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.

Wizard World Comic Con Nashville Coming!

Ron Garney, Peter Bagge, Ethan Van Sciver, Phil Ortiz Top Comics Creators At Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, September 26-28

BookGateway.com will be there live! Pictures, interviews and all the events. Watch BookGateway.com and BuddyHollywood.com for live coverage!

Arthur Suydam, Tom Raney, Roland Boschi, Kevin Maguire Among Leaders Of 50+ In Artist Alley At Music City Center

NASHVILLE, Tenn., September 5, 2014Ron Garney (“Thor,” “Uncanny X-Force”), Peter Bagge (“Hate,” “MAD”), Ethan Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Flash”) and Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “Muppet Babies”) are among the leading comics creators scheduled to attend william-shatner-68Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, September 26-28 at the Music City Center. In all, more than 50 writers and artists will populate Artist Alley at the show.

Other superstar comics creators scheduled to attend include Arthur eliza-dushku-3Suydam (“Marvel Zombies,” “Army of Darkness”), Tom Raney (“AVX: Consequences,” “Avengers Academy”), Roland Boschi (“Wolverine MAX,” “X-Men”), Michael Golden (“Spider-Man,” “Hulk”), Greg Horn levar-burton-13(“Walt Disney,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Rob Prior (“Heavy Metal,” “Spawn the Impaler”) and many others.

Additionally, Wizard World Nashville VIP attendees will receive a free copy of the God of Thunder #25, limited-edition variant cover drawn by Raney, at registration.

ron-garney-10Wizard World Nashville Comic Con is the 12th of 16 events in the 2014 series produced by Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD). It will also feature leading celebrities such as tom-raney-4William Shatner (Star Trek, “T.J. Hooker”), Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead,” “The Vampire Diaries”), WWE® Superstar Kane®, WWE® Divas The Bella Twins™, Evan Peters (X-Men: Days of Future Past, American Horror Story), Eliza Dushku (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”), Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Brian Krause (“Charmed”)and Alan Tudyk (“Firefly,” 42), and a variety of activities, exhibitors and special attractions.

For more on the 2014 Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, visit http://www.wizd.me/NashvillePR.

About Wizard World: Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, television, cosplay, comics, graphic novels, toys, video gaming, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place at each event, with celebrity Q&A’s, the Wizard World Film Festival, comics-themed sessions, costume contests, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Full event information can be found at http://www.wizd.me/PR.

Wizard World Remaining 2014 Schedule

September 12-14 – Wizard World Richmond Comic Con
September 26-28 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
October 2-4 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con
November 21-23 – Wizard World Reno Comic Con


Press release (c) Wizard World.

Outcast #1 by Kirkman and Azaceta

Kirkman (Walking Dead) and his Skybound imprint at Image debut a new supernatural thriller / horror book – another in a long line of what we can now consider his genre of choice.

Outcast #1
written by Robert Kirkman
art by Paul Azaceta
Image: Skybound
June 2014

Kyle, who we learn is demon afflicted in some way, is struggling to live ina world where he sees and hears and interacts with creatures that shouldn’t exist. While we know little of what happened to him – and what little we know is presented in flashback – we do find that he has the ability to someone how absorb or dispell demons. The end lays out the gameplan for where the story may go and in my opinion does a really compelling job of it.

The artwork by Azaceta is dark, brooding and heavy. Which is perfect. The story is tight and intriguing. A book that horror and suspsense fans will be thrilled to read. It is also a book that fans of the Walking Dead and Kirkman’s other work (not counting his superhero stuff) will enjoy because of the complex character development. This is another story where the supernatural is merely the setting that our characters move through.

Interestingly, Kirkman had previously declared himself athiest makes a strong case for belief in demons and posession in the end notes of the book. In a strongly worded letter he makes it clear that no matter what we may believe this topic is real and there is a proponderance of evidence for it. As a believer, this is good news to me. While I wouldn’t suggest an unhealthy interest in the occult, the fact that some who aren’t believers do believe in supernatural activities like demon posession and such is a good news story. The fact is Kirkman is correct: there is far too much evidence that supernatural doesn’t mean impossible. That’s a door I’m cool with him opening.


