Last month Dark Horse announced a new initiative to help out our local comic shops -- the Digital Retailer Exclusive Program. Under the new program local comic shops will hand out redemption codes for exclusive, retailer-only, digital comics that be claimed through Dark Horse Digital.

Well, it’s July 1st and the program is officially underway kicking off with B.P.R.D. Casualties! Over the next 3 months the program will release free, monthly stories from Dark Horse’s most popular titles. Did I mention we get them for free? Read More...

The Goon's back and he ain't puttin' up with no sparkly vampires.

Writer-artist Eric Powell’s The Goon returned to shelves this week with issue number 34. After a little bit of a hiatus for the book (dude explained to us a couple of months back that he’s been busy), so with its return, we thought we'd invite him along for an installment of Creator's Commentary. In his cantankerous interview, Powell talks about vampire baseball, the terror of tween girls, his Hannah Montana game, and we even get around to talking about what's next for the book.

****Spoilers after the break.****

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Here are reviews of some Dark Horse titles that are hitting stands this week!

THE GOON #34

There are very few comic books that make me laugh so consistently as Eric Powell’s superb undead action-comedy The Goon… Which is why it’s such a shame the title has been missing from stands for so long. Lucky you, you dogs, it’s back, and with one of the funniest issues to date. Powell takes on sparkly vampires, tween pop-phenoms, and his regular assortment of disgusting shenanigans without missing a beat.

For those of you new to Goon-dom, it’s pretty simple: there’s a guy called The Goon, he’s big and strong, and protects a town full of half-breeds and ingrates from undead monsters. That’s pretty much it. What makes it so great, beyond Powell’s unique designs that mix cartoon features with rich levels of detail and gorgeous shading, is the town of the book. This is pitch black comedy at its best, from orphans being tortured by the disgusting lady charged with their care, to quite possibly the best, most disgusting ending to a drunken story ever. Read More...

Recently, we announced the partnership of Marvel Comics and Dark Horse Comics to produce classic Marvel characters in D.H.’s Syroco statue line. We had a glimpse of Spider-Man and his collectible tin packaging… and that was it. After an absence, Dark Horse has sent us this info on their latest Sand Diego Comic Con exclusive, a Syroco Spider-Man that shows off Spidey’s alter ego to mimic a classic Steve Ditko pose!

Official Press Release: Read More...


While most of the San Diego Comic Con toy exclusives are headed our way thanks to companies that are well known for their plastic playthings, today we’ve got something from our friends at Dark Horse Comics. They’re releasing an exclusive Nerd Domo Qee figure at the show, and as an added bonus will have the creator of Domo, Tsuneo Goda, at the show signing autographs and showing off all the latest Domo products! Just look at that square piece of geek, and then tell us your heart doesn’t ache for one! Read More...

Hey gang! We’ve got some advance looks for you at Dark Horse books coming out this week… So spoiler free, of course, but let’s get into it:

The Guild: Bladezz #1

The Guild is basically – though given you’re at MTV Geek, I’m sure you know this – a sitcom in online video form. That isn’t a slam, because it’s well done, well written, tightly acted, and filling a niche for geeky sitcom fare that, prior to the Guild, didn’t really exist anywhere. There’s been countless imitators since, though none quite as successful. So it makes sense to expand the franchise, and that’s just what Dark Horse has been doing with these one shots focusing on individual characters in the series, showing their lives – mostly – outside of the online arena.

This issue, we get our focus on the resident bad boy of The Guild, Bladezz. Turns out he lives at home with his divorced Mom, his precocious sister, and soon, the jerk who’s trying to replace his Dad. The story parallels Bladezz’s rise modeling stardom with his mother’s romance, before tying it all up with a neat bow. And between the beginning and the end, you’ll get sausage jokes and pathos, courtesy of writers Felicia Day and Sean Becker, as well as some nice MAD Magazine-esque art by Andrew Currie.

The reason I mentioned the sitcom thing at the beginning is that, if there’s one major fault here, it’s that the story doesn’t go very far below the surface. We get an exploration of divorce, but nothing deeper than what you might have seen on any three-camera comedy. It’s a little but of a bummer that this is so light a story, but like I said: it stays true to the tone of the series, so that’s important too. And, with a light, brisk tone like this comic has, there are worse ways – and way worse licensed tie-ins to read. Heck, there’s even some good sausage jokes. Read More...

Hey, you know what makes things funnier? Talking about what makes them funny. Of course, I’m ironically joking about this, as dissecting any joke instantly drains all the humor out of it. Luckily for the audience at the Approaches to Humor panel at this year’s HeroesCon, you had three truly funny guys dissecting the hilarious art of comic book laughter: Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese, Yo Gabba Gabba!); Roger Langridge (The Muppets, Thor the Mighty Avenger); and Richard Thompson (Cul de sac). The panel was moderated by The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, who has also been known to tell a joke or two in her day.

Starting out by addressing the above, MacDonald quoted the famous maxim, “Talking about humor is like dissecting a frog: everything dies. We’re going to talk about humor, but not kill it. So I’m going to go down the line, and—“

“Timing,” interrupted Evan Dorkin, to laughter from the audience.

