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Flippin’ through Previews – November 2013

zorro (2)

Hey, Previews #302 is promoting smoking this month! Won’t someone think of the children?!?!?!?

See?  What did I tell you?!?!?

See? What did I tell you?!?!?

Dark Horse:

If you’re a really huge Mike Mignola fan, you can always drop $20 on the Hellboy: The First 20 Years hardcover on page 30. I like the idea of art books more than the reality, because I always feel like I’m spending too much money. Still, this will probably be beautiful. It’s weird to think that Mignola has been doing Hellboy for 20 years, though, isn’t it? (19 March)

More smoking!  Aaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!

More smoking! Aaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!

It’s kind of weird that Dark Horse is publishing a giant hardcover of The Light Brigade on page 40. I mean, Peter Tomasi is still employed by DC, and they originally published it, but I guess they just didn’t want to go through with a bigger version, so they let Tomasi and Peter Snejbjerg take it to Dark Horse, which is pretty cool. This is … okay. It’s not great, but it does feature excellent art, and I bet the collection will look stunning. I just wish the story had been a bit better. (26 March)

Nerds can never let anything go, of course, so we’re getting a new Serenity comic on page 44, which comes after the movie. All I know is that if there’s no Steve the Pirate, there’s really no point. (29 January)

There’s a new Elfquest comic on page 50. Man, how long has Elfquest been a-questing? I’ve never been all that interested in Elfquest – it doesn’t sound like my thing, and I’m not a huge fan of the artwork – but if you’ve been wondering where Elfquest has been, here it is! (22 January)

That dude is ripped!

That dude is ripped!

David Lapham has Juice Squeezers on page 67, and it’s always nice to see Lapham writing and drawing something. I’m a bit curious, though – I don’t know if this reprints the short story from Dark Horse Presents or if it’s brand new. I think it’s the latter, but I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s about kids fighting giant insects that might be more than they seem. I’ll probably wait for the trade. (1 January)

Dave McKean has a new book out called Pictures That Tick on page 69. I’m sure it will look very cool, but I’m not convinced McKean is a good writer. Still, I’m very tempted. (26 March)

Hey, it’s a new volume of Eden: It’s an Endless World! on page 73. Wouldn’t it be nice if all my favorite manga series – Eden, MPD-Psycho, and The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service – came out regularly? Why don’t comics companies cater to meeeeeeeee?!?!?!?!? (26 March)

DC:

The solicit for Forever Evil #5 reads: “With everything to lose, Lex Luthor and his Injustice League raid the stronghold of the Crime Syndicate with consequences so devastating, …” Can you fill in the rest? If you said, “the DC Universe will never be the same!”, give yourself a gold star! Oh, “the _____ will never be the same” – what would we do without you? I should point out that the DCnU is so new, that statement is pretty much meaningless, but that doesn’t stop solicit writers from going to the well! (22 January)

How does Aquaman do this, Paul Pelletier?

Did someone shoot him out of a cannon?

Did someone shoot him out of a cannon?

(Page 89; 29 January)

Detective #27 (page 104) is a bit of an event, of course, and DC does seem to be pulling out all the stops, as Frank Miller stops by with “new art” (whatever that means). I just want to see if, in Brad Meltzer’s retelling of Batman’s origin (because it’s probably been a few months since someone has put that scene in a comic book, so we need to keep up!), Joe Chill rapes Martha’s corpse in front of young Bruce. That would make it so much more awesome. Don’t let me down, Mr. Meltzer! (8 January)

The second Dial H trade is on page 129. The first one was quite good, so I’m keen to read this, and I’m glad DC didn’t split them up into two separate ones, like you know Marvel would have done. DC’s trades are usually pretty good values, which is nice. (5 February)

DC has finally gotten off their asses and solicited the Doug Moench/Kelley Jones Batman run in a nice hardcover on page 132. This collects a bit more than half (19 of 35 issues) of the run, skipping issue #526 (with art by J. H. Williams III) and issues #533-534 (which was part of the “Legacy” crossover). I get the second omission, but not the first, which is more integrated into the main narrative. Anyway, these are excellent comics, and although I already own them, I’m sorely tempted to pony up the $40 for this collection. (19 March)

Man, there’s a Deathblow collection on page 132. I’m more curious about this because of the way Lee drew it than the story, which I’m going to assume is terrible. (Although, if at any point it includes the line “When someone tries to blow you up, not because of who you are, but for different reasons altogether” I might reconsider.) (19 March)

Don't try to stop him from getting his 'roids!

Don’t try to stop him from getting his ‘roids!

Also on page 132, there’s a new edition of Hawkworld. I like Hawkworld, but shouldn’t DC also get around to collecting the series that came from it? They’ve reprinted the mini-series plenty of times, and now it’s time for the following series! (26 February)

DC cancelled their “Justice League Chronicles” series before volume 1 shipped, and now they’ve turned around and offered a Justice League of America Omnibus on page 133, which functions the same way, I assume – collecting all the JLA appearances in order – but is gigantic (896 pages) and spendy ($100). I like the “Chronicles” (which I read somewhere are being phased out, which sucks) because they’re inexpensive ways to get olde-tyme comics, but this way sucks. Yes, it’s a lot of comics (over 30 issues). But that big a chunk of change at once is the very definition of sticker shock. Dang it, DC! (26 March)

But on page 134, DC does begin collection the Ostrander/Mandrake Martian Manhunter series, which is nice. This series isn’t as excellent as The Spectre, by the same team, but it’s quite good. Whenever DC makes me mad, they do something like this to make it easier to like them. (19 February)

On page 134, there’s also a Showcase Presents: Men of War, which collects the entire series from the 1970s and stars Enemy Ace and Codename: Gravedigger. This sounds pretty neat. (19 February)

Hell, war is

Hell, war is

There’s also a trade of Power Girl, which collects the entire Palmiotti/Gray/Conner series (well, their part of it, as DC continued the book after they left), including the stuff from JSA: Classified. This was a pretty good series, made far better by Conner’s art. (12 February)

I haven’t been reading “Collider” from DC, but there’s a trade of the first seven issues of the series on page 145. I’ll probably pick it up, unless someone warns me against it! (19 February)

Not too long ago, I picked up the four-issue Unknown Soldier series by Garth Ennis and Kilian Plunkett, but I haven’t read it yet. Now DC has a trade on page 146, just in case you don’t want to go back-issue box diving. Sorry, I can’t tell you if it’s any good! (26 February)

IDW:

IDW continues their series of reprinting old newspaper strips with Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics vol. 1, 1966-1967 on page 165. I think it’s very neat that they do all of these, even though I buy very few of them. It’s still cool.

Carla Speed McNeil is drawing and Alex de Campi is writing My Little Pony: Friends Forever #1 (page 167). Let that sink in for a while.

There are weirder teams that could work on this book, but you'd probably have to think about it for a bit

There are weirder teams that could work on this book, but you’d probably have to think about it for a bit

There’s a softcover collection of Rio on page 180. I own the hardcover, and the art is staggering. The stories are okay, but it’s totally worth it just for Doug Wildey’s artwork.

