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Sequential Art
by Scott Tilson

Other Sequential Art Columns
Mike Allred -- artist/writer
Kyle Baker -- artist/writer
Brian Michael Bendis -- writer/artist
Dan Brereton -- artist/writer
Ed Brubaker -- writer
Kurt Busiek -- writer
Eddie Campbell -- artist/writer
John Cassaday -- artist
Chuck Dixon -- writer

Colleen Doran -- writer/artist
Warren Ellis -- writer
Stephen Geigen-Miller -- writer and Greg Beettam -- artist
Christian Gossett -- artist/writer
Paul Gulacy -- artist
Gene Ha -- artist
Stuart Immonen -- artist
J. O. Ladronn -- artist
Jae Lee -- artist
Steve Lieber -- artist
Joseph Michael Linsner -- artist/writer
Scott McCloud -- writer/artist
Carla Speed McNeil -- writer/artist
Mike Mignola -- artist/writer
Alan Moore -- writer
Scott Morse -- writer/artist
Grant Morrison -- writer
Dean Motter -- writer/artist
Jerry Ordway -- artist/writer
Christopher Priest -- writer
Darick Robertson -- artist
Steve Rolston -- artist
Alex Ross -- artist
P. Craig Russell -- artist/writer
Eric Shanower -- artist/writer
Kevin Smith -- writer
Mark Smylie -- writer/artist
Jim Starlin -- writer/artist
Bryan Talbot -- writer/artist
Tim Truman -- artist/writer
Rick Veitch -- artist/writer
Charles Vess -- artist/writer
Matt Wagner -- writer/artist
Barry Windsor-Smith -- artist/writer
Teri Sue Wood -- writer/artist

AiT/Planet Lar -- SF
Cartoon Books -- fantasy, Bone, Rose, Castle Waiting -- English translated manga, print and download editions
CrossGen Comics -- fantasy, SF
Dark Horse Comics -- Aliens, Buffy, Planet of the Apes, Predator, Star Wars, Tarzan, Terminator, etc tie-ins, creator-owned series
DC Comics -- Superman, Batman, JLA, etc superheroes, Vertigo horror imprint, Will Eisner library
Humanoids Publishing -- SF, fantasy, etc
Image Comics -- superhumans, adventure, humour, SF, fantasy, horror, etc
Marvel Comics -- X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, Avengers, etc superheroes
NBM publishing -- fantasy, horror, SF, etc
Oni Press -- adventure, humour, horror, fantasy, etc
Penny-Farthing Press -- fantasy, SF, etc
Sirius Entertainment -- fantasy, horror,SF
Viz Communications -- english translations of diverse Japanese manga

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Science Fiction
Heart of Empire

Heart of Empire Bryan Talbot isn't exactly the most prolific author & artist. His reckless disregard for Sturgeon's Law may have something to do with that. Best known for The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and The Tale Of One Bad Rat, with Heart of Empire he has added another outstanding book to his select body of work.

Set in the same alternate reality as Luther Arkwright, it stands on its own, looking at that world a generation later. In this reality the British empire never fell. Society is a strange mix of contemporary and quaint, and all too sadly of Dickensian haves and have-nots. Those who lust for power rarely share it. And this Britain's reigning Queen revels in it, even more fearsome for the extraordinary powers she is one of very few to personally possess, used to brutal decadent indulgence. Nations are warred upon and held hostage, rebellion boils to the breaking, and there are others who lust to rule.

Caught up in it all is the heir to the throne, Princess Victoria, who suffers increasing unexplainable headaches, feels out of place and alone, that there's something wrong with the world, even thought it's the only one she's ever known.

You'd think resolving that was enough. No. As the conflicts bear fruit, the scope turns out to be more than merely the rise and fall of nations.

Heart of Empire is layered, vulgar, intelligent, grisly, and stands as arguably Bryan Talbot's best effort to date. The confidence of the clear detailed visual storytelling and the complexity of the story leaves the reader simultaneously shocked and satisfied.

More info and related links at Bryan Talbot's page.
Read a preview.


The Wizard's Tale

The Wizard's Tale Being an evil wizard isn't all blood wine and barbed roses. It takes a real knack to be a plague upon the land, you know. Author Kurt Busiek and artist David Wenzel introduce us to the realm of Ever-Night, in no short supply of sorcerous scourges, casting the land into constant darkness and misery.

The hero -- or is that villain? -- of the piece is the latest of a long line of horrible personages, the terrifying Bafflerog Rumplewhisker! Or, at least, he tries to be. He put his best efforts to bring gloom and destruction to his little corner of Ever-Night, the village of Grumbling-By-The-Sea. It's just that, well, he's not very good at being evil. His spells never turn out right... for him, that is.

The final straw is a torrential thunder storm spell that produces a brief summer rain, not to mention a joyous rainbow for the villagers below. In punishment he is charged by the Darksome Council with finding the stolen Book of Worse. Or else.

Busiek's informed and fluid script and Wenzel's rich expressive painting make the bumbling do-badder Bafflerog instantly sympathetic, making it hard to resist cheering him on even when he desperately wants to just fit in and have the worst of intentions. The Wizard's Tale is unfailingly charming and involving.

Preview some art at David Wenzel's site.

Name Dropping

Brenda W. Clough

Here are some suggestions from Brenda W. Clough:

Top 10
Tom Strong
"I fell madly in love with comics with my first issue in the 60s, bought in a supermarket. It was the Adventure issue that featured the death of Lightning Lad. I've collected the Legion of Super Heroes faithfully from that point until fairly recently. Also in the 60s I became hooked on Batman, in spite of the inanities of the TV show, and from there I rapidly branched out to the Justice League of America, World's Finest, X-Men and so forth. Decades of comics purchasing have gotten my collection to be undeniably out-sized, calling for careful management and the cautious stacking of long comic boxes.

"Steeping in comics for years has also affected my reading and writing. Slow-moving plot and a lack of action is unbearable to me in both the books I read and the books I write; a number of themes that Spider-Man and Batman would applaud turn up in my fiction; and I have a persistent fascination for double identities and people who are not what they seem.

"As a long-time DC fan I found Kingdom Come to be delightful and The Dark Knight Returns to be bliss. These days I am also reading Promethea and Top 10 and Tom Strong. Now if only they would bring World's Finest back and reboot the Legion again, I would be perfectly happy."

Previews recent issues:
Top 10
Tom Strong

Official sites:
Batman writer Ed Brubaker
Batman artist Scott McDaniel
Batman: Gotham Knights writer Devin Grayson
Detective Comics writer Greg Rucka

Fan sites:
Check out the Legion's past and future at the Illustrated Legion of Super-Heroes Index.
Info and images about the operatic superhuman conflict at The Unofficial Kingdom Come Homepage.
More about Alan Moore's America's Best Comics titles.

Brenda W. Clough is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including How Like A God and Doors of Death and Life.

Copyright © 2001 Scott Tilson

In over two decades of reading science fiction & fantasy, prose or sequential art form, Scott has come to see there's an inversion of Sturgeon's Law: ten percent of everything is at least good or better. He is also a regular panelist at Canada's largest SF convention.

Will Eisner is the creator of Spirit and one of the founders of the original graphic novel form. He called comics "The Sequential Art" and it is to him this column is dedicated.

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