2020 Vision

There’s always a fresh buzz when the calendar turns over and there’s new digits on the date. Resolutions and all sorts of fantasies sprout from everyone. Fitting to have that kind of viewpoint as a comic book fan ain’t it?! Well, it only makes sense to capitalize on this time frame and all the new, fresh air to take a look into the future and share some things we’re excited for this coming year! Using our 2020 Vision we’re able to see some brand new projects that look fantastic, some known books getting brand new storylines, and the continuation of some books we love. All in all we’ve got plenty of reason to be excited about the new year. Join us for a quick run down of several things we’re looking forward to:

Ancient Noise (1st/2nd) – Dust Pirates

The 101 continue their mission to rescue their seemingly abducted comrade, Jack, while Brock resurrects with a taste for revenge and a chorus of madness in his mind. Glimpses of nightmare realities and the beings beyond time and space wait for you in the continuation Ancient Noise. Right off the bat I cannot express how over the moon I am that Ancient Noise will be returning with issues #3 and #4! David Crispino writes the goods while colors will come from Simon Gough and letters by Lauren Tyler Norby. Tony Gregori, one of my favorite artists, does the line work! Ancient Noise is a book that I absolutely love. It is easily one of the best reads out there. Yeah it’s a little outrageous but it’s well written and down right beautiful. As a reminder there’s time travel, space bending, and a sentient gorilla named Silver. I can’t wait to see where the exploration of time, space, and our own evolution takes us with the rest of the series. Tony will also be doing the lines for Dust Pirates with the WORD BROS Bob Frantz/Kevin Cuffe (those Metalshark Bro type folks), Marissa Louise on colors, and Chas Pangburn doing letters. Some Waterworld meets Black Sails with D&D/Mad Max type fantasy elements are all going to crash together. I’m told it will be a fantasy/sci-fi buddy cop movie with lots of real world overtones as two pirates struggle against a warlord who has seized control over the remaining water in Atlantis. Also, the two pirates were actually real pirates so maybe it could also be considered Alt history sci-fi/fantasy? Regardless it all sounds like a whole bunch of hell yes.

Gutter Magic – SOS – Broken Gargoyles

Source Point Press re-released Gutter Magic under their banner as a primer for the new stories that are coming in 2020 with Gutter Magic: Smoke and Mirrors. Rich Douek will be bringing us brand new stories from the world of Gutter Magic with art/colors by Fei Chen (letterer TBD). There’s going to be more magic, more problems – Cinder learns that one of the biggest drawbacks to gaining magical power is all the new enemies you make. I missed Gutter Magic originally but have been able to hop on board with SPP’s re-release. I’m glad they’ve done things this way leading up to the new stories. It’ll all be fresh when Cinder’s new problems manifest.
Rich also has another project and has gotten the Road of Bones band back together. Alex Cormack and Justin Birch take the stage with Rich again as they bring S.O.S. to shelves in 2020. The only thing we’ve got thus far is the teaser (which is enough honestly) and the extremely cold shoulder and tight lips Rich had when I asked if there were any super sweet deets other than the teaser image. I kid, but seriously the Road of Bones crew is bringing us another tour. I’m getting tickets to the show regardless of where they’re holding it.
Rich isn’t the only one having some fun at SPP though. Bob Salley, Stan Yak, Marco Pagnotta, Robert Nugent, and Justin Birch bring us Broken Gargoyles. In a Dieselpunk alternate history, soldiers return from WWI and fight a new battle. Physically scarred by war, the struggle for redemption and revenge will separate brothers in arms. Given the quality of books SPP has been pumping out lately, you really should check them out. This looks to be the perfect place to hop on board.

Letter to Jo – We Are the Dead – Gorilla Tails

Next up is a project from Top Shelf Comics (an IDW imprint). A Letter to Jo will bring us face-to-face with the raging terror of World War II. In this firsthand graphic novel adaptation of a Polish-American machine gunner’s letter home. Kelly Williams‘ (Creepy, Eerie) paint brushes bring this heart-wrenching tale to life. A Letter to Jo is at once a tender love story and harrowing battlefield memoir. Writer Joe Sieracki teams with Williams and Taylor Esposito in this harrowing recounting of a time the world wants to forget, but needs to remember. A LETTER TO JO WILL BE AVAILABLE JANUARY 21st!