@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.

Beyond: Edward Snowden by D’Orazio and Lauer

Let’s get this out of the way: if Snowden is right then the NSA just cached this review and could use it to aggregate data on what we at BookGateway.com and I personally believe about a variety of topics, including America, the President, political views, beliefs and more. If that bothers you then you may have Snowden to thank (or blame) for illegally leaking info about these programs to the public. The real question is: what now?

Beyond: Edward Snowden
Written by Valerie D’Orazio
Illustrated by Dan Lauer
Bluewater Productions
May 2014

Is Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor? How did he get access to so much sensitive data? What has he done with the data? That’s one side of the coin. The other side is more about why the NSA is collecting all this data? What will the NSA do with the data? And how did the NSA get approval to collect so much data on American citizens? Yeah, no answers here. Just questions. Exactly like the comic.

Like an illustrated Wikipedia page, Bluewater and D’Orazio’s Snowden is a brief biographical illustrated article that gives insight and asks questions that are missing from so much of the nation’s dialog on this subject. Not simply traitor or patriot but more real life. Nuanced. And complicated. A great starting place for those interested in Snowden and aren’t sure they are getting the whole story by just reading the headlines.

D’Orazio does a good job of building a biography of Snowden prior to his leaks and then posing questions. She doesn’t answer them and does a good job at walking the line between journalist and editorial. Lauer does an adequate job of illustration. It’s stilted and stiff, but the style matches the almost realism of the topic. It won’t win awards and isn’t pandering to the Jim Lee fanboys. It works though.

For more information about Snowden, check out this video of his recent interview with Brian Williams.


Inside The Mind of Edward Snowden ~ NBC News… by HumanSlinky

If you are interested in these kinds of instructive, editorial comics then check out the rest of the Bluewater lineup. They’ve also covered newsworthy people and topics such as Colin Powell, the Tea Party Movement, Hillary Clinton, Bill O’Reilly, Chris Christie, Anderson Cooper, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Barak Obama.


@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.

The Brick Bible by Brendan Powell Smith

coverIt seems like publishers don’t need much of a reason to print new Bibles with even the slightest deviation of theme. The Men’s Bible, NIV Men’s Devotional Bible, MANual: the Bible for Men, Every Man’s Bible NIV, Every Man’s Bible NLT, Every Man’s Bible (NIV or NLT): Deluxe Explorer’s Edition, Quiet Strength Bible: Men’s Bible Study – those are all real and they are only the very first page of “Men’s Bibles” on Amazon. When will we see something truly different? Enter Brendan Powell Smith and The Brick Bible. But is it a Bible?

The Brick Bible: The Complete Set
By Brendan Powell Smith
Skyhorse Publishing
October 2013

CainandableIn this version, which collects both the Old and New Testaments, the artist/writer of the Brick Bible Brendan Powell Smith created and shot over 2000 different scenes from the Bible’s main stories. It is clear from the start that these are not photos for children. The violence, sexuality and nudity that exists in the Bible is on naked display in the depictions. (Brendan Powell Smith did create some children’s books that avoid some of the messier elements, like Jonah, Daniel, Noah’s Ark, the Christmas Story and such.)

The fact that every scene pictured is built, one brick at a time, is the real joy and accomplishment of this book. It is pure genius! Even seeing how Brendan Powell Smith overcomes issues like height (Saul has a 2×1 white square as his robe then 1×1 flat yellow rounds for legs to make him taller than everyone else, for instance), or outstretched arms (he has connected arms out of socket sideways to have them straight out), are very clever. Further effects with focus and perspective make almost every picture an achievement in itself.

