Justin Aclin Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Justin Aclin wraps ‘S.H.O.O.T First’ mini, teases more to come


Writer Justin Aclin has looked forward to today, as his Dark Horse miniseries S.H.O.O.T First comes to a conclusion with the release of the fourth issue. Four happens to be the magic number on more than one level, as Aclin notes that the storyline has been in development for four and a half years.

However, the end of the miniseries doesn’t mark the end of Aclin and artist Nicolás Daniel Selma‘s adventures with the S.H.O.O.T. First team. In fact, Aclin provided ROBOT 6 with a peek at art from the upcoming arc Dark Horse Presents, which in March with Issue 24.

As Aclin described it, “This page is the first time we’re showing art from the upcoming Dark Horse Presents story. Part 1 takes place 10 years in the past, where an earlier version of the team confronts a giant snake Outside Actor in the Everglades. You can see a younger Lord Byron taking aim here.”

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NYCC ’13 | Get a free issue of ‘S.H.O.O.T. First’ #1

shoot first1Dark Horse will give away a limited number of copies of S.H.O.O.T. First #1 Sunday at New York Comic Con, three days before the issue arrives in stores.

According to writer Justin Aclin, the comic will be available during his signing with artist Nicolas Daniel Selma, which begins at noon at the publisher’s booth (#1636).

The miniseries pits the gun-toting atheists of the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce against some of the very creatures they don’t believe in — like angels and demons.

“I’d say that with S.H.O.O.T. First, I really created the kind of comic that I wanted to read,” Aclin told Comic Book Resources last month. “I would like to think that applies to a lot of other people as well. It’s got insanely great artwork by Nicolás Daniel Selma and wonderful colors by Marlac who did an amazing job bringing this world to life. They get to go crazy on the bizarre creatures the team is fighting. In the first issue, they’re fighting ‘Bottle Jinn’ who are essentially genies who kidnap people and put them inside themselves. It’s very creepy. Then in the second issue, they’re fighting a giant monster that has a unique twist on an old idea. In the third issue, they fight a group of fairies, elves and dragons that call themselves the Folklorics. Then in the fourth issue, it’s a battle royale. In every single issue, you’ll see spectacular battles against really cool mythological creatures.”

New York Comic Con is held Thursday through Saturday at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

From ‘Billy Madison’ to Extraño: Six questions with Justin Aclin


Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Justin Aclin, writer of Hero House, S.H.O.O.T. First, Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Defenders of the Lost Temple and Akaneiro.

Now let’s get to it …

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SDCC ’13 | Check out Hasbro’s Marvel figures display


To show off their line of Marvel figures at the San Diego Comic Con this year, Hasbro went all out and create a huge “fight scene” diorama featuring Marvel characters of all shapes and sizes — including a few custom figures built specifically for the display. Justin Aclin, who does PR for Hasbro as his day job (by night — or, actually, by morning commute — he writes Star Wars and SHOOT First comics for Dark Horse), gave me a tour of the booth and told me that it took them five hours to put the display together.

Check out some shots of it, along with some of their other action figures, below.

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Dark Horse announces ‘S.H.O.O.T. First’ miniseries

shoot first1Lost Tuesday amid the flurry of news coming out the Image Comics Expo is the announcement of Dark Horse’s S.H.O.O.T. First, a supernatural-adventure miniseries by Justin Aclin (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Nicolas Daniel Selma (Tomb Raider: The Beginning).

Launching in October, the creator-owned project pits gun-toting atheists against some of the very creatures they don’t believe in — like angels and demons.

“It’s about a team called the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce, who use the power of their own disbelief (as filtered through sci-fi weaponry) to protect humanity from supernatural creatures that seek to do us harm,” Aclin tells the New York Post’s Parallel Worlds. “But for S.H.O.O.T., that means demons, angels and everything in between.”

S.H.O.O.T. First has actually been a round for a while, having debuted in 2010 as an eight-page story in the final issue of MySpace Dark Horse Presents. And longtime ROBOT 6 readers may recall that Aclin contributed the prose short story “S.H.O.O.T. First: The House That Ate Halloween” to our Halloween celebration that same year.

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Looking Forward, Looking Back | Creators weigh in on 2012 and 2013 (Part 2)

Uncanny X-Force #1

It’s become an annual tradition during our birthday bash: No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of people we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they liked in 2012 and what they are excited about for 2013.

