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Flippin’ through Previews – October 2011

What lurks in the depths of Previews #277? Join me to find out!

Yeah, I'll fight you with jeans on - rips would only make them look cooler!

Dark Horse:

Okay, so right away, Dark Horse pisses me off. On page 24, The Strain is offered to us, the reading public. It seems like a fairly innocuous comic – it’s adapted from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s novels, and David Lapham is a perfectly fine choice to write it. Mike Huddleston drawing it, however, makes me grumpy. If you’ve noticed, Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker is a bit behind (issue #7 was originally solicited for 28 September), and I fear that it’s because of this and will only get worse. Why does that matter? Well, Huddleston’s been around for a while, and while he’s been doing good work, he hasn’t exactly been a big name (although I did buy Mnemovore, because it was pretty keen). So now he’s doing mind-blowing work on a comic that actually tries to do different things with the medium, and here comes Del Toro with throwing his flashy money around and hiring Huddleston to draw this (I don’t blame Huddleston; who doesn’t like money?). I mean, Hogan and del Toro have already written the books, and I assume there’s a movie or two in the offing. Do they really need the comic? And if so, do they really need Huddleston? Can’t everyone just buy Butcher Baker so Huddleston could make some money off of that? Shit. (14 December)

The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde gets a trade paperback on page 34. This sounds intriguing, and I saw no reviews of it anywhere. Did anyone read it? Is it any good? I’ll probably order it, but I was just wondering. (22 February)

It's all Victorian and shit!

I try to resist Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics (for a variety of reasons), but on page 38, we get Star Wars: Agent of the Empire – Iron Eclipse by John Ostrander and Stéphane Roux. That’s a damned good creative team, and the story is about a secret Empire agent doing secret agent things. I’m very tempted by this. (14 December)

Over on page 49 we find the Empowered Deluxe Edition (volume 1). It’s hardcover and costs $59.99, but it’s also 712 pages long. I seem to be the only person on the Internets who doesn’t love Empowered, but you might like it! (29 February)

You'd think I would like this, but I don't

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes on page 54 sounds interesting. It’s a story of two daughters – James Joyce’s daughter and the writer, Mary Talbot, who’s the daughter of a Joycean scholar. It’s drawn by Bryan Talbot, so you know it will look groovy, and who doesn’t love delving into the lives of people connected to James Joyce? (8 February)

A lot of comic book companies do what Dark Horse is doing on page 55, and it pisses me off: They have volume 2 of The Manara Library, even though the first volume hasn’t come out yet. I get that the two aren’t connected by anything except Milo Manara, but I would like to get a sense of his older work before committing to yet another volume. I’ll probably end up getting this anyway, but I’ll have to ponder it for a while. This couldn’t wait another month or two, Dark Horse? The first volume is due in early November, after all. (8 February)

DC:

Aquaman #4 (page 67) has an interesting statement: Our hero must battle the “cannibalistic creatures” known as the Trench. Do they eat their own? Are they human? In issue #1 they only ate humans. So are they really cannibals, or does someone writing solicitation texts not know exactly what cannibals are? (28 December)

I’m sure that this cover for Green Arrow #4 (page 73) has a skewed perspective, but I would love it if Ollie were that short. This book would be a lot better if every single villain made fun of Ollie’s height before he kicked their asses. (7 December)

Unless she's a giant, which would be almost as cool

So, on page 84, Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes shows up. Is this supposed to finish Morrison’s pre-reboot Batman run? It’s labeled #1, which means nothing in DC-speak (even though it implies a #2), but I wonder how everything is going to be wrapped up in 80 pages. Isn’t there supposed to be something else in 2012? Reboots make my head hurt. (21 December)

According to the solicit for Grifter #4 (page 104), “Seattle is known for coffee, clouds, and Q-Core.” Man, the DCnU’s Seattle sounds way more boring than the real-world Seattle, which is a topnotch city. (14 December)

Page 109 gives us yet another Ray. How many of those suckers are there, anyway? (14 December)

In case you’re interested in reading a really good version of Catwoman instead of whatever Winick is writing, pick up Catwoman volume 1 on page 120, which collects Darwyn Cooke’s Selina’s Big Score (stilll his best comics work, if I think about it) and the writing of Ed Brubaker. This is a Selina who’s both sexy and awesome. (25 January)

Even a generic Darwyn Cooke cover is awesome!

