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The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition Has the Power

Just in time for fans’ holiday wish lists, Dark Horse and Mattel announce that the biggest art book of 2015 – The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - will receive a limited edition release.

Restricted to 4,000 copies, The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition comes packaged in a deluxe Castle Grayskull slipcase, with an exclusive foil embossed cover and portfolio print, coming in at just under 400 pages with commentary written by Tim & Steve Seeley.

In 1982, the world was introduced to He-Man® and Masters of the Universe®. What followed was a cultural sensation that changed the landscape of children’s entertainment forever! Join Mattel and Dark Horse in this comprehensive retrospective chronicling the decades-long epic journey of He-Man from toy, to television, to film, to a true pop culture phenomenon!

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe includes rarely seen images of concept sketches, prototypes, and more from Mattel’s archives. Featuring beautifully restored art from master illustrator Earl Norem—celebrated artist of the most memorable He-Man images, interviews with Dolph Lundgren, Paul Dini, Erika Scheimer, and many more!

The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition is on sale in comic shops April 15th and April 28th in bookstores.

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Dark Horse to Publish The Order of the Forge—The Untold Tale of George Washington!

In spring 2015, creator and producer Donn D. Berdahl of Bronco Donn Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics, in association with Home Plate Entertainment, will present a tale left out of the history books. Set in 1753, this comic shows a young George Washington who ain’t your schoolteacher’s George Washington; this is The Order of the Forge!

Victor Gischler writes a three-issue miniseries that will surprise and shock scholars everywhere. Based on an original concept from Donn D. Berdahl and a treatment by well-known British author Andy Briggs. This series is a must-read for fans of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and all other historical fiction works!

Before he fathered a nation, young George Washington forged his legend in blood! Before he fought for his country, he killed for the king! Imbued with the mystical powers of America’s original inhabitants, George and his superpowered axe—along with his friends, a debauched, middle-aged Ben Franklin and a young, rebellious Paul Revere—must stop an evil colonial governor who wishes to rule an empire!

The Forge #1 is on sale April 29, 2015.

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Preview: Conan Red Sonja #1

Dark Horse has released a preview of Conan Red Sonja #1 by writers Gail Simone and Jim Zub and artist Dan Panosian. Simone and Zub pit Sonja against Conan! The two creators are bringing together two legendary warriors in this truly epic crossover!

In a story spanning multiple eras in the lives of these classic characters, Conan and Red Sonja become comrades to take down a sorcerer-priest hell bent on creating a dark new age in Hyborian warfare!

Conan Red Sonja #1 is on sale January 14th.

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Dark Horse’s 2015 Free Comic Book Day Gold Release

What makes a trip to your local comic shop even better? Free copies of your favorite Dark Horse titles for Free Comic Book Day 2015!

Dark Horse Comics’ Gold Comic promises to be the most thrilling Free Comic Book Day issue to date . . .

Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart premiere Fight Club 2!

Eric Powell introduces new tragedy in The Goon!

And Guillermo del Toro presents an all-new chapter from The Strain!

Need we say more?

Acclaimed novelist Chuck Palahniuk continues one of his most beloved works with Fight Club 2, only in comics. This special FCBD short story revisits the final moments of the groundbreaking novel and is a great precursor to the new series launching in May. Multiple Eisner Award-winner Eric Powell takes the Goon and Franky on an unexpected detour and The Strain (now a hit show on FX) examines one of the Master’s most terrifying allies with writer David Lapham and artist Mike Huddleston at the helm.

2015 promises to be Dark Horse’s biggest FCBD event yet, with not one, but two free comics, each packed full with three separate stories. Stay tuned for more details on the Free Comic Book Day: Silver Edition!

Free Comic Book Day, takes place on May 2, 2015!

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Dark Horse Collects Sebela & Moustafa’s High Crimes

Debuting in print for the first time, High Crimes, a murder mystery written by Dead Letters scribe Christopher Sebela, is the premiere graphic novel illustrated by rising star Ibrahim Moustafa!

Dark Horse will publish a stunning hardcover that collects all twelve issues of the critically acclaimed, multiple Eisner Award–nominated, and Stumptown Comics Art Award–winning Monkeybrain digital comic by Sebela and Moustafa.

Disgraced Olympic snowboarder Zan Jensen has relocated to Kathmandu as a climbing guide, while running a sideline business as a high-altitude grave robber. When a body is found at the summit of Everest with a treasure of state secrets under its skin, Zan finds herself in the crosshairs of a government hit squad bent on bringing the body home. As she races to the roof of the world, Zan will navigate bullets and avalanches to find salvation in the deadliest place on earth.

The High Crimes hardcover goes on sale July 8, 2015!

