Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dark Horse Preview Review for October

Jim: Dark Horse never ceases to amaze me. They continual develop their license properties and they seem to seek out material to publish. Where they have seemed to have lost something lately is the ability to find some quality comic books to publish. Outside of Mike Mignola they seem to publish very few original material books that are not licensed.
Lee: It appears to me that DH is slowly leaving the floppy market behind. Personally, it doesn’t bother me because the quality is still there. No matter what the format, we still seem to be finding a ton of stuff to talk about.

On sale Dec 2b&w, 392 pages$16.95TPB, 5" x 7"
J. P. Kalonji wields a clean, street-informed style to deliver a tale that glistens with blood and drama, yet is ultimately uplifting. Nearly four hundred pages long, this graphic novel employs full-page panels to tell the story of an Edo-era swordsman's quest for survival and enlightenment. When Ningen leaves his dojo at the request of his master--to travel the world and grow as a swordsman--he embarks on a journey that becomes a metaphor for the cycle of life and every human's possibility for spiritual growth.
- Collaborating with such international clients as Wyclef Jean, Amnesty International, Thrasher, and Burton snowboards, illustrator J. P. Kalonji has begun to enchant the world with his energetic art style. Now he's ready to make a splash with his English-language graphic-novel debut!
- This engaging, nearly 400-page tale draws comparisons to both Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal and Jeff Smith's Bone.

Jim: Case in point. I have never heard of this material, but I’m willing to bet it would be a good read and would almost be willing to take a gamble for $17, but the 5” x 7” format is not my favorite.
Lee: I agree, I don’t like the smaller size but I’ve been reading so much material in the smaller format lately it doesn’t bother me. I still prefer the larger size but I’m not as picky as I once was. You can’t beat 400 pages for $17 though. I’m gonna try it!

ABE SAPIEN Mike Mignola (W), John Arcudi (W), Patric Reynolds (A), Dave Stewart (C), and Dave Johnson (Cover)
On sale Oct 28FC, 40 pages$3.50One-Shot
In his earliest days as an agent of the B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien is sent on a simple mission to investigate a haunting following the death of a young boy. What he finds there is far stranger and more deadly.
Mike Mignola and John Arcudi team with newcomer Patric Reynolds, who made his professional debut this summer on MySpace Dark Horse Presents, for this nightmare of corrupted innocence!
Cover by Dave Johnson of 100 Bullets!

B.P.R.D.: 1947 #4 (of 5) Mike Mignola (W/Cover), Joshua Dysart (W), Fabio Moon (A), Gabriel Ba (A), and Dave Stewart (C)
On sale Oct 14 FC, 32 pages $2.99Miniseries
The Bureau's search for a vengeful vampire reaches its climax! In a strange Austrian village a terrifying party took place hundreds of years ago, and the last of the partygoers remain. Meanwhile, back in America, the young Hellboy dreams of adventure . . .
Joshua Dysart (B.P.R.D.: 1946, Unknown Soldier) and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola join forces with Eisner Award-winning artists Gabriel Ba (The Umbrella Academy) and Fabio Moon (Sugarshock) for a wild romp through the year 1947, when Hellboy was just a boy under the tutelage of Professor Broom, and vampires secretly controlled the fate of Europe.
- Art by Eisner Award-winning rising stars Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba!

Jim: Again to emphasize what I said, the best two regular comic books they have coming out this month are part of the Mignolaverse.
Lee: Very true, but it’s high quality material which is a plus. AND, it’s not $4 a book.

On sale Nov 25FC, 80 pages$9.95 HC, 7" x 10"
Since making his spooktacular cartoon debut in "The Friendly Ghost," Casper has become one of the most enduring and best-loved characters in the world. Now, in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of Casper's comics debut, Dark Horse is proud to announce the publication of a special hardcover facsimile edition of not one, but two full-length, complete Casper comic books in sparklingly restored full color! Beginning with Archer St. John's 1949 first issue of Casper the Friendly Ghost, this sixtieth-anniversary edition continues with Harvey Comics' premier edition of Casper from 1952. You'll thrill as timid Casper--defying his fellow ghosts' dictum that ghosts must scare people--makes friends with a host of cute kids and furry animals in two tales that will touch your heart and tickle your funny bone!
- Collects two extremely rare Golden Age Casper comics in their entirety!
- Special sixtieth anniversary hardcover makes a fine addition to any comics library.
- Perfect for all ages!

