Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Comic Book review: Afterlife With Archie

Afterlife with Archie review by Joe David Thompson
There were so many great comics this week, you'd think there was some kind of convention going on or something...

While there's plenty to talk about this week: 
Batman #33 brought Year Zero, another excellent Scott Snyder arc to its conclusion, balancing the action and character work tremendously well. Saga #21 gave us more time with Prince Robot IV, an area of this story I feel like we need more focus.  There was a double Warren Ellis whammy with Trees #3 and the inaugural issue of Supreme Blue Rose.  

I'm curious about what Ellis is doing on Trees, which is digging deep into the characters of the story with little sci-fi spectacle.  I think I'm going to reread these issues.  Supreme Blue Rose is far more interesting, a superhero meets private eye yarn told as Ellis channels David Lynch's Twin Peaks, from the title reference to the dreamlike quality of the action and art.  There's definitely something good going on here.

Still, my favorite book this week is a title which I've only recently jumped on board: Afterlife with Archie.  Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Afterlife with Archie is a mashup of THe Walking Dead and, you guessed it, Archie Comics, where zombies threaten Riverdale.  It all started when Jughead's dog was hit by a car and he begged Sabrina the Teenage Witch to revive his best friend.  Things backfire, of course, and the dog comes back as a zombie, bites Jughead, and away goes the zombies.  Issue six is the perfect jumping on point, as it switched story perspective, checking in with where Sabrina's been while all hell is breaking loose in town.  What we get is an excellently executed Lovecraftian tale that never devolves into silliness or over the top horor.  Aguirre-Sacasa lets the characters do the work here, crafting emotionally revealing moments that propel the story forward.  There's even a few True Detective references, if you're a fan of the show (and why aren't you a fan of that show?) 

Francesco Francavilla, who is also responsible for Dark Horse Comics' wonderful noir book, The Black Beetle, delivers stunning art on this book consistently.  He has a way with the gothic imagery at work that blends the horror and human elements with eye popping detail.  This is a beautiful looking book.

Afterlife with Archie is thoroughly enjoyable.  It's a perfect book for horror or zombie fans, or anyone just looking for an excellent story.

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Friday, July 25, 2014

An awesome Kickstarter project and the Comic Book Swap Meet

We're just a month away from the Comic Book Swap Meet! If you live in western Washington, you don't want to miss it! Check out the event listing on Facebook to keep up on the latest info about the show...

There's going to be so much going on at our little convention in the woods. We have a plethora of great area artists doing sketches and selling their work. Special guests like cosplayer Karen Sakai, and comic book creator and artist Donna Barr (who also partially inspired the Comic Book Swap Meet with her success of the Clallam Bay Comic Con). You can get your picture taken with a TARDIS! Test your knowledge of nerdiness and pop culture with the Free Book Dude (aka writer Josh Cook). There'll be a Magic the Gathering. Anime, Comics, Toys, and more!! I definitely can't forget to mention our guest of honor, renowned comic artist, Matthew Southworth! Mr. Southworth is known for his work on the Stumptown series, as well as Spider Man and the Punisher...Don't forget, we are doing this for a handful of great local causes like the local food bank and Little League!!!

If there's enough pre show interest, we are going to have a cosplay contest, with an awesome nerdy prize pack for the winner, so be sure to get over to the event page and let us know that you want in the contest. We might just have a space to use as a panel room if anyone has any great ideas for a panel. Pitch any panel ideas on the event page as well! We do have a few comic dealer tables still available. Contact me for details. Stay tuned for more info and show announcements, and the show lineup is always subject to change.

On to other matters...

I recently stumbled across a great indie comic project entitled Stabb Gunner on Kickstarter. If you don't know about Kickstarter, you should probably come out of the cave you've been hiding in. Kickstarter is a crowd funding site where independant creators can fund projects with the help of pledges from backers. Basically they set a monetary goal, and if its reached within a certain period, they receive the funding. Go learn more at their site. I'm not promoting Kickstarter, but I am promoting this Stabb Gunner project on Kickstarter!   

I managed to get ahold of the online version of the first issue thanks to co-creator Courtland Ellis, and was very impressed. First of all I have to mention the artwork. This book is one of the most vibrant and absolutely professional looking indie comics I've seen. The art is solid and vibrant.Very detailed, but not overdone. It's tied together with great writing by Joseph Krzemienski. There's a really unique and clever video game feel to the comic.

