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Saturday, May 17, 2003


Following are Dark Horse Comics' solicitations for August, with information coming from the company.


By Osamu Tezuka.

Dark Horse Comics brings the original Astro Boy to America for the first time in an English-language edition. Fifty years old and still rockin', Astro Boy proudly wears the championship belt of all-ages robot action, still leading the manga and anime charge begun by master storyteller/cartoonist/animator Osamu Tezuka, the acknowledged creative and spiritual linchpin of Japan's leading entertainment media exports. Perhaps the most endearing, and enduring, creation to emerge from Tezuka's bottomless creative wellspring, Astro Boy is packed with action, humor, and pathos, interlacing flights of the fantastic with timeless themes and wry commentary on humanity in a rapidly changing technological landscape. Translation by Frederik L. Schodt, author of Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics and translator of Ghost in the Shell.

208 pages, black and white, $7.95, in stores on Sept. 24.


By Hiroaki Samura.

Those lucky enough to read Blade of the Immortal regularly are aware of creator Hiroaki Samura's penchant for a good plot twist. This issue is no exception. Fresh from a dramatic wedding that brought another sword school under his command, anti-villain Anotsu Kagehisa is on his way back to Edo. Accustomed to surprises on the road, Anotsu won't be fazed to encounter a strange combination of people in his path, all trying to stop him from moving forward, and all in big trouble when they face him. But the important thing about this issue is that Rin is back in the picture. Let's see how long she'll last this time.

32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 13.


By Fabian Nicieza and Cliff Richards.

"A Stake to the Heart," part one. Buffy Summers has faced vampires, demons and monsters but now she must face there scariest thing of all: the divorce of her parents. But with divorce comes all the bad feelings attached to it, for all the members of the family, and those bad feelings take on physical shapes. No vampire is safe as the tortured young Slayer takes her anger and frustrations to the streets of L.A. All the while she is being closely watched by the mysterious vampire with a soul, Angel.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 27.


By Kenichi Sonoda.

In the last issue, Hoichi, the reluctant teen hero with a giant robot cannon, made a risky move, and it might turn out to be really bad for his public image. Hoichi and his team of delicious and technically adept ladies (not to mention his genius grandfather) are not only fighting a war of violence, but also a battle of information, trying to keep the alien forces from turning the human population against Exaxxion. And now it looks like the information war will be a tough one, as the giant robot clumsily stumbles around. And when a giant robot stumbles around, you can bet it causes some damage.

32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 13.


By Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.

What does a reclusive, germ-a-phobe, monster obsessed, flea raising, dead man have to do with the entire planet becoming overrun by monsters? That's exactly what Cal McDonald would like to know as he ducks and weaves his way through a labyrinth of nut-cases and freaks trying to unravel the greatest threat to mankind since...the last time Cal was on the case! Now if he can just stay sober long enough to solve the mystery.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 13.


By Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith.

In the early 1970s, Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian exploded on to the comics scene. Writer Roy Thomas teamed with a young artist named Barry Smith, and together the two mapped out some of the most stirring and memorable Conan adventures to come along since those written by Howard himself. Over the course of their 24-issue run together, Thomas and Smith defined Conan for a generation of comics readers, and now those stories are collected here in a series of trade paperbacks. Featuring completely remastered color and text corrections, and containing material not available for nearly thirty years, these books are the perfect companions to the upcoming all-new Conan series from Dark Horse.

144 pages, $15.94, in stores on Sept. 17.


By Osamu Tezuka.

From the creator of Astro Boy and Metropolis, comes Future World, part of Osamu Tezuka's cycle of original science-fiction graphic novels - including Lost World and Metropolis - published in the late 1940s and early 1950s. When nuclear testing creates mutated animals with amazing supernatural abilities, the world and its great superpowers are drawn into political conflict that could light the fuse for World War III. A wry satire of the Cold War - and guest-starring some friends you may recognize from Astro Boy - Lost World is timeless graphic fiction from one of the medium's true masters, available for the first time in an English-language edition.

160 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on Sept. 24.


By Jim Krueger, Sanford Greene and Greg Adams, cover by Jason Pearson.

