Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews March 2014

Believe it or not, I’m back with the second installment of a hopefully ongoing series!

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.
Big Trouble In Little China – BOOM! Studios
I don’t care if this is an ongoing series, a mini, an adaptation of the movie, or Eric Powell scribbling on a napkin. I’m getting it. I realize there will probably be more details further back in Previews, but this splash page is so beautiful I had to go ahead and comment on it.
I’m not going to run down all of the titles being offered this year, just be sure to show up at your Local Comic Book Shop on Saturday, May 3rd to partake in the fun. Many stores have parties, signings, and other events to draw attention not only to the best visual medium in the world but also the importance of the independently-owned stores that work so hard to bring all of the comic-related goodness to your neighborhood.

I will be hosting the Fan-Tiki-Tastic Tiki Zombie Party featuring Monstrosity Championship Wrestling at Odin’s Comics in Lilburn, Georgia. We’ll be recording a LIVE ESO Podcast and the squared circle will be set up outside the store to contain the madness of whatever monsters might show up. More details to come, but don’t be surprised if a certain Tiki fella and maybe even the Allfather himself show up to GET IT ON!

JUST CONFIRMED! Joining the fun at Odin’s will be:

Check to find your shop, then give ‘em a call and see what they have planned!
New Doctor Who Ongoing Series – Titan Comics
(Not to be confused with excellent Local Comic Book Shop, Titan Games & Comics)
Two of ‘em, as a matter of fact. What’s surprising is that neither of them features the Twelfth Doctor. Er, Thirteenth Doctor. Or whatever. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor.

I guess he is officially the Twelfth Doctor given that the references here are to the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. I don’t know how I feel about that. Not excited, certainly. I mean, it really doesn’t matter which Doctor is in the book, as the quality will be determined by the people writing and drawing, not the characters within the pages. But I have to admit that launching a Tennant book feels like a cash grab to me. The Smith one I sort of understand, as we haven’t seen any of Capaldi yet and it would be unreasonable to expect a new comic to be featuring stories before the show.

If I were the guy in charge (and I never am) I would have launched the Smith book with the intention of turning it into a Capaldi book in 2016 and just keep that as an ongoing title. The secondary book would be a classic book that would feature a different Doctor with each story arc – more of an anthology title. As a matter of fact, I might even just do a series of miniseries rather than trying to maintain a single title. They would inhabit the same order slot in Previews and fall under the “Classic Doctor Who” banner, but would be renumbered with each new arc. The same way that the current Danger Girl books are.

Anyway, I’m not planning on picking these up. I’m just not interested in further Ten/Eleven stories right now and I’m not familiar with anybody on the creative teams. That might be more my fault than Titan’s, but that’s just how it is. Those covers do look great, though.
Oh – I just noticed the “15 Issues A Year” burst. Is that good? I’m not sure I see the benefit of three more issues. Unless there’s some kind of page count trickery and they’re dividing the same number of pages up amongst fifteen issues so they can make a little more money off of the thing.
Superman #32 – DC Comics
I’m not a Superman guy, but I can appreciate good Superman stories. And I think it’s entirely possible that Geoff Johns has some good Superman stories in him. Regardless of how I feel about any of Johns’ work in the past few years (or his reign as one of the DC PTB), the fact remains that he had a definitive run on The Flash and that I still love what he did on Green Lantern pre-New 52. I’ll be checking this out.

Oh, and the fact that the legendary John Romita, Jr. – one of the artists I grew up idolizing – is doing the art with Klaus Janson might have had a little bit to do with that decision. It never occurred to me before, but Romita’s style is perfect for the Man of Steel.
Batman #32 – DC Comics
That’s just an awesome cover. I’ll talk a little bit more about “Zero Year” in this month’s Comic Book Wednesday.
Batman & Ra’s al Ghul #32 – DC Comics
NO, DETECTIVE! You can’t have my Limited Edition Devil Mummy snowboard!”
Harley Quinn #0 Director’s Cut – DC Comics
I don’t usually go for stuff like this, but I’m enjoying the Harley comic so much. I’m curious to see the little extras that went into making this important Zero issue that set the tone for the series. I don’t think I’d buy a Director’s Cut of all of the Harley books, but this one sounds worthwhile.
Batman & Joker 75 Years Books – DC Comics
Ten years ago these would have been no-brainers for me, but there’s a very good chance I’ve already read the stories in here. I’m not a guy that memorizes… well, anything, but if these are the greatest stories ever told, I’m willing to bet a lot of them are in the Greatest Stories Ever Told collections, which I have for both of these characters. And anything that might have come out after those collections is probably something I’ve read or part of the New 52.

