Hey guys, Jason here. Just wanted to let everyone know that the hours at our store are going to change. A while ago we started staying open until 10PM on Friday to accommodate our Games Workshop night. Well starting this Saturday we will extend the hours to 10 as well to allow the extra time for the Magic the Gathering night. If either of these nights sound like they might be up your alley just give us a call or come on in this weekend. Hope to see you there.
Hey guys, Jason here with a review for Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi #1. Let me start off by saying that this is a book I have been waiting for since Dark Horse first let us glimpse the teaser images. Dark Horse promoted this story as "A series that establishes the beginning of the Jedi." This is no mere hyperbole. In the sprawling timeline of the Star Wars universe, Dawn of the Jedi takes place approximately 36,000 years before Luke blew up the first Death Star.
This first issue sets up the history of what can only be described as the distant ancestors of the Jedi that we have come to know and love. A lot gets revealed in the first half of the book. How the different Je'daii (and yes that is the correct spelling) races are brought together and where, what their philosophy is, how they grew to understand the Force and use its power, and how that power has affected the galaxy as the Je'daii ventured out amongst the stars. It delves into what became of the Je'daii children who were not strong in the force, and their place in the grand mythology of Star Wars. It also gives us the Je'daii code, which sheds a bright light on how different these force users are from the Jedi and Sith we know...and how similar they are at their core.
The real story, scripted by John Ostrander, doesn't really start until the history lesson is over, and we see what the galaxy is like at this point in time. Enter the Infinite Empire and the mysterious Xesh, who has an affinity for hunting down Force-sensitive people and places for his master.This is the figure that dominates the issue's cover, touted in ads as a Darth Vader-like threat to the galaxy at this time. It is pretty obvious from this issue that the odds of Xesh and the Je'daii clashing are pretty good, and I hope that we get a solid protagonist among the Je'daii next issue to give him a challenge.
There are familiar alien races and planets brought to life by the beautiful art of Jan Duursema. While the races presented here offer the familiarity of having seen them in countless other stories, there's one place in particular that's radically different from what we see in the movies. Even so, the art doesn't disappoint. Nothing takes me out of a Star Wars story more than seeing an artists interpretation of an alien race that doesn't line up with what we have seen before, but Duursema gets it, and the fans will be very pleased and maybe a little surprised by the races that show up before the end of the issue.
The real question is how this five issue arc will play out and how much will be revealed about the origins of the Je'daii before its all over. I have faith, however, that the creative team will not disappoint us. They have already won me over with Star Wars: Legacy, creating the distant future of the universe, so I have no doubt that they will do wonders in giving us the definitive origin of the Star Wars saga. I will definitely be back for issue #2, and I hope you will to.
See you in 30.
Hey Everybody. Sorry about last week with the books showing up on time instead of late I got confused and lost track of time to write this. No worries though I am back.
So the second week of the month is probably my favorite. It has a lot of great titles that are scheduled to come out. This week I will be talking about Batgirl #5, Brilliant #2, House of Night #3, and Wolverine and the X-men #4.
(Again before I start I will be talking about past issues and if you aren’t caught up I don’t want to spoil anything for you.)
So if you have ever been into the store you know of my love of all things Batgirl and with Batgirl #5 coming out this week my excitement doesn’t stop. The last issue saw the defeat of Barbara’s first villain Mirror and her first Christmas with her new roommate. The biggest shock was in the last panel when Barbara’s mother showed up at her front door. I’m really interested to see what role Barbara’s mother will play. She is a character that we don’t know much about and with the relaunch everything we do know might be wrong. Simone’s writing has been really amazing with very subtle hints to how Barbara was healed from being shot. According to Previews it looks like issue #6 will be the side of the story that we will find out exactly what happened. This issue will be the first interaction between Babs and Bruce. We saw how badly it went between Dick and Barbara so let’s hope for a better outcome for the Dark Night and Batgirl.
