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Tag Archive: Michael Allred


Review by C.J. Bunce

Number Six is dead.  Long live Number Six.

A new beginning arrived this year with a four-issue limited series for fans of espionage, spies, and 1960s television.  Fifty years after the series wrapped, The Prisoner returned, and the series is coming your way this month in a collected trade edition.  Written by Peter Milligan (X-Statix, The Mummy) and illustrated by Colin Lorimer (The Hunt, Harvest), with colors by Joana LaFluente and lettering by Simon Bowland, The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine introduces a new Number Six to the Village.  We previewed the first issue earlier this year, and the story over the next three issues wrapped this summer with a satisfying finish.  A cool, stylish re-introduction to the strange world from the original TV series, the new story is also completely updated for modern audiences while adhering to the mystery of the original.

Is Number Six experiencing any reality now that the recently ejected MI5 spy has been caught and tortured by the Village for his state secrets?  Or is each new journey toward discovery another tap of his mind by the torturers in this mysterious classical old town?  Could The Uncertainty Machine be swapped with a James Bond universe look inside the inner-workings of SMERSH or SPECTRE?  Maybe.  It also shares some of its style choices with the Kingsman series, and maybe even Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and a British spin on Twin Peaks.  Spy genre, fantasy, science fiction, or all of the above, the four chapters deliver a smart follow-up to the original.

Milligan engages readers from the initial action sequence, and Lorimer’s re-creation of the Village is a perfect homage for fans of the original and the real-life location in Wales where the show was filmed, Portmeirion.  This Number Six’s partner was taken while both were on assignment with MI5.  Can Number Six confront Number One, rescue his partner and find his way to become the second agent to ever leave the Village, and the first to leave with his mind intact?  How does Number Two play into the story, and what about Number Zero?  It’s this kind of back and forth uncertainty that ties the book–and its title–together.

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Two tough guys from very different times.  Earlier this summer here at borg.com we first discussed the 88th birthday of Dick Tracy and the return of the famous detective just before Fall arrives.  Here we are with three days left of summer and that long-awaited first issue of his new comic book series arrives today at comic book stores everywhere.  Arriving beside Tracy you’ll find a different breed of determined hero, as John Wick’s story continues today.

Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive is a bit of a family affair.  Michael Allred writes and inks the series, co-written with brother Lee Allred, with coloring by Laura Allred–Mike’s wife and frequent creative partner.  Interior artwork is provided by Rich Tommaso.  The familiar hero you just haven’t seen in a while is back like you remember him, complete with his one-of-a-kind pantheon of criminal foes.

Written by Greg Pak with artwork by Giovanni Valletta, the story of John Wick’s first mission of vengeance continues in Issue #3 of his series, John Wick. On the streets of El Paso, Wick enters the world of the Continental Hotel, and threatens to upend the balance of power among assassins — and earns a new enemy.

We have a preview for borg.com readers of Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive, Issue #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing, and a preview of John Wick, Issue #3, courtesy of Dynamite Publishing.  You’ll notice each reflects a different style that fits its character and his times.  And both have a few cover variant options to track down.  Check them out:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’ve been looking for your next retro fix, this may be it.  Archie Comics and DC Comics is bringing nostalgia into a new crossover arriving in comic book stores today with Archie Meets Batman ’66.  Two characters first seen in 1939–and never before have they appeared together!  A battle in Gotham City extends its reach into Riverdale—with Mr. Lodge becoming Public Enemy #1 of the dynamic duo.  And it’s up to Veronica to recruit some help and place a call… to the Batcave.  Written by Jeff Parker and Michael Moreci with art by Dan Parent, J. Bone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Jack Morelli.

This new story is in the style of the opening title credits of the pop culture favorite 1960s live-action Batman series and the animated series Superfriends.  And it’s an even bigger series than you might think, with its first issue full of not only the Archie gang and Batman and Robin.  You’re going to find several of your favorite characters from the 1966 TV series make appearances.  The artists have all emulated that over-the-top BAM! POW! variety of comic book goodness.  Yes, we’re talking the return of the Batusi.  Check out a preview to Issue #1 below courtesy of Archie Comics.  Keep an eye out for a host of covers for this issue from Michael and Laura Allred, Derek Charm, Francesco Francavilla, Sandy Jarrell and Kelly Fitzpatrick, Dan Parent, J. Bone, and Rosario “Tito” Peña, and Ty Templeton.