Beth Barnett is bringing us another enriching project with We Are The Dead. Aiming for a March release, this new historic take juxtaposes World War I against comics, introducing new readers to poetry written by soldiers as a stark reminder of the brutalities of the Great War. This is sure to be another fantastic graphic piece that helps broaden and enrich our experience with the medium and the history we’re all born from. After Dreamers of the Day I’m beyond excited to get ahold of this.

Successfully Kickstarted, Gorilla My Dreams: Gorilla Tails, from Big Tim Stiles, Ahmed Raafat, and Dennis Tirona, is the second in the Gorilla My Dreams series. Dropping in January this is the perfect book for you if you’ve ever wondered what “Batman: The Animated Series mashed into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles if Saturday morning cartoons came on after 10pm” would look like. You see, in Struggle-Town the streets are protected by Knockaround-Guy, a depressed gorilla who wants to be a superhero. However, when a street mime is found dead (asphyxiated inside an actual invisible box), Knockaround-Guy soon finds himself wading through the ugly and dangerous underbelly of Struggle-Town. I backed the project and can’t wait for it to land for everyone this year.

Scout Comics will be putting Dave Chisholm’s CANOPUS out to shelves starting in February. It’s about a woman who wakes up on an alien planet with no memory beyond an urgency to get home. She and her robot companion explore the planet and her memories gradually return as monsters on the surface of the planet. The ComicbookYeti says “Canopus is so many genres wrapped in one: Thriller. Horror. Science-fiction. Character study. It’s all of them and none of them at the same time.” https://www.comicbookyeti.com/post/canopus-issue-1 If Yeti is excited for a book, you should be too … I am.

Coming to Kickstarter in the first half of 2020 will be Re-Animator Incorporated from Andy Perry and Lyndon White (Candles – Unbound). This is going to be 64 full color pages adapting H. P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West: Reanimator. This time around there will be a combining of the classic horror story with sci-fi elements and putting in a little twist or two. The beloved tale asks “What would you do to save a life?” In a desperate attempt to save his son, Herbert West and his colleague Cain successfully discover how to reanimate the dead, but at the cost of losing his son’s soul and opening the door to other realms. This is a reimagining of the characters and the concepts from Lovecraft’s Necronomicon collection exploring philosophical and theological ideas. There’s a balance between Lovecraftian mythology and an introduction to the characters to appeal to fans and those unfamiliar of Lovecraft and his stories. The story is for fans of sci-fi / horror cross-over who like to ponder the metaphysical while seeing bodies being torn apart.

Bog Bodies is coming from Declan Shalvey, Gavin Fullerton, Rebecca Nalty, and Clayton Cowles around the end of April. It goes a little something like this: An Irish gangster, on the run after a job gone wrong, stumbles upon a young woman lost in the Dublin mountains. Injured and unarmed, the unlikely pair must try to evade their pursuers and survive the desolate bog that has served as burial grounds for unspeakable murder throughout history. So some crime, superstition, and perhaps some survival horror? Everything about this sounds phenomenal. Having read through the ashcan I can attest to just how uniquely this book deals with the bleakness of the noir setting.

Rounding out the year our good friends over at PLB Comics are looking to get the next story for John the Swamp Dude out to the masses. Fan favorite PLB Comics character, John the Swamp Dude returns in a brand new epic adventure! Set four months after the cataclysmic events in the ‘Who Killed Mobie Graye?’ one shot, the world has changed for John and his friends. But a new threat emerges, unstoppable and destructive monsters, who are linked to an old foe from John’s past. The Last Outpost #1 begins an exciting new chapter in the John the Swamp Dude saga and is tentatively slated for a late 2020 release. Josh Shockley and James Dufendach are on creative duties.

BHP Comics will be handling the publishing of A Boxer. Launching on Kickstarter January 27th, the creative team behind this book is quite literally award winning. Dominic Archer, Gary Welsh, Marc Casilli, Amanda Miranda, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou bring to life a 100 page graphic novel that tells the story of Mike Shepherd, a British fighter trying to succeed in the hyper-masculine world of boxing while struggling to manage his sexual identity. The book is narrated by Mike’s partner and medical consultant, Jude who faces his own challenges as an openly gay man in the sport. A Boxer details the experience of a homosexual man struggling to find his place between two worlds, feeling himself equally empassioned and alienated by both the boxing and LGBTQ+ communities.


