Listen to the Truthful Comics Podcast Episode 4 HERE:
It is our motto to "keep it Truthful" so, like we promised every new comics Wednesday is new Truthful Comics Podcast Wednesday! As always Alvaro joins me to discuss some of the biggest and/or most important things in geekdom to us and we sprinkle in our crazy opinions on each topic. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoy recording it. On this episode we talk about the return of Joe Madureira's Battle Chasers, the Spider-Gwen phenomenon, The Joker running wild, Catwoman is "officially" bisexual and a lot more. So sit back, relax and... keep it Truthful people!
Listen to the Truthful Comics Podcast Episode 4 HERE:
As the collective fandom now basks in the knowledge since last Wednesday, Joe Madureira's immensely popular and enduring Battle Chasers is returning after a fourteen year hiatus. And that's not all, not only will it pick up where it left off, with an overhaul in design, there's going to be a video game and the possibility of an animated series. Without a doubt, this was one of those series that were a game changer in the comic book industry when it originally was published in April of 1998 as part of what was seen as the second coming of Image, Cliffhanger, part of Jim Lee's Wildstorm imprint under the Image banner. But, like with many fans of Joe Mad, my introduction to his art was Uncanny X-Men, more specifically, Uncanny X-Men 325.
I was already a huge fan of anime, especially after rediscovering my love for it with aimes like Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X in the US), Tekkaman Blade (Teknoman in the US), Ranma 1/2, Dragon Ball Z, and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (simply Sailor Moon in the US). His art was absolutely energetic and a complete departure from the grim and gritty art that made the X-Men franchise a household name. The manga/anime quality to it was a perfect match for a comic like X-Men. The action scenes were incredible, while he also could draw fantastic quiet scenes as well. There are times when you look at an artist and you just know there's going to be a shift in the scenery. It happened with pre-Image Marvel Comics with suoerstar artists like Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, you saw Joe Mad and you knew you were witnessing something special.
Especially during the Age of Apocalypse storyline where an alternate vision of the X-Men took over and also later on the Heroes Reborn arc with titles such as Captain America, Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man.
He was at his absolute best during this X-Men run. It's like he just cut loose and had fun with the redesign of the characters during Age of Apocalypse.
Towards the end of his contract he had expressed how the title was becoming to dark and depressing for his tastes. Rumor had it that he wanted to stay on Marvel and jump to Spider-Man, but when it didn't happen, he decided that along with J Scott Campbell (Gen 13, from Image/Wildstorm) and Humberto Ramos (Impulse, DC Comics) would team together and form Cliffhanger!, an imprint within Jim Lee's Wildstorms Studios. J Scott Campbell would debut Danger Girl, the spy/action/humor book, Crimson, the vampire book by Humberto Ramos, and of course, Joe Madureira's fantasy epic, Battle Chasers.
It was arguably the most anticipated title that year. And when it came out, it delivered in spades. The artwork was the absolute best he had ever done to that point. The story was engaging and funny. It was a radical departure at the time from what was popular. Fantasy books never were big in the mainstream, nor was the anime/manga influence. Joe Madureira changed that forever with X-Men and Battle Chasers.
But then problems started. Inker Tom McWeeney had to leave the book after he was forced to retire due to a medical condition. And the issues kept getting delayed and pushed back, even after Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to DC Comics, effectively having Cliffhanger! fall under the DC banner as well. After many delays resulting in 2-3 issues a year, Joe Mad left Cliffhanger/DC and took Battle Chasers with him back to Image comics, this time by himself. Co-writer Munier Sharrieff left the book, and with issue 9, Mad took full writing responsibilities. He seemed excited, energized by the move to Image, especially with the ads no longer interrupting the flow of his pages in the comic. And just like that, suddenly, Battle Chasers was gone.
Madureira would cancel issue #10 and put on indefinite hiatus as he decided to form his first video game studio, Tri-Lunar following an announcement on his former website. He would eventually show concept art of what would've been the first game, Dragon Kind.
