November has finally rolled in around here with its customary coldsnap, and while a lot of people are out there trying to get a jump on their holiday shopping, there are a few devilishly handsome and highly industrous folks who are already concerned with what they’re going to be buying three months from now.
I’m referring, of course, to me.
That’s right, folks: Another month means another 500 plus pages of comics and merchandise, and as always, I’m here to sort through it and find the stuff worth talking about, and this time, it’s only a mere two weeks after Mike Sterling already did it. So join us, folks, as we here at the ISB remember, remember the Fifth of November with this month’s offerings from the major publishers!
Dark Horse Comics
P. 24 – BPRD: 1946 #1: I’m pretty sure the record will show that I have a deep and abiding affection for Mike Mignola’s BPRD titles, but I’m even more excited than usual about this one, even with the move away from the (ab)normal cast. Why? Because this is a story about Hellboy’s dad fighting off a sinister Nazi plot called Project: Vampr Sturm, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s that good-hearted college professors and Nazi Occultists go together like chocolate and peanut butter.
Evil chocolate and diabolical peanut butter, maybe, but you know what I mean.
Plus, I get to make jokes like this:
What’s your favorite kind of hip-hop?
See? Everybody’s a winner!
P. 32 – My Name Is Bruce: I’m genuinely surprised that my head didn’t explode from sheer joy when I heard there was a movie that could accurately be described as “Being John Malkovich meets The Three Amigos starring Bruce Campbell.” It should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that BC’s been a hero of mine since the life-changing experience of seeing Army of Darkness when I was nine, and that’s such a fantastic concept (much like Bubba Ho-Tep) that it’s almost guaranteed to be fun, even if the execution (also like Bubba Ho-Tep) isn’t quite as good as you want it to be.
That said, the comic is a whole other story. Like I said, I love some Bruce Campbell in my life, but I’ve been burned before–and I’m looking at you here, Man With The Screaming Brain adaptation–and I’ve got to think that what makes Campbell so appealing and enjoyable in the movies–his delivery on the one-liners, his expressions, his great gift for physical comedy–works a lot better when it’s actually him onscreen than when it’s just a drawing.
P. 39 – Al Capp’s Complete Shmoo: I’ll be honest, folks: I know next to nothing about Shmoon–and for that matter, about the rest of Al Capp’s work, as his major contribution to my reading has been a quote on the nature of comedy that I follow to this very day–but seeing this here just begs the question:
Is there any concievable reason why we haven’t gotten an archive of Herbie: The Fat Fury?
P. 41 – Empowered v. 3:
This solicitation features a pullquote form Rack Raider / Seven Hellion / all-around swell guy Devon Sanders (and really, if you haven’t already, listen to the guy and grab a copy already), but the bigger news here is that mankind has finally advanced to the point where we can support three 200+ page Adam Warren OGNs (and a Warren-scripted six-issue mini-series) in less than one year.
And just think: All this time I thought he was just a slow artist when he was really just holding back so that society wouldn’t be crushe dunder the weight of all that awesome.
Truly, we are living in a finer world.
P. 72 – Bat Lash #2: So you guys remember how last month, I said that a Bat Lash relaunch under Sergio Aragones, Peter Brandvold, John Severin and Walt Simonson was, and I quote, “more than I could’ve hoped for?” Well in this issue…
BAT LASH FIGHTS A BEAR!
It’s like they’re writing it just for me.
P. 78 – Superman Confidential #11: I’m not a huge fan of B. Clay Moore, and I pretty much wrote Superman Confidential off when the Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale story I was reading it for took about a year to not finish, but, uh… this appears to be a story where Superman and Jimmy Olsen eam up to fight luchadores. Drawn by Phil Hester.
So, uh… yeah. I’m gonna need that.
P. 92 – Justice League International HC: For those of you keeping score at home, this marks the third time (at least) that we’ve gotten a trade of Justice League / JLI #1-7, and the zeroth time that we’ve gotten a trade of anything past the first two story arcs.
You’re breakin’ my heart here, DC. Why must you deny a whole new generation of readers the pure joy that is “The Teasdeale Imperative?”
Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus v.4: It might come as a surprise, given my love of Jack Kirby in general and the Fourth World in particular–or it might not, given how hard they are to come by–but I’ve never even seen a copy of Hunger Dogs, Kirby’s final Fourth World epic from the mid-’80s, and finally getting it in the Omnibus format to cap off the entire saga has me more excited than anything else DC’s putting out this month, even given the presence of bear-fighting and luchadores.
What exactly it says about DC that I’m more excited about something that originally came out 22 years ago than anything hitting the shelves next January, that’s for you guys to decide, but, well, this is the Hunger Dogs we’re talking about here.
P. 123 – Northlanders #2: When I first saw the soliciation for this issue, I could’ve sworn that this…
actually said “Brian Wood’s Epic Fucking Tale Continues!” Admittedly, all it took was one quick double-take to set me straight, but still, it was pretty eye-catching, so if any of you happen to work in DC’s marketing department and want a new way to generate some excitement, you might want to look into swearing.
P. 131 – Showcase Presents Action Figures: Okay, time for a serious question: Who the heck is out there buying all these Hawkman action figures? There’s like fifteen of them, and–and this is the important part here–they’re all of Hawkman.
Regardless, while I’m doing my best to resist buying DC Directs that don’t feature the words “Jack” or “Kirby” in their titles, there’s one in this wave that is sorely tempting. Longtime ISB readers may already know which, considering that there was a time just after the first Superman Showcase came out where I came dangerously close to devoting the ISB entirely to this guy (and pretty much did for about a month anyway).
