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Flippin’ through Previews – January 2008

It’s the 20th anniversary of Previews!  What are you getting it?

They have a nice new look, with a lot more crap in the beginning, but that won’t stop us.  In the big makeover, however, they forgot to put in an order sheet.  Good job, Previews!  How are we supposed to order stuff from you?  Let’s hope they get that fixed for next month.  So let’s dive into Volume XVIII, #1 – it has a Darwyn Cooke cover, so it must be groovy, right?

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Dark Horse:

There’s a Serenity mini-series on page 30 (12 March).  It’s a “prequel” to the movie, which means Steve the Pirate is still alive, and it has that weird “let’s-make-the-characters-look-like-the-actors” thing in the art.  I have never seen Firefly, but Serenity was pretty good (although the solicit calls it a “blockbuster,” which I think is pushing it), so I might get this.

As I buy Conan in trades, this is a cool month, as the fifth volume of the ongoing is solicited (page 35; 26 March) and an original hardcover by Kurt Busiek and Greg Ruth, which I’m sure will be awesome, is offered for sale in June.  Good times!

Tales of the Fear Agent (page 38; 14 May) features a bunch of stories by good creators about everyone’s favorite drunken fear agent, Heath Huston.  It’s 15 dollars, but it sounds like it will be worth it.

The X Omnibus on page 42 (28 May) sounds neat, with Steven Grant and Doug Mahnke going nuts with the grim-n-gritty.  It’s 25 bucks for 352 pages, but I’m relying on someone in the comments to tell me if it’s worth checking out.  Help me out, people!

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There must be a new Hellboy movie, because Dark Horse is making sure there are more Hellboy things than you could ever want!  (Note: I am aware that there is a new Hellboy movie.)  On page 49, there’s a definitive guide to the Hellboy universe, then on pages 50-51 we get two mini-series continuing, a new Hellboy trade, and a new B.P.R.D. trade.  Holy cats!  That’s a bunch o’ stuff.

DC:

I know this is heresy, but I didn’t love New Frontier as much as everyone else.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s a very good comic, but I wasn’t as impressed with it as a lot of people.  That’s not to say I’m not going to buy Justice League: The New Frontier Special (page 72; 5 March), but I’m not drooling over it.  However, is this something old that Cooke did and it’s just now getting released?  Because didn’t Cooke want to work on something different and outside of DC?  Or did he just not want to do The Spirit anymore?  This seems like treading familiar territory too.  But I’m sure it will be very cool.

On page 79, Superman #674 announces a “new beginning,” because “art sensation” Renato Guedes joins the book (12 March).  First, how many “new beginnings” can Superman have?  Second, is Guedes really a “sensation”?  What say you?

I assume that Tom Peyer’s storyline beginning in Flash #238 (page 83; 19 March) is a “guest-writer” gig, because wasn’t Mark Waid supposed to be the writer forever and ever?  Is he off the book?

Speaking of writers, Dwayne McDuffie isn’t writing JLA #19 (page 84; 19 March).  Again, what’s the dillio?

I don’t care that Geoff Johns is beginning a “Secret Origin” arc in Green Lantern #29 (page 85; 26 March), because he can do what he want, but how many origins does that give Hal Jordan?  Sheesh, that dude has been retconned a lot.

DC has lots of interesting trade paperbacks this month.  Let’s go page by page!

Page 90 gives us O.M.A.C. by some dude named Jack Kirby (21 May), the fifth volume of Batman Chronicles (16 April), and the collection of Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, which had to have one of the most disappointing endings ever.

Page 91 gives us Aztek: The Ultimate Man, collected at last (30 April)!  20 bucks for 10 issues of grooviness, from some dude named Morrison and some dude named Millar, before he started sucking.

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Page 92 has an OMNIBUS: Starman volume 1, by James Robinson and Tony Harris (21 May).  Yes, it’s 50 dollars, but it’s 17 issues, many of which are hard to find, and is one of the best series of the Nineties.  I already own the damned individual issues and I’m considering picking it up.  I am weak!

