Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dark Horse / Image Preview Review April

Jim: I’m always curious to see what these two publishers will bring us each month. Sometimes it is a plethora of new series and sometimes the focus is on the ongoing titles, but always there is something I really want to get.
Lee: I agree, while the material tends to be hit or miss it’s nice to be away from the world of mega-crossover.

We will start with Dark Horse this month.

CREEPY ARCHIVES Various (W/A) On sale June 18 b&w, 232 pages $49.95HC, 8 3/8" x 10 7/8" Gather up your wooden stakes, your blood-covered hatchets, and all the skeletons in the darkest depths of your closet, and prepare for a horrifying adventure into the darkest corners of comics history. Dark Horse Comics further corners the market on high quality horror storytelling with one of the most anticipated releases of the decade, a hardcover archive collection of legendary Creepy Magazine. This groundbreaking material turned the world of graphic storytelling on its head in the early 1960s, as phenomenal young artists like Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams reached new artistic heights with their fascinating explorations of classic and modern horror stories. Brilliant, classic Creepy stories from 1964-1966 raised from the dead after twenty-five years. Featuring work by such comics luminaries as Joe Orlando, Al Williamson, Alex Toth, and Frank Frazetta. Archive editions of Creepy will be the cornerstone of any comic-book library. Volume One reprints the first five terrifying issues of the magazine’s original run, reprinted in the original magazine size!
Jim: This is something that I have been dying to see. I’m not sure if reprinting each and every issue is the way to go as not ever story was a winner, but there is some great work, but some real absolute comic greats in the Warren publications. Warren did not pay the same page rate, but he allowed creative freedom where the other publishers were more restrictive. Dark Horse does high quality reproductions and the archive will be in the original magazine size (which is (and I checked) 8 3/8” x 10 7/8”).
Lee: I am really, really looking forward to this because it is such great material. And I have to disagree, reprinting every single issue is absolutely the way to go. The early issues are so, so good that you have too. You don’t reprint 1/2 the EC material, you reprint it all so you can see what was there.

GRENDEL: GOD AND THE DEVIL Matt Wagner (W), John K. Snyder III (I/Cover), Tim Sale (P), Jay Geldhof (P/I), Bernie Mireault (I), and Jeromy Cox (C) On sale June 11 FC, 320 pages $29.95 TPB, 7" x 10" In the centuries since the mask of Grendel was last seen, humanity’s survived a third World War, the fall of Western Civilization, and the rise of an all-powerful church state. But when the depraved Pope Innocent XLII begins construction of a new church tower hiding a powerful and deadly secret, two men will rise against the church’s corruption. One is Orion Assante, a man determined to expose the Pope for who he really is. The other is a mysterious figure wearing the all-too-familiar face of Grendel!
Jim: I hope the hard cover is solicited next month as I want all of the Grendel material in hard cover format. Still I’m jazzed that Dark Horse is committed to reproducing all of the original Grendel material.
Lee: I can’t imagine the price on the HC but that’s what I am waiting for too.

PIGEONS FROM HELL #1 (of 4) Joe R. Lansdale (W), Nathan Fox (A), and Dave Stewart (C) On sale Apr 16 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries Joe R. Lansdale puts a new spin on an old classic with this four-part adaptation of master-storyteller Robert E. Howard’s classic tale of terror Pigeons from Hell. Set in the deep south, Pigeons tells the story of a damned house with a wicked past whose vile form casts a shadow of death on all who dare to enter. At dusk, as the sun slumps below the horizon, scores of pigeons can be seen flocking from the house in waning sunlight. The pigeons, they say, are the souls of the damned escaping from the very bowels of Hell itself.
Jim: Never heard or read this Robert E. Howard story, but it sounds interesting and Joe Lansdale is a decent writer and I do not know of Nathan Fox, but we have enough elements to sign up for issue #1.
Lee: I don’t know about this. I’ve never been sold on Lansdale as a great writer. I’ve read his comic book work and some of his prose novels and they always seem three-quarters complete. It’s almost as if that something that really pushes them over the top is missing. But, he is working from a Howard story so it might be good.

