Saturday, 28 September 2013

Walking Dead #115 ' All Out War' MIDNIGHT release party

There will be ten interconnecting covers for Walking Dead #115, making this beautiful image!

ALL-OUT WAR BEGINS! The biggest storyline in WALKING DEAD history - just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series! It's Rick versus Negan with a little help from everyone else!

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013 join Image Comics and Proud Lion as we celebrate the release of The Walking Dead #115 and celebrate 10 years of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's epic comic book series.

There will be exclusive swag on the night including a special Walking Dead #115 Midnight Release Party variant cover of issue #115 (pictured right), free Walking Dead #115 Midnight Release Party posters and exclusive posters for all Reservation Service customers (who get the Walking Dead and attend our party!).

In addition, we'll be offering discounted prices on all Walking Dead items in stock, including graphic novels, comics, action figures, apparel, wallets and bottle openers AND issue #115 itself (not including the Midnight Release Party Variant covers or the Proud Lion set of the 12 covers for #115).

You'll find a Facebook event for this Midnight Opening here. Click 'Going' to keep up-to-date with any further announcements.

Ben Fardon is glad he had the excitement of this event to keep him going through Villains' Month.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Villains' Month - Thank You from the Co-Publishers (but still no apology)

Speaking of press releases, here's the one I received earlier this week form DC regarding the end of Villains' Month. 


Dear Retailers:

We'd like to take a moment to thank you for all your support for DC's Villains Month. From the time we started to talk about this initiative with you, we knew it would be an extraordinary and challenging venture. We also knew that there would be several concerns over ordering and allocations, and we fully appreciate your working with us through every stage of this process. And while we had bumps along the way, we hope, in the end, the outcome was positive for all involved. We listened to you and have learned from the experience as we continue to look at ways to excite and invigorate the market.

Villains Month has been one of the most exceptional and successful months DC Entertainment has ever seen, and we owe so much of that success to our long and continuing partnership!

Again, thank you!

Your villainous Co-Publishers,

Jim Lee
Dan DiDio

What an absolute farce it's been and what a joke their final message is. Still no apology to any of us. To my mind the most important thing wherever possible is customer satisfaction, and there''s no hint of an apology here acknowledging the fact that many of you were left disappointed.

On behalf of myself and Proud Lion, I'm truly sorry for the inconvenience many of you have experienced during this overblown promotion and grateful to you all for bearing with us.

Ben Fardon is glad that Forever Evil #1 was great, despite this awful Villains' Month backdrop.

SEX CRIMINALS #1, The Hottest Debut of the Year Sells Out

So here's some exciting news from Image Comics this morning! We still have Sex Criminals #1 in stock, but they won't last long!


New series from Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky sells out,
goes back to press for another go around

SEX CRIMINALS #1, the brand-new ongoing sex comedy by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, has sold out at the distributor level, and is going back to press for a second printing.

SEX CRIMINALS #1 may still be available in comic stores and is available digitally on the Image website ( and the official Image Comics iOS app, as well as on Comixology on the web (, iOS, and Android.

SEX CRIMINALS #1’s second printing will be available on 10/23 and can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code AUG138284.

SEX CRIMINALS #2 releases on 10/23 and can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG130714.

"It's funny, heartbreaking and real all at once, while also being about sex and crime... One of the best comics I’ve read in years."
- Ed Brubaker (FATALE, VELVET, Captain America: Winter Solider)

"Well... SEX CRIMINALS is like the best comic ever written. Congrats Matt Fraction and DAMN... art by Chip Zdarsky is PERFECT."

"For a book about a gun-toting woman who literally orgasms her way to super powers (you heard me), SEX CRIMINALS #1 is a remarkably relatable book. Writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky have crafted a debut issue that isn't like anything we've seen yet. It's part action adventure, part touching coming of age drama, all with a healthy amount of wry humor sprinkled throughout."
- Melissa Grey, IGN

"The book brims with a certain sexual energy that makes it fun, risqué, and refreshing."
- Jimbus Christ, Bloody Disgusting

"SEX CRIMINALS #1 might be one of the best premiere issues of the year."
- Max Delgado, Unleash the Fanboy

"This is not a book that simply relies on the fact it contains the subject of sex in order to arouse curiosity. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have created something new and exciting."
- Tony Guerrero, Comic Vine

"I give SEX CRIMINALS high marks for being a positive look at female sexuality, without giggling like a ten-year-old. It’s not a lewd book at all. It’s titillating, sure, but it’s very sincere... Enjoyable from start to finish, Sex Criminals is probably the weirdest and sweetest book I’ve read in a long time."
- Alison Berry, Comicosity

