Friday, January 2, 2015

Comic Book Wednesday (on Friday) – Previews January 2015: Things I Don't Want

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.

I hated to push this back to Friday, but I like to have my Best Of list posted before the end of the year so as not to drag old stuff into the new year. 

Jem and the Holograms – IDW (Front Cover)

Technically this is the back cover, but since it is the most awesome cover I have ever seen on Previews I am treating it like the front. I doubt you can tell from my lousy picture, but “Previews”, “Jem”, and the stars on Jem’s dress are all printed in glossy, glittery, raised ink. It looks really cool and makes this new comic seem like a HUGE deal. Marvel’s reacquisition of Star Wars didn’t get fancy glitter ink.

As far as the comic itself, I’m not familiar with the creative team of Kelly Thompson and Ross Campbell, but I think this cover art is great. It looks like a neat update of the original franchise. I can’t say that I’m interested in reading it, but I wish the book and its creators all the best.

Frankenstein Underground – Dark Horse (Other Front Cover)

Hellboy: House of the Living Dead is my favorite Hellboy story. This is the sequel and it stars Frankenstein’s monster, who Hellboy had to wrestle in House. I AM IN.

Free Comic Book Day 2015! (25 - 41)

I may not have any plans for Free Comic Book Day yet, but this month’s Previews has the full list of comics that will be available. Looks like some fun stuff this year. Maybe I can find an event to crash between now and May. 
DC March Variant Covers – DC (87)

Has DC always done variant covers every month? Because it seems like they do now and for the most part they’ve been really cool and, more importantly, not hard to get (granted, that may be because my wife works at the comic shop). The Darwyn Cooke covers for December have been awesome and I’ve liked most of the concepts so far. March looks no different, with a theme of movie posters. Some are better than others, but my favorites are Flash as North By Northwest (my favorite Hitchcock film), Batgirl as Purple Rain, Green Lantern Corps as Forbidden Planet, Sinestro as Westworld (one of my favorite movies, period), and Batman as The Mask, which is so weirdly meta that my head kind of hurts. Free Willy Aquaman is pretty funny, too.

It’s also worth noting that DC is cancelling a bunch of titles with this month. I don’t know what that means for the future, but the less New 52 books, the better.

Sorry, that probably sounded dickish.

Convergence – DC (88)

I understand exactly how odd it is that the guy that dismisses the New 52 because it feels like it isn’t a part of any greater continuity and is disorienting because of its lack of foundation is interested in this “Convergence” nonsense. But I liked “Flashpoint” (another somewhat untethered event) and hold out hope that someday DC will give up on this New 52 thing that I don’t like and bring back the old DCU in some form, even if it’s an Ultimate-style separate brand.

Every Story Matters” is the tagline, which suggests to me that DC understands how irrelevant some of us find their current product. The question is how they will address that irrelevancy.

Batman: Arkham Knight #1 – DC (90)

Normally I would be reluctant to sign up for a media tie-in, but 1) the Arkham games are some of the best video games I have ever played, and 2) Peter J. Tomasi is responsible for a lot of my favorite DC books. So I’ll check this out.

Batman Earth One Volume 2 – DC (91)

I absolutely loved Earth One. I still say that if DC was going to reboot, they should have rebooted with this. But at least we’re getting a second chapter to this Bruce Wayne’s life. When things are this good, I don’t mind waiting. I hope this lives up to its predecessor. And maybe provides us with figures of Alfred and Batman.
The Multiversity Books – DC (92/93)

Grant Morrison’s wild vision of the worlds of the DCU is coming to a close. I’ve enjoyed each chapter immensely, though I found The Just to be way too long. I’m glad Morrison has stuck to his original plan and didn’t extend this narrative out to some sort of years-long thing. I’m enjoying it, but more often than not this sort of thing is better served by a time limit.

