Tagged: John Cassaday


Cover Art: Alex Ross

The 176 page trade paperback collection of Dynamite Entertainment’s The Shadow: Fire of Creation arrives in comic shops on Wednesday, November 7th.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! It’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all… but what that might be, only the Shadow knows.

Collecting the first six issues of the hit series written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Aaron Campbell, featuring Garth Ennis’ script to issue #1 as well as a complete cover gallery featuring art by Alex Ross, Jae Lee, John Cassaday, Ryan Sook, Howard Chaykin, and more.

Learn more at Dynamite Entertainment.


REVIEW: Astonishing X-Men: Torn

astonising_x_men_torn_motion_comic_middle-1005259Joss Whedon’s take on the X-Men is the series that keeps on giving. Winner of the Will Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series, it first it became a series of motion comics, adapting the 25 issue run, and in a few weeks, it will be turned into a series of prose novel adaptations (by Peter David, due out September 5). Why? Whedon understands character, action, and using larger than life people to work as metaphors for life. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was really about surviving high school and being a mutant in the comics is dealing with prejudice and fear of the unknown. But, unlike so many others, Whedon tends to leaven his work with humor and character traits that amuse and surprise.

Astonishing X-Men was created as a showcase series for Whedon but he was accompanied by acclaimed artist John Cassaday, who brought a photorealistic style to characters that have tended to be drawn with great exaggeration by artists ever since their 1963 debut. Grounding the visuals with Whedon’s writing style made for one of those magical pairings which seems to happen with less and less regularity.

Cassaday’s visuals work wonderfully on the printed page but less so given the limitations of the motion comic format. Serialized for the web, these have been collecting in a series of DVDs from Shout! Factory and Torn is the latest installment, out this week. As noted when we reviewed Dangerous, motion comics is this weird hybrid that is really a modern day version of the cardboard cutout animation first used in Marvel Super-Heroes back in the 1960s.

Wisely, they retained as much of Cassaday’s artwork as was practical and the dialogue has that Whedon ring, although as usual the voice casting leaves something to be desired. Cassaday worked with Atomic Cartoons and Neal Adams to bring some life to his four-color efforts.

Torn adapts issues #13-18 and pits the merry mutants against the less merry Hellfire Club – featuring Xavier’s twin sister Cassandra Nova, Emma Frost, Perfection, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and the deadly Sebastian Shaw. We learn that the enigmatic Emma Frost is conjuring up a psychic project of the villainous alliance because she was being blackmailed by Nova. Whedon also pauses to deepen Scott Summers by letting us learn of a childhood trauma that manifested in his losing control of his optic blasts.

Whedon’s affection for teen characters remains evident as it is Kitty Pryde who winds up saving the day this time.  He has some fun with the simmering Kitty/Colossus relationship, displaying some nice character-based humor. Similarly, when Emma plays mind games with the team, it mixes painful memories with humorous situations, giving us some fresh insights into the team.

The six chapters, totaling 81 minutes, are nicely adapted into animated installments and keeps the momentum moving even when the visuals are overly static. If you love this run in all its incarnations, then you want this. Or you could wait a bit and get all the motion comics series on a Blu-ray, coming later this year.

Marc Alan Fishman: Marvel Now and Later

Sorry for my absence last week, loyal readers. It would seem something had to break in my fragile world, and this was the first thing closest to the exit ramp. Luckily for me you all had more important things to do on a Saturday morning than read my rants and raves. Right? You didn’t? You mean to tell me you’ve been sitting there, at your desk, for a whole week… awaiting my article? Jeez. I’m sorry. Let me make it up to you. Let’s start off with something really inflammatory to get back into the thick of it, shall we?

Marvel Now is what I’d wished DC would have done with their New 52.

Marvel comes right out of the gate with the smartest roll-out plan I’ve seen in a while: A sensible one or two new books out every week, over the course of a few months. DC’s “throw everything at the fan, and watch the sales spike and recede” did exactly that. Marvel Now (boy, that’s gonna get annoying) sidesteps the idea that fans are willing to try everything all at once, in lieu of a doing it a few at a time. I’m a marketing man by trade. This screams of “listening to the target audience” and “lowering the barrier to entry” for those less willing to hop aboard. In human-speak? Someone at Marvel realized fans aren’t made of money. They are more willing to start a new series at #1, and toss it into their weekly rotation a little at a time, rather than dump their entire paychecks out for the opportunity to “catch up” to a continuity that wasn’t quite rebooted, wasn’t quite reset, and wasn’t quite defined in the slightest.

