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Edge of Spider-Verse Revisits and Introduces new Variants

Edge of Spider-Verse Revisits and Introduces new Variants

New York, NY— Announced at Polygon, fans will return to the Spider-Verse this August in a brand-new EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE limited series! Over the course of five issues, Edge of Spider-Verse will introduce brand-new Spider-heroes as well as catch up with classic favorites such as Araña, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Gwen, and Spider-Man: India! Each thrilling issue will contain three stories packed with debuts, new status quos, and seeds for an overarching saga that will set the stage for the end of the Spider-Verse, a new epic launching later this year.

“Marvel has decided to do the unthinkable, go big, and bring the saga of the comic book Spider-Verse to a fiery conclusion,” Slott shared with Polygon. “Yes, that’s right. Later this year we shall all bear witness to the end of the Spider-Verse!”

Check out designs for three of the new heroes you’ll meet in the series and don’t miss a single spider-verse tale when Edge of Spider-Verse begins this August! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

Edge of Spider-Verse #1
Written by DAN SLOTT

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, ALEX SEGURA & KARLA PACHECO
Art by MARK BAGLEY AND MORE!
Cover by JOSEMARIA CASANOVAS
On Sale 8/3

Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Written by DAN SLOTT AND MORE

Art by MARK BAGLEY AND MORE

Cover by JOSEMARIA CASANOVAS

On Sale 8/17

Edge of Spider-Verse #3

Written by DAN SLOTT AND MORE

Art by MARK BAGLEY AND MORE

Cover by JOSEMARIA CASANOVAS

Variant Cover by KRIS ANKAOn Sale 8/31

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Krypto the Superdog Digs a Hole for your Heart Come August

Krypto the Superdog Digs a Hole for your Heart Come August

BURBANK, CA – In 2005, a new breed of Super Hero claimed its place of prominence among Saturday morning cartoons with the premiere of Krypto the Superdog. On August 2, 2022, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings the acclaimed complete animated series to DVD (USA $44.98 SRP; Canada $49.99 SRP).

Created by Chris Mitchell, Krypto the Superdog follows the adventures of the title character – Superman’s beloved pooch – who also acquires the powers afforded his original Earthbound master. Alongside allies like Ace The Bat-Hound and Streaky the Supercat, Krypto fights the forces of evil, which include the animal companions of Lex Luthor and Catwoman.

Sam Vincent (Ninjago, Sausage Party) voiced the title character to lead the robust cast that included Brian Drummond (Monster Beach) as Streaky, Scott McNeil (X-Men: Evolution) as Ace the Bat-Hound, Alberto Ghisi (Trick ‘r Treat) as Kevin Whitney, Tabita St. Germain (My Little Pony franchise) as Andrea, Terry Klassen (Dragon Ball Z) as Tusky Husky, Ellen Kennedy (Polly Pocket) as Brainy Barker

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, Michael Dobson (The Deep) as Bulldog. Additional cast members included Peter Kelamis (Beyond, Riverdale) as Tail Terrier, Mark Oliver (Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu) as Mechanikat , Trevor Devall (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) as Hot Dog, and Nicole Bouma (Powerpuff Girls Z) as Snooky Wookums.

Scott Jeralds (Static Shock) and Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series) served as supervising producers

, and Linda Steiner (Pound Puppies) and Paul Dini (Superman: The Animated Series) were producers on the series. Sander Schwartz was the executive producer. Burnett and Dini also served as story editors, while Jeralds directed all 39 episodes of Krypto the Superdog.

DISC 1

Ep- 01 Krypto’s Scripto: Pt. 1 and Pt. 2

Ep- 02 Super-Flea / A Bug’s Strife

Ep- 03 Meet the Dog Stars / The Streaky Story

Ep- 04 Diaper Madness / Feline Fatale

Ep- 05 Dog-Gone Kevin / The Dark Hound Strikes!