Now we have a book that I was scared wouldn’t come out again. Bendis & Bagley’s Brilliant #2 is a book that I’m going to hope was worth the wait. The dynamic duo came up with one of the most interesting what if’s I think I’ve ever read. What if college students invented super-powers? This statement just opens up a can of worms of questions. What would they do with them (which from the beginning of the book it looks like someone is up to no good)? How did they do it? What will the consequences be? This book is just any comic book fan’s dream. It gives us the chance to hope that maybe someday we can become the super powered heroes we read about every week. This book is full of endless possibilities and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Next is a comic based off one of my favorite vampire books. The House of Night book series is co-written by the mother and daughter team of P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast. Thankfully the two of them have brought their magic into writing this comic book miniseries and this week it’s time for House of Night #3. It seems that the miniseries takes place during or after the first book of the series. We see our heroine Zoey trying to become a great leader and having to use stories from the past to learn lessons to help her in the present. The series seems to be going through different the 5 elements (Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Spirit) that the Vampires find as sacred. By the look of the cover I think this week will be about water. I really enjoy seeing books and TV show’s I like turned into comic books. The stories are fun and touching and I really recommend if you enjoy vampire stories this is a must on your pull list.
The last book I want to talk about this week is Wolverine and the X-men #4. Last month we saw the conclusion of the new Hellfire clubs attack on the Jean Grey School. This book is so much fun to read. It is very interesting but lighthearted as well. With the introduction of Sabretooth on the final page it will be cool to see Wolverine have to protect his students from his longtime rival. With the first miniseries (Wolverine and the X-men Alpha and Omega) coming out last week I want to see if that is influencing the main book or not. Kid Omega’s help is something that will be nice to see if it can develop into him becoming an actual part of the school. This book is probably the strongest X title out right now. So if you ever wanted to jump into the X-men world this book would be a great start. Well that’s all for this week folks.
Other great books coming out are: Batwoman #5, Green Lantern #5, Magneto not a hero #3 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #5.
Now let’s hope I get to talk about Morning Glories soon.
So it’s the Fourth Wednesday in December which means it’s my four month anniversary with The Fantasy Shop.
I’ve decided that I want to contribute an article each week to our website.
Every week I look over the shipping next week list (which you can get if you get on our Email list) and I decide which books I’m most excited for so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with our lovely customers.
(Fair warning I will reference previous issues of these comics so If you don’t want things to be spoiled for you, you might not want to read this.)
The first book I want to talk about is Angel and Faith #5 from Dark Horse. Being a Child of the 90’s I grew up loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So I have been reading both BTVS Season 9 and Angel and Faith and I have to say I think Angel and Faith is the better book so far. With the Murder of Giles in BTVS Season 8 this book deals with the after effect of this on Angel (who murdered him) and Faith (who grew so close to Giles he left her everything he had). The last issue was very action packed starting off with a fight with vengeful vampires and full of mystery with Angel seemingly turning into Giles. I’m excited to see where this next issue takes us. Faith has always been my favorite slayer because she seems more relatable and human than Buffy. She does her best to do what she thinks is right and I always want to root for her.
This week from DC I can’t wait to pick up Aquaman #4. Now for people who haven’t been reading the series this might come as a surprise to you but I believe Geoff Johns has completely made Aquaman an amazing superhero. Since his work on Blackest Night I’ve been really interested in Aquaman but not just because Johns knows how to write him but because of a character that in my option is a breakout star from Blackest Night. Mera is a strong and loving woman who supports her husband and makes him a better hero. She is also really able to hold her own in a fight. The series so far is dealing with the mysterious monsters that are attacking humanity from someplace in the ocean. This last issue ending with Aquaman and Mera discovering where the creatures were from “The Trench” and so like superheroes do they jumped down into the ocean and are swimming to discover what in the world is going on. The story is interesting, funny, and smart it keeps me wanting more every month. It’s going to be great to see where John’s takes this story and I’m excited to see exactly what this Trench is.
IDW has always impressed me with the variety of books that they put out. This week Star Trek #4 is the book I want to sit and read the moment I see it. Since this comic is based off of J.J Abrams movie it’s are really great supplement material to help us fans who want more but hate waiting for a sequel. I love how the books have very short story arcs. The first two issues were one and the next two are another. It’s a lot more episodic than a regular comic book. I get a whole story in just two months instead of the normal five to six. I think this is the most fulfilling book I’m reading right now because of how quickly they finish storylines.
