Oh, DC - you never fail to amuse, and Previews #293 is a perfect example of that!
On page 42, there's a new Abe Sapien mini-series, Dark and Terrible. I, of course, will be waiting for the giant hardcover in which this will be collected some day in the future, but I point it out because Sebastián Fiumara draws it, and Sebastián Fiumara is a fine artist. (3 April)
On page 44, we get volume 6 of the Hellboy Library Edition. Hot diggity, I love reading some Hellboy in giant-sized hardcovers. This, I think, will be the last one for a while, as it ends with the death of Hellboy. Isn't the new mini-series the first one since that one? (12 June)
I'm sure Faith Erin Hicks got a nice chunk of change to write and draw The Last of Us: American Dreams on page 50, but as it's a prequel to the video game, I shan't be picking it up. Still, good for Hicks! (24 April)
Dark Horse is reprinting The Massive #1 and Mind Mgmt #1 on page 53. In case you missed them the first time around! (3 April)
Amala's Blade gets a mini-series on page 54. This is another story that debuted in Dark Horse Presents, and it was pretty good with fine art. I suppose I might have to check out a trade! (24 April)
I never read Bloodhound when it was at DC, but Dan Jolley and/or Leonard Kirk got the rights back, because Dark Horse is publishing the DC comics in a new trade on page 57. Plus, they have a new story in Dark Horse Presents #23 on page 56, so good for them! Is this any good, people who picked up an obscure DC title back in the day? (19 June and 23 April)
The Victories gets a trade on page 59 for only 10 bucks. That's not bad value at all! It sounds like a standard superhero book, but Michael Avon Oeming's art is always good to see, so maybe this is your thing! (12 June)
I've read very little of Dr. McNinja, and what I did wasn't all that impressive, but it's nice that Dark Horse is giving the people an Adventures of Dr. McNinja Omnibus on page 60. 500 pages for 25 bucks is a good deal, especially because a lot of this is out of print. (12 June)
Brian Wood's first arc on Conan gets a trade on page 71, and I will be all over it like white on rice, I tells ya. Who doesn't love Conan? (19 June)
The Original Daredevil Archives volume 1 shows up on page 72. This is, of course, the Golden Age superhero with the blue and red costume who battled the Claw, one of the most insanely racist supervillains in an era of insanely racist supervillains. I'm really tempted to get this even though it's 50 bucks (for 280 pages, though, which is nice), because the few Daredevil stories I've read are ridiculously entertaining, even with someone like the Claw. (26 June)
Grendel Omnibus volume 3 shows up on page 74. Yes, it includes issues #20-22, which have inexplicably never been collected before, and "God and the Devil," which is an excellent story (among the general excellence of Grendel, of course). If you've never read these stories, I really can't recommend the Omnibuses enough. (5 June)
Danny D? As Jon Stewart might say, meet me at Camera 3.
Okay, Dan, let's talk for a moment. Look, I know you're really proud of this weird "not-reboot" you did with the DCnU. That's fine. More power to you. And I know you've pretty much given up on trying to expand your audience by making your comics the slightest bit "kid-friendly." That's cool, too. Eventually old nerds will die off, and my kid and others like her (I have a 7-year-old daugher, Dan, who digs comics) will be too busy reading comics that you don't publish, but until that happens, I'm sure you'll be peachy. But to name the entire month of gimmick covers "WTF April"? I mean, Dan, it's not all that clever, although I happen to like the actual gimmick. But when you and your cabal came up with it, did anyone at the table (I'm imagining that you meet at a round table encircled with torches, and you all wear black robes, but that's just for fun) speak up and say, "Maybe we shouldn't do a cover promotion that is well known shorthand for 'what the fuck' when our stated goal of this non-reboot was to draw in new readers, which might include a younger audience?"? If you didn't immediately kill that person by shooting them with the death beams that come out of your eyes, might you concede that the person has a point? Far be it from me to tell you how to run your vast, extremely profitable empire where all the freelancers have nothing bad to say about your business practices, ever, but I don't know - calling this fun gimmick "WTF April" just seems like a really, really, REALLY bad idea. Okay, carry on!
