dark horse comics

‘Black Hammer Volume 1: Secret Origins’ TPB (review) at FORCES OF GEEK

Jeff Lemire’s vision of a superhero universe, rooted deep in his indie roots comes to fruition today in the release of the first volume of Black Hammer (Dark Horse Comics).

Drawn with a Mignola-esque sensibility, the art by Dean Ormston (2000 AD, Sandman Mystery Theatre) drops you into this new universe that is as much Kirby as it is Lemire’s own Sweet Tooth.

Let us back up a couple of steps. Why should you read this book about a superhero team from another dimension trapped within a 10 mile radius of a simple farm house?

The answer is simple: This book is very good.


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THE NEW DEAL By Jonathan Case (graphic novel review) at FORCES OF GEEK

Written and Illustrated by Jonathan Case
Published by Dark Horse Comics
ISBN: 978-1-61655-731-7
Price: $16.99
Publication Date: 9/23/15
Buy it HERE

While based in 1936, Jonathan Case’s The New Deal is not a hum-drum historical drama based on FDR’s realignment. 

No sir, this is a beautifully rendered period heist comedy based the Waldorf Astoria highlighting income disparity from the bellhops and chamber maids kowtowing to the needs of the very rich that choose to make the ritzy hotel their home.

Published under Dark Horse’s seldom used, but high end Dark Horse Originals imprint, The New Deal looks as if it was published at Fantagraphics or Drawn and Quarterly, not necessarily at the home of Barb Wire and Itty Bitty Mask. 

Nice production design, classy art deco endpapers and a black and white plus wash look to the pages make for an excellent looking hardcover.



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Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 TPB (review) at FORCES OF GEEK

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 TPB
Written by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
Art by Alex Maleev
Colored by Dave Stewart
Cover by Mike Mignola
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $19.99
Diamond ID:APR150064
ISBN: 978-1-61655-660-0
Published: August 12, 2015


Hellboy embarks on his first mission with the B.P.R.D. Team and wouldn’t you know it, there are demon monkeys, drunken priests and someone out to get the Big Red One.

Returning to Hellboy for the first time since 2003 is frequent Bendis collaborator Alex Maleev for art duties on this Mike Mignola & John Arcudi penned tale set in 1952.

Of course, regular Hellboy colorist Dave Stewart joins the fun on this fantastic adventure.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 is part mystery, part adventure story and explores some growth and development to how Hellboy came up in our world.

The 5 issue series is collected in one volume to hit shelves next week. This is a highly recommended addition to your Hellboy collection and also a great introduction this world as it focuses on a younger Hellboy and Maleev’s art fits the world of the B.P.R.D. so well.

Hellboy fanatics have likely grabbed these issues in floppy form, or perhaps are waiting until this trade drops to line up the spines perfectly with their other Hellboy volumes. However you end up consuming this (Dark Horse is finally onComiXology, FYI), be prepared for some familiar faces as well as some creepy introductions.

Mignola admits to being a bit of a control freak when it comes to other artists drawing his stories. What evolved from tweaking camera angles on Alex’s initial sketches eventually became Mike sending his own thumbnails to the artist. I’m sure the two got along fine, however. The pages and storytelling have the patina of classic Mignola Hellboy tales or old vampiric horror movies. You know how you feel when you read Hellboy Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction? You feel the same here.






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Three new number ones this week for our Triple Shot!

Ming Doyle teams up with James Tynion IV for the DCYou take on Constantine: The Hellblazer, Liz Prince (Tomboy) and artist Evan Palmer (Munchkin) step into the world of Cartoon Network’s newest creation, Clarence and we preview next month’s Negative Space #1 from Ryan K Lindsay.

WRITER: Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV
ART:  Riley Rossmo
Publication Date: June 10, 2015
Price: $2.99
Publisher: DC Comics
UPC: 76194133011200111
Buy it HERE









New creative team Ming Doyle (Mara, The Kitchen)
and James Tynion IV (Talon, Batman Eternal) relaunch Constantine for the #DCYou.

The much beleaguered title and main character has to be an
intimidating one — Constantine has seen many forms, from
a Vertigo comic to a movie starring Keanu Reaves (what?)
and riding the recent wave of comic book television with 2014’s Constantine (RIP).

Getting a handle on the character is no easy task —
Vertigo writers in the past include Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis,
Peter Milligan, Andy Diggle and many more.

Constantine in the DCU is a younger character and Doyle and Tynion
are allowed to play him that way, hopefully to generate a new
audience for Constantine as well as bridge the gap with older readers.

This being a DC Comic and not Vertigo hurts the book in my opinion.

John Constantine should be able to swear and be raunchy.

Issue #1 isn’t a bad go at the old guy, though.
Our demon whisperer shows up naked in a clothing shop covered in blood
and brains. Later in the story, he is drafted by Blythe for a quick shag
and his first ‘mission’ against some demons.

Riley Rossmo has great stylistic choices for his art, including a
landscape splash page cutaway view of the club and by the end of the book gets to draw some cool looking demons.

I’m interested to see where this goes, issue #1 had enough bite to
want me to pick up the next issue. This book doesn’t seem to be
pandering to any fans of any Hellblazer incarnations — that could be a blessing or a curse once the story develops more.



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With Dark Horse declaring March 22 Hellboy Day, we decided to bring you HELLBOY WEEK. Today is Part 2 of Clay N. Ferno’s interview with the masterful Mike Mignola.

If you missed Part 1, shame on you. To make amends, it’s right here.


Unlettered cover to Hellboy in Hell #6: The Death Card, due out in May.

Unlettered cover to Hellboy in Hell #6: The Death Card, due out in May.


Just curious now, what is it like for you when you meet a Will Eisner? You’re a giant yourself, and you are rubbing shoulders with your heroes. Are you sort of intimidated to meet other artists like that? Or are you all pals? How does it feel for you?

