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Dark Horse Digital Debuts: Learn All About It!

April 28th, 2011 Comments off

Dark Horse ComicsContinuing our coverage of the latest developments in digital comics, we’re happy to present an update on Dark Horse ComicsDigital.Darkhorse.com store, which launches today!

We had the chance to sit down with the publisher and discuss their new venture, and what their future plans are for digital comics, and what they have in store for traditional retailers:

TFAW.com: How long have you been producing digital comics?

Dark Horse Comics: Dark Horse has always been a leader in the rise of digital comics. We’ve been offering digital comics on our website for years and began releasing standalone comics apps into iTunes in May of 2009.

TFAW.com: How did you choose which comics would go digital first? What was your thought process behind your launch?

DH: We are committed to insuring that our customers are happy with our digital product offering at launch. As a result, we’ve focused on curating a selection of our most popular new and old items. We look at a tremendous number of factors in determining the final mix: unit sales, fan requests, creator popularity, website traffic, brand longevity, frontlist offerings, and more.

TFAW.com: How have digital comics been selling for you, compared to traditional comics?

DH: To date, Dark Horse’s participation has been very limited in broader digital-comic offerings (such as comiXology). As a result, digital comics have made up a small fraction of our total sales, but we’ve tested the waters of standalone comics apps in the iTunes store, and the increasing demand for the format in the marketplace is exciting and undeniable.

TFAW.com: Have you considered a digital-only option for comics that have lower sales? Do you think this is an opportunity to extend the lives of series that might otherwise be canceled due to financial realities?

DH: Absolutely. This is a really exciting option for the consumer, the creator, and the publisher. As most readers might surmise, the production, storage, and distribution costs of digital comics are lower than their print counterparts. Lower costs mean more opportunity to experiment, take risks, and increase frequency. We envision a future where more comics are available “on the shelf” to more people, anytime they want to read them.

Dark Horse ComicsTFAW.com: With the lower overhead costs (presumably) with digital comics, do you feel the freedom to take more risks when it comes to greenlighting projects? Could this provide more opportunities for untested talent?

DH: Undoubtedly. While Dark Horse is committed to curating a high-quality collection of comics for our fans, the reduced costs of producing digital can definitely factor in when deciding to greenlight specific projects.

TFAW.com: Who is buying your digital comics? Is it your usual audience, or do you think you’re reaching a more nontraditional demographic?

DH: We believe there is significant potential in the existing print-comics market and we intend to show them why digital comics are awesome and worth their time. To expand the business—and for us all to increase the size of the industry pie—we need to court new customers. Digital.DarkHorse.com is the first stage in our plan to reach out to casual fans of superhero movies, platform gaming, and gadgets, as well as lapsed readers.

TFAW.com: Currently, customers are still buying standalone issues. Are you planning to offer digital “graphic novels”?

DH: Yes. Digital.DarkHorse.com will offer excellent prices, easy access, and simple storage of collections of comics, original graphic novels, and more.

TFAW.com: Do you currently offer day-and-date comics? Will you offer more of those in the future?

DH: We understand that day-and-date comics are an issue of serious concern to our partners in the direct market. As a result, we will not be offering digital day-and-date comics at launch. We do see an opportunity to do day-and-date right in the near future though. Watch for more news on the Dark Horse blog.

TFAW.com: If you offer day-and-date comics, what sort of an impact have you seen on traditional sales?

DH: Several publishers have experimented with day-and-date comics so far. Most of them report minimal impact to print sales. Some have stated that digital comics are having a positive impact on the sale of print comics. Until there is more transparent data available in the marketplace, it’s simply speculation.

Dark Horse ComicsTFAW.com: What are the advantages of creating your own store versus partnering with a third party like comiXology?

DH: Dark Horse sees many significant advantages to running our own store. Two examples: 1) We have the capacity to quickly adjust our technology based on consumer feedback. This gives us a competitive edge. 2) We can control the look and feel of the experience. We’re not interested in being clones of iTunes or comiXology. Dark Horse has its own aesthetic, and we believe our fans appreciate that and want to have the experience carried over to their own reading experiences.

