Archive for Dark Horse

Occult Detectives in the News

Posted in Horror, Media, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2015 by Occult Detective

golemLet’s start in the world of four colors — Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden team up with artist Patric Reynolds and colorist Dave Stewart to bring Joe Golem to life once more. I didn’t read Drowning City, so this was my introduction to the character. I love the idea of it, having dabbled in similar detectives of my own. Joe’s sort of a cross between Golem-esque FBI Special Agent Martin Crowe (Descendant) and the Demon Private Eye Sam Hill (reoccurring most often in various Landon Connors tales). The pictures are pretty, but there are a few issues I had with the flow of the story, more from an artistic standpoint than anything the writer hiccuped on. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend. It’s the first of three issues, so I imagine most will wait for the trade. That’s bad for business, overall, but hey, the comic industry of my childhood’s been under sod for better than two decades now. No point in bellyaching.

simoniffOn Wednesday we took Connor down for a doctor’s appointment at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. My faith in doctors (or rather, my lack thereof) was unshaken. As long as they remain slaves to pharmaceutical companies and close-minded to anything other than their narrow world view, their usefulness is virtually nonexistent.

On the way home, however, we did swing by Half-Price Books and I managed to procure The Simon Iff Stories & Other Works and The Drug & Other Works, both by famed esotericist Aleister Crowley. Iff, who appears in Crowley’s novel Moonchild, is one of my favorite occult detectives, so finding these collections, for a grand total of just under ten dollars, was a score and a half.

A shame that Crowley is not more well known for his fiction. He had a real knack for it. A shame too that he didn’t pursue it more vigorously.

ConstantineI guess the big kicker in occult detective news yesterday was Matt Ryan slipping into John Constantine’s trenchcoat again for a guest-stint on Arrow. ‘Haunted‘ was a decent outing and Matt Ryan did old Conjob honorably enough. His accent was slipping here and there, but given his tight schedule, it can be forgiven.

Some of the special effects were a little underwhelming and that Horus Grimoire prop was pretty damn cheap looking, but I was just thrilled to see Ryan as Constantine again.

I really wish the series would have made it, and I wish the Arrow showrunners could have brought John in for a season long arc, but we get what we get…

There’s still a slim chance Matt’ll get a run at Constantine again on the big screen as a part of Justice League Dark (which is still in development). Time will tell…

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Destination America has a new paraentertainment series out — The Demon Files featuring ‘demonologist’ Ralph Sarchie. My advice? Skip it. It’s what we in the business like to call ‘first rate buffoonery’. This joker wouldn’t know a demon if it bit him on the arse. He and Zak Bagans should be pen pals.

My review of King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon #1

Posted in Archive with tags , , , on May 30, 2013 by Occult Detective


New this week from Dark Horse Comics comes a welcome sight for sore eyes — an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s The Hour of the Dragon by writer Tim Truman, illustrator Tomás Giorello and colorist José Villarrubia. It’s no secret that I have a deep affinity for Howard’s creations, particularly Conan of Cimmeria. I have also been very vocal about my utter disdain for Brian Wood’s most recent take on the character. With Tim Truman in the driver’s seat of King Conan, in a very real sense, this felt very much like rediscovering a long lost friend, erasing the foul taste left by Wood’s work. By Crom, my Conan was back.

I am, in addition to being a fan of Howard’s Conan stories, a huge fan of Marvel’s comic adaptations and loved Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, and John Buscema’s take on The Hour of the Dragon (which played out through Giant-Sized Conan #s 1-4, and Savage Sword of Conan #s 8 & 10). How does Dark Horse’s imagining measure up? In a word? Beautifully.

The writing is crisp and direct, capturing the essence of Robert E. Howard’s fiery prose. There’s no question that Truman drinks from the same well. This is a man who understands the medium he’s working in, pacing the story and delivering a fantastic cliffhanger guaranteed to entice even the most jaded comic fan back for more.

As for the art, Tomás Giorello is really a wonder, capturing perfectly the mythic grandeur that Howard’s original tale inspires. Giorello’s style invokes the perfect cross between Barry Windsor-Smith and John Buscema, with classic, sketch-heavy line work that’s just beautiful in every sense of the word. The real star for me, artistically, however, is José Villarrubia, whose color palette just sings with so much emotion coming through in those muted, color-pencil-like hues.

If there’s a negative, it’s in the issue’s lettering. The special effects seem out of place and digitally dropped in. And while I dig the adaptability and simplification of computer lettering, this is certainly an instance where hand-lettering would have been better served. But then again, maybe that’s just me showing my age.

All in all, a stellar outing for King Conan: The Hour of the Dragon. This is how Conan was meant to be represented on the comic page and I look forward to the ride to come.

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