Also on page 120, Resurrection Man volume 1 is offered, collecting the first 14 issues of the 1990s series (for only 30 bucks, which isn’t bad). I bought some of these issues but wasn’t too impressed, but apparently a lot of people dug it, so here it is! (11 January)

DC keeps jamming more stories into The DC Universe by Alan Moore (page 121), this time around sticking in some of his Wildstorm work. I’ve read some of his Wildstorm work: If you haven’t read it yet, you can safely skip it. Of course, if you don’t have this yet, it’s a damned fine comic collection for all the other stuff in here. (8 February)

If you’ve never read Warren Ellis’s seminal run on StormWatch (which is far better than his work on The Authority), DC has a new hardcover collection on page 122, collecting issues #37-47. These are really good comics. (8 February)

And there it is on page 130: Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery Deluxe Edition hardcover. Sure, it was supposed to be out this year, but at least DC managed to solicit it this year. I can’t stress this enough, people: BUY THIS COMIC!!!!! Yes, the rumors are true – it’s as good as people say it is. (1 February)

It's just so good!

IDW:

IDW offers another “Artist’s Edition” on page 148, this time bringing us a bunch of Amazing Spider-Man issues drawn by John Romita, Sr. IDW isn’t even publishing a price, but Simonson’s Thor one was 75 bucks, wasn’t it? Anyway, these things are cool. I wish I had a lot of money to spend on them.

There’s a second Jon Sable, Freelance Omnibus volume 2 on page 166. I really enjoyed the first volume. I’m glad the second one is coming out.

Image:

On page 170, we find the Madman 20th Anniversary Monster! This features a bunch of short stories by dozens of creators, a new story by Allred, and it’s 11 X 17, so it’s huge. The preview art looks nice, but I’ll be skipping this for two reasons: It’s $100, and I’ve never been all that impressed with any Madman stories I’ve ever read. But it’s still a pretty cool project. (14 December)

Still, that's a cool cover

The Last Battle on page 176 is about Romans fighting Germanic hordes in 52 B.C. So yeah, it sounds great. Oh, and it’s drawn by Dan Brereton. YES PLEASE! (21 December)

Fact: Dan Brereton is awesome

If you get your dose of Chew in giant-sized format (and you should be getting your dose of Chew, no matter what format in which you receive it), on page 180 there’s the Chew Omnivore Edition volume 2, which collects issues #11-20. Yes, it’s totally worth it. (7 December)

I really don’t want to buy Officer Downe: Bigger, Better, Bastard Edition on page 182 (I already own the not-as-big, not-as-good, legitimate edition, apparently), but as I’m a sucker, I might. This is a ridiculous over-the-top comic in the tradition of Miller and Darrow’s Hard Boiled, and Chris Burnham’s art is superb. It’s only 13 bucks, so I might splurge for it, even though it’s simply Casey and Burnham writing and drawing as much depraved violence as they can. Who doesn’t love that? (7 December)

The Red Wing shows up in trade on page 183. Three issues in and I’d say it’s worth it, but who knows if Hickman will stick the landing. (14 December)

Shinku volume 1 will NOT be out on 7 December (page 184), as issues #3-5 haven’t shipped yet (Marz came by to explain that colorist Michael Atiyeh had some family issues and they waited for him to resolve those), but if you’ve been skipping the single issues, I’d advise you to pre-order this even though only 40% of the story has come out. Yes, that’s how much ass the first two issues kicked. If you were disappointed by Voodoo #1, read Shinku. (And if you weren’t disappointed by Voodoo, you should still read Shinku!) It will blow your socks off.

Speaking of cool comics in trade, page 188 brings us Witch Doctor, which has been a pretty excellent series so far. It’s hilarious, vicious, creepy, and beautifully drawn. So yeah, there’s that. (14 December)

Marvel:

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent gets a trade on page 78. Yep. Still a great comic book. (7 December)

I’m not sure if I want to pay 100 bucks for it, but it’s kind of neat that Marvel is bringing out Untold Tales of Spider-Man Omnibus, because a lot of people like this series a lot. I mean, I know it’s a good value (800 pages), but still – that’s a lot of coin. (14 March)

Remember: Busiek ruined superhero comics!!!!!

