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Flippin’ through ‘Previews’ – December 2020

Flippin’ through ‘Previews’ – December 2020

Hey, we’ve reached the final month of the year! That’s something, isn’t it, especially this year. Let’s celebrate by checking out what’s in this month’s Previews catalog! As always, late-coming Travis is in black, while I will be in blue. Let’s hit it!

I got things going on.  I probably won’t get into it here, but I’ll post about it once I want to tell y’all more.  Also, as I write this in the wee hours of December 11, I just saw that Richard Corben died, which is a bummer.

Well, I mean, the dude was 80, and he had a long and distinguished career, so it’s not the most depressing thing in the world.

‘They built robots. The robots worked hard and then malfunctioned.’ How hard is that?!?

DC comes first, because they whined the loudest. Check out the solicits here!

Boy, the Future State stuff just sounds so awful.  No wonder they fired DiDio if he thought some of this would be worth tanking the current DC continuity and having these be the new DC. Tangent wasn’t this bad …

What vexes me about this shit is that back in the Nineties, DC did let others take over the roles, and it was successful, and then Geoff Johns came along. If they want to move on from “classic” characters, they could do it in a far more organic way than this. But they don’t care, so blech.

That’s a very good point.  The ‘90s DC stuff was mostly really good.  There were some real clunkers, like Anima, but there were a lot of great things from DC with weird characters who were legacy characters and they were good.

Man-Bat has a mini on page 31, which it says is a resolicit, but I don’t remember seeing this offered before.  This is at least the third mini for Man-Bat, I think.  Plus I think there was a Jamie Delano mini that featured him as well, iirc.  I’m not sure what’s so interesting about the character, and it seems like every time they try to do something like a new mini, they bring him back to his original status quo.  So there’s never any growth with the character.  Of course the best thing done with Man-Bat was GMozz making ninja Man-Bats!

It was already solicited. This is the second time!

Well, yeah, I know it says that, but I’m saying I don’t remember when it was solicited before.  Was it since DC left Diamond, or was it before that?

I’m not sure. I think it might have been around the time when comics stopped back in April, so they pulled it from the schedule. But I can’t recall exactly.

It’s still a cool-ass cover

I don’t have high hopes for Truth & Justice, mainly because it’s a team-up book and those just don’t do well anymore, but Geoffrey Thorne is writing it, and Thorne writes good comics, so it will probably be decent, even if it’s not long for the world.

This is a digital first thing, so the first chapters might even be out already.  I wonder if they’re testing the waters to see if people will buy this digitally, in singles, or in trade. This seems like a little more evidence that DC is at least pondering a shift away from monthly floppies in comic book stores.

DC appears to be even more of a clusterfuck than usual right now, so I doubt if they even have that nebulous a plan!

That’s true, but I think it goes even higher up, because I think AT&T bought Warner, and now they’re slashing jobs left and right.

Morrison and Paquette have the third and final Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novel. I guess I’ll wait to read the other two until I get this one!

I read the first one, and it was decent from what I remember.  It’s been a while.  I didn’t realize it was set to be 3 volumes, and I didn’t realize this one was even in the works, to be honest.  Although looking it up, it appears that it’s been about 2 and a half years between volumes 1 and 2 and just slightly less than that between 2 and 3.  Our friend Tom mentioned in one of your posts that GMozz was supposedly retiring from DC after this and Green Lantern wrap up, but supposedly he was retiring from DC and then Multiversity happened, as I recall, so grain of salt.  And now that the Peacock TV version of Brave New World that he was working on got cancelled, he might not decide to retire (again?) after all.

It’s kind of a shame that DC has to cordon off the young adult GNs that they’re doing, because what I’ve read of them are pretty good, and most would be good ways to make the DCU a little more all ages friendly without being pap.  It’s weird, maybe they’re good because the authors are mostly kid and YA writers, and it’s easier to teach them to apply their talents to comics than to teach current comics creators that grim and gritty doesn’t have to be the default setting for superheroes?  It looks like this is the second Zatanna book from this pseudo-imprint, maybe in less than a year too, unless they cancelled the earlier one or this IS that earlier one and I’m misremembering specifics.  Although I’m a bit confused with Metropolis Grove — if Superman didn’t exist, why would Luther create a Bizarro clone?  The solicit text makes it sound like these kids don’t believe Superman is real, even though he makes an impact on the city.

The George Pérez run on Wonder Woman gets an Absolute Edition, which is nice. I would love to get this, but $125 is a bit dicey. I already own these, and they’re pretty good, but I don’t know if they’re good enough for an Absolute Edition. I’ll have to think about it, because DC’s Absolute Editions are really keen.

I haven’t ever seen any Absolute Editions, or if I have, it was just to look at briefly in a bookstore or something.  I wouldn’t mind this run at some point, but it’s not near the top of my list for things to get, either in this format or any other.

I’m interested in the Batman: Arkham: Talia Al-Ghul trade on page 57,  but I don’t think it could possibly contain all the issues of Batman Incorporated that it says it does.  I assume there’s a typo and there’s not a dozen issues of that one title along with everything else that it includes.

Cliff Chiang does nice work, don’t he?

The deluxe HC of Batman: A Death in the Family is on page 59, which is an interesting story, if not necessarily good one.  I swear the alternate pages have been published before, though, but maybe just parts in something like Back Issue or something.  Or maybe I just remember the images from an old Comic Book Legends Revealed column.

It’s obligatory that whenever this gets mentioned, I have to point out that the first issue of this arc is the first comic I ever bought.

I’m sure I’ve seen you say that before, but it’s always cool to know where people started in their collecting.  Were there rumblings about the 900 number and death of Robin and that made you interested, or did you just coincidentally pick it up?

It was basically a coincidence. My best friend and I were at the Willow Grove Mall in beautiful Willow Grove, PA, and we walked past a Waldenbooks that had a spinner rack of comics. He read comics, and he saw the issue and said “They’re going to kill Robin” or something like that, so I picked it up just to look at it. I thought it looked interesting, so I bought it. And an obsession was born!!!!!

