From the mean streets of Moseley to the luxurious beach houses of Diamond Beach, crime affects everyone in Avalon. And the presence of the superhumans known around the city as “specials” hasn’t necessarily made life for the average citizen any better, since the local vigilantes are as apt to demand payment for their protection as they are to provide their services for free.

The crime-fighting duo of King Ace and Fazer are true heroes, not vigilantes, as Fazer explains the difference to a reporter interviewing him for the city paper. A hero doesn’t expect thanks or payment, he helps people because it is the right thing to do. And a hero doesn’t kill anyone, ever. All he and the big guy are trying to do is make everyday life better for everyone walking through their streets and living in their city.

But even heroes face temptation.

Chuck Dixon is the most prolific comic book writer in history. Set in the world of Alt★Hero, CHUCK DIXON’S AVALON #1: THE STREET RULES is the legend’s newest creation.

From the first reviews:

  • Chuck is off the leash. Dixon, writer of Conan, Punisher, creator of Bane, gritty as Sandpaper westerns(And PG Wodehouse!), gets to write his take on vigilantes and Superheros without corporate shackles. First issue is a brilliantly written world builder full of action and comedy. Fosco’s art is tailored to the tone.
  • Gritty raw and fun, this is a great issue with Chuck Dixon firing on all cylinders – the art is raw and fun. This is a MUST READ! I was reminded of Chuck Dixon’s early era Punisher stories – this was GREAT!
  • Saw this recommended for me in Kindle Unlimited and thought I’d give it a try. It was really fun, kind of a twist on what you think of as a superhero comic. And the art was awesome! 
  •  Chuck Dixon’s name convinced me to try it and I’m glad I did. It’s typical Dixon—expertly plotted and fast paced. A promising start to a new series.
  • This is classic Chuck Dixon. He lays the foundation of a fully-realized universe–complete with heroes, supporting characters, and heaps of action. Fosco’s work sets a perfect tone for the city of Avalon.

Alt★Hero #2: Rebel’s Cell

Arkhaven Comics is very pleased to announce the release of Alt★Hero #2: Rebel’s Cell. Alt★Hero backers, please check your email.

It was only a matter of time before the mysterious man hunting illegal immigrants and turning them over to the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office was identified. And after Michael Martel is informed that the Antifa leader he beat up is the son of a powerful state politician, he knows he has to make himself scarce in a hurry. Fortunately, the man who has been stalking Martel has need of someone who won’t hesitate to punch first and ask questions later in order to free a young woman who has been taken into custody by the UN’s Superhuman Protective Council.

In addition to 24 pages of pure graphic storytelling, the digital edition also features ads for Arkhaven, Quantum Mortis (including Wardogs Inc.), and the Arkhaven line from Crypto.Fashion. It also includes what we hope will be a regular feature, which is an example of Alt★Hero cosplay.

From the early reviews:

  • Excellent. Great read. A lot of intrigue set up for future issues. A lot of technical improvements made over issue #1.
  • This is how it’s done! Superb comic writing and art! This is a comic, a real comic, the likes of which I haven’t seen in ages. An engaging story, art that is pleasant to look at and adds to the story. This is firing on all cylinders.
  • I really enjoyed this. Good story. I liked the drawing & coloring- it really set the mood for each scene. Characters are very interesting.
  • Fantastic story with some really gorgeous artwork. It’s been several years since I bothered to buy a comic book, it seems that everything is basically feminist preaching, but reading this I’m hooked. I can’t wait to see what else Arkhaven comes up.
  • The art is good and getting better, the words are less in the way than they were in #1, and the writing remains the series’ strength. Which is good, because that’s the thing that’s hardest to fix. At this quality level, I would not be surprised to start seeing movies soon. As Rebel would say: “Roll Damn Tide.”
#1 New Release in Superhero Comics & Graphic Novels
#1 New Release in Comics & Graphic Novels
#2 Bestseller in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Comics & Graphic Novels
#7 Bestseller in Superhero Comics & Graphic Novels

Alt-Hero #1 available in print again

Just to note that the print edition of AH#1 Crackdown is available again at Castalia Books Direct, Amazon, and your local bookseller. We did NOT end up changing the margins since we determined that would have made matters worse, so we only made a minor change to properly center the image on the back cover. You’ll see how we’re addressing the problem of trim variation on the margins in AH#2, as we’re going to a full-bleed slash pseudo full-bleed approach that effectively eliminates it.

Amazon is sold out, so it will take a few days for them to restock. The fastest way to buy it is from Castalia Books Direct.

EVS reviews Alt-Hero #1

Ethan Van Sciver live-reviewed Alt-Hero #1: Crackdown, on his ComicArtistPro Secrets YouTube channel with his father on Father’s Day. He gave it a C+, unsurprisingly preferring the story to the artwork. Also, you should probably note that the actual review doesn’t begin until about the 38th minute.

