Comic Book Awards for October


~By Nandor Shaffer

If you are a regular comic book reader, you’ve by all means become aware of Marvel’s obsession over relaunching a series. Frankly, you can’t make it through a year without seeing comic titles renumbered back to their “first issue”. Keep in mind this is a comic book companies’ way of drawing in and compensating for new or on-the-fence readers, but for veterans, including myself, it can be a nuisance, albeit a minor one. This year, the latest push from Marvel comes in the form of their All-New, All-Different Marvel line which launched just this October. As a whole I wasn’t all that excited for the offerings this ploy would bring personally (and still find it odd that Marvel didn’t wait until the conclusion of Secret Wars to launch it), and there are many reasons for why. But, fortunately, there were a few books I was looking forward to that debuted, however — Doctor Strange, Invincible Iron Man, and Uncanny Inhumans. These three titles will be added to my monthly purchases indefinitely for the foreseeable future. The other comic book titles I picked up this month were the regulars, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor and Ant-Man merely taking on fresh headings as Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Year Two and The Astonishing Ant-Man. The second and third issues of Star Wars: Shattered Empirereleased as well, with its fourth and final issue coming out in November.

Out of these potential winners, which comics received the Comic Book Awards for the month of October? And did my pickings from All-New, All-Different Marvel prove to have any merit? The verdict is barely a few scrolls down…

Cover of the Month Award: Invincible Iron Man #1

Cover Artists: David Marquez & Justin Ponsor


It’s uncommon to see the kind of cover design artist David Marquez delivered for Invincible Iron Man #1. I’m partial to binding comic book covers such as this one and so when I catch sight of them I’m always delightfully impressed. Not only is it impressive in how an artist goes the extra mile, but when the front-to-back cover image turns out to look as dramatically sensational as this, there are no complaints or critiques to be had. Blasting off of the Stark Tower roof from the back cover, the golden Avenger Iron Man shoots his latest suit of the classic red and gold armor into the forefront, modeling a heroic pose in flight. While Iron Man absolutely grants the piece its strong presence, the striking detail Marquez gave the cityscape below is jaw-dropping. His handling of the shifting perspective from back to front is just excellent, and every rooftop and skyscraper is equally abounding with acute attention. You can even make out the bustling traffic on the city streets. Finally, I love the way New York City blossoms under the heels Iron Man, the figure-ground relationship presented to balance each other out. In artistic terms, this cover is edgily close to invincible.

Art of the Month Award: Invincible Iron Man #1

Artist: David Marquez

Color Artist: Justin Ponsor


David Marquez and Justin Ponsor provide the interior artwork together as well for the first issue of Invincible Iron Man, and if the cover art is any indication, this book looks just as fabulous on the inside. Marquez and writer Brian Michael Bendis have worked together on some issues of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and All-New X-Men, so I’d imagine they have a comfortable team system. I say that because their smooth collaboration seems apparent in Invincible Iron Man #1 (pages 4-6, especially) with how the comic flows nicely itself. I did have one or two instances where I wasn’t quite sure which panel followed which due to the connecting panel layouts, so that is a concern, but the majority of the comic is perfectly fine in that regard. This being my first comic drawn by Marquez, I found his style to fit the character well, and the moments where Tony Stark’s sleek, new Iron Man armor is featured are indeed where he and colorist Justin Ponsor shine. Sponsor’s rich, radiating colors are really what make the book stand out. Madame Masque will be a recurring character in this storyline and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her mask look as gleaming or vibrant before, which enhances the character’s appearance in a notable fashion. Also, the new Iron Man suit design is a nice touch. A fun part of Iron Man’s character is evolving his suit every now and then, and I’m fond of this elegant iteration.

