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.

LateNightComics
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!

LateNightComics
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.

LateNightComics
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.

LateNightComics
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.

LateNightComics
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?

LateNightComics
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.

LateNightComics
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.

LateNightComics
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.

LateNightComics
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.


For backers only

I’m very pleased to be able to finally announce that the digital edition of Alt★Hero #1: CRACKDOWN has been released to the backers of the Alt★Hero project. If you are a backer who unsubscribed to the Castalia House bookclub or if you did not receive the email, please email me with BACKER in the subject and I will send out second mailing tonight with the link that will allow you to download the 11 meg file.

The digital edition is in the MOBI format, which will work on your Kindle. You can also use download the free Kindle Previewer for Windows  or Macintosh to read the digital edition on your computer. This is the same file that will be released for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited next week, we’re just getting it out early to the backers.

We anticipate having the first print edition out in about two weeks. It will retail for $3 and will be in the same royal octavo size as the QM and Jeeves comic books. French, German, and Italian editions will soon follow.

Please feel free to discuss the first issue of Alt★Hero in the Forums. I look forward to hearing your reactions. Thanks to all the backers who have made this possible, and thanks to the Arkhaven team, especially Cliff Cosmic and Matteo Mystic, for all their hard work in bringing this from concept to comic book.


Right Ho, Jeeves #2 and more

HUNGRY HEARTS is the second issue in the RIGHT HO, JEEVES series, which tells of the travails of the inimitable Bertie Wooster, who is summoned from the comforts of #3A Berkley Mansions, London to Brinkley Manor by his imperious Aunt Dahlia. Love is in the air and Wodehousian shenanigans are afoot, as Wooster’s well-meaning attempts to help out his friends sort out their romantic difficulties only leads to one disaster after another.

Adapted from the classic Wodehouse novel by comics legend Chuck Dixon and drawn by SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN illustrator Gary Kwapisz, RIGHT HO, JEEVES #2: HUNGRY HEARTS is issue #2 of 6 in the series.

On a related note, as you may already be aware, RIGHT HO, JEEVES #1: A Binge at Brinkley is now available in Kindle and in print. But that’s not all. During the Alt★Hero campaign, we were asked to offer a discussion forum as a stretch reward, which we duly offered and was subsequently funded. The stretch reward was originally conceived as follows:

Commenting on the Alt★Hero site will be limited to campaign backers and site subscribers in order to reduce the amount of SJW vandalism. Site Heroes will receive a subscription to the website, the ability to create new topics, the ability to edit the wiki (subject to moderator approval and discipline), a series of special icons available only to them, and a dedicated forum. Please note that SJWs who use this Reward to infiltrate the site for the purposes of vandalism, politics, or social justice will be identified and stripped of both their backer and Site Hero status.

Last week, a special online meeting was held with the Site Heroes to introduce the new Alt★Hero site, which is now live. After a discussion in which a variety of ideas were kicked around, we collectively decided to make some changes to the original conception. First, no subscriptions to read the site will be necessary, at least for now. Second, all APPROVED (not registered) users can comment on the forums, although certain closed forums are accessible only by Alt★Hero Backers  and Artists, respectively. Approval will initially be limited to those two groups. Third, the wiki will utilize an Infogalactic frame, but is not yet operative and only Backers will have the ability to modify it. Fourth, we have established separate sections for discussing Books and Games, as well as separate subforums for discussing comics published by Marvel, DC, and the major independents. And fifth, we set up several volunteers as site moderators, who will police the forums and keep the commenting under control.

Anyone can register, but please read the site guidelines before commenting. Because we anticipate a number of younger readers, we will be much more strict on policing language and content there than I am here. Only Alt★Hero Backers and Artists will initially be approved for commenting, so if you are a backer, please email me with your backer number and new username in the subject after you register. Please note that you will know that you have been approved, have Backer status, and can access the Backer’s Only subforum when your username turns green. Artist status is limited to industry professionals and the Arkhaven/Dark Legion team.

Once the Alt★Hero Backers who have registered are all approved, we’ll move on to approving Voxiversity backers, Brainstorm members, and Will Caligan campaign backers for general commenting. Please be patient, as this process could take as long as a week since not everyone reads this blog every day.

UPDATE:

#1 in Books > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels > Adaptations
#1 in Kindle Store >Comics & Graphic Novels > Historical & Literary > Literary


Rebel Dead Revenge #2: Satan’s Army

The Devil is raising an army!

To the horror of his loyal servant, Jim, Confederate general Stonewall Jackson has been summoned back from the grave to lead Satan’s army of ravenous undead. But the great general’s arm is missing, and only Jim knows where it might be. He doesn’t know why Satan needs it, but he knows that he has to do everything he can to prevent the Devil from finding it.

The South rises again in REBEL DEAD REVENGE!

Written and illustrated by Savage Sword of Conan and The Punisher artist Gary Kwapisz, Rebel Dead Revenge #2: Satan’s Army is 30 pages and $2.99. Available on Kindle and KU, it is the second Dark Legion Comics release but it will not be the only one in March, as we plan to release Chicago Typewriter: The Red Ribbon later this month. Check out the Look Inside on Amazon, it’s as intense as its predecessor. And, apparently, as well-received.

#1 in Kindle Store > Comics & Graphic Novels > Historical Fiction
#1 in Kindle Store > Comics & Graphic Novels > Zombies
#1 in Kindle Store > Comics & Graphic Novels > Military

In Arkhaven news, we’ve had some trouble getting our first two print editions to show up in stock on Amazon due to an internal issue at our distributor that was inadvertently created by our very low retail prices of $2.99. That is in the process of being resolved, but in the meantime, you can order both Right Ho, Jeeves #1 and QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1 from Castalia Books Direct. Note that we do considerably better if you order print editions there than from Amazon, and that the shipping cost is the same from one to five comics. That doesn’t matter much when we’ve only got two in print, but we will have more available soon, starting with Steve Keen’s eCONcomics.

And on the Alt★Hero front, backers who are Site Heroes should check their email later today, as Markku and I will be holding an online meeting tonight at 7 PM Eastern with all 68 of them to introduce the Alt★Hero forums. This is an independent site that is hosting discussion forums for all of the comics, including both Arkhaven and Dark Legion series. There are special Backer’s Only forums, including one just for the Site Heroes to discuss how the site should be structured and run. Everyone will be able to read the forums, but only approved and registered users will be permitted to post there. The fact that Freestartr had to recently remove the ability to comment on all three campaigns there due to pornographic graffiti being posted by SJWs should suffice to explain why open registration and posting will not be the site policy.