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Tag Archive: Mike Mignola


Review by C.J. Bunce

Prime viewing for October and the Halloween season, and a movie you probably skipped in the theater, is the rebooted Hellboy, now on home video.  Far better than critics would have led you to believe, director Neil Marshall′s Hellboy is every bit loyal to the Dark Horse Comics character, stories, and mythos.  Both Mike Mignola and Mike Richardson produced this third film in the series, and if you don’t agree it matches the quality of the first Hellboy you’ll likely agree it’s better and more memorable than its sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

In fact this Hellboy–this time with Stranger Things’ David Harbour in the red, sawed-off horns and hammer arm–is that kind of dark, violent, monster movie that would have appealed to fans of Freddy Krueger or Hellraiser in the 1980s.  It has that same kind of hard R rating that would have prompted 12 to 16-year-old boys to sneak into the theater to see what they were missing.  So if you don’t care for the kind of monster movie with innocent victims getting ripped apart by giant demons, re-stitching a witch together, watching another creepy witch and her cauldron of kid stew, and making it through several blood-bursts and beheadings, backed with a never-ending volley of F bombs, by all means run away now.

This isn’t Ron Perlman’s kinder, gentler demon.  But this presentation more closely matches Mignola’s stories, including steeping this tale in a variety of classic lore.  Here that means the vile Baba Yaga as villain, complete with her chicken-legged mobile house, and a film full of twisted King Arthur legend.
Missing is Doug Jones’ wonderful Abe Sapien, or Selma Blair’s fire-wielding friend Liz.  Trying to make up for that is the booming presence of Ian McShane (Magnum, p.i., Dallas, The Golden Compass, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Deadwood) as Hellboy’s father, and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil series, The Fifth Element, Ultraviolet) as a banished witch trying to return to the present to smite out humanity with a plague.  Both McShane and Jovovich are good in anything, as they are here, even when the special effects aren’t up to that Peter Jackson quality we all hope for.

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Lionsgate released its first trailer this week for the reboot of Hellboy, a holiday gift for fans of Mike Mignola‘s character and his various Dark Horse Comics series and previous films.

The new Hellboy is played by Stranger Things’ star David Harbour, and his appearance and delivery are surprisingly different than that of Ron Perlman’s version of the character, despite the similar makeup and costume.  The entire trailer also does not have the nicely creepy, dark and brooding feel from Guillermo del Toro’s original from 15 years ago, opting instead to be brighter and have more of a comic book vibe.  Maybe it’s the use of Mony Mony as the song backing the preview?  This story is expected to be adapted from Mignola stories Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, and The Storm and the Fury.  Despite the brighter look, the head splatter and gore seal the deal with this new film scoring an R rating.

Hellboy stars Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, Resident Evil), Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean, John Wick), Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-O), Sasha Lane, and Thomas Haden Church (John Carter, Tombstone) as Lobster Johnson.

Check out this first trailer for the new Hellboy:

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Berkeley Breathed, Mike Mignola, Lynn Johnston, Joe Jusko, Kevin Eastman, Freddie Williams III, JK Woodward, Scott and David Tipton, Marc Andreyko, Bobby Moynihan, and cast from Wynonna Earp, are among dozens of comic book and television creators to be featured at signings and panels hosted by IDW Publishing at next week’s 49th annual San Diego Comic-Con.

As you’d expect IDW will also be bringing to Booth #2743 lots of comic book exclusives and special edition hardcover format books.  You’ll find Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, and John Byrne Artist’s Editions, plus comics featuring Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, DuckTales, Danger Girl, Judge Dredd, My Little Pony, Sonic, Transformers, Ghostbusters, Sword of Ages, and more, including several exclusive variant covers only available at SDCC 2018.

Get more information on all the SDCC 2018 exclusives from IDW at the publisher’s website here.

Here are the announced exclusives from IDW, followed by IDW’s signings and panels:

Jack Kirby’s Heroes & Monsters Artist’s Edition, Heroes Convention Variant
Cover by Jack Kirby
$150, Limited to 100 units
15” x 22”
Many of Jack “King” Kirby’s most iconic heroes (Captain America, the X-Men, Ant-Man, and Sgt. Fury) join seven of his best monster stories in this collection, plus a gallery section filled with covers and pin-ups.  Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring Tales of Suspense #98 — Captain America versus Black Panther.