Infinity Man and the Forever People #9 – DC (103)

I haven’t been reading this, but if this had been the cover to the first issue I would have. I love this kind of thing. That’s some nice art, too. 
Batman #40 – DC (117)

I stopped reading Batman when “Zero Year” concluded because I didn’t particularly enjoy the story or its length. My problems with current superhero comics could certainly fill up a post, but one big one is the idea that every story now has to have some epic impact on the very foundation of the character and challenge their very reason for being and COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER FOR REAL.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll wind up reading “Endgame” after Mike Gordon tells me how great it is. That guy is convincing.

Batgirl Volume 1: Burnside HC – DC (138)

I am loving Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr’s vision of Batgirl. The book has the fun of Bryan Q. Miller’s run while still retaining the character traits that make Barbara Gordon who she is. And the art is fantastic – it’s kinetic, colorful, and expressive while not venturing too far into the realm of cartoons. I recommend this collection.

Batman Animated Series Action Figures – DC Collectibles (157)

This batch features Batman, Riddler, and Penguin from The Animated Series and Batgirl from New Adventures. I love this line and hope it lasts forever. I’m also thrilled that they’re doing Animated Batman this early (seven months from now) and hope that we see a Justice League Batman soon because that would open the gateway to ALL OF ANIMATED DC. Which is what I want.

If DCC would just go ahead and pull the trigger on that, I’d trade in all of my other toys.
Okay, not really. But I’d be happy. 
Mother Box Prop Replica – DC Collectibles (160)

This is just awesome. It has lights and sounds. I love the sculpted detail and the translucence, and the lighting effect looks fantastic. I would like to see a video before I commit to buying one, though. Sixty bucks is very reasonable if it sounds and looks good in action.

The Fly: Outbreak #1 (of 5) – IDW (179)

I hate to list books only to say I don’t care about them, but I feel like I have to mention this sequel to David Cronenberg’s incredible remake of The Fly (and its sequel, apparently). There was a time when I was dying for a continuation of the story of Seth Brundle’s son, but that time seems to have passed. Cronenberg’s The Fly is another one of those movies – like RoboCop – that was strangely obsessed with for a while. I watched it a lot. Obviously the effects and story are great, but Jeff Goldblum’s descent into outright villainy is one of the greatest performances in modern horror. I suppose if Cronenberg had any direct input on this book (the way John Carpenter supposedly does on Big Trouble in Little China and Escape From New York) I might have to check this out.

More on those books later. Long time Needless Things readers who have read the books probably know what I am going to say.

Sexcastle – Image (226)

Kyle Starks – creator of the incredible Legend of Ricky Thunder – has created this new thing about The World’s Greatest Assassin trying to retire to a small town. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll go ahead and guarantee its awesomeness based purely on how good Ricky Thunder is. Just order this. Do it.

Spider-Woman #5 – Marvel (Marvel Previews Inside Cover)

I like the new costume, though I’m well aware that this seems to be an attempt to mimic the success of Batgirl’s costume change, though without the critical element of a female creator. I like Hopeless well enough and I’m a fan of Rodriguez’s artwork.

Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 (of 5) - Marvel (M2/3)

I promised myself I wouldn’t buy all of these new Star Wars comics from Marvel just because they were shiny and new. But they keep putting people like Mark Waid on them. What the heck am I supposed to do? Besides, Marvel has addressed my usual concerns about retaining a creative team by making this a limited series. I’m in for five issues. Like Spider-Woman, though, I think Marvel missed an opportunity to utilize a female talent on this one.