Unfortunately, production of the game was cancelled and he eventually landed on Realm Interactive, where he was involved in the game Dungeon Runners, released after Realm Interactive was bought out by NCsoft.
Afterwards, Joe Mad would return to comics in late 2007 with the release of Ultimates 3, once more in Marvel. Written by Jeph Loeb, this controversial title, though enjoying of good sales , was heavily criticized for it's writing. During 2007, he began work on what would be his most successful video game, Darksiders. Released in 2009, the game would have a sequel released in 2012. But in between, Mad once more took to Marvel, this time around with Spider-Man.
Joe Madureira helped launch the title Avenging Spider-Man on November 2011. His art was as brilliant as ever for this series, which included team-ups with other characters from the Avengers.
However, he would only be on for three issues of the series.
Afterwards he had a brief run as well on Savage Wolverine 6-8, and later in 2014, he would do the artwork on Inhumans issues 1-3.
THQ, the video game company that held the rights to the Darksiders franchise went bankrupt in midst of all this, and was forced to sell all it's assets to different studios.
By that time however Joe Mad, who was creative director, had resigned and formed a new studio, Airship Syndicate, and as we all know by now, last Wednesday, February 25, 2015, fourteen years to the date the last issue of Battle Chasers was published, it was announced it would return as both a comic and a game.
The news sent the comic book community and the video game community abuzz. At long last, BC is going to continue, once again making it one of the most eagerly anticipated releases in the industry. Most everyone will keep their eyes open for this one. I know that as a fan o Joe Madureira, who I've had the honor of meeting and chatting with twice, can not wait to finally see this story continue and even play the game whenever it is released as well. It's a great time to be a fan.
As always, feel free to share your opinions, will you get the books/games when it comes out? Is there a Joe Mad moment you want to share? Sound off at the comments section below and thank you for reading!
As we promised, every new comic book Wednesday means new Truthful Comics Podcast Wednesday here at Truthful Comics and today is no exception! We have a fun show although I think this one might be a bit controversial. As you all know Manuel's two favorite characters are Thor and Miles Morales (aka Ultimate Spider-man) and they've both been heavily in the geek news lately, on this episode Manuel speaks his mind on everything that's been going on with those two characters as well as who he'd pick to play Miles Morales in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The guys also talk equality in comics, the return or Milestone Media, Constantine possibly not being cancelled, Jason Momoa's Aquaman and much more. So sit back, relax and enjoy a conversation between two good friends who happen to be geeks.
After the death of Mike Wieringo, as I mentioned, I was numb. By that time I had already stopped buying mainstream comics and just did not follow up on my favorite artists online after the blog entry his brother made that I mentioned last week's blog. There are very few things that I regret in life, and not keeping up with Michael Turner is one of them.
I did not know of his passing until like a year later after his death. I was starting to get into the groove of checking out my favorite artists, and he was one of my all-time favorites.I went online and googled what he was up to, and that's how I found out. I felt like someone had punched my stomach until I was left gasping for air on the floor. I had this image of him being, untouchable somehow. He faced cancer before, and came back an even better artist than ever. In my mind there was no way he was eventually going to lose his battle with cancer at any point.
He's only the second artist I ever cried over when I learned of his death, and having lost my grandparents and an aunt to this dreaded cancer, it hit me all the more. I've written about Michael Turner here and there, but nothing too much into detail. So aside this blog being a tribute, this blog is my own personal therapy. The best kind, too. Art therapy.
After graduating from the International Performing Arts Academy,
Turner moved to San Diego where he got interested in comics. Top Cow and Image Comics co-founder discovered him at a convention, and he was hired initially as a background artist before he co-created what would become arguably Top Cow's most iconic character: Witchblade.
