Hello, long time no post, but at last Seven Days is right around the corner, coming out this Wednesday, October 2nd! I can’t wait for Issue 1, which I’ll be reviewing once it comes out! But for this week, I’ll be posting a bunch, and I may even have a giveaway on Friday! Stay tuned!
Today I’m going to be talking about something personal, which Gail Simone suggested I share. I’m going to be talking about what Catalyst Prime and Lion Forge means to me. Now what does that mean?
I think it means different things to different people, but to me it means that the CPU and Lion Forge have played a big part in making one big part of my life easier.
In early 2018 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which basically is a blood cancer. Without treatment I would have had around a year left to live. Before I was diagnosed I had begun reading the CPU comics, however, I admit I was not the huge fan I am today. I enjoyed them at random times and was trade waiting a lot of the series that they had. However, all that changed in mid-2018 when I begun treatment.
I had to get some intense Chemotherapy for most of 2018, which was hard. It even made going to San Diego Comic-Con 2018 almost impossible, but I’ve been every year since I was 9, so I went (even though that same week I had treatment, so I had to use a wheelchair). I had treatment’s every other Wednesday, which means my New Comic Book Day became hard, I could only pick stuff up on my off week.
However, I really needed something to read during those long two hours of treatment, something to distract from the pain and sickness. That’s when I decided to dive into the CPU. I started to buy digital copies of those series I was trade waiting on, series like Superb, Accell, and others (Summit was one series I wasn’t trade waiting, as it’s my favorite). Every week I would try to read a few of them during treatment, to make sure I had something to read. Sometimes that only meant one or two issues that week, but it led to something else.
It led me all of the amazing stuff at Lion Forge. I started reading a lot of comics they had put out, and I found myself loving the company and their message of “Comics for Everyone”. I found a ton of their stuff heartwarming or interesting, from Cellies to Andre The Giant: Closer To Heaven, a comic about Andre The Giant’s life.
But the main thing that took away the fear of treatment was knowing that I was going to be able to read something from Catalyst Prime. That new universe pulled me in, and kept me there. It made a lot of the treatments easier. I even went to the Lion Forge panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, where they announced that Gail Simone was joining the team.
Since then, I’ve created a Fan Group on Facebook, forum posts, and countless of tweets, I’ve even started this blog, met staff and creators and got lucky enough to meet and befriend some amazing people from Lion Forge, staff like Devin Funches (the Sales and Marketing Manager at Lion Forge), and amazing talent like Amy Chu, Marika Cresta and I got to interview Gail Simone for this very blog (check it out if you haven’t yet)! Lion Forge and it’s talent and staff have shown me nothing but support and love, and that is another reason why I’ll never stop supporting them.
As of right now, it’s almost been a year since I’ve stopped treatment, and luckily I’m still cancer free. I’ve been lucky to have some amazing support, not just from Lion Forge online, but from my amazing family, friends and my fantastic medical team of nurses, doctors, blood testers and everyone else who helped save me, and who will continue to help me stay cancer free.
I know some of you may think of this as silly, I would normally understand, I would feel the same if I read this too. But Cataylst Prime and Lion Forge means a lot to me, and this is one of the biggest reasons why. They helped make the unbearable, a little more bearable.
Thank you for reading and please look below for some links to the Facebook Group and The Gail Simone Interview. Also, don’t forget to pick up Seven Days, October 2nd!
Today’s Flashback Review is a more recent one, but one with a lot of heart. Quincredible is an stunning (new-ish) series from Lion Forge, about a new young hero. I’m trying to do this one spoiler free, as the one complaint I kept getting about the last one was the spoilers. Hope you enjoy!
Quincredible #1 is about a young man, who has been hiding away his powers. While the whole world starts to meet new heroes everyday, Quin takes it upon himself to start saving the streets of New Orleans.
This issue covers so many thing that young people, and older people, can relate to. Bullying, young love, over protective parents, daydreaming you’re the next big hero….being a comic book nerd (my favorite one) and so much more.
