Flippin' through <i>Previews</i>

Many in the comics blogosphere scorn Previews. "You can find what you want on-line!" they scream. "Previews is a fascist publication that chokes off the little guy! We don't need it!" Well, maybe. But I don't have time to zip around all the time on-line, and it's nice to have so much concentrated in one book. Thanks to Previews, I have become the superhero-bashing indie-lover I am today! And I decided to go through it every month and let you know what is coming soon to comics shoppes near you. Others in the blogaxy do this, as well, but I figured - what the hell? I will try to steer clear of DC and Marvel stuff, because you rarely have to pre-order that. I will make fun of it, though!

I have encouraged, and will encourage you again, to see if your local proprietor will give you Previews for free. The owner of my store does, and it's very cool of him. Let's face it - it's regularly $4.50, and at that price, it is easier to find shit on-line. But if it's free ... that's a different story. So bug your local store. They're already taking your hard-earned ducats when you buy comics, after all!

So. Previews Vol. XVI (yes, they snottily use Latin numerals), #6, June 2006. A weirdly intriguing Spawn painting on one cover, a Justice League role call drawing on the other. What's good in this?

Dark Horse is celebrating their 20th year in business, so you should support them - well, for that reason and also because they usually publish good comics. On page 34 they offer Rex Mundi #1, which is really the 19th issue of the book. I have been loving this book since it debuted, and now that it's moved from Image to Dark Horse, it might actually start selling a bit more. Maybe not, but I sure hope so. Arvid Nelson's tale of an alternate Europe and a priest's quest for the Holy Grail while World War I begins around him is fascinating and far more interesting than The Da Vinci Code could ever hope to be. Juan Ferreyra's art is gorgeous, too. Buy this book! The first twelve issues are collected in trade paperbacks, and page 35 offers the third trade. The issue arrives on 16 August, and the third trade arrives on 13 September. This is a great comic.

Page 37 gives us The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli. This sounds intriguing, and Zulli's art is wonderful, so I might have to get this. Gaiman always does interesting things with weird fantasy stories. This is on sale on 25 October.

On page 41 Scarlet Traces: The Great Game #2 is offered for sale on 23 August. Ian Edginton and D'Israeli collaborate again, in this sequel to Scarlet Traces, which told of the aftermath of a failed Martian invasion of Earth in the Victorian Age, not unlike War of the Worlds. It was supposed to be out a year ago, so I'm still not holding my breath that we'll actually see it, but if we do, it should be very good. Edginton and D'Israeli also did Kingdom of the Wicked, which came out last year and was a very creepy and memorable read.

DC has stuff, too. Imagine that! Matt Wagner's Batman and the Monster Men is in trade paperback, and you owe it to yourself to buy it. You probably don't have to pre-order it, but if you see it around, get it. You won't be disappointed, unless you hate well-written comics with nice art. James Robinson's return to comics, "Face the Face," is also collected, but I don't know if I'd recommend it, since it hasn't finished yet. So far (except for last issue's Harvey Dent-a-thon), it's been good. Gotham by Gaslight gets a new printing. This is the first "Elseworlds" story, so much so it came out before that term was coined! It's a Batman-meets-Jack the Ripper story, nicely done, with cool art by Mignola. It's packaged with another Victorian-era Elseworlds story, Master of the Future, which is a pretty good story made better by Barreto's art. Steve Niles writes a new Creeper mini-series. That might be worth a look, even though Niles is wearing the horror thing pretty thin. J'onn J'onzz gets yet another regular series that will be canceled in a year - 16 months, tops. Rush City looks interesting, especially because if you want pedal-to-the-metal action, you can't do a whole lot better than Chuck Dixon. And could someone tell Judd Winick that Captain Marvel is a young adolescent, not a porn star? "I bring it down hard ... I can make them feel it. And I wanted these guys to feel it." What the crap is that? I was always annoyed when writers made Captain Marvel a stupid kid, but he's still a kid. Sheesh. Meanwhile in Vertigo-land, Bruce Jones and John Watkiss tackle Deadman. I'm not saying it's going to be good or bad - I may get it, but I may decide not to - but we all know that Boston Brand isn't going anywhere in the regular DCU, even if he only shows up once every five years. So why call this Deadman? It sounds nothing like the old character, and may even piss some people off because they're expecting it to be a Boston Brand story. It's kind of intriguing, but this annoys me, because it's stupid. If your book doesn't sell because it sucks, sticking an old name on it and hoping for nostalgia sales isn't going to work, either.

