Chris vs. Previews: November 2007, Round One

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:


Hey, Post WWII-era American GIs!
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.


DC Comics


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…





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.


Image Comics


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?


Marvel Comics


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!

43 thoughts on “Chris vs. Previews: November 2007, Round One

  1. I got to see a rough cut screening of My Name is Bruce at the Cinevegas film festival.

    It’s even more awesome than you think it will be.

    (Bonus: Bruce himself was there doing Q&A with the audience after the show. I’ll neither confirm nor deny whether I left a puddle on my seat.)

  2. Ok so this is the stuff that should be out in Febuary then? That means its possible that Empowered Vol 3 could come out the same week as my birthday? Its like Adam Warren is giving me a gift of totally, wonderful awesome. I love you comics! Lets get married…

  3. Oh, man. The “Cavity Creeps” line was spectacular. And yeah, the new Cap suit is hideous. So, Chris, you feel like getting your crayons out and topping Ross on this one?

    Also…I’m so, so friggin’ sold on Bat Lash.

    Last thing…Hunger Dogs? It’s so friggin’ cool.

  4. Okay, real last thing here…

    I fully support the idea of a Chris Sims-written Hulk comic.

  5. 1) Bat Lash wasn’t even on my radar until now – cheers
    2) Shiny Happy Cappy is brought to you by Ray Ban Sunglasses
    3) Hulk needs Sims! Sims must write Hulk! Hulk love Sims long time!

  6. How is the new Spider-Man vs. Wolverine going to match up with the awesomeness of Peter Parker not knowing German, and coming up with all these insane theories of what people are saying when they’re saying totally mundane things like “My wife made a really great apple strudel last night” and “Well, we don’t have any shoes”?

    (Also, Die Spinne. I nearly died.)

  7. If you like Joe Casey, Derek Donovan and the Youngblood characters, buy Youngblood. Yeah it’s Rob Liefeld, blah blah blah. So what? I don’t want to think about who earns how much by me buying a comic book. Ex Machina belongs to Wildstorm, which belongs to DC, which belongs to Time Warner, which belongs to AOL, which I’m pretty sure belongs to Satan himself because of all the AOL spam BS that came pre-installed on my new computer. But Ex Machina is a great comic, so what?
    Oooh, Umbrella Academy is published by Dark Horse, which belongs to Mike Richardson, who might or might not have ripped off Living with Zombies, according to Rich Johnston. But Umbrella Academy is methadone for Morrison-Doom-Patrol junkies like me.

    I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? You don’t like the book. In which case you’ll write a hilarious review. All the better for the sake of the page.

  8. Let’s not forget that the “new” Cap costume is identical to the last time Ross fiddled with the costume of [url=]another major superhero[/url].

  9. I have to go with Michael here, Chris. The concept of Youngblood is not a bad one, and in all honesty it did sorta pave the way for books like The Authority and The Ultimates, whether the PTB want to admit it or not. I’m not Liefeld fan, nor a Youngblood fan for that matter, but it might be interesting to check out.

  10. Two things here:

    1) The Man with the Screaming Brain comic series? As bad as it was, it was vastly better than the movie. I could not finish that thing.

    2) Man, it would be awesome if Red Hulk is a commie. That would make me pick that book up.

  11. I think The Phantom Bullet achieved more notoriety as the scourge of JFK than as scourge of the underworld.

  12. I would wager CASH MONEY that hardly anyone buys the JLI trade and that the low sales will be cited in the decision to not publish any more collections.


  13. Re: JLI HC.

    According to Rich Johnston, volume 2 of JLI may be coming our way. See

    Also, I have no real problem with Cap’s new costume. Sure, Ross’ version may be very shiny but I expect others (including the interior artist) to dull the gleam somewhat. Anyway, this is just Cap’s (Steve Rogers) stand-in until the real Captain America comes back.

  14. SCHMOO’S: My dad had a book that reprinted in comics black and white, which he read to me when I was was a kid. The Schmoo story is, believe it or not, really sad, and now that I think back on it, some kind of commentary on New Deal socialism. Anyway, take the word of anonymous guy on the internet -check it out.
    New Captain America costume is shiny. It blinds my eyes. I bet Ross painted it with real silver, and used his next door neighboor Fred as model. (Find all about in the super deluxe TBP of the Death of Captain America for only 49.99). Would be cool if they brought back the Stark version of the costume. “It’s Ok, Son. I can fly now.” Mark Gruenwald was god.
    You know when they bring back Steve they will make him all “edgy” to appeal to the kids. Maybe make him a nun killer/Al Queda convert or something.
    As for the Death of New Gods – I have had it with Marvel and DC killing of everyone to appease the stadium crowd and hereby take the position that basically anything after written/pubslished after 1994 (with some exceptions) is pretty much not “canon.” I’ll buy Hunger Dogs and pretty much call it a day as to Fourth World.

