Walking Dead has been a juggernaut in both comics and television. The Walking Dead TV adaption has spawned a spin-off series, Fear the Walking Dead, and numerous games, merchandise, etc.
Walking Dead has proven it is not afraid to kill off popular characters. Season 9 will have us saying goodbye to Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln). These are two very central characters so it will be interesting to see how they write them off the series. They may leave it open so the actors can come back at some time in the future.
We also have to contend with the fact that Negan is still alive, even if detained. Negan is not one to give up easily. He is a persuasive talker and may wiggle his way back into a position of leadership.
Walking Dead has seen a decline in number of watchers over the past few seasons. They are still pulling approximately 8 million viewers per episode, which isn’t bad by any measure.
What are you hoping to see in season 9? Let us know in the comments.
One of the original founders of Image Comics is coming back with a relaunch of one of his early titles. Rob Liefeld will be bringing Youngblood back to the Image line up.
Youngblood was a high profile superteam sanctioned by the United States governement consisting of Shaft, Badrock, Vogue, and Chapel. The team for this new relaunch will be slightly different with the addition of latter day team members Doc Rocket and Suprema.
There is also a new character named Sentinel.
Jeff Terrel (Shaft) is an undercover FBI agent. He kills a sniper at a shopping mall with a thrown pen. He was also an accomplished archer when he joined Youngblood. He is equipped with an archers bow that uses magnets to propel arrows rather than a bow string.
Thomas John McCall (Badrock) was an average underachieving 16-year-old. He transformed into a large organic rock after swallowing a vial of top secret genetic material in his father’s lab. Thomas took on the identity of Badrock when he was recruited to join Youngblood. Badrock is proficient with a number of weapons including the guns and knives in the Youngblood arsenal. Many times he resorts to brute strength by using his fists to pummel opponents into submission. His reflexes exceed normal human levels even with his enormous size and weight.Badrock has been a part of every incarnation of the Youngblood team to date (1992, 1995, and 2008 series).
Nikola Voganova (Vogue) was only 13 when she witnessed her father being killed by a member of the KGB. She was forced to leave her pampered life in Russia as a result. She was already a world-class gymnast. She became a member of Youngblood shortly before her twentieth birthday. She started an international cosmetics corporation, Vogue Cosmetics, using her Youngblood fame to spearhead the launch. She eventually returned to Russia where she was able to get her revenge on the KGB agent that killed her father. While in Russia it was discovered she possessed a latent Nu-Gene granting her superhuman strength, endurance, and physical durability.
Bruce Stinson (Chapel) is a former soldier. After his military career he worked in Operation Knightstrike. Chapel was born in a prison in Joliet, Illinois. He is a known smoker and womanizer. He is also proficient in unconventional warfare such as torture. Throughout his career he was exposed to chemicals which gave him various superhuman abilities. He was also unknowingly injected with a type of HIV which could be activated by his superiors by a special serum. Chapel was ordered to murder his friend, Al Simmons (Yup, the guy that becomes Spawn). Chapel kills Al Simmons and leaves to later join Youngblood.
Rachel Richards (Doc Rocket) is the granddaughter of the original Doc Rocket, Rex Richards. She has the same power of super speed. It is unknown if she inherited the power or used the same potion as her grandfather.
Sally Crane (Suprema) is the sister of Supreme. One of her brother’s villains crashed her birthday party. This triggered her to manifest her super powers. It also turned her hair white.
Marcus Langston (Sentinel) developed the Sentinel armor. He has no superpowers. He uses his intellect and armor suit as his power. It was revealed that Marcus owned a magic book that could alter reality and change people’s fates. He had been headed for an early death, but rewrote the book to make himself the hero of an increasingly violent world.
Official Synopsis for “Youngblood” #1
An uber popular self-protection app called HELP! is changing how we stay safe — “HELP! lets you decide who saves you.” But when a high-rated young hero on the app goes missing, his best friend’s search for answers gains the attention of some unexpected allies, and together, they’ll do whatever it takes to find him… even if it means resurrecting the world’s most hated super-team, Youngblood.
