Happy New Year, folks!

It’s around this time that everyone makes resolutions for the year ahead, and one of mine was to make sure that 2014 is the year that The Standard is completed and collected.  And to help me do that, I am bringing on a new artist onto the book.

Don’t worry!  The mighty Jonathan Rector is still very much part of the creative team, and will be with us through to the series finale.  But for issues #5 and #6, he will be splitting art duties with another artist, who it is my pleasure to introduce to you now.  Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Will Robson!

WillRobson1I first met Will back at New York Comic Con in 2012, and have been watching him grow as an artist ever since.  He’s very talented, and getting better all the time.  And as can be seen, his dynamic style is very much in keeping in the spirit of Jonathan Rector’s magnificent work on The Standard thus far.  Jon and I are both very excited to have him onboard as co-artist, and keen to see what he brings to the book.

This is not a decision I took lightly.  I wasn’t going to have anyone but Jonathan Rector draw The Standard unless I was certain it was someone who could do it justice.  And the most important thing to take from all this is that The Standard is in safe hands, and will come to an explosive conclusion within the next few months.  If you’ve enjoyed the series thus far, stay onboard… the last two issues are the most dramatic, devastating chapters of them all!

StandardWillRobson1If you still need to catch up on The Standard, the first 4 issues are all available to buy from ComiXology.

TheStandard04_00fcpLast week saw the debut of The Standard #3 on ComiXology – you can buy it here.  And for those of you who are all caught up on the series, the second half of the Standard saga begins with the release of The Standard #4 in select comic stores worldwide tomorrow!  If you are a terrible person and you forgot to pre-order this latest issue with your local comic shop, it’s not too late to give them this Diamond order code and ask them to get a copy in for you:

AUG131152

If you’re on the fence about picking up issue #4, here’s a little preview to whet your appetite…

TheStandard04_01p TheStandard04_02p TheStandard04_03p TheStandard04_04p TheStandard04_05p

WRITER: John Lees

ARTIST: Jonathan Rector

COLORIST: Mike Gagnon

LETTERER: Kel Nuttall

EDITOR: Steven Forbes

PUBLISHER: ComixTribe

COPYRIGHT INFO: © John Lees

PRICE: $3.99

RATING: Teen + Up

FORMAT: Single issue, 28 pages, color (4 of 6 miniseries)

The Standard is back, but not everyone is happy to see him return. And with a monstrous killer still on the loose and the body-count of headless victims continuing to pile up, Gilbert Graham’s heroic comeback might be fatally short-lived. Also: The Standard and The Corpse, face-to-face at last!

It’s been a little quiet on the Standard front lately, with some shipping delays holding back the Diamond release of The Standard #4.  But now I’m excited to share not one but two nifty news updates!

First, next Wednesday, 12/4, The Standard #3 debuts on ComiXology.  Thus far we’ve had a great deal of success with the first issues going live on ComiXology, with the comic reaching a whole new audience and becoming more widely available than ever before.  So I’m really keen for these new readers to check out the third issue, notable for being Mike Gagnon’s first outing as main colorist – he’s now the regular in the role! – and for giving us the first appearance of The Skunk!

standard_issue3_coverCOLOUR

And once those new readers are all caught up on the first half of the series, it’ll be just nice timing for the worldwide print release of The Standard #4.  One week after issue #3 hits ComiXology, on 12/13, The Standard #4 will be in select comic shops all over the globe.  I know it’s been a wait, but I for one am so eager for you all to check this one out.  I feel like this issue has turned out as the best of the series thus far, with everyone involved raising their game to new heights.  I’m really proud of this comic, and hope you all enjoy it!

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New York Comic Con 2013 is mere days away, and it just occurred to me I haven’t made the formal announcement yet that I will indeed be returning for the third consecutive year to shill for The Standard at the ComixTribe table!  The Standard #1-#3, plus a highly limited supply of issue #4, will be on-sale at the ComixTribe table.  This year, we can be found at Booth 1172 on the show floor.

I’ll also have a limited supply of the first issue of And Then Emily Was Gone, my new horror/mystery series.  So, if you’ve already picked up The Standard from me at a previous con and you’re curious about trying something new from me, you should give this a shot!

It’s going to be a big show for ComixTribe this year.  We have more of a presence at the show than ever, and we have a slate of big announcements scheduled to be unveiled over the course of NYCC.  Pay close attention to http://www.comixtribe.com over the coming week for the inside scoop on some exciting new happenings with the publisher.