By the way, recapping the humor panel also kills the humor. Fun fact!

Anyway, on the subject of influences, all three quoted Monty Python as an influence, with The UK’s The Goon Show being a close second. Read More...

There are some pretty cool announcements coming from Dark Horse Digital this week. First of all they’re having a killer sale -- all digital issues of The Goon will only cost .99 cents this weekend! If you’ve never read this hilarious and over-the-top creator-owned book this is a perfect chance to jump in.

The bigger news actually has a lot to do with your local comic shop. In an attempt to help out the brick-and-mortar comics retailers Dark Horse has created the Digital Retailer Exclusive Program. The new program with last for three months and gives readers a chance to check out never before seen material from B.P.R.D, Mass Effect and Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Read More...

The name of this new weekly column is "New Comics I'm Excited About!" because I just don't blog about comic books...I'm also a fan and go to the comic shop every week to pick up my stack.

Let's look at my pull list for this week...

PICK OF THE WEEK:

I chose Strange Adventures from Vertigo as my pick of the week not just because of the content, but the fact that I'd really like to see more anthologies like this and Dark Horse Presents on the stands. These books often serve not only as forums for familiar creators to let loose and try something new (Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's "Spaceman"), but edgy indie talents who deserve more exposure to get their work out there (Kevin Colden's “Postmodern Prometheus”). Books like Strange Adventures are the cauldrons from which we might all get those exciting new concepts, characters and talent fans are always requesting instead of the "same-old, same-old" -- too bad it's only a one-shot, and here's hoping DC puts out more of the same in the future. Read More...

After pretty sporadic publication throughout 2010, Eric Powell's hillbilly horror swamp comedy/drama The Goon is returning to Dark Horse starting in June. Powell has, of course, been keeping busy between two-fisted adventures of tough guys wrecking swamp monsters, but some of us have been missing his most famous creation.

Powell talked to MTV Geek recently about the return of the book, what he's been up to, and provides a (mini) update on the status of the much-anticipated movie.

MTV Geek: So where’ve you (and The Goon) been, man?

Eric Powell: Well, I was working on the Goon screenplay, my self published all ages book Chimichanga, Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities, The Buzzard mini-series, and Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters.

Geek: Now that you’re back at it, what’s the overall plan for The Goon? It felt like a lot of last year was about clearing out the decks.

EP: Yep, I don't want The Goon to ever get stagnant. I try to change up the tone so no one knows what to expect. That's definitely the plan for the next few issues. Between Chinatown and the monthly run of "The Return of Labrazio" the book took on a more serious somber tone. I feel like doing some crazier stuff now.

Geek: You’ve mentioned in the past that you’re taking the Mignola route with your book, focusing on one universe. Will that ever mean bringing in other creators to expand the world of the Goon?

EP: I doubt it. When I mentioned Mignola, I believe I actually mentioned Mignola and Jeff Smith, [and] I was referring to maintaining focus on one project in order to build it's momentum. I've succeeded at that. Now I just have to maintain it! Mike has spread his characters out successfully to build his own little universe. I don't think that's the way for me to go. I don't want The Goon to have a universe.

Geek: What kind of schedule are you planning for the return of the book?

EP: We're going back to the original bi-monthly schedule.

Geek: Chinatown was, for me, the most incisive look at the character and how his mind works. When can we expect more looks at Goon’s past?

EP: I have a fun story planned in the next few issues about his teenage years. But that's all I can tell you.

Geek: Along the same lines, any plans for more spin-offs like last year’s Buzzard story?

EP: Nope. Buzzard needed some closure. That's why he got a mini-series. I might return to him, but nobody else needs their own book. Sometimes a supporting character is best used as a supporting character. Read More...

Today at MTV Geek!, we’re going to drop a bombshell worthy of a multiverse-style headline: Dark Horse Comics is making statues of Marvel Comics characters! Yes, you read that right. Indeed, our world has become a topsy-turvy pile of insanity! How did this happen? What the hell are we trying to pull with these lies?! We’ll let the folks over at Dark Horse explain:

Read More...

Dungeon Siege III will land on game consoles and PCs June 21st, but if you can’t wait that long to get familiar with the Kingdom of Ehb crew, Dark Horse comics and Obsidian Entertainment have joined forces to bring us the Dungeon Siege III digital comic tie-in!

The new comic will come as three separate vignettes each introducing us to one of the playable characters in the game. The fourth character’s book will be available exclusively as a pack-in when you purchase your copy Dungeon Siege III for Xbox 360, PS3 or PC from Walmart stores. Read More...

By Brigid Alverson

Almost four years after they initially introduced the project, Dark Horse recently announced that they would publish Gate 7, the latest manga from the four-woman Japanese manga team CLAMP, on October 25.

The plot is vintage manga, or rather, vintage YA: shy teenager Chikahito goes on a trip to Kyoto and somehow ends up in a parallel world where he has special powers, and where he must team up with the fierce—but cute!—warrior Hana to protect the world from "violent elemental beasts."