If the reaction of most of his viewers is any guide, it will take a little while to win them over. They seem to think that blindly mimicking the way things are done in a rapidly collapsing industry, only excising the social justice, is the path to success. But that’s fine. We have gotten further, and we are making headway faster, than I ever imagined possible when we launched the initial campaign.

Anyhow, I very much appreciate EVS keeping his word and bringing this to the attention of his subscribers. I suspect AH #2 is going to be a big surprise to him and a lot of people.

The Spectator covers Comicsgate

James Delingpole chronicles the decline of the comics industry into diversity:

Iron Man is now a 15-year-old black girl who might be a sociopath; the Incredible Hulk is a 19-year-old Asian hipster guy; Thor is a woman who is dying of cancer; and Captain America is a full-on Nazi — to show readers how evil Donald Trump is — while his duties as a good person have been handed over to Falcon, who is much more to be admired, obviously, because he is black.

No, really, this is not a joke designed to satirise the leftist, identity politics lunacy which has afflicted so much of the US entertainment industry. This is what has actually happened to the superheroes of those two iconic imprints Marvel and DC Comics. Their characters have all been updated to make them relevant in a more diverse, gender–fluid age where, as rebel comic-books publisher Vox Day puts it, ‘all the princesses know kung fu and none of them need rescuing’.

Except, of course, the demographic that mainly buys comics — young white males — isn’t much interested in having its consciousness raised. It wants strong storylines with memorable characters, like Spider-Man (now Latino) and Punisher (now trans-gender) used to be before the social justice warriors took over the comics industry. Sure enough, the drop in sales reflects this. In 2016, the total annual sales of the top 300 selling comics in the USA was nearly 90 million; the next year it had fallen below 80 million; this year it may well drop by ten million more.

‘What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there… anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose against,’ Marvel’s VP of sales made the mistake of admitting last year. In the furore that followed he was then sent out to say the precise opposite —that he was ‘proud and excited’ about all the ‘unique characters that reflect new voices’ in the Marvel universe. Well of course. He had a job to keep.

“Deeply un-PC” rebels. Yeah, I’d say that’s a fair description. Get ready, Rebel fans. Alt★Hero #2 is going to be here sooner than you think.

Zero Tolerance

Quando Capitan Europa fa un’ offerta a Janelle Jeanneret che non può rifiutare, la modella Francese non esita ad arruolarsi con L’ Iniziativa per la Giustizia Globale. Dopotutto, provvederanno un appartamento stupendo in Bruxelles, una nuova divisa, e addirittura un nuovo nome appariscente. Le offrono anche di pagarle una valanga di soldi… esente tasse! Ma c’è un tranello? D’altronde, come farà un groppo di superumani basato in Europa a stabilire giustizia globale?

Alt★Hero e il primo in un eccitante nuova linea di fumetti di supereroi di Arkhaven Comics.

TOLLERANZA ZERO is our first foreign language translation, and it was an interesting challenge because we needed a different font that had all the necessary accents. We also needed to make sure the various text strings fit inside the existing speech balloons. We ended up going with one that worked out so well that we will probably switch to it for future English editions. This is, of course, a digital edition for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

The next foreign language edition will be French, followed by German. We will get these into print eventually, but it is not an immediate priority. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited, so why not download a copy and brush up on your language skills. And on the topic of Alt★Hero, I should probably mention that more than 15 percent of the available Gold Logo editions for the first issue were sold on Day One, so if you would like one for posterity’s sake, don’t wait too long.

UPDATE: #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Foreign Languages > Italian > Comics & Manga

Announcing Alt-Hero #1: CRACKDOWN… the print edition

From the transcript of the Darkstream: Alt-Hero #1 is now in print!

I’m actually here to talk about something much more interesting and much more exciting in my opinion, and that is something that numerous people claimed was never going to happen. And what that is is the release of Alt★Hero #1 in a print edition no less.

So this is something that’s been a long time in coming. We started working on this back, I think really about a year ago. We didn’t do the we didn’t do the Kickstarter, the Freestartr campaign until I believe it was October, but we were preparing for it before then. And so it’s incredibly satisfying to be able to announce that not only have we printed and published Alt★Hero #1, but it is now actually available for order from Castalia Books Direct. It should be available via Amazon within about a week, and I would guess that within two or three days you can go to your local Barnes & Noble, you can go to your local bookstore and find it.

The one place that you’re not going to be able to find it yet is the comic book stores because we  aven’t started that campaign yet and we’re not going to start that campaign until the first volume of Chuck Dixon’s Avalon is ready to go.

The video also contains an initial look at two related releases that are coming very soon, releases which may be of interest to both European readers and anyone who is studying certain languages. These initial print editions are, as can be seen from the video, gold logo editions which are available from all outlets until they run out. I will make an announcement when that happens.

