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Ryan Browne and Mike Costa Take Us Behind Smoke & Mirrors

January 31st, 2012 Comments off

Smoke and Mirrors ComicsDo you believe in magic? What about a comic that will perform it, right before your eyes? That’s the aim of Smoke and Mirrors, a new series from IDW Publishing that debuts March 21. Created by writer Mike Costa (G.I. Joe, Blackhawks), artist Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts), and world-famous magician Jon Armstrong, Smoke and Mirrors takes place in a world where magic is everywhere–for a price.

We had a chance to interview Ryan Browne and Mike Costa about this intriguing new series, below. Plus, make sure to take a look at our six-page preview of Smoke and Mirrors #1!

TFAW.com: Ryan, how did you get involved with Smoke and Mirrors?

Ryan Browne: Writer Mike Costa and I grew up together and have been collaborating since the fifth grade. We have developed many many projects together over the years, and Smoke and Mirrors is our first big chance to work together on a published book. Mike was an aspiring magician. He joined “The Magic Castle,” a magician’s club out in L.A., and soon befriended world-famous card magician Jon Armstrong. After finding out that Mike was a comic book writer, Jon proposed to Mike that they make a comic together that has actual magic tricks within the pages. From there, Mike brought me along to flesh out the idea with visuals, and to illustrate a trick as a proof of concept.

TFAW.com: What drew you to the project?

Smoke and Mirrors Page 1RB: First and foremost, I was just excited to work with Mike on something that didn’t just end up in a drawer somewhere. Secondly, I was really blown away by the idea. After I drew the original proof of concept magic trick, I would show it to friends and totally freak them out. Since I know basically nothing about magic, it was really thrilling to have the power to fool people and get the reaction, as if I was an actual magician, even though I was just following Jon and Mike’s instructions.

TFAW.com: What was your process of designing the characters?

RB: Whenever I design I character, I like to envision a friend or actor in my mind’s eye and base them roughly around that. Not as in a photo reference kind of thing, but just as if I sat down to draw them from my semi-distorted memory. Our main magician, Terry Ward, is a combination of Gabriel Byrne and James Garfield’s character from the Red Riding trilogy. I like to associate colors with the characters as well. You will always see Ethan the boy in yellows, Terry the magician in deep maroon colors, and Stephen J. Carroll (based on Steve Jobs) in blues.

TFAW.com: You drew some pretty fantastical scenarios in your independent comic, God Hates Astronauts. Did that prepare you for drawing magic?

RB: Hah! Yeah, I guess I did. I wouldn’t say that prepared me for drawing magic, in GHA I basically just drew whatever I wanted to draw. In Smoke and Mirrors, every time that I need to draw a trick, be it a card fan, coin roll, or wand spin, it is heavily referenced with photos of Jon Armstrong. When Mike sends me the script, it is accompanied by photo references and videos that he will take of Jon doing the tricks, and then I use those to do the drawings.

Smoke and Mirrors Page 2Since Jon is pretty serious in the magic community, and I know that a lot of magicians are going to read this book, I try and take great care in drawing the magic the way a world-class magician would do it. I would hate for a pro to read our book and say, “That guy’s holding cards like an amateur.”

TFAW.com: What were some of your artistic influences, growing up?

First and foremost has got to be Rob Schrab and his work on Scud: The Disposable Assassin. From ideas to art, that book is everything that I have always wanted my comics to be. Beyond that, I’ve always been a big fan of Geof Darrow, Mike Allred, Mike Mignola, David Mazzuchelli, John Paul Leon, Kevin Knowlan, and Darwyn Cooke. I’m not entirely sure who influences me the most visually, I like to think that it’s kind of an overall mix.

TFAW.com: What’s it been like for you, breaking into comics?

RB: It’s been fantastic. It was something I worked for for about 10 years now, and now that I’m drawing professionally, it was totally worth it. Really, during the last year or so, all of the hard work and mental fortitude has been paying off, and I’m really happy that I stuck with it.

TFAW.com: Can you give us any hints about the storyline for Smoke and Mirrors?

