Dark Horse Comics Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

SDCC, Day 3 | The Force is with Marvel

star warsAlthough Saturday at Comic-Con International was dominated by movies and television — led by Warner Bros. Pictures, Marvel Studios and Legendary Pictures — there was still room for plenty of comics news. First and foremost, the announcement of Marvel’s Star Wars plans.

That line, telling canonical stories set between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, launches in January with Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, followed in February by Star Wars: Darth Vader, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov, and in March by the miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia, by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.

“What’s great about this time period is that all the characters are kind of on the table,” Aaron told CBR News. “Of course this is still early on and these people have pretty much just met each and just come together. So they’re still finding their place within this group and sort of figuring out their relationships with each other. Then there’s the fact that when you look at the gap between Episode IV and Episode V there’s some pretty major beats that happen off screen. So this gives up the opportunity to grab those beats and lay them down as part of the same canon as the movies.”

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SDCC | Surveying the calm before the storm

maze runner comicAlthough Preview Night is still hours away, there’s still plenty of Comic-Con International news and miscellaneous tidbits, ranging from early announcements and last-minute preparations to convention exclusives and recommendations. We’ve rounded up just some of them here.

Fox has partnered with BOOM! Studios to produce a convention-exclusive Maze Runner comic. Written by the film’s director and screenwriter, Wes Ball and T.S. Nowlin, and illustrated by Marcus To, the one-shot will be given to attendees of the studio’s Hall H presentation on Friday.

• Dark Horse rounds up its pre-convention announcements of 12 new creator-owned comics, including Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Alex Maleev, EI8HT, by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson, The Black Hammer, by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, and Fight Club 2, by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart.

• The online comics education resource Comics Experience has partnered with IDW Publishing to release creator-owned titles by new talent, beginning in January with five miniseries: Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira; Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek; Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley; and Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker.

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Dark Horse announces artist line-up for ‘The Sakai Project’ benefit book

The Sakai Project

The Sakai Project

Dark Horse Comics has announced the impressive list of artists who have contributed to The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo, the oversized hardcover benefit book for Stan and Sharon Sakai.

All proceeds from the book will go to the couple to help pay for the medical expenses of Sharon Sakai, who suffers from a debilitating illness that required an extended hospital stay and convalescence, followed by 24-hour home care and medications. The Comic Art Professional Society, which spearheaded a series of auctions to benefit the Sakais, is working in conjunction with Dark Horse to produce the book. The auctions are ongoing and can be found on the organization’s eBay page.

You can find the complete list of artists, along with the page number where their art will appear, below. The 160-page book will be released next Wednesday in comic shops and at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and will cost $29.99.

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SDCC | Wood enlists Mutti for Revolutionary War-era ‘Rebels’

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Ten months after he began dropping clues to the project, Brian Wood has announced Rebels, described as a “Northlanders-style series set in and around the American Revolution.”

Debuting in April from Dark Horse, the monthly series teams the writer with artist Andrea Mutti (DMZ, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), colorist Jordie Bellaire (Moon Knight, Pretty Deadly) and cover artist Tula Lotay (Supreme: Blue Rose) for an exploration of the lives of soldiers, and ordinary colonists, in the era of the Revolutionary War.

Wood tells Nerdist that while Rebels is rooted in the nation’s past, its themes will resonate with modern readers.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Blondie’ artist Frank Cummings passes away

Frank Cummings

Frank Cummings

Passings | Frank Cummings, an artist for the comic strip Blondie, has died at age 55, according to a posting on Blondie.com. No cause of death is given, but this obituary (in Italian) states he had a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Cummings started his career as a commercial artist and self-published his own satire magazine, JAB. Later on he illustrated the newsletter of diet and exercise guru Richard Simmons and did movie parodies for Cracked. He joined Blondie in 2004 as an assistant to head artist John Marshall. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Publishing | Former DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz has debuted an “occasional” column on the retail news and analysis site ICv2. [ICv2.com]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Chris Roberson on ‘Edison Rex,’ ‘Aliens’

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Given that Monkeybrain Comics just celebrated its second anniversary, on the heels of Co-Publisher Allison Baker joining IDW, it struck me as the ideal time to quiz Co-Publisher Chris Roberson.