Finger Guns – No One’s Rose

On the Vault Comics front we’ve got Finger Guns landing February 26th. Two troubled teenagers discover they can manipulate emotions by firing finger guns. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be uncomfortable teen feelings and angst. Oh yeah… and chaos. So much chaos. From Justin Richards, Val Halvorson, Rebecca Nalty, and Taylor Esposito, Finger Guns is all about emotional maturity. It’s an audacious book that tackles the war between compassion and selfishness. In interviews EIC of Vault, Adrian Wassel, has stated “it’s deceptively brave. You’ll have so much fun, right up until you feel the tears welling.” Given that much of this book is about growing up and whether or not we actually do this description seems to fit.
Vault is also set to launch No Ones Rose in March. Upon first look this is set up to join the monumental worlds that have been built in Vault books such as Heathen, Zojaqan, Wasted Space, She Said Destroy, and Sera and the Royal Stars. The solicit is this: Centuries after the fall of the Anthropocene, the last vestiges of human civilization are housed in a massive domed city powered by renewable energy, known as The Green Zone. Inside lives teenager Tenn Gavrilo, a brilliant bio-engineer who could rebuild the planet. But there’s one problem: her resentful brother Seren is eager to dismantle the precarious utopia. Zac Thompson, Emily Horn, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, Raúl Angulo, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou are lining up another epic book over at VC.

Afterlight Comics is finishing up three series and getting follow ups to two others in 2020. It all starts with their first Kickstarter campaign on January 27th!

Though it had a soft release in the last part of 2019 New York City Gallows is getting some freshening up AND the second issue is aiming at Fall 2020 for release. If you’ve read the first issue (which I have, and you should too) then this is all you need to get ready for the follow up issue: Following the events of #1, Cass finds herself at the mercy of The Hangman, now having to rely on the mass murdering vigilante for a way out. Nothing comes free, but if the price is accepted, nothing will be the same for Detective Delaney again. Ben Cook, Robert Ahmad, and DC Hopkins will take us back to the gallows! And hey, check that snazzy logo from Jim Kersey!

Advent Comics is going full steam ahead into decade number two and for us the highlight looks to be Legend & The Vanguard. Global defenders have gathered to aid the Advent Universe’s Original Hero Legend to right a wrong from his past that jeopardizes the entire planet. Formed to protect the planet from a threat nearly a century in the making the newest super team within the Advent Universe leads the way in their very own Cosmos tie-in title! Available as part of the Cosmos #5 Kickstarter beginning in late February/early March.

Mario Candelaria, Adam Ferris, Lesley Atlansky, and John Keaveney finally have schedules synchronized and are in production for their long awaited and officially unannounced sci-fi action adventure. This is a project I’ve been awaiting for some time and cannot wait to see.
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Milan Adame is looking to host Word Hollow through Webtoon in the coming year. With characters modeled after the genres of fiction this project sounds quite intriguing. Fact and Fantasy have a close relationship with each other and the universe humans inhabit. Their friendship becomes rocky when humans begin to favor one over the other.
From Beyond Comics is kicking off the new year with the release of Electric Youth on Kickstarter in early February. “It’s 1989 and the city of Irvine, California is the perfect place to raise a family…some might think it’s a little too perfect.”

Pete Doree’s Stan & Jack is looking to have three issues published this year.

Red Stylo Media will be returning to Kickstarter in February with Ninja Bear. What started as a mini-comic giveaway at SDCC will now see its second issue! Also on tap is the annual anthology, this time focusing on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Bite Me is in the open call stage currently. It will explore the twists and turns of this gothic classic, taking sideways looks at smaller characters, diving deep into throwaway moments, and twisting on the original in new ways.

Silver Fox #1 Review

Silver Fox #1
Written by Darren Dare
Art by Carlos Trigo
Colors by Hannah Templer
Letters by Taylor Esposito 

Disclaimer: Silver Fox contains sexual content, and some violence; so it’s not for readers under 18.

