Marvel Comics is taking over the Star Wars franchise, but not until next year. So why shouldn't the longtime steward of the franchise, Dark Horse, have some fun with it and help out a worthy cause while it can?
Dark Horse is the latest in a long line of publishers to offer up a Humble Bundle comics package, but unlike the others, its offering is themed: strictly Star Wars books. Among the titles up for grabs are the first volume of the Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago (which collects the classic Marvel series from the '70s), the first volume of the Empire series, the entire Darth Maul: Death Sentence miniseries, and a lot more.
With the exception of perhaps Marvel, Dark Horse Comics may have been the publisher that broke the most news about its upcoming books at New York Comic-Con this year. That includes new stories from Eric Powell and Sergio Aragonés, the latest adventures from the Eisner-winning Itty Bitty team, prestige collections of Kabuki and Pistolwhip, brand new horror tales from some of the masters of the form, and much more.
It was just the other day that I was writing about how I never really understood why comics were always crossing over with the Predator, but today, I have officially been convinced that it's all worth it. Archie Comics and Dark Horse have announced Archie Meets Predator, coming next spring from writer Alex De Campi and artist Fernando Ruiz.
The Predator, an alien from space who comes to Earth in order to hunt the deadliest and most skilled humans alive, will join The Punisher, KISS and the cast of Glee in the illustrious and growing roster of unlikely Archie crossovers, and while Frank Castle took a few shots at our redheaded hero, it seems like the Predator is the one most bent on doing violence to our Riverdale pals.
Right from the start, Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose's Sacrifice is identifiable as a work of passion. It was self-published – a risky proposition in the direct market – and it was a story of personal importance to the author. Humphries has epilepsy, and Sacrifice is the story of a boy whose epilepsy isn't only a source of frustration and anguish, but also a superpower that propels him into an adventure at the zenith of the Aztec civilization – and perhaps also provides the ultimate key to his agency.
That's not the only source of passion evident in Sacrifice, though. The premise of the series – a suicidal Joy Division fanatic has a seizure that sends him back in time to before Cortés' invasion of the Aztecs – provides a venue for Humphries to spit fire over how profoundly outrageous and angering the perception and purported 'history' of the Aztecs is. As someone fascinated by and familiar with the truth about the Aztecs, Humphries uses the series' bedrock of time travel, violence, and destiny, to help readers take a step towards that truth.
There are a lot of things that happen regularly in comics that I've never really understood, and chief among them has been the sheer number of superhero crossovers with Aliens and Predator. I mean, I understand wanting to see Aliens and Predators fight each other because they're both these mysterious, lethal alien enemies, where one's a cunning, vicious hunter and the other's an almost mindless biologically driven killing machine, a natural contrast that makes them cool opponents for each other and a deadly combination for anyone who gets trapped between them. The thing I don't get is why you'd want to throw Superman or Batman in there, if only because of the sheer amount of storytelling gymnastics you have to do to make it work. And yet, they happen all the time, and I have long since accepted that it's Just Not My Thing.
And then I read Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens, and now I get it. Mostly because the first story in this collection ends with Dredd taking off his shirt (while leaving his helmet on, of course), and fighting the Predator with a knife.
If you've not come across Blacksad before, created by Spanish authors Juan Diaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (illustrator), it is an anthropomorphic noir series, set in 1950s America, centering around eponymous trench-coated private investigator, John Blacksad, a lithe, witty and cynical cat. Wildly popular France since the release of the first book in 2000, it's equally loved around the world, having been translated in 23 languages, with Dark Horse doing the honors for English reading audiences. This fifth and latest volume, Amarillo, was published in its original French in November last year, with October seeing the release of the English language edition. It's a few rungs above, thanks to Canales' writing: mixing up the mystery with social issues at the time, but largely due to Juanjo Guarnido's breathtaking watercoloured art and the superb manner in which he amalgamates human and animal characteristics.
In case you haven't noticed from the fact that all your Twitter friends have changed their display names to delightfully sub-Cryptkeeper puns, it is finally October! And that, my fiends, means that it's finally time for some spoooooky announcements about upcoming projects, and Dark Horse is getting the jump on everyone else by touting a brand-new comic that won't be out until 2015.
There's a reason they're announcing it now, though: It's a brand new comic about Frankenstein's Monster written by Mike Mignola, and that's kind of a big deal. Along with artist Ben Stenbeck, who worked with Mignola previously on Baltimore, the series will be called Frankenstein Underground, and will be set in the same universe as Hellboy and BPRD.
If you were to pull a random sampling of professionals from across the comics industry and poll them on their favorite modern-day creators, Mike Mignola's name would doubtlessly rank near the top. Since he burst on the scene at Marvel in the early 1980s, pencilling an obscure limited series about a talking space raccoon, he's matured brilliantly – from his seminal work at DC Comics (pencilling books including World Of Krypton, Cosmic Odyssey, and Batman: Gotham By Gaslight), to his work at Topps, Marvel, and other companies in the early '90s (on Ironwolf, Bram Stoker's Dracula, various X-books, and many other titles), to his move into creator-owned comics with the mighty Hellboy, he's maintained a unique voice and an immediately recognizable art style, bettering himself with each successive project, evolving and refining his voice at every opportunity.
Whether it's baby Hellboy eating a forbidden breakfast, a snake and a magician flying kites, or a robotic super-spy with a detachable head in the employ of President Lincoln, there's a dry-yet-absurd tone to Mignola stories that drips with the glee of innovation and possibility, yet manages to keep it all contained within straight-faced third-person storytelling. And so, today, a few days after his 54th birthday, we're excited to celebrate Mike Mignola's career with a few fellow fans (who also happen to be notable comic-makers in their own right).
About a decade after the formation of the Comics Code Authority in 1954 effectively killed off EC Comics' popular line of horror comics, Warren Publishing aimed to bring back some of that malevolent magic. The result was the anthology series Creepy (and later, its sister book, Eerie). Published as a black-and-white magazine, the series didn't have to adhere to the Comics Code's strict content standards, and as such, was able to push the envelope in ways comics in the mid-1960s generally couldn't.
Now, the book's current publisher, Dark Horse, is celebrating the magazine's 50th anniversary with a big, blowout issue featuring work by Fred Van Lente, Corinna Bechko, Dustin Nguyen, Peter Bagge, Alison Sampson, and Art Baltazar, among others.
Geof Darrow made a welcome return to the pages of the Dark Horse Presents anthology recently, in the first issue of its latest relaunch, with a new Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot story. Missing was Darrow's collaborator on the original 1995 comic, Frank Miller; in an interview prior to the release of the new short story, Darrow said he'd talked to Miller and hoped he would still come on board to write some dialogue, but it didn't read as overly convincing, so it wasn't a surprise to see him listed as the sole author in this edition. Needless to say, a Miller-less Big Guy makes for a very different reading experience.
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