    

Archie Comics plans to have a big presence at San Diego Comic-Con this week, focused on the hit CW television series Riverdale.  Fourteen cast members from the series will be pictured on hotel keycards across town.  With more than 40,000 keys created for the week, visitors will find these unique collectibles at nearly 40 San Diego hotels.  Check your keycards for Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick), Fred Andrews (Luke Perry), Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols), Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), Kevin Keller (Casey Cott), F.P. Jones (Skeet Ulrich), Reggie Mantle (Charles Melton), and Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan).

As promised, here’s your preview of Archie Meets Batman ’66, Issue #1:

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Charlie Chan, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Perry Mason, and Sherlock Holmes.  All are classic fictional detectives that, except for Holmes, emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, pulling in countless readers across the world and together forming the roots of today’s mystery and crime genres.  You can add another detective to that list, too, the straight-arrow justice seeker Dick Tracy, although his readers would get a new dose of him every day, thanks to creator Chester Gould’s daily newspaper strips.  Over the decades Dick Tracy was featured in monthly comic book series in the 1930s to the 1960s, and again in the 1980s.  After failed efforts to bring Dick Tracy to comic books, first in a series by Mike Oeming and Brian Michael Bendis, and most recently in a series from Archie Comics featuring creators Alex Segura, Michael Moreci, and Thomas Pitilli–both cancelled for licensing snafus–finally we’re about to see Dick Tracy back in the comic books.  IDW Publishing, which just released the 24th volume of Gould’s original strips in anthology format, is launching a new four-issue limited series this Fall.

Since he first appeared in print October 14, 1931, newspaper readers have been following Tracy’s crimefighting adventures.  Chester Gould created the character and continued writing and drawing him and his foes in comic strip form until his retirement in 1977.  The strip was taken over by Max Allan Collins and Rick Fletcher and later Dick Locher and Jim Brozman, who wrote the strip until 2011, when comic book legend Joe Staton became artist with writer Mike Curtis–they would take the Harvey Award for the classic series for best syndicated comic strip three years running.

“I am thrilled to try my hand at drawing this legendary, pulpy, hardboiled crime classic,” said newly tapped Dick Tracy artist Rich Tommaso in an IDW press release.  “Along with Roy Crane, Milton Caniff, Noel Sickles, Jack Cole, and Alex Toth, Chester Gould is a cartoonist that I am perpetually inspired by when I’m working on my own crime stories.  So this is a project that I feel is well within my wheelhouse.  The Dick Tracy cast of characters makes this comic so much fun to draw on a daily basis.  I only hope we can all bring something great to the comic ourselves while, simultaneously keeping true to its origins.  Not an easy feat to be sure, but I feel it’s damn worth a try.”  Tommaso has previewed some of his penciled panels on his Twitter account (shown above and below), revealing a story set in the 1930s or 1940s.  Michael Allred will write and ink the series, called “Dead or Alive,” co-written with brother Lee Allred, with coloring by Laura Allred, Mike’s wife and frequent creative partner.

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After a painfully long wait for fans of the series, the CW Network renewed the hit horror comedy/drama iZombie for a fifth season late Friday.  Even the folks at TV Guide had their fingers crossed for this renewal, stating, “At last, our long national nightmare is over,” in response to the news.  What began as a successful comic book series by writer Chris Roberson and artist Michael Allred for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint about a gravedigger zombie gal who eats brains to survive, took on its own life under the deft management of showrunner Rob Thomas, who had already dazzled his target audience with Veronica Mars.  Powerhouse star Rose McIver’s Liv Moore has become every bit the ace detective that Veronica was, but she also bridged the audience back to the pop culture references and off-the-wall fun Joss Whedon brought the TV audience with the original badass heroine with his Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  And McIver had the added bonus of playing a character that had to change up her performance every single episode while also appearing in nearly every scene, like Quantum Leap’s Sam Beckett and more recently Tatiana Maslany’s several sisters in Orphan Black.  And she has met the challenge with high energy along the way.  Everyone should be taking a good look at McIver’s performance this year come award season.