Official Press Release
Image Comics is pleased to announce the return of Rob Liefeld’s YOUNGBLOOD—the blockbuster hit series that launched the Image Revolution and turned the comics industry on its head—with story by Chad Bowers (X-Men ‘92, Deadpool: Bad Blood) and art from Jim Towe. YOUNGBLOOD is reborn with an all-new cast and a bold new mission with YOUNGBLOOD #1 issue—set to hit stores this May.
“Youngblood has had outstanding talent contribute to its amazing history,” said Liefeld. “Alan Moore, Robert Kirkman, Keith Giffen and Mark Millar are a few who have left their mark. Chad Bowers and Jim Towe are four issues into their run and are producing stories that will be held as some of, if not the best Youngblood tales ever told. It honors the best of the past and forges exciting new paths for these characters!”
In this YOUNGBLOOD #1, an uber popular self-protection app called HELP! is changing how we stay safe—“HELP! lets you decide who saves you.” But when a high-rated young hero on the app goes missing, his best friend’s search for answers gains the attention of some unexpected allies, and together, they’ll do whatever it takes to find him… even if it means resurrecting the world’s most hated super-team, Youngblood.
“Trust me, you’ve never read a Youngblood story like this,” said Bowers. “I’m so incredibly proud of what Jim and I are doing on this book, and can’t wait for readers, especially those who’ve maybe never picked up a Youngblood comic, to see what all the fuss is about!”
Jim Towe added: “I’ve been having the time of my life with Youngblood. The combination of so much creative freedom along with having a fantastic writer like Chad has really made this an artist’s dream book to draw. We’ve crafted an incredibly fun and exciting modern day reimagining of these characters that I think both new and old fans are really going to enjoy.”
The series will also feature jaw-dropping alternate covers by Rob Liefeld, David Finch, and Chris Daughtry—so, gear up, strap in, and get ready to rediscover comics most Extreme universe.
One of the better titles under Image Comics that most people never heard about is Witchblade.
Witchblade is a comic book series published by Top Cow Productions, an imprint of Image Comics, from 1995 to 2015. The series was created by Top Cow founder and owner Marc Silvestri, editor David Wohl, writer Brian Haberlin, and artist Michael Turner.
Witchblade remains one of Image Comics’s longest-running series with almost 200 issues under its belt (plus spinoffs and related titles). The Witchblade is a sentient bracelet with great supernatural power which is passed down through female hosts.
Sara uses the power of the Witchblade to help her solve crimes. Witchblade focuses on a NYPD homicide detective named Sara Pezzini.
This is not the first time Witchblade has been in media other than comic books. Cable network TNT ran a pilot film in 2000. That pilot was good enough for them to start a television series in 2001. The show was very popular with audiences, but the series was still canceled after two seasons in September 2002.
There was also an anime adaption of Witchblade in 2004. Japanese animation studio GONZO produced 24 episodes. This anime adaption did not feature the characters from the comic book. It featured a new story with all new characters, but it still existed in the same continuity as the comic book. The anime focused on Masane Amaha, who has no recollection of her past beyond six years earlier.
Witchblade even made it into manga. Manga publisher Kodansha produced an adaptation of Witchblade titled Witchblade Takeru. This adaption followed a different plot and characters from the Witchblade anime and comic book but is set in the same continuity as both. The main character for Witchblade Takeru is Takeru Ibaraki, an average Japanese high school girl raised in a Buddhist convent. She experiences recurring nightmares about the Witchblade and eventually becomes its newest bearer.
Witchblade: Ao no Shōjo is a Japanese novel written by Satoshi Ichikawa with art and illustrations done by Makoto Uno, who previously worked on the Witchblade anime as the lead art & character designer. The protagonist is Yuri Miyazono, a sickly 15-year-old Okinawan girl who bonds with the Witchblade for her own survival. Again, the novel is set the same continuity as the Witchblade anime and manga. Yuri is the immediate successor of Takeru Ibaraki from Witchblade Takeru and the immediate predecessor of Masane Amaha from the Witchblade anime.