Image:

Satellite Sam gets its first trade on page 202. I’ll write more about Satellite Sam in the near future, but if you’ve been waiting for the trade, there it is! (15 January)

The final issue of Bad Dog is solicited on page 207. I’ll believe that when I see it! (“22 January”)

Does this mean Four Eyes might come back?

Does this mean Four Eyes might come back?

Prophet #45 is the final issue? According to the solicits (page 216), “the story will continue …” Anyone know what the heck is going on over there? (22 January)

Marvel:

I joked about the Inhumans one-shot featuring Olivier Coipel on art, because I wondered how long Coipel would last on what I thought was an ongoing. So now, on page 2, we get a solicit for the actual ongoing, and it has … Joe Madureira as the artist. Thank you, Marvel, for the laugh.

James Robinson and Steve Pugh on All-New Invaders (page 6) might be something, but I know Pugh won’t have the time (or perhaps won’t be allowed?) to draw it like he drew Shark-Man and Hotwire, which is a bit disappointing. I like Pugh’s more “traditional” look, but I wonder if he’s using it on these standard superhero books because someone told him fans would freak out if he changed it too much. Beats me. I am curious about this, though, although it’s $4, so I won’t be buying it in single issues (and, given Marvel’s terrible pricing policy of trades, perhaps not even in that format, either).

They keep trying to find artists who can make that Cap costume look good ... and they keep failing!

They keep trying to find artists who can make that Cap costume look good … and they keep failing!

Brian Bendis continues to give the fans what they want – warmed-over, 30-year-old stories – with a trial of Jean Grey tale, crossing over between All-New X-Men #22.NOW (gaaaaahhhhh!!!!) and Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW (Khaaan!!!!!). Jeebus, Marvel. Could you maybe try to tell some new stories with the X-Men? Please?

Well, there’s yet another Black Widow series (without, I should note, Matt Kindt’s involvement, which just seems cray-cray), this time by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto. Hey, that’s a good creative team for the first four issues until Noto can’t keep up with the scheduling! Let’s check out that price … yeah, have fun with that, Marvel.

Seventeenth time's the charm!

Seventeenth time’s the charm!

So, according to the solicits (page 22) for Thunderbolts #20.NOW (blaaaahhhhh!!!!), General Ross is surprised that Mercy, whose sole purpose is to kill people who express any tiny dissatisfaction with their life (“Oh, dang, I broke a nail!” “Let me grant you peeeeaaaaaccceeeeee …”), is killing a lot of people. Maybe a background check was in order, Ross?

Peter David is writing X-Factor (page 26)? Didn’t we already do this dance? I was mildly interested in this, even though one of the worst characters in comics history – Gambit – is on the team, and then I checked the price. Hey, thanks but no thanks, Marvel!

The big news from Marvel is, of course, the solicitation for Miracleman (page 34). I do love that they have that it’s written by “the original writer.” Moore is obviously never going to be okay with Marvel again, so why don’t they have some fun with respecting his wishes not to be named? How about “You know who wrote this!!!!” or “The Northampton Nabob!” or “Beardy McGrumpypants!” or something else. I mean, at this point, who really cares, right? Anyway, this is a lot of money for 30-year-old reprints, and why Marvel isn’t charging a lot less for it (I’m talking, like, a dollar) to get people excited for it is beyond me. I’m not really sure why they’re serializing it anyway – just release a giant, 16-issue Omnibus of Moore’s work (which is what we’re going to get eventually anyway), maybe a trade of Gaiman’s “The Golden Age,” and then let Gaiman and Buckingham pick up where they left off. I’m not a marketing genius, though, so I guess Marvel knows what they’re doing! I’m kind of curious about this – I’ll have to look through it when it arrives, because if it has some of the Warpsmiths stuff that has never been collected, that might be tempting. But I’ll probably wait until the giant Omnibus, because my trades (yes, I own the incredibly rare trades – suck it, nerds!) are beaten up a bit from being read so damned much. Also, as I’m a selfish asshole, I’m a bit bummed that these will be available to the larger public now. For years I’ve felt super-privileged because I’ve read Miracleman and you haven’t, neener-neener-neener, but now, like Flex Mentallo, anyone who wants to will be able to read it. As I derive my self-worth by how much I can lord it over others, this is a big hit, as you must imagine. But dang, these comics are excellent. You really should read them. They’re just that good.

Look at Alan Moore, trying to cash in on that 'sparkly vampire' trend - that's just like him, isn't it?

Look at Alan Moore, trying to cash in on that ‘sparkly vampire’ trend – that’s just like him, isn’t it?

Marvel is releasing a comic based on a museum that was never built? Yes, that’s what Seekers of the Weird (not to be confused with Seekers into the Mystery) is all about. I’m not the biggest fan of Karl Moline, but he’s inoffensive enough, and Brandon Seifert is writing this, so it might be worth a look. In trade, of course, because it’s $4 a pop.

I know that Kieron Gillen is a “Marvel superstar” these days, but does Marvel really need to keep trying to resurrect the Marvel UK heroes just to keep him happy (pages 44-46)? You’re such a tyrant, Gillen!!!!

I think Young Avengers #15 (page 50) is the final one of the Gillen/McKelvie run. Will Marvel continue the book, or just kill it? Let’s see next month!

They’re ending Fantastic Four and FF (pages 62-64)? Presumably just to relaunch next month? Man, Marvel sucks sometimes. I don’t mind it, but they should embrace it completely, and just do this every time a creative team (or, given their artist turnover, a writer) leaves a book. They’re already moving that way (what with doing the same thing with Daredevil), so jump right in, Marvel!

Some people pointed this out when I wrote about She-Hulk, but the giant collection (volume 1, that is) of Slott’s run is offered on page 113. This collects the “good” half of the run, through issue #5 of the second series. The second collection will be good, but it’s not as good as this half.

Jim Starlin’s work with Warlock gets a “complete collection” on page 120. These are great, weird comics, just like we like ‘em!

The Seventies were awesome!

The Seventies were awesome!

All right, it’s onward to the back of the book! Fear not!

On page 234, Action Lab has Jack Hammer, a private detective story. Despite the awful, awful name, the premise sounds intriguing, because it takes place in a world where “powers are real and heroes are rare.” I like stories in which people have powers but they aren’t superhero books, so this sounds kind of neat. On page 236, the company has a trade of Night of the ’80s Undead. I read the first issue, and it wasn’t bad. It’s only $9, which is a pretty darned good price.

They probably should have rethought that name, but oh well

They probably should have rethought that name, but oh well

Avatar is launching another Gravel series on page 250, without any input from Warren Ellis. I didn’t get the last series, but maybe I should pick up the trades. We’ll see.

