Category Archives: Store News

Monster Of The Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

My introduction to the monster of the week trope happened when I was just a little kid. I was obsessed with the Goosebumps books and television show. Each episode/book had a new cool monster that captured my imagination. After I had read or watched each one, I would rush to my dad and tell him all about it (and he would always listen and humor me). Then, as I got older, my dad introduced me to the X-Files and my fandom for the monster of the week format took off. Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural kept me coming back for more. 

If you are like me and enjoy the kind of one-and-done story format, then Monster of the Week is going to be the type of role playing game that you can really get into. In Monster of the Week, you and a group of your friends are Monster Hunters tasked with taking down the…well, the monster of the week. This game provides you with a plethora of character types for you to use when creating your character. Are you the take charge and lead type? Why don’t you try playing as The Chosen One or The Professional? You want to have a little mystery behind your character? No problem, The Monstrous or The Spell-slinger may fit you well.

Monster of the Week is incredibly fun for anyone into role playing games, but what makes it really great is that the system is so easy to learn that even people who haven’t ever played an RPG can pick it up quickly. Actions are based on rolling a six sided die and adding bonuses. For example, let’s say you are a player in the woods and you choose to search for clues. You roll two six-sided dice (or 2 D6) and add a bonus, if you roll extremely well (10 or higher)  then congratulations, you have done what you were trying to do. If you roll okay (7-9) you get to do what you were trying to do, however the Game Master gets to mess with you a little bit. If you completely miss on your roll (6 or fewer) something not so great can happen to your character. 

This system is also fantastic for first time Game Masters. The core book comes with two ready-to-play mysteries and provides example monsters (ghouls, vampires, trolls) to help you out when you are ready to create your own adventures. It also provides extra tools to help you further flesh out your mysteries and monsters as well. 

Monster of the Week is a narrative driven story game so the Game Master and the Monster Hunters are creating the story together. So, if that sounds like fun to you, open your spell book and grab that baseball bat. It’s time to take these monster’s down!

April 2019 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Silver Surfer: Black #1

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June 12, 2019

Publisher: Marvel Comics

(W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Tradd Moore

Spinning out of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1, almost the entire galaxy’s defenders have been blown through a black hole, including the Silver Surfer! But the story doesn’t end there… In order to fight back the oblivion, Surfer will have to fight to save his own soul and not lose himself to the void. Follow the Sentinel of the Spaceways on a journey that will change him forever!
From superstars Donny Cates (VENOM, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) and Tradd Moore (ALL-NEW GHOST RIDER, VENOM)!
Rated T+

The cover alone should be enough to hook you on this one. Having Tradd Moore on a trippy Silver Surfer book is such an excellent choice. I’ve also yet to dip into Donny Cates’ work with Marvel (I know, I know — I’ve heard great things) and this looks to be great one to jump in with.

 

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu

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June 19, 2019

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

(W/CA) Mike Mignola (A) Dave Stewart (A/CA) Duncan Fegredo

Mike Mignola and fan-favorite artist Duncan Fegredo reunite in this all-new one-shot! This first issue in a new era of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. sees Mignola and Fegredo send Hellboy to Romania for a pair of tales set in a small village with a centuries-old curse and a man-eating monster which culminate in a sinister puppet show and a demigod’s ill-fated dinner.

Hey, Fegredo is drawing Hellboy again with Mike Mignola writing, to boot! With the end of modern day BPRD/Hellboy just around the corner, the announcement of Beast of Vargu is very welcome. Editor Katii O’Brien has been saying there is a lot to look forward to in the Mignolaverse later this year and it looks like Beast of Vargu will be a great book to kick that off.

 

Ignited #1

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June 5, 2019

Publisher: Humanoids Inc.

(W) Mark Waid, Kwanza Osajyefo (A) Philippe Briones (CA) Mike McKone

Welcome to the H1 Universe and Ignited, Humanoids’ first ever ongoing super-powered series-brought to you by an explosive team: writers Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and Kwanza Osajyefo (Black AF), and artist Phil Briones (Aquaman), with covers by John Cassaday and Yanick Paquette! It’s the first day back at Phoenix Academy High, but this year there’s no back to school excitement in the air as returning students and faculty are haunted by memories of last year’s horrific attack. So many friends and colleagues were lost, and some of those who survived underwent changes; they Ignited, gaining supernatural abilities they barely understand. Little do they know this is just the beginning!

If you’ve not read it already, I would highly recommend reading this interview with Mark Waid and John Cassaday from this month’s Previews. They go into detail about working on Ignited as well as the direction of their new H1 universe with Humanoids. The concept for this book is certainly ripped from the headlines and I’m optimistic that Waid, Cassaday, and the team will be handling it with appropriate care.