Speaking of Peter David’s feud with John Byrne, that annual and a bunch of other Byrne Hulk stories show up in trade format on page 100. I assume this has never been collected before. (28 December)

It’s a Jubilee jubilation on page 102, with Robert Kirkman’s old mini-series collected for the first time and Kathryn Immonen/Phil Noto’s recent mini-series getting collected. I love Jubilee, but you might be a loser and not like her at all. Oh yeah, I went there. (21 and 14 December)

I’m not crazy, so maybe I don’t understand the appeal of Spider-Man: The PSAs trade on page 109. Are people seriously going to plunk down 35 dollars to read a bunch of public service announcements? Really? (28 December)

And so we reach the back of the book. What could be there?

On page 228, Archaia offers The Dare Detectives: The Snow Pea Plot Collected Edition by Ben Caldwell. Caldwell, you’ll recall, is a favorite of certain podcasting women around these parts because of his Wonder Woman pitch, but since we’re never going to see that, here’s something else! Archaia seems to have hit another snag with their publishing, because it’s slowed recently, but let’s hope this and their other stuff comes out!

Yes, I know it's been out for a little bit, but it's new to me!

Asylum Press has Fearless Dawn: Secret of the Swamp, a single-issue story, on page 240. If you haven’t seen Steve Mannion’s feverish and fantastic bad-girl art yet, you should check this out.

Nelson, a graphic novel on page 242 from Blank Slate, sounds fascinating. It tells a story of one woman from 1968 to the present, with each chapter telling the story of a day in the particular year. Each story is by a different creator (or, I assume, creative team) from British comics. It’s 38 dollars, which is a bit steep, but it sounds really, really cool and profits are going to charity, so I might have to pick this sucker up.

Oh, those wacky Brits and their ideas!

Over on page 249, Boom! Studios has Outcast #1, which sounds like Zombie Conan (a barbarian king is killed in battle and then resurrected, and he’s on a quest to restore his soul). That may or may not sell you on the book, but Michael Alan Nelson, the writer, and Matteo Scalera, the artist, are pretty good creators, so this might work pretty well.

Boom! also has “Artist’s Edition” of Irredeemable and Incorruptible #1 (page 254), which is interesting. It’s always keen to see original pencil work stripped of inks and colors, and both of these are only $3.99, which is what Boom! charges for all its books.

Also from Boom!, page 256 has the Malignant Man trade paperback. According to Chip Mosher, I may have been the only person in the country who bought this, but it was a nice little weird horror story with cool art. Give it a look!

Dynamite has The Art of Howard Chaykin on page 279, which is interesting. It’s only $29.99, which isn’t bad, and it includes art from as far back as the 1970s. As you may know, I think Chaykin has gotten worse and worse, artistically, over the years, and it would be interesting to see his devolution. But I also wonder if there’s going to be Marvel and DC stuff in here. How will that work?

Seriously, what happened to him?

Berlin #18 comes out on page 288 from Drawn & Quarterly. I know I’m a bad person because I wait for the trade on this series, but I do. It’s kind of killing me, though. Issue #17 was out in the spring of 2009, I know that much, which means Lutes should finish this series (it’s planned for 24 issues) around 2023. I’ll be so old I don’t know if I’ll remember to buy the trade!

Fantagraphics offers Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons on page 294. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently O’Connor was quite the cartoonist in the 1940s. This has to be awesome, right?

Page 296 has Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim from First Second. This originally came out in 2003 and now we get a fancy new edition bringing it back into print, and I’m looking forward to reading it!

Yay to books getting back in print!

Oni has some books on pages 307-310. First, Frenemy of the State #5 gets resolicited. I enjoy this series and I’m kind of sad it didn’t find a bigger audience, but I hope this final issue actually comes out this time. Then, they have Polly and the Pirates volume 2, for which Ted Naifeh does not do the art. I’m fairly certain this has been resolicited, and again, I hope it actually comes out this time. (And I know MarkAndrew has been waiting for this, so maybe he’ll be happy now.) Finally, there’s a Spontaneous hardcover. I’m not sure if this is worth the price of a hardcover, but it would definitely be a good read in a trade. It’s up to you if you want to get it as a hard- or softcover!

On page 320, Dry Spell is offered. I just reviewed this, so check it out and see if it’s something you’d like to read!

