Posts tagged Dark Horse

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Comics Review: Crime Does Not Pay vol.8

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Comics Review: Crime Does Not Pay vol. 8: ed. Philip R. Simon

Review by Prof. Jenn

cdnp8The 8th volume of vintage comics, Crime Does Not Pay, is an entertaining collection of not only vintage true crime comic stories but a delightful and instructional collection of vintage ads as well. Remember when I reviewed volume 5? Well volume 8 is even more entertaining as well as historically educational.

The true crime stories in this volume are more gruesome than in volume 5, and more diverse, as we have female villains in this as well as your customary male ’30s-’40s gangster types. The ghostly narrator character is back, celebrating his acolytes’ descent into worse and worse malfeasance, until their comeuppance causes the repeated declaration, Crime Does Not Pay. The art is colorful and newspaper-y in style, and the ads are a continued delight in historical study and odd nostalgia, as are the letters to the editor. Two dollars for a published letter? Count me in…

Bottom Line: The Crime Does Not Pay series is a fun read and an excellent exercise in edutainment.

 

 

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Comics Review: Serenity–Leaves on the Wind

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Comics Review: Serenity–Leaves on the Wind #1-2 by: Zack Whedon, various

Review by: Prof. Jenn

 

…and if the title of the new comic series set just a little while after the events of Serenity doesn’t make you cry, go back and watch the whole series of Firefly, then the movie. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Tragically, it won’t take long…

Also: SPOILERS if you’re not a Browncoat, so be warned.

 

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The first two issues of Dark Horse’s new series Serenity–Leaves on the Wind takes up just a little while after Serenity the movie left off: River is still odd but much stabler in her new role as pilot, Zoe is about to have her baby (and is haunted by the ghost of her beloved husband), and everyone’s favorite Firefly-class ship and its denizens is in hiding. The ‘verse is reeling from the exposure of what the Alliance had done to Miranda, and rumors (and rebellions) abound. Some of the spunkier rebels will do anything to lasso Mal and co. into joining their cause, including conscripting Jayne (who’s not still on the ship but doing who knows what when we encounter him again, though apparently money still talks when it comes to Jayne) to run Mal to ground.

The storyline is engaging of course–I mean, who hasn’t been wanting to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT in the ‘verse–and the dialogue is written masterfully, with that same unique cadence heard in the television series. The art is what I would call “posh-comic” style: a semi-realistic look with muted colors amid the dark outlines. Overall as a sweeping statement, I would say the series is very high quality, and is shaping up to be an excellent mollifier to all of us still wanting to live in “the black.” One teensy little nitpicky thing I can mention is that sometimes the characters don’t look, well, like them. It’s a tricky balancing act, the comic based on a TV show, as I’ve been saying about the Doctor Who comics: there’s a fine line between doing actor-portraits and just portraying the character himself. In this series so far, it works most of the time, but every once in a while when we look at Mal or Simon especially we get yoinked out of our suspension of disbelief. This is a minor point, however, in light of the exciting tension and warmth of character continuing in this series. I cannot wait till #3!

Side Note: such a cute moment when Zoe reveals what her newborn daughter’s name is. That scene could have been right out of the TV show, if it had continued (/sniff).

Bottom Line: This series is highly recommended, though I would not start on it till after you’ve enjoyed Firefly in its entirety, including the movie Serenity. You’ll get spoilers and just won’t understand what’s going on unless you do.

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Comic Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale Of The Golem HC

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Being a World War II historian and a fan of the golem legend, Breath of Bones was a perfect combination of good storytelling and fantastic line art that held my interest the whole way through. The tale is told from the point of view of Noah, an Allied soldier who is going to take care of the upcoming attack with a repeat of something that happened to him as a young boy. And, so, we get pulled back to his childhood and a recounting of how his village survived with faith and strength.

When Noah was just a child, his father went to war along with the other able-bodied men of their village. Noah was left to live with his grandparents and wait, everyday, for his father to return. Sadly, the stark reality of war is that he will never see his father again. The monsters of Nazi Germany has stolen away this young boy’s childhood and made him grow up way too fast. But pretty soon the war is not some far-away threat, but one that is knocking on their village’s front door.

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An Allied soldier by the name of Simon Richards crashes his plane near the village. Noah and his grandfather, along with the rest of the villagers, hide him away and put out the fires of the crash, but pretty soon the event draws the attention of the Germans who send two soldiers to check it out. The villagers almost get away with the secret they are keeping, but after accidental exposure of Simon during a search and a resulting shootout that leaves one German soldier dead, one German soldier injured yet able to escape, and Noah’s grandfather bleeding from a gunshot wound, it is evident that the monsters outside will soon be coming into their home. It is up to them to fight or run away scared.