Quin is clearly seen as a great kid who is smart, kind, passionate and with the power to never get harmed. That’s it. His only amazing power is that he can’t be hurt. Bully’s punches? No pain. Energy blasts? No pain. It’s such an interesting concept, what could a person, none the less a teen, do with just that power.
This series also introduces one of my favorite CPU heroes, Glow! Glow is a woman with the power to control and make light! Her costume and look is wonderful, and she is a supporting cast member to this series, which I love. I won’t say much else, but this issue (and this series) has some FANTASTIC guest stars, so if you like CPU’s other heroes, you won’t want to miss this series!
Quincredible is written by Rodney Barnes. Not only has Barnes written comics like Falcon and Star Wars: Lando for Marvel, which is reasons enough to for me to be a big fan, he’s also written for TV shows like Everybody Hate Chris, The Boondocks and Marvel’s Runaways. He’s also a co-producer of many great shows, like Runaways and American Gods.
Barnes is filled with so much talent. When it was announced that Barnes was joining Lion Forge for Quincredible, I was in for the the long run and he does not disappoint. He has such a incredible skill of writing characters of different ages, which is a hard thing to do. Quin is a young man, but this book as a ton of adult heroes as supporting casts, and he writes them well. Barnes was made for a book like this!
The artist for this issue (and the series) is Selina Espiritu, Selina is kind of new to comics, only having a few comics to her name, but I’m so glad Lion Forge picked her. I love seeing newer artists come into the scene and Selina comes in with a bang! Her specialty is drawing faces that are just full of emotion, and joy! I love this pick for Quin, she gives him a youthful energy that just fills the book with passion. I can’t wait to see more of her work, in this, and beyond!
The colorist is the superb Kelly Fitzpatrick. Kelly has colored books for DC, Archie, Dark Horse and so much more! She, in my opinion, is one of THE best colorist in comics today. I’ve read more books from her then I even knew, researching this I was surprised by a few titles. If Barnes is the brain, Selina the body, then Kelly is the blood of this series. She helps give it life, and you can tell she was the right person for this issue.
Overall, this series grew on me so fast. I love Quin and his adventures, and really can’t wait for more and to see him in Seven Days (The upcoming CPU event)! I highly recommend this book to readers young and old!
If you want to read this series, you’re in luck! Lion Forge has collected it into a trade, titled, Quest To Be The Best! And Quin is on his way! Order it where ever comics are sold!
So, I only read one comic this week, but it had two fun and amazing stories in it, so I thought I would go ahead and still do a mini review for it.
Red Sonja: Lord of Fools #1
This one-shot is a follow up to the recently completed first arc of the latest Red Sonja ongoing from Dynamite Comics. This issue and the ongoing series are both written by Mark Russel and both share the same editor, Nate Cosby. However, the art in this issue is done by both Bob Q and Katie O’Meara, and they both did beautiful job drawing this world and characters!
Like I said, there are two stories in this series, though the transition is so smooth it’s hard to tell at first. The first story follows the family of the antagonist of the main series. Since this is a mini review, I won’t go into details, but I love when stories do this, seeing the other side and what they have to deal with. It makes the villain seem way more interesting. So I was glad Russel did this. The second story is less connected to the first, but is a fun one, we get to learn more about one of Red Sonja’s companions in the main series, and we get to learn his history. I love seeing magic in Sonja’s world, so if you like magic, you will love the second story.
Both stories give off a rich history, and will add to my enjoyment of the main series. It’s hard to follow up Gail Simone and Amy Chu (both wrote the characters in their own series before Russel) but Russel has done an amazing job with the character. I highly recommend checking out his Red Sonja series, and this one-shot!
Sorry for the delay, but here is my first Flashback Review. In these I will be looking back at old issues of Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime, reviewing them and reminiscing a bit. I hope to cover every issue they’ve had so far, but we will see how far these take us.
