Saturday, March 27, 2010

Comics News

In addition to our first Super-Witch Profile, we've got some news in the world of witchy comics.

Zenescope Entertainment has released the solicits for the first Charmed comics they're releasing in June, including an "issue 0" sourcebook, which will serve as a link between the TV show and the comics.  Still no exact release dates, but they should be coming soon.

And DC has released some preview art for the first issue of Zatanna, about their resident witch/stage-magician.  Her Super-Witch Profile will be up before the series launches, so keep checking back!

Over on DC's The Source blog, editor Rachel Gluckstern talks with writer Rex Ogle and artist Ted Naifeh about their upcoming co-feature, The Coven, starring Super-Witches Black Alice and Traci 13 (profiles forthcoming for them as wel!)  Their story begins in Teen Titans #83, out May 26th!

Super-Witch Profile: Nico Minoru

My affinity for powerful chicks extends outside the YA section of the bookstore and beyond witches-- I'm also an avowed comic book geek who loves women in spandex who can pack a punch.  Fortunately comics also have no dearth of magical types either!  However, it is frequently the nature of superhero comics to have a lot of characters scattered throughout various books and teams, so that you wouldn't always know from looking at them that there's a magic-maker among them!  So I plan on doing profiles on the witchy types that populate the superhero world to introduce them and help you find them!

First up: Nico Minoru.  Nico is one of the Runaways-- a group of kids from Los Angeles who find out that their parents are a cabal of supervillains called the Pride.  And so, as the title suggests, they run away, returning only to vanquish their evil begetters.

Nico is a Japanese-American gothic lolita who inherits her magical powers from her parents.  During one battle between the Runaways and the Pride, she accidentally steals the main conduit for her family's power--the Staff of One--when it gets absorbed into her body after her mother strikes her with it.  She can retrieve it only by shedding blood (a trick that comes in handy about once a month!)  The Staff of One has one other limitation-- every spell she casts with it can only be used once, often leaving her reaching for a thesaurus, frequently with unexpected results.

She's been the leader of the group for most of its existence, but she still finds time to have the most complicated love life of all of the Runaways.  She first gets entangled with Alex Wilder, the group's first leader, followed by a short fling with idiot tech savant Chase Stein, before getting together with a later addition to the team, cyborg Victor Mancha.  (And let's not even get into her "it's complicated" relationship with psychedelic alien Karolina Dean!)

Her best stories are found in the pages of Runaways, which come in easy-to-consume digests, full-sized trade paperbacks, (starting with "Pride & Joy") and thick oversized hardcovers. Created by and written mostly by Brian K. Vaughan (who was also a writer forLost), the series has also been written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, and acclaimed writer-artist Terry Moore.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Stacy Brown is a traditional witch who practices folk magic, taught to her by her grandmother.  Lately she's been having nightmares that tell her that her best friend Drea's life is in danger.  Her other friends try to tell her that they're just dreams, but she can't believe that.  Not after what happened the last time she had nightmares...

Stolarz does a fantastic job of working in Stacy's magical practices as a tool in helping her solve the mystery of the identity of Drea's stalker, instead of treating it as a cure-all.  Stacy's friends (and potential boyfriends) are totally 3-dimensional and relatable-- who doesn't have a sassy, flirty fashionista like Amber in their life?  And who wouldn't want a quirky clown like P.J. as a friend?  Most importantly, the suspense is palpable--from the first nightmare, to the first time Drea recieves a lily (the flower of death, Stacy tells us), till the heart-pounding climax--Stolarz ramps up the the tension until the very end.

One stumbling block for me was that it all takes place at a boarding school, which took some getting used to.  But even if you didn't attend boarding school, you soon realize that the social dynamics are the same as at any other school.  It's also in present tense, which I know puts some people off.

There is an excerpt of the first two chapters up on the Flux Books website.

Blue is for Nightmares is the first in a series that includes White Is for MagicSilver is for SecretsRed Is for Remembrance, and the graphic novel epilogue Black is for Beginnings.

    (out of five)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Charmed" comics on the way...

I'm working on getting a good chunk of reviews done before I start posting them pretty regularly instead of waiting to be done reading each book, but until then, there's no reason not to keep up with the news!

Comic book publisher Zenescope has announced that they have obtained the rights to publish comics based on the witchy TV series that ran 1998-2006.  Zenescope is better known for their "cheesecakey" Grimm's Fairy Tales, but they still have a sizeable female audience, making them a good fit for one of the most successful female-led TV series.

The comics will be co-written by Charmed novelist Paul Ruditis and Zenescope writer Raven Gregory.  Artist Dave Hoover will be drawing the interiors.  Zenescope expects to have a preview #0 issue out in June and to debut the first issue at Comic-Con International in San Diego in late July.

More details can be found at Comic Book Resources.
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