Flippin' through <i>Previews</i> - June 2008

Crack open the slabs of comics goodness and let's dig into Previews, Vol. XVIII, No. 6. Who knows what gems lurk within!

In my ongoing quest to tempt people to use Previews (as evil as it is) to order things instead of relying on their comics shoppe to order that hardcover of Skyscrapers of the Midwest (which I got this week almost solely on the recommendation of Our Dread Lord & Master, who loves it to death - so it better be good, Cronin, or the 2000 miles that separate us won't save you from my wrath!!!!!), I spoke to my retailer this week about it. Previews carries a $4.50 price tag, which is pretty hefty, I admit. He gives them out for free, which is swell of him. I spent $70 this week on graphic novels and collections I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, so it's a decent bargain for him. (The books were, in case you're interested: the aforementioned Skyscrapers, The Compleat John Byrne's Next Men volume 1, La Perdida, two volumes of No Pasarán, and the trade of Sorrow by Rick Remender, Seth Peck, and Francesco Francavilla.) He does say he gives them to a lot of people who don't order anything, but he also asks for them back, so he can recycle them to other customers if he needs to. Anyway, it costs him $3 for each volume of Previews, and that includes the Marvel section. So if you don't want to pay $4.50 for Previews and your retailer isn't willing to give them to you for free (and you could ask him), ask if he'll give it to you for cost at $3. Maybe that's a compromise he can live with.

Or you can just read this post! So let's get going, as Tony Harris art invites us inside!

Dark Horse:

On page 30, you can pick up the fourth volume of Empowered by Adam Warren (17 September), which features a color story "available previously only on MySpace." There are people who absolutely love this series. I am not one of them. But if it's your thing, there it is!Bernie Wrightson's version of Frankenstein, from 1983, is offered on page 34 in a larger format (29 October). It's 30 dollars, but I can't imagine it's not awesome.

I don't have a lot of interest in the Ghost Omnibus on page 36 (22 October), but it's one of those things I'd love to see for the Hughes interior art. I know he didn't even do a lot of it, but still - Adam Hughes is fantastic. I wonder how All Star Wonder Woman is going?Something I will want to check out is the Mister X Archives book on page 37 (22 October). Dean Motter writes weird noir as well as anyone, and if this is anywhere near as good as, say, Terminal City, I'm there. If it's better, then I'll be in heaven.Eighty dollars for a fancy hardcover of The Umbrella Academy (page 39; 29 October)? I liked the series, but not that much!Lots of Hellboy/B. P. R. D. stuff (pages 41-43), including a big $50-hardcover. I still have to find out if there's a movie coming out or something.


See, I have no problem with all these Final Crisis crossover events DC is throwing at us - I'm going to avoid most of them, after all (Brad Meltzer writing one? blech!). Then, on page 67, Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke write a Superman story that sounds pretty freaky (27 August). However, it claims to begin where Final Crisis #3 leaves off. Given that there is no issue of Final Crisis solicited in this volume of Previews, should we be worried about delays on the flagship title? That would be vexing.Speaking of Ambush Bug: Year None (page 72; 27 August), given the list of stuff Keith Giffen apologizes to with regard to the book, I'm even more jazzed by it.Yes, we have to wait until 6 August to read the last issue of All Star Superman (page 81). Damn.The best thing in this month's Previews is tucked away on page 84. No, it's not the actual issue of Batman and the Outsiders #10, it's the fact that the solicitation begins with "Acting on a tip from Looker ..." I don't even care about reading the issue, as long as Looker is back in the land of the living. That means I don't have to revive her when Dan DiDio begs me to write the definitive Looker series. You'd buy it, you know you would!I realize that comic-book names are often goofy, but on page 71 we had a bad guy named "Synnar" and on page 86, Hal Jordan and Sinestro fight "Atrocitus." Really?Infinity Inc. dies with issue #12 (page 87; 6 August). I'm not surprised. I wish it had been better, because Milligan's premise was intriguing, but it just didn't work too well.Shockingly enough for a comics blogger, but I'm not that dazzled by monkey stories. However, if you are, DC scratches your itch with a trade of olde-tyme comics featuring apes on page 91 (1 October). 168 pages for 20 bucks! Plus: apes!

