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Thursday, January 16, 2003


Following are Dark Horse Comics' solicitation for April, with information coming from the company.


By Frank Frazetta.

Before legendary artist Frank Frazetta became an American institution for his lush paintings, he was drawing muscular hillbillies and scantily clad women for an earlier American institution: the comic strip Li'l Abner, which boasted 60 million readers daily. From 1954 till 1961 Frazetta toiled as a ghost for Al Capp, the most famous and successful cartoonist of his era. Except for a brief 1954 dailies sequence (when Frazetta drew himself as "Frankie the Biker" in a send-up of Marlon Brando's contemporary motorcycle film The Wild Ones) Frazetta's energy was focused on the Li'l Abner Sunday strips. For the first time ever these full-color Sundays are being collected. Dark Horse is publishing four comprehensive 9" x 12" volumes. Each quarterly volume will contain an introduction and extensive annotations by Li'l Abner expert Denis Kitchen. Volume 1 features The Bald Iggle (from Capp's Shmoo and Kigmy school of creatures with social messages), Loverboynik (a thinly disguised Liberace) and Milton the Masked Martian (an early superhero parody) as well as Indian princess Minnie Mustache, Moonbeam McSwine, The Tigress, Daisy Mae Yokum and Gloria Van Wellbilt as only Frank Frazetta can draw them.

128 pages, price TBA, on sale May 18.


By Osamu Tezuka, translated by Frederick L. Schodt, cover by Osamu Tezuka.

Dark Horse Comics brings the original Astro Boy to America for the first time in an English-language edition. Fifty years after his creation, Astro Boy continues to lead the manga and anime charge, his adventures still as fresh and exciting as when first crafted by master storyteller/cartoonist/animator Osamu Tezuka. Perhaps the most endearing, and enduring, creation to emerge from Tezuka's volcanic imagination, Astro Boy is packed with action, laughs, and genuine emotion, interlacing fantastic situations and creatures with timeless themes and wry observances of technology, war, and the human condition. In this volume: "The White Hot Human"; "Uran"; "Hachi, the Devil"; "The Tenma Family's Fortress"; "Gernica."

224 pages, black and and white, 4 1/2" x 7", $9.95, on sale April 2.


By Osamu Tezuka, translated by Frederick L. Schodt, cover by Osamu Tezuka.

With the rapidly expanding explosion of manga and anime, the vast creative and spiritual influence of the late, great Osamu Tezuka is being recognized worldwide, the skill, depth, and humanity of his storytelling placing him among the giants of the comics medium. Astro Boy is the action/adventure archetype for the 21st century, an action-packed roller-coaster ride for all ages imbued with humor, warmth, and wry commentary on humanity in the technological age.

232 pages, black and white, 4 1/2" x 7", $9.95, on sale May 28.


By Fabian Nicieza and Stefano Raffaele.

A new world of modern horror opens its pages in this sweeping saga of transformation and terror. Fabian Nicieza, one of the best-selling writers of superhero comics, teams with Italian horror artist Stefano Raffaele, for a story he's been waiting to unleash since the 1980's. Someone is following popular fantasy novelist Richard Kaine. Not a demented fan, not a jilted lover. Someone interested in finding out how Richard came up with his runaway bestseller first novel. Because unbeknownst to Richard, his book was really non-fiction. How could Richard have written about an event no one should have known about, because it was meticulously eradicated from human history? Who are the Blackburne Covenant? And how could the secrets they've been concealing for hundreds of years completely change life on Earth? They're willing to kill Richard Kaine in order to keep him quiet…

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 2.


By Hiroaki Samura, produced by Studio Proteus.

"Fall Frost," part 6 of 6. Cliff hanger indeed. And so we return to the cliff and let the hanging begin. Hiroaki Samura has never been one to let a tense moment pass too quickly, and this issue is a testament to the art of hanging by a thread, for a little while longer. But rest assured, there will be a break to this tension, on of our dueling swordsmen will fall victim to a cruel fate, and then we'll even rejoin sad, lost little Rin on her grueling solo adventure in the woods of Kaga. Still seeking vengeance, poor samurai girl Rin is at wit's end, and only a surprise can save her from death by exposure. Another exciting samurai comic from the heavy metal sensei, Hiroaki Samura.

