Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews May 2017: “Oh, Look – It’s EVERYTHING From Toy Fair”

By Phantom Troublemaker


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 are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in July.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!


Moonstruck – Image Comics (Front Cover, 193-195)

It’s almost always rewarding – or at least character-building – to be faced with something you haven’t dealt with before. I’ve been writing this column for a couple of years now and this is the first time that I have had zero interest in what’s on the front cover. It happens with the back cover frequently, and I have no problem just skipping that, but I didn’t feel like I could skip the front cover.

The fact that Moonstruck doesn’t do anything for me isn’t a poor reflection on the book. Not everything is for everyone and that’s okay. I think the art is cute and the story sounds good. Grace Ellis – the writer – created Lumberjanes, which I know is a huge thing. I’m sure Moonstruck will be equally adored and that’s cool.

The Lumberjaniacs out there might be outraged at my dismissal, but this one doesn’t do anything for me.

WildStorm 25th Anniversary – DC Comics (Back Cover, 138)

This is slightly more up my alley. I was way into everything Image back in the day and bought at least the first five or so issues of pretty much everything they published for a while. It worked out because that’s usually how many issues it took before the creators gave up or left the book (huge props to Todd McFarlane and especially Erik Larsen for being the exceptions).

WildStorm was a corner of Image that seemed to have a little more longevity than others. I loved Wetworks, WildC.A.T.s, and Gen13 until they started meandering and losing direction. Or too much time passed between issues. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened with each title or why I stopped buying them, but I enjoyed them at the time.

I think WildStorm should be celebrated, but I’ll be honest – I don’t have much more interest in this than I do in Moonstruck. If DC was launching new ongoing books with reliable creative teams, I’d lose my mind. But a bunch of short stories and pinup galleries with no greater significance doesn’t do much for me.

Play Arts Kai Magneto Action Figure – Square Enix (3, 594)

This figure looks phenomenal. I’ve always enjoyed looking at these expensive import figures that Squenix pays to feature in the very front of Previews, but this one really stands out. If I was going to spend a hundred and fifty bucks on a figure(!), Magneto might be it. From the armored costume to the magnetic effects to his cape, which looks like it’s sculpted to resemble thousands of shards of metal, this figure is impressive as heck. As our pal Gary might say, “Me wanty”.

Free Comic Book Day (31-39)

Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 6th! Contact your Local Comic Shops to see what they’re doing and visit FREECOMICBOOKDAY.COM for more details!

Hard Boiled HC – Dark Horse (45)

Frank Miller, Geoff Darrow, and Dave Stewart are comic book royalty as far as I’m concerned. But I haven’t read Hard Boiled. As I’ve said so many times before, there’s a lot of stuff out there and I can’t read it all!

The Black Beetle: Kara Böcek HC – Dark Horse (54)

Francesco Francavilla is one of my favorite artists working today. His first Black Beetle series was excellent fun and I can’t wait to read this new collection from Dark Horse Presents. If you haven’t checked out Francavilla’s original work, I highly recommend it. The first Black Beetle collection is also available to order.

Dark Horse/DC The Mask TP – Dark Horse (58)

If you only know the Mask from the Jim Carrey movie, you are missing out. The original comic books are insane and violent and insanely violent. I don’t know if these DC crossover stories hold up that standard or not because I didn’t even know they existed until just now. I’m definitely curious to read them, especially seeing John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke’s names on the cover, as they were involved in the original books.

Dark Days: The Casting #1 – DC Comics (78)

I am wary of events and crossovers and I’m not crazy about the “dark” theme because I want my comics action-packed and exciting and not necessarily “dark”. But DC has won my trust back with the Rebirth initiative, so I’m going along with them on this ride.

Action Comics #983-984 – DC Comics (79)

I’ve been reading recaps of what’s been going on in the Superman comics and it sounds pretty awesome. I’m tempted to jump in or at least pick up the trades. But mainly I just wanted to say that this Clay Mann cover is super.

