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.
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!
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.
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.
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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