As the self-proclaimed "Ben Urich" of Boston comic book and geek culture, myself and my esteemed colleagues at VIGILANT GEEK MEDIA work around the clock to provide you with up-to-date, pertinent comic book and geek culture news! We discuss a plethora of graphic novel titles from the mainstream labels like Marvel, DC, Valiant and Image, to interesting indie publications both local, (Boston, MA), and nation-wide! Whether it be comic books, comics-based tv or movies, anime, gaming or who knows what else that makes you tick.. I am confident you will find it here at THE VIGILANT GEEK! Thanks so much to loyal fans of the blog and podcast, as well as you newcomers. I hope we all keep having fun and never grow up.

Your's Truly,



EMAIL US!: thevigilantgeek@gmail.com





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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014: A "Vigilant" Recap: Part Three

Boston Comic Con 2014: A "Vigilant" Recap: Part Three

Welcome back ya buncha NERDS! (Don't worry, it's something to be proud of. At least we're actually reading instead of sitting in front of the idiot box all day like the majority of the population ;) ) In the third installment of this monstrosity of a review, I'd like to take some time to recognize some of the best independent comic books I came across on my long constitutional through "artist's alley." The unfortunate aspect of the independent comic book community is that there is much difficulty for the creators in getting their literary works out there to the public. (This is something I am trying to fix, particularly with this blog!!) However, the great thing about these cons is that it provides creators with excellent exposure, and gives consumers a chance to meet with the actual writers and artists, talk about the premises of their books, sample the artwork, and find new, fresh reading material that one would never come across in the "mainstream" comic book world. Below are my Top 5 indie picks from the 2014 con:

5.) Jack Hammer

Brandon Barrows: Writer
Ionic: Artwork
Brant Fowler: Letterer

"a private detective with a strong right arm and a penchant for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong"

This one was a blast, and not only because it took place in Boston! Private eye Jack McGriskin is searching for a missing person. However, all he finds is a dead corpse ridden with rigor mortis, and a network of crime and corruption that leads him from the blue blood streets of Boston, Massachusetts, to the halls of congress! This was a favorite of mine simply because I love crime fiction, I love dark, gritty character development, and I love Boston! Imagine if "Dirty Harry" was converted to graphic novel form, and took place in Boston instead of San Francisco.. O.k. good. Now add a lot more suspense, plot twists, government corruption and BLOOD. Yeah, that pretty much sums up Jack Hammer.. Just like Clint Eastwood, he's a "tough as nails" street avenger who plays by his own rules. Bad-Ass!

*** To obtain your copy of Jack Hammer, visit Brandon Barrow's website @ www.brandonbarrowscomics.com

OR visit the ACTION LAB website @ www.actionlabcomics.com

4.) Heart of the Kings

DJ O'Connor: Writer / Artist
Jess Dumas: Cover Art
Harrison DiBona: Graphic Designer
Tony Semekis: Creative Director

"With fingers like lightning and a heart of steel, this man would bring on to the world precisely what it needed, which was...... TASTY ASS JAMS."

This tale of a headbanger's personal struggles while on the path to greatness is the brainchild of breakthrough writer / artist DJ O'Connor. For being DJ's first publication with FD Press, the concept was fresh and distinctive, and the pencil work electrifying and dare I say... NARLY?! This tale of the strife one guitarist goes through on his journey to rock and roll stardom takes the reader through a failed stage dive, a nasty brawl with a violent skinhead mosher and a pink slip from fellow band mates. In fact, everything seems to be spiraling downhill for our hero rocker; that is until he has an encounter with "Hathor," the "goddess of music"! A fresh new concept, a fresh new up-and-comer to the independent comics community and an all around fun read. 

***To obtain your copy of Heart of the Kings, contact DJ O'Connor @ djoconnorart@gmail.com
or visit the publisher's website, (FD PRESS) @ ReadFD.com

3.) Return to Rander

Tony Sedani: Writer / Artist

"His journey will not only be about finding "Rander," but about finding himself."