TFAW.com: Digital comics have broken a lot of the traditional barriers of the direct market—they’re easy to purchase and less expensive than the paper versions. Do you think this will help publishers develop a wider audience?

DH: Absolutely! There are millions of potential fans out there waiting for a low-cost, easy point of entry to experience digital comics. This assumption has been critical to the development and execution of our digital-comics strategy from day one.

TFAW.com: Realistically, what do you think digital comics will mean for traditional retailers in the upcoming years?

DH: Sales trends on digital comics in the marketplace indicate a tremendous desire for the product. As such, we’ll pursue the opportunity with gusto. Traditional comics still account for the vast majority of our sales and revenue—accordingly, we’ll continue to devote a tremendous amount of assets to the creation, distribution, and marketing of print comics in the direct market and in bookstores. It’s our hope that digital comics will provide an easy and low-cost point of entry that will generate new readers and drive them into brick-and-mortar retailers of all kinds.

TFAW.com: Do you have any retailer incentives or plans to include traditional retailers in your digital-comics program?

DH: In October of 2010 Dark Horse announced a retailer component to our digital strategy. Now that the store and app are launching, watch for details to be revealed on the Dark Horse blog over the coming months.

We want to thank Dark Horse Comics for the update! Interested in digital comics? Check out our Digital Comics Month interviews here at TFAW.com.

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Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal Tell Us About Echoes

April 27th, 2011 Comments off

Echoes Top CowWe’re bringing Top Cow Month to a close with an interview with the creators of the creepy, totally addictive series Echoes: writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Rahsan Ekedal.

In Echoes, Brian Cohn is an ordinary middle-aged guy expecting a child with his wife. He’s also a diagnosed schizophrenic–just like his father, who might be a serial killer who has killed countless little girls and made tiny dolls from them. When another girl disappears, Brian has to wonder–is schizophrenia the only thing he inherited from his father?

Echoes #5 comes out today and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Read up on the series below and then order yours now, but be warned: this is a disturbing tale that is not for the faint of heart.

TFAW.com: Echoes is like something out of a nightmare. Joshua, where did the idea for this come from?

Joshua Hale Fialkov: It came almost directly out of my own fears. My wife and I had decided to have a baby, and I was instantly struck by how my relationship with my own father had shaped and molded me into who I was today. All of my flaws and strengths came from the way my parents raised me from an extremely early age. So, of course, I start panicking about what that means for me and my kid, and then, y’know, the mind drifts . . .

TFAW.com: The protagonist, Brian Cohn, is a schizophrenic who occasionally delays his meds, which makes him an extremely unreliable narrator. Will we ever know the “real” story?

JHF: I mean, for me, I know exactly what happens and exactly what the ending of the series means. I’ve been somewhat amazed that so many people who’ve read it have taken it in so many different ways. It’s actually pretty rewarding to have people actively debating and thinking about the book so long after they’ve read it. A lot of the thanks for that goes to Rahsan, who added just the right touch of ambiguity to the final art.

Echoes Top CowRahsan Ekedal: The line between reality and Brian’s illusions is very hard for the reader to distinguish, and that’s exactly how Josh and I wanted it, so there’s no separation in the art, no clear difference between hallucination and reality. There’s a total immersion into Brian’s world that, I think, has caused a lot of people to become invested in figuring out what’s “real” and what’s not. I just can’t wait to see where that debate goes when everyone reads the finale in issue #5. Even though Josh and I are certain of its meaning, I’m really curious to find out what other people get from it.

TFAW.com: What was his relationship like with his father?

JHF: I think bad is probably an understatement. It’s never explicitly said in the comic, but, at some point, Brian’s mom just couldn’t take it anymore and abandoned him with his dad, which his dad really blamed on Brian, rather than his own illness and short comings, and that resentment just kept on coming up. I think once Brian was old enough, he probably left home and kept as far away as he could, while still trying to prove himself capable to his dad.

