‘Warped Week: May 21, 2017

Howling-sienkiewiczWelcome back to ’Warped Week, a recap of what we’ve been up to at ’Warp Central during the past seven days. If you missed anything, now’s the perfect time to catch up!

On Monday, I let you know that my latest comic-book review had been posted at the site Comics for Sinners. The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen #1 is a Space Goat Publishing miniseries sequel to the great 1981 werewolf movie from director Joe Dante (Gremlins) that picks up the story of Marsha Quist—the female werewolf memorably played by actress Elisabeth Brooks—who’s on the hunt for a mystical relic. Based on what we’ve seen at C4S’s Facebook page, the review is especially popular with Space Goat employees—they’ve been sharing it with all their followers!

john-carpenter-darkchyldeOn Wednesday, yet another article of mine—but not a review—appeared at Comics for Sinners. This one, the latest edition of my “It Came from the Bad-Girl Archives” series, examined the announced-but-never-filmed John Carpenter’s Darkchylde, a proposed movie adaptation of the 1990s bad-girl comic by creator/writer/artist Randy Queen about a teenaged girl who discovers she can turn into a demon. At the outset, the notion of the acclaimed director teaming up with effects company Weta Workshop (of Lord of the Rings movie fame) sounded like a good idea, but considering the fact Carpenter hasn’t directed a movie since 2010, it’s a good bet it’s a dead project. Head over to C4S to read the whole story.

On Thursday, we made you aware of a New York Times article about a King Kong musical set to debut on Broadway in the fall of 2018. That, naturally, gave us an opportunity to throw in a plug for our King Kong Illustrated Classic e-book, which reprints the Delos W. Lovelace novelization of the original Kong movie from 1933—a novelization that also serves as the basis for the musical!

A Princess of MarsFriday was the U.S. debut of Alien: Covenant, the latest entry in the popular sci-fi movie franchise that started with 1979’s SF/horror masterpiece Alien. And so, as long as the topic of aliens and humans clashing on another world was up for discussion, we thought it was a good time to remind everyone about our Illustrated Classic A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It’s about a man from Earth who suddenly finds himself on the Red Planet fighting for his life—and for the love of a Martian princess. Maybe Princess doesn’t have face-huggers and xenomorphs, but it does have seven-foot-tall, green-skinned Martian warriors carrying swords—close enough, right?

And that’s the week. What’s coming next? You’ll have to keep checking this blog during the days ahead—or join us on Sunday for the next installment of ’Warped Week. See you then!

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Aliens On Other Worlds, You Say?

alien-covenant-banner

Hey, science-fiction fans! As you probably know, today’s the U.S. release date for director Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, the latest entry in the popular film franchise and the sequel to 2012’s Prometheus (which, in all honesty, was a terrible movie). If you have plans to see it this weekend, and the notion of humans exploring a new and dangerous world is your thing, perhaps you might be interested in one of our titles while you’re standing on line at your local movie theater…

A Princess of MarsA Princess of Mars, originally published in 1912, is the first in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “John Carter of Mars” ten-novel series about a post–Civil War era American who suddenly finds himself on the Red Planet, battling to stay alive against all sorts of alien threats, and ultimately to win the love of the titular Martian princess. It served as the basis for Disney’s 2012 film adaptation, John Carter, and inspired a century’s worth of SF works, including Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and James Cameron’s Avatar. The special StarWarp Concepts edition—available in both print and digital formats—features six incredible illustrations by SWC artist supreme Eliseu Gouveia (Carmilla, Lorelei: Sects and the City), and a special introduction by Mars-fiction expert John Gosling, author of Waging the War of the Worlds. Here’s the back-cover synopsis:

Captain John Carter thought his days as a fighter were over. The South had lost the Civil War, and as a soldier now without a battle to fight or a cause to believe in, he journeyed west in search of a new life.

But not even Carter could have expected that his new life would begin with his death in the Arizona desert, and his inexplicable arrival on the barren plains of the planet Mars. Or that he would find love in the eyes of the beauteous Dejah Thoris, princess of Helium.

A prisoner of the giant, green-skinned warrior race called the Tharks, Dejah Thoris is meant to be used as a pawn in the ongoing war between the Tharks and her people, the red Martians—unless the gentleman from Virginia takes sword in hand to free her…and thus unite a divided world.

Once more, John Carter has a cause to fight for—and this time, a love to win, as well….

A Princess of Mars is available in print and digital formats. Visit its product page for ordering information.