Living with his single mom and searching for his missing, drug-addicted brother, young Heath barely gets by in this hard city. Throw in some gang-related troubles and a misunderstanding at school, and he quickly finds himself at the end of his rope. Heath doesn't know, though, that he's being watched by Galactic, one of the most powerful groups in the universe. These interplanetary crusaders see something in the young teen that even he himself doesn't notice -the potential for heroism. This first issue introduces Heath, his troubled world, and the fantastic members of Galactic, the strangest collection of anti-heroes you'll ever find. Plus, if readers feel like they've been missing out on shock endings, this one delivers.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 27.


By Masamune Shirow.

After arriving at the ocean-floating Poseidon Industrial Headquarters, super cyber-agent Motoko Aramaki is determined to infiltrate into the Decatoncale supercomputer, one of only three such systems on earth. But breaking through Poseidon's security into the network won't exactly be a walk in the park, and even if she manage to jack in, the dangers of the virtual dimension are every bit as deadly.

32 pages, $3.50, in stores on Aug. 6.


By Tom Peyer, Jon Sommariva and Kris Justice, cover by Francisco Ruiz Velasco.

It would seem that Jonny Zero's life had come to an end when his family's plane was shot out of the sky by the evil genius The Cultist. But with an injection of robotic nanoplasm he was both saved and transformed -into Go Boy 7. Now The Cultist wants to complete the job that he started and has brought to life the very wreckage of the plane that once carried Jonny and his family. Can Jonny defeat the hulking wreckage monster, save the Go Base, and come to grips with his new super-powered life all at the same time?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 6.


By Eric Powell.

Get your daily recommended allowance of giant killer robots, mad scientists, zombies, voodoo priests, decapitations, and midgets. It's everything a growing boy needs. Be there this August as Dark Horse Comics presents issue #2 of Eric Powell's, The Goon. It's more fun than a knife to the eye! The Goon battles a family of grave robbers eager to supply the Zombie Priest with fixin's for his army of the dead. Things get bad for everyone when they wind up in Hobo Jungle: A forest where the destitute have given up train hopping for a feral life of cannibalism in the wild. Will the Goon and his enemies end up in a hobo stew?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 20.


By Matt Wagner, John K. Snyder III, Bernie Mireault and Jeromy Cox, cover by Snyder.

Matt Wagner's nightmarish forecast for the future plumbs new depths in this issue, as we witness the first direct confrontation between God and the Devil-the initial showdown between our drug-crazed Grendel and the malevolent Pope Innocent XLII. Left raw and exposed from this violent ordeal, the Pope heads straight for another throat-this one belonging to his newest minion, C.O.P. officer Pellon Cross! Meanwhile, corporate investigator Orion Assante continues his dangerous search for the truth, despite the government's forced dismantling of the Tower Commission. Now he's an outlaw on the hunt, with nothing less than God Himself as quarry.

32 pages, $3.50, in stores on Aug. 13.


By Brian Augustyn, Todd Demong and Tim Kane, cover by Carlos Meglia.

In the past hour Corey Rollins has been pursued by FBI agents, stumbled across a secret military base, been thrown into a teleportation device that has transported him to an island known as Hell, and now he's surrounded by a welcoming committee of monstrous ape men. And that's just for starters. Join Corey as he battles through Hell trying to find his missing father and find a way off of the island.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 20


By Jason Pearson, John Arcudi, Roger Langridge, Ovi Nedelcu, Tom Sniegoski and John Cassaday, cover by Leinil Francis Yu .

Another star-studded issue of stories which Entertainment Weekly called, "A must for fans of Mike Mignola's retro-cool creation." In Jason Pearson's 12-page story of a blighted house, the flame-throwing Liz Sherman is forced to deal with her family, who she killed when she was a little girl. In more light-hearted fare, Arcudi and Langridge (who worked together on Legends of the Dark Knight: Auterism) deliver a bizarre take on Abe Sapien as Bureau second fiddle to the popstar Hellboy, while Tom Sniegoski (BPRD: Hollow Earth) and animator Ovi Nedelcu show The World's Most Amateur Paranormal Investigator, Hellboy, on his first fumbling mission. And Cassaday's Lobster Johnson strip gets more bizarre with each passing panel…

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 27.

