Archive for June, 2010


My essay discussing PULP LITERATURE possibilities and the work of R. Scott Bakker has been expanded and moved to www.blackgate.com. Here’s the link:

http://www.blackgate.com/2010/06/30/pulp-literature-how-about-some-wisdom-with-your-fantasy/

The throne of Martin's saga, made from melted down swords, serves as a brilliant symbol for the perils of rulership and the pain of being "king." Literally.

Here’s a whole new reason to get HBO if you don’t have it already (as if REAL TIME, TREME, and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM weren’t enough!). The biggest and possibly best fantasy epic of the last two decades, George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE will soon be an HBO series. Taking the name of Martin’s first book in the series, A GAME OF THRONES premieres in 2011.

Here’s the first preview trailer, which promises great things:

Based on HBO’s track record of high-quality series, this bodes well not only for the legion of Martin’s fans who love the series (count me in) but also for anyone who enjoys quality television shows. The last time HBO tried something this ambitious they launched the amazingly good ROME, which ended after its second season due to its high production costs. But, man, it was good.

Anyone who has read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE knows that Martin’s fully-realized characters are the key to his genius. And the producers of this show obviously have taken this focus on charaterization to heart by choosing wonderfully capable actors to bring the cast to life. A few highlights: The terrific Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent) plays the series’ most likeable character (arguably), Tyrion Lannister, an intellectual in a world of brutish men whose dwarfism only makes him more the hero (albeit a misunderstood hero and the black sheep of his decidedly evil family). Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings’ Boromir) will doubtless make a perfect Eddard Stark, the loyal patriarch who tries to bring integrity to a power-hungry mob of royalists. Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles) will play the deliciously evil Cersei Lannister.

The fifth of seven proposed volumes...long overdue and highly anticipated.

The goal is reportedly to cover one novel per season (10-12 episodes). That is a noble goal and let’s hope it flies. Maybe it will be the final burst of inspiration that will get Martin to finish the long-awaited fifth volume A Dance with Dragons. But perhaps the best result (besides hours of quality fantasy entertainment) will be that thousands of new readers will discover the series and actually READ one of great works of modern fantasy.

Peace!

John

Science advances through data and experiments, but those in turn depend upon theory. Theory is the flashlight that tells an experimenter where to look, and without it, he wanders at random. His data don’t fit into a worldview.

I consider myself scientific at heart, and so I depend upon a theory as well.

Its basic premises are as follows:

  • We live in a universe that exhibits intelligence, self-regulation, and creativity.
  • Consciousness preceded the brain. It created life and went on to create the brain itself.
  • Consciousness is primary in the world; matter is secondary.
  • Evolution is conscious and therefore creative. It isn’t random.
  • At the source of creation one finds a field of pure awareness.
  • Pure awareness is the source of every manifest quality in the universe.

More here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/consciousness-and-the-end_b_620133.html

What We Are III

 

Humanoid representation of Eternity from Marvel Comics…a symbol of our connection to the infinite universe.

“I am ageless and timeless. I am above and beyond my body, thoughts, and ego. I am the witness, the interpreter.”

 

These words from Dr. Chopra apply to all human beings. Meditation and spiritual reflection allows us to realize this forgotten truth. We are all manifestations of infinite creative consciousness, expressions of the Unified Field of Existence, the Breath of God, the universe looking back upon itself to experience itself anew. Once we realize this we find the path to inner and outer peace. 

To rise above your Ego, your imagined Self, and see your connection to the infinite universe (i.e. God) is to embrace your full potential. We are all One. 

Peace! 

John

Gorgeous Paul Gulacy cover from a recent JONAH HEX issue. Such a great comic deserves far better than it got from Hollywood.

Terrific article here about exactly WHY the Jonah Hex movie sucked so terribly: http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.reuters.com/what-hollywood-can-learn-from-jonah-hex-reuters 

As a huge fan of the ongoing comic series (and the original seventies series) I was pretty bummed to see the movie version go so apallingly off the rails into camp action bullsh*t territory. This article delves into some of the reasons why things went so wrong, and points out some great rules for movie producers to live by. I especially like this passage: 

DC's black-and-white collection of the original JONAH HEX run...weird western tales at their best. Forget the movie and read this instead.

 

– NOT EVERY COMIC NEEDS TO BE MOVIE. 