Image comics wouldn't always be ordered at the pharmacy where I would get my stash, but for a brief while, they actually started bringing Witchblade. I was absolutely captivated by his artwork. To me, there was this sense of timelessness, of class, that just made it impossible for me to turn away from his pages. I was enamored by his artwork and became a quick fan of his. I followed as much as I could and then I had to stop once the pharmacy stopped bringing comics all together. Whenever I hanged out my friends and ventured to a couple cities over, I'd hit the comic book shop and catch up on Witchblade, and of course, Fathom after he announced he would leave Witchblade in favor of his first creator owned comic within Top Cow.
He actually upped his artwork to a whole new level on Fathom. The artwork was absolutely gorgeous, to me it was simply breathtaking. To me, this was a work of art, of mastery.. The elegant lines, the layout, the character designs, it was a visual masterpiece.
But then, in the middle of the mega crossover between Witchblade, Fathom, and Tomb Raider, the video game property that Top Cow was able to licence into comic books, Michael Turner, after suffering a skiing accident, was discovered he had cancer.
After treatments Turner, who would sketch on his bed during that time, returned to comics two years later, wrapping up the crossover. When he came back, he also decided after thinking over as he recovered, that it was time he struck out on his own, and founded Aspen MLT Inc. A different creative team would take over Fathom while he worked on hi newest title, the fantasy book Soulfire.
Turner had done it again. He elevated his artwork for this title to a height I couldn't even, well, fathom. The intricate designs, the fantasy/post apocalyptic setting, this was artistry. The series was just visually stunning as his work kept evolving even more.
During this time he branched out more, too, doing artwork for DC Comics, most notably his brief run on Batman/Superman, where he designed a new Supergirl, as well as do covers for the mini-series Identity Crisis and Flash. His studio also briefly took over Superman as well.
Later on he would do covers for Marvel comics, and was set to become the artist on Wolverine Origins and later was slated to do the art on Ultimate Wolverine, but unfortunately, he would not do those works with the iconic Marvel character.
Michael Turner died June 27, 2008 at the Santa Monica Hospital in California, of complications from bone cancer. He was only 37 years old.
In the days that followed when I found out about his passing, I spent hours going through old artwork and tributes sites online. I kept looking over and over at old issues and old interviews from the Wizard magazines. It's almost as if my hands wanted to just somehow absorb his artwork. He was definitely an artist I would've given anything to meet.
Actually, a few years later I met the person that would eventually become my girlfriend through a mutual friend. After we officially got into a relationship I told her about Michael Turner and showed her various of his images. She's mostly a casual fan of comics, she is much more into manga and anime. But unbeknownst to me, she had made it her mission to get me the comics I had been missing from him. So on birthdays, Christmases and sometimes just because she would coincidentally run into something, I ended owing various trades of Witchblade, Fathom, and Soulfire. At the first New York Comic Con I went with her, we found the tribute book that Aspen released. I was able to get it and get various signatures from a lot of the participating artists. It is one of my most prized possessions. And I will always be grateful to her. The only thing that surpasses that gratefulness is my love for her.
His art inspired me like with so many people out there. As well as the other artists I gave tribute to this past month. If only there is one thing I want you all to take from this is, it's to realize that life is such a fragile, fickle thing. But also one of great opportunity and wonder. If there is an artist you admire, past or present, I invite you to share that inspiration with others in any way you can, and most of all, to enjoy and appreciate it while you can. And even better, if you can create your own worlds, do it. Do not let anything stop you or put you down. Only you can tell your own story and the world just might be a more creative place if you do. Thank you all for reading, this will be the last installment of these tributes (unless you ask for more for a particular artist or writer), it's been a great ride looking back at these wonderful legacies, and I hope you enjoyed it as well. See you all next week, until then, thank you.
