Dark Horse Set to Publish Smite: The Pantheon War Graphic Novel

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on May 14, 2016.

smiteSmite: Battleground of the Gods, the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game developed and produced by Hi-Rez Studios, has moved into the realm of comics with the help of Dark Horse Comics who has announced a collected edition for its three-issue digital-first series Smite: The Pantheon War, for later this year.

Written by John Jackson Miller (Star Wars, Mass Effect), co-writer Jack Banish, and artist Eduardo Francisco (Eve: Valkyrie, Captain Midnight), Smite: The Pantheon War follows the looming war between the various pantheons over the course of its three-issue arc.

Here’s the official description for the series:

It is an age where gods live among the mortals over which they rule. The worship of mortals is needed by the gods to maintain their divinity—but the number of gods has swelled, and there are fewer mortal faithful for the individual gods in each pantheon. Only the gods who maintain worshipers will survive, and so tensions are rising among the pantheons. There is an uneasy peace…but peace is not desired by all!

Smite: The Pantheon War is set to release on December 28, 2016.

Source- darkhorse.com

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The Script For a New Spawn Movie is Complete

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on February 17, 2016.

Out of all the comic books getting movie adaptions nowadays, there is one character in particular that fans have been eager to see return to the screen once again after their first cinematic outing in 1997. That character of course is the demonic antihero, Spawn, who’s very creator, Todd McFarlane, has revealed that he has just finished working on the screenplay for Spawn’s newest film iteration.

While at the 2016 New York Toy Fair, McFarlane was interviewed by Comicbook.com about the status of the project.

“I’ve finished the script, and I’m in the process of editing,” said McFarlane. “It’s 183 pages, and [producers] usually like 120. I still think it’s going to end up being about 140, because I’m putting in details for myself.” He added that this movie would be “a hard R.”

McFarlane also revealed that the film wouldn’t be a superhero movie. “I’d put it more into horror/suspense/supernatural genre,” he said. “The Departed meets Paranormal Activity, something like that.”

“In the background, there’s this thing moving around, this boogeyman. That boogeyman just happens to be something that you and I, intellectually, know is Spawn,” he explained. “Will he look like he did in the first movie? No. Will he have a supervillain he fights? No. He’s going to be the spectre, the ghost.”

McFarlane also explained that part of his decision to stay away from the big budget approach of many modern superhero movies was so that he could make the film himself. “Basically, I can make this version of the movie on a budget without crazy special effects,” he said. “I want to keep it small, keep it tight, so they’ll let me direct it!”

The new Spawn Movie has been in development for years and the last time that McFarlane spoke about the film was back in 2013. Even though the script is still in the editing stages and the film has not been officially green lit by any studios, releasing a Spawn Movie now during a golden age of comic book movies where about four plus movies based on a comic comes out each year mark this as a perfect time for a movie like this to come out. Not to mention the massive success of Deadpool, another hard R movie with a low-budget that was not your average superhero movie, could inspire studios to take more chances on R rated comic book movies which Spawn would greatly benefit from.

Source- ComicBook.com

The Empty Man Optioned By Fox

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on February 10, 2016.

20th Century Fox is adding another comic book film adaptation to their list of projects in the form of BOOM! Studios limited-run horror series, The Empty Man.

According to Deadline, Fox has optioned the 2014 six-issue series of The Empty Man, written by Eisner Award-winner Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Vanesa R. Del Rey, for a feature film adaption. Up and coming director David Prior, who is most well-known for an array of DVD documentary work for major films, including David Fincher’s Zodiac, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is attached to write and helm the adaptation.

The official description for The Empty Man series is:

“It’s been one year since the first reported case of the Empty Man disease, and no drug has been able to slow its progress. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms include fits of rage, hideous hallucinations, suicidal dementia, followed by death, or a near lifeless, “empty” state of catatonia. As murder cults rise nationwide, the FBI and CDC enter a joint investigation of the Empty Man, hoping to piece together clues to stop the cult and uncover a cure.”

The film will be produced by BOOM! Studios CEO and founder Ross Richie as well as Stephen Christy, the president of development. Adam Yoelin will co-produce along with Fox’s Mark Roybal and Ryan Jones.

The Empty Man joins a growing roster of Boom! Studios film projects in development at Fox, including James Wan’s Malignant Man, The Foundation, Imagine Agents, and Lumberjanes.

