Archive for September, 2012

Brian Haberlin Takes Readers on an Exciting Ride in Anomaly

September 26th, 2012 Comments off

Anomaly HCWhen we spotted a preview for Anomaly, an epic sci-fi adventure written by Brian Haberlin and Skip Brittenham, with art by Haberlin and Geirrod Van Dyke, we knew it was going to be a unique book. Printed in a “widescreen” format and featuring more than 50 interactive 3-D illustrations, Anomaly will be available as either a deluxe hardcover or limited-edition, signed-and-numbered hardcover in early November.

We had the chance to interview Haberlin, a longtime comics artist and writer who has also, among other things, worked as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Top Cow and Editor-in-Chief for Todd McFarlane Productions. He took us through the evolution of Anomaly and introduced us to his upcoming books, Between Worlds and Shifter.

Make sure to check out the amazing preview art for Anomaly and others, below, as well as a video showcasing Anomaly‘s 3-D capabilities! Anomaly is definitely unlike any other graphic novel we’ve seen before. How do you describe it to someone who hasn’t seen it yet?

Brian Haberlin: Epic, cinematic, really freaking big! When I’m showing it in person I like to say that it’s big enough to use as a weapon or a low-caliber bullet shield! We were even crazy enough to do a pull-out that measures over 40 inches.

Anomaly Preview Page 1 Readers will be able to experience some unique, 3-D content with the Anomaly app and their iOS or Android smartphones and tablets. What has the reaction been thus far?

BH: When people see the graphic novel you can see the “wow” in their eyes. When you show the Ultimate Augmented Reality (UAR) and they point a device at it and poke the character and it reacts, it’s like magic. And it’s not just about the eye candy — there are also over 100 pages’ worth of character background in the UAR pages. And beyond that, a few months after it comes out, you’ll get a notification to update your app and we’ll change and add UAR points. It’s the only graphic novel that can grow after publication!

Anomaly Preview Page You’ve long been recognized for your innovative digital art skills — your work is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. What led to the concept of Ultimate Augmented Reality, and how did you make it a reality-reality?

BH: Well, Augmented Reality has been around for awhile, but you had to have obvious markers printed on the page for the software to recognize, and I thought it was a bit clunky. As of the beginning of this year that all changed, and you could have the software recognize an individual image, or panel on a page. This meant it could be seamless and not affect the design integrity of the page itself. That’s when were off and running. The story behind Anomaly has all the hallmarks of a classic epic: an unknown world, an underdog hero, a beautiful girl. What are some aspects that will surprise readers?

BH: I think it’s a unique mix as we start in our future, with a high-tech, sc-fi-epic feel. Then they land on a planet that essentially destroys all their tech, and it becomes an action-adventure story more in the spirit of Lord of the Rings . . . I think people really like the mix.

We definitely have some major twists and themes, like don’t judge a book by its cover . . . and when we work together we can accomplish the impossible.

On a character level, I think we have a level of development possible that you can’t have in a 20-page comic. We had the luxury of letting a scene take its natural time to tell, and I think that paid off in oodles of character development. Meaning that when we get our characters in trouble, hopefully you’ll care more for them, and root for them all the more. As co-creator of Witchblade, you’re known for creating powerful, unique female characters. What can you tell us about Samantha?

BH: Well she’s the bearer of an ancient weapon . . . no! Wait . . . that’s Witchblade! Hey don’t forget Aria, Athena Inc., and the lead in Area 52! But I digress . . .

Samantha is smart, determined, an idealist. But she’s grown up a bit sheltered and believes the Conglomerate (the company that rules everything in the future) is really a benevolent force. She finds out they aren’t when they try to kill her and her friends.

What I like about her is her ability to hold it together, and when things are really bad and even she can’t hold it together, she has the spirit to bounce back.

Anomaly Preview Page 3 What are some of the challenges that Jon, a disgraced Enforcer, is going to face?

BH: There’s Samantha! Right off the bat they bump heads. And on the planet . . . well, giants, mutants, dinosaur-like creatures . . . he should be dead (spoilers).

He also feels an incredible guilt for something that happened when he was an Enforcer . . . but that’s something you’ll have to read about (no spoilers!). What were your inspirations for the planet Anomaly and its many creatures?