Page 93 has the second volume of The Question by Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan (30 April).  I got the first volume, and it was pretty good.  Check this one out!

There’s a playground fight a-brewin’ in Tiny Titans #2 (page 98; 12 March), and the winner gets to use the swings!  I cannot wait to read this.

Chuck Dixon and Doug Mahnke’s mini-series Team Zero gets collected on page 108 (16 April).  This is a pretty good comic, so if you’re into Chuck Dixon war comics (and he writes war comics rather well), check it out.

David Lapham has a new series from Vertigo, The Young Liars (page 114; 5 March).  The description sounds interesting: a habitual liar and the object of his desire, who has a bullet lodged in her brain that has turned her into an adrenaline junkie.  The three-page preview looks pretty neat, too.  I’ll have to give it a try.

Man, Green Lantern vs. Sinestro bookends (page 138).  You know you want them!  Only $295!  Advance-solicited; on sale 27 August 2007.  wait a minute … what was that date?

Image:

Dead Space (page 144; 5 March), by Antony Johnston and Ben Templesmith, sounds cool: miners in space pull an alien life form from the rock.  I’m a bit leery of getting anything that is tied into a video game (that’s just how I roll), but this might be something to check out.

There’s a new Noble Causes (page 146; 26 March) that promises a whole new direction.  It’s five years later than the last issue, so things will be different, I imagine.  I’m not sure why Faerber has been waiting so long with this (#31 came out quite some time ago), but if you’ve never gotten the book, this is probably the perfect place to start.

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Joe Casey, who apparently never sleeps, just cranks out graphic novels, brings us Nixon’s Pals on page 152 (26 March).  A parole officer and his various parolees, hanging out in the “morally ambiguous underbelly” of Los Angeles?  What’s not to love?

I’m not the biggest fan of Jim Mahfood, but Stupid Comics: Phoenix Edition (page 153; 19 March) sounds fun, mostly because the stories are culled from the New Times, which is a leftie newspaper here in the Basin of the Sun.  This means Sheriff Joe might be in it, which means he might threaten to sue somebody, which is always fun!

The Sorrow trade is solicited on page 154 (5 March).  I read the first issue and enjoyed it, but figured I could wait for the trade.  The first issue was actually creepy, which is always a treat.

Shark-Man #3 is offered on page 165 (it claims it’s coming out on 9 January, but I doubt that).  I only point this out because on Friday, the reprint of Shark-Man #1 hits stores.  Don’t be left behind again!

Marvel:

The cover of Annihilation: Conquest #5 (page 22) is frickin’ awesome.  Raney’s interior art will be nice, but can’t compare to that cover.

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Even “the Torch get[ting] nekkid with a super-villain” can’t get me to buy Fantastic Four #555 (page 28).  But that’s a good solicit text!

So they’ve even changed the name of the book to Incredible Hercules (page 32)?  That’s kind of weird.

Despite my love for Joe Casey’s work, I don’t have a lot of interest in The Last Defenders (page 35).  Although the fact that they’ve been reformed “to serve a specific political purpose” piques my curiosity.  I may have to give the first issue a try.  Damn you, Joe Casey, for being such a good writer!

Does Joey Q know that his company publishes Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man (page 37)?  I just wonder, because didn’t he just turn the main title into this book?

You know how Marvel doesn’t do “Crises” because they don’t need to?  Well, okay, but what do you call what just happened to Peter Parker?  Plus, on page 49, we get “new continuity” for Power Pack.  I know, it’s just Power Pack, but what was wrong with the old origin?

Apparently The Order (page 52) isn’t selling well.  BUY THE ORDER, PEOPLE!  Seriously.  Give me one good reason not to buy it.  “I don’t know the characters” is NOT a good reason.

