Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dark Horse / Image Preview Review for May

Jim: This month will be a slight switch as Marvel and DC had a lot to talk about and Dark Horse and Image are a little quieter. Still you can’t be launching a lot of new stuff every month.
Lee: It does seem like a slow month for DH. But that’s good because if everyone had cool stuff every month my head would explode.

Let’s Start with Dark Horse

HARVEY CLASSICS LIBRARY VOL 4: BABY HUEY Jerry Beck (W) and Leslie Carbarga (A) On sale July 23 FC, 480 pages $19.95TPB, 7" x 10" “That’s some duck” for adventure, fun, misunderstandings and victories aplenty. Oversized, oblivious, and oh-so good-natured duckling Baby Huey first delighted audiences in 1949 when he appeared in the pages of Casper the Friendly Ghost, but quickly lumbered his way into the bigger world of cartoons and his own comic book series! Join Baby Huey, his lovingly baffled parents, and his duckling pals in this jumbo collection of classic stories.
• The lovable lug in king-sized diapers gets his own collection in Dark Horse’s Harvey Comics Classics series. • Collects over four hundred pages of long out-of-print Baby Huey stories from the Golden Age of comics. • Giant-sized laughs for all ages! Jim: the Harvey material has long been out of print and but fro Dark Horse it would never see the light of day. It is not stuff that I want in my personal collection, but it is fondly remembered from when I was very young.
Lee: Interestingly enough, this is one of the few Harvey books that I am thinking of skipping. Richie Rich, classic, Hot Stuff, classic, Baby Huey… not so much.

THE COMPLETE K CHRONICLES Keith Knight (W/A) On sale July 23 b&w, 500 pages $24.95TPB, 8 1/2" x 11" Here it is—the first comprehensive omnibus collection of rapper/cartoonist Keith Knight’s Harvey Award-winning, semi-autobiographical comic strip, the K Chronicles. An unabashedly provocative mix of political and social satire, it tackles such touchy subjects as racism, violence, and sex with a self-deprecating humor, personal honesty and light-hearted goofiness rarely found in a newspaper comic. The result is accessible yet subversive, compassionate and political, without being preachy. Reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes, Knight’s drawing style is fluid and dynamic, and his great strength is the deftness of his wide-ranging wit–simultaneously light-hearted and wild, clever and conscious.
Jim: Dark Horse is really pushing the envelope for what they do as a publisher. After awhile you get known for what your niche is and Dark Horse is breaking out further and further into other areas of publishing that far removed from standard comic book fare.
Lee: The thing that I like is that it allows me access to things I might not normally find. And, this is a great example of things that I would never have found otherwise.

BETTIE PAGE 6" STATUE On sale June 18 6" tall (7" with base) $59.99 Our 13" Bettie Page statue sold out within weeks of solicitation and customers have been thrilled with the lifelike statue, which finally, truly captures the spirit of Bettie Page. We decided to offer a second, smaller version for the Bettie fans that missed out on the limited full-size statue. Measuring 6 inches (7” with base), this mini-statue captures the charm and sultriness of this real-life heroine in exacting, minute detail. Sexy yet tasteful, like Bettie herself, this item is a “must-have” for Bettie Page fans.
Jim: What is the never ending obsession with Bettie Page? I mean she is sexy and was a hot looking woman in her day, but that day was many, many, many years ago. Also it seems that she is an obsession for the comic book crowd the way Marilyn Monroe is for the movie crowd.
Lee: I think you said it perfectly, every geek crowd has their idol. Geeks love Bettie Page. AND, it’s all about her beauty. It has nothing to do with those “other” photos.

