Category Big Bang Comic News

BB Chronological 20: BB #4 – Going For The Gold

Big Bang Comics #4 was an All-Star issue of Big Bang in more ways than one. Cover dated September 1996 from Image Comics, this story was an homage to DC Comics’ Justice Society of America, the first super hero team, who had starred in All-Star Comics back in the 1940s. An all star team of Big Bang creators worked on this issue, along with top pros Terry Beatty (who provided the front cover), Rich Buckler and comics legend Mart Nodell.

Our group of Golden Age heroes was the Knights of Justice, who had individually been introduced in issue #s 0, 1 and 2 of the Caliber Press mini-series. The KOJ team debuted in the 3rd issue, “The Criss-Cross Crisis.” While that story was meant to invoke the Silver Age Justice League/Justice Society crossovers of the 1960s, this issue of the ongoing series from Image Comics was the first appearance of the KOJ as a team in their own time period. (You can check out the entries for those issues in previous posts of this blog).

Like their inspiration, the JSA in All-Star Comics, each of the Knights of Justice starred in their own solo chapter, written and drawn by different creators, and the team itself only appeared together in the first and last segments.

The Knights of Justice (in this issue) were Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl, Venus, the Blitz, the Beacon and the Badge. The impetus of the story has the KOJ convening to welcome Dr. Stellar as their newest member. He asks how the team was formed and each member obliges by narrating how they became involved.

The wraparound segments that start and end the story were written by long-time Big Bang scribe Terrance Griep, Jr. He sets the table by introducing the tale of “The Great Minds Summit” in which President Roosevelt invited the greatest minds of America and her allies to Washington D.C. to help end World War 2.

Terrance also scripted the first chapter starring the Blitz, who in his identity as a newsreel reporter was accompanying inventor Hank Fort to D.C. on the Super Chief. The train is attacked by Nazi spies, led by a General who is a combination of Adolph Hitler and Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. The Blitz stops the attack, builds a jail out of loose boulders and races off to get back on the train, all in three pages which were drawn by Big Bang co-creator Chris Ecker.

Mr. Griep has gone on to write Scooby-Doo and various projects for DC Comics as well as Heroic Publishing, Alias Enterprises and others. He also wrestles professionally as the SpiderBaby.

The second chapter features the Beacon, who battles some thugs in the Statue of Liberty. They are using a death ray to stop a ship bringing inventor Tom Ettleson to the Great Minds Summit. (Hank Fort? Tom Ettleson? Think Henry Ford and Tom Edison.)

The Beacon chapter was written by Bud Hanzel (who had previously written the Beacon prose piece “The Razor’s Edge” in Caliber’s BB #1). The art was provided by Mart Nodell, the then 80 year old creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern. Mart had also drawn a Beacon pin-up which appeared two issues earlier as the back cover to BB #2. Marty and his wife Carrie were regulars at Comic Cons back in those days and were a lot of fun. Carrie always referred to us and Big Bang as “The Bang,” which is where the title of this blog comes from. Both are sorely missed.

Next up came the first of three chapters in a row written by me. In it, the Badge foils the kidnapping of scientist Dr. Reinstein, who is taking his top-secret formula to Washington. At the end of the chapter, the Doc tells the Badge that America needs more heroes like him, and he’ll soon have lots of help if his formula is a success. This chapter was penciled by Mark Lewis and inked by Jim Brozman. Mark’s Simon & Kirby style stories always have been among my very favorites in Big Bang’s 30+ year history.

Thunder Girl shows up, thwarting a Nazi zeppelin that was trying to stop her friend Professor Eureka and his pal Dr. Igorski from reaching the Great Minds Summit. Bill Neville provided the art, admirably filling the big shoes of regular T-Girl artist Bill Fugate, who was sick at the time.

