Tag Archives: scott allie

Around the Tubes

A new week and we’re gearing up for New York Comic Con! Who’s going and what are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the convention to start, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Broadway World – Graphic Novel-Inspired ‘CIRCLE OF BLOOD’ Will Be Shadowbox Live’s Next Original Show – Interesting. The next Fun Home?

CBR – Former Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie Exits Publisher – What will he take a bite out of next?

ComicMix – Marc Alan Fishman: Can I Love the Art But Not the Artist? – A very intriguing question. What do you all think?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Outhousers  – Infamous Iron Man #12

Talking Comics – Marvel Legacy #1

Comic Attack – War Mother #2

Preview: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #1

B.P.R.D.: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW #1

Writer: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: Laurence Campbell
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Duncan Fegredo
Genre: Horror
Publication Date: July 26, 2017

Before they were vanquished by the BPRD, Lovecraftian monsters created a Hell on Earth. Now Liz Sherman leads a crew through monster-infested ruins on the most important rescue mission of her life. As society tries to rebuild, strange cults vie for influence, and a demon emerges to lead the way . .

Mike Richardson and Scott Allie Both Issue Statements

Early today we ran an article about the repeated unacceptable repeated behavior concerning Scott Allie. Since our piece ran both Allie, and Dark Horse‘s Founder Mike Richardson have issued statements.

Here’s Allie’s statement which was issued to another site:

I’m deeply sorry about my behavior at San Diego Comic Con 2015 and I apologize to everyone I’ve hurt. I’m completely embarrassed by my actions and how my behavior reflects on Dark Horse Comics, my friends and family. My personal approach and decisions for managing stress were bad. Dark Horse and I have taken the matter very seriously and since this incident, we have taken steps to correct and to avoid any behavior like this in the future. Although apologies can’t undo what has happened, I’ve tried to apologize to everyone impacted by my behavior. To my family, friends, co-workers, and to the industry — please know that I am truly, truly sorry.

Allie has also said he has apologized to Harris and is seeking outside help for substance abuse. We wish Allie well on his recovery and do wish him the best.

Below is Richardson’s full statement:

I applaud Ms. Asselin’s Intentions in dealing with sexual harassment in the comics industry.

I also want to make one thing very clear: Dark Horse as a company, and myself as an individual, take the kinds of inexcusable incidents reported by Ms. Asselin very seriously—doubly so when it involves one of our employees. In cases such as these, we have been proactive in our response, with a variety of professional services involved, all with the goal of changing behavior. Additionally, a number of internal responses are acted upon, including termination if such behavior continues. Under no circumstance is any individual “harbored.” In this particular case, action was taken immediately, though we did not, and cannot, perform a public flogging, as some might wish.

Secondly, there is no “us-against-them” attitude here. I have an open door policy and every employee, no matter where she/he sits in the company, is invited to come in to my office with any complaint or observation, at any time. I restate this policy constantly. I won’t go into the assumptions made here that are just untrue, because my intent is not to undermine the purpose of her piece, but no one here has ever turned a “blind eye” to these behaviors, not in this case, not in any case. With regard to sexual harassment, it is simply not tolerated. Dark Horse agrees 100% with the EEOC Guidelines.

Ms. Asselin turns her eye toward me. I have never met or talked with Ms. Asselin. If she knew me, she would learn that I am extremely sensitive on this subject, being the father of three daughters and having experienced first hand the effects of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. I have fought against that harassment, not just in a social environment, but also within our own publishing schedule. I have also fought for gender equality in our school system and championed social and racial diversity both in and out of Dark Horse, activities I am still involved with. Her assumption that my longevity somehow “embeds” within me an attitude of inappropriate permissiveness is not only wrong, it is insulting.

I agree that harassment of any kind, routine or not, is unacceptable. It always has been. We at Dark Horse will renew our efforts to make sure that our company is never again mentioned with regard to this type of occurrence. As quoted in the article, our goal has always been to provide a positive, safe, and respectful environment for its employees, creators, and fans.

