Dracula The Unconquered #3

Dracula the Unconquered #3

Dracula the Unconquered was dead.

It had been three years since our last issue, and while I’d written scripts for the next few and plotted out entire story arcs in my head, and even considered what I might do with spin-offs for characters who hadn’t even been introduced yet, it looked like those were never going to happen. It was a shame, too — of all the comics I’ve written Dracula is the one I have the most fun with, the one that I get ideas for without even having to try, and Steve Downer and Josh Krach brought it to the page exactly as I saw it in my head in those first two issues. But three years is an eternity in comics, even when you promised an “irregular” update schedule. So yes: Dracula was dead and buried.

But as we all know, being dead has never stopped him before.

Today, the team behind Dracula the Unconquered is finally back together, chronicling the adventures of the former Sovereign of the Undead as he journeys across the world to battle his enemies with our third action-packed issue: “The Flight of Fortune’s Favor!” Witness the thrill of Air Pirates in the skies over Europe, and the blood-boiling debut of one of Dracula’s oldest rivals! All this and more, available now on Comixology, with 24 pages of full-color action for a mere $1.99.

Dracula the Unconquered #3 Dracula the Unconquered #3 Dracula the Unconquered #3 Dracula the Unconquered #3 Dracula the Unconquered #3 Dracula the Unconquered #3

If you’ve been paying attention very closely over the past few years, then you might notice that the issues are now on Comixology, rather than being sold independently on Pulley or Gumroad. For the record, #1 and #2 are still available on Gumroad in PDF and CBZ, but in all honesty, Comixology addressed the major problem I had with the platform when they announced downloadable “backup copies” of virtually all independent titles. Pick it up there, and you’ll be able to snag it in DRM-free CBZ, just as you could with the first two.

And, since it’s been so long, here are a few pieces of bonus material:

From way back in 2012, here’s the design for Captain Mercedes Fortune, swashbuckling airship pilot:

Mercy Fortune design by Steve Downer

And Steve’s design for the Fortune’s Favor. Believe it or not, I actually sketched out a version of this in my notes ages ago — a Zeppelin with a sailing ship attached to the bottom, along with its pirate counterpart.

Airship Design by Steve Downer

(Click for Full Size)

But it’s not hot air that keeps that ship flying, it’s the Aetheric Field Manipulator:

Click for full size

Click for full size

And, well, there’s one more design, too, but it’s a bit of a spoiler. If you’ve read the issue and want to see more of our guest star, check them out right here! 

That’s all for now, but if all goes well, there’s more to come. Let’s just hope it won’t be another three years!

Something I Should Have Said Before

If you’ve been reading my work for long enough, then you probably remember that I had what I used to refer to as a “feud” with Valerie D’Orazio a few years ago. That’s the wrong word, since it was more one-sided than anything else, and I was in no uncertain terms the aggressor and a complete jerk.

I was needlessly harsh about her comics work, I left jerky comments on her site, I talked trash here and elsewhere, and while in my head I justified it as as purely being critical of her writing, I know I stepped over the line into making it a personal attack more than once. What I said is a matter of public record, and frankly, my intentions at the time don’t change what I actually did. At best, I was making someone’s life harder when I had no reason to, and at worst I was giving others a reason to do the same that went far beyond just me being an asshole and contributed to and validated the harassment of both Ms. D’Orazio and of women in general. When I finally realized that, long after I should’ve, I stopped, and I’ve tried to be better going forward.

I’ve never apologized for it, for the simple reason that I don’t think I have the right to insert myself back into someone’s life when I’ve treated them as poorly as I did to her, but I regret what I did. This is not a plea for forgiveness, or a clean slate. If what I did changes how you feel about me and my work, that’s completely understandable; I was wrong, and in every way the bad guy.

In the few interactions that I’ve had with Ms. D’Orazio, she has treated me far better than I would have if the situation was reversed.

Ten Years

Down Set Fight

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the very first post on the original ISB, which means that it’s been a full decade since I started writing about comics on the Internet because my pal Phil told me that I should get a blog. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve come a pretty long way, and while I know I say that every year, hitting a full ten really feels like it’s meant something — especially this year.

