Category Archives: Graphic Novels

Fiction or non-fiction stories depicted in part or whole by graphics. Includes comic books, graphic novels, compendiums and collections of art and works of art.

The City on the Edge of Forever by Ellison

Screenshot_2015-01-03-14-18-47-1“No woman was ever loved as much, Jim. Because no woman was ever offered the universe for love.”

The City on the Edge of Forever
Star Trek
By Harlan Ellison
IDW Publishing
February 2015

A crewman named Beckwith decides that he should end his tour rich so becomes a drug dealer on the Enterprise. When one of his junkies decides that his habit is endangering the ship he decides to Screenshot_2015-01-03-13-17-35-1come clean prompting Beckwith to attack him and flee the shop to a nearby planet. The planet is somehow, against all odds, habitable and hosts a city occupied by ancient creatures who guard a gateway to all of time and space. This is a city on the edge of forever.

Beckwith takes a chance and flees through the portal to the 1930s earth and changes the universe and timeline. To repair things Kirk and Spock go back in time as well. The guardians are clear though: there is a certain event that must not be Screenshot_2015-01-03-13-42-01-1changed or time will irrevocably change the universe.

After a time adjusting, Kirk and Spock find the focal point: a woman. More than that, as Kirk gets to know her – and maybe love her – Spock becomes convinced that the only way time is reset is if she is killed. This sets us up for one of the most emotional and powerful science fiction stories written. Can Kirk let her die, as he must, or will he holds on to this love at the possible peril of the universe add they know it?

Each page is fully painted and visually represents the characters very well. Fans of the original series and science fiction will appreciate and enjoy this excellent graphical version of the original teleplay.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Nnewts by Doug TenNapel

nnewtsThe Nnewt city is beset by evil Lizzarks in an unprovoked attack that devastates the people and leaves young Herk alone and on the run. The problem is that Herk is handicapped by under developed legs. As he struggles to survive he also searches for a way to restore his legs and find his destiny.

Nnewts
#1 Escape from the Lizzarks
by Doug TenNapel
GRAPHIX
January 2015

At times the story seems disconnected and problems are solved too conveniently and quickly. For instance, Herk has a disability but instead of overcoming it he [SPOILERS] fights the god of the Lizzarks who stole them from him as a child. It’s over with a single blow off a rock to the head. How did he get there? At a temple in the ruins of the Nnewt city, where he finds nnewts2himself after his family is murdered, and guided by an old king who appears and disappears just as quickly. Then he’s at a huge city of Nnewts ams is saved by an arrow from a constellation. [END SPOILERS] I know there is a lot left untold at this point as this is only book one but I felt things really moved quickly with very little back story. Hopefully future books clear some of this up.

This is a book written with 8-12 year old kids in mind and I think that’s the nnewt3right age group for reading skill and interest. It may be rough on some to see the content depictions of Herk’s parent and siblings killed. As my 8 year old said, [SPOILERS]  “The book is interesting but a lot of people die.” (See pictures to the left for the death of the mother.) [END SPOILERS]

The art is great – something you’d expect since the author created Earthworm Jim – and the story, while abrupt is fun and complex. I recommend it to older – 3rd grade and up – readers.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Meet the Bigfeet by Sherry

bigfeetBlizz Richards misses his yeti family reunion but with George Vanquist, self styled cryptozoologist, on the prowl for pics of bigfoot can it be risked?

Meet the Bigfeet
The Yeti Files 1
by Kevin Sherry
Scholastic
September 2014

The family get togethers ended when Vanquist got a pic of fellow yeti Brian. Now everyone is too afraid to get together and no one knows where Brian is. Blizz and his pals travel across the globe to find Brian, get the family back together and avoid Vanquist.

The story is fully illustrated (greyshade watercolor) it looks suitably comical. Characters are wild and wacky and sometimes overly so. Vanquist is called “evil” but until the very end when he [SPOILERS] mistreats his dog and threatens to send him to the pound do we see why he would be considered evil. Prior to that, he was simply a human looking to take pictures of a bigfoot, which doesn’t seem evil at all. [END SPOILERS]

Reading level solidly 2nd to 5th with very few long or difficult words. I provided this book to my son, who is in second grade, and he had no trouble reading the words. He did have some trouble finishing it because it just wasn’t very interesting. While it is an easy read, it really isn’t an exciting read. The story bounces between the elf/goblin parts to the wolf parts to the yeti parts to Vanquist with little or no explanation as to why it jumps so frequently. It seems scattered and in the end there is no lesson learned, no character development, and very little excitement.