In addition to discussing the new status quo for Monkeybrain (which surprisingly stays much the same as before, as Roberson explains), we also delve into Edison Rex Issue 16 arrives Wednesday — and dig into the writer’s first work for Dark Horse, Aliens: Fire and Stone, which debuts Sept. 24.

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SDCC | Dark Horse rolls out convention exclusives

dh-hellboy plush

With just three weeks until the official start of Comic-Con International, Dark Horse unleashed what it calls its “first wave” of convention-exclusive items, which includes a Usagi Yojimbo lithograph, Hellboy in Hell and Itty Bitty Hellboy hardcovers and — wait for it — an Itty Bitty Hellboy plush toy.

The products will be available throughout the convention at the Dark Horse booth (#2615), with the publisher allocating a set number of exclusives and limited editions for each day.

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Comics A.M. | Canada’s Johnny Canuck poised for revival

Johnny Canuck

Johnny Canuck

Publishing | Comics archivist and publisher Rachel Richey will launch a Kickstarter campaign in September to fund a collection of Johnny Canuck comics. Created by Leo Bachie and published from 1941 to 1946 by Dime Comics, the character was a super-patriotic hero who once fought Hitler mano-a-mano. Richey was behind last year’s successful Kickstarter to revive another uniquely Canadian character, Nelvana of the North. [Global News]

Digital comics | Todd Allen chats with the Madefire folks about branching out to Windows 8; they launched a free five-issue Transformers motion comics on Windows 8 just last week. Madefire is also available on iOS and via DeviantArt. [Publishers Weekly]

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Jim Gibbons seized control of Robot 6′s Tumblr

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[Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss “The best in comics from the last seven days” — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Dark Horse Comics Associate Editor Jim Gibbons is a seasoned social media user. Typically when Jim posts something on his Tumblr, it is something that already was on my radar or something that (thanks to Jim’s post) I put on my radar. A few weeks back, I was considering content that might work best for the Robot 6 Tumblr, when I stumbled upon the idea of somehow tapping into Gibbons’ nose for content. Continue Reading »

Becky Cloonan draws new cover for ‘Demo’ omnibus

demo-cloonan-cropped

Brian Wood has unveiled Becky Cloonan’s new cover art for Dark Horse’s upcoming Demo omnibus, which will collect both volumes of their breakout series. As the writer notes, the art is an updated version of the cover for 2003′s Demo #1.

Dark Horse announced last week that it will publish the collection of Wood and Ryan Kelly’s 2008 graphic novel The New York Four and 2010 sequel The New York Five in November, followed by Demo in April. According to Wood, both will be “high-end softcovers,” with plenty of extras, akin to Dark Horse’s 2012 collection of Channel Zero.

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Dark Horse to publish ‘New York Four’ and ‘Demo’ collections

new york fourDark Horse will publish omnibus editions of The New York Four and The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, and Demo, by Wood and Becky Cloonan. Editor Sierra Hahn told Publishers Weekly the acquisitions are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the young-adult market.

Published in 2008 by DC Comics’ short-lived Minx imprint aimed at teen girls, The New York Four centers on four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University. A sequel miniseries, The New York Five, debuted in 2010 from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Demo, released from November to 2003 to November 2004 by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for Wood and and Cloonan, who had previously collaborated on Channel Zero: Jennie One. The 12-issue series, which tells self-contained stories about young people with supernatural powers (well, mostly), was most recently collected in 2008 by Vertigo, which later published Wood and Cloonan’s sequel.

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Dark Horse to publish John Mueller’s remastered ‘OINK’

oink-heavens butcherDark Horse announced over the weekend at Phoenix Comicon that it will release the 20th-anniversary edition of OINK: Heaven’s Butcher, re-edited and remastered by creator John Mueller with new sequences.