– Mike Richardson

We support Dark Horse’s renewed efforts and their goal of providing a safe, and respectful environment for its employees, creators, and fans.

Enough is Enough: Dark Horse’s Scott Allie’s Assaulting Behavior

We all know at this point that there is a pervasive sexual harassment problem in comics. This isn’t just about one or two people who behave badly, but about an industry-wide problem where harassers and abusers are protected by their employers — the very institutions that are supposed to operate within human resource rules and harassment policies. Dark Horse Comics has allegedly harbored a boundary-crossing, biting problem for 20 years — a problem named Scott Allie. And at San Diego Comic-Con this year, Allie apparently managed to assault a comics creator who is not willing to remain silent.

Allie, who was the Editor-in-Chief of Dark Horse Comics until September 11th, assaulted two people at a party during the convention. We’ll get to the SDCC incident in a moment, but before that, we should discuss the fact that Allie’s behavior there is not a one-time thing. Certainly there are people who make mistakes while drunk and do not deserve to be penalized for a momentary—and singular—lapse in judgment. Allie, however, has allegedly made such a habit of this behavior that there have been jokes about it internally at Dark Horse for years, although no whisper of it traveled much further than that. He was particularly known for two things: out of control behavior while drunk and biting.

The biggest reasons why Allie’s behavior didn’t travel further are pretty complicated. In the comics industry, there’s a very us-against-them attitude amongst many of the publishers. When you’re part of the team, you are expected to put that team first – even to the point of ignoring bad behavior. If you stop ignoring that behavior and make the mistake of speaking up, well, you’re not part of the team anymore. You’re a problem. You might remain on staff, but you’ll be frozen out while the person you reported continues on their merry way, eventually making the environment completely unbearable for you and for others. This sends the message over and over again that people who are one of the gang, no matter how badly they behave, are valued above people who refuse to ignore harassment and assault.

This excluding of people—particularly women—who speak up about harassment or assault doesn’t stop at actual staff members. Freelancers who speak up also run the risk of being shunned. And it doesn’t end at with the company who employs the problematic person, because other publishers, retailers, journalists, readers, etc. may turn against you. It’s hard to know who you can trust and who will think you have broken an unspoken code in comics. There is a culture of fear in comics where speaking up is the unpardonable sin – but harassing and assaulting people is ignored. That’s why I’m so very impressed by the bravery of comics writer Joe Harris, who has chosen to speak out about what he experienced at the hands of Scott Allie.

During the BOOM! Studios SDCC party at the Hilton on Thursday, July 9th, Allie became extremely intoxicated. A few anonymous sources reported that he licked at least one person and wept openly at someone. The worst of it came when he was face to face with Harris. Harris said:

After the convention let out on Thursday night, July 9th, I went to dinner in town before returning to the Hilton Bayfront hotel where I was staying for the show. There had been a party in the hotel bar that was pretty well attended by a lot of comics professionals, company folks and other people. Upon walking in, I noticed Scott Allie at the bar and thought to go say hi. I walked up to him and I extended my hand expecting to shake his… when, instead, he reached down and grabbed my crotch. Just went for it and squeezed. I was stunned, I guess? Not what I was expecting, obviously. Not what’s ever happened to me at this or any other convention over many years. So I try to back away a little, still shocked, when he leans in and bites my right ear. Just really floored by what was going on—I’ve never had any interaction with him like this before whatsoever—I froze there for a second, when he says to me, drunkenly, “You’re doing a great job on your books…” before stumbling away.