Story of the Month Award: Doctor Strange #1 (“The Way of the Weird”) 

Writer: Jason Aaron 



At last, the wait is over. The Sorcerer Supreme has his very own ongoing comic book series. I’ve been wanting a Doctor Strange book for at least three years now (when I started loving the character) so holding the first issue of his comic is surreal. I wondered for the longest time how a title starring Stephen Strange would be in the current comic landscape. What epic stories about heaven, hell, demonic spirits, and black magic could be told? Where would these stories take the good Doctor on an individual level? I didn’t get exactly what I expected from Doctor Strange #1, but what was given was more than enough. One thing I became worried about when I heard Jason Aaron was on board to write Doctor Strange was that he might bring an overabundance of humor or, shall we say, corniness, to the book, not taking it very seriously, as he did at some points during his runs on both Wolverine and Thor: God of Thunder. It’s too early to tell from the first issue alone, but its tone left me with a positive aftertaste.

Mr. Aaron does a good job introducing Doctor Strange with the action-packed opening pages accompanied with backstory narrative told from Strange’s perspective. This issue acts a terrific introduction to the character, familiarizing you with what kind of threats he faces and his distinct mindset. At the same time, it sets up a larger plot Jason Aaron is building up to (there’s a short story that pertains to this at the end of the issue, too). I can tell it takes a few steps in the cheesy, somewhat streamlined, direction, but, as a whole, a giant leap into the right direction for the Sorcerer Supreme. The important thing is that there is now a Doctor Strange comic book and its first issue was superb. Here’s hoping it can keep itself above the dreaded cancellation waters.

Issue of the Month Award: The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Ramon Rosanas 

Color Artist: Jordan Boyd 

Cover Artist: Mark Brooks 



There have been so many times I’ve wanted Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas’ Ant-Man to receive either the Story of the Month or Issue of the Month Award. It never has (though close at times)…until now. The Astonishing AntMan #1 is an adequate first dip into Scott Lang’s tangled life, however, it’s basically Ant-Man #7. The “astonishing” adjective is purely there to spice things up for the title’s all-too-soon relaunch (thanks for that, Marvel). With that said, please pick up those past six issues (plus the Annual) if you can before you read this. It’s not totally essential, but you’ll be extremely happy with yourself if you do ASAP. Cutting to the chase, I love, love, love the Ant-Man comic. The light-hearted humor is the best of any comic book I’ve ever read in all my years of reading comics and the stories are so much fun to read. The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 carries the same playful charm of the issues that have come before it: Scott Lang is still struggling to get his life stable on a day to day basis, the dialogue/narration will have your mouth hurting from how much sincere laughing you’ll be doing, and at the end of the comic, you’ll say to yourself, without a doubt, “that was good”. 

Ramon Rosanas’ part in making the comic as brilliant as it is cannot be understated. His simplistic form contributes to the simple, but clever, storytelling to an indispensable degree. To top The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 off as Issue of the Month is the exceptionally stylized cover by Mark Brooks. Villains accompany Ant-Man, whom curiously has his fingers crossed behind his back. Scott Lang has a shady history in the comics, so what this cover may be hinting at for the future of the series is intriguing. What is the not-so-lucky Ant-Man up to? The surprising final page of the issue may give you a hint.

Turns out All-New, All-New Different Marvel made a good impression, I’d say. Thank you all for checking out my awards for October and be sure check back sometime next month for November’s Comic Book Awards! Until then, hopefully you and I will continue to be reading comics!

Book Blurb


One of the things I noticed is that not many indie authors have a book blurb. A book blurb is often a single image with the author’s book, a snazzy background, and a bit of text on the story or quality of the novel. It is a great way to advertise your book and its far more eye-catching.

Perhaps the reason few authors have them is because it can be complicated or expensive to make. Having worked in the printing industry for years, I have acquired some skill in Photoshop and design.

Not to be confused with an expert, I am handy and deft with putting together a fairly competent book blurb. I am willing to help others for a fraction of the cost of other sites. My basic book cover, background image, and text you provide is just $10. I then will give you a a 300 dpi jpg and the psd if you desire (original image quality will determine true dpi).

