Category: Sci-Fi Café


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The fifth annual Halloween ComicFest arrives today in comic book stores across the U.S.  The public is invited to participate in the special Halloween events by going to their local comic shop to receive free comics and enter “The Greatest Halloween Costume Contest” on Saturday, October 29, 2016.  During ComicFest, adults and children alike can go to local participating comic shops to receive free Halloween and horror-theme comics and mini-comics published specifically for Halloween ComicFest.  This year, 32 titles are available—19 full-sized comics and 13 mini-comics—including select titles from Marvel Comics (Darth Vader: Doctor Aphra #1, Spidey #1, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: You Choose the Story #1, and The Haunted Mansion #1), DC Comics (DC Superhero Girls #1 and Scooby Apocalypse/Hanna-Barbera Sampler), Dark Horse Comics (Harrow County #1), and IDW Publishing (My Little Pony: The Haunted Dungeon).

Comic book stores will also have Mini-Comic Polypacks of 25 comics available to purchase and pass out on Halloween to trick-or-treaters as an alternative to Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters.

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Designed to celebrate comic shops like Elite Comics in Overland Park, KS, as unique community businesses and reach new customers, Halloween ComicFest helps retailers and the entire comics industry springboard into the end of the year holiday selling season.  Check out www.halloweencomicfest.com for more information.  Here are the books most stores will have in stock:

  • Action Lab Presents (Action Lab Entertainment)
  • Adventures of the Aspen Universe (Aspen)
  • Afterlife With Archie Season Two (Archie Comics)
  • Black Eyed Kids #1 (Aftershock Comics)
  • Darth Vader Doctor Aphra #1 (Marvel Comics)
  • DC Super Hero Girls #1 (DC Comics)
  • Evil Dead 2 #1 (Of 3) Beyond Dead By Dawn #1 (Space Goat)

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  • Harrow County #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Haunted Mansion #1 (Marvel)
  • Junji Ito Tomie (Viz Media)
  • Kitaro Strange Fun For Everyone (Drawn and Quarterly)

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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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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.

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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.

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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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AfterlifeWithArchie_07-0   copperhead04_cover

If you’re wondering what some of the best comic book series are from 2014, you need look no further than your local comic book store right now.  Three of the top ten series of the year have new issues released today.  With Afterlife with Archie, Issue #7, a new story arc begins, featuring the classic Riverdale gang in the aftermath of an encounter with zombies.  Image Comics’ Copperhead, Issue #4, continues its standout story of newly-arrived sheriff Clara Bronson and her son in a sci-fi Western town of aliens and mischief.  And from BOOM! Studios, Wild’s End, Issue #4, continues what could be described as what would happen if neighbors of Winnie the Pooh and the gang have a War of the Worlds encounter, and if that story was directed by Quentin Tarentino.

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Afterlife with Archie is written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with that fantastic artwork we’ve come to expect from Francesco Francavilla.  Copperhead is from the minds of writer Jay Faerber and artists Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley.  And Wild’s End is written deftly by Dan Abnett, with artwork by I.N.J. Culbard.

Check out previews for the new issues of each series, after the break:

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Archie Meets Predator first look

This week Archie Comics and Dark Horse Comics announced a new mini-series coming in 2015, an unlikely monster mash, Archie Meets Predator.  We’re surprised it took them so long.

Predator on film has faced off against Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ridley Scott’s Aliens.  In the comics, the list goes on and on, from Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens, to Tarzan vs. Predator, to even Superman/Batman vs Alien & Predator.  And who could forget Predator vs My Little Pony, Predator vs BarbiePredator vs Hello Kitty, and Predator vs Itty Bitty Hellboy?  (OK, we made up those last ones).

Archie has had a similar spree of unlikely mash-ups, like Archie Meets KISS, The Punisher Meets Archie, and (gasp!) Archie Meets Glee.  Better yet, Archie had his own unofficial Walking Dead tribute with Afterlife with Archie–one we’ve raved about plenty here at borg.com.

