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Tag Archive: Alex Nino


Hellboy in Mexico

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is doing some traveling in his next trade edition coming next week from Dark Horse Comics.  In 1856 the red, brick-armed, demon with sawed-off horns called Hellboy journeyed across Mexico in a five-month blur of drinking with wrestlers and fighting along the way against monsters.  A few months later some agents found him blacked out in a bar near Morales.  This is Hellboy In Mexico, Hellboy’s own Lost Weekend story.  It’s a good assemblage of funny encounters in nicely creepy locales.

Mignola serves as writer and creator of the stories, with artwork by Mignola, Richard Corben, Mick McMahon, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, and color work by Dave Stewart.  Corben’s work really shines.  He evokes the elaborate styling of Alex Niño in his Aztec environments, while Corben’s version of Dr. Frankenstein has a crazed Robert Crumb quality.  Mignola’s style is a constant, and his work–and the entire book–is a great start point for anyone who thinks they might like the character, or fans of the two Hellboy movies.

Hellboy in Mexico cover

Vampire hunting with luchadores, searching for Aztec gods, fighting evil turkeys and Frankenstein’s monster, drinking way too much tequila, and a bad marriage–this is one of Hellboy’s strangest, and maybe even one of the best, collections of his adventures so far.  Check out a preview below after the break.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

My wife, Elizabeth C. Bunce, and I stumbled across a very good Dark Horse Comics anthology series several years ago all beginning with “The Dark Horse Book of…”  These nicely presented hardcover editions included a Hellboy story, other ghost or horror stories by the best writers and artists at Dark Horse, and ended with a story about a group of dogs and an orphaned cat.  The collections were each brilliantly drawn, brightly (or darkly) colored, and included exactly the right kind of tale for fans of ghost stories over gore.  The anthologies included contributions from the likes of Mike Richardson himself, P. Craig Russell, Keith Giffen, Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, Eric Powell, Brian Horton, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson.  Each anthology had a separate nice-and-creepy theme, including The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft, The Dark Horse Book of The Dead, and The Dark Horse Book of Monsters.

My favorite story in each anthology was by writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson, focusing on the dogs and the cat.  The dogs, Ace, Rex, Jack, Whitey, and Pugsley, and the orphaned cat (who they call Orphan).  These qualify as quiet stories, in that they were snuggly hidden in the back of these anthologies and meekly waited in the shadows of the louder and more mainstream stories in the front of these books.  But Evan Dorkin knows how to convey compelling story via animals like few others have mastered.  Likewise, Jill Thompson’s characters are expressive and animated, and leave readers begging for more.  Her watercolor style reminds me of Mike Grell’s work on Green Arrow, Warlord, and Jon Sable, and she probably has a more accessible style than someone like Alex Nino, whose God the Dyslexic Dog series is one of my favorites.

In The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, their 2003 story “Stray” focuses on a the group exorcising a doghouse that has become possessed in a somber and gulp-worthy series opener.  This of course was not initially intended as a series, yet Dorkin and Thompson continued their contributions to future books.  In The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft, the band of animal friends encounter a witch cat in the 2004 story “The Unfamiliar.”  In 2005’s The Dark Horse Book of The Dead story “Let Sleeping Dogs Die,” the merry band confronts the witch cat again, this time allowing her the chance to become part of the team.  In 2006’s The Dark Horse Book of Monsters, the animals encounter a werewolf in “A Dog and his Boy.”  Each of these stories is endearing and clever in a way you’d only find in the Dark Horse universe.

So last week at the comic book store I stumbled on a new Dark Horse one-shot Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch.  I did a quick flip-through and knew it looked good and familiar and so I added it to the pull-list stack.  It didn’t click until I started reading the three new stories to realize what I had:  more great Dorkin and Thompson, and the animal pack has a name now as the Beasts of Burden.  This new one-shot is actually composed of three stories from Dark Horse Presents issues #4, 6 and 8.  Two other compilations exist that I have yet to get my hands on, a Beasts of Burden four-issue mini-series and a crossover one-shot in 2010 with Hellboy called Hellboy/Beasts of Burden: Sacrifice.  Another edition, Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (2010) collects the stories Stray, The Unfamiliar, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, A Dog and His Boy, and issues #1-4 of the mini-series.

In Neighborhood Watch, the story “Food Run” follows our group protecting the neighborhood from a golem-like green goblin.  In “Story Time,” an old sheepdog called Wise Dog recounts the epic story to three local pups about a brave dog in battle with a “Weeping Angels” twist.  In “The View from the Hill,” Orphan has encountered a lost herd of sheep and although we hear no “bah-ram-ewe” uttered, Dorkin and Thompson enter the realm not of Babe but of the X-Files.  Will little Jack ever be the same?

Last year there were rumors that Beasts of Burden may have been optioned for an animated movie.  So long as Jill Thompson is illustrating and Evan Dorkin is writing this could be a great idea–a dark, but not too dark, animated animal tale to take on the same old animated offerings we get each year.  But the real challenge will be getting the human voices to match the inner thoughts of Dorkin’s dogs and cats as well as he writes it.

The 2011 San Diego Comic-Con is just ten days away.  Sold out months in advance as with past years, again more than 100,000 comics, sci-fi, fantasy, movie, TV and gaming fans will descend on the beautiful waterfront convention center for this year’s event.  Comic-Con organizers released the programming schedule for the four-day convention this weekend, and as usual there is something for everyone.

At the top of my list our own borg.com contributor, author Elizabeth C. Bunce, will be giving away advance copies of her new fantasy novel Liar’s Moon and will speak on a panel with other genre authors as part of the Saturday line-up.  She will also be available for signing copies of her new book, the sequel to StarCrossed in her Thief Errant series.  If don’t you don’t get a copy at Comic-Con you’ll have to wait until its official release in November from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic .

DC Comics has several presentations involving the September release/re-launch of 52 comic titles, including panels featuring Jim Lee and several writers and artists.  Digital artist  Freddie Williams II (Captain Atom, DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics) is scheduled to be in “artist’s alley” again this year and internationally known artist Alex Nino (God the Dyslexic Dog) will be featured in one panel.

Some great TV series cast presentations are scheduled to appear–the entire cast of Chuck, Psych, Warehouse 13, and Torchwood are at the top of the list along with a presentation by the one and only Bruce Campbell from Burn Notice.  The current Doctor Who himself, Matt Smith, is slated to be on a panel.

Another panel features Rick Baker, monster maker, talking about making creatures for the future release, Men in Black III.

The fan group OneRing.net will hosting a panel on the coming Hobbit movie and they hint at one or more surprise guestsand Mugglenet will be featured in a separate panel discussing the final Harry Potter installment.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four, Horatio Hornblower) will preview their new TV series thriller Ringer in one of the big convention ballrooms.

Other interesting scheduled presenters include Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead), William Shatner (Star Trek), Avery Brooks (Deep Space Nine), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Elijah Wood (Wilfred, LOTR), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Jeff Smith (Bone), and Terry Moore (Echo, Strangers in Paradise).

You can also depend on the major studios to preview coming theatrical releases both on and offsite at this year’s show.  Too much for any one person to see! 

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com