TFAW.com: If you read Echoes, his father never actually claims to be a serial killer, but Brian leaps to that conclusion immediately–admittedly, after finding some pretty damning evidence. Why?

JHF: I’d say it’s the evidence, I mean, it’s just all right there, and there’s not a lot of other paths to go down. If his dad knew about the room, then his dad must be connected to the room. We also see some of his rationale in the flashback at the beginning of issue #4, where he’s remembering this strange, almost dirty moment with his dad, that, in retrospect seems so much more sinister knowing what he knows now.

RE: And the thought becomes an obsession. Once the question is there, it becomes inescapable. We’ve all had a thought or fear that we just can’t get out of our head. And it’s even worse for someone with Brian’s condition.

TFAW.com: Rahsan, what did you think about this story when you first heard about it?

Echoes Top CowRE: The great thing about Echoes from the start was the push and pull between simplicity and complexity. You can describe the plot in one sentence, but at the same time, Brian’s story is incredibly rich thematically, and deals with very complex issues. That’s the recipe for a great story, in my mind. And the opportunity to draw a story that deals seriously with mental health was a big incentive for me to come on board for this book–it’s one of those things that doesn’t get talked about enough in our society. Plus, it’s Josh Fialkov–I would have said yes to working with him again even if the story was about cuddly bunnies. Which, by the way–spoiler alert–is what our next project is all about.

TFAW.com: Your style is pretty realistic, which makes it even harder to distinguish reality from fantasy. How did you approach this story?

RE: Reality, immersion, darkness. Those were the keywords for me. It was really important to us both that Brian feel like a real person. At an early design stage, I had Brian as more of a handsome hero type, but it didn’t quite feel right. That guy wasn’t Brian. And then Josh was like, “Make him fatter. Make him less attractive.” I went back to the drawing board, and suddenly Brian was staring me in the face. That was an important moment in the course of the book, I think, and a great example of our collaborative process.

Another important moment was the decision to print the book in black and white. It was honestly exciting, because normally in comics I’m working with a colorist. That has it’s own rewards, of course, but the bottom line is that what I draw isn’t exactly what the reader sees– the colorist is really creating the “finished” image. With Echoes, I had utter control over the relationship between my brush and the reader’s eyes. So I became totally obsessed with creating this immersive world of creeping shadows. The texture of the shadows is a character–I wanted the darkness in Echoes to feel alive, a representation of Brian’s mind.

TFAW.com: Rahsan, I’ve loved your work in The Cleaners and Creepy. It seems like your style took a definite shift between the two. Do you agree, and if so, what spurred the change?

Echoes Top CowRE: Part of it was just my learning process–I went to art school for five years, but nothing teaches you as much or as fast as actually working on a monthly schedule. But I also give a lot of credit to my editor (on both of the books you mentioned), Shawna Gore. She had her eye on me when I was still in school, and has consistently given me the right guidance at the right time, especially in that key moment between finishing The Cleaners and drawing my first Creepy short, when my process needed shaking up. We had a long talk at New York Comic Con that year, and it propelled me to changed up my style. Echoes has been the full expression of that effort, thanks to Filip Sablik and Top Cow letting me cut loose. But now I’m searching for new ways to improve. It’s a constant process. I’m never satisfied with my pages!

TFAW.com: Joshua and Rahsan, you worked together on The Cleaners. How has your working relationship evolved over the years?

JHF: Last time around, Rah and I didn’t really get to work together, as I had a co-writer who did most of the heavy lifting. But, we were like two little dogs separated by plexiglass at the pet store, so desperate to frolic together, that it was only a matter of time.

RE: We’ve worked together on a few things now, and I think we’ve developed a great creative short hand–Josh writes for me, and I draw for him, you know? It’s very rewarding when both creators are sort of anticipating the other. It works. And we frolic. Ah, the frolic-ing.

TFAW.com: What keeps bringing you two back together?

