Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Flippin’ through ‘Previews’ – December 2019

We’re about to turn over the calendar yet again, and as we head toward Christmas, let’s check out the comics you can buy as gifts in … February? Yes, that’s right, Previews #375 is out, and we’re going to flip through it! And I don’t mean the royal “we,” as I’m joined by my partner in crime, Travis Pelkie, whose words of wisdom will be in black, while mine, as usual, are in blue. Yes, Travis hasn’t actually posted his own stuff on our blog in … holy crap, almost two years?!?!?!?, but he’s always ready to help guide you through the big ol’ catalog from our monopolistic friends at Diamond! So let’s go!

Man, it has been that long?  I thought I posted at least one or two things here or there.  But as always, I’m hoping to do better in the upcoming year.

You wished yourself a happy birthday this year, but I’m talking about actual, real content. That’s okay, slacker – the rest of us will keep actually, you know, working.

Harsh, but true.

And in not at all related news, I’m sure, my lovely girlfriend and I just celebrated our second anniversary.  Hi honey!

I’m sure they probably can be stopped


Hey, look! it’s the solicits!

Dang, Savage Dragon hits issue #250 this month (page 37). That’s pretty cool. I’ve read one trade of the book, and it didn’t really do anything for me (it wasn’t bad, just not that great), but that’s still very cool for Larsen.

I always like that he’s willing to change things up fairly regularly.  I remember when he hit issue #76 and thrust Dragon into a new universe, and holy shit does that mean that was … over 15 years ago?  Maybe closer to 20?  Damn I feel old.

The way he draws feet and legs will never cease amusing me

I like the premise of On the Stump on page 42, which makes the presidential races that much more literally wrestling matches, so I may go for this in trade.

100% by Paul Pope gets a new printing on page 52. This is a really good comic, so if you haven’t read it yet, pick it up!

Jeez, now I’m not sure if I have read it before.  I know I’ve read Heavy Liquid and Batman Year 100, which are both referenced, but I guess I’ll be picking this one up!

The trade for Dead Eyes is on page 54. Gerry Duggan and John McCrea are good creators, so I’ll probably check this out.

Definitely.  It’s only 4 issues but it’s only 10 bucks, so you know I’m all over that.

I thought the first volume of Analog was pretty good so I’ll be picking up volume 2 on page 55.

I thought Sex Criminals was overrated, but the teenage boy in me is giggling over issue 27 on page 72 and the XXX variant cover artist’s name, Aud Koch, which is possibly pronounced “Odd Cock”.

You’re not wrong about Sex Criminals!

Dark Horse:

It’s all the solicits for you!

I’ll probably get Bang! (page 78) in trade (as my new rule for Dark Horse is to get 4-issue mini-series as single issues and 5-issue ones in trade, as they seem to charge 20 bucks regardless of length), as it’s Matt Kindt and he’s terrific, although Wilfredo Torres on art doesn’t do much for me (he’s fine, but his work doesn’t thrill me). Apparently it’s about a bunch of exciting people all somehow connected to a science fiction writer, and apparently it’s all connected to Kindt’s Revolver, which came out several years ago and was published by DC. So … cool?

From what I remember, Revolver was probably my favorite of all of his works, so I will probably snag the trade as well.

Revolver isn’t bad, but if it’s your favorite Kindt book, you haven’t read enough Kindt books.

It’s been awhile since I read Revolver, I admit, and I’ve read several other works of his (including Mind MGMT, which is really good).  Maybe because it was relatively short and self-contained, I liked it more?

Man, that’s going to get beet juice into the carpet

Tomorrow on page 84 wouldn’t sound like something I’d be all that interested in, as a computer virus turned into an actual virus and wiped out most of the world’s adult population, and fraternal twins somehow need to get back together again, which, I dunno, sounds just okay. But then it’s written by Peter Milligan, so there’s that. Dang. I’ll think about it.

Yeah, I’ll be getting this in trade, because Milligan is the shit.

Lady Killer seems like an unusual choice to get a “Library Edition,” but there it is on page 94. I do like how it’s called “volume 1” when this collects all of it, but perhaps Joëlle Jones is planning more of it. Anyway, this is a pretty good series about a 1960s housewife who happens to be a contract killer. It’s fun, but this 40-dollar book would probably be worth it solely for Jones’s art blown up into bigger dimensions, because her art is superb here. I already own this, so I’m not getting it, but it’s not a bad price for what you get.

Yeah, this is a great series, but since I have the two trades, I won’t need this any time soon.

I’m interested in the two trades on page 96, Strayed, about a cat that can astral project and will do so to save the universe, and Triage, about a nurse who awakens on a world with her two doppelgängers, a superhero and a military commander of a post-apocalyptic world.  They have to team up to survive.  Both of these are 5 issue minis for 20 bucks.

I saw both of those and thought they sounded intriguing, but I’m mulling.

If you’ve never read “Master Race,” well, shame on you, but Dark Horse has EC Archives: Impact on page 97, which has that seminal story plus plenty of other goodies.

Yeah, I should probably get this just to have Master Race, although I think I have a copy of the Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics, which has it.

On the same page, we get Joe Kubert’s Abraham Stone, which I’ve never read but which I will be getting, because it’s frickin’ Joe Kubert. Western adventures by Kubert? Yes, please!

Ooh, that does sound good.

Whiskey for a dime? Sign me up!

On page 98 are two nifty-looking trades. Ruby Falls is about a young woman who becomes interested in a decades-old murder mystery, which apparently no one wants solved, and Everything is about a giant department store that makes the town it’s located in go a little nuts. Both sound keen.

I was interested in both of these when they were first solicited, so I will definitely be considering each.

Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter is in trade on page 105 for (sigh) 20 dollars (for four issues, mind you). I read the first issue and it’s pretty good, with really nice art by Lukas Ketner, but I didn’t read issue #2 yet, so I don’t know how it’s playing out.

Yeah, I’m bummed at the price, but it was cool enough sounding that I may go for it.  Reluctantly, mind you!


Oh, you know the solicits are here!

The Flash #750 shows up on page 2. Once again, I’m not sure how they got this numbering. According to the comments last month, our snarkiness about Wonder Woman was unfounded, because if you add up all her issue numbers from various titles, it’s actually pretty close to #750. But this comic debuted in the mid-1950s, right? I mean, this Flash? I know they got to #350 by the time Crisis on Infinite Earths rolled around, so there have been 400 issues of the comic in the last 33 years? I mean, I guess, but I’m not sure. Anyway, the solicit says they’ve been building to this “Flash Age” since issue #50. This is why all this renumbering shit is so stupid, because I can make a joke about they’ve been building to this for SEVEN HUNDRED ISSUES and far too many people will believe me. Come on, DC and Marvel. Knock it off!

IIRC, the Silver Age Flash series continued the numbering from the Golden Age one, so it started with #105 as I recall.  The Wally series went to around issue 231 or so, and they would have done the 52 nu52 issues and the 75-80 issues of this run.  So actually, the numbering is probably closer to #800, I think.  This Rebirth run has actually been pretty good, from what I’ve read.

Amy Reeder is back in comics with Amethyst on page 5. Good for her! I won’t read this, probably (okay, maybe I will, but I’m not positive), but I’m cheering for Reeder, who’s sweet and adorable and incredibly talented, so I want her to succeed!

I might get the trade.  I read the version they did with the nu52 and that was decent.  Maybe this run will allow them to print the original run too.

I dig the floating volcano with the pink lava and the purple smoke and the halo

Amanda Conner is drawing Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey on page 11, which is probably enough to get me to get the trade. Conner is a terrific artist, but she hardly ever does interior work anymore, so this should be keen.

Yeah, it’s probably a fun ride.

There’s another Joe Hill book on page 15 called Plunge, and it’s about a missing exploration vessel in the Bering Strait that begins sending out a distress signal after 40 years of absence. Yeah, it’s been done, but Stuart Immonen is drawing it, so I’ll probably get the trade.

I’m glad Immonen is doing something, because I thought I heard something about how he was retiring, but I could be wrong.  He’s always been so awesome, though!

There’s nothing original about this pitch, but it will look amazing!

Re: the cover of Hawkman #21 (page 37): WUT. DA. FUQ.

Oh, that variant is fine … oh my god, you meant the regular cover!  What is going on there!?!

Did his mistress give him permission to leave the sex dungeon dressed like that?

I’m so surprised that they cut the run of the Inferior Five in half and #6 is now the last issue on page 38.  So surprised …

Try to control your sarcasm, sir!

Oh, I see in the Dollar Comics on pages 82-83 that the original Amethyst 1 is being reprinted.  I’ll probably get the Black Mask and Cassandra Cain issues (Geoff Johns wrote the first appearance of her?), and the first Deathstroke issue.

I’m not sure if I’ll get Batman: Creature of the Night now or wait until a softcover, as the hardcover is 30 dollars on page 86. I just find it humorous that this book came out with some fanfare quite a while ago (dang, issue #1 came out two years ago?), and the final issue dropped a few weeks ago with none. But, I mean, it’s Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon, so I’m sure it’s a good book. I’m not sure why, if the final issue just came out, we have to wait three months for a trade. That seems silly. And we’re coming up on the 11th anniversary of the release date of the final issue of The Winter Men, so maybe John Paul Leon is a bad-luck charm if you want your comic to come out in a timely manner?

Well, I’m sure that last part is true, but he is awesome.  There are just so many awesome comics that it’s hard to keep up, especially with something that was originally going to come out 2 years ago.

I’m wondering if they’re going to actually print this DMZ Compendium on page 87 since there were new allegations about Brian Wood in the last couple months.

Presumably the solicit was done after the new accusations, right? Maybe not, but the timing seems to make sense. And maybe they’ll do it but downplay his involvement. I assume DC owns the series, so why not make money off of it?

I doubt DC owns the series but I suspect they’re trying to reprint it to stop it from going somewhere else.  As far as I know, the Vertigo books were mostly creator owned and had some sort of rights reversion clauses to let creators take them to other publishers if DC doesn’t publish them in a certain time frame.  That’s why 100% can go to Image, f’r instance.  But DC has cancelled other things recently that were due to questionable things going on irl.

Hmmm, yeah, that might be it – a “Watchmen” kind of thing. I just thought DC owned it because you always hear about them giving the rights back when creators want to take it elsewhere – I thought Steven Seagle mentioned that when he published some nice hardcovers of Crusades, the book he did with Kelley Jones. But I could be wrong. I wonder, if they are skeevish about putting Wood’s name on something, they just don’t let him have it back. Better Image publish it and take the PR hit than them, right? I still haven’t finished reading DMZ, but it was really good early on. It’s too bad that Wood has turned out to be kind of a douchebag, because the dude can write a comic.

I should probably get the Doom Patrol Silver Age trades on page 88, shouldn’t I?

Yeah, they’re pretty awesome.

I’ve always heard I should get Just Imagine … Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe, if only for the artists involved, and DC has a nice big trade (volume 1) on page 90. Very cool!

