We take a look at seven classic George Perez covers.
A dark cloud has been cast up comic fans from all across the globe recently with the sad news of the impending retirement of the great George Perez.
If the retirement were under better circumstances for George then we have no doubt the same bravado would ensue, but alas it is not the case as it has been forced upon him by way of ill health. Tragically, it has become clear that it does not appear to be getting any better and one week ago CGC announced that on the 31st of January, George Perez would be holding one final, all be it private, signing session.
The impact and influence of George’s work upon the industry is legendary, his stories have become timeless classics and perhaps most impressively of all, many of the characters that he either created or redefined are still considered by many to be the definitive or standard setting versions, something that is backed up often in TV/Movie adaptations in recent years.
This is the start of a short series of articles we will be doing looking at some of our favorite elements from his most popular works. We are looking today at our seven favorite classic covers this time, perhaps an artists best way of becoming a household name of course is doing a classic cover, and George certainly knows how to set us up with something alluring to behold on the shelf, so lets take a look…
Logans Run #1 – (1977)
Perhaps its that totally awesome logo, or that mad dash out of the page that Logan and Jessica are doing in a remarkably Kirby-Kamandi like manner (Michael York-Mandi?), but anyway this cover has imprinted on many a readers memory. A fun little run too, if you like that kind of thing! We do!
The New Teen Titans #1 – (1980)
Iconic to the core. Having all the Titans on the front was always a must, but that badass arrangement around Raven coming towards us as the poor green skinned cannon fodder that’s about to be pummeled would have been an eye catcher for any punter in the shop that day looking for a bit of new DC action.
The Infinity Gauntlet #1 – (1991)
Just look at thing thing… I mean, flash forward thirty odd years and look around at the marketing used for the MCU, the designs on packaging for toys (good ones) and all manner of other things, this really has aged beautifully. Possibly more widely known now that it ever was back in the 90’s, its George’s ability to cram so much, so clearly and without any offence to the eye on any cover that continues to astound today.
Wonder Woman #20 – (1988)
This one may have as much to do with the story than it does the cover art. Without giving much away ‘Who Killed Myndi Mayer’ was a great arc that came at just the right time in the Perez run, with us witnessing Diana’s continuing struggle to find her own moral compass within a confusing new world, and on the back of the grim murder of her eccentric and controversial publicist. This mock newspaper cover was just the right tone needed to carry the story forward, and always sticks out when flicking through the run and brings us to a brief stop, as we pull it out and go “Ah yes… Who was it who killed Myndi again?”
Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 – (1985)
What needs to be said, arguably it doesn’t get more iconic than this. Its always been his most dramatic cover, that’s for sure. First we have that gut wrenching and hopeless pose from Superman, then there is the fact he’s holding his (spoilers) Supergirl, his dead cousin who is drooped in his arms with what on an initial look would be quite graphic injuries for a Superman feature cover from DC 1985. Then finally you have the wave of characters who mourn in the background, silhouetted like an army of the dead. It stinks of failure. Its perfect.
The New Teen Titans #39 – (1984)
There were lots of quality stories going on within the New Teen Titans, but one that was perfectly reflected by its cover was that of issue #39.
Kid Flash, or Wally West rather, formally announces that he is leaving the team and soon after Robin announces that he too is giving up being Robin entirely. It has some subtle emotional twists in the narrative, and despite not being a true classic, it certainly delivers. Much like the cover, which reflects the narrative within really well. You are very much left with an empty feeling, possibly even upset upon finishing the read, and so when turning back to the cover Perez gives us a perfect summery. No background, no jokes, no care or nostalgia for their uniforms at all as Robins costume conveniently hangs rather ominously from the Titans logo. Dramatic indeed.
Wonder Woman #36 – (1989)
I’ve read this run several times and I can’t for the life of me remember what part of the story this covers, however, it matters not. Just look at the cover. Perfectly capturing what feels like the essence of a character in one image. There are loads of brilliant Perez covers in his Wonder Woman run, many with Diana in battle of course, but this one stands out in particular for that incredible expression of harmless joy and the striking angular T pose as she leaps high above her home. This run had its really dark moments, but Perez knew how to treat us with iterations of these characters that we genuinely felt happy for when they were totally happy, and rare times they were indeed. It was the 80’s…
We have made the decision to move the Bury store into new premises. Our new shop will be open on February the 1st!
It looks like 2022 is starting with a bang for us here at Wow Comix, as we have some news to share that affects those customers who visit our Bury store.
We are moving! That’s right folks, the lease on our existing shop expires at the end of January and we have made the decision to move the Bury store into new premises. By the start of February you will find our brand new shop open within the indoor section of Bury Market (More details very soon).
We’ve been lucky enough to find a shop space which suits us nicely, its a good size in a very busy market area and are we currently hard at work getting the place set up (More long box hauling!). Our current shop will close its doors this coming Saturday (8th January) and we hope to reopen on the 1st February in the new store. It sounds like short notice but negotiations have been going on for several months in the background and we need time to make the physical move. We have enjoyed our three and a half years up on the Rock but there is no time to get nostalgic as we will only be gone for three weeks before we open in our new shop!
