Sith Myths

 Posted by on February 27, 2013
Feb 272013

The announcement back in October that Disney was acquiring LucasFilm for a paltry sum of $4 billion dollars was completely drowned out by a collective ‘geek-gasim’ heard around the world following their second surprise of the day. A new hope had sprung to life within us all when the studio dropped the bomb that they plan to continue on with the original “Star Wars” trilogy, starting with Episode VII in 2015. When I first heard that someone other than Lucas would have control of the reins over the project, I have to admit I thought it was some sort of sick twisted early Halloween ‘trick.’ Possibly perpetrated by a group like “Anonymous,” or those Chinese cyber hackers who keep messing with the D.O.J. When reality finally did set in, I (like many of you I’m sure) began to feel equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. I think we’re all still a little scarred and gun shy from the prequel atrocities, am I right? Does meeeza have to explainzza? (Yeah, that’s right. I went there.)


As an avid reader of comics, and Darkhorse’s “Star Wars” titles in particular, my biggest issue with the acquisition and the subsequent revamping of the extended universe is encapsulated in the dilemma of the following question: Does this mean that all the hard work of many gifted graphic artists and writers, who contributed to what was once considered cannon, now null and void? I’m going to have to table that discussion for the time being, definitely a soapbox for another day.

sw4Since the announcement, the internet rumor mill has been working harder than a ‘man-scaping’ wookie, and conjecture is the current name of the game. And speaking of names, the exclusivity for a director shuffled through anyone who has ever had any interest in sci-fi what-so-ever, or has looked through the correct end of a camera. Every movie site was batting around names like; Jon Favreau, to Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, David Yates, to Zack Snyder, Brad Bird, Mathew Vaughn, Joss Whedon, to the obvious candidate of Lucas’ bestest frenemy Steven Spielberg… you get the idea. Of course we now know that the resuscitator of the “Star Trek” franchise himself, J.J. Abrams (Hey J.J., why no call back for the sequel? I’m so not feeling the love.), is set to direct a script written by Oscar winner Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3″/”Little Miss Sunshine”). That’s just the beginning though, with casting and major plot points still up in the air –  crazy kooks like Super Shadow are going to continue to litter the web with inaccurate or out-and-out false information leading up to the very first trailer of the film and beyond. So let’s see if we can sift through the endless barrage of “bantha poo-doo” speculation, and separate the Sith Myths from the Force Facts.

Continue reading »

Nov 282011

By Jason Vaughn


As we lead up to our “35 Days with Kevin Eastman” event (Nov. 30th-Jan. 4th), it seems only right that we take some time to spotlight the next generation of independent creators out there who are following in the footsteps of such greats as Kevin, Peter Laird, Jeff Smith, Dave Sim, Eric Powell, Bryan Lee O’Malley and others. Two upcoming indie creators, Kyle Winters and Mike Andersen from Grass Valley, California are on the verge of a “big hit” and have “taken aim” (OK, I’ll stop with the puns) at the “big three” with their self-published title “Trigger Men.” Given the growing popularity of digital comics, it’s refreshing to see new creators with the courage to publish their own books in a market dominated by force-fed multiple Wolverine and Batman titles. Produced and published out of their shingle Triptych Books, Winters and Andersen (with the help of another future superstar, artist Heather Brinesh) have crafted a dark comedic bromance of a story. The plot revolves around the misadventures of two guys, friends since childhood who grew up to be contract killers in high school.  Now, adults who’ve gone their separate ways, they come together for what they believe will be one final job.  Think “Grosse Point Blank” meets “Justified.” I had the opportunity to talk to Mike and Kyle about “Trigger Men”, Triptych books, and what’s coming around the corner in the near future for both.


Guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’m digging the story of “Trigger Men” and not just because I’m a narcissist and there’s a lead named Jason in it.

M: We’ll take that.

Also, I was an assassin for hire at one point as well.