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Hail to the King (Kong): Kong’s Heading to Broadway…Again!

Hail-King-logoWelcome back to Hail to the King (Kong), a series of posts that’ll pop up here and there that focus on merchandise and other things that relate to the giant gorilla who’s captured the hearts of monster-movie fans since his debut in 1933. It’s part of our promotion for the latest addition to our Illustrated Classics library: the e-book-exclusive edition of the 1932 novelization of King Kong, which is on sale right now.

Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. What makes our version special is that it contains six exclusive, original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, The Green Hornet, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

King_Kong_LG_CoverYesterday, the New York Times ran an article on a King Kong musical that’s headed to Broadway in the fall of 2018 (which happens to be the 85th anniversary year of Kong’s 1933 cinematic debut). A retooled version of a musical that ran in Australia in 2013, its centerpiece is a twenty-foot-tall puppet-robot of Kong; from what I’ve seen of it in YouTube videos, he’s one impressive-looking monkey! And even better, at least from our point of view, is that the musical is based on the Lovelace novelization—you know, the very same novelization that’s available from the SWC webstore!

Now, technically this will be Kong’s third appearance on the Great White Way—the first two being, of course, his use as a prop in Carl Denham’s beauty-and-the-beast-themed show, as depicted in the original film and its 2005 remake. In both instances Kong proved that he’s just not a theater guy; true, he literally brought the house down, but not in a good way. Hopefully, the producers of the new Kong will treat their star a lot better than Denham did—I hear he’s pretty temperamental…

King Kong (the SWC edition) is available right now for download, so visit its product page for ordering information.

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John Carpenter’s Darkchylde Examined at Comics for Sinners

john-carpenter-darkchyldeOver at the site Comics for Sinners, you’ll find the latest installment of the occasional series of posts I call “It Came From the Bad-Girl Archives.” This one doesn’t involve a comic book, but rather John Carpenter’s Darkchylde, a proposed movie adaptation of the 1990s bad-girl comic by creator/writer/artist Randy Queen about a teenaged girl who discovers she can turn into a demon. Although the intention was for Carpenter—the acclaimed director of such films as Escape From New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, and the original Halloween—to develop it as a project in 2010, it never got off the launch pad. Head over to C4S and read all about it.

Speaking of bad-girl comic characters, if femme fatales are your thing, perhaps you’d like to meet a couple of StarWarp Concepts’ leading—and sometimes lethal—ladies:

Lorelei is a soul-stealing succubus, and currently stars in two critically acclaimed titles:

Lorelei: Sects and the CityLorelei: Sects and the City is a Mature Readers graphic novel in which Lori battles a cult of Elder God worshipers attempting to unleash hell on Earth. Basically a love letter to 1970s horror comics like Vampirella, Tomb of Dracula, and Ghost Rider, it’s written by yours truly, Steven A. Roman (Stan Lee’s Alexa, X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy), and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia (Vengeance of the Mummy, Lady Death), Steve Geiger (Web of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk), and Neil Vokes (Flesh and Blood, Fright Night). It also features a cover by legendary artist Esteban Maroto (Vampirella, Zatanna, Lady Rawhide), a frontispiece by original Vampirella artist Tom Sutton (Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night), and a one-page history of succubi illustrated by Ernie Colon (Vampirella, The Grim Ghost).

House_Macabre_large_finalLorelei Presents: House Macabre: It’s Lori’s first outing as the hostess of a horror comic anthology, in this one-shot special that contains four tales of horror, behind eye-catching cover art by fan-favorite artist Louis Small Jr. (Vampirella, Supergirl, Batman 80-Page Giant).

  • “The Old, Dark Manse” is written by me and illustrated by Uriel Caton (JSA Annual, The Ex-Mutants, Heartstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa) and “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales), and has Lori welcoming readers to this special.
  • “All in Color for a Crime” is another tale from me, with art by Lou Manna (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Young All-Stars). Two comic book collectors clash over a rare back issue—and only one of them will be adding it to their long boxes!
  • “The Basilisk,” from me and artist John Pierard (Graphic Classics: Horror Classics, My Teacher Fried My Brains), is a “Lori’s Feary Tale” that examines the history of a supernatural creature that’s a cross between a deadly snake and a…chicken?!
  • Wrapping up the special is “Requiem for Bravo 6,” by New York Times bestselling author and comic writer Dwight Jon Zimmerman (She-Hulk, Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool) and artist Juan Carlos Abraldes Rendo. A special-ops team goes on a life-or-death mission…but will they be prepared for what awaits them at mission’s end?

