Saturday, April 29, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Industry enlightenment

First up is this weeks Comics You Should Be Reading column from, the columnist Dan Head's home was flooded, so he ran an article from his webmagazine on comic book marketing.

The article examines marketing theroy applied to our industry, specifically the Four P’s: Product, Positioning, Place, and Price.

Interesting stuff HERE

Earlier in the week Steven Grant's column, PERMANENT DAMAGE waxes on his thoughts about publishing start-ups, and the current tone of industry press releases... as usual, good stuff HERE

Thursday, April 27, 2006

BLACK HARVEST number 5 pin-up!

Just out in comic shops today!!!!!!

The latest issue of Josh Howard's UFO girl gone wild... Black Harvest, (issue five) features a pin-up from yours truly.
Check out the book if you haven't, it's good stuff!!!

You can link up to the book from Josh's page HERE

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: A call to arms! links to an article over on, where they pose the question, where are digital comic books from the big publishers?

From the article, in reference to the big two's response of "No comment" in regards to queries regarding any potential digital comics plans:
Here's why that's so strange: In 2004, Marvel had net sales of $513 million. Of that, only 16 percent came from comics. The rest was from licensing characters for movies, TV, and toys. In other words, comic books - the actual printed artifacts - have become little more than marketing materials. Scary as that might be for fans, the publishers must have realized it. But it begs the question of why those publishers aren't embracing digital distribution when it could be free and easy evangelizing for the next summer blockbuster.

Even better, it could save their business. The comics industry has for years been worried about acquiring new readers from a demographic that's more likely to download their entertainment than beg Mom for a lift to the store on a Wednesday night. Ignore the Net and you're ignoring these potential customers.
Check it out HERE

Not only does this bring to light the need for more effort to bring comics to digital (yes, webcomics are here already, but we're referring to the current US comic book industry, the printed industry), but it also shows plain-and-simple, how much the big companies are just corporations devoted to maintaining licenses.

The time for revolution is indeed now, but in more ways than one.

Monday, April 24, 2006

SUPER REAL NOTES - ISSUE 3 - Unannounced variant

Production of issue 3 is moving along as we close in on the targeted release of this June. This is the issue where our cast finally get their genetic enhancements, and nano-skin-jump-suits! The big one!!

Not only do we have the first Pin-Up-and-Coming Contest to select a full page pin-up from an unpublished artist to be featured in the issue (see the winner HERE)!
I've also just completed an ad to support the issue:
And as you can see, I've now added a third variant cover for issue 3. Though it was originally solicited with just two covers, a regular cover (by me) and a 1 in 4 variant by Hector Sevilla (Alias Comics' LULLABY), I've had such good fortune at acquiring guest covers from exciting established artists, I've simply got too many to fit in, so I've added a kick ass cover from Felipe Smith, creator of Tokyopop's MBQ (see my review HERE). The only dilemma though, is that issue 3 was already solicited with two covers (a regular and the Sevilla variant), so I've decided to make the Felipe Smith cover a third 1 in 4 variant. Now, there'll be a regular cover along with two 1 in 4 variants.
While I don't really desire having that many covers for any single issue, I think the Felipe cover ties in nicely with the first enhancements (and the Hector cover was already announced for issue 3, so I can't push it back).
Plus, it's a nice way to celebrate our third issue, with three covers!
So, I'm excited to spread the word about the change, once we get closer to release, and hopefully it can drum up some extra attention for this exciting issue (which is also a great jumping on point)! (Hmmm, perhaps I should work that into the add as well?)

So, tell your friends and retailers to get those pre-orders in on issue 3, it's going to be a hot one!
Diamond Order Code MAR06 3379

SUPER REAL NOTES - A couple more issue 1 and 2 reviews

The first is HERE on, featured on the Comics You Should Be Reading column! Just scroll down a bit, or first read their thoughts on American Idol (it's a reality tv theme).
The reviewer doesn't like the pacing/start with issue 1, but does recommend issue 2 and 3. Also, they theorize that my pacing/writing style is a send up, or influence of Brian Bendis, it's not. I dig on some Bendis, love Ultimate Spider-Man, and New Avengers is hit and miss, but I don't ape his style, that's just how I write, I like witty dialogue. Tarantino comes to mind more than Bendis in that regard...
Also, they take the book as straight up parody, as do many, for the record, it's not. I can sure see where that opinion comes from, but I personally see the book as having fun with these themes (reality tv, comic book fiction, etc), and the likenesses I use are born from "casting" and not intentional parody (I didn't write this story with the intent of spoofing the administration, they just fit the story, for example). Though, admittedly, having cast likenesses the way I did, I do indulge in some parody... so take that for what it's worth. I just mean to say, this is not Mad Magazine folks. The purpose of the story isn't parody. It's it's own thing.

