Archive for October, 2012

Return to Blackburn Burrow

Issue #2 of Blackburn Burrow, the first comic project from Amazon Studios, has gone live in a variety of venues. Based on a screenplay by Jay Levy, the book is written by me, with art by Matthew Dow Smith, color by Jordie Bellaire, and a cover by Brian Stelfreeze.

As with the first issue, the full issue #2 is being offered up for free as a Kindle download, on Facebook, and on Graphicly. Yes, another 20 pages of comics, completely free. The full details on the formats can be found on the Amazon Studios blog, Hollywonk (I’ll also have a post there in the near future):

The mystery in titular town deepens with issue #2, as supernatural hunter Mister and his new companion, Merrin, descend into the depths of the mine. Deadly danger awaits them, as well as revelations neither of them is prepared for. Amazon Studios is very interested in reader feedback for the series, so please take a few minutes to complete the survey that follows the issue.

12 Gauge Comics put together Blackburn Burrow for Amazon Studios, pairing me with and my pal Matt Smith, and bringing in the great Jordie Bellaire for colors. Collaborating with an artistic team like that isn’t work, it’s a privilege. We’re all having a great time, and I hope that comes through in the pages.



In Stores This Week

After last week’s barrage, just one new release for this week, Artifacts #22 from Top Cow/Image. The issue begins a new two-part storyline, featuring Tom Judge and Tilly Grimes investigating a ritual murder in Washington, D.C. As always, my artistic partner is Stjepan Sejic.

The “Blood Rites” storyline brings together Tom Judge’s present work as special investigator for the F.B.I., with his past as a defrocked Catholic priest. Though Artifacts regularly touches upon other characters in the Top Cow Universe, Tom Judge is the spine that runs through the series.

Originally, we had planned a Magdalena storyline for these two issues, but some timing issues caused us to delay that storyline until after the “Progeny” crossover that will run through Artifacts #25-#26 and respective issues of Witchblade and Darkness. That Magdalena story will now appear in Artifacts #27-#28. It’s also worth mentioning that Nelson Blake II and I will soon begin working on a five-issue Magdalena/Tom Judge series that was announced at New York Comic Con.

So what’s coming up in Artifacts #24, you ask? Angelus.



The Protectors Announced

At the recent New York Comic Con, I announced a new project for 2013, a series called The Protectors, which is the brainchild of Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije. Israel, or “Izzy,” founded Athleta Comics in order to bring The Protectors, and hopefully future projects, to life. The exclusive announcement story was featured in USA Today, with comments from both me and Izzy, and can be seen here:

The Protectors combines professional sports with the kind of superhero/cosmic storylines you might see in Avengers or X-Men. Now I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: sports hardly ever works in comics. The vast majority of the time, it reads awkwardly and looks worse. So when The Protectors came across my desk, I knew we had to get the right artist to draw it, or all would be for naught. So I called my buddy Bart Sears, to see if I possibly could lure him back to comics. Bart has been working in video games and commercial art for the last few years, but the prospect of The Protectors brought him back to sequential storytelling. I truly can’t think of anybody more suited to draw this story.

The Protectors will feature original characters, as well as cameos by real-life athletes. We intend to create a story that accessible to both comic fans and sports fans. Follow the Athleta Comics website for a pretty steady stream of updates and exclusive content, and expect the first issue to debut at C2E2 in Chicago next April.



In Stores This Week

Big week this week! I have three books appearing in comic stores and digitally this week, and another on the horizon. First up, Shinku #5, from Image, finally makes its appearance after a long delay; you can read about the reasons in my CBR column, Shelf Life, this week. Issue #5 brings the concluding chapter to the first arc of the series, “Throne of Blood” (a nod to Kurosawa, of course), with Shinku breaching a vampire shrine. Hopefully you’ll think the issue is worth the wait. I love how it turned out, and how it sets up the ensuing arc, “The Hidden Fortress.”

Next is Prophecy #4, from Dynamite, continuing the time-spanning crossover bringing together a diversity of characters including Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. Issue #4 introduces a new character into the mix, someone that should come as a complete surprise … unless you peeked at the preview pages seen here:

Newsarama’s Best Shots has already reviewed the issue, giving it a 10 out of 10, and saying,

“Prophecy is helmed by a great creative team at the height of their craft, playing with ancient legend, pulp favorites, and cult classics to make a story that’s not to be missed. Don’t let the licensed characters fool you into passing on one of the best comics out there right now.”

The full review can be read here:

Next, my buddy Tom Raney and I have a story in Heavy Metal #259, a fact that would make 14-year-old me’s head explode. The story is called “Pair of Rogues,” and introduces a pair of a creator-owned characters in a fantasy world that Tom and I hope to return to often. Our plan is to create a series of short stories, published in various outlets, growing into an epic tale that can stand on its own.