A feature film adaptation was scheduled for a 2009 release, but was never produced. The film was to have been produced by Platinum Studios, Top Cow Productions, and Arclight Media.
Witchblade back on TV
Witchblade has been confirmed to be in development to air on NBC. The series will follow the original comic book story-line. Sara Pezzini is on the hunt for an elusive serial killer. The biggest difference from the source material is Pezzini is in San Francisco’s Mission District rather than New York.
The show is being produced by Sony Pictures Television for NBC. It will be written by Caroline Dries (Vampire Diaries), who will executive produce the show alongside Brian Young (Vampire Diaries producer and writer), Carol Mendelsohn (Sony TV), and Mark Silvestri (co-creator of the original comic series).
NBC has a spotty record with developing comic book TV shows. They did have a great run with Grimm, so there is hope that Witchblade will enjoy many entertaining seasons. Hopefully Mark Silvestri is able to keep the series true to the source material.
Mention the name Rob Liefeld at a comic con and you will either hear gushing adoration or curse filled anger. He is undoubtedly one of the most controversial figures in the comic industry. Liefeld has created many very popular characters such as Deadpool, Cable, Domino, and Stryfe.
He rose to prominence in the early 1990s due to his work on Marvel Comics’ The New Mutants and X-Force. He is also one of the original co-founders of Image Comics.
Rob has been criticized for avoiding drawing character’s feet, drawing anatomically incorrect characters, drawing muscles that don’t exist, placing pouches where pouches shouldn’t be, and giving characters impossibly large weapons. If you aren’t a fan of Rob Liefeld you can’t deny the impact he has had on the comics industry. His comics and art style were big sellers in the 1990’s.
Whether you love Rob Liefeld or hate him, you are about to see a lot more of his work. Nine titles were optioned to Graham King and Fundamental Films as part of an interconnected Extreme Cinematic Universe – Brigade, Bloodstrike, Cybrid, Lethal, Re-Gex, Bloodwulf, Battlestone, Kaboom, and Nitrogen. Akiva Goldsman is set to co-produce the movies with Liefeld and his manager, Brooklyn Weaver from Energy Entertainment.
Liefeld’s work will be back in print as well. Brigade and Bloodstrike will be relaunched as comic books. There will also be collections of their early issues from the 1990s. “I have a new Brigade series ready to go and I’ve been waiting to launch with Bloodstrike. Then we have an Extreme anthology coming out,” Liefeld said. “I’m not going to flood the market. We’ll do selective stories, selective arcs, and then at the end of the year, we’ll be collecting the material…We’re going to collect the original stories for the first time, as well.”
All of this will be organized under a banner at Image with Brigade, Bloodstrike, Extreme Anthology, and even a re-colored version of his and Jeph Loeb’s Re-Gex. Liefeld also announced plans to revive Youngblood with a new creative of Chad Bowers, who will co-plot with Liefeld and script the series, and newcomer Jim Towe, who Liefeld discovered on Twitter after Towe posted redesigns of the Youngblood characters, seen here.
The new Youngblood team will have mainstays such as Shaft and Badrock, each of whom will get new powers early in the series. It will also include characters from later in the series such as Doc Rocket and Suprema as well what appear to be some new characters.
Back in the 80’s there was really only 2 major comic book publishers, Marvel and DC. Some of the guys at Marvel were tired of seeing all the money they were making for the big 2 while they were being paid very little to reward their work.
They banded together and decided to start their own artist owned comics publisher (at Marvel and DC if you created a character for their comics they retained all legal ownership of that character). This is how Image Comics came into existence.
Todd McFarlane is one of those early Image Comics guys. The comic book he developed for Image Comics is Spawn. The first issue of Spawn was very popular with sales of 1.7 million copies. During Spawn’s second year of publication, Wizard noted that “The top dog at Image is undoubtedly Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. It became the best-selling comic on a consistent basis without the added marketing push of fancy covers, polybagged issues, or card inserts.
