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!




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.



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?




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.

37 thoughts on “Chris vs. Previews: February 2008, Round Two

  1. “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.”

    What? No gorillas?

  2. Believe it or not, I am actually freaking the fuck out. Not only are they doing more Spider reprints (and they’re all NORVELL-EFFING-PAGE’S! If only they had included “Volunteer Corpse Brigade!”) but Helen Killer is already my second favorite appearance of Leon Czolgosz after Steven Sondheim’s “Assassins” and I haven’t even read it yet! It’s like after years of publishing projects designed to actually make money, they’re suddenly just trying to make ME happy! Is this what Sims feels like all the time? Is that why he wants to save us?

  3. I was actually lucky enough to catch “Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!” in a theater once. Yes. Awesome.

    And, I think I’m sold on the Helen Killer.

  4. Given that Helen Keller was a Communist in real life, I think I’d have to side with Emma Goldman on this one . . .

  5. I’m not sure whether to recomend you actually track down and read Veitch’s Brat Pack. On the one hand its effin’ brilliant and everything Garth Ennis tries (and IMO fails) to do with The Boys. On the other its a horrible, horrible mindfuck of a book…

  6. **points at Baby Stud and weeps tears of terror**

    On the other hand, that shirt rocks. The second one, not the first one at the top. That one sucks hosewater.

    One does wonder, if a GGW Camera Crew tee absolves the human race for committing social Darwinism against the bearer, what then should be done about the actual girls that Go Wild?

  7. Ahhh, X-O ala Quesada. I have no idea if it’s included in the trade, but X-O #0 is still probably the best piece of visual storytelling I’ve seen. I tried repeatadly to get in to the series proper, since Wizard always used to rave about it back in the day (as Wizard tends to do), but it never did anything for me, apart from that all-chromium covered, gimmick numbered issue.

  8. They’re reprinting X-O Freakin’ Manowar in a HC but I still have no definitive Quantum & Woody collection?! Truly, there is no G- wait. I just remembered Helen Killer and the word “buxotic”. Never mind. Clearly, there is a wonderful and loving God who wants us to be awesome.

  9. Wow. Helen Killer wins the 2008 “Comic Most Likely to Have a Sarah Vowell Testimonial on the Back Cover” award.

  10. Heh. When I watched Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill! in a theater it was misframed so that the heads were cut off and the center of the screen was firmly fixed on the real stars of the movie.

    It took them twenty minutes to fix it and there were cries of disappointment when it was.

  11. I’ll check out that Helen Killer…but I second Kevin’s nomination of the Spider. It’s like everything that you really love about comics…only in pulp form.

    Your brain will melt. It’s that good.

  12. I absolutely don’t understand that first shirt. I mean, I get that skulls and flags and barbed wire are all signifiers for bad-assery, but put together like that – is it for some funnybook that I’ve never heard of? Some metal band I’m unfamiliar with? A political statement about Guantanamo that I’m too slow to get? Should I be throwing the horns?

  13. Can I just point out that, on page 404 of this issue of Previews, the first book of my esteemed colleague Mr. Rob Rogers is listed. It’s called Devil’s Cape and is a superhero supernatural crime novel. Or something like that!

    Mr. Greg Rucka has this to say about it: “Devil’s Cape is a mesmerizing, seductive, and darkly moving piece of fiction… that first stabs the superhero genre in the back, then flips the body over and shocks it back to exhilarating life”.

    I thank you. :)

  14. I owned a VHS copy of “Faster Pussycat” back in the Bad Old Days. Hypnotic, it is. The opening narration, played over an oscilloscope reacting to the sounds of the narrator’s voice, must be heard to be believed. Utter insanity.

    A favorite line, uttered with contempt by the Buxotic Karate Killer, Varla: “You’re a real safety-first Clyde, ain’tcha?” I used the term “safety-first Clyde” for years.

    And regarding “The Spider,” dude, those pulps all had the best damn titles evar. Check ’em out. “Slaves of the Crime Master!” “Death Reign of the Vampire King!” “The City That Paid to Die!” Ye gods. The stories were just as breathless and purple as the titles, too. Written like ass, but fast-moving, insane ass.

