Category: Comics & Books


sw comic mini cover ab sw poster mini book cd

Whether you use it as the perfect stocking stuffer, for an office party gift swap, or you just want some convenient content to carry around in your backpack, publisher Insight Editions has the right book for you.  For Harry Potter fans we reviewed the detailed MinaLima-designed treasure trove The Art of Harry Potter–Mini Book of Graphic Design a few years ago, and for superhero fans we looked at two volumes of the history of Wonder Woman in comic book covers.  These are jam-packed books that literally fit inside your pocket, and the content spans the scope of pop culture and genre.  Love Batman?  Check.  Mickey Mouse?  Check.  Beauty and the Beast and other Disney favorites?  Check.

Today we have previews from four of Insight Editions’ books featuring Star Wars, one with the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie, a two-volume collection of Marvel comic book covers, and another with famous poster artwork that spans the 11 films.  Typically available at $11.99 or less, it’s an inexpensive source for the visual details of the movies, production, and marketing that you’ve never seen before, and a quick gift idea for your favorite Star Wars fan.

Here is a comparative look at the size of the books in the series:

sw poster mini book g

Check out these previews from The Complete Star Wars Marvel Comics Covers Volume 1 and Volume 2, Star Wars: The Concept Art of Ralph McQuarrie, and Star Wars: The Poster Collection:

Continue reading

Picard Rogue Elements cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Of all the new characters created since Scott Bakula’s Enterprise went off the air and J.J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman took the reins of the Star Trek franchise, one of the best contributions is Santiago Cabrera’s Cristóbal Rios, captain of the vessel La Sirena, a ship staffed by a motley myriad of holograms that mirror Rios’s image.  In John Jackson Miller’s new Star Trek: Picard tie-in novel Rogue Elements, readers will learn the back story of Rios, how he got his ship, and how he was destined to have a run-in with Jean-Luc Picard, sooner or later.  A familiar brand of space pilot, call him rogue or scoundrel or buckaroo, Rios had encounters before the days of Star Trek: Picard–the series–with several characters you’ll know well from Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond, including the most ruthless villain the Enterprise-D may have ever faced.  Star Trek: Picard–Rogue Elements is just out, available now here at Amazon and bookstores everywhere.

Nausicaans, dead Ferengi, and dead Klingons?  Oh, my!

Continue reading

Star Trek A Celebration cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

In many ways the most diehard Star Trek fan is going to be surprised when they flip open the new behind-the-scenes account of the original 1966-1969 series in the full-color, hardcover, coffee table-style book, Star Trek: A CelebrationEven if you’ve read everything about Star Trek you could get your hands on, you haven’t seen it in one volume presented like this.  Star Wars fans have seen this kind of volume in the works of the late JW Rinzler, and although this book is not as dense, it will serve the same purpose for Star Trek aficionados.  The wildly popular The Princess Bride–A Celebration was given similar treatment, as was the landmark Star Trek: Voyager–A Celebration, released only this year, also by publisher Hero Collector.  I can’t understate what a welcome book this is for fans of the original Star Trek series.  As Star Trek fans across the globe celebrate 55 years of the Star Trek franchise, coinciding with the centennial of the birth of its creator, Gene Roddenberry, it’s well past time fans got a book to–yes–celebrate one of the greatest and most influential television series of all time.  Star Trek: A Celebration is available today for the first time here at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.

Continue reading

sts future cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

By my count there are six books so far in the Star Trek Shipyards library from publisher Hero Collector: Star Trek Shipyards: Starfleet Ships 2063-2293, Star Trek Shipyards: Starfleet Ships 2294 – The Future, Star Trek Shipyards: Federation Members, Star Trek Shipyards: Klingon Fleet, and most recently in 2021, Star Trek Shipyards: The Borg and Delta Quadrant (reviewed here), and Star Trek Shipyards: The Delta Quadrant Volume 2 (reviewed here).  With two more volumes due out in the coming months available for pre-order now (Alpha Quadrant and Major Species Volume 1 and Alpha Quadrant and Major Species Volume 2), the publisher is taking a step back with the late summer release Star Trek Shipyards: Starfleet Ships 2294 – The Future, an updated and expanded edition of the second volume in the library, adding significant content to the original edition.  The most popular of the Star Trek Shipyards library, this volume presents many of fans’ favorite ships of the line in high-quality illustrations.  A lot has happened in the franchise in the past few years, and readers will find much of it making its way into this book, with vessels from all three seasons of Star Trek: Discovery to Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Picard. 

Continue reading

Vampiverse-01-01011-A-Hughes  Vampiverse-01-01021-B-Segovia

Only two years ago the #1 top selling issue of Vampirella arrived at comic book stores to celebrate the character’s 50th anniversary (with sales surpassing 130,000 copies).  This week the seventh Dynamite-era Vampirella-centric comic book series begins as multiple incarnations of Vampirella arise in the all-new Vampiverse Publisher Dynamite again has pulled out all the stops for the character, scheduling several cover variants by a variety of creators.  

