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Flippin’ through Previews – November 2008

Let’s see … early in the month? That means it’s time for another journey through the fine periodical known as Previews to see what goodies lurk within! Join me, won’t you?

Yes, I hated the cover so much I had to use the back cover! I’m just crazy that way!

Dark Horse:

Page 42 brings us another trade of Fear Agent (4 March). Fear Agent is a weird series. Remender often seems to have no idea what he’s doing on the book, but when you read all the trades together, a plan does emerge a bit. It’s weird. It has nice art, though, and, you know, lots of killing.

If you’ve been looking to complete your Grendel collection but haven’t been able to find the back issues, Dark Horse helpfully collects “Devil’s Reign” on page 44 (4 March). This collects the final Comico issues, #34-40, and features early Tim Sale art. It’s only 20 bucks, too, and it’s packed with content, telling two concurrent stories.

And then there’s the Bettie Page heat-sensitive mug (page 55). Oh dear:

Remember when you were 10 and your puerile grandfather had something like this? Yeah, if you buy this, you’re turning into your puerile grandfather. Just thought you should know.

DC:

DC continues to do good by releasing another JLI hardcover (page 89; 4 March). Of course, it’s 25 bucks, but who knows when the softcover versions will be out?

On the same page, The Losers hardcover shows up (11 March), written and drawn by some guy named Kirby. You know, if it’s not written by Diggle and drawn by Jock, I don’t want to see it!

I remember when Vigilante came out in 1995, but wasn’t that interested in it. Now DC has a trade (page 92; 11 February). I know it’s James Robinson, so it should be good, but what say the masses? Is this any good? (And whatever happened to Tony Salmons, anyway?)

If you haven’t been keeping up with the trades of Wonder Woman’s “plainclothes adventures,” you’re missing out. The fourth (and last) volume gets collected on page 93 (18 February). It doesn’t feature Sekowsky art, but that’s okay!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 shows up from Johnny DC on page 97 (28 January). How much do you want to bet it will be the best Batman book of the month?

Or maybe not, as Chynna Clugston illustrates Super Friends #11 (page 98; 14 January), in which Bat-Mite forms a Batman fan club. Gold!

Jeff Parker writes Mysterius: The Unfathomable #1 on page 101 (21 January). Jeff Parker writing about a magician who talks to dead people? Yeah, that should work.

Vertigo has a big-ass collection of all the Death stuff you can hope for (page 113; 25 March). Two things stand out for me: One, do we really need the AIDS PSA included? Really? Two, saying something is “compleat” really annoys me. Anyway, I’m not sure if this is worth 35 bucks, but you might!

I don’t know how often DC bothers to release a Sandman Mystery Theatre trade (yeah, I hate spelling it “theatre” as well, but that’s the flingin’-flangin’ title, so I have no choice), but there’s another one on page 117 (25 February). It’s been a while since I’ve read these, but I know they’re damned good comics.

Peter Milligan begins writing Hellblazer (page 118; 21 January). Hmmmm. Might have to pick that up.

On page 134, DC offers the Phantom Lady Bust. I’m sorry, but the joke is way too obvious:

Image:

Remember when Mark Millar wrote all those new titles for a bunch of different publishers? And how Unfunnies, his title for Avatar, might be the worst comic ever published? And how Wanted insulted the very people who made him a star? And how not-at-all-obvious and clever the twist in Chosen was? Well, Image remembers that last book, and so on page 138 they offer Chosen in a new trade (14 January) that implies Millar will be returning to the book (it’s now called American Jesus volume 1). I would avoid this, though. It’s not very good. I just thought I’d point it out.

Dynamo 5 #0 (page 150; 28 January) is only 99 cents. Pick it up, people!

Invincible #58 (page 154; 14 January) claims that it will be “on time in 2009!” and that its “ship date” is “guaranteed!” I’ve grumbled about Image’s problems in getting its books out on time, but is it really that big of a deal? The reason I don’t like it with Marvel and DC is because they have so much counting on big events like Final Crisis. With Invincible (which I buy in trades, so lateness doesn’t bother me that much), shouldn’t it be more important to get the best book you can? I get the frustration of waiting for comics that never appear (as it’s happened to me so, so often), but ultimately with books like this, you’re concerned about the overall story, not the timeliness with which it comes out. Or is that just me?

On the same page, we get more of the same. Jack Staff #21 is resolicited (28 January). How’s that monthly schedule for Jack Staff working out? Yes, I suck because I don’t buy it, but I’m not talking about whether it’s good or not. A big deal was made that it would be out on time. Has it been? This seems to point to “no.”

