Roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer and take a break from the beach and the barbecue to see what’s up in the world of Titan Comics.
News and Announcements
Kicking off fall will be the climax of the first full year of Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor with issue #12 on September 11th. (We’ll have a look at the first installment of this arc in our reviews section.) In a surprise, Robotech will also be ending with issue #24 as “Event Horizon” comes to a conclusion.
But it’s not all endings. V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic will start a new story with Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #1: The Rebel Army. Maxim is exiled out of Red London, but he’s survived much worse… so getting back in the good graces of Red London should be a walk in the park. Bloodborne and Tank Girl will also continue their current stories. Tank Girl will be meeting up with an old (and thought to be long gone) friend, and Bloodborne continues navigating the decaying city of Yharnam.
We also have a few advance solicits for titles dropping in October, including the second volume of Life is Strange, a new graphic novel from Minky Woodcock writer and artist Cynthia von Buhler, and the magazine companion to Disney’s Frozen 2.
Titan at SDCC 2019
Heading to SDCC? Titan’s booth (#5537) will have several exclusives for fans. Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #9, Blade Runner #1, Tank Girl #5, and Bloodborne #13 will all have special SDCC variant covers. The Bloodborne #13 cover includes black-and-white art from The Spire and Terminator artist Jeff Stokley. Blade Runner #1’s cover comes from Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, and New Mutants artist Klebs Jr. provides the Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #9 cover.
Toy fans can purchase some new 3″ toys featuring the Game of Thrones dragons, as well as several new Doctor Who, Predator, Aliens, and Yellow Submarine figures. (Personally, I have my eye on the Doctor with the materializing TARDIS.) On the literary front, you can check out a new art book on the making of Alien, and eat like the crew of Serenity with a new Firefly cookbook.
Titan will also have several SDCC panels. On Thursday July 18th, fans of the classic Ms. Tree series will also have the chance to hear from writer Max Allan Collins on his detective, ahead of a new collection of Ms. Tree stories from Titan. There will be a panel focusing on their new Blade Runner 2019 series on July 19th featuring writer Mike Johnson. And on Saturday July 20th, meet the creators of the two Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor comics: Jody Houser (Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor) and Richard Dinnick (The Thirteenth Doctor: The Many Lives of Doctor Who), as they talk about what goes into creating these two series.
Several Titan writers and artists will also have signings at the Titan booth, including Max Allan Collins (Ms. Tree), George Mann (Newbury & Hobbes), and Jody Houser (Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor).
Blade Runner Trailer
Excited for Blade Runner #1, which drops on July 17th? This trailer from Blade Runner 2049 and Logan screenwriter Michael Green will certainly get your attention.
New Kickstarter for Emma Vieceli’s BREAKS 2
Life is Strange writer Emma Vieceli launched a new Kickstarter this month for the second volume of her YA LGBTQ+ romance series BREAKS. The past and the future collide for Cortland Hunt and Ian Tanner, and they’ll need each other to weather the storms as they both get used to their newfound intimacy. The Kickstarter second edition will include bonus features and exclusive content only for Kickstarter. Backers will have the opportunity to get special art commissions, bookplate designs, and a variant dustcover. The Kickstarter runs through the end of the month, and as of this writing, is about 80% funded.
What I’m Reading
We catch up on some of our favorite ongoing series this month, including the kickoff of a new Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor arc.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #9
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Comicraft’s Sarah Jacobs (letterer), Comicraft’s John Roshell (letterer), Viviana Spinelli (colorist), Richard Starkings (letterer),
June 19, 2019 (print and digital)
There’s little time for celebration when the Doctor and friends get taken into law enforcement custody on the planet of Devivan. Turns out the Doctor, or a Doctor, stole a valuable gem from the Devivan people. But the Doctor does not remember doing this at all. Suspicion instead falls on an old frenemy: Missy! The Doctor will need some help to get out of this jam, so it’s time to turn to another old friend: the Corsair.
First, a quick primer on the Corsair. He comes from Lord Byron’s 1814 poem, which actually sold 10,000 copies on its first day of release. The Corsair, a.k.a. Conrad, fights for the humanity and society that rejected him. It’s the first major appearance of the literary Byronic hero, or anti-hero that we know today. Roberta Ingranata’s Corsair is ready for adventure, a touch genderfluid and a touch glamorous.