"In truth, this is definitely not what you expected–in the best of ways–and its sense of fun (anchored by its zippy dialogue) and emphasis on character so far are its strongest assets."
- Matt LeMaire, The MacGuffin

"Zdarsky’s art takes what could be the skeeviest titles on shelves into the sweetest."
- James Johnston, Multiversity Comics

"The inclusion of sex acts as told by a high school girl completely puts it into insanely hilarious territory. Zdarsky’s art gives the book a great look, making it expressive and having a great sense of style."
- Leo Johnson, Stash My Comics

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

Thursday, 26 September 2013

New Beginnings - Mars Attacks Judge Dredd #1


“Do you really mean the 'Ak-Ak-Ak' Martians from that film?!”

Let's be honest, those were probably a lot of people's initial reactions, myself included, when they first saw this new project from IDW. If there was any doubt left in my mind about the title and what it really contained, it was all wiped away when I saw the cover. Across it (and all of the variant covers in one form or another) are the aliens from the 1996 cult classic movie.

Of course, said movie was based on a popular trading card series released in the early Sixties. Last year IDW began to publish new Mars Attacks comics and after the fun they'd had with their two Infestation crossovers (which saw zombies attacking the various IDW comics based on licensed properties such as Ghostbusters. Transformers, GI Joe and even Star Trek) they followed up with a series of Mars Attacks one shots earlier this year, where we saw the titular martians attacking Popeye, Ghostbusters, Transformers, Zombies Vs Robots and even Kiss! These single issues also included variants covers teasing other non-existent crossovers and among them was Mars Attacks Judge Dredd, which lead to quite a few excited fanboys who were swiftly disappointed when they realised it was just a variant humourous cover. 

But never let it be said that IDW aren't a publisher who listen to their audience, because here's a four issue Mars Attacks Judge Dredd miniseries. This is a very strange mix but then Dredd isn’t unaccustomed to the idea of a crossover, having had them with Alien xenomorphs, Predator and Batman to name a few.

Al Ewing takes B-movie-style imagery and mixes it with the dirty futuristic scenery of Mega City One. The story is loosely based around the changes made to Mega City One in the wake of Bulgine Smalls, the boss of bosses, and how in the following years others major criminals carved the city into territories and rose to their own lofty heights. Smalls’ own son was snubbed in the process of doing this.

At the same time Dredd - while “troubleshooting” a notorious area of the city - is infiltrating a known mob front in his own unique style. Forcing deeper into the building he is confronted by what he can only assume is a severe mutation, but the reader will easily recognise the Martian. After dispatching the “mutant” things only get weirder. A mysterious sphere, more mutants and a giant carnivorous insect leaving us on a cliffhanger for the next issue.

Whilst it hasn’t avoided the aliens, I was glad that they weren’t comically peppered throughout the issue. Whereas the Burton movie was very tongue-in-cheek and comedic, this story is coming from a different angle, closer to the original trading cards or IDW's recent Mars Attacks comic.

Combined with John McCrea’s artwork there is a serious feel to the story instead. McCrea’s artwork, having worked on 2000AD previously, is totally in line with what a fan would expect. I personally prefer Greg Staples’ wonderful cover artwork but that is my preference more than anything.

The overall feel is that IDW have captured both IPs and put them together in a visually striking way. As for the story though I’m really not sure. The first issue hasn’t had enough development to show anything more than a teaser of the Martians in Dredd's city. Even the climax isn’t about them, though it does showcase the B-movie roots of Mars Attacks. It’s hopefully going to develop further and be more inclusive, otherwise it will feel like an endless chase. At present it really needs a situation to focus on and give a greater pull to the reader. I wasn’t completely wowed by it all so I’m hoping there’s a change coming. That said, fans of either series will want to add this unique little tale to their collection.

Matt Puddy Attacks Lunch!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Beginnings - The Star Wars #1

Not to be confused with the ongoing Dark Horse titles, this week’s review is a new title that also has Jedi, an Empire, lightsabers and Sith knights. Confused? Bear with me.

In May 1977, Star Wars Episode IV hit the big screen and began its journey to become the cult favourite story we all know. However as with all films, the end product isn’t necessarily how the original screenplays were designed. This is another fine (albeit a little narcissistic) example of one which has resurfaces almost four decades after its original inception.

J. W. Rinzler has taken the helm on writing this comic adaptation, and his association with the films and LucasArts positions him well within the established lore of the two trilogies.

The parallels between the filmed version of Episode IV and this adaptation of the original screenplay are abundant, but although they share a large amount of common themes, they are two very different stories at the same time.