This is where the golem legend comes into play. Noah’s grandfather, Jacob, gifted him with a small clay figure prior, one that has been passed down from grandfather to grandson for many generations. Jacob is going to use the golem legend to build a large clay figure that will come to life through the power of faith and protect them from the oncoming Nazi attack. He gets the townspeople’s help to create the figure and then sends them on their way, hoping that they can escape to safety before the Germans come back. Choosing to stay behind, Noah, his grandmother, Jacob, and Simon all stand their ground and watch as the golem does indeed do what it was meant to do. And once his mission is completed, the golem goes back to being just clay again. The village is safe, for now.

And it is this memory of faith and safety that Noah uses again in present day. As we close the series, he is beginning to shape another figure out of clay so that the golem can rise up again and defend good men against the monsters. It’s a wonderful ending to a wonderful story. If you’re a fan of WWII, or the golem legend, or just a fan of great artwork and great storytelling, you cannot go wrong with Breath of Bones. Pick up your copy today and revisit the notion that good can indeed triumph over evil.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Double Review: Axe Cop & Star Trek / Dr. Who Crossover

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It’s another two-fer review, readers!


Axe Cop: President of the World, Part 2
If you are a regular reader, you’ll know I am already an Axe Cop fan. President of the World delivers all the strange, fresh fun and weirdness that makes Axe Cop so entertaining. It’s interesting, though–remember when I interviewed Ethan Nicholle, and asked him what he predicted would change about Axe Cop once his little brother starts getting older? I noticed two things right away about President of the World that are significantly different than older Axe Cop issues: one is, Axe Cop actually has a female best friend (she’s “one of the only girls he [does] not think of as dumb”). And she’s pretty cool, too–though she appears so briefly in this story, I’d like to see more of what the Water Queen can do.
The other most significant difference in this recent Axe Cop might just be me, but it  strikes me that this issue is much more violent than previous stories. It’s, well…kind of dark in some places. The bad guys really are working with complex psychology, and there’s lots of mass devastation, too. This is a good thing–I think the more Axe Cop evolves, the more compelling it will continue to be.
Also, it’s really cool to have Axe Cop in color.

 


Star Trek TNG/Dr. Who Crossover, Assimilation2 #4
Wil Wheaton is right when he shares memories of the future that Star Trek TNG is quite talk-y. This could make for a very static, text-heavy comic, even with the eccentric action of the Doctor thrown in. However, the almost-Impressionist style of art in this comic makes for much emotion and movement in every frame, even just in discussion scenes. The painterly style with its rich jewel-toned color and broad brush strokes is lovely to look at.
About the premise: does the idea of the Borg and the Cybermen teaming up terrify the bejeezus out of you as much as it does me? Also: duh, of course Guinan and the Doctor are sort of a breed alike. Actually, I’m now convinced Guinan is actually a Time Lady.
This issue is sort of a detective story, in that the crew and company are investigating what happened down on a planet between the inhabitants, the Borg and the Cybermen. So we do the classic away team and go investigate. It’s got the Star Trek and the Doctor Who tropes I want as a reader, along with the novelty of the mashup, and the story rolls along like a good episode of either. I found myself hoping Amy’s red hair didn’t make her a redshirt.
Really, when I first heard that they were going to do a comics mashup with Dr. Who and Star Trek, I thought, “Why hasn’t that happened before?” This is delivering.

I recommend both of these comics, highly.   ~Prof. Jenn

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Interview: Steve Niles and Menton3

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As many of you know, a new project between comics writer Steve Niles and breakout artist Menton3 was recently announced and has stirred up quite a bit of excitement. Personally, I’m jumping up and down, squeeing like a child going to Disney for the first time. Steve Niles is an amazing story teller, specifically in the realm of horror. Menton3 creates some of the most intense and beautifully crafted art landscapes the comic industry has ever seen. These two together? Explosions will surely happen. Not only are these guys both incredible creators, they are also super nice, down to earth dudes and they were awesome enough to let me nail them down for an afternoon chat about Nosferatu Wars. The conversation veered into so many directions; Steve and Menton were candidly honest about who they are and why they love being part of the comics industry. I found the whole thing thought provoking, intriguing and just lots of fun. I hope you do too.

Steve Niles/ Menton3 interview:

Lissa: Ok, guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to me, I know you both have tons of projects going on right now.

Steve: Of course.

Menton:  It’s a nice break for me, to stop and do this, I’m about to kill myself on Monocyte 3.