If you’ve been looking for a place to jump on board with Critter from Big Dog Ink (and really, why wouldn’t you?), issue #20 is a good place to do it, according to the solicits (page 256). (I will point out that I don’t read Critter.) I do like that they advertise it as “the second best superhero comic in the universe,” a nice nod to Invincible, but I think it would be funnier if they claimed it was, you know, the best one. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Kirkman!

It's Critter-iffic!

It’s Critter-iffic!

Over at Boom! Studios, we find Revelations #1 by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos. It’s a murder mystery in which a potential successor to the Pope is killed and a detective is called in to investigate. I’m not going to get it because I’m just not a fan of Ramos, but I’m a bit curious about this. Didn’t these two dudes do this a long time ago? I seem to remember it coming out years ago. Oh, wait, I decided to use the Internet to find out, and it is pretty old. Why doesn’t Boom! make sure we know that this is a reprint? That’s weird.

I don’t have much interest in Hacktivist, also from Boom!, on page 269, which is about a couple of hackers who fight against The Man, but I did find it amusing that it comes from “the creative mind of Alyssa Milano.” I don’t have anything against Ms. Milano, I just don’t automatically think of “creative mind” when someone mentions her. Good for her, though!

Oh, Archaia - let's hope this move helps you out!

Oh, Archaia – let’s hope this move helps you out!

ComicMix offers The Original Johnson Ommnibus by Trevor von Eeden. It’s about Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, and the struggles he faced. This sounds interesting, but I don’t know if it’s any good.

I missed when Matt Wagner’s Zorro Rides Again volume 1 showed up, but on page 297, Dynamite offers the second volume, so I’ll point it out! This is a pretty good series, and the second volume features John K. Snyder III art, which is quite nice.

I’ve never been too impressed with what I’ve seen of Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit, but cooler people than I seem to like it, and Fantagraphics has a fifth book out on page 308, if that’s your thing.

Hermes Press offers Zorro: The Complete Dell Adventures by Alex Toth, which probably looks pretty cool. It’s $50, but it’s probably worth it. I’m sure Greg Hatcher is getting it!

Someone wants to buy this for me, I'm sure

Someone wants to buy this for me, I’m sure

On page 316, New Paradigm Studios offers World War Mob #1, about a group of New York crime family members who also happen to be soldiers who are sent to Italy to kill Mussolini on orders from the Mafia. It sounds just wacky enough to work, and it’s drawn by Giancarlo Caracuzzo, who’s a good artist.

Helheim gets a trade on page 320 from Oni. This was … okay. It looked very nice, and it was not a bad story, but you get the feeling that Bunn really had a lot to get to, but it’s not clear if he’s ever going to get to it, as it’s on “hiatus.” Still, six issues of Joëlle Jones art is always a good thing. (26 March)

I don’t think I will buy Dredd: Underbelly from Rebellion on page 332 – it’s a “sequel” to the recent movie – but it’s drawn by Henry Flint, who’s excellent. I just wish he drew things I wanted to read.

Valiant has its usual stuff, including a trade of Eternal Warrior by Greg Pak, Trevor Hairsine, and Clayton Crain. As with all first volumes of Valiant trades, it’s only 10 bucks, so I might have to pick it up. (22 January)

There’s the usual scary crap in the deep back of the book, like this, this, this, and this, but tucked away on page 491 we find this:

Why isn't there a statue of GG somewhere?

Why isn’t there a statue of GG somewhere?

I have a friend who would love this, and I’m sorely tempted to get it for him. That thing is glorious!

Well, we’re done with another trek through the fantastic slab of comics called Previews. I hope you enjoy your own journey into its weird mysteries!

63 Comments

I read the first few issues of COLLIDER…not my cup of tea, but what do I know? My uppity retailers love it, and we don’t disagree that often. Almost came to blows over PRETTY DEADLY. I didn’t really dig it, but they were all raves. So who really knows.

Alright, I’m off to grab a pack of smokes.

If you haven’t read it before then Revelations is definitely worth a look. Good story to it & Ramos art style in this is a little different to his usual fare. I normally don’t like his art either but it was pretty good here.

Collider isn’t even called Collider anymore, they changed the title after the first (admittedly lackluster) issue.

The Creative Mind of Alyssa Milano, LOL. Sure. If you say so, I guess.

And Black Widow, here’s to your fully undeserved 17th shot at a solo title. That’s our Marvel. Retreading the retreads.

dave: Man, your comics shop sounds exciting! And dang it, Previews advocacy of smoking is already working!!!!

GP: Interesting to know. When it shows up I’ll have to give it a look.

Comics: I like Collider a lot more than FBP, so I’m going to use it, dang it! And hey, I didn’t say the creative mind of Alyssa Milano – that’s directly from the solicits!

I’m not sure how I feel about Phil Noto and Nathan Edmonson as the creative team on Anna Paquin.

Man, I knew Prophet was gonna end soon. Actually was talking to my retailer this week, asking him how sales were. That book is just too weird and too good to last.

I don’t see the big deal behind the Aquaman cover. If you go to a place like Seaworld, you can see dolphins and killer whales swim so fast that they can actually launch themselves out of the water. I’m assuming Aquaman is doing the same.

You talk about Marvel doing new X-Men stories. I find this strange. Look at superheroes that lasted from the Golden Age through to the Bronze Age like Superman and Batman. For decades they recycled stories. Archie recycled stories for decades. No one asked for Popeye to stop telling the same story over and over again. Bugs Bunny recycled the same types of trickster stories for decades. The old idea used to be that for long-term properties, the people in the audience were supposed to change more than the property was expected to. Now the people in the audience are expected to remain the same, while the property is expected to change as that audience ages and gets more cynical and jaded.

When something is meant to be a finite saga, like a dramatic TV series or a movie trilogy, I can see why someone would want change, and I can see how change would improve the product, but when something is open-ended and expected to last in perpetuity, and it works, constantly changing things just to keep it fresh or to change the dynamic I think is not a good idea. You just end up with decades upon decades of radical change that make the property inaccessible to new readers and keeps chasing after the same bored, jaded, older readers.

Maybe the problem isn’t that the X-Men and other comics don’t change but rather that the X-Men now have a fanbase that doesn’t change. Instead of asking the X-Men to change to suit the aging fanbase, why doesn’t the aging fanbase instead move on once they get bored and allow new readers to discover the types of stories they once enjoyed.

I’ve been enjoying Critter.
It’s not the best series by any means but I find it’s light tone a refreshing alternative to the New 52.
It has a moral, upbeat, newbie heroine and a secret(to Critter), sinister, morally-ambiguous adversary (is he a bad guy pretending to be a hero or a “big picture hero” who has developed a callous disinterest in the lives of most individuals? Is he trying to help Critter save the world (at the cost of her life) or is he up to something else?)

What’s the price of the Warlock book by the way?

Ah, T., you’re always such a bummer! :)

Guess what, though? I don’t read the X-Men anymore, for the very reason you point out. What bothers me is that DC and Marvel market to old people like me, but they never change the stories. If they were interested in bringing in new readers, that would be one thing, and I’d be happy to never read their stuff again. As always, it’s the weird “having their cake and eating it too” attitude that they have that bugs me. But the fact that they keep telling the same stories is why I don’t read them very much anymore. It beats me why others are!