RB: I’ll leave that for the writers. All I can say is that Smoke and Mirrors goes way beyond its initial gimmick of having magic tricks in every issue. I have drawn the first two issues so far, and I am wholeheartedly invested in the story of Ethan and Terry. I can’t wait to tell the next chapter! There are some really intense moments emotionally, something that couldn’t be farther from my experiences on GHA. It’s been an incredible learning process so far, and I hope that the readers will get as emotionally attached as I have become.

Smoke and Mirrors Page 3TFAW.com: What other comics are you reading right now?

RB: I love The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurt. Hands down my go-to book right now. Locke and Key has been consistently great and slightly disturbing. Other than that, I love what Chris Burnham is doing with Grant Morrison on Batman Inc. and really enjoyed Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s Red Wing, and am really looking forward to Saga, as well as Hoax Hunters and Revival, all from Image Comics. Oh yeah, also love the Parker adaptations from Darwyn Cooke.

TFAW.com: Mike, how did the idea behind Smoke and Mirrors develop?

Mike Costa: It actually came from a conversation that Jon Armstrong (our magician and illusion-creator on the book) had with a publisher about creating a comic book that taught magic. Jon was a huge fan of comics, but he wasn’t a writer himself, so he approached me about collaborating on it. Throughout the course of our conversations together, it became clear that the comic wasn’t so much going to “teach” magic (which both he and I were worried would seem dry, instructional, and boring), but actually “perform” magic for the reader, which, obviously, sounds much more exciting.

After we settled on that format, we built the story around the obvious questions: who is the character performing this magic? Why is he doing it? What’s interesting about it, other than it’s just a trick? After we had all that, we brought on Ryan onboard to start developing the look of the characters and their world, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.

TFAW.com: Why does Ethan have such a chip on his shoulder?

MC: Ethan is a young kid who lost his dad and doesn’t have a lot of friends. He’s also really smart–in some ways, a lot smarter than the kids around him. And that makes him angry.

Smoke and Mirrors Page 4I think a lot of things that stories about children tend to miss is how alone a lot of kids feel–particularly around the ages of 11 to 13, which is right where Ethan is. The middle school years. There’s a lot of loneliness and anger in those years. A lot of frustration that life’s not fair. It’s not fair that nobody likes me because I’m smarter than they are. It’s not fair that my teachers pick on me because I talk the most. It’s not fair that I lost one of my parents. So the way that a kid like Ethan deals with that is to act out and show off. It’s a way of getting the attention that he wants, which, to him, is the same thing as getting into trouble.

TFAW.com: You’ve done a lot of military-themed comics, with G.I. Joe and Blackhawks. What made you decide to do a book about magic?

MC: Well, like I said earlier, this project was suggested to me by Jon. But the whole reason I know Jon is because I love magic. I’m actually a member of the Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences, for which Jon is the Chairmen of the Board of Trustees. We actually met at the Magic Castle, which is the club that the Academy operates. I started learning the craft several years ago and practicing sleight-of-hand, and hanging out at the club with some of the greatest sleight-of-hand artists on Earth is one of the coolest parts of my life now.

TFAW.com: Did you come up with a lot of hard-and-fast rules for the magic in this book?

MC: Absolutely, we did. One of the major rules was: knowledge of “magic” (meaning supernatural magic) does not make you all-powerful, any more than knowledge of technology would. For instance: if you wanted to, you could be a surgeon and perform open-heart surgery. And if you wanted to, you could be an engineer and build a suspension bridge. But you probably couldn’t be both. Because each of those things requires a lifetime of study. Same thing with the “magic” in Ethan’s world. You can use it to do amazing things . . . but no more amazing than designing a super-sonic jet is in our world. And you have to specialize. It keeps the world under control and recognizable.

Smoke and Mirrors Page 5Also, we needed to establish a scarcity problem. For example–if magic can be used to do or create anything, then no one would ever need anything. If you can magic-up some food and clothes and electricity out of nothing, then there’s no economy, because there’s no balancing factors of supply and demand. And if there’s no economy and no want, then very quickly you’re creating a world that’s either incoherent, or totally unrecognizable compared to our own, to the point where I wouldn’t know how to write about it. So we had to set rules that required perishable goods. For instance–cars in this world don’t just run on “magic,” they run on magic talismans that need to be re-charged by licensed professionals, similar to going to a gas station or getting your oil changed. So the tools are different, but the rules are the same.