UPDATE: Issue #1 is now also available on Amazon.

Rorschach reviews Alt-Hero #1

From the transcript of the video review:

The story is seen through the eyes of this lady here. Who is she? A new recruit to the organization, Dynamique, an attractive young lass who you will not be seeing in the pages of an SJW Marvel comic book. Of the artwork beyond this, the unique characters are better than the backgrounds, the backgrounds are sometimes lacking in detail. The story was funny, it wasn’t preachy, it was entertaining, and so, so refreshing… this is the kind of comic book that’s really going to force change onto the industry. The industry is not going to change, it’s going to change from outsiders like a Vox Day. Arkhaven Comics, this is the change that we need, this is the change we’ve been long calling for.

The Witchfinder General gives it 8/10:

Vox Day’s comic series has started well. The script is good and the art is colourful and vibrant. It is by no means perfect – in particular I would like to see the beautiful model better drawn especially in her large and full page images. The smaller panels are good – the colourful and more comedic style used is appropriate for much of the dialogue – such as Dynamique’s rage at Captain Europa over cigarettes. The cover illustration is ok to good, not great. The Castalia House Imprint that produces Alt-Hero is nearly new, but its products are surprisingly polished for a small Indie publisher. The story is interesting and satirises current events. For now, Vox is delivering on his promises and it is only likely to improve. Alt-Hero is good – let us hope it will become great.

Not a bad start. One step at a time….

Alt★Hero #1 now on Amazon

Alt★Hero #1: Crackdown is now available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

When Captain Europa offers Janelle Jeanneret a recruitment deal she can’t refuse, the French model doesn’t hesitate to sign up with the Global Justice Initiative. After all, they’re providing her with a killer apartment in Brussels, a new outfit, and even a flashy new name, in addition to paying her an awful lot of money… and it’s even tax-free! But is there a catch? And how is a group of superhumans based in Europe going to go about establishing global justice anyway?

Alt★Hero is the first in an exciting new line of superhero comics from Arkhaven Comics.

We anticipate getting the French, Italian, and German digital editions out next week, after they go out to the backers. The Comixology edition should be the week following, with the limited edition gold logo print editions being published the week after that. The foreign language editions will also be published in print.

From the early reviews:

  • The only thing missing is a Charles Atlas-style ad in the back. Can’t wait until Issue 2.
  • It feels like GI Joe meets the Justice League. It was an enjoyable read that simply left me wanting to read the next installment. The character dialogue was top notch.
  • It has a sharp, crisp story that sets the stage for some future stories, provides some good background on some characters, and establishes this series as one to keep an eye on.
  • The world is a big place, and you need to actually understand other cultures and how geopolitics works in order to portray that diversity properly. Which explains why modern comics writers are usually so hopelessly out of their depth. This team isn’t.
  • This is a fantastic start… It very much reminded me of the old Iron Man and Thor comics of the 80s I loved as a kid.
  • Unique characters with incredible powers but very human attitudes in an interesting and unexpected story. And surprisingly funny! 
  • Great Heroes, great story, great value. This already returned my basic backing amount.

Alt★Hero #1: the initial reactions

Some of the initial reactions to the first digital edition of Alt★Hero, Issue #1, from email and the forums. The general reaction is extremely positive.

