Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday: Previews August 2014

Comic Book Wednesday –
Previews August 2014: DC Cranks It Up A Notch
If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.

Earth 2: World’s End – DC (Front Cover)
Alright, DC. I’m having a hard enough time caring about the characters in your supposed primary universe; this New 52 thing you’ve done. Now I see some weirdo Superman and Batman and I’m expected to invest in these guys?

I kid. Sort of. I think this is the story of the demise of the Earth that New 52 Power Girl and Huntress are from. I stopped picking up Earth 2 and World’s Finest not because they were bad but because I simply can’t follow characters that are even further removed from the ones I grew up with. I buy too many books as it is.
wytches - Image (Back Cover)
I have loved certain portions of Scott Snyder’s run with Batman, but I am definitely suffering from “Zero Year” fatigue. I don’t think that translates to Snyder fatigue, though. The guy is still a heck of a writer and I feel he’s earned enough cred with me to at least give this a shot. The fact that Jock is doing the art doesn’t hurt, either. I initially had a resistance to liking a guy that referred to himself as “Jock” for what I would think are obvious reasons. But his work won me over.
The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow - Archaia (1)
This looks delightful. I love Langridge’s work on Jim Henson properties.
A Note to Toy Collectors (11)
This is the first time I’ve noticed this. I’m glad to see that it is printed in Previews because this is something that likely causes both retailers and customers headaches. But it should really be printed on a splash page in front of the “Toys*Statues*Models” section.
The Mighty Trade Paperback – Dark Horse (57)
I remember this coming out, but I passed because I am a bad person that doesn’t buy a lot of comics about characters that I am not already familiar with. I already know that I dig Peter Tomasi, and Chris Samnee’s current run on Daredevil has made me a huge fan of that guy. The concept of the hero that isn’t so heroic may not be anything new, but with the talents involved I feel compelled to check this out. Plus, it’s 12 collected issues and that’s the end.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Dark Horse (59)
I dropped all of the Buffy books because they just weren’t doing it for me. I tried. I really did. But I just wasn’t digging the stories enough to continue buying them. But that is one kickass cover. I’d buy a poster of that.

I just noticed that Richard Corben is the Guest Artist. I know he’s a legend and all, but I am not a fan. Unless he’s just drawing monsters. Then he’s awesome. His Hellboy stories are great.
Gotham Academy & Arkham Manor – DC (75)
I saw a lot of people bitching online about DC adding two more Bat-centric titles (I suppose anything that takes place in Gotham City sort of is a Bat book) in October. I mean, this bitching wasn’t special. It was just like all of the other bitching. But the way I see it these people have two options:
  1. Find a way to make the entire universe love Batman less so that anything even tangentially related to Batman is no longer a financial success
  2. Don’t buy the fucking books, dum-dums.
Having said that, I won’t be buying either of these titles. The concept of Arkham Manor does sound interesting – Arkham Asylum suffers some sort of catastrophe and the loonies are moved into Stately Wayne Manor. But it just doesn’t excite me. Gotham Academy actually sounds great, but not necessarily relevant to my interests.
The Multiversity: The Just - DC (79)
It’s Grant Morrison. Of course I’m going to try it. And this concept sounds like a lot of fun – the children of the current crop of superheroes are the celebrities of Earth 16. I love this. It sounds so… Morrisony.
Deathstroke #1 – DC (82)
I enjoyed Tony S. Daniel’s work on Batman. I feel like he did a solid job with an incredibly difficult situation. I’m curious to see what he does with Slade Wilson. I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to add this one to the pull, though.
Klarion #1 – DC (83)
I love Klarion the Witch Boy, but I am not a fan of Ann Nocenti. Her writing – while very good – tends to be too agenda-laden for me. I am tempted by Trevor McCarthy’s art.
Lobo #1 – DC (84)
Wow. Three new series from DC that I have more than a passing interest in. That’s pretty impressive. I’m not gonna lie – I enjoyed whatever that Lobo book was with this leaner, metrosexual Last Czarnian. I felt like I had a sense of where the creators were going and that it wasn’t necessarily bad. I don’t know if this is a continuation of that or some new direction because it’s been at least a couple of years since that story was published. I am definitely a fan of Cullen Bunn’s work, so I might give this a look.
Trinity of Sin #1 – DC (85)
What the heck is going on here!?! Four books? Four? I haven’t followed anything about this Pandora chick, but I love the Question (even if it isn’t Renee Montoya), I dig Phantom Stranger (no relation), and J.M. DeMatteis is one of the most talented writers working today. I know this Trinity thing has been going on for a while – why does this reference the Question being centuries old? Is that a thing? I don’t know how I feel about that.
Batman Eternal – DC (103)
I only include this so that I can mention how awesome it has been. I had a number of Facebook buddies tell me that it was either very good or the best Batman book right now. I’d go so far as to say the latter bunch were right. There have been a couple of weak issues that had some serious problems with storytelling, but otherwise this has been a fantastic experiment. It feels like a throwback to the days of Batman event books.
Batman #35 – DC (104)
Okay, enough already. Why does every story arc have to be this massive thing? I know I just got done complimenting Batman Eternal, but that book features every person in the Bat-verse. It is epic out of necessity. This title is just about Batman and every Batman story can’t – and shouldn’t – be a huge, world-changing event. I enjoy Scott Snyder’s work, but I kind of wish that he would take a break between arcs. I miss the days when we would get smaller stories that would last between one and three issues in between big arcs. Legends of the Dark Knight was a perfect example of this (the original run, not the current one). Each arc would feature a different creative team and longer arcs would always be separated by one-shots and three-issue arcs.

