REVIEW: ‘Edison Rex’ #15

(Monkeybrain Comics, 2014)

Story by Chris Roberson & Dennis Culver
Written by Dennis Culver
Artwork by Dennis Culver
Color Artwork by Stephen Downer

In many ways human culture is obsessed with the very nature of time as it relates to our lives.  We see ourselves through a lense of our past, though it is a biased and individually skewed one depending on what our outlook on life tends to be.  We look ahead fueled by our dreams and tempered with our worries and faults, and we try to find an idealized future within these confines.  We abstractly think of the paths and choices that may lead to such a life, trying to find direction.

Continue reading


REVIEW: ‘Seraphic: Exposed Past’ #1

(MC Comics, 2013)

Written & Drawn by Michael Carmean

Seraphic is the first comic in what will likely be a superhero series. Like most Issue # 1’s, Seraphic #1 takes us through what a normal day looks like for its protagonist, Jill, before her whole world is turned upside down. I love how Carmean lets his reader know from the start that something is terribly wrong. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Sidekick’ #5

(Image Comics/Joe’s Comics, 2014)

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Artwork by Tom Mandrake
Color Atwork by Hi-Fi
Lettering by Troy Peteri

The deconstruction of a super hero is not a new concept; it has been done to great acclaim by the likes of Alan Moore, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison to name a few of the stand-outs. Now, with his engrossing and intriguing series Sidekick hitting its stride, it seems we can add J. Michael Straczynski’s name to that list. Continue reading

REVIEW: ‘Ms. Marvel’ #1

(Marvel Comics, 2014)

Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Pencils and Inks: Adrian Alphona
Colors: Ian Herring
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Yes, I realize this book stars a—Oh my God—Muslim superhero! Gasp. Shock. And no, I don’t think Marvel is pandering or trying to be “politically correct,” which is honestly a go-to for trying to describe a character as veering away from the standard (read male and white) blueprint. Continue reading

REVIEW: “Saltire” Volume 1

(Diamondsteel Comics, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

Created by John Ferguson
Art by Tone Julskjaer & Gary Welsh
Cover by Jim Devlin

One of the core ideas of the comics world, especially that of the Marvel U, is the insistence that heroes can come from anywhere. One of the key points that made me fall in love with the X-Men was that they were a truly international group, with members coming from countries across the globe. And I always wondered…could they manage to survive in a book of their own? Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Kevin Rau of H.E.R.O.

BAG-AND-BORED--HEROzCoverCollage-iiWe got to ask writer Kevin Rau some questions about his awesome Superhero eBook series “H.E.R.O.”.  There are many things I could say about how amazing this project is, but why don’t we hear it right from Kevin himself:

H.E.R.O. is an ongoing series of novels (including a few short stories, and an illustrated guide).  They are chronological in order, commonly beginning immediately after the last novel, so at this point, 12 books cover about 3 weeks in time in my world.  Each book has its own plot lines, but also continue some plots that extend across numerous novels.  Think of them like a television series, where each week something gets wrapped up, but other plots are merely advanced a little.

At this time, I’ve got the first full novel (123,000 words long) free on just about all major e-retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.  (If you are wondering why it’s free, I’ve got 12 works out.  I initially made it free for a kids program overseas, and realized that I might as well make it free for everyone to try out my work.  My style of writing is slightly different, using a shifting first-person perspective, and it may seem odd to some people.  However, it can help “get into the head” of various characters more than traditional writing, I think.  Try it out and see if it’s for you.  If it is, there’s a long series to enjoy.  If not, then I hope the reader enjoys that novel and that they find something more to their liking.)”

We were able to get Kevin to do the favor of answering some questions for us, so lets get to the interview!

– We’d like to hear a bit about yourself, personally.  How do you keep your days busy when not working on H.E.R.O. related work?

I work a full-time job as a Manager of Information Technology, so I stay pretty busy.  Then, I go home, and work a full-time job writing, designing characters and covers, and handle promotion.  (My kryptonite…)  I do fit in some TV and getting together with friends, or shall we say future minions for my evil plan to take over the world!

