Comics Lowdown: ‘Abadazad,’ ‘Ghost Rider’ artist Mike Ploog to retire

Plus: designing variant covers, Sonny Liew, Tillie Walden, Simon Hanselman, food in San Diego.

Veteran artist Mike Ploog, known to comic fans as the co-creator of Ghost Rider, announced he will be retiring after a 47-year career. His career began with Filmation, as a clean-up artist on Batman and Superman, and eventually was promoted to layouts. He moved onto Hanna-Barbera, continuing his layout work until he became the assistant to Will Eisner.

He made his comic book debut on Werewolf by Night in 1972. Since then, he was credited as a co-creator of Ghost Rider and notable artist on Man-ThingPlanet of the Apes and The Monster of Frankenstein. Later in his career, he did minimal comic work, but teamed with J.M. DeMatteis on Abadazad in 2004.

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Berger Books announces four new titles for 2018

Published by Dark Horse Comics, the first titles in the creator-owned imprint edited by former Vertigo chief Karen Berger will include the works of Anthony Bourdain, David Aja, Ann Nocenti, Mat Johnson, Warren Pleece and more.

Earlier this year Dark Horse Comics announced that former Vertigo founding editor Karen Berger would head up her own imprint for the publisher, called Berger Books. Today Vulture revealed the first four titles from the imprint, all due out in 2018.

“Dark Horse has been at the frontline of independent, creator-owned comics for decades,” Berger said earlier this year. “It’s great to be working with a company that has such a rich history of publishing scores of many incredible books by some of the best writers and artists in comics. I’m very fired up about being back in the game in a big way, and to be producing this new line with top, diverse creative talent and exciting, original new voices.”

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Mignola brings out the bad guys this winter

“Hellboy” creator MIke Mignola teams up with Adam Hughes, Chris Roberson, Christopher Mitten, Ben Stenbeck and more to tell new stories about Rasputin, Krampus and Koshchei the Deathless.

The “Mignolaverse” will continue to grow this coming winter with a pair of miniseries and a one-shot focusing on some of the unsavory characters Hellboy has encountered — namely Rasputin, Krampus and Koshchei the Deathless.

“We didn’t set out to publish three stories about bad guys for the holidays, it just worked out that way—and, really, at least one of these guys isn’t ALL bad,” Mignola said in a press release. “It’s been a real pleasure working with Chris Roberson and Christopher Mitten again to flesh out more of the history of the Hellboy world—focusing on Rasputin before the arrival of Hellboy. You just knew there had to be more to say about that guy. Just like I’ve always known there was a lot more to say about Koshchei the Deathless, who I’ve loved since Hellboy: Darkness Calls. Now thanks to the great Ben Stenbeck, we get his full, odd, and tragic life story. And then what is there to say about the Krampus? This grim little Christmas story has been gathering dust for years on my mental shelf, apparently just waiting for the right artist to come along and ask to draw it. I just never imagined that the right artist would be Adam Hughes!”

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Frank Miller’s ‘300’ prequel due next year

Check out new preview art for ‘Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander.’

Entertainment Weekly reports that Frank Miller’s 300 prequel will arrive next year from Dark Horse Comics.

With quite the mouthful for a title, Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander will “focus on the Persian emperor Xerxes, the so-called ‘King of Kings’ who raised a massive army to invade Greece in the fifth century B.C. to get revenge for his father’s death and become a god,” according to EW. “The title suggests the story will also look forward to the rise of Alexander the Great, who destroyed the Persian Empire a few centuries after Xerxes’ reign.”

Miller has talked about doing the comic for a while, at least as far back as 2009-2010.

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Smash Pages Q&A: May + Copland on ‘Kill All Monsters’ Omnibus

Michael May and Jason Copland discuss the massive collection of their giant monster series coming from Dark Horse, the future of the series and more.

Michael May and Jason Copland have been working on Kill All Monsters! for more than a decade now, and come July they — and you — will see all their work on it collected into an omnibus from Dark Horse Comics.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I’ve been blogging with Michael in some form or fashion for about a decade now myself. So I’ve watched from ringside as KAM progressed from a webcomic to a Kickstarter project to a story in Dark Horse Presents and now to this giant-sized collection. It’s a fun story about an Earth overrun with giant monsters and the humans trying to take it back. I’m glad I’ve gotten to watch it come to life, just as I’m happy to talk with the two of them about the project’s origins and what comes next for this world they’ve created.

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Raise a glass of Hellboy Hell Water to everyone’s favorite demon

6.66 proof whiskey now available from Dark Horse Comics, XXX Distillery and Prestige Imports.

Given that his name has appeared on an ale, a wine and now a whiskey, maybe the new Hellboy movie should simply be about him opening a bar.

Officially announced this week, Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey is a craft distilled, small batch, naturally flavored cinnamon whiskey retailing for $19.99 for a 750ml bottle by Dark Horse Comics, XXX Distillery LLC and Prestige Imports LLC. 66.6 proof whiskey, that is.

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Talbots’ ‘Grandville’ series wraps up in November

Bryan and Mary Talbot’s five-part graphic novel series Grandville will complete its run this fall with the final volume, Grandville: Force Majeure, coming from Dark Horse Comics.

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Mignola tackles vampires in ‘Mr. Higgins Comes Home’

Mike Mignola, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell team up on an original graphic novel set outside the Mignolaverse.

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola is teaming with Warwick Johnson-Cadwell on an original graphic novel about vampires titled Mr. Higgins Comes Home.

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Usagi Yojimbo meets the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again this summer

IDW will publish a one-shot featuring Stan Sakai’s famous ronin rabbit encountering the current rendition of the Turtles.

Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo will once again team with Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a new one-shot, coming from IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics this summer.

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