A witness who spoke anonymously corroborated Harris’ story and had witnessed the incident. I personally saw Harris and Allie at the bar that evening, and although I did not witness the incident, I can verify both were in the Hilton bar and Allie seemed quite drunk. Other witnesses also corroborated that Allie was indeed very intoxicated. One source (who spoke to us on condition of anonymity) witnessed Allie also licking former Dark Horse employee Tim Wiesch. Wiesch tweeted around 2am on July 10th (so the same evening as the BOOM! party) “Hey! Maybe you just shouldn’t lick someone’s face at comic con. Just saying.” Wiesch declined to comment when we reached out to him.

This isn’t the first time that Allie has behaved in this way, although many sources we contacted were unwilling to speak on the record about the full extent of what has occurred in the past. A former Dark Horse employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity told us:

…his misbehavior goes back decades. This is a pattern of behavior. For a long time he was called Bitey the Clown because he would get black out drunk and bite people. He’s punched coworkers. He’s been inappropriate. He stopped drinking in recent years because he realized he was an alcoholic. He has started drinking again and his behavior has become more and more erratic. Most recent conventions have a drunk Scott Allie story attached to them.

Dark Horse even seemingly ran a joke about the biting on their website in 2006, leading an interview with this line: “’Daring.’ ‘Visionary.’ ‘Nervous.’ ‘Watch out, he bites.’ These are just a few of the terms that have been used to describe Scott Allie, the editor of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, B.P.R.D., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Conan, oh heck, you get the idea.”

Multiple current Dark Horse employees, who also spoke to us on condition of anonymity in a shared statement, alleged a pattern not only of Allie’s behavior, but of Dark Horse’s refusal to act:

Scott’s conduct at conventions and in other professional settings is widely known within Dark Horse, and many have witnessed it directly. Several staff members have gone through internal channels to stem the behavior and have been met with assurances that the problem is being properly investigated and taken care of, but no further action has been spoken of, and greater emphasis is routinely placed on the need for employees’ silence. The lack of visible reprimand leads us to fear Scott will continue to hurt people.

A former Dark Horse employee who also spoke on condition of anonymity went into even more detail about Allie’s behavior:

In general Scott’s behavior can be unpredictable and drinking certainly exacerbates that aspect of working with him. Working at a convention can really heighten your emotional connection with coworkers, and adding drinking after hours to that equation complicates things. In my time working with Scott, I saw this range from him being friendly and sometimes over-friendly with coworkers (including with me), and that could go as far as groping and even biting. I can’t say to what degree this was okay or not with the various people it happened with, but it seemed best to just go along with it, since it usually felt like he was just trying to be friendly and blow off a little steam. Often Scott’s demeanor with coworkers (and even to creators and other people who engage him on the floor at a con) can be harsh or even rude, so when he seemed to be in a good mood and having a good time hanging out at a convention, it was tempting to want to take that at face value. However, when he drinks to excess, everyone hanging out and having a good time can turn pretty quickly into something more uncomfortable. Sometimes he would become aggressive—mostly verbally—and say terrible things about people (artists, especially, or other coworkers) who he thought had wronged him or Dark Horse at some point, threatening to ruin their careers or something to that effect. Other times he would become flirtatious and put his hands on women’s legs. After a while I did my best to avoid being in situations where Scott was out late and drinking, because it always seemed like everything could turn weird in a matter of minutes.

These sources’ statements are just a small drop in the bucket to what I ultimately heard when we started contacting folks about Allie. There are a lot of reasons why we cannot share the full scope of what we were told, not the least of which is the concerns of victims. And while Allie’s drinking was definitely a through-line in many of the stories, there were also stories about Allie acting inappropriately while sober.

Like so many others, Allie has made a career with a company that ignores his behavior because he’s one of the team. Turning a blind eye happens more than people think, and as long as bosses aren’t confronted with the behavior by employees, they may not feel compelled to do anything. Legally, they can pretend they didn’t know. In fact, some bosses may laugh it off as unimportant. Meanwhile, employees who are treated poorly by a coworker and see their bosses doing nothing will often prefer to leave rather than try to repair what’s gone wrong.

