Tag Archives: Comics

Girl Genius (Omnibus Vol. 1)

5 Apr , 2012,
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Girl Genius Omnibus Vol. 1 - Cover Art.

Steampunk lovers will be no strangers to Girl Genius, the seminal, award winning comic series created by the amazing Foglios.

Since its inception in 2001, Phil and Kaja’s amazing world of gaslamp fantasy has captured the hearts and minds of readers around the world, introducing them to a spunky heroine whose coming of age story propels her across a continent of conspiracy, conflict and MAD SCIENCE!

Girl Genius is a great read (I’ve been a fan for the past five years),  and if you’re looking to start, then there’s no better place than this Omnibus Edition, which collects Books 1 to 3 of the series.

The 319-page hardcover charts Agatha Clay’s growth as a Spark (that’s Genius-speak for super powered inventor types), when she awakens to her power following a rash of unfortunate events.

It’s a journey that has her traipsing through the interior of an airship city, dodging deadly bugs from another dimension, and evading pursuit from people who either want to use her, or want her dead, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Foglios sure know how to tell a story.

The art’s drawn and colored in the Foglio’s exaggerated and vibrant style – an eclectic brand of cartooning and coloring that complement to the fantastical nature of the story, and the script’s pretty sweet, so readers who’re in it for the meat won’t be disappointed.

Check this omnibus out at Harris Planerds. You can also keep track of Agatha’s adventures at the official Girl Genius site

Mark Torres Invades! Singapore

23 Feb , 2012,
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Mark Torres's Infestation 2 Launch - Promo Poster

Turtle Power’s hitting Singapore this March, and Invasion! Toys & Collectibles will be playing host to the artist that’s bringing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life in IDW’s latest comic series – Mark Torres himself.

Mark’s the man who jazzed up IDW’s TMNT and Zombies vs. Robots with his rockin’ art style, and he’ll be at Invasion’s Funan store next month to commemorate the release of his latest work – Infestation 2: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Fans who’ve put in their pre-orders will be happy to know that Mark’s doling out personalized sketches. He’s also packed 20 exclusive Batman vs. Zombies prints, and these come with a one-of-a-kind sketch as well. How’s that for a treat?

We also got wind that Mark’s Turtles have left their “mark” around town, and that the first 10 lucky folks to track down at least one of them will get a prize at the launch.

Simply look out for stickers like the one below, and take a snapshot of yourself with the sticker. Next, upload it to Invasion’s Facebook page to qualify (don’t forget to Like the page, and tag both Invasion! and yourself on the photo first!).

If a photo’s already been uploaded, subsequent uploads will not be taken into account, so if you want something nifty, you’ve got to ‘stake your claim’ quick!

You can also check out Invasion’s Mark Torres event page or email them for more details.

Look out for nifty stickers like this one!

Invasion! Toys & Collectibles presents Mark Torres

Date & Time: 9 Mar (Fri) – 5pm till 9pm and 10 Mar (Sat) – 2pm till 5pm

Venue: Invasion! Toys & Collectibles, Funan DigitaLife Mall, 109 North Bridge Rd, #05-36, Singapore (179097)

Check out Mark Torres’s artwork on DeviantArt here.

Stan Lee's Romeo & Juliet: The War

6 Feb , 2012,
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The star-crossed lovers, from Romeo & Juliet: The War.

Romeo & Juliet’s been on the big screen. It’s also been adapted into an anime, and now, with comic legend Stan Lee’s sci-fi re-envisioning of this tale, it’s also a graphic novel.

Set against a backdrop of glowing neon, naked steel and harsh concrete, Romeo & Juliet: The War infuses this classic tale about star-crossed lovers with cybernetic warriors, genetically modified ninjas, and plenty of action splashed across 146 gorgeously painted pages.

The Montagues and Capulets are super soldiers – the progeny of two rival scientists charged with defending the Empire of Verona against its enemies – and while lasting peace has been brokered beyond the metropolis’s borders, the rivalry between these two factions run deep, and all it takes is a spark to ignite a new kind of conflict.

It is against this backdrop that The War unfurls, playing out the tragedy in three acts.

Check out the paneling for the fight sequences.

Nothing spells "love" quite like laser beams and explosions.

Skan Srisuwan and Studio Hive lend their creative talents to this volume, and the result is simply drool-worthy.

The futuristic city is rendered in brilliant detail, the character designs are exquisite, and the combat and conflict that exemplifies The War shines with fluid dynamism and a kinetic nature that synergizes perfectly with the invigorated art style and staccato paneling.

Mind you, if you’re hoping for a soppy love story in this rendition of Shakespeare’s classic, you’re out of luck. I can count the number of pages where the titular characters whisper sweet nothings to each other and kiss on one hand.