Batman ’66 Meets The Legion of Superheroes #1 – DC (111)

The closest I’ve come to being a fan of the Legion is the Superboy and The Legion of Superheroes cartoon. I like the concept, but I’ve just never gone down that rabbit hole. It’s odd considering how much I respect Jim Shooter that I haven’t even sought out his run.
But throw in the Allreds, Batman ’66, and Egghead as the main villain(!) and I’m in!

Batman Vol. 3: I Am Bane TP – DC (124)

I love Tom King’s interpretation of Batman. This Bane story ties into the larger narrative he’s writing, but works as a freestanding arc, as well. The end got me weepy.

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One HC – DC (125)

If you need a fancy, hardcover collection of the first fifteen (plus one) issues of Tom King’s Batman, here it is. I wouldn’t mind owning this edition, but I’ve got the single issues and can’t justify buying this, too. I assumed “Deluxe Edition” meant there would be some kind of extra content, but the description suggests that isn’t the case.

Batman: Arkham – Clayface TP – DC (129)

A collection of stories starring that loveable lump and star of Detective Comics, Clayface! But back when he wasn’t so loveable.

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1 TP – DC (129)

One great thing about Rebirth was the return of Stephanie Brown, though I’m still waiting to see how her arc plays out. She’s back as Spoiler and not Batgirl and is on a very different path from the one Bryan Q. Miller had her on.

This collects the first twelve issues of Miller’s run on Stephanie’s solo book, which is one of my all-time favorite comics. For the record, I don’t like this cover. It utterly fails to capture the fun of this series.

Batman: Knightfall Omnibus Vol. 2: Knightquest – DC (130)

I have never followed an event with as much enthusiasm and excitement as I did “Knightfall”. It’s been at least a decade since I last read it and I don’t know how well it holds up, but in my mind it’s a truly epic story. I still have all of the single issues, so I won’t be buying these omnibuses, but I do want to revisit it.  

Deadman by Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection TP – DC (131)

No ifs, ands, or buts – this belongs on the shelf of every horror comic fan. This is the collection that made me fall in love with Boston Brand and with Kelley Jones. I had read Doug Moench and Jones’ Batman/Dracula prior to this, but these Deadman stories blew me away. Of course, Mike Baron deserves plenty of credit too, for making me like a character that I had barely even heard of before.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vol. 3 HC – DC (132)

When I picture Batman in my head, I picture Jim Aparo’s work. I love plenty of artists’ interpretations and all kinds of Batmans, but Aparo’s version is my headcanon default.

Harley’s Little Black Book HC – DC (133)

In my opinion this limited series was the very best of why Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti are the best at writing Harley Quinn. Seeing her interact with the various heroes and villains of the DCU is the best way to experience her. This was a fun series of stories that I recommend to any fan of Ms. Quinzel.

Harley Quinn by Kesel and Dodson Deluxe HC Vol. 1 – DC (133)

Believe it or not, I haven’t read these comics. My Harley Quinn fandom didn’t really start until Conner and Palmiotti got ahold of her, so these earlier books escaped my attention. I need to brush up on classic Harley and discover her (comic book) roots.

Super Powers TP – DC (137)

Baltazar and Franco’s miniseries collected in one handy book – aw, yeah!.

Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus – DC (1370)

This is one heck of a collection. I’ve read some of the classic Wein/Wrightson comics and it sure would be nice to own 928 pages of Swampy action. I just have trouble pulling the trigger on these hundred dollar collections, even though I know they’re totally worth it.

DCTV Action Figures – DC Collectibles (149)

I’m happy that DCC is continuing this line. After they cancelled the movie line I was a little concerned, mostly because I don’t have my Supergirl and White Canary figures yet.

Wally needs a full head mask. I know it would go against the comics, but the head sock looks terrible in real life.

I’m ready for Ray to leave Legends, but Sarah is easily my favorite character on the show. I’m glad we’re finally getting a figure of her. Even though I don’t really collect these, she’s on my order form.

