Welcome to my monthly voyage through the Previews catalogue which has finally winged its way through volcanic clouds of ash to my home in Latveria. For the first, and definitely not the last time, the Indies get first go:
Strange Science Fantasy #1
Page 151 of Previews
It’s IDW’s first time in the hallowed halls of front part of the Previews catalogue where they get more space to show their wares. Once you get past all the licensed stuff you get to the 3 or 4 original series and they usually are pretty decent. This month my eye was caught (and pummeled) by Strange Science Fantasy which promises to be “Six issues of retro-crazy pure comics storytelling”. Scott Morse writes and draws the stories, his art style is like Kirby/Ditko era art with an impressionist slant and is really appealing. The stories are done-in-ones and there’s a bonus Paul Pope backup strip page as well. I think this could turn out to be one of the most fun comics of the year.
Also on the same page of Previews is Richard Stark’s Parker: The Man with the Getaway Face which is a prelude to Darwyn Cooke’s next graphic novel which is the sequel to The Hunter which Cooke brought out to acclaim from IDW last year. This is basically an issue 0 for the new graphic novel and it has 24 pages of Darwyn Cooke, do I really need to say more?
Life With Archie: The Married Life #1
Publisher: Archie Comics
Page 228 of Previews
You probably think I’m joking or perhaps you think I’ve finally gone insane (finally?) but no, I’m picking an Archie comic as one of my picks from the catalogue this month. Actually when I say comic, this is actually a large format magazine size rather than a normal sized comic. The writing is by film producer Michael Uslan and the art team is….get this….Norm Breyfogle, Andrew Pepoy and Joe Rubenstein, now that’s a good team and no mistake. This magazine is a follow up to the successful Archie proposes series that Archie just brought out, this mag has two stories, one where Archie has married Veronica and the other where Archie has married Betty and shows what his life would be like with either. Finally a comic that not only shows one marriage but two! Take that and suck it up Joey Q!
Time Bomb #1 (of 3)
Publisher: Radical Publishing
Page 324 of Previews
This is a time travel thriller written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (Jonah Hex, Power Girl etc) with art by the great Paul Gulacy. A crack team of commandos has to go back in time to Nazi Germany to stop a bomb from going off underneath Berlin and destroying all of mankind. There are some samples of the art on Paul Gulacy’s site, it looks like being an intense adventure comic.
One of the reasons I like Radical Publishing is that they really try and sell you their books, the promotional material they have is streets ahead of any of the other non big-two companies. Driver for the Dead by John Heffernan with art by Leonardo Manco looks like being good too but I’m at the edge of my budget at the moment.
Bakuman Vol #1
Publisher: Viz Media
Page 350 of Previews
I’ve been wanting to pick up some new manga for ages but with the demise of the manga magazines a few years ago its harder to just try something out, $10 is a lot to take a hunch on something….plus there’s that fucking having to read the thing backwards. I wish they’d go back to flipping manga…but that’s another story. Bakuman is by the “Death Note” team of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata so you know it has a quality pedigree. This is a different type of book (creators aren’t typecast so easily in Japan thankfully), this is about a pair of teenagers who set out to create their own manga and have it published professionally. This is the story of the scrapes that they get into and its reputed to be very funny. I’ve also started getting Biomega and Gantz and perhaps I’ll go into that further in my next Rants and Raves column.
An interesting and varied month for the smaller companies, other books to watch out for are Invincible #75 and Walking Dead #75 by Kirkman et al from Image and the new volume of Scott Pilgrim is out from Oni Press which is the series finale. Books to avoid like the plague are Brigade #2 from Image and Doctor Solar from Dark Horse which bored the hell out of me in its FCBD issue.
Batman Odyssey #1
Page 78 of Previews
A Batman series drawn by Neal Adams? You know this is going to be a beautiful book however its also written by Neal Adams and I’m not familiar with his writing so it could be great or it might not At least it’ll look good though!. This is the first part of a 6 issue mini-series and Adams can be kind of slow so this book might well end up being late, it might be better to trade wait this one.
Page 84 of Previews
J. Michael Strazechninaskizzzzi takes over the Superman book properly and hopefully he’ll get this book back on track. The New Krypton stuff started off well but really tailed off quite badly and had a pretty unsatisfactory ending so I’m hoping that JMS can do for this book what he did for the Thor series, start telling good honest no-bullshit enjoyable stories. I wish they’d get him a better artist than Eddy Barrows though, while he’s not horrible he’s just not inspiring in any way. Paul Cornell is taking over Action Comics in July as well, with Pete Woods on art. While I’ve liked Cornell’s Marvel stuff he’s starting out with Lex Luthor beginning an epic quest for power which made me sigh as Lex Luthor bores the living fuck out of me at this stage, can they not use someone that’s not been used a million times before?
Wonder Woman #601
Page 97 of Previews
JMS takes over properly on Wonder Woman and again I’m hoping that JMS takes this book to the heights that it really deserves as befitting the most important female character in superhero comics (no offence to Gail Simone as she did a good job but JMS just has a bigger cachet at the moment). Unfortunately I’m not a big fan of Don Kramer’s art, I don’t know why DC aren’t pairing JMS with their top talent but who knows maybe Kramer can surprise me.
As you can see, I wasn’t exactly inspired by DC this month. Really if it wasn’t for JMS they wouldn’t have any new offerings that really interest me. The stuff that they’ve been doing well (REBELS, GL, GLC, Flash, Doom Patrol) are still there but the rose is starting to fall from the vine as it were. I have a sinking feeling that DC are going to blow all the good will they built up from Blackest Night. The whole Ryan Choi thing just pisses me off so much and then there’s the disaster that is First Wave, The Spirit and Doc Savage are very disappointing. Verdict?: Must do better!
This comic has been in the works for a zillion years but finally its here. This is an (allegedly) Prestige Format tale of the X-Women saving the world. Its written by Chris Claremont and its drawn by Milo Manara. The fact its drawn by Manara should be enough to get you to buy this comic, he draws some of the most beautiful comic book women of all time.
This is a book with Win written all over it, Matt Fraction plus Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon on Casanova, this should be epic. There really isn’t much more to say about this except to mention that if you don’t buy this book I will personally break your legs.
Gorilla Man #1
First Marvel canceled Agents of Atlas, now they seem to be really in love with Jeff Parker, it’s really bizarre but better to ride the roller coaster and support a good writer than just accept the usual bendis-loeb shite. This as the title would indicate is about Gorilla-Man, more precisely it’s his history and origin. He’s probably my favourite AOA member so this is an easy choice
It’s the usual story with Marvel, some gems amongst all the dross. They do seem to be wising up a little bit regarding 40 pages for $3.99 although we still have to see what quality those extra pages are. I’d prefer 32 pages for $2.99, the extra pages just usually aren’t worth the money. Also, how in hell could someone start getting into the X-Universe these days? There is just so much being published and a lot of it is a confused mess. There should be a maximum of 5 X-Comics, no more, not even mini-series. If they concentrated on 4 or 5 X-titles and made them as good as possible it would do a lot for the industry because there’s a lot of residual love for the X-Men/X-Factor/New Mutants but the current X-titles are impenetrable.