L: I’ve covered few things for the two of you separately recently, including a review of the Saltillo (pronounced SAL-tillo) Monocyte album for you, Menton, and the Criminal Macabre Omnibus #2 review for you, Steve. It’s so much fun to have a joint project now with both you to talk about and anticipate.

S: Actually, Monica (Steve Niles’ fiancée, Monica Richards) and I are sitting here waiting for the pallet of cd’s and books to arrive for the album we did which Menton did some artwork for. It’s Monica Richards’ new cd with fully illustrated book!

L: I’m just going to start signing my paychecks over to you guys. Ok, so a little question I’d like to ask that is sort of fun, ‘can you summarize Nosferatu Wars in one sentence?’

S: No, and that’s the beauty of it! I’m not worried about being able to pitch it to a movie studio; this is just a fun comic book for me and Menton to do. I’ve had people ask me ‘what’s the pitch?’ and I tell them it’s a three part trilogy. It’s a huge story and what I love about it is that we can’t tell it in one sentence. I spent the last 11 years writing stories that I could tell in one sentence, it’s really nice to have one that’s impossible to.

M: I’m the worst person at that, I’m the most long winded son of a bitch, so for me to say what I want for dinner in one sentence is saying a lot. I’m a complete geek, I’ve only been doing comics for, like, 2 years and I’m a huge fan of Steve. To be able to do a vampire book with him has been a dream of mine for a really long time, then to be able to do it at Dark Horse, it just gets better and better. But, I don’t really know how to summarize it in one sentence besides ‘holy shit, I’m excited!’.

L: I think that’s perfectly acceptable.

S: This thing is happening in comics more and has completely taken over movies. I literally won’t watch trailers anymore because now we live in this world where people want to know the entire plot of everything before they’ll go pay money for it, and I hate that. We have one big part of this, of Nosferatu Wars, that we’re keeping hidden because it’s just going to be more fun to read it than if I say it all in an interview or a plug. For me it’s fairly traditional vampires, during the black plague, in love, having the time of their lives. Something separates them for 500 years and that launches us into the middle story and then the last element of this being the lovers’ return, looking for each other in modern day. One of the really fun parts of this is we get to spend a whole lot of time playing in the Dark Ages, during the ‘Black Death’.

L: Oh, god, throwing vampires together in a story with the black plague is such a cool idea; it creates a whole new twist and concepts to work with in the classic vampire story.

S: Here’s the thing: during the black plague it was the commoners dying in the streets, out in the countryside were all the rich, holed up in their homes, and that’s where the vampires are hunting. So they get fresh, clean, rich meat. The vampires are going from castle to castle, dining on the best quality blood they can. Nobody’s looking for them anymore, every death they cause is blamed on the black plague.

L: How did you guys end up getting together for this project?

S: You want us to tell the fictional, exciting version or the boring one? We shook hands, met, began talking and fell in love. I can tell that in one line!

L: That was pretty simple. So, what’s the fictional version?

M: Steve’s really a vampire. I’m his chosen one to carry the torch after he’s goes into hiding. I don’t fucking know, I’m talking out of my ass now. (Laughs) Well, we met at SDCC, but starting talking before that.

S: Honestly, we just hit it off right away. At the time, we were at the IDW booth and I remember just immediately getting along and jamming out ideas. Normally at conventions, you meet each other, shake hands, it’s whatever; Menton and I just knew immediately that we were going to be working together.

M: I think me and Steve were kind of cut from the same cloth a little bit, I don’t mean that pretentiously but we both have musical backgrounds, we both grew up in subcultures that were similar and I think we just had a lot in common. So we were on that IDW panel and we were just like two kids in church, giggling, taking pictures of each other and posting them on Facebook.

S: It’s true, though; we found out that we had connections from years back because Menton knows Monica, my fiancée, from the music scene. I think that’s a major element of why we work together so easily is because of our roots in music. The music industry is where you learn how to cooperate; you don’t get anything done without cooperation. More of that kind of community in comics would be great. But we come out of that; me and Menton are able to apply that to our comics work.

(more…)

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Review: The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde

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Publisher: Dark Horse

Writer: Cole Haddon

Art: M.S. Corley

Available now 

Cole Haddon tells a story of Mr. Hyde that you probably haven’t heard before, as well as a theory of Jack the Ripper that you haven’t heard before, which is saying a lot, considering many writers have tried their hand at Ripper stories. The story is that these two infamous men not only shared characters in their gruesome tales, but influenced each other in a monumental way. It’s an intriguing idea, one that I hear rumors was written with the intention of becoming a film, and as a lady who enjoys learning about real life murderers & villains, I was anxious to check this one out.