Excellent!  RIP Waldenbooks and Coles (Cole?) Bookstores!  And malls, for that matter.

If you can separate art from the artist, The Batman’s Grave is collected in a priced-to-move hardcover – 40 bucks for 12 issues, which ain’t bad. If you can’t separate the art from the artist or you just think Warren Ellis is a hack no matter how he acts toward women, then you can skip this!

I like Ellis’s work, but I don’t quite get this story.  Batman can’t imagine being a murder victim without it being so scary he’s going to die himself?  Weird.

Page 62 has Black Canary: Bird of Prey, a trade collecting many (most? all?) of the character’s appearances from the Golden Age to the Bronze Age, which I think would have stories of two different Canarys.  Some of that old stuff is probably good, given that the creators are so good.

You just looked at the Underworld Unleashed trade, and on page 64 is the next big ‘90s DC crossover, The Final Night, which was interesting from what I remember.  It’s shepherded by Karl Kesel, so it’s probably better than it should have been.  I still have to open up the Section Zero trading cards and the first HC that I got from him through the Kickstarter that all the fancy comics creators like so much.  I thought I’d catch up with some stuff, but I haven’t.  Yet, I hope.  (Also, that baseball book you read sounds really good too.  I’ll have to look for that at a library sometime.)

Final Night was fine, I guess. Nice Immonen art, certainly!

Natch.

Damn, it’s been 10 years since Flashpoint fucked up the DCU (I mean, changed it so much for the better)?  There’s the big omnibus on page 65.  I managed to not get spoiled on one series in this event for quite some time, but eventually came across a spoilery post.  Grr.  (Hmm, are there other comics or media where I’ve managed not to be spoiled on a twist?  That is, not be spoiled for quite a long time after the comic or movie or whatever was released, not just stay unspoiled for a few days before I consumed that media.  I can think of one movie where I haven’t been totally spoiled yet, but I think I’ve heard enough about the twist that I won’t be completely surprised whenever I finally get around to watching it.  But playing Brooklyn Nine-Nine on an endless loop is so much easier!)

Page 71 has a new printing of Matt Kindt’s Revolver, which I read years ago and liked a lot, from what I remember.  It looks like it’s just about 10 years old, so presumably this reprint is to let DC hold onto the rights for another long period of time.  I thought when Bang! came out from Dark Horse, the solicit insinuated that that mini was somehow tied to Revolver, but maybe they just meant thematically?  I’d also like to mention that this month, this was the only DC thing I had on my “medium” list (the long list would have any of the stuff I mention in Flippin’ as well as other stuff that catches my eye, while the short list has just the stuff I actually order), while last month I had no DC things on the medium list.  Partly because my guy hasn’t ordered DC since the change in distributors, but a lot because everything looked not that good last time.  And this time, it’s just a reprint of a 10 year old GN that isn’t really “DC”, if you know what I mean.  So DC is losing me, and I’ve been a long time DC fanboy.

See above re: clusterfuck.

’Nuff Said.

The Sheriff of Babylon is collected in one 12-issue trade, for those who missed the earlier collections. This is a very keen comic, and it’s one of the reasons that I will try Tom King’s work even if it’s garbage, like his Batman.

I’ve never read this, but have wanted to.  Maybe once I get going to libraries again I’ll find a copy.  I’m not sure I share quite the same assessment on his Batman, but it’s certainly not as good as everyone seems to have been hyping it up to be.  There have been some interesting bits, and some of the artists are turning in fantastic work (which probably helps distract from the mediocre writing), but it doesn’t do it for me either.

Is Lex Luthor in the new Superman and Lois Lane show that I think I’ve heard about?  Presumably he is, which probably explains the Superman Adventures: Lex Luthor, Man of Metropolis trade on page 73.  It’s probably fun stuff, although I’d rather have a complete reprinting of that cartoon tie in book (I guess DC got through 4 volumes of it, but apparently sales weren’t good enough to finish out reprinting the series).  I didn’t realize it lasted 66 issues.  The Batman Adventures probably lasted at least that long too but went through different title changes.

Damn, that Who’s Who Omnibus on page 76 is so tempting!  I have a bunch of these different issues and just recently read a few that I got earlier in the year.  I also got an issue early on in my collecting that helped me get really interested in the DCU.  And it’s a lot of fun flipping through them and finding neato artists on the various characters.

Image:

Check out the solicits here!

Radiant Black on page 32 might be an interesting comic, I don’t know, but the flip cover to this issue of Previews has an ad for this that calls writer Kyle Higgins “visionary”.  His work has been entertaining enough from what I’ve read of it, but it’s not like he’s fucking Einstein or something.

Yeah, I’m not the biggest fan of Higgins. Some of his stuff is fine, but some is not good. I don’t appreciate visionaries enough!

Maybe it’s just his Power Rangers work that’s so visionary!

An energy-based superhero … how visionary!

Stray Dogs on page 36 sounds weird and creepy, with a sinister underlying story that belies the cartoony look of the book.  It’s described as two different animated kids films meeting two different serial killer movies, so it’s definitely genre-bending.  A female dog gets taken to a house where a bunch of other dogs live, but she seems to be suffering from some amnesia and something happened to her owner.  Intriguing.

Interesting.  On page 48, Aria: Heavenly Creatures is featured, and the note about it being published in 2000 under a different title made me look it up.  It appears that this is a reworked version of the Aria/Angela 2 issue series.  That makes it even funnier to me that one cover is by Joe Quesada, who works for the new owners of Angela.  Also interesting is that cover C by JG Jones is redone so that the lady in the back is no longer Angela.

I’m curious about Graphic Fantasy #1 & 2 on page 49, which reprints the first “Savage Dragon” story from 1982. It seems like the entire ‘zine is getting reprinted, which might be just as neat as seeing the early “Dragon” stuff.

