Pipeline 2, Issue #166


It's that time again. It's time to flip through the latest PREVIEWS catalog from Diamond to see what jewels, oddities, and other items of interest can be yanked out of the format our little corner of pop culture, the comic book.

As a reminder, this is far from everything of interest due out in November. I could triple the size of this column and put twice as many of you to sleep before I accomplished that. These are just the highlights, the things that jump out to me the most, or the things I just have something to say about. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of PREVIEWS and pre-order everything you want through your local retailer, to ensure that he or she can get it for you.

There are times I don't know which Dark Horse publishes more of: Twentieth Century Fox licenses, or GROO. This month, THE GROO ODYSSEY is solicited. It collects four more issues of the classic Marvel Epic series by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier for a paltry $12.95. (Well, it's paltry until you consider that most of these issues can be found with some light quarter bin diving at your local convention. But they look and feel much better in this format. Square bindings rule!)

Two manga collections worth noting from Dark Horse: BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL gets another volume with "Beasts," collecting issues #66-72, as I realize just how far behind on reading the series I am.

LONE WOLF AND CUB volume 28 hits shelves in November. It's the ending to the series. I'm excited to read it, but sad to see it come. I just read through the last three volumes in fairly short order last week. The book impresses me more and more every month. The last three volumes started pulling things together from what's been going on since page 1 in an amazing fashion. There's a sword fight that spans over 130 pages in the one book. It's epic storytelling the way it ought to be done. LW&C is not just one of my favorite books of the year, but of all time. When it's all done, I'm going back and rereading all 8,000+ pages. The price is still $9.95 per book, too, after more than two years. Pretty impressive. Dark Horse deserves a lot of credit for putting this series together like this.

My vow to not collect busts comes into question again on page 43. Dark Horse is producing busts of Spike and Faye Valentine from COWBOY BEBOP. Drat.

DC issues forth a 96 page hardcover edition of JLA/JSA: VIRTUE AND VICE, with story by David Goyer and Geoff Johns, and art by Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino. I don't have any interest in JSA. I know it's a good book and all, but it's just not my cup of tea. I love Pacheco's art, though, and a complete hardcover volume is really tempting… We'll have to see how the finances are doing in November, I think.

I'm looking forward to SUPERMAN: DAY OF DOOM, Dan Jurgens' look back on the whole Doomsday event of a decade ago. Bill Sienkiewicz's inks bring a new look to Jurgens' art. The mini-series is four issues long and is weekly, starting November 13. (A hardcover original graphic novel would have been really nice, instead, since all the work will obviously be done in advance of the first issue's publication. I imagine the financial people balked at the thought, though.)

One of the best looking mini-series of the past year is being collected in one trade paperback. It's the Jeff Mariotte-written science fiction/western hybrid DESPERADOES: QUIET OF THE GRAVE. Featuring gorgeous art by John Severin, the 128 page book costs only $14.95. You don't need to be familiar with the previous incarnations of the series to understand this one. On the other hand, the original mini-series featured art from John Cassaday, so you'll want it, anyway. ;-)

BATMAN: YEAR TWO - FEAR THE REAPER is being reissued. Why, I haven't a clue. There are a ton of uncollected stories that DC has sitting in the vaults. The tie-in to BRUCE WAYNE: FUGITIVE is tenuous at best. Todd McFarlane did draw most of the story, but who cares about his art anymore? Oh, wait, I see it now. They're also now including the sequel story by the original creative team (Mike Barr, Alan Davis, and Mark Farmer), FULL CIRCLE. Still, it is baffling what DC chooses to collect and what it doesn't, sometimes.

On the other hand, DETECTIVE COMICS #776 promises to be the most interesting of the Bat titles in November. It features the first part of a backup series by Michel Gagne, of INSANELY TWISTED RABBITS and ZED fame. I've read the first three parts, and can tell you it's a gorgeous story. It's completely over the top and unlike anything you've probably ever seen in a Bat book.

Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee are still doing the BATMAN series. Issue #609 is solicited this month. Just thought I'd let you know that, since DC seems to have forgotten it after their first issue. It's solicited, but aside from a small cover image and paragraph blurb, they seem to be done with it. Pity.

Image is set to release four new McFarlane toys to celebrate Image's tenth anniversary. The large action figures include Savage Dragon, Ripclaw, ShadowHawk, and Spawn. You may, of course, insert your own joke about McFarlane deciding not to do them until the Gaiman lawsuit is settled here.

