Comic Haul For 5/28/2014

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Trees #1
Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive. Beginning a new science fiction graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard.

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Batman Eternal #8
Is Stephanie Brown an assassination target?

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Tomb Raider #4
Gail Simone’s thrilling addition to the Tomb Raider saga kicks into high gear! Lara Croft is chased through the streets of London as she gets dangerously close to the truth! But it’s not her own safety that concerns her, but that of her friends, the surviving crew of the Endurance!

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Guardians of the Galaxy #15
With the entire galaxy running for the Guardians and Peter Quill missing, it’s time to bring in a little help. Captain Marvel JOINS the Guardians of the Galaxy! But where in the universe is Star-Lord? And what does his disappearance mean for the safety of earth?!

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Batman #31
The second chapter of “ZERO YEAR – SAVAGE CITY” reveals an entirely new Gotham City. Unraveling the mysteries set forth by the Riddler, Batman must learn to work with his new ally, Lieutenant Jim Gordon, and do whatever it takes to survive!

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24 #2
Now that you’ve seen Jack Bauer’s return to television in LIVE ANOTHER DAY, read the story that sent the heroic agent spiraling into his darkest days as an international fugitive. Ed Brisson and Michael Gaydos wind the clock on the latest chapter of the high-octane saga!

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Rest In Peace To A True Comic Book Man

In the summer of 1994, a comic book shop opened in McHenry, IL, a small suburb of Chicago. This 600 square foot store was the humble beginnings of Al n’ Ann’s Collectibles. Throughout the years, the store continued to grow in size and clientele, eventually moving to a much larger location. For 20 years, Al n’ Ann’s Collectible persevered under the guidance of the one and only Al Armstrong. Granted, I’m pulling most of this information from the “About” page on the shop’s website. I was not there at the beginning. I was five years old in the summer of 1994. My exposure to Al n’ Ann’s doesn’t start until about a year and a half ago…

My girlfriend, and now fiancĂ©, had a yoga class to go to in downtown McHenry, which she needed me to drive her to. I agreed, and dropped her off. Not wanting to drive all the way home, just to come back 40 minutes later, I decided to take a stroll down the main thoroughfare to check out this little comic shop that I had only seen in passing. Walking in, I was greeted by Al Armstrong, the proprietor, who told me where I could find different things. He could obviously tell I had no idea what I was looking for. My exposure to single issues of comics was minimal. I had my fair share of graphic novels and such, and head read plenty of the classics, but buying single issues was a mystery to me. I had no idea where to start. I went digging through the back issues of limited runs. I figured I could start small with a series that wasn’t ongoing, and work my way up. I headed right to the “B” section, to see what kind of Batman books I could find. I found a complete set of Kevin Smith’s Batman run, including both “Cacophony” and “The Widening Gyre.” I had been interested in reading this series for some time, but I had never picked them up, and I though it would be cool to have all of the individual issues. So, I put down the $30 and went back to my car to wait for my girlfriend to finish her class. That night, I read every issue, from cover to cover. I loved the feel of having these individual issues and all of the awesome covers. The seed had been planted.

For some time, a friend of mine had been telling me all about DC’s New 52 re-launch campaign. For the most part, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but I thought this would be a good time to jump into Batman, one of my favorite superheroes. I went back to Al n’ Ann’s and found a complete set of Scott Snyder’s epic Night of the Owls crossover, featuring Batman, Nightwing, Birds of Prey, etc. I put down the $50 and got home as quickly as possible to start reading. I blasted through every issue that night, again relishing all of the covers and different heroes I was being exposed to. This was a whole new world to me, and I loved it.

Over the next few months, I started diving into many more books. I wanted to read everything. I jumped into books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite and Dark Horse. Some of these books were good, some not so much. But I didn’t care. I wanted to read it all. I’m sure I annoyed Al. I was constantly calling and emailing him, trying to get individual issues and figure out release schedules, etc. He probably thought I was a nincompoop, but he put up with me, and he got a lot of money out of me. He was even able to snag me a first printing run of the first six issues of SAGA, one of the most popular comics on the planet, for a hell of a deal. Al and I started talking more and more, and eventually, he was okay with me. He and I would chit-chat almost every time I came in the store and we would talk about everything from comics to movies and other random bullshit. I always had a good time visiting. I was just there a couple of weekends ago, and stuck around for about a half hour after the shop closed, talking to Al about how much he wanted to go to San Diego Comic Con, and I was encouraging him to go ASAP. Now, everything has changed.