Maybe it’s Kirkman, as Walking Dead #57 promises the same thing on page 157 (7 January). Beats me.

Image gets the title of one of its own books wrong on page 167. It’s I Hate Galaxy Girl, not “Gallant” Girl. Good stuff!

I knew that if Velocity was one of the Pilot Season issues from last year that got its own title, Kevin Maguire probably wouldn’t be drawing it, but issue #1 is on page 170 and Joe Casey is writing it, while ChrisCross takes over the art chores, so that will probably work.

On page 175, Midnight Nation gets the hardcover treatment. It’s 35 bucks, but it’s 304 pages and it’s probably Straczynski’s strongest comics work. That might be because of Frank’s art, and it does fall apart a little at the end, but it’s pretty darned good.

Marvel:

Hey, it’s Marvel’s 70th year. Let’s celebrate!

You know, I don’t want to be cynical about Marvel and DC, because if I write one tiny thing against those two, somebody thinks I hate everything they publish, but I’m a bit tired of Marvel “classifying” the descriptions of their comics. It’s – how shall I put this? – idiotic. Oh well. It’s not like I’m buying any of those titles anyway.

Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña are bringing us Punisher #1 on page 50. Did I miss Punisher War Journal getting cancelled? It appears so, because it’s not offered in this Previews. I guess it’s nice that Remender and Opeña are getting a high-profile gig, even though I won’t be getting it.

Page 53 has Ruins, which is weirdly numbered. There were only two issues, which are collected here, so why is it #1? Anyway, Ellis destroys the Marvel U., and it starts off well but quickly spins off the rails. Maybe Marvel will now collect Ellis’s Hellstorm and Druid!

Okay, so Thor is getting a #600 (page 58). I need to rant about numbering and re-numbering. A few years back, Marvel trumpeted the fact that Fantastic Four was the first Marvel title to reach 500 issues, even though Thor had already reached it years earlier (Journey into Mystery started several years before FF). So now Marvel has re-numbered Thor so that they can have a 600th issue. I could forgive it when they reverted to the original numbering on Fantastic Four, because the title never actually had a break, did it? They came up with new “volumes,” but if it did have a break, it was only a month, right? Thor went, what, two years without a comic to call his own? It’s not even the 600th issue of a comic book starring Thor, because Journey into Mystery existed for years before he was created, and then, with issue #500, didn’t it go back to Journey into Mystery before it got killed? Sheesh. Nice cash grab, Marvel. At least you know people will fall for it!

On page 89 we get something sweet: Captain Britain Omnibus. It’s 100 dollars, but it’s 680 pages, plus it’s all the Alan Moore stories in one volume. It also features the post-Moore issues, which are almost as good, but I’m not sure if it includes pre-Moore stories. Does anyone know? I’ll have to check it out. It doesn’t matter, because the stuff I’ve read that is included – all of the above plus New Mutants Annual #2 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 – are fan-freakin’-tastic. I own the two Captain Britain trades, and I’m seriously tempted to get this, even for the hefty price tag.

Agents of Atlas gets a trade collection on page 110. A fun story, very nice Leonard Kirk art, and a ton of extra issues with the first appearances of the characters. Nice touch there by Marvel. I own this, but might pick up the trade anyway.

As we head into the back of the book, we come across the first trade of Terry Moore’s Echo on page 192 from Abstract Studio. If you’ve been waiting for the trade, here it is! (Actually, I thought it had been solicited last month, but even it was, here it is again!)

Alterna Comics offers an “expanded edition” of the Jesus Hates Zombies anthology on page 194. I have no idea if it’s any good, but I like how it’s called “the Second Coming” of the book. Because it’s a new edition, get it? Well, I thought it was funny.

There’s a new “Alan Moore” comic on page 218 from Avatar called Neonomicon. A lot of the Alan Moore Avatar stuff is adapted from his prose (usually by Antony Johnston), but this one appears to be an actual comic by the master, so maybe those quotation marks are unnecessary. This is in a Lovecraftian vein, so I’ll probably skip it, but there it is.

If you were waiting for the trade with all the CrossGen titles and then were a tad disappointed when the company went under, Checker Book Publishing has a bunch of them on page 229: Sojourn, Ruse, Scion, and Sigil. Your prayers have been answered! That’s what happens when you wait for the trade, people!