Yeah, I’m interested for that reason myself.  I think Larsen reprinted the early Dragon tales in the Dragon Archives 4 issue series in the late ‘90s, and looking at the GCD entry on Graphic Fantasy 1, it looks like a couple of the other stories have been reprinted in various issues of Savage Dragon as well.  But I love seeing old zines like this.  It appears there was a third issue but it’s unclear from the GCD what was in it.  And then over on page 73, Savage Dragon 257 has the least necessary cover variants ever, it appears.  So little difference between them!

I want to read me some Prism comics!

I didn’t think much of Write It In Blood, an OGN on page 52, from just the solicit, about a couple of hitmen about to retire, but the preview pages caught my attention, with one hitman wondering if his boss is going to give him a retirement present, and if he is expected to get a gift for the boss.  The goofiness of the query contrasted with the grimness of loading a body into a car trunk makes me think this could be good.

I was interested in The Department of Truth, and now the first 5 issues are in a $10 trade on page 57, so you know I’m all over that!

I’ll probably get this, too. We shall see.

The solicitation for Scene of the Crime on page 58 annoys me. If you don’t have it, you should get it, as it’s an early Brubaker comic with terrific art by Michael Lark, inked by Sean Phillips, and it’s very keen. But the solicit claims that it’s “Back in print as a first-ever trade paperback,” and I’m not sure what that means. I mean, I get that it’s been out of print, but I own the trade paperback, so I know it’s not a “first-ever” trade. Do they mean the first time Image has offered it? It was a DC comic, and my trade is from DC, so maybe they mean that it’s the first time Image has published it? Beats me. You should still get it if you haven’t read it.

Yeah, that’s a weird solicit.  It appears that this is the first time Image has published this, but I SWEAR I remember Image solicited a version of this before, possibly a HC.  Looking on Amazon, it appears there may have been a French version in 2013, and it also lists this as 1 of 2 books, but the other book has the same cover, just with a grayish-yellow instead of cool blue look to it, and lists it at a dollar less.  So odd!  What I’m wondering is if this includes everything, like the Vertigo Winter’s Edge 2 story, and there was a story of this in a 9/11 benefit book, after your DC trade came out, so it hasn’t ever been reprinted.  I have the original 4 issue mini myself, and from what I remember it was damn good.

So the first volume of the Spawn Compendium has a new edition on page 59, and it reprints the first 50 issues of Spawn (now in full color? So the first version was in B&W?  That might have been cool.).  Dave Sim just did a Kickstarter to reprint Spawn 10, which he wrote, and his new version includes some new art from him, so I look forward to seeing how that looks soon.

Dark Horse:

Here are the solicits!

Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are teaming up again for Fear Case (page 78), which is about Secret Service agents tracking a weird box. Ooooh, scary! I’m sure this will be awesome, because Matt Kindt is writing it!

Sounds cool.

If Gwyneth Paltrow’s head is in there, I’m leaving

I like what I’ve read of Black Hammer, but all the spinoffs might be watering down the franchise.  I think the Visions series on page 82 might be cool, though, especially since the variant covers for the first issue are so cool, with one by Beto and another by Evan Dorkin that is a goddamn Milk and Cheese strip!  Hell yes!

Yeah, I’m done with that “world.” It was pretty good for a short series, but I agree that the other mini-series and such feel really superfluous. Even if the creators are fine and Dorkin’s cover is pretty keen.

I think if the characters weren’t quite so thinly veiled DC/Justice League analogues (for the most part), it might “work” for me better, but Barbalien is obviously a Martian Manhunter riff, that one character Doctor Star or whatever was just ‘90s Starman fanfic from what I gathered from the solicits, and other characters don’t seem that different from DC stuff.

The EC Archives: Shock Illustrated HC on page 93 is bound to be cool, with some of EC’s attempts at circumventing the Comics Code, and I think I mentioned this before, but whoa, the guy who wrote Flowers for Algernon wrote comics stuff!

I want my damned picto-fiction!!!!

As much as autobiographical comics can annoy me, I might pick up Autobiographix on page 95, because the stories will presumably be short (it’s only a bit over 100 pages), and it features a lot of comics artists from early in their careers, and that’s very keen. I can live with the navel-gazing!

This is a new edition of a book from 2003, so the “young up-and-comers” are Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, as far as I can tell (there are a couple of other creators that were new-ish from that time, but they’re all still working in comics, I think).  It sounds like the highlight is Frank Miller’s story about the Daredevil movie, or maybe the Eddie Campbell story, but I doubt it’s a total dud.

I didn’t know it was that old, but I don’t care that much. The people involved are good creators, whether they’re up-and-comers or not!

That’s certainly true!

Page 98 has the latest Usagi Yojimbo Saga volume, #9, and the highlight here is that it includes all the TMNT crossovers.

IDW:

Maybe you can find something interesting in the solicits!

I’m not particularly interested in the Transformers: Beast Wars #1 on page 106, but I find it interesting that the writer and artist, Erik Burnham and Josh Burcham, have just one letter different in their last names.  Just me being weird.

Marvel:

So many solicits here!

Some of the Marvel facsimile editions seem dumb, but I’m considering the Black Knight 1 on page 24.  I’ve always heard Joe Maneely died too young, but I don’t know that I’ve seen much of his work.  This looks pretty cool.

Maneely was a decent artist, but I’m not sure he’s as good as his reputation. But I would bet this looks neat.

‘The Greatest Knight of Them All’? Obviously they’ve forgotten MICHAEL KNIGHT!!!!!!

I’m amazed you didn’t comment on how stoked you are to see X-Men Legends on page 28 with Fabian Nicieza and Brett Booth going back to the ‘90s to wrap up that whole third Summers brother thing!!!  Rawk!

JEEEEEEEEEEEEbus, Marvel.

