After skipping a month in the wake of massive layoffs at MySpace, the Dark Horse webcomics series "MySpace Dark Horse Presents" has returned to the social networking site, where it will resume monthly publication indefinitely. Issue #25 is live now, featuring a new "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" story by Jane Espenson and Karl Moline along with new work by Matt Kindt ("Pistolwhip"), Adam Gallardo & Todd Demong ("100 Girls") and Matt Sundstrom.
As previously reported by CBR News, MySpace laid off of over 400 people in June, including every single person associated with comic book content, leaving the company unable to accommodate the two-year anniversary issue of "MySpace Dark Horse Presents," which, in addition to new stories by Gilbert Hernandez and Mike Kindt, featured a brand new Buffy story by creator Joss Whedon and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight" cover artist Jo Chen. That issue had to be hastily published on Dark Horse's own site, but is now available on "MySpace Dark Horse Presents," along with the new issue and the last two years worth of exclusive comics content.
"We've been working on this ever since the cutbacks at MySpace caused the gap," Dark Horse editor Scott Allie told CBR of the move back to MySpace. "The goal all along has been to get MDHP back up on MySpace in the same place that it's always been because we feel that, even with the changes at MySpace, the project is still something that we're very, very proud of. There's still a tremendous amount of traffic despite the cutbacks, and we feel like it's still a great opportunity for us. We didn't want to let this sudden economic problem kill something we'd been involved with for a while."
The inclusion of a new Buffy story by Jane Espenson, who also wrote for the heroine's television series, should help bring eyes back to "MySpace Dark Horse Presents" after the month-long gap. Illustrated by Karl Moline, Espenson's two-page story features the vampire Harmony making a TV appearance. "It's Harmony on a conservative talk show," Allie said. "The vampire who went public, who caused all the havoc that's been going on in 'Season Eight' lately, Harmony is a guest on a conservative political talk show with a kind of bumbling host who wears glasses and has black hair and who's kind of familiar...."
Going forward, Dark Horse intends to use MDHP as a platform from which to launch new series and other initiatives. "With a lot of them, you'll get your first story for free on MySpace, just to get a taste," Allie said. "What we generally try to do is have a totally self-contained thing on there, showing you the creative team" and what you can expect from the subsequent print book.
Along those lines, Allie will debut his next Solomon Kane series in the form of a MDHP two-parter illustrated by Guy Davis, who recently won the Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker for his work on Dark Horse's "B.P.R.D." "Guy is so imaginative and so nuts about this [monster] stuff," Allie said. "I really think there's nobody in comics and maybe nobody better in the whole world at designing monsters than Guy Davis. That guy can make one unique, fresh, original thing after another with a pen."
Allie & Davis' story finds Solomon Kane on a boat. "A lot of Solomon Kane's career was spent on boats," Allie said. "It's him going up against a sort of a witch. Guy and I were on the phone late Friday night and I asked him if he wanted to do a short story and we just started brainstorming ideas. I asked him what he'd like to draw Kane fighting and he started going off about this weird image of a witch/boat thing. Guy's ideas for villains and monsters and situations are so weird and so unique, it's great to use that as a starting point. If you use Guy as your starting point, you're definitely going to end up somewhere you'd never have gotten on your own."
Like everything on "MySpace Dark Horse Presents," Allie & Davis' Solomon Kane story is not a free preview for a print product, like the previews you often see here on CBR, but a complete story unto itself. "We don't want to use MySpace as a place to put up previews. The MySpace project is about going there to read a complete story, to get the whole thing," Allie explained. "We're not giving you something a tiny thing for free where, to read the rest of it, you have to go pay. The idea is we give you something free and you just read it and if you like it, maybe then you go buy other stuff. You're not getting something incomplete for free."
The new issue of "MySpace Dark Horse Presents" can be read at myspace.com/darkhorsepresents.