 

Test #1

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June 26, 2019

Publisher: Vault Comics

(W) Christopher Sebela (A/CA) Jen Hickman

Aleph Null is a lot of things: An orphan, a human guinea pig undergoing medical tests for cash, a bodyhacker, a hardcore future junkie, and a corporate asset. But now, Aleph is on the run from their old life, in search of a mythical, Midwestern town named Laurelwood where they’re test-marketing the future with tech that can’t possibly exist yet, and won’t for decades.

From Eisner-nominated Chris Sebela (Crowded, High Crimes) and Jen Hickman (Moth & Whisper) comes the story of a town out of time, full of mysteries, and populated by guinea pigs in need of liberation by the misfit least likely to be their savior.

I know I hit on this just a couple of months ago, but Vault is continuing to launch books with unique, compelling concepts. Here’s one with a cool idea from a team that seems so well matched for it. It’s also my reminder that I have to read the book Sebela did about his time living in the “Clown Motel.”

 

Marilyn Manor #1

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June 26, 2019

Publisher: IDW Publishing

(W) Magdalene Visaggio (A/CA) Marley Zarcone

Where were you in ’81? When the White House goes dark for 17 days in August, the president’s spoiled daughter and her best friend Abe-who claims to be possessed by the spirit of Abe Lincoln-throw a rager at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, unearthing long dead historical figures and government secrets that are better off buried. Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll séances, and secret passageways lead to time-bending mystical romps where past and present collide. But at what cost to Marilyn Kelleher, the world at large, and music television?

Uniting the red-hot Eisner-nominated talents of writer Magdalene Visaggio (Eternity Girl, Kim and Kim) and artist Marley Zarcone (Shade, the Changing Girl, Effigy) for the first time, MARILYN MANOR explores identity, classism, appropriation, and friendship. It’s a rollicking, neon party gone out of bounds when we need it most-set just in time for the greatest pop cultural marriage to date: MTV. 
  
“We’ve been trying to capture the feel, the excitement, the energy of the rise of the New Romantics, of the decade that embraced excess and excitement in hugely over-the-top ways, and filled it with chaos and insanity. This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever written in the best way possible, like an apocalypse directed by John Hughes.”

“…like an apocalypse written by John Hughes.” I love it. I’ve been rereading Shade the Changing Girl recently Zarcone’s art is just fantastic. I can’t wait to see what she and Mags have in store for Marilyn Manor.

March 2019 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1

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May 29, 2019

Publisher: DC Comics

(W) Scott Snyder (A) Jonathon Glapion (A/CA) Greg Capullo

Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane.
And…he was never Batman.
So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it…
From the powerhouse creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the team that reinvented Batman from the emotional depths of “Court of Owls” to the bombastic power of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, DC Black Label is proud to present the bimonthly, three-issue miniseries BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, published at DC’s standard comic trim size.
This could be the last Batman story ever told…

Snyder and Capullo teaming back up on Black Label Batman book. I think we’ve got a safe bet on this one, folks.

 

Midnight Radio

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May 22, 2019

Publisher: Lion Forge

(W/A/CA) Iolanda Zanfardino

Four individuals living in San Francisco are released from the frustrations of their everyday lives by a late night radio broadcast suddenly hijacked by someone with a message for the world. The passion and honesty of the message steers these four lives in dramatic new directions . . .  

There’s not a whole from the solicit here, but I recommend checking out the extended look in Previews. Midnight Radio is a book I’ll definitely be picking up.

 

Excellence #1

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May 8, 2019

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Brandon Thomas (A/CA) Khary Randolph, Emilio Lopez

Spencer Dales was born into a world of magic. His father belongs to the Aegis, a secret society of black magicians ordered by their unseen masters to better the lives of others-those with greater potential-but never themselves.
Now it’s time for Spencer to follow in his father’s footsteps, but all he sees is a broken system in need of someone with the wand and the will to change it. But in this fight for a better future, who will stand beside him?  
KHARY RANDOLPH (We Are Robin, Noble, Black, TECH JACKET) and BRANDON THOMAS (HORIZON, The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, Noble, Voltron) ignite a generational war in this action-fantasy series, made entirely by creators of color, and committed to one truth above all others-Excellence is Real.

There are a quite a few books in this month’s Previews that look incredibly interesting and feature creators I’ve never heard of. I love that! Excellence, Midnight Radio, and She Said Destroy all fall under that category for me and I can’t wait to check them out. 