  • I liked the artstyle and colouring. The story so far is gripping, and as someone who backed this project in order to start hitting back in the culture war in order to provide some sensible reading material for the next generation, I love the result.
  • Really loving the story so far! One satisfied backer!
  • I just wanted to congratulate you and your production team on Alt*Hero 1.  It’s spectacularly well-drawn, and the story line, while still abbreviated, holds promise for a lot of development further down the road.  I think it’s more than capable of giving Marvel, DC, etc. a run for their money.
  • Overall, well done.
  • First thought: nothing like clearing the fences on the first swing, with the grumble that you were just warming up. The coloring was great, story was succinct and spot-on; it’s amazing what you can do with the correct amount of dialogue. Excellent artwork that showed the story and reaction without needing to tell. That’s a lot of dynamic range in the action and wording. The climax and ending surprised me.
  • The coloring was wonderful, art was solid and the story was well-paced and not overly talk-y (a la Bendis, which I hate). Rainbow was handled perfectly, I thought, all body language and natural dialogue with none of the SJW preachiness we’re used to, either in one direction or another. Great start overall. Vox is definitely on to something here.
  • Just finished reading Alt*Hero #1. I really enjoyed it. Topical to world events, fun “bad” guys, with a sense of ominous foreboding on what’s coming up in the series.
  • This is why I donated. A big thank-you to the Alt-Hero and Arkhaven teams.
  • Congrats mate.  Huge professional accomplishment.
That being said, we are absolutely not resting on any initial laurels. Some professional criticism from various industry pros:
  • This was a very nice origin story for Dynamique and set up the global landscape for the series. I think starting in Europe is smart as everyone’s going to expect #MAGA American politics.
  • Fast-paced. Funny where it needs to be. God, could comics use some humor right now.
  • The lettering. The balloons are too cramped and the lettering doesn’t stack right. The font is bad as well. The worst aspect is the placement. Too often balloons are placed to cover actions or primary figures. It’s especially frustrating when plenty of available negative space is left uncovered that would been better real estate for the balloons.
  • Overall I’d call the story 4.5/5. It’s just minor elements, nothing major. Art I’d call at 2.5/5 could use major improvement.
  • Establishment panels. Reading this whole, I see that it needed establishment panels at the beginning of most transition scenes. We need to know where the characters are in relation to one another and their environment before proceeding. 
  • The characters are very distinct, and you can tell who is speaking mostly just based on the dialogue itself which is much better than most comics. Your use of humor is also very important — it sets the stage that this is not all that serious, which actually helps the reader forget about the art a little bit. If the tone was more serious, the art would matter and stick out more. Overall, it’s compelling.
And not everyone was equally enthusiastic.
  • I read the backer copy of Alt★Hero #1, and I have to be honest with you. It was total crap. The art was atrocious and amateurish. Scene transitions were awkward. Also, certain shots were composed in a confusing way. I got no sense of Dynamique’s motivations. There were way too many characters introduced from the beginning, drowning out Dynamique even further. The beginning itself had a very basic flaw — why should we care that this redheaded model is being kidnapped at all? 
I am not at all fazed by the criticism, and I think most of the professional criticism is both valid and worthy of figuring out how to address in the future. Let’s face it, it is a better first effort than my first solo novel. I am very pleased with the general nature of the professional criticism, because I have known from the start that the technical elements would inevitably take us time and experience to master. As I mentioned in my conversation with Ethan van Scriver, you can fix the art, you can fix the technical aspects, but you cannot fix the story or the characters. They are either interesting or they are not. And ultimately, it is the story and the characters that will determine the success of the endeavor.

UPDATE: As many people predicted, the naysayers who claimed Alt★Hero was a scam are simply moving the goalposts now that Issue #1 has been released. Which is why I never bothered to engage with any of them, but just ignored the petty little anklebiters from the start. And I will continue to do so. They never had any credibility in the first place, as I’m from the game industry, I subscribe to the id Software philosophy of “it’s done when it’s done,” and I never gave any hard release dates in the first place. People will continue to trash it – especially Jordan Peterson fans, it appears – and that will only help us become more successful over time.

I also note that we are providing considerably more than we promised. Yes, the digital version of the first issue is out to backers. But we will also release a print edition of that first issue very soon, which we neither planned nor promised to do, and we will release it in four languages. I’m selecting the font for the French, Italian, and German versions this week, because Backissues BB, the Blambot font we used for the digital edition, does not have the necessary accents.

Also, our comics will never appear in the previews. We don’t work with Diamond and we don’t talk to the comics media. If you want to know what we’re doing, you’ll have to subscribe to our email newsletter, which right now is only available to backers.

I’ve been calling Vox Day’s #althero a scam since day one. Even argued with him about it. Still no comic hahaha…. what a JOKE!

So far every deadline has been missed, it’s not in previews and I haven’t seen a single person review it. Vox Day is a liar and #althero is a scam that hurt our side. Vox can either deliver the issue or refund the money he took under false pretenses.

Sorry Jon I know you and Vox are boys you should encourage him to be a man and follow through on his word instead of getting himself banned on purpose and pocketing the money.

If @DiversityAndCmx pulled the same bullshit as Vox Day I would never stop calling him out. @JonMalin and @BrettRSmith76 have reputations worth protecting I guess Vox doesn’t care what people think about him.

He paid the people he needed to pay so there’s that at least. It just hurts all indie fundraisers when crooks and liars get involved in our hobby and trash it with bull crap like #althero

Flannel Avenger
So, when Alt-Hero ships I take it that you will publicly recant your accusations of scam?

No I won’t it’s still a garbage comic and he still pocketed most of that money to prop up other projects.

Jawbreakers Fan Jon Del Arroz
How do you know it’s a garbage comic when you just said it doesn’t exist? This is backward logic and haterade nonsense.

Maybe you’re right and Vox is simply horrible at marketing his product. He was high energy when he was fundraising now it’s sleepy time once the checks cleared.

If Vox wanted people like me to shut up he could announce a hard release date or eat his shorts.

Jawbreakers Fan Jon Del Arroz
Yeah, we’re talking 2 months late from the goal which was made clear was not a promise timing wise from day one and this guy’s flipping out.

I’m not flipping out, I’m calling out. It’s got to be done sometimes and horrible customer service is Dan Slott/ Mark Waid behavior. I just had hoped Vox would be different than those guys.