Chris vs. Previews: July 2007, Round Two

Happy Independence Day, everyone! And how appropriate the holiday is, because tonight’s focus shifts from the major publishers to the independents in the second round of the ISB’s all-out fight to the finish with July’s Previews!

Of course, there’s also the non-comics portion of the catalog, including the massive, lumbering target that is the Apparel section. Rest assured, dear friends, that it remains as classy as ever with this month’s Stupid Zombie Shirt, conveniently available in XXXL:



While we’re on the subject, remember that Countdown Jimmy Olsen shirt I ordered a few months back? Well, much like Countdown itself, it’s already started to develop loose threads that are keeping me from enjoying it as much as I’d like to.

The ISB t-shirts, however, continue to perform well above my rigorous standards for clothing, and make delightful gifts for anyone who loves anything.

Please, please give me your money.

Anyway, now that that’s over, let’s get on with the stuff that far less reputable companies than me want you to buy! It’s the indies, the merch and me, and only one of us is gettin’ outta here alive!





P.228 – Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics: I’m putting this here because I actually missed it myself the first four times I went through Previews, but if you’re one of the poor unfortunate souls who has never experienced the beautiful radness of Phil Hester’s The Wretch, it’s reoffered here and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. It is, after all, a comic where a mysterious, silent, and borderline creepy hero battles Galactus with the power of a See-N-Say featuring God.



Needless to say, it is awesome.


P.243 – Avatar Press Inc.: Hey, remember that time Mark Millar was going to launch a line of comics across multiple companies at the same time, and then it completely failed to actually happen? Well, welcome to round two: The big news from Avatar this month is that Millar’s The Unfunnies is finally going to finish, and at this point, I’m pretty sure that nobody’s going to care. The Unfunnies wasn’t really that good to begin with, living up to its premise a little too well–and probably not in the way that Millar intended–and would probably be the worst thing to come from that guy’s career. Except for Trouble, I mean, and even that didn’t ship three years late.


P.258 – Broadsword Comics: I probably have more of a vested interest in it than any sane person has a right to, but has anybody else noticed that the big full-page ads for Tarot always have extra articles of clothing added in to keep the characters from being completely naked right in the pages of Previews, but the actual covers–which are featured on the facing page–feature unretouched Ballentine nudity in all their relative glory? Cracks me up every two months, without fail.


P.300 – Fantagraphics Books/Eros Comics: And this month’s award for the most hilarious awful porn comic title goes to…



Aunts In Your Pants. Pee Soup, you may finally lay down your burden.




P.384 – Comic Foundry: Tim Leong is a damn handsome man. I mean, I think he’s a pretty good-looking fellow in general, but in the world of comics, which is populated largely with sasquatches like me, being able to pull off that Emo Ira Glass look is like being Brad freakin’ Pitt.

Huh. Did I just spend a paragraph talking about how good-looking Tim Leong is? Yeah, probably best to move on.

Anwyay, in case you missed it, the print version of Comic Foundry almost didn’t make it into the catalog, due to somebody at Diamond claiming that there just wasn’t a market for it–which is a pretty ridiculous excuse for the company that turns over a hefty amount of warehouse space to comics like the aforementioned Aunts In Your Pants–but thanks partly to a concerted online effort to show interest in the mag, it was picked up and (oddly enough) spotlighted in this issue. As for me, I’m excited about it, and not just because of any completely heterosexual man-crushes I may have on its editor; it’ll just be nice to have something that, you know, isn’t Wizard.



P.398 – The Completely MAD Don Martin HC:



Given the highlights of my freelance writing career, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I’m a huge fan of MAD’s maddest artist, and when I first saw this over at Sterling’s, my heart made a noise not unlike something Martin would’ve used in one of his strips. It might’ve been a SKWA-BA-DAP, it might’ve been a FUNKADA WUNKADA, but it was certainly enough to drown out any doubts I had about dropping $150 on a beautiful hardcover collection of thirty years’ worth of the man’s work. It’s the first in the series, and given that they’ve already collected all of Antonio Prohais’s work on Spy vs. Spy and others, I’m wondering who’s next.



P.430 – Stupid Stupid Zombie Shirts: And now, an open letter to Diamond Comic Distributors, LLC:

Dear Diamond,

I will buy you an entire pie–your choice of flavor!–if I never have to see anything like these shirts again.