TFAW.com: I really enjoyed Blackhawks, and was disappointed when I heard it was canceled. What was the whole experience like?

MC: My experience on Blackhawks was a blast. DC mostly got out of my way and let me tell the story I wanted to tell. I wrote myself into a corner on every issue, with no idea how I’d get out of it until I started the next. It was a thrilling way to work–and atypical in the big corporate comics structure that has an interest in long-term planning to protect their investments.

Of course, the book ended up being canceled, so I suppose a case could be made that there’s a reason they don’t usually writers work the way I did . . . but I loved it, and I really think Blackhawks is among my best work because of it.

Smoke and Mirrors Page 6TFAW.com: How much story do you have plotted out for Smoke and Mirrors?

MC: Well, right now it’s a five-issue mini-series with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. But we leave the door open for more stories–and we definitely have a direct sequel planned that would expand the scale drastically. So, we have a lot of story plotted out. It’ll be up to the readers if they want to see it. We hope they do. Things just get better from the first issue on.

Smoke and Mirrors #1 is out March 21–pre-order it now and save 20%! We want to thank Ryan and Mike for a great interview. Make sure to check out our six-page preview of Smoke and Mirrors to get a sneak peek!

PRE-ORDER SMOKE AND MIRRORS ISSUES #1 AND #2

Are you intrigued? Any magic fans out there? Post your comments below!

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Watch The Walking Dead Season 2 for Free

January 26th, 2012 Comments off

Walking Dead Season 2The Walking Dead Season 2 returns February 12, and you can watch it on the big screen for free! Things From Another World continues to bring you free screenings of The Walking Dead at the historic Hollywood Theatre at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR, with our MCs Cort and Fatboy. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and the show starts at 9:00 p.m. This is a 21+ event, as the Hollywood Theatre now sells beer!

Here are just a few reasons to come down and watch Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic with us:

  • It’s more fun with a group! The Walking Dead has some really vocal fans–and detractors. You’ll be surrounded by fellow zombie fans, and it’s an easy stroll to bars like The Moon and Sixpence afterward if you need to discuss (and recover from) each week’s episode.
  • There’s plenty of room for everyone: the main theater seats 444 people!
  • Cort and Fatboy are hilarious–and concise. They’re up on stage, making you laugh, and then BAM! Time to watch the show!
  • The Hollywood Theatre now serves beer.
  • The Hollywood Theatre now serves beer–right inside the theater! You won’t miss a second of the action if you need another cold one in the middle of a zombie attack.

Join us every Sunday night from February 12 through March 18!

RSVP FOR FOR THE WALKING DEAD ON FACEBOOK

BROWSE WALKING DEAD COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

Are you excited for the return of The Walking Dead Season 2? What are you hoping to see? Post your comments below!

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Comic Book Reviews: Walking Dead, Dark Shadows, Catwoman & More

January 25th, 2012 Comments off

Watch Video Reviews of This Week’s Comics!

It’s time for our weekly comic book reviews. This week, we review Walking Dead #93, Dark Shadows #3, Avengers Solo #4, and the Catwoman: The Trail of the Catwoman TPB.

Check out the video, below. SPOILER ALERT! We try not to go into too much detail in our reviews, but a few mild spoilers might slip through the cracks!

Walking Dead #93

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What did you think about this week’s comics? What should we review next week? Post your comments below!

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Meet Local Creators at Ladies Night at TFAW February 4

January 25th, 2012 Comments off

Ladies Night at TFAWHey ladies! Do you make comics, read comics, or just want to get to know the comics community better? Join us for our first Ladies Night February 4 at our Portland, Oregon store for an evening of socializing, drinking, drawing, and learning! Free beer and wine (21+ with valid ID) and food provided.

We’re kicking things off with a Q&A at 7 p.m. featuring notable local women connected to the comics industry, including Colleen Coover (Gingerbread Girl), Kelly Sue DeConnick (Supergirl), Cat Farris (Legend of Larsha 2), Alison Hallett (Portland Mercury Arts Editor), Emi Lenox (Emitown), Jen Van Meter (Avengers Solo), and Dark Horse Comics Executive Editor Diana Schutz, with a Drink & Draw to follow.