This first issue is a scene setter for the miniseries and as such introduces a young Annikin Starkiller, who has been raised by his father Kane in the ways of the Jedi-Bendu. Although he has some training and is skilled, it was still not enough to prevent an evil Knight of Sith from cutting his younger brother down. After being rescued by his aforementioned father - himself a fully fledged Jedi-Bendu - they are forced to return home to Aquilae, the last free planetary system. The galaxy is ruled by the Emperor and the Jedi-Bendu are dwindling, hunted down after their rebellion (and thus falling from grace as the Emperor’s personal bodyguards). Violence is sadly the only thing that people seem to recognise or respond to. 

After presenting the reader with the Emperor - and a distinctly non-cybernetic or masked Darth Vader - the fight moves towards Aquilae. Below the surface we see the Rebellion resistance whose numbers bolsters by the Starkillers' arrival. Then the impoverished plea of a father wanting more for his son changes the tone. Annikin’s tutelage has to continue under General Skywalker, as it’s revealed that Kane Starkiller is nothing more than a head and right arm, atop a robot body. He is slowly dying.

With a mysterious object heading for Aquilae, the cliffhanger is set for the end of issue #1...

The artwork (by Mike Mayhew) is a strange affair. Whilst it is full of detail and features some great depictions of reimagined ships and weapons (often heavily based on Ralph McQuarrie's original designs), when re-reading it the thought that George Lucas had passed his eyes over every frame stuck with me. The main characters of Luke and Kane have a distinct Lucas look to them (nice beard) for starters, making it very much feel like Lucas originally cast himself as the heroes. Very much a Mary Sue approach to Star Wars.

The cover is full of nudges and winks to other things. The C-3PO droid screams Metropolis, whilst the Knight of Sith leering over them all has elements of the Orient, with a samurai style face mask. Obvious references to the films such as the Death Star, Cruisers and a rather hairless Chewbacca are there as well. With all this I can’t help wondering how much of this still adheres to Lucas’ original ideas on how it would look.

There is part of me that has enjoyed the twists from what is established as the norm, but at the same time I’m also very aware that this was not the final cut for the screenplay, and there's clearly good reasons as to why it was rewritten! It’s full of powerful dynamics, but in some parts it is weighed down with cheesy cliches. I’m not sure die hard fans will gravitate towards it, and compared to some of the other more original expanded universe Star Wars titles, it definitely feels weaker. One that is only for completists I felt.

Matt Puddy is never in one place for long.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Villains' Month - the home stretch and further problems

September is almost over and normal service will resume starting next week! But that's next week. Before that we have one last raft of issues. On top of the additional allocations on 3D covers for Bane, Doomsday and Parasite (affected customers should already have been notified) announced last week, now a box of our latest delivery has been delayed at the courier's transport hub.

There's several important issues held up in that box, including 3D covers for Aquaman #23.2 Ocean Master, Justice League Of America #7.4 Black Adam, Nova #8, Saga #14 and Wolverine & The X-Men #36 (Battle Of The Atom, part five). Diamond assure me this box will be with us by midday on tomorrow, but be advised that should you have reservations or orders for any of the items listed below, you may want to delay your visit to us until after 1pm on Wednesday 25th September. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Here's the full list of what is expected to be in that delayed box:

JUL138013   BATMAN #23.4 BANE 2D COVER


JUL130596   NOVA #8 INF
JUL130538   SAGA #14 

Ben Fardon is looking forward to October immensely.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

September - a few polite requests

Hi folks, just a quick update and a polite request.

As you probably know, September is DC's Villains Month and as such there is A LOT on. To facilitate the correct allocation of our allotted 3D and 2D covers, I'm having to run an additional, separate system of checks and processes alongside our usual Reservation Service pull lists. I'm trying to make sure everyone gets what they ordered back in July, to the best of my ability after DC cut our orders back.

It's a serious amount of extra work for my merry little mostly one-man-band and there's only so many man hours in the day, so I need to ask you to bear with me on a few other matters that may have to slide during this time. Most notably any correspondence - be they emails, Facebook messages or posts, tweets or even good ol' fashioned snail mail - may take a little longer for me to respond to, but don't worry I will get to you eventually!

Secondly, I'm afraid we can no longer take any orders or reservations for Villains Month issues. I'm really sorry, but we did ask for pre-orders for these back in July. Since then we've had allocations and all manner of other nonsense make this publishing stunt even more chaotic than the previous years' launch of the New 52 and Zero Month.

If there's a 3D cover you want (and assuming we have any left after allocations) then you need to get in here quick smart please from 10am onwards on a Wednesday! It really has to be first come, first served now for the shelf stock. Most of the people who pre-ordered back in July will be receiving the 3D covers, so it's worth remembering for the future that it really does pay off to preorder in advance!