 

She Said Destroy #1

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May 29, 2019

Publisher: Vault Comics

(W) Joe Corallo (A/CA) Liana Kangas

Over millennia, Brigid, Goddess of the Sun, has conquered and converted the entire solar system into worshipping her and her alone, save one space colony. The witches of Fey are the last believers of The Morrigan, Goddess of Death, Brigid’s sister and the only other God left. As Brigid’s forces prepare for one final battle, The Morrigan prepares to do what she does best: Destroy!

If the great standard cover and title weren’t enough for you, check out this Saga homage variant for issue number one of She Said Destroy.

 

Copra (Volumes 1-5)

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May 1, 2019

Publisher: Image Comics

(W/A/CA) Michel Fiffe

They’re ugly. They’re mean. But up until today, they’ve always been loyal. So when one of their own betrays them, COPRA has no choice but to turn their nightmarish skills back on everyone who ever even looked at them funny. Here it is: the first six issues of MICHEL FIFFE’s critically acclaimed superhero revenge machine. Collects COPRA #1-6.

Copra has been on my “hey, I need to read this” list for too long. Though the singles were offered exclusively though Fiffe’s Etsy shop, trade paper collections were previously released through Bergen Street Press. Starting in May, Copra volumes 1-5 will be reprinted through Image and it sounds like the series will be there to stay. Time for me to jump in!

February 2019 Previews: Carman’s Picks

B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #15

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April 17, 2019

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

(W) Mike Mignola, Scott Allie (A) Laurence Campbell (CA) Mike Mignola

After fifteen years of B.P.R.D. comics, the series reaches its explosive conclusion!

No, you’re crying.

 

Ascender #1

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April 24, 2019

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Jeff Lemire (A/CA) Dustin Nguyen

“THE HAUNTED GALAXY,” Part One
Powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN launch an all-new sequel series to DESCENDER with the launch of ASCENDER!  

Set ten years after the conclusion of DESCENDER’s storyline, magic has taken the place of machinery and the rules are very different indeed… Mila, the daughter of Andy and Effie from DESCENDER, spends her days exploring the lonely wilds of the planet Sampson and trying to stay out of the clutches of the evil disciples of the all-powerful vampire witch known only as Mother. But, like her parents, Mila doesn’t like to play by the rules, and when a certain robot pal of her dad’s shows up, nothing will ever be the same! 

With all the scope and heart of the sci-fi classic DESCENDER, LEMIRE and NGUYEN reunite to take readers on an unforgettable fantasy quest!

Though some long-running series like B.P.R.D. are ending, other series are returning. Sort of, anyway. Ascender is technically a new series but is also a sequel to Lemire and Nguyen’s Descender. If you’ve not read Descender yet, you’ve got some catching up to do on one of the best books to come out in the past few years.

 

Queen of Bad Dreams #1

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April 24, 2019

Publisher: Vault Comics

(W) Danny Lore (A/CA) Jordi Perez

When a dream entity known as a figment emerges from a dreamer’s mind, it’s Daher’s job as an IJ to track them down and make the call: reinsert the figment, or grant them agency in our world. After an especially powerful figment escapes the dreams of an even more powerful politician’s son, Daher is pulled headlong into an investigation that traces all the way back to the incident that sent dreams, even nightmares, spilling into our reality.

I keep hearing about Vault Comics knocking it out of the park with their new series and it’s time I jump on the wagon from the beginning. I’ve been hearing some great initial impressions of Queen of Bad Dreams and I’m really looking forward to checking this one out. Plus, look at this variant cover!

 

Little Girls

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April 24, 2019

Publisher: Image Comics

(W) Nicholas Aflleje (A/CA) Sarah DeLaine, Ashley Lanni

Something hunts people on the outskirts of town…

Sam and Lielet are two new friends living in Ethiopia. They’re dealing with the kind of problems that all kids have: judgmental social cliques, condescending adults, alienation… and a legendary brain-eating monster straight out of folklore. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, but all they have to do is live through it.

Showcasing a quietly unsettling plot and building tension similar to NICK DRNASO’s Sabrina and ADRIAN TOMINE’s Killing and Dying, debut creative team NICHOLAS AFLLEJE and SARAH DeLAINE construct a poignant story of otherness and mystery.

The premise paired with the setting for Little Girls certainly has a promising hook. It doesn’t sound wholly dissimilar from other pitches for new series from Image but namedropping Sabrina and Killing and Dying has me very intrigued on the pacing and tone of this one. 

 

Hot Comb

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May 15, 2019

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

(W/A/CA) Ebony Flowers

Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into Black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn. The titular story is about a young girl’s first perm-a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through Flowers’ stories, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.

