Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story. La Signora August 13, 2014 La Signora Bruce McAllister If love is not enough, then maybe death... Sleeper August 12, 2014 Sleeper Jo Walton It is best to embrace subjectivity.
From The Blog
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
August 15, 2014
We’re Holding Out for a (New) Hero: How Heroes and Villains are Evolving
Leah Schnelbach
August 14, 2014
Doctor Who: “Deep Breath” (Non-spoiler Review)
Chris Lough
August 13, 2014
Eight Essential Science Fiction Detective Mash-Ups
David Cranmer
August 12, 2014
Robin Williams Taught Us the Joy of Being Weird
Stubby the Rocket
Tue
Jun 24 2014 9:00am

Queering SFF Pride Month: Brainchild by Suzanne Geary

Brainchild suzanna geary digital comic

Of course, it’s not all traditional physical books here in the queer-and-speculative world. Exciting stuff is happening digitally, too, particularly in the world of webcomics—like Suzanne Geary’s Brainchild, which began publication at the end of January this year and is ongoing. The comic currently consists of a prologue and the majority of its first chapter, going regular-and-strong the whole time. The updates roll out on Sundays.

As the site informs us, “Brainchild is a story about paranormal phenomena, bad first impressions, wide-scale conspiracies, a whole bunch of mutants, and everything else your senior year of college can possibly throw at you.” This is Geary’s first major project, and so far, I’m hooked—definitely looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

[Onward.]

Mon
Jun 23 2014 1:30pm

Check Out The Brick Theater’s Comic Book Theater Festival!

The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is hosting The Comic Book Theater Festival, and I was able to check out a few pieces of cross-media work!

This is the second festival The Brick has hosted, and it features a variety of plays, from superhero riffs to crime drama, and re-imagined Ninja Turtles to a biography of Jack “King” Kirby. The Festival has some offerings from established comics writers including Fred van Lente and Dean Haspiel, as well as newer voices.

I had the opportunity to see three of the shows this weekend, and found the comics-meets-theater format created a great conversation.

[Read More]

Tue
Jun 17 2014 4:00pm

In Praise of Mahjong

Mahjong

I first learned how to play Mahjong in high school. My best friend Arthur, an immigrant from Taiwan, taught me. Mahjong is sort of like a Chinese version of poker, only with tiles instead of cards. Like most games that are able to captivate an entire culture, Mahjong blends skill and luck. Four players sit at a square table, pulling tiles from the neatly stacked wall or pushing them into the mush pot middle. Sessions can often last for hours.

When I told my parents about my new pastime, my mother was thrilled. She’d played with her family when she was young, so she felt like I was reclaiming a piece of her past.

[My father didn’t quite have the same reaction...]

Mon
Jun 9 2014 3:00pm

Queering SFF Pride Month: No Straight Lines edited by Justin Hall

No Straight Lines Justin Hall queer comics anthology Next up on the docket for this month’s Extravaganza, following Nicola Griffith’s historical novel Hild, is a totally different kind of book: No Straight Lines, an anthology of “four decades of queer comics,” published by Fantagraphics Books in 2012. The book opens with a brief history of the development of LGBTQ comics and then progresses through around 300 pages of excerpts and shorts, arranged by time period, that give a broad and engaging glimpse of the field as a whole.

As for its place here: there’s a fascinating overlap between comics and speculative fiction that goes back to the pulps—and that’s also true of queer comics, which often straddle a fine line between genres and audiences. The comic as an outsider artform, as a “genre” work, often stands alongside other, similar types of stories, like the ol’ science fiction and fantasy yarns we tend to enjoy. And, of course, some comics are themselves actually pieces of speculative fiction—superheroes, aliens, superhero aliens, and things like “transformation into other forms” are all pretty common tropes.

[Onward.]

Mon
Jun 9 2014 2:00pm
Original Comic

Charcoal

Ian Daffern

Check out Charcoal, a supernatural story of revenge that takes place at a high school near you! Charcoal is written by Ian Daffern, drawn by Ho Che Anderson with layouts by Kalman Adrasofszky, and edited by Liz Gorinsky.

Trigger warning for self-harm and implied violence.

[Read More]

Wed
Jun 4 2014 10:35am

Banned Books Week 2014 Announces Focus on Comics!

If there’s one thing we here at Tor.com love, it’s discussing Indiana Jones casting rumors the reasons behind book censorship. It’s an endlessly interesting way to look at cultural changes, social progress, and our ideas of who we are as a people. Plus, as you may have guessed, we're resolutely pro-book.

This year’s Banned Books Week topic has just been announced, and it is especially dear to us: the Banned Books committee is partnering with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to focus on comics and graphic novels. Check out the announcement below!

[Come with us if you want to fight censorship]

Tue
May 20 2014 2:00pm

Top Ten Asian Pacific American Comics Characters

Asian American comics characters Cassandra Cain Batgirl

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Er... did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month?Well, now you do. And I hope you have a happy one.

