HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
To my fellow Americans: Happy Independence Day!
To my friendly British readership: No hard feelings. I kinda think it all worked out for the best in the end, anyway.
To everyone else: Happy Tuesday.
Of course, being a holiday on the usual Pipeline release day, there's every chance that this column won't go up until July 5th. If that happens, just pretend like it's Tuesday and play along.
If you are in the United States, though, be warned that the usual comics release date is pushed back to Thursday the 6th this week. Don't be the one that comic shops laugh at when you exuberantly burst into their store for new comics that aren't available yet.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER
The new PREVIEWS for September-shipping comics paraphernalia came out last week. As always, I'll be racing through it all - OK, most of it -- in this week's column. I'll point out some of the high points, mostly in the realm of trade paperbacks, hardcover collections, and assorted oddities. I recommend picking up a copy of the catalog for yourself, though, and taking a hard look at what's available for your pre-order dollar.
Let's start with what Dark Horse wants you to spend your money on as you go back to school:
STAR WARS: TAG & BINK WERE HERE collects the excellent misadventures of a couple of dopes who manage to find their ways into pivotal scenes of the Star Wars history to hilarious results. It looks like this trade paperback collects both mini-series to date featuring the hapless pair, all of which are hilarious. It's 104 pages for $15. No Star Wars fan with a sense of humor can afford to miss it. Mild Star Wars fans with a working knowledge of the movies (like me) will find much to laugh over in here.
ROMAN ALBUM: SAMURAI CHAMPLOO gives Dark Horse the chance to translate and reprint the Japanase art book featuring the latest series from the creator of the superlative COWBOY BEBOP. I have the Japanese edition of the BEBOP book in this series, and can tell you it's beautiful. Having an English-translated edition for this series should prove well worth the money, for just $18. Maybe if we all ask real nicely and this one sells well, Dark Horse might be convinced to go back and repackage the BEBOP one next.
Looking over at DC now:
The preview art from Shane Davis for MYSTERY IN SPACE gives me flashbacks to comics from the early 90s. Lotsa cross-hatching!
The big release is ABSOLUTE DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, featuring Darwyn Cooke's entire series inside one beautiful oversized slipcase. It's a paltry $75 for 464 pages in the format, and will be on sale October 4.
CHECKMATE #6 features the return of The Suicide Squad. With Amanda Waller in the comic's cast list, how could this not happen? Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir step in to co-write this two-parter with Greg Rucka, the busiest writer in all of comics.
52: WEEK 21 features a full-length story that brings back Infinity, Inc. If you're of my generation of comics readers, you remember the previous edition of that title well for its early Todd McFarlane art, back when his page layouts were spectacularly bizarre and all designy. He would settle down after that to try to tell the story more. You can argue the results amongst yourselves, but it was never boring.
If you're looking just slightly further back to DC's past, you can pick up NEW TEEN TITANS ARCHIVES Volume 3 in October. The second volume is relisted for September release. Both feature Marv Wolfman's stories with George Perez's art. And both are $50.
The next SHOWCASE PRESENTS phonebook features THE PHANTOM STRANGER. It's 544 pages of black and white comics from the likes of Denny O'Neil, Gerry Conway, Curt Swan, Nick Cardy, and more for just $17.
Meanwhile, Wildstorm is rebooting with WILDCATS: WORLDSTORM #1. This is the new series written by Grant Morrison with art from Jim Lee. It's on a bi-monthly scheduled to alternate with the nearly terminally late ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN ETC. I flipped through the last issue of CAPTAIN ATOM: ARMAGEDDON and couldn't make out heads or tails of what happened at the end of the series. It appears, though, that Captain Atom punched a wall and now the Wildstorm universe can start fresh. That begins now.
WETWORKS reboots for the eight millionth time, with Whilce Portacio back on pencils. This time, they're dragging Mike Carey down with them.
Look out for Todd McFarlane's alternate cover to the WILDCATS issue, just as soon as Greg Capullo finishes drawing it.
DESOLATION JONES gets its first trade paperback. I didn't particularly enjoy the first storyline, but I know plenty of people were waiting for this collection before sampling Warren Ellis' newest series.
Alan Moore makes one last go of it at DC with THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: THE BLACK DOSSIER. It's the new hardcover tale of the LoEG in which Moore and artist Kevin O'Neill throw everything but the kitchen sink between two covers. You'll get stories told in 3-D, as text pieces, as a "Tijuana Bible" insert, and more. Amazingly, it's only $30 for the all new 208 full color pages.
FABLES fans have a new hardcover graphic novel to look forward to. Titled 1001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL, it features another Bill Willingham script, with art from Charles Vess, Brian Bolland, Michael William Kaluta, Mark Buckingham, and a few more. It's an amazing artistic roster for just $20. This one runs 144 pages.
Image takes over Tom Beland's TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD with a new #1 issue. As usual, it's 24 pages for $3. Beland is swearing that this is the beginning of a new era of regular monthly publication for the series. I hope he's right, because there's nothing I'd like to see more.