Drawn & Quarterly is another publisher that I’d like to start reading more regularly and I’m excited to read Hot Comb. I’d not heard of Ebony Flowers but I really enjoyed the preview on her website. Learn more about her here!

Panini’s 2018-19 NBA Player of The Day Promotion Starts March 4th!

The Panini NBA Player of The Day Promotion Runs March 4th – April 2nd!

Starting on Monday, March 4th and running all the way through close on Tuesday, April 2nd you have the chance to open some Panini NBA cards and win cool prizes!

This year’s prizes include 2 promotional Player of the Day card packs per daily win, plus posters, top loaders, and more! The store grand prize card this years is an autographed Luke Kennard card which you can see below!

Plus, this year you can become a Daily Winner twice a day, seven days a week! That means you can win more promotional packs and more entries in the Weekly Winner raffles!

You can check out all of the details below. We hope to see you soon!

How to Play

Step 1 – You can enter by purchasing either eligible packs or boxes of 2018-19 Panini brand NBA Cards. This includes popular brands such as , Hoops, Revolution, Complete and others. There is a no-purchase-necessary option as well (ask us to see the official rules for details).

Step 2 – This year you can become a Daily Winner up to two times a day! There are two ways to become a Daily Winner:

  1. If you buy packs, then all you have to do is open those packs in front of a store employee and pull that day’s highlighted Player of The Day or one of the promotions’ wild card players. If you do, then you will receive 2 promotional POTD packs plus you will get your name on our Daily Winners list where you could win even more prizes. Each pack can only win once even if you pull multiple winning players.
  2. For each eligible sealed box you purchase you will automatically become a Daily Winner. [1 box = 1 Daily winner entry plus 2 POTD packs]

Each time you are a daily winner you earn one raffle entry towards being that week’s Weekly Winner.

Step 3 –  At the end of each week of the promotion (4 times total) we will have a random drawing from that week’s list of Daily Winners to determine our Weekly Winners. Each Weekly Winner will receive special prizes and earn a raffle entry towards becoming the store’s grand prize winner.

Step 4 – At the conclusion of the 30-day promotion, we will randomly select one of the four weekly winners as the store grand prize winner. The store grand prize winner will be awarded the an autographed Luke Kennard card, plus their name will be entered into the Panini national sweepstakes where they have a chance to win a prize package that includes spending a day with an NBA Player plus a $250.00 shopping spree at Fanfare!

Check out this year’s Store Grand Prize card:

Josh’s 2018 List

Welcome to the first annual J-Up Awards! During this year’s ceremony we will be celebrating some of Josh’s favorite comics of 2018. So, let’s crack some envelopes and get to it!

Best New Publisher of 2018: Ahoy Comics

Ahoy Comics entered the world this year and comics is all the richer for it. The publisher’s slogan “Expect More” is exemplified in their comic book magazine format. Their titles (which include High Heaven, Wrong Earth, Captain Ginger, and the sleeper hit Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror) feature not only ongoing comic stories, but the books themselves feature material like creative prose short stories, essays, and back-up comics in each and every issue.

Now, all of that wouldn’t mean anything if the stories weren’t good. But here’s the thing, so much of what they have put out is great! Wrong Earth has been telling an excellent story wherein a Batman 66 style superhero finds himself in a grim-dark 90’s universe (and vice versa) with amazing art from Jamal Igle. Grant Morrison’s back-up prose stories have been great throughout the line’s launch. High Heaven, which focuses on a man named David Weathers who is in heaven…but hates it, is equal parts hilarious and sad. Captain Ginger features cats in space! And…well, we sold out of Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror so quickly that I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I hear its great.

I hope Ahoy keeps the momentum in 2019 and that more publishers aim to cram as much creativity and energy into their books as Ahoy has managed to do in 2018. They set the bar high.

Best Series Featuring a Green-Themed Hero [Marvel]: The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett

In this newest iteration of the Hulk, Ewing cleverly revisits the original dynamic between Bruce Banner and his angrier side: night time is the Hulk’s time. That’s right, rather than the Hulk coming out whenever Banner gets angry, the Hulk comes out at night. Oh, and the Hulk cannot die (though Banner can). Oh…and if this sounds like a premise for a horror movie, that is because this series has reinvigorated the Hulk concept by introducing aspects of the horror genre to his story. I cannot say enough about this book, Al Ewing is Marvel’s most underrated writer and the work he is doing with Bennett by his side is incredible.

