Tagged: Dark Horse

DC Goes To Mars?

DC Goes To Mars?

Okay, the Mars Bars trick isn’t working, so you can stop sending ’em. The CW is not going to renew Veronica Mars.

However, series creator Rob Thomas told The Toronto Star he was in discussions this week with DC Comics; "they want to do (Season 4) as a comic series."

The comic book medium is becoming the popular new way to zombify dead teevee series. Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon has been writing a Season 8 for Dark Horse, and it’s been selling through the roof. Me, I’m holding out for Season 2 of Jack Of All Trades.

Thanks and a tip o’the hat to Larry Shell.


JOHN OSTRANDER: Overlooking the Obvious

Awards season is loose in comicland and I can already tell you what won’t be getting awards, this year or any other year. Anything that smacks of a licensed property. When I speak of a licensed property, I mean anything like Battlestar Gallactica, or The Phantom, or Buffy, or Conan. Or Star Wars.


And, yes, I write some of the Star Wars comics – currently my book is Star Wars: Legacy. If that sounds like a conflict of interest on my part or that maybe I have an axe to grind – so what? If there is one thing being in rotation with Michael Davis has taught me, there is no shame in saying your own name and being proud of what you do. Michael is my hero and my shining example. I intend to channel my inner Michael.


I’m as proud of my work on Star Wars as I’ve been of anything I’ve done in my career – and never more so with Legacy. We’ve jumped down the Star Wars timeline 100 years past anything that is being currently done in Star Wars, including the novels. We’ve imagined a whole new galaxy of characters and re-defined Star Wars, working from its past while making it open to newcomers.


But forget me for a moment. Wait – I’m channeling my inner Michael. Don’t you ever forget me but, in addition to me, there are other folk doing superlative work. My artist and partner in crime, Jan Duursema, is doing some of the finest work of her career and, given the amount of talent she has to begin with, that’s considerable. When a new Star Wars project is conceived, it usually takes a team of designers a year or so to come up with the look. Jan designed it herself (with Sean Phillips designing a lot of the ships) in less than a year while she was finishing work on our predecessor Star Wars title, Republic. She has a wonderful team of Dan Parsons on inks and Brad Anderson on colors and both of them contribute massively to the just straight out beauty of the books.


And it’s not just our book. Doug Wheatley does breathtaking work on Star Wars: The Dark Ages. Nor is it only Star Wars; Timothy Truman and Cary Nord have been doing stunning work on the Conan title. Nor is it only Dark Horse books; the number of books based on licensed properties is growing and coming from many different publishers. Their sales are increasing; the first issue of the new Buffy, the Vampire Slayer series cracked the Top Ten on Diamond’s list the month it came out.


So – where’s the love? Where’s the respect? Certainly, Legacy gets it from the Star Wars fans. I was out at Celebration IV about two weeks ago and it was in plentiful display. I find it frustrating that more general readers aren’t at least looking at the titles. These are just good comics, gang – good characters, good stories, lots of adventure, intrigue, great dialogue. And these are just in my comics. (Man, I’m loving channeling my inner Michael. Maybe I’ll call him John-Michael. Or is that too French?) The point is – they’re as good as or better than most of the comics out there. I’ll stand them up against anybody else’s willingly.



I just got back from Star Wars Celebration IV in Los Angeles and, boy, are my X-wing tired. (Bada-bump)

What follows are my impressions and meandering thoughts of the event and of Star Wars as well as the thirtieth anniversary of the first movie (now, perversely, Episode IV – A New Hope) is, well, celebrated. I came out as a guest of Dark Horse comics because my artist (and partner in crime) Jan Duursema and I have just completed the first 12 issues of our new SW comic, Legacy. Jan and I have worked other SW projects for DH for maybe seven years now and have managed to attract our own following.

The thing is – as I’ve written/said elsewhere and, if you’ve heard this before, feel free to skip this paragraph – I was a SW fan from before the first movie came out. I’d seen the novelization on the counter at my local comic book shop and decided to pick it up. It was a good, fast paced, fun read and I thought if they could get maybe half of what was on the page up on the screen, it would be a fun movie. For those of you under 30, this was back when the height of sci-fi special effects was 2001 or Dr. Who. Yeah, the stone age.

George Lucas, of course, got 200% of what was on the page up on the screen and melted my widdle mind. He changed not only sci-fi films and special effects, he changed summer releases, he changed the technology in the making of the films and invented modern movie merchandising. I mean, the studio gave those to him because they saw very little use to them. Today, the merchandising of the film rakes in more bucks than the film itself.

