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In October, Oni Press will release the first issue of Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque's greatly anticipated 'Letter 44', a high-tension tale of political intrigue and outer-space adventure.  We here at MTV Geek have already featured the series as one of our 10 Most Anticipated New Comics Of Fall, and now we're excited to present our conversation with Soule and Alburquerque about their inspirations and creative process (and at the same time, give a special sneak-peek at some of Alburquerque's design sketches). Read More...

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Jack Kirby is probably the single most important figure in the development of American comic books. His career spanned seven decades, and though he is best-known for his work on super-hero titles, he defied simple categorization and worked in nearly every style of comic: horror, science fiction, romance, comedy, fantasy, funny animal, crime, war, western, and probably some others that I'm forgetting.

He didn't just define a single genre: he constantly defined (and re-defined) the entire comics medium, right up until his death in 1994. So in honor of his 96th birthday, we here at MTV Geek have assembled A Week Of Jack Kirby, a series of posts celebrating the life, work and inspiration of the man that Stan Lee dubbed simply 'The King'.

Today is Jack Kirby's 96th birthday, and more than a quarter-century after his first published work, his spirit permeates every corner of the comic industry. He possessed a seemingly unlimited imagination, creating new characters, concepts, and genres with every stroke of his pencil. And today, a truly staggering cross-section of the comics community have joined us to offer words and pictures that give an idea of what this one man, and his work, have meant to them. In fact, there were so many people contributing, we've had to break things up among several posts – for the entire series, click here.

So, without further ado, let's start the celebrations!

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Is Swamp Thing going to demolish an entire town to keep balance? Find out in our first look at "Swamp Thing" #23!

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The world of comics publishing was shaken at the end of June when it was announced that Boom! Studios had acquired Archaia Entertainment, merging two of the most respected indie companies into a single entity.  And while from a certain perspective, this seemed like a natural pairing – two titans of the small press teaming up to take on the world – it also raised some concerns among readers, creators, and press.

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Acclaimed writer Charles Soule takes up residence in the cosmic end of the DC Universe on June 26th, when "Red Lanterns" #21 hits comic shops.  MTV Geek recently got the chance to chat with him about his goals for the series, his approach to storytelling, and what makes the Red Lantern Corps unique among DC's spacefaring teams.

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By Patrick A. Reed

Author Charles Soule has been getting quite a bit of attention from comic fans and press lately – he has a few well-respected indie projects under his belt (Image Comics' "Twenty-Seven" and SLG's "Strongman"); he's the new writer of DC's "Swamp Thing" and "Red Lanterns"; and it's just been announced that he'll be taking over Marvel's "Thunderbolts," beginning with issue #12.

And today, May 15, Archaia released his new hardcover graphic novel, "Strange Attractors." And it's one of the coolest, headiest, most interesting comics I've read in a long while.

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Pigs #1, Nate Cosby & Ben McCool (w), Breno Tamura (a)

So this is one of those cases of strong concept meeting fair to not great execution. It has a killer of a last-page reveal that's unfortunately undercut by needlessly jumbled chronology.

The book opens with a group of commandos in wetsuits on a raft planning some kind of attack on American soil, and then jumps to another time period to a couple of D.C. cops grilling an icy Russian national about her knowledge of Soviet sleeper cells left in Cuba following the Bay of Pigs. First off, why a couple of cops are grilling this particular suspect about the particular case we learn they're following strains credibility, but moreover, we're given no frame of reference about who this woman is (besides being some Russian lady in the know) and why she's important.
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The writer and musician is prepping for the release of 27: The Second Set with a series of song covers from one-hit wonders.
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The road to rock stardom is littered with dead bodies. Charles Soule wants to tell you how they got there.

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MTV Geek caught up with "Twenty-Seven" writer Charles Soule at Emerald City Comicon, and he chatted with us about "The Curse of 27," how the comic is set up like a concert, and guitar chord Easter Eggs:

"I thought it would be neat to put these little things hidden in the book, on pages that are related to the number 9...so on pages that are multiples of 9 there are guitar symbols hidden within the page gutters, and those symbols can be turned into a code. The first person to solve that code, I'll do something nice for."

Soule also discussed how they designed the covers for Twenty-Seven, each cover based on a different musician, such as Kurt Cobain, blues musician Robert Johnson, and Jimi Hendrix -- and, exclusively to MTV Geek, about cool new round of covers for the "second set" of "Twenty-Seven" that will focus on One-Hit-Wonders! Check out the clips below to get all the scoop!