POSTAGE STAMP FUNNIES Shannon Wheeler (W/A) On sale July 2 B&w, 56 pages$9.95 HC, 3 ½" x 2" From the pages of The Onion and the wry mind of cartoonist Shannon Wheeler comes the silliest—and most charmingly packaged-collection of new comics you’ll see this year. For more than ten years Wheeler has cultivated a distinctly pointed and playful sense of humor in the pages of his independent comics, Too Much Coffee Man and How to Be Happy. Postage Stamp Funnies frames his wit with even more focus, as each cartoon delivers its punch in a single postage stamp-sized panel.
Jim: Again I admire Dark Horse really being more opened to bringing us humor and other properties that seems other publisher either stayed away from or were perhaps unwilling to promote.
Lee: So you admire all this but are you going to support any of it? And did you notice the size? 3.5” x 2”! That’s small.
Jim: It is called postage stamp funnies, small makes sense and no I'm supporting any of it at this time.

SCRAMBLED INK Dave Pimentel (W/A), JJ Villard (W/A), Dave Derrick (W/A), Jenny Lerew (W/A), Ken Morrissey (W/A), Keith Baxter (W), and Ennio Torresan (W/A) On sale July 9FC, 176 pages $19.95 HC, 6 5/8" x 10 1/4" Hollywood’s hardest-working animators bring their blockbuster talent to comics to tell stories too big for the silver screen in this jam-packed, jaw-dropping, just-plain-fun compendium of illustrated awesomeness! Hilarious and moving, undeniably innovative and stunningly beautiful, each tale transforms the page into a lushly realized world of imagination—a surefire prize for any fan of illustration or anyone looking for a great yarn spun in a whole new way. • The creators of Scrambled Ink are all animators at DreamWorks Studios with credits on such blockbuster films as Bee Movie, Shrek and Madagascar!
Jim: Finally this is another example of that new market Dark Horse is expanding into and of all their projects, this is my favorite one. The headache is these are books and collection I want to see first before buying and my store will not be stocking any of these for perusal.
Lee: It’s hard to stock all the material that outs there. That’s true… but then again you could take a chance on any one of these and be happily surprised.

Next up Image Comics.

FIREBREATHER #1 story PHIL HESTER art & cover ANDY KUHN Back by popular demand, the adventures of Firebreather continue in this all-new monthly title. High school is tough enough for normal kids, but when your Dad is a city-stomping giant monster who expects you to follow in his footsteps it gets even tougher. PHIL HESTER (THE DARKNESS, The Irredeemable Ant-Man) and ANDY KUHN (Blue Beetle, Marvel Team-Up) deliver the high octane action, drama, and humor. For fans of INVINCINBLE and Ultimate Spider-Man. MAY 14 • 32 PAGES • FC • $2.99
Jim: I have no clue about this property, but bring it up as Image is almost cultivating bringing back old independent books that have disappeared or been off the market for years. Not sure if it is a good thing or bad, but it is something that is happening with Youngblood, Scud, Perhapanauts and others that I can’t think of off the top of my head. Next they will bring back that god awful Spawn book.
Lee: Firebreather isn’t old enough to count as being “old”. It seems to me this is just a creator coming back to a pet project.

STUDIO SPACE TP – by JOEL MEADOWS & GARY MARSHALL From the creators of Tripwire comes a unique book that looks at the way that the world’s best comic book artists work, visiting their studios and getting into their mindset. Each chapter also looks at the creators’ big break and whether their working methods have changed over the years. Featuring a spectacular line-up including FRANK MILLER, MIKE MIGNOLA, JIM LEE, JOE KUBERT, TIM BRADSTREET, DUNCAN FEGREDO, WALTER SIMONSON, BRIAN BOLLAND, DAVE GIBBONS, TIM SALE and many more. MAY 29 • 320 PAGES • $29.99 TP/$49.99 HC
Jim: What a great idea for a book. It would also be a great book to have to take to conventions and get signed. I love this idea.
Lee: When I first read this I thought, “That’s dumb!” But as I’ve thought about it more it is really cool. This should be a really interesting look into the lives of creators. And what luck, another $50 hc.