All over cyberspace, folks are celebrating in all sorts of ways. Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang (no relation) kicked things off with an article that asks if the APA community is one or many (and graphically compares it to Voltron). CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) launched a campaign of YouTube videos with several prominent APA entertainers talking about their career paths.

I’m doing my part by sharing with you my Top Ten Favorite APA characters in comics. They aren’t listed in any specific order, but they all meet these requirements: They’re in comics, they’re of Asian or Pacific Islander descent, they’re American, and they make my heart happy.

[Check out the full list below!]

Mon
May 12 2014 11:05am

First Constantine Trailer is Here!

Constantine, television

The first trailer for the Hellblazer-based television show, Constantine has landed! Whatever we can say about it, the most important thing is that it resembles its comic origins far better than the Keanu Reeves helmed movie did years back.

[Check it out!]

Fri
May 9 2014 11:40am

Blast Off With The Return of Zita the Spacegirl Tour!

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl Ben Hatke

Join Ben Hatke on his tour for The Return of Zita the Spacegirl! Return is the third and final book of the Zita trilogy, following the bestsellers Zita the Spacegirl, and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl.

Zita has saved planets, battled monsters, and wrestled with interplanetary fame, but this installment finds our favorite spacegirl facing her biggest challenge yet! Wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet, Zita has to plot the galaxy’s greatest jailbreak before the evil prison warden can execute his plan of interstellar domination!

You can read an excerpt here, and check out the full list of tour dates to see if Ben Hatke is coming to a your town!

[Click through for the full tour schedule]

Thu
May 1 2014 2:00pm

Working Class Star Wars Comics Were Something to See: Rogue Squadron

Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Sqaudron comicsTeenaged Ryan often felt it was in everyone’s best interests to let the people at Dark Horse Comics know how they were doing with the Star Wars property, and after having a letter published in the fourth issue of the original run of Shadows of the Empire—in which I complained that the dialogue from Rogue Squadron was unrealistic—I felt I had to make amends. The first issue of Rogue Squadron: The Warrior Princess published a letter from me in which I mentioned, in essence, that in terms of the portrayal of the rogues, these comics were way better.

Which is insane of course, because teenagers never know how good they have it, and I was no exception. Like the novels they were related to, the Rogue Squadron comics were an unprecedented, risky, and unique Star Wars which we all should run back and reread right now.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 16 2014 2:00pm

Sex and the Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing Alan Moore DC ComicsAlan Moore likes sex. This makes him something of an anomaly in the world of comic book writers. I’m not saying that other scribes don’t enjoy the pleasures of the flesh in their off hours, but relatively few are interested enough in the erotic as a subject to make it a part of their writing.

Of course, there are all kinds of reasons for this prudishness—not the least of which is industry censorship—but the result is that comic books are largely a sex free zone. To the degree that sex does appear in comics, it mostly takes the form of suggestively drawn female characters. At best, that’s an adolescent way of dealing with sex, and at worst it’s something darker—with the sex drive either implicitly rejected or sublimated into violence.

[Alan Moore is the great exception.]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 5:00pm

Rat Queens Puts the “Party” in “Adventuring Party”

Did you ever form your adventuring group into an organization: a secret society, a gang, a guild? Not just random folks who met at a bar and decided to rob and murder a dragon, but a group with an identity?

We did in Earthdawn; our group was called “LOOK BEHIND YOU!” because we would shout it and then try to run away, and our battle cry was “WHISTLE!” because we famously all blew our skill checks to make and discern the code of chirps and hoots we planned out in advance. We weren’t scoundrels per se... well, okay, our Illusionist made copper coins seem like gold so we could afford inns, but we were broke! And sure, maybe my character was hiding from the police, but he was a freedom fighter! You know how it goes.

The Rat Queens know how it goes, too; they put the “party” in “adventuring party.” Kurtis J. Weibe and Roc Upchurch’s first trade paperback, Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery, is out now, and quite frankly, it’s a blast.

[Read More]

Mon
Apr 14 2014 9:00am
Excerpt

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (Comic Excerpt)

Ben Hatke

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl Ben Hatke graphic novel excerpt

Ben Hatke brings back our intrepid space heroine for another delightful sci-fi/fantasy adventure in this New York Times‑Bestselling graphic novel trilogy for middle grade readers. Read an excerpt from The Return of Zita the Spacegirl below, and get a copy of the graphic novel May 13th from First Second Books!

Zita the Spacegirl has saved planets, battled monsters, and wrestled with interplanetary fame. But she faces her biggest challenge yet in the third and final installment of the Zita adventures. Wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet, Zita has to plot the galaxy’s greatest jailbreak before the evil prison warden can execute his plan of interstellar domination!

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Apr 11 2014 9:00am
Excerpt

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend (Comic Excerpt)

Box Brown

Andre the Giant Life and Legend Box Brown graphic novel excerpt Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who’d been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant.

Box Brown brings his great talents as a cartoonist and biographer to this phenomenal new graphic novel. Drawing from historical records about Andre’s life as well as a wealth of anecdotes from his colleagues in the wrestling world, including Hulk Hogan, and his film co-stars Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, and Mandy Patinkin, Brown has created Andre the Giant: Life and Legend (May 6, First Second Books), the first substantive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most recognizable figures.

