Gotham – The Decent Into Madness



This evening saw the première of the long-awaited FOX drama, “Gotham.” This new series, based on characters appearing in DC Comics, marks the first time a live action series revolving around the Batman mythology has appeared on television since 1966. There is one major difference. No, it isn’t that ‘bat-sui” and shark repellant haven’t been shown; it’s that this is not about Batman. This is about Gotham City.

The fictitious city of Gotham (most often seen as DC Universe’s New York City) is front and center. It is as much a main a character as Bruce Wayne and the Batman we have come to take for granted. The premise of the series revolves around the tipping point in which Gotham City began it’s descent into the madness, chaos, and modern day Sodom and Gomorrah that would pave way for the necessity of a man to put on a cape and cowl. The hour long pilot opens with the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne and the early moments in Jim Gordon’s career pursuit of finding those responsible for the killing. Within the hour, we are treated to a noir-ish city, a hyper stylized rendering of the city in which it was filmed, New York. We are introduced, to a much more frenetic and muscular paced GCPD, and the idea that “hope” will one day rise from a city corrupt with “lackadaisical and slovenly” police officers who live among the organized crime families that help steer the city closer to darker nights.

The pilot episode of “Gotham” stands along with some of the better pilots in television history. While much darker, and significantly more tough than CW’s “Smallville”, FOX’s brand new drama is definitely more violent than “Arrow.” “Gotham” finds itself lost amid the fantasy of Joel Schumacher’s Gotham City and Christopher Nolan’s more believable approach to the choices men and women make, and the line they walk between White and Dark Knights. There are three standouts on this program that must be mentioned, and will continually be preached at my comic book pulpit to all that gather – Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Mazouz. Character actor extraordinaire, Donal Logue IS Detective Harvey Bullock. A fan favorite character, especially from the Bruce Timm animated Batman series, has finally been given the live action treatment. The gruff, sarcastic, live and let live detective with a heart is completely inhabited by Mr. Donal Logue. Jada Pinkett Smith, portrays a newly created character, a mob lieutenant named Fish Mooney, who works for Carmine Falcone. Introducing a new character to a much beloved and well known mythology is never an easy task. If you stray too far from the page and panels, you might as well be thrown into Arkham. However, if done right, you may be hob-knobbing it with the mucky mucks at Wayne Manor. Jada Pinkett Smith breathes a lively, sexy, and silent volcano of a performance into Fish Mooney. Yet this is where the show does border on Schumacher territory. Not that there is anything wrong with that. After all, this is hour televison AND based on one of the most popular of COMIC BOOKS of all time. There is no reason, she shouldn’t have fun with this role and more power to her for creatively hamming it up. I do love her comic book-ish villain of a character and she sure seems like she stepped out of a Mickey Spillane pulp novel. I, loved her, and greatly look forward to seeing how Fish Mooney develops. Yet, I am cautiously optimistic about the tightrope “Gotham” walks. One performance that is that rare gem that all good television should be blessed with is a performance that sweeps you away into the world we choose to give ourselves to for an hour. That performance goes to the young, talented, and natural intensity of David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne. Seen her as a young boy, years away from traveling the world, seeking “the means to fight injustice and to turn fear against those who prey on the fearful”, we are given a real young boy being ripped away from the joy all adolescents should be entitled to. We are given a young boy thrust into the harshness of adulthood and standing on the edge of a choice; that choice being to conquer fear or become it. David Mazouz is Bruce Wayne and he has big shoes to fill. After performances by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and by 2016’s Ben Affleck, we all know that at some moment, if granted the success of “Smallville”, he will eventually put on the cowl. While any boy his age might understandably be intimidated, David Mazouz shows no signs worry. He boils in each scene with an unsettling serenity that makes us all wish for that time travel machine to fast forward to the day that HE is Batman!

I liked “Gotham” very much. The cast and creative team have definitely accomplished a hard task of bringing the world of Batman to the small screen. It was an enlightened decision to keep the show centered on the City, as opposed to the Caped Crusader. “Gotham” needs to be different and we want it to be. After a promising start, we at What’cha Reading will definitely be watching.