While Dark Horse announced Allie’s new title is “Executive Senior Editor,” there’s no indication that this is in response to the assaults or Allie’s ongoing behavior. There have been multiple employee departures from Dark Horse since San Diego, including editors Brendan Wright, Jim Gibbons, and Everett Patterson. While Dark Horse’s new Editor-in-Chief Dave Marshall is apparently well-respected and well-liked, it cannot be good for employee morale to continue working with Allie and know that even assaulting a comics creator and a former employee won’t get you more than a slap on the wrist. When Dark Horse was asked about the situation, they responded:

Dark Horse is committed to ensuring and maintaining a positive, safe, and respectful environment for its employees, creators, and fans and we expect all who represent our company to behave in a professional manner.  Disciplinary actions are handled internally at the company and we do not comment on them publicly.

It’s hard to know what exactly was done internally to address the concerns of Harris and the Dark Horse employees we spoke with. Legally, a company’s human resource department is required to take specific action to address complaints of this sort, although the exact rules may vary by state. We spoke with Casey Gilly, who in addition to working as a comics journalist is also an HR professional, about the situation (without identifying details) and what her course of action would be:

Let’s say John Doe gropes a freelancer at a conference. Let’s also say, for sake of argument, that John Doe is a salaried, exempt manager, meaning that he’s always pretty much “on the clock.”

John is responsible for upholding company policies and standards at any work event. And if he groped a customer at a conference, depending on his history, I would likely recommend a final written warning or termination.

A freelancer is still for all purposes an employee.

Their status wouldn’t change the severity of the act. Employers are required to remedy ANY instances of validated harassment, discrimination, etc. and it would be very difficult to call anything less than those actions a remedy.

Gilly also explained that freelancers who are sexually harassed by a staff member of a company should reach out to the company’s HR department, preferably in writing. While HR will still be obligated to investigate, however, they may not be able to explain to the victim what course of action they took. Thus, depending on how Dark Horse’s HR department handled the situation, they are not obligated to explain to Harris what action they took, if any. However, if Harris decided to sue Allie and Dark Horse, the company would need to prove they investigated thoroughly and took some sort of action.

One area in which it could be argued Dark Horse has been negligent is in this text regarding Oregon’s recommendation for how to prevent sexual harassment:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidelines recommend that employers discuss sexual harassment with employees and express strong disapproval. The employer should develop appropriate sanctions, inform employees of the right to raise complaints and how to raise them, and develop methods to sensitize all concerned.

The employer should emphasize the importance of its sexual harassment policy through communication and training. Training for staff is essential. Employers should have departmental or unit meetings to explain policies and grievance procedures, so that all employees understand what is prohibited conduct and how to complain about it.

Joking about “Bitey the Clown” internally, however, does not seem to follow these guidelines. A company culture where someone’s ongoing misbehavior and sexual harassment habits becomes a joke is not one where employers have made the seriousness of harassment obvious, despite their statement.

While Marvel and DC have been pointed to for years and years as the center of many of the problems in comics, it should be obvious after this story that comics’ problems with sexual harassment go far deeper than just the Big Two. In fact, smaller companies like Dark Horse are often difficult in these situations because they are still owned by one or two people and not held to larger corporate standards. Mike Richardson, the founder and head of Dark Horse to this day, may not feel the weight of corporate responsibility the way that higher ups at, say, Disney might, not to mention the fact that the more embedded in comics culture someone is, the more this behavior might just seem normal. After all, it doesn’t seem surprising to anyone anymore that sexual harassment is a way of life in comics. It’s only surprising that there aren’t more names on the list everyone whispers to one another, and that those names don’t go back through the entirety of comics.

The truth is that Allie is a symptom of the problems in our industry. He is not alone in his inappropriate behavior nor is Dark Horse alone in being a publisher that opts to turn a blind eye towards problematic behavior by its employees. If Allie had made a one-time mistake this year at SDCC, it would be easy to feel bad for him. Routine behavior like this, however, is not acceptable. It exists in our industry because for too long we’ve treated these harassers and boundary-crossers as missing stairs — warning other people in whispers. If there’s only one lesson that comics pros learn from this situation, hopefully it is that our industry cannot continue to ignore it when people act this way.

