Flippin’ through Previews – April 2008

by  in Comic News Comment
Flippin’ through <i>Previews</i> – April 2008

It’s another slab of comics, courtesy of our not-sinister-at-all friends at Previews.  It has Indy on the cover – what’s not to love?  So let’s check it out!

You’ll notice that, for the second month in a row, there’s no order form in this issue.  This is, I think, the third time in the past six months that this has happened.  Is Previews giving up on the order form completely and switching to the always-reliable telepathic ordering system?  It could happen!  Second, there’s an interview in the front with Warren Ellis.  He mentions that John Cassaday has not yet started drawing the final, epilogue issue of Planetary.  Sheesh.  It’s going to be 2010 before comes out, isn’t it?

Dark Horse:

Conan the Cimmerian #0 is offered this month (page 32; 25 June).  I buy Conan in trades, so I might skip this, but I do wonder why this curious obsession with new #1s (or, in this case, a zero issue) continues to infect companies.  Does it really do that much for sales?  Have we seen any proof of this?  Anyway, Tim Truman is writing it, so it will probably be pretty good.

Tony Moore is back on Fear Agent with issue #22 (page 34; 25 June).  His work on the early issues kicked ass, so this might be a good place to jump on.  Me, I read the trades.  Trades rule, man.

I don’t think Herbie Popnecker is as awesome as some of my blog-mates, but if you’re interested, there’s an archive collection on page 36 (20 Aug) for 50 bucks.  Wow.

Here’s a problem I have with collections.  On page 38, Dark Horse offers the X Omnibus vol. 2 (27 August).  I’m curious about it, because I like Steven Grant, but the first volume hasn’t come out yet, so I’m not sure if this is any good and don’t want to commit another 25 bucks to a second volume if it sucks.  Can’t Dark Horse publish the first one and let me make up my mind?  Is that so wrong?

Hey, more trade paperbacks!  On page 42 Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus is coming out (18 August).  It’s always good to get your Hellboy-related stuff in trades, say I!

On page 49, there’s an 800-page book (!) featuring the greatest adventures of everyone’s favorite whiny Jedi, Luke Skywalker.  It actually says that it has Marvel issues in it.  How does that work?  Did Marvel get to publish those but retained the rights only as long as they had the license, and once they gave that up, those issues became the property of Overlord Lucas and now anyone who gets the license can publish them?  I assume that’s it, but does anyone know for sure?  Anyway, I’m not buying this, but it’s 100 bucks for 800 pages and 30 years of comics.  It might be something for you!


I’m not that interested in Trinity (page 67), but if they’re going to keep a weekly series with one artist, they couldn’t go wrong with Bagley.

James Robinson takes over the writing reins on Superman with issue #677 (page 75; 25 June).  That makes it tempting.  The Superman comics, however, always seem to be going squirrely, with guest artists and guest writers and stunt writers.  It’s very weird.  I’ll probably check this out, and if Robinson can stay on this for a year or so without any interruptions, that would be cool.

Yes, Manhunter is back (page 90; 4 June).  I guess I should buy the single issues this time instead of waiting for the trades, but I do hope it’s better than the final few issues were, when it seemed to lose some of its verve.  Still, Gaydos on art is pretty danged cool.

(Of course, this drawing is by Liam Sharp, who’s doing the covers, but still.)

If you’ve never gotten the trade of Faces by Matt Wagner (page 94; 16 July), do so.  The issues are excellent.  I may be tired of Two-Face, but when someone like Wagner gets a hold of him, it’s good comics!

For 30 bucks, you can pick up the JLA vol. 1 hardcover by the God of All Comics himself (page 96; 20 August).  These are dazzling comics, and although they trades are easy to find, if you haven’t gotten them yet, wait for this.  It’s sure to be a groovy package.  And Porter’s art is excellent.  Yes, I said excellent.

I would love to get the Metal Men hardcover (page 97; 20 August), because if I wait for the softcover, it may be late next year before DC bothers to publish it.  Why do they wait so long?