Please stop,



P.438 – Marvel Super-Hero Squad Mega-Packs: I mention this pretty much every month right before I talk about some new action figure that I want, but I’m really not that much of a toy guy anymore. Even so, I did pick up most of the Marvel Super-Hero Squad figures, if for no other reason than the fact that you can buy a two-pack featuring a motorcycle-riding demon from hell and a murderous vigilante with a bazooka designed specifically for five year-olds gives me no end of joy. But this? This?



The Happy-Ass Bug-Eyed Devourer Of Worlds? That is genius!


P.460 – Star Wars Kustomz Star Destroyer Executor Roto Figure:



Please note that this product is listed as “Pending Licensor Approval,” thus implying that Common Sense was just circumvented outright.



And with that–a cheap shot at Star Wars and what I believe is the first use of the phrase “Happy-Ass Bug-Eyed Devourer of Worlds”–I do believe my work here is done.

Chris vs. Previews: July 2007, Round One

Sweet Christmas, is it that time again already?!

Yes, the inexorable march of time continues, and with the dawn of this most patriotic of all months, there’s an entirely new Previews catalog for your ordering pleasure!



Yeah yeah, you all know the drill by now: Tonight, the major publishers go under the theoretical magnifying glass of the ISB as I attempt to inform your purchases by making fun of things three months before they come out! Let’s get to it!



Dark Horse Comics


P.22 – The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1: I already covered this one in last month’s CVP when it was solicited the first time–which, when you get right down to it, is a little disconcerting–but even putting everything I said last month aside, this thing really does look like a lot of fun. I mean, come on:



A team of super-powered schoolchildren fighting Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel? I honestly don’t care what happens in the rest of the book at this point, because that is awesome.


P.34 – Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus #1: It’s recently come to my attention that when I did my list of 50 Things I Love About Comics last week, I left out #10, a mistake that I’d like to rectify right here:

10. Lobster Johnson, pictured here with Janos Prohaska and our sixteenth president:



DC Comics

P.74 – Countdown Presents The Search For Ray Palmer: Wildstorm #1: Earlier today, Sugarbear’s Pal Dorian pointed out an interview on Newsarama where the much-beleaguered Ron Marz promoted this series, saying (with emphasis added): “Certainly the Wildstorm Universe is not a mirror image of the DC universe. As far as we know, there are no analogous versions of Midnighter or Apollo.”

Really, Ron? Really? You can’t think of anybody those two might be analogs for? Anyone? Anyone at all? Really?


P. 74 – Supergirl #21: With the news that Tony Bedard and Renato Guedes were the new team for Supergirl for the next few issues–marking the first time that book’s had somebody that I thought had any idea what the heck was going on with it–I’ve been interested in seeing what was going to happen with the title. And as it turns out, “what happens” appears to be…



Supergirl hitting Karate Kid with a car engine. So yeah: Buyin’ it.


P. 76-77: The Black Canary Wedding Planner/JLA Wedding Special #1: I’ll be honest with you, guys: I have little to no interest in Black Canary and Green Arrow getting married. That said, I’m actually really looking forward to these, thanks to the presence of Degrassi’s J. Torres and new JLA writer (and ISB favorite) Dwayne McDuffie, who very, very rarely disappoint. Sadly, the same cannot be said for…

P.78 – The Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special #1: …Judd Winick, who pretty much disappoints every time he opens up a word processor. Thus, I plan to avoid this one pretty studiously, and the same goes for the upcoming ongoing series, even though it features the absolutely beautiful art of Cliff Chiang. As for the wedding itself, the usual suspects are already debating over whether Black Canary getting married is a crime against the Sisterhood or not, and since I’m always right, I thought that I’d take this opportunity to settle things once and for all:

Black Canary getting married is not misogynistic.

Black Canary having sex with Green Arrow in a filthy dumpster after he cheated on her, however, was pretty damn Ludacris.



P.80 – Infinity, Inc. #1: Oh man! Pete Milligan writing a book about young super-heroes who have more power and fame than they can handle, dealing with the problems that accompany life in the public eye and the constant pressure of having to save the world? That sounds gr–HEY WAIT A MINUTE!


P.81 – Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #1: One of the biggest problems I have with writing these little chats we have every month is that a lot of the stuff I want to talk about is stuff that I’m actually honest-to-God excited about, and don’t really have jokes for. So, pardon me for a minute while I indulge in a little pure boosterism: I may just be misremembering here, but I’m pretty sure that when Dan DiDio announced this thing at HeroesCon, the news was met with a standing ovation, a guitar solo, and an eagle soaring int o perch majestically on his outstretched arm. And with good reason: Suicide Squad is, without question, right up there with Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Walt Simonson’s Thor as one of the best comics of the ’80s–and it’s still not out in trade, by the way–so this one’s gota lot of promise. Sure, John Ostrander’s gotten older, and he’s recently turned in some pretty awful stuff in the form of the “Grotesk” fill-in on Batman and his issue of World War III, but that guy has sixty damn near perfect issues the Squad to balance things out, and even though I can’t stop thinking that maybe it’s time for a guy like Greg Rucka to take things over (which he’s pretty much done in Checkmate), I know he’s got it in him to do some wonderful things with the characters. Here’s hoping!


