Another month without any manga solicitations, and no the Zelda Encyclopedia doesn’t count. We do have word of some manga-adjacent announcements from the company in the past month, however. “Berserk”-related ones, even. The “Berserk Official Guidebook” will be published next March and will set you back $15 for 200 pages about the world of the series and its characters. This guidebook was originally published in Japan back in 2016 and, as a result of the manga’s *ahem* glacial publication schedule, will actually be relatively current with its source material when it hits our shores.
The other “Berserk”-related publication from the publisher is the light novel “The Flame Dragon Knight.” This isn’t coming from mangaka Kentaro Miura himself, though he did provide the cover and several illustrations for it, but writer Makoto Fukami. If you’re not familiar with Fukami then you should know that he handled the series composition work for both seasons of the new “Berserk” anime that premiered within the past year. So if you were actually able to enjoy the anime in spite of its reputedly atrocious animation quality, he’s likely the guy you have to thank for that.
Aliens Predator Prometheus AvP: Fire and Stone: A few years back Dark Horse published a series of miniseries uniting their “Aliens,” “Predator,” “Prometheus,” and “Aliens vs. Predator” licenses under the “Fire and Stone” banner. With the occasional exception I’ve fallen out of following “Aliens” and “Predator”-related comics (we’re not going to talk about “Prometheus”) and I gave this whole thing a pass. Now, the company is collecting the entire “Fire and Stone” saga in one value-priced volume for bargain-hunters like me. On paper, it’s an insanely great deal as this 400-page collection costs just $25 -- picking up the four volumes it collects will set you back at least $40 even with Amazon’s discounts. There’s also some respectable talent attached to this project in the form of writers like Chris Roberson, Dan Abnett and Kelly Sue DeConnic, and artists such as Juan Ferreyra and Ariel Olivetti. What’s the whole “Fire and Stone” business actually about? I’ve got no clue from this solicitation. Its whole point appears to be advertising that there will be a value-priced collection of it out next year.
B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know vol. 1: What’s in store for the B.P.R.D. in its post-”Hell on Earth” incarnation. Taking on the various cults that have sprung up in the wake of the Ogdru Jahad’s defeat, for one. Creepy demon girl Varvara too it looks like. Oh, and Abe Sapien finally returns to the B.P.R.D. in the wake of his mostly misbegotten solo series. As I’ve mentioned before, the writer of that series, Scott Allie, is joining Mike Mignola as co-writer for this new miniseries. I’d like to hope that he’s stepped up his game since working on that title. If not, then I’ll just hope that Chris Roberson gets a promotion to working on future B.P.R.D. projects.
Fight Club 2: Now in paperback! The lesson here is that if you wait long enough (a year or two, generally) Dark Horse will eventually get around to publishing anything in a more affordable edition. That said, there’s still no word on when they’ll get around to putting out omnibus editions of “Baltimore” or even volumes two-through-eight in softcover. But I’m getting distracted, this is Chuck Palahniuk’s sequel to his best-known work with art from Cameron Stewart. I’ve only seen the movie, never read the book. While it’s cool that Dark Horse is putting out a softcover edition of this, I’m not sure if the fact that I’ve just seen the movie means that I’m properly equipped to enjoy this sequel.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 -- Burning Season: Speaking of Mignola and Roberson, they’re teaming again with artist Paolo Rivera for this one-shot. The story of which involves a rash of spontaneous human combustions that have been happening to Bureau agents. It’s implied that the fire has an “appetite” for them, which makes me wonder if this is going to be a kind of secret origin for Liz Sherman’s powers. I mean, unless it’s a completely different kind of supernatural fire-related phenomena than the one she’s been stuck dealing with.
Incognegro: Renaissance #1 (of 5): After you pick up the reissue of the original “Incognegro” graphic novel next year, you’ll be set to enjoy this prequel miniseries. In it, Harlem club reporter Zane Pinchback has to go incognegro for the first time to find out who killed a black writer at a secret interracial party in 1920’s New York. While I have yet to read the graphic novel this miniseries is a prequel to, there’s always the possibility that it could disappoint and kill my interest in this project. It’s possible, but I have this crazy hunch that it won’t be likely.
The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia: Exactly what its title says it is. This is your go-to source for information on everything “Zelda” from the original game up to the “Twilight Princess” HD reissue. While the release of “Breath of the Wild” means that this is automatically out of date, there’s probably going to be plenty of information for casual and diehard “Zelda” fans to pore over in the absence of anything relating to one of 2017’s best games. This includes an interview with series producer Eiji Aonuma.
The standard edition will set you back $40 for 336 pages. However, if you’re an old-school fan with money to burn then the special edition will be for you. While the page count is the same, the book dress has been done up to look and feel like the original NES “Zelda” cartridge. That’s not all, as this edition also comes with a dust sleeve shaped like a NES cartridge and scale-sized instruction manual with “fun, theme-appropriate material inside.” The special edition’s design is touted as being authentic enough to make you blow in the bottom of the book before you open it… Which is a bit of NES miscellany that will only be familiar to people who actually owned one back in the day. I don’t quite fall into the “money to burn” category these days, but there’s no denying that this is an attractive package.
The Originals: The Essential Edition: Berger Books brings us another license-rescue from Vertigo. This time, it’s the only graphic novel written and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of his time growing up in Liverpool as a teen only with a retro-future sheen to it. It’s about two kids who want nothing more than to join the Originals, the coolest gang in town, and not realizing that there are consequences for this. I actually bought this when Vertigo released it back in the day and found its story of kids realizing the gang life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be far less unique than its title would imply. This edition comes with an additional 32 pages of behind-the-scenes extras from Gibbons and as great a talent as he is it’s not enough to get me to consider re-buying this.