Archie skull button

Archie Meets Predator is not taking the dark path you’d think you’d get from Dark Horse Comics or even from Archie Comics based on their success with Afterlife With Archie or forthcoming Sabrina series.  Archie Meets Predator seems to be lighter fare based on the press release this week:

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It’s less than two weeks until 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International will host more than 150,000 fans of sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes and other pop culture, and SDCC has now released the entire panel schedule for this year’s big show.  If you haven’t been to the modern-day Greatest Show on Earth, it should at least be on your bucket list, but beware:  if you attend the show once you’ll want to keep going back.

Tickets as usual were sold out months ago, but for those attending this year’s show, we have some quick links to the event list so you can start planning your days now.

This year’s panels prove yet again that you shouldn’t listen to the naysayers who claim SDCC doesn’t focus on comic book artists and writers.  Even more events are occurring this year focused on the comic book medium, including benchmarks like Batman’s 75th anniversary.  Yet there are also all of those big panels planned full of this summer’s movie blockbusters and big-name casts and the casts and creators of your favorite television series.

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First and most importantly you’ll want to download to your smart phone the SDCC handy My Schedule app here.  We’ve used it before and it’s a great help when you’re in the crowd and can’t get into one panel but you want to try the dash for another one or you just get tired of walking the main hall with Artists’ Alley and the dealer booths and you want to sit down and see something new for an hour.

Having trouble choosing from all the panels?  We think the biggest event and best bang for your buck will be the Warner Bros. panel we previewed a few days ago here with pilots and previews of DC Entertainment series The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, and Arrow.  After the break we pulled some other panels you might like if you follow borg.com regularly.

Here are the quick links to each day’s panel events for SDCC 2014:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Preview Night

Thursday, July 24, 2014 Panel Schedule

Friday, July 25, 2014 Panel Schedule

Saturday, July 26, 2014 Panel Schedule

Sunday, July 24, 2014 Panel Schedule

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Here are some panels to consider (after the break):

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Miss Fury Dynamite Comics

We tried on for size almost every new book that was released from comic book publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Archaia/BOOM!, and Image.  We tried to sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics had to offer, too, and although we didn’t have enough time to review everything we did try to put out there for your consideration those titles we thought our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro bent.  Our pull list included issues from Afterlife with Archie to Django Unchained, from Liberator to Larfleezeand from Velvet to The X-Files.  This past month we have reviewed the year-long run of the best of these titles, as we narrowed our selections to 21 of the very best entries in genre entertainment outside of TV and movies, which we revealed here yesterday.  So here are the rest of our picks for the Best of 2013.

Kane Starkiller borg by Mike Mayhew

Best Borg Appearance — Kane Starkiller, The Star Wars.  Borgs showed up everywhere this year, from the lead characters on Almost Human, to Doctor Who, to countless comic book series including Justice League and RoboCop.  Our favorite appearance came from the young mind of George Lucas as he created the original script that would later be edited into the original Star Wars trilogy.  And through Dark Horse Comics’ The Star Wars monthly comic book event we learned one of his best ideas was merged into other roles and one of his best characters entirely cut.   That character was Jedi Kane Starkiller, who would reveal his cyborg chest implants that kept him alive, later to heroically give up this life-saving technology to save his friends.

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Best Comic Book Series — Miss Fury, Dynamite Comics.  A uniquely crafted tale, a compelling and seductive superhero, great action panel after panel, sourced in a long-shelved classic character of the Golden Age of comics.  Rob Williams and Jack Herbert’s Miss Fury is a carefully rendered update that rings true to the edgy spirit of the world’s first female superhero.  Beautiful panels set up an ever-changing time and place and pull readers along for the ride.  And stuck-out-of-time Marla Drake and her alter ego Miss Fury could not have looked better, whether carving out her place in the 1940s or as she was teleported into the future.  It’s a series no one should miss.

Clint Barton Hawkeye by Fraction

Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Fraction, Hawkeye.  Last year revealed one of the best comic book series we ever read, focusing on that “other” superhero archer, the second tier Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye.  Matt Fraction gave us the most interesting set-up and look into the daily life of a superhero who isn’t Captain America or Iron Man.  This year he kept up the momentum in his Hawkeye monthly series, providing stories that challenged readers, each issue taking a different peek into Clint Barton, another costumed superhero called Hawkeye, and their trusty dog.

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