Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Comic Book Wednesday – Previews October 2014: The Scary Books Were Solicited 3 Months Ago

This post isn’t very Halloweeny, but it’s become a favorite of mine (and some of yours, too) and I can’t see skipping it just to maintain the spooky theme. So instead I’m going to do my normal rundown of the catalog, but find a way to make each entry creepy or spooky.
This is a bold move on my part, as I haven’t even opened the book yet. I have no idea how well this month’s offerings will lend themselves to my little project.

Let’s find out!

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue 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.

Robin Rises – DC (Front Cover)

Well, I guess I’m off to a good start with what appears to be Zombie Robin right there on the front cover. We know at the very least he’s resurrected Robin, which likely will lead to all sorts of other sinister problems.

Thanks for making the first entry easy, DC!

Oh, and I’m thrilled they’re bringing back Damian, but I hope we don’t have to endure too much bullshit before he and Bruce are back to crimefighting as usual. Then again, I may not have much opportunity to find out… READ ON!

Halloween Connection: Robin is back from the dead and hungry for BRAINS! Or justice. Probably just justice.

Army of Darkness: Ash in Space (Interior cover)

Well, Dynamite is looking out for me, too. Putting the hero of one of my favorite horror franchises right up front is a great call. Plus, I don’t even have to stretch to make a Halloween connection! 
Cullen Bunn is writing pretty much everything these days, and that’s okay because Cullen Bunn is pretty good at writing. As much as I hate to say it, I did not enjoy Steve Niles’ run on the last AoD book, so I’m looking forward to a fresh take. I think Bunn has the right frame of mind to do Ash right. 
Halloween Connection: Nobody, and I mean NOBODY has faced down more horrors than Ashley J. Williams! He is the King, baby.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #1 – Dark Horse (34)

I love Hellboy, but I need to get caught up on the trades and on every title that isn’t actually the main Hellboy book. When you look at all of the tie-in books and miniseries, it’s actually a rather daunting world.

This new title – celebrating 20 years of Hellboy – looks like a good place to check back in. Especially with Alex Maleev doing the art. I love his work and am glad to see him in different company. This book goes back to Hellboy’s beginnings working with the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. There shouldn’t be any continuity stuff to worry about, so I’m excited.

Halloween Connection: Okay, so maybe Ash hasn’t faced down more horrors than Hellboy. This comic has seen analogs of almost every monster, demon, legend, and obscure deity you’ve ever heard of. And Hellboy has beaten them all. Plus he actually is a demon. The King of Halloween, indeed.

Legend of Korra: Aang Memorial Statue – Dark Horse (69)

I don’t know anything about Airbenders or Korras, but this is a cool-looking statue. It’s classy and just has a great look to it.

Halloween Connection: It’s a tribute to a dead guy, who may well be haunting the surrounding area. This looks like exactly the sort of thing that would be in the middle of some creepy little Asian village that Josh Gates decided to explore.

Secret Six #1 – DC (76)

Gail Simone’s pre-New 52 Secret Six is one of the best comic books I’ve ever read. I still have an awful lot of respect for Simone, but after a run on Batgirl that I didn’t agree with and a run on Red Sonja that put me to sleep I won’t blindly follow her any more. 
If this book featured the same cast as her prior run I would put it on my pull list now, but I only recognize two of the faces on that cover – Black Alice (I think) and Talon. And I have no use for Talon. And yes – I understand that in the hands of a great writer the characters really don’t matter, but I need some kind of draw to take another chance. I think I’m going to have to wait for word of mouth on this one.

Halloween Connection: Lots of creepy stuff in that image – snakes, smoking guy, ratty looking girl, weird cat mask, stains, and a bunch of ladders. Yeah – ladders are scary. Try falling off of one and get back to me.