Charles Soule on Twenty-Seven:

ECCC 2011: Charles Soule On Outliving "The Twenty-Seven" Club

Charles Soule on Twenty-Seven's Covers:

ECCC 2011: Charles Soule Talks Twenty-Seven's Cover Designs

Related Posts:
'Twenty-Seven' Hype Gripping Comics World
Image's 'Twenty-Seven' #2 Sells Out, Gets 2nd Printing

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By Alex Zalben

Who Is Jake Ellis? #1

Every once in a while, you get a pleasant surprise reading a comic, a book that comes out of nowhere, that you know nothing about, and it hooks you instantly from the first page. This isn’t that book… But only because it took me three whole pages until I couldn’t put it down.

I hesitate to even say anything about the plot, as it will ruin all the great revelations, but suffice to say, this is an international crime thriller in the Jason Bourne mold, with a huge, honking, out of left field twist. The first two pages play out like any number of encounters that go wrong in movies, with a smart, explosive set piece, and a hero in over his head. Our hero, Jon Moore, is engaged with some shady characters, makes a quick exit, and three pages in, we get a neat turn on the in media res start to the story: in big, bold letters, as Moore jumps off the prow of a boat, silhouetted by fireworks, we see the word, ‘STOP.’ Then we rewind fifteen seconds, and see what was really going on, and whom Jon was actually talking to. It wasn’t the crooks trying to swindle him, and it may be someone who isn’t even there at all.

Writer Nathan Edmondson has written some smart stuff before, but this really takes his game to the next level. Every page is engrossing, and perfectly aided by Tonci Zonjic’s art, which is stunningly rendered in thin, almost cartoon like pencils. From the aforementioned boat prow, to a dark church, Zonjic’s pages are effortlessly cinematic.

The rest of the book plays out like a spy movie on crack, with no easy answers, only big action, a lot of sexy sexiness, and that weird twist I keep alluding to. Is it supernatural? Is it in Jon’s head? Like the title says, who is Jake Ellis? I’ll definitely be picking up issue two to find out.

Recommendation: Buy It! Read More...

Usually it's frowned upon when rock stars sell out -- but in the case of the musician main character of the Image Comic "27" we will make an an exception!

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Enough about what we think are the best comics of 2010...what do the comic creators think? MTV Geek asked some of the hottest comic book writers and artists out there for their top three picks of 2010!

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The Image comic "Twenty-Seven" #1 became a collector's item (and target of comic speculators) even before it hit stands today. Bleeding Cool reported last Saturday that pre-orders of the book were going for as much as $35 on eBay, and today copies of the first issue were still selling for as much as $25. The issue was seen in abundance at New York's Midtown Comics West this afternoon, but a sign limited customers to only one copy each.

Is this all just hype, a speculator's frenzy? Or is "Twenty-Seven" (also known as "27") The Next Big Thing?

Whatever the case, there is no question that the book's writer, Charles Soule, has come up with a fascinating premise -- that of a rock and roll musician who has made the ultimate deal to continue his art -- which has captured the imagination of the public. We chatted with Soule today to get his reaction on all the buzz surrounding "Twenty-Seven."

MTV Geek: With "Twenty-Seven" #1 selling out and being already offered on eBay for a premium, what is your reaction to the book's enormous success? Did you expect this sort of buzz? Read More...

27 represents a fairly intriguing premise marred by uneven execution. The story’s lead is (former) rock star Will Garland who, one year ago, was on top of the world and at the peak of his musical skill. Cue crippling nerve damage in his hand and flash forward to debt, drug use, and desperation for Will. None of the doctors have any answers for him, and unconventional science is starting to look more appealing. Will makes a deal on a bad side of town with a man in possession of a machine. The man dies as do 9 cats, and Will finds himself with a device embedded in his chest granting him temporary virtuosity at a random skill for a short period of time. Think of it as a supernatural horror-tinged Dial H for Hero with a rock and roll bent.

The solicitations promise this to be the first of a four issue series, which is either good or bad depending on how quickly writer Charles Soule chooses to clear up some of the opacity of the story. The plot moves along soundly enough, getting Will into the machine and out with a new gift or curse. Soule deals with the particulars of this stage of the story with admirable economy. At the same time, it’s possible to get a little lost. Case in point, there’s a sequence at the mid-point with two—for lack of a better word—entities discussing the deal that will give Will the gift he ultimately receives. It feels a little too clever by half, with the two-page spread alternating between the two speakers, each transforming into an object or an animal between panels. I’m not sure why yet, but perhaps Soule doesn’t intend that at this point. It is clear that Will’s in trouble, though—you can’t expect to step into a magic machine, kill 9 cats, and not have some kind of consequence to it. Read More...

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