Silver Fox issue 1 follows James and Leo from their first meet-cute on the boardwalk, to the realization that Leo is a monster hunter that targets supernatural creatures like James- but every relationship has its issues. But some issues are harder to overcome than others. As Leo grows closer to James he struggles with his assignment and realizes that he’s falling in love with James. This realization puts him in direct conflict with the rest of his “family” who have been sent to make sure he completes the mission. Leo has to decide if his budding relationship is worth leaving behind everything he knows, while James has to grapple with his feelings surrounding Leo now that he knows the truth; their relationship is based on a lie. 

In addition to its unique plot- it’s kind of a contemporary romance meets supernatural mystery- Silver Fox has a beautiful, bold art style that relies on strong lines and intense colors. And all of the characters have their own unique and distinct looks. This really adds visual interest and personality to the story. 

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The story wonderfully combines the mundane moments of daily life with sweet moments, and intense action. The same level of care and detail is put into each scene and this really visually solidifies how important all of these aspects are to the story. Silver Fox is just as much a story of supernatural thrills and elite monster hunters, as it is a story of new love and found family. One page consists of a compilation of Leo’s memories with James as he chooses between the only “family” he’s ever known, or the possibility of creating a new family with James. The art on this page is so well done and very emotional; there’s a panel where you can see exactly when James makes his choice, and how even if it’s the right choice, it’s still a very hard one to make.

Even though James chose to save him, Leo (understandably), feels hurt and betrayed. Despite James developing legitimate feelings for him, it doesn’t change the fact that the trust in their relationship has been fractured. And a healthy relationship can’t exist without trust. However, because James did start to genuinely fall for Leo, hopefully with time (and lots of hard work by both parties), Leo will be able to rebuild the trust he had and their relationship will recover.

 

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The official Silver Fox website describes the book as “An action-packed, supernatural tale about assassins and monsters and a queer relationship just trying to survive the end of the honeymoon period.” How can you not want to jump right into the story after reading that? Plus, you can support the independent creators behind the comic. 

Silver Fox #1 is available on gumroad for a “Pay What You Will” system making it accessible for all budgets; and if you’re a fan of queer stories, mysteries, action, the supernatural, (or all of the above!), you won’t regret purchasing this book. 

Link to purchase the comic: https://gumroad.com/l/silverfox

GOD PUNCHER

Lane Lloyd is a creator you need to be getting hip too, full stop. Early on in my comic book twitterdom I was fortunate to have come across Lane as God Puncher was getting ready to debut. Now, with three issues out, this fantastical explosion of imagination is a book that deserves your diving head first into. This self-published comic is as raw as they come in the best possible way. Lane’s unbridled joy for the medium shines through in the work he produces. Self described as “if Dr. Seuss dropped acid before drawing,” the train of thought is pretty spot on for describing Lane’s art. It is unconventional, cartoony, mesmerizing, off-kilter, and an absolute breath of fresh air to take in. Chances are you’ve not come across anything that’s very close to what you’ll see in the pages of God Puncher. A truly unique approach to comics and storytelling sit within the ballad of Tim Finnly.

One of the best parts of this story is the simplicity through which a very broad and complex world is filtered. Lane has taken a very basic and primal thought (who we are in life and what our placement in it is) and thrust it directly into the confrontation that man, as a species, begs for. The very title, GOD PUNCHER, elicits this confrontation and the action we’d likely take were we to meet our creator(s). Despite being prideful and having an indescribable urge to understand our belief systems are predicated on that which we can’t and weren’t meant to understand. In God Puncher we get a point blank exploration of the gifts (in this case Tim Finnly’s ability to fight) that the Gods have bestowed to mortals. Within that gift we see the hubris of both man and God. Finnly has become a legend and grown to have a God-like status himself. One of the Gods seeks to erase the false claims and put ‘man’ right back where he belongs. As both entities suffer the consequences of their actions the story of Tim Finnly truly sets off on a wild and fantastical journey.

