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Flippin’ through Previews – August 2014

Punks-01-18387 (2)

Oh, you know it’s a good time when Previews #311 shows up. Mostly because then I can reference this! Straight from 1995 to your earhole!!!!

Wow, a dead woman.  How original.

Wow, a dead woman. How original.

Dark Horse:

There’s one page of preview art for Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone (page 34) by Christopher Sebela and Ariel Olivetti. As you might recall, for some years Olivetti’s art, which I dug early in his career, has made me want to gouge my eyes out with a dirty spoon whenever I see it, but the one page of preview art next to the solicitation is … not awful? Maybe it’s the fact that he gets to draw non-humans a lot? Anyway, I’m still not going to buy this in single issues, but I might actually flip through it and see if this non-awful trend continues. Huzzah! (8 October)

The first Brain Boy trade was pretty good, so on page 45, we get the second, Brain Boy: The Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T. Does that mean anything, people who read this in single issues? Did Fred van Lente torture himself trying to fit words to form the acronym, or is it a Morrisonian “Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.” kind of thing? Either way, van Lente and Freddie Williams II make a good team, so I’m sure this will be good. (17 December)

More work from Yves H. and Hermann gets translated, as on page 55 we get Trilogy USA, which is a more reasonable 20 dollars for 160 pages. I know the discussion two months ago was that Yves H. (Hermann’s son) isn’t the greatest writer, but this might be worth it just for the artwork. I shall ponder! (17 December)

On page 56, you can plunk down 20 bucks for the Athena Voltaire Compendium hardcover, which is a fine, fine price for a seriously groovy comic. I was talking to Steve Bryant, Athena’s creator, at the con this past weekend, and he told me he rescripted a bunch of the older stories and redrew a great deal, plus there’s a bunch of new stuff, so if you’ve already gotten some of the Athena Voltaire stuff in the past, you won’t feel like you’re buying the same things. The comic is a very neat, pulpy adventure, and I recommend it highly. If you don’t trust me, Bryant has helpfully provided a 40-page preview in .pdf format, which you can find here. You can see if it interests you yourself! (10 December)

It's been compendiumed!

It’s been compendiumed!

And on the next page, Dark Horse offers a big, complete trade of The Mighty, which DC published a while back. It’s by Peter Tomasi, Keith Champagne, Chris Samnee, and Peter Snejbjerg, and it’s about the world’s only superhero making some plans. It was very much critically adored when it came out, and it’s nice that for 20 bucks, you get all 12 issues. I don’t love it, because it feels a bit too familiar (Tomasi tends to do that for me – he’s a solid writer, but he doesn’t seem to rise above the subject matter), but the art sure is keen. (3 December)

Juan Ferreyra has stopped by the blog a few times to tease more Colder, and on page 64, we find out that Dark Horse has upgraded it to an ongoing series, which is very cool. I don’t know how fast Ferreyra is, but more Ferreyra art in the universe, especially telling Paul Tobin’s creepy-ass story, is a wonderful thing. (22 October)

Holy crap, that's total nightmare fuel

Holy crap, that’s total nightmare fuel

On page 69, you can find Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book for 25 bucks. I don’t know anything about this – as usual, my knowledge of pre-1980s comics is very localized – but I’m sure it’s neat. And there’s a controversial … afterword? Huh? (3 December)

DC:

You would think that the God of All Comics would have a bit more pull and therefore could ask for better artists, but maybe he really, really likes Ben Oliver’s artwork, because Oliver is drawing The Multiversity: The Just on page 79. I don’t know why he does, because Oliver would not be anywhere near my choice for art if I had the cachet that Morrison presumably has, but more power to him. Sigh. Morrison has to be the most important writer in comics history who gets saddled with the most mediocre artists. (15 October)

So, according to DC, Bruce Wayne, who is NOT BATMAN AT ALL, is prepared to give up his very home to house a bunch of psychopaths that Batman happened to apprehend and change the name of his ancestral home to Arkham Manor (page 80). I mean, it’s great that DC continues to try new things with their properties (although, let’s be honest, I give this less than 10 issues), but they’re really counting on everyone in Gotham City being a moron, aren’t they? Especially after Bruce’s pal Dick Grayson was unmasked as Nightwing, who used to be Robin? Or maybe everyone assume Bruce Wayne is just that stupid? (22 October)

I LOVE the idea of Gotham Academy (I give this maybe 12 issues), especially with Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl on board, but the solicits mention that rich benefactors keep dropping by, “like that weirdo Bruce Wayne.” This will be the greatest comic in the history of comics if all the students simply assume he’s a pedophile and give him the stink-eye whenever he’s around. WILL DC ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN?!?!?!? (1 October)

I'm sure that won't go horribly wrong

I’m sure that won’t go horribly wrong

DC gives us … Deathstroke (page 82)! Yeah, remember what I wrote about DC trying new things with their properties. Okay, I take some of it back. (22 October)

On page 84, we get … SEXY LOBO!!!! Oh, Cullen Bunn and Reilly Brown, can you make me love Sexy Lobo???? (1 October)

He took my heart as easily as he took that dude's head clean off!

He took my heart as easily as he took that dude’s head clean off!

You know, Scott Snyder calling his latest arc “Endgame” (Batman #35, page 104) is just asking for trouble. It’s not his and Capullo’s last arc, so that’s not it, and I very much doubt DC would let him pull a “Knightfall” this early in his tenure, so unless this is a hint that next March the DCnU is going to reboot back to the good ol’ flawed DCU, it’s a dumb name. Unless the entire arc is about Batman playing some RPG called “Endgame” on his computer with a bunch of nerds. I’d read that. (8 October)

I’m very disappointed with the redesign of Batgirl (page 109). When will those politically correct feminazis realize that dudes only read comics with teenaged girls in them because they want to indulge their pervy sides without getting in trouble with the politically correct thought police? I mean, that costume just isn’t doing it anymore. Won’t someone think of the poor 40-year-old white men who just want to read comics in peace???? (8 October)

We can't even see her belly button!

We can’t even see her belly button!

I love the idea of Catwoman as crime boss of Gotham City (page 111). I just wonder why that’s not the final cover, because it is BAD-ASS. (22 October)

Well, except for the cat, because, I mean, COME ON

Well, except for the cat, because, I mean, COME ON

If you’ve never read Pride of Baghdad, DC offers a “deluxe edition” on page 139. This is Brian K. Vaughan’s graphic novel about lions in the Baghdad Zoo during the invasion, and it features gorgeous art from Niko Henrichon. Early on, there’s a gang-rape scene (lion-on-lion violence!) that I hated, but then the book becomes really good. Back in the olden days when I reviewed it, some people didn’t have a problem with the rape, so take that as you will. Anyway, there it is. (3 December)

IDW:

So then there was that time that Michael Zulli wrote and drew Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stories, and now, IDW is collecting them on page 158. Michael Zulli. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Roll that around your brain for a while.

You know, I'm looking at the solicits, and it STILL makes  no sense to me!

You know, I’m looking at the solicits, and it STILL makes no sense to me!

IDW continues to taunt me with Artist’s Editions that I can’t afford, as on page 174, we get Joe Kubert’s Enemy Ace. DAMN YOU, IDW!!!!!

There’s a Black Dynamite trade on page 186. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that.

The Hammer, Kelley Jones’s creator-owned series, is collected on page 189. It’s 30 bucks, but it’s 216 pages, and IDW usually has good production values, so if you’re a Jones fan who missed this, here it is!

Image:

Long-time collaborators Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo are back with Rasputin (page 200), which is billed as “Dracula at Downton Abbey,” which doesn’t sound too interesting, honestly. Still, these guys know what they’re doing, so this might be worth a look. (29 October)

Punks (page 206) is getting an ongoing series, and you really should check it out. If you’ve never experienced Punks, it sounds like something that shouldn’t work: a man with a dog head, a man with a skull head, a man with a fist head, and Abraham Lincoln live together and have weird adventures. But Joshua Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain make it work, and it’s just balls-up awesome. When I heard it was coming back, I squealed with glee. Well, I did so in my head, where it counts. (8 October)

Try it!  You'll like it!

Try it! You’ll like it!

On page 217, you can get the CBLDF Liberty Annual and the Thought Bubble Anthology, both of which are usually tremendous books with a lot of great creators working on them. Get them both, give some money to two good causes, and check out some cool comics! (8 and 22 October)

Wes Craig has Blackhand Comics on page 218, featuring digital stuff that’s getting printed for the first time. I really like Craig’s art, so I might have to check this out. (1 October)

C.O.W.L. has looked pretty neat, and on page 221, there’s a 10-dollar trade collecting the first five issues. You can’t beat the price! (29 October)

I wasn’t too jazzed by the description of Nailbiter – an NSA agent trying to figure out why a town in Oregon produces so many serial killers – but then I read Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson’s Masks and Mobsters, which was really good, so now I might have to get the trade on page 222. Another 10-dollar bargain for me! (1 October)

If you skipped the giant Stray Bullets collection that came out earlier this year, Image is offering the trades in smaller, bite-sized pieces on page 223 with “The Innocence of Nihilism.” Frankly, this might be a better way to do it, although it’s going to end up costing more, because the giant 41-issue collection wasn’t bound terribly well. Live and learn, right? Still, if you haven’t gotten it, you should. Stray Bullets is awesome. (22 October)

Marvel:

Man, I couldn’t find anything to care about in Marvel Previews until page 36, where Marvel seems to imply that Superior Foes of Spider-Man is cancelled. Through the power of double negatives, we get “STILL NOT still not cancelled!” Does that mean what I think it means? I mean, we wouldn’t want Marvel to be fucking clear about something, would we?