 The movie version of “Hex” should have been rated R, made like a relatively cheap spaghetti Western instead of a PG-13 exercise with a budget said to have climbed to $50 million-$60 million, including reshoots. 

If Warners didn’t want to commit to a more down-and-dirty version, it shouldn’t have made the movie. In fact, what “Hex” should have been, and still could be, is a limited TV series on HBO, FX or TNT. It would have been about a bounty hunter who is barely better than the men he hunts but who occasionally shows a spark of humanity. 

Or maybe such a flop-tacular movie is a blessing in disguise…maybe every bad comic-book movie only reminds us of the ancient truth that THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE

I, for one, am glad the failure of the Jonah Hex movie won’t effect the ongoing comic book series. I’ll take a good series over a good movie anyday. 

Ride on, Jonah! 

Peace, 

John

Supply your own movie joke here...

Adjust your videotronic device, pop open a tasty can of Slurm, kick back and enjoy.

FUTURAMA returns to TV tonight!

At one time it was the funniest show on TV besides The Simpsons…until it was cancelled back in ’03. But, like the irrepressible Family Guy, this show wouldn’t stay dead! Fans never stopped clambering for more Futurama as the series went into syndication on Cartoon Network and then Comedy Central. Futurama comic books were great, but we missed the stellar talents of the voice cast. DVD sales were terrific and spawned four new Futurama movies (which later aired on Comedy Central in half-hour segments). And now, the moment all us Fry-fans have been waiting for…a brand-new season of the show hits Comedy Central starting tonight!

I once described Futurama as “The Simpsons in the Future,” and that’s not far from accurate. Matt Groening’s brand of biting, subversive and intellectual humor permeates these tales of the time-displaced dullard and his future friends. For anyone who’s a hardcore Simpsons fan, how could you not love Futurama? The same topics that The Simpsons lampoon and satirize every week are lampooned and satirized by Futurama as well…albeit through the lens of science-fiction.

In fact, Futurama has a broader and bolder canvas because it can look back on a thousand years of human follies that we haven’t even made yet! As with ALL science-fiction (humorous or serious), it provides a lens through which we look at our own society. And, in the case of Futurama, it’s also damn funny. Tonight’s one-hour premiere is bound to please.

Here’s to the future. Welcome back Dr. Zoidberg!

“Watch FUTURAMA or Morbo will feast on your puny human brains!”

The immortal Frank Frazetta's cover to Robert E. Howard's only Conan novel, HOUR OF THE DRAGON. A high mark of sword-and-sorcery, the edition with this cover painting was retitled CONAN THE CONQUEROR.

Over at www.blackgate.com Jason M. Waltz’s extensive-yet-personalized review of the new Eos Books anthology Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery has begun a lively debate on the genre. Or is it a sub-genre? Nobody seems to know.

On one hand you have the “strict definition,” which is where Jason comes from, and on the other hand there’s a broader interpretation of what can be considered “Sword-and-Sorcery” fiction. My thoughts tend toward the broader definition. MUCH broader.

Although Robert E. Howard started it all, the genre has gone far beyond the paths he trod. Or has it? Is S&S a “dead genre” or is it alive and well?

Check out the dialogue and JOIN the discussion right here:

http://www.blackgate.com/2010/06/23/a-review-of-swords-dark-magic-the-new-sword-sorcery/#more-8360

Peace!

John

IRONSPELL Concludes…

The final installment of THE WEIRD OF IRONSPELL, “The Breaking of the Weird” has just been posted at www.blackgate.com  This brings the novella to a close and finalizes Black Gate‘s first experiment with online fiction.

Although the story of Ironspell is done, there are some fascinating characters here to which I may return in the future. Tumnal the Swift must be lurking somewhere in the shadows of Arboria, snatching rare jewels or purloining opaque potions. Can Grobos the Bastard really be dead? He said himself that some sorcerers perish many times before leaving the world. Perhaps these questions will be answered by future tales…or perhaps not.

If you’re a fan of Ironspell, drop me a line and let me know…that will be all the encouragement I need to return to Arboria.

Yet there are many fantastic realms to explore…and many worlds to weave…writing is a sorcery all its own and not even the author knows where it will take him.

Okay, back to that novel I’m writing…

Peace!

John

Finally: One of comics' greatest and most innovative series sees completion on U.S. shores! There is literally nothing quite like THE METABARONS. This is the cover to the long-awaited fourth volume, due in stores this month.

