This past Tuesday, Dark Horse Comics editor Scott Allie spent a little over an hour in the CBR Chat Room talking about everything and anything Dark Horse, and we've got the full transcript for you.
For those of you interested in being part in future chats, this Sunday sees writer David Hine take the stage. He'll be chatting with fans September 18th for an hour beginning at 3:00 PM PDT/6:00 PM EDT. Taking part in the chat is free to everyone. All you need to do is visit the CBR Forums, register for a free account, then click on Comic Chat.
Brian Cronin: Welcome, folks, to the Scott Allie chat!
Scott Allie: Is it rolling, Bob?
Stygian: Okay, obvious stuff out of the way first. What's Mike [Mignola] working on these days?
Scott Allie: Tonight Mike's drawing the cover to the "Black Flame" TPB.
Scott Allie: In a couple days he starts drawing his part of the Corben two-parter.
Stygian: Wow, "Black Flame" TPB already? Just goes to show how much in advance these things are created
skinnymikec: How long is Cary Nord gonna be doing "Conan" anyhow? Any set contract length?
Scott Allie: We don't have long-term contracts, seldom more than a year.
Scott Allie: But I talk to Cary about it a lot, and he has no plans of leaving.
skinnymikec: I never thought I'd be buying "Conan" again after all these years, great job!
Scott Allie: Glad you guys like "Conan."
Scott Allie: We really try to make it the best we can, every month.
Scott Allie: Kaluta is doing a guest spot in #22, the last part of "Tower of the Elephant."
skinnymikec: the fill ins are brilliant, the Bruce Timm one was right on the money. do creators come to you with ideas?
Scott Allie: What did you think of P. Craig Russell's Conan mini?
Stygian: I picked up the first issue of P. Craig Russell's comic, but after Nord it kind of left me flat.
Stygian: Strange to admit that, because I'm a huge PCR fan.
skinnymikec: honestly, I bought it, but thought it was a little eh initially...i've warmed to it though
Brian Cronin: Whose idea was it for Jill [Thompson] and Evan [Dorkin] to work together [on their Eisner-winning short stories, "Strays," in the "Dark Horse Book of The Dead" series]? Did they come together on their own, or did someone else suggest it?
Scott Allie: I approached Evan; he pitched me the "Stray" story and said he wasn't the guy to draw it.
Scott Allie: I insisted he was, he said "No," I said "Yes."
Scott Allie: Then he said, "What about Jill?"
Scott Allie: I said, "You're right, you shouldn't draw it. Let's get her."
Scott King: How did you first get a job as an editor?
Scott Allie: I walked into a magazine office called "Glimmer Train Stories."
Scott Allie: They hadn't had their first book out yet, but I'd just moved to town.
Scott Allie: Looked up publishers in the Yellow Pages, and walked in.
Scott Allie: They weren't looking for help, but a few weeks later they realized that they needed someone, so they called me back in.
Scott Allie: It was the best "first job" anyone could ask for. I still work for them part-time.
Scott Allie: Loyalty. I call them my aunties.
Stygian: Any possibility that "Hellboy" will be collected in Hard Bound editions, similar to "Sin City" this past summer? It just seems a natural.
Scott Allie: Did we do Sin City hardcovers?
Stygian: I thought Dark Horse did.
Scott Allie: Mike and I do have a plan for "Hellboy" hardcovers.
Scott Allie: I have to formalize it. The idea is to collect two TPBs in one HC.
skinnymikec: Any other anthologies of "Hellboy" or "BPRD" planned that some of our talented board creators could get in on, like Rick in "Weird Tales?"
Scott Allie: Nothing at present.
Scott Allie: And I'm so inundated with pitches, it's very hard to find the good new talent.
Scott Allie: Among everything else, so to speak.
Scott Allie: I personally feel badly that I don't have enough time for "new talent."
skinnymikec: how many of the pitches are unsolicited?
Scott Allie: Unsolicited pitches get shuffled off to our submissions editor.
Scott Allie: Submissions Editor is not a real job, btw.
Scott King: What kind of mistakes do most people make when pitching to Dark Horse?
Scott Allie: Mistakes on pitches….sending in an unsolicited pitch is a big mistake.
Scott Allie: Not that it's bad, but with the workload of books I have.
Scott Allie: I don't have any time carved out in the day to read stuff that I don't have a compelling reason to read.
Stygian: Any possibility that Mike will do some kind of portfolio of his various recent painted covers? I'm thinking specifically about the upcoming Pocket Book novel covers.
