Chris vs. Previews: February 2008, Round Two

Let’s be real for a second, here, folks.

Last night, I posted Tony Jaa’s flaming 720 face-kick, and considering that it’s a major contender for the title of Most Awesome Thing Ever, there’s not a whole heck of a lot I can do to top that. So tonight, why don’t we kick off this month’s look at the back half of Previews with what I’m pretty sure is the exact opposite?

 

 

The Previews Apparel Section, ladies and gentlemen. ALL CLASS.

Now let’s see what other treasures are lurking within the pages, with a stern look at the small press and the merch!

 


 

Comics

P. 208 – Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! DVD:

 

 

I’m not sure what the heck it’s doing mixed in with the comics, but the important thing here is that the Russ Meyer classic which no fan of ’70s exploitation movies should be without is back in print and available–of all places–at your local comic book store. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the film (and I wouldn’t blame you, since I only saw it thanks to a VHS copy I borrowed from Dr. K that he taped off a 2 AM showing on TCM), here’s how the film’s described on the box itself:

 

FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL! KILL! is the story of a new breed of SUPERWOMEN emerging out of the ruthlessness of our times! We are introduced to three BUXOM Go-Go girls: VARLA, ROSIE, and BILLIE, wildly dancing the Watusi before the leers, jeers and lecherous come-ons of their drooling all-male audience! The violence, implicit in the girls’ tease, is quickly moved out of the microcosmic bar into the outside world as they literally let go of themselves, embarking on a wild, violent, deadly journey of vengeance on all men! VARLA, the outrageously abundant KARATE MASTER leader of the pack, breaks the arms and back of one man, runs her Porsche over two others, grinds a fourth, a muscleman, against a wall and, eventually, deliberately goes down the path of her own self-destruction, dragging her two BUXOTIC cohorts along with her!

 

That’s right, folks: a BUXOTIC KARATE MASTER on a JOURNEY OF VENGEANCE. Further discussion on your need to purchase this film should not be necessary.

 

P. 217 – Helen Killer #1: And while we’re on the subject of the genius high concept, we have this.

Those of you who read the comments section of last night’s post might’ve noticed that Benito Cereno, the scholar and gentleman behind the great Tales From the Bully Pulpit and Hector Plasm, stopped by to point this one out to me, and it’s a good thing he did, because Helen Killer sounds like pure gold. If you don’t have a Previews handy, here’s the solicit:

“In 1901, twenty-one year old college student Helen Keller, with the aid of a fantastical device invented by her friend and mentor Alexander Graham Bell, regains her sight and hearing as well as near super-human strength and agility. Helen is enlisted by the Secret Service to protect Presdident William McKinley, who has been targeted for assassination by anarchists.”

I know I throw a lot of hyperbole around, and I have no idea how it’s actually going to work out, but that is the best two-sentence pitch for a comic book I have ever heard, and I’ve read Mantooth!. Seriously. Words cannot describe how excited I am about a super-powered Helen Keller battling Leon Czolgosz.

Now if only her family hadn’t rearranged all the furniture…

 

P. 234 – Anna Mercury #1: Warren Ellis is launching a new series at Avatar this April, and in a shocking deviation from his usual work, it looks like it’s about a leather clad tough-gal in what appears to be a dystopian future, and–call me crazy–I think there might be some nanotechnology involved.

But I kid. I actually think Anna Mercury looks pretty fun, which is weird, since it took Doktor Sleepless and Black Summer to get me to take anything Avatar does seriously–a feeling they do their best to undermine every month with stuff like the Lady Death 2007 Swimsuit Special Serpents Edition. I just hope that there’s a crossover with Arcana’s Miranda Mercury in there somewhere.

 

P. 251 – Klassic Komics Klub: To put it mildly, Johnny Ryan’s humor is not for everyone. People with souls, for instance, might have difficulty with gags like “Gay Homo Hitler” and (NOT AT ALL SAFE FOR WORK SERIOUSLY NO FOOLING) “Baby Stud” (SERIOUSLY. DON’T.), and rightly so, as Ryan does the most offensive comics on the face of the Earth. It’s like what you’d get if Jason Yungbluth had Tourette’s.

For people like me, however, Ryan’s work is also absolutely hilarious, and an entire book of him “adapting” classic literature sounds awesome. (And trust me, wait ’til you’re home.)

 

P. 284 – DMP’s Monthly Parade of Yaoi: I’m torn here, folks. Every month, DMP rolls out their catalog section, and every month, it’s like they’re playing some twisted game of cat and mouse with me, trying to throw me off my game by offering up what are without a doubt the most ridiculous books they can find, and this month, I’ve gotta confess that they’ve got me.

I mean, do I go with the obvious Prince joke for Love Control, or do I rely on the inherent comedy of two gay vampires frenching while they stab each other?

 

 

Decisions, decisions.

 

P. 326 – Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition v.2: Just a reminder here for those of you who haven’t already read Queen & Country: It’s awesome. I’ve been a fan since the first issue hit–or, if you want to get technical about it, since Whiteout–and even though I already had all the issues, I grabbed the first volume to see what the Definitive Editions were like, and I was blown away all over again by how great it is.

If you’re new to the series, then trust me: It’s fantastic, and the new trades are definitely the better–and cheaper–format for it.

 

P. 358 – X-O Manowar: Birth HC: Really, Valiant? Really?

 

 

Okay, look: Believe it or not, I’m actually interested in this, mostly due to the fact that X-O Manowar‘s been described to me as “Conan the Barbarian in a suit of Iron Man armor,” and I think we can all agree that that sounds pretty fun. But man, there is no way that I’m gonna buy a hardcover featuring a giant picture of what appears to be a spaceman gargling a mouthful of–well, I already hit my Adult Content quota with the Johnny Ryan bit earlier, but you guys know what I’m talking about. Sheesh.

 

Books

P. 409 – The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham MMPB: I’ll be getting this for several reasons:

1. I’ve been wanting to check out the original Spider stories since Kevin recommended them to me a couple months ago, and while I did get one of the trade-sized reprints they’ve been doing, a seven dollar paperback seems like a much better format for the material.

2. With the exception of Gymkata‘s, “He Doesn’t Shoot Webs–He Shoots FIRST!” is the greatest tagline in history.

3. Robot Titans of Gotham: Greatest title… or greatest title?

 

Apparel

 

P. 450 – Brat Pack: Dr. Blasphemy T-Shirt: This shirt got me in trouble in school once.

 

 

If memory serves, it happened back in 7th grade, and involved the same teacher who kept me from being on the school newspaper because I, and I’m quoting here, “lack the commitment to write seriously.” Obviously, I’d never read Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack at the time–and I still haven’t, now that I think of it–but it’s a great iconic design on its own. So I’m wearing it one day, and my teacher informs me that I’m not allowed to wear t-shirts with offensive language on them, and I respond by pointing out that there is no offensive language on my t-shirt, and in fact there’s no language at all, and furthermore, that that’s pretty much the point of said design to begin with.

“Yes,” she said, “But we all know what it means.”