Source- Deadline

REVIEW: Project Nemesis #1

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on October 5, 2015.

Ever since creatures like Godzilla and King Kong first appeared in cinema decades ago, we have been enthralled with giant monster stories. Since then, countless massive monster movies, books, games, and comics have appeared in the world and now Project Nemesis has joined the ranks of these giant tales

Project Nemesis #1 is the first part of in a six-issue adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jeremy Robinson, with art by Matt Frank, that is part of American Gothic Press’s line-up of classic movie monsters that focuses on Kaiju, also known as Godzilla or Pacific Rimsized monsters. The story follows several characters. First, it follows Katsu Endo after he discovers the remains of a Kaiju with a fellow solider on a really confusing page. After that, a few years pass and we then follow Jon Hudson,who is out hunting for Bigfoot with Sheriff Ashley Collins until they stumble upon a secret government base that is also under attack by some sort of human/monster hybrid thing. 

Sounds like a pretty interesting setup, right? Well it is, but there are some huge problems here with the execution.

The story is imaginative, adequate, and I have no real problem with most of the dialogue, but some things here just aren’t explained. What year is this? Are Kaiju a modern threat and if so what kind of impact have they had on the world? Who is the random dead schoolgirl at the beginning? I know this is the first issue and some questions need to be introduced to hook readers in, but practically nothing is explained. We see stuff happening but we are not given enough information to put two and two together. I was more confused than I was engaged.

My major complaint with this comic though is definitely in its use of narration. Some narration and inner monologue from a character in a comic is usually a must in stories like this but not when it’s on practically every single page and panel. I don’t need it if it mostly explains stuff that I can clearly see or piece together on my own after looking at what happens in a single panel! The point of a comic is for the art to help tell the story so we don’t really need the narrative to repeat what is already being seen in the art like this was a golden or silver age comic. I spent most of my time reading this just saying to myself “show, don’t tell.”

It may sound like I’m trying to praise the issue’s art but unfortunately, it’s also not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. The creature design is pretty cool, the colors are bright, the gore is graphic, and the backgrounds are gorgeous to look at sometimes but aside from that, the layout of some of these pages is pretty confusing. As I said earlier, the page where Katsu and his buddy find the giant dead Kaiju makes no sense to me. I mean was it a training exercise and they just happened to stumble across the remains of it in a cave? It seems that way since they are at a training base but the way the page is laid out and the dialogue is expressed, it really doesn’t make it that clear. I looked over the page five times and I still feel confused. Also, in a later page a character says that someone got shot two times while a few panels before that we can clearly see that the person was shot three times. Editing matters.

VERDICT

I feel like Project Nemesis #1 could have been so much better than it was. The ideas expressed here that I can make out seemed interesting and the dialogue with the characters seemed pretty fluid, but the okay art, heavy needless narration, unexplained details, and some bad page layout really bogged this down for me. I wanted to like this more than I did but I just couldn’t bring myself to see past most of the problems with this issue. Just another example of a story told in a narrative medium not translating well to a visual one.

FINAL SCORE: 3.5 out of 10

American Gothic Press Bring Project Nemesis to Local Comic Shop Day

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on October 6, 2015.

Are you a fan of Kaiju and collecting variant covers? If so then you should definitely check out this exclusive cover for Project Nemesis #2 which will only be available in participating retailers during an upcoming event.

American Gothic Press will be partnering with ComicsPRO for the first annual Local Comic Shop Day. Scheduled for November 28, 2015 at participating stores, the event has been publicized by ComicsPRO as a way to celebrate and appreciate independent comic shops for their donations to pop culture. Publishers like Marvel, BOOM!, Image, Oni, Black Mask, IDW, and Archie will also be providing exclusive items for shops that are participating in the event.

American Gothic Press has created an exclusive Local Comic Shop Day cover by Jorge Marrero and Jenn Pham for Project Nemesis #2, depicting the Kaiju Nemesis crushing a helicopter in all her sinister glory.
unnamed
 Project Nemesis is a six-issue adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jeremy Robinson, with art by Matt Frank and incentive covers by Bob Eggleton. The story tells of a government experiment in Maine gone horribly wrong that gives rise to a massive monster, Nemesis, who proceeds to terrorize New England. Issue #2 picks up the cliffhanger from the series debut and brings even more intensity to Jon Hudson and Ashley Collins’ hunt for whatever is killing scores of people on the East Coast.
Final order cutoff for Local Comic Shop Day exclusives is October 12, 2015. More information can be found at www.localcomicshopday.com.
Project Nemesis #1 will be available for purchase in stores and on Comixology on October 7, 2015.