We promised you we'd be back every new comic book day and we deliver on our word! Here it is, the second installment of our Truthful Comics Podcast! On this second episode we discuss tv shows: Arrow, The Flash, Agents of SHIELD, we talk about two brand new toy lines being revealed last week, Adrien Patilicki becoming a regular on Agents of SHIELD, Gina Carano joining the Deadpool live action movie, Spider-Man finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe and much more. We hope you enjoy this episode and as always, leave us your comments below; we'd love to read your feedback. Thanks! Listen to the 2nd episode of Truthful Comics Podcast by going to: https://archive.org/details/TruthfulComicsPodcastEp2
This is the link to Norm Breyfogle's Hospital Fund if you're interested in donating: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/legendary-batman-artist-norm-breyfogle-stroke-fund/281723?utm_source=widget
If you'd like to donate All Ages books to our non-profit organization Comics For Christmas you can do so by mailing them to this address:
Comics For Christmas
8916 Old Ocean View Rd.
Apt. - D
Norfolk, VA 23503
Confession: when I first saw Mike Wieringo's work on Flash and Robin, I was pretty meh about it. Not that I hated it, just for some odd reason I kind of didn't find it too appealing, which is weird, because
I usually love that kind of cartoony, expressive, high energy art. I mean, I loved Mike Parobeck and I was getting into Humberto Ramos, especially when Impulse began his solo series (Wieringo designed and co-created Impulse, BTW). I don't know if the issue was I didn't quite see him as a right fit for either title for some geeky fanboy reason. But let's start at the beginning now that I got that out of the way.
Mike Wieringo was introduced into comics by his father, who was a fan of the medium. Wieringo got so into it that he began drawing his own comics when he was eleven years old. He eventually went on to study fashion illustration at Virginia Commonwealth University. He considered working in comics after graduating but then decided that comics was on the path of dying out and decided to not pursue it. After deciding that he did not have the fortitude to do commercial art, he once again considered a career in comics, which took him to San Diego Comic Con in 1992, where he showed his samples to then group editor of DC Comics, Neil Ponzer. He showed Wieringo's samples around to other DC editors and he scored his first comic book work, drawing a story in Justice League Quarterly numbers 11 and 12. Afterwards, Flash editor Brian Agustyne asked Wieringo to submit samples of the Flash.
After submitting samples of Flash in action, he became the artist on the book joining the writer that would later collaborate with him again, Mark Waid. His run on Flash was acclaimed and his star was rising. After he finished his run on Flash, he had a brief stint on Robin as well as doing the art on the Marvel Comics' mini-series for X-Men character Rogue. Keeping busy around this time he also did a cover and a story for Malibu Comics as well as a cover for Explorer Press. Then Amalgam happened.
Amalgam came from the mega-crossover between Marvel and DC, it was a universe that combined heroes from both companies. Wieringo was tapped to draw Spider-Boy, a combination (amalgamation, if you will) of Spider-Man and Superboy. And it was all kinds of awesome. I remember this was the first time I saw his art and just went "wow". I thought to myself that maybe he'd be better off drawing Superboy (Conner Kent 90's clone version with the jacket) or even Spider-Man.
It's as if the Comic Book Gods had heard my thought as if it was a silent prayer, who knows, maybe it was just that. Not long after Spider-Boy, Wieringo became the artist of the still young new title of The Sensational Spider-Man. And his Spidey was just....perfect. In the aftermath of the mess that the Spider-Clone saga was, writer Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo made Spider-Man something he had not been for a long while: fun.
This was back when I first forgave (yes, I am that entitled with Spidey) Marvel for the clone saga because the titles had great artistic teams on the books, from John Romita Jr to Steve Skroce, Spidey was making a big comeback. As eventually Joe Quesada said on the Spider-Man dvd , once they gave us good Spidey, we forgave them (too bad he'd take it away again with the story I shall never mention again by name). Wieringo's Spidey was just bursting with energy and fun! It was everything Spider-Man was supposed to be.
After his two-year exclusive deal ended in 1999, Wieringo, along with Dezago, re-teamed to create the Image Comic fantasy book Tellos. Once again and I hate to use this word as much, but I really can't find another word for it. It was fun! It was just a fun title from the writing to the art. It also brings back great memories. My best friends were comic geeks too. And they of course, loved Tellos. But they affectionately would call the book "Kellogs" instead, because "the tiger just reminds me of Tony the Tiger!"