This is a numbered series with the second book, about the Loch Ness monster, set up on the final pages. But unless it is more exciting and more happens I’m not sure this series will be successful.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Devastator #11: Otaku

otakuSNL meets Mad Magazine but the sensibilities of Family Guy and TED takes on Japanese manga.

Otaku
Devastator #11
Devastator Press
September 2014

The gags go on and on and come in a ton of different guises. There are joke ads (like Joe Lo Truglio, of Brooklyn 99 fame, in PillowMingle.love, where he, ahem, meets his pillow match), written transcripts (like Phoenix Wright’s Asinine Attorney court case), manga parodies (Sailor Moon, etc), and a lot more. To truly enjoy the parodies one would need to be very familiar with the original content. Speed Racer’s suicide dictation (after he determines that he can no longer stand Americans putting words in his mouth – dubbing) make so much sense for fans of dubbed Japanese cartoons.

What you need to know upfront is that there are really funny parts of this book. But this is definitely for those who enjoy potty humor. This is not a “clean” book. So those who mind harsh language may want to pass on this. But if you can stomach it and you love manga this will be really funny distraction. In my opinion, while there are very funny parodies there are too many jokes that end, basically and literally, with an F bomb. While a shocking expletive can be a funny way to end a joke it shouldn’t be the main way. Shock really only works once or twice. After that it can be very ho-hum.

This is the 11th Devastator published on different topics. Even with some of the flat jokes (no pillow pun intended) I still eagerly checked out the other topics and would have read them with gusto. (Who wouldn’t read parodies of the Apocalypse or Toys and Games?) So there is that.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Trillium by Jeff Lemire

When a World War I soldier meets a botantist trying to save humanity in the year 3797 sparks fly and time is undone and redone differently in a fantastic science fiction story that is a must read.

Screenshot_2014-09-30-18-00-28-1Trillium
TPB collects issues 1-8
by Jeff Lemire
Vertigo
August 2014

William Pike was never the same after a World War I where he lost too many men and perhaps his sanity. To reciver, he decides to go on an expedition to a supposedly lost temple of the Incas in Peru in 1921 where he finds even more blood shed, natives on the hunt and (inexplicably) Dr. Nika Temsmith.

Screenshot_2014-10-03-08-34-50-1Nika is a botanist researching Trillium, a flower that may hold the key to stopping an AI virus from wiping out humanity. She also finds a temple on the outer-rim of colonized space run by the all female alien Atibithians and partakes in a ritual with Trillium where she ends up traveling through a gateway from 3797 to 1921 and into relationship with William.

What transpires next is an at times confusing mash of time travel, time swaps, halucinations and ultimately the triumph (of sorts) of love as William and Nika fight to find each other again and save humanity.

Although he may be most well known commercially for his writing – especially on DC and New 52 titles – Lemire does an outstanding job with his art in this series. It is awkward, sketchy and moody and fits Screenshot_2014-10-03-08-50-46-1perfectly with the story. Nothing about the art or the story says “commercial” and nothing panders to those looking for eye candy sans story. More illustrated novel than slightly plotted art.

As interesting a story as this is I couldn’t for the life of me enjoy flipping the book upseide down for part of the story. I love that Lemire took a chance and went with his creative ideas but I think this goes too far. Like Spider-man 16 (1991) this is an idea that works in concept but in reality if tough to pull off. Especially if reading digitally.

My advice? Get the series in TBP and enjoy the story. Deal with the drawbacks of the upside down panels. Even with the annoyance this is a really well done science fiction series that deserves to be read.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

Interview: Michael Golden

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for an interview with the Michael Golden who was first known for his work on Marvel’s Micronauts, before drawing a number of Marvel comics throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He is also well known as the co-creator of Rogue and creator of Bucky O’Hare.

