Dark Horse Comics
Publishing | The Archie gang has canceled a (fictional) trip to Russia because of that country’s draconian anti-gay laws. One law would allow the arrest of foreigners suspected of being gay or “pro-gay,” while another defines any pro-gay statement as pornography and therefore makes it a criminal act to make such statements in front of anyone under the age of 18. Archie cartoonist Dan Parent, who created Riverdale’s first openly gay character, Kevin Keller, is taking a stand in his own way: “Russia should be boycotted, so much so that actually in an upcoming special four-issue story arc I’m writing the Archie gang are going to take a world tour to four countries. Russia was to be one of them. But they’re not going there now. They just can’t and they won’t. They love and support Kevin.” [Back2Stonewall]
Simply by “liking” the book’s Facebook page, fans will be entered into a contest, with one winner selected to be depicted in the 17th issue of Mind MGMT. If you’re already liked the page, you’re already entered.
Debuting in May 2012, the series follows a young journalist named Meru, who investigates a bizarre case of memory loss on an airline flight only to stumble headlong into a world of super-spies, hypnotic advertising, weaponized psychics and talking dolphins.
Fox is developing a film adaptation of Mind MGMT, produced by Ridley Scott through his Scott Free banner.
Mind MGMT #14 goes on sale Aug. 28.
USA Today has premiered the trailer for The Star Wars, the upcoming Dark Horse miniseries based on George Lucas’ rough draft for his 1977 blockbuster. Announced in April at WonderCon, the project is written by LucasBooks Executive Editor J.W. Rinzler and drawn by Mike Mayhew.
Lucas’ original 1974 version, called The Star Wars, featured elements that found their way, in substantially altered form, into ground-breaking movie franchise: “lazer swords,” Jedi Annikin Starkiller, General Luke Skywalker, an alien Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights.
“You can teach a college course on how he got from that story to his first Star Wars film,” Rinzler tells the newspaper. “Francis Ford Coppola read the rough draft and thought it was pretty good. He wasn’t really sure why George was changing it.”
The eight-issue miniseries debuts Sept. 4.
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Joining us today is Justin Aclin, writer of Hero House, S.H.O.O.T. First, Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Defenders of the Lost Temple and Akaneiro.
Now let’s get to it …
Conventions | Boston Comic Con is coming this weekend, and founder Nick Kanieff talks about how it has grown from 900 attendees at the first con, in 2007, to an expected 15,000 for this year’s event, which was rescheduled because of the Boston Marathon bombings. [MetroWest Daily News]
Publishing | Denis Kitchen discusses the return of Kitchen Sink Press to publishing as an imprint of Dark Horse. It kicks off in December with an anthology, The Best of Comix Book. [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | Peter Steiner’s cartoon, captioned “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” is the most-reproduced cartoon in the history of The New Yorker. On the 20th anniversary of its publication, Steiner looks back on its creation, which came about almost by chance, and the ways the world has changed in the interim. One interesting nugget: The most-reproduced cartoon in The New Yorker has brought its creator a total of $50,000 in royalties over the past 20 years. [Comic Riffs]
Dark Horse has been making a concerted effort over the past year to develop its superhero line, with titles like Ghost, X and The Victories. On Wednesday, the lineup expands further with the launch of the Captain Midnight ongoing series, written by Joshua Williamson and illustrated by Fernando Dagnino.
I can’t help but be excited by the potential appeal for this new series, which throws the World War II scientist-hero into the present day — particularly after Williamson praised James Robinson’s Starman: ”It’s one of the few books that — it made me cry.” My cautious optimism for the series was cemented in the midst of my interview with the writer, when he said of the Dark Horse superhero approach: “There is a subtle way to handle the superhero universe, and that’s what Dark Horse is doing.”
Once you’ve read the interview, be sure to enjoy the preview the publisher offered for Captain Midnight #1, on sale Wednesday.
Tim O’Shea: You leap right into the action with Issue 0, in which Captain Midnight lands in the present day, after just having been in the midst of World War II. What does it say about the character that he wasn’t thrown by being flung into the future?
Joshua Williamson: We knew that we wanted to separate Captain Midnight from other time-lost characters and set up two aspects: 1) He was disappointed by the future; 2) He was not surprised by time travel. Midnight was a genius first and a superhero second.