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Action Lab’s Mature and Teen Readers December Books!

A few interesting first issues, some collected editions and the latest issues of your ongoing and miniseries favorites round out Action Lab’s Mature and Teen Readers line-up for December. Ask for these and other great Action Lab titles at you local comic shop!

Writer(s): Mike Hunau
Artist Name(s): Carlos Trigo
Cover Artist(s): Carlos Trigo

Action Lab's Mature and Teen Readers December Books!

Jack’s past meets his present, and his recently “upgraded” curse is put to the test as he and his allies are
caught on the wrong side of town. When an all-out attack threatens what matters most to Jack, can he
rise to the challenge?

32 pgs. / Mature Readers / FC $3.99

Writer(s): Brockton McKinney
Artist Name(s): Larkin Ford
Cover Artist(s): Larkin Ford


The conclusion to Everything and Small Doses is here. The final battle with the time-jumping assassin
monkey Mister Everything is fought. The discovery of what he was after, and his secret past are revealed.
Dominika’s plans to find a portal come to fruition as our heroes, Gabe and Whispers, fight for their very
32 pgs. /Mature Readers / FC $3.99

Writer(s): Anthony Ruttgaizer
Artist Name(s): Phillip Sevy (art), Fred C Stresing (letters/colors)
Cover Artist(s): Lee Moder


Everyone who manifests superpowers goes insane and becomes a threat to society…
except for Jake Roth. When Jake manifests superpowers but somehow keeps his sanity, he
must decide whether or not to put himself at risk by using his new abilities to help people or do
nothing and save himself while innocent people around him get hurt. From war-torn Afghanistan
to the streets of South Philadelphia, it’s an all-out fight for survival for The F1rst Hero!
128 pgs ./Teen / FC $14.99

FIGHT LIKE A GIRL # 2 (of 4)
Writer(s): David Pinckney
Artist Name(s): Soo Lee
Cover Artist(s): Soo Lee


ROUND 2! Amarosa has survived her first trial but the next may be more
than she can handle. Amarosa will confront a fear she had lost but has regained in a
new fashion as she braves a fight against a colossal robot responsible for the
eradication of the human race.
32 pgs. /Teen / FC $3.99

Writer(s): John Reilly
Artist Name(s): Tom Rogers, Dexter Weeks
Cover Artist(s): Tom Rogers, Colin Dyer (variant cover)

COVER 1 Herald

When Nikola Tesla’s fiancée, Amelia Earhart, steals a dangerous prototype engine for a trans-Atlantic flight, Tesla seeks out the interdimensional expertise of HP Lovecraft to save her. Lovecraft, however, has problems of his own as he investigates the identity of Cthulhu’s Herald. Variant cover by Colin Dyer, limited to 1,500 copies!

32 pgs. /Teen / FC $3.99

Writer(s): Dean Rankine
Artist Name(s): Dean Rankine
Cover Artist(s): Dean Rankine


Take some time for an adventure to a magical world with two cute bunnies–two foul mouthed, drug
using, butt-naked bunnies that go on adorably offensive, insultingly hilarious adventures! Your journey
into off color fun begins here, with this mix of Adventure Time and underground comix!
Collects the first three special issues from Dean Rankine’s unhinged cartooning masterwork.

32pgs. /Mature Readers / FC $3.99(reg) $4.99 (var)

Writer(s): Nick Marino
Artist Name(s): Daniel Arruda Massa
Cover Artist(s): Daniel Arruda Massa (regular and limited variant covers)


Why is a nun barging into a seedy Tokyo karaoke bar in the middle of the night to find a sleazy naked man smoking meth? Because that man is Jesus, and Sister Maria needs him to help her and Satan stop humanity’s mythological gods from f*cking up the Earth. Includes two limited variant covers limited to 1,500 copies each, and ask your local retailer if they will be offering one of our limited edition store exclusive mythological god covers.
32pgs. /Mature Readers / FC $3.99

