Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dark Horse Previews Review for March 2011

Lee: Wow does this look like a crappy month for DH. I hate to say that so soon in a post but it’s really true.
Thomm: Not having selected what we’re looking at this month, I’ll wait until the end to pass judgment.

Maurissa Tancharoen (W), Jed Whedon (W), Cliff Richards (A), Michelle Madsen (C), Phil Noto (Cover), and Steve Morris (Variant Cover)
FC, 40 pages, $3.50, One-shot
Having penned the show's final, post-apocalyptic episode, show writers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon continue the tale of three survivors in a world overcome by a devastating technological virus. The wealthy and powerful could buy any kind of companionship at the Dollhouses, where the Rossum Corporation paid young people to have their minds wiped clean and be imprinted with computer-enhanced personalities and skills—all according to a buyer's request. Now the technology has gone viral, wiping the minds of everyone it reached, turning them into mindless butchers. Those who've avoided the call must try to survive their friends and families if they hope to destroy Rossum and save the world. Written by T.V. series writers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon! An excellent introduction to the upcoming comics series!
Lee: What happens when a marginal TV show is cancelled? It continues to live on as a marginal comic book series. Ok, ok that isn’t fair because this is a one shot and not a series but other than that my comment holds. Let’s not even discuss how transforming the series into a zombie story smacks of desperation.
Thomm: They’re brainless, not undead. That would make them Know Nothings, not zombies. That being said, who’s Jed Whedon? Joss Whedon I know (well, not personally), but Jed? I enjoyed this show and thought the ending was rushed because it wasn’t renewed, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to look for an ending in a comic. Besides, this sounds almost entirely different from the show.

Felicia Day (W), Kristian Donaldson (A), Jeremy Bastian (A), Tim Seeley (A), Adam Warren (A), Wellinton Alves (P), Ron Chan (Cover), and Peter Bagge (Variant Cover)
FC, 32 pages, $3.50, One-Shot
Felicia Day returns to her Internet and comics sensation The Guild with a story spotlighting the Knights of Good’s most mysterious member, Tinkerballa!While some of the other Guild members have gotten a little too involved in each other’s offline lives, Tink has fiercely guarded her privacy, and the Knights of Good still know almost nothing about her. When they begin to pry, the Guild gets more than they bargained for—but is any of it true? Joining Felicia Day for these tall tales are Kristian Donaldson, Jeremy Bastian, Wellinton Alves, Tim Seeley, and Adam Warren!
Lee: It’s like Peter Bagge channelled his inner Gwen for his cover. That’s exactly how I picture Gwen doing DC picks.
Thomm: Um, ok. Never even heard of this series or the web show it’s based upon, but then, I’m a luddite when it comes to entertainment on the web. Blogs and other reading material I get. Videos, not so much. Just don’t have the time or interest in them. Needless to say, this has no appeal for me.

Marc Andreyko (W), Patric Reynolds (A), Dave Stewart (C), Sean Phillips (Cover), and Photo Variant Cover
FC, 32 pages, $3.99
Abby and Thomas fight desperately to protect Abby’s secret from someone who wants them dead, as their life in Wellsville, Indiana, goes up in flames! With plenty of blood on the ground already, and more innocent people threatened by the crossfire, one thing’s for sure: tonight’s a night this sleepy little town will never forget! This chilling conclusion leads directly into the Let Me In film!
Lee: Somehow I have managed to talk about this book for 3 of the 4 months that it has been published. Anyway, I finally managed to see the movie this book is based on and, to my surprise, it was excellent. The movie was high on atmosphere, low on gore, and it’s really, really good. Don’t bother with the original book the movie was based on and just go see the movie. As far as the comic goes, I was planning on passing on this but now I’m gonna get the trade.
Thomm: You’re killing me this month. This is the second one I’ve had to look up to see what’s going on. Now only your comments have me confused. Why pass on the book but get this comic in trade? This appears to be a prequel, which isn’t necessarily a detraction from the original story, but is it something a fan of the movie or the book wanted to read?
Lee: I say pass on the book because it was mostly inspiration for the movie. They kept sections, and eliminated whole swaths of the book. Not to mention the books ends really badly and needed a strong editor. As for this comic, the characters were interesting enough that a prequel could be really good.
Thomm: Funny how the movie’s better than the book, considering the screenwriter was the same guy who wrote the book. Funnier still that we’ve moved so far afield from talking about the comic. I’ll let the reader if it’s funny “ha ha”, funny “odd” or funny “shut up and get back to the point”.
Lee: To clarify, the screenwriter and the book author were not the same. The original book Let The Right One In was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay for the original Swedish film. The original screenplay for the American movie, Let Me In, was adapted by Matt Reeves, who also directed the movie.