We cannot continue this way and pretend that we are a community. We’re not a community, not like this. We’re a cult that’s been told being in line is better than being treated like people, and so we sit silently and wait for someone else to be the one to step forward. Dozens, maybe hundreds of comics professionals sit silent in comics and whisper the names of harassers behind our hands. Dozens more sit frozen out of something even more sinister — PTSD from assault, fear of someone who has harassed them, or fear of losing a job. We’re telling those people that they don’t matter — that their stories should remain in whispers — because it’s easier than confronting the massive problems in how so many companies in comics operate. That needs to end, right now. Scott Allie assaulted more than one person this year, and it wasn’t even his first time doing so. Yet it seems that he and Dark Horse are going to continue on as if nothing happened. Allie doesn’t get a blind eye anymore, and neither does the rest of the comics community.

Update: Dark Horse Founder Mike Richardson issued an extended statement which can be read below:

I applaud Ms. Asselin’s Intentions in dealing with sexual harassment in the comics industry.

I also want to make one thing very clear: Dark Horse as a company, and myself as an individual, take the kinds of inexcusable incidents reported by Ms. Asselin very seriously—doubly so when it involves one of our employees. In cases such as these, we have been proactive in our response, with a variety of professional services involved, all with the goal of changing behavior. Additionally, a number of internal responses are acted upon, including termination if such behavior continues. Under no circumstance is any individual “harbored.” In this particular case, action was taken immediately, though we did not, and cannot, perform a public flogging, as some might wish.

Secondly, there is no “us-against-them” attitude here. I have an open door policy and every employee, no matter where she/he sits in the company, is invited to come in to my office with any complaint or observation, at any time. I restate this policy constantly. I won’t go into the assumptions made here that are just untrue, because my intent is not to undermine the purpose of her piece, but no one here has ever turned a “blind eye” to these behaviors, not in this case, not in any case. With regard to sexual harassment, it is simply not tolerated. Dark Horse agrees 100% with the EEOC Guidelines.

Ms. Asselin turns her eye toward me. I have never met or talked with Ms. Asselin. If she knew me, she would learn that I am extremely sensitive on this subject, being the father of three daughters and having experienced first hand the effects of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. I have fought against that harassment, not just in a social environment, but also within our own publishing schedule. I have also fought for gender equality in our school system and championed social and racial diversity both in and out of Dark Horse, activities I am still involved with. Her assumption that my longevity somehow “embeds” within me an attitude of inappropriate permissiveness is not only wrong, it is insulting.

I agree that harassment of any kind, routine or not, is unacceptable. It always has been. We at Dark Horse will renew our efforts to make sure that our company is never again mentioned with regard to this type of occurrence. As quoted in the article, our goal has always been to provide a positive, safe, and respectful environment for its employees, creators, and fans.

– Mike Richardson

Update: Scott Allie has also issued a statement.

I’m deeply sorry about my behavior at San Diego Comic Con 2015 and I apologize to everyone I’ve hurt. I’m completely embarrassed by my actions and how my behavior reflects on Dark Horse Comics, my friends and family. My personal approach and decisions for managing stress were bad. Dark Horse and I have taken the matter very seriously and since this incident, we have taken steps to correct and to avoid any behavior like this in the future. Although apologies can’t undo what has happened, I’ve tried to apologize to everyone impacted by my behavior. To my family, friends, co-workers, and to the industry — please know that I am truly, truly sorry.

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.

