The Last of Us Comic by Dark Horse

Dark Horse announced that they will be releasing the obligatory pre-release comic for the upcoming video game The Last of Us.
Naughty Dog, who brought us the Uncharted series, is known for not only innovative gameplay but also captivating storytelling.
The demo of the Last of Us that was shown at PAX this fall gave us a glimpse of what promises to be an expansive world in terms of scenery and characters. Even the NPCs clearly had motives aside from being violent obstacles.
Dark Horse is the perfect publisher for the comic book team-up with Naughty Dog as they’re the publisher known for stories. Their lineup is not the normal superhero fare, featuring the likes of Tom Morello’s post-apocalyptic Orchid, the Mass Effect comics, and Umbrella Academy.
There is no form to adhere to just a story to tell and a trained eye fro ensuring quality in the medium it’s told in.
I’m so excited for Ellie’s back story and this new, influential character.

Dark Horse announced that they will be releasing the obligatory pre-release comic for the upcoming video game The Last of Us.
Naughty Dog, who brought us the Uncharted series, is known for not only innovative gameplay but also  captivating storytelling.
The demo of the Last of Us that was shown at PAX this fall gave us a glimpse of what promises to be an expansive world in terms of scenery and characters. Even the NPCs clearly had motives aside from being violent obstacles.
Dark Horse is the perfect publisher for the comic book team-up with Naughty Dog as they’re the publisher known for stories. Their lineup is not the normal superhero fare, featuring the likes of Tom Morello‘s post-apocalyptic Orchid, the Mass Effect comics, and Umbrella Academy.
There is no form to adhere to just a story to tell and a trained eye fro ensuring quality in the medium it’s told in.
I’m so excited for Ellie’s back story and this new, influential character. Check out the press release for details:

The most anticipated video game of 2013, The Last of Us, comes to print with a comic series and an art book from Dark Horse Comics and Naughty Dog!
The Last of Us: American Dreams will be a four-issue series by TheLast of Us lead writer Neil Druckmann, with rising star Faith Erin Hicks (Zombies CallingFriends with BoysThe Adventures of Superhero Girl) as cowriter and artist.
Ellie, the heroine of The Last of Us, has grown up in a postpandemic world, shuttled between military orphanages in one of the last remaining quarantine zones and resigned to the fact that when she’s old enough, she’ll be channeled into the army or left to fend for herself—until she meets an older girl determined to find a third way out.American Dreams explores Ellie’s backstory and her first steps on the road that led her to her companion Joel.
The first issue of The Last of Us: American Dreams will appear in the spring of 2013.
The Art of The Last of Us, a deluxe hardcover exploring the characters, the infected humans, and the intricately realized world of the game, will launch in conjunction with the release of the game.

[More about The Last of Us]

Review: Orchid Volume 1 (Dark Horse)

When I first heard about Orchid (blurb and facts are down below), the brain child of Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello, I had low expectations. Admittedly, I thought he was already skilled in one area, music, what were the chances he would be skilled in another completely unrelated one, comics.

I’d read interviews and press releases that made me think Orchid would be a heavy-handed political and social diatribe vilifying politicians and the rich and babying the rest of us, barely held together with pictures– pretty much a Chick Tract for social revolution.
When I finally got my hands and eyes on Orchid Volume 1[1. A copy of this title was provided for review by Dark Horse Comics.] I found myself wrapped up in a fast-paced action-adventure starring the quirky and blindly optimistic nerd, Simon, and the surly whore, Orchid, with nothing and everything to lose.
Volume one, covering issues 1-5, is a proper set up of the characters and why we should care about them. This post-apocalyptic world is vast, feeling vaster than the current world at times.
The first couple issues start with historical exposition set over elaborate, intricate scenes. I was reading on my kindle fire and often found myself zooming in to see what all was going on. Tom Morello (writer) and Scott Hepburn (artist) brought this somewhat over done setting new life. From fascinating creatures roaming the wild to the concept of people spending generations on “the derelict barges,” it all felt fresh and exciting.