Justice League of America's Vibe #3 (page 85): "What is the one Super Power that is more than a match for Vibe and how can it tear the universe apart?" Wait, there's only one super power that's a match for Vibe? Damn! (17 April)
Justice League #19 (page 86): "Who is the one person dangerous enough to use Kryptonite against Superman?" That's weird. I thought anyone could use Kryptonite against Superman. All they had to do was find some Kryptonite, right? I mean, isn't that kind of the point of Kryptonite, that anyone can use it? Are there weird new "Kryptonite rules" in the DCnU? (17 April)
I know people are still squeeing over Scott Snyder's run on Batman (which I can't do yet, because DC hasn't released a motherfucking softcover trade of it yet!), but the solicitation for issue #19 (page 100) annoys me. The cover shows Bruce Wayne holding a gun, and the solicit asks "What would cause Bruce Wayne to use a gun?" Batman, of course, famously refuses to use guns, but it's not really edgy anymore to show him using one. It wasn't edgy when Morrison did it in Final Crisis, and it's not in this book. I don't care "what would cause Bruce Wayne to use a gun," because the answer is easy: Nothing. NOTHING! Oh well. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I don't care. (10 April)
Detective Comics hits issue #900 on page 103, and DC decides to splurge with 80 pages for 8 bucks. I spoke to Layman about this issue recently, and he's written 50 pages of original story, and I'm not sure what else they're going to use to fill it out. I heard someone complaining about the price point, and that's fair, but I do know that most of it will not be reprints, and a lot of it will be moving the overall plot forward, so for what that's worth, there you go. (3 April)
Phantom Stranger #7 (page 115): "Do you dare ask who slayed the Stranger?" Apparently "slayed" is becoming more common in the United States as the past tense of "slay," and my soul dies a little more. I'm going to go cry in the corner now. (3 April)
Swamp Thing #19 (page 119): "What could Swamp Thing possible fear more than The Scarecrow?" Um, lots of things? Hedge clippers, for one. Macadam, for another. Vegans? Smokers? Lack of proper crop rotation? (3 April)
Over on page 138, DC brings us the Solo Deluxe Edition, which collects the 12-issue series and is 50 dollars for a whopping 568 pages of comics awesomeness. I bought some of the Solo issues, but I really should have bought them all, and now I don't have to! Well done, DC! (5 June)
I'm not sure if I'm a big enough fan of the King to get In the Days of the Mob, which is 40 bucks for 108 pages, but I'm sure it's an oddball slice of Kirby goodness, so maybe I will pick it up. Man, the Seventies were weird. (7 August)
DC's latest Chronicles is Justice League of America Chronicles, which shows up on page 140. I really dig The Batman Chronicles, and I might have to check this bad boy out. (22 May)
I've heard good things about Li'l Gotham, Dustin Nguyen's all-ages digital Batman comic, and now DC offers a print version on page 143. I might have to check that sucker out! (10 April)
Mike Carey's Lucifer is getting new printings, with bigger trades. The first one (page 149) collects the three Sandman Presents issues and the first 13 issues of the ongoing. Lucifer is one of those books that I've tried to get into quite a bit, but I just can't. I read the Sandman Presents issues (I just re-read them, in fact, because they came right after Sandman in my collection) and the first four original trades, but the series just didn't do anything for me. It's one of the reasons why I don't really like Carey's writing in general, in fact. I don't automatically give him a look because of this and The Unwritten, which I also just couldn't get into. But it's cool that DC is reprinting them and expanding them! (29 May)
DC offers a "Wallace-and-Gromit" style Batman and Robin action figure 2-pack on page 154. Look at this motherfucking awesome package:
40 bucks? Man, that's tempting.
John Byrne's Star Trek stories get a nice hardcover on page 160. If you're a Byrne or a Star Trek fan, I imagine you already have these, but it's possible you missed them, and 50 bucks isn't bad for 320 pages of Byrneniness.
The trade of Godzilla: The Half-Century War is offered on page 170. Once again, I will point out that this is James Stokoe drawing Godzilla. Plus, maybe if it sells more, he'll get paid more so he can finish an issue or two of Orc Stain?