If you are interested, please send me an email at: clay pyramid @ [remove the spaces].



The Tome, 2nd Edition

Available today on Amazon, my 2nd edition of The Tome is available for 99 cents.

Wild Bill Coyote never played a hand of poker unless his back was to the wall, except the time when a kid put a bullet through his brain. Jim Jason wasn’t going to make a similar mistake, as he nestled himself in the corner of the Wallace Terrence Library gazing across the large open atrium. Jim Jason harassed, berated, and bullied at school never thought he would be able to exact revenge against his fellow students. Then one day he finds an ancient book, the tome. The many varied short stories whisper to him, telling Jim how to get even, to take what he wants in the world. He realizes the power on the yellowed pages and focuses all his lusts and desires onto the one girl he wishes to have. What are the costs for this power to bend time and the minds of others?


You can buy the book here:

Comic Book Awards for September


~Nandor Schaffer

Having reached the one year anniversary mark for my Comic Book Awards (check out August’s awards in case you missed it), its back with September’s edition and is proud to summarize what my monthly batch had to offer its comic book readers across the globe. In the Marvel corner, the eleventh and final issue of Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, Star Wars #8, and Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 were the only three titles to make the cut for September (the sixth issue of Secret Wars is to be released in October). Marvel will also be inaugurating its All-New, All-Different line in October, so be ready for much more excitement coming from them. My two current ongoing DC titles, The Flash and Aquaman, had both their 44th issue published since the dawn of the New 52 and Titan Comics’ mega event, Doctor Who: Four Doctors, said farewell after its conclusion with issues four and five this month. I was additionally pleased to get my hands on Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim’s The Dying & The Dead #3 from Image Comics after it skipped publication the last few months. Hickman’s note at the end of the comic explains the solicitation hiccups and, sadly but wisely, goes on to say that the series will not return until next year for time and quality purposes. In the meantime I recommend that you find the first three issues, read them, and be ready for what this ambitious independent book is going to bring in 2016. With all that said…

Out of these nominees, which comics received the Comic Book Awards for the month of September?

Cover of the Month Award: Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

Cover: Phil Noto 


Cover artist Phil Noto brings a lot of good vibes with his cover for Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1, a new comic book series taking place straightly right after the events of Return of the Jedi under the media-lapping Journey To Star Wars: The Force Awakens banner. Heroes from the original trilogy – Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Lando Calrissian, Wicket – all stand in celebration on the Forest Moon of Endor with shining smiles, recapturing that victorious moment when the Rebel Alliance defeated the Empire at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI. It’s a combination between this and Noto’s – metaphorically speaking – fragrant and lively iteration of that moment which had me pick it to receive this award. The attention to lighting and precision is delicately wonderful and to draw up that classic Star Wars feel is an envious artistic outcome to master. It’s, frankly, a beautifully magical cover.

Art of the Month Award: The Flash #44

Penciller: Brett Booth

Inker: Norm Rapmund

Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse



I know The Flash has been awarded Art of the Month once or twice before and Brett Booth’s awesome, premiere superhero style of comic book art has still been an appetizing treat to look over in the last year despite it not getting recognized more often. How much goes into these pages of The Flash #44 appears daunting; the exaggerated panel layouts, excessive use of lightning and minuscule detail, and fast-paced action will keep your eyes moving and keep your mind at work. It would be my guess Booth has all the artistic freedom for the page layouts and what I love about how they are so sporadic is because they ideally suit The Flash as a character. Every page of The Flash #44 has this snappy energy to it, as do Booth’s previous issues on the series, and it’s absolutely rife with intensity from the outset. Of course, the comic does have slow points, but by the twelfth page and from then on, things get explosive as The Flash’s battle against two of Zoom’s team members sets off. At times, Brett Booth can handle the anatomy poorly, but there’s hardly any sign of that in The Flash #44. In all areas complimented by inker Norm Rapmund and excellent colorist Andrew Dalhouse, this is an art team that valiantly captures the form of the fastest man alive like they’ve been doing it all their lives.

