Realm Knights: The Perfect Way To Introduce A Friend To Zenescope

 *blog written by guest writer David Goodman

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Over the last few years, Zenescope has gone from publishing a single anthology-style title in Grimm Fairy Tales to an entire universe of books that fall under the Grimm Universe umbrella, including Unleashed, Wonderland, Robyn Hood and now Oz and No Tomorrow.

The result is that it can be quite intimidating for a new reader to jump in and be able to understand who’s who and what’s what in Zenescope’s ever expanding universe of characters and titles. Add on the fact that most of Zenescope’s books feature female leads and don’t fit into the standard superhero mold, and it becomes even more difficult to convince a Marvel or DC fan to give the Grimm Universe a shot.

Enter Pat Shand and Realm Knights.

If ever there has been a book that was designed and written to be a new reader friendly gateway to the world of Zenescope, this is it. Why? Well, let me tell you…

It’s the Best Characters of the Grimm Universe in One Place

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Sela, Hook, Red Riding Hood, Van Helsing and Robyn Hood. If ever there was an all-star cast for a Zenescope comic, this is it. You get all the best and brightest characters of the Grimm Universe in one book and thanks to Shand, a crystal clear picture of who they are and what they are like. It’s like Zenescope’s own version of Grant Morrison’s JLA, just with more women (thankfully).

It’s Fun

When you read most of Zenescope’s titles, they are not what I would call “happy fun-time” kinds of comics. Bad things usually happen to good people and nothing is as simple as black or white, like most superhero fare. It’s part of what makes Zenescope stand apart from the pack and makes their books so appealing.

But sometimes you just want to read a comic that will put a smile on your face and you will have a great time reading. Realm Knights is that book. It’s page after page of high adventure, nonstop ass-kicking and great character interaction. While I wouldn’t call it a kid friendly book, I would call Realm Knights a departure for Zenescope in style and tone, and one that I welcome with open arms.

It’s New Reader Friendly

Don’t know a Highborn from a Falseblood? Don’t really care how many Realms of Power there are? No problem. Realm Knights gives you all the information you need on the first page with the rest explained throughout the story. Shand has done an amazing job simplifying and boiling the Grimm Universe down to it’s essence so that if Realm Knights is your first Zenescope comic, you get all the information you need between it’s two covers to know what the Grimm Universe is like.

It Will Appeal to Fans of Superheroes

Have a friend who loves the Avengers or Justice League? Someone who won’t give Zenescope a chance because he thinks they’re all just scantily clad girls and supernatural elements?

Give them a copy of Realm Knights and watch it change their mind.

Realm Knights is the most superhero-ish comic I’ve ever seen Zenescope publish and it works surprisingly well. A team put together by the US government to deal with threats from evil Highborns and Falsebloods, the premise is like something straight out of an Avengers spinoff title. It’s a book that relies less on the history and plot lines of the Grimm Universe and more on the characters themselves, which is the secret to any decent superhero team-up title.

It Takes Place Post-Unleashed

For those that have been living under a rock for the last few months, Unleashed is Zenescope’s big summer event that brings vampires, zombies and the like back to the Grimm Universe and leaves Earth a very different place. It’s a mammoth event, and one that would intimidate any new reader (unless you read my Unleashed primer, in which case you would be all set) and cause them to steer away.

Realm Knights picks up after Unleashed, so all the information you need to know is on page one and you get a look at what the Grimm Universe is like after the events of the miniseries. No muss, no fuss.

So, do you need yet another reason to check out Realm Knights? How about this: the bottom line is that it’s a great comic that might just be my favorite Zenescope book published to date. An awesome story combined with great art making for one amazing comic.

Buy yourself a copy and get one for a friend. They’ll thank you for it.

What Should Be The Next Zenescope Monthly Series?

Written by guest blogger David Goodman

With the conclusion of Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends with issue #25, that currently leaves Zenescope with two regular series (three if you include the bimonthly Grimm Universe) for their fans to look forward to each month. And while the various limited series that they publish are more than enough to keep even the most hardcore of Zenescope fans in a comic book coma month in and month out, there is something very rewarding about following a monthly series, especially if you have the chance to read it from issue #1.

