Friday, December 28, 2007

Dark Horse / Image March 2008 Preview Review

Jim: The big two have been hit and miss for March with the most excitement being with new hard cover and trade collections. Let’s see what the “big two” of the smaller press guys has to offer.
Lee: The Big Big two were atrocious this month. I always have high hopes for Image/DH but they consistently come through so I am optimistic.

Starting with Dark Horse

KURT BUSIEK (W) and GREG RUTH (A) On sale May 21 FC, 160 pages $24.95 HC, 7" x 10"
Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Greg Ruth team up to give you the story of Conan's early life, from his birth on a Cimmerian battlefield to his coming-of-age as a warrior in the pivotal Battle of Venarium. Sewing the seeds of the Barbarian's momentous career, this chronicle of Conan's youthful conquests – both martial and carnal -- also showcases master storytellers Busiek and Ruth's work at its finest.
Jim: If you are a Conan fan at all you should enjoy this book. This was put out as “fill-in” issues for the regular series. It really was a great idea give a multi-chapter story to one artist and let him produce the chapters and use those issues as fill-ins to give your regular artist more time. Nice addition to the Conan saga giving us a glimpse of his life before he went out wandering.
Lee: If you like Conan then you will like this. And, if you haven’t tried this is a good place to start. A nice little run by Busiek and Ruth.

GINA BIGGS (W/A) o n sale May 14 b&w, 208 pages $9.95 TPB, 5 7/8" x 8 1/4"
With a dear friend moving to Tokyo, an arranged marriage pending, and a difficult teacher holding a grudge against her, Miharu Ogawa is having one of her worst semesters in school ever! Her friends aren't having an easy time, either. After breaking down and finally expressing her feelings to Fuuko, Maya seeks solace and advice from Karen -- who isn't really an expert in love and is having her own relationship problems. "Lone Wolf" Hayashihara struggles with the fact that he's actually making friends, a new character -- Jun Mataichi -- arrives to stir up a little more confusion, and a snowy accident brings two bickering souls closer together. Collected for the first time ever, this third volume of Gina Biggs's successful web comic (and evolving tale of self-discovery) collects chapters fifteen through twenty-one of Red String and delivers all of the great surprises and romantic moments you've come to expect and enjoy! o Look for Red String volumes one and two also available from Dark Horse Books!
Jim: Gwen has an interview with the creator of this book here and I include the solicitation for fans of her work. The artwork is really well done.
Lee: It’s really interesting how more and more webcomics are seeing print. It’s a good sign for the industry as a whole. And, it’s nice to have something other than Superheroes to read.

JOSS WHEDON (W), BRETT MATTHEWS (W), WILL CONRAD (A), MICHELLE MADSEN (C), and ADAM HUGHES (Cover) o n sale Mar 12 FC, 40 pages $2.99 Miniseries
Joss Whedon returns to the world of his blockbuster film Serenity with the three-issue comics series Better Days. Better Days revisits everyone's favorite space cowboys in this thrilling, action-packed adventure, with Mal and his crew on a heist that promises a big payoff -- what's surprising is that this heist just might make good on that promise. Whedon reunites with Brett Matthews and Will Conrad, his collaborators on the best-selling 2005 series Those Left Behind. Adam Hughes joins the team for covers.
Jim: After Farscape the series that I miss the most from TV. I may have to check it out, although comic books on my favorite TV shows do not always translate well.
Lee: 40 pages for $3 is a good deal. I just never got into the series so this is a pass for me.

STEVEN GRANT (W), DOUG MAHNKE (A), VARIOUS (W/A), and FRANK MILLER (Cover) o n sale May 28 FC, 352 pages $24.95 TPB, 6" x 9" The city of Arcadia is the dark side of the American Dream. It's the land of opportunity, if you've got the money to buy it or the muscle to take it. The police are the best trained and equipped in the country, if you can afford their protection. Crime is under control, because crime is in control. For the corrupt and the ruthless, Arcadia is paradise on Earth. But a cold storm is blowing through the streets of Arcadia, a plague wind in black leather and torn cloth, a one-eyed, one-man judge, jury, and executioner whom the papers call "The X-Killer." He has set the new rules for Arcadia. Cross the line once, you'll receive a warning. Cross them twice, and X will mark the spot . . . where they'll find your body.
Jim: “X” was the best series from Dark Horse days of doing super hero books. No real surprise with Steven Grant and a “new” artist at the time Doug Mahnke being involved.
Lee: I am really looking forward to this. This was a good series and although I never finished reading it. Even at the smaller size I am looking forward to this.