Origin of Spawn
Lt. Colonel Albert Francis “Al” Simmons,USMC (Ret.) was a highly trained Force Recon Marine. He was at his most successful point when he saved the President from an attempted assassination. Al was promoted to a high level and recruited to a highly classified unit within the CIA devoted to black ops. Once there, he began to question the morality of what his agency was doing.
Al’s friend and partner, Bruce Stinson (codenamed Chapel), was hired to kill him. Simmons was killed and his soul was sent to Hell because he had knowingly killed innocents while working for the CIA.
Simmons made a deal with an evil being known as Malebolgia. In exchange for his sou, he would get to see his wife once again. When Simmons returned to the human world five years had passed. He had been transformed into a demonic creature with little memory of his former life. He eventually regained his memories and sought out his wife. She had moved on and married his best friend. They now had a daughter named Cyan.
Al, now going by the name Spawn, decides his purpose is to fight evil. Malebolgia was agreeable to Spawn’s new mission as every evil person killed was another body in his army for his future war against Heaven.
The Spawn movie
The popularity of Spawn peaked with the 1997 Spawn feature film. The film was only a mild commercial success and failed to start a film franchise based on the character. The film had lots of CGI scenes. The budget was continually raised to cover the the ballooning cost of making the computer generated shots. This coupled with studio forcing the film to be cut from a Rated R movie down to a PG-13 rating undoubtedly helped to damage the appeal.
The new Spawn movie has already been written by Todd McFarlane. He doesn’t want to retell the origin of Spawn. This time he wants to focus on the real world implications of the character. The new Spawn movie will rely more on practical effects rather than computer generated eye candy. McFarlane has promised this Spawn movie will be a R rated horror movie. With Todd McFarlane writing the script and the studio green-lighting an R rated horror movie, we should finally get the Spawn movie befitting the character.
Marvel reverses their fortunes in November. The Top 10 for November makes it look even between Marvel and DC Comics. If you expand your view out to the top 100 a different story is apparent.
Marvel has shook off their performance of the past few months and is the dominant publisher for the month of November. They have a majority of the sales in November. Even though Marvel is back on top, DC Comics has the top 2 spots overall with Batman #10 & #11. In fact, all of DC Comics top 10 titles were Batman related.
DC Comics is leaning heavily on Bruce Wayne right now. Marvel relied heavily on new titles for their top 10. Invincible Iron Man #1, Amazing Spider-man:Renew Your Vows #1, Venom #1 and IVX (Inhumans vs X-men) #0 were all in the top 10 for Marvel.
Their only non-new title was Civil War II #7. The only title not from the big 2 publishers was Walking Dead #160 from Image Comics.
Marvel Comics managed to gain some spots in the Top 10 for October.
The big surprise is Boom Studios! took the number one spot with “Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #1”.
“The Walking Dead #159” snuck into the last spot on the Top 10. The remaining 8 spots were split evenly between Marvel and DC. DC Comics can thank Batman for all 4 of their Top 10 spots.
Each DC Comic in the Top 10 was related to Bruce Wayne (Dark Knight, Batman, and All-Star Batman). Marvel had 2 first issues show up on the list with “Champions #1” and “Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme #1”. The other 2 Marvel titles were “Civil War II #6” and “Darth Vader #25”. Maybe the newness of DC Comics Rebirth is starting to wear off?
In August we saw DC Comics having a majority of the comics in the Top 20, heck even the Top 50 of sales. September is following in the trend of DC Comics being the best sellers. It seems that 2016 is the year for DC Comics titles. This month a lot of the Batman titles have made the top 5 pushing Harley Quinn down the list just a bit. One of the notables on the list is Image jumping into the Top 10 with Walking Dead. We figure it has to do with the build up on the TV show between Negan and Rick’s group.
Marvel has something up their sleeve though, They are pushing the Death of X which leads into IVX (Inhumans vs X-men) and results in Resurrexion. They have been keeping their plans for this story arc a bit secret. They promise to shake up the whole Marvel Universe. So far, Death of X hasn’t done much in sales to prove that.