The run lasted ten issues and Wieringo would return to DC briefly with a short run on Adventures of Superman, back when DC was making a huge effort on getting big creative teams on Superman. But he would return to Marvel and reunite with writer Mark Waid on what was arguably his greatest run of his career.
In 2002, Waid and Wieringo were reunited on Fantastic Four number 51. It was like he was born to draw the FF. In my opinion Marvel's first family never looked better. He again brought his fun style and there was an air of nobility in the work that just commanded respect. His flowing, energetic style, the expressions, just everything about his art was amazing on FF.
Waid is an extraordinary writer who unfortunately at the time, had some rough patches in Marvel. The abrupt exit from X-Men after one issue. His Captain America (with artist Ron Garney) that was becoming very popular, but got replaced when Heroes Reborn happened and Rob Liefeld took over (and eventually Jim Lee's Wildstorm). He later on wrote Captain America again but problems once again were getting tense and when Waid was taken off FF, Wieringo also decided to leave. Marvel was met with huge backlash at the time from fans who were already testy because of the time Waid was replaced on Captain America. Fortunately, Marvel would reverse on the decision and Waid along with Wieringo stayed on the book.
After Waid and Wieringo finished their run on FF, Wieringo would return to Spidey with the title Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and started work on the mini-series Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. In 2007, he was working on a What If? story based on the replacement Fantastic Four, which consisted of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider. Sadly, he only completed seven pages of that story.
On August 12, 2007, Michael Lance Wieringo, aka Mike 'Ringo, died of an aortic dissection. He was only 44 years old. The industry and fans were shocked at the news. I remember being online when the news broke out. I felt absolutely numb when I read the news. It was somehow not real to me that it had happened. I don't know how much of it was disbelief or how much of it was denial. I had just started following his website/blog where he would post sketches and wonderful pieces of artwork. How could it be possible?
In the days that followed Wieringo's brother would update the website's blog to keep fans posted on memorials and tributes. And it wasn't until one post in particular that I finally accepted it. It was a post about his brother cleaning out the home where Wieringo lived. He had gone into the bedroom at one point and mentioned Mike Wieringo's cat. Ever since he had been organizing things in the house, for the majority of the time the cat would just lay on Wieringo's bed, in the spot he would sleep, and the cat barely ever moved from that spot after Wieringo was gone. I read that and it finally hit me. Mike Wieringo was dead, and I started crying. I cried the whole night through after reading that post. It was the first time I had ever cried over somebody's death that I didn't personally know the person. Even now writing this, my eyes can't help but water up.
I read many stories of fans and professionals about what an exceptional person he was. I never had the honor of meeting him, but I would like to say that as a professional, he was truly an inspiration. In an industry that dwelled so much in darkness and even today it's so grim, his work was not only just a breath of fresh air, it was a necessity. It was a reminder. That no matter how dark, and grim, and hopeless things looked like, if you looked a little closer, there will always be that ray of light that will bring you comfort. And that was what his art mean, means to mean, that there will always be comfort. I would like to end this blog with a quote by Wieringo himself describing his style. Thank you all for reading and stay safe. Next week I finish my series of remembrances with Michael Turner.
"I just try to keep things fun. I like to do fun comics. It doesn't have to be realistic to be believable. In fact, I sometimes think that funny [material] might actually add something to certain books."- Mike "'Ringo" Wieringo
Well, yesterday was Valentine's Day and we decided to enjoy it as a family. We thought about things to do and ended up choosing to go see a family movie at the movie theater. The movie we chose was Big Hero 6. I already knew the movie was based on a comic book published by Marvel a few years back but at the time it came our it flew under my radar, so I had no clue what the story was about; all I knew was that it was an All Ages movie.