JHF: So much of our influences are in lock step. The old Warren horror magazines from the ’60s and ’70s, that Bernie Wrightson-style horror stuff, and I think we both circle the same films and television as well. Having someone who understands your references is such a huge help in the process. Plus, I think we make beautiful music together, so to speak.

Echoes Top CowRE: Also, we both take the craft very seriously, so that brings us together. Josh is all about creating that perfect panel, perfect single page, perfect 22-page experience. His scripts show that care, and that’s exactly in line with my visual ambitions, as well. So, it’s creatively rewarding to work together.

TFAW.com: How did you get involved with Top Cow?

JHF: I’d been working with Top Cow off and on for nearly five years now. Maybe more, actually! When I came up with Echoes, I was coming off the success we had with Alibi and it’s movie deal, so it just felt natural to offer them up what was next.

TFAW.com: While The Cleaners was more of a CSI-style horror story, Echoes is definitely more dreamlike and visceral. Which type of stories do you two prefer?

JHF: I think Echoes is definitely more in my wheel house. I love being able to tell grounded stories about characters that you love, even though you should, by all rights, be disgusted by them. Finding a way to make someone relatable and a hero when their actions clearly state the opposite is just a complete blast for me.

RE: I love a challenge, so working in many different genres and tones is great. I couldn’t choose just one.

TFAW.com: Will there be any more to the story after issue #5? Is there any room for a sequel?

JHF: I have a sequel in mind, and have had from the very beginning. So while Brian’s story is very much complete, for me, I have a lot of nasty things left to do to the people around him.

RE: The Empire Echoes Back!

TFAW.com: What types of comics would you two like to tackle next?

JHF: We’ve talked a bit, and I know my heart drifts towards doing something slightly less macabre, but still in the horror genre. Once Rahsan gets a break from being a goddamn superstar over at Dark Horse, we’re gonna sit down and figure something out.

RE: We’ll let you guess at what “slightly less macabre” might mean. We’re going to do something awesome, promise.

TFAW.com: What comics are you reading right now?

JHF: I’m absolutely in love with Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics. That guy is a genius. I’m also a big fan of the work Cullen Bunn is doing over on The Sixth Gun, Jeff Lemire on Sweet Tooth, and the Image book Li’l Depressed Boy is simply amazing.

RE: I have to give a bump to Jason McNamara’s The Martian Confederacy: From Mars With Love, with art by Paige Braddock. It’s out this month, I believe, and it’s a great, fun little book with a really twisted sense of humor.

TFAW.com: Do you have anything coming up you’d like to talk about?

JHF: Sure, I’m writing a three issue arc of Superman/Batman for DC, that’s in previews right now. I’ve also got some original comics debuting over at geek.mtv.com later this year, and a couple of books that’ll be announced this summer.

RE: Right now I’m drawing the fourth issue of Solomon Kane: Red Shadows for Dark Horse, written by Bruce Jones. Issue #1 is in stores right now. And we may be doing more Kane after that–should be some announcements soon. So, if you’re a Robert Howard fan, stay tuned for that. There’s other stuff, but nothing I can talk about yet. Follow us both on Twitter! We’re lively. That’s one word for it.

Thank you, Joshua and Rahsan, for answering all of our questions. Now get to work on something new for us to read! In the meantime, catch up on Echoes here.

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TFAW Interviews Witchblade Artist Stjepan Sejic

April 22nd, 2011 Comments off

Witchblade ComicsTop Cow Month is going strong and we continue to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Witchblade with an interview with longtime artist Stjepan Sejic. He tells us what it’s like to be an artist for American comics while living in Croatia, the highlights of drawing Witchblade, and what he’d like to do next!

Plus, Top Cow was nice to enough to give us an exclusive preview of Witchblade #144, so you can see Sejic’s artwork for yourself.

Want to win a Witchblade or Artifacts variant signed by writer Ron Marz? Remember to enter our Witchblade/Artifacts Contest by May 11, 2011!

TFAW.com: So, I’ve read that with issue #150, you’ll have drawn more issues of Witchblade than any other artist. Will you continue with the title past #150, or is that it for you?