The confrontation of Man VS God is but the start of this tale. Focused and with new purpose Finnly charts a course for redemption. The chase, showdown, and comeuppance of both Finnly and the God is an entire saga in of itself. The fact that it is just the opening salvo to the God Puncher story speaks volumes to the ground work Lane has put down and the ambition with which he is creating this story. Issue two gives us a rather grand introduction and we get a glimpse at just how big of an area Tim (and we) are playing in. There are other deities and powerful beings that would have their wills imparted. The tale is grand but Lane is more than up to the task of telling it. The rampant imagination explodes from every page. While slapstick in approach there is a sharp edge to things that keeps the humor in check. Truly unique in its presentation, you cannot help but be drawn to Lane’s art. With this series we actually get to see just how much and how quickly that Lane has grown and improved in just four issues (a zero issue and #1-3) of work. Seeing how he’s played with color usage and the advantages that his zany style provides is an added treat to the books themselves. You can still jump into God Puncher with ease. The story moves quick and the pages flow. You’ll find yourelf going back and forth to fully take in the art. In going back you’ll find an added layer to the book. I did when I re-read after getting issue three. The big scale world and big time issue that Lane tackles with God Puncher is perfectly juxtaposed by his art. One of the many (and most successful) ways people deal with overbearing situations is humor. Seeing the God figures with a slapstick edge to their look helps endear Tim and his endeavor to the readers. It allows for the connections to be made and the heartstrings to be tied.

Go support Lane and grab yourself the God Puncher series at: https://gumroad.com/lanedoescomics

After you’ve caught up be sure to nab issue #4 NCBD NOV 27!

Mafiosa #1

The cover of Mafiosa issue #1.

Mafiosa #1 

Story by Sunshine Barbito

Art by Débora Caritá

Colors by Mariacristina Federico 

Letters by Clem Robins 

Original story by Thomas Brooke 

Editor Scott Allie 

Designer Rick DeLucco

Production Kathryn Renta 

Published by Rainworks LLC

Mafiosa #1 is a refreshing take on a classic organized crime story because it follows a female lead and does it so well; without falling into overused and annoying tropes. 

The first panel of the story is the ultimate “power move”; Nicoletta, the main character, is shown standing over a man’s dead body reflecting on all of the times in her life she’s been told to “smile more.” This sets the tone for the story. Nicoletta will not be taking anyone’s shit now, or ever; she’s going to get what she wants and she’s going to do it her way. She’s not going to give up her interests or femininity  she won’t adapt to your worldyou’ll adapt to hers.

It would’ve been easy for this story to fall into the very tired narrative of “I’m not like other girls” (this is still happening in 2019 and it’s exhausting!), with Nicoletta rejecting values traditionally thought of as feminine in order to take her place in the world of organized crime. Instead a flashback shows Nicoletta practicing her ballet before sneaking off to a meeting between her older brothers and representatives from another crime family. She doesn’t switch between two worlds, between what’s expected of her as a woman and what’s expected of a member of a crime family, rather she merges the two together to get what she wants. 

This appears to be a very deliberate choice as the letter from the creative team at the end of the issue explains. Nicoletta enjoys many of the aspects of traditional femininity and doesn’t believe that those traits should shut her out of power. She’ll wear bright red lipstick while committing murder and handle a gun in a dress. She won’t ask for things, she’ll demand them, and heaven help you if you don’t listen. 

A portion of the creative team’s letter at the end of Mafiosa #1.

The way Nicoletta’s drawn the same way as the men in the story enforces this idea of her power. While she may not be as physically strong as some of the men around her she exudes the same level of power. She handles herself with extreme self assurance and confidence taking center stage in the scenes she’s in. No one can silence her or put her in the background.

It’s refreshing that Mafiosa didn’t fall into another often occuring pitfall of the strong female character- the idea that in order to be strong, she has to be emotionless and care for no one. Or her one emotion is anger. Nicoletta has plenty of anger and frustration but it’s not her only emotion. She cares about her family, both biological and the members of the crime family, and that drives her to do the things she does. 

Nicoletta disposes of the body of the man she killed.

Throughout the story Nicoletta’s musings as she disposes of the body are interrupted with panels showing what other guests at the hotel are doing. This compares and contrasts her situation with that of the “normal” guests. While they aren’t all hiding bodies, they’re all hiding secrets of their own. It’s a reminder that no one ever truly knows what happens behind closed doors.

People drop their public personas in the privacy of their own hotel rooms.

