Tag Archive: Abrams Comicarts


Review by C.J. Bunce

A new series of graphic novels begins this week Abrams ComicArts.  Phenomena (available at comic shops and here at Amazon) begins with the first volume The Golden City of Eyes, a hardcover graphic novel about a pair of Littles who become a part of another traveler’s epic “hero’s journey.”  But first the hero must reclaim his sword.  Continuing the mash-up sci-fi and fantasy adventure stories found in Jean-Claude Mézières’ Valerian and Laureline, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cowboy Bebop, writer Brian Michael Bendis and Portuguese artist André Limr Araújo create a future Earth where a kid named Boldon from Borzubo (which used to be Toronto) arrives in the metropolis of Versalani.  On his way to the City of Golden Eyes he meets a sleeping Comedor and foils a Borcus…

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Maybe, just maybe, modern readers may not think to go back and dig up early comic books introducing key superheroes that have spanned decades.  Maybe classic art styles don’t work for everyone.  For fans of the artwork of wunderkind artist Alex Ross, and for those who might not otherwise search out classic Fantastic Four stories, a new graphic novel may do just the trick.  Billed as the first graphic novel Ross has written and illustrated (not counting Kingdom Come, which he illustrated and co-wrote from his original story concept) it arrives in comic shops this week: Fantastic Four: Full Circle

Something about the imagery harkens back to Jack Kirby, but this is a new Alex Ross story, inspired by Kirby.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

One of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby’s most famous creations is the subject of a new coffee table book from Abrams ComicArts.  Reprinted at nearly 9 inches by 12 inches, Fantastic Four No. 1 Panel by Panel, a new hardcover edition of The Fantastic Four, Issue #1, is going to be one for big fans of the characters.  Unlike 2005’s book Maximum Fantastic Four, which included one panel per page in a 9″x12″ format with re-colored and enhanced artwork, Fantastic Four No. 1 Panel by Panel features color, blown-up scans of each page in its original context with all its Ben Day halftone dots jumping off the page.  The book is out this week and available here at Amazon.  And it has much more than a close-up look at this seminal issue in the history of comics that is worth checking out.

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Lifetime passes cover Better Place cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

From Abrams ComicArts and Top Shelf Productions, two new graphic novels are just the thing to help young people and senior citizens try to bridge the generation gap.  Both stories feature youth encountering, interacting, and understanding folks of their grandparents’ age–and vice versa.  From Abrams, Lifetime Passes follows an orphan named Jackie, who helps her aunt working in a senior housing center.  When a nearby Disney-like theme park offers a strange way to get tickets, she and her friends stumble into getting to know people at the senior center better.  From Top Shelf comes Better Place, following a boy named Dylan who just moved to a new house, with no friends, and a mother who doesn’t have time for him.  But his grandfather becomes his best friend, partnering with him to create a superhero duo–until his grandfather passes away.  In the spirit of Over the Moon, Soul, The Mitchells vs the Machines, and Ghost Tree, these new books Lifetime Passes and Better Place may have everyone begin to understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

On the heels of last year’s landmark book Magic: The Gathering: Rise of the Gatewatch–A Visual History (reviewed here), Wizards of the Coast and Abrams ComicArts have come together to give Magic: The Gathering trading card game players their next must-have guide, Magic: The Gathering: Planes of the Multiverse–A Visual History, a chronicle of the lore-defining events of the fantasy roleplaying multiverse.  In bookstores and at Amazon (here) this week, it’s the latest of Abrams’ high-end, full-color, hardcover books highlighting the artwork of the best-known trading card series.  It documents 28 years of select artwork, mythology, and lore behind Magic: The Gathering, the first-ever trading card game, following Visual Histories focusing on Rise of Gatewatch, Legends, and The Art of Magic: The Gathering–War of the Spark.

The book includes character histories and images of the actual cards–many reproduced for the first time outside the trading card.  As with Rise of the Gatewatch, readers will find their favorite card images, accompanied by detailed descriptions of the planes of the story’s Multiverse, its fantastical creatures, characters, and Planeswalkers, with a focus on the game’s locations and the characters that inhabit them.  Lore-defining events chronicled here will take fans of the game from the Phyrexian Invasion to the War of the Spark, and Planeswalkers beyond those included in the Rise of Gatewatch volume, like Karn, Narset, Vraska, Sorin Markov, and more.  The highlight for fans will be seeing cards they’ve never had in their hands before, but it will also be seeing the full artwork before it was cropped for the card.  And the handy size will fit easily into backpacks, to take along to gaming sessions.

