Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Previews #285. “I’ll try this again …”
Colin Smith, wise blogger that he is, has some thoughts about Resident Alien #1, including the odd way Dark Horse explains that issue #1 really isn’t issue #1, but issue #2, and there exists a “zero” issue that begins the story. Smith thinks this is a very strange way to market the book, and I agree with him, even though I knew that the #0 issue was a bunch of reprints from Dark Horse Presents, so I understand Dark Horse’s reluctance to make it a “#1.” Now they’re doing it again, with The Creep #0 on page 28. These are reprinted stories, everyone! It doesn’t help that Dark Horse doesn’t put that in the solicitations, which seems idiotic. It also doesn’t help that when they solicit the “first issue,” I imagine they won’t put in the solicit that you’ll be picking up the story in mid-stream. We always pick on Marvel and DC’s shoddy marketing, but other companies screw up, too, and I don’t get this. Apparently, Dark Horse didn’t even put a recap in issue #1 of Resident Alien, making it even more egregious. Sigh. Marketing is an inexact science at the best of times, but this is just silly. (8 August)
Speaking of reprints, Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch (page 30) reprints stories from DHP, and it’s well worth a look. In case you missed them the first time around. (1 August)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike #1 on page 33: Spike goes to space? O … kay. (22 August)
I’ll get around to reading B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master (page 36) soon enough (whenever Dark Horse gets to it in their giant-sized hardcover treatment, which should be in 5-6 years), but I found something interesting in the preview art on page 37. One of the soldiers about to be eaten by a giant wolf says “Holy Christ!” and then, in the next panel, another soldier’s curse word is grawlixed out. I’m not a Christian by any stretch of the imagination, but why is swearing by Jesus acceptable in this book but saying “fuck” isn’t? B.P.R.D. isn’t a kids’ comic, after all, so why is there any censorship whatsoever? Who makes the call to let someone say “Holy Christ” but not “fucking”? Godless hippies, no doubt. (29 August)
Especially because on page 42, we find Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories (yes, that’s the title), which is a fairly standard-sounding superhero book. Oeming uses “fuck” in the book with no censorship, although I find it humorous that the preview art shows “fucking” but blacks out the “uck” in “fuck.” I’ll chalk that up to someone at Previews missing it (Previews always blacks out potentially objectionable material, but they’re broader-based than many of the comics contained within, so I understand that), but why does Oeming get to use naughty words but Mignola and Arcudi don’t? (15 August)
On page 44, Dark Horse Presents has a new Rex Mundi story by Arvid Nelson and Juan Ferreyra. I wonder what that’s all about. The comic ended the tiniest bit ambiguously, but overall, the story is over. I’m very curious about this. (22 August)
So I just got the final Fear Agent trade, and what does Dark Horse do? That’s motherfucking right, they offer a hardcover of the first fifteen issues for $50. Motherfuckers. This is a really good series (I haven’t read the final trade yet, so I can’t say how it ends, but before that, it’s a really good series), so if you’re looking to take the plunge, you could do a lot worse than pick this up! (31 October)
I’ve been waiting for the trade of Star Wars: Agent of the Empire volume 1 – Iron Eclipse (phew!) by Ostrander and Stephane Roux, and it’s there on page 52. Do we have any Star Wars comics aficionados who can tell me how good this is? (24 October)
Bryan Talbot writes but doesn’t draw Cherubs! on page 59. Mark Stafford provides the art for a story of five angels falsely accused of Heaven’s first homicide who escape to New York to find the real killer. Oh, and there’s the Apocalypse a-coming. Of course it is! (17 October)
DC Comics (a.k.a. “Detective Comics Comics”) has a section of Previews. In this section they solicit:
* 69 single issues.
* 5 covers that show heroes fighting each other or apparently just having fought each other (give or take)
* 3 issues that promise “shocks,” including one that promises “shock after shock”
* 1 issue that promises someone giving birth to something “unexpected” (does that count as a “shock”?)
* Issues that promise “Chaos … unleashed,” “something worse than the Rogues,” “the menace of Zither” – this is a zither, remember, a “monster hiding in the shadows of New York,” a “horrific secret,” a “staggering new threat,” a “mad dictator,” a hero preventing “mass death and destruction,” and heroes facing “nightmarish visions of themselves.”