I’ve already shown you how awesome the first volume of Diana Prince: Wonder Woman is, and on page 97, DC brings us another volume!  You know you want to learn all about women, 1960s-style!

I don’t have a lot of interest in Chuck #1 (page 105; 11 June), but Jeremy Haun and Phil Noto on art tempts me.  Oh, I’m like Jesus in the wilderness!  Yes, this situation is exactly like that.

Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, who probably stopped working on Local because DC threw a ton of money at them to write a graphic novel for the Minx line, bring us … a Minx graphic novel!  As I mentioned last time, Minx should not be called “the first graphic novel imprint for teens.”  The New York Four (page 112; 9 July) actually sounds pretty good, but it’s for girls, man!  What would DC do if a top-of-the-line creator pitched a Minx graphic novel for boys?  Would they accept it?

On page 115, Madame Xanadu #1 is offered (25 June).  It’s written by Matt Wagner, which means it’s going to be well written, and Amy Reeder Hadley has a pretty nice style.  I met her at the Phoenix Con this year, and she’s a tiny and very nice person.  Her table was surrounded by teen girls, and maybe they’ll actually pick this book up.  Wouldn’t that be interesting?  Does DC even care that Hadley has a largely untapped (by them) fan base?  Given that this is a Vertigo book, probably not.

Pick up Scalped #18.  It’s a stand-alone issue, so you can see if you like the series.  I’m a bad person because I buy this in trades, but it’s quite good.  Should I start buying the single issues?  Will that save it?  Does it need saving?


Hey, check it out: Mark Millar has yet another comic about what happens if superheroes existed in the real world (page 142; 24 June)!  War Heroes will be pretty, because Tony Harris is drawing it, but I very much doubt if it will be any different from anything Millar has done in the past, what, eight years?

Joe Casey has another odd comic coming out, Charlatan Ball (page 148; 11 June).  A down-and-out stage magician is transported to a world where magic actually works.  The preview pages are suitably wacky, and although it might be a case of Casey going to the weird well once too often, I’m still going to check this out, because he is, after all, one of the best writers of comics today.

Displaced Persons on page 156 (4 June) sounds interesting.  A family history linked to the twentieth century, taking place in 1939, 1969, and 1999, with strange things happening all over.  Derek McCulloch, who wrote the very good Stagger Lee, writes this, and although I’ve never heard of the artist, Rantz A. Hoseley, I’m probably going to check this out.

On the next page (157), Michael San Giacomo has a new graphic novel, Tales of the Starlight Drive-In (4 June).  It’s drawn by a host of artists and features stories about the eponymous theater over the course of 50 years, each, apparently, standing alone but forming a grand narrative.  It sounds pretty cool.

I’m not terribly interested in this, but the entire run of Scud: The Disposable Assassin (page 163) ships on 25 June.  It’s only 30 bucks for almost 800 pages, so it might be something you want.

On page 164 you can get the trade paperback of Strange Embrace (18 June).  This is a very weird and horrifying comic that was not as good as it could have been, but is still worth a read.

Top Cow has another round of those “pilot season” one-shots, and the more interesting one, Alibi, is on page 177, which features a sniper who always has a perfect alibi and is brought to us by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Jeremy Haun.


You know, I’m just not jazzed by much that Marvel has for us this month.  I mean, I will buy plenty of the books, because I like certain ones, but nothing is jumping out at me and saying “You must write about this!”  There’s a ton of “Secret Invasion” stuff, of course, and you should all be buying Iron Fist, but the first thing that really strikes me as weird is on page 60, when the solicitation text for Astonishing X-Men Sketchbook reads “See the gorgeous costume redesigns for Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost and more by emerging superstar Simone Bianchi!”  Um, if the “redesigns” are the ones shown in the accompaning artwork, how are they that different?  I can see that they’ve been “redesigned” a tiny bit, but nothing really radical has been done.  Or are they hiding the actual redesigns from us?  Will Wolverine be wearing a frilly pink dress?  That would be awesome.

