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Dark Horse Comics brings a Manga contest to the masses

It’s time to break out those drawing tablets, sketch pads or anything else you can muster as Dark Horse Comics is bringing a manga contest to the masses. To celebrate the FLCL Omnibus they’re opening the gates to have manga and comic fans to draw their own 2-4 page story inspired by manga in some form (characters,series,styles). It also has to include Dark Horse in some way but it can be simple to include history, logos or just as a subject.

Grand Prize!

  • 7′ Cardcaptor Sakura Banner
  • Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol. 1
  • Gate 7 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
  • Cardcaptor Sakura Book 3
  • Magic Knight Rayearth 2
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 11
  • MPD Psycho Vol. 10
  • Oh My Goddess Vol. 14 & 16
  • Berserk Vol. 33
  • Evangelion 1.11 – You are (Not) Alone Blu-ray
  • Afro Samurai Resurrection – Special Edition Director’s Cut Blu-ray
Judge
  • Carl Horn – Dark Horse Manga Editor
Check out the Dark Horse Blog for more information and get to work on those entries!

Link: Dark Horse Blog

Orchid #6 Cover

Review – Orchid #6

Script: Tom Morello
Art: Scott Hepburn
Colors: Dan Jackson
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Published By: Dark Horse

On the anniversary of General China’s death, Anzio’s impending execution will be a spectacle to mark the day the Rebellion was crushed. On a day known as “Final Victory Day”, all around bad guy and Penuel’s Lord, Tomo Wolfe is trying to pump up his subjects for the execution. He is trying to convince them that they are better off than most and with Anzio’s death they will start anew, cleansed and revitalized. However, things won’t go so smooth for Wolfe because as we learned in the last issue Simon, Orchid, Opal and their new friends were on a mission to rescue Anzio. I think by now we know that this bunch is resilient and that they never stop until they succeed in righting whatever wrongs the elite have committed. Even with their never say die attitude, things begin to look grim, that is until the mask is brought out and Opal puts a whole new spin on ass whoopin’! Opal’s on a mission and nothing can stop her and everyone will soon learn that it’s just best to stay out of her way.

Every month I read Orchid thinking it has to have reached its peak or at least plateaued, but it never fails, every month I’m blown away at how amazing it really is. It just continues to get better, which is insane because it’s unbelievable to begin with. The characters and storylines are so rich and in this issue we get some back story on Tomo Wolfe, supreme leader of Penuel. Unlike some of the other back stories we have gotten on the bad guys, this one made me feel no sympathy for the character. He’s terrible, some people just are. Opal in this issue (just like past issues) is awesome, she has made up her mind and no one is going to stand in her way. Adding Anzio to the group is going to add an additional dynamic because of his die-hard freedom fighter roots. The art is perfect, and each month I look forward to seeing what new animal hybrid concoction will be introduced. The dialog is touching, maddening and inspiring (quite a feat really). It’s safe to say that you really need to be reading this comic. It’s at the top of my list each month for the comics I’m most looking forward to and each month it never ceases to amaze me!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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Review – Mass Effect: Invasion Trade Paperback

Story: Mac Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Published By: Dark Horse

This collection contains issues 1 through 4 of the Invasion series and as an added bonus contains a short story from Dark Horse’s digital store. I don’t think it’s necessary to go over each issue contained in the collection, if you haven’t yet check out my reviews of each issue, you can find them right here on this very site! I will however talk about the new addition to the book, the short story Conviction. Conviction tells the story of Lieutenant James Vega, a man who likes using his fists as his primary form of communication. The story takes place “…after the annihilation of a Batarian system by Commander Shepard” where there is clearly tension in the air and everyone is on edge. After a brawl, Lieutenant Vega is called to duty much to his dismay as he learns his new mission is to guard a VERY important prisoner!

This collection is very nice, it allows fans of the comic or those who are new to the series to have it collected in one place in its entirety. Plus, you get the short story which was definitely intriguing and for the first time, in print form. The end of the book contains a short preview of the Mass Effect art book “The Art of the Mass Effect Universe” (check out my review for that as well). Whether you were happy with Mass Effect 3’s ending or not there is no denying that Invasion was a stellar series and is definitely worth a read!