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Preview: CBLDF Liberty Annual 2013

CBLDF Liberty Annual 2013

Story By: Tim Seeley
Story By: Corinna Bechko
Story By: Joshua Williamson
Story By: Steve Seeley
Story By: Michael Moreci
Art By: Joe Eisma
Art By: Emi Lenox
Cover By: David Marquez
Price: $4.99
Published: October 2, 2013

A COMIC BOOK LEGAL DEFENSE FUND BENEFIT BOOK!
“TALES OF BLOOD & COURAGE!”

CBLDF LIBERTY ANNUAL returns with Dark Horse editor-in-chief SCOTT ALLIE pulling together an all-star roster of writers and artists to battle censorship with 48 PAGES OF ALL-NEW stories! Tim Seeley brings Hack/Slash back for what might be the most bizarre tale in the series, and legendary creator Richard Corben tells the story of an underground cartoonist bringing back his most famous (and well-endowed) hero.

Everyone has a story to tell, but what happens when a story gets taken away from its creator? LIBERTY ANNUAL 2013 looks at the creative costs of censorship, either through the sort of outside interference the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has fought for 27 years, or through more private forms. The Hoax Hunters battle a cable news program for the life of sasquatch, a young punk rock journalist examines Pussy Riot, and Masks and Mobsters writer Josh Williamson answers the question, “What If Wertham Were Right?”

All proceeds from this book benefit the important First Amendment work of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who’ve been fighting censorship in comics for over 25 years!

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The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Tease Their 2013 Liberty Annual

The 2013 Liberty Annual is almost here and today is the final order cut off for retailers!  You should support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and order your copy today!

CBLDF Liberty Annual 2013 is edited by Dark Horse Comics’ Editor in Chief  Scott Allie.  It features the talents of  Richard Corben, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, Art Baltazar, Franco, Paul Tobin, Emi Lenox, and many, many more!  With stories ranging from reactions to the Pussy Riot incarceration to Richard Corben’s reflection on cartoonists and censorship and lots more in between, this year’s Liberty Annual is sure to inspire readers from all walks of life!

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GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Announced

glaad media awardsThe nominees for GLAAD‘s 24th GLAAD Media Awards have been announced and a solid list for their comic book category has been announced. The GLAAD Media Awards celebrate outstanding representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and our allies on TV, in film, and in the news.

Astonishing X-Men by Marjorie Liu
Marvel

Batwoman by W. Haden Blackman, J.H. Williams III
DC Comics

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Andrew Chambliss, Scott Allie, Jane Espenson, Drew Z. Greenberg
Dark Horse

Earth 2 by James Robinson
DC Comics

Kevin Keller by Dan Parent
Archie Comics

Congrats to all of the nominees! The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in New York on March 16, 2013 at the New York Marriott Marquis; in Los Angeles on April 20 at the JW Marriott; and in San Francisco on May 11 at the Hilton San Francisco – Union Square.  Special Honorees for each city will be announced in coming weeks.

Dark Horse Comics Promotes Scott Allie to Editor In Chief

Dark Horse has announced that Scott Allie has been promoted to editor in chief. Allie celebrated his eighteenth year with the company last month. He made his mark at Dark Horse quickly when he began editing Mike Mignola’s Hellboy only a month after joining the Editorial department. Since that time, he has gone on to both write and edit some of the company’s top-selling books, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and cult favorites like The Goon,and he continues to collaborate with Mignola, including cowriting the upcoming series B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Abyss of Time.

He has shepherded multiple projects with names outside the comics industry, such as Lance Henriksen with To Hell You Ride and Gerard Way with The Umbrella Academy. Along with Dark Horse’s director of public relations, Jeremy Atkins, and recently appointed VP of Marketing, Matt Parkinson, Allie helped to develop and edit the company’s first foray into digital publishing with the critically acclaimed anthology MySpace Dark Horse Presents. Most recently, he engineered a three-month publishing initiative that showcases some of the company’s best horror titles and introduces new miniseries by top-tier talent.

Please join us in congratulating Scott, as he moves into new responsibilities and further showcases his vision to the comics world.

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