Next is a lukewarm review over on TheJohnnyBacardiShow blog, HERE
He only gives it a C+ (a grade I'd be happy with in anything but art!), but he does say this: "Martin shows some promise... I do believe this is worth your time, if the premise sounds interesting to you."
Among other things.
Again, just scroll down a bit after the link.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I haven't visited my regular Tales From Netflix feature in quite some time. I'm thinking perhaps instead of rating the rentals on a regular basis, I'll give monthly highlights from DVD home viewing. So, I'll go ahead and feature some of the best that I've seen, and perhaps focus on those movies you might not have heard of otherwise...

I'm not sure when this came out, but it is a 2006 release, and aside from starring Robert Englund (Freddy from The Nightmare on Elm Street films), or rather featuring him, there's not much to catch your attention on this horror flick. I've never even seen a preview for it, and I don't think it made the theaters. However, it does sport Eli Roth, the noted director of the recent buzz slasher flick HOSTEL, as a producer. Roth also makes a cameo, either similar to, or perhaps even the same character he cameod in his first film CABIN FEVER. It's also apparently a remake of 2000 Maniacs, so, it's got some horror/slasher pedigree behind it.

The story starts out as many horror/slasher films, a group of wild college kids, in this case making their way to Florida for spring break. Along the way though, the teens, and some other young travelers get routed through a detour in the deep south. It's at this point that the storyline begins to unwind into something unique and entertaining, with our cast of characters pitted against a sinister and completely insane town populace. 2001 Maniacs is a darkly comedic romp, where all of the trappings of gore flicks are amped up, in every regard. A style the creators refer to a splat-stick.

As you may guess, Maniacs is not for everyone. It is however a great slasher romp, for anyone who can enjoy movies that are deviant to their core. The cast is great, the sets perfect, and the storyline truly inspired for such a saturated genre. If you like gore with your comedy, or vice versa, you'll love 2001 Maniacs.


Other recent offbeat Netflix:
ICE HARVEST - Cusack is perfect in this charming caper/mobster dark comedy gem, taking place one frozen Christmas Eve in Witchita.

JUST FRIENDS - Get this one if you like Ryan Reynolds or offbeat comedies.

WAITING - Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, Waiting is a great restaurant worker comedy with some truly original laughs...
Watch out for the "batwing"!!

LOLLILOVE - Is a fun and funny documentary spoof that plays like a really good dark comedy improv.

HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE - Miyazaki becomes more and more popular with each release, but with Howl, I was worried the subject matter would leave me wanting, since the film focuses on an elderly woman... I should know better. Castle is as charming and impressive as any other Miyazaki film, and perhaps with more heart.

SEQUESTRO EXPRESS - A foreign, or perhaps independent film (or both), about an upper class Venezuelan couple who are kidnapped for randsom, and their plight to escape. A great journey into another world, and it's underbelly, with social commentary to boot.

Recommended mainstream stuff:

Friday, April 21, 2006


This week I'm taking a look at Tokyopop's OEL manga, as there are a lot of creator's projects in the line that I'm anxious to check out!
I was fortunate enough to have my special order of MBQ volume 2 come in yesterday, so I can include my review of that much anticipated work as well, but first, I had to revisit volume 1!
So here's my revisited review of that:

Title: MBQ
Volume: 1
Creator: Felipe Smith
Publisher: TokyoPop

STORY: MBQ is a look at the lives of a diverse group of young Angelino's, centered on Omario, an aspiring comic creator/manga-ka. Volume one first introduces us briefly to the cast, then spends a chapter or so on each character. Along the way were treated to Felipe Smith's brand of raw, in your face, real world characterization blended with hyper-exaggerated (at times) visuals to make everything come across electrically. There's more than one clever set up to be had, and the book is a hilarious romp of cussing, sex, and of course, violence!