Domo … Stuff
Japan's favorite furball is invading the United States and Dark Horse is helping to lead the charge. We are ramping up a special program of officially licensed Domo merchandise, and clever retailers will stock up lest they find their ankles being chomped on.
Domo is a small brown open-mouthed monster hatched from an egg who lives with a wise old rabbit underground. He really, really likes TV. Domo is the mascot of NHK's BS2 (a satellite channel; he also appears on BS1). There are Japanese videos and products, but deliveries to these shores have been sporadic. That is all about to change.
Watch for a special vinyl figure in the months ahead.
Lee: WOW. I have no clue what any of this is but it looks strange. I wonder if there is a large group of people (any people?) who are excited about this?
Jim: OMG Domo – you know Domo it is some really inane crap, err some wonderful collectible.

On sale Mar 5 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries Our story opens on Gus, a man visiting England from the States. His grandfather's house is part of his inheritance, and he plans to sell it as soon as he can. Even though the locals think the house is haunted -- something Gus immediately dismisses -- a slick man named Mr. Snide promptly appears with his "associates" and makes an offer. But when Gus declines to sign over the house right then and there, Snide reveals that his arrangement with the mayor will seal the deal soon enough! Left to explore the place, Gus experiences a series of very odd events. How did his folded clothes end up in knots? Who on earth would drill a hole in a coffee cup? Certainly not ghosts, but for a former fighter pilot's abandoned old home, it sure is clean . . . When the house's tiny residents decide to take extreme measures, Gus will meet the gremlins up close and personal -- just like his grandfather, who first discovered them sixty years ago!
Lee: Why is Mike Richarson suddenly such a prolific writer? I wonder what’s going on. BUT, while his name isn’t a draw Dean Yeagle’s certainly is. He has done Mandy cartoons in Playboy for years and has great comedic timing. AND, beautiful girls. The art will be astounding. Visit to see some art.
Jim: Yeah I don’t think so, but I am also curious as to what has made Mike Richardson so prolific (as it appears to be all of a sudden).

RICK REMENDER (W), HILARY BARTA (W), MARK RICKETTS (W), CHRIS BURNHAM (W/A), RICK SPEARS (W), KIERON DWYER (A), PAUL RENAUD (A), SHANE WHITE (W/A), and many more on sale May 14 FC, 136 pages $14.95 TPB, 7" x 10"
Each story is a stiff bolt of one-hundred proof high adventure as we tag along on the drunken exploits of alien exterminator Heath Huston during his first ten years in deep space. Series creator Rick Remender is joined by a select handful of today's finest writers and artists in this compilation, expanding on the legend of the last Fear Agent
Lee: Fear Agent must be a solid hit to get getting a “tales of.. “ book. Kinda pricey but lots of good writers and artists associated with it so I will definitely peak at it.
Jim: It is good stuff and I believe there is a movie deal in the making.

Onward to Image.

DARK IVORY #1 (of 4)
Story JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER & EVA HOPKINS art & cover JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER & EVA HOPKINS "A KISS IN THE DREAMHOUSE"Ivory would love to be a vampire. What teenage goth girl wouldn't? She met one named Esque at a party, but he didn't look like a "real" vampire. Ivory's curiosity lands her on the bloody streets of New York where she learns the price of getting too close to your dreams.
Jim: One thing Image does is put all of their new projects right at the top of their solicitations, which makes it much easy. I know there are plenty of Joe Lisner fans out there and some of the women he draws are beautiful, but his work has always left me cold. Still the premise is interesting, but I will have to pass.
Lee: Another Dawn project from Linsner? Oh wait, it’s a brunette in the EXACT SAME POSE. I’m with you, Linsner has always left me cold. Pass.

DEAD SPACE #1 (of 6)
Story ANTONY JOHNSTON art & cover BEN TEMPLESMITH Real Space. Real Terror.From the creative minds at video game colossus Electronic Arts comes Dead Space, an all-new horror series set in the terrifying reaches of outer space. Illustrated by top-tier talent BEN TEMPLESMITH (30 Days of Night), and written by ANTONY JOHNSTON (Wasteland), DEAD SPACE tells the gut-wrenching tale of a deep space mining colony that unexpectedly pulls an ancient and vicious alien life force from the dark rock. DEAD SPACE will be the prequel to EA's upcoming survival horror game of the same name, due in 2008. You don't want to miss out on this unparalleled collaboration! MARCH 5 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Jim: Normally video games tie-ins have me running away from the books screaming, but when you have Antony Johnston and Ben Templesmith on the book, it becomes a book I have to check out.
Lee: I agree, Johnston is quickly becoming a solid writer. It should be fun.

