It’s time for Travis Pelkie’s favorite column! Huzzah!
DH is losing the Star Wars license, right? Didn’t I read that somewhere? Anyway, they’re cranking out a LOT of Star Wars-related material, perhaps to make sure they get everything in before they lose it? I tend to read very little of that universe, but on page 39, I happened to catch Star Wars: Ewoks – Shadows of Endor, which is an 80-page comic for 8 bucks. Why should anyone care about Ewoks? Well, I don’t, really, but Zach Giallongo is writing and drawing it, and you should all be aware of Giallongo, because he’s a very good young creator, and it’s cool to see him getting some slightly more high-profile work. I’m still torn about getting this, but I might have to check it out. (16 October)
Art Baltazar and Franco on Itty Bitty Hellboy (page 42). Damn, son. That’s awesome. (28 August)
Speaking of which, Hellboy: The Midnight Circus (page 46) is a nice hardcover that claims it’s in full color but which shows a page in black and white that’s stupendous. It’s by Mignola and Duncan Fregedo, and I really want to get it, but 15 bucks for 56 pages is tough. I’ll have to think about it. (23 October)
If you missed one of the best horror comics of recent years, Colder is offered in trade on page 48. Paul Tobin’s story is creepy in all the right ways, and Juan Ferreyra’s art is amazing. Check it out! (9 October)
The Answer! is in trade on page 54, and I might have to pick it up. Did anyone get this in singles? Can they give an opinion on it? (23 October)
The second volume of Mind Mgmt is in hardcover on page 56. It’s 184 pages for 20 bucks, in case you’re wondering, and it is, after all, one of the best series out there right now, so if you’ve been missing the boat, you should probably rectify that. (9 October)
Over on page 65, we find Bad Houses by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. I don’t know Ryan, but I like McNeil’s art, and although this is a “coming-of-age” story (blech), the premise of people at an estate sale in a crumbling town sounds pretty keen. (30 October)
So Batman, Incorporated Special #1 (page 91) is supposed to see if the concept has legs after G-Mozz leaves, right? That’s fine and all, and the talent assembled isn’t bad, but I do have to wonder when DiDio is writing a “Bat-Cow” story. Why can’t some people understand a throwaway joke and just leave it alone? That’s the whole point of throwaway jokes! DiDio isn’t alone in this “beating a dead cow” perception, but in this book, he’s the example of it. Sigh. (28 August)
Why is the ending of the latest issue of Justice League of America so SHOCKING!!!! when DC is still soliciting Catwoman (page 99)? I’m just sayin’. (28 August)
Dang, DC is putting out a GIANT hardcover of the “Death of the Family” arc (page 118) – it’s 456 pages for 30 dollars, and has a bunch of issues from various titles in it. Will they publish trades of just the various series as well? That seems fair. (16 October)
On page 119, we get the first trade of Legends of the Dark Knight, the digital-first Batman stories that are almost universally good-to-excellent. The very first story in the trade is one of the best Batman stories of the past decade, but they’re all worth a read, and it’s a tidy 15 dollars for 5 issues (less than getting them in singles!). (4 September)
Trillium shows up on page 129. Man, I really want to wait for the trade, but I might have to break down and get the single issues. Two separate-but-linked stories set in different times, and it’s a love story that brings about the end of the universe? You can say a lot about Jeff Lemire, but you can’t say he doesn’t have ambition! Dang, I’m totally torn. (7 August)
It’s great that Jess Nevins gets to write a Fables Encyclopedia on page 130, but won’t that sucker be obsolete the minute the next issue of Fables is published? Shouldn’t DC wait until Willingham stops writing the damned thing? Just a suggestion. (23 October)
So on page 148 we get IDW’s revival of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents by Phil Hester and Andrea Di Vito. This, of course, reminds me of the classic definition of insanity. I guess IDW’s threshold for sales is a lot lower than DC’s, but still.
