Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Dark Horse Preview Review for September

Jim: Wow, can’t believe we are in September solicitations already. I also can’t believe how little regular comics I get from Dark Horse anymore, but with the Creepy and Eerie Archives they get a fair share of my money.

Lee: It does seem like DH has slipped off the buying radar slightly. I still think they have lots to offer, but it appears to be more and more specialized.

Eric Powell (W/A/Cover), Kyle Hotz (A/Cover), Dan Brown (C), and Dave Stewart (C)
On sale Sept 8FC, 32 pages, $3.99Miniseries
The world believes the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid was killed by Pat Garrett, but in reality the Kid is very much alive, the hired gun of Fineas Sproule’s traveling spectacle of biological curiosities—or “freaks,” as Billy calls them. In their latest adventure, Billy and crew confront their most vicious challenge yet: Jack the Ripper!In London to visit a true Elephant Man, Billy, Sproule, and the company learn about the Whitechapel murders and the fact that disfigured people are being blamed for the killings and targeted for mob justice. As the group applies themselves to the case, Sproule looks for information at every bar in the city, while Billy tags along to drink whisky and flirt with prostitutes at each one—which might be a better way to find the Ripper than he realizes.• Includes Goon backups by Eric Powell!
Jim: I read the first mini-series of this and it was okay, but it just never really caught fire with me, so while the creators are good, the material didn’t work for me.
Lee: Unfortunately I have to agree. I wanted so much to love the first series and it was just ok. I love Hotz’s pencils so I’m sure I’ll try it and hope for the best. But don't overlook the small print, Goon backups for each issue. That's always good news.

Roy Thomas (W), Bernie Wrightson (A), Howard Chaykin (A), Barry Windsor-Smith (A), and others
On sale Nov 3, b&w, 375 pages, TPB, 7" x 10", $19.99
Dark Horse presents The Savage Sword of Kull, which is the first of a two-volume set that will collect all of the black-and-white Kull material printed by Marvel in the 1970s through the1990s! Industry heavyweights like Roy Thomas, Chuck Dixon, and Gerry Conway Barry Windsor-Smith, Bernie Wrightson, Marie and John Severin, and others to bring you some of the most exciting tales of fantastic battles and political intrigue ever committed to paper! This volume includes stories from Savage Tales #2, The Savage Sword of Conan #2, #3, #9, #23, #34, #42, #43, #55, and #119, Kull and the Barbarians #1, #2, and #3, The Savage Sword of Conan Annual #1, Marvel Preview #19, and Bizarre Adventures #26.
Jim: I swear everything is being reprinted lately. Not to say this is not some good sword and sorcery material it is just that the market is now glutted with it.
Lee: I want to agree that the market is swamped with material but I’m not sure the statement is true. Sure, there is lots out there these days but the things that interest me, like classic strip reprints don’t appeal to the younger set like Gwen and Greg. I think the problem is localized to older collectors like you and I that remember everything from the 70’s (or 50’s as the case may be) on. For collectors like us, it’s overwhelming because I want all the old material AND all the new material.

Mike Mignola (W/A/Cover), $17.99
Mike Mignola has deservedly become one of the biggest names in comics for his creation of Hellboy. But when Mignola needs a short break from the Hellboy universe, he turns to diversions such as The Amazing Screw-On Head, winner of the Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication! When Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on earth, President Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head. With the help of associates Mr. Groin (a faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (a dog), Screw-On Head must brave ancient tombs, a Victorian flying apparatus, and demons from a dimension inside a turnip. This new collection of oddball Mignola creations also includes The Magician and the Snake, from Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings, and nearly fifty pages of brand-new material, all as weird and hilarious as the beloved Screw-On Head.
Lee: Sadly, I am unfamiliar with this material but I’m getting it. Over the years I’ve become a huge Hellboy & Mignola fan, so I’m always willing to read his material. Throw in a fancy hc and I am sold! An easy buy.
Jim: You won't regret it, the Amazing Screw-On Head was a lot of fun and very strange.

THE TERMINATOR: 1984 #1 (of 3)
Zack Whedon (W), Andy MacDonald (A), Dan Jackson (C), and Massimo Carnivale (Cover)
On sale Sept 29, FC, 40 pages, $3.50
After the shocking events he witnessed in humanity’s future, Kyle Reese has made the history-changing jump from the year 2029 to a world previously beyond his imagining—1984 Los Angeles. It’s a time before the war, before Skynet, but not without danger, as Kyle begins his mission to find and protect Sarah Connor from time-traveling T-800s. Close behind is Kyle’s friend Ben, with a crucial mission of his own. Hot off the critically-acclaimed Terminator: 2029, Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald begin the next chapter of Kyle’s journey toward destiny in their gripping reimaging of James Cameron’s classic.
Jim: I know there are fan bases for various franchises, but I personally am done with the Terminator material. The original movie, the second movie and maybe the TV series were as much as I feel like investing in this franchise.
Lee: I agree, but DH has had success with the series in the past. I have the Omnibus of the early stories and I’ve enjoyed them. As for the new material, I can’t help but believe there is an audience for this somewhere.

