Saturday, August 18, 2018

Black Hops: U.S.A.-*-G.I. #2 now available!


Issue two of my two-part miniseries with Timothy Lim (and covers by Dave Dorman), Black Hops: U.S.A.-*-G.I. is available from the publisher's website!

https://antarctic-press.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/black-hops-u-s-a-2

If your local comic shop ordered it, it'll be on shelves August 22.  And if you haven't picked up a copy of the first issue, that one's still available on the publisher's website, too:

https://antarctic-press.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/black-hops-1

Big thanks to everyone who has supported our comic!  And if you enjoyed it, we'll be doing another one in 2019!


TMNT Universe #24


Publication date: July 25, 2018

Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Pablo Tunica
Colorist: Patricio Delpeche
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: Greg Goldstein

"...And Out Came the Reptiles, Part Two"

Summary:

MAIN STORY:

In the EPF basement, Mondo Gecko goes berserk on Bishop's soldiers as Michelangelo tries to rein him in.  Mondo disrobes and goes into camo mode, but Bishop overpowers him regardless.  With the blast doors to the storeroom closing, Mikey and Mondo retreat and make it inside just in time (though Mondo's tail gets sliced off by the closing doors).


Inside, Mikey chats with Mondo and convinces him to stop letting his emotions get the better of him.  Mondo agrees to chill and soon finds all the parts Lindsey needs as well as a new jacket and hoverboard for himself.  With Bishop working on reopening the doors, the pair need a means of escape.  Mikey finds a Triceratank and figures its just the weapon they need.


Smashing out of the storeroom with Mikey manning the tank and Mondo taking point on the hoverboard, they blast their way through the EPF soldiers and then out through the roof of the EPF building.  They land the tank in a skate park, where Mondo gives his hoverboard away to a startled young skater who was practicing there.

At Mutanimals HQ, Mikey gets to helping Lindsey use the stolen parts to stabilize Mutagen Man while Old Hob gives Mondo a talking to.  They argue over Mondo's recklessness, but Hob eventually concedes that his rebellious actions ended up possibly saving Seymour's life.  Lindsey then calls everyone in, as Mutagen Man now has a rebuilt body and his life signs have been stabilized (though perhaps not permanently).


Seymour is initially not happy with Mondo having saved him, as he was at peace while in his coma and prepared to day.  Mondo apologizes, but expresses that he couldn't stand by and let his friend perish.  They make up and Seymour considers there might be something worth living for.


BACK UP STORY:

Writer: Rich Douek
Artist: Buster Moody

"Life at Sea"

Pigeon Pete finds Man Ray on the docks, looking out to sea, and asks him what he's thinking.  Man Ray says he's considered living underwater and getting away from all the madness and violence of the Mutanimals.  Pete interprets that as a fantasy scenario where Ray is the captain of a great ship, hunting down pirates (all played by the Mutanimals and the Turtles).


Ray corrects him, but confesses that he wouldn't want to live away from his friends.  As they return to HQ, Ray asks Pete not to tell Hob about what he said, but Pete has already forgotten their conversation.


Turtle Tips:

*This story is continued from TMNT Universe #23.  A new story begins (and ends) in TMNT Universe #25.

*This issue was originally published with 3 variant covers: Cover A by Freddie E. Williams II and Jeremy Colwell, Cover B by Pablo Tunica, and Incentive Cover by Chris Johnson and Mark Englert.


Review:

The final multi-parter for TMNT Universe, "...And Out Came the Reptiles" is a superficially simple story that tackles some very complex and emotional themes.  I felt stronger about the first half of this arc than the second, but together they tell a solid tale even if the back-half is more action-loaded.

Mondo's "rebel without a cause" gimmick is given a lot of focus in this issue as everyone gives him a pep talk, encouraging him to chill.  It ends about how you'd expect, with Mikey gently reminding him that Seymour's life is on the line and Hob conceding that he ultimately did the right thing, brash though it may be.  Then Seymour apologizes to him for holding a grudge and they hug.  Mondo gets a lot of affirmation in this issue and it does get a little tedious in rapid succession, I'll admit.  Of all the different talks Mondo got, I liked the exchange with Hob the best, as Hob offers some fatherly rhetoric ("as long as you live under MY house, you obey MY rules") that drove the dynamic of their relationship home.  Hopefully, future writers follow up on the father/son angle they have going on; it was one of the most interesting ideas to come out of this story.

Bishop and the EPF come across as a tad pathetic in this story, as they get caught sitting on their hands and are served an embarrassing defeat over what's essentially a smash-and-grab.  I don't think it takes away too much of Bishop's intimidation power, but I suppose serves as a reminder that he and his agency aren't completely invulnerable all the time.  Really, it was a lucky shot that Mikey and Mondo even got out of there (convenient tank).

I suppose if I was disappointed over anything, it was that Mondo didn't keep the purloined hoverboard.  It could've been a cool little accessory for him to have in future adventures and fit his personality and skill set; giving it away as soon as he got it struck me as a bit of a lost opportunity (though thematically, I suppose it displayed his cooler and friendlier demeanor).

