Tagged: Dark Horse


Dark Horse Comics has offered a first look at The Black Beetle: No way Out, Francesco Francavilla’s New Pulp comic book hero’s first issue, available in comic shops on January 16th.

About The Black Beetle: No Way Out–
Black Beetle’s investigation of two local mob bosses is interrupted when a mysterious explosion murders them and a pub full of gangsters — taking out most of Colt City’s organized crime in one fell swoop. Who could pull off such a coup, and what danger might that murderous bomber do to Colt City and Black Beetle?

The Black Beetle: No Way Out is 32 pages for $3.99.
Written and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla.

Click on images for a larger view.


Story/Art: Keith Tucker

Keith Tucker posted an update and sneak peek at his Shell Scott graphic novel in progress at his website.

Tucker writes: My Shell Scott graphic novel continues, I was originally going to do this book with Mark Ellis scripting, but Mark’s busy schedule made it tough for him to get to it. With Mark’s blessing, I jumped ahead to a safe part of the book and began adapting it on my own, Mark has since let me continue on my own, and i greatly appreciate that, lets work on something else later together. So here’s my latest page from chapter 14 of Dead Man’s Walk.

Look for more Shell Scott news at All Pulp as it becomes available.


Art: Francesco Francavilla

Dark Horse Comics has released the above poster as part of a promotional campaign of new “SUPER” titles that are launching in January 2013, including Francesco Francavilla’s Black Beetle.

Look for Black Beetle: No Way Out #1 coming January 2013.

Learn more about The Black Beetle at http://theblackbeetle.blogspot.com.
Dark Horse Press Release
Dark Horse Comics is thrilled to announce a new creator-owned series from Francesco Francavilla, the 2012 Eisner Award winner for Best Cover Artist!
Francavilla’s critically acclaimed The Black Beetle returns in December with The Black Beetle #0, which will collect the three-part story entitled Night Shift that originally appeared in the pages of the Eisner Award–winning Dark Horse Presents. The issue will feature a brand-new cover, twenty-four story pages, and bonus sketch material and art!
January brings The Black Beetle: No Way Out, a four-issue story that marks the first full series for Francavilla’s Black Beetle, continuing from the self-published, limited-edition ashcan comic of the same name—the first appearance of this exciting new pulp hero!
In Night Shift, an ancient artifact known as the Hollow Lizard—a powerful totem of dark magic—shows up at the Colt City Natural History Museum. Hitler sends his fearsome Werwolf Korps to collect the piece in hopes it will help him unlock the secrets of ancient Egypt’s Black Priests. Unfortunately for the führer, Colt City’s protector, the Black Beetle, is on the case!
In No Way Out, Black Beetle’s investigation of two local mob bosses is interrupted when a mysterious explosion murders them and a pub full of gangsters—taking out most of Colt City’s organized crime in one fell swoop. Who could pull off such a coup, and what damage might that murderous bomber inflict upon Colt City and Black Beetle?
Francavilla’s The Black Beetle series will also showcase a letter page so fans have the chance to have their thoughts, comments, and compliments answered by the creator himself! E-mail blackbeetle@darkhorse.com for a chance to see your letter in The Black Beetle: No Way Out!
“Francavilla delivers the pulp noir that suits his style perfectly.”—Comic Book Resources
The Black Beetle #0 hit comic store shelves everywhere December 19, 2012!
The Black Beetle: “No Way Out” #1 in store January 2013!

John Ostrander: Freelancers Live Without A Net

Ostrander Art 130106As the comics world knows, writer Peter David recently had a stroke. I’ve known Peter for a long time and I both respect and often envy his talent, skill and the breadth of his work. Peter has health insurance but there are plenty of bills that just won’t get covered and, as pointed out here on ComicMix, fans who want to show financial support can do so by purchasing his work at Crazy 8 Press. That’s incredibly easy; not only do your help Peter and his family but will probably get a damn fine read out of it at the same time. Like I said, Peter is a very talented writer.

Peter’s better prepared (as far as anyone can be prepared for something like this) than many in the field; he has health insurance and most other freelancers – including myself – don’t. It’s hard to get, and harder to afford, health insurance when you’re a freelancer. By it’s very nature, a freelancer’s life is precarious.