I’ve read the Flash issue, I think.  From what I recall, it was … ok.  Later Stan, not ‘60s Stan.  I also managed to get my hands on the complete omnibus HC of this stuff for quite cheap (less than 15 bucks) at a local Ollie’s store, which buys out stuff from manufacturers and sells it cheap.  If the readers have one in their local area, they should check out the trades they have.  They have a lot of neat Marvel and DC things for cheap!


Check out the solicits here!

On page 118 we have TMNT: Jennika #1, and there are things to be said. First of all, I love that Brahm Revel, who’s writing it, gets the credit for Guerrillas inside those parentheses that list what the writers and artists have done. Not because Revel didn’t write Guerrillas, but because the solicit writer bothered to spell “guerrillas” correctly when the actual comic couldn’t even get that. Well done, IDW solicit writer! Second, “Jennika”? Really? You couldn’t come up with a dumber name? You couldn’t find one female Renaissance artist to name her after? A quick Google search lets me know we could have has a Lavinia, a Plautilla, an Artemisia, or a Sofonisba. And whoever created this character went with “Jennika”. Yeah, that resonates next to Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello. Sheesh.

I get you, and an Artemisia would be cool, but if I’m understanding the letter from Revel on page 119, the character was around beforehand, but has now been transformed into a turtle (a la She-Hulk), so her name already existed.

Yeah, I’m not blaming Revel for the name at all, I’m blaming whoever named her originally.

I’m loving the cover to that Star Trek: Year Five Valentine’s Special on page 129.  Rock out with your Spock out!

Ew. Just … ew.

Spock will play you groovy and soulful love songs!

Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle is in trade on page 137, and I’ll probably get it. The first one was fun, so why wouldn’t this one be as well?

I’m interested because the artists are good!

I’m probably going to be getting the new Usagi Yojimbo volume, Bunraku and Other Stories on page 143, because I love Usagi!

I can’t remember, did you get the first issue of Mountainhead?  The trade is on page 144, and I like what I’ve read of John Lees, so I probably will get this, unless you tell me it’s awful!

No, I didn’t get it. I figured I’d just wait for the trade, and here it is!

I do like all things Dredd, so I probably will snag the 100 page giant on page 145, even though it’s basically a preview book.

Ooh, I like the Free Comics … HC book from Yoe and IDW on page 147.  I have a fascination with those giveaways, and it’s also got the first Neal Adams and Charles Schulz art.  Cool!

Learn all about the forests of Wisconsin!


Roll around in the solicits here!

Gosh, there’s a new Wolverine solo series (page 6). I’M SHOCKED!!!!! I just learned a few weeks ago about the HAWT CLAWZZZZ and now I can’t stop thinking about them and hoping that Benjamin Percy uses them at every opportunity. “Hey, Logan, can you grill us some steaks with your HAWT CLAWZZZZ?” “Hey, Logan, can you warm up my feet with your HAWT CLAWZZZZ?” “Hey, Logan, can you clean the frost off of my windshield with your HAWT CLAWZZZZ?” Man, life would be so much better if I wrote the X-Men, don’tcha think?

I do!  I forgot about the HAWT CLAWZZZ! because I heard about it further back than you did, but yes, it should be used at every opportunity.  HAWT CLAWZZZ!  (To the tune of Rod Stewart’s Hot Legs, obviously!)  I am liking the die cut cover because I love the Wolverine 50 die cut cover that this is most like, but it’s Chip Kidd, who I dislike, so …

You have a lot of weird issues.

OK, how and why is Franklin Richards a mutant and Valeria isn’t?  So weird.  (X-Men/Fantastic Four page 10)

Does Valeria have any powers besides being really smart? Maybe that’s why? I don’t know, it’s stupid but I’m just trying to justify it.

So apparently Ant-Man is fighting Swarm in his new mini-series (page 26). I APPROVE OF THIS SO HARD IT’S ALMOST INDECENT. How has no one thought of this before? Has someone thought of it before? How is Zeb Wells, of all people, the person who thinks of this? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

You’re right, I think, even though it’s not spelled out in the solicits.  That is a genius idea!

He’s on the cover of issue #2 on page 28!!!!

Plus he’s a Nazi!

Nebula gets a mini-series on page 32, with Claire Roe on art so it will probably look pretty danged good. I was just thinking about this the other day, when we were at the comics store, but how pissed off must Karen Gillan be? “Uh, yeah, we’re going to cast Zoe Saldana and she’s going to look pretty much the same, except her skin is green. Karen … yeah, we’re going to shave your amazing red hair and make you bald. Here’s a kajillion dollars?” If I were Gillan, I would have done the role only if I got 4% of the gross of all Marvel movies in perpetuity. Let’s hope she made a good deal. Yes, this is what we talk about at the comic book store. Why, what do you talk about?


Marvel’s Voices on page 41 is undoubtedly a good thing, even though it’s throwaway stories, but that is a great lineup of creators … Including Kyle Baker!  I will point him out even when I know you don’t like his stuff!  (Actually, it is relevant that he started as someone who worked in the Marvel Bullpen back in the ‘80s, and now 30 years later he’s doing more work for them!)

It’s a comic about a podcast? Dang, how 2020 of Marvel!

So in Tarot 3 on page 44, the Avengers and Defenders are fighting these guys, I guess.

You just love being so clever, don’t you, Pelkie?!?!?!?

I try.

Page 46: Gwen Stacy #1. The “never-before told origin of Gwen Stacy.” Fuck the heck, Marvel? The “origin” of Gwen Fucking Stacy? Um, she was born, she grew up, her mom died, she met a nerd who got her killed. That’s it. That’s the story. Why does everyone have to have an “origin”? Jeebus H. Christmas. Oh shit … they’re going to incorporate her kids with Norman Osborn into this, aren’t they? That can’t still be canon, can it? CAN IT?!?!?!?!?

