PREVIEWS, PART TWO -- FRONT OF THE BOOK
Last week's column wasn't meant to indicate that all the interesting or commentary-worthy books are in the back of PREVIEWS each month. Image, DC, Dark Horse, Wizard, and Marvel still put together plenty of exciting stuff.
Most exciting is the solicitation from Dark Horse for LONE WOLF AND CUB. When I first got active in fandom around 1990, this was one book I heard a lot about but never saw. Now, Dark Horse is putting together an ambitious publishing program to put this thing in print: twenty-eight trade paperbacks of 300 pages each for the next 28 months. That's a lot of comics. And it's only ten bucks a month. Frank Miller is doing new covers for the whole shebang. I've got to be honest with you: I don't entirely know what the big excitement over this book is. I've never read it before. But many people whose opinion I respect have called it a masterpiece and have anxiously awaited its reprinting for far too long to ignore. Plus, I'm curious to read more manga, and Frank Miller has called this an influence on him. Ergo, I'm on board.
DC is publishing a bunch of GREEN LANTERN books. I'm passing.
PREACHER ends with issue #66. I'm not a fan of the book, but for those who like long-form comics, here's your final hurrah. Enjoy.
The most interesting things from DC this month for me are the collected editions.
PROMETHEA gets collected in a fancy hardcover edition for $25. That includes the first six issues. The promise here is that no trade paperback will be published before at least Christmas time.
The first seven issues of YOUNG JUSTICE are being published under the title YOUNG JUSTICE: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, for $15. This is a mere trade paperback, but it is a great group of stories from Peter David and Todd Nauck. (It also includes the lead story from the YJ SECRET FILES #1 by some others.)
TRANSMETROPOLITAN: THE NEW SCUM continues the aggressive collection program for the title, putting together #19-24, plus the short story from VERTIGO: WINTER'S EDGE. That's available August 2nd for $13. TRANSMET probably reads best in collections, so it's a worthy addition to the bookshelf, even if you have been buying all the issues individually.
The second edition of the THE SPIRIT archives is due out for $50. I still haven't broken down to buy the first book, but it's ever-tempting.
Finally, ASTRO CITY: THE TARNISHED ANGEL is available in hardcover only for $30, collecting the 7 Steeljack issues of the series. 224 pages of great storytelling from Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Will Blyberg. This one won't go softcover until at least February 2001.
Over at Image, the collection theme continues with the new release of SAVAGE DRAGON TPB BOOK 1: BAPTISM OF FIRE. This one is more complete than the original collection. It puts together all of the original mini-series, plus all the new pages added in for the 99 cent series a couple of years ago. This book can be yours for $15, and runs 160 pages.
Speaking of Dragon, Erik Larsen has recently decided to redesign the front covers of THE SAVAGE DRAGON. This will start with issue #76. The new layout, done with letterer Chris Eliopoulos, can be seen here. It's an interesting retro-70s look.
Top Cow is releasing the RISING STARS PRELUDE book, as long expected, in August. It was published as a preview issue to the series in its original black and white penciled form. Well, it's been inked and colored and will show up for $3 at stores in a couple of months. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the black and white preview $5? This industry amazes me so…
Michael Turner headlines a FATHOM SWIMSUIT SPECIAL. There's nothing wrong with a good pin-up book every now and again. I always thought the annual Marvel swimsuit specials were fun little books. It was a nice way for a company to have fun with its characters and even poke a little fun at itself at the same time.
But the thing that sticks out to me is the promo image from the Fathom special. Take a look at it pictured here.
Whose right leg is that she's sitting on? It doesn't attach to her hip!
Marvel's got a couple of interesting first issues coming out. The first is a 3-issue mini-series, DOOM, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Leonardo "Blaze of Glory" Manco. Pages 154 and 155 of PREVIEWS have a bunch of penciled samples from this series and they look gorgeous. This promises to be a little offbeat, but really cool in the end. (Stay tuned, Dixon-philes. My long-awaited look at his writing style and current writing assignments will show up in this space shortly!)
The other #1 is SPACEKNIGHTS, which is a follow-up to the late and lamented 1980s series, ROM: SPACEKNIGHT. I've never read that series, but I know a lot of people who were - and still are - crazy for it. Jim Starlin is writing this now, with art by Chris Batista and Chip Wallace. It's got something of a Japanese manga flavor to it, but the early designs and previews look pretty cool. It's not necessarily my thing, but it is something apart from the standard super-hero Marvel fare. Rom, due to licensing issues, is not in this series.
DAREDEVIL #17, in the meanwhile, continues Brian Bendis' writing stint on the title, along with David Mack's painted art. This is the second part of the story and is scheduled for August 9th.
For those of you who are fellow DVD fanatics, and who may have enjoyed the EARTH X series, Graphitti Designs has put something together which looks like the comics equivalent of a 2-DVD boxed set. They've packaged the 14 issues of the series together in one hardcover. They've included all the promo and variant cover art. There's a new Alex Ross-painted epilogue section. There's a title page signed by all the creators. And there's even a CD with 25 musical tracks, 15 dialogue tracks, and a video combining live action with CGI that I believe Alex Ross had a hand in directing. It's not cheap at $95, but this is an exciting package.
I mentioned last week that I'm not the only one doing these PREVIEWS explorations. There are others, specifically, located here and here. And, of course, more picks show up at the Pipeline message board (most prominently here) from the reading faithful there, as well as all over rec.arts.comics.misc.