I’m not sure teaching was the right career for her.

 

P. 431 – Girls Gone Wild Camera Crew T-Shirt: True Fact: If you see someone wearing this t-shirt, it is completely legal to stab them.

 


 

And with that, I think it’s time to call it a night, although I believe I’m legally obligated to inform you that I was “just kidding” about the whole stabbing thing. Dubious legality aside, however, feel free to leave a comment if anything caught your eye in this month’s catalog. As for me, I’ll be trying to reintroduce the word “Buxotic” into the American lexicon.

Truly, I am working for a finer world.

Chris vs. Previews: February 2008, Round One

Ah, February! When our thoughts turn once more to those of love! And what, I ask you, do we all love?

That’s right: That scene from Ong Bak where Tony Jaa kicks a guy in the face while his legs are on fire:

 

 

It’s like poetry. But better.

What’s that? Oh, right, right. Comics.

Of course, we all love those too, which is why I sit down to duke it out every month with the five hundred-page monstrosity of things that Should and Should Not Be, the Previews Catalog!

 

 

Tonight, the first half of the catalog is on the chopping block as I find out which titles are the bridesmaids and which are the brides in the major publishers. Let’s get to it!

 


 

Dark Horse Comics

P. 57 – Fluffy GN: At first glance, I was ready to write this one, which describes itself as the story of “a young rabbit with a human daddy named Michael” as the European knockoff of everyone’s favorite little stuffed bull, but when I got a little further into the solicitation and saw the bit about Michael’s “uncomfortable, uncertain romance” with Fluffy’s preschool teacher, it started to look like it might be a little more interesting than I previously thought.

And then I took a look at the preview pages:

 

 

Bunny or no bunny, that’s pretty hilarious, and when you add in the fact that the ad copy includes the phrase “Neither bunny nor man is truly prepared for the worldly excitement of a suspected kidnapping in Sicily”–which I’m pretty sure is the most exciting rabbit-related phrase since Beatrix Potter’s original script for Smokey and the Bandit 2–it starts to look promising indeed.

Now if only it wasn’t a hardcover.

 

DC Comics

 

P. 74 – Tangent: Superman’s Reign #2: Okay, look: I don’t normally think I’m one of those guys that grouses about DC Editorial all day, but just a reminder here of something Kevin pointed out to me the other day: DC Comics is willing to throw a chunk of cash and promotion into bringing back the Tangent Universe, but not to putting Hitman back into print.

Figure that one out, Genius Jones.

 

P. 81 – Superman #675: I like to think that I’ve been pretty clear about my opinion of Alex Ross over the past couple of years, but seriously, you guys:

 

 

From the veins on his left hand, I can only assume that in Ross’s idealized DC Universe, Superman has gained his power through a combination of Earth’s yellow sun and mainlining horse steroids. You could drive a damn Volkswagen through those things! Still, it does make me wonder what kind of beautiful world it would be if Superman’s inspirational speeches were delivered more like, say, The Ultimate Warrior’s.

 

P. 87 – Action Comics #864: Kevin Maguire, however…

 

 

…can draw the hell out of some Super-Hands.

 

P. 98 – Legion of Super-Heroes: 1,050 Years in the Future: Between twelve awesome Archives and a year spent prowling back issues, I own everything that’s reprinted in this one in some form or another, but I’m still planning on picking it up. After all, I’ve got a standing policy to grab any Legion issues that get collected, if only in the vain hopes that DC’ll see that they’re selling and correct the downright criminal fact that Great Darkness Saga‘s out of print.

Since it’s pretty likely that you guys don’t share my tilting-at-windmills purchase policies, allow me to assure you that this thing actually looks like a pretty good cross-section of Silver Age LOSH stories. There’s the mandatory first appearance, the death and subsequent resurrection of Lightning Lad, an appearance by the Legion of Super-Villains, and, of course, the first appearance of Calorie Queen, along with a couple of stories from the post-reboot era. Sadly, both Bizarro Computo and the Weirdo Legionnaire were snubbed yet again, but someday, fellas. Someday.

 

Batman: The Joker’s Last Laugh TP: Oh, the folly of youth!

Back in 2001, when I was certainly old enough to know better but still flush with money from my inheritance, I thought it might be a good idea to sign up for every single tie-in of Joker: Last Laugh. This, for those of you who weren’t neck-deep in fifth week events back then, amounted to every single DC Comic published that month with the exception of the Legion of Super-Heroes. To be fair, this was the first exposure I’d had to stuff like Walt Simonson’s Orion, but by and large, I can say with authority that Last Laugh was not very good.

Here’s the weird thing, though: Even with a “Jokerized” female version of Azrael knocking around my collection, it still wasn’t bad enough to teach me the lesson that I’d eventually learn from Our Worlds at War and, to a much lesser extent, the actually pretty decent Bruce Wayne: Murderer? And you guys wonder why Tarot doesn’t bother me that much.

 

P. 101 – All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 HC: So let me get this straight: You’ve had the three years that it’s taken to get nine issues worth of All Star Batman out to come up with some decent pullquotes, and you go with tired old media outlets like Entertainment Weekly and USA Today? Really? Come on, DC Marketing Department! You guys can do better than that!

Here, I’ll get you started with an actual quote from my friend and yours, the Internet’s Mike Sterling:

“All Star Batman is itself the pinnacle of comic book excellence. Anything being equivalent to two or more ASBs is only theoretical, and quite impossible given our current level of comic book technology.”

Now that’s marketable.

 

Image Comics

 

Aqua Leung v.1: You know, it took me until just now to realize that this one’s written by Mark Andrew Smith, more popularly known as the writer of The Amazing Joy Buzzards, the greatest crime-fighting rock band with a mythical luchadore sidekick in comics history.

Sadly, this derails my whole plan for writing a joke here about how I’d be more excited if this was two-fisted comics adaptation of the works of Jethro Tull–which is also the way I feel about Wildstorm’s Number of the Beast-becaus now, I really, really want to read it.

 

Marvel Comics

 

P.6 – Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #10: Hey everybody, it’s Phillip! And this time, he’s drawn by Ron Lim, artist of the best Marvel crossover ever!

 

 

Oh Ron.

Oh Ron, Ron, Ron. What the hell happened here?

 

P. 26 – Fantastic Four #556: And now, the Thing’s face when he realized Bryan Hitch makes him look exactly like a penis with teeth:

 

 

P. 33 – Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1: Those of you who read through last week’s Chris vs. Previews might recall that I spoke with great fondness of the big Iron Man vs. Dr. Doom stories collected in the Doomquest hardcoverIron Man #149-150 and the sequel in #249-250–but to be honest, I wasn’t aware that it was a trilogy that required completion.

Still, that’s not gonna stop me from being pretty excited about this one, especially given that, from the look of the preview pages in here, it appears to be the story of Iron Man and Dr. Doom fighting the Devil in outer spaaaaace, and that’s about as awesome as it–

Hang on. What’s this? Art and cover by Ron Lim?! All right! Welcome back, Ron. I knew you still had it in you.