KISS #12

By Mike Baron, Mel Rubi and Derek Fridolfs.

While investigating a sudden surge in the Earth's monster population, the internally embattled Four Who Are One-along with their newest recruits, Christine 16 and Mr. Speed-are sucked into another, terrifying dimension. This horrifying, desolate world-as well as the monster crisis that's taken the Earth by storm-is clearly the work of the Unholy. Soon, our heroes' greatest fears are brought to life and inflicted upon each of them, rendering each one crippled with despair and self-loathing, while the Unholy's powers grow ever stronger. Can KISS make it out of this alive-and save the future of humanity in the process-or will their petty, human differences seal their ultimate fate?

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 20.


By Scott Lobdell, Mike Baron, Mel Rubi and Peter Vale.

On the hard streets of New York, there are dangers lurking around every corner-often poised to strike at the most innocent of victims. Then there are the dangers we can't even see, those from worlds and dimensions we know nothing about. Extreme dangers call for extreme heroes, and world-famous rock band-turned-superheroes KISS are here to answer the call! Immerse yourself in a world where your greatest fears and deepest fantasies come to life, where you fight alongside Mr. Speed and Christine 16, and where monsters are real-but the heroes are real kick-ass. Collects issues #7-10 of the KISS monthly comic-book series.

96 pages, $12.95, in stores on Sept. 24.


By Kosuke Fujishima.

"Dr. Moreau," part 1 of 5. It's issue #100 of Oh My Goddess! Keichi and Belldandy have a delivery to make to a professor at the university. But he's no ordinary professor. Actually, he's more of the "mad doctor" type, and he's obsessed with robotics. Can you feel the trouble brewing? Of course, eventually Skuld is going to have a run-in with this guy. Maybe even our little robot girl will have something to do with this storyline, too. But one thing is for sure, this new journey is going to be madcap and hilarious. Join us as we celebrate one hundred issues of one of the most fun comics published in the world, Oh My Goddess.

32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 6.


By Leland Purvis.

Leland Purvis, the Xeric Award-winning creator of Vox), takes a more lighthearted approach with a hilarious story about a bizarre misfit. The victim of an unusual-and one can only assume pointless-medical experiment, Pubo finds himself at the mercy of the animals and few humans in the deep dark woods of the Pacific Northwest. And he'd probably be just fine, if he weren't such a grumpy little bastard. But his natural, primal inclinations combine with his big-city, gruff demeanor, and it might turn out that there's nowhere for a little guy with a giant head to fit in.

96 pages, black and white, $9.95, in stores on Sept. 17.


By Haden Blackman, John Ostrander, Tomás Giorello, Jan Duursema and Brian Ching.

From one of the swamp moons of Naboo, to the war-torn cityscapes of Brentaal IV, the battles of the Clone Wars have thrown the galaxy into turmoil. New Separatist threats, ranging from deadly biological weapons, to dark Jedi, to unkillable alien bounty hunters, have the loyalist Jedi and their clone troops pushed to their limits. This graphic novel collection contains three separate, yet linked stories of heroism and sacrifice set during the time between Episode II and Episode III.

120 pages, $14.95, in stores on Sept. 3.


By Paul Chadwick, Doug Wheatley and Chris Chuckry, cover by Kilian Plunkett.

"Darklighter" part 3 of 4. After the mutiny on board the Rand Ecliptic, Biggs Darklighter and his companions finally are able to make contact with the Rebel Alliance. The Rebels desperately need skilled pilots like Biggs and his friends, but it's hard to fight the Empire with the outdated fighter craft they have on hand. A plan is hatched to "liberate" several squadrons of X-wings, but until the Rebels get their hands on the new fighters, their only hope is pluck, luck, and the skill of pilots like Biggs Darklighter.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 2.


By Haden Blackman and Brian Ching, cover by Tomás Giorello.