Jack Kirby’s Heroes & Monsters Artist’s Edition, Monsters Convention Variant
Cover by Jack Kirby
$150, Limited to 100 units
15” x 22”

Jim Starlin’s Marvel Cosmic Artifact Edition, Signed Convention Variant
Cover by Jim Starlin
$150, Limited to 100 units, each with a bound-in signature plate signed by Jim Starlin.
12” x 17”
This Artifact Edition focuses on Jim Starlin’s beloved Warlock, Thanos, and Captain Marvel, stories that shaped the Marvel Universe for decades. Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 with Thanos fighting Spider-Man and the Thing.

John Byrne’s X-Men Artifact Edition, Signed Convention Variant
Cover by John Byrne
$150, Limited to 100 units, each with a bound-in signature plate signed by John Byrne.
12” x 17”
John Byrne’s run on the X-Men that introduced Alpha Flight and created the near-mythical storylines “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past!”  Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring X-Men #133, where Wolverine goes berserker-style on the Hellfire Club.

Joe Jusko’s Marvel Masterpieces Hardcover Convention Variant
Cover by Joe Jusko
$75 each, Limited to 150 units
Joe Jusko’s complete Marvel Masterpieces painted trading card art from the 2016 Upper Deck set is collected in its entirety for the first time — more than 130 never-before-seen masterpieces, including hard-to-find premium cards.  Debuting at this year’s SDCC is the variant cover featuring a new painting of the Incredible Hulk.

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We knew from early trailers and buzz going back literally years now that Syfy’s new series Krypton was going to cover Superman’s family’s distant past.  Even back here at borg.com in 2014 we previewed the first plans for Syfy’s series, wondering how close the DC writers would stick to the known backstory from the comic book pages, asking “Will they keep the character’s original name Seyg-El?”  Answer: Yes, with a slight change in spelling to “Seg”.  And “Will they bring in an Eddie Haskell neighbor as a young Zod?”  Answer:  Not quite, but the Zod family is going to be well represented in the series, which premiered this week with a pilot that should far surpass fan expectations.  In fact Krypton’s production values, writing, and actors are so well put together the show has the potential to equal the DC Comics adaptations on the CW network, and ten minutes into the pilot it already seemed more grounded in the comic books than any of the DC movie adaptations going back to Superman II.

The previews for Krypton failed to convey the actual scope and solid space fantasy framework the series is built on (and the epic scope that goes beyond Superman lore, but more on that below).  It looked like it was going to be like Marvel’s Inhumans–another odd, fringe fantasy show.  So don’t let the trailers mislead you.  The acting ranks are excellently cast–the show’s lead, British actor Cameron Cuffe, plays Seg-El.  The actor is a bright, knowledgeable fan of Superman in his own right, as conveyed as the host of the after-show.  Seg-El’s family grounds the series instantly with genre gravitas: first, Sherlock’s Rupert Graves plays his father, then Paula Malcomson–who portrayed moms in both The Hunger Games and Caprica–plays Seg’s mother, and General Dodonna himself, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Horatio Hornblower, and Game of Thrones actor Ian McElhinney, plays Seg’s own grandfather.  From the beginning the women take on a fierce role in the show, with the house of Zod represented in warrior Lyta Zod, played by show co-star Georgina Campbell (Black Mirror, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Broadchurch).  Ann Ogbomo, who portrayed an Amazon warrior in the big screen’s Wonder Woman and Justice League plays her mother, Jayna Zod.  While fans are still on a fantasy superhero high from this year’s Black Panther movie, the military guild with the fierce Amazon-inspired Zod warrior-in-charge is well-timed.

The surprise from the pilot is how much Krypton seems to have the potential to be the next big Syfy series, like Battlestar Galactica came out of nowhere to reinvigorate science fiction television 15 years ago in 2003.  The show pulls from several science fiction and space fantasy realms, but the space fantasy potential is most interesting, with Stargate, John Carter, Valerian, Riddick and more as possible inspiration.  Pinar Toprak’s musical score, with appropriate John Williams Superman movie theme cues, has a pulsating Daft Punk Tron: Legacy vibe, with brightly neon-lit ships also borrowing some of that film’s more familiar visual elements.  Add in the visuals you can find late artist Michael Turner’s Krypton and great costume styles from designers Varvara Avdyushko (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Bojana Nikitovic (Underworld: Blood Wars, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance).  Story elements can be found in Logan’s Run, Flash Gordon, THX-1138.  Even parallels to scenes from Batman’s backstory come into play.  The story in the first episode plays like one of the better episodes of Star Trek’s Enterprise series, the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, incorporating the beginnings of political tangles like those in The Dead Zone.  Krypton is also cool and cocky in its sets, style, writing, and acting, much like one of Syfy’s best recent series, Killjoys.  As fulfilling as the CW Network’s worldview of the DC Universe has become with the Arrowverse, Krypton is different, with none of the pop culture reference-heavy chatter, or that soap opera vibe of Smallville.  It’s a promising pilot–this looks like a most welcome Syfy channel space show.