Story of the Month Award: Doctor Who: Four Doctors #4

Writer: Paul Cornell


Anytime you’re dealing with a Doctor Who story, especially one containing three Doctors within the story, there is bound to be serious complications and pivotal moments. There’s also the need for a satisfying payoff, one that isn’t rushed and manages to orchestrate a successful climax that gives credit to the beginning and middle of the adventure, wrapping everything up in a nice little bow(tie?…okay, I’ll stop). Doctor Who: Four Doctors #5 is the final issue for this comics event and, while it doesn’t exactly capitalize on an epic note, there’s plenty of excitement and great developments within the issue. I was surprised by how well Paul Cornell expertly maneuvered the pace and finale of such an (at least from where I’m sitting) challenging plot involving the three Time Lords and their respective companions. With the Doctors’ cleverness in action, all the characters do their part to put an end to what the old, renegade Twelfth Doctor has set in motion as the leader of the Voord. While I would’ve liked to have seen more fantastic instances of all The Doctors working together to save the universe in this issue and have their departures from each other to have been written with more care, the majority of the issue is a brilliant blast. This series is, on all accounts, a truly amazing Doctor Who story and most likely my favorite comic book story of the TV show that I’ve read. The Voord are an impressive addition to the numerous alien races within the Doctor Who universe and I wouldn’t mind seeing them appear in future episodes of the TV show, if that would be possible.

Issue of the Month Award: Doctor Who: Four Doctors #4

Writer: Paul Cornell 

Artist: Neil Edwards

Colorist: Ivan Nunes

Cover Art: Neil Edwards & Ivan Nunes



Doctor Who: Four Doctors #5 might have the better story, but it is #4 that takes September’s award for Issue of the Month. The reason for that is this issue is the turning point for the series, where the adventure gets real and dire. After the astonishing cliffhanger of #3 revealing that an alternate, older version of the Twelfth Doctor was in fact the perpetrator of this entire situation, we are given his ultimate reasoning behind his actions and what this means for his previous incarnations and the universe. We get to see most of what occurs in Doctor Who: Four Doctors #4 from the perspective of the scarred Twelfth Doctor as well as Gabrielle Gonzales, and what carries the issue along is the curiosity of how the Doctors will come out of this incredible circumstance on top. It appears the Voord have the upper hand, and, as one companion falls, what might be the answer to saving the Doctor’s from creating their own destiny of loneliness and desperateness? You’ll have to read this issue and the next to find out. Another reason, a big one, why this issue deserves this award is because of Neil Edwards and colorist Ivan Nunes. Both their cover art and interior artwork is top of the line for Doctor Who: Four Doctors #4. This creative partnership for the series reminds me of artist Bryan Hitch’s work, and that’s a pretty steep evaluation. Edwards does a exemplary job at facial expressions and the storytelling aspects of the comic. Coming into the series, I knew he would do a good job, but, instead, he’s done a fantastic one. 

Thank you all once again for checking out my awards for September and be sure check back sometime next month for October’s Comic Book Awards (I’m excited to see how those turn out)! Until then, hopefully you and I will continue to be reading comics!

Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey

Emerald Tablet:

One of my classic science-fantasy reads from my childhood, I always dreamed to live on Pern. Although as Megan admits, there is some wacky story elements, I can overlook them for the pure visceral atmosphere of the world. Perhaps now if I re-read the series, I may find them less entertaining but in the late 70s and 80s they were fantastic.

Originally posted on SF Mistressworks:

DragonflightDragonflight, Anne McCaffrey (1968)
Review by Megan AM

It’s about humans who leave Earth for a new planet, shun existing technology, adopt feudalism, breed lizards into genetically enhanced dragons, and even figure out teleportation and time-travel (by way of the fire-belching dragons).

