Unfortunate Son: Rat God #1, Corben’s Lovecraft Rumination

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Richard Corben’s Rat God #1 from Dark Horse Comics

Phillips 66(6)…
Howard Phillips Lovecraft fans should have a heyday with Dark Horse Comics’ new 5 part story cycle, Rat God. Conjured up in the darker corners of artist and writer Richard Corben imagination, the first issue introduces us to the collision of natives of the American North West and a native son of Arkham Massachusetts.

HPL devotee’s will immediately recognize their old boy in the figure of Clark Elwood (do your homework). He’s a history maven, a bit of a xenophobe, and a proud descendant of Arkham founders who is skint enough to ask a hitchhiker for gas money.

dark horse comics, richard corbel, rat god 1, h p love craft
Love Craft…
Set in the 1920’s, the tale of culture clash is set in motion when Elwood becomes enamored with a strange young lady he meets while studying at Miskatonic University. We seem to have encountered her as well, in the prehistoric prologue. Hmmm. His pursuit of her finds him in places and situations he could not have imagined.

Mag the Hag, Corben’s EC comics inspired story teller, is along for the flivver ride too, offering exposition, pithy asides, and at times some meddlesome “assistance.”

SkeletonPete Says…
The premiere issue’s cover is a perfect example of Corben’s art with its three dimensional aspects and intriguing, misshapen characters. As you may know from reading other posts on this blog, I am a long time fan of Corben and have following his work as far back as the covers of Rockets Blast Comic Colletor and Heavy Metal Magazine. Dark Horse has anthologized many of his Warren Publishing Creepy and Eerie strips. It’s great fun to have a new story arc from the Eisner Hall of Fame inductee.

Pop, Pop, Fizz, Fizz: Activision Skylanders In Love

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New Skylander, Love Potion Pop Fizz, is in the pink for Valentine’s Day.

Lovey Dovey, All the Time…
“The love bug will get you if you don’t watch out”, or so says the song. This Saint Valentine’s Day the Activision Skylanders Team wants to make sure you feel the love so they’ve designed a special edition character to spread some much needed amour in the ether of Skylands.

The punky pink Love Potion Pop Fizz joins the ranks of game piece collectibles that form the core of the Skylanders experience. His hypnotic eyes and heart shaped tongue will surely make him the game’s premiere Valentino.

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Pop Fizz in action on his home turf

Gonna Mix It Up, Right Here in the Sink…
The Activision folks reveal his origin, “When his latest attempt to concoct the ultimate raspberry soda totally backfired, Pop Fizz was caught in a blast that turned him pink and gave him an alluring aroma.  At least that’s how he tells it. But with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the Skylanders are all wondering if Pop Fizz is telling the truth – or if there is a special someone that he’s trying to impress!” Hmmm… seems like he took some lessons from Leiber and Stoller’s Madame Rue.

Love Potion Pop Fizz is a non-exclusive, all retailers, item but limited to a short availability time frame. A neat rarity to add to your collection at $14.99. Seek him out.

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Just a few of the Skylanders themed Valentine’s Day Cards available this season.

Stuck On You…
Outside of game play, a line of Skylanders themed Stickers and Valentine’s Day cards will keep your kids busy – and off your iPad for a while – writing real script on real cards. What a concept.

SkeletonPete Says…
I had to chuckle when I read Pop Fizz’s backstory and saw his psychedelic pink continence. It immediately reminded of the day-glo colors of Fizzies, a do-it-yourself soda pop tablet that was extremely popular when I was a kid. Essentially flavored, sugared up, Bromo-Seltzer for youngsters. “In seven great flavors,” grape was my fave. The whole process definitely fueled my “monster kid” Dr Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde play scenarios. Had’a love the 1950’s.

Cover-AGE: Marvel Avengers Ultron Comics

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This incredible battle panorama is a highlight of the Marvel Avengers: Age of Ultron rollout

Some Assembly Required…
If you’re considering camping out to see the first screening of Marvels’ Avengers 2: the Age of Ultron, you might also have to factor in a stint in front of your local comic book shop. Coming from Marvel Comics in April, just weeks before the May 1, 2015 premiere of the film, will be the release of the first issues of the Ultron Forever series, encompassing Avengers, New Avengers and Ultimate Avengers titles.