The story, so far, is based aroung this character Stabb Fisticuffs. In a short time, we find out through writer and colorist Joseph Krzemienski, that he is a complex character with what sounds like a dark past as a possible assasin or ninja. He's converted to being a monk and has been laying low in  peaceful Sleeping Baby Dragon sanctuary, until trouble finds him. I'm not going to divulge too much of the plot as i am just getting into the book, but I do encourage you to give it a shot and hopefully support the project on Kickstarter. I'm personally following the project, and plan on doing an interview with the creators to pick their brains about Stabb Gunner.

I don't normally do the comic reviews here on, but as we all know, I love supporting great projects, films, art, and creators, a Stabb Gunner really fits that bill. Keep on the lookout for Q&A's with the creators, and be sure to take a look at a preview of the project at of all enjoy!

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comic Review: Seconds

Seconds review by Joe David Thompson
Despite a new issue of The Wicked + The Divine dropping this past week (which is such a great book!), my top release was probably one of the most anticipated of this year: Seconds, the new graphic novel from Bryan Lee O'Malley. 

If that name sounds familiar, it should.  O'Malley is the mastermind behind the Scott Pilgrim books that went on to become a film at the hands of Edgar Wright.  With Seconds, O'Malley continues to explore the themes of those novels.  Seconds is the story of Katie, a superstar chef who lives upstairs at the titular restaurant.  After an accident in the kitchen, Katie discovers a secret notebook where she can write down her past mistakes, and after eating a mushroom and sleeping, awakes to discover the problem fixed.  Of course, anyone familiar with this kind of story knows, this creates more problems for Katie than it solves. 

Throughout Seconds, O'Malley examines our phobia of growing older and the mistakes we make along the way.  Katie, on the cusp of turning thirty, finds all her friends younger and difficult to understand.  She is trying to take a more grown up approach to life, ducking on her ex and struggling to open her own restaurant, when she meets Lis, the mysterious girl who disappears into a chest of drawers.  Katie wants a perfect life, so when she discovers the notebook and a trove of mushrooms, she begins the process to revising her life.  Only, Katie finds that each new path has its own set of complications. 

Seconds also finds O'Malley with a more focused wit and charm.  Seconds is party told through the eyes of the storyteller, which creates some wonderful moments of commentary between Katie and the author.  It makes reading Seconds a cute experience.  Only a few times does this device intrude on emotional moments that would carry a greater impact if left to the images alone.  Artistically speaking, Seconds finds O'Malley at the top of his game.  His trademark style is all over this book, but with less splashy action to cover, his facial expressions and backgrounds really shine. The colors of Seconds also pop vibrantly, complementing the tone of the book.  It's very clear O'Malley took his time crafting the work.

Seconds is a warm, fun, and highly recommended read.

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Monday, July 21, 2014

Clallam Bay Comic Con report...

Hey everyone! Check out these these reports from the Clallam Bay Comic Con. The Clallam Bay Comic Con is a little convention arranged by comic book artist Donna Barr in Clallam Bay, Washington. Unfortunately I keep missing the show becuase of my schedule, but it looks like a fun little party and is a partial inspiration for the Comic Book Swap Meet that we host.

Speaking of the Comic Book Swap Meet, we do have an event coming up on August 23rd, 2014. Check out the event listing on Facebook for more info by clicking here! Make sure to like the Comic Book Swap Meet Facebook Page and Facebook Group too, and as always follow us on twitter @thestevestrout

Now, here's the links to the Clallam Bay comic Con reports...

The official report from Donna Barr. Find more about her at

And another report with some nice pics of Clallam Bay by Darra Korra'ti of Crime and the Forces of Evil fame:

Please share these and support your local nerdiness!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Grayson #1 and The United States Of Murder Inc. #3

Grayson issue #1 review by Joe David Thompson
After his secert identity as Nightwing was revealed in "Forever Evil," Dick Grayson joined a secret spy organization.  This is the simple, yet fun conceit behind DC's latest series, titled Grayson.  Written Tim Seeley, co-creator of Hack/Slash, and Tom King, a former CIA opeations officer, Grayson quickly drops readers into this cloak and dagger world.  Dick is known as Agent 37, an agent of Spyral, sent to bring in a superhuman with extraordinary powers.  The problem is, Spyral isn't the only one interested in this man and his abilities.  