Ep- 06 My Pet Boy / Dem Bones

Ep- 07 Bathound for a Day / Dog Bot

Ep- 08 Old Dog, New Tricks / Talk to the Animals

DISC 2

Ep- 09 My Uncle, the Superhero / Top Dog

Ep- 10 Puss in Space Boots / Teen Tiny Trouble

Ep- 11 Dogbot To The Rescue / Bad Bailey

Ep- 12 Bathound’s Bad Luck / Circus of the Dog Stars

Ep- 13 The Living End / The Dog Days of Winter

Ep- 14 Bad Hair Day / The Cat and the Bat

Ep- 15 Melanie’s Monkey / Funny Business

Ep- 16 Now You See Him. . . / Bones of Contention

DISC 3

Ep- 17 Superdog? Who’s Superdog? / The Good Life

Ep- 18 Streaky’s Super Cat Tale / The New Recruit

Ep- 19 Up, Up and Away / Dinosaur Time

Ep- 20 Puppy Problems / Switching Sides

Ep- 21 Leaf of Absence / Big Sister

Ep- 22 Bathound Meets The Dog Stars / A Dog’s Life

Ep- 23 Stray for a Day / Ruffled Feathers

DISC 4

Ep- 24 Bathound and the Robin / Furry Fish

Ep- 25 Tusky’s Tooth / When Penguins Fly 

Ep- 26 Storybook Holiday: Pt. 1 and Pt. 2    

Ep- 27 Kids in Capes / Attack of the Virtual Vegetables     

Ep- 28 Mechani-Bot / Stretch-O-Mutt to the Rescue

Ep- 29 Growing Pains / K-9 Krusader          

Ep- 30 Andrea Finds Out! / Magic Mutts     

Ep- 31 Reptile Round-Up / Streaky’s Field Trip       

Ep- 32 Pied Pussycat Piper / Solar Specs     

DISC 5

Ep- 33 Too Many Cooks / Join the Club       

Ep- 34 Bailey’s Back / Streaky’s Inner Struggle       

Ep- 35 Face Time / Catopia  

Ep- 36 The Parrot and the Pirates / Robbie’s Return

Ep- 37 Revolt of the Beavers / Invasion from the Planet Peanut      

Ep- 38 Mechanikalamity / Barrumpbarrump

Ep- 39 Iguanukkah    

Batwoman Season 3 Comes Home in July

Batwoman Season 3 Comes Home in July

BURBANK, CA  – Javicia Leslie returns as DC Super Hero Batwoman to lead the Bat Team when Batwoman: The Third and Final Season arrives on Blu-rayTM and DVD July 12, 2022 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Featuring all 13 epic episodes from the third season with all-new bonus features including deleted scenes and a gag reel, Batwoman: The Third and Final Season is priced to own for $29.98 SRP Blu-ray/ $24.98 SRP DVD ($39.99 SRP Blu-ray/ $29.98 SRP DVD in Canada). 

Season two was transformational for the Bat Team and the entire city of Gotham City with the arrival of Ryan Wilder as Batwoman. In season three, Ryan must now lead the Bat Team in stopping the next wave of villains created by the weapons lost in the Gotham River during the suspenseful season two finale. On top of everything

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, Ryan will have to battle these villains with Alice by her side! As a new generation of Rogues torments Gotham, Batwoman and Alice must work together to stop them, which is a predicament that threatens to upend the team’s existing dynamics for good.

Batwoman stars Javicia Leslie (God Friended Me),Rachel Skarsten (Birds of Prey, Reign), Meagan Tandy (unREAL, Teen Wolf), Nicole Kang (You),Camrus Johnson (The Sun is Also a Star), Victoria Cartagena (Gotham, Manifest), Nick Creegan (David Makes Man)and Robin Givens (Riverdale

, Boomerang).Based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, Batwoman is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl), Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville), Geoff Johns (Wonder Woman, Titans), Sarah Schecter (Blindspot, Riverdale), James Stoteraux and Chad Fiveash (Gotham, The Vampire Diaries).