Stjepan Sejic: There are several options being discussed between Top Cow and myself. Being a Top Cow guy through and through, I will be staying with the company, which means having fun with their properties. Of course, there is the fact that Ron Marz knows what I like, so there is a great amount of well-oiled-machine-type of cooperation between the two of us. If it seems like I am avoiding directly answering the question . . . then the impression is a correct one. There is a good reason for that. Now, I will be tackling Witchblade again, but there are some other fun options presenting themselves at the Top Cow headquarters.

TFAW.com: What have been your favorite moments and characters to draw thus far?

Witchblade #144 Preview Page 1SS: Those who know me know my love for epic, iconic character moments. Glorious moments in which a hero is displayed for what he or she is, bigger than life, kicking asses and taking names.

Ron was kind enough to provide me with many such lovely moments, but as far as my favorite ones go, strangely enough it would have to be the scenes from Angelus. Somehow that miniseries really worked, with enough touching moments, moments of personal development, and balls-to-the-wall action.

Now don’t get me wrong, Witchblade had its great moments too, but the problem there is that there is a much greater cast of characters. This results in a lot of my focus being directed to handling the character moments, because those are essentially the hardest to do right. Flashy action stuff is easy.

Still, to count a few examples of the fun stuff, I would have to say the entire issue #138, for its epic fantasy feel.

TFAW.com: Is there anything about the book you’re tired of drawing?

SS: Not really. It’s not really the content but the environment that can bum me out. In my approach, environment dictates the use of light and its coloration, which plays an important role in the way I build a scene. An empty-walled room is far less interesting than a ruined old building.

TFAW.com: How did you get interested in comics?

Witchblade #144 Preview Page 2SS: I was sixteen when an exhibition called Comic Biennale came to a museum in the city of Rijeka, where I went to high school. We went there to check it out, and there I got the idea to try drawing comics. That exhibition shaped my life in more ways than one, for it was there that I saw a cover to a comic with a peculiarly memorable title, Witchblade.

A few years later, when I was in my first year of college, I went to the Internet. At that time I had no computer myself, so it was great news to me. After an hour of Googling random stuff, I remembered the word that kind of stuck with me. I Googled “Witchblade” and that got me started. From there on I was on a very unlikely path to becoming a comic book artist in America. I was mocked by my peers and teachers for my perseverance. They figured the chance for my success was slightly below zero.

Still, life is a curious thing: sometimes cards will just add up, a dice will roll a perfect number, and I ended up working on the comic that got me started doodling comic characters. The real kicker is that I read my first issue of Witchblade in the third year of college.

TFAW.com: Who were your artistic influences?

SS: I started off as a strange mix of European comic influences and Michael Turner and Marc Silvestri. It was a little later that I discovered the gorgeous works of Alex Ross. In the end, I found my balance by developing a style of my own that has some of the stylishness of the Top Cow greats, a love for realism inspired by Alex Ross, and a bit of a flair I inevitably picked up from the digital masters of concept art.

Witchblade #144 Preview Page 3My sense of design is under heavy influence by cinematic effect masters such as Stan Winston and Rick Baker. There is some Turner/Silvestri added to the mix, and just a dash of manga influence.

TFAW.com: You’ve created so many different versions of the Witchblade “armor” over the years–including the “light” Dani look and the “dark” Sara look when they shared the Witchblade. How do you decide each look?

SS: Well that was really no challenge. There are designs that require a lot of work and development, but these are organic, as is the Witchblade itself.

Both light and dark armor had the quality of the full armor, but dark needed a more aggressive look, so often it had a fiery kind of a glow from within. With Dani I always tried to pull off a Valkyrie look, and this was in the end fully realized in her Angelus armor.

TFAW.com: On a related note, you used to have two Witchblades to draw–Dani and Sara. Do you miss drawing Dani?