I think I mentioned this before, but damn, that Warhammer 40,000 series on page 45 has such great talent on it with Gillen writing, Jacen Burrows on the interiors and Stokoe! on the cover.  It’s too bad I care nothing about the property.

Hey, Marvel #5 on page 55 has work by Zander Cannon and Gene Ha.  I guess this means that they’re finally free of the exclusive deal that kept them at DC for ages (without having them work on more Top Ten!).

When I first saw the image on page 59 from Strange Academy 8, I wondered why anyone would light a condom on fire …

It’s the RING OF DREAD, sir! Come on!!!!

Resisting the urge to add a 4 letter c-word before that description …

I guess if we don’t count the 15 or so years that Conan wasn’t at Marvel, yeah, it’s been 50 years of Conan at Marvel (page 61).

I like that Marvel spotlights their (presumably exclusive) artists, but for some reason the “Stormbreakers” moniker sounds weird to me.  It sounds a little too much like a group the president won’t condemn, if you catch my drift.  And it’s always fun to see Marvel or DC trumpet certain creators as the new thing when those of us who follow these things have known about these creators for quite awhile.  (Even funnier, they admit on page 69 that Patrick Gleason has been around for over 20 years as a comics artist!)

Gleason is the best of the bunch, but that’s because he’s honed his craft. All the others are fine, but they’re very much in the generic Marvel style, which is a bit disappointing. I mean, good for them, but there’s a reason why so many Marvel books look exactly like every other Marvel book.

Not that you can’t get this stuff otherwise, but the first part of the Frank Miller run on Daredevil is finally collected as a Marvel Masterwork on page 76.  Well, technically he did the issue before the one collected here, but that was apparently the final part of a storyline.  Hey, Daredevil 159 is cover dated the same month that I was born!  And damn, I’m looking through this run, and I see that Wally (Wallace) Wood’s last Marvel work was inking Miller’s cover to 164!

Why does the Wolverine Omnibus Volume 2 on page 80 have a Barry Windsor-Smith cover, when it doesn’t collect the Weapon X storyline?

Don’t ask foolish questions, young man!

Page 82 has a new printing of the Man-Thing Omnibus (a VERY giant-sized Man-Thing!), which I would love to get sometime when I have money again.

I’ll probably get the Shang-Chi trade on page 88 because Gene Luan Yang is a good writer, but I don’t love the art, unfortunately. I hope it doesn’t mess with the story too much!

Kelly Thompson’s first (only?) Black Widow arc is collected on page 90. I will pick it up, because the first issue was decent enough and I like to support Kelly!

I’m probably going to get this too, although I have heard stuff about this arc that’s been a bit spoilery.  Kelly also has a story in the Wolverine: Black, White & Blood issue 4 on page 35, so that’s cool.  I try to pick up as much of her stuff as I can, although I think I’ve missed some stuff.  I can’t remember if I got the Star mini in trade, for example.  On another note, I wonder how much the inclusion of the writer in the trade title is due to Marvel believing or seeing from sales that people buy based on creator, or if it’s a kind of perk that the writers are getting as part of their contracts, particularly if they have exclusive contracts.  Or if it’s something else entirely.  And at the end of the Marvel section, the end of Kelly’s run on Hawkeye and the start of her West Coast Avengers run are collected in Hawkeye: Go West, which is a cheaper trade than either of the two individual trades that are compiled in this collection.  Grr.

I think it’s probably just because Marvel keeps renumbering these things, so they have to distinguish them somehow, and that’s the easiest (meaning: laziest) way to do it. They didn’t do it with Star, for instance, because that’s the first one ever.

That’s true, but they also don’t do it with Iron Man on page 92, so it’s not completely consistent.  I know that not all arcs are by the same artist, but with ones that are, like Black Widow seems to be from the solicit, I wonder why they don’t also include the artist name in the title too.

Beats me. Maybe Kelly has compromising photos of Joey Q!

Who doesn’t?!

The Fantastic Four: Antithesis mini by Mark Waid and Neal Adams is probably worth the Treasury Edition on page 99, although there’s something about his version of the Thing that looks weird in the face.  What’s even better is that two older tales are included, with one an early Adams X-Men tale, and the other that first Waid/Wieringo FF story, which featured a rap about the Thing.  ‘Ringo art at treasury size is probably real purty.

I did see this, and I’m thinking about it, but 35 bucks is a bit dear. I’ll keep thinking!

That’s true, the mini is only 4 issues, and it says it’s only 144 pages, so even at large size, it’s a bit spendy.

If you have 40 dollars lying around that you don’t need for food, clothing, or shelter, I recommend picking up Spider-Man by Todd McFarlane: The Complete Collection on page 103. These are weird, wild comics from the early Image Age, and while they’re not, you know, good per se, McFarlane just puts his all into them, and it’s clear he is just having a blast and working really hard. I mean, the writing is painful, but, you know, there it is, and his art is beautiful in that weird, ornamental way that McFarlane has. I can’t recommend these, but I do still have several copies of issue #1 in their polybags, never opened! I’m planning on sending my daughter to school with the money I’ll get for selling them!!!!