* 1 issue that promises a “final, blood-spattered battle,” while another that promises “betrayal, revelations, blood, and DEATH”
* 1 final issue
* These as fairly standard covers, including that one which shows a person’s face apparently completely covered with blood:
DC also has decided ever so slowly to collect comics from the 1980s and early 1990s, as on page 123, we get Legends of the Dark Knight: Alan Davis in hardcover. This collects Detective Comics #569-575 plus a few other comics. It’s 40 bucks, which is quite a bit, but I hear that the issues aren’t easy to find and are kind of expensive, so maybe it’s just easier to pony up the bills for this. I wrote about this brief run here, in case you’re interested. For some idiotic reason, DC is published the first chapter of “Year Two,” which Davis drew, but because he left the book after that, the rest of the story isn’t included (some dude named Todd McFarlane finished the arc). Even when DC gets it right, they get it wrong! (10 October)
Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld volume 1 on page 125. Yes, it has arrived. (19 September)
There’s a second volume of The Annotated Sandman on page 133. Good stuff! (24 October)
I don’t get the way DC prices things sometimes. On page 136 the third trade of American Vampire is offered. When the hardcover came out, I noticed that it collected the next arc plus the Sean Murphy mini-series, and I wondered if DC would split those two in softcover. Well, they don’t, which is nice, but that means there are 12 issues in this trade. For 17 bucks. I love that, of course, but why does DC charge essentially the same amount no matter how many pages they put in a trade? The most recent trade was ONE DOLLAR MORE for 150 FEWER PAGES!!!! Comic book companies make my head hurt too often. I will, of course, take advantage of their stupidity, but this just makes no sense whatsoever. (26 September)
Mars Attacks #3 shows up on page 148. I normally wouldn’t mention this, but I saw some of the pages from the first issue at the Phoenix convention, and they look unbelievably awesome. I’ll still probably wait for the trade, but I just thought I’d mention that. (I also got some amazing news at the con, which I’m not allowed to share. Damn it!!!! You’ll be impressed when you hear it, though.)
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are doing a four-issue, all-new Rocketeer story, Cargo of Doom, on page 149. Well, shit, that will be very cool, won’t it?
On the one hand, HOLY SHIT A GODZILLA MINI-SERIES BY JAMES STOKOE!!!!!!!! (Page 151) On the other hand, that doesn’t bode well for more issues of Orc Stain any time this, you know, decade.
There’s a new Love and Capes mini-series on page 164. That’s good, because Love and Capes is good. Yay, good comics!
It shows up every year, and no one can escape it! It’s … the J. Scott Campbell Fairytale Fantasies Calendar (page 173)! Gaze upon some images from past calendars and feel the need to take a shower!
Starstruck gets a handy trade on page 173. This is an old comic, of course, but the IDW version just came out recently, and their trades usually look very nice, so perhaps it’s time you read this wacky science fiction adventure!
Howard Chaykin shows up on page 180 with Black Kiss II. I’ve never read the original, but I would like to, and I’m torn about this. On the one hand, it’s Howard Chaykin doing what he does best. On the other hand, it’s 2012 Howard Chaykin, who hasn’t done good art in a very long time and whose writing has always been a bit spotty and seems to get more embarrassing as the years go on. The preview art doesn’t help, because it’s clear that he’s still blending his nice drawings with painfully bad Photoshopping of various other elements in the scene, and it’s part of what makes his art so lousy these days. But, if you’re interested, there it is! (1 August)
The second volume of The Bulletproof Coffin gets a trade on page 190. I liked the first one well enough, so I’m on board with this one. Did everyone see the issue where they cut out each panel and then rearranged them in random order? I wish they would do it again for the trade, so that if you bought the single issue, the trade features a completely different version. Of course, the ultimate thing would be to do a different order for each trade, but the printing costs would be astronomical. That would be cool, though. (29 August)
The first trade of Glory is out on page 191. So far, it’s pretty danged good, I tells ya! (22 August)
Speaking of first trades, Manhattan Projects volume 1 shows up on page 193. Three issues in, this is a blast to read, although I do hope that Hickman will ease back on the weirdness to tell a good story. I don’t mind it right now, but I imagine it will get tedious. Still, it’s a cool book, and here it is in trade format! (22 August)
Speaking of first trades of reimagined properties, Prophet is out in trade on page 194. I’ll be picking this up, and I hope it’s as good as everyone says! (1 August)
Marvel Comics (a.k.a. “Marvel Entertainment, LLC”) has a section in Previews. In fact, they have their very own Previews catalog, separate from the unwashed heathen publishers who inhabit the main Previews catalog. In this section they solicit:
* 82 single issues
* 29 issues with the word “X-Men” in the title or issues starring characters primarily associated with the X-Men
* 15 issues with the word “Spider-Man” in the title or issues starring characters primarily associated with Spider-Man
* 14 issues with the word “Avengers” in the title or issues starring characters without their own, established books who are primarily known as Avengers
* At least 7 issues promise some kind of secrets revealed, including the “secret history of the X-Men”
* At least 6 issues promise something “surprising,” “shocking,” “stunning,” or “startling,” including Strong Guy doing the “unthinkable”
* 2 issues promise something “epic,” while one, in all caps, gives us “ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL MOMENTS IN THE LIVES OF BOTH SPIDER-MEN!!!”
