SDCC Preview: Dark Horse Rides into San Diego with Signings, Panels, and More

Usually, when I get ready to go to a con, I tell you why you should go. Well, that's a little silly when it comes to San Diego Comic-Con. So Instead, we'll just get right to previewing what some of our favorite publishers are up to.

Here's what's going on for Dark Horse Comics...

One of the earliest publishers to work on providing weekly books to the direct market, and still going after all these years, Dark Horse is the home of Hellboy but also some other great creator-based work, like Kel's Misfits of Avalon and Rafer and X's Modern Fantasy. There's also Resident Alien, Alex's old Grindhouse series and so much more. And how could I forget the Berger books line? Yikes! So much good stuff in one place, which will be booth #2615 at San Diego this year.

Part of the fun of going to cons is getting things you can't get elsewhere directly from the publisher. Here's some of Dark Horse's exclusives that I think our readers would dig, with the full list available here.

The Quantum Age #1 Variant Cover by Marcos Martin
James would be all over this if he was headed to the show, as this combines two of his favorite things, the Black Hammer universe and Marcos Martin. This looks really cool (natch) and will cost $10 at the show.

MST3K Coasters
I don't care that this isn't strictly comics, it's my site, damn it, and that means I'm going to point (or should that be pint) out these coasters, which feature images from the newest incarnation of the show, which is also getting a comic. So there, it all fits together! These are also $10.

Umbrella Academy Crest T-Shirts
To celebrate the return of the Umbrella Academy (yay!), Dark Horse has these shirts available for $25. It's a classic look that might look good on you?

American Gods Variant Covers by Christian Ward and Skottie Young
Both of these look awesome in their own way, with each creator using their strengths to take a part of the American Gods mythos and make it into a unique design. They're $10 each.

Black Hammer Variant Covers by Fabio Moon and James Stokoe
See above, basically. Moon pulls out the iconic Justice League cover (which I honestly never tire of seeing homages for) and Stokoe is, well, his usual extremely detailed self, this time with pigs. These will also cost $10 each.

Whew! That's a lot! How about signings? Dark Horse has two stages for this at the show, as explained below. Here's what I think looks best, signing-wise, with the complete list available here.

Dark Horse wants to make sure you know the following:

All creators signing in our booth offer their autographs for FREE. FREE prints, comics, or posters are provided for most of our signings (while supplies last). You may purchase or bring items to be signed; however, we may restrict the type or number of items to be signed as necessary.

Some signings require a wristband for entry, as noted on the schedule. Drawings for wristbands for these events will begin at show opening the day before and day of each signing, unless otherwise noted. Come to the Dark Horse booth early for the best chance to join these events.

Lines may also be closed for some signings due to crowding or time restrictions.

We have two signing stages. One features art by Mike Mignola for Hellboy; the other showcases art from Stranger Things by Aleksi Bricolt, Kyle Lambert and Rafael Albuquerque. The following abbreviations indicate the location of each signing:

HB = Hellboy Signing Stage  ST = Stranger Things Signing Stage


2:00-2:45 PM:        HB      BLACKWOOD: Veronica Fish, Andy Fish

2:00-2:45 PM:        ST       STRANGER THINGS, STARCRAFT: SCAVENGERS: Jody Houser


                                          THE BIG GUY AND RUSTY THE BOY ROBOT: Geof Darrow

4:00-4:45 PM:        HB       LADY KILLER: Joëlle Jones

5:00-5:45 PM:        HB       ELFQUEST: Wendy Pini, Richard Pini

6:00-6:45 PM:        HB      MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: Todd Nauck, Felicia Day, Michael Heisler

*WRISTBAND REQUIRED                                       
*LIMIT ONE PRINT, ONE PREVIEW COMIC, ONE OTHER ITEM PER PERSON                                               


10:00-10:45 AM:     HB       USAGI YOJIMBO: Stan Sakai

11:00-11:45 AM:      ST       BANDETTE, COLDER, THE WITCHER, PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES:                                                   Paul Tobin
                                            BANDETTE: Paul Tobin, Colleen Coover

2:00-2:45 PM:          ST       BLACK HAMMER: Jeff Lemire

3:30-4:30 PM:          HB       BERGER BOOKS: Karen Berger, Richard Bruning, Ann Nocenti,                                                          Christopher Cantwell, Dave Gibbons, Dean Haspiel, G. Willow Wilson

4:30-5:15 PM:          HB        HELLBOY: Mike Mignola


10:00-10:45 AM:       HB        PROJECT TBA: G. Willow Wilson

11:00-11:45 AM:        HB       THE SEEDS: Ann Nocenti

12:00-12:45 PM:       ST        STRANGER THINGS, STARCRAFT: SCAVENGERS: Jody Houser

1:00-1:45 PM:           HB        THE ALCOHOLIC: Dean Haspiel

1:00-1:45 PM:           ST         NEIL GAIMAN’S A STUDY IN EMERALD: Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone

2:00-2:45 PM:           HB        SHE COULD FLY: Christopher Cantwell

4:30-6:00 PM:           HB         XERXES: Frank Miller and Alex Sinclair

*WRISTBAND REQUIRED                                               
*LIMIT ONE PRINT, ONE OTHER ITEM PER PERSON                                               

6:00-6:45 PM:           HB         THE ORIGINALS, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MARTHA                                                                   WASHINGTON IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: Dave                                                               Gibbons

11:00-11:45 AM:          HB        ELFQUEST: Wendy Pini, Richard Pini

11:00-11:45 AM:          ST        EMPOWERED: Adam Warren

12:00-12:45 PM:         ST         TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN: Shannon Wheeler

12:30-1:15 PM:           HB        THE SECRET LOVES OF GEEKS: Hope Nicholson, Maia Kobabe,                                                    Dylan Edwards, Megan Kearney

Finally, here's a list of Dark Horse's feature Panels that look interesting to me. Not sure I'll make any of them, but maybe you can!


