Tagged: Dark Horse

Interview: Scott Allie on Pitching Comics, MySpace and the Digital Medium

Interview: Scott Allie on Pitching Comics, MySpace and the Digital Medium

Previously on ComicMix, I spoke with Dark Horse Comics’ Editor Scott Allie about a variety of subjects including Buffy: Season Eight, current and future Serenity spin-offs, how he deals with reactions from fans and other tidbits about the Joss Whedon universe. Recently, I got the chance to speak with Allie again.

For this interview, we tackled a bunch of new topics, revisited some old ones, and spoke at-length about Dark Horse’s upcoming online plans, his thoughts on the future of comics and what he looks for in artists and writers.

COMICMIX: Scott, thanks for talking with me again. The last time we spoke was during New York Comic Con. Since we’re in convention season now with more of them looming, can you tell me how a convention like New York Comic Con and some of the others compare to something like San Diego’s Comic-Con International for a publisher like Dark Horse?

SCOTT ALLIE: New York is second only to San Diego. The big difference with the New York show is that it’s more about comics for now. The San Diego show has become so much about anything but comics. Movies, videogames, actresses, whatever. With New York, even when you’re talking about a licensed property, the focus remains on the comic.

Sure, there’s videogames and all that other stuff in New York, but it really feels like a comics convention, and the San Diego Comic-Con just doesn’t. San Diego’s a great place to talk about the biggest things, like Buffy: Season Eight, but smaller stuff just gets lost in the shuffle.

Whereas in New York, you can engage directly with readers about all of what we do. And we do a wide range of material. New York is a good show for that.

CMix: I was surprised that you guys were accepting submissions in New York?

SA: Yeah, we weren’t really doing that.

CMix: It was in the program, though.


Review: Hellboy Franchise Hits #8 With ‘Darkness Calls’ and ‘Killing Ground’

Review: Hellboy Franchise Hits #8 With ‘Darkness Calls’ and ‘Killing Ground’

In the last few weeks, both of Mike Mignola’s related series for Dark Horse have hit their eighth collected volumes. So, while the second movie – prominently advertised on both covers – is still forthcoming, let’s see what’s going on with the Hellboy of the printed world.

Hellboy, Vol. 8: Darkness Calls
Written by Mike Mignola; art by Duncan Fegredo
Dark Horse, May 2008, $19.95

Hellboy has been wandering alone for about six years now — as one character remarks helpfully, late in this volume — since he walked away from the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. He’s hasn’t particularly been looking for trouble, unlike his [[[B.P.R.D.]]] days, but trouble and [[[Hellboy]]] are never that far from each other.

After some adventures and a shipwreck on the coast of Africa — in the last volume, [[[The Troll Witch and Others]]] — Hellboy has turned up at the home of his old friend Harry Middleton, who was part of the old B.P.R.D. team of the ’50s with Hellboy and Professor Bruttenholm. Hellboy is hoping to rest, but how likely is that?

Meanwhile, a minor villain named Igor Bromhead attempts to harness the power of the witch-goddess Hecate — who Hellboy beat up, but didn’t completely destroy, several books ago — and the witches of the world plot their own revenge against Hellboy. These two separate sub-plots are more connected than they first appear to be, of course…


‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Tarot Cards and Ouija Board

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Tarot Cards and Ouija Board

Every now and then, a product announcement comes across the wire that catches my eye. Sometimes the product is connected to a property I’m a big fan of, and other times it piques my interest for no other reason than it seems like a creative, original idea for a tie-in.

Not being a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan (I was more of an Angel person, to be honest), it’s a case of the latter that prompts me to echo Dark Horse Comics‘ recent announcement that the publisher will be producing a set of tarot cards and ouija board based on the Buffy property. It’s the sort of tie-in that’s such a no-brainer I can’t believe it hasn’t been done already — and after a quick Google for Buffy-related tarot cards and ouija boards, I salute the good folks at Dark Horse for getting there first (until someone tells me otherwise).

From the official press release:

Named for an award-winning episode from Season Seven of the BVS television series—and written by Buffy Season Eight: Wolves at the Gate author Drew Goddard—the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Conversations with Dead People” Board is a great game for fans, in this world and the next, to communicate with each other about life, death, and other mysteries. In the tradition of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, through which countless entities gained entry, fearless souls can let voices from the other side guide the planchette along the board to spell out the answers to their queries. Folks can channel their inner Willow and hone their witchy skills, providing hours of fun for the whole séance! Accompanying the game board and planchette, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Conversations with Dead People” Board includes an exclusive, comic-style instruction book featuring sequential art by Buffy SeasonEight guest illustrator Paul Lee!


