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Category: Retro Fix


An attractive new comic book based in the 1920s is nearly halfway to its funding goals with 16 days to go in its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.  Portland writer Sunshine Barbito and São Paulo, Brazil-based artist Debora Carita have teamed together to recreate New York of a century ago and the Mafia’s rise to power in the pages of Mafiosa, an original comic book story.  Launching via Kickstarter if fully funded by July 18, 2019, Mafiosa will debut as a 28-page issue, featuring variant covers by Kirbi Fagan (Mockingbird, Shuri) and Eisner Award winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Detective Comics, Afterlife with Archie).

Mafiosa is the story of a woman on her way to becoming not just a moll but a crime boss in her own right.  Following the rise of Nicoletta Marchesi, the youngest of five children in a family of first generation Sicilian Americans who have established a crime syndicate in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, writer Barbito takes on gender roles with the background of mob life.  When Nicoletta confronts her father and announces her desire to join the family business alongside her brothers, a family conflict is formed, and Nicoletta is sucked into the savagery of a life of crime.

 

Carita’s interior artwork has a nicely crafted noir vibe.  The Kickstarter book will be a self-contained story, with Mariacristina Federico as colorist and lettering by Clem Robins.  Take a look at these previews of some of the concept sketch art for the Kickstarter campaign and some gorgeous, completed pages for Mafiosa:

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If you are a fan of Italian comic book artist Francesco Francavilla, you probably make sure you’ve kept up with his work on series like DC’s Detective Comics, his creator-owned noir series The Black Beetle, Dynamite’s Zorro, Marvel’s Black Panther, Archie Horror’s Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and loads of other series and comic book covers.  In July you’ll even be able to purchase his variant edition of the forthcoming comic Archie Meets Batman ’66.  Francavilla burst onto the comics scene a decade ago, and quickly his trademark style–a mix of classic pulp, noir, and retro color combinations and designs–helped earn him the Eisner Award in 2012.  But if you’re a completist, get ready to for a brief course change this week.

Here’s something to think about: Not all comic book artists stick exclusively to the comic book medium.  Today Francavilla’s artwork is taking on the non-fiction route, as the artist is the featured creator of visuals in today’s issue of The New York Time Magazine.  It’s a clever pairing as the magazine’s annual money issue is taking on the mystique of the classic Crime Does Not Pay comic book series of comicdom’s Golden Era, instead of featuring images of the criminals themselves in its pages.  Titled “Crime Pays,” today’s issue has plenty of Francavilla’s unique imagery for his fans to soak up.  And–what a concept–get caught up on the news at the same time.  Here is the new cover image compared to a classic 1940s cover design:

   

For Francavilla’s comic book fans, he says there’s nothing to worry about.  Via Twitter Saturday he responded to one fan, “I’m not leaving comics at all – working on the new @TheBlackBeetle mini right now as matter of fact 🙂 #IheartComics”.

The New York Times Magazine created this video look behind the scenes at Francavilla’s contribution to this issue of the magazine.

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Surprisingly CW’s Riverdale not only teased the answer to the show’s big mystery in last night’s penultimate episode–instead of dragging viewers into a season finale cliffhanger–it delivered the goods.  The result is a tightly written, highly watchable and addictive first season that will stand alone as an example of how to get your characters and plot right from the very beginning, and a easy watch for new viewers wanting to jump on for Season Two.

Satisfaction.  Above all else, it’s what matters to the viewing audience.  Writers can throw twists and plenty of shock and awe onto the screen, but if they cannot tie up all the loose ends without a deus ex machina event or similar trickery, viewers won’t come back for the second season.  How many opening seasons of series give the audience enough interest to keep watching, yet they are full of ups and downs, episodes that don’t quite work, too many red herrings, and tangled plot threads that seemed to be stuffed into the show for filler?  Heroes, Lost, and Twin Peaks garnered immediate cult followings, yet they dragged the big secrets out until we just didn’t care anymore.

How few television series have been as tightly written as Riverdale?  CW’s other comic book adaptations weren’t this good in their freshman year–Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, CBS’s Supergirl–none created a finely stitched together bookend set of episodes that will be fun to watch again and again once they arrive at Netflix or other streaming services.  Riverdale took an idea: adapting a classic, 75-year-old, well-known set of characters from a beloved comic book, added in that comic book’s own modern updates from the recent past, and then gave it a dark twist.  Both Twin Peaks and the look and feel of Archie Comics’ own dark title Afterlife With Archie are owed plenty of credit, along with a great story writing team and a top-notch cast.