32 pages, black and white, $2.99, on sale April 9.


By Eddie Park and Digital Chameleon.

On Blood World contestants battle mutated freaks, giant monsters, and each other to win The Blood Bath, a galaxy-wide, free-for-all killing tournament. Here victory means prestige and power. Defeat equals death. See what contestants will do to survive in a world where there is no room for loyalty, friendship, or compassion. In this world, blood rules.

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 9.


By Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza and Cliff Richards, cover by Paul Lee and Brian Horton.

"Slayer Interrupted," part 1 of 4. Buffy returned from her runaway road-trip with Pike…only to discover that Dawn has read her diary, and shared what she found with their parents, who see no other choice: after she's burned down the school gym, run off to Vegas, and apparently lost her mind . . . they have her committed. Buffy #56 begins the first of a four-issue arc in which readers finally see what happened to Buffy in that mental institution.

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 30.


By Scott Allie, Paul Lee, Brian Horton and Dave Stewart.

Desperate measures for desperate times: Brandon Waite digs up his dead father in hopes of finding some clue to what's killing his family. While this supernatural force threatens those he loves, Brandon finds himself the victim of a good-old witch hunt, in the fine New England tradition. And this night's just getting worse. Before it's out, he'll be covered in blood, all too aware that he can't protect his girlfriend…without resorting to even more desperate acts. Brandon's own deal with the devil is just one issue away.

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 2.


By Joss Whedon, Karl Moline and Andy Owens.

Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, completes his vision of the future, the story of the future slayer. One of the fiercest battles in the history of comics, drawn in grand style by Karl Moline and Andy Owens, begins the climax. So what is left for next issue? It just gets worse for this poor, young Slayer.

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 23.


By Masamune Shirow.

Cyber-agent Motoko Aramaki remains hot on the trail of the shadowy terrorists making life hell for Poseidon Industrial. Motoko deploys a cyborg surrogate, Chroma, for on-the-ground operations to pick up needed information, but while waiting for an e-brain private eye to pony up the data, Chroma is jacked into a no-holds-barred virtual combat game-at least she hopes it's virtual.

32 pages, $3.50, on sale April 2.


By Matt Wagner, Jay Geldhof and John K. Snyder III.

Still reeling from the social and political shock waves left behind by the appearance of the new Grendel, corrupt Pope Innocent XLII withdraws from the public eye, pulling his own circle tighter as he tries to figure out how to turn the deadly situation to his advantage. Meanwhile, as Orion Assante tightens his grip on the Church's shady dealings, so too does COP officer Pellon Cross put the squeeze on Assante and his associates. Convinced of a connection between Assante and the maniacal Grendel, Cross digs deeper into Orion's dealings. And unknown to all around him, poor Eppy Thatcher, the man behind the Grendel mask, slides further into despair and madness, his tortured soul forever caught in a tug-of-war between God and the Devil.

32 pages, $3.50, on sale April 9.


By Jason Pearson, John Cassady, Mark Ricketts, Randy Stradley and others, cover Pearson.

Jason Pearson makes his grand return to Dark Horse with a story about firestarter Liz Sherman. Pearson writes and draws half this issue, plus provides the cover. John Cassaday continues his classic Lobster Johnson serial, while Mark Ricketts and Eric Wight reduce special agent Kate Corrigan to tears and temper tantrums at the hands of her dead mother. Finally, Randy Stradley and Seung Kim, artist from the Jackie Chan animated show, place Hellboy himself in a demonic hot spring.

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 23.


By Masamune Shirow.