Disney Partners With Zappa, Adds Graphic Novel Line

The ginormous media behemoth known as Disney apparently sees promise in the future of comics, as the "House that Walt Built" is creating a publishing wing to make new graphic novels out of old Disney properties.

The news has generated lots of coverage already, including articles on Cinematical, ACED Magazine and Reuters. The best breakdown comes from the Hollywood Reporter, which explains this has a whole lot to do with comics being quite the hot ticket.

The creation of Kingdom Comics positions the studio as a player in the scorching comic book scene. Many studios have aligned themselves to the big companies — Warner Bros. owns DC Comics, Marvel has a distribution deal with Paramount, Universal has a first-look deal with Dark Horse Comics — leaving very few players up for grabs. It also will put the company in business with established and untapped talent in what essentially will be a R&D division, letting it develop possible franchises in a way that will cost less than a low-end spec.

The people behind Kingdom Comics are writer-actor Ahmet Zappa (Frank’s son), executive Harris Katleman and writer-editor Christian Beranek (of publisher Silent Devil).

No creators or projects have been announced yet, but Cinematical has some thoughts on the potential graphic novels:

Will we be seeing Old Yeller re-imagined as an avenging canine superhero? Will Pollyanna be rejuvenated as a butt-kicking young woman who insists that everyone look on the bright side of life? Disney has produced more than 200 live-action properties over the years — check out a list of 30 favorites from UltimateDisney — so there’s plenty to choose from.

Review: ‘Batman Grendel’ by Matt Wagner

Review: ‘Batman Grendel’ by Matt Wagner

 Batman Grendel
By Matt Wagner
DC Comics/Dark Horse, February 2008, $19.95

[[[Batman Grendel]]] collects two short series – each one was just two 50-page issues long – originally titled [[[Batman/Grendel]]] and [[[Batman/Grendel II]]]. The slash has disappeared for the collected edition – perhaps because now the names of two male characters separated by a slash brings with it entirely different expectations?

(I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett’s never-quite-named character, from a tribe who are called after the first thing the mother sees after birth, who wished, desperately, that his name was Two Dogs Fighting.)

(And the very small “Vs.” on all of the online bookshots does not actually appear on the book itself, which is simply titled Batman Grendel, as if it were the product of some comic-book equivalent of a corporate merger.)

So what we have first is a 1993 story with Batman battling the original Grendel, Hunter Rose – who is in many ways something like an evil Batman, or a twisted mirror image. Rose is a self-made man, master of arcane fighting arts, and the scourge of the underworld in his hometown…although that’s because he took over in his town. Rose is incredibly violent in a very comic-booky way – he has the typical nonpowered superhero’s utter control of violence and movement, but uses it to slaughter at will.


Review: ‘The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch’

Review: ‘The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch’

Neil Gaiman has been too busy lately to write much for comics unless it’s an event — like 1602 or his curiously pointless Eternals miniseries — but there’s still an audience for his stories in the direct market. So what’s a poor comics publisher to do? Well, if it’s Dark Horse, what you do is get various folks to adapt Gaiman stories into comics and publish them as slim trade-paperback-sized hardcovers. So far, Michael Zulli did Creatures of the Night, John Bolton adapted Harlequin Valentine, and P. Craig Russell tackled Murder Mysteries. And now Zullis is back again for:

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch
By Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli, and Todd Klein
Dark Horse Books, May 2008, $13.95

Now, for most writers, “[[[The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch]]]” would be by far their longest title ever, but Gaiman is not most writers. He’s also responsible for “[[[Being An Experiment Upon Strictly Scientific Lines Assisted By Unwins LTD, Wine Merchants (Uckfield)]]]” ” [[[Forbidden Brides Of The Faceless Slaves In The Nameless House Of The Night Of Dread Desire]]],” ” [[[I Cthulhu: Or What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47º 9′ S, Longitude 126º 43′ W)?]]],” and ” [[[Pages From A Journal Found In A Shoebox Left In A Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma, And Louisville, Kentucky]]].” So “[[[Miss Finch]]]” may just be one of Gaiman’s more punchy and terse titles.