The following chapter stars “the eerie twilight paladin known as the Knight Watchman.” Penciled by Rich Buckler, one of my all time favorites, and beautifully inked by Terry Beatty, it looks different than all the other Watchman stories we’ve ever done, yet authentic. What a blast! In three pages we see the Watchwagon, the very Batcavesque laboratory of Dr. Igor Eisner who provides many of the KW’s marvelous toys, KW in a jetpack turned batwing glider, and KW tossing a hand grenade at a Nazi submarine. Whew!

Ed DeGeorge wrote the Venus segment, in which the Goddess of Love and Laughter is bound to the Liberty Bell and later uses her flying horse Pegasus to rescue foreign scientist Madame Furie from a Nazi agent known as the Temptress. It was penciled by Stephanie Sanderson (now Heike) and inked by John Thompson with a gorgeous Harry G. Peter-inspired patina.

John Thompson provided both pencils and inks on the Ultiman chapter, in which the Ultimate Human Being serves as bodyguard to Winston Churchill, who is in Washington D.C. for the Summit. There, Ultiman foils the plot of a weird green-skinned fiend who has turned the Washington Monument into a rocket aimed at the White House.

This leads to the final chapter, featuring art by Charles Smith, in which the green fiend is revealed to be scientist Dr. Henry Hyde. Bitter over not being invited to the Summit, he decided to derail it. Using a weapon he invented, an animator ray gun, Hyde brings the exhibits to life at the Smithsonian Institution, where the Summit is being held. Chaos ensues! The Knight Watchman battles a mummy. The Badge fights some stuffed gorillas. Ultiman takes on a T. Rex skeleton. But Dr. Hyde pushes his weapon too far and it backfires, killing him.

At that point, one of the other scientists discovers that Dr. Hyde’s invite had been stuck to his own invitation to the Great Minds Summit. FDR and Churchill suggest that the heroes team up for good, and the Knights of Justice were born!

Gary Carlson

4/10/2017

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

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Big Bang Stars

Whiz Kids

CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR GALLERY


Ultiman
Thunder Girl
Speed Queen Earth A
Roberta Ryan BADGE
Ramm
Protoplasman
Oblivia
Knight Watchman Graveyard Shift
Knight Watchman
Kid Galahad
El Diablo
Dr Weird
The Blitz Earth A
The Beacon Earth A
Badge Silver Age

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Big Bang Universe #3 – on sale in May 2017 from AC Comics

Just a heads up to remind you all to look for Big Bang Universe #3 in May 2017 from AC Comics. It’s got a great cover by Jeff Weigel, (right) plus an amazing alternate cover by Ron Williams (below).

You asked for it – – you’ve got it! An 80 Page Giant featuring Ultiman, America’s Greatest Hero, in his most fantastic adventures ever, with an all-star line-up of guest heroes and super villains!

First up is the three-part novel, “Ultiman of the Atom” in which Ultiman is transported to the nucleus of an Ultranium atom, the radioactive element that gives him his powers. There he discovers a futuristic civilization of people with super powers like his own and falls in love! This Silver Age gem features art by Joe & Rob Sharp, and Tim Stiles!

Next, the Ultimate Human Being finds himself in a slugfest with Vesuvius, the Human Volcano from Faust’s Four who is trying to break INTO a maximum security prison! Then Ultiman finds himself refereeing a fight between an irate Venus, Goddess of Love and War, and the super paparazzi known as Shutterbug, who made the mistake of snapping a picture of the Goddess when she was topless! This 2-parter features fabulous art by Donnie Page, with inks by Bob Rivard, Mike Matthew and Donnie Page!

Finally, the Man of The Future confronts a caped and cowled predator in the dead of night that turns out to be the infamous arsonist known as Diablo, come to wreak havoc and raise hell in modern day Empire City, by Ron Williams!

EpisoPlus – – the Knight Watchman comic strip adventure “The Crime Chef!” by Chris Ecker and Roger McKenzie, and Hannibal the Cannibal by Mike Worley!

Remember – look for it from AC Comics in Diamond’s Previews for a May 2017

release.