Midnight is a very interesting character in that he is no-nonsense and has such a black-and-white outlook on the world — very matter-of-fact. We wanted to get that across to our readers quickly in the zero issue and found that was the best way to do it.
News flows out of Comic-Con International like an avalanche: Sometimes the interesting announcements gets buried by the more glamorous and higher-profile projects. One story that caught my eye was that filmmaker Duncan Jones and 2000AD/Preacher artist Glenn Fabry will be collaborating on a graphic-novel adaptation of Jones’ unproduced script Mute for Dark Horse.
Mute was originally planned to be Jones’ second film, after the much-praised Moon. Failing to secure funding for the ambitious, Blade Runner-influenced, project meant Jones was forced to move on. His second film instead was Source Code, a rollicking adventure that showed Jones as a capable director of action, after the more sedentary thrills of Moon. He’s now in the pre-production stages of the World of Warcraft movie, the sort of potential franchise tentpole film that could result in Jones being trusted with a budget large enough to make any feature he wants. Jones debuted a “mood piece” — a teaser trailer — for Warcraft, currently unavailable online (but a few souls in attendance in Hall H have posted their descriptions of it). He’s been talking up turning Mute into a graphic novel since 2011, when he told Gordon and the Whale:
As the Comic-Con International hangover sets in and the industry goes silent while creators, editors, publishers and publicists stagger home from San Diego, we’ll take a few minutes to try to collect the comics-related highlights of this year’s event. We’ll attempt to update as more panel reports appear and other information trickles out.
• Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Hawkeye‘s David Aja, and Building Stories by Chris Ware were the big winners at the 2013 Eisner Awards.
• At Diamond Comic Distributors’ Retailer Appreciation Lunch, Marvel teased the arrival of Marvelman — it’s been four years since the publisher revealed it had acquired the rights to the property — and, scheduled for January, a new wave of Marvel NOW! titles. In convention panels, the company announced: Wolverine: Origin II, by Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert; the return of Nightcrawler in the first arc of Amazing X-Men, by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness; the November debut of Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe, by Chris Hastings and Jacopo Camagni; “Afterparty,” a two-issue arc of Young Avengers that celebrates Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s first year on the series; Steve McNiven will join Rick Remender in November on Uncanny Avengers; Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand, a Galactus-focused Ultimate Universe event by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley; and the January-launching Revolutionary War, in which writer Andy Lanning and “various superstar artists,” will resurrect some of the Marvel UK characters.
Dark Horse, which earlier this year acquired the comic-book license for Halo, will launch the first ongoing series based on the blockbuster video game franchise in December. According to Wired, the announcement will be made today at Comic-Con International in San Diego by franchise development director Frank O’Conner.
Based on the storyline of Halo 4, which arrives in November from Microsoft Studios, Halo: Escalation will be penned by the game’s lead writer Chris Schlerf, with art for the first three issues provided by Omar Francia (Mass Effect and Star Wars: Legacy comics). The covers will be illustrated by Dragon Age comics artist Anthony Palumbo.
Writer Anina Bennett and artist Paul Guinan join the Monkeybrain Comics line with today’s digital re-release of first episode of their creator-owned Heartbreakers, which originally appeared in Dark Horse Presents #35 in 1989.
The sci-fi adventure has gathered has gathered a growing following over the years, and as it turns out Monkeybrain Co-Publisher Chris Roberson is one of those longtime fans.
Bennett and Guinan spoke with ROBOT 6 about the history and influence of Heartbreakers, its digital debut, and why they partnered with Monkeybrain. To learn how real-world events helped to change the direction of Heartbreakers makes me even more interested to see how Bennett and Guinan plan to observe the comic’s 25th anniversary next year.
If you’re attending Comic-Con International in San Diego, be sure to visit Bennett and Guinan in Artists Alley at Booth CC-01.
I’m a massive Beatles nerd. I can still remember the funny looks on the faces of the locals, some amazed, some horrified, as I gave a breathless real-time breakdown of all the references and visual puns in the “Free As A Bird” video as it played on the TV in the corner of a bar back in 1995. I’ve read countless books on the band over the years, good and bad, and have been looking forward to The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker with a certain relish.
