Dark Horse Presents #17 (Dark Horse)

Yet another in a long line of excellent issues in Dark Horse’s flagship anthology series.

 

 

84 pgs. full color; $7.99
(W / A: various)
 
Way back in 1986, the first volume issued by Dark Horse Comics was an anthology appropriately titled Dark Horse Presents. Showcasing the work of both veteran and up-and-coming artists and writers, Dark Horse Presents is currently in its third reincarnation, with issue #17. Even if you don’t normally go in for anthologies, this is one that’s worth following because over the years it has given many a young creator his or her first crack at wide exposure, and it has also launched outstanding series such as Frank Miller’s Sin City and Paul Chadwick’s Concrete. The list of artists and writers who have been featured in Dark Horse Presents over the years is a real roll call of influential comics creators today, including Joe Sacco, Harvey Pekar, Moebius, Eddie Campbell, Mike Mignola, and Rick Geary. If that’s not enough of a recommendation, three of the Dark House Presents collections have won the Eisner Award for Best Anthology. 
 
Issue #17 brings the expected mix of styles and of self-contained versus serial stories, and it has the proverbial something for every taste—you may not like every comic in this collection, but if you are at all into contemporary comics, I’d be surprised if something doesn’t resonate with you. My personal favorite is Chapter 3 of “The Girl With the Keyhole Eyes” by David Chelsea, which is really, really weird, and not just because it’s told by a guy in a bar talking to a rabbit wearing a bow tie. Besides motivating me to read up on colobama, it’s one of those stories that present multiple conflicting narratives without making it clear which, if any, are reliable. My runner-up favorite is Richard Corben’s self-contained and very creepy version of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Sleeper,” because, well, I’m a sucker for anything Poe. And since I’m writing this review, I also get to pick a second runner-up. That would be the guilty pleasure of chapter 2 of the noirish “Crime Does Not Pay” by Phil Stanford (story) and Patric Reynolds (art). It a tale of a bad girl and how she got that way, and the art in particular really makes this one work—Reynolds’ retro style captures the ambiance of those 1940s cautionary tales whose real appeal was the glimpse they offered of a forbidden shadow world far outside the experience of the average American.
 
Dark Horse Presents #17 also features chapters from two nautical sci-fi comics, Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder” and “Deep Sea” (story by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, art by Tony Akins). There’s also an “Aliens: Inhuman Condition” chapter by John Layman (story) and Sam Kieth (art), a “Concrete Park” chapter (story by Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear, art by Tony Puryear), chapter 2 in the dark steampunk comic “UXB” by Colin Lorimer, the self-contained fantasy story “The Sacrifice” by Michael Avon Oeming (story) and Victor Santos (art), and the goofy self-contained story “Mr. Monster: Back From the Dead!!!” by Michael T. Gilbert.
 
You can see a preview of Dark Horse Presents #17 on the publisher’s web site (http://www.darkhorse.com/Comics/20-286/Dark-Horse-Presents-17). | Sarah Boslaugh

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