DC Icons Rebirth Action Figures  – DC Collectibles (150)

If you love Batman and Superman but didn’t want to buy that Justice League box set (which is a heck of a deal and still available to order, by the way), DCC is offering single figures of these two. But you’d be much better off buying the box set and selling the figures you don’t want.

I realize there’s not much DCC could have done about this, but it’s a shame this isn’t Superman’s newest costume. I think that would be a much better seller.

TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo - IDW (154)

The Turtles and the samurai rabbit are old pals and it’s good to see them back together again, especially with Stan Sakai at the helm! I’m opting for the hardcover edition with all of the extra stuff.

By Chance or Providence TP - Image (202)

Becky Cloonan is effing awesome. Buy this.

Mage: The Hero Discovered Vol. 1 TP - Image (209)

With Matt Wagner’s prolific and impressive body of work it’s easy to forget about his hero, Kevin Matchstick. Mage was a unique and compelling book at a time when creator-owned superhero comics were starting to all look alike. This is another one I need to revisit.

Image Comics Pins - Image (242)

Neat-o!

Despite my best efforts I have become somewhat caught up in the hobby of collecting enamel pins. They’re fairly inexpensive ways to display your interests and they perk up a suit nicely. I actually have this Ghus pin already – it’s great!

Secret Empire #6 - Marvel (Cover, M2)

If I had to put money on it, I’d bet that this won’t be out in July. More like October.

Oh! Also - *makes fart noise*

I’m sorry. I might be too harsh here. I’ve been reading recaps of the first wave of issues and tie-ins and Secret Empire honestly doesn’t sound that bad as far as the story goes. There are hints that the execution is lacking, but I honestly can’t speak to that without having read the comics themselves. I hope it’s great and that the people that are buying it love it.

Astonishing X-Men #1 - Marvel (Back Cover, M24-25)



I like this team and I’d be on board with Charles Soule writing the X-Men, but I don’t like the idea of rotating artists. If it was something like Harley’s Little Black Book with self-contained stories each issue, sure. But not for an ongoing story. I bet by issue #6 they’ll have to drop “superstar” from the artist portion of the solicitation.

Amazing Spider-Man #30 - Marvel (M11)

I want toys of everything in this picture.

Except Bishop.

No, wait – I want Bishop, too. That Toy Biz Bishop is horrendous.

Spider-Man: Master Plan #1 - Marvel (M37)

Writer Robbie Thompson was responsible for my favorite Spider-Man book in over a decade with his work on Spidey. It’s a shame this is only a one-shot, but hopefully it will lead to more wall-crawling work for Thompson.

Centipede #1 - Dynamite (336-337)

Centipede is one of my favorite classic video games. As a matter of fact, the tabletop version is my favorite arcade game. I don’t know what these guys have planned for the comic book, but I certainly am curious to find out.

COMING IN 2020: From Lion’s Gate, the Atari Shared Cinematic Universe! Combat, River Raid, and the ultimate weapon, PONG unite to battle Space Invaders, Centipede, and those weird floating things from Superman!

Ugh. I got halfway through my bad joke before realizing it was sort of what they did with Pixels. I quit.

Kill Them All – Oni Press (402)

Listen to me when I tell you to buy things with Kyle Starks’ name on them. He might be the only creator whose original work I will buy, no questions asked.

Dungeons & Dragons T-Shirt (506)

Another very cool D&D t-shirt.

Also, Stylistic Ampersand is the name of my next album.

 EC Comics T-Shirts (509)

I like simple logo shirts. I would be far more likely to wear this than a shirt with actual art from Tales from the Crypt or whatever on it. That stuff is for the wall. Logos are for muh bod.

We Bare Bears Plushes (536)

You guys may or may not know this, but I love Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears. I think stackable plush Bears are a fantastic idea, but not for $24 apiece. Get me some smaller bears for six or seven bucks each and I’ll buy.

One:12 Collective Old Man Logan Action Figure - Mezco (555)

I have a decision to make here.