The Multiversity: Thunderworld #1 - DC (77)

I’ve read the first two chapters of Grant Morrison’s utterly bizarre story and I am enjoying it so far. I can’t say that I’m loving it, because as with all things Morrison I feel like there’s a certain amount of the narrative that’s going over my head. But I like how free and unfettered by continuity the whole thing feels, even though it is steeped in DC continuity. Captain Marvel is one of DC’s characters that has always eluded me to a certain extent. I loved him when I was a kid and I thought his name was Shazam (wait a minute – isn’t it supposed to be now? And yet this blurb identifies him as Captain Marvel. I suppose Earth-5 doesn’t have a Marvel Comics), but I’ve never gotten into the comics. He’s always awesome in DC animated projects. I’m looking forward to this one.

Halloween Connection: Doctor Sivana is one of the creepiest looking human villains ever. That overbite gives me nightmares.

Justice League 3000 #12 – DC (90)

I never had any interest in this because I tend to not enjoy “this might be the future but probably not” comics. But thanks to an article detailing the return of the original, pre-New 52 Blue Beetle and Booster Gold I developed an interest. The premise of this book is sort of like Jurassic Park but with superheroes. Batman, Superman, and everybody else have been cloned (sort of) in the future, but without the life experiences that made them who they are. 
Or were. Whatever.

That all sounds pretty cool. Add Blue and Gold to that mix (written by DeMatteis and Giffen as they should be) and I’m really interested.

Halloween Connection: The superheroes are created in the future using parasites. Gross.

Batman #37 – DC (102)

I dropped Batman.

I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll pick it back up and then drop it again. But it’s just not a comic book that’s making me happy. The arcs are long and tedious and everything has to be some kind of event-level story. I’m over it. Somebody somewhere is making a serious mistake when I’m more excited about Sabrina the Teenage Witch than I am about Bruce the Gown-Up Vigilante.

Halloween Connection: It’s Batman. C’mon. Between a guy dressed as a bat and the absolute best and creepiest rogue’s gallery around I don’t think I even need to point out a connection.

Robin Rises – DC (106 & 107)

I will keep reading Batman and Robin because it does make me happy. Damian’s return hasn’t gone in a way that I could have anticipated and I appreciate that. Count me in for Robin Rises.

Halloween Connection: The way they’re selling this thing I can’t help but be reminded of Pet Sematary
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1 – IDW/BOOM! (154)

The Primate Directive” they’re calling it. I love it. I love Star Trek and I love Planet of the Apes, but I probably wouldn’t buy this without the creative team attached. The Tiptons wrote the excellent Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover and the equally excellent Doctor Who 50th Anniversary story, “Prisoners of Time”. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re going to create a fun and faithful story involving these two franchises.

Halloween Connection: The Apes franchise presents one of the most troubling versions of the fall of humanity that I’ve seen. And Star Trek is chock full of amazing aliens and monsters. Either franchise would make for a great Halloween party theme!

Garbage Pail Kids #1 – IDW (155)

I don’t need to spend money on this. But Garbage Pail Kids were definitely one of my things when I was a kid. And I can’t help but be interested when names like Peter Bagge and Dean Haspiel are attached. I don’t see these characters working in a long-form narrative (just watch the movie for proof), but a series of shorts and strips might work.

Halloween Connection: This would work for Halloween or for Dragon Con – get a group of people together to cosplay Garbage Pail Kids. That would be EPIC.

Transformers vs. GI Joe #5 – IDW (165)

So IDW is just straight-up adapting erotic fan fiction now? I’ll have to see fi this one is suitable for Whose EFF.

Halloween Connection: If Tunnel Rat making his way to the center of Fortress Maximus isn’t horrifying enough for you I just don’t know what to say.

Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 – Marvel (M14)

I’ve liked Angela ever since she showed up in Spawn. I have her tattooed on my left arm, but that’s more because it was an awesome drawing of a (redhead) warrior angel than because it was Angela, though I did like that miniseries a lot. Now that she’s a part of the Marvel universe I am very curious to see what they do with her and if she can carry a solo title.

But mostly – Kieron Gillen.

