Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dark Horse Previews Review for May

Jim: We switched off Image and sometimes I wonder if we switch off from Dark Horse. Don’t get me wrong, Dark Horse has some great stuff but lately they have not launched a lot of new material and this is an industry that demands new stuff. Let’s see what June brings.
Lee: To use the appropriate business jargon, it seems like DH is focusing on their core business’s such as Star Wars, Predator, etc. At the same time, they are expanding their hc line of books. That’s a much smaller target audience but it seems to be doing well.

Mike Mignola (W), John Arcudi (W), Peter Snejbjerg (A/Cover), Bjarne Hansen (C), and Dave Johnson (Cover)
FC, 32 pages, $3.50
On one of his first B.P.R.D. operations, agent Abe Sapien leads a naval crew to a sunken Soviet U-boat to retrieve an ancient relic. What he uncovers is a paranormal crime scene, with a tanker full of dead men and secrets that should’ve remained buried in the deep.
Jim: Mignola has really crafted a huge body of work with Hellboy and BPRD. The more I read the more I find that Mike has kept all of this stuff linked together. Abe is one of the best characters in BPRD and I’m always happy to see him be given some solo tales.
Lee: I am extremely interested in the BPRD/Abe Sapien stories but there are so many that I don’t know where to start. They need to start issuing these as hc’s so I can spend lots of money on DH!

13" tall, Limited, numbered edition, $149.99
It is no secret that Dark Horse has been having a longtime love affair with pinup icon Bettie Page. She’s been a big part of our lives, and we are happy to share her with you.If there is anyone for whom Bettie Page was an equally important figure, it might be the late comics and glamour-art great Dave Stevens. Dave’s depiction of Bettie spearheaded the revival of interest in Bettie Page.For this new piece we sculpt one of Dave’s best pieces of Bettie art into a statue. Sculpted by Kent Melton, a longtime friend and collaborator of Dave Stevens.
Jim: Another amazing thing is to see how long the life of Bettie Page has been. Between the movie they made of her a little while ago and all the collectibles Dark Horse is doing it looks like Bettie maybe the longest lasting pinup girl of all time. Of course many people, myself included, credit Dave Stevens for her revival as he was fascinated by her and used her as the model for the girl in his Rocketeer series.
Lee: Stevens certainly helped maintain Betty’s profile, that’s for sure. But, as with all of DH’s merchandise, who is buying this? This is an expensive statue that screams fetish!

BUZZARD #1 (of 3)
Eric Powell (W/A/Cover), Kyle Hotz (A), Richard Corben (Cover), and Dave Stewart (C)
FC, 40 pages, $3.50
The mysterious man known as Buzzard is lost, wondering what manner of creature he is, following his brutal showdown with the loathsome Zombie Priest in Eric Powell’s celebrated Goon Year. Buzzard leaves home, wandering into the shadowy spirit realm of the forest. A dark path leads to a village living in fear of a bestial race of savages. More animal than man, these creatures hunt the villagers and drag them from their slumber in the depth of night. As a bonus, readers will delight in the new Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities short stories, which revive 2005 series that paired Eric Powell with artist Kyle Hotz and leads up to the three-issue series launch in September 2010.
Lee: Now this is an unbeatable combination. Hotz, one of the premiere horror artists, working with Powell, one of the premiere horror writers. Not to mention great covers, and 40 pages for $3.50. This baby is all mine!
Jim: Wow, I can't believe I didn't add this book to the list. This is a great art team and an easy book to add to my list.

Dave McKean (W/A)
FC & b&w, 496 pages, $29.99, 8 1/2" x 10 3/16"
Dave McKean’s Cages is finally back in print! Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album.
Filled with complex characters, intriguing flights of fancy, and all the beautiful visuals you’d expect from the director of MirrorMask, Cages is McKean’s magnum opus. It chronicles the intersecting lives of a painter, a writer, and a musician living in the same apartment building, and is a profound rumination on art, God, cats, and the cages we build for ourselves. Out of print for years, Cages is finally available in an affordable new softcover edition, remastered and newly redesigned, with a brand-new cover by McKean. • Almost five hundred pages in an affordable softcover!• Features painstakingly rescanned and remastered art.
Jim: I missed this when it came out, this looks to me an affordable and well made edition so I think I can take a chance for $30.
Lee: I missed this too but I’m not missing it this time. Notice it’s an oversized book too! The better to see the art.

