PREVIEWS OF JUNE 2004
You know the drill by now, right? Pick up PREVIEWS. Scan through every page. Pre-order what you want if doesn't feature Spider-Man/Wolverine/Superman/Batman so you'll stand a chance to buy it when it's released. Hold out hope that enough others do the same so that the publisher deems the books worthy to publish.
Not too negative this month, now am I?
Let's start in the back of the catalog.
About Comics is publishing a 244 page collection of 24 Hour Comics as created this past weekend. As such, no creator information is available, which will no doubt tick off retailers who have no idea if a big name creator will be included who would spike sales up. Honestly, I do not envy them this one. In the end, I imagine that the stores that hosted 24 Hour Comics events will order and sell better numbers than the others, who will order (at best) one for the shelf and hope for the best.
Active Images is releasing TIM SALE: BLACK AND WHITE. A glorious 160 page hardcover, the book will feature art spanning Sale's entire career, with plenty of annotations. It's $25 for the book, or $40 if you want it autographed.
AiT/PlanetLar is soliciting for URSULA, an 80 page black and white love story for $10. It comes from creators Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, and that's all I know about it. If you check out the AiT/PlanetLar website right now, though, you can see a couple of other upcoming books that are on the publisher's scheduler. Just click on the "Worthwhile Reading" dropdown box and scroll to the titles you haven't heard of before. Those would be them.
DEMO and SCURVY DOGS also ship in July.
Slave Labor Graphics wins the prize for the strangest comic solicitation copy since KILL ME KISS ME. This book is titled EGG STORY. Oh so trendily touted as a graphic novel, here's the solicitation copy for it:
These eggs talk. And in their conversations they decide that sitting in a cold, dark refrigerator waiting to get gobbled up is definitely not for them. So they stage a daring escape. Carefree, the eggs have loads of fun. But life takes a grim turn when one of them turns into a suicidal maniac who yearns to become a souffle, and it all ends up tragically (and messily) on the kitchen floor. What does an egg do after witnessing so much pointless random death and destruction? For Feather, a good-hearted boy egg, the answer is simple. He becomes a ninja.
$3.95 for that. How can you say no?
Antarctic Press has a color full page ad on page 223 for a comic which features a nubile lass whose pants are shredding off her body, with just a hint of exposed thong on the sides. The long-sleeved belly-baring shirt is surviving just fine, though. Odd. You can see it for yourself if you click on the "Junction 17" link on this page.
The Astonish Factory has two new trade paperbacks in July. The first is THE LAB VOLUME 1, with 120 pages of Scott Sava's CGI comic. It promises to include new stories, which is good since it's tough to fill 120 pages on only two issues' worth of comic.
The first SPOONER collection is coming up after only one issue has been published. It helps to be based on a comic strip with a built-in archive, doesn't it? Both are $15 and full color. SPOONER runs 150 pages.
Atomeka has THE DAVE JOHNSON SKETCHBOOK at a reasonable price: $6.99 for 56 black and white pages. It might seem expensive for a black and white comic, but at the today's rate for art books, this one is pretty good.
Finally, we can move past the 'A' companies in the catalog. Does every company really believe that they will get better positioning in the catalog if their name starts with an 'A?' That can only work for two or three publishers. There are four publishers, however, whose company name starts with 'AA.' And they can't wait for Dave Sim to leave the catalog so they can move up even higher.
CrossGen solicits seven comics and six collections this month. The big question is just how many of those thirteen books will ever see the light of day. RAVEN HOUSE is already delayed.
It should be noted that the SOJOURN solicitation is wrong; Bill Rosemann will not be the writer on that, after all. Sorry, DEADLINE fans.
Drawn and Quarterly solicits for SCRAPBOOK: UNCOLLECTED WORK 1992-2004, a trade paperback bringing together plenty of Adrian Tomine's previous uncollected, er, works. Tomine's OPTIC NERVE is one of those indie comics that I really enjoy, but rarely get the chance to talk about. He has a great clean line, and uses it to tell interesting smaller stories. This book runs 205 full color pages for $25.
Dynamic Forces is offering a signed 1602 hardcover. Did Marvel solicit such a collection yet?
Gemstone gives us a Very Special Issue of UNCLE SCROOGE, wherein the tile character runs around with a young Teddy Roosevelt. Not only can I not wait to read this one, but I'm also picking up a second copy for a TR-loving friend of mine. Now that's cross promotion. I wonder if I should pick up a third for my American alma mater's History professor.
IDW has that 24: ONE SHOT comic you've heard about recently here on CBR and elsewhere. I'm such a huge fan of the show that this is an easy pre-order for me.
IDW is also giving us a Chuck Dixon-penned horror graphic novel, SEVEN BLOCK. It's drawn by Dixon favorite, Jorge Zaffino. The two also worked together on PUNISHER: KINGDOM GONE and who knows what else. It's tough to keep track of Dixon's bibliography sometimes.