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Mike Mignola’s Hellboy took comic book fans by storm when it arrived in bookstores in 1994.  Since then it’s grown to become a pop culture sensation.  A hit character and supernatural world outside the caped crusaders of comicdom, Hellboy stories earned Dark Horse comics creators a dozen Eisner Awards and inspired numerous tie-ins, from novels, to video games, to animated films and live action feature films.  Next year Stranger Things star David Harbour will don the Hellboy (sawed-off) horns and bring the next live action film to theaters, and fans can hardly wait.  Check out the first marketing photos released of him below.  The film also is set to feature stars like Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Brian Gleeson, Sophie Okonedo, and Alistair Petrie.

Dark Horse Comics has let Hellboy branch out beyond the normal comic book tie-in realm.  He’s inspired a draft ale, a wine, and now a very appropriate addition: Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey.  We’ve tried cinnamon whiskey before (umm… you know, at holiday parties and whatnot), but Hellboy’s whiskey is firey red like the man himself (instead of the orange of most brands) and tastes a lot like liquefied Red Hots cinnamon candy with a similar heat.  It also sports a sleek collectible bottle and has some clever in-universe information on the label, “American soldiers discovered Hellboy on December 23rd, 1944, after a Nazi experiment brought him into our world.  Dedicated to the B.P.R.D.”  Best of all, the XXX Distillery made the whiskey “66.6”% Proof, so you know this is 100% Hellboy.

Hellboy Hell Water has a smooth whiskey flavor, but it also packs a bite.  You can find plenty of mixed drink ideas at the distributor’s website, HellboyHellWater.com.  We mixed up a mocha latte 3 to 1 with Hellboy Hell Water to make a strong Mexican style coffee.  With the November chill already laying its stake into your chest you might also try a hot apple cider 3 to 1 parts with Hell Water.  We used a great local maker, Louisburg Cider, and its pulpy quality seemed to blend just right (and it seemed to clear away a Fall head cold, too).  And if cider and coffee aren’t your thing, add a shot to a mug of hot chocolate for some cocoa cheer with an extra kick instead of peppermint schnapps.

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star_wars_galaxy_topps_final_cover

Ten years after Return of the Jedi, Topps trading cards editor and writer Gary Gerani was tasked once again to meet fan demand for more Star Wars trading cards.  Many years before he would create photo cards for a new trilogy of prequels, he would team up with Lucasfilm’s Steve Sansweet to showcase Star Wars as interpreted by some of the best artists that contributed to the films or would re-imagine the “Star Wars Galaxy” in their own styles.

The three resulting trading card series have been released in the 2016 addition to Abrams ComicArts successful hardbound series featured here previously at borg.comStar Wars Galaxy: The Original Topps Trading Card Series includes the works of more than 170 artists in more than 200 card reproductions, plus commentary by Gerani and an afterword by notable poster artist Drew Struzan.  Unlike the prior volumes in the series, only the obverse image from the cards, which featured the artwork, is included.

chiarello-sw-galaxy-card     starwarsgalaxy_p062-0

You’ll find an incredible array of imagery by a surprising combination of artists, including rare images you will have seen only if you collected the original cards.  So you’ll find the work of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Ralph McQuarrie, Moebius, Drew Struzan, Dave Dorman, Al Williamson, Howard Chaykin, Mike Grell, John Eaves, Mike Zeck, George Perez, Jim Starlin, Dave Stevens, Walter Simonson, Gene Colan, Rich Buckler, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Schultz, P. Craig Russell, Dave Gibbons, Sergio Aragones, Boris Vallejo, Charles Vess, and Gil Kane.

sw-galaxy-card-sample-a     75144-117fr

The volume includes the entire run of portraits created for Star Wars Galaxy specifically for the Topps cards by Joseph Smith–the original art was later bought by George Lucas for his personal collection.

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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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abrams-star-wars-comics

Review by C.J. Bunce

With three new Star Wars comic book series beginning this year as the license returns to Marvel Comics, we’re taking a look at the second book in Abrams Books’ series of hardcover art house books on the franchise, Star Wars Art: Comics.  From the series that also brought us Star Wars Art: Posters, Star Wars Art: Concept, Star Wars Art: Illustration, and Star Wars Storyboards, Star Wars Art: Comics hones in on sequential art found in the comic book medium.

