Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Next Big Thing?

Dark Horse Comics is bringing back their flagship title, DARK HORSE PRESENTS as an 80-page, bi-monthly anthology.

The first issue hits comic shops on April 20th and will include a new 300 prequel done by Frank Miller, who also provides one of the covers.

Here's what to expect in #1:
"The legendary, premiere anthology is back! The 80-page spectacular, Dark Horse Presents returns with all-new stories by Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, and Richard Corben; a new Concrete story by Paul Chadwick, a new Crimson Empire story from the Star Wars universe, and an exclusive sneak peek of Frank Miller's highly-anticipated prequel to 300, Xerxes!

"The celebration continues with a brand-new, all-color Finder story by Carla Speed McNeil, a prose piece from science fiction legend Harlan Ellison, the return of Michael T. Gilbert's Mr. Monster, and much, much more!"

I have to say I'm really excited about the new series.

Then there's DC Comics' STRANGE ADVENTURES. Originally suspected to be a regular series, it turned out to be a one-shot but follows a similar format to DHP. Both titles are 80 pages for $7.99 and feature several original stories.

Could we be seeing a move towards more bulkier original anthologies? Maybe the companies have discovered that if you put quality material in a collection of original comics readers will be more likely to pick it up. Then you have the added bonus of exposing them to new characters or creators simply because it's already in their hands or on their shelf.

The real trick is quality lead material. MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS did well originally because of Weapon X. Then floundered when they stopped putting the bigger stories in it, instead choosing to bring them out as their own titles.

STRANGE ADVENTURES will have the debut of Brian Azarello and Eduardo Risso's new SPACEMAN series and DARK HORSE PRESENTS features Frank Miller doing a prequel to 300. Both of these are projects that could have very well been launched outside of the anthology books and having them headline these new titles shows that Dark Horse and DC are making a real effort.

I, for one, hope it's a trend that catches on. Perhaps when the next comic implosion happens they can use the format to consolidate several Batman books or X-Men books into one over-sized anthology.

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