I’m not sure why Doc Savage is on the cover of a Marvel comic (The Twelve #3; page 53), but the text mentions somebody named Mister E.  Isn’t he a DC character?  What the heck, man?

Ariel Olivetti’s art from Cable #1 (pages 60-62) looks awful.  Why do these artists go that faux-realistic route?  I remember Olivetti doing that JLA mini-series ten years ago, and his art was very nice.  Now, he’s a superstar, and it’s garbage.  I want to meet him or Greg Land, who also used to know how to draw, at a convention and demand that they draw something without any sort of reference.  I wonder if they can anymore.

X-Force #2 (page 64): “one of their own [has] already fallen.”  Take a look at the cover and see if you can figure out who is dead:

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Yeah, Marvel isn’t making it too hard.

I like both Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso, but … another Wolverine mini-series (page 69)?  Really?

The final issue of Ultimate Iron Man II and the hardcover collection are solicited for the same month (pages 13 and 87).  That’s classy.  Good job, Marvel.

For 30 dollars, you can pick up Cable Classic volume 1, featuring his first appearance in New Mutants #87, drawn by Rob Liefeld (page 108).  I haven’t even read the rest of the collected books, but I can assure you that New Mutants #87 is truly awful.  Don’t get sucked in by nostalgia for the early 1990s!

You know where we go next: the back of the book!  Find the hidden treasures therein!

Markosia offers The Boy Who Made Silence #1 by Josh Hagler (page 200).  It’s the tale of a deaf child who creates silence around him and how people react to him.  Hagler is helping Sam Kieth on My Inner Bimbo these days, and I checked out his art, which is very cool.  This sounds like a very neat book.

Rob Osborne has a new book out called The Nearly Famous Zango (page 201).  A once-powerful super-villain has become a couch potato, so he sends a gorilla assassin to eliminate his competitors.  Osborne can be very funny, so this might be a nifty little comic.

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A long time ago, I got the first issue of Holmes by Omaha Perez.  It was a neat take on Sherlock Holmes, and I wanted more.  More, however, was not coming.  I despaired (not for long, you understand, but briefly).  Now, AiT/Planet Lar brings us the graphic novel (page 210), and I’m happy.  Holmes as a narcotics addict, Dr. Watson as his pusher – fine stuff there!  Check it out!

You may have been waiting for the trade of Rex Libris, and if you were, Amaze Ink/Slave Labor placates you by offering it on page 213.  It’s a ridiculously fun comic about a librarian who does not like it when you return your books late.  Much ass-kicking ensues!

Okko: The Cycle of Water is offered as a trade on page 218 from Archaia Studios Press.  The new mini-series, Cycle of Earth, is also offered.  I read a few issues of the first series and was pretty impressed, both with the gorgeous art and the interesting story of heroes on a quest in a fantastical world that feels like Japan, but I never got around to finishing the series.  So the collection should be a nice place to catch up.

There’s a new Phantom Jack book on page 228 from Atomic Pop Art.  This comic was such a big deal not too long ago, but it really fell off the map.  It was a pretty good comic, and this might be interesting.  It doesn’t have Mitch Breitweiser on art, which might hurt it.

Warren Ellis writes Gravel #1, about his combat magician from the Strange Kiss/Strange Killings mini-series.  It’s on page 229 from Avatar.  I like the mini-series, but I’m not sure how well this will work as an ongoing, especially as Ellis seems to be starting a lot of things and then growing bored with them these days.  But I’ll give it a try.  Raulo Caceres should provide some nice art.

Boom! Studios offers a Seekers Into the Mystery volume 1 trade by J. M. DeMatteis and Jon J. Muth on page 248.  This Vertigo book didn’t last long a few years ago, but it was kind of interesting.  If you like that weird spiritual thing DeMatteis often does, this is a book you might like.

Look, I know that Jim Balent has a very specialized audience, but Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #49 (page 250) sounds creepier than usual.  It features Playboy model, TV personality, author, singer, and full-time witch Fiona Horne, who teams up with the titular heroine and Raven Hex.  Eight years Balent has been doing this.  It’s just such an icky book, and this sounds even ickier.