I like the bromance between Matt and Jason you guys have come up with, it’s a lot of fun. Let’s start out with an easy one. What kind of comics were you guys in to growing up and what do you currently read?

M: “I’m really big in to indie comics in general, which is actually kind of a big motivation for us to create comics. We would go to conventions and only be able to find the first few issues of a run. It’s hard trying to find indie comics because a lot of them ended very early. The one I’m really enjoying now is “The Walking Dead.”

K: “I grew up with ‘Spiderman,’ that was a very integral part of my childhood. A lot of ‘Spiderman,’ some ‘Batman’ titles, comics that a traditional reader would pick up when they’re young. Then I basically got out of reading comics from about seventh grade through high school. Right after high school, we all started going to the San Diego Comic Con and that kind of got me back into comics. At that point, I found myself more interested in the independent stuff, the creator owned comics. Right now the things I’ve been into actually are more journalistic comics.”

M: “I’m also a huge fan of “The Tick.”

Spoon! (The Tick’s battle cry, I’d explain but it’d take too long. Hit Meltdown and grab a trade instead.) Continue reading »

Aug 152011

by Jason Vaughn

Long before the world was forced to choose between camp Edward and camp Jacob in Twilight, and well before Sookie became the never ending damsel in distress on True Blood, the genre world got its fix of horror/romance by the queen of all things supernatural, Anne Rice. Now longtime fans of Rice have a new reason to be excited with the release of IDW’s latest limited series, Servant of the Bones. Thanks to my sister, I grew up a big fan of Rice’s Vampire Lestat series. This eventually led to me reading her other books outside of the series such as Servant of the Bones, a dark tale of the demon Azriel who’s hunting down a murderer in New York City. (A murderer in NYC, go figure.)

IDW describes the comic version of the story as a “six-part tale of murder, demonic revenge, and the redemptive power of faith.” The series is written, of course, by Anne Rice, the multiple New York Times Bestselling author of Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned, with art by the New York Times Best-selling team of The Last Unicorn, Renae DeLiz and Ray Dillion. And if that isn’t enough, there’s a little extra nugget of goodiness for all the die-hard fans in the form of a new essay by Rice at the end of this first issue. For first time readers of Anne Rice’s work this issue is an excellent jumping on point, and for those of you familiar with the book the adaptation is as close to the original source material as one can possibly get. I could go on for days about how brilliant the art is or how DeLiz and Dillon go out of their way to perfectly set the tone of the story, but just go out and get a copy and see for yourself. Servant of the Bones hits the shelves this Wednesday the 17th, so don’t forget to log on to Comixology and add a copy to your pull list or you just might miss out on the first issue of what is sure to be IDW’s latest hit, and that would suck. (Get it, “suck”? Come on, we’ve been talking about vampires! Ah, never mind.)

Go ahead and follow me on Twitter: @GoTodash

The Devil Is In the Details

 Posted by on July 20, 2011
Jul 202011

by Jason Vaughn

“Evil isn’t a force…it’s a choice…I’m weighing my options.”

– Jack Springheel

Digital comics have exploded on to the internet at such an exponential rate, it’s no surprise when top industry creators collaborate to craft passion projects online. Artist Dennis Calero, who is best known for his work in Platinum Comics’ “Cowboys and Aliens” as well as his Harvey Award-nominated run in Marvel’s “X-Factor,” has teamed up with writer/actor Todd Stashwick (“Heroes,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “The Riches”) to create one hell of a story about the Devil questioning his own role in the grand scheme of the universe. The “Devil Inside” has become such an underground cult hit that the web comic is vastly approaching eight hundred thousand hits in just its first year. The log line on Todd’s website describes the series better than I could:

“A guns blazing, white knuckled, preternatural joy ride to hell and back. Go on the road with the Devil himself, Jack Springheel. A man with a bounty on his head, Jack is running from a past, searching for a new truth and trying to keep the Devil inside.”