Best Series Featuring a Green-Themed Hero [DC]: The Green Lantern by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

Okay, so I am a mark for anything Grant Morrison, but this book really caught me off guard with just how much I am loving it. This book was pitched as being, essentially, Hal Jordan: Space Cop, and it delivers on that front. We get to see some inner workings of the Corps with trappings of a police procedural.  

At the same time this is still an extremely weird and fun superhero book. Liam Sharp’s art is incredibly detailed and fully immerses you in the alien locales the book visits. The alien designs are wild…we’re talking creatures whose heads are erupting volcanoes, we’re talking a Green Lantern who is a sentient flu, and so much more that you need to see. His style almost makes this feel like a 2001 AD story but with enough visual connective tissue to ground it in the DCU. I find it to be a unique and rewarding aesthetic.

Morrison’s scripts have been filled with humor, adventure, and a sinister plot that I cannot wait to see more of in 2019. If you want to get weird with the GL Corps, look no further.

Best Dairy Based Crossover: Milk Wars by a murderer’s row of creators.

This Young Animal/DCU crossover felt like it was custom made for me. Doom Patrol team up with members of the JLA to take down a Superman analog known as Milkman Man who was born of nothing and now threatens the multiverse due to his employment by an evil corporation who are looking to homogenize the multiverse? Yeah. SIGN.ME.UP.

But wait, there’s more! All of the Young Animal books get a chance to crossover. We’re talking Cave Carson teaming up with Swamp Thing to battle evil Funko Pops, Shade the Changing Girl vs. a twisted version of Wonder Woman, and Mother Panic vs. Father Bruce Banner in a fight to free the citizens of Gotham City.  

Oh, and Frank Quitely did the covers. So. So. Good.

This event was bizarre, fun, and creative in the way that only comics can be and that is why I love it so much. The event stands on its own, but if you are a Doom Patrol fan, I would suggest reading all of Vol. 1 and 2 before you dig in as there are some slight spoilers for that series in the pages of Milk Wars. That said, more comics events should be this ambitious and fun in my opinion.

Best Horror Barn Mind Trip Of The Year: Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino

Jeff Lemire is one of the best writers currently working in contemporary comics. So, when he announced that his project Gideon Falls was a “character-based meditation on obsession, mental-illness, and faith” inspired  by works such as David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, I was already sold on checking out the book.

What he and Andrea Sorrentino have delivered is even better than I could have imagined. The story focuses on two main protagonists: Father Wilfred and Norton. Father Wilfred is a priest who has arrived in the rural town of Gideon Falls to take over their local parish, though his faith may be waning. Norton is a man living in a city who suffers from some undefined mental illness. Their lives are connected, in ways we are still discovering, by The Black Barn, a mysterious building whose appearance leaves in its wake terror, madness, and confusion.

As always, Lemire’s character work here is phenomenal. The emotions of all the characters are realistic and their doubts, motivations, and confusion aren’t merely understandable in a clinical sort of way, but felt by the reader as well.

Sorrentino’s storytelling and art in this series is masterful. Conversations and quieter moments are given weight by his choice of character focus. To illustrate the effects of The Black Barn, Sorrentino employs layouts that twist the reader’s perspective in an effect mirroring the twisted perspective of the story’s characters. This book is a master class on visual storytelling.

Best Diced-Based Debut: Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans

I love Kieron Gillen. His knack for examining and deconstructing the pop culture he loves has drawn me in since he and Jamie McKelvie first brought out Phonogram. His most recent book, Die, explores another one of his obsessions, role-playing games. The first issue was excellent and it has me passionately excited to see where this story goes in 2019.

Imagine the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon: a bunch of kids disappear into the world of D&D and become the characters they played. They have adventures and probably return to the real world unscathed. Well…what if they didn’t?

What if, instead, some horrible things changed while they were in that world. What if they leave scarred, emotionally and ,in some cases, physically? What would that do to a person? What would that do to a person decades later when they are forced to look back at that world and their actions? Welcome to Die.

Stephanie Hans is the artist on this book and she delivers a world that is just as lush and simultaneously drab as you hope for from a book that has famously been pitched as “Goth Jumanji.” Right now there is only 1 issue of this book out, but as they rediscover this fantasy world I cannot wait to see Hans’ imagination on the page.

What really draws me to this book is in part the promissory note that Gillen has given us in both the backmatter of issue #1 and in interviews surrounding its release. He has promised the book will deliver a Planteray-esque examination of the elements that gave birth to the modern conception of fantasy and RPG gaming. Given that Planetary (by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday) is one of my all-time favorite books, due in large part to its examination of  genres found in serialized storytelling, this technique as applied to fantasy and RPGS has me very intrigued.

