Friday, February 08, 2019

THAT CRUSADE SPIRIT: All-New Shi Kickstarter to Launch in April

Wolverine? Pifft! If I could've squeezed any comic into my monthly pull-list in the 90's, it would've been Shi.

After reading an Advance Comics interview with creator Billy Tucci, I became an instant fan. As a teen who was writing and drawing my own stories at the time, I loved the idea of this one guy, who had hit upon a Japanese cultural/spiritual gang story so strong, he was backing himself and publishing it on his own - when he could've easily had it swallowed up by one of the BIG publishers, especially when it became a runaway success.

Tucci was as much one man beating the mob as his title character, Ana Ishikawa was against the  Yakuza - and as an artist, his artwork was beautifully clear, dynamic and graceful.

Now Shi's coming back. Tucci has told Newsarama that Shi - Return of the Warrior will start its crowdfunding Kickstarter in April, with Ana now a single mother to unsuspecting Hotaru, when her past "horrifically" returns.

Unlike the 90's, I won't be missing this story, which is set to prove that comic characters other than Dick Grayson, can actually move on and up.

A free ashcan of Shi's return is available via the current Kickstarter for Tucci and John Broglia's 60 page Zombie-Sama!, which reached its initial target in just over one a day. 

Telling the tale of sushi delivery boy Jim Okami, who is also ignored by the new "in crowd" (invading nuclear-contaminated zombies) taking up katana in 2019, Tucci seems to have found the first two hits with which to start his biggest Crusade yet.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019


For a guy that was originally created as a villain for Werewolf By Night, to go on and both outshine and eclipse the star he was created for, Moon Knight has some serious staying power.

The fans of Marvel's mentally unstable vigilante, are like the Smashing Pumpkins' fans of comics. Small, and despite not following a #1 act, extremely devoted. Writer/director, Caden Butera has written his passion right across the night sky, with this live-action fan film of noir vengeance born from a taxi-cab confession.

With Netflix's 'Marvel Knights' line of TV series' a hit up until their recent out-of-the-blue cancellations - as Marvel / Disney prepare to launch their own streaming service - the actions of actor Tim Altevers as Moon Knight, give us a taste of what the big N could have delivered if Marc Spector / Steven Grant / Jake Lockley's alter-ego was next on their list.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

THE YEAR'S GREATEST: My 2019 Justice League

One of my earliest comic book 'wow' moments, was being introduced to the Justice League in Super Powers #3.

I only knew about four of the characters involved, but the idea Flash knew Batman and Superman, and they hung out in a satellite above the Earth, was one of the coolest concepts I had read. In a nod to that memory, I want my first post each year to be my dream team, should I be given the keys to the car and told to write THE primer for comics' original universe. In 2019, this is my Justice League:

1) AQUAMAN When you represent a third of the planet, your place in earth's premier threat response team is guaranteed. Staple member Aquaman, is an amphibious tank with an army literally at his command.

2) BLACK CANARY Dinah should've been one of the League's founding members. As one of DC's most unsung heroes and top fighters, here, she puts her ties to the Justice Society into action as leader, making the hard calls Superman can't.

3) DAWNSTAR For the League to be truly future-focused, it needs a member from the 31st century's Legion of Super-Heroes. Dawnstar's cosmic tracking skills will fill the void left by Batman, as the crew's new 'wonder woman'.

4) STEEL What’s a league without a red-caped dude wearing the ’S’? Steel proved his mettle in the JLA once, but oddly, has rarely been back. He’s the self-made, streetwise tech guy, whose phone-a-friend is the most powerful man on the planet - like, you don’t want that on your team?

5) KILOWOG When you're fighting intergalactic threats, having an officer of universal police force, the Green Lantern Corps on board isn’t a nice to have, its a given. Ballbusting drill Sargent, Kilowog will ensure there’s no weak link in the chain, with the muscle to back it up should the ring breakdown.

6) DIAL H FOR H.E.R.O. As the reader's point of view character, the H.E.R.O. Dial gives the League the ability to offer a different standout 'everyday' humanitarian, the ability to temporarily graduate into the League on each mission and help save the day, guided by living legends like Aquaman.

7) ZAURIEL Hawkman and Hawkwoman taking flight is a classic JLA visual. With Zauriel and Dawnstar on the team, we give that iconic sight a whole new twist; a new pair of winged wonders - with one an actual angel of Heaven. In terms of bringing status to the team, Zauriel is as high as it gets.

Plus, I love the idea of an 'angel' who can’t die, constantly giving his life for Earth, doing the tasks that cost a price others can't pay.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

STRIKING A CHORD: Marvel Legends Night Thrasher in 2019

I've been racking my brain, revamping It's A Dan's World. From 2019, I want to showcase the best news of pop culture, while positively contributing to something that speaks to that Peter Parker / Dick Grayson spirit in all of us. 

I strongly believe when you are on the right path, life sends you a sign. When I moved to Wellington, as I drove into the city, Sheryl Crow's A Change Will Do You Good played on the radio. And today, while working on the 'all-new' IADW, Marvel announced the Marvel Legends toy line for 2019 will include New Warriors leader, Night Thrasher.

Save perhaps Morrison's JLA, there's no comic I enjoyed collecting more than the first series of New Warriors. Sadly, it didn't last past my high school years (it finished in '96, I '97), but while it ran, it was gold.

Now, I've never been a person who likes what is "in". I've never read or watched a Harry Potter film or book - same for Game of Thrones - I never owned a Nirvana album, and I don't like rugby. I don't avoid the popular things, I just naturally gravitate to the underdog.

As a teen, while people my age liked the X-Men and all the mags told me that was 'in', I collected Spider-Man cards, missed the fact DC Comics were rare in New Zealand and filled the void with lesser-known heroes like the New Warriors, Darkhawk - and if my limited income could stretch, either the Fantastic Four or Iron Man.

The original Warriors were teenagers who didn't believe the spin of the world around them and sought their own truth. In today's #falsenews world, that's a premise ready to wow.

By not speaking down to its readers and focusing on hope, the Warriors resonated. Both in the pace I walked to Paper Plus each Thursday to see if it was there, and in the style of my own comics I wrote and drew on the lounge floor. It was motivational fun. And that's the key.

Rather than wait for motivation to strike, I challenge us to surround ourselves with the best motivating factors of our lives so far. Let's make sure that the best inspirations of our past are in sight every day - not hidden away - but visibly inspiring our tomorrow. A song, a painting, a photo - whatever it is, make sure it doesn't become a whatever it was. You are a reflection of the inspirations you surround yourself with. And yes, I will get a Night Thrasher figure in 2019.