And beat their women.

Unfortunately, I read these books out of order. I tend to do this a lot, normally by accident. Other times, I think I can get away with reading the meat of the series, without the appetizer. In this case, I really thought that Dragonflight, born of McCaffrey’s Hugo Award winning novellas, was an appetizer and would be absorbed into the follow-up novel Dragonquest. I was correct in my assumption, sort of, but it was bland and unsatisfying, so I went back and read the first novel, and I’m so glad I did. Dragonflight is time-jumps more enjoyable than its sequel, the 1972…

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Baktun — RPG of an Alternate Mesoamerica


The world of Baktun is an alternate universe, parallel to Earth in all ways save for one horrifying reality. The Black Death of Europe, in the 14th century, decimated the Eurasian continent sending it back to the Stone Age.  There is no discovery of the New World, because there was simply no Renaissance. Europe and Asia has fallen into utter decay and desperation, humanity clinging barely to what little civilization that is left. The ships filled with white devils, never arrived in the lands of the people of Mesoamerica. The great empires there rose and fell, not according to the Spanish or other European powers, but by the god kings of Mesoamerica.

f1a27ac0a56a3ecac9de3e31f36c8816The people and cultures of Baktun never invented the wheel or had access to beasts of burden. They sidestepped the Industrial Age too, using their advanced mathematics and understanding of forces beyond the knowledge of our modern science to create their own history. Many times have the great empires of ancient Mexico fallen into utter barbarism, but each time they have risen from the jungle and desert to spread their culture and powers into the lands of the Americas. The quirky and powerful science of black matter, dark energy, and the forces of the gods expounded by countless new civilizations and cultures magnified their ability to create wondrous devices that even today would seem magical or unbelievable.

In this world gods truly exist, beings of such tangible powers that serfs and priests alike dare not sneer upon their dogma and religious ceremonies. Born from sacrificing blood, magic and eldritch power hold firm a grasp in the lands of Baktun. Gods both minor and powerful rule the kingdoms with force, armies from the Aztec, Mayan, Toltec, Olmec, Mixtec, and Incan doing their biding.

Runes and symbols harnessing the energy of tachyon, neutrino, and subatomic particles are the panoply of priests and magicians, using them to unleash devastating and miraculous effects. Tapping into the forces of dark matter and energy, the power of gods, they summon unimaginable powers into our dimension.

The time is upon us, the last of the Fourteenth Baktun or the End of Days! The unknown kingdoms to the east place it on 21st of December in their year of 2012.

56986.ngsversion.1421961423489.adapt.768.1It is now that the gods shake the world! The near omnipotent mortal kings equally tremble the Earth with armies in the hundreds of thousands, marching toward new lands to conquer and the search for endless sacrifices — Blood must be acquired to stave off the End of Days. Perhaps akin to another universe when their world spun into a chaotic storm of global war, the fourteenth Baktun is a harsh and violent period in the final expansion of Mesoamerica. Will the empires survive or will the world end as the oracles have prophesied?

Scattered throughout Mesoamerica are ancient ruins, long forgotten cities, pyramid temples dedicated to gods of ancient times. Wealth, power, and eldritch items await the brave adventurer bold enough to rediscover the lost lands. In one of these ancient and vanished places, the key to the new Baktun lay long forgotten.

Adventurers from the long lost Triple Alliance are being brought together and given freedom to travel the lands in search of such places. Go now and find the key to the fifteenth age of Baktun!


Villains & Vigilantes


Jack Herman and Jeff Dee co-created the classic 1979 superhero tabletop role-playing game Villains and Vigilantes back in 1979. They started Monkey House Games in 2010 when they learned that V&V’s original publisher, Fantasy Games Unlimited Inc., had ceased to exist in 1991 and that the publishing rights had reverted to them at that time.