ART: Felipe is perhaps the greatest new talent working in comics today. He blends a firm grasp on manga craft and technique with a mix of cartooning, all tempered with a rock solid understanding of illustration and art. Characters come to life, scenes play out like real life, and action is emphasized perfectly. There's no confusion over the large cast, the settings, or what's being shown on the page, ever. He's a stud. MBQ is a visual drug that often times explodes off the page, but it's also coherent enough to never lose touch with reality. The perfect compliment to the explosive true to life story!

OVERALL: Although the book may be extreme, anyone can relate to it's core character Omario, and his struggles to make it. That he's a struggling artist, or comic creator, just makes things that much more appealing to the target audience. One of the things that's perhaps so engaging about MBQ is that Omario is essentially Felipe, and his views and personality is what's being put to page. It's that something true and pure that makes this type of story worth following, you never feel as if things are stretched too far, because they're likely all extrapolations from the creators experiences, or at least, just wild extentions of ideas born from his surroundings. Meanwhile, there's also an actual story to be had, and a solid one at that, leaving us in crisis, right as we close this volume. I can't wait to pick up volume 2 and see where Omario and the cast of MBQ, and more importantly, Felipe Smith, go from here!


You can also check out my previous TPop OEL reviews, A MIDNIGHT OPERA, EAST COAST RISING, or THE ABANDONED

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

MAKE MINE MANGA: The Abandoned VOL1 - review

This week I'm taking a look at Tokyopop's OEL manga, as there are a lot of creator's projects in the line that I'm anxious to check out!
Here's today's book:

Title: The Abandoned
Volume: 1
Creator: Ross Campbell
Publisher: TokyoPop

STORY:It's a zombie book. You know, a core cast, confronted by a suddenly undead world closing in on them? I love zombie stories, most any of them, and while just playing with all the toys of the genre is incredibly fun in-and-of-itself, another zombie-based comic book gets a lot of praise, yet starts off with a plot straight out of 28 Days Later, The Abandoned however, feels like a fresh take on the mythos. Instead of a setup merely yanked from a zombie film, we're treated to some slight twists that make things more fun, like the fact that our central character Rylie is a zombie movie fanatic, or that the infection itself is age specific. All the while Campbell grounds the story in a believable southern setting, with a cast of young, attractive, yet real-world characters. He really brings this world to life.

ART: Campbell and/or Tokyopop have treated this manga to a unique red pallette, to both accent the carnage that always looms, and also work wonders with the artists water colored washes. It's truly a treat for the eyes, with scenes coming to life, full of mood and tone, helping to propel and enrich the story, and Campbell's linework is unique, expressive, and a lot of fun. Also, his storytelling is incredible, with body language and expressions putting you there with the cast!

OVERALL: I'm in love. This is a great work on so many levels. It has heart, emotion, and amazing zombie action. With film, zombie carnage can be a chore to pull off, with artwork, or Campbell's abilities, it's powerfull, in your face, and utterly convincing. While this book is not for everyone, those who can't handle the gore for example, it is for an audience outside of zombie fandom, as the tale is always told with style and plenty of feeling.


You can also check out my two previous TPop OEL reviews, A MIDNIGHT OPERA, or EAST COAST RISING

I hope to be able to do a review for Felipe Smith's MBQ Volume 2 here in the next couple days too. I've been dying to get my hands on this book, as I absolutely loved volume one's crazy characters and situations rendered in some of the sharpest art currently being laid to a page! I'm just waiting on my Borders special order to come in (as my LCS didn't hook up my preorder!!! urgh!!)...

I SAW IT ON TV: Reality Roundup 4/19

Even though Pickler is quite possibly brain dead, and woefully murdered her song, she didn't even make the bottom three!?
But I'm cool with Ace leaving, and billy-bob rocker-dude making an appearance in the bottom cut...

I'm really digging this show, after finally watching a season.
It's just really cool globe-trotting, and always interesting, especially now that the competition's thinning out...

Tomorrow looks to have someone leave due to a medical emergency... uh oh!

One of the better seasons so far, as the cast is great and have interesting chemistry.

Caught the last few weeks in reruns, and it's not a bad season, with a good cast, interesting drama, and location. Russian princess Svetlanna continues to hog the camera as the cast deals with her spoiled ways.

And now a couple of non-reality notes...

Wonder Showzen is back on MTV2 for a second season, but so far I've just caught bits of episodes. It looks to be on target for the same off color brew of child programming hijinks though...