Inspector Thomas Adye is the real center of this book as we follow him on his investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders. He chooses to turn to Dr. Henry Jekyll, also known to the public as Mr. Hyde, a murderous genius who has been locked away in hiding by his best friend; most of London assumes Hyde is long dead. Adye’s introduction to Jekyll  begins not only  a spiral of internal discovery of his own moral limits but also a trail of deceit from within Scotland Yard. Jekyll challenges Adye to open his mind to a more intimate level of detective work, the method of ‘becoming the criminal’ in order to anticipate his next move.

The story touches on several social and psychological aspects at once, and does it in a sophisticated way. The concept of moral boundaries and how many of those could be flexible or change all together when a person is pushed to desperation; the wealthy class in society and the sort of ugly choices a person who wants badly enough to be a part of it will make or even a person who has the same drive to separate themselves from it. The story explores friendship, how it develops in the most unlikely of circumstances and the age old topic of power and corruption.

The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde was published last year in single issues, and seemed to get very little attention from the comic media. In fact, I had no knowledge of it until the trade paperback was offered to me for review. It’s slated to be an ongoing series, taking Inspector Thomas Adye through many well known cases, connecting them in new ways,  much like The Strange Case has done for Mr. Hyde and Jack the Ripper.

The artwork is done by M.S. Corley, whose work includes the re-imagination of the Harry Potter books, Penguin Book style. The art is clean and crisp, simple, easy on the eyes. I admit it’s not particularly exciting to me, personally, I’d even say felt a tad Disney at times, but it didn’t distract at all from the story, so I guess it works here. The writing itself is very nice, at the beginning feeling much older than it is, in it’s British class and pomp. As the story progresses, so the writing relaxes a bit, which only helps the reader experience the general sense of unraveling happening all around.

I enjoyed this book more than I expected to going in to it. I think the material could have easily felt campy and forced, but it didn’t. The characters of Thomas Adye and Henry Jekyll work together nicely, and the connection of the Ripper and Mr. Hyde are believable in this context. I recommend The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde for a casual read and I look forward to seeing more of this series.

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GOOD LUCK TROLLS RETURN IN 2012!

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MILWAUKIE, OR, February 9—The Good Luck Trolls became one of America’s biggest toy fads in the early 1960s, and again in revivals over the years. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association commemorated them as one of the hundred most creative toys of the twentieth century. History repeats itself like never before in 2012, when Dark Horse Deluxe offers up these beloved and timeless figures in various iterations!

Press Release:

DARK HORSE DELUXE OFFERS UP A NEW TWIST ON A CLASSIC TOY WITH AN ALL-NEW MYSTERY-BOX ASSORTMENT TO DEBUT AT TOY FAIR! 

Thanks to a law passed by Congress, the US copyright for the Good Luck Trolls has been restored to its rightful Danish owner. Now Dam Things has licensed to Dark Horse the right to issue the Good Luck Trolls in the ever-popular “mystery box” style assortment, marking the first new troll products in the US in many years.

Dark Horse’s vice president of Product Development, David Scroggy, notes, “When we considered developing the Good Luck Trolls for the first time, we were confident that they would resonate with our audience of pop-culture fans and modern collectors. We think that they are likely to be embraced by our young-adult consumers.”

“Dark Horse has been very successful with the mystery box and we look forward to seeing them include the Good Luck Troll in their program,” says Calle Østergaard, CEO of Dam Things in Denmark.

This all-new assortment of colorful designs, featuring an array of hair colors and exotic surface treatments from glitter to metallic to flocked, are sure to stun both collectors and casual fans as they make their first appearance at Toy Fair 2012!

Please contact Dark Horse’s director of public relations, Jeremy Atkins, if you would like to set up a walk through at the show, where Dark Horse Deluxe will debut products to be released in spring and summer, including the Good Luck Trolls mystery-box assortment.

Retailers, check out your April-dated Previews for more information on this exciting new Dark Horse edition to Dark Horse’s mystery-box program!

 

 

Trolls Mystery Box

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Review: Criminal Macabre Omnibus Volume 2

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Writer: Steve Niles

Artist: Kyle Hotz, Nick Stakal, Casey Jones

Colorist: Michelle Madsen

Cover Artist: Fiona Staples

Ah, Cal McDonald. The cranky, drug-addled hunter of supernatural miscreants. I’m going to assume that most of you are familiar with Criminal Macabre already, and if you’re not, well you need to remedy that, ASAP. Criminal Macabre is one of those classic indie titles that swims with the likes of Preacher, Hellblazer and Hell Boy. It’s just way more fun to battle with ghosts, vampires, werewolves, ghouls and various otherworldly evils when the hero is a little rough around the edges, showing his own battle scars, often self inflicted. And don’t forget Mo’Lock, Cal’s always composed but never quite dead, ghoulish side kick. Mo’Lock always shows up unannounced, ready to assist in whatever way he can, even if that means giving Cal a good ass kicking to get him back on his feet.