Release Date: April 11th, 2012
Price: $16.99

Mass Effect Invasion reviews: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Overall:★★★★☆ 
Dark Matter Rebirth 4 of 4

Review – Dark Matter #4 – Rebirth 4 of 4

Story: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Art:  Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

The final issue of the Rebirth saga is here for Dark Matter, I speculated on the ability to wrap this story up with the expansions going on but I’m happy to say it was a good experience. The Raza sped off to FTL speeds and left the crew behind, Ferrous Corp was closing in with countless soldiers for a wipe out event on the planet and doubt was still in the minds of the crew after discovering their true identities. What would happen? What could happen?

Rebirth 4 of 4 makes good on the developments brought through the 4 part series, giving closure to story gaps that were forming and showing that even without full memory, this group can lay down serious damage in a moments notice. New sides to the crew keep popping up as well, Marcus stands out in the issue as the lone wolf out for self-preservation over all else. Ryo emerges as a hopeful that views the upcoming battle with an optimism of chance and Griffin seems to want redemption for his past and doesn’t mind getting dirty to do it. While we don’t get to know who all of these people really were in their past we get a tease in the final panel that assures it will be handled in the future.

Artistically Dark Matter is a favorite of mine, it’s a new experience and a fresh one at that, the characters are well animated and crisp, the dark ink shadowing has lightened up consistently as the information flowed about the characters. The color and atmosphere and worlds felt like something familiar and yet new, the mining town stepping away from so much of the sci-fi experience with just normal humans running around is a perfect example of this. As a new series it’s a great ride to have the complete issue evolve from one to the next.

Spoilers!

Show Issue 4 Spoiler »

For those wondering, Rebirth is over, but a new adventure begins. The question we have to ask is, who on earth is Jace Corso?

Release Date: April 11, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
eccc_2012

Dark Horse Comics Emerald City Comicon 2012 Schedule released

Are you a Dark Horse fan? Are you going to ECCC / Emerald City Comicon this year? You might want to look below for some great info on what they’ll be presenting and who they’ll be putting up on panels this year. You wouldn’t want to miss out on key panels like “Drawing Inspiration: The Art of the Whedonverse” now would you? On to the list!

Friday • March 30th

 ECCC Spotlight Series: Brian WoodRoom: 211 Time: 3:00 – 4:00

The Emerald City Comicon Spotlight Series is designed to give you an intimate look into the minds of some of comics greatest creators. This hour, join creator Brian Wood as he talks about his work on Conan, DMZ, Northlanders and many others.

Falling Skies Screening and Q&ARoom: 4C1-2 Time: 3:00 – 4:00

TNT’s epic drama Falling Skies makes its debut appearance at Emerald City Comicon this year. Watch a never-before-seen clip from the season 2 premiere episode and hear from the show’s actors and producers about the new season. Falling Skies, basic cable’s #1 new series of 2011, is set to return this June to continue its extraordinary story about life and survival in the wake of a catastrophic alien invasion. Noah Wyle (ER) stars as Tom Mason, a former college professor and father of three, who has become an unlikely leader for the 2nd Massachusetts civilian resistance group. The series chronicles the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. Falling Skies comes to TNT from DreamWorks Television and is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Remi Aubuchon and Greg Beeman also serve as executive producers.

Drawing Inspiration: The Art of the Whedonverse  Room: 4C1-2 Time: 5:00 – 6:00

Join us for an exclusive behind-the-panels look at the dynamic artwork of Dark Horses Joss Whedon titles, from pencils to inks to colors to print. Dark Horses public relations director, Jeremy Atkins, will lead a discussion with artists Georges Jeanty (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Phil Noto (Angel & Faith, Dollhouse), Chris Samnee (Serenity), and inker Andy Owens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) for an inside look at the artists processes. We’ll be showcasing a variety of art from past and future issues of these best-loved titles, including exclusive reveals and first looks!

ECCC Spotlight Series: Camilla d’ErricoRoom: 211 Time: 6:00 – 7:00

The Emerald City Comicon Spotlight Series is designed to give you an intimate look into the minds of some of comics greatest creators. This hour, Camilla d’Errico talks about how she made her dreams reality by giving up on the 9 to 5 grind and becoming a full time artist.

EXPANDING THE EXPERIENCE: VIDEO GAMES TO COMICS AND BACK AGAINRoom: TCC 102 Time: 6:00 – 7:00

When Dark Horse partnered with BioWare to expand the Mass Effect story line into comics, video-game tie-in comics were finally legitimized. Now, Dark Horse is widely recognized as the leading publisher of video-game comics, with launches throughout 2012 digitally and in print. Join us for an hour long preview of what’s to come this year, with exclusive news and announcements on current and upcoming projects with BioWare, Valve, and Activision!