11:00 AM-12:00 PM:  Growing Up with Comics: Introducing Younger Readers to Graphic Storytelling (Room: 23ABC)

Comics are a great way to get kids interested in art, reading, and storytelling—and, well, they’re fun! Join Sergio Aragonés (Groo), Cecil Castellucci (Soupy Leaves Home), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), and Landry Q. Walker (Disney / Pixar The Incredibles 2: Crisis in Mid-Life! & Other Stories) to discover and discuss the ever-growing library of incredible all-ages comics!

3:00-4:00 PM:  Spotlight on Jeff Lemire (Room: 25ABC)

Comic-Con special guest Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer, Descender, Gideon Falls) and veteran comic book editor Will Dennis discuss Lemire's various creator-owned projects and for the first time preview both the upcoming Family Tree and Ascender! Panel will feature Dustin Nguyen (Batman, Descender) and a Q&A session.


11:00 AM-12:00 PM:  Thirty Years of Dark Horse Manga (Room: 23ABC)

Come celebrate Dark Horse's 30 years of manga with special panel guest Yoshitaka Amano! One of the most honored Japanese fantasy, science fiction, and video game illustrators, Dark Horse has released more works in English by Amano than any other publisher. We'll have previews of our forthcoming illustrated biography of Yoshitaka Amano—and of course, a discussion of his life and career with the book’s subject, the artist himself! [Rob adds: I have been trying for years to go to a Dark Horse Manga panel, and, whelp! Can't make this one, either! Damn it...]

2:30-3:30 PM:  Spotlight on Mike Mignola (Room: 24ABC)

Comic-Con special guest Mike Mignola discusses Hellboy and anything else the audience wants to talk about regarding his career.

5:00-6:00 PM:  Berger Books: The Second Wave (Room: 25ABC)

Berger Books keeps great comics coming in its second wave of new and unusual genre-bending series! Editor Karen Berger (Vertigo founder) is joined by Christopher Cantwell, co-creator of AMC's acclaimed Halt and Catch Fire (She Could Fly), Dean Haspiel, Emmy Award-winning artist of HBO's Bored to Death (The Alcoholic), legendary comics writer Ann Nocenti (The Seeds), art director Richard Bruning, and the one and only Dave Gibbons (The Originals) plus a special surprise guest and announcement!


3:00-4:00 PM:  Artists Who Write: The Craft and Creation of Comics (Room: 7AB)

Whether it's a superhero adventure, a colorful fantasy world, an ultra-violent crime noir, or a new take on an old classic, creators put a lot of thought into the sequential art that drives stories told in comics. Join an all-star lineup of Dark Horse creators including Frank Miller (Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander, Sin City), Dave Gibbons (The Originals, The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), Wendy Pini (ElfQuest), and Rafael Albuquerque (EI8HT) as they discuss turning an idea into a full-fledged story and how they continue to keep their writing fresh.

6:00-7:00 PM:  ElfQuest - 40 Years of Pointed Ears (Room 23ABC)

2018 wraps up 40 years of ElfQuest with the biggest bang ever. Celebrate the longest-running indie fantasy comic with Wendy Pini (ElfQuest, Masque of the Red Death), and Richard Pini (ElfQuest, Line of Beauty), co-creators, writers and artist. Learn behind-the-scenes secrets that have been hidden since 1978 and see the clues that were placed decades ago. Take an emotional journey down memory lane. The conclusion of the Final Quest series has taken fandom by storm, and you'll be able to bombard Wendy and Richard with all the questions you've been saving up for years!


11:00 AM-12:00 PM:  The Secret Loves of Geeks (Room: 32AB)

Vita Ayala (comics writer, The Wilds), Ivan Salazar (PR, comiXology), Maia Kobabe (cartoonist, Genderqueer), Hope Nicholson (editor, The Secret Loves of Geeks) and Dylan Edwards (cartoonist, Transposes) discuss the genesis behind The Secret Loves of Geeks anthology, how vulnerable writing and comics are needed, and the new projects they are working on next. Moderated by Dustin Nelson.

3:00-4:00 PM:  Spotlight on Ann Nocenti (Room: 4) 

Rob here! Dark Horse didn't include a description, so I'll do one! Ann writes some of the weirdest comics possible (Daredevil takes on a depressed version of Ultron is just one of the highlights) and now she's working with Karen Berger on a new series, The Seeds. This panel will give you a good idea of how wonderfully strange she is.

No matter what you do, make sure you take advantage of some of the great things Dark Horse has to offer at the show. You'll be glad you did.