Imagine you are stranded far from home.... with amnesia!!! That is exactly the premise of this graphic novel masterpiece. The main protagonist of the story has no recollection of his past, and simply wants to find his home: "Rander." If that's not a scary enough concept for you, throw in a mysterious, cold, calculated villian like "The Matador," (shown above in the creepy white mask), who is relentless in his pursuit of our hero, some incredibly intricate supporting characters, and you have a story so creative and suspenseful that I guarantee... yes GUARANTEE, that you won't be able to put it down until you have read all three issues of The Lone Savior. Additionally, I really love Sedani's artwork. A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Sedani definitely was able to fine-tune his own personal style. The attention to detail Sedani puts into each panel is just awesome; and it makes the reader feel like they are along for the journey. Additionally, readers will see the hero dawning a very interesting Eastern-inspired outfit, complete with a killer samurai sword, a six-shooter and a hat so distinctive, the reader can distinguish the main protagonist in the darkest of silhouettes. This is something Sedani planned for years ahead of time. With elements of numerous genres, including, but not limited to kung-fu, western, action/adventure and fantasy, this is one of the most original independent graphic novel series out there today. Be on the lookout for issue #4 by October, 2014.

*** To obtain your copies of the Return to Rander series, be sure to visit Tony Sedani's website @ www.returntorander.com

2.) M3

Erica Schultz: Writer
Vicente Alcazar: Artist

"An award winning crime series about an assassin's search for the truth"

Considering the fact that this publication won "Best Comic" at the 2012 Burbank International Film Festival, I'm sure the quotation above speaks for itself. However, in my own words, this was a realistic and refreshing read with top shelf artwork. The reason I found this so refreshing, is that there really aren't enough crime noir books out there right now, especially starring a female protagonist. I am typically not drawn to female characters, not because I am chauvinistic, but simply because most female characters in comic books are written by men; and since men typically do not know what it is like to be a woman.. well it leads to very one dimensional female characters. What I am trying to say is that when men write female characters, they usually end up with very masculine personalities. This takes away a lot of the realism for the reader.
However, with that being said, the way Erica Schultz writes the character Machiavella Maria Marcona, (M3), is such a breath of fresh air, and so much more exciting to read than most other female protagonists. This character has the brutality of The Punisher, but maintains her strong sense of femininity throughout all of her struggles escaping custody and going on the lam from the feds. This one really and truly kept me on the edge of my seat.

*** To obtain your copy of M3, visit the official M3 website, @ m3comic.com

1.) Roadhouse Sons: Dangerous Gambles

J.H. Sanderson: Creator
Allison Barrows: Writer / Layouts / Illustration
Romas: Artist / Cover Art
Alexandra Kukalis: Digital Assistant
Mia Moravis: Producer

"On a sunny summer day in 1978, the whole world went to hell."

That is the very first line on the first page of the first volume of this thrilling mash-up of rock and roll and espionage, read by none other than Walter Cronkite! Have you ever wondered what would have happened if the Cold War went HOT?? J.H. Sanderson, former pro wrestler and current road manager of the band Studebaker Hawk, (the inspiration for Roadhouse Sons), paints a grim picture of what that alternate future would be like. In a society where basically every desirable commodity is rationed by the government, (ie. meat, coffee, booze, gasoline etc.), there is little in regards to escapism except to go see live bands play at dingy dive bars. Enter: the Roadhouse Sons, the next big rock and roll sensation, complete with full backing by the U.S. government! How did this happen? In the sneakiest manner possible, the F.B.I. forces the band into a compromising situation in which they must agree to be government operatives!
Based on Sanderson's novel Dangerous Gambles, book one of the seven-part series about the Roadhouse Sons, this one completely blew me out of the water. With artwork by Allison Barrows and Romas that far surpasses most mainstream illustration, and an in-depth plot with amazing character development, it became an immediate addiction to follow the band members through their dangerous spy caper of murder and corruption. By the end of part one, it is apparent that the band members really have no one to trust; and that makes for great "edge-of-the-seat" reading! As this outstanding work of graphic novel literature is by far my NUMBER ONE PICK from artist's alley this year, be prepared for me to rave about it some more in an additional article real soon..