P.85 – Showcase Presents the Metal Men v.1: Just a reminder: these stories are awesome.


P.97 – JLA/Hitman #1: I’ll probably be writing this exact sentence again when the book actually comes out, but to me, Hitman eclipses even Welcome Back Frank as Garth Ennis’s finest work. Not to get too into it, but I feel like Ennis relies on ultraviolent shock value and profanity–both things that I certainly enjoy–way too much, so when those easy outs were taken away by Hitman’s very nature as a DC Universe comic, he did some of his absolute best character work with Tommy Monaghan and his great supporting cast. Which, really, is just a longwinded way of saying that there’s a good chance that this’ll be seriously awesome.


P. 110 – Presents v.1: Man, I’ve been getting way too much sleep lately. Anybody got something that’s guaranteed to give me some truly horrific nightmares?



Ah! Thanks, CMX!


Image Comics

P. 146 – The Mice Templar #1: When I first heard about Mice Templar, I–like a lot of people, I imagine–immediately assumed that it was a completely shameless attempt to capitalize on the success of last year’s awesome Mouse Guard by David Petersen, and I’ve got to say that I was pretty surprised. I’ve met Mike Oeming at conventions a couple of times, and while that’s really no good way to gauge someone’s morality, he was certainly a lot friendlier than I expect from most seedy con-men. Needless to say, I was really glad when the whole thing turned out to be–according to all involved parties–a big misunderstanding that turned into Petersen and Oeming saying very nice things about each other in various interviews.

The other upside to that is that now I feel like I can actually look at it without the looming spectre of guilt, and I’ve got to say, it looks nice. I’ve always been a fan of Oeming’s art, and if nothing else, the work he’s doing here is very pretty, and looks to be well worth checking out.

Image Comics

P. 154 – Suburban Glamour #1: At this point, you guys all know my feelings about Phonogram, so anything I say about artist Jamie McKelvie’s new series would be suspect at best. So, in an effort to help you guys make your own purchasing decisions for once, I’d just like to point out these two panels from the ad:



That man draws pretty pictures, and that’s a fact, Jack.


Marvel Comics


P.10 – Amazing Spider-Man #544: As should be painfullly obvious by this point, there’s really nothing I’d like more than to write comics professionally one day. Sadly, my actual “talent” for loud, mildly obnoxious criticism means that I routinely and invariably shoot myself in the foot in these efforts with smartass remarks about the people who actually are making the comics. Case in point: This cover by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada:



That can’t be the final version, right? I mean, even putting aside the art itself, the lettering is horrible, and it all combines into one of the worst laid-out covers I’ve seen in… well, ever. Now about that Woodgod proposal I’ve got…


P. 55 – New Avengers/Transformers #3: I’ve given my share of grief to this book and its erstwhile readers in the past–mostly based on the fact that it could only be more ridiculous if Snake Eyes and Cheetara showed up to help fight Baron Zemo or whatever–but allow me, if I may, to blow your mind for a second:

Why is this book not about The Marvel Megamorphs?



Transforming Robots teaming up with Marvel Super-Heroes? Stupid.

Transforming Robots teaming up with Marvel Super-Heroes That Are Themselves Also Transforming Robots? GENIUS!


P.61 – The Order #3: From the solicitation copy:

They’re half zombie! Half hobo! ALL TERROR! The ZOBOS run roughshod on Rodeo drive! Celebutantes and debutards beware–botox is like ketchup to these flesh-eating, homeless weirdos, and they find your waxed and tanned skin DELICIOUS!

True Fact #1: This is not the first time the Champions have fought super-strong hobo monsters.

True Fact #2: That is awesome.



And that–with the exception of an issue of Wolverine where he duct-tapes some swords to his hands (no, really) and Essential Punisher v.2, which I’ll be buying despite the fact that I already own everything it reprints, takes care of the majors. But don’t put down that order form just yet! Tomorrow night, it’s the small press and the merch, with a harrowing journey through the land of terror that is the apparel section!

If you miss it, your friends will hate you!