I couldn’t remember the word that he uses in the first issue, and I was going to try to find your old column about it, but when I looked on the Grand Comics Database, the indexer notes mention that “Todd strikes out on his own and uses the word “Advantageous” abominably–TWICE!” So yeah, advantageous!  (Of course, the indexer also notes that the text page is by Todd with inserted comments by Jim Shooter, but I think he was gone from Marvel for awhile, and that it would be editor Jim Salicrup who inserted the comments.)  I actually never got a copy of #1 (nor do I have a copy of X-Force 1 from that same era), although thinking about it, I think I have it in a reprint in one of those Greatest Marvel Stories of All Time books they did in maybe the early 2000s.  I do have the Ghost Rider/Hobgoblin two-parter, because when I first got into comics a little after this, there was a story in GR that referenced the Spidey story.  And we can’t forget that this ends with a two-part sideways (muthafukkas!!!) X-Force crossover with Rob Liefeld, and damn, Juggernaut wrecked the World Trade Center 10 years before it happened in real life (which makes me wonder, did they reference that storyline in the post-9/11 cryin’ Doctor Doom Spidey issue?).  Also, while we’re on the subject, I’ve always wondered about issue 15 of this series.  The issue that was published was by Erik Larsen and was about Beast talking with Spidey about how Spidey’s radioactive blood might affect a child if he were to get MJ pregnant, but the issue was originally solicited as having a different story.  I believe.  I can’t find it with just a little googling, but someday I’ll find a copy of a comic from around that time and see what the original solicited story was, and then wonder what changed.  Rooting around a bit more, I found Not Blog X’s discussion of the issue, where he mentions thinking the original description of that issue may have intended it as a humorous book or a parody of the X-Men.  I also forgot that Not Blog X was done by G. Kendall, who did the Wizard Magazine write ups at the old place, and it appears still writes about some of the animated versions of superhero comics.  Man, that was long winded!

Yes, but for anyone thirsty for information, it was … advantageous!

Nice!

Inject it directly into my brain!!!!!!

Um, I assume that in the Star Wars Legends Epic Collection on page 106 that Empire’s End is the third part of the Dark Empire trilogy, otherwise, there ain’t no third part reprinted!  I believe Dark Empire was the first major post-Original Trilogy work in any medium, and it’s actually nice that Marvel is finally publishing it, as they announced it in the Marvel Age Preview from 1990, before this becoming the first SW stuff that Dark Horse published. I don’t know why it was originally at Marvel or why it ended up at DH, though.  Oh, wait, Brian did a Legend (#131) about it, but the link I’m finding for it doesn’t seem to include Tom Veitch’s response to Brian’s inquiry.  Fucking weird ass CBR with the old posts.

On page 107 we have the second Epic Collection of Conan from the original Marvel years, and I think there was already an omnibus reprinting this stuff, but three things popped out at me.  One is that Red Sonja appears here, which makes me wonder if Marvel has some sort of deal with Dynamite to use the character.  Another is that Conan meets Fafnir — is that the Fritz Leiber character, he asked, before looking it up and realizing that no, but it is based on Fafhrd, the actual Leiber character.  Lastly, Michael Moorcock’s albino antihero “Eric” appears here, and I wonder if Moorcock gets some money from that, and if he’ll still want to work with Marvel after that typo.

This was in the first giant Omnibus (the one I actually read), and now I can’t remember if Roy Thomas said anything about why Red Sonja is allowed to be in here. He wrote quite a bit about “Eric” and Moorcock, though, which was pretty interesting. These are, obviously, terrific comics.

Dynamite:

Dig through the Vampirella stuff here … if you dare!

Sonjaversal #1 is on page 136, where Red Sonja battles all sorts of other Sonjas from other dimensions.  Actually, if she faced off against Red Sophia from Cerebus, I’d buy that.  Oh, I forgot Christopher Hastings did Dr. McNinja, but the interview on page 140 reminded me.

Boom! Studios:

Gaze upon the solicits here!

Maria Llovet has a new mini-series on page 168 called Luna. It’s about a girl who has prophetic dreams which leads her to a weird hippie sex cult. You know, like they do. Llovet is a fascinating creator, so I’ll get this trade when it comes down the pike.

Yeah, it should be a cool trade.

Damned hippies!

With the announcement that Dan Mora is drawing Detective, I wonder what that means for Once & Future (page 191), as he’s a big part of why that book is so keen. Maybe Gillen will have to get a new artist, or maybe Mora can work on it intermittently? It’s frustrating that artists, who can’t do as much work as writers, have to grab the brass ring when they get the chance, because it means books like this suffer. Possibly.

I thought he’s been doing a lot of covers, too, though, although that’s obviously not as time consuming as interiors.  Once & Future was originally only a 6 issue series, right, so maybe Gillen will wrap it up in a few more issues.

I suppose that’s possible, although he doesn’t appear to be anywhere near done. The first arc could have kind of functioned as a complete story, but it seems like once he got the green light for more, he really went all in. We’ll see – the new arc just started, so maybe he will wrap it up in 18 issues.

The first trade of We Only Find Them When They’re Dead is on page 192. This sounds neat – space explorers harvesting dead alien gods – and it’s written by Al Ewing, who knows what he’s doing, and the art is pretty keen. So I’ll pick this up.

Yeah, and it’s $10 for 5 issues in this version, so that’s a big plus for me.

You know I’m getting Wicked Things on page 194, a book set in the world of Giant Days, because John Allison does very fun comics.

Giant Days made the Top 100 runs list, by the way, in case you haven’t been keeping up. I’m busy typing up my reactions to it, but Cronin seems to have slowed down the posting schedule, damn him!!!!

Oh, that’s awesome.  If I had thought about this list, I would have just done a post here myself (hahahaha!), and I don’t keep up with CBR, so I haven’t been keeping up.  But that’s cool that it made the list!

Let’s check out the back of the book!

As we’re all interested in drugs, Cocaine Coast from Ablaze on page 199 is about the drug gateway into Europe and the violence that accrues. Sounds neat.

Ablaze also has yet another version of The Great Gatsby, this time an illustrated edition, on page 200.  It looks like there are random, generic photos from the 1920s along with some illustrations by unnamed artists.

Jeebus with Gatsby. Although I think this is resolicited? I seem to recall that cover.

I believe that’s classic cover art from the paperback from some time over the years.  Yeah, from what I’m seeing online, that’s the cover Scribner has used for a while.  So I guess this is an authorized edition of some sort.  Which has me curious if Gatsby and other Fitzgerald works are entering public domain any time soon.  I think older laws would have brought it into public domain by now, but allowing heirs to continue the copyright, and other laws, I think it’s still a number of years (if ever) that it falls into public domain.