Who would've thought there'd ever be a show centered around Tori Spelling, or more to the point, that it'd be so damn good!
Okay, so the show isn't exactly great television, but it is a raunchy, witty, fast paced mix of Seinfeld, Sex and the City, and Entourage. The day to day stories of a Hollywood-type and her click.
Give this one a try if you haven't, you might be surprised!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

MAKE MINE MANGA: East Coast Rising VOL1 - review

This week I'm taking a look at Tokyopop's OEL manga, as there are a lot of creators projects in that line I'm anxious to check out!
Here's today's book:

Title: East Coast Rising
Volume: 1
Creator: Becky Cloonan
Publisher: TokyoPop

Story: A young boy is caught in the middle of conflicting pirates, searching for buried treasure, in a waterlogged future version of the North Eastern United States. East Coast Rising features an expansive cast of young hipsters set with a sailing ship backdrop.

Art: Becky Cloonan wowed fans and critics with her deft handling of the 12 part Demo series last year, and her talent is on full display here. My only problem is, as with other US creators working in the manga paperback book size format, the artwork and action can get a bit confusing at the smaller size. Having seen samples of the art online, and considering it's expansive nature, I think East Coast Rising could've been a stunning success in a larger format.
Overall: I wasn't too taken with the characters or the story here. I think East Coast Rising is likely to find more success with US manga's core audience, the bookstore chains female driven readership. Cloonan is however a great artistic talent, and the book is overall an entertaining read.


Tune in tomorrow for my review of the eagerly anticipated Ross Campbell zombie OEL, THE ABANDONED!
Or you can check out yesterday's review of A MIDNIGHT OPERA, if you missed that, HERE

Another day, another issue one/two review!

This time resident comics reviewer Marc Mason weighs in on the debut issues of Super Real HERE

From the review:
I’ve had the good fortune to see SUPER REAL develop over time, from the “preview edition” to the original number one to now, and it’s been a joy and privilege to watch the process, even when it doesn’t necessarily bowl me over. Can’t wait to see where it goes next.
The good thing folks, is that while not everyone may be blown away by the book from the get go, damn near all of them want to see more (and recommend it)! That's all you can ask.

Monday, April 17, 2006


In case you haven't been following along, I held a pin-up contest with one selected piece receiving a full page in the upcoming third issue of Super Real. The contest ran for just over a month, and we received 21 entries.

In the end it was a lot of fun, but more than a little difficult to pick just one. However the contest ended last Friday, with the winners being announced this weekend:


Lines: Russ Platt

Colors: Jukka Issakainen

So watch for this piece in the pages of Super Real, and stop by the submissions blog to check out all the great entrants HERE

MAKE MINE MANGA: A Midnight Opera VOL1 - review

This week I'm going to be taking a look at one of what I think is the more exciting things going on in the world of US comics, OEL (original English language) manga.

OEL has it's detractors, namely people who claim US creators shouldn't, or can't do manga. To me OEL manga is just another term for comic books, and can encompass anything from bad to good. However, a lot of the exciting upcoming talent I've seen in the industry, are being given an opportunity to show their stuff by manga and book publishers (as opposed to the insular traditional US comics market, where contemporary style and forward thinking is in direct conflict with the corporate business plans), and I'm truly anxious to see what they do with their creations, and where it takes them and comics in the US.

Title: A Midnight Opera
Volume: 1
Creator: Hans Steinbach
Publisher: TokyoPop

Story: An undead goth musician, fighting both his brother and Roman Church "Soldiers of the Order" from the 16th century France to today. A Midnight Opera is an interesting read that seems an equal balance of testosterone, with werewolf carnage and battle sequences, as well as pretty long haired goth men, music, and a touch of romance for the ladies.

Art: Steinbach's style reminds me very much of a cross between Rob G (Teenagers From Mars) and early Dale Keown. His figures and lines are all long, thin, and exaggerated. He's also got a great design sense, capturing expressive action and movement on the page, along with great costumes and backdrops. Very impressive, I really like it.

Overall: While some OEL manga feels hampered by the size of the format, A Midnight Opera uses that format to it's strength. A great read, and I believe volume 2 is just released.


Super Real review

Another good review is up on the book, this time it's in the debut of's new review column, Pull List Propaganda from Senior Comics Editor Guy LeCharles Gonzalez.