Of course it is!  I guess if there’s an interesting story, it’s fine, but I don’t know who gives a rat’s ass about her story all that much.

I was reading another blog, and the person was pointing out that Amazing Spider-Man #39 (page 52) features the “classic (and under-utilized) Spidey-villain” Chance, and this person noted that he must be under-utilized because this person had never heard of him. The person is younger than I am, but not by much, and I found that odd, because even if you aren’t a huge Spidey fan, I would think most fans would know Chance simply because he was the first bad guy Todd McFarlane ever drew on Amazing Spider-Man. I mean, he is under-utilized, but it’s McFarlane, man! I know who Styx and Stone are because they showed up in McFarlane’s run! Anyway, Chance is in this issue. I actually dig Chance quite a bit.

Man, I didn’t know about that.  That’s a bit of a deep trivia dive.  I don’t know, is he any good?

Who, McFarlane? He’s all right. Or Chance? He’s kind of fun – he doesn’t take payments for jobs, just bets on whether he’ll get it done or not. Fun gimmick.

Yeah, Chance is what I meant.  You’re a funny guy.

Paul Pope is doing a Ghost-Spider cover?  Cool, but they didn’t hype it up very much, did they? (Page 56)

Yeah, that’s a great cover, too.

True dat.

Look at that amazing thing!

I might be getting this Savage Avengers 0 on page 78, because how can you go wrong with old Claremont and JRJR X-Men, issues 190 and 191 to be specific.

Well, unless you already own them, like I do. They’re kind of weird issues – tonally strange for that specific X-Men run, and just kind of shoved in there. Solid stuff, but I’ve always wondered if Marvel told Claremont to do something with Kulan Gath for some reason and this is what we got.

I wouldn’t be surprised about that.

Adventure into Fear Omnibus on page 107 collects the 31 issues of Fear in the ‘70s, including a bunch of old reprints.  It’s probably cool stuff!

Oh, man, I love the idea of getting Ditko is … Strange! King Size HC on page 108, collecting the whole of the Stan and Steve Doctor Strange run.  I saw the Spider-Man one of Ditko, and it was friggin’ huge and I want this.  I want this …

I like Artgerm, but I wouldn’t pay 50 bucks for just 12 of his images.  But if you’ve got money to spend, folks, it’s on page 110.

It didn’t make much sense for these characters to come together, but Strikeforce on page 122 is collected and they’re doing … stuff surrounding Daimon Hellstrom.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that freakin’ Angela is a Marvel character. So bizarre.

I recently read most of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl run, and the whole thing is available on page 128 in 12 trades.  I think they’re well worth it!

You told me the Wolverine story from Marvel Comics Presents would be collected separately, and here it is on page 138.  Wolverine with a daughter?  Wah?!

Ooh, I didn’t ever get the Waid and Samnee run of Black Widow, but it’s all collected on page 140.  I may snag this.

I guess I didn’t realize that Chris Bachalo debuted at Marvel with Generation X, but the Marvel Monograph about him told me this in the solicit on page 148.

Yeah, they made a big deal about it when Generation X launched, about how it was his first Marvel work. So many years ago …


The solicits explode right here!

Damn, they’re tricking me into buying the Vampirella magazine collections in replica form, aren’t they, because they offer issue 3 on page 175.  I’m probably getting it!

You fooooooollll!!!!!!

Cool cover tho

Warren Ellis’s James Bond stories are pretty good – not great, but pretty good – and Dynamite has the two arcs (12 issues) collected in a nice hardcover for 40 bucks on page 178. If you’re interested.

I picked up most of the single issues cheap.  I have to grab a few more of the first arc, I think.  Remember when they claimed Ellis’s run was an “ongoing”?  LOL!

I don’t even remember the Charlie’s Angels vs. the Bionic Woman series in singles, but it’s collected on page 187.

Boom! Studios:

Boom! go the solicits here!

We Served the People sounds interesting. Emei Burell writes about her mother, who was sent into the countryside during China’s Great Leap Forward, and what happened there. I am wary of oral history, but this still should be pretty keen, and it looks good, too.

I’m hoping the title is a Twilight Zone style thing, a la the Kanamit.  (I’m a bad person.)

I thought of that immediately, but I’m going to go ahead and say it won’t be like that.

I’m glad it also occurred to you!

Great minds thinking alike!

I will be getting the Alienated series on page 196 when it gets collected in the future.  Simon Spurrier is a good writer and Chris Wildgoose did good art on Batgirl, which I just read.  It sounds interesting that it’s got an alien predator that is controlled by teenage kids, and how that isn’t going to go well.

I would have been more interested in Eat, and Love Yourself on page 198 if that comma wasn’t there.  Hyuk hyuk!

I haven’t read Once and Future yet, but the first trade is on page 202. I do know it’s gorgeous, because Dan Mora is a good artist, and I trust Kieron Gillen, so there is that.

Yeah, I’m in.  I’ve been seeing some Mora covers on Batgirl, I think, and he’s great.  And Gillen rocks hard too, so it’ll be worth it.

There’s a “direct-market exclusive” collection of Something Is Killing the Children on page 203. I’m not sure if this is the entire series – it’s supposed to be, but Boom! turns things into ongoing series somewhat often – but it’s a good price for 5 issues. I assume a more expensive trade will be out later!

I do believe they expanded this into a regular series.

Well, of course they did. Good for Tynion!

And about the direct-market exclusive thing, Boom! has been doing that for awhile, and it’s basically bullshit.  I can’t remember what the series was, but you recently got one that we mentioned that you had gotten awhile before, but the regular trade came out.  I think Simon mentioned it was more expensive later on, but I don’t remember seeing it.  But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!