Let's move on to Image. On page 150 Casanova #3 is offered for a 9 August release. Casanova looks very cool, and even if you don't like it, it's $1.99, so you should at least get an issue or three to decide.

Emissary #4 is solicited for 30 August on page 151. I just bought issue #1 and really liked it, and urge you to pick it up. Very neat idea, and it should continue to be a compelling book.

On page 152 Fear Agent #8 is offered for a 30 August release. I'm waiting to get the first trade of this, but Cronin likes it. Or was that someone else who writes here? I think it was Our Dread Lord and Master. Right next to that, on 23 August Fell #7 has been resolicited. That horrible word - resolicited - comes into play far too often with Image titles, but this remains an excellent book, and you should buy it.

I don't buy Invincible in the monthly format, but on page 153 issue #35 is - wait for it! - resolicited for 2 August. Am I a bad person because I wait for the trades?

One of the best books being published, Noble Causes, has issue #23 on page 155 for 9 August. I was unimpressed with Jon Bosco, the new artist, but he's only had one issue come out, so we'll see. It's still flippin' brilliant.

Marvel has its usual crap. Agents of Atlas #1 looks intriguing, even though it has the Yellow Claw - Chinese embassy on line 1! Is it me, or does that Claws mini-series, with Linsner on art, sound awful? Why can we see Jessica Drew's navel on the cover to New Avengers #23? Isn't that supposed to be a costume? I mean, it's really prominent. "Kraven's Last Hunt" gets a new edition, and if you don't have it yet, it's a very cool read, unless you get annoyed by DeMatteis' penchant for using parentheses (because there are a lot of them).

Now we delve into the scary parts - the back of the book!

Everyone's favorite Internet crank, Larry Young, has some books coming out. AiT/Planet Lar gives us a new edition of Abel, which sounds interesting, and Steven Grant's Badlands, which I've wanted for a while. They're both 13 bucks and you can find them on page 213.

SLG wraps up Rex Libris with issue #5 on page 218. Rex Libris is a weird and wild book (I'll be honest, I've only read most of the first issue), and I think anyone who appreciates ass-kicking librarians would enjoy it. The first two issues, in case you missed them, are offered again on page 219.

On page 224 Ape Entertainment offers Athena Voltaire, which had been at Speakeasy. Warren Ellis likes it, so why don't you? Ape also has the fourth issue of The Black Coat: Call to Arms on page 228. The first two issues should still be relatively easy to find! Don't miss out!

Archaia solicits Mouse Guard #4 on page 230. Another cool book you may be overlooking. Mice fighting evil! Come on, people! They are also offering The Lone and Level Sands, a graphic novel about Ramses II and Moses. Cronin likes it, and that should be good enough for you peons!

You may think Avatar only exists to fuel Brian Pulido's burgeoning soft-core porn/fetish publications, but they do get out an occasional interesting book. Warren Ellis has written several mini-series for them featuring his "combat magician" William Gravel, and on page 242 you can read the trade paperback of Strange Killings: Necromancer. Very weird, very bloody work from Ellis and artist Mike Wolfer. Three more trades are available on page 244. The best one of those is probably The Body Orchard.

If you're in the mood, Steven Grant brings back Whisper for Boom! Studios on page 247. I'm actually more interested in The Enigma Cipher on the same page, which, queerly enough, is not available in Germany. Too many Nazi references, I guess!

