Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dark Horse Comics Part 3

So, do you like Predators and Aliens. Some of the movies have been damn fine, and I like Robbie Rodriguez's take on Predators. Really though, the comics Dark Horse has put out are among the best tales that you can find for these two creatures. Over twenty years of comics coming from this company with both of these creatures, you can only imagine what the types of stories that have come out. In the nineties I was obsessed with Aliens comics. They were stories of mad men, mad scientists, over-taxed marines and steeped firmly in the sci-fi horror genre. These are probably some of the most horrifying comics that I have ever read, and so much more amazing than you can ever imagine, check out Labyrinth and Stronghold for some great reads. And Aliens written by WArren in Aliens/Wildcats, hah, amazing. Superman/Aliens was amazing as well, if only for the Kevin Nolan artwork, but seeing Supes implanted with an Alien baby. YAY!

I have to admit the Predator comics I haven't really read too many of. The omnibuses look enticing though. I have to admit that Dark Horse's omnibus selection is incredible, it ranges across as many genres as they can get, and offers the greatest deal on the stands, or one of them, a kajillion pages of content for a low price, they take forever to get through. But back to the Predators. As a kid I shat my pants over the Batman/Predator series with the Kubert Bros on art duty, it was dirty, gritty and actually felt like Batman was in tons of danger. Oh, and the minis crossing over with Magnus: Robot Fighter are pretty fucking amazing as well.

Now just to titles that you need to look at.

Geoff Darrow and Frank Miller's Hard Boiled, and The Big Guy and Rusty the Toy Robot. Two titles that are mind-blowing. If you are unfamiliar with Darrow familiarize yourself with this man tout suite, his art is among my very favorite, hyper-detailed is a phrase so over-used when describing his work, but it is true. Imagine a really, really good Where's Waldo that was birthed by Satan and you might just get the artwork of Geoff. And Miller plays right into his strengths in the script. Run and pick this shit up.

At one point Dark Horse started up a superhero imprint that spawned at least one movie with Pam Anderson, and led a lot of woman to get tattoos of barbed wire strapped around something. Comics greatest world featured X, Ghost, and Barb Wire, plus a couple of others that you won't really know. Early issues of Ghost featured covers by Adam Hughes and later by John Cassidy and was the longest running series as far as this imprint goes. I don't really know how the stories were, but the art was generally very nice. X was originally drawn by Doug Mahnke, MAtt Wagner got his fingers dirty with a couple of issues, and Frank Miller killed on a couple of covers, like the one heading this column. Arcudi wrote the entire run of Barb Wire, and I can imagine that it didn't stink, but you'd have to track down the issues and tell me.

The manga side of Dark Horse has brought us Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, Astro Boy and Lone Wolf and Cub, plus a plethora of other titles. Akira, as you probably know, is addictive. A story of childhood friendships and industrial intrigue mixed with sci-fi and horror elements this manga remains a bridge between North American comics and Japanese, and is a classic. Masanume Shirow is a fuckin' technical genius as well as a sci-fi, cyberpunk god. Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell have meticulously designed machines, intricately crafted stories with human drama, comedy and the most in your face action you can imagine, once again classics. Osamu Tezuka is probably one of the most gifted cartoonist anywhere. Pick up the Astro Boy manga and revel in its glory. Astro used to fire machine guns from his ass, amazing! Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's Lone Wolf and Cub is an amazing tale of one man's love for his son and hatred for those that betrayed him. Completely badass this story is one that you won't forget, and will have you being wary of little kids from the point that you read it.

And tomorrow there is more...

The contemporary.


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