Saturday • March 31st

ECCC Spotlight Series: Rick RemenderRoom: 211 Time: 11:00 – 12:00

The Emerald City Comicon Spotlight Series is designed to give you an intimate look into the minds of some of comics greatest creators. This hour Uncanny X-Force writer Rick Remender joins us. Rick is also the writer/creator of comics such as Fear Agent, The End League, Strange Girl, Black Heart Billy, Last Days of American Crime, Sea of Red, Sorrow, Night Mary, XXXombies and Doll and Creature.

Dark Horse Comics: Powered By Creators Room: 4C1-2 Time: 4:00 – 5:00

Just over twenty-five years ago, Dark Horse stepped into the comics-publishing arena with a different agenda. While the publisher has gained much notoriety for its popular licensed titles, like Buffy and Star Wars, one mission remains the same: to give comics top creators a venue for showcasing their work and retaining their ownership of it. Join Dark Horse’s public relations director, Jeremy Atkins, along with a cast of premier talent, for news on all of Dark Horse’s 2012 publishing launches and new Dark Horse Presents stories. Guests include Steve Niles (Criminal Macabre),Steve Lieber (Alabaster), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle), Sanford Greene (Rotten Apple), Ethan Nicolle(Axe Cop), Adam Warren (Empowered), Paul Tobin (Falling Skies), and Brian Wood (The Massive), and a few surprise drop-ins!

 

Sunday • April 1st

ECCC Spotlight Series: Steve Niles Room: 211 Time: 12:00 – 1:00

The Emerald City Comicon Spotlight Series is designed to give you an intimate look into the minds of some of comics greatest creators. This hour, modern master of horror, Steve Niles, talks about what it takes to craft a good horror story, working with artists like Sam Kieth and Ben Templesmith and how his creation of 30 Days of Night changed the face of horror comics.

Axe CopRoom: 3AB Time: 1:00 – 2:00

Ethan and Malachai Nicolle, creators of Axe Cop, will do a live Q&A, show images and videos of new Axe Cop material, etc. Always a fun and highly interactive panel.

Mythic Fiction Comics: The Next Mega-Genre?Room: 3AB Time: 12:00 – 1:00

From MageSandman and Bone to FablesCastle WaitingHellboy and more, mythic fiction has been a fascinating — and growing — presence in comics. What is mythic fiction? Why is it so popular? And could it really become the next big thing in the comics field? Join moderator Kurt Busiek (Arrowsmith), Matt Wagner (Mage), Rachel Edidin (Dark Horse Comics), Bill Willingham (Fables) and Chris Roberson (Memorial) for a lively discussion about mythic fiction in comics, from its roots to it future.

ECCC Spotlight Series: Brandon Graham and Adam Warren in ConversationRoom: 211 Time: 1:00 – 2:00

The Emerald City Comicon Spotlight Series is designed to give you an intimate look into the minds of some of comics greatest creators. Brandon Graham and Adam Warren join you this hour for a conversation talking about finer points of their work. Their western takes on manga have delighted readers locally and abroad. Expect a vivid and lively discussion.

I do have to say, that’s a pretty epic line-up, really wish they had hit Wondercon but we’ll catch them at SDCC for sure this year.

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Review – Dark Horse Presents #10

Cover Art: Fiona Staples
Variant Cover Art: Thomas Yeates
Back Cover: Geof Darrow
Publisher & Editor: Mike Richardson
Published By: Dark Horse

Dark Horse Presents #10 is chalk full of goodies, so let’s get right to it!