Writer(s): Jeremy Holt
Artist Name(s): Alex Diotto
Cover Artist(s): Riley Rossmo


When awkward high school teen Jasper Dixon sustains an injury during a hunting excursion with his family, his infected wolf bite combined with the hormonal changes of puberty triggers a disturbing physical transformation. Now he’s forced to confront his Deep South upbringing and monsters far worse than what he’s become!
Collects the critically acclaimed four issue series and features a cover by Riley Rossmo (Image Comics

32pgs./ Mature Readers / FC $3.99

Writer(s): Dan Mendoza, Jason Martin
Artist Name(s): TBA
Cover Artist(s): TMChu, Dan Mendoza (limited variant)
Risque variant cover (limited to 2000): TMChu
Artist variant cover (limited to 1500): Dan Mendoza


When you’re the street walking dead, you never know what kind of situations you may find yourself in from town to town. This time Zombie Tramp may regret her choice of locals as she’s drawn into an underground fight club. Grab your spurs, it’s time for a honky-tonk beat down! Features a variant cover by Dan Mendoza (limited to 1500 copies) and a risqué variant cover (limited to 2000

32pgs. /Mature Readers / FC $3.99(reg) $4.99 (var)

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Action Lab’s All Ages December Books!

Three fun books are on the slate for Action Lab’s all ages category this December. All are worth checking out whether you have a young one or not!

Writer(s): Kyle Puttkammer
Artist Name(s): Marcus Williams, Ryan Sellers, Omaka Schultz
Cover Artist(s): Marcus Williams

Action Lab's All Ages December Books!

What does it really take to be a Hero Cat? Find out as Ace leads Cassiopeia through
some long overdue training. Will she survive the journey from civilian to soldier? Action Lab’s newest hit prowls on!

32 pgs. /All Ages / FC $3.99

Planet Gigantic is getting some great buzz, the first issue hits the stands October first (check out the review/interview/preview here!)

Writer(s): Eric Grissom
Artist Name(s): David Halvorson, Phil Sloan
Cover Artist(s): David Halvorson


Yuri is confronted by a past foe as Valentina and Lyana square off against a giant
centipede. Also in this issue: Lyana the Seeker journeys to the underwater wreck of a
grand skyship. When she arrives, she soon realizes there is more than treasure buried

32 pgs./ All Ages/ FC $3.99

Writer(s): Martheus Wade
Artist Name(s): Martheus Wade (pencils and inks), Gene Faye (Colorist)
Cover Artist: Tressina Bowling

Kunoichi Cover 05]

Tesuto: As the fists, feet and swords fly during Shianndrea’s Masters Test, the Azumi Ninja locate the Toshigawa stronghold and attack. A huge battle ensues and Shianndrea is confronted by the evil Kokoro. With Kim, Gaudient and the rest of the Toshigawa Masters busy defending the stronghold, it’s up to Hamasuke and Shianndrea to defend themselves against the leader of the Azumi Ninja.

32 pgs./ All Ages/ FC $3.99

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Preview – Tag Deluxe Edition – BOOM! Studios

Zombie tales are all the rage at the moment, as we all know. What makes a story stand out is how unique a perspective it shows in the classic genre. Tag does just that, having the zombie infection pass from a host by touch and going through the zombification process first hand with a character. If you were cursed to watch yourself die and become a zombie would you accept your fate or curse another? Tag centers on that moral dilemma. The three issue miniseries is now collected in a deluxe edition.

Preview - Tag Deluxe Edition - BOOM! Studios

From Boom!’s press release:

WHY WE (BOOM!) LOVE IT: With Tag, comics legend Keith Giffen took the zombie story to the most personal, intimate place ever. Now we present the story again, collected in a full-size edition for the first time ever!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Giffen, Kody Chamberlain (Sweets), and Chee (G.I. Joe: Cobra) give you an intense, psychological horror story. You’ve read zombie stories but never one like this! All under a new cover by Chamberlain!

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: When an everyday man is “tagged” by a random stranger, he returns home and makes a horrifying discovery—his body is decomposing before his eyes, his flesh is rotting, he’s not dying…he’s dead. Now, he must make the morally challenging decision to either endure the ancient curse, or pass the plague to another.