Then there’s Sebastienne Mazarin, an immortal, monster-hunting mentor who currently appears in my Saga of Pandora Zwieback novels, mentoring a teenaged Goth chick on the finer points of handling the creatures of the night. But before she became Pan’s monster-hunting mentor, Sebastienne Mazarin made her debut in a short-lived, 1990s Mature Readers series:

heartstopper_lg_cover_2013Hearstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa #1–3: A nefarious heavy metal band has arrived in New York City, and its lead singer is more than just a sex magnet for his female fans—he’s an incubus! Will Annie put an end to his plans for worldwide chaos, or fall prey to his supernatural charms? Written by me (of course), issue 1 is drawn by Pan and Annie co-creator Uriel Caton (JSA Annual) and inker Alan Larsen (Femforce); issue 2 is penciled by Uriel, Holly Golightly (School Bites), and David C. Matthews (Satin Steele) and inked by Larsen. Issue 3 (which Millennium never published) is penciled by Holly, with four pages of inks by “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales). As a special bonus, issue 3 includes a short preview of the also-never-published Heartstopper/Trollords, a proposed one-shot special that would have had Annie meet Harry, Larry, and Jerry, the Three Stooges–inspired trolls created by Scott Beaderstadt and Paul Fricke, written by me with pencils by Holly and Scott and inks by Bill Lavin (Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings).

Lorelei: Sects and the City and Lorelei Presents: House Macabre are available in print and digital formats; Heartstopper is a free digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages.

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The Werewolf Queen Howls at Comics for Sinners

Howling-sienkiewiczOver at Comics for Sinners you’ll find my review of The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen #1, on sale July 26 from Space Goat Publishing. Written by Micky Neilson (World of Warcraft) and illustrated by Jason Johnson (Knight Rider)—with a special variant cover by comic-art legend Bill Sienkiewicz of New Mutants, Moon Knight, and Elektra: Assassin fame that you see here—it’s the first issue of a miniseries sequel to the 1981 werewolf film directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Piranha) that picks up the story of Marsha Quist, the female werewolf memorably played by actress Elisabeth Brooks. Marsha’s on the hunt for a mystical relic, and odds are good that before she finds it she’s going to run into some opposition from Chris Halloran, a TV news producer (played by Dennis Dugan) who was one of the few remaining survivors of the events from the movie. Head over to C4S to find out more.

Blood FeudSpeaking of monsters and the people who fight them, have you met Pandora Zwieback, the teenaged Goth adventuress who stars in my young adult novel series, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback? Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets an immortal monster hunter named Annie that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Pan battling her own brand of evil dead in the following titles:

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest that leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrBlood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover!

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pandora Zwieback Annual are available in print and digital formats. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

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Sword-fighting’s Not Just for Kings, Y’know…

king-arthur

Hey, fantasy fans! As you probably know, yesterday was the U.S. release date for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the latest cinematic take on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s sure to be a fast-paced, action-packed version, given it’s directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and stars Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes). If you have plans to see it this weekend, and fantasy adventure is thing, perhaps you might be interested in a couple of our titles…

pieces_gold_large_book_cover2017For a Few Gold Pieces More is a collection of ten critically acclaimed short stories by Richard C. White, bestselling fantasy author of Gauntlet: Dark Legacy: Paths of Evil. Think Lord of the Rings meets the “spaghetti Westerns” of director Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), as a Rogue With No Name travels a world of epic-fantasy adventure, looking for treasure—and revenge against the woman who sent him to prison for a crime he didn’t commit (but she did). Here’s the back cover copy:

For the right price, he’ll get you out of trouble. Cross him, and you’ll never pay enough…

It’s amazing what you learn living on the run.

Fleeing for my life, convicted on trumped-up charges, and denied the use of my own name, I’ve stayed one step ahead of the Imperial Guard by focusing on one thing—taking care of myself first. So, I don’t know where you heard the ridiculous rumor about me helping people here and there around the Empire. And if, and that’s a big if, it was me, there was something in it for me. Trust me on that.

In the various towns and villages I’ve visited over the years, I’ve seen depravity, cruelty, torture, greed, lust—and that’s just the humans. Trust me; compared to them, the creatures that haunt the edges of the Empire are more honest and trustworthy. At least they’re not trying to slip a knife into your back…usually.