Dark Horse first announced it would be publishing the manga in 2007, and the original plan was to release them in slim, 80-page volumes they called "mangettes." That format is now history, and the Dark Horse edition will contain the standard 200 pages for $10.99.

We reached out to Dark Horse Director of Asian Licensing Michael Gombos with a few questions about the story and how they will present it.

Brigid: There's a lot of manga on the market right now. What makes Gate 7 stand out from the rest of the crowd--and from CLAMP's other work?

Michael: I think the second part answers the first; the fact that it's CLAMP makes it stand out from other manga, or comics, for that matter, but CLAMP is never content to rest on their laurels, and they're really pulling no punches in Gate 7. Stylistically, I think it's really an achievement, too. The artwork is just fantastic, vivid, and the style always seems to fit the tone. I am beyond impressed with what I have seen so far, not only in terms of art, but in terms of story, as well.

Brigid: You first announced this project in 2007. Why has it taken so long? Was it delayed on the Japanese side?

Michael: Most of these deals take time, and especially the important ones. What we announced in 2007 is quite different than what we have today; indeed, we were announcing a format and story. I can't think of a single good deal that didn't take a protracted amount of time to get going. Gantz took me five years, getting some Evangelion series here took some time, too, as did a lot of our other series—so it figures in pretty normally that getting the best-of-the-best, CLAMP, would take a considerable amount of time. Another thing that impact things was the format change (below), and CLAMP is as amazingly busy as they are talented.

Brigid: The original concept was to release mini-volumes, "mangettes." Why did you decide not to go that route?

Michael: Initially, the buyers at the bookstores loved the idea—a great serial, much like American comics, and you get to read the manga exactly as it comes out in Japan! But times changed, and in 2008, the publishing marketing took a dive, and it seemed that value-packaging was what was working. Indeed, we're seeing this as true as our CLAMP omnibus editions (sometimes collecting 3-4 volumes of Japanese material in to one English edition) are moving extremely well. In terms of pamphlet format stuff, single issues or other serials (what the mangettes format was), the thinner, well—let's just say that the top selling comic last month sold 70,000 issues, and there was a time in the industry when that was considered the lower-end of mediocre. Bigger, value-priced packaging is moving well for books, and the smallest I'd go nowadays would be a 150+ page trade (in terms of manga). If you're interested in serialized chapters, it simply has to be available digitally.

Brigid: You have been publishing CLAMP's older works in omnibus editions. It seems they would appeal to a different audience than your other manga like Gantz and Blade of the Immortal. What challenges have they presented from a marketing point of view, and how does Gate 7 fit in with the rest of your line?

Michael: It fits in perfectly, since our line is good comics! I think there are people who are fans of manga, but personally (and I know a lot of people share this), I believe that manga should be divided into genre just like American Comics. Saying that Hellboy and Sin City are both comics seems a lot less pigeonholing than saying both "Gantz" and "Gate 7" are manga; I don't like the classification, because comics are a medium, just like television is a medium. For example, comparing Kazuo Koike's Crying Freeman to Oh My Goddess is like comparing Conan to Peanuts. Crying Freeman is a crime-related book, with a great romance in it. I think you'd be better served comparing it to Sin City because of the content; it's best to ignore the country of origin. Read More...

As we previously told you, Dark Horse Comics is set to release its own comics app featuring some of Dark Horse's biggest and coolest titles including Hellboy, BPRD, Conan and more. The company has set the date of April 27th to unleash the app onto the iTunes store, pre-loaded with the first issue of Hellboy: Seed of Destruction!

Check out the official press release here and watch our video of a complete demonstration of the app from this year's C2E2 after the jump!

One of the most eagerly anticipated programs in the history of Dark Horse is announced today, as the Dark Horse Digital app and store will launch in exactly one week.

As previously mentioned, the Dark Horse Comics iOS digital app will be available for free download in the iTunes store. The app will feature the first issue of Hellboy: Seed of Destruction already pre-loaded into your collection. Thanks to those fans who signed up for our Dark Horse Digital newsletter so far, users will also be able to download the full first issues of Criminal Macabre, Abe Sapien: The Drowning, and Joss Whedon’s Fray for free! There are still two more issues yet to be unlocked and an iPad 2 up for grabs, so please visit digital.darkhorse.com to sign up for our digital newsletter today!

In addition to the iPhone and iPad, Dark Horse digital comics will be able to be read on any modern web browser. A native Android app is currently in development. In the meantime, the Dark Horse digital store launches with hundreds of our most popular titles, including Mass Effect, Serenity, Conan, The Goon, Hellboy, BPRD, and more!

Read More...

Writer/artist Sanford Greene (Star Wars Tales, Planet of the Apes, Deadpool) is in rarefied company as a contributor to Dark Horse Presents. His creator-owned story, "Rotten Apple" is being collected alongside the work of Paul Chadwick (Concrete), Neal Adams (Blood), as well as Robert Love, Patrick Alexander, and Carla Speed McNeil.

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