I’m trying to think of guys like that that are still around. It is very strange to me now, that people I’ve known for a very long time have achieved a sort of legend status. I knew them when they weren’t that. It is very cool. And the 16- and 17-year-old version of me — if that kid I was could have ever imagined that I’d be eating lunch with Richard Corbin!

Richard was probably the guy that I worked with in the past few years that I grew up in awe of his stuff. He is one of those guys that never in a million years would I have thought I’d have any contact with that guy, let alone work with him, or go to his house to eat lunch with him. That is possibly the biggest leap for me, as far as being a fan to the intimacy of working with the guy. I can’t think of another case like that.

The weirdness or another one of those, is Bernie Wrightson. I’ve had lunch with Bernie Wrightson, I’ve hung out with Bernie Wrightson. As a kid, I wanted desperately to be Bernie Wrightson! So, even though we haven’t really worked together, the fact that he even knows who I am is pretty amazing. I have been very fortunate to interact with some of my heroes.

Wrightson's handiwork.

Wrightson’s handiwork.

I even met Frazetta once, and he said something very nice. He was one of those guys I didn’t want to meet because I was so in awe of him, he was such a huge influence on me. (But) I heard some not terrific stories about Frank as a guy. Someone had introduced us, Hellboy had just came out, I showed him a copy and he made a nice comment. I just thought, “Holy shit! I just met Frazetta. I’m not gonna push it, or make it a longer conversation.”

But it was very nice and it is a wonderful memory. I have been very fortunate to have met a lot of these guys.

And then you have your peers, who are all absolutely amazing.

And it is weird when your peers are guys like Art Adams, and I knew him as a kid. To me, while I think if him as a phenomenal artist, to me, he will always be the guy who broke into the business around the same time I did. It is very cool to sit back and watch, your contemporaries are guys that are legendary and people are in awe of.

One of my best friends from art school was the co-director of the last Pixar movie, “Brave.” It is wild when you grew up with these guys who grew up to do these things.

Adams print at his website.

Adams print at his website.

As a fan, it makes you feel good that there is a) reverence and b) respect for one another. I know there can be rivalries but besides that, it seems very nice.

It is always nice when there aren’t rivalries. I am very fortunate that my group of close friends, and not a lot of us went into the comics field, but a lot of us went into such different places and we achieved success in completely different ways. I was never going to be Art Adams, we weren’t going up for the same jobs. Steve Purcell (Pixar) went in a completely different direction.


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The first Hellboy collection.

The first Hellboy collection.

Dark Horse has dubbed this Saturday, March 22 as Hellboy Day. If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware of who Mike Mignola is and how considerable his impact on the comics industry has been. But it’s still an eye-opener to read his official bio:

MIKE MIGNOLA’s fascination with ghosts and monsters began at an early age; reading “Dracula” at age 12 introduced him to Victorian literature and folklore, from which he has never recovered. Starting in 1982 as a bad inker for Marvel Comics, he swiftly evolved into a not-so-bad artist. By the late 1980s, he had begun to develop his own unique graphic style, with mainstream projects like DC’s Cosmic Odyssey and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. In 1994, he published the first Hellboy series through Dark Horse. As of this writing there are 12 Hellboy graphic novels (with more on the way), several spinoff titles (B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder), prose books, animated films, and two live-action films starring Ron Perlman. Along the way he worked on Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992), was a production designer for Disney’s “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001), and was the visual consultant to director Guillermo del Toro on “Blade II” (2002), “Hellboy” (2004), and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008). Mike’s books have earned numerous awards and are published in a great many countries. Mike lives somewhere in Southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.

In this first installment, Mignola and our Clay N. Ferno jump right in and talk about the literary and pulp influences behind everyone’s favorite demon — such as Conan and Solomon Kane.


Clay N. Ferno: Tell us what sort of literary influences come up in Hellboy.

Mike Mignola: It’s funny, I was doing an interview the other day and trying to pin down the roots of the Hellboy stuff — not comic book roots as much as they are pulp magazine roots.

I was listening to the 8 billionth comment about H.P. Lovecraft and I said “Yeah, that stuff is in there, but I think that the bigger, fundamental structure of the Hellboy stuff came from pulp magazine guys like Robert E. Howard and Manly Wade Wellman. Specifically the idea of this kind of character who kind of wanders around and runs into stuff. Also, the short story format, which, at least in most mainstream comics is not the most common way for doing stories, but after the first miniseries, I went quite a bit to doing short stories, and not just short stories, but short stories that don’t take place in a chronological order.

We saw this with Robert E. Howard doing Conan and Solomon Kane and these kind of characters that kind of wander all over the world and they’ll run a story on a character who is old, and then about when he is young, and it is for other people to cobble them all together into some kind of coherent order. I think that was very much informing the way I did Hellboy.


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300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (review)

Produced by Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton, 
Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Bernie Goldmann
Screenplay by Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad
Based on Xerxes by Frank Miller
Directed by Noam Murro
Starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, 
Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey 

The sequel to the 2006 epic comic book film 300 is an impressive one, taking place at a similar timeline to the first movie as Greeks defend their land against Persia.

The beginning of the movie shows the mystical origin of the God King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) as well as the rise of Athenian general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton).

In a refreshing breath of balance not seen often in Hollywood action movies today are the two female leads, Persian ally Artemisia (Eva Green) and widow of King Leonidas, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey).

At points, it seems the God King Xerxes’ origin was a red herring, allowing these ladies to shine and spill copious amounts of blood with their own blades, while the golden king sat on the safety of this throne—quite literally the backseat for this movie.

Embrace the 3D version of this movie if you can! “Tonight we dine…in spectacle”!

Though not a requirement for enjoyment of the movie, most FOG! readers may want to give themselves a refresher on the original movie, directed by Zack Snyder and based on the comic book series by Frank Miller.Xerxes by Miller isn’t even out yet, so fans of the writer artist will need to wait.