Unfortunately, the old publisher’s former president was not willing to let go and so they have become embroiled in a lawsuit. The claim that the publishing rights reverted to them has been upheld in court, but their opponent is still fighting over the trademark to the game’s name. They’ve been fighting for their rights for several years, and frankly they need more money in order to carry this battle to a final victory. If you’ve enjoyed their game, or simply support creators’ rights, then they need your help.

Please visit the following URL, and share it with your fellow gamers via social media:


August Comic Book Awards

~Nandor Shaffer
If you are an obsessive Doctor Who fan (or a “whovian”, as they say), you may have heard of the little new comic book event being published by Titan Comics, Doctor Who: Four Doctors. This weekly event made its debut on August 12th, and will be running for five weeks (although I just read #5 was delayed, sadly). My point is, since I’m a positively diehard fan of the TV series, Doctor Who: Four Doctors, a timey-wimey adventure involving the 10th, 11th, and 12th Doctors as well as the War Doctor portrayed by John Hurt from the epic Day of the Doctor episode, is more than fanatically exciting for me. The good news is that the first three issues have not disappointed so far, and the great, surprising news is that it dominated August’s pile of comics in terms of superb quality. Speaking of Doctor Who, Year One of the 11th Doctor’s own title concluded with #15 to an appreciable end this month. I was also ecstatic to get my hands on the latest Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier issue with #10, as Mr. Rudy’s beautiful work ever keeps me in awe. Barry Allen faces his father in The Flash #43 under shady circumstances and a wanted Aquaman is still on the run from his Atlantis and Mera for his moral convictions in #43 of his title. Alas, the fifth issue of Secret Wars was regrettably stale compared against my high expectations for it. The one-shot Secret Wars Ant-Man tie-in faired better when all is said and done.
Out of these nominees, which comics received the Comic Book Awards for the month of August
Cover of the Month Award: Secret Wars #5
Cover By: Alex Ross
Ah, yes, Alex Ross does it…again (it’s not my fault he’s this good). In no way am I insinuating that the other covers for the month of August or past months haven’t been excellent or even exceptional in some cases; it’s just that Mr. Ross knows where to perfectly hit that sweet spot I have for comic book/superhero artwork. The cover for Secret Wars #5 exhibits the grim face of Doctor Doom split in two, with the other half in a flaming rage as images of the Beyonder disperse in fragments. It’s somewhat of a hint as to what you will find in this issue, but more in a metaphorical sense. What remains to be true is that this is a striking image and the fiery gaze and gloom of Doom leaves a mark.

Art of the Month Award: Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #10

Artist: Marco Rudy



If the cover by Michael Del Mundo is any indication, what lies inside Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #10 is an art and color extravaganza. Time and time again, Marco Rudy lets his creative, artistic vision fly to the outer reaches of conventional comic book art into a place all-too reminiscent of a cosmic space opera that comes close to defy the most heavenly body of actual outer space. Intense uses of colors add a punching mood to many pages and his repeating use of circular panels ask the reader to look at usual comic book storytelling in an unfamiliar, but freeing light. I think the writer, Ales Kot, notices Rudy’s powerful, expansive style and that might be the reason for the sparse dialogue throughout the issue (why handcuff Rudy’s talent?). My favorite pages would likely be pages 2 &3 (shown above), 8 & 9, 15, 16 & 17. There’s just so much dramatic life in these pages that is really stunning. With that said, I do hope others are seeing what I’m seeing: breathtaking quality.

