If you listen closely you can hear the jingling of the approaching holidays. The distant sounds of seemingly endless days of shopping, cooking and cheer are almost here, but as we digest our Christmas turkeys and Hannukah latkes, there won't be visions of sugar plums dancing our heads. Rather, these comics will fill our dreams during those long winter naps.
December is absolutely loaded with diverse and exciting projects from the big five publishers. 2014 has been an amazing year for comics, and it is ending with a bang. Here are the books we believe will be the cream of the holiday crop.
"Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primitive Directive" #1
IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios
Writers: Scott Tipton, David Tipton
Artist: Rachael Stott
Cover: Rachael Stott, Juan Ortiz
Grab your Mego dolls and prepare the Wayback Machine for a mash-up of sci-fi's two greatest properties of the 1960s. The crew of the Enterprise will boldly go where no one other than Charlton Heston (and that other dude from "Beneath the Planet of the Apes") has gone before, a planet where apes are in control of the world. Hats off to IDW and BOOM! for taking two universes that could work perfectly together and finally making them one. It will be fascinating to see how the two distinct narratives will come together.
"Garbage Pail Kids Puke-tacular"
Writers & Artists: Peter Bagge, Dean Haspiel, Various
Cover: Mark Pingitore, Peter Bagge
Speaking of nostalgia. From the land of leg warmers, "Silver Spoons" and Ronald Reagan comes those gross out bubble gum cards of yesteryear as the snot and phlegm laden "Garbage Pail Kids" arrive in comics for the first time. This might seem like a straight-up attempt for IDW to cash in on the nostalgia train, but Peter Bagge? Dean Haspiel? Those are two of the greatest indy creators on the scene, and they're bringing their unique styles to the beyond-disgusting world of the "Garbage Pail Kids." If you like a generous dose of puke, vomit, mucus, pus and yuck with your A-list alt-creators, than the "Puke-tacular" is probably for you.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Covers: Julian Totino Tedesco, Mike Deodato Jr.
With season two of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." having debuted, things are getting very exciting for fans of Phil Coulson, his agents and the turncoat Grant Ward. The show may have stumbled out of the gates, but Marvel's debut TV series ended with a bang and hit the ground running with this week's premiere. And now, the excitement of the series will extend into the Marvel Universe. It's not every day a major comic company takes a bunch of players from a hit TV show and inserts them into their publishing universe, but that's just what is happening here. And the fact that it is being brought to fans by Mark Waid, whose "Daredevil" is a monthly 'must read,' and Carlos Pacheco makes the prospects of this title even more intriguing.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art & Cover: Michael Avon Oeming
This isn't the first time Bendis and Oeming have relaunched their book about a police precinct that specializes in super human crime, but this time, they're taking advantage of the current hype for the "Powers" TV series beginning soon on the Sony Playstation Network. "Powers" has been rocking and rolling for over a decade delivering noir tales set in a superhero universe. Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker are two of the most well-realized characters in comics, and we're looking forward to seeing what Bendis and Oeming have up their sleeves as they introduce the world of "Powers" to potential new readers.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #11 & #12
Writer: Dan Slott
Issue #11 Art & Cover: Olivier Coipel
Issue #12 Artist Giuseppe Camuncoli
"Spider-Verse" has just gotten started, but it looks like the main event could be in December as the Amazing Spider-Man takes on the Superior Spider-Man. Yes, Peter Parker and Otto Octavius did battle on the mental plane while Otto inhabited Peter's body, but this is the first physical confrontation between the Amazing and Superior versions of the wall-crawling hero. When Otto wore the webs, he believed himself to be superior, and in many ways he was, gaining financial success, a stable love life and overseeing a less crime ridden city. But would Otto be superior if he had to deal with a fighting mad Peter in the flesh? December should hold an answer to that, plus an appearance by Miles Morales, Silk and 'the most surprising Spider-Character yet?' We can't wait to see how Dan Slott sorts this all out.