It’s hard to get any freshness into such a well-worn tale, but that seems to be Robinson’s job in the creative team: Every page previewed so far shows him marrying a caricaturist’s knack for capturing likenesses to Sienkiewicz-like expressionism and multimedia experimentation for this project.
Now Dark Horse has debuted the trailer for The Fifth Beatle (below) that will be playing at the publisher’s booth throughout Comic-Con International in San Diego (Tiwary and Robinson will be signing there Friday at 3 p.m.). The video features plenty of tantalizing fleeting glimpses of Robinson’s art, but there’s no sign of any of Kyle Baker’s section though. He’s provided the art for a sequence based on the style of the old King Features Syndicate cartoons, but a thorough shakedown of my usual sources has failed to produce any examples yet. I’m sure time will tell soon enough on that score.
The graphic novel will be released Nov. 19.
As if Comic-Con International attendees didn’t have enough on their dance cards, here’s one more thing: Geof Darrow is debuting his “first-ever” published sketchbook in San Diego. Titled DMFAO, this limited-edition book is a mix of covers, commissions and rarely seen artwork Darrow has produced recently for U.S., European and Japanese publications. DMFAO will be available at Darrow’s booth (#5000), but he has no plans to sell it online or by mail-order.
Darrow got his start in comics with another art collection (a portfolio of prints) with Moebius in 1984 called La Cité Feu. Darrow met Moebius while the French artist was working on 1982′s Tron, and ended up being introduced to Frank Miller at Moebius’ home, which led to several collaborations over the years.
The artist is in the middle of a return to comics with new Shaolin Cowboy stories at Dark Horse, and he’s creating covers for Marvel’s Deadpool. Here’s a full look at DMFAO‘s cover, along with some recent work Darrow has put online:
The 4-inch super-stylized Pop! Vinyl version of Superman puts Domo in a version of the costume worn by Henry Cavill in Man of Steel, while the Batman Metallic variant gives the original Batman Domo a shiny new look. They’re $15 each.
The convention will also mark the debut of the limited-edition 2-inch Caveman Domo ($9), produced in partnership with Dark Horse.
Creators | Dark Horse announced that legendary Lone Wolf and Cub writer Kazuo Koike will be its guest of honor at Comic-Con International in San Diego, where he’ll sign July 18-19 at the publisher’s booth (#2615). In 2014, Dark Horse will debut New Lone Wolf and Club, the 11-volume series by Koike and Hideki Mori (original artist Goseki Kojima passed away in 2000) that picks up where the initial saga ended. [Dark Horse]
Awards | The Judging Panel for the British Comic Awards has been announced. This panel will choose the final winners from a shortlist sent to them by the Judging Committee, which screens nominations from the public. [Forbidden Planet]
Commentary | Steve Morris pens a thoughtful essay on cost versus content in comics and what exactly you are paying for with your $2.99 (or, more frequently these days, $3.99). [The Beat]
Comic-Con International continued to reveal the programming schedule for San Diego as they rolled out the panels and events scheduled for Saturday, July 20.
The third day brings panels from Skybound, BOOM!, Archaia, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, Drawn + Quarterly, Top Cow, Archie, Action Lab Entertainment, IDW and Rebellion, Dark Horse, Image Comics, Valiant and Lion Forge Comics, the makers of those Saved by the Bell and Knight Rider comics that are coming soon. DC has panels dedicated to Green Lantern, Superman’s 75th anniversary, Sandman and Batman: Year Zero, while Marvel has panels on Infinity, their video games, animation slate and their movies, which include Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (no doubt they’ll have a little more than that). In what is likely his first trip to Comic-Con, Congressman John Lewis will be on hand to talk about his book from Top Shelf, March.
You’ll also find spotlight panels on Russ Heath, Sam Kieth, Val Mayerik, Vera Brosgol, John Romita Jr., Jon Bogdanove, Jim Lee, George Perez, Gerry Conway, Frank Brunner, Roy Thomas and Paul Dini, as well as a tribute to Joe Kubert. The day wraps up with the annual CCI Masquerade.
Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule: