Flare and Champions arrive on ComiXology!

Classic tales of Heroic Publishing’s FLARE and the CHAMPIONS are now available on the comic book industry’s premier digital distribution system, with new issues arriving every two weeks!

In each issue of FLARE, follow the adventures of comics’ shining goddess of light, as she navigates the pitfalls of juggling her career as an international supermodel with the demands of being one of the world’s foremost heroines.

In each issue of CHAMPIONS, enjoy solo adventures of GIANT, ICESTAR, SPARKPLUG, the TIGRESS, and other members of the LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS.

Flare and the Champions are two of the longest-running series in the history of independent comic book publishing. For 28 years, beginning in the summer of 1986 and continuing through today, Heroic Publishing has produced fully 60 issues of Champions and 42 issues of Flare.

Flare, in particular, has been a ground-breaking title. Until late 1988, when the first issue of Flare appeared in comic book stores nationwide, conventional wisdom in the comic book industry (Wonder Woman to contrary) held having a female as the title character was death to sales.

FLARE changed that.


At a time when most comic books were selling at a dollar or less, the super-sized $2.75 first issue of Flare flew off the shelves, causing Heroic to go back to press in order to meet demand.

What was it about Flare, both as a character and a comic book, that struck a chord with readers that continues to ring to this day?

Many theories have been proposed. Some suggest that it was the insouciant charm of the character herself. Flare is, above all else, a vibrant and aggressively assertive young woman with just a tinge of darkness in the midst of the light she brings to the world, a woman who knows the difference between who she’s been in the past and who the heroine she wants to be. Some suggest it was the wonderful artwork of Tim Burgard and Mark Beachum, a level of quality in presentation that has continued throughout the series with contributions from Mark Propst, Gordon Purcell, and many other talented contributors. Some suggest it was the underlying seriousness in what at first glance seemed to be a lighter, tongue-in-cheek approach to storytelling by writers Dennis Mallonee and Wilson Hill.

We think it’s a combination of all these things that makes Flare unique in the history of comics.

For those of you who haven’t yet been able to enjoy the adventures of FLARE and her friends in the LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS, who may not have been able to find these and other Heroic Publishing titles in your local comic book store, their arrival on ComiXology is a wonderful opportunity to step into a world you’ve never seen, a world that focuses not on darkness, but on the light of what it truly means to be a hero.

Wayne Vansant signing at Marietta, GA Barnes & Noble store August 2

Wayne Vansant, creator of Katusha and the Zenith Graphic History series, will be signing books and comics at a Marietta , Georgia area Barnes & Noble store on Saturday August 2 as part of their “Get Pop-Cultured – Marvel Day” celebration of comics, particularly Marvel Comics. Vansant was the artist on Marvel’s groundbreaking Vietnam War comic The Nam for nearly five years. Vansant will be joined by veteran creators Joe Pruett and Craig Gilmore from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

Details below from Barnes & Noble:

All day – take your picture with the Hulk. From noon to 2:00 pm, meet Marvel creators Joe Pruett, Craig Gilmore and Wayne Van Sant! At 5:00 pm, Marvel comics trivia in the Cafe. At 7:00 pm, Marvel universe superhero costume contest in the Cafe.
Saturday August 02, 2014 12:00 PM
The Ave at West Cobb
The Avenue West Cobb, 3625 Dallas Hwy SW Suite 400, Marietta, GA 30064, 770-424-0511
Below: some Wayne Vansant-drawn covers for Marvel Comics.
300px-The_'Nam_Vol_1_37 300px-The_'Nam_Vol_1_33 300px-Semper_Fi_Vol_1_9


Wide acclaim for Wayne Vansant’s THE RED BARON


Wayne Vansant’s The Red Baron: the graphic history of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI, the fifth in his series of graphic novel for the Zenith Graphic History series, was released last month to wide acclaim.  As with the previous volumes in the series, Normandy, Grant Vs Lee, Bombing Nazi Germany, and Gettysburg, the books were packaged for Zenith by GDC’s Comics Production Services.  A sixth volume, The Battle of the Bulge, will be published by Zenith in Fall, 2014.  

In his review for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Joseph May commented on Vansant’s use of the graphic novel medium to transcend some limitations of non-visual history writing:

Vansant does what the best of history writers do which is to bring the full human context to the events of, in this case, Richthofen’s life as well as those of World War I. His art allows these events to be vicariously experienced since he distills the essence of the events as well as the emotions of the people in those events. Able to capture visual angles dramatically, as well as in ways not possible for photographers, Vansant’s art illustrates what has not previously been shown. The six frames of Immelmann employing the maneuver named for him is an excellent example — as are the victim’s perspective whether the pilot of a broken airplane or of another pilot’s bullets.

