In what's certainly the most traumatic creative team shakeup we've seen in recent memory, Guy Davis and Dark Horse Comics announced over the weekend that the artist will leave his longtime and hugely acclaimed gig at B.P.R.D. The Hellboy spinoff, which is published as an ongoing series of miniseries, has been illustrated by Davis since 2004, and his superlative work has been instrumental in making the title one of the biggest and best of the Dark Horse line. Citing a desire to return to his creator-owned material, Davis' final issue will be B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods #3, on sale this week. Succeeding Davis on BPRD will be industry newcomer Tyler Crook.The sad news of Guy Davis' departure from B.P.R.D. came during the weekend's Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Washington. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, the artist confirmed his need to get back to work on creator-owned material, specifically The Marquis and other forthcoming projects from Dark Horse, but said he may yet return to the world of Mike Mignola's Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. of the main reasons I felt it was time to leave the "B.P.R.D." ongoing series was just the fact that at the end of the day, there was only so much comic work I could fit in and I kept having to push my own "Marquis" book further and further back. Along with the other projects I want to do, I'm looking forward to getting back to finishing my "Marquis" series for Dark Horse.

And while I'm leaving the main "B.P.R.D." book I started with "Plague of Frogs," we've already talked about having me come back to do some smaller miniseries and shorter works inside Mike's universe.

Davis' run on B.P.R.D. eclipsed both in size and stature those of his previous alt-comics hit, Vertigo's Sandman Mystery Theatre with Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle. More than fourteen trade paperbacks of B.P.R.D. have been released since 2003, thirteen of them featuring the stunning work of Guy Davis. The first three storylines were recently released in a deluxe, oversized hardcover omnibus that includes the artist's work, with many more to come.

I've drawn more issues of "B.P.R.D." than any other comic series I've worked on -- it wasn't a quick decision, but one I had been thinking about for a while. As much as I loved working on the main "B.P.R.D." book and with Mike and [co-writer] John [Arcudi], it was starting to get too hectic of a grind with the continuous monthly deadlines along with other work I wanted to fit in.

...the biggest highlight for me was just getting to be part of a great series that was a blast to draw for 56 or so issues. Working with a group of friends, telling some hopefully entertaining stories and trying to do something different or at least memorable with the genre.

Guy Davis concludes his run on B.P.R.D. with B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods #3, which goes on sale this week. The next series, April's B.P.R.D: Hell on Earth: The Dead Remembered, will feature fill-in artwork by Karl Moline. New regular artist Tyler Crook will take over with the subsequent miniseries, "Monsters," for which Davis contributed some designs.

Tyler Crook has already completed drawing an Oni Press graphic novel called Petrograd that will be released in August. A former video game artist, Crook earned the B.P.R.D. job after showing his portfolio to a very impressed Mike Mignola at a comics convention. Mignola and editor Scott Allie talked about their enthusiasm for the new artist in a separate interview with CBR.

While Tyler and Guy don't really draw alike, there is a certain similarity in that their work has great energy without looking anything like a superhero comic. I've never wanted 'B.P.R.D.' to look like a superhero comic, even though some of the subject matter comes pretty close to superhero stuff," Mignola said. "Both Tyler and Guy are great a drawing people -- people with character. Both are grounded in reality, but not too realistic -- they aren't slaves to realism. They are both great cartoonists, though not the super-stylized, overly self-conscious cartooning you see so much of these days. They are both very direct, 'from the gut' kind of artists. They are both pretty much exactly what I am not and I envy the hell out of both of them.

"He's a very strong character artist, so we think he'll deliver on the humanity of our group of weirdos," said series editor Scott Allie. "He's got real smart, solid drawing, makes things very real, and those things are important with what goes on in our stories. Then there's an incredible energy in his inks that brings it to life tremendously. He uses big chunks of black the way most of our guys do, but in his own distinctive way."

Adios, Guy Davis. You will be dearly missed by all of us at ComicsAlliance.

Welcome to Hell (on Earth), Tyler Crook. May your stay be a pleasant one.

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