Tag Archive: Jill Thompson


Beasts of Burden Occupied Territory banner

The eight-time Eisner/Harvey Award–winning comic book series returns this year.  Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory continues the adventures of the wise dogs in Dark Horse Comics’ unique blend of fantasy, humor, and horror.  An elder member of the pack of recalls a harrowing World War II mission where a mysterious curse creates an army of crawling, disembodied heads threatening to overwhelm Japan.  The dogs attempt to solve the mystery, coming into conflict with shape-changing tanuki, evil oni, and a horde of vengeful demons.  Writers Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer and letterer Nate Piekos return with artist Benjamin Dewey to take fans of the long-running, episodic series where they’ve never encountered this anthropomorphic pack of brave sleuths before.

Beasts of Burden Occupied Territory cover

The book collects Issues #1-4 of the single-issue series in a hardcover compilation.  Here’s a preview from Dark Horse Comics of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s marketed as “Lady and the Tramp meets Silence of the Lambs,” which is pretty unsettling to begin with.  It certainly looks like Disney’s 101 Dalmations.  The first issue of the new five-part monthly comic, Stray Dogs, offers a touching introduction about a little dog named Sophie who is rescued into a house of a dozen dogs.  She’s taken under the care of a dog named Rusty, but soon remembers the circumstances of leaving her past home–the new human in charge might be a murderer.  It’s the stuff of high drama carefully revealed and beautifully illustrated.  And damned creepy.  One more thing:  Paramount Animation has already apparently bought the film rights.

Check out a preview of the first issue of Stray Dogs below.

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If Neil Gaiman’s prose adaptations of historical works haven’t held your interest, perhaps this new visual adaptation of his novelistic collection of stories in Norse Mythology may be a better entry point.  Adapted by writer-artist P. Craig Russell (whose adaptation of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung should be required reading for all graphic novel enthusiasts), this new series is sure to get those with Viking heritage their needed fix for all things Nordic.  Thanks to key visual contributions from Russell and artists Mike Mignola, Jill Thompson, David Mack, and Jerry Ordway, and color work by Dave Stewart and Lovern Kindzierski, get ready to get immersed in some ethereal, surreal, classical surroundings with the stories of Thor, Loki, Odin, and more.

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Next week a standalone issue in the Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Sirens series of anthology stories arrives you will want to get your hands on.  Both the story and artwork coming in next week’s tale were created by one of the Pacific Northwest’s best visionary artists, Aud Koch (pronounced “odd cook”).  You may know her from conventions or from her incredible Wonder Woman artwork that topped our discussion of the Wonder Woman 100 Project here at borg back in 2017, or from her other fabulous, fantastical works posted at her website here.  Her work in the Jim Henson anthology is her retelling of Lorelai: Daughter of the Rhine.  Her style is truly her own, with pages of unique design layouts and imagery that flows from scene to scene, but you may see some possible influences in the works of Jill Thompson, P. Craig Russell, Aubrey Beardsley, and Alex Niño.  Koch’s artwork has been featured in The Wicked + The Divine from Image Comics, Vision, Ultimates2, and America from Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics’ Tales of Harrow County, and she contributed to the anthology Femme Magnifique, nominated for an Eisner Award this year.

Here is the description of Lorelai: Daughter of the Rhine from publisher Archaia:

In this German tale, Lorelai is a river nymph, born to the Rhine River, living in the shadow of a prosperous town called Wochara.  But at the heart of Wochara’s prosperity lies a secret deal that Lorelei and the people of Wochara struck a long time ago.  Every year, Wochara sends Lorelei a young man who becomes her husband for the year, living in comfort and luxury in her wondrous palace, while fat nuggets of gold wash up on the town shores.  But not everything is as it seems and when she selects a young man who already has a lover, the deal between the people of Wochara and Lorelai is in jeopardy forever.