B.P.R.D. Vol. 13: 1947 SC
Mike Mignola (W), Joshua Dysart (W), Gabriel Bá (A), Fábio Moon (A), and Dave Stewart (C)
FC, 160 pages TPB, 7 x 10, $17.99
After the discovery of a trainload of Nazi officers drained of blood, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense learns that there are things far more ancient and dangerous than they could have imagined in this direct sequel to B.P.R.D.: 1946. Broom enlists an already damaged crew to lead an investigation that may be doomed before it can begin, climaxing in a witches' Sabbath, a vampire massacre, and an exorcism. The covers of all volumes of Mike Mignola's B.P.R. D. include the text From the pages of Hellboy above the title! Collects the five-issue miniseries, plus a short story from MySpace Dark Horse Presents. NOTE: Book contains swastikas.
Lee: This isn’t new but I picked for a couple of reasons: (1) the longevity of the series and (2) the inaccessibility of the series. The reasons seem counter intuitive but they really aren’t. BPRD has been around so long that I am intrigued. And, I’ve heard good things about the series which makes it even more appealing. But it’s already up to volume 13. I’m not sure I want to invest in 13 tpb’s at this point. As Jim said earlier, the market is flooded to an extent. I want it, but I’m not sure I want to invest in it. The saddest part, if DH started re-releasing these in more expensive hc’s…. I would buy every one.
Jim: A friend of mine gave me the first six or seven mini-series and I have been hooked ever since. BPRD is in some ways better then Hellboy.
Lee: Is it me, or is the fact that DH felt it necessary to warn the reader there were swastika’s in the book just silly. I already know the answer but I will ask anyway, are we so pathetically concerned about everyone’s feelings that we now have to warn about story elements?
Jim: That is just crap. I get tired of worrying about stuff like that, next they will warn us if a Confederate Flag is being shown, insane, history is history, don't try to change what was, change what is if you think it is wrong.

Sergio Bleda (W/A)
On sale Nov 3, FC, 152 pages, TPB, 7" x 10", $19.99
Think you’ve got problems? Meet the patients in Dr. Burton’s Wednesday-afternoon support group. Violet carries a jar full of demons. Roger can read minds. Akiko talks with her dead parents through the bathroom mirror. Joe is an exorcist. Brian is pyrokinetic. And then, of course, there’s Charles.They’ve been thrown together by the luck of the draw, stuck with supernatural powers they don’t want and can’t control. But when something begins to pick them off one by one, the surviving members of the Wednesday Conspiracy find themselves the last, reluctant line of defense between the reincarnation of an ancient evil and the fate of the world.• Collected in English for the first time! Full-color painted art. Perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Umbrella Academy, or The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.
Jim: I’m going to have to see a preview or flip through this before committing to buying it. I’m totally unfamiliar with this creator and with no idea of their work I cannot not justify taking a flyer on it.
Lee: I don’t think you’re going to get a preview but from what I can see this is a winner. The examples of Bleda’s art on the web are impressive.

Link to Belda’s bio here and his blog here, which includes the steps of how he created the art. Wanna rethink the "I'm not gonna order comment?"

Motel Art Improvement Service HC
Jason Little (W/A)
FC. 208 pages HC, 9 x 6 ¾, $19.99
From Jason Little, author of the Ignatz Award-winning Shutterbug Follies, comes another exciting bubblegum noir graphic novel, originally serialized in the acclaimed webcomic Bee! Eighteen-year-old Bee has finally saved up enough to embark on her long-planned cross-country bicycle trip. However, she doesn't make it very far before disaster leaves her stranded at a motel. Her hormones surge when she meets a misunderstood young artist on a mission to upgrade the banal artwork that hangs on the walls of every motel room. Taking a job there as a housekeeper, Bee snoops around in the motel's dirty laundry and finds herself entangled in a scary drug deal gone dangerously wrong. Featuring gorgeous artwork balancing grit with cuteness, Motel Art Improvement Service explores crime, young love, and the purpose of art, in a story that's equal parts thrilling, funny, and sexy! You can visit Jason Little and read a 10 page preview here (
Lee: I remember when Shutterbug Follies came along but I was overwhelmed with the books I had so I passed. Not this time, the last book has great reviews and this looks to be more of the same. There previews on Little’s website really sold me.
Jim: Just does not appeal to me.

On sale October 2010
Frank Miller (A)
Regular-Edition Litho, 24" x 36", $25.00
Limited-Edition Litho, S/N, limited to 100 copies, $100.00
Comics icon Frank Miller, creator of Sin City and 300, presents a stunning new lithograph: Xerxes. This 24" x 36" collector-quality, fine-art piece is presented on acid-free paper with two special types of coating to enhance golds and background color, and offers a first look at the subject of Miller’s upcoming comics prequel to his record-breaking 300. Xerxes rose to power in fifth-century-BC Persia and became known as “The King of Kings,” eventually raising and leading a massive army intent on ruthlessly destroying the hated Greeks who killed his father. Xerxes seeks nothing less than to become a god himself—and achieves his wish! The litho is colored by Eisner Award–winning colorist Dave Stewart and is sold exclusively through Dark Horse Comics.• Also available in an ultra-limited edition of 100 signed and numbered copies, at $100.00 each, with a special certificate of authenticity. Orders may be allocated.• All lithos are packaged flat against backing board and shrink-wrapped in plastic.
Jim: Such an easy pass. I mean the best we have is one picture and the promise of a series sometime in the future. I get that Frank Miller is probably busy and has enough money, but he has had more projects in the works never seeing fruition then almost any other creator out there.
Lee: I’m passing because I don’t know what to do with this. If I was still in college it would look great in the dorm. Somehow it doesn’t translate as well near my dining room table.

Jim: Dark Horse is a mixed bag now and I’m not even sure they care that much about the direct market anymore. Looking at their product mix they are looking to more than comics to make their company strong, which is a smart thing to do.
Lee: I had low expectations so it was easy for DH to exceed them. But even with that, it looks like a good month for DH.

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