Books & Graphic Novels

Demons and Wizards: Dark Horse Compiles Hague’s Quest Tale

eye of newt,dark horse comics, michael gauge, king arthur,
Dark Horse compiles Michael Hague’s mini-series into a hardcover volume.

Eye of Newt
Writer and Artist: Michael Hague
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Publication Date:January 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Price: $17.99
Age range:8

Last year Dark Horse Comics released Eye of Newt as a four part mini-series but Michael Hague’s fantasy tale now finds what I believe is a more appropriate home. On January 28, 2015 Dark Horse will compile Hague’s unique twist on Arthurian quest legends into a hardcover edition.

All Creatures Great and Small…
The book is a dream for fantasy art enthusiasts. It’s filled with wizards, dragons, ogres, mermaids and toadies. All manner of natural and phantasmagorical beasties are depicted, surrounded by equally interesting flora.

Hague is well known in fantasy circles for his superbly detailed and beautifully colored art, and fans of adventure legends will not be disappointed with Eye of Newt. It is a visually sumptuous feast for the eyes, one that you will peruse over and over again and still catch previously unseen details.
dark horse books, eye of newt, michael hague
Master Strokes…
Hague’s illustrations will remind some viewers of the work of Arthur Rackham, and his attention to natural details would have made John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites beam. I also see hints of Gustave Klimt in Hague’s dense panels and juxtaposition of natural earth tones and brilliant jewel colors.

If you are unfamiliar with Michael Hague’s art beyond the pages of Eye of Newt you owe yourself a visit to his personal website. The artist himself points to influences from classic Japanese prints to Howard Pyle and the Brandywine School artists. The site has many beautiful examples including one that reminds me of the riot of pixies painted by Richard Dadd in his epic “The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke.” Dadd’s painting was frenetically assayed in song by Freddy Mercury on the Queen II album.
dark horse books, eye of newt, michael hague
Getting Sketchy…
In addition to compiling the four books under one cover, Dark Horse has added a Sketchbook section with lots of Hague’s pencil work. It’s interesting to see the structure of his pre-embellished art. Readers are treated to several unrealized characters and creatures and the artist’s own commentary on the preliminary pieces and gestation of the project.
dark horse books, eye of newt, michael hague

Art Books & Graphic Novels

Hallows Heroes: Dark Horse Presents The Halloween Legion

Dark Horse's The Halloween Legion Joins Our Favorite Seasonal Tomes
Dark Horse’s The Halloween Legion Joins Our Favorite Seasonal Tomes

The Halloween Legion
Dark Horse Books/Sequential Pulp Comics
Publication Date: September 11, 2013

The Hist-Whisting of Autumn Lawns…
One of my fondest childhood memories is the annual family reading of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Halloween. My Dad and Mom would sit me down by our fireplace and read the tale from a little abridged version that is still tucked away in my library. It didn’t matter that the flickering flames of our hearth were in reality the illusory effect of a propeller contraption mounted on a lightbulb, we always seemed to bring a bit of Catskills rusticity into our Brooklyn abode. That tradition stays with me to this day, and nary a year goes by when I don’t indulge in a reading of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, or peruse the pages of Deborah Kogan Ray’s impressionistic interpretation of e. e. cummings Hist Whist (Crown/Random House, 1989.)

A New Brew…
This year Dark Horse Books, in conjunction with Sequential Pulp Comics, serves up a delicious dose of all hallows entertainment with the publication of The Halloween Legion, a graphic novel that will join my small stack of October 31st favorites. Penned by Martin Powell with art by Thomas Boatwright and Diana Leto, the 80 page hard cover is a full color, beautifully rendered and action packed, romp through fall’s amber dusks and indigo twilights. The book’s dedication to Ray Bradbury, who Powell describes as its “spiritual godfather,” is no surprise as its feel is quite reminiscent of the recently deceased author’s work in all the best of ways.

Thomas Boatwright's Art of The Halloween Legion Assembled, with "Rag Golem" Thurston.
Thomas Boatwright’s Art of The Halloween Legion Assembled, with “Rag Golem” Thurston.

Split into two stories, the core of the volume is “The Great Goblin Invasion,” follows the exploits of a quintet of shadowy seasonal icons. Powell’s Witch, Skeleton, Devil, Ghost, and Black Cat are all endowed with special powers and very iconoclastic personalities. These odd-ball avengers team up to protect the town of Woodland against the titular “goblins” who are in reality space invaders. Part two, “Once Upon A Halloween,” is an autobiographical yarn which recounts an eerie event that spawned Powell’s creation of the Legion.

SkeletonPete Says…
The Halloween Legion is an excellent blend of classic spooky imagery with just the right amount of superhero and sci-fi spin to keep 21st century kids interested but not up all night with the frights.

Martin Powell, Diana Leto and Thomas Boatwright all have their own blogs where you can view and read more of their work. Leto and Powell have just begun the weekly subscription comic strip The Cave Girl over at the Edgar Rice Burroughs Website, while Boatwright is taking Halloween themed art commissions.