For some reason, it feels like the Marvel brass are being tremendous douchebags this month. Why? Go below the cut, where all the secrets of Previews #314 will spill out!
Conan Red Sonja (with no slash in between, apparently) shows up on page 28. It's a mini-series, so I'll be waiting for the trade, but it sounds neat ... or I should say, it sounds like a typical Conan story, but it's written by Gail Simone and Jim Zub and drawn by Dan Panosian, so it should be a fun typical Conan story! (14 January)
Speaking of everyone's favorite barbarian, the first trade of the Fred van Lente/Brian Ching Conan the Avenger run gets a trade on page 30. This is how I buy my Conan - in manly chunks - so I'm looking forward to this! (4 March)
David Mack has an art book called Reflections on page 32. I'm not a huge fan of art books, but if you are, there it is! (18 March)
The Murder Book trade is on page 33, if you're interested. These are really keen - but incredibly bleak - crime stories written by Ed Brisson and drawn by a bunch of good artists, including Simon Roy, Michael Walsh, Jason Copland, and Declan Shalvey. They're not exactly fun stories, but they are pretty good, and it's nice to have them all in one place. (18 March)
I heard about Lady Killer (page 34) at Rose City in September, and I immediately got excited about it. Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich do really good work together (separately, too, but especially together), and they've done crime stories together before, so I'm looking forward to this story about a perfect homemaker who happens to kill people. It's a comedy! (7 January)
The trade of Dark Ages shows up on page 46. This should be in my wheelhouse, but I wasn't feeling it when I checked out the first issue. Has anyone been reading it, and is it worth a look? It's Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard, so I know it should be good, but I just don't know. (25 March)
There's a hardcover of The Shaolin Cowboy on page 48. It's only 20 bucks, and I know it looks terrific, but as usual, I'm not sure if I want to see over 20 silent pages of one man punching zombies. That's just not really my bag. (4 March)
If you were waiting for the trade of POP, it's on page 54. The art is great in this book, and the story - after a somewhat standard first issue - has gone in some odd directions, which is neat. I'm looking forward to the final issue. (25 March)
The two volumes of Demo are collected on page 55 for 25 bucks, which is a good deal. Demo is a pretty keen comic with some very good stories, so if you haven't checked it out yet, here's your chance! (25 March)
Deep Gravity gets a trade on page 56. I didn't love the art on this, but the story - a man is reunited with a woman he loves in a spaceship which is falling toward a savage planet - is pretty neat. I'll have to think about it. (11 March)
If you haven't gotten the Empowered Specials yet, they get collected on page 57. I'm not a big fan of Empowered, but it's nice that they come out in nice big trades! (25 March)
Tex: The Lonesome Rider gets an English-language release on page 62. I dig Westerns, and the fact that this is drawn by Joe Kubert makes it pretty much a must-have. (11 March)
Green Arrow #38 (page 80) has a weird solicitation text: "After a near death experience at the hands of John King, billionaire Oliver Queen must fight a foe he can't just beat with sheer force!" (my emphasis) Why is "billionaire" in there? Don't we know Oliver is rich? Did he lose his fortune earlier in the book, but now he has it back? Is this to distinguish him from newly-poor Oliver in the television show? This just seems like an odd place to drop that in there. (7 January)
Man, I know what Wonder Woman comic (page 91) I want to read. I'm not the target audience, I guess. (21 January)
DC has Batman: The Dark Knight Unwrapped by David Finch Deluxe Edition on page 119. Holy crap, that's a mouthful of a title. I like Finch more than a lot of people at this blog do, I suspect, but his DC work hasn't been his best (see that Wonder Woman cover above). But I do love the idea of these kinds of books from DC (and Marvel, if they would ever do it), so I'm actually tempted by this. Probably not enough to get it, but still. (25 March)
A few years ago, DC did one of those pseudo-trades they did for a while to release "Dark Knight, Dark City," and now they're releasing it in proper trade on page 125. This also includes some of the single-issue stories Peter Milligan wrote on Detective, which are pretty damned awesome. These are all good comics, and if you haven't gotten them yet, here's your chance! (11 February)
I would reckon that you can find the entire 25-issue run of Walt Simonson's Orion pretty easily and cheaply in back issue boxes, but DC has finally gotten their heads out of their asses and solicited an Omnibus of the whole thing, plus some stories he did for Jack Kirby's Fourth World, for $75 (page 125). Simonson is one of the few people beside the King who could do these characters justice, and this is a superb comic. If you don't feel like tracking it down, pick it up in one big package! (25 March)
The plot synopsis for Effigy (page 129) is way too convoluted to get into here, but Tim Seeley writes some nice twisted stuff and Marley Zarcone is a fine artist, so I might have to check this out. (28 January)
DC continues to release Hellblazer in trade, as volume 10 - which collects issues #97-107 - shows up on page 136. I gave up on the book about this time - I think a little before this - but I wouldn't mind catching up through trades. I'll have to think about it! (11 February)
Next to that, we get Ocean/Orbiter Deluxe Edition, which collects the mini-series and the graphic novel. Ocean could have been better - it's kind of boring - and Orbiter was pretty good, but they do both feature lovely art, by Chris Sprouse on Ocean and Colleen Doran on Orbiter. (18 March)
On page 152, there's a hardcover of Wild Blue Yonder, which sounds kind of neat. Yes, it's a post-apocalyptic story (ugh), but it takes place in solar-powered flying fortresses, which is a nice twist. It's 30 dollars, which is a bit steep, but I'll think about it.