Author: Keith Giffen
Artists: Kody Chamberlain, Chee





 We wanted to add all the publication data that we usually follow a preview with but none seems to be available. So we’ll call the release date of September 24 tentative and you should call your local comic shop to see if they’ve got it coming in!

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Preview – Lumberjanes #6 – Capture the Flag Gets a Bit Out of Hand

There is never a dull moment with our beloved Lumberjanes. Even a game of Capture the Flag is an open invitation to mystical forces. Here’s a preview of Lumberjanes #6.

Preview - Lumberjanes #6 - Capture the Flag Gets a Bit Out of Hand
From Boom!’s press release:

An intense game of Capture the Flag gets even crazier when mythical ancient beings get involved! Does Jo have magical powers? Is Diane totally cheating at this game? Can the girls save Ripley from the other team’s jail?! Questions are getting answered and flags are getting captured!

Writers: Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson
Artist: Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes_006_PRESS-2 Lumberjanes_006_PRESS-3 Lumberjanes_006_PRESS-4

Lumberjanes_006_PRESS-5 Lumberjanes_006_PRESS-6 Lumberjanes_006_PRESS-7


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Preview – Sherwood Texas #3 – Loxley Has a Plan!

Have you checked this series out yet? We reviewed issue #1 a while back, calling it “an above average take on a classic tale.” It’s a modern-day version of Robin Hood but it’s not a retelling. This is a new story that more pays homage to the ideas and uses the character and location names to tell its tale. Re-imagining Robin and his men as a biker gang in a turf war makes sense. And the personality traits we’ve come to expect from not only Robin, Tuck, and Little John but also from Prince John and Gisborn fit the tale well. What is it about bikers and biker gangs that play so well to the classic story ideas? This has shades of the classics in its story, maybe it’s the simplicity of the life they lead, the codes they follow? I truly don’t know what it is but I do know it works. If you’re in your local comic shop this week (09/24) pick up a copy of Sherwood Texas and tell me what you think…

SherwoodTX3_COV_ASHERWOOD, TX #3 (of 5)
Written By: Shane Berryhill
Artist: Daniel Hillyard
Colors: Charlie Kirchoff
Covers A and B: Andrew Robinson
12-Gauge Comics
Price: $3.99
24 pages
Synopsis: It’s time to go on the offensive! Rob Hood and the Jesters hatch a plan to rob John Prince and free the kidnapped Mexican girls he and the Nobles have forced into their sex-slave business. Meanwhile, Maria puts her life on the line for Hood, doing everything she can to bring justice to the men who murdered his father.

SherwoodTX3_COV_B SherwoodTX3_Digital-4 SherwoodTX3_Digital-5

SherwoodTX3_Digital-6 SherwoodTX3_Digital-7

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We Have Stick – Scott Glenn Joins Daredevil!

We Have Stick - Scott Glenn Joins Daredevil! We all have mentors. Maybe it was a school teacher, or maybe it was a family friend. Either way, this particular person was integral to you growing into the person you are today. It must be said, that however important your mentor was to you, they probably were not as cool as some of our favorite mentors seen on-screen and in comic books. Be it Liam Neeson as Ducard/ Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman Begins (or even Qui Gon Jinn in Star Wars), Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi, Burgess Meredith as Mickey in Rocky – these people are complete bad-asses. They are the epitome of cool. Well, next May, we will be adding someone else to the pantheon of mentors that have shaped our heroes into superheroes – Stick from Daredevil.