And while Zenescope hasn’t announced any plans to launch a new monthly series anytime soon, I thought that with Unleashed putting a bright spotlight on the Grimm Universe, it might be fun to see what the candidates would be for a new regular series and what you the fans thought. After all, you are the ones that ultimately decide what Zenescope publishes when you vote with your hard earned money so your input counts more than you may think.

So what Grimm Universe characters might make for an outstanding monthly series? Let’s take a look.

Robyn Hood

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This one should be fairly obvious to anyone who is a fan of Zenescope. Robyn Hood has easily been the companies biggest breakout hit since Wonderland and for good reason. In just one short 5 issue miniseries, Pat Shand created a multidimensional, fully realized character in Robyn Locksley, one that could be the subject of stories for years and years to come. Plus it helps that she embodies everything that Zenescope has come to represent in the comic book marketplace; kick ass women who can run with the big boys.

Realm Knights

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If ever there was a concept that was perfect for a regular monthly series, Realm Knights is it. I was blown away by the one-shot that came out a few months back and amazed how well a book like this worked in the Grimm Universe. Realm Knights takes the idea of the Avengers and boils it down to it’s essence, getting rid of all the extra crap and giving the reader the best of Zenescope in one book. Plus we would still get more Robyn Hood, and that’s never a bad thing.

Van Helsing

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Even though she has only just made her first appearance in the pages of Unleashed, Van Helsing has already proven quite popular with the fans (and honestly how could she not the way Jamie Tyndall draws her on those covers). Much like Robyn Hood, she fits the Zenescope mold perfectly, and with most of her backstory still an open book, there are any number of directions a monthly series could go. And if ever someone should be a member of the Realm Knights, it’s Van Helsing.

The Jungle Book

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Through two captivating miniseries, Mark L. Miller has reimagined The Jungle Book for a whole new generation and given it that special twist that makes it uniquely Zenescope. That’s no easy task, and yet when you finish Last of the Species, the second Jungle Book miniseries, you still get the feeling Miller has barely scratched the surface of the story he wants to tell. Some might say that a title like The Jungle Book works best in the miniseries format, but to me, it could be one huge, sprawling epic that could last for years.

Belinda

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Given the fact of her recent resurrection in Unleashed and apparent attempts to make right the wrongs she has committed, Belinda would make for a comic unlike any on the stands. It would be incredibly interesting to follow the character as she tries to redeem herself in the eyes of Sela and follow a new, dangerous path. Of course, we’ll have to wait until the end of Unleashed to see how things turn out for her, but I have my fingers crossed.

Oz

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Like Robyn Hood, this one should jump right out at you. The long talked about fourth realm of power has finally been revealed in Oz #1 and you can’t tell me that the whole story can be wrapped up in six issues. I could imagine a book like Oz lasting at least 200 issues if not more; the idea is that deep and complex. I for one am going to have a really hard time waiting between miniseries so why don’t you do us all a favor and just make it a monthly, huh?

Neverland

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Other than Hook appearing in the pages of Bad Girls and Realm Knights, not much has been heard from Neverland since the Dream Eater Saga and I think it’s time for that to change. Like Oz, Neverland is a rich concept that could sustain a monthly series for years. Hell, at this point I would even take a Hook monthly book; at least then we could see a peek every now and then of Neverland.

 

So what do you think? Any of those sound like something you would be willing to buy each and every month? Or maybe you have another idea? Well let us know. Sound off in the comments below and help Zenescope decide if launching a new monthly series is a good idea. They only way they’ll know is if you tell them.

Grimm Fairy Tales Flashback: Grimm Fairy Tales #63

Written by guest blogger David Goodman

Fairy Tale Flashback is where we take a look into the truly massive archive of Zenescope Entertainment, pick a back issue from the comic book long boxes and tell you why you should seek it out and read it. Think of us as your own personal highlight reel showing you the best of Zenescope over the years.

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Grimm Fairy Tales #63 was an important book for a number of reasons, some obvious, some less so. First of all, the issue was part 9 in the 12 part Dream Eater Saga, Zenescope’s first ever summer event crossover. The story followed the characters of the Grimm Universe as they worked to defeat the Dream Eater, a nightmare that was out to destroy every Highborn and Falseblood in the Four Realms, including Earth.