Seeley and King weave an espionage tale, full of action, that hits all the expected notes of a spy movie without ever feeling like a cliched bouquet of tropes.  I personally loved this new direction for this character.  There's a real sense of mystery as to what Dick's really up to, and there's an exciting cameo from a favorite character of mine that I won't spoil.  Artist Mikel Janin delivers pencils worthy of the action films Grayson is surely modeled upon.  

The United States Of Murder Inc. issue #3 review by Joe David Thompson
THis week also brought the third issue in one of favorite new series, Bendis and Oeming's The United States of Murder, Inc.  This issue expands the world of the book, giving readers a larger glimpse at just what happened between the mob and the government. We meet the heads of the different families, and learn just how fragile their relationships are.  

Jagger Rose gets an awesome chance to kick a little ass, laying numerous agents to waste before they can take her out.  My least favorite parts deal with Valentine's method of finding release, which is meant as a humorous attempt to lighten the mood, but just sticks out like it doesn't belong in this book. The mood and tone of this book is one of the things that drew me to it on the first place.  Still, I love this book and you should be reading it. 

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Monday, July 7, 2014

Comic Book Reviews: Magneto #6 and Moon Knight #5

Magneto issue 6 and Moon Knight issue 5 reviews by Joe David Thompson

Even though there’s slim pickings this week (thanks holiday weekend), I’ve have two book picks this week (surprise! They’re not from Image!). Buried in the blitz of Guardians of the Galaxy related books this week are Magneto #6 and Moon Knight #5.

Magneto issue 6
printSizeImageWriter Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) has crafted an excellent and morally complex take on the character of Magento. It’s not exactly news that the X-Men comics work as a commentary on discrimination in our culture. Traditionally, Magneto’s role in this world is as an antagonistic force, one that seeks revenge on humans for crimes against mutantkind. Gunn retains this as a character motivation, while carefully peering a little deeper into Magneto’s grey morals, crafting the character into an anti-hero of sorts.

But don’t be afraid. 

The book isn’t all Erik brooding and long monologues. With his powers weak, Erik has been on a violent vigilante kick that extends to mutant on mutant crime this issue, aided by his mysterious new helper with her own axe to grind. Erik begins to craft a plot to create a “team” of his own, manipulating the Marauders.
Javier Fernandez pencils a meticulous reality, capturing both conversational scenes and big fight sequences in stunning detail. The color palette of Dan Brown is perfectly subdued to match the tone of the book. As Magento’s larger arc begins to develop, I’m excited to see where this book is headed.

Moon Knight issue 5

Warren Ellis is a name you’re probably familiar with already. Planetary and Global Frequency are two of my favorites of his work and are must reads by all human beings.

printSizeImageMr. Ellis has been breathing a stellar new life into Marvel’s Moon Knight. In his fifth issue on the title, Ellis crafts "Scarlet," a story as only he can, sending the rising protector of the streets of New York City into a kidnapping rescue. Moon Knight heads into an abandoned hotel where the victim is being held, leaving in his wake a sea of blood and broken bones.

Delcan Shalvey is a excellent collaborative fit for Ellis, able to render the fights big and the subtle touches of character in equal measure. This issue is light on dialogue, although the lines present are filled with Ellis’ trademark wit. Instead, Ellis lets Shalvey shine on every page.

This is Ellis’ and Shalvey's penultimate issue on Moon Knight and they’ve had a great run. After issue six in August, Ellis and Artist will be replaced by Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood, another great choice that tells me Marvel is committed to keeping the book going.

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Q&A with Sukotto creator Scott Adams and Comic Book Swap Meet news!!

Thanks to Chris D Poe for the flyers!!!
Finally got the venue booked for the Comic Book Swap Meet! Couldn't be more excited about some of the great artists that will be displaying their craft at the show. I'm really excited about our special guest, Matthew Southworth. He's known for his comic, Stumptown as well as work on Spider Man, Punisher, X-Men and much more. Check out this flyer with a rendition of Poison Ivy, by Washington state artist and Swap Meet exhibitor, Christopher D Poe, and check him out on Facebook! Were also going to be joined by Bremerton, WA comic book creator, Scott Adams. Scott took the time recently to chat about his comic, Sukotto, which will be available at the Comic Book Swap Meet on August 23rd! Please spread the word about the Comic Book Swap Meet! Be sure to use the hashtag #ComicBookSwapMeet on your social media wanderings, and keep spreading the word about this page and all other associated forums. Enjoy this Q&A with Scott Adams...