So there on page 188 is the solicitation for Jupiter's Legacy #1. The pages that have been floating around on yonder Internet look superb, and I'm having a really hard time with my Mark Millar boycott over this. Damn you, Frank Quitely, for working with Mark Millar!!!! (24 April)
Steve Niles and Tony Harris show up on page 192 with Chin Music, about a man who shows up in Prohibition-Era Chicago "surrounded by gangers [sic] and demons alike and caught between law enforcement and the local supernatural underground." As nifty as it sounds, the fact that the solicit reads that it's "like nothing you've ever experienced before" bothers me. I mean, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt might want to have a word with whoever wrote that text. (17 April)
Ted McKeever's 2013 comic is called Miniature Jesus (page 198). Do you really need to know any more than that? (17 April)
A Distant Soil returns on page 200. I've never read this, but I'm sure its fans are happy that Doran is getting around to finishing it! (24 April)
Morning Glories #26 promises the beginning of "Season 2," but why is Image soliciting this? I read an interview recently with Spencer where he spoke about how "Season 1" wasn't going to be done until the summer, and this issue probably wouldn't be out until the fall, and it might not make it out in 2013 at all. This was a few months ago, so why on Earth would Image solicit this when they know there's no way in hell it's coming out in April? I know that they have to have this put together pretty early, but even a few months ago, Spencer (and Image, presumably) knew this wasn't going to come out in April. I'll put it this way: issue #24 is currently slightly over 3 months late. Who knows when it will come out, much less issue #25. So why solicit this at all? ("24 April")[EDIT: Nick Spencer stopped by in the comments to say that they are definitely on track to get this book out when the solicits say it will be. I apologize to Spencer and Eisma - I swear I saw an interview with him in which he said that the first "season" wouldn't finish until late summer and this issue wouldn't be out until the fall. Maybe I've been drinking too much kumiss recently and I'm too addled. I'm certainly glad it's on track for April!]
Point of Impact gets a trade on page 209. It's a solid crime comic with nice art, so it might be something you want to check out! (3 April)
Despite my strange battles with a certain Marvel editor over the past few months, Marvel's solicits do tend to do a slightly better job with promoting their books than DC does, but they do come up with some odd stuff. The first book in Marvel's Previews is Age of Ultron #4, which promises "A secret that will have fans of Marvel comics arguing for years to come!" I mean, I know they're trying to appeal to the Angry Nerd in all of us, but is "This comic will make you angry with your fellow comic book readers!" really a good way to promote it? Oh, wait, I just remembered that that's exactly the best way to promote it, sadly. (3 April)
I know they've already announced a writer for Ultron #1AU (page 5), but the fact that in Previews, the writer is listed as "TBD" is as perfect a summing-up of modern Big Two comics as I can think of. "We're going to have this 'Son of Ultron' book," said the Marvel editor, calmly stroking his white cat and licking his thin lips, "if we have to hire an 8-year-old Mumbai street urchin to write it! Number Two!" he said, turning suddenly to his cowering associate editor. "Find me a writer to put words to my brilliant idea! Make it a chick, too, to keep those crazy Internet women off my back!""Well, sir," said the associate editor, feeling his testicles retreat further into his body, "how about Kathryn Immonen. She's --""Immonen? Don't we have an art robot named 'Immonen'?""Yes, sir, this is his wife. She's --""Brilliant, Number Two! We'll keep him happy AND appease those harpies on the Internet! It's BRILLIANT! I'm so glad I thought of it! Now, Number Two, fetch me my burlap sack full of cocaine and the finest ocelot meat you can find! It's ORGY TIME!"
I wish comics were made this way. It would explain so much. (3 April)
On page 12, the raving for Avengers #9 includes this line from iFanboy.com: "The future of comics is here!" Is it time for a cage death match ... to the death! between Kelly Thompson and that reviewer from iFanboy.com? I would pay many moneys to see that. (10 April)
The solicit for A + X #7 (page 33) describes Gambit as "ever-lusting." Man, it sounds like he should see a doctor or a therapist or both for something like that. (3 April)
Continuity alert! Will Man-Thing be able to talk in Savage Wolverine #4 (page 43)? I would wager all the moneys I won betting on Kelly Thompson in the cage death match that the answer is a big honkin' "NO." Who's with me? (17 April)
Bill Reed will buy Avenging Spider-Man #19 (page 45), even if he's never bought an issue before. Why? One (compound) word: SLEEPWALKER!!!! (10 April)
Marvel seems to be ratcheting down on the hardcover editions of some of their trades, which isn't the worst idea - some books just won't sell in overpriced hardcover volumes! On page 91, Avengers Arena gets a trade - I might check this out - and on page 93, Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti's Journey into Mystery gets a trade, which you should check out, as the first three issues of this arc have been excellent. (8 and 22 May)
If you've been waiting for a complete collection of The Twelve (I know there's one of you - oh, there you are!), it's on page 97. It includes the Spearhead one-shot, so for 35 bucks for 13 issues, it's not a bad value. (24 April)
Yes, it's time for the back of book. That's where the weird is, man!
