I’ll be honest with you, folks: I don’t always look forward to our little chats about the Previews catalog. It’s not that I don’t like talking about comics, or making ill-informed judgments on things that won’t come out for three months (because Lord knows I am all about that), it’s just that going through the catalog over and over again looking for the funniest yaoi solicitation can wear a guy down after a while.
This time, though… Well, I’ve been looking forward to talking about this one since it hit the shelves!
Sure, it might be because I’m bitter beyond my years and there’s a heck of a lot to make fun of this time around, but still! It’s a Christmas Miracle!
So join us as the ISB puts away the yuletide fun and tackles five hundred pages of stuff you don’t need! Tonight, the major publishers!
Dark Horse Comics
P. 35 – Herbie Archives v.3: With this, Dark Horse wraps up their collection of Herbie–of which, if you’ll recall, I’m a fan–and I’ve got to admit, I’m a little surprised that they didn’t just go ahead and throw in the John Byrne story from the 1992 reprints and the appearance in Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot, both of which were published by Dark Horse. Admittedly, those don’t really fit with the whole “archive” format, but it’s so close to having everything, and it’s not like those two stories are going to get slapped together anywhere else.
That said, there’s still enough fun in nine issues of Herbie–especially in those last issues, where the series goes completely insane before it gets the axe–to fill up a dozen other comics, and getting the whole series collected is sweeter than a dozen lollipops. Well, except the one that could travel through time. That thing was rad.
P. 66 – Batman #686: Finally, super-hero fans can learn what people who have read both Swamp Thing and Sandman have known for years: That Neil Gaiman really wants to be Alan Moore. Not that that’s a bad thing. I mean, if you’re going to write comics, you could shoot a lot lower–Terry Moore, for instance–but when you’re putting out a story called “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” that presumably deals with the ersatz “death” of a character that we all know is going to be running around none the worse for wear next month, the comparison snaps right into focus.
Needless to say, I’m more than a little skeptical: Just by nature of its inescapable homage to “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow,” this story’s stepping into a pretty big shadow, and while I actually do like Neil Gaiman a heck of a lot (enough to spring for four volumes of the Absolute Sandman), his last work with Batman was, what, the Secret Origins story about Poison Ivy from twenty years ago? Throw in more recent stuff like 1602 (also with Andy Kubert) that completely falls apart at the end thanks to what reads like an obvious editorial suggestion to keep it open for sequels, and you’ve got a comic that I’m interested in enough to read, but not really looking forward to.
Of course, I’d probably feel a little better about it if this thing didn’t have the vaguest solicitation ever. I mean really, telling me that a story “explores the intricate relationshps between Bruce Wayne and his friends and adversaries” and that it has an “unexpected climax” doesn’t really tell me anything, now does it?
P. 69 – Batman Confidential #26: Telling me that a story features “the comic book debut of King Tut” drawn by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ however…
…that gets me crunk! Can Egghead, Bookworm, and Marsha, Queen of Diamonds be far behind?!
(FUN FACT: Bringing back the characters from Batman ’66 was not just my Batman pitch, it was everyone’s Batman pitch, and I’m amazed it took this long. God bless you, Weir and DeFillippis.)
P. 85 – R.E.B.E.L.S.: Aaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha… Seriously? R.E.B.E.L.S.?!
So, to review: The market apparently cannot support an ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes title, but there is room in the publishing schedule for a spin-off of a spin-off that was last published in 1996. Jesus, what’s next, a new Darkhawk #1?
Of course, I say that, but let’s be honest here: I’m gonna read this, because–and this is a crucial weakness that DC apparently heard about–I will buy any comic with a monster that shoots lightning out of his brain on the cover. I roll Validus-Style, homies. And that’s real.
P. 150 – Jersey Gods #1:
No joke here, just a heads-up that Jersey Gods is coming out, and you all need to get on that toute suite. I’ve actually read the first issue of this one–courtesy of artist and Friend of the ISB Dan McDaid–and I can say in all honesty that it’s every bit as fun as you’d want a book about Kirby-style cosmic powers falling in love with a girl from the Garden State to be. There was a preview of it–or rather, an original backup story–in the last issue of Invincible, so check it out, then do us all a favor and let your local retailer know you’d like a copy this February. It’s well worth it.
Secret Warriors #1: It’s been… let’s see here… three, maybe four years since I’ve voluntarily read a comic with the words “Brian Bendis” on the cover, and while I’m perfectly happy to stay far, far away from the fallout of “Dark Reign,” it looks like the streak is finally over. Why? Because Secret Warriors is going to be cowritten by Jonathan Hickman, and in addition to being a fellow South Carolinian and a hell of a nice guy, Hickman’s one of the best new talents to hit the mainstream in the past few years. It’s not just that he tells good stories–although he does that, The Nightly News is a great read, and while Pax Romana slowed down a little at the finish line, the high concept alone made it worth sticking with–but that his stuff is innovative. It just doesn’t look like anything else that’s out there, and the more of that sensibility that we can get in comics, the more I want to read ’em. Plus, maybe there’s a chance we’ll get a Jonathan Hickman Nick Fury story out of this one, because dude. That would be awesome.
P. 13 – Agents of Atlas #1: Oh snap, they’re back!
And now they’re ongoing?! This is, without question, the best news to come out of Marvel since they announced the Devil Dinosaur hardcover.
P. 26 – Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk Reprints: Brother, I don’t care what your day job is, but if it takes three years for you to write twenty-two pages of Wolverine and the Hulk punching each other, then you should not be writing comics.
P. 41 – Fantastic Four #564: And while we’re on the subject of deadlines, here’s the Christmas issue of Fantastic Four, solicited with a release date of February 4. The Christmas Issue. If this book comes out on time, it’ll still be two months late.
P. 63 – Darkhawk #1: AAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA! SERIOUSLY?! DARKHAWK #1?!
Man, guys, I was just kidding up there. You didn’t really have to do it!
P. 71 – Cable #11: Another first: Believe it or not, I have never bought an issue of Cable in my life, despite being the perfect age in the early ’90s to have been totally stoked about a guy whose power was carrying a giant gun. Thankfully, I was otherwise occupied by Kaine, the evil third Spider-Man clone who could totally kill guys by sticking his hands to their faces with his spider-powers.
…Jesus Christ, the ’90s.
Anyway, as of February, the streak will be over, because Cable #11 is the first part of a story drawn by Phonogram and Suburban Glamour’s Jamie McKelvie, and that’s something I’ve got to see. And if you don’t know why, I’ll explain:
See, this is what Cable looks like:
… and this is what Jamie McKelvie’s art looks like:
I cannot wait.
And that takes care of the majors! Join us tomorrow night when the ISB hits the back half of the catalog for the small press and the merchandise, but in the meantime, if anybody knows what the hell R.E.B.E.L.S. stands for, let me know. I know L.E.G.I.O.N., S.H.I.E.L.D., M.O.D.O.K., and U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., but somehow that one slipped by me.