From the review:
It’s raunchy, not the least bit subtle, and definitely not something I’d read on the subway, but it’s unexpectedly entertaining and, while I’m not sure yet where it’s going, I will be sticking with it to see where it goes.
The full review can be found HERE

SUPER REAL NOTES - office tour 1

Lately, despite my best efforts, things have been piling up unusually deep around The HQ…

Not only is the desk more of a cluttered mess than usual, the inbox is burting with messages, and the rest of mi casa is muy messy.
I’ve even had some weekdays lately to get things in gear, and it’s still slipping away from me…
Oh well.

Any way, thought it would be fun to share pics of the workspace, to give a glimpse behind the scenes for creating the book and the blog!
This is the desk/pc side of the office, tune in tomorrow for the art table side!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Oooh Purty...

One of my to-do's has been to get some flash banners created, and find someone who works with flash who wants to help me with some other ideas.
Well, as you can see...

I found someone!
Flash provided by Jeremy Rayment, who can be contacted at:

More details to come...

Friday, April 14, 2006

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Moebius is my master

As an artist, and fan of comic book art, or graphic storytelling, one of my biggest inspirations is Jean Giraud, Moebius. Ever since discovering this French illustrator via an early 80's graphic novel collection (yes, back IN the early 80's, I'm old!), I've been in awe of his artistry. Today, BrokenFrontier features one of his works, Arzach, on their column Crossing Borders, where they feature international gems.

Pop on over HERE to have a look for yourself. Maybe you too can discover someone who's generally regarded as one of the great masters of our craft.

SUPER REAL - Pin-up-and-coming Contest D-DAY


In case you haven't been following the pin-up contest I've been running, there's an open call for pin-up submissions, with one being selected for a full page in the upcoming third issue of Super Real!

The Deadline for submission was extended to today, and although things were quiet for a bit, they're picking up as we edge closer to the midnight cut-off.

Check out the final activity over on the submissions blog HERE
There are some pretty cool artists taking a shot at it!


Over on Newsarama there's a bit of a preview and interview with Matt Fraction, writer/creator of the upcoming Image book CASSANOVA.

Add this to the growing list of Image books I'm excited about!
Check it out HERE

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

COMICS REVIEW: Supermarket #2

Title: Supermarket
Issue: 2
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Kristian
Publisher: IDW

Story: Wood continues to weave a tale of strong characterization, deeper themes and commentary, fabulous backdrops, and excellent pacing.

Art: Kristian's art is the perfect compliment to Woods story, a cocktail of swanky style, color, and detail. The colors and tones here really take the impressive linework to a high level. Love it!


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

HEY DJ! - Speaking of music...

I don't often touch on music on TSL as much as I'd like to, I guess it's just harder to write about...
I've often thought I'd like a section on one of the sidebars uptop where there's a "now playing" with a disc cover and link, etc.
but then I never want to set that up!

So, for the time being, while I'm thinking about, perhaps what I'll do is start featuring a current play list, maybe once a month, to give a taste of what fuels my productivity.
Sound good? (no pun intended my friends)

Okay, here's the current play list:


MOGWAI - Mr. Beast - Don't know what you'd classify this as, indie, alternative, guitar noise? Dig it. Not as good as their last disc though, I think...
YEAH YEAH YEAHS - Show Your Bones - Nother that could be classified as indie/alternative. Cept, you know, you've heard of them... This disc, while doesn't appear to have any monster tracks like last time, sounds very solid overall.
GOLDFRAPP - Supernature - Love Goldfrapp's Black Cherry, their last disc (the best of 2003), but the thing is they change with each record... Supernature, though good, is a more commercial extension of the synthed out vibes they took to orgasmic extremes last time. So, go figure, now they're on the radio... I call this music electronic, and don't bother with the sub-genres...


SONIC YOUTH - A Thousand Leaves
INTERPOL - Turn on the Bright Lights
SONIC YOUTH - Sonic Nurse (Love this disc!!)
JET - Get Born
MIKE DOUGHTY - Haughty Melodic
KAISER CHIEFS - Employment
DAFT PUNK - Human After All

HEY DJ! - Gorillaz VS MSN

Everyone's favorite cartoon band (Jamie Hewlett is da man!) THE GORILLAZ are currently featured on MSN Music

Follow the link to check out some free live performances from their recent show at The Apollo, interviews, and much more...