GEMINI #1 (of 5) story JAY FAERBER art & cover JON SOMMARIVA & FCOLOR From the creator of DYNAMO 5 and NOBLE CAUSES comes Image’s newest superstar: Gemini, a super-hero whose identity is so secret, even he doesn’t know what it is! Dan Johnson is just a normal guy with a normal job… or so he thinks. What he doesn’t know is that a secret organization is using him as their weapon against crime. Dan Johnson is Gemini! MAY 7 • 32 PAGES • FC • $3.50
Jim: So Jay Faerber is starting his own line of books as Robert Kirkman seems to have done. I find it interesting that we are seeing the birth of a personal comic book lines. Dynamo 5 has been very good, so I will be giving this a try.
Lee: Faerber is on a roll right now! I really like this because he’s come so far from some of his initial work (which wasn’t all that good) to writing top notch comics.

PRETTY BABY MACHINE #1 (of 3) story CLARK WESTERMAN art & cover KODY CHAMBERLAIN PRETTY Boy Floyd, BABY Face Nelson and MACHINE Gun Kelly join forces when 1933’s mob-boss supreme, Al Capone, declares war on them! The most unexpected team-up in comics history told in a film noir style that will have fans of Road to Perdition and Batman: The Long Halloween screaming for more! MAY 7 • 32 PAGES • BW • $3.50
Jim: The oddest team-up book I have seen. This has potential.
Lee: I don’t know about this one. I like my historical fiction to be… I don’t know, semi accurate???? Then again I picked Helen Killer so maybe it’s just me.

PvP 10th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL story SCOTT KURTZ art SCOTT KURTZ cover JEFF SMITH Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Web's secnd most popular comic strip! Featuring stories, art and pin-ups by some of the industries greatest: CULLY HAMNER, JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER, JEFF PARKER, TODD DEZAGO & CRAIG ROUSSEAU, MARK BROOKS, BRANDON PETERSON, LEA HERNANDEZ, GABE & TYCHO, BRIAN DENHAM, RYAN OTTLEY, STEVE HAMAKER and more. Plus, an awesome cover by JEFF SMITH! MAY 29 • 48 PAGES • FC • $4.99
Jim: This book is for a friend and fellow bogger Ron. He is a huge fan of this material and you should check it out if like comic strip humor material.
Lee: I’ve never read it but I’ve always heard good things. Those that do read it seem to love it. Kudos to Kurtz for making it 10 years. That’s quite an achievement.

THE SAFEST PLACE OGN story STEVEN GRANT & VICTOR RICHES art & cover TOM MANDRAKE War photographer Matthew Castle suffered a brutal event in his past, closing him off emotionally, but granting him a special gift: He cannot feel physical pain. Allied with a beautiful but secretive news reporter, Matthew uses his unique ability to track down the kidnapped daughter of a wealthy San Francisco family. Forced to confront his past, not only is the kidnapped child’s safety at stake, but Matthew’s sanity as well. Featuring art by Tom Mandrake (THE SPECTRE) and a story by Victor Riches and Steven Grant (THE PUNISHER). MAY 14 • 112 PAGES • BW • $12.99
Jim: Years ago I had an idea for a person who was born without the ability to feel pain and because of that they grow up a very different type of person. My idea was more along the lines of structuring a story to mirror how this person had become against how our society had become. Still the premise and Steve Grant’s as the writer has me signing up for this book.
Lee: So, Steven Grant stole your idea? I’d sue!

PROOF, VOL. 1: GOATSUCKER TP story ALEX GRECIAN art & cover RILEY ROSSMO If you believe in monsters… Proof doesn’t leave urban legends where it finds them. Bigfoot wears a suit to the office. Fairies devour anyone in sight. A lonely monster wears human skins for company. The hit series starts here. Collects PROOF #1-5 MAY 7 • XXX PAGES • FC • $9.99
Jim: I bring this up for two reasons. First it is interesting to see Image has now jumped on the bandwagon and publishing trades as soon as the last issue of that book hits the stands. Second, this is a very good series and a lot of fun to read. $10 for five issues is a bargain.
Lee: I am all over this. I am glad to see Image getting on the bandwagon because I am ready, able, and willing to jump on! Wheeeeee bandwagons!!!!

