New Comic Wednesday: December 14, 2011
Star Wars: Agent of the Empire #1 from Dark Hose Comics. Cover Stephane Rox, Writer John Ostrander, Penciller Stephane Roux, Inker Julien Hugonnard-Bert
December 14th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

New Comic Wednesday: December 14, 2011

Hello again, fellow comic readers!

As a huge Star Wars fan, I was excited when Daniel Dean, my comic guru at Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, pointed out "Star Wars: Agent of the Empire – Iron Eclipse," as a book to read this week. It's a promising comic book launch from Dark Horse Comics, John Ostrander, and Stephane Roux.

"Star Wars" is both a world and a brand which manages to continually inspire and attract people despite some of the more disappointing aspects of the franchise. What's nice about "Iron Eclipse" is that it requires only a basic familiarity with "Star Wars" - you won't be out of your depth if you haven't, like me, memorized Wookieepedia. This is the first book of a five-issue miniseries, so there's the added bonus that jumping into "Iron Eclipse" is a short-term commitment for any prospective reader.

The premise of this miniseries - the Empire's own James Bond agent who crushes the Empire's enemies with the help of a fembot sidekick - is what has Dean excited about this book, since he's a big Ian Fleming fan. Roux's penciling work injects just the right amount of smarm and lots of energy into this book for a great 007 spin.

But it's really Ostrander who is the biggest draw for Dean, and it was infectious to witness his excitement about the author.

Ostrander, Dean told me, has been one of the best writers in comics for as long as most of Dean's customers have been reading comics - in some cases longer than they have been alive. In fact, neither Dean nor I have read an Ostrander-penned comic book that we didn't enjoy. He has the kind of writing pedigree that can actually pull off a mash-up of "Star Wars" and "James Bond" - he's known for writing super-capable yet morally gray government agents like in "Suicide Squad" for DC as well as creating the very successful, very popular "Star Wars Legacy" comic for Lucas and Dark Horse.

I hope that Titan has enough extra copies on Wednesday, especially since we both hope to set one aside as a stocking stuffer for Star Wars-mad friends on our holiday shopping list this year.

So, until next week, go forth and read, my people, and the reading will be good!

Is there a comic out there that you really love? Let us know in the comments. We’re always looking for tips on good comics!

Here are some of the comics scheduled to hit the shelves on December 14. Your local retailer will probably have these and others, so make sure to check with them for more details.


Thy fearful gadgetry: Steampunk’s mad scientists
Gadgets are just another cog in the clockwork of steampunk characters.
December 14th, 2011
10:41 AM ET

Thy fearful gadgetry: Steampunk’s mad scientists

While crafting typewriter key arm guards, goggles, clockwork corsets and mechanical replacement arms in his workshop, Brute Force Studios owner and craftsman Thomas Willeford often reaches what he likes to call the “Tony Stark point.”

“I’m working on a project and there’s a point in my head where I’m imagining the mechanics of it,” Willeford said. “My first degree is in physics, so it has to make sense and look like it works. It’s as if I’m making the real thing.”

Willeford grew up in a Victorian house with a “mad scientist” grandfather who was a chemist for DuPont and a grandmother who adored Victorian splendor and design. It’s not surprising that Willeford became interested in steampunk as early as 1988, long before he even knew the term for the subculture.

With the exception of his typewriter key arm guards, all of Willeford’s creations are functional. He is also the author of the first book on how to make your own steampunk accessories, “Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos.” But beyond function, what Willeford and other steampunk craftsmen like him value is the narrative thread that pulls steampunk as a movement together. FULL POST

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