So… – Our store at 3, The Rock, Bury will be closing at 5pm on Saturday the 8th of January. – The new store down in Bury Market will be open on February the 1st. – Existing orders for pickup off the website will be posted out instead over the three week period where we will not have a store open. We are offering this FREE of charge and you will be notified about it via email in the coming days.
– Any questions or enquires about the move and the new store please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. – Any concerns or issues in respect of pre orders and store pick ups please forward to email@example.com.
We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by all this as we know how much some of you enjoy coming in to browse on a regular basis, but rest assured that you will find all of the same comic goodness down at our new shop, and plenty of new stock to boot!
Coming next month, it’s the new Brilliant Stars Pokemon TCG Expansion pack!
Coming next month, it’s the new Brilliant Stars Pokemon TCG Expansion pack! Currently slated for a February 25th release, the set is based around the newly introduced VSTAR cards, which allow the player to evolve their Pokemon V cards in order to access higher HP, more powerful attacks and a brand new mechanic called VSTAR Power. VSTAR Power may consist of a strong new attack or ability, but the player may only use one VSTAR Power in the duration of the game.
As well as the new VSTAR Power attacks and abilities, Brilliant Stars also heavily features the Alpha Pokemon Arceus, which is undoubtedly due to its presence in the new Nintendo Switch game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Arceus will receive both a V and VSTAR card in the Brilliant Stars set (in both half art and full art formats), as will Charizard (again in half art and full art formats), Shaymin and Whimsicott. These four Pokemon also feature on the Brilliant Stars booster pack artwork, however the VSTAR cards won’t be limited just to this select group, as both Leafeon and Glaceon are set to receive special VSTAR collection boxes.
While much of the card list for Brilliant Stars is still being kept under wraps, from looking at the card list for its Japanese counterpart, Star Birth, we can see the likes of Pokemon such as Raichu, Lapras, Lucario, Floatzel, Luxray and numerous others may be making an appearance. Moltres has been confirmed to be featured in Brilliant Stars and although it doesn’t seem to be receiving a VSTAR or V card, it’s still looking pretty fired up!
It is quite strange to think that Brilliant Stars is the NINTH Pokemon Sword & Shield Expansion Pack (where has the time gone!?) but with over 170 new cards on the way it seems that Pokemon TCG players and collectors alike are going to have their hands full for a long time yet!
Graphic novels with up to 70% off and up to 40% off Comics!
To help ease the pressures of it being 2022 (already, blimey!), this January we are offering up a bumper sale on Wowcomix.com!
You will find graphic novels with up to 70% off and up to 40% off comics, alongside discounts on vintage card sets, books and classic British annuals!
Whats more, throughout January, any purchase made over £5 in value will be eligible to be accompanied by a free Marvel comic or poster! All you have to do is make sure that you state which one you would like in the additional comments section of the checkout. If you don’t state, we will send you one anyway, and if you don’t want one then you just have to say. But are you gonna turn down a free comic!? Really?
The latest incarnation of Killing Moon is a nostalgia trip for any fantasy enthusiast, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a reimagining of a world, it’s an invitation to use and enjoy our own imaginations, it’s a series of great stories presented in a fun and unpretentious way.
Written by: Chris Denton (current run) and Chris Langton (original run)
Art: Neil ‘Bhuna’ Roche (current run) and Mark Roche (original run)
Colours: Darren Stephens
Letters: Bolt-01 (current run) and Vincent James (original run)
Pigdog Press – 2020
Imagine a world of dark legend, home to mad wizards and hooded assassins, where the undead and creatures fair and foul roam free. Against a backdrop of imposing castles, fiery plains and dark dungeons we are invited to travel to this world and meet the intriguing cast of Killing Moon.
Volume one collects the first four issues of the modern run of this excellent title, paired with the original stories from the mid ’80s, presented here for the first time since original publication. To further add to the book, Pigdog Press and the creators have included an interesting and inspirational foreword from Chris Langton along with a history of Moses Valentine and Killing Moon essay. As if that weren’t enough, we then have a stunning back-matter gallery of artwork from numerous small press artists, each offering their own take on the world and characters of Killing Moon.
It’s a really impressive package and makes for a book that stands out. It’s clear from the outset that the guys were keen to meet their promises to their Kickstarter pledges with gusto. I’m certain that, if anything, they exceeded expectations (for those unaware, Kickstarter is a ‘crowd-funding’ platform; a website through which projects can be proposed/presented at various stages of development and the the fans/audience pledge a certain amount to help fund the project’s completion. This is done in a tiered system, offering various rewards on delivery of the end product). I’m certainly very glad to report that the Killing Moon crew exceeded their funding target.
The physical and overall quality of this book is very high; the wrap-around cover is produced on very high quality card stock and the interior pages are a delight to flick through. They have a very pleasant tactile quality and present the contents in a way that should have some of the major publishers blushing and taking notes.
The cover itself has a striking logo and bold, atmospheric art depicting some of the main characters. That it segues from the modern take on the world of Killing Moon on the front through to the original vision on the back is a really nice touch and hints at some of the changes that were made, both in art and narrative. It’s a cover which will instantly appeal to Killing Moon’s target audience while also intriguing others who might have been browsing for something else.
