Dark Horse to collect the underrated “Bloodhound”

Some unexpected and cool news: Dark Horse Comics is collecting writer Dan Jolley’s excellent (and criminally ignored and underrated) 2004 series from DC, Bloodhound. Although creator-owned (kinda, sorta…read the interview for more details) the book was set in the DC Universe, but was fairly self-contained and didn’t really interact much with the superhero crowd. Jolley still had to remove a whole issue that guest starred Firestorm, and make some other cosmetic changes, but it’s cool that DC decided not to be a dick about it and worked with him on this.

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“Bloodhound is about Travis “Clev” Clevenger, a huge, brutal, ex-Atlanta police detective who specializes in tracking down superhuman criminals. Clev had the city’s best record for finding and dealing with superhumans, thanks to a knack for understanding their thought processes. Unfortunately, he had also been having an on-again-off-again affair with his partner Vince’s wife, Trish, for a number of years, and when Vince found out, he attacked Clev with a crowbar. Clev killed Vince and got sentenced to prison.”

The series only lasted 10 issues, and featured interior art by Leonard Kirk and covers by Dave Johnson. It felt to me like the latter was phoning some of the covers in, especially compared to his rock solid covers for other books, but this one in particular has a nice vibe to it:

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The story, pacing, and characterization were top notch. I remember thinking that Jolley was exercising the perfect balance between teasing mysteries, and answering questions. It’s really a shame that DC had no clue what to do with the book, and it boggles the mind to wonder what their though process was when it came to this whole series. Here’s Jolley, being somewhat diplomatic about it:

“As far as challenges, well, DC’s upper brass provided plenty of those themselves. There were quite a few baffling decisions made during the book’s development, and some truly profound lapses in communication, but probably the biggest hurdle was the timing. Bloodhound was approved, straight to series, at the last pitch meeting of 2002, but for some reason I never learned, DC chose not to let it hit shelves until the middle of 2004. In the intervening 18 months, the company engaged in a little event called Identity Crisis. You may remember that. Identity Crisis put every single bit of DC’s focus on the capes-and-tights crowd, and if a book didn’t involve a lot of people with names that ended in “-man,” it got left out in the proverbial cold. And that was the whole point of Bloodhound, clearly stated, from the very beginning: to explore some of the parts of the DC Universe that the capes-and-tights crowd never got to. So not only was there no marketing behind the book, it got hidden so well that even a lot of comic shop owners weren’t aware of it. It was frustrating to be at a con, with Bloodhound issues displayed on my table, and have a retailer walk up and say, “Bloodhound? What’s that?”

Anyway, keep your eye out for the book, it’s a good one.

Cost of print comics

Here’s some more gritty details about the reality of the print market, from an interview with writer Mark Waid:

Toucan: In a recent interview with Pace Magazine you stated “the future is all about digital for me.” Why do you feel that way, and what made you start your own digital comics portal in Thrillbent?

Mark: I’ll take the second question first. What made me start was looking at the cost of print. This is back when I was doing the BOOM! editor-in-chief stuff and BOOM! creative chief officer a few years ago and looking at print costs across the board for all publishers and how insane they were unless you’re one of the top two or three publishers and you’ve got 50% of the market share and your per unit cost is feasible. But if you’re anybody else and you’re doing a comic and it’s got a print run of 5,000 or 6,000 copies and you’re doing a color comic, you’re paying more in printing then you are in everything else put together including editorial and overhead—that’s ridiculous. I’m selling my $4 comic to Diamond for about $1.60 and I’m having to pay a dollar in print costs; that is not a feasible business model.