To match the epic scope of the film, Marvel has spun up a collector’s treat with two sets of 4 variant covers that when placed together form a panoramic battle-scape. Based on the cinematic poster art by Ryan Meinerding, Charlie Wen & Andy Park, the images were first revealed at San Diego Comic Con last year. Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel comments, “We’re glad that fans who attended the convention were able to get their hands on them but we’re even more excited to bring them to thousands of fans who may have missed this stunning image.”

The image above represents the juxtaposition of the following books’ covers.
· Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A
· Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B
· New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A
· New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B
· Avengers #44
· Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover A
· Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1 Variant Cover B
· New Avengers #33

SkeletonPete Says…
It’s quite tantalizing to see The Vision hovering in the distance on the Variant A Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever cover.

Demons and Wizards: Dark Horse Compiles Hague’s Quest Tale

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Dark Horse compiles Michael Hague’s mini-series into a hardcover volume.

Eye of Newt
Writer and Artist: Michael Hague
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Publication Date:January 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Price: $17.99
Age range:8

Last year Dark Horse Comics released Eye of Newt as a four part mini-series but Michael Hague’s fantasy tale now finds what I believe is a more appropriate home. On January 28, 2015 Dark Horse will compile Hague’s unique twist on Arthurian quest legends into a hardcover edition.

All Creatures Great and Small…
The book is a dream for fantasy art enthusiasts. It’s filled with wizards, dragons, ogres, mermaids and toadies. All manner of natural and phantasmagorical beasties are depicted, surrounded by equally interesting flora.

Hague is well known in fantasy circles for his superbly detailed and beautifully colored art, and fans of adventure legends will not be disappointed with Eye of Newt. It is a visually sumptuous feast for the eyes, one that you will peruse over and over again and still catch previously unseen details.
dark horse books, eye of newt, michael hague
Master Strokes…
Hague’s illustrations will remind some viewers of the work of Arthur Rackham, and his attention to natural details would have made John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites beam. I also see hints of Gustave Klimt in Hague’s dense panels and juxtaposition of natural earth tones and brilliant jewel colors.

If you are unfamiliar with Michael Hague’s art beyond the pages of Eye of Newt you owe yourself a visit to his personal website. The artist himself points to influences from classic Japanese prints to Howard Pyle and the Brandywine School artists. The site has many beautiful examples including one that reminds me of the riot of pixies painted by Richard Dadd in his epic “The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke.” Dadd’s painting was frenetically assayed in song by Freddy Mercury on the Queen II album.
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Getting Sketchy…
In addition to compiling the four books under one cover, Dark Horse has added a Sketchbook section with lots of Hague’s pencil work. It’s interesting to see the structure of his pre-embellished art. Readers are treated to several unrealized characters and creatures and the artist’s own commentary on the preliminary pieces and gestation of the project.
dark horse books, eye of newt, michael hague

‘Til Death Do Us Part: DST “Kill Bill” Mini Homage

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DST’s “Kill Bill” Masters of Death MiniMates

Diamond Select Toys continues their roll-out of Quentin Tarantino Movie collectibles with my favorite package so far, The Kill Bill Volume I & II Masters of Death Mini-Mates Box Set.

The Blood Spattered Bride…
This 10th Anniversary homage finds assassin Beatrix Kiddo AKA “Black Mamba” AKA “The Bride” (Uma Thurman) and her various sensai well armed and ready for action. If the heart stopping five finger death punch isn’t in your bag of martial arts maneuvers, the well-honed samurai sword or array of battering sticks and pistols should do the job.

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Diamond Select Toys new “Kill Bill” box set of deadly martial arts masters. (Image courtesy of Diamond Select Toys)

The Art Asylum designed figures include Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), Hattori Hanzo (Sonny Chiba) and – you guessed it – “Snake Charmer” Bill (David Carradine). Swappable body parts add variety to the 14 points of articulation on these mini mentors.
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A Royale Duo. Jules and Vincent get small.

Die-Namic Duo…
My other favorite in the DST Tarantino series are Pulp Fiction’s hit-men duo Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson). Vincent also comes ready to Batusi with Mia in the “night out” box set.

SkeletonPete Says…
Diamond Select’s licensed Mini-Mates properties continue to grow as do my smiles at the ingenuity used to take the simple concept to new levels. Mind you, “mini” does not denote any lack of detail as DST gets these tiny titans correct right down to Lucy Liu’s freckles and Samuel L. Jackson’s jheri curls.

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