Some great news today for comics fans: THE SAGA OF THE METABARONS will finally see completion in the U.S. market!

France-based Humanoids Publishing is finally releasing a fourth volume that collects the end of the series, which ended incomplete with issue #17 many years ago. At last, the last few issues (translated from their original French) will be available to us American fans of this brilliant cosmic epic that blurred the lines between fantasy and science fiction. This final volume should be in stores by the end of June.

THE METABARONS is the brainchild of legendary writer Alejandro Jodorowsky and powerhouse Argentinian artist Juan Gimenez. When this title first hit American comic shops back at the turn of the Millennium, I was utterly blown away by its sheer scope, poetic approach, visual bravura, and mythic grandeur. The rest of this post is a reprint of a comprehensive article I first ran at THE PULSE a few years back. If you’re new to THE METABARONS, this tells you all you need to know:

 

The Glorious Cosmic Tragedy of THE METABARONS

Many people will tell you that the comic book is an art form created by Americans, one of the few gifts we gave the world (the others being Jazz and American football). That may be true, but when the comics art form reached Europe, it found fertile soil to grow in…and sprouted some wonderful fruit. The list of amazing European creators could fill this entire column, but my favorite Euro-team has to be Alexandro Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez, creators of The Metabarons, one of the most brilliant and important comics produced in the last twenty years.

To read this saga is to see comics evolve before your eyes into a transcendent saga of love, death, pain, tragedy, heroism, sorcery, and super-science. It’s brilliant, twisted, sensational storytelling that combines Greek tragedy and space opera like nothing before. Comics just don’t get much better than this…it simply has to be read to be believed.

Originally published in France by Humanoides Associes, the series first came to my attention in late ’99 when the American version of the publisher, Humanoids Publishing, released an English translation of the first issue, “The Stonecutters.” I had no idea that this was a concept that grew out of the classic Jodorowsky/Moebius series The Incal. I had no idea who Jodorowsky or Gimenez were. This comic was a burst of pure strangeness, and I fell in love with it immediately. A few issues later, I read a column by Warren Ellis, who raved about the book. This only confirmed what I was already thinking: The Metabarons was one of the best comics being published at the beginning of the new century—in the U.S. or anywhere else.

The series tells the multi-generational saga of a line of “perfect” warriors called—you guessed it—the Metabarons. The story is a galactic epic of science fiction and fantasy combined. In fact, you can’t really tell where the sci-fi stops and the fantasy begins. Jodorowsky knows that any sufficiently developed technology will be indistinguishable from magic, and he weaves this knowledge into the fabric of his cosmic tales. His canvas is the far-future universe, and his players are a cast of scheming politicians, ruthless warriors, cyborgs, aliens, and other cosmic beings. Oh, don’t let me forget the robots…

In a master stroke of framing technique, Jodorowsky has the entire saga of The Metabarons told as a series of tales from one robot to another. The droids are Tonto (the narrator) and Lothar (his curious companion), and they live in the current Metabaron’s impregnable Metabunker. As a servant of the Metabaron himself, Lothar is naturally curious to know the history of his master’s legendary ancestors, so Tonto reluctantly tells him the story of each Metabaron in this long line of tragic heroes.

Tonto’s tales begin with the origin of the Metabaron clan, a tradition started by Othon von Salza of the planet Marmola. After a tragic series of event, Othon loses his son and his planet, affixes himself with a cybernetic implants, develops some amazing weaponry, and becomes a galactic mercenary whose skill and power is unequalled. After destroying a fleet of 10,000 pirate starships, the Galactic Emperor rewards Othon and all his descendants with the title of Metabaron, meaning “greatest warrior in the galaxy.” So begins the harsh tradition of violence, self-denial, fleshly mutilation, genetic manipulation, and cybernetic enhancements that define the Metabaron legacy.

Othon, having accidentally killed his own son, despairs of having any lasting legacy until the sorceress Honorata (his “gift” from the galactic Empress) comes to him and offers her love. Since his cybernetic pelvis prohibits fostering a new heir, Honorata uses her sorcery/science to impregnate herself with a drop of Othon’s blood. Thus, the second in the line of Metabarons, Aghnar, is born. However, it ain’t easy being the son of the galaxy’s most powerful and terrifying warrior. Due to treachery and an accident involving the anti-gravity substance called epyphite, Aghnar is born as a “lighter than air” mutant. Othon believes his poor son can never be a warrior and wants to kill him. But Honorata flees with the boy into exile, where she teaches him how to harness his vast mental powers.

