Review:Damou – The International Hit that Wasn’t

By Bill Liston

Damou – Damou is a comic series that was apparently a big hit in China. The covers boast that it is “fresh from a sold out run in China”, but it has made little or no impact in the states. I recently spoke to my local comic shop and they said this title brings in very little business. At another store, I asked if they had back issues and they didn’t know if or when the next issue would come out. I might be mistaken, but I believe the concept was to take the artwork from the Chinese version and just translate it to a US audience. Makes sense that if it was a hit in one area of the world that it might have global appeal.

I think the reservations from US audiences is that the art appears to be created digitally and not by pen/pencil. Also it is about Tomb Raiders and if you have read one Tomb Raider story you have read them all. That might be true, but Damou has some crazy twists and turns in the last issue that takes the story and genre to a new level.

it follows the story of Sean who has to take over a secret society of tomb robbers called “Damou”. He is making amends with his long lost father who is promptly killed by a “Ghost Hunter” who lives in the tombs Sean’s father was trying to rob. There is also a mysterious company called the Coral Corporation with whom Sean’s father was working with on the last expedition. Basically Sean is not only taking over the Damou but also going on some more expeditions and is dealing with Coral along the way.

I know the company that bought the rights to Damou had plans to make this as a comic and potential TV series or movie. This book has movie written all over it as the first arch is action packed and if made into a movie has the potential to be a blockbuster. That said, sometimes the pacing of the first two stories is a little off, but the first three or four issues always capped off with a little action and lots of violence and blood.

While I can see peoples reservations on the graphic style and that this was digital made, it still comes off as a nice mix of action, comedy, drama and intrigue that is surely being missed by a larger number of readers.

Damou is published by Image Comic and brought to you by Concept Art House.

Follow Bill on Twitter @WPLNYC

Review:Memoir – Thanks For the Memories

By Bill Liston

Memoir- Memoir is a comic written by Ben McCool and drawn by Nikki Cox. It follows the story of cocky reporter Trent MacGowen who is covering the story of Lowesville – a town where its’ residents have lost their memory and don’t remember the very bad things that have happened there.
There is no doubt this town is creepy as we are introduced to an innkeeper, librarian & butcher who are clearly a little out there. The weirdest resident is a man who is digging all over the town on a mission to “find them all”. In the cliffhanger of issue one he finds what he is digging for, some of the towns former residents and no one remembers how they got there. However in a “double cliffhanger” one person emails MacGowen claiming to remember everything.

This is a six part series and issue five has just come out. The artwork is all black and white which helps add to the depiction of Lowesville being a scary and weird place. While it takes a little while to get used too, it was probably the right choice for this book. The story crafted by McCool is definitely an interesting concept and has multiple levels and characters which tend to grow on you. Probably the best thing about the writing is that while we follow the dialogue of Trent we also get an insight into what is going through his head which is usually a sarcastic and dismissive view of the town. As I mentioned, the story has more characters that are introduced throughout the series including the FBI, Shadow People (the souls of the former residents), the Witch & the Daughter of God. The story gives you a lot to like and includes some twists as well as some background into Trent’s back story, Overall, it is more than a decent story and I will be reading the finale when that gets released.

My only major complaint is that the series has been published sporadically over the last year, so I had to re -read the whole series again when issue five came out. (I originally heard about it at New York Comic Con 2010) That said, re-reading it again from start to finish was more fulfilling than reading it when it  was initially published. I think this book will work well if they publish it as a trade paperback to give the reader the complete story. Reading on an issue- by- issue basis was a little frustrating and many times I gave up on it and almost moved on to another series. That said, I am glad I still had it on my pull list and look forward to re-reading it again whenever it wraps up.
Memoir is brought to you by Image Comics. If you like McCool’s work and can’t wait to the next Memoir Issue I recommend reading PIGS, (an Image Monthy) for Ben McCool & Nate Crosby.

