By: Hess Sahlollbey

Over the past few years, the number of DC and Marvel comic creators working in Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area has steadily increased. One of those creators is Seneca College Program Coordinator, Jim Zubkavich a.k.a. Jim Zub.

One of Zub’s most recent and prolific projects includes a two-year run on Samurai Jack. Published by IDW, the series picked up nine years after the cancellation of the original cartoon. In the past Zub has also worked on Spiderman and Batman series.

Currently, he is the writer on Uncanny Avengers at Marvel which features a team composed of Avengers and X-Men.

Outside of the mainstream, Zub writes his own original series, Wayward and Glitterbomb.Having worked on major Hollywood franchises, he sat down at a Fan Expo Toronto panel to talk about his career and about the art of creating comics.

“The good news is you no longer have to be centered where publishers are based. When I was growing up, New York was the hub for superhero stuff, [so] you either had to be in New York City or know those people,” said Zub.

Zub previously worked in animation, background art and storyboarding. The collaborative nature of it prepared Zub for his transition to comics.

“I started making my own web comic in the evenings. As much as you can read books or “how-to’s” on writing stories or making art, you’ll learn so much more by doing, by failing and by figuring out your own process. Making that web comic, I learned a ton about pacing, storytelling, art, lettering and Photoshop,” explained Zub.

By participating in every part of the comic creation process, Zub has learned to quickly make connections with other members of the industry.

“An important part of the creative process… is reaching out and meeting other people in the same situation as yourself... building stories and learning from each other. Every so often one person will pop up the ladder and then that person will pull everyone else up.”

Zub was an overnight success, but it took 10 years for him to break through. He was self-publishing online web-comics in 2001 and only started at DC and Marvel in 2012.

“You don’t have to be the greatest out there, but you have to be somewhere in the middle where someone could recognize you as being substantially better than the people they currently have. Then they’ll be willing to take a risk on you. They’ll be willing to invest the time in you and the best way you can show somebody that is with real examples of work.”

Zub advises that the next generation of aspiring DC and Marvel writers and artists aim to surpass what the two companies are currently publishing. Marvel and DC want stories that enhance their prestige and quality, and this has led to a larger range of stories coming out of both companies.

Zub argues that as a storytelling medium, comics are unstoppable and that new independent ideas are the most valuable commodity going forward. With the ongoing growth of the comic book industry, Zub said that now is the time for writers of all genders, races and walks of life to contribute their unique perspectives.

Creator-owned books, where the writer and artist own the creative property and choose where to steer the ship are the future of comics.

Those personal stories from fresh, diverse voices will take readers to new and extraordinary places and draw in fans that will continue to grow the industry.

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By: Hess Sahlollbey

Whether you’re a Trekkie, an aspiring cosplayer or simply hoping to meet others who share your interests, this weekend belonged to the fans as they took over the downtown Toronto core. Punisher, Batman and Superman all have big releases this month and made their presence known from the moment I got off the subway and headed to Toronto ComicCon. An annual convention, Toronto ComicCon takes over the city center for a three-day affair full of comics, cosplay and everything in between.

What some fans may not realize though is that attending these conventions could result in your passions and hobbies one day becoming a career. That’s how it went for Michael Walsh, one of Marvel Comics’ biggest rising stars whom I had the pleasure of interviewing at the convention. We talked about his career, what he’s working on next and what knowledge he’d most want to impart on those who want to create comics for a living too.


While Batman’s home may be Gotham City, one of the biggest rising stars in comics actually calls the Hammer home. “I almost went to McMaster,” Walsh first tells me when I introduce myself to him having noticed my press badge and white McMaster T-shirt. As an alumni of OCAD, he’s familiar with touring the whole portfolio circuit when he was first trying to get published.

With a heavy, murky use of black ink, his art is difficult to describe. His substantial use of blacks is interlaced with cartoony elements. While the style may look simple, on a deeper analysis one can quickly surmise that it’s a stark juxtaposition to the emotional weight that his art carries.