That was Ronin Island. I think they also did it with Grass Kings. Very annoying.

Not Grass Kings, I know that, because that book came out in an expensive trade.  Which is why I didn’t buy it.  I think they did it with that one trade about a cat burglar lady unfrozen from the ‘60s, and maybe some other ones.  I can’t remember.

Well, like here on page 215, I believe Ghosted in LA was already offered in trade, but here it is and it’s 15 bucks for the trade, which is presumably the same as the previously released collection.

On to the back of the book!

The latest Cerebus in Hell? one shot is Silver Cerebus, another new Aardvark-Vanaheim book on page 228.

I don’t think I’ll get the hardcover edition of Vampire State Building on page 228 from Ablaze, as it’s 25 dollars for 4 issues, but I do hope there’s a reasonably-priced trade, because I do want to read it. If you want all sorts of extra stuff, though, there’s the hardcover.

Yeah, that’s pretty much my thinking about it too.

I might pick up the trade of Going to the Chapel on page 232 from Action Lab. It’s about a bride who becomes a hostage at her own wedding, and who can’t relate to that?

My wife brought a shotgun to our wedding … maybe I should have read something into that?

That did sound good.  I’m also digging The Argus on the same page, because I like time travel stories, and this is about the dude who invents time travel creating a police force and that force is composed of versions of him, one of whom goes nuts and starts killing the others.

Speaking of time travel, your pal John Layman is writing The Man Who Fucked Up Time on page 236, and the artist is Karl Mostert, and I just heard about something he’s drawing, but I forget what.  I don’t need to know anything more than the title, really, so I’ll be getting the trade.  Aftershock seems to be starting their new #1 issues at the $4.99 price, which is probably the wave of the future, isn’t it?

He told me about this a while ago, and I’m glad to see it’s finally here. Should be fun.

Why is the dude who wrote the Necronomicon the star of Godkillers on page 238?

I wonder if that’s just an Easter Egg or if it will actually be the same dude and it will be tied into the Lovecraft stuff?

Tentacle porn alert!

Undone by Blood on page 240 sounds cool too, because it’s about a woman in the 1970s that is seeking revenge and how it follows the plot of an Old West novel.  Plus, it’s written by Nadler and Thompson and drawn by Sami Kivela, who’s really good.

I’m definitely getting Ahoy’s Captain Ginger season 2 on page 246, the new series of the cool story about a future where cat humanoids run spaceships in a post human world.  There’s also Second Coming from them in trade too!

Second Coming should be groovy.

If you missed the two issues from American Mythology adapting The Land That Time Forgot from 1975, they offer them as a set on page 253.

I might get the Casper presents Wendy and the Witch Widow on page 254, because it reprints a story from 1955 introducing the Witch Widow.  OK, I don’t know who that is, but …

Yes, of course I’ll be getting Archie Meets the B52s on page 259.  Some look at things and ask why …

Black Mask does some good stuff, and on pages 270-271 there’s some more of it.  The first 3 issues of Last Song are on the first page, and I assume that #3 is a new one.  It’s about some teens who start a band in the ‘80s and how things go in their lives.  I have a feeling I should get these because the trade might take forever, but then I think I shouldn’t, because the last issue might not come out in print but in a trade only.  Because I think at least one of the ones on 271 didn’t have their last issue or 2 come out separately in print.  But they all sound neat.  Sex Death Revolution is by Magdalene Visaggio and it’s about an urban witch whose life is being rewritten as she lives it, I think.  Transference is by Michael Moreci and Ron Salas and Toni Fejzula and it’s about a time travel method of sending someone’s consciousness into the past and the group that utilizes this technology finds they’re not the only ones who have it.  And We Are The Danger is about a girl who starts her senior year as the new kid and meets a friend with whom she starts a band and attempts to win a battle of the bands for a record deal.  They all seem fun.

The only one I’m getting is Transference, but the others don’t sound terrible.

Yar, Illustrators Special 7 from Book Palace on page 277 is all about pirate art in comics and magazines.  Eisner and Wood are among the comics luminaries featured.  Nothing about Tales from the Black Freighter?

Clover Press on page 281 is a new publishing concern co-founded by a few dudes from IDW, and one of their first offerings is a nifty collection of ten Spirit stories. I might get this just to check it out, although “all-new coloring,” even by someone as good as Laura Martin, makes me squeamish. On pages 282-283 they have a collection of old-school pirate comics and Kevin Eastman’s Totally Twisted Tales, with art by Simon Bisley. Fun stuff!

I have a bunch of various collections of Spirit stuff, and it’s always going to be good, but I am wary of any all-new coloring, because it never looks quite right, no matter how good it is.  I like how these collections are reasonably priced.  Actually, looking at the cover that has Laura Martin coloring, it’s actually quite good and seems to match well with the kind of coloring Eisner was doing in the ‘80s with the Spirit magazine, so if it’s similar inside, it should be decent.  I hope.  And the pirate book here is cheaper and probably more fun than the one I mentioned above.  That Eastman/Bisley one is probably good, too.  You know they’re twisted tales because the ladies have giant breasts that defy gravity!

True, but he’s still a great artist! T: I love the subtle bars that cover the naughtiest bits, not black but matching with the colors!

Fantagraphics has some interesting stuff on page 294.  The Comics Journal 305 is about how the health care system affects cartoonists, especially those with chronic disease.  Art Young’s Inferno sounds like a neat take on Dante and capitalism.  And The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski collects three volumes of Noah Van Sciver’s comic (although I’m not sure if all three saw print) and more, with that great Library of America trade dress.