I don’t necessarily love the original Old Man Logan. It’s fine, but I don’t like it enough to be super excited about a figure from it. And I don’t like that Old Man Logan has supplanted Normal Age Logan and Laura in all of the books. I was disappointed that the current series ended his original mission so quickly and that he just got assimilated into the status quo.
But this figure looks fantastic and that little baby Hulk is great.

I think I’ll end up skipping this one, but it really does look excellent.

Child’s Play Chucky Retro Action Figure - NECA (556)

MUST HAVE.

I almost caved and bought Scream Factory’s special Blu-ray set with the Good Guy doll figure, but it was really pricey and as creepy as the Good Guy doll is, if I’m paying that I’d rather have an actual Chucky. I figured one was on the way, and I was right.

Ash vs. Evil Dead Ashy Slashy Puppet Prop Replica - NECA (556)

The only reason to have this puppet appear on Ash vs. Evil Dead was because obviously it was great and hilarious to have an Evil Ash puppet on television. Otherwise it made zero sense (and I’m fine with that).

As soon as it showed up on screen I turned to my wife and said, “Someone had better make a prop replica of that”. Thank you, NECA. You’re wonderful.

Batman vs. Alien Action Figure 2-Pack - NECA (556)

We saw these back at Toy Fair, but I still can’t believe they’re actually happening. This Batman might end up being one of the best Batman figures ever and the Joker Alien appears to be mostly new tooling. It’s a great time to be alive.

Evil Dead 2 Ash vs. Evil Ed Action Figure 2-Pack - NECA (557)

Evil Ed looks fantastic and I would love to add him to my shelf, but I already have a lot of Ash figures. If this set was $35 or less I’d probably get it, but fifty bucks for one figure that I want isn’t happening. I understand the need to sweeten up the deal with Ash because on his own Evil Ed probably isn’t going to move the needle any more than a Marvel artist, but they could have at least given us a super gory Ash or something.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 Leatherface Retro Action Figure - NECA (557)

I’ve got the retro Pretty Lady Leatherface in the suit, but I like the third movie a lot. Throw in the insane “The Saw is Family” chainsaw and Leatherface’s leg brace and I can’t resist this one. I’m still holding out hope for a Lefty Enright figure from Chainsaw 2.

TMNT Quarter Scale Leonardo Action Figure - NECA (563)

After seeing several boxed Donatellos in person I finally broke down and decided I had to have one. I gave it a glowing review and immediately asked my Local Comic Shop to order Raphael for me. I’m addicted. It’s a good thing there are only four. Unless they do Shredder and Splinter, which I hope they do.

And April and Casey.

 James Bond Goldfinger Sixth Scale Figures – Big Chief Studios (590)

These look incredible. If I were super rich I’d buy them for sure.

Dorohedoro: Caiman Sixth Scale Figure - ThreeZero (602)

Weird. They made a figure of Mojo Nixon’s character from Super Mario Bros.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

Back during the New 52 days I used to talk some serious shit about DC’s section. Marvel had all of this gorgeous cover art on display and the majority of DC’s art was questionable at best. The Distinguished Competition has seriously upped their game. Looking through their section of Previews is now a delight, with tons of compelling pieces that make me want to buy their comics. Good work, DC.

This last season of Legends was shockingly good. There was still stupid stuff going on, but overall the fun and entertainment value outweighed it by a wide margin. With Arrow putting me to sleep, Flash being overwhelmingly depressing and dumb, and Supergirl deciding to double down on CW relationship bullshit, Legends has won the award for best show of the 2016-17 DCTV season.

Unless we’re counting Gotham and iZombie. Then I’m leaning towards Gotham, but only because the latter show is focusing way too much on Blaine, Major, and Liv’s friend that has inexplicably turned into a jerkbag. The DA whose name I can’t remember.

Marvel should be really embarrassed about the Jim Lee trading card covers. It’s kind of like if Van Halen had put David Lee Roth on the cover of Van Halen III.

Let me know what you’re looking forward to in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!

*****

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!

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