This is a ladies-only event: please spread the word! Also, we’re offering 10% off everything in the store during this event.

RSVP FOR LADIES NIGHT AT TFAW ON FACEBOOK

Did you go to Drink & Draw Like a Lady last April? What do you think? Post your comments below!

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Spotlight on: Comic Book Subscriptions at TFAW

January 20th, 2012 Comments off

Comic Book SubscriptionsComic book subscriptions are a fantastic way to make sure you never miss an issue of your favorite series–and to support publishers and creators, whether you’re a fan of big superhero epics or smaller indy titles. There are other online comic shops, but there are several reasons that make TFAW the best place to start up a subscription. Meet me at the bullet points, below!

  • You’ll save 20-35% on all pre-order comics!
  • There’s no minimum to buy! Unlike many other online subscription services, you can subscribe to 20 series–or just one!
  • Subscribe by series! With a series subscription, it’s easy to sign up for ongoing comic book series like Amazing Spider-Man.
  • You can subscribe to more than just comics! With a keyword subscription, you can select graphic novels, statues, apparel, toys, and more–and save 20-30%!
  • You approve your subscription matches! We’ll email you before we place an order on your behalf, in case you want to skip an issue!

How to get started? We’ve got a step-by-step guide to creating a comic book subscription here (the article is geared toward kids but applies to all comics and product)! Then, just log in to your account and edit your Subscription settings. If you run into any issues, email customer service or use our handy Live Chat service via the big green button in the top right corner of our main website (M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m. PST) and we’ll make sure everything is just the way you want it.

So what should you subscribe to? Need ideas of what’s hot? We’ve got a few recommendations:

Batman ComicsBatman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. There’s no denying there is a lot of Batman in DC’s New 52, but this is our favorite Bat-title. Snyder proved himself a compelling writer with the fantastic American Vampire and his run in Detective Comics, so we couldn’t wait for him to take the reins of this series. He hasn’t disappointed!

Not only has Snyder brought the Bat-family to the forefront, wisely utilizing characters like Dick, Tim, Damian, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon, but he’s made the city of Gotham a living, breathing entity in its own right. By mining its history, and Batman’s feeling of ownership over it, Snyder is creating powerful new stories that are emotionally and psychologically resonant. Artist Capullo brings it on every page, keeping up with the many (figurative and literal) twists and turns in this amazing comic, creating a series that’s a true must-read every month.

Uncanny X-Force ComicsUncanny X-Force by Rick Remender and Robbi Rodriguez. “You need to read Uncanny X-Force!” everyone said. Month. After month. After month. It took me awhile, but I finally made room for this book on my pull list–and boy, I’m glad I did. Once again, X-Force is a shadowy “secret” team, in place to get their hands dirty handling jobs no once else can do.

Teaming up characters who have either been underutilized or flat-out neglected–like Psylocke, Fantomex, and Archangel–with the ever-present Deadpool and Wolverine has resulted in a darkly humorous and, well, dark team that’s been fascinating to watch. Who ever thought I’d be interested in the Age of Apocalypse again (or that we’d get Nightcrawler back–kinda)? The Dark Archangel arc was devastating, but the book hurtles on month after month, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Chew ComicsChew by John Layman and Rob Guillory. We’ve loved Chew from the beginning. Don’t believe us? Click this link and get back to us. Layman and Guillory have taken the buddy-cop genre and fused it to a sci-fi premise that we’re pretty sure hasn’t been done in comics before (a guy who can learn about anything by eating it?) to create an action-packed, gross, hilarious series with a lot of heart. Oh, and bird flu. Layman’s irreverent tone perfectly matches Guillory’s angular, energetic art, while satirizing half a dozen cliches and introducing characters we actually care about. What could be better? Subscribe to it.

After your subscriptions are set, make sure to visit your Pre-Order Options to set your shipping frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) and shipping method. Also, you can add bag and boards to your comics for just 25 cents each!

VISIT OUR COMIC BOOK SUBSCRIPTIONS PAGE

Have you used our subscription service before? What was your experience? Post your comments below!