Only a few things have been constant while I’ve been on the run. My desire for revenge against the person who framed me all those years ago tops the list. Weird things happening in quiet villages, dark forests, or icy mountains never seem to change. And third? Well, that would be my luck.

I can always count on it to be bad.

Weighing in at a hefty 420 pages, For a Few Gold Pieces More sports a cover painting and a frontispiece illustration by fantasy artist Shane Braithwaite.

terra_ingoc_lg_coverTerra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination is a nonfiction reference book for fantasy writers and gamers in which Rich takes you through the step-by-step process of constructing a world for your characters, from societies and governments to currency and religion. Included is an interview with New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance) that discusses his methods of world building, as well as his creative experiences during his time as a designer for gaming company TSR, the original home of Dungeons & Dragons.

 What you’ll find in the pages of Terra Incognito is information that’s vital for just about any writer, especially when it comes to world building, and Rich shows you how to do it:

  • Avoiding the pitfalls of naming characters, regions, and countries
  • Applying the technique of “outside in” to develop and then refine ideas for your world
  • Creating a world your readers can relate to, regardless of its technological levels
  • Identify how to create backstories and conflict by observing how your world comes together
  • Adding details to make your story richer without overwhelming your readers
  • Identifying useful resources for research

For a Few Gold Pieces More and Terra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination are available right now in print and digital formats. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information.

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‘Warped Week: May 7, 2017

Welcome back to ’Warped Week, a weekly recap of what we’ve been up to at ’Warp Central recently. If you missed anything, now’s the perfect time to catch up!

RedSonja-WalkOblivion-CvrOn Tuesday, I let you know that my latest comic-book review had been posted at the site Comics for Sinners. This one was for Red Sonja: The Long Walk to Oblivion, about the redheaded barbarian warrior fighting a demon. This, of course, led to a plug for SWC’s own red-haired action heroine: Lorelei, the soul-stealing succubus who stars in the graphic novel Lorelei: Sects and the City and the comic Lorelei Presents: House Macabre.

Thursday was “May the 4th Be With You,” that annual Star Wars celebration created by fans back in the 1980s that’s become even more popular these days, given the franchise’s triumphant explosion in recent years. Not one to overlook a promotional opportunity, I pointed you to a Pandora Zwieback Star Wars sketch I did back in 2015…and got in a shameless plug for the Pan nocvels and comics!

Marvel Preview 18 - Bob LarkinFriday was the U.S. release date of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, the much-anticipated sequel to the 2014 sci-fi blockbuster from Marvel Films, which reminded us of the time our friend, painting legend Bob Larkin, did a cover painting of Star-Lord, the Guardians’ leader, back in the 1970s. And while we were at it, we reminded you of The Bob Larkin Sketchbook, a collection of Bob’s incredible pencil art that’s available exclusively from the SWC webstore.

And yesterday was not only Free Comic Book Day—so we made you aware of the free digital comics we always have available through our webstore—but International Bombshells’ Day (thanks, Victoria’s Secret!) as well. The latter provided us with another opportunity to promote our Lorelei and Heartstopper titles—because Lorelei and Sebastienne Mazarin are a couple of bombshells, after all, even if they don’t parade around in lingerie and angel wings!

And that’s the week. What’s coming next? You’ll have to keep checking this blog during the days ahead—or join us on Sunday for the next installment of ’Warped Week. See you then!

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Happy International Bombshells’ Day 2017!

bombshells-dayWell, here’s an unexpected discovery that I came across a few days ago: the first Saturday in May is not just Free Comic Book Day, during which we celebrate the four-color (and sometimes black-and-white) adventures of our favorite comic-book characters, it’s also International Bombshells’ Day!

Yes, it’s real. Sort of.

According to the National Day Calendar, “Victoria’s Secret created Bombshells’ Day as a day for women to celebrate themselves and their best friends with numerous in-store activities and surprises for customers. The registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Bombshells’ Day in March 2015 to be held annually on the first Saturday in May.” Why, there’s even photographic evidence of VS model Candice Swanepoel holding up the official proclamation, back in 2015.

Umm…okay. So it was a marketing idea from a lingerie company that got turned into a worldwide “holiday.” Sure sounds like something we’d give a thumbs-up to… USA! USA!