Take for example, job security. There isn’t any. Beyond your current contract (if you have one), there’s no guarantee you’ll have a job when it ends. You may be on a title for a long time, but that always ends. I had a “continuity contract” at one time with DC which guaranteed me so much work (and health insurance) within a given time frame, but that is long since gone. I don’t know if it’s offered any more. It was difficult for me to get a mortgage back when I bought my house (which I no longer own) and I dare say it’s tougher now if you’re a freelancer.

When you’re a freelancer, you only get paid for the work you actually do. There’s no sick pay, there’s no paid holidays, there’s no paid vacation. You sometimes get royalties ( or “participation” or whatever term a given company chooses to call it) and that’s nice. Amanda Waller’s “participation” in the Green Lantern movie sent me some nice bucks that were sorely needed at the time but that’s like finding an extra twenty in your jeans that you forgot you had. You never know when it’s coming and you can’t rely on it.

In some cases, you can’t even be sure you’ll get the check. The major companies are reliable but the smaller ones can be iffy. One company went into bankruptcy owing me thousands of dollars that I never saw. As I grow older, I continuously worry about getting work. For the past ten years I’ve done Star Wars comics over at Dark Horse but, with the sale of LucasFilm to Disney, that could change. (And, no, I don’t know any more about that than you do.) Will I be able to get other work? I’m going to be 64 this year and haven’t worked in an office for maybe 35 years. What office would hire me now?

When I was just out of college and aiming for a life in theater (another financially iffy occupation), my mother really wanted me to get a master’s degree in English. That way, I might be able to teach, have something to fall back on. My problem was – and is – that I know that if I had something to fall back on, I’d fall back on it. I had to work without a net, I felt, if I was going to make it at all.

Right now, it feels like I’m on the high trapeze and all the lights are out. At some point I’m going to have to let go of the bar and soar into the darkness and hope there’s another trapeze for me to grab. I have no pension, I have no life insurance or health insurance, I have no net.

This is not a pity plea. This is my life and I’ve chosen it. I’ve made my decisions and I live with them as best I can. I wish I had followed Peter’s example and branched out more into other media. I’m happy with some decisions I’ve made and regretful of others. That’s life.

What I’m doing is issuing a warning. There are many, many young writers and artists out there who want a career in comics. Very, very few can make a living off of it and, in many cases, that living only lasts a while. Some, like my fellow ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman and his cohorts at Unshaven Comics, work day jobs while doing their comics work in their increasingly disappearing spare time. Once they’ve created the work, the Unshaven Comics crew also takes to the road, selling their comics at conventions. Ask them how tough that gets.

If you want to make comics a career, go for it. But you should understand what you’re getting into. I love my job and feel fortunate to have been able to do it for as long as I have. However, a freelancer’s life – whatever field – is precarious at best. It can be very scary.

If you want to try to make a living as a freelancer, just make sure you can deal with the idea of living without a net.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


Marc Alan Fishman’s Resolutions, Revolutions, and Retcons

Fishman Art 130105I’m nothing if not a slave to predictability and tropes. Sure, I wax poetic weekly on how I loathe authors and artists who fire off the same crap week in and week out,but I’m nothing if not a glorious hypocrite. So, after my “best and worst” article, what better to follow it up with a “New Year’s Resolution” article! Lest I be completely worthless to you, I promise to keep this punchy.

I resolve to wean myself from the teat of Marvel and DC. When I looked over my buy pile of books littered throughout my basement from the last few years, I’ve grown sick at the sight of so much mainstream chum. Not that I ever considered myself anything less than a mainstream whore before… it’s now with half a decade under my belt as an outsider indie guy, that I’ve decided to grow up, if only a little bit.

My rule of thumb has been pretty clear: every week that I have less than four books to buy, I will add one indie title to my list. Thus far, I’ve added Revival, Clone, and Nowhere Men. Two of which landed on Mike Gold’s list of awesome things. This obviously means I’m on the right track. Image, Valiant, Dark Horse, IDW, and the litany of unknowns are making me realize there’s so much more out there. More creativity. More unpredictability. More leaping from the cliff, and hoping to fly. It’s time to read what I sow; it’s time to tell Bob Wayne and Mickey Mouse I’m quitting (just a little bit, cause you know… I’m really liking Batman, Batgirl, and some Marvel Now titles).