That is, of course, not to say that there’s no love in this epic space opera. After all, Romeo raids the armory and lays siege to a cathedral in the explosive finale, and all for Juliet. It’s a novel approach, to say the least, and I’m not ashamed to say that I found it vastly superior to what the Bard had come up with.

A really great read. Now, they just need to turn this into an animation or something.

It's a pop-culture Invasion!

5 Jan , 2012,
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Stephen Segovia's exclusive Supergirl print - just one of many goodies you can expect at Invasion!'s opening this weekend.

Get ready for a pop-culture invasion this weekend when Invasion! Toys & Collectibles opens its new retail outlet at Funan DigitaLife Mall.

The computer hub’s getting jazzed up by the entry of this new player, which joins Battle Bunker, Black Tactical,  La Tendo, and Rapid Culture on level 5.

Invasion!’s set to infuse the place with a fresh dose of Western chic. The store promises to be a platform for visitors, not just to indulge their inner geek, but also to connect with celebrated art creators and illustrators from around the world, who will be making regular store appearances and signings.

And talking about store appearances, comic-book artist Stephen Segovia will be in town for the official opening, and he will be joined by local artist Sonny Liew and Indonesian illustrator Rudy Ao.

The trio will be offering exclusive art prints, and taking limited commissions for the event (you can e-mail your requests to Invasion!’s owners here), so if you’re a fan, this is one chance you don’t wanna pass up.

Also, don’t forget to check out Invasion!’s official site, and Facebook page here.


Invasion! Toys & Collectibles Grand Opening

Date: Friday 6th Jan & Saturday 7th Jan

Time: 6 pm (Friday) & 11 am (Saturday)

Venue: 109 North Bridge Road, #05-36, Funan DigitaLife Mall, Singapore 179097

 

London Comic Con MCM Expo

2 Nov , 2011,
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Wondering what the cosplay and convention culture in Europe’s like?

Thanks to our London-based correspondents (big props guys!), we’ve got an article and plenty of photos from London Comic Con MCM Expo, showing just how varied it is.


Our embedded convention spy Arvin Lim reports:

“In the nice, cool 15°C English weather, I rushed down to London Comic Con MCM Expo at EXCEL. It was also the day of the Euro Cosplay Championships 2011, and after a journey filled with treacherous tube changes (no thanks to subway works), we arrived at the con venue.

The Expo was held in a dedicated location, and unlike Singapore’s conventions where there are plenty of walk-ins and curious passers-by, the venue was filled almost exclusively with con-goers and cosplayers. It’s certainly one of the biggest cons in the UK and Europe, and contrary to popular belief, there were as many anime and manga characters as there were western pop culture icons (especially British ones!), with a significant gaming and steampunk presence too.

One of the key differences I noticed was the sheer size of the event. 3 convention halls were dedicated to queues alone.

After paying 10 GBP for a late entry ticket (after 11am), (early entrants pay 16 GBP to enter at 9am), we entered the show floor. It was huge, easily 3 times the size of Singapore’s AFA and it boasted at least twice the number of people. It sure felt like there was a bigger percentage of cosplayers here than back home. There was also a surprising lack of photographers with their chunky DSLRs.

There was a great variety of cosplay all around. It was quite the sight to see popular game characters such as Link and Zelda, as well as a Tauren Death Knight from World of Warcraft come alive. Also, with crafting materials and resources being so readily available, it was inevitable that we’d witness some really epic feats of engineering – we saw a movable Dalek (from Dr Who) made completely from metal, cosplayers such as a Jack Skellington (Nightmare before Christmas) on stilts, and Team Fortress cosplayers armed with a whole arsenal of weapons, as well as a really good Left 4 Dead boomer.

The stalls were pretty standard fare and sold the usual variety of character t-shirts, plushies, Figmas, Gunpla, costumes, comic books and the rest. Browsing the merchandise, I discovered that most branded Japanese goods were easily twice the price in Singapore. Gunpla, for example, was charged the same, but in pounds, no doubt due to the high import costs, though western pop culture products cost about the same as they would locally.

Surprisingly, metal replica props and weapons were not only legal, they were also cheap (going at 100 Pounds a pair). There were plenty of gems too (if you look hard enough) going at reasonable prices. I spotted doujin from Japan, very old anime VCDs (Gundam, Ghost in the Shell) and Final Fantasy Music Scores.

There were way more doujin booths at the convention too, and areas for a variety of famous artists, writers from comics, actors and actresses from pop culture series to meet and greet the fans. Other highlights included an entire section dedicated to modified vehicles such as a real Star Wars Landspeeder and a retrofitted DeLorean DMC-12 from Back to the Future, a robot fighting exhibit and a huge Syfy booth.

