Category Archives: comic books

DVD/Blu-ray Review: ARROW: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Arrives September 17, 2013)

Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity on ARROW on The CW

Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity on ARROW on The CW

Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards on ARROW

Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards on ARROW

“Arrow” is The CW’s #1 show and releases its first season on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013. For those completely new to the character of Oliver Queen, and his superhero role as Green Arrow, all the way to diehard fans, this is a show that will entertain. Some viewers will say, “Hey, enough with the ads for this show, you had me at hello.” And they would be correct.

Arrow (played by Stephen Amell) is an activist. You clearly see him refining his value system and acting on it. There’s a reason this show is simply called, “Arrow.” This places Oliver in his 20s, still finding his feet, and with a journey ahead of him before he becomes “The Green Arrow.” That’s what this show is all about, a journey. It is that specificity that should keep it running smoothly.

Arrow, while incredibly buff, definitely uses his brains quite a bit and is not afraid to be a geek. One of his crew, Felicity Smoak (played by Emily Bett Rickards) steals the show every time as a very capable hacker and great geek role model. I can tell you that, if you’re a “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fan, then you may turn out to be an “Arrow” fan, although don’t expect too much in the way of classic snark.

The show takes a lot of its direction from two Green Arrow comics titles–and no, it’s not the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run from the ’60s, although there’s a clever nod made to it. The titles are Mike Gnell’s 1987 “The Longbow Hunters,” which provides gritty realism; and Andy Diggle and Jock’s 2007 “Green Arrow: Year One,” which provides the backstory of Arrow’s finding himself while lost on a deserted island for five years. Plus writers Greg Berlanti (“Dawson’s Creek,” “Green Lantern,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Marc Guggenheim (“Eli Stone”) and Andrew Kreisberg (“Fringe”) have brought in some intriguing new details like the mysterious role of Oliver’s mother; and Diggle, who finds himself becoming something of a sidekick to Arrow.

You don’t have to know a thing about comics to enjoy this show. There are relationships, rivalries, intrigue, all the timeless elements of power struggles and myth. And, if you are superhero fan, then this is a top tier show just for you. Visit The CW webiste for more details here. And you can get your copy of the first season of “Arrow” right here.

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Filed under Arrow, comic books, Comics, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, The CW, The Green Arrow, Warner Bros. Entertainment


AVENGERS #180: Displayed and Sold Like Toys!

AVENGERS #180: Displayed and Sold Like Toys!

Over at Berkely Place Comics, you can find a lot of comics goodness, like a panel per panel study of landmark comics, and this look back at how often villains have restrained the Avengers, preferring to pin them to a wall like mere toys on display!


Filed under Avengers, comic books, Comics, Marvel Comics



Arlen Schumer is your perfect guide into the world of comics and pop culture. He is a leading authority on comic book art. He knows the subject inside and out. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from RISDI, Mr. Schumer apprenticed with legendary DC Comics artist Neal Adams. Subsequently, Mr. Schumer went on to a career not as a comic book artist but as a comic book-style illustrator. A member of the Society of Illustrators, Mr Schumer took his already impressive career one step further and began to lecture on the artistic merits of the comic book art form. This led to his book, the award-winning “The Silver Age of Comic Book Art.” He regularly provides VisauLectures about comic book art that educate, inspire, and bring up for discussion intriguing and exciting aspects of comic book art.

This Sunday, May 5, will be an opportunity to see Mr. Schumer’s latest VisuaLecture, “Comic Book Art History: The First 24 Years!” If you’re not in the NY metro area, then you can still see this presentation streamed live. Just visit for details. You can also read the previous post just below this post.

Here is the Comics Grinder podcast interview below. We chat about comics and childhood. We also talk about how comics can be misunderstood and what can be done about it. One thing, no doubt, that is helping to motivate and educate the public about comics is Mr. Schumer and his VisuaLectures. They aren’t just lectures. They are lively engagements with the subject and, most definitely, visual. Keep an eye out for many more to come, including a tribute to Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino, and a look at the development of the Black Panther character at Marvel Comics, a creation led by Jack Kirby. You can read the VisuaLecture about Jack Kirby’s Black Panther in a special Avengers issue of Alter Ego, details here. And you can read the VisuaLecture tribute to Joe Kubert in Comic Book Creator, details here.

Click the link below for the interview:

Visit Arlen Schumer at his website HERE.

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Filed under Arlen Schumer, Art, Art History, Batman, Comic Book Art, comic books, Comics, Graphic Design, Print Magazine, Superheroes, Superman



“COMIC BOOK ART HISTORY: THE FIRST 25 YEARS!” is the latest in Arlen Schumer’s impressive VisuaLecture series on the comics medium. It is a not-to-be-missed presentation. If you happen to be in the area, see it in person at Stepping Stones Museum in Connecticut this Sunday, May 5. Or, you can view it as a live-streaming video. Details are below.