b&w, 248 pages, $49.99, 8 3/8" x 10 7/8"
Eerie Archives Volume 5 collects five issues of the seminal American horror magazine Eerie into one big, beastly hardcover collection. In the 1960s, publisher Jim Warren blew the competition out of the water and blew the minds of his readers with his magazine-sized horror comics Creepy and Eerie. Dark Horse’s lovingly reproduced archives showcase the excellent storytelling and exceptional artwork featured in these magazines by amazing creators like Archie Goodwin, Frank Frazetta, Ken Kelly, and Steve Ditko. Don’t miss this creepy, crawly keystone for any horror or comics aficionado’s library.
Jim: I wonder what has happened with the publishing schedule on these books. Not that I mind as I haven’t read the ones I have gotten, but it is has been slow going publish these volumes.
Lee: I still love these but we’re starting to get into the questionable period for Eerie/Creepy. There was a point when the material wasn’t nearly as good as the early issues, or the later issues when Corben joined the team. Still some good stuff, just not a starting point for a new reader.

Paul Norris (A), Jack Lehti (A), Frank Thorne (A), and othersFC, 312 pages, $49.99Flash Gordon’s classic era in comic books returns in a new archival collection from Dark Horse! Join the handsome and fearless Flash, his clever and capable companion Dale Arden, and eccentric scientist Dr. Zarkov as they face peril and danger in the wild landscapes of the planet Mongo and go head to head with the villainous despot Ming the Merciless! This archival collection, reprinting seven complete comics originally published from 1947 through 1953, makes a fine addition to any comics library. Ray guns, spaceships, and Silver Age storytelling— it’s all here and it’s all action!
Otto Binder (W), Frank Thorne (A), and Jack Sparling (A)FC, 200 pages, $49.99In a radioactive, nuclear-ravaged future, Samson is born into a tribe of peaceful yet desperate people struggling to survive in the desolate city of N’Yark. Surrounded by hungry, wild creatures—creatively mutated and brought to life by Thorne and subsequent artists—and the more savage, selfish remnants of humanity, life is precarious at best for the tribe until Samson displays amazing powers. Discovering that young Samson is a mutant himself, his mother trains Samson to value life, and on her deathbed Samson vows “to protect the weak from the powerful, the good from the evil!” • This volume reprints the first seven comic books from the original 1960s Mighty Samson series, with playful and imaginative artwork by Frank Thorne seen in the first five issues! Here’s a link to the first Mighty Samson story.
Jim: I guess Dark Horse is making enough in publishing these books because they keep coming out. I never had interest in Flash Gordon comics when I was younger and could care less about them now. And, Mighty Samson sounds so lame, but it is written by Otto Binder who did some good work in the sixties and has Frank Thorne and Jack Sparling art, I’m tempted to pick it up.
Lee: I’m just the opposite. Mighty Sampson, while implied fun is going to be bad reading. I know that going in. There’s almost zero chance it will be good. Yes, the art will be good but the story not-so-much. On the other hand, Flash Gordon is an old enough property that it just might be good. Yes, there will be plot holes larger than two trains and a bus, but it should be readable. Both books have Frank Thorne art so it’s just which one to you want to read.

Roy Thomas (W), John Buscema (A), and Ernie Chan (A)
FC, 192 pages, $17.99, TPB
Conan is king! Join Conan, king of Aquilonia, his queen Zenobia, and their son Conn in this comics adaptation of L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Björn Nyberg’s stories “The Witch of the Mists,” “Black Sphinx of Nebthu,” “Red Moon of Zembabwei,” “Shadows in the Skull,” and “The Ring of Rakhamon”!
Jim: Dark Horse is playing to all the people who love to have complete runs of stuff. I remember this material as being cool, but after awhile I need a break from Conan on occasion and this is probably a pass for me.
Lee: I think that people either loved Buscema’s Conan or they didn’t. I didn’t really care all that much. And this series added Conan’s son to mix which watered it down even more for me. This is an easy pass.

Jim: I’m still looking for more new comic book series, but I guess that will come with the stuff Shooter is developing. It is just we have not seen any Grendel material or the next Fear Agent or much of anything new under the Dark Horse banner in the way of ongoing comic books for a while.
Lee: Eh, I not so concerned about the next new series. I’m more interested in their classic material so this was all good for me.

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