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Pipeline, Issue #249

PREVIEWS FOR MAY 2002 (Part Two)

[Previews]In Friday's column, I made it up through the Marvel listings in the newest PREVIEWS. Today, I present the rest of the catalog. As always, this is hardly a complete look at all the interesting things coming out in May. I encourage you to flip through a copy yourself, and then post to the Pipeline message board with your suggestions for reading material, as well as whatever oddball things might have popped out at you.

We start with page 197, which has an ad for the Pittsburgh Comicon. It's happening April 26 - 28th, and I have to say that I'm very excited about it. It's the first convention of the year for me. I had a great time at last year. I don't know if I'll be filing daily reports from there this year or not, but you will hear about it in Pipeline. Trust me. The guest list is pretty impressive given its smaller stature in the world of large cons.

Black Bull has an exciting project previewing in May. The BEAUTIFUL KILLER: LIMITED PREVIEW EDITION is a $5.00 money grab. I'm not a big fan of this type of book. It seems like a desperate way to promote the book with material that is better off included as filler in the eventual trade paperback collection. Of course, I'm loving Phil Noto's BIRDS OF PREY covers so much in the past year that I'm anxious for anything new from him. Thus, I'll spend the five bucks on this one. It contains some of his design work and interior pages for the series, in addition to some of Adam Hughes' art. The mini-series premieres in July, with writing by Jimmy Palmiotti.

(I just noticed this happy little "coincidence": There is a nine-page preview of the series in WIZARD magazine the same month. Hmmm, maybe I can skip the Prequel and just buy the magazine and get the same taste of Noto's artwork that I'm looking for…)

Accomplished Productions has one book coming out, and it's called CRISIS. It's a 208 page illustrated screenplay, with all the artwork coming from the pen of Matt Busch. His paintings are always nice to look at, but I can't say as I've ever seen much -- if any -- of his pen and ink stuff. More previews for the book can be found at The Crisis Web Site.

Slave Labor Graphics offers up the second issue of MY MONKEY'S NAME IS JENNIFER, the new bizarre black and white series from Ken Knudsten. The first issue just came out last week and it's a winner. It's got a wicked sense of humor with an easy to follow art style. It's an off beat book I'd recommend if you're craving something to tide you over until the next SKY APE graphic novel.

PRIVATE BEACH VOLUME 1: FUN AND PERILS IN THE TRUDYVERSE is a collection of David Hahn's stories from 1995 that led the way to the current hit series, PRIVATE BEACH. There's a bunch of new pin-ups (from the likes of Mike Norton, Matt Haley, Matt Clark, and Dean Haspiel), an introduction from Alex Robinson, and some sketchbook and design material in it. The 88 page black and white book runs $13.00.

Amp Comics gives us the new SHADES OF BLUE #7, with art still by Cal Slayton, and writing by James S. Harris and Rachel Nacion. This time, there's a new baddy in town, and she's an ice skater. This looks like more insane fun from an already-askew title. Since it's also the first part of a new three-issue storyline, it might also be a good beginner's issue.

Avatar Press offers up a collection of Warren Ellis' ATMOSPHERICS, complete with a new introduction, cover painting, and a behind-the-scenes section on the paintings of artist Ken Meyer. It's $6 for a square bound 48 page black and white comic, so you'll have to decide if the price is worth it for you.

Speaking of Black Bull's BEAUTIFUL KILLER preview comic, Avatar is doing a 10-page "sampler" comic for the upcoming Ellis/Jacen Burrows comic, SCARS. For only 75 cents you get six pages of story and a four-page essay from Ellis. Truthfully, I don't think this is a bad idea. What do you have to lose? 75 cents ain't much these days. I wouldn't give up one of my normal monthly reads for such a thing, but if you dig around behind the cushions of your sofa, you might find enough to cover this one. The mini-series, itself, will be six issues long when it starts this fall.

Peter David is writing a follow-up to the not-yet-completed HAUNTED mini-series at Chaos! Comics. This one is subtitled "Gray Matters," and features the same artistic team of Nat Jones, Kevin Conrad, and Todd Broeker.

Didja like the COLONIA trade that came out last month? The next issue of the series is due out from Colonia Press and Jeff Nicholson in May.