Jim: Damn, for $10 I have to get this. I usually stay away from this material as it is something I enjoyed as a very young child, but have no desire to re-read it again, but this looks cool.
Lee: This is very cool indeed. Even though I have the Casper story in two other formats I’ll still be getting this. Now I can let the kids read, and destroy, the other books.

THE CHRONICLES OF KULL VOLUME 1: A KING COMES RIDING AND OTHER STORIES Roy Thomas (W), Gerry Conway (W), Len Wein (W), Marie and John Severin (A), Bernie Wrightson (A), Ross Andru (A), and Wally Wood (A)
On sale Dec 16, FC, 200 pages, $18.95, TPB, 7" x 10"
The Chronicles of Kull Volume 1: A King Comes Riding and Other Stories kicks off Dark Horse's newest addition to its popular Robert E. Howard reprint line. Presenting every color Kull comic from the 1970s and '80s chronologically for the first time ever, volume 1 features color Kull stories from Creatures on the Loose! #10, Monsters on the Prowl #16, and Kull the Conqueror #1 to #9. The writing talents of legendary creators Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Len Wein and the stunning visuals of Marie Severin, John Severin, and Bernie Wrightson are on display in such thrilling tales as "The Skull of Silence," "Night of the Red Slayers," and "The Forbidden Swamp!" See how Robert E. Howard's Kull stories were interpreted over three decades ago in comics.

THE CHRONICLES OF SOLOMON KANE Roy Thomas (W), Ralph Macchio (W), Howard Chaykin (A), Steve Carr (A), Bret Blevins (A), Mike Mignola (A), John Bogdanove (A), John Ridgeway (A), and Al Williamson (A)
On sale Dec 16, FC, 208 pages, $18.95, TPB, 7" x 10"
Continuing in the vein of the successful Chronicles of Conan collection series, Dark Horse is expanding its Robert E. Howard reprint line by presenting all of the original 1970s and 1980s Marvel color comic books featuring Solomon Kane in one awesome volume! This trade paperback features the landmark stories "The Mark of Kane" and "Fangs of the Gorilla God," by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin, and the entire Sword of Solomon Kane miniseries, by Ralph Macchio and a host of talented artists--including Mike Mignola, Al Williamson, Bret Blevins, John Ridgeway, and others! From the French countryside to the Black Forest in Germany, from England to Africa--follow Robert E. Howard's solemn, driven Puritan, Solomon Kane, as he cuts a path of vengeance across the globe!- This beautiful 200-page tome includes meticulously recolored Kane adventures from Marvel Premiere #33 and #34, and the entire six-issue Sword of Solomon Kane series from the mid-1980s.

ROBERT E. HOWARD CHRONICLES SLIPCASE SET Roy Thomas (W), Len Wein (W), Ralph Macchio (W), Gerry Conway (W), Bernie Wrightson (A), Mike Mignola (A), Howard Chaykin (A), Barry Windsor-Smith (A), and more
On sale Dec 16, FC, 584 pages, $54.85, HC, 7" x 10"
For the first time, Robert E. Howard's most-celebrated creations are together in one handsome collection! Experience all of Howard's most exciting tales as told by the industry's finest creators--including Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola, the Severins, and more! Featuring the latest in coloring technology, the remastered comics are a perfect introduction to the Robert E. Howard universe and a refreshing refurbishment of these timeless yarns for the collector who already owns the classic comics from the '70s and '80s!
- The Chronicles of Conan Volume 1 reprints issues #1 through #8 of the original Marvel comic-book series and includes the classic "Tower of the Elephant" tale and the work of the incomparable Barry Windsor-Smith!
- The Chronicles of Solomon Kane collects every color appearance of Solomon Kane from his years at Marvel: Marvel Premiere issues #33 and #34 and the six-issue miniseries The Sword of Solomon Kane.
- The Chronicles of Kull Volume 1 features the work of Bernie Wrightson and includes Monsters on the Prowl #16, Creatures on the Loose! #10, and the first nine issues of Kull the Conqueror!