In addition, my busiest two days of processing comics each week in September will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Which is pretty much the standard every week to be fair, it's just that it's an EVEN BIGGER workload because of Villains Month. So to help me out, can I ask all Reservation Service customers to please avoid making any changes to their pull lists in store on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. By all means use email, etc. to inform me of any changes you'd like to make. I'll take any cancellations as being dated from the date I receive your correspondence, so you won't be held accountable for any extra days just because I might be slower than usual in replying!

Finally, blog posts may also be delayed going up. We have some shiny reviews from Matt Puddy in the pipeline of The Star Wars and X-Men Battle Of The Atom. He's written both of them, but I have yet to edit, format and upload them. They are coming! Full apologies to Matt and many thanks for to him for his patience with me as his humble editor.

Apologies that any of this has become necessary and many thanks to everyone who has offered support and understanding during this difficult endeavour. Hopefully normal service will resume next month from both myself and DC Comics!

Ben Fardon is also adjusting to a new school run routine and new medication which has a side effect of making him quite drowsy. Fun times!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Copies of The Movement #1 and Red Sonja #2 signed by Gail Simone now available in store

Many you will probably remember that during the kerfuffle DC created when they briefly took Gail Simone off the ongoing Batgirl title, I wrestled with an appropriate response. Gail's writing had always been work I had admired, but her New 52 Batgirl run in particular had silenced the initial misgivings I'd had when DC had announced Babs wouldn't be Oracle in the reboot. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I don't think anyone else could have won me over on this matter.

Coupled with the fact that Gail was one of the few female writers on the New 52 in an industry that needs to continue to strive towards a greater gender balance, I was left furious and reactionary.

My initial thought was to boycott Batgirl as it moved forward without Gail, but cooler heads prevailed as I realised that would have no positive effect. It would only serve to punish my loyal customers who were collecting the title regardless of the creative team (and there is nothing wrong with that); it certainly wouldn't register with the Powers That Be at DC. It would't send any message to the money-men at the parent corporation. We're a small store, in a pretty but tiny town in the UK. It's not even as if we're a small store in their home market for goodness sake.

Instead, I looked for a positive angle. A way to promote what I love, rather than bashing what I hate (words to live by folks, especially when you are part of comic fandom).

Since Gail Simone is a great writer, she was going to get more work. That was a given! New comics, even new titles, I was certain. So I vowed that we would support whatever Gail did next, by ordering extra copies and offering them at a discounted rate. If we could show the publishers that Gail Simone's work was loved, perhaps there would be less chance of such a foolish decision like kicking her off of Batgirl arising in the future.

Thankfully, a couple of stars aligned and a vocal section of the internet also rallied behind Gail. I'm not sure of the full in and outs of it all, despite watching the news cycle at the time and doing some further research earlier today, but it matters not. We had several wonderful outcomes. Firstly, Gail was restored as the writer of Batgirl! Huzzah!

Secondly, Gail Simone was announced as the writer on a new DC comic - The Movement - and the relaunch of Red Sonja over at Dynamite Entertainment. We ordered a bunch extra of these and did that at £1.50 and £2 an issue respectively to all pre-orders. Both titles have exceeded my expectations for ongoing Reservations! We'll continue to support Gail's new titles for the foreseeable future, the next up being a Tomb Raider comic for Dark Horse which will be official canon set between the recent game and the next one. We're very excited about that one in our house!

We were lucky enough to meet Gail at the Cardiff Comic Con last weekend, and took a few of our last few copies of The Movement #1 and Red Sonja #2 (the incredibly fun Stephanie Buscema subscriber cover, no less!). These are no available in store, for cover price! That's right, no additional mark up for a signed cover! These aren't available to reserve however, you must pop in the store if you want one - first come, first served I'm afraid.

Many thanks to Gail and her husband, who were very lovely and incredibly gracious with their time. I hope you both had an excellent weekend and are enjoying the rest of your trip!

Ben Fardon is ready to face Villains Month. Though this could be famous last words.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Proud Lion - minor opening times revision for the W/C 02/09/13

Monday 2nd September is the first Monday of the calendar month and as such, we'll be open 12pm-2pm for our Monthly Monday.

Conversely, the store will be closed on Tuesday for two hours between 2pm-4pm whilst I meet our little lion cub (aka Kiddo aka The Watcher Junior) after his first day at junior school.

This should be an isolated occasion, as we have alternate arrangements for his usual school routine, but I want to make sure all goes well after his first day. I hope you can understand. Many thanks.

Ben Fardon is off to the Cardiff Comic Con today!