Aviation history website Warbirds News recommended the book with praise: “Vansant beautifully depicts the fearsome intelligence and mid-flight awareness that would earn Richthofen eighty documented air combat victories over the Western Front in the halcyon days of military aviation.”

Defense Media Networks extensive review recalled that though Vansant has done histories of the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam, The Red Baron is his first on the topic of World War I.  Steve Horan writes that Vansant accomplishes much more than a simple biography of one man:

The Red Baron is arguably the most famous fighter pilot in history. Memorialized in popular culture as Snoopy’s nemesis in the Peanuts comic strip, he has been the subject of countless books, articles, movies, and even pop songs (again, with Snoopy). This graphic novel is much more than a book about Rittmeister Baron Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, though. Richthofen, who died at 25 as the leading ace of World War I with 80 aerial victories, could more than fill his own book. But while The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI tells the story of Richthofen in some detail, it also uses the story of this one man and his Jagdstaffel (Jasta) 11 and later Jagdgeschwader 1 to tell the broader story of the World War I air war on the Western Front.

HistoryComics, a website founded by educator Tim Smyth, also reviewed The Red Baron.  In a teacher-written round-up of World War I graphic novels that included work by Jaques Tardi, Joe Sacco, and Max Brooks, the website rated it “excellent” and described how to use The Red Baron in classrooms, as well as praising it for it’s thoroughness and humor:

The book begins with the origins of planes in warfare and the development of tactics – not too detailed – just enough to give some background and to help lead for more research – well done. Funny – description of unarmed pilots throwing wrenches at each other before guns were mounted on the planes. Maps and land battles are also included – very well explained. Tanks, Russian Revolution, American entry into the war – are all covered in this book.

Fabrice (Spider-Man: Noir) Sapolsky’s ONE HIT WONDER now available for foreign licensing

One-Hit Wonder, the five-issue series published by Image Comics, is now available for licensing to publishers worldwide from Grand Design Communications.  Created by French writer Fabrice Sapolsky and Argentine artist Ariel Olivetti, One-Hit Wonder (published in France as Hollywood Killer) tells the story of Richie Reese, a child actor turned hitman.  Image’s official press release describes the book:

Richie Reese takes method acting to a deadly level. Richie shocks his fellow celebrities and industry schmoozers when he rises above his past as a child actor and becomes a hitman, and finds more success at knocking people dead than he ever did in front of a camera. ONE-HIT WONDER #1 is the opening salvo in a new crime comedy miniseries written by Fabrice Sapolsky (Spider-Man Noir) and drawn by Ariel Olivetti (Cable, Punisher War Journal, Conan). Sharp, funny, sexy, and violent like the best of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie’s work, ONE-HIT WONDER is what happens when one man crosses the line between fiction and reality.

3452143-one-hit-wonder-01web3718123-02 3866997-03img_3072

Artist Stephen Thompson joined with issue #3. Sapolsky described the origins of the series to website SpicyToilet for their article WHY FABRICE SAPOLSKY’S ONE-HIT WONDER IS EVERYTHING BUT:

I got multiple influences. First came the title. I loved the pun: One Hit Wonders are precisely people who only scored one hit, mainly in music but in movies too. And he’s… a hitman. Seeing how a kid that was pushed by his mother to be an actor, a star, but failed to be, for a variety of reasons, could turn into a killer interested me. There’s some “American Psycho” in Richie Reese. He doesn’t kill for money. He kills for the show. He’s the writer, director, producer AND audience of his own movie (and you’ll notice he sucks at writing dialogues). Now the question is : is the fact that he’s an actor made him a different kind of killer he was always meant to be? You’ll have to read the series until the end to know that.

It takes a long time to write, indeed. But not the first issue. That one was wrapped in a day. I actually wrote it, or most of it, in a plane from Paris to Los Angeles nearly two years ago. Other issues have been tougher to write. Issue four especially. But it’s the one I’m the most proud of. I really hope people like it.

Reviewing the third issue, Big Comic Page wrote “this is a fast paced, action packed emotional rollercoaster of an issue, jumping between hilarious and disgusting” and advised readers to “Sit back, suspend your disbelief and enjoy this title for what it is…highly enjoyable!”

Unleash The Fanboy gave it a rating of 8.5 out of 10 writing  that Thompson “steps in with the right charisma to take over the franchise as a barrage of compelling layouts and immensely detailed set pieces give this work a soft but consistent feel. The colors handed in by Lisa Jackson complete the package, ultimately yielding a visual component that fits the text and even elevates it.”