Aghnar eventually returns to face his cruel father. Othon puts him through a series of grueling warrior tests, culminating in the crushing of his son’s feet and their replacement by cybernetic limbs whose weight will allow Aghnar to walk upon solid ground. Thus begins one of the fundamental traditions of the Metabarons, one that will continue through succeeding generations: bodily mutilation and cybernetic prostheses. Oh, and each Metabaron must slay his own father to gain the title. No easy thing to be the ultimate galactic warrior; nor does it bring any peace to those who carry the mantle. There is as much terror, loss, and pain as there is battle, victory, and glory. Such is the nature of war and those who master it, as Jodorowsky’s tale illustrates.

Aghnar’s adventures are as galaxy-spanning and fascinating as that of his father, perhaps even moreso. Aghnar’s son is conceived in an act of unintended incest (in order to save the life of his beloved Princess Oda, his sorceress mother Honorata secretly invests her soul into Oda’s body). Discovering this shameful secret, Aghnar attempts to murder his son with a shot to the head. However, Honorata (still possessing the body of Oda, Aghnar’s wife), immediately creates a cybernetic head for the decapitated child, and saves its life.

Yes, you read that correctly…the third Metabaron has a cybernetic head. He grows up to embrace the Metabarons tradition, becoming known as Steelhead—the most ruthless and merciless incarnation of the Metabaron lineage yet. Confused? Jodorowsky pulls it all off brilliantly, and Gimenez’s eye-popping artwork can only be described as visionary. But wait—it gets even weirder…

Steelhead rescues and marries the eyeless princess Dona Vicenta. When she gives birth to twins and the deformed male child dies, Steelhead (in a shocking act of misogynistic violence) implants the male brain into his daughter’s empty skull. This creates Aghora, the androgynous fourth Metabaron who will come to be known as “The Father/Mother.” Whew…

All of these details barely even scratch the surface of the multi-layered, action-packed, cosmos-spanning saga that comprises The Metabarons saga. I haven’t even mentioned Zaran, the 5,000-year-old living head of the galaxy’s last poet…or the gargantuan, whale-like cyborg starships…or the interstellar, brain-devouring vampires…or any of dozens of other brilliant, mind-boggling ideas that make Jodorowsky a true master. Anyone who reads this comic will be struck dumb by the sheer amount of imagination and innovative concepts he throws into the mix, not to mention the pitch-perfect painted artwork that brings it all to life.

Gimenez’s art combines the feel of the ancient world with far-future technology; there is a timeless quality evoked by his designs of costumes, technology, and world settings…just as timeless as Jodorowsky’s storytelling, which takes classic themes out of legend and myth, delivering them with a post-modern sensibility that is outrageous, beautiful, and often horrifying. And the writer seeds it with recurring bits of humor to make the gore and tragedy go down a bit easier.

Despite all the intergalactic and interdimensional bombast, the core ideas presented here are so very human. Jodorowsky never forgets that stories are about people, and his characters live and breathe in a mad universe full of tragedy, violence, and fleeting glory. As cruel and malicious as the Metabarons can sometimes be, you can’t help but feeling sorry for these ultimate warriors who have lost the heart of their own humanity. It’s poetic, ironic, and the only word to describe it would have to be “epic.”

DC Comics bought out Humanoids Publishing sometime around ’02, and then did something inexplicable. Humanoids had released a total of 17 exquisite Metabarons issues, and collected them into four trade paperbacks (with great new covers by Gimenez). Now, DC could have (and should have) kept the saga going by picking up with issue #18. A lot of readers would have been happy. But instead DC re-released all the previous Metabarons issues in new trade paperback printings bearing the DC trade dress.

Now why would someone who was reading the series, or collecting the trades, go out and re-buy them simply because they were being re-published by DC? The answer is: They wouldn’t. And DC learned that too late. They never released a single new issue of The Metabarons. Instead, their ill-conceived reprinting of all the books Humanoids had already released became a financial disaster, resulting in the immediate death of DC’s Humanoids line of books.

The Metabarons remains a breakthrough piece of comics storytelling; a magnificent leap in the evolution of the medium; a truly inspired and gorgeously rendered example of Comics At Their Best. Get your hands on the original issues #1-17, or the original trade paperbacks collecting them, while you still can.