I’m not going to buy Army of Darkness/Xena: Why Not? (page 261), but I do like the solicitation text: “the crossover no one asked for or expected is finally here!”  At least Dynamite Entertainment has a sense of humor about such things.

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I’m still not sure how I have missed Berlin, as a story set in the waning days of the Weimar Republic sounds like something I would love, but Drawn & Quarterly brings us the trade of the first issues on page 286.  Has anyone read it?  Is it as good as it sounds?

Fred van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey are back with Comic Book Comics #1 from Evil Twin Comics (page 290).  It’s the history of comic books, and if it’s half as good as Action Philosophers!, it will rock.  Don’t miss the boat this time!

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I should buy Castle Waiting from Fantagraphics on page 293, shouldn’t I?  I mean, it’s 30 bucks for over 400 pages, and I keep hearing good things about it.  What say you?

Didn’t the first issue of Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons just come out?  IDW is offering the collected edition on page 310.  How is that going to happen?  Unless you’re a HUGE fan of Ashley Wood, this probably isn’t worth it.  It’s nice to look at, but the story isn’t great.  There’s also another collection of Wormword: Gentleman Corpse on page 310.  Wild stuff from the twisted mind of Ben Templesmith.

On page 322, there’s a new Damned mini-series from Oni Press.  It’s by the same team as the last one, which means it should be very good.  With Brian Hurtt on art, you know it will look good, and Cullen Bunn really did a nice job with the whole “demons-as-mobsters” thing.  On page 326 is the latest trade of Queen & Country, the excellent spy comic by Greg Rucka.  These trades are relatively cheap (12 dollars), and the stories are packed with good espionage and violence.

Suddenly we’re down to Viper Comics on page 358.  Jason Burns brings us A Dummy’s Guide to Danger: Lost at Sea #1.  The first mini-series, about a private detective whose best friend is ventriloquist’s dummy, was a pretty good comic even if it was a bit ultra-violent.  Still, it was good enough to make me interested in this new one.  It’s an odd combination, but it generally works.

Virgin has a new Gamekeeper series on page 363, and although it’s not written by Andy Diggle, it is written by Jeff Parker, so it will probably be pretty good.

Another month in the books.  Don’t give all your money to the Big Two: you know there’s a lot more that’s good out in the ether! 

20 Comments

AZTEK! really, oh man that is awesome. now i can finally read it.

The lack of an order form only confirms what many of us have known for a few years now. Previews is just another means of revenue, not a real order form. Otherwise they would just give them away like a real catalog does.

Ash and Xena doesn’t seem so bad. If only for the potential comic moment of Bruce Campbell meeting himself. Since Army of Darkness and Evil Dead seem to be two seperate licenses (as Dark Horse is doing the former and not Dynamite), I wonder how long before they decide to do an Ash Vs. Ash book?

I’m going to pick up the X Omnibus. Even though I have the issues in one of my longboxes somewhere. In the 90s, Dark Horse did the Comics Greatest World which introduced Ghost, X, Barb Wire and others (16 issues for 18 dollars). X was one of the better comics to come out it. The origins of this are found in this Omnibus here:

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Horse-Heroes-Omnibus-1/dp/1593077343/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199149584&sr=8-1

X was one crazed out killing machine. You can look here for his Wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_%28Dark_Horse_Comics%29

I liked it back then and enjoy it now… nice to see all the older DHP comics get this treatment. I’m sure Ghost and Barb Wire will eventually come down the pipe.

Hope that helps

I didn’t even buy The New Frontier. I flipped through it and just didn’t like the art at all. And I just didn’t feel like reading Yet Another Story About The Early Days of the DC Super-Heroes with artwork I didn’t like.

I’ve never picked up The Order either, mainly because I reflexively avoid anything tied in to the Civil War/Initiative BS. Nothing about it has motivated me to even flip through it in the store.