First Second has Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks on page 296, about female astronauts.  It’s undoubtedly good stuff and important too.

First Comics has the Dogwitch Omnibus on page 299, about a crazy witch chick (is there any other kind?), which is where I first encountered Dan Shaffer’s work.  It’s got everything and I don’t have all the issues, so I have to think about this one.

Iron Circus has an interesting one in The Banned Book Club on page 308, about a woman in South Korea in 1983 who went to college during their Fifth Republic, apparently a military regime.  I feel ashamed of how little knowledge I have of world history that I have been unaware of this until now.

Why should you? Are you supposed to know the history of every country in the world? I mean, I get if you don’t know where South Korea is or why we support it (despite harsh regimes like this), but don’t beat yourself up over not knowing the minutiae of South Korean history, man!

I suppose it’s more that in my mind, South Korea’s been “good” and North “bad” since the 1950s, so not realizing there was a repressive military regime makes me feel like I’m just swallowing the US propaganda, and I don’t like that, man!  Hell, MASH was still on at this point!

Mad Cave Studios has Show’s End volume 1 on page 311, about a runaway trying to find refuge with a freak show in the 1920s.  I’m guessing that the secret she’s hiding has to do with the creature on the cover?

Hmmmm …

New York Review Comics has on page 315 The Man Without Talent, which I understand applies to virtually all men?  I may be looking at certain parts of Twitter too much … (hiyo!)

Brian Joines is a pretty good writer, and Backtrack on page 318 from Oni sounds kind of interesting. An ex-criminal getaway driver has a chance to put her life back together, and all she has to do is race across time and the universe. Sure, why not? The art from Jake Elphick looks quite good, too, so we’ll see about this.

Yeah, this sounds cool, so I’ll be looking forward to the trade.

Chicks, dinosaurs, and cars – what’s not to love?

Rebellion/2000AD features Battle Stations on page 332, an adaptation of the Winger song from the Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack.  No, it’s got Hugo Pratt art and it’s about a WWII naval battle.

Red 5 offers the trade of The Rift on page 333 again, and it was actually a pretty good story about people and things coming through rifts in time/space and having to get them home without affecting the time stream too much.

Huh, Sanctum Productions apparently has reprinted all of the Shadow pulps, as volume 151 on page 334 is the final issue spectacular.

Scout Comics has a few good things on pages 334 and 335.  Canopus is about a woman who is marooned on a lifeless alien planet far from Earth and without her memory, and tries to figure out a way home.  I like that in the solicit-speak of “this is like X plus Y, with a dose of Z!”, they put “Phillip K. Dick” in quotes.  It’s the dude’s name, guys!  There’s also a trade of Category Zero, about a virus that gives 1% of people extra abilities, and the evillllll company that “tests” them.  And Last Stop is a trade about a superhero who is dying and how his villains resurface, so he has to go out with a bang instead of peacefully.

His superpower is to … create snowflakes?

Silver Sprocket has No Romance in Hell on page 336, about a female demon who comes to Earth in an attempt to find romance.  It does not go well.

Source Point Press gives us some good stuff on pages 336-337.  There’s Classic Pulp Detectives one shot, which is probably fun. There’s a trade of Sham Comics 1-6, The Complete Shamnibus that’s 18 bucks for the rewritten Golden Age comics.  Samurai Grandpa is about an old samurai who has to adventure one last time to find his granddaughter.  And The Savants is Gary Reed’s last project, about a teen who has powers when exposed to a drug, and how the government has plans for them.

Sterling Publishing has on page 338 All Action Classics, which applies to The Odyssey, sure, but Tom Sawyer?  Will they be showing Neil Peart’s drumming in the latter?  The art is by Ben Caldwell, though, so it will look good at least.

Why not Tom Sawyer? Doesn’t a lot of stuff happen in the book? It beats me, because I’ve never read it.

It’s been going towards 30 years since I’ve read it, but from what I remember, there’s the part where Tom tricks the other boys into painting the fence for him, and I guess maybe they get kidnapped and Tom and Huck see their own funeral, but I thought Huckleberry Finn might make a better volume because I thought it was structured a bit more like the Odyssey.  But I’ve never read that, so I can’t say.  Also, as I’m typing, I realize that Huckleberry Finn isn’t usually included when people talk about best sequels/sequels that are better than the original, but it totally fits that category, doesn’t it?  My mind goes weird places.

I like how Titan describes Adler on page 342 as “in the vein of” LOEG, since it is literally the same plot of the first LOEG volume, an assemblage of fictional (and otherwise, apparently here) characters from Victorian literature to fight Moriarty.

Yeah, but I dig shit like this, so I’ll probably get the trade anyway!

True, I do like it, but it does amuse me.

She’ll be better served here than by the second Downey Jr. Holmes movie, I’ll tell you that much!

Since Guardians of the Galaxy as done by Valentino was one of my favorites as I first got into comics, I will probably grab Back Issue 119 from our pals at TwoMorrows on page 349.

A couple neat ones on page 351, both ones that I’ll have to tell my girlfriend about, as they are fields of academic interest to her.  Uncivilized Books has Tinderella, a GN about online dating and being dumb and 20-something.  I … I used to be that.  Now I’m 40 and dumb.  And from University Press of Mississippi is With Great Power Comes Great Pedagogy, which is teaching about how to teach, and this book is about ways to teach comics in the classroom.  Could be cool.