Ten years after I wrote a joke about how much better off I’d be if I turned my dubious talents to the world of erotic fan-fiction (this is what I thought would be a good first actual post), I’ve just come through a year that saw the release of the first graphic novel I ever wrote (alongside Chad Bowers), which is a pretty big deal for me. The day that box arrived and I could actually hold that thing in my hands was surreal, and when I found out that we’d actually sold through the first printing (thanks to you fine folks) was, to be honest, one of the best days of my life.

There were other comics, too, Subatomic Party Girls and Skater X, and this coming year is going to see some other big projects from us, so there’s a lot to look forward to, along with my day job — and my day job is writing about comics, and every now and then when I’m feeling down, I think about that and how great it is that I can do this. I can honestly say that these past ten years have made a lot of my dreams come true, and even though I’ve mostly migrated away from this particular piece of the Internet to places where I, you know, get paid, I’m glad that there are folks out there who have stuck with me.

Here’s to hoping for another ten that are even better!

The Action Age Comics Twice In A Lifetime 2014 World Tour: HeroesCon In Charlotte, NC!

Action Age Comics Twice in a LIfetime Tour 2014 by Joe Hunter

It’s the second-most wonderful time of the year: HEROESCON in Charlotte, North Carolina! And naturally, Chad Bowers and I will be there, set up in the world-famous Indie Island with copies of Down Set Fight and a special new item for fans of Subatomic Party Girls!

It’s not just us, either: SPG artist Erica Henderson will be there too, and my War Rocket Ajax partner Matt Wilson will be there on Saturday and Sunday (so if you want to collect your Movie Fighters Kickstarter rewards while you’re at the show, let Matt know via email before Thursday!) along with plenty of other friends like Kyle Starks, Catie Donnelly, Jordan Witt and more. If you’re looking for us, you can find us at table AA-1013:

HeroesCon 2014 Floor PlanSee you there this weekend!

Here’s An Idea I Had: Batman 3000

Batman of the 30th Century pitch by Chris Sims and J. Gonzo

So as you may already be aware, I like Batman a lot, which means I think about Batman all the time, and ever since I started writing comics, I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I could do a Batman story. That’s pretty common, right? I mean, surely everyone has a Batman pitch in their back pocket just in case it ever comes up. One of mine, the one that I think could actually work really well, was The Batman of the 30th Century.

The basic idea comes from two things: One, that the Legion of Superheroes is founded as a Superman spinoff, which means there’s a lot of Superman legacy stuff that shows up over the years, and there’s a lot of Flash stuff that shows up from XS, Impulse and the Tornado Twins, but there’s nothing in the Legion’s future that indicates a legacy for Batman. (There’s also nothing involving the Wonder Woman legacy, but, you know, that’s a discussion for another time.) And yet, if you skip ahead to the 853rd Century of DC One Million, the Batman legacy is definitely alive and well.

Second, and the reason it’s so weird that there’s no Batman tie-in for the Legion, is that there actually was a “Batman of the 30th Century.” His name’s Brane Taylor, and he appears in a one-shot story in 1954. It’s not all that obscure among people who read a lot of comics, and with creators’ love of tying things together, it seems mystifying to me that there was never a reintroduction of that character as part of the Legion’s future. Maybe it was the name? “Brane” is, to be honest, kind of awful. But it’s all there, and looking at it as a fan, it seemed natural that you could tie it together. The only thing that you’d really need would be to tweak Brane so that he’d fit in with the teenagers of the Legion, and when I saw (and bought the original art for) Cliff Chiang’s Gatchaman-inspired “Science Ninja Hero Batman,” it all seemed to fall into place. I really wanted it to have a strange feeling of the retrofuturism of the original Legion and its Silver Age roots along with Batman’s darker, more modern aesthetic (there’s a lot of the Morrison run in this, for instance).

