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Aliens & Vampirella Come Together Courtesy of Dynamite and Dark Horse

Aliens_logoDynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the upcoming 2015 crossover, Aliens / Vampirella, pitting the iconic horror heroine against the Xenomorphs popularized in eight feature films and numerous Dark Horse Comics series. Written by Corinna Bechko, the sci-fi horror crossover marks the first time that the two comic book universes collide.

Vampirella is a raven-haired heroine who remains, even after 45 years of publication, one of the comic industry’s leading ladies, due in no small part to Dynamite Entertainment’s stewardship of the character. Since Vampirella’s very healthy resurgence in 2010, Dynamite has published two volumes of a monthly series, several miniseries and one-shot specials, and crossovers with multimedia brands and comic book peers. The Vampirella franchise is a haven for writers and artists with a penchant for the macabre.

For over twenty-five years, Dark Horse Comics has been the comic book home to the Aliens franchise, expanding upon the universe of terror first introduced in the 1979 Ridley Scott-helmed sci-fi/horror masterpiece. Featuring the nightmarish extraterrestrials as imagined by H. R. Giger, the Dark Horse comics have enjoyed unprecedented success in both the hobby and mass markets. Throughout the years, the Xenomorphs have interacted with many staples of the comic book industry, including Batman, Predator, Terminator, Judge Dredd, Superman, and Green Lantern.

Aliens / Vampirella will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ Previews catalog and will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

Early Review: ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For the End Times

Apocalypti Girl An Aria for the End TimesOut May 20, Andrew MacLean‘s ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For the End Times is a fascinating graphic tale of a girl and her cat in a beautiful, damaged, deadly post-apocalyptic world. The story focuses on a woman and her cat trying to survive in this world, caught between to battling factions. At the same time she’s attempting to maintain her sanity after being abandoned in a scouting mission, she battles loneliness. Finally the story really focuses on what “home” means, and that even the worst situations and places can still be home.

The first thing that’s noticeable is the art. MacLean has an a style I’d associate more with European graphic novelists than what we’d find here in the US. It’s simple and beautiful to look at, adding just the right amount of detail, and at the same time not cluttering the page. The sparing use of colors enhances the look. It’s just beautiful to look at, there’s no other way to put it. You linger on each page checking out every small detail that’s been added, as if every line enhances to storytelling.

The story itself is fun and interesting with a twist towards the end I didn’t see coming at all. The comic is a layered morality tale, focusing on human nature, its propensity for destruction and through all of that, we still call each other a people and Earth home. There’s morals in there, but it’s a bit deeper than a normal comic, challenging the reader a bit. Even if you reject that sort of story, it’s still a fun, action packed comic with some fine twists and turns. I came out of it thinking a bit more about its deeper meaning. It’s a great read for a graphic novel club, perfect for debating it’s themes after.

There’s also a recurring references to opera and music. I’m sure there’s many more out there who are much more intelligent than I that can explain the significance (if any) of each of the choices of music. Again, it adds to that post reading examination that I enjoy in a comic. It’s there, but not explained for the reader, forcing us to do a bit more research and put more thought into the inclusion of the music.

The graphic novel is beautiful, and priced for a steal at $9.99. I highly recommend checking it out when it hits shelves in late May.

Story: Andrew MacLean Art: Andrew MacLean
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with an FREE copy for review

Pour diffusion immédiate: Darrow, C’Est Toujours Fou!

Dark_Horse_Comics_logoWhen it was originally published in France in the 1980’s, Geof Darrow’s cult classic graphic novel Bourbon Thret was promoted by publisher Aedena with the tagline “Darrow C’Est Fou!” which translates to Darrow it’s crazy! Next year Dark Horse Comics will finally publish the first ever American edition of Darrow’s Bourbon Thret, which features the introduction of the chainsaw wielding Shaolin Cowboy. The book will be released in the same gorgeous oversized format as Dark Horse Comics’ recently released Shaolin Cowboy: Shemp Buffet hardcover.

Bourbon Thret features the first appearance of the Shaolin Cowboy, whose ultra violent, ultra detailed and unforgettable zombie filled stories have been published by Dark Horse Comics . Darrow was living in France when he created Bourbon Thret, but his inspiration for the character’s name from traveling  in Japan where he saw t-shirts with phrases like “The Sunny Catches The Day.”