Chris vs. Previews: June 2007, Round Two

The Internet’s rowdiest rundown for this month’s Previews continues! Last night, I went toe-to-toe with the major publishers, but there’s still half a catalog to get through, and you know what that means.

That’s right, folks: The dreaded Apparel Section. But to be fair, there are a few hidden gems mixed in amongst the shirts that can identify you as a serious zombie movie enthusiast, like, say, this one:



Hey, wait a second! That’s not from this month’s Previews at all! In fact, that’s The Official ISB T-Shirt, one of the many fine ISB products available for purchase right now from CafePress!

Yes, I know: That was a gratuitous misuse of the introductory paragraph. Probably best to just move right along.



P.216 – AIT/Planetlar: I’m not sure if I mentioned it back when I read it, but since Matt Fraction’s Last of the Independents is re-offered in this one, it’s as good a time as any for a quick reminder: This book is awesome. It’s like a crime-oriented action movie set to paper, which is only reinforced by the fact that it’s printed landscape style (but with a nifty slipcase so it doesn’t look out of place on your bookshelf), and if you’ve been reading recent issues of Punisher War Journal, you’ll probably already know that Matt Fraction does high-powered desert showdowns better than just about anybody. If you haven’t already, pick it up. And what the hey, grab The Annotated Mantooth! while you’re at it. That thing’s like the book version of girls making out with each other while things explode.*


P.232 – Archie Comics:

For those of you wondering why I still read the entire line of Archie comics even though the stories tend to be exercises in formula that forget to actually resolve into a punchline about half the time, I give you Civil Chores, wherein a dispute over allowance causes Archie and Jughead to turn against each other in a dispute that tears Riverdale in half. One can only assume that Dilton’s going to build a prison in Midvale to house dissidents like Josie and Bingo Wilkin, and that it’s only going to end when Archie’s gunned down by Betty, who has been brainwashed by Jason Blossom while Sabrina meditates at the North Pole.

And you don’t even want to know what’s going to happen to Chuck.

P.238 – Avatar Press:



Two weeks ago, I would’ve jumped on this t-shirt without question, but after having my “Jimmy Olsen Must Die!” t-shirt (the design of which I still like an awful lot) come out on the same day that I decided Countdown was a nigh-irredeemable mess this week, I wish they would’ve held off until I knew if Doktor Sleepless was going to be as good as I hope it is.

Then again, “Science Bastard” pretty much sums up the career goals of Chris Sims, Age 9, so it might be worth getting anyway.


P.288 – DMP: Is it just me, or do these guys look really bummed out about the fact that someone’s making a comic book about their wispy, man-on-man lovemaking?



I mean, I would be too, but those guys are supposed to be professionals!


P.330 – Oni Press: SAINTS BE PWAISED!




P.420 – Central City Track T-Shirt: I give the folks at Graphitti Designs a lot of crap for the t-shirts they come out with every month (which, lest you mistake this for an apology, is entirely deserved, as evidenced by the Zombie Captain America shirt from last month), but every now and then they come up with one like this. Like the WHIZ Broadcasting logo they did a while back, it’s sort of a stealth comic book shirt: obscure and generic enough that it doesn’t stick out like a huge, tacky sore thumb–Batwoman Metallix Symbol T-Shirt, I’m looking at you here–but anybody “in the know” is going to get what it’s about right off.

Atlantis swim team, however? That’s pushing it.


P.423 – Punisher “Bling Symbol” T-Shirt: And here I thought I’d finally managed to reconcile my love of the Punisher with my love of bling when I custom-ordered these from Paul Wall:



P.426:: With HeroesCon fast approaching some of you might be wondering how you can quickly identify yourself as someone that I really, really don’t want to talk to. Answer? This shirt:


Special Bonus Joke:

Mark Hale: Would you talk to me if I had bought that Arkham Ahtletic Department shirt?

Chris Sims: … I have that shirt, Jackass.

Mark Hale: I figured you might.


Toys & Action Figures


P.444 – Star Trek: The Original Series Minimates Series 2: Despite a thorough, all-consuming obsession in my younger days (read: a socially crippling year in 5th Grade) I don’t have any particular attachment to Star Trek anymore. Even so, I seriously feel the need for a Happy-Ass Shirtless Sword-Weilding Sulu MiniMate.



This is probably why I remain single.



And it’s probably best to stop there. Besides, if I go any further, I may not be able to resist my desire to order the WWE John Cena Spinner Championship Belt Replica (P.470), and I think we can all agree that that should be avoided.

I mean, it spins, people. I’m not made of stone here.



*: No seriously: That actually happens in this book.