BLU-RAY & DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Deleted Scenes (Exclusive to Blu-ray and DVD)
  • Gag Real (Exclusive to Blu-ray and DVD)
  • Batwing: A Hero’s Journey

13 ONE-HOUR EPISODES

  1. Mad As A Hatter
  2. Loose Tooth
  3. Freeze
  4. Antifreeze
  5. A Lesson From Professor Pyg
  6. How Does Your Garden Grow?
  7. Pick Your Poison
  8. Trust Destiny
  9. Meet Your Maker
  10. Toxic
  11. Broken Toys
  12. We’re All Mad Here
  13. Are We Having Fun Yet?

DIGITAL 

Batwoman: The Third and Final Season is currently available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and others.  

BASICS

Street Date: July 12, 2022

BD and DVD Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Running Time: Feature: Approx 545 min

Enhanced Content: Approx 28 min

BLU-RAY

Price: $29.98 SRP ($39.99 SRP in Canada)

3 Discs (3 BD-50s)

Audio: English 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH

DVD

Price: $24.98 SRP ($29.98 SRP in Canada)

3 Discs (3 DVD-9s)

Audio: English 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH

Assholes by Bram Algoed & Micah Stahl

Assholes by Bram Algoed & Micah Stahl

Does this count as a foreign comic? It’s written by an American (Micah Stahl) but drawn by a Belgian (Bram Algoed), and was originally published in Dutch – this edition is a translation, and comes from an outfit (Europe Comics) specifically devoted to bringing Eurocomics to Amerireaders.

That’s foreign enough for my purposes, but there’s an additional wrinkle: this is a satire, with two main characters who are, well, Assholes . One is American, one is British. So to restate the original issue: does this count as someone else picking on those people, or is it all within the family?

It’s familiar enough, and the satirical targets (rich

, self-obsessed TV celebrities! golf!) are broad and obvious enough that I don’t think anyone will actually care. But it does make the is-the-call-coming-from-inside-the-house? question more interesting here than usual.

Anyway

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, this book takes place all during one morning, at a presumably exclusive golf club, the Royal Marabou, which seems to be somewhere in the LA area. Two popular game-show hosts, the American Chuck Atkins (of Spin Your Luck) and Simon Kennedy (of Enigma) are starting a round there. Chuck is a big bluff sort with a brushy moustache, on his fourth wife – you know the type. Simon is toothy and slick – you know that type as well.

They both are tremendous assholes, though in my personal scorecard Chuck pulls far ahead on points and the race is never in doubt. The book is structured around their golf round

, with chapters for each hole after some brief scene-setting among the caddies and groundskeepers, early that morning. We see Chuck and Simon interact with their fans, insult and belittle each other, do a lot of hitting balls with highly-engineered sticks, drink, and generally act out.

It’s all amusing, and often quite funny – assuming you enjoy comedy about assholes. But, then, if you didn’t, the title would be enough to keep you away. There’s no higher goal, no frisson of discovery or breakthrough: assholes these two men began and assholes they will remain. If that’s enough for you, this book provides snappy dialogue and bright art that, to my eye, sits somewhere between ligne claire and a modern North American art-comics look.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

John Stewart Takes the Ring in Green Lantern: Beware My Power

John Stewart Takes the Ring in Green Lantern: Beware My Power

BURBANK, CA (May 5, 2022) – Witness the action-packed induction of John Stewart to the Green Lantern Corps, and his first thrilling adventure alongside some familiar faces, when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Green Lantern: Beware My Power on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $29.99 SRP; Canada $34.99 SRP), Blu-ray (USA $24.99 SRP; Canada $29.99 SRP) and Digital on July 26, 2022.

In Green Lantern: Beware My Power, recently discharged Marine sniper John Stewart is at a crossroads in his life, one which is only complicated by receiving an extraterrestrial ring which grants him the powers of the Green Lantern of Earth. Unfortunately

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, the ring doesn’t come with instructions – but it does come with baggage, like a horde of interplanetary killers bent on eliminating every Green Lantern in the universe. Now, with the aid of the light-hearted Green Arrow, Adam Strange and Hawkgirl, this reluctant soldier must journey into the heart of a galactic Rann/Thanagar war and somehow succeed where all other Green Lanterns have failed.