 

P. 37 – Marvel Adventures Iron Man #12: And speaking of Iron Man, check out Shellhead’s new armor, designed specifically for dealing out high fives to the Marvel Universe’s most radical dudes!

 

 

The Marvel Legends version, of course, will be out by this summer.

 

P. 41 – Secret Invasion #1: Don’t care.

 

P. 61 – X-Factor #30: This, however, I’m excited about:

 

 

I may have mentioned this before, but when I was a kid, I got a pocket-sized paperback reprint of the Claremont/Byrne classic where the X-Men have to fight their way through Murderworld, and man. I read that thing ’til the spine wore out, and along with Batman throwing the car battery and Amazing Spider-Man #33, it’s probably one of the ones that ensured I’ll be reading comics ’til the day I die. Thus, I love Arcade. He’s got such a great hook. He’s one of the most woefully underused villains in comics,
and since he hasn’t been seen since the fantastic story in Dan Slott’s The Thing, I think it’s about time he came back.

Plus, you want to see creepy, blow that Glenn Fabry cover up to life-size in Photoshop and look him right in the eyes. Gave me the jibblies.

 


 

And that makes the majors! If anything caught your eye–like the upcoming Thor one-shot by ISB favorite Matt Fraction that promises to contain more hammer-based ass-kicking than the character’s seen all year–feel free to let me know about it in the comments section below.

And tomorrow night, be here for Round Two, when the ISB takes on the small press and the merchandise! And while I hate to disappoint, I’ve got to confess that there won’t be any content lifted from Previews Adult this time around.

But really, after Young Lusty Sluts, do you really need anything else?

Chris vs. Previews: January 2008, Round Two

Normally, I like to start off the second night of my stern, uncompromising look at Previews with one of my dubious “favorites” from the Apparel section, but over the past couple of months, there just hasn’t been anything there to catch my eye. Maybe it’s the result of a concerted effort to class up the ol’ Diamond Comics Warehouse, or maybe the deal to get distribution rights to those shirts where the wolf cries while howling at the moon that has Dale Earnhardt’s spectral face on the surface fell through.

Regardless, I’ve been taking it easy on the t-shirts for a while now. And then they had to go and bring us this:

 

 

Man oh man, that thing is a masterpiece. Because seriously, next to the dreaded tie-dye/dragon combination, there’s nothing that makes a worse t-shirt than actually drawing the abs. Genius!

And that’s just one of the fine products you might be missing out on if you skipped the back half of Previews! Now let’s see what other gems we can dig up from in there…

 


 

Comics

 

P.205 – Azumanga Daioh Omnibus Edition: Back when this was originally solicited, I mentioned that I’d picked up the first couple of volumes based entirely on the strength of Kiyohiko Azuma’s other work, Yotsuba&!, which is hands down one of the most enjoyable comics I’ve ever read. So enjoyable, in fact, that I wondered if it was that high standard that caused me to be pretty underwhelmed by Azumanga Daioh.

Then again, here’s a typical strip:

 

 

See that big empty space in the last panel? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure that’s where the punchline’s supposed to go, and in like three quarters of the strips, it’s mysteriously absent. Of course, I did end up picking up all four volumes and after Netflixing the run of DVDs, I’ll concede that it works a lot better in animation than it does on the page, but even with the impenetrable humor that runs through it (which I’ve got to assume is just a matter of it not translating well), it’s surprisingly addictive thanks to Azuma’s incredible knack for interesting characters and recurring gags that, seriously, take like four years to pay off.

It’s not Yotsuba&!–and really, what is?–but if you enjoy his work, it’s well worth checking out, especially since it’s so much cheaper than getting them all separately like I did. Oh, the folly of youth!

 

P.224 – Betty #173: You heard it here first, folks:

 

 

BETTY COOPER IS A SKRULL.

 

P.244 – The Godfather Chronicles #1: So, Mark Waid, of Kingdom Come fame, is going to be writing an adaptation of The Godfather for comics. I don’t really have a joke for that, but all things considered, I don’t think that’ll be a problem here.

Oh wait, here’s one, sent in by Mark Hale, age 29: “That’ll be great for people who don’t live anywhere near a video store or a tv with cable. Or a TV at all. Heck, you could probably stick a spoon in your mouth and catch a broadcast of The Godfather.”

Thanks, Mark! Your No-Prize is in the mail!

 

P.261 – Army of Darkness/Xena: Why Not? #1: For it is written that a weary world cried out for succor and the skies did open:

 

 

That’s right: John Layman, writer of Dark Xena–or as we know it around here, the single greatest work of fiction ever crafted by the hands of human beings, has once again come forth, to release what will surely become the basis of all civilization for millennia to come. In fact, I–

Wait, what?

[Green Light]John Layman ex-Wildstorm editor and writer for books such as “Stargate” and “Bay City Jive,” has been increasingly vocal about his dissatisfaction with publisher Dynamite, complaining to other comics professionals, as well as Marvel higher-ups, about lack of royalties on their “Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness” series. Apparently Layman was under the impression there would be further compensation from Dynamite if the book did well in the marketplace, and is now upset because no compensation appears forthcoming. I understand that Layman walked away from completing the fourth issue of the just announced “Army of Darkness/Xena” four-issue cross-over.

–Rich Johnston, Lying in the Gutters 1/07/08

I…

I’m sorry… There… there are no words.

 

[sob]

 

P.283 – Selfish Mr. Mermaid: Okay, here’s something that’ll cheer me up:

 

 

Okay, two questions here:

1. How can he be a mermaid when he, like Derek Zoolander, is clearly a mer-man, and..

2. Is Selfish Mr. Mermaid the greatest yaoi title ever, or the greatest title for anything ever? U-DECIDE!

 

Comic Book Comics #1: If you’ve ever found yourself reading through Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s Action Philosophers and thinking “You know, Kant and Wittgenstein are nice and all, but I wish they’d talk about guys that really matter, like Jack Kirby and Winsor McCay,” then have I got some good news for you.

Yes, the creators behind the most awesome educational comic since Ninjutsu: Secrets of the Invisible Art are reuniting to bring you the sordid true story of the origin of American comics, and if that sounds like anything less than the most awesome comic of the year, then check your car battery at the door, buster.

 

P.305 – The Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted #1: And now, the easiest joke I will ever make:

So in order to celebrate the launch of their new line of Star Trek comics, IDW’s releasing a book with four covers stapled onto one comic. Coincidentally, they’re also doing that with the Ghost Whisperer book, but that’s just because it was the only way they could fit Camryn Manheim in the picture.

HIOOOOOO!!

 

P.326 – North World v.1 GN: Kevin sent me the link to Lars Brown’s North World webcomic last week, and while I didn’t get a chance to get more than about ten pages into it, those ten pages involved a guy talking to another guy about how weird it was that he always ended up fighting giant animals, and then going to fight a giant talking bear.

This book, therefore, pretty much sells itself. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that the bit that I read was clever and very sharply written, either. But seriously: Bearfighting. Get on it.

