Category: Fantasy Realms


Skybourne Baltimore variant cover Frank Cho     Motor Girl 1 Terry Moore

Two of the big five comic book writer/artists known particularly for their renderings of women are each launching creator-owned series this year.  Eisner and Harvey Award winner Frank Cho, probably the #1 cover artist known for his fantastic women as well as his humor and storytelling, is launching his own mini-series through BOOM! Studios in September, and Eisner and Harvey award-winning Terry Moore, known for his smart and quirky women-focused stories, is publishing a new series through his Abstract Studios imprint.  Both titles will feature strong women characters.

Frank Cho, first recognized for his humor and pin-up art in University² and Liberty Meadows, has gone on to create some of the finest mix of superheroes and classical artwork of any living artist.  As recently as this summer he provided the most beautiful Wonder Woman cover art in years for DC Comics.  We’ve raved about his cover art here five years ago, but he’s created a lifetime of great work since then.  We wait with bated breath for more projects like his cover to cover work on Savage Wolverine, Mighty Avengers, Shanna the She-Devil, and his X-Men Schism arc.  This may be that next series.

His new project, Skybourne, a project we first heard about in early 2015, follows two immortals, Grace Skybourne and her brother Thomas, and their battle against the legendary Merlin of medieval lore.  Here is the description from the publisher:

Skybourne Midtown variant cover Frank Cho     Skybourne cover Frank Cho

* Full of fast-paced action, Skybourne is James Bond with fantasy elements thrown in and is unlike anything Frank Cho has ever done before.
* The legend of King Arthur is alive and well in the modern day world.  Only one man, Skybourne, can stop the evil Merlin from destroying the world.

But we ask again each year:  Whatever happened to the very cool and promising Guns & Dinos, which we first previewed five years ago here at borg.com Skybourne, Issue #1 of 5, written and drawn by Cho, is scheduled for release in comic book stores September 7, 2016.  Check out a preview below.

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Garfield_V5_coverA   Peanuts24_coverA

With all the focus on teen and adult readers, you might not know that several popular comic book and comic strip characters are still going strong, and available each week for kids of all ages in your local comic book store.  With the annual re-airing of the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, why not see what the Peanuts gang is up to today?  BOOM! Studios’ KaBOOM! line has several series catering to the demographic that may not be ready for Revival and Rachel Rising.

This week KaBOOM! is releasing new issues of Garfield, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and yes, Peanuts.  And for a slightly older set of readers, BOOM! Studios’ BOOM!Box is releasing the next issue of the 2014 breakout hit series Lumberjanes. 

After the break, check out previews for all these titles, courtesy of BOOM! Studios.  All these issues hit comic book stores tomorrow.

Lumberjanes_009_coverA   AT_BananaGuard06_coverA

First up is that lasagna-loving cat Garfield in the trade paperback edition of Garfield, Volume 5.  Whether you’ve read the prior books or not, it’s a cinch to get caught up on Garfield, Jon, and Odie.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Rachel Rising disturbs me.  Terry Moore’s art disturbs me.  Most of all, Terry Moore’s story disturbs me.

The thing is… it’s supposed to.

Everyone is creepy in the quaint, pastoral town called Manson.  If you need help in Manson, you pretty much have no one to turn to.  Soon you will be dead or undead, or living or working with some unspeakable horror in your midst.  Remember young Billy Mumy’s character in the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life”?  I’m convinced he lived in Manson.  And the neighbor across the street?  An adorable little girl named Zoe who has just lost her family and house.  And her newly proposed foster family has a psycho in it.  Of course, Zoe just killed a few people herself.  Including her babysitter.  You see, every time Zoe sees the beautiful blonde woman, someone dies.  Sometimes by her own hand.  Who is that woman, who can be seen only by a few people, and why can she push her will onto others?

But the story is not about Zoe.  It’s about Rachel.  In the beginning Rachel is dead, pulling herself from a shallow grave by getting a foothold on…what’s that?  Someone else’s corpse.  She’s been strangled.  But Rachel has come back for more, despite being repeatedly knocked back down.  She doesn’t understand why she’s alive any more than we do.  Along this strange trip Rachel meets a woman in the bathroom at a local jazz club and can’t help but sharing that she won’t make it to her wedding day.  Rachel has seen the woman’s coming death.  Petrified the woman rushes away.  Minutes later the woman is pushed off the roof, onto Rachel, killing both in the process.

Meanwhile Zoe and the fiancée accidentally (?!) intentionally (?!) meet up in the woods to hide their recently murdered victims.  And little Zoe finishes off the fiancée.  Why not?  And why is she so vicious about it?  It’s all bad in the quaint, pastoral town of Manson.