The Steve Strout:
To kick it off, how would you describe your book, Sukotto, to a potential reader? Whats the book about?

Scott Adams:
I have basic been describing as a story that follows the last remaining member of a ninja clan. Sukotto has been sent on a mission to recover a valuable artifact from an evil samurai lord.

What inspired the story? It makes me think of the old kung fu movies we loved as children ( and still do), with a bit of a supernatural twist...

There is a supernatural element that will become more and more pronounced as the story progresses. I was heavily influenced by the Saturday martial arts movies that came on when I was a kid. I loved watching those, and eventually I was a martial arts student for a while. But the core of where Sukotto comes from is in tribute to the old GI Joe comic books. The character Snake Eyes always held my fascination. I drew ninja all day every day growing up. I drew other things such as mecha from Robotech but ninjas have always held a place deep in my creative being and to this day I am still captured by their true history as well as the fantasy built up around them.
Scott drawing issue #2, page 9

I can defintely see those influences in your work. If I'm not mistaken, Sukotto is 3 issues in. Is there plans to keep the book ongoing for a while?

Yes. I am currently working on issue #4 and this specific story arc will end with issue #5, but that is just the start of Sukotto's journey. My thoughts are putting out future story arcs in a graphic novel format so that people can get the whole story at once. These would also be in color but the time between novels would most likely be 1.5-2 years. Right now I am able to put a single issue every 4 months or so. But yest I plan to have Sukotto go for a long time.

How long have you been working on Sukotto?

Well Sukotto started about 13 years ago, meaning I thought of his story and who he is, though he has gone through some changes. I started drawing the comic around 2002-2003, but didn't have the resources to self publish it. I also didn't have the technology to make it feasible. Then about 3 years or so ago I ordered a full bed scanner that could accommodate the pages I draw on (11x17) then about 2 years ago I got the software (Manga Studio) I use and a Wacom Bamboo tablet. and I upgarded to a Wacom 13HD tablet. My first issue was published in August 2013

Where can people find Sukotto locally and abroad? Is it available digitally yet?
Scott digitally inking Issue #2, page 9

Sukotto is carried in a few comic shops The Comics Keep In Bremerton, Avalon in the Silverdale Mall, Atomic Comics In Tacoma, Danger Room in Olympia. It's also available on my website I have submitted the first issue to comixology and I am waiting to hear back if it is accepted yet. Then of course there are always the comic events I try to attend where people can get them.

Are there any other projects your working on right now that you can talk about, or in the near future? I know how the industry can be hush hush on things.

HaHa I am working on a project right now that I can speak a little about. I was approached by a writer. Mark Dizon, who wrote a screenplay and is interested in putting it into a comic book format. I agreed to work with him but told him he should look at other local artists, which surprised him I think, lol, but I said 'My art style is not for everyone, look around'. He knew an penciler, John Campbell, who has excellent skills and we started meeting. I suggested bringing in a colorist and introduced Marcus Jackson. We have finalized contracts and are currently working on issue #1. I will be inking, lettering and providing technical consultation since I have self published my comic book. It's shaping up to be an amazing project and I think it can go far.
I can share that for the cover of issue 5 for Sukotto I am going to have a guest artist. Jeffrey Veregge is going to honor me with his amazing skills, I can share that since Sukotto is my book.

I will definitely be on the lookout! Veregge is an amazing artist and even cooler guy. I'm excited to see that.

Yes I like Jeff, he is an amzing individual, one of the nicest guys I have met

Obviously you read comics as well..You mentioned Robotech and G.I. Joe, but what other titles did you grow up reading? What are you reading nowadays?

I grew up reading Iron Man, Daredevil. Moon Knight, Groo, and several other Marvel titles. I would read Bat Man sometimes, but I was primarily a Marvel kid. Today I read Iron Man, Daredevil, Star Trek, X-Files, Electra, Ultimate Spider Man, 7th Sword, Moon knight, Iron patriot, and anything else that catches my eye. I read the Samurai's Blood series and a few other. Mostly Marvel and IDW titles

Groo was awesome..I met Sergio Aragones at Emerald City Comic Con a few years ago..I stood and watched that guy do sketches for like an hour and a half! It's awseome watching people with that level of talent do their thing. Very inspiring. What comic artists/creators, or artists in general inspire you?