 

P.384 – Comic Foundry #2: Just a reminder here for those of you who skip the magazine section in an effort to avoid luminaries like Horrorhound and Girls & Corpses: International playboy/bon vivant Tim Leong took a break from being almost unbearably handsome to put out a second issue of my favorite comics magazine, which now includes a snappy redesign, full color, a cover story on ISB Favorite Matt Fraction, and still clocks in at a penny cheaper than Wizard. So do like the guy from The Legend of Zelda says and buy it already, will ya?!

 


 

Normally, this is where I’d go after the merchandise section, but since Sterling already got to all the good bits–and by good, I mean mind-shatteringly terrible–I thought I’d start the new year off with something different: The ISB’s first-ever look at…

 

Previews Adult

 

So turn down the lights… light a candle… and let’s do this thang.

 

P.1 – Initiation: Except for all those times that I claim to know what funny is, I don’t claim to know what funny is. But this?

 

 

This is hilarious. Between the positions of the “nametags” (especially Henry, because seriously, what the heck happened there, bro?), the fact that it’s from the charmingly named Class Comics and the so mind-shatteringly awful it’s brilliant tagline (“Getting through college doesn’t have to be hard… but it helps!”) this thing manages to surpass even all but the best of DMP’s lineup.

 

P.5 – Young Lusty Sluts: On the off-chance that you’re wondering, allow me to assure you that I generally just look through to see if there’s a new issue of the best porn comic ever, Colleen Coover’s Small Favors (there’s not, but the uncollected #8, the color special, is offered again). Still, occasionally something’ll catch my eye, and a title like “Young Lusty Sluts” is one that’s gonna jump out at you.

As it turns out, though, Young Lusty Sluts is not a porn comic at all, but a collection of lurid pulp novel covers that actually looks really entertaning and comes pretty highly recommended if you’re into that sort of thing. And really, who doesn’t have room on their bookshelf for Young Lusty Sluts?

Also, on the off chance that you just got here from searching the web for “Young Lusty Sluts,” I’m sorry to disappoint and I don’t usually go for skewing my Google hits, but Kevin bet me that I wouldn’t use the words “Young Lusty Sluts” seven times in this post, so, well, my apologies.

Young Lusty Sluts.

 

P.8 – Love Is Like A Hurricane: Good heavens!

 

 

I’ve been reading comics for twenty years, and that’s the unhappiest young man I have ever seen.

 


 

That’s it! And now that a good portion of the folks who read the ISB from work have sworn me off for nearly getting them fired–and come on, you can’t say I didn’t warn you–I think it’s time to call it an evening. As always, if there was anything that caught your eye in Previews this month, feel free to leave a comment.

Especially if you can explain why Suicide Girls Magazine has taken two years to come out. Seriously, it can’t possibly be that complicated to put together.

Chris vs. Previews: January 2008, Round One

I may have used the start of the New Year as an excuse to take a week off, but Diamond Comics waits for no man!

 

 

Well, except when they push the release dates for new comics back to Friday, but thankfully, we’re past all that now. What matters tonight is that they’re celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Previews catalog with another five-hundred page pile of comics and merch, and it’s time for me to get back in the ring and take it all on in 2008’s first round of Chris vs. Previews!

Tonight, the Major Publishers! Tomorrow… THE WORLD!

Or the indies. Whichever.

 


 

Dark Horse Comics

 

P. 34 – Conan #50:

 

 

This issue marks the end of Dark Horse’s Conan, as the next issue will find it inexplicably relaunched with a new #1 as Conan the Cimmerian, and while I’m not all that excited about the actual relaunch, I am looking forward to the book itself. After all, current Conan writer Tim Truman is sticking around with artist Tomas Giorello, which pretty much ensures that it’s going to maintain the high level of gorilla-punching quality we’ve come to expect from everyone’s favorite barbarian.

Still, I’m pretty intrigued by the last issue here, which was based on a “lost” and unfinished Conan story by Robert E. Howard that, if the cover’s any indication, concerns itself with Conan’s heretofore unexplored interest in gardening.

 

P. 49 – Hellboy: The Companion: It was all I could to do avoid getting last month’s first Hellboy Library Edition, as I’m trying to avoid re-buying things that I already have, even if the newer versions look awesome and I haven’t seen my copies since I loaned them to Corey sometime in late 2006, and while I don’t consider a companion book to be strictly neccessary, it’s tempting. I’ve already got a weakness for comics-related reference material (excepting, of course, Marvel Saga), but this one promises “the definitive Hellboy and BPRD bibliography,” and I’ve always been curious about Mike Mignola’s vast personal collection of obsucre German folktales.

 

DC Comics

 

P. 72 – Justice League: The New Frontier Special: Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier is easily one of the best Elseworlds–er, alternate univer–er, Tales of Earth-21–ah, screw it.

New Frontier‘s really good, and while I’m always a little wary of seeing creators return to the same ground they’ve already covered–especially when he could be out there doing The Spirit or bringing us the best version of Wolverine ever–this one will apparently involve a story about Sgt. Rock, as done by the BBC (the mildly cutsey name that Cooke, Dave Bullock, and J.Bone gave to themselves when they were the art team on the surprisingly enjoyable Witchblade Animated).

Clearly, this is something we’re all going to need.

 

P. 75 – Detective Comics #842: Okay, before we really get into this, I’d just like to mention that Peter Milligan’s “Dark Knight, Dark City” is one of my favorite Batman stories, and along with Gothic, it’s probably one of the best supernatural stories in the character’s history. That said, this one, which tells the secret origin of the suit of armor Batman started wearing during the mind-numbing “Resurrection of Ra’s al-Ghul,” is essentially a story about Batman’s clothes. And not to get too judgmental before the fact here, but seriously? That sounds like the most boring thing I can think of, except maybe a six-part epic about Nightwing’s Shoes. Come on, Pete! You’re better than Legends of the Dark Knight’s Wardrobe!

 

P. 76 – Robin #172: And this year’s Chris Claremont Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Cramming As Many Cliches As Possible Into One Sentence goes to… DC’s Marketing Department, for their work with Robin #172!

They’ll have to work toegether to get out alive, but someone’s not playing fair, and old hurts can mean new trouble when the chips are down!

Congratulations guys, and good luck at Nationals!

 

P.89 – Booster Gold v.1 HC: It’s weird to see that DC’s bucking the trend set by Marvel’s “Premiere” hardcovers in that they’re offering one that actually costs five bucks more than the issues, but–and honestly, I can’t believe I’m about to type this–Booster Gold was one of the best surprises of last year, and if you missed out and find yourself with an extra $25 in your pocket (or, y’know, $16.49 on Amazon) it’s well worth picking up. It might be all co-writer Jeff Katz donig the good stuff, but really: It’s the only good Geoff Johns comic of the last three years.

Yeah, I said it.

 

P.90 – JAC KIRBY’S OMAC HARDCOVER!!!:

 

 

SECTORS WILL BE EVACUATED!

 

 

CONQUERORS WILL BE BUSTED!

 

 

ISSUES WILL BE COLLECTED AND MINDS WILL BE BLOWN!

