Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out / Z-View

Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out is a four-issue mini-series and paperback published by Dark Horse Comics. .

Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Gyula Nemeth
Colorist: Gyula Nemeth
Letters by: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover Artist: Gyula Nemeth 

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

I first became aware of Steve Niles nearly two decades ago.  Niles was the author of two novels (Savage Membrane and Guns, Drugs & Monsters) featuring Cal McDonald that I highly recommend.

McDonald is a tough as nails detective who deals with things that go bump in the night. After the two novels, McDonald appeared in a number of comic book mini-series written by Niles teaming with different artists.  And that brings us to Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out

Supernatural detective Cal McDonald, found wandering the streets as a disheveled vagrant, is ripped from his self-imposed retirement to resume his monster-killing career.

But Cal is reluctant to return to the fray. What has the hard-bitten investigator so shaken? It’s a long story that begins with a beautiful woman who happens to be a vampire . . . and ends with a bang.

It’s great to have Cal McDonald back.  Who doesn’t love a cynical tough guy who sees the real monsters that walk among us?

The Big Bleed Out follows McDonald as he meets and begins to fall for a mysterious woman who happens to be a vampire.  The romance doesn’t seem to have much of a chance since McDonald is normally a vampire killer.  Meanwhile, Mo’Lock, McDonald’s quasi partner, has gone into the sewers of LA to see if he can discover who/what is down there killing people.

Being a Cal McDonald fan I was excited to see his return.  This was my first time seeing Nemeth’s art and I liked quite a bit of what he brought to the table.  It was interesting to see McDonald falling under the spell of a vampiress and unintentionally venturing into a nest of them.  The romance and its eventual outcome moved at a pretty quick pace with a few surprises along the way.  And let’s not forget that Mo’Lock has his hands full with a sewer monster!  Overall, this was a fun read.

Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out is a nice addition to the Cal McDonald universe.


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That Texas Blood #1 / Z-View

That Texas Blood #1 is part of an on-going series published by Image Comics.

Writer: Chris Condon
Artist: Jacob Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
Cover Artist: Jacob Phillips (Variant Cover by Sean Phillips not shown)

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

CRIMINAL colorist and first time solo artist JACOB PHILLIPS and writer CHRIS CONDON break onto the scene with a brand-new ongoing series! Like Paris, Texas gut-punched by No Country for Old Men, this mature neo-Western crime series kicks off when the search for a casserole dish leads to a dark and tense confrontation on Sheriff Joe Bob Coates’ 70th birthday.

“CHRIS & JACOB pull off something remarkable here. A vivid and bright story that nails a thorough sense of foreboding and darkness. A shocking amount of talent for a duo so fresh to comics!” —CHIP ZDARSKY (SEX CRIMINALS, Daredevil)

If you’re a comics fan, you’ve probably already heard the hype on just how good That Texas Blood #1 is.  Believe it.

A synopsis of the issue wouldn’t do it justice.  Most folks would read it and say, “Not much happens.”  They’d be wrong.  Condon and Phillips lull us with a pace that mirrors small town life.  All is well, until it isn’t and then things go bad in a hurry.  Now we’re left with a questions about a suicide, a possible murder and a sinister (Satanic?) killing from the past.

That Texas Blood #2 can’t get here fast enough.


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Dick Tracy Forever / Z-View

Dick Tracy Forever is a four-issue mini-series and paperback published by IDW. .

Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist: Taki Soma
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Michael Avon Oeming 

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

I was never a huge fan of Dick Tracy.  I’d read some of the comic strips and had seen the Warren Beatty movie.  I knew that Dick Tracy was a straightlaced cop who had an interesting gallery of weird-looking villains. Oh, and he had this really cool video watch!  That was about the extent of it.

When I saw the preview cover of Dick Tracy Forever by Michael Oeming, I knew I had to give the series a go.  I’m a fan of Oeming’s art and thought his take on Tracy would be interesting.  Thankfully, I wasn’t wrong.

Oeming created interconnected stories featuring Dick Tracy through the years taking Tracy from the 1930’s to the future.  The tales are fun and show Tracy as being more than just a straight-laced cop (although at the core, he is a law and order guy).  I liked that his girlfriend/wife was more than just a damsel in distress.  Oeming introduces a couple of new characters that deserve to stick around. Oh, and let’s not forget that cool video watch!  I was already a fan of Oeming’s art, now we can add his writing as well.

Taki Soma’s coloring perfectly supports the story.  Dick Tracy newspaper strips and comics were known for the coloring limitations of their time. Soma gives Dick Tracy Forever the feel of the old stories but adds shading and subtlety when needed (at times leaving the art black and white in support of the story).

I really liked Dick Tracy Forever but wondered if true Dick Tracy fans felt the same way.  They do!  Amazon and Comixology reviewers gave it nothing less than 4 of 5 stars.  So if you don’t take my word, you can take theirs.  🙂


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Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1 / Z-View

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1 is part of a six-issue mini-series published by Image Comics.

Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Benjamin Tiesma
Colorist: Matt Lopes
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover Artist: Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio

*** Beware – spoilers may be found below ***

Bree Hale has left a lot behind in her life. Crime. The military. But she can’t leave behind her own family, and when the local crime boss puts a hit out on her brother, there’s nothing she won’t do to save him. Absolutely nothing. Skybound’s pulse-pounding action series returns, with writer JUSTIN JORDAN (REAVER, LUTHER STRODE) and artist BENJAMIN TIESMA delivering an explosive tale of revenge like you’ve never seen before!

I am huge fan of Dead Body Road.  If you haven’t read it you shouldDead Body Road: Bad Blood isn’t a sequel (but could be set in the same universe) and is on track to be just as good.

