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Flippin’ through Previews – May 2008

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

Yes, it’s time to flip through Previews again. It’s always fun to do! So crack open that tome – Vol. XVIII, No. 5! Force your retailer to give it to you for free!

I don’t ever want to offend our readers by being negative, but man, when it hits you right in the face when you turn the page, it’s difficult. The first thing you see when you open this book is a quote: “Porn’s loss is the comic world’s gain.” Yes, it’s an advert for Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter, which is an awful comic. But that quote is just … well, it’s something, I’ll give it that. I wonder if porn is celebrating because Jenna is now polluting the world of comics?

Okay, I’ll try to be positive, I swear! I really do love flippin’ through Previews. You can always find keen stuff! And this month is “Declaration of Independents” month in Previews! The books are ostensibly shipping in July, after all, so they’re celebrating independent comics. Whoo-hoo!

Dark Horse:

New Hellboy series (page 34; 2 July)! Drawn by Richard Corben! I sense a movie coming out!
New B. P. R. D. series (page 37; 9 July)! Drawn by Guy Davis! I sense a movie coming out!
Last month we had a zero issue, and now Conan the Cimmerian launches (page 40; 16 July). It looks pretty darned cool. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue getting the trades or jump on with singles. Oh, the drama!

Barb Wire Omnibus (page 42; 10 September). You know you want it!
Groo: Hell on Earth gets a trade (page 43; 17 September). I’ve said this before and gotten hammered, but I’m not a huge fan of Groo. But if you’ve been waiting for the trade, here it is!
There’s something weird about the solicitation text for The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack (page 52; 24 September). It reads, “This 272-page follow-up to the immensely popular and soon-to-be-out-of-print collection The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories …” If something is “immensely popular,” why is it going out of print? Is this a smart publishing decision? “People really want to buy our book, but let’s let it go out of print. That’ll show ’em!” This seems to be fairly common in the comic book world. People clamor for things, and the companies are surprised that it’s not in print and don’t feel the need to bring it back into print. One example is the Thor Visionary trades by Walt Simonson, but there are others. Is this the way to run a business?
Over on page 58, the 7th volume of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is offered (3 September). I haven’t read much manga, and this is the only one of which I’ve read more than one volume, and it’s really good. Cool and creepy horror. Who doesn’t love cool and creepy horror?


I read on the Internet (where you can trust everything!) that Final Crisis (page 72; 30 July) is already behind schedule and is beset by editorial interference. Oh dear. Come on, DC, let the God of All Comics run loose! What the hell do you have to lose? You fucked up Countdown, for crying out loud, and this is your “last chance”! Sheesh. Let’s hope the Internet is wrong.
Hey, it’s Ambush Bug (page 75; 23 July)! It’s the perfect tonic for that queasy feeling you get when you think of the rest of DC’s line!

DC is quite evil, aren’t they? On page 81 they give us The Joker’s Asylum, four one-shots released weekly that give “an inside look into the insane lives of the Dark Knight’s greatest adversaries.” It sounds dull, but Arvid Nelson is writing one of them, and Jason Aaron writes another, with art by Jason Pearson. Juan Doe draws another, and David Hine writes the fourth one. Oh, DC, you tempt me so!
Whoo-hoo, it’s not the last issue of Catwoman (page 85; 30 July)! Okay, the next issue is the last one, but still, we get one more!
In case you didn’t know, Matthew Sturges is the new writer on Blue Beetle (page 90; 30 July). I don’t have a good enough sense of Sturges to know whether I should be happy or not. I will give it a chance, though.
On page 100, DC offers an Absolute Edition of Ronin (24 September), Frank Miller’s weird futuristic ninja tale. It’s not bad, but I don’t think it’s worth $99.
If you wait for the trade, Suicide Squad: From the Ashes is offered on page 101 (20 August). Despite the name change (“Raise the Flag” sounds better, because of the double meaning), it’s a fine mini-series with Ostrander’s trademark double-crossing and sudden deaths. Give the man a Suicide Squad ongoing again, DC!
On page 102, we get a hardcover of the first ten issues of Gotham Central, a fairly good comic book (3 September); the Millennium trade that was spoken of last week by the commenters in Other Greg’s fine column (6 August); and a trade of Invasion! (27 August). With regard to these: if DC is going to include every issue in the Gotham Central hardcovers, I might have to move up from my trades. The trades don’t include some (crossovers?), and it irks me. Even if they aren’t part of the “regular” stories, I’m anal. That’s why I got the Captain America Omnibus – it included the Civil War issue, which the trades did not. Invasion! is a goofy, fun series, and it’s certainly interesting seeing McFarlane on the art. I’m not terribly sure if it’s worth 25 dollars, though.
Man, Storming Paradise #1 (page 113; 2 July) might not be excellent, but at least DC acknowledges that if you’re going to do a war story, you get Chuck Dixon or Garth Ennis to write it! And with Guice on art, it has a good chance of being good.