I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Todd and Dennis (albeit through several interruptions due to technical difficulties, thank you very much AT&T) about the inception of their successful indie strip, “Devil Inside.”

Thanks for taking the time guys; I’m a big fan of both of your work. Todd, I still have your “Scarpulla rap” on my DVR (“Men of a Certain Age”), I think you missed your calling.

T: I apologize for that posthumous.

And, Dennis, your run on X-Factor is still one of the best in the series so far.

D: Thank you so much!


You guys are professionally from two different worlds, how did you end up collaborating on this web series?

T: Well, it sort of happened on Twitter actually. I was on “Heroes” and they introduced the character in a web comic before the TV show, and Dennis was the artist on that comic. I’m a comic book fan myself, so when I saw a promo of the online book, I immediately ran to check out how I was being represented, and I was being well represented. So I started using Twitter, and I made my avatar on Twitter one of his drawings. Then I contacted Dennis just to touch base and also that I dug this (the avatar pic), and he was a fan of the show I was on called “The Riches,” and so we built a friendship that way. He said that he was coming in to L.A. and wanted to meet up for coffee. We started discussing all the things we were  into, our favorite video games, comic books, movies, all assorted types of geekery. I had a germ of an idea about the Devil having a crisis of conscience and he said ‘Hey, let’s do that as a web comic.’

That was actually my next question. How did you come up with the idea?

T: Well, I play villains all the time, so I’m often fascinated with the idea of the occult. Sort of getting into the psyche of a villain, and I’m always trying to find the layers on the other side. There’s just too many to deal with. So all in all, almost everything I play on TV is a lot like the guy with a bullet in his head. My objective basically was to make a protagonist by extenuating circumstances into this space. And so I thought who is the ultimate villain, and obviously the Devil, so I went “what if the Devil was having a crisis of conscience, and started questioning his own path?” Then I turned to Dennis and he and I created a whole cosmology as well a series bible for the first arc of the story. Continue reading »

Jun 062011

Hey ladies, ever wonder what “the man your man could smell like” would look like if he were Luke Cage? Well, wonder no more because the Old Spice peddler Isaiah Mustafa is putting his own special brand of swagger on the popular Marvel property in a unique bid to play the role. For those of you who don’t know, comic book-obsessed Nic Cage’s stage name is taken from the popular “Luke Cage” character.

While Marvel contemplates the future of Luke, Isaiah, along with friend writer/director Jason Markarian, devised an idea to show the Marvel brass just how cool it would be to greenlight a project based on him.  So they produced their own take on what a Luke Cage film would look like with Isaiah obviously in the title role giving Marvel/Disney something to think about if they ever get around to the long rumored project which, at one point, had John Singleton (“Abduction”) set to direct and Tyrese Gibson (“Transformers”) in the titular part. The video below is a short teaser to a longer trailer that was leaked earlier in the week and has since been taken down.  Fortunately for us, Jason Markarian has sent over the teaser and a few production stills to see what we all think. The trailer is essentially a big budget audition reel, along the lines of the one we all saw of a beefed up Tobey McGuire during his bid for Spiderman back in the day. I don’t know about you guys, but I think Isaiah has enough on-screen charisma to pull it off. Looks like we’ve got ourselves an old school “Cage match” with Tyrese vs. Isaiah! Take a peek at the teaser by clicking on the link below and tell us who you think should play the part.

Luke Cage Teaser!


Follow us on twitter!

Jason Vaughn – @GoTodash!

Stacey Levin –  @TVStaceyLevin

Feb 252011

Awards season is coming to a close with the grand finale of the Oscars this Sunday.  But not to be outdone, we present last, but certainly not least, the esteemed nominees for the 2010 Meltdown Comic Awards!