 

 

SO IT IS WRITTEN, SO IT SHALL COME TO PASS… IN THE WORLD THAT’S COMING!

 

P.91 – JLA Presents Aztek: The Ultimate Man TP: And speaking of comics that it shouldn’t have taken nearly this long to collect, we have Aztek! I spent a good two years trying to put together a run of this book and never quite could get the last couple of issues I needed, but after I finally read it through… ahemcompletely legal means, I can confirm that it’s pretty darn enjoyable. Admittedly, it reads like a ’90s comic, but it reads like a ’90s comic written by Grant Morrison and a Swamp Thing-era Mark Millar, starring the completely bewildered hero that gave us one of the best moments in Morrison’s JLA. The only thing that’s not great about it is how soon it got axed, especially given the last issue’s teasers for some truly wonderful stories that never happened, and I’m almost certain that if it would’ve had a longer run, Aztek’s Vanity would’ve rivaled Starman‘s Opal City as one of the most interesting places in the DCU.

And hey, speaking of…

 

P.92 – Starman Omnibus v.1:

 

 

And continuing this month’s theme of truly awesome collections we’ve been waiting for forever, we have this one, which pretty much sells itself. A friend of mine once told me that it was, and I quote, “criminal” that DC had allowed so much of Starman to fall out of print, and while it’s not strictly illegal, it’s certainly pretty nuts that you can’t walk into a store and walk out with a run of trades like you can with Preacher, Sandman, or the aforementioned JLA–an affliction, I might add, that it shares with Hitman. But now, it looks like those dark times are finally over, and Starman‘s getting the same treatment that the Fourth World got (although hopefully with better paper), and I’m pretty excited about it.

Because really, if you’re gonna drop $300 on high-end collections of a super-hero book from the ’90s, this one oughtta be it.

And also Hitman. Seriously, DC, it would be like printing money.

 

P. 93 – Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes v.2: Holy crap, DC’s got a lot of good trades this month. Of course, there’s also that Absolute Black Dossier, wherein DC decides to not even let Jess Nevins catch his breath before they jack the price up by seventy bucks, throw an LP in the box and fleec you for more of that sweet, sweet Alan Moore cash, but all in all, it’s a pretty strong showing.

Anyway, you might’ve noticed that I haven’t written about the Legion in a while, but that’s only because I ran out of archives to read, so I think it’s safe to say that you guys probably already know my feelings about this one. I would, however, like to point out that this one contains nothing less than the senses shattering saga of Bizarro Computo, and a life without that story is hardly a life at all.

 

Image Comics

 

P.148 – Transhuman #1: Havig met South Carolina’s own Jonathan Hickman at HeroesCon last year, I can confirm that despite what you might have heard, he’s not a man at all. He is, in fact, a highly sophisticated collective of robots (albeit a nice one that did a sketch of N’Kantu for me), which is the only reason I can think of for the way he came out of nowhere with last year’s awesome The Nightly News, and then proceded to drop a new series–including the great first issue of Pax Romana and the upcoming Red Mass For Mars–at the rate of one per month.

Robots. As usual, it’s the only explanation that makes sense.

 

P.168 – Youngblood #3: You might recall that I was torn on whether or not to get Joe Casy and Derec Donovan’s Youngblood relaunch back when it was first solicited–a moment of nigh-Hamletian indecision that sparked a debate and proved once again how willing you guys are to give Rob Liefeld my money–but if there’s anything that’ll convince me to actually give this book a shot, it’s a solicitation that leads off with “Death hits like a motherf***er!”

 

Marvel Comics

 

P.11 – Ultimate Fantastic Four #52: And now, your obscure fad product joke for this evening:

 

 

“Hi, I’m Thanos of Titan, and when I want to impress the foxy embodiment of the End of All Things with my puzzle-solving skills, I make sure to pack at least four Infinity Gems and a generous supply of Cube Lube… And so should YOU!”

 

P.15 – Ultimate X-Men #92: Okay, seriously you guys, on the real real real real REAL real real real real?

 

 

If the Ultimate Universe has gotten to the point where it contains both Onslaught and Stryfe, then come on, man. What’s the freakin’ point?!

 

P.46 – Mythos: Captain America: I’ll admit to enjoying the couple of Mythos one-shots that I’ve picked up, but to be honest, I mostly just skip ’em, especially since some of them have an alarmingly high presence of scenes where Johnny Blaze rolls around to the tune of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” which registers a mere ten miliratasses on my interest scale. This one, however, I’ll probably end up getting…

 

 

…if only to see Marvel Hunk of the Month Paolo Rivera’s version of Hitler’s “OH SHIT!” face reflected in Cap’s shield. That thing is fantastic!

 

P.49 – Power Pack: Day One #1: Just in ase you guys missed it, the new Power Pack mini-series is going to include a science lesson in each issue written by Fred “Action Philosophers” Van Lente and Colleen “Banana Sunday” Coover.

In the future, once the ISB’s quest for Total Internet Domination has reached its inevitable success, this is how all lessons will be taught. Even the hated maths.

 

P.54 – Thor #8: Let’s see here…

Part two of a two-part arc by writer J. Michael Straczynski (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) with sumptuous art by DAREDEVIL cover artist Marko Djurdjevic sees the mighty Thor ruling over anewly glorious Asgard and all its people! But what danger has risen on the horizon of its American heartland surroundings? And how will Thor equip himself to face it??

Translation: “This issue, Thor puts on some clothes and thinks about maybe fighting someone sometime while absolutely nothing continues to happen!”

Also: “Sumptuous?” Really?

 

p.69 – Logan #1: I’ve mentioned before that I don’t let my (amost nonexistent) pretensions towards being one one of the comic book literati get in the way of my affection for Wolverine when there’s a halfway-decent story involved, but I can pretty honestly say that I never thought I’d be picking up two Wolverine titles a month, and definitely not if they were flashback titles.

And yet, here we are, with Brian K. Vaughan and and Eduardo Risso’s Logan and the awkwardly titled Wolverine: First Class by Fred Van Lente and Andrea Di Vito, and between them, there might just be some Wolverine stories that are actually good again. Who’da thought?

P.91 – Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom: Doomquest HC: Okay, admittedly, twenty bucks might seem like a lot to pay for a comic that contains a grand total of four (4) issues, but when said issues are:

a) about Iron Man and Dr. Doom traveling back to the days of King Arthur and beating the crap out of each other,

b) full of Dr. Doom referring to Iron Man as “errand boy!” and “lackey!” in virtually every scene where they interact, and

c) totally awesome,

…it starts to make a little more sense. I mean, it’s no Armor Wars II or anything, but if you’d like to be reminded of when Tony Stark was a likeable character with a lovable head of hair, you could do a lot worse than to pick this one up.

 


 

And that takes care of the majors! Now then, lackeys! Be here tomorrow when the ISB takes on the small press and the merchandise in the second half of January’s Chris vs. Previews… Including a rare look at Previews Adult!

Be there or be square, cretins!