I’m all ready to set off for New York tomorrow.  If you plan on attending the show, I hope to see you there!

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People have been requesting this for ages, and it’s been in the works for some time, but I’m overjoyed to report that it has at last come to pass.  The Standard #1 is now available on ComiXology!

Go here to buy the issue for just 99 cents!

With 28 pages of story and a wealth of backmatter that amounts to 40 pages of content, The Standard #1: ComiXology Edition is packed with goodness, and hopefully great value for money at the low introductory price-tag.  For any final stragglers meaning to get round to checking this book out, it now officially can’t be any easier.

The Diamond worldwide release of the series was a big deal for me, and felt like a major landmark.  But even when you’re comic is available to retailers worldwide, there’s still the issues of certain retailers not stocking the book, or the comics selling out before interested readers can get their copy.  With ComiXology, at last, The Standard has gone truly global, available to any comic reader in the world at the click of a button.

So, if you’ve not checked the comic out yet, now’s your chance.  If you have checked it out, now’s the time to spread the word.  Share this link to your friends, let them know that now they too can jump in on the Standard saga!

Stay tuned for updates on subsequent issues going live on ComiXology.  That should be happening in the not-too-distant future!

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Coming Soon: The Standard #5!

September 5, 2013

Sorry things have been quiet on here lately.  I hope that your local comic shop ordered The Standard #4 over the month of August: that will be due to debut worldwide in October.  Then, after that, coming in early 2014, we have The Standard #5!

I don’t want to give away any plot details, obviously, with issue #4 not yet released, but all I’ll say is that issue #5 is arguably where the series reaches its darkest hour.  I’m asking poor Jonathan Rector to draw some macabre, chilling stuff.  To get a taste of what’s to come, here’s the grand debut of Jon’s cover for the penultimate chapter of the Standard saga.  Zena Zarthos has blood on her hands…

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For those of you not in attendance at Glasgow Comic Con, fear not!  There are only a few short months to wait until The Standard #4 debuts in comic shops worldwide.  Currently scheduled for the end of October, here is the solicit material for The Standard #4:

Standard4Cover

WRITER: John Lees

ARTIST: Jonathan Rector

COLORIST: Mike Gagnon

LETTERER: Kel Nuttall

EDITOR: Steven Forbes

PUBLISHER: ComixTribe

COPYRIGHT INFO: © John Lees

PRICE: $3.99

RATING: Teen + Up

FORMAT: Single issue, 28 pages, color (3 of 6 miniseries)

The Standard is back, but not everyone is happy to see him return. And with a monstrous killer still on the loose and the body-count of headless victims continuing to pile up, Gilbert Graham’s heroic comeback might be fatally short-lived. Also: The Standard and The Corpse, face-to-face at last!

 

This issue will be available to pre-order through Previews through the month of August, and will have this order code:

AUG131152

Remember, if you want your comic shop to stock the title, be sure to head down to your LCS in the month of August, give them this order code, and make sure you let them know you’d like the comic stocked!

We’re now past the halfway mark on the series, and hurtling towards the endgame.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the series thus far… I think from here on in it gets better!

A while back on my own blog, I wrote an article about NeverEnding, an in-development project I’m highly excited about.  Well, the artist for that project, Gary Kelly, recently drew up this wonderful piece of fan art for The Standard!  Truly a majestic depiction of Gilbert Graham’s heroic alter ego.  Thanks so much for this, Gary!

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From what I understand, NeverEnding will be making its debut at the MCM Scotland Expo at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on Saturday 7th September.  It gets my highest possible recommendation.  Meanwhile, you can find Gary Kelly online at his DeviantArt page.

It’s been a busy week at Standard HQ, as we prepared for the worldwide debut of The Standard #4 at this past weekend’s Glasgow Comic Con.  The show was a big success, and early buzz for the fourth issue is overwhelmingly positive.  Readers outside of Scotland will get to check that out in October.  But for now, the chapter that’s been getting wider coverage is The Standard #3, which was released through Diamond last week.  Since then, it’s been getting some great reviews.