Monday, April 10, 2006

I WATCH ANIME: Karas - advance review

Karas: The Prophecy
Released by: Manga Video
Available: 4/25/06
Length: 80 minutes
Rating: Unrated

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a review copy for the new anime series that’s set for an April 25th release. I must admit, once I got a look at the advertising and website for the anime, and the fact that it was being released by Manga Video, I was pretty excited to get a closer look.
Karas holds true to the quality of another of my favorite animes, also from Manga Video, Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, in that it’s an incredibly strong production, with mature, dense, and challenging themes. Whereas GITS is episodic, and suffers a bit from the prolonged production in terms of overall animation, Karas is an amazing blend of visuals throughout. Karas: The Prophecy is the first disc in a two disc series, but this disc is 80 minutes and billed as a feature. It does stand on it’s own as a complete story of sorts, but it is reliant on the next chapter. The key here is that even though there may be more to the story, the animation is of feature quality, and combines detailed and fabulous character designs, with lush backgrounds and effects, while also incorporating some gripping 3D visuals, and action sequences. It’s a mind-blowing feast for the eyes, from the first frame to the last!
The story pits a fallen defender and guardians of a city against the former defender who’s now out to take control of the city, crossing over from the spirit world to reality. Two warring factions, playing out their battles across dimensions, impacting every day people who are increasingly besieged by these demons and spirits. If all of that sounds a bit complex, it is. Everything plays out slowly, and one must try to piece things together as they happen, learning the large cast’s different roles, sides, and motives. Karas requires your full attention at all times, so it is fitting that the visuals are so mesmerizing.
The shortfall of the movie is that the characters come accross a bit light, since we never get to focus on any one in particular long enough to really get to know them, or care too much about them, and the size of the cast does make things extra challenging to keep track of. Also, while the visuals are stunning, they can be a bit hard to follow at times, especially in the 3D scenes, where the opposing Karas designs are very similar.

Overall, I was very impressed with Karas though, and I'm not only anxious to see the next chapter, but to also watch the first disc again! I’d recommend Karas to anyone with a taste for mature, engaging entertainment, cutting edge animation, creative character design, or action with flair and substance. It could easily appeal to fans of The Matrix (or AniMatrix) or Ghost in the Shell, or perhaps fans of Batman or Aeon Flux.

Also of note, the DVD does come with a Dark Horse Karas mini-comic as well. The comic is small, but it’s a full length 22 page story within. I haven’t read that yet, but it’s great to see a comic book tie-in, built right into the the product itself. There’s also a nice Dark Horse advert, featuring many of the publisher's manga offerings. Great move on their part, and something we could stand to see much more of!

Be sure and check out Karas when it arrives later this month!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Here's another amazing piece of fan art I've been dying to share...

It's a full page of Super Real courtesy of UK artist, Boo!
Just click the image for a full view.
It's naughty, cute, and sexy... I love it!

Be sure and check out his website!
Thanks Boo!


Still trying to cover the books I pick up at the cons, here's another one:

On one of my trips down artist alley at last weekend's big show in Seattle, the Emerald City Comic Con, I spotted the covers to Rash from Narwain Publishing.

Rash was one of their launch titles that had caught my eye, but I hadn't been able to pick up yet. I remember seeing the artwork in the solicit for this and thinking the linework and coloring looked very intriguing. So, I went ahead and bought issues 1 and 2 from the writer/colorist/creator, Didier Arpin.

Rash - issue number 1 and 2 - 32 pages, $3.99
Narwain Publishing

Story/Concept - As I think the creator was explaining when I picked these up, the story in these two issues really read as one. That is to say, issue one by itself isn't that solid of a story, it leads into issue two, but the books together work rather well. There're lots of interesting visuals, with some especially strong coloring, a mix of cell shading and classic European painted albums (the writer/colorist works as an animation director). Also, things play out in an intriguing fashion, with a nice reveal and climax.

Writing - While the scripting here didn't stand out, nor the characters, overall it was an enjoyable tale. Also, I think future issues would show increased appreciation for both.

Art - Patrick Gagne works in a cool style reminiscent of Ramos and artists of the like, but the coloring matches up well and is superb.

Overall - RECOMMENDED - I'm not sure if there are more issues on the way here or not, but I would follow them if there were. I mentioned the characters were a bit lacking, but this story really serves as a warm up for the books titular character, who we start to get a good sense of by the finish, and want to tag along with on his further adventures.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I SAW IT ON TV: Roundup 4/7

Time to talk television, here's what's been scarring my retinas lately...


This week's episode, while weak on the core plot, perhaps dropped some more serious clues about what's going on. They sure make it seem like it has to all spin around Hurley and his mental state, and just what is the significance of having the tail-girl, who's mysteriously hot for him, a fellow cuckoo's nester?