Marvel gets around to “Olympus” in Miracleman (page 57). I know I’ve said this before, but if you haven’t been reading Miracleman yet, you really should check this out, because it’s an amazing arc.

So the cover is not new Totleben art, but it's new-ish, and that counts for something, right?

So the cover is not new Totleben art, but it’s new-ish, and that counts for something, right?

Greg Rucka made it into Previews as the writer of Cyclops #6 (page 66). Um, yeah, he’s not writing it, as Layman was announced as the new writer at San Diego, beginning with issue #6. I wonder what was going on with Rucka and Marvel …

On page 78, we find Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus, which clocks in at $125 for 880 pages. Lots of great artists here – Chaykin, Infantino, Simonson, Trimpe, Golden, Williamson, and Vosburg are listed – but that’s still a bit rich for my blood. It’s nice that Marvel is doing this in preparation for taking over the license again, though.

I didn’t love the first issue of Elektra, but the trade (page 95) is cheaper than the five individual issues, and I do like Mike del Mundo’s art, so I might have to pick this up.

Speaking of trades, Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer shows up on page 97. I might have to get this, too!

Jeez, Marvel just felt kind of boring this month. Sorry about that. Let’s move on to the back of the book!

Asylum Press brings The Bomb back into print (page 268), which is nice of them. This was the first time I had seen Steve Mannion’s crazy, cheesecakey art, and I fell in love with it immediately. This is a very cool place to start if you’re unfamiliar with Mannion.

Garth Ennis begins a new ongoing of War Stories at Avatar on page 274. Ennis’s war stories are usually very good, so this might be worth checking out.

Avatar loves their wraparound covers!

Avatar loves their wraparound covers!

Boom! has the 3 Guns trade on page 292, in case you were waiting for the trade as I was. Meanwhile, on page 293, the “fairy tales as sort-of real things” trend shows no sign of abating, as Paul Jenkins and Ramon Bachs team up for Fiction Squad, which is about cops policing a fairy-tale world. Jenkins is a decent writer and Bachs can be a good artist, but I don’t know if I’m feeling this.

I guess it had to happen eventually, and Dynamite is just the publisher to bring us Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini on page 317. Writers Anthony Del Sol and Conor McCreery also do Kill Shakespeare, which is very good, so I have some hope for this … but I’ll probably still wait for the trade. (1 October)

There's Dynamite, tapping into Greg Hatcher's brain again!

There’s Dynamite, tapping into Greg Hatcher’s brain again!

On page 344, we find The Complete 8-Ball from Fantagraphics. As usual, I must betray my unhipness, as I’ve never read this or, in fact, anything by Daniel Clowes. It’s $120, but I might take the plunge.

Speaking of Asylum Press (and I was, above), it takes over Heavy Metal this month, as we see on page 352. I was talking to the publisher at San Diego, and he was telling me about it. It sounds like a bloody treat, which, considering it’s coming out in October, is nice.

Also on page 352, Peter David and Sal Velluto relaunch The Phantom from Hermes Press. David is always David, of course, whether that’s good for you or not, and Velluto is a wildly underrated artist, so I’m looking forward to this … trade paperback.

Action!  Adventure!  No Billy Zane!

Action! Adventure! No Billy Zane!

I don’t know anything about Shamanism from Humanoids on page 353, but I do know that Igor Baranko is a damned good comic book creator, so I might have to check this out. I guess it’s about an alternate America where Europeans never invaded, but complications arise from … tampering with the time stream? Whatever – I’m in!

I read the first issue of Thaniel from OSSM Comics and thought it was okay, with the art being better than the story, but it certainly was intriguing – a kid from the streets goes on a metaphysical journey to meet Death. You know, like you do. Now there’s a trade on page 361 for only 13 bucks, which isn’t bad at all. (22 October)

Oni has a new Cullen Bunn book and the return of another one on pages 366-367. First, he and Brian Churilla begin Hellbreak, in which an extraction team gets lost souls out of whichever hell they’ve gone to, as there are many, many different versions of hell. Then Helheim returns with Brides of Helheim, with Joëlle Jones providing the art. Get one or both! (1 October)

It's a comedy!

It’s a comedy!

On page 380, Rebellion/2000AD has the first of four hardcovers of Zenith, which I will buy with a smile on my face! Zenith is like Miracleman to me, so I’m looking forward to this.

I skipped getting Monsterology in single issue format, and now the trade is here on page 280 from Renegade Arts Entertainment. It sounds fun – a team goes around investigating monster sightings. Original? Not really. But still fun.

In the Shadows on page 381 from Scholastic sounds intriguing. Sisters live in a weird small town where weird things happen. I don’t know the writer, Kiersten White, but I like Jim Di Bartolo’s art, so I might have to give this a look.

So Valiant has Christopher Priest and M. D. Bright doing The Return of Quantum and Woody on page 398. I don’t have any problems with this whatsoever, especially as they’re reprinting the entire original saga on page 400. I’m just a bit impressed that Valiant, which seems to be very committed to this whole holistic universe in their publishing empire, is allowing two versions of Quantum and Woody running around. Who knew Valiant would jump into the “Elseworlds” arena? Anyway, I’ll probably wait for the trade, but good for Priest and Bright! (15 October)

So many pouches!

So many pouches!

Well, that’s about it for this month. As always, I know I missed plenty, but I do appreciate hearing about it in the comments, so let it rip, everyone! Don’t forget to ask your retailer about Previews – they can afford to give it to you for free, you know!

45 Comments

You’re not pervy enough if you can’t enjoy that Batgirl cover ;)

More later! (oh yes, more!)

Nothing’s going on with Greg Rucka and Marvel, they’ve said it’s due to the workload from his novels.

Haven’t even read past the first line yet, but I had to comment. Every time I see the number 311, be it at 3:11 or on March 11th or issue #311 or whatever, the opening guitar riff from the song you linked to plays in my head. It’s been that way for almost 20 years now. Looks like maybe I’m not the only one.

Side note that’s somewhat related: I almost fooled around with the girl that eventually became S.A. Martinez’ wife. She was a college housemate of a friend of mine, and I spent a few days there visiting. There was some drinking, some flirting, thing seemed promising, but then her ex showed up at the party and they got into a huge fight. A few weeks later she went to the 311 concert where she met S.A. So that’s my almost brush with fame.

My comment is awaiting moderation? What’s up with that?

tom fitzpatrick

August 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Nice Catwoman cover. Lots of negative space there. Is that Jae Lee?

I thought I read it somewhere that Snyder’s Batman will end at # 50 (can anyone confirm?),

That Colder cover does look scary, doesn’t it? Hell, if you look at it at an angle, the mouth looks like a “haunted vagina.” Now THAT’s terrifying!!!!

Avatar really must love Garth Ennis, don’t they? They keep publishing his stuff!!! ;-)

I’m still hoping that Priest and Bright will complete those missing issues in the gap of the original QUANTUM & WOODY run. Maybe after they finish the new mini-series.

Sigh, you know what happens after Marvel finishes reprinting Miracleman: Olympus! They’ll start doing the series by the “Second Original Writer.” Gee, I wonder WHO that is! ;-)

TotalSnorefest

August 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

YES more Colder! Very excited to continue that, my favourite horror story of the past several years. That includes any medium btw, not just comics (and that’s saying something, because with You’re Next, Oculus, The Conjuring, Evil Dead remake we’re in a Horror Renaissance it feels like).

Two things from DC which excite me, which is pretty rare tbh. Batgirl and Gotham Academy I will both definitively try for a bit. Gotham Academy kinda sounds like ‘Hogwarts in Gotham’ doesn’t it? I’m mostly there for the Hogwarts parts, admittedly.

Lastly, thanks for the heads up for Pride of Baghdad. Might still read it anyway one day, but those kind of scenes make me very uncomfortable. At least now I know to be prepared, appreciate that. :)

@Jazzbo: CBR is not the place to post your dickpics.

You’ve never read anything by Dan Clowes?

He’s wildly talented. I really don’t know what else to say. You’re in for a treat.

Greg, hip me to Zenith. Never heard of it.

I also found Elektra #1 pretty blah, and dropped it. Same for Nailbiter. I think maybe “horror” comics, or whatever, is just not my thing. However, I have found Outcast to be very entertaining.

If Grendel dickpics are wrong, I don’t want Jazzbo to be right.

Nemo: I’m certainly not going to believe official statements! :) I’m just curious why Rucka’s run ended so oddly. He is listed for issue #6, so as of a month ago or so, he was still on the book. It seems awfully fast to make the decision to leave. I don’t care that much, but it’s always interesting when a writer/artist is solicited but doesn’t actually work on the book.

