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Exclusive | Action Lab takes ‘Puppet Master’ from film to comics

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Evil comes in all sizes — and now it comes to comics.

Action Lab Entertainment has drafted the cult horror movie franchise Puppet Master as the newest in its growing line of comics titles beginning March 2015. Licensed directly from creator Charles Brand, the Puppet Master comic series sees the menacing marionettes who have evolved from creepy villains to somewhat likeable anti-heroes looking to get a life of their own outside of their wooden bodies. Written by long-time fan (and Action Lab co-founder) Shawn Gabborin and illustrated by Michela Da Sacco, Puppet Master follows in the footsteps of the movie franchise’s ten films while aiming to be new reader friendly for those that haven’t seen the films (or haven’t seen them in some time).

ROBOT 6 spoke with Gabborin about the series, and Action Lab has provided us with a exclusive preview of the book in advance of its March 2015.

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Exclusive preview | ‘Hellbreak’ #1 by Bunn, Churilla and Stewart

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In Hellbreak, the upcoming supernatural action series by Cullen Bunn, Brian Churilla and Dave Stewart, there’s an infinite number of Hells, each unique and terrible in its own way. When a demon takes possession of a person, sending his soul to one of those Hells, it’s up to the Kerberos Project, using forbidden technology, to send in an extraction team to rescue it.

Oni Press has provided ROBOT 6 an exclusive preview of Hellbreak #1, offering a ghastly glimpse of one of those Hells. But what’s Bunn’s vision for his own?

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Exclusive preview | Check out Valiant’s ‘Bloodshot Reborn’ #1 in living color

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Valiant Entertainment has provided ROBOT 6 with an extended first look at the colored pages for Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan’s Bloodshot Reborn #1, debuting in April.

“Without getting into specifics, at the end of The Valiant, something very dramatic happens to Bloodshot,” Lemire told CBR in October. “It completely and utterly alters his life, and everything we know and everything we’ve ever seen of Bloodshot is really turned inside out. We pick up a few months after the events of The Valiant and Bloodshot is withdrawn from society. He’s living as a drifter trying to make some sense of what’s happening, what he is and what he was and what he can still be. That’s where we pick up — it’s a character that’s really been taken down to the bone, and then I’m going to take him down even further.”

Check out Suayan’s pages colored by David Baron — some of which have never been seen before — below.

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Exclusive preview | Bunn and Haun’s ‘Wolf Moon’ #2

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The Sixth Gun co-creator Cullen Bunn is certainly no stranger to the supernatural, but for his first major Vertigo comic, he’s biting into another kind of horror.

The publisher has shared with ROBOT 6 an exclusive first look at pages at Wolf Moon #2, by Bunn and Jeremy Haun. The series explores a viral werewolf disease that transfers to a different victim every full moon, marrying the conceit with a procedural detective story for a bloody addition to the Vertigo line.

Under a cover by Ryan Kelly, Wolf Moon #2 arrives on Jan. 7.

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Trade waiting: Favorite collections of 2014

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As the reviews editor for Comic Book Resources, I accumulate a lot of collected editions. For better or worse, trade-waiting has become a part of the comics landscape, but it’s easy to tell when a collection rises above the pack. Whether it’s through superior craftsmanship, incredible bonus material, attention to the little details or a combination of all three, there are always a few trades that rise to the top, and make for an enjoyable reading experience and a fantastic display piece.

Thus, here are a few of my favorite collected editions of 2014, factoring in the strength of the original material, and what makes the collection worth picking up for those that might already own the single issues — ranging from budget-conscious trades up through the incredibly pricey omnibus editions.

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Exclusive preview | It’s time to mourn in ‘C.O.W.L.’ #8 preview

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Image Comics has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at C.O.W.L. #8, by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis, which sees the cast of the series — the Chicago Organized Workers League — mourning the loss of one of their own. The issue arrives Jan. 28, continuing the series’ second arc.

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Koyama collects Harbin’s ‘Diary Comics’ in May

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Dustin Harbin has been a ROBOT 6 favorite for a while, so we’re pleased to share some pages from his upcoming Diary Comics collection. Due from Koyama Press in May, the collection features Harbin’s documentation of “the ups and downs and sideways of his life in comic form.”

Check out the preview below.

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Exclusive preview | The supernatural invades Grecian & Rossmo’s ‘Rasputin’ #4

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Image Comics has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive first look at Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo’s Rasputin #4, continuing the origin story of Grigori Rasputin, one of the most fascinating figures in Russian history. And given the legends about Rasputin himself, it’s understandable why the pages have more than a slight supernatural angle.