I thought I mentioned the Warlock price. It’s $35, which ain’t bad for what you get.

John: Very keen. That’s good to know. I’ve read a few things from Big Dog Ink, and they’ve been okay. Maybe the next time I see a booth of theirs at a con I’ll pick up a trade of Critter.

Miracleman will be really expensive, but I’ll still buy it. I hope it blows me away, but I would also have a great time if it turns out to be this goofy 80s crap that people championed simply because they figured virtually no one else would ever get to read it.

Miracleman is awesomely good. I hope it will still appeal to people who never read it before, though a part of me fears it will be spoiled by a lot of the “immitators” that people are more familiar with (The Sentry, JMS’s Supreme Power, Zenith, even Grant Morrison’s Animal Man has some of it).

Duff: Well, speaking only for myself, I think it’s brilliant. There are a few issues in the middle with Chuck Beckum on artwork that tests even the biggest fan’s faith in Alan Moore as a writer, because the art is so bad, but otherwise, it’s amazing.

Rene: A lot of people have been mentioning that aspect of it, and I would hate if that happened. I hope people can look past the imitators and see it for the fantastic story it is.

I was going to ask “where’s the feces” with that GG Allin bobblehead, and then I looked between its legs. Yay poop! Punk’s not dead my ass.

I didn’t get to my local shop this week to grab the new Previews (I know, you’re bummed), so no long drawn out posts from me on it. Kinda hit one of those walls that Kelly talked about a few weeks back. I’m sure I’ll get over it in a little while.

Aquaman is undoubtedly being shot out of some seafood orifice. Obviously.

Calling the DC/Vertigo series Collider is an insult to the actual non-DC Collider series that caused the name change, man. But I’ll be getting the trade because I believe it’s 7 issues for 10 bucks, which is a great deal.

I’m wondering if you’re thinking the same about Satellite Sam that I am. Namely, WTF is going on?

The end of Bad Dog and Prophet? Oh noes!

It looks like Marvel and DC are going to be helping me switch to trades in 2014. Yay?!

Ah, comics ennui. Bah.

Ive already pre-ordered the JLA omni thru Amazon for $64. I think its worth that.

I recently discovered that I like Paul Jenkins’ writing a lot ( Inhumans, Sentry, Deathmatch), so I will def pick up Revelations. I’ve never read MiracleMan, but did really enjoy the original Sentry mini, so I’m curious to compare/contrast.

That Action Lab title will probably be pretty good. Their “Ghost Town” is a good read.

That Men of War looks great. The Kubert cover is going to make me buy it.

Same goes for Warlock. That’s some strange stuff. I really hope they haven’t recolored it. …say, that reminds that DC/Marvel really should disclose in some way when they’re releasing re-colored material. Nothing pisses me off more than getting exicted about a collection, only to discover it’s been recolored and thus, ruined.

Hermes Press offers Zorro: The Complete Dell Adventures by Alex Toth, which probably looks pretty cool. It’s $50, but it’s probably worth it. I’m sure Greg Hatcher is getting it!

I would but I already have it in the earlier, another-publisher edition. I’m in for the new Zorro Rides Again collection though.

Ahhh Collider…the book I forgot changed its name for issue #2…I wonder who the brain trust responsible for that one is?

The Zorro Dell comics definitely looks good. And you are correct that the Matt Wagner Zorro books from D.E. are good. In fact, they are among the best titles D.E. is producing these days.

Joe Madureira was initially announced as the “ongoing” artist for Matt Fraction’s Inhuman series, however long THAT will last. Olivier Coipel’s Inhumanity issue was just a one-shot to kick-start the “event”, it’s not like he couldn’t keep up with the schedule.

DonW: That’s not a bad price for the JLA book, I agree.

Nemo: Last month I made a joke about Coipel because he did the first three issues of X-Men and then went off the book. I think that’s dirty pool by Marvel, to advertise a book with one artist when they know he’s not going to be on it long. So when he was announced as the artist of the one-shot, I joked about it because I didn’t realize it was a one-shot – I thought it was the ongoing. I still doubt if Coipel could draw more than three issues of a monthly book before needing a break, but in this case, I was definitely wrong. But Madureira as the “regular” artist is even funnier, honestly.

“You talk about Marvel doing new X-Men stories. I find this strange. Look at superheroes that lasted from the Golden Age through to the Bronze Age like Superman and Batman. For decades they recycled stories. Archie recycled stories for decades. No one asked for Popeye to stop telling the same story over and over again. Bugs Bunny recycled the same types of trickster stories for decades. The old idea used to be that for long-term properties, the people in the audience were supposed to change more than the property was expected to. Now the people in the audience are expected to remain the same, while the property is expected to change as that audience ages and gets more cynical and jaded.”

You’re also talking about a time when there was no after market. If you missed an issue, that was it; you weren’t going to get another crack at it in stores or online. Now there are billion issue collections of everything forever. If you really think what’ll hook the kids is Golden Age Batman, you can just give them Golden age Batman – there’s no need for somebody doing their best impression with more iPhone references. It’s a cynical form of creative bankruptcy that rarely brings out the best work from anybody. It’s become a cliche, but it’s not a coincidence that all the consensus best works from the last 30 years actually were “bold new directions” in one way or another.

Couple things:

“Another” Black Widow series makes it sound like she’s had so many. Wasn’t the Liu/Acuna ongoing her first? She’s had minis, but I was fairly certain that was her first ongoing series.

Also, on Steve Pugh…..yeah, pretty sure the reason he’s using his conventional style here, and used it on Animal Man, because there was no freaking way he could pull off the Hotwire look on a monthly title. I mean, Hotwire was the furthest thing from a regular, monthly title. It had two minis, with a giant gap between them, and significant delays between issues while the minis were ongoing. If anything, Hotwire showed that he could not do that sort of work on a regular schedule.

With that said, it WOULD be nice for Pugh to whip out his Hotwire style for the covers. Sorta like how Esad Ribic switches his game on his covers.

oh, and word of warning on that Dial H trade (which is awesome value): I sort of found that that series ended up rushing to the finish line due to the cancellation and gradually became a barely comprehensible hot mess. The last 3 issues or so were an extremely rushed hurricane of confusion. Which pains me, given that I’m a huge China Mieville fanboy.

My comment’s still in moderation. Why must it all be against me!!!?!?!

Or something.

It’s probably because you don’t do the time change like normal Americans, isn’t it? Commie.

Dial H started in July 2012 and we’re finally getting the second trade. Holy crap you suck DC.

Tom Fitzpatrick

November 3, 2013 at 6:33 am

Huh, there seems to be no shortage of a publisher that does suck at something or the other.

That bobble-head at the end of the blog kinda looks like Mr. Burgas on a bad-hair day when he had that beard thing going. If you squint and turn your head to the right (or your left). ;-)

@ T.P.: Everybody’s against you. You’re such a guy!