Page 124 gives us The Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives in trade (13 August). Hey, remember when Ed Brubaker worked for DC? I wonder where he went. DC wouldn’t have let him go to Marvel, would they? I have no idea if this is any good. Anyone care to comment on its quality?


Howard Shum, in case you don’t know, wrote the rather fun adventure comic Gun Fu a while back, and now he shows up with Hyperkinetic on page 152 (2 July). It’s about “four intergalactic highly skilled female bounty hunters” who end up on a strange planet. Now, it could work or it could not, but I find the pull quote by the screenwriter of 30 Days of Night amusing: “There’s a cultural shortage of fabulous bounty-hunting babes …” Is he kidding? Almost everything has fabulous bounty-hunting babes in it these days, or some variation thereof. I’m not saying this won’t be good, but the idea of putting four hot women with guns in a dire situation isn’t, you know, all that groundbreaking.
Declarative Rabbit says that I Kill Giants (page 154; 9 July) “looks awesome.” It kind of does, actually. A girl who carries a Norse war hammer in her purse and kills giants! But might she be crazy? And what real monsters does she need to conquer? It looks cool, although I’m curious at why Barbara has rabbit ears. Why, Barbara, why????

Popgun gets a second volume on page 159 (16 July). The first volume was pretty damned good, and it’s 30 bucks for well over 400 pages, so you might want to check this out.
I’m a bit confused about the American Flagg! solicitation on page 160 (16 July – yeah, right, as this was originally offered, what, two years ago?). A few weeks ago a guy in my store got a collection of American Flagg! in hardcover. It was three different books in a slipcase, and it was shrinkwrapped. What was that? Where did it come from? It obviously wasn’t the book we’ve all been waiting for, but what the heck was it?
Gødland begins its final year with issue #25 (page 167; 30 July). It is “here to deplete the fossil fuels of your brain.” I agree with the text: Why in the name of Iboga would you dare miss this issue?!
More fun from Top Cow’s Pilot Season comics: On page 181, Jonathan Hickman writes The Core, which sounds like a cool sci-fi adventure. It’s drawn by Kenneth Rocafort, which might be a minus, but I’ll still have to give it a look. On page 182, Jay Faerber writes Urban Myths, a tale about a modern world where the Greek gods are still very much present and Medusa’s son is a private investigator. Sounds pretty damned neat, if you ask me.


Marvel’s attempts to do what Humanoids failed to do continues with Universal War One (page 6), which sounds neat. In the middle of a galactic war, a wall has cut the solar system in two, and a group of soldiers facing court martial must investigate. Yay, sci-fi!

I like how on back-to-back pages, Marvel shows us Namor fighting Namor (page 17), and Captain America fighting Captain America (page 18). I doubt if it was intentional, but I liked the symmetry.
The Fantastic Four enter the world of fiction and cross paths with, say, the cast of Sense and Sensibility (page 23). I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome to me.
It hasn’t been that long since I’ve seen Travel Foreman’s pencils (the Ares mini-series, maybe?), and I liked it then, but that art for Iron Fist #17 (page 29) looks awful. What the hell is he doing different? Anyway, I’ll give the new writer a chance, but that art’s going to be tough to swallow.
First, it was zombies. Now, are you ready for … Marvel Mummies?!?!? Check out page 34 if you don’t believe me!
I don’t have a lot of interest in newuniversal (page 38), but Kieron Gillen is writing a one-shot about the newuniversal world of 1959 (also page 38), and that sounds a lot more interesting. I can read that without reading the regular series, right?
Kathryn Immonen writes a Hellcat mini-series (page 40). It takes place in Alaska. Yeah, that’s right, Alaska! If only they had gotten Norm Breyfogle to draw it. Isn’t he the definitive Hellcat artist?
Skrulls Skrulls Skrulls Skrulls blah blah blah … hey, a crossover between She-Hulk and X-Factor (page 53)! Yes, it’s a “Secret Invasion” tie-in crossover, but more importantly, we see that the new artist on X-Factor is Larry Stroman. I know some people hated his art back on the first David run on X-Factor, but I wasn’t one of them. I’m very jazzed to see him on this book, and I hope he hangs around for a while.
I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything by Cary Bates (it’s that Cary Bates, right?), but True Believers #1 (page 58) sounds interesting: superheroes exposing conspiracies throughout the Marvel U. Gulacy’s on art, which is a plus, and the premise could work really well.