But once the characters took center-stage it was hard to notice much else– though the art stays well done throughout– with the snappy dialogue and constant progress.
Orchid, Simon, and The Mask (this is an actual, literal mask but with so much legend and power it is pretty much a character in its own right) face more than their fair share of foes and near misses. At some points the adventuring hits a lull and I realized this is seriously heavy, seriously sad, and just generally serious.
That’s one of the greatest things about Orchid; it takes the path of children’s stories and parables, the lesson and the story work so well together that I didn’t realize I was being taught.
I was attached to the story and the characters and the world as not only a fantastic place but also the home of these people who deserved better. Before I knew it, after experiencing their world, watching their struggles, triumphs, and failures, and even getting a glimpse at the antagonists, I’d joined their revolution.
Almost every character — the exception being some villains who do seem to be more symbolic power hoarders than individuals– is fleshed out with a back story, from being a simple bridge folk whore to a nerd who wouldn’t be so out of place elsewhere where he was a slave specially trained because of his aptitude[2. I thought Simon was a time traveler when he was first introduced, until his manner of being was explained away sufficiently enough to re-suspend my disbelief].
You’ll be hard pressed to read Orchid and not to be moved or inspired on some level. Maybe simply by Simon’s unwavering courage and idealism, maybe by Orchid as a strong woman, or even by one of the “villains[3. Issue #5 SPOILER: I’m not willing to call Don Barrabas an actual villain so much as a survivor/victim/pawn who aligned with a man, Tomo Wolfe, willing to do right by him to accomplish much greater wrongs.]” who was somewhat of an ugly duckling (if the ugly duckling turned out to be a duck hunter-chef).
Sure, you might not feel you’re now expertly educated about class warfare or moved to “damn the man, save the empire.” But I can definitely say through Tom Morello telling Orchid’s story I felt heard, and seen, and important as a woman, and a person of color, and a nobody with no power or clout. Generally, as a person with things that can be or have been used to marginalize me. In Orchid, all those things that they use against us were the building blocks to make powerful characters, powerful ideas.
At the end of most comics the writer includes a short essay about their thoughts on the work. While I don’t really I care about nearly any issues, including class, in the real world, the passion Tom Morello shows for this project and this message is the kind of passion that can only create great things.

I’ve always been drawn to epic tales. Beowulf, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars. But for me, there was always something missing. I could never entirely get behind the goal. “C’mon, subjects! Let’s get the king back on the throne!” Or “To arms, vassals! Let’s return the princess to glory!” In my book, kings and princesses are the bad guys. But what was really missing from these epic tales was the unspoken but ever present dirty five-letter word: CLASS. Who rules and why? Who has a lot and who has nothing? And why the hell doesn’t somebody do something about it?! In Orchid the cool monsters, the narrow escapes, and epic battles are front and center, but somebody finally does something about the remorseless inequality that mirrors our own world. And that somebody is Orchid.

Orchid is successful as something new and different, something intriguing and engaging, and something worth reading.
I’d stand up to The Hangman for it.
[rating:5/5]
 

The facts about Orchid Volume 1 direct from Dark Horse:

When the seas rose, genetic codes were smashed. Human settlements are ringed by a dense wilderness from which ferocious new animal species prey on the helpless. The high ground belongs to the rich and powerful that overlook swampland shantytowns from their fortress-like cities. Iron-fisted rule ensures order and allows the wealthy to harvest the poor as slaves.
Delve into the first chapter of Orchid, the tale of a teenage prostitute who learns that she is more than the role society has imposed upon her.
CREATORS
Writer: Tom Morello
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Massimo Carnevale
Genre: Action/Adventure

Publication Date: July 11, 2012
Format: FC, 112 pages; TP, 7″ x 10″
Price: $17.99
Age range: 14
ISBN-10: 1-59582-965-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-59582-965-8

 

Your Guide to Vampires That Don't Swoon

Dark Horse wants us to remember what made vampires scary in the first place. They’re monsters that feed on humans… mostly that’s why they should be scary. But for a long time we’ve been fed the drivel that vampires are chisel-jawed, deep feeling, hopeless romantics.
We’ve mentioned before that a supernatural apocalypse staring vampires would probably suck hard. It would not be epic high school love and sexy accents fighting over local nobodies. It would be scary and bloody as fuck until it turned into Daybreakers.
Dark Horse is here to remind us to hie our kids, hide our wives, and our husbands because vampires are raping killing everybody! They’ve compiled a free handy digital sampler comic showcasing the best of their vampire line up.
Some of them you’ve heard of, some probably not. It’s free. Try it, you might find something you like. Or you might learn something.