Jazzbo: I have no idea how our moderation works. It’s weird. And I don’t even like 311 that much, but yeah – I always think of that song in particular. Oh, and cool story, bro. :)

tom: Yeah, it’s Jae Lee.

Marvel seems to have an okay relationship with Gaiman, so I suppose they’ll be able to credit him!

TotalSnorefest: Pride of Baghdad is a very good book after the first few pages. And, as I note, maybe it won’t bother you as it bothered me. But you’re very welcome for the heads up.

dave: Yeah, it’s a big hole in my comics reading. I suppose this is a good time to start making it up.

David: Zenith is Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell doing, as far as I know, kind of a pop star superhero book. I don’t know too much about it, because I’ve never read it, but that’s kind of the premise. He’s more interested in being famous than being a superhero, but of course he has to be heroic!

I didn’t love Elektra, but I loved the art. It’s a pickle.

Travis: That’s what we all think!

Even though the subject matter is fairly familiar, I thought “The Mighty” was memorable for its truly creepy tone.

It came out arround the same time as Irredeemable, and I couldn’t take that comic seriously because I preferred the subtlety of Tomasi’s story.

Great art, too.

Wow way to completely disrespect Ben oliver like that!

tom fitzpatrick

August 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Y’know, I haven’t heard about Michael Zulli for a long time, so I didn’t know he did TNMT for a bit. I wonder if he’s EVER going to finish up PUMA BLUES. That was a interesting series.

I’ve got to post these dickpics somewhere. Where else would I do it?

@tom fitzpatrick I would LOVE to see all the missing issues of Quantum and Woody, not just between 21-32 but between 32 and when the new series kicks off.

Of course, that would probably require Priest and Bright to have been working on the thing all this time in secret.

Jonathan Ehrich

August 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Seriously, what *is* up with that cat?

War Stories and Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini look amazing.

Ben Oliver is great, what the hell are you going on about?

I cant wait for the Cameron Stewart’s Thunderworld issues.

It’s Babblin’ Time!

DH –

pg 54 — how were the Tiger Lung stories in DHP? I like Simon Roy’s Prophet stuff (I think — when I can tell who’s doing what), but I figure this is probably too rich for my blood.

Man, I did like what I read of Athena Voltaire, so it hasn’t been cut from my list yet. Although I wasn’t quite sure about some of the later stories….

I have the entire Mighty, but I have not yet read all of it. I will need to rectify that before it returns in DHP! I love that preview art — “you…didn’t…BRUSH!!!!”

Man, I’m glad that Colder returns, and as an ongoing no less, but I think I’ll tradewait, if only to keep it consistent with my trade of the original mini. But damn, that was good stuff.

I’m probably going to go for the Jungle Book, as I am a Kurtzman fan (and if you can find early Mad reprints, get them because they are awesome. DC did an 8 issue magazine size reprint of the first 23 issues back about ’97-’01 or so, and I love it.) But learn to read, ya goon. It’s a “conversational” afterword. As in Crumb and Poplaski discussing the book. Oy vey!

Man, those Hellboy Qee things are cool looking on 73.

DC–

Yeah, I’m not big on Oliver. That Action 0 story about Superman’s cape did not look good. At least he’s on a Multiversity book that looks like it’s gonna suck regardless of who draws it, so a good artist didn’t get wasted on this. Although mothafuckin’ OFFSPRING!!!! And check it, “Join us, if your dare”. HA!

Arkham Manor looks interesting based on the creators, but that concept does NOT MAKE SENSE.

Gotham Academy is probably on my list, though. And I didn’t really notice the bit about “that weirdo Bruce Wayne”. That’s awesome, because you KNOW he’s trolling the prep school for a new Robin. “Hey, young man, I see you shimmy up that rope quite nicely. Ever shave your legs and wear pixie shoes?”

pg 83 — Klarion the Witch Boy! Awesome! Wait…Nocenti’s writing it. I didn’t dig Katana when she did it. Dang.

pg 87 — Harley and Joker’s Daughter fight to see who gets to put on some pants!

pg 93 — Justice League Dark Annual 2 has Klaus Janson art! Damn you for almost making me care, DC!

pg 103 — Deacon Blackfire was the dude from The Cult, right? (No, not the band!) So that’s still in continuity, Batman Eternal?

pg 104 — Actually, it’s Batman starring in an adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s play.

Isn’t…isn’t that tom fitzpatrick that Catwoman’s holding? Holy god that is an ugly cat.

Nothing about the smell-o-riffic Harley Quinn Annual (pg 113)? I was tempted on that one, but I didn’t dig the first few issues of that series. Good, but not great.

pg 122 — Man, that new TV Flash’s lipstick is pretty.

pg 127 — OMFG, Beto on Wonder Woman in the new Sensation book! SO…TEMPTING…!

pg 132 — I have to check and see what issues of the Batman Adventures I have, but I have no doubt that 20 bucks for the first 10 issues is a dang good deal.

pg 133 — and Hatcher is glad that Unknown Soldier Showcase volume 2 is coming! The Len Wein Bat book would be tempting at a lesser price — I do love that Untold Legend of Batman mini). As would that Vampire Diaries book — dammit, Colleen Doran, B Clay Moore, and those boobs on the cover (not the 2 dudes on the right and left, the other 2)!

Man, those Vertigo “Defy Covers” are weird…

I totally forgot about lion rape in Pride of Baghdad. I read that way back, but I have only a vague recollection of the whole book.

I may go for Hinterkind v2. The first volume was decent, but didn’t blow me away.

No pages of re-solicited stuff, DC? Why you gotta play me like that, homes?

OMFG, if I knew Ronin better, and thought it was the bee’s knees, I’d probably be drooling for that big ass Gallery Edition. As it is, man, that looks neat, but almost 200 damn dollars? Shee-it!

More later!

IDW–

Yeah, that Zulli Turtles book sounds awesome. That was a tough cut on my list.

pg 171 — V-Wars vol. 1 trade for 10 bucks for 5 issues. Sounds like a deal to me.

pg 173 — I like Steve Niles, but October Faction definitely sounds like a tradewaiter.

Oh man, I think I might have some of those Enemy Ace issues. Looking at GCD, looks like no, actually. But damn, that’s neat, that cover they show says “story by Alex Toth”, but looking at the actual cover, it looks like it was Neal Adams inked by Joe Kubert. Too bad they couldn’t have gotten anyone any good to replace Toth ;) (Ooh, I have 148 and 149. Those are good ones!)

pg 179 features 2 I’m probably getting. Killogy special (because the mini amused me), and the HERO Comics 2014. Hmmm, the Kieth cover of Julie, or the J Scott Campbell cover of the nekkid lady? Decisions decisions!

pg 181 has a trade of those interesting sounding John Byrne Star Trek fumetti books. I’m almost enough of a Trek nerd to go for them.

pg 185 — if people haven’t gotten Kill Shakespeare yet, there’s a special oversized HC of the first 12 issue arc that sounds like a good volume.

pg 187 — Haunted Horror vol 2 HC (and v1 reoffered), for whoever it was asking about pre-Code horror comics recently.

pg 188 — I saw the Nelvana of the Northern Lights book on Kickstarter, and it sounds neat, a superpowered Canadian heroine that predated Wonder Woman. A little too rich for my blood this time, though.

I liked what I saw of the Hammer, I think, but not quite enough to order this.

Image –

That Wytches story was neatly creepy, but I think I’ll tradewait. (pg 193)

I dig Rossmo’s art, but Drumhellar wasn’t great. I did like what I read of Proof, though. And Rasputin is such an interesting character that it should be fun. I’ll probably tradewait this sucker, though.

I’m interested in Punks, but probably not quite enough to order it. I found an old Digital Webbing FCBD issue with a Punks story in it, and it was…something.

pg 208 — Goners is one with another “monster hunter lineage” angle that sounds ok, but nothing I can’t trade wait for. (And best of this genre — Midnight, Mass!)

pg 210 — A kid that you and your friends picked on in your youth, and a character named Jeremy? C’mon, man! (Cutter)

pg 212 — How did you not look at Masterplasty and go “holy shit I must have this”? Cuz that’s what I did.

pg 214 — I’m assuming that East of West one shot will be in a trade upcoming, how ’bout you?

pg 217 — Thought Bubble and CBLDF are must haves for me anyway, but with Ales Kot in TB, and all those cool people on the CBLDF book, hells yeah! The only question on CBLDF is which damn cover to pick?! Allred (looks decent), Simonson, or Derek Charm (man, that guy’s got to feel both good and bad — in the same breath as Allred and Simonson, but c’mon, who’s gonna pick his cover over theirs?).

Blackhand looks neat, but unless I read Deadly Class and it blows me away, I’m waiting on this.

COWL and Nailbiter are definites for me. I got the big ass Stray Bullets, but haven’t looked through it enough to see about the binding yet. Damn you Shelf of Shame!

pg 220 — Wait, when the hell did we learn that Casanova was coming BACK to Image? I assume this collects the 4 issues that Marvel/Icon published (with the color and stuff), and hell, maybe Fraction will come back to it and quit all his shitty other comics. (HA!)