Page 261 gives us another resolicit: Borderline, by Chris Truillo and Eduardo Risso. This looks very cool, and was also supposed to be out a year ago. Grrr. I suppose I'll order it again and hope for the best.

Elsinore wraps up with issue #9 from Devil's Due, although given its already poor schedule I'm not holding my breath that we'll be that far by September. This is a very neat little mini-series, the first four issues of which should be out in a trade soon, so look for it. Creepy stuff.

Should I order Wimbledon Green by Seth? It's on page 282. I've heard nothing but good things about it, but those sorts of books have let me down before. What say you, the vast unwashed masses?

Delphine #1 on page 285 looks intriguing. The story of Snow White told from Prince Charming's perspective. Could be brilliant. This is from Fantagraphics. They also offer New Tales of Old Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez on page 286. I've been sitting on my ass not getting Palomar. Maybe this will spur me on.

Oh dear. IDW offers Fallen Angel #8 on page 301. Fallen Angel, as you should all know, is a fantastic book, but Peter David is bringing in Sachs and Violens for this issue. Blech. I'll still buy it, but I hope those two don't stick around. If you haven't been keeping up with Fallen Angel, page 303 has the trade paperback on the first five issues of the IDW series, which explains the DC series pretty well. Seek it out! Meanwhile, on page 300, we get A Princess of Mars #1 with art from Ted McKeever. That's enough to hook me!

On page 306, King Hell offers Rick Veitch's Bratpack, another book I've heard good things about. Well, what do you say? Totally worth it, or totally don't bother?

Markosia claims that the second issue of Of Bitter Souls will be out, but considering that the book is hopelessly behind, I wonder. It's still a decent enough comic, and for those who were wondering where Norm Breyfogle is, this is your answer.

Page 315 brings us the softcover version of Neil Kleid and Jake Allen's Brownsville. I really liked this book, and you probably will too. And it's cheaper than the hardback!

On page 317, we see My Inner Bimbo #4 solicited. The first issue just came out, and was quite interesting, so this should be something to check out. Oni also has The Leading Man #3, which looks somewhat interesting. It's written by B. Clay Moore, so you know the first couple issues will come out and hook you, and then it will never be seen again! (Seriously, what's up with him? Hawaiian Dick and The Expatriate, and I see his other books - which I didn't read - weren't exemplars of timeliness, either. Sheesh.)

Thrill House Comics has a weird little book coming out on page 328 - Shark-Man #1, with art by Steve Pugh, which is a good thing. A death-row prisoner forced to protect a Utopian society from organized crime? Intriguing. And the art looks great.

Top Shelf is making news with its release of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, which is offered on page 352. I'm a little leery of this. First, it's $75. Phew! Then, it's slash fiction with Alice Liddell, Wendy Darling, and Dorothy Gale getting banged six ways to Sunday. Isn't that just wrong? Anyway, I'm sure it's a good book, but the price really throws me. On the same page, you can get all three Owly trade paperbacks and then want to burn them in an unholy fire, like I did. But it has been pointed out to me that I have no soul.

On page 357, Viper Comics has the second issue of A Dummy's Guide to Danger, the first of which has not yet shipped. Given the company's track record, I'm looking forward to this book even though I have to order well ahead of time.

I haven't pre-ordered any of the Virgin comics on page 358, because I imagine they'll be readily available when they finally show up, but I'm intrigued by them, because they're centered on India and Indian myths and legends. I'll be taking a look at them when they do show up, just to see something different. I hope they're good, because "different" will only get you a look around here!

That was fun, wasn't it? I know I skipped quite a bit, but I don't read manga. Sorry! I would encourage you again to try to persuade your local comic book guy to give out Previews for free. Yes, I know Diamond is the devil, but it is pretty damned easy to use. Of course, you can always surf around, if that's your thing. Come on, people - break out of the DC/Marvel rut!

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