NYCC 2015: Dark Circle Comics Panel Recap

Dark Circle Comics, the dark super hero imprint from Archie Comics, is ramping up to full speed.  The publisher has two titles under its belt with The Black Hood and The Fox, with a few more on the way.  We got a sneak peek at what's in store at a panel at New York Comic Con.  Dark Circle editor Alex Segura moderated the panel, which included writers Dean Haspiel (The Fox), Frank Tieri (Hangman), Duane Swierczynski (The Black Hood), colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito, assistant editor Joe Morciglio, and publicity coordinator Ron Cacace.

Segura opened the panel by showing printouts of the first issues for The Shield and Hangman, assuring the audience that they're real and they're coming.  The Shield #1 debuts on October 21st and Hangman #1 is due out November 4th.  The panelists spoke about the line as a whole, explaining that it's different than what you see every day in comic book shops, albeit with a slightly darker tint.   Swierczynski joked that Segura asked him to put in more rainbows to The Black Hood.  He then explained in most cases you get characters you root for, but that's not necessarily true in this title where the main character is a drug-addicted disgraced cop.  

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Tieri described Hangman a bit, pointing out that The Black Hood “opened the door to do a lot of crazy shit.”  This new book centers on Mike Minetta, a career scumbag working as a hitman when he's killed, goes to Hell, and makes a deal with the devil to become the new Hangman.  Tieri described the book as “Stephen King meets Quentin Tarantino.”  Later on, preview art was shown of a notable scene involving Minetta performing a death by rat on one of his victims by covering him in jam and throwing him out in an area in Brooklyn.  When asked what kind of jam, Tieri said it was strawberry...Smucker's maybe.

Swierczynski spoke about where The Black Hood is going with the next issue, a stand-alone story illustrated by Howard Chaykin.  It's a gritty rehab tale with some deep California noir.  The main character has been put through his own personal hell, so now he's trying to get his life together.  His superpower is painkillers and he's got to figure out what to do next.  Everything may appear sunny and shiny in this beautiful landscape, but there are some majorly dark undertones.  The following issue kicks off the second arc, The Lonely Crusade, and introduces Philadelphia's villain team, The Crusaders, a group of ultra conservatives described as “a team of Donald Trumps.”  

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Fitzpatrick provides colors for all of the Dark Circle titles.  She explained that she consciously tries to make each one different.  The Black Hood has a LOT of black ink on the page and is the only book she'll actually color over the inks.  

Dark Circle had previously announced another title, The Web, due out some time next year.  Little is known so far aside from the creative team and the basic premise where a young girl gets the powers of a character she cosplays as.  It's a dark young adult story.

The remainder of the panel was Q&A.  A fan asked about the history of the characters and the panelists were quick to point out that they're not beholden to the various iterations of these titles.  There may be some nods to previous versions, but you don't need to sift through a vast continuity to jump in.  The goal is to make this run the “Batman: Year One” for these characters.  

A fan asked Tieri where he got the inspiration for the rat scene in Hangman.  He responded “I'm a pretty fucked up guy.”

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Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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