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Here is a look at artwork imagery from Magic: The Gathering: Planes of the Multiverse–A Visual History, courtesy of Abrams ComicArts:

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Run book cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

“Everybody can read comics,” says civil rights leader, real-life superhero, and Congressman John Lewis describing “get out to vote” preparations for an Alabama county primary in May 1966 in his new, posthumously published book Run: Book One, the follow-up to the award-winning three-book series of graphic novels called March March was Congressman Lewis’s story of his journey–really America’s journey–toward enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  In Run: Book One Lewis continues the ongoing struggle for civil rights.  In comics form, the story is accessible to every audience, as the comics reader and comics convention guest knew well.

As students of American history may be aware, after every major historical success there is implementation, response, the aftermath.  Adults today can probably recall being taught about the Civil War in grade school, but how about the bitter struggles afterward during Reconstruction?  Similarly American History classes may have touched on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but did you learn about the key players and struggles that followed to implement the Voting Rights Act?  Run begins that next chapter as Lewis prepares to run for government office, and the country and the movement tries to gain a footing and leadership to take the country forward–a compelling story every American of any age should read.

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Black Star banner

Review by C.J. Bunce

A new sci-fi graphic novel arrives from Megascope this week called Black Star, a new spin on the stranded space traveler trope. In Eric Anthony Glover’s debut story with artist Arielle Jovellanos, it’s also a play on the pursuing animal joke: “I don’t need to outrun the tiger, I just need to outrun you,” as two astronauts fight after a disaster in space to get back to their ship and leave the planet, when the ship only has room for one. It’s based on a screenplay by Glover, and that kind of preparation makes for a survival story with all the right action beats. Black Star arrives in comic shops and here at Amazon this week.
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Hardears banner

Review by C.J. Bunce

From a new comics imprint of Abrams ComicArts comes Hardears, an alternate fantasy world inspired by the Caribbean cultures of Barbados.  Barbados writer Nigel Lynch joins Barbados artist Matthew Clarke in the next alternate world.   It is too lazy to refer to Hardears as another take on the Wakanda of Black Panther (it’s actually more like Alan Moore’s Watchmen).  Hardears is worthy of a deeper analysis.

Taking place in an alternate version of Barbados called Hardears (which seems to mean a particularly bad future ahead), this graphic novel is as unique as Frank Miller’s look at ancient Sparta in 300.  The artwork of this fantasy society has the flowy aura of P. Craig Russell’s interpretation of Wagner’s The Ring, and the mythology will spark curiosity like we saw in Paul Guinan’s Aztec Empire

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you only know Alex Ross from his extensive work with the DC Comics superheroes, get ready for a great book of poster art featuring all-new paintings of the superheroes of the Marvel universe.  Bar none, Alex Ross is the creator whose coverage has received the most views and feedback in the past 10 years of borg (early on we looked at some of our most favorite of his artworks here and you can see all our coverage of his projects here).  You’ve probably already checked out Alex Ross’s previously reviewed art overview books Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross, Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross, and The Dynamite Art of Alex Ross.  Although Ross has created countless covers and projects like Marvels over the years, what you may not be aware of are full-figure, painted portrait, images of the Marvel Comics superheroes Ross installed last year in Marvel’s New York offices as a life-sized mural.  All 35 individual character posters used in the mural are now available in a giant-sized book, The Alex Ross Marvel Comics Poster Book, full of premium cardstock, ready-to-frame posters, including a 44″x16″ foldout of the entire connected image.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Wizards of the Coast and Abrams ComicArts have come together to give Magic the Gathering trading card game players something they haven’t seen before, a high-end art book visual history of the game.  It all begins with Magic the Gathering: Rise of the Gatewatch–A Visual History, the latest of Abrams’ books highlighting the artwork of the best-known trading card series.  More than 25 years ago Magic the Gathering became the first ever trading card game, and this volume looks back to the Planeswalkers.

The first superhero-esque team of Gatewatchers is all here like you’ve never seen them before: Jace Beleren–the telepath with a mysterious past, Ajani Goldmane–the ferocious leonine, Gideon Jura–the reformed criminal who became a protector of the meek, Kaya–the rogue dualist, Chandra Nalaar–the pyromancer, Nissa Revane–the elf warrior and protector of nature, Liliana Vess–the necromancer, Nicol Bolas–the oldest Planeswalker, and Teferi–the formidable mage.   The book includes character histories and images of the actual cards, but more than that you’ll find concept art, original artwork created for the game, packaging art, and images only available in exclusive releases in the past.  If you loved specific cards and always wanted to see larger looks at the card art, this is your chance.

Each character is represented in dozens of images in roughly 30-page feature sections for the six primary Gatewatch characters, beginning with over-sized images of the character cards, plus a large section of combined Gatewatch imagery.  The highlight for fans of the game will be seeing cards they’ve never had in their hands before, but it will also be seeing the full artwork before it was cropped for the card.

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