At its emotional core, Gillen has noted the book is in part a metaphor for an adult looking back at their teenage fantasies and aspirations and realizing they have fallen short, in part or whole, on realizing those dreams. While potentially depressing, this type of emotional exploration in the medium of comics seems powerful in the hands of Gillen and Hans, and I, for one, am along for the ride.  

Best Series Featuring an Escape Artist/God: Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads

This book…what is there to say that hasn’t been said?

King and Gerads really created a masterpiece with this miniseries. While it started in 2017, it was 2018 that saw the resolution of this story that utilized the fantastical world of the New Gods to explore such real world issues as depression, parenthood, and the seemingly eternal work/personal life balance that many of us face.

The story finds Mister Miracle thrust into a war between Apokolips and New Genesis in the world of the New Gods. It also finds him trying to figure out how to rearrange his apartment here on Earth. This juxtaposition between the fantastic and mundane is unlike maybe any other story I have seen in comics, and it works to make the emotional beats hit for me as a reader. Gerads use of the nine-panel grid is a nice formalistic nod to the classic Kirby stories that came before, and his art in general is amazing.

In lesser hands, the story could have easily become grim and dark to the point of morbidity, but King and Gerads find just the right amount of humor to ease the tension found within the plot. Whether it is Scott Free’s seemingly endless superhero T-shirt collection, or the perfectly pictured moments of companionship we see between Scott and Barda, the dark never quite overshadows all of the light within the story.

I know this book has appeared on both Liz and Andrew’s lists, so I don’t feel the need to go on and on about it, but as a fan of the New Gods and a fan of comics aptly tackling real world issues, be they political or, in this case, personal, I really loved this series.

Oops. That music means it is time for me to wrap up these awards! Thanks to everyone for coming out this year. You can find your gift bag under your chair.

Liz’s List: Best of 2018


Hey everyone! I hope 2018 treated you well.  There were a lot of awesome, colorful, inspiring releases this year. So many, in fact, that I can’t possibly put them in any ranked order. Instead, below is an unranked list of comics and board games that brightened my year. If you haven’t given them

Comics:

New World by Ales Kot & Tradd & Heather Moore

A little bit 1984, a little bit Romeo and Juliet, and a lot of dystopian fun, New World follows two lovers from opposite worlds as they learn about each other and the dictatorship overseeing them. Artists Tradd and Heather Moore bring vibrant colors and dynamic, full page spreads to the table, fleshing out writer Ales Kot’s characters beautifully. The Moore team made this book my favorite title of the year. I think their art is just so unique and eye catching. If you’re looking for a feast for your eyes, look no further than New World!

A Walk Through Hell: by Garh Ennis & Goran Sudzuka

I am by no means a Garth Ennis fan. In fact, I can’t name a single book by Ennis that I’ve ever enjoyed, with the exception of A Walk Through Hell. Two haggard cops at the end of their careers are called on to recover some of their teammates from an investigation gone awry. What starts out as a supposedly routine recon mission turns into a never-ending nightmare of inexplicable horror, both mental and physical. The pair witness things that make them question both reality  and each other. Waiting week after week for the next issue of this book to come out was agonizing. Ennis fills the pages with slow-burning dread, and the payoff is worth it. This book was so good that I’m rethinking my opinion of Ennis (tentatively).

Flavor by Joseph Keatinge & Wook Jin Clark

In a world where cooking is a revered skill, ingredients can spark war, and chefs reign supreme, a student unearths a mystery that will change everything she knows. Unlicensed and newly in charge of her parents’ restaurant, Xoo faces immense pressure and responsibility from the world around her to be a top chef. I can’t say more about this story, since it revolves heavily on mystery, but I can’t recommend it enough. The world building is very Miyazaki inspired, and the colors and story mesh together into an epic. Unique to the comic, in the back of every issue is an interview with someone in the culinary industry, showcasing their work and their relationship with food. This book is a unique treasure that I can’t recommend enough!

Die by Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans

Kieron Gillen describes his new title as ‘Goth Jumanji.’ If that explanation doesn’t describe to you why this book is fantastic then I can’t help you.

Games:

The Tea Dragon Society Game:

Based off of the book by the same name, the goal of this game is to take care of a dragon, season by season. Each dragon has unique needs, likes and dislikes, and requires special care and companionship to survive the sweltering summertime and chilly winter. This game is comprised of drafting and “buying” cards to take care of your dragon each season for four seasons. I found the game both quick and actually relaxing. It was fun and simple to learn, and is a great game to play while grabbing coffee (or tea!) with a friend.