I’m sure it will outsell every other comic ever published, but is Wolverine #66 (page 65) really “the most important Wolverine story of the 21st century”?  I mean, it takes place in the future, and when has Marvel ever been concerned about what happens in future stories?  If they did, Jubilee would be the “last X-Man.”  Yeah, I remember that!  Does Tom Brevoort?

Man, I’m just turning into an old fuddy-duddy.  On page 67, the text for X-Force: Ain’t No Dog reads: “Tonight, Wolverine flies solo – dressed in black and operating off the grid.  And when the night is through, there will be mountains of corpses, and no one to answer to.  What could be better?”  Yeah, I can think of 67,898 things that are better without even really putting my mind to it, and that includes watching a Michael Moore-Rush Limbaugh nude jello-wrestling match.  Am I completely out of touch with Marvel?  What could be better than a mountain of corpses and “gallons” of blood?  Yuck.

If you’re waiting for the trade on Astonishing X-Men, why on Earth would you buy volume 4, which is offered on page 97 and finishes up the seemingly-endless Whedon/Cassaday run?  Let’s say you bought the first one.  Okay.  Maybe you bought the second one.  By that time you must have known that Marvel would release an Omnibus edition, so why would you buy anymore?  If it’s your thing, that’s cool, but wouldn’t you rather have the honkin’ huge slab of 25 issues, which will probably be priced pretty reasonably (like the Captain America one was)?

Terror, Inc. gets a trade on page 106.  I read the first two issues and liked them, but figured I’d wait for the trade.  Did it continue to be good?  Anyone?

Ah, the Big Four are done.  Now, we foray into the back of the book.  You know you love it!

Hey, look!  It’s Nat Turner by Kyle Baker on page 202, courtesy of Abrams Image.  The first time it’s been collected?  Really?  Wow.  My only exposure to Baker has been the underwhelming Special Forces (yes, I know I should have exposed myself to Baker – so to speak – before this, but give me a break), so I’m wary about this.  I’m sure our readers can let me know if it’s brilliant!

Alterna Comics has something that sounds interesting on page 204: American Terror volume 1: Confessions of a Human Smart Bomb (phew!).  It takes place in 2041, in a new age of peace and equality, but no one remembers why so many people had to die to make it that way, until one old man decides to tell what he knows.  It’s an intriguing idea that could work very well.

Archaia Studios Press has its usual assortment of good comics on page 213, but I’m a bit puzzled why they’re soliciting a trade of Awakening.  According to Nick Tapalansky, who has stopped by the blog before, this is a collection of the first half of the book, and I’ve often written that this will read better all at once.  But only three issues have come out (I’m fairly sure about that; I haven’t seen a #4), and I doubt if #4-6 will be out in time for this to be out.  Archaia knows this, but they still solicit this.  What’s up with that?

The Killers from Atlas Comics sounds interesting.  It tells a story about two World War II soldiers on opposite sides, each with an agenda outside of the war.  War comics are cool, even when Garth Ennis isn’t writing them.

Bloomsbury has a comic called Freddie & Me: A Coming of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody on page 232.  It’s the story of a man growing up and his obsession with Queen.  Yes, it’s a coming-of-age story, but seen through the lens of a Queen-obsession might make it worthwhile.  It’s 20 bucks for 304 pages, so if you’re interested, there it is!

Hey, look!  Boom! Studios offers Station again (page 238), which is nice of them.  This sounds like a nice creepy space story, and it was originally solicited last year sometime.  Let’s hope it comes out this time!

Jeff Smith and Cartoon Books have a new printing of Rose on page 241.  Charles Vess art?  Yes, please!

I have a bit of interest in Sparks, the new book by new publisher Catastrophic Comics (page 244).  It’s a “super-noir thriller” set in 1948, and I’m a sucker for those kinds of things!  What really cracks me up is that William Katt is the force behind Catastrophic Comics, and he must have thrown some money around, because they’re all over this months Previews.  Katt, of course, is famous for his brilliant role in Models, Inc.  Who could forget that groundbreaking show?