Chris vs. Previews: December, Round Two

It’s the Second Day of this month’s Previews Roundup, but before we get on with the small press and the merchandise, why not check in with Jimmy (Santa) Olsen to see how his holidays are going?

 

 

…Huh.

Yeah, maybe it’s best if we just move on.

 


 

Comics

 

p.195 – Sky Ape Relists: Since you’re reading this here, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re a fan of things that are totally awesome, and if that’s the case, then you really need to get some Sky Ape into your life. You’ll probably be able to figure it out for yourself just from hearing that it’s a book about a crime-fighting gorilla accountant with a jetpack and a fearless band of associates–a premise that puts him in the running alongside Matt Fraction’s Rex Mantooth for the title of AIT’s greatest gorilla crimefighter–but these things are pure, two-fisted genius.

How genius, you ask? Oh, I don’t know…

 

 

…about that much.

Heck, even Dave Campbell likes it! And the best part is, they’re relists, so they’re all available now, just in time for a happy jetpack gorilla Christmas!

 

P.204 – The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury #295: I think the record’ll probably show that for all my big talk, I really am a total sucker for an interesting gimmick, and starting a comic at #295 so that you only have to wait six months for the big 300th issue spectacular definitely qualifies on that front. However…

 

 

…even if I was a little more discerning in my comics purchases, that’s still a cover that features both a villain berating his inept henchmen and someone getting kicked in the face, and that’s the sort of thing I can get behind. Truth be told, it looks like it oughtta be a lot of fun.

 

P.238 – Rasl #1: So hey: Jeff Smith’s got a new comic coming out.

 

 

When you get right down to it, that’s probably all I have to say about this one. Still, brevity’s never really been my strong point, so I might as well mention that the solicitation’s promise of Jeff Smith doing a story about an interdimensional art theif fills me with the hope that this’ll read like Bone meets Casanova, and now that I’m actually writing that down, that sounds awesome.

Of course, given that I can’t read the title without thinking of the word “wrestle,” there probably won’t be quite as many steel chairs and/or ladder matches as I’d like. Still pretty exciting, though.

 

P.247 – Zorro #1: Well, it looks like Dynamite’s picked up yet another licensed property, and seeing as this one doesn’t have the words “Dark” or “Xena” in the title, I’m pretty sure I can skip it. Besides, it’s not like I need another comic to pick up every month, ri–

What’s that?

Matt Wagner‘s writing it?

Son of a bitch.

So, uh, yeah. I’m gonna need that.

 

P.265 – All Nippon Air Lines: Here at the ISB, we always like to have a little fun at the expense of DMP’s yaoi titles–although not, strictly speaking, the kind that’s intended–but you know what? I’m done. Can’t do it anymore. Because this

 

 

…is a series that’s abbreviated right there in the solicitation copy as “ANAL,” and where the hell am I supposed to go with it after that? Congratulations, DMP: I’m finished with you.

 

P.269 – Vanilla v.2:

 

 

Okay, okay. Maybe not finished, but it’s not nearly as much fun now.

 

P.290 – Little Orphan Annie v.1:

 

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

 

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

 

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

 


 

Books

P.385 – Night Life MMPB: I think it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t normally classify an urban fantasy novel about a hard-boiled lady cop werewolf as being my thing, but I’m willing to make an exception for this, the debut novel of Friend Of The ISB / child prodigy Caitlin Kittredge, as she’s what I’d generally refer to as “Good People.”

If such a thing is your bag, then give it a shot. After all, if it’s good enough to be sold at a comic book store, then… Well, uh, forget I said that. Hey, look! It’s also available for preorder on Amazon, which is a perfectly legitimate bookseller and not the sort of place that made a mint peddling Rob Liefeld books back in the day!

 


 

Merch

P.469: So just in case you were wondering why Mike Sterling calls his monthly look at Previews “The End of Civilization,” I think this page can just about sum it all up:

 

 

P.476 – Revoltech Danboard Action Figure: Speaking of Sterling, he already mentioned this thing a few weeks back, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it:

 

 

That’s right, kids: It’s Cardbo the Robot, springing to life from the pages of Yotsuba&! v.5! The sequence with Cardbo is probably my favorite bit of the series thus far and that alone would make this a must-buy, but since I got the Yotsuba figure from the same line, I can pretty much confirm that yes, they’re awesome.

Now if only they could come up with a better name than “Revoltech.” Yeesh.

 


 

And that pretty much covers it! As always, if anything caught your eye–like the magical fact that we’re getting both a new Yotsuba&! and a new Cromartie in February–feel free to point it out.

Now then, let’s get back to the Christmas!

Chris vs. Previews: December, Round One!

Ah, Christmastime, when Jimmy Olsen straps on his Hawkman wings and delivers the new issue of Previews to every comics reader’s home!

 

 

At least, that’s how it happens around here.

 

Yes, it’s another five-and-a-half hundred pages of stuff you don’t need, and in the spirit of brotherhood and giving that comes with the most wonderful time of year, I’m doing my best to bust my way through it and pick out what’s worth mentioning.

Tonight, it’s the major publishers, so get ready! It’s gonna get rough.

 


 

Diamond Comics

 

P. 14 – Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas: The stuff in Previews is solicited about two months in advance, so while you guys are still doing your Christmas shopping, they’re already busying themselves with Valentine’s Day! But don’t worry: As always, the friendly folks over at Diamond are offering help in picking out the perfect gift for your special someone.

After all, if your sweethearts like Betty & Veronica

 

 

…They’ll love Tarot!

 

NOTE: The preceeding gift advice only applies if your sweetheart is, in fact, me.

 

DC Comics

 

P. 59 – Salvation Run #4: Despite the fact that most of the people I heard from seem to like it a heck of a lot, the first issue of Salvation Run did absolutely nothing for me, to the point where I was planning on just cutting my losses and jumping off. This, however…

 

 

…appears to be a talking gorilla wailing on another talking gorilla with a malevolent brain in a jar.

Well-played, Sturges. Well-played.

 

P.61 – Booster Gold #0: Okay, look: As ridiculous and gimmicky as I know it is for this to be a Zero Hour tie-in–complete with a run-breaking issue number–I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t pretty excited about it.

Then again, the fact that I’m way more interested in a tie-in to a crossover that happened twelve years ago than the one that’s going on now probably says more about the state of DC Comics than it does about me.

 

P.73 – Countdown Special: OMAC:

 

 

I’m generally trying to avoid buying things that I already own–not to mention my standing rule against Countdown tie-ins–but it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that I’m making an exception for this, Jack Kirby’s most face-wrecking creation, especially given that awesome Ryan Sook cover. I’m not made of stone here, people.

Just for your edification, however, here’s a brief rundown of what this thing contains:

Let’s see, we’ve got OMAC #1, wherein OMAC evacuates and subsequently destroys a sector after finding out that his girlfriend is a talking RealDoll™ built only for assassination (TRD™BOFA), the Jim Starlin backup stories from Warlord, wherein OMAC punches out what eventually becomes a thirty-foot pile of enemy soldiers, and the Len Wein / George Perez story from DC Comics Presents #61, which, unfortunately, is not very good. It does, however, feature a scene where OMAC beats up some punks in the subway and then emerges to tell Superman that “they thought they were dealing with one man… They didn’t know it was a ONE MAN ARMY!” Status: Awesome.

