I going to try to keep this snark-free, but when the cover features a statue of a goat-god ... man, it's tough.Â But let's check out Previews, volume XVIII, number 3.Â It's full of comics awesomeness!
I don't know if I can resist Wizard #200, which gets a big write-up on page 15.Â I'm totally serious.Â Despite my ripping on Wizard's annual "best-of" issue, I kind of enjoy the magazine, in a "I enjoy big-budget movie crap occasionally" way.Â They do anniversary issues well, at least.
I haven't been buying the old Conan series in trades, but on page 36, we see that J. M. DeMatteis took over the writing chores in this latest collection (volume 15; 2 July).Â That has to be a bizarre pairing - DeMatteis and Conan.Â This makes it curiously interesting.
On page 41, Wondermark: Beards of Our Forefathers is collected (25 June).Â I have never read the webcomic (I'm lucky if I have enough time to feed my kids, much less look at webcomics all day), but the two examples on the page are quite demented, which makes me think it's just for me!
Speaking of that Serenity mini-series that I mentioned a few months ago (page 43; 14 May), I watched a bunch of episodes on Sci-Fi channel a few weeks ago, when they showed them all in order.Â That shit ain't bad at all.Â I hope Bill Reed and I are friends again, now that I've seen a few episodes.
The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse SuiteÂ gets the trade paperback treatment on page 45 (2 July).Â I have read some negative reviews of this, and I agree with them: this series doesn't do anything terribly new.Â But it does the tried-and-true things so damned well, and the art is spectacular.
Something called Final Crisis is solicited on page 70 (28 May).Â A fella called Grant Morrison (that sounds totally made up!) is writing it.Â Anyone know anything about this?
The War That Time Forgot #1Â shows up on page 73 (7 May).Â The question is: Is Bruce Jones as insane as Robert Kanigher?Â If not, why bother?Â If yes, then this will probably be awesome.
Batman Confidential #17 (page 82; 14 May) features Kevin Maguire art.Â Me like!
This isn't meant asÂ snark (really!), but I think it's sweet that DC still lists All Star Superman (page 85; 14 May) asÂ "monthly."Â Good stuff, DC!
Will Pfeifer writes Blue Beetle #27 (page 89; 28 May).Â We just found out that this is because Rogers is leaving and Pfeifer is writing an arc, and we're not sure if he's staying.Â I hope the comic continues, because I think Pfeifer will do a good job on it.
I hope BruceÂ Jones does well on Checkmate (page 90; 21 May).Â I really do.
DC releases another JLI hardcover (page 98; 6 August)!Â Whoo-hoo!Â ThisÂ has actually been collected before, but it's long out of print, so it's nice that DC seems to be on board withÂ collecting them.Â Yes, it's a hardcover, and therefore it's 25 dollars, but that has to mean a softcover trade is coming soon, right?Â These, of course, are awesomeÂ comics.Â It's true!
Man, if you have kids and you're not buying themÂ Tiny Titans (page 104; 14 May), you really should.Â Check out this cover:
Over on page 122 (25 June), Vertigo has the trade of Demo, which is supposed to be good, right?Â Anyone dare disagree?
The final trade of Y: The Last Man is on page 126 (18 June).Â Yay!Â Now I can find out how the thing ends.Â Don'tÂ ruin it forÂ me!!!!
I never read Firebreather, but it's back, baby (page 144; 14 May)!Â Maybe I'll give it a try this time around.Â Hester's a good writer, and Kuhn is a good artist.Â What's not to love?
Jay Faerber fires up the wackiness again with Gemini, a five-issue mini-series (page 149; 7 May).Â A superhero who doesn't even know he's a superhero?Â Why the hell not?Â I'm not in love with the art, but you know I'm going to check it out!
Ryan Ottley brings us Death Grub, which should look quite nice (page 152; 7 May).Â We'll see if Ottley can write as well!