Marvel also has taken it upon themselves to shake up some major players on major books, after successful long-term runs had been accomplished. Where DC has been quick to play musical chairs before some writers grew their sea-legs for a particular title, the House of Mouse once again played it cool. Let Bendis play in the Avengers sandbox until he’s run out of awesome things to do. Then let Fraction do the same with Iron Man. Then put Waid (who is still rocket hot after relaunching Daredevil back into our hearts) onto a book, The “Insert-Adjective-Here” Hulk, that frankly I’m sure no one has cared about since Jeph Loeb murdered it in the early aughts.

In the art department, fan favorite John Cassaday gets to give The Avengers a nod, which I hope is as good or better than his work on the Astonishing X-Men. The always tried-and-true Mark Bagely will lend his hand at Fantastic Four, which should loosen the book up from its present look and feel. And over in the Four’s sister (or really… daughter?) book, FF, none other than Mike Alred is slated to put pencil to page. The last time I believe he was around MarvelLand, we got X-Statics, which was X-cellent. Sorry, had to go there.

And how about the overall plan? Axel “Not Danny D” Alonso made it pretty clear that the books that are working well now will have no plan for resets. This means fans of Daredevil, the Punisher, X-Factor and the like won’t have to fear an immediate exit strategy and creative retreat from their favorite books. This is of course (to me, at least) a direct wink and a butt slap to the boys with the new oddly shaped logo.

DC was glad to let its entire line of books stink up the joint for the last three months they were around prior to the New 52 debut. Never in my 20+ years reading comics had I felt more books “phoning it in” then at that time. As a 20+ DC book subscriber? It rubbed me the wrong way. Hard. Here, Marvel seems to realize the old adage holds true; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Generally we know this is the point where I play devil’s advocate. And I see by the folding chair in your outstretched arms, ready to strike me where I type, I’d better get on with the “Howevers…” or else. Now, Marvel Now is just an on-paper-plan at this point. Even with that said, it’s hard not to notice a few things that reek of desperation. I love Brian Posehn. I do. But does anyone here honestly wish to place a wager on how long his run on Deadpool will last?

And just how many Avengers titles are they releasing? 20? 30? We get it, the movie made a kajillion-billion Disney dollars… but someone somewhere had to wave a white flag. As it stands I still contend that the over saturation of books with the popular characters just clutters up racks with an ultimately less-than-the-best product. All this, and somehow, the X-books still all sound ludicrously horrendous, Bendis or not. The idea that “silver age” X-kids land in the present, and get to play the “Oooh-how-the-world-changed-card” to me is choking hard on the gimmick bone. Be sure to take a shot every time NewOld Jean Grey asks “what’s an iPod?”

See? I’m not just shilling for Marvel, unless they wanna send me a check. In that case, I’ll make myself “AR” compatible in a heartbeat. In the mean time, my opinion stands: Marvel Now appears to be better thought-out, with a smarter release schedule, and an ideology that holds on to the notion that quality beats quantity every single time. Mark my words, kiddos. Marvel Now is gonna pants DC, and in the scramble expect DC to fire back with 17 epic all-title consuming crossovers.

Did you mark that down? Good.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Astonishing X-Men Motion Comics to be Collected on Blu-ray

astonishing-x-men-torn-hits-dvd-august-14-300x112-5067390Shout! Factory has announced that they will be collecting the Astonishing X-Men Motion Comics in one Blu-ray release this November, in time for the holidays. Based on the acclaimed run by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, the four story arcs will be united on disc for the first time.

Here’s the formal press release:

The Astonishing X-Men 2-Disc Blu-ray Collection is the perfect gift for the ultimate Marvel fan. This collection is available in stores nationwide November 13, 2012 from Shout! Factory, in association with Marvel Knights Animation. The 2-Disc Blu-ray collection boasts all four Astonishing X-Men adventures from Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind the massive hit film Marvel’s The Avengers, and award-winning artist John Cassaday. As one of the most important X-Men stories of all-time, it features over 5 hours of engaging animation combined with non-stop action, as well as all-new cover art illustration by Cassaday. The ASTONISHING X-MEN BLU RAY COLLECTION is priced to own at $34.99 SRP.

Additionally, ASTONISHING X-MEN: UNSTOPPABLE will be available separately on DVD on the same day and is priced to own at $14.97 SRP.

Venture into the minds of Joss Whedon and John Cassady through Marvel Knights Animation based on their Eisner Award winning take on Marvel’s infamous mutant heroes. This must-have 2-disc Blu-ray collection contains:


Can the X-Men protect the world’s mutants against a powerful new alien menace and the “cure” that threatens to rid them of their unique abilities forever? This DVD features the first story arc of the ASTONISHING X-MEN 3-part series. Extensive bonus content includes: a conversation with Joe Quesada and Neal Adams, ASTONISHING X-MEN “Rise Up” music video, ASTONISHING X-MEN – GIFTED trailer, visual history of the characters, behind-the-scenes, Marvel Super Heroes™: What The — ?, artists gallery – John Cassaday, and additional trailers.