Marvel –

Well, pg 12 tells us that Wolverine is “the greatest X-Men ever”.

pg 18 — Man, Deathlok sounds a lot like the nuValiant Bloodshot.

pg 24 — I totally would have assumed that Angela was the new Thor if I hadn’t heard that she’s getting her own book.

pg 41′s Marvel 75th Anniversary Special sounds cool. C’mon, man, that’s totally Bruce Campbell as Tony Stark there! “This…is my boom mask!”

pg 42 — jesus, isn’t that EVERY SINGLE FUCKING MOON KNIGHT cover for this new run? Isn’t it?

pg 45 “William Haden Jr. Blackman”? Huh?

Man, I didn’t notice until page 46, but many of the books have a “Stomp Out Bullying” cover. Noble cause, sure, but something doesn’t quite add up right with that.

Ah, unless there’s something out about the Rucka leaving Cyclops thing, I’d say it’s probably just a case of timing, not that there was any bad blood. It’s not like other companies aren’t shuffling creative teams willy nilly.

Tradewaiting, but a new Aaron book in Men of Wrath! Cool.

And I see pg 74 has even more Steve Mannion in Painkiller Jane 22 Brides 3!

Epic collections of Surfer, Iron Man, and Avengers so tempting! (pg 88-90)

Were those “100th Anniversary” books any good? I didn’t really get a chance to see them at the comic shop and flip through them. (pg 91)

Lots of cool looking trades (Original Sin Hulk vs Iron Man, Thor Loki Tenth Realm (hmm, will Angela be in a Thor movie?), Iron Fist, Elektra, Silver Surfer, Secret Avengers, Iron Patriot, Nightcrawler), but I passed on all of ‘em! WHY DO I BRING IT UP?!

I have to mention pg 98, that apparently X-Force has to stop Deadpool “before he destroys American history for good! From the Boxer Rebellion” — hold up! Did America have ANYTHING to do with the Boxer Rebellion? No, it was Angelus and Spike, dammit!

And that Skottie Young Spidey poster is awesome (pg 108).

Back of the book! Later!

tom fitzpatrick

August 2, 2014 at 7:27 am

@ Andrew: I keep forgetting that they didn’t finish the continuing story as well as the missing issues. Maybe they can pull it off and do both. :-)

@ T.P.: I was wondering about those 100th anniversary books. Are they part of the regular series or a separate one-shot?

Mudassir: I just don’t like Oliver’s art. It’s the epitome of bland, to me. More than that, I’m just not sure if he’s a “superstar,” which I would think DC would like on a project of this magnitude. I guess it depends on your definition of “superstar,” but I would think there are plenty of visually more interesting artists to interpret a Morrison script.

Travis: Tiger Lung was okay, but nothing special. Nice art, but that’s about it.

Yeah, I can’t read. Still, I was so looking forward to the “controversial” afterword. Damn it, Dark Horse, now I demand it!!!!

Yeah, Deacon Blackfire was from The Cult. The fact that The Cult is in continuity makes about as little sense as anything else DC does these days, so I guess it’s not surprising!

See, I missed Hernandez on Sensation and the trade of Batman Adventures. I’m really off my game this week. Sigh. Post-convention malaise, I guess.

I too thought the Nelvana book was a bit pricey. It is 350 pages, though, so I might plunk down the ducats.

Masterplasty elicited nothing more than a “huh” from me. Maybe I’ll check it out, but it didn’t thrill me like it did you.

If the East of West one-shot is as pivotal as it claims, I have to assume it will be in the next trade!

Fraction mentioned that Casanova was returning to Image a few months ago. My fingers are crossed that he’ll actually work on it, but we shall see.

Yeah, I did a bit of a double-take on the Moon Knight cover, because it looks so familiar. Maybe it’s just a re-used cover from issue #7 because the new one isn’t done yet?

I missed the name on the Elektra solicit. That is odd. Just a printer’s error, I assume.

I’m ashamed to say I actually bought the first issue of that Painkiller Jane mini-series just for Mannion’s art. It wasn’t quite worth it, but it was close!

I only got Stokoe’s 100th Anniversary book, and I haven’t read it yet. It looks phenomenal, though. Reviews of the others have not been very kind, though.

The Americans did send troops to China during the Boxer Rebellion. As far as I remember, Herbert Hoover was besieged by the Boxers. (Checks the Internet) Yep, he sure was!

tom: Whoops, I deleted the wrong comment, as I didn’t notice you added some more about the 100th Anniversary books! Anyway, basically they’re supposed to be comics as if they’re written in 2061, when the Marvel U. turns 100. I guess they’re not supposed to be What If Marvel Heroes Aged or anything, they’re just supposed to be sliding time scale books that happen to be published in “2061″ and they can even be part of fictional story arcs. So I guess if creators want to shuffle a line-up or introduce brand new character, that’s cool. As I noted, I haven’t read mine yet, so I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems like a silly idea. It did get Stokoe on an Avengers book, though, so I don’t care if it’s silly or not!

DC: Sexy Lobo, embrace him! Well I’m into him, but I don’t think much of the general “hastag and selfie” direction of DC. Ben Oliver is okay but whoever colored his work for Action Comics is just terrible. I can’t believe they couldn’t clean it up or get someone else before it hit print.

Marvel: I think Elektra, like Black Widow, is a very solid and pretty (an understatement with Elektra) comic, but if someone doesn’t want to spend the $4 I can understand. On the other hand, I want everyone to try Kot’s work. Shame about Moon Knight and Cyclops switching up.

Image: I actually wish they would scale back. I buy every new series that isn’t overwhelmingly high concept, but all I end up with is a pile of first issues because it’s too much of a hassle trying to decide between a bunch of “pretty awesome” new titles every other week.

Oh, and I can confirm that Stokoe’s enjoyable one-and-done is the only 100th Anniversary worth a damn, so far. Don’t think I’ll be buying whatever else.

tom fitzpatrick

August 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I do hope (as everyone else, I’m sure) that Stokoe will get back on the ORC STAIN bandwagon.

Speaking of which, is OS a limited series, or ongoing?

I remember Zulli’s turtles … it was ..odd …in a pseudo-realistic way while a number of other creators were going for odd in a cartoony way … The multi-creator period of the first run of Turtles was …unusual

And the current Silver Surfer series is great…in the sort of daft way you would expect from Slott and Allred

On Zenith “of course he has to be heroic!”…don’t count on it 8)

okay, I admit it’s been a while since I read it …though I do have collections of all except the final story…
basically, he wants to avoid the super fighting and leave that stuff to other people… but sometimes these things are hard to avoid

I understand Ennis has got the rights of the War stories he did for DC and intends to reprint them with Avatar and do sequels to someof them

Ah, dammit, I didn’t realize we were involved in the Boxer Rebellion. I should have realized that if it was a warrin’, we wuz a fightin’. Now I look like a tool.

Why are you all snickering when I said NOW?!?!

on Pride of Baghdad – i agree totally about the rape scene. nearly wrecked the book for me. i honestly nearly tossed it. would have been a very good/great story without it. needless, from my perspective, and ruined the book for a good number of younger readers.

Back of the book!

I’m not entirely sure if it’s new, but pg 252 has a HC of Terry Moore’s Complete Echo. Complete with kickass Harlan Ellison blurb!

Man, Action Lab has neat stuff, but there’s entirely too much to keep track of. I hope Ehmm Theory’s second thing here gets traded soon. (pg 252-254)

I know you (heh heh, given what book this is) LEAN towards looking into European comics, so may I point you to The Leaning Girl by Peeters and Schuiten on 255? Sounded interesting but just a bit too much for me.

Oh, man, the nerd in me totally wants that Dale’s Comic Fanzine Price Guide, but not for 35 bucks. But I must know what my Hero Illustrateds are all worth! (pg 255)

I think Ian and Tyson Smith did a fun book called Oddjob, and there’s a Slave Labor book called Dream Maiden Megan here on 255 that may or may not be available depending on Dan Vado’s ability to raise funds to keep SLG going. I hope he’s able to.

Frank Cammuso does great comics (like Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective, one of those type books you mention in re Fiction Squad), and the third volume of the Misadventures of Salem Hyde is coming. I liked the first volume, and Cammuso’s a cool dude. I interrupted him eating a salad at a con once! (pg 258)

Man, I really need to read my Fearless Dawn stuff and make sure I like it. I keep buying ‘em, but I’ve only read a little! Nonetheless, I plan on getting the Bomb and the sketchbook on 268. Unless I read FD and hate it, somehow. But I’m not a Commie, so I doubt it!

I have several of the Vertigo War Stories books, but damn shelf of shame! Ennis is dang good at war stuff. These books were pretty much all one shot stories, right?

I’m passing on the Boonana Tail Halloween special on 282, but I have a feeling I’ll regret doing so. Mark McKenna, Jim Calafiore, Shawn McManus, CP Wilson III…that’s some good people!

pg 284 features the new issue of Anne Bonnie, and I gotta say it’s turned out to be pretty good stuff. Worth going for a trade whenever one comes out.

Memetic (pg 291) sounds interesting, because hypnotic sloth, MF! I hope there’s a reasonably priced trade.