Check out Part One, and keep reading to see more of what people shared with us, including details on their upcoming projects. Our thanks to everyone who responded this year. Also, thanks again to Tim O’Shea, Michael May and Chris Arrant, who helped collect responses.

SAM HUMPHRIES (The Ultimates, Sacrifice, Uncanny X-Force)

What was your favorite comic of 2012?

Two webcomics:

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Exclusive Preview | Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Defenders of the Lost Temple

Next week Dark Horse will debut a new Star Wars series set in the period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, followed in February by the miniseries Star Wars: Dark Times – Fire Carrier and in March by the revival of Star Wars: Legacy. However, the publisher isn’t stopping there.

March also sees the release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Defenders of the Lost Temple, a digest-sized original graphic novel set during the fourth season of the popular animated series.

Written by Justin Aclin, illustrated by Ben Bates and colored by Michael Atiyeh (and sporting a cover by Mike Hawthorne), Defenders of the Lost Temple centers on a clone trooper who, while contemplating his own worth, begins to realize what sets him apart from his brethren may be a connection to the Force. If the lightsaber-wielding clone trooper on the cover isn’t enough of a tease, the solicitation text reinforces it with “A clone trooper with the power of the Force?!”

Dark Horse has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive preview, which you can see below. Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Defenders of the Lost Temple goes on sale March 13.

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What are you excited about for 2012?

[Note: this post was assembled by both Tim O’Shea and JK Parkin]

This is our final post for our big birthday bash, and what a post it is. No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they are excited about for 2012 in comics–something they aren’t working on and something they are.

There’s a lot of great stuff here–hints at new projects and even some downright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded!

Jason Latour

Loose Ends 4

I’m most anticipating the 30th Anniversary of HEROES CON (June 22-24, Charlotte, NC) . For any convention 30 years is an amazing run, but the fact that Shelton Drum and his extended family have put this show together every year with nothing but blood, sweat and tears is flat out super heroic.

On the personal front, the challenging and exhilarating ride that’s been Loose Ends will come to a close with issue 4. It’ll be bittersweet to send our child off to into the real world but I can’t wait for you guys to see the work Brunner & Renzi are doing.

I’m also super excited to dip my own toes into the Mignola-verse with the BPRD: The Pickens County Horror [March 28, 2012] and to read the end of Jason Aaron & RM Guera’s Scalped, which is my favorite series in years.

Jason Latour is a writer/artist, most recently the writer of Loose Ends. He spoke with Tim O’Shea about the miniseries in July.

Patrick Zircher

This sounds politic, but it’s genuine: what excites me about comics in 2012 is what’s exciting every year, the work of the talent.  Seeing what the best are up to and how the up-n-comers have grown as artists and writers.  In the new year, I’m also excited about illustrating several books and covers that feature my favorite Avengers.

Patrick Zircher is an artist, who explored the 1920s/1930s era of the Marvel universe in 2011 with the five-issue miniseries, Mystery Men. He spoke with Tim O’Shea about the miniseries in May.

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Two more gone from Wizard


And then there were two — it looks like Wizard’s editorial staff has been cut in half, as two of the four people listed on the masthead for the now-digital magazine were either fired or are leaving on their own this week.

Current “Co-Chief of Pop Culture” Justin Aclin confirmed on Twitter that he gave notice and is leaving Wizard at the end of this week. Before its cancellation, Aclin was the longtime editor of ToyFare magazine and was the head writer for the popular “Twisted ToyFare Theater” feature. Aclin, who is also the writer of such comics as Hero House and S.H.O.O.T. First, is moving on to an as-yet-unannounced new gig.

Second is Creative Director James Walker, who, according to sources, was fired earlier this week. Walker seems to confirm this on his own Twitter account with several messages, including one that seems to confirm he was fired over the phone: “this apprentice show is strange. people are actually fired FACE TO FACE! what a strange concept.”

According to the masthead, that leaves Wizard World Digital with an in-house editorial staff of two: the second Co-Chief of Pop Culture Mike Cotton and Senior Associate Producer Carlos Mejia.

Robot 666 | S.H.O.O.T. First: ‘The House That Ate Halloween’

Earlier this year writer Justin Aclin and artist Ben Bates took MySpace Dark Horse Presents by storm with the story of the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce — S.H.O.O.T. First or, as Sean called them, the Super-Atheists.

