The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

Every Wednesday, I write about the most interesting new comics hitting comic shops, bookstores, digital, Kickstarter, and the web. Feel free to comment below if there's a comic you've read recently that you want to talk about or an upcoming comic that you'd like me to consider highlighting.

1. Big Trouble in Little China #1

Written by Eric Powell with John Carpenter; art by Brian Churilla
Boom! Studios

Now we can finally find out what happened when Jack Burton drove off at the end of the movie.

People have tried in the past to turn John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic Big Trouble in Little China into a comic. Top Cow Comics were going to do it back in 2009, but their plan never materialized and they eventually lost the license. Now, Boom! Studios is really going to make it happen and they’re doing it with the help of Carpenter himself.

Big Trouble in Little China #1 picks up right where the movie left off. Jack Burton (played by Kurt Russell in the film) has said farewell to Wang, Miao, Gracie, and the rest and drives off in his big rig, The Pork Chop Express. Unbeknownst to him, one of the monsters they fought off has stowed away in the back of his truck.

Boom! has brought a top notch creative team in to bring this to the page. Eric Powell is the creator of the popular comic The Goon and rarely works on anything outside of that series, but he could not resist the opportunity to create a sequel to one of his favorite movies. Artist Brian Churilla got a lot of attention for his recent Secret History of DB Cooper comic and has a clean, cartoony style that fits right in. On top of all that, John Carpenter has given his blessing on this series and has provided some input on the story.

Here’s a preview.


2. Safari Honeymoon

By Jesse Jacobs
Koyama Press

A couple spend their honeymoon on a guided safari on another world.

Jesse Jacobs’ last graphic novel By This You Shall Know Him, is probably in my top 5 favorite comics of the past half-decade, which makes his latest, Safari Honeymoon, one of my most anticipated books of the year. His comics are weird, smart, beautifully designed, and always surprising.

In Safari Honeymoon, two affluent tourists pay a presumably exorbitant fee to spend their honeymoon in an alien world full of cute but dangerous wildlife, deadly parasites, infections, temporal disturbances, and strange, confusing landscapes. The couple’s journey is both terrifying and hilarious but constantly trippy.

Jacobs is great at drawing weird creatures that make you stop reading for ten minutes just to stare at the page to soak it all in. In between these hallucinatory interludes, though, he tells a really engaging story about men and women in the wild.

Here’s a preview


3. Blindsprings

By Kadi Fedoruk /

Sometimes a fairy tale princess shouldn’t be saved.

Recently, a reader recommended a webcomic in the comments section (I’m always looking for new comics to check out—especially webcomics—so please recommend some below). Blindsprings is a magical fantasy about a young girl named Tammy who lives in a lush forest straight out of a fairy tale. In fact, she soon meets a young man named Harris who knows of her from reading fairy tales. Harris soon leaves for school to study magic, while Tammy is involved with some sort of secret group of forest spirits. Years later, Harris returns to “save” Tammy and bring her out into the world. But that may not be what Tammy really wants or needs.

Kadi Fedoruk is an amazing young artist whose work would look right at home at Disney, although you can see other influences as well. Blindsprings looks like what would happen if Frozen’s Princess Anna wandered into the world of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. There is definitely a mysterious undertone to this that elevates the material above simple children’s fantasy though, and it hints at darker things to come.

Jump in and catch up on the story here.


4. Afterlife With Archie Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; art by Francesco Francavilla
Archie Comics

There’s trouble in Riverdale when the dead begin to rise from their graves.

Undoubtedly the biggest surprise in comics the past year has been Afterlife With Archie, a new series from Archie Comics that takes the Riverdale gang and mashes them up with just about the last thing you’d expect: zombies. It’s understandable to want to dismiss this as trite bandwagon-jumping, but great reviews and impassioned word-of-mouth praise from readers have made this a hot-selling comic. Now, the first collected volume is about to hit bookstores and potential new audiences.

When Jughead’s pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, he turns to Sabrina the Teenage Witch to bring him back to life. However, the dark magic Sabrina uses spreads out of control and Hot Dog is not the only corpse to rise from the dead in Riverdale. Soon, Archie and the gang are on the run and no one is safe.