Every few years, a Star Wars Celebration takes place and they switch locales around the country doing it. This year the place was LA (appropriate perhaps considering the 30th anniversary) and the venue was the LA Convention Center. The place is huge but C4 bid fair to fill it. I was only out there two days so I can’t claim to have caught more than a sliver of it. I was doing several signings and a panel and the news I learned is closer to what I was involved in. End of caveats.

The Con was organized to a fare-thee-well. The staff knew what they were doing and, while friendly enough, stayed firmly in charge. Despite all that, there was a bomb scare during the opening ceremonies on Friday night. Oddly enough, the corridor in which people were standing to get into the ceremony space was evacuated but not the room itself. Of course, it turned out to be nothing but you almost can’t have an event like this without having something like that these days, can you?

The Con itself was the almost the size and density of the San Diego con and yet, at the same time, more intimate. I chalk that up to the fact that Celebration has a single theme/topic – Star Wars – and everyone is there because they love SW. They’d better; C4 admission wasn’t cheap and there was plenty of things inside on which to spend more money. Some of the media coverage was, predictably, condescending (along the lines of “Get a life!”) but within the Con was safe harbor. You could dress up and become an instant celebrity; if your costume was good, people would stop and want your photograph or to have their photograph taken with you. It was a large family.

There were some costumes that I saw or heard about that had a sly sense of humor. There was a Wookie about five foot tall, wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt and a cap, taking pictures everywhere as he went – Tourist Wookie. There was a stormtrooper who wore all the armor except the helmet. Instead, he had on a big plastic Burger King head like they use in those commercials of which I’m so fond. There was Stormtrooper Elvis – again, no helmet and the white spangled half cape Elvis wore along with the pompadour, shades, and sideburns from the 80s.

There was a lovely young lady in Slave Leia get-up who I saw in the lobby with a baby stroller. No, I don’t think the stroller was part of the look she was going for, but it was an interesting look nonetheless.


Kesel and the Jets

Kesel and the Jets

In the category of "familiar names in not so familiar places," editor Barbara Randall Kesel (late of CrossGen, Dark Horse and DC) has a new gig — overseeing a comic entitled The National Triumph League, which will be cowritten by New York Jets fullback Darian Barnes.

The Jets’ official site is already publicizing this venture, including an interview with Barnes where he discusses the comic (about 4:50 into the video) and mentions their nascent web home

A bit more from the book’s colorist, Jason Embury: "The National Triumph League is the story of super powered teams, battling to capture villains in a competitive environment for points, and deals with the real life issues concerning the pressure and notoriety of being a professional athlete and life in the public eye.  A fun new twist on standard superhero fare."  Barnes is cowriting the book with Josh Goldfond, and the art will be by Jim Muniz, with coloring by Embury and lettering by Jason Hanley.

Barnes notes that the book is still looking for a publisher, but one assumes that a professional NFL player won’t have any trouble funding this kind of enterprise.

Happy anniversary, Star Wars!

Happy anniversary, Star Wars!

A long time ago (30 years ago today) in a galaxy far, far away… actually, for me it was the old Fox Theater on Route 347 in Setauket, on a screen the size of a battleship… a little film called Star Wars was released.

Worlds lived, worlds died, and the cinematic universe would never be the same again.

As for us, we here at ComicMix will be pulling up all sorts of personal memories all day, along with other Star Wars oddities we find on the net, and John Ostrander is already out at Celebration IV in Los Angeles signing copies of the new Star Wars: Legacy trade paperback at the Dark Horse booth with Jan Duursema, so if there’s any breaking news, he’ll let us know.

But really, how could we be bigger fanboys than Steve Sansweet? He literally wrote the book on the matter.

In the meantime, to kick things off, here’s a little bit of what we love about it.

Congrats, George. Love It. So when’s Clone Wars coming out?

David Tennant IS Luther Arkwright

David Tennant IS Luther Arkwright

Bryan Talbot’s legendary British graphic novel of the 70s and 80s, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, has been adapted to a full-cast audio drama by the folks at Big Finish Productions, the same people who bring us original full-cast audio of Dark Shadows, Sapphire and Steel, and Doctor Who. The production spans three CDs and stars everybody’s favorite 10th Doctor, David Tennant, as the title character.

No stranger to audio drama, Tennant has been featured in several Big Finish Doctor Who-related adventures prior to being cast in the current television version.

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright was published in the United States by Dark Horse Comics.

More Groo for you

More Groo for you

Ready that cheese dip, your favorite mendicant is about to return!  Groo writer Mark Evanier has just announced that on August 1st Dark Horse will release The Groo 25th Anniversary Special, to be followed in September by debut of the four-issue miniseries Groo: Hell on Earth.