Chew has been a very well written comic from it’s inception. There was even talk for a while about making it into a TV series. Personally, I would love to see a show where the crime gets solved by the detective getting visions from what he eats.
The comic book series will be coming to an end with issue #60. Hopefully everything gets tied up and completed so there are no lingering questions. It is written by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory and published by Image Comics. The series has won two Eisner Awards and two Harvey Awards.
“Hard to believe we’ve come to the end of things, but here we are, five issues of CHEW left, and we’re now plunging headlong into our last and most consequential storyline.” said Layman. “Every issue is a goodbye and there’s a great many characters who won’t make it to the end. We’re grateful for everybody who has been along with Tony Chu and friends on his 60+ issue journey. We’re doing our damnedest to send him and the rest of his cast off in a very consistently-CHEW fashion.
Synopsis of Chew
Chew is set in a world where all chicken and other bird meats are illegal after a catastrophic outbreak of the bird flu that killed 23 million Americans. Chew centers on Tony Chu, a police detective who is a Cibopath (pronounced “see-bo-path”), which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. Tony uses this ability to solve many crimes. Tony is not the only cibopath. He meets a few others with this ability on his journey.
Previews World interview
by Vince Brusio
Mention the name John Layman, and you’ll be hit with a barrage of titles associated with the writer’s name. Everything from Detective Comics to Mars Attacks to Marvel Zombies Vs. The Army of Darkness is under his belt. So you can’t help but recognize his name if you regularly visit the comic shop. But if you are a frequent patron at the comic counter every Wednesday, you undoubtedly know his name for another book that was regularly published by Image Comics. That book was Chew. John Layman’s Chew with artist Rob Guillory has been at the center of the writer’s career since 2009. But all things come to pass, and in this brief interview we conducted with the writer at this year’s Baltimore Comic Con, he offered a few thoughts for his series, and how he’s cleaning his palate now that the main course is over, and coffee’s coming out with the ice cream.
PREVIEWSworld: Say it’s not true, John! Chew is actually going to bite the big one? You’ve finished dessert, and you’re about to pick up the check?
John Layman: Yep. Twelve trades and it’ll be over. November 23 is the last day. What is now a long-running series ends at Chew #60. Whew.
PREVIEWSworld: Extending the food metaphors, it’s safe to say that Chew wasn’t exactly something that you picked up at the drive-thru window. The book’s been around for years. You’ve been taking your time going through that buffet line, haven’t you?
John Layman: Yeah, these days with all the reboots, 60 is a high number! So I’m pretty proud of that. We’re going to have 12 trades, 6 hardcovers, 60 issues, and we’re done. Which is weird and scary. Chew was kind of my life’s ambition for the longest time, and to achieve it, well…the finish line keeps getting closer and closer…and it’s a relief, but it’s also very frightening.
PREVIEWSworld: Have you allowed yourself the time to think about what comes next after you push your way from the table, and leave the restaurant for good?
John Layman: I’m not a guy who…well, I’m not a content producer who just comes up with ideas. I’m a guy who takes a couple nuggets and shines them…and shines them. I have a couple of ideas, but my focus is to finish Chew. Then I’ll worry about it. Chew has afforded me the luxury of not standing in a bread line. So I can work on Chew and not worry about the next thing, and really concentrate on sticking this landing.
But to all those who bought Chew over the years, I’d like to say “thanks.” It was fun. It really was a lot of fun.
DC saw a slight uptick in comic sales way back when the New 52 initiative first started. Those sales dipped after readers became increasingly frustrated with the unexplained timeline changes and the lack of consistency from one title to another. DC planned to have 52 titles active at all times. They rarely hit that mark, always over or under. Marvel rebooted a lot of their titles around the same time under the “Marvel Now” campaign. The Marvel Now campaign sprung out of the Avengers vs. X-men series. Marvel ended up faring better than DC.
