5 Elements of the Pre-New 52 DC Universe We Really, Really Miss
What lurks in the depths of Previews #277? Join me to find out!
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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.
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?
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!
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?
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!!!!
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