On page 234, El Torres and Juan José Ryp have a new comic from a new company, Amigo Comics, called Rogues! (the exclamation point is important). Both Torres and Ryp are pretty good creators, and this sounds like a fun romp - a bit Fafhrd and Gray Mouser (although one of the rogues is a female), but that's always fun, right?
Gold Digger reaches 200 issues, which, as the fine folk at Antarctic Press point out, is pretty impressive when you consider that one man has written, drawn, colored, and lettered every issue. I've looked at a few issues of Gold Digger, and I'm not a huge fan of Fred Perry's art style, but that's still an very cool achievement.
Charles Soule, the new writer of Swamp Thing, has a graphic novel out from Archaia on page 246 called Strange Attractors. Apparently it's about chaos theory and math and weird shit like that. Who doesn't love math?
Über shows up on page 264 from Avatar. Gillen has had two Avatar projects kicking around for five years, so it's nice that one is finally getting released! Basically, this tells what happens when the Nazis get superheroes and the Allies don't. I'm going to buy it, even though the weakest part of Gillen's repertoire is his plots, and Avatar books tend to be very plot-heavy. Still, I like Gillen, so I'm giving this a chance!
On page 272, Blackwatch Comics has The North End of the World, which is really expensive (50 bucks) but sounds very interesting: a photographer and his daughter journey to the northern end of Vancouver Island to film the Kwakiutl Indians, including rituals that they don't want known to the outside world. Bad things happen, as they do. I'm not a huge fan of Christopher Shy's dreamy, painted, occasionally-using-actual-photographs artwork, but this is still intriguing.
Dynamite, continuing to make Greg Hatcher as giddy as a schoolgirl on her way to her first Justin Bieber concert, has picked up the right to Miss Fury, which shows up on page 290. I like Jack Herbert's art, and this might be good, but one thing that was so interesting about the original Miss Fury is that she rarely appeared in costume - she got into plenty of adventures in her regular clothes! It seems like Rob Williams might be making her a more "standard" superhero, which is fine, I guess, but I wonder if the book will lose some of fun of the original strip. (3 April)
If you skipped out on Brett Matthews's and Sergio Cariello's epic take on The Lone Ranger, Dynamite offers a 632-page omnibus on page 300 for 40 slim dollars. This is a very good comic, and that price is nice.
Rutu Modan's new graphic novel, The Property, is offered on page 306 by Drawn & Quarterly. It's about a woman and her granddaughter returning to Warsaw to reclaim some property the family lost in World War II. Strange things, it seems, begin to happen. If this is half as good as Exit Wounds, Modan's previous work, it will be excellent!
First Second offers Jerusalem (page 311) by Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi, which is about a family during the 1940s, dealing with the changes in the city. Both creators are quite good, so I'm looking forward to this.
On page 314, we find The Crow Special Edition from Gallery Books. For 18 bucks, you get 30 pages of "never-before-seen material." Dare I buy this? That would mean I have the original issues (not first printings, but still), the reprints of the issues combined with the new stuff that completed the series, a collected edition, and this edition. I mean, I like The Crow, but that's pretty excessive. I'm still tempted!
There's a second volume of The Deep from Gestalt Publishing on page 315. The first volume was pretty darned good, and that's being offered again on the same page. Get 'em both!
Top Shelf has a couple of digital comics that are getting nice hardcovers on page 336. The first is Crater XV by Kevin Cannon, which is a sequel to Far Arden, his 2009 comic. Some of you might recall that I loved Far Arden for about 300 pages, until it went (in my opinion) way off the rails in the final act, but its excellence for so much of it makes me curious about this, especially as Cannon seems to deal with the way it ended. Meanwhile, Zander Cannon shows up with Heck, a book about a dude who can contact the recently deceased to settle inheritance disputes. Of course, eventually he has to go to Hell himself. Both of these books sound pretty darned cool. I assume someone has already read them on-line, but that's not me!
I was going to call it quits after this, but then I checked out the "Books and Magazines" section and saw on page 373 that Jeffrey Brown has a new book out called Vader's Little Princess, which is about Darth Vader raising his rebellious daughter Leia. This is the second one Brown has done, after Darth Vader and Son (which is offered again). I assume these aren't comics, but illustrated books, which is why they're back here, but they sound awesome. I might have to get them both, even though my daughter (who would probably like them as well) isn't into Star Wars yet.
All right, that's it for this month. Have fun trawling through the catalog! It's hella fun, ain't it?