80pgs, B&W……………………………..$9.95

For the Diamond online Preview, and a free download promo, visit:

https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/MAR171233

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BB Chronological 19: BB #3 – Third Time’s The Charm!

With the third issue of Big Bang Comics published under the Image Comics banner, I thought that we were really on a roll. Ultiman and Thunder Girl made their debut at Image, and our flagship character the Knight Watchman was back for his third consecutive issue.

Big Bang was essentially an anthology series, featuring different characters in every issue because frankly, it wasn’t making enough money to support any of us. Orders for the book on the direct market had improved over what we had been doing at Caliber, but they weren’t really that great for an Image title. Therefore, we were making sure that the Knight Watchman was a constant presence so fans would find a familiar face in each issue and keep coming back.

This issue’s main story, “The Ultimate Criminal” was a Silver Age World’s Finest type story featuring Ultiman and the Knight Watchman (known to us at Big Bang as the World’s Best Friends). From the very beginning, we made no bones about the characters being homages and we definitely weren’t making fun of how stupid the old stories may have been. Hopefully the love showed.

I wasn’t reinventing Superman or trying to rip him off. The similarities were obvious. It was the differences that we were proud of. We always called it “taking a left hand turn” from the actual characters. Villain Dexter Cortex was something of a combination of Lex Luther and Brainiac, a man who hard-wired his brain into a computer to outsmart Ultiman.

The other villain, Reverso escaped from a mirror-image world where everything was opposite. Where Ultiman was good, his doppelganger was evil. For a while, even Ultiman thought he was committing crimes that he couldn’t remember under some evil influence, until the Knight Watchman turned up to help. Reverso was definitely a nod to Bizarro – the dialogue in his word balloons was reversed (not actually backwards typeface but the words were in reverse order: YOU I LOVE instead of I LOVE YOU).

There were lots of “twists” in the mythos. Ultiman’s Secret Citadel was in a live fiery volcano. U-Man’s secretary Lori Lake was in love with him ( astronaut turned super hero Chris Kelly), but detested his “brother” Carl who was something of a jerk. Of course, Carl was Ultiman’s alter-ego. Carl really had been Ultiman’s brother, but when he perished in an as yet unpublished story, Chris decided to adopt his bad-boy brother’s persona to get a break from being Ultiman all the time, and to get an “in” with the more unsavory element of civilization, a la Matches Malone. Just a heads up – – the real Carl Kelly will finally be making an appearance in comics in May 2017, in the pages of “Ultiman of the Atom” in Big Bang Universe #3 from AC Comics, written by me with art by Joe & Rob Sharp on Chapter 1 (and Tim Stiles in Chapters 2 and 3)..

I loved (and still do) the classic Superman stories and had a blast writing this one and creating the mythology of Ultiman. What made it even more special for me was the art by Jeff Weigel. I had met Jeff at the Chicago ComiCon, and when he showed me his samples I jumped up saying “This looks like Curt Swan inked by Murphy Anderson!” He backed away saying “Yeah, that’s what everyone says.” Curt was a dinosaur at the time, having been shunted aside by DC in favor of John Byrne and the other new guys on Superman.

I showed Jeff what we were doing with Big Bang and eventually convinced him we weren’t just trying to rip off DC. Jeff penciled the front cover, which was inked by Andrew Pepoy, and also penciled the main story, which had inks by Ed Quinby. The issue even had an ad for the two self-published issues of Jeff’s own character, the Sphinx, who eventually joined the Big Bang Universe a few issues later.

Big Bang #3 also featured a two page centerfold pin-up of the Knight Watchman and Silver-Age Shadowhawk penciled by Jim Valentino and inked by Chris Ecker, done prior to the “Angry Red Aliens” story from issue #2.

This was followed by a Superswine one-pager by Gary Fields, and ended with Thunder Girl Meets Her Evil Imitator!” written and drawn by the wonderful Bill Fugate. Bill was as great a writer as he was a cartoonist, and I would’ve been jealous to be so easily replaced on my own character’s story if I hadn’t loved his work so much.

