SDCC '08 - The Dark Horse Horror Panel

Dark Horse held a panel focusing on its horror titles and projects Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con, with Editor Shawna Gore, Senior Editor Scott Allie and legendary creator Bernie Wrightson as panelists.

Gore opened the panel with a slideshow, commenting that as a publisher, Dark Horse is firmly committed to keeping horror comics alive as a vital part of the medium. The slides began with the Hellboy family of titles, allowing Allie to not that he had just received the final pages of Hellboy: The Crooked Man from Richard Corben, one of the creators who had gotten him interested in comics in the first place.

For those not reading Allie described the series as Mike Mignola doing “weird old America” – something he had wanted to do for a while, and jumped at the chance when Corben came on board.

Moving on to BPRD: War on Frogs, Allie said what an honor and satisfying experience it had been to work with artist Herb Trimpe on The Goon and June’s War on Frogs, and in November, legendary artist John Severin will team with Mignola on War on Frogs #2, which sees Hellboy and agents from the BPRD investigating an abandoned destroyer that’s infested with the frog monsters that have been plaguing Hellboy’s world since his debut in comics. Some of Severin’s art for the issue can be seen accompanying an article by Allie on suspense in comics in the Hellboy Zone at

Next up was Dead Vengeance written and drawn by Bill Morrison, best known for his work at Bongo Comics. The story follows a Private Investigator who wakes up dead, and has to solve his own murder. As Morrison is best known for his cartoony stle, Allie said that the creator won’t be changing his look too much for the tale, but it will be much more somber and darker than his other work.

Gore then showed the cover to The Cleaners, a new four issue miniseries by Mark Wheaton, Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Rashan Ekedal, which was introduced at WonderCon earlier this year. Described by the editor as “CSI meets The X-Files, the story follows a group of trauma scene cleaners who specialize in the cases that no one can explain – such as hotel rooms covered floor to ceiling in blood.

The book’s lead character, Dr. Robert Bellamy, a cleaner who used to be an Emergency Room doctor, feels that a scientific approach to the cases they encounter will always yield a logical explanation for what they see – but he’s not always right. The first arc opens with the team assigned to a crime scene covered in blood – acres and acres of blood, which effectively coats the city of Los Angeles.

Not much was said about The Goon, other than, in Allie’s eyes, creator Eric Powell has upped his own game following Chinatown, and the monthly issue run he’s currently on is his best work to date.

Dark Horse currently holds the exclusive license for the horror material of Robert E. Howard, which has already yielded the Pigeons from Hell miniseries by Joe Lansdale. More is planned.

Rex Mundi will head into its original six issues with #14, which will complete the larger story creator Arvid Nelson has envisioned since the series began at Image. To highlight the final issues, the covers will be drawn by John Cassaday, Gerard Way, Jo Chen, Eric Powell and Joe Linsner, and one other artist.

Gore’s labor of love, Creepy Archives volume 1 is due in stores in about three weeks, and will be the first oversize archive of the materiel specifically designed in order to maintain the integrity of the original art from its original magazine format. Dark Horse will collect all of the original martial from the Creepy archives, with the final volume count coming in somewhere between 10 and 13.

The Creepy Archives will be accompanied later by the Eerie Archives which will collect all of the original issues of that magazine’s original run.

As had been originally announced at the publisher's panel at WonderCon, Dark Horse will also publish a new black and white Creepy magazine. The 48 page quarterly edition will maintain the same aesthetic of the original series, and is slated to debut in Spring of 2009.

Check back later this weekend for the second half of the Dark Horse Horror panel, which focused on the upcoming hardcover edition of Frankenstein by Bernie Wrightson.

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