SS: The real kicker about this is the fact that I did not like Dani as a character while she had the Witchblade. The reason for that was the fact that she rarely dealt with her own problems. She was a mule carrying Sara’s problems around. It was only when she left Witchblade, and became the Angelus, that she became a fully realized character in my eyes–dealing with her own mess and having my favorite sidekick/girlfriend ever. What can I say, Finch is awesome.

Witchblade #144 Preview Page 4TFAW.com: What comics are you reading right now?

SS: None . . . the reason for that is simple. Living in Croatia makes the availability of comics very limited. So essentially it comes down to stocking up at conventions and going on a lovely reading spree.

Usually I read the independent titles and Image stuff. I was never big on superheroes. Not for my lack of trying, but I just could not jump in anywhere. For crying out loud, even an event trade paperback in those comics leaves plot threads on the douchiest note ever: “To find out what happens with this character, read this series from issue this to that.”

The sad thing is I want to read Thor, Batman, and Green Lantern, but these comics are so hermetically sealed, no fans enter, and no fans leave. So I stick to limited stuff.

TFAW.com: What other types of projects would you like to tackle in the future?

SS: There is a small number of titles I’d like to work on for a story arc or a mini. Stuff like The Darkness, Conan, Hellboy, and Aphrodite 9 comes to mind for the fun environments.

Still my true love is the pure fantasy genre. I would be severely tempted to draw a Lord of the Rings adaptation, but problem is I already have my own project, Ravine, to release my fantasy-themed frustrations. So essentially, I’m satisfied as I am now.

Witchblade #144 Preview Page 5Thanks Stjepan, for taking some time from the drawing board to answer our questions. Next week, we say farewell to Top Cow Month with an interview with Echoes creators Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal! Plus, remember to enter our Witchblade/Artifacts Contest to win variants of Witchblade and Artifacts signed by Ron Marz.

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Are you a longtime Witchblade fan, or are you new to the series? What do you think should happen next? Post your comments below!

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Ron Marz on the Life of Sara Pezzini: Cop, Mother, Witchblade!

April 20th, 2011 Comments off

Witchblade #144Top Cow Month isn’t just full of awesome interviews, previews, and contests: it also marks the 15th anniversary of the publisher’s most popular series, Witchblade!

In honor of this occasion, we’ve got another spectacular interview with writer Ron Marz below, plus an amazing Witchblade/Artifacts Contest for you to enter! Plus, stay tuned to our interview with artist Stjepan Sejic on Friday, April 22, in which we’ll debut an exclusive sneak peek at Witchblade #144!

TFAW.com: You’ve been writing Witchblade since issue #80–almost half her run. What are some of the most memorable story arcs you’ve written?

Ron Marz: The “First Born” storyline comes to mind initially because having a lead character have a baby obviously changes the dynamic of the series as a whole. I’m also really fond of what we did in issue #92, which finally explained the origin of the Witchblade itself. We’ve been able to mine a lot of story material from that.

TFAW.com: How has Sara Pezzini evolved over the years?

Witchblade #144RM: Hopefully Sara has become a more well-rounded character . . . no pun intended. My goal has always been to make sure that Sara was just as interesting and real without the Witchblade as she is with it. So I’ve tried to flesh out her character as much as possible, as a cop, as a mother, as the wielder of the Witchblade.

TFAW.com: Right now, she’s dealing with the death of her sister and the kidnapping of her child, Hope. How is she going to move forward after this?

RM: I suppose a lot of that depends on whether she ever gets her daughter back. That’s obviously the kind of thing that could break a person, and I want to make sure we’re dealing with the kidnapping and with Julie’s death as realistically as possible. Sara’s going to have a rough time of it over the next year.

TFAW.com: One major factor in Sara’s history is her complicated romantic attachments. Can you describe the nature of her relationship with Detective Patrick Gleason?

RM: Gleason’s her boyfriend, really kind of the first time in the series that Sara has had a steady relationship with anyone. But some of what goes on between Sara and Jackie Estacado in Artifacts is going to complicate that quite a bit.

TFAW.com: Patrick is generally categorized as the “nice” guy many women take for granted. Can you expand on that? Is that likely to change in the near future?

