2014 in Review has ended, but there are still tons of things Multiversity’s staff loved in comics from the year. As we approach the end of the year, Multiversity’s staff will share one thing a day they loved from the year, highlighting anything from a comic, creator, cover, comic shop, app, or anything really. As long as it involved comics, it can be featured. We hope you enjoy.
Despite losing one of their biggest properties in 2014, Dark Horse still managed to have a stellar and interesting year: they boosted their Whedonverse and Mignolaverse presence, released a handful of strong miniseries, put out some really fascinating video game art books, and continued to publish one of the best ongoings today. But where I think they truly excelled this year was in their reprints.
These are only three books out of many that Dark Horse re-released this year that stuck out with me, all of them assembled with great care: I’m talking better, high-res scans; quality paper; sturdy binding; and interesting back material. Each of these is worth seeking out.
1.) “The Ring of the Nibelung” — P. Craig Russell’s masterful adaptation of the earth-shattering opera, finally collected in one volume. Meticulously assembled so the panels themselves hit the rhythms of the music, it’s a fascinating and thrilling story, one of those things that just seemed perfect for comics. Lovern Kindzierski’s colors also explode like the Siegfried’s pyre. The world is wonderfully realized and rendered, and Russell evokes a plethora of breathtaking images, from the Valkyries to the water nymphs to the mountain fire barrier around Brunhilde.
2.) “Satoshi Kon’s OPUS” — mindbending director Satoshi Kon made some of the wildest, strangest, and most fascinating movies ever, but like many anime animators, he started out in manga. Originally released in 2006 “OPUS” is one of those books about an artist’s creations getting away from him, and Kon approaches it with the same precision and expertise as his movies. Many of his themes about shared lives and warped realities appear here as well, and many of the images he creates seem to break apart the comic page, in the same vein that Paprika shattered movie screens or Millennium Actress connected dozens of separate entities in one fluid line. 100% interesting and a strong testament to the talents of the late filmmaker.
3.) “The Complete Elfquest Vol. 1” — Wendy and Richard Pini’s epic fantasy series can often be overly earnest and frequently cheesy, but it’s a lot of fun, features a diverse cast, and boosts plenty of strong morals about equality and community. Like with “Cerebus”, it changed the comic scene, showing that self-published books could be a viable commodity in the industry, especially at a time when corporate heroes were the only options. Dark Horse prints the first quest, 20 issues in all, in the original black-and-white, where I think the story reads 100 times better (especially because the Pini coloring in the DC Archive Editions leaves a lot to be desired). It’s sweet, heart-lifting and heartbreaking, and makes you want to ride across the world on the back of a wolf.