  • The Massive: The Barrents Sea- Modern Day by Brian Wood and art by Kristian Donaldson This is very short. Honestly, it was way too short to get into it or understand exactly where the story was going. It was over before it began.
  • UXB by Colin Lorimer. A futuristic story that instantly brings the funny. Even though it’s super short, the amazing art and witty dialog is an instant draw. This preview definitely drew me in and had me wanting more.
  • Finder: Third World Chapter 8 by Carla Speed McNeil.
  • Criminal Macabre: They Fight By Night Part 1 by Steve Niles and art by Christopher Mitten. This was the one I was most excited for and it did not disappoint. This gives us a new peek at the new arc! An assassination has occurred and Cal is not too happy about it. Even in this short preview, Cal’s coolness shines through.
  • House of Fun Featuring Milk and Cheese and The Murder Family by Evan Dorkin. We find the odd pair Milk and Cheese ordering x-ray spectacles in this issue which provokes them into going on a rampage, drunk with the idea of their new “superpower.” The Murder Family is the story of a ghoulish family consisting of two parents, two sons, their daughter and a wacky uncle. Presented in a sitcom setting complete with commercials and laugh tracks, we see the daily life of this weird and dysfunctional family. Their name suits them well!
  • The Once and Future Tarzan Chapter 3 by Thomas Yeates and Alan Gordon.
  • Amala’s Blade: Skull and Crossbows Part 2 by Steve Horton and art by Michael Dialynas.
  • Dead Reliable by Andrew Vachss and art by Geof Darrow. This was another stand-out piece. It was an extremely sad, touching story that really packs a shocking punch at the end. I loved it!
  • Skultar Chapter 4: The Trainable by M.J. Butler and art by Mark Wheatley.
  • The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne Chapter 3 by Rich Johnston and art by Simon Rohrmüller.

There are some real standouts in this issue, not all of them were my favorite, but I was able to discover some things I had never heard of and really enjoyed reading this book. A solid buy, especially for the price!

Release Date: March 21st, 2012
Links: Buy now | Buy Digital ($ 7.99) | Preview

Overall:★★★½☆ 
House of Night Issue #5 Cover

Review – House of Night #5

Story: P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast
Script: Kent Dalian
Art: Joëlle Jones and Eric Canete
Colors: Ryan Hill and Eric Canete
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: Jenny Frison
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue begins with Zoey and her friends relived of stress and worry after having a snowball fight and acting like average, everyday kids. That is , until one of them, Stevie Rae begins coughing up blood. We soon see that this was all just a nightmare, but it does give some back story which allows us to understand the dangers all these kids face in going through the transition from fledgling to vampyre. We begin to understand just how scared they are and how much the fear weighs on their shoulders. We also get a glimpse into Zoey’s love-life, both past drama of exes and present giddiness of new love. Most importantly though, Zoey is about to embark on her final lesson, spirit, with the Goddess Nyx. Zoey’s lesson is taught through Amazon vampyre Queen, Hippolyte and the immortal hero Herakles, enemies who wage a war against each other only to come together through love in the end. Their love however cannot last and Hippolyte must take drastic measures to sever their ties. Zoey believes she understands and has learned her final lesson and thinks she knows what she has to do, but she really doesn’t. The application of her newly learned lesson will come later and she will find out that it is much more important than what she originally thought.

This issue is great, I really love the way Zoey’s lessons are taught and how the stories are told. I really like that there is so much woman power within the pages, something that is lacking within our society a lot of the time and is a great message to send to younger girls. I also enjoyed the little bit of back story we are given on Zoey’s love-life, it really helps to flush out the character and helps us to realize there is more to her than her school life. The art is gorgeous and really breathtaking as are the vibrant and beautiful colors. This series has really come into its own and I’m really enjoying the richness of the characters, the story and its message. Each issue is better than the last and I can’t wait to find out where these characters are going to go.

Release Date: March 14th, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Dark Matter #3 – Rebirth 3 of 4

Story: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Art:  Garry Brown
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Garry Brown
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Dark Matter issue 3 is here, the crew faces their old identities, a planet on the verge of a showdown with private interests that want to wipe them out and the betrayal to their original mission through all this. It’s a tough battle for them after the last issue, finding out that you’re not nearly as humane as you imagined and instead a record-setting space criminal is pretty troubling, worse is realizing you’re packing enough ammo to level a city. Issue 3 takes them down a path of interaction and coming to grips with this situation, the crew on the planet taking part in humanity again by celebrating with the locals and letting go of the current situation a bit. In space we see Portia struggle with a new problem that has risen up that puts the crew in a bad spot as well and shakes foundation of the new bond we thought they all had.

How Porta takes her situation is a mystery that we’re left to find out in the final book, the crew though prove themselves more than capable as they make their stand to defend the inhabitants of the planet no matter who comes knocking. While their ammo and weapons may be limited it looks like we’re heading into a tough conclusion to this Rebirth story arc with everyone starting to focus on the team. Issue 3 is one of those rare turning points where you really need to read the story to appreciate how quickly they whip development into shape and setup the stage for a showdown.