Lastly, keep an eye out for Blackburn Burrow #2 from Amazon Studios, by me, Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire, which will go live very soon. As with issue #1, Blackburn Burrow #2 will be offered by Amazon for free in a variety of digital formats. The story deepens, literally, as the enigmatic Mister and his new companion Merrin delve deep into the mine, uncovering a shocking buried secret.



New York Comic-Con 2012

I’ll be appearing at New York Comic Con, held at the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s west side, on Oct. 11-14. My signing time is fairly limited, as interviews, meetings and panels are eating up a lot of my schedule. Here’s my public schedule:


5-6 p.m., Top Cow signing at Image booth, #1229


1:30-2:30 p.m., Top Cow panel, Room 1A14

3-4 p.m., Top Cow signing at Image booth, #1229

6:30-7:30 p.m., Israel Idonije and Ron Marz Tackle Graphic Novels panel, Room 1A14

I’ll be joined on the Top Cow panel by Matt Hawkins, Jeremy Haun, David Hine and Tim Seeley. We’ll be talking about what’s coming up in the new Rebirth-era Top Cow Universe, including my Artifacts title. For more information on the top Cow panel, go here:

There will be a NYCC Exclusive edition of Artifacts #21, with a new cover by Stjepan Sejic, available for sale at the Image booth.

The Tackling Comics panel is something new and different. Israel Idonije is a starting defensive end for the Chicago Bears, as well as a comics fan. He’s started his own company, Athleta Comics, which will be making its debut at NYCC. I’m writing the first project from Athleta, called The Protectors, with my buddy Bart Sears providing the art. You’ll be able to find out much more about Athleta and The Protectors at the panel, so I really hope you make the time to attend. For more information on the panel, which will also include Michael and David Uslan, and Aaron Feuer, go here:

The panel will also feature a free, exclusive art print by Bart Sears, T-shirt giveaways, and some pretty grand surprises that Israel has been planning. Definitely worth an hour of your time.

The Athleta Comics booth is #3032 on the NYCC floor. Please stop by for giveaway cards and stickers. You might even catch me and/or Israel Idonije at the booth.

A few more tidbits for NYCC:

My Shinku partner-in-crime, artist Lee Moder, will be set up in Artist Alley all weekend, taking commissions all weekend. He’ll be at table Z19B. cost is $100 for a full figure, and $40 for a head shot. Having seen the many commissions Lee produced at the Baltimore Comic Con, I can tell you first hand that his prices are a bargain.

Lee will also have copies of the long-delayed Shinku #5 for sale at his table. The issue doesn’t actually hit stores until Oct. 17, so this is your chance to get an early copy. I’ll be hanging out at Lee’s table when I have the chance, especially on Sunday.

Artist’s Alley is set up in the North Pavilion this year, which can be reached via a walkway. I would urge you to make the time to visit Artist’s Alley, despite the location not being completely convenient. Setting up for a show like NYCC is expensive, and the artists could use the support. An interactive map of Artists Alley can be found here:



Air India Travel Article

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was asked to write a travel piece for Air India magazine. The article is now live on the website, as well as in print copies of the magazine (so if you happen to be flying Air India, please grab me a copy). I wrote about my trip earlier this year to New Zealand, thanks to Armageddon Expo, which was easily one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had.

The full article can be viewed here:

The artwork accompanying the story is by Abhishek Malsuni, artist for Legends of Aveon 9, a title I edit for India-based Rovolt Entertainment, which arranged the article. Abhishek is an fantastically talented artist, and I was very happy to have his beautiful work accompanying my text.

Now I just have to work out a trip to India…



Creating Comics Class For Charity

I’ll be teaming up with my buddy, writer/artist Matthew Dow Smith, to offer a Creating Comics class as part of the Project Lift Fundraiser to benefit the after-school programs at the Franklin Community Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. The class will be held at Comic Depot in the Wilton Mall in Saratoga Springs, date to be determined so it’s amenable to everyone who signs up.

A fundraising event will be held Thursday evening, Oct. 11, at Longfellows in Saratoga Springs. For $75, attendees are wined and dined, and have the opportunity to sign up for various classes and events (for varying fees). The Creating Comics class is $60 per person, and will include some special, autographed items. All proceeds benefit the Franklin Community Center. The class will provide a step-by-step tour of the comic creation process, from script to pencils, inks, colors and letters. There will also be a Q & A session.

If you’re not able to attend the Oct. 11 event, you can still sign up for the Creating Comics class, if any slots remain. Complete information can be had here:

The flyer/invitation for the event (click on the images for the hires PDF version)

Hi-res PDF Flyer

I’m unfortunately not able to be at Longfellows, because of commitments at the New York Comic Con the same evening. But Matt and I are looking forward to the class, and raising some needed funds for a worthy program. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.



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