Scott Allie: Mike might do such a portfolio on his own
Scott Allie: But I doubt it. We have a long-term plan for where those go.
Scott Allie: But I can't tell you right now.
Paploo the Ewok: Since you guys have such a big success with "Megatokyo," and are releasing "Penny Arcade," are you going to consider collecting more web comics?
Scott Allie: More web comics, yes
Scott King: To do a solicited submission, is it best to send a query letter, or to try talking to someone first at a convention?
Scott Allie: To get an editor to solicit work from you, I dunno.
Scott Allie: I only solicit work from someone if I've read their work and love it.
skinnymikec: How far down the line are "Hellboy" and "BPRD" planned out right now?
Scott Allie: How far out are Hellboy and BPRD Planned? BPRD only a year.
Scott Allie: Hellboy-- to the end.
Stygian: How's the response to "Revelations" been, Scott?
Scott Allie: The response has been great.
Scott Allie: Let's talk about "Revelations" a minute, if we can focus.
Stygian: I liked Humberto's artwork much more once I saw it in color.
Stygian: Also, that pencil ashcan from SDCC for "Revelations" was a brilliant idea!
Scott Allie: Thanks-- glad you liked the ashcan. Sort of Humberto's idea.
Scott Allie: The pencils were so good, and we love the colors.
Scott Allie: But he wanted people to see his work, unaltered. This was the best way.
RandyOni: It'd a stunning book.
Paploo the Ewok: What is "Revelations?" Is that a new "Hellboy" project?
Scott Allie: Revelations is not a "Hellboy" thing. It's a creator-owned book by Humberto Ramos and Paul Jenkins.
Scott Allie: The story is a really beautiful, complex mystery.
Scott Allie: Paul just gave me the final script yesterday.
Scott Allie: And it's huge-- not an upbeat Hollywood ending.
Brian Cronin: It reminds me of the third Godfather in that sense
Scott Allie: WHAT REMINDS YOU OF THE 3RD GODFATHER!??!
Brian Cronin: Revelations
Scott Allie: Sorry, them's fighting words.
Brian Cronin: You didn't like the third Godfather?
Scott Allie: I thought the final Godfather was universally reviled.
Brian Cronin: Nah. It just isn't as good as the first two. Which isn't really an insult, ya know?
Scott Allie: Good point.
Stygian: At first "Revelations" seemed to me to be "Da Vinci Code" redux, but my opinion is changing on that tact.
Stygian: Not completely like "Da Vinci Code," but starting in a similar way.
Scott Allie: As for the "Da Vinci Code" comparison, wait and see.
Scott Allie: Occult thrillers really do it for me, and "Revelations" is such a good mystery.
Scott Allie: I think people will be blown away by the end.
chucksatterlee: I just came in, but I have to say that I thought "Revelations" was a great first read.
Scott Allie: Thanks, Chuck.
Scott Allie: A lot of people have asked if "Revelations" will be on time.
Scott Allie: It will. We're working way ahead on it.
Scott Allie: And Humberto is doing an issue in 8 weeks.
Scott Allie: And has already finished #5.
Scott Allie: And going back to solicited and unsolicited submissions
Scott Allie: "Revelations" is what you could call a solicited submission.
Scott Allie: I know it might be infuriating to compare their efforts, to place a book with a new guy's efforts, but from my end, I'm just trying to line books on the schedule.
Scott Allie: While trying to work things out with Paul and Humberto
Scott Allie: It's hard to get time to line up something from someone I've never read.
Scott Allie: [Excuses, excuses ...]
skinnymikec: You went out to Paul and Humberto and said, do this type of story? Or they had it there ready for a say so?
Scott Allie: They had the story in mind, but I went asking them to bring me something
Scott Allie: Paul, in particular, and he brought Humberto to me.
Stygian: Why those two in particular Scott?
Scott Allie: I was a fan of Paul's writing from before, tried getting him to do a BPRD one-shot.
Scott Allie: Back when I was doing those.
Scott Allie: Paul has a good sense of moral horror, moral ambiguity.
Scott Allie: A somewhat literary voice-- and he's an entertaining guy. Sometimes that translates well to comics.
Scott Allie: Team Paul with a real visual guy like Humberto, and it's a winner.
Stygian: The concept and execution on "Revelations" seems interesting thus far, so I know I for one will stick around.
Stygian: I still have a problem with Humberto as the choice for this particular topic.
Stygian: I feel he may have been miscast a bit (kind of like an actor miscast in a role).
Scott Allie: I know what you mean, Neil-- but obviously I disagree.
Scott Allie: I don't think "cartoony" artists should be limited to "light" material.