  15. As much as there needs to be a DVD of Faster Pussycat available, the least AC could do is spell Russ Meyer’s name correctly on the cover. That raises serious questions for me about the quality of the DVD.

    But at least they got “buxotic” correct.

  16. That “Heller Killer” summary just opens the door to all sorts of ideas for the genre, most of which are in bad taste:

    The Diary of Anne Frankenstein: The war in going badly for the Allies when the re-animated corpse of Anne Frank decides she’s had enough of this Nazi crap . . .

    Joan of Flames: If the Church thought being burned at the stake would stop Joan from re-claiming England for the greater glory of France, it had another thing coming!

  17. The Senses-Shattering Saga of William PAINN! An 18th-century nobleman out to found a state in the New World where religious tolerance and political freedom is guaranteed…WITH HIS FIST! ‘Cause PAINSYLVANIA is for Lovers…of AWESOME!

  18. What? No gorillas?

    Issue #2. Otherwise, they lose all the readers when their heads explode from Awesomeness after reading issue #1.

    Speaking of Awesomeness — who do we have to bribe to get a Helen Killer/Tales from the Bully Pulpit crossover?

    Please? Hell, get Fraction in on it and toss in the Five Fists of Science, too.

  19. Re: the Helen Killer-historically inspired thread, I’ve always loved Kyle Baker’s bit from The Cowboy Wally Show:

    “‘They killed his father. Now he’s fighting back.

    When the law is not enough, it’s time to call HAMLET.'”

  20. I’m disappointed that they chose to give Helen Keller her sight & hearing back, as she could have been an inspirational differently-abled action heroine who fought by her sense of smell alone.

    But otherwise: petticoats and ass-kicking? I’m there.

  21. Around my house, “You won’t find it down there, Columbus” is a common phrase. It’s about time Russ Meyer’s finest movie made it back to a Region 1 DVD.

  22. I now want to read a crossover between Helen Killer and The Diary of Anne Frankenstein where they fight Marie Furie, the radioactive vixen who won’t stop until she achieves total domination over the world.

  23. Christopher P. Reilly and Chris Grine recently did an Anne Frankenstein riff in their Igor: Fixed By Frankensteins graphic novel.

    It’s the touching story of an undead hunchback and the octopus he wears on his head, with evil astronauts, dinosaurs, and boozin’ and gamblin’ Universal Monsters.

    Good stuff!

  24. The Senses-Shattering Saga of William PAINN! An 18th-century nobleman out to found a state in the New World where religious tolerance and political freedom is guaranteed…WITH HIS FIST! ‘Cause PAINSYLVANIA is for Lovers…of AWESOME!

    OK . . . this one made me freak out. I think I’d have to read it.

  25. Oh, right! I meant to mention Devil’s Cape (honest!) but I’m holding off for a full ISB Book Review.

    Ooo. I’ll look forward to it. :)

    No wonder nobody found it, it’s on page 404!

    Well at least it’s palindromic!

    Alliteratively, it’s also apparently available at Amazon:

  26. Thanks for the Devil’s Cape reference, Chris and Nimbus. Now I’m wondering who Nimbus is!

    Um, am I the only one not horribly disturbed by the baby Leatherface doll on page 448? Who the heck would want such a thing aside from the ventriloquist from Hell?

    The Gonzo puppet next to it, though? Kind of cool.

  27. “Conan the Barbarian in a suit of Iron Man armor”

    If only. It sounds like a cool idea but Valiant, as usual for them, managed to somehow make it really dull.

    And you really aren’t prepared for The Spider. Aside from prose styling might be mildly described as “feverish”, New York City gets leveled so many times in that series it’s like it’s 9/11 every single day for those people.

  28. I have a cat called Nimbus. Does that count? ^_^

    And yes, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is one of the pinnacles of modern cinema, up there with Citizen Kane and Commando. Your life *will* be better for seeing it.

    …and we here in Zone 4 have had a DVD available for *yonks* now. Suck it, civilised world! ^_^

  29. Go find yourself a copy of the Brat Pack tpb. Well worth a read. I’ve always loved the Dr. Blasphemy shirt from the series.

    I enjoyed X-O Manowar when it was new but I don’t think I need an expensive HC especially when I had the same “money shot” reaction to it you did.