The Neal Adams collection on page 92, with all his odd DC work (not the GL/GA, Batman, or Deadman stuff, in other words), looks really cool, but it's 40 dollars. Man, that's steep.There's a Phantom Stranger trade on page 94, collecting the mini-series drawn by Mike Mignola and some other stuff. Even with Paul Kupperberg's involvement, this might be pretty danged cool. Anyone want to sound off about it?On page 109, you can get The X-Files Special #0 (23 July) to coincide with the new movie. I doubt if I will get this, but I thought I'd point it out for a couple of reasons. First, Brian Denham is a great artist. Second, the new movie apparently has nothing to do with the grand mythology of the series. I realize that it became hopelessly convoluted at the end, but what's the point of an X-Files movie if it's just two FBI people investigating a weird crime?Continuing my attempts to get DC to rebrand the Minx line from "the first graphic novel imprint for teens" to "the first graphic novel imprint for girls," I give you Exhibits A and B on pages 112-113: two more offerings (Emiko Superstar and Janes in Love) aimed pretty much specifically at girls. As I've pointed out more than once, I think the Minx line is great. It's not for boys, though, and it's disingenuous of DC to pretend otherwise.I enjoyed Cairo, by G. Willow Wilson and M. K. Perker, so their new series, Air (page 114; 20 August), might be good. It's about vigilantes thwarting terrorists on commercial flights, but of course it's something more, too. The preview looks odd enough that I might have to at least pick up the first issue. On page 118 you can get Cairo in softcover. It's an intriguing book about the various factions in the Egyptian city and the power of legend.


On page 138, Phil Hester's Golly is solicited for 13 August. It's the story of a carnival ride repairman who is chosen to fight demonic forces who don't realize the End Times have been called off. Hester is an underrated writer, and I'm looking forward to this. In fact, I've been looking forward to it for over a year, as it was offered quite some time ago by a different publisher. I'm glad Image picked it up, because I was beginning to wonder where it was.Page 148 gives us The Roberts (6 August), which is High Concept Heaven. The Boston Strangler and the Zodiac Killer live at the same retirement home, sharing stories about their past. It could completely suck, but that's quite the hook, you have to admit.There's a new chapter to The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo on page 155. The first book was quite good but ended rather abruptly, and I'm glad writer Dwight MacPherson came by here to assure me more was coming. It's an oddly charming story, and although there's a new artist, I'm sure it will still be worth checking out.I rarely look at what new horror Todd McFarlane is unleashing on the toy world, but that Brett Favre statue on page 167 looks like Fred Durst, not Brett Favre. I'm just saying.All I have to say about the "movie edition" of the Wanted trade paperback (page 177) is that I love how the movie has apparently taken out all the superhero aspects. We wouldn't want it to be about superheroes, would we????


In this month's Marvel Previews, at least 10 issues feature Spider-Man (I'm counting Avengers/Invaders #4, 'cause he's on the cover, but not New Avengers, which doesn't seem to feature the Avengers themselves), 1 has his name on the cover but doesn't appear to have him in it (Secret Invasion: Spider-Man: Brand New Day #1, which comes dangerously close to exceeding the recommended colon content), and at least 11 feature Wolverine (again, I'm couting Avengers/Invaders but not New Avengers). I'm not saying that's bad or good, I'm just pointing out that I wasn't aware it was 1990.Terry Moore writes Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (page 16). The preview page shows Spidey-Kong. Heh.

I mentioned True Believers last month, but in issue #2 (page 23), the team claims Reed Richards was pulled over for drunk driving. I love this comic and it hasn't even come out yet.So, apparently, Mark Millar's three titles this summer kind of cross over (page 24). Yeah, that's not annoying.Page 29 gives us some Iron Fist reprints with a Matt Fraction/Kano framing sequence. That's fine, but what caught my eye was "penciled by ... Larry Hama" in the credits. Did Larry Hama draw once, or is this a misprint?I know I should buy the Marvel Adventures books more often, because they're fun, but I might actually pick up Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #2 (page 33), which has intergalactic frat boys agreeing not to planet-bomb the Earth if Iron Man, Hulk, and Spider-Man show them extreme sports on other planets. Black Hole Bungee Jumping sounds pretty damned cool.You have to love the idea of a Skrull about to crush Jennifer Walters ... with her own logo (Page 51)! Dang, that's cold.

