Books


Feb. 12, 2014 | 12:52 p.m.

Exclusive: ‘Beautiful Darkness’ a bizarre fairy tale about brutality

'Beautiful Darkness' (featured image)
Don’t let the whimsically water-colored fairy world in “Beautiful Darkness” fool you; this graphic novel, out today from Drawn and Quarterly, is not a happily-ever-after sort of story. In “Beautiful Darkness,” French comics writer Fabien Vehlmann (“Isle of 100,000 Graves”) and husband-and-wife cartooning team Kerascoët (“Miss Don’t Touch Me”) present the story of Aurora, a cheery and resourceful heroine whose tea party with a prince is interrupted by a deluge of what appears to be blood. Aurora escapes, emerging from the skull of a dead girl, along with dozens of other tiny people. In the coming days and months, they try to survive in the face of hunger, woodland animals and, most terrifyingly, their own capacity for cruelty. It’s a twisted tale that draws from the likes of “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Borrowers,” only “Beautiful Darkness” presents a much […]
Feb. 12, 2014 | 11:08 a.m.

Valentine’s Day: ‘Alone Forever’ comic finds humor in heartbreak

"Alone Forever" by Liz Prince (featured image)
If you find yourself among the lovelorn this Valentine’s Day, Liz Prince’s graphic novel “Alone Forever: The Singles Collection” might prove a perfect remedy. “Alone Forever,” out this month from Top Shelf Productions, collects 104 pages of Prince’s autobiographical comic strip — a self-deprecating look at relationships, love and the lack thereof. The Boston-based comics creator chronicles her experiences with online dating, awkward first encounters and (questionably) flirty interactions with bearded strangers, not to mention tender moments with her constant true loves — her cats and her punk rock music. Prince, whose previous titles include the Ignatz Award-winning “Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?” and “Delayed Replays,” will be in the Los Angeles area on Sunday for L.A. Zine Fest at Helms Bakery in Culver City. Hero Complex: How did this project come about? I understand […]
Feb. 07, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

Valentine’s Day gift guide: ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Sherlock,’ comics and more

Hero Complex Valentine's Day gift guide (featured image)
Do you and your Valentine put Clark Kent and Lois Lane to shame? Or is your greatest love a platonic one, like Sherlock and Watson or Finn and Jake? Whether your loved one is a gamer, a Whovian or a comics aficionado, the Hero Complex Valentine’s Day gift guide has you covered. Click through the gallery above and check out the list below for our selection of the best geeky Valentine’s Day gift ideas, sure to make your sci-fi-loving soul mate swoon. Under $25 “The Adventures of Apocalypse Al,” $2.99 per issue: J. Michael Straczynski’s new Joe’s Comics title follows plucky redhead Allison Carter, a resourceful private investigator tasked with saving the world from all manner of supernatural threats — zombies, imps, wizards, closet trolls and even undead ex-boyfriends, all while dispensing wisecracks with deadpan aplomb. If that winning combination […]
Jan. 23, 2014 | 8:30 a.m.

‘Snowpiercer’ artist Jean-Marc Rochette talks English comic, film

"Snowpiercer: Volume 1: The Escape"
In 1982, French writers Jacques Lob and Benjamin Legrand, and artist Jean-Marc Rochette collaborated on “Le Transperceneige,” a science-fiction graphic novel about the last of humanity aboard a train, endlessly coursing across frozen wasteland. More than three decades later, the acclaimed comic is finally being released in English as “Snowpiercer,” and a film adaptation starring “Captain America” actor Chris Evans is due for U.S. release later this year. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive look at several pages from the first “Snowpiercer” installment, “Volume 1: The Escape,” out next week from Titan Books. Check them out in the gallery above. “Volume 2: The Explorers” is slated for a Feb. 25 release. The sci-fi story is set on Snowpiercer, a train with 1,001 carriages carrying all surviving human life and traveling on an endless track across frozen Earth. The elite travel in the front of […]
Jan. 23, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.

Exclusive: Farel Dalrymple’s ‘The Wrenchies’ cover revealed

'The Wrenchies' cover (featured image)
Imagine a world in which children brutally slay demons in order to survive, knowing that when they grow up, they’ll become demons too. “The Wrenchies,” an upcoming YA graphic novel from alternative comics star Farel Dalrymple, chronicles the adventures of the toughest gang of those children, the so-called Wrenchies. The book is due out this fall from First Second, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the book’s cover, which shows the eponymous gang clad for battle. Dalrymple is best known for his award-winning comic series “Pop Gun War,” an urban fantasy about a boy who acquires a pair of angel wings and uses them to fly off on adventures. He also co-founded the comic anthology “Meathaus,” illustrated the Marvel limited series “Omega the Unknown,” written by novelist Jonathan Lethem, and authors the ongoing Web comic “It Will […]
Jan. 22, 2014 | 1:36 p.m.

