The April solicitations are out, and as usual, we’re here to take a look at the highlights on Soliciting Multiversity, starting with Dark Horse.
But before we take a look at the solicitations, I think we need to address the elephant in the room. Rumors flew last month that Disney is going to let Dark Horse’s “Star Wars” license expire, and bring the comics in-house to Marvel. There has been no official confirmation or denial of this rumor from either Dark Horse or Disney, but it certainly seems plausible, as Boom! Studios lost the Disney comics line when they first bought Marvel. According to anonymous “suits in the know,” 2013 will be the last year we see any new Star Wars comics from Dark Horse, although any projects already in the pipeline will still go ahead. That means we’d still be seeing Wood and D’Anda’s “Star Wars” for the time being, and even have a new Darth Vader miniseries debuting in April. It’s important to stress that at this point it’s still a rumor, no matter how plausible, and even if it turns out to be true, Dark Horse still holds the reins on the Expanded Universe in comic form for the time being.
However, if the rumors are true, Dark Horse will be in for some dark times of their own, as the “Star Wars” comics have been the backbone of their lineup for decades. They are, in essence, the company’s bread-and-butter, and losing them would make a noticeable dent in their market share. If you’re as a big fan of Dark Horse as I am, you’re probably just as disappointed about this as I am, and I urge you to see this as a rallying call. It’s up to us fans to show our support for our favorite publisher. If there’s a series they publish that you keep hearing good things about, but you haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, now is the perfect time to take a look and add it to your pull list.
Thankfully, Dark Horse is making it easy for you this month, by releasing two #1’s for $1 from their two most high-profile creator-owned comics launched in 2012: Brian Wood’s post-apocalyptic epic “The Massive,” and Matt Kindt’s endlessly creative and heavily layered spy thriller, “Mind MGMT.” And if you’ve been holding off on investigating Wood’s run on Conan despite the overwhelmingly glowing reviews it gets every issue, now’s your chance to get caught up with the “Queen of the Black Coast” trade paperback collecting the absolutely stunning first two arcs drawn by Becky Cloonan and James Harren. Flagship anthology “Dark Horse Presents” is still running strong, packed cover to cover with stories from a wide variety of talented creators, including Fred Van Lente, Geof Darrow, Simon Roy, Peter Hogan and more. There are so many more great books coming out from Dark Horse right now that I’m constantly scratching my head wondering why everyone else hasn’t noticed. Let’s take a look!
A Massive Tale
One of Brian Wood’s greatest skills is taking a big, scary concept like civil war or the end of the world and finding the small, human moments among all the chaos. Just as the crew of The Massive has started to accept the situation that they’re in and pull together as a team to help each other survive, the first signs of dissent are starting to show. A group consisting even of Callum Israel’s closest advisors have decided that their vow of non-violence is obsolete in the strange new world they’ve found themselves in, and have begun to take matters in to their own hands. This issue is a little further down the line, and it seems from the solicit that when the mutiny has finally ended, the ship is attacked by great white sharks! Declan Shalvey is taking over the art on this issue, after some stellar work over at “Conan” on the recent “Death” arc, so don’t miss it!
If you haven’t checked out “The Massive” yet, be sure to pick up a copy of the aforementioned “1 for $1″ reprinting the first issue. Better yet, pick up a bunch and hand them out to your friends!
The Search For Shangri-La
Meanwhile, in Matt Kindt’s intricately woven spy thriller, Meru and Lyme have teamed up to try and infiltrate Shangri-La, Mind Management’s secret headquarters. In order to do that, they have to find the Futurist, a man who knows what they’re going to do before they do it, and does not want to be found. With every issue packed cover-to-cover with extras, hidden messages and Kindt’s unique artistic style, this is one of the few $3.99 comics that works hard to earn each extra penny.
This also has a “1 for $1″ reprint coming out, so don’t forget to pick up a stack to give to your friends along with “The Massive!”
Fish-Man Out Of Water
Big news hit the Mignolaverse this month, as Hellboy’s aquatic friend, Abe Sapien, kicks off his own recently announced ongoing series of mini-series with “The Dark and Terrible.” He’s only had the occasional mini-series beforehand, besides his frequent appearances in “B.P.R.D.” and “Hellboy,” so this would be a big move up in the Mignolaverse for him, if he wasn’t the target of a B.P.R.D. manhunt. The story coincides with the main “B.P.R.D.” storyline, and will eventually tie back in to it, possibly during the epic conclusion of “Hell On Earth.” Sebastián Fiumara will be handling the art duties, with Scott Allie scripting under Mignola’s watchful eye.
In other Mignolaverse news, Mignola’s two-part take on the Iron Man archetype concludes with “Sledgehammer 44″ #2, the main B.P.R.D. storyline continues with “A Cold Day In Hell Part 2,” and Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon continue delving in to the early days of the Bureau in “B.P.R.D.: Vampire” #2.