On the one hand, Fraction joining Brubaker on Uncanny X-Men (page 61) is good news. On the other hand, Greg Land and Terry Dodson are not known for their speed. How’s that going to work? On the third hand, many people loathe Greg Land, and although I wish he would, you know, draw stuff freehand again, I don’t despise him. I’ll be curious to see how the series goes forward.
The solicitation text for Kick-Ass (page 79) annoys me: “Dave Lizewski has broken both legs, shattered his back, been run over by a Mercedes, smashed by garbage cans, and clobbered by gangsters …” If this is supposed to be taking place in the “real world,” shouldn’t he be crippled beyond any hope of repair? Is Millar even going to address this? Or does each issue take place three years apart, so he’s had time to recover? If you’re going to write something in the “real world,” the violence should have “real-world” consequences, shouldn’t it?
The hardcover collection of Longshot (page 93) costs 25 bucks, which might be a bit much. I guess the trade is out of print, so let’s hope Marvel decides to bring it out in softcover again. It’s a fairly good story, and Adams’ art is gorgeous, although a bit dated (it’s from 1986, after all). But if you really want it, here it is!
Page 104 sees the publication of a trade collecting X-Force #102-109. These issues of part of the “Counter X” thing that Marvel tried in the late Nineties, basically giving their lesser-selling mutant titles over to Warren Ellis to revamp. Ellis hand-picked the writers, I guess, and at least on Generation X, we got some interesting if not particularly excellent stories. My question is: Why is this being collected now? Ellis has been working for Marvel for some time, and I don’t really recall much clamor for these issues. Is there something I’m missing? And is this worth it?

Ah, yes, we move on to the back of the book. Strangeness awaits the bold back there!

Larry and Mimi offer Dugout on page 205, a story of a baseball team in 1960 that is sinking in debt and tries to break their star pitcher out of prison so he can help keep them afloat. Oh, it sounds quite wacky! As usual with AiT/Planet Lar, you might not like the book, but you know it will be interesting!

I’m always a bit wary about things that claim “it’s this combined with this” or “it’s in this style,” where this is some movie or book that is already out, but Tiki Joe Mysteries from SLG (page 208), which is touted as “an Ocean’s Eleven-style graphic novel,” does sound kind of interesting. It’s set in 1959 Las Vegas and features a World War II vet getting squeezed by the mob for protection money. And by the description, it doesn’t sound like Ocean’s Eleven at all – either version (yes, I’ve seen the original).

Ape Entertainment has a couple of interesting books on page 214. Athena Voltaire: The Flight of the Falcon is offered in trade (finally, some might say). It’s a decent comic about an Indiana Jones-style adventurer (see what I did there?) who fights Nazis and weird mystical things. It would be nice if Steve Bryant could get the long-awaited sequel out, but for now, a trade will have to do! Meanwhile, another long-delayed book, The Black Coat, is out with a one-shot including two stories. If you missed the first mini-series or the beginning of the second (very late) one, check this out and see if Revolutionary War espionage adventure is for you!

I don’t think I’m going to buy Wingman from Arcana (page 216), but the solicitation text is certainly odd: “Wingman follows the adventures of two best friends, Hank and Max, whose main mission in life is picking up women. Hank, more confident and better looking than Max, is the stud of the two, while Max is mostly relegated to wingman status. One day, lightning literally strikes and alters Hank’s chemistry such that he’s no longer able to pick up women. However, women now find any man within a few feet fo Hank irresistible, thus Max instantly goes from wingman to Casanova. Hank and Max both struggle in handling this role reversal on their way to finding true love.” That’s … bizarre. But hey! it might be your thing!

There’s the usual stuff from Avatar, including a new series from Mr. Ellis, but I’m really interested in Aetheric Mechanics by everyone’s favorite curmudgeon (page 226). It’s weird future science again, but Ellis sets it in 1907, which means it’s Edwardian weird future science, which is always fun. It’s also a detective story, and Ellis can write those fairly well (as the first six issues of Desolation Jones – cocked-up ending notwithstanding – proves). It’s only 7 bucks, too!

Someone a while ago mentioned that you can read Pistolfist at Wowio, but I’m just too old-fashioned to read my comics on-line. So it’s nice to see that it’s at least being offered again, this time by Bluewater Productions on page 240. The first issue was not great but pretty interesting, and I was sorry to see it disappear. Maybe this time the entire series will come out!

On page 241, Boom! Studios has Challenger Deep #1, which is a tale of a nuclear submarine marooned in the Marianas Trench and the salvage team that must rescue it before it blows and, you know, destroys the world. It sounds neat.

I mentioned Sparks last month (page 248 from Catastrophic Comics), but since then, the writer, Christopher Folino, sent me a preview copy of issue #1. It’s actually kind of cool. Nice and moody, with not much action but a decent set-up. I’ll have a more thorough review right before the book comes out, but it works well, and Ringuet’s art fits the story well. You can preview the first six pages at their web site, by the way.