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Comic Book Reviews: Uncanny X-Men, Secret Six, Nightwing & More

January 18th, 2012 Comments off

Watch Video Reviews of This Week’s Comics!

It’s time for our weekly comic book reviews. This week, we take a look at Uncanny X-Men #5, Voltron #2, Nightwing #5, Avengers #21, Secret Six: The Darkest House TPB, and the Spider-Man and Captain America web belts.

Check out the video, below. SPOILER ALERT! We try not to go into too much detail in our reviews, but a few mild spoilers might slip through the cracks!

Uncanny X-Men #5

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What did you think about this week’s comics? What should we review next week? Post your comments below!

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Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley Introduce Hoax Hunters

January 18th, 2012 Comments off

Hoax Hunters #0It’s no secret that creator-owned comics can have a hard time staying afloat–which is why we try to give new series, like Chew and Hack/Slash, a little extra love when they catch our eye. This month we’d like to highlight another upcoming series from Image Comics, Hoax Hunters, which centers on a mysterious group of superpowered individuals who investigate supernatural and paranormal phenomena–and then “debunk” them on their television show, also named Hoax Hunters.

Part B.P.R.D., part X-Files, and part MythBusters, Hoax Hunters is co-written by Michael Moreci, writer of Quarantined, and Steve Seeley, an incredible artist who has participated in our SDCC/CBLDF Autograph Card events for the past two years (and just happens to be the brother of Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley). However, art duties on Hoax Hunters #0 were handled by JM Ringuet (Johnny Delgado Is Dead), with Axel Medellin (Elephantmen, 50 Girls) taking over in issue #1. We had the chance to interview Michael and Steve and pick their brains about the origins of Hoax Hunters and the hurdles of publishing a creator-owned series.

Make sure to pre-order Hoax Hunters #0, out March 21, and save 20% while you support creator-owned comics! Check out our five-page preview of issue #0, as well as some promo art by Medellin, pictured below!

Hoax Hunters #0 Page 1TFAW.com: Michael and Steve, how long have you two known each other?

Steve Seeley: I think it’s been a couple of years, actually. We met two years ago on New Year’s Eve. Mike lives in the same neighborhood as my brother, Tim. We actually ended up spending NYE in a bar on the corner of Mike’s street. After running into Tim earlier that day, Mike stopped in a little after midnight. And the rest is history.

Michael Moreci: Pure magic, I might add. And I also appreciate Steve calling to light the detail that, midday NYE, I had absolutely no other plans. Ouch.

TFAW.com: How did the concept for Hoax Hunters get started?

SS: Tim offered us a backup story in Hack/Slash. We tossed around a few ideas before we finally decided on Hoax Hunters, which was really kind of an amalgamation of many of the ideas. It really plays towards a lot of our interests. The idea to make it a TV show seemed like a great way to combine all of those interests and keep it open for limitless possibilities. They weren’t just monster hunters, they weren’t a superhero team; they could go anywhere and face any foe, from urban legends to cryptids to UFOs. And possibly for an unlimited amount of issues . . . just like a TV show.

TFAW.com: Reading the #0 issue, it seems like the Hoax Hunters are superpowered individuals who investigate real paranormal events, but then pretend to “disprove” them on their TV show. Why don’t they reveal the truth on their show–wouldn’t they get even bigger ratings?

Hoax Hunters #0 Page 2MM: That’s true, but we’ll see there is more to the Hoax Hunters television show than meets the eye. Dare I say . . . conspiracy? The year Steve and I worked on the backup story gave us ample time to think about the Hoax Hunters mythology from every angle; in that time, we were able to conceive a pretty involved, long-form story. We’ll come to find that there is a specific reason why these paranormal events and odd occurrences are kept secret. It’s a mystery that runs through the course of the series and will be revealed piece by piece.

TFAW.com: For people who haven’t read the book yet, can you introduce them to our Hunters?

