May 22, 2015 | 4:18 p.m.

Paycheck Friday: Skip the movies and visit your local comic book shop

'The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl'
It’s time for another installment of Paycheck Friday, the weekly roundup of some of Hero Complex’s favorite toys, games, books and other geek merchandise. While a slate of summer movies including “Tomorrowland,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Pitch Perfect 2” battle it out in the box office over the weekend, this week’s paycheck goes to taking a trip to your local comic book shop to catch up on the month’s releases. With May marking the launch of Marvel’s “Secret Wars” event series that sees the various Marvel universes combining into one unified Battleworld just as DC’s “Convergence” event is winding down, it’s easy to get lost in the various interconnected tie-in series from the “Big Two.” Fear not, this week’s comic book selections are titles that require no knowledge of “Secret Wars” or “Convergence.” This week’s first pick is “The […]
May 20, 2015 | 4:00 p.m.

Noelle Stevenson talks ‘Lumberjanes,’ ‘Nimona’ and her online roots

Noelle Stevenson
A new issue of “Lumberjanes” hit shelves Wednesday, kicking off a new arc in the continuing adventures of the campers and staff at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson, “Lumberjanes” launched in April 2014, introducing the world to best friends and bunkmates Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley, who found themselves caught up in supernatural adventures in and around their summer camp. Stevenson, perhaps best known for her Web comics, was initially brought on board to help with the character designs before taking on a writing role. “I believe that, originally, the descriptions that I was given were based on people that really existed,” Stevenson said. “But I didn’t know these people. I just kind of did the character designs based on my own image of them.” And for one character, […]
May 19, 2015 | 5:06 a.m.

Joe Casey breaks superhero mold with ‘Valhalla Mad’ and ‘Sex’

Joe Casey's 'Valhalla Mad" and 'Sex'
Joe Casey doesn’t remember a time when comic books weren’t in his life. A writer who has worked on some of the most popular characters in superhero comics, including Superman, the X-Men and the Avengers, Casey grew up as an unabashed fan of the medium, and the works of Jack Kirby were some of the very first books that caught his attention. During his trips to local drugstore spinner racks, Casey discovered Kirby’s work through random issues of “Eternals,” “Devil Dinosaur,” “Black Panther” and “Captain America and the Falcon,” and it made an impression that has significantly influenced Casey’s development as a comics creator. “[Kirby] was a bit out of fashion at that point, as I later learned, but … he was never not great, as far as I’m concerned,” Casey said. “Once I really dove into the medium — […]
May 18, 2015 | 5:23 a.m.

Shanghai Comic Convention: China is the new frontier for con organizers

A cosplayer poses at the Shanghai Comic Convention.  (Nick May / For the Los Angeles Times)
SHANGHAI — Two sexy female Captain Americas, a Superman, a Catwoman and Japanese anime schoolgirls come to life were milling around the second floor of the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center when Yang Wanjing emerged from a curtained booth, trembling. Unlike many of her counterparts at the first Shanghai Comic Convention, she had decided to forgo a costume. But the 23-year-old automotive quality-control clerk nevertheless was living out her personal fantasy, plunking down $115 — 20% of her monthly salary — for a fleeting meeting with her idol, Mads Mikkelsen of the NBC show “Hannibal.” Bashfully clutching photographic proof of her star encounter (“I look terrible next to him,” she lamented), Yang struggled to compose herself. She seemed unsure of whether she had just made the best decision of her life — or the worst. “All fans are idiots, in […]
May 15, 2015 | 9:00 a.m.

Exclusive: See DC Bombshells variant covers for ‘Batman,’ ‘Catwoman,’ more

'Catwoman' No. 43
DC Comics has announced that August will be DC Bombshells month, and Hero Complex readers get a first look at the variant covers for “Batman,” “Catwoman,” “Detective Comics” and “Superman/Wonder Woman.” For the uninitiated, Bombshells is a line of collectible statues that reimagines classic DC characters in the vintage style of World War II-era art. The Bombshells line has expanded to other items such as posters, apparel and accessories, and DC made it the variant theme last June, with titles such as “Batgirl,” “Harley Quinn” and “Superman” receiving the Bombshells treatment. DC Bombshells variants: ‘Batman’ No. 43 | ‘Catwoman’ No. 43 | ‘Detective Comics’ No. 43 | ‘Superman/Wonder Woman’ No. 20 DC has also announced a new Bombshells comic book series written by Marguerite Bennett with art by Marguerite Sauvage. “DC Comics Bombshells,” which begins in July, will be an […]
May 14, 2015 | 9:43 a.m.

