C2E2 2013: Dark Horse Spring Fever

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In an attempt to squeeze as many comics, slides, and announcements into a panel as possible, Dark Horse Comics shared many of their upcoming projects at C2E2 on Saturday. Editor Scott Allie discussed the publisher’s line of horror comics, calling writers and artists out of the audience as their projects were mentioned. Among the guests were Eric Powell, Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani, Tim Seeley, Brian Wood, and Jai Nitz. Using the tagline “Drawing On Your Nightmares,” Allie talked about various new and returning horror series.

Among these was Witch Hunt, a series by Victor Gischler set in New Orleans. The teaser image described the city as a “werewolf town.” Alex de Campi will be working on a book called Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight, which will prove to be as suitably gritty and over-the-top as the name suggests. Dark Horse continues its relationship with director Guillermo del Toro with The Strain, a horror comic that has recently been adapted into a TV series coming to the FX network. Another returning player is Steve Niles, who is working on a series called Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem. This announcement was accompanied by some intriguing footage of World War II soldiers with the titular clay creature lurking in the background. Niles is also continuing his Criminal Macabre series and bringing its protagonist to Chicago in an upcoming arc.

The Windy City is featured heavily in several upcoming Dark Horse books, though perhaps not in ways Chicagoans would favor. The city is apparently being destroyed in an arc of BPRD (as images of devastation were shown, the panel joked that Chicago looked like that now but we had all thankfully missed it, safe at the comic-con). BPRD will be getting a new artist, Lawrence Campbell, and a new cover artist Rafael Albuquerque. We can also expect to see the return of Liz Sherman and adventures of Abe Sapien in his new ongoing series, drawn by Max and Sebastian Fiumara.

The big announcement of the panel was Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani’s Itty Bitty Hellboy series, a humorous all-ages comic in the style of their Tiny Titans. Stylized characters from this book found their way into other slides of the presentation, prompting laughs from the audience and discussion of Hellboy canon and crossovers from the artists. Hellboy will also receive a new graphic novel, The Midnight Circus, in addition to Mike Mignola’s ongoing (but sporadic) Hellboy in Hell series.

Other series discussed included the miniseries Amala’s Blade, described as a steampunk romantic fantasy. The series’ heroine is a warrior woman haunted by ghosts—or perhaps simply going mad. Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy will be making a comeback and Brian Wood will re-team with his Northlanders artist, Davide Gianfelice, for a “trippy” arc of Conan the Barbarian involving drug use and a possible glimpse of Conan and Belit’s future.

A surprising detail of the panel was the announcement of several new or revived superhero series at Dark Horse. Many of their 1990s superheroes, such as X and Ghost will be returning in new, reimagined stories by Duane Swierczynski and Kelly Sue DeConnick respectively. Joe Casey will be reinventing another 90s property with Catalyst, featuring different artists in each issue. Tim Seeley and Mike Norton will return to their series, The Occultist, described by Seeley as a mix of teen Spider-Man angst and Dr. Strange-style weirdness. Jai Nitz discussed his new series Dream Thief, which will feature a man possessed by dead people when he sleeps. Dream Thief will feature art by new talent Greg Smallwood and an Alex Ross cover for #1. Another new property is Buzzkill, co-created by writer Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek of the band the Toadies. The series will feature a super-powered man who awakes to find thousands of people dead and his own substance addiction possibly the cause. Another musician contributing to Dark Horse’s output is Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, who will be co-creating The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys with Shaun Simon and artist Becky Cloonan. The series is based on My Chemical Romance’s last album. Rounding out Dark Horse’s new superhero line is a revival of 1930s radio hero Captain Midnight.

Dark Horse’s licensed properties were also discussed, including the confirmation that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics will continue to Season 10. Dark Horse was excited to announce that they will be doing comics based on the popular video game series Halo, beginning with Halo: Initiation. Star Wars will be staying at Dark Horse for the foreseeable future, despite Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm. The panel was quite excited about the recent Star Wars #1, featuring new stories of the original trilogy characters by Brian Wood.

Whether you’re a fan of horror, superheroes, fantasy, or science fiction, it appears that the best choice is still to bet on a Dark Horse.

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  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Apr 30, 2013 at 3:48am

    not too terribly excited about their superheroes line ...

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