Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews April 2016: “Everything But the DC!”

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog 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.

This month DC decided it would be fun to do their own little book like Marvel does. This is primarily because of the “Rebirth” event and is not currently scheduled to be a regular thing. As far as we know. Naturally, DC’s little book shipped late and won’t be here until next week. That means they get their own post two weeks from now, I guess.

Of course, they still got something on the main Previews back cover, which I’ll discuss below.


Dark Horse Day (Front Cover, 46-48)

No, I don’t buy a ton of stuff that Dark Horse publishes, but I recognize them for producing the most consistently high-quality books out of any of the publishers. The very best original and licensed titles come from Dark Horse, which is why they’re celebrating their 30th anniversary on June 4th.

Comic shops that stock up on Dark Horse trade collections  will have the opportunity to receive all kinds of different promotional tchotchkes to use to promote sales and host Dark Horse Day parties. I think this is a cool idea. If you agree, hit up your Local Comic Book Shop to participate. The best way to do this would be by ordering some of the books on page 47:

There’s some great stuff here – Aliens and Predator, Buffy and Angel, Conan, Hellboy, Serenity, and more. I personally vouch for all of that stuff from Dark Horse. Check it out and encourage your LCBS to throw a party. It’ll be good for business and good for comic books in general.

DC Super Hero Girls (Back Cover, ???)

I reviewed a couple of the DC Super Hero Girls figures from Mattel here. I liked them quite a bit and am impressed with DC and Mattel for the way they’re going about marketing these. We watched the cartoon on Boomerang and it was fun. Not as good as Teen Titans Go!, but still worth checking out, particularly if you’ve got a little girl in the house. I have no idea what’s aimed at kids and tweens and adolescents or whatever, but they did a good job with the characters and the stories reflected the DCU well enough.

DC is publishing graphic novels about the Super Hero Girls. It seems to me that in this instance “Graphic Novels” means “Not Comic Books”, but whatever. Anything that gets DC’s wonderful characters out to a larger audience is good.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! (33-41)

Free Comic Book Day is NEXT MONTH! Familiarize yourself with what’s being offered and what your Local Comic Book Shops are going to be doing. If they don’t have big plans, maybe work with them to come up with something yourself!

Prometheus: Life and Death #1 – Dark Horse (50)

This is something of a spiritual successor to last year’s Fire and Stone saga that ran across Dark Horse’s Aliens, Predator, and Prometheus books. It introduces and exciting new element into the mix – Colonial Marines! I read the first Predator comic of this new multi-maxi-series just the other day and thoroughly enjoyed it. Outside of video games, I’m not sure we’ve ever seen the Marines come into contact with Predators, and certainly not with the Engineers of Prometheus.

I love this universe and enjoy it every time Dark Horse visits. With Dan Abnett in charge of this run, I’m more excited than ever.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures HC (64)

Dark Horse’s prior releases about Masters of the Universe – the guide to the toy line and the minicomics collection – were perfect. If you don’t have them, buy them now!:





Between those and the Lou Scheimer book I just finished, my thirst for MOTU trivia is at an all-time high. It appears that this only covers the Filmation years, and since that’s where most of our nostalgia sits, this book is a must-have. When we talk about He-Man and She-Ra, this is what we’re talking about.

I can only assume (hope) that a separate volume will be published for New Adventures and the 2002 cartoon.

The Dark Horse Comics/DC Superman TP (71)

Wow! There’s some great stuff here!

Not only is 2016 Dark Horse’s thirtieth anniversary, it also marks three decades since the release of Aliens! As such, we’re getting a great volume collecting all of the Dark Horse/DC Superman crossovers. The Alien ones are fun, but I never read the Tarzan story and I don’t even remember the Madman book. For twenty-five bucks, the creators involved in these make this compilation well worth your while.

GI Joe: A Real American Hero Artist’s Edition HC - IDW (100)

Oh, man. I picked up Image’s oversized Artist Edition of The Walking Dead #1and really liked the format and novelty of the concept. But this is GI Joe: A Real American Hero, which is one of my favorite things of all time.

This is a different sort of release, as rather than just reprinting one issue in the oversized 12” x 17” format it is collecting some of the most notable stories from the entire Marvel run. 
There’s more bang for your buck, though the buck is the problem, as this has the dreaded “PLEASE INQUIRE” instead of a price. Usually that means a release will be too rich for my blood. We’ll see.

Eddie Campbell’s Omnibox: The Complete Alec and Bacchus – Top Shelf/IDW (122)

My buddy Scott has always been at the forefront of independent comics. He was always the guy reading what I secretly thought but would never admit was the coolest stuff. One of the names I most relate to Scott and his love of outside-the-box comic books is Eddie Campbell.
I’ve read some of Campbell’s work and love his art style, but I never could get too deep into Bacchus. I’d like to give it another shot now that I’m older and (a very little bit) wiser. If you’re a fan of Campbell, this is already on your wish list. If you’re not, I recommend you track down some of his work and find out if you like him, because this collection is a great deal for the greatest stories of one of the modern masters.