High Crimes

Preview: Lady Killer #1

Dark Horse has released a preview for Lady Killer #1 by Joëlle Jones, Jamie S. Rich, and Laura Allred.

Betty Draper meets Hannibal!

Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

On sale January 7th.



Dark Horse to Release Courageous Princess Trilogy

Dark Horse Comics is set to publish Rod Espinosa’s epic trilogy The Courageous Princess.

Once upon a time, a greedy dragon kidnapped a beloved princess . . . But if you think she just waited around for some charming prince to rescue her, then you’re in for a surprise. Princess Mabelrose has enough brains and bravery to fend for herself!

The Courageous Princess: Beyond the Hundred Kingdoms will be released on March 11, 2015, to be followed by The Courageous Princess: The Unremembered Lands in June 2015 and The Courageous Princess: The Dragon Queen in September 2015, forming the Courageous Princess trilogy.

Espinosa’s The Courageous Princess was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Title for Younger Readers in 2002.

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Interview: Scott Allie Discusses the Mignolaverse, Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and more!

HBYBPRD #1 CVRSince first appearing in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 in 1993 and his own series in 1994, Mike Mignola‘s Hellboy has entertained weaving a comic universe unlike any other. It blends the best of constantly being accessible for new readers, it also has layered on a mythos that’s clear, fun, and entertaining. The Mignolaverse (as its been dubbed) has impressively done all of this through different series, with different creators, presenting a unified universe, look, and very clear voice.

With today’s launch of the latest entry to the Mignolaverse, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., we got to talk to Scott Allie, Dark Horse Editor in Chief (and Mignolaverse editor) who also has the distinction of writing Abe Sapien, one of the many entertaining comics that makes up Mignola’s world.

We talk to him about his job and what it entails, writing Abe Sapien, and how they’re able to create such a connected universe. Find out all of that and more below!

Graphic Policy: As the Mignolaverse editor and Dark Horse Editor in Chief, what are your day to day tasks for those not familiar with that type of job.

Scott Allie: As Editor in Chief, I attend a lot of meetings, big and small, where we make plans, make decisions about what the company is doing. I work closely with marketing. Any given day, I’m in a couple meetings with a room full of people, I’m in a couple informal meetings with Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley, and/or our VP of Marketing Matt Parkinson. A closed door meeting with Sierra Hahn, another of our editors, is pretty much a daily thing. I’ll also have one-on-ones with individual editors talking about their books—either what they need to do, or what they need help on from other departments, usually marketing or production.

As an editor with my own books, I spend some time hiding in a nearby coffee shop reading and writing. I spend an hour a day on the phone with Mignola, maybe a couple other phone calls with John Arcudi, colorist Dave Stewart, or one of the artists. And because Portland is so flush with comics creators, I have a lot of breakfast or lunch meetings. The other day I had a breakfast with one writer scheduled too closely to a lunch with a writer/artist, and I wound up like Greg Brady in that one episode where he was juggling dates.

This is what I get paid to do …

GP: How did you come into that job?

SA: Right out of college, a hundred years ago, I moved out to Portland looking to do anything in publishing. I tried the want ads, and the one call that yielded an interview was with Dark Horse, but I didn’t get it. I went door to door to every publisher in downtown Portland looking for work. I finally got something with Glimmer Train Press, a local literary magazine. I worked there for a while, honing my skills, and saving up. After I left there I started self-publishing comics, pushing them at regional conventions, and thereby getting to know the staff at Dark Horse. Before long they needed a new assistant editor, and I got the job—the most entry-level position they had. That was twenty years and a couple months ago. I very gradually made my way up the food chain to the EiC position—although I got to edit the Mignola books almost right away.

GP: A thing that’s stood out is that the Mignolaverse has been one expansive universe with each series, volume, and story adding to the mythology. How much of the universe is actually planned out?

SA: It’s a very complex mix … there are things you see us doing that look like we must’ve planned, but which weren’t, and there’s things we planned out fifteen years ago that are still not apparent to readers yet. And sometimes plans change. The other day Mike and I were talking about this one character that we’ve done a little bit with, not a tremendous amount, and Mike started talking about how he could have a book of his own. The more we talked about it, the more excited I found myself getting. The whole time I’m thinking, Who could write it? Mike’s too busy with Hellboy in Hell, he’s not gonna want to write it himself. But this is something only he could write, and it’s too good an idea not to do. Finally we came around to the question, and he said, Oh yeah, I have to write this myself. Unplanned, but it will pay off things that have been set up in a couple different books. It’ll look, I think, like something we’d always meant to do.