That isn’t to say the series hasn’t had a few ups and downs as it found its footing each season, upping the ante for its characters faster than anyone could have predicted… Liv and Major (Robert Buckley) are off, then on again… Ravi (Rahul Kohli) and Peyton (Aly Michalka) are off, then on again… Major and Blaine (David Anders) were zombies, then they weren’t and now they are, etc.  The experimentation worked, as the change-ups kept the show fresh and interesting, and as other shows get tired after the first or second season iZombie has taken the road traveled by NBC’s Grimm, a show that kept up the momentum taking major risks and changes only to get better with every new episode.

This week’s Episode 10 of the fourth season, “Yipee Ki Brain, Motherscratcher!” was the kind of crazy fun you might find on an early episode of South Park or Buffy.  Mocking shows that run out of funds that then are left to have their action scenes off-screen to be summarized on-screen by a character afterward, in an audaciously hilarious move by the writers, co-star Malcolm Goodwin (last year’s borg.com pick for Best TV Actor) was left to pantomime a recap of his off-screen heroics for the episode.  That was coupled with the kind of genre trope episode the series’ fans love: a bombardment of movie references and Easter eggs tied to 1980s action flicks.  And Blaine and Bryce Hogson’s Don E continue to surprise us, but never more than in this week’s episode.  The excellent villainy of the past four seasons (iZombie has three episodes left in Season 4) has smartly balanced out the heroes’ story: first with the brilliant Steven Weber’s Vaughn Du Clark and his daughter Gilda (Leanne Lapp), then with Eddie Jemison’s mobster Stacey Boss, followed by the return of Veronica Mars lead Jason Dohring as the questionable zombie law enforcer Chase Graves, and meanwhile the writers were furtively building the character arc of Robert Knepper’s Angus/Brother Love into compelling new territory as we prepare for what’s coming next season.

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Twice before comic book creators have tried to resurrect the popular 1967-68 Patrick McGoohan television series.  The first was created by comic book giants Jack Kirby and Gil Kane in the 1970s.  In an odd twist as strange as the series itself, the Kirby/Kane comics never made it to publication.  Lucky for fans of these creators and fans of the show, the 1970s story will be available later this year as The Prisoner: The Original Art Edition, including Kirby’s first issue, 18 pages of Kane’s artwork, and a contemporary follow-up story by Steve Engelhart that would have continued the series.  It’s available for pre-order now here at Amazon or from your local comic book store.  A second attempt at a comeback came in 1988-89 with the prestige format DC Comics mini-series The Prisoner: Shattered Visage With powerful artwork full of symbolism from Mister X creator Dean Motter and co-written with Mark Askwith, the series raised more questions, and was reprinted in a trade edition that is still available (here).

Today a new beginning is coming to comic book shops with Titan Comics next continuation of the series, 50 years after the series wrapped.  Written by Peter Milligan (X-Statix, The Mummy) and illustrated by Colin Lorimer (The Hunt, Harvest), with colors by Joana LaFluente and lettering by Simon Bowland, The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine introduces a new Number Six to the Village.  It’s a cool, stylish re-introduction to the strange world from the original TV series.  Milligan engages readers from the initial action sequence, and Lorimer’s re-creation of the Village is a perfect homage for fans of the original and the real-life location in Wales where the show was filmed, Portmeirion.  This Number Six’s partner was taken while both were on assignment with MI5.  Can Number Six confront Number One, rescue his partner and find his way to become the second agent to ever leave the Village, and the first to leave with his mind intact?