I’m totally scared to read Jaguar God: Snake Brother’s Revenge from Verotik (page 332), because I fear that a Glenn Danzig-written comic will cause irreparable damage to my soul. But Simon Bisley draws it, so it has to look awesome. It’s also been resolicited, so who knows if it will even come out?

You might go to hell just by looking at the cover!

Scary Glenn Danzig comics are always a good place to finish up, so let’s do that. Have fun searching through Previews for all the good stuff contained therein. Don’t settle!!!!

34 Comments

Although you might disagree with this (I know I do), several dictionaries define Cannibal something like this: (1) A person who eats the flesh of humans, (2) An animal that eats its own kind.
It’s ridiculous, and redundant, but there it is. As a result, fiction which has nonhuman sentient beings who eat humans can still be “Cannibals”.

A complete collection of Alan Moore’s DC work, so we can see what so many writers are still slavishly following! See: the ending to Brightest Day >:(

At first I was with you on Cannbials…but apparently they’re things that eat human flesh, or people who eat others of their species. I feel the second is a better one, though.

Leviathan Strikes is the last two issues of Batman: Inc., which were supposed to be out pre-relaunch, but weren’t. It bridges the gap between Inc. and next year’s Batman: Leviathan.

I did notice that almost all of DC’s solicitations had more than one exclamation mark. Some had one for every sentence. I felt like I was being shouted at by a street hawker.

I miss the old Ray, and Wally West.

I’ll definitely be getting that new James Bond-ian Star Wars, and Flex Mentallo and The Last Battle and the Malignant Man TPB. (You may be the only one who bought it Greg, but the idea of a cancer inspired superhero is very intriguing.)

The Romeo and Juliet: The War from 1812 Comics look kinda cool too, like something Radical would do.

Stephane: That’s just weird.

Michael: Thanks, that was it. It was bugging me, because I knew they were doing something for next year, and I forgot they were combining the issues that hadn’t been released yet.

Kris: I saw that Romeo and Juliet thing, too, but I didn’t mention it. I can’t write about everything!!!! :)

Read Empowered, Greg. Read it NOW!!!!!11! But here’s my problem . . . I’ve bought all of the volumes and the one-shots. This “deluxe edition” collects the first three volumes and lots of extras. So would the extras come out someday for those of us who bought the books? Or would we have to buy the same stories all over again.

Nice Madman cover . . . it looks like he’s surrendering twice as hard as usual.

“Read Empowered, Greg. Read it NOW!!!!!”

I tried a few volumes of EMPOWERED after seeing recommendations like this. I didn’t like it. Most of the humor is centered on the low self-esteem, hot body, and ever skimpier clothing of the female protagonist. Pretty juvenile stuff, but I don’t think it’s going for much more. Also not fond of the art style. Your mileage may vary.

I would love to pick up the Catwoman collection, and Stormwatch, and Flannery O’Connor, the Danzig/Bisley book, and even that ridiculous PSA book with Spider-Man being molested, but let’s be honest, my money is going straight to Flex Mentallo, and nothing else matters.

I love Untold Tales of Spider-Man. It was the first comic I ever read, and it was the first time I followed a monthly series. This brings back a lot of memories from my childhood. I remember enjoying it because it was mostly one and done each issue. I was always confused by the other Spider-Man comics of the time because the issues I bought were always in the middle of a storyline with no beginning or end. Also Untold Tales cost 99 cents an issue, which was at least a dollar cheaper than the other comics of the time; that cost difference was a big deal when I was a kid. (Kid’s might still read comics if they only cost 99 cents an issue and they could find places that sold comics.)

That Untold Tales Omnibus is really tempting.

“Then, they have Polly and the Pirates volume 2, for which Ted Naifeh does not do the art. I’m fairly certain this has been resolicited, and again, I hope it actually comes out this time. (And I know MarkAndrew has been waiting for this, so maybe he’ll be happy now.) ”

He doesn’t? That’s such bullshit! I hate everything!

Can someone explain the caption “remember: Busiek ruined superhero comics” to me because as a kid I loved that stuff.

Jason: I don’t know, I read the first Empowered volume and it just didn’t do anything for me. If I lived near a better library I would see if I could read it for free, but I don’t feel any need to buy subsequent volumes. And I’m not sure if there are so many extras that it would be worth getting if you already own them.

