Joshua Hale Fialkov

Purveyor of sheer awesomeness.

Joshua Hale Fialkov is the Harvey, Eisner, and Emmy Award nominated writer of graphic novels, animation, video games, film, and television, including:

THE LIFE AFTER, THE BUNKER, PUNKS, ELK'S RUN, TUMOR, ECHOES, KING, PACIFIC RIM, THE ULTIMATES, I, VAMPIRE, and JEFF STEINBERG CHAMPION OF EARTH. He's also written for NBC's CHICAGO MED and SYFY's upcoming INCORPORATED.

Filtering by Category: Reviews

iPad One Week Later

So, a week later and I'm sitting in bed at midnight, while Christina sleeps next to me, typing a review on the glass screen of the future. I suppose that's a bit of an exaggeration as the future, so to speak, is now. The long and short of it is that i love the iPad. It's got some funkiness to it, but overall, it works as advertised, has a battery life that's borderline ridiculous, and has me happy to ship off my laptop to my parents so that they can talk to my forthcoming daughter via it's web cam.

The web cam, by the way, is in no way missed on this thing. I think that placing a camera on a device this large, while theoretically useful for video chatting, would be pretty much absurd for any other use. The iPad is just too big to use for snapshots. Hell, even the idea of holding it up while using it for video chat seems ridiculous.

As for 3G vs. Non. My logic is that realistically if I'm in a spot I'm not really going to pay 15 or 30 bucks for internet, the sort of files you actually want to download in a spot when away from home tend to be too large to download via 3G anyways, and, i'm literally never without my iPhone anyways, so why not go for extra memory on the device itself.

To the future of comics question... It's damn close. The screen is slightly too small to be used with a standard sized comic. I've dropped Tumor (which was designed to be the smaller digest size) on here and it's damn near perfect looking. Some of the text pieces are a bit small, but otherwise, it's all there. That being said, until Marvel and DC decide to start going day and date with their print and digital releases I think it's still up in the air. Not being able to have your comics transfer to other devices is sort of a no win for most of these apps, although Comixology's app does allow you to redownload things purchased on your iPhone.

Probably my highest praise i can give the device is that I've been using it for work. With the Bluetooth keyboard and the little stand i bought for the it, i have a truly tiny, truly mobile, and truly functional work station that doesn't need a power outlet and is far less distracting then my laptop with all of its IM's and web browsing that seems to only take you away for a second, when in fact it sucks you in for hours on end. That's right, i like that there's no multitasking. It means that i have to decide to stop working to check my email or read the internet or, whatever else I do to interrupt my workflow. For someone like me with a little bit of ocd and a whole lot of procrastinators disease, it may be the system I've been dreaming of.

At least until they release the 4.0 software.

NOTE: As Tony Fleecs pointed out the Wordpress App is greatly lacking in the spellcheck department. Should be all fixed up pretty now.

Hey gang,We're making up for lost time, and have Chapter 4 up and live a scant two weeks after Chapter 3.  It's available for purchase on your Kindle for the bargain price of a measly sawbuck.

It's available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Tumor-Chapter-4/dp/B002Q1YD3Q/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253900325&sr=8-5

Plus, if you for some reason are subscribed to this address, yet haven't checked out Tumor either on your Kindle/iPhone or at the website, perhaps our friends over at AICN can convince you otherwise:

AICN @ssholes Comic Reviews

This hard edged detective story reminiscent of D.O.A. and MEMENTO is getting better from one chapter to the next. Joshua Hale Fialkov writes a tragic tale of a man who is slowly losing his mind. Diagnosed with an inoperable tumor pressing against his brain, Frank Armstrong’s mind is fragmenting. One second he’s in the present working on a case and the next he’s in the past holding a woman he knows he lost long ago. To make matters worse, there’s a dame (of course there’s a dame) that looks a lot like Frank’s old flame in the middle of this case. Frank is completely confused and losing control of his mind and body, but determined to solve this last case before the tumor in his head overcomes him. In this fourth chapter, we find out that Frank also feels no pain. When he realizes he’s broken his leg (he did so in the last chapter in a daring escape from his hospital room), he looks at it with sort of a fascination, in an “oh what’s this” sort of way rather than shock. Fialkov is churning out one great mystery yarn, but also an amazing character study. You really feel sympathetic to Frank as he is stumbling along trying to keep things together in his head. Fialkov paces this story perfectly, flipping reality on its ear just when you’re getting invested in the story at play and the scratchy images by Noel Tuazon become more engaging as the chapters whiz by. His depictions of Frank’s worried brow speak volumes. This is a heartbreaking tale that can’t end well, but I’m still rootin’ for Frank to solve the case. TUMOR is available on Amazon Kindle for download.