Pilot Season: Twilight Guardian #1 (W) Troy Hickman (A) Reza (Cov) Hendry Prasetyo She’s the hero who could be you! Eisner-nominee Troy Hickman (Common Grounds) brings you more of his unique view of the superhero genre, with stunning artwork by Reza. Enter the world of the Twilight Guardian and the nine-block area she patrols each night, a world of everyday intrigue, brown and gree gargantuas, marital aids, and yes, donut shops. Superheroics meets slice-of-life as you’ve never seen before! Full Color 32 pages $3.99 pilot issue
Jim: I seldom pay attention to Top Cow, but the premise sounds like it could be very interesting and a different perspective on super-heroes or a rancid self-absorbed pseudo intellectual piece of crap.
Lee: WHOA! A… oh and let me quote… “a rancid self-absorbed pseudo intellectual piece of crap”. Ummm, hey there little fella how about you do reviews earlier in the day. The reviews tend to angrier as the night progresses. As for the book, we shall see. Since the show Heroes, there seems to be more and more of this material so there is plenty to chose from.

Jim: This month is definitely a flip month as Marvel and DC had better material for this post. I emphasize this point, because Dark Horse and Image have many wonderful ongoing series that just don’t get covered in our reviews of what is mainly about the shiny and new.
Lee: I think your right. There are lots of good on-going things from Image/DH but not a lot new this month. But that’s ok because it good to see the continuing series getting support and not just new material all the time.


  1. Wow...I tend to be rancid and self-absorbed as a human being, but hopefully not as a writer. No, it's not really like anything else Top Cow has published (unless you count my own Common Grounds series), so we'll have to see if preconceived notions keep folks away. Most of the script was originally published in my mini-comics Twilight Guardian and Tales of the Pathetic Club some 12-15 years ago, so it's not Heroes-inspired, either. It's...well, it's what it is. Anyway, hope you dig the book, and thanks much for the mention. Nice variety of material on the blog, by the way!

    Troy Hickman

  2. Troy - Glad you have a sense of humor. Lee and I like to occasionally throw in the off the wall comment to keep it fresh. Hope your book does well.

  3. Do I get this book, or does Lee? I vote for me.

  4. Darn it! The quandry of compilation books strikes again! Shoot.

    Full disclosure: I'm one of the "Scrambled Ink" artists. I can't in any way fault you for the fact that there's so little to go on when ordering these's true of all the similar compilation books-the "Afterworks" series, etc.
    Initially this was going to be a sketchbook(which I was and still am all for). Why? Because it's just so appealing to both other artists and fans imho to have a solid book of drawings, in this case done by most of the story crew of an animated film.
    But one by one, the guys had comic stories they wanted to do. All of them are worthy--Ennio's is a completely traditional comic(he's been published i his native Brazil and elsewhere); Dave Pimentel's is also an extremely slick, traditional comics layout with a great filmic sensibility(his strong point, along with plain old great draughtsmanship). Mine is a very simple narrative that's more of a wordless series of pictures that tell a--I hope--charming story. My style is in evidence on my sketchblog, "Blackwing Sketchbook". David Derrick used PS to create some really lovely painterly illustrations that are a traditional picturebook story; Ken Morrissey too did a lovely graphic style. JJ Villard does hardcore craziness--if Weirdo were still around he's be a star in its pages. He's imaginative and raw.
    Seriously, not trying to sell us, just taking the opportunity to explain what's in there. It's all words without the pictures, though. I think this will be one that will be an appealing sell to anyone who picks up the book and flips through it--but it is always hard when there's such a diversity of styles under one cover.
    And I'll add--I can't stand Baby Huey either. In animation or comics. The cover sure has a nice soft vintage feel, though.