I resolve to draw and write everyday. I’m not going to be a fool and say I’m “doing it for myself” because it’d be a lie. I’m going to write and draw more to do it for my company and my family. Not that I don’t love my day job, but let’s be real. Unshaven Comics gets where its going because we work at it. So, by proxy should I vow to write or draw everyday, I will presumably see Unshaven Comics be more lucrative. More than that though, the ideology is clear. The more you work at something, the better you’ll understand it. And while I presently work nearly every day as it stands? Making a concerted effort to spare time every day to do something for Unshaven Comics means there’s more chances at eventually becoming one step closer to semi-obscurity.

I resolve to make better connections with those in the industry – both here with my ComicMix mates and abroad. Unshaven Comics is traveling to 15-16 conventions this year. Simply put? There’s no excuse I shouldn’t be exercising my networking abilities. They’re what landed me here in the first place. As I stated last week, no better memory convention-wise comes to mind more than Baltimore, where I was in contact with Glenn Hauman, Mike Gold, and Emily Whitten, all of ComicMix fame. My hypothesis that possibly making ways to meet my other fellow contributors in the coming year could only benefit my growing rolodex of people I admire also knowing my name. Egotistical? Sure. But I’ve had breakfast with John Ostrander, so suck it.

I resolve to turn off the TV more. I realized over this “holiday break” of sorts how much worthless drivel I surround myself with when I’m home. I only actively watch TV in the last hour of consciousness. But the TV is on in my home basically from the time I get home to the time I go to bed. I tend to lazily leave the set on, with a cooking show, or rerun of The Cosby Show for background noise as I go about my business. Suffice to say, it’s silly of me to do so. Shutting off the set will give me an appreciation for when I turn it on. And maybe in a year’s time, I might just see the heavens part and drop my expensive cable bill in lieu of a Roku system. But that’s a long-game I plan on playing.

Lastly, I resolve to be a better columnist to you, my readers. I look over my body of work here at ComicMix, in 2012, and I certainly see some high points. But like many an artist, I also saw bouts of frustration on my part. Weeks where I had no real points to make outside the handful I’ve relied on: DC sucks. Marvel Sucks. Being an Indie Guy is hard. And so forth. So, in 2013, I vow to return to those tropes only when there is new meat on the bone. I’ll seek out bold and new directions to tantalize you from. I’ll strive to make you angrier, sadder, happier, or flameier. I’ll do everything in my power to remain relevant, and entertaining to you. And I’ll do it all with a smile.

Thanks for sticking with me for another year. The only place to go from here? Up, up, and away.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander



New Pulp Author Martin Powell shared a couple of teaser images on his Facebook page this week that shows not one, but two projects featuring classic pulp jungle lords coming in 2013.


Artwork © Thomas Floyd.

Helene, mate of Ki-Gor the Jungle Lord, shows the savage simians that there’s even more to her than meets the eye.

From “War of the Beast-Men”, a prose adventure of KI-GOR THE JUNGLE LORD, illustrated by Thomas Floyd and written by Martin Powell.

Coming in 2013 from Moonstone Books.


Artwork © Jamie Chase (Tarzan ™ ERB, Inc)

Before Jane…Before world fame…In the Jungle he was already a Legend.
Soon…the Mystery will be Revealed.

Thanks for sharing, Martin.

Mike Gold’s Top 9 of 2012

It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for still another mindless list of favorites – maintaining a cloying, egotistical annual tradition throughout the media. Once again, here are my self-imposed rules: I’m only listing series that either were ongoing or ran more than six issues, I’m not listing graphic novels or reprints as both compete under different criteria, I’m not covering Internet-only projects as I’d be yanking the rug out from under my pal Glenn Hauman, and I’m listing only nine because tied for tenth place would be about two dozen other titles and I’ve only got so much bandwidth. Besides, “nine” is snarky and when it comes to reality, I am one snarky sumbytch – but only for a living. On Earth-Prime, I’m really a sweet, kind, understanding guy.