Dark Horse Comics is proud to present the third volume of Masamune Shirow's best-selling art book series Intron Depot. Ballistics features a treasure trove of spectacular full-color illustrations featuring high-caliber treatments. Often a sci-fi military theme is evoked, with special emphasis on detailed weaponry, but there is also a healthy batch of fantasy themes and outer space action. In addition to his traditional drawing and painting expertise, Shirow is also one of the foremost talents in computer graphics. Not only does he create exceptionally realistic backgrounds and vehicles, but in this volume presents alternate "takes" on the main image, presenting different color combinations, daytime/nightime versions and other variations on the primary theme.

128 pages, $44.95, in stores on May 7.


By John Wagner, Andy Diggle and Henry Flint, cover by Kev Walker.

Judge Dredd, the gritty, gruff hero of Britain's award-winning sci-fi anthology 2000 AD, faces off against 20th Century Fox Films' Aliens in a battle that just may bring Mega-City One to its knees! With a special extermination unit called The Verminators now on Dredd's side, it's lawmen versus nature's best killing machines in a bloody battle that leads straight to the packed Eisenhower General Hospital! The unflinching Judge Dredd and his elite group of Judges struggle to fend off an infestation of the deadly, acid-drooling Aliens and to discover their origins. Dredd initially thought that the Aliens were part of an illegal pit-fighting ring, but it's possible that they are linked to Mutant Jack and his anti-Judge activists…and only time will tell if more Aliens are hidden in the city.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 16.


By Scott Lobdell and Mel Rubi.

KISS continues to rock in part two of Scott Lobdell's story arc, "This Man, This Monster" in which the Four Who Are One explore their dual identities. Is there a man inside the Beast King, and is the Demon headed down the same inhuman path? And is the Celestial completely above the world of men, or can the Starchild bring him back? Who are the Four Who Are One? And who are they meant to be?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 30.


By Haden Blackman, Cary Nord and Mark Lipka, cover by Nord.

Collecting a series of short stories that examines the mysterious disappearance of people down through history in "Into Thin Air," the ability of some individuals to seemingly cheat death in "Grim Reaping," oddities of humanity in "Human Wonders," and strange and otherworldly visitors in "Strange Invaders."

80 pages, black and white, $9.95, in stores on May 21.


By Mark Evanier, Ramon Bachs and Raul Fernandez.

Join Shrek, Donkey, and the gang as they embark on their latest adventure. The tale begins as Shrek, Princess Fiona, and their constant companion, Donkey, set off for a honeymoon at Fairytale Tales. But the ghost of Lord Farguaad, intent on taking his fearsome revenge, interrupts the honeymooners' bliss.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 30.


By Peter David, Pop Mhan and Norman Lee, cover by Mhan.

When Japan's premiere spy is both the nation's leading comedienne and an expert secret agent, it's often tricky to sneak away to spoil the latest evil villain's global plot…but SpyGirl does her best! The beautiful Yukio, A.K.A. SpyGirl, finds an old photograph on the set of her television show that throws her into a complete frenzy. Why was she photographed with Japan's Minister of Defense? More importantly, why doesn't she remember any of it? And what does SpyBoy have to do with it?

24 pages, black and white, $2.99, on sale April 23.


By Brett Blevins, Sal Buscema, Jo Duffy, Jan Duursema, Ron Frenz, Tom Mandrake, David Mazzucchelli, Bob Mcleod, Ann Nocenti, Tom Palmer, Randy Stradley and others.

The latest volume of Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... featuring classic Star Wars stories not seen in over 20 years. Originally printed by Marvel Comics, these stories have been meticulously re-colored and are sure to please both new and old Star Wars fans. Wookie World collects issues 82 to 95 of the original Marvel run, taking place after Return Of The Jedi, as our beloved Star Wars gang establishes a base of leadership for their newly freed galaxy on the planet Endor. The stories in this volume take us on solo and team adventures with our favorite galactic heroes. In "The Alderaan Factor," a stranded Princess Leia fights for her life with another native of her destroyed home world…an Imperial trooper. Lando Calrissian goes to the aid of an old flame and becomes enmeshed in a planet's struggle between democracy and aristocratic rule in "Sweetheart Contract." Han Solo and Chewbacca set out on an old-fashioned treasue hunt in "Seoul Searching" and manage to twart an Imperial plot. Introduction by Star Wars writer and editor Randy Stradley.

