New York Comic Con 2013 is upon us and the news is coming in fast and furious. Dark Horse Comics has been filling up my inbox with scares and thrills coming your way in the next few months. I've pulled the horror titles together for you here to get a look at what's in store.
The publisher actually started the party early with the announcement of Mandala, an original graphic novel written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Bruce Zick. Set in the present, the comic shows that Humankind is secretly enslaved by a global mind-control cage called the GRID. Mike Morningstar and his spiritual special ops unit called “The Thirteen” set out to alter time and destroy the GRID before it's too late. Fiction meets reality in that the Thirteen need your help to succeed in awakening humanity and changing the future.
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“Mandala is probably the biggest-scale epic I’ve ever worked on: a saga of original sin and possible redemption that spans millennia and crosses the timelines,” said writer Stuart Moore. “At its core, it’s the story of Michael Morningstar, a guy who—like many of us—has to find his way in a world he doesn’t quite understand. The characters’ alliances shift constantly, along with the timelines.”
Artist Bruce Zick continued, “It’s been a total blast working on a project that brings together the diversity of world mythologies and stirs it all up into a cosmic, sociopolitical, crazy gumbo gestalt that just might make the reader ask themselves if they are truly awake.”
The first chapter of Mandala is currently available for $2.99 via Dark Horse Digital. The full graphic novel will be released in May 2014.
Also coming in 2014 are two new creator-owned series from David Lapham. He'll be writing and drawing his own comics for the first time in five years on Juice Squeezers and Kid McAllister. The former had a run in the anthology title Dark Horse Presents and follows a covert group of tweens who form the main line of defense for the residents of Weeville against an army of giant bugs. Thanks to their small size, they're the only ones who can fit into the tunnels running beneath the town where the battle is being fought. The Juice Squeezers hold the swarm of bugs at bay until a new kid moves into town and threatens to wake up the dormant bug population.
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Kid McAllister on the other hand is a western sci-fi comic which centers on a fifty-year-old cowboy trapped in the body of a twelve-year-old. After a long stint on the road, he returns home to Yuma, Arizona, and finds that it's hard to stay under the radar when you're an eternally young “Electric Cowboy,” not to mention the best darn bull rider on the circuit. As if that wasn't enough, Kid is also the only person who can see the body-snatching aliens taking over the locals. That just means he's the only one who can stop them.
Juice Squeezers #1 (of 4) will be available on January 1st, 2014 while Kid McAllister #1 (of 5) will be available on May 7th, 2014.
Joining these two series on the creator-owned front is Bad Blood, a new mini-series from Jonathan Maberry. Illustrated by Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D.), the comic centers on a vampire named Trick Croft as an unlikely hero. It was bad enough that he was turned into a bloodsucker, but then he watched as his best friend was brutally murdered. Now he's pissed. Things took an unexpected turn for Croft when all this went down as he found that his blood was like poison to the vampires. Now he'll stop at nothing to destroy them.
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“Bad Blood tells the story of Trick, a teenage slacker on the losing side of a fight with cancer. When he’s attacked by a vampire, he figures it’s game over. Except that the chemo drugs in Trick’s blood poison the vampire. As punishment, the vampires begin slaughtering everyone Trick loves. So he goes hunting for the vamps to try to destroy them,” writer Jonathan Maberry explains. “His only superpower? The chemo drugs in his system are deadly to the undead. His only ally? A heroin-addicted Goth chick. Bad Blood brings the pain in a downbeat tale of heartbreak, loss, and courage.”
Bad Blood #1 (of 5) will be available on January 1st, 2014.
Dark Horse also announced a new video game tie-in series with The Witcher, based on the dark fantasy RPGs from CD Projekt RED, which are in turn based on a series of novels. The comic will be written by Paul Tobin (Colder) with art by Joe Querio and covers by Dave Johnson. The series will introduce a new adventure featuring Geralt of Rivia – a witcher and one of the few remaining monster hunters. The book picks up with Geralt meeting a widowed man, whose dead and murderous wife now lives in a creepy mansion known as the House of Glass. He heads in to solve the manor's mystery and make it out with his life.