    Note bene: Jim Starlin not all bad. Cosmic Odyssey was good. How cool was it when Batman bunches Orion in the face, and says, “His name was Forager.”

  15. I’ve pledged not to buy any more Marvel until they stop w/ the damned zombie variant covers. Does Previews mention if that crap is over with yet?

  16. by that cover it would appear that Bat Lash doesn’t so much fight a bear, but rather Bat Lash steals the bear’s girlfriend. There’s equal part hate and anger in that there bear’s eyes.

  17. Along with a vol 2 of JLI, there is apparently going to be a complete Jack Kirby OMAC hardcover, plus a series collecting the 90’s Starman. Quite a few good collections from DC next year.

  18. Red Hulk on the cover of “Hulk #1” with a big question mark covering his alter-ego… did you just ruin WWH for me?

    But then there’s “My Name is Bruce… and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!” which is by far the most awesome fantasy crossover I’ve ever had.

    So you know, good post.

  19. Wow, What If Spider-Man Fought Wolverine which We Know Happened a Bunch of Times But This Time It Was Awesome? Apparently What If is now being written by elementary school kids on the playground.

  20. Is it just me, or does that new Cap look an awful lot like The Shield, the old Impact character?

    Carrie: Why would anyone buy the JLI vol 1 trade? I’ve owned mine for 15 years.

  21. Is there any concievable reason why we haven’t gotten an archive of Herbie: The Fat Fury?

    Nope. None at all, save for the fun police always makin’ sure our comics lack pure joy. We’re also long overdue for a freakin’ Sugar & Spike Showcase or something, but I don’t see that happening any time soon, either.

  22. So… did they make Red Hulk red because he’s angry? If so, it’s quite a departure from the even temperament he’s traditionally had. Kudos to Marvel for shaking up the status quo!

  23. So true about poor overlooked Herbie… The only book I ever found a signed copy of in the quarter bin.

  24. A few quickies:

    Please, god… Don’t have Hulk actually be red now.

    “That costume is fucking awful.”


  25. Turly, we are living in a finer world.

    Don’t call me Turly.

    Is this the Al Capp quote you were referring to?

    “All comedy is rooted in pain.”
    — Al Capp

    If so, here’s Walt Kelly’s response.

    “That says a lot more about Al Capp than it does about comedy.”
    — Walt Kelly

  26. “…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.”

    I almost fall off my chair, well done.

    And vampires & nazis is a winning combination.

  27. Yeah, it would’ve been better had they actually asked Christopher F’N Priest to write the What If?

    But then….it’s Marvel.

  28. I understand that Previews is a powerhouse that won’t be stopped, but I’m absolutely shocked not to see a Fabulous Moolah memorial post! To think that you call yourself a wrestling fan!

  29. Yes, the full reprint of The Hunger Dogs in the forthcoming Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus v.4 will kick much ass. Verily.

    Yes, the upcoming printing of Justice League: A New Beginning will mark the third time that volume has seen print in about 15 years.

    No, Justice League: A New Beginning wasn’t the sole volume of Giffen/DeMatteis’s original run ever to see print in trade. Justice League International: The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord was published back in 1992 and reprinted Justice League/Justice League International #7-12 and Annual #1. I don’t think that this collection went through more than one printing.

    Of course, releasing only the first two trades of an extremely popular series that ran long enough to support at least 10 volumes is really kind of shameful, especially when volume 1 was originally released over 15 years ago. Still, it’s a damn sight better than Morrison’s Doom Patrol got, and DC seems to have pretty well rectified that over the past few years.

    Now if we could get full runs of Ostrander/McDonnell’s Suicide Squad, Ostrander/Mandrake’s The Spectre and a fresh printing of Robinson/Harris’s Starman out to stores we’d be all set.

  30. So, Chris, you feel like getting your crayons out and topping Ross on this one?

    I would, but I have a personal rule about redesigning Kirby: Unless it’s someone named “the Sandman,” you probably shouldn’t do it.


