Dec. 12, 2013 | 2:48 p.m.
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.
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.
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 […]
Oct. 25, 2013 | 11:40 a.m.
Over the last two decades, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has become known as one of popular culture’s great visionaries. He’s channeled his wild, restless imagination to create dark worlds of fantasy and horror, crafting beautifully rendered stories that function as modern fairy tales. Del Toro is interested in innocence and evil, and his tales are populated with winged, multi-limbed creatures and human monsters. His new book, “Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions” (Harper Design, $60), details Del Toro’s creative process, examining the pages of the leather-bound journals he uses to jot down ideas and drawings, many of which have found their way into his signature films, including “Pan’s Labyrinth” and this summer’s robots-versus-aliens blockbuster, “Pacific Rim.” “Curiosities” also invites readers inside Bleak House, his Southern California sanctuary that’s home to a massive collection of pop culture artifacts, […]
Oct. 10, 2013 | 12:17 p.m.
“Battling Boy,” by alternative comics creator Paul Pope, follows the self-dubbed Battling Boy, the son of a warrior god sent to save a city under siege by deadly monsters. The young hero arrives in Arcopolis with a magic credit card, a book called “The Encyclopedia Monstrosity,” and a dozen enchanted T-shirts, each bearing a different animal totem, which allow him to become clever as a fox, strong as a Tyrannosaurus rex, powerful as a gryphon, etc. Meanwhile in Arcopolis, a girl named Aurora mourns the death of her father, the city’s jetpack-wearing hero Haggard West, and makes plans to take up his quest. “Battling Boy,” out this week from First Second Books, is filled with secret science laboratories, sci-fi ray-blasters, bandage-wrapped monsters and plenty of beast-bashing action. For Pope, the project is a mash-up of everything he loved as a child. […]
Sept. 30, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.
“Puss in Boots,” “Goldilocks,” “Snow White” and more classic fairy tales are getting makeovers in “Fairy Tale Comics,” a new anthology that features stories from all over the world. The book, which hit shelves this week, features 17 fairy tales, adapted by 18 cartoonists, including Gilbert Hernandez, Vanessa Davis, Jillian Tamaki, David Mazzucchelli, Luke Pearson, Emily Carroll and a dozen more. Not least among them is Craig Thompson, the Eisner- and Harvey-winning author of “Blankets,” “Habibi” and “Good-bye, Chunky Rice.” For First Second’s “Fairy Tale Comics,” Thompson adapted “The King and His Story-teller,” by 11th century Spanish writer Petrus Alphonsi. Thompson’s version, “Azzolino’s Story Without End,” follows a king greedy for stories and his court minstrel, weary for want of sleep. What results is an endless bedtime story that leaves both the king and his minstrel counting sheep. Hero Complex […]
Sept. 10, 2013 | 5:05 p.m.
It’s hard to know whom to root for in Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel diptych “Boxers & Saints.” At once humorous and heartbreaking, the books’ 500 combined pages examine both sides of the Boxer Rebellion in turn-of-the-century China, seamlessly weaving magic and history to tell two interconnected stories. “Boxers” follows Little Bao, a peasant boy who learns kung fu and harnesses the power of the Opera gods to free China from the “foreign devils” — Western soldiers and Christian missionaries. “Saints” tells the tale of Four-Girl, an unwanted daughter who finds acceptance (and a proper name — Vibiana) among the Christian missionaries and their Chinese converts. Both protagonists are haunted and inspired by visions of historical figures — Joan of Arc for Vibiana and Ch’in Shih-huang, China’s first emperor, for Little Bao. “Boxers & Saints,” out today from First Second […]
Sept. 01, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.
Artist, illustrator and avid “Star Trek” enthusiast Juan Ortiz has channeled his love for Gene Roddenberry’s brainchild in a unique, inspiring way, creating beautiful retro-inspired images for each of the 79 episodes from the 1960s series and the original pilot. A new book, “Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz” (Titan), out Tuesday, collects his work. Hero Complex readers can check out a selection of his handiwork in the gallery above. We also asked him to describe the images and to share his thoughts on the selection of episodes that inspired him — his comments follow. “The Mark of Gideon”: “It was an interesting episode, but I was left confounded at the end. The overpopulation could have been solved by removing a part of the population to an off-world colony.” “Wink of an Eye”: “The shadowy figure is actually a […]
Aug. 28, 2013 | 1:49 p.m.
Tony Cliff’s swashbuckling heroine Delilah Dirk finally has a graphic novel of her own. “Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant,” out this week from First Second Books, follows the globe-trotting, sword-swinging, treasure-stealing character across early 19th century Turkey, where she meets Erdemoglu Selim, a timid tea aficionado who finds himself unexpectedly caught up in Delilah’s misadventures (not to mention her flying sailboat). Cliff first introduced the character in 2007 in the 28-page short story “Delilah Dirk and the Treasure of Constantinople,” which earned an Eisner nod. Another installment found itself in the “Flight: Vol. 5” anthology. Delilah may remind readers of such adventure heroes as Indiana Jones, Lara Croft and even Adele Blanc-Sec. The daughter of a famous Greek artisan and a British ambassador, Delilah’s worldly childhood was filled with sword-fighting, archery and a dash of aristocracy — skills she puts […]
Aug. 06, 2013 | 11:48 a.m.
Neill Blomkamp’s second feature “Elysium” opens in theaters Friday, but a new book out Tuesday showcases the unique production design of the politically minded sci-fi tale. “Elysium: The Art of the Film,” written by Mark Salisbury, collects production art, photos and cast and crew commentary and includes a foreword by Blomkamp. Hero Complex readers can click through the gallery above to see a selection of images from the book. Blomkamp won a massive following with his full-length debut, 2009′s South African-set “District 9,” which earned upwards of $115 million in North America and received an Oscar nomination for best picture, and “Elysium” arrives with a great deal of fan anticipation. Set in 2154, the film stars Matt Damon as the heavily tattooed Max Da Costa, a down-on-his-luck reformed thief who embarks on a desperate mission to break into the orbiting […]