Chris vs. Previews: June 2007, Round One

Holy Buckets, is it the ninth already?!

Normally I would’ve gotten around to my Previews Roundup last week, but with HeroesCon fast approaching and the ISB Convention Special needing a few etra finishing touches, I just couldn’t bring myself to slug it out with a 552 page monster that includes statue of a busty anime girl with, and I quote, “removable lingerie.”

But never let it be said that the ISB didn’t rise to a challenge, even in the face of abject horror! There’s still a couple days before the order deadline, after all, so join me for another cataclysmic commentary on Diamond’s August offerings! Tonight: The majors!



Ring the bell, sucka! School’s back in!



Dark Horse Comics


P.28 – The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1: There’s no easy way to do this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it: I really like My Chemical Romance, and I don’t care who knows it. I mean, yeah, they’re highly derivative and I know intellectually that I probably shouldn’t like the music as much as I do, but I’ll be damned if they’re not pretty entertaining.

Plus, they did a cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and while I’d rather chug turpentine than listen to Mariah Carey, I do love that song.

Even so, I was all set to openly mock frontman Gerard Way’s efforts on the Free Comic Book Day preview of The Umbrella Academy–because that is, after all, my custom–but after I actually read it, it turned out to be way more awesome than I was expecting. This, of course, probably has a lot to do with the fact that Way’s joined by the phenomenally talented Gabriel Ba (of Casanova fame) on art and James Jean on the covers, but it’s all added up to a book I’m actually really excited about reading.


P.33 – Groo 25th Anniversary Special: While we’re on the subject of mildly embarrassing confessions, I might as well get this one out of the way: Despite being a fan of Sergio Aragones’ work in MAD for as long as I can remember, I’ve never actually read an issue of Groo. Shameful, I know, but it’s always been one of those runs that I can never put together. Needless to say, though, I plan on rectifying this oversight with the anniversary special.


DC Comics


P.66 – Countdown 39-35:

Sorry, DC: I’ve already dropped Countdown, and no amount of goth cheerleader bondage is going to get me back on it now.

P.66 – Countdown To Adventure #1: Clearly, the campaign to Free Buddy Baker has achieved its first major victory, but I’m more excited about the new addition to the gang from the largely interminable Space Heroes storyline from 52 than anybody we’ve already seen: The Forerunner. Admittedly, she probably has nothing whatsoever to do with Neutrog the Forerunner–you know, that guy Metamorpho fought that one time in 1967–but I will say that if this whole thing ends up being about Adam Strange and Animal Man squaring off with a two-foot tall galactic conqueror who can only be defeated by guitars that also shoot lasers, this will be the single greatest comic book ever published.


P.79 – Action Comics #855: I’ve mentioned my distaste for the alleged Geoff Johns/Richard Donner run on Action Comics before–mostly based around the fact that it’s not very good and involves a Fortress of Solitutde with no door, a concept I fundamentally disagree with–but man, there’s really no way I can say no to seeing Bizarro World by The Goon‘s Eric Powell. At the very least, it’ll be very, very pretty.


P.88 – Dr. Thirteen: Architecture and Morality TP:



Just a reminder here: Despite the fact that it was lumped in as the backup story in the otherwise atrocious Tales of the Unexpected, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Dr. Thirteen story was amazingly entertaining. And now, thanks to the miracle of Modern Technology, it can be yours without the risk of accidentally reading part of the Spectre story while flipping to where Chiang’s gorgeous artwork starts! Everyone’s a winner!


P.118 – Confessions of a Blabbermouth:



A comic about blogs on a blog about comics?! OH SHIIIII–


P.129 – DC Direct Justice: Series 7 Opera Diva Gorilla Grodd Action Figure:



Image Comics


P.140 – Special Forces: Under virtually any other writer in the comics industry, a solicitation describing a book about retarded soldiers as “the wackiest boot camp since Stripes,” promising to include both “a violent mental patient hot chick felon and at least one ‘Don’t ask don’t tell'” would probably sound like the most atrocious thing since, say, Hewoes, but considering that this is the new Kyle Baker book, solicitation text hardly matters. Of course you should get it.


P.151 – Steve Niles’ Strange Cases: Hey, you guys remember that time Steve Niles stole that dude’s girlfriend and then threatened to kill him? Now that was a pretty strange case.


Marvel Comics


P.17: Spider-Man/Red Sonja #1:



There is a certain segment of the population to which a cover featuring both Venom and a poorly drawn woman in a chain-mail bikini will represent the pinnacle of comic book art. They’re the ones that even the people buying New Avengers/Transformers are going to be making fun of.