So, first to our main characters, who are perhaps more fitting the mantle of ‘anti-hero’ than hero. They are, after all, assassins for hire operating under the name ‘The Killing Moon’. Ingrid Stensgarrd, Mr. McKie and Jack the cat are led by the grim faced, mysterious Moses Valentine. Ingrid seems to be the newest member of the group and seems well suited for her profession, approaching her work with stoicism and gravitas. Meanwhile, the darkly moustachioed McKie is given to moments of dry humour and seems entirely matter-of-fact in the presence of death. Jack no doubt keeps his own secrets while Valentine is shrouded in shadows and mystery, often serious, always thoughtful and living to his own moral code.
While growing to become quite fond of a band of assassins seems like an unlikely side effect of reading about their exploits, here I am… liking them. While that perhaps says something about me, the development of these characters through the book is a pleasure to follow and we are treated to a colourful and engaging cast of supporting characters too. There is the aforementioned dark sorcerer, a hapless thief of crowns, various skeleton and zombie warriors, a city of entirely civilised orcs under the mountain… the list goes on. It is through their interactions with each other and the other denizens of this world that we come to know Valentine and his band. Each chapter, from prologue to issue four, has its own feel while still very much being part of the greater whole.
‘The Prequel’ opens on sinister happenings in the gloomy halls of a castle. We are introduced to a couple of key figures who are about to set events in motion. Several darkly comic, Monty-Pythonesque exchanges later and we move to the story of ‘The Tyrant Wizard’ in issue one. ‘It began in Merstburg’… wherein the The Killing Moon are approached by the Mayor to rid the town of a necromancer who not only stole Castle Merstburg from their former lord but now uses the town’s dead as his playthings. What follows is a hugely entertaining adventure which feels as if it could be a transcript of someone’s really, really good Dungeons and Dragons session.
The second story, ‘Warning to the Glorious’, follows Ingrid as she stalks a crown thief through the Flaming Fens. It’s a story in which both main characters are relatable and, as such, we’re left on our own when it comes to which side to cheer for (so to speak). The tale is bookended by depictions of Ingrid’s life prior to her joining The Killing Moon, bringing us closer to the character and offering up more intrigue.
‘The Man in the Mountain’ has us following our motley crew as they enter Miwk, an orc city built on cooled lava inside a volcano. The enter at the behest of King Drenkost, whose people are being terrorised by someone known as The Man in the Mountain. As they investigate, it is soon clear that the orcs are under threat from fanatical cultists who seek to eradicate orc-kind. This is a great tale, which I’ll reveal no more of other than to say that again, this feels like it stepped from the pages of an old tabletop role playing game. I mean this as great compliment; it’s full of the things that make fantasy/sword and sorcery stories such good fun.
‘Targets’ is the closing story for the current run, where we find The Killing Moon take on an ancient vampire nobleman. As they set their ambush in a moonlit forest of twisted trees, we start to wonder if maybe they have bitten off more than they can chew…
The creative team have done a fantastic job here and it’s clear that they really care about their comic. It’s a labour of love that is a real pleasure to share in. Chris Denton’s writing is clever and darkly humorous, lending a strong sense of character and setting through dialogue. Each story is accessible and enjoyable either as a standalone or as part of the larger arc, making for a book that can be devoured in one sitting or consumed in small doses. Either way, it’s a fun and engaging read. The narration and dialogue are conveyed by excellent lettering, always clear and sympathetic to the scene and, above all, easy on the eye. The sound effects are also superb; well judged and full of energy.
The art is really great throughout and evokes the atmosphere of each setting by way of bold line work and vivid colours. Action is dynamic and, at times, bloody but is always easy to follow and track. Panel layouts are designed to help and guide the reader through the book, using splash pages for grand vistas alongside smaller, sometimes quick-fire panels for action. Each character is given keen visual identity, with the art enhancing the charisma lent by the writing through dialogue and characterisation. The art team of Neil Roche and Darren Stephens really draw us into their world, each page having been crafted through great care and attention. I found myself transported not only to their world but further, back to Fighting Fantasy game books, to the role playing and video games of the 1980s, to sharing imaginary adventures with friends.
The latest incarnation of Killing Moon is a nostalgia trip for any fantasy enthusiast of a certain age, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a reimagining of a world, it’s an invitation to use and enjoy our own imaginations, it’s a series of great stories presented in a fun and unpretentious way.
And all of that before we get to visit the original version! Here we move to black and white art and to a different vision of the world of Killing Moon. It’s a post-apocalyptic place, having regressed to a near lawless, low-tech nightmare of a frontier. It’s survival of the fittest, nastiest, most cunning and it’s in this environment that we meet Valentine as he teams with four other assassins to take on a near impossible job. They are tasked with eliminating an overlord type figure and set off, squabbling and plotting as they go.