In the beginning, and a bit of a deja vu later, Rachel’s aunt Johnny and brunette BFF named Jet can’t believe that Rachel is dead (again).  Aunt Johnny works as a mortician, and unfortunately she knows this victim all too well.  But Johnny and Jet are even more surprised when she sits up alive.  Rachel is more dead than alive, the doctor tells her.  He also thinks Rachel is the angel of death.  But he has his own issues.  He is living at home with a 30-year old corpse.

It’s all so eerie, spooky and… oogy.

Later, Rachel and Johnny and Jet and Zoe’s stories intersect, and they collide with an 18-wheeler.

Then bodies inexplicably burst out of the town’s cemetery.  Jet dies in the car wreck, to return and join Rachel as another member of the undead.  Is she a zombie?  The doctor says no.  Is she an angel?  Jet won’t believe it.  Just prop her body up in front of a television, she’ll be all right.

Moore is at Issue #8 of the series and there is no sign of saving any of us from this town ravaged by an unknown evil.  How does this mild-mannered writer of Strangers In Paradise and Echo create such a horrific tale?  What unspeakable skeletons are hiding within the Moore household?  I really don’t want to know.

Probably most surprising is the juxtaposition between Moore’s beautiful lead females, Rachel and Jet and Zoe, and the ghoulish, macabre, palpable darkness that seems to emanate from the crossroads in the woods.  Like Frank Cho’s women and Adam Hughes’ women, you’d know Terry Moore’s women if you were pushing your way through the halls at the San Diego Convention Center at Comic-Con and ran into one.  They are the ladies with the little slightly askew noses and the bright all-knowing eyes.

Beautiful fall leaves stretch across the open grave.  It’s getting cold in Manson.  It’s snowing, but is that really snow that’s falling?  I shudder to think where this is going.  I may just cover my eyes for the rest and crawl back into bed.  Someone please leave the lights on.

Rachel Rising has been nominated for not one but two Harvey Awards: Best New Series and Best Continuing or Limited Series.  It made the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award 2012 Reading List.  And we will find out in a few weeks whether it secures the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series and the coveted Best Writer/Artist Award to Moore for his work.

Moore is scheduled to be at Comic-Con again this year and we hear he is bringing original art for sale.  He and wife Robyn’s Abstract Studios will be featured in a panel in Room 23ABC on Comic-Con Thursday.  Issues #1-6 are now available at Amazon as the Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death trade paperback and more recent issues are available at comic book stores everywhere.

Chasing the Dead cover 1 Chasing the Dead cover 2

Chasing the Dead is a 2007 supernatural thriller novel by Joe Schreiber.  Schreiber has written several genre novels including Star Wars: Red Harvest, Star Wars: Death Troopers, Star Wars: Darth Scabrous, and Supernatural: The Unholy Cause, as well as No Doors No Windows, Eat the Dark, Perry’s Killer Playlist, and Au Revoir Crazy European Chick.  IDW Publishing writers Matthew Scott and Tim Westland have begun to adapt Schreiber’s Chasing the Dead into a monthly comic book series.

Chasing the Dead  takes readers for a very intense ride.  We meet Susan Young, now separated from the man she married who was a childhood friend.  They both shared a secret, and now their secret has impossibly returned and their daughter is now thrust into what reads like a suspenseful horror movie plot.  A 13-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl are playing at a park in a town that has a rash of child murders.  A strange car slowly pulls up and instead of another abduction the little boy grabs a knife and strikes back at the attacker, killing him, but not before noticing something unworldly about the killer.

Tomorrow Issue #3 is being released and we’re previewing the first seven pages below.  Want to get caught up?  Keep reading for an overview of Issues #1 and #2, and why you might want to check out this series.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

When a publisher adapts a work of fiction into comic book or graphic novel form, there should be a reason for it.  How can a visual representation of this work add something to the story for a reader, either new to the story or not?  And timing is relevant.  Why release this adaptation now?  Easy answers that are valid are simply because the work is a classic, because the work is by a noted writer, or because the subject matter is one that resonates with current audiences.

I don’t have an answer as to why now is a good time for an adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place into comic book form.  But many of the easy answers fit.  Beagle is one of the most beloved authors of all time, and perhaps the most beloved author of classic fantasy of the level of Tolkien and Carroll and White and Lewis still living and still writing.  Issue #1 of IDW Publishing’s adaptation of Beagle’s first novel, A Fine and Private Place, is probably a long time coming.  Published in 1960, eight years before his celebrated The Last Unicorn, A Fine and Private Place is our first window into the thoughtful and introverted characters fans love Beagle for.

