PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER 2002
It's time for a trip through the new PREVIEWS catalog to see what good stuff is coming out in September 2002. As always, this isn't an exhaustive look at all the releases, but it can be quite exhausting. Pre-order what you want to be sure that you'll get it. Post to the Pipeline message board with any further suggestions or books you want to plug.
This is a boring month. I didn't even find anything I wanted to write about here until I hit the 112th page, and that's only to point out a guest artist. ::sigh::
G.I. JOE #10 features art by Jamal Igle, the best artist in the business currently not working on a monthly title that can do one and deserves one. He's got some other stuff coming up, too, which will hopefully be announced soon.
Once you skip past the endless parade of McFarlane toys after that, you get to the highlight of the Image section. It's the MIDNIGHT NATION collection, with all 12 issues -- and the WIZARD 1/2 issue -- under one cover. This is JMS' best comics work to date so far, with 12 solid issues drawn by Gary Frank. (Michael Zulli draws the 1/2 issue, and it's a beauty.) It's a meaty 288 pages for $30, but well worth it.
In the same month as SAVAGE DRAGON #103, Erik Larsen is releasing THE SAVAGE DRAGON COMPANION, a 64-page full color one-shot guide to the world of the Dragon. There are no ads in the book, and the final price is a mere $3. It's a pretty good price for such a thing. Even though these "source books" can often be dry, I'm looking forward to this one for a blast from my reading past. The 100th issue of the series is coming up in only a matter of weeks now. It will definitely mark the longest uninterrupted run of a series in my collection, and I've enjoyed most every minute of it.
Jim Mahfood makes the Image jump with STUPID COMICS #1, a one-shot of collected comic strips he's done on modern culture and all its bizarre twists and turns. Mahfood has a very interesting art style, and it seems just the type to illustrate his jabs at pop culture and politics. It's surreal enough to function properly.
That brings us to the Marvel listings, which opens with the debut of its MAX series, SHANG-CHI: MASTER OF KUNG-FU. It's a four parter, reuniting the team of Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy. I never read any of their original stories with the character. I've had very little interest in the character in the past. However, I'm willing to give this a shot now. My resistance to kung fu comics has weakened over the years, and I generally enjoy Gulacy's art.
After that listing, all the hoopla with Marvel's U-DECIDE month begins and I just turn it all off. See Tuesday's column for the explanation as to why. It's not worth repeating. Just shake your head, put your nose down, and plow through it.
X-MEN UNLIMITED has a nifty issue coming up, though. #35 is a "tribute" to Colossus as written by Greg Rucka (who might just be the last name I'd ever associate with a mutant book) and drawn by Darick Robertson, who seems to be drawing a little of everything these days, as his TRANSMETROPOLITAN commitment comes to its end.
Meanwhile, in the ever-so-popular hardcover section, two new books are scheduled. The fisrt is NEW X-MEN, collecting issues #114 through #126 (432 pages) of that series for $30. It's not a bad package for those stories, although the art jumps between Quitely, Yu, Kordey, and Van Sciver might be a more disconcerting on the oversized pages. I don't think I'll have too many problems pre-ordering this one, though.
The second is a bit more questionable. It's time for Marvel to stare at its own navel with THE MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA. Not even a new Alex Ross cover can save that for me. It's 240 pages for $30. I'm sure it'll make for a lovely Christmas present for some, but I'm not bothering to pay money to figure out who is stronger, Daredevil or Spider-Man, by comparing their "Power Grids." I know there's a market for this, but it just ain't me.
If you liked this week's trade paperback collecting the first set of Bruce Jones' stories on THE INCREDIBLE HULK, you'll be happy to know that the next four issues are being collected in September for $9 under the title "The Morning After." I'm waiting and hoping for a hardcover presentation of all of this.
The currently-running story arc in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN will be collected in September, just a few weeks after it reaches its conclusion. Paul Jenkins writes, and Humberto Ramos draws "Return of the Goblin," a 96 page collection for $9.
