PREVIEWS FOR FEBRUARY 2003 (PART TWO)
Last week, I looked through the front half of the latest PREVIEWS catalog, filled with goodies solicited for the month of February 2003 from Dark Horse, DC, Image, and Marvel. This week, I'm looking at the second half of the catalog with all the offerings from the non-Diamond-exclusive and smaller publishers.
The highlight of this half of the catalog is AiT/PlanetLar's solicitation for TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD: Volume 1. This black and white trade paperback collects the first four issues of Tom Beland's series for $14.95. (Please note that the back cover of the latest issue of the series indicates that the trade is six issues. That's wrong. At the thickness this book will come in at, it might as well be 6 issues' worth of stories, though.) This is the true story of cartoonist Tom and Puerto Rico's radio voice, Lili, and the romance that quickly develops after a chance meeting at Disney. It would be a fantastic and lovely story if it weren't true. But it is. So stand back and be amazed at how the world works in mysterious ways. Beland's deft cartooning helps sell a story that can be both brutally honest and idyllically sweet.
PlanetLar doesn't stop there. A slightly more ludicrous and crazy funnybook comes your way with SKY APE: ALL THE HEROES. It's a new 56 page black and white adventure for $6.95
Arcade Comics releases ALIAS #1 with story by series creator J.J. Abrams.
They're also releasing YOUNGBLOOD: BLOODSPORT STORYBOARDS #1. It includes the original script and art from Mark Millar and Rob Liefeld. Packages like this are great ways for wannabe creators to see how a couple of creative minds work. The real trick, of course, will be for the first issue of the series to see print.
CrossGen features two big first issues in February. The first is Chuck Dixon's new series, BRATH. While there was a PRELUDE issue in January, this one officially kicks off the on-going series.
The second is the technically more ambitious project. CHIMERA is Brandon Peterson's pet project, combining his pen and ink line with three dimensional computer generated imagery and computer painting techniques. The first issue has a whopping 32 pages of story in it for the usual low price of $2.95. The challenge for Peterson is to make the story as exciting and interesting as the process used to show it on the page. Ron Marz is co-writing the series, which promises to reveal some secrets of the sigil in the Crossgen Universe. A short preview of the book appeared in WIZARD last month.
RUSE gets a second trade paperback, collecting the end of Mark Waid's issues and the beginning of Scott Beatty's. Like the first volume, this one is 160 pages for $15.95. It's on my short list for favorite books of the year. (Yes, I'm working on compiling those now, in time for the end of the month, or beginning of next.)
CrossGen is changing its paper stock to something slightly lighter. It premiered with last week's release of DEMON WARS, and does make for a noticeable difference. The book feels much thinner and the pages feel flimsier. The good news, though, is that the reproduction quality isn't harmed at all. It's only a mental challenge to get over the way the book feels to enjoy it.
Marvel also changed stock recently on its covers for the Ultimate line. That caused a bit of a stir on message boards across the 'net last Wednesday. It doesn't bother me that much, though. Yes, I prefer the cardboard stock, but I realize it was always a bonus. That kind of cover is always more expensive to produce and ship. At a $2.25 price point, it's amazing they kept it for as long as they did. Also, the cardboard was easily creased and damaged in shipping. Hopefully, this new stock will rectify that, and let Marvel keep the $2.25 cover price.
It does feel really weird, though. The cover feels slimy now. It feels like a slightly glossier version of the interior stock, so it almost feels coverless. It's a minor nit-pick, though. I'm not going to get worked up about it. I read a lot of my comics while they lay on the desk/bed/floor in front of me. It's not big deal for the cover to be a lighter weight.
Digital Webbing is the new home for SHADES OF BLUE, the indie series from creators James S. Harris, Rachel Nacion, and Cal Slayton. The first trade paperback, compiling issues #1-5, will be available in February for $11.95. Additionally, there's a new story from the series presented in that month's DIGITAL WEBBING PRESENTS anthology title.
Dynamic Forces celebrates its tenth anniversary next year. I should be more excited, I'm sure, but I cringe every time I see them on the Home Shopping Channel. There's no more painful hour on television.
Todd McFarlane may not be drawing much anymore, but you can see his clone working on a little comic called SPRINGBALL, which hits its third issue through Enjeti Comics on page 307 of Previews.
The comic title of the month is "Nantucket Brown Roasters," which can be found with a spotlight on page 321. I have no idea what it's about and the preview art doesn't really appeal to me, but the title gets my attention.
Bill Willingham's long-awaited 12th and final issue of PANTHEON is solicited once more through Lone Star Press. Perhaps it's the FABLES money making it possible.
Oni Press is featuring CHEAT, a new graphic novel by Christine Norrie about a couple whose relationship is failing. The preview art -- done up in pencils only -- looks terrific. I liked her art on HOPELESS SAVAGES, but the book didn't do that much for me. I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do on her own here. It's $6 for 56 black and white pages.
CREATURE TECH goes to a second printing at Top Shelf Comics. It's the excellent graphic novel from Doug TenNapel about a man in the center of chaos as aliens, rednecks, government agents, scientists and theologians clash in a small town. I did a full write-up of the book back in August. Definitely a book I'd recommend. It'll be near the top of my list of best graphic novels for the year.
Finally, in the magazine department, SKETCH magazine features an interview with Alan Moore and TRIPWIRE has a cover story on BIRDS OF PREY that may or may not stay now that the show has been cancelled.
CORRECTIONS FROM LAST WEEK
The price on DANGER GIRL 3-D isn't that bad, after all. I was reminded after last week's column saw print that the first issue contained 32 story pages. Combining that with the pin-up and cover gallery, plus the preview story, and you've got a good batch of pages with 3-D effects added for the price. Ray Zone had pretty good material to work without on this one.
Grammatically-speaking, I mistakenly referred to Fiona Avery as J. Michael Straczynski's prodigy. That should have been "protégée." Thanks to Michael Moore for picking up on that one.
VariousAndSundry.com has been updated with a look at this week's pathetic release list of DVDs, a new Christmas toy, TRUE ROMANCE on DVD, more movie theater complaints, and more.
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 that's soon going away.