 

P.89 – Tiny Titans #1: So back at HeroesCon, I was at the DC Nation panel when Dan DiDio responded to a question about the lack of kid-friendly DC titles by asking the crowd “Do you guys really want to read something a five year-old would want?” and I yelled back “Yeah, if it’s any good!”

Admittedly, it was a pretty big, noisy room, and I didn’t yell it all that loud, but I guess enough of us felt the same way that now we’ve got this:

 

 

And you know what? I’m glad. Thanks largely to the animated series, kids love the Teen Titans, and judging by the preview pages, there’s a good chance this one might actually be a pretty safe bet. And really, thanks to the amazing Chris Giarrusso (along with M. Parkinson of the webcomic Year One), who’ve done some great stuff in a…. well, let’s just call it “a similar format,” we already know there’s a lot of potential there.

Now if I could only figure out why the solicitation starts off with “Awwww yeah.” Way to stay creepy, DC Marketing Department.

 

P.123 – Joker Cane Prop Replica:

 

 

I’ll admit it: As much as I roll my eyes at the utter nonsense of the DC Direct props–and the fact that they couldn’t think of anything better for the Bottle City of Kandor trade than posing one with an action figure and hoping we wouldn’t notice–there’s a very small part of me that would totally love to own a pimp cane with a fake “gas dispenser” and a big metal Joker head on it.

Still, for three hundred bucks, I might as well just have one made with my own damn head on it. And then my crime wave could truly begin!

 

Image Comics

 

P.133 – Scud, The Disposable Assassin #21: Back when I was growing up, Scud was always one of those comics–along with Madman and Sin City–that I’d heard of as part of this whole “indie” thing that was going on, but seeing as I was a kid in South Carolina, I never got the chance to check it out.

With this one, though, I’m planning on correcting that little oversight, but there’s still the problem of knowing nothing about the character beyond the description offered up by the high-concept title and the fact that he was once in a video game where you could shoot with a gun and the d-pad. So, anybody feel like filling me in?

 

P.136 – Hazed OGN: And now, Image Comics proudly presents the story of sorority girls spanking each other:

 

 

Mark Sable, I suggest you prepare to sit back and count your enormous pile of money.

 

P.155 – Savage Dragon #137: I ended up having a pretty good time with the first Archive trade when I managed to knock it out on a slow day at work, but I don’t usually pick up Savage Dragon. I am, however, making an exception for this issue, thanks to a pretty awesome guest appearance:

 

 

What’s that? Madman? No way, suckers! I’m in it for the Joy Buzzards!

For those of you whose lives have yet to be touched by the awesome, I’ll explain: Mark Andrew Smith and Dan Hipp’s Amazing Joy Buzzards are the world’s greatest supernatural adventure band. Just picture Josie and the Pussycats, except they’re all guys, they occasionally fight zombies, and they’re protected by an allegedly mythical Luchadore named El Campeon who won the tag-team championship with Santa Claus in 1951.

Further explanation of why this is awesome should not be necessary.

 

Marvel Comics

 

P. 3 – Marvel Illustrated: Moby Dick #1: And now, another installment of my ongoing series on Why Comics Are Way More Awesome Than Classical Literature. First, we have Page 3, and the solicitation for Moby Dick #1:

 

 

And for comparison, from page 72, The Punisher: Force of Nature:

 

 

Clearly, these are both pictures of someone fighting a giant white whale, but one of them involves the Punisher. I think you can see my point here.

And yes, those both come from this month’s Marvel Previews, so I’m pretty sure that the House of Ideas has their whale-fightin’ quota for February on lockdown.

 

P.27 – Fantastic Four #554:

 

 

And here we are with this month’s big news: The debut of the new creative team of Mark Millar and Bryan hitch on Fantastic Four–in an issue that was apparently sent to the design department at Redbook by mistake–and I’m going to go ahead and say that there’s a 90, 95% chance that this thing’ll come in at a solid not very good.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: Mark Millar’s written some of my favorite comics of all time, and I loved what he did with Hitch on Ultimates, which, just so we’re clear here, is a book where Ultimate Captain America did the Flash Kick from Street Fighter II on a Jihadist with two lightsabers, and no lie, that’s a lot of fun. And while that’s more than fine for a book that’s essentially one long fight scene punctuated by people talking about how awesome they are at fighting–which is exactly the kind of book that I want Millar on, see below–it just doesn’t work when you apply it to a group of characters that are going to be doing anything other than punching each other.

I mean, we’ve seen the way Millar writes the FF–and particularly Reed Richards–in the pages of Civil War, and it’s pretty rough. As for Hitch, well, fingerless glovesand the Thing’s perfectly circular head aside, I’m sure this book’ll look beautiful, but let’s be honest: It’ll never come out, and for Fantastic Four to be Marvel’s flagship title, it really oughtta be on the stands more than three times a year.

That said, I am planning on giving it a chance. Like I said, as bad as Civil War was, there’s always a chance that the Mark Millar who shows up to write Fantastic Four‘ll be the guy who was writing best Superman stories of the ’90s, as unlikely as that may be. A guy’s gotta dream, right?

 

P.61 – X-Force #1: Okay, true story: The day this issue of Previews comes out, my pal Phil comes in, and we start chit-chatting as usual. We’re talking, and he starts leafing through Marvel Previews, and in the middle of a sentence, he sees the ad for X-Force on the back cover, and just busts out laughing for a solid minute, then looks up at me, tears in his eyes, and goes:

Seriously?!

I think that says it all better than I ever could.

 

P.75 – Kick-Ass #1: Okay, seriously: How in the hell had I not heard about this comic until I saw it in Previews?

 

 

For those of you wondering what I meant earlier when I said there’s a certain type of comic that I actually do want to see Mark Millar on, well, this is it. Heck, there’s an interview out there where Millar explains the concept of the series–a kid who loves comics and decides to become a super-hero by putting on a mask, grabbing a baseball bat, and looking for trouble–and then follows it up with: “What would happen next? The obvious answer, of course, is incredible violence and that’s where the fun begins.”

Obviously, this has the potential to go wrong–like, y’know, most of the other Millarworld titles–but if there’s one thing I’ll give Millar, it’s that he’s fantastic at writing fight comics when he wants to be. I mean sure, there’s The Ultimates, but Wolverine: Enemy of the State, wherein Wolverine fights zombies, ninjas, super-heroes, and zombie ninja super-heroes? That thing’s a freakin’ masterpiece. And it’s helped in no small part by the fact that it’s drawn by John Romita Jr., who’s returning for this one as well.

Plus, it’s named “Kick-Ass,” and that’s got to be one of my top five adjectives.

 


 

And that’s what the majors have to offer. If anything caught your eye, feel free to leave a comment, but be here tomorrow when the ISB takes on the second half Previews in a bare-knuckled brawl that’ll leave you rocked with the best Yaoi title in history. Do you dare miss it?