Here is a preview of what lies in store for you in next week’s Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Sirens:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s a comic book nearly two years in the making.  Or maybe 27 years.  And it may be the best single comic book issue of the year.  But as strange as the tale between the covers, the story of its creators is stranger still.  What you probably know is this:  In 1984 Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird published a single issue comic called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Intended as a spoof-parody-mash-up concoction of Marvel’s Daredevil and The New Mutants, Frank Miller’s Ronin, and Dave Sim’s Cerebus, the book sparked something much bigger for readers, becoming one of the most popular franchises for a few generations of readers and cartoon watchers (not to mention the impact it had via toys and movie tie-ins).  A couple unrelated–short-lived–parody spin-offs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came and went unrelated to Eastman and Laird, including Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos and Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.

What you don’t know is that eight years after the Turtles saw their first comic–in 1992–comic creators Shane Bookman and his brother Paul released their scrappy indie creation on the unsuspecting comic book universe: Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls Like Eastman and Laird, the Bookmans had their own share of ups and downs, tales of fame and fortune (evidently Eastman sold off his rights to the Turtles some 20 years ago, etc.).  So in 2017 Eastman and writer David Avallone and artist Ben Bishop (with Troy Little, Brittany Peer, Tomi Varga, and Taylor Esposito) took the Bookmans’ story to Kickstarter, and nearly 1,200 backers brought in more than $100,000.  Now it’s all done, first to tell the Bookmans’ story in a new monthly comic beginning this past week called Drawing Blood, and at the same time with a companion comic they created and discussed in their comic industry exploits, Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls, Issue #1.

 

The result?  Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls is an idea as good as any Turtles tale you’ve read, and as finely crafted an origin story, full of action, top-notch writing, beautiful layouts, and exciting new characters: referred to as the Ragdolls (from the cat breed), they are three female cats who encounter gamma rays, cosmic rays, genetic mutagens, and who knows what other comic book superpower trigger was tapped, to become Tezuka, Otomo, and Miyazaki.  Speaking, Ronin-trained, defender cats.  Otomo is the most fearsome, Miyazaki speaks in Haiku poems, and Tezuka is a master tactician.

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In the coming mini-series Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others, Part One, writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson are back again with their wonderfully realized Burden Hill gang, the canine paranormal investigators and a feline familiar that earned them a Harvey Award and multiple Eisner Awards.  We’ve discussed previous Beasts of Burden stories before here at borg and the animal stories are among the best of the outgrowth of shorts from Dark Horse Presents, the best anthology series around.

Dorkin and Thompson first introduced their animal sleuths in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings and they made regular appearances throughout the “Dark Horse Book of” series (all collected now in the affordable The Dark Horse Book of Horrors), earning them Eisners for Best Short Story and Best Painter.  In 2009 the beasts of Burden Hill received their own miniseries, Animal Rites, and in 2010, they met up with Hellboy.  In 2012, the gang was back in Neighborhood Watch.  And Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers won the Best Single Issue Eisner in 2015.   In 2016 the Burden Hill gang returned with the one-shot issue Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In followed-up last year with Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men.

This time we find the team defending Burden Hill again, but with the help of humans.  A team of paranormal investigators poking around Burden Hill disturb the graveyard where the ”Master” lies, setting off a chain of events that will have serious consequences for the animal defenders of the haunted town.  Dorkin’s animal stories coupled with Thompson’s watercolor painted artwork simply can’t be beat.

Take a look at some preview pages from Dark Horse Comics:

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Wil Wheaton standing room only crowd at Planet Comicon 2013

This weekend Planet Comicon Kansas City is featuring a pantheon of nationally recognized comic book writers and artists at its sixth year in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  The show begins tomorrow at Bartle Hall, and continues through Sunday.  Bring your stacks of comics for autographs from your favorite creators, including Frank Cho, Jill Thompson, Dave Dorman, Mark Brooks, Brian Azzarello, Jae Lee, Dan Jurgens, Chris Stevens, Peter Stiegerwald, Amy Chu, Ashley Witter, Greg Capullo, Stephane Roux, Christopher Priest, and Scott Snyder.

Back again are PCKC regulars Freddie Williams, Tony Moore, Jason Aaron, Phil Hester, Jai Nitz, Ande Parks, Ant Lucia, Skottie Young, Megan Levens, Neal Adams, Greg Horn, Seth Peck, Rob Davis, Darryl Woods, Jason Arnett, Bryan Fyffe, Bryan Timmins, C.W. Cooke, Damont Jordan, and Darren Neely.