The last book I want to talk about is Avengers Children’s Crusade #8. I just recently read the other issues of this book and all I could think was why the heck did it take me so long do so. First off it’s amazing, second it deals with such a huge event that affected the whole marvel universe (M day), and third it’s going to be one of the main lead up books to the X-Men verses Avengers even. It makes me sad that Allan Heinberg is so busy because I want him to write this all the time. He just knows how to write a teenage team as teenagers but not annoying. The last issue Dr. Doom, Wiccan and the Scarlet Witch were trying to give all of the depowered mutants their powers back and because of Patriots attempt of stopping them Doom has been given all of Wanda’s powers and is dressed all in white, healed and calling himself Victor. This book will have such a huge influence on the Marvel Universe after it is finished each issue is just never a waste of anything and it’s so great to have a book like that.
Other books I’m looking forward to this week are Flash #4, Green Lantern New Guardians #4, Teen Titans #4, Ulimate X-Men, X-Men Legacy, and Uncanny X-men. If you guys want to hear why come visit me at the South County Store and I’d love to talk to you about what books excite you as well. If you can’t see me all of our clerks are great resources to talk to. I hope you liked my article and have a Happy New Year everyone.
(South County Fantasy Shop Clerk)
There is something magical about certain creators and even more so about certain combinations of creators. Many people acknowledge the truly miraculous works created by the combination of Stanley Lieber and Jacob Kurtzberg. Though most people know them by their pen names of "Stan Lee" and "Jack Kirby".
Jack Kirby is best known as the King of Comics because of his work for the big 2. His work creating characters like Captain America with Joe Simon, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Thor, and The Avengers all with Stan Lee, and then signing an exclusive contract with DC in 1970 and created The New Gods, as well as all of the other Fourth World characters, The Demon Etrigan,Kamandi, OMAC, as well as breathing new life into the floundering Pal of the world's greatest Superhero, Jimmy Olsen.
But what a whole lot of people forget is that his career didn't end when he stopped working for the big 2. He went on to work Pacific Comics, Eclipse Comics, and ToppsComics and to create brilliant ideas and imaginative works until his death in 1994 at the age of 76.
To have been the kind of creator that he was and to be as prolific as he was is almost a contradiction in terms. Creators of his caliber in other fields burn out long before they are able to amass the kind of body of work that he seemed to easily craft. Many people consider him to be one of the most imaginative creators of his day and perhaps of all time. Of Kirby, the New York Times said:
"He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another—or even from page to page—threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader's lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters seem static by comparison."
It's not surprising that many creators have tried to make his characters relevant in the modern day out of respect to the man and it's simultaneously not a great surprise that most have failed. It's almost as if he was creating in another language that just seemed visual like other comic books and in English by coincidence more than anything else. It seems, to many, that he was the only one who could really bring what he brought to those characters.
So perhaps it was the perfect kind of idea for another incredible duo of creators, who have, through little more than legerdemain and a kind of twin-speak that makes for the perfect kind of collaboration, paved a way for themselves and created one of the most memorable tales of recent comics memory, to take the Kirby characters least explored, often only done up as designs and mock-ups, and to attempt to craft a world wherein they might all exist.
And that is exactly what Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross have done with Kirby Genesis.
Having only worked together on the utterly brilliant Marvels these two giants of the comics world have been brought back together by Dynamite Entertainment in order to make a cohesive world of characters, most of whom have never appeared anywhere outside of The King's own sketch books. If anyone can do it I think that it is these two. With the help of Jack Herbert, who has previously worked on Black Terror, Project Superpowers: Meet the Bad Guys, and Avengers/Invaders with Ross, the dynamic duo of Ross &Busiek have put together a sufficient enough a preview of their intentions with Kirby Genesis #0 to whet my appetite and have me slavering for more.