In the second installment of the Astonishing X-Men arc, the tragic death of a student at the Xavier Institute reveals that a powerful enemy is working from inside the mansion to destroy the X-Men.  It’s an enemy who knows all their weaknesses and can predict their every move.  This new foe doesn’t want wealth, power or world domination – it only wants them dead.  As the X-Men fight for their lives, they learn they’ve been deceived by one of their own.  Even if they survive, the team will never be the same.


This third installment of the Astonishing X-Men story arc brings more action and adventure as Emma Frost’s erratic behavior has the X-Men spinning in a nonstop downward spiral. Will an unlikely union be the final straw? After secretly lying in wait for months, the new Hellfire Club makes its move!


Strap yourselves in, folks! The final arc on Astonishing X-Men! After the shocking and brain-smashing events of recent issues, the X-Men are off to protect the Earth from its destruction at the hands of the Breakworld. And when it’s all over, nothing will ever be the same! No, really, we mean it! Whedon and Cassaday prove they are more than Astonishing: They are unstoppable!

Marvel Knights Animation remains true to the heritage of panel-by-panel graphic storytelling, boasting groundbreaking illustrations, sensational soundscapes, and of course, the explosiveness of the Mighty Marvel Universe. Behind every image and every word lies the genius of Marvel’s celebrated creators.

As excitement builds for this Blu-ray collection, Shout! Factory and Marvel Knights Animation will announce in-depth bonus features and additional news in forthcoming months.

REVIEW: Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous

Motion comics remain a bizarre hybrid of comic book storytelling and the most limited of animation (reminding one of nothing more than the 1960s Marvel Super-Heroes animation, which was reviled for the longest time. Marvel Comics has been good about exploring every new form of technology and motion comics are included. They launched the line with an adaptation of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run beginning with Gifted. Now, capitalizing on Whedon’s direction of The Avengers, the second arc, Dangerous (issues 7-12), has been released on DVD by Shout! Factory.

The stripped down disc contains the complete run without extras or any clue there was a previous volume. However, watching the nine to eleven minute segments, you may be lost by references to the previous story. The story is the one when the Danger Room becomes sentient and considers the mutants “oppressors”, unleashing a damaged Sentinel after them.

The story runs nearly ninety minutes and if you liked the comic, you will enjoy this. For those unfamiliar with the title, it will be confusing. An adaptation should have tinkered with the script to allow context to be added or references beyond the storyline to be deleted. Whedon’s gift for dialogue and character, thankfully, remains intact.


The motion aspect is exceptionally limited, especially compared with other efforts such as The Watchmen. And as usual, I find fault with a great many of the actors cast doing the voices. The foreign accents are comically thick and you can’t always reconcile the character you’re seeing with the voice you’re hearing.

This is for the diehard collector only, but at $14.97, it’s priced to move and might be a worth a look to see Cassady and colorist Laura Martin’s work on the screen.


Cover: Alex Ross
Cover: Jae Lee

In the first issue of the new ongoing The Shadow series, it’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all… but what that might be, only the Shadow knows. Be sure to get The Shadow #1 in April 2012!

Written by Garth Ennis with art by Aaron Campbell. Cover art provided by Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, Jae Lee and John Cassaday.

Learn more about Dynamite Entertainment at http://www.dynamite.net/.

Click on images for a larger view.

Cover: John Cassiday

Cover: Howard Chaykin


Following up the announcement made on 8/17 that Dynamite Comics will be bringing the Pulp icon THE SHADOW back to comics, Dynamite announced today that fellow Pulp legend THE SPIDER will be joining the company’s growing cast of characters.

On board for Dynamite’s take on the millionaire turned somewhat horrifying hero will be writer David Liss, currently writing Marvel’s MYSTERY MEN mini series, artist Colton Worley and cover artists Alex Ross and John Cassaday.

Based on the art released thus far, Dynamite’s visual take on the character hews more toward how The Spider appeared in serials produced in the late 1930s and early 1940s by Columbia Pictures than how he has been portrayed in the original Pulps or in other comic adaptations, most recently that done by Moonstone Entertainment.

Dynamite’s ‘Lone Ranger’ to End with Issue #25

Dynamite’s ‘Lone Ranger’ to End with Issue #25

Here’s the release and the details. A shame, really, since Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello have been doing a pretty terrific job with the masked rider.