Devil’s Due has picked up the Humanoids license, and the first book they’re bringing out is I Am Legion, with stunning art by John Cassaday (page 233). DC managed to get one issue out before they shed Humanoids, and I’ve been waiting a good 4 years or so to read the rest of this. It appears Devil’s Due is splitting that issue and turning this into a six-issue mini-series. Good for them! Here’s what bothers me about this. While I was buying comics this week, a customer at the store was flipping through Previews. He got grumpy when he saw that Devil’s Due was publishing this. Why? Because he thinks Devil’s Due is a crappy company that only publishes licensed crap and he doesn’t want to give them money because he thinks they suck. But he really wants to read this. We discussed his policy, which I can understand to a degree but think is ultimately foolish. Marvel and DC, by the fact of the sheer numbers of titles they publish, probably publish far more crap than Devil’s Due, but does he stop reading the books by them he likes? I felt the same way about buying The Straw Men by Zenoscope, because until they published The Straw Men, Zenoscope had published their semi-pornographic takes on Grimm’s Fairy Tales and little else. The employee of the store feels this way about Avatar, because he thinks it’s a place where Ellis and Ennis can take their truly crappy ideas that Marvel and DC refuse to publish because they’re so crappy. There might be some truth to that, but some of Ellis’s Avatar stuff is really excellent, so having that attitude is odd. It seems that Ellis takes his crappy ideas to Marvel because he knows that they’re interested in re-hashing crap, but that’s just me. Anyway, we debated this because if he gives his money to Devil’s Due so they can publish a good book like I Am Legion (and it’s pretty good, not only because of Cassaday’s art), won’t they publish more good books? It’s a conundrum. My point has always been: Don’t boycott companies based on what they did in the past. See what they’re publishing right now. Maybe they’ll always publish what you think is crap. But to deny yourself good comics just because they publish a lot of crap is silly. On the other hand, I think I’ll stop buying DC comics just because that issue of Nightwing was so awful. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Speaking of Devil’s Due, on page 243 they offer Hollow-Eyed Mary. I’m not sure if I’m going to get it or not, because it sounds like a typical weird future with crazy characters (“racist teenagers, masked assassins, cannibals, and a telekinetic hitman,” according to the solicitation text), which isn’t that interesting, but I thought I’d point out that Rudolf Montemayor, who drew it, is pretty good, so it might be worth it for the art alone.

Dynamite Entertainment offers the second arc of Garth Ennis’s new war comic, Battlefields, on page 249. Peter Snejbjerg draws it, it takes place in Singapore, and it appears to be … a love story? Ennis can write some good love stories, so maybe this will be something to check out. I’m sure there will be plenty of gore as well!

On page 269, Drawn & Quarterly has Baloney by Pascal Blanchet, which sounds strange enough to work. It’s set in Russis and tells the tale of a few villagers struggling against the mean old monopolist who owns the only heating company in town. It’s also, apparently, a homage to the music of the 1930s and ’40s. Well, that’s weird. But what else would we expect from D & Q?

There’s a fourth issue of Comic Book Comics on page 271 from Evil Twin Comics, and the cover is a homage to Fantastic Four #1. No matter how many times someone homages that, it never gets old.

Fantagraphics has its usual collection of stuff, including Supermen!, which is offered on page 272 and reprints several superhero stories from 1939-41, many of which have never been reprinted. It sounds fun because of the inclusion of Will Eisner’s Wonder Man, which led to a successful DC lawsuit killing it, but the talent on the other comics sounds good too.

A softcover version of Zot! is offered on page 276 from Harper Collins Publishers. It’s 25 bucks, but it’s 576 pages. That’s good value. I haven’t written about this since the first version of this book came out a while back, but goddamn is this a great comic book.

Journey volume 2 shows up on page 287 from IDW. I got volume 1 not too long ago, and it was pretty darned good. I’m looking forward to the second volume.

As much as I appreciate NBM‘s output, I get a bit grumpy with them as well. On page 294 they offer No Pasaran volume 3 again. Some of us already have volumes 2 and 3 but haven’t read them yet because No Pasaran volume 1 is still out of print! Maybe, just maybe, NBM could work at getting that back in print before offering volume 3 again. Just maybe. Then some of us could read the damned thing.

Page 295 brings us the big collection of Local from Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly (I like how the genre is “slice of life”). It’s 30 dollars for 384 pages, and although the ending was a tiny bit disappointing, overall it’s a stunning comic. You know you want it!

I’m always torn about books from Rebellion, because the quality is usually pretty good but they cost so very much. Robbie Morrison and Henry Flint on Shakara the Assassin (page 302) sounds pretty keen, but is it worth 25 bucks? What says the readership?

