Dark Horse Comics
While the original 2002, five-issue miniseries was in color, the 128-page trade collection ($19.99) will be in black and white but will feature two new pages by the Love and Rockets co-author.
ROBOT 6 readers with good memories might recall that I wrote about Grip earlier this year, lamenting that it was, to my knowledge, the only work by Hernandez that had never been compiled into book form.
To describe Grip’s plot takes some effort, as this is one of Hernandez’s more surreal and deliriously and wacky stories, involving a wide cast that includes an amnesiac young man, a pair of police detectives, a trio of Amazonian adventurers, another trio of gun-wielding gangsters, a sweet little old lady, a dwarf couple and a little girl with an eyepatch. As I wrote in May:
The story begins with the amnesiac young man wandering around a nondescript city and being assaulted by some of the people mentioned above for reasons that are murky at best. The story takes an even stranger left turn, however, when the man literally loses his skin at the end of the first issue and starts walking around beaches spouting seemingly half-remembered phrases. The skin starts to take on a life of its own as well.
2013 has blessed us with a bumper crop of great books by Hernandez that includes the critically acclaimed Marble Season and Julio’s Day, as well as Children of Palomar and Maria M. With Dark Horse planning to release Grip in addition to the collected edition of his more recent Fatima miniseries, it seems as though 2014 will continue that trend well into the new year.
I talked with Hernandez over the phone a few days before Thanksgiving about the new collection, the not-so-secret origins of Grip, and what else he’s working on.
A Centaur’s Life, Vol. 1 (Seven Seas): Easily the weirdest comic I read this month, Kei Murayama’s manga is about an alternate world where everything is the exact same as it is in ours, save for the fact that there are multiple races like centaurs, angel folk, goat folk, cat folk, dragon people and so on. Oh, and while human beings apparently still exist, the only one glimpsed is a medieval knight seen in flashback, having enslaved a centaur is some bizarre armor/restraining device in order to ride him.
What makes the manga so weird, however, is that there doesn’t seem to be any reason, at least not in this first volume, for why our heroine Himeno is a centaur, and why her classmates are all various fantasy races living out an otherwise completely mundane existence.
Himeno is a sweet, shy, pretty and popular Japanese schoolgirl (who is also a centaur). She’s afraid of boys, likes hanging out with her friends, and love sweets, although she worries about getting fat. The stories are mostly of the frivolous high-school comedy sort that could easily have been told with human characters.
In the first story, Himeno is self-conscious about her genitals, which she’s never looked at, as she’s afraid they might resemble those of a cow the kids once saw on a field trip (unlike some centaurs, the ones in this comic keep their horse parts covered in elaborate pants that appear difficult to put on and take off). In another, her class puts on a play, and she’s cast as the female lead, while her best friend — a girl with bat wings, a spade-shaped tail and pointy ears — is the male lead. In another, she’s suspected of doing some modeling work, in violation of school policy regarding part-time jobs.
Conventions | Although convention organizers rolled out an altered name — WonderCon Anaheim — and logo when they confirmed two weeks ago that the event will return to Anaheim, California, again next year, they insist they haven’t close the door on San Francisco. “We still want to get back to the Bay Area. [...] We are in touch with [the Moscone Center organizers] fairly regularly and we have an open dialogue,” says David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations. “They haven’t given up on us, either.” The convention was uprooted from the Moscone Center in 2012 first because of remodeling and now because of scheduling conflicts. WonderCon Anaheim will be held April 18-20. [Publishers Weekly]
Digital comics | I spoke with Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater and iVerse Media CEO Michael Murphey about the new “all-you-can-eat” digital service, Archie Unlimited. [Good E-Reader]
If you’re beginning to think about stocking-stuffer ideas, you may want to check out Chocolate F/X if, say, you know a fan of Eric Powell’s The Goon: The chocolatier is accepting pre-orders for a limited-edition four-piece gift box featuring the Goon, Franky, the comic’s logo and the immortal words “Knife to the Eye!”
But they’re not plain ol’ milk chocolate, though. There’s”Dark Chocolate and Whiskey ganache , a Ghost Pepper caramel dipped in creamy milk chocolate, Hazelnut Coffee ganache in Milk Chocolate and a Seasonal Pumpkin pie ganache dipped in Dark Chocolate.” Yes, ghost pepper, considered the world’s hottest chili pepper.
Cameron Stewart is best known for his work with Ed Brubaker on Catwoman and with frequent collaborator Grant Morrison on Batman and Robin, Seaguy and Seven Soldiers. But over the past six years, he’s also struck out on his own, writing and drawing the neo-noir mystery thriller Sin Titulo, a webcomic that’s earned the cartoonist an Eisner and a Shuster award.