Mark: Robbi Rodriguez does the art, and it looks pretty good. I’m very sorry you hate everything!

sandwich eater: Last year I wrote a long post about how Busiek’s Marvels ruined superheroes, because it led to writers looking back and “filling in” the gaps rather than pushing comics forward. I was thinking specifically of Untold Tales of Spider-Man. I know they’re supposed to be good stories, which is really all I want, but I also don’t like the trend of what it does. Hence the caption. I’m only half-serious, because Busiek is really good at doing those sorts of stories and a lot of people who do them aren’t.

The Crazed Spruce

October 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I’m almost dsappointed that the column didn’t end on a wildly inappropriate manga statuette. ALMOST.

Crazed Spruce, isn’t “wildly inappropriate manga statuette” redundant, somehow? :)

Ah, I was just wondering if it was that time again, for this column. Possibly my favorite overall.

I would say to Jason it’s doubtful that the Empowered extras will ever appear elsewhere separately. It’s possible, though. I remember reading old Cerebus columns and people complaining about the Swords of Cerebus volumes including a bonus story, and that they were annoyed that they had already bought the comics, so why’d they have to buy them again just to get the bonus stories? The response was usually that they were BONUSES, so they weren’t absolutely necessary to enjoy the story, and don’t buy it if it’s not worth it to you. Eventually the stories got published in the Cerebus World Tour book, so maybe someday the Empowered bonuses will be published separately.

If I’m reading Stephane’s definitions of cannibalism right, the Aquaman solicit would STILL be misusing the term, because the way Stephane worded the defs, they still are different ways of saying “animals that eat their own kind”. “Alien” type creatures that eat humans would not necessarily be “cannibals” through this definition, unless you’re defining a cannibal as some creature that eats humans.

As to the Manara Library thing, if 2’s coming out in early Feb and 1 is out in early Nov, then it’s approximately quarterly. I also assume that DH figures, if you’re interested in Manara, you’ll want these no matter what. Also, DH is probably going to be keeping these available long term, so I would assume that if you got 1, and wanted 2 later on, it wouldn’t be too big a deal to order it through your LCS later on.

(Which reminds me, I gotta order vol.3 of the Beanworld HCs still….)

That Batman Inc special apparently has Cameron Stewart on (at least) the art of the Batgirl story. Rockin’! (Although how that works with fitting in Stephanie…). However, when I read that on Bleeding Cool, some heathen was glad it was Stewart and not Burnham, as they thought Burnham was awful. Tsk tsk tsk, some people….

(and by the by, Stewart and David Hahn did the art on the Suicide Girls mini, and it was very nice. Yes, I bought that book. I’m a bad bad boy.)

OK, lemme rant here a bit. DC wants this DCnU to appeal to not only us old time readers, but also new readers, right? And the DCnU is a new universe, ostensibly unconnected to the old? So then, why the hell are there so many collections of the OLD versions of the new books? You listed the Resurrection Man one, Catwoman, the Alan Moore book, with Wildstorm stuff since that’s now in the DCU, and Ellis’s Stormwatch run (the one that made it interesting). I assume there are even others. What sense does that make, from the standpoint of “this is a whole new universe that you don’t need to be familiar with the old to enjoy”. Oy…

(I do understand that from a marketing standpoint, you can point new readers to the old stuff — “hey, you like this new Resurrection Man book? Well, there’s another version you might also enjoy, by the same writiers!” But from a “this is a different DCU that is changed from the old quite a bit” view….)

That said, I might get the Resurrection Man book. I liked what I read of that. The first issue lenticular cover disc thing was cool too. I wonder if v. 2 will include the Body Doubles one shot and mini. That was some pretty good stuff too. (Although I might just go back issue diving….)

Stormwatch by Ellis in HC too? Hmmm

What Wildstorm stuff is in the Alan Moore book? I never got around to actually buying the previous versions of the DC Stories of AM, but maybe I’d spring for this one. Is the Voodoo mini in there? What about the Deathblow ByBlows?

