Welcome to a run through of what I think could be interesting in the solicits for September. Actually in terms of new stuff there’s not a great deal which is handy because my comics deliveries were so late this month I have sod all time to write this. Anyway, lets start with the Independents this month, that’s where the best stuff is at.
Cross Game Volume 1
Publisher: Viz Media
Page 338 of Previews
Cross Game has been mentioned already on one of the board’s open threads. The cover caught my eye when I was going through the Viz section of previews, there was something about it that triggered a memory. I knew I’d seen the artist before but I couldn’t place it, I checked up on him and he did a series of stories called Short Program in the late lamented magazine Animerica Extra which were poignant, moving, funny, sad slice of life stories and Cross Game is in similar mode although the cast of characters is younger. It follows a boy named Ko is the pitcher for his schools junior baseball team and his interaction with the four sisters in the family down the road from him, one of whom is also an aspiring baseball pitcher.
Mangaka Mitsuru Adachi is phenomenally prolific…and popular in Japan but this is only the second of his many series to be published in English, lets hope it’s the start of a lot more. This edition actually has the first 3 volumes of the series, which at $19.99 is great value for money, you should be able to get it at a higher discount at your favourite stores.
Charley’s War: The Great Mutiny HC
Publisher: Titan Publishing
Page 326 of Previews
Simply put Charley’s War is the finest story to ever be published in British comics. it’s the story of a young man (Charley is 17 in this story) on the Western Front in the first world war. This volume has Charley caught up in the great mutiny of early 1917 at Etaples where the men who had suffered so much had had enough and the punishments that the high command reigned down on them. The research by writer Pat Mills is impeccable and the story is suitably grim and moving with the humour that is extant in some of the situations being of the black variety. Pat Mills talks about some of his British work here with some comments about Charley’s War:
The art by the late Joe Colquhoun is phenomenally detailed and as well researched as the writing. You can feel the dirt and stink of the trenches and the emotions of the soldiers are wonderfully portrayed in a realistic way. Just look at the detail in this….and that’s just one panel! And this is the page that it’s from.
Vampirella Archives Volume 1 HC
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Page 262 of Previews
I have to admit, I’ve long had a soft spot for Vampirella. In some ways it started off as being the triumph of style over substance where the genius design of the Vampi costume was the catalyst behind the early phenomenal sales of the magazine. There was substance there though, the writing chops of Archie Goodwin, Don Glut and Bill Dubay married to the art of Tom Sutton, Mike Royer, Barry Smith, Wally Wood, Reed Crandall, Esteban Maroto and the great Jose Gonzalez made you have a real affection for the character and the world she inhabited. Not all the stories in the Vampi mag were about the eponymous title character, there were a lot of horror one-off stories in the Creepy vein and eventually other characters like Pantha would be launched. This series is one I intend to collect, I know I’m going to love it.
Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #1 (of 6)
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Page 230 of Previews
Finally, David Petersen is back with the third series of Mouse Guard (Legends is really a side project to the main series) which itself is actually a prequel to the Fall 1152 series. Got that?. No need to worry, its an easy series for noobies to pick up and I’m sure will be satisfying for those that are already fans of the series and well if you haven’t read this before then go out and buy the trades now. Right now. This is one of the series that will go down as an all time great comic book series, a moving tale brought to life by sumptuous art, this particular series focuses on the legend of the Black Axe, its origin and its wielders.
A lot of “trade” picks this time around. There simply aren’t many new comics being launched in September, there was nothing really new that caught my attention from any of my usual “Go-to” publishers like Boom, IDW, Radical, Image and Dark Horse, so I figure it’s a perfect time to pick up some trades and hard covers. Another pick which almost made the list was the two G-Man trades from Image drawn by the excellent Chris Giarruso of mini-Marvels fame.
Taskmaster #1 (of 4)
Page 59 of Marvel Previews
One of the first Marvel comics I ever got was an issue of Marvel Team-Up which was given to me by an uncle who had emigrated to the USA and had come back home on holiday. It starred Spider-Man teamed up with the Nomad against Taskmaster and a bunch of hired goons and who did you think I started rooting for? The Taskmaster of course, not those stupid heroes! He had a back-story that made sense and a cool power that worked well in the hands of a good writer and of course he had a brilliant costume which had nods to various other heroes and villains.
I’ve always had that sneaking regard for TM in his appearances since and I’m looking forward to this series by the usually reliable Fred Van Lente and Jefte Paolo, this series puts him in the anti-hero role where he’s a bit of a bastard yet he’s fighting hordes of evil thugs from AIM and the like.
Page 55 of Marvel Previews
Unfortunately Atlas is gone but at least we can console ourselves with the thought that Hulk will be readable at last now that bloody Jeph Loeb is gone and a good writer like Jeff Parker has taken over the title with Gabriel Hardman. There’s not a whole lot of information about this issue yet but its got Iron Man, The Leader and Modok along with the Hulk so its going to be good.
I would have liked to get Greg Pak’s Incredible Hulk title also as I liked his Planet Hulk series and this looks to be quite similar but its gone up to 2 $3.99 issues a month and I just can’t afford to drop $12 a month on Hulk titles. One for the hardcover trades perhaps.
Acts of Vengeance Omnibus HC
Page 92 of Marvel Previews
Acts of Vengeance was a crossover series that wasn’t a crossover…that needs some explanation, right? What happened was that over the course of 3 months in 1989-90 a whole coterie of super villains are forced to team up and they go up against heroes that they haven’t fought before thus gaining an advantage over the heroes. Unlike the crossovers of today it was short and you didn’t need to get all the books if you didn’t want to, the only core book really was Avengers and there was no over-arching mini-series and definitely no crap like “Embedded”. I remember these books with great affection, there was a lot of fun stuff plus some mind bending wackiness with the Scarlet Witch in Avengers West Coast. This was the last gasp of good Marvel comics for about 10 years, not long after this the speculators took over and books became about how many pouches you could get on a character and how grim and gritty they could get.
Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius Ultimate Collection Book 1
Page 109 of Marvel Previews
Chris Eliopoulos is such a great cartoonist and such a clever writer that you’d be mad to pass up this book. This is all-ages fun that doesn’t talk down to or patronise kids, it’s intelligent and irreverent, you can give it as a Christmas present to a child or you can enjoy it yourself.
A pretty quiet month from Marvel, more of the same shit mostly with the odd good title like Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four, Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher. Marvel is pushing a lot of trades this month but can anyone explain to me why Captain America: Reborn is $19.99 for 232 pages whereas Wolverine: Old Man Logan is $29.99 for 224 pages? So OML is $10 more for 8 less pages? So what exactly is the $10 premium for eh?
Still, it’s a better month than the last couple for Marvel.
Freedom Fighters #1
Page 88 of Previews
I’ve never been a big fan of Uncle Sam when he’s appeared in other comics but this is by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and that immediately puts it on the radar as being something of interest. Given the pure genius of their Power Girl series I think we can at least give this a go.
Our Army at War #1
Page 76 of Previews
Given the fact that I like war comics this would seem like a bit of a gimme but since DC have deigned that this and the other 4 war themed one shots be $3.99 I’m going to pass on this.
A really quite disappointing month from DC comics. The only other new thing I might have bought was the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans graphic novel. I really enjoyed Paul Levitz’s start on Adventure Comics too so I can recommend that as well. Otherwise DC continues to cancel Vertigo titles and dip their toe in the $3.99 waters…and 2009 was such a good year for DC but the rose is definitely falling from the vine at the moment.