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Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month): August 2014

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A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month.

August offers a feast of shape and color, with striking covers by Scott Fischer, Victor Santos, Chrystin Garland, and Tula Lotay, some bold juxtaposition, and a quirky take on a pulp archetype or two -- including a Nazi airship and some poor sap being held in a giant hand. It's a classic!

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Dark Horse All Up In The Awesome Webcomics Collections With ‘Bandette,’ ‘Polar’ And ‘Murder Book’

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One of the best things about digital comics is that you can read them online pretty much anywhere, but sometimes, every now and then, you want to read them in print. Whether it's the extra features that inevitably come with a printed collection, the texture of paper or just the comforting reminder that physical objects exist and you are therefore not alone and isolated in a formless void, printed webcomics have a lot to offer today's discerning reader, and Dark Horse is stepping up to give you three of the most exciting collections of the year.

Set for release next spring, Eisner winning digital comic Bandette and the webcomic Polar: Eye For An Eye are returning to Dark Horse for the book trade customers, but the third, Murder Book is a newcomer, and it looks awesome.

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Dark Horse To Expand Further Into Children’s Comics Market in 2015 With New Slate Of Graphic Novels

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Dark Horse Comics have announced a renewed strategy to expand the number of all-ages graphic novels they publish, with a concentrated push into the market for 2015 with the launch of four new titles: Rexodus, The Courageous Princess, Veda: Assembly Required, and The Return of the Gremlins.

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ApocalyptiGirl: Andrew MacLean’s Graphic Novel Debut Tackles The Extremes Of Humanity, End Times And Cat Ownership

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Andrew MacLean is an illustrator and comics artist we've been admiring for a long time. Part of the uniformly excellent stylists at Brand New Nostalgia, MacLean has appeared in our Best Art Ever (This Week) feature and earned couple of solo spotlights as well for his great work, which is an uncanny blend of a kind of simple, airy animation style with detailed manga, woodblock art, sci-fi Eurocomics and old fashioned American adventure comics. In storytelling, MacLean's biggest claim to fame has been the self-published Head Lopper -- which is, blissfully, precisely what it sounds like, a swords-and-scorcery type comic that affords MacLean to show off his talent for action and humor. Additionally, his work is featured in Brand New Nostalgia and Out Of Step Arts' kaBOOMbox anthology, a particularly cool-looking collection funded with Kickstarter that will be available at conventions later this year and online soon.

But MacLean's going to make a much bigger splash in the comics scene in 2015, when Dark Horse releases his debut graphic novel ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For End Times. The 96-page book features story, art, color and lettering by MacLean, who, based on the preview pages provided exclusively to ComicsAlliance, has leveled up in a big way since beginning work on Head Lopper.

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‘Prometheus: Fire And Stone’ Trailer Digs Into DeConnick & Co.’s Creative Process [Video]

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Back in March, I spoke with Kelly Sue DeConnick about the unorthodox creative process behind Dark Horse's new Prometheus/Alien/Predator comics. Essentially, DeConnick and four other writers -- Paul Tobin, Chris Roberson, Christopher Sebela and Joshua Williamson -- got in a room together and hammered out one big story that will be told in a collection of miniseries. DeConnick had a huge notebook in which she collected a sort of series bible.

Now, those comics are about to be released into the world, starting with Prometheus: Fire and Stone by Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra on Sept. 10. Dark Horse has released a trailer that digs into the process a bit and reveals a little about one of the characters who will appear throughout the series, Angela Foster.

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Crisis On Regular Earth: Dark Horse Publishes Earthquake Safety Comic

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Public-safety media is taking a step away from filmstrips and pamphlets toward something much cooler: comic books. In Oregon, anyway.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has partnered with Milwaukee, Oregon-based Dark Horse Comics to release Without Warning, a free, 12-page comic all about earthquake safety. It's not just a bunch of safety tips with pictures, either. Writers Jeremy Barlow and Althea Rizzo and artist David Hahn have developed a real story about a girl trying to get back to her family in the aftermath of a disaster.

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Frank Miller: ‘The 1940s-style Gentleman Needs To Make A Comeback’

Frank Miller by Gavin Bond for Playboy
Frank Miller by Gavin Bond for Playboy

For anyone who still had a little doubt in his or her mind about whether Frank Miller -- the man who wrote and drew Sin City, which is basically all about tough guys fightin' over dames (and also lady ninjas hanging out with prostitutes) -- is nostalgic for a perceived golden age of dudeliness, look no further than his new 20Q interview in Playboy.

One of the interview's wrap-up questions is about whether Miller prefers an old-fashioned ideal of masculinity, and Miller answers that he'd like to see "the 1940s-style gentleman" make a comeback.

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This Stop-Motion Animated ‘Usagi Yojimbo’ Short Is The First Step Toward A Feature Film

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Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai has been in the news quite a bit over the past few months as his peers, publisher and fans have raised money to help him out of a dire financial situation. Plus, it's Usagi's 30th anniversary.

So far, the efforts seem to have gone pretty well, and there seems to be more good news on the horizon: An animated, direct-to-DVD feature film starring the rabbit ronin, whose exploits are currently published by Dark Horse Comics.

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Timeless Fantasy And Indie Innovation: Wendy & Richard Pini On 36 Years Of ‘Elfquest’ [Interview]

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When Wendy and Richard Pini released the first issue of Elfquest in 1978, the landscape of the comic industry was wildly different. The "direct market" model of retailing was still in its infancy, with a loose network of regional companies distributing titles to comic shops around the country, and there was a sharp divide (in both content and style) between the mainstream superhero titles of Marvel and DC, and the adult-themed "comix" from underground publishers. Star Wars was a pop culture sensation, and the public was hungry for more adventure, seeking out all manner of sci-fi and fantasy in theaters and bookstores.

It was the perfect moment for Elfquest to appear, and almost immediately, the Pinis had a best-selling comic on their hands. Within a few years, they sparked a second revolution, collecting Elfquest in a series of full-color paperbacks that pioneered the influx of comics into mainstream bookstores, and effectively laid the groundwork for the graphic novel market.

Now, 36 years later, they're still working on their signature creations, and have partnered with Dark Horse to publish a new series, Elfquest: The Final Quest, as well as new collections of the original series and a special "Gallery Edition," shot from the original artwork. ComicsAlliance got the chance to catch up with them at the Dark Horse booth at San Diego Comic-Con, and discuss how Elfquest has impacted the world of comics, both creatively and business-wise.

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Faith Erin Hicks Talks Eisner Win, Adapting Y.A. Prose, And Drawing ‘The Nameless City’ [Interview]

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Faith Erin Hicks is one of North American comics' most versatile talents, a writer/artist who's gained critical acclaim and commercial success, and raised her profile with each successive project she's released over her 15+ year career.

This year's San Diego Comic-Con was particularly eventful for Hicks, as she announced her new graphic novel series from First Second books and won an Eisner Award for Dark Horse's collection of her The Adventures Of Superhero Girl webcomic. We caught up with her in San Diego the morning after the Eisner awards to talk about current projects.

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