Tag Archive: Jai Nitz


Ant Lucia

In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like Black Widow artist Phil Noto (as we mentioned here at borg.com yesterday), the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living.  Planet Comicon 2015 was no different.

Take for instance Des Moines artist Ant Lucia (pictured above).  Three years ago Ant was just beginning to put together great genre characters like DC superheroes and Star Wars characters in a unique retro style of poster art.  Flash forward to 2014 and an entire month of cover art at DC Comics was devoted to his creations, and statues based on his DC Bombshell designs are selling off the shelves in every town across the country.  Ant’s beautiful designs are second to none, and there’s not a more deserving guy to achieve such success from his ideas.

Other creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who had his own rock star sized line of fans getting his new Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Legendary Starlord series, among other works.

Jordan and Fyffe

Pictured above are artists Damont Jordan and Bryan Fyffe.  Damont had a new “spirit fox” print available that blew us away, and he churned out sketches for fans all weekend long.  And we noticed other artists at the Con were coming to Bryan’s booth to buy his framed art for their own homes.  Bryan has the best eye for design of anyone we know, and creates a variety of inspired multi-media works.  His most recent commercial illustration was for some major franchise properties, as well as the cover of John Renehan’s new novel The Valley.  Check out some of his work at his website here.

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Planet Comicon banner 2015

The biggest pop culture and comic book convention ever in the region begins today.  It’s the third annual Planet Comicon to be held in its new venue–the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall.  This year is even bigger than last year’s show, with more vendor space and more creators in Artists Alley.  Set-up began yesterday morning and continued until late last night.

We discussed some of the media guests previously here at borg.com.  You can get a current line-up at the Con’s website here.

Don’t know where to begin?  Start here, with this short list creators and attractions to check out:

  • Amanda Lynn Chainmaille Creations, Booth 812
  • Elite Comics, Booth 2214 at the Pillar
  • Kansas City Costume Company, Booth 928
  • Wildman Drinking Horns, Booth 1017
  • Writer Jason Aaron, Booth 153
  • Artist Rob Davis, Booth 1036
  • Author Kevin Dilmore, Booth 323
  • Artist Bryan Fyffe, Booth 2740
  • Artist Greg Horn, Booth 2730
  • Writer/Artist Phil Hester, Booth 536
  • Artist Damont Jordan, Booth 2739
  • Artist Ant Lucia, Booth 2745
  • Writer Jai Nitz, Booth 540
  • Artist Phil Noto, on the wall past Booth 2745
  • Writer/Artist Ande Parks, Booth 538
  • Writer Seth Peck, Booth 139
  • Artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, Booth 1436
  • Artist Greg Smallwood, Booth 542
  • Author Dayton Ward, Booth 323
  • Artist Freddie Williams II, Booth 2776
  • Artist Darryl Woods, Cosplay Showcase

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Phil Noto Black Widow

The last day of the year is finally here, and with that the last of our reviews of the best content of 2014.

We’ve previewed comic books each month thanks to publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, and Image.  We sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics has to offer, too, and although we don’t have enough time to review everything we review those titles we think our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro angle.  And we read plenty of books–sci-fi and fantasy, pulp and spy novels, movie and TV tie-ins, even Westerns and steampunk, as well as non-fiction books about movies, TV, and other genre topics.  This past month we have looked again at these titles, as we narrowed our selections to what we think are the very best.  So here are our picks for Best in Print for 2014.

Black-Widow-5

Best Comic Book Series — Black Widow, Marvel Comics.  We were wondering early on what would take the place of Fraction and Hollingsworth’s Hawkeye series for the most satisfying superhero fix.  It didn’t take long to see this other Marvel series looking at another superhero in a similarly personal–but very different–way.  It was a standout in a great year of comics.  Phil Noto’s art and colors were incredible and Nathan Edmondson’s story didn’t let up once.  Full of action, espionage, and intrigue.  A great series to catch-up on in a trade edition.  See our reviews of the series here and here.

AfterlifeWithArchie_07-0

Best Comic Book Mini-Series — Afterlife with Archie, Archie Comics.  Who would have guessed someone could make Archie and friends so accessible to any demographic in the 2010s?  And whose brilliant idea was doing it via a horror genre story of zombies taking over Riverdale?  Smart writing by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and spooky atmospheric illustrations by Francesco Francavilla made for a sumptuous series like no other.  Not technically a mini-series, it feels like one because of its staggered release.  See our earlier raves about the series here.

Wilds End issue 1

Best Comic Book Writing – Dan Abnett, Wild’s End, BOOM! Studios.  Abnett’s Wild’s End really caught us by surprise.  An incredible fantasy read that is truly unique from BOOM! Studios.  Anthropomorphic characters with incredible archaic dialogue that’s witty and smart.  A crazy mash-up of War of the Worlds, Christopher Robin’s neighborhood, and the dark edge and high stakes of Revival.  We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of this series.  Check out our earlier review here.

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Dream-Thief-Escape-2-Cover

Fans of Jai Nitz’s John Lincoln, the man who keeps waking up after killing people he’s never even met, and Greg Smallwood’s cool masked anti-hero, will be happy to see Lincoln coming back to the comic book racks next month.  Dream Thief: Escape continues the adventures of a man trapped in his own body, with vengeful spirits taking over and avenging their own deaths while Lincoln sleeps.

Escape is the sequel and Volume 2 of Dream Thief, which we reviewed last year at borg.com here.