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Mar 28 2014 10:00am

Are You There, Isaac Asimov? It Is I, Dream of the Endless. A Review of Sandman: Overture #2

So, the wait finally ended! After a bit of a delay, Sandman Overture #2 was released into the world. I have many thoughts on it, so first I’ll just say that I think this issue is A) beautiful, and B) a potentially extraordinary addition to the Sandman series. There’s still more throat-clearing here than I wanted, but I’m starting to feel like we’re rolling into a real story. Hopefully I’m right?

From here on down the recap will be full of details and spoilers, so go read the issue before you continue!

[There also might be a cameo by Isaac Asimov!]

Wed
Mar 19 2014 5:00pm

A Nice (Dead) Girl is Hard to Find: The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff

The Undertaking of Lily Chen Danica Novgorodoff

From the moment that I saw the stunningly morbid cover of Danica Novgorodoff’s The Undertaking of Lily Chen, I knew I had to read it.

It’s your classic story: a young rapscallion gets into a harmless argument and accidentally kills his older brother (who, let’s face it, was a bit of a twat). Parents insist that young man find beloved brother a wife with whom to spend eternity (or you know, he could end up in prison for murder). Boy goes a hunting, desecrates some graves, finds himself an unsatisfied matchmaker all around. Until she comes into view. Lily Chen, the perfect ghost bride. Too bad she still has a heartbeat.

[Talk about a meet cute!]

Mon
Mar 3 2014 11:25am

Girls’ Lena Dunham to Write Archie Comics

Lena Dunham Archie ComicsWe think Lena Dunham might be the voice of her generation. Or at least a voice of a generation. Of Archie comics.

Archie Comics has announced that Girls creator and star Lena Dunham will write a four-issue run of Archie set to debut in 2015. Everything about that preceding sentence is true. And kind of amazing, if we’re being honest. Riverdale will never be the same. Or it might be precisely the same, stuck in an endless but alluring cycle of narcissism, self-doubt, creative yearning, and brunch. This is going to be Betty’s year, you guys. This is going to be Betty’s year.

[More details]

Tue
Feb 25 2014 5:00pm
Excerpt

The Undertaking of Lily Chen (Comic Excerpt)

Danica Novgorodoff

The Undertaking of Lily Chen excerpt Danica Novgorodoff

Danica Novgorodoff—author of Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh—brings her distinctive voice and gorgeous, moody watercolors to The Undertaking of Lily Chen, available now from First Second. Check out an excerpt below!

Deshi, a hapless young man living in northern China, is suddenly expelled from ordinary life when his brother dies in an accident. Holding Deshi responsible for his brother’s death, his parents send him on a mission to acquire a corpse bride to accompany his brother into the afterlife, in accordance with an ancient Chinese tradition that has many modern adherents.

Eligible dead girls are in short supply, however. When Deshi falls into company with a young—and single—woman named Lily, he sees a solution to his problems. The only hitch is that willful, tart-tongued Lily is still very much alive. As Deshi and Lily adventure through a breathtaking mountain landscape, meeting a host of eccentric characters and dangerous adversaries along the way, Deshi just can’t decide whether to kiss the girl or to kill her.

[Read an Excerpt]

Wed
Feb 19 2014 4:10pm

Loki Writes Slash Fiction... Because Of Course He Does

Loki: Agent of Asgard, Al Ewing, Lee Garbett

We were wandering ‘round the internet today, minding our own business, when this panel from the recently debuted Loki: Agent of Asgard #1 comic popped up, and our lives suddenly seemed richer and full of promise.

Loki, brother of Thor, spy for Asgard, god of mischief, has written slash fan fiction. It’s Cap/Iron Man, right? We are going to peruse Archive of Our Own for the rest of the day and unearth it. Farewell, noble friends.

Via Tumblr.

Tue
Feb 18 2014 1:00pm

Japan’s Manga Contributions to Weird Horror Short Stories

Remina Junji Ito

A big, fat short story anthology is the perfect solution when I’m torn between wanting short bites of fiction that I can squeeze in between tasks, and wanting my reading pleasure to never end. My recent favorite has been Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s The Weird (2012), a lovingly curated history of Weird fiction from 1907 to the present, which, at 1,126 pages, has lasted me through many cycles of thick and thin. I find the collection eye-opening for two reasons. First, it places people like Kafka and Lovecraft in the context of their less famous influences and contemporaries. This has helped me to finally see which of the characteristics I always associated with the big names were really their original signatures, and which were elements already abroad in the Weird horror but which we associate with the big names because they’re all we usually see. Second, it’s refreshingly broad, with works from many nations, continents, and linguistic and cultural traditions.

But as a lover of Japanese horror, I can’t help but notice how Japan’s contributions to the world of Weird aren’t well represented, and for a very understandable reason. The collection has great stories by Hagiwara Sakutarō and Haruki Murakami, but the country that brought us The Ring also puts more of its literature in graphic novel format than any other nation in the world.

[Read more about Japan’s Weird]