Halloween Connection: If the character takes off and the solo book is a success, could a movie or TV show follow? And if so, could we someday see “Sexy Angela” costumes offered? And what, exactly, would that consist of? A belt and a sword? Which is kind of all she wears anyway.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – Marvel (M16)

This is written by Mark Waid, so I want it, but I can’t tell if it’s based on the show or if it is supposed to be part of regular Marvel U continuity. Judging from the background, I’d say it has to be Marvel U. And the guy on that cover looks nothing like Clark Gregg.

Halloween Connection: Look! Spider-Woman is on that cover! Spiders are creepy! Sorry. 
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – The Prisoner #5 – Marvel (M58)

By now you guys should know how I feel about The Dark Tower and about Peter David, but I’m just not buying this book. I might check out the trades. I dunno. I mention this today because the lobstrosities from the book are some of the most horrifying creations to come from King’s twisted mind and because what they do affected me more than anything from any book I have ever read. And some sick freak decided to draw one and stick it in the middle of Marvel’s Previews book.

Halloween Connection: LOOK AT THAT THING.

Cerebus Volume 1 Remastered Edition – Aardvark-Vanaheim (244)

I never dove into Dave Sim’s Cerebus comics because I knew it was an ongoing narrative and it seemed like a daunting task. I think it’s time now that the stories are back in print and the original art has been restored to an amazing degree. I’m pretty sure this is the result of Sim’s crowd funding campaign. Previews definitely doesn’t have enough information on this, but I’m excited about it.

Halloween Connection: Directions for a Cerebus Halloween costume:

-Go to your local Dollar store or Big Lots and buy their horned helmet and a sword

-Go to your local thrift store and buy a black vest

-Find a thing that looks like Cerebus’ necklace and spray paint it gold

-Strip naked, tie a loaf of bread to your face, and spray paint yourself gray

-Add accessories and TADA! – Cerebus!

COPRA Round One – Bergen Street Press (274)

I like the art on the cover and the story sounds really cool.


Right in the middle of those dudes. It’s Deadshot. Clearly. It’s not even “sort of” Deadshot or a parody of Deadshot. It just is Deadshot. Can you do that? Surely that’s not okay.

I’m going to order this just to find out what the heck is going on.

Halloween Connection: That might be Deadshot in the middle, but to the right of him you might notice


As we all know, Halloweeninja is the Japanese version of Sawan. Instead of having his magical cow stolen, Halloweeninja lobs marzipan throwing stars at children and steals their candy.

No one has ever seen Halloweeninja. Until now.

Escape From New York #1 – BOOM! (283)

YES. I’ve been waiting years for more about Snake Plisskin. I hope they get around to Cleveland and I hope that maybe someone can convince John Carpenter to write it himself.

Halloween Connection: John Carpenter – who created the character of Snake Plisskin and wrote and directed both films starring Snake – also wrote and directed one of the most well-known Halloween-centric films of all time – Ghosts of Mars, starring Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge!

The Tick: Karma Tornado: The Complete Works – New England Comics (352)

I was all snotty and passed on these when they came out because they weren’t by Ben Edlund. They were by some kid named Chris McCulloch. I hear he’s done some other stuff now that’s kind of okay, so I guess I’ll buy this collection.

Halloween Connection: Chris McCulloch wears a Jackson Publick costume many time throughout the year, not just at Halloween.

Grimm Tales of Terror # 6 – Zenescope (401)

This is pretty much like Tales From the Crypt and I’ve really been digging it. Check back for my review of the first four issues next week.

Halloween Connection: It’s a horror book. That’s it.

Mr. Fusion Prop Replica – Diamond Select Toys (441)

This is screen-accurate and makes noise. It looks great. But there is no way I could justify spending four hundred bucks on this thing. You’ve got to be a huge Back to the Future fan for this one.

Halloween Connection: To get a little more bang for your buck, this could double as an ice cream maker for your Willrow Hood costume.