Witchblade #142RM: One of the reasons we made issues #142 and #143 a Gleason solo story is that I wanted to expand his character a bit and give him a chance to step into the spotlight. Certainly Sara is the lead character in the book and Gleason is by definition a supporting character, so he tends not to get as much screen time. I think those issues will give him a little more of an edge in readers’ minds.

TFAW.com: Sara is also attracted to Jackie Estacado, the mob boss who is the host of The Darkness–and also the father of Sara’s daughter, Hope. Will Jackie and Sara ever come closer to an actual romantic relationship?

RM: I think their relationship is the definition of “complicated.” She’s a police detective, he’s a former mob hitman and unrepentant killer, despite having his own personal code of honor. Jackie and Sara certainly aren’t “good” for each other, but sometimes we’re most attracted to that which isn’t good for us. Stay tuned.

TFAW.com: Speaking of Hope, she was actually conceived while Sara was unconscious and Jackie was under the influence of The Darkness. What made you decide to take that route?

RM: A big part of it was that I wanted there to be a mystery to who the father was, even to Sara. It was a situation in which they were both used by the personification of The Darkness. It’s something that really wouldn’t have happened if either of them had been aware of it. Although now that they have this child together, there’s a tie that’s always going to bind them.

Witchblade #147TFAW.com: How will Patrick deal with Jackie having a permanent tie to Sara?

RM: We’ve already seen that it’s not a pleasant relationship between those two. They don’t like each other, however, there’s a certain respect for each other. But if Gleason and Jackie both end up wanting the same thing, there’s going to be an inevitable clash.

TFAW.com: How will Artifacts affect both the Witchblade and Angelus titles?

RM: Angelus was a limited series, though I certainly wouldn’t mind doing more with the character if there’s an opportunity. Moving forward, the Witchblade title is going to reflect the changes that take place due to Artifacts . . . but you’ll have to wait until Artifacts is over to find out just what those changes are.

Our thanks go out to Ron for catching us up on Witchblade. You can browse our selection of Witchblade comics and graphic novels right here on our site. Plus, come back Friday for our interview with artist Stjepan Sejic, and remember to enter our Witchblade/Artifacts Contest for your chance to win a variant comic signed by Ron Marz!

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Horror Comics Panel at Stumptown Comics Fest

April 19th, 2011 Comments off

A very talented group of editors and creators sat down and talked about the past and future of horror comics at Stumptown Comics Fest 2011, including Dark Horse Senior Managing Editor Scott Allie (B.P.R.D. The Dead Remembered), editor Shawna Gore, Eric Powell (The Goon), Patric Reynolds (Let Me In), Todd Herman (Cut), and Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor). Check it out below:

Horror Comics

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Axe Cop Panel at Stumptown Comics Fest

April 19th, 2011 Comments off

Axe Cop is an unlikely–yet completely amazing and hilarious–comic that has taken the interwebs and comic shops by storm. Written by six-year-old Malachai Nicolle and illustrated by his 30-year-old brother, Ethan Nicolle, it’s a fast and furious trip through the unlimited imagination of a little boy–shaped and supercharged by the wry perspective and energetic art of a true comics lover.

Ethan Nicolle and Editor Shawna Gore talked about the creative process between the brothers and what’s coming next (Anyone want a licensed Axe Cop Halloween costume? Of course you do!) at this year’s Stumptown Comics Fest, and we got it on video, below. Enjoy!

Axe Cop

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Are you a dedicated Axe Cop fan, or are you still wondering what all the fuss is about? Post your comments below!

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Win Tickets to Legend of the Fist in Portland!

April 19th, 2011 Comments off

This Friday, Variance Films is releasing their newest action-packed film, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, at the Hollywood Theatre at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR, and you can see it for free!

Here’s how: go to our Beaverton, Hollywood, or Milwaukie locations this week and perform your favorite “kung fu” move (we’re using the term loosely here, folks) to get a free ticket you can use for any showing of the film the week of April 22! We’ll post a photo of you kung-fu fighting on Twitter to show off your prowess, and get some video footage so you can experience some YouTube fame.