But these might be great books for the newcomer. I’m not poo-pooing them, they’re just not for me. Also, I find it odd that they’re referred to as “Retrosolicits”. I have no idea what that means. I can’t remember seeing them offered before. Did DC decide at the last second to release these and they’re technically coming out sooner than they should? I have no idea.
The Sandman: Overture Statue – DC Collectibles
I just think that’s a tremendously ugly likeness of Morpheus. The color on the Patina one looks awesome, though. But - $299.95! Yikes!
Batman Lil’ Gotham Figures – DC Collectibles
I already talked about these in my Toy Fair coverage, but I wanted to point out that they’re 4” scale and only $12.95 apiece. Now, I know that is not a price point that I usually endorse for this scale, but these are some fancy figures. They’re so weird and cute. And that Harley Quinn might be my favorite version of the character. I can’t decide if I want these for me or for Lil’ Troublemaker. Probably for him.
GI Joe: Silent Interlude 30th Anniversary Edition - IDW
What kind of chump-ass sucker would pay $19.99 for a reprint of a single issue of a comic book?

Me. I can’t help it. I love Larry Hama and I love GI Joe. And while I think this issue might be just a tad overhyped and overexposed at this point, I love getting looks at Hama’s process. I can’t help myself – I have to have this.
The Wicked + The Divine #1 – Image Comics
Story: Kieron Gillen” is enough to get me to buy almost anything. But then when I read the synopsis I got even more excited. The deal is that twelve gods take human shape for two years once a century. That sounds awesome to me, and with somebody as amazing as Gillen behind it I have no doubt this book will end up being nearly as must-have as Saga.
I hate to say “nearly”, but Saga is pretty much beyond compare.
Original Sin - Marvel
The more I see about this event, the more I want to read it. This is such a cool page. Is that Uatu’s eyeball? I dunno, but those four matching images are just awesome.

I have to use two images for this one, because I just cannot believe that Marvel has once again allowed a major typo to make its way out to public viewing:
Digital Addition”? Seriously, you guys? While I’m pretty sure each of those should read “Digital Edition”, I am going to give the House of Ideas the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe they’re considering the digital editions to be additions. Maybe. But probably not. I’ll have to look at my calender.
Savage Hulk #1 - Marvel
I’m honestly not sure that I’ve ever read anything by Alan Davis, but I certainly love his art. I would’ve gotten this anyway, but like The Wicked + The Divine, the synopsis got me even more excited. Apparently the story is Hulk versus the X-Men. This sounds so 80s. I’m in.
Figment #1 - Marvel
Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination was my favorite ride the first time I went to Walt Disney World. I think I went on it four or five times. My dad would give each of us a certain amount of money every day. IT was enough, but not so much that we didn’t have to seriously consider what we would spend it on. I think this was one of the few times in my young life that I actually learned a good lesson about finances.

I spent a portion of my dollars on a small Figment stuffed toy. I considered saving up over the course of a couple of days to buy a larger Figment, but I think my mom talked me out of it. I have no idea what happened to that little guy.