Aardvark-Vanaheim has the latest Cerebus in Hell? one shot with The Amazing Batvark on page 202, in my obligatory monthly mention.

Acme Ink has a Rock N Roll Biography of Oingo Boingo on page 202, because they’ve run out of bands, apparently.

Jeez, what happened to Action Lab?  They normally have pages of solicits but this time it’s only 4 books on page 204.  I’m interested in the trade of Sasquatch in Love, the title of which is self-explanatory.

That is weird. Strange things are afoot!

AfterShock has Shadow Doctor on page 206, which sounds fascinating, as it’s based on the true story of the writer’s grandfather, who couldn’t get work as a doctor in 1930s Chicago, so he has to turn to Al Capone for assistance.  The art is by Georges Jeanty, so it’s going to look good too.

That does sound neat.

Maniac of New York on page 208 sounds intriguing as well, where an unstoppable serial killer is allowed to keep killing by the authorities, and two women decide they need to stop him, even though they have to fight City Hall to do so.

Andrea Mutti’s art looks terrific, too.

Poor guy is just chopping up some tomatoes and people scream at him

In yet another mining of Philip K. Dick’s work, Nuclear Family on page 210 adapts a short story of his, with the bomb being dropped back in 1957.  It might be neat.

AWA/Upshot has some neat stuff.  On page 240 are the $10 trades of Devil’s Highway, about an underground network of serial killers and the woman trying to get vengeance for her father, and Old Haunts, about some made men on the edge of retirement who start getting haunted by their old ghosts.  The latter is one I read parts of in the AWA preview books that they did at the end of last year and the start of this year, and it looked pretty good in B&W.  Casual Fling on page 242 sounds to me a little like Milligan’s Image book The Discipline, about a woman who has a fling outside her relationship, and finds out that the person she was with is stalking and tormenting her.  The lesson of these books is obviously that the ladies shouldn’t have the sex.  (No?)

I think we can all conclude that. I will probably get this in trade, but I’m a bit tired of people breaking their marriage vows and then being the sympathetic protagonist in the story. I was rooting for Glenn Close the entire time, damn it!

If you had been home watching The Queen’s Gambit with your husband this never would have happened!

A Wave Blue World has Averee Premier Edition on page 245, where a high schooler’s ranking drops on a social media app that determines people’s real world privileges and she decides to go to extreme lengths to get her ranking back.  It could be interesting.

As I often do, I will note that both Tyler and his lovely wife Wendy are awesome, so I like to support A Wave Blue World. Plus, they put out good comics, which helps.

That’s part of why I mentioned it, because I know you dig their stuff!

Behemoth has Bad Summer on page 245, which is about a heatwave wrecking everyone in an East LA neighborhood. That’s always fun to read about!

On page 247, Black Mask has the trade of Space Riders volume 2, along with a reprint of the first volume. This isn’t the best written story, but Alexis Ziritt’s wildly wonky art makes up for a lot of the writing’s sins.

Comixtribe has She: At the Tower of All That Is Known HC on page 258, which I picked up through Kickstarter, because I like Ryan K. Lindsay.  I need to download my digital rewards, and actually open the package.  I got so far behind this year …

Yeah, I like Lindsay too. I’ll have to check this out, although that solicit is so bombastic it can’t help but disappoint when the book actually arrives!

The video I’ve seen of the cover, which is die cut and foil enhanced, makes it look pretty cool.  I need to just open my damn box!  That is a bombastic solicit, though.

Die cut AND foil enhanced? The Nineties are back, bitches!!!!!

Fantagraphics has Crashpad on page 266, the new comic by Gary Panter, who’s always been a very interesting creator.  It’s an extension of an art installation and inspired by his first visit to a head shop in the late ‘60s and the underground comix of the day. It’s being published as an artist edition style HC and as a stapled floppy comic in one package.  It’ll be cool to see.  And if you didn’t go for last month’s regular version of BWS’s Monsters, there’s a signed version offered here.  And over on page 267 is Nuft and the Last Dragons volume 1: The Great Technowhiz by Freddy Milton, whose work I saw in old issues of Critters, and I think these characters may have been originally published in that series.  It’s good stuff, from what I remember.

I’m also intrigued by The Grande Odalisque on page 266, about an art heist that spirals so out of control that French Special Forces end up involved. Sounds keen.

On page 270 is a new one from First Second and Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones called The Infinite Adventures of Supernova: Pepper Page Saves the Universe!  If I’m reading the solicit right, Pepper Page is a girl 400 years in the future who gets powers in another dimension and ends up back in our time as the hero Supernova, whom she had read stories about in her time.  Walker and Jones have been making cool comics together for over 20 years, it appears, since at least Little Gloomy, so this one is probably going to be pretty good.

On the same page, but from Gallery 13 is Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh (from Lumberjanes), about a trio of mermaids who sneak onto land in order to indulge in drinking, but find they’re trapped in human form for the foreseeable future, and have to adjust to life on land.  Sounds like it could be fun.

I thought Space Bastards from Humanoids was a one shot last month, but I guess not, as issue 2 is on page 276.

Wouldn’t it be nice if solicits mentioned how long the series are? I know it’s a shocking revelation, but that would be groovy.

I always like the ones that don’t say they’re minis until the penultimate issue is solicited!

Over on page 281 is a neat sounding one from Keylight Books called 200, about a society where immortality is possible, but you have to pass a test on your 200th birthday in order to live forever.  Interesting concept, so I might go for this.

On the same page is the Bob’s Burgers Burger Book from Kingswell, which is a book of recipes of the different burger of the day menu items that Bob has on his menu.  Apparently someone had the same idea my girlfriend had, about trying to actually make them, but got to it before we had a chance to try it online.  With this book, we can always try it at home!

And still on that same page is Legendary Comics with Acursian, a graphic novel “starring” John Barrowman, involving a curse on a family where all the dudes lose everything when they turn 40.  Like me and my hair, hi-yo!  It sounds mildly interesting.