In this tale, that nefarious chimp Dr. Binana builds a machine that can duplicate the World’s Strongest Girl’s powers. He then bestows them upon the criminal Bad Penny (one half of the crime duo Penny and Claude), turning her into Tornado Girl. Luckily, Thunder Girl prevails and carries the criminals off to their just rewards.

Classic Big Bang from cover to cover.

Gary Carlson

1/31/2017

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Thunder Girl Digest is available through Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Girl-Digest-Comics-Collection/dp/1494803100/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485895214&sr=1-9&keywords=Thunder+Girl

Ultiman: The Ultimate Collection is available through Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Ultiman-Ultimate-Collection-Bang-Comics/dp/1511404140/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=8PHNKZR3FVA4V3M63Y4S

The Sphinx Collection by Jeff Weigel is available through Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=pd_sim_14_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=4R9XH1G1HDHXTQW487MJ

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Coming Soon to A Comic Shop Near You…

Just a quick heads up to all you Big Bang Comics fans out there!

Feathers of Doom,” the Golden Age Knight Watchman story that introduced the nefarious Pink Flamingo to comics audiences everywhere returns to comic book shelves in the pages of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon #220 any day now.

Presented in color for the very first time, this story was written by myself and Chris Ecker, with amazing art by John Thompson. It was originally published in Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1 a long time ago, but has been painstakingly colored by Adam Pruett and Anthony Cuzon for its appearance in Savage Dragon #220.

Be sure to haunt your comic shop to pick up this issue of my favorite comic book being published today!

Hopefully this will whet your appetites for the all-new Big Bang Universe #3 coming this May from AC Comics. Watch for it in Diamond Previews soon!

Gary Carlson

1/29/2017

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BB Chronological 18: BB #2 – The Second Time Around

We felt that our second issue of Big Bang at Image Comics was another very strong one. It featured our flagship character, the Knight Watchman, guest-starred Jim Valentino’s Silver Age Shadowhawk, contained a Golden Age era Badge story with Mark Lewis’ wonderful Simon & Kirby homaged artwork, and concluded with a short Dr. Weird prose story written by Ed DeGeorge.

All of that PLUS a back cover pin-up of the Beacon by Golden Age legend Mart Nodell, creator of the Green Lantern!

The front cover and main story, The Angry Red Aliens were the work of Chris Ecker; writing, pencils, inks and letters – a quadruple threat. I asked Chris if he would share his recollections of creating this story, and the following is what he had to say:

“I don’t really remember whose idea it was to do a Big Bang Comics story combining Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk, but it was probably Jim Valentino’s. Jim had always been an enthusiastic Big Bang supporter and I had previously drawn a modern Shadowhawk trading card in the Tom King style at Jim’s request. He had already toyed with the Silver Age Shadowhawk and published some stories as I recall when we came on board at Image. Jim drew a Silver Age Shadowhawk/Knight Watchman pin up page in the style of a Bob Kane Golden Age Batman cover and sent it to me for inking.

Looking back, I don’t think Jim really imposed many (if any) rules on the use of Silver Age Shadowhawk and Squirrel (SSH’s son & sidekick), but I knew better than to add anything substantive to the continuity or mythos. I wanted to use only the major characters of Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk as equals, and I knew I didn’t want to have the sidekicks getting in the way.

I also knew that I wanted to set the story in the 1950s and use a thinly veiled Red Scare of that era as a tent pole for the story. I figured the 50s entertainment was full of alien invasions, communist sleepers, the FBI as authoritarian heroes, and newly televised Government processes.

Let me digress for a moment to give a little creative insight for me in general, and this story specifically. As an infant of the late 50s and a child of the early 60s, my view of “comic book” Superheroes was informed by what I saw on TV. That is to say, MY Flash Gordon was Buster Crabbe, MY Superman was George Reeves, MY Batman was Adam West. Because I viewed the live action series first, then discovered the print versions, in MY mind, the comic books and the newspaper strips were reflections of THEM, not the other way around. Consequently, when I create comics, I see and hear those voices, see those images, feel that atmosphere—in my mind, and try to translate that to the page.

