ECCC 2015: Dark Horse Steals the Show with Ten New Books for 2015
Dark Horse Comics brought a heap of new comics to ECCC this year, mixing up its familiar line of licensed comics with an increased focus on creator-owned projects. This weekend they unveiled ten new comics that will launch across 2015, offering up an appealingly diverse range of styles and content aimed at a broader audience. Here's a better look at what you can expect from Dark Horse in 2015.
ComicsAlliance brought you the Zodiac Starforce announcement via this mighty launch interview by Kate Leth. A webcomic-turned four-part miniseries, the book sees Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau establishing a new all-female team of super-bum-kicking magic comic heroes – one of the finest of all the genres. Following the team of high-school girls as they encounter monsters both giant and mind-controlling, the miniseries is pitched as a fast-paced, funny, all-action (and all-ages) adventure.
Issue #1 will be out in August.
The Tomorrows is the latest project from writer Curt Pires, a story set in a dark future where our openness on social media has been turned against us, the rich have gotten richer and everybody else has gotten poorer, and the political system runs completely through the hands of super-corporations. So… not actually much of an alternate future, because that sounds like exactly what’s going to happen to us all in about twenty years’ time.
Each issue will have a different artist, starting with Jason Copland, Alexis Ziritt, and Ian McEwan. The Tomorrows is a team made up of the only people willing to stand out against the rampant corruption of our their world – the creatives. Issue #1 is scheduled for July.
THE STEAM MAN
Scripted by Mark Miller and Joe R. Lansdale, with pencils Piotr Kowalski, this is a maniac take on the Wild West that seems to feature giant steam-powered robots, vampires, martians, evil monkeys and monster hunters. See, the monster hunters have realized that the only way to fight the various threats to their town is to build giant robots and use those to punch their way to safety. It seems like fifty different ideas all got put through a blender and The Steam Man was what came out!
Oh, and also the giant robot has a top hat, which is jolly decent of him. Issue #1 will be out in October.
Chris Warner returns to the character he created this summer, as he and artist Patrick Olliffe team up to bring Barb Wire back to comics. Familiar characters and surroundings will show up with the return of the series, although it’s made clear that this will also be a solid place for new readers to jump in and give the bounty hunter a try. With many people – myself included – being most familiar with her from a Pamela Anderson movie that our parents didn’t let us watch, it’ll be interesting to see how the character fits into the current comics landscape.
Issue #1 is out in July.
Another returning character is King Tiger, with the creative team of Randy Stradley and Doug Wheatley handling his big comeback to comics. The pair are well known to Dark Horse fans for some of their work in the Star Wars Universe, and this time they’ll be bringing a little kung-fu back to Dark Horse. The martial artist will go up against the demons of his past, although the most intriguing part of the book is that the creative team say that it's ultimately a love story. Martial arts and romance! Stunning combo!
I apologise for that joke. Issue #1 will be out in August.
Another all-ages series, happily enough, Power Cubed comes from writer/artist Aaron Lopresti. The series tells the story of eighteen-year-old Kenny, whose father gives him a device that allows him to reinterpret the Universe around him. Anything and everything can happen whenever Kenny wants, which leads to both good and maybe not-so-good things.
The project is a reimagining of itself, in fact, as the story was originally planned for a series called Atomic Toybox, which for various reasons never made it past a first issue. Free of any constraints, Lopresti decided to revive his concept as Power Cubed, and ultimately found a home for it at Dark Horse.
The first issue will be out in September.
CHIMICHANGA: THE SORROW OF THE WORLD'S WORST FACE
A new story set within the world of Eric Powell’s graphic novel Chimichanga, this pairs the writer with supremo artist Stephanie Buscema for a four-part miniseries that leaps as far away from Powell’s The Goon as you’d ever believe. Lula, the bubbly bearded girl (and star of Chimichanga) returns for this new story, as she meets a man with “the world’s worst face” and tries to help him out. This is an all-ages title that looks to be actively trying not to talk down to the audience – there’s a seam of gross-out humor and dark horror running through the pages of each issue.
Powell will write and handle the layouts for the series, which will be pencilled and painted by Buscema. There is no release date for the story as of yet – it’s planned for near the end of this year.
Not about the British bounty hunter, Death Head instead tells the story of a couple who go on a holiday and stumble upon a creepy, deserted village. Quickly put on the run by an unseen horror, they make the mistake of picking up the cursed mask of a ‘plague doctor’, which follows them home and begins to menace them and their two children. As the family slowly start to fall apart under the malevolent influence of the curse, the plague doctor returns to retrieve his mask.
It was fairly unsettling just to write that synopsis, so the book itself sounds terrifying. It’s the work of brothers Zack and Nick Keller, joined by artist Joanna Estep. Issue #1 will be out in July.
Scott Kolins will write and draw Adam.3, a project that has been over a decade in the making. A five-issue miniseries right now, the story is set on an island populated by Adam, his family, and a whole heap of wondrous animals. When a monster crash lands on the island, it causes problems for the animals and starts to take them over – compelling Adam to embark on a huge rescue mission across the island.
Kolins, who also currently working on Pastaways with Matt Kindt, has been working on this project for years, and will be working simultaneously on both books – this seems to be the definition of a passion project for him. The book sounds hugely imaginative and could be a lot of fun, so I’m rooting for it to be a huge success.
The first issue will be out in August.
The final book, saved till last because you’ve all been so good, is Negative Space from Ryan K. Lindsay and Owen Gieni. This is the story of Guy, who is suffering from depression and on the verge of suicide - the only thing stopping him is that he's got writer's block for the suicide note. However, Guy stumbles upon a conspiracy which reveals a strange truth: that creatures exist who feed off negative emotions, and his depression is being stoked by a shady corporation to provide food to those creatures.
This seems a really carefully thought-out book, which uses the fantastical to comment really fascinatingly on the human condition. An ongoing series, the first issue will be out in July.