It’s probably pointless to mention this, but “World War III” comes to an end in G. I. Joe: America’s Elite #36 by Devil’s Due on page 267.  This has been a very good storyline, and I’m looking forward to some kind of trade paperback.  But I figured I’d mention it, even though it’s the final of a 12-issue arc.

Speaking of things ending, Berlin #16 comes out from Drawn & Quarterly on page 284.  It’s the final issue of the second part of the Berlin trilogy, which means I’ll be looking for a trade within a year or so.  This is a phenomenal comic, by the way.  It’s nice to see Jason Lutes getting it out with some regularity.

Fantagraphics has another issue of Delphine on page 288.  I wasn’t that impressed with issue #1, so I didn’t get #2, but you can get all three of them now, if you’re interested.  It’s a strange take on Snow White, and I liked the art but didn’t feel like spending 8 bucks for an issue in which very little happened.  Maybe something is starting to happen now!

If you like pirate comics, Great Big Comics has one for you on page 296: The Voyages of She-Buccaneer #1.  She’s searching the world for seven gems to open the gates of Eden and rescue her beloved Calico Jack Rackham.  Along the way she battles dragons, giant cannibals, and lusty sultans.  Previews is also gushing over this.  It doesn’t sound like my thing, but, you know, pirates!

There’s what sounds like a very cool book on page 298 from The Hero Initiative.  It’s Mike Wieringo’s last Fantastic Four story, of which he completed seven pages, featuring the FF from those great issues of yesteryear: Spider-Man, the Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Wolverine.  A ton of cool artists finished the project, Marvel gave its blessing, and this is 48 pages of comics awesomeness for 5 bucks.  Pick it up!

Rick Geary has made quite the cottage industry with graphic novels about historical figures, and on page 317, NBM offers another one: A Treasury of 20th Century Murder: The Lindbergh Baby.  It’s 16 bucks, and Geary usually does well with these things, so if you’ve ever been keen on knowing what went on with the tragic kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s kid, check this out.

Oni has a collection of Barry Ween, Boy Genius on page 322.  Isn’t this supposed to be the non-sucky Winick?  If so, it’s 20 bucks for the entire series.

I’ll probably be skipping this, but on page 330 you can find an adaptation of The Magic Flute by Yoshitaka Amano from Radical Publishing.  It’s 30 dollars, so it might be out of your price range, but Amano’s art is absolutely stunning, so it might be something you want to check out.

On page 331, Red 5 Comics has the first trade of Atomic Robo.  The couple issues I read were very fun, but I couldn’t find the first one, so I decided to just wait for the trade, and here it is!  It’s a fairly derivative comic, but it’s wildly fun, very funny, and action-filled.  19 bucks for groovy comics!

Simon & Schuster has a couple of cheap ($7.99) comics on page 332: Little Rock Nine and Sons of Liberty.  They’re part of a series called “Turning Points,” and although I can’t tell if they’re for children or not, they both sound rather interesting.  I might have to got the S&S web site to find out more.  But still: 128 pages for 8 dollars ain’t bad.

Viper Comics has an offering on page 354: Kid Houdini and the Silver Dollar Misfits.  It’s written by Dwight MacPherson, who gave us the rather bizarre The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allen Poo, and this sounds like it’s in a similar vein, as a ten-year-old Harry Houdini runs away from home, joins a circus, and forms a team that solves mysteries.  Yes, it sounds that cool.

I hate being interested in stuff Zenescope publishes, but on page 382 they have Straw Men #1, which sounds pretty keen.  An average guy has a direct link to a bunch of murders, and he investigates his past and finds out there’s a network of killers doing horrible things.  It sounds neat, and features art by Brett Weldele, who needs more exposure, damn it!  So give him some love and check this out!

And that’s all she wrote for another month of Previews.  More interesting stuff than usual, it seems.  Demand Previews for free from your retailer!  Explain that you will buy more comics that way, and make more money for him!  It’s basic economics, people!