Dark Horse published a print collection of the series in September, introducing Sin Titulo to a new audience. In support of that release, Stewart embarked last month on a 13-city tour that’s taking him across Canada and the United States before ending up in England. Ahead of tonight’s stop at Challenger Comics + Conversation in Chicago, guest contributor Dave Scheidt spoke with Stewart about the origins of the largely improvised Sin Titulo, the series’ place within the worlds of print and webcomics, his eventual return to Seaguy, and his plans for a fantasy epic called Niro.
Note: A shorter version of this interview originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
“There was a very fine line to walk, though. To create a book that Comic Book Guy could enjoy because wa-hey, boobies and gore … but that also as a female writer (and a feminist) I could be OK with. Most people won’t notice that the gaze in the book towards the female characters is not predatory — the women are complicit, and in fact usually in charge. It’s a gossamer thing, this manipulation of gaze, this slight change, this look awry — but it makes a huge difference to how the book feels when you read it. The book makes people really happy. And, you know, for the horror crowd, the little changes in having a woman write it so some of the invasive, penetrative horror happens to men — well, it makes for more effective and unexpected horror.”
– writer Alex de Campi, talking with ThinkProgress about her new series Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight, a gleefully trashy exploitation comic the describes “straight-up tits and gore, the way nature (and Russ Meyer) intended.”
Nonetheless, De Campi, whose work ranges from the action thriller Ashes to the all-ages Kat and Mouse and My Little Pony, approaches her work in a thoughtful way. In the same interview, she discusses how changing the point of view of a rape scene radically alters it. De Campi’s work illustrates the point that bringing diversity into comics can greatly improve the stories, by introducing fresh and original perspectives — and even surprising the reader.
Long before we worked together, I respected Kevin Melrose’s instincts on picking creators to watch. So when he advised the Robot 6 audience to read Victor Santos‘ webcomic Polar, I was intrigued. That interest only grew when Jim Gibbons (one of the best editors working in comics) told me Dark Horse was collecting Polar’s first season in Polar: Came from the Cold (which ROBOT 6 previewed in late September); I knew I wanted to interview the Bilbao, Spain-based artist.
In addition to discussing the 160-page Polar hardcover, set for release on Dec. 11, we also touched upon the upcoming Furious, a Dark Horse miniseries with his Mice Templar collaborator Bryan J.L. Glass, set to launch on Jan. 29. (For additional Furious information, please read Albert Ching’s September interview with Glass.)
Tim O’Shea: You are very clear at your website in terms of the influences that inform Polar: Came from the Cold. “The story uses a minimalistic and direct style inspired by movies like Le Samurai (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967), Tokyo Drifter (Seijun Suzuki, 1965) or Point Blank (John Boorman, 1967) and novels like The Killer Inside Me (Jim Thompson, 1952) or The Eiger Sanction (Trevanian, 1979). Polar is also a tribute to artists like Jim Steranko, Jose Muñoz, Alberto Breccia, Alex Toth and Frank Miller.” I would love to discuss each and every element of those sentences, but I will just focus on two elements. How did you first find out about films like Le Samurai? When did you read your first Steranko story, and what was it?
Victor Santos: The first Steranko book I read was the Outland adaptation. I was studying fine arts, and I hadn’t really had a great deal of exposure to U.S. comics. I’d read a lot of superheroes books in my childhood, but the manga explosion of the ’80 and ’90s caught me just in my teenage years. Actually, it was during my university years when I discovered the great U.S. artists like Eisner, Ditko, Crumb, Toth, Caniff and dozens more (thanks to friends I met there, never the professors). I discovered an old Spanish edition of Outland in a street market. Wow, that stuff blew me away! The big panels contrasting the little panels, as well as that “heavy black lighting” … This edition was a big, European album size, so the double-page spreads are gigantic. I began to research. These were very intense years for me; I was absorbing all the American history of comics at the same time.
Digital comics | The Chernin Group, headed by former News Corp Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, has acquired a controlling stake in Crunchyroll, the streaming anime site that just launched a digital comics service. [All Things D]
Digital comics | Rob McMonigal takes a look at Believed Behavior, a website where subscribers can read comics by five different creators for $8 (there’s a free component as well) and then get them in print form. [Panel Patter]
Manga | Dark Horse announced Tuesday that there are 750,000 copies of the various volumes of Berserk in print; that number is about to increase, as the publisher is about to release new printings of the volumes that are low in stock, which is pretty much all of them. Volume 37 is due out later this month. [Anime News Network]
In celebration of Halloween, Dark Horse is offering 50 percent off more than 800 digital horror titles — for today only.