The backup was cute, but not something that adds a whole lot.  I enjoyed Moody's art, like I always do, and seeing the Mutanimals dressed up as pirates was kinda funny (though the Turtles are mentioned, they aren't seen in the fantasy, but c'mon; we've seen them dress as pirates plenty of times).  This will be the last backup in TMNT Universe and it doesn't try to end the gimmick with any sort of bang.  It's fine for what it is, but that's the highest bar any of these TMNT Universe backups have aspired to.  "Fine."

Anyhow, one more issue of TMNT Universe to go.  I'll save my thoughts about the whole series for that review, but I'll end this one by recommending the story arc.  If you like the Mutanimals as much as I do, it's a no-brainer, but it certainly hits some heavier topics than you'd expect from a Turtles book.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Bell County Comic Con 2018 program book


Publication date: August 4-5, 2018
Originally published by: Bell County Comic Con

Cover: Timothy Lim
TMNT Comic, story/art: Matthew Weldon
TMNT Comic, colors: Jesse Heagy

"Dynasty Chinese Restaurant"

Summary:

In the middle of the night, a silent alarm goes off at the Dynasty Chinese Restaurant in Temple, Texas.  Inside, Bebop and Rocksteady are scarfing down all the shrimp lo mein they can fit in their mouths.  The Turtles promptly show up, beat the Foot mutants senseless and leave them tied up for the authorities.


The Turtles then stand watch on the roof of the restaurant, posing dramatically.


Turtle Tips:

*This promotional comic was only available at the Bell County Comic Con 2018.

*Although the contents are not official, the comics inside were written and drawn by the special guests attending the con.  Dynasty Chinese Restaurant sponsored the TMNT comic and is a real restaurant located in Temple, Texas.

*That said, Kevin and Courtney Eastman, special guests at the con, approved the use of their likenesses for the cover and Eastman even made copies available on his website for fans.

*Other TMNT content in the program included pins up by Marcus Rocco (sponsored by Bit Bar) and I'm a Ninja (no sponsor).  There was lots of other non-TMNT content in the program, including a Cable and X-Force spread by Jon Malin and a very strange "Nightwing and Batman talk about Jersey Mike's subs" comic by Danny Flores, but I'm only gonna cover the Turtles stuff.


Review:

Such a little thing to review, I know, but I had a lot of fun at Bell County Comic Con last weekend, so I might as well cover it.

It's a short comic, but Weldon's art is nicely laid out and just a little cartoony on some of the expressions to make it funny in pantomime.  Jesse Heagy's colors remind me of the Digital Webbing Presents TMNT short, which has longtime been a favorite Turtle short strip of mine.  Not too much else to say about it other than that I met Matthew Weldon, he's a real good guy, and he signed my copy (photographed above).  His signature drawings of cats are great, but I'd also recommend giving his Indiegogo comic Punchline a looksee.  The art and colors on it are gorgeous.

As for Dynasty, the restaurant that sponsored this comic, I can say that I have eaten there twice and loved it both times.  Lots of space, huge buffet, and also Danny Trejo and Sam Jones were there when I went after the show, making my meal particularly surreal.

I had a booth at Bell County again this year, the Ninjaink booth which I work with my buddy Tim Lim (who did the cover of Kevin and Courtney Eastman), and so from that standpoint I can say that the concept of this collectible program booklet was brilliant.  Handed out to every visitor at the show, they were challenged to find each of the creators in the book, who were guests and had booths, to get their pages signed.  It drove a lot of traffic to our booths, particularly from people who may otherwise have never thought to stop by and see us.  It's a gimmick more cons should consider implementing (it also makes the programs feel more collectible to the visitors and they're less likely to throw them away as soon as they get home).

By the looks of it, each pin-up or short comic in the program was done by a guest at the comic, but also promoted one of the con's sponsors.  Some were very direct with their advertising, such as the TMNT and Batman ones, while others were a bit more discrete (Jon Malin's Cable and X-Force one keeps the Acer Predator ad on a TV in the background).  To be honest, I LIKED the bewildering product endorsement strips; reminded me of those Hostess comic-ads they had in Spider-Man books back in the day.

Anyhow, Bell County was a blast.  Got to meet Steve Lavigne for the first time and talk to him about video games for a good stretch (while getting our food at Dynasty, incidentally).  Also got to talk to Eastman and Courtney again, and they're always the nicest people.  Hope to do it again next year!


Friday, August 10, 2018

Black Hops: U.S.A.-G.I. #2 will hit stores August 22!


Issue #2 of my comic with artist Timothy Lim, Black Hops: U.S.A.-G.I., will be hitting comic stores on August 22!  In case you'd like your shop to order you a copy, you can check out the official Previews listing here:


When Antarctic Press has it up in their online store, I'll post a link for that as well.  But until then, you can still pick up a copy of issue 1 in case you missed it:


We were expecting the book to be out a bit earlier, but Antarctic had some behind-the-scenes trouble that delayed books that were otherwise ready to go.  We appreciate everyone's patience!


And if you're interested in my collaboration with artist Mitch Breitweiser and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser, Red Rooster: Golden Age, the Indiegogo campaign has been extended and will run through August 23, so you still have time to preorder a copy of the graphic novel!


It's been a blast writing all these comics with so many talented artists, but I haven't forgotten about TMNT!  I have a backlog of new IDW books I'm going to try and power through over the weekend.  Thanks for your patience on that, too!