BH: Anything and everything. I have a 10 year old who has tons of books and DVDs on prehistoric animals. And I used to be a 10 year old myself and continue to love prehistoric life. There are so many variants that were real that you never see portrayed much in movies, TV, or print.

We also got to scratch a bit of fantasy itch with the dozens of varied humanoid species on the world. They range from the tiny to the very large — over 20 feet tall — with all sorts of different abilities.

Between Worlds Preview Page

Preview Page for Between Worlds, Haberlin's Upcoming Book Do you see Anomaly continuing in future graphic novels, or perhaps as a movie or video game?

BH: This is the first of what should be three Anomaly books. We are already 60 pages into the next one. As far as movies or games go, we really want to focus on the book first. Once it’s out in the world, we’ll see what comes of it. The book trailer says, “This is what you graduate to from Marvel and DC.” Do you think this sort of mixed-media approach is the future of comics?

BH: Not necessarily. Really what I meant was [Anomaly features] deeply immersive storytelling that is more like a movie. And with altogether new characters and situations. I mean, with DC and Marvel, you have these casts of characters that have been around for decades and they eventually kill them, turn them to zombies, switch their sex, start anew, etc., but you’ve been there, done that as a reader. When you turn to your retailer at that point and ask “What’s next?” this should be one of those things.

Shifter Preview Page

Preview Page for Shifter, Haberlin's Upcoming Book

I love words and pictures, sequential art. And I think there are new characters and stories to tell in this medium. Also, I think people want the big story all in one go, so they don’t have to wait for the next issue. Again, sort of the cinematic approach as opposed to the episodic. You’ve worn a lot of different “hats” in the comics industry: colorist, writer, artist, Vice President of Creative Affairs — even Editor in Chief! Which role do you prefer?

BH: Artist, then writer. Trust me. Being a boss is overrated! How do you feel about the evolution of comics since the 1990s?

BH: I think we lost a generation of creators to video games and movies. Guys stayed on top of the charts because nobody was really nipping at their heels — creatively speaking, that is. And as a result, I think the medium is not where it should be, both in terms of content and the exposure of the general populace to it.

I guess I’m saying there should be a hell of a lot more people reading comics! What comics are you reading right now?

BH: Walking Dead. Love Charlie’s and Robert’s work. What would you like to do next?

BH: This is just the start! Anomaly Productions is a new publishing company, and we have two completely new books coming out next year, with all the UAR bells and whistles. Shifter will be out in May next year, a 200-page contemporary action-adventure story with a sci-fi twist. Think of it as Three Days of the Condor with a sci-fi twist. And then comes Between Worlds later in the year, a young adult fantasy illustrated novel in the design spirit of Dinotopia — meaning illustrations on almost every spread — and it’s illustrated by the award-winning Jay Anacleto. And a few children’s books should be sprinkled in there as well for next year.

It’s going to be a lot of fun . . . please join us for the ride!

We want to thank Brian for the informative interview! Make sure to pre-order Anomaly now and save 20%.


Are you intrigued by UAR? Post your comments below!

Categories: ttfaw Tags:

Chris Roberson Takes Us Behind (the) Masks From Dynamite

September 24th, 2012 Comments off

Masks Dynamite Writer (and co-founder of digital publisher Monkeybrain Comics) Chris Roberson has worked on such a wide variety of projects, he’s impossible to pigeonhole–which means we sit up and take notice whenever a new project is announced. So when we heard that Roberson, who has written for such disparate projects as Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, Star Trek Legion of Super-Heroes, and Memorial, was bringing five (at least!) classic pulp heroes together for Masks, we had to chat with him about it for our Behind the Masks event. In Masks, the Green Hornet, Kato, The Shadow, Zorro, and The Spider team up to fight a corrupt government in the 1930s, and issue #1 features fully painted interiors by Alex Ross!

Roberson fills us in on what it’s like to write for the original masked heroes, names his favorite comics, and tells us what’s coming up next. While you’re here, check out our four-page preview for Masks #1, and pre-order it this September to save 35%! Since leaving DC, you have a reputation of being selective with your work-for-hire projects. What was the lure of Masks?

