So there was an article on Bleeding Cool last week talking about a new way for publisher marketshare to be measured that Marvel and Dark Horse have been pushing for. This new system would track retail share per item sold by Diamond. So rather than just a flat percent for “unit share” and “dollar share,” we’d get an idea about how the titles from each company perform in relation to one another. While Marvel and DC still dominate using this new system, the gap between the two is more pronounced. Also, even though IDW has a bigger marketshare than Dark Horse at the moment, this new system shows that the latter company does better per item than the former. It’s something to consider. That even as the raw numbers show the company’s place in the market to be diminished, there’s still life in their careful approach.
47 Ronin HC: Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson’s take on the classic Japanese legend with art from “Usagi Yojimbo’s” Stan Sakai. I don’t really need more than that to convince me to pick this up. Only… after the awful misfire that was Richardson’s work on “Crimson Empire III,” I can only hope that he took the time with his script to produce something closer to his work on “Cravan: Mystery Man of the 20th Century” with Rick Geary. Now that was a fun piece of work. As for this, I’m actually not too familiar with the specifics of the legend so I’m going into it with an open mind. If nothing else, it should be more accurate than the upcoming fantasy film version starring Keanu Reeves.
Blood Blockade Battlefront vol. 4: Good to see another volume of this title solicited. Though I suppose the anticipation now hangs on whether we’ll see any volumes past vol. 6. That said, my copy of vol. 4 arrived this week and it was… good. Its stylish action was kind of hard to follow at times, but it did compensate for the standard-issue plots that served as the springboard for them. I’m glad that Dark Horse is continuing to publish this series, but I can’t say that I’m really excited about it. Still waiting to hear word on when we’ll see vol. 3 of “Drifters” on these shores, though.
Hellboy in Hell #5: Billed as the conclusion to the first arc of the title character’s adventures in Hell. By the time this issue ships, it’ll have taken a full year in the real world to get to this point. One has to wonder if the world will end in “B.P.R.D.” before Mike Mignola gets around to writing and illustrating the events in this series. Then again, if the world is ending, I imagine that the dark corners of the underworld would be a pretty safe place to be when things actually go down.
The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca & Pizza Boy vol. 2: Apocalypse: So I see the solicitation for a middle-aged werewolf, a six-thousand year old demon, a nervous gargoyle and an out of work pizza delivery boy fighting the forces of darkness, with an appealing cover too. I then notice that this is “vol. 2” and go on Amazon to see what they have to say about vol. 1. Turns out that vol. 1 appears to be out of print with one copy currently being sold for $35. So even though this sounds interesting, I’m not all that inclined to pick it up without reading the first volume. Hopefully Dark Horse will realize that this is an issue not unique to me and get the first volume back into print before this arrives.
Intron Depot vol. 5: Battalion: Another artbook from Masamune Shirow spotlighting his contributions to games online and off. While the man’s artistic skills in the way he combines his pencil work with CG are something to behold, I have mixed feelings about how works like these have been his primary artistic endeavors in the last decade. After reading the mess that was “Ghost in the Shell 2,” one would really wonder if he has lost the touch for creating an actual narrative with sequential art. However, if you went back and read “Dominion: Conflict -- No More Noise,” you’d despair about how we’re likely to never see his brand of biting humor and intense action storytelling ever again. One can hope that isn’t the case… but I think we’ll see the rest of “Eden! It’s An Endless World” published in English before that happens.
Star Wars: Dark Times vol. 7 -- A Spark Remains: My copy of vol. 6 is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, yet I’m already more excited to see this solicited. Yes, Doug Wheatley is illustrating this volume and that means the focus is back on the main story in this title. That of “average” Jedi Dass Jennir and his friends’ struggle to survive in the early days of the Empire. This time, the story revolves around their plan to take out the Emperor’s number two man: Darth Vader.
… I think it’s going to go poorly for them. Start placing your bets on how much of the supporting cast dies in this volume. Or if this is actually the last volume in the series.
Terminator: Salvation -- The Final War #1 (of 12): This promises to chronicle the end of the machine war -- but not the one fans expect -- as well as the final fates of Skynet and John Connor. Sounds good to me, though the most intriguing part of this maxiseries is that it’s written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Pete Woods. It’s rare to see A-list talent like them working on a licensed title such as this though it immediately makes you think that it’s more of an event than the last couple of “Terminator” minseries produced by the company. Of course, Straczynski’s work on corporate-owned comics has left much to be desired as of late. This means, for me at least, that the story of how these creators came to work on this project sounds like a more interesting story than the one we’d be getting in this title.