By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I’ve been thinking about nothing but the 15th anniversary of Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) since last month and was very excited to see what Dark Horse Comics has plans on announcing this year. In addition to the artist and writer signings and giveaways at the show, there’s something always cool to be found when walking by! Had I gone to the main exhibit hall early in the morning, I might have walked away with a yellow tote bag, but alas, I was in another building awaiting photo ops with a few of this show’s entertainment guests.
Fortunately, I did not miss meeting artist Irene Koh (she’s illustrating the upcoming official Legend of Korra continuation due in shelves Jun 7) and writer Gene Luen Yang (Avatar: Last Airbender). I’ve been buying everything Avatar related this company puts out and plan on a huge binge-read. While waiting in line, I can only smile at how much of a strong fan base this series has, especially amongst the Asian community.
Also, I got to see Mike Mignola again and learn he’s working on a new work. The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed is out and it takes place in the Hellboy universe. While the stories about the title character are finished, thankfully there’s more to enjoy in this realm from other perspectives. One hope I had is to see all the Hellboy stories packaged together in an omnibus collection; sadly the representative said there are no immediate plans. The collections we have now is it for those preferring the trade paperback route. My mix of one-shots and owning certain storylines sometimes gets me lost as to where each story fits in.
Out of all the Dark Horse related events that took place, perhaps the best news (and the timing is perfect on the heels of the Power Rangers movie getting a lot of hype) is that fact the Zodiac Starforce Girls are back! Cries of the Fire Prince is the next series that will be the follow-up to the breakout hit Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra. This team is made up of young teens who made a promise to protect Earth from alien threats. The concept is familiar, and the work by Kevin Panetta (Bloom) and Paulina Ganucheau (Mae, Another Castle) show that the ideas introduced in Sailor Moon is eternal.
On Saturday, March 4th, Richard Hamilton spoke at the Twitch Booth about How to Train Your Dragon. He’s the co-writer of this series with Dean DeBlois and the first five or so minutes introduced the series to people who are not aware of this official continuation of the saga. He talked about the transition of this animated series to comic books and how new dragons will be introduced as new issues are released. There will be some connections to the Cartoon Network / Netflix series.
Even the video game School of Dragons will get referenced. More tales are planned, but no official dates are given. The plan is to have at least three books, perhaps one per year, leading up to the third and final film.
This company is not fully aware of Titan Books’ license, so for fans who have read them all, not everything will follow canon.
As for my picks from the past month and this, leading the pack is The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts. This book is the perfect complement to the other release, Hyrule Historia, and for a season which saw the release of the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild, please excuse me if my lack of posting articles is slim in the coming weeks/months. To get sucked into a gorgeous video game world makes dealing with real life, well … gamers get the idea.
And fantasy worlds do not have to be necessarily dull. From the EC Archives is Valor. It just came out and I was tempted to test how many books I can stuff into the limited baggage I took down. Fortunately for this collection (now out), there were only five issues and it features the fantastic art of Carl Wessler, Bernie Krigstein, Graham Ingels, Wally Wood, Al Williamson, Joe Orlando, Reed Crandall, and George Evans.
In the manga front, RG Veda (pronounced Rig Veda) by CLAMP (Revolutionary Girl Utena) continues its run with the second volume due to hit shelves March 14th. This series is loosely based on the classic Indian saga of the same name, and readers can follow the next chapter of Ashura’s journey in the search for Yasha. The world of the gods is shrouded in darkness, and not even the Sky Castle sanctuary looks safe.
Rounding out my picks is a hardcover book, The Centennial (1917-2017), a celebration of Will Eisner‘s legacy.
If you can not make the trip to New York for The Society of Illustrator‘s exhibit of Eisner’s works (taking place from March 1 to June 03, 2017), then this book due to hit shelves March 22 does a fantastic job of showcasing this artist’s remarkable talent which includes more than just the strips he created. There are paintings and charcoal sketches. The Spirit is everywhere, no pun intended, in how owners of this book can see how his work evolved throughout the years. Essays, like “Will Eisner, Genius of American Comics” by Jean-Pierre Mercier reveal how this artist was ahead of his time and “The Spirit Diaspora and the Graphic Novel Revolution” by Paul Gravett in how this format got created is worth the price of this book alone! Francophones get a translated version of these articles, making it the ideal museum companion too!