Chris Roberson: I’ve been a fan of the pulp-era characters since I was a kid in the 1970s. I was the perfect age to be introduced to them during the tail end of the big pulp/retro revival that started in the 1960s and ran through the early ’80s. And as a result, guys in slouch hats and twin 45s have a habit of popping up in my writing from time to time (as early as in Book of Secrets, one of my earliest prose novels, and most recently in the pages of iZombie). Getting the chance to work on the “real deals” was a childhood dream come true.

Masks #1 Preview Page How do you feel about Dynamite’s business and creative practices?

CR: I’ve had a lot of friends who have worked for Dynamite over the years in various capacities, and not a one of them have ever had anything negative to say about their experiences with them. As for their creative practices, I only have the finished product on the stands by which to judge them, and I’ve been a big admirer of a lot of the work they’ve been putting out in recent years, and in particular things like their Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Kirby: Genesis, and Shadow titles. We live in an age of pumped-up superheroes and otherworldly alien invaders — why should readers care about these older pulp heroes? Why do they still matter?

CR: I think the fact that these characters are continually reintroduced and reimagined suggests that readers still find something appealing about them. But speaking purely as a fan of superheroes and the like, I find it fascinating to go back and revisit the roots of that genre, and the kinds of characters and stories that inspired the creation of the superheroes in the first place. But the fact that these are (by and large) normal men and women who are inspired to put on masks and fight for justice is itself really interesting to me, both as a reader and as a writer. And by distilling it to guys and gals in masks fighting crime, without the louder, wide-screen elements that superhero comics have become known for, it’s easier to get at the essential ideas behind the notion of masked avengers.

Masks #1 Preview Page What do the Green Hornet, Kato, Zorro, The Shadow, and The Spider each bring to the table?

CR: Well, first and foremost, each of them are very different characters. They all might wear masks (or at least concealing scarves!) and operate outside the law, but the reasons that they have chosen to do so, the means that they employ, and the goals they’re fighting for, all are very distinct. One of the main things we’ll be doing in the pages of Masks is examining how they are similar, and where they differ. What are the most exciting aspects of bringing all of these characters together?

CR: I suppose you could say that I was ruined at an early age by exposure to the work of Philip José Farmer, a science fiction novelist who played a sort of literary game starting in the 1970s in which he imagined that all of the pulp and literary characters he grew up loving had been part of one enormous family. And aside from the occasion crossover between one or two characters, we haven’t really seen all of them in a wide-scale “crossover” in the “line wide” sense of the term as it’s used in superhero comics today. How familiar were you with these characters before you started the project?

CR: I started researching for this assignment when I was about eight years old, I think.

Masks #1 Preview Page What’s it like seeing your work painted by Alex Ross?

CR: Are you kidding?! I still haven’t managed to convince myself that it’s actually happening, and that I’m not just sitting in a corner somewhere drooling, imagining my whole life! Which of these heroes is most like you, and which do you wish you were most like?

CR: Ha! Well, I’m not proficient in any martial art, I’m a horrible shot with a handgun, I don’t own a mask, and I spent my nights at home with my family instead of out fighting crime. So I don’t know that I’m much like any of them, to be honest! What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

CR: I type very fast and I’m horrible at estimating large numbers. How do you handle periods of self-doubt or, god forbid, writer’s block?

CR: I don’t believe in writer’s block, per se. But there are moments when the well of inspiration runs a little dry. My answer to that is to always be working on more than one project at a time, so that if I hit a rough patch in one project, I can switch over to working on another for a while. Invariably when I do that, the solution to the first problem occurs to me while I’m busy doing something else.

Masks #1 Preview Page What inspires you about the comics industry today?

CR: Great comics? It sounds facetious, but it’s true. I would argue that there’s a greater number of fantastic comics being produced now than at any point in the medium’s history, and especially if you extend the definition of “comics” to include web comics, original graphic novels, graphic literature for kids, and so on. There’s so much amazing work being published these days that I find it very hard to keep up. And all of that inspires me to want to make the best comics than I’m capable of making myself! What titles would you recommend?