While others on the Toronto ComicCon floor had booths rammed with books, art-prints, merchandise and T-shirts, Michael Walsh sat behind his desk with his portfolio of black and white art in front of him. He quipped that he doesn’t like travelling with his books, referring to all his illustration work that fans are always eager to buy straight from the creators at conventions. “They’re too heavy and I don’t want to lug them around, I’d rather put my art on full display.”

It’s that same art that has made him so prolific in all of Hamilton’s comic book shops. Whether it was Comic Connection, Big B Comics or Conspiracy Comics, the staff at all the stores held Walsh in the highest regard, eagerly describing his art style with all manner of positive superlatives. Walsh is also equally famous among his peers for his down to earth personality and eagerness to meet fans and talk shop. Even the staff at Mixed Media, an art store on James St North, pitched paintbrushes and inks to me by saying they’re the same ones Michael Walsh uses, long before I had the chance to make his acquaintance.


Walsh first work was Comeback, a comic that he looks back on fondly. Written by Ed Brisson with art by Walsh, Comeback told the story of two criminal agents, who could undo the untimely demise of a loved one, for a large nominal fee of course. “Comeback was my first professional work, it always gets compared to Looper, because of the timing of the release, but they couldn’t be any more different. Yeah they both had time-travel but Comeback was more sci-fi street-level crime. It was bad timing, but I’m always happy when it makes a Comeback [editor’s note: pun is Walsh’s own] and a fan brings it for to me to sign,” said Walsh.

These days however he’s one of Marvel Comic’s most prolific artists. His first job at Marvel was Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra — a one shot that came out late summer. “Right now, I’m doing this X-men series, its called X-Men: Worst X-man Ever and it’s a five issue mini-series.”


Walsh’s next project will be a collaboration on The Vision with another rising star at Marvel, Tom King. King is a former CIA counter-terrorism agent and has been writing an ongoing based on the eponymous member of the Avengers. Filling in for art duties, he praises his collaborator, saying, “If you haven’t read Tom King’s work its so good. You need to check out his other work because I’m so happy to be working with him.”

His charisma and passion for talking about comics is easily contagious. Before he could get any work in comics however, Walsh was creating posters for concerts. Now he’s happily looking forward to what the future holds.

“I’m in such a good place right now, if I went back and I did something differently back then who knows where I’d be. I went through some really hard times with being unhappy with my output and thinking that my work was just not of a high quality,” he said.

“If I could impart one thing of advice on those that are coming up it’s that you won’t always be happy with what you’re doing. But to be at peace that you’re not always going to be happy with the stuff you’re doing but know that you can get better so keep striving and working for greatness in your own work.”

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By: Joe Jodoin

Daredevil’s second season aims to answer what it means to be a hero, both literally and figuratively.

I didn’t know what to expect of Daredevil’s sophomore season for a couple reasons. Firstly, the showrunner of the first season left and was replaced by two new guys, and secondly because the show was now going to focus on two other Marvel anti-heroes, Punisher and Elektra.

Luckily, they kept mostly everything that was great about the first season, and fixed mant of the problems. They also keep the show squarely focused on Daredevil himself, while Punisher and Elektra turn out to be two of the most interesting supporting characters ever to be seen on TV.

What I loved about Daredevil’s first season was its focus on character development, which lent one the ability to appreciate both the protagonist and antagonist’s points of view. As Ben Urich put it, “There are no heroes. No villains. Just people with different agendas.”

This quote has never been more accurate than in the second season, as one of the focuses of the season is Daredevil’s ideological clash with the Punisher. Despite both being on the “good” side, Punisher believes that killing the bad guys is the only way to take care of criminals permanently. Daredevil on the other hand believes people’s lives should be put in the hands of the justice system, and that killing is wrong, whether someone deserves it or not. Elektra serves to make this conflict of justice and morality even more complicated than it already is.

Jon Bernthal’s performance as the Punisher was something I was eagerly anticipating, since the last three actors to portray Punisher in the movies have been quite mediocre. Luckily, Bernthal absolutely blew me away. The fourth episode cements his contribution with what is possibly the best scene of the entire show in which he delivers a tear-jerking monologue that serves as the emotional core of the entire season.