Groo — it’s one of those books where, if you have to ask, don’t.

Only really, do.  According to the solicitation, the anniversary issue will feature our hero battling the menace of "The Plague," as well as presenting The Groo Alphabet, a primer of friends and foes (mostly foes), followed by a special illustrated text story on how this comic came to be and why it just won’t go away. Plus other silly features.

As if the features already listed weren’t silly enough.

(Artwork copyright Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones. All Rights Reserved.)

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Boulevard Of Burning Bridges

MICHAEL DAVIS: The Boulevard Of Burning Bridges

I’m about to put together a major deal with a powerhouse entertainment company. I’m putting a group of people into that deal and I have a bit of a problem. I know this guy who is MAD talented. He’s a superstar professional and I have known him for years. Bringing him into this deal would help him get to the next level in his career. It would be great for me also but I’m thinking… is he too much trouble?

I have a pretty good idea what most people think of me. I have a reputation of being brilliant or lucky. People are always amazed at what I manage to get myself into. Some people love me, some people hate me. I once cared about what people think about me, now I just don’t. Why people, why any person would spend his or her time thinking about someone else’s demise is beyond me. You know what I think of those people who wish me ill?

I don’t think of them. It’s too much trouble.

For my entire career I have said that DC Comics does the best books in the industry. Mike Richardson would disagree with me and Dark Horse has done fantastic books but I just think that DC does the best books. I am and will always be a part of DC’s history. Milestone, Static Shock and being the illustrator on the first ever project from Piranha Press makes me part of their history.

I will most likely never work with DC again.

Not because I don’t want to, but because they see me as too much trouble.

I’m lucky enough – no that’s not right; I’m good enough not to have to work with DC. I have put together some major deals that have to be respected regardless if you like me or not. I think my résumé should count for something at DC. It doesn’t. Would I work with DC if a deal made sense? Yes. Would they work with me? Most likely not. Why? Long story, not important – let’s just say that we agree to disagree. Just so we are clear – I have a great deal of respect for DC Comics and their chief Paul Levitz. And here’s the thing about Paul you never hear if you disagree with him he’s man enough to listen even if he thinks you are wrong. I think Paul will go down in comics’ history as a great man.

For whatever reason, DC Comics thinks I’m too much trouble and they have every right to run their business without me and I respect that. I think it would be too much trouble to try and convince them to be in business with me. So we won’t work together. That’s cool – as I said I’m good enough with what I do to not need DC comics. I could be wrong about why we won’t work together but with all due respect to the powers that be at DC they could be wrong also. So I will most likely just have to enjoy what I consider the best books in the comics industry from the cheap seats. They on the other hand will not have the benefit of my ability to do what I do. I’m not vain enough to think they need me.


Dark Horse Ark Movie

Dark Horse Ark Movie

Columbia Pictures plans to produce a film based on Mark Verheiden’s story, The Ark.  The producers are Neal Moritz and Mike Richardson.  Verheiden will adapt his story.

Moritz is already working on The Green Hornet and Evan Almighty.

Verheiden and Richardson, you’ll recall, did Timecop as a comic, a movie and a TV show.  They also worked on The Mask. Mark’s the current writer on Superman/Batman, is an executive producer on Battlestar Galactica, finishing work on the new Bruce Campbell biopic, and a long-time comics fan.

ELAYNE RIGGS: Forward into the past

ELAYNE RIGGS: Forward into the past

The comics industry stands at an exciting crossroads. International acceptance of graphic literature is starting to have a positive effect on how Americans see non-superhero genres, as manga saturates teen audiences and award-winning autiobiographical novels like Fun Home and Persepolis enthrall adults. When you factor the geek contingent into that, as even the superhero genre (the one most non-comics readers associate and conflate with the medium itself) gains mainstream acceptance in blockbuster movies and hit TV shows, it would seem to be another Golden Age for the artform. The future of print and online comics looks healthier than ever.

So why is so much of the comics industry still mired in the past?

Take Previews, for instance. Now, Diamond Comics distribution and comic book retailers do many things right. Diamond’s comic store locator provides a valuable service, and Free Comic Book Day (this Saturday, don’t forget to peruse your local store with someone "new" to comics!) has become a much-anticipated event. And I suspect Previews isn’t as much a problem as a symptom of a wider dilemma facing brick-and-mortar specialty stores caught in the timeline between the demise of newsstand and mom-and-pop outlets (where many of today’s adult readers bought their first comics) and the promise of mainstream bookstores and targeted online purchasing.

Personally, I think the root of the problem is non-returnable product.