CR: My list changes from day to day, so if you asked me tomorrow you would probably get a completely different list. But today, my list is probably Atomic Robo, Sixth Gun, Saga, Fatale, Prophet, Multiple Warheads, Mudman, anything by Kate Beaton, anything by Lucy Knisley, Adventure Time, Godzilla: The Half Century War, Dresden Codak, Study Group Comics, and of course the fantastic offerings of Monkeybrain Comics! Anyone that hasn’t read Kurt Busiek’s Astro City owes it to themselves to do so. Anyone who hasn’t read Brandon Graham’s King City is missing out on something truly amazing. You’ve got a thriving career in both prose and comics: what’s next for you?

More comics and prose, of course! I’m hard at work on Reign, the new ongoing that Paul Maybury and I are doing at Image, Rich Ellis is busy drawing the next installment of Memorial for IDW, Dennis Culver and I are rocking along with Edison Rex, and there’s a lot of other stuff in the works I can’t talk about yet!

Our thanks to Chris Roberson for answering all of our nosy questions. Pre-order Masks #1 now and save 35%!


Are you a fan of classic pulp heroes? Post your comments below!

Categories: ttfaw Tags:

Ibrahim Moustafa Rocks His The Pound Signing at Portland TFAW

September 24th, 2012 Comments off

Watch Our Event Video!

Our Ibrahim Moustafa signing for The Pound: Ghouls Night Out was unlike any event we’re ever thrown before at the Portland Things From Another World. Not only did we sell out of the book, but Ibrahim and his friends Spencer Suspense, Donna DonnaMation, Michael Mantis, and (Sal) Yen Boogie put on a funk styles dance performance that blew our minds!

We caught up with Ibrahim after the show and got the inside scoop about The Pound — a supernatural comedy featuring two unemployed animal control specialists who open up their own “pound” — for demons! Check out the video, below. SPOILER ALERT! The dancing is also super rad.

The Pound: Ghouls Night Out



We’ve made it simple to share this video on Facebook and other social media outlets with the social networking buttons near the title. If you wouldn’t mind doing us a solid and sharing this video with your friends, we’d be eternally grateful. Are you as impressed with the dancing as we were? Post your comments below!

Categories: ttfaw Tags:

Character Bio: Green Hornet of Dynamite’s Masks

September 20th, 2012 Comments off

Green Hornet ComicsGreen Hornet. The Shadow. Zorro. The Spider. Kato. They — and other classic pulp heroes — are joining forces this November in Dynamite Entertainment’s Masks, a new ongoing series from Chris Roberson and Alex Ross.

Need to get caught up on who’s who? As part of our special “Behind the Masks” promotion, we’re offering character bios on these iconic heroes, starting with the Green Hornet!

The original Green Hornet, who is starring in Masks, is a — ahem — masked crime fighter created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for an American radio program in the 1930s, who has gone on to star in film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, and multiple comic book series from the 1940s to the 1990s.

Britt Reid is a newspaper publisher by day who goes out by night in his masked “Green Hornet” identity to fight crime as a vigilante, accompanied by his trusted associate Kato, driving a car equipped with advanced technology called “Black Beauty.” The Green Hornet is often portrayed as possessing fair to above average hand-to-hand combat skills and is often armed with a gun that sprays knock-out gas (a sonic blast weapon called the “Hornet’s Sting” was added to his arsenal for the TV series).

One intriguing aspect of the character that tends to be given limited exposure is his blood relationship to The Lone Ranger, another character created by Striker. The Lone Ranger’s nephew was Dan Reid. In the Green Hornet radio shows, the Hornet’s father was likewise named Dan Reid, making the hero the Ranger’s grand-nephew!

From the radio series: With his faithful valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the Underworld, risking his life so that criminal and racketeers within the law may feel its weight by the sting of the Green Hornet!

Masks #1 will feature fully painted interiors by Alex Ross — his first since 2003! Make sure to pre-order Masks #1 today and save 35%. To read more adventures of the original Green Hornet, check out Green Hornet Year One. Or, read all about Britt Reid Jr., and his (female) Kato, Mulan, in Dynamite’s ongoing Green Hornet series!



Categories: ttfaw Tags:

BPRD Secret Origins Trilogy Comes to a Close

September 18th, 2012 Comments off

BPRD 1948 #1 at TFAW.comThe Nazi occult bureau threatened to destroy the peace that followed the end of World War II in BPRD 1946. One year after the war, Professor Bruttenholm, guardian of the child Hellboy, enlisted a special task force to connect the dots between a series of massacres and a mad vampire nobleman in BPRD 1947.