So I thought about this for years, and I ended up mentioning it to J. Gonzo, the artist of La Mano Del Destino, and he really loved it and wanted to draw it, and came up with a few ideas his own along the way — Robin and Bat-Mite were his ideas, and I love ’em. We ended up making a full pitch document with character designs and summaries that I think is really cool, but at the same time, I know that there’s a roughly zero percent chance that it will ever actually happen. So we showed it around to a few people, and now I’m sharing it with you. Enjoy!


Batman 3000 pitch by Chris Sims and J. Gonzo


Batman 3000 pitch by Chris Sims and J. Gonzo


Batman 3000 pitch by Chris Sims and J Gonzo




Batman 3000 pitch by Chris Sims and J Gonzo

Batman 3000 pitch by Chris Sims and J Gonzo


Batpitch08 Batpitch10


The Action Age Comics Twice In A Lifetime World Tour 2014: Emerald City Comic Con In Seattle, Washington!

Action Age Comics Twice in a LIfetime Tour 2014 by Joe HunterCon Season is once again upon us, friends, and that means that it’s time for the Action Age Comics World Tour! This year, Chad and I are tearing it up across both coasts in our triumphant victory lap, Twice In A Lifetime 2014!

This weekend, it’s off to Seattle, Washington for Emerald City Comic Con! We’ll be there alongside “Snappy” Scott Kowalchuk celebrating the first big convention since the release of Down Set Fight. We’ve even got a signing schedule this year!

Friday, March 28:

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Chris and Chad signing at the Monkeybrain table for Subatomic Party Girls! (Since SAPG is digital, feel free to bring anything else you want us to sign or just swing by to chat)

4:00 – 5:00: Chris, Chad and Scott signing Down Set Fight at the Oni Press booth!

Saturday, March 29:

Chillin’ in cardigans.

Sunday, March 30:

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Chris, Chad and Scott are in the very first spot (AKA the Hangover Position) at the Oni Press booth, signing Down Set Fight!

For the rest of the time, we’ll be walking the show, doing interviews, digging through back issue bins (Chad still needs one issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior and I’m looking for a full run of Doom 2099), or hanging out signing, sketching and singing at our table, F-13! And just where is Table F-13? How about a little treasure map, Mikey?

Find us at Emerald City Comic Con, table F-13!

We hope to see you there! As always, Chad and I request gifts of Sun Dropâ„¢ citrus soda, since your bizarre “western” coast doesn’t have Bojangles.

Release Day! Down Set Fight Paperback and Subatomic Party Girls #3 Available Now!

Mascots! The Gregasus! Katmandont! THESE TWO HAVE IT ALL!Ohhhhhhhh snap, it is Release Day!

That’s right, folks: Not only is Down Set Fight is hitting shelves at finer comic book stores everywhere — and as Chad found out, you can pre-order it from Walmart’s website, which is weird — but Subatomic Party Girls #3 is out digitally on Comixology! I probably don’t even need to say it, but this is a huge deal for  us. DSF is Chad’s and my first graphic novel, and SAPG #3 is one of my favorite single issues we’ve ever read. A lot of that comes down to Erica, though — there’s a page in this one that I just wrote “Chase scene, you figure it out” in the script, and she did. And then she knocked it out of the park.

Same goes for Scott on Down Set Fight. It’s just a beautiful book, and when the script includes things like “mascot suplexes” and “black ops football team,” that’s no mean feat. He was perfect for this book, and I could not like how it turned out better.

Also, as always, shout out to the unsung hero of the Sims-Bowers ouvre, letterer “Jazzy” Josh Krach.

Here’s the links:

Down Set Fight on Comixology

Down Set Fight on Amazon

Subatomic Party Girls on Comixology

Go grab ’em! And if your local shop got a copy of Down Set Fight, snap a picture and send it to me. I really want to see!

still here? Okay. Just between you and me, I’m throwing in an added bonus to celebrate the big release day. Today only, you can download Dracula the Unconquered #1 and #2, by me, Steve Downer and Josh Krach, for free. No DRM, PDF or CBZ, 48 pages of all ages action adventure. Grab ’em here!