In the macho world of super hero comics, it’s easy to forget that back in the Golden Age, romance stories were just as popular as the action adventure stuff. Even the greats like Jack Kirby cut their teeth doing romance books, but in the modern day they’ve become something of a rarefied breed. Thank goodness then for Love and Capes which combines the kind of modern superhero stories we know and love with a healthy measure of romance, and a generous dash of good old fashioned gags. Previously available online at LoveandCapes.com or in print from IDW, it is now released on ComiXology.

Love and Capes follows the adventures of Mark (aka super hero the Crusader), and his new girlfriend, book shop owner Abby. But unlike your trad superhero books, Mark reveals his secret identity to Abby in the first chapter, which allows writer/artist Thom Zahler to poke fun at  the traditional obliviousness of other superhero girlfriends. (There’s no Lois and Clark style stumbling around the fact our hero’s girlfriend can’t recognise him when he takes off his glasses here!) Taking a knowing (and loving) swipe at all manner of super hero cliches it focuses on the blossoming relationship between Abby and her new super-boyfriend, covering everything from super-powered ex’s to secret origins and weaknesses, making for a fantastic, hilarious read.

To find out more about Love in Capes and it’s new digital lease of life, I got in touch with Thom Zahler and asked him just how it felt to have a whole new audience about to get to know his characters via the iPad?

It’s been a milestone week this week as Image Comics celebrated their 20th anniversary. As a comics fan growing up in the early 1990s, I was a massive fan of all things Image and so it fills me with a great sense of pride and nostalgia to look back on what they meant to the comics industry and to me personally. As a kid my heroes weren’t sportsmen or movie stars, they were comic artists. I worshipped every pen and ink stroke of Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen and Rob Liefeld. I knew every panel of early issues of Spawn, Savage Dragon and Youngblood and still do to this day.

So when these three super-artists left Marvel in 1992 to form a new company alongside Jim Lee, Jim Valentino and While Portacio I had no idea what the significance was, or why there were doing it, just so long as I could get new and exciting books from my heroes – and what could better than them writing and drawing their own titles? I didn’t understand that they had left Marvel to pursue creative autonomy and would shape the future of modern comics by putting the emphasis on the creator rather than the corporation, I was more interested in searching high and low for every new Image release I could get my hands on.

We’ve gone Cow Boy crazy here on Pipedream Comics this month. With its brilliant mix of true grit and dryer than sasperilla wit, its been one of the most original books we’ve read in ages, and what’s even better is its all digital! Despite there only being a handful of pages posted on cowboycomic.net, it earned a spot on our Pipedream Pull List for last week and so I got in touch with artist Chris Eliopoulos and writer Nate Cosby to find out just how people are reacting to the adventures of Boyd the Bounty Hunter and what is next for the Boy and his Horse!

The great thing about digital comics is that there isn’t one way to publish your story. Whether you’re distributing through a major company and keeping to a strict monthly schedule or you’re self-publishing online and releasing it whenever you feel is right, there’s no hard and fast rule about how best to release your work to the public.One prime example of doing things differently is the brilliant Cow Boy from Chris Eliopoulos and Nate Cosby. We spoke to Chris back in August when Cow Boy was still in it’s infancy and so it’s great to see it finally appearing online, and it really has been worth the wait. Chris and Nate have taken the bold step of offering pages from Cow Boy free on their site cowboycomic.net while also offering dedicated readers the option to pre-order a hard cover print edition which will be published by Archaia Press.

The brilliant Jill Thompson is a woman of many talents. Not only is she the writer and artist of the fantastically successful Scary Godmother and Beasts of Burden series from Dark Horse; she’s also the designer of ring outfits and T-shirts for WWE superstars like current WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan; And she’s the creator of her own iPad app JilliJill – which distributes her weird and wonderful comic stories to a new generation of tablet savvy fans. Curious how she manages to find time in the day, we caught up with Jill and asked her just what the future holds for comic creators like herself in this new digital world…

The guys overs at IDW Publishing have created a great niche for themselves in the digital comics world thanks to their awesome series of apps and titles featuring big names from G.I. Joe to True Blood. However it is with Transformers that they have had their most success, so much so that this week sees the launch of this digital exclusive series, Transformers Autocracy.