Now the B.P.R.D. launches an investigation of an atomic-fueled space-travel experiment that’s apparently unleashed horrific monsters in the Utah desert in the five-issue BPRD 1948 series. This story is years in the making–you’ll want to be here for the end of the Secret Origins Trilogy!


Categories: ttfaw Tags:

Marvel Relaunches Comic Book Series With Marvel NOW!

September 14th, 2012 Comments off

Marvel Now Point One at TFAW.comDon’t know where to start when it comes to the Marvel Universe? You’re in luck, friend. The House of Ideas has taken a cue from DC and will be rebooting much of their line with #1 issues in the coming months. They’re calling this reboot Marvel NOW! Featured in the image here is the Marvel NOW Point One issue. It’ll get you up to speed on what’s going on.

Check out our TFAW Newsletter to learn more about other Marvel NOW! titles like Uncanny Avengers, Fantastic Four, All-New X-Men, and many more. We recently added the new series to the website, so search for “marvel now” (without the quotes) or drop by our special Marvel NOW! page at TFAW to see ‘em all–seriously, you gotta check it out.

There’s never been a better time to start reading these Marvel books!


Categories: ttfaw Tags:

Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army Begins in October

September 11th, 2012 Comments off

Red Lanterns #14 at TFAW.comBig things are in store for the Lantern family of books this October. BIG THINGS. The epic Rise of the Third Army event will span all of the Lantern books, and we’ll be introduced to the Third Army. Once upon a time, the Guardians formed the Green Lantern Corps with the idea that they would protect the Universe. As the Guardians lose faith in the Corps, they summon the Third Army to wipe out the Corps.

What is the Third Army, and how will our favorite ringslingers weather this coming storm? Who is the new Earth-born Lantern? What is the role of the First Lantern in all of this? Find out this October!

You can order all four crossover issues today–just visit our special Rise of the Third Army page to see all the issues.


Categories: ttfaw Tags:

Blair Butler Shows Us (Her) Heart From Image Comics

September 4th, 2012 Comments off

Blair ButlerAfter years of being the resident comics expert on G4′s Attack of the Show, Blair Butler has brought her own story to the page with Heart, a tale of a Mixed Martial Arts fighter published by Image Comics.

Butler is no stranger to writing, of course — she’s written for television for years and has had a thriving career as a standup comedian. For our Women in Comics series, we were lucky to snag a few minutes of her (very limited) free time to talk about writing for comics, who she admires, and what she’s tackling next! What are your earliest memories of comics? What was the first comic you read?

Blair Butler: I was really lucky. My dad took me to Clint’s Comics in Kansas City when I was a kid — maybe 8 years old? I was always able to fish comics out of the quarter bin — usually really old Werewolf by Night or the original She-Hulk series (when she looked like a green nurse on steroids). The quality of the quarter bin was, admittedly, not the greatest. But then I got into Batman and back issues of the New Mutants — and the rest is history. I was hooked. You’ve had an atypical journey to comics writing, coming from stand-up and television. What has that been like?

BB: It’s been really interesting — both comics and stand-up allow you to be your own editorial voice, which is remarkable and liberating. In TV you have to get approval from so many disparate people that you often feel like your “voice” (for lack of a better way to phrase it) never comes through uncompromised. Of course, coming from TV, you also secretly harbor the fear that no one will take you seriously — that everyone will assume that you’re a dilettante.

Heart Blair Opening up Heart and finding a tale about an MMA fighter was completely unexpected. Where did this story come from?

BB: I’ve always loved Mixed Martial Arts. And I always loved comics. I kept hoping someone would write an MMA book that told a more grounded, realistic story set in the world of professional fighting. And no one did. So I finally took a deep breath and stepped up to the plate.

I also felt that if I wrote a comic, I wanted to cover territory that hadn’t already been explored a thousand times before. I hadn’t seen any MMA comics — and I was burned out on stories about people in sports, or music, or film succeeding against all the odds — because the stories of the failure may not be as romantic — but they are a lot more relatable. The thing about Heart is that it doesn’t matter if you like MMA at all — I think, thematically, people will find a lot that resonates with them. What was it about Oren “Rooster” Redmond’s story that interested you the most?