The closest you can even get is a preview in Dark Horse Presents #1!
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DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for November 20, 2013


What do band managers do? Nothing! Just kidding! Read about Brian Epstein’s role in making The Beatles the world’s most influential Rock and Roll band! Dark Horse is proud to present The Fifth Beatle, the story of a man facing homophobia, Anti-Semitism and a someone who died all too young. … The countdown to issue #200 continues as Savage Dragon is strapped to the electric chair and is begging for the end! Savage Dragon #172 today!… Feel bad for poor Aric of Dacia because Unity is on his ass? Venditti & Nord return for X-O Manowar #19, a great jumping on point for new readers at the start of the huge Valiant Universe Unity Event as X-O defends his legacy, the land of the Visigoths aka Romania! … Picks this week from LeaguePodcast.com!

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This past Saturday, The Legend of Zelda came alive on the stage at the Citi Wang Theatrein Boston with The Rhode Island Philharmonic and full choir, led by Zelda Symphony leader Jeron Moore. Fans of the long-running video game franchise, some in costume, brought their Nintendo 3DS’s out to play and enjoy the celebration of
Link, The Tri-Force, Zelda, and The Goddesses.


This was truly a unique experience for all involved. The tour came through for its second season,The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, Second Quest. Fans of the game, parents, and those like myself that have fallen out of practice with video games in recent years gathered at The Wang Theatre for pre-recorded gameplay accompanied by a full orchestra and choir in two movements, and four acts.

After the Overture, Producer & Lead Creative Director Jeron Moore introduced himself to the crowd. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening which takes place not on Hyrule but on Koholint Island. This music lead us all into the theme of another handheld Zelda game, Spirit Tracks, a bizarre and underrated game where Link drives a train!

Jeron has re-presented these musical themes, with all new arrangements with the blessing of franchise producer Eiji Aonuma and Nintendo composer and sound director Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda).

If you’re head is literally not in the game, it certainly doesn’t matter. Hearing an orchestra play, while watching someone else play through difficult levels of Zelda you may or may not have heard of is at once impressive as it is meditative. And did we mention dynamic? The roar of excitement you feel from the music see Link defeat Ganon might make it seem like a smaller victory at home on your system.

At points, all I could think of, especially while watching a difficult section of Link’s Awakening was, “That looks hard.”


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Parker gets fired in Superior Spider-Man (surprise, surprise), a team of atheists are charged with facing the occult in S.H.O.O.T. First #1 from Dark Horse, and the New 52 Origin of Two-Face has just begun in the Batman and… series.

Hang out with your boss Skullcrusher on Chiron Beta Prime with Greg Pak and JoCo with Code Monkey Save World, only available on ComiXology.

WRITER: Dan Slott
ART: Ryan Stegman
Publication Date: October 16, 2013
Price: $3.99
Publisher: Marvel Comics
UPC: 75960607912401911
Buy it HERE

Slott really jacks up the action and resolves more than one hanging plotline, referencing his Amazing Spider-Man run and looking forward to2099 in the latest issue of Superior Spider-Man.  Things are looking like they are coming to a head as Octavius finds himself unemployed and Horizon Labs takes to the sea. Spoiler warning for those that want to catch up in trade, as this issue resolved some major beats!

Michael O’Mara, Spider-Man of 2099 is in the present day as a result of Tiberius Stone mucking about in the Marvel timeline — a common theme this year that we’re hoping will continue as past and future versions of heroes mix with the current day.

Horizon Labs is rigged to explode and all future time will diminish if our Superior Spidey fails to solve an equation—an equation only Peter Parker knows how to formulate! Otto fudges it, saves the day but not Horizon, which is imploded and destroyed.

In the end here are the major points: Parker’s fired from Horizon, O’Mara is now stuck in 2013, Horizon is not allowed to re-open and someone very close to Spider-Man is now on the case of a connection between Superior Spidey and Doc Ock. Can the end be near? Where’s Peter? Gone forever?

The amazing and spectacular team of Ryan Stegman and the masterful Doctor Who time bending make this issue a BIG TIME deal. How long are we with Superior? I have a feeling the payoff and the buildup will continue to impress as Slott keeps us guessing and wanting more.




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Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 11.42.59 AM

New York Comic Con, October 10-13, is the biggest East Coast show of the year, and we are headed down there to fill our Adventure Time WeLoveFine oversized Con bag with swag, original art, and business cards to continue to deliver the fine comic book journalism you have come to expect from Earth Prime Time each week. Here’s a preview of some of the weird and wonderful delights the con has promised us from the many media announcements making their way to our inbox this fall.

This is truly a nerd’s holiday weekend! We here at LeaguePodcast make it a tradition of heading to Gotham once a year since our inception there, four years ago at a New York Comic Con afterparty. Hometown friends, miles from home, delighted in the smells of Hell’s Kitchen over beers at an iFanboy party and made an honest swing at weekly comic book podcasting ourselves and now we’re 166 episodes in, with events and our own after parties to attend to!

With a small bottle of Spider-Man hand sanitizer attached to our backpacks, a Mophie Juice Pack on the iPhone, we are getting on the safest and cheapest early bus on Friday to live it all again.

This time, it’s bigger. This time, it will be better. How do we know? The con has grown from 105,000 people in 2011 to 116,000 in 2012. And there’s gonna be a new Walking Dead episode this weekend and a ten year anniversary celebration of the comic with issue #115.

Walking Dead 115 - Charlie Adlard

Walking Dead 115 - Charlie Adlard

Hollywood certainly takes a fair amount of floor space in San Diego and New York. Besides everyone’s favorite zombie show, you could catch a screening of the doll of our nightmares, Chucky returning in Curse of Chucky. The 25th Anniversary of Chucky is celebrated at a panel on Friday.




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DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for September 18, 2013


Another great spyfi title hits the shelf this week with Zero #1 from Image Comics by Ales Kot and up and comer Michael Walsh. Great military action with a sci-fi twist! … Over at Dark Horse, we trade in our NOLA vamps for furry Werewolves in the Big Easy with Kiss Me Satan #1 from the author of the recent Buffyverse tale Spike: A Dark Place. “Do you wanna die”? Toadies drummer Mark Reznicek co-writes Buzzkill #1 about a superhero who gets his powers from drinking copious amounts of alcohol! … Picks this week from LeaguePodcast.com.