I assume Uncle Grandpa (pg 303) is set in West Virginia? (OH, Appalachia incest BURNNNNNN!)

pg 314-315 has Vampirella Feary Tales, and the lineup of creators sounds cool, even if the concept is…eh. Stephen Bissette’s gonna write a story! Holy crap!

pg 316 Damnation of Charlie Wormwood sounds at least tradewait good. As does that Holmes/Houdini book.

Did anyone read Cryptozoic Man (pg 319)? Was that anything?

What about the new Magnus on 323?

I must ask the question asked by Digital Manga on 338. Will You Be My Cute Crossdresser?

You may want to try a couple of the Dan Clowes books from D&Q on 341 before going whole hog on the Eightball book. There’s the Death-Ray and Wilson. I can’t remember if Wilson was the one that he serialized in the NY Times Mag a number of years back, but…well…I’d say you should probably read some Clowes, but I personally am not a big fan. There’s something about his style that puts me off. You might try Caricature on 345, too, although that might be stuff that came from Eightball, I’m not sure.

I would have gone for the Richard Sala stuff on 344-345 myself, as I like his style. A bit of Charles Addams, I think. And the new Peanuts box set (holy crap, only 3 more volumes to go?!) and the Hip Hop Family Tree box set were tempting as well. I liked Piskor’s Wizzywig alright, so the Hip Hop thing sounds neat.

I’m not sure if Cory Doctorow’s new First Second book In Real Life is an adaptation of a book of his I read, or a new thing in the same “area” thematically. Sounds interesting, though, reflecting on the real lives that some gamers face (pg 347).

Totally in for the Heavy Metal issue. Boo yah!

Yeah, Shamanism sounded really good. Why did I pass?

Man, I’m behind, because Scott Chantler’s Three Thieves is up to book 5, Pirates of the Silver Coast (pg 354). I’m forgetting the title (Spook City, I think?), but he did a really nice book way back and I guess he’s still truckin’ along. Yay indie comics!

pg 360′s Nobrow one shot Lost Property sounded intriguing — a dude loses an item and finds a lost and found where everything he’s ever lost is contained. But holy godamighty, 11 bucks for a 24 page comic? To quote an old Peter Bagge strip, “that costs more than heroin!”

I thought about Thaniel, but I thought you were lukewarm on the book, so I wasn’t figuring on it making my final list.

To point out, Hellbreak 1 is only a buck. I can’t pass up deals!

And new Bad Machinery! I know our pal Seth dug the book, and I loved the first volume. I need to catch up! (pg 372)

pg 374 Here by Richard McGuire, the story of a room over the entire span of time. Cool stuff, if a little pricey.

Big ups to our pal PJ for getting the fourth issue of San Hannibal in the book, and for knowing what penultimate means! (pg 375)

Man, I wouldn’t have thought that I’d regret not going for a Hello Kitty book, but that 40th anniversary book has a great lineup. (pg 376)

Damn, PS Artbooks is always so tempting. That Pre Code Classic Space Detective (pg 378), with Wood, Kubert, and others is very very tempting! And their Heap books look great too, so it’s undoubtedly well worth the moolah.

OK, I know I WANT Zenith, but did Rebellion actually work out a deal with Morrison and Yeowell? I don’t really want to pay for a book that they don’t approve of or get $$$ from. And I have read bits of Zenith from old 2000AD issues that were published over here (Eagle? Quality? I forget who), and it’s great stuff.

Dept of Monsterology also has PJ Holden art going for it, and he did a great job on Numbercruncher, which you need to get if you didn’t (I’m pretty sure you did, though).

Huh, I skipped right over In the Shadows, but that does sound neat.

I did see right below it on 381 The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis, which sounds like a bizarre version of Logan’s Run or something. (And dang, looking stuff up, I see he’s the dude that illustrated the Holmes book that Hatcher’s story is in! WHOA!)

I assume you saw the finale of the First Kingdom but just didn’t feel the need to mention it. (391)

I’m interested in the Quantum and Woody stuff, but I’m not sure why, because I don’t think I liked the couple of issues of it that I own. Wha?!

I am glad that Valiant is reprinting for a buck the Handbook from FCBD this year, as I missed out on that sucker. And the Rai trade and Shadowman deluxe HC were so tempting as well. (pg 406-407)

Ah Zenescope, your covers always make me feel so dirty.

One definitely not to pass up, if you like cool Golden Age stuff, is the stuff on pg 426. I’m getting Vixens, Vamps, and Vipers: Lost Villainesses of GA Comics, a follow up to Mike Madrid’s Divas, Dames, and Daredevils, which featured great heroines. For 17 bucks each (both are available), it’s some great stuff. I really liked the DDD book, so I’m happy there’s a followup.

Also same page, a Mad Don Martin book!

Man, I’d dig the Frank Cho Drawing Beautiful Women book (pg 430), and the regular editions are reasonable, but the Studio edition is 150 bucks! Holy shit!

There are 2 books by Stan Lee on how to DRAW comics. WTF. (pg 433)

I also point your attention to pg 442, with Back Issue 77 featuring fun comics, like normalman and Hembeck and stuff. I dig TwoMorrows’s stuff. And a new Kirby Collector #64 featuring Super soldiers.

OK, what exactly do they mean with the Benchwarmers Soccer cards on 447? Hair Cut cards? Sox Swatch cards? Shorts Swatch cards? WTF?

I do like the shirt on 461 — I spent my reward on Ale and Whores!

Sweet lord a’mighty, if I had me a lady willing to wear the DC lady hero corsets or panties on 462-463, I wouldn’t be typing all this shit out, ok?

Good god, what the hell is going on with the Nitro Super Sonic PVC figure on 517? She’s got to have massive back problems, but the angle makes her stomach and waist area look huge, but she’s got a teensy tiny head. Who (besides, of course, tom) finds that attractive?

And I leave you with the title that was my favorite, on page 375 — The Gigantic Beard that was Evil. I assume this is the Alan Moore story (BOOM!).

Ah Stan Lee with books on how to draw comics.
Now a Stan Lee book on how to hog credit for what other creators have made? That would be interesting as he is a true master of that.

Travis: I was going to answer some of your questions, but you didn’t really ask many questions, so I’ll just say thanks for some of the recommendations! I will say that I indeed got Numbercruncher – without looking back, I think I had it as the best mini-series of last year. That’s one reason why I’m interested in Monsterology!

Stephen Conway

August 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Re: Ben Oliver on Multiversity. I’m pretty sure he and Morrison are friends, so I guess that’s why he got the gig.

Thanks for the head’s up on The Phantom by Peter David and Sal Velluto. That sounds like it is worth checking out.

My memory might be a bit faulty, but at last year’s New York Comic Con when I met Bob Layton I think he mentioned that Rasputin was one of the few comic book series coming out currently that he enjoys. I keep meaning to check it out, in any case.

If I have the money, I’ll pick up the Athena Voltaire collection.

Michael Zulli’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stories were seriously bizarre, but beautifully illustrated. Nice to see them being reprinted.

For those who have yet to read The Bomb by Steve Mannion, I highly recommend getting it now that Asylum Press is re-issuing it.

I just cannot be bothered by 99% of what Marvel and DC is putting out nowadays. I’d rather save what little disposable income I have for some of the many awesome titles coming out from other companies.

Travis stated: “pg 187 — Haunted Horror vol 2 HC (and v1 reoffered), for whoever it was asking about pre-Code horror comics recently.” That was me – and thanks, I saw that but just recently placed orders for all of the singles (#4-11) on eBay. I did get the collected HH vol 1, and it is nice (it is now in a stack of to-be-read pre-code horror).

There’s just one thing I wanted to point out from this month’s Previews – Detective Comics #35 (and next month’s #36) has art by John Paul Leon. Can’t miss that!

And to end on a question – I was thinking about the Silver Surfer Epic Collection, but isn’t it mostly going to also be included in the FF Epic Collections? They wouldn’t snip those parts out of the FF collection, would they? And my Comics OCD makes me want to buy every Epic Collection anyway, but this seems almost like 100% duplication.

Ah, excellent, David. I couldn’t remember who’d mentioned it. The singles are fun, but I believe I read that the HCs have extra stuff. Which irritates me as I don’t plan on “double dipping”.

As to the Surfer Epic Collection, I’d say yeah, it’ll all be in the FF Epics, eventually. Except maybe those 2 issues of Tales to Astonish that are listed. So yeah, it seems likely that if you get the FF Epics, eventually you’ll have all the rest of it, but it’s possible (even probable) that they won’t include those ToA stories. So balance that in your mind, David.

Ben, as far as I know, Rasputin’s a new thing, so Layton probably wasn’t talking about that. But maybe I’m wrong and it’s been online or somethin’. Or maybe there’s some other comic called that….

There’s one page of preview art for Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone

But wait, there’s more! Now you can have ALIENS: FIRE AND STONE, or PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE, or PREDATOR: FIRE AND STONE, or ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: FIRE AND STONE, or two, or three, or collect ‘em all! It’s like peanut butter: you can have smooth or regular or chunky, and salty or neutral or sweet, or cross them over! O tall, Dark Horse, thou art the peanut butter of comicks!