Meanwhile, the news that prompted this post is that a fourth Humanoids volume will finally complete the series for U.S. audiences. That is terrific news for those of us who don’t know how to read French!

Humanoids has some other books on the way too. They are a company to keep an eye on, now that they have rebounded from the DC deal that put them out of the game for a few years.

Metabarons Live!

Peace,

John

Presence

 

“This lifetime of ours is transient like autumn clouds, like a dance,
like a torrent rushing down a steep mountain. Be present! “

— Buddha

Most recent news from Archaia Comics: the long-awaited PRIMORDIA ultimate hardcover edition is being solicited in the July Previews catalog for a September release in comics stores. (See my earlier post for a complete preview.)

Here’s another terrific pin-up peek from the hardcover gallery. The mighty Alex Sheikman (ROBOTIKA, THE WEIRD OF IRONSPELL) gave us his own interpretation of Driniel, Alleyar, and Vega in this superb piece:

Click to enlarge

What’s that sound? It’s a blood-curdling battle cry torn from my throat as I leap into my summer vacation, broadsword and axe in my fists, reaving my way through a sea of enemies, calling upon my Tiger Totem and the mystical ferocity of my Atlantean forebears.

Well, most of that applies to Robert E. Howard’s KULL, not me…but I AM on summer vacation starting tomorrow, so I am metaphorically screaming with blood-curdling glee.

Today I picked up a couple of trade paperbacks that are worth shouting about: Dark Horse’s THE CHRONICLES OF KULL Volumes 1 and 2. These books collect the splendid Marvel Comics KULL series from the 1970s, beginning with KULL’s first comics appearance in CREATURES ON THE LOOSE #10 (1970), “The Skull of Silence,” by Roy Thomas and the great Berni Wrightson. That story was so well-received it led to the launch of KULL THE CONQUEROR (which ran for 10 issues then was re-titled KULL THE DESTROYER, running for 19 more issues).

Dark Horse has done a tremendous job with their CHRONICLES OF CONAN trades, and KULL receives the same loving treatment here. The color is restored and the original covers are included (which were the only things lacking from the CONAN reprints). Stellar talents on these books include the amazing team of Marie and John Severin, Ross Andru, Wally Wood (Vol. 1) and Mike Ploog, Sal Buscema, Ernie Chan, Alfredo Alcala, and a host of others (Vol. 2.) The Mike Ploog run is legendary–as are all his Marvel runs (MAN-THING, WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, PLANET OF THE APES, GHOST RIDER, etc.). However, the Severins were the team that really established this series as a jewel in Marvel’s crown during the Bronze Age of Comics. They were the only team that could rival Barry Windsor-Smith’s run on CONAN (which was one of Marvel’s top-selling books at the time).

These collections are a particular joy to me for a few reasons:

KULL THE DESTROYER #12 holds a special place in my heart. I've had a crumpled copy of this classic Mike Ploog issue since I was a wee lad. Now that the classic KULL comics are collected, the legendary Ploog and Severins runs are preserved for posterity.

1) Since boyhood I’ve had a single Mike Ploog issue of KULL THE CONQUERER and always wanted to see more of them. The original issues are extremely rare and pricey. Same goes for the Severins’ run. Many of these issues have NEVER been reprinted and it’s about time these forgotten treasures of the Bronze Age were given their due.

2) Dark Horse relaunched a new KULL comic not long ago and did a terrific job. I hope to see more from them. The new series was written by Arvid Nelson with lush art by Will Conrad and Jose Villarrubia.

3) As great as Howard’s original CONAN tales are, I prefer his KULL stories.

Howard scholars will tell you how Kull preceded Conan in Howard’s imagination and output. His writing of these tales reeks of his Shakespearean influence. The KULL tales are more lyrical and poetic than the Conan tales…more steeped in the mists of primeval mystery.

KULL: EXILE OF ATLANTIS collects all of Robert E. Howard's lyrical, evocative, and savagely brilliant Kull tales. Howard at his very best.

The Conan tales are straight-forward adventure tales with moments of brilliant poetic imagery, but the Kull stories are far more idiosyncratic in theme. In addition to serpent-men and other monstrous threates, Kull battles his own depression, a barbarian king weary of a throne and its many responsibilities. He is the iconic Noble Savage who has conquered civilization, but ironically has been conquered by it as well. There’s a terrific collection of all Howard’s KULL yarns called KULL: EXILE OF ATLANTIS. I highly recommend it for those who want to go straight to the source.