It’s been an amazing year for our favorite genre and choosing the best of the best was no easy task.  This year’s Golden Melty list was comprised from multiple “Best of” lists, sell-through numbers, reviews, Publisher’s Weekly lists and combing through dozens of message boards to hear what true comic fans are saying.  So, without further ado, the nominees are:


Best Indie Comic Series

  • Green Hornet (Dynamite)
  • The Walking Dead (Image)
  • Scarlet (Icon)
  • Chew (Image)
  • Stumptown (Oni)


Best Superhero Comic Series
  • Invincible Iron Man (Marvel)
  • Batman and Robin (DC)
  • Thor: The Mighty Avenger (Marvel)
  • Irredeemable (Boom!)


Best Non-Superhero Comic Series
  • Daytripper (Vertigo)
  • American Vampire (Vertigo)
  • Kill Shakespeare (IDW)
  • The Unwritten (Vertigo)


Hero of the Year
  • Captain America/Steve Rogers (Marvel)
  • Scott Pilgrim (Oni)
  • Kick Ass (Icon)
  • Zack Overkill – “Incognito” (Icon)


Villain of the Year
  • Nemesis (Icon)
  • Skinner Sweet – American Vampire (Vertigo)
  • Red Skull –  Captain America (Marvel)
  • Norman Osborn (Marvel)


Most Horrific Death
  • Ares – “Seige #2”
  • Nightcrawler – “X-Force #26”
  • Bras – “Daytripper” (all issues)
  • Cable – “X-Force #28”
  • Multiple robots – “Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers”


Best Return from the Dead
  • Aquaman, Hawkman, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, etc. –  “Blackest Night #8”
  • Batman –  “Batman and Robin #8”
  • Dracula – “X-Men #3”


Best New Series
  • Northlanders: Plague Widow (Vertigo)
  • Black Widow (Marvel)
  • Green Hornet (Kevin Smith, Dynamite)
  • Secret Avengers (Marvel)


Best Graphic Novel
  • Dark Tower: Fall of Gilead
  • Absolute Justice
  • Batwoman: Elegy
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8


Best Writer
  • Ed Brubaker – Captain America (Marvel)
  • Mark Millar – Nemesis (Icon)
  • Jason Aaron – Scalped (Vertigo)
  • Geoff Johns – Brightest Day (DC)
  • Mark Waid – Irredeemable (Boom!)
  • Grant Morrison – Batman and Robin (DC)
Best Artist
  • J.H. Williams – Detective Comics (DC)
  • Steve McNiven – Nemesis (Icon)
  • Fiona Staples – North 40 (Wildstorm)
  • Naoki Urasawa – Pluto : Urasawa X
Best Celebrity-Written Title
  • Green Hornet – Kevin Smith
  • The Guild – Felicia Day
  • Frenemy of the State – Rashida Jones
  • Pantheon – Michael Chiklis


Best Event of the Year
  • Artifacts (Top Cow)
  • Heroic Age (Marvel)
  • Brightest Day (DC)
  • Second Coming (Marvel)


Best WTF Moment
  • DC issues go back to 2.99
  • Nick Simmons accused of plagiarizing “Bleach”
  • Lady Gaga gets her own comic
  • The ending of Greek Street
  • Sony Pictures making “Green Hornet” with that script instead of Kevin Smith’s
  • Tron – ’nuff said
Best Cover of the Year
  • Spiderman #641 “One Moment in Time”
  • Batwoman #0
  • The Avengers #1 – Variant 7
  • I Zombie #1
  • Superman #702
  • We Will Bury You #1


Were your favorites nominated?  Who gets your vote this year for the best of the best in comics?  To find out who will take home the Golden Melty, check back here next week for the winners of the 2010 Meltdown Comic Awards!

Follow us on twitter @TVStaceyLevin and @GoTodash!

“Is there a Doctor in the house?”

 Posted by on January 17, 2011
Jan 172011
by: Jason Vaughn

If you’re not already a fan of what the Guinness World Records has deemed the most successful and longest running sci-fi series of all time, allow me to introduce you to the “Doctor.”  I think the 10th Doctor, David Tenant, said it best:

“I’m the Doctor. I’m a Time Lord. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the Constellation of Kasterborous. I’m 903 years old and I’m the man who is gonna save your lives and all 6 billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?”

