Your Guide to Critical Role and Dark Horse’s Comic and Art Books
Written by Christina on June 15, 2020
This article was originally published June 15, 2020. It has since been updated to bring this guide up to date with the most recent information on all things Dark Horse. An update log can be found at the bottom of the article.
Last week, the long-awaited final issue of our latest comic book series, Vox Machina Origins Series II AND The Chronicles of Exandria–The Mighty Nein (our art book which tells the early stories of our second campaign through amazing art created by our community) released into the wild.
And, if that wasn’t enough awesomeness, we’re also announcing two very special books: the Vox Machina Origins Volume 2 Limited Edition hardcover AND Vox Machina Origins Series I & II Library Edition hardcover.
Each of these projects are collaborations with our good friends at Dark Horse Comics, and now seems like the perfect time to take a moment to deep dive into all of the comic book and art book magic that we’ve been working so hard on together!
It has been a hard time for the comics industry and especially comics retailers. Consider supporting your local comic shop with your purchase, if you’re able to. To find a shop near you, check out IndieBound’s independent bookstore locator, here or comicshoplocator.com.
We hope that you find this guide helpful, as we wanted to provide as much news and information as possible about each of these very special projects.
VOX MACHINA ORIGINS
Vox Machina Origins is our comic book series that tells the story of how our favorite heroes in Tal’Dorei, Vox Machina, met. It shares their adventures from before Critical Role became a streamed web series. So far, Vox Machina Origins consists of two series of six issues each, for a total of twelve issues: Vox Machina Origins Series I issues #1–#6 and Vox Machina Origins Series II issues #1–#6. We recently announced the continuation of Vox Machina Origins with Vox Machina Origins Series III! Issue #1 scheduled to release February 10, 2021. For more information on the Series III, check out our article here.
VOX MACHINA ORIGINS SERIES I
About the Series
The band of adventurers known as Vox Machina will save the world. Eventually. But even they have to start somewhere.
Six would-be heroes on seemingly different jobs find their paths intertwined as they investigate shady business in the swamp town of Stilben. They’ll need to put their heads—and weapons—together to figure out what’s going on…and keep from being killed in the process.
Vox Machina Origins Series I #1–#6 was written by Matthew Mercer and Matthew Colville, and features interior art by Olivia Samson and coloring and lettering by Chris Northrop.
Vox Machina Origins Series I #1–#6 single issues are available digitally via Dark Horse Digital and comiXology at a discount price $0.99 USD per issue (typically priced at $3.99). This means that you can buy our first six-issue run for less than $6!
Vox Machina Origins Volume 1 collects Vox Machina Origins Series I #1–#6 into one tome containing the entire story of the first series. This volume contains bonus content including annotated cover process pieces, preliminary character sketches, and character descriptions and stats. You can pick up Vox Machina Origins Volume 1 in the following formats:
- Digital: Dark Horse Digital & comiXology (on sale right now for $6 but usually priced at $16.99)
- Physical: Available at $19.99 USD through local retailers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion, Indigo, and IndieBound
Standard Edition Hardcover
- Physical only: Available exclusively through the Critical Role US ($44.99 USD) and UK Stores (£44.99 GBP).
The Limited Edition came bound in foil-stamped and burnished faux leather, along with a lithograph and cloth portfolio, housed in a faux leather, foil-stamped, and burnished slipcase. Bonus content included annotated cover process pieces, preliminary character sketches, and special character descriptions and stats (the same as is included with the hardcover version)
The Limited Edition is no longer available.
VOX MACHINA ORIGINS SERIES II
About the Series
Vox Machina Origins Series II #1–#6 continues the adventures of Vox Machina. When Grog goes missing in the night, tracking him down will see the party lose one member, gain two more, and reveal parts of Grog’s secret past. But first, his friends have to actually find him.
Series II was written by Matthew Mercer and Jody Houser, and features interior art by Olivia Samson, coloring by MSASSYK, lettering by Ariana Maher, and design by Cindy Cacerez-Sprague.
Check out the panels below for a little teaser of issue #6:
Vox Machina Origins Volume 2, a collection of Vox Machina Origins Series II #1–#6 is available now in the following formats:
- Digital: Available now through Dark Horse Digital and comiXology ($11.99 USD)
- Physical: Available now through local retailers or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion, Indigo, and IndieBound. ($19.99 USD)
We’re excited to announce our next addition to the limited edition hardcover family! This beautiful book contains Vox Machina Origins Series II #1–#6, plus a red faux-leather, foil stamped cover and slipcase designed by Cindy Cacerez-Sprague AND a 6.5″ x 10″ lithograph with art by Hunter Severn Bonyun and Stephan McGowan.
- Physical: Available now exclusively through the Critical Role Stores ($99.99 USD US Store, £99.99 GBP UK Store, $165.00 AUD AU Store).
