Wait, Damian might not be dead? The hell you say!!! All the answers can be found in Previews #313 ... well, probably not, but it's nice to think so!
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 shows up on page 34. It's set in the past, so I assume it doesn't interfere with any current continuity, and with Mignola and Arcudi writing and Alex Maleev drawing, I'm sure it will be pretty danged neat. (3 December)
Kelley Jones draws a ghost story in Eerie #6 (page 43). Yeah, that should be pretty keen. (10 December)
I haven't read John Mueller's Oink, but it's getting repainted on page 45 with "new sequences of story and art," in case you're interested. I always thought it was a fairly awful horror story, mainly because the adverts in other comics made it look terrible, but I guess it's a bit more involved than that? Has anyone read it? (25 February)
The Massive ships its final issue on page 52. I've continued buying this even though I wasn't thrilled with it, and ... I'm still not thrilled with it. It's not bad, but it always feels like it's on the verge of being great, and then it never achieves it. It's a strange feeling. (24 December)
DC really shouldn't be offering Darwyn Cooke variant covers for their books this month. They are all much better than the regular covers. Without exception. I know Cooke is really good, but I'm not talking about the drawing, just the fact that everyone in the Cooke covers looks so much more heroic and happy than in the regular ones. Oh, that's right, I forgot - DC doesn't want their heroes enjoying life at all!!!!
In the pro column: Gail Simone is doing a new Secret Six (page 76)! Yay! In the (possible) con column: Ken Lashley on art? Really? I don't hate Lashley, but he's not my favorite. I'll definitely check it out, though, just to see what's up. I do trust the DCnU to fuck this up, somehow, though, so it's got that going for it! (3 December)
Why is Zatanna trying to disco dance her way out of trouble on this cover?
(Page 80; 24 December)
"Behold the all-new, all-murderous Flash!" reads page 85. Even though I'm sure it's either a one-off, an alternate reality character, or something that just won't stick, I still cringed reading that solicit. I'm old and crotchety. (24 December)
Why are Green Arrow and Merlyn trying to shoot each other with arrows on this cover (page 86)? I mean, it's stupid because they're so close to each other, so they could just grapple, plus, you know, they're falling to their deaths. This makes even less sense than a lot of GA covers (where they're always trying to get him firing an arrow in dumb situations) usually are.
Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko show up in Sensation Comics #5 (page 124). That might be a pretty cool issue to check out. (17 December)
Speaking of Jim Lee channeling Frank Miller, Deathblow gets a giant trade on page 127. Twenty bucks for 272 pages is nothing to sneeze at! (7 January)
Batman Black and White volume 4 is offered on page 130. I love these trades, and I'm looking forward to this one! (14 January)
Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle is on page 131. I don't know if I'll get this, but if you're a fan, that's not a bad way to consume your Blue Beetle comics! (28 January)
Speaking of weird stuff DC keeps bringing out in trade while the rest of Shade, the Changing Man and the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League languishes, also on page 131 we get Superman: The Power Within, which reprints a story from when Action Comics went weekly back in 1988. I don't know if it's any good, but it's in trade now! (7 January)
Well, there's a Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover on page 152. Because of course there is!
Since I'm terrible at reviewing things this year, this is as good a time as any to point out that G.I. Joe #4 shows up on page 164, and that the first issue, which came out this past week and which I bought on a lark, is pretty darned good. It's not great yet, but it's pretty darned good and it has a lot of potential. Give it a look!
The first volume of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is on page 165, and while I hate IDW's trade policy (not enough issues, too high a price, usually), I'm all over this sucker!
IDW tries its hand at translated editions of Corto Maltese on page 180, and I really hope it's better than the one volume that came out a few years ago, which was tremendously disappointing. This is "over-sized" (9.25 x 11.625) and in black and white, so I'm cautiously optimistic, but I really hope the artwork isn't butchered like it was by that other publisher, whose name escapes me. I really want IDW's "Eurocomics" to succeed, though, because we all need more European comics in our lives!
On page 183, you can get a trade of the first three (although I think that's a misprint and it's for the first four) issues of Weird Love (which is waaaaaay overpriced at 30 dollars - 30 dollars?!?!?) and a collection of Tom Sutton's horror stories for Charlton for 25 bucks, which might be a better value. This is why I don't like IDW's trades - they're really priced high, unfortunately, even though Weird Love is pretty neat and I'm sure the horror book is worth a read.
The Ghoul gets a "treasury edition" on page 184, which might be a good pick-up (Bernie Wrightson artwork!). After ranting about IDW's prices, this is 10 bucks for 72 pages, which is pretty neat.