I speak of course of the regal majesty that is… Lion Head Superman:
Yeah, that’s right: I lensflared it. Just be glad I didn’t add in the sound effect.
P. 136 – Youngblood #1: “Before the Authority… before the Ultimates.. there was Youngblood!”
Yeah. And the difference there is that The Authority and The Ultimates are both, you know, good.
But then again, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this didn’t have me at least a little intrigued. After all, I’ve been having a pretty good time with Joe Casey’s recent work on Godland, and I’ve got to say that from the very little I’ve seen of Derec Donovan’s art, it looks pretty appealing. Of course, this is Youngblood we’re talking about, but it’s a Youngblood with two characters created by Alan Moore on the roster (although seriously, where’s Big Brother?) and during Moore’s all-too-brief run on the title years ago, he proved that it was possible to tell good stories with them.
Of course, Moore also proved that it’s possible to tell truly phenomenal stories about a swamp monster and his girlfriend hanging out in a swamp, but you guys know what I mean.
I’d be willing to give it a shot if it wasn’t for the stigma of the artistically bankrupt Rob Liefeld attached to it. Even if he doesn’t have anything to do with the actual book and just does the variant cover (or “shelf-clogger,” as it’s known in the industry), I’m sure he still gets a chunk of change from it, and I’d really rather not give any more money to that guy than I already have. What do you think, readers?
P. 7 – Ultimate Human #1: I originally skipped right over this one on my first read-through of Previews, mostly because with the end of Ultimates 2, I’m pretty much out of the Ultimate Universe entirely. Well, that and the fact that the last time we were promised a mini-series about Ultimate Hulk, we got two plus years of nothing and a shitty third season of Lost.
In any case, when I took a closer look at it the second time, I added it to the order for two pretty obvious reasons: Warren Ellis and Cary Nord. Ellis, of course, needs no introduction here on the Internet that he rules with an iron fist, and given that I’ve enjoyed most of his Ultimate work and all of his Iron Man stuff, I’ve got hopes that he’ll do his usual (which is to say highly entertaining) job with this one.
The real selling point, though, is the art, because with ex-Conan artist and ISB favorite Cary Nord handling pencils, there’s a very slight–but very awesome–chance that this is going to open with the Hulk decapitating a Vanirman.
P. 24 – Captain America #34: So. To review: The biggest news from Marvel this month–their earth-shattering bombshell that promised to break the Internet in half–was that Captain America, their ongoing series about Captain America, was going to start featuring… Captain America.
Well. Thanks for the update, guys. Let me know when you get that whole “sky blue, water wet” thing figured out.
But I kid. The real hubub stems from the fact that the Cap showing up next year is this guy:
Apparently, the major consternation on the Message Board Circuit stems from the fact that Cap’s packing a roscoe (although not, apparently, a belt) which, really, is no big deal. I mean first off, the guy’s a soldier, and I’m pretty sure soldiers carry guns at least part of the time, and secondly, it’s not like it’s actually Steve Rogers or anything. That guy won’t be back ’til Cap #50.
Anyway, like most message board discussions, this one misses the larger issue at work here, which is this: That costume is fucking awful.
Look, Alex Ross: We get it, okay? You figured out how to paint shiny things, and I’m sure that was very impressive when you designed the Silver Agent twelve years ago, but this time, you didn’t even give us a guy who can bend over to tie his shoes without stabbing himself in the crotch with his pointy metal chestplate. And then there’s the one-piece black jumpsuit with the built-in holsters and Mickey Mouse gloves that’s honestly just laughable. On one level, though, it’s almost impressive: I mean, you have to work pretty damn hard to beat this, but congratulations: You’ve done it.
P. 32 – House of M: Avengers #3: So you guys remember how I’ve been on the fence over the past couple of months about whether I was going to pick up Christos Gage and Mike Perkins’ House of M: Avengers? Yeah, well…
…I guess that settles that.
P. 39 – Hulk #1: According to the solicitation, this issue’s brought to you by “a brand new team who loves the Hulk as much as you do,” and I’ve got to admit that I have no doubt whatsoever that’s completely true, I’m just pretty surprised that that was the only requirement for getting the job. I mean, really? Because if all you guys want is somebody that really likes the Hulk, then I’d just like to mention three things:
1) I’m available.
2) I work cheap.
3) I did not write some of the worst mainstream comics of the past ten years. Yet.
P. 66 – What If? Spider-Man vs. Wolverine: Just so nobody gets the idea that my thoughts of Marvel this month are all full of bitterness and spite, I’d just like to point out that I’m really looking forward about this one. The original Spider-Man vs. Wolverine‘s been one of my all-time favorites ever since I first got it as part of one of those random-ass “HEre, you like these” boxes that every comics reader gets as a birthday present at some point during their childhood, and I still think of it as Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest’s best work.
And yet, I’ve never thought that it quite got the attention it deserved, which is why it’s so exciting about seeing Paul Tobin (of Banana Sunday fame) and Jeff Parker (of Agents of Atlas and The Best Avengers Story Ever) take a shot at it.
P. 85 – Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Daring Mystery v.1: You know, as much fun as I have leafing through those crazy old Golden Age stories, I probably shouldn’t get this one. After all, it’s sixty bucks, and to be honest, I still haven’t finished the USA Comics Masterwork I picked up months ago, so I really can’t justif–wait…
What’s this? “The Phantom Bullet, scourge of the underworld, faces off against a dastardly band of head hunters.”
And finally, that takes care of the majors. But just think: If I’ve got this much anger directed at the major publishers this month, can the small press and the merchandise possibly survive?! Find out tomorrow!