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Comics Catch-up

I’ve been busy enough getting issues off to press that I haven’t had a free moment up update the blog with those issues. So here’s an accounting of what’s been released in the last month or so.

This week sees the release of Convergence: Justice League International #2, by me and Mike Manley, with color by Chris Sotomayor. It’s the concluding chapter to the tale that began, naturally enough, in Convergence: Justice League International #1 last month.

My other DC Convergence title has also been released: Convergence: Batman and Robin #1 and #2, with art by the great Denys Cowan, Klaus Janson and Chris Sotomayor.

My run on Witchblade has resumed after a two-issue hiatus with the release of #182, with art by Maan House and color by Betsy Gonia. It’s part one of a three-part story bringing Sara Pezzini back to New York City, and into contact with a supernatural power broker who will change Sara’s life.

Witchblade: Borne Again Volume 2 has also been released, collecting issues #175-#179, by me, Laura Braga, Maan House and Betsy Gonia.

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #5 and #6 concluded the six-part “Invaders or Mars” arc, with art by Abhishek Malsuni and Zsolt Garisa in issue #5, and Roberto Castro in issue #6, and color by Nanjan Jamberi in both issues. Issues #7 and #8 are already in the can, so we’re rolling right along on Barsoom.

Skylanders #8 is also out, written by me and David A. Rodriguuez, with art by Fico Ossio and color by David Garcia Cruz. The story in the second part of the “Return of the Dragon King” arc.

And last but most definitely not least, The Protectors by Israel Idonije, Bart Sears, Mark Pennington, Neeraj Menon and me has launched as a motion book on the Madefire app. We’ll be releasing the first five-issue arc on Madefire through the summer, and the #0 issue is available for free right now.


Unbreakable Valor #2 for Free

Issue #2 of Unbreakable Valor, which I helped create for Panasonic, is now available online for free. A sequel to last year’s debut, issue #2 is written by me, with pencils by Lee Moder, inks by Mark Pennington, color by Mike Atiyeh, letters by Troy Peteri, edits by Phil Smith, and additional art by Bart Sears.

Once again, it’s a fun superhero yarn highlighting Panasonic’s Toughpad products, featuring the heroes of the League of Valor. This time, they take on their nemesis Doctor Analog, as well as a collection of escaped super-villains with names like Electricindy, Tall Tail and Killa Gorilla. The entire issue can be read for free online, at Panasonic’s site:

A very limited number of print copies were produced. If you catch me at a convention or signing, you might be able to get your hands on one. We’re already working on the next issue, so stay tuned.



Athleta Comics Store Open for Business

Previously, the only place to get a copy of The Protectors #0, the debut offering from Athleta Comics, by me, artist Bart Sears and NFL player Israel Idonije, was at a convention appearance. Now, however, the Athleta Comics web store is up and running here:



You can find both cover versions of The Protectors #0 in signed and unsigned versions, as well as a 13 X 17 lithograph of the issue #1 cover (limited to 100 pieces), by Bart Sears, Mark Pennington and Neeraj Menon.


Other items available include the first posters in the Athleta Heroes poster series, featuring Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Brian Urlacher. Bart Sears provided art for all three posters. Athleta Comics T-shirts are also available, in both a three-quarter sleeve model, and a gray athletic model.


Hope you find something you like, as we gear up for the debut of The Protectors series later this year.






Albany Comic Con this Sunday

I’ll be appearing at the Albany Comic Con on Sunday, Nov. 11, in Albany, NY. The show is once again being held at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Albany; the show has filled all the available space and continues to grow. Show hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and admission is only $5.

Albany Comic Con is my “hometown” show, and easily one of my favorite events. It’s an entirely comic-oriented affair, put on for the purpose of growing the hobby and attracting new readers (especially kids) to our medium. As always, the guest list is long and impressive, including legendary inker Joe Sinnott, writers J.M. DeMatteis, Ben McCool, Charles Soule, David Rodriguez, artists Lee Moder, Tom Raney, Matthew Dow Smith, Fred Hembeck, Richard Clark, Mark McKenna and many more.