Dark Horse Comics has released a preview of Issue #1, which follows after the break.

Dream Thief Escape teaser

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Toshiro cover

A steampunk robot samurai.  And Civil War era zombies.

It’s the Dark Horse June 2014 release of Jai Nitz (Dream Thief, Kato, Tron: Betrayal, El Diablo) and Janusz Pawlak’s new graphic novel, Toshiro.  We’ve discussed Nitz’s writing plenty of times here at borg.com.  Toshiro is Pawlak’s first published work in comics.

You will love Nitz’s creation story for this mecha-samurai who shares a name with the actor who played one of the most famous samurai on film (Toshirô Mifune’s Kikuchiyo in The Seven Samurai).  Toshiro is a creation of the Northern forces in the Civil War, a self-aware, living robot with a steam-valved heart.  He’s an American-built super-soldier, sold to Japan as the highest bidder.  “Raised” with Japanese traditions and old world values, he winds up in Manchester, England, 1867, with an equally deadly, and maybe wiser, partner.

spatter

Toshiro knows he is machine, yet he reacts as if he is a true samurai.

This is a steampunk buddy cop story, with roots in a story out of a spaghetti Western.  Here a Zorro-esque, anti-hero has a tough-as-nails partner and they live in a world at war, but with incredible tools of battle well ahead of their time.

Polish artist Pawlak’s work is something out of a Quentin Tarentino novel, yet Tarentino’s blood and guts is kids’ stuff compared to Toshiro slicing heads with his katana.

toshiro_tpb_page

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TOSHIRO TPB CVR 4x6

A new borg is coming in a mash-up of steampunk and horror.  Steam-powered tanks will clash with katanas in a new graphic novel, Toshiro, from Dark Horse Comics coming in June.  Writer Jai Nitz (Dream Thief, Tron: Betrayal, Kato) and artist Janusz Pawlak have created a “mechano-samurai” named Toshiro whose adventure story will take readers across a Victorian clockwork world, “battling horrors too dark for mankind.”

According to Dark Horse:

With his mysterious partner, the world-famous adventurer Quicksilver Bob, Toshiro must face Earth’s greatest foe yet: the soul-stealing, zombie-creating jellyfish from beyond.  Janusz Pawlak’s jagged inks and moody watercolors create a world of dread and mystery.

toshiro_tpb_page

Toshiro bends and blends genres to make something altogether new.  Janusz and I wanted to play with Victorian steampunk, alternate history, Lovecraftian monsters, and the magic of Tezuka’s Astro Boy to tell a story,” said writer Jai Nitz.  “We wanted to wear our influences on our sleeves, but do the hard work of creating something new.  I think this book will appeal to any fans of adventure.”

Keep checking back as borg.com will preview Toshiro in June 2014.  Toshiro arrives in comic book stores June 4, 2014, but you can pre-order it now at Amazon.com.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Michael Golden cover to Dream Thief Issue 5

It’s a five-issue limited series with no ties to any current franchise.  It’s a gritty tale you might find from someone like Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, yet it’s not just another crime noir caper.  It’s a story about a superhero story for sure, but a reluctant one, who comes with plenty of baggage and character flaws and draws his power from what could be a cousin to Loki’s mask from Mike Richardson’s The Mask series.  It has its own unique, cool look, too.  It’s Dark Horse Comics’ Dream Thief, and if you missed it this year you’ll soon have a chance to pick it up in a trade edition.

On a particularly wrong time, wrong place outing with a friend, John Lincoln steals an aboriginal mask from an art museum display.  He then finds himself tumbling again and again through other people’s lives, waking each new day with the memories of a person who used John’s body to kill someone.  And each of the victims?  They deserved it.  In his quest to discover what has happened to him, he sleuths out the truth behind the acts of his own girlfriend, the mob, and baddies of every variety.

Smallwood Dream Thief panel B

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FreeCon poster 2013

It’s a big Con weekend in the Midwest with annual shows in Iowa (see our earlier preview today here) and Kansas.  The eighth annual Free State Comicon will be held this Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Lawrence, Kansas.  It will be held in Building #21 of the Douglas County Fairgrounds at 2110 Harper Street where it was located in previous years.  Admission is $5.00.

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Damont Jordan Green Arrow and Black Canary

This year I continued my Comicon season by commissioning sketches from comic book artists of my favorite characters, Green Arrow and Black Canary.  I always like to let the artists do whatever vision they have with the duo and am always blown away by the results and at this year’s Planet Comicon it was no different.  It’s even better when you watch artists take on characters for the first time.

At Planet Comicon weekend itself, I met Greg Smallwood, who I found at Artists Alley with the forthcoming Dream Thief co-creator Jai Nitz.  Greg sketched this great piece for me, and I’d LOVE to see a series with this classic look.

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Black Canary never before looked more like she was going to take everyone out of commission with that sonic scream!

I also asked my friend Damont Jordan to give me his take on Green Arrow and Black Canary and gave him a few weeks after the Con to take his time with it.  Somewhere we started chatting up adding extra characters and I threw out the idea of something like “oh yeah, why not include Super Grover, too.”  And BAM!  Check this out:

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Dream Thief banner

We hinted here just ten days ago that we thought Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood’s Dream Thief is the next big thing–the next must-read on your comic book pull list.  Now, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics we can release a preview of the first six pages of Issue #1!  

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