Previews and Portents, July 2012

As I’m sure we’ve mentioned before, Matt and I are both giant fans of Chris Sims’ Invincible Super-Blog.  One of my favorite recurring features was Chris vs Previews, where…well, I’ll let you follow the link, but it was a monthly highlight of the site.  Well that feature isn’t around anymore (much to Sims’ eternal pleasure I’m sure), but since I tend to look forward at comics anyway, I thought I’d pick up a Previews from my LCS and see if I could find some cool new books to check out.  And at the very least it would give me the opportunity to make some snarky Internet comments.

So let’s take a crack at the first of what will almost certainly be a series of one.

DIAMOND

  • It looks like Diamond is trying to kick off Free Comic Book Day in July, which is A-OK with me.  Since Diamond is for retailers I’m not sure if these are intended to be freebies, but given the low price tag for bundles of 20, it seems likely.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tales from the Crypt, Axe Cop, Cow Boy, and Adventure Time all have issues out, although one publisher curiously absent is DC.

DARK HORSE

  • Ghost #0 – I never read the original series, but between Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto, this should be a really solid book.
  • Dark Horse Presents #16 – Golden Age crime reprints are obviously turning into a big business, as the Archive format and high price tag on back issues make buying collections a better and better idea.  But touting “Crime Does Not Pay” as a name independent of the content?  Well that’s not much of a draw, friends.
  • Axe Cop: President of the World #3 – I had no idea a new mini-series was coming out, but it’s a happy surprise.  Plus look at that cover!  Seriously, that is messed up.

  • Crime Does Not Pay Archives, vol 3 – Now THIS is what people want to see: reprints of the original Golden Age stories!  But fear not, we’ll see a LOT more by the end of Previews.  In fact, I’d venture you could spend $500 just in Golden Age crime archives.

DC

It’s Zero Month again, after 18 years, if you’re still a DC reader.

  • Sword of Sorcery #0 – Was there anyone out there begging for more Amethyst books???  Aside from Dan Mishkin, who’s feeling pretty burned by DC on this one.
  • Justice League #0 – Scary Captain Marvel betrays an almost complete misunderstanding of what made Captain Marvel special.  So well done there, guys.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #0 – Hey, so Joe Chill is back!  I have to admit, I think Batman works better when he didn’t know who killed his parents.  It allows for the whole “he’s out there somewhere so I still have a chance to catch him” motivation, which I dig.  Still, I was never going to pick this up anyway.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #0 – “Learn how Jason Todd came back to life after being killed by the Joker.”  I know how he came back: Superboy Prime punched something.  But in another, very real sense: no.  I will not learn this horrible thing.
  • National Comics: Rose and Thorn #1 – Well sure, why not.  I feel like DC’s hydra heads aren’t talking to each other like they should be.  Which of DC’s umpteen fractured realms does this live in?  Does it even matter anymore?
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #3 – If James Robinson writing wouldn’t sell you already, the description “HE-MAN and TEELA batter in the ocean against the murderous MER-MAN!” should.
  • Punk Rock Jesus #3 – This looks cool and Sean Murphy is awesome, so buy it.

IDW

  • Transformers: Regeneration One #83 – I’m so excited for this I can hardly stand it! 
    Does anyone know if any of the other IDW TF titles are any good these days?
  • Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2 – Mark Waid alone would be enough to get me onboard with this, but Chris Samnee won me over on Daredevil, so I’m double-sold.  (Not in the literal sense, I’m only getting one.  Probably.)
  • The Crow #3 – New Crow titles tend to stink, but it’s been long enough since the awful Image run that I’ve forgotten the pain and am willing to give it another go.  As an aside, one of these days I’ll have to talk about meeting James O’Barr at Denver Comic Con, which was enlightening, to say the least.

Image

  • Happy #1 – Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson teaming up?  Yes please, and why has it taken so long?  This book is going to be messed up, and it’s going to be amazing.
  • Thief of Thieves vol 1 – Seven issues for $15 is the way to go, not five issues.  I’m looking at you, Fatale vol 1!
  • It Girl and the Atomics #2 – Holy cats, this looks fun! Plus the Mike Norton art looks really solid, if substantially different than Allred’s.

Marvel

Anything and everything you could want with Thanos is out this month, which I’m all for as long as it’s well-written.  I also never really looked to see, but a TON of Marvel books ship twice-monthly.  Way more than I expected.

