by Markisan Naso
Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and you’re having a great weekend. I have been re-organizing my new house. It’s weird to live in a place this big. It’s the first house that my wife and I have ever owned and we both grew up in much smaller places. But it’s a lot of fun to try and make this behemoth our own. I may or may not be spending too much time trying to figure out where all my geek stuff is gonna go…
I did make some time to pick up last week’s comic books on Saturday. I do my shopping at the mighty Challengers Comics + Conversation in Chicago, which «cue segue» also happens to be the place where I’ll be doing the 1st BY THE HORNS TPB signing THIS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30!
I’ll be at the shop with my BTH partner in crime, Jason Muhr, AND the amazing Maria Wolf, who illustrated a variant cover for BTH #1 and has since gone on to dazzle the comic industry with covers for big companies like Marvel, Vault and more.
BY THE HORNS: The Wind Rises collects issues 1-8 . It’s over 200 pages of fantasy, sci-fi, sass and all the heart. If you live in the area, come out and help us celebrate the release!
If you don’t live in the Chicago area, or can’t make the signing, I’ll have signed copies of the TPB (sigs by me and Jason), plus maybe a few of Maria’s BTH 1 variant (signed by all 3 of us) in my online store, which is opening back up soon! I recently moved back to Chicago from Hawaii so the store had been temporarily closed while I waited for all my comics to finally get here by boat. And my furniture. Sweet Odin’s eye, I never knew how much I missed my furniture until I sat down on my couch for the first time in two months. Absolute Heaven.
To help celebrate the big TPB release, below are 50 Bandcamp codes to download the BY THE HORNS Original Soundtrack EP for free. That’s right. FREE! It features two songs by the progressive, atmospheric doom-metal band, Arctic Sleep. The tracks are inspired by and written specifically for the 1st issue of BTH. Song titles by me.
Along with the digital edition, we still have a handful of limited 7″ 1st edition vinyl available to buy on transparent purple (Arctic Sleep exclusive), and transparent blue (Skull Fracture Records Exclusive) wax. The purple is almost sold out now and blue is getting low. If you’re wondering about the orange vinyl, we blew through all 100 copies last year. All vinyl editions include a limited edition, virgin cover 1st print copy of BY THE HORNS #1. Cover art by Jason with colors by Rico Renzi. Pressed by my record company Skull Fracture Records.
The 50 download codes are first come, first served. Once a code is used by someone it can’t be used again. In other words, once they’re gone, they’re gone. You don’t need a Bandcamp account to redeem a code and download the EP, but if you are on Bandcamp, make sure to sign in first to save it to your collection. Go to https://skullfracturerecords.bandcamp.com/yum and enter a code from this list:
INTO THE DARK
If you’re reading this, you may know that the follow up series to BTH, BY THE HORNS: Dark Earth, starts in a few weeks! The series is being published by Scout Comics and issue 1 is scheduled to hit shops on April 20. But as many of you have heard, printer issues and paper shortages have had a big impact on releases dates for comics. So, this is the hopefully maybe date. Fingers crossed. You can read more details about the book HERE.
Art for two 1st issue covers are out in the world, but there’s a third one that hasn’t been revealed. It’s by fantastic horror artist Jonathan La Mantia who illustrated a variant cover for my previous comic book series, VORACIOUS, and has also done work for other comics and Heavy Metal magazine. It will be going up in the Scout Comics Online store as an exclusive. This is the start of a series of bestiary covers by Jonathan with colors by the awesome Mariane Gusmão, featuring the creatures that Jason and I came up with for Elodie’s travel map journals. A lot of those beasties only appear there and haven’t been seen interacting with our heroes, so I thought it would be cool to give them a spotlight. We’ve created over 20 monsters for the travel maps in the first arc alone and we are continuing to make more for the new series. The back of each cover features Elodie’s journal entry on the creature spotlighted.
What’s that? You want a peek? Well, sure. Since you’re taking the time to read this newsletter, I suppose I can show you this beauty before anyone else. BEHOLD! The Sallisok by Jonathan with colors by Mariane!