Naturally, what’s a convention like without the big video game companies? Many upcoming titles were available for fans to try out, such as the new Final Fantasy XIII-II, Ninja Gaiden 3, Soulcalibur V and Street Fighter X Tekken. There was even swag for the fans – the Darkness II booth for example was giving away a free t-shirts!

And of course there was Steampunk. 

The display was simply amazing. It featured a hunter (with his hunting trophies that included a werewolf head that could move its tongue and his guns), a gentleman selling potions for the visitors, posters of airships and other fantastic devices. While MCM Expo was by no means THE steampunk con in the UK,  this booth  really showcased the best in the genre.

Euro Cosplay Championships 2011 was also an eye opener, where the winners of various European cosplay events vied for the right to be called the best cosplayer in Europe on stage.

After an introductory video that featured the cosplayers singing, War-Machine kicked things off with a bang by re-enacting a scene from Iron Man 2. The competition format was a single entry, incorporating video playback, and cosplayers had 5 minutes on stage to wow the judges and the audience.  It was evident that choreography experience and stage presence was needed for the competition, and it was not a simple costume showcase.

The audience was very responsive and they were even encouraged to get in on the act, with a Nintendo 3DS being given to the most enthusiastic audience member.

The quality of the cosplay was exceptional – the participants were very into character and they used the stage pretty well (it did help that the stage had a catwalk). A major complaint was the overuse of strobe lights, which made it difficult to see the cosplayer and fine costume details.

Notable entries included Lilith (Trinity Blood) from France, who ended her performance with a costume transformation that displayed France’s Blue, White and Red, a Dawn of War Chaos hero from Lithuania bellowing at the top of his voice and the home team’s Skeksil Chamberlin from The Dark Crystal, who won the competition with a dazzling display of cosplay finery and showmanship.

It was certainly an entertaining weekend, and a salve for my missing AFA for 3 consecutive years.”


We’ve also got some pictures from the event, courtesy of photographer Shaun Ng:

The Griff

11 Oct , 2011,
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The Griff - Cover Art.

What happens when the world goes to pot courtesy of a horde of ravenous flying lizards?

That’s the nightmare scenario Christopher Moore and Ian Corson paint in The Griff, a graphic novel that’s got all the hallmarks of an action-adventure movie.

In The Griff, aliens have invaded the Earth, descending from the atmosphere in a mothership that spews deadly… well death in the form of creatures resembling the griffins from folklore (they’re really more like wyverns, but you can’t always expect the writers to be big on D&D).

They’ve destroyed all civilization as we know it, leaving only scattered remnants alive, and this graphic novel charts their struggle for survival.

Thanks to Moore’s unique style and Corson’s film roots, this wonderful volume transcends what might have been an otherwise mundane plot.

Sure, it’s about a bunch of unlikely people (the male lead’s a sk8ter boy, and one of the supporting cast is a middle-aged chain-smoking  guy in a hamster suit) banding together against the alien threat, but hey, there’s plenty of twists and turns along the way to keep things fresh.

The characters too, while archetypal, grow as the story progresses. They’re not flat caricatures to say the least.

In terms of the art, Jennyson Rosero puts on a decent showing.

Nothing says "I love you" better than a BFG.

That's one ugly Griff.

Character designs are strong (I especially loved the goth programmer girl), and there are some really impressive full-page spreads in there.

I spotted some continuity issues however, and the art’s not always consistent in the more complex scenes, but those weren’t significant.

Simply put, it didn’t really detract from the overall appeal of the plot, and that was what mattered the most to me.

A great read for an independent title. Be sure to put this one on your reading list.

 

Checkin' out the CXC

3 Oct , 2011,
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With the dearth of comic conventions in Singapore, it was inevitable that I’d check out Comics Xchange (CXC) 2011 despite my crazy weekend schedule.

Grabbed this brochure at the door. XD

Touted as an event “where the greatest comic talents converge”, CXC saw artists in the local scene such as Kelvin Chan (rocketraygun), Noval Hernawan and Ray Racho, doujin groups Comix Pandora, Daiyaku and Collateral Damage Studios gracing the bazaar in Goodman Art Centre’s Block J.

Just a quick peek into the bazaar area.

Guests such as Benjamin Ang, Singapore’s first Marvel artist, and Aravind Menon, the creator of Salvation Sam, were also on hand to offer their insights in a series of paid seminars.

I have to confess one of the real reasons I was at CXC was because brochures claimed “over 100 cosplayers from CosAsia” would be in attendance. It would have been a definite crowd puller, so I was a little disappointed to discover that the venue was devoid of all save one costumed individual minding the CosAsia booth near the stage.

