Dark Horse Presents #22 Review

I love anthologies. Not just in comics, but in books, tv, film. They’re a great way to quickly and cheaply find new creators and stories that you might love. Anthologies are completely underrated, and it’s a shame they don’t find more footing. That said, Dark Horse Presents #22 is the first time I’ve read this series, so keep that in mind during this review. Several of the stories in this issue are ongoing, and I didn’t have a chance to catch up on them all. So, with that out of the way, here’s the official description of Dark Horse Presents #22, from Dark Horse Comics:

In this jam-packed issue of DHP, Mike Richardson interviews artist extraordinaire and Shaolin Cowboy creator Geof Darrow! Plus, delve into the alternate history of Howard Chaykin’s Custer, enjoy the return of Steve Moncuse’s Fish Police, and read new comics by Patrick Alexander!
• Howard Chaykin returns to the pages of DHP with Custer!
• Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories, Shannon Wheeler’s Villain House, and Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Alabaster continue!

DHP #22 also includes “Journeymen” by Geoffrey Thorne and Todd Harris, “Arcade Boy” by Denis Medri, “Tiger Lung” by Simon Roy and Jason Wordie, and “Clark Collins and the Exponential Attraction” by Kel McDonald.

Best story for this issue goes to Howard Chaykin’s “George Armstrong Custer: The Middle Years,” which is a nifty little alternate history tale. My favorite part is that it feels completely realistic, to the point that, if you’re not own top of your American history, you might take it for the truth. The backgrounds are super detailed and realistic, although the faces are a bit cartoonish. Faux advertisements and newspaper headlines provide an excellent extra dose of authenticity. While its standalone nature definitely contributed to its being my favorite story, that also means it’s one of the most accessible to new readers of the series, and that’s a quality that shouldn’t be ignored.

“Villainman,” by Patrick Alexander is an offbeat, darkly humorous postmodern tale. With simple art, and at only four pages, it feels like an extra length comic strip. The second chapter of “Tiger Lung,” by Simon Roy and Jason Wordie, is a prehistory story of dark magic. Roy’s faces here are wonderfully expressive, and his inking job emphasizes those expressions perfectly. I’m not sure what’s going on in this story, but I plan to find out. Finally, Kel McDonald’s “Clark Collins and the Exponential Attraction” has a pretty standard concept – amateur high school sleuth sees a conspiracy where none exist – but the characterization is great, and the story has enough self-awareness to make the humor really enjoyable.

There’s also an interview with Geof Darrow, which is occasionally interesting, but to often veers into reminiscing between Darrow and interviewer Mike Richardson.

I look forward to growing more familiar with DHP in the coming months, as discovering brand new stories while continuing  new installments of older ones is part of the joy of reading a comics anthology series. 


Zac Boone could probably have beaten Custer at chess. Follow him on twitter! (Zac, not Custer.)

S#!T Talking Central