Herbert's finishes over Ross' layouts manage to dance the line of looking enough like Ross, and at times Kirby, that those who are buying the book for the kind of visual storytelling that Ross is capable of should not be disappointed, the pages painted by Ross should keep them coming back for more as well.
There is something fascinating about the way that Busiek tells stories as well, especially these kinds of stories. We'll be following the events of the series through the eyes and colored by the lives of outsiders, much in the same way that we did in Marvels and it's follow-up Marvels: Eye of the Camera, who are not a part of the world of the brightly colored super-powered heroes of the mind of Kirby. To have three humans mixed among them will allow us a doorway into the action of the series in a way that will allow us to be as fascinated by the goings on as the characters we follow.
Ultimately, even with only 12 pages of comic content, the rest of the book being devoted to DVD like extras to give the reader an insight into the creation process, the book is well worth the $1.00 pricetage and I think it'll leave you as excited about next month's #1 as I am.
That's right all. We're finally where we probably should have been back on September 26th, 2006 when facebook went public and became available to everyone over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address. But now you can keep up with your favorite store and the goings on of the every day, from what comes in with restock shipments, to employee picks of the week, to exciting new product that comes in all the time!
And also you might find yourself able to take advantage of secret short term sales or able to enter raffles only available to friends of The Fantasy Shop pages.
For example we're going to be doing a FREE raffle to get more fans!
When the facebook pages for the Saint Charles, Maplewood, and Florissant stores reach 100 fans we'll be drawing a random name from our fans and giving them a $10.00
And since our South County store has already got over 100 Fans we're going to do a drawing right now ...
Ahem, Drum Roll Please ...
The winner is *rustles around in a bag full of names*:
(We actually used a random number generator to draw the name)
Jay will be given a $10.00 Gift Certificate at the store of his choice and when we reach 200 fans we will do another drawing.
As a matter of fact we will do a drawing at each store at each hundred fan plateau. Until we reach 500 when we will do a drawing for $50.00!
That's right! We'll be doing a drawing for each store once they reach 500 fans and the winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Certificate to spend in the store of their choice!
So go to your local store, hell go to all 4 store pages and click "Like" and you could win!
Saint Charles: http://www.facebook.com/FantasyShopStCharles
South County: http://www.facebook.com/TheFantasyShopSoCo
Facebook ... what'll we think of next?
It is perhaps most famously attributed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of These United States, during his first Inaugural Address. Paraphrasing Sir Francis Bacon, Mr. Roosevelt said "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." and in a time when America was at the depths of it's greatest depression it was, in many ways, precisely what we needed to hear. That the things that kept those proud Americans awake every night were simply best set aside and that the future and not the past should be our greatest concern. Not to think about the loss you suffered yesterday but instead the gains you might make today. Not to ignore the past, no. But to learn from it. To find what caused retreat and convert it into advance.
This has become one of the tent poles of the American ideology. That we need not fear. That we must learn. And that the only thing to fear is that unnameable, unknowable, ungraspable darkness in the night.
But today we fight a "War on Terror". Today we fear the kind financial collapse that crippled our nation in the 1930's. Today we see something to fear around every corner and behind every cloud. Fear has become something that drives us ...
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself ..."
Never before have we needed to heed these words so direly. Never before have we had to put fear behind us than now. The things we fear are numerous, and many of them are unknown ... but many have names.
"... nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
In this time of tumult and terror writer Matt Fraction has found a way to solidify fear, to give it heft and shape, to, perhaps most importantly, give it a name. Yes, fear has a name ladies and gentlemen. It is not just the unknown of the future or the change around you that has left you ever so perplexed. Fear, dear readers, is The Serpent. He is the true All-Father and he has no interest in your worship, he cares not for how you treat your fellow man, he sees no worth in man ... except as a creature of fear.
The conceit is an interesting one. It has an air of the difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. And while Odin may not have been the most loving All-Father he, I believe, is going to be shown to be the kind of loving god that sends his champion to earth to fight alongside the world's mightiest heroes and The Serpent would have crushed the world's mightiest heroes under his heel until they were a quivering miasma of uncertainty and terror.