Chris vs. Previews: November 2007, Round Two

With the major publishers out of the way, the ISB focuses its laser-like beam of critical acumen/luchadore jokes on the latter half of this month’s Previews, and this time, there’s going to be a crucial piece missing.

Yes, as hard as it might be to believe, there’s really nothing worth mentioning in this month’s Apparel section, which only gives credence to my theory that there’s nothing out there that could top the pure joy of the T-Shirt Model All-Stars.

I mean… there is this:

 

 

But I think it says a lot more about the Previews apparel section than the shirt itself that something that blindingly garish is nothing to write home about.

But take heart! Even without the t-shirts and laser-cut logo bracelets, there’s still a ton of stuff waiting for me to take a potshot at it in another “exciting” installment of Chris vs. Previews!

 


 

Comics

 

P. 221 – Lady Death vs. Pandora #1 – Fetish Edition: Look, I hate to start things off so negatively (NOTE: That is a lie) and far be it from me to criticize the shining pillar of sequential art that is Brian Pulido, but I’ve got to call shenanigans on this one. I mean really: It says right here that “the super-minxes look hotter than ever” on this cover, but according to Comic Cavalcade’s “Quite a Pair” edition (P. 236), “Lady Death doesn’t get any hotter!” Which is it, folks?

And then there’s the larger issue, which is this: Is it really such a big deal that this is a “Fetish Edition?” Because I’m pretty sure that EVERY issue of Lady Death is catering to somebody’s fetish. Like, say, this one, where she’s apparently cramming a freshwater trout up her ass:

 

 

And with that, I mark off yet another entry from the Grand Checklist of Phrases I Never Thought I’d Type.

 

P. 232 – Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #48: You know, given my recent difficulties with everyone’s favorite overendowed sorceress, it’d be pretty easy to just write the book off entirely at this point. But really, when you compare it to the above, a story where Raven Hex literally stabs her sister’s childhood traumas to death with a knife inscribed with an Aleister Crowley quote seems almost charming.

Almost.

 

P. 238 – SuperPowers #1: Okay, back on track here: I’ve done my fair share of harping on about Alex Ross this month, but come on:

 

 

Is it really fair to have a cover promising to “introduce” a couple of characters that Alan Moore did a couple of stories about three years ago, let alone ones that are sixty years old? Really?

 

P. 256 – Voltron: Defender of the Universe Omnibus: Devil’s Due describes this book as “the perfect gift for any fan of Voltron.” Also the perfect gift for any fan of Voltron? Taste.

I mean really: The GZA doesn’t even show up in this, and as we all know, when you form like Voltron, the GZA’s the head!

 

P. 265 – I’ll Be Your Slave: It’s been a while since I’ve drawn your attention to the wispy romances of DMP–mostly because not even Body Language‘s “Less Talk! More Sex!” can top “Friends… with BENEFITS?!” as the single greatest yaoi tagline of all–but this one caught my eye:

Moriya is in charge of finding a model for a new product commercial for a big jewelry brand; but, nobody matches the ideal for perfectoin he has in mind… That is, until he meets Itsuki Ouno.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that just a slightly gayer version of Zoolander? Derelicte my balls indeed.

 

P. 284 – Speed Racer #1: I’ve read enough licensed comics from IDW to realize that they tend not to work out so well–which is what’s keeping me away from their new Doctor Who series for now–but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to you guys that a story where you find out one of Speed’s ancestors used to roll around the Colosseum of Ancient Rome in a souped-up chariot is at least a little appealing.

Then again, I’ve got a full set of Tommy Yune’s Speed Racer mini-series (and Racer X, too) kicking around the collection somewhere, so my opinion on this should be considered dubious at best.

 

P. 295 – Applicant: I don’t normally do this, but I’m going to go ahead and let the solicitation speak for itself on this one:

“One night while rooting through the recycling bin for magazines, I found all the confidential Ph.D. applicant files for the biology department at an Ivy League university from the years 1965-1975. Stapled to many of the yellowed documents were photographs of the prospective students. I tore through the folders and rescued every portrait I could find. Only later did I realize I had to publish them.”

Friends, it’s been a long while since I’ve seen anything that approached the raw comedic potential of what we’ve got here. I don’t even know what exactly’s included in this, but even if it’s just forty-eight pages of headshots of nerds from the early ’70s, the four dollar price of admission is a bargain.

 

P. 324 – Spiral Bound: When I originally saw the ad for Top Shelf’s “Kid’s Month,” I thought it was promoting a second volume of Aaron Renier’s Spiral Bound, and that thought got me pretty excited. Unfortunately, there’s still no sequel, but it does provide an easy way for anyone who’s never read it to jump on, and I highly recommend you do just that.

I originally picked mine up at the Top Shelf booth at HeroesCon a couple of years ago, and if memory serves, I described it then as the kind of story I always wanted when I was a kid. It’s an easy statement to stand by too, and if you think you or a kid you know might like a story of lovesick elephants, sculpture contests, sea monsters, secret passages and intrepid bunny-rabbit reporters for the school paper, pick it up. It’s great stuff.

 

P. 348 – Gumby v.1: And while we’re on the subject of good-natured boosterism, I’d just like to remind everyone that Bob Burden and Rick Geary’s first trade of Gumby is resolicited here, and just so we’re clear on this, that’s a book where this happens:

 

 

Yes. That is Johnny Cash descending from Heaven to help Gumby save his girlfriend from circus people, and if that’s not enough to get you to order this one, then check your six-string at the door, bucko.

 


 

Books

 

P. 368 – Blood and (Dis)Honour:

 

 

You know, you wouldn’t think that a girl who looked like she just escaped from an all-chupacabra production of Amadeus could come off as that pretentious, but having that non-Euclidian ribcage really helps her pull it off.

 

Merch

 

P. 459 – Excellent Model Core: Tsukasa Bullet #02 Hanako-San Figure: Oh what the hell?

 

 

So it’s come to this: A “sexy cow-woman” figure.

I never thought the day would come when I longed for the carefree, innocent days of the catgirl, and yet, here we are. Well-played, Japan. Well-played.

 

P. 466 – Creator’s Laboratory #013: Air Gear – Simca PVC Statue: My original plan for this one was going to be to make fun of the outfit…

 

 

…but when I thought about it, I realized that an officer’s cap, goggles, sailor uniform top, fingerless leather gloves, and ass-less leather chaps is perfectly normal attire for the high-stakes sport of rocket-powered in-line skating. I mean, it just makes sense.

 

P. 489 – Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? Board Game: In a perfect world, this thing would just be a box with Jeff Foxworthy’s smiling mug on it containing a single piece of paper that said “Did you purchase this game? If so, congratulations: You are not smarter than a fifth grader.”

Profits would be through the roof.

 


 

And with that bit of marketing wizardry, we close the door on what was quite possibly the most bitter installment of Chris vs. Previews to date! But as always, feel free to vent your own spleen in the comments section below if something caught your eye.

As for me, I’m going to go read Gumby again, and do my best to think happy thoughts.