Elodie Yung delivers an even better performance as the sexy but scary Elektra. Her character is completely sociopathic, but always finds a way into seducing Daredevil and convincing him to do what she wants. Elektra is so unhinged that it is impossible to take your eyes off her, as you’re always wondering what she’ll do next. This is a pretty big departure from the strong but silent Elektra from the comics, but is instrumental to making the show so enjoyable. The returning cast members from the first season are also great, and all serve important roles.

This season also tops off the first one in terms of violence and action, which does make the fights slightly less realistic, but more visceral and exciting. The shocking amount of gore can get cringe-worthy at times, but it’s a very nice change from the more kid-friendly movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The pacing problems are fixed now too, with there being more interesting subplots, and more interesting supporting characters. There is also much more of The Hand, an evil organization of ninjas that are a huge part of the Daredevil comic books, and serves to complicate Daredevil’s life even more. The show is like a revolving door of great dialogue, badass action, and surprising twists.


One choice that I think prevented the season from reaching its full potential was the lack of an over-arching villain. I can name at least five antagonists in this season, but none of them were anywhere near as menacing or dangerous as the Kingpin from season one, or even Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. This made the season finale less epic than the first season’s, because even though the stakes were high, I was not interested in the bad guy Daredevil was fighting. This one complaint doesn’t matter too much though, as the entire season is still incredibly interesting and exciting.

While the first season left me satisfied, this season has made me eagerly anticipate the next season. I can’t wait to see the return of the Kingpin, and hopefully Bullseye.

In the same way that Game of Thrones is a masterclass in adapting books to screen, Daredevil is a masterclass in how to adapt comics to screen. If you’re a fan of good TV, then you will definitely love Daredevil.

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By: Hess Sahllolbey

Ever since Iron Man hit the big screen almost a decade ago, Marvel has been creating a universe that’s only become bigger and better. After having seen every episode since its debut on Friday, I’ve decided that Jessica Jones is no exception. I’m still reeling from how realistic, dark and amazing it is.

The second series from Marvel’s four-show agreement with Netflix after Daredevil, Jessica Jones is the latest addition to the growing mythology of the Marvel Comics Cinematic Universe.  For the fans of the original Alias comic book by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, it should be noted that this is not a direct adaptation of the comic. Where something like The Walking Dead follows the narrative of the comic books linearly without ever drifting from it, Jessica Jones is merely inspired from certain concepts in the comics. That’s not to say that elements from the comics are lost; instead, Jessica Jones takes its own unique spin.

Jessica Jones is far darker than anything else in the MCU and focuses on the seedy side of New York City. Taking place after The Avengers saved NYC from an alien invasion in the first Avengers film, the series sees Jessica investigating superhuman threats in the city.

Adult themes and subjects are not off limits in the show, including graphic depictions of rape, substance abuse and PTSD. All of those themes bring us a much darker and tormented hero, unlike any of the mainstream Avengers heroes. And that’s all thanks to the perfect casting of Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. Krysten Ritter has always brought a captivating presence to anything that she’s starred in. Her past shows like Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 solidified her as the perfect actress that could play the sarcastic, anti-social, quick-witted type that would still set aside their inner demons to help others. Anytime Ritter is on screen as Jessica Jones, she easily gives her career-best performance as she conveys Jones’ damaged psyche and emotional turmoil in a genuinely realistic manner.

Adding to that stellar cast is David Tennant as Kilgrave, the main antagonist of the series. This character, also known as the Purple Man, is dastardly creepy. A smile creeps across my face any time Tennant is on screen. He plays the role so terrifyingly well that I was always at the edge of my seat, holding my breath in anxiety and fear of what he was going to do to his next victim. His mere presence creates an unsettling atmosphere, coupled with his superpower to make anyone do whatever he tells them to do.

Mike Colter, Rachel Taylor and Wil Traval were all fantastic respectively as Luke Cage, Trish Walker and Nuke. They had lots of chemistry and intrigue as their stories played out. On the contrary, Eka Derville, Carrie-Anne Moss and Erin Moriarty’s characters felt extremely one-dimensional with no depth or development. Their scenes were often stiff and boring to watch. I also can’t help but compare the sex scenes in Jessica Jones to those in Orange is the New Black. In Jessica Jones, they’re run-of-the-mill and overly explicit; on the other hand, Orange is the New Black’s sex scenes are funny, messy and heartbreakingly real. The scenes however still contribute to the noir drama and help flesh out the characters more.