The previous episode was a doozy though, with all kinds of shit hitting the island fan. Good stuff. We even got treated to a black-light map of the island...
Speaking of...

For help sorting things out, there's Attack of the Show's Dhorkma Initiative, Dharma Initiative film reel spoofs that detail the shows secrets, had a breakdown of the map, and more goodies...
You can go HERE to keep up on them (though this week's episode is not up on the net yet).


Well there's not much worth talking about there right now...
I thought Mandisa was generally all power and no finesse.


Last night we had all the build up for some interesting twist via the hidden immunity idol, which had me anxious to see how it played out at tribal council, when nothing eventful actually happened. Not only did no one cross over to Terry's side, he didn't even share the idol, or at least with the right person...
Oh well, it was still fun.

IN CASE U MISSED IT: Around the web...

The current Eric Larsen column on, ONE FAN'S OPINION, gives some tips to the aspiring creators on how to start out learning the craft of comics, by actually studying it...
It's pretty basic, and should be fairly obvious, but as always, the experience he has gives insights worth your time.

Earlier on, Steven Grant's PERMANENT DAMAGE column this week tackled:
CELLULOID DREAMS: lessons to be learned from V FOR VENDETTA, and what should comics expect from the movies, anyway?
This line in summary gives you an idea where he's going:

If we can get over the misapprehension that a film based on a comic book is somehow a reflection or replacement of that material, and see movies made from comics as what they really are - subsidies - individual talent and the business at large would have an easier time of dealing with them.
Basically, he cautions that we should stop expecting Hollywood to treat comcis any different than any other source material, where things often times have to be changed for the screen. I still think films like Sin City show us it doesn't need to be that way, but obviously, not every comic can be a direct translation. Also, I'd still like to see the US get over it's hang ups over animation, and see comic books created as animated features, true to the source, similar to Japan's Anime industry. Sure digital effects allow us to do more now than before with live action, but comic books are much more closely tied to animation, and would translate much better as such (in most cases).

Entertainment Weekly often covers comic books, and I noticed they recently put up some reviews of the DC comics One Year Later books. Not my cup of comics, but woth a look if you're digging on that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Video game artist by day, and comic book creator by night, Edward Pun (variant cover artist for Super Real issue two) has some entries over on his blog, the E.Pun Sketchbook, that might be of interest to TSL readers (as if being an artist associated with Super Real wasn't enough reason to check him out!).

The first item is a posting just up featuring a sketch I did for him at the Emerald City Comic Con along with notes on his contribution for issue two, plus there's also a con wrap up from the aforementioned ECCC last weekend!

Stop by and tell him "HI" from TSL!!
And while we're on the topic, here's the incredible sketch Ed did for me of his character Jade! He's a stud!


On my list of to-do's is a fan-art page or section for the website, until then I guess I'll just start posting them here...

Here's a really cool fan art I just got today from Hainanu Saulque.

Hainanu picked up a sketchbook from me at Wondercon and was inspired to do this piece on Shana, aka Pirate Grrrl ( is registered, and also on my to-do list).

Looks like Hainanu is an aspiring clothing designer in addition to comic book artist!

Thanks Hainanu!!

Just click for the full view.

SUPER REAL NOTES - 4/6 More Reviews!

A couple more really nice reviews have come in:

"SUPER REAL continues to be one of the better indie books (hell, books period) out there and I’m looking forward to reading the next issue."

"Overall, Super Real is the real deal. It's got great characters, it's well written, and the art is a fresh new mix of comics and realism. I can't wait to read more!"

For the full list of reviews on the book so far, tune in HERE

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


This time out, instead of highlighting books new in shops this week that aren't from the big 2, I thought I'd highlight content around the web that highlights those books:


The IDC is a win win for me. I'm an independent publisher, and a lifelong fan of comics of every size, shape, color (or not), style, format, or language. The Independents Day Campaign is a movement created to gather supporters of independent comic books, an opportunity to bring more attention to a wider array of books than what typically garners the lions share of the industries focus. Some have expressed concerns about the direction of the movement (there isn't one yet), or the scope (feeling that it's only as strong as it's weakest link - there's some truth to that, but I see it the other way, it's about giving everything a chance to shine, and letting the marketplace find some treasures that stand out, to them). There will always be books that deserve more sales, and hopefully the IDC can help facilitate that.

