Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
It’s the end of an era. B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: Gods #3 hits stores today, the final issue of the long-running Hellboy spinoff’s latest miniseries — and with it, the tenure of Guy Davis as the series’ regular artist draws to a close. Davis will be returning for the occasional project in Mike Mignola’s unique horror-adventure universe, and everyone involved gives his replacement, near-overnight success story Tyler Crook, their vote of confidence; given Mignola and company’s track record in selecting artists, from Davis to Duncan Fegredo to Richard Corben, I’m inclined to take them at their word. Even so, as I wrote at length the other day, Davis’ work on B.P.R.D with Mignola, lead writer John Arcudi, and colorist Dave Stewart (not to mention letterer Clem Robins and editor Scott Allie) has been one of the past decade’s absolute high-water marks for superhero (or supernatural action, if you prefer) comics. From sadness to spectacle, horror to humor, stunning creature designs to quiet character moments, there was pretty much nothing the guy couldn’t do.
In honor of Davis, Arcudi, Mignola, and Stewart’s remarkable achievement, I’ve selected a suite of my favorite moments from the Guy Davis era of B.P.R.D.. And in honor of the Ogdru Jahad, the Seven-Who-Are-One dark gods whose rise the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is battling (perhaps in vain) to stop, I’ve expanded the list past our usual “Six by 6″ format to include seven stunning scenes. My hope is that they showcase the range, subtlety, sophistication, and power of one of the best artists working in genre comics — arguably in all of comics — today, and highlight just how well he and his collaborators worked together. Just be warned: SPOILERS AHEAD.
On any other day this would have been the very first thing I wrote about, but I figured you may have already been aware, thanks to the high-pitched wails of “NOOOOOOOOOO” that echoed throughout Twitterdom when the news broke Saturday at Emerald City Comicon: Artist Guy Davis is leaving B.P.R.D. The current B.P.R.D: Hell on Earth: Gods miniseries will mark the end of Davis’s run as the regular artist for the core Hellboy spinoff, which along with its parent title formed the heart of the “Mignolaverse.” Newcomer Tyler Crook will take over as the book’s artist with the subsequent arc, Monsters — his second-ever comic from a major publisher. Davis himself will focus on his creator-owned title The Marquis and other projects. Click the links for CBR’s interviews with both artists on the changeover.
Courtesy of our friends at Dark Horse, we’re pleased to bring you a couple of cover reveals for their June-shipping books. First up is Conan: Island of No Return #1, above, which is by Michael Kutsche. The book itself is by the team of Ron Marz, Bart Sears and Randy Elliott, features Conan teaming up with a pair of sister thieves for a heist.
And after the jump you’ll find the two covers for the third issue of Solomon Kane: Red Shadows, by Guy Davis and Gregory Manchess. In that issue, Bruce Jones and Rahsan Ekedal take Kane to Africa. You’ll also find complete solicitation information for both books.
Click below for high adventure …
Dark Horse has a new Solomon Kane miniseries, subtitled “Red Shadows,” that starts in April. Written by Bruce Jones with art by Rahsan Ekedal, each issue will feature covers by Guy Davis and Gregory Manchess, with an assist from colorist Dave Stewart. And courtesy of Dark Horse, we’re pleased to bring you a first look at the covers for issue #2.
The Davis cover is up top, and you can find the Manchess one, along with solicitation info, after the jump.
Although I’ve never been to the Emerald City Comicon itself, I dig the artwork they get for the Monsters & Dames art book. Case in point: the above illustration by Guy Davis.
This year’s book once again benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital, and includes contributions from Geof Darrow, Cully Hamner, Humberto Ramos, Frank Cho, Yanick Paquette, Skottie Young, Aaron Lopresti, Cliff Chiang, Mike McKone and many more. After the jump you’ll find their official PR, along with a few more images.