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This week’s Triple Shot gives us the Batgirl of the future in Batman Beyond Unlmited, a buddy vampire comedy adventure in Blood Brothers and the Dreadnoks return in G.I. Joe Special Missions.

WRITER: Scott Peterson
ART: Annie Wu
Publication Date: July 17, 2013
Price: $3.99
Publisher: DC Comics
UPC: 76194130753401811
Buy it HERE

Terry McGuinness isn’t the only one suiting up in Neo-Gotham in the future.

In fact, the Bat-Family is extended to a Batgirl and even the original Metal Men. In the current status quo of theBatman Beyond Unlimited series, the police commissioner is none other than original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, about the same age (probably a bit younger than, actually) as Batman’s mentor Bruce Wayne.

In the Crown Point section of Neo-Gotham, the water supply has been poisoned by a super-steroid.

Current Batgirl Nissa Gibson and Babs team up to take down the Roake Corporation who is spiking the punch. Lots of good action here in this one, as plain-clothed Babs teams up with the high schooler for some big punches and hand to hand combat teamwork. New Batgirl handles herself well, in cocky Batgirl fashion, almost getting herself into too much that she can handle and figuring it out in the end. 

The backup story stars The Metal Men, who have been on ice for decades, after the passing of Doc Will Magnus. Bruce Wayne reassigns them as agents of the Bat-Family, as Bruce, Terry and Nissa take on the Undercloud network. It’s great to see The Metal Men in action, a delightful and anachronistic surprise in this story set in the future.


Moth City Season 2 - Tim Gibson

Tim Gibson, a New Zealand based artist and writer is taking full advantage of genre, digital comics on devices and innovating how a reader participates in the comic reading experience with his debut graphic novel Moth City. Mainstream and back catalogs of comics have been available on computers and other devices via ComiXology since 2009. Webcomics themselves are nearly 30 years old. Gibson is transforming the page and webpage with panel layers and acting to give a more full reading experience. Moth City #3 is available today on ComiXology. We talk with Tim about process and the importance of word of mouth support for independent comics.

DIGBOSTON: Tim, thanks so much for taking the time today to tell us about Moth City! We’re here to talk about comics, mind telling the fans out there some of the projects you’ve worked on in the past? Your name probably scrolled by them at some point.

TIM GIBSON: Moth City is actually my debut comic, I’ve mainly worked as an illustrator and concept designer in the Film and TV industry. The closet I’ve come to working in comics before this was being a designer on The Adventures of Tintin film and some coloring work on The Red Star (Image Comics) when I was working at Weta Workshop (Lord the of Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, King Kong, Avatar, District 9).

How long has this idea been growing? Are all art projects eligible for funding in New Zealand?

  The idea of an entire island under the rule of one damaged man has been with me for a while. There is just something about the isolation of an island that makes bad stuff happening so much worse. It’s been with me for many years, but it was really the Creative New Zealand grant that enabled me to dedicate myself the massive amount kind of time needed to translate ideas into comics.

Completing a graphic novel has got to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

There’s so much work when it’s a solo venture, and the things you can’t do (copy editing, websites etc.) you have to convince talented friends/family to help for the lowest wages (i.e. nil) that they’ve ever worked for. 

Moth City - Story and art by Tim Gibson


The funding is really the only reason that Moth City exists in the way that it does. It’s not easy funding to get, there’s a lot of competition for it.

You put forth the strongest case possible, because you’re competing with published authors, people with track records and whole institutions who look to Arts Funding to do their work.

It’s probably safe to say that this book takes place in an alternate history, around the 1930s, on an island in China. There’s always been cowboys and rich tycoons wearing cowboy hats around the world, such as your Governor McCaw. He’s there to weaponize the Chinese army for profit. What else can you tell us about the city?

  The island of Moth City shares a lot of features with Hong Kong; it has a highly condensed city center, a towering peak for the elite and scattered fishing villages and docks. There are influences from both Hong Kong’s history, as well as Singapore’s. 

New Zealanders, as (still) a part of the British Empire are obsessed with colonization and imperialism. McCaw’s place at the head of his little empire is a part of that.

The populace certainly doesn’t want him there, but they were effectively sold to him as indentured labour along with the island itself.

Moth City - Story and art by Tim Gibson

This isn’t strictly a military or political thriller set in the past, we’re also dealing with murder set in on a noir backdrop. Do the multiple genres come from you trying to build this world from the ground up?

I think there’s a genre-freedom with indie graphic novels that you don’t get with most mainstream continuity work. There’s this great history of genre work in comics, obviously Wertham and the Comic Code did a lot to hamper that diversity, but looking around at great modern titles like Walking Dead, Saga, Fatale or Skullkickers you can see a strong resurgence. I think it’s what we need if we’re ever going to entice new readers into comic book shops. I didn’t plan it, but the four seasons of Moth City break down into genres surprisingly cleanly.

Season One is largely political thriller and mystery, Two moves into detective and noir, Three has some horror and kung fu and Four is balls-to-the-wall action and conflict.

Moth City - Story and art by Tim Gibson

The artwork is amazing, from the character designs to the architecture and coloring. I compare the art to my friends as that ‘inky’ line, such as your conteporaries Paul Pope and Ming Doyle. I also see the Mazzucchelli influence a bit, please take these as compliments — I’d hate to have you walk away from this interview at the beginning! The book is unique in that way, especially with you being the writer and the artist. Where do you start with the artwork, are you storyboarding the comic as you go?

Oh that’s very generous of you to say so, I certainly don’t mind being included in such fine company. I feel like I’m still finding my feet with inking – most of my illustration work is full color painting where the whole goal is to kill ‘outlines,’ not showcase them. I had to spend a long time, and produce a lot of test art and pages, to find that ‘voice’ when it comes to the inks and the colors.

