As far as ongoing adventure comics go, those series meant to reward both years of reading and capture the new reader while telling the story of a specific set of characters, Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis’s BPRD is the best, bar none. It beats the best of the Big Two easily, and they do it by simply being very good at the basics: strong characterization, building subplots over time, quality art, and simply telling a good story. They know when to let things creep in the background and when to bring in the bits where a guy with twin guns goes up against a two-story tall monster. There are no stunts here and no marketing-based character deaths. Just some fine storytelling.
I’ve written about BPRD before. It was one of the 5 Series I spotlighted this summer, where I focused on how it’s similar to and different from cape comics.
The new series is called BPRD: Hell on Earth, with New World being the subtitle. There’s an unspoken rule in comics that the more colons and clauses a title has, the more likely it is to suck. Not true for BPRD, unsurprisingly. To catch up on the new series, check this thing I wrote on ComicsAlliance bringing you up to speed. If you want to jump into the series, there are a few entry points. It’s actually pretty easy to hop right into Hell on Earth, to tell the truth. The status quo is “The Earth is screwed, didn’t you read the title?” and everyone is reintroduced pretty well in the first issue. It’s not a clunky “The focused totality of my psychic powers” introduction, either. It’s much more organic. But, if you want to start from the beginning, B.P.R.D., Vol. 1: Hollow Earth & Other Stories introduces the series and is a collection of stories. The series changed over into being specifically about something (rather than being short stories) in B.P.R.D. Volume 3: Plague of Frogs. If you’re patient, you can pick up B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Hardcover Collection Vol. 1, which covers the first two trades (I believe) and drops in February.
Thanks to the kindness of the folks at Dark Horse, I’ve got the exclusive preview of BPRD: Hell on Earth – New World 04. Words by Mignola and Arcudi, art by Davis, colors by Stewart. Here’s the pitch:
Trapped in a massive firefight with a horrific tentacled behemoth, the B.P.R.D. are rescued by another wild monster, while one agent chases the evil responsible for this chaos.
I really like page two, panel five. The exploding Humvee looks good. It isn’t realistic, but it approaches realism through clever cartooning. It’s all short, rough lines. Lots of implied motion in there. That and the ill zoom on page six are great.