Pipeline Previews - February 2004


Welcome back to PIPELINE PREVIEWS, the nearly-monthly look at what Diamond is offering through their catalog for a time roughly two months hence. This time around, we're looking at February 2004. It's the shortest month of the year, but that doesn't mean there aren't some exciting books out there for it. You just have to pick through a lot of stuff to get to them.

As usual, I would suggest picking up a copy of PREVIEWS for yourself. You never know what might strike you during that hourlong exercise known as "flipping through all the pages of PREVIEWS." At best, you'll discover a new and wonderful comic. At worst, you'll develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

Feel free to point out everything I missed over at the Pipeline Message Board. This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list, and I just about wore out my patience putting together this little column. I could spend an entire column on DC's offerings alone. They're really pumping out the trades these days.

In any case, here are some of the things that jumped out at me.

Dark Horse opens the catalog with CONAN #1, the start of the new series by Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord, and Dave Stewart. I reviewed the #0 issue here earlier this week, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Busiek can do with the character to get me interested in him. Cary Nord's art alone buys Busiek two or three issues of my attention.

If you missed out on the ART OF HELLBOY hardcover or just didn't want to pay the high price for it, Dark Horse is bringing it back in time for the movie in a special $30 softcover edition. The hardcover is a beautiful book. Any HELLBOY fan should put this on their wish list for the coming months. The oversized pages do the art wonders.

DC is starting a new line called DC FOCUS, but none of the titles interest me in the least. There are no "Gotta Have It" creator names on any of the credits, and the concept doesn't intrigue me all that much. Maybe I am growing sick of super-powered people, after all.

Nah. After all, the central characters to Howard Chaykin's new hardcover graphic novel, MIGHTY LOVE, are superpowered. That doesn't turn me off in the least. This is Chaykin both writing and drawing, so you know what the lead male character is going to look like, at least. The lead female will be easy to pick out - she's the one wearing less clothing. This might be the most exciting book of the month, but there's still another 400 pages to go in the catalog. It'll be tough to top this one, though. Even at $25 for 96 pages, I'm not scared off.

Phil Winslade is drawing Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray's latest series, MONOLITH, and that's all I need to jump aboard. The first issue is 56 pages for $3.50, and it is an on-going series. Check out the preview art on page 69 for a sample.

AQUAMAN begins "a shocking new direction" for the character. As much as I like what admittedly little of Will Pfeiffer's writing that I've read, it's still not enough to get me interested in DC's man of the seas. Sorry. Alan Davis' cover looks nice, but I don't buy books for their covers anymore.

Surprisingly well-hidden, considering how long so many people have been waiting for this collection, is George Perez's WONDER WOMAN: GODS AND MORTALS. The trade collects the first seven issues of Perez's legendary run on the character, and was at the top of many TPB wish lists for years. Final price is a mere $20, which probably means it's probably on the el cheapo paper. ::sigh::

TOMORROW STORIES finally gets its second collection, in the usual ABC hardcover style. $25 brings you one of the best anthology series in recent memory. Having Alan Moore writing the vast majority of it doesn't hurt.

Image Comics is soliciting those Brian Haberlin coloring tutorial CDs that I reviewed here a couple of months back. It's $30 each, or $90 for all four.

Robert Kirkman begins his usual barrage of titles in the catalog with CLOUDFALL: LOOSE ENDS, the follow-up to the "one-shot" that should be out any week now. E.J. Su's art is beautiful in the previews, so we'll have to see what Kirkman comes up with here.

If you were late to the PVP bandwagon, don't fret. In February, you can pick up PVP: THE DORK AGES, a new trade paperback compiling the first six issues that Kurtz published through Dork Storm Press. It's only $12 for the 128 pages, and is sure to generate a few laughs for those who like computer gaming.

SAVAGE DRAGON: END GAME is officially labelled the tenth volume in Erik Larsen's venerable series. This is being solicited as a trade paperback; I don't know if any hardcover is forthcoming. It collects issues #47-#52, which had some great sequences in them. This is pure Larsen madness on display.

Marvel offers up Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley's masterpiece of sequential art, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #52. Sure to be talked about for years to come and analyzed by scholars for its academic content, the issue boasts Bendis' Ultimate Cat Fight: Elektra versus the Black Cat. Look out, Eisner!

(And before I get any e-mail on it: the preceding paragraph was written with tongue in cheek. I still think the title is at the top of the superhero comic heap these days. I'm just poking a little fun. Bendis has been doing it with this issue for months now.)

DEATHLOK: DETOUR #1 and #2 are both solicited, despite being cancelled before the catalog was distributed.

And a whole bunch of lame duck Tsunami titles continue on their merry way.

Man, am I cynical this month or what?

Here's something to cheer me up: SPIDER-MAN LEGENDS Volume 3 collects the last batch of McFarlane's issues on that title. But I already mentioned it last month when they advance-solicited it. ::sigh::


HEROBEAR AND THE KID returns from Astonish Comics with a new three part mini-series titled SAVING TIME. This first issue is $3.50 for 48 pages, and has covers from Mike Kunkel, Tim Sale, and Humberto Ramos.

CrossGen's ABADAZAD #3 is on tap for February. In case you didn't hear, Mike Ploog is now doing all of the art for the first issue. The preview pages that CrossGen is passing around are gorgeous.

88 MPH Studios made a big splash in San Diego this past summer, and are just now starting to release some comics. Finally, GHOSTBUSTERS and TRON 2.0 hit shelves in February.

Remember when I earlier declared Howard Chaykin's MIGHTY LOVE to be the most exciting new release of the month? I jumped the gun. On page 294, Gutsoon! Entertainment, the people who bring you RAIJIN COMICS every month, are finally soliciting for the first collection of their amazing serial, REVENGE OF THE MOUFLON. At $10 for 190 pages, it's a steal. Over those 190 pages, you'll see a plane crash. Well, not quite. The plane will be halfway towards crashing over Tokyo by the time it ends. It's a loooooong descent. It's an amazing exercise in stretching out a simple little plot idea into something over-the-top with its drama and excitement. Never have speed lines been so important or necessary. This is my second favorite of all the RAIJIN serials just after the political thriller, FIRST PRESIDENT OF JAPAN. If you're not interested in the more mental games of that volume, MOUFLON should present you with something more visceral and exciting. I love this story, and I want to see more of it collected. Check it out in February. Please?

Oni Press is printing up TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS, an early mini-series drawn by Mike Allred. More importantly for this column, it's written by noted letterhack Malcolm Bourne. The book runs $12 for 112 pages.

Blue Line Press' SKETCH MAGAZINE's cover artist for February is Mike Wieringo.

Finally, Michel Gagne (via Gagne International Press) has a new book out called PARABLES: AN ANTHOLOGY. It's collecting six of his stories over 128 pages for a very affordable $19 (softcover) or $27 (hardcover). If you've wanted to sample his work, this is your best value.

Pipeline Commentary and Review returns on Tuesday with more reviews and analysis of the modern comics scene. In other words, I haven't a clue what I'll be writing about just yet.

Various and Sundry has been updated all week with more link round-ups, the usual DVD release listing, and a whole lot of griping about driving.

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.

Nearly 500 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.

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