Scott Allie: Humberto's stuff in "Revelations" has lots of mood.
Scott Allie: You know, people outside comics might think Mignola is cartoony.
Scott Allie: Mignola is sort of cartoony. But he's good mood and atmosphere.
RandyOni: Humberto is amazing. I love the collision of "cartoony" art and the dark themes.
Stygian: I agree that artists should be allowed to stretch themselves into different genres.
Stygian: Comics being a marriage (on a good day) of words and pictures, it has to be a good marriage in the readers mind to work and allow that suspension of disbelief.
Scott Allie: You're right.
Scott Allie: And so "Revelations" might not work for some fans of the genre.
Scott Allie: I know that, but the story belongs emotionally to Humberto as much as Paul.
Scott Allie: Humberto's catholic background very much informs the plot.
chucksatterlee: Referring to the title-- Revelations and not Revelation. Is that more to do with the outcome of the mystery than the book of Revelation? A play on the word?
Scott Allie: "Revelations" the comic features many revelations.
Scott Allie: That's why it's plural. There is a connection to St John's book, but it's not the most important meaning of the title.
Paploo the Ewok: Do you know anything about new series coming to "SuperMangaBlast? "
Scott Allie: Sorry. I don't know what the manga guys are doing.
Scott Allie: Our department is very segmented.
skinnymikec: Do you go to your "friends" or acquaintances in the business more so than another creator you might have never dealt with, but is a "big name"?
Scott Allie: Friends more than others? No. I don't think so.
Scott Allie: Until recent projects, I never worked with or knew Cary Nord, Paul Jenkins, Kurt Busiek, Humberto Ramos, Guy Davis…
Brad Curran: How long is "Revelations?"
Scott Allie: "Revelations" = 6 issues.
Scott Allie: I have to plug "The Fog."
Scott Allie: Did anyone see the review on Millar world?
Scott Allie: They loooved it.
skinnymikec: Big fan of the original movie...
Stygian: Plug away, Scott!
Scott Allie: I love the original "Fog." Blew my socks off as a twelve year old.
Stygian: What's the premise with "Fog?"
Scott Allie: The comic Todd and Dave and I did is as much a prequel to the original film as it is to the new one.
RandyOni: The preview looks amazing.
RandyOni: I wanted to ask about "The Fog" and what it must have been like to pitch it internally with you as the writer.
Scott Allie: I was tricky like that.
Scott Allie: When they asked me if I wanted to edit it I just said, Yeah, and I'm writing it. Scott Allie: I certainly can't always get away with that, but everyone went for it this time.
skinnymikec: Maybe you have some pull now as an established writer...?
Scott Allie: I've been doing it for a while, editing and writing, and I guess I have some pull.
Brian Cronin: This is at least the second movie tie-in you've done for Dark Horse, right?
Scott Allie: I've done too many tie-ins, Brian
Scott Allie: Some of my movies tie-ins weren't great. But I loved "Star Wars" and "The Fog."
Scott Allie: The director worked with me to come up with "The Fog" story.
Scott Allie: I really wanted something that would be essential to the film...
Scott Allie: And he made that happen.
Stygian: What else has the artist on "Fog" done recently?
Scott Allie: The artist on "The Fog" had a story in "Dark Horse Book of the Dead."
Scott Allie: He and I are doing a convention in Portland in a couple weeks-Stumptown-- and we're doing up an ashcan of the story we did right before "Book of the Dead."
Scott Allie: It was a waterborne horror story set in the 1870s.
Scott Allie: Which just happens to be the exact milieu of "The Fog" prequel.
Scott King: Do you enjoy editing more than writing, or vice versa?
Scott Allie: Many of my heroes were editor/writers. Kurtzman, Goodwin.
Scott Allie: The way I approach writing fits with how I want to edit, and vice versa.
Lady Hellgirl: Scott, what did you think when you first meet Mike and his Hellboy drawings?
Scott Allie: I was not initially a fan of Mike's work.
Scott Allie: But by the time he did "Hellboy," I'd seen the error of my ways.
Scott Allie: Rebecca Guay, a comics and children's book artist I grew up with got me into Mike's stuff. I owe her a great deal. Go buy her book. It's called "Goddesses," and it's the sort of thing Mike has on his shelves.
Brad Curran: I didn't like Kirby that much when I was a kid.
Scott Allie: Yeah, I hated Kirby when I was twelve.
Scott Allie: Shame.
Stygian: Is there any chance Sook will be back on any Hellboy related title in the near future, Scott?
Scott Allie: No plans to bring Ryan Sook back.