For this Flashback I’m going to talk about and review the first issue of my favorite CPU series, Summit!
Summit Issue #1 was written by the talented, Amy Chu (she is also still the current writer at the time of this post). I’ve read a lot of Amy’s work, she does a great job with character work and setting up their voices. Amy always makes sure to add unique characters to whatever she writes and Summit is no different. Amy has worked on a ton of characters, but I’ll name a few; Red Sonja, Green Hornet, Vampirella, Poison Ivy and so much more.
The artist for this issue, and the next few issues that follow, is Jan Duursema. Jan is an extremely talented person, she is one of those artist who’s work you can tell is theirs just by looking at it. I’ve read comics with her work in the past, Ghost, from Dark Horse, is one of my all time favorite heroes, and she did some issues of the latest series. Jan has also done a ton of Star Wars work.
As you can tell, a big reason I picked up this series is because of the talent behind it.
Spoiler Warning from here on out. I’ll be summarizing the basic overall plot and going into some of the key things that happened in this issue.
Summit is the story of the women who fell to earth. Valentina, or Val for short, is an astrophysicist and astronaut who went on a mission to save earth from an asteroid. When she was up there she ended up getting amazing powers and fell back down to earth. Val has the astonishing power of creating and releasing plasma blasts, she is basically a walking fusion reactor.
So, this issue does a great job of touching up on the events from the Free Comic Book Day issue, titled The Event (which you can read for free on Comixology). And during the event panels shows they us characters we haven’t met yet (including a cute cat!), which is another great thing Amy does. Looking back on this issue alone, Amy clearly sets up story plots that she deals with in later issues, which makes the story feel like one big story, and not just single issue. They’re all connected, while not leaving new readers out. And I mean just look at that art! Jan is so detailed and realistic, it adds so much to the book. They were very lucky to work with such amazing talent.
Like I said earlier, Amy does a GREAT job with characters. She really knows how to make them real, and give them a real voice that doesn’t feel the same as anyone else in the issue. Val has hobbies, like Rock Climbing. Most superhero books don’t dive into hobbies, jobs maybe, but heroes are more then the jobs they have. Amy brings a fullness to her characters like no one else in the business!
One of the reasons I love Val is that she is queer. As a queer man, myself, I find myself reading queer characters and a lot of the time they feel almost flat. Amy does an superb job writing a queer character. In issue one we learn right away that she had a partner and that she is openly gay. Establishing that right off the back, in issue one, is very important. It gets it out of the way so Amy can continue to grow the character beyond her sexual orientation.
This issue also shows a great deal of emotion. Val is dealing with the loss of her friends (who also went to space with her) and that is in the forefront. Dealing with loss and grief is a big point in this issue. Throughout issue one (and in the following issues) we see Val deal the heavy burden of being the only surviving astronaut, in this earth wide tragedy. Amy does a first-rate job showing this amount of emotion, and only in one issue.
Now, let me talk about the art. Jan’s realism only adds to the deep character writing Amy does. Her face work alone shows the emotion without the writing. Jan’s character work is just as excellent as Amy’s. Jan also does a great job being detailed with the environment. Rocks, planes, cities, you name it, all feel real. Like you could go to these places, or ride in those cars.
Even though this issue doesn’t have any fight scenes, Jan does an outstanding job with showing off the action it does have. The rock climbing scenes are a favorite of mine. Jan also knows how to draw superpowers scenes. Even though we only see a bit of it near the end, it’s such a powerful scene that it makes you want to read more.
Overall, these two working together, and with this character, really makes issue one stand out! They both make you want to read more, and to see this character grow.
I give this issue a 5/5.
It’s hard to do a first issue well, but Summit is one of the rare exceptions.
If you’re interesting in reading the whole first arc, lucky for you Lion Forge has collected them in a volume (titled The Long Way Home), so you don’t have to wait like I had to. Order it today!