@ Mr. Burgas: Every publisher that’s late with any of their products, does not want to come to you. They’re afraid of you – You might ACTUALLY fix what’s wrong with them.

I’ve been waiting a long, long time for the Miracleman series to come back. It’s about damn time! I feel so vindicated! (sorry, I meant that Gaiman/Buckingham must feel vindicated).

BTW, have you heard about Bill Willingham is ending FABLES next year? Is nothing sacred?!?

Oz: To be fair, this second trade contains all the issues that weren’t in the first trade (not sure about Dial E from Villain’s Month, though) which makes it a lot more prompt than most of DC’s other trades. I think there were a couple of launch series that only got their first TPB this year.

I’m hesitantly looking forward to Black Widow. If it’s not the millionth retread of “Natasha must atone for her time as a soviet assasin” I think it could work. Marvel like to retell that almost as much as they like to have Hank Pym become a miserable wreck over hitting Janet, have Magneto redeem himself or have Johnny Storm finally become a mature adult.

Travis: Yours wasn’t the only comment that got caught up in the mesh – for some reason, the blog hates Greg Hatcher’s comments on my posts, and I have to go in and approve them. Very weird. But yes, it’s probably because we don’t change the clocks, because no one needs more sunshine in AZ in the summer!

Well, I do look forward to your long comments, so boo! comics ennui. Get over it, man! :)

I’m not sure if it’s that big of an insult to the non-DC Collider, as the only reason anyone has ever heard of it is because they made a snit about the DC one. I did it rather tongue-in-cheek, as that whole situation was a fustercluck. It made me chuckle. So, yes, FBP gets a trade. Good job with DC renaming it something really, really bland.

I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on in Satellite Sam (I could be wrong, I guess), I’m just not that interested!

Greg: I wondered if you had the Toth Zorro stuff already. I wasn’t sure if it had been reprinted, but I figured if it had, you’d have it! And the Zorro Rides Again book was nice, solid adventuring.

Marc C.: Well, they were kind of forced to – I suppose they could have fought it, but they didn’t care to. I do hope someone got fired for not realizing they needed to change the name BEFORE the first issue shipped, but I doubt it.

Paladin King: Yeah, that was her first ongoing. She’s had a ton of mini-series, though, so it’s not like Marvel doesn’t have a lot of information about whether it will sell or not. Maybe this will stick because of her higher profile thanks to the movie. I was just making a (lame) joke.

The Pugh cover thing would be cool, if Marvel allowed the interior artists to do their own covers. That would be crazy, though! :)

I head that Dial H didn’t end too well, but I’m still intrigued enough and I liked the first trade enough to buy it. Thanks for the warning, though!

Oz: The second trade of Dial H actually came out with lightning speed based on some of the others. The first softcover trade of The Flash came out about two years after the relaunch, which was absolutely ridiculous. It seems like DC is speeding things up ever so slightly, but they’re still glacially slow on most of their trades. So the Dial H one is about standard.

Tom: I’m very insulted! I’m so much better looking than GG! :)

I hadn’t heard that about Fables. Interesting. Maybe I will actually go and get the trades of the rest of the series, because maybe he’ll actually move it along a bit in order to end it.

Stephen: The Dial H trade does, indeed, contain the Villain’s Month issue, which is nice.

Greg: I don’t read the X-Men anymore, for the very reason you point out.

Isn’t the X-Men a bad example of this in general, though? One of the main criticisms of the book for the past eight years or so is the never ending stream of crazy new setups.

I didn’t read all of Miracle Man, but did find the few issues I was able to read inventive and very unique. I didn’t notice any of Mircale Man from what I read in Animal Man though.

entzauberung: I think the X-Men universe has been clever about pretending to do big changes but really retreading things that have been done before. Early in the millennium, the PTB seemed to let the writers change things, but recently (since Fraction came on board?), they’ve been spinning their wheels. I haven’t read everything coming out of the group since then, but what I have read and from plot synopses elsewhere, it seems like they’re content to rehash old stories. I could be wrong, I suppose. The ultimate in this is Bendis bringing the original X-Men into the present day. That couldn’t be more “We’ve run out of ideas” if they simply said, “We’ve run out of ideas.”

Acmc: I don’t see too much of Miracleman in Animal Man, either, but I think you could draw a line from the family situations in MM to AM, if you chose to do so!

Eh, I dunno, bringing back the old x-men still strikes me as a NEW idea for the x-men, in that it’s never been done before and it introduces potential new story dynamics. Mind you, after a year or so I still have no clue what the point was and where they’re going with this…but…that’s…probably part of the story! Oh, stupid reader, why me no get it? Potential!

Fraction also gave us Utopia, which was probably the last story I felt that actually did something. And Gillen gave us a dandy-Sinister, which is automatically the greatest thing ever committed to page.

I really wasn’t a fan of the Ostrander/Mandrake Manhunter stuff, it was just okay, often slow and miserable. I still haven’t picked up their work on the Spectre (can’t find it anywhere!) as I’ve been told not reading this makes me a bad comic fan.

Captain Haddock: The idea is new, sure, but it sure feels like a nostalgic stunt, especially because I suspect they did it to bring Jean back without resurrecting her again.

Both Fraction and Gillen did some interesting things, but I think that was where Marvel itself started to pull back on any innovation. I didn’t read all of those runs (I liked Gillen’s more than Fraction’s, but neither was wonderful), but it felt like there was tension between some of the ideas and some of the pulling back to a more traditional book. Utopia, after all, was essentially a West Coast mansion, even if some interesting stuff came out of the move.

I agree that the Martian Manhunter comic wasn’t as good as their collaborations in the past (heck, I think their brief work on Firestorm was better!), but I still think it was pretty good. But it couldn’t touch The Spectre. DC did announce a new trade for the first 12 issues (I think), so it might be time to pick it up so you’re not a bad comic fan anymore! :)

I dunno, I think your criticisms regarding the X-Men would be more valid if you talked about any period during the last 25 EXCEPT for the last 5-6 years. I haven’t read it all either, but the books are still continually building off the events from M-Day and forward. I mean, in the ten years before Morrison nothing ever stuck. And even his stuff – good as it was – was to a large extent disregarded afterwards.

I was the one to compare Miracleman to Animal Man.

At the time the similarities struck me because they’re the only superheroes that are about your typical uncool middle-class husband, because their origins were re-tooled from fairly generic Silver Age trappings to modern/post-modern hard edge, because they go from optimistic to pessimistic to optimistic again at the end, and because there was a bit of metafiction involved, heh, and maybe because they both have blonde buzz cuts.

entzauberung: Well, I’m probably wrong, then. I’ve read very little of it in the past 5 years, either, but from what I’ve read about it, it does seem like they’re trying very hard to return to a 1980s vibe. I mean, Whedon’s epic was all about 1980s nostalgia, and it seems like Bendis is doing that, too. But again, I’m just going off descriptions of it and the few issues I’ve actually read.