After debuting in early issues of “Dark Horse Presents” and getting a #0 issue collecting those appearances, Steve Horton’s new creation, a kick-ass teen assassin named Amala, finally gets her own miniseries. While geared more toward the young teen crowd, the first story seemed to get a lot of respect in reviews, and is packed with the kind of lighthearted fun and action found in works like “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “Atomic Robo.”
For Those About To Write Comics (We Salute You)
Everyone wants to be a rock star, but apparently, rock stars want to write comics. Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame follows in the footsteps of Tom Morello, Claudio Sanchez and Gerard Way in the recent wave of rock-musicians-turned-comics-writers with his horror miniseries “The House of Gold And Bones,” which ties in with their most recent album of the same name.
Faith Erin Hicks, ‘Nuff Said
Faith Erin Hicks helms this prequel to the upcoming zombie-esque survival game “The Last of Us,” handling scripting and art under the direction of creator Neil Druckmann. While I don’t know much about the game or the comic other than that it appears to be riding the current wave of popularity in zombie and post-apocalyptic survival tales, I do know that Hicks is one of the best in the business, so I wouldn’t dismiss this as just another “Walking Dead” emulator. It’s definitely worth giving a look.
By Crom! A Collection!
A lot of people (myself included) who used to ignore the Conan titles were pulled in by Brian Wood’s take on the character, and now give it rave reviews. If you’ve been wondering what the fuss is all about, but haven’t tried reading it for yourself yet, now is the perfect opportunity to catch up with the release of the first trade paperback collecting the first two arcs of his run, entitled “Conan Volume 13: Queen of the Black Coast.” With Becky Cloonan and James Harren each drawing an arc, this might be the most beautiful artwork on a Conan title since Frank Frazetta’s famous paintings. You need to check out Cloonan’s interpretation of the scantily clad but never vulnerable pirate-queen, Belit, and the sprawling, ancient cityscapes drawn in intricate detail by Harren.
The series continues on as well, with another stunning cover by Massimo Carnevale and Andrea Mutti finishing his turn on the art duties for issue #15. There will also be releasing another trade collecting the old Marvel Conan comics, entitled “The Chronicles of Conan Vol. 24: Blood Dawn And Other Stories.”
Big, Beautiful Books
Speaking of collections, Dark Horse continues to put out some of the best deluxe hardcovers and omnibi in the business. The big news here this month is an omnibus edition of “The Adventures of Dr. McNinja,” the hit webcomic by Christopher Hastings. “Hellboy Library Edition Vol. 6″ comes out, collecting “The Storm and the Fury” and “The Bride of Hell and Others,” which includes shorts drawn by Richard Corben, Kevin Nowlan and Scott Hampton. We’ll also see more “Creepy Archives” and “Forbidden Worlds Archives” hardcovers, as well as the first in a new line of archival hardcovers collecting the original, Golden Age Daredevil. There will be a slipcase edition of the Final Fantasy art book, a new edition of trades for “Fear Agent,” omnibi for “Grendel” and “Lone Wolf 2100,” a hardcover collection of 24-hour comics by David Chelsea entitled “Everybody Gets It Wrong! And Other Stories,” and the latest volume of “Usagi Yojimbo” in both hard and soft covers.
Dark Horse Does It Best
Now that we’re done looking at what else Dark Horse has to offer, we’ve come back around to “Star Wars.” As I said, for the time being things are going strong at Dark Horse, and we may even see them ramp up toward the end of the year to get as much published and in print as they can before the seemingly inevitable happens. We’ve got a new miniseries to look forward to in April: “Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin,” a five-issue miniseries written by Tim Siedell, with art by Stephen Thompson, Mark Irwin, and Michael Atiyeh. A man seeks revenge for his son, who was murdered by Lord Vader. He’s hired eight assassins, and all have failed…perhaps the ninth time is the charm? We’ll get a new issue of Brian Wood’s “Star Wars,” which is already selling out and earning rave reviews, as well as new installments of “Fire Carrier” and “Prisoner of the Floating World.” “The Clone Wars – The Smuggler’s Code” and “Lost Tribe of the Sith” will both have trade collections out. Finally, Ostrander’s popular “Star Wars: Legacy” gets its first hardcover volume in April.
…And The Rest!
As usual, there’s a lot more out in April that we haven’t the time to go over in detail. An all-ages superhero one-shot by David Chelsea called “Snow Angel.” A one-shot collection of the DHP reintroduction of Dark Horse suphero, “X.” New issues of “Buffy,” “Spike,” “The Answer,” Francesco Francavilla’s “The Black Beetle: No Way Out,” “Dark Horse Presents,” “Dragon Age: Until We Sleep,” and “To Hell You Ride.” Trade collections of “Bloodhound,” “The Strain,” and “The Victories.” Be sure to check out the full solicits for the rest!