Still on the same page, we see Lev Gleason, the umbrella company for Chapterhouse et al.  I thought Lev Gleason was the dude who published Crime Does Not Pay?  I guess he is, but apparently he was Canadian?  (Eh?)  Regardless, his name is a registered mark now (at least I think that’s what you call the R in a circle).  The New Friday book on page 282, Minerva’s Map: The Key to a Perfect Apocalypse 1, sounds like it might be neat.  It’s by someone named Stefan Tosheff, I think, if I’m reading it right, and it’s about a woman who is hired to track down a couple of ancient items, but there’s apparently more going on than that.  The cover vaguely reminds me of Return of the Dapper Men for some reason.

Magnetic has yet another volume in The Collected Toppi on page 265, and if you aren’t getting these, you’re really missing out on some cool comics. Don’t dis the European comics, people!

Oni has the first trade of The Vain on page 296, and do that annoying thing of not spelling out what issues are included.  Based on the page count, I’d think the first 5 issues are in here, but the solicit for issue 5 sounds like it could be the first issue of a new arc, so who tf knows?

I know I like solicits to be precise, but does it really matter? I mean, I’m going to get the trade, but I’m not going to switch to single issues, which seems like the only reason you’d care if issue #5 is included. I get that it’s annoying, but I’m not sure it’s that necessary.

Part of my thinking is that with some publishers, I’ve seen where the second volume of something gets cancelled, so I like to know if I’ll need to get, say, issue 5, or if that was in the first trade.  OK, it’s probably rare, and really it’s more that I just want to know, dammit!  Is that too much to ask?!?!

Oni also has the second volume of Backtrack on page 297. The first volume was pretty keen.

Plough Publishing has Freiheit! on page 300. It’s the tale of the White Rose, the student resistance group that foolishly tried to stop the Nazis. I say “foolishly” because they were a terrible resistance group and knew they were going to get killed right quick, which makes their resistance, perversely, even more impressive. I think this has been solicited before, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I’m sure it will be inspiring!

The cover does look familiar, so it may have been offered before.  I’m surprised there’s no note about it not being offered in Germany, as I thought swastikas were verboten even if it’s an anti-Nazi work.  I do have a certain amount of admiration for people who believe so strongly in something they’re willing to die for it, particularly if it seems like a lost cause.  Maybe seeing the tank in Tienanmen Square when I was young influenced that.

So very doomed!

I was kind of interested in The Legacy of Mandrake the Magician, and Red 5 has the first trade on page 303, so I might check this out. It’s about a teenager with magical powers, so the creator(s) are obviously trying to cash in on the Sabrina market, but still, it sounds fun.

Over on Hatcher’s post about head canon, the conversation is sort of turning towards “at what point is a character still the same character”.  I would say that this looks like it might be entertaining, but it’s so far from the original Mandrake that it’s just slapping the name on a vaguely related property.  Not that that’s always bad, I suppose.

Scout has a batch of goodies on pages 304-306.  I guess the one I’m most interested in is the Perhapanauts: First Blood, which I believe is reprinting a mini that Dark Horse originally published.  (It looks like the title had 2 minis at DH and 2 at Image.)  Todd DeZago was a pretty cool dude when I met him almost 10 years ago (egads!) at the Boston Comic Con. (Actually, he told me about how he based the Tangent Flash a bit on the movie Clueless, and particularly Alicia Silverstone’s character in it, I believe.  So I guess my comment about Tangent up above was a bit harsh.)  There’s also the White Ash Presents: Glarien one shot, apparently about an elf that runs around nearly nekkid.  And Scoot, the all-ages/kids imprint has an interesting one in The Mapmaker, about an alternate Earth during the Age of Discovery, and the explorers who want to obtain The Mapmaker’s map, which is able to come to life.  Neato.

21 Pulp has an intriguing one on page 319, Prison Earth, with the premise that Earth is a prison for aliens, who use human bodies as prison cells, but now some convicts are escaping.  Could be neat.

That does sound nifty.

That thing really needs to see a dentist

TwoMorrows continues the goodness on page 319 with Back Issue 126, a legacy issue that highlights the Wally West Flash era, and has a cool ‘Ringo cover.

So with Savage, the new Valiant has their Turok.  Have there been other “new” characters that stand-in for Solar or Magnus yet, that I just forgot about?  Speaking of Valiant, the blurb on page 324 for Bloodshot 11 caught my eye.  “A must-read for all the right reasons”?  What are the wrong reasons?

Well, you know, sometimes you’re curious about, you know, your predilections, and, you know, you want to see what’s what, but you don’t, you know, want a real person, so you, you know, you get a comic with a buff dude in it, and, you know, you go into the bathroom for a while and, you know, see what you see. IT’S SO WRONG!!!!!!

I feel like I’m overhearing your therapy sessions!

Vault has some trades on pages 332-333. Eliot Rahal is the writer of Bleed Them Dry, a futuristic ninja-vampire story, and Rahal has written some keen stuff, so this might be cool. Money Shot gets a second trade, and the first was surprisingly (?) excellent, so I’m glad there’s another one!

Bleed Them Dry does have the art of Dike Ruan, who was the artist on at least part of that Shang-Chi book you mentioned above.  But maybe it was the other artist that you didn’t like!

It’s not even that I don’t like the art on Shang-Chi, it’s just that it’s just generic and slick, like so much of what Marvel publishes these days. I’m sure it’s fine, but it doesn’t raise the level of the book. So here, maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but I hope that it will because it’s not just a cash job for the artist. If that makes sense.

Yen Press has one that might be fun, a romcom/horror mash-up called The Girl Without a Face (page 369), with the great tag line of “her boyfriend thinks she’s the cutest girl around, but her expressions can be a bit hard to read …”

‘Not Final Cover’? Why not? That thing is weird and wacky!

Flip it over for toys and games! (That sounds weird!)