First up, for the second issue running, The Standard was featured on The Buy Pile, the long-running column on Comic Book Resources, once again being ranked on the top rung of the week’s releases.  Here’s what Hannibal Tabu had to say:

Playing with Silver Age tropes and contrasting the more brutal, harsh realities of today, this very engaging issue made a very disturbing (yet compelling) antagonist in a very small amount of space, gave readers a hero worthy of the word and had no fewer than five amazing character moments. The last six pages are simply amazing, and everything here has Fox Mulder rubbed all over it. A comic book to satisfy the conservative elements that love the stories of yesteryear while satisfying the jaded observers of today, this work by John Lees, Jonathan Rector and Mike Gagnon may be a little rough around the edges, but it’s got it where it counts.

It’s an absolute honour to get a showcase on the biggest comics site on the web, so thanks to Hannibal and CBR for the platform.  Check out the full column here.  Moving on, The Standard #3 was also reviewed on Multiversity Comics, another highly-regarded comics site.  Michelle White wrote this review:

What happens when a superhero comes out of retirement? This six-part superhero miniseries from Comixtribe has just reached its halfway point, and as the first man to bear the title of The Standard deals with the death of his successor, the going is grim but oddly heartening.

The Standard’s successor, the sidekick formerly known as Fab-Lad, was very much a 21st century kind of superhero: he did everything he could to stay in the public eye, even starring in a reality show. But the second Standard is now dead under decidedly mysterious circumstances – and the case that was plaguing him, the disappearance of a little girl, remains unsolved. As the old Standard takes up the search, he finds something very sinister lurking under the streets of Sky City.

As dire as it all sounds, there are also moments of humor in here – most of them playing off the contrast between the criminal world the Standard remembers fighting, and the one that’s facing him now. His most formidable enemy, after all, used to be The Skunk – a “supervillain” who wanted nothing more than to make people smell bad, and never intended to kill anyone. His most sophisticated weapon was his arsenal of puns, whose true and complete awfulness make reading the flashbacks that concern him a real pleasure.

This contrast makes the Standard’s adventures in the present day all the more compelling. This is a superhero who’s out of his depth and doing the best he can regardless, and in that respect you could almost read this comic as an antidote to “Danger Club”. In that (excellent) comic, the older generation has disappeared, leaving their brilliant but outnumbered sidekicks to fight and fail left and right. Here, a faint ray of hope shines through as it comes clear that the older generation – the original standard of heroism – never really went away. It’s an optimistic message presented with a surprising depth of emotion, but no saccharine wheedling, and as things stand we’re not quite allowed to forget that there is still lots of room for things to go wrong.

Jonathan Rector’s art, meanwhile, is bold and bright, swinging between wholehearted imitation of classic cape titles during the flashbacks and a slightly more modern look, all the while doing something unique. The broadness of the facial expressions and poses is always played straight, and in a book that’s clearly about comics and their history, this unwillingness to wink is refreshing. Then there are the just the nuggets of awesomeness that come up all across this issue: the Skunk’s iconic and impractical costume, the sheer eerieness of the goings-on in the sewers, the none-too-subtle awkwardness of an old man in a spandex suit. It feels strange to praise an art style for being utterly on-the-nose, but that’s what’s going on here: Rector’s building on an established, classical style and doing it flawlessly, and with an eye for the most important and nostalgia-inducing details.

As the story moves forward, resolving a major part of the overarching plot and clearing the way for the Standard to begin superhero-ing anew, it’s starting to feel a lot like a fable. There’s something interesting going on here, something about innocence and cities and what it means to be a hero, and as it blends humour and introspection and an eye for the details that distinguished the comics we grew up with, “The Standard” sets a new standard for meta superhero stories. This is some fine comic-making, and it will be a treat to see how it all turns out.

Final Verdict: 8.5 – Buy

That was a lovely review with some very nice things to say about the story and the creative team, so thanks a lot, Michelle!  You can check out the review at Multiversity here.  And finally, Harrison Rawdin of Unleash the Fanboy wrote up this review of the issue:

As one looks back at the history of comics you can’t help but realize the underlying mechanics that carry this genre.  The basic necessities and needs of both heroes and villains drive the industry to a point that begs for introspection and the creative team behind The Standard touches on that as they build up their own arc.

John Lees pens the script and the scribe does an excellent job selling the authenticity of this retired but nonetheless compelling superhero.  The previous outing was able to peel away layers in order to get to the core of a man who lost an important part of his life, in the form of his successor’s untimely passing.  As he evoked that heartache the person behind this found a proper way to bring Gilbert Graham back to action, and despite some off putting dialogue I found myself grinning as this old man leaped into battle against the modern world.