Batman (1989 Video Game) 7-Inch Action Figure – NECA (446)

I love Batman. I love the 1989 Tim Burton movie. I also loved the video game adaptation of that movie by Sunsoft. And I love NECA for making a figure based on Batman’s odd appearance in that game.

Halloween Connection: Without having the background of the video game, this figure might appear to be some sort of evil reverse Batman from an alternate dimension where… uh… everything is blue. I guess. SPOOKY!

This was a surprisingly light month considering it represents Previews’ December offerings. Then again, this is all just the stuff I’m interested in (and by no means am I buying all of the things I mentioned here). For someone else it might be a very expensive edition. I felt like there was an awful lot of anime and manga stuff.

Anyway, I’m fine with less stuff because not only did I have to make all of those tenuous Halloween Connections, I also need to cover

Needless Things V. 31 Days of Halloween

Every October for the last few years Needless Things has provided commentary on SyFy’s – the television channel devoted to science fiction (sort of) – schedule. Not because the channel provides the best Halloween content, but because they provide the most. Aside from some paid programming in the wee hours of the morning (because somebody has to pay for Sharknado 3: Again With This?), SyFy makes an effort to program content that is at least Halloween-ish every hour of the month.

It is for this that we thank them and devote far more effort than we should into dissecting what they have to offer.

Oct 8 11:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Camp Fear

In which Jason Voorhees and Blossom Russo meet and end up discussing the wonders of female biology.

Oct 8 12:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 French Quarter Massacre

Because the French can’t do anything right. They couldn’t even manage a half massacre.

Oct 8 01:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Don't Feed The Apparition

Yogi and his pal Boo-Boo are gunned down by hunters and have to use the energy of the dark beyond to steal them pic-i-nic baskets.

Oct 8 02:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Ghostly Refuge

Innocent ghosts are being hunted down and unjustly incarcerated by four evil New Yorkers. Can Corbin Bernsen injunct the District Attorney in time?

Oct 8 03:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Paranormal Politics

(redacted for inflammatory political commentary)

Oct 8 04:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Curtain Call

In this episode, Tucker and Bennet visit Hiawatha County and judge their annual curtain calling contest. Also, the build team finds out if goats have legs.

Oct 8 05:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Fear Factory

Special Guest Joe Rogan hunts down Bigfoot and makes him eat a yak penis. Portions of this sentence actually happened on SyFy.

Oct 8 06:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 8 Tunnels Of Terror

Fred Krueger’s colonoscopy will be broadcast LIVE!

Oct 8 07:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 9.5 Orphans Of Gettysburg

Their parents weren’t really dead, they just couldn’t remember their address.

Oct 8 08:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 9.5 Phantom Fleet

Yours truly shows off his collection of bath toys. 
Content Warning: Things might get sexy.

Oct 8 09:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 9.5 An Officer And An Apparition

Bull falls in love with a ghost, but it turns out it’s just Harry’s zany dad.

Guest Starring John Astin

Oct 8 10:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 9.5 Don't Forget About Us

I… can’t seem to recall… huh.

Oct 8 11:00 PM Ghost Hunters, Season 9.5 An Officer And An Apparition

Oct 8 12:00 AM Ghost Hunters, Season 9.5 Family Plot

The Keatons plan a raid on the Republican National Convention to try and win back their son, Alex. But since they’re dumb hippies they end up in jail. Alex goes on to have a successful career as a Deputy Mayor werewolf basketball player.

Oct 8 01:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Headless Horseman

I have no Headless Horseman jokes. It’s 4:30 in the morning. I’m tired. I just made a stupid Michael J. Fox reference for no good reason.

Oct 8 03:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Leprechaun's Revenge

SyFy – there are twenty-four hours of programming to fill on St. Patrick’s Day and only five or six Leprechaun movies. Don’t you think you should save this one?

Oct 8 05:00 AM Paid Programming

Oct 9 06:00 AM Paid Programming 

Oct 9 08:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Headless Horseman

Oct 9 10:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Leprechaun's Revenge

Or maybe just play it twice in a twelve hour period.

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