This trade collects Criminal Macabre Volumes 4-6, the one-shot story Feat of Clay, “The Creepy Tree” and “The Trouble with Brains” from MySpace Dark Horse Presents, and “Hairball” from Dark Horse Presents #102-#105. There are so many great stories in this book and personally I always find a little extra satisfaction having my favorite works collected in TPB or hard cover. They just look pretty on the shelf and it’s easier to brag about your collection when you can just point and smile. This is 368 pages of pure fun, fantastic horror writing and edgy artwork.

I think my personal favorite in this collection is Two Red Eyes. This particular story starts with Cal getting the living shit beat out of him by a powerful local official with police ties, his girlfriend being hunted by an ancient vampire and a legion of ghouls showing up to be his own personal army. The story reveals Cal’s lowest lows; his ability to love is still alive and well, if buried deep below a thick layer of pills and alcohol. The art is gritty and heavy, but realistically detailed.

Criminal Macabre Omnibus Volume 2 is available now through Dark Horse comics. This is, most definitely, one worthy of a prime spot on your bookshelf.

The Strain

Dark Horse Contest! Win a chance to get killed

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The plague is coming and we want to know how you will survive.

Win a chance to get killed in the 2nd Story Arc of The Strain!

We’re making preparations for the coming infestation, storing food, comics and weapons. The Strain #1 is on its way, infecting comic shops on Dec. 14th. And here’s a little contest to get you excited for the comics from Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, David Lapham and Mike Huddleston. 

We want to hear how you will survive the vampire plague. In the comments below give us at least a 200 word description of how you plan to survive the coming epidemic. What supplies will you need? Where would you go to hide? Who would be with you? What weapons would you need? Give us all the details, we need help figuring out how we’d survive.


Official Rules:
1. Post a comment of at least 200 words on the Dark Horse Blog (http://www.darkhorse.com/Blog/741/strain-survive-plague-contest) by 11:59p.m. PT on Sunday Dec. 4th, 2011 and describe how you plan to survive the coming plague.
2. Come back next week as we post the top 5 Survival Tales, once per day through Dec. 9th. 
3. Starting Dec. 9th. come back to the blog and Vote for the best Survival Plan Through Dec. 13th. 


***We’ll post the winner on Dec. 14th, the release date of The Strain #1


The Winner of this contest will have their likeness drawn into one of The Strain arc two comics to be killed by a Vampire. We will finalize details with the winner individually.

 

 

The fine print: No purchase necessary. One online entry per person (one e-mail address per person/address). You must be eighteen years of age or older to enter. Contest entries only accepted if they are submitted by 11:59p.m. (PDT), Dec. 4th, 2011, to be eligible. Winner will be selected based upon the quality of submitted comments (as determined at Dark Horse’s sole discretion) from all applicable entries and will be notified by Dec. 13th, 2011. Entry becomes the property of Dark Horse upon receipt. Entry constitutes agreement by winners to be publicized and permission to use each winner’s name for the purposes of promotion of the Contest without further compensation. Contest void where prohibited. Odds of winning dependent on number of entrants. 

How Will You Survive?

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Press Release: Dragon Age Digital Comic Series

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DARK HORSE COMICS TEAMS UP WITH BIOWARE

 

TO UNVEIL A NEW DRAGON AGE DIGITAL COMIC SERIES

Dark Horse Comics announced an all-new digital comic series based on BioWare’s dark, fantasy RPG series, Dragon Age™. Written by Dragon Age Lead Writer, David Gaider, and featuring original art by Chad Hardin (Stan Lee’s The Traveler, Web of Spider-Man, The Spirit), the deep and fascinating lore surrounding the Dragon Age universe will unfold, as new adventures will come to light in the comic series.

The thrilling, six-part series will feature a riveting story that takes fans of the critically-acclaimed Dragon Age franchise deeper into the RPG’s mythology. Readers will follow Alistair, Isabela, and Varric, three important heroes from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, as they travel to Antiva, a nation ruled by deadly assassins. The comic series’ heroes will embark on an epic journey to uncover one of the greatest secrets in the history of Thedas while encountering a dangerous prison break and the mysterious and feared Witch of the Wilds.

Dark Horse Comics will release the six-part comic series exclusively at www.digital.darkhorse.com for $0.99 each starting February 22, 2012.

 

Dragon Age Digital Comic

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