SAG Award-winning actor Aldis Hodge (Black Adam, Leverage, City on a Hill) takes the title role as John Stewart/Green Lantern, closely supported by Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Pachinko) as Green Arrow. The voice cast includes Ike Amadi (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, Superman: Man of Tomorrow) as Martian Manhunter, Brian Bloom (The A-Team, Mass Effect) as Adam Strange, Jamie Gray Hyder (Law & Order: SVU, True Blood) as Hawkgirl, Mara Junot (Call of Duty franchise, Genshin Impact) as Lyssa Drak & Banth Dar, Jason J. Lewis (Justice League Action) as Ganthet & Captain Kantus, Keesha Sharp (Empire, Lethal Weapon) as Vixen, Simon Templeman (Uncharted franchise) as Sardath & Console Voice, Rick D. Wasserman (Batman: The Killing Joke) as Sinestro, Sunil Malhotra (Mortal Kombat 11, The Legend of Korra) as Power Ring and Rannian Commander, and additional voices provided by Nolan North (Young Justice, Rick and Morty, American Dad!).

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the PG-13 rated Green Lantern: Beware My Power is directed by Jeff Wamester (Justice Society: World War II) from a script co-written by John Semper (Static Shock, Fraggle Rock) and Ernie Altbacker (Justice League Dark: Apokolips War). Jim Krieg (Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) is producer, supervising producer is Butch Lukic (Batman: The Long Halloween), and Sam Register is Executive Producer.

Green Lantern: Beware My PowerSpecial Features

4K, Blu-ray and Digital

John Stewart: The Power and the Glory (New Featurette) – Whether in brightest day or blackest night

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, John Stewart remains one of greatest and most beloved heroes of the DC Universe – and of the many universes that he has protected in his groundbreaking 50-year career as a Green Lantern. His courage, strength, conviction, and compassion have been his source of his abundant power, as well as the reason for his immense fanbase. This documentary examines his adventures on the printed page, the animated screen, popular culture and beyond, featuring all-new interviews with the creators, writers, artists, and performers who helped shape John’s legendary stories, including Aldis Hodge, the voice of John Stewart in Green Lantern: Beware My Power.

BASICS

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Combo Pack, $29.99 USA

Blu-ray + Digital, $24.99 USA

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray Combo Pack, $34.99 Canada

Blu-ray, $29.99 Canada

Trese, Vol. 2: Unreported Murders by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldismo

Trese, Vol. 2: Unreported Murders by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldismo

I feel like I did this already, but that was a decade ago, so maybe I need to do it again.

Also, and probably more importantly, the last time I talked about this book, it wasn’t actually available at my end of the Pacific at all, which made my praise slightly beside the point for most people. But, luckily, the Trese books are now coming out from Ablaze: the third volume hit in January and the fourth (which is beyond where I saw the first time around) is coming in May. 

But, here we are with Trese 2: Unreported Murders , collecting what were four issues of the floppy-comics series of the same name, originally published in the Philippines sometime in the mid-Aughts. (See also my post from last year on the first book in its Ablaze edition.) Trese is our main character: Alexandra Trese, who runs a bar in Manilla and also is called in by the police on “weird” cases.

This is an urban fantasy, of the common subset that assumes every folkloric or imagined creature is real – they’re all out there somewhere, and they interact with each other and mankind in complicated and often violent ways. Sometimes they need to be dealt with, or just figured out. That’s what Trese does, and what – as we get some hints in these stories – her father did before her.

On a base level, Trese is just good urban fantasy: taut, exciting, full of action and mystery and strangeness. For Filipinos, there’s the added frisson that the fantasy creatures are all part of their folklore – this isn’t yet another story full of the same old boring werewolves and vampires and tedious brain-eating zombies. For non-Filipinos, I think that’s an even better point: these are strange creatures. I don’t know what they are, what they might do, how they connect to the world, what their powers and concerns are. Fantasy all too often falls into the familiar; Trese has no truck with that.

