Friday, April 23, 2004

Flipping Through Previews...

NOTE: If you aren't interested in my Previews overview (I know it's very long), you can skip to my latest Rapid Reviews.

Yes, it's that time again... time for "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". I'm going to start with the bulk of the book, and then come back and cover the "big four" at the end. Please remember, I'm listing what looks interesting. My actual purchase list is going to be much smaller. The numbers after each title are usually the page number in Previews Magazine, so you can follow along at home.

Let's start with the covers. The front cover is of Jim Valentino's "normalman", as it pretty effective, I think. It's got a yellow and red superhero in front of fireworks and an American flag, gigantic chin and patriotic pose... Very amusing. The back cover is of Tim Hunter, I think, from the alternate universe Books of Magic, which apparently added a "k" to magic just to make sure you know it's not the normal Books of Magic. Nice effect with Tim's hair.

I don't usually mention the Previews Contest (7), but I think I'll mention this one, since it's "Kid-Friendly Month". The prizes are quite awesome, and I think I'll enter even though my chances aren't too good. If you have a kid, I strongly urge you to enter them in the contest. The prizes are very nice, and definitely kid-friendly.

Moving on, let's hit the Splash Page (8-9). I admit to being a little less than enthused about the "tribute" to Julie Schwartz. I'm just not sure how it's going to come off, and a lousy set of one-shots isn't much of tribute. I'll most likely be getting them anyway, I just hope they're better than I fear they'll be. The second big story is Comic Buyer's Guide changing format. I would get the mag if I could afford it, but I mostly rely on the 'net for my comic book information. The book about Manga from Harper Design looks very intriguing. There is a "Kid-Friendly" logo with an article about books that are kid-friendly. Does this mean they will be highlighting good stuff for kids from now on, or just this month?

There's a list of Kid-Friendly stuff on page 11. It's more than a little disappointing. Less than two of the four columns are comics. Oh well. Nice try, I guess.

Pages 12-15 have the books for Free Comic Book Day, and once again I urge those of you who have good retailers with whom you are friendly to go to your retailer and chip in a few dollars towards the purchase of the "free" comics. They are not free for the retailers, with prices ranging from 10-90 cents. If you chip in, it'll ease the burden on the retailer and allow more people to get free comics. Consider it! I contributed $20 and asked that my retailer give me a single copy of each book in the Gold and Silver range. If everything comes, that's 31 books! You can't beat that for $20, and she seemed surprised I contributed that much.

Ok, jumping past the big four and into the meat of the comics section, ok, Wizard at least. There's another volume of Wizard's Twisted ToyFare Theatre (194), which appeals to my juvenile geek side like nothing else. I think we have the first three volumes, so we might get this.

Ok, into the good stuff.

Aardvark-Vanaheim has a book called Following Cerebus #1 (206). Essays, interviews, and a new Cerebus cover. Hmmm.

About Comics has 24 Hour Comics Day - Highlights 2004 (206). As you know, 24 Hour Comics Day is TOMORROW! So there's no artwork from this book, none of it has been drawn yet. I may go check out the local 24 hour comics action at Rain City Comics over in Woodinville (next town to the East from us).

The rather cool ad for Abstract Studios Strangers in Paradise on page 207 caught my eye. How could it not? Someday I would like to try that series out.

Ah yes, another issue of one of my personal favorites! Girl Genius #12 (216) from Airship Entertainment. There should be a second collection of Girl Genius soon, too. My copy of the first collection is currently out on loan. I will addict all my neighbors to comic books!

Ahem. Moving on, we get to the comics blogosphere's current favorite publisher, AIT/Planet Lar. First up is Demo #8 (216). Get it. That's all I can say. On the "kid-friendly" front is Ursula GN (217), which sounds odd. I haven't read my preview copies of Scurvy Dogs yet, but #5 is being solicited.

All Thumbs Press (which has a disturbing opening image for their site) is putting out a book called True Travel Tales #1 (217) which looks interesting from the solicit. I guess the "Mexican Lizard Gods, accidental cliff-diving, whip-wielding grannies, and more..." just got me. And I like biographies (in case you hadn't noticed).

Ok, next up is Amaze Ink/Slave Labor, which always has something of interest. The first item of note is a collection: Patty Cake Volume 1: Sugar and Spice... Mostly Spice (218). I've often wondered about Patty Cake. And it has a "kid-friendly" logo. Other books I looked at are Autumn #1 (219), which looks terribly strange, and Egg Story, which looks very cute but also brings to mind some of the Betty MacDonald chicken tales.

Antarctic Press (224) has the usual. The final issue of Dictators: Hitler is solicited, this one titled "The Dictator". More I Hunt Monsters and Neotopia. Nothing jumps out me as begging to be mentioned.