360 pages, $29.95, in stores n May 21.


By Paul Chadwick, Doug Wheatley and Chris Chuckry.

"Darklighter" part 1 of 4. Everybody remembers the scene in A New Hope where Biggs Darklighter heroically sacrifices himself during the attack on the Death Star. Fewer people know is that before that fateful battle, Luke and Biggs were childhood friends. In fact, it was Luke's dream to follow Biggs to the Imperial Academy. But what Biggs learns from his time with the Empire pushes him to become one of the earliest heroes of the Rebellion.

32 pages, $2.99, on sale April 2.


By John Ostrander, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons, cover by Duursema.

Among the Jedi, Master Shaak Ti is known as a peacemaker; the calm voice of reason. But caught on the ground on war-torn Brentaal IV with a rapidly dwindling platoon of clone troopers, Shaak Ti is forced to go on the offensive. A Magna-gun emplacement is preventing Republic ships from landing reinforcements, and to save the mission-and the lives of Ti's own troops-the guns must be silenced. To accomplish the task, Shaak Ti will accept whatever help she can get-even that of a killer convicted of murdering Ti's former pupil.

48 pages, $4.99, in stores on April 16.


By Haden Blackman and Brian Ching, cover by Chings.

"Blast Radius." An all-Jedi strike force is assembled for a secret mission to infiltrate a Skakoan Techno Union base that is supporting the Separatists. Among those selected for the mission is Obi-Wan Kenobi, who finds himself teamed with several legendary Jedi Masters. Surrounded by so many powerful individuals, Obi-Wan feels there is little he can bring to the mission. But when the base turns out to be a trap designed to kill Jedi, Obi-Wan finds himself in a leadership position, fighting for the survival of the team! Jedi powers, Jedi sacrifices, and another surprising confrontation.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on April 19.


By Masamune Shirow, Mohiro Kitoh, Makoto Kobayashi, Yuzo Takada, Hiroyuki Utatane and Yo Morimoto; Produced By Studio Proteus

Still rolling out the best manga in America! Manga like Shadow Star which is entering its fifth volume by introducing new characters, and bringing Akira face-to-face with the evil dragon empath, Satomi Ozawa. And the mystery continues to slowly unravel and tie itself back up in Seraphic Feather where readers will learn a bit about the past while recovering from the explosive battle against the cold-as-ice Apep Heidemann. And speaking of battles, the quest to the sacred land has found Yakumo, Pai, and Jake in one heck of a spat. What's worse, now Yakumo has to face the incredibly formidable wu of the Kaiyan Wang. On the lighter side, "Hello"-chan is having a good time driving her pink Testarossa around town and partying down with manga artists, not a bad life, eh. But something has to go wrong. Count on it. Finally, even more Appleseed Hypernotes for that Shirow fix.

128 pages, black and white, on sale April 30.


By Mark Schultz.

The second volume of Mark Schultz's award-winning Xenozoic Tales. Schultz's vision of our Earth's future includes guano-powered Cadillacs, warring factions of humanity battling for ruined cities, reborn dinosaurs, and their intelligent, humanoid descendants. The tough-as-nails shaman, Jack Tenrec, and the beautiful scientist, Hannah Dundee, seek to uncover the origins and secrets of their violent world while dealing with their own rocky relationship. Xenozoic Tales became a major network cartoon as "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs", and the storytelling talents of Mark Schultz earned him three Harvey Awards as Best Cartoonist. Featured in this volume are the grippings tales "Primeval," "Last Link in the Chain," and "The Growing Pool." Also, for the first time ever, Xenozoic Tales #13 and #14 are collected in book form. This volume has a new cover and additional sketchbook material by Schultz.

176 pages, black and white, $14.95.

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