Tdavidhe Old and New Testament have most of their major stories and some minor ones that seem to fit Brendan Powell Smith’s design (see below). You will see a ton of New Testament space spent on Jesus and Revelation, with little time spent on the Epistles, which makes sense since they aren’t visual stories but didactic letters. Understanding the difference in the type of literature of the Bible helps understand why he would or wouldn’t have photos. But in some cases, where there are visual portrayals of certain kinds of literature, specifically apocalyptic, the scenes are very literally envisioned. And in other situations that require interpretation skills, the author relies on English 21st century understanding of words rather than what the words meant originally.

JonathanThe violence and nudity that really help to bring even more distinction to this version of the Bible. So often these are glossed over. Stories about David taking out Goliath, for instance, usually ends with the stone killing Goliath. We gloss over the fact that David then chopped off Goliath’s head like a trophy. When stories in the Bible tell of murder and war, the Brick Bible takes, what looks a lot like, “glee” in telling them in gory, clear red brick building glory. While this is jarring at times it also makes real some of the parts of the Bible that we skip past when reading.

HeavenWhile I enjoyed the honesty in the violence, I didn’t enjoy some of the commentary in the pictures. At times the fact that this is satire is very clear and real. Picture and headings says more about Brendan Powell Smith’s opinions on the subjects he is depicting than allowing proper Biblical interpretation to take place. Instead of exegesis, many times there is simply a very wooden literal reading of the English which is infused with the current meanings and interpretations. For instance, there is no evidence and it is not implied in the original languages or in 2500 to 3000 years of orthodox belief that Jonathan loved David in an erotic way. But in the depictions of their interactions it is clearly set up as a homosexual relationship. Hearts floating above Jonathan’s head – like a teenager with a crush – and when David greeted Jonathan with a kiss it is on the lips rather than what the Bible is saying. Jonathan did love David and pledged his life to him. And in that culture a kiss in greeting was much more akin to what we see in foreign films – a sign of respect. Not an erotic thing. Likewise, headings titled “Genocide” instead of “Judgment” also clearly show Brendan Powell Smith’s wooden literal and bias.

lastsupperI have a ton of respect for what Brendan Powell Smith has done here with Legos and art. I’ve read that he is an atheist and I think that bias comes out in ways that will offend sincere believers – many prospective buyers and readers may be turned off by his choices in what to include and how to irreverantly depict them. Interestingly, in reviewing Brendan Powell Smith’s online site (http://www.bricktestament.com/home.html) you will find some pictures online were redacted or cropped from the published books. I noticed this with scenes that I was concerned with above, where commentary steps the story a little further from orthodox acceptance. If he or the publisher were aware of the possibility of offense and so removed from publication certain scenes it seems like they should have considered what scenes should perhaps have been removed from both. After all, the primary audience of a book about the Bible should be Christians who love creativity and art and also God. But with a focus on satire, and by allowing his bias to color what he selected to depict in such an overt way, it overshadows evertything else and we end up losing some of the primary audience for the much, much smaller satire audience. I’m not sure that was very wise.

JesusEven with the satirical commentary, this is a genius book. It is not Christians who may be offended by visual depictions of some of the seedier stories in the Bible or who may be offended by the way that the author treats a reverant subject in such an irreverant way at times. It is also not for children. But it is for art loving people who enjoy creativity and brilliant photography. It is also for lovers of Lego and the amazing things that toy/tool allows us to do with it. With all my concerns listed I would stistill recommend it to those audiences for this amazing achievement.

To answer the question posed at the start of this review: this is not a Bible. It is a work of art. As long as we think of it like this we may be more inclined to enjoy it for what it is rather than what we believers would want it to be.


@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.

Preview: Invincible Universe #10

invincible-universe-10It is finally time for Kid Thor and Knockout to tie the knot. But a big wedding means a lot of friends and when you friends are superheroes with short fuses trouble has no choice but to ensue. Meanwhile, one hero struggles to stay clean with all the tempting alcohol around.