This being my first comic I went about it all in an odd way. I actually wrote the whole thing as a straight narrative piece, like a novel. No page breaks, no panels.

It meant I could easily give it to people for story feedback and they could respond readily without having to learn to read a new format. When I was happy with that, I went through and picked my page breaks and then figured what I could fit into panels.

Of course, with the way my digital formatting works, I often do one and a half pages of illustration to make up one page of comic.

What makes Moth City so incredible, and the reason I wanted to talk to you was the way you are formatting the book digitally. You are using ComiXology to its fullest potential by animating transitions, pacing, dialogue and more. Much the way a director or editor can cut a film, you are curating the way we see the book. Panel transitions are ‘faux’ animated, layers are revealed in Moth City. Could you tell this story on a 9 panel printed page?

Yes and no. Yes in that I create a ‘print page’ of each digital page sequence. I make a decision on the optimal static version of that scene or sequence. I might break a panel that has two digital states into two smaller, static, panels side by side. Or, I might find that one state can carry the story. What the digital form gives you as a creator is more control of the timing of events, like you point out, it gives you the added control of a film editor, and I would also add actor. So much is conveyed in film with a lingering look, or a character who smiles, and within that same shot you see their demeanor crack and show their inner turmoil for a split second.

To tell that in print comics, you either need to use a lot of ‘voice over’ type, or a lot of panels.

Digital gives us that opportunity. Of course, I still have to draw all those extra moments.

Many, including Mark Waid, whom I respect for his Thrillbent digital comics experimentation are praising your innovation in the digital comics space. What more can you tell us about your motivations? I find your approach to be not only unique but innovative in an instinctual way. There’s some programming involved, too, right?

Moth City is the world’s most elaborate, time-intensive Power Point slide show.

My Web guys did some amazing work with mothcity.com in streamlining what is essentially a slide show of more than a thousand images, but you can read Moth City in a PDF and it works the same way.

Moth City - Tim Gibson Cover for Issue #3 (Season 02, part 1 of 2)


The main motivation for doing Moth City as a digital comic was an honest analysis of my chances as a debut creator, with no comic credits, getting a publishing deal with someone like Image, IDW, Dark Horse or Oni without bringing an audience to the table. I felt I had to earn a print run.

Once I made that decision I spent a lot of time looking at what I felt was broken in the presentation of long-form webcomics, and started to explore what I could do with the digital medium. I did a lot of research. A lot. Some of my experiments were happening at the same time as Yves “Balak” Bigerel, Dan Goldman and then Thrillbent’s.

I was borrowing stuff from everywhere and anywhere.

Moth City not only defies genre and moves us away from caped superheroes in the comic book medium, but does so in such an intuitive and familiar way, it outshines panel-to-panel digital comics and makes them look not fully developed comparison.

Thanks, I attribute that to our ability as readers to understand genres and tropes which give creators a certain shorthand when we create stories.

It feels familiar because it is, but where we go once you’re comfortable is a different story.

Issue 3 - or Season 2, part 1 is at the ComiXology store today. The price of entry for all three issues is almost the price of one regular priced comic. What can we tell people to go get all three today?

Oh geez… It’s awesome? It’s awesome and affordable? It’s awesome and affordable and I need a new pair of shoes?

Moth City already twisted my head around and shocked me in different ways at the ends of issues #2 and #3. Do you like to end on cliffhangers? If so, you’re really pushing this to the top of my recommended comics of the year.

Yeah, I’m really happy with the twists and turns in Moth City. The world is filled with great endings, what I’ve tried to do, and I think it works because I have this 8 issue arc all mapped out, is make sure those endings have an impact on the following issues.

There’s nothing worse than being left on the edge of your seat, only to come back next time and that problem/drama/twist is resolved in moments as though it never really mattered.

Of your influences, who in your opinion has changed the way we think of the comic book printed page?

Alex de Campi, Dan Goldman, Yves “Balak” Bigerel, Mark Waid and the whole Thrillbent.com family, Scott McCloud, Kurt Christenson and Reilly Brown and the entire world of Webcomics.

Where can we find you and Moth City online?

If you want to read Moth City in nice, shiny HD then you can grab it from Comixology, and you can read it online and check out videos and blog posts over at my site mothcity.com as well as its second home at thrillbent.com.


DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for June 12, 2013




It’s Superman week. Man of Steel hits theaters. Will fans be disappointed (Superman Returns) or is this the start of a beautiful friendship (Batman Begins)? May as well hit you over the head with the big two DC heroes in the picks this week. …Superman Unchained drawn by co-publisher Jim Lee and written by our man Scott Snyder. … Where do you go when the Year One story has been set in stone? Head backwards for another Scott Snyder book starring the shadow to Superman’s cape in Batman #21 - Zero Year. … Black Beetle #4 of 4 concludes this week as Colt City’s noir vigilante takes on Labyrinto. We hope to see more of Francesco Francavilla’s best-selling throwback crime story soon! … Picks this week from LeaguePodcast.com.


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DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for May 22, 2013



Aw, Yeah New 52! Our favorite all ages comic artist/writer team and famous cartoonists Art Baltazar and Franco put down the pen and pick up the typewriter for Green Team Teen Trillionaires #1 this week. Let the 1% finance your next important project! They’ve got more money than Scrooge McDuck! Art by Ig Guara … What’s going on with the glitchy tech in Mega City One? Judge Dredd investigates while being targeted for being killed by a fellow Judge. Judge Dredd #7 from Duane Swierczynski is THE LAW this week! … A new take on Little Red Riding hood takes the form of Akaneiro #1 from Dark Horse, based on American McGee’s new Spicy Horse video Game and Japanese folklore. … Picks LeaguePodcast.com.


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It’s a numbers games as we dip into the 36 Chambers of Death with Ghostface Killah in the new book Twelve Reasons To Die.  Travel back in time with Archer and Armstrong #0 and take a dark turn with Dark Horse and Duane Swierczynski punishing the criminal bosses in city of Arcadia for a new number #1 of cult anti-hero, X. 