The KULL comics that Dark Horse has collected in these “chronicles” are classic examples of 1970s comic book brilliance. I can’t wait to tear into them. There is a Volume 3 coming in September, but those later issues have never been that hard to find.

The first two years of KULL THE CONQUEROR are finally available in lovingly restored editions, and any fan of Bronze Age comics and/or Howard’s Kull tales should be leaping for joy.

Long Live the King!

Peace,

John

Page 1 of KULL THE CONQUEROR #1 (1971)

Page 2 of KULL THE CONQUEROR #1 (1971)

Page 3 of KULL THE CONQUEROR #1 (1971)

What We Are II…

 

I am the universe looking back at itself. And so are you.

_____________________________

Chopra interviews a theoretical physicist on the Physics of the Impossible. Hit this link and get ready to blow your mind: http://www.intent.com/deepakchopra/blog/michio-kaku-interview-deepak-chopra

Big John Lives!

I just found out about a terrific new book being released this August called John Buscema: Michelangelo of Comics by Brian Peck (Hermes Press).

“Big John” Buscema is one of my all-time favorite comics artists, and one of Marvel Comics’ most legendary talents. He took the bold imagery and bombastic imagery that Jack Kirby perfected and brought it to a new level with sleek anatomy, graceful figures, and expansive layouts.

Perhaps best known for his long run on CONAN THE BARBARIAN, Big John also did classic runs on THE SILVER SURFER and THE AVENGERS, as well as FANTASTIC FOUR, and he probably drew every Marvel character at one point. He has been called the “Michelangelo of Comics,” which is where this new tribute book gets its name.

The official book description reads: “This exhaustive look at Buscema’s career and art covers every aspect of this legend’s work and is generously illustrated with over 200 examples of the master’s original art. Over five years in preparation, comics historian Brian Peck interviewed everyone of note who ever worked with Buscema and paints a complete picture of one of the comics most outstanding artists.” Sounds good to me!

Buscema basically defined the iconic look of The Silver Surfer and Conan for decades. My comic collection is full of stellar Buscema work. In today’s comic world you can find shades of Buscema in the work of nearly every comics artist, but perhaps most heavily in the likes of Carlos Pacheco, Tom Grummet, Alan Davis, Scott Eaton, Ivan Reis, and Andrea Divito, to name a few. If Kirby began the “Marvel look” in the 1960s, then John Buscema re-defined it in the early 70’s (after Kirby left Marvel). He also taught a generation of artists how to draw comics with the superb how-to manual HOW TO DRAW COMICS THE MARVEL WAY. John Buscema was Stan Lee’s “Go-To Guy” after Kirby left for DC Comics.

The 176-page hardcover retails for $34.99 but www.amazon.com  has it on sale at the pre-order price of just under $27. Not bad at all…

Words can’t really do justice to John Buscema’s work, so here are some of my favorite Buscema covers and splash pages. Enjoy…

Peace!

John

What We Are…

      “You are not your perceptions, your body, your thoughts or your feelings. You are unlimited, non-local pure awareness.”

— Chopra

IRONSPELL continues…

Alex Sheikman does the art for the Ironpsell Saga. Check out more of his fantastic work at http://sheikman.blogspot.com

The newest chapter of THE WEIRD OF IRONSPELL is called “On the Mountain of Sorrows.” It is posted now for reading at www.blackgate.com

Ironspell has roamed the world putting the sword to the forces of evil, searching for his lost son. Now, atop a forbidden peak he faces Death’s Champion in a final battle for his own flesh-and-blood. Can the power of Azazar the Undying every truly be conquered?

The final chapter, “The Breaking of the Weird,” comes next week.

The saga is almost complete…

Peace!