Azul/Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

Have you played Azul? No? Why the heck not?? I love this game SO MUCH. In Azul, players take turns drafting colored tiles onto their player board. Once drafting has ended, scoring beings. Players can earn points based on different tile patterns they have created, and how many tiles they have drafted. Wasted tiles can hurt a player’s score. The player with the most points at the end wins. Azul came out in 2017, but Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra was released shortly before Christmas, introducing stained glass pieces and double sided boards. This game is fun and extremely aesthetically pleasing, and I’ll look for any chance or excuse to play it.

Thanks for reading my list of favorites, I hope you have a great 2019!

Fanfare Countdown to Christmas Specials

We are counting down to Christmas with some great specials! All of the specials listed below will be good while supplies last or until we close for the evening on December 24th, whichever comes first. We will be adding new deals daily, so be sure to stay up-to-date as the countdown is happening!

Day 1: Yu-Gi-Oh! Advent Calendar (Regularly $19.99)
Special Price: 40% Off ($11.99)!

Day 2: Pokemon Celestial Storm Booster Boxes & Packs (Regularly $149.99 per box/$4.29 per pack)
Special Price: $99.99 per booster box and $2.99 per pack!

Day 3: Select Graphic Novels [Fantastic Four: Season One, Siege: Embedded, and more]
Special Price: $1.00 each!

Day 4: Magic: The Gathering – Hour of Devastation Booster Packs & Boxes (Regularly $119.99 per box/$3.99 per pack)
Special Price: $89.99 per booster box and $2.99 per booster pack!

Day 5: Final Fantasy TCG Opus II & III Booster Packs & Boxes (Regularly $139.99 per box/$3.99 per pack)
Special Price: $99.99 per booster box and $2.99 per booster pack!

Day 6: Creature Forge and Relic Tokens for Magic: the Gathering (Various prices)
Special Price: 40% Off!

Day 7: Transformers TCG Autobot Starter (Regularly $14.99)
Special Price: $9.99!

Day 8: Teen Titans: Earth One Hardcovers and select Runaways Trade Paperbacks
Special Price: 75% off Regular Price!

Day 9: Star Wars Destiny: Empire At War Booster Packs
Special: Visit the store or call (269)349-8866 for details!

Day 10: Select Pokemon Gift Boxes
Special Price: 40% off! [Selection includes Pin Collection boxes, GX boxes, Premium Collections, and more!]

Day 11: Magic: The Gathering — Signature Spellbook: Jace, Explorers of Ixalan, Gift Box 2017 and Global Series Duel Decks
Special Price: 40% off!

Day 12: Marvel Masterworks & DC Archives Hardcovers
Special Price: 75% off!

Day 13: Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Hero Decks 3-Deck Set (Regularly $29.99)
Special Price: $14.99!

Day 14: All Regularly Priced Playmats
Special Price: 30% off!

Day 15: All Dice Masters Products
Special Price: 50% off regular price!

Day 16: Select Magic: The Gathering Commander Decks (Regularly $39.99)
Special Price: – Exquisite Invention (Now $19.99)
                         – Nature’s Vengeance (Now $19.99)

Day 17: Select DC Convergence & Marvel Fear Itself TPBS & HCs
Special Price: 75% off their regular price!

Day 18: HeroClix Fast Forces
Special Price: 40% off!

Day 19: Select Marvelman and Thief of Thieves Paperbacks & Hardcovers
Special Price: 75% off!

Day 20: Marvel Legends Action Figures
Special Price: 50% off! 

Day 21: D&D: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica Sourcebooks and Playmats
Special Price: 20% off regular price!

Day 22: Select Statues
Special Price: 40% off!

Day 23: All Barbies & Die Cast Cars (including Hot Wheels)
Special Price: 50% off!

Day 24: All New Board Games Regularly Priced at $99.99 or Above
Special Price: 20% Off!

We will be posting new specials daily, so be sure to keep checking back here or on any of our social media pages listed below:

Halloween Comic Fest 2018 Is Here and So Are Matt’s Top Recommendations!

Happy Halloween Comic Fest 2018 Everyone! We look forward to seeing you all come in for free comics and of course to show off your cool costumes!

It is time for my top recommendations for the year…so let’s get into it!

My top book recommendation is Frankenstein by writer/artist Junji Ito.

Horror master Junji Ito blends his signature brand of terror with the classic Mary Shelley tale in this collection.  Also included in this collection are six tales of a boy named Oshikiri and the transdimensional haunted house he resides within. So, whether you are looking to revisit a classic or try something new, this volume has it all!

