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Anime Weekend Atlanta 2008
Dark Horse Comics (Updated)

by Patrick Jefferson,

AWA's Dark Horse Manga panel managed to reel in a decent attendance of about 70 people. The presentation was focused almost entirely on manga, with the only exceptions being two Korean titles that Manga Editor Carl Gustav Horn took care to distinguish. Official announcements, though not necessarily met with applause, were received with polite interest in a relaxed and conversational atmosphere.

Horn began the panel by displaying Yoshitaka Amano's brush-stroked poster design of the Dark Horse Manga logo - a commemoration of the company's 25th anniversary - and noting that he would distribute free copies of the poster at the end of the panel. Currently, Amano is creating the illustrations for Shinjuku, an original sci-fi novel that Dark Horse is set to publish in the summer of next year. Author and film director Christopher "Mink" Morrison will be writing the book.

From then, he quickly moved on to official announcements, circulating full-color, laserjet prints of Berserk volume #25, Hellsing volume #9, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service volume #8 among the audience before relaying a chronological list of release dates from his laptop and pausing every few minutes to discuss relevant (and not-so-relevant) details.

Regarding upcoming releases, fans can expect the Dark Horse release of Gantz volume #2 on Sepetember 24th. Hellsing volume #9 is due for release on October 22nd, as well as Corpse Delivery Service volume #8 and Berserk volume #25, also sometime within October. Oh My Goddess! volume #10 will be available on November 2nd, and volume #4 of the new Blood+ manga, as well as volume #3 of the new Blood+ novel, will be released on November 12th. On a slightly humorous note Horn also announced that the Hellsing Zippo lighter will be released on October 30th, and that Domo mini-figurines will be available for purchase at Target in several different colors in the late fall season.

Horn took a short break from announcing release dates to comment on artist Adam Warren (the “Neal Stephenson of comics”) and his work on Dirty Pair, praising his fantastic penciling and rapid throughput and adding that Warren's work had reached a point in which it has “surpassed” the original. He also mentioned another one of Warren's titles currently in progress, Empowered, which is due for release on November 17th.

Dark Horse will also continue to distribute the English translation of Style School. Style School is the alternative United States title for the Japanese magazine Small S (commonly referred to as “SS”, a title that Horn notes harbors inappropriate connotations for its U.S. readership). Style School is a special interest publication geared towards amateur and student artists and features “fairly elaborate double page spreads” of illustrations followed by five or six page breakdowns that describe the details of the creative process. The magazine is currently circulated in both Japanese and English to encourage cross-cultural dialogue. Volume #3 will be available on November 19th.

Continuing with target dates, MPD-Psycho volume #7 will be released on November 26th; Blade of the Immortal volume #20 on December 3rd; Gantz volume #3 on December 24th; and Oh My Goddess! volume #31 on December 31st, marking the last of Dark Horse's 2008 releases.

Dark Horse is planning several notable releases for 2009, a few of which are not necessarily limited to manga. For instance, a limited edition Vampire Hunter D bust collectible (along with its monochrome variant) will be available for purchase on January 1st, 2009. Horn also mentioned that he is working closely with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, perhaps best known for his Neon Genesis Evangelion character designs, to distribute a Dark Horse translation of a new Eva spinoff manga that features all of the original characters in a somewhat different set of circumstances. Horn noted that although the organization NERV still plays an active role in the new story, it primarily centers on the comedic antics of Asuka and Shinji's school life.

Finally, it was announced that the eagerly-anticipated Mangettes, CLAMP's collaborative effort with Dark Horse, will be released in August 2009. Apparently “Mangettes” is the name of the format and not the actual title of the first work, which he refused to reveal at the time. Horn also mentioned in passing that William Flanagan, who translates xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa for Del Rey, has agreed to work on Mangettes. Additional details will be announced next weekend at New York Anime Festival.

Other titles including Kurosagi, Ghost Talker's Daydream, Berserk, Trigun, Excess Hybrid, Oh My Goddess!, Gantz, Eden, Translucent, Blade of the Immortal, and the Korean graphic novels Bride of the Water God and XS Hybrid will continue to be serialized well into 2009, with specific release dates reaching as far as August.

Update: MPD-Psycho's volume number corrected. Thanks, Anath_19.

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