Having said all that, let’s open that hermetically sealed jar on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls and start.

1. Manhattan Projects. If I had to write a Top 9 of the Third Millennium list, I’d be hard pressed not to include this title. It’s compelling, it’s different, it’s unpredictable and it’s brilliantly executed by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Pitarra. It turns out the scientists and the military leaders behind the creation and the execution of the Atomic Bomb had a lot more in mind than just nuking Japan… a lot more. And their plans run decades longer than World War II. Based largely upon real-life individuals who are too dead to litigate, each person seems to have his own motivations, his own ideas for execution, and his own long-range plan for how to develop the future. Yet the story never gets bogged down in political posturing or self-amusing cuteness – the latter being a real temptation for many creators. Each issue gives us the impression there’s more than meets the eye; each successive issue proves there most certainly was. If the History Channel spun off a Paranoia Network, Manhattan Projects would be its raison d’être.

2. Hawkeye. If you’ll pardon the pun, Hawkeye has never been more than a second-string character. An interesting guy with an involving backstory and enough sexual relationships to almost fill a Howard Chaykin mini-series, this series tells us what Clint Barton does when he’s not being an Avenger or a S.H.I.E.L.D. camp follower. It turns out Clint leads a normal-looking life that gets interfered with by people who think Avengers should be Avengers 24/7. He’s also got a thing going with the Young Avenger who was briefly Hawkeye. Matt Fraction and David Aja bring forth perhaps the most human interpretation of a Marvel character in a long, long while. Hawkeye might be second-string, but Clint Barton most certainly is not.

3. Captain Marvel. Another second-string character. Despite some absolutely first-rate stories (I’m quite partial to Jim Starlin’s stuff, as well as anything Gene Colan or Gil Kane ever put pencil to paper), the guy/doll never came close to the heritage of its namesake. This may have changed. A true role model for younger female readers and a very military character who uniquely humanizes the armed forces, Carol Danvers finally soars under writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Dexter Soy – both as a superhero and as a human being. DeConnick doesn’t qualify as “new” talent, but this certainly is a breakthrough series that establishes her as a truly major player… as it does Marvel’s Captain Marvel.

4. Creator-Owned Heroes. Anthology comics are a drag upon the direct sales racket. They almost never succeed. I don’t know why; there’s usually as much story in each individual chapter as there is in a standard full-length comic. I admire anybody who choses to give it a whirl (hi, there, honorary mention Mike Richardson and company for Dark Horse Presents!), and I really liked Creator-Owned Comics. Yep, liked. It’s gone with next month’s eighth issue. But this one was a lot more than an anthology comic: it had feature articles, how-to pieces, and swell interviews. The work of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Steve Bunche and a cast of dozens (including swell folks like Phil Noto and Darwin Cooke), there wasn’t a clinker in the bunch. I wouldn’t mind seeing follow-ups on any of the series featured in this title, although I must give a particular nod to Jimmy and Justin’s Killswitch, a take on modern contract killers, and on Steve’s work in general. This is no light praise: I’m not a big fan of horror stories because most of them have been done before and redone a thousand times after that. Niles is quite the exception.

5. Batman Beyond Unlimited. Okay, this is a printed collection of three weekly online titles: Batman Beyond, Justice League Beyond, and Superman Beyond. But it comes out every month in a sweet monthly double-length printed comic, so it meets my capricious criteria. Based upon the animated DC Universe (as in, the weekly series Batman Beyond and Justice League, and to a lesser extent others), these stories are solid, fun, and relatively free of the angst that has overwhelmed the so-called real DCU stories. Yeah, kids can enjoy them. So can the rest of the established comics audience. Pull the stick out of your ass; there’s more to superhero comics than OCD heroes and death and predictable resurrection. These folks have just about the best take on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters than anybody since Jack Kirby. That’s because Jack remembered comics are supposed to be entertaining. Honorable mention: Ame-Comi Girls. It’s based on a stupid (but successful) merchandising idea but it’s just as much fun as anything being published today.