Then came DC’s “Forever Evil”. The first line wide crossover event for DC Comics during the New 52. This crossover came out of the result of the “Trinity War”. Forever Evil dealt with alternate Earths and alternate versions of characters. Some villains on our Earth were heroes on other Earths and vice versa. Forever Evil came out of the gates strong, but faded by the time they hit the 5th issue. DC Comics even sold villains month cover variants and limited edition 3D covers to many of their titles.
After Forever Evil, DC launched their “Convergence” line wide crossover story. It was thought DC would use this event to unify all the titles into one timeline. This would make it much easier for casual readers to follow events in DC Comics titles. Alas, that was not to be. Instead of merging all the timelines into one coherent timeline, they brought back the existence of EVERY timeline (even pre-Flashpoint). During this time Marvel finished up their “Secret Wars” where all their realities crashed together doing a similar thing as DC (They continually copy each other). Marvel’s “All New-All Different” campaign came by as a result of Secret Wars. Once again, Marvel came out on top with readers.
DC Comics turns it around
DC then gave Geoff Johns the task of reversing their declining sales. DC Comics Rebirth is what was developed. Rebirth is explaining how the timeline became messed up in the New 52 and why characters that had long standing relationships acted as if they didn’t know each other. There are numerous hints that the Watchmen are involved. Just the thought that Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias may have something to do with it is very intriguing. Many of the Rebirth titles have sold out multiple printings. The story is cohesive across all the titles, which makes it an even better event. DC’s sales have increased every month since the launch up to the point they have taken over majority market share. It has been quite a while since we have seen DC Comics on top of the heap.
Marvel had more comics on sale in August than DC Comics. 93 comics to DC’s 75. Even with Marvel having a larger number of titles published in August, DC Comics still overtook them on market share in August. DC had 9 titles in the top 10. Amazing Spider-Man #16 was the only Marvel title to get into the Top Ten.
The great story telling of DC Rebirth along with the poorly performing Civil War II crossover, Star Wars sales slipping, and the Inhumans story lines having very little traction. It’s not all bad news for Marvel. Overall sales for August 2016 were up over 40% from those in August 2015. Diamond Comic Distributors reports they topped ten million non-promotional comic books shipped during the month of August for the first time in nearly twenty years.
Image Comics/Top Cow is giving you the chance to see your artwork appear in an upcoming issue of Eclipse, the new sci-fi thriller from up-and-coming writer Zack Kaplan and artist Giovanni Timpano.
Participants may submit an original image inspired by the world of Eclipse. The lucky winning artist will have their artwork appear in the pages of Eclipse #4. One grand prize winner will receive the artwork featured and published in Issue #4, as well as receive a complete set of Eclipse #1-4 signed by writer Zack Kaplan and a $100 Amazon gift card.
Original art may include:
Your vision of characters from the story
A scene or environments from the world
New technology, architecture, clothing, or other adaptations designed to help people survive this harsh new world
Anything inspired by the world of Eclipse
“Eclipse is my comic book debut and since Top Cow has always been a publisher that gives new talent a chance, I wanted to find a way to help give an aspiring artist an opportunity to be showcased,” said Kaplan. “I’m excited to see how Eclipse fans interpret this world and to discover one lucky fan’s vision that we can share with the world.”
For full details and contest rules, pick up Eclipse #1, on sale now, or visit zackkaps.com to find out how to enter. The contest runs September 7 through November 15, 2016. The winner will be announced upon Eclipse #4’s release.
In the world of Eclipse, the sun is deadly and society has turned nocturnal. But life continues after The Flare.
Praise for Eclipse:
“Must Buy” —IGN
i09’s “The Awesome Comics You MUST Get This Fall”
Bleeding Cool’s “Top 5 Creator Owned Books That You MUST Pre-Order”
“A great book with a really original spin on traditional sci-fi.” —All-Comic (5/5 overall score)
“Kaplan’s story telling style is succinct and the art by Timpano has never been better.” —Word of the Nerd (10/10 overall score)
“This is a story that sees the world re-imagined but still manages to explore the human condition.” —GeekFeed (5/5 overall score)
“Extremely appealing to the eye.” —Bounding into Comics (10/10 overall score)