Jim: The format of these trades from Dark Horse is high quality. I have a bunch of the Conan ones and will be getting Volume 1 of Kull and Kane, I will not be buying the slipcase. If a slipcase comes with one book, than that is okay, but they are usually something to protect dust jackets in my opinion, which are to protect the book.
Lee: I don’t mind the slipcase but I’d rather have all hc’s in it. But, isn’t this the second or third slipcase we’ve seen? They appear to be making a comeback.

THE ESCAPISTS Brian K. Vaughan (W), Michael Chabon (W), Jason Shawn Alexander (A), Steve Rolston (A), Philip Bond (A), and Eduardo Barreto (A)
On sale Dec 2FC, 160 pages$14.95TPB, 6" x 9"
Inspired by Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, this is Vaughan's love letter to his chosen medium, a story about what it takes to start out with nothing in Cleveland, Ohio, and end up with a comic so hot a major corporation wants to steal it from you! Brilliantly interweaving the lives of the creators with the world of their creation, artists Steve Rolston and Philip Bond bring the comic-booking trio Maxwell Roth, Case Weaver, and Denny Jones to life, while the inimitable Jason Shawn Alexander and Eduardo Barreto illustrate the thrilling trials and exciting extrications of the new--and old--Escapist!
- Now back in print in a more affordable softcover edition!

Jim: I heard good things about this book and I’m tempted, especially since I have become a fan of Jason Shawn Alexander’s art.
Lee: But, it’s the smaller size! I thought you didn’t like the smaller size.
Jim: The smaller size can work for me on certain books. I enjoyed the Queen and Country books that were even smaller.

CRIMINAL MACABRE: CELL BLOCK 666 Steve Niles (W), Nick Stakal (A), and Tim Bradstreet (Cover)
On sale Dec 16, FC, 104 pages, $12.95, TPB, 7" x 10"
Cal McDonald faces his greatest challenge yet--hard time! Framed in the death of a cop, Cal finds himself at the mercy of a sadistic and corrupt police force. But now, in some of the bleakest moments of his life, the things that make him different from the rest of the world might be the only things capable of keeping his sorry butt out of deeper trouble. Because it turns out that the things that would make most people want to give up and die--the strange, inhuman voices coming from adjacent cells, the mysterious visitors, the unlikely saviors in demonic disguise--are the things that have kept Cal alive long enough to see a way out. And just when Cal begins to unravel the conspiracy behind his own downfall, he uncovers a nightmare world of murder and corruption at the prison that has dozens of former prisoners turning in their graves . . . and clawing their way out!
- Criminal Macabre: Cell Block 666 is the latest horror tale from Steve Niles, the creator of 30 Days of Night!

Lee: DH has been publishing Criminal Macabre for a long time but I’ve never tried it. The single issues didn’t appeal but a nice collection like this does. I last saw Stakal’s art in “Strange Girl” from Image, so I’m curious to see how he’s developed.
Jim: You’ll like this as Cal McDonald is over the top noir craziness that only Steve Niles can pull off.

On sale Oct 28FC, 64 pages$19.95HC, 8 1/2" x 12"
Dr Grordbort Presents: Victory--Scientific Adventure Violence for Young Men and Literate Women, the year's foremost journal of progressive armaments and weaponry! Behold the latest line of defense captured in action! Filled to the brim with firsthand tales of exploration and progress from the great heroes of our time, picture strips of unimaginable escapades on the frontier, never-seen-before portraits of dazzling damsels and monstrous villains, and laudable accounts of man and robot pitted against our greatest enemy (the uncivilized world), Victory is an onslaught of action-packed scientific adventure in full-spectrum color--containing facts that every boy and literate girl should know.
Written and illustrated by Weta Workshop Conceptual Designer Greg Broadmore, this book sumptuously details a science-fiction history that never was. Hearkening back to the classic sci-fi serials of yesteryear, it reveals the backstories and mythos of Weta Limited's highly limited ray gun collectible line.
- Weta Workshop is the New Zealand effects studio famous for its Oscar-winning work on King Kong and The Lord of the Rings.
- You can visit the official site, which is very amusing here
- You can visit the Greg Broadmore’ site here