I love the idea of Catwoman as crime boss of Gotham City (page 111). I just wonder why that’s not the final cover, because it is BAD-ASS.

I suppose Editorial want Artist to add a background? Or they’re still undecided whether to lose the Rabbi’s cat? (Some of the art reminded me a bit the style of Andreas, couldn’t quickly find online one of his women but you can feast on the black costume in http://old.brokenfrontier.com/userfiles/images/columns/2012/11_nov/cb_rork05b.jpg from the samples at appreciation http://old.brokenfrontier.com/columns/p/detail/crossing-borders-the-genius-of-andreas-and-rork ).

(But then I only really like the top half, probably because the artist traced Jodie Foster (Bugsy Malone era?), the hottest smart woman we’ll never wed (because she’s smart enough to avoid men like the plague they are, haw!). Which was prolly deemed too threatening for DC readers, so the bottom half seems traced from some bimbo with feetis insidis wobbling even atop mini stilettos?)

On page 217, you can get the CBLDF Liberty Annual

Okay, I’ll write the dissenting opinion: Shirley we all know how most of these review-proof pamphlets turn out? This one has 15+ writers for 48 pages, so it’s like to be a bunch of 2-page inconsequential strips, padded with the usual half-baked pinups and rejected covers. The problem I see with such benefit comics is that they mostly fail at being both “benefit” and “comics”, while I can see various better options:

(1) Why not get some actual cash into the CBLDF with a direct donation?

(2) Why not get some actual comics instead of “charity comics” nobody really like?

(3) Why not get some CBLDF merch (p. 310-311), which can at least succeed at both “benefit” and “merch”? — I’m getting the COMICS CODE AUTHORITY SEAL WHITE T-SHIRT, so there. (Though I’m flabbergasted they don’t offer a “DISapproved by the Comics Code” variant, which I think would sell 10x!)

(4) And for fans of benefit comics, there’s still The Hero Initiative’s HERO COMICS 2014 (p. 179 from IDW) — I’m getting this one because it’s mostly two writers for 32 pages, so I can at least expect a real new MAXX story of 8 pages or more, plus another real 8-page JON SABLE story (though I’ve never been much interested in this one), plus a few possibly interesting “human interest” vignettes in the back — a very different package from the CBLDF one, methink.

Well, at least that’s my take (and give).

Stray Bullets is awesome.

Awesome and often funny, the first two or three collections anyway (this collection has hilarious AMY RACECAR stories, and I think the second collection, SOMEWHERE OUT WEST, is probably the funniest). That’s something often overlooked or understated about this series: it’s both gritty and funny — like when you laugh in a Tarantino flick, or like a lot of the first half of STRANGERS IN PARADISE, or like the dark humour of HAMLET or PUNCH & JUDY — but it’s only ever sold as a “crime masterpiece [...] that will rip out your guts and break your heart”, sigh.

Garth Ennis begins a new ongoing of War Stories at Avatar

Tradewaiting. But what’s up with the rotating publishers? Ennis did good WAR STORIES at DC, but that wasn’t good enough for them. More good BATTLEFIELDS at Dynamite, but apparently that wasn’t good enough either. So now he’s moved again to do more presumably good WAR STORIES at Avatar, with “Good Girl Nose Art” variant covers?

(Talking about war stories, you may want to look at THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS (p. 309 from Broadway) — to be honest, I was wary about it and the review at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2014/04/the-harlem-hellfighters-great-subject-not-so-great-comic/ reinforced that — but YMMV.)

Boom! has [...]

I feel like pointing out they also have Michael Alan Nelson’s FALL OF CTHULHU OMNIBUS (p. 295), which was probably overlooked by a lot of people just because of its title and its lack of proper synopses. Actually, you don’t need to know or like HPL — in the way you don’t need to know the Charlton heroes to enjoy WATCHMEN, or you don’t need to like the Kiss band to enjoy Brian Holguin’s PSYCHO CIRCUS…

It’s a horror thriller nominally about an “elder god” conspiring to ensnare another, but centered on various people investigating, caught in the middle, used as pawns, transported to otherworldy places, etc. It’s closer to a weird mix of, say, HELLBLAZER and COLDER and NEONOMICON and BOOKS OF MAGIC and Hines’s STRANGE EMBRACE — where two of many inhuman creatures just happen to be based on Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep, because the writer like them and it’s an easier hook. (I’ve read the original series so not buying twice, but $40 for a 608-page full-color graphic novel seems good value, too.)

On page 344, we find The Complete 8-Ball from Fantagraphics. As usual, I must betray my unhipness, as I’ve never read this or, in fact, anything by Daniel Clowes. It’s $120, but I might take the plunge.

Oy, Greg! As a Dan Clowes reader, I dunno what’s most painful: that you’ve never read any of his best graphic novels, or that I now feel compelled to warn you against this? I must second Travis Pelkie about this package, and try to elaborate:

(1) it’s not the complete EIGHTBALL since collecting only #1-18, missing most of the best part that was in #19-23; (2) it’s only a cover slapped over a run of the *issues*, so instead of the collected-expanded-remastered graphic novels you only get a historical record of anthology-like issues featuring non-consecutive episodes and short pieces, it’s for librarians and ultra-completists only; (3) this seems pricier than buying the collected editions of the material within, for an inferior result; (4) more importantly, the bulk of what was in 1-18 is the most likely to definitely turn you off Clowes: blunt, cold, mean satires drenched in hipper-than-thou sarcasm and scorn — there are great moments, but I doubt you want to start on Clowes with so much sophomoric misanthropy!

So yes, you really owe yourself to sample some great Clowes, if only from a library, but I think you’d have better luck starting with his three latter graphic novels that were expanded from #19-23 material, precisely those not in this package: THE DEATH RAY (a realistic anti-hero which is to Clowes what MIRACLEMAN and WATCHMEN are to Moore, or THE MEGALOMANIACAL SPIDER-MAN is to Bagge), ICE HAVEN (a sinister Hitchcockian mystery in the shape of a puzzle), and DAVID BORING (a weird thriller that Clowes called “like Fassbinder meets half-baked Nabokov on Gilligan’s Island”) — maybe in that order (indeedy, DEATH RAY is relisted for $20 p. 341, and the two others are available via Diamond Star System as ICE HAVEN for $16 with OCT101094, and DAVID BORING for $22 with OCT108180, jus’ sayin’…)

(Whereas, stranded in that $120 package, you’ll only get chopped pieces of two graphic novels, LIKE A VELVET GLOVE CAST IN IRON (a dreamlike horror mystery like crossing David Lynch and Russ Meyer with Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME and Roberto Bolaño, great and unforgettable but hard to follow and without resolution since it evolved after his own dreams) and GHOST WORLD (a morbid coming-of-age satire, the character study of two bitter and cynical teen girls growing apart), laced with all the short pieces collected in CARICATURE, PUSSEY, LLOYD LLEWELLYN, and 20TH CENTURY EIGHTBALL — mind you, I also like them or parts of them, I just don’t think they’re very good starters, and besides they’re also available in superior collections. This package just looks like turning an old inventory clean-out sale into a cash grab from completists, when this stuff will only look good as scholar bait in a library.)

As always, I know I missed plenty

Well, I found this month’s indy offerings so bountiful, I had to tell Eugene to stop being so careful with that axe and take it to my list: great stuff is incoming that may not be reprinted before long or never, and I’d rather gamble on them because, whether I eventually like them a lot or a little, at least I had a fighting chance of getting a genuine blast! To wit:

– I shan’t not point out Peeters & Schuiten’s graphic novel THE LEANING GIRL (p. 255 from Alaxis) — it’s Jules Verne meets Italo Calvino, baby! I’ve already read this standalone 1996 story, part of the informal steampunk universe of THE OBSCURE CITIES (aka CITIES OF THE FANTASTIC, as translated 25 years ago at NBM with GREAT WALLS OF SAMARIS or FEVER IN URBICAND). “Leaning” actually means that after a freak accident, her personal gravity is now tilted 45° from the norm (an inspiration for Don Rosa’s “Uncle Scrooge: A Matter of Some Gravity”, who used 90°). She’s now special but people just think she’s being stubborn, she can’t fit in so she gets flak like a left-handed red-headed step-child and flees into the wide world… It’s to be experienced: Peeters’s stories are worthy of Borges and Bioy-Casares, while Schuiten’s art has the grandeur of Winsor McCay and Gerhard.