Almost the entire Dark Horse edition of Bourbon Thret will be recolored by the award winning colorist Dave Stewart. When it was originally published, Bourbon Thret was colored by a team of colorists and Darrow was unsatisfied with the look of the pages, with the very notable exception of the work done by Studio Herge. The Studio Herge pages are not being recolored for the new edition, but the rest of the material will be colored by Stewart.

Dark Horse will announce an official publication date for the book later this year.

Lemire & Ormston’s Black Hammer Delayed

Dark Horse Comics has announced that due to an unforeseen health issue, Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s anticipated creator-owned series Black Hammer has been delayed until a future date.

In a release Lemire said:

Black Hammer has been a labor of love for me. It’s a project that I’ve been working on in various forms for seven years. And as excited as I am to share it, sometimes life gets in the way of comics.

On March 26, my amazing collaborator Dean Ormston suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on the left side of his brain, which affected his whole right side,” he continued. “Dean is now at home and recovering. As a result, we have decided to postpone the launch of Black Hammer until Dean is able to work regularly again. I’d like to thank all the fans and retailers for their patience and understanding as Dean recovers and promise that Black Hammer will be worth the wait.

In an interview, Ormston said:

In essence, this is a dream project, and to top it all off, I get to have my art enhanced by colorist supremo Dave Stewart. Sadly, about a month ago, I had a bleed on the brain, so things have been put on hold until I recover and get back to drawing fully. I am tentatively getting back to drawing Black Hammer, albeit slowly, but the outlook is positive and I’m confident of a full recovery.

Retailers will be notified of a new date for Black Hammer in a future communication.

We wish Dean Ormston a smooth and speedy recovery.

Black Hammer

Dark Horse Celebrates Their Four-Year Digital Anniversary

dark horse four yearDark Horse Digital reaches a new landmark when the digital store celebrates its fourth anniversary starting this Thursday. As a thank-you to fans, Dark Horse announces four special promotions!

Have a free comic on Dark Horse! Beginning Thursday, April 23, Dark Horse will issue a two-dollar credit to all confirmed Dark Horse Digital newsletter subscribers with a registered Dark Horse Digital account! This credit can be used toward downloading a free digital comic or toward the purchase of any bundle or graphic novel.

The very same day, Dark Horse Digital will also be offering 50 percent off all purchases made in the app or through the web store, including thousands of comics, graphic novels, manga, and more! And it doesn’t stop there! Confirmed Dark Horse Digital newsletter subscribers will receive an exclusive coupon for an additional 10 percent off purchases. The newsletter coupon stacks with the web store discount, offering an even greater savings on your entire transaction.

And if that’s not all, Dark Horse will be giving four lucky winners an iPad mini loaded with Dark Horse digital comics! Dark Horse will randomly pick one winner per day over the course of the weekend. The winners will be given the digital collection of their choosing the following week.

To enter to win, all you need to do is download a comic to your collection! And with over fifty free comics to choose from, there is no purchase necessary to be entered to win!

The fourth-anniversary sale starts Thursday, April 23, and ends Sunday, April 26, at midnight PST—so head over to Digital.DarkHorse.com today and sign up for a Dark Horse Digital account and for the Digital Newsletter to maximize your savings!

The Ultimate True-Crime Story Returns

This October, experience the story of one of America’s most notorious killers as Green River Killer heads to paperback for the first time.

Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women. In 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of DNA technology, Jensen spent 180 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway in an effort to learn his most closely held secrets—an epic confrontation with evil that proved as disturbing and surreal as can be imagined.

Written by Jensen’s own son, acclaimed entertainment writer Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story presents the ultimate insider’s account of America’s most prolific serial killer.

The graphic novel is out this October 21 and you can read my original review here.

The Green River Killer

Review: Archie vs. Predator #1

archie vs predator 1Archie and his crew have met many folks. The Punisher, the cast of Glee are just two examples, and in those two, no one died in the end. Archie vs. Predator #1 throws all of that out, taking the bloodier tone of Archie’s recent hit Afterlife with Archie, but showing it all in the cartoonish style we’re accustomed to. Teaming up with Dark Horse, Archie Comics has the Riverdale crew take on their toughest enemy yet, the Predator! Written by Alex de Campi, with art by Fernando Ruiz, the first issue is a bit strange, as it has much of the tension and build up we’re familiar with in Predator, but all with the classic Archie style.