Lee: This is very interesting indeed! It’s a book based upon a line of handpainted rayguns! I remember these from a couple of years ago but I don’t know anyone who bought one (Jim?). So, I wasn’t sure what to expect until I found a very humorous story here. Before where I was definitely a no, now I’m a maybe.
Jim: It has potential, but I don’t think so. One quick note those links help to sell the books and the publishers should follow what Lee does all the time and add links!

On sale Dec 16FC, 200 pages$39.95HC, 9" x 12"
Verdant fairy forests. Whispering mountains. The fallen towers of ancient kings. Spirit-filled lakes. The distant strains of elven bards. For over thirty years, the fantasy art of Charles Vess has been acclaimed worldwide, his rich palette, striking compositions, and lavish detail second to none in the field. Vess has been the illustrator of choice for countless publishers and writers, including Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clark, and George R. R. Martin. Embodying the timeless approach of the golden age of illustration, Vess's work is both breathtakingly singular and yet recalls an era when paint and brush were the vessels that carried readers of all ages to distant lands, bygone ages, and realms of the imagination.
- Forward by Susanna Clarke, best-selling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
- Vess's awards include The Will Eisner Comics Industry Award, World Fantasy Award, and Spectrum Annual Award."The reason that Charles Vess draws such astonishing things, such beautiful things, and such strange things so very well is simple. He draws what he sees."--Neil Gaiman

Lee: I love Vess’s art and this should be an outstanding book. I don’t get every art book made but 200 oversized pages is too much for me to resist.
Jim: I could have predicted that Lee would be buying this. Vess' art is outstanding and if you enjoy this fantasy style it is probably worth your dollars.

On sale Dec 2FC, 152 pages $14.95 TPB, 6" x 9"
Menlo Park is a reprogrammed janitor robot working as a private eye on the neon streets of Electra City, a town designed to generate and conduct massive amounts of electricity. Sixteen years after the apparent suicide of his human partner atop the world's tallest tower, a blond femme fatale gives Menlo some new information about the cause of death. As Menlo and his assistant, Anesta, reopen the case, their journey takes them from Electra's high society to its dark underbelly.
Clues from zeppelin pilots and shadowy architects alike reveal a connection between Menlo's partner's death, a mysterious object called the Astrolabe, and the origins of the city itself.
- A perfect companion to Mister X: Condemned! Visionary artist Dean Motter revisits his unique brand of "antique futurism" in a story full of familiar faces, including a crucial cameo by Mister X himself!
- "The characters are fun, the atmosphere engaging and the artwork gorgeous."--The Fourth Rail

Lee: ElectroPolis is one of the best noir comics out there! It was originally done in the late 90’s shortly after Motter’s other series Terminal City and Aerial Graphetti. If you like complex plots, lots of characters, and multilayered plots then this is for you. It is very, very good and worth getting.
Jim: Not sure I would call it Noir exactly, but it has a little bit of that flavor.

SUGARSHOCK Joss Whedon (W), Fabio Moon (A/Cover), and Dave Stewart (C)
On sale Oct 21 FC, 40 pages $3.50 One-Shot
Originally presented in the first online issues of MySpace Dark Horse Presents, for which it won the Eisner Award for Best Web Comic, Sugarshock tells the story of a rock band led by charismatic but crazy Dandelion Naizen, a hyperactive singer/songwriter possessed of a mean hatred of Vikings (don't ask) and a mission for a secret government agency that may only exist in her head. But when her band, which includes a robot bass player, is enlisted in an intergalactic battle of the bands--emphasis on battle--Dandelion gets to prove herself as both singer and soldier.This is Joss Whedon at his funniest and most hyperactive, with writing that bursts off the page in a way seldom seen in comics. Multiple Eisner Award winner Fabio Moon delivers the outrageous story with equal energy, as well as providing a fourteen-page look at his process, with never-before-seen character designs, page layouts, and promotional images.
Joss Whedon's Eisner award-winning story gets its own comic!

