On the opening day of 2015's Emerald City Comic Con Friday, long-time area publisher Dark Horse took the stage in a panel titled "Dark Horse Builds Characters!"
Moderator and Dark Horse publicist Aub Driver opened the panel by introducing panelists Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook, the Pander Brothers, Joelle Jones, Scott Kolins, Eliot Rahai, Donny Cates, Curt Pires, Matt Kindt, and Tyler Jenkins, who he called “the all-star team.”
With a packed dais, Donny Cates remarked “There are more of us than there are of you!”
First up, Driver brought up the consistently sold out Lady Killer by Joelle Jones, a book about a housewife who is a secret assassin.
He then moved on to Never Boy, which co-creator Tyler Jenkins described as being about an “imaginary friend who wills himself into existence” through drugs.
Next up is Past Aways by Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins, a story about time travel and “future toilets.”
“The script says one thing, and Scott just makes it crazy. There are space worms and time tentacles. It's a fun adventure,” said Kindt. “It's sort of like Jack Kirby on even more acid. But he's not, we're both clean and sober.”
Next, a video showing art from Girlfiend by the Pander Brothers plays, with the words, “All she wants is a guy who doesn't mind she's a vampire,” ending with the tagline, “She's hungry for love.”
“It's basically a vampire thriller. We wrote this a while back, and we've been sitting on it, and we just loved it. It's getting back to our roots, just telling stories about people living on the edge, trying to survive. It's kind of like True Romance with fangs.”
Up next is Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook. Bunn explains that Harrow County is a “Southern Gothic horror fairy tale,” about a girl growing up in North Carolina in the '30's. “Tyler's managed to create one of the sweetest, creepiest characters in comics.”
Driver then moved on to Black Hammer, a story about six superheroes who have been wiped out of continuity who live on a farm, trying to figure out how to get home, written by Jeff Lemire. The first issue drops in June.
Now for a series of announcements.
First up, writer Curt Pires announced The Tomorrows, a comic about a dead future where the world is a hyper-accelerated Orwellian surveillance state. The Tomorrows are a group of terrorists and artists who fight against authority. Each issue features a different artist.
“In the future, art is lllegal,” said Pires. “A big part of what they do is poetic terrorism. Are they heroes, or are they villains? That's up to us to decide as we read it.”
Next up is The Paybacks, by Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal, and artist Geoff Shaw, a story about superheroes like NightKnight, Ski-Squatch, Soviet Nunchuck, and Bloodpouch. Spinning out of Cates's Buzzkill, The Paybacks follows a team of super powered repo men who collect on loans given to potential superheroes.
“Puns are the highest form of literature,” said Rahal. “The guy who drives their van is named Driver, and is based on that guy right there,” quipped Cates, pointing at Aub Driver.
The Paybacks is out in September.
Now, another trailer plays, this time for Death Head, a new horror series by writer Zack and Nick Keller and artist Joanna Estep, starting in July. Death Head is about two characters who go camping and stumble on a mystery involving a killer in a plague doctor mask.
Next up Driver announced Negative Space, a story by Ryan K. Lindsay and Owen Gieni, about a Lovecraftian conspiracy.
Also announced at ECCC, Barb Wire is coming back. “How many people read the original Barb Wire?” asked Driver. No one raised their hands. “That's great, cause it's been 20 years since it last came out.”
Up next is Scott Kolins's Adam.3. “Adam.3 is my attempt to work myself to death,” quipped Kolins. “All my nights and weekends are gonna be spent working on this book. It's a jungle, sci-fi, adventure story about a family trying to figure out why they're there. It's heroes vs. monsters.”
Now Driver has announced Aaron Lopresti's Power Cubed, about an 18 year old kid who gets an alien power cube that rearranges matter. Power Cubed comes out in September as well.
Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot is getting a new hardcover collection, which Newsarama broke the news earlier in an interview with Geof Darrow.
Joe Lansdale and Mark Miller have a new book entitled Steam Man. “Pacific Rim meets the Wild West.”
Eric Powell and Stephanie Buscema's Chimichanga is getting a new volume this fall.
And with that, the panel is done.