Influenced by George Orwell, Pink Floyd and Simon Bisley, among others, OINK debuted in 1995 from Kitchen Sink Press, telling the dystopian story of pig-men who work as slaves to feed their human masters. But when Oink witnesses the execution of one of his comrades, he violently rebels and sets out on a quest for the truth about the creation of his race and revenge against its oppressors.

OINK is the foundation of my career, and I couldn’t really think of a better way to take another swing at comics,” Mueller, who’s been working on the remastered edition for more than six years, said in a 2013 interview. “I’m really proud of the work I’m doing for it, and I think it will lead to good things. There are also more OINK stories, and so I thought if I was going to do that I wanted to reset the foundation.”

OINK will be released in February. You can see art from the remastered edition on Mueller’s website and on the OINK blog.

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‘The Fifth Beatle,’ and the power of reality-based comics

Fifth BeatleMy labor-of-love graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story was recently nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, and after coming back down to Earth (I learned what it meant to jump for joy — I was airborne!) I realized that I was equally honored by the nomination itself as I was by being a part of the category. Comics have certainly entertained me over the years — but more than that they have educated and inspired me. Many people have asked why I chose the graphic novel medium to tell the Brian Epstein story, and the heart of my answer is my steadfast belief that comics is simply one of the most powerful mediums for telling reality-based stories. Comics can capture the factual history of a tale alongside its poetic essence in a way prose biographies couldn’t dream of.

RELATED: REVIEW: Tiwary, Robinson & Baker’s “The Fifth Beatle”

Many folks of Indian origin like myself can claim to have started reading comics when we were children. Indeed, many of us first learned our great Indian epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata through easy-to-digest (and fun), cheap comic book adaptations. These ashcan-like books may have seemed like merely disposable entertainment, but the epics they’re based on are touchstones of the Indian identity. Those comics surreptitiously taught us about who we are, where we come from, and the power of both story and history. It’s perhaps no surprise that my Indian parents loved comics, and some of my earliest memories include browsing the comics racks at Forbidden Planet with them (then going home to listen to their Beatles’ records). And even when my childhood longboxes were full of the funnies, I somehow sensed that comics were more than just “comic” books.

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Eric Powell confident ‘The Goon’ movie will find right studio

From "The Goon" story reel

From “The Goon” story reel

It’s been a long time coming, but Eric Powell has offered an update on the Kickstarter-funded story reel for a CG-animated adaptation of The Goon, teasing, “we continue to inch closer to our final goal of Franky, via Paul Giamatti, screaming ‘KNIFE TO THE EYE!’ in theaters world wide!”

“I have seen about 90% of the story reel footage, and I’m super proud of the efforts of everyone involved,” he wrote Wednesday on the Kickstarter page. “Everyone remains just as passionate as ever to get this film completed, and it shows in every frame of the story reel. We still have hurtles [sic] to cross, but armed with this story reel and your overwhelming support, we remain confident we will find the right home for this film.”

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Dark Horse rides again

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift Part One

Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift Pt. 1

With April sales numbers released from Diamond Comic Distributors, a subtle pattern has revealed itself: Dark Horse has reclaimed its position as fourth-largest publisher from IDW Publishing for three months straight. It’s a streak of growth in market and dollar share that hasn’t happened for Dark Horse since fall 2011.

It’s great news for an industry mainstay that seemed to be getting eclipsed by the younger IDW at its own game of mixing licensed properties with creator-owned titles. Whether it’s temporary or not, digging into the sales charts, it’s clear there’s more stability in Dark Horse’s catalog than there might first seem.

Obviously Star Wars is the property many know the company for, and when it was announced the license would move at the end of this year to Marvel, some worried how Dark Horse would carry on. However, most publishers realize that no license is forever, so Dark Horse has built a diverse library that seems to be lifting it up now. Despite such diversifying, Star Wars is still the big seller at comic shops, but it’s only the beginning. The back-to-back launch of The Star Wars, a comics adaptation of an early draft of George Lucas’ screenplay, and a back-to-basics Star Wars by Brian Wood provided two accessible titles; if you’d ever seen the original Star Wars trilogy, you’re all set. The last issue of The Star Wars comes out later this month, with a collection in both hardcover and softcover to follow in July.

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