Com.X presents us with the most ironic solicitations of the month. CLASSWAR #4 is solicited with art by Trevor Hairsine, who is now known to be moving to Florida to join CrossGen and will thus not be drawing the issue. At the same time, Com.X is printing SKY BETWEEN BRANCHES #0 by fallen CrossGen star, Joshua Middleton.

Speaking of CrossGen, they're debuting Chuck Dixon's new series, THE WAY OF THE RAT in May. It's got art by Jeff Johnson and Tom Ryder, with coloring by Chris Garcia. It's got a martial arts theme, a princess, a thief, and a talking monkey. What more do you need?

The first CRUX trade collects the first six issues of the series for $16 at the end of May, and it's one I'd recommend. Steve Epting's art is fabulous throughout the series, and Mark Waid's story carries along nicely. It's one of CrossGen's prettiest books, up there with RUSE and SOJOURN.

Fantagraphics has a very interesting book coming up called THE COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY VOLUME ONE: JACK KIRBY. It's a 12" x 12" book packed full of interviews, essays, and art from the King of Comics throughout his career. It's 120 pages for only $19 and features some color sections. It includes the illustrated letters he wrote to his wife while he was overseas serving in World War II.

Harris Comics serves up something for the Mark Millar completist. It's VAMPIRELLA VOLUME 1: NOWHERESVILLE, a collection of the three issues of the series he did last year, with art by Mike Mayhew. It's not a bad trio of stories, but it's nothing you couldn't live a full life without. I'm still more excited about Dawn ("Little Red Hot") Brown's work in the regular series that appears in the same month.

IDW gives us VANISHER, a $13 black and white trade paperback story written by Chuck Dixon, with art from Andres Klacik, and a cover by Ashley Wood. It's 80 pages long and tells the story of a time traveling little boy. It's good clean fun for the whole family, and a nice little action/adventure piece that Dixon is so good at crafting.

Two of my Oni Press favorites team up for MUTANT, TEXAS: TALES OF SHERIFF IDA RED #1. It's the first of a brand new four-part mini-series by writer Paul Dini and artist J. Bone. That J. Bone is quickly turning into the busiest artist in comics. His name pops up everywhere. He just did a Sunday Comic, Gobukan, on Oni's web site, too. While it seems to owe a little to SKY APE, it's a really funny concept that I'd like to see more of.

If you're looking for anything -- ANYTHING -- from Frank Quitely these days, your best bet might come from Titan's forthcoming MISSIONARY MAN graphic novel. It's a full color 80-page reprinting of the story originally serialized in 2000 A.D. Quitely does a new cover for the book, which is the traditional Titan oversized 9 x 12 inch softcover format for $15.

Top Shelf is offering an interesting project by Scott ("Big Clay Pot") Mills, called TRENCHES. It's a brand new graphic novel running 176 black and white pages. The story is set in World War I, and features two brothers in the trenches doing what they can to survive. Price on the tome is $15. It's a softcover presentation.[Comics Spotlight Magazine]

Finally, there's a new comics magazine in town. It's called COMICS SPOTLIGHT MAGAZINE, and debuts in May with a Spider-Man tribute issue. Here's the info, ripped from the press release announcing the new magazine:

"Comics Spotlight is an old-fashioned, honest Question and Answer magazine that interviews the creators behind some of the greatest comics ever.

"Each quarterly issue of the 80-page, comic size magazine will spotlight a different aspect of comics, and the first issue kicks off with the first family of Spider-Man-the Romita's! John Sr., John Jr. and long-time Marvel veteran Virginia Romita are on board for the first issue. In addition, Brian Michael Bendis, the writer behind Ultimate Spider-Man, and other creators, join us for a look at everyone's favorite wall-crawler."

I've written a lot in Pipeline over the years about what would make for a good comics magazine. This one doesn't have everything, but it certainly is taking steps in the right direction. It's 80 black and white pages for $4.95.

And if you're a fan of the on-screen adventures of your favorite super-heroes, then you might want to check out the premiere issue of COMICS CONTINUUM MAGAZINE, which is also focusing on Spidey, albeit not exclusively. That one is $6 for 64 pages, which I assume are color.

Quick correction: The correct title of Michael Avon Oeming's trade collection from Image is BULLETPROOF MONK. There is no simian featured in it.

On Friday, I'll be getting back to some reviews.

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 350 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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