* Fairly boring covers, to be completely honest, so I’m not even going to show any
I’m still liking the idea of the “Season One” graphic novels, especially because Marvel is putting some good talent on them. Dr. Strange: Season One is by Greg Pak and Emma Rios. Yeah, I’ll be getting that. (12 September)
On pages 82 and 83, there are TWO Journey into Mystery softcover collections. Did I miss the “Fear Itself” one? It seems like that one has already been offered, because it’s sharing space with another trade. I haven’t read a bad thing about Gillen’s run yet, so I’m going to get these, but I wonder if getting the “Fear Itself” trades are worth it. What say you, good readers? (19 September)
Well, I’d like to get Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men in trade, but there’s Marvel, charging an extra dollar for the trade. That means 4 dollars for 20 pages isn’t enough, and for the trade, you get to pay even more. Sigh. I try not to factor in money when it comes to buying comics, because I tend to agree with Chad Nevett on that, but when it’s borderline, money does come into the equation. If this were two or three dollars less, I’d probably buy it without worrying about it. But 17 dollars for 4 issues? Really, Marvel? (12 September)
Elektra: Assassin gets a new printing on page 95. That’s great, but it’s weird that Marvel stopped reprinting the Miller/Sienkiewicz Daredevil graphic novel with it, because that seems pretty natural. Either way, if you haven’t read this yet, you really should. (15 August)
John Byrne’s Namor run gets a second trade on page 97, and it’s another good comic. Yes, Bryne might have gone ’round the bend these days, but this is worth a read. (22 August)
Let’s give a look at the back of the book!
SLG offers the second half of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Part 3, which is listed as “volume 4″ even though technically it’s “book 2″ of “volume 3.” Did you get that? Anyway, the first two volumes are quite good, so perhaps SLG will offer a giant omnibus at some point.
The art on Ramiel: Wrath of God (page 234 from Ape Entertainment looks a bit sketchy, but the premise of an angel walking the earth fighting against both Heaven and Hell can be intriguing … plus, it’s written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, and he’s a good writer. So I’ll check this out!
Archaia has its usual good stuff, including Cow Boy: A Boy and his Horse by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos. The story in this years FCBD book was pretty good, so I might have to pick this sucker up.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch guest-stars in Archie #636 (from Archie Comics, naturally) on page 239, as she switches the genders of everyone in town so they can experience how the other gender lives. I’m sure it will be fairly trite, but I do like how Archie Comics always seems to tackle societal issues much better than, say, certain Big Two comic book companies.
Boom!’s reprints of Grant Morrison’s old comics about the Avengers must have sold well, because the company is launching a Steed and Mrs. Peel ongoing on page 263 from Mark Waid and Steve Bryant. Waid could write this thing in his sleep, and Bryant’s old-school art will probably fit the book well, and maybe it will give him enough money so he can some more Athena Voltaire comics! Wouldn’t that be nice?
Dynamite has a trade of Kirby: Genesis on page 288. It’s been a pretty good series so far, and this has every single issue for 30 bucks, which isn’t bad. Of course, it would be nice if issue #8 could come out, but that’s a minor detail, right?
Fantagraphics always has something for the “too-cool-for-school” comic book reader, and on page 305, they have Weird Horrors and Daring Adventures: The Joe Kubert Archives volume 1. Obviously, I will be all over this like Fat Betty on a Twinkie, and you should be too. It’s JOE KUBERT! You know what would be awesome? A cage brawl with Joe Kubert (born 1926) and Chuck Bednarik (born 1925) as one team and any comic book creator and any current professional football player on the other team. KUBERT AND BEDNARIK WOULD KICK SOME ASS! I wouldn’t even use my credit card to pay to see that fight, I’d just use, you guessed it, “Straight cash, homey.”
Jeff Amano and Julian Totino Tedesco have Divine Wind on page 310 from Kickstart Comics, which is a story of the battle of the Japanese against the Mongol invasion. You may know Tedesco more than Amano (especially that Marvel has taken notice of Tedesco’s artwork), but Amano has written some good comics in the past, so I’m hoping this is also good.
NBM collects two Neil Kleid graphic novels together in one handy package on page 314. Both Brownsville and The Big Kahn are very good, so now they’re together for only 25 bucks. That ain’t bad, let me tell you.
Ross Campbell has the 6th volume of Wet Moon from Oni on page 318. I haven’t read the first five volumes, but Campbell is a very good creator, so I’m sure they’re worth seeking out.
I’m not sure if Young Love from Pure Imagination Publishing are “some of the best comics ever published,” but they’re Kirby comics, so you know they’re not going to be bad!
Titan Books offers The Black Dragon on page 330. It’s yet another Claremont/Bolton joint, and I’ll have to pick that sucker up. Dragons in medieval England? Of course I’ll read that!
Ken Krekeler has a new comic out called Westward on page 330. Krekeler has turned into quite a good comics creator, so you might want to give this a look!
Jeff Lemire has a new book from Top Shelf on page 332: Underwater Welder. I really, really, really hope it’s about a person who welds stuff beneath the surface of the ocean! Lemire’s DC work might be a bit disappointing, but when he goes all indie on us, he’s usually pretty good, so I’m looking forward to this (and I have been since last summer, when I first heard of it).
Well, that’s enough for this month, because nothing else was really grabbing my attention. As always, you can check out Mike Sterling’s tour through the weirder corners of Previews for some of the more … esoteric stuff contained within! And, as always, ask your retailer if you can have Previews for free! If he knows you’ll order from it, he just might do it!
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