Scott Kurtz is breaking out his college newspaper strips and earliest mini-comics to present CAPTAIN AMAZING, a new 80 page black and white one-shot for $9. For that price point, I hope the book has a spine.
Robert Kirkman continues his one man publishing empire with the second edition of BATTLE POPE. Collecting issues #5-8 of the newly in-color series, you can follow the adventures of the Pope and Jesus for just $13.
He also has INVINCIBLE, Volume 7 collections issues #31-35. Man, they can't churn those trades out fast enough, can they?
LIONS, TIGERS, AND BEARS Volume 1 sees print at a new company now for $13. If you missed it at its previous publisher, here's your chance to catch it for the first time.
Marvel has been trying to bankrupt me for the past few months. Thankfully, they're giving me a month off in September. While there are a few books worth mentioning, it's not the overwhelming output that recent months have seen.
The fourth hardcover collection of Brian Bendis' NEW AVENGERS is titled THE COLLECTIVE. It collects issues #16-20 for $20. For those desperately trying to keep track of the ever-changing artistic roster on the series, both Mike Deodato and Steve McNiven are credited as artists for this book.
Ms. MARVEL Volume 1: BEST OF THE BEST gets a premiere edition hardcover for $20. It includes the first five issues of the Brian Reed-penned series, along with the new story from GIANT-SIZE MS. MARVEL.
HAUNT OF HORROR: EDGAR ALLAN POE is a premiere edition hardcover without the "premiere edition" name attached to it. It collects Richard Corben's three issue series of the same name. It's $20 for 112 pages in black and white. The original text of Poe's poems that are adapted here are included in the book. So you can write this one off as an educational purchase. Congratulations.
DAREDEVIL Volume 6 finally answers the question of how Marvel will eke out one more glorious oversized hardcover edition of the Brian Bendis/Alex Maleev run on the title when there are only six issues left to collect. Simple: it also includes issues #16-19, which Bendis wrote with David Mack on art. It's $30 again.
I'm still bitter that that Bob Gale/Phil Winslade story remains uncollected.
If that's not enough Bendis goodness for you in one month, Marvel is also re-releasing his complete ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP collection as a trade paperback for $30. All 16 issues plus the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN SUPER SPECIAL are packed in there.
Never has a better title been chosen for a collection than FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN, Volume 1: DERAILED. This series has been derailed from the start, in the form of the Spider-Man family-wide crossover it started in the middle of, to the Civil War crossovers (sorry, "tie-ins") it now has to be respectful of. It's so screwed up that this first trade paperback contains issues #5-10 of the series for $15. If you're a Peter David fan, it's still a worthy read, I imagine. If you're a Mike Wieringo fan, he's got art in some of the issues in here, but not all of them.
Potentially the most interesting trade paperback of the month for me, though, is the collection of DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON: SAMURAI BULLETS. I had no interest in this mini-series when it began, but word of mouth and some entertaining preview pages and podcast interviews from writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray really piqued my interest. The art from newcomer Khari Evans, likewise, looks cool. It's just $15 for the six issues the book collects, and I'm in.
FANTASTIC FOUR VISIONARIES: JOHN BYRNE revs up to volume 6 this fall, for $25. It collects F4 #276-284, THING #23, and SECRET WARS II #2. It sounds like an odd assortment, but I'm sure it all fits in together nicely.
That does it for the collections, but there are some other interesting Marvel releases to look at, too.
First, congratulations to Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley for setting the modern-day Iron Man (pun intended) record for stick-to-itiveness with ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #100. Erik Larsen has been at it longer, but SAVAGE DRAGON has never really been known for its regular schedule. Dave Sim did CEREBUS for 300 issues with a very regular schedule, but it's amazing how quickly the world forgets it. This is really a record set decades ago by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby with FANTASTIC FOUR. Bendis and Bagley are poised to break that one now in a few more months. And Bagley's cover for the 100th issue has more Spider-Man on it than you could shake a stick at.
Speaking of "The Man," Marvel's tribute to its President Emeritus begins, with Lee scripting STAN LEE MEETS SPIDER-MAN and STAN LEE MEETS DOCTOR STRANGE. It's the latter one which interests me the most, since Alan Davis is drawing it. The preview pages are beautiful. And Bendis and Bagley are doing the back-up tale for it, also. (Note that Marvel switched the solicitations text between the two titles in the PREVIEWS listing.)
Finally for this column, WIZARD continues to provide the timeliest comics coverage with an article about the "LOST Phenomenon! The Best Comic Book On TV." It only took them two years to catch onto that. They swear they have the inside track on what's happening in the third season. Riiight.
Next week, I'll look at some of the comics featured in the back of PREVIEWS. Right now, I need to go eat some hamburgers and watch some fireworks.
The Pipeline Podcast has its own homepage now. The podcast, itself, updates every Tuesday night. The show notes for it are updated at some point later in the week.
My blog, Various and Sundry, features a look at where Ken Jennings is now, the unfortunate side of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, more Mac and DVD news, plus a video mashing up Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Star Wars. It has to be seen to be believed. Coming up soon: More ranting on why the internet is broken and my plan to fix it.
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