I'm still not terribly confident in Kelly Sue DeConnick as a writer, but people seem to like her, and it's nice that she's launching another creator-owned book, Bitch Planet, on page 188. Valentine De Landro's art is fairly solid, too, so that's nice. I'm not buying it, but you might like it! (10 December)
I do, however, like John Arcudi and James Harren, so Rumble #1 (page 192), about some kind of barbarian god in the present day, sounds neat-o. I do really hate "This meets that" comparisons, though, and Image gives us "Louis C.K. meets Robert Howard in a David Fincher universe," which is upping the ante on that kind of comparison, if you ask me (and I'm not a fan of Louis C.K., so we'll see what's up with that). Still, I'm picking this up! (17 December)
I like Jay Faerber, and I like Fran Bueno, so Graveyard Shift (page 196) sounds like a good book, especially because it's crime-solving stuff! But then I got to the last word of the solicitation ... "vampires." Sigh. You're testing me, Faerber!!!! (24 December)
On page 208, you can plunk down 10 bucks for the first volume of Dark Engine, even though only 2 issues have come out so far. Those 2 issues are ... decent, I guess, although it's hard to get a handle on the story. Ten dollars is nothing to sneeze at, though, and the art is nice. (17 December)
I'm on the verge of giving up on Morning Glories (I'm kind of hoping issue #50 wraps some things up and I can make a decision about it then), but if you want to check it out, the "Compendium" on page 209 gives you 38 issues for 60 dollars, which isn't a bad deal. For a while, this comic was really, really good, but Nick Spencer seems to have lost the plot a bit, although I really want to keep reading it. I'm very conflicted. (3 December)
The solicits for Umbral #12 (page 234) read "Yeah, you read it right. New Year's Eve, last day of the year. That's when we decide to publish the last issue of Book Two, probably the most important issue of UMBRAL yet. It's just how we roll." Above that, we get the publication date: 24 December. Yeah, I get that Diamond might have screwed this up, and perhaps it's shipping a week earlier and won't be on sale until the following week (those weeks are always weird for comics), but that's pretty funny, at least to me. Umbral is still awesome, though, so there's that. (24 December)
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 on page 16 cracks me up. Mark Waid and a "rotating crew of mission-specific top flight Marvel artists" give us single-issue stories about some kind of espionage-y thing. Did Ales Kot, working down the hall on Secret Avengers and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier, hear about this and start waving Zero around saying, "Um, guys, I'm right here"? That would be funny. (Yes, I know Warren Ellis has made a living doing this kind of thing, but he's not working for Marvel right now, and Kot is, so the joke is funnier with Kot. I KNOW HUMOR!!!!!)
I don't know when Grant Morrison wrote his "lost" Miracleman story that shows up in Miracleman Annual #1 (page 48), but as I'm a sucker for the God of All Comics, I'll be buying this, especially as it also includes a Peter Milligan/Mike Allred story. "Plus bonus material!" The question is: Will Marvel reprint the Apocrypha?!?!?
All righty-oh, let's head into the back of the book!
Cerebus is "remastered" on page 244, with volume 1 showing up. I'll say it again: I've never been particularly interested in reading Cerebus, but it's nice that it's getting "remastered," because the cleaned-up art looks decent.
AC Comics offers Men of Mystery #95 (page 244), which for some reason is #95 even though it's a 140-page trade paperback. Lots of Golden Age stuff, including art by Joe Kubert, Reed Crandall, and Bob Powell. Groovy!
Alan Moore is writing Crossed + 100 (from Avatar on page 264), which takes place 100 years in the future of the Crossed universe. I have less interest in this than I do in Cerebus, but there it is!
On page 274, Bergen Street Press has the first volume of Copra in trade, which is nice. I haven't read Copra yet, but I already ordered this from Bergen, and it got here a few weeks ago. So I guess you can get it through Diamond, or you can just go to the web site and see if it's there. Everyone creams their jeans about this comic, so I guess it's worth it.
On page 284, we find the trade of Deceivers by Steven Grant, which sounds like the kind of story - con men, international thieves, and the CIA - that he does well. I'll have to pick that sucker up.
I don't know the creative team, but Rocket Salvage on page 289 sounds pretty fun. An ex-racer, current junk dealer gets involved in an "intergalactic manhunt." Those are always fun. I'll wait for the trade, but you might like the single issues!
I've been waiting for the trade of The Midas Flesh, and there it is on page 290! Did anyone read this? I'm still getting the trade, but I always welcome opinions!
Burlyman offers a trade of Shaolin Cowboy for 20 bucks (page 298), and I'll probably pick it up. I know the story is nothing to write home about, but I dig Geof Darrow's art!
I'm kind of curious about Gifted on page 302 from Creative Mind Energy. It's about a wolf who gains consciousness and leads an animal uprising against humans. The art looks pretty nice, and the story is intriguing. I might have to give it a look.
I don't know David Walker, who's writing the new Shaft book from Dynamite on page 304, but Bilquis Evely is drawing it, and she's a really good artist. I might have to check it out just for that! (3 December)
Fantagraphics has its usual assortment of cool stuff, including Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton on page 338. Wolverton's art is odd even for the Golden Age, and this sounds like a nice compendium of his work (plus, it's "volume 1," so who knows if Fantagraphics has more planned).
Scott McCloud has a new book out from First Second called The Sculptor, which is about an artist who sold his soul and has less than a year to live and can't decide what he wants to create before he goes. McCloud is a great creator, and this is almost 500 pages long, so it should be worth it. One thing I don't like about First Second books is their dimensions - they tend to be smaller than standard comics, which can hurt the artwork. We shall see.
Kodansha has Attack on Titan: The Beginning box set, which has the first four volumes of the manga. I've heard great things about this series, so I'll probably get this. As always, my biggest fear about getting into manga is that they tend to sprawl, and unlike superhero series where the creative teams change, manga keeps the same writer/artist. But I will dive in!
If you buy Stumptown in collected form, Oni offers up volume 3 on page 353, which is pretty ambitious considering one (1) issue has shipped so far. I guess if you're in the bag for the series, you don't care and are already waiting for this sucker, so here it is! (18 February)
On page 362, Rebellion/2000AD has the trade of Brass Sun (in hardcover, so it's a bit pricey). It's a pretty good comic, although I'll warn you that it doesn't tell a complete story - Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard apparently have quite an epic planned out.
So there I am, moving on from page 362, and nothing is really grabbing my attention. The usual stuff from Valiant and Zenescope is there, but even Top Shelf doesn't have anything that particularly grabs me. So I guess I'll finish this here and open the floor to others. What strikes your eye in this month's catalog! Don't be shy! Remember: your retailer will probably be happy to give you a copy for free or at cost, so let them know that it will be worth their while!