Then again, I bought Witchblade/Punisher this week, so clearly, my hypocrisy knows no bounds.


P.29 – Daredevil #100: I didn’t really want to fall into the trap of talking about the covers for Marvel’s entire lineup here or anything–although I could probably go on all night about the pure shot of awesome that is Star-Lord #2’s–but it looks like your choices for this August’s big Daredevil are this one



…which features most of DD’s major villains, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Black Widow, Elektra, and Iron Fist punching a Ninja right in the freakin’ face, or this one…



…which scores thematic points by looking like it was actually drawn by a blind man. The choice is yours, folks.


P.46 – Heroes for Hire #13: I know, I know: Again with the covers, but really, if I didn’t get around to talking about this thing at some point, I think they’d revoke my comics blogger license. Anyway, as much as this is going to hurt my chances in the upcoming elections for treasurer of the He-Man Woman Haters Club, I’ve got to say that I actually agree with Lea Hernandez, who tried to salvage any sort of workable content from a cover depicting three heroines in immediate danger of being sexually assaulted by Lovecraftian horrors.

It is, to say the least, a pretty herculean task, but just by changing their faces–especially in changing Black Cat’s expression from terrified disgust to just plain grossed out–goes a long way towards turning the piece from pure exploitation to parody, which I have to think was the goal all along. The only other possibility–that somebody thought tentacle rape was enough of a selling point to slap on the cover–is too depressing to even consider.

I still can’t figure out why Black Cat’s wearing a collar with a bell on it, though. I mean, that’s just nuts.


P.58 – Series Title To Be Announced #2: At this point, everybody probably already knows that Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson’s new series–originally titled The Champions, before Marvel was gently reminded that they no longer own the copyright to that name–has been re-titled The Order. Me, I had Mighty Defenders in the pool, because, come on: That woulda been awesome.


And that’s it for the majors. Feel free to discuss anything I didn’t bother to talk about amongst yourselves, and be here tomorrow as I take on the small press and merchandise for three-hundred pages of sheer terror!

Do you dare miss my thoughts on the latest offerings from Yaoi Press? Be there!



BONUS FEATURE: Oh Why The Hell Not?

Since you asked, the cover for Annihilation Conquest: Star-Lord #2:


Chris vs. Previews: May, 2007, Round Two

I covered the major publishers in last night’s post, and while I think we can all agree that it was a Herculean effort on my part, that still leaves around four hundred pages of stuff to get through in tonight’s post, including this little gem from page 524:


Zounds! A Bomé figure that’s actually fully clothed! What other mysterious wonders lay in wait from the indy publishers and merchandise sections? Find out now!



Comics & Graphic Novels


P.239: Avatar Press, Inc.:
A few weeks back, Warren Ellis sent an email out on the Bad Signal where he offered to answer any three questions that “any comics website” cared to ask about his new retro-futurist mad science wingding, and while I’m pretty sure I’ve missed my opportunity to generate some relatively exclusive content for the ISB, I really should’ve jumped on and asked:

1. Does the K in “Doktor Sleepless” stand for “Kicks People In The Face?”

2. If so, will he kick them with an expert marriage of force, mass, and acceleration that each kick in and of itself will be an experiment of brutality so awesome that we learn new things about the universe from their perfect beauty?

3. Um, do you remember that part in NextWave where Devil Dinosaur tries to drink the champagne, but he can’t? That was awesome.


P. 268: Dynamite Entertainment:
Normally, this is where I’d call D.E. out on the fact that they’re soliciting nine comics this month with twenty-eight covers between them, but, well, how can I stay mad at the people who publish Dark Xena? Oh D.E., you are a delight!

P.298: Express Publications:



Parody Press Comics returns, setting their satirical sights on NBC’s tremendously popular TV show, Heroes! Meet Cheerleader Klair Bendit, Mohinder Night Shalaman, Internet Weathergirl Sniki Sanders, meek office-worker Hewoe Chaka-Khana, and the mixed-up Pastrami Brothers, as they go on a quest to save the world and find out the source of their crazy powers! This hilarious book is offere with two collectible first-issue covers–a “good Hewoes” version and a “bad Hewoes” version–shipped in a 50/50 ratio. Make sure this comic is on your list!


That sound you just heard? The deafening silence, shattered by your own choking sobs? That was the death of joy.


P.304: Fantagraphics Books:

CRACKED Editor Jay Pinkerton and I have an ongoing debate over whether Michael Kupperman or Evan Dorkin is the funniest man in comics, and while it’s a pretty moot point since they’re both pretty amazing, you can gather your own evidence here with the re-offer of Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle #1 and 2. They are fantastic.