The beauty of it is that it all stems from Mike—the big plans—and he has an incredible memory. He doesn’t write much down. I’ve started writing it down, but he has the most encyclopedic knowledge of our world, and it’s all just in his head. Things change a little over time, through the process of figuring it out and refining it. I think the special thing here, about these books, is that there has always been a bigger picture we were working toward, and I think that’s been evident in the stories all along. I think what’s unique in Mike’s comics is that we’ve expanded this creator owned world into something fairly vast, but it’s remained one story the whole time. There’s no richer world in all of comics that’s maintained this focus, this singular vision.

GP: There also seems to be an emphasis to allow folks to pick up any series, volume, or story arc, and be able to understand it as a self-contained story, and it also adds a lot for long time fans. What are the challenges to make that happen?

SA: We aim for that, although it’s a tough balance. The interconnectedness is deep. We want it to be accessible. We work to make sure someone won’t pick up a book and be totally confused. Like the new volume of Witchfinder coming out soon. Written by Kim Newman, that book stands to reach a lot of people who should read Mike’s work, but never have. So I think the book works really well on its own, though someone just reading that one won’t realize the deep connections the main character, Ed Grey, has to Hellboy, and they might be confused by the cameo in the epilogue. But if they like it enough, hopefully they’ll read the other Witchfinders, and that will lead them to know more about Hellboy and Abe Sapien, etc. Kim’s book does tell a complete story, though, as much as any Bond movie does, and that’s what we strive for.

GP: You also write Abe Sapien. Do you have an editor that edits that for you? Or do you edit it yourself?

SA: I edit myself. Shantel, who does all the Mignola books with me, goes over my scripts and outlines. All the outlines and some of the scripts have input from Mignola, so the general direction is always part of the bigger Hellboy plan. But some of my bigger heroes are Archie Goodwin, Harvey Kurtzman, and Al Feldstein—so I think there’s a good tradition of writers helming their own books. One of the cool things with Abe Sapien, which I’ve never had before, is how much the artists and I bounce things back and forth. A lot of the ideas in the books come from them, and a lot of times I’ll rewrite stuff because of how they want to do it. Working with the Fiumara twins is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, so I do everything I can to keep them motivated, to give them a sense of ownership over the story.

GP: As a writer, what does being an editor help you with?

SA: An editor has to think about the big picture, the whole book. It’s something I love about working with Mike, something I appreciated working with Kurt Busiek. They think about the whole thing, the schedule, the way it will be collected, the color, the letters, how it will be promoted—less of that latter part with Mike. But an editor has to think about all of that, from the moment he’s hiring people through editing the scripts; so having a writer think about those things is positive. Thinking about the books in those terms is good in a writer, and good in an editor.

GP: Do you enjoy one role more than the other?

SA: Well, that’s the thing … When people ask me what the difference between editor and writer is, for me personally, I always say I don’t think of them as separate jobs, but as different points on a spectrum. You’re engaged in the story to varying degrees, but you’re thinking about the same sort of things. If I’m editing a Sergio Aragones book, I have almost no involvement in the creative end of the book. Or Eric Powell’s The Goon. On a Mignola book, even one Mike writes, I’m much more dialed in to the creative heart of the book, and steering that. Mike’s the boss, but I’m there with him. For me, most books fall somewhere between that Powell involvement or that Mignola involvement. Criminal Macabre is closer to The Goon. Oeming’s The Victories is closer to Hellboy, and Abe is on the other side of Hellboy, because there isn’t another writer. But it’s not an entirely different thing—it’s not apples and oranges.

GP: There’s numerous series, with a new one starting taking on Hellboy’s early years. Do the various writers work together to tie things together and know what each other are doing with their own series?

SA: Mike and John and I work very closely together. We’re very looped into what each other is doing. Less so, say Kim Newman and Maura McHugh on Witchfinder, or Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon on Vampire. What we do there is we identify a safe corner for them to work in where they can kind of do their thing. They don’t want to move into the clubhouse with Mike and John and I, they have other stuff to worry about in their lives. Not that they’re not welcome, just that I don’t think they’d want the burden of membership, the tattoos and such. So we identify places where they can go, do their thing, and we can convey to them the things they do need to worry about. Like in Vampire, the thing Ba and Moon did, it ties into the overall vampire mythology of Mike’s world, which we had to talk about a lot. But they could do whatever they wanted with their characters, who only tie in a little to the bigger world. With Kim and Maura, it was pretty easy for them to become experts on Ed Grey, the main character; beyond that, they were making up their own thing. But then when the thing they made up started showing some similarities to certain key parts of Mike’s mythology, we all had to compare notes and decide, Do we lean into the similarity, or steer clear. They were onboard to lean in, so we talked real specifically about how it would and wouldn’t tie in, and it worked out pretty painlessly. They didn’t have to get the tattoos.

GP: What input does Mike Mignola have with all of this?