If you’ve got a taste for bloodsuckers, then look no further! Dark Horse does vampires right and gives readers who crave creatures of the night a crypt full of creepy comics!
Step into the world of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9, as everyone’s favorite Slayer adapts to her new life in San Francisco. Then check out Angel & Faith, where the vampire with a soul and the once-evil Slayer work to atone for past sins.
This preview issue also features Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s Baltimore, which follows a vampire hunter living in a world beset by a post–World War I vampire infestation; samples from P. C. and Kristin Cast’s story of a vampyre boarding school in House of Night; and Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, in which Manhattan suffers from a vampiric plague!
• Issue features selections from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1,Angel & Faith #1, Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1, The Strain #1, and House of Night #1. Plus, the entirety of a short story entitled “Magical Mystery Tour Featuring the Beetles,” a previously unreleased, digital-only retailer exclusive from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9.

They’ve also provided an infographic. I’m always down for an inforgraphic:

Dark Horse Extends Free Comic Book Day Through the End of May

Did you miss out on Free Comic Book Day this past Saturday? If you did, you also missed out on the Buffy/ The Guild preview (?) issue and the Star Wars/Serenity one-shots offered by Dark Horse. That’s sad.
You missed the space pirates, bandits, aliens, and heroes. You missed out on high-flying hijinks, and intergalactic world  universe saving awesomeness.
Lucky for you Dark Horse, specifically, Dark Horse Digital are nice people (is a nice person? cares about their readers’ happy feelings to sadness ratio?). Over in the “free” section of the digital.darkhorse.com website you’ll be able to read or download their Free Comic Book Day comics for the rest of the month of May. All you need is a free account and you’re on your way to slacking like a professional at work or number munching your monthly data allotment. Continue reading “Dark Horse Extends Free Comic Book Day Through the End of May”

Graphic Novel Review: DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS

Publisher’s blurb:
The Rossum Corporation’s Dollhouse technology has gone viral with a synchronized phone call that wiped the minds of everyone it reached, turning them into mindless killers. Those who avoided the call–including show favorites Echo, Alpha, Mag, Zone, and Griff–must try to survive in the sudden apocalypse and be wary of Rossum’s expansive technological reach.

In DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS (Dark Horse) [1. This book was provided for review by Dark Horse] we get a look at the worst case scenario for the imprint technology used in Dollhouse the TV show. Robo-calls are made to just about everyone in America and if the person at the other end answered the phone, they were hit with an imprint. The imprint erased their personality and replaced it with that of a blood-thirsty killing drone.
Imprinted people have no actual reasoning or logic, just standing orders they’re compelled to obey. If every last person is dead, they don’t just snap out of it because the job’s done. Nope. They can either go on to task number two, be erased, or be reprogrammed.
Is a person still a person if you remove them from their body? Similarly, is a body still a person without the individual person inside of it?
It has always been easy enough to decide that a zombie should be killed. A change takes place that removes them from the Human bucket. Not only do they die but they also look dead and act inhuman.
What if they only did one of those things? Would we be so quick to pull the trigger or swing the bat if Mrs. May still looked exactly the same except with a new rage behind her eyes?
Continue reading “Graphic Novel Review: DOLLHOUSE VOLUME 1: EPITAPHS”

Comic Review: The Strain #1

The Strain #1 [1. Review copy provided by Dark Horse]
When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event-an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness.
* From director Guillermo del Toro and novelist Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves)!
* Adapted for comics by Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham!

I’ll be honest, I have no idea if The Strain is going to go apocalyptic or not- but it’s a damn good comic.
Continue reading “Comic Review: The Strain #1”

Post-Apocalyptic Comic: ORCHID #1

This week I was able to preview the full first issue of the new comic from Dark Horse Orchid.
I can safely use my new favorite phrase to describe this comic because it’s recommended for 18+ audiences– Orchid is an Amazeballs Apocalyizgasm.
The preview on the Dark Horse site is mildly misleading. It starts of very slowly with a lot of backstory and foreshadowing. No characters for the first four pages even. We learn that this world is set far in the future of our world, which has been ravaged by flooding, wide-spread animal mutations, and the general demise of human society.
At first I was a bit skeptical, thinking I’d be reading a storybook with a James Earl Jones-esque narrator telling me about how things were once and how sad they’ve become and that, maybe one day, there’ll be a hero fight against the corrupt power and rage against the machine[1. Pun totally intended. ORCHID is the creation of Rage Against The Machine’s former guitarist, Tom Morello].
Then exciting things started happening. There was suddenly a band of rebels I found myself cheering for and a cause I vaguely understood and wholly supported. Continue reading “Post-Apocalyptic Comic: ORCHID #1”