And here’s the cover and back cover with logos and text! You can see that there will be legacy numbering on the back of each issue because BTH is a continuing story.
Jonathan and Mariane’s Bestiary variant will be available on Scout’s website soon. You’ll find it HERE next month, along with lots of other BTH merch.
LET’S GO SWIMMING
Team BY THE HORNS is celebrating BY THE HORNS: Dark Earth early with a limited edition, 11x17 print drawn by Jason Muhr that’s inspired by the old Marvel Swimsuit Specials from the 90s! When he sent it to me, I loved it so much I told him we should make it a print.
I also had the big idea to use it as a test piece to help us find our new colorist. Filling Andrei’s giant shoes was no easy task. During our search we actually had two well known colorists drop out of the test phase because the level of rendering and color detail that Andrei brought to BTH was too difficult to do.
But after vetting a handful of super talented color artists, Jason and I both instantly agreed to bring Steve Canon aboard after seeing his colors on the pinup. It turns out he’s a really nice guy too and we’ve quite enjoyed working with him on the first few issues of Dark Earth. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the series in the future.
Jason’s print featuring Steve’s first ever BTH colors is now available to purchase at Jason's website shop. It comes signed by both me and Jason! Check out this glorious thing…
X MARKS THE SPOT
The swimsuit print came about because Jason loves those old Marvel Comics specials and just decided to draw a BTH version for fun. Both Jason and I grew up loving the X-Men. The Marvel Swimsuit Specials of the 90s were always fun books that did a lot to endear me to the X-Men characters because they showed the team enjoying life and relaxing in between epic battles.
I got into X-Men toward the beginning third of Chris Claremont’s legendary run when Mark Silvestri and Jim Lee drew the series. At the time, the X-Men set up shop in the Reavers' old base, which was this high-tech headquarters disguised as an old abandoned town in the Australian Outback. The Reavers were this crazy team of cyborgs dedicated to destroying the X-Men. When the X-Men took over the Reaver base, they also freed the mutant teleporter and indigenous Australian, Gateway, who transported them around the world for missions. The lineup of X-Men that went on those missions is still my all-time favorite. It featured Havok, Colossus, Dazzler, Psylocke, Rogue, Longshot and a mohawked Storm!
The very first X-book I bought was Uncanny X-Men #251 and I picked it up just because I loved the cover. It features a heavily shadowed Wolverine pinned to an X cross in the rain. Such a simple, but immensely powerful image. Thirteen year old me just had to know what was inside. After I read the book I was, of course, hooked on the X-Men and their adventures, and always have been. Today, whenever I come across this issue I buy it without hesitation, just to remind me of how I felt when I first saw it on a shelf at Captain Comics in Syracuse, NY. Ah, the magic and wonder of comics!
And you know, I never really thought of this before, but if I ever get a chance to write the X-Men, I’d love to do flashback adventures with that awesome Australian outback team.
Holding my comp copies of the BY THE HORNS TPB in my hands for the last couple weeks has been really satisfying. It’s a beast. Eight issues with lots of extra material for just $20. We maxed out the page count just because we wanted to give people the biggest bang for their buck. So pleased with Scout for making it the same price point as most 5 or 6 issue collections.
BY THE HORNS: Dark Earth #1 is coming hot on the heels of the trade and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. Jason and I have spent a lot of time crafting the next adventures of Elodie and friends. Dark Earth is gonna be a fun ride with lots of new environments, creatures and dangers with a story that really builds in tension as it goes.
If you pick up a copy of the issue or the TPB collection, please show it off on social media, preferably hugging it! We love seeing reader posts. And you know, I have been known to mail out a spontaneous prize or two to dedicated fans of the book.
Well, crafting this newsletter was more fun that I thought it would be. I think I will try and do a new one once a month here on Substack. There is some other cool stuff in the works for BTH that I’ll let you know about here first. Next letter I’ll talk about more about how Jason and I work on series together and maybe tease a little about some other upcoming projects I’m working on. And I definitely need to get some heavy metal up in this thing.
So, until then, remember to take a breath once in a while and do something just for yourself. You’re fraxxing worth it.