When we watched the trailers, I saw very funny interactions between two or three character and fantastic animation; I wasn't prepared for what we were about to see on the big screen. I'll just come out and say it, this movie is one of the best films I've seen... EVER! The lead characters are lovable, relatable and believable in an unbelievable way. LOL! The supporting cast is very diverse, funny and just as interesting as the leading characters; something very difficult to pull off.
The story had literally everything! It had suspense, action, adventure, heartfelt moments that didn't come off as cheesy and it was genuinely funny. The villain was intimidating and his motivations had substance, which made you almost sad that things had to come to such an abrupt end because he was past the point of reason. All in all the movie was practically perfect in my opinion. If you haven't seen it yet don't wait another day, go out, get your son, daughter, nephew or niece and bring them to see this movie; you can thank me later.
We're baaaack!!! After almost two years the Truthful Comics Podcast is back and better than ever! This time a few things will be different though. First, there will be a bigger focus on actual comic books, we'll have featured guests and a few other surprises. The two main hosts are none other than our very own: Manuel A. Carmona and Alvaro Cortez Ortiz Jr. although we're trying to bring Corey into the mix.
Anyhow, in the first episode the guys talk about the upcoming Daredevil show on Netflix, Constantine possibly moving to SyFy, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bring in The Inhumans, Marvel's Secret Wars, DC Comics' Convergence and much more. We hope you enjoy it. Leave us some feedback on what you like, what you don't like or let us know how you agree or disagree with our opinions. We'd love to hear from you and who knows, maybe your comment will be read on our next episode. Listen to the first episode by going to: Truthful Comics Podcast Ep.1
As I mentioned last week, it's a tragedy when an artist dies and especially so young. Nick Manabat was discovered by Whilce Portacio in the Philippines after he won the First Super Hero Art Competition. He was 20 years old and he was offered work within Wildstorm's Studios very own Homage Studios. Originally he was going to do Wetworks along with Portacio, but after Jim Lee took over the title into the Wildstorm stable, Manabat was given his own title, Cybernary.
Cybernary appeared as the flipside to Jim Lee's Deathblow. And it was awesome. Dark, moody, full of shadows and a grim story, Manabat's art commanded respect. Even more impressive was that this was his first comic book title, and to me, he hit the ball waaaay out of the park with this one, ran after the ball, caught up with it and caught the ball, threw it back in direction to the park, ran again towards the park only to hit the ball out again. Yeah, I liked his art. A lot. In a time Image was all about the, well, image, Deathblow/Cybernary REALLY stood out from the pack with Lee's attempt at b&w Frank Miller style art, and Manabat that oozed fantasy/Heavy Metal out of his pages.
But unfortunately, Cybernary would only last four issues. Nick was diagnosed with Hodgskin Disease. He would move from his home in Australia to the UCLA Hospital, where he spent a year having treatments, operations, and a bone marrow transplant. He passed away on November 5, 1995. He was cremated and his remains went to Australia.
Nick Manabat was just 23 when he passed away. He would sketch in those days he was hospitalized. The news of his death absolutely shocked me. He was well on his way to stardom and had such an established style. It's truly a shame he left at such a young age. So much potential especially as I mentioned earlier, Cybernary was his first full comic book work, I can't even begin to imagine how he would've evolved had he had a long life, a long career.
As always, thank you for reading and next week my small tributes continue with the GREAT Mike Wieringo.
If you've been a longtime Truthful Comics fan you might recall we used to have a podcast in which we talked about all things geeky. The cast were Aaron Hoover, Cory Gaitan and Manuel A. Carmona. It ran for about ten episodes before they stopped recording altogether. The reasons varied between technical difficulties, scheduling conflicts and in a way, Manuel always felt outnumbered and not in a good way. Maybe it was because Cory and Aaron usually "agreed" on almost every topic/opinion making the debate two against one, which can get a bit tiresome. Still, there were some fun episodes, Manuel loved recording with them and who knows, they might record again in the future under different circumstances but for now; that chapter is closed.