting top-tier talent with an indie edge. “Harbinger” was one of the company’s earliest releases, and in a sentence, it was a street-level superhero series with a splash of sci-fi, populated by teens who have supernatural abilities and a man who wishes to control them.

In the opening storyline, aptly titled “The Beginning,” writer Jim Shooter and penciller David Lapham began their tale in the just-passed year of 1991. Kids with superior abilities, dubbed “Harbingers,” are encouraged to train under the wing of Toyo Harada at his Harbinger Foundation to learn how to control their powers. A shadier version of the X-Men’s Professor Xavier, Harada has discovered a particular teen with a superior telepathic skill set: Peter Stanchek.

CCI: The Terry Moore Panel — Click to read entire article

Artist and writer Terry Moore, known for his strong female protagonists and bringing women readers into comics, spoke on his properties with a receptive crowd during a panel at Comic Con International in San Diego. Moore, whose original work is published through his own company, Abstract Studios, touched on the future of his currently ongoing title”Rachel Rising,” his last project “Echo,” the 20th anniversary of the Eisner Award winning series, “Strangers in Paradise,”the meaning of life and where he stands in the Creationist vs Evolutionist debate.

Moore opened with a touch of humor before diving into his horror title “Rachel Rising,” “We’re here to talk about my books — ‘Twilight,’ ‘Twilight Part 2,’ ‘After Twilight’ and ‘What to Do After The Next Twilight.’ Surprise! I’m doing a horror series.”

CCI: The Chilling Horror Comics History of the 1950s — Click to read entire article

“The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics ‘Zombies'” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego came on the final day of the event, appropriately scheduled after the CCAS Sunday Devotional and Christian Comics panel in Room 32AB. Focusing on pre-Comics Code 1950s horror comics, the panel was led by Eisner Award-winning comics historian and co-editor of Yoe Books, Craig Yoe, and Steve “Karswell” Banes, host of TheHorrorsOfItAll.comvintage comics blog, which to date has over 1,500 horror shorts posted.

IDW Publishing and Yoe Books recently released “Zombies,” a hardcover collection of 1950s horror comics hand picked by Yoe and Banes. The book is already sold out on the distributor level, and is the duo’s third horror collection through IDW, including “Bob Powell’s Terror” and “Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein.”

CCI: Dave McKean on Dawkins, Christ and “The Magic of Reality” — Click to read entire article

In front of a packed crowd during his panel titled “My Two Years with Dawkins, Christ and a Small Crab Called Eric” atComic-Con International in San Diego, artist, writer and indie filmmaker Dave McKean recounted two recent life events on radically opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum: an all-ages book he illustrated with scientist and Atheism proponent Richard Dawkins called “The Magic of Reality,” and a film he shot starring Michael Sheen in Port Talbot, Wales called “The Gospel of Us,” a modern day interpretation of “The Passion” story chronicling Jesus Christ’s final days of life on Earth.

McKean is a man who is all about the experience. “I’m not cut out for this [business], I don’t have skin thick enough,” McKean said in his British accent. “I make hopelessly uncommercial decisions, I’m terrible at that. But my thought is — if there’s something personal for me to get out of the experience, I can do it.

CCI: Valiant Joins ValiantFans.com Panel, Reveals Upcoming Programs — Click to read entire article

Reminiscent of Valiant Entertainment’s status in the comic market for over a decade, theValiantFans.com: The Unofficial “Summer of Valiant” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego was tucked away in the back corner of the Convention Center and played to a small, but enthusiastic crowd, and after the panel had ended, Valiant CCO Dinesh Shamdasani gave CBR exclusive first word on the return of the popular Gold Logo Program.

Brian Wells of Valiantfans.com hosted the fan-run panel for the first time since 2007 — only this year Valiant has a line-up of titles currently being published. “X-O Manowar,” “Harbinger,” the newly released “Bloodshot” and “Archer & Armstrong” in August complete what has been dubbed “The Summer of Valiant.”

CCI: Bill Willingham’s “Fables” Panel — Click to read entire article

A star-studded team of creators joined writer and creator Bill Willingham for the “Fables” spotlight panel celebrating Vertigo Comics’ long running fairytale series at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Editor Shelly Bond, artists Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andy Lanning, Andrew Pepoy, letterer Todd Klein, colorist Lee Loughridge and writers Lauren Beukes and Sean E. Williams were present. Artist Shawn McManus was scheduled to attend but could not make it. As the panel began, Willingham made a surprise announcement, much to the dismay of the jam packed audience: “This will be my last San Diego show for awhile. Only because there are so many good shows now and I had to turn down others to do this and it’s time to give others a shot. We need to mix it up a little bit.”

But that announcement wasn’t the only surprise in store for the crowd, as Willingham unveiled another convention-related piece of information. “We’re going to have a nearly-all ‘Fables’ dedicated con called Fabletown and Beyond — it’s ‘Fables’ and books like ‘Fables.'”

CCI: Ben Edlund Panel — Click to read entire article

To kick off his spotlight panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, “The Tick” creator and “Supernatural”executive producer/writer, Ben Edlund, was granted a 2012 Ink Pot Award — Comic-Con’s achievement award given for excellence overall since 1974.

Nerdist Writer’s Panel host and “The Thrilling Adventure Hour” co-creator Ben Blacker served as moderator for Edlund’s spotlight panel, also joined by actor Shadoe Stevens — who often interjected oddball questions with his deep, booming voice. Surprising the crowd halfway through the discussion with his witty bass was musician and voice actor Doc Hammer, and “The Venture Bros.”creator, Jackson Publick. The group had the appearance of easy going surfers with their long, wavy hair, cool sunglasses and hip hats.