The Battle of Jabiim part 3 of 4. Fighting along side a squad of young Jedi whose Masters have been casualties of the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker is finally feeling at peace with himself and the anger he holds inside. So, of course, he receives new orders to report to a rear echelon position-just as the "Padawan Pack" is commanded to hold an indefensible position against an overwhelming Separatist attack, This issue depicts a major battle in the Clone Wars-and a turning point in the career of the young man who will one day become Darth Vader.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 20.


By Masamune Shirow, Mohiro Kitoh, Makoto Kobayashi, Yuzo Takada, Hiroyuki Utatane and Yo Morimoto.

More action! More charm! More sci-fi goodness! More manga! That's what America is saying these days, and one of the best places to find it is Super Manga Blast! If it's charm you want, you won't be dissatisfied with Club 9, a delightfully charming and innocently sexy slice of life, and this month is particularly sweet. In 3x3 Eyes, Pai and Yakumo are back home and Pai's back to normal, as normal as she can be!. And in Seraphic Feather it's all action and shoot 'em up, space fun. Then there's Shadow Star, which gets deeper, more mysterious, and incredibly interesting in every installment. There's also a big chunk of those charming cats in What's Michael?, and a little visit from Shirow's Appleseed Hypernotes.

128 pages, black and white, $5.99.

SYN #1

By Keith Giffen, Greg Titus and Julian Washburn, cover by Titus and Washburn.

In the future, on an Earth where humans have become extinct and machines rule the planet, a directive is given-"know man." But when the directive is taken too far, and machines begin to act human, an enforcer is called in to remedy the situation. It is known as Form Optional Synthetic - 240, an independent action search and destroy unit, tasked with hunting down and killing machines who seek to "know man" a little too well. But she thinks of herself as Syn and is more human than most of those she hunts... "Genesis," the first chapter of the new Rocket Comics series Syn.

32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 13.


By Tony Wong and Khoo Fuk Lung.

When it comes to electrifying, city-smashing, monster-bashing action, nothing can touch the adventures of Ultraman Tiga. In the year 2049, the Earth has settled into a period of relative peace, thanks in large part to the global efforts of GUTS-the Global Unlimited Task Squad-an international alliance dedicated to protecting mankind from threats within the planet and beyond. But when a mysterious meteor carrying an ominous message crashes next to GUTS headquarters, it heralds the end of peacetime and the return of the giant monsters that terrorized humanity many millions of years ago. Mankind's only hope is to find the lost land of Tiga and reawaken the 160-foot-tall warrior Ultraman! But that hope could be extinguished before it even begins, as the sinister monsters Melba and Golza set their sights on destroying Tiga and the sleeping guardian before he can arise to defeat them. Presenting the red-hot series from Hong Kong, translated in English for the first time.

40 pages, $3.99, in stores on Aug. 27.


By Stan Sakai.

Nothing comes easy for rabbit ronin Usagi, not even being a spectator at the planned duel between his former teacher Katsuichi and Katsuichi's rival Nakamura Koji. Before the duel even begins, Usagi becomes embroiled in a dispute between Koji and a local fencing school. Along the way, Usagi discovers a devastating secret - a weakness in Koji's style. It's a secret that could save his teacher's life, but at the cost of his own honor. This 17th volume of Usagi Yojimbo collects issues #43-60, including the entire "Duel at Kitanoji" story, and a handful of other great shorts. And, as a special treat for our longtime fans, this collection features-for the first time!-preliminary sketches and designs by Sakai. With an appreciation by MAD magazine cartoonist Jack Davis.

224 pages, black and white, $16.95, in stores on Sept. 3.

Hardcover, 224 pages, black and white, $59.95, in stores on Sept. 24.


By Makoto Kobayashi.

Described as "Japan's version of Garfield, Heathcliff, and Krazy Kat all rolled into one," Makoto Kobayashi's What's Michael? mixes all-too-real feline folly with hilarious fantasy scenarios to create one of graphic fiction's true comedic originals. From the upsides of leftovers and air conditioning to the downsides of litter boxes and neutering, the laughs proceed without delay. Translation by Dana Lewis and Toren Smith.

88 pages, black and white, $8.95, in stores on Sept. 17.

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