I’ll be doing a panel discussion in the afternoon with J.M. DeMatteis about writing fantasy in comics. It’s one I’m looking forward to, as I’m a real admirer of J.M.’s work, especially the fully-realized fantasy worlds he constructs.

I’m also happy to announce that Lee Moder and I will have copies of the Shinku Volume 1 trade paperback available at the show, prior to its release in comic stores on Nov. 14. The collection includes the first five issues of our creator-owned series, plus more than 35 pages of extras, including sketchbook pages, pin-ups and the original black-white-and-red ashcan, all for $15. I’m very proud of what we’ve put together.

I’ll be bringing other items for the table, so if you’re looking for something in particular, please let me know in the comments section. I’ll also have free promotional posters for Blackburn Burrow (the Amazon Studios series by me and Matthew Dow Smith), and free cards for The Protectors, the 2013 series by me, Bart Sears and Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears.

Lastly, Albany Comic Con will also be conducting a silent auction of numerous pieces of original art to benefit Ronald McDonald House. Many of the artists attending the show contributed new Superman-themed pieces, including Joe Sinnott, Lee Moder, Matthew Dow Smith, Paul Harding, Richard Clark and others. How often do you get a chance to see Joe Sinnott draw Superman?

Complete information on Albany Comic Con can be found at the show’s website:

Hope to see you Sunday.



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.



Blackburn Burrow For Free

Free comics are good, right? Good free comics are even better. Available right now from Amazon Studios is Blackburn Burrow #1, by me, artist Matthew Dow Smith, colorist Jordie Bellaire, letterer Troy Peteri and cover artist Brian Stelfreeze. The package was put together by 12 Gauge Comics. Blackburn Burrow is a four-issue adaptation of an Amazon Studios screenplay, and the issues are being offered free.

Set during the waning days of the Civil War, Blackburn Burrow is the story of a man known only as Mister, who is engaged in an ongoing battle with the supernatural. In a remote Georgia mining town, Misters finds terrors beyond any he has ever faced, as well as shocking secrets to his own past. There’s adventure, there’s horror, there’s even a little romance.

At Baltimore Comic Con, Matt Smith and were on hand along with the Amazon Studios team to give away special print editions of issue #1, as well as posters featuring the great Stelfreeze cover. For anyone who wasn’t at Baltimore, issue #1 is available free in a number of digital formats. You can download the issue for Kindle here:

View it on the Amazon Studios Facebook page here:

Read it on the Amazon Studios site here:

Or grab it from the here:

To make it even more enticing, Amazon wants your feedback on the story, and is offering $5 gift cards for completing a brief survey after reading the issue. That’s right, you get $5 for reading a free comic. Pretty great, right? The survey can be found here:

Ensuing issues will be released on a monthly basis. I’m proud of Blackburn Burrow #1, and happy to be working with such a great team. Please give it a look.



Oscar Worthy

I discovered this Oscar-nominated short film, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” via my friend, author and illustrator Jim Gurney, on his Gurney Journey blog (which you all should be following anyway). It’s a delight that will likely have you in tears by the end (that’s what it did to me). Created by Moonbot Studios, its obvious influences include “The Wizard of Oz,” Buster Keaton and, of course, the love of books. It certainly (and silently) captures the way I feel about books, and I wanted to share it.

The film was co-directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, with terrific music by John Hunter. Joyce is one of my favorite children’s book illustrators and authors, and his influence is obvious if you’re at all familiar with his work. Delightful.

Youtube link

Hey Kids! Free Comics!