This is the first book that Archie Comics has ever published that is meant for mature readers, and with its success it won’t be the last. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa just announced a new series that will focus on Sabrina The Teenage Witch in a similarly dark way. His collaborator, Francesco Francavilla, is a design-oriented comic book artist who has been making a big splash on Tumblr over the past year with his fan art posters for TV shows like Breaking Bad and True Detective. He brings that same, strong use of simple, bold color and graphic shadows to this comic to give it a look that feels true to the style of 1950s horror comics as well as the Archie comics of that same era.

Find out more about the book here.

Pop Culture
Cheerleaders and Chicken Suits: Funko is Releasing Several Special Edition Deadpool POPs!

Marvel’s “Merc With a Mouth” is not only getting a sequel—he’s also getting some new swag. Deadpool, the sardonic superhero/villain in red spandex, will soon be immortalized in a new line of special edition Funko POP! vinyl toys.

In keeping with the franchise's eccentric sense of humor, there will be several outlandish outfits to choose from, each one sold exclusively by a different retailer. Among the outfit options Funko lovers will find are a mermaid get-up (complete with starfish bra) at Target; a cheerleader uniform for BoxLunch; a king’s robe and crown at FYE; and a chicken suit for Amazon shoppers. There’s even one of Deadpool holding a chimichanga while wearing ninja gear for 7-Eleven.

These parody dolls seem to be keeping in character with the Deadpool films, which themselves are parodies of the superhero genre. The title character, played by Ryan Reynolds, often breaks the fourth wall in order to poke fun at both DC and Marvel. (The filmmakers also famously signed off on spending $10,000 for a quick shot of the unlikely superhero wearing a tank top with Golden Girl Bea Arthur's face on it.)

The figures will be out this summer following the release of Deadpool 2 on May 18, 2018. Funko also recently released its royal family line of POP! dolls, depicting Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Elizabeth II, and her kin.

Marvel Studios
Pop Culture
20 Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Locations You Can Visit in Real Life
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

While most of Marvel Cinematic Universe is magically brought to life on sound stages, the box office-busting superhero movie franchise also makes use of real-world locations around the world to bring its stories to life. Here are 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe movie locations you can visit in real life.


Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Connie Chiume, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, and Daniel Kaluuya in 'Black Panther' (2018)
Disney/Marvel Studios

If you want to be the next king of Wakanda, you have to challenge the current king to ritual combat at Warrior Falls. While close-ups and action footage of Black Panther’s Warrior Falls were filmed on a soundstage in Atlanta, Georgia, establishing and wide shots were filmed at Iguazu Falls, a water system on the border of Argentina and Brazil in South America.


After three months of being held captive by a terrorist group in Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to the United States and gives a press conference about his ordeal at Stark Industries HQ in Los Angeles. However, the press conference scene was filmed on location at the headquarters for Masimo, a medical technologies company based in the city of Irvine. The company’s offices have also been featured in Transformers (2007) and Dodgeball (2004).


In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is a nuclear physicist and biochemist at Culver University in Willowdale, Virginia. For the film, the campus of the University of Toronto was used for the fictional school, while Morningside Park in Scarborough, Ontario was used for the university’s quadrangle. The park was the main filming location for General “Thunderbolt” Ross’s (William Hurt) attack on the Big Green Guy.

4. RANDY’S DONUTS // IRON MAN 2 (2010)

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark—in full Iron Man armor—lounges inside the large, iconic donut on top of Randy’s Donuts when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) meets him to talk about the Avengers Initiative. The exterior of the real Randy’s Donuts location in Inglewood, California was used for filming, while the interior of the scene was filmed at Yum Yum Donuts in Playa del Rey, about 20 miles away.

Randy’s Donuts has also been featured in Get Shorty, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Earth Girls Are Easy, Dope, and episodes of Arrested Development.


As soon as the Mighty Thor arrives on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) immediately hits the God of Thunder with her van. She rushes him to a small county hospital in Santa Fe. The production team used an office building called the Toney Anaya Building in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the hospital’s exterior.


After small and skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is transformed into the tall and hunky Captain America, a HYDRA infiltrator steals the super soldier serum and speeds away through the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York. Instead of filming in the borough, the film crew simply used the exterior of the Titanic Hotel at Stanley Dock in Liverpool, England for the climax of the chase scene at Pier 13.


In The Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is in Germany when he delivers a rousing speech about humanity. In real life, the scene was filmed just outside of Tower City Center on Cleveland, Ohio’s Public Square. (You can actually see the city’s iconic Terminal Tower in the background.)