This past weekend, on the 20th anniversary of his beloved store opening, Al Armstrong passed away suddenly. I took this extremely hard. He and I weren’t close, but I did consider him a friend, and I already greatly miss talking to him. The store will just not be the same without him.

Al, you got me into comics. You helped me find everything that I was looking for, and were always patient with me, even when I was being a pain in the ass. I now have six boxes filled with all kinds of comics, t-shirts and statues, all bought from you. You were a one-of-a-kind dude, and there will never be another comic book man like you. Wherever you are, I hope you’re reading an issue of Preacher and talking about how dumb most people are. Rest in peace, man.

Ben Templesmith’s ‘The Squidder’ Is Coming

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Ben Templesmith, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest artists in comics today. His art is grotesque, yet beautiful, and, most importantly, different. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that even comes close to Templesmith’s style. For those who have read his past works, which include 30 Days of Night and Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, this comes as no surprise. But, if you don’t follow Templesmith as closely as I do, then you may not be aware of his upcoming project, The Squidder.

In November of last year, 44Flood, the Chicago-based artist collective that consists of Templesmith, Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari, ran a Kickstarter. Simply dubbed, The Squidder, it was an attempt to raise money to publish an original graphic novel from Ben Templesmith. Their goal, a modest $18,000, was subsequently blown out of the water within hours of the Kickstarter going live. I was one of those people, pledging money less than five minutes after it went live. I was there as the donations went past their goal, then past $50,000, and then past $100,000. In the end, 44Flood wound up raising almost $138,000, over 750% past their original goal. Because of this massive success, the book went from being 108 to 144 pages and free prints and bookmarks were given out with pledges.

Now, over six months later, the book is almost ready. Ben posted the following video to update supporters of the book:

THE SQUIDDER – Update 10 from 44FLOOD on Vimeo.

So, it looks like we can expect the full, “director’s cut” hardcover version of The Squidder to be shipped in July, and you can look for individual “floppy” issues in your local comic shop from IDW. Do yourself and Ben a favor, and pre-order this book. You guarantee yourself a copy, and you help Ben out. Do it and do it now.

DC Comics Declares July 23rd As ‘Batman Day’

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It looks like we have another comic book-related day to flock to our local comic shops. Nearly three months after Free Comic Book Day (which is this Saturday, May 3rd), we will get to celebrate the inaugural Batman Day. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t every day Batman Day? The answer is yes, but this is the first time it’s been sanctioned by DC Comics. This is all in celebration of 75 years of the Dark Knight, and they aren’t pulling any punches. Comics shops will have access to exclusive collectibles, including era-specific masks and a 75th anniversary cape. We will also see the launch of two new Bat-series, ‘Robin Rises: Omega’ and ‘Grayson.’ Take a look at the masks below and get some more detailed info at the jump.

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‘Batman Day’ is Coming on July 23rd [Comic Vine]

Comic Haul For 4/23/14

Inaugural Feature Post! Every week, I will post the comics that I pick up, and hopefully you’ll discover something new you want to read as well.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy #14

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24: Underground #1

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The Manhattan Projects #20

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Tomb Raider #3

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Batman: Eternal #3

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Lazarus #8

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The Walking Dead #126

Zack Snyder To Helm Justice League Movie

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Not only will Watchmen and 300 director, Zack Snyder be running the show on 2016’s Batman vs. Superman, he will also be helming a full-on Justice League movie, slated for release in 2018. Additionally, it appears that Ben Affleck, who will most likely be playing Batman in both films, will also be writing the script for Justice League. Personally, I think this is all great news. Snyder, as divisive as he is, both critically and with fans, is a guy who really respects the source material and enjoys making big, expensive, nice-looking superhero movies. And with the multi-talented Affleck taking up writing duties, I think we can expect both of these to be rock-solid. Another tiny tidbit that hopefully isn’t lost, it does appear that DC is slowly making headway on making a solo Wonder Woman movie, starring Gal Gadot as Princess Diana of Themyscira. I really hope DC is able to make this happen as well. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to. More detailed info at the jump.

Justice League Movie to be Directed by Zack Snyder [Cinema Blend]

‘Batman vs. Superman’ Has It’s Cyborg

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Ray Fisher, a relatively unknown stage actor has been cast in Zack Snyder’s upcoming superhero epic, Batman vs. Superman. This may seem like a strange choice, but he looks the part and went through weeks of testing to get the role. This is shaping up to be more of a Justice League movie than just a Batman and Superman punch-fest. Only time will tell. More info at the jump.

‘Batman vs. Superman’ Casts Ray Fisher as Cyborg [Screen Rant]