This is the kind of story that events should yearn to be. Written by talented writers who aren't afraid to challenge the world as we know it, yet whom have respect fo the characters that he will use. Drawn by the kind of artist who will bring honesty to the emotional expression of the characters on the page and who knows how to craft both scenes of epic battle between foes as well as scenes of intimate exhcange of ideas between compatriots.
Stuart Immonen is the kind of guy who was born to draw this series. His work in the past has been perfect to position him for this kind of event. Expect the action to be well paced and easy to follow across both panels and pages. Also, expect to see expressive faces and to understand the body language of the characters ... and also expect to be wholly creeped out by The Serpent.
Fear Itself #1 and Fear Itself: Homefront #1 both hit the shelves tomorrow and you're going to want to get them.
I've never, ever, liked Venom. Not even when one of my favorite writers, Warren Ellis, included him in the pages of his criminally overlooked Thunderbolts series.
As a child my best friend's favorite comic was Amazing Spider-Man and when we were in 3rd grade in Mrs. Ponder's class I was completely taken with Jim Valentino's space faring operatic epic Guardians of the Galaxy he was wrapped up in this guy Todd McFarlane's new Spider-Man series. I have very distinct memories of our having conversations in JC Penny's while our mothers shopped about how he thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger should play the brutish villain Venom and that perhaps the star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Matthew Broderick, would play his favorite comic character ... Peter Parker.
I could have cared less. My mind was in the stars. The stars of the 31st Century to be specific. I was too busy wondering what was going to happen to Charlie-27 and Nikki were ever going to patch things over or if Major Vance Astro was going to survive having his next encounter with Starhawk or the next breach of his containment suit. Wondering if I was the only kid who thought that Martinex was cooler than Ice-Man, despite my concurrent fascination with the Simonson run on X-Factor.
I didn't have time for "symbiotes" or such nonsense. And as we all know what we like and don't like as a 3rd grader will inevitably shape what we like when we're nearly 30. Yet I find myself drawn to this new Venom series. Perhaps it's because I read Marc Guggenheim's Amazing Spider-Man #574 and was completely taken with the story of Flash Thompson as a soldier in Iraq (thank you Scott Blumenkamp for making me read that issue).
Perhaps it's that one of my other favorite writers currently, Rick Remender, is writing the book with one of his most imaginative collaborators, Tony Moore, doing the pencils.
Perhaps it was the Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 that came out a few weeks ago that seemed really cool and that set the tone for what might be, finally, a cool idea of how to use the Venom character.
Perhaps it's all of those things combined.
Whatever it was though I am glad that I did.
Cause it was great.
Hello All, It's been a while since I last spoke with you. I hope that your holidays were delightful and that this last bout of terrible weather didn't crush your spirits too completely. I had the joy of doing my civic duty last week as I was summoned for jury selection and had to do a whole lot of sitting around and waiting while the gears of justice turned. While I was doing all of my waiting and whatnot I did some reading (if you're ever summoned for jury duty then you really, really need to bring reading material, I cannot emphasize this enough). Knowing that I would be doing a whole lot of waiting and whatnot I brought plenty to read but what I wound up spending most of my time with was a book that I've started reading a few times but never managed to finish thanks to surrounding circumstances, Carla Speed McNeil's Finder. I don't know that I've ever read a series in which the world was so fully formed on the very first page. The book takes place in a far flung future where the world is quite different. The first book (the Anniversary Hardcover is featured at the right) follows a terribly unique character named Jaeger. Jaeger is what is known in this future as a Finder, something of an aboriginal detective, not attached to any police service nor really a private detective in the sense that most people think of in this day in age. Think of him more as the kind of guy that you'd want to know when your life goes to hell, or you desperately need to find something you've lost. The world in which he lives seems an awful lot like what our world might become should we continue on the path we're headed down. By which I mean cities that are covered in domes in order to keep them livable ... so ... yeah.