Looking back I would have to say Larry Hama, he wrote GI Joe and he penciled my favorite GI Joe issue #21. That issue changed my comic book life. It was a revelation for me, and has stuck with me to this day (though when i joined the Navy my comics disappeared, thanks mom!). Herb Trimpe was also a favorite, he penciled a lot of the GI Joes as well as Mike Vosberg. As I got older I was a fan of Marc Silvestri and Todd McFarland. Jeff Veregge has also become a favorite of mine. His infusion of comics and traditional native style art is unique and he has been an inspiration in what hard work and dedication (not to mention his talent) can lead you to your dreams.

What other mediums, if any, do you like to work with artistically?

I like to paint actually and I have used chalk and watercolors. I love drawing traditionally first and then going digital. I have a few commissions with watercolor and acrylic on canvas coming up. I also like to create animated cells, like the old school method of animating

Can any of that work be seen online?

I have posted some pictures of my oil and acrylic paintings on my website. I plan on posting watercolors and the animation cells when I create more.

TSS: Do you have any comic book dream gigs you'd like to have?

Oh that's an excellent question. If I were able to work on any of the books I read, especially Moon Knight or Daredevil I'd be in heaven. Of course even getting to do a cover for a nationally distributed book would be an honor.

You've started hitting the convention scene to promote your work. What shows and events are you going to be at in the coming future?

I have done some local shows and one in Olympia. I plan on doing the Comic Book Swap Meet show sponsored by you, thank you for getting that set up by the way. I am on the wait list for Jet City Comicon and I applied to Emerald City Comicon for 2015, but was turned down as they are trying to get more variety in the artist alley. That was a blow to the self-esteem but maybe next time.

What is Scott Adams all about when he;s not creating comics or art?

Well I love to spend time with my family, and I still read novels, and I love watching movies and TV shows and of course I am a gamer. If I didn't have to work my day job to pay the bills I would have more time to do all the things that interest me.

I always like to give my interviewee a chance to sound off and share anything theyd like. Advice. Website plugs. Whatever is on your mind. Whatcha got for us?

Well of course I want to plug as for advice to those who have an interest in creating their own comics I think it is important to stress that it takes time and lots of practice, I stopped drawing for many years and I lot a lot of skill that I have been fighting to get back. Keep drawing and keep refining your craft. You might get some harsh criticism but you can't let that stop you. If you don't try your dream will never get out there.

Thanks for the time Scott! See ya at the Comic Book Swap Meet or sooner!

Be sure to check out :
Sukotto Studios

And enjoy this video of Scott Adams at work on Sukotto:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Comic Book Review: Saga #20

Saga issue 20 review by Joe David Thompson

Image Comics is having quite the year.

Out of all the books I picked up this week, my favorite by far is the latest issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga.  Now into it's twentieth issue, Saga has been a book I've loved since page one of issue one.  It transplants the basic idea behind Romeo and Juliet to science fiction setting, turning the fueding families into warring factions.  In Saga, Alana and Marko are dealing with the strains this places on their marriage, all the while running from the authoritues and trying to keep their newborn daughter, Hazel, also the narrator of the comic, safe.

Vaughn is in prime form on Saga, using the story mechanisms of a struggling marriage and the perils of war to ask bigger questions about the culture around us.  Issue twenty deals in an emotional way with how art inspires its audience to take a stand or change the world.  Vaughan seems to draw attention to how our quick paced world has reduced activism to tweeting a hashtag or sharing a Facebook status rather than taking action.  All this is packed into the confines of how Alana and Marko are growing apart, with Vaughan's characteristic dark humor and often explicit plot turns.  Fiona Staples' art gets more beautiful with each issue, and is not something to be missed.  That she accomplishes such striking images digitally is a thing to marvel upon.

As a side note, Vaughan also has a "pay what you can" project, the strictly digital comic The Private Eye available at:  If you love Saga, you'll love this.  

Are you a Saga fan?  Sound off below with your thoughts and theories!

Joe David Thompson has been doing media reviews for websites such as Red Carpet Crash and the 405 Music Blog. For any questions or comments for Joe David Thompson, you can email him at and follow him on twitter @jovid52