Follow Bill on twitter @WPLNYC

Non Comic Book Guy’s Journey into Comic Book Reading!

Ok… this is probably going to be a strange column.  My name is Bill and did not grow up on comic books, so for most of my life I considered myself a “non comic book guy”.  That’s not to say I didn’t like comic books, but never really became a reader until recently.

Probably about 25-30 years too late.

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York and as a kid during the 70’s and 80’s I couldn’t even tell you where the nearest comic book store was. Doing a search (even now as an adult) the closest comic book store was about 25 miles away from my hometown.  But, at least now you can buy comics on the internet and more conventional retailers.

My introduction to comic books came in high school. Two friends of mine, Andrew (known by the nickname Spyder) and Chris were the two biggest comic book guys at my school. I didn’t know how into comics they were but they were truly ahead of the pack.  We were all interested in the same type of 80’s music (New Order, The Smiths, and The Cure) and it was though our common music interest that I learned of their interest in comics.

Their comic of choice was a really weird comic called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”  Clearly Spyder and Chris were on to something big as they had first printings of all the Turtles stuff, which would soon explode into mainstream culture in TV shows, Movies and merchandise. Looking back, I wish I had borrowed an issue in study hall to read; maybe I’d be more into comics. However, getting decent (well not even decent .. just passing ) grades came hard to me and my study halls needed to focus on school so I didn’t have time to dedicate to comics.  My diversion was 80’s music and 80’s movies and just trying to stay in school.

Oh well, I would get my comics fix later… much later about 20 years later.

Fast forward to 2001, after being out of work for a year I finally landed a job in security at a large Manhattan building.  On the outside, It was a pretty average building, but on the inside this building had character.

a lot of “characters”

I would soon become one of those characters and it would change my life forever.   It is also here where I met Rob Base and would be introduced to comics in a big way. Rob and I worked in the loading dock area and it is here were we had conversations about life, work, family, music, wrestling and eventually comics.  We became fast friends and I consider Rob and his family part of my family.

By this time, my music interests were still the same. Still loving the 80’s music and still followed some of the biggest acts in the 80’s. My mainstream music interest was Prince (or the artist formerly known as Prince)  It is interesting to me now that my music interests in high school introduced me to the Turtle and Rob (knowing my interest in Prince) got me interested in comics.  He picked me up “Prince & the New Power Generation – Three Chains of Gold.”  While I don’t remember much about the comic, I do remember it was based on one of his songs.  I also remember that it was decent and opened my mind to read other comics.

Last year, I did some coverage for Alternative Mindz and Pop Culture Network at the New York Comic Con.  While covering, I went to the Image Comics Panel and got really interested in a lot of their latest projects.  Of them.. I am currently reading Morning Glories, Infinite Vacation, Damou, and Memoir (among other comics). Working with Rob has really gotten me into the scene, and Rob soon lent me 100 Bullets, Preacher and some other comics that I missed out on for the last 20 years.

I remember the moment I was hooked on comics.  I was leaving a comic book store in Manhattan with about $40 of comics, I texted Rob “I think I have a problem” and he asked what it was. I responded that I think I am addicted to Comics and told him what I bought.  He said that reading comics was a good problem to have, and I have to say I agree.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to post some reviews of some of the comics I am reading  as well as the “old classics” I missed.   I will also be reading DC’s Relaunch of “The New 52” since I shouldn’t need to know any of the back story for any of these titles.  I will post “Newbie Reviews”  of all these titles and anything else that catches my eye.

That said, I will probably have some stupid or amateur questions. I am hoping you bear with me and If I am not “getting it” or “attack” your favorite comic please help me out. I really am trying to come around and be a “comic book guy”so if you could help keep your comments constructive and help me get educated and more interested in the value of comic books, I would greatly appreciate it.