Anyway…I decided that in this story, both Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk were publicly known and welcomed as independent crime fighters of the highest caliber. The threat would appear to be of alien origin, but in reality would be Earthbound and of a sinister anti-American nature. Our heroes would each independently volunteer to help, and the FBI would be involved.

As I usually do, I added personal touches like having the congressional hearings on Superhero activities in the story presided over by creator friends of mine; Larry Marder, Donald Simpson, and Jim Valentino, who surround the secret villain of the piece, Senator Keefhouser. The kidnapped scientific genius, who is also the Knight Watchman’s inventive confidant, is a caricature of one of my favorite creators, Will Eisner, known in this story as Igor Eisner. Eisner creates a bogus circuit board as a clue that he hopes Knight Watchman will eventually find and decipher.

All in all, I was and remain pretty proud of the story, having been allowed to play in one of the Image founding fathers’ creative sandboxes, and adding to the Image story.”

Thanks Chris. Shown above are two of the pages from his roughs to finals.

The other featured story in this issue was The Zombie Crime Boss, starring the Badge and his young Rookies (Trooper and Bobbie). The villain of the piece was Dr. Cadaver (created by David Easter) – the city’s coroner who aimed to become the city’s new crime boss by reanimating corpses in the morgue and sending them out to commit crimes. Cadaver was tripped up in the story by one of his zombies – – the infamous Public Enemy #1 – Louie “Scarface” Provalone, who had been executed earlier that evening. But Scarface didn’t take orders from anybody and filled Dr. Cadaver full of lead.

This story was written by myself and inked by Jeff Meyer, but Mark Lewis’ pencils are the star of this one. I love all of the work Mark did for Big Bang over the years, but his Joe Simon/Jack Kirby stories are my favorites.

Last but not least was the Dr. Weird story, Creatures of the Night. It is a powerful little tale that pitted the Golden Ghost against a demonic Changeling that had replaced a young boy in his parent’s own house, and the dramatic rescue from the nether dimension where the boy was trapped.

Gary Carlson

1/23/2017

Back issues for most issues are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

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BB Chronological 17: A NEW IMAGE FOR BIG BANG COMICS.

Starting over? A new beginning? It didn’t really feel that way after leaving Caliber Press to join Image Comics. Most of the material in the first few issues at the Big “I” was in the works before we left Caliber. The interiors were still in color. Had we hit the big time? I don’t know. We knew that we had the chance to reach a wider audience so we just kept plugging away.

We decided to hit the ground running and lead off the new run with a few Image characters. Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man starred in volume 2 number 1, and Jim Valentino’s (Silver Age) Shadowhawk guest-starred in number 2.

Mighty Man went way back to the beginning of my career in comics – – my independent comic Megaton! The World’s Mightiest Man was present in the first batch of samples and character designs that Erik had sent me prior to our collaboration on the Vanguard stories in 1981 or so, and he first showed up in Megaton #2. Here we were, 15 years later and I was working for Erik. We did a few Vanguard mini-series, and Mighty Man was appearing in Savage Dragon.

Erik was (and is) a big fan of the original Captain Marvel. I think he grew up reading his Dad’s comics collection. Me? I started with DC’s 1970s revival (unless you count Steranko’s History of the Comics and the one page that DC allowed Jules Feiffer to reprint in The Great Comic Book Heroes) and worked my way backward.

Thunder Girl was technically Big Bang’s homage to the Big Red Cheese, but we were thrilled to get the chance to do Mighty Man. Bill Fugate’s art was as perfect for MM as it was for T-Girl. The villain of the story was the Wicked Worm, a leech that could mind-control any living being it latched on to. While obviously an homage to Cap’s own worm Mr. Mind, it also tied in to the villainous Horde that was wreaking havoc in Savage Dragon. Horde was a pile of the brain-sucking leeches. I figured that the Wicked Worm was the first of many.

