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With their powers combined, Dark Horse Comics and Swyft Media have taken “Hellboy,” “Itty Bitty Hellboy” and “Usagi Yojimbo” into all-new territory with a series of emoji keyboards based on the properties, each of which will provide digital stickers, photo filters and phone themes of the characters.
The emoji keyboards will be available in several apps and marketplaces, including BBM, Photofy, PicsArt, CocoPPa, and Xbox Live Marketplace, as well as in the Apple iTunes App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android. The apps will allow the emoji keyboards to be used in services like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, LINE, Skype, WhatsApp and more. “Hellboy,” “Itty Bitty Hellboy” and “Usagi Yojimbo” are just three of the upcoming Dark Horse properties that will find their ways to a digital audience.
We debuted Mondo’s First Hellboy statue, based Mike Mignola’s original drawing of the character, earlier this month, but this morning the collectible art boutique revealed more of its offerings for Comic-Con International.
They include a limited-edition Ant-Man poster by Kevin Tong, inspired by the upcoming Marvel Studios film, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Leonardo collectible figure, and a vinyl edition of the Aliens soundtrack and a die-cut single of the themes from Superman: The Animated Series. (You may recall that last year Mondo released Batman: The Animated Series on 7-inch and 12-inch die-cut vinyl).
On the heels of its First Turtle Figure, Mondo has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at its First Hellboy statue, based on Mike Mignola’s original 1991 convention illustration of a demon. While the character that debuted some two years later bears little resemblance to that figure, Mignola apparently knew he was onto something with the name on the belt buckle: “Hellboy.”
Mondo’s 12-inch statue showcases many of the details of that 24-year-old drawing, from the fish and crab dangling from Hellboy’s belt to the vulture perching on his wings to the demon’s body hair. Mignola’s longtime collaborator Dave Stewart was also recruited to devise the color scheme.
Although Regaliceratops peterhewski likely didn’t possess a Right Hand of Doom or a fondness for pancakes and cigars, paleontologists had a devil of a time excavating the 600-pound fossil skull, earning it the nickname “Hellboy.”
According to National Geographic, it was only afterward that researchers made the connection between the many-horned dinosaur — it’s a close relative of the Triceratops — and Mike Mignola’s famed demonic hero.
If you’ve been hoping to jump-start Ragnarok or merely lay a smackdown on some supernatural foes, here’s your chance: Hellboy’s Right Hand of Doom is up for sale.
The replica from Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 adaptation Hellboy is just one of the items going on the block Friday in Los Angeles as part of the “Rick Baker: Monster Maker” auction. Organized by the Prop Store, the sale features more than 400 items from the Hollywood effects legend’s lengthy career.
In times of financial crisis, the world turns to colorful comic-book heroes and villains in this series by Italian artist Alessandro Rabatti.
For “Facebank,” Rabatti reworked graphic elements of banknotes from U.S., British and Chinese currency to merge George Washington and Mao Zedong to create Spider-Man, Queen Elizabeth II and Zedong to make Wolverine and Catwoman, and Abraham Lincoln and Zedong come together to form Batman, and so on. Clearly the takeaway here is that Mao Zedong is incredibly versatile.
Dark Horse Comics is celebrating Hellboy’s 21st birthday with a beer — specifically, the Right Hand of Doom Red Ale, a limited edition release from Oregon-based Rogue Ales.
Though available nationally at Rogue.com, the Right Hand of Doom debuts in Portland at the Things From Another World Comics store, where Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will be signing books alongside Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT), Eric Powell (The Goon) and Brian Wood (Rebels) on Friday, Feb. 20.
Crime | Nineteen people were sent to hospitals early Sunday following what appears to have been the intentional release of chlorine gas at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont, Illinois, host of the Midwest FurFest furry convention. The incident began shortly after midnight, when firefighters and hazmat crews responded to a complaint of a noxious odor on the ninth floor of the hotel, where they found high levels of chlorine gas. Guests were evacuated, with many sent to the nearby Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Hazmat technicians found what they suspect to be powdered chlorine in a stairwell at the ninth floor. The Rosemont police are treating the event as a crime, as it appears the gas release was intentional. The hotel was decontaminated and the attendees were allowed to return around 4:20 a.m. Midwest FurFest, which with nearly 4,000 attendees in 2013 claims to be the second-largest furry convention in the world, issued a statement about the incident. [Chicago Tribune]
“What keeps this industry alive is creators doing their own work. Once you change a costume or origin enough times, it’s a dead body — you’re just electrocuting it and keeping it sort of shambling on. There is a lot more creator-owned stuff now, and some of it I look at and go, ‘Oh, that’s his pitch for a TV show. That’s his pitch for a movie. That’s him saying oh, this kind of thing sells.’ I didn’t do that. My one piece of advice to people who are saying “‘I wanna do it, but DC and Marvel pay so well …’ is that in between your big paying gigs, just find time just to do one comic! It doesn’t have to be a 6,000-page epic! It doesn’t have to be Hellboy! Ten years down the road, when you’re scrambling for work or drawing some book you hate, at least you did something when you had fire in your belly that’s really you.”
Manga | The top-selling manga in Japan this year was One Piece, with nearly 11.9 million volumes sold; Attack on Titan came in a close second, with 11.7 million. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Jim Zubkavich updates his post from last year about the long-term sales and profitability of his series Skullkickers. There are some interesting angles to this, including the cost of his deluxe collected editions, the boost he got from his “reboot,” and the importance of digital sales in the long term: “Since there’s no print run or storage limit with digital they continue to build profitability over the long haul (particularly with the early issues as new readers sample the series during comiXology sales). Many issues that lost money in their initial print release have been able to make back their losses thanks to digital.” [Zub Tales]
Dark Horse will celebrate the 200th issue of Dark Horse Presents in February with an 80-page installment that includes the first U.S. publication of “Masks,” a short story by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn and veteran artist Dave Gibbons.
The story, about a mother turned masked vigilante, originally appeared in April as part of The Guardian’s celebration of the opening of the “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the U.K.” exhibition at the British Museum. “Masks” marks Flynn’s comics debut.
Graphic novels | Although BookScan’s September list of the bestselling graphic novels in bookstores is populated largely by old stalwarts — The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, Saga, Watchmen — Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1, the only Marvel title on the chart, clung to the Top 20 in its second month of release (although it slipped from No. 4. to No. 20). Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, meanwhile, climbed in its third month to No. 6. One new manga debuted at No. 12: Noragami, about a homeless god who does odd jobs as he tries to build up his reputation; the anime is already out, which probably gave it a boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | A television reporter pays a visit to the Last Gasp offices to talk about the Kickstarter recently launched by the longtime publisher of underground comics (and other quirky books). It’s worth a look just to see the owner’s amazing collection of oddities. [NBC Bay Area]
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.
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.
Legal | Signe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, has been named in a defamation lawsuit filed against the newspapers by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and his wife Lise Rapaport. The judge and his wife accuse the two papers of running a smear campaign against them, and the suit specifically mentions a Wilkinson cartoon satirizing their marital and work relationship (it’s complicated). Blogger Alan Gardner adds that he hasn’t been able to find a case in which a cartoonist was successfully sued for defamation, although in this case the newspapers’ reporting is part of the issue as well. [Philadelphia, The Daily Cartoonist]