Pipeline2, Issue #154


[Previews]The following is a quick run through of some highlights of the latest PREVIEWS catalog. You are all encouraged to pick up a copy yourselves and flip through it. There's a wealth of interesting stuff in there every month, and pre-ordering it may be the only way to ensure that you get everything you want. (Yes, I'm assuming you use a reputable retailer. Color me the eternal optimist.)

If you don't want to read through 1800 words of me spouting off about the glorious trades and new releases for August 2002, then I will let you hit the "back" button on your browser in just one minute. Do me a favor and consider the next paragraph, if nothing else:

SPARKS. Page 214. Slave Labor Graphics. It's a 440 page black and white trade paperback by Lawrence Marvit. It's the story of a tomboy grease monkey and the robot she creates. The robot has a lot to learn about humanity and so, as it turns out, does the girl. Five issues were published in single-issue format. They comprised the first 200 and some odd pages of this amazing story. The last 170 pages are finally finished to complete the story. I can't recommend this book highly enough. I put it up there on the shelf right next to THE COPYBOOK TALES for the kind of trade that I want to make sure everyone reading this column considers purchasing. It's just that good. For a full column's worth of reasons as to why, click here. Please. Thank me later.

Two other highlights for August/September, before I move on. The next two books are only about a half step below my excitement for SPARKS, but deserve your attention all the same.

Doubleday Books is releasing SHUTTERBUG FOLLIES in September. This hardcover reprints the entire BEE storyline from Jason Little's excellent on-line comic strip. It's 208 pages in total in a 9x6 inch format for only $25. If you want to sample what this book is about, I'd suggest a visit to BeeComix.com. I've stopped reading the strip on-line as I'm waiting for the conclusion to appear in this book.

Also, Top Shelf presents Rich Koslowski's THREE FINGERS graphic novel this summer. It's $15 for a full 144 page story about classic era cartoon characters living in retirement and remembering their past in documentary style. I saw some of the pages for this at the San Diego Con last year and fell in love with the project. It's slightly askew, it's bizarre, and it's enormously fascinating. It's an idea whose time has come.

Now that that's out of the way, there are other things of interesting. Lots of them, actually, but in the interests of time, I'll be sticking mostly with the trade paperbacks and graphic novels. As you might have noticed from my recent reviews, I've been reading through a bunch of them lately. There are more reviews yet to come in the next week, with DAREDEVIL: YELLOW and WHITE DEATH high on that list. There are, however, other titles without colors in their names worth reading. So let's see what's going to be there in August for all of us.

If you're a fan of LONE WOLF AND CUB, be aware that (a) the 25th volume in this masterpiece is due out at the end of September and (b) the plot information in the summary of the book carries some story synopses that constitute major spoilers. Live and learn. It's still $9.95 an issue and it's still the best monthly read for your money in comics.

Also from Dark Horse, JEREMIAH: GUN IN THE WATER is a $15 hardcover story imported from Europe from the series that inspired the Showtime series, JEREMIAH. Strangely enough, this is not the first book in the series. This is described as the "latest volume." I'll assume that the story is self-contained and relatively continuity-free for new readers.

DC leads off its solicitations with THUNDERCATS. I'm a Child Of The 80s. I just never watched this animated series. This return is meaningless to me, except that it carries Ed McGuinness' artwork in it. Augh!

If you want to get confused all over again, DC is offering up two thick trades to collect all of OUR WORLDS AT WAR, last summer's mind-numbingly massive multi-part epic. It doesn't reprint any of the one shot OWAW specials, however. Each volume is $20.

Sam Kieth's last creator-owned mini-series gets the collected treatment with the FOUR WOMEN TPB. It clocks in at 128 pages for a mere $18. This is one I stopped reading after the first issue in anticipation of an eventual trade collection. Looks like my patience is about to pay off. The series had mixed reviews, but with Kieth you can never be sure what you're getting. That's half the fun.

Ed Brubaker's excellent crime series, CATWOMAN, gets collected in a volume titled THE DARK END OF THE STREET. Not only does it put together the first four issues of the series, but it also reprints the four part storyline from the back pages of DETECTIVE COMICS that started it all off. There is some remarkable storytelling and inventive layouts from the pen of Darwyn Cooke in here that won't disappoint you.

BATMAN: BRUCE WAYNE -- MURDERER? will put the good half of the never-ending epic under one cover. I'd love to see what they'll put in a BRUCE WAYNE -- FUGITIVE? TPB. I can't keep track of the detours that series takes. I hope DC can.

BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE Volume 2 is a nifty proposition. It collects a lot of those black and white back up tales from BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHTS, along with a selection of new 8 page stories done specially for this volume. Even better yet, it's a hardcover in a slightly over-sized format. Looks like DC is learning from Marvel at last. The only down side is that the 176 page book will run you $40. It's due out the last Wednesday in August, and I'd suggest shopping around for a place that will offer it at a discount. Even 20% off will make this a must-buy. It's even got a black and white painted Alex Ross story in it.

Image has but two new trade paperback offerings in August, and the one that interests me is POWERS Volume 3: LITTLE DEATHS. This one puts together issues #12-14, as well as the standalone story from issue #7, the COLORING AND ACTIVITY BOOK, and the ANNUAL. Just to round out the package, a non-POWERS related crime story, KEYS, is reprinted here. It's the first story from Bendis and Oeming together. 224 pages. $25. Bendis puts together some of the best trades in comics right now.

(For what it's worth, the other Image TPB is the latest installment of RISING STARS.)

Marvel's big announcement is its new hardcover, CAPTAIN AMERICA: RED, WHITE, & BLUE. This one is 192 pages and features an all-star roster of high level creator talent. In addition to reprints of work by Frank Miller, Jack Kirby, and Jim Steranko, it also features new stories by Alex Ross, Paul Dini (those two are in all these projects), Paul Pope, Mike Deodato Jr., Mark Waid, Frank Quitely, Brian Stelfreeze, and tons more. It's a black and white book with spotted colors. It's also $10 less than the DC BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE book. Don't know if Marvel's HC is over-sized, like DC's, but it's still a relatively high price disparity.

In case you missed the hilarious return of Steve Gerber's favorite waterfowl, HOWARD THE DUCK gets a trade paperback collection in August for $15. It contains all six issues of the not-yet-completed MAX mini-series, featuring art by the woefully overlooked Phil Winslade.

Buddy "Deadpool" Scalera has a new comic coming out from his company, After Hours Press. It's called PARTS: THE SITCOMIC. For $3, it's a 24 page sitcom done in comic book form. Not a bad idea. Maybe it'll be one that catches on, too. Here's a bit from the press release Scalera passed along for the book:

"Parts: The SitComic" is Scalera's self-published title that will appeal to people who love sitcoms like Seinfeld, Drew Carey, and Friends. "Parts: The SitComic" is a lighthearted view of life at an automobile parts department. "We're going straight for the heart of prime time television sitcoms here," explains Scalera.

"Parts: The SitComic" is drawn by Nick Diaz. "Nick is a new talent who I discovered online," says Scalera. "He's got a smooth, natural style perfect for a reality-based comic like Parts."

Sounds good to me.

Did I mention SPARKS yet? It shows up on page 214, officially.

Team Red Star strikes out on its own through the "Archangel Studios" label with, amongst other things, the second RED STAR trade paperback, entitled NOKGORKA. It follows the same oversized 9 x 12 inch format the first one did.

Astonish Comics is printing HEROBEAR AND THE KID in a hardcover collection. It's the first 5 issues with extra sketchbook section, an animation cel, and more. It's a little pricey at $50, but at the rate these issues come out, you might as well enjoy them when you see them. With any luck, a sixth issue will see print before STAR WARS: EPISODE III. I'm not holding my breath. Still, it's wonderful stuff and if you haven't read it before, it'll be worth your time.

BONE VOLUME EIGHT: TREASURE HUNTERS appears in hardcover for $24. I'm a little behind on my BONE reading now, but feel OK with that since I gave up buying the monthly book in favor of these all-but-guaranteed collections. The series reads better this way.

Oni's big new release is JASON & THE ARGOBOTS, a new four issue black and white mini-series created by J. Torres (COPYBOOK TALES, ALISON DARE) and artist Mike Norton (THE WAITING PLACE). It's got everything you could ask for -- kids, myths, and big robots. Pretty cool.

Like I said at the top, these are just some of the highlights from the new PREVIEWS. I purposefully skipped over a lot of other interesting titles for the sake of space. Flip through the catalog and pick out some of the other interesting titles for yourself, and then talk about them on the Pipeline message board.


Saturday, June 8th marks the fifth year since the publication of Pipeline #1. In that time, I've written more than 400 columns. And next week, I'll be adding five more.

Pipeline Daily returns with new columns every weekday next week. There'll be some art included to celebrate this august occasion, comic book giveaways, and more.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday.

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 400 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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