6. Batgirl. O.K. The real story here is that DC Comics mindlessly offed writer Gail Simone from this series only to restore her within a week or so after serious (and occasionally, ah, overly dramatic) protest from both the readership and the creative community. But there was good reason: Gail took a character who was in an impossible situation and, against all tradition, put her back in the costume without resorting to ret-con or reboot, which have been the handmaidens of the New 52. She brought Barbara Gordon back to action with all the doubts, insecurities and vulnerabilities one would expect a person in her position to have, and she does so in a compelling way exercising all of her very considerable talent. This title thrives despite being engulfed in two back-to-back mega-non-events that overwhelmed and undermined all of the Batman titles.

7. Orchid. I praised this one last year; it comes to an end with issue 12 next month. That’s because writer/creator/musician/activist Nightwatchman Tom Morello has a day job and the young Wobblie still has a lot of rabble to rouse. Orchid is a true revolutionary comic book wherein a growing gaggle of the downtrodden stand up for themselves against all odds and unite to defeat the omnipresent oppressor. Tom manages to do this without resorting to obvious parallels to real-life oppressors, although the environment he creates will be recognizable to anybody who thinks there just might be something wrong with Fox “News.” But this is a comic book site and not the place for (most of) my social/political rants (cough cough). Orchid succeeds and thrives as a story with identifiable, compelling characters and situations and a story that kicks ass with the energy and verve one would expect from a rock’n’roller like Morello.

8. Revival. A somewhat apocalyptic tale about people who come back from the dead in the fairly isolated city of Wausau Wisconsin (I’ve been there several times; it is a city and it is indeed fairly isolated). But they aren’t zombies. Most are quite affable. It’s the rest of the population that’s got a problem. The latest output from Tim Seeley and my landsman Mike Norton, two enormously gifted talents. Somewhere above I noted how Steve Niles is able to raise well above the predictable crap and that is equally true here: the story and formula is typical, but the execution is compelling. That I’ve been a big fan of Norton’s is no surprise to my friends in Chicago.

9. Nowhere Men. I’ve got to thank my ComicMix brother Marc Alan Fishman for this one. Admittedly, it’s only two issues old and it has its flaws – long prose insertions almost always bring the pace of visual storytelling to a grinding halt – but the concept and execution of this series far exceeds this drawback. Written by Eric Stephenson and drawn by Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire, the catch phrase here is “Science Is The New Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Four guys start up a science-for-the-people company and that’s cool, but twenty years later some have taken it too seriously, others not seriously enough, and things got a little out of hand. Sadly, I’m not certain who understands that, other than the reader and one of the major characters. Science is the new rock’n’roll, and exploring that as a cultural phenomenon makes for a great story – and a solid companion to Manhattan Projects.

Non-Self-Publisher of the Year: For some reason, I’m surprised to say it’s Image Comics. They’ve been publishing many of the most innovative titles around – four of the above nine – all creator-owned, without going after licensed properties like a crack-whore at a kneepad sale.

No offense meant to either publishers or crack-whores; I said I’m really a sweet, kind, understanding guy.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil



Art: Jamie Chase

Cover Art: Jamie Chase

New Pulp Author Martin Powell shared Jamie Chase’s rendition of Dian The Beautiful from their upcoming graphic novel adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At The Earth’s Core for Sequential Pulp Comics/ Dark Horse Comics.

She was quite the most superior person I had ever met–with the most convincing way of letting you know she was superior.
— Author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ description of Dian the Beautiful in AT THE EARTH’S CORE.


Art: Russ Manning

Just in time for Tarzan’s Centennial Celebration, Dark Horse Comics is releasing Tarzan: The Russ Manning Years Volume 1. The hardcover collection will arrive in comic shops on Wednesday, December 12.

Tarzan: The Russ Manning Years Volume 1 features stories by Gaylord DuBois (Writer) and Russ Manning (Artist).

Experience three of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels as drawn by Russ Manning, the most beloved comic-book interpreter of the lord of the jungle! Collecting Tarzan #155 – #161, #163, #164, #166, and #167, from the 1960s, this volume is an essential addition to any comics fan’s collection!

Tarzan: The Russ Manning Years Volume 1 is 288 pages and retails for $49.99.

Enjoy this preview.
Click on images for a larger view.