Burn the Orphanage: Born to Lose (page 182) is a mouthful of a title, but it sounds pretty neat: an orphan left for dead is out for revenge because someone burned down his home. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Daniel Freeman, but Sina Grace co-writes and draws this, so it will probably be pretty good. (7 August)
Hey, Saga is back on page 190. What do you know about that? (14 August)
Speaking of things that are back, Secret #3 gets resolicited on page 191. Let’s hope it actually shows up! (7 August)
I’m not entirely sure that East of West will come out in trade on 28 August like the solicitation on page 193 says it will, but if you happened to miss it, the first two issues are really, really good. It would be nice if it kept up the quality. (The solicit claims that it’s a single issue – at least the information says it’s 32 pages for $3.50, but it also says it collects issues #1-5. Someone missed something somewhere.)
The Legend of Luther Strode is offered in trade on page 195. I enjoyed the first series, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one! (14 August)
On page 2, the solicit text for Infinity #1 reads: “The oversized kickoff to the year’s most anticipate [sic] blockbuster summer event, chaning [sic] the way you view the Marvel Universe!” Okay, let’s ignore the TWO typographical errors in that headline. I want to know who writes these solicit texts, and if they sit there and think “When was the last time we used ‘It will change the way you view the Marvel Universe?’ in a solicit text? Oh, it’s been a year? That’s long enough – let’s drag that sucker out again!” I know I would if I wrote these things. In fact, since a certain Marvel editor thinks that the solicit texts are not funny enough, I’d like to volunteer to write them, because I would PILE on the clichés! Call me, certain Marvel editor!!!! (14 August; this ships two weeks BEFORE Thanos Rising #5, which claims sets the stage for Infinity. Well done, Marvel!)
Speaking of over-the-top-ness, the solicit for Avengers #17 (page 10) contains this glorious line: “The Finale of the Prelude to INFINITY: Part Four.” Man, nothing ever ends at the Big Two, does it? (7 August)
Marvel offers Rocket Raccoon: Tales from Half-World on page 34. This is the second time they’ve reprinted the Mantlo/Mignola Rocket Raccoon mini-series this year alone, and I think the third time in the past few years. I wonder if the character is going to show up in a new Marvel movie anytime soon? The mind reels! (28 August)
On page 54, we get Uncanny X-Men #10, in which Dazzler joins S.H.I.E.L.D. I can’t even express how stupid an idea this is, but there you go. (14 August)
If you listened to Kelly and Sue’s podcast, you heard why David Lopez is taking over art on X-Men #4 (page 56) and why Olivier Coipel was only on the book for the first 3 issues. It actually makes me like the issue even less, because it’s such a disgustingly cynical move by Marvel. Lopez is a perfectly good artist, and to push him aside so that they could make a splash with an artist who’s not even the regular artist is insulting to all involved. But what do I know? If CBR’s poll is to be believed, not much. (21 August)
On page 80, Marvel offers Avengers: Endless Wartime by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone, the first in their new line of graphic novels. I’m wildly excited about Marvel doing original graphic novels again, and I might pick this up, but I remember the preview pages, where Captain America took three pages to get a cup of coffee and I’m not even kidding about that. I am a bit worried that the quote from Entertainment Weekly on the page simply notes that Ellis put Wolverine next to Iron Man and that’s why it’s better than a movie, because is that’s what it’s come to?, but I still have to think about getting this. (2 October)
Marvel has a curious solicit on page 101. It’s for S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steranko: The Complete Collection, and they claim it’s all of Steranko’s work in one volume. That’s weird, because I thought I already owned a version with all of it in one volume. Off to the garage to check! [Edit: All right, I’ve checked, and yes, Marvel has previously published this stuff, but in the volumes I have, they’ve left off just a tiny bit that was published elsewhere. So this IS the first time it’s all between two covers, which is kind of annoying, but whatever.] Either way, if you haven’t read this yet, it’s 35 bucks well spent, as these are phenomenal comics. Steranko was one of those artists so far ahead of his time it took decades for everyone to catch up, and some still haven’t! (11 September)
So Marvel is doing these “Epic Collections,” as they show up on pages 106-107. Are these replacing Marvel Essentials? They seem to collect really long runs of particular titles, but the Spider-Man one, for instance, is collecting a bunch of comics from early in Erik Larsen’s run on Amazing Spider-Man, but also some Spectacular Spider-Man issues. What’s going on here? Sigh. Marvel Essentials were so simple, and Marvel had to go and complicate things. (Of course, they have a new Essential Avengers on page 108, which makes my head hurt even more.)