P.331: Oni Press:

Two years after the first one hit shelves, it looks like we’re finally getting the second installment of Sharknife, and that is awesome. Corey Lewis somehow managed to boil video games and comics down to their purest form (which, as we all know at the ISB is fighting), crammed it into a universe where people have to get jacked up on stimulatnts to follow a game of International Kickball, and made a comic so fun that I’ve been looking forward to the second installment since about fifteen minutes after the first part hit the shelves. So that one’s a given.

What really caught my eye here, though, was Apocalipstix, by Ray Fawkes and the totally awesome Cameron Stewart, which looks to be something along the lines of Josie and the Pussycats meets The Road Warrior. And really, there’s nothing about that sentence that I don’t think is awesome.


P.353: Tokyopop:

Let’s be honest here, folks: Despite the fact that I can barely contain my excitement about the new volume of Yotsuba&! solicited back on p.217, I generally skip over the major manga publishers, and except for picking up DramaCon, Steady Beat, and Mail Order Ninja on a lark (and enjoying them), there’s not a lot that I’ve really wanted from Tokyopop in a long while.

Of course, every now and then something catches my eye:



That, my friends, is a solicitation for a comic where the main character fights everything. Normally, that’d be enough to get me on, but my Previews Order already boasts two hardcovers worth of Jack Kirby and a full notebook page of other stuff, so I’m still on the fence. And that means that for the first time ever, I’m leaving my comics buying habits up to you!

Should I Buy Bombos vs. Everything?

Just leave a vote in the comments, but keep in mind that if I get it, I’m gonna have to write about it.

P.368: Top Shelf Productions:

And now, a glimpse at the thought process that brings you Jeffrey Brown’s The Incredible Change-Bots: “Hey, you know what would make the Transformers better? If they stood around coughing and whining about all the girls they have sex with!”

P.374 – Viper Comics:

Again, I don’t really have a joke for this one, but considering that I love The MiddleMan and yet completely missed the solicitation for v.3 on my first flip-through, I thought I’d point it out for everyone. I mean, c’mon Josh Howard, I know ad space in Previews ain’t cheap, but wasn’t it popular enough to get a better space than the inside corner opposite a full-page ad for some blue dude with a compound bow?



This month, the Apparel section isn’t the non-stop barrel of laughs (or “laffs,” as I like to call them), but mixed in amongst painfully unfunny Clerks II merchandise modeled by Greg From Accounting’s sister and a Batman shirt with a bunch of skulls (which apparently represent all those people that Batman doesn’t kill, or something) comes the funniest thing in the entire catalog:



“Still celebrates the American spirit.” Just… Just wow.

Also, for those of you who thought the “Jimmy Olsen Must Die!” t-shirt made it look a little too much like Jimmy was peeking out from the wearer’s pants, then allow me to introduce you to a shirt that didn’t bother to think that little problem through at all:



Never before has Darkseid’s helmet design been so terribly, terribly inappropriate.



And that is the kind of joke I like to close on. If anything stuck out to you this month, or if you just want to advise me to give Bombos vs. Everything a shot, feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, I’m gonna try to find a pair of pants that has the lower half of Jimmy Olsen’s face on it.

Uh, I mean… Oh forget it.

Chris vs. Previews: May 2007, Round One

A new month brings many things, and along with the relaunch of the ISB–which I plan on continuing to reference in the introductions to every post I write for the next six months or so–the flipping of the calendar can mean only one thing: The New Previews Catalog.



That’s right, folks: Strap yourselves in for another two-day thrill ride as the ISB takes on another six hundred pages of stuff you don’t need, yet really, really want! Tonight, it’s me up against the major publishers, and it all starts now!



Dark Horse Comics

P.45 – Empowered v.2: It goes without saying that I’m ordering this thing, but I’ve got to say, I’m pretty surprised that it’s coming out. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I’m surprised Dark Horse would publish it or anything–since getting the phenomenal Adam Warren to do two hundred pages of a hot super-heroine with low self-esteem and a perpetually shredded skin-tight costume getting tied up and having sex is pretty much a license to print money–it’s just that I’m surprised that it’s coming out so soon after the first one. Admittedly, “soon” in this context means “around six months,” but as someone with a jones for Warren’s Dirty Pair like a heroin addict on his third day of rehab, I’m used to waiting around a little longer for my fix.


P.49 – Kotobukiya Star Wars Episode III Jedi Moe Howard Vinyl Model Kit:

“Why for two cents, I’d turn to the Dark Side!”

