I will never be so jaded about comics that I don't enjoy a good stroll through Previews! It's time for catalog #289!
Mike Mignola is back drawing Hellboy on page 32 with Hellboy in Hell. I get my Hellboy-related comics in giant, "library-sized" editions, which are awesome, but the fifth volume of which is already three months late. What's the deal, Dark Horse? (5 December)
Speaking of hell, To Hell You Ride #1 on page 34 is about four Indians taking revenge against miners who disturbed their sacred burial grounds. As clichéd as that sounds (and it sounds ridiculously clichéd), this is drawn by Tom Mandrake, which makes it very tempting! (12 December)
Steve Niles takes two of his famous works - 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre - and does the logical thing - mashes them up with each other (page 36)! I'm not terribly interested in this, but it's certainly a no-brainer to do! (12 December)
The Curse of Dracula gets a hardcover treatment on page 46. This is by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, and I'm sure Greg Hatcher has read it dozens of times, so he can chime in to tell us how awesome it is. I can't help thinking that it would look better in black and white, but Dave Stewart is coloring it, so I guess we'll have to deal with it. (20 February)
The second Rex Mundi Omnibus is offered on page 47. Buy it and love it! (6 February)
A couple of stories from Dark Horse Presents get collected as one-shots on page 50. Rotten Apple was a bit weird but featured great Sanford Greene art, while Black Beetle was a solid pulp offering from Francesco Francavilla. Obviously, as I'm more of a pulp guy, I hope we get more Black Beetle, but I wouldn't mind seeing more of the former, either. (19 December)
Faith Erin Hicks' Adventures of Superhero Girl gets a nice hardcover on page 53. Hicks is pretty awesome, so I'll probably have to pick this up. (27 February)
Man, Blue Devil, that's a ... costume, all right:
Okay, here's the question about Superman's awful "early-style" costume (as opposed to his awful "present-day" costume): Here's Superboy #15 (page 89), where we see Superman looking really schlumpy. Why, if all these other heroes have nicer costumes, does Superman still wear jeans and an ill-fitting T-shirt that he bought at Hot Topic? I mean, I could understand it if he were the first superhero and eventually others came along, but it's clear from that cover that other characters have far nicer costumes than he does. Doesn't Superman have any pride in his appearance? (12 December)
I wish I could remember the post where people were picking on this Batman cover (page 92):
Well, not really picking on it, but just pointing out that the Joker looks a bit ... odd, and then, because this is the Internet, Photoshopping other things Batman might be thinking about instead of the Joker. It was a funny bit. (12 December)
I really like the old Elseworlds JSA: The Liberty Files, so I'm glad that we're seeing The Whistling Skull on page 121 from B. Clay Moore and Tony Harris. Wasn't this thing planned for many, many years ago? (19 December)
DC finally gets around to releasing some of their higher-end new titles in softcover trades, including Wonder Woman on page 128. I kind of want to read this, even though I know the idiotic turn the story takes in issue #7. I may have to give it a try. (9 January)
In case you've been waiting for the trade of Hard Time, DC collects the rest of the series on page 131. Hard Time is a very good comic book that somehow managed to eke out 19 issues. You know you want to read it! (2 January)
Page 140 has some interesting thing. First up is the House of Secrets Omnibus (13 February), collecting the 25 issues of the ongoing plus some other issues. I think I only read the first issue of this and wasn't too impressed, but I'm sure someone can tell us whether it's worth a look. Then we get the Sleeper Omnibus (27 February), which has Point Blank, all of Sleeper, and some Coup D'Etat issues. Sleeper tended to grow on me as it went along, which I suppose is good. Finally, Global Frequency gets a complete trade (30 January). This was better in concept than execution, but it had some nifty ideas and some great artists. The first two books are huge and cost $75 each, while Ellis' book is 20 dollars.
James O'Barr is writing The Crow: Skinning the Wolves on page 153 - it's set in a concentration camp in 1945. I'm kind of ambivalent about this - O'Barr is the only one who should write the Crow, but I'd also like to see his artwork, and he's not drawing this. I'll have to think about it!
Chris Ryall and Sam Kieth have The Hollows on page 169, which takes place in a future Japan where things devour souls while some people live in giant tree-cities. It sounds wacky, but it might be worth a look.