Along with references to Doctor Who lore, this issue does fine work honoring the show’s history. Chris Chibnall declared when Whittaker’s run started that he wanted to break with the past and create a fresh series. Over time, he’s tiptoed back to tried and true Doctor Who, from the Daleks to an upcoming appearance of the Judoon. The comic series is following suit, and I’m curious to see who else from Doctor Who’s past makes a return appearance. If Jody Houser keeps this up, she’ll have an arc that both old and new Whovians will appreciate.
I love how Enrica Eren Angiolini uses color in this issue to set a scene. She varies her color palettes to give a distinct look and feel to each location. It helps move the story along beautifully. The Devivan world contains cool, lush pastels. The TARDIS continues to burn bright with adventure. And the Aegean Sea home of the Corsair looks positively tropical in its orange and yellow tones.
The second arc of the series concluded on a weak note, using ideas from the classic episode Blink, but with poor execution. Let’s hope this callback to the past, already blatantly strong, provides a well-crafted story.
Life is Strange #6
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer)
June 26. 2019 (print and digital)
As Max and Rachel try to bond, the goth boy that only Max can see continues to torment her. When they finally meet, Max realizes he too has the nosebleeds she experiences on her jumps through time. Could he have her same gifts? And if so, what message is he trying to send her? Both Chloe and Rachel worry over their friend’s emotional state. While it isn’t long before peace is restored to all, the appearance of the High Seas, the Seattle band Max remembers from her other reality, shakes both Max and Chloe. Could Max and Goth Boy have the keys to help each other in this storm?
This is a classic character-driven issue, heavy on text and emotion. I’m happy to see Max and Rachel share some time together. Chloe and Rachel’s moments together show genuine care for their friend as well. The maturity is a breath of fresh air, but it minimizes the conflicts at hand. Chloe and Max do talk out their issues, but they’re resolved too quickly, too cleanly. Let’s hope the appearance of another element of Max and Chloe’s shared Seattle past kicks things into higher gear.
Claudia Leonardi provides an impressive amount of detail in her settings, but not too much that it takes away from the script. And her haggard look for Goth Boy, coupled with Andrea Izzo’s washed out colors, emphasize how much of a fish out of water he is in the bright, bold, beautiful world of Southern California.
The peaceful laid back world of Chloe and Rachel’s California looks like it will get a shakeup. Who will be left standing at the end?
Shades of Magic: Night of Knives #6
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Andrea Olimpieri (artist), V. E. Schwab (writer), Budi Setiawan (artist), Rob Steen (letterer)
June 26, 2019 (print and digital)
Maxim’s decision to take a place in the Night of Knives is the talk of Verose. Some don’t want him to do it. Some want him to attempt and fail. Isra wants him to compete but not finish. Maxim knows he has nothing to lose. And no one is going to stand in his way—even when a group of rogues ambushes him on their way to the trial stage. Finally, Maxim enters the competition arena to begin his quest. Will he make it out alive?
This issue does a fine job throughout, with the idea of “show, don’t tell,” especially in the second half when the Night of Knives begins. Dialogue takes a backseat to the art of Budi Setiawan, Andrea Olimpieri, and Enrica Eren Angiolini. And this issue is all the better for it. This trio brings action, pain, fortitude, and perseverance all in simple pen and ink strokes. Angiolini’s colors take things further to highlight the mystery and the magic. From the confrontation en route to the Night of Knives to the climatic balancing act in the second trial, the artwork lives up to the adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
This is not to say that V. E. Schwab’s script is subpar. It’s well-utilized in the first half of the book to set the tone and provide useful information on the trials Maxim will face. What is this mysterious and dangerous fourth trial that Isra does not want him to complete? Who’s behind him on this quest, and who wants to see him fail? The dialogue beautifully provides answers to these questions and more. Once the trial is underway, Schwab’s dialogue takes the form of a Greek chorus providing commentary on Maxim’s progress.
Will Maxim survive the Night of Knives? There’s no doubt. But how much will the experience change him?