VOX MACHINA ORIGINS SERIES I & II LIBRARY EDITION HARDCOVER
And, another BIG announcement: Vox Machina Origins Series I & II Library Edition hardcover, a hardcover collection of both Vox Machina Origins Volumes 1 and 2 (that’s Vox Machina Origins Series I #1–#6 and Vox Machina Origins Series II #1–#6) is available now!
Get the full story thus far of the group that will one day be known as Vox Machina, from their first team-up to facing down cults and curses in the revelation of their origins and the path that will lead them to glory…eventually.
This edition features a foreword written by Gail Simone as well as sweet bonuses including sketch art from Volumes 1 and 2 and full images of the Vox Machina Origins Series I #1–#6 cover art, which has never been seen in print until now!
- Digital: Available now through Amazon Kindle and NOOK Book ($23.99)
- Physical: Available now through your local comic shop, the Critical Role US, UK, and AU shops, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers ($39.99 USD).
VOX MACHINA ORIGINS SERIES III
About the Series
Vox Machina Origins Series III picks up with Vox Machina enjoying some R&R in Westruun’s lap of luxury. But that costs coin, which has a bad habit of running out. So to keep themselves in the black, they agree to join an underground fighting ring. But before they can bash their way to cash, their attention is snagged by the case of a missing child.
Vox Machina Origins Series III is written by Jody Houser and Matthew Mercer, with interior art by Olivia Samson, color by MSASSYK, and lettering by Ariana Maher.
FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
In addition to our main series, we also created a special issue of Vox Machina Origins for 2020’s Free Comic Book Day!
Tales of Vox Machina have traveled far and wide… But which tales are just colorful flights of fancy, and which are actually true? Gather ’round as several of these tall tales are told, each more far-fetched than the last.
The issue was written by Jody Houser and features interior art by Hunter Severn Bonyun and color by Stephan McGowan.
The issue also features an introduction to the world of Neil Gaiman’s new adapted comic series Norse Mythology.
THE MIGHTY NEIN ORIGINS
The Mighty Nein Origins is our graphic novel series that focuses on the individual backstories of each of our Wildemount adventurers before they joined the Mighty Nein. Two volumes have been announced thus far.
CRITICAL ROLE: THE MIGHTY NEIN ORIGINS — JESTER LAVORRE
Jester Lavorre had an unconventional upbringing, even for one born in cosmopolitan Nicodranas. Daughter of the famed Ruby of the Sea, she had many opportunities for mischief as a small child, of which she took full advantage! Dive into the mystery of Jester’s early years, her first meeting with the Traveler, and the fateful events that set her on a path to eventually join the Mighty Nein.
Critical Role The Mighty Nein Origins — Jester Lavorre is written by Sam Maggs (Captain Marvel, The Unstoppable Wasp) with line art by Hunter Severn Bonyun, colors by Cathy Le, lettering by Ariana Maher, and developed with direction by Laura Bailey and Matthew Mercer.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Jester Lavorre releases August 24, 2021.
- Digital: Available for pre-order now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with more digital options coming soon (including Dark Horse Digital and comiXology).
- Physical: Available for pre-order now through local book and comic stores, or through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and TFAW
CRITICAL ROLE: THE MIGHTY NEIN ORIGINS – CALEB WIDOGAST
In Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Caleb Widogast, Bren Aldric Ermendrud is chosen to attend the exclusive Soltryce Academy, preparing for an important future in service to the Empire. But nobody––least of all Bren himself––can foresee the cruelty he will endure, and the ways in which it will break and remake him. Witness the events that transform Bren into the Mighty Nein’s Caleb Widogast, and how they inform the path he’ll take in the future.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Caleb Widogast is written by Jody Houser (Vox Machina Origins, Stranger Things, StarCraft: Survivors) with line art by Selina Espiritu, colors by Diana Sousa, lettering by Ariana Maher, and developed with direction by Liam O’Brien and Matthew Mercer.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Caleb Widogast releases August 10, 2021.
- Digital: Available for pre-order now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with more digital options coming soon (including Dark Horse Digital, comiXology, and Amazon).
- Physical: Available for pre-order now through local book and comic stores, or through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and TFAW
CRITICAL ROLE: THE MIGHTY NEIN ORIGINS — YASHA NYDOORIN
For Yasha, there has always been a storm on the horizon.
Maybe it formed with her adoption by the Dolorov people in the harsh lands of Xhorhas. Or perhaps when she fell for her first love, Zuala. Or still later, when grief and madness drove her from her village and out into—somewhere else. Maybe, on the other hand, Yasha IS the storm.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Yasha Nydoorin is written by Cecil Casellucci (Soup Leaves Home, Batgirl), with line art by William Kirkby (Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Rat Queens), color by Diana Sousa (Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Caleb Widogast), and lettering by Ariana Maher (Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Star Wars: The High Republic), and developed with direction by Ashley Johnson and Matthew Mercer.
Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Yasha Nydoorin releases September 15, 2021. Please note it may take a bit of time following the announcement for the pre-order pages to be available at each retailer.
- Digital: Available for pre-order now through Barnes & Noble, Dark Horse Digital, and comiXology.
- Physical: Available for pre-order now through local book and comic stores, or through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and TFAW.
THE TALES OF EXANDRIA
The Tales of Exandria is our comic book mini-series that expands our stories beyond Vox Machina and the Mighty Nein to encompass the complex NPCs and locations of Exandria, incredibly imagined by Matthew Mercer.
THE TALES OF EXANDRIA: THE BRIGHT QUEEN
The first series focuses on Lylas Kryn, who those familiar with the Mighty Nein campaign may recognize as the Bright Queen.
Leylas has spent multiple lives in her pursuit to assemble the Luxon. With her eternal lover Quana at her side, she will stop at nothing to use its power to bring a Golden Age to the people under her rule. When what seems to be the final piece of the Luxon appears nearby, Leylas sends Quana to collect it… with consequences that may threaten the entire Kryn Dynasty!
The 4-part mini-series is written by Eisner Aware winner Darcy Van Poelgeest (Little Bird), illustrated by CoupleofKooks, and features covers by Helen Mask. The series was made in creative consultation with Matthew Mercer.
The Tales of Exandria #1 releases March 17, 2021.
- Digital: Available for pre-order through online retailers such as Dark Horse Digital and comiXology.
- Physical: Available for pre-order through local comic shops.
THE CHRONICLES OF EXANDRIA — THE MIGHTY NEIN
Encompassing the first chapters of our second campaign, The Chronicles of Exandria—The Mighty Nein illustrates the adventures of our unlikely heroes as they meet in Trostenwald, struggle through a heartbreaking encounter with the Iron Shepherds, and more. The tome contains 264 pages of art created by the Critical Role community and text written by Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Dani Carr, and the cast of Critical Role, and was lovingly curated by Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, and Lauryn Ipsum.
The Chronicles of Exandria—The Mighty Nein is a beautiful way to revisit the origin of the Mighty Nein through the perspective of expositor Beauregard Lionett and the archivists of the Cobalt Soul.
- Digital: Available now through Amazon Kindle, comiXology, Dark Horse Digital, and NOOK Book.
- Physical: Available now. You can set up a safe pickup or delivery for the physical version from a local comic shop or order online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion, Indigo, or IndieBound ($44.99).
The Deluxe Edition features all of the same incredible art as the Standard Edition, plus some sweet bonuses:
- A faux-leather, foil-stamped cover and decorative clamshell box featuring art by Lauryn Ipsum and designed by Cindy Cacerez-Sprague
- An annotated cloth map of the Dwendalian Empire by Deven Rue
- A triptych-style lithograph featuring exclusive art by Sam Hogg
- Character sketches of each of the Mighty Nein by Nick Robles
- A flyer for the Fletching & Moondrop Traveling Carnival of Curiosities by Will Kirkby
- A sumptuous invitation to the Lavish Chateau by Helen Mask
- Blueprints for the Tinkertop Bolt Blaster 1000 by Fernando Furukawa
- A pamphlet on the Traveler by Ceri Giddens
- Flower sketches by Lauryn Ipsum
- A letter from the law firm of Nott & Brave
The Deluxe Edition is available now in the Critical Role US ($124.99 USD) and UK Stores (£124.99 GBP). We also expect to have the Deluxe Edition stocked in our AU Store ($190.00 AUD) around the same time. The Deluxe Edition of our art book is also available in retail stores so be sure to check out your local bookstore.
There you have it! We’d like to thank the good folks at Dark Horse Comics for being the best partners to tell our stories with, AND you, the Critter community, for allowing us the opportunity to dive into such amazing projects.
- March 9, 2021
- Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Yasha Nydoorin pre-order information added
- Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Jester Lavorre and Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Caleb Widogast release dates updated
- February 10, 2021
- Vox Machina Origins Series III #1 available now and single issue information added.
- December 15, 2020
- The Tales of Exandria series announcement added.
- November 24, 2020
- Vox Machina Origins Series I & II Library Edition Hardcover updated from pre-order to available now.
- Vox Machina Origins Library Edition and Volume 2 Limited Edition Graphic updated to available now.
- Vox Machina Origins Series III release date edited to reflect updated release date (February 10, 2021).
- Mighty Nein Origins pre-order links updated.
- November 10, 2020
- The Mighty Nein Origins series announcement added
- Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Jester Lavorre pre-order information added
- Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins — Caleb Widogast pre-order information added
- September 17, 2020
- Vox Machina Origins Series III announcement added.
- September 16, 2020
- Vox Machina Origins Volume 2 information updated from pre-order
- Chronicles of Exandria – The Mighty Nein Deluxe Edition availability updated.