Flex Flex Flex!!! I guess I’ve run out of time to get stinkin’ rich off my copy of #1 of that (now signed by Frank Quitely, too!). But I must have this book, as I only have #1, but it was friggin’ amazing! I got it in a cheapo bin, too, believe it or not (sometime after the mini came out, but, I think, before the lawsuit), for probably a quarter or less. I don’t think I’d heard of Quitely at the time, and GMozz was largely unfamiliar to me at the time. Now they’re like my favorite creators.

I don’t think I’ll need that Jon Sable Freelance omni, which you’ll find out about if I get off my ass and finish up my one piece….

Ooh, that Madman book… 100 bucks is probably out of my range, but that’s a Quitely Madman second from the left up top, isn’t it? And I think both Beto and Xaime, Jay Stephens…hope a cheaper edition comes out eventually.

I think I liked Officer Downe pretty well, but not quite 13 bucks well, even if it is, I assume from your description, a honking large size book.

Ooh, Untold Tales of Spidey Omni! Again, out of my range, especially since I have just about every issue. Does it have the special with Dr Strange that came out a while after the series finished (need to back issue dive for that)? And the Hembeck Petey stories? And the minus one issue by Roger Stern and JRSR? And the story from the recent Amazing Spidey Ann. 37?

As sandwich eater says, for a younger reader, the 99 cent price sure made a difference. Unfortunately, from what I remember, that’s actually why the series ended (in part). Marvel had a whole line of 99 cent books, most of which were junk, but Untold was awesome, and pretty much that whole line was cancelled. I think if Busiek hadn’t been facing the health issues he had, he might have continued the book, but I think the combination of him leaving and the book not being taken seriously because it was only 99 cents led to its demise.

I didn’t explain that well, did I? Oh well.

Perhaps you could link to that Busiek destroyed superhero comics post. It’s been a while since I read it, and it’d be neat to take another look at it (and more potshots at you :) )

I liked the first 2 issues of the Wolverine/Jubilee mini, so if I can’t hunt down 3 and 4, I might get the trade. The text pages for that were funny. And Kirkman’s mini, all I know about that is the PVP strip about that. Skull the troll meets Kirkman at a con, and says how he loves the Jubilee book. Kirkman’s self deprecating, saying they don’t give the new guy Wolverine and stuff like that, and Skull says, no, it was really good. Kirkman goes, well, ok, and Skull says my favorite part was when she tried to get a ride to the mall. I have no idea if that was an actual bit in the book, but it’s a funny strip nonetheless.

I’d be interested in those Spidey PSAs, but not for that much friggin’ money. Jeez.

That Jaguar God thing, I’ve got the zero issue, which is probably like 15-20 years old now. It might be ok, it is Biz art. But I don’t know that Danzig has been funnier than when he was on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

As to the Art of Howard Chaykin, since 3 of the 4 panels on the cover you show above are Marvel or DC books (Cap, Wolvey, and the Shadow), I would ASSUME that there is Marvel and DC stuff in there. Dynamite has a deal with Marvel, I believe, so getting rights to that stuff is probably relatively easy. It’s possible with the Shadow that the deal WASN’T with DC, but with Conde Nast, the owners (last I knew) of the Shadow, so maybe there isn’t any DC stuff (or at least nothing DCU. Maybe there’s some stuff like American Century in there.) I’d say you’re probably right that his stuff is lesser these days, but I still enjoy it. I wonder if he uses computers, and how much, and if THAT affects the look of his stuff. I should have asked him when I met him up in Boston. He did think my hair was alright…

Man, I write a lot of crap…

“even though it implies a #2″

What part of one-shot do you not get? Willful ignorance abounds. First and last time I’ll read your column.

I wasn’t a fan of Untold Tales of Spider-Man, not because they were bad stories, but rather because I just didn’t find them good enough to be considered “missing” issues of the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man run. I view the Lee/Ditko Spider-Man as a complete masterpiece, an incredible book. Even the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four took about 43 or so issues to really hit its stride but Lee/Ditko Spider-Man just hit the ground running. So to me if you’re going to create an in-continuity addition to that run, it better be damn good to justify such an act. It would be like if someone announced they were adding extra chapters to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and MacBeth. And I just didn’t think it was good enough to justify the semi-sacreligious premise of the series.

In defense of Busiek though, I don’t know if its fair to lay the trend of shoehorning stories into old pockets of continuity at his feet. From the moment fans-turned-pro like Roy Thomas entered comics, such stories have been staples of the superhero genre. In fact, 70s Marvel seemed to be filled with such “gap filling” tales.