Civil War II - Marvel (Cover, 1-25)

I’m not all cynical about Marvel cashing in on the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie by doing a massive crossover in the comics. Why wouldn’t they? The whole point here is to make money, people. Yes, it’s nice when creative integrity and capitalism line up, but if the comic book companies don’t make bank, we don’t get comics.

This story seems pretty good to me. I’m not going to get into it because if you care you already know, but I think it’s a fine idea. Most interesting is the fact that the big face-off is Iron Man versus Captain Marvel rather than any of the Captains America.

With that, given my lack of interest in actually reading the story, that skips me ahead through the first twenty-five pages of Marvel’s needlessly separate Previews catalog.

Spider-Gwen Stuff (M48-49)

I haven’t been keeping up with Spider-Gwen (despite the fact that I bought the nifty Marvel Legends figure), but I can tell you that I love this art. I know I’ve seen the name Robbie Rodriguez before, but these covers are really standing out to me.

Mockingbird #4 - Marvel (M76)

I found the first issue of this presumably limited series to be very interesting. It’s a little different from your average superhero comic. And while “a little different” isn’t all that unusual in this day and age, I felt like there was something special. The art was great and the story hooked me, even though I have no idea what, exactly, is going on. But I liked Bobbi Morse and the weirdness that is her life. I’m not saying this rivals Fraction’s epic Hawkeye, but there’s equally interesting stuff going on. Give it a try.

Side Note: Oh, yeah – I finished Fraction’s Hawkeye omnibus. It was as good as everyone says. If you haven’t read it, you should. Also, I’ll stop being so hard on Fraction for that Iron Man run.

Star Wars: Han Solo #1 - Marvel (M102-103)

Marvel has been absolutely killing it with their Star Wars titles, so I’m all-in until we hit a real stinker. I don’t believe I’ve read anything by Marjorie Liu, but Mark Brooks is fantastic. I’m excited about him doing interiors, especially on a Star Wars Han Solo book.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation #1 – Marvel (M104-105)

I’m not sure if I’m interested in this. Adaptations usually add little bits and pieces to the story, but this thing is five bucks an issue for five issues. Since there’s not going to be anything significantly new here, I think I’ll wait and see what the trade looks like. Plus, I don’t know where the art on the splash page (above) came from or who created it, but I’m not digging it. If that’s from the interior artist, I think this is a pass for me.

Scarlet Book One TPB – Marvel (M113)

Just buy it. This is Bendis at his most interesting and Alex Maleev is one of the best artists working today. There’s a lot of political stuff here, but it’s presented in such a way that it doesn’t feel preachy. If I had top picks for this column, this would be one of them.

Lucas Stand #1 (of 6) – Boom! Studios (232)

I love Sons Of Anarchy. This new comic from its creator, Kurt Sutter, sounds great. It’s about a vet that makes a deal with Hell to erase some unspecified sin. He has to hunt down escaped demons all across time. I’m definitely checking it out.

The Shadow: The Death of Margo Lane #1 (of 6) - Dynamite (258)

Matt Wagner is one of my favorite storytellers. I’ll buy pretty much anything with his name on it. Back when the Alec Baldwin The Shadow movie came out (and underrated superhero flick, in my opinion), my dad bought all of these audio cassettes of the old The Shadow radio dramas. I listened to a bunch of them and dug them. I haven’t exactly followed the character since then, but with Wagner at the helm I’m as excited for this as I am anything else this month.

Starman T-Shirt – PX Apparel (438)

Dammit, I don’t need any more t-shirts! My closet is stuffed. I love Starman and I want this shirt, but I’m going to try to resist.

Suicide Squad T-Shirts – Graphitti (441)

Y’know, if you put Margot Robbie on one of these instead of one of those lame designs, I’d probably have to order one.

Star Wars “Galaxy” Reversible Hooded Cape – Geek Chic Boutique (444)

What. The. Fuck.

Look, I know so-called geek culture is more socially acceptable than it has ever been in my lifetime, but you are going to get your ass kicked wearing this thing. It’s a cape with a hood with freaking Star Wars spaceships on it. If you are not a van you cannot get away with this.

Bob’s Burgers Louise Bunny Hat (446)

It boggles my mind how long it takes companies to produce licensed versions of obvious huge selling items like this.

Ghostbusters Movie Tumblers – Diamond Select Toys (451)

Damned fantastic. I would love to own these. Ten bucks apiece seems a bit steep, but this is a brilliant idea that DST should adapt to every license they have. Fast food premium-style glasses are a nostalgia sweet spot, especially when it’s a property like Ghostbusters that “should” have had them. I’d love to see Battle Beasts, Nightmare Before Christmas, Aliens, Predator, and Batman: The Animated Series. I don’t know how the licensing works or if they could do all of those, but they totally should.