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By C.J. Bunce

You can spend your weekend at Comic-Con wandering the exhibit floor looking for mass market collectibles, talking with dealers of original art, talking with writers and artists of current and classic comic books, attend panels and see comic and other creators, TV and movie stars and get the low-down on coming projects, go offsite for parties and studio and publisher events–the biggest problem is doing all you want when there is nowhere close to enough time to do it in.  If you’re in for only a few days, you really have to pick up your pace and narrow down what you want to see.  Since I spent a whole day in panels and did not stay for the entire weekend, any encounters I had with creators and studio celebrities were pretty much based on happenstance this year.  Many creators are now friends, others I gawk at like everyone else from afar.  So who did I see?

First of all, in panels I saw the cast of Community, Firefly, and the new series Arrow, including guys I’d love to talk in person someday–Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin, David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel from Bones, and the guy you may know as Bud from Married with Children, David Faustino, who is doing voice work now for Nickelodeon, and he voiced the character Mako as part of the Legends of Korra panel.  As I mentioned earlier in the week, waiting in line allowed me to meet and get a photo with Joss Whedon.

The Soup host Joel McHale, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, former Angel star David Boreanaz and Korra’s David Faustino really stood out as funny guys in these panels–surprisingly quick-witted people who got the crowd cheering with everything they said.

I saw the main cast of the Syfy Channel series Haven during their signing session.  They really looked like they were having a good time–like they really get along with each other.  Also signing in the Sails Pavilion were Richard Anderson, who was the classic character Oscar Goldman from one of borg.com’s favorite borg shows: The Six Million Dollar Man, and Cindy Morgan from the original Tron and Caddyshack.  I hoped to run into Bruce Boxleitner, JK Woodward and Scott and David Tipton but my panel schedule caused me to miss meeting them.

On the exhibit floor I watched Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) talk with fans and sign autographs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was coming into the hall and I staked out a photo op location but his handlers moved him out of the hall so I missed seeing him.

As a Star Trek fan, I was very happy to finally meet and have a nice conversation with Brent Spiner.  He was a great guy who was as nice in person as you’d hope him to be from years of watching his lovable character Data.  I also had a brief chat at day’s end with Levar Burton, also a friendly guy, signing photos of Geordi LaForge for fans.  I’d met Marina Sirtis before so I didn’t chat with her this round, but she was also signing Counselor Deanna Troi photos in the hall.

Earlier this year I reviewed Table Top, a new, fun Web series hosted by Wil Wheaton with the Geek and Sundry creators.  I met him near a Starbucks and shared my feedback with him on his show.  We talked about some of the games and he graciously introduced me to his wife and friends.

Wheaton is truly “one of us” and a really personable guy.  Of everyone at the Con, he is probably my first pick of someone you’d like to wander the Con halls and chat with.  Another show host, Blair Butler was attending the Con from the popular genre cable channel G4.

Of the comic book realm, I met Cat Skaggs, a well-known comic book artist who was signing cover prints to Smallville Season 11 #1 and she sketched a great Green Arrow bust for me.

I also met Neal Adams–a comic book legend who created the look of the Silver Age Green Arrow and I finally was able to add one of his sketches to my folio.  Neal was sketching non-stop for fans just like the newer, younger artists in Artist Alley–a real “working artist” even after all these years.

I ran into my friend Freddie Williams II also, and he also was busy sketching for fans throughout the Con and selling original art from his various DC Comics series.

David Petersen, known best for his Mouse Guard work, was working on commissions for attendees and selling shirts and art at his booth in Artist Alley.  I also lucked into getting a sketch from him and enjoyed talking with his wife, who manned the booth when he was doing signings elsewhere.

I ran into Frank Cho again this year and he said he is still expecting to get Guns & Dinos out soon.  He was selling a great pin-up calendar featuring Brandy and the Liberty Meadows gang.  More on that in future posts.  A nominee for the Eisner in two categories this year, Rachel Rising creator Terry Moore was busy talking with fans.

As with last year, Jim Lee could be found at several panels and signing throughout Comic-Con.

As with Freddie Williams, I met up with several folks from back in the Midwest.  I ran into artist Ande Parks and met his wife, while hanging with Sean and William from Elite Comics and Chris Jackson who runs Planet Comicon.  Parks was chatting with his frequent cover artist Francesco Francavilla, this year’s Eisner cover artist of the year winner, and someone we have talked about here at borg.com all year long for his great cover art.  I ran into Star Trek author Kevin Dilmore twice on the exhibit floor–my third year seeing Kevin at the Con.  It’s crazy how you can be in your hometown and never run into anyone, and then fly to San Diego and see so many people from back home.