Pre-ordering Catwoman today!

Why are one-shots labeled with a #1? It’s a one-shot. There isn’t going to be a #2, so why not just call it by the title? Labeling something with a number does indeed imply that there is at least one other item in a series.

Check the pilot light in Hell, because I kinda agree with T. Roy Thomas was doing “fill-in-the-gaps” stories decades before anyone ever heard of Kurt Busiek.

Also, to help out Travis: All those stories are in the Omnibus, yes.

Mikael: Tell us how you really feel! I know it was a one-shot, but as Lorrie points out, why label it #1? DC does this all the time, and it’s silly. I do try to have a sense of humor about these things, though.

T. and Michael P: If you think I’m opening up that Roy Thomas can of worms again, you’re crazy! I had enough of that when I originally posted my thoughts about it. And, just for Travis: here you go.

I’m going through your old link now Greg. I didn’t realize there was a whole post and comments section already dedicated to pointing out that Roy Thomas was the first person to tread the path Busiek did later on in the 90s. I almost groaned out loud when you said that Roy Thomas’s work wasn’t as influential as Busiek’s. Wow have you never been wronger. I’d say Roy Thomas did more to influence the Marvel House style from the late 60s through the 70s, before Jim Shooter became EiC, than even Stan Lee.

Even though more writers would have probably preferred to be Stan Lee to Roy Thomas, it was way, way easier to be Roy Thomas. Stan Lee’s hucksterish, self-aware corny-on-purpose vibe is a very hard voice to duplicate. His banter and jokes, his bombast, etc, are very unique and difficult to capture correctly. Stan Lee once said in an introduction to a Marvel Masterworks book “Do you think it’s easy to write corny on purpose?” And I agree, it’s quite hard to do it just right. Imitating Roy Thomas is much easier though. You just have to know a lot of continuity and be very dedicated about finding ways to link it together by filling in story gaps through flashbacks and expositions. That’s not to say Roy Thomas couldn’t write or wasn’t talented, just that his style of writing was easier to emulate and less intimidating. It was a matter of just working hard at researching old continuity and at thinking up ways to tie it together.

Roy Thomas may arguably be the most influential Marvel writer ever.

Greg & Rich . . . fair enough. Beyond the bondage humor that spawned the character, Empowered does show character growth, insane humor, and sweet action sequences. Given the binding, gagging and manga-style art, I know it’s not for everybody, but I think it’s damn sweet. And keep an eye out in case DC ever reprints Warren’s run on Gen13. It’s one thing to have cheesecake, but it’s another to openly admit to it and have non-guilty fun in the process.

On the cover to the Howard Chaykin art book the older artwork on the left and right looks decent but the center images look absolutely awful.

I reviewed The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde in my blog here. It’s good. If you enjoy other comics based on this source material, then you’ll enjoy this one. If they come out with a sequel, I’ll buy it.

Thanks, Michael!

For me, the definition of “cannibal” is a publisher that keeps cannibalizing their own characters with retcons and reboots. And a cannibal is any publisher that survives for decades off the creations of Jack Kirby.

But on to other things: Does this Flex Mentallo collection have any new Frank Quitely pages? I was smart enough to buy the original series when it came out. But I’m dumb enough to buy this collection, too — if it has enough new pages of his art!

And Greg, thank you for warning me away from the newest collection of Alan Moore’s DC stories. I’d always wondered if his Wildstorm work was any good.

I’m also in agreement with you that Howard Chaykin’s work has gone down hill. Steeply. His characters have as many facial expressions as Jim Lee’s and Rob Liefield’s. Which is to say, ONE.

Mike Huddleston drawing it, however, makes me grumpy. If you’ve noticed, Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker is a bit behind (issue #7 was originally solicited for 28 September), and I fear that it’s because of this and will only get worse.

Butcher Baker hasn’t been solicited past #8. Whether that’s because of Huddleston’s unavailability or because the series reached a natural conclusion/breaking point remains to be seen, of course. Neither Casey nor Huddleston have spoken about the future of The Righteous Maker yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Casey made some kind of announcement in the backmatter of the remaining issues.