8. NEPTUNE’S NET // IRON MAN 3 (2013)

In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark has a panic attack when he’s signing autographs for fans at a seafood restaurant called Neptune’s Net. While there is a real Neptune’s Net in Malibu, California, the scene was actually filmed at Dania Beach Bar & Grill in Dania Beach, Florida. The production moved from California to Florida because the real Neptune’s Net is located on the Pacific Coast Highway and it would’ve been virtually impossible—not to mention expensive—to shut down the busy highway for filming.


In Thor: The Dark World, the climactic battle between Thor and the Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) takes place at Old Royal Naval College, located on the south bank of the river Thames in Greenwich, London. Thor even asks a confused subway rider how to get to Greenwich after he’s transported away from the fight.

Due to its popularity and cinematic look, Old Royal Naval College has also been featured in Cinderella (2015), Skyfall (2012), The King’s Speech (2010), Les Misérables (2012) and Netflix’s The Crown.


When Captain America and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are on the run from undercover HYDRA soldiers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the superheroes hide in plain sight at a mall in Washington D.C. However, the scene was not filmed in the nation’s capital; it was shot on location at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

In fact, much like The Avengers, most of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was filmed at various locations in “The Land” (Cleveland’s nickname), including the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University, the Cleveland Arcade, Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and Pilgrim Congregational Church. Even the city’s highways were used to film the movie’s exciting chase scenes, namely the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway over the mighty Cuyahoga River.


While Guardians of the Galaxy takes place on the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a few real-life landmarks and buildings were used during filming. Most notably, the Liége-Guillemins Railway Station in Liège, Belgium was used for the centerpiece of Xandar Plaza, where the group of alien misfits are arrested at the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy.


At the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular superhero team fights their way through a forest in the fictional country of Sokovia. Their goal is to retrieve a Chitauri Scepter and the Mind Infinity Stone from inside a castle-like HYDRA research base, which was filmed at Fort Bard (or Forte di Bard) in Bard, Aosta Valley, Italy. The old fort was used as an outpost to protect the valley from Napoleon Bonaparte during the 19th century. Fort Bard is currently the location of the Museum of the Alps.

While Fort Bard was used to film the exterior, England’s Dover Castle was used to film the interior of the HYDRA research facility.


After he is released from prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) moves into his former cellmate Luis’s (Michael Peña) apartment at the Milgrom Hotel in Ant-Man. However, the real filming location was the historic Riviera Hotel on Jones Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. It was originally built as a luxury hotel in 1907, but now serves as low-income housing.


In Captain America: Civil War, the epic showdown between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America takes place at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Schkeuditz, Germany. The airport was also the location for other movies, such as Flightplan (2005) and Unknown (2011).


When the villain Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) conjures a dark and mysterious spell from the Book of Cagliostro in Doctor Strange, he contacts Dormammu of the Dark Dimension. He recites it inside of the chapel at Exeter College in Oxford, England to seek revenge on the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).


At the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) and Ego (Kurt Russell) pull into a Dairy Queen in Missouri in 1980. That Dairy Queen is actually the location of BB’s Cafe, a restaurant in Stone Mountain, Georgia, about 20 miles outside of Atlanta.


In Thor: Ragnarok, Heimdall (Idris Elba) leads a large group of refugees through the forests of Asgard to find sanctuary in the mountains. A majority of the superhero movie was filmed on sound stages in Australia, while Tamborine National Park and Cedar Creek Falls in South East Queensland were used for Asgardian forests and waterfalls.


Peter Parker (Tom Holland) attends Midtown High School in Forest Hills, Queens. The production team for Spider-Man: Homecoming used Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn, New York as the exterior for the fictional high school, while Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia was used for its interior.


In 2018’s Black Panther, we meet the film’s antagonist Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) while he's viewing African art and artifacts at the Museum of Great Britain, a stand-in for the British Museum in London. Instead of traveling to England, the film’s cast and crew filmed the scene at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.


At the end of The Avengers, Iron Man remarks that he’s never tried shawarma after he spotted a shawarma joint while flying around Manhattan during the Chitauri Battle. During the last post-credits scene, we find the very exhausted superhero team chowing down on the yummy Middle Eastern treat.

Director Joss Whedon filmed the scene at the then-Elat Burger (now Shalom Grill), located at 9340 West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. To keep the scene a secret, Whedon filmed it a day after the film’s world premiere, when the entire cast was in Los Angeles.

Fun fact: Sales of shawarma rose in Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Boston following the release of The Avengers in May 2012.


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