McNeil has been lauded for her work on this series and from every vantagepoint I really must agree with those who have spoken so highly of her work, and nominated her for several awards. Her art is simple and gorgeous, and at times reminds me of the simple line work of another of my favorite creators, Strangers In Paradise creator Terry Moore. The story is also brilliantly crafted and at the same time an anthropological wonder. The seamlessness of the world she has created is truly something to behold.
Having only ever self-published the series it's something that you could probably be forgiven for having missed out on. However anyone and everyone should be adding it to their list of books to look out for in the next few months as a new collection of material that appeared primarily on Carla's website (LightSpeedPress.com) and then a new publication of a "Library Edition" of the first 21 issues both brought to print by Dark Horse Comics. It's an exciting time to be a fan of intricately produced science fiction. And if you're one of the people who haven't hear of Finder before and think that the world sounds interesting then you should keep your eyes open and possibly let your retailer know that you want to make sure to get copies of what might be one of the more exciting releases by one of the more oft overlooked creators in the industry this year.
What you find isn't nearly as important as what finds you . . .
Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Carla Speed McNeil's Eisner Award-winning series comes to Dark Horse with the original graphic novel Voice.
In a society defined by its intricate network of clans, Rachel Grosvenor has grown up an outcast, straddling worlds. Now, her quest for admission to a highly exclusive clan sends Rachel spiraling into the dark underbelly of Anvard and a paradox that holds the key to her future: How do you find a Finder?
And then scheduled for March release is Finder Library Volume 1 which only hits the wallet for $24.99 and weighs in at 616 pages. Definitely something worth checking out:
Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Dark Horse is proud to present the first four story arcs of Carla Speed McNeil's groundbreaking series in a single, affordably priced volume!
Follow enigmatic hero Jaeger through a "glorious, catholic pileup of high-tech SF, fannish fantasy, and street-level culture clash" (Village Voice), and discover the lush world and compelling characters that have carved Finder a permanent place in the pantheon of independent comics.
This first of two Finder Library volumes collects the multiple Eisner Award-nominated story arcs Sin Eater, King of Cats, and fan-favorite Talisman.
These days people are always trying to make it clear that comics aren't just kids-stuff anymore. And I certainly understand that desire and think that it's incredibly important that more and more people realize that comics are just a medium, and that like television or movies that there are the kind of stories out there that everyone can find and love. There are comics out there for everyone, for people of all tastes and preferences.
But lately (and by lately I mean intermittently over the last 20 years) there has been a great deal of comics that have hit the shelves that have been great for younger audiences. More and more, creators are starting to realize that in order for comics to be around for our kids kids that we have to get kids to read comics! And even though I am almost 30 that doesn't mean that I don't still love the heck out of some simple adventure books that appeal to all audiences. I mean honestly, aren't we all still kids at heart? Well, sure some of our inner children are a little more jaded and world weary than others but some of us are still just happy, curious, interested little kids at heart.
A goodly majority of the books for all audiences are best described as "Adventure Books". The kind of adventures that we all remember so fondly from the movies and cartoons of our childhood. The kinds of stories where there is a treasure at the end of the road or where a quest must be undertaken to save a parent or friend. Think "Neverending Story".
The mother of all adventure comics for all audiences is probably Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin and with a movie coming from Steven Spielberg & Peter Jackson later this year it's probably a good time to familiarize yourself with the great works that are available from Hachette Book Group USA.
A great successor to Tintin is Bone by Jeff Smith. Bone is a wonderful story of fantasy and adventure that matures with the reader and is the kind of book that kids will want to read again and again.
In the spirit of Bone is Amulet by Kazu Kibiushi (who also edits the anthology series Flight that is a great recommendation for all ages). Kibiushi crafts a brilliant world that at once hearkens Smith's work as well as the animation work of Hayao Miyazaki (the brilliant mind behind Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and more).
In a more American vein (if not a little British) is James Robinson's Leave it to Chance. The series is far more brief than most fans would prefer (only 3 brief volumes collect the entire series) but it is certainly worth seeking out.
There are so many good comics coming out these days that are aimed at getting all audiences involved that I can't even contain them all in one post. So come back next week for more.