And even more than that, Trese has the secret weapon of KaJo Baldismo’s art. Writer Budjette Tan gives him a lot to work with, true – all of those strange and frightening creatures, all of the odd corners of urban life where they lurk – but Baldismo’s pages, more often with black backgrounds than white, are gloriously detailed and atmospheric, moving from sketchy figures obscured by mist to tight close-ups on detailed faces quickly and confidently. And don’t get me started on the creatures he draws: Baldismo draws the details of horror as well as anyone since Swamp Thing-era Steve Bissette

, creepy and specific and dark and ominous and startling. And, these days, they’re easy to find in the USA, so there’s no excuse not to read them.

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Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Morbius Descends onto Digital in May, Disc in June

Morbius Descends onto Digital in May, Disc in June

SYNOPSIS
One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen as Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. While at first it seems to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed. Will good override evil – or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges?
BONUS MATERIALS

4K ULTRA HD™, BLU-RAY™, AND DIGITAL
Outtakes & Bloopers
Featurettes:
Defining The Antihero
From Human to Vampire – Visual Effects
Lights, Camera, Action
The Good, Bad & Ugly – Supporting Cast Doing the Stunt Work
Living Vampire from Comics to Screen
Nocturnal Easter Eggs
DVD
Featurettes:
Defining the Antihero
The Good, Bad & Ugly – Supporting Cast Doing the Stunt Work
CAST AND CREW
Directed By: Daniel Espinosa
Written By: Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless
Produced By: Avi Arad

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, Matt Tolmach, Lucas Foster
Executive Producers: Jared Leto, Louise Rosner, Emma Ludbrook
Cast: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona

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, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal and Tyrese Gibson

SPECS
Runtime: Approx. 104 minutes
Rating: PG-13: Intense Sequence of Violence

, Some Frightening Images and Brief Strong Language.
4K UHD™: Feature: 2160p Ultra High Definition / 2.39:1 • Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD7.1 compatible), French (Doublé au Québec), Spanish, English & French (Doublé au Québec) – Audio Description Tracks 5.1 Dolby Digital • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish.
Blu-ray™: Feature: 1080p High Definition / 2.39:1 • Audio: English, French (Doublé au Québec), 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish English & French (Doublé au Québec) – Audio Description Tracks 5.1 Dolby Digital • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish • Mastered in High Definition.
DVD: Feature: 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen • Audio: English, French (Doublé au Québec), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English & French (Doublé au Québec) Audio Description Tracks Dolby Surround • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish.

Four More Images from Constantine: House of Mystery

Four More Images from Constantine: House of Mystery

It’s basically Groundhog Day in Purgatory for the Hellblazer in Constantine: The House of Mystery, the never-before-seen centerpiece of the four DC-centric animated shorts that comprise DC SHOWCASE – CONSTANTINE: THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation

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, DC and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC SHOWCASE – CONSTANTINE: THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY – which also includes the shorts Blue BeetleThe LosersKamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! – will be available everywhere on Blu-ray and in 4K on Digital starting May 3, 2022.

Matt Ryan (Constantine, Legends of Tomorrow) reprises his live-action and animated role as the Hellblazer himself in Constantine – The House of Mystery. In the all-new short

, John Constantine wakes up in the eerie House of Mystery with no recollection of how he got there. Fortunately, Zatanna and his friends are all there. Unfortunately, they have a bad habit of turning into demons and ripping him to shreds, over and over again!  Constantine – The House of Mysteryis directed by Matt Peters (Injustice) from a script by Ernie Altbacker (Batman: Hush).

Zatanna torments Constantine in an unending number of methods in Constantine – The House of Mystery. Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy) reprises her role from Justice League Dark: Apokolips War as Zatanna.

No Constantine tale would be complete without his pal Jason Blood and his rhyming alter ego, Etrigan. Ray Chase (Licorice Pizza) reprises his role from Justice League Dark: Apokolips War as Jason Blood/Etrigan.

Constantine never hesitates to negotiate with anyone, regardless of whether or not he has a sliver of leverage – and that’s extremely evident when he visits the cosmos to seek a release from his otherworldly prison. Matt Ryan (Constantine, Legends of Tomorrow) reprises his live-action and animated role as the Hellblazer himself in Constantine – The House of Mystery.

