“What are Dark Horse Originals you might ask?” moderator Steve Sunu posited at the start of the Dark Horse panel on Thursday at Comic-Con. “They represent the literature side of the comic industry.” Sunu pointed out that Dark Horse considered their original graphic novel line to be comic books that you could hand to somebody who loves reading and traditional literature. They are unique and original titles with a flair of sophistication.
First up was twin brothers Fabio Moon and Gabrial Ba’s Two Brothers. “It’s about two twin brothers that hate each other, which is something very close to us” Ba said. Moon joked that their collaborative process basically involved them waking up each morning and beating on each other. They said that the goal was to not only show a story about relationships and family, but also to capture a different side of Brazil when compared to their seminal work Daytripper.
Next, the panel touched on Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT. The critically hailed series is nearing its conclusion, and Kindt announced that he had just finished the final issue two days before. “I wanted to make an interesting and unique book, something different for people to pick up every month.” He pointed out that his goal was to show what the comics medium could do, taking advantage of the format and often using hidden messages and symbolism. Kindt serves as both the writer and artist on the series, a situation which he said taught him a lot about time management. “I wish I had a brother who could draw,” Kindt joked.
Colleen Coover then discussed the Eisner Award winning series Bandette. “It’s a series that sort of came from a nostalgia for something that never was.” Coover said that the concept was basically to do a book like Tin Tin but done by Americans. Bandette has been highly praised and collected several awards, with many critics noting how unique and original the series is. “I think there is nothing else like this book on stands. I say, like all of our originals, it’s the sort of thing you won’t find at other publishers. It’s the kind of thing that only Dark Horse is publishing.”
Sunu then announced that Dark Horse would be publishing Matt Kindt’s new series. Titled Dept. H, the comic is a murder mystery that takes place in an underwater base. “I know how the whole series will play out,” Kindt noted. He said that the series was outlined to run 24 issues. The comic will be monthly and Kindt joked that he thought about taking a break from drawing a monthly series, but it didn’t work out that way.
The panel then opened up to questions from the audience, with the first being from a fan asking what the status with new Umbrella Academy was. “I’m meeting with Gerard [Way] next week. I know he has one script done,” Ba said. This statement was met with a loud cheer from the audience. A follow up question was about the recently announced Umbrella Academy television series that was recently announced. “I don’t know too much, I just found out about it like you!” Ba laughed.
Another fan asked the entire panel why they would tell to choose their stories in the graphic novel medium as opposed to traditional prose. “Comics can do things that nothing else can do,” Ba responded. “They can do things like show silence, you can see it, there are no words. In prose, you have to use words to tell the reader that there is silence. It’s a different feeling.”
On the subject of influence, Gabriel Ba said he looked heavily at black and white comic books, of which he wished there were more. Matt Kindt said he is influenced heavily by works outside of comics, like the novels of Philip K Dick. Coover said she was excited and astonished by fans who cosplay as Bandette characters. “It’s a level of creator and fan interaction that is amazing.”