My co-conspirator Chris Ecker drew a layout for the front cover and Bill Fugate finished it up beautifully. Chris also wrote and penciled a Knight Watchman story, the second feature in BB #1, which was inked by Jim Brozman. The Sinister Quizmaster introduced Nestor Whitt, a television game show writer gone bad. The Knight Watchman was forced to match wits with the Quizmaster, who had strapped the Twilight Paladin’s sidekick Kid Galahad in an electric chair. While KW evaded the villain’s questions designed to expose their secret identities, Galahad escaped and socked his captor.

Rounding out the issue was a two page Dr. Weird prose story, written by Ed DeGeorge and illustrated by Stephanie Sanderson (now Heike). In The Master of Ghosts, Dr. Rex Ward faced off against an old man with a golden amulet who called himself the Ghost Master! Although he himself was dead, the Golden Avenger was able to disobey the amulet’s power, so the old fiend called upon the ghosts of Aaron Burr, Tecumseh and Cleopatra for aid.Volume 2 number 1 was one of our strongest issues ever, but my own favorite piece in the book was (and is) the introduction on the inside front cover by Big Bang scribe Terrance Griep, Jr (also known now as the indy wrestling star Spider Baby). He introduced us and some of the characters, and told the readers what to expect in the future. Toward the end of it he wrote “If this is your first Big Bang comic, then I genuinely envy you. . . you’re about to take a thrilling journey back in time”. Do yourself a favor – click on it and read it for yourself.

See you next time.

Gary Carlson

1/19/2017

Back issues for most issues are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store. This link will take you to the Image series, but there are also lists of the Caliber issues, Big Bang Presents, and even some Megaton back issues. Check ’em out:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

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Coming in May 2017: BIG BANG UNIVERSE #3 From AC Comics

Hey Gang! Just a heads up to let you know to keep your eyes open for Diamond Previews for May 2017 because that’s when AC Comics will be soliciting for the latest and greatest issue of Big Bang Universe!

We’re just putting the finishing touches on the book and it’s just about ready to go.

It’s another 80 Page Giant with all-new material, this time starring America’s Greatest Hero — Ultiman! It features a cover by THE Ultiman artist, Jeff Weigel and an alternate (1 out of 5) cover by Ron Williams, all for the low price of $9.95!

This issue is chock full of guest heroes and villains, as you can see by the above cover. Venus, the Goddess of Love and War is on hand, as is the super paparazzi known as Shutterbug as well as such bad guys as the walking volcano known as Vesuvius, and the villainous Vibrator – all in an action-packed thriller drawn by the dynamic Donnie Page and inked by Bob Rivard & Mike Matthew!

Ultiman also faces off against the creepy denizen of the night known as Diablo in a story drawn by the talented Ron Williams.

BB Universe #3 will feature one of the favorite stories that I’ve ever written – – a Silver-Age 3-Part Novel starring Ultiman that has been years in the making. “Ultiman of the Atom” features character designs and Chapter One art by the amazing Sharp Brothers of Australia, Rob & Joe Sharp, and concluding chapters by the terrific Tim Stiles!

And just for the heck of it, we’re including the comic strip starring Ultiman’s Best Friend, the Knight Watchman as he faces off against the crazy Crime Chef by Chris Ecker, Roger McKenzie and Matt Hansel.

I’ll be posting more info and links when Previews hits the stands, but keep your eyes peeled. It’s going to be a May to remember!

Gary Carlson

1/13/2017

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GARY REED

R.I.P. Gary Reed

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DIMENSIONEER is back

DimensioneerPromo

It’s ALIVE!

Attention all Big Bang fans: Dan Reed’s dynamic DIMENSIONEER is back!!!!! The star of Big Bang Comics #s 20-22 is alive and well and starring in his own brand-new website. The original stories have been remastered and are presented in full color for the very first time, and all-new adventures are on the way from the pen of dynamic Dan Reed. Check it out!

The post DIMENSIONEER is back appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

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