For long-time mid-major publisher Dark Horse Comics, Rose City Comic Con is a "home show" because they are located just south of Stumptown in the nearby suburb of Milwaukee. As such, it's a major show for them, which means lots of Dark Horse products and of course, as many folks as they can manage actually at the show.
If you have been reading comics for as long as I have, the name Dark Horse is often the third name you think of in terms of single-issues, right after the Big Two. We live in an amazing time right now, when there are no less than at least five other mid-major publishers (depending on how you calculate it, that number can be a bit larger or smaller), but none of the rest would likely be here if it wasn't for Mike Richardson and the rest showing the way. While others lost steam, Dark Horse kept right on going, mixing manga and licensed work into their flagship titles, and giving us amazing creator-owned work, from Concrete to Usagi Yojimbo to The Goon, many of which are still going strong today.
While things are a bit transitional for Dark Horse right now, as they simultaneously ramp up and wind down their long-time association with Star Wars, there's an amazing amount of quality books coming out every month from the publisher.
I have a feeling I'll miss a few of the things Dark Horse is doing for Rose City, but here's at least a partial list of things to look for:
If you're in town early, Dark Horse's retail arm, Things from Another World, is holding a pre-show party at their Broadway location in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, September 19th. Set to go from 7pm to 10pm, it's open to anyone (not just badge holders) and you can exchange your ticket for a badge that night, and avoid the wait! You'll also get to see the Stumptown Comic Awards, which should be a ton of fun, as the quality of the nominees was amazing. (I hope you voted!)
A sampling of things to do there include:
* Free beer from Hop Valley Brewing Co. (those 21+)At the show itself, Dark Horse is involved in several panels. They have creators all over the place, so I'm only including the ones that are heavy on the publisher's content:
* Complimentary burgers, dogs, and sides (veggie/vegan options, too)
* Music by Kielen King
* Prizes from TFAW, Dark Horse Comics, Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade,Centerplate, Guardian Games, Billy Galaxy vintage toys & collectibles and more!
Spotlight: Alex Maleev (Panel Room 7, 11AM)
Alex Maleev, best known for multiple collaborations with Brian Michael Bendis for Marvel comics, is returning to the world of Mike Mignola's Hellboy this fall. In December, Dark Horse will launch Hellboy and the BPRD, Maleev's first work on the beloved beast of the apocalypse since 2003's Still Born from the anthology series, Hellboy: Weird Tales. Join us for an exclusive first look at the upcoming series, as well as a career-spanning discussion.
Demented Heroes: The Dark Side of Superhero Comics (Panel Room 2, 2PM)
While film may favor the classic definition of capes and cowls, many of today's comics continue to push the definition of "hero." Some of the industry's biggest and brightest have taken the superhero concept and turned it on it's head. Many creating characters and worlds that revel in a much darker vision high powered heroes and villains, making it hard to draw the line of who the reader should be rooting for. Join us for a discussion on the darker take on costumed characters with writers Tim Seeley (Sundowners), Jai Nitz (Dream Thief), and writer/artist Mike Oeming (The Victories), moderated by Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Panel (Panel Room 1, 3PM)
The heart of the Scooby gang and one of the most powerful big bads join forces for a panel guaranteed to slay the audience. Join Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), and Clare Kramer (Glory) as they give you all the details and answer every question about working on one of the greatest shows in pop culture. Moderated by the editor-in-chief of Dark Horse Comics, Scott Allie.
Baron and Rude: 30 years on Nexus (Panel Room 6, 3PM)
Join Mike Baron and Steve Rude, award-winning writer and artist on the long-running comic series Nexus. After 3 decades and 3 publishers , the creators reveal for the first time the behind-the-scenes trials involved in creating such an enduring book.
A Universe of Terror Drawn to One Panel: Prometheus, Aliens, Predator and Beyond! (Panel Room 2, 5PM)
Nearly 30 years ago, Dark Horse rewrote the rules of licensed comics with the release of Aliens, continuing the story lines of Ridley Scott's iconic film franchise! Predator and the iconic crossover Aliens Vs. Predator followed, with each series practically outselling the last. Now, the publisher partners with 20th Century Fox again, to bring sci fi epic Prometheus to comics! As we are just under two months away from the launch of the ambitious and highly anticipated crossover, Fire and Stone, join Dark Horse editor-in-chief Scott Allie, writers Paul Tobin (Prometheus), Joshua Williamson (Predator), Christopher Sebela (Aliens Vs. Predator), and the Aliens team of Chris Roberson and Patric Reynolds, of just what's in store for this grand universe!