Unless you’re slow, you’ve already caught on to the fact the Doctor is an alien, and the last of one of the most powerful races in the galaxy, the Time Lords. The Doctor travels through time and space armed with only his wit, a sonic screw driver, a time traveling spacecraft in the shape of a 1950’s style London police call box, and the occasional traveling companion (a.k.a. the obligatory damsel in distress.) As you’d expect, an entity as old and as powerful as the Doctor amasses a vast collection of enemies as he travels the universe fighting for the little people (which more often than not is the planet Earth.) Oh, and his being burdened with constant guardianship over the time stream is kind of a pain in the ass, too.

Terms like “it’s bigger on the inside” and “behind the sofa” entered into my childhood lexicon at an early age as I fell in love with the classic series played on Saturday mornings after my cartoon faves “Dragon’s Lair” and “The Real Ghostbusters.” So needless to say, I was completely stoked when I heard in 2005 that a new season of the hit BBC series was going to be airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. I was equally as thrilled to learn there would be an accompanying comic series as well.

IDW continues their current series based on the show with the first issue of “Doctor Who” arriving on the shelves this Wednesday. But hold on a sec, I bet you’re saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, how can this be the first issue of a series that’s been ongoing for years?”  Ah, now see, that’s because the Doctor has changed over the years and the creators of the show had the forethought to instill a little bit of mythology into the Doctor’s physiology to cover their own rear-ends in case their lead ever left the show, or started to develop an ego the size of the Tardis’ interior. It’s fairly ingenious because if the Doctor is ever gravely injured, he can regenerate, but it results in his appearance and personality changing. It’s one of these types of regenerations that has lead us from IDW’s previous book starring the much beloved 10th Doctor, exuberantly performed by the talented thespian David Tenant, to our current 11th Doctor played by newcomer Matt Smith.

In this inaugural issue, we catch up with the Doctor and his two current companions from the show Amy Pond and her fiancé Rory Williams (who we all know is just an obstacle the writers put in between the attractive “damsel” Amy and the newly young Doctor) as they’re forced to land on an alien planet after the Tardis is infected with spam like holographic images and phisher like emails personified. But as is par for the course when traveling with the Doctor, the trio find themselves in the midst of an invasion by intergalactic mercenaries. Scribe Tony Lee’s story feels like it was lifted straight from the show, as if somehow the idea was pitched and the powers that be turned it down for budget issues but said, “That’d make a good graphic novel though.” And I’m digging how artist Andrew Currie has managed to capture the likeness of the leads so accurately, the panels feel as if he had the cast stand in as models while he was working. Currie seems to have duplicated Matt Smith’s wide gamut of emotions from that of an exasperated baby sitter, to contemplative scholar, to mischievous alien, with what appears to be great ease.

My only problem with the issue, and the series before it as well, is there are certain elements in the show which are naturally lost in print translation, and their loss lessen my enjoyment of the book as a “Dr. Who” property. To me, one of the reasons “Dr. Who” is such a time honored property is due, in large part, to the “cheese factor” of the show. You just don’t get the same effect in print as you do on film when it comes to low budget effects. Nothing can replicate watching a grown man walk around in a tin can screaming “Exxteerrrminaaate!” (I don’t know. How would you make special effects in a comic book seem cheesy? Put glitter on the paper?) Another small issue is the absence of the Doctor’s delivery. We can all agree that 90% of the time we have no idea what the hell the Doctor is talking about. It’s not so much the incomprehensible techno babble which tickles our inner nerd as it is the delivery of those lines from Tenant and now Smith. They both have their own unrestrained way of piping us like the Piper himself into the Doctor’s outlandish adventures keeping us coming back for more.