Rene: I wondered if you were talking about the family situation, but yeah, you could make the case for the Silver Age reinvention, too.

I haven’t seen the new Previews yet, but a handful of thoughts based on the early solicits over at CBR and your write-up here:

- So Image is bringing back Five Weapons as a regular series by Jimmie Robinson. I read the mini, LOVED it and am super excited to see it come back. It has shown great potential so far. Which is why I find it funny that the book Image is pushing hard this month, Deadly Class, sounds almost EXACTLY like Five Weapons. Don’t get me wrong, I know stories about school for kids to be assassins/ninja/wizards/superheroes/whatever is not original by any means at this point, and Remender could go in a whole different direction with his story, I just think it’s funny that two Image Comics so close in concept are both coming out so close together…

- I share your pain in waiting for a new Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service volume. At this point, we’re some 3 volumes behind the Japanese release, so I know the material is there to be translated. I haven’t heard anymore recently about that “movie deal” for the series that was being touted a couple years ago, so it’s probably fallen into the “whenever we get to it” column of DH’s titles…

- I’m glad someone else noticed the weird pose on that Aquaman cover. We’ll pretend that he’s travelling at whatever speed Mera threw him out of Atlantis, after he broke the news to her that they were no longer married…

- Is that Deathblow trade for the first series from the mid-90′s when Jim Lee had his delusions of being able to draw like Frank Miller? If yes, then it is all around a terrible waste of trees and paper.

- Speaking of the 90′s, whenever I think of the Hawkworld regular series, I remember an article in an early issue of Wizard (circa 1991) in which several teen boys were asked to do a round table discussion about what they liked in comics. Short synopsis of that discussion: Marvel is da bomb, DC sucks and Hawkworld was specifically dissed as being too boring, with one boy wondering aloud why it couldn’t be cooler, “like the Punisher.” Whenever I hear people debate why comics in the 90′s turned out the way they did, I think back on that quote and shake my head.

The sad thing is that the bulk of the Hawkworld mini is pretty good. Ostrander, Truman and Nolan did some good work. The first 25 issues and first annual pretty much tell one big story. Sales must have slumped pretty bad by the end though, because Truman was brought back for the last several issues to set up the 1993 re-vamp of the character, which made him more…Punisher-like…hmmmm…

- It saddens me a little when I realized some months back that the trade/graphic novel section of DC’s listings excited me so much more than their new comic listings.

- With you on that Ostrander/Mandrake MM trade. It was a decent comic, but with expectations so high after their run on The Spectre (also finally being reprinted by DC), there was no way to live up to them. I stuck around for the first couple of years but left shortly before DC axed the series. Which is a shame, because I wanted to like it so bad, but it just never completely clicked for me…

- Satellite Sam has been alright so far, though the pacing could use some work. Chaykin’s artwork is, of course, gorgeous and even more packed than usual with lingerie-clad babes…

- I was surprised as well when I saw the Prophet listing. I’ve been buying the series in trade, but I remember when Glory ended, they directed people over to Prophet to see the rest of the over-arching story. I have no idea where they’re going from here, but please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, keep Liefeld away from his own characters. They work so much better when he lets better, more talented people have free reign with them…

- And of course, the elephant in the room this month is Miracleman. I have decided I’m going to buy the individual issues. Why? Because how many more times in our lives are we going to be able to go to the comic store once or twice a month and buy comics written by Gaiman and/or “The Original Writer” on a regular basis? I know they’re just reprints of 20+ year old material, but they’re damn good comics and it will be fun to read them serially again. I used to have the whole Eclipse run years ago but sold them in the early 2000′s for a few hundred bucks when I needed to pay off some bills. Always regretted that, so I’m relieved that Marvel were finally able to clear all the apparent hurdles to getting this material out there again. And yes, I’ll probably also splurge and buy the eventual omnibus hardcover collections too.

Greg:

I think you are, but I don’t necessarily see that as a good thing. I think the X-Men has become an increasingly unworkable concept within the Marvel Universe, just because it’s a comic that’s been allowed to run off the rails.

Rene/Greg:
I don’t know if you’ve read Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, but that’s another comic I think a lot of people will see in a new light now :)

The Black Widow did have an ongoing (sort of) back around 1971 or so, when she starred in one half of Amazing Adventures (with the Inhumans having the other half).

Mary: Ah, that’s right, she (sort-of) did, didn’t she? Thanks for the reminder.

Also: Hey, it’s Mary! Where have you been, Mary?

I liked the remark about Cap’s costume–there’s been a cadre of interpretations since they changed it with Marvel NOW, from extremely armored rendition with the hexagons as a pattern on his chest (Jerome Opena) to the hexagons actually just being the same scales he had before, now cordoned off to his chest (as with Stuart Immonen). Then you’ve got some drawing the headpiece as a helmet with painted on wings and others having the wings extrude from the helmet.

To be honest, I don’t think any interpretation is particularly good. Nothing was wrong with Cap’s old costume–except, of course, that it was nominally dissimilar from the version from the movies, because, hey, new readers won’t be able to identify a guy practically wearing an American flag unless he’s wearing armor and a helmet.

I really dislike the idea of changing one of the best costumes in all of comics. With Hawkeye, there’s at least the fact that his famous costume IS goofy as fuck (I love it, but come on, that it is a dumb costume). But Cap’s costume is sweet. It is like DC’s new take on Superman’s costume, only worse. In both cases, the original costumes are just so much better looking it is ridiculous.

- Is that Deathblow trade for the first series from the mid-90?s when Jim Lee had his delusions of being able to draw like Frank Miller? If yes, then it is all around a terrible waste of trees and paper.

It’s really not that bad. Tim Sale came on board after Lee got disinterested in doing it anymore and he is always great. And the story was decent. The art is what drove the book, but Brandon Choi’s story was interesting enough for the book to be pretty enjoyable during the Choi/Sale run (which was about 10 issues long).

Are we sure “The Original Writer” isn’t a hint that Alan Moore is an immortal and was actually the first human to use written record?

Also, Carla Speed McNeil’s My Little Pony? We live in the best of all possible worlds.

I wonder if they change the costume around because people there feel like they should be doing something different. I mean, the status quo can never change, but maybe we can just mess around with the costume? I feel like they do this in the movies, too. I think Thor has had three different costumes so far.

I wonder if they change the costume around because people there feel like they should be doing something different. I mean, the status quo can never change, but maybe we can just mess around with the costume? I feel like they do this in the movies, too. I think Thor has had three different costumes so far.

I think it is for the reason that you would think, that they want the costume to look like the movie version.

Brian,
Ah, I forgot about Sale coming on board for the latter issues. I remember buying the first couple of issues and thinking they were terrible.