CONCEPT: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge
WRITER: Matthew Rosenberg, CE Garcia, Patrick Kindlon
ART: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm, Joe Infurnari, Dave Murdoch
Publication Date: May 8, 2013
Price: $3.50 
Publisher: Black Mask Comics in association with Soul Temple Entertainment LLC
UPC: 045778022014
Buy it HERE

“Up from the 36 Chambers…it’s the Ghostface Killah”, these lyrics from Clan in Da Front weren’t what I expected to yell when I went into the LCS on Wednesday, but I did, scaring some kids there getting some leftover Free Comic Book Day swag.

As you can tell from the credits, this hip-hop comic comes to you from a creative team that goes all the way up to the executive producer RZA.

Accompanying this book is a record and tour of the same name by hotshot producer Adrian Younge and Ghostface. 

The comic starts off with words like ‘pussy’ and ‘motherfucker’ and that sets the tone for the book.

Like Ghost’s lyrical flow, the comic references gangster history going back to the 40s through the 60s, and it isn’t too long before we are introduced to his alter-ego and star of the book, gang enforcer, the “other” Antony Starks. From La Costa Nostra to modern day nightclub drug deals, it’s grim and gritty. The artwork, benefitting from different artists in the first issue is dark and breaks off chapters well. Just like a RZA beat, nothing here is extraneous. All tells the story.

From the solicit as we find out that Anthony Starks is an enforcer for the DeLuca crime family in the 1960s. The family murders him after he falls in love with the kingpin’s daughter. You won’t know this from the first issue, but it is helpful background.

Starks remains are pressed into a dozen vinyl records and when played, the record invokes the spirit of Ghostface Killah, exacting revenge on his murderers.

High concept, great art and all accompanied by a soundtrack album that is already highly regarded? I am so down. This really is the summer of Ironman.

I didn’t even get to tell you about Black Mask Comics, a new publishing company from creator Steve Niles. We’re expecting great things from this new venture as well.

X #1
WRITER: Duane Swierczynski
ART: Eric Nguyen
Publication Date: May 8, 2013
Price: $1.99
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
UPC: 76156822527300111
Buy it HERE

Just last month, we re-introduced you to X from Dark Horse Comics.

Yes, another reboot. No, we don’t care.

Yes, we’re buying it. No, it’s not a cash grab.

Wait, am I answering questions in my head again? No? Good.

The masked vigilante has more in common with a Punisher of the MAX variety than any other character. He’s a strong, smart and capable vigilante that sits like a snake and plots his attack before doing so. His enemies are tipped off when he sends them a picture of themselves with a red giant X over their face. Most don’t take it seriously, or try to protect themselves from the vigilante when they know he is coming. Good luck, pal.

X has a particularly bloody streak, bloodlust and determination for meting out justice in his hometown of Arcadia.

Unlike Frank Castle, little is known about this cold killer’s origin. Hopefully Swierczynski will tap into that as the series rolls on.

The book opens on a warehouse full of corpses. Investigating detectives and officers on the scene prop up the heads of two of the dead laying in a nearby Caddy. The ominous red X from the photos is mirrored on their flesh, accompanied by multiple nails from a nail gun. Yeouch, X does not mess around!

As police check out the scene, a young blogger, screenname Muckracker aka Leigh Furgeson is poking around, tipped off by an old drunk about the massacre near his home. He flees Arcadia and leaves the detective work to Muckracker. 

Leigh opens her mailbox to find a message from X, crossed-out photos of some bad dudes including one of Leo Pietrain, the unfortunate villain locked in his panic room in issue #0. Ambulances take Leo away as Muckracker gets to the crime scene to see Leo’s piehole bleeding a red X through his ambulance stretcher sheet. 

In the third act of the issue, reader’s adrenaline levels spike as X springs into action once again. Though, this time it appears he’s been set up by the police. 

After a firefight and explosion, X and the snoopy Muckracker find themselves in an alley together. This might be the time for Leigh to either expose X or to lend him a hand. Tune in next issue for more pulse pounding action.

This book has the feel of a Batman: Year One, and obvious nods to the Frank Miller story in the art by Eric Nguyen are not off-putting but set a familiar tone. The action and blood is definitely more mature (not for kids) than your average Punisher story but all of the tropes here work really well to acclimate the fan to a newly rebooted, but never wildly popular anti-hero vigilante.

Swierczynski is on some great books right now with tough dudes as the lead roles. Check out his take on IDW’s Judge Dredd for more rugged justice!

WRITER: Fred Van Lente
ART: Clayton Henry
Publication Date: May 8, 2013
Price: $3.99
Publisher: Valiant Comics
UPC: 85899200306200011
Buy it HERE

Valiant Comics started the whole ‘prequel’ comics numbered “Issue #0” way back in the nineties.  Since then, companies have copied their style and in fact, DC’s New 52 had a whole series of “0” issues incorporated into their relaunch. It should come to no surprise to fans, speculators and collectors of the classic Valiant characters that Valiant has started to release prequels to their relaunched books as well.

Fred Van Lente (Spider-Man, G.I. Joe) brings his humor and well researched historical references to the latest, Archer and Armstrong #0.

Archer is a teenager, raised by extreme religious freaks on a compound. He escapes to find the truth about his parents. Armstrong is a nigh-invulnerable immortal warrior that is centuries old. This issue deals with Armstrong’s past through a retelling (reboot!) of the classic tale of Gilgamesh. How do we get there? Armstrong was part of the story and recounts it firsthand! Raised a poet among warriors with brothers Gilad (Eternal Warrior) and Ivar (Timewalker).

Some Vine-like tech is discovered in ancient Mesopotamia and the brothers go to investigate. They are greeted by men in robes who introduce them to the Boon device, the supernatural tablet that grants Armstrong his immortality. There’s dinosaur fighting, alien tech and ancient history rolled up into a delicious story that’s way better than junior high history and literature classes. 