CCI: Oni Press RevolutiONIzes Comics Panel — Click to read entire article

The RevolutiONIze Comics panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego was hosted by Oni Presseditor-in-chief, James Lucas Jones, and played to a small crowd of around a dozen when it commenced but filled out over time. The panelists, some of whom arrived late, included a lineup of the company’s hottest up and coming creators: Brahm Revel of “Guerillas,” Matt Dembicki of “XOC,” Scott C. of “Double Fine Action Comics,” Rich Stevens of “Diesel Sweeties” and Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurttthe writer/artist team on the supernatural-western hit,”The Sixth Gun.”

Feeling out the room, Jones asked the crowd what their favorite part of Comic-Con has been so far, to which Stevens set the tone for his words to come, saying, “The giant Power Ranger statue. And his giant package. I got a picture.”

CCI: World Building With Archaia Entertainment — Click to read entire article

Archaia Entertainment’s “How To Tell A Better Story Through World Building” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego was not to be missed by up and coming creators seeking to produce their own original stories. Hosted by Archaia Editor-in-Chief,Stephen Christy, the panel featured three experts on the subject of world building: “Mouse Guard’s” David Petersen, “Rust” creator, Royden Lepp, and “Cursed Pirate Girl’s” Jeremy Bastian. The three creators shared their intricate thoughts on what went into creating their unique, rich worlds to a standing room only crowd.

Christy began by citing key elements which go into successful world building and the implementation of those ideas on the printed page: Characters and costumes, culture, history, language and colloquialisms, and location and architecture. Christy said the process is almost theatrical in nature — what goes into making a great world in the sequential format are all elements representative in the best stage productions throughout history.

I’ll post more as they go live. Thanks for checking out my stuff!

Bills Minicamp Football

… oh wait, that’s no zombie- it’s team owner Ralph Wilson Jr!

dsc03935_22In this edition of The One Hitter we will be taking a look at two comics from Asylum Press: DTOX and Undead Evil. Frank Forte is the publisher and founder of AP, as well as an illustrator and the companies main scribe. Forte says that Asylum Press is “dedicated to cutting edge comics, trade paperbacks, and art.” This was my first experience reading anything published by Asylum, and the stories I experienced were original and disturbing! Forte writes both comics and Nenad Gucunja provides the illustrations.

DTOX #0dsc039341

While this over-sized issue is short in quantity,  it’s an in-your-face story jam packed with quality action. The setting is Detroit in a post-nuclear world where police and hospitals are nonexistent, and the “rape and consumption of women and children has become common place.” Due to radiation and chemical filled air, many people have mutated into sex hungry, flesh eating mutants. Enter DTOX: a tank driving, camo/bio hazard suit wearing, blow up doll loving bad ass whose mission is to detoxify the Earth’s monstrous mutations. DTOX’s ammunition is laced with an acid that eats away at the freakish mutants, melting their bodies into a sterilized bubbling green goo. Like DTOX says, “You can never be too clean.”

What this issue lacks in length (11 ad free pages of story) it makes up for in spectacle. The art is colorful and energetic, the characters unique, weird, and detailed. The action is gruesome and intense. I was left longing for a full page shot of DTOX’s kick ass tank, but a hilarious shot of a giant hand/dog mutation flipping him the bird made up for it.

This issue is magazine size, so the panels are larger than usual, and nine pages of concept art and character sketches give the reader a special look behind the scenes of DTOX. Since being published in July 2007, no subsequent DTOX issues have been released, so pick this issue up for a fun and gruesome read!

3/5 stars

Undead Evil #0 dsc039391

 

This is a tale of an awkward young man’s quest to forge the gap between the living and the dead in order to save his bloodline from an evil magic. The story is told as a narrative that eerily reeks of Poe and Lovecraft, presenting a dark take on one of America’s most tragic natural disasters…

When Alfred Carter’s mother died, he was left alone, shutting himself inside his old house. Forced to rummage through his late mothers belongings, he finds a skeleton key. This key is Alfred’s ticket to a place forbidden to him his entire life; the dsc039411attic. What have his parents been hiding from him all these years? Now, for the first time, Alfred holds the power to reveal his family history and learn the answers to his darkest questions.

The writing and art of this issue is vivid, assaulting the (six) senses, allowing the reader’s imagination to run wild. Forte does a great job scripting a dark, twisted tale that is filled with surprises. He questions the power of prayer (and the beings who listen to them), claiming that taking matters into one’s own hands is sometimes the best action, if not the only action… Gucunja’s black and white images take the time to detail the horror and stress that Alfred experiences on his journey. The inking is fantastic, showcasing intense close ups and chilling full page shots. One such shot depicts the remnants of a place that has suffered through Mother Nature’s wrath. Alfred reflects on the scene, “It was only a matter of time.”

dsc039423Undead Evil #0 has a creepy feel from the first page to it’s abrupt, cliffhanger ending. The comic will leave you pondering the dark secrets of your own family history, so be sure to look for it in comic shops come December 2009.

4/5 stars

 DTOX and Undead Evil aren’t comics to give to the kids, as these titles are loaded with gratuitous violence, nudity, and (gasp!) cursing. Forte’s style of dropping the reader into the thick of the action is conductive to these two tales. The stories are to the point, with minimal exposition, providing an experience that allows the reader to enjoy what is presented. What’s even better is that you can kick back and read these comics from cover to cover without ever having to take a commercial break; ads never interrupt the story!

Keep coming back to Mint Condition for upcoming Asylum Press reviews! For more info on Asylum Press, please visit AsylumPress.com. Click on the following AP links to theUndead Evil Blog and the DTOX Blog.