    If you like Joe Casey, Derek Donovan and the Youngblood characters, buy Youngblood. Yeah it’s Rob Liefeld, blah blah blah. So what?

    As hard as it is to actually get someone to do it (especially when it’s something like Batman or Amazing Spidey), I do believe in the importance of voting with one’s dollars when it comes to comics. This might seem contradictory given my reading habits, but I actually do want Tarot to stop coming out, if only for the joy it brings me to talk about it here.

    I don’t, however, want to see Rob Liefeld working in comics, and like it or not, buying Youngblood sends the message that he should be doing just that. The difficulty here is that he’s not actually working on the book, but the two ideas are inseperable; hence the difficulty.


    I have to go with Michael here, Chris. The concept of Youngblood is not a bad one

    That would be because the concept of Youngblood is “a team of super-heroes.” That one’s got a pretty solid track record.


    Wow, What If Spider-Man Fought Wolverine which We Know Happened a Bunch of Times But This Time It Was Awesome?

    Yeah, but in case you missed it, it’s actually based on that specific story, where Spider-Man never goes home after the end. And I totally love that story.


    Is it just me, or does that new Cap look an awful lot like The Shield, the old Impact character?

    And Archie Comics before that, dating back to the ’40s. It’s not just you; in fact, I meant to mention it and then just lost myself in a whirlwind of spite.

    “Whirlwind of Spite,” of course, was AxeWülf’s fifth album.


    Is this the Al Capp quote you were referring to?

    Yes. Like most people, I first encountered it as part of that pair with the Walt Kelly quote, and along with Mel Brooks (“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”), it and its corollary are one of my absolute guiding principles for writing.


    I understand that Previews is a powerhouse that won’t be stopped, but I’m absolutely shocked not to see a Fabulous Moolah memorial post!

    It’s truly a sad day here in Columbia. For those of you who don’t know, the Fabulous Moolah, a trailblazer of women’s wrestling and a WWE Hall of Famer who hailed from my home state, died this weekend at the age of 84. She was a local celebrity who often appeared onstage when WWE swung through town, and it was always a joy to see her staying active in the industry, especially seeing as how she holds the record as the longest-reigning champion of any kind in wrestling history.

    So consider this post and its jokes about bearfighting, luchadores, and epic vikings to be done in her honor, as I can think of no more fitting tribute.

  31. Also:

    So true about poor overlooked Herbie… The only book I ever found a signed copy of in the quarter bin.

    I would give you upwards of thirty-five cents for that comic.

  32. What I don’t get is what exactly is Cap’s suit made of, that can be so shiny and yet so movable. I honestly do not know of a material like that. Dyed tinfoil perhaps.

  33. HUNGER DOGS is hard to come by, so it’s good that it’s getting reprinted. It was just luck that I happened by a reasonably priced copy on eBay.

  34. Hey, Lost’s Season Three was excellent!! And Warren Ellis with Cary Nord on Ultimate Human will be awesome!!!

  35. What I don’t get is what exactly is Cap’s suit made of, that can be so shiny and yet so movable.

    I dunno, unstable molecules maybe? Or perhaps whatever Iron Man’s costume/armour is made of (especially the version that used to fold up and fit into his briefcase)?

    It’s a comic book. It’s made out of shiny comic booky material.

  36. It’s made out of stupid is what it’s made out of.

    Heaven forbid we leave one of the greatest costumes in comics alone.
    As for the gun, it doesn’t bother me that he has one, but rather not enough of one. He just looks silly with a little tiny pistol. If they’re going with the “He’s a soldier he should have a gun” route then give him an M16 or whatever the modern military rifle is.
    Although it does bother me in the fact that part of the reason Cap was right on his side of the Civil War was because he and his kind weren’t criminals, they shouldn’t be hunted down and arrested. But if he’s gunning down villains, wouldn’t that make him (yes, the new one) a vigilante murderer who really *should* be in prison?

    Also, I’m probably wrong so correct me where needed, but I thought Captain America was never a real soldier? I thought he was too weak and sickly to join the army so he turned to the super soldier experiment after which they basically let him just do whatever. I don’t remember him doing any actual soldiering.

  37. Steve Rogers holds the rank of Private in the United States Army, in addition to his status as an Avenger and all-around super-badass. He served in WWII, but not in front-line combat.

    The More You Know!

  38. My favorite and definitive Spider-man vs. Wolverine fight took place in the original Secret wars.


    Wolvie was swatted down like a bug, as it should be. Over-hyped little furball.