Steeple by John Allison with Sarah Stern and Jim Campbell

Steeple by John Allison with Sarah Stern and Jim Campbell

I have two theories about John Allison’s best stories, or maybe two versions of the same theory. One goes that his best works are organized around triumvirates – I should perhaps say triumfeminates – such as Bad Machinery  and Giant Days , which allows the three main characters to bounce off each other in complicated ways. This theory goes on to say that the more straightforward, less convoluted Allison works are more likely to have two main characters (q.v., By Night ) who contrast each other in a more obvious way. [1]

The other theory is more straightforward: in every generation of Allison protagonists, there is a female character who embodies chaos, around whom reality itself sometimes bends, who is a force of nature, who both the complications of the narrative and the audience love. Shelly Winters, Charlotte Grote, Esther De Groot – that kind of character. The Allison stories that feature one of those characters are the best ones.

Steeple  is a contrasting-two-people story, and neither of them (yet?) have risen to the level of an Allisonian Chaos Magnet. So I might perhaps say at this point that it’s not quite as zany as his best work, but that might also be said, in a different way, that it’s more accessible and less likely to hare off in random directions for no obvious reasons.

This story is set in the same universe as Tackleford – though, like Giant Days, it touches other parts of that world only very lightly. We are in the small town of Tredregyn, Cornwall  – that’s in the far Southwest of England, for those geographically challenged, about as far you can get from Tackleford’s Yorkshire and still be in the same country. In Tredregyn, there are two churches. And, in each of those churches, there’s a young woman with good intentions.

Just arriving at the local parish – I think it’s CoE

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, and I think it’s St. something-or-other’s that only gets mentioned once in the book and which I can’t find now – at the beginning of the book is the new parson Billie Baker, to help out the Rev. David Penrose.

On the other side of town, there is a Church of Satan, run by Magus Tom Pendennis and Warlock Brian Fitzpatrick – though I had to look up their full names online; they’re just “Tom & Brian” in this book – where Maggie Warren does what she wilt as the whole of the law when she’s not slinging pints at the local pub. (First lesson: God pays better than Satan. Maggie needs a side job; Billie does not. Who knew?)

Billie and Maggie meet cute when Billie arrives in town, and become friends, even though their lives are deeply opposite to each other.

So that’s one major conflict: they’re friends but they work for (to put it mildly) competing organizations.

The other major conflict is weird supernatural stuff, as it often is in Allison: Tredregyn is in danger from a race of aquatic monsters who want to drag the town and surroundings back beneath the sea whence it came, and apparently they could be successful in this if the local priest doesn’t spend his nights punching said monsters in the cemetery. Penrose keeps asking for strong, burly assistants to aid him in biffing the salty foe, but his superiors keep sending him thin and weedy types. Like Billie, for example.

Now, those sea monsters are said to be sent from the devil, but they don’t seem, at least in this first storyline, to have any connection to the Church of Satan. So it may be that the devil has legions who know naught of each other, or perhaps the sea beasties are actually the spawn of Cthulhu or Belial or some different evil entity. Or perhaps the Church of Satan is the modern, free-living kind of Satanism, and has mostly or entirely sworn off actual evil in the sense of conquering the world and dooming souls to eternal torment and suchlike.

This first volume of Steeple stories – it doesn’t have a “Vol. 1” anywhere on it, though a second volume has since appeared, and a third is coming this summer – collected five comics issues, written and drawn by Allison with colors by Sarah Stern and letters by Jim Campbell. Each issue is basically a standalone story, mostly along the lines of Giant Days, so my assumption is that the hope was to do a few issues, assess, and then do more issues for years and years. That did not actually happen; subsequent Steeple stories have appeared on Allison’s webcomics site , so my guess is that the American comics market continues to Be Difficult.