Thank you for checking out my first full review, look for more blog posts soon!
Every Wednesday is new comic book day, so I thought Thursdays would be a great day to pick about five comics that week and do mini reviews. This could include Lion Forge titles, but most Catalyst Prime stuff will get it’s own day, and full reviews.
Since last week was San Diego Comic-Con, I’ll be reviewing a mix of comics from this week, and last week. So, here we go!
1) Valkyrie: Jane Foster (Marvel)
Written by: Jason Aaron and Al Ewing
Art by: Cafu
I’ve always had a place in my heart for Valkyrie, but of course not this Valkyrie. This Valkyrie is new, and Jane Foster. I don’t hate Jane or anything, she’s just not the Valkyrie I know. However, I had to try and give this series a go and I was pleasantly impressed.
The writing was amazing, funny where it had to be and serious when needed. Jane’s weapon is cool, and her supporting cast seems very interesting, so far. The art is also beautiful, same for the coloring as well. I’m excited for issue two, as it teases an unexpected bad guy for Jane. I will say, I’ll miss the Valkyrie I knew, though she does show up in this issue, it’s sad to lose a queer superhero. Here’s hoping she will show up more!
2)Vampirella #1 (Dynamite Comics)
Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Ergün Gündüz
Vampirella has been a favorite of mine for a long time. My favorite run, under Dynamite, has to be Nancy Collins run from a bit ago. It had everything, from mystery to action. The two runs that followed added some exciting stuff to her mythos, including her pansexuality. I love Christopher Priest’s work, it always gives you something to think about, so I had to give this new series a run, and I was so not disappointed!
This issue is a bit different then what Vampi fans are use to, but in a good way. Priest has an compelling story on his hands, and even puts in some themes that I can wait to see flushed out. I love that he has used old Vampi mythos and enemies, while taking his own spin on them and on what Vampi has to deal with. He clearly did his research. The art is also amazing, I wasn’t sure st first, in the previews, but they really did pick the right person for the job. This issue has the right amount of action and set up.
3)Sera & the Royal Stars (Vault Comics)
Written by: Jon Tsuei
Art by: Audrey Mok
Fantasy is not normally my thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good game of D&D, but in media it’s not normally a go to of mine. However, this stunning cover pulled me in when I first saw it, and I had to add it to my pull list. The art inside is just as good, and that within itself makes it worth the pick up, but the amazing writing is just icing on this cake!
The characters and the world setting seem super fascinating. It’s like a strange mix of D&D and Prince of Persia. The action is amazing and the lore really sets itself up this issue. I HIGHLY recommend this series, even to the non-fantasy fans, like me.
4) Resonant (Vault Comics)
Written by: David Brian Andry
Art by: Ale Aragon
Another Vault comic, those guys are killing it over there. This one is way more up my alley. If you know me, you know I love horror and murder mysteries. And this fits straight into the horror side of me. This one takes place in a world where evil seems to have taken over and can make anyone lose their mind. It has an riveting premise, that is done in a new and spooky way.
The characters seem super cool, and the story seems to deal with family, which I love! The art is loose, but really fits the style of the book and just adds more to the horror level. I really can’t wait to see how this one grows.
5) Blade Runner 2019 (Titan Comics)
Written by: Michael Green Mike Johnson
Art by: Andres Guinaldo
Ah, a good old detective story. But this one is set in world of Blade Runner. It may be 2019, but it isn’t our 2019. Blade Runner is such an engrossing world, though I’m not as verse in it as I would like to be. Seen the first one a few time, and the newest one once. I didn’t really care for the new one that much, but I love this issue.
Ash, the runner, is amazing. She seems cold, like an old school detective, and it looks like she even has her secrets. The set up for this story is also amazing. It looks like it will have some fun twists and turns, just like any mystery should. Can’t wait for the next issue.
