July 2, 2016
“The Wicked + The Divine” is pulling a fast one this month and is publishing a one-shot, “1831,” that won’t be included in vol. 4. Which is also featured in these solicitations. In the past, I’d have to see about picking up this issue at a convention or a trip to a comic shop. Now that I’ve gone and embraced digital, I can just download this from comiXology for $4 when it comes out. Or wait for it to be featured in another Image or Gillen/McKelvie sale on the site. Or wait and see if it’s collected in vol. 5. Or wait and see if they do more of these and collect them all in a separate volume. A real set of first-world conundrums if there ever was one.
As for the issue itself, it takes place in the late 19th century where a group of Romantic poets gathered in a mansion one night on Lake Geneva. Because I’ve read “The Unwritten,” I can guess with a fair amount of certainty that this was the night when Mary Shelley came up with the idea for “Frankenstein.” How this connects to the recurrence of the Godhead -- if this story even takes place during one of their times on Earth -- I cannot fathom. Given that it’s coming from Gillen, with art from Stephanie Hans, I’d certainly bet on it being good and clever.
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July 1, 2016
Okay, I guess? There’s nothing to get me excited like I was for their announcement of “I Am A Hero” last year, but I’ll be buying two of the three titles they announced at their Anime Expo panel earlier today. The full list is: Hatsune Miku: Rin-chan Now!, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legend of the Piko-Piko Middle School Students, and H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories. If you’ve been following my writing here long enough, you’ve probably already guessed that I’ll be passing on the “Rin-chan Now!” manga as I just can’t bring myself to get interested in anything Vocaloid-related. I also don’t think we need any more “Evangelion” manga, but I will be picking up this one as it’s by the same writer/artist team that gave us the “Neon Genesis Revolutionary Legend Evangelion” strips from the “Comic Tribute.” Like Tony Takezaki’s contributions to that anthology, I was left wanting to see more from the creators who served up some very funny parodies. “Piko-Piko” is a multi-volume series, however, so let’s hope that its creators can hit the same madcap heights as their short manga.
“The Hound and Other Stories” is a bit more interesting to consider. Prose-to-comic adaptations have been the kind of mixed bag you’d expect from them: Some have been terrible, most have been unexception, and a few have been really great. One of these is I.N.J. Culbard’s adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.” I enjoyed it even though I haven’t read the original story, and a friend of mine who has was also impressed by this take on it. I’m not familiar with the mangaka, Gou Tanabe, adapting these stories. A quick search for him on Google does reveal him to have an impressively gothic style that should work well here.
This doesn’t sound bad. Like the other two, it comes off as something of a “safe” pick. As if someone at Dark Horse went, “Hey, someone’s doing a manga adaptation of a few Lovecraft stories. Not only do we have a long history of publishing horror comics at this company, but there’s a decent cross-section of anime/manga/Lovecraft fans out there so this might actually be profitable.” That’s actually a good reason to pick this up from a publishing standpoint. But dammit! I wanted to hear that they’d picked up another wholly original manga title this year! All these announcements say is that in addition to media tie-ins of dubious quality, you can also expect Dark Horse to publish manga that reside in the cross-sections of certain groups of fandom. Even if I will be picking up the new “Evangelion” and Lovecraft mangas, these announcements don’t really fill me with excitement or hope for the future of manga at this company.
(Also, I know the ANN article just talked about the new announcements, but did nobody think to ask them when the next two volumes of “Drifters” would be coming over now that it’s getting an anime adaptation?)