"All-New Miracleman" Annual #1
Writers: Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan
Artists: Joe Quesada, Mike Allred
Covers: Gabriele Dell'otto, Jeff Smith
For decades, fans believed there would never be new Miracleman stories published, but here they are. In December, Marvel will be delivering a "lost" story crafted by a writer born to write the character, Grant Morrison, with rare interior art by Marvel's chief creative officer Joe Quesada in a tale set before the legendary "Battle of London" story. The prospect of Morrison writing Miracleman as exciting as it gets, as his innovative voice fits the standard set by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman so many years ago. Add to that a brand-new story by the always fascinating Peter Milligan with art by Michael Allred, and you have one hell of a package. Fans have been waiting a very long time for more Miraclema,n and Marvel seems to know what a rare and special opportunity this annual presents.
"Justice League 3000" #12
Writer: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art & Cover: Howard Porter
This isn't the modern New 52 Booster Gold teaming with the Jamie Reyes version of Blue Beetle. No, this is the Post-Crisis/Bwah-ha-ha-ing duo fans fell in love with so many years ago, written by the writing team that brought the pairing to prominence, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. The return of two pre-Flashpoint characters to the DCU is an unexpected and huge deal as this is the first time any have appeared in a New 52 book. This version of the Blue and Gold team is one many fans never dreamed they would see again, and with it being brought to them by the two writers who made it so special in the first place, December can't get here fast enough.
"Robin Rises: Alpha"
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Andy Kubert, Jonathon Glapion
Cover: Andy Kubert
The Death of Damian Wayne and the "Robin Rises" saga has been a bright spot for DC storytelling as of late (though it's admittedly been less fun for Batman himself), and it all ends here. The quest for Damian's body has brought Batman to hell and back, as well as to Apokolips and every point in between. With this concluding issue, DC promises to end the arc with a new Robin, though Damian wearing the mask is not a lock. Peter Tomasi has been delivering one of the best long form superhero stories for months; it will be interesting to see if he can stick the landing and present readers with a hero worthy of the Robin identity.
"Secret Six" #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Ken Lashley
Cover by Dale Eaglesham
Another welcome and unexpected addition to the New 52, the Secret Six are back, and they arrive under the watch of the writer who guided their adventures for so long. Gail Simone and her Secret Six are one of those character/creator marriages that just work, and we can't wait to see her new Six. How they differ from the classic version of the team, who will make up the Six, what will their purpose be, and how will they fit into the landscape of the New 52? Before the reboot, "Secret Six" was one of DC's most consistently solid titles, one of the series which was cut short by the reboot despite fans being hungry for more. Come December, we get to add a second serving to our comics holiday plate.
"Bitch Planet" #1
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art & Cover: Valentine De Landro
2014 Best Writer Eisner Award nominee Kelly Sue DeConnick brings fans "Bitch Planet" for Christmas. Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" has placed the "women in prison" grindhouse genre back in the spotlight, and DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro take it a step further by presenting a sci-fi women in prison story. Released through Image Comics, a publisher always happy to test boundaries, we can't wait to see just how far DeConnick and De Landro are willing to go.
"East of West" #16
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragotta
"The Apocalypse: Year Two" kicks off one of strangest and most experimental comics on the stands. For those who missed year one, "East of West" presents the sweeping, dystopian saga of a fractured United States as a sci-fi Western, featuring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This book has been Jonathan Hickman at his experimental best, a long form, risque sci-fi/horror mash-up that defies convention. Fans tired of the same old, same old need to do themselves a favor and hop on the second year of "East of West" because Hickman and Dragotta are delivering some of the best work of their careers. "Year Two" promises more of spotlight on each of the biblical Four Horsemen and the rise of the Great Beast, something that's been teased since the series began.
"Hellboy and the BPRD" #1
Dark Horse Comics
Writers: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
Art & Cover Alex Maleev
For twenty years, Hellboy has been a constant on the comic scene. Really, any issue of Mike Mignola's greatest creation is buzz worthy just because of the sheer quality and consistency he has been bringing to the table for decades, but this new title, with artist Alex Maleev onboard, is especially worthy of the spotlight. Maleev is a master of dark realism and should bring an exciting new dynamic to the world of Hellboy and the BPRD. Set in 1952, this new title is a flashback series focusing on a young Hellboy's first days with the government agency designed to defuse supernatural threats. This is relatively unexplored territory for Hellboy and could serve as a great jumping on point for anyone wanting to hop on Mignola's creepy train ride.