Infested Earth #1

EVERYTHING – David Golding

One year after an alien insectoid invasion has wiped out almost all life on the planet, the last remaining superheroes must make one final bid for freedom and safety, but with technology failing them, dwindling supplies and emotions running high, how will they survive? How will they escape the INFESTED EARTH?

Solicitation for Infested Earth #1

First and foremost I have to say that David’s art is as good as you’re going to find regardless of where you look. At the absolute least you will be compelled to digest this book simply to see the beautiful images within. The first time I saw the promo images for this book I was completely blown away. While Infested Earth is a different type of superhero tale it does revolves around superheros. Nobody is going to believe whatever story you’re going to tell if what they see doesn’t match what you’re telling them. David Golding has no issue here. The superfolks in this book absolutely look the part. They aren’t the only ones though. Infested Earth is the title of this book and the nasties are also every bit their part. In fact just about everything Golding draws is wonderful. Cityscapes, crowds, cars, people, backgrounds and little details are all top notch. You will be very hard pressed to find artwork like this outside of a major publisher.

Excellent art is all well and good but the plot and execution of the script have to live up to the images. If that doesn’t happen then you’ve just got an art book or pin up collection. While nifty, those aren’t comic books. Thankfully David doesn’t just do pretty pictures. The hook, line and sinker are all there. After a quick opening that helps establish the superheroes in their world … everything goes to shit. While a few regulars are enjoying a day at their Local Comic Shop something absolutely horrid ruins the day, the day after, and well … their world. You know it’s bad when one of the superfolks “crashes” into the shop looking like something came out of him in a very violent, messy way. *Potential warning – it’s graphic. There are other portions of the book where blood/guts/gore/injuries are graphic but it isn’t there for shock value or just to have it. With the action and the plot it fits and helps tell the scale/give perspective of what’s going on. What is it that is going on, exactly? Well if you’re a fan of Starship Troopers then you’re in for a treat. For reasons unknown and by means unknown the planet is invaded and destroyed by insectoid death bringers. Big nasty bugs lay waste to everything and everyone. Now, it’s very clear that this invasion as led to the end result of Earth being a wasteland. However, there is a ton of story left to tell in regards to the time between the inciting event and six months after.

You see, six months after the initial attack is where Infested Earth #1 picks up the plot. Only, there’s a slight tweak to the story. The solicit does its job perfectly. It tells you what’s going on but purposefully leaves out what’s going on. The focus of the story is on a black female hero named Brass Bell. In the middle of taking down a couple of lowly super thugs stealing an armored van she quickly finds herself with much larger issues. Much like the why of the bugs showing up, the how of Brass Bell being thrust into the middle of a destroyed Earth isn’t known. As she is quickly and horribly introduced to the situation she now finds herself the super heroes show up to help her out. Except she has no clue what is going on or why. That is where Golding’s tweak on things comes into play. Brass Bell (and the hapless would be thieves) aren’t from the Infested Earth. You read that right. The band of super heroes that come rushing to her aid have no clue who she is or why she’s here. There is clearly plenty of story to tell with Infested Earth. The bugs and how/why, Brass Bell being pulled to this parallel Infested Earth, what connection if any the Earths and/or heroes have, and ditto on any connection with the bugs. This one has layers folks. Amidst the immediate extinction level threat of the bugs there are several mysteries to unravel.

Infested Earth #1 is an absolute dream of a first issue. It does exactly what a first issue is supposed to do. The plot line is cast, introductions are made and scenes are set, the immediate threat is front and center, the overbearing issue is hinted at, questions are asked but left hanging, and the visuals make you want to keep flipping the pages while also standing on their own. I truly hope that Golding is able to continue producing this book. I’m here for the big bug action. I want to know why they’re invading and destroying this Earth. I need to understand why Brass Bell was plucked from her Earth and dropped into the one that’s gone to hell. I hope to know more about the super heroes of said hell Earth. I must find out just what in the hell sits below it all that has caused all of this.

You absolutely need to grab this book.

Get in touch with David through:
Twitter https://twitter.com/DGCstudios
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dgc_studios/

You can get INFESTED EARTH #1 through:
DGC STUDIOS https://www.dgc-studios.com/
COMIXOLOGY https://www.comixology.com/INFESTED-EARTH-1/digital-comic/799094