*** To obtain your copies of Roadhouse Sons: Dangerous Gambles, visit the official website @ www.roadhousesons.com

Well ladies and germs, after covering this con, I am spent! See you at next year's Boston Comic Con, and be on the lookout for more of my comic-related rants very soon!!

Your pal with the comic book "know-how,"
The Vigilant Geek

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014: A "Vigilant" Recap: Part Deux

Boston Comic Con: Part Two

Welcome back to the "Vigilant" recap of Boston Comic Con 2014! Since there were so many attractions to cover, this review had to be split into three parts!! Incredible.. I know!

Anyhow, down to business... and yes comic books are a business! .... and yes, I MEAN BUSINESS when talking about them...

The next panel that is absolutely VITAL to mention is the BAT-PANEL!


BATMAN: ZERO YEAR (paying homage to Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27, Bob Kane and Bill Finger)

Setting: Seaport World Trade Center Ampitheater

Characters: The Vigilant Geek and his team of evil comic book geniuses, a room full of annoying strangers dressed in silly costumes, and of course, the greatest creative team in comic books today, the current writer and artist of the Batman title book, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, DC's Super team (Capullo left, Snyder right)

I am well aware that I tend to talk a blue streak about these two gentlemen on here, and maybe after this article, I'll give it a rest for a little while, but they are just so damn good at what they do! These two have revamped and redefined the dark knight with such grace and articulation, that there is no possible way either of them won't go down in bat-history as two of the absolute best to ever work on the book, (alongside the likes of Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Denny O'Neill, Neal Adams, Chuck Dixon, Frank Miller, Paul Dini, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, to name a few). DC exec. Dan Didio handed these two the metaphorical "keys" to Gotham City at the dawn of the "New 52," and the duo has been hitting it out of the park ever since.

Snyder has been handed the keys to Gotham, and I don't think there is anyone out there that wishes for him to give them up anytime soon.

Snyder made his name working on the Marvel book, American Vampire, often collaborating and receiving mentorship from the king of horror himself, Steven King!! Once DC discovered Snyder's incredible talent for creating elements of a dark and disturbing nature, they made sure to put him right on their darkest book, Batman! Ever since that point, approximately three years ago, he and Capullo have provided us with such hits as The Gates of Gotham, The Court of Owls, The City of the Owls, Death of the Family, Zero Year and coming next month.. Endgame!! He has also blown everyone away with his horror thriller for the Vertigo Comics line, The Wake. 

Capullo made a name for himself in the realm of the dark and disturbing as well, working alongside comic book legend Todd McFarlane on their infamous run with Spawn. He is also famous for his work on Haunt. With a horror-filled rap sheet like that, this charismatic master of pen and paper, (who came out to the panel not unlike pro-wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin), was the clear choice to draw the dark knight and all of his rouges gallery. Listening to Capullo talk about how he came to work on Batman is actually a hilarious tale. In a nutshell, he stated that he got married, his wife came with kids, forcing him to make more money, forcing him to go "mainstream," forcing him to decide between working on Avengers vs. X-men for Marvel, or Batman for DC... Well Greg, I think I speak for the comic geek masses when I humbly say, YOU MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE!

Snyder and Capullo, scared stiff by the monster they themselves created.. The New 52, Death of the Family Joker! Perhaps the most gruesome and horrifying Joker we will see for a long time.