OK,I have to get reading.. Till Next time.  Bill

30 Days of Night Returns

All-new miniseries by Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Kieth coming in May

IDW Publishing is pleased to announce the return of its preeminent horror series, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Originally created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT has spawned two feature films and countless nightmares since it first launched in 2002. Now, award-winning horror writer Joe R. Lansdale and legendary artist Sam Kieth (Sandman) take the helm with an all-new series 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: NIGHT, AGAIN.

“Lansdale and Kieth on 30 Days of Night is really a nightmare come true,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Officer and Editor in Chief. “What they’re doing in NIGHT, AGAIN is a return to form for 30 DAYS, hearkening back to the terror of the first series while pushing it into an insane new direction, too.”

30 DAYS OF NIGHT: NIGHT, AGAIN follows a band of survivors from the vampire infestation, who take refuge at a science facility in the Alaskan wilds. The inhabitants of the research compound are trying to determine the nature of a strange object found in the ice when the survivors arrive, leading to a frightening and bloody confrontation between humans and vampires! In addition to regular covers by Kieth, this four-issue series will also feature incentive covers by acclaimed Scalped cover artist Davide Furno.

“30 DAYS OF NIGHT has always been a singularly fantastic horror property,” said series editor Tom Waltz.  “And now Joe and Sam are stamping their unique—and, dare I say, twisted—vision onto the franchise with 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: NIGHT, AGAIN. I’m not exaggerating when I say 30 DAYS OF NIGHT fans are in for a wholly unexpected and unpredictable ride with this series, not to mention a fascinating addition to franchise canon.”

The Caption Box Podcast 3: Horror Comics

 

From EC comics to the walking dead, stories of the macabre Have tantalize and mystified the reader for more than 60 years.
Rob Base talks with Juan Pineda about Horror and scifi comics, even possible a story about zombie Jesus !

Image comics:DAOMU

Image Comics and Concept Art House announced plans to release a series of Daomu comics based on one of China’s best-selling novel series. This will be Daomu’s debut in the U.S., following a successful graphic novel launch in China earlier this year. The upcoming comic book series is the first of several Daomu releases planned to include games, an animated series, and a feature film.
Daomu, which translates to “tomb raider,” explores an underground world that has been active in China for thousands of years. After witnessing his father’s violent murder, Sean Liu discovers that his family belongs to a secret society of tomb raiders. Led by his uncle, Sean joins an elite team of Daomu to go deep underground in search of answers. Who are they? Who—or what—killed Sean’s father? And what horrors await beneath the earth’s surface? With a distinctive digital art style and high-energy adventures steeped in Chinese tradition and superstition, the comic series will follow Sean’s coming of age as a modern-day tomb raider and his quest to uncover the truth behind his father’s death.

The Daomu Bi Ji or “tomb raider’s journal” novel series on which the comics are based has become a sensation in China since its debut in 2007, reaching well over 20 million fans. Concept Art House, a leading digital art and entertainment company with a focus on transmedia storytelling, is responsible for the popular novel’s conversion to graphic format. Their first Daomu graphic novel released in Asia in early 2010 and quickly secured the #2 spot on Dangdang.com, China’s leading ecommerce website. Though Western audiences have long embraced Japanese comics and cartoons, Daomu’s arrival in the U.S. is a first for a high-profile Chinese entertainment property.

“The quality of comics in China is exceptional,” says Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. “Daomu is no exception. Daomu has exemplary digital art and an outstanding story. We’re excited to be bringing this amazing graphic novel to the United States for its first English translation.”

“American comics are extremely popular among Chinese comic book fans due to their great stories and amazing artwork. We believe the American audience will love Daomu for the same reasons,” says James Zhang, Concept Art House’s CEO. “Image is a great partner, not only because they understand quality art and story, but also because they truly respect the creator’s vision. We’re thrilled to be working with Image to introduce Daomu to the U.S.”

Intended for readers ages 13 and up, the first Daomu comic book will release this winter. To learn more, visit Image Comics

To learn more from concept art house check there site

http://www.conceptarthouse.com