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Pipeline Previews for May 2004

PREVIEWS OF MAY 2004

[Previews]Ever month, Pipeline Previews returns to take a look at the behemoth of a catalog that is PREVIEWS, hoping against hope to find the next big exciting thing. Or the thing that just tickles my fancy. Or causes chuckles. Or is worthy of 50 words of commentary.

In any case, I recommend picking up a copy of the catalog for yourself, flipping through it, and placing an order with your local comics shop to better the odds of getting the comics you want when they're finally released.

Once again this month, I'm starting with the "back half" of the catalog.

About Comics continues to release one interesting book after another. This time around it's COMICS PROSE, a collection of prose short stories written by some of comics' greatest writers. You'll get stories from Kurt Busiek, Max Allan Collins, Dennis O'Neil, Peter David, and more. It's $10 for 18 pages.

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AiT/PlanetLar has perhaps the most exciting release of the month with TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD: 100 STORIES. Before there was the comic book, Tom Beland drew one page gag stories based on his own life. It's where many of us first discovered his work and fell in love with it. Now, 100 of those pages will be presented over the course of 136 pages for a mere $10. This is the best value of the month, by far.

Slave Labor Graphics also fills the need for short short stories with Scott Mills' SEAMONSTERS AND SUPERHEROES #4. This one promises more wacky zaniness for $2.95 than you could normally fit in a simple 24 page comic.

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Avatar Press presents CBR's own Rich Johnston with his new mini-series HOLED UP. I can't wait for the first review that talks about how X-FLIES was so much better. Then Johnston can buy John Byrne a drink to commiserate over the fan mentality that "your older stuff was better."

Checker Book Publishing is reprinting the first seven issues of the original STAR TREK comic book series. The funny part about this book is that the artists had very limited information to go on, and hadn't seen the series yet when they drew the book. You'll get bizarre looking sets this way, and an Enterprise whose nacelles spit fire. STAR TREK KEY COLLECTION Volume 1 is due out in full color in May for $23.

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If you like Dark Horse's reprints of Mac Raboy's FLASH GORDON, you might also want to look at ALEX RAYMOND'S FLASH GORDON, Volume 1. Checker is reprinting Raymond's strips two years at a time. This full color book will set you back $20.

Summertime Comics is coming out with THE SKETCHBOOK OF RYAN WOODWARD. You know him best as the creator of INVINCIBLE ED, currently published by Dark Horse. The only question for this sketch book remains, "What style will it be drawn in?" Yeah, some of us still liked the cartoony look to ED better than the more realistic attempt of the second half of the series. The book is $10 for 96 pages.

TokyoPop solicits for the third volume of PLANETES, but uses text from a different book all together. Don't get worried if you're skimming through the book and see that the series ends with the third book. I don't think it does. It's just another PREVIEWS goof-up. TokyoPop isn't alone in that. The aforementioned STAR TREK collection is credited to Winsor McCay in the solicitation text, for one example.

TwoMorrows is running with more Mark Evanier columns. P.O.V. reaches its third collection with SUPERHEROES IN MY PANTS. You may make your own joke about how long it will be before Marvel or DC send a cease and decist over trademark infringement on the title. $13 gets you 200 more pages, complete with new Sergio Aragones illustrations.

They're also printing up BACK ISSUE #4, with the focus landing squarely on Wolverine, in time for the character's 30th anniversary. John Byrne's art leads the way, with more faithful pencil reproductions of the character from the likes of Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Adam Hughes, Marc Silvestri, and more. This one is $6.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

Dark Horse scores another hardcover anthology with THE DARK HORSE BOOK OF WITCHCRAFT. Dark Horse's usual suspects -- Gary Gianni, Mike Mignola -- are represented here, along with Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson, and Scott Morse. It's only $15 for the 96 page full color book.

Keith Giffen's SYN gets the trade paperback treatment at the end of June. Retailers, thus, have an extra month to ignore another Rocket Comics series. I read and enjoyed the first couple issues of the quirky robot-controlled earth series. This book collects the first four issues of the series, I think. It's 120 pages. Maybe that's 5 issues? The solicitation text doesn't mention. UGH

DC brings back Chuck Dixon for RICHARD DRAGON, the return of a character nobody realized they had missed. Heck, I never heard of him before this series. It seems he's some sort of kung fu something-or-other. The details don't matter. This is Dixon reuniting with Scott McDaniel. I need no other reason than that to pick this book up.

Alan Davis returns to the DCU with another prestige format series, ANOTHER NAIL. This is a sequel, obviously, to the excellent THE NAIL series that he did a few years back with Mark Farmer on inks and L. Lois Buhalis on letters. Both return for this one, and we can only hope it means more of the same beautiful style of art we saw the first time around. The prestige format means, at the very least, that it'll be reproduced on good glossy paper. It's three issues at $6.95, so you might want to wait for the trade, which will likely show up for Christmas. I can't wait that long for new Davis art, though. I'll take the prestige issues and skip the collection.

One of the best mini-series of the past few years is collected in a trade paperback in May. That is Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's EMPIRE, the story of an earth successfully taken over by a despicable despot. The twists and turns on this series are unbelievable and gut-wrenching. It's only $15 for the six issues combined.

Two years later, DC finally puts together the final TRANSMETROPOLITAN collection, as well. This one is titled ONE MORE TIME.

Image is releasing some stuff in May, but nothing I'm terribly excited about writing about. So, let's skip right over that and finish off with --

Marvel is doing some stuff with its X-Men books which features the return of Alan Davis to a monthly title. I give it four issues before there's a fill-in artist. Six, tops.

I've lost the separate Marvel catalog already. That's just one more strike against the thing. I do remember there being a second volume of John Byrne's FANTASTIC FOUR in the solicitations, though. That's very good news.

Wizard is releasing a JIM LEE MILLENNIUM EDITION hardcover book. It features a sketchbook, checklist, interview, and plenty of other art from across his career. Sounds pretty cool. It'll be $30 for 256 pages. Not a bad deal.

That's it for May 2004. "Pipeline Previews" will return next month for a look at June's releases. Be sure to return here each and every Tuesday, in the meantime, for Pipeline Commentary and Review's weekly dose of comics mayhem.

Various and Sundry chugs on with Oscar talk, AMERICAN IDOL chat, web crack, SCO being idiotic, and more.

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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