It’s interesting to see the genesis of the current comic and also to read a story (presented here over two issues) with a different feel. Instead of facing undead monsters and foul magics, Valentine wields his blade against hooded henchmen (one of whom brings a pistol to the knife fight!). This world is, if anything, even more dog-eat-dog and Valentine faces conflict from amongst his companions before he even faces his enemy.
The story moves along at a fast pace, and gives plenty of opportunity for the assassins to use their skills, both with blade and tongue. The artwork is stylish, evocative and full of nostalgic design touches that work well for this type of comic. There’s great use of shadow (there’s a three panel character reveal which is lovely) and each page has nice details to spot.
It’s a shame that the comic never continued beyond its initial run of two; it would have been interesting to see these ideas go beyond this formative stage. Instead, fast forward to present day and the current iteration created by Neil Roche and friends and it’s easy to see why Neil wanted to resurrect his brother’s creation.
Shifting the setting to one more in-step with traditional sword and sorcery/dark fantasy has given the series perhaps more narrative freedom and while Valentine and company seem suited to either world, it is in his current form that he really shines. Gone is the broadsword of old, replaced by a staff, a cat and no small magical prowess to match his martial skill. The pipe smoking happily remains, giving us some cowl-shadowed-Strider-in-the-inn vibes (I’m thinking animated Lord of the Rings film here).
His companions are two equally interesting characters, and Ingrid offers a genuinely strong female lead, thus broadening appeal. Each fan of this comic will have their own favourite character, their own favourite moments, and that’s a really good thing. It means that it’s a comic people can engage with and relate to. It’s a title that will appeal to fans of Conan, Elric, Geralt of Rivia and indeed fantasy stories in general, but it has enough to offer that its reach can extend beyond.
Killing Moon is a really high quality book, created with love and hard work. It’s an expression of its creators’ wish to entertain, and has moments of high adventure, intrigue, dry, dark humour and even the occasional Star Wars quote in the dialogue. It’s packed with gorgeous, sometimes gritty art on every page, supplemented further by some stunning gallery work. It’s just a really cool book to have on your shelf. There’s more on the way too, with Killing Moon Rising, which I’m sure will be something to look forward to. If you can, keep an eye out for the project on Kickstarter and lend them your support.
I feel very lucky that I was made aware of this book, so please allow me to recommend that the next time you visit a comic shop, maybe looking for something a bit different, ask for Killing Moon. Nine out of ten assassins (and cats) prefer it.
Being a rookie Pokemon Snap player with a retrospective view has also given me the notion that it was really quite ahead of its time in several ways, particularly when involving the art of photography in a setting within the Pokemon world. I’m sure nobody involved in the project at the time could have predicted that 17 years later 2016’s Pokemon Go would have millions of people collecting and taking photographs of Pokemon in different locations all over the world!
While the Nintendo 64 classic Pokemon Snap holds a special place in the hearts of many Pokemon fans, I never actually played the game until very recently, when I was very kindly surprised with a copy (complete with box/inlays/manual, to say I was rather chuffed would be an understatement).
The April 2021 release of New Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo Switch has introduced the premise of the game to a whole new generation of fans, but as a Pokemon collector with a particular interest in vintage merchandise I have been itching to play the original 1999 game for quite some time. I bought my first ever N64 console last year and since then I’ve had a lot of fun playing Pokemon Stadium and several other non-Pokemon-related classics, but now that I’ve finally turned my attention to Pokemon Snap I thought it might be fun to document playing the game for the first time and see how it holds up over 20 years after its release!
On first impressions I was very enamoured with the overall aesthetic of the game, as although the 3D graphics have obviously dated due to the game being released over two decades ago, the bright colours and wide variety of character designs that helped make the original roster of Pokemon so instantly recognisable are out in full force. The locations within the game aren’t overly detailed but do an excellent job in setting the scene and seeming like places that various species of Pokemon would live in accordance with their individual elemental types (i.e, fire types such as Charmander living near a volcano, whilst water-dwelling Pokemon such as Psyduck and Slowpoke’s habitats are located in a river setting).
I found that seeing how naturally the creatures we’ve known from the other games and anime fit into the environments in Pokemon Snap exemplified just how good the original Pokemon designs were in the sense of making them feel like real animals that could be found in forests, along streams and in other real-life locations. The variety of different animations that each creature can display when photographing them also helps set each character apart as individuals with their own little quirks and personalities, whether they’re happy, angry, sleepy, hungry or (as I found to be the case with a few of my own personal favourites, Vulpix, Growlithe and Bulbasaur) just plain adorable!
I know that since the first generation of Pokemon were introduced to us all those years ago some fans have stated that they find some of the original 151’s designs to be quite dull and boring compared to those of newer Pokemon, but personally I do prefer the simpler character designs of the Kanto Pokemon and as I was trawling through the various settings in Pokemon Snap for the first time I did feel like a wildlife photographer trying to get the best shot of the creatures in action. As Satoshi Tajiri’s inspiration for the original Pokemon games was his childhood love of catching bugs, I think it is a particularly nice touch that Pokemon Snap’s overall premise explores what is essentially another aspect of zoology (that being the photography of animals in their natural habitat).