Mad Science Media asks, "Remember COMICULTURE?" It was a cool little magazine anthology on a slow boat to China-type schedule. Lasted two issues and then disappeared. Nice packaging, but it didn't grab the market's attention too much. Now, they're relaunching as COMICULTURE ANTHOLOGY VOLUME 2 BOOK 1. Yes, in the spirit of Every Other Publisher in comics today, they're going straight to the trade paperback, starting with all the material that would have been in the third and fourth issues of the magazine. This one runs 160 pages at a 10x8 inch size for $15. That includes more than 15 new stories. Hopefully, they'll start doing press on this sometime soon, because I haven't hear boo about it yet.
NBM hides one of my picks of the month on page 332. It's finally time for volume 2 of CITIES OF THE FANTASTIC: THE INVISIBLE FRONTIER. I reviewed the first volume here last year when it came out. Any time there's new Francois Schuiten art on the market, that's a cause to celebrate. It's $18 for this 72 page oversized hardcover.
NBM will also be publishing his art book in America later this year, but I couldn't wait and pre-ordered the French edition a couple of months back. His stuff is that good.
Oni gives what might be considered a major spoiler in its solicitation for QUEEN AND COUNTRY #26. Maybe it's something that's been obvious all along. I don't know. I'm still a collection behind on reading the series, but I thought I'd warn you here, just in case.
They also have no less than three new original graphic novels listed in their section this month, so check 'em out to see what might be up your alley.
Titan Publishing announced this week that they're publishing a second volume of their much beloved WRITERS ON COMICS SCRIPT WRITING in August. For now, though, you can settle in with Tom DeFalco's COMICS CREATORS ON SPIDER-MAN, a 256-page book packed with interviews, sketches, and artwork from a long list of Spider-Man creators, including Brian Bendis, John Romita, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, and more. This one will set you back $17.
TokyoPop enters Diamond's big leagues with a redesigned solicitation section that rivals anything CrossGen ever had. It's a great and easy to read layout that's sure to spark interest in some new books. It's an impressive lineup, and I would urge you to give them a look when you consider your pre-orders. I'm looking at TRAMPS LIKE US and KINDAICHI CASE FILES Volume 8 ("No Noose Is Good Noose") this month.
Also, keep an eye out for their upcoming television commercials.
Too Hip Gotta Go Graphics scores the biggest surprise solicitation with the trade paperback of SLEEPING DRAGONS. I reviewed the series when it first came out in December 2000. It's good stuff, and $15 for these 176 pages (all five original issues) is not a bad deal.
Finally, can you believe Quentin Tarantino is writing a novelization of KILL BILL? Check out page 409. I suspect a ghost writer.
THE FRONT OF THE CATALOG
For this veteran SAVAGE DRAGON fan, Image gets the "Publisher of the Month" award for July 2004. While the cornerstone title might be in a bit of a hiatus while Erik Larsen finishes the gigantic 100-page issue #115 and assumes Publisher duties at Image, Robert Kirkman is there to fill in the gap. Actually, Kirkman is ready to fill every gaps Image might ever have.
First, he's doing a new SUPERPATRIOT mini-series with E.J. Su, a talented artist whose style is a perfect fit for this book. If you've seen TECH JACKET, you know what I'm talking about. Second, he's writing GOD WAR, starring the gods from Erik Larsen's DRAGON continuity, with art by DRAGON fan made good, Mark (CAPES) Englert.
If that's not enough Kirkman for you, Brit returns in BRIT: RED, WHITE, BLACK & BLUE, a new $5 48 page black and white installment in the prestige format series. Cliff Rathburn does the art. He's currently doing a wonderful job with the gray tones on THE WALKING DEAD. So many people today do gray tones on their black and white work, but too many of them are far too dark and muddying. Rathburn keeps it light enough to read the art, while still adding dimensionality.
Wait! There's more! INVINCIBLE #15 is written by that Kirkman guy and drawn by Ryan Ottley, as usual.
Next month: Kirkman sleeps!
Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn's fun mini-series, FIREBREATHER, gets the trade paperback treatment on July 14th. Firebreather is the story of a teenager boy whose parents are divorced. His father -- and here's the catch -- is a dragon. His son is, thus, the freak at school. It's Peter Parker with a fantastic twist and some really nice art. I think this is Andy Kuhn's finest work to date. The trade includes plenty of pin-ups and an introduction from Brad Meltzer.
A book first mentioned here at CBR, FLIGHT is getting grand packaging from Image. It's being released as a 208 page full color book at $20. The promo art is all you need to see to sell you on this. Read the article linked above for details.
The book that leaves the worst taste in my mouth for the month is THE PRO HC. No pun intended. I think I have three copies of this thing already in different forms. The hardcover includes a new eight page story from Garth Ennis and Amanda Conner, though, which makes it very tempting. It's $15 for 72 pages, so it's like buying one of those European albums.