Story JAY FAERBER art & cover YILDIRAY CINAR & RON RILEY New direction! New family members! New character designs! If you love DYNAMO 5, you'll love NOBLE CAUSES! Set five years after the events of NOBLE CAUSES #31, this issue is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers! Doc Noble has rededicated the Noble family to be the world's preeminent super-heroes, but even as they take a more pro-active approach to fighting crime on a global scale, they still harbor dark secrets and hidden agendas. MARCH 26 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Jim: This is a marketing idea that works for me. I have really enjoyed Dynamo 5, but have not been able to really get into Jay’s other title Noble Causes. This gives me a great reason to jump in and I will be checking it out.
Lee: I’ve never read Noble Causes but Faerber’s done such a great job on Dynamo 5 that I looking forward to reading this. AND, a new jumping on point means I don't have to dig out old back issues.

THE REVENANT #1 (of 3)
Story ROB M. WORLEY, SHANNON ERIC DENTON & KEITH GIFFENart & cover by MAT SANTOLOUCO The lawless in Sapphire City are about to come face-to-face with fear as a man long thought buried, the ghoulish gunslinger "The Revenant" returns to enact vengeance on those who would prey on the innocent!
Jim: What the heck was Giffen doing during the gap when I hardly saw his name in a comic book? Now he is everywhere and just signed an “exclusive” to DC. Which means you can do what you want, just not with Marvel (and vice versa when Marvel signs you). This looks like a fun little story. Amazing how many “Zombies” we have in comics now days.
Lee: It looks interesting but I have to wonder about a story with *3* writers. Not the best sign for a new series.

Story HAROLD SIPE art & cover HECTOR CASANOVA Where have the old Hollywood monsters gone? In the age of computer graphics and green screen, the answer ain't pretty. Having lost all of his money in a dot-com scheme, Frankenstein's Monster is content to drink the days away. When a chance at work drops in his lap, can he sober up long enough to cash in? Will the whole affair end in pitchforks and torches? MARCH 12 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Jim: I almost passed on this book, but the premise was too funny to not at least check out issue #1. Plus checking out creators who I do not know has a lot of appeal to me.
Lee: This sounds great. I am a sucker for old monster so this is an easy buy for me.
For art check out Hector at

TRANSHUMAN #1 (of 4)
Story JONATHAN HICKMAN art JM RINGUET cover JONATHAN HICKMAN “DISCOVERY" From JONATHAN HICKMAN, creator of THE NIGHTLY NEWS, PAX ROMANA and RED MASS FOR MARS, comes TRANSHUMAN, a story that covers the discovery of superhuman genetic engineering, the companies built on the back of that discovery and the marketing war to bring it into each and every one of our homes.
Jim: Speaking of busy creators, Jonathan Hickman does “Nightly News” and now has 3 other mini-series coming out. That is the theory anyway as not a single issue from his other mini-series have hit the stores and are now officially pretty damn late. Still this book has a great premise.
Lee: I wonder if Hickman is overstretching himself. I shall wait to see how his other miniseries stack up before committing to another.

Story JOE CASEY art & cover CHRIS BURNHAM What's worse than being a super-villain in Los Angeles County? Being their parole officer, of course! Meet Nixon Cooper and his colorful cast of parolees at large, hanging on by their fingernails in the morally ambiguous underbelly of L.A. But who's got it worse -- the criminals who're struggling (and often failing) to live the straight life? Or Nixon himself, struggling to keep up with all of them? And who the hell is sleeping with Nixon's wife?! A crime story like you've never seen before! Loaded with extra features! AN ORIGINAL, SUPER-POWERED CRIME NOVEL! ELMORE LEONARD MEETS JACK KIRBY! MARCH 26 - 120PAGES - BW -$12.99
Jim: If I was a bigger Joe Casey fan I would probably be ordering this book. Trying out a premise for $3 to $4 is one thing, for $13 dollars is a different animal.
Lee: It’s not to much for me. This is great! I really like Casey when he’s pushing new ideas and this looks like a great fit. Plus the art looks fantastic! An easy buy.
Art at

Jim: That’s a wrap for the Dark Horse / Image review and I have to say that Image continues to impress with the amount of material they are putting under their banner.
Lee: This is a really good month for DH and Image. It’s amazing how much new material they can publish in a month but Marvel and DC just keep recycling the same old-same old.

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