Terry Moore writes Runaways (page 57). That dude is busy. Man, the Elektra by Frank Miller Omnibus is a nice-looking piece of work (page 84). It's $75, so I will be saying no thanks, especially because I have most of the stuff collected therein, but just the fact that it collects Elektra: Assassin is tempting.I will also probably skip the Tomb of Dracula Omnibus volume 1 (page 85), but for $100, you get 768 pages of vampire goodness. That's not a bad value.If you've been waiting for the (hardcover) trade of the latest ClanDestine mini-series (and that's the only excuse for not reading it), it's offered on page 93 for 20 bucks. The softcover trade should be along soon, if that's too rich for your blood.Marvel gets around to another Fantastic Four: Walt Simonson Visionary trade (page 105), and although I'm getting it and it's only 15 dollars, only 5 issues are collected. Does that seem odd? Are they going to skip issues #347-349, the Arthur Adams ones, even though Simonson wrote them? Why not make this volume 8 issues and jack up the price a tiny bit? Weird.

It's time for ... the back of the book! Arrrgggghhhhh!

On page 196, About Comics offers a collection of Gail Simone's CBR columns, You'll All Be Sorry. I read many of these, but might pick this up anyway. Some people will tell you Simone has never written anything better since, but they're just haters, man!

Over on page 200, you can get your trade paperback of The Black Diamond from AiT/Planet Lar. This is an entertaining mini-series with solid art by Jon Proctor.

Speaking of Dwight MacPherson, on page 208 you can get a collection of Dead Men Tell No Tales from Arcana Studio. Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, and Black Bart Roberts are all out to find the relics of Jesus. How can it not be awesome?

There's something weird on page 214. ASGMC has The Victorian Horrors of Old Mauch Chunk, which could be good or bad, naturally. The web site is very well done and gives a great deal of information about the series, and on the same page (and at this part of the site), you can win a trip for two to Mauch Chunk itself. That's ... odd. Mauch Chunk, in case you don't know, is a town in northeastern Pennsylvania that is now known as Jim Thorpe. It's actually a pretty cool town set on a cliff among some gorgeous scenery, but it's just a bit weird that you could win a trip there. But hey, check it out if you're interested!

As usual, we have a bunch of Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis stuff from Avatar, but there are a couple of interesting things. For 90 dollars you can get every William Gravel issue before the new ongoing, which includes six mini-series of varying lengths. The first few are probably the best, but they're all good horror comics. It's 90 bucks because the print run is 2000 copies, each of which will be signed. I just thought I'd point it out. It's on page 229.On page 230 is a new edition of Scars, Ellis and Jacen Burrows' harrowing tale of a cop pushed over the edge. It's very good and can be yours for 18 dollars.

Boom! Studios has a collected edition of Enigma Cipher on page 241. This wasn't great, but it was an entertaining story about a 60-year-old Nazi code that people are willing to kill for. And it took forever to come out, so now it's all together in one volume!

There's another old-school Don McGregor book on page 256: Detectives, Inc., with art by Marshall Rogers. Desperado is offering this for 15 bucks. As always with old-school comic book stuff, I turn to Greg Hatcher to tell us if it's any good. He's the man when it comes to this!

Devil's Due is premiering three different titles for 99 cents each. They're on pages 260, 264, and 273. I doubt if I'll get any of them, but that's a nice stunt to get people to read the books. See if they intrigue you!Meanwhile, on page 272, DDP has the second volume of Golden Age Sheena. I just got the first volume, and although I haven't read it yet, it looks pretty dang awesome. There's a lot of extra stuff, like essays about the character and old-school advertisements, so I'm looking forward to digging into it.