Dark Horse Manga: An Afternoon with Carl Horn (Panel Room 2, 12PM)
Dark Horse's history with Japanese comics can be traced back to the company's earliest years, with a legacy that includes such legendary series as Oh My Goddess, Lone Wolf & Cub, Berserk, and many more! Now the publisher continues to publish some of the industry's bestselling titles like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Oreimo, and the works of the creative powerhouse, CLAMP. Join Dark Horse's resident manga guru and editor extraordinaire, Carl Horn, for a look at the past, present and future of manga at Dark Horse!
Spotlight: Matt Wagner (Panel Room 7, 1PM)
Writer/artist Matt Wagner began his career in 1982 with the publication of his most well known character, Grendel. Since that time, in addition to his own creations, he has lent has talents to the likes of such notable characters as Batman and The Shadow, along with many others, and is currently pitting Grendel against the latter in an upcoming series co-published by Dark Horse and Dynamite Entertainment. Join us for a look back at Wagner's storied career, as well as current and future projects.
Spotlight: Ethan Nicolle (Panel Room 7, 3PM)
Ethan Nicolle is one part of the dynamic duo that brought you the hit comic series, Axe Cop, and most recently an animated series. Sit in on this already legendary panel that is all about the world he and his little brother made. If you're lucky you'll even get to ask some questions.
And here's the list of signings for Dark Horse, fresh from the source:
Below are featured comics and the writers and/or artists who will be signing them. Free comics, prints, or posters will be available at each signing while supplies last. Comics will also be available for sale, availability pending.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
10:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m. NEVERBOY Tyler Jenkins, Kelly Fitzpatrick
11:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m. THE VICTORIES Michael Avon Oeming
12:00 p.m.–12:50 p.m. NEXUS Mike Baron, Steve Rude
1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m. HELLBOY AND THE B.P.R.D. Alex Maleev
2:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m. POP Jason Copland
3:00 p.m.–3:50 p.m. STAR WARS Jeremy Barlow (Darth Maul), Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman (Legacy)
4:00 p.m.–4:50 p.m. DREAM THIEF Jai Nitz
5:00 p.m.–5:50 p.m. SUNDOWNERS Tim Seeley
LADY KILLER Joëlle Jones, Jamie S. Rich
6:00 p.m.–6:50 p.m. FIRE AND STONE Chris Roberson and Patric Reynolds (Aliens), Joshua Williamson (Predator), Christopher Sebela (Alien vs. Predator), Paul Tobin (Prometheus)
6:00 p.m.–6:50 p.m. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Nicholas Brendon*
*This is a ticketed event. Only Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics or materials provided by Dark Horse Comics, please. Two items per person. No photos. Wristbands will be distributed on Saturday at show opening at the Dark Horse booth.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
10:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m. PROJECT BLACK SKY Joshua Williamson (Captain Midnight), Christopher Sebela (Ghost)
10:00 a.m. .–11:50 a.m. LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS, TOMB RAIDER, CONAN RED SONJA Gail Simone
11:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m. EMILY AND THE STRANGERS Cat Farris
12:00 p.m.–12:50 p.m. TERMINATOR SALVATION Pete Woods
TREKKER Ron Randall
1:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m. LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS, TOMB RAIDER, CONAN RED SONJA Gail Simone
1:00 p.m.–1:50 p.m. CONAN RED SONJA Jim Zub
BAD HOUSES Sara Ryan
2:00 p.m.–2:50 p.m. BANDETTE Paul Tobin, Colleen Coover
PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES Paul Tobin, Ron Chan
3:00 p.m.–3:50 p.m. GRENDEL VS. THE SHADOW Matt Wagner, Brennan Wagner
FEAR AGENT Tony Moore
DREAM THIEF Jai Nitz
Listing all the creators with Dark Horse ties would be nearly impossible, but make sure you check out their table, because they'll have a signing schedule and a metric ton of Dark Horse Books ready for you to pick up and enjoy. From manga to all-ages to some comics that put the Dark in Dark Horse, there's going to be something you'll like. Check them out this weekend at Rose City!
Not gonna be at Rose City? Dark Horse's website is here.