“He was always so larger than life, everything about him was exaggerated,” Grecian told CBR in 2014. “It’s almost impossible at this point to separate the truth from the tall tales, which frees us up to tell any kind of story we want to. He fictionalized himself and his biographers and detractors fictionalized him after death, so I feel like you can sort of swirl everything around in a big pot and add your own spices and come up with just about anything.”

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Exclusive preview | Brisson & Couceiro’s ‘Cluster’ from BOOM!

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After working on the inaugural arc of BOOM! Studios’ Sons of Anarchy title, Ed Brisson and Damian Couceiro are going out on their own with new series Cluster in what the publisher describes as a “gritty, violent, sci-fi epic in the vein of The Dirty Dozen.”

That opening panel shows more than just a dozen, but given Brisson’s past writing, I expect that herd to be thinned down quick and with gusto. Cluster follows a group of incarcerated criminals drafted into service as soliders in a future war against aliens, but their predicament goes from bad to worse when they’re stranded on one of the battlefield planets with only each other to rely on for survival.

For ROBOT 6’s anniversary celebration, BOOM! has provided us with an exclusive three-page preview of this title, debuting on Feb. 4. In addition, we have three of the four covers by James Stokoe, Simon Roy and Declan Shalvey.

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Exclusive preview | Richard Corben’s ‘Rat God’ #1

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Richard Corben is known for both his classic horror comics and, in recent years, a spate of adaptations of classic tales of terror. His next project, Rat God from Dark Horse, blends the two, as it draws inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft to tell an all-new story of backwoods horror.

The story folds together Corben’s interest in Native American culture, commentary on the racism in Lovecraft’s work, and his own dense, shocking style of drawing. In the comic, an arrogant New England scholar sets out to uncover the background of a young student from a rural area, only to discover horror beyond imagining.

We’re happy to share an exclusive preview of Rat God #1, which arrives Feb. 4.

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Exclusive preview | The Rebels attack in ‘Star Wars’ #2

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It’s a big month — heck, a big year — for fans of both Star Wars and of Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, as Marvel debuts the flagship title of its new line of comics, which picks up following the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope.

However, before you can even get your hands on that million-selling first issue (it goes on sale Jan. 14), Marvel has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at pages from February’s Star Wars#2, illustrated by Cassaday and colored by Laura Martin. In the issue, the Rebel assault continues, even as Luke Skywalker is cornered by Darth Vader, and Han Solo, Princess Leia and the others find themselves trapped.

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Exclusive preview | Hal heads to Earth in ‘Green Lantern’ #38

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DC Comics has provided ROBOT 6 at an exclusive first look at Green Lantern #38, by Robert Venditti and Admira Wijaya.

Although the third act of the “Godhead” crossover is still playing across the Green Lantern books, this issue finds Hal Jordan returning to Earth for some rest and relaxation. However, judging by the solicitation text — to say nothing of history — he likely has little chance of finding either.

The issue, which features covers by Billy Tan and Doug Mahnke, goes on sale Jan. 7.

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Exclusive preview | Carla Speed McNeil’s ‘Finder: Torch’

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Carla Speed McNeil is about to make Finder fans happy, as she’s at work on a new story arc (tentatively called “Torch”) that will be serialized this year in Dark Horse Presents. To give you an idea of what’s in store, McNeil provided ROBOT 6 with some exclusive pages, freshly colored by Jenn Manley Lee, and a revelation that the new story:

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Schubert’s ‘Blobby Boys’ returns in May from Koyama Press

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“Imagine The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as pot-smoking punks.”

Courtesy of Koyama Press, we’re pleased to offer a look at Blobby Boys 2, the follow-up to Alex Schubert’s award-winning comic. Schubert’s bold, machine-precise images, tell the story of a band of “salacious and slimy Saturday Morning cast-offs,” and the wannabe keyboardist/fan who wants to join them.

Check out the preview and more information below. Blobby Boys 2 arrives in May.

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Archie’s Alex Segura unveils Robert Hack’s Dark Circle variants

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Archie Comics had a lot of surprises for readers in 2014, and if early plans are any indication, 2015 has even more in store. One of the publisher’s major announcements last year was the relaunch of its Dark Circle imprint, spearheaded by editor Alex Segura. With a debut that includes revamped versions of The Shield and The Black Hood, along with a second volume of The Fox, each book has its own style and flavor.

Helping to bring that flavor to the forefront is none other than Chilling Adventures of Sabrina artist Robert Hack, who will contribute three special vintage movie poster variants to the line — and ROBOT 6 has the exclusive first look!

We also spoke with Segura, who revealed how the variants were developed, the mission to make each of the titles unique, resolutions for 2015 and more.

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