There's Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 on page 153. Of course there is!
IDW is bringing us Judge Dredd Classics: The Dark Judges on page 167, featuring stories by John Wagner and Alan Grant with art by Brian Bolland. That should be neat if you've never read these before.
I can't even mention the Artist's Edition on page 168. I'm too depressed.
Ben Templesmith's The Squidder gets a trade on page 174. I'm a sucker for Templesmith, so I'll probably be getting this.
I don't know the creators, but Judas: The Last Days, which shows up on page 175, sounds pretty keen. Judas wanders a bizarre Earth where all sorts of fictional things are alive trying to kill himself, but he can't do it. I dig stuff like this, so I might have to give this a look.
Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit (page 179) is about police who have to wrangle gene-spliced animals that roam the world, and it sounds pretty neat. It's only three issues, which makes me wary about waiting for the trade, so I might have to get it in single issues!
Casanova is back (page 182). All is right in the universe. (7 January)
Jonathan Hickman has another comic, The Dying and the Dead, on page 186, with art by Ryan Bodenheim. It sounds like a typical Hickman comic, which, when it doesn't come from Marvel, is usually quite good, so I'll give this a look. (28 January)
Ken Niimura, who did such a wonderful job illustrating I Kill Giants, has a graphic novel newly translated into English, Henshin, on page 198. It's full of short stories about life in Japan, apparently, and I will definitely have to check it out. (14 January)
If you haven't been buying Stray Bullets (and really, if you haven't, you must not be a very good comics fan!), the new arc, "Sunshine and Roses," shows up on page 201. Yes, this is technically the 50th issue of the series, but David Lapham makes sure every arc and every issue, really, tells a pretty good complete story, so you have no excuse to skip it! (21 January)
Read the solicits for Punks: The Comic #4 on page 221! There's a nice bonus if you do! (14 January)
Remember up at the top, how I mentioned that the Marvel brass are being douchebags? Well, that's because the cover of Marvel Previews has "Welcome Home" written on it with John Cassaday's Star Wars cover underneath. So on page 4, Axel Alonso has a long written piece about how awesome it is that Marvel is publishing Star Wars comics again. Here's the thing, though - Marvel is publishing Star Wars comics not because they think it's that good an idea, but because their evil overlords at Disney told them to. If Star Wars comics were so great, why did Marvel let Dark Horse get the license? Why didn't they throw their hat in the ring? I mean, it's presumably easy for them now, because I assume they don't have to pay for the privilege of publishing Star Wars comics, but this isn't really a celebration of how great Star Wars comics are. I mean, everyone knows that, but Alonso still makes it sound like Marvel worked so hard to get the license back, when they probably had nothing to do with it. Anyway, Jason Aaron and John Cassaday are on Star Wars #1. I'm sure that Marvel will quickly drive Cassaday off the book with their scheduling, so that's one thing to look forward to! (14 January)
I won't be buying The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (page 14) because it's 4 dollars (I'll wait for the one trade that comes out of the series before it gets canceled), but I will say that I still love that Marvel is willing to employ artists like Erica Henderson, because she just doesn't have a "traditional" super-hero look. This book would never come out from DC (well, it might, but it wouldn't be in continuity), and while I'm confident it's going to die a quick death, I'm glad it exists! (7 January)
I always dig it when Marvel does stories set in the Marvel Universe of the 1950s, so Original S.I.N. (page 33), with Peggy Carter and Howard Stark investigating an alien energy source in Russia, sounds pretty keen. Of course, I will be waiting for the trade, but it still sounds cool! (7 January)
She-Hulk ends with issue #12. I think Marvel will be down to one - ONE - three-dollar book after that, and that's Ms. Marvel. When will that get a price increase? Anyway, She-Hulk is a good comic. I blame Travis for its cancellation. Yeah, I said it. (28 January)
Hawkeye has stumbled to the end a little (it's still not done, because of reasons), but if you're interested, you can get the entire run on page 87. Yes, it's a nice Omnibus, but interestingly enough, it's cheaper to get the back issues (which can't have increased in value that much). This collection is $100, but it does have the added bonus of being between two covers, if that's your thing. (1 April)
On page 104, you can get Deathlok: Rage Against the Machine for 35 bucks. This is the Joe Casey story about Jack Truman, who is turned into Deathlok. I have no idea if this is any good, but it's bound to be wacky. (11 February)
Yes, it's time to head to the back of the book. Should I just turn the floor over to Travis and Simon? Fat chance! They're far too weird for us normal folk!