Jeff Lemire’s “Essex County” trilogy is all finished and offered on page 314. This is one of the best “graphic novels” of 2007-08. The first two can stand alone, but the third ties more into the first two. Just read all three of them!

That’s a wrap on this month’s chunk of future comics. Oh, there’s a book by some punk on page 352 about the Legion of Super-Heroes, but do we really want to give him any more press? I think not!

Just remember: If you don’t love everything DC publishes, this chick will show up at your door and vomit blood on you! That’s just how they roll in the DCU, man!

33 Comments

Can someone tell me if Greg is buying anything from DC or Marvel? I don’t think he mentioned it in his entry…

(Insert smiley anywhere you’d like…)

Shakara is probably worth it. I’ve gotten a bunch of the Rebellion books and the ones by Robbie Morrison are always entertaining. I’m surprised an American publisher hasn’t hooked onto him yet. And, Henry Flint is an excellent artist.

This is really for those that want something new and different.

From what I’ve read the last couple of days, “I Hate Galaxy Girl” HAS been changed to “I Hate Gallant Girl.” Something about a pre-existing character, I believe.

And yeah, the Image on-time thing is Kirkman pledging that all his titles will ship on time in ’09, now that he’s a video-manifesto-delivering full partner in the company & all. I’m hardly the first to point out how pathetic it is that creators these days have to make a big stand about DOING THEIR DAMNED JOBS.

“DC continues to do good by releasing another JLI hardcover (page 89; 4 March). Of course, it’s 25 bucks, but who knows when the softcover versions will be out?”

March 10, 2009 for volume one, according to Amazon.

If you are questioning the inclusion of the Death AIDs PSA in the Complete Death hardcover, then you have clearly never read the Death AIDs PSA.

Aquaman looks like Brock Samson.

Darren: I’ve read it several times, as it was included in so many Vertigo books back in the day. Why does it need to be included? Because it features McKean art? Because a goth chick puts a condom on a banana clutched with embarrassment by a mis-cast John Constantine? I guess if it’s the “compleat” Death hardcover, it needs to be included, but why not include every appearance of Death EVER then?

Is Necronomicon the new Alan Moore/Jacen Burrows series that Avatar has been talking about for the past few years? I asked William Christiansen about the project at NYCC this year, and he said they probably wouldn’t be making any announcements regarding the series until 2009.

I’ve been excited about that project ever since I read the entry on Burrows’ blog where he said that Moore’s scripts for the projects were giving him nightmares.

Also, I’ve got to disagree with your statements on Avatar. While some of Ennis’s series for Avatar haven’t been great, 303 is one of the best things he’s ever written, and Crossed #1 singlehandedly managed to be more interesting than anything in the past 2 years worth of The Walking Dead. Ellis’s stuff meanwhile, has a tendency to completely fall apart by the end of the series due to the fact that he seems to not be thinking much out beyond the initial concept and have no idea how to satisfactorily resolve them (see: Black Summer, Black Gas, Wolfskin).

And yeah, PWJ is getting cancelled and relaunched after Secret Invasion, probably because of the events of Dark Reign leading to a new direction for the book. I’ll probably give it a look for the first arc, I’m doubtful Remender could do a version that I’d like less than Fraction’s work on PWJ anyway.

I’d give the Shakara book a try. Henry Flint’s art is absolutely splendid throughout and the story’s pretty different from Morrison’s usual stuff.

Why would a villainous, blood-spewing, cosmic being take the time to bind her hair in a ponytail?

Random Stranger

November 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm

“Why would a villainous, blood-spewing, cosmic being take the time to bind her hair in a ponytail?”

So she doesn’t get blood all over her hair, of course.

Has Moore’s Captain Britain work ever been collected? I have a trade of the stuff that immediately follows his run (it has some nice Alan Davis art) but couldn’t find one with Moore’s work. Irregardless I’ll probably be getting that one…

Why would a villainous, blood-spewing, cosmic being take the time to bind her hair in a ponytail?

So she doesn’t get blood in her hair. Duh.

Shakara: Absolutely agree with the other posters on this. Thoroughly enjoyed it when originally published in 2000AD. Henry Flint’s art is astounding IMO, channelling a ‘Block Mania’ or ‘Nemesis the Warlock’ period Kevin O’Neill, but isn’t a pastiche.
Lots of grotesque aliens, anti-corporate satire and widescreen action. Something different from the norm.