It featured a story starring Sela, star of Grimm Fairy Tales and Belinda, a character I guess you could call her arch-nemesis. The two were forced to work together to escape the Sea Witch and continue their quest to find a way to stop the Dream Eater. It’s a stand out issue in the crossover that features some of Raven Gregory’s strongest writing of the event and detailed, dynamic artwork by Randy Valiente.

Belinda

selaBut most importantly, GFT #63 puts the relationship between Sela and Belinda at the forefront, which we’re going to see much more of in the recently launched Unleashed, where Belinda has just returned from the dead and has teamed up with Sela once again.

 

GFT #63 shows us a Sela who has had enough of the backstabbing, lying Belinda and a Belinda that has begun to realize that maybe some of her choices in her life weren’t the best. Gregory put a new dynamic on the relationship, a new twist that played out over the course of the issue and The Dream Eater Saga as a whole and culminated in the finale. Now with Belinda back and apparently having a role to play in Unleashed, it should be interesting to see where the two women go from here and if they can build on what started in that pivotal chapter of the Dream Eater Saga.

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Grimm Fairy Tales #63 is available as part of volume 2 of The Dream Eater Saga as well as on Comixology and in the back issue bins of better comic shops everywhere.

The Zenescope Unleashed Primer

 

 

 

 

 

*This article was written by a guest blogger

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So you walked into your local comic shop and saw that Zenescope had launched their latest event, Unleashed. The art looked pretty sweet, so you picked up the first couple issues, read them and was blown away. “This Unleashed book is awesome!” you think to yourself. “I’m gonna pick up more of these Grimm Universe books.”

And then you see shelf after shelf of trade paperbacks on the shelf. Thirteen volumes (and counting) of Grimm Fairy Tales. More book with Wonderland in the title than you can count. Neverland. Sinbad. Myths & Legends. It’s too much and you feel a trickle of blood run down your nose. Minutes later you end up on the floor, mumbling to yourself that you just didn’t know where to start and you end up eating lime jell-o for the rest of your life.

Now, no one wants that, especially the fine folks here at Zenescope.

Which is why I have put together this little primer, a cheat sheet if you will, to help you navigate through this new universe you have discovered. Once we’re through, you will have a solid foundation on where to start in the Grimm Universe, a reading order you can follow to help you get caught up, and you will be all set for what is to come in Unleashed. Because, believe me, you do not want to miss it.

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The Dream Eater Saga volume 1 & 2

By Raven Gregory

A horror called The Dream Eater has been unleashed on the Grimm Universe and it will take the combined might of all it’s heroes to stop the terror before it’s too late. But can Sela, Belinda, Baba Yaga and the rest put aside their differences long enough to stop him? Or will this be the end for Grimm Universe as we know it?

The Dream Eater Saga was the first Zenescope crossover and it was a big one. Not only did it gather together all the various characters of the Grimm Universe in one book, but it also shook that universe to it’s foundations. The effects can still be felt today and there is no better way to learn all about the Grimm Universe than reading these two amazing volumes.

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Godstorm

By Pat Shand and Jason Johnson

The Gods of old have been living among us, biding their time, waiting for the right moment to reveal themselves and make their return. The God of Beauty has decided that she has waited long enough and has begun to recruit other Gods to her side, putting a plan in motion to enslave mankind. Can she be stopped? And what role will Zeus and his son play in the drama?

If you have read Unleashed, than you already know that the Greek Gods are going to play a big role in the events that are to come. But it all started in Godstorm, a miniseries that flew under the radar when it came out, but ended up having HUGE consequences for the Grimm Universe. And it includes the first appearance of The Being (the main bad guy from Unleashed), so what more do you need to know?

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Myths & Legends volume 5

By various

Baba Yaga has finally assembled all the pieces of the Sunstone so she cal unleash Helios, the mad Highborn, upon the world. Sela has gathered a group of false-bloods together, including Red Riding Hood, Samantha and more, to try and stop her. But even if they do, can anyone stop Helios, who is bent on watching the world burn?

