The latest film based on a Dark Horse comic opened nationwide this weekend. I’m talking about “R.I.P.D., ” a comic originally published a while back to relatively quiet critical and commercial reception. While other films based on obscure or low-profile comics have gone on to be successes (“The Crow,” “M.I.B.”) this is not what has happened here. Pre-release buzz and advertising for the movie were almost non-existent and with its estimated $12.7 million opening (on a budget of over $130 million) it has now joined the ranks of “After Earth,” “White House Down,” and “The Lone Ranger” as one of the summer’s biggest bombs. With any luck, Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges will come out of this relatively unscathed and go on to make better films in the near future.
Even more regrettable is the fact that “Pacific Rim” took a 57% dive from its opening weekend, indicating that it won’t have the legs to match its massive $175 million budget stateside (overseas is another matter). It’s a shame because that film was goddamned AWESOME! Be sure to see it in IMAX 3D while you can because this is the rare film that demands to be seen on the giant screen.
Abe Sapien vol. 3: Dark & Terrible: This collects the first five issues of the “Abe Sapien” ongoing series and while I haven’t picked up the first two volumes, I will be buying this. That’s because this series picks up after Abe’s near-death experience in “B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth” vol. 2, and subsequent transformation (which has yet to be explained). Even though his story’s not being told in the pages of the “B.P.R.D.” series, it’s clear that it’s important to the overall narrative being woven between that title and “Hellboy.” Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have a plan here, and this is just the latest part of it.
The Best of Comix Book: When Marvel Went Underground! HC: Believe it or not, Marvel actually has a brief history with the comics underground of the 70’s. Stan Lee and publisher Dennis Kitchen put out this series that featured many creators that you’d never see on Marvel Comics proper. This includes Art Spiegelman who debuted “Maus” in this publication. Lee and Kitchen will be providing the introduction and foreword, respectively, and this honestly sounds like a fascinating bit of comics history that should be worth checking out.
Conan vol. 14: The Death: Though the gist of the solicitation text indicates that Conan and Belit’s passion continues unabated, the only story mentioned here involves the barbarian heading back to Cimmeria to take on an imposter destroying villages in his name. As I sincerely doubt that Belit will just let him have all the fun to himself, she’ll be coming to Cimmeria with him. That means it’s time to “Meet the Parents” Conan-style! I sincerely hope that this scenario is as awesome as I imagine it to be.
A new “Conan” miniseries also starts this month, “Conan and the People of the Black Circle,” by Fred Van Lente and Ariel Olivetti. That’s a solid team right there and it should continue the company’s tradition of quality miniseries featuring the character.
ElfQuest Special: The Final Quest: I’ve read a lot of “ElfQuest” comics over the years. Though I maintain that the original “The Grand Quest” is the one most deserving of a space in your library (it’s vols. 1-8 of the DC editions and vols. 1-4 of the original WaRp Graphics publications), there has been a lot of quality work in the series since then. You can read the entire series online and it’s there that this story was originally printed. Much of “ElfQuest” has been out of print since their DC deal expired and this is the start of Dark Horse getting it back in. I can only hope that when the company gets around to reprinting the old stories we finally get a definitive graphic novel chronology for this series. If you’re not familiar with how the old “ElfQuest” graphic novels were numbered, be glad you never had to put up with ones with “a,” “b,” and “c” sub-headings to a given volume number.
Empowered vol. 8: So we will be getting a proper volume of this title before the year is out. Excellent! After previously promising that it would appear in vol. 7, Adam Warren finally gets around to resolving the Sista Spooky/Mindf***-subplot as Emp gets dragged down to Hell to help sort it out. Though this series has shown that it can really bring the drama, the fact that it can also wring laughs from the unlikeliest of places will likely be its greatest asset here. Also, with this subplot out of the way the only major one left is Thugboy’s secret cape-killing past and history with Willy Pete. This may signal that the series will be wrapping up in another volume or two, but the odds are that it’ll be a strong one.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project vol. 13: This volume apparently features something we’ve never seen before in the previous twelve: PLOT DEVELOPMENT! SEELE, frustrated at Gendo’s inability to get anything done, decides to kidnap Shinji and place him under their mind control. This leads to Rei and Asuka teaming up to rescue the boy because God knows that he’s not going to be able to do it himself. It all sounds utterly ridiculous, but the series has remained my guiltiest comic reading pleasure for that reason. Along with Carl Horn’s localization, and it sounds like he’ll have a lot to work with here.
Shaolin Cowboy #1: “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a chainsaw.” Truer words have never been spoken. I’ve never read any of this title from ultra-detailed artist Geof Darrow before, but I think it might be time to change that.