27 02 2012
<To my (three) blog-readers. Forgive me for not posting in a while. -cough-cough- Here’s hoping I get back into it. Here’s a fawning letter I just sent to the Hellboy/BPRD editors at Dark Horse, and it rants a bit about the rest of the industry as well.>

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth - The Long Death #1 - Click thru to read a preview and see the eyeball!!

Ladies and Gentlemen of Dark Horse,

What did I do to deserve you? No, seriously. BPRD: Hell on Earth-The Long Death #1? James-mother-lovin’-Harren? (“How do I like the artist, huh,” Scott? HOW DO I LOVE HIM, YOU MEAN!!! GEEEZ!) Eyeball-tooth monster in Johann’s suit!?!?!! Freaking blood red wendigo thing ripping the agents to shreds? I am beside myself with joy. Apoplectic. Breathe, Kris, just breathe. MAN! Page 3, panel 2, the gruesome miasma flowing up into Johann’s helmet; I literally grimaced in pain. Turn the page. THAT EYEBALL!!!! I’m looking at it right now and it turns my stomach and quickens my pulse. All this, and then followed with that great line “I was sleeping!” HA! Oh, good it was only a drea– HOLY CRAP A BLOOD WENDIGO IS KILLING EVERYONE!!!! And. It’s. The. Best. Comic. All. Year. So just what did I do to deserve this? Thank you so, so much. (And if I haven’t made it clear, I want James Harren to do every possible issue of BPRD from here on out.)

Having been SOOO let down by the New 52, (tried THIRTY of them, kept one: Wonder Woman.[edit: kept TWO: also Batwoman.]) I’ve been really depressed about the state of the industry, where the big two almost seem to be actively trying to drive floppy periodicals to extinction, if not the entire action-adventure comic medium. Sure DC/Vertigo has Unwritten, (sweet, sweet Unwritten!) and American Vampire and Marvel has Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales Forever!) and Daredevil, (sweet god, Daredevil!!!) but otherwise? Ugh. But then I get to the shop, (Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn,) for the first time in a month and come home with a luscious looking stack, little knowing just how great it is.
–OK, quick sidenote. Dark Horse and IDW know how to do ads. I want to tear every DC and Marvel comic to shreds when my damn story is interrupted every other page by boring full page ads for their own books with SIX-month-old cover images! ARGH! But Dark Horse and it’s brethren compose quality ads highlighting their amazing creators telling me about upcoming books in time to place an order. Their Horsepower columns and the like help me connect with the creators and gain a deeper reading of their comics, (Vertigo often nails this one too,) and it all adds up so that I actually look forward to flipping through the back of the book after reading to see what’s coming next! How do those other boneheads not get this!? —
Sidenote done, but it’s WHY I was looking forward to this stack of comics. I was blown away at the Cloonan/Wood Conan ad a couple months ago and added it to my pulllist immediately. (btw, Dave Stewart’s coloring in that first issue was a masterpiece.) Likewise with the ads for The Strain before that. Also in my stack is Severed 7 and Prophet 22; even Image seems to be enjoying a renaissance of creativity these days. So I guess it’s just superheroes that are dying an ignominious death. That’s sad, and it pains me and makes me worry about comics. But you Dark Horsey folks and your peers really remind me where good comics are at. I checked out your website today, and I LOVE your How a Comic is Made feature and your flipbooks (but fullscreen, please!) and your Zones- you really prove that you’re trying lots of different things and are seeking to engage, cultivate, and GROW your new digital audience, rather than just bilk them for a few bucks. Very impressive.You’re what, 25 years old or so now? You ARE the future of American comics. You’re so many light years ahead of what the competition is doing. Keep it up. It can only get better from here.
(Oh, and that’s two years running for you, by my reckoning anyway: Best Comic Last Year: Hellboy: The Fury #3.)
Thank you.