  • Amazing Spider-Man #693 & 694 – The coming of Alpha, Spider-Man’s new sidekick.  Dan Slott loves Spidey too much to do anything insane, so I have faith he’ll pull it off well.
  • Space Punisher #3 – Space.  Punisher.  I loved Frankencastle so I shouldn’t judge this too harshly, but Frank Tieri’s attachment doesn’t fill me with hope the way Rick Remender’s did.

Ardden Publishing

  • Atlas Unified #5 – I’ve never heard of this title OR Ardden Publishing, but the description on this Tom Peyer book sounds great.  “When a godlike madman schemes to grant time sentience and enslave it, Atlas Original heroes Phoenix, Grim Ghost, Wulf, and their human allies must perform an unthinkable mission: to kill the Frankenstein time-stream.”  Even if Frankenstein time-stream doesn’t mean what I want it to, Peyer sounds like he’s back in full Hourman-mode, and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Avatar

  • Fashion Beast #1 – Man, will Avatar ever run out of old Alan Moore work to have people draw?  (No.  No they won’t.)

Bluewater

  • Dorian Gray #3 – Man, this would sound incredible if it weren’t put out by Bluewater, a publisher known for their Bluewater-levels of quality.
  • The Misadventures of Adam West #6 – BW just licensed the likenesses of a bunch of old-school celebrities, didn’t they?  Because this sounds like a mess.  And not a fun train wreck mess, just the regular shitty kind.

Kaboom!

  • Snarked #12 – The conclusion!

Dynamite

  • The Shadow #6 – Written by Garth Ennis!  How did I not know this was a thing?!?!  Onto the pull list it goes!

Dynamic Forces

  • Hit Girl Statue – Err…Who is this for, exactly?  And can we round them all up so we know where they are?

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

  • A Wrinkle in Time GN – Long a personal favorite, this adaptation of the Madeleine L’Engle novel by Hope Larson shows promise!

NBM

  • Bubbles & Gondola HC – The free ComiXology preview was very sweet in a “Goodbye, Chunky Rice” kind of way.  This may be a new classic (and the two Eisner nominations don’t hurt that perception).

New England

  • Tick #101 – The Tick meets Madman!  I’m hooked, but the $7 price tag has me more than a little leery after #100.

PS Artbooks

Speaking of those Golden Age crime/horror/sci-fi classics:

  • Adventures into the Unknown vol 2
  • Planet Comics vol 1
  • Out of the Night vol 1
  • Skeleton Hand vol 2

Okay, maybe that takes just just shy of $250, but still, that’s a lot of classic archives!  and call me crazy, but it feels like a good deal.

Apparel

Okay, so maybe this is a little cheesy, but I love there being a Goon mask.  Good for Eric Powell, and good for comics!

Orders must be in to your LCS by July 18, 2012 and are scheduled to arrive in September.

This Week’s Comics

A VERY interesting batch of comics this week.  Here are the noteworthy titles coming out on Wednesday.

  • COMIC BOOK COMICS #6 (OF 6) – I wouldn’t have given this a second thought, but Comics Alliance mentioned this title the other day, by Action Philosophers team Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavy.  So, despite it being the last issue of a miniseries I’m going to snag it.
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #600 – And the original name and numbering of the FF’s title returns, as we all knew it would, to live alongside FF. 
  • GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS #9 – This is make or break time for KoM, as diminishing returns move this from a must-read to a thing I’ve been reading.  Make this a good one, IDW.
  • INFINITE #4 – The Rob.
  • MILK & CHEESE DAIRY PRODUCTS GONE BAD HC – Milk and Cheese — Evan Dorkin’s series about dairy products gone bad — was very much a product of it’s time.  But that’s not to say there’s not some high-quality laffs in with all that mayhem.  And now all the strips are collected in one hardcover!  While I don’t recommend reading more than 2-3 at once (the gags tend to get repetitive), I do recommend this book.
  • POGO COMP SYNDICATED STRIPS HC VOL 01 – I’ve been looking forward to Fantagraphics’ kickoff of Walt Kelly’s Pogo run for quite some time. They do such a great job with their other collections I expect nothing less than greatness here.
  • SECRET AVENGERS #19
  • TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ULT COLL HC VOL 01 – For $50 I doubt I’ll pick this up immediately, but if you’ve been looking for an Absolute edition of the original TMNT run, this is the book for you.  I admit, I have been…
  • WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #2 – By all accounts Jason Aaron’s new X-Title has been a revelation.  Onto the pull list it goes.

Call me crazy, but I really dig this layout.