I agree that too many backward looking stories is a bad thing. I have no interest in the new Avengers 1959 series. But, with that said, when I was 8 I had no idea that Untold Tales took place between old issues of Amazing Spider-Man. I agree with T that Lee/Ditko Spider-Man is a masterpiece that doesn’t need to have any gaps filled. But, I didn’t read those comics until a few years ago. I see Untold Tales as its own thing. Ironically, Untold Tales makes me nostalgic not because it recalls the Spider-Man comics of the 60s but because it was my first experience with comics.

I liked Marvels, and I haven’t had a a chance to read your post about it yet. I don’t know if Marvels retconned anything, but I enjoyed seeing the big Marvel stories from the perspective of a bystander. It’s an interesting premise for a limited series, but it would get boring pretty fast if it was an ongoing series.

Greg, the best thing about the old Busiek article is that a) we are still discussing these points at comic shops around the world without even realizing it thanks to the DCnU 52 and b) that the answer may never be actually figured out because, and this is genius, every new person who gets into reading comics will come into the conversation at a different point. Thus there will always be a new fact or detail that takes the ‘nostalgia’ argument to a new place.

Congrats Greg, you have just created the comics version of a Cute Gal asking you “Does this dress make me fat?” or “What came first: the chicken or the egg?”

As far as Previews goes: I have been waiting for an Untolds collection in a long time… (In the voice of Doc Doom) “IT WILL BE MINE!!!!”

Empowered I have been told is worth a look and Adam Warren is a creator that I do respect….

And I have to give credit to Travis for the DC point.. for years we wanted collections of these ‘newer’ out of print DC Series and they FINALLY give it to us when they have essentially scrubbed the DC Universe clean….

Gotta Love The Irony!

@Nigel — I don’t know if there’s any new Flex pages, but from what I remember Frank talking about it in Boston, the cover is the one that was originally going to be used for the collection back in the day, and there’s new coloring for the whole thing, but I can’t remember who is doing it. If that’s your thing, it’s probably worth getting.

I should probably actually, y’know, READ Butcher Baker past issue 1. I’ve been getting all the others, I just haven’t read ‘em. No solicits past 8? Hmm.

To T and everyone re: Untold Tales. Thanks to Michael P on what’s in there. Funny, if you’d bought all the issues new, you’d have spent…about 40 bucks, I think. 25 regular issues at 99 cents, the minus 1 issue for 99, the 2 annuals for 2 bucks a pop (iirc), the Amazing Annual I mentioned for 4 bucks, and the Dr Strange special for 6 or 7 bucks (which stunned me that it was THAT much when the regular issues were a buck each!). I hope the guides to where the stories fit in to the Stan and Steve stories is there.

Don’t forget, UT was coming out in the midst of the Spider Clone stuff, and for those of us with no interest in that, UT was a godsend. Good Spidey stories, single issue tales, continuity based but not so much so that they were un-follow-able (to coin a word). Plus, there were the 2 different aforementioned guides to where the stories fit in between the Stan and Steve stuff, but at the time, I hadn’t read them and therefore didn’t know about those stories, but still followed them fine. It probably led me to getting the Essential volume of Amazing.

I will say, though, that UT also pointed out the dangers of the stories “filling in” gaps by way of the Sally stories. To avoid spoilers I won’t say much more, but basically, the impact of any “gap” stories is very much lessened when the “gap” stories have never been referenced prior, because they didn’t exist prior — that is, the emotional impact that affects, say, Spidey through his whole life is negated because we’ve never seen it affect him before, because it hadn’t happened before! (Ow!)

Although there was talk that things from UT would impact the then-current Spidey stories. I heard the fire guy from the first ish appeared in a modern story, and I know the ’97 Annual was followed up on in the Amazing ’97 annual, but did anything else really get used from UT?

Travis:

I didn’t read Untold Tales at the time (though I’ve always wished I had since then), but didn’t Batwing first appear in it? He’s been used a lot by Marvel recently, starting (I believe) in Avengers: The Initiative, and continuing on with guest appearances in Avengers Academy, etc.

Batwing (the, uh, Marvel version…ahem) did, I believe, first appear in Untold Tales. I was not aware that he was appearing in the modern Marvel U, but that’s pretty cool. Thanks for the info, Drew.

Elsinore Tester

May 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This is so exciting! I don’t think you’ve taken into account the human factor, but still a good post.

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