Being a rookie Pokemon Snap player with a retrospective view has also given me the notion that it was really quite ahead of its time in several ways, particularly when involving the art of photography in a setting within the Pokemon world. I’m sure nobody involved with the project at the time could have predicted that 17 years later 2016’s Pokemon Go would have millions of people collecting and taking photographs of Pokemon in different locations all over the world!
In terms of mechanics, the game’s controls are very straightforward and although some players may have appreciated more options in regards to taking photos of the Pokemon, I think these easy controls are to the benefit of Pokemon Snap’s overall appeal as I enjoyed how relaxed it feels. As I progressed through the game, more options were unlocked in terms of different courses and items to provoke/entice different reactions from wild Pokemon and though the items in question were rather basic, given the limitations of the time I think they served their purpose well enough. Although it would have been a pleasure to see more Pokemon in the game than the 63 that are included, I think the chosen Pokemon do provide enough variety to keep the game interesting initially, but I can’t deny that it would have been fantastic to see a majestic Ninetales in the Volcano level or perhaps an angry Blastoise facing off with Gyarados in the Valley.
Of course, in some games having a wide variety of customisable options and overall higher stakes suits the story thematically and is key in keeping the player engrossed, but with this first playthrough of Pokemon Snap it was honestly just nice to go through each level and get excited whenever I spotted one of my favourite Pokemon for the first time, as it really did an excellent job of bringing back the excitement and intrigue I remember myself and my school friends feeling when the first wave of Pokemania hit UK shores in the late 1990’s.
So, despite being over two decades late to the party, I can safely say I thoroughly enjoyed playing Pokemon Snap. In a way I think was probably a blessing in disguise that I didn’t own the game as a child, as I’m pretty sure I would have gotten rather obsessed with it and would have either ended up permanently glued to the N64 trying to get the perfect snap of each Pokemon, or perhaps taken to the chasing local cats/dogs/pigeons around whilst trying to photograph them in a similar fashion (without the apple/pester ball throwing that is, though maybe they’d enjoy the flute playing, who knows). If there are any Pokemon fans like myself who are yet to give the original Pokemon Snap a whirl, I would certainly recommend it. Or, if you played the game when you were younger and haven’t picked it up in a while, why not dust off your cartridge and get snapping? Cute Pokemon, lots of fun and a good dose of nostalgia await!
Make ANY purchase between now and new years eve on http://www.wowcomix.com and YOU could WIN a whole years supply of The Amazing Spider-Man comic delivered out to your door each month!
We don’t know if you have heard, but this Spider-man chap is making some waves again this winter with the release of Spiderman: No Way Home, and upon hearing that initial reviews were more than kind (phew) we thought that of all the things we could offer perhaps there might be one or two folk keen on taking the plunge into AMS comics in 2022!
Here is your chance! Make ANY purchase between now and new years eve on www.wowcomix.com and YOU could WIN a whole years subscription of The Amazing Spider-Man comic, with every issue delivered out to your door each month!
We mean, there are worse things you could win, right? And whats more, each copy comes freshly bagged and boarded so that you can keep your copies in nice mint condition for future reading!
We will announce the winner on New Years Day 2022, so that means you have two weeks to get an order in and be in with a chance of being a winner!
So once again, entry is automatic upon purchase of any item and the winner will be chosen at random. Please bare in mind that this competition is only open to those residing in the UK.
See below for a little taster of whats coming in through January/Febuary alone!
As the massive War of the Bounty Hunters event comes to an end, we take a look over some of the final parts that close out this sprawling, 34-part behemoth from Marvel Comics.
The second half of this year has seen Star Wars fans treated to some of the most exciting, surprising, and epic storytelling that the comics have had to offer. As the massive War of the Bounty Hunters event comes to an end, we take a look over some of the final parts that close out this sprawling, 34-part behemoth from Marvel Comics.
STAR WARS: WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS #5
Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Luke Ross and David Messina
Colours: Neeraj Menon and Rachelle Rosenberg
First up is the fifth and final issue of the core mini-series, which truly delivers on the ‘War’ of its title. Panels are chock full of space battles, laser fire and things generally going ‘BOOM!’ Luke Ross’ art and the truly unique colours of Neeraj Menon have been the standout aspect of this series and they give their absolute all once again in depicting the massive scale of this final hurrah, ably assisted by David Messina and Rachelle Rosenberg respectively. Each page leaps out at the reader, the layout of most of them making for fast-paced reading before indulging in the occasional impactful larger panel or an astonishing splash page to really grab the attention. Here’s hoping they both return to the Star Wars universe before too long.
This is one jam-packed comic but that doesn’t stop almost every key player in the event having their moment in the spotlight to wrap up their involvement. The highlight is, as ever, Boba Fett, and his team up with cyborg bounty hunter Valance is beautifully pitched by Charles Soule, who continues to prove to be one of the best writers to ever grace the pages of a Star Wars comic. This issue, he delivers stunning character moments in rapid fire fashion interspersed with frenetic action, but the speed at which they come never reduces the impact or importance of each one, some of which will lead on nicely to be paid off in each character’s respective book.
