While I talked about the news from the company out of Sakura-Con yesterday, the biggest news out of Wondercon over the weekend was about the long-awaited return of a certain dim-witted, undefeated barbarian. That’s right, not only is the first issue of “Groo vs. Conan” finally shipping this month years after its initial announcement, but the Cheese-Dip Wanderer will be getting a twelve-issue maxiseries not too long afterwards. Given that nearly all of the miniseries from Dark Horse featuring the character have been in the four-to-five issue range, one has to imagine that creators Mark Evarnier and Sergio Aragones are going to be clearing out the backlog of ideas they’ve had for him over the past few years. Personally, I have no problem with that. However, I’d still like to know when we can expect to see a “Groo Omnibus” collecting the issues that haven’t been published by Dark Horse. Why? Because fanboy wants are inexhaustible, that’s why.
The Authentic Accounts of Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities Omnibus: This collects the three miniseries written by Eric Powell and illustrated by Kyle Hotz featuring the not-dead gunslinger’s adventures with a traveling freakshow. It’s a clever mashup of Wild West sensibilities with some of literatures most notable villains and monsters. Doctors Victor Frankenstein and Henry Jekyll as well as Count Dracula all figure into the stories collected here, while Billy’s unrefined personality clashes amusingly with pretty much everyone in Europe. All three stories are worth reading, but I’ll say that the first one is the best.
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth vol. 9 -- The Reign of the Black Flame: Vol. 8 just arrived in the mail today, and based on what I’m reading here it looks like I should expect some kind of cliffhanger ending at the end of it. At least I know that I’ll only have to wait five months to find out what happens when the B.P.R.D. takes the fight to the title character and his cronies at ZinCo.
The Complete Silencers: With Fred Van Lente firmly ensconced at Dark Horse with his work on “Conan” and “Brain Boy” it appears that the time has come for the company to start reprinting his work from other publishers that has fallen out of print. The first title to receive this treatment is the miniseries and one-shot he did with artist Steve Ellis about superpowered enforcers for the mob. It sounds pretty straightforward, but I’ve liked what I’ve read of Van Lente’s work in the past to check this out. I also picked up the collection of “Action Philosophers” he did with artist Ryan Dunlavey at Wondercon so I certainly won’t be hurting for material from the writer for a while.
Deep Gravity #1 (of 4): It’s about a man undertaking a high-paying, but high-risk interstellar mission to be reunited with the woman he loves. While that’s good motivation for a main character to have, there’s no indication in the solicitation text about what this mission involves aside from some bits about “aliens” and “gravity.” It’s more notable for the fact that this is coming to us from three writers: Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson and Gabriel Hardmann & Corinna Bechko of “Star Wars Legacy vol. II” fame. I’m mentioning it here because Richardson is going to figure into the next podcast I do, which will illustrate why seeing his name here makes me more skeptical about this title than anything else.
Finder: Third World: This reminds me, I should probably go back and re-read the two library volumes of this series that Dark Horse published a couple years back. I think its due for a re-assessment. Even so, the fact that this volume is set to involve a place that Jaeger, the title’s ostensible protagonist, is going to have significant problems getting into makes it sound more accessible than other stories in the series.
The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1 (of 8): It’s not another “Goon Year,” but eight issues published (hopefully) monthly sounds good to me. The story revolves around another witch like the Zombie Priest coming to the Goon’s town to show him who’s boss. At eight issues, I’m betting that this is going to be split over two trade paperbacks much in the way that “Goon Year” was split into three. If the story here is as good as that one, then I won’t have a problem with that.
Leaving Megalopolis HC: This was a graphic novel by Gail Simone and Jim Calfiore -- who brought us some great stories featuring characters of dubious moral integrity in DC’s “Secret Six” -- that was Kickstarted a while back. Dark Horse has apparently teamed up with them to offer it to everyone who didn’t get it via the crowdfunding site. Given that I liked the team’s work on “Secret Six” and that this is a 120-page hardcover priced like a trade paperback (It’s only $15!) I will certainly be picking this up the first chance I get.
The Manara Library Volume 6: Escape from Piranesi and Other Stories HC: Okay, this is interesting. This volume was originally solicited a while back as containing “The Borgias,” Manara’s collaboration with “The Incal” and “Metabarons” creator and noted cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. I thought that sounded like something worth reading and promptly forgot about it until now. According to Amazon’s site, this volume will be getting a standalone release as “The Borgias,” most likely to give equal billing to Jodorowsky as well in light of the documentary about his attempt to make a film out of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” Appropriately called “Jodorowsky’s Dune.” It’s still pretty expensive with a $60 cover price, so I’ll probably need lots of great reviews or a significant Amazon discount to convince me to pick it up when it comes out.
Red Moon HC: This is a fantasy story with what sounds like a decidedly all-ages bent. It’s about a girl named Moon who goes on a journey to save her father and village and encounters an acrobat, sails the high seas and befriends faeries. Normally something like this isn’t particularly noteworthy, except that this tale is being illustrated by Eduardo Risso of the quite violent and frequently decadent “100 Bullets” and numerous other collaborations with Brian Azzarello. “Red Moon” is written by the artist’s other frequent writing collaborator Carlos Trillo, who I have yet to read anything from. This seems like as good a place to start as any.
Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist: I can’t remember when we last got one of these color specials, unless you want to count the graphic novel “Yokai.” The stories collected here aren’t exactly new as they reprint ones originally published in “MySpace Dark Horse Presents” and adjectiveless “Dark Horse Presents.” More interesting is the fact that this is advertised as containing a preview of “Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1.” Is this a new miniseries? A new subtitle for a relaunch of the ongoing series? These questions are fairly insignificant in the face of the fact that this means that we’ll be getting new adventures of everyone’s favorite rabbit ronin in the near future.