BookGateway.com (BG): I’ll tell you the truth. I am here personally because my first comic books were… [pulls out personal original copies of Micronauts 1 and 2  (1978) to Michael Golden’s delighted laughter] one’s I fought with my brother over and when I found out you were going to be here I had to see you. I’ve only got a few of my old comics but I still have these so I wanted to bring them in to show you. I don’t want you to sign them or anything. I mean they are worth nothing…

micro1Michael Golden (MG): What do you mean they are worth nothing?!

BG: Well, they are worth a lot to me!

MG: Yeah, that’s what it’s all about!

BG: I was joking with the ratings booth and asked, ‘does this even have a rating?’ The covers come off. My brother wrote on one of them and I whited it out. I’m like, no that’s not yours, that’s mine.

MG: You know what? That makes them priceless!

BG: It does make them priceless! So how are things going for you? What are you working on now?

MG: I am doing all kinds of things, most of which if I tell you I’ll have to kill you.

BG: I don’t want to die so keep it to yourself.

Boothmate: He has a Daredevil cover coming out soon. And several other covers.

BG: Do you have to kill her now?

MG: No, no. The Daredevil cover is already out, so.

Boothmate: I meant Deadpool, not Daredevil.

GoldenAvengersAnn10MG: Yeah, Deadpool. We still don’t have to kill you because Marvel already put that out there.

BG: Do you mostly do covers now?

MG: As far as the comic book companies, yes. Simply because I don’t have a whole lot of time to do interior work. And if I do it’s my own stuff. As far as presentation and concept work.

BG: So what are you doing? You mostly do graphic design now? I heard you were out of…

MG: I’m mostly out of the commercial art business. But if something lands in my lap, and I’ve got the time to do it and they pay well, you know…

BG: They pay well for certain artists. I think you’re on the list.

MG: I’m not out of comics. Fortunately, I’m one of the top tier artists in the business. But I just don’t have a whole lot of time. I don’t have the incentive. It’s all work for hire. If I’m gonna bother to put that much effort and work into something I’m gonna do it for myself.

BG: So now you created some well known comic characters. Rogue (1981). How did that come about?

MG: Well, very pedantically actually. We just needed a villain for the script. The whole story was about an entirely different circumstance and event but we needed a catalyst. [Chris Claremont] had this idea for a character sitting handy and it landed in my lap and we created this character. I thought she made a great villian but what he’s done with her since as far as evolution has been profound.

G_I_ Joe 027BG: How is seeing something like that on the big screen?

MG: Everything I, you know, Bucky O’Hare, ‘Nam, you know all of this stuff has made it to other venues. And it’s – I’m gonna equate it, even though I don’t have the experience, to seeing your kids finally grow up and move out of the house. It’s like, about damn time! But isn’t it cool?

BG: It’s exciting to see comic books in movies where they don’t look super cheesy.

MG: Yeah, well, the thing is you could still make them cheesy but make them good. Like the Mask. That was one of the cheesiest movies you’ve ever saw, but it was right out of the comic book and because they had such a screen presence in Jim Carey and Cameron Diaz, her first movie and she was a little doll back then, that movie got pulled off. That’s what happened in the second one. When they lost Jim Carey they were back to bad cheesy. So it can be done.

BG: Dick Tracy was one of my (David) favorites.

MG: Yep. Dick Tracy was another example. He went out of his way to make it like it was out of a comic book and it was good! Very good. Despite Madonna.

BG: Despite Madonna. That’s awesome.

MG: She’s great to look at but she can’t work worth a damn!

BG: Well we have seen that time after time, right? Thank you very much for your time!


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Interview: Ron Garney

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for a quick interview with Ron Garney one of the most iconic artists in comics since the 90s. From Wikipedia: Ron Garney is a comic book writer/artist, known for his work on books such as JLA,The Amazing Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Hulk, Daredevil and Captain America. Garney has worked on JLA,The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, Ghost Rider volume 3, Wolverine, Captain America, X-Men, Silver Surfer and Hulk. He has also written for Hulk in collaboration with Jerry Ordway.

BookGateway.com: I’d like to ask you about a couple of your older runs. Captain America with Mark Waid (1995-1996). Did you guys know when it changed over to Heroes Reborn… did you know that was coming?

Ron Garney: No. It was a… it was a surprise to both of us. We were um in the middle of a run and it was going really well and we both got a call from the editor and he told us that the book was leaving house to Rob Liefeld. So we were pretty shocked.

cap445BG: After that run, you guys came back for a few more for Heroes Return (1998).