Dark Matter issue 3 continues to develop in style, the characters after 2 issues are now more honed and coming into their own greater details. The shadows are lifting and we’re getting a greater view of who all of these mercs are. The colors are also lifting in each chapter as every panel seems to bring greater light to the entire situation, it’s an interesting way to assist in building a story without directly writing anything else in.

Release Date: March 14, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

 

Massimo Carnevale Cover

Review – Orchid #5

Script: Tom Morello
Art: Scott Hepburn
Colors: Dan Jackson
Cover: Massimo Carnevale
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Published By: Dark Horse

This issue of Orchid is all about journeys and those elements that make them successful both as a group and on an individual level. Orchid, Simon and Opal are on a mission to find Westin, an explosives expert and old friend of Opal and General China in Gath. No sooner do they enter Gath than Orchid finds trouble in the form of her old pimp and neither of them are happy to see one another. Orchid, showing a side of herself that we have never seen before, unsure, scared and kind of weak, becomes frozen. Cue Opal as she swoops in and does to Orchid’s pimp what should be done to all pimps. Opal really shows Orchid and Simon just how bad ass she really is and shows the reader that this woman is no joke! After searching for some time, our crew finds Westin but are dismayed when they find out he no longer works for the cause due to some losses, instead he only works for money. Believing all hope is lost, Opal has yet another trick up her sleeve and the freedom fighters are off to Fortress Penuel to rescue Simon’s comrade Anzio, who has been on his own journey as he has been captured and tortured for some time. This issue shows Orchid growing and developing a lot, she asks Opal for help as she wants to learn to be a fighter/killer like Opal. However, Opal teaches her something far greater than learning how to kill. Will they get to Anzio in time or will they be too late and find themselves facing yet another setback in their mission?

After a brief hiatus Orchid has come back better than ever. This issue is great and I love seeing the different sides of Orchid’s character developing and becoming much deeper. She shows vulnerability for the first time and I think the relationship developing between her and Opal will be an amazing one. Seeing the no holds barred Opal is also fantastic, she’s a kick ass women and unapologetic (as she should be) about it! Everything as usual is on point in this issue, the art is perfect, the dialog both inspiring and frustrating and the story wonderful. Tom Morello has done an outstanding job with this comic and really has something special here. If you’re not reading it yet, you really are missing out on something great!

Release Date: March 14th, 2012

Links: Preview | Pre-Order

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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Review – The Goon #38 – The True Life Story of Kizzie: The Iron Maiden!

By: Eric Powell
Colors: Dan Stewart
Published By: Dark Horse

If you read my review of The Goon #37 it should come as no surprise that I think Eric Powell’s work is beyond amazing. I always have trouble writing Goon reviews because each issue is both simple and complex at the same time and it becomes difficult to actually express the greatness contained within them. With this review I decided that it just needs to be acknowledged that I am not unbiased when it comes to The Goon or anything Eric Powell does. In my eyes he can do no wrong but I do believe that it is an earned bias. Eric Powell has proven over and over again, whether through The Goon, Chimichanga or any other projects he works on, that fangirling out is warranted. This issue is no exception, it is touching, infuriating and quite frankly, it made me cry. Often times, Powell manages to use very few words and convey feelings of sadness that are so heartbreaking the reader really feels that pain. This is not an easy feat, although Powell makes it seem effortless.

The Goon #38 tells the story of a young girl, Kizzie, who is picked on in school, but in her own way seems above it all. Her older brother Rooney attempts to defend her but unfortunately things go awry and a bigger mess occurs. Kizzie is a good girl with big dreams trapped in a small town. With naysayers trying to determine the course her life will take, she decides to follow her own path with a traveling carnival. We are taken on a journey through many important events in Kizzie’s life including love, loss and resilience in the face of adversity. In an effort to not spoil this issue (because truthfully one needs to read it to really get its full impact) I will just say that Kizzie is a very important person to the Goon and the final panel in the issue is very poignant and emotional.

If you are not reading The Goon you are really missing out on something very special. I can say without hesitation that every issue is amazing, including this one. Even though there are continuing stories and character development, it is very easy to jump in, understand and enjoy any issue. The art is fabulous, as each character’s feelings are conveyed perfectly and with precision. This issue is dedicated to Powell’s Grandma so how could you say no? Go to your local comic book store, pray they have back issues and then pre-order this one, you won’t regret it!

Release Date: March 7th, 2012

Links: The Goon 38 Preview | Pre-Order The Goon 38

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★★ 
Overall:★★★★★ 

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