Story of the Month Award: Doctor Who: Four Doctors #3

Writer: Paul Cornell 


Positionally, the first two issues of Doctor Who: Four Doctors are mainly introductory issues taking you through the whims of the 10th, 11th, and 12th Doctors and their companions first meeting each other. Why are they here? What’s going on? How could running into each other lead to the “end of all things”? While these introductory issues have some truly brilliant plot and character moments, Doctor Who: Four Doctors #3 is where it’s time to get out your sonic screwdriver, adjust your bow-tie, and yell, “Geronimo!”. This issue gets to the heart of the series thus far, exploring important themes in the Doctor Who lore and further providing a mystery of mysteries. The Doctors and their companions arrive on a planet that the Doctors should remember…but don’t. As they scatter from an oncoming attack from nowhere, the eventual detonation of a Dalek continuum bomb thrusts all of our adventures through alternate timelines of key decisions throughout the Doctor’s life. It has all the makings of a classic, outstanding Doctor Who story and watching it unfold is as delightful as fish fingers and custard (for those of you who don’t know, that’s a Doctor Who pun…sorry, couldn’t resist).

Issue of the Month Award: Doctor Who: Four Doctors #1

Writer: Paul Cornell 

Artist: Neil Edwards

Colorist: Ivan Nunes

Cover Art: Neil Edwards 


In all sincerity, I would have never guessed that BBC would give Titan Comics the go-ahead for a story featuring just two Doctors. It was only two years ago that the 10th and 11th Doctors first met one another as well as the curious War Doctor in the highly acclaimed Day of the Doctor special on BBC. Surely, this wouldn’t happen again on the air, or, at least, this soon. Sure enough, expect the unexpected when it comes to Doctor Who. Not only only do we have Doctors #10 and #11 and the War Doctor, we have the new (but old) kid on the block, Doctor #12 as well featured in Doctor Who: Four Doctors. Talk about a time paradox collapse waiting to happen.

This weekly event begins to take root as Clara, tagging along with her Doctor on an unnamed, jungle world, stumbles across The Museum of Terrible Fates, a silvery, physically changing alien bubble. She enters and it reveals to her an image of the three Doctors meeting, which will supposedly lead to the “end of all things”. She must not let this happen. Of course, though, it does. The plot moves straightforward from there and the amusing banter between the Doctors and their companions is fun, clever, and very well scripted. You might be familiar with Paul Cornell (he wrote a few episodes for the series and regularly writes for Marvel and DC) and Neil Edwards (artist on many books like Fantastic Four, Justice League United, etc.). Doctor Who: Four Doctors actually feels like a book being published by one of the big two comic book companies compared to previous Doctor Who books put out by Titan Comics. Cornell knows his way around a comic book and the Doctor Who universe while Neil Edwards’ sensational pen and inks make him the model man for the job. If you love Doctor Who and have never picked up a comic book, now is the time starting with this precise issue and series.

Thank you all again for checking out my awards for August and be sure check back sometime next month for September’s Comic Book Awards! Until then, hopefully you and I will continue to be reading comics! (Also, I thought it would be important to note that this post actually makes it a year since I started writing these awards here on Troy Christensen’s blog, The Emerald Tablet, and I just want to take a moment to say how cool it’s been and how grateful I am to be able to post my Comic Book of the Month Awards every month on here. Thank you very much for reading everyone. It means a lot.)



I am so glad Nandor writes these fantastic Comic Book Awards.  It is hard to believe it has already been a year.  Brave, Nandor!

~Troy Christensen September 9th 2015

July’s Comic Book Award

X-Men #35

July’s purchases of comics put things into perspective for me on how drastically different my pull-list has become in the last few months. When counted, there are all-together about 6-7 comic book series’ that I discontinued following or that are simply no longer published. And in foresight, even with Marvel’s upcoming All-New All-Different lineup in November or DC Comics’ recent DC YOU push, I have my doubts that my pull-list will ever look the same again in the near future. I’m actually looking forward to the change-up, however, as the possibility of branching out to unfamiliar books and characters creates a fresh drive for this comic book reader. As for the present, July was generally quite a healthy month for my series’ I do have remaining.