This issue is part Jurassic Park, part Rome and equal parts the origin of pizza in G.I. Joe Yearbook#3 — My Dinner With Serpentor.



The thing about history, baby, is that it goes way back.   All the way back.

We stroll down memory lane with Miss Lane, get lost in a Legacy and follow B.P.R.D’s Simon Anders back to a small Czech town to investigate the origins of the vampire disease.

Will he escape unscathed before having to unleash his concealed garlic? 

WRITER: Art Balatazar & Franco
ART: Art Balatazar
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Price: $2.99
Publisher: DC Comics
UPC: 76194130973601211
Buy it HERE

Aw yeah, everybody. It’s the end of an era, not only for Superman and his family, but for fans of a certain kind of book formerly put out under the Johnny DC banner.

In 2008, Art (Baltazar) & Franco gave us elementary school versions of our favorite Titans in Tiny Titans.

The Eisner Award winning book proved itself to be fun for all ages, including not only great stories for kids but nods to serious DC continuity and clever plays on the DC tropes. A Lunch Lady Darkseid ruled the cafeteria with Anti-Slop.

After the New 52 reboot, Cyborg gets new shoes and the guys were put on a new book, Superman Family Adventures, filled with all of the clever comic book industry and Superman movie quotes of the previous series, but concentrating on the family aspect of Superman. We’ve got Clark, The Kents, Jimmy, Chief, Lois, Connor, Kara and the Super Pets.

Nearly all of the Tiny Titans, the Justice League, Steel, Lex and even Miss Teschemacher sneak their way into the send off issue of this book. It is a bittersweet moment to end this five year run of the best kids comics DC has ever done.

Even Superman’s parents Lara-El and Jor-El make an appearance in the final issue, with an interesting twist on how the two survived the explosion on Krypt’n.

Unfortunately for us, we won’t get to see any more of Art & Franco on this book but look forward to them taking on The Green Team in the New 52, a story about trillionaire teenagers. And guess what? For more all ages comics, Art & Franco have launched a Kickstarter for new publisher Aw Yeah Comics and are fully funded. Expect some issues of Aw Yeah Comics #1 starring Action Cat and Adventure Bug at C2E2 this weekend, and distro to our hands very soon.

Aw yeah. Congrats, Art & Franco! And thanks for loading up the cover with lots of pink. I like pink very much, Lois! True story.

WRITER: Mark Millar
ART: Frank Quitely
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Price: $2.99
Publisher: Image Comics
UPC: 70985301350100111
Buy it HERE

This is the first issue of a highly anticipated book here from industry juggernauts Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, last seen working together years ago on The Authority.

In recent years, Quitely had a great run on Morrison’s pre-New 52 Batman and Robin whereas Millar has been working on more movie deals, overseeing his comics become movies and has teamed up with Dave Gibbons on Secret Service and Lenil Yu on Super Crooks, and Steve McNiven on Nemesis.

There’s probably more (ahem Hit Girl, Kick Ass 2, Superior) worth mentioning as well, but the aforementioned series all had me hooked.

Millar has, if not a formula, at least a very structured format to his limited series. All are meant to stand alone in about 6 issues. All can very easily be made into a movie. He’s great at that. Icon and Image produce the books, and he can retain all of the creator owned rights. Some series likeWar Heroes never see completion! Too bad, though, I think the book would do well in the current market.

I guess all the filibustering I’m managing to churn out about Millar’s career is that while this is a highly anticipated book, supposedly of much scope, and featuring a mysterious long lost island mixed with two generations of superheroes is to have us chomping at the bit for more. We’ve got the old crusty Superman and Justice Society types taking down the bad guys while the sons and daughters are either partying or vying for attention from the media.

I’m sorry, this book doesn’t have me after the first issue like Nemesis, Super Crooks and Secret Service did. On the last page reveal on issue #1, I was just sort of glad it was over. I want my comics to make my heart pound on a cliffhanger, not just be glad that some superheroes’ daughter might have possibly OD’d. Why would I care? I only spent 3 pages with her. I don’t know, maybe I’m salty. Maybe issue #2 will pick me up like a cup of coffee but this one was snoozeville. 

Quitely’s pages are amazing, of course. Great to see him draw classic superheroes and then beautiful teenage girls. Brandon Sampson looks a little like the artist himself. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo wakes up from her drug crash next issue. Sure. Whatever. I guess. Take my money.

B.P.R.D: VAMPIRE #2 (of 5)
WRITER: Mike Mignola, Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá
ART: Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Dave Stewart
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Price: $3.50
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
UPC: 76156820686900211
Buy it HERE

I’m not exactly sure why I’m getting at this book in the second issue of the series and completely missed the first, but I know I’m in for the long hall.

Hellboy mastermind Mike Mignola writes this vampire tale that acts as a direct sequel to B.P.R.D.: 1948. Brazilian brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá that brought us the Vertigo mini-series Daytripper in 2011 are credited as co-writers and also the artists on the book.

We bask in the shadows of a classic vampire origin tale, following former merchant marine and current B.P.R.D. field agent Simon Anders to a Czech town.

When he gets there he discovers there are only women in the town that is also occupied by a large castle built in 1253. A wonderful series of alias for the vampire Wilhelm in various period garb throughout the ages was reminiscent of Bruce Wayne’s travel back to the present inBatman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.

Nothing to report from the castle, but a witch grabs Simon’s hand and urges him and companion Hana to follow the “serpent to the heart”. Likely this means follow the river to the woods, where they will discover more about the vampires. In the forest, it looks like they have been set up!

This issue has all the best that Hellboy, Daytripper, Buffy and Doctor Who have to offer, replete with a cute female companion to act as a guide and balancing force in the story. Moon and Bá have a thick line cartooning style that complements the look of the B.P.R.D. / Hellboy universe and draw conversations between people very naturally.

Great art and story here. Worth investigating further…into the woods!



We’ve got robots, suits of armor and a drunken space cop in our Triple Shot this week.  Over at Marvel NOW! the Brits give Wolverine a makeover.   That is, they blast his flesh off of the bone and make over his body once or twice in the first few pages of Woverine #1 by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis.