Check out a preview below of the first issue and several covers from the first three issues of Vampiverse.

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

For both film buffs and a new generation of a movie fans, a definitive guide to the most influential film directors–spanning a century of Hollywood creativity–will soon be a fixture in libraries everywhere.   Turner Classic Movies/TCM and film writer Sloan De Forest, author of TCM’s Dynamic Dames (reviewed here) and TCM’s Must-See Sci-fi (reviewed here), chronicle 58 directors, their works, and influence on the filmmaking in TCM’s The Essential Directors: The Art and Impact of Cinema’s Most Influential Filmmakers.  From Charlie Chaplin to Steven Spielberg, these are the directors that film aficionados will be unlikely to quibble with.  Some made their marks as household names, others are legendary auteurs, while others provided a singular film or image that has made them synonymous with Hollywood royalty.  From epic dramas, to laugh-out-loud comedies, readers will find TCM’s Essential Directors as the go-to source for the heavy-hitters behind the biggest movies in history.

Continue reading

COWBOYBEB_Unit

Running for 26 episodes between 1999 and 2001, the future noir anime series Cowboy Bebop arrived as an instant classic for the medium, a Japanese sci-fi Western three years before Firefly.  A new Netflix series is on its way this year, starring John Cho (Star Trek) as bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) as the show’s cyborg, former investigator Jet Black, Geoff Stults (Stargirl) as Jet’s former partner Chalmers, and Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Dominion) as bounty hunter Faye Valentine.  The television series is also coming to comics–writer Dan Watters and artist Lamar Mathurin are creating a monthly comic–and we have a preview of the Issue #1 cover artwork below.

CB#1_Cover_A CB#1_Cover_C

Continue reading

kai-carpenter b

Review by C.J. Bunce

The latest from Dungeons & Dragons following Candlekeep Mysteries and Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft takes players back to Feywild and an adventure about a carnival that appears every 8 years.  The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is D&D’s next big adventure storyline that “brings the wicked whimsy of the Feywild” to the 5th Edition for the first time.  Wizards of the Coast promised and delivered new characters, monsters, mechanics, and story hooks suitable for players of all ages and experience levels.  It also allows a game without combat where you can use your wits to get to the end.  It’s layered and complex with several tie-in components, and you can pre-order The Wild Beyond the Witchlight with the standard cover here at Amazon now, or order the alternate “soft-touch” edition from your local game shop.

Dungeons-Dragons-The-Wild-Beyond-The-Witchlight-Main-Cover  Dungeons-Dragons-The-Wild-Beyond-The-Witchlight-Special-Cover

Continue reading

Hawkeye Kate

After Jeremy Renner’s good guy Clint Barton was converted to bad guy in the 2012 MCU Avengers movie, it seemed like there was nowhere for the character to go but down.  Already merely a Green Arrow knockoff (who, in turn, was inspired by Robin Hood), the least interesting Avenger ultimately was relegated to lawless, one-note assassin status by the Endgame finale.  That was the Avenger on the big screen.  What the movie studio missed and is at last catching up to is what was happening in the comics pages while Avengers was in theaters.  Enter writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, who tapped some of the better elements from DC Comics’ Green Arrow comic book series and suddenly Hawkeye became interesting in the comics.

kate-bishop-

But what would become a multiple Eisner-winning comic wasn’t just about Clint Barton.  The next Disney+ Marvel series is coming this Christmas, and it’s bringing the even better character from Fraction and Aja’s comic book series forward, revealed in a first preview that looks like we may finally get a Disney+ Marvel series as good as the Marvel movies.  They even got the logo and Matt Hollingsworth’s color scheme right.  Check out the first trailer for Hawkeye below.

Continue reading

A Heart Divided

Review by C.J. Bunce

How often do you read a series that makes it to four volumes and each entry gets progressively better?  That’s exactly what awaits you in Gigi Chang, Anna Holmwood, and Shelly Bryant’s landmark English translation of Jin Yong′s Legends of the Condor Heroes novels.  This series, originally a serialized novel written and first published by Yong aka Louis Cha between 1957 and 1959, is in fact the worldwide best selling novel of all time, with a billion copies in print.  A 38 volume manhua comic was issued in 1998, and countless film and TV adaptations followed, including my favorite in 2017 (reviewed here).  In the spirit of Homer, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Akira Kurosawa, and George Lucas, the series is among the world’s greatest fantasy novels and you should think of the fourth and final installment, A Heart Divided, as the Return of the King of the series.  Only it’s better than Tolkien’s finale–incredible subplots, powerful historical fantasy, dozens of major, important key characters, who, because of the stunning translation and Jin’s literary characterizations, will be easy for Western audiences to keep track of.  It doesn’t fall into the trap of many major fantasy series: losing the steam built up in the earlier installments.

Continue reading