Star Wars and comic books have been in lock-step since Star Wars first hit theaters, thanks to George Lucas and an early meeting with writer Roy Thomas and artist Howard Chaykin.  The transcript of that meeting is included as an appendix to the book.  Beginning with the first comic book adaptation from Marvel and running through the Dark Horse years, Abrams has compiled a solid overview of thirty years of interpretations of the myth and magic of the Force.

Star Wars original cover art to Star Wars Howard Chaykin

Plates from cover and interior artwork were hand-picked for the book by George Lucas.  Star Wars Art: Comics is worth its price alone simply for the clear photos of Howard Chaykin and Tom Palmer’s original cover art for Marvel’s Star Wars Issue #1 and Dave Cockrum and Rick Hoberg’s original artwork to the oversized edition, both also featured on the book’s binding under the jacket.  Al Williamson’s stunningly rendered imagery from his adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back pepper the volume as well.

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Countdown to Darkness Issue 4 cover

If you haven’t read IDW Publishing’s Star Trek Countdown–the comic book prequel to the 2009 reboot movie Star Trek–you’re missing out on a fun book. We argued here earlier that it was a better ride than the actual film, incorporating post-Star Trek Nemesis Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Data into the backstory leading up to the movie.  And there were even some elements that helped explain some of the time travel elements of the film that didn’t make as much sense without reference to the backstory in the comic book prequel.

Tomorrow IDW Publishing wraps the next prequel to the Star Trek reboot franchise with Issue #4 and the trade paperback release of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness.  As with Star Trek Countdown, readers can expect an interesting story preparing us for next month’s movie release.  Although we hope to see Klingons in Star Trek Into Darkness without their helmets as first seen in deleted scenes from the 2009 Star Trek, they return in this new four-part series.  We also get to meet for the first time Captain Robert April–known to fans of the Star Trek novels and the Animated Series as the first captain of the starship Enterprise, but not necessarily to followers of the modern Star Trek film universe.  Below we are posting previews to both the trade edition of Countdown to Darkness and the fourth issue of Countdown to Darkness, both slated for release Wednesday, April 10, 2013, provided to borg.com readers courtesy of IDW Publishing.

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The producers of the Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art series of books will be holding a three-day convention in Kansas City in May, featuring some of the top American and international fantasy artists.

“Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!” will showcase 200 exhibitor booths featuring leading painters, sculptors, and digital illustrators, ongoing live art demonstrations, educational panels, guest interviews, a documentary film program, and portfolio reviews by art directors for Tor Books, DC Comics, Blizzard Entertainment, and other firms who will be scouting for new talent.

The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess

The five headliners for the show are Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), Andrew Jones (Industrial Light and Magic, Nintendo), Ian McCaig (designer for Star Wars: Episode 1, Terminator 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Brom (World of Warcraft, Van Helsing, Galaxy Quest), and Phil Hale (world-renowned fine artist).

This is a rare opportunity for burgeoning artists and fans of fantasy art to interract with successful artists, illustrators and creators, including some of the people who have brought Batman, Harry Potter, Darth Maul, Conan the Barbarian, Alien, and John Carter of Mars to life on book covers, in comics, video games, and on TV and film.

Obi-Wan Kenobi by Dave Dorman

By advance sign-up, artists will be having portfolio reviews by talent scouts from various publishers, including Mark Chiarello (DC Comics), Irene Gallo (Tor Books), Jeremy Cranford (Blizzard Entertainment), Jon Schindehette (Wizards of the Coast), Lauren Panepinto (Orbit Books), Daren Bader (Rockstar Games), Zoë Robinson (Fantasy Flight Games), Sarah Robinson (Paizo Publishing), and Dawn Rivera-Ernster (Walt Disney Animation Studio).

Joan of Arc by Donato Giancola

The list of artists selected to appear in Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art Volume 19 will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri on May 19th, 2012 as part of the show, the first time.

Memberships are $20 for one day and $40 for all three days.  The event is focused on adult audiences, including artists and art retailers and distributors, however, anyone may attend the show, including panel discussions by the featured artists listed above, as well as Charles Vess, Gregory Manchess, and James Gurney.  Several films will screen during the event, including including Doctor Rossum’s Prodigal Son, the directorial debut of artist Frank Cho, who has work featured in the new Spectrum 19 book.  Artists selling works at the show include Donato Giancola (myriad works), Dave Dorman (Dark Empire), Julie Bell (Conan), and Craig Elliott (Hercules, Mulan) (all featured in the new Spectrum 19 book), as well as Boris Vallejo (myriad works), Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales), Gary Gianni (Batman: Black and White), Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jason Palmer (Star Trek, Lost in Space), and hundreds more.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com