Now, our regular customers know we don’t usually run promotions like this, but we made an exception this time, because:

  1. My boss is a huge Donnie Yen fan
  2. We’re always interested in seeing what bizarre things we can make our customers do in the stores to entertain us

Movie Synopsis: Seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher’s death (Huo Yuanjia) in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious stranger arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. That man is a disguised Chen Zhen, who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese. Disguising himself as a caped fighter by night, Chen intends to take out everyone involved as well as get his hands on an assassination list prepared by the Japanese.

We only have five tickets available per location, so visit one of our Oregon stores today to get your ticket. Watch the official trailer below for inspiration:

Are you excited to see Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen? Post your comments below!

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Dark Horse Presents Panel at Stumptown Comics Fest

April 18th, 2011 Comments off

Dark Horse Comics Presents, the landmark comics anthology series that launched Dark Horse Comics, returns April 20, 2011 with issue #1 (or #158, as DH Founder and President Mike Richardson points out in the video below).

In honor of its release, Richardson headlined the Dark Horse Comics Presents panel at Stumptown Comics Fest 2011, featuring creators Eric Powell, Carla Speed McNeil, David Chelsea, and Michael T. Gilbert. See it all below!

Live in the Portland area? You can celebrate DHP at our Return of Dark Horse Presents Launch Party April 20 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hollywood Things From Another World. Meet Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley, David Chelsea, Paul Gulacy, Michael T. Gilbert, and more, and enjoy free beer from Columbia River Brewing Company (with valid ID) and free pizza from Sizzle Pie.

Welcome to the X-Men

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Are you excited for Dark Horse Comics Presents? Post your comments below!

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Mayor Sam Adams Is Samdroid at Stumptown Comics Fest!

April 18th, 2011 Comments off

Watch Our Exclusive Interview With Mayor Sam Adams!

The Alter Egos Society, a local organization that throws amazing costumed events for charities like p:ear, issued a challenge to Portland this year with Project Mayor-Man: design an original superhero costume for Mayor Sam Adams to wear to this year’s Stumptown Comics Fest. The city responded with gusto, and Manny McIvor’s design was eventually chosen and brought to life by the talented costume makers of the Alter Egos Society.

We’ve got video of this very special event below, including interviews with Mayor Adams, Alter Egos Society founder Benja Barker, and designer Manny McIvor. Enjoy!

SEE COVERAGE OF STUMPTOWN COMICS FEST 2011

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Did you see the Mayor at Stumptown this year? Post your comments below!

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Celebrate the Return of Dark Horse Presents 4/20

April 18th, 2011 Comments off

Dark Horse PresentsIn 1986, Dark Horse Comics changed the face of the industry with their premiere anthology title, Dark Horse Presents. Breaking out from the cape and cowl tales of the day, Dark Horse Presents showcased some of the best and brightest voices in the medium.

Now, as they celebrate their 25th anniversary, Dark Horse Comics cordially invites you to The Return of Dark Horse Presents Launch Party Wednesday, April 20 at the Hollywood Things From Another World at 4133 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland from 7 to 10 p.m.

This very special Portland event will feature signings by Mike Richardson, the Founder and Publisher of Dark Horse Comics, as well as Vice President of Publishing, Randy Stradley, and DHP creators David Chelsea, Paul Gulacy, Michael T. Gilbert, and more!

Dark Horse Presents has a very special place in the heart of the local comics community. If you’re a fan, come out and say hi, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this book, this is the perfect opportunity to see what it’s all about. Plus, 21+ attendees will enjoy free beer from Columbia River Brewing Company (with valid ID) and everyone gets free pizza from Sizzle Pie!

RSVP AT THE RETURN OF DARK HORSE PRESENTS FACEBOOK EVENT

PRE-ORDER DARK HORSE PRESENTS

Are you excited to see what the new Dark Horse Presents series has in store for readers? Post your comments below!

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