LFM 100 cosplayers for CXC...

Pity this was the only one.

The boys from FightSaber were around though, prepping for their stunts and performances on stage, so that livened things up a little (check out their CXC performance here).

Nothing beats geeking out to a good, old fashioned lightsaber duel. Photo credit: Mezame/FightSaber

All in all, it wasn’t an entirely bad event.

Sure, there were some shortfalls – the venue was kinda outta the way (which probably accounted for the lack of human traffic), and the cosplay bit could have been much better managed – but the seminars seemed pretty darned good.

I’m actually keeping my fingers crossed and hoping there’s a Comics Xchange next year, because things can only get better.

Comics Xchange 2011

27 Sep , 2011,
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Comics Xchange 2011 - Logo Art

Comics Xchange (CXC) 2011, an initiative that brings seminars & workshops about the comic book business, a bazaar, and Singapore’s 2nd 24 Hour Comics Day together kicks off at Goodman Arts Center this coming weekend.

Organized by the Association of Comic Artists Singapore (ACAS), local writer Moontique and Story Kitchen, Comics Xchange 2011 promises two days of fun, entertainment and enlightenment for participants, so check out the CXC website for more details.

It’s a cosplay friendly event, so if you’re starved for an opportunity to strut your stuff in your favorite togs, you’re welcome to.

Comics Xchange takes place at Goodman Arts Centre on 1st & 2nd October 2011. Doors open from 10 am to 8 pm daily.

Admission to the bazaar is free. Seminar and workshop tickets are available for purchase at www.gatecrash.com.sg

Dark Sun: Ianto's Tomb

17 Sep , 2011,
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Ianto's Tomb - Cover Art

Welcome to Athas.

It’s a harsh and barren place that burns under the perpetual glare of the crimson sun, ruled by the ancient and immortal sorcerer-kings that were responsible for its desolation in the first place.

Written by Alex Irvine, Dark Sun: Ianto’s Tomb offers a glimpse into this post-apocalyptic Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) setting through the eyes of Grudvik, an ex-gladiator from the city of Tyr.

Arrested on trumped up charges, the Mul (a uniquely Athasian race) escapes and flees into the desert, only to be confronted by a canny hunter named Aki, who co-opts him into what becomes an adventure of epic proportions.

While the setup only manages to plod along in the first 20 or so pages, the art serves to do what the story initially fails at – painting a near perfect picture of the sparse, sand-filled wastes and the fierce struggle for survival that is life on Athas thanks to Peter Burgting.

It’s a brutal world after all – no place for the squeamish – and the panels reflect that. Characters crush, kill and maim with abandon, but in keeping with D&D’s family friendly sensibilities, the bulk of the violence is tastefully masked (and takes place off screen).

Check out the interior art and paneling.

The story picks up later, when political intrigues and an ancient legacy wend its way into the plot and the search for Ianto’s Tomb begins in earnest.  That’s when Irvine’s understated style begins to soar towards a satisfying pay-off.

Like it’s core campaign counterpart, Ianto’s Tomb also features bonuses for D&D players.

There’s encounter maps and scenarios aplenty, so if you’re an avid dice roller and you’re keen to play out Grudvik’s journey, it’s in there.

All in all a great read for fans of gritty, low magic settings where strength of arms, wit and guile, rather than the size of your fireballs matter.

Few comics have managed to swing it better.

Freakshow

8 Sep , 2011,
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Freakshow - Cover Art

The Smoke devastates a city and chokes the life out of its inhabitants.

It kills the world’s only superhero – Vanguard, the bulk of the population, and leaves the remainder horribly warped and scarred.

Struggling to survive within this post-apocalyptic framework are the heroes of Freakshow – a group of five individuals who’ve found themselves  suddenly gifted, or perhaps cursed with super powers of their own.

This motley crew has banded together, both to fight against military tormentors who have put the ruined city under quarantine, as well as to hunt down their leader, the enigmatic Dr. Gaghen.

It’s not an altogether unfamiliar story, but thanks to independent comic book writers David Server and Jackson Lanzing, Freakshow’s vibe is decidedly dark, and that’s what sets it apart from all the other titles out there.

There’s certainly plenty of  moral ambiguity in the mix, and plenty of twists to keep audiences guessing.

Dynamic paneling

And some killer character designs.

It also features great art, courtesy of Joe Suitor.

Suitor’s rendition of the characters – all ephemeral, tortured and twisted, were perfect for the story’s sinister tone. It’s complemented by his painting style, his devotion to detail, and clever use of color.

His mastery of paneling is also impressive. Action flows from frame to cinematic frame, creating seamless story flow.

Freakshow stands as a testament to quality creator-owned work.

Definitely worth a read, and then some.