November 15, 2010, Runnemede, NJ –  Dynamite Entertainment and Classic Media, a global media company with a portfolio of the world’s leading family entertainment brands, today announced that Brett Matthew’s critically acclaimed run on The Lone Ranger® series will comes its historic end when issue #25 lands this January.  Expertly drawn by Sergio Cariello and with a cover by the amazing John Cassaday, this issue will be a must-read for long-time fans of this “Eisner Nominated” series and America’s favorite hero of the Wild West!

Is it the end of the line for The Lone Ranger when he and Butch Cavendish meet and do battle for the first and final time?  Will The Lone Ranger destroy Cavendish and himself, or will he find a way to save both?

“Bringing this unique and personal version of The Lone Ranger to life has been an incredibly satisfying experience for me on a lot of levels,” says writer Brett Matthews. “To collaborate with talents like John Cassaday, Sergio Cariello, Simon Bowland and Marcello Pinto over the last couple years has been a pleasure, and is a testament to both the character and their craft. I’m glad to call them my friends. My thanks to Dynamite Entertainment and especially the fans — old and new — for their support along the way. I’m proud of the story we told and the men John Reid and Tonto became while we rode along with them. Hi-Yo!”

“This is a bitter sweet moment for all of us at Dynamite Entertainment,” says Dynamite President Nick Barrucci.  “The Lone Ranger helped define Dynamite as a publisher who could produce commercially successful titles to one who could publish a comic with critical acclaim.  We knew that this day would come, and it’s almost upon us.  I cannot express enough the appreciation and respect that I have for Brett, John, Sergio, Dean (White), Marcello and Simon.  They helped make this great story the best it could be.  From the moment I first read Brett’s script, to when the pages started coming in and seeing John’s first covers, success or fail, this series would be a series to be proud of.  It surpassed all expectations.  All good things come to an end, and the journey to this great ending has been one of the proudest parts of our publishing history.  Issue #25 will be the end of this great series.  There will be more stories, but the creators who come next will have big boots to fill.  Hi-O Silver!”

“Dynamite Entertainment has been a fantastic partner and together we are excited to present the conclusion to this very successful story arc in The Lone Ranger series,” said Karyn Schneider, VP, Licensing, Classic Media. “As America’s favorite hero of the Wild West, The Lone Ranger has captured fans’ hearts and imaginations for generations, and this dramatic conclusion will be sure to inspire readers and new stories for many more years to come.”

The Lone Ranger premiered as a last-ditch effort to save a depression-wracked Detroit radio station.  Since the show’s premiere broadcast in 1933, no other fictional Western hero has proved so enduring.  More than 2,900 Lone Ranger radio programs were produced, as well as many movie serials, short stories, novels, feature films, phonograph records, newspaper strips and an astounding three million comic books.  The Lone Ranger television series, begun in the late 1940’s, consists of over 500 episodes. A new live-action feature film is currently in development with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Pictures.

Sneak Peek: ‘Lone Ranger’ Vol 2.

Sneak Peek: ‘Lone Ranger’ Vol 2.

Just in time for last minute gift buying, Dynamite Entertainment releases the second Lone Ranger trade paperback, Lines not Crossed, on Wednesday.  The book collects issues 7-11 of the well regarded interpretation of the classic radio hero.  The stories are from writer Brett Matthews with art by Sergio Cariello and covers from John Cassady.

From the solicitation copy:

The Lone Ranger is an unrelenting tale of the American West. Texas Ranger John Reid seeks revenge for the murders of his family and friends, only to find justice… and that he’s something greater than he ever thought he could be.

In "Lines Not Crossed" and "Downbeat" — the thrilling adventures of The Lone Ranger continue as he and Tonto find themselves caught between frontier justice and a condemned man. As the hangman’s noose draws tighter — and Butch Cavendish ever closer — The Ranger and Tonto must uncover the truth behind a violent shootout… and what course of action to take when the law and their morality fails to p¬rovide clear answers.


‘The Lone Ranger’ gets 75th Anniversary DVD Set

‘The Lone Ranger’ gets 75th Anniversary DVD Set

Among characters celebrating anniversaries this year is the Lone Ranger and to commemorate the occasion, Genius Entertainment will release The Lone Ranger – 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on November 11. Season 1 and 2 of the classic Clayton Moore/Jay Silverheels television series will be collected on 13 discs.

Extras include three bonus episodes from the 1960s Filmation animated series, a classic episode of Lassie which features The Lone Ranger, an original Lone Ranger radio show broadcast from 1950, an 88-page Commemorative Book, a complete episode guide, reprints of rare comic books and photos, and limited edition collectibles.

The cost will be $119.93 but no doubt a must have for collectors.

The character, currently controlled by Classic Media, is enjoying renewed comics popularity with Dynamite Entertainment’s series featuring art from John Cassady.