Myths & Legends volume 5 collects the final issues of the Grimm Fairy Tales spin-off and it went out with a real bang. This is epic level story-telling and wall to wall action starring all the important players in the Grimm Universe. Once you finish it you will have a great feeling for the tone and style of the books Zenescope publishes.

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Bad Girls

By Joey Esposito

Baba Yaga. The Goblin Queen. Venus. The Queen of Spades. Alicia, the Mistress of Limbo.

Five of the most powerful, evil women in the Grimm Universe have joined forces to gain control of the Nexus with a plan to use an ancient artifact to unleash the Flesh Reavers and destroy all of humanity. Sela, Samantha, Hook and Red Riding Hood are hopelessly outmatched, out numbered and outgunned.

Sometimes it pays to be a Bad Girl.

Another of Zenescope’s “everything and the kitchen sink” event comics, Bad Girls is a great, action packed read that could have been an event all on it’s own. Both it and Myths & Legends vol. 5 did a lot to show the different relationships between the characters and foreshadow events that are happening right now. Plus, it’s just a really great comic.

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Grimm Fairy Tales vol. 13

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After the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #75, Sela is lost, alone, and without hope. So when the authorities throw her in jail, she does nothing to stop them thinking that it’s what she deserves. But when inmates start dying horribly at the hands of a mysterious entity, she is forced to try and stop them and maybe, begin the long road to redemption in the process.

Sela is the undisputed star of the Grimm Universe and has been since day one, of that there is no question. So if this is all new to you, there is no better place to go if you want to learn all about Sela and what motivates her. It’s been said that Sela kicks more ass in one comic than Wonder Woman and Batgirl combined. This is the book to read if you want to find out why.

And there you have it; five books that are the perfect place to start if you are new to the Grimm Universe. So once you finish the opening chapters of Unleashed, head back to your local comic shop for another does of Grimm Fairy Tales.

Because no one wants to see you eating lime jell-o when there are so many other things you could be doing.

Oz And Zenescope: The Perfect Match

*This article was written by a guest blogger 

Myst, Neverland, Wonderland and Oz.

Ever since Grimm Fairy Tales transformed from a anthology style book into the flagship title of the Grimm Universe, we have heard about these four realms. Four realms of power that are inexorably linked to Earth and have shaped it’s inhabitants for generations. Up until now readers have experienced the worlds of Myst, Wonderland and Neverland in various miniseries and regular series with characters meeting, living and dying right before our eyes. But Oz has always been behind a curtain, talked about and glimpsed sparingly since we all got our first look at the final realm in the conclusion of The Dream Eater Saga back in 2011.

This year, that all changes.

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July will see the launch of Oz, a new series written by Zenescope President Joe Brusha that will fling open the doors and put the spotlight firmly on Dorothy, the Wicked Witch and, yes, flying monkeys. The Zenescope faithful will finally learn all about the fourth realm of power and how it fits in with the rest of the ever expanding Grimm Universe.

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And if ever a concept was perfect for the type of stories Zenescope likes to tell, it’s Oz.

Oz has all the elements that make for a great Zenescope series. You have the beautiful yet tough as nails heroine in Dorothy, the tailor-made for Zenescope villain in the Wicked Witch and easily one of the best and most original supporting casts in literature in the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and the rest.

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And did I mention the flying monkeys?

If you need further proof, just look what Zenescope did with Wonderland. If you ever read the original story by Lewis Carroll, then you know there was already a wealth of material and story ideas there to play with, but what Raven Gregory managed to do is something else entirely. He took the story of Alice and turned it into a generational saga of one family’s war against the realm of madness. Look at his Cheshire Cat or the Jabberwocky, do they seem like anything Lewis Carroll might have had in mind when he wrote Alice in Wonderland? No, instead they were transformed into some of the scariest and most entertaining characters in the Grimm Universe.

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Now just imagine what Joe Brusha and the rest of the warped minds at Zenescope could do with something like Oz. The directions they could go in are practically endless. I’m getting dizzy just thinking about the variant cover possibilities alone. Imagine what Anthony Spay or Jamie Tyndall will come up with with that cast of characters, it boggles the mind.

So when we all finally get to see Oz this July, get ready to be amazed. If could be one of the best pairings in the history of comics: Zenescope and Oz, a match made in heaven.