REVIEW: BAAKO Chapter 1

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on July 20, 2015.

Self publishing one’s own book or comic is quite common nowadays. Practically anyone can publish their work and because of this we now have a large variety of stories out there. BAAKO is one of these such books.

Created by Joshua Covey, BAAKO Chapter 1 is a creator-owned comic published on Kickstarter and is the first book in a planned all-ages trilogy series.

It all began when a great star fell from the heavens, unleashing an evil force known by those who inhabit this world as “the Hatred.” From that day onward, life has become a constant struggle for survival. The Hatred continues to grow and to consume everything in its path, leaving behind nothing but a barren wasteland, distorting anyone caught in its path into grotesque minions whose only purpose is to serve and further its onslaught, pushing humanity to the brink of extinction.

The story begins quite some time after the Hatred has spread, leaving very few civilizations remaining. It follows a mysterious young girl named Baako, unscathed by the Hatred. She is discovered just on the outskirts of its reach and is taken in by a very small tribe preparing for their next battle. 
Believing the girl is of great importance, the leaders of the tribe decide to send her away to meet with one who they think could clear away the fog that shrouds her past. 
Wanting to stay and prove herself a true warrior, she agrees. Unfortunately, before she is able to make it to her destination, tragedy strikes, leaving her with no choice but to turn back the way she came. 
As she sets out to rejoin the tribe, other mysterious figures come into play who have their own hidden interests of their own in regards to our young heroine.

Artistically, this book is beautiful. I love the all the detail, the vibrant colors, the look of the desert/wasteland backdrops, and even all the creative creatures and monsters. So far, the characters are interesting and unique, fun, and well-developed. I look forward to seeing more of them and their journey as the story unfolds.

Unfortunately, the first issue of Baako comes off as a little short with some sequences that either felt short or unneeded. The series does offer a compelling setting but doesn’t spend much time exploring that world which makes it feel underdeveloped. It was also a little hard to tell who was on which side, but I guess that’s one of the things that will help draw readers into future issues.

VERDICT

Despite its flaws, I still found BAAKO Chapter 1 to be an engaging and satisfying read from start to finish. As the first part of a three-part story, I feel that it accomplishes what it set out to do by introducing the beautifully creative world, the diverse cast of characters and creatures, and the budding plot to the best of its ability. Overall, a pretty good book that will appeal to both young and older readers alike.

FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10

REVIEW: Super! Volume One

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on June 18, 2015.

I’ve read a lot of independent comics over the years. Some good, some not so good, and some that just knock my socks off with how good they are. Super! is an example of one of these such books.

Created by writer/artist Zachary Dolan and writer/letterer Justin Piatt, Super! is a creator owned comic funded by Kickstarter that follows the story of a motley team of amateur superheroes as they struggle to make a name for themselves in an overcrowded city filled with other heroes and teams. Volume one collects issues one through five of the series so far. Issue one, four, and five are all stand alone issues while issues two and three are two parters. Each issue is told from the perspective of one of the main characters as they elaborate on the world around them, their personal lives, their feelings, and whatever threat of the day that they are facing.

Almost sound like something that you might read in a Marvel or DC comic? That’s because it’s suppose to come off that way.

Super! in a way, is like the comic book equivalent of Venture Bros. Instead of being a straight up parody or a retelling of already well-known characters or properties, it is more of a loving homage to the genre but also knows when to laugh at itself and isn’t afraid to poke fun at various superhero, video game, anime, and comic book tropes in it while still being able to provide a compelling, serious, or heartwarming story in the end.

Normally, I think that this formula would be hard to do but Dolan and Piatt mange to do it so well. The dialogue is fluid and natural, the world is large and expansive, the costumes designs and names of the characters are diverse and well done, and the humor is clever and will hopefully make you laugh as much as I did.

Not only is the writing top-notch, but the art is simply stunning. Its colorful, clean, detailed, and very expressive. Each page was a joy to look at as I turned from one to the next.