Whether it's a network for all of the disparate people on columns and blogs to join together and make more impact, a tool for retailers and readers to preview the full range of products offered every month, or an event along the lines of FCBD highlighting independent publishers, all of the above, or possibly, something entirely different. Regardless, it can make a positive change for the market, and speaking as someone who's independently publishing in this market, it is a much needed effort.

This is a great site that does a daily review of an independent book, with a comprehensive approach that breaks the book down from three points of view, and offers a collective rating.

Also, the site hosts links to previews of independent titles.

Any fan of four color variety should tune in here for some assistance.


WAGW is an ongoing column on by Ronee Garcia that lately has focused it's attention on the small press. This week's column is a rundown of books from the recent STAPLE convention.

Last week she featured the upcoming independent breakout book, Zoom Suit.


Columnist Brant Fowler takes a weekly look at independent fair over in his spot. Tune in each week for some reviews and talk about independent publishing.


Over on, columnist Dan Head shares some independent books he finds worth our attention every week.

This isn't a comprehensive list folks, I'm sure I've forgotten some I check out myself (my apologies), and I'm sure there are plenty I'm not aware of... Please feel free to post some comments if you know of any places on the web that fit this list, and I'll be sure and update next time out! In the meantime, get out there and check these places out, and discover some new graphic treasures!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Well folks, I knew things had to come down a touch, the run I'd had on reviews was pretty impressive, scoring just about high grades unanimously on issue 1, and starting off that way on issue 2. Over the long con-weekend though, I got several more reviews in on issue 2, that were a mixed-bag.

One rave review, two so-so reviews, and one well, an ugly one. But hey, it's not gonna get me down, the response is still overwhelmingly positive, and even the reviews that are middle ground are eager to see more. And it's not like I didn't expect this reaction. Super Real starts off very slow, almost all character and set up for the first two issues, with the crux of the premise not unfolding until our pending third issue. That's the arc of our story, and issue three is where all of the crazy ideas and fun begins to come fast and furious. So, stick around, or tune in then, it's gonna be crazy!!

Here are the reviews from the last few days:
3/29 - Last year Randy Lander of gave the advance edition of issue one a very favorable review, and his partner Don MacPherson did not review the book. I went ahead and sent Don a copy of issue 2 (since Randy no longer does reviews) and well, he hated it... gave it a 2 out of 10.

Frankly, I didn't expect the book to be Don's cup of tea, from what I know of him as a reviewer, but I really wanted to see for sure. That's how much I believe in the book folks, I'm confident it can appeal to even those who may be jaded to it's approach or style, and win more battles than it loses. Maybe next time...

4/2 - raved about the latest issue and gave it the highest grade possible, an overall grade A+

As I read this review aloud to my wife, I realized quickly she'd think I was kidding, and making it up myself. They flat out loved the book, and you'd swear I wrote this thing (I didn't, honest). It's not really a surprise since the folks at ComicFanatic have been vocal supporters since the preview books, but it's still always nice to see the book hit the mark with folks to this degree, a real joy.

4/2 - does not give any kind of summary grade, but rather they just analyze the book. The reviewers take on number 2 while favorable, still had some reservations about the direction of our story.

Basically, the reviewer is really a fan of the concept and the book, but is anxious to see it in full bloom. Me too! Issue number 3 is where things all come together, and jump off from there. Check out the comments thread HERE and post your support for the book there if you like.

4/3 - Another reviewer that admires the book and concept, but is eager for the genetic enhancements, giving issue 2 21/2 bullets out of 5.

A quote from the review that summarizes things, "Super Real is turning out to be a mixed bag still in search of its groove."
So, again, the approach I've taken with the book, is story first. We don't start off with action, or even reveal the genetic enhancements till issue 3. I know this is a tough formula to follow for a self-published book from a newcomer, but ultimately, I'm serving the story, and we're out to tell an epic story here, with a beginning, middle, and end. Along the way I've pulled out all the stops to keep it entertaining throughout while trying not to force anything (vis-a-vis an action sequence, or flash-forward early on, just for the sake of doing it), but for those frustrated, waiting for the meat of the story, have no fear, that begins next issue!
You can comment on this review too, HERE

So, one guy loves it, another hates it, and two more really dig the book and the concept but want to see more bells and whistles, which we've got coming in spades. I'd say that's pretty good, especially in light of the tons of favorable words we've already received.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and snag your copies while you can, and prepare for lift off!!