The bottom line is I can’t get excited about “Endgame”.
Detective Comics #35 – DC (107)
That beautiful cover is what caught my eye, but the description is what caught my interest – “the first chapter of a two-part tale by the guest team…” This is exactly what I was talking about above. A nice two-part break from whatever has been going on in Detective Comics.
Batgirl #35 – DC (109)
DC is doing something right because I haven’t written this much about their books since I started doing this column back in April. Barbara Gordon is one of my favorite characters. I have her tattooed on my arm. It’s been killing me that I haven’t enjoyed most of what has been done with her in the New 52. But DC is giving us a fresh start and I’m pretty excited about that. Cameron Stewart is awesome and his sense of style appeals to me a lot. I’m in for this one.
Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead – DC (114-119)
DC is absolutely on fire this month! Er, in October. I haven’t read a Lantern Corps comic since a couple of months after the New 52 started, but the imagery and concept behind the new Lantern event story has me excited. I love the images and the related quotes and I like that the New Gods are finally taking a major role in the New 52. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be every bit as influential as the Asgardians of Marvel. More so, really. I’m not sure I’m going to commit to reading these, but I’m curious to hear how they are.
Hero Comics 2014 – IDW (179)
Everybody needs to buy this, and not just because it features Sam Kieth and Mike Grell. Sales of this book benefit The Hero Initiative, which helps out comic creators in times of need.
SIXIS – Marvel (M Cover)
Yeah, yeah – I know it’s “AXIS”. But every time I see that logo I see “SIXIS”. I am excited to read the main story, but irritated by all of the tie-ins.
Star Wars – Marvel (M Inside Cover & M78/79)
At first I was shocked that this wasn’t on the cover, but this is an omnibus collection of reprints of the old Marvel Star Wars comics. I’m sure the book with January’s solicitations (the first month that Marvel officially has the license back) will be festooned with goodness from that galaxy far, far away.

I want this omnibus very badly, but $125 is a lot of money.
Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1 – Marvel (M41)
Marvel does like to have fun and overall seems to be able to take itself less seriously than the Distinguished Competition. I think this is going to be a really neat-o book.
Deadpool’s Art of War - Marvel (M69)
Deadpool by Peter David. SOLD.
Original Sin – Marvel
I am very excited to read this crossover. Marvel is putting out a hardcover collection of the main story, as well as some trades of the tie-ins. I’ll read them all. I haven’t even heard anything about Original Sin yet, but I’ve been stoked about it since the first preview image I saw.
Strongman – Amigo Comics (256)
It’s The Dark Knight Returns if Batman was a luchador. Only Previews spells it “Luchidore”. Spelling errors aside, you know I’m buying this.
Alien “Chestburster” T-Shirt (464)
Genius. I don’t normally like white t-shirts, but it’s perfect in this instance to highlight all of the blood and gore. Actually, this is a little too gory for me to wear on any kind of regular basis. But it’s a great shirt.
Batman Classic TV Series Riddler Bust - DST (468)
This looks absolutely fantastic. I love that he has the mask around his neck. That was a nice design choice.
World’s Greatest Heroes Super Powers Figures – Figures, Inc. (483)
Every time I see these – and the Batman TV series figures – I want to buy them all. The nostalgia factor is strong, but they also just look so cool. For just a few bucks more than most 6” scale figures cost nowadays, you get a larger figure with a better head sculpt and fabric clothes. I’d love to interview somebody at Figures, Inc. about the history of that company.
Batman Desktop Standees – DC(?) (537)
I like the classic artwork on these a lot, but the real thrill is seeing Harley Quinn rendered in this 70s/early 80s style. She looks like she’d really fit in with the Super Powers era.
Nightbreed: Boon Mask (547)
I find it utterly bizarre that we’re getting merchandise based on Nightbreed. It’s even more bizarre that the merchandise is one of the most plain things in the movie. Not Dr. Decker’s mask or one of the creatures, but Boon’s face with basically just Maori-looking tattoos and sort-of fangs. Truth be told, Boon’s transformed appearance was always the thing that disappointed me about an otherwise great movie.
Beware the Batman: Dark Justice DVD (564)
Just as Beware the Batman started to get really cool, Warner Brothers yanked it from Cartoon Network. They showed these remaining thirteen episodes all at once in the middle of the night on a Saturday. I still haven’t seen them. I’d like to have a Blu-Ray set of the whole series, but I don’t know that the WB is going to bother doing that.
Transformers: Beast Machines – The Complete Series DVD (565)
I don’t know if I am unusual in this, but Beast Machines is by far my favorite iteration of the Transformers franchise. I had a bunch of the toys and I thought that the cartoon was fantastic. The difference in animation between this and the primitive CGI of Beast Wars is amazing. I remember that I just happened to be up on whatever morning the first episode debuted and I actually went to the trouble of programming my VCR to record the show. I loved it and was hooked.

Now that I think about it, this might have had a weekend Prime Time debut before moving to Sunday mornings. Whatever the case, this is a fantastic cartoon series and I’ll be buying it regardless of the format.

Also of Note

*DC is producing Monster variant covers for October. I think this is a fine idea and that every comic book company should do it. DC showed 22 covers in this Previews and they were all at least fun. My favorites were 
Batman/Superman:
Batman & Robin:
Superman:
And Batgirl:

*Marvel’s book is fucking HUGE this month. It’s 111 interior pages with fold outs on both covers. To be honest I don’t know how many pages these usually are, but this one is noticeably thicker.

*I want to see this Harley Quinn at Dragon Con:


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