– What brought you to this idea?

I’ve been a huge superhero fan since I was a teen in the 80’s.  I enjoy comics, but I burn through a comic book in about 15 minutes.  For the price, that’s not good “entertainment return” for the cost.  Part of me has wanted to do a more extensive superhero storyline for a long time.  What really drove me to it was all the reading I did in 2008, and I got tired of all the novels ending after a book or three.  I wanted more stories with the characters I had invested my time in, and that didn’t happen.  I knew that if I really wanted ongoing stories, I’d have to do it myself.

– How do you think the eBook approach is different than comics, in ways other than the fact that your project is a book, of course.  Are there things that might be easier or harder, coming from the book approach?

Well, I’m fairly certain that comic books require more teamwork between the writer, penciller, inker, and colorist.  I’m assuming those are all the people involved, too!  I do everything with my novels, from the writing to the covers, etc.  I do offload copy editing and beta-reading, though.  You just can’t properly edit your own work.  From the novel side, there’s a lot more detail that becomes involved.  Full conversations are made between characters, and time has to be taken to describe scenes and actions.  That differs a lot from what a good artist can do with pictures.  Both have their strengths, I think.  I wouldn’t want comics to go away, in favor of just superhero novels, for example – both have their place.  I think people can get into the head of a character better with a novel.  Comics, specifically the pictures, have something special in begin able to make characters look cool (or sexy, etc.).

Some else that might be harder with the novel are the plotlines.  A comic book typically has about 2,000 – 2,500 words.  My average novel is about 105,000 words.  That’s a lot of detail, and requires interleaving plot points that would take most comics a year or more to get through.

– Have you, or do you have plans on working on comics in the future?

I don’t have any plans to do it.  I’ve been asked if I’ll make a H.E.R.O. comic, and while I could pose some of the 35-ish characters I’ve designed 3D graphics for, and then render them in scenes, my backgrounds would be horrid.  I prefer to stick with full novels.

– Can you tell us a little about some of the main characters, and a bit about the first book?

The first book is a primer, and focuses on three of the main characters as they change and learn about their powers.  Granted, they deal with a psychotic mutant during that time as well, but the gist of the story is focused on them.  The first character is Lance, e.g. Spartan, a “brick” who gains nigh invulnerable skin, muscles that harden to become steel-like and capable of lifting about 50 tons, and who has super-jumping.  That power includes the ability to absorb the shock of landing so as to not cause harm to things he is carrying.  He also becomes much stronger when his adrenaline really kicks up, or when he is superheated (such as a building fire).  He’s a boy scout, focused on being a true hero, and is a friendly, overall nice guy.

The second is Rael, e.g. Black Tiger, who becomes a mutant.  These are a class of super who have physical mutations that are odd in some respect, but who aren’t bricks.  In Rael’s case, his fingertips can change into 2″ long black talons that can cut through steel, his canine teeth can elongate and do the same, and he heals unbelievably fast.  Later, he mutates further and can grow tentacles from his trapezius muscles on either side of his neck when desired.  He’s on the strong side of mutants, lifting about 5 tons, and is very agile.  He runs upwards of 60 mph at a full sprint.

The third is Stephanie, e.g. Psystar, who becomes a psychic (there’s more to it, but since that’s involved in a storyline that takes upwards of 10 books, I won’t ruin it).  She is a high-end “receiver,” and “hears” all thoughts within about 30 feet, and sees a TV screen of each person’s vision who is within 15 feet.  These can’t be turned off, so she can easily be overwhelmed by too many people being nearby (the screens don’t overlap, and cover her visual space).  She also has flight (upwards of Mach 2 eventually), and pheromones that can force others to do her bidding within about 30 feet.  Both of those are always on as well.

There’s a lot of time spent on the changes when they mutate into supers, as well as some general superhero type events they choose to become involved in.  Last, they go after Shrinker, as she’s been kidnapping people, and is an anarchist.

– Any future plans for this or any other project you’d like to share?