Check out the festivities in Invincible Universe #10 on sale for $2.99 this month from Image and Skybound.

Invincible Universe #10
Written by Phil Hester
Pencils/ inks by Todd Nauck
Image Skybound
February 2014


@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.

Manifest Destiny #4 by Dingess and Roberts

manifestdestiny4Lewis and Clark are stuck in a fort, surrounded by buffalo-headed minotaur, with vegetable zombies infecting them inside the walls. Their only escape may be back to their ship. But how to get past their enemies?

Manifest Destiny #4
Written by Chris Dingess
Pencils/inks by Matthew Roberts
Image Skybound
February 2014

The fourth issue in this alternative history / fantasy horror series is picking up steam. Not only does it have just enough real history to ground the story, but enough fantasy – just twisted enough – to keep reader’s interest. Last issue we saw an Indian woman attacking the minotaur surrounding the fort. This issue we meet Sacagawea for the first time but with the twist that she is supposed to be pregnant with a child that is somehow very important to the plot.

What I like most about this story is how it’s unclear how the story will unfold but not in the normal we-are-going-to-red-herring-you-to-death way. More like we are actually watching it unfold without explanation and the more we learn the more we want to know more. Well done.

The artwork is well done. The plain dress and earthy backdrops lend credence to the idea that this is a real story; rooted in history. Roberts does a great job with expressions and the pencils and inks are very detailed. The colorist, Owen Gieni, is more a mixed bag. The way he uses colors in lighting is great. They blend well and liven up some blank panels. But the way he uses color in outlines causes some art to fade instead of pop. To be fair this is an issue with quite a lot of current colorists. If you are going to use a heavier shade of the same color, say tan over beige skin color, for one character than you have to do the same non-black outlines on all the pictures on the page. Otherwise, you get a bunch of very strong black borders and then softer, faded borders on other things.(See Invincible Universe #10 for a great example of this.)

Another interesting non-superhero series from Image Skybound reinforcing their stranglehold on niche genre market. It’s definitely worth a look.


Scott Asher 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.

The Facebook Diet by Adams

You know you’re a Facebook addict when a book about Facebook addiction catches your eye. Yes, you.

The Facebook Diet
by Gemini Adams
Live Consciously
May 2013

This hilarious gift book features 50 full color cartoons from talented artist Gemina Adams who uses understated, simple illustrations to point out the truth of modern society’s online addictions. The illustrations will have you laughing out loud recognzing yourself in the work! We all know this stuff, but recognizing it is wild fun.

Consider some of my favorites, like the one where a man wrote (in paint) on the wall of their friend’s house and asked if they saw what he had written on their wall today. Or an illustration that says, “Nothing seems real until you post it…”

(Note that some of the art and language, including the one above, while rare, include depictions of nudity, sexual relations, and some language. If that is something you are sensitive to, then you should be aware of it. In total, there are perhaps 5 of the 50 illustrations that could offend.)

The book also includes over 20 pages of ideas on how to detox, including facetious ideas, like, “Get sent to jail” to politically charged (and accurate) options, like, “If all else fails… move to China!” An appropriate dessert to the illustrated main course.

If you are a Facebook addict or know one this book will make a great gift for those who enjoy art and humor. If Facebook isn’t your addiction, Live Consiously also has Twitter, You Tube and Instagram Diet books coming out next year.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

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

Messiah: Origin by Dorff, Arey and Carpenter

Part translation, part interpretation and all art. Messiah is amazing!

Messiah: Origin
Written by Matt Dorff and Mark Arey
Illustrated by Kai Carpenter
Zondervan
November 2013

The first in a series, this fully illustrated retelling of the life of Christ starts with his birth and young childhood. Dorff and Arey stay close to the Bible manuscripts but reinterpret them to go along with outstanding artwork by Carpenter.