But with my completely unreasonable complaints aside, I’m sure long time fans of both the book and the show will describe this first issue in one word, “brilliant!”

Follow me on Twitter: @GoTodash.

Thor Teaser Trailer !!

 Posted by on December 11, 2010
Dec 112010

For those of you mere mortals that don’t know your Heimdall from your Fandral, or the fact that “The Bard’s” bff Kenneth Branagh has been playing in an Asgardian sandbox lately, shame on you.  If you don’t know the Thunder God as the powerhouse Avenger, have no fear, for here’s a little peak of Thor’s origin story headed into theaters next year.   (Yes, the silly 80’s rocker hair aside, the guy was always pitted against Superman in all of those DC/Marvel crossover events.) Click on the link below to check out Marvel’s teaser site for the upcoming film along with the trailer.

Thor Movie Site!

Follow on twitter: Jason -@GoTodash

Come Jingle Your Bells With Boom! Studios..!

 Posted by on December 2, 2010
Dec 022010

by: Jason Vaughn

It’s that time of year again where the bravest of us venture to malls filled to the brim with over-caffeinated parents trying to get that last talking Elmo plush.  Or maybe you’re trying your best not to drink too much eggnog (what’s really in that stuff anyway) while suppressing an overwhelming desire to snicker at your girlfriend’s mother’s overly festive sweater.  I don’t know about you guys, but I would rather spend my holiday season knocking back a few cold ones and picking the brains of some of the most talented people working in the industry.   Wait a minute, what did I just hear?  Was that a jolly fat man and eight tiny reindeer ?  Not quite, but it’s a holy Christmas miracle, Batman.  The fine peeps at Boom! Studios are giving me exactly what I wanted for the holidays!  Check out their latest announcement.



December 1, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA – Can you believe it’s been a year since our last celebration? Neither can we! But it’s true. It’s time again for the BOOM! Studios holiday party at Meltdown comics, happening Monday, December 13 at 8pm! So won’t you join us? No guests lists, no velvet rope, if you’ve got the gas or the bus fare to make it to Meltdown Comics, you’re invited!

Who: Mix and Mingle with the BOOM! Crew!

When: Monday, December 13th, 8:00pm – till they kick us out!

Where: Meltdown Comics & Collectibles
7522 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90046

Why: FREE BEER while supplies last!
About BOOM! Studios
BOOM! Studios ( 2009 “Best Publisher” of the year, generates a wide-ranging catalog of multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated comic books and graphic novels featuring some of the industry’s top talent, including Philip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, 20th Century Fox’s 28 DAYS LATER and DIE HARD, The Henson Company’s FARSCAPE, and the original Mark Waid series IRREDEEMABLE. This fall sees BOOM! teaming up with the legendary Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics’ characters Spider-Man, The Hulk, and The X-Men for a line of original superhero series, the legend’s first new superhero creations in nearly 20 years. BOOM!’s youth imprint, BOOM Kids!, is an undisputed industry leader publishing Disney/Pixar’s THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, and TOY STORY, as well as Disney’s THE MUPPETS, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES. This year, BOOM! Studios celebrates its fifth anniversary.

Follow on twitter: Jason -@GoTodash

Nov 042010

by: Jason Vaughn

“It is a time of magic and monsters, a time when the civilized world has been reduced to a few scattered points of light glowing with stubborn determination amid a rising tide of shadows. It is a time when only the bravest dared to tread the wilds of the unknown…”

Welcome back, D&D!  Thanks to IDW Publishing, under license from Hasbro, Inc. and Wizards of the Coast, an all-new comic book series based on the crazy popular game launches next week.  For those who don’t know anything about “Dungeons & Dragons” (although you literally would had to have been living under a huge, all-consuming rock), it’s the biggest fantasy role-playing game ever.  It defined the genre, the industry and provided the social backdrop for countless number of fans for decades.   IDW’s “Dungeons & Dragons #1” is the inaugural issue of the first ongoing “Dungeons & Dragons” series in more than 20 years.