AP Comics has a book that jumped out at me. The Chase #1 (226) involves a city full of gangsters, a taxi driver, and a suitcase.

I finally gave in and ordered Ant #1 from Arcana Studio, and now Ant #3 (228) is being solicited. Once I get the first issue, I'll review it then decide if I want to go back-issue hunting.

No surprise, Archie Comics (229) is overflowing with "kid-friendly" logos.

Wow. You mean to tell me that Fathom had other characters besides mostly naked women? Aspen Entertainment is soliciting Fathom: Cannon Hawke #0 (230) and there are no mostly naked women on the cover! Instead, a topless guy. That's much more appealing to me... (note: larger two-page spread solicit on pages 270-271).

The Astonish Factory (231) has a couple of "kid-friendly" logo'd books, both of which look pretty good. The Lab Volume 1: Hey... Test This! sounds like a fun read. Flipped #1 is a book of flippable animation.

Blind Wolf Studios has a "kid-friendly"... A Jimmy Dydo Adventure (242). It's very hard to see from the tiny sample of the cover if the art is appealing or not.

I still can't find an official Bongo Comics website, but their Futurama comics (242) have been declared "kid-friendly" too.

Bud Plant has a book I want. Pirates (248) has art from Howard Pyle. Looks like a winner... and it's only $7. I wonder if I can talk hubby-Eric into it?

And oh yes, Colonia Press is back, with a full-page ad (251) and the first of a three issue arc. Colonia #9 (250) is one book I'm definitely looking forward to reading. If you want a sample of how weird and wonderful the book is, take a look at the ad.

WHAM. I've run smack-dab into CrossGen. Let's see... Abadazad #5 (258) and El Cazador #8 (259) which still says the art is by Steve Epting. Should Epting leave El Cazador, I won't buy it anymore.

Dark Planet Productions (268) once again has a couple of books that look interesting to me. First up is Miserere #1, which is set in an odd Europe. The solicitation sounds like it got the date wrong, or I could just be reading more into it than I should. But it looks like something I might enjoy. The other book is The Spartan: An Ancient Greek Tale, which appears to be about a renegade Spartan, but it's hard to tell. The solicit is poorly written.

Digital Webbing (286). I'd never really given them a second look before. I guess their covers never jumped out at me, or something. And Digital Webbing Presents isn't what I'd call a terribly exciting title for a book. Fortunately for me, blogger Kevin Melrose has written a story for the anthology, and even sent me a copy of the book it appeared in. So I now know what I was missing. While I won't say it was the best book I've ever read, it was a solid anthology, and I think it's worth reading to keep up with the latest upcoming artists and writers. This issue, Digital Webbing Presents #16, doesn't have a Kevin story in it, but the next issue will. Maybe you oughta jump on board now to get an idea what to expect.

I really love PS238 by Aaron Williams, so I can't imagine not liking Nodwick (286) from the same guy. I may have to start getting it. Check it out at Dork Storm Press.

Drive Comics is launching a series with "CGI art-style" called The Symbiotes #1 (287). It's got a look, will there be a story to match?

It's not a surprise that Gemstone's books are "kid-friendly" (310-311).

Oh man, how I wish I could afford to get G.T.Labs (314) latest book and poster! Suspended in Language is about Neils Bohr, and I'll have to save up my pennies for it. All the stuff G.T.Labs puts out is worth getting, and if you don't have a copy of Dignifying Science, it's a sin.

ibooks (315) has the "kid-friendly" Amelia Rules collection (highly recommended), and Yossel: April 19, 1943, both resolicits.

IDW Publishing is trying to recreate 24 in a comic book: 24: One Shot #1 (315). Don't know if they'll accomplish it. Another "kid-friendly" book is Olympus Heights #1 (316). Art samples on page 320 don't tell me much, but it could be good.

Moonstone Books is soliciting The Phantom #4 (328), which is a pretty good book. DB will want it.

Random House (337) has Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi. The first volume was quite good, so I'll recommend this second one sight unseen.

Renaissance Press (338) provides us with another issue of Amelia Rules: Super-Heroes #4. Yes, it's "kid-friendly", and yes, you should buy it.

Tokyopop's solicits are now unreadable. Well, at least annoying. I prefer how Devil's Due Publishing does it... unreadable "ad" solicits along with regular solicits.

Squelching out of the comics section into the Magazines and Books, I notice that there is now a plethora of great books on comics. I can't really afford any, not and still afford to get comics.