RG: Yep.

BG: That lasted like 4 or 5 issues with you.

RG: Yeah that lasted like 4 or 5 issues then they wanted to start the new book Sentinel of Liberty (1998).

BG: You wrote that and drew that, right?

RG: I helped. It was [a collaboration.] But um, yeah, after that I went from Cap to Silver Surfer (#123 cover) to Heroes Return. Then to Sentinel of Liberty. I can’t remember what I did after that. It’s been a long career.

BG: That sorta segues to another question. You’ve had a very long career – right now it’s Uncanny X-Force (2013), I believe –

thorRG: I did Uncanny X-Force then I did Thor, God of Thunder (2012). Now I’m working on a creator owned with Jason Aaron, Men of Wrath (2014).

BG: Through Icon?

RG: Through Icon. It’s the first book they’ve put out in a while. So we’re excited about it. It comes out in October.

BG: What would you credit to your longevity in the business. You don’t see guys in the business like that. You’ve been on some big books throughout your career.

RG: That’s a great question. Um, You know just persevering and grinding it out you know? I think you get a reputation for being pretty dependable. Within reason. It’s a hard industry to be dependable in.

BG: You seeing that more and more? Not meeting deadlines?

Uncanny_X-Force_Vol_2_1_Garney_VariantRG: You know, I mean, to be really excellent like a lot of these guys are it takes time. God bless John Buscema, you know. For a guy like that who can draw as well as he can. No, it’s much more developed sensibility now than it was back in the 70s. Or the 60s. So I think artists are artists and they tend to do their thing. There is a certain type. I am fortunate that I’m a… can be a workhorse if I have to be. So that’s probably why. And I’ve also been successful, like with Cap. You have a successful run like that, you know, it lasts a career. People remember you for that. They appreciate it so they give you other opportunities that other people might not necessarily get.

BG: Another run you did with J. Michael Straczynski on was on Spider-Man (2006). That also happened to be right before they made a big change. Is that something you knew was coming? With One More Day (2007-2008) and all the changes?

RG: As far as changing the marriage and the Mephisto thing? I didn’t know about that either.

mofwBG: How was that working with J. Michael Straczynski?

RG: Honestly, to be perfectly frank, I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t speak to him once. I have my personal opinions about that that I’ll keep off record. We’ve never spoken.

BG: So what’s Men of Wrath about?

RG: It follows a lineage of hit men back to this old farmer, sheep farmer, who ends up accidentally mixing his sheep with another farmer and they get in an argument about it and this guy Wrath stabs the other farmer in the neck. Just over the argument. His little kid is watching, his son, and it starts a succession of violence through the generations and it ends up where we end up with this hit man in the mafia in modern day is sick and ultimately contracts a hit on his own son. So the story goes from there. We learn the history fo all this and all the incidences that led to this being just a complete bastard and wanting to kill his own kid.

BG: Limited run or a series?

RG: Five issues. It was a story Jason wanted to tell and he asked me if I’d be interested. When he told me the story it appealed to me because it wasn’t superhero. It’s more real. I’ve been doing superheroes for so long I felt like I wanted to do a real movie in a comic book, you know? Not just the superhero thing. Something like Road to Perdition (1998)…

BG: Image Skybound has a whole mess of books that are not superheroes, like Thief of Thieves and so on where it’s basically like a movie. I think they’re going for that…

RG: That’s kinda what we’re doing. I’m enjoying it.

BG: It’s exciting. Aaron’s on a big roll right now.

RG: It’s a good time to be friends with Jason Aaron.

BG: Thank you for your time!

RG: I appreciate it.


RAW audio of Ron Garney interview with BookGateway.com (Scott Asher, David Mason) 9/27/14. (c) BookGateway.com / Scott Asher. Attribution Required.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Interview: Mike McKone

BookGateway (Scott Asher and David Mason) had a chance at Comic Con Nashville for a quick interview with Mike McKone one of the greatest artists in comics over the last 20 years. From Wikipedia: “Mike” McKone is a British comic book artist. McKone’s first published works for the major companies included DC Comics’ Justice League of America and Justice League International for DC Comics and The Punisher War Zone for Marvel Comics. However, it was his work on Marvel’s Exiles which brought him instant attention, and led him to work on two of DC’s Teen Titans and Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

BookGateway: I’d like to ask you about your Teen Titans (2003–07) experience with Geoff Johns. How did that all begin? How’d you get on the book?