So there ya go.  Get gettin'.

j. www.thefialkov.com www.tumorthecomic.com

More Things I Love: Chad Crawford Kinkle's Harpe

No buy it now link for this one, as it's just now available for pre-order in the direct comic market. Harpe: America's First Serial Killers is quite possibly one of the most mature, sophisticated, and down-right beautiful debuts of a graphic novelist I've ever been privy to. First, about Chad. I met Chad at Comic-Con a few years ago when some of my buddies brought him around to talk about his proposal for a graphic novel. When I heard the concept I fell in love. When I got to spend time talking with Chad about the project, breaking into comics, and what to do next, I knew that I'd just met an exciting new talent who was going to rock the shit out of this industry.

The book, in case the title didn't clue you in, is about a couple of brothers in the early 19th century who went on a killing spree through the South. They're like Bonnie and Clyde is just barely post-revolutionary war times. It's a delicate mix of history and horror with the feel of good Western Noir, that's engaging and beautifully executed by Chad and artist Adam Shaw.

The thing about Chad, much like the aforementioned Joshua Dysart, is that he does something I just can't do. He takes history and makes it flesh. The book is thoroughly researched, pain-stakingly replicating the events, locales, and characters of this most definitely untold story in a way that defies it's period setting and gory subject matter. He creates a portrait of some sick individuals that you still manage to have feelings for. Considering the atrocities these guys committed, that's an amazing feat. They're not just monsters, they're human, and very, very real.

Do yourself a favor and head to your local retailer, and have them order this book. Tell them it's available using Diamond Order Number SEP090728. You'll be glad you did.

More info, including a five page preview available here: http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=9d17c9217240226bbc79d6750&id=6f9b04e3e1&e=

Unknown Soldier Vol. 1

I'm fortunate to call Josh Dysart a friend. I've known him for almost my entire career in comics, which is closing in on a decade now. He has a lot of tools in his toolbox as a writer that I'm incredibly envious of. He handles huge ideas in digestable ways, and creates world that are both painfully realistic, and bendable to his whims. If you don't believe check out his pitch perfect pulp work on Penny Farthing's Captain Gravity, him following in the footsteps of the greatest writer in comics and going toe to toe with him on Swamp Thing, or, crafting one of the most socially responsible comics about a crazy guy with a gun in the history of the medium, as he's done in Unknown Soldier.

The book is dark. Really dark. Achingly, painfully, nightmare inducing dark. And yet... it's not a nightmare to get through, as you'd expect. Instead, it's a delicate piece of true art that both forwards the medium of comics and manages to be a page turning semi-superhero style action piece. It crafts the perfect balance of information dump and character, that makes the world seem ultra-real, extremely foreign, yet simple and understandable.

There truly are few writers in Josh's league these days, and I'm thrilled to see someone so talented succeeding in such a grand sense. And in case it matters, he's also a sensationally sweet guy who can charm the pants off of you. Literally. I've seen it.

Do yourself a favor, and check out the book, and, I recommend seeing Josh's extensive notes, behind the scenes diary posts, and more over at http://www.joshuadysart.com

Quick Review: Columbine

Columbine by Dave Cullen

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautifully written tome on an ugly piece of American history. The style and finesse of the writing is equal only to the depth of understanding of the events and people involved.

More than just the 'true story' of what happened ten years ago, it's a chilling and lyrical portrait of a tragedy and the hundreds of people who's lives were forever changed.

Must read.

View all my reviews.

Quick Comic Review: Tom Strong vol. 1

Tom Strong (Book 1) Tom Strong by Alan Moore

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
For some reason, I skipped over the triumvirate of ABC books of which Tom Strong is a part. It's literally everything good about superhero comics in one book. Fun, inventive, light hearted, emotionally resonant, and, best of all, inspiring. Alan Moore is so often though of as dour and miserable, and yet, here we are, with a book that is anything but.

Go. Read it. Now.

View all my reviews.

Watchmen

Posted the following on a discussion board a little bit ago, and realized I never said anything about Watchmen on the site, so, here's my extremely brief review. I saw Watchmen at a screening a couple of weeks back. It's way better than I expected it to be, and, in fact, I found myself inspired by it. I hadn't read the graphic novel in at least ten years, and liked the movie so much, I went out and rebought it, and reread it.

It's different than the book, obviously, but, some of the choices are actually pretty great (the squid never worked for me in the book, and what they came up with instead really makes infinitely more sense.) Overall, there's considerably more style than substance, but, the material itself is so substantial, that it ends up being okay.

