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Dark Horse Brings Digital Comics ‘Pariah’ And ‘Polar’ To Print As Graphic Novels [SDCC]

 

Kicking off what’s sure to be a week of fun Comic-Con announcements from Dark Horse is news that the publisher is bringing to print two distinctly different but similarly Dark Horse-appropriate works from the Web: Pariah and Polar. The former is a science fiction suspense story conceived by veteran film producer and studio executive Aaron Warner that follows a group of teenagers possessed with extreme intelligence as they try to evade a suspicious government. The latter is a gorgeously minimalist spy/revenge piece from cartoonist Victor Santos (Filthy Rich). Both projects are to be collected in new editions that contain additional material not seen on the web — in the case of Polar, that new material includes an entire script of dialogue that wasn’t there before — 160 pages worth.

The teen heroes of Pariah gain their super-intelligence after being “cured” of a genetic disorder. Consequently they begin to question and deconstruct all of society to such a conspicuous degree that the government has to track them down.

Creator Aaron Warner’s Hollywood history is pretty auspicious. He produced the original Academy Award-winning Shrek features and served as the head of production for 20th Century Fox during the making of Titanic. Like many Hollywood-to-comics transplants, Warner originated the idea for his webcomic but leaves it to established comics talents to bring it to life. Those people are celebrated Petrograd writer Philip Gelatt and the Eisner-nominated Surrogates artist Brett Weldele, both of whom know what they’re doing. But unlike some of Hollywood’s “comic book producer” types, Warner seems very dedicated to the Pariah project.

He told ComicsAlliance via email:

Pariah is the first thing I’ve done that came directly from my heart and brain – no committees, no focus groups. It hits on the things that mean the most to me now and have since I was a kid — how do you reconcile feeling like an alien and living among non–aliens? How do our differences make us uniquely able to problem solve and innovate? I’m also a strong believer in the power of science and technology to bring about positive change. The stuff we’re dealing with in Pariah isn’t science fiction. It’s all based on inventions and discoveries that are happening every day. Phil Gellat and Brett Weldele totally get where I was coming from and have helped Pariah exceed my expectations. The story is going to some crazy places and I can’t wait to take the readers there with us!

Pariah began life as a digital comic sold online and was supported with live-action webisodes that you can see here. The tone of the book seems a good fit at Dark Horse and joins the company’s ever growing slate of titles that originated online including The Black Beetle, Ashes, Axe Cop and Sin Titulo.

Some Pariah preview pages:

 

The hero of Victor Santos’ Polar: Came From the Cold is a retired spy with the eminently cool name of the Black Kaiser whose former masters want him dead. Described by the Spanish cartoonist as inspired by classic films like Le Samurai, Tokyo Drifter and Point Blank as well as comic book luminaries including Jim Steranko, Jose Muñoz, Alberto Breccia, Alex Toth and Frank Miller, Polar is a straight-up, sexy, cold-as-ice action thriller.

The project started as a “silent” storytelling experiment Santos serialized for free on the Web, but over time grew to a bloody160-page opus. Dark Horse’s hardcover edition will print the entire Polar story but with one small difference — actually one huge difference: a script with English dialogue.

Here’s a taste:

Polar began as a tribute to the greatness of the graphic storytelling,” Santos explained in a press release. “Watching it improve and evolve into the version readers will see in the book printed by one of my favorite publishers, I can only say: mission accomplished, old soldier.”

Both Polar: Came From the Cold and Pariah will be on sale from Dark Horse later this year. Additional volumes of Pariah are in the works, as is a brand new creator-owned project with Santos. Comic-Con attendees can learn more about Pariah at the Dark Horse signing at 4:00pm at booth #2615.

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