And oops, caught a mistake in my original post. Where I wrote “the bulk of the Hawkworld mini” it should say “Hawkworld ongoing.” All of the mini was good. :)

Andrew: Dang, I forgot to respond to your comment. I don’t much like Jimmie Robinson, so I haven’t been paying attention to Five Weapons, but that problem – two books sounding very similar – isn’t limited to these two titles. I’m not sure why everyone is gushing over Pretty Deadly when a few months ago, East of West came out with a very similar premise (and was better, but that’s just an opinion).

I never expect Kurosagi – apparently sales are never great – and so I’m pleasantly surprised when Dark Horse manages to get a volume out. It’s a tough wait!

SB: Ha! Good point. We’re all living in Alan Moore’s Universe!!!

The Angry Internet

November 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm

@Acmc:

“I didn’t notice any of Mircale Man from what I read in Animal Man though.”

This isn’t what Rene was talking about, but there’s a bit in issue 23 that strikes me as a direct Miracleman parody: the Psycho-Pirate has a vision of a nightmare world where “all the superheroes are part of a government experiment” (“What a stupid idea!”) and a superhero named “Overman” (who’s more of an Ultraman type, not the German Overman from Final Crisis) snaps and goes on a planetwide killing spree. A panel of Overman in a wrecked city with bodies impaled on poles suggests Miracleman’s infamous #15, as does the Psycho-Pirate’s narration (“Burning children. Eating…oh no…”). Given the longstanding Moore/Morrison “feud” and Morrison’s oft-stated issues with ’80s grim’n'grittiness, there’s little doubt in my mind that the resemblances were deliberate.

Greg,
I think I only noticed it because of buying Five Weapons. Otherwise, I probably would have glossed over it too. My only previous exposure to Robinson had been on a Bomb Queen/Hack Slash crossover and I didn’t care much for the BQ character/premise. But Five Weapons seems, well, more lighthearted. It’s about a school of teen assassins so it still has some dark elements to it, but Robinson’s art and writing impressed me as his protagonist is an assassin-in-training who out thinks his opponents while using no weapons in the process. It’s been very entertaining so far. The body count in the early issues was pretty nil and instead focused on the character introductions and growth.

The optimist in me says Marvel is reprinting Miracleman in serial format in order to give Buckingham enough time to wrap up his Fables commitment and get a head start on the final Gaiman scripts.

Prophet is ending with #45 but it will be followed by Prophet: Earth War, a prequel mini series, according to a couple of Brandon Graham interviews I’ve seen (one was here: http://prophetsharing.tumblr.com/ ).

I think the weirdest thing about Revelations being printed at BOOM! is that the last version was handled by Dark Horse. While I’m sure it’s creator-owned, Dark Horse doesn’t strike me as the company that would pass on a chance to reprint a Paul Jenkins/Humberto Ramos work. Maybe they made the choice to bring it to BOOM!? Just… weird. There has to be a story behind this.

Well, I think Jenkins is exclusive to BOOM! right now, and the Jenkins/Ramos Fairy Quest book was published through BOOM! earlier in the year, so it makes sense. I assume it went out of print through DH and either the rights reverted to Jenkins and Ramos, or DH just wasn’t interested in putting out a new printing.

Okay, I’ll take back my DC jab. But still stand by that Image do it right. Pump out the collection right after the singles are done. If something is getting good press (Saga), people will want to pick it up, release it six months later and no one cares anymore.

I’ve argued this before, I’ll shut up now.

CDZYO: I’m sure that’s it, but I’m not sure why they need to do that. They’ve owned the character for a few years now and haven’t done anything with it, so I’m sure they could get Buckingham, have him get ahead, and then in a year or two release a giant Omnibus. There’s really no hurry to release individual issues right now, unless I’m missing something.

Glenn: Good to know. Thanks!

Craig: As Travis noted, I assume Dark Horse had no interest in putting out a new printing. It’s not unprecedented for creators to take their creations to different publishers – Dark Horse itself has published and will publish (in the case of The Light Brigade) stuff that was originally from DC, but the creators took it over there. That’s probably the whole story.

Oz: I can pick on DC for a whole lot, and I can even pick on the speed with which their trades come out (as you point out, Image is very good at getting them out on time), but DC’s trades are usually very good values – far better than Marvel’s. So that’s nice!

I’m tempted to check out Miracleman in trade, but I’ve really never been a fan of Moore’s work. I mean, I know it’s one of those legendary series, but so is Watchmen, which I didn’t really enjoy at all. *Ducks assorted thrown objects*

Any opinion on Yost’s New Warriors series, Greg? I’m torn between Invaders, New Warriors, and All-New X-Factor (the latter of which was most heavily recommended by my comic book shop when I asked their opinion).

When I made my statement re: Revelations, I did not realize that Boom! was doing the book in floppies, so maybe there is some more to the story. Did Dark Horse ever finish publishing that book?

And damn son, why didn’t you mention that DC’s got a new printing of A God Somewhere coming out? I’m all over that since I missed it the first time (it’s also strange because doesn’t that share some creative team with Light Brigade, and that’s going to DH? Oh, publisher musical chairs, you’re so delightful!)

Got Previews today, so expect more commentary soon!

Drax: If you’ve never been a fan of Moore, this might not be for you, but of almost all of Moore’s work, it starts off as one of the least “Moore-y” comics – it’s an unusual but not terribly deep superhero story. It gets more so as it goes along, but he eases into it, which might make it easier to take. It’s not as “clever” as Watchmen, for instance, so if that was your problem with Watchmen, you probably won’t have that problem with MM.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Yost, so I doubt I’ll check out New Warriors. Of those three, I’d probably go with X-Factor, but I’m a pretty big fan of David. Robinson can write very good superhero stories, though, so Invaders might be a winner.

Travis: Beats me about Revelations. I remember seeing ads for it, but I don’t know if it finished.

I skipped over the new printing of A God Somewhere, sorry. I did see it, but I figured anyone who wanted it already had it! :) Both books are drawn by Snejbjerg, but A God Somewhere is Arcudi, so maybe DC likes him better? Or maybe it sold better in its initial printing? I just don’t know.

I look forward to more commentary!

The problem I had with Watchmen was mostly that it felt like there was too much meandering about and not enough happening. I’m typing this on my phone right now so I can’t be bothered going too in-depth, but Moore’s ‘poetic’ dialogue combined with the long pauses between significant events (at least at the start) really bored me. Compare it to, say, Squadron Supreme, which manages to world-build and have significant events occur and I know which one I prefer.

*Ducks more thrown objects from commenters who insist I ‘just don’t get it’*

Nice artwork from Gibbons, though.

> Dave McKean has a new book out called Pictures That Tick on page 69. I’m sure it will look very cool, but I’m not convinced McKean is a good writer.

Come again? Greg, this is the same McKean who wrote the milestone 500-page graphic novel CAGES!