Writer, Justin Jordan, has returned and this time he’s brought with him artist Benjamin Tiesma. Tiesma is an excellent choice.  Jordan and Tiesma are joined by colorist Matt Lopes and letterer Pat Brosseau who create a solid team.

Bree Hale is a woman with a mysterious past that involved both military and criminal experience.  Bree has left that all behind (she hopes) and now runs a bar where the biggest problem is dealing with folks who drink to much.

When a detective comes in asking questions about her brother, she can honestly say she hasn’t seen or heard from him.  The detective isn’t convinced, but what can he do?  At closing time a hardcase Bree’s never seen before comes in looking for her brother.  She tells him the same thing she told the detective.  He leaves but Bree knows it isn’t over. She’s being dragged into whatever mess her brother has made and it could get them both killed.

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood is everything a good crime comic should be.  I cannot wait for issue two.


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Joe Kubert’s Cover Layout for Superman vs Muhammad Ali!

At first glance the art above looks like the cover to the classic comic Superman vs Muhammad Ali, right?

Wrong!

It is actually the cover layout created created by the great Joe Kubert.  Yes, it’s hard to believe that beautiful piece of art could be considered a layout.  Neal Adams took Kubert’s idea and created the masterpiece that was actually used for the cover.  Adams also went a step further by drawing the faces of 172 celebrities in the crowd.

The fine folks at The Bristol Board have posted up not only large versions of Kubert’s layout and Adams’ finished cover but also a key listing all of the celebrities in the crowd.  Click over and you’ll see that Superman’s bout against Muhammad Ali was attended by folks such as President Jimmy Carter, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Christopher Reeve and many others!

Mike Zeck’s Vintage John Carter: Warlord of Mars!

Check out Mike Zeck’s vintage John Carter: Warlord of Mars piece!  The art originally appeared as a cover for RBCC #138 published in September of 1977.

Ah, those were the days.  My buddy, John Beatty had turned me on to the world of fanzines.  Mike Zeck was a regular contributor to the Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector (RBCC) and seeing Zeck’s art was always a treat.

Source: Ken Meyer Jr.’s Ink Stains.

Art Livestream: Rocky Balboa & Apollo Creed by Jarrod Alberich & Mark Hatherley

Hey!  I just wanted to let everyone know that my buddy, Jarrod Alberich aka the Yardsale Artist, is teaming with his pal Bermuda Mark Hatherley for an Art Livestream.  Jarrod will be drawing Sly Stallone as Rocky with Mark creating a Carl Weathers as Apollo companion piece.  You can tune in at 5pm CENTRAL using this link.  I hope to “see” you there!

Dan Panosian’s Red Skull & Komodo Dragon – A Closer Look!

If you follow Dan Panosian’s Twitter you probably already saw his riff on the Red Skull.  Still, Dan’s drawing is worth a closer look.

I think it was a genius idea to have the Red Skull with a Komodo dragon on a chain leash.  Most artists would have thought, “The Red Skull should have a German Shepard.”  That would make sense and also an awesome drawing.

Some artists would have decided to take it to the next level by giving the Red Skull a wolf straining against his leash.  That would have made for an even cooler piece of art.

But Dan thinking like only Dan does, gave the Red Skull a friggin’ Komodo Dragon on a chain!  What makes it even more interesting is that the dragon looks threatening with his jaws open as if to attack, but look at the chain. The dragon isn’t struggling to charge. It’s as if the dragon wants to attack but is waiting for a command from the Red Skull.

Follow the leash from the dragon to the skull’s hand and then to the figure.  The Red Skull looks relaxed with a sort of cocky smile.  The angle of the head with the 3/4 view also adds to the smugness of the Skull’s look.  Now note that the Red Skull’s left hand is in his coat pocket and may be holding a Luger or something worse.  Someone is in for a bad time… and it ain’t the Red Skull.

You can see more of Dan’s art on his Instagram.

“Blood Vessel” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

Here we have the poster and trailer for Blood Vessel.  I love the painted poster and the trailer has left me wanting to watch the movie!

Coming to VOD and On Demand on July 21st

Screen Fervor’s Jeremy Herbert hails the film as, “…impressive, original, and, most importantly, terrifying” while Culture Crypt’s Ian Sedensky says it’s, “…a terrific thriller with streamlined style that’s simply refreshingly entertaining.”

Co-written by Jordan Prosser, the film was co-written and directed by Justin Dix, award-winning special effects supervisor and director of Wicked of Oz studios. He has worked on such films as The Babadook, 100 Bloody Acres, Crawlspace, The Loved Ones, and Lake Mungo, on top of dozens others.

BLOOD VESSEL stars Alyssa Sutherland (VIKINGS), Robert Taylor (THE MATRIX), Nathan Phillips (SNAKES ON A PLANE), Christopher Kirby (DAYBREAKERS), John Lloyd Fillingham (HUNTERS), and Alex Cooke (PREACHER).

The film was produced by Justin Dix, Steven Matusko, Steven McKinnon, and Nathan Phillips with Veronica Sive, Silvio Salom, and William Byerley as co-producers. Corey Trent Ackerman, Jeff Harrison, and Brett Thornquest act as executive producers.

“Over the Top” Poster by Robert Sammelin

Robert Sammelin created this Over the Top poster. Sammelin, who lives in Sweden, is an Art Director and illustrator whose art can be found on video games, album covers, posters, illustrations, and comic books. 

Sammelin is also the first featured artist at JoBlo’s Awesome Art We’ve Found on the Net: Artist’s Edition.  If you click over you’ll see Sammelin’s riffs on Dirty Dancing; Escape from New York; Night of the Living Dead; Logan; Mad Max: Fury Road and more.  Then jump over to Sammelin’s Instagram for the full load.