In the end, Jessica Jones is one excellent package. It contains all of the classic film-noir elements including saxophone music, jump scares, shadows through glass, long panning shots and voice-over monologues that left me wanting more. In fact, this neo-noir psychological thriller had such an abundant supply of detectives, superheroes and super villains, that it made me wonder why we even need the Avengers films when all the real drama is playing out on the small screen.

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By: Hess Sahlollbey

One of the most highly controversial TV shows this fall, Supergirl finally aired and blew me away. From the moment the six minute preview appeared online, fans of the character were quick to write the show off as being too clichéd.

Having now seen the first three episodes, I’m better equipped to judge the show than I was after seeing the preview.

In Supergirl, Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) is a fish out of water. Having grown up on Krypton, Kara has come to earth as a teenager to escape Krypton’s destruction. While she might not have been born on earth, she’s more than ready to prove that she can get by just fine without help from her famous cousin, the Man of Steel. That being said, the show did feel a little too much like a chick flick since it had all the usual tropes: A best friend who is not so secretly in love with her, a shitty job where she fetches lattes for a Devil Wears Prada type boss, and a handsome new co-worker who can make Kara instantly forget how to speak. The suspension of disbelief can get to be a bit much when Kara has a luxurious apartment despite being a columnist with apparently no job security. Kara also disguises herself in plain sight by wearing her hair in a ponytail and glasses just like Clark Kent does. Later, she rids herself of both and receives compliments from her crush.

In Supergirl, Kara has her heart set out for Jimmy Olsen. And while their flirting may be sweet, it again feels a little too formulaic. In defense of the show, this was a pilot and its purpose is to set the stage. I’m already looking forward to the development of their romance — it feels more natural than the usual unresolved sexual tension of a will-they-or-won’t-they that we see on most shows.

Another point that interested me was the discourse between Kara and her boss, media publisher Cat Grant, over whether or not Kara’s superhero alter ego should be known as “Supergirl” or as “Superwoman.” As Superman’s cousin, Kara finds it insulting, telling Cat, “I’m a woman.” Cat, however, laughs in her face and says, “No, honey. You’re a girl. I’m a woman” as Cat attempts to take back “girl” as empowering.

Later there are subtle Superman cameos that don’t take the spotlight away from Kara. Anything from a blurry vision of him jumping in at the last minute to lend a helping hand to Kara, to the text message exchanges they have from time to time. While it would be nice to see the Last Son of Krypton, I can’t say that I miss him. Melissa Benoist is very likable as Kara all on her own.

If you’ve been craving more female centric superhero shows then rejoice in knowing that Supergirl is definitely worth a watch. What I like most about it is that the show has a lot of heart. Unlike 2013’s Man Of Steel, which had audiences divided on the cynical portrayal of Superman, Supergirl is a very family-friendly adaptation of the comics.

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ABC recently premiered Marvel’s Agent Carter, a spin-off of the iconic Captain America franchise that focuses on Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), a character who helped Captain America on his quest to abolish S.H.I.E.L.D. foe Hydra in World War II – and stole his heart in the process.

Unlike another Marvel small-screen series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you need not have seen the Captain America movies or read the comic books (though I encourage you to do so), in order to understand what happens. Agent Carter is also superior to S.H.I.E.L.D. in its ability to stay exciting, as the focus on one character rather than many lends to a more gripping and engrossing storyline.

The series begins in 1946, where Agent Carter is back from the war and eager to use her impressive skill-set and experience at the Strategic Scientific Research to help her country – only to be stopped short by an office full of dominant alpha males who see her as nothing more than a secretary and Captain America’s ex. But when her good friend, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), needs her help to clear his name of treason, Agent Carter finds herself investigating a great threat with the help of Stark’s butler, Jarvis (James D’Arcy), through adventurous espionage.