John

Just found out about a great new comic book miniseries coming from the masterful Alan Moore and artist Jacen Burrows: NEONOMICON. Moore returns to the Lovecraft Mythos with a follow-up to 2003’s THE COURTYARD. Cthulhu fans, this one’s going to be a must-read…

Here’s the offical text from Avatar:

From award-winning creator Alan Moore comes a brand new tale of Lovecraftian horror that will leave you too afraid to close your eyes, but more afraid to open them. Created, written, and scripted for comics by Moore, NEONOMICON, the sequel to THE COURTYARD Graphic Novel, is slithering its way onto shelves to take its place as a Great Old One of comics terror. Illustrated by Moore’s favorite demented artist, Jacen Burrows, NEONOMICON pulls no punches as every full-colored page is covered in nightmares brought to gruesome life! The story begins some years after the chilling events of THE COURTYARD, in a world where two young and cocky FBI agents are investigating strange… and familiar murders. They think they’ve seen the worst monsters in America, but as they pull up to the maximum security asylum where one Aldo Sax speaks in strange tongues, Agents Brears and Lamper may be beginning to suspect that they’re about to see something so much worse. But they cannot begin to imagine the creeping insanity that has already begun to pull them under…

More info at: www.avatarpress.com/

And just a reminder: CTHULHU’S REIGN (featuring my story “This Is How The World Ends”) is still on sale at www.amazon.com

Peace!

John

Some Tasty SONIC YOUTH

I’m battling a nasty sinus infection today, but wanted to give you loyal bloggists something cool. Here’s the legendary SONIC YOUTH doing “Rain On Tin.” They do the best live show I’ve ever seen…and I’ve seen a LOT of live shows.

Peace!

John

 

Roel's fantastic wrap-round cover for the long-awaited PRIMORDIA Hardcover.

The latest word from Archaia Comics is a good one: They plan to release the long-awaited “ultimate hardcover” edition of my PRIMORDIA graphic novel in time for the San Diego Comicon. The con this year takes place on July 22 – 25, which gives them about six weeks for printing and delivery. 

Will it be in comics stores? I really don’t know (see below). But after sitting on it for two years (while the company went through various restructuring and reformations) it’s nice to know they’re finally about send this baby off to the printers! 

So I thought today’s blog post should be a nice preview of what readers can expect in this exquisite hardcover. Here’s a sneak-peek: 

– The original PRIMORDIA was written as 96-page graphic novel, but it was split into three chapters and released in ’07-08 as three issues (32 pages each). So first and foremost, this hardcover presents the story in its originally intended format: You should be able to read it in one satisfying sitting. 

– The Mighty Roel has provided a gorgeous new wrap-around cover (see above). 

– I’ve contributed a never-before-released short story that looks beyond the end of the graphic novel. It’s called THE TALE OF THE DAWN CHILD, a saga ripped from the pages of the Book of Neptor (God of Wisdom and Secrets). 

– Roel did a great new full-page illustration for the short story! 

Roel's full-page illustration for THE TALE OF THE DAWN CHILD, an original short story I wrote to extend the myth of PRIMORDIA (available only in the hardcover edition).

Tom Scioli's pin-up of Alleyar and Driniel in the Underworld. Done in his trademark Jack Kirby-inspired style. Tom's GODLAND is one of the coolest indie comics on the market.

– We have a pin-up gallery from such stellar talents as Alex Sheikman (ROBOTIKA), Chandra Free (THE GOD MACHINE), Tom Scioli (GODLAND), and the talented Jack Keefer. 

– Behind-the-scenes sketches from Roel shed light on the development of the story, AND you’ll see the original 8-page PRIMORDIA Ashcan written and drawn by ME before I teamed up with Roel. It’s a fascinating look at a scene I drew, inked, and lettered myself, but which Roel then drew later from my full script…without ever seeing the version I had done! Of course, his pages are far superior to mine, but it’s fun to compare the original scene to the final scene. 

The cover of the all-Fultz PRIMORDIA Ashcan...a relic of the pre-Roel era.

Kat Rocha of TITANIUM RAIN fame.

– The great Kat Rocha (TITANIUM RAIN) contributed a tasty introduction for the book. 

My fingers are crossed that this definitive edition of our stone-age faerie tale will indeed be released this fall. If you’re going to San Diego Comicon, you’ll (hopefully) be able to get your copy early! 

By the way, you can e-mail Archaia right now and tell them how excited you are about the PRIMORDIA Hardcover: m.caylo@archaia.com 

One more thing you guys can do to help: Go into your local comic shop and demand a copy of the PRIMORDIA Hardcover! (They will order it anywhere if you ask for it.) 

For more previews visit the PRIMORDIA site: www.myspace.com/primordiacomic

Peace! 

John 

PRIMORDIA, pages 44-45, a nice battle scene two-page spread by the Mighty Roel. Alleyar's Sun Tribes wage war against Driniel and the Night Tribes.