MM: For sure! There’s Ken Cadaver, a re-animated corpse and former NASA scientist; Regan, a one-time child star who experienced a demonic possession that left her, let’s say, gifted; and Jack, an FBI agent with his own sordid, supernatural past. As the series progresses, we’ll learn a lot more about each of these characters and how they operate as a team. One thing that’s paramount to Steve and I is to make all our characters defined by who they are, not what they can do (abilities wise). So we’ve built pretty rich, involved histories for all of them, and we’ll see those backstories play out in the context of the cases they work on.

TFAW.com: I love that your “one-time victim of child possession” is named Regan, a la The Exorcist. What are your other inspirations?

Hoax Hunters #0 Page 3MM: That’s awesome you caught that. Steve and I try to sneak those little Easter eggs in from time to time, just something fun for anyone who notices.

Steve and I are both X-Files fans, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. We’re also conspiracy nerds of the general order—cryptozoology, aliens, weird science anomalies, you name it. You’ll find both our library records full with titles on government cover-ups, science gone amok, and creatures such as the Montauk Monster on the loose. Some of the books are completely ridiculous, others are surprisingly convincing. I think it’s safe to say we like the ridiculous ones better.

Personally, I’ve found that Lost has had a big, lasting impact on the way I write. That show was such a unique experience (regardless of how it ended), and it’s amazing how much brain candy they squeezed into each episode. From thoughts on religion and science to pulp-inspired adventure to the unending stream of references they so ecstatically played with, Lost was pretty fearless, and that inspires me when I think about Hoax Hunters. Steve and I aren’t shy about doing the same; we’re aware we live in an era of recycled ideas, and we’re okay with that. Nearly everything comes from something else. The goal is to make it your own while still tipping your hat to the source (like naming a character who suffered a possession Regan).

TFAW.com: As you mentioned, Hoax Hunters started up as a backup story in Hack/Slash. How did that influence how you plotted the story?

Hoax Hunters #0 Page 4MM: Being a backup played a tremendous role in how we approached the story, in a few ways. First off, obviously, writing something that feels at least somewhat complete in two-page bursts isn’t easy. Our strategy going in was to make each installment as full as possible, without allowing the story to become too compressed. JM’s art really made this work, and his role can’t be appreciated enough; he approached each page in a unique way, using different palettes and layouts every time out.

Also, it forced us to learn a lot about the characters and this universe we were creating—there was no room to figure things out as we went. Being backed into such a corner really honed our creativity and our focus on the story.

TFAW.com: Hoax Hunters #0 collects those backup stories, plus some bonus material–what does that include?

MM: We’re including a few preview pages of Axel Medellin’s Hoax Hunters work, which introduces the new story arc Steve and I are currently working on. We’re also including some character bios and a cool, double-page spread that will dig deeper into the Hoax Hunters universe in a pretty inventive way.

TFAW.com: So your original artist was JM Ringuet, but the ongoing series will feature Axel Medellin. What do these artists have in common, and what are their separate strengths?

Hoax Hunters #0 Page 5MM: It’s weird, because they’re such very unique artists, but their styles both work in their own way for Hoax Hunters. JM is a bit more stylized, and his approach to the page is a little different than Axel’s. Axel, on the other hand, has what I guess you can say is a more traditional style and truly captures the characters to perfection; JM was more focused on the mood. Both of which are so very important to the Hoax Hunters story.

Ultimately, they are both amazing storytellers and Steve and I are lucky to collaborate with them. We truly appreciate the work they’ve done in making Hoax Hunters a reality.

TFAW.com: Steve, will you contribute any art to the series?

SS: I painted the cover for issue #0. At this moment, that’s it.

TFAW.com: What is your favorite part about writing the series?

MM: I think it’s safe to say Steve and I have hyperactive interests—a Venn Diagram of what we’re into would run from He-Man to physics to X-Files to Jack Kirby, and so on. The exciting thing about Hoax Hunters is that the premise allows us to cover a lot of that ground (well, maybe not He-Man); the book isn’t just noir, or a superhero story. We have monsters, aliens, conspiracies, mysteries; there’s a lot going on and so much that we can do, which makes it a perfect project for Steve and I.

And the more we dig, the more we discover that there’s just so much weird stuff out there. The world is stuffed with a lot of unexplainable phenomena, and it’s been pretty great to be able to research that as part of our “job.”