Brian Cronin: Is guy Davis on some sort of amphetamine? He draws too good to be that fast.
Scott Allie: Guy Davis lives in a town where they stone people like him.
Scott Allie: So he doesn't leave the house, and just draws draws draws.
Scott Allie: Guy is a force of nature.
Brian Cronin: What a lucky break for you, Scott!
Scott Allie: I've had a lot of lucky breaks.
Scott Allie: I recommend it highly
Brian Cronin: Deformity helps us once again!
Scott Allie: Not deformity, breaks.
Stygian: Buy Guy Davis' Original Art pages folks! He sells em' for a steal and you get great, great art!
Scott Allie: We have a bunch of things we need Guy to do
Brad Curran: Any plans for another "Nevermen" mini-series?
Scott Allie: No plans on "Nevermen."
Scott Allie: I did edit the last "Nevermen" series, actually
Scott Allie: No one's yelling at me about Lee Bermejo.
Brian Cronin: I like Lee Bermejo. I think his art is the ginchiest.
Brad Curran: Bermejo's cool.
Brad Curran: "Batman/Deathblow" was gorgeous.
Scott Allie: Bermejo's stuff on "Hellboy" is amazing.
Brian Cronin: How did the Picasso thing in "Reveal" develop, Scott?
Scott Allie: On my honey moon I was in Venice (those aunties from Glimmer Train sent me) and in Peggy Guggenheim's museum, there was this comic strip by Picasso.
Scott Allie: I inquired about the rights, it took forever, but I realized it was possible.
Scott Allie: I had to get rights from his estate, pay Guggenheim for materials and otherwise shuck and jive, but it was worth it.
Brian Cronin: "Reveal" was great fun. Too bad that did not catch on.
Scott Allie: "Reveal" led directly to "Book of Hauntings," so it all worked out.
Scott Allie: "Reveal" lost money, but we thought if we had a theme it would do better.
Brian Cronin: "Reveal" led into the "Book of' Hauntings?" That is good to hear.
Scott Allie: I loved the concept of "Reveal," but realized it needed more of a hook.
Scott Allie: So a theme, a different format, but there is a lot in common if you really look at both.
Lady Hellgirl: What was the best series in your opinion that you ever edited for?
Scott Allie: Best series-"Hellboy," of course.
Stygian: Good answer, Scott! And very diplomatic as well
Brad Curran: I can see Eric Powell crying. "I thought I was your favorite!"
Scott Allie: "The Goon" is one of my favorites too, of course. I love Eric. He's a great friend.
Scott Allie: I think "Conan" will wind up on my top five lifetime jobs.
Brad Curran: Is Bruce Timm doing any more work for you guys?
Scott Allie: Bruce Timm can do whatever he wants. I love Bruce Timm.
Scott Allie: We talk about more Conan, but no firm plans.
skinnymikec: Any creators you'd really like to get do a Conan story?
Scott Allie: I have a wish list a mile long on Conan. I plan on doing the book a long time
Sir Edward: Dave Stewart brings all kinds of goodness to "Hellboy" and "Conan."
Scott Allie: Dave Stewart is brilliant, indeed.
Brian Cronin: I hope Dark Horse has Dave Stewart chained up somewhere. Never let him go.
Stygian: Dave Stewart needs to be cloned, as so many colorists these days could learn volumes of lessons from him.
Scott Allie: I try to get Dave to bring goodness to all my books. He colors almost everything I write and as much of my editing jobs as I can get him on.
Sir Edward: Imagine... color actually contributing to the quality of a comic
Scott Allie: Color always contributes to the quality
Scott Allie: It's just that usually it detracts.
Stygian: Is Mike considering doing pencils with Dave Stewart colors comic at all, Scott; Hellboy related or otherwise?
Scott Allie: No. No pencils only with Mike
Stygian: I've asked Mike, and he sounded receptive.
Scott Allie: The closest we get is the grey scans of his inks.
Scott Allie: Mike doesn't do the washy greys Cary and Humberto do.
Scott Allie: So there's no point in leaving out inks.
Brian Cronin: What's next in the Book of series?
Scott Allie: "Book of Monsters."
skinnymikec: Any chance of sending us some Mignola pieces thrown in the wastepaper basket?
Scott Allie: No, but it is funny that you mention that, because just recently, Mike was working on a Hellboy cover and did not like how it turned out.
Stygian: Uh Oh.
Scott Allie: So he slived off the top part, threw it out
Scott Allie: And sent me the bottom part with a new top drawing to piece together in the computer.
Stygian: DOH!!! Say it isn't so!
skinnymikec: The people on eBay just had a heart attack...
Scott Allie: I tried to tell Christine, Mike's wife to keep an eye on him, because the stuff he throws away could put their daughter through college.
Stygian: Even Hellboy head sketches sell for hundreds.
Brian Cronin: Any "Devil's Footprints" plans?
Scott Allie: We are working on "Devil's Footprints II."
Scott Allie: It's written, a few pages are drawn...
Scott Allie: But Paul Lee is drawing "Conan" and the "Demons of Khitai" for me right now Scott Allie: And that's putting "Devil's Footprints" on hold.
Stygian: Paul Lee on "Conan?" I don't like the sound of that (sorry Paul).
Scott Allie: I think you'll be surprised by his "Demons of Khitai" stuff, Neil.
Brian Cronin: Are you going to have a story in the book of?
Scott Allie: Yes, we'll be in "Book of Monsters."
Brian Cronin: "Devil's Footprints?"
Scott Allie: I don't know if our story in "Monsters" will be DF or not
Scott Allie: Our "Witchcraft" story wasn't, which is funny, since DF is about Witchcraft, but we just had another idea.
skinnymikec: Why no interview in "Book of the Dead?"
skinnymikec: I was starting to dig those...
Scott Allie: No dead people to interview.
Brian Cronin: True
Scott Allie: Had already done a sance medium.
Scott Allie: Will interview Cheney in "Book of Monsters."
JimmyDee: Hey guys, sorry I'm late. I had a question for Scott about Cal McDonald at Dark Horse. Has anyone asked about that yet?
Scott Allie: Cal's coming back.
Scott Allie: Kelley Jones is busy on two other books for us
Scott Allie: So a variety of guys are being considered for some short bits.
JimmyDee: What's the latest? I saw a news story on CBR a week or two ago that said Supernatural Freak Machine was going to be collected by you guys. What's the latest?
Scott Allie: Yes, we are doing a collection of all four issues of Freak Machine.
JimmyDee: Two other books? Any hints? Huge fan of Kelly's since his Batman days.
Brian Cronin: His writing was not half bad either in the last Book of!!
Scott Allie: Kelley has a creator-owned book he's doing called "13th Son."
Scott Allie: It's a monster mash
Scott Allie: Then Kelly's doing a Conan spin-off for me
Scott Allie: "Conan: The Book of Thoth" -- Thoth-amon's life story.
Scott Allie: "Thoth" is written by Kurt Busiek and Len Wein. It is Epic.
Brian Cronin: Cool. Kurt writes with other writers well.
Sir Edward: Why don't more creators own their things?
Scott Allie: Creators can own their stuff whenever they want.
Scott Allie: They just sometimes choose money over freedom.
Stygian: Why not bring back BWS and have him do a spin-off?
Scott Allie: BWS + DH = bad history.
Brian Cronin: Did Dark Horse ever pursue the red Sonja license?
Scott Allie: We did not want Red Sonja for a million reasons.
Scott Allie: The version you know is not a Robert E Howard character.
Brian Cronin: Okay, so it was a choice not to get it. that's cool.
Scott Allie: We want to stick to the Howard material and get away from the pastiches.
Brian Cronin: Fair enough
Scott Allie: There was a time we'd consider it, but not anymore.
Scott Allie: Howard did have a character named Red Sonia.
Scott Allie: Sonia will eventually appear in the comic.
Scott Allie: She has a much more interesting story than Sonja.
JimmyDee: Is Dark Horse thinking of doing a crossover with "Red Sonja?" Is that a possibility?
Scott Allie: No crossover. No way.
Stygian: Has Mike done the cover to "Stranger Places" yet?
Scott Allie: The Strange Places cover's done. It's not on our website?
Scott Allie: About time to wrap this up. Tomorrow night I'm having dinner with Busiek to plan out "Conan" 28-30. Any requests?
Brian Cronin: Yes. A Dylan reference!
Brian Cronin: I love when comics make Dylan references.
Scott Allie: Read "The Fog" and tell me if you get the Dylan reference. I don't think he'll make it in "Conan."
Scott Allie: I have a book I'm working on with "The Fog" artist called "Save Me" which is practically one big Dylan reference.
morna: Hellboy reference!
Scott Allie: Cary already drew Hellboy into "Conan" once.
Stygian: Really, which issue Scott?
Scott Allie: Stygian, I don't remember which issue of "Conan," but it was a fight scene.
Brian Cronin: Thanks again to Scott, this was very informative!
Scott Allie: It's all over now, baby blue.