So, San Diego Comic 2019 has just passed, and even though Catalyst Prime did not have any panels, Lion Forge still had a fantastic SDCC! Not only did they have an amazing booth, but they also won an Eisner for best Anthology, with Puerto Rico Strong. The Award was accepted by Desiree Rodriguez, one of the five editors on the book. Desiree is also the head editor of the Catalyst Prime titles.
I was very lucky to have made some awesome connections with Lion Forge and their staff. I was even luckier to be asked if I was interested in interviewing Gail Simone, head architect of Catalyst Prime and writer of upcoming event, Seven Days. Of course I said yes, and that I would share it with all the amazing fans I’ve met. I’m also using this interview as a launching pad for a new Catalyst Prime based blog (this blog aka Comics Catalyst), where I will be posting interviews, reviews and even holding some contests, all surrounding the CPU!
So, here is the interview I was so lucky to get:
Dylan Davison (DD): So, first I want to thank you for letting me interview you.
Gail Simone (GS): Well, of course Dylan. You’re, like, super important because you’ve been behind the CPU (Catalyst Prime Universe) from, you know, back when, so it’s amazing.
DD: Well, like I told you earlier (before the interview), it meant a lot to me because I was reading it through chemotherapy, so I really attached myself to the world and to the characters. I will push the CPU on any site or social media.
GS: These characters are super important to me too, because once I drove into their core concepts and stuff that was designed in the beginning, I just got really attached to all of them. It just feels so fresh and new and modern, and born of today. I just got really excited.
DD: Yeah, I remember your first panel, for Lion Forge, last year and how excited you were.
DD: So, first I want to talk about something you and I have talked about before online, the delays for Seven Days. I just want to re-confirm to the fans that it is because of something positive, it’s not something negative and that nothing bad is happening.
GS: No, there is nothing bad happening at all. The Seven Days event is an amazing story with amazing, beautiful artwork and very interesting and cool characters, that I think people can really get behind. The delays are simply because Oni and Lion Forge have done a corporate merger and there’s a lot of dust that goes along with that, and a lot of redoing things and it takes awhile for it to settle down and this gave us some breathing room. There were staff changes and this and that, so.
DD: Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
GS: Yeah, it’s nothing negative at all, we’re all still just as super excited. The teams that come on the individual books, post Seven Days, are amazing, and I can’t wait till we can start really talking about that and get everyone involved and let everyone know what we’re all up to.
DD: When working on something like this, there are so many other writers, Amy Chu and a bunch of others working on projects. Do you have discussions often about how the character would act, do you have them as a resource?
GS: Yeah, we do have that. But the absolute best recourse I have is Desiree (Rodriguez), because she’s been with the CPU from the beginning. She kind of has these great files, that she’s kept really organized. So, if I do have a question about something, it would normally take me about five days to read through a bunch of information, she can give me the information in 10 minutes. It’s amazing and the best help ever.
But yes, I do talk to the other creators and we keep them in the loop about what’s going on in Seven Days, so that things will match up post-Seven Days. But, the whole event is designed in such a way that after Seven Days we meet up with the different heroes in different books and we see the results of what they may have gone through during Seven Days. It’s different degrees for different books.
DD: I’ve seen some previews for Seven Days, including the “Big Bad”.
DD: Yeah! Is there anything you can tell us his species or him?
GS: Well, the thing about about Kherlan is that his species is a superior species to ours. They have advanced tech and space travel, of course. Basically, he attempted to do something to us a couple years ago, when the Catalyst Prime Universe first started and it did affect the world, in a smaller way then it’s going to the second time around.
So this is definitely his second coming and he basically tells everyone on Earth that his planet is dead now and he is taking our planet, and every living thing on Earth will be gone and the only thing left will be flags that we planted on the moon, to even say that we were ever here.
GS: So it’s devastating. And then he goes on to say “I’m not a complete monster, you have seven days to get your things in order, to say your goodbyes, to accomplish whatever you want to in those seven days and then it’s gone”.