Secret Wars is all the buzz right now, and with #4 of the title there’s timely proof for why that is. It well might be the strongest issue of the series thus far. Ant-Man Annual #1 was easily one of the best and one of my favorite issues of the month. Fans of the now concluded Ant-Man title (which is to return to #1 by the same creative team in November) should not miss this extra-sized issue whatsoever. Lively, delightfully humorous, and overall so much fun, this annual is an explosion of light-hearted entertainment. The 9th Doctor’s developing, hostile engagements of towering implications is turning the series around to my liking, while #14 of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor was a more than excellent issue. I’m ever impressed with what the writers are doing in that book and the startling revelation on the last page of this issue might raise a controversy of why this moment wasn’t in the actual TV show instead of a comic book. Closing out the month were Uncanny X-Men #35, Aquaman #42, The Flash #42 as well as The Flash Annual #4, and, finally, Star Wars #7, a single-story issue with guest artist Simone Bianchi (whose work is just fantastic in this issue) focused on the exploits of Obi-Wan Kenobi during his time on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

Out of these nominees, which comics received the Comic Book Awards for the month of July?

Cover of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4

Cover By: Alex Ross


For the third month in a row, Alex Ross’ undeniable talent ushers Secret Wars to receive another Cover of the Month award once again. This time, doing my best to try and not reiterate my praise for Ross’ previous covers, you see a cunning attention to detail, lighting, and structure. Doom looms upon his throne of the World-Tree, Yggdrasil, with obvious authority as his chief supporters – Susan Storm, Valeria, Franklin and Doctor Strange – surround him. This image portrays a realism that is almost haunting, if you will, since the characters stare at you with modest contempt. It might not be what you would call an incredible cover, but, nonetheless, it’s much more than just an overall good one.

Art of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina


A consistent “look” of a comic book series is always important, and, as of yet, Secret Wars has truthfully had a distinct, specialized tone, feel, and look to it unlike the mass quantities of comic book series’ I have personally read. It “feels” like its own highly individual, seriously weighty comic when you’re reading it and that has to do with, yes, the writer and artist’s desired creative vision, but mostly with the artists’ finished work. Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina’s faithful handling of Jonathan Hickman’s script in Secret Wars #4 carries each page along with efficiency that rivals the cinematic finesse of Hollywood. There’s a delicate, powerful care you’ll find in these pages and I’m fascinated with the hefty emotions a lot of the pages brought out of me while reading (the perspectives for some panels are especially brilliant). Esad’s signature style accompanied with his sense of storytelling really pulls you in with this issue, marvelously portraying crucial moments that will affect this entire series.

Story of the Month Award:  Secret Wars #4

(“All The Angels Sing, All The Devils Dance”) 

Writer: Jonathan Hickman


The tides are starting to turn with the events that take place in Secret Wars #4. In this issue the battle between Battleworld’s enforcers of Thors and The Cabal rages, taking center focus for the story. Also, from the words of Doctor Strange it is explained to the survivors of Earth-616 (and the reader) just what Battleworld is and how it came to be. The last half of Secret Wars #4 is where you’ll find the most enjoyment. The ensuing battle is interrupted and by the last page, two vital characters stand no more. Secret Wars #4 is rife with gravitas and thrills which make it a pleasure to read.

Issue of the Month Award: Secret Wars #4 (“All The Angels Sing, All The Devils Dance”) 

Writer & Designer: Jonathan Hickman 

Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Cover Art: Alex Ross


Secret Wars #4 is a busy issue and this Marvel event moving forward will be all the more unpredictable in light of what transpires in this comic (I’m dying to read #5 right now). This series is technically at its halfway mark, so it’s reasonable to assume what Hickman and Ribic have in store will render these first four issues to pale in comparison. All together, the entirety of Secret Wars #4 – its superb cover by Alex Ross, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina’s outstanding interiors, and Hickman’s awesome script – make it a fine, stellar comic book that no one should have an excuse to pass up. This is July’s star book of the month for good reason.

Thank you for checking out my awards for July (I sorely apologize for being late) and be sure check back sometime in a couple weeks or so for August’s Comic Book Awards! Until then, hopefully you and I will continue to be reading comics!