Of course, there would be no Super! if it weren’t for one of the most important aspect of any story, the characters. There may be a lot of capes flying around in this city where super battles, alien invasions, robot attacks, and collateral damage is practically a daily occurrence, no other hero stands out as much to me to as the members of this currently unnamed team of nobodies. Blitz, the Furious Fire-Ant, Max Archer, Silhouette, Blood Death, the Unquenchable Lush, the Streak, and Adventure Man Zero all make up this little ragtag group. Normally an ensemble cast could be difficult to handle, but again it’s done well here. Every character has time to shine and each of them are fun, crazy, and entertaining in their own way. Even some of the villains get the same kind of treatment. Not all of them have been fleshed out yet but it seems like they will be as the series progresses.

As much as I enjoyed Super!, I will admit that it’s not perfect. Sometimes the dialogue may come off as wordy and as much as cursing in a story doesn’t really bother me, I do feel like it could have been toned back a bit. As the book progressed, it did seem like those two aspects did seem to be cut down a bit. Really just more of couple of minor nitpicks than anything else.

VERDICT

Super! Volume One is pure and nonstop fun from start to finish with its cast of crazy characters, witty writing, superb artwork, balanced comedic/serious tone, and the untold potential for stories. If this is something that you look for or love when it comes to reading comics, than I think this is definitely the book for you.

FINAL SCORE: 9.5 out of 10

Meet Pakistan’s ‘GUARDIANS’, A Trio Who Use Comic Books to Keep Children Away from Extremism

Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on June 2, 2015.

After an attack on a Peshawar school on December 16th, a trio of friends decided to create a special kind of comic book for a noble cause.

Paasban‘, or ‘Guardians‘ as its sometimes called, is a unique series of comic books created by Syed Mustafa Hasnain, a graduate from the London School of EconomicsGauher Aftab from Knox College, USA, and Yahya Ehsan from the National College of Arts Lahore to keep children, or anyone impressionable, away from the extremism that has claimed many innocent lives in the country.

Paasban is a three-part comic series based on the life of college friends in Pakistan. One of the characters drops out from college to join a religious group and his friends worry if he is embracing extremism.

“Through the Paasban series, we wish to help further a narrative that can swing the tide of public opinion against anti-state groups who use religion as a tool, and move society towards reclaiming Islam from those who would pervert its teachings into violence,” says the trio. 

The three had been working on the project for two years, with Hasnain and Ehsan founding the Creative Frontiers company in 2013 in Lahore, but the Peshawar attack made them realize that “if ever there was a time to tell this story, this was it”.

“Through this project, we wish to create Guardians, or Paasban, in every home in Pakistan to protect society from narratives of hatred and bigotry, and resist against the divisions that threaten to tear us apart,” says Aftab.

For Aftab, the story relays a part of his own life, when he himself almost picked up the gun and joined the fight.

“As a 13-year-old boy who had little exposure to matters of global politics, power, empire and history, I came across a charismatic teacher who was able to instill within me a worldview that inspired hatred and violence against anyone deemed to be ‘enemies’ of Islam. His words had little influence on others, but he was able to get through to me,” recalls Aftab.

“Noticing a marked change in my behavior and overt religiosity at home, my family was able to intervene and stop me from going further,” says Aftab as he recalls the timely intervention by his family that stopped him from joining jihad.

His experience, Aftab says, led him to understand of how Takfiri ideology is often used to mislead poor and marginalised people, especially children.

“In this, a Pakistani child is no less vulnerable than a child in France,the UK, US, or even India. Any person who feels helpless and lost can be exploited by an ideology of hate; it should come as no surprise when ISIS fighters are recruited from among poor and marginalised Muslim communities in Western countries, nor that a large portion of them are new converts,”says Aftab.

Through the Paasban ‘Guardian’ series, the trio aim to create awareness among children about such forces so that they are not misled into jihad or extremism.

“The only way to prevent our children from being seduced by violent dogma is to provide them with an awareness of social and religious values that reject extremism and hatred in every form. We are using characters and situations they can relate to, and learn from, so that they will recognise when someone is trying to use religion to mislead them or others,” says Aftab.

The Paasban series is not just being released in print, but is also now freely available digitally via the CFx Comics app on Android and IoS platforms.

“This is coming right at a time when smartphone and 3G penetration among Pakistan’s lower-income groups is increasing exponentially, so we finally have the means to reach a mass audience and really inspire a change in beliefs at the grassroots level,” the team says.

Hasnain, Ehsan, and Aftab plan to also take their story to television, movies, games, and other forms of media to reach out an even wider audience.

Source- IBTimes