The coolest part of the panel for me was that these two weren't afraid to talk about their work dynamic and how it has evolved over the past three years working together. In fact, Snyder and Capullo could not stand each other when their partnership first kicked off. Snyder, being a fresh young mind for DC at the time, found himself a neurotic worry-wart, still in awe that he was now the leading mind behind Batman's adventures, trials and tribulations for the indefinite future. Therefore, his scripts tended to be extremely lengthy and redundant in regards to the artist descriptions. Clearly, he just wanted to do the title justice and not miss a beat. Capullo on the other hand, being a veteran of the industry, was annoyed by Snyder's scripts, being used to working off of much more concise scripts in the past. With this much conflict, it's a wonder how some of their earlier work, such as The Court of Owls, was so damn good! Then again, these are two golden gods of the graphic novel medium we are talking about here. Needless to say, the two must have ironed out all of the kinks, because they have been producing what I like to refer to as "Bat-Gold" ever since their partnership began.

Scott Snyder with his son, little Bat-Snyder! This is freaking adorable!

The duo then began to drop very subtle hints regarding their next Batman story arc, Endgame. Though they didn't disclose as much information as I was hoping they would, Capullo can be quoted as stating that this arc will be their biggest "game-changer" yet. What I did learn about the arc was that Batman will be dawning a new, heavily-armored, high-tech batsuit. The reason for this you might ask? Apparently, Batman will be facing off against, "a character from the DC Universe that no one would ever expect Batman to go up against"... HMMMMM.....
Well, it's probably not Superman, because that's been done by Frank Miller and is being converted to live-action by Zack Snyder, (no relation to Scott), for 2016's Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Who will the caped-crusader have beef with over the upcoming year then?? Darkseid? Mongul? Doomsday perhaps?? The suspense is killing me, but just like the rest of you.. I guess I will have to wait and find out..

Another huge bomb dropped by Snyder was that, "the Joker WILL reappear in Endgame."However, with this being said, apparently Batman will have much bigger fish to fry. For those that follow the literature, I wonder what the Joker will look like in this arc, due to the fact that his face fell off again and dropped down the sewer at the end of Death of the Family, only to be recovered by the Joker's Daughter. Will the Joker be faceless? Perhaps he staples a new face onto his dome?? Maybe he gets his old face back from his so-called "daughter?" Once again, we will have to wait and find out!

The Joker WILL return for Batman: Endgame

To conclude this portion of the review, I found it appropriate to make a quick run through recent bat-history, pointing out all the exciting new and revamped characters Snyder and Capullo have given us over the past three years:

Batman: The Court of Owls

The Court of Owls, a secret society within Gotham with a very evil agenda

A "Talon" assassin of the Court of Owls

The Joker from Batman: Death of the Family

The Joker, DOTF, shown hacking away at a Gotham Police officer

The Joker, DOTF, shown having an eerie waltz with a bloodied batsuit

Bruce Wayne having a nice civil chat with Clayface during a short interim arc

Snyder and Capullo's new Joker origin, (paying homage to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke) from Batman: Zero Year: Secret City

Lucious Fox having an unfortunate run-in with Doctor Death, from Batman: Zero Year

Doctor Death may not be making house calls, but he was an instrumental part to the Riddler's master plan, from Batman: Zero Year

Snyder and Capullo's recreation of The Riddler, from Batman: Zero Year

Second only to Lex Luthor as the biggest narcissistic, "know-it-all" douchebag in the DCU. Batman: Zero Year

The Dark Knight and the "Emerald Douchebag" facing off. Batman: Zero Year

Wow, what a ride over the past three years!! Although it is rumored that this super team is leaving Batman with the conclusion of Endgame, I sincerely hope that the Snyder/Capullo freight train continues at full steam for years to come. Thanks guys, from one of your biggest fans, the Vigilant Geek.

*** The Vigilant Geek Boston Comic Con 2014 recap is still not over!! Join me for part three sooner than you can say.. SHAZAM!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

BOSTON COMIC CON 2014: A "Vigilant" Recap!


That special time of year for all of those fanboys and girls has once again come and gone, but it will not be forgotten! (At least not until next year's con) 

As myself and my comic book colleagues entered the illustrious golden gates of Boston's Seaport World Trade Center, along with the rest of New England's geek, nerd and fanboy community, it was almost impossible to contain our excitement. Once through the gate, we were each handed the annual program, featuring none other than one of this year's most popular Marvel Comics characters, ROCKET RACCOON from "GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY," Marvel's most successful box office hit to date.