Last time we went to Walt Disney World the Journey Into Imagination was closed. I can’t remember if it was permanent or if it was being renovated. 
As you can see, I have far too much attachment to not buy this comic. And now I really want a stuffed Figment.
Wolverine: Origin II HC - Marvel
For whatever reason I just wanted to wait for this to be collected. It’s Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert. Of course it’s going to be fantastic. Sometimes I really just want to have nice collections of things.
Lola XOXO - Aspen
I have no clue what this is and I’ve never noticed it in Previews before, but I love this art. I’m not familiar with Siya Oum, but I like the way… uh… they draw this blonde chick. Neat style.
Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm – Flesk Publications
This collection gets my highest recommendation. If you want to see Bruce Timm’s talent on display at its best, check this out. This is a new printing of the book, but the content should all be the same. Just buy it. You’ll thank me.
Princess Ugg – Oni Press
Once again, this artwork just caught my eye. I know the name Ted Naifeh, but I’m not sure from where. Might be ComicTwart. Anyway, I think this looks really neat and am going to be giving it a try despite the fact that it sounds super-girly.
Alien: The Illustrated Story – Titan Books
I didn’t know there was such a thing. This is a graphic adaptation of Ridley Scott’s movie, written by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Walt Simonson. It sounds fantastic, but I’m a little concerned about the fact that I’ve never heard of it. It could be one of those things that sounds like an undiscovered gem but turns out to have been a bad idea. I’ll find out. It’s interesting that it’s only 64 pages. That’s definitely the mark of something done decades ago. A modern adaptation would be at least six issues. 64 pages translates to slightly less than three. Oh, seventies, how I miss you.

There’s also a signed artists’ edition available, but I’m not going to be getting that one. It’s $75 versus the regular edition’s $14.95 price tag.
Castle Season 3 & 4 Trading Cards
What? This is one of those things that just baffles me. I can’t picture the person that’s buying these, let alone enough people to warrant their production and existence. Don’t get me wrong – if this is your thing, go for it. I just don’t get it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vinyl Bust Banks – Diamond Select Toys
As I mentioned last time, all of DST’s banks look fantastic and are an affordable alternative to actual busts. These are no exception. They look absolutely amazing. If they decide to do the old Eastman & Laird Turtles I’m not going to be able to resist.
Greetings From Asgard T-Shirt – Mad Engine
I definitely don’t need any more t-shirts, but if I did I’d buy this one. This is awesome. Not just the concept, but the art is really nice as well.
Doctor Who Neckties
Silly Baseball Caps
I am simply not going to be able to handle it if I see a grown-up wearing any of the caps on this page. These just look so silly. I guess the ones that are just mutant faces aren’t quite as bad, but in the presence of the ones that look like they should be in the little kids’ section at Target they absorb some proximal silliness.
Creature From the Black Lagoon Version 2 – Diamond Select Toys
DST first showed this at Toy Fair 2013. Despite the fact that I have two different versions of the last Gill-man they released (and the Sideshow figure that they very closely resemble) I knew I’d be buying this one as well. This one has sixteen points of articulation, and while that’s hardly super-articulated, it’s pretty darn good compared to any other Universal Monsters that have come out. Well, except for the ones (company) released a few years ago. Those were fantastic.
Zombie Magneto – Diamond Select Toys
Curse you, DST! I have the last set of Marvel Zombies from however many years ago, so this Magneto is a must-have. This is one of the few collections where I would probably have to be a completist, so I sure hope DST doesn’t start cranking these out like crazy.

As an aside, I stopped reading the Marvel Zombies books after the third series, so I still love them. And you can’t deny the awesomeness of Arthur Suydam’s artwork.
Game of Thrones: Westeros 4D Cityscape Puzzle
I WANT THIS SO BAD. If this thing weren’t sixty bucks I’d have it already. It has three layers – the first is a regular puzzle depicting a map of Westeros, the second is 3D terrain, the third is all of the various landmarks. I want this thing crazy bad. My birthday is May 10th – send me this. Or all of the ReAction figures. Whichever. Or both.
The first waves of ReAction figures - Funko
Escape From New York, Firefly, The Rocketeer, and Terminator are all included in these waves. I want them all, obviously, but I just cannot spend the money on them.
Masters of the Universe Snake Mountain Statue – Icon Heroes
This thing is magnificent. It’s 16” tall, 18” wide, and 13” deep. It basically combines the different versions of Skeletor’s home base into one beautiful sculpture. I would love to own this. I might. I don’t know. I’d have to have a really good eBay selling run to make this happen. It’s a “PI” item and that’s never a good sign. It means “Please Inquire”, which usually means “so expensive you can’t afford it, loser”.

Also of Note
This month I did something I have never done before – I filled up the Previews order form. Actually, I went over by one line. There was just a bunch of cool stuff, plus I added a few titles to my pull. And dropped a few, but I’ll talk about that on Comic Book Wednesday.

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