Last night, the ISB fought it out with the major publishers, which means that tonight belongs to the second half of the catalog in my monthy assault on all things Previews. This means, of course, that I’ll not only be going through the small press, but the harrowing merchandise section as well, and while both Sterling and Lartigue have already covered it, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this little gem:
Even putting aside the fact that this thing features a “removable dress” and that the “dynamic kicking pose” pretty much translates to advertising by vagina, this thing just… well, jumps right out at you. It may not be obvious from the scans, but that’s a full-page ad on a right-hand page, which means that when you’re, say, leafing through the catalog looking for things to make fun of, you’re pretty much ambushed by plastic ladyparts in a surprise attack that’s equal parts hilarious and depressing.
And incidentally, it’s listed as having “MATURE THEMES.” So there’s that.
But maybe we should just move on! After all, with that thing to lead things off, what other horrors lurk within this month’s catalog? Read on… if you dare!
P. 213 – Azumanga Daioh Omnibus Edition: I picked up the first volume of Azumanga Daioh last week, based almost entirely on the strength of Kiyohiko Azuma’s Yotsuba&!, which is easily one of the funniest and most charming comics that I’ve ever read. This one, however, fell pretty flat for me. I’m not sure whether it’s the difference in format–with Azumanga Daioh done in four-panel strips–or if the majority of the jokes just don’t translate well, but there are vast sections that just come off as nonsensical and abrupt rather than building towards anything that would warrant a rimshot.
That said, there are a couple of good laughs further in–especially as Azuma builds recurring jokes and plays off his strength at crafting engaging, oddball characters–but that just adds to my confusion about the series. Thus, I put it to you, loyal reader: Does it get better, or is it pretty much like this all the way through? Or, and this is purely hypothetical here, is it just me?
P. 216 – Everybody Cosplay!: I’m good, thanks.
P. 217 – Red Eye, Black Eye: No joke here, just a bit of general advice in case you missed it the first time I reviewed K. Thor Jensen’s Red Eye, Black Eye: It’s a phenomenal and absolutely hilarious comic, and if you haven’t already grabbed a copy, it’s still available to order from your favorite comic book store or online retailer. And believe me, it is well worth it.
P. 225 – The Engineer #1: Ever since Mouse Guard hit big last year as the darling of the comics blogger internet, I’ve been paying closer attention to the Archaia Studios section, and now, I think it may have paid off, because I seriously got halfway through this solicitation–to the part where it talks about how the main character travels through dimensions using a cosmic pipe organ, if you want to get specific about it–and this thing pretty much ordered itself.
P. 231 – Tales From Riverdale Digest #25: Readers of the ISB often wonder why I find myself so enamored with Archie Comics, considering that they often lack bear-fighting, kicks to the face, and recognizeable punchlines. To those people, I can only offer this:
That, my friends, is a story where mild-mannered science nerd Dilton Doiley gets one of Reggie Mantle’s old jackets, and promptly turns evil. Or at least, the Riverdale equivalent of evil, which is more like mild annoyance, but still. And it’s called… “Denim.” And that is genius.
P. 254 – Salem #0: When I first read through Previews last week, I breezed right through this one, but today, this little bit caught my eye:
That’s right: This story of Colonial-era witchcraft in the grand pulp adventure style of Robert E. Howard is being brought to you by Chris Morgan, the writer of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which I’m pretty sure we can all agree is the pinnacle of modern cinema. And what’s more, in the interview that accompanies the ad, Morgan has this to say:
“You may be surprised to learn that the climax of SALEM involves a 14′ tall witch made of brambles and thorns outdrifting Vin Diesel in a cherry ’05 Skyline.”
I’m going to be totally serious for a second here, folks: If that was true, this would be the greatest comic book ever made.
P. 280 – Hack/Slash #6: I’ve never been a fan of horror movies, which is probably the reason why I’ve never never gotten into Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash, despite the fact that I actually do think he’s a pretty talented artist working with a pretty interesting premise here. The problem–for me anyway–is that the series, much like the movies that provide its backdrop, tends to take itself a little too seriously, but with this issue, it looks like that’s not really a concern.
It is, after all, an Archie parody set in a town called Haverhill–the real-life city in Massachusetts that Riverdale was based on–and to be honest, Seeley’s parody/homage to the infamous internet classic that is Betty and Me #16 might make it worth the purchase alone.
P. 328 – A Treasury of Victorian Murder v.4: The Fatal Bullet: If there is anything in this catalog that seems to have been printed specifically to meet my interests, it is this: A story recounting the murder of President James Garfield by Charles Guiteau–the only Presidential assassination to inspire works by both Sarah Vowell AND Johnny Cash–written and drawn by the artist of Bob Burden’s Gumby comics.
Your mileage may vary, but around here, we call that awesome.
P. 367 – Dan Dare #1: I realize that this is coming hot on the heels of last month’s assertion that I have no idea what the hell is going on at Virgin Comics, but this is actually something I think I can get behind:
I know virtually nothing about Dan Dare, but from the solicitation copy, it seems like this one might fall into the same vein as last year’s awesome-but-overlooked Battler Briton in that it’s Ennis taking on a classic British comics character that he actually seems to have some affection for. Don’t get me wrong: I like Ennis a lot, but Battler Briton was the first time since I read through Hitman that it seemed like his love of comics was shining through, rather than just a love of violence and swearing.
Of course, there is the distinct possibility that I’m wrong, and this issue’ll open up with Dan Dare dropping f-bombs while punching out a nun or something. But really, if it is, then it’s probably my fault for not seeing that one coming.
P. 424 – Metal Men Metallix T-Shirts:
When it comes to comic book t-shirts, I’ve always been a fan of the slightly more obscure plain logo over shots of the characters themselves, and with the Metal Men, it looks like Graffiti Designs has finally put their beloved Metallix technology to use on the one group of characters that it actually works with, and I’ve got to say, I think they’re pretty neat.
In fact, between this and the Value Stamp-Inspired shirt on the next page, I’m starting to think that the ol’ Previews Apparel section might be making a turn for the better! Maybe this is where it all comes together, and we start getting interesting designs that make sense instead of–
P. 425 – Punisher Neon Green Symbol Black T-Shirt:
…Oh. Well, nevermind then.
And with that, we close the catalog for another month. As always, if you spotted anything interesting in the catalog, or you just want to speculate on how long it’ll be before Dynamite’s Xena: Warrior Princess trade paperback fully supercedes all modern religious texts, feel free to let me know about it in the comments section below.