FEAR AGENT: HATCHET JOB VOL 4 Rick Remender (W), Jerome Opeña (A), and Michelle Madsen (C) On sale June 18 FC, 128 pages $14.95 TPB, 7" x 10" Abandoned in deep space, near death, and with no hope of rescue, Heath learns the cost of crossing the nefarious pirates of the Centurion Nebula. Back on the moon base a mysterious figure from Heath’s past arrives as a harbinger of more hard days for humanity. Combining the aesthetic elements of all three of the genres that made EC comics the high water mark of sequential storytelling: science fiction, war, and horror!
Jim: A book that I can not recommend highly enough. If you don’t buy the series pick up the trades and if nothing else get a treat from the artwork of Jerome Opena and the coloring of Michelle Marsden, beautiful work.
Lee: I agree the art is really good but the main character is sooooo unlikable that I have trouble getting past that. But, if you like drunk, obnoxious lead characters then this is a great book.

Onto Image Comics

THE WALKING DEAD #50 story ROBERT KIRKMAN art & cover CHARLIE ADLARD & CLIFF RATHBURN All alone now. For this landmark 50th issue we present a special stand-alone tale that will both warm your heart and chill you to the bone. APRIL 23 - 32 PAGES - BW - $2.99
Lee: Walking Dead reaches 50. An amazing accomplishment all while the maintaining creative excellence.
Jim: This is an amazing accomplishment. Kirkman is al least partially responsible with this title in creating the almost unending popularity of Zombies.

THE PERHAPANAUTS #1 story TODD DEZAGO art & cover CRAIG ROUSSEAU "TRIANGLE," Part One The official debut of the all-new on-going series from Image! A new storyline begins as the PERHAPANAUTS delve deeper into the Bermuda Triangle to rescue Karl from the Mothman Tribunal! As the team prepares to battle these Angels of Doom, they are separated and cast into the unpredictable and unfathomable Perhaps! Will they ever get out...?! Back at Bedlam, Arisa is confronted by her past and Choopie is crowned King of the Gremlins. Yes, really. APRIL 16 - 32 PAGES - FC - $3.50
Lee: This title has been around for awhile and seems to have a nice little cult following. I like Rousseau's art and a first issue make this a great jumping on point.
Jim: for someone like me having no familiarity with this material, it is a good starting point. I’m anxious to check it out.

FRANK FRAZETTA’S DARK KINGDOM, PART ONE story MARK KIDWELLart TIM VIGIL covers FRANK FRAZETTA, TIM VIGIL & NAT JONES The Frazetta tradition of epic dark fantasy continues as the masterpiece DARK KINGDOM roars to life from canvas to the comics page. From amid the clash of steel and decks stained red comes legendary sea raider RED MORDEN, battling his way through an ocean of horror to save the family he holds dear. For love and vengeance, he will face his greatest fears, both real and imagined as he stands alone against a kingdom of darkness. APRIL 2 - 32 PAGES - FC - $3.99
Lee: I don't know who Kidwell is but Vigil does some of the best barbarian art ever. Big muscles with a fine mix of blood and violence. Sign me up!
Jim: I love the idea of building stories off these great Frazetta covers. Who amongst his fan base has not either wondered what the story behind the character is or worried about the mind creating these pictures.

FRANK FRAZETTA’S DEATH DEALER, VOL. 1 DELUXE HC story JOSHUA ORTEGA art NAT JONES & JAY FOTOS cover FRANK FRAZETTA The iconic painting comes to life in this epic tale of dark fantasy and horror! The land of Iparsia is at war. Two kingdoms fight for survival as an ancient evil sweeps across the land. The Death Dealer returns to Iparsia, but will the dark ride bring an end to war... or will it he bring an end to Iparsia? Critically-acclaimed novelist and comics writer JOSHUA ORTEGA (The Necromancer) teams up with cult-favorite artists NAT JONES (Spawn: The Dark Ages) and JAY FOTOS (Spawn) to bring forth the first Death Dealer tale fully approved by FRANK FRAZETTA himself! APRIL 16 - 192 PAGES - FC - $49.99
Lee: WOW. $50 for the hc??? Was the story that good that it deserved a $50 hc? I might've been tempted at a $20 hc but $50? I think Image is going to hurt itself with this move.
Jim: My thoughts exactly. I was willing to even go to a $25 hard cover price as Nat Jones art was so nice and the story was good enough to make me want a hard cover, but at $50 it stays at the store and does not make the trip home.

