Conan and Red Sonja are the chocolate and peanut butter of the sword-and-sorcery genre. Wait, no. Now that I write that down, it seems like swords and sorcery would probably be the chocolate and peanut butter of the sword-and-sorcery genre, but you get the idea: They're two characters who tend to go really well together, which makes sense given that they're both characters that have more or less defined the genre since they were created -- particularly in comics.
That's why it shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone that Conan Red Sonja #1, despite a somewhat annoyingly un-punctuated title, reads like it came together effortlessly. Written by Jim Zub and Gail Simone, with art by Dan Panosian and Dave Stewart, the first issue breezes through the mandatory fight before the inevitable team-up in a way that's actually pretty engaging, setting up an adventure that seems every bit as exciting as the two characters deserve. And also just full of belts.
Richard Corben draws scary stuff. I mean, that's kind of his deal -- his work with Mike Mignola on Hellboy has produced some of the most genuinely frightening imagery in that series, including the Crooked Man, my pick for the most unsettling villain that Hellboy has ever fought. So with that said, it should come as no surprise that his new book, Rat God, is stocked up with some of the creepiest stuff I've ever seen.
The thing about Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is that it's been one of the best comics on the stands for over 30 years. It's both fantastic and consistent to the point where I can't think of a bad issue, but when every single installment of a comic is at that high a level of quality, you sort of get used to it. It gets to the point where the stories are as epic and thrilling as they've ever been, but they don't quite surprise you in the way that you want them to, if only because you're expecting them to be that good, and as much as I love Sakai's work, it's been a while since I've actually been surprised by it.
Until I read Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, I mean. Because really, if you want to spice up an exhaustively researched samurai adventure story about a cast of furry animals, it just makes sense to throw a Martian invasion into the mix.
The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below.
Evil sorcery is a problem for the people of a certain age undreamt of, and apparently it's gotten so bad that one Hyborian hero is no longer enough to stop them. That's why in January, we're getting a team-up in the form of Conan/Red Sonja, in which a pretty fantastic creative team of Gail Simone, Jim Zub and Dan Panosian are teaming up the two heroes to stop -- you guessed it -- evil sorcery.
If you listened hard when Disney announced that it had bought Lucasfilm, you could hear it: millions of expanded universe stories suddenly crying out in terror, and suddenly silenced. For the last 23 years, Dark Horse Comics has been adding to the Star Wars saga, publishing a host of comics set in that galaxy far, far away, partnering with Lucasfilm to help weave a vibrant tapestry of stories, characters and settings to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the films, books, video games, trading card games, RPG handbooks, and (ugh) Holiday Specials.
Well, no more. Starting in 2015, Disney's handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that's not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That's where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.
Kel McDonald has been making comics for ten years, including a ten year run on her webcomic Sorcery 101. She was an early adopter of crowdfunding as a way of getting her comics out in print, and book one of McDonald's Misfits of Avalon series came out earlier this year through Dark Horse Comics. As increasing numbers of young, particularly female comics creators turn to webcomics as a way of getting their work out there, and as increasing numbers of comics publishers look to webcomics for up-and-coming talent, creators like McDonald are poised to have a unique understanding of the current comics world we live in
As part of her wrap-up of Sorcery 101, she's currently running a Kickstarter campaign for an omnibus of the series. ComicsAlliance sat down with McDonald to talk comics, crowdfunding, and web versus print.
I'm a pretty big fan of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, for the simple reason that it's one of the single greatest epics in comic book history. The mix of meticulously researched history, funny animal comics and high adventure, along wth Sakai's legendarily consistent high level of craftsmanship, has made it an amazing comic. That said, I never expected it to make the transition from the page to the stage.
And yet, that's exactly what's happening in London, as the Southwark Playhouse's Stewart Melton has adapted Usagi Yojimbo as their annual Christmas play -- and not only that, but it seems to be getting rave reviews for its use of live music and a whole lot of swordplay.
Comic artist Edvin Biukovic died fifteen years ago this month at just 30 years old. His death was obviously a terrible loss to those who knew and loved him. It was also a terrible loss to the comic industry; Biukovic never received the level of lasting acclaim or recognition that his talent deserved, and produced relatively few works. Yet he was one of the finest comic artists of his generation.
Biukovic published several works in his native Croatia that have sadly never been translated. His finished English-language works include a couple of Star Wars stories published at Dark Horse, and the first of Peter Milligan's Human Target stories for Vertigo. One work stands as his masterpiece; Devils And Deaths, written by his long-time friend and collaborator Darko Macan, and published by Dark Horse, is a science fiction story about a country torn apart by ancient grudges and tribal conflicts, and of the desperate people trying to eke out a purpose in the midst of war.
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