‘Diary Comics’: Dustin Harbin on the art of autobiographical comics and lettering

'Diary Comics' cover (featured image)
Comic books have proved to be an exceptional medium for autobiographical material, allowing creators to interpret their lives through a combination of words and pictures unique to their individual perspectives. After a few years working on one-off gag comics, cartoonist Dustin Harbin began exploring more personal storytelling by chronicling his life from 2010 to 2012, a project that began as a creative exercise and ultimately became a valuable, therapeutic part of Harbin’s life. Choice installments from those two years are collected in “Diary Comics,” from Koyama Press, which debuted at this past weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival and hits comic stores this month. A native of North Carolina who grew up just outside of Charlotte, Harbin says his introduction to comics came from his mother, who would pick up random issues from yard sales. “If there was one with Spider-Man […]
May 13, 2015 | 8:26 p.m.

‘Arrow’s’ Guggenheim introduces ‘Jonas Quantum’ comic

Marc Guggenheim may be enjoying a good run right now as “Arrow,” which was picked up by the CW for another season and has its season finale Thursday night, but the  showrunner/executive producer is introducing another action-adventure series, in comic book form, later this year called “The Adventures of Jonas Quantum.” Published by Legendary Comics, and with art by Freddie Williams II (Justice League America, The Flash, Robin), Guggenheim introduces us to Jonas Quantum, a “maverick hyper-genius with the power to cure death in the morning, time travel in the afternoon and unlock transdimensional wormholes at night”  — as the release goes. Quantum has infinite intelligence, which will make for a very inventive and conceptual book, but will also mean that the character doesn’t play well with others. Hero Complex caught up with Guggenheim on the eve of the “Arrow” […]
May 13, 2015 | 10:24 a.m.

Exclusive: Pat McHale announces ‘Over the Garden Wall’ comic book series

'Over the Garden Wall' No. 1
Join Wirt, Greg and Beatrice back “Over the Garden Wall” this summer with a new miniseries published by KaBoom. Created by Pat McHale, “Over the Garden Wall” was Cartoon Network’s first original animated miniseries. The series, which debuted in November, followed brothers Wirt and Greg as they traveled through a mysterious place called the Unknown, searching for a way home. Among those they encountered during their journey was the ominous Woodsman, an irritable bluebird named Beatrice and a talking horse named Fred. During “Over the Garden Wall’s” 10-episode run, KaBoom, Boom Studios’ all-ages imprint, published a one-shot companion comic written by McHale with art by Jim Campbell. They are reuniting for a new four-part miniseries, with the first issue due out Aug. 26. COVER ART: Main | Subscription | Boom 10 Years variant | Incentive The new story is set between the […]
May 12, 2015 | 11:07 a.m.

Exclusive preview: ‘Rebels’ writer Brian Wood explores the Revolutionary War

'Rebels' No. 2 (featured image)
The American Revolution will be serialized in Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti’s new Dark Horse limited series “Rebels.” Hero Complex readers get an exclusive look at issue No. 2 at the top of the post, along with a few words from Wood about the origins of “Rebels,” its fresh take on a familiar historical era, and what readers can expect in upcoming issues. Over the last decade and a half, the prolific Wood has endowed his stories, settings and characters with an uncanny — and heavily researched — authenticity, whether he’s focusing on restless contemporary youths in “Local,” battle-hardened Vikings in Vertigo’s “Northlanders,” embedded journalists chronicling America’s Second Civil War in the speculative post-9/11 thriller “DMZ,” or environmentalists scraping by after the world has ended in the recent “Massive.” Now, he’s bringing that sense of verisimilitude to a historical tale that mixes […]
May 12, 2015 | 11:06 a.m.

Female Thor’s identity revealed as a larger battle looms

Warning: This post contains spoilers. The identity of the new Thor has been a closely guarded secret since her debut in “Thor: God of Thunder” No. 25 in 2014. Fans have known that the character’s  hidden name would be announced in “Thor” No. 8, which comes out Wednesday, but writer Jason Aaron has already dropped the proverbial hammer. Thor is Dr. Jane Foster, a longtime ally and love interest of Thor Odinson, notably during his time as his alter-ego, Dr. Donald Blake. Jane Foster was created way back in 1962 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby, first appearing in “Journey into Mystery” No. 84. She has been played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Natalie Portman, though her origins there have been altered from being a nurse or EMT to being a scientist. The “Thor” writer released the […]
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