The concept of Finger Guns from Vault on page 358 allows for a lot of interesting things to happen, as two teens can manipulate emotions by firing finger guns at people.  Hopefully it doesn’t just become Sex Criminals without the fucking.  And on page 361 is the (first, I guess) trade of The Plot, and I started to wonder why Bendis and Snyder were raving so much about this plot, because a dude who is trying to raise his niece and nephew in a creepy ancestral home that hides secrets seems to be a rather lame and overdone plot, and then I realized they’re praising The Plot as in the title of the story.  D’oh!

It’s Steranko-tastic!

Is Tokyopop’s title (well, Disney’s, really) on page 372, Kilala Princess supposed to sound like “kill all the princess”?  That just bothers me in a weird way, because I am weird.

I … hope not?

I’m not sure I like Transformers enough at this point in my life to want Viz’s manga series of them, offered on page 383, but it looks kind of neat.  If that’s the sort of thing you like, you’ll probably like it.

I never read Goodnight Punpun or solanin, but Inio Asano did those comics and does Downfall on page 387, about a dude whose life is crumbling and his love of manga is crushed by the realities of the industry.  Cheery, obvs, but it looks neat and it might be a self-contained volume?

I’ve tried to get away from commenting on these obvious overt gestures, but when I first starting commenting on this column, that was what I would most comment on, so I must mention the “titillating tale” on page 392 from Yen Press, After-School Bitchcraft (which is a fun title anyway).  I’m not sure why the story of a science teacher who is secretly a sorcerer but his secret is found out needs a girl with everything hanging out, but there it is.  Of course, the one right below that also highlights (or is that “headlights”?) the same thing, but I don’t feel like typing out that long title.

For the superhero manga fan is Raw Hero on page 393 about a dude drawn into the fight of good and evil when he sacrifices a needed job interview in order to stop a train groper.  It’s probably a generic thing, but it might be ok.

On page 397 is Maohden from Digital Manga Distribution, and I can’t even begin to summarize the synopsis.  It’s so out there I might just have to get this.  Demons and assassination squads and ladies who cause the dudes that have sex with them to die soon after.  It’s wacky sounding!

Kodansha has, on page 401, another weird one, Sweat and Soap, about a woman who sweats a lot who works at a toiletry maker, because their products tamp down on her stank, and the perfumer who loves her natural smell.  It’s an office romance.  Yay?

Seven Seas Entertainment has Gigant on page 403, about an aspiring filmmaker who finds out a neighbor is an adult film star.  Oh, and also, that she’s got supernatural powers.  Of course she does.  Based on the cover, it’s the power to levitate globes.  (*Rimshot!*)

Square Enix Manga has A Man and His Cat on page 406.  That is a big cat.

Vertical has one on the same page adapting a Bob Dylan album.  No, wait, Blood on the Tracks is about a mother’s love that goes too far.

I’ve never seen such a happy Elektra as the animated statue on page M24.

Stabby stabby yay!

On the same page, I kind of like those Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates, especially the Angela and Cosmic Ghost Rider ones.  I’m turning into a figure guy!  Which is aided and abetted by my lovely girlfriend.

And then I see something like the Weapon X diorama on page M26, and think it looks kewl.  It doesn’t seem to have a BWS specific look, but it looks neat anyway.

On M34 and 36 DC has a couple cool armored Batmen a la DKR, especially the animated style one with the glowing eyes.  I like the animated Deathstroke too.

And that is an imposing Darkseid on M41!

And they’re offering a Lobo one again that I must have missed before, but looks neato, on M42.

OK, that talking Black Knight statue from Holy Grail on M50 is pretty cool, both with his talking and with the removable arms.

Say it with me: ‘It’s just a flesh wound!’

My girlfriend and I both enjoyed the Star Trek cat statues on M52.  I think they’re all good but that Kirk one is especially nice.

I don’t remember enough about the show even though I watched it, but those Pee-Wee’s Playhouse figures on M57 look neat.

Man oh man, if I loved both the Transformers and Ghostbusters, I’d be all over that Ectotron figure on M58.  It transforms!

The FF mini Funkos on M63 are nice, but if it’s a blind selection, I’m not into it.  There’s a new movie coming?

The Van Gogh Funko should be sold with only one ear.  Missed opportunity, folks! (M65)

Yeah, that’s just weird. At least put a bandage on it!

I saw the Black Widow and Scarlet Witch Funkos that are on M67 out in a store on Black Friday, and they did look neato.

Why don’t the Kennedy figures on M67 come in a convertible set?  (I’m horrible)

Bwah. Ha. Ha.

My dude in Mortal Kombat was always Sub-Zero, so I like the figure on M67, but it would just remind me how poor my gaming skillz are.

Damn, those FF ones on M68 look good though.

M88 has a couple of weird looking figures, with the Yatterwan Sofubi figure, some giant robot dog thing?, and Shakokidogu Sofubi, which apparently has snow goggles like ancient Northern peoples, or maybe he’s an ancient astronaut.  They both look cool in different ways.

OK, I feel this shouldn’t have happened, but there are figures of the members of Rage Against the Machine and the Sex Pistols on page M97.  Why?

I like the TMNT keychain on page M107 with the image from the first issue.  Neato.

If I got the Hellboy Right Hand of Doom bank on page M110, I wouldn’t have any change to put into it!

I already ordered the MST3K Complete Clowns in the Sky double LP on page M113, because it was listed online before.  I love their little musical interludes.

Ms. Monopoly on page M122 is probably a good game but it also seems like it’s a pandering cash grab.  I guess it could be both!

Well, dang, Travis is waaaaaaay too into the figures and other stuff in Previews these days. Good for him and his (probably not fictional) girlfriend!