I’ll probably pick up the Starman Omnibus too. For one thing, although I have all the trade paperbacks, not all of the original issues were collected in TPB form. And it’s always nice to have a great comic book collected in hardcover. So I’m down with that.

Castle Waiting is a fun book. However, I think the collection being solicited is undersized (maybe 6×9) like the first one was, which these days is enough to dissuade me from buying a collection. Why would I want to buy a collection in which the art is even smaller than it was originally printed in? (I had similar frustrations with the recent Finder collection and the Boneyard color collections – the small size lost me as a customer for those collections.)

Never seen Firefl—!? You wound me, Burgasmeister.

I had no idea they were doing an Army of Darkness/Xena crossover, but it has to be awesome. Right? I need to see Ash meet Autolycus.

Also, can’t wait for that OMAC hardcover. Mmm. My prayers are answered.

Michael– how can anyone not like Darwyn Cooke’s art? Agh. I am stunned. Urk… going dark…

Looking at the price, I’m sure the OMAC HC will have cheap paper like the Fourth World ones. Sigh! Marvel charges the same for HCs with decent paper…

And Cinebook is soliciting a bunch of cool european comics this month, including France’s sales champ Largo Winch! Since Okko and The Killer seem to be getting a lot of attention (if not sales…) lately, I thought it was worth mentioning.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I don’t think the Kirby Omnibuses have cheap paper at all. When you compare Fourth World to Devil Dinosaur, Fourth World looks so much more raw and Kirbyesque, while Devil Dinosaur feels a bit too shiny, too sparkly. It feels like ever since superhero stuff had to be super sexy, the presentation of the old work went the same way. Color isn’t just remastered, its changed. The Plastic Man Omnibuses dissapoint me for that reason, when you look in the issues scanned in by Chip Kidd and Art Spiegelman, there’s a toned down quality to them. Its charming, but to each his own.

Captain Carrot looks a lot like the Quik Rabbit..hmmm…

I’m one of the nerds salivating over that Darwyn Cooke book. Its all original work, and my guess is that he told DC he’s leaving and DC roped him back in with a promise to return to the New Frontier Universe, as his old New Frontier projects were denied. Probably because it might tread on the toes of such additions to graphic novel culture as ‘Lord Havok and the Extremists’.

Woo! 20 years of monopolization! Hear hear!

Serenity was a box office failure. It did clean up on DVD, though, if that counts.

Waid is officially done with Flash. Peyer is the new writer, for real. When was the last time a Peyer title lasted any substantial length of time, though…?

Did Noble Causes get a new logo, or have I just been out of the loop for too long? Either way, it looks snazzy, as do the new character designs.

I totally want Casey’s Nixon to team up with Codeflesh and clean up the streets of LA once and for all.

Buy Castle Waiting. It’s very good.

The first few chapters act as a prequel to the rest and have a slightly different tone so if they don’t initially grab you, still stick at it.

I’m curious, can someone explain to me what’s the difference between an “Omnibus” and an “Absolute” edition coming out from DC?

My understanding is that there will be 6 “Omnibuses” for STARMAN, but there will be 4 “Absolute Editions” of SANDMAN.

I can understand why someone might not like Tarot, but what is it exactly about Fiona Horne’s appearance that makes this issue “even ickier”? I’m not flaming you, Greg, just asking out of curiosity.

As for the other stuff, I am extremely excited about both the Starman Omnibus and the second Question trade. For Starman, I sold my individual issues a few years ago thinking I would just replace them with the trades. Only to find out that the trades…skipped issues. Dammit. After much smacking of palm to forehead, I can now make up for my mistake by getting the hardcover collections which will collect EVERYTHING, even the Hellboy crossover. As for Question, I’m just pleasantly surprised to see DC bringing another volume out. I was worried we would get Volume 1 and then DC would just forget about it. An amazing series that deserves more attention paid to it for being one of DC’s best mainstream series to come out of the post-COIE era.