BB: Most “sports stories” focus on guys who go on to be champions — and I wanted to tell a story about the other guys, the guys who struggle just to string a few wins together. The guys who are convinced they’re bound for glory — until they aren’t. I wanted to tackle a traditionally testosterone-heavy sport — and find things that I could relate to. That was my challenge to myself, anyway. What made Image the right publisher for Heart?

Heart Blair ButlerBB: I don’t think any other publisher would have taken a gamble on this subject matter — or on me. I mean, I’m an unproven writer doing a black and white “sports” comic. But Image really gives you the ability to sink or swim on your own merits. You’re acting as your own editor — which can be daunting, especially for a first-time comic writer — but I felt like it really liberated me to do whatever I wanted. I’m incredibly grateful for that. And the artist of Heart, Kevin Mellon, is hugely committed to doing creator-owned comics. (Shameless plug for Kevin’s new comic, Creator Owned Heroes). But right now, Image is giving creators the ability to take tremendous creative risks — and to own their ideas, which is huge. What aspect of writing comics have you struggled with?

BB: I think, initially, just trying to cram too much onto a single page was my Achilles heel. Kevin — and our fantastic letterer, Crank — were incredibly patient with me throughout the whole process, which I hugely appreciated. This was my first comic — and I knew that doing a black and white, non-superhero comic would be a tough sell — but I’m so humbled by the positive response to Heart — especially from people who have never seen a UFC fight, but really relate to the theme of the book. We’ve been really overwhelmed by people who have reached out through Twitter to let us know how much they loved the book. What’s your favorite part of telling stories in the sequential arts?

BB: Just seeing the art come in — seeing the pieces all come together — and finally having a comic to hold in your hands. TV pilots and screenplays just sit on a shelf for years — so being able to create something that’s out there for everyone to see and hold? That’s a pretty incredible sense of accomplishment.

Batman Scott What are you reading right now?

BB: Locke & Key, Scott Snyder on Batman, Greg Rucka on The Punisher, Batwoman, Powers, Saga, The Walking Dead, Fatale, G.I. Joe: COBRA (hugely underrated), the latest Darwyn Cooke Parker comic — I know there are a dozen books I’m forgetting that I’ll kick myself for later. Who’s one woman in comics that you admire?

BB: Gail Simone is fantastic. I just feel like her work — especially Secret Six — which was my favorite DC book for years — is amazing, inspiring, there just aren’t enough superlatives. And did I mention that she’s incredibly supportive of new voices in comics? She is. Throughout your career, you’ve been a woman in typically male-dominated areas: stand-up comedy, gaming, and now comics. What’s been the most surprising about that, and what advice would you have for women in similar situations?

BB: The most surprising thing, judging from the horror stories I’ve heard, is that I’ve had a really easy road. It’s really never been an issue for me — which, again, I attribute to the pioneering work of women like Louise Simonson, Gail Simone, and dozens of others — and to new voices like Laura Hudson and Kelly Sue DeConnick. There’s been a growing trend of people “calling out” so-called “fake geek girls.” What’s your take on that?

BB: It’s a bummer for everyone. I guess I would just say, more visibility and acceptance for comic book culture is a good thing, and women shouldn’t have to prove their “geek” credentials. If you’re a little girl, and a supermodel is on a late-night talk show — raving about how much she loves Star Wars or Wonder Woman or Wolverine — maybe that empowers you to feel like it’s okay for you to like it, too?

Womanthology: Next up, you’re contributing to Womanthology: Space. Can you tell us a little about that, and how you became involved?

BB: Yeah — I’m doing a story with Alicia Fernandez — an absolutely magnificent artist from Spain. Mariah Huener asked me if I wanted to do a short story in Womanthology: Space #2 — and I was thrilled to accept. I won’t say too much about the story — but in light of the recent passing of astronaut Sally Ride, I think it was a pretty great piece of history that I was totally unfamiliar with — and really excited to share with people. What other types of comics projects are you interested in tackling next?

BB: Everything. Anything. I just need more time in my life. Co-writing five hours of live TV each week — year-round — is a killer.

You can order the trade paperback of Heart right here at TFAW and save 10%


What are you reading right now? Post your favorites below!

Categories: ttfaw Tags: