Showing posts with label IDW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IDW. Show all posts

Friday, December 09, 2016

IDW 40% Off Sale On D&D Comics On DriveThruComics

The old and new Dungeons & Dragons comics are available for pretty good prices at a holiday sale at DriveThruComics. There's a bunch of collections and single issues that are part of the sale.

This includes classic AD&D comics originally published by DC Comics back in the day.

As well as the newer Legends of Baldur's Gate comics written by Jim Zub.

While not 40% off, there's also sales on the IDW Hasbro comics at DriveThruComics, including G.I. Joe and Transformers stuff. Check it all out!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

X-Files Season 10 Comic Preview

After the movies. After the television show. A new X-Files comic from creator/Executive Producer Chris Carter and IDW Publishing. Now you can see the cover and the first few pages of the book.

IDW Publishing's Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes Crossover In Review

IDW Publishing and DC Comics crossed over two of the venerable properties of science fiction: Star Trek and the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion has almost a decade on Star Trek, but they are both the product of the hopefully optimistic sub-genre of science fiction that was prevalent in the 50s and 60s. Thankfully, this mini-series (written by the ever prolific Chris Roberson) did not take the route of all too many contemporary comics by adding a veneer of "reality" to this hopefulness by making the characters suddenly grim and gritty.

The story is steeped in the mythology of both universes, and the characters are true to their origins. Roberson has done a much better job than a lot of crossover writers in this regard. I think that I would have liked it better if the motivation behind the crossover was from the original Star Trek series instead of something from The Next Generation, but overall that is probably a minor quibble.

I did like the little touches of characterizations, like Kirk flirting with Shadow Lass or Cosmic Boy talking about history. I do think that the bits between Spock and Brainiac Five probably should have been a bit more contentious, but I think that Brainiac Five's exasperation with Spock, at times, was a good handling of how the character would react to having to deal with another intelligent scientist being in the room. There were a lot of characters to deal with in this crossover, but I think that McCoy and Uhura were a bit shortchanged.

I did like melding the alternate timeline with classic DC Comics science fiction characters, and the Star Trek characters being convinced that they were in the Mirror Universe was funny at times.

Overall, this was a well done comic. Roberson's writing was better in this book than in other recent crossovers that I have read by him, but I think that is probably due to having a freer hand from editorial edicts. The writing is sharp, the characterizations are spot on and the overall plot is engaging. Roberson does just to the characters and tries his best to give everyone as much screen time as possible, within constraints of the story. Not only do I recommend picking this up, but I hope that this did well enough to warrant future crossovers. I would love to see a story that allows the characters to deal with each other's universes, rather than the "crossover world" created for this. I think that we need to see a scene where Scotty tries to correct Brainiac Five's repairs of the Enterprise.

The trade edition of this comic is out and available in comic stores now. Rush to your local comic store and pick up your copy today.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Preview of IDW Publishing's Star Trek / Legion of Super-Heroes Trade

The trade collection of IDW Publishing's cross-over between the Star Trek and Legion of Super-Heroes universes has come out in the collected edition, while you wait for my review of it, check out this 11 page preview from IDW Pubishing that gives a hint at how writer Chris Roberson managed to merge the two settings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

IDW Publishing + Cartoon Network = Puzzling?

News broke today about IDW Publishing picking up a license to do comics based on Cartoon Network properties like Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Dexter's Laboratory Samurai Jack and other cartoon. I have to admit that while I think it is great that we are going to see more all ages comics (from some great cartoons) I am puzzled as to why Warner Entertainment and the Cartoon Network made the decision to farm this out to another company, rather than publish internally through DC Comics. When Warner Entertainment and DC Comics and other companies were reorganized a few years ago the stated reason was to foster better synergy within the various Warner Entertainment companies. This means seeing more DC Comics properties making it to the big and small screen (although DC and Warner have seen much greater success in the feature-length animation works rather than feature films), but it also mean taking advantage of the fact that Warner has a publishing arm in DC Comics that would handle adapting other properties into comic book form. Yes, we've seen a few Supernatural comics (The CW Network being owned in part by Warner), but outside of that we really haven't seen the synergy.

All of this is what makes this announcement so...puzzling. Obviously, I am not tuned in to these things and I don't have any sort of inside track on what's happening, but it just seems odd that Warner would decide to do this with a company that isn't a part of their umbrella. Is this demonstrating a lack of faith from Warner in DC Comic's ability to handle doing all ages publishing?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

IDW Publishing And The G.I. Joe "Relaunch"

Periodically, although some may not agree with me on this, you really have to freshen up and revitalize the G.I. Joe concept. This is, after all, what got us the 80s G.I. Joe cartoons and comics that so many are still nostalgic for today. IDW Publishing, with this new G.I. Joe #1 is doing this again, and revitalizing the concept again for the 21st century.

In the book, the team is coming out of the shadows to become a public face for the American military, or as Duke puts it in the issue, so-called "celebrity soldiers."  As a gamer, I have to say that this concept sells me on the book. As a matter of fact, this concept is ready made for a role-playing game setting (I wish that Hasbro would let Wizards of the Coast do a G.I. Joe role-playing game, but that is a digression).

One of my favorite lines from the comic comes from Shipwreck: "Do I have to wear this? I'm a Navy SEAL, not a cartoon duck." For the first time, the G.I, Joe team has to deal with marketing: tee shirts and even toys with their likenesses.

This is not a restart, or a relaunch or a revamp. The previous continuity all still seems to have taken place, right down to General Colton, the G.I. Joe of the original "Adventure Team," being put in charge of the contemporary team. These are all of the characters that you know and love, they are just changing and adapting to the world around them, a world where news and advertising are as much weapons as guns and knives.

In addition to the usual, familiar faces, there are a couple of new characters. In accordance with the team's new public mission there is an embedded blogger (named Hashtag by someone who has obviously been on the internet during the last few years) who's job it is to record the team's missions and make sure that everyone knows who they are and what they do. I also like the fact that Cover Girl had been on Project Runway.

The story is pretty fast paced. We are dropped into the action, after things have already hit the fan and then brought up to speed with flashbacks to the G.I. Joe press conference and the events leading up to the current mission going wrong. There are a lot of familiar notes to this story and writer Fred Van Lente is obviously very well-versed in the lore of the Joes. However, this is not a continuity mired comic. You don't have to have read ten or twenty years worth of G.I. Joe comics in order to know who the people are, or what is happening. With a new G.I. Joe movie looming on the horizon, that is probably a big reason for all of this, and I do not think that it is a bad reason either. Unfortunately comics have become wrapped up in a certain kind of fan who knows the trivia and minutia of thirty or more years of continuity and by creating comics that appeal to those people the casual and new readers have been locked out of comics. I applaud IDW Publishing for making a comic that is so new user friendly.

The art is really good as well. I mean really good. With Steve Kurth on pencils and Allen Martinez on inks, the book has a team that is capable of dynamic, engrossing art that is both good in the action scenes as well as the character bits. The art lives and breathes and draws you along with the story.

Is this comic worth buying? Hell. Yes. This is the best G.I. Joe first issue that I have seen in a very long time, better than previous issues from IDW. I would say that this is probably the best first issue that I have seen since Devil's Due had the rights and was publishing a G.I. Joe comic through Image Comics. Even if you're not a fan of the Joes, if you like military stories or action-oriented comics, I really think that you will like this book. It has made me impatient for the next issue. If you didn't pick this book up today, get back to your comic store and get a copy before it is gone and you have to wait for the trade to find out what all of the rest of us are excited about.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reviewing Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time No. 1

Fifty years of Doctor Who, Who (no pun intended) would have thought that it would have lasted this long and had such a lasting impact on science fiction and entertainment.

IDW Publishing is part of the celebration for this 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who with their twelve part mini-series Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time. Each incarnation of the Doctor will be featured in a story and then (hopefully) we will get the "team up" that Who fans cannot get in real life: a meeting of all eleven incarnations of the Doctor.

This first issue starts at the "beginning," with the First Doctor (as played by William Hartnell from 1963-66) getting involved in an altercation with a classic Doctor Who monster. The Doctor and his companions (Barbara, Ian and Vicki...I am a bit disappointed that this story didn't feature his granddaughter Susan instead) travel back to London in 1868 to hear a lecture from Thomas Huxley. This is an excellent nod by the writers (Scott and David Tipton) to Doctor Who's start as an educational program geared towards teaching about history.

In typical Doctor Who fashion, things quickly go wrong and aliens get involved. I know, reducing it down to one sentence like that makes the comic sound more cliched than it actually was to me. This was my first time reading one of IDW's current Doctor Who comics, in the past I just picked up some of the reprint collections. The Tiptons definitely know their way around a Doctor Who story, quickly immersing the story in the tropes of an early Doctor Who story. The handling of the characters is spot on. Vicki is her typically condescending self, making sure to point out how much better educated she is than the people of the time period they are visiting. Ian is square-jawed and heroic, providing the muscle needed at times in these early adventures. Barbara is, well, Barbara...and being the Doctor's general sense of empathy. The villain of this story is a direct followup to a Doctor Who serial from 1965. I would tell you the identity of the alien but I want to leave something for the readers.

The story is fast paced, probably much faster paced than the First Doctor serials were, but that is not a bad thing. People do expect faster paced stories these days, particularly fans of the newer version of Doctor Who where the stories are in and out in a single episode, rather than the multipart serials of the classic show.

Is this comic worth getting? Definitely yes. If you are a fan of Doctor Who and your exposure to the earlier incarnations of the character has been limited, this comic is a good way to learn more about the earlier incarnations of the character (so far at least). The characterizations in this story are in line with the characters that I remember from the old serials. The story is reminiscent and the aliens are taken directly from a Doctor Who serial. The portrayal of the First Doctor is spot on with my remembrances of how William Hartnell played the character. This Doctor is just as crotchety and willful as Hartnell's character was.