Axel Medellin Hoax Hunters Promo ArtTFAW.com: What are the biggest challenges to getting a creator-owned series off the ground?

MM: Ha . . . get comfortable! That’s a joke (kind of).

The biggest challenge is the risk involved. Investing in a creator-owned book is like starting a business—you’re responsible for everything. You’re a writer, a project manager, public relations specialist, sales rep, everything. Granted, Image has been very, very good to us. But, there’s only so much they can do, and that’s part of the deal. So you have to be ready to make yourself a business, which is something a lot of writers/artists aren’t comfortable with. It’s essential, though; the comic market is a competitive one, and there aren’t a lot of readers to go around. Every issue you release is a gamble, because you live and die by sales, and that can be nerve- wracking. I mean, look at Green Wake, which Kurtis Wiebe just announced was ending 15 issues early because the sales couldn’t sustain its continuation—and that was a wildly acclaimed series! News like that terrifies me, because it’s a reminder of our own reality: If Hoax Hunters doesn’t perform well, then there’s no more Hoax Hunters.

But, at the same time, the gamble is pretty exhilarating. If you’re going to bet on anything, bet on yourself.

TFAW.com: The team got a new member in #0. Where will they go from here?

Axel Medellin Hoax Hunters Promo ArtSS: At the end of issue #0, Hoax Hunters welcomes Murder into their team, but he will remain a background member on the show. After all, it’s pretty difficult for them to constantly cover up that he is a spacesuit filled with crows. As far as new characters, we plan to have a full cast of second-string characters that will guest star regularly.

TFAW.com: To sum up–why should readers pick up this book?

MM: I think Hoax Hunters is a good representation of what makes comics so great—big ideas, big plots, big action. In comics, you aren’t encumbered by market testing or appeasing advertisers. A story can exist on its own terms and is thus free to take risks and be as imaginative as possible. In a lot of ways, Hoax Hunters does that. Steve and I throw everything into our stories, our scripts, our panels. It’s going to be a fun ride, and if given the chance, readers will respond to that.

Our thanks to Michael and Steve for answering all of our questions, and giving us some sweet preview images of Hoax Hunters #0. Stay tuned for more: we’ll be throwing a Twitter contest in March celebrating the release of Hoax Hunters #0 by giving away some original art!

PRE-ORDER HOAX HUNTERS #0 NOW

READ OUR FIVE-PAGE PREVIEW OF HOAX HUNTERS #0

Think you’ll give Hoax Hunters a try? What creator-owned series do you think TFAW should highlight? Post your comments below!

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Comic Book Reviews: Buffy, Brilliant, Batgirl & More

January 11th, 2012 Comments off

Watch Video Reviews of This Week’s Comics!

It’s time for our weekly comic book reviews. This week, we take a look at Batgirl #5, Brilliant #2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #5, Wolverine #300, and Invincible: Get Smart TPB Vol. 15.

Check out the video, below. SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! There are a couple of spoilers about Batgirl and Wolverine, so if you haven’t read them yet and want to be surprised, come back later!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #5

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Happy Birthday Buffy: Special Whedonverse Geek Trivia Night

January 10th, 2012 Comments off

Happy Birthday Buffy: Whedonverse Geek TriviaBuffy Summers’ birthday is January 19, and to celebrate our very favorite vampire slayer, we’re throwing a very special Whedonverse Geek Trivia Night January 24 at McMenamins Kennedy School! Dark Horse Comics is donating some awesome Buffy giveaways, and there will be some amazing Buffy prizes, too!

Awesome hosts Cort & Fatboy are currently scouring the Whedonverse for trivia questions that will leave you racking your brains, so make sure to study up on Buffy, Angel, Firefly, the Avengers movie, and maybe even his run on Astonishing X-Men and Runaways. Plus, Buffy Season 8 and 9 Editor Scott Allie will be contributing some special Buffy questions that will be worth double points!

So come out to the Kennedy School January 24 to wish the Buffster a happy birthday and slay the competition! Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the game begins at 9:00 p.m.

RSVP ON FACEBOOK

BROWSE BUFFY SEASON 8 & 9 COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Need a team? Post on the event page on Facebook and set it up!

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