According to the Neil Gaiman Visual Bibliography — and why should we mistrust it? — “Miss Finch” is one of Gaiman’s more obscure stories, showing up in the program book for the convention Tropicon XVII and a magazine called Tales of the Unanticipated before turning up in one of his collections — though in a different one depending on which side of the Atlantic you live on.


Piling It On, by Mike Gold

Piling It On, by Mike Gold

With great power comes… bloggers.

One of the first lessons I learned writing an Internet column – both here and on my soon-to-be-revived political rant Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind – is also the first lesson I learned when I started on radio shortly after Marconi found the electricity outlet: if you say it, some people will buy it. Either way, if it’s big enough people will debate it.

Joey Goebbels had some success with this concept… for a while.

We here at ComicMix strive for responsibility, and in that spirit I’ve had a great many column ideas that I rejected simply because they weren’t true. Oh, sure, I thought about selling them to Michael Davis, but then it dawned on me I can squeeze this column out of my spiked copy. Ergo, without further ado, here’s a bunch of columns I won’t get around to writing.

     •     •     •     •

Oh, sure, Marvel rebooted Spidey to much loathing, but the reboot sells and if there’s one concept in comics that is engraved in stone it’s this: “Fool ‘em once, make big money. Fool ‘em twice and they’ll double-bag it.” In this spirit, Marvel has announced two exciting new projects.


Cool Like That, by Michael Davis

Cool Like That, by Michael Davis


What is cool?

As comic book fans we are pretty much in the forefront of what cool is. The history of comics is an encyclopedia of coolness. If it were not for rock’n’roll, comics would be the absolute standard of coolness. Take a look all the stuff that comics are responsible for in popular culture.

We each have our own gauge of what cool is. Me? I’m all over the place with what or who I think is cool. I think George Clooney is cool and I have little respect for “movie stars,” as any regular reader of this column knows. I think that Gary Shandling is cool and one of the funniest men on the planet. I think that DC comics are cool even if I have had issues with them and they have with me. I think American Idol is cool mostly ,because so many so-called “hip” people think it’s lame. I think HGTV is cool. I think that Stan Lee is cool because he has earned that title. I think that Prince and Patrick Swayze are cool. To me Alan Greenspan is cool and so is Brian Williams.

The shows Family Guy and American Dad are cool but so is every one of those Law and Order shows. Mike Richardson and Dark Horse comics are cool. The staff at Comic Con International and the staff at The Westin Horton Plaza Hotel (especially Jean) are cool. I think the Amish are cool. I know that ComicMix is cool.



ComicMix Radio: We May Have Hit 200, But Who is the Final Cylon?

ComicMix Radio: We May Have Hit 200, But Who is the Final Cylon?

We start our 200th broadcast with the first round of a new survey asking who that final model might be… TV and comic writer Marc Guggenheim weighs in with his theory, and then we head over to the Battlestar set to ask co-executive producer Mark Verheiden what he picked up at his comic shop this week, plus:

— It’s a Christmas Spirit in the theaters

— Dark Horse collects Clover

Astounding WolfMan makes it easy to jump in!

Just as you did 199 times before, please press the button!



And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!

Interview: Paul Azaceta on Daredevil, Monkey Art and ‘B.P.R.D: 1946’

One of this year’s big additions to the Hellboy universe has been the series BPRD: 1946, which features Hellboy’s father-figure, Trevor Bruttenholm, as he investigates the occult legacy of the Third Reich.

I recently spoke with series artist Paul Azaceta, who discussed the ins and outs of playing in Mike Mignola’s sandbox. Azaceta also provided insight on his many other projects for Marvel and BOOM! Studios, and on the joys of drawing monkeys.

Though still a relative newcomer to the comics scene, Azaceta has churned out an impressive amount of books in the past few years. His future looks to remain busy, with the possibility of more B.P.R.D. and a mystery project for Marvel. 

COMICMIX: How did you get your start in comics? I noticed that you worked on manga books a few years back.

PAUL AZACETA: Oh CPM, how I miss you. Those old manga books are when I first got into the business but not as an artist. Those were the good old days when C.B. Cebulski was the editor of a manga line and I was his assistant. I used to make copies for him and scan in manga art and other things I’m not too proud of. C.B. was a very loving boss.

CMix: How did you end up making the connection with BOOM! Studios?

PA: After doing a couple of small books here and there, I met [BOOM! Publisher] Ross Richie through a friend and it just so happened he was looking for someone to draw these two gritty-type books. When I heard that Mr. Mark Waid was behind one of those books, I jumped at the chance.