  

Here is a preview of Issue #1 of The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine, courtesy of the publisher, with six covers and two exclusives (one from Diamond/Vice Press/Chris Weston, and one from Big Finish), including a Kirby original (also seen in the forthcoming The Prisoner: The Original Art Edition), and a Michael Allred cover.  We also added a first look at later covers from the series:

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Eighty years ago Superman first hit neighborhood newsstands in Issue #1 of Action Comics–an issue that if you kept your copy could pay off your house, car, and retirement.  The cover was dated June 1938, but it was in kids’ hands first on April 18, 1938.  DC Comics is celebrating Superman’s big anniversary this week with a celebratory issue of Action Comics numbered 1000, created by some of DC’s top writers and artists, an anthology of stories just as you’d find in Action Comics’ first 500 issues.  The 1,000 issues is spot-on with the number of Action Comics issues released, but those counting the months since 1938 will come up short:  Action Comics shifted from a monthly to a bi-weekly once upon a time, and you won’t find numbered issues #905-956, which were replaced by 52 issues of the New 52 reboot numbering 1-52.  For American comic book fans, there’s something special about holding this issue in your hands.  It’s no small feat seeing such a truly undisputed iconic character get to this point.

The 80-page giant issue is one not to pass up.  For current fans, it’s a ramp-up to Brian Michael Bendis’s writing run beginning with the complete issue #1001.  For everyone else, it’s a nostalgic trip via variant covers and dozens of classic and modern creators offering up stories about the Man of Steel.  The writers?  Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, and Brian Michael Bendis.  The artists? Dan Jurgens, Pat Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee, Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams, Hi-Fi Color, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, and Alex Sinclair.  Cover artists include Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Dave Gibbons, Michael Allred, Jim Steranko, Joshua Middleton, Dan Jurgens, Kevin Nowlan, Lee Bermejo, Dave Dorman, George Perez, Neal Adams, Jim Lee (providing the main cover and two variants), Curt Swan, Felipe Massafera, Nicola Scott, Jock, Oliver Coipel, Jason Fabok, Kaare Andrews, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, Artgerm, Tyler Kirkham, Pat Gleason, Francesco Mattina, Ken Haeser, Doug Mahnke, and Tony S. Daniel.  Check out images of all the variant covers below.  Our favorite?  Danielle Dell’Otto’s take on Christopher Reeve at the Fortress of Solitude, and Pat Gleason’s cover, which includes Krypto.

   

Some comic book stores are holding events to celebrate the Man of Steel’s big day.  This Saturday if you’re in the Kansas City area head on over to Elite Comics, where you can pick up copies of Issue #1000 plus a limited exclusive Superman print (shown above) by artist Bryan Fyffe, a nationally-recognized artist whose licensed works include projects for Disney and Star Wars.  Or check out your own neighborhood store.

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Tomorrow one of TV’s best and funniest shows adapted from a comic book returns.  iZombie enters its fourth season on the CW with the episode, “Are You Ready for Some Zombies?”  When we last left Rose McIver’s Dr. Liv Moore and her friends, Seattle became open for business to zombies, complete with food stands to feed the newly-exposed zombie population.  Showrunner Rob Thomas’s former Veronica Mars leading man Jason Dohring joined up in season three as Chase Graves, and when we saw him last he infected the flu vaccine with the zombie strain, furthering spreading the zombie population of Seattle, with included Det. Dale Bozzio (Jessica Harmon), the ex-girlfriend of Rose’s partner-in-crime solving, Det. Clive Babineaux, played by Malcolm Goodwin, our borg.com best TV actor of 2017.  Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley) convinced Graves to scratch him, making him a zombie yet again, after Natalie and his crew were massacred.  And Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) went forward and shot himself with his experimental vaccine, leaving anything and everything open for this new season.

But what may be the most fun to look forward to this season is the return of the unlikely pair of David Anders’ Blaine DeBeers and his former, disloyal, sidekick Don E (Bryce Hodgson), back again as the show’s bad guy element.

If you miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars, iZombie is the only series that comes close, with that clever dialogue and those great scripts we once thought only Joss Whedon could turn out.  The TV series is loosely adapted from the comic book series iZombie, created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred, and published by DC Comics under its Vertigo imprint.

Here is a preview of Season 4 of iZombie:

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