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Tom Strong returns in July with ‘Planet of Peril’

tom-strong-cropped

Ahead of the release of the Vertigo solicitations, MTV Geek has official confirmation that the long-teased Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril will at last debut in July.

Initially discussed in early 2011, following the closing of DC Comics’ Wildstorm imprint, the miniseries teams the character’s co-creator Chris Sprouse with his Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom collaborator Peter Hogan for an adventure that sends the science hero on a quest for the one thing that can save the lives of his daughter Tesla and her unborn child.

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Chris Sprouse resurfaces with news of new Tom Strong series

In the tectonic shifts of talent, stories and continuity known as DC Comics’ New 52, a number of creators had seemingly been lost amid the dust. However, we’ve received word that one is about to come up for air: Artist Chris Sprouse (Tom Strong, Supreme, The Midnighter) just posted news — and copious samples — from the forthcoming miniseries Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril.

Written by longtime Alan Moore associate Peter Hogan, this new series is an interesting anomaly surviving the implosion of the America’s Best Comics line and its parent imprint Wildstorm. Publishing news aside, it looks like a lot of fun.

In a blog post from earlier this month, Sprouse revealed he’s made it known to his DC editors that he’d like to do more “mainstream DC characters,” but to date the only things recently published by him in that arena have been some stray covers for The Legion of Super-Heroes, the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Sprouse did sneak in a rare non-DC gig recently, contributing a story to IDW Publishing’s Rocketeer Adventures 2 #3, which is overseen by Sprouse’s former DC/Wildstorm editor Scott Dunbier.

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Comics A.M. | Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark makes final changes

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Broadway | As of last night’s preview performance, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is officially “frozen,” meaning there will be no more script rewrites, new lyrics or altered choreography before the $70-million musical opens on Tuesday. In fact, the producers are confident enough to invite critics to attend previews over the next three nights, with their reviews to be published after the opening. “The show, in my opinion, is bulletproof at this point,” Reeve Carney, who stars as Peter Parker, told The New York Times. “I mean, as bulletproof as anything can be. And we want to do right by the people who stood by us, to help this show be seen for what it is.”

However, it’s not all good news for opening night. The New York Post reports that producers hoped  the Empire State Building would be lit in red and blue on Tuesday, but the landmark’s owners would do it only if a change were made to the show: specifically, that the climactic battle between Spider-Man and Green Goblin be moved from the Chrysler Building to … the Empire State Building. [The New York Times]

Retailing | Najafi Cos., a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, is reportedly interested in buying at least half of the 405 bookstores operated by the bankrupt Borders Group. [Bloomberg]

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Kirby: Genesis

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 this week, I’d start it off by buying Kirby Genesis #0 (Dynamite, $1); I love the idea of world-building from older characters, and Jack Kirby left a treasure trove of ideas even he couldn’t get a handle on completely. I’m interested to see where Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross take this, and I hope with Busiek’s addition it can be more tantalizing than Project: Superpowers was. Second up, I would get the penultimate Secret Warriors #27 (Marvel, $2.99); when this series started I was an ardent reader, but it lost me along the way. For some work-related research I caught up with the series, and since the last Howling Commandos story it’s been going great; I hope Hickman can stick the landing. Third I would get Vertigo’s new anthology Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Vertigo, $7.99); a pricey experiment, but I’m in the mood to get blown away. Lastly would be FF #4 (Marvel, $2.99) – I’m really enjoying what Hickman and Epting have done in the new simply titled series.

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Six by 6 | Six comics that made us cry

Tom Strong #36

Tom Strong #36

This week Chris Mautner suggested we share our softer sides and each talk about three comics that broke down our tough-guy exteriors and made us openly weep as we turned the pages. It’s a risky venture, to be sure; to some members of our audience, this will destroy the “manly man” image we’ve worked so hard to build up on the blog, but for others, it will show there’s more to who we are than just bad jokes and Shelf Porn.

So here they are — six comics that made us cry. After reading our selections, be sure to grab a tissue and tell us what comics made you cry as well.

1. “We’re brothers, Tom”

I always thought Tom Strong was the weakest of Alan Moore’s ABC line (in fact I said so rather openly in issue #231 of The Comics Journal). Oh sure, there were lots of colorful dialogue and zany plots, but I felt the series was sorely lacking in gravitas. The characters seemed too thinly sketched to me and I couldn’t find myself forming enough of an emotional commitment to them to care about what happened to them. It kept hinting that there was a lot more going on under the surface, but that’s all it would do, hint.

That was until the final issue, no. 36, where, during the “end of the world as we know it” created by Promethea, Tom is confronted by the ghost of his arch-enemy Paul Saveen, who reveals that he is, in fact, Tom’s half-brother. What follows is one of the most tender scenes I’ve ever read in a superhero book (“Jesus Paul” Tom says, breaking down “We tried to kill each other.”) When, two pages later, Tom introduces Saveen to a passerby with a simple “This is my brother. This is my brother Paul” well, I just lose it. –Chris Mautner

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