Once on the main floor of the con, my team and I were awestruck by the numerous "cosplayers" from almost every comic book, video game, tv series and comic/sci-fi/horror- related film imaginable. Here are some of my favorite "cosplayers" from this year below, in no particular order (all photography by Jevon Renee) :

2014 Boston Comic Con: Best of Cosplay!!

An "All-Female" Avengers Team!! Can someone say, GIRL POWER?!!

Gotham City "Goddess of Greenery" Poison Ivy, (left), Roger Rabbit's vixen love interest, Jessica Rabbit, (right), and the WWE's Carlito "Caribbean" Cool, (center) 

Quite the impressive wingspan on The Dark Knight!!


These two youngsters must have visited Stark Industries before the con, because their Iron Man and War Machine suits are on point!!

A sexy Star Wars alien babe escaped from Jaba the Hutt's lair to spend some time with us!
The "New England Ghostbusters," a Ghostbusters cosplay philanthropy group,   puts together live-action Ghostbusters shows for the terminally-ill and underprivileged. They are an amazing group of people with extremely realistic Ghostbusters props that include the suits, packs, "ghost-catching equipment," and movie props.

The "New England Ghostbusters," posing with my good friend Jevon in front of the infamous portrait of "Vigo, the Scourge of Carpathia" from Ghostbusters 2

Nightcrawler making some serious headway with Fiona of "Adventure Time."
Gotham City vixens Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn, up to no good as usual. The women of Gotham City are insane, but damn do they get this "vigilant geek's" motor running!

The Goddess of Cosplay: Ivy Doomkitty!!

Ivy Doomkitty as Psylocke from "The X-Men"

Speaking of "motors running," this gorgeous cosplay queen was the "go-to lady" for all things "cosplay" at this year's con; and I just wouldn't feel like I've completely covered the con without giving this beauty her justified props!

One might assume that Ivy gets her professional name from some of the comic book characters she is known for playing. (A mash-up of Poison Ivy, Doctor Doom and Black Cat perhaps?)

This stunning beauty held a cosplay-oriented Boston harbor cruise last Saturday.. wish I could have been a "fly-on-the-wall!"

Ivy as Captain Marvel this year!! (Alongside Mistress Death, a Batman/Deadpool mash-up, Venom and Black Cat!
Not only was this starlet in charge of the 2014 costume contest, but she also ran seminars on "cosplay fundamentals," such as costume design and acting!

As busy as Miss Doomkitty was this year, she still made time to keep all of us geeks frothing and drooling at the mouth wherever she went.

Such a gorgeous creature! Come play XBOX at my place Ivy?

Once my team and I got through gawking at the cosplayers and checking out some of the merchandise that Chris's Comics, Comicazi, Valiant Comics, Harrison's Comics and New England Comics all had to offer, it was time to hit the panels! The first panel of the day was a Q and A session with Sean Astin of the cult classic films "The Goonies," "Rudy," and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Although Sean was not able to elaborate on the upcoming sequel to "The Goonies," he was an extremely entertaining speaker. He talked thoroughly about his time working with Elijah Wood on "LOTR," mentioning a hilarious anecdote about him and Elijah leaving the set at lunch time and going for take-out with their hobbit feet still on. He also expanded on his voice work for the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" animated show in which he does the voice for Raphael. Sean was very polite and showed great finesse in answering all of the audience question, even making time to do impressions from "The Goonies," "Rudy," "LOTR," and "TMNT," just to humor the crowd. All in all, Mr. Astin held a great panel, and seemed like a really nice guy who is dedicated to his fans.

The Vigilant Geek 2014 Boston Comic Con Review is not over yet!!! We have barely reached the tip of the iceberg on all the event had to offer!! STAY TUNED FOR BOSTON COMIC CON REVIEW, PART 2!!