Arlen Schumer is one of the leading historians of comic book art. His presentations are lively, highly informative, and, of course, very visual!

Details follow:


THIS SUNDAY MAY 5th, 2013 @ 3:00pm! In an incredible multimedia gallery space, part of Stepping Stones Museum’s YES2 Youth Program’s 1st Comic Book Mini-Convention! A screen the size of a small IMAX to project on! Comic book images like you’ve never seen ’em before!

I’ll be going though not only “The First 25 Years” of my comic book history works (since my instigating the Fall ’88 PRINT mag special comics issue), but “the first 25 years” of my childhood and young adult years, from being the art director of BATMANIA mag in high school to working for Batman’s greatest artist, Neal Adams, after art school (like getting paid to go to graduate school), and then creating a career illustrating in a comic book style, and parlaying comic book history to audiences around the country!

And hey, adults–it ain’t just for kids! There’ll be plenty of adults/parents, and ALL ages are invited!

And if you CAN’T make it in person…


Stepping Stones Museum
Mathews Park, 303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850
203 899 0606

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Filed under Arlen Schumer, Art, Art History, Batman, Comic Book Art, comic books, Comics, Graphic Design, Illustration, Superheroes, Superman



For the Star Wars fan who has everything, how about this beauty: a delightful R2D2 patch!

Of course, it depends on how badly you want this bad boy. There will be hoops a plenty to jump through. First, this is a Free Comic Book Day exclusive so you have to jump through that hoop on May 4. Then you have to go to your local participating comics shop. But is it participating and to what extent? Ah, there’s the rub.

Assuming you’ve made it this far, the store will undoubtedly place a condition between you and the coveted patch. But what will it be? A minimum purchase of $10 or more? Well, maybe. Some stores may ask more of you, ranging from asking you to speak to the finer distinctions in Star Wars canon to the more obscure aspects of the recent Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm.

Then, and only then, this patch could be yours. It is rumored to be a limited edition of only 1,000, and personally hand-stitched by master Star Wars patch designer Kevin Liell.

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Filed under comic books, Comics, Free Comic Book Day, Humor, Star Wars

Interview: Charles “Zan” Christensen and Looking Beyond Gay and Straight

A draft for the cover to ANYTHING THAT LOVES

A draft for the cover to ANYTHING THAT LOVES

Gay is a powerful term, particularly in its use in a political movement. However, as Charles “Zan” Christensen points out, it is not as useful when describing the complexities of an individual. The categories of “gay” and “straight” just aren’t enough. What about everything in between? Christensen, publisher of Northwest Press, which specializes in comics with LGBT themes, is preparing to launch a new comics anthology that explores these issues of sexuality. “Anything That Loves,” brings together a roster of excellent cartoonists creating works that explore their unique observations on the sexual spectrum.

It was a pleasure to get a chance to interview Zan. He’s very passionate and articulate about what he believes in, as is evident in our conversation.

“Anything That Loves” has achieved phenomenal success as a Kickstarter project. And the party isn’t over yet. This campaign runs through April 28. It has already reached over twice its funding goal. Additional funds mean more money reaching the creators of the anthology. You can view the campaign here. Since I have launched my own Kickstarter project, which you can view here, I have come to more fully appreciate the work and dedication behind such projects.

From the Northwest Press website:

The Northwest Press anthology Anything That Loves will be released this July, just in time for Comic-Con in San Diego, and features a variety of wonderful artists exploring the seldom-seen world between “gay” and “straight”. The anthology features work from artists Erika Moen, Ellen Forney, Randall Kirby, Jason Thompson, Kate Leth, Leia Weathington, MariNaomi and lots more, and is currently the subject of a Kickstarter fundraising drive.

Visit Northwest Press here.


Filed under Anthologies, Books, Charles Zan Christensen, comic books, Comic-Con, Comics, graphic novels, LGBT, Northwest Press, Publishing, Sex, Sexual Studies


Here is a quick look at some assorted new an recent VIZ Media releases: Naoki Urasawa’s 21ST CENTURY BOYS; Mizuki Sakakibara’s TIGER & BUNNY; Toh Enjoe’s SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE; Sakyo Komatsu’s VIRUS; Takehiko Inoue’s INOUE MEETS GAUDI.

VIZ Media has got you covered in more ways than you might think: manga, anime, books, video, all faithfully translated into English. You will find something for everyone: from a study on Japan today and its future to the latest Naruto. Check it out at VIZ Media here.