Onward to the back of the book! Whoo-hoo, the back of the book!
SLG offers The Royal Historian of Oz trade on page 230. Wasn’t Bill Reed writing about how he liked this book? If it’s good enough to make Bill Reed actually post here, you know it’s good!
On page 271, Boom! Studios has 3 Guns, a sequel to, well, 2 Guns. Coincidentally (wink, wink), there’s a new movie adapted from the original story coming out this summer. 2 Guns is a pretty good action/adventure – Steven Grant could write those in his sleep – and while original artist Mateus Santoluoco isn’t back, 3 Guns is probably worth a read.
If you’re trying to fill in your Golden Age comics collection, Canton Street Press has The Complete Golden Age Airboy and Valkyrie on page 282. I have no idea if this is any good, but I still dig that all these olde-tyme comics are getting reprinted. As Greg Hatcher points out often, it really is the golden age of reprints!
Hey, there’s a new issue of Optic Nerve from Drawn & Quarterly on page 303. That’s always cool to see.
First Second is weirdly reading my mind, because on page 307 they offer Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, which sounds unbelievably awesome. It’s about “an Indiana Jones of the 19th century” who gets involved in a scheme to rob from the corrupt sultan of the Ottoman Empire and adventure ensues. Holy crap, I will read that all freakin’ day! (And yes, I know I can read it for free. I will pay for it, thank you very much! But if you do check it out on-line, it looks as awesome as it sounds in my head!)
On page 308, Fantagraphics offers a new “special editon” of Ho Che Anderson’s King. I should really read this, shouldn’t I?
Genesis West is doing their own version of IDW’s “Artist’s Edition” with Conan Red Nails: Original Art Archives on page 311, featuring Barry Windsor-Smith’s black and white pencils. Previews has some pages after the solicit, and they look excellent, but, of course, this is way out of my price range.
Hermes Press is giving us a four-issue Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series written and drawn by Howard Chaykin (page 316). Presumably your interest in this will be determined by how much you like Chaykin!
Also from Hermes is Walt Kelly’s Pogo: The Complete Dell Comics volume 1, which is also on page 316. This is 50 dollars, but it’s 272 pages, so if you’re a fan of Pogo, you might want to track this down.
The Alliance of the Curious from Humanoids on page 317 sounds interesting. Three antique dealers find a strange box in an old house that contains the skull and hair of a Neanderthal man … a contemporary one. Dum-dum-DUMMMMM! I’m sure someone out there can tell me if this is any good!
If you still haven’t jumped on board The Sixth Gun, Oni is offering a giant hardcover collecting the first 11 issues on page 326. Ominously, there’s no price listed, but I think 30 bucks would be a good one, don’t you? This is a very good series even though NBC passed on the pilot (given NBC’s recent track record, that might have been a good thing), so check it out! (2 October)
I haven’t read anything by Titan Comics yet, but their stuff in Previews looks pretty neat. On page 340 they offer The First Kingdom volume 1 by Jack Katz, which was originally published in the 1970s and ’80s and sounds pretty darned cool. Death Sentence is a series about people who get superpowers from a sexually transmitted disease, but it kills them in six months. What will they do??? We also get a resolicitation of Razorjack, John Higgins’s weird comic, and a collection of Thrud the Barbarian by Carl Critchlow. Lots of neat stuff. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too delayed!
On page 346, Top Shelf offers March, which is written by a Georgia Congressman who has been on the forefront of the Civil Rights movement. It’s the first of three books about his life, and it’s drawn by the awesome Nate Powell, so it might be something to check out if you’re interested in American history.
Over the Wall on page 350 from Uncivilized Books sounds pretty cool. A kid enters a city that is walled off from the rest of humanity so no one enters to search for her lost brother, and she finds a weird, haunted world. It sounds spooky and neat.
As we move past the comics section, we find the Tripwire 21st Anniversary Special on page 378. It’s a tiny bit pricey at $25, but Tripwire is one of the best comics magazines out there, so this looks like a pretty keen compendium of two decades’ worth of comics stuff.
Well, that’s all for this month. I hope you find everything you could ever want in the pages of Previews! You know you want to check it out!