 SLEDGEHAMMER 44 #1 (of 2)

WRITER: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
ARTIST: Jason Latour
COLORS: Dave Stewart
Publication Date: March 13, 2013
Price: $3.50
Publisher: Dark Horse
UPC: 76156818145600111

Hellboy and B.P.R.D stories are usually dropped in time rich after WWII and Hellboy’s origin.

This particular story is right in the middle of the war, in 1944 with grunts, cigarettes, nets over the helmets and classic call backs to the classic comics of Joe Kubert or Joe Simon. This two parter expands the Hellboy-verse to include a man in a suit of armor charging at a Nazi foothold in France after being dropped in the shell of a Blockbuster bomb onto the battlefield.

The U.S. soldiers on the ground are given strict orders to be backup for the behemoth Project Epimetheus aka Sledgehammer 44. Nazi soldiers are no match for the super-powered suit, but the Germans counter with an enormous S.S. robot that crashes it’s way out of the enemy armory it is protecting. The Lost in Space looking armored enemy gets the upperhand on the Allied weapon and our boys retreat, dragging the mysterious knocked out Sledgehammer back to base camp. Will the Nazi’s catch up to finish off old Sledgy?

Jason Latour gives us great pages of classic looking comic art on this war story. The design of our new hero is all Mignola, but the storytelling is textbook Kubert School and all details wonderfully rendered in a classic illustrative line.

The book was intended for the late John Severin to draw and collaborate on with Mignola and Arcudi. The Marvel artist passed away in 2012, and rather than shelve the script, the book was released and dedicated to the master penciller with reverence to his memory.

My only complaint is that this book is only two issues! We hope to see more of our WWII ‘Ironed Man’ in the future.

BUDDY COPS #1 (One-Shot)
WRITER: Nate Cosby
ARTIST: Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner
Publisher: Dark Horse
Publication Date: March 13, 2013
Price: $2.99
UPC: 76156822968400111

From the pages of Dark Horse Presents is the story you haven’t been asking for in Buddy Cops #1. Reprinting the material from the anthology series with some bonus material for good measure is the story of two cops—well, not exactly.

This is the story of a partnership between T.A.Z.E.R. and Uranus.  You see, Uranus is an intergalactic space cop, you know the type; a guardian or part of a corp. Uranus caught drinking on the job and was demoted to lowly duties, earthbound as it were as a regular beat walking stick swinging cop.

They let him keep his space sword and jetpack, though. It gets wacky when a janitor reboots a 1970s uptight traffic enforcement cop android called Tactical Android Zoned for Efficient Resolution, (T.A.Z.E.R.). Stick these two in a cruiser and see what happens!

I identify most with Uranus, who screams out Wu-Tang lyrics on the scene of the crime. Old T.A.Z.E.R. is just a fuddy duddy automaton with no game, but on the plus side has a detachable head that more than once comes in handy in combat. 

The ‘tension rises in the third act’ as the partnership is blown apart by Uranus getting married and then impregnated by a member of the plant-like Fregnar race. Uranus’ daughter tries to eat all of the people in the city and the team is back together again as T.A.Z.E.R. forgives and forgets.

This is such a funny book and it’s great to see ‘Doc’ Shaner work on a full story after following his sketch blog (http://www.evanshaner.com) for the past couple of years. Nate Cosby has a new all ages book book Cow Boy (http://cowboycomic.net/about) with letterer and artist Chris Eliopoulos that we’re dying to check out soon!

This book ain’t nuttin to F$% wit’.
WRITER: Paul Cornell
ARTIST: Alan Davis
Publisher: Marvel
Publication Date: March 13, 2013
Price: $3.99
UPC: 75960607921600111

I’m in. Well, I’m most of the way in with Marvel NOW! Not all books appeal to me but what would be the fun in that anyway?  By not rebooting the 616, but updating the titles and characters to be more aligned with the movie universes is just fine with me.

I’ve not been a huge X-Men fan since the ‘90s, but hey—now I’m reading two team X-Men books. The excitement I have for the mutant plight as analogue for oppression and sticking it to the man has never been higher, and now with so much happening with Bendis’ teams, it’s good to also attach myself to my favorite Bub, Wolverine.

Sure, Logan’s all grown up now and an Avenger somehow (look, I’m behind the times, OK?) but this new Wolverine title is exactly what I need and is almost reminiscent of the Larry Hama run on the book. Let’s have Wolverine go off and have solo missions like the good old days! Marvel and DC ‘time’ obviously allows for these guys to be in four or five different books seemingly at the same time (sorry, the kid in me still thinks about that stuff) but that’s where the fun comes in.

It seems that Paul Cornell and Alan Davis have Logan becoming a detective for a few issues before returning him to a team or running into any other heroes. This book can exist on it’s own already and we’re only on issue #1. Older fans of Wolverine have a great start here to jump on board, as no current continuity is referenced (besides the aforementioned Avengers bits).

Who is this kid that wants to take his father’s ray gun and watch Iron Insides regenerate over and over again? Looks like Logan is tracking his scent in the next issue, and I can tell you I’m on board. This is the kind of art that made X-Men and Excalibur comics must reads from the spinner rack coupled with equally masterful storytelling by Paul Cornell.

This is top of the stack stuff, for sure.


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DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for February 27, 2013


Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton give you The Answer #2 this week from Dark Horse Comics. How will our fearless punctuated pal protect the liberal librarian lady? Find out in the action packed second issue of this new fun series. … Skullkickers pick up an adjective and a brand new volume of Uncanny Skullkickers #1. Kusia and Rex are Lost on a desert island with little more than come coconut rum, will they be able to survive after a “Good Times Jungle Exploration Montage? Break the fourth wall to find out. Based on a DC Comics version of the video game Mortal Combat, the new INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us comic delivers a combination punch with issue #2 out today. … Picks this week from LeaguePodcast.com.


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