There is an overarching story, with a shadowy villain manipulating things from behind the scenes, someone with a vendetta against the Doctor. Nothing much is revealed of the villain, but I am hoping for a classic bad "guy" like the Master, the Valeyard, or even the Rani. I am really hoping for the Valeyard, but I can understand that might be just a wee bit too obscure of a character. Time will tell.

Go out and get this comic.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Howard Chaykin and Shadowmania

1986 was a heady year for comics. Two stories that have since come to be regarded as modern classics were released by DC Comics: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Both of these books have left their marks on comic books. Moore and Gibbons' Watchmen has become for many the highwater mark for comic book storytelling, while Miller's Dark Knight single-handedly altered the course of The Batman forever. Somewhere in the middle of all of this was released a four-issue miniseries that has every bit of the same right to be considered a masterpiece of comics as those other two series: Howard Chaykin's The Shadow.

Since Dynamite Comics is publishing a new trade edition of this mini-series, I will try to avoid spoilers in the story itself for those who have not yet experienced this masterful comic.

Howard Chaykin is a comic artist and writer, sometimes doing on or the other on a book and sometimes doing both. With The Shadow Chaykin wrote and drew the book, infusing it with his characteristic fusion of 1940s period dress with a modern sensibility. Previous to doing The Shadow, Chaykin was known most for having done some well-regarded fantasy series for DC Comics and the early run of the blockbuster Star Wars comic from Marvel Comics. Chaykin has the rare distinction of being one of the first people outside of Lucas' production company to create original material for the Star Wars Universe, helping to usher in what we now know as the Expanded Universe. Chaykin also adapted Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination and worked with British fantasist Michael Moorcock for Heavy Metal magazine. He also found the time to create one of the earliest independent comics in 1976 with Star Reach, and his seminal character Cody Starbuck.

Each of Chaykin's works informs the next, and it was with characters like Cody Starbuck, Dominic Fortune, and of course Han Solo that he became known for his roguish male lead characters. In The Shadow, this disposition towards the roguish lead was married to an old school social conservative to make his interpretation of Kent Allard/Lamont Cranston/The Shadow. Chaykin's Shadow is probably one of the more fleshed out interpretations of the character too, leagues away from the cipher of a character that plagued the radio shows and some of the more poorly-written instances of the pulp magazines.

In this mini-series Chaykin made a ballsy move that upset a lot of pulp purists...he moved The Shadow into the modern day of 1986. Before this pulp characters adapted to comics either existed still in their original eras or were "updated" to a hazy setting that could be the contemporary world, or it could still be the past. A lot of people did not like that Chaykin moved the story to a contemporary setting. However, the strength of this idea is that it pitted the character of The Shadow, who was still very much rooted in a pre-World War II social and psychological mindset, against the contemporary world of 1986. As with any Chaykin work, this play of the vintage against the contemporary is a method of showing that change is both good and bad, and the past should not always be viewed through rose-colored glasses. The Shadow's attitude towards women is compared to that of his contemporaries, like Harry Vincent (an important supporting character from the original pulp stories), who have been exposed to the changes for forty years and have been able to adapt to those changes. The Shadow is still very much the force of nature that he was in the pre-War days, and still he has to come to grips with the societal changes around him as well as the physical changes to New York City.

The plot of this mini-series is launched by having a number of The Shadow's operatives from his early exploits, now old, being targeted and killed by an unknown villain. This serves to bring The Shadow out of his lengthy retirement in the Himalayas. The Shadow himself is unchanged and unaged in the near forty years since he was last in New York City, and now establishes himself as the son of his original cover identity of Lamont Cranston. Assembling a team of his remaining operatives from the 1940s and new contemporary operatives (including two sons that he had while retired), The Shadow moves against this new villain. The balance of these issues deals with The Shadow and his operatives uncovering the villains of the piece and finally moving against him.

Despite the opinions of those who felt (and those who probably still feel this way) that the adventures of The Shadow should have remained in their original historical period, I think that a great deal of the success of this story came because Chaykin decided to update the time period to the contemporary. Much of the tension of the story comes from the interplay between The Shadow and his "unenlightened" (according to other characters in the story) attitudes. The Shadow as a man out of time is as much of a driving factor to the story as the actions of the villain of the piece. The story is an engaging one, although ironic because now the setting of 1986 is a historical one as well. For some current readers, the 1980s can be just as foreign as the 1930s of the original pulp stories.

I do think that the story holds up well, regardless. The characters (new and old) hold up well and Chaykin demonstrates that he can write a Shadow story in the vein of the original pulps and update it at the same time. This mini-series was the launching point for a long-running on-going series featuring the characters which would lead to some of The Shadow's strangest adventures. Fans of the pulps should enjoy this story because of the loyalty to the characters and concepts of the original pulp stories (despite the time period updating). Fans of Chaykin's current work should enjoy this story because of how it shows the development of some of his now standard storytelling tropes. If you would be bothered by a lot of people in 1930s-era clothing in the 1980s, this might not be the comic for you.

I am glad to see that this story is getting a new lease on life, and a printing up to modern standards. I never picked up the first trade collection of these comics and have had to rely on my original comics over the years. At least now I can get a good trade collection and I can put away the comics.