Chris vs. Previews: March 2008, Round Two

St. Patrick’s day is upon us like a hurricane of hood-bound leprechauns, and with the major publishers out of the way and off to the parade, it’s time to take a look at the back half of this month’s Previews.

Yeah, I know. The metaphors are getting pretty stretched here. Just have a little patience. A… Darby O’Gill and the Little Patience.

I’m so, so sorry for that one. Anyway, tonight belongs to the small press and the merchandise, and while that would normally involve me making fun of some of the t-shirts…



…but really, even I can’t make a joke out of a tragedy like that. But let’s see what else we’ve got to work with!





P.192 – Special Operations Report: And now, ladies and gentlemen, the greatest thing I have ever seen:



Your eyes do not deceive you, my friends: This is a magazine about counterterrorism tactics that is published by Wizard Entertainment. The mind boggles, and while we can only imagine what will result when the journalistic force of nature that is Wizard turns its attention to profiling the inner workings of America’s daring, highly trained special missions force and their constant battles against Destro, but I think it might go a little something like this.


P.214 – Helen Killer #2: And while we’re on the subject of the most awesome things ever, the ISB’s favorite unreleased comic is back for a second issue, and while there’s no new information in the solicitation, there is a new tidbit that’s come to light through other channels.

Over on the book’s MySpace page, the creators have taken note of my wholehearted endorsement of their premise (as well as reposting some of the funny comments that got left about it last month). What really caught my eye about this, though, was the fact that for the background, they’re using a shot of Helen in her underwear, wearing Matt Murdock’s glasses and holding a quarterstaff like a miracle-working ninja:



And once again, I am filled with the hope that this is going to be so so rad.


P.240 – Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #50: In May, Jim Balent’s going to be putting out the fiftieth witchity issue of the adventures of everyone’s favorite top-heavy spellcaster, but the big news here is what the friendly folks at Diamond had to say about it in their “Staff Picks” section over on page 200:


What these impressionable young men don’t know is that they just put down, quite possibly, the most female-empowering book in the whole shop.


To that, the ISB can only respond with: Really?

You can’t think of anything that sends a better message than this. Really. Nothing springs to mind? That’s the most female-empowering comic out there? REALLY?

In a related story, Manhunter‘ll be back in June.


P.276 – A Promise of Romance v.1: Look, I hate to nitpick DMP’s solicitations since they’ve given me so many hours of amusement in the past, but seriously, guys:



I’m pretty sure that’s the same old meaning of the word “androgyny” that we’ve had for quite some time now.


P.294 – Get Lost: I don’t like to overestimate my influence in the comics industry or anything, but really: with an OMAC hardcover on the way and the amount of brutal face-kickery on the rise every week, it’s not hard to think that at this point, they’re just making stuff for me. At least, that’s what I’ve become convinced of ever since I saw this, which is a parody of the Kurtzman-era MAD created by the co-creator of the Punisher, because that sounds scientifically designed to appeal to me.

Admittedly, most MAD knock-offs–except for my good friends and occasional employers at CRACKED of course–are remarkable only for their lack of quality, like the mostly-atrocious attempts that Marvel and DC had in the ’70s, but this is the first time I’ve seen anything that goes this far back, and considering that it’s been out of print in the fifty-five years since Bill Gaines sued it out of existence, curiosity alone makes it worth picking up.


P.321 – Salt Water Taffy: So here’s the thing: I remember purchasing Matthew Loux’s previous OGN, Sidescrollers, and I remember reading it, but I can’t for the life of me remember if I thought it was any good or not. I know that I had pretty strong feelings about it one way or another, and remember thinking that it was awfully reminiscent of Mallrats, but considering that I liked that movie a lot, that doesn’t tell me much.

If only there was some sort of detailed record of all the comics I read and what I thought of them, perhaps conveniently available online, with a search function built right in! Oh, to live in a magical future-world where such things are possible! For now, though, I guess I’ll just have to take a chance on this one, which shouldn’t be too hard, since it’s got a cover price of less than six bucks and promises at least one giant lobster. Seems like it could be fun, right?





P.495 – A Whole Page of Naked Lady Statues: Dear Japan,



Thanks for keepin’ it classy.





And that is more or less how it is for this month’s Previews. Hopefully, if you’ve decided to take any of my advice or try to figure out for yourself why anyone would mistake Tarot for anything other than witchity exploitation comics, your local shopkeep’ll cut you some slack on the deadline. In the meantime, if you spotted anything neat that you’d like to talk about–like the new Girl Genius trade–feel free to leave a comment.

Me, I’ve got smashin’ to get to.

15 thoughts on “Chris vs. Previews: March 2008, Round Two

  1. Oh Chris, I think I spotted a mistake in your post. When you said “most MAD knock-offs–except for my good friends and occasional employers at CRACKED of course–are remarkable only for their lack of quality”, you should have said “especially my good friends and occasional employers at CRACKED”.

  2. Dear Sir,

    I just spent about half an hour reading some years-old Usenet thread that was getting trolled by Mall Ninjas. I feel that I am a better person for doing so. Thank you.

  3. I, too, am a better person for finding out about the Mall Ninjas with improbable amounts of firepower.

    Thanks, Chris!

    PS. There’s a 71-page preview of Sidescrollers up here for the curious. It really does have a charming sort of Mallrats-vibe going for it. If I end up seeing it with extra income in my pocket, I’ll probably pick it up.

  4. In a related story, Manhunter‘ll be back in June.

    Thanks, Chris!

    I knew there was a reason my dashboard Buddy Christ statue was looking more cheerful than normal.

  5. “…considering that it’s been out of print in the fifty-five years since Bill Gaines sued it out of existence, curiosity alone makes it worth picking up.”

    Nitpick: I’m certain I have black&white reprints of these from less than 20 years ago.

    [goes and searches online]

    Hm. Mile High Comics lists three issues from 1987, but they are labeled “Vol. 2”. I wonder if they were actually reprints, or a continuation?

  6. Please post your Wii friend code!

    On a related note, could we have a witchsploitation week? That’d be the witchocratic thing to do.

  7. Dan, this is not a Witchocracy.

    And I’m still having trouble getting online with the Wii. I think I got a bad length of cable.

    Which, incidentally, is what she said.

  8. Manhunter, the book that wouldn’t die!

    Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m just amazed how it keeps rising from the grave.

  9. What’s this, the third or fourth time it’s been retroactively un-cancelled? You’d think that DC’d just give up trying to kill it.

    …Unless its all a fiendishly-clever marketing ploy to bump sales whenever they threaten the book…

  10. …Unless its all a fiendishly-clever marketing ploy to bump sales whenever they threaten the book…

    Worked for Spider-Girl for a while…

  11. Coincidently, the Helen Killer mySpace page was also designed by a blind person bringing in perfect symmetry.

    Geez, I almost went blind just glancing at it…

  12. Further evidence that very few in the comics industry really know anything about women when they call Tarot of all things the most empowering thing on the market. Just wow.

  13. Wow…Tarot is supposed to be empowering? Unintentionally hilarious and so-bad-its-good, maybe…but not empowering.

    I hate to inform you, but I might have to pick up an issue just on the strength of your witty remarks about it. ;)