With gorgeous art from fan favourite artist Livio Ramondelli and a story by Warcraft writer Chris Metzen alongside seasoned Transformer author Flint Dillie, it focuses on the early days of Optimus Prime (here referred to as Orion Pax) on Cybertron, before the war. Working alongside familiar names like Bumblebee, Ironhide and Hound, as a kind of Cybertron Police Force, the story looks set to reveal how Prime came to be the great leader we all know and love – there is even the promise of appearances from Megatron and other Decepticons, but as allies rather than foes! Essentially, it’s a bit like X-Men First Class but with Autobots instead of mutants!

At a mere 8 pages, there isn’t much to get your teeth into, but it certainly whets your appetite for more, and with only two weeks until the next instalment (and a bargain price of 69p an issue) you won’t have long to wait. Plans are to have the story line run through into June and also to tie in with the continuity of new titles More Than Meets The Eye and Robots in Disguise so there should be enough to keep both hardened Autobot-fans and nostalgic geeks like myself happy well into the summer.

Transformers Autocracy is published by IDW Publishing and can be downloaded from either their own app or via ComiXology’s Comics


Is there a better team in comics today than Sean Philips and Ed Brubaker? Whether it’s the pot-boiled noir of Criminal or the post-modern super-villain antics of Incognito, they are truly masters of their craft. Now it’s time for them to turn their attention to the supernatural horror genre with brand new title Fatale. It features the traditional tight and complex Brubaker storyline blending time-travel, horror, whodunnit and classic noir. Flipping from the 1930s to the present day with seamless, mind-bending brilliance the story would be nothing without Philips stylish visuals. Tweaking his trademark stark, monochromatic style to a more pulpy 30s style it features much more of a dynamic feel than the tight close-ups of Criminal, however it is subtle touches of former Hellboy and BPRD colourist Dave Stewart that really helps give Fatale that gothic feel.

As with all Brubaker/Philips story it is difficult to get your head around this latest world in just 32 pages. Not because it is complex and unwieldy, but because the themes and subjects involved are so expertly weaved into the story. By the time you reach the final page you are only just getting started and are left wanting to read the next instalment as soon as you can. Fatale is the kind of book that will reward repeat reading as you pick up more and more with each reading as the story progresses from issue to issues, so make sure you get on the Fatale band wagon now as this will be on everyone’s ‘Best of 2012’ list by the end of the year and will be selling out in print before you know it.

Fatale #1 is published by Image Comics and is available on Comics or the Image Comics app for $3.50

Everyone loves zombies, and the only thing better than the undead is when an unlikely hero takes on the hordes of the undead for our enjoyment. We’ve had Egg from this Life in the Walking Dead, cabbage chucking pot plants in Plants vs. Zombies and and even Marvel Superheroes, but this week there’s a new corpse splutterer is about to take on the task – Mega City One’s finest lawman Judge Dredd.

Graphicly iconIn the world of digital comics you could be forgiven for assuming that there are the big two (ComiXology and iVerse) and that’s it. But shame on you for being so narrow-minded. Just as in the print world, there are some amazing apps outside the remit of the big two and one of my current favourites is the very cool Graphic.ly. Mixing a comics reader with an in built social network, it’s the closest thing you can get to the hanging out at the comic store and shooting the sh*t. It’s packed with awesome titles from a whole host of publishers including Marvel, Image and Boom! Studios and so features great titles such as Walking Dead, Savage Dragon and Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, many of which are available the same day as in print. I decided to get in touch with founders Micah Baldwin and Ron Richards and ask just how Graphic.ly came about and how they hope to compete with the big boys.

What’s the best way to take the story of two Victorian computer pioneers and turn it into an exciting iPad app? How about re-imagining their story as a comic book adventure and turn them into Victorian crime-fighters solving mysteries on behalf of the Queen? Well that’s what brilliant Canadian artist and writer Sydney Padua did and thanks to the guys at Agant it’s now a fantastic interactive app. Released to commemorate Ada Lovelace Day on October 7th (a day started to celebrate the role of women in technology) this brilliant app is a slice of steam punk style Victoriana, a bit like the League of Extraordinary Gentleman meets Dempsey and Makepeace, but also features interactive historical annotations along the way so you can really get a feeling of just how intricate and accurate the story-telling is. To find out more about this fantastic new crime-fighting duo and their historically accurate adventures, I got in touch with app developer Dave Addey and asked him where the inspiration for this great new app came from…