So, yeah, go in with low expectations and be pleasently surprised.

ComicVine on Cyblade #3

Early Review/Preview Cyblade #3 -There is something about this Cyblade series. I think it's the combination that she can majorly kick ass yet she is also vulnerable at times. Seeing her fight for her freedom early in her career has been interesting and entertaining. There's already been tons of comparisons to Jennifer Garner's "Alias." I do think that is part of the charm. Cyblade is like "Alias" but times 10. Reading through the issues, you can almost feel it as a live action feature.

Thanks for the kind words fellas!

AICN on The Cleaners

AICN COMICS REVIEWS Kevin Smith's BATMAN! POPEYE! James Jean's FABLES! GARFIELD MINUS GARFIELD! + MUCH MORE!!! -- Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news.

THE CLEANERS #1 Dark Horse Comics

This is a completely modern horror story that hinges on the age old fear of blood and the contemporary fear of what type of diseases lie within it. It’s the story of a businessman who makes a living cleaning up blood at crime scenes. He’s a private businessman who takes care of things either when the job is too complicated to alert the authorities or just too damn weird to go about conventional means to clean the mess up. The credits of this book read that it was written by Mark Wheaton (who I haven’t heard of) and “directed” by Joshua Hale Fialkov (who I do know from the phenomenal ELK’S RUN miniseries). The book really does dole out a healthy dose of paranoia and makes you feel downright ooky upon reading it. The art by Rahsan Ekedal isn’t much by way of frills, but conveys a no nonsense, in your face look at the crime scenes which dissect every corner and label the essential components of it. It makes for a CSI-like experience while reading it, a bell and whistle that adds to the story without distracting you. I’m going to follow this book closely to see where all of this blood splatter is coming from. - Bug

Weekly Comic Book Review.com on Cleaners

The Cleaners #1 (of 4) – Review « Weekly Comic Book Review.com

It can be hard to find new, original ideas in comics, but this is definitely one of them. Although this first issue was a little light on plot, Wheaton and Fialkov have still written an excellent fusion of noir and supernatural horror that loves its genres and respects their trappings. And to compliment the unique tale, Rashan Ekedal’s art is suitably detailed and gritty, proving to be the right choice to realize Wheaton and Fialkov’s story. I can’t wait to grab the next issue and see where they go with this.

Comics Should Be Good! Decleares Cleaners To Be.

Comics Should Be Good! » What I bought - 12 November 2008

Wheaton and Fialkov do a fine job taking this horrible job (well, I guess it pays well, and I suppose the people who do it enjoy it, but it still seems horrible), making it mundane, and then building a sense of horror back into it. Bellarmine and his team of co-workers make the jobs as scientific as possible, and the writers throw a lot of technical information at us that distances us from the fact that they’re cleaning up splattered blood. Then they introduce the mystery, and it’s rather terrifying. As a single issue, it’s well-constructed, giving us nice character sketches and a lot of information without being too overwhelming. Ekedal’s art, while not spectacular, is solid, especially when he has to convey the banality of suburbia juxtaposed against the presence of a lot of blood staining that banality.

PopSyndicate.com lurves the Cleaners

The Cleaners #1 Comic Books Review: PopSyndicate.comThe best first issue I’ve read in a long time.

Now this is intriguing. A new series about something very interesting that I know absolutely nothing about, created by people I have never heard of, and published by a company that doesn’t do this sort of thing all that often. How could I not check it out? And now that I have just finished reading it, all I can say is “wow”. Not in that way that implies something is so bad or wrong that you can’t help but be ensorcelled by its utter lack of redeeming qualities. No, this would be in that way that means that I am at a complete loss for words when it comes to describing how impressed I am right now. But now that I’ve had a few more minutes to process what I have just read I’ll do my best to elaborate further.

Comic Pants on Cleaners #1

Comic Pants » Wednesday Number Ones for 11/12/08The Cleaners #1 of 4 Writer: Mark Wheaton & Joshua Hale Fialkov Artist: Rahsan Ekedal Company: Dark Horse Comics

The Cleaners has a vibe that is pretty similar to crime procedural/tech geek shows like C.S.I., as Wheaton and Fialkov explore a little-known (and presumably real?) side of crime scene investigation, the private contractors who do crime scene clean-up. It’s not quite as procedural as I would have liked, as the writers don’t fully explain where the crime scene clean-up crews fit between crime scene investigators, detectives and coroners, but the focus here is less on exploring crime scene clean-up and more on setting up a set of unusual protagonists for what looks to be a supernatural mystery. The professional capability, combined with arrogance, in the lead character puts him right in line with protagonists like Gil Grissom or Dr. House, and it’s pretty clear that Wheaton and Fialkov have done their homework in terms of the clean-up tech and procedures. Rahsan Ekedal’s art is a treat, especially with the bright colors of Jon Graef. The open, sunlit feel of The Cleaners is a contrast to the grim and gritty look that’s usually present in this kind of procedural, and it works to give the book a fresh, approachable feeling despite its grim subject matter.