Steven Grant (with Victor Riches) and Tom Mandrake have a graphic novel, The Safest Place, coming out (page 156; 14 May).Â It's the story of a photographer who has become unable to feel physical pain.Â He uses this ability to find a kidnapped girl, and bad things come from it.Â It sounds cool, and with those guys' track record, I'm on board.
The Amazing Joy Buzzards are featured in a 300-page book for only 20 bucks (page 157; 7Â May).Â I'm not sure if I'm that in love withÂ The Amazing Joy Buzzards, but their comics are kind of fun.Â And that's good value!
If you've been skipping Suburban Glamour in order to wait for the trade, it shows up on page 158 (7 May).Â Again, good value - 10 bucks for four issues (less, it should be noted, than all four issues bought separately).
The big news from Marvel, I guess, is their publication of Sky DollÂ (page 4).Â I have no idea what thisÂ book is about or whether it's any good, but it's nice to see this from Joey Q and his cabal.Â The only problem - 6 bucks for 64 pages each (there are three issues)?Â That's a bit daunting (I know Archaia does it with The Secret History, but I imagine they can sell far fewerÂ books than Marvel and stillÂ consider it a success).Â We'll see what happens with this.
I have no interest in the Avengers/Invaders crossover (page 21), but I am curious as to why there's a Dynamite Entertainment tag on the page.Â Â It's not a crossover.Â I know the creative team is working for Dynamite, so do they have some contract that means Dynamite gets a mention even if they're not working on Dynamite properties?Â It's strange.
Is King Size Hulk #1 (page 32) part of the Red Hulk ongoing?Â It doesn't say so, but it also features new stories written by Loeb.Â It's kind of weird marketing if it isÂ and Marvel doesn't mention that it is.
I don't want to buy The Invincible Iron ManÂ (page 35), but it might be irresistible.Â Damn you, Matt Fraction!
Five Iron Man books are solicited this month (six, if you countÂ Marvel Adventures: Iron Man).Â Is there a movie coming out or something?
I still haven't read Wisdom, but Paul Cornell's new series, Captain Britain and MI: 13, sounds neat-o (page 53).Â Unfortunately, it ties in with "Secret Invasion."Â Is it just a mini-series dealing with the Skrulls, or will it move on once the invasion is over?Â I wonder ...
Hercules and a group of ultra-powerful heroes fight the Skrull gods (page 54).Â Only from the demented minds of Greg Pak and Fred van Lente!
And now it's time to move to the back of book.Â Be afraid!Â Be bold!
I don't think I'm going to get Judenhass by Dave Sim from Aardvark/Vanaheim on page 198, but he's been working a lot recently, hasn't he?Â I do find it interesting that Sim is writing such a condemnation of anti-Semitism and yet has such ... odd ideas about women.Â I know believing one is horrific doesn'tÂ necessarily contradict thinking the other, but it's still interesting.
Brian already mentioned this, but AdHouse books brings us a hardcover of Skyscrapers of the Midwest on page 203.Â 20 bucks for 288 pages!Â Our Dread Lord and Master gets all misty thinking about this book, which should be good enough for you to plunk down your hard-earned cash for it!Â Bow to the will of the Mighty Cronin!
AiT/Planet Lar has Johnny Dynamite on page 203.Â Greg Hatcher might want to check it out: it's by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty!Â He's "a two-fisted private eye from the Windy City"!Â Of course, he fights zombies, which isn't really my thing, but still - Collins and Beatty!Â Larry's publishing emporium also has Aces: Curse of the Red Baron on page 204.Â A British pilot and an American infantryman steal a map from the body of the Red Baron that they believe will lead to buried treasure.Â They go AWOL to search for it, having many adventures and haunted by the ghost of the Red Baron!Â Sounds way cool.
