Dark Horse Comics, Ed’s Picks of September 2017

324px dark horse comics logo svgAdmittedly, I fell off the wagon in my posts offering my picks of Dark Horse Comics upcoming releases. Trying to review everything is tough. The summer is a busy month because of all the conventions people are going to, and to decide on what I must read or look at (or go see) has me doing the chicken without a head routine, especially when a certain co-writer is unable to post as often as I do.

As I remount to ride again, perhaps this time I can say, “Hi Ho Silver and Away!(?)” Tonto is off in the bushes, preferring to stay low key, and it’ll be up to him to decide when to return.

The material coming in this month is exciting. There are some titles I got to preview and with a thus and therefore, I offer my selections for the month. October will be heavy with horror themed picks from a variety of studios to which it will be fun to boil down to a top thirteen list.

Sept 06

3001778The Black Beetle: Kara Bocek HC

This masked American hero began his adventures in Francesco Francavilla‘s blog, Pulp Sunday back in 2009. When the response was exceptionally good, new stories would appear and eventually, his adventures would drift over to Dark Horse Presents. The noir style and pulp aesthetics are at the centre of why I think this comic is fantastic. The action is kind of like vintage Batman, even though I’m feeling more of a Green Hornet action-style inspiration.

Kara Böcek is an adapted work. Here, Beetle travels to the Middle East incognito (as Tom Sawyer) to fight Nazis in pursuit of a mysterious object of terrible power–a weapon of unknown origin, older than the pyramids, which could fuel the Thousand-Year Reich of Hitler s dreams. This story originally appeared in Dark Horse Presents #28-#32 and I’m glad to see this hardcover reprint.

Sept 12

30352The Art of Rick and Morty

Anyone who has not seen one episode of Rick and Morty must have been living under a rock. To have an art book is one chance to get caught up in all that is bizarre from this animated series, and also see how the characters are drawn and how others came to be. For example, Squanchy is this creator’s version of Snarf from ThunderCats. I feel this book is more like an art bible, so fans can draw their favourite characters in their favourite poses and get those facial expressions right. I’m particularly interested in Jessica. No, that’s not because she’s the redhead in the series, but there’s something about Myke Chilian’s drawings which breathes life into this character.

Not only does this collection have a special glow-in-the-dark cover but also, there are quick anecdotes in how some characters or episodes came to be.

Sept 13

Dark Horse Comics/DC Comics: Mask TPB

I have always been a fan of The Mask, and unless I’m keeping a careful eye on new releases, some comics can easily get missed — like all the crossover material featuring characters from DC Comics. This volume collects Grifter/The Mask #1-#2, Lobo vs. the Mask #1-#2, and Joker/Mask #1-#4.

Here, Grifter and the Mask team up and face off against smugglers at a Las Vegas weapons show. After destroying a planet, the Mask has a bounty on his head and Lobo hot on his tail in a mind-bending, time-twisting showdown between madmen. And last but not least, the Joker stumbles upon the mask, which inspires a new super powered reign for the Clown Prince of Crime!

The bonus with this collection is that it includes never-before-reprinted material. Perhaps it was a good thing I waited.

3000911Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.
1955–Occult Intelligence 

The adventures of Hellboy are not over. While the main books have reached a conclusion to this character’s journey, I’m thrilled to see him tackle other challenges during earlier parts of his life. With comic books, you can go back in time, hence this upcoming release.

From the synopsis: A layover on a remote island drops Hellboy into a web of intrigue involving government secrets and foreign agents waging their own cold war over a weapon that might be right up the BPRD’s alley. In England, Bruttenholm uncovers more secrets, indicating a worldwide supernatural conflict about to boil over.

3001184Empowered Deluxe Edition Volume 3 HC

Adam Warren is an artistic talent I adore which started from reading Dirty Pair, an anime series which has seen various adaptations over time. With Empowered, those manga-style roots seen in the way he draws are not gone. I feel these two titles are the highlights of his career. He did create cover illustrations for Marvel Comics and wrote Livewires, but I was not drawn them as the other material.

The latest volume is on my Amazonir?t=wiupgeatthmo 20&l=am2&o=1&a=1506704522 on order list. I considered picking up the separate volumes (this latest collects 7 to 9) but when the hardcovers often offer extra material (this time, unpublished artwork, creator notes and essays), I’m glad I waited! Plus, it will go along great with my other two hardcovers to keep the collection continuous.

To note:
* This edition has 704 pages, limited to initial printing only!
* 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of Empowered!

September 20

3001224The End League Library Edition HC

The genre-bending New York Times bestseller is now available in a deluxe oversized format! A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen, The End League follows the last remaining superheroes on Earth as they embark on a desperate quest to find the one artifact that can save humanity–the Hammer of Thor. Superstar writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Tokyo Ghost) is joined by comics legends Mat Broome (X-Men, Batman) and Eric Canete (Iron Man, Martian Manhunter) on a perilous journey to save the world! Collects all nine issues of the series.

  • Oversize library format matches the best-selling Fear Agent Library editions!

Sept 27

3001223The Dark North HC

Originally crowdfunded in 2015, this illustrated prose/art book features five unique tales ranging from Norse mythology to science fiction. The Dark North showcases artwork by Scandinavia’s leading illustrators and concept artists Peter Bergting, Henrik Pettersson, Joakim Ericsson, Magnus Olsson, and Lukas Thelin, prose by Martin Dunelind, and a foreword by author and filmmaker Clive Barker!

This work is simply fantastic to behold. The variety of art styles contained within paint a dream-like world where terror can be found — if you glimpse the wrong way! The prose delivers much of the story and the paintings emphasize the dilemma.  I can’t decide on which story stands out, as they are all exceptional. “Archon” is the most provocative for majestic images. I can not help but be reminded of some of the set designs from Alien and Aliens. That’s the feeling I get while looking at Joakim Ericsson’s works. The scale he presents in the ships floating by and just how tiny humankind is to that is certainly the stuff product of cinema successfully transposed onto a print medium. For those looking for illustrations to convey an otherworldly sense of terror, the tale “The Way of All Things” with illustrations by Lukas Thelin is simply perfect! Most of the paintings he’s done should be used as book covers than as content tucked within.

I’m thankful Dark Horse Comics is delivering this book to readers who have not discovered this work to stores. This item tops my list of must reads for the month, before All Hallow’s Eve descends upon us.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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