Two More Alibi Reviews!

Inked: A Comic Book Review Blog

Alibi is probably the best one-shot yet in the two Pilot Seasons we’ve had so far. Combine an intriguing story with excellent art and you’ve got a hit on your hands. I’d love to see what other adventures the two brothers have in store so it’s easy to say that this is definitely one of the one-shots that should be picked up as an on-going. Pick this up, you won’t be disappointed.

Pop Thought -- Joe Hilliard

Fialkov builds up some good tension over the brief twenty-six pages, keeping both the characters and the readers on their toes. There are twists and turns down to the very bitter end of this hard candy, going from sweet to sour and back again. In many ways, it reminded me of Greg Rucka's Queen & Country, from the other side of the fence. John and Rick are annoyingly likeable, you like them, and yet you feel you really shouldn't. Their adversaries are confoundingly vague in their intentions. In other words, it dark and mysterious, and ends on an extreme note.

Thanks so much guys! Really glad y'all dug the book!

Book Review - Scalped, Vol. 1

Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country by Jason Aaron

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finally got a chance to read the very talented Jason Aaron's Scalped. I'd read the first issue or two, and decided I'd pick it up in trades, as I so rarely go to the comic shop these days. I plowed through the first volume in about thirty minutes, and really loved it.

I think the Sopranos comparisons the book gets is a bit off. Jason does some really sophisticated stuff with storytelling that, to me, feels more in line with the Homicide/Oz/The Wire style storytelling than it does with anything else.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews.

Comic Pants on Alibi

Comic Pants » Short Pants Reviews 7/1/08

Well, I guess after Genius, I know my vote for the other series I want to see out of Top Cow’s Pilot Season. Alibi is a slick little spy thriller about an assassin and his (twin?) brother who work a clever scheme that lets them be both assassin and alibi at the same time. Half of the story is an interrogation and intrigue bit, as we see the inner workings of the job on the logistics end, and the other half is the action piece, as Rick does the assassinate and escape thing. It works out well, partly because Fialkov’s dialogue-driven storytelling has a nice patter to it that hits just the right balance of verisimilitude and cinematic (erring on the cinematic side) and partly because Haun is an exceptional artist who just needs the right project to shine, and this might be it. Haun is perfectly suited to a modern military/espionage type book, and he does some great work here, particularly on the bit with Rick dodging the satellite oversight, which looks just as cool as it sounds. There’s also a lot of great work on distinctive characters, realistic costuming and technology and some great use of silhouettes. Given the success of shows like Alias, Burn Notice and 24, I’ve always been a bit boggled that comics can’t come up with an action-heavy spy series in that vein, and it looks like Alibi might fill that niche, if it “goes to series” after Pilot Season is over.

Broken Frontier on Alibi

I got my start as a reviewer and columnist over at Broken Frontier, so it's always nice to get a review from the kind folks there. Broken Frontier | The Portal for Quality Comics Coverage!

Fialkov and Haun have crafted a very organic feeling package in Alibi. Text and images are smoothly in tune and the rythm is a well-oiled steamroller. Espionage ahoy and plots keep turning around more than Ahab in his tub, looking for the white whale. If the white whale had a sniper rifle, and a satellite GPS-watch, and infrared goggles and who wouldn't like to own a set of those! I'd say this is a very good contender for Pilot Season and goshdarnit, I would vote for these guys!

“I just punched a bitch in the throat,” which is where I have a problem.

In response to Greg's question, I'd probably used the same line if he punched a man OR a woman. Rest of the review at the link. Comics Should Be Good! » What I bought - 25 June 2008

Fialkov tells the story of John, a super assassin who always seems to have an alibi when a hit goes down. Now, the CIA has him in custody and they claim they’ve figured out his secret. It’s a pretty prosaic secret, actually, but I’m still not giving it away! What we get is a twisty tale of betrayal and murder, and Fialkov does a very good job of throwing us into the action but not leaving us behind. It’s very easy to get confused in espionage books, because you’re never sure who’s screwing whom, but that’s not the case in this book.