Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FACE-OFF: The Top 6 Bloodshot Artists Ever (Up Until Now)

A tease of one of the best Bloodshot fan works I've seen by 'dleoblack' on Deviant Art!
Valiant's ultimate regenerating, nanite-powered weapon of mass destruction has had Hollywood in his gunsights for some time now, but that gun got fully locked and loaded this week with the word that Riddick himself, Vin Diesel was in early talks to play Raymond Garrison, and his plight to discover his real identity after the surgery that gave him 'life' at the hands of Project Rising Spirit.

To toast the idea that one of the highest-grossing actors could jump behind those infamous red eyes and chalk-white skin, here are The Top 6 Bloodshot Artists Ever (up until now) (click to enlarge all the images)!

6) NORM BREYFOGLE In hindsight Birthquake may have signalled the beginning of the end for the original Valiant line, but what a signal! Sears on X-O Manowar, Jurgens on Solar, and Norm himself on Bloodshot. This image alone shot to the heart - and still does (read my interview with Norm himself here).

5) DAVID BARON Click to enlarge the above, and amongst all that detail, check out Shot's face. Baron perfectly captures the soulless look of a machine-run man, while still giving a hint that somewhere inside Raymond is struggling to keep control.

4) J.G. JONES I never get why after 52 and Final Crisis, J.G. Jones seemingly disappeared from covering comics. His cover art always flies off shelves, and here with 'Shot and the H.A.R.D. Corps (think Valiant's Suicide Squad) it was no exception!

As for the top three artists, just click here and see...

Monday, January 08, 2018

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE: 'Flash War' To Set A New Record

The heroes of the neighbouring Keystone and Central cities better get their best running shoes on. 2018’s Flash War story arc launches in this month’s The Flash Annual #1 before motoring into issues #46-50 of the monthly Flash series.

As this amazing cover by Howard Porter suggests, this story turns cosmic treadmill by deciding who will be DC’s ultimate Scarlet Speedster; Silver Age Flash; Barry Allen or former Kid Flash; Wally West, who grew into and held the mantle of The Flash after Barry's ultimate sacrifice - right up until Barry's rebirth in Infinite Crisis.

After DC relaunched its whole line with the DC52, Wally was nowhere to be seen, only Barry. Making a grand return with the DC Rebirth special, Wally warned Barry that their universe had been tampered with by unseen forces, and was missing something. On Jan 31, 2018, that 'something' multiplies.

The annual sees Wally turn to Barry for advice on whether he should let Iris West know he's alive. Only for Magenta, West’s magnetism-powered former flame to send out an S.O.S., which soon has Wally facing even more memories of his buried timeline and questions over where to run next.

Which Flash should be THE Flash is hard for me to call. Down from Batman, Barry Allen was THE hero that drew me to read DC Comics. I even wanted to be a forensic scientist right up until I was 15 due to his adventures.

Every time he ran across water or up the side of a building, my mind blew – and there’s still no greater detective duo in comics than Barry and Bruce Wayne. Unless you count original Robin, Dick Grayson / Nightwing and Wally.

While Barry founded the Justice League, Wally founded the team's revival JLA years. Wally became The Flash in ways few other legacy inheriting characters in comics have, and his focus on that responsibility made his stories stronger. The only characters that come close in living up to a legacy are Kyle Rayner/Hal Jordan from Alan Scott the original Green Lantern, and of course Barry Allen in taking over the run for justice from original Flash, Jay Garrick.

Barry has always been the TV and movie Flash, but in animation, Wally wins out. So, forget who's faster, Superman or Flash, Barry vs Wally is where the money's at in 2018. Ready to place your bets?

Friday, January 05, 2018

SWEET AS: Comics' Other Top 5 March 2018 Solicitations

When we Kiwis find something we like, we say it's 'Sweet as'. When I look at all the solicitations for publishers outside the 'Big Two', these five comics make the 'Sweet As' grade:

Cyber Force #1 was my first Image comic. I just dug the visual of Stryker having multiple cyborg arms. In this latest relaunch, creator Marc Silvestri is providing a cover and overseeing the return of his cybernetically-enhanced mutants in March, in a new series by writers Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and artist Atilio Rojo. Surviving a terrorist attack thanks to his employers, Morgan Stryker is set to pay with his humanity. (Image Comics – More details)

One of the most distinctive and powerful voices in music guest stars in The Archies #6 – BLONDIE! After the music legends finish producing The Archies first album, will the band say ‘Call Me’ or will they have a Heart of Glass? (Archie Comics – More details)

Quantum and Woody is always wall-to-wall fun. #4 of the current series even takes place in Australia, which is right next door to me! The world’s worst superhero team have found Woody's dad. Will Quantum handle a more inebriated version of his unpredictable partner? (Valiant Comics – More details)

Being an orphan without a sense of belonging is one thing, being  the latest in a line of men who are bound to a murderous voodoo spirit in order to become the latest Shadowman is another. But that is life for Jack Boniface. His March #1 sees Green Arrow: Year One writer, Andy Diggle turn up the horror dial as Jack confronts the demons of the real world while literally battling his own. (Valiant Comics – More details)

Shadowman and The Crow relaunching in the same month? Are we sure this isn’t Halloween? In The Crow: Memento Mori #1, David, the new Crow, seeks vengeance in Rome against the terrorists that murdered him and his girlfriend. (IDW / Edizioni BD – More details)

 What do you think?  

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


These days, Previews is THE comic ordering catalogue, however, it still can't hold a torch (human or otherwise) to Advance Comics, the 90's catalogue from Capital City Distribution that was so much more than just that.  

For this comic fan, living in a small, fairly comic-shop-free New Zealand town, Advance Comics was my doorway to the diversity of the comics' industry. Pre-internet, it featured the complete listings of the 'big two', but also those of the smallest indie press publishers, and those of up-and-coming hit-makers like Chaos!, Crusade, Malibu, Cartoon Books and hundreds more - every month. 

The Infinity Crusade cover above left, was my first copy. Mum saw an ad to order comics by mail in an edition of the New Zealand TV Guide, and showed me. $10 in an envelope later, a comic shop in the city was sending Advance Comics my way. When that first copy arrived, Mum met me at my school's gates and while my feet walked home, my blown-mind frantically flicked through its pages, trying to figure out which comics were going to be mine.

Advance Comics also featured complete release lists for pop-culture-based apparel, trading cards, video (yes, VHS had its own section - this was the 90's) and media.

Content was separated by 'Hot Flash' items worthy of extra attention and 'Hit Picks To Click' - the can't miss items of the month. It was a buzz having your comic collecting prowess backed by having a release you were waiting on gain one of these spots - let alone one of the issues two flip-book covers (look above - Night Thrasher)!

Then there were the freebie trading cards and promo material, as well as the creator interviews. 

While the decade drowned in fan publications like Wizard: The Guide To Comics and Hero Illustrated, Advance Comics gave you more bang for your buck talking with Billy Tucci about Shi or Dan Jurgens about The Death of Clark Kent right in the catalogue itself. Some of the best interviews I've read happened right here.

Sadly, the era of Advance Comics started to come to a close as Marvel made its own moves to distribute their comics independently. My issues are in a box in the wardrobe, and I continuously pull them out to read, or just get re-amazed at the full-page ads and the industry that once was. And that's the true test of how good this 'catalogue' was - it's still one of my go-to resources over 20 years on.

 What do you think?