‘Alien: Out of the Shadows’: Read an exclusive excerpt from the novel

Alien: Out of the Shadows (featured image)
Ellen Ripley is back in the new, officially sanctioned novel “Alien: Out of the Shadows,” out next week. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at an excerpt from the book, by horror and dark fantasy author Tim Lebbon (“Dusk,” “30 Days of Night”). The novel, to be released Jan. 28 by Titan Books, bridges the gap between the films “Alien” and “Aliens” and expands upon the series’ mythos. The book also mentions Amanda, Ripley’s daughter and the subject of the upcoming video game “Alien: Isolation.” Check out the exclusive “Out of the Shadows” excerpt below and let us know what you think in the comments.   Sharp, black, chitinous, sleek, vicious, hiding in shadows and pouncing, seeding themselves in people she loved—her ex-husband, her sweet daughter—and then bursting forth in showers of far too much blood. They expand […]
Dec. 19, 2013 | 11:16 a.m.

Holiday gift guide: ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Sherlock’ and more

Stressing out about a last-minute gift idea for the Trekkie, Time Lord or Jedi Padawan in your life? Look no further — Hero Complex’s annual holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s guide, introduced on Thanksgiving, includes a wide range of geek-friendly selections from the worlds of science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comics. Is your TV-loving pal a “Game of Thrones” fan? Perhaps a plush direwolf or a 3-D puzzle map of Westeros will satisfy the wannabe-Stark in your life. Are you shopping for someone as strong and fair as Lady Sif? Check out the “Thor”-inspired lightning bolt and hammer earrings. Is there a pint-sized Whovian in your household? The Dalek Mr. Potato Head might make for the perfect stocking stuffer. Other selections in the Hero Complex holiday gift guide include items from “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Marvel’s […]
Dec. 12, 2013 | 2:48 p.m.

Sage Stossel’s ‘Starling’ juggles superheroics, ordinary life

Sage Stossel's "Starling" (featured image)
The most difficult part of being a superhero might not be the superheroics. For caped heroine Starling (civilian name Amy Sturgess), catching criminals is no less stressful than dealing with her conniving co-worker, her delinquent brother or her cat-hoarding mother. “Starling,” out this month from Penguin, is Sage Stossel’s first graphic novel, though she is no stranger to the form. A longtime political cartoonist, Stossel draws “Sage, Ink” for the Atlantic, where she is also a contributing editor. Her children’s books include “On the Loose in Boston” and “On the Loose in Washington, D.C.“ In “Starling,” Stossel introduces a heroine who blames an imaginary case of irritable bowel syndrome for her frequent missed meetings at her high-pressure marketing job. Her love life is hampered by her superpowers, including the ability to generate electric bolts from her hands. And though she […]
Nov. 28, 2013 | 12:19 p.m.

Holiday gift guide 2013: ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Thrones’ and more

holidaygiftguide-featuredimage
You don’t have to take your broom to Diagon Alley, cross the Bifrost, traverse the Misty Mountains or steal a vortex manipulator to find the perfect gift for the Trekkie, Whovian or Westerosi-wannabe in your life. We’ve done the looking for you in our annual Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or another gamer, a comics enthusiast or film buff, we’ve got you covered. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Happy shopping, and happy holidays! Under $25 Millenium Falcon guitar pick, $2.49: Here’s a song for you: The Millenium Falcon, it’s a smugglers’ ship. It can make the Kessel Run in “less than 12 parsecs.” Han Solo and Lando Calrissian use it, but neither has it as pick to strum and make rebel music. […]
Nov. 26, 2013 | 12:00 p.m.

‘Super Book for Super-Heroes’ lets kids of all ages draw, create

'The Super Book for Super-Heroes' (featured image)
Illustrator Jason Ford has long nurtured his love for superheroics, thanks to the likes of Tintin and classic Marvel comics. Now he’s sharing that love in “The Super Book for Super-Heroes,” an oversized activity book complete with drawing lessons, pop-out masks and more. “The Super Book,” from Laurence King Publishing, lets creative kids (or kids at heart) create their own superheroes, supervillains, sidekicks, secret hideouts, robots, mad scientists and swamp creatures. The brightly colored, 128-page activity book also includes a decoder wheel, a pop-out superhero figurine and two pages of stickers. Hero Complex caught up with Ford to talk about “The Super Book.” Hero Complex: What inspired this project? Why an activity book? Jason Ford: Other books on how to draw superheroes looked a bit too technical and dry. They were more concerned with the anatomical and how to get […]
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