Given the publisher’s penchant for horror, the selection is pretty extensive, ranging from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Hellboy families to The Strain and The Goon. There’s even a bit of manga — they include MPD-Psycho, Hellsing and two of my favorites, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and Mail — in the mix. So prepare to browse and browse. No specific ending time is mentioned, but I’m guessing midnight Pacific.
In a similar seasonal vein, comiXology’s Halloween sales — with discounts on Marvel Zombies, Locke & Key Vol. 2, Tales From the Crypt and Afterlife With Archie #1 — end today.
Stage | Dancer Daniel Curry, who was seriously injured during an Aug. 15 performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, made his first appearance since the accident at a benefit concert held Monday that raised $10,000 for his medical bills. Curry was injured when his leg was pinned by an automated trap door — he blames malfunctioning equipment, producers say it was human error — resulting in fractured legs and a fractured foot; he has undergone surgeries and unspecified amputations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Actors’ Equity have launched investigations into the accident, and Curry’s lawyers are exploring a possible lawsuit against the $75 million show and the equipment suppliers.
During previews of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark — before the March 2011 firing of director Julie Taymor and the sweeping overhaul that followed — no fewer than five performers were injured, the most serious previously being aerialist Christopher Tierney, who fell about 30 feet in December 2010, breaking four ribs and fracturing three vertebrae. He returned to rehearsals four months later. There have been no major accidents since the show opened in June 2011. [The New York Times]
Once in a while, when I go into the comics shop to snag my weekly pile, there will be something on the shelf that catches totally unaware. On Oct. 2, I was delighted to discover the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Liberty Annual 2013 (published by Image Comics). Given that all the proceeds from the book (previewed here at CBR) benefit the CBLDF, I wanted to interview Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie, who directed the project. While I had his attention, I couldn’t pass up the chance to discuss some of the Dark Horse line as well.
Tim O’Shea: While seemingly an obvious question, I still think it worth asking: Why is it so important to you to volunteer your time for a project like the CBLDF Liberty Annual?
Scott Allie: Free speech is a near and dear cause, for me and for Dark Horse, and it’s still an uphill battle for comics. There are preconceptions about this art form that invite attacks, and we need to work to defend against that. I want creators and publishers to be free to put out what they want to put out, and for retailers to sell it without fear of prosecution, for readers to travel with their books without fear of incarceration. The CBLDF isn’t just about raising money in court cases. They’re about educating the population about the art form we love, and I want to be a part of that.
“I think everyone who works in the field gets asked this. What does it matter how little or long it takes to do anything? If I did a page in an hour would, that make me better or worse? If it takes me two weeks, does that make me better or an idiot for taking so much time? The only thing that really matters is the result, I would say.”
Dark Horse revealed today at New York Comic Con that it will publish Bad Blood, a five-issue vampire story by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry and Eisner Award-winning artist Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D., Petrograd).
“Bad Blood tells the story of Trick, a teenage slacker on the losing side of a fight with cancer,” Maberry, author of Ghost Road Blues, said in a statement. “When he’s attacked by a vampire, he figures it’s game over. Except that the chemo drugs in Trick’s blood poison the vampire. As punishment, the vampires begin slaughtering everyone Trick loves. So he goes hunting for the vamps to try to destroy them. His only superpower? The chemo drugs in his system are deadly to the undead. His only ally? A heroin-addicted Goth chick. Bad Blood brings the pain in a downbeat tale of heartbreak, loss, and courage.”
Bad Blood debuts Jan. 1.
We’re living in a “Lil’ Golden Age,” as publishers have discovered the genius of comics creators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani.
After showing off their trademark style on the DC heroes in comics like Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures, the duo has been tapped to create fun new versions of Hellboy and Battlestar Galactica. The collaborators also have their own line of original characters, following a successful Kickstarter project.
The kid-friendly designs they’ve applied to comics also work pretty well as plush toys, something Dark Horse is jumping all over it introduces plush versions of Itty Bitty Hellboy and Abe Sapien.
No word yet on when you’ll be able to cuddle with Mike Mignola’s signature creations, but Tomopop can show you what they’ll look like.
As promised last week with the debut of a not-so-mysterious teaser video, Dark Horse confirmed this morning at New York Comic Con that it will partner with game developer CD Projekt RED for a comic series based on The Witcher, with Paul Tobin on board as writer.
Based on the bestselling fantasy novels and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski, the hack-and-slash role-playing game follows Geralt, one of the few remaining “witchers,” traveling monster hunters for hire.