JL Animated Green Lantern Battery Vinyl Bank – Diamond Select Toys (453)

I’ve been putting DST’s vinyl banks over big time for a couple of years now, and with good reason. Whether they’re character busts or props like this, they’re fun and inexpensive ways to have fancy-looking pop culture goodness on your shelf.

One:12 Collective Batman V Superman Action Figures - Mezco (469)

Personally, I liked more about Dawn of Justice than I disliked. I know that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. But whatever you thought about the movie, I think you have to admit that the costume design was fantastic, especially for Batman.

I am absolutely in love with Mezco’s One:12 Collective figures. It’s to the point where when I am buying something, I think to myself, “Would I rather have this or put the money towards a One:12 Collective figure?” and most times it’s coming up in favor of Mezco’s premium toys.

I don’t know for sure that I’m going to order these, though. As much as I love the line, it is very expensive and I think that in the long run I’d rather stick to their comic book styled interpretations of the characters.

But then there’s that One:12 Dawn of Justice Batmobile that’s coming out. I need that. And I’ll need a Batman to go in it. Man.

One:12 Collective Shazam Action Figure - Mezco (473)

I loved Shazam when I was a kid, probably because of the live action Filmation TV show. I haven’t really kept up with him over the years aside from his appearances in things that I am already reading or watching, but this is an outstanding action figure.

DC Heroes Rock Candy Figures - Funko (479)

These are great! They’re basically just like Funko’s POP figures, but with a different aesthetic. At 5” tall, they’re stylized versions of DC’s heroines that look very collectible and present a cool style together. Mrs. Troublemaker is all over these.

POP! Godzilla: Atomic Breath Glow-In-The-Dark 6” Figure - Funko (481)

YES. We’ve been controlling ourselves quite well as far as buying POP figures goes, but this is a must-have. There’s no denying glow-in-the-dark Godzilla.

Ash vs. The Evil Dead Actin Figures - NECA (483)

I… did not love this show. The Evil Dead franchise is one of my favorite things ever. I have several Evil Dead tattoos. But this show had a great beginning, a strong end, and a weak, slow middle. I’m not too impressed with NECA’s figure line, either. Sure, I need an old Ash. One. One old Ash. I get why NECA produced that Resident Evil ripoff Deadite, because it’s recognizable and a monster that’s more than just a wrinkly, pus-ridden person. But I didn’t like it in the show and I don’t want a figure of it. I’d much rather have Pablo, Kelly, or Ruby. Especially Ruby.

NECA is a smart, great company, but they don’t always do things the way I would. Sometimes it’s licensing restrictions, sometimes it’s just different decisions. Hopefully this line will get another wave or two and we’ll see those characters. But I can’t say I’ll support it by buying all three of these.

Marvel Animated-Style: Spider-Gwen Statue – Gentle Giant (484)

This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It resembles Skottie Young’s artwork, but he’s not credited in the description, so I don’t know what the deal is. It would be nice to have some dimensions for this thing. For all I know I’d be paying sixty-five bucks for a 5” statue.

Lemmy Kilmister Icon Action Figure (486)

Less of an action figure and more of a statue, this 7” collectible will be the most badass thing on your shelves. That is, if you can get past the daunting “Please Inquire” price. Yeesh. I’ll wait for the One:12 Collective version (I’m kidding – as far as I know that’s not happening).

GARY’S PICK OF THE MONTH!
(that he doesn’t know about)
One:12 Collective Captain Kirk Action Figure - Mezco (487)

As much as I love Star Trek and as much as I love these Mezco figures, I don’t think I’m going to dive into this side of the line. But I know Gary will want them. Look at that smug face.

GARY’S OTHER PICK OF THE MONTH!
(that he doesn’t know about)
Cthulu 7-Inch Action Figure – SD Toys (528)

Gaze into the diminutive face of madness as this tiny Old One sits upon your desk, daring you to skin your co-workers and bathe in their infidel blood.

Or something. This figure looks great, but I am not familiar with this SD Toys. I hope this isn’t one of those things that is solicited but never materializes. Gary hopes so, too.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

I thought that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was an epic movie with tons of flaws. Overall I enjoyed it, though, and appreciate the setup for this new DC film-verse. I’ll be going to see it again on the day that this posts and this Friday’s episode of the Needless Things Podcast will feature a conversation about it. Check it out.

Once again Marvel’s little book is full of beautiful and compelling art. It will be interesting to see if DC ups their game with the added spotlight of having their own book. Find out in two weeks!

The Supergirl/Flash crossover episode was really clunky, but so much fun it didn’t matter. Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin are too much adorable for one show. I think we’ll discuss that on this Friday’s podcast, too.

*****


That’s all I’ve got for this month. Start putting your pennies in your Diamond Select figural bank and remember to drop your order form off at your Local Comic Book Shop!

Be sure to join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and get in on the conversation for this week’s episode! Let us know what you think!


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