The first issue sees Archie and his friends head out for vacation to a paradise island. The usual hijinks ensue, and it’s all entertaining. But really, the comic is all about the Predator, and like the movies the first issue is built up with the hunter stalking his prey. The ship lands, and throughout the issue we’re mostly limited to infrared views by the Predator, but even those get a bit of humor added to them.

As I said above, the big difference here is, Archie is allowing folks to get killed off. While the issue has the classic Archie style, there’s blood, and skulls, though the true violence is left off page.

The comic in a way reminds me a lot of the “Lil” comics Dark Horse produces, though a bit more adult with the blood and the killing. The disconnect between Archie comics’ look and a Predator running around killing folks is humorous to me, and just a fun comic to read as a fan of the Predator.

The first issue is good. It does a lot of build up, following the general formula of Predator films. It’s fun, not too serious, and well worth the read. I found myself chuckling at different points, but I’m really looking forward to future issues (especially when the Predator REALLY gets going). The first issue will probably be slow for some, but by doing so it keeps up a tradition.

Story: Alex de Campi Art: Fernando Ruiz
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Early Review: Harrow County #1

Harrow County #1 coverEmmy always knew that the deep, dark woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts, goblins, and zombies. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures—and to the land itself—in a way she never imagined.

Harrow County #1 is a new southern gothic fairy tale from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Cook, and it kicks off with a creepy twisted start that makes me want to immediately read more. The story isn’t anything particularly new, a “witch” is burned by an angry mob and vows to return. The comic is a fairy tale, and that’s a pretty common way to start.

What’s interesting is how Bunn goes from there, focusing ahead on a young girl Emmy, and her discovery of her connection, and thus we as readers discovering that too. It’s a slow build throughout the first issue with the weird factor increased bit by bit, but not before Bunn succeeds in our connecting with Emmy and feeling a bit of empathy for her. As the cover quote says, the comic is charming and disturbing. It’s a great combination.

All of this is helped by Cook, whose style mixes that fantasy feel with real world creepiness. You never quite know why it all feels off, but the art is a big reason for me. Cook captures the unsettling vibe of it all. It helped keep me on edge and added to the ambiance of the story. Cook also knows how to do disturbing without crossing the line.

Harrow County #1 hits shelves May 13. I absolutely recommend checking it out when it does.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Tyler Cook
Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Space is Messy. Someone’s Got to Clean it Up!

For the first time since 2005, Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes is coming back to bookshelves this December, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

In the 2070s, increased interplanetary travel has led to crisis-level amounts of dangerous space debris, and someone has to clean it up. Planetes follows the space-garbage crew of aspiring explorer Hachimaki, mourning Yuri, and secretive Fee. A two-time recipient of the Seiun Award, Japan’s highest honor for science fiction, Planetes grants a whole new generation a chance to journey to the far reaches of the universe.

The entire story is collected in two omnibus editions from the original files, complete with bonus color pages, with over 500 pages for only $19.99.

Planetes Omnibus Volume 1
Makoto Yukimura (W/A/Cover)
$19.99, 978-1-61655-921-2
On sale December 9


Review: Rebels #1

rebels001The American Revolutionary War might come off as a strange time and place in which to situate a comic book story.  Comics after all deal with larger than life characters and the Revolutionary War is a time period which is equally full of real life characters that have become larger than their own deeds. Much has been made of the lives of the Founding Fathers that they themselves have assumed an almost mythical status to many Americans.  This issue is proof though that there is no need to fear such legendary ground provided that the story is well conceived and with strong characters.

That is indeed the case here as the main characters are introduced as a group of rebels fighting in New Hampshire against the British who are trying to take away the rights to their farmlands.  It might seem like an odd setting where much of the iconography of these wars are located elsewhere (though not too far away) but it indeed fits, giving enough distance from the iconic figures that those introduced here can stand on their own.  There are some cliched moments perhaps sprinkled throughout this first chapter of the story, but even those add to the breadth and depth of the characters, easy to relate to even though the story is less than 30 pages in.

The end result is a compact and interesting story that manages to touch on some common iconography while also establishing a little bit of its own.  It serves as a reminder that even in such a time and place that imagination opens the doors to new perspectives on old material.  In a certain sense this is even an almost simplistic story, but it succeeds where it needs to in order to pull the reader in and promises more excitement to come in the following issues.

Story: Brian Wood  Art: Andrea Mutti
Story: 8.5  Art: 8.5  Overall: 8.5   Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.


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