Oops, Block Mania was Mike McMahon. I meant O’Neill. Excuse me, couple of beers to the good…

Dave: I suppose Neonomicon is that project. I’m not sure, though. And you’ll notice that I’m not the one saying that about Avatar. I think Ellis’s Strange Killings mini-series, while not great, are pretty entertaining, and I agree that 303 is very good. Ellis’s Scars is one of the best things he’s ever written.

Random Stranger: Moore’s Captain Britain stuff has been collected, a few years ago when there was a bit of detente between he and Marvel. I think it’s probably out of print now, so I’m glad Marvel is re-releasing it.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

November 3, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Didn’t that Zot softcover come out a few months ago?

I’ve got it…

Checker Publishing does not seem to list Ruse, but does list Negation. Was ruse wish fulfillment, or did you actually see it in Previews?

FGJ: I’m not sure if there’s any difference between the Zot! book that came out and this new offering. The new cover is black (that’s my copy above), but maybe they’re just re-issuing it because the first printing was so darned popular. At least that’s what I hope, as it’s something every comics fan should own!

Lauren: The Ruse collection is on page 229! It collects issues #18-26. I don’t know if they have the previous issues collected or not, but that one is definitely there!

Jeffrey O. Gustafson

November 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm

I am really looking forward to the Midnight Nation hardcover – it really is one of Straczynski’s finest works, and its about damn time they released a decent hardcover. And couple that with December’s Rising Stars Omnibus! Great stuff to look forward to, indeed.

I like how no one has actually taken the time to consider Robert Kirkman’s “on time in ’09″. On time… or what? There’s been no stated consequence. If they’re late, Diamond typically allows for returns anyway, so saying that they’ll be returnable is inconsequential.

Kirkman should say “on time in ’09… or free!” Now *that* would be a gutsy, consequential move.

Re: Mark Millar. Agreed. SO agreed.

And that Zot! is already out, but could use more press, as it’s the fucking bomb.

I’ve not read Shakara, but Robbie Morrison and Henry Flint are both quality creators so I’ll probably pick it up eventually.

Isn’t this the Zot hc version? For some reason they released the sc first THEN the hc. Makes perfect sense.

Agree about it being a great series.

Oh, shit!

I gotta remember to add Velocity to my pull list.

ChrisCross on a monthly comic again is damn good news.

ChrisCross and Casey on a monthly comic together is too tempting to pass up.

Oh, I missed that Chynna Clugston was drawing the new Super Friends issue. That explains why there’s no new issue of Blue Monday listed for Oni Press this month.

Very excited to see a new Sandman Mystery Theatre trade listed. I wish they would put them out faster, but I’m glad they haven’t abandoned them either. And I actually kind of prefer “theatre” over “theater”…

Shakara is absolutely AWESOME, so long as you like fight comics. It’s basically all spectacle, with amazing locations, fantastic and unusual character concepts, and ridiclulously over the top fights- but basically very little plot beyond a simple revenge scenario. But it’s so well executed, and the art is GORGEOUS… It’s certainly worth it in my book.

“I guess if it’s the “compleat” Death hardcover, it needs to be included, but why not include every appearance of Death EVER then?”

Are there that many Death appearances that haven’t been reprinted somewhere? (The purpose of the book being to collect appearances where she’s the headliner, not appearing in someone else’s title.) All of Sandman has been reprinted; so have her appearances in Books of Magic (although I’m still waiting for DC/Vertigo to collect the last third of the ongoing series…). The only appearances she’s made that I can think of off the top of my head that aren’t collected anywhere are a one-page non-speaking cameo in LSH (the issue where the Earth blows up) and the two issues where she appeared in Captain Atom, about which the less said, the better.

Yes just to ad dto the consensus that Shakara is fantastic. The art alone is exceptional. A lot of Rebellion trades seem to have zero visibility in the US, but they are for the most part well worth checking out.

I read Invincible in trade also, and I have to tell you that along with Powers, it’s very frustrating how infrequently the trades come out.

“And how Unfunnies, his title for Avatar, might be the worst comic ever published?”

Not even close. You could fill pages with just the titles of worse comics. Remember, after all, the nineties happened.

I am a little wary of the Humanoids reprints because when DC did I Am Legion, the art was obviously shrunken down. I want that big album-sized footage!

Quite excited on seeing the reprints from Fantagraphics. They are bringing all sorts of space madness back into print.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

November 4, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Oh, shit!

I gotta remember to add Velocity to my pull list.

ChrisCross on a monthly comic again is damn good news.

ChrisCross and Casey on a monthly comic together is too tempting to pass up.

ChrisCross made you jump

on board that monthly?

(Sorry)

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