Well, if bombshells are your thing, then might I suggest that you check out a couple of StarWarp Concepts’ leading—and sometimes lethal—ladies:

Lorelei is a soul-stealing succubus and SWC’s first leading lady of horror (having debuted in our 1989 small-press days), and currently stars in two critically acclaimed titles:

Lorelei: Sects and the CityLorelei: Sects and the City is a Mature Readers graphic novel in which Lori battles a cult of Elder God worshipers attempting to unleash hell on Earth. Basically a love letter to 1970s horror comics like Vampirella, Tomb of Dracula, and Ghost Rider, it’s written by yours truly, Steven A. Roman (Stan Lee’s Alexa, X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy), and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia (Vengeance of the Mummy, Lady Death), Steve Geiger (Web of Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk), and Neil Vokes (Flesh and Blood, Fright Night). It also features a cover by legendary artist Esteban Maroto (Vampirella, Zatanna, Lady Rawhide), a frontispiece by original Vampirella artist Tom Sutton (Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night), and a one-page history of succubi illustrated by Ernie Colon (Vampirella, The Grim Ghost).

Lorelei_House_MacabreLorelei Presents: House Macabre: It’s Lori’s first outing as the hostess of a horror comic anthology, in this one-shot special that contains four tales of horror, behind eye-catching cover art by fan-favorite artist Louis Small Jr. (Vampirella, Supergirl, Batman 80-Page Giant).

  • “The Old, Dark Manse” is written by me and illustrated by Uriel Caton (JSA Annual, The Ex-Mutants, Heartstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa) and “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales), and has Lori welcoming readers to this special.
  • “All in Color for a Crime” is another tale from me, with art by Lou Manna (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Young All-Stars). Two comic book collectors clash over a rare back issue—and only one of them will be adding it to their long boxes!
  • “The Basilisk,” from me and artist John Pierard (Graphic Classics: Horror Classics, My Teacher Fried My Brains), is a “Lori’s Feary Tale” that examines the history of a supernatural creature that’s a cross between a deadly snake and a…chicken?!
  • Wrapping up the special is “Requiem for Bravo 6,” by New York Times bestselling author and comic writer Dwight Jon Zimmerman (She-Hulk, Steve McQueen: Full-Throttle Cool) and artist Juan Carlos Abraldes Rendo. A special-ops team goes on a life-or-death mission…but will they be prepared for what awaits them at mission’s end?

Our other “bombshell” is Sebastienne Mazarin, an immortal, monster-hunting mentor who currently appears in my Saga of Pandora Zwieback novels, mentoring a teenaged Goth chick on the finer points of handling the creatures of the night. But before she became Pan’s monster-hunting mentor, Sebastienne Mazarin made her debut in a short-lived, 1990s Mature Readers series:

heartstopper_lg_cover_2013Hearstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa #1–3: A nefarious heavy metal band has arrived in New York City, and its lead singer is more than just a sex magnet for his female fans—he’s an incubus! Will Annie put an end to his plans for worldwide chaos, or fall prey to his supernatural charms? Written by me (of course), issue 1 is drawn by Pan and Annie co-creator Uriel Caton (JSA Annual) and inker Alan Larsen (Femforce); issue 2 is penciled by Uriel, Holly Golightly (School Bites), and David C. Matthews (Satin Steele) and inked by Larsen. Issue 3 (which Millennium never published) is penciled by Holly, with four pages of inks by “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales). As a special bonus, issue 3 includes a short preview of the also-never-published Heartstopper/Trollords, a proposed one-shot special that would have had Annie meet Harry, Larry, and Jerry, the Three Stooges–inspired trolls created by Scott Beaderstadt and Paul Fricke, written by me with pencils by Holly and Scott and inks by Bill Lavin (Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings).

Lorelei: Sects and the City and Lorelei Presents: House Macabre are available in print and digital formats; Heartstopper is a free digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages.

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Happy Free Comic Book Day 2017!

FCBD-logo2That’s right, comic book fans, today is the sixteenth annual Free Comic Book Day at brick-and-mortar and online comic shops around the world. Held the first Saturday in May, this year’s event is timed to coincide with yesterday’s release of Marvel Films’ latest blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, in which Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (WHO?!), Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot face a new cosmic threat—all while grooving to another sound track that relies heavily on 1970s and ’80s tunes. And in keeping with FCBD’s fine tradition of gifting comics to fans everywhere, here’s a list of StarWarp Concepts’ offerings that you can download directly from us!

heroines_large_coverHeroines & Heroes: A collection of comic stories and pinups all drawn by me, dating back to my days in the early 1990s small-press movement—that age of dinosaurs in which creators like me used to make our comics by printing them out on photocopiers and then stapling them by hand. In H&H you’ll find mainstream heroes and small-press heroines, and even a couple of anthropomorphic bikers. Leading off is “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N (in the Summertime),” a three-page Wonder Woman vs. Harley Quinn story that I wrote and drew in the late ’90s as a sample for a DC Comics editor who thought I’d be a good fit for their Batman: The Animated Series comic (it didn’t work out). It’s followed by an adventure of small-presser Jeff Wood’s rabbit-eared superspy, Snowbuni; three pages from the long-canceled indie comic Motorbike Puppies; and an adventure of the indie superheroine The Blonde Avenger.