Page 287 brings us the second collection of Berlin, Jason Lutes' brilliant series, from Drawn & Quarterly. As I pointed out when I reviewed the first collection, I have no idea how this stayed under my radar for so long - it's excellent, and considering the speed with which it comes out, the collections are the way to go! Like a recent convert, I will implore you to buy this (and the first collection, which is offered on the same page). Buy it!!!!!

In case you missed it last time it was in Previews, you can order The Ice Wanderer on page 297 from Fanfare. This is a very good manga with stories based a bit on the life and tales of Jack London.

There's a bunch of stuff from Fantagraphics, as usual, including a "Special Edition" of Ghost World. I've never gotten around to reading this, but 40 dollars seems a bit steep, even with all the extra material. Maybe I'll just check the confounded thing out of the library.

Eddie Campbell is back with what promises to be another entertaining graphic novel, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, on page 306 from First Second. It's a story about an acrobat! Who doesn't love acrobats? Considering the last two Campbell productions, The Fate of the Artist and The Black Diamond Detective Agency, were very good (and both offered again on the same page, in case you're interested), why wouldn't this latest one rock as well?

Gemstone Publishing, which brings us all the Uncle Scrooge stuff everyone seems to love (and no, I've never read any of it), also has something interesting on page 309: a collection of Antiques: The Comic Strip, which tells the story of a pop culture collection that goes up for auction and attracts a bunch of strange people. I know nothing about it, but it sounds pretty groovy. Does anyone know anything about it?

Ben Templesmith doesn't seem like the kind of artist who would be fast, but he cranks out a lot of stuff, and IDW has his latest, Welcome to Hoxford, on page 315. It takes place in an insane asylum, so you can figure what kind of book it will be. I like Templesmith, but I get why some people don't. Still, as twisted freaks go, he's top of the line!

On page 331, Moonstone offers Captain Action, Fabien Nicieza's latest book. I got the zero issue and wasn't jazzed by it, but it's not bad. If you like your superheroes with a bit of an alien conspiracy flair, this might be for you! Moonstone also has a "crime wave" month going on, so pages 332-333 are packed with books with a noir edge, just in case you're into that sort of thing.

Local gets the hardcover treatment on page 334 from Oni Press. I'm still waiting for the final issue to pass judgment on it as a whole, but the first seven issues (the ones I read) were fantastic. Just one more to go, guys! Please get it into my hands soon!On page 338, you can get the newly-solicited third volume of Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, as well as the first two, which are offered again. I got the first one and was disappointed. The paper is better, but there's nothing else to distinguish it from the actual trades, and its dimensions are smaller, so the better paper is offset by the smaller size. I like the bigger slabs of comics, but if you already own the trades, there's no real reason to step up to the Definitive Editions. Of course, if you don't have the trades yet, buy the DEs. This is a very good series, with the exception of the last story arc, which inexplicably requires you to read one of the novels. I will not be manipulated that way, Greg Rucka!Sharknife volume 2 on page 338 blah blah blah. I have no interest, but I thought I'd point it out for those people who dug the first volume.

Rebellion has Stickleback on page 346, and I'm getting it. The subject matter sounds good enough - there's a creepy dude haunting nineteenth-century London, but more than that, it's Ian Edginton and D'Israeli. When those two gentlemen get together, the result is ... comics gold!

Also on page 346, Red 5 Comics has a new series of Atomic Robo! The first one was very fun (I'm waiting eagerly for the trade so I can see how it ends), and I have no doubts that this one will be too. Check it out if you like good comics starring Nazi-smashing robots (and really, who doesn't?).

Something is odd here. On page 368 Villard Books offers a softcover collection of the first Mouse Guard series. It's a very good book, and I encourage you all to get it. But why is Villard publishing this, when Archaia originally did? I don't really expect an answer, and as it belongs to Petersen, he can take it anywhere, but I'm just curious as to what happened for it to switch publishers.

That's it for comics, but I should point out that the irrepressible Jess Nevins has another book of annotations about the latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book, The Black Dossier, on page 411. If you haven't read Nevins' annotations for the first two series, you probably should, and you can find these on-line for free, but I'm sure the book is very nice with some cool extra stuff you can't get on the Internet.

Have fun digging through the comics goodness. I apologize in advance for making you spend more money than you normally would. I'm just evil that way!

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