SA: As much as possible, much as he wants. With the Witchfinder thing in particular, Mike read the outline but wasn’t reading the individual scripts. In the outline, the similarities weren’t apparent; when the later scripts came in, I noted the similarity, talked to Mike, we agreed we should figure out how to work it out, and then he was on all the emails with Kim and Maura where we figured out how to handle it.

Mike is always involved in deciding where the story is going. He’s most involved when we’re talking about anything that brushes up against Hellboy, anything that has to do with the bigger mythology—the Hell stuff or the Lovecraftian stuff—and the bigger arcs of the central characters. John and I have a lot of leeway on other things, but Mike’s most deeply involved when that stuff comes up. There are some stories that start as his idea, like B.P.R.D. #124, or the first three issues of Abe Sapien, that Mike spells out and one of us writes. Hellboy & the B.P.R.D. is a rare case where Mike came up with the story, wrote the scripts that Alex drew from, but then John came in and added the dialogue, Marvel style. I say Marvel style on the dialogue, in that John added it after it was drawn—but the scripts we gave Alex were hardly plot-style scripts. Those usually have a paragraph—or a sentence—per page of the comic. Mike’s “plot-style” scripts usually have pretty long paragraphs for every panel. That’s what Alex worked from on Hellboy & the B.P.R.D.

Then there’s monster designs—even if Mike is somewhat removed from a given arc, once it’s time to design a monster, he’s right there. Generally we’ll get the interior artist on the book to do some sketches. John and I might give notes, but often Mike will come back and redraw the sketch. There’s certain things about how Mike designs monsters that are really all him. So usually the interior guy throws an idea on the table, Mike revises it, but it almost never ends there. We always want the interior guy to do one more drawing, to put his spin on it, so he’s not just aping Mike.

GP: What else do you have coming up as editor or writer?

SA: Abe Sapien is the only thing I’m writing until it’s done. The Goon is a big push for us right now—Occasion of Revenge is just wrapping up and it’s back for four issues with Once Upon A Hard Time in February. I’m working with a group of editors and writers on Fire and Stone, a big series that ties Prometheus to Aliens and Predator. Kelly Sue DeConnick wrote the comic that wraps that whole thing up, also in February. I’m doing deluxe editions of all David Mack’s Kabuki series. I usually wouldn’t handle a reprint program, but it’s Kabuki, so it’s an honor to do it. One of the biggest things I have going on in 2015 is Fight Club 2—I’m working with Chuck Palahniuk on the sequel to his novel, which he chose to do as a comic. I’ve been at this twenty years, and I’m fairly confident, shall we say, in my work and my accomplishments. But once in a while a project comes along that it is truly humbling to be a part of. Being able to have that experience really keeps the job fun and fresh. Like the new book Mignola cooked up the other day while we were on the phone—not every idea we kick around gets me that excited, but the fact that I can still get this pumped tells me I’m a long way from being jaded.


Preview: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1

Writer: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Alex Maleev

A bizarre series of murders and rumors of something worse lead Professor Bruttenholm to send a young Hellboy to a Brazilian village on his first mission. Hellboy and a small group of agents uncover something terrible in the shadows of a sixteenth-century Portuguese fortress . . .


Review: Ghost #10

ghost 10On an ongoing basis this is one of the most interesting titles to come out on a monthly basis.  Initially in the series it was the setup which defined the series, as the main character Elisa/Ghost comes to terms with being what she has become after her journey to Hell.  While those were engaging stories for a character that was easy to identify with and one that was well-conceived, it is really in the recent issues where the character starts to develop a lot more character, and particularly by facing some of the trials of superheroism head-on.

As in the previous issue, this veers sometimes into an almost philosophical look at the role of a superhero.  Will Ghost maintain the morals of Elisa and not kill?  Or will she take on the more vengeful aspect of her new persona, even if she can see it ending in her own demise?  Can she punish the evidently guilty for crimes?  Or is she constrained by a legal system?  More so should she take the utilitarian viewpoint that killing one can save hundreds, or should she hold all life to be sacred?  And should she donate every waking minute that she has to heroics, or should she take breaks and have an alter ego?  The combination of all of this into a single issue might make it get bogged down, but it works well, especially with Tommy.  He is perhaps her voice of reason, but she finds an easy excuse to ignore him because of his alcohol problem.  In the end she might have to think twice about his words though.  Mixed into all of this is even a healthy dose of action, even giving those looking for not-much-extra in their reading some easy panels to get through.

The end result is the best issue so far in this series, one where Ghost has to wrestle with what exactly her role is to become as an agent of good.  Thus far in this series, she has been established as an unconventional hero, but so too is this an unconventional series, with its base as a regular superhero comic, but its extension as often something more.

Story: Chris Sebela Art: Harvey Tolibao
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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

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