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Filed under animation, Anime, Art, Art books, Books, comic books, Comics, graphic novels, Japan, Manga, pop culture, Sci-Fi, science fiction, VIZ Media



“Buddy Cops” is weird, absurd, and addictive. Why would an alcoholic peace officer from another galaxy end up being “demoted” to the NYPD and teamed up with an android created in the 1970s and programmed to be too exacting? If you really have to ask, then you don’t know Dark Horse Comics humor. Sometimes, it’s best to just roll with it. This one-shot first appeared as part of the ongoing anthology series, “Dark Horse Presents” and has some new material to even things out. This is a great opportunity to remind everyone about “Dark Horse Presents.” Check it out for a tantalizing assortment of new comics each month. “Dark Horse Presents #22” arrives March 20 and you can learn more about it here.

Getting back to “Buddy Cops,” there is something so annoyingly politically incorrect about this comic along with a bent toward the surreal that makes you want to read more. As it is, we’ve got a set of interesting scenarios that sort of go off a cliff. That is all well and good for this sort of thing. Number one, you’ll find the plot, dialogue, and jokes, amusing. Number two, Evan Shaner’s art is pleasing and there are some moments of brilliant composition. I especially like the 90 foot tall orangutan. Rounding out the package, Rus Wooton does a great job with lettering, adding some extra touches where needed.

“Buddy Cops” is a March 13 release. It is 32 pages. File under: Action/Adventure, Humor, Sci-Fi. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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Filed under comic books, Comics, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics, Dark Horse Presents, Humor, science fiction

Interview: Steve Kriozere and FEMME FATALES


"Bad Medicine" episode: Director Darin Scott, Actress Christine Donlon, Writer Steve Kriozere

“Bad Medicine” episode: Director Darin Scott, Actress Christine Donlon, Writer Steve Kriozere

Steve Kriozere is a writer/producer with an impressive resume that includes work on “NCIS,” “Castle,” and “Femme Fatales.” If you have not gotten a chance to try out “Femme Fatales,” it is a show worthy of your consideration. You can leave any preconceived notions at the door, and start out with “Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season,” which is now available and you can purchase here. You can read a recent review of the show here.

The following is an interview with Steve Kriozere where we discuss what “Femme Fatales” is all about from various points of view. We also talk about “Elvis Van Helsing,” (review here) an offbeat horror graphic novel that Steve co-wrote with Mark A. Altman, who is also a writer/producer involved with, among other projects, “Castle” and the co-creator, with Steve, on “Femme Fatales.” We wrap up with a discussion on the writing process and what lies ahead for “Femme Fatales.”

We begin by discussing the tricky position that this show finds itself in. It’s a show on Cinemax. That carries a unique set of issues. For instance, the concept of “less is more” can be a hard one for the network to grasp. The creators and writers on the show must find ways to deliver the goods, the sexual content, in new and creative ways while also building up a show. Here’s the thing, this is, at its heart, a clever show. There are so many things going right with this show, from its charismatic host, Tanit Phoenix, to its exploration of genres and, well, embrace of geekdom. The show, at the end of the day, retains its potential which, by all rights, should remain forever elusive.

The full interview with Steve Kriozere follows and includes the podcast at the end.

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Filed under Cinemax, comic books, Comic-Con, Comics, Entertainment, Femme Fatales, HBO, Noir, pop culture, science fiction, Superheroes, Television

WILLOW #3 Review

Willow Dark Horse 003

“Willow” glides deeper into her wants and needs in Part Three of “Wonderland.” The Jeff Parker and Christos Gage script gives it up for Willow. Brian Ching’s art gives it up for Willow. This issue is an enchanting walk through the mystical realm that doesn’t seem to offer any options besides hedonistic pleasure. That’s not exactly such a bad idea for Willow. She has a new girlfriend, the reptile witch, Aluwyn, and an intoxicating playground to enjoy.

It is Willow’s sidekick demon, Marrak, who needs to take on the role of nag. He is confident that he’s found some ancient relics that may very well solve Willow’s problem. But what problem is that? Oh, yeah, the whole reason she’s there, to return magic to Earth. It seems no use getting through to this girl. Marrak can’t do it alone. If there was ever any doubt, Willow needs Marrak.

This issue has some really beautiful scenes in it. You have the ocean, and cute and cuddly little octopi, just before a huge Cthulhu like monster spoils the mood. But, the prevailing theme in this issue is that Willow is really at odds with remaining the persistent do-gooder and just giving in to her new bond with Aluwyn. So, a good issue and a chance for us readers to bond more with the characters.

“Willow #3” comes out January 2, 2013. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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Filed under Buffy The Vampire Slayer, comic books, Comics Reviews, Dark Horse Comics, Horror, Willow