I should point out a bit of a milestone: Tarot reaches issue #50 (page 240).Â I might read this, although there's no way I'd spend money on it.Â Earlier in Previews, a female staffer writes about the glory that is Tarot: "As many readers will attest, the largest population of Tarot readers are women; a fact that always seems to astound male comic readers. ... What these impressionable young men don't know is that they just put down, quite possibly, the most female-empowering book in the whole shop.Â While boys fantasize about her skimpy outfits and ample cleavage, women fantasize about Tarot's positive self-image, her acceptance and reverence of her own sexuality, and her feelings of connectedness to all living things." (My emphasis.)Â I am not a woman (as I hope you realize), and I know that many women read Tarot, but I have never met one.Â If there are women who like Tarot for the reasons cited, fine.Â The book is still not good at all.Â It's basically porn, and if that's what you want, fine.Â For a "female-empowering book," Tarot spends a lot of time tied up naked.Â I'm just saying.
If you've been enjoying Dynamite's revamping of old western characters (The Lone Ranger, Zorro), Christos Gage tackles Clint Eastwood's character in the Sergio Leone Westerns with The Man With No Name #1 (page 252).Â Gage is a darned good writer, so this might be pretty cool.Â Up on page 254, the two Borderline trade paperbacks are offered again.Â These are pretty good sci-fi books with Eduardo Risso art.Â Check them out if that sounds neat!
Desperado offers a hardcover of Sabre, by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy, on page 261.Â Greg Hatcher would probably know more about this than I do (and yes, I just referenced the Other Greg for the second time!), because it originally came out in 1978, and he's, you know, old-school (and hard-core!), but did it really "change the marketplace forever," as the text claims?Â I don't know.
Disney Press hasÂ some trades on page 282 you might want to check out: two volumes of Abadazad, by J. M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog, and "volume 1" of El Cazador, by Chuck Dixon and Steve Epting.Â I don't own the former but have heard good thingsÂ about it, but I loveÂ El Cazador, which is a pirate epic that CrossGen published back in the day.Â It's well worth the 13 dollars, despite its abrupt ending (it was never completed due to its publisher's problems).Â I like howÂ put a "volume 1" on it, implying there will be a volume 2, even though this collects all the issues that ever came out.Â Â That's not nice, Disney!Â (And speaking of which, why does Disney Press not publish Disney books?Â Gemstone publishes all the Scrooge books and such.Â Anyone have the skinny?)
IDW has its usual batch of horrorÂ titles, and on page 306, they have a black-and-white "omnibus" of John Byrne's Next Men for 20 dollars.Â Is it worth it, good readers?Â I've heard this is pre-nutty Byrne, and quite good.Â Is it?
You know, when I see the adaptation of Remembrance of Things Past on page 316, I'm remindedÂ of Steve Carell's observation about Proust in Little Miss Sunshine: "Spent twenty years writing a book almost no one reads."Â Amen, Steve!
Arrrggghhh!Â Local #12 is solicited on page 320 from Oni!Â Please tell me it's actually finished and will come out.Â I'm dying to read the entire thing, and its publishing scheduleÂ has ground to a halt, which is extremely frustrating.Â Oni also has the firstÂ Damned mini-series in trade.Â It'sÂ very good, so check it out!
Platinum Studios Comics has my life story on page 327: I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space!!!Â Funny, I don't remember selling the rights.Â Still, it's a catchy title.
OnÂ page 350,Â Top Shelf has a new printing of The Surrogates trade paperback.Â Apparently Disney is making a movie out of this, so you can read it before Disney screws it up!Â It'sÂ a good comic, after all.
Also on page 350, Transfuzion offers Boston Bombers.Â It's an alternate world storyÂ starring four women who are secret agents of the Pope.Â What do they do?Â Why, you'll have to read the comic to find out!Â It's 19 dollars, but it sounds kind of neat.
Zenescope publishes some distasteful stuff, but 1001 Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad might be kind of interesting.Â It's a reinterpretation of the classic tales.Â Even ifÂ the women are scantily clad, at least there's a precedent in the stories themselves, unlikeÂ Zenescope's Grimm FairyÂ Tales title.
Well, heck, we reached theÂ Zs.Â I guess that means it's time to go!Â What do you say, people?Â Will you demand that your retailer give you Previews for free, so you can find the rich goodies within?Â Â Make it so!