Bit pricey because oversized (“The hefty book measures 9.25” x 11.625” and .75” thick. Printed on beautiful art papers and cased in a softcover binding with reinforced flaps”, publisher dixit). Online samples are plentiful though untranslated, such as: before her accident, at http://www.bedetheque.com/media/Planches/PlancheA_3562.jpg ; examined once leaning, at http://www.bulledair.com/planches/planche_cites_obscures6_1106417016_60c3b ; *walking* up a wall to escape her boarding school, at http://img.over-blog-kiwi.com/0/81/38/06/20140510/ob_dfaf47_lenfant-penchee-49-copyright-schuiten.jpg ; joining a circus, at https://www.altaplana.be/_media/albums/enfant_penchee/cite_s_obscures_les_-_06_-_l_enfant_penche_e_bdi_-_fantastique_-_fr_peeters_-_schuiten_1996-01_lothar.cbz_-_page_56.jpg ; and there are appreciations of the series by illustrator Coulthart (with some splash pages) at http://www.johncoulthart.com/feuilleton/2009/09/19/further-tales-from-the-obscure-world/ and man-about-crossroads Gravett (with 8 varied pages) at http://www.paulgravett.com/index.php/articles/article/francois_schuiten

– Joe Ollmann’s compilation HAPPY STORIES ABOUT WELL-ADJUSTED PEOPLE (p. 311 from Conundrum) — character-based comedy à la Woody Allen, slices of life in a nine-panel grid. Ollman released two collections of graphic shorts (CHEWING ON TINFOIL, 2001, and THIS WILL ALL END IN TEARS, 2006) before getting more attention with his graphic novels (MID-LIFE, 2011, and SCIENCE FICTION, 2013), so now they’re bringing back most of those two collections within an omnibus-with-bonus.

Aided and abetted by Seth and Jeet Heer, there’s a 3-page sample at http://www.conundrumpress.com/forthcoming/happy-stories-about-well-adjusted-people/ and five story synopses at http://www.opticalsloth.com/?p=2141 ; there’s also a comprehensive 2006 interview (with some sample panels and pages collected here, including the infamous “Oh Deer” story) at http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/resources/interviews/6934/ and a retrospective 2011 one (with samples from a different book) at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2011/02/creator-qa-joe-ollmann-confronts-his-mid-life/

– The graphic collection THE LONESOME GO by Tim Lane (p. 344 from Fantagraphics) — hmm, hardboiled Edward Hopper meets Charles Burns and Thomas Ott by way of Crumb? At least this one has a 22-page PDF preview (after the bus vignette, there’s a better story with two hobos in a boxcar, then some one-pagers) at http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/stories/previews/lonego-preview.pdf from its preorder page http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop/the-lonesome-go-pre-order-.html

(I notice the preorder site says the book will be 8×10.75″, vs. the 7×9.5″ listed in Previews: where’s the accuracy, Kenneth? The former would make the book justify more its $40 price tag for 300 pages B&W, the latter should have been more like $30.) There was also an extensive interview with samples from his previous collection ABANDONED CARS at http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_sunday_interview_tim_lane/

– The quirky graphic novel ARSÈNE SCHRAUWEN by Olivier Schrauwen (p. 345 from Fantagraphics, again?) — he whom Art Spiegelman calls “the most original cartoonist I’ve fallen onto since Ware or Katchor” could be radioactively postmodern to people who dislike Chris Ware, Yuichi Yokoyama, Asterios Polyp, Killoffer, and anything original, idiosyncratic, or boundary-testing…

Now, the old Fanta boys had a relapse of the Web 0.0 (they did publish Zero-Zero, after all!) because they seem to think such book will fly off the shelves sans PDF preview on its preorder page… But there were six sample pages when Eisner Award-winning website CBR’s own Matt Seneca unceremoniously called this GN’s Part 1 (of 3) a “Greatest Comic of All Time” at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2012/07/greatest-comic-of-all-time-arsene-schrauwen-1/ ; and a quick Google Image found me some more pages, such as http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VlsokVUPfEI/T8yMJRcIsVI/AAAAAAAAAMc/Q-AFHvjUH_w/s1600/arsene+blog1.jpg and http://www.fulgenciopimentel.com/sites/default/files/galerias/c628.jpg and http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3pQ6pVuIW8U/UwCvhazHbbI/AAAAAAAAAS8/znRi164ixEE/s1600/arsene+3.jpg and http://www.zonanegativa.com/imagenes/2014/03/ArseneSchrauwen-pagina2.jpg (and more at http://ollieschrauwen.blogspot.com/ from the author’s working blog).

About his earlier work, a review of his 2011 collection THE MAN WHO GREW HIS BEARD stated, “he’s just as likely to seize upon some strange effect or idea and run with it as hard and as fast as he can — nearly literally, in once case, in a strip consisting more or less solely of a guy running to catch a train for as long and as far as the train would have taken him to begin with. Elsewhere, he shatters sexual idylls into a fractal feedback loop or draws its participants as lounging subjects of some kind of weird cubist stained-glass art style; portrays a man who can paint things into existence by trotting him through a series of guffaw-inducing mock-heroic poses, as if his miraculous creative abilities were only secondary proof of his awesomeness compared to his theatrical, bare-chested machismo; and uses bright color and titanically ornate architecture against bland ones to paint a portrait of a catatonic man’s rich and adventurous interior life of fun with a beautiful woman and a beloved child, in a story that ended up being actually quite moving.” — excerpted from http://seantcollins.com/2011/12/comics-time-the-man-who-grew-his-beard/

– Richard McGuire’s experimental graphic novel HERE (p. 374 from Pantheon) — “Really?! Oh boy!” The original 1989 six-page “Here” was as influential as Krigstein/Feldstein’s “Master Race”, it’s the daddy of stuff like Chris Ware’s diagrammatic storytelling or Ray Fawkes’s ONE SOUL or Alan Moore’s all-encompassing method in FROM HELL or HIGHBURY WORKING (and it may have been influenced by the fleeting time of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, besides the comics’s protagonist is named Billy). And now McGuire is expanding it to 320 pages full-color? Oh boy!

Two reviews: “From Chris Ware to Dash Shaw to Grant Morrison, many of today’s most innovative creators play innovative games with the way time and space are portrayed in comics. But for my money, it’s tough to top the tour-de-force performance that is “Here,” by cartoonist/illustrator/designer/musician Richard McGuire.” starts http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2011/02/its-always-time-for-richard-mcguires-classic-comic-here/ ; and “Even though it´s only a couple of pages long “Here” encapsulates so much of what makes comics so special to me: It´s straightforward and multi-layered, overflowing and still restrained, experimental and immediately accessible, playful and existentialist. It´s 100% comics. And there are a million stories in these few panels.” at http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2013/desert-island-comics-episode-69-christian-maiwald/

But the solicit is a bit dry so just brace yourself and experience the original 6-pager (and again and again) at http://wayback.archive.org/web/20100814190317/http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~jbass/courses/402/402_mcguire_here.htm so you can see for yourself if you want the graphic novel version! (And that cover! It can’t be a coincidence how it looks like a Hammershøi painting, kinda like the obverse side of the classic http://www.artinthepicture.com/artists/Vilhelm_Hammershoi/sunshine.jpg from http://www.artinthepicture.com/artists/Vilhelm_Hammershoi/ )

– The bizarre graphic novel THE MOTHERLESS OVEN by Rob Davis (p. 381 from SelfMadeHero) — but looking bizarre in interesting ways (kinda like David B.’s EPILEPTIC or BABEL, MULTIPLE WARHEADS, or Dave Cooper’s SUCKLE/CRUMPLE). I know nothing more of this book or creator (his previous two books seem highly praised, though), and I hope it’s not going to turn out a teen lite-novel à la Oni, but it’s been hotly anticipated by all the cool Brits like Stephen Holland at Page 45, Richard Bruton at Forbidden Planet, and Eddie Campbell’s “Man At The Crossroads” (who made it his Previews review’s highlight-of-the-month at http://www.paulgravett.com/index.php/articles/article/books_to_read_best_graphic_novels3 ) so it should be spectacular anyway (spectacularly good or spectacularly disappointing).

There was an announcement with 7 sample splashes at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/selfmadehero-to-publish-rob-davis-the-motherless-oven/ and some more illos (a few different, most redundant) at http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2013/upcoming-rob-davis-motherless-oven/

– Gotta point at the new A BRIDE’S STORY VOLUME 6 (p. 415 from Yen) — I’ve read this manga already, it’s so good it’s one of the series being translated worldwide only a few months trailing Japanese publication, with about one new volume per year. It’s a fun and moving mature fiction for men and women both, rooted in some historical and ethnological accuracy. It’s set in 19th-century Central Asia (think Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan rural areas) as seen by a travelling ethnologist who takes a backseat to stories involving brides. It’s hard to summarize because the mostly-standalone arcs shift back and forth:

Vol. 1-2 is an arc focused on the uprooted bride of an arranged marriage who finds out her husband is a 10-year-old, so in addition to adapting to a different village and customs she’ll have to be her big sister for quite some years. Vol. 3 is a moving arc about the ethnologist meeting a widow and her daugther, and facing a difficult bargain. Vol. 4-5 is the funniest arc, about two zany and material twin sisters, we see their antics and teen courtship, later how they derail their very traditional and very long marriage ceremony. And this year’s Vol. 6 is the most dramatic arc, back to the couple of Vol. 1 a few years later, with their village facing an attack by the bride’s former tribe. — I think one could jump aboard Vol. 1 or 3 or 4 or 6, without much difficulty.

– Wayne Vansant’s BATTLE OF THE BULGE: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE ALLIED VICTORY IN THE ARDENNES (p. 416 from Zenith) — as usual with Vansant, it seems a bit pricey until you realize each page is packed as in CARTOON HISTORY, so it reads like 200 pages.