DD: When working on something like this, there is such a variety of types of characters and such a variety of age of characters, do you find it easy to mesh them? You know, we got Quincredible who is a teen and you have your trinity for example. Summit, Noble and Accell, Accell is a young man, but Noble and Summit have more of their lives together. Is it hard to mesh those characters together?
GS: No, it’s super exciting for me. One of the reasons for that, is that this is life. You know, we don’t all live in a world that’s all just rated R or all just rated PG or all just for kids, and kids have a place in this world and this is a major event that is happening globally and to everyone. That includes kids. So they need to be involved and want to be involved in if they’re going to have a future or not. What’s it going to be like or are they going to step up and become heroes or are they going to throw up their hands and give up? You know, what’s going to happen? It’s really important to the story and I’m really excited for people to see what these teen characters do during this time.
DD: You showed a bunch of new heroes that are coming. Some amazing characters, like that one with rainbow dress.
GS: Oh yeah! Moonrise!
DD: Yeah! Moonrise! Is there anything you can tell us about those heroes? Are they featured in this event or do they come out of it?
GS: Most of the character will be seen in Seven Days, because Seven Days, like I just said, is a global event, so we have characters from all over the world. We have characters from Africa, Asia, Japan, Mexico, America, South America, everywhere, so we’re going to see some of them. And Moonrise is from Africa, and she’s able to capture the rays of the moon and forge them into weapons.
DD: That’s fantastic!
GS: It’s so cool. We even got an African artist to do the designs and that’s why they look so great.
DD: Yeah, she looks so beautiful.
GS: Yeah, she does. She’s amazing. The new one, I’ll be writing the book for and created, along with some artists is Tillian. She is my absolute favorite character I’ve created since I started working in comics and I’ve created a quite a few. So I’m excited for people to get a load of her.
DD: On the little post card/poster that you signed for me, there is a character dressed in orange, who is that, is that Tillian?
GS: That’s Tillian.
DD: Oh, okay. I recognized all that characters, but her. I was wondering. She looks amazing.
Okay, last thing. What would you do, personally, during the seven days?
GS: I have thought about that a lot, actually, through writing this. You know, I have so many things that I love so much and I wonder sometimes. Would I just go sit in a comfy spot and read the stack of comics that I have, that I haven’t read? Would I take the time to do that or spend time with my family and play games? Go out on the lake? I don’t know. I would probably be someone that would want to spend the most time with my closest friends and family, unless I was called upon and felt that I could do something to help. Then I would be the first one down.
DD: It’s such an interesting concept. I’ve talked about this with my friends and family, trying to push Seven Days, and the concept of would a cop show up to work.
GS: Right. That’s the whole thing.
DD: You know, they have a moral obligation to try to help, but they know the worlds going to end. So would they stay home with their families or would they stop a bank robber?
GS: Exactly! Would someone just go crazy and go up on a tower and start shooting everyone? If you were a border patrol agent, would you bother? I have a feeling the borders are not going to feel the same anymore. Who cares if their is a line between this country and this country, if we are all going to die. You know? So, basically the entire planet has PTSD cause the smaller event happened two years ago and now this. This is huge, because even though Kherlan says he’s not a monster, and that he is giving us seven days, he’s not leaving us alone during these seven days.
DD: Yeah, he’s sending those gray robots or whatever they are.
GS: The Obsidian Men.
DD: Well, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me, and to talk about this.
GS: Of course! I’m ready to talk about this anytime.
I had an amazing time chatting with Gail and meeting Desiree and Devin and so many other Lion Forge staff. I’m looking forward to more CPU!
Seven Days comes out this October, 2019! Go to your local shop and order it today! Below is a preview from the upcoming Issue 1!
Hello! My name is Dylan Davison! I’m a huge comic geek, and I’ve even had my own comic published before. I’m a fan of Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime Universe or CPU and I plan to review issues from those series, among other things. So sit back, and enjoy the blog! I have a great interview coming soon, as my first blog post!