Lee: Any time Fabio Moon is involved in the art, I’m a-buyin’ it! I don’t read many online comics but with Whedon and Moon this has got to be good.
Jim: For me this is a big pass. Whedon’s comic work has not given me any real wow moments and just art alone will not make me buy a book.

On sale Feb 107" limited-edition vinyl$34.99
Like a colossus, Herbie stands at a bewildering crossroads of pop culture and history.
Whether he is hobnobbing with JFK on matters of national security or melting the hearts of the great beauties of the age (who can blame them for going weak in the knees?), the little fat kid with a lollipop has the bull by the horns, the tiger by the tail, and the elbow by the . . . Well, you get the idea!
Sculpted by Tim Bruckner our 7" limited-edition vinyl figure is sure to be considered when the roll call of greats is read.
- Limited edition of 1,200.

On sale Dec 16
Packaged in a special litho-printed, full-color tin box with a vintage-style pin-back button and bookletLimited edition of 650 numbered pieces$49.95
We're giving one of the comic-book medium's most revered casts of characters the Syroco-style treatment in this series of statuettes based on Disney's classic Uncle Scrooge comics. Our fifth offering is Gladstone Gander, the luckiest duck ever! This wastrel of a duck never works. He never even worries. He simply knows that he will inevitably come up smelling like a rose--why not? He's lucky, and as we all know it is better to be lucky than good!

Jim: No picture for Herbie, then no order for Herbie. Herbie is one of the all time oddest damn characters, but he is a classic. Gladstone Gander? Please they are just making up names and characters and then making statues. These ducks were never in any cartoon I saw!
Lee: Everyone knows you’re not a duck person so why do you keep picking these every month? As for Herbie, now there’s a small target market.

On sale Dec 16
Packaged in a special litho-printed, full-color tin box with a vintage-style pin-back button and bookletLimited edition of 550 numbered pieces$49.95
Dark Horse is taking the Simpsons--one of the modern era's most iconic, if dysfunctional families--and giving them our unique Syroco-style treatment. We are excited to present the fifth release of the group--Comic Book Guy, the owner of The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop.

Jim: Lee and I have decided to buy this character together. We have hired a sculptor to modify it and then add the wardrobe that would make it into Rusty, our comic book guy.
Lee: All it needs is a hoodie!!!
Jim: And no beard, less weight and shorter hair.

ZERO KILLER #6 (of 6)Arvid Nelson (W), Matt Camp (A), and Dave Stewart (C)
On sale Oct 21FC, 32 pages$2.99Miniseries
Thirty-four years after a massive nuclear war, New York City is submerged in caustic water and dominated by brutal gangs who live in the city's battered skyscrapers. Zero usually works in this melted metropolis as a "trash man," hunting down renegade gang members, but he embarks on a strange mission for an overseas ruler. While America is scorched by nuclear fires and far from recovering, Africa is a mythical land of civilization and safety--but in order to get to this faraway paradise, Zero needs to find a mysterious metal briefcase. He's made himself the target of just about every powerful gangster in town, but Zero is determined and driven by ghosts from his past. With a little help from Stark, his young, unwanted partner, he just might pull it off--and settle some old scores while he's at it!
Arvid Nelson's tale of a twisted, alternate future comes to an end!
Jim: Strickly getting this as a trade. I can handle over a year gap between issues of a story anymore. But when Camelot 3000 started that idea trades were not as prominent, now why bother with a series if it is published over extreme periods of time.
Lee: And, I’m waiting for you to tell me if it’s any good. There are too many titles on the market these days to have this kinda gap. It’s sad because this might have actually been good.

Jim: Dark Horse always is fun to review. We have so many different types of things to choose from.
Lee: There’s enough good stuff this month that it might actually cut into my Indies budget!


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