As I said, both Billie and Maggie are pretty sensible

, though they are in one of those weird Allisonian towns. I could wish for a bit more mania and craziness from both of them, to juice the stories up, but these are early days yet. These five adventures are quirky and fun, and the status quo gets upended pretty seriously at the end, which I hope will lead to odder, stranger stories for the next batch. So far

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, I’m counting this as solid B+ Allison, with signs that it could ascend to the top tier quite easily. And it’s entirely standalone, thus being a good entry point for new readers.

[1] Potential counter-argument: what about things like Bobbins and Scarygoround, which have larger casts around whom the plots circle? How do they fit into this schema? There I pull out a timeline, and argue that the count of Allison’s central characters for a given story tend to diminish over time, and so, therefore, in about 2030 he will publish a comic featuring no central characters!

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch by Dorkin, Thompson, Dyer, Dewey, Mignola and others

Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch by Dorkin, Thompson, Dyer, Dewey, Mignola and others

It’s an odd thing: while actually reading a Beasts of Burden book, it’s entirely plausible – my disbelief is reasonably suspended. But both before and afterward

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, in retrospect, it all seems silly and I struggle to write about it in a non-dismissive way.

If that tone sneaks in, I don’t really mean it. But there is something inherently goofy about the whole series, and I do have to acknowledge that.

As seen previously in the original Beasts of Burden  (later subtitled “Animal Rites,” har de har har), and seen later in the follow-up series Wise Dogs and Eldrich Men , all animals can talk to each other and some animals have magical skills and abilities.

I don’t know if series creator Evan Dorkin meant it this way, but domesticated animals (dogs and cats so far) are on the side of Good, and wild animals (rats, corvids, some more exotic monsters) are on the side of a quite Lovecraftian Evil. The forces of Evil are led by the usual extradimensional entities in the final extent, but usually an evil human (alive or currently dead) in the immediate situation. [1]

The Good animals do coordinate with humans, some of the time, and there’s a long tradition of partnership, man and dog, but the dogs are fully capable of battling eldritch menaces without the aid of opposable thumbs. So the Beasts of Burden stories are mostly about dogs running around the woods around Burden Hill, Pennsylvania, barking at and biting monsters to save at least this small corner of the world from the Many-Angled Ones. I should add that they do have mages as well: a couple of the animals here can cast spells, but most of them are just the standard somewhat-stronger-tougher-and-longer-lived-than-normal.

Neighborhood Watch  is the miscellaneous collection of the series; it gathers all of the smaller and shorter series that came out in between the original series and Wise Dogs. So we have a couple of single-issue stories, a two-part epic, several anthology stories that were later stuck together into one comic book, and a crossover with Hellboy.

Hm, I may have discovered why I’m having trouble taking this seriously. When Hellboy wanders through one of your stories and puts a main character in his pocket

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, showing that what are massive supernatural threats to you are no big deal to him, the overall universe loses a certain amount of tension. Sure, these dogs might fail to stop any particular nasty thing, but that just means Hellboy or one of his crew will have to come in and quickly mop up. Sad, but not apocalyptic.

Anyway, these are miscellaneous stories, about (mostly) the same main cast as the other stories. Dorkin wrote or co-wrote all of them; Mike Mignola co-wrote the Hellboy story (semi-obviously), Sara Dyer co-wrote one other story. Art is by either Jill Thompson, the co-originator of the series, or Benjamin Dewey, who took over for a lot of this stuff and then did Wise Dogs. Lettering is credited to Jason Arthur and Nate Piekos: I don’t think they worked on the same stories, but I can’t tell you if it lines up as neatly as Arthur lettered Thompson and Piekos did Dewey.

And, as I said up top, I enjoy reading these stories even though I am in no way an animal person, particular a domesticated animal person. I suspect the people who really like them are much more heavily invested than I am, but that’s fine: we all like and react differently to different things. If you want comics about dogs fighting supernatural evil, I don’t know of any better option.

[1] Thinking far too deeply about it, I would love to see a series with the opposite premise: dogs and cats are the villains, because they have been tainted by human evil, and badgers or foxes or opossums or maybe raccoons are the heroes. Actually, yes, raccoons, maybe with corvids as advisors: that’s the one I want.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.