Now we’re really excited to present an original prose story that Justin wrote for Robot 666 Week — S.H.O.O.T. First: “The House That Ate Halloween.” And Justin even invited his brother, Jesse, to contribute illustrations for it!

So a big thank you to the Bros. Aclin for spending part of their Halloween with us … check out the story below!

S.H.O.O.T. First: “The House That Ate Halloween”
By Justin Aclin. Illustrations by Jesse Aclin
S.H.O.O.T. First created by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates

“We have a Craigslist ad?”

The man who currently called himself Codename: Infidel took off his baseball cap and shook his head in amazement. An average day with the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce was strange—S.H.O.O.T. had the very important job of protecting humanity from seemingly supernatural creatures who were trying to manipulate and harm us for their own reasons, so things tended to get weird pretty frequently. Maybe it was the fact that he had never celebrated Halloween in his native Afghanistan, maybe it was the fact that he was currently dressed up as a member of the Boston Red Sox—complete with cleats and a large, awkward practice duffel. But for whatever reason, S.H.O.O.T. having a Craigslist ad struck Infidel as just about the weirdest thing that he’d heard in the few months since he’d joined up.

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What Are You Reading?

Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Justin Aclin, editor of ToyFare magazine and writer of Hero House and S.H.O.O.T. First, which you can read on MySpace Dark Horse Presents. To see what Justin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …

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How to successfully pitch a superhero comic

from S.H.O.O.T. First by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates

from S.H.O.O.T. First by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates

It was an awesome thing to behold. My friend Justin Aclin — editor of ToyFare magazine, head writer of Twisted ToyFare Theater, and author of the graphic novel Hero House — came up with a great idea for a comic, about a super-powered team of militant atheists who track down and kill supposedly supernatural entities for meddling in humanity’s affairs. This was on a Monday. On Tuesday he pitched it to Dark Horse. On Wednesday it was greenlit. From idea to approval in under 48 hours. Amazing, right?

By now you’ve seen the end result: S.H.O.O.T. First, an eight-page story from the final issue of MySpace Dark Horse Presents. But if you’re an aspiring comics writer, perhaps you wanna see exactly how Aclin managed to catch lightning in a bottle in the first place.

Fortunately, he’s got your hook-up: On his blog, Aclin has posted his successful proposal for the comic. It sets up the concept, introduces the characters, and walks you through the plot of the initial short story in seven paragraphs and one catchphrase — pretty much a how-to for clear, concise, compelling comics pitches. Read and learn.

Attack of the super-atheists!

art from "S.H.O.O.T First" by Ben Bates

Over at Comics Alliance, ToyFare editor, Twisted ToyFare Theater head writer and Hero House author Justin Aclin is talking up his upcoming story for MySpace Dark Horse Presents, “S.H.O.O.T. First.” It’s a paranormal/superhero book in the vein of B.P.R.D., but with a twist: The titular team’s acronym stands for the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce, and their mission is to wipe out any and all supernatural entities in the name of atheism. Says Aclin:

S.H.O.O.T. are basically militant atheists, tasked with hunting down supernatural creatures, especially those of religious significance, that they don’t even believe in….every time you read a comic about someone fighting the supernatural, they’re really doing it on the supernatural’s own terms. If you’re fighting a vampire, you bring stakes and holy water – that kind of thing. I don’t think there’s ever been a team like “S.H.O.O.T.” that basically thinks it’s all bunk, and just goes after any threat with science and bullets, and scientific bullets.

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Fraternity for heroes opens this fall

from Hero House

from Hero House

Justin Aclin and Mike Dimayuga have a new series coming out from Arcana Comics in September called Hero House, about a superhero fraternity. And they’ve launched a blog to detail how the book came together. Here’s a description of the book:

Epsilon Epsilon Psi is a fraternity with a unique mission: to prepare the super-powered students of today to become the best superheroes they can be. Nate Hedges was a teen superhero and the star of his school, but at college he feels like a nobody. So when he’s tapped by the university president to go undercover and investigate the Eps, will he find the super-powered hazing the administration fears? Or will he find a place where he finally belongs?

Although the blog is still fairly new, you can check out a lot of art from the series at Mike’s website (which is where I nabbed the Owl-topus art up top).

Via Sean T. Collins

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