ARCHIBALD SAVES EASTER (ONE-SHOT) story GRANT BOND & DWIGHT MACPHERSON art & cover GRANT BOND Following last year's critical success, Archibald turns his attention to Easter and the grotesque, ludicrous and bizarre! On furlough from the big city, Archibald must help his befuddled friends overcome their personal demons that are coming straight from hell! A carnival of carnage! A plastered plunge into purgatory! A roller coaster ride to redemption! APRIL 2 - 32 PAGES - 2C - $3.50
Jim: This pick is a no-brainer. I loved the Christmas special and hope all the holidays get the Archibald treatment. I think the best tag line is “Sin City meets Roger Rabbit”. Twisted fun as cartoon characters are caught up in a slasher story, with beautiful art by Grant Bond.
Lee: The Christmas story was good enough that I will give this a try. You can read our review of the original one shot here.

JACK STAFF #16 story PAUL GRIST art & cover PAUL GRIST NOW MONTHLY!It's Giant Robot Action as Tom Tom the Robot man has to bring in John (Jack Staff) Smith for armed robbery! Meanwhile, Vampire Hunter Albert Bramble comes face to face with his most fearsome foe - Albert Bramble the vampire! APRIL 9 - 32 PAGES - FC - $3.50

Lee: Jack Staff is back! This is/was a great series. It's well worth your time and money.
Jim: I may have to check this book out as I have enjoyed some of Paul Grist work on Kane, but have never tried out Jack Staff.

SCREAMLAND #2 (of 5) Story HAROLD SIPE art & cover HECTOR CASANOVA You thought you had trouble flying in a post 9/11 world? The Mummy returns home to Egypt and leaves no forwarding address. The search for him leads down a bad road of ill-advised sequels, banal TV shows and folk music nightmares. Should The Mummy be waterboarded for his terrible film career? Also, Frankenstein's Monster goes to therapy! APRIL 16 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99
Lee: Don’t' know anything about the book but the cover is really cool!
Jim: Well the first issue hasn’t come out let, so of course you don’t know the book yet. It does have a great premise and looks to be loads of fun.

SPAWN #181 story DAVID HINE art BRIAN HABERLINcover BRIAN HABERLIN & GEIRROD VAN DYKE Spawn battles his inner demon. Is he a force for Good or Evil? If Evil wins, Wanda dies. If Good triumphs, this is the end of Spawn. We mean it!
Lee: WOW! At 12 issues/year, 181 issues means Spawn has been around for approximately 15 years. That's really hard to believe. AND, this issue could be the "end of Spawn" which makes the 53rd time the hype has made that claim!
Jim: Spawn has never been anything in my opinion. Even with David Hine writing it, I have no interest in this book.

Witchblade/Devi #1
Lee: Well, there's something you don't see every month. A flaming bikini. I'm sure that's comfortable
Jim: Yes, I’m sure it is, I’ll set my wife’s bikini on fire when she is wearing it and ask her how it feels.

Jim: Hard to believe we are reviewing April already, when I’m typing this in January and today is a better a** cold day. This looks to another good month from these publishers with Creepy Archives being the most exciting new solicitation.
Lee: Some good stuff coming but the Creepy archives is by far and away the best new book. I can’t wait.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for picking Archibald, guys! Grant wrote the majority of this one, so you'll get a nice dose of his warped and socially-unacceptable humor. But there's still some twisted MacPherson goodness... or badness. However you choose to look at it. Hahahaha.

    Thanks again,