Mara is solicited on page 182. This is Brian Wood and Ming Doyle's mini-series about a world where sports stars are the world's biggest celebrities. It sounds neat-o. (26 December)
In case you've forgotten, Hip Flask is a mini-series, and the latest issue, Ourborous [sic?] shows up on page 186. Ladrönn takes eight months (I think) to finish one page, so these take a while to come out, but they're worth it, because they're absolutely gorgeous. Plus, the story is keen. (26 December)
I really did not like Wild Children, Ales Kot's one-shot from earlier this year, but Change (page 190) sounds kind of neat. It's a bizarre sci-fi story about strange forces who destroy Los Angeles at different points in time, and the three people who can save it. I'll probably have to check it out! (12 December)
The Legend of Luther Strode is offered on page 194. The first mini-series was pretty good, made better by Tradd Moore's brilliant artwork. So this should probably be a good read, too. (5 December)
Morning Glories reaches the end of "Season One" (page 198). Gah, I hate calling comic books "seasons." HATE HATE HATE!!!!! Oh, and this is 48 pages. Because Joe Eisma needs no sleep or sustenance - he just draws without stopping! (19 December)
Abhishek Singh has a graphic novel on page 200 called Krishna: A Journey Within. Yes, it's about Krishna. The preview page is beautiful, but are there any words in this sucker? Anyway, it's 30 bucks for 300 pages, if you care about that sort of thing. (5 December)
I've never read Body Bags, even though I like Jason Pearson's artwork. The second volume of his stories is collected on page 202, in case you're interested. (12 December)
On the same page, the hardcover of Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker is offered. This is an absolutely beautiful comic, and Casey's story is utterly insane, too. (5 December)
The first trade of Think Tank is solicited on page 206. Only two issues have come out so far, but it's not bad. The art is really good. (5 December)
Hey, there's Age of Bronze #32 on page 208! That's ... something. I love this comic, but I buy it in trades, and I fear Shanower will never actually finish it. Good for him for keeping on, though! (12 December)
As I noted last month, in his own comic, Captain America is in another dimension. Yet there he is assembling every Avenger known to man in Avengers #1 (page 6). I was kind of hoping that Marvel NOW! would tighten up the continuity just a tiny bit, but I guess that's not going to happen. Speaking of Hickman and cover artist Dustin Weaver, whatever happened to S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Regarding Cable and X-Force #1 (page 10): Is ... is ... it 1995? When did that happen?
So the solicit for Iron Man #3 (page 30) puzzles me. First, it's the most "subtle" Iron Man armor of all time. What the holy fuck does that mean? It's a guy in armor - how can that even approach "subtle"? "Stealth armor"? Really? Second, once again the mouth-breathing American editors at Marvel don't know anything about the rest of the world, as they spell Colombia with a "u." And Americans wonder why the rest of the world hates us.
That is one cool-ass cover for Secret Avengers #35 (page 41):
You know, I really want to like the Big Two and I'm sad that they don't put out better comics. Here's the thing about Marvel's relentlessness in shipping comics and DC's indifference to putting out softcover trades in a timely manner - I'm even less interested in the trades as well as the single issues. I mean, some of Marvel's trades look okay, but I know that because Marvel is trying to make every single comic tie into a giant storyline, I'm just not that interested. I'm a bit depressed about that. Oh well.
Let's check out the back of the book. Maybe there will be cool stuff there!
I don't love genre mash-ups, but I love the solicit for Pirate Eye from Action Lab on page 226. It's "a gripping one-shot adventure for any pirate detective fan!" Because, you know there's so many of those kinds of people!
Archaia has the second of three volumes telling stories about the origin of the Dark Crystal on page 233. Joshua Dysart writes these, and I've seen some of the artwork by Alex Sheikman, which is very good. If you're interested!
On page 240 Art of Fiction has Dames in the Atomic Age, which has been available on their web site for a while. It's one writer with a lot of artists, telling a pulp adventure, but I know little about it beyond that. Still, it seems neat.
Volume 2 of Valen the Outcast shows up on page 263 from Boom! Studios. I liked the first volume quite a bit, and I'm interested to see how Nelson wraps up the story.
Com.X has Babble on page 272. It's a mystery about the language of Babel, and it sounds pretty keen.
There's a new Holmes comic on page 275 from Dynamite. The Liverpool Demon is by Leah Moore and John Reppion, who write pretty decent Holmes pastiches. And everyone loves Holmes, right?
Over on page 296, Fantagraphics offers "50 Girls 50" and Other Stories by Al Williamson. I'm sure that will be keen. On the next page, the old Vertigo title 7 Miles a Second gets a new printing. That's awfully nice. I never read it, but I'm sure somebody out there has!
As always, I'm wary of memoirs, but Mariner Books on page 301 has Calling Dr. Laura, which sounds interesting. A young lady who discovers some family secrets turns to Laura Schlessinger for advice, because why not? I may have to pick this up.
So I turned to page 305 in Previews and fell off my chair. Then I fainted. When I picked myself up, I did a double-take. Yes, Oni Press is actually soliciting Last Call volume 2 by Vasilis Lolos. I read recently about Lolos' many problems in his life since volume 1 came out, and I'm really glad he's back working and putting out comics. Last Call volume 1 was a cool book, and I look forward to more!
Rebellion has Judge Dredd: The Garth Ennis Collection trade on page 312. In case your Ennis collection is incomplete!
Some people read their Atomic Robo in trade, so they should be happy that Flying She-Devils of the Pacific is offered on page 313 from Red 5. If you don't buy Atomic Robo at all ... well, you're probably sad. Perk yourself up by buying this one!
I'm not sure if Hellraisers, which is on page 314 from SelfMadeHero, will be any good, but it's an interesting idea: four biographies of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed woven together into an alcohol-filled adventure. Raise a glass!
Valiant has begun soliciting trade paperbacks, as X-O Manowar volume 1 shows up on page 325. The first issue looked pretty good, but has anyone been reading it and can give a recommendation? It's only 10 bucks for 4 issues, which isn't great but isn't bad, either.
Well, that's about it for this month's page-through of Previews. I'm sure you'll let me know if I missed anything - I can't cover everything! That's what writing for a comic book blog is all about - letting others know about keen comics!