CAGES is a book which doesn’t even need to be likened to some VIOLENT CASES or MR. PUNCH sans Gaiman: I’d compare it to Alan Moore’s BIG NUMBERS had it been finished, or Sienkiewicz’s STRAY TOASTERS had it been more like Garcia-Marquez magical realism than David Lynch surrealism, or Bryan Talbot’s ALICE IN SUNDERLAND had it been fiction, or Eisner’s A CONTRACT WITH GOD had it been interlinking an entire tenement of artists, or even Kyle Baker’s WHY I HATE SATURN had it been more like Roman Polanski doing a Robert Altman’s Short Cuts inside a building than a Thelma-and-Louise road comedy.

CAGES is like a Murakami novel within a single building, or a graphic novel sibling to Perec’s LIFE: A USER’S MANUAL. CAGES is a unique masterpiece intended to be read and reread, like WATCHMEN or CEREBUS, like a poetry book or a philosophy treatise.

And McKean is the writer of that book. (He’s also the author of an uneven but nice collection of his shorter pieces, PICTURES THAT TICK, and what’s solicited today is its VOLUME 2, collecting his various new vignettes since. He released another graphic novel in 2011, CELLULOID, but since I’m waiting for the softcover I can’t comment about it.)

So I was left wondering: do you mean you’re unconvinced because you did read CAGES and disliked its writing (too bad, fair enough)? Or do you mean you’re unconvinced because you’ve not read CAGES yet (in which case you should prolly borrow it ASAP)? Because it’s quite not the same sort of unconvincedness, if that’s a word…

> Man, there’s a Deathblow collection on page 132. I’m more curious about this because of the way Lee drew it than the story, which I’m going to assume is terrible.

Not only the story was terrible, but that hack’s attempts at aping Sin City quickly degenerated from Frank Miller into Rob Liefeld. Actually, I think the only interesting thing was to look at the ways the hapless colorist tried to fulfil his nigh-impossible mission of decently coloring an art style intended for black-and-white and negative-space effects, and how sometimes he didn’t fail at it.

> Carla Speed McNeil is drawing and Alex de Campi is writing My Little Pony: Friends Forever #1 (page 167). Let that sink in for a while.

It’s worse than that, just this month there’s an astounding amount of potboiling: Bill Willingham assigned to yet another LOEG-like crossover (VAMPIRELLA! THE PHANTOM! GREEN HORNET! FLASH GORDON! STEVE AUSTIN!), Straczynski assigned to THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Troy Little assigned to POWERPUFF GIRLS, Colleen Coover assigned to ADVENTURE TIME, Rich Koslowski assigned to ARCHIE…

(In addition to all the other longtime casualities, like David Lapham not doing more Stray Bullets, Greg Rucka not doing more Queen & Country, Fred Van Lente not doing more Action Philosophers, Judd Winick not doing more Barry Ween, and much more rare personal work from people like Jeff Lemire, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Kindt, etc. — all slowly going the way of the Bendis…)

It’s a quite unhealthy industry that has so many talented people having to do so much franchise work-for-hire instead of their own stuff. That’s dozens of aborted books going straight into Lucien’s library.

> They keep trying to find artists who can make that Cap costume look good … and they keep failing!

That Cap costume is much better… for the toys and movies. And nothing else matters.

> For years I’ve felt super-privileged because I’ve read Miracleman and you haven’t

Joking aside, I think most people who wanted to read Moore and Gaiman’s Miracleman already downloaded that a looong time ago from the web where it’s always been super-available for more than a decade. It’ll be interesting to see the Diamond numbers for these overpriced pamphlets: if they have to cancel it for low orders, it’ll be a sign that Marvel managed to underestimate their audience.

> There’s the usual scary crap in the deep back of the book

Hey, wait! There’s still three good bits stuck in the bottom:

- NOTHING EVE by Kurt Wolfgang (p. 309, from Fantagraphics directly in softcover, if you can believe that).

Remember, this was the guy whose first book was WHERE HATS GO: yes, that smart, sweet, and funny wordless graphic novel published ten years ago after winning a Xeric grant (back when there was such a thing), which looked kinda like a Derek Kirk Kim story drawn by Peter Bagge. Apparently he’s been ever since doing commercial work while toiling on the side over his 600-page PINOKIO OGN that may come out from Top Shelf any decade now.

So until then, I’m getting his first new book in ten years blindly, or almost: I could find two online samples at http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop-10991.html?vmcchk=1 and it seems as cool as I had hoped from the solicit and his first book. Both could have been at home at Oni or Top Shelf or First Second: people who pass on Fanta’s usual output will miss out.

- JOURNEY BY STARLIGHT: A TIME TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING (p. 317, from One Peace).

If you like fun nonfiction like Larry Gonick’s CARTOON HISTORY, ACTION PHILOSOPHERS, the science tales of Darryl Cunningham (HOW TO FAKE A MOON LANDING), or the graphic stories from Jim Ottaviani or Jay Hosler… This one is kinda like if Gonick and Van Lente were doing A BRIEF CARTOON HISTORY OF TIME in 36 chapters with a deadpan Einstein for narrator.

There’s a 25-page PDF sample (with 15 pages of actual comics after the complete TOC) at http://www.onepeacebooks.com/books/starlight.shtml (But it’s a shame Diamond won’t have this out for Xmas, when bookstores got it 9 months ago!)

- DIGGER: THE COMPLETE OMNIBUS EDITION (p. 335, from Sofawolf).

Imagine some offspring of BONE and early CEREBUS, with blessings from FINDER and HALO & SPROCKET, and even hints of Jim Henson’s DARK CRYSTAL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, or games like MYST and RIVEN — all about a talking wombat engineer trapped in a fantasy world she never made.

It’s a 800-page epic and comedy that quietly ran online to completion from 2007 to 2012 and then plucked the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in the real world. It’s still for free at http://diggercomic.com/ but I’m paying homage to the real thing.

> Well, we’re done with another trek through the fantastic slab of comics called Previews.

By the way, monthly Previews trekkers have become increasingly rare and there’s a whole graveyard of Previews reviewers: imagine the classic cover of TINTIN’s CIGARS OF THE PHARAOH but with the mummies’s labels being names like “Chris Butcher” and “Johanna Draper-Carlson”, and the two lasts in row being empty sarcophaguses tagged “Paul Gravett” and “Greg Burgas”!

Simon: Man, that’s a lot to process!!!!

I have read Cages, but only once. It didn’t really inspire me to go back and re-read it, but I still have it, so I might have to sit down and go through it again. Your enthusiasm is infectious! I have also read Celluloid, which was okay, I guess. It felt a bit too obvious to me, but it was certainly interesting. Those are the reasons I’m not sold on McKean as a writer. I did review Celluloid with Kelly Thompson here, for what it’s worth.

I agree with you about the move to work-for-hire, but we still get some cool stuff from those people you mentioned. I know van Lente is just starting up Action Presidents, and Kindt never seems to sleep, so while I do despair about this stuff, I also recognize that people need to pay the bills. It sucks, but it’s true.

Thanks for the suggestions. I looked briefly at Digger, but I missed the others. It’s always cool to hear what other people are keen to read.

I love reviewing what’s in Previews, so I’m not going anywhere! :)

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