So it’s the 21st of December, and while not every retailer has ordered their comics, it might be too late for most of them. We’re often slow with these posts, but this one is really slow, and we apologize. December is always a busy month, and I know we’ve had some health issues here at my house that’s been distracting, so I’ve been bad at getting this together (not me, though – despite my largeness, I’m generally as healthy as a horse). So we hope you’ve enjoyed this primer even though you might not be able to use it, and we’ll be better in the new year. Have a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah, if either of those are your thing, everyone!


  1. tomfitz1

    Mr Burgas & TP:

    Has anyone noticed the re-numbering of George R.R. Martin’s Clash of Kings in Dynamite? Technically, it should be # 18, but for some reason Dynamite re-numbered the series. How odd.

    Secondly, does anyone know what happened to Sam Keith’s BATMAN/THE MAXX series?
    It hasn’t been completed as far as I know.

    Anyway, Merry X-mas and have a Happy New Year!

  2. I’ve tried Savage Dragon. I’ve heard good things about it, the concept sounds good, but the actual experience? The larger of the two trades devoted a major amount of space to some sort of Kirby-knockoff Cosmic Gods clash and I’d have been much better served rereading New Gods.
    I quite like Sex Criminals. E/C comics, despite some fine stories like Master Race and Judgment Day, I find hugely overrated. The one hard-copy collection I looked through had just too many stories that only existed to set up the twist ending (“Look, the scientist who likes to vivisect is a captive of aliens who vivisect humans!!!”).
    I loved the original Amethyst, but haven’t seen a good one since (including New 52’s).
    I picked up the first issue of I5, couldn’t see why it was being called I5, can’t say I miss it if it’s died already. Now if they’d only TPB the original series …
    Just Imagine is much as you imagine. I read the whole thing when it came out, it’s not awful but it’s not memorable either.

  3. Louis Bright-Raven

    “I’m interested in the two trades on page 96, Strayed, about a cat that can astral project and will do so to save the universe, and Triage, about a nurse who awakens on a world with her two doppelgängers, a superhero and a military commander of a post-apocalyptic world. They have to team up to survive. Both of these are 5 issue minis for 20 bucks.

    I saw both of those and thought they sounded intriguing, but I’m mulling.”

    I reviewed both of these series my very first episode of my YouTube podcast back in September. STRAYED #1 received four out of five stars and remained consistently good throughout it’s run. TRIAGE #1 received three out of five stars, but I haven’t read the remainder of the story yet.

  4. Jeff Nettleton

    Abraham Stone is a pretty good read. It’s not exactly a “western;” it’s set in a city, at the turn of the century (assuming this is the same “Country Mouse, City Rat” album that Malibu published, through their Platinum Editions imprint (a co-publication with Ervin Rustemagic’s Strip Art Features). Kubert got to do something a bit more adult and European, in sensibility. Not quite as strong as Fax From Sarajevo (about Rustemagic) or Yossel.

  5. Simon

    Is this the season for graphic nonfic to kick graphic fic tukis?

    * Yoshiharu Tsuge’s excellent MAN WITHOUT TALENT (315, first 218 pages, PopMatters)

    * Ottaviani & Wicks’s female ASTRONAUTS (296, excerpt – timely alongside Winocour’s PROXIMA)

    * Kim, Estrada & Ko’s memoir BANNED BOOK CLUB (308, page, page, Kirkus, SLJ, PW)

    Not that some overpriced fic ain’t good enough for liberries:

    * Michael DeForge showing his FAMILIAR FACE (286, excerpt)

    * Lees & Lee rearing their MOUNTAINHEAD (144 – a “GN” or just “Vol. 1”?)

    * Avenell & Pratt manning BATTLE STATIONS (332, samples, Beat)

    Nor some books for teens and next Xmas:

    * Moreil & Pedrosa’s medieval adventure THE GOLDEN AGE [PT. 1 OF 2] (297 – nice art, quick read)

    * Axelle Lenoir’s comedic mystery CAMP SPIRIT (146, excerpt, pages – kinda LUMBERJANES in Quebec)

    > “Previews #375 is out”

    It’s like the story of the little blue-eyed lobster. (Do you know the story of the little blue-eyed lobster, as told by Herriman?) Well, here’s the story of the little blue-eyed lobster.

    Once upon a time, there was… why yes, A LITTLE BLUE-EYED LOBSTER! He was a sweet little lobster too, with nice blue eyes, and fancy manners at table. But one cruel, fateful day, he was kidnapped.

    His momma and his poppa were sad, sad like anything. Even for weeks and weeks, they were sad. Nothing could console them, nothing. Nothing could make them happy, and they both got light in weight from heavy worrying. Years passed, and still they worried. No momma and no poppa in the world ever worried like that before.

    One day, they decided to end it all, and they both walked into a “lobster pot” (which is no pot at all but a trap), but in their grief what did they care? Nothing at all, nothing. In due time, they were taken to a restaurant. And there, they saw a big, strong, healthy lobster. Big like a giant was that lobster, and with blue eyes too.

    Fancy their surprise when that big lobster said, “Momma, poppa, don’t you know me? I’m your little boy that was kidnapped years ago!” And with tears in their eyes, the momma and the poppa said, they said, “Oh, big boy, but what are you doing here?”

    And the blue-eyed lobster answered, he answered, “Why, I’m the big lobster the waiter shows the customers before he serves them with skinny lobsters like you!”

  6. jccalhoun

    I always thought it was cool that Savage Dragon’s characters aged in real time but I read the first couple issues and couldn’t get into it and then much more recently all that weird sex stuff put me off of it.

    I don’t know why they keep messing with Hawkman. Ignore all that reincarnation stuff. He’s an archeologist. Go with the Indiana Jones vibe. Hell, they could even go Ancient Aliens with it and maybe even go reality show with it

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