Daredevil_177pCurrently filming in NYC, Marvel’s Daredevil will be seen on Netflix in May of 2015. For the past two weeks on What’cha Reading, we have had a bit of a “Man Without Fear” Monday, in which we spotlight the most current news regarding this Marvel Entertainment/ ABC Studios production. While it was released this past week, we thought it’d be cool to announce it on our site today to keep up the tradition. Actor Scott Glenn, a great character actor most notable for performances in Silence of the Lambs, The Bourne Ultimatum, Sucker Punch, and most recently HBO’s “The Leftovers”, will be portraying the enigmatic figure only known as Stick. Anyone familiar with Daredevil understands how important Stick is in the Man Without Fear’s history. He is Matt Murdock’s blind mentor and surrogate father of sorts and trains the young Matt Murdock in the fighting ways of the ninja clan, The Hand. On casting Scott Glenn as the Frank Miller created character, executive producer Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween, Daredevil: Yellow) said “Stick is one of the most important in Matt Murdock’s life and Scott Glenn embodies all the qualities of someone so integral to this hero’s journey. There are few actors who could bring such the authenticity, gravitas and charisma to such a key role in Matt’s journey to become the super hero we call Daredevil.”
Casting seems spot on with “Daredevil” and for those hoping for a first glimpse at the show, you could expect to be given a proper unveiling, as Marvel has a panel planned for the series at New York Comic Con on Saturday, October 11th.

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C is for Cthulhu – Learn the Alphabet the Lovecraft Way!

C is for Cthulhu - Learn the Alphabet the Lovecraft Way!I was lucky enough to get in on the C is for Cthulhu board book Kickstarter last month, and I am so glad I did. A board book that teaches toddlers about Lovecraft and his universe? On it. A campaign that hit its goal in three days, so they added amazing stretch goals AND donated copies of the book to libraries with every $750 above goal they hit? All over this.

I’ll get my board book, poster, and I ::Heart:: Lovecraft button in December, but I’ve already received my deluxe digital edition of the book, which is just fantastic. From “A is for Abdul Alhazred…” to “Z is for Zombies”, every picture is just gorgeous, with rich colors. The whole Lovecraft gang is here: H.P. himself, the Great Cthulhu, Yog Soggoth, Tiara of Dagon, Miskatonic, the Necronomicon – it’s all here, made darkly adorable for little eyes. Cthulhu sleeping isn’t menacing here, it’s adorable. The Unnamable? He’s here – “Unnamable, yes. Unlovable, no.” My 2 year-old is now versed in Lovecraft in ways that I am convinced will put him at the head of the class in preschool.

l is for lovecraft

I’m only half joking. Why not start kids off early?  Jason Ciaramella and Greg Murphy prove that you can bring classic works of horror to kids without the insanity, books bound with human flesh thing. If Dracula and Frankenstein can hang out in a monster resort together in Hotel Transylvania, why can’t Lovecraft and his monsters get their day in the preschool sun? Ciaramella and Murphy included a small classroom/library level in the Kickstarter, and 13 people bought in at that level, so clearly, I’m not alone in my thinking.

I’m thrilled that these books are going to libraries, and I’m psyched to have a copy of my own to add to my little one’s burgeoning library.

I just found out that there’s a limited time window where you can order a copy of C is for Cthulhu even if you didn’t buy into the Kickstarter. Hit ComixTribe’s shop and pick one up for $15. Makes a great baby shower gift, or, let’s be honest – even if you don’t have kids, you want this book.

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Sally Heathcote: Suffragette—The Fight for Women’s Suffrage Brought to Life

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette—The Fight for Women’s Suffrage Brought to LifeIt’s no secret that I like historical comics; my first piece for What’cha Reading was a review of a comic biography about Ben Franklin. I come from a family that devours biographies like candy, and two degrees in history give me more than a touch of professional curiosity, no matter the historical subject. So when I come across a historical title in the releases for a week, I’m more than likely to review it. This was the case with Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, published in the US by Dark Horse Comics.

I’ve always considered myself a feminist and have a deep respect for the women who came before me and fought to get me the right to vote. As the title would suggest, Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is about exactly that, albeit across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom. Following the title character, who is involved in the suffrage movement for a large portion of her life, we learn that the British struggle for women’s suffrage was every bit as difficult as the American one. Sally begins as a servant in the home of Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the major names in the suffrage movement. When the Pankhursts move to London, Sally goes too and ends up working as a seamstress at a dressmaking co-op run by Emmeline Pethwick-Lawrence, a key member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (W.S.P.U.), the organization Mrs. Pankhurst and her daughters were also associated with. These two Emmelines followed very different paths in their quest for women’s suffrage: Pankhurst took a more militant approach, especially after World War I sallyhshcp1broke out, and Pethwick-Lawrence stayed true to the original pacifist beliefs of the W.S.P.U. The character Sally Heathcote tries both approaches during the years of struggle, giving a picture of the movement as a whole.