On page 243, Action Lab has the trade of Dry Spell, which you should all buy if you haven't already. It's an excellent comic, and it might give Ken Krekeler some money to do other stuff, which is also very neat!
I know that Antarctic Press goes a bit too nuts with the steampunk stuff, but the one-shot Sherlock Holmes Steam Detective Case Files: The Baskerville Boiler-Beast, on page 247, sounds intriguing. I'm not sure if I'll get it, but it sounds intriguing!
On page 252, we get Class Action from Ardden Entertainment. It's about a woman who's married to a super-villain, which of course she doesn't know but is about to find out. I mention it only because Neal Adams writes it. Yes, Neal Adams. It's an odd place for him to show up, isn't it?
Meanwhile, at the bottom of page 252, Arsenic Lullaby: The Devil's Only Friend shows up. I've never read any of this comic, but there's more of it!
On page 266, Black Watch Comics has the first volume of Credence, which sounds like a horribly bleak noir cop story. But it also sounds kind of neat, and I tend to dig horribly bleak noir cop stories, so I might have to check this out.
I still don't own any Matt Baker comics, because I'm a jerk, but on page 291, Canton Street Press offers Canteen Kate, which Baker drew in the early 1950s. I really ought to pick this up.
If you haven't been buying And Then Emily Was Gone in single issues, there's a trade on page 293 from ComixTribe. It hasn't finished yet (one more issue to go!), but it's an extremely creepy horror comic, so check it out!
Dynamite is launching their big "We Decided To Give King Features Syndicate All Our Money!" line on pages 295-299. They all sound pretty neat, to be honest, although I'm not sure if I'll get them all or even if I'll get the single issues instead of waiting for the trades. Anyway, Flash Gordon has art by Lee Ferguson, who's quite good; Mandrake the Magician is written by the always-interesting Roger Langridge; The Phantom is by Brian Clevinger and Brent Schoonover, who are both good creators; and Jungle Jim is by Paul Tobin and Sandy Jarrell, who are also both good creators. My only fear is that Greg Hatcher will have a Fatal Heart Attack of Joy when these come out, but I guess Dynamite cares not for his safety!
Spawn of Mars and Other Stories from Fantagraphics (page 330) features Wallace Wood's art on a bunch of science fiction stories. Yeah, I'm all over that.
I'm fascinated by the Balkans, so Fatherland: A Family History, which tells part of the history of the region through Nina Bunjevac's family connections to it sounds pretty danged cool. It's on page 340 from Liveright.
Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle gets a trade on page 354 from Red 5. Atomic Robo just keeps trucking along being awesome, in case you're wondering.
Titan Comics has The Michael Moorcock Library volume 1: Elric of Melniboné, which reprints Roy Thomas's adaptation (page 370). I've never been into Elric, but maybe I'll give this a look.
Also from Titan, page 371 has World War X volume 1, which is about old civilizations waking up and destroying humanity. Yes, it's not the most original idea, but Peter Snejbjerg draws this, so that might make it worthwhile.
Well, that's about it for this time around the Previews catalog! As always, see if your retailer will give it to you for free or at least at cost, and start digging for cool stuff. You know it's in there!