Dale Keown starts as artist of THE DARKNESS. Paul Jenkins is writing it, which would normally inspire great confidence in me, given his great track record on PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN. Then I remember his lifeless WITCHBLADE, and I'm back to admiring the book for its art. It looks like they're shooting straight from pencils on this book, too.

The long-thought-lost Tomb Raider project, THE GREATEST TREASURE OF ALL, is nearly complete. Joe Jusko's painted graphic novel is given a 16 page one shot special to show off some of the art. At $5 for 16 pages, though, you'll have to decide if the wait isn't worth it just a little while longer. (Dan Jurgens wrote the story, by the way.)

Marvel round-up: ULTIMATE DAREDEVIL/ELEKTRA features an Elektra who looks an awful lot like the movie one. They sure know when to capitalize on an upcoming movie. Of course, there is the question of whether the tail is wagging the dog. * Jason Pearson has a story in the new UNLIMITED X-MEN #39. * Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham reunite one last time for PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #50. * Kyle Baker's Captain America mini-series, TRUTH, begins in November. I'll be waiting for the collection in May, thanks. * EDEN'S TRAIL debuts, in full glorious Marvelscope format, from Steve Uy and Chuck Austen. The art looks beautiful. I love the format. I'm buying in. * ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN gets its fourth trade paperback volume. I wonder how much longer till we can expect to see the second hardcover volume? * Looks like Marvel took November off as far as hardcover books go. There's nothing new offered.

THE RED STAR begins anew at CrossGen Entertainment with a new #1 issue and the same old $2.95 price point for 32 full color pages.

(THE PATH Volume 1 is actually due out in October, and not this week, as earlier reported in this column on Tuesday. My apologies for the chronological screw up.)

Checker Book Publishing Group is one of those names to watch. They've got two interesting books coming out this fall. The first is a second volume of ALIEN LEGION stories by Chuck Dixon and Larry Stroman. It's only $20 for 208 full color pages. The second, and perhaps more exciting book, is the first collection of Alan Moore's SUPREME series. This one has issues #41-52 for $27. That's 332 full color pages of Moore's work, complete with Alex Ross Cover. I believe the Chris Sprouse era of the title began near the end of that run, as well. The two would later go on to TOM STRONG, where I think Moore used up the remaining plots he had for SUPREME. There's talk that Moore's YOUNGBLOOD may get collected by Checker next. I guess we'll have to wait for next month's PREVIEWS to see if that happens.

Page 274 solicits Tyler Page's STYLISH VITTLES, the first graphic novel in a projected series telling of the woman he fell in love with and who changed his life. It's 208 black and white pages for $15. I picked up a copy in San Diego, and it's nearing the top of my stack of reading material to get to next. Look for a review in the next couple of weeks.

NBM offers up Lewis Trondheim's silent story, LI'L SANTA. It's a 48 page full color hardcover book that looks like it could be a lot of fun. The promo art on page 324 really sells the book for me. It promises to be a light-hearted take on the toughest job in the world -- making all the kiddies of the world happy on Christmas morning. For $15, count me in.

If you're new to Jason (ALISON DARE, JINGLE BELLE) Bone's work in comics, then you owe it to yourself to go back to one of his earlier books. Sirius is resoliciting Bone's SOLAR STELLA one shot this month over on page 334. It's a light-hearted romp with a high cheesecake factor, though not anything dirty or overly objectionable. It's 32 pages of Bone's clean line in black and white for $3. Give it a shot.

Tokyopop is offering the first collection of LUPIN III manga on page 341. This first volume collects nearly 200 pages of the series for $10. If you've seen THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO (I wonder if Todd McFarlane is suing over the similarity of that name? ;-), you'll want to go back to this to see the character's origins.

Or, for $8, you can get the manga interpretation of the Disney movie, MONSTERS INC. Weird, eh?

Next week, we get back to some reviewing. I hope. Tuesday's column is a bit up in the air at the moment, due to the Small Press Expo this weekend. CBR Boss Man Jonah Weiland and I will be in attendance on Saturday. The rest of the weekend will be spent in shameless frivolity and touristy goodness.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 400 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are still available at the Original Pipeline page, a horrifically coded piece of HTML.

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