Planet Comicon 2014

Make sure you visit the Elite Comics flight crew at the “Party on the Pillar” and pick up some great deals on what the Con is all about–comics–including Elite Comics and Planet Comicon exclusive cover variants of special issues available only at the show.

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Never been to a comic book or pop culture convention?  Always wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con but you don’t have the vacation time available or the funds?  Planet Comicon is next weekend in Kansas City and it’s the sixth year of the show at downtown Kansas City’s giant convention center at Bartle Hall.  Planet Comicon is a great way to get a complete three-day convention experience centrally located in the Midwest, ideal for a last-minute road trip for the family or a car full of friends.  Kansas City is less than 8 hours by car from Dallas, less than 7 hours from Minneapolis, a little more than 7 hours from Indianapolis, and a little more than 8 hours from Denver.  And you don’t need to buy advance tickets–you can purchase them at the door.

So why make the trip?  How about meeting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Firefly star Alan Tudyk?   Also from Firefly, as well as Doctor Who, Supernatural, Chuck, Leverage, Star Trek Voyager (and one of borg.com‘s actors we can’t get enough of), Mark Sheppard?  Want to get a photo with Michael Rooker (“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” Yondu) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis), stars of last year’s biggest superhero hit Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2?  Are modern classics your thing?  How about seeing the star of fan-favorite movies like Say Anything, High Fidelity, and Eight Men Out?  Yep, John Cusack is returning to the Midwest for this year’s show (you can even bring your prized Rooker and Cusack Eight Men Out baseball cards for autographs).

Do you want to compare notes on The Walking Dead with stars Khary Payton, Rooker, and  Sonequa Martin-Green (also star of Star Trek Discovery)?  Maybe you’re a Game of Thrones fan.  You can meet both Jerome Flynn and Jason Momoa (also Aquaman in the DC Universe movies).  And speaking of fantasy, Planet Comicon is featuring a rare appearance by Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis, who played the beloved hero Neville Longbottom.  Want to meet the actor who has played the toughest badass characters you’ve ever seen?  Sling TV barista and Machete himself, Danny Trejo will be in the house.

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Named for legendary comics creator Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards saw their 29th presentation last night.  Celebrities including Community star Danny Pudi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Heroes’ star Greg Grunberg, and game show host Wayne Brady among several comic books greats were on hand to present awards for the past year’s best works in comics at San Diego Comic-Con 2017.

We previewed the nominees earlier this year here at borg.com.  One of our favorites, artist Jill Thompson, took all three categories she was nominated in this year–for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for her Wonder Woman: The True Amazon and Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In, for Best Graphic Album-New for Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, and for her Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In for Best Single Issue/One-Shot (with Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer).

    

Sonny Liew and his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Pantheon), was the big individual winner, for Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Publication Design.  Saga also took multiple awards, earning its creators four awards.  Archie Comics received multiple wins for Erica Henderson and Ryan North for Best Publication for Teens for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Best Humor Publication for Jughead.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

More than 100 comic book artists came together over the past year to create what is one of the best joint art projects featuring superheroes that has come out of the industry.  And it’s all about the biggest superheroine of all.  Some of the best-known names in the world of comics volunteered an original work of art featuring Wonder Woman, penciled, inked, painted, or otherwise colored on a 75th Anniversary DC Comics Wonder Woman blank comic book cover.  It’s all for a good cause that gives back to, and in effect pays forward comic book creators that came before them.

It’s called the Wonder Woman 100 Project.  All proceeds of the auction of the original artwork will go to the Hero Initiative, an organization that helps out the comic book industry by contributing funds to individuals and their families in the event of medical and financial crises.  Most of the comic creators the fund helps were piecemeal workers in their careers over the past decades or those without any kind of retirement program.

    

And for those who can’t afford the original artwork, the Hero Initiative is creating a hardcover and softcover edition compiling all the covers that will be for sale in June 2017, with proceeds of those books also going to the Hero Initiative.

You’ll see some of the very best Wonder Woman images you’ll ever find.  Many are from well-known artists, but some of the finest works are showcased by more recent artists entering the industry.

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