In June, it was announced that Sapolksy would be returning to his co-creation (with writer David Hine) at Marvel, Spider-Man: Noir to create a chapter with Hine and artist Richard Isanove in the upcoming “Edge of Spider-Verse” event. That same month Sapolsky appeared as an exhibitor for the first time at a major American comic book convention, Reed Pop!’s Special Edition NYC.

To mark the occasion, Sapolsky made available a special limited ashcan edition preview book of One-Hit Wonder and his other upcoming projects, about which he wrote on his website:

For a writer, it’s always a challenge to bring something like that to life. In independent comics, a writer is often also a conductor. Yet, putting together such a tool is incredibly rewarding, and I felt humble, designing every page. I feel honored to have artists such as Ariel Olivetti, Tom Lyle, Stephen Thompson, Lisa Jackson, Leila Leiz, Louis, Yishan Li, Jean-Marie Minguez or Little Ginkgo by my side. They’re all featured in the ashcan which includes some exclusive bonuses from my current series, One Hit Wonder, as well as projects I have.

Publishers interested in receiving a copies of the ashcan and the full One-Hit Wonder series should contact Grand Design Communications.  Click here to visit our official One-Hit Wonder page for more information and sample pages. 


Taschen to publish Roy Thomas’ 700-page Marvel history this fall


This fall the prestigious art book publisher Taschen will release a spectacular new book written by Roy Thomas,  75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen.   The over-sized 700+ page hardcover retails for $200 and covers the history of Marvel from the release of Timely’s Marvel Comics #1 in 1939 to the present and includes over 2,000 images and a four-foot foldout accordion time-line of Marvel history.  Comics Alliance’s Matt D. Wilson writes:

Besides Stan Lee there’s virtually no one alive with more insider knowledge about Marvel Comics than Lee’s successor in the editor-in-chief job, Roy Thomas, so it’s appropriate that Thomas’ name adorns the cover to Marvel and deluxe books publisher Taschen’s new 700-plus-page hardcover 75 Years of Marvel: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen.

Thomas worked with editor and art director Josh Baker to piece together the massive volume, and according to a Marvel press release, the book will focus as much on Marvel creators as the company’s iconic characters. That’s encouraging.

Specifically, the release says the book will discuss not only on “celebrated characters – Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor and Iron Man, but also at the “bullpen” of architects whose names are almost as familiar as the protagonists they brought to life — Stan “the Man” Lee, Jack “King” Kirby, along with a roster of greats like Steve Ditko, John Romita, John Buscema, Marie Severin, and countless others.”

Grand Design Communications represents several properties created by Roy Thomas and available for foreign and digital licensing, including Anthem, Captain Thunder & Blue Bolt, and Alter Ego.  GDC also represents the rights for the comics adaptation of Osa Johnson’s I Married Adventure, which Roy Thomas will be writing, and his new creations Rath 3000 with Nathan Furman and Victory Brigade with Rich Buckler.


Pop Mythology Gives SOMEPLACE STRANGE Five-star Review

'Someplace Strange' is a marvelous envisioning of a child's fears and how he overcomes that fear   Pop Mythology  Movie, Book, Comic and Game reviews   commentary (1)

Website Pop Mythology has published a five-star review of Dark Horse’s new edition of Ann Nocenti and John Bolton graphic novel Someplace Strange

Praising Bolton’s realistic but dream-like art, writer John Kirk wrote, “John Bolton is purely gifted when it comes to illustrating the surreal.”  Going on to examine the main theme of children’s nightmares, Kirk related his own daughter’s struggle with nightmares to that of the Someplace Strange’s protagonists, Edward and James, and felt that Ann Nocenti’s writing showed great insight into the experience:

Ann Nocenti grasps this concept. Her bogeymen are more than just the embodiment of evil; they are the embodiment of evil as a child would understand it: sudden violence coupled with explosive melodrama and, most importantly, vanquishable. Evil is scary – to a child – but also defeatable in the most obvious and direct way a kid can imagine. In order to defeat the bogeyman, they become typical square-jawed, muscle-bound, four-coloured heroes who, given confidence by their own vision of themselves, take the fight directly to it. Evil is obvious and there is no question of evil being defeated – Edward and James just need to imagine how.

 Grand Design Communications represented Nocenti and Bolton in licensing the rights for Someplace Strange to Dark Horse.

Today June 13 only – get NORMANDY for FREE on comiXology!

Digital Comics - Comics by comiXologyAs part of comiXology’s “Summer Reading List 20 days 20 free comics” promotion – and nicely timed to the 50th anniversary, the #1 digital comics resource is giving away FREE downloads of Wayne Vansant’s Normandy – A Graphic History of D-Day on June 13.

