Publishing Portfolio : Comics & Graphic Novels

Howard, Robert E.

Robert E. Howard’s Worms of the Earth

Adapted and illustrated by Tim Conrad and Barry Windsor-Smith

New York: Wandering Star / Cross Plains Comics, 2000

4to, 68pp., color + b&w illus.

A promotional collaboration between ace publisher, Wandering Star, and the short-lived Cross Plains Comics. Intended to spotlight the upcoming release of the former’s Bran Mak Morn : The Last King, “Worms of the Earth” originally appeared as a two-issue story in Savage Sword of Conan (1976), and until now, has never been reprinted. While the original was published (and drawn) in black and white, this new version has been specially colored by George Freeman and Laurie E. Smith.

As good as the comics adaptation may be, it is almost entirely dwarfed by a number of essays and special inclusions. The cornerstone of the piece is a long-form interview with Gary Gianni, the artist whose work is featured in The Last King. He sits down with designer Jim Keegan, to explore the artistic processes, motivations, and methodologies that went into this, the second of his collaborations with Wandering Star.

An essay by Howard authority, Rusty Burke, traces the history and anthropology of the Picts and their special place in REH’s world view and philosophy. The textual supplements are filled out with a retrospective essay chronicling the multi-year history of the “Worms” adaptation, and an interview with artist, Tim Conrad. Rounding out the book are three original episodes from the Keegans’ acclaimed biographical comic, The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob.


Verne, Jules

Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Adapted and illustrated by Gary Gianni

Chicago: Hieronymous Press, 2001

Folio, 56pp., color plate + b&w illus. Limitation: 1,000 signed and numbered copies.

Originally published by Dark Horse Comics in 1992 as part of their Classics line, the original appearance of Twenty Thousand Leagues suffered from exceptionally poor color reproduction and muddy printing. Times change, and almost ten years passed. In the mean time, public recognition of Gianni’s tremendous gifts steadily increased. Chosen as the inaugural release of his own private publishing venture, Hieronymous Press, the reprint and redesign of Twenty Thousand Leagues showcases the intricacy and detail of Gianni’s engraver-like style, in a folio size substantially larger than normal comics.


Gianni, Gary

Corpus Monstrum : Volume One

Chicago: Hieronymous Press, 2002

Folio, 56pp., color plate + b&w illus. Limitation: 1,750 signed copies.

In another successful collaboration with Dark Horse Comics, this time teaming with Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni introduced the world to Benedict – the medieval helmet wearing scourge of wayward supernatural beings who spends much of his time lounging about in a sumptuous robe that looks like it began life as a tapestry – and the mysterious, macabre world of The Monster Men. On the heels of the successful re-release of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the saga that began as a backup feature in Hellboy: Wake the Devil #1 (June 1996) surfaced again as the sophomore publication from Hieronymous Press – the history of the Order of Corpus Monstrum, Volume One. Unfortunately, it may take quite awhile for fans of these deluxe editions to get their hands on Volume Two. Reception and praise were heaped on the book – it was nominated for an Eisner for Best Publication Design – and sales were brisk. It was so successful that Dark Horse convinced the author to allow them to reprint the entire series.

But wait, there’s more! Since the entire Corpus Monstrum saga was too sweeping for a single book, and just slightly too short to fill a volume on its own, Gary Gianni turned to the seminal work of British master, William Hope Hodgson – the first author to wed the classic mystery form to supernatural horror – selecting the first of Hodgson’s Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder stories, “The Gateway of the Monster”, and illustrating it in his inimitable style.