To get to borg.com’s first anniversary it actually took us 366 days because of the leap year.  And what a year it has been!

So what do we have to show for 366 daily posts–our attempt to keep you up to date on what is going on in science fiction, fantasy, and entertainment news?

Jason McClain and Elizabeth C. Bunce

We interviewed some great people, like DC Comics artists Freddie Williams and Mikel Janin, writers Sharon Shinn and Jai Nitz, and Star Trek insider Penny Juday.  In our “Sneak preview” series we reviewed the pilots for new TV series ABC’s New Girl and NBC’s Awake before they were broadcast on TV.  We gave you our take on several opening weekend screenings of a big year in movies from Cowboys & Aliens to Green Lantern, from the last Harry Potter film to Daniel Radcliffe’s first big adult role in The Woman in Black,  to the day of Marvel Comics movies that led up to the U.S. premiere of The Avengers We shared the first images released of The Hobbit and Total Recall We reviewed new books and classic sci-fi books in our “Retro reviews,” from Philip K. Dick, Ian Fleming, Michael Crichton, Rex Stout, Ernest Cline, and Richard Stark, and several non-fiction books about the “behind the scenes” of movies.  We covered Comic-Con International, Wondercon, Planet Comicon, Free Comic Book Day and the early release party for Avengers vs. X-Men We reviewed dozens of new comic book series, from Morning Glories to Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising and a whole slew of DC’s New 52 reboot, as well as Marvel Comics’ limited series events.  Along with that we’ve kept tabs on our (and hopefully your) favorite things like Doctor Who, Star Trek, Walking Dead, Peter Jackson, baseball, Community, Benedict Cumberbatch, the Syfy Channel, USA Network, James Bond, Batman and Green Arrow.  We’ve posted lots of original comic art to get an eye on the creative process of the artist, and we loved discussing genre costumes, including the latest news about incredible screen-used prop and costume auctions.  We’ve also taken a closer look at science fiction movies with our “Anatomy of science fiction” series, featuring iconic images, and the evolution of space suits in film.  And to give you ideas for movie watching from the archives, we provided our “favorites” and “best of” series, revealing our recommendations for overlooked TV series, Halloween flicks, favorite fantasy films, best adaptations, favorite characters, and best art of Alex Ross and Frank Cho.  We’ve profiled favorite genre stars like David Warner, John Carpenter and Mark Sheppard.  We’ve reviewed new compact discs from some of our favorite celebrities, Hugh Laurie and Zoey Deschanel, as well as new fantasy video games.  And finally, we’ve talked about borgs from every sci-fi franchise out there, and even how borg technology as cutting edge science affects humans in real life.

Art Schmidt and CJ Bunce

We think we like what you’d like, so we’ve tried to help you get the most out of entertainment by recommending to you the best sci-fi, fantasy and entertainment out there.

A personal thanks to professional writers Elizabeth C. Bunce (fantasy author, intrepid TV reviewer and fangirl), Jason McClain (Hollywood columnist and master of myriad musings) and Art Schmidt (diehard genre fan and fantasy realm connoisseur) for their great contributions and getting us more than 250,000 site visits and hundreds of positive feedback comments in only our first year.

Thanks for reading!  Year 2 begins tomorrow…

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Comic-Con Panel:  Wild Cards or Recommendations from Friends

By Jason McClain (@jtorreyMcClain)

I know what I like and I think most people do as well.  We often don’t go looking for things that are going to go against that grain and instead look for things that reinforce our beliefs.  For example, people labeled with the generalization of “liberals” generally will not watch Fox News and conversely those labeled as “conservatives” will generally not watch Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow.  Why watch something that will just anger you or go against your beliefs that you have worked your whole life to create?[i]

Politics is an easy example as people tend to avoid the other side.  However, it is just as easy to see in popular culture[ii] or in comics.[iii]

We find what we like and we go with it.  How do we find what we like though?  Sometimes it is at home (my father brought home copies of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy for our bookshelf and I just started to read them) or school (isn’t that how we all find The Great Gatsby?) or a bookstore (I found The Perks of Being a Wallflower by just sitting on the floor in a Barnes and Noble and picking a book at basically random from where I sat).

Oftentimes it is because of a recommendation of a friend.  Because a friend from college, Jason Teiken[iv], lent me Wild Cards I ended up going to the George R.R. Martin hosted panel[v] at Comic-Con this year. It has been probably 20 years since I read those books, but because I loved the stories of Aces and Jokers within each novel’s prose, I knew that sitting in a panel would be a great way to think back to that experience and maybe reopen it in the future.