If you’re waiting for the trade on The Lone Ranger, Dynamite Entertainment has the second volume on page 264. It’s not as action-packed as the first arc, but it’s a bit darker and gets more into the relationship between John and Tonto.

The Hunter #3 is on page 266 from Dare Comics. I thought I’d point it out because I just not issue #2 in the mail and will be letting you know my thoughts on it this week. It’s six bucks, but it’s a hefty chunk of comics.

There’s a trade out of The Atheist (I guess we now have to add “Antoine Sharpe” to the beginning of that title) on page 268 from Desperado Publishing. Phil Hester’s story is very neat, and although the art has a weird shift because John McCrea didn’t finish it, it’s still a pretty cool-looking horror book. It’s in conjunction with the new series, which is also offered. Hester is an underrated writer, so check this out!

Well, I’ve been waiting for the monster trade of the “World War III” story arc of G. I. Joe, and on page 271, Devil’s Due gives it to me! It’s 35 bucks, but that includes 12 issues of non-stop action. I read several of these issues, and they’ve been very good. I just hope it ends well.

A few weeks ago I reviewed The Unwanted and mentioned that there was no price on it. It’s now offered on page 279 from Diablo Productions, and it’s 15 dollars. That sounds about right. There you have it! (They really ought to change their name, though, as a Google search of “Diablo Productions” turns up … well, I’ll let you check it out yourself, as I’m not going to link to it!)

If you missed the first issue of Comic Book Comics from Evil Twin Comics, here’s your chance to make amends, as issue #2 is solicited on page 298. I wasn’t as jazzed with issue #1 as I was with Action Philosophers!, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the title!

Also on page 298 is Deitch’s Pictorama from Fantagraphics. Kim Deitch and his siblings give us a ton o’ weirdness, all for 19 dollars. Deitch isn’t for everybody, but he’s an extremely interesting creator. So you might want to check this out.
There’s also a new Love and Rockets series on the same page. And it’s a super-hero book! (????)
Brian just spotlighted Tales Designed to Thrizzle recently, and issue #4 is offered on page 300. You can also reorder issues #1-3, but at $4.50, you might want to stick to one, just to see if it’s for you.

Jason McNamara, the writer of First Moon and Continuity, has a new book from Girl Twirl Comics on page 305. It’s The Martian Confederacy volume 1, and it tells the tale of three rednecks who are the only hope to save humanity on Mars. It sounds rather odd, but McNamara is a pretty good writer, so it might work.

HarperCollins offers the first volume of Zot!, Scott McCloud’s seminal comics work, on page 306. I assume I should get this, right? There’s also a graphic novel of Coraline by a Neil Gaiman person illustrated by a P. Craig Russell. Considering that I haven’t read the prose version yet, I should probably skip this.

I have absolutely no idea if Journey by William Messner-Loebs is any good, but IDW is bringing it back into print on page 321, which is nice to see, as Messner-Loebs is a fairly underrated writer. 424 pages for 20 bucks is not bad, unless it sucks. But it doesn’t suck, does it? Anyone?

If you like Westerns, check out page 326. Moonstone is celebrating Wild West Month, and they have Westerns o’plenty! A few are written by Chuck Dixon, who writes two-fisted action well, and they all look neat.

Oni has its usual assortment, including Last Call volume 2 on page 330. Volume 1 was quite good, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. After Alec and Sam got separated, Alec aged ten years, while for Sam, hardly any time passed! What the heck? If you missed volume 1, you can get it on page 338.

I’m sure you all have $125 lying around, so why not get the second collection of Little Nemo in Slumberland? It’s from Sunday Press Books on page 347. I’m sure you have $245 lying around, so why not get both collections?

Moving on to page 364, we see that Viper Comics has a collection of all three Middleman stories in one big trade for only 20 bucks. Even though I already own the issues, I’m very tempted to get this. Unless, of course, Javier Grillo-Marxuach wants to send me a copy … Yes, I’m shameless. Deal with it! Either way, you should get this. The Middleman is a fantastic comic, and I hope the television show will be half as cool.

That’s it for comics, but I should point out a couple of neat things in the magazine section. First, Back Issue #29 (page 396) is an all-mutants issue, looking at the success of the X-Men post-1975 and the way the 1980s became the “Mutant Decade.” Back Issue is a really interesting magazine, and I really ought to get a subscription. Then, on page 397, there’s another issue of Tripwire coming out. I’m not terribly interested in this, as it focuses mainly on British sci-fi, but Tripwire is a very good magazine that always has interesting articles and good interviews with creators. It’s 15 bucks, but it only comes out once a year, after all.

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