There is, of course, also a huge teaser for the upcoming Crimson Reign mini-series, the second part of Soule’s Qi’ra trilogy. Soule has given new life to a character who could easily have been forgotten and ignored, given the underwhelming reception of Solo: A Star Wars Story – he has seized a golden opportunity to do exactly what Star Wars books and comics are supposed to do: make something much bigger of the comparatively tiny part of the story that the films make up, and he does it convincingly. Qi’ra’s return has been fully justified in this event, and her final words here promise intriguing things to come for the new leader of Crimson Dawn in the upcoming mini-series, Crimson Reign.
DARTH VADER #17
Written by: Greg Pak
Art: Raffaele Ienco
Colours: Alex Sinclair
Considering the events of his own book and the core mini-series, Greg Pak is left with a lot to wrap up here, but he handles it with an eye on pace and detail, which have both punctuated his run from the start. A lot of ground is covered – the conclusion of Vader and Luke’s chase, the ongoing scuffle between Ochi and Sly Moore, Vader’s confrontation with Bokku the Hutt and, of course, setting the scene for what comes next, but every aspect of this issue stands well on its own and as part of a cohesive whole which makes for a very satisfying issue with a shocker of an ending that makes Crimson Reign an even more enticing prospect.
Raffaele Ienco’s art is as great here as it always is – cinematic in its scope, but intimate and detailed when it needs to be, even when dealing with the featureless blackness of Vader’s shiny bonce. Ienco never puts a foot wrong, giving us what quite simply looks like a Star Wars movie in pencil and ink. Alex Sinclair takes over colouring duties – he handles the blacks, dark greys and washed-out blues the make up the colour palette of the Empire with skill and then cleverly slips in one panel of bright, alarming neon in one of the final pages, just as the rug is pulled from under the reader’s feet.
Written by: Rooney Barnes
Art: Guiu Vilanova
Colours: Antonio Fabela
Next, Rooney Barnes and Guiu Vilanova bring us the last of the one-shots that have been peppered throughout War of the Bounty Hunters.
Given his merciless dismantling at the hands of Darth Vader, you’d be forgiven for thinking that IG-88 would be out of the game for good. However, Barnes resurrects him here in quite a sinister fashion, almost reminiscent of Frankenstein, with the ambitious engineer RB-919 getting more than he bargained for at the hands of his creation. The dark tone fits well with the unrelenting killing machine that IG-88 is supposed to be, with the art working effectively in tandem, focusing on the droid’s unnervingly blank face, his skeletal form often in shadow.
The tone changes ever so slightly for a showdown with Boba Fett in the closing pages, as everyone’s favourite bounty hunter just couldn’t be written without the overwhelming sense of badassery that pervades every page he features on. However, this is in no way jarring and works well with the dry humour that IG-88’s matter-of-fact dialogue brings to the table.
This issue slots neatly between the end of the main part of War of the Bounty Hunters #5 and its epilogue, acting as a nice little coda to the fight over who gets to keep the helpless Han Solo, and as a potential set-up for future reappearances from IG-88. ‘Born to Kill’ is the story’s title – let’s hope that, as far as IG-88 goes, it’s also a promise.
STAR WARS #18
Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Ramon Rosanas
Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg
And finally, after 34 issues across 4 ongoing titles, a mini-series and several one-shots, we have the conclusion, presented in Star Wars #18 by the dream team of Charles Soule and Ramon Rosanas, whose work together on this run has been consistently brilliant.
That winning streak remains unbroken here, in a much more stripped back, action-free issue than this event has generally brought us. The linchpin of the book is a confrontation between QI’ra and Leia as the true nature of the former’s failed plan is revealed and they both reckon with Han’s fate and the hardships they have both been through in recent issues. Given the fact that one man’s whereabouts have formed the crux of the whole narrative, this was never going to be a chat that would pass the Bechdel test, but it’s fascinating and scintillatingly written nonetheless. Though Qi’ra does much of the talking, Leia only needs a few words to show that Soule understands her top to bottom. The same goes for Rosanas, who captures Carrie Fisher’s expressive cynicism beautifully.
The conversation also yields a flashback sequence to Han and Qi’ra’s childhood, before the events of Solo, living under the command of Lady Proxima. It’s only a handful of pages, but it has real impact on the issue, leading to a somewhat ambiguous conclusion to the conversation which leaves us wondering what Qi’ra might be capable of when it comes to twisting the truth and manipulating events to her own ends, something which Soule will almost surely expand upon in Crimson Reign.
By its very nature, Star Wars is massive in scale, and is only getting bigger and bigger as more movies, Disney+ shows, books and, of course, comics fill the pipeline and promise to further develop and intertwine the beloved characters that are spread throughout the galaxy. With that in mind, an event like War of the Bounty Hunters is a natural fit, and these final parts live up to that promise, whilst offering a real variety of styles, tones, and approaches – from chaotic dog fights in the depths of space to hushed, private character-defining conversations, from dark droid workshops to inhospitable ice planets, the sheer scope of just these 4 issues out of the complete 34 is seriously impressive and pure Star Wars.