FC, 184 pages, HC, 9" x 12", $34.99
Legendary game designer American McGee created one of the most visually arresting games of all time in Alice. Eleven years later, McGee returns with a sequel just as groundbreaking as his critically acclaimed classic—Alice: Madness Returns!Just in time for Madness Returns, Dark Horse and Spicy Horse studio invite Alice fans to take a journey through the wonderland of American McGee’s imagination for an unprecedented look at the creation of this magnificent and disturbing world. With an introduction by McGee, The Art of Alice offers an intimate look into the stunning and terrifying artwork behind this blockbuster reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll’s enduring masterpiece!
Lee: DH has been doing these oversized art books for years now and seems to be having success with them. Most, have been centered on comic book artists, but some have dealt with posters and graphic artists. I guess gamer art falls into a similar category but I am surprised to see this. As for the source material, I believe this is the game that managed to twist 50+ years of cutesy Alice in Wonderland imagery into blood soaked, s&m, b grade horror movie fodder. Call me traditional but I still like Disney Alice and will pass on this travesty.
Thomm: Holy crap, I’m definitely not bothering to look this one up. Is DH doing anything that’s not derived from some other source material? Give me some Goon or BPRD. Surely there’s something other than the Mignola-verse that DH can offer.

Lee: It’s hard to believe that Let Me In is the bright spot in an otherwise listless month from DH. I hope next month is better.
Thomm: If this is what we have to work with from DH for March, then I’d have to agree that there’s not much to anticipate. Seriously, though, does DH have anything entirely new that’s not Mignola? I used to get a lot of stuff from DH, though that was many years ago.


  1. the original "alice" game was praised for (and won awards related to) it's art, story and visual presentation. it sold over 1.5 million units on PC alone; the game and related merch continue to sell on amazon and ebay for 'collector'-level prices. the game's sequel, which should be released in 2011, is said to carry the legacy created by the original.

    sounds like you know very little about the game itself - and have instant disrespect for "gamer art" in general - so it's unlikely you'll change your tune... but when the book does come out, maybe give it a look, then judge. or you could continue to speak out your ass about something you've got no knowledge of. ;)

  2. This may be the king chickensh*t of all comments. Not only is it anonymous, it goes on to insult Lee for something he didn't even say. Lee made no derogatory comment about gamer art in general nor did he claim to have any expert knowledge of this particular game or its art. All he said was that it didn't appeal to him, based on his limited recollection of what the game was about. That he didn't like the game's interpretation of Alice is purely his opinion. Now, to say that he's talking out his ass about his own opinion of what appeals to him, that's what I'd call talking out of one's ass.

    Not sure how the winking emoticon's supposed to fit into the comment, either. Is that supposed to mean you're just kidding about the prior comment or are you just unable to end a comment without some kind of emoticon?

  3. HOLD ON! Everyone calm down and take a deep breath. We discuss things here, not flame each other out.

    To start, Thomm is correct. At no point did I deride the art of this particular collection. I am sure that American McGee is a fine artist and quite skilled. And I am sure that I will be impressed with his abilities at composition, use of color, and anatomy. As Mr. Unknown noted, the game did win awards for visual design. You don’t win awards by drawing stick figures. Rereading my comment, the last word ‘travesty’ could be construed to slam the art. It wasn’t meant as a comment on the art, it was meant as a comment on the subject matter.

    But, to be clear, this particular subject matter holds no interest for me. I’m all for reinterpreting classic tales but I felt this one was unnecessary and shocking for no other reason to be shocking. McGee drew an Alice splattered in blood holding a butcher knife. I’m sorry but I don’t see why that is interesting. This type of material appeals to the gamer and goth crowds, and I belong to neither group. My only assumption is the material was an influence on Mcfarlane Toys Twisted Land of Oz. And I believe those toys were equally unnecessary and shocking for no other reason to be shocking.

    To address some of your points:
    (1) (The Game) sold over 1.5 million units on PC alone
    I’m glad you added the little bit of hype I deleted back into your comment but it adds nothing to the discussion at hand. You have given me a number but no reference point to relate to it. The question becomes, what does the number mean? I am sure Mario Bros and Sonic have sold more units than this. Best selling comics today sell in the 100k range but comics during the GA sold in the millions. Yippee, this sold a million games but it hasn’t sold one comic book.

    (2) the game and related merch continue to sell on amazon and ebay for 'collector'-level prices.
    And? Have you seen Amazon? I can buy Gemstone EC Reprints for $1k that haven’t been released yet and may not be. Heck, one of the original Apple computers sold for 10’s of thousands of dollars. It still doesn’t mean that I want one. Everything in American society is collectible from beanie babies, to web kinz, to McDonald’s toys. All this tells me is people are interested.

    I have no disrespect for “gamer art.” I imagine it is similar to story boards for Hollywood. And, some of the greatest comics professionals ever (Steranko, Ploog, etc) have done such work in Hollywood. I have various Star Wars books have character designs, storyboards, and sketches. I don’t believe the two are all that different. It isn’t that hard to understand.

    I can appreciate gamer art for what it is but if I am buying an art book unrelated to comics then I would prefer a book about Shag’s Tiki art, the art of psyadelic posters, or even Jim Flora’s jazz artwork.