I just finished my first fantasy novel, called Necromancer’s Ascent.  It’s at the copy editor right now, and should be out in a week or so.  That’s the first novel in a fantasy world that I hope to make a full series, much like H.E.R.O.  While waiting for that, I’ve returned to H.E.R.O., and have begun the writing of the next novel in that series.  I expect to continue putting out H.E.R.O. novels for quite some time to come, barring something odd occurring.

I design 3D images of most of the major characters – primarily for use on the covers of the novels, but I found that I couldn’t stop making them, and have a bunch of extras on my website and Facebook page.  Each character has 12-16 “renders” of them in different poses on the two sites.  My website also includes a basic bio of each character in addition to the images.






REVIEW: “Moon Knight” Issues #1-7 (2011 Collection #1)

(MARVEL COMICS, 2011)   –   Reviewed by Feral Fang

MOON_KNIGHT_1_CoverMoon Knight is a character I grew up seeing in multiple guest appearances, team-ups, and more.  I always thought he was interesting (kind of like a mix between Batman and the old Ragman comics), and whenever he has popped up in his own series or mini-series, I’ve bought them and enjoyed them.  Seems I missed the boat on this one, but luckily Marvel has put it into a trade collection, and 1 of 2 total!  This series only lasted to issue #12, which might speak to the fan response to this title but, like some of my other “odd favorites” like ‘Power Man & Iron Fist’, ‘Deathlock’, DC’s ‘the Spectre’ and ‘Deadman’ – well these have never really been popular characters, even with Power Man hanging around the Avengers as Luke Cage.  So, back to this series.  I really enjoyed it!  It has a weirdly played out premise in where Moon Knight/Marc Spector is living in LA, working as a ‘Soldier of Fortune Consultant’ for a television show based on Moon Knight’s origin and story – “Legends of the Khonshu”.  He has four personalities in his head (did I mention he’s kinda crazy in this?  Well, he is.), himself, a Wolverine, a Spider-Man, and a Captain America.  They all talk to him in their individual character personalities (Wolvie wants to tear everything up, Spidey is always cracking jokes and being silly, and Cap is the usual stick in the mud boy scout we all know and love), so that adds a nice touch.  Some of the conversations the ‘other personalities’ have together is priceless, especially when they go against type during some tense scene or two.  Another trick based on this idea is that he can more or less ‘become’ these three, sometimes one at once, sometimes a mixture.  You’ll have to learn how that’s possible when you read it, as I thought the way it was handled was perfect and wouldn’t want to spoil the fun.  Along the way, he picks up some actual back-up in the likes of the superhero Echo, and his ex-SHIELD buddy Buck Lime, who now works on the same TV show designing the weapons Spector orders up for use.  Also along the way, Spector comes across a now-defunct Ultron body, which he takes the head from.  Needless to say, trouble boils up and eventually the real Avengers show to ponder why such a B-List character (as they constantly remind him, as well as people in the streets not knowing/guessing who he is) would have come across something so dangerous.  Anyway, my love for this book has me rambling!  This is a fun read, with a script by Bendis that both makes fun and is in awe of the main character, and Alex Maleev’s artwork is one of the exact styles I’m always obsessed with – a little Bill Sienkiewicz, some line work that reminds me of John Romita Jr., and round it off with a bit of early Jae Lee, and hit “blend”.  That might come close, but Maleev still has an individualism in his art that makes it feel fresh and new.  All as one package, I can see why this writer/artist team has gotten their share of awards, including the Eisner.  They work so well together, it really keeps the book moving strong, pausing a bit when needed.  My favorite scene (not really much of a spoiler) is when Buck Lime wakes from a nap on his couch to find a very angry Bullseye there to question him.  When Lime doesn’t give anything up, it’s revealed it was actually Spector in the Bullseye get-up, testing Lime’s resolve.  Awesome, fun, and maybe not for everyone as it is a bit kooky.  I’ll just leave it at this – I’ll be getting collection #2 just as soon as I can.  Can’t wait to see where this ends up.

— 4 out of 5 Borrowed Super Powers.