That brings us to the "back half" of the catalog, where all the non-exclusive companies live. While there's some interesting stuff coming, very little of it makes my fingers want to type faster.
Bongo is releasing a trade paperback collection of the first four issues of FUTURAMA and calling it the tongue-twisting FUTURAMA-O-RAMA Volume 1. It's $13 for those 120 pages. I've read a couple of those stories. They worked for me, although I'm a very infrequent viewer of the series.
The annual Most Talked About Bongo Comic is also listed in this PREVIEWS. BART SIMPSON'S TREEHOUSE OF TERROR #9 includes contributions from Ty Templeton, CBR's own Scott Shaw!, Hilary Barta, and CBR's other own Gail Simone. It's interesting that they've backed off a little bit this year from using outside names for the stories. They've got some funny people working on the issue, however, so it should come out all right. And this would be a good time to go have a chuckle at some ridiculous comic covers over at Oddball Comics, don'tcha think?
BONE hits its fiftieth issue already. Time sure flies. I started reading the series with issue #5. While I moved to the collected format for the series last year, it's always been a crowd pleaser and something to keep an eye on. It's going to be weird next year when Jeff Smith's opus is completed. On the other hand, that just means we can look forward to something new from him. Why do I get the feeling we'll be seeing something from him at Marvel after that? I'm just guessing; I have no insider knowledge on this.
CrossGen prints up its third collection of stories from their best launch title, SCION, with a beautiful new cover by Phil Noto, who can do no wrong in that department. The third SIGIL trade also hits, and will collect the last of Mark Waid's stories for the series.
Page 265 of PREVIEWS features a full-page interview (with nice small letters) with Chuck Dixon, discussing the art of writing comics. There's interesting stuff in there, for us process junkies.
RUSE #11 has art by someone identified only as "Ryan." I'm hoping that's Paul Ryan. He'd work perfectly on the series.
Michel Gagne's ZED hits its fourth issue in September. He's also soliciting for a pack of all four issues for a mere $10, $4 off the cover price. You can find it all on page 294. The series is a bit of breezy fun, with some interesting design work in it. You'll want to jump on this now, before Gagne's work hits the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS and you just become a bandwagon-jumper. ;-)
Oni's got the trade collection of Arthur Dela Cruz's somewhat experimental KISSING CHAOS coming in September. $18 gets you the 176 page trade at the same smaller 6x9 size of the original series.
QUEEN & COUNTRY has its second reprint volume in both hardcover and soft. This time around, issues #5-7 are packaged together under the title "Morning Star." The hardcover is only $20 this time around, and for the more fiscally minded of you, there is a more traditional $9 paperback edition. Q&C is one of the great series being published today. How it's not selling in the top 50 titles every month is beyond me. Greg Rucka's writing hasn't disappointed me yet on a single project, and this series is probably his high watermark.
Second 2 Some Studios is soliciting for the third issue of its latest mini-series, FADE FROM BLUE. I mention it here because I haven't had the chance to review the first issue yet, which came out a month or two ago. It's a very good opening issue about four sisters who depend on each other, but lead completely different lives. It has clear writing from Myatt Murphy and clean art by Scott Dalrymple, whose only sin is in drawing that shiny hair look in a black and white title, where the coloring effects can't temper it. I hope to get to a full review of it soon, but don't pass up the chance to read it if you see it in your store. The first issue is only a buck, anyway. Give it a shot. The third issue is up to $1.50.
Doug "Earthworm Jim" TenNapel is releasing CREATURE TECH, a brand new graphic novel, through Top Shelf Productions. There's not a whole lot to go on from the solicitation, other than it being "an outrageously adventurous graphic novel that subtly examines the interplay between science, religion, and family." It's black and white, 208 pages, and $15.
Next week: Some reviews and stuff. Exciting, isn't it?
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