Despite only being three episodes in, British actor Hayley Atwell’s charming style and allure guarantees an action-packed series she is more than capable of carrying. The period setting makes the program even more enticing, and the 1940s glamour that Atwell exudes provides a stark contrast with her remarkable skills of butt-kicking and tossing bad guys off of high places. Agent Carter does a considerable job in using the era’s unabashed sexism to its advantage; though Peggy isn’t happy with how she is treated (quite the contrary, actually), she refuses to do nothing and complain. In refute, she outsmarts the boys of the SSR and does their jobs, only better. The men at the office, Chief Roger Dooley (Shea Whigham), Agent Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Agent Ray Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer), may be stereotypical upon first impression, but a more sympathetic Agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), who sustained a leg injury from the war, provides a more varied and interesting dynamic in potential character development.

As a Marvel fan, it’s refreshing to see a spin-off where the main character is not only female, but also not a “superhero” in the traditional sense. Considering recent small-screen releases among the ranks of The Flash and Gotham, Peggy Carter is female, does not have super powers, and does not own a cape. She’s just an independent, intelligent, and ambitious woman who isn’t afraid to challenge authority and fight against injustice. Carter shows her co-workers, and audiences, that she’s more than a pretty face; she can kick some serious ass in a floor-length gown and heels when need be. She conveys a rare sense of empowerment to audiences, both male or female – and that’s the superpower that will send Agent Carter soaring through ratings and firmly into a second season.

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Lene Trunjer-Petersen
The Silhouette

I have to admit that I have been looking forward to Thor: The Dark World for quite some time now, maybe even since the Avengers crashed New York in 2012.

Thor is absolutely one of my favourite Norse gods, and when I was younger, I read all the albums of Valhalla, which is a Danish comic book series based on the stories and myth in the Elder Eddas. That being said, I was also a little concerned about how Chris Hemsworth would portray my hero from back then.

The Thor franchise is rather Americanized and does not resemble much of the original Norse stories, but it is based on the Marvel comic books. Thor is, with that in mind, an excellent addition to the Marvel superhero universe, and I found the sequel better than the original film.

The story picks up right after The Avengers, but two years after Thor. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is being imprisoned for his crimes and Thor is out in the nine realms to re-establish peace. Back on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has given up on finding Thor again. Meanwhile, Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) is a loon and is, among other things, running naked around Stonehenge. Skarsgård does a marvelous job and he made the whole theater laugh when he, at “the end of the world,” blurted out, “there is nothing more reassuring then knowing the world is crazier than you.”

But there cannot be a superhero without evil lurking somewhere. This time the evil is represented by some more than 5000-year-old dark elves. Their leader Malekith wants to bring darkness into the nine realms. He tried five millennia ago, when the nine realms were aligning, but Odin’s father Bor stopped them. But Bor could not destroy a dark material referred to as the Aether, which Viagra 100mg also is the bringer of darkness. Instead Bor hid it where no one could find it, except for Jane Foster, who stumbles over it. The Aether seeks her as a host and drains her life force. Naturally, Thor comes to rescue her, but Malekith senses the Aether and travels to Asgard to remove it from Jane’s body, so he can try again to bring darkness into the nine realms.

After a gruesome fight between the Asgardians and the dark elves, Thor seeks Loki’s help. Tom Hiddleston plays up the trickster character with several good one-liners. “Evidently there will be a line,” he says, when everyone wants to kill him. Thor and Loki’s shared screen time provides some of the best moments in the film and together they set out to save the world.

With this kind of film there will always be critical reviews. Thor has so far scored 66 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but it has done really well at the global box office throughout its first week.

I found the storyline good, even though Malekith and his quest to bring darkness to all the realms was a bit trivial. What I really loved was how the director Alan Taylor has developed Asgard with houses, mountains and even one of Odin’s ravens flying around. Taylor has possibly also picked up a few things from Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and his lust to smash his settings. These scenes are stunning and there are several new and very well orchestrated battle scenes.

Thor has definitely become the main character of the franchise and all my worries about Hemsworth have fallen silent. He does a really good job portraying Thor as this brave, but fool-headed, hero who is tricked by Loki again and again. Jane seems to be nothing more then a footnote, however, which I really hope will be removed for the promised third Thor adventure.

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