I can’t possibly recommend Ito’s works enough. We carry quite a bit of Ito’s work regularly, so if you are looking for some of the best horror stories to appear in the comics medium, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Fans of anime may also want to check out the Junji Ito Collection which is streaming free over at Crunchy Roll right now!

My final film recommendation for this year’s countdown is The Devil’s Candy written and directed by Sean Byrne.

Despite this film being available on physical media and Netflix for over a year, it has still flown under many people’s radars. That is a shame since this movie is an absolute modern classic.

The Devils’s Candy a young painter and his family move into a Texas home. However, this is a home with a history. A tragic murder happened years ago within the home and the house itself speaks to chosen inhabitants. Shortly after moving in, the artist finds himself blacking out only to awaken hours later to large demonic paintings he has no recollection of creating. Disturbing as that may be, the situation gets even worse as a deeply disturbed man with a connection to the house decides it is time to come home.

This movie features some of the best acting I have seen in a horror movie in quite some time. If you can handle a film that envelopes you in a deeply disturbing atmosphere and attempts to crush you with layer upon layer of dread then this one is for you.

Thanks for joining me again this year for the countdown everyone! I hope you all enjoy this Halloween season and hope to see you at Halloween Comic Fest!

 

October 2018 Previews: Carman’s Picks

Hellboy Winter Special 2018

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Dec. 12, 2018

(W) Mike Mignola, Various (A) Various (CA) Mike Mignola

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Three wintry tales featuring a Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck team-up for a New Year’s Eve séance gone wrong when Hellboy visits a family’s English home, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá revisit B.P.R.D.: Vampire with a new tie-in story, and Tonci Zonjic returns to write and draw Lobster Johnson.

When the new Hellboy omnibuses started releasing a few months ago, I decided it was time to dip my toes into that world. Since then, I’ve plowed through a few thousand pages of both Hellboy and B.P.R.D. and can officially say that I am in love with the “Mignolaverse.” I’m excited to be able to read a new Hellboy book at its release and this one seems to tie in with B.P.R.D.: Vampire which is getting a reprint around the same time.

 

Die #1

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Dec. 5, 2018

(W) Kieron Gillen (A/CA) Stephanie Hans

Publisher: Image Comics

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE writer KIERON GILLEN teams up with artist supernova STEPHANIE HANS (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1831, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic! DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji.” That only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in oversized debut issue-where fantasy gets all too real.

Sorry to all of you out there looking to name your new drone band — Goth Jumanji has been taken. Everything I’ve seen of of Hans’ art so far has been beautiful and I will always check out a first issue written by Kieron Gillen. With Halloween just around the corner, I can definitely get behind something that sounds like Gary Gygax meets It.

 

Miles Morales Spider-Man #1

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Dec. 12, 2018

(W) Saladin Ahmed (A) Javi Gorran (CA) Brian Stelfreeze

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Balancing his normal life, school, parents, etc…and super-heroing has never been easy, but when the Rhino and a cadre of mysterious criminals start plaguing Brooklyn, things take a dark turn. And Miles doesn’t even know the half of it yet. Eisner Award-winner Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT) and Young Gun Javier Garrón (ANT-MAN & THE WASP) bring you the latest incarnation of the coolest character in the Marvel Universe!

As I get closer and closer to its conclusion, I’ve been slowing down on Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 — savoring what I’ve got left. I feel like I haven’t been this pulled into a Spider-Man story like this in quite some time and I’m loving it. Though the depiction of Parker in the game is great, I found Miles Morales to be an even more compelling character and I am very ready for this new book. It’s also exciting to see that Saladin Ahmed will be writing — if you’ve not yet read his miniseries, Abbott, go do that. If you’re looking for some other recent Spider-Man stories to tie you over, read Chip Zdarsky’s final issue of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man or Spencer and Lieber’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

 

Waves

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Feb. 27, 2019

(W) Ingrid Chabbert (A/CA) Carole Maurel

Publisher: Boom! Studios

After years of difficulty trying to have children, a young couple finally announces their pregnancy, only to have the most joyous day of their lives replaced with one of unexpected heartbreak. Their relationship is put to the test as they forge ahead, working together to rebuild themselves amidst the churning tumult of devastating loss, and ultimately facing the soul-crushing reality that they may never conceive a child of their own.
Based on author Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, coupled with soft, sometimes dreamlike illustrations by Carole Maurel, Waves is a deeply moving story that poignantly captures a woman’s exploration of her pain in order to rediscover hope.

This is a book I don’t know much about outside of what you see here. It certainly sounds heartbreaking but there is a beauty to the cover that compelled me to order a copy.