Pandora0_CoverThe Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A full-color introduction to the young adult novel series of the same name, hosted by Pan herself. Pan is a 16-year-old New York City Goth who’s not only a horror fangirl but someone with the rare ability to see the for-real monsters that regular humans can’t (she calls it her “monstervision”), and with the help of a 400-year-old, shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin, she’s learning how to protect her family, her friends, and the world from the supernatural dangers out there—and maybe even have some fun while doing it. This 16-page comic features a seven-page story written by me, with art and color by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, Carmilla, A Princess of Mars), and includes two sample chapters from Blood Feud, the first Pan novel.

Heartstopper #1Hearstopper: The Legend of La Bella Tenebrosa #1–3: Before she became Pan’s monster-hunting mentor, Sebastienne Mazarin made her debut in this short-lived, 1990s Mature Readers series from Millennium Publications. A nefarious heavy metal band has arrived in New York City, and its lead singer is more than just a sex magnet for his female fans—he’s an incubus! Will Annie put an end to his plans for worldwide chaos, or fall prey to his supernatural charms? Written by me (of course), issue 1 is drawn by Pan and Annie co-creator Uriel Caton (JSA Annual) and inker Alan Larsen (Femforce); issue 2 is penciled by Uriel, Holly Golightly (School Bites), and David C. Matthews (Satin Steele) and inked by Larsen. Issue 3 (which Millennium never published) is penciled by Holly, with four pages of inks by “Chainsaw” Chuck Majewski (Harvey Kurtzman’s New Two-Fisted Tales). As a special bonus, issue 3 includes a short preview of the also-never-published Heartstopper/Trollords, a proposed one-shot special that would have had Annie meet Harry, Larry, and Jerry, the Three Stooges–inspired trolls created by Scott Beaderstadt and Paul Fricke, written by me with pencils by Holly and Scott and inks by Bill Lavin (Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings).

Warning: Heartstopper is designated a “Mature Readers” comic for violent scenes and some sexual innuendo, so younger Panatics should avoid it.

All these comics are available for download right now, so visit their respective product pages for more information.

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Hooked On a Painting

Marvel Preview 18 - Bob LarkinHey, sci-fi and Marvel Comics fans! As you’re probably aware, today’s the U.S. release date for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, the much-anticipated sequel to the blockbuster Marvel Films sci-fi epic that proved that not only can you make a movie that co-stars a walking tree and a talking raccoon and still rule the box office, you can fill its sound track with a selection of classic pop hits from the 1970s and get the youth of today to go wild for them. Returning cast members include Chris Pratt as the Guardians’ leader, Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, and Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as the voices of Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groot, respectively.

Speaking of Star-Lord, were you aware that he’s one of the many Marvel characters immortalized by painting legend and SWC contributor Bob Larkin? He is! Back in the 1970s, Marvel Comics had a line of comic magazines and Bob provided quite a number of covers for their titles—and one of those, Marvel Preview #18, featured the future Guardian of the Galaxy back when he wore a more superhero-ish costume and his talking starship—called “Ship,” as opposed to the movies’ nontalkative Milano—was his best friend. Looks incredible, doesn’t it? Click on the image to embiggen, as the saying goes.

The Bob Larkin SketchbookAnd while we’re on the subject of Bob and his amazing work, have you seen SWC’s The Bob Larkin Sketchbook? If not, you’re missing out on spectacular pencil drawings of femme fatales, pulp adventurers, superheroes, star warriors, and a host of other characters by Bob, whose cover paintings graced such Marvel Comics titles as Dazzler, The Hulk!, Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian, Haunt of Horror, and Tomb of Dracula, not to mention his renowned work as a cover painter for Bantam Books’ Doc Savage pulp novel reprints. It’s 24 pages of artistic goodness, available exclusively from the StarWarp Concepts webstore.

Visit the Bob Larkin Sketchbook product page for all the ordering information, as well as sample pages.

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