Mike McKone: [laughter] Oh, I was drinking heavily. [laughter] I knew Eddie Berganza the editor and he asked me to work on the book. I’d spent two years on Exiles (2001–03) so I was hired.

BG: At that time Teen Titans had kinda failed over and over again. It wasn’t doing very good until you guys took over… You remember Dan Jurgens did Teen Titans (1996-1998) and it just didn’t work. Did you guys have any idea how it was teentitans1gonna [take off?]

MM: Actually they wanted me to work on Outsiders.

BG: Because they launched at the same time.

MM: Yeah. They wanted me to work on Outsiders.

BG: With Judd Winick?

MM: Yeah. Because Judd Winick was writing Exiles.

BG: How was that working with Geoff Johns?

MM: It was fun. Yeah. He was very receptive of ideas. Very funny. That was in the days when we still talked to each other. Writers and artists. Now it’s email.

BG: How much did you and Johns talk about Teen Titans?

MM: Oh wow. Quite a bit. He likes to go over scripts.

ImpulseBG: Was it always planned to take Impulse and make him Kid Flash? How’d that evolve?

MM: I think so. It’s not Teen Titans without Kid Flash with the yellow and red costume.

BG: You guys came out with Superboy in jeans and a t-shirt, right? Was that your idea or Johns? How did that evolve?

MM: I don’t remember. I know that I did a lot of costume designs for Superboy. I know that the black t-shirts are very popular.

BG: How was your time on the new Justice League (Unlimited)?

MM: It’s been great. I was on for issues 0 to 5 (2014).

BG: What’s your upcoming project?

jluMM: I’ve been working on my own books. I’m writing it…

BG: Gonna publish with Image?

MM: I’m not sure. I’ve got a couple ideas to play with. I’ve been on the road at hotels a lot so maybe I’ll write a story about that. I’ve just got to figure out what I’m going to write.

BG: One other question. Recently it’s been kinda a big deal with the Spider-Woman cover by Milo Manara with the over-sexualization of the female character. How do you feel about that? Marvel said we aren’t gonna use Manara on a couple other covers they had planned because of the backlash.

MM: Oh they did?

BG: Yeah. But after 20 or 30 years of Marvel coming out with things like X-Men Swimsuit issue does that mean anything?

MM: You have to appreciate that comics do represent the idealized body – male and female. But there is a line of good taste that shouldn’t be crossed. And I’m not saying that Marvel and Milo crossed it…. I think everyone who works in comics has been guilty of it at times.

BG: Yeah, everyone is super buff and wearing skin tight clothes. So there is a certain expectation that they will be sexy.

MM: Yeah. But there is a line for good taste. It’s not really what they are wearing but how they are posed. I think people are starting to be more aware of this.

BG: It’s a little bit harder to get away with this because there is so much more immediate scrutiny on the internet.

MM: Yeah, finally the internet is good for something!

BG: Thank you for your time!

MM: I appreciate it. Take care.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

David Mason has been a comics aficionado since the late 80s and is passionate about the creators in the industry. David, his wife and six kids live in in Middle Tennessee. He loves Jesus and was wet t-shirt contest winner at Smyrna High School in back to back years (1997, 1998).

Live Blog: Day 2 #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

Welcome to BookGateway.com’s Wizard World Comic Con Nashville live blog! Join me (Scott Asher @ashertopia) and David Mason as we blog everything that happens on day 2 of Comic Con Nashville! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BookGateway and #WizardWorld! On tap tonight: Q&A with creators and actors for the Walking Dead, Star Trek, WWE, interviews with artists and writers, and cosplay photos. Coverage starts 9/27 at 1 pm Central. Tune in for updates!

Live Blog: Opening Night #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

Welcome to BookGateway.com’s Wizard World Comic Con Nashville live blog! Join me (Scott Asher @ashertopia) and David Mason as we blog everything that happens on opening night of Comic Con Nashville! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BookGateway and #WizardWorld! On tap tonight: opening ceremonies, cosplay and a bunch of quick hit interviews with artists and writers. Coverage starts at 9/26 at 7 pm Central. Tune in for updates!