Last month the artist blog Comic Twart did themed drawings around the idea “What if Comic Twart ran Marvel?” In that spirit, writer/artist Matthew Dow Smith (Dr. Who) shares his rendition of a Captain Britain that was originally redesigned by Guy Davis (B.P.R.D.). It was part of a pitch they made to Marvel.
“… I spent a lot of time early in my career pitching projects that I could write to anyone who would listen, and the closest I ever came to getting one off the ground was a Captain Britain mini-series at Marvel, with Guy Davis on board as the artist,” he said on his blog. “This was right as Marvel had put Grant Morrison on the X-Men, and they were open to a lot of new directions for their stable of characters. And Guy and I had planned out a pretty radical new direction for Brian Braddock. Unfortunately, our editor was suddenly let go before we started work on the first issue and the project got dropped, but Guy had already turned in a radical redesign of CB’s costume that would have played in perfectly with our plans for the character, which included him finding Excalibur and becoming tied directly to the Arthur legend.”
I apologize for not having this up earlier, but we left Chicago right after the show and didn’t arrive home until the wee hours of this morning. I was too pooped to post, but I’m sufficiently awake now to give it a shot.
My intention for Sunday was to see some more panels and do some shopping, but it ended up being lower key than that. I skipped the panels, which is usual behavior from me on convention Sundays after being overloaded on Saturday. Attendance was down from Saturday and that also helped make it more laid back, but there was still a nice crowd, many of whom had come out just for the day. And there were tons of kids.
I babysat Grant Gould’s table while he and Katie Cook conducted a panel for kids on drawing Star Wars characters. I’m sorry I missed it because Grant said it went really well. There were kids sitting on the floor in front of the stage and drawing as he and Katie instructed and cracked jokes.
Kids vs Grown-Ups, shopping, and I meet my own heroes after the break.
Earlier I shared some anniversary greetings from AppleGeek artist Hawk and Dark Horse, and now here’s a second piece of artwork that Dark Horse sent over. This one has left several Robot 6 posters drooling. It’s by Guy Davis (The Marquis, B.P.R.D., Sandman Mystery Theatre, Baker Street) and Dave Stewart (Hellboy, Umbrella Academy, B.P.R.D., Conan, DC: The New Frontier) and it looks absolutely fantastic.
Does this mean we’re part of the Hellboy universe now? Because that would be pretty cool. Special thanks to Guy, Dave and Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for making our first anniversary just a little more special.
BONUS: Check out Guy’s preliminary pencils and inks of the piece after the jump …
Here’s Red in your eye: The Autumn Society, a collective of Philadelphia-based illustrators, is paying homage to the 15th anniversary of Mike Mignola’s signature creation Hellboy with an art show that opens tonight at 6 p.m. at comics retailer Brave New Worlds. Click here to see a gallery of the contributors’ pieces for the show — a truly dazzling array if you have any interested whatsoever in what Mignola (and John Arcudi, and Guy Davis, and Duncan Fegredo, and and and…) hath wrought.
(Hat tip: TJ Dietsch)
John Arcudi has been working in the comic book industry since the mid-1980s. Most recently he has bolstered his fanbase as one of the writers (along with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola) of the various B.P.R.D. miniseries for Dark Horse. I recently caught up with him for a succinct, yet informative and entertaining email interview.
Tim O’Shea: How do you and Mignola break down the writing chores on B.P.R.D.?
John Arcudi: It changes from series to series. Sometimes Mike hands me a loose plot and I flesh it out, sometimes Mike writes some of the series and I write some (that’s how we did our first, “The Dead“) and sometimes I do most of the writing with some contributions from Mike. There is no standard procedure.
O’Shea: What attracted you to delving into the dark and complicated, while at the same witty, Hellboy universe?
Arcudi: Actually, a chance to work with Mike and Guy Davis was all the motivation I needed. But it is nice that I get to have a little fun with the characters. Most comics are so serious, so it’s nice to have a laugh now and again.