Taken as a whole, War of the Bounty Hunters has been just that from the very start – the depth and scale of the storytelling, balancing both action and character, humour and high stakes, dark and light, across multiple writers and artists whilst remaining cohesive (aside from the occasional issue where the release schedule doesn’t seem to match the reading order) is an incredible feat. The inevitable arm-straining omnibus will make for a thrilling read to be devoured in one greedy sitting.
Out of all actors living or dead, WHO WOULD YOU CAST AS AQUAMAN IN A FEATURE FILM?
When we think of Christmas, of course the first thing that comes to mind, naturally, is Aquaman, and that is why this year we are giving five lucky winners each a copy of the upcoming Aquaman #1 from DC comics!
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is COMMENT down below on this post and tell us – Out of all actors living or dead, WHO WOULD YOU CAST AS AQUAMAN IN A FEATURE FILM?
Winners will be picked according to what answers we like best and will notified by reply in the comment section here on the 28th of December!
It would also greatly help us out if you could FOLLOW or SUBSCRIBE our blog here at Wow Comix World, but that’s not need to enter the competition!
Please be aware this is only available to those residing in the UK! The comic will be dispatched as soon as released.
Aquamen #1 – 22/02/22 – DC Comic
When a suicide bomber in Middle America is revealed as an Atlantean sleeper agent seemingly gone rogue, the Aquamen—Arthur Curry and Jackson Hyde—are on the case. But it soon becomes clear that the tragedy was not just a single bad actor, but the beginnings of a much larger and more dangerous chain reaction…and the heart of an explosive Atlantean conspiracy! If Arthur’s not careful, the secrets he’s keeping—from Mera, Tula, Tempest, Atlantis, the surface, and even Jackson—could cause a rift from which the Aquamen might never recover!
What’s cute, yellow and since 1996 has become a household name? Why, it’s the one and only Pikachu of course!
What’s cute, yellow and since 1996 has become a household name? Why, it’s the one and only Pikachu of course! Considering how synonymous Pikachu has become with the Pokemon franchise it’s strange to think that our little mousey friend wasn’t originally going to be Pokemon’s mascot, with that particular role originally set to go to Clefairy. This decision however, was changed as it was thought a mascot that would be perceived as gender-neutral in its design would be more equal in appeal to both boys and girls than Clefairy, the pink aesthetic of whom it was considered may be more popular with a female demographic. After taking center stage as Ash/Satoshi’s companion in the Pokemon anime, Pikachu would also become the star of Pokemon Yellow, a revamped version of the original Pokemon Gameboy games which took influence from numerous aspects of the popular anime series.
In the past two and a half decades Pikachu has continued to grace both the big and small screen in a variety of different Pokemon-related media. Along with an abundance of Pokemon video games, there have been Pikachu-branded planes, cars and more toys and pieces of collectable Pikachu merchandise than you can shake a Pokeball at. In this blog we will be exploring Pikachu’s impact on the success of Pokemon as a brand by taking a look at a few interesting pieces of vintage Pikachu merchandise from the golden age of Pokemania.
Tiger 35mm Pikachu Camera:
Despite being released on the cusp of the Millennium, here is a quintessentially 90’s piece of Pokemon merchandise if ever there was one. The 1999 Tiger 35mm Pikachu Camera featured a very cute Pikachu/Pokeball design with Diglett also making an appearance as the camera’s shutter button (I suppose out of all the Gen I Pokemon Diglett probably is the most applicable to be used as a button, as I can’t imagine the likes of Cloyster or Starmie would have made for very comfortable use of the camera). Fully functional, the Pikachu Camera came complete with a battery-operated flash and also had the added feature of being able to add a Pokemon-themed vignette frame around photos.
Similar in design to the original “Fat Pikachu” plushies (as featured in my previous blog on vintage Pokemon plushies), the 20″ Pikachu Backpack was a very popular way of carrying your books and P.E kit to school for many kids in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. With a simple, cute and cuddly design, the Pikachu backpack was also released in a smaller 14″ version and as a 10″ gameboy carry case.
Pikachu Bubble Bath:
Produced by Grosvenor Consumer Products Ltd, the Pikachu Bubble Bath was a large plastic Pikachu figure with a bottle of child-friendly Bubble Bath fitted inside, which could be accessed via the bottom of the figure. Grosvenor have created a variety of bubble bath figures over the years, including worldwide franchises such as Disney, The Simpsons and Doctor Who, so it was only fitting that a phenomenon as big as Pokemon (and with a mascot as cute as Pikachu) should also join their ranks. Upon the western release of the Pokemon 2000 movie, a second Pokemon Bubble Bath figure was released featuring the film’s star legendary Pokemon, Lugia, alongside Pikachu.
Pokemon Yellow/Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour, Pikachu & Pichu Gameboy Colour and Pokemon/Pikachu Nintendo 64:
First beginning with the Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour, Nintendo have released a variety of Pokemon-themed consoles over the years including many editions of the Gameboy Advance/SP/Nintendo DS/3DS, a trend that continues today with the recent Pikachu-themed Nintendo Switch accompanying Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu. The Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour was packaged alongside Pokemon Yellow, which (as mentioned earlier) was an updated version of the original Pokemon games, where the player received a Pikachu as their starter Pokemon which would follow them during their adventures throughout Kanto, in a similar fashion to Ash’s Pikachu in the anime. The console itself featured bright Pikachu-yellow casing, with graphics of Pikachu and fellow fan favourites from the anime Jigglypuff and Togepi greeting the player alongside the screen.
In 2001, following the release of the second generation of Pokemon games, another Pikachu-themed Gameboy colour was made available. This console was produced in two different colours, yellow (the same bright yellow casing that was used on the previous Pikachu gameboy) and gold, with the border of the screen featuring Pikachu and his newly-introduced pre-evolution Pichu, one of the new baby Pokemon that made their debut in Pokemon Gold and Silver.
Prior to the release of the second Pikachu-themed Gameboy however, Nintendo’s first Pokemon-themed home console found its way into the hands of gamers upon the release of the Pikachu Nintendo 64 in 2000. Featuring a large plastic Pikachu on top of the console and a Pokeball as the power switch, a variety of different versions of the console were made available in various territories across the globe. The standard version featured solely the console and a Pokemon-branded controller, whereas Toys R Us shoppers in the USA were treated to an exclusive version packaged with a pocket watch and the game Hey You, Pikachu!
Over in Australia, an edition known as the Pokemaniac Nintendo 64 was packaged with a VHS copy of Pokemon – I Choose You!, the first volume in the initial series of Pokemon anime VHS releases. Japan received an exclusive orange version of the console, which has since become much sought after amongst collectors.
Tiger Pikachu Radio Control Car:
In 2000 Tiger produced a Pikachu-themed radio control car, which was likely influenced (though this remains to be officially confirmed) by the Pika-Bug cars, a small fleet of Volkswagen Beetles with Pikachu-style aesthetics which had been used to promote Pokemon across the United States of America from 1998 up until the mid 2000’s.
The Pikachu Radio Control Car was operated via a Pokeball-shaped remote which connected with the car through the use of radio frequency. The remote allowed the driver to change direction as they pleased by using the two joysticks that were found upon opening the Pokeball remote.
Pokemon Pikachu/Pocket Pikachu:
Originally released in 1998, the Pokemon Pikachu (also known under the name Pocket Pikachu in Japan) was a Tamagotchi-style digital pet that functioned as a pedometer. Instead of requiring users to feed/clean the Pikachu as many other digital pets of the same era did, the user’s relationship with their Pikachu grew stronger by increasing their number of steps when wearing the Pokemon Pikachu. Every twenty steps would be converted into a digital currency within the device known as Watts, which could then be used to buy presents for Pikachu and thus improving the users standing with their new digital friend.
The first version of the device featured yellow casing similar to that used on the Special Pikachu Edition Gameboy Colour, with black and white display graphics that would show Pikachu’s interactions with the user. Different animations would become accessible upon gaining specific amounts of Watts, depicting Pikachu eating, showering and watching TV amongst a number of other activities. If the user did not interact with Pikachu for a prolonged period of time, the Pikachu within the device would get angry with the player upon the Pokemon Pikachu eventually being turned on, even running away if the player’s absence went on for too long (Pikachu going AWOL wasn’t permanent however, as he could be called back by shaking the device).
A new version of the device, the Pokemon Pikachu 2 GS, was released alongside the second generation of Pokemon Games, however this time around the player didn’t have to take care of Pikachu and the watts gained through use of the pedometer could be exchanged for items in-game.
Hasbro Electronic Pokemon Pikachu:
Last but certainly not least, my last addition to this blog list is Hasbro’s 1998 Electronic Pokemon Pikachu. Although there have been a variety of electronic Pikachu-themed toys released by a variety of different manufacturers since Pokemania first hit the world, this one is particularly special to me as (along with the electric Charmander toy from the same range) it was the first piece of Pokemon merchandise I ever got. With light-up cheeks and Pikachu-voice sound effects, this toy is also quite notable in aesthetic terms for featuring Pikachu with a semi-white face and a much shorter and rounder body than would be seen in later toys, both aspects of Pikachu’s early design which were dropped as the franchise became more widespread and the overall appearance of individual Pokemon became more consistent with how they appeared in the anime series as opposed to their designs in Ken Sugimori’s original artwork.
More Pikachu Merchandise?
Of course, as stated earlier this blog only features a miniscule example of the amount of Pikachu merchandise that is in existence, as after over 25 years of success the Pokemon franchise has put their mascot’s face on an impossibly large amount of products, each as cute as the last (though the recent and rather terrifying Pikachu-centipede style plushie might be a slight exception…). As new incarnations of video games, toys, trading cards and anime continue to introduce new fans to Pokemon, our little electric mouse friend has become a pop culture juggernaut, instantly recognisable to people of all ages. As the world of Pokemon has continued to keep up with changes in trends and technology, Pikachu has stayed in his rightful place at the centre of the franchise and I hope he continues to for many more years to come.
Article by Emily Carney
Sources/Further Reading and Viewing:
The Toy Report – A Brief History Of Pokemon Toys:
The Phoblographer – This Pokemon Camera Will Make Your Inner 90’s Kid Swoon: