Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Dark Shadows newspaper strip collection is at the printers

The Dark Shadows newspaper strip made its debut on this day in 1971, so it seems appropriate to share some news about a collected edition of this series: the hardback, restored collection that's been promised by Hermes Press since 2014 is now at the printer!

Hermes Press has been fighting to get this book published for almost as long as this website has been around. The company successfully reprinted the entire run of the Gold Key comics line, but pre-orders for this particular title have stalled on several occasions. This has been disappointing to me, personally, because the Ken Bald illustrated newspaper strips are among the best of the licensed materials ever spun out of DARK SHADOWS.

The 224-page hardbound collection looks to be a keeper. Not only is it chock full of bonus material, but this edition reprints Sunday strips in color for the first time. While the various DARK SHADOWS comics that have appeared over the years have featured some terrific artwork,  Bald's linework on the newspaper strip might the best of the bunch. It's reportedly Bald's favorite work of his career, which is no small statement given that Guinness World Records has crowned him as the world's "oldest comic book artist." The man has worked on everything from "Doc Savage" and "Captain America" to "Dr. Kildare."

A paperback collection of these strips was published in 1996 by Kathryn Leigh Scott's Pomegranate Press. For whatever reason, those strips were published in format that emulated the dimensions of traditional comic books. This meant shrinking the strips down to sizes that weren't always pleasant to the eye. The Hermes Press edition presents the strips in a landscape format, two strips per page to better appreciate Bald's artwork. (Note: The Sunday strips have three-deck layouts and get entire page to themselves.) Also, this collection presents the Sunday strips as they were original published ... in color.

Amazon is predicting a July 10 release for "Dark Shadows: the Complete Newspaper Strips," and has the book available for pre-order HERE. (It is also available for pre-order directly from the publisher HERE.)

You can get a look at the cover and interior samples below.

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