Widely praised by scholars and comics fans alike, Normandy is part of the Zenith Graphic Histories series.  Grand Design Communications packaged Normandy and other volumes in the series for Zenith.

To get a free digital edition of Normandy go to comixology.com or click on the graphic below!

Watch the guys from Pete’s Basement rave about Zenith Graphic Histories – and enter their contest to win NORMANDY and BOMBING NAZI GERMANY!

As the world marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, comics podcast Pete’s Basement, “The hilarious comic book talk show with authentic New York style. Trusted by thousands of viewers each week” reviewed the Zenith Graphic History books on their June 9 program, hyped on their website as:

D-Day is upon us. Pete, Ramon, and Cheezeburger pay respect to those brave men who fought and died to defeat Nazi Germany as they review Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day from Zenith Press– the graphic novel that proves learning about history can be engaging and entertaining! Plus surprise hits Princess Ugg, Rise of the Magi, and Ghost Wolf, the weird but interesting Superannuated Man, Dynamite takes another stab at Vampirella, and all the craziness of Original Sin!

Pete’s Basement is also running a contest to give away two sets of NORMANDY: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF D-DAY and BOMBING NAZI GERMANY.  To enter go to www.petesbasement.com/dday or click on the image below.  Note – you need to watch the video above or listen to the podcast a special history question to enter!



Watson and Holmes optioned by Feather Films for a live action movie

New Paradigm Studios’ award-winning series Watson and Holmes has been optioned for motion picture development by Feather Films.  Grand Design Communications is agent for foreign publishing rights for Watson and Holmes and other New Paradigm Studios titles.

As reported on comicbook.com:

“We are happy to announce that New Paradigm Studios has reached an agreement with Feather Films to develop Watson and Holmes as a live action property,” the studio wrote in a message to backers. “We will have more news in the coming weeks, but we wanted to let you guys in first in the news.”

From writer Karl Bollers and artist Rick Leonardi, Watson and Holmes is billed as the first African-American Sherlock Holmes series. According to the Kickstarter page, it is “a re-envisioning of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as African Americans living in New York City’s famous Harlem district. Watson, an Afghanistan war vet, works in an inner-city clinic; Holmes, a local P.I. who takes unusual cases. When one of them ends up in Watson’s emergency room, the unlikely duo strike up a partnership to find a missing girl. Watson And Holmes bump heads along the way as they enter a labyrinth of drugs, guns, gangs and a conspiracy that goes higher and deeper than they could have imagined.”


I MARRIED ADVENTURE featured in Legends of La Cienega

As part of the annual “Legends of La Cienega” design event May 7 – 9 , designers Steve Jones and Amanda Malson of Better Shelter created a fantastic display at Remains Lighting LA celebrating Osa Johnson’s autobiography I MARRIED ADVENTURE.  Grand Design Communications, in cooperation with the Martin and Osa John Safari Museum of Chanute, Kansas, represents graphic novel rights for I MARRIED ADVENTURE.  Roy Thomas, writer of Tarzan, Conan, Star Wars and at one time or another just about every Marvel and DC character, is attached as writer.

Explorers and filmmakers Martin and Osa Johnson have been a fixture in popular culture since before the 1920s.  In recent years they have been an inspiration in the worlds of fashion and design, with I MARRIED ADVENTURE and it’s unique zebra-striped cover becoming a wildly popular interior design accessory.


Remains Lighting’s website explains the origins of the display:

Inspired by the book’s highly coveted iconic cover, I Married Adventure has become the most widely used stylist prop; inspiring every realm of design. More importantly, beyond the cover, is a true testament to the spirit of adventure, curiosity and fearlessness. Osa Johnson investigated how others live, forged new friendships and created community.

Most design aficionados have seen Osa Johnson’s autobiography I Married Adventure, even if they don’t realize it. A bestseller when it was published in 1940, the book recounts Osa and husband Martin’s travels in exotic Africa and the South Pacific, with headhunters, pygmies and big game. The book introduced truly novel countries and customs to the imagination of folks who might not even identify Kenya on a map of darkest Africa. Used as a styling piece and prop in countless interiors and photo-shoots over the years, the graphic zebra print cover of early editions of the novel has established it as a design icon in its own right.

But the plot thickens: Amanda grew up in the small town of Chanute, Kansas, where Osa spent her years prior to marrying adventure and traveling to farflung locales. So to create their window, Amanda tapped friends, relatives and colleagues back home to fill their Legends window with their cherished copies of I Married Adventure. Amanda worked with The Safari Museum www.safarimuseum.com, which houses the collection of artifacts and history of the amazing places Osa and Martin brought to American bookshelves, and continue that legacy of adventure.