Something I think is also worth mentioning is the M Hardcover being solicited by Abrams Publishing on page 201. You get Jon J Muth’s gorgeously illustrated comic adaption (done in mostly photorealistic paint and charcoal drawings) along with a DVD of the 1931 Fritz Lang film. It’s a haunting story about the search for a child killer in depression era Berlin, with an especially creepy Peter Lorre playing the killer. I’ve been waiting years to get a nice collection of the M mini, which Eclipse published back around 1990 before going under.

Yes, Berlin is very good. I have the first trade, and it’s an excellent piece of writing with crisp, clean art.

So…Captain America is dead, Spider-Man is a thirty-year old schoolteacher living with his aunt, the Hulk is bright red and not Bruce Banner, the Avengers are currently Wolverine, Spider-Man, Power Man, Iron Fist and Doctor Strange, and I couldn’t even tell you what the **** is up with the X-Men right now. Anyone get the feeling that Marvel’s not exactly going for the “casual fan” these days?

Andrew: In much the same way as the most recent issue of Tarot had witches with the faces of women who had sent Balent their photographs and he drew them onto nubile and semi-dressed bodies, the idea of Balent drawing a Playboy model into the book strikes me as ickier than usual. I know it’s a fine disctinction when we’re talking about what is essentially porn, but it’s just weird to think that these are real people that Balent is making even more artificial by putting them in his comic. This didn’t creepy me out as much as the previous example, but it’s still weird. I guess I’m just getting more freaked out by things as I get older!

Speaking as A Guy Who Works at a Comic Shop, the “Short Order” form has always been a pain in the ass for us to process anyway; we keep copies of the consumer order booklet handy and offer them to our pull list customers gratis with the catalogue itself.

Ha ha Greg, fair enough. I can see where that might be a little weird, but having read Tarot on and off through the years (yes, I’ll admit it!), that’s nothing new for the book. If you ever look at many of the nymphs/mermaids/pixies/whatever that often run around the covers of the book, you’ll notice they almost always have the same face as his wife (and the book’s colorist) Holly.

As for women sending in their faces, I missed that issue but that doesn’t surprise me either. While I’m sure Tarot has a large male readership for the obvious reasons, most people don’t realize what a large female readership it has. Most seem to come from the pagan/wiccan community and many write in to the book about how Tarot represents a power fantasy for them much like how Batman or Superman serves the same thing for a lot of men. It would seem to go against conventional wisdom about the typical audience for what is essentially a T&A book, but the Balents (to their credit) really seemed to have tapped into something…

IDW is publishing the first issue of Star Trek: The New Frontier, the first comic since the one Wildstorm published a few years ago. New Frontier is the best Trek novel series out right now.

DC could finish Starman in trades by simply reprinting another “Times Past” volume, since (IIRC) all the issues that haven’t been collected are those issues. But nooo, they’d rather make more money by reprinting it again, those bastards. And I’ll buy it, because I never read it in comics, just collections, but then I’ll need to sell the duplicate books. Actually, come to think of it I never did read that last trade.

All I know about the “Omnibus” vs. “Absolute” format is that Absolutes are slipcased and larger than a typical comic book, while Omnis are the same size as comics. There are more pages (I think) of Starman to collect, tho, since there were a couple annuals and other specials, and a crossover with The Power of Shazam. He also appeared prominently in JSA, maybe those issues will be included.

The recent Awesome: Indie Spinner Rack anthology had a Comic Book Comics story about the series Crime Does Not Pay, which kicked off the gory crime books that EC Comics popularized and got Wertham’s attention, which eventually led to the creation of the Comics Code. It was awesome, in the style of Action Philosophers. I can’t wait to read more of the series. And aren’t they also doing Action Presidents? That should also be cool.

All will submit to Lord Zango! Do my will or suffer my wrath, fools!

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