(I hope this book will come out: Vansant’s previous book RED BARON was scheduled for July 2 but hasn’t shipped yet, which is a shame: it should have been already out there to be reviewed and praised and “by the way you can preorder his next great book in August”, so it’s another wasted opportunity.)

Holy spit, there was so much stuff I investigated then had to skip or drop for various reasons, but YMMV:

– Culled THE MASSIVE VOL. 4 (p. 50 from Dark Horse) — not only has this been increasingly slow and padded and expensive, but Vol. 3 (Massive #15 originally) went all Bendis on us and made Mary a superhero, or mutant, or Gaia, or E.T., or the Virgin Mary, or whatever — I hear Wood ruined DMZ in a similar fashion, but if I wanted DEMO I’d reread DEMO. (And anyway, this series being published by a big conglomerate, I’ll still be able to check reviews of the completed series and decide whether I want to read the last trades, some day, somehow, unlike a lot of the stuff listed above.)

– Also culled FAIREST IN ALL THE LAND (p. 141 from DC) — this short-story collection is written by Bill Willingham back in the saddle, so I was tempted; but the damage from all the good stuff above was so deep, again I decided I could wait for reviews and backorder this later if needed.

– James Harvey’s amazing short MASTERPLASTY (p. 212 from Image) — this is great, but there are things people may want to know before ordering (this means you too, Pelkie!). Mostly: this self-contained teaser is also the prologue of his upcoming graphic novel ZYGOTE , intended for later this year, and I can’t wait for this GN, but I just don’t feel like buying its first chapter twice, especially when so many great comics are a-callin’ the same month!

YMMV, for instance because: (1) you may want it in this “oversized” experience, assuming the eventual GN will be smaller; (2) you may want copies for gifts; (3) you may want to support the artist by buying twice. The good news is, you can quickly read it online for free and decide: the context was explained at http://www.blankslatebooks.co.uk/2013/06/masterplasty-by-james-harvey/ and 2013 webcomic sensation “Masterplasty” is still all at http://blankslatebooks.co.uk/zygote/masterplasty.html

(Also, the solicit about this being his “print debut” is nonsense, James Harvey already released in 2011 the nice A LONG DAY OF MR. JAMES-TEACHER, his short graphic memoir of being an expat English Second Language teacher for grade-schoolers in Bumfuk, South Korea! And I wonder why this teaser is released by Image instead of Blank Slate, the upcoming GN’s publisher — it is a cunning tactic to be seen in the front of Previews?)

– The short A CITY OF WHISKEY & FIRE by Daniel Landes and Noah Van Sciver (p. 255 from Alternative) — a historical fiction telling what started the 1863 Great Fire in Denver. It looks like it could be my kinda single; but 5 bones for a 20-page, B&W, undersized pamphlet? And it seems to be a decompressed short-short-story narrated in captions over 20 splash illos? (Most online sample pages are 7×7″ splashes, a few are 2 big horizontal panels.) I know artists have to eat, but does it have to be a pound of my flesh? (For that loot, even the slightly overpriced COSPLAYERS had 32 pages, full-color, of sequential art.)

I mean, it may be okay for people picking this up in a store and deciding about the actual package, but people pre-ordering this expecting 20 pages of six-panel grid sequential storytelling may feel badly burned by an illustrated short-story (and then indies will complain people don’t pre-order their wares…) I found 4 sample pages (clickable to giant-size) at retailer http://www.birdcagebottombooks.com/shop/a-city-of-whiskey-fire/ ; a large photo of the actual booklet open at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qZd4tfQtOW8/U7WgSpLDgWI/AAAAAAAALEY/ZUtuH7Oioy8/s1600/IMG_5216.JPG ; and one very brief review at http://danielrelkin.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-city-of-whiskey-and-fire.html

– GRAPHIC CLASSICS VOLUME 7: BRAM STOKER (p. 346 at Eureka) — yeah, okay, but then this one had “an all-new comics adaptation of “Dracula” by Rich Rainey and Joe Ollmann” (see Ollmann above) and “The Judge’s House” by Gerry Alanguilan” (ELMER, WHERE BOLD STARS GO TO DIE)… It’s in the Star System backlist, maybe I’ll backorder it on a slow month…

– I noticed Cory Doctorow’s IN REAL LIFE (p. 347 from First Second) — it’s supposed to be a graphic novelization for teens of his short-story “Anda’s Game” . I’ll see whether the reviews catch up with me: earnest activists don’t always realize that a good cause isn’t enough for a good fiction. (BTW, not only do argumented advance-reviews trash the book , but one also points out it’s printed in China , making this feel a bit hypocritical…)

– The graphic memoir ON THE BOOKS by Greg Farrell (p. 359 from Microcosm) — being “the first-hand account of the labor struggle at NYC’s legendary Strand bookstore in the summer of 2012.” Half the original webcomic is still online, getting a bit funnier at http://strandaskus.blogspot.com/p/part-two.html (the Occupy Strand episode) and more wide-ranging at http://strandaskus.blogspot.com/p/part-three.html (Brick & Mortar vs. Amazon & Ebay). The package is decent enough, in the relaxed tone of Darryl Cunningham’s HOW TO FAKE A MOON LANDING with some side humor as in MOM’S CANCER or ACTION PHILOSOPHERS, but it gets a bit strident and NYC-centric so I didn’t feel compelled to read past Part Five online — YMMV!

– The short LOST PROPERTY by Andy Poyiadgi (not Poyladgi as Diamond states, p. 360 from Nobrow) — if you thought $5 for 20 splash pages was concerning, look at these $11 24-pagers! Actually, they’re from Nobrow’s art collection “17×23″ (centimeters, that’s 7×9 inches American) which is supposed to have very high production values, with ultra-thick art paper and each page reproduced as in a high-end artbook. From what I understand, they’re intended as nice gifts, and also as a funding source for the artist’s next graphic novel — kinda like a paper-based Kickstarter or Xeric — hence the price. (At least that’s the story.)

I couldn’t find samples of this one, but there was a very positive review (with photos and samples) of an earlier anthology in the same collection, at http://comicsbeat.com/17×23-showcase-nobrow-press-moon-men-and-hopeful-dystopias/ (but then, I guess they didn’t pay for it, did they?) I share Travis Pelkie’s pain about this item, because it sounds fascinating but I don’t think I’ll fork for it sight unseen: I guess it’s the sort of book you’re supposed to fall in love with browsing it at a con or bookstore before you can swallow its price…

/TL,DR: Well, you know it’s a really great month for comics solicits when you end up trying to turn people away from even Clowes and Harvey material so they may give a look at some of the rest!

Travis: ARGH! Now I am going to go back and add Silver Surfer Epic V1 to my list. I had myself convinced I could pass… but there’s those 2 ToA issues you mentioned. Well, I may end up broke, but at least I’ll be complete! :-)

Guys! Thanks for picking up COLDER! but for those who can and want, please order the book! don’t wait for it to appear in the shelves and if you can skip the trades and get it it will be really cool!

I’m leaving aside some really good paying gigs in Order to do COLDER, which I love and I have a LOT of fun doing it! but in order for it to be Ongoing we need it to have a GOOD start!

so the ones who liked the first book, Help us out by ordering it!

Anyway Thanks! I’ll try to draw the Best book possible!

Simon: As always, thanks for the suggestions. I’m not going to respond to your points because, well, there are so many of them, but I always like reading what you have to say, and you always give me at least a few things to order!

Juan: Well, I’ll be getting the single issues! I usually only wait for trades for DC and Marvel stuff, but I definitely like to support anything non-Big Two, and as you know, I don’t really want to wait to see more of your art! :)

@Greg: Apologies for the insanely long post: being with a mail-order website I have to preorder everything, so I need to burrow online about anything that looks interesting — but I ended up wearing my research on my sleeve. (Though for all I know, it’s an item from the undiscarded material that got your attention!)

Simon: No worries. I do appreciate it!

Talk about strident! Greg, You seem to have a limited knowledge of comics (as you say in your kurtzman plug above), so it’s okay that my book (On The Books) didn’t immediately strike you as something unique and worthwhile, but then again, how could it have? You’ve never seen or read it! Please do not make claims about things you’ve never seen based on two-years old, outdated internet post. The website clearly states that the book has been entirely revised, so it’s poor journalism on your part to base your judgements on its content. I’d be happy to send you a review copy of the book for you to read, so you can get a better idea of what it is all about. Try not to be so dismissive in the future! Thanks!

Greg: I didn’t mention your book, that was Simon, who comments here. He gives a lot of recommendations of things I might have missed when I went through Previews, because I can’t catch everything. I wasn’t dismissive of it at all, except for the fact that when I went through Previews, it didn’t jump out at me. I’m not making any judgments about it whatsoever. Previews is a thick book, and I can’t see everything, so I’m always appreciative of people letting me know about things I might have missed. I might have a limited knowledge of comics and be a poor journalist, but the fact remains that I didn’t call your book “strident” and I never judge books before I read them. Something might not spark my interest, but that’s true about everyone, I should think.

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