A lot happens in the decades this book covers. There were years of disappointment for the suffragettes as they tried various approaches to getting the vote and were denied at every turn by Parliament. They were viciously punished for their attempts to get a voice in government: thrown in prison as criminals, denied political prisoner status, and force-fed when they tried hunger strikes to make themselves heard (as a side note, the term “force fed” has lost some of its meaning to a modern audience, I think—these women had tubes forced up their noses or down their throats, in some cases puncturing the esophagus, or resulting in infection, and liquified food was poured down the tube—the creative team brought this vividly to life). There was also the so-called “Cat and Mouse Act,” where prisoners weakened by hunger strikes were released on license and could resume their normal lives until they were arrested for actively participating in the suffrage movement again; the basic idea was that the prisoners would go out, get healthy and eat normal foods again, only to be brought back into prison and tortured with force feedings when they were arrested again. A truthful and not-very-flattering portrait of the government and politicians of the time emerges as a result.

One of the things I’ve always disliked about election days in the US is that so many women just don’t turn out to vote, completely disregarding what earlier generations went through to get us this right. Sally Heathcote has a nod to this; the end of the book has a flash forward to Sally’s nursing home in 1969, where she is discussing that the government is lowering the voting age to 18 with her granddaughter, who will thus be able to vote. Her response is sure to surprise, and give even more weight to the plight of the suffrage movement.

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See the rest of the preview at

Sally Heathcote is really well-done social history that I think should be on the required reading list in schools everywhere, and should be read by adults as well. The artwork, black and white drawings with pops of color to draw attention to certain things such as Sally’s red hair, or the purple, white, and green banners of the W.S.P.U., is a nice reminder that although we tend to imagine the events of the early 1900s in black and white, the people who lived then and the issues they faced were as vibrant as we are today, and we still have a lot in common with them. Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is a timely reminder that so-called “rights” weren’t given freely, they had to be fought for. It’s a fight that’s still going on. I give Sally Heathcote 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.

Writer: Mary M. Talbot
Artists: Kate Charlesworth, Bryan Talbot
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 24, 2014
Format: Graphic Novel
Cover Price: $19.99

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The Rise of a Heroine — Paul Pope’s Rise of Aurora West!

Supernatural monsters have overrun the city of Acropolis. They attack children on the streets, kidnapping them to who-knows-where. The city looks to Haggard West, scientist and superhero, to save them from the monster menace; Haggard is only too happy to oblige, driven by his own heartbreak – his wife is a casualty of the monsters, leaving him to raise their daughter, Aurora, all alone.

The Rise of a Heroine — Paul Pope's Rise of Aurora West!The Rise of Aurora West is the second in Eisner Award Winner Paul Pope’s science fiction series. The first installment, 2013’s Battling Boy, just won a Harvey Award. While Battling Boy is the first in the series, Aurora West gives us some character development on Aurora West and her father, Haggard; you can jump into the series with either of these books and be fine.

Aurora is badass. She’s smart, she’s a monster slayer, and she’s a good role model for tweens and teens alike who pick up the book. She’s a teenager who’s stuck between being a good daughter to her genius, superhero dad, with whom she goes out on monster-slaying missions, and being independent and following her heart, when she discovers clues that could lead to answers about her mother’s death and the origin of the monsters plaguing Acropolis.

Pick up Battling Boy (if you haven’t already) and The Rise of Aurora West for a good, sci-fi read with plenty of action and solid character development. If you’re trying to introduce a tween to comics, this is a great place to start.

The Rise of Aurora West is in stores on September 30, so hit your local comic book store and ask for it, or check out your local bookstore. And enjoy a sneak preview of the book, courtesy of the website, below:

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Battling Boy Rise of Aurora West Vol. 1 (of 2)
Writers: Paul Pope, JT Petty
Artist: David Rubin
Publisher: :01 First Second
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 9781626720091
On Sale: September 30, 2014

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