Ok. Can you think of any reason that anyone in their right mind would want a 10-Inch Poseable Talking Plush of Smeagol? (521)

WizKids Games (542) has a new contructable game, featuring galleons and schooners that you put together. It looks kind of cool... Pirates of the SPanish Main Constructable Strategy Game. I'm curious.

There's a Challenge of the Superfriends DVD set (567). Oooh, I want it.

I also want the Wonder Woman Complete First Season DVD Set (568). Those are the ones set in WWII, not the later crappy ones.

Jumping back to the front of the book to tackle the big four, let's start with ever annoying Marvel Comics (184). As usual, I'm ordering from the shipping list, as I don't want their piece of crap let's-make-everyone-pay-more-for-Previews little catalog. So I'll be ordering Thor #82, Amazing Spider-Man #69 (#510), and Supreme Power #12. From their Icon line, I'll be re-ordering Powers #1 and Powers #2.

Sauntering through the Image Comics previews, I realized that I'm not likely to get anything from them this month, but there are a couple of books I want to point out. The first is The Drowned (140), which is a horror story set in 1800. It looks intriguing, and if I were more into horror, I'd probably get it. Next up is Flight (142), which I would definitely get if I had a few more dollars to burn. Another book I'm looking at is Noble Causes #1, which is the first issue of a new ongoing. I really enjoyed the Noble Causes trade I got at the Emerald City Comicon, so this one is very tempting.

Dark Horse is next, so I can finish with the big one. Looks like Conan #6 (30) is a no-brainer. I'm just enjoying the pure fantasy of the series. BMW Films' The Hire #1 (32) is a crazy way to market a line of cars, but the mini-movies aren't half-bad and getting a comic book to go along with them was a natural next step. I'm still peeved about the premature collection of the first two issues, but hubby-Eric wants to get The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist #3 (34) anyway. I'm not that interested anymore. There's a Shockrockets trade, it was a good series, I bet it reads very nicely in trade format. Of course we'll get Usagi Yojimbo #77.

And so we move to the last publisher: DC Comics.

Ug. Another Justice League tie-in. I think, if hubby-Eric doesn't mind, that I'd like to skip Justice League: Elite entirely (60-61). Same thing goes for the utterly pointless reboot of the Doom Patrol (62-65).

Of far more interest to me is Books of Magick: Life During Wartime (66-69), which appears to be a Books of Magic on-going Elseworld. It's the "on-going" bit that actually turned me off. I haven't read any of the original books, so I'm not going to invest in a series I'm not sure about.

Bloodhound (70-73) looks like Chase on steroids. But I liked the three page preview, and I hope we can get this one.

Batman: The Order of Beasts (74-77) looks like an Elseworld without the logo to me. Set in "wartime" England. Check. Batman. Check. Nazis. Check. Yeah, I'll get it.

That has got to be the ugliest Catwoman outfit I've ever seen. Pages 78-80.

I'm just not sure about the Julie Schwartz "tribute" books (84-85). They might be fun, but they just as easily might be crap. I don't know, it doesn't seem very fitting to me. We'll probably get them, but I'm mildly disturbed by the whole idea.

Ya know, I didn't much like Joe Kelly's Justice League. And I'm currently hating Byrne and Claremont's take. And after that? Chuck Austen (90). Is DC trying to kill off the JLA?

I'm tempted by Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #181 (99), because it looks like it might just be an Oracle story.

Right... maybe I should just list what I think we'll be getting. From the world of Batman: Batman Adventures #16 (100), Batman: The Order of Beasts, Birds of Prey #69, and Birds of Prey #70. In the world of Superman: Superman: Birthright #12 (103) and Smallville #9 (104). From the regular DC Universe: Aquaman #20, Bloodhound #1, Crisis on Multiple Earths vol 3 (105), DC Comics Presents: Batman #1, DC Comics Presents: Mystery In Space #1, DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern #1 (106), DC Comics Presents: Hawkman #1, DC: The New Frontier #5, Fallen Angel #13 (107), Green Arrow #40 (108), Green Lantern #179, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Vol 2, H-E-R-0 #18 (109), Identity Crisis #2, JLA #101, JLA #102, Justice League of America: Another Nail #3 (110), JSA #63, Justice League Adventures #33, Outsiders #14 (111), and Plastic Man #8. From Vertigo: Sea Guy #3 (118) and Swamp Thing #5. And I know hubby-Eric would love to have the DC Direct First Appearance: Green Lantern.

So that's it for this month's "Things in Previews That Look Interesting But I Can't Afford To Get (with a list of things I am getting just for contrast)". Comments? Questions? Did I miss any really cool books that you know about and would like to point out? Do you disagree with something I wrote, and want to correct me? There's the comments, right below. Post something. And, yes, I accept review copies. I'm willing to give almost anything a try.