“We’re very excited to work with CD Projekt Red on The Witcher. With the rich world they have created, and an enthralling central character like Geralt, we feel The Witcher is ripe to tell a compelling story through comics,” said Nick McWhorter, director of custom programs at Dark Horse Comics.
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There are currently two Witcher games available with a third game entitled The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt set to deubt in 2014 on the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. This comic will allow new fans to get to know Geralt before the next game is released.
The Witcher #1 arrives on March 19th, 2014.
A panel I missed during NYCC was one discussing the next steps in the Whedonverse within Dark Horse Comics. After recently wrapping up Buffy Season 9, the publisher has announced that Season 10 is already on the way. As with the previous season, this one will run with two books: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith. The creative team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs will be moving to the main title after steering the ship for Angel & Faith for Season 9. Steve Morris will continue to provide amazing cover art. Meanwhile Victor Gischler will take over for Angel & Faith with Will Conrad on art and covers by Scott Fischer.
“In Buffy, Season 10 is going to be about bringing friendships back together, while in Angel & Faith, relationships are shattered. Magic is starting to come back into the world, but in some surprising ways, like that vampire we saw standing in the sunlight at the end of Season 9,” says Editor in Chief Scott Allie.
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“The Buffyverse community has been wonderfully welcoming to Rebekah and me. It's a tremendous honor for Joss and Dark Horse to trust us with their flagship book, and we are going to do all we can to be worthy of that trust. It's a new season, with new rules...but hopefully the same blend of love, action, horror, humor and creativity that's made Buffy and her Scoobies part of all our families. We hope you'll join us for the ride,” states Christos Gage.
"I was proud and privileged to have a small part in season nine, and I can't express how grateful I am to have an expanded role in season ten. Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains an iconic television show, and the Dark Horse comics continue that great tradition. I plan on having a lot of fun." Says Angel & Faith series writer Victor Gischler.
“I'm very happy that our Angel & Faith artist has hopped over to Buffy, allowing our Buffy artist to jump over to Serenity. And to make the game of musical chairs complete, the guy who draw the first two Serenity miniseries is back in the loop, taking over Angel & Faith. These are all artists Joss and the writers and I are comfortable working with, and who are cozy with these characters, so it's nice to shake things up a bit while having a lot of confidence in what these artists can do. And I'm so happy to have Will back,” adds Scott Allie.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #1 will be available on March 19th and Angel & Faith: Season 10 #1 will be available on April 2nd.
Last up on the Dark Horse announcement train was Veil, a new series from Greg Rucka coming in March. The story focuses on a beautiful girl who wakes up in an abandoned subway station with no memory of how she got there. Men try to hurt her and wind up dead. Now she's trying to figure out where she came from and what she's capable of. Veil will be illustrated by Toni Fejzula.
“I’ve been tossing the idea behind Veil around for over a decade, seriously, but it wasn’t until Scott Allie pulled the string on it that it came to life,” said writer Greg Rucka. “It’s a very different kind of tale for me, very different in what I’m trying to accomplish, and working with Dark Horse, working with Toni, is a rare opportunity to try to bring this thing to life. The opportunity Dark Horse is providing us is amazing.”
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“There are a lot of characters in comics that are very dangerous, and a lot that bring danger with them wherever they go. Veil gives that concept a whole new and very deadly meaning,” said Dark Horse’s editor in chief, Scott Allie. “I don’t know if I can classify her as an antihero. But she’s a character that’s going to surprise you in a lot of ways. Greg does gritty urban drama like no one else, and here he’s adding to it some things you’ve never seen from him before.”
Veil will be a five issue mini-series with the first issue arriving on March 5th, 2014.
Dark Horse really brought their A-game when it came to the horror announcements at this year's NYCC. There's a lot to dive into in the coming months. I'm most excited for the team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs moving to Buffy as I love their work on Angel & Faith. I'm also pretty pumped to check out Bad Blood by Jonathan Maberry as his work on the Marvel Universe titles has been pretty cool. What new book are you most looking forward to?
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