Plus: A new NOBLE CAUSES mini-series begins, the second and concluding issue of Gaijin Studios' THE RIDE, Valentino's new normalman book, the third volume of KANE, and more.
Marvel, in the meantime, is churning out more stuff, most of which you saw last month. This month, however, the issue numbers have been incremented! The big news is the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline starting up with AVENGERS #500. I'm not quite sure how much I care at this point.
The book from Marvel that I'm most excited about is AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, the hardcover collection of Kurt Busiek and George Perez's first year together on the title. It contains issues #1-11, plus the Pacheco-drawn ANNUAL '98. It is well timed, coinciding with the JLA/AVENGERS hardcover the following month and the "Avengers Disassemble" event in July. I wonder if DC is ticked off that Marvel is producing a hardcover Busiek/Perez AVENGERS hardcover mere weeks before their expensive AVENGERS/JLA hardcover hits stands?
Robert Kirkman has a story in SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED #4, drawn by Cory Walker. You just can't get away from him.
Todd (TELLOS) Dezago returns for MARVEL AGE SPIDER-MAN, including an adaptation of the Electro story that I once toyed with rewriting for the line. Never submitted it, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he did with it.
Still no name attached to the SPIDER-MAN 2 movie adaptation. You'd think they'd have that figured out by now. The movie lands in theaters in just over two months.
Former Marvel editor Marc Sumerak returns with a new series, GUARDIANS. He's not editing it; he's writing it. The days of Marvel editors not hiring their Marvel editor friends seem to be behind us once again. I can't wait for the return of Bob Harras' NICK FURY: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (Yes, that's sarcasm.)
I don't have the time or energy to delve into the offerings from Dark Horse and DC, but I do want to mention them here so I don't get outraged e-mails that I forgot them. Here you go:
Dark Horse is publishing a number of licensed titles. Also: a SHOCKROCKETS trade. That's not coming out until August, though, so I'll talk about it next month.
DC is publishing a lot of trade paperbacks, and slowly but surely swallowing up smaller publishers who become new imprints.
That about sums it up.
PREVIEWED NO MORE
Welcome back to "Previewed No More," in which I look at the corrections listed in the back of the order book to see what stories lay hidden deep in the shadowy recesses of PREVIEWS.
GEN13 OCTOBER SURPRISES never stood a chance, and has been canceled by the publisher. GEN13 used to be a sales powerhouse. And J. Scott Cambell used to be capable of drawing two issues of a comic book inside of two months. I'm getting nostalgic. Time to move on.
JLA KID AMAZO is listed as "Will Resolicit," so maybe it's just a matter of a creator falling behind schedule and not the whole project being shelved for reasons of low sales.
MISPLACED #4 has been canceled by Devil's Due, which is a shame. However, in a press release this week, Joshua Blaylock promises to finish before the end of the year.
"I apologize to the small loyal group of fans who support this book," Blaylock says. "I never wanted to get into this situation, but running the company takes so much time and concentration, something had to be put on the backburner, and since Misplaced is my "vanity project," it had to be the one."
HAWAIIAN DICK: THE LAST RESORT and KABUKI: THE ALCHEMY have been canceled by Image Comics. Of course, by now we all know where Kabuki is ending up. It seems likely that the Image P.R. Work and Hollywood stuff has merely delayed the next HAWAIIAN DICK mini-series. Keep an eye out for it sometime in the future. (This just in: A new interview with HD creator, Clay B. Moore, at Digital Webbing explains everything.)
Marvel formally canceled all four solicited issues of ANT-MAN, along with MARVEL MASTERWORKS IRON MAN HC, and the second volume of THE ULTIMATES.
Some company named NECA canceled a bunch of Punisher movie tie-ins. This means no Frank Castle bobblehead doll. Truly, the world is a lesser place today.
SAF canceled two more books while soliciting two new ones in the catalog this month. I have no idea if they're just attempting to create a new focus to their line, if they're in any sort of financial trouble, or if they just got ahead of themselves with their previous solicitations. You'll recall that they canceled a few other books last month.
Studio Ironcat canceled a raft of manga books. Three early issues of AMERIMANGA were canceled by the publisher, and the following three were dumped by Diamond.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
If you read Tuesday's column before the corrections went in, let me just repeat something: I goofed. The sales for BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHTS and SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY that I cited were both for reorders on previous months' issues. Both titles look very healthy. Don't cry for them.
Also, the Batman storyline has been part of the plans for MONOLITH since Day One, and wasn't callously tossed in there to boost sagging sales. It is, however, crazy enough that it just might work.
That's it for July 2004. Isn't that enough, really?
"Pipeline Previews" will return next month for a look at August's releases. Be sure to return here every Tuesday, in the meantime, for Pipeline Commentary and Review's weekly dose of comics mayhem.
Various and Sundry chugs on with more AMERICAN IDOL chat, new DVD releases, iPod creation mysteries, the best SURVIVOR immunity challenge yet, and wacky news stories.
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.