I don’t find these in the games section later on, so let me comment on the ad on page M3.  It’s Pop! Funkoverse strategy games, which have 4 little figures and a game board and such, and if I was into that stuff they would probably be cool, but I notice there’s a Golden Girls one, which makes me wonder what the gaming is with that, but even more fun is that the ad says you can mix and match characters to every game environment, so you can finally team up Betty White and Batman, as God intended!

I would read that comic every damned day and twice on Sundays.

I don’t know if Dark Nights: Death Metal is any good as a comic book series, but I do have to say that the Batcycle on page M24 of a skeletal bat looks friggin’ kewl!

Damn, when you do the math, it’s actually a pretty good deal, but the 5 Points Batman 1966 deluxe box set on M36 sounds spendy.  But for what you’re paying, you get a Batmobile and 7 figures, including an Alfred, and a box that looks like the Batcave.  That’s pretty cool looking!

There’s a pretty neat looking Bill and Ted Phone Booth figure on page M41, but it only comes with a Bill figure.  How do I get my hands on Keanu?  Alex Winter’s likeness licensing fee must be cheaper.

On M43 is the perfect Funko Pop to end this year, the “This is Fine” dog, surrounded by flames.  Yep.

Of course!

I get wanting to have a cool prop replica, but on M45 is a Ressikan Flute from Star Trek Next Gen.  But the flute doesn’t even play, which the solicit says is just like the actual prop. What is the point?!

I hope the Motörhead Lemmy Reaction figures on page 49 capture him warts and all.

M64 has Dark Knight Returns figures that look kind of cool, but the articulated arms and legs are too prominent, so it distracts me.  Kinda cool, but it could look better.

On page M120 are trading cards for Star Trek Discovery and Star Wars, and a couple things amused me.  Harrison Ford’s signature looks like it could be his name or Han Solo, quite honestly. Let’s hope they didn’t have to double check his signature on his election ballot. Is that hairy man supposed to be Spock?  That is not logical!  And I love that on Tig Notaro’s card, she signs it “Tig’s Autograph”.

All righty, everyone, that’s what we have this month. Have a good time checking out Previews, and we hope everyone has a great holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. Stay safe!

6 Comments

  1. tomfitz1

    Distinguished Gents:

    I’ve read and gotten all of the Batman’s Grave which has awesome art by Hitch, but was surprised that DC followed through on the remaining 4 issues. I think it was around issue 7 or 8 when the “fall” of Ellis was announced and showcased officially on a website in his name.

    Was this to be the last works of Ellis?

    Casual Fling looks to be of interest.

    Well, I wish you both distinguished gents, a merry X-mas and a happy new year.

    Best wishes for a virus-free, Trump-free, in the first year of the third decade of the 21st century.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Tom: Well, I’m sure plenty of people in charge at DC didn’t think what Ellis did was too bad, especially as it’s not illegal, just, you know, creepy. If the sales were fine, why would they cancel the rest of it?

      I doubt if Ellis quits or is forced into retirement over this, as it seems like he has a lot of defenders and his books sell. It might mean that he doesn’t sell as well, but I still doubt if this affects him all that much. I’d be surprised if it did.

      Happy Christmas to you, too, sir! 🙂

  2. DarkKnight

    Regardless of how it came together and then subsequently fell apart I’m still really excited for DC’s Future State. I do agree if this lasted a year like Didio intended it probably would’ve hurt sales in the long term. For two months though and under the editorial watch of Marie Javins, I’m optimistic.

    Also, DC has needed an injection of some new talent and characters for a while now and I’m glad to see a lot of that talent sticking around to for the relaunch. Plus getting the likes of Jen Bartel and Simone Di Meo on interiors is a bonus.

  3. Andrew Collins

    Travis, this will sounds narky when written, but I don’t mean it that way, I promise- but DC is only NOW losing you as a fanboy? That road for me started with Identity Crisis and culminated in Flashpoint/New 52 pushing me out the door pretty much forever, minus the occasional comic or mini that catches my eye. Tip of the hat for the fortitude you’ve shown to put up with so much of DC/Didio’s terrible decision making over the last 20 years.

    The only thing that looks interesting to me about Future State is the new Wonder Woman, the one from Brazil. I like the character design and think she could be an interesting addition to the WW universe. Apparently I’m not alone as I read she’s already been picked up to feature in a new live action TV series as, wait for it, Wonder GIRL…

    But otherwise, Future State looks terrible.

    You’re not wrong on those Death In The Family pages showing the ‘alternate’ ending having been published before. I have the previous “deluxe edition” of DITF and they are certainly included. Not sure what they’re referring to in this new solicit…

    That re-edited Aria/Angela comic is…interesting. I used to really enjoy the Aria comic back in the early 2000’s and was sorry it sort of fizzled out and faded away. The main character just guest starred in co-creator Brian Haberlin’s current Image comic, MARKED, and so between that appearance and this reprint, I wonder if maybe a new Aria comic isn’t forthcoming. Would love to see Jay Anacleto drawing something besides covers for Dynamite. (Also, MARKED was just terrible. Cannot recommend it…)

  4. papercut fun

    Ah yes, the Who’s Who Omnibus. I managed to find it on Amazon at a pre-order price of 1/2 what it’s listed at today. A rare Amazon win for me! I didn’t get so lucky with the Marvel Handbook Omnibus but I had to have a matching set so I consider when I roll both prices together the price of the 2 combined Omnibuses (Omnibi?) still makes it a decent purchase! 🙂 I’m looking forward to revisiting both next spring.

  5. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Willow Grove! Lived there till I was 5, dooming me to wander the Earth as an Eagles fan!

    I haven’t been paying TOO much attention, but I like the Future State idea much better than “5G” – gives them a chance to do a bunch of “pilots” and see if one catches on, a la Spider-Girl (or Ultimate Spider-Man, but S-G seems the more germane comparison), without sinking a damn year into the thing.

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