The art by Jonathan Rector is top notch as it evokes a visual style that simply oozes with the essence of the 90s.  That may sound like a negative quality but trust me when I say as you see the character work and the background designs at play you’ll understand why it more than works with the narrative.  For me I was simply floored by the emotion and effort that I saw as each pencil created an unrealistic world that fit within the confines of the greater story.

The Standard #3 is a good release that stumbles a bit but nonetheless earns a solid recommendation.

3.5/5

Thanks for the kind words!  You can check out Harrison’s review here.  If any more reviews go up, they’ll get shared on here.

Tomorrow, The Standard #4 makes its world premiere at Glasgow Comic Con, months before its released across the globe via Diamond.  Comic fans in Scotland will get the chance to check out the latest chapter of the Standard saga before anyone else in the world, one of the many reasons why you should have bought a ticket for Glasgow Comic Con, at the CCA on 13th-14th July.  And with the biggest date on the Glasgow comics calendar mere hours away, here’s the first review of The Standard #4, courtesy of Gary Watson at Comics Anonymous:

Every now and again we’re lucky enough to have an early look at a title we love reading and with issue #4 of The Standard we got an early sneak peek ahead of its debut at this weekend’s Glasgow Comic Con.

Back in April last year we reviewed The Standard #3 and although it’s been a while, the hype around this next issue hasn’t wavered any – that’s mostly down to the quality of the book and the things that have changed between then and now.  The Standard went global with Comix Tribe giving it a new release to a wider market and thank god they saw sense to do that.  Issue 1, 2 & 3 helped showcase the depth of plot and characters that writer John Lees has created and the hope for me was that the second half of this six-parter would continue in the same way…….thankfully it does and with real style with issue #4.  Gilbert Graham came out of retirement to solve the latest case that saw his former sidekick added to the list of casualties and in his honour, he vowed to don the mantle of The Standard again and save the children who continue to go missing in Sky City.  We saw that happen in issue #3 but with us only half-way through the story…..there’s more for us to discover…..or maybe just more for Mr Lees to surprise us with.

The out-of-retirement superhero has a new place in the world now but the big question remains as to whether that is something that can be sustained or if fighting the modern-day villains is a young-man’s game.  The suit may sag more than it used to but the ideals he represents and the conviction to uphold justice with the powers at is command is still very much at the surface as Gilbert takes his good deeds as serious as he ever has.  Whether he’s in or out of the suit he is still growing as a character, he still has a contribution to make and even with his granddad-like exterior, he’s held in high esteem by the general public.

The action and mystery are still there and kept as a constant piece of intrigue for the issue but the book really excels during the more personal moments that drift in and out as they do in real life.  REDACTED FOR SPOILERYNESS being one of those poignant moments that stick out for me as this truly ties the character to the real world outside the panels of the comic.  His sense of duty to her is given depth in an earlier flashback of them having dinner and a dance on the moon in their early days as a couple.  These moments break-up the mystery and action surrounding The Standard and his on-going investigations into the more prominent villains in the city…..an investigation that leaves us on the edge of our seats with REDACTED FOR MORE SPOILERYNESS……DAMN YOU JOHN LEES!!! (kidding J)  There are still twists in turns in this issue, as there were in those first three, and the humour mixed with those sad, very real moments gives this a much more realistic edge, something to relate directly to and that’s what makes a title like this even more engaging.

One thing I would say is that the artwork and page layouts have stepped up a notch from what’s gone before – maybe as this has become a global title but I’m inclined to think that it’s more to do with Jonathan Rector himself.  He’s raised the bar in issue #4, more variation in the layouts and a real epic feel to the characters he’s adding life to, emphasized perfectly by Mike Gagnon’s colours and Ken Nuttall’s lettering which all combine so effortlessly.  So it’s 4 down, 2 to go……and the momentum and quality is being maintained so smoothly that I can see this keeping me guessing through until the end.  Great work and a must-read for local and worldwide fans alike.

8/10

Thanks for the great review, Gary!  If you want to check out the review at its original source, complete with those juicy spoilers, go visit the wonderful Comics Anonymous.

So, if you’re attending Glasgow Comic Con this weekend, be sure to stop by my table on the second floor and get your copy of The Standard #4!

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