You’ll need to watch the series for yourself to discover who killed the Laura Palmer of Riverdale, Jason Blossom.  In fact you’ll think you have it all figured out until the big reveal at the end of last night’s episode, “Anatomy of a Murder.”  But you’ll probably be wrong.

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If you’re enjoying CW’s new Riverdale series as much as we are, then you probably have a new appreciation for Archie’s pal Jughead Jones.  The classic Jughead has always had an insatiable appetite, practically living at the Riverdale diner.  Actually we wouldn’t be surprised to see him move into the back of the joint on the television series since he lost his home at the drive-in theater, which recently closed.  This month Archie Comics is taking Jughead to a dark place and asks: What if Jughead’s hunger came from a sinister place?

When a murderous menace is on the prowl, taking the lives of some of the most well-known and esteemed inhabitants of Riverdale, Jughead and his family’s dark legacy comes to light. 

It’s Jughead: The Hunger.  It’s a story that will be a prime target for fans of the successful and popular series Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

   

Writer Frank Tieri (Wolverine) and artist Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers) team-up for an oversized Archie Horror one-shot.  Check out this preview courtesy of Archie Comics:

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In the latest ads for CW’s new teen series Riverdale, the live-action series looks even more like an updated Twin Peaks than in the initial teaser trailer.  CW’s television adaptation of the 75-year-old Archie Comics characters and hometown is only weeks away.  More and more we’re thinking the series has the look and feel of the Archie Comics’ recent successful expanded universe in its Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series.  Let’s face it–if the new television series really were to look like the monthly comic book, which has run relatively unchanged for its 75-year span, it would basically be a remake of Happy Days. 

However CW’s Riverdale turns out, our fingers remain crossed that we’ll see the infamous Sabrina drop in as a guest star or that the writers will find a way to incorporate at least a good Halloween episode.  Zombies, anyone?  Another classic franchise family, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, are getting their own update next year when Dynamite Comics releases a new monthly series adaptation with a noir, true crime twist: Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie.  The common theme seems to be bringing back the classics, but trying to spin them in a way to make them appeal to current audiences, which is nothing really new as adaptations go.

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The first full-length trailer and a second teaser for Riverdale were both released this week. Every classic property should get the CW teen soap opera treatment like Riverdale and Smallville and all the great DC Comics series currently running.  The shows may not be entirely loyal to the source materials, but you can bank on some interesting characters and well-told stories ahead.

Check out this first extended trailer for Riverdale:

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In the first trailer for CW’s Riverdale, the live-action series looks more like an updated Twin Peaks than the classic comic book.  But what a way to make an update!  How will we know if Riverdale is a success?  CW’s television adaptation of the nearly 80-year-old Archie Comics universe is only weeks away.  Yet if you look back on your favorite teen television shows you may find writers and casting agents have been pulling from the Archie playbook before.  Just take a look back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Who was a better Jughead than Xander?  And did you ever see the original best frenemies Betty and Veronica in the love-hate relationship of Buffy and Faith?  What about the dynamic of the leads in CW’s previous successful teen-driven, comic book series Smallville?  Will Archie Comics’ own tried and tested formula prove to make Riverdale a keeper?

However CW’s Riverdale turns out, our fingers are crossed that we’ll see the infamous Sabrina drop in as a guest star or that the writers will find a way to incorporate at least a good Halloween episode banking on the success of the publisher’s recent Afterlife With Archie series.  What sure-fire way to please a current audience than delivering a zombie episode?

Riverdale -- "Pilot" -- Image Number: RVD101g_0002.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): KJ Apa as Archie and Lili Reinhart as Betty -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

The first teaser for Riverdale dropped this week.  Although it doesn’t give us much, we get a look at the characters and a glimpse of the creepy tone of the show–a very CW teen-focused looking series.  These kinds of shows have proven to be CW’s niche realm, along with its recent success with superheroes in its five DC Comics series: Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, iZombie, and Supergirl. 

Check out this first teaser for Riverdale:

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Next week Riverdale’s most famous band is getting back together.

Archie Comics is releasing a new Josie and the Pussycats monthly series.  Much like its release of its hit Betty & Veronica series this summer, Josie & Co. is getting a premiere with plenty of cover variants with works by J. Scott Campbell, Derek Charm, Colleen Coover, Veronica Fish, Francesco Francavilla, Jessica Garvey, Robert Hack with Steve Downer, Gisele Lagace with Shouri, Alitha Martinez with Kelly Fitzpatrick, Wally McNair, Sam Payne, and Marguerite Sauvage.  The standard cover was drawn by Audrey Mok.  Andre Szymanowicz is providing the colors.  Archie Comics will also release a blank sketch cover version.

Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio are scripting the series.

Josie, Valerie, and Melody make their current debut after Afterlife With Archie’s dark look at the band in the haunted parallel universe of that title’s October issue.  Plus, the CW Network has its own new Archie series premiering in only a few weeks–Riverdale stars K.J. Apa as Archie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead, Camila Mendes as Veronica, Lili Reinhart as Betty, Ross Butler as Reggie, Casey Cott as Kevin, and Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom.  And of course, the band is in the series as well, with Josie played by Ashleigh Murray, Valerie is played by Hayleau Law, and Melody is played by Asha Brom.  Luke Perry, Lochlyn Munro, and Madchen Amick will also star in the series.

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While you’re waiting for the TV series, check out these covers to Josie and the Pussycats: 

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After a long wait, Archie Comics releases the second issue of the exciting horror series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina tomorrow.  It’s the eve of Sabrina’s sixteenth birthday.  An unspeakable terror arrives in Greendale.  No one is safe, especially those close to Sabrina.  And the streets of the quaint home world of Archie’s gang will run red with blood.

Harvey Award-winning writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa returns with artist Robert Hack to bring us a dark re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the vein of the successful Afterlife With Archie series.  Look for a variant cover by Francesco Francavilla.

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Hack’s artwork conjures that classic spooky imagery from Charlton era pulp horror comics.  The new Archie Horror imprint is really turning the world of Archie on its end.  Look at all the coming covers for Sabrina, above and below.

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After the break, check out a preview of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Issue #2, courtesy of Archie Comics:

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Francavilla Archie vs Predator 1 cover   Eric Powell cover 1 Archie vs Predator

If you haven’t checked in with the 73-year-old perpetual teenager Archie Andrews in a while, well, you need to get caught up.  If you don’t remember reading his comics as a kid, just think Happy Days for a minute.  Archie is Richie Cunningham, the do-gooder who is popular with his friends.  The suave Reggie Mantle is a ringer for Potsy Webber, and Ralph Malph is basically Jughead Jones.  You could drop these guys in any school cafeteria in any decade since Archie was created back in 1941 and the words may be different but the conversations would be familiar.  It’s each writer after writer over the years maintaining that accessibility to readers that keeps Archie fresh.  With crossover deals with rights holders and publishers today, that means Archie gets to meet other property icons.  Like the rock group KISS in Archie meets KISS, the Punisher in Archie Meets Punisher, or the kids from the TV show Glee in Archie Meets Glee.  Next week, Archie goes sci-fi.  Instead of a “meet” with the skull collecting alien from the Predator franchise, Dark Horse Comics and Archie Comics are releasing a four-issue series, Archie vs. Predator.

Taking Archie comics first into dark territory, and back into the hands of thousands of new readers, was the 2013 series Afterlife with Archie, a zombie story by Archie Comics’ now Chief Creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and art by Francesco Francavilla (which we’ve raved about before plenty here at borg.com).  But where Afterlife with Archie re-dresses the setting of Riverdale in a bleak zombie apocalypse, artist Fernando Ruiz has drawn Archie vs. Predator firmly in the more cartoony, more familiar Riverdale.  And it’s that contrast between the classic cartoony and the shocking, and the outright bloody, where writer Alex de Campi takes Archie and friends into a completely new realm.  Like the meet-ups at Big Al’s with the Happy Days kids, de Campi presents some current and believable banter between Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, and two new rich kids as they head South of the border for Spring Break.  And don’t be surprised if the quirks and angst of the Riverdale kid remind you of the characters on the classic animated series Daria, but with a Scooby Doo and Buffy the Vampire Slayer twist.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Nothing is more impressive than someone creating an original work that makes you interested in something you were not interested in before.  Even better, when someone creates a new mash-up that brings together two concepts that just can’t go together–like Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Sabrina–and zombies.  Yet they make it work.  A candidate for best single issue comic book this year is Issue #1 of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s new series Afterlife with Archie.

It’s so wrong, and yet so right.  I reader Archie Comics as a kid, but I still haven’t been swept up by the zombie thing… until now.  Heavily influenced by the monster comics of Bernie Wrightson, the art in Afterlife with Archie is as good as it gets.  Eisner winner Francavilla’s style is entirely his own, and like his Black Beetle series discussed here at borg.com earlier this year, readers are transported to the vision of the past as seen in Golden Age comic books.  Even the paper and printing on Issue #1 feels like you’re holding a 1940s comic book in your hands.  Francavilla brings together the classic characters of the Archie universe and the creepiness of “how the end of the world begins”.

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