The art is where this really shines. The illustrations are so powerful they are emotionally moving. Visually breathing new life in to the birth of Christ.

I would have prefered a less formal interpretation but that is such a very minor complaint. I recommend it to anyone who loves the Word, loves art and may be looking for something truly different.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

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

Manifest Destiny by Dingess, Roberts and Gieni

Lewis and Clark in 1804. And monsters. I’m with you.

Manifest Destiny #1
Written by Chris Dingess
Art by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni
Skybound / Image
November 2013

Alternative history is all the rage. Headless TV shows. Vampire hunting presidents. Witch fighting children’s characters. Zombified romance books. It’s fun. A lot of time it’s really cheesy too. But Manifest Deistiny from Skybound and Image looks to be a lot better.

Chris Dingess starts our tale with our heroes, some soldiers and some convicts (expendables) on a mission from President Jefferson to travel Northwest. What else the mission is we have only hints in the opening issue. That it deals with finding “creatures” or “monsters” we know, but why and how and to what end we will have to find out. This first issue is compelling and fun and had my attention from the start.

The art and colors are vibrant and suitably detailed for all the outdoor scenes and animals. Some really nice use of colors (consider the red, ala the Sixth Sense, in one page) accentuate the adventurous feel. But the art never strays too far from cartoony. No superbuff, serious characters here.

A very promising start to the series. Check it out later this month.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

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

Ghosted #5

ghosted5When we left off (issue 4) the thief was possessed, the videographers were dead, the group was trapped and surrounded by ghosts and darkness had fallen. Pretty grim, huh?

Ghosted #5
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Goran Sudzuka and Miroslav Mrva
Skybound / Image
November 2013

[MAJOR SPOILERS ABOUND] In this issue, we find Jackson fighting with Anderson fighting – really fighting, with guns and knives – as the depth of her allegiance to Markus is fully displayed but not fully explained. The medium, skeptic and the thief all make it out alive after a plot twist towards revenge ends the battle and the storyline.

This is the issue that finally wraps up the “steal a ghost” storyline – and let’s face it, how long could it last anyway? Five issues is probably two too many as it wasn’t a deep or particularly satisfying story. It was filled with gotcha moments and despicable acts that only really took off in issues 3 and 4 when we started to see survival horror aspects come in to play. But then it just ends almost like the story was cut short. Why not continue the story and have the ghosts pick off a few more characters, one after the other, if we are going for horror? Have you ever read a horror story where the characters find themselves in a bind, a few immediately die, then the rest – all the rest – make a deal with the ghosts and then live? Yeah, me either.

One other thing that bugs me about this far too quickly over story is how Jackson is stabbed with a knife that is longer than Anderson’s head and neck are tall through his left back, level with his heart, causing him to fall down stairs only to sit up and continue talking and then somehow at the end has no injury. I’ve reread it. There is no explanation. The whole story feels so quickly mashed together that a lot is unexplained.

Why did the ghosts want to kill anyone since they were just victims of Markus and quickly placated? Why did the ghosts try to hang Jackson in issue 4? Why was there a portal to Hell in issues 2, 3 but nothing else came of it? What was the point of having a skeptic or a thief in the story at all? If the medium could just put the mask on and find out the truth about Markus why didn’t she do it in issue 1? Why would Rusnak become a Maury Povich? But the writer get’s to do whatever they want and while I don’t get it I don’t have to. But I should enjoy it and I really didn’t.

The best and only reason to read this story has always been Jackson. And in the end, we see we may finally get what we want. After the epilogue we see him living out his life six months later on the beach. He’s ignoring his past as a thief avoiding the repercussions of his past. He gets to use his gun. He’s cool. He’s basically a sorta Thief of Thieves lite. Even the artwork – which is more vibrant and cartoony than the dark, grungy look of the first 5 issues – is more enjoyable. I’m actually looking forward to issue 6 and seeing where the story goes. [END SPOILERS]


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

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