Ditto this panel. Strong work here. It’s been remarkably difficult to sort out my feelings on Godzilla Legends #1.  To a certain extent it feels like a cash-in.  Without big-name creators like Eric Powell or John Layman, it seems a bit like a try-out book.  We’re dumped in the middle of the story without any clue as to who the (human) characters are, what they do, or what this “G” logo everywhere is.  In fact, writers Matt Frank and Jeff Prezenkowski spends more time establishing Anguirus as the Hank Pym of kaiju than anything else. Frank’s artwork is fine, but somewhat inconsistent in his depictions.

And yet…there are some really strong moments that won’t let me dismiss the book.  I mean, the underdog thing really works for me, as they set up Anguirus as a monster who’s never won a battle and yet still fights as hard as he can.  And for Frank’s lack of polish, there are some really nice layouts and panels that really make me see his vision.  While I’m not sure how long I’ll want to stick with this one, there’s real potential here, and since Kingdom of Monsters is drifting somewhat aimlessly it’s nice to get a series of done-in-one stories.

But no matter what you think of the points I’ve made so far, this is indisputable:

Art Adams’ cover is INSANE.

Apparently proving that I’ll give anything recommended by Chris Sims a shot, I picked up Mudman #1.  Paul Grist’s work on Kane and Jack Staff never really clicked for me, but I wanted to give his work another shot. Mudman seems to be more in the Grist style.  That is, good, cartoony art and a somewhat scattered story.  Like the protagonist, I spent most of the issues somewhat confused.  And whether it was intentional or incidental the drifting between the real action and hallucination/dreaming wasn’t differentiated enough.  I’ll give it another issue to decide for sure, but if you like Grist’s past work there’s no reason this will let you down.

That’s it for this week and I’ve updated my running pull list.  What are YOU looking at?

Random Links For Your Weekend

Man, it has been a long, LONG time since I’ve done a link round-up, and I have so many browser tabs open these days it’s crashing my computer.  So, in the spirit of enlightened self-interest, please help me get caught up.


Random Links For Your Weekend

This Week’s Comics

After a relatively surprising burst of posting, I’m excited to keep the momentum going.  Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • AXE COP BAD GUY EARTH #1 (OF 3) – I’ve expressed my love of Axe Cop in the past.  The trade was incredible and well worth picking up, but I have trouble keeping up with webcomics.  Apparently the Nicolle brothers are catering to my demographic now with an Axe Cop miniseries of new material, not reprinted from the webcomic.
  • BATMAN BEYOND #3
  • FIRST WAVE #6 (OF 6) – I thought this wrapped up months ago!  I’d been wanting to read this for a while, but the $4 Rule prevented me.  I’m doing pretty well digging up cheap back issues, though, so this gets added to the pull list.
  • JOE THE BARBARIAN #8 ( OF 8 ) – As opposed to First Wave, I have noticed the absence of Joe’s concluding issue.  Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy’s modern-age Narnia adventure has been a lot of fun, and I’m quite anxious to see how it wraps up.
  • MARVEL ZOMBIES SUPREME #1 (OF 5) – Can we just agree that the Marvel Zombies thing was awesome, but best left concluded?  Mashing MZ up with Squadron Supreme seems to be the crossover nobody demanded.
  • THUNDERBOLTS #154

One book I forgot to mention was Skull Kickers #6, notable because one of the four short stories is written by Chris Sims of L.E.M.U.R. favorite blog The ISB. You may recall I gave the first issue a try and was fairly nonplussed.  In the months since then it feels like the entire Intarwebz has rallied around it, so I was eager to give it another try and support Sims’ burgeoning print-comic writing career. The result was a decent comic that gave me some good chuckles, but not really enough to get me to continue with the book.  There are good laughs in Skull Kickers, but I think my problem is that the two nameless main characters are blanks slates and seem to exist not as characters in and of themselves, but as excuses to link jokes together.

Sims’ story — “The Blood Curse of the Amazombies” — kicks off the book, and is a fun little story that starts off with a nice premise and ends with a fun twist, but never really sucks me in.  I suspect that is mostly due to issues printing or inking, because I had some issue making out some details of Joe Vriens’  artwork.  Adam Warren’s story, a long digression on the pros and cons of axes vs swords, was quite funny, but the real highlight of the book was the short tale by Brian (Atomic Robo) Clevenger and Jim Zub.  Brief yet hilarious , Clevenger jumps right in, tells his joke, and gets out without too much padding that would have killed it, and seeing Zub’s Chimerihydraskluuaag gave me the biggest laugh in the book.

That’s it for this week.  My monthly pull list has been updated, and now that March is right here I’m hoping books from this year start showing up in discount bins soon.  What are YOU looking at?

Random Links For Your Weekend

Random Links For Your Weekend