“Oh yeah? Here’s your two cents!”

“Well I raised my price!”



DC Comics

P.71 – All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #6: From the solicitation copy from this, the second or third time this book’s been solicited:

Plus, Black Canary isn’t the only one of Gotham’s fairer sex to be aroused into action by the Dark Knight’s war on crime!”

Now, not to nitpick here or anything–because Lord knows that nobody ever does that on the comics blogger internet–but I’m pretty sure the word you’re looking for is “roused.” I mean, “aroused” makes it sound like Frank Miller just writes about a bunch of who–

… Huh. Maybe that was the right word.


P.80 – DC/Top Cow: Crossover Classics TP: Okay, now I know they’re using the wrong words: There is no way anybody would apply the word “classic” to JLA/Cyberforce on purpose.

P.107: Alan Moore: The Complete WildC.A.T.S TP: No joke for this one (unless you count the fact that a friend of mine’s been two issues short of having this run for about a year and a half now); I just wanted to mention that Alan Moore’s WildC.A.T.S is a heck of a lot of fun and well worth thirty bucks. I mean, it’s worth fifteen just to find out that Grifter has a brother named “Max Cash.”

P.133: Happy-Ass New Frontier Action Figures:


Image Comics

P.140: Jack Kirby’s Silver Star HC: I’ll level with you, folks: My actual interest in sitting down to meet Morgan Miller: Homo Geneticus! is virtually nil, but there’s no way I could pass up something that advertises itself as having “explosive action and ham-fisted romance” while still justifying my purchase of Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters.


P.147 – The Bakers: Babies & Kittens HC: For those of you who have ever wondered what Family Circus would be like if it was, y’know, actually good instead of a mind-shattering glimpse into a world of madness and tedium, I can highly recommend the work of America’s Greatest Living Cartoonist, Kyle Baker.

P.165 – The Walking Dead #41: And now, to commemorate this month’s winner of the Economy Of Language Award, the ISB proudly presents the full text of this issue’s solicitation:

Death surrounds them.


P.179 – Madam Mirage #3: The 25-cent preview for Madame Mirage actually comes out later this week at finer and less-reputable comic book stores everywhere, and while I’m still holding out hopes for something that approaches the sheer joy of Dark Xena–the new Road Houseian standard by which all other comics must be judged–I’ve got to say: Any comic that promises a story that “radically changes the direction of the series and everything you think you know” about the main character before the first issue comes out is probably the most awesome thing ever, one way or the other.


Marvel Comics

P.20-24: Annihilation: Conquest Mini-Series: I managed to avoid Annihilation entirely, but I’ve been enjoying Nova enough to want to check it out, especially with Christos Gage (of Stormwatch PHD and the incredibly fun Union Jack) and Javier Grillo-Marxuach (of The Middleman) writing two of them.

Heck, I was even on the fence about Keith Giffen’s Star Lord mini-series, even though I don’t usually like his “cosmic” style stuff. And then they threw in… this guy:


And that’s when I knew it was on ’til the break of dawn.

P.37 – Immortal Iron Fist #7:



It’s probably worth assuming that I’m the only person who saw this cover and thought of Iron Fist’s floating skull rolling a saving throw on a giant spectral d20, right? Right.


P.59 – The Champions #1: Despite the fact that Marvel’s run into a bit of a snag over the fact that they don’t actually own the name “The Champions” anymore, a revival of the team that made its name fighting giant super-strong retarded hobos and a Nazi made of bees by Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson that sounds like the spiritual successor to Milligan and Allred’s X-Statix? Yeah, that’s about as close to a dream-come-true comic as I’m ever going to get, unless you count…



P.66 – MODOK’s 11 #1: So yeah. Marvel’s pretty much just putting ’em out for me now.

P.87 – Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death #1: When DBPro editor Sean J. Jordan first mentioned this series in the comments section of my Annotated Anita Blake #6, I misread the title as Anita Blake: FIST OF DEATH and immediately assumed that it would be everyone’s favorite pigment-challenged resurrectionist duking it out with the undead on the mean streets of Chinatown, but I think it’s safe to say that’s not what’s going to happen.

Sean, call me. We can work something out here.



And that’s it for the major publishers! Of course, there’s other stuff too, so if you’re wondering what I thought of Pajama Thor and a huge freakin’ hardcover of Devil Dinosaur, feel free to ask.

Otherwise, be here tonight as I hit the rest of the catalog and brave the grim and cheerless realm known as… “The Apparel Section!” DO YOU DARE MISS IT?!