Ok, firstly, let me admit (much to the great relief of my internal teenage jock) that I didn’t play “Dungeons and Dragons” as a kid.  I missed out on the days of sitting in a dank basement in someone’s mother’s house with cardboard cutout swords, twelve-sided die and Led Zepplin playing in the background under a black light poster.  Fine, maybe not the Led Zep part – what?  Don’t look at me like that, it was college!  Now before you go and blow your helm and say that I’m just a role-player bashing troll, I’ll confess that much like Christine O’Donnell, “I too, am just like you.”  I may not have been into fantasy games as a kid, but as an adult, I‘ve completely embraced my inner nerd rage.  With the advent of MMORPGs, we now have the opportunity to pawn someone from half a world away… silly, silly newb.  Games like “World of Warcraft,” “Everquest,” and “Final Fantasy” owe their very existence to the grandfather of all role-playing games, D&D.  Jumping on to the bandwagon of RPG resurgence, the elven horde over at IDW is about to catapult a new ongoing “Dungeons & Dragons” title on to the shelves of Meltdown next week.  So until you’re able to loot a copy for your very own, let’s take a peek at the GM’s story page and see what’s in store for our not-so-merry band of adventurers.

Speaking of adventurers, no D&D campaign is complete without a diverse group of strangers from across the land coming together to fight for a common goal… or for common gold as often is the case .  (It’s a lot like the United Nations in that way, but I digress.)   The series artist Andrea Di Vito from Marvel’s “Thor” and “Nova,” renders such sharp characters that they look as if they just jumped out of a “Lord of the Rings” flick.  Adric Fell, a pirate like soldier-of-arms, leads a group consisting of a dwarven paladin named Kahl, the elven hunter Varis, the roguish halfling Bree, and the tiefling warlock Tisha (who resembles an unnatural breeding between a ram and elf.)   Having slayed the young black dragon and freed the human slaves in the Underdark (issue #0), we join our heroes as they enjoy a moment of relaxation in celebration of their recent victory.  The revelry doesn’t last long, however, as the group suddenly find themselves besieged upon by the walking dead.   (No, not the TV show, but yes they’re zombies).  In the course of defending himself, Adric slays several of the zombies only to find out a little too late they’re not the undead at all, but local villagers under a spell.  Now on the run for murder, Adric and his band of reluctant heroes must find out who’s behind a spell that’s turning normal folks into George A. Romero rejects all the while keeping their own skin intact in the process.

Writer John Rogers, “Transformers” screenwriter and co-creator of the television series “Leverage,” crafts an excellent introductory issue.  For those of us who might have missed the actual first issue “Dungeons and Dragons #0,” what I dig most about how this issue unfolds is Rogers’ avoidance of the overdone origin element.  Instead, he opts to throw us right into the middle of the story of Adric’s small band of adventurers.  This allows for a wide range of potential back story for future issues which is part and parcel for the D&D cannon.  And let’s face it, we’re all tired of the constant carbon copy “Avengers Assemble” feeling that most new team oriented books have.  The pacing was quick and the story moved along from page one.

I hope everyone has on their +5 dexterity cloaks when the “Dungeons & Dragons – Dark Sun” limited series releases right on the heels of this title in January because it’s going to be one wild ride full of gold, goblins, and gear.  And for all of you actual D&D players out there, don’t forget to check out the last two pages of the issue for a cool treat.

If anyone can guess where the title of this column originated from, then congratulations, you just won yourself Meltdown’s very own version of a “no-prize!”  Stephen Lynch has to be the funniest person with a guitar and too much time on his hands since Adam Sandler’s days with SNL.  (Now there’s an idea for “Comics on Comics.”)  Check out his album “Superhero” which includes the aforementioned “D&D,” then follow Stephen on twitter @TheStephenLynch and myself @GoTodash.