XOmanowar001X-O Manowar is one of those cult books that has floated around the periphery for years but never quite managed to crack the big time, that is until now. Launched back in the early 90s this tale of Alric the Visigoth and his intergalactic space armour was created by Marvel legend Jim Shooter, Bob Layton and Jon Hartz and featured early work from the like Joe Quesada (on X-O #0). An instant cult favourite it would spawn crossovers with the fledgling Image universe and even fellow metal helmet wearer, Marvel‘s Iron Man, thanks to an appearance in a video game as a result of Valiant’s sale to Acclaim Entertainment. Despite fervent fan support it was very much a product of it’s time and so faded into the mists along with a raft of other 90s superheros, that is until 2012 when X-O, along with the entire cast of other Valiant classics, such as Archer & Armstrong and Bloodshot, were resurrected under the new Valiant Entertainment banner with a new rebooted origin. Under the guidance of Robert Venditti (creator of The Surrogates for Top Shelf) and artist Cary Nord, the world of Alric the Visigoth has been recreated and revitalised for a new 21st century audience and with it they have created one of the best pure superhero books on the newsstand.

TheLegendOfSpacelordMoFo-Episode01One of the great things about our digital comic of the year poll was that it enabled comics creatives to get together and share their love for digital comics with each other and champion their favourites. As well as discovering the fantastic Aces Weekly, our attention was also drawn to the brilliantly titled SpaceLord Muthaf**ka (aka SpaceLord MoFo) from Aussie writer Pat McNamara and artist David G Williams, aka the Ironclad Imagineers. Inspired by the likes of Mark Waid’s Thrillbent website this digital only title was initially released in bite-size chunks via their own site, but as of this month is also available via DriveThru Comics as an interactive PDF – or rather digital cinegraphic novel.  Best viewed using a PDF reader that allows you to cycle through the pages, it brilliantly mixes the interactive elements of books like Powerplay and Insufferable, with the motion elements of Madefire and adds in a politically incorrect Aussie attitude for good measure. So what kind warped minds could come up with such an outlandish concept, we contacted Dave and Pat to find out.

It’s another first this week, as Archaia Comics bring us the world’s first digital variant cover. It appears on the front of the preview issue of their reboot of this classic Manga which based on the original from Shotaro Ishinomori.  Eventually Cyborg 009 will be relased as a comprehensive hardcover edition, but this digital preview features the first 17 pages giving readers a tantalizing tease of what is to come. This 000 issue is available on all the usual digital platforms, but the variant cover is a ComiXology exclusiveIt works by using the app’s Guided View mode to create a subtle animation (as you can see in the GIF to the left) and so as you tap on the page Cyborg 009 himself appears behind a robot bad guy and progressively beats him up before the comic cover finally forms.

goldman_grand_centralDan Goldman’s psychedelic haunted property saga, Red Light Properties, was launched by the brilliant guys at MonkeyBrain back in December. Having existed previously as a web comic on Dan’s website redlightproperties.com, he was no stranger to the world of digital comics and so RLP arrived as the newest member of the MonkeyBrain family with a four issue fanfare, that introduced us the spooky and tripped out world of supernatural estate agent Jude Tobin and his dysfunctional family. Mixing brilliant multimedia art with tripped out story lines, RLP is a truly unique title and one of the jewels in the MonkeyBrain stable, so we contacted Dan to find out just where the inspiration for Red Light Properties came from and how it came to be launched on to our iPad’s in such a complete form.

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The eternal comics conundrum of ‘who would beat who in a fight‘ has kept comics in fresh storylines for almost as long as comics have been around. The latest unlikely pairing to be pitted against each other, courtesy of IDW Publishing, are those robots in disguise, the Transformers and the manic martians from Mars Attacks in this brilliantly insane one off. IDW have a real knack for creating these one-off, ‘what if’ scenarios, thanks in part to their wide selection of licensed characters, and so after pitting them against the Ghostbusters, Kiss and Popeye it’s time another iconic group of heroes to take on the onslaught of the cackling martians.

Captain Stone #4 (Madefire)The newest installment of Captain Stone is Missing, aka the Digital Comic of the Year 2012, has hit the Madefire app and not only is it another bleeding edge example of what the motion comic app can produce, but it features this little website on the cover alongside artwork from the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz! This latest episode, (it feels wrong to call it an issue!) delves further into the back story of the Captain, and his subsequent fall from grace with writers Liam Sharp and Christina McCormack managing to completely enthral without much happening beyond exposition.

Lookouts_1_cvr_DA_rpmThe Lookouts is the brilliant new series from the guys at Penny Arcade, and Cryptozoic Entertainment. It’s been getting loads of attention as a result, and made several ‘Best Of 2012’ lists, however the real stars of the book aren’t the guys at Penny Arcade, they’re writer Ben McCool and artist Robb Mommaerts. Ben is the writer crafting this fantastic rich world of a group of junior lookouts protecting their village from the creatures of the forest and Robb is the brilliant mind who is bringing them to life in stunning detail every issue. We wanted to find out what the secret of The Lookouts was and so got in touch with Ben and Robb to find out exactly what goes on behind the scenes of the Eyrewood forest.

Zombies-Hi-1Proof that digital comics is the great democratizer comes this week in the form of Northern Irish zombie anthology Zombies Hi, from Uproar Comics. This self published digital only title features a brilliant mix of zombie themed stories supplied by writers and artists from the Derry area alongside a main story written by Uproar co-founder Danny McLaughlin with artwork from fellow co-founders Kevin ‘Gio’ Logue and John Cambell. By basing their stories in and around the Derry area it  gives the book a fantastic localized feel, and so makes much more distinctive than dozens of other books which follow in the shuffling footsteps of the Walking Dead. 

The Loxleys and the War of 1812A 175 page book about an obscure American/Canadian war from the 19th century may not sound like an obvious choice for a comic book adventure, but thanks to the intelligent writing of 2000ad legend Alan Grant and the sublime artwork of Canadian illustrator Claude St. Aubin, The Loxleys and The War of 1812  from Renegade Arts Entertainment is an enlightening and informative look at the futility of war and the effect it has on family life, that is as relevant today as it was back then.

Aces WeeklyBritish comic legend David Lloyd is perhaps best known for his work on the seminal V For Vendetta with Alan Moore. However in recent years he has embraced the world of digital comics, first with his interactive graphic novel Kickback (which earned 3rd place in our Top 10 Digitial Comics of 2012), but most interestingly with the weekly web comic anthology Aces Weekly. Featuring work from some of world’s finests writers and artists (including David himself), Aces is an online subscription comic which has engendered a passionate following (and would have secured 4th place in our poll had their extra votes been included). So we got in touch with David and asked him all about Aces.