I’ll be making two appearances for Free Comic Book Day on May 7. First up is the Comic Depot in the Wilton Mall on Route 50 in Saratoga Springs, NY. I’ll be signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also on hand will be sculptor and artist Paul Harding, illustrator Richard Kane Ferguson and Strong Arm Labs. More info on Comic Depot here:

In the afternoon, I’ll be signing from 2 to 4 p.m. at Excellent Adventures, 110 Milton Ave., Ballston Spa, NY. Paul Harding will be along as well, and so will artist Christian St. Pierre. More info on Excellent Adventures here:

Both stores will have a limited number of copies of the FCBD offering I wrote this year, which is Silver Scorpion from Liquid Comics. The concept for Silver Scorpion was jointly created by handicapped school children from the United States and Syria, as part of a project sponsored by the Open Hands Initiative. I wrote the script, and the incredible Mukesh Singh provided the art. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool to have written a comic with a quote on the back by President Bill Clinton. A preview of Silver Scorpion can be seen here:

My friend Jen will be at both signings, posing for photos in her awesome Magdalena costume, so if you don’t show up for me, at least show up for her. For More information on Free Comic Book Day:


Conan, by Crom!

I grew up on Conan. I devoured the Ace paperbacks that gathered the original Robert E. Howard prose tales with pastiches by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. I’m sure the initial attraction there was the Frazetta cover imagery; what boy could resist those? In fairly short order, I discovered Conan in the comics, drawn to the black-and-white magazine Savage Sword of Conan more than the color Conan the Barbarian monthly (both from Marvel). Presumably this had more to do with the higher quotient of violence and nudity in Savage Sword. I kept up with a few comics at the time, like Avengers and Uncanny X-Men, they were a distant second to bloody swords and heaving bosoms.

Conan was always a “checklist” character for me – one of those characters I wanted to write at least once in my career. I’ve been able to put a mark next to a lot of the character on my personal list: Tarzan, the Phantom, Batman and a number of others. But an opportunity to write Conan hadn’t presented itself until now. My editor at Dark Horse, Dave Land, offered up the chance during the San Diego con, asking if I might like to do an eight-page story that would see print in USA Today. He didn’t have to ask twice, especially with my friend Bart Sears in place to draw it. The result can be seen here:

Obviously eight pages is not a huge amount of space for a one-and-done story, especially one that needs to introduce the main character to an audience that might not be familiar with him. Thus, the use of the familiar Nemedian Chronicles passage on page 1. The rest shows off Conan as he’s meant to be, complete with the trappings of a lovely maiden and some horrific opponents who need killing.

I can’t think of an artist whose sensibilities mesh better with Conan and his world than Bart. He and I have talked about doing a Conan story numerous times through the years, but it never came to fruition until now. Here’s a pretty fascinating blog piece from a Bart fan site, showing off the process of putting together the story’s art, with lots of previously unseen images:

I’m happy to report this won’t be the last time Bart and I tackle Conan. And next time we’ll have a few more pages to tell our story. More news on that as soon as I can.



Princely art by Rocafort

When I flew into San Diego last year for the annual ordeal known as Comic Con, a friend of mine (who lives in San Diego) picked me up at the airport so I’d be spared the line at the taxi stand. Arriving at roughly the same time were artist Kenneth Rocafort and his sister Jessica, who were in San Diego for the first time ever, and had been routed from their native Puerto Rico to Philadelphia and finally to San Diego. So I’d arranged to pick them up as well, and give them a ride to our hotel.

After a few cell calls, we found Kenneth and Jessica at a neighboring terminal. But before even loading their luggage into the car, Kenneth handed me a large envelope. Inside was the original for the piece of art you see here, a pin-up for my Dragon Prince creator-owned project that Top Cow had published. I was stunned, to say the least, both by Kenneth’s generosity and the sheer awesomeness of the piece. Kenneth had offered to do a Dragon Prince piece at the Baltimore Con the previous year, but I figured it’d just be a quickie in my sketchbook at some point. I certainly didn’t expect … this.

When we publish the Dragon Prince collection, this will definitely be in it, along with unseen art by series artist Lee Moder (including an unpublished cover) and co-creator Jeff Johnson. Also, there will be some more Dragon Prince news announced within the next month or so.

As for Kenneth, he and I are of course collaborating on the Velocity mini-series right now. Issue #1 will be in stores on June 30, and if I do say so, Kenneth has drawn an amazing-looking issue. He’s an absolute joy to work with, and I sincerely hope our work on Velocity is just the first of many projects together. You can check out Kenneth’s blog here.


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