However, at the time I first read the Wild Card books, I remember thinking, why would I want to read about superheroes in a book and not a comic?  Once I started reading, I remember thinking who in the hell is this guy Fortunato? Powers from tantric sex and building up a giant orgasm?  What the #$%?  Is this pornography?  Daredevil wouldn’t do this.  Oh God, can the villains out there sexually take advantage of Daredevil?  Won’t someone think of Matt Murdock?[vi]

Years later in graduate school, having drifted away from comics, I found them again thanks to “Kingdom Come”, a recommendation from a fellow student, Matt Massey, and it still is my favorite mini-series/graphic novel of all time. Moving around the country tends to prohibit you from accumulating things beyond what can fit in your car, comics included, and if you aren’t going to be buying comics, there isn’t a point to going to a comic book store to keep up with what is out there.

Coming back to comics at several different points always leads to new things. Once I had a more stable existence, a friend who worked in a comic shop[vii] turned me onto Brian Michael Bendis and J. Michael Straczynski.  My good friend, the editor of this site C.J. Bunce, turned me onto the Neal Adams/Denny O’Neil Hard-Traveling Heroes run of Green Lantern and Green Arrow which led to a great panel in the 2010 Con about Batman becoming a nocturnal hero instead of the campy cartoon of the 60s.  I loved listening to them talk about the behind the scenes moments that led to how we view Batman today.

This doesn’t just lend itself to comics either. Books (my friend David Popham recommended On Writing by Stephen King and it was a great read that I’ve recommended to other writers and my friend Jon Dunkle keeps a blog of book reviews at Rain of Error that I will go to when I hit a library or go crazy on Amazon and he led me to Aimee Bender’s “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake”), movies (my friend Steve Sides recommended the wonderful Lars and the Real Girl and kept reminding me to watch until I saw it and loved it), podcasts (I thank Marcus Janzow for my exposure to the not-updated-enough, “The Memory Palace,”) and music (comps from my friend Scott Eggimann led me to “The Weakerthans”) have all entered my consciousness through friends.

Now, I feel I can recommend these items to people everywhere. Then I suppose they’ll recommend and so forth. I suppose I’ve really just outlined the inner workings of the ever-elusive word of mouth marketing in pieces of art that relate to me. However, it’s still my friends that end up giving me some of the best recommendations that I’ll ever have and those help to shape my tastes. When you start to think about it, isn’t that what friends are for on the larger levels as well?

So, thanks to friends I still see and friends that I don’t. I thank you for the time you take to let me know about the things you love and sharing them with me. No matter if it is forgotten how those loves got to me in the first place, they are there because of a good friend and that won’t be forgotten.

[i] Assuming people work for their beliefs because some might just take some beliefs and be happy not having to worry about working for them. It’s the whole division of labor thing.

[ii] If a friend recommends to you that you really need to give Justin Bieber a listen because you don’t understand the beauty in his music, would you be more likely to listen to the Biebs or refuse to listen to your friend talk about music?  What about Ke$ha?  Phish?  Lady Gaga? Motley Crue?  AC/DC?  Prince?  Oasis?  Nickelback?  Is there a band that would cause you to kick your friend to the curb?

[iii] I won’t say more than “Marvel or DC?”

[iv] He also introduced me to Twin Peaks and I’m enjoying watching those on Netflix streaming right now.

[v] The panel had all the different contributing authors talking about favorite characters and possible future routes of the series and it was pretty interesting to just reminisce. However, the people that were just waiting for the next panel with Nathan Fillion gained an interest in the series just from listening to the authors. That was probably the most intriguing part of the hour. I mean, isn’t Comic-Con just a big gathering of “friends” sharing their different loves of fantasy/sci-fi/comics/pop-culture with one another?  I would go on, but any pronoun use in this sentence with the verb “share” would just lead to an unintended double-entendre.

[vi] Yes, that is an overreaction on behalf of Matt Murdock because he can take care of himself.  Plus, the language was probably different from a generally naïve Midwestern undergraduate but the idea of reading about tantric sex, delaying orgasms or even mentioning orgasms felt weird within what I knew about comics. I think at that point I had yet to put together the meaning of the band name “Queen,” let alone read about sex in comics period especially when comic heroes are supposed to be saving the world and drinking their milk. Needless to say, I had yet to find Alan Moore. My friend Jason Vivone changed that later.

[vii] Kind of similar to the whole “is a drug dealer a friend” thing as the only times we interacted were in his comic store as he fed my addiction to “Planetary,” “Powers” and “Rising Stars.”

 

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