Sure, it would be super if female creators could just hop onto big-name marquis books like Avengers and Justice League. But that’s not the world we’re in, and forcing that is only going to make that world take longer to get here. Instead, create hype around popular female characters’ books. Let those talented females gain a following. Then put them on big books. I’m not sure why we aren’t at the point where Gail Simone or Amanda Conner could have their names in some of the top-tier books (in terms of sales and brand recognition, not quality obviously), but we’re not. Small steps like making sure female creators at least had a hand in big female books would help. I don’t believe one bit that it’s ghetto-izing them. It creates a logical platform for them to hopefully spring onto other projects. 
Alternatively, fill-in issues like Batman #12 can do wonders. Thanks to that one I am a fan of Becky Cloonan and will check out anything she does. That’s how these things work. Not everything is for everybody, but if we have the opportunity to see new stuff in the right format it can be very exciting. It’s not a perfect system, but let’s at least try to work it a bit.

Howard the Duck – Marvel (18/19)

I also promised myself that I wasn’t going to jump on the Howard the Duck bandwagon after his great cameo at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. But then Marvel offers a book by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones. I’m going to have to check it out, if only in the hopes that it might be the next Silver Surfer, a solo book unrelated to anything else that I can enjoy immensely.

Side Note: I secretly liked the old Howard the Duck movie. I don’t know if I still would, but as recently as fifteen years ago I did. Lea Thompson is hot, man.

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars Activity Book Facsimile Collection – Marvel (M91)

I was going to say that I didn’t have any of these tie-in coloring/activity books when I was a kid, but then I saw that tower on the cover and I feel like I remember coloring that thing. 
Either way, this is a neat piece of nostalgia and I hope it does well because I really love old pieces of licensed stuff like this. At $24.99 it’s a little pricey to let Lil’ Troublemaker color in, but I’m probably going to anyway. Plus it has stickers!

Rock & Roll Biographies: Slayer – Acme Ink (258)

Could this be the return of my beloved Rock N’ Roll comics, from which I learned the most intimate secrets of my favorite bands like Anthrax (with a Faith No More backup story!), the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and ZZ Top (with a Mojo Nixon backup story!{!!!!!!!})?

It kind of sounds like it. And even though Slayer isn’t one of my favorite bands – I like ‘em a lot, but they’re not a favorite – I want to buy this just to support the book, which promises future issues with Primus, NOFX, and a special Faith No More/ Mr. Bungle flip book!

Action Lab Entertainment – (260-264)

This is either s new publisher or one I happened to have not noticed before. Their first two pages stood out, but what caught my eye was the above Puppet Master comic. I love Full Moon and the Puppet Master franchise in particular, and was surprised to see a comic book based on those wacky, murderous little jerks. And now I’m noticing the Vamplets comic, which I know I’ve seen before. I think maybe Action Lab just rented more space in this thing.

Transformers Blaster T-Shirt – WeLoveFine (449)

Might want to rethink printing “Ghetto Blaster” on the shirt featuring the Autobot named Blaster that is voiced by a black guy with stereotypical black inflection. I understand that back in the day the kinds of radios he transformed into were actually called ghetto blasters and that’s literally where his name came from, but this is not back in the day. People are very sensitive now.

I’m not actually talking about black people here. I doubt they’d care. But the white people who get super upset on behalf of black people might jump all over this one.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Poncho Bag – (452)

My Granny would call this frumpy. Which fits, because with the haircut he has on the show Daryl kind of looks like a grandma.

Doctor Who: Gallifrey University Shirt – (453)

I would absolutely order this except for the fact that the last baseball style shirt I ordered from Previews was an XXL that fit me like a medium. And had a huge neck hole. And made me look super ticklish. I ended up giving it to Mrs. Troublemaker and she looks great in it. I’m not falling for that shit again.

They Live T-Shirt – (454)

I’m not buying a Hot Topic word shirt. I don’t care if it is licensed. Put a cool picture of Roddy on there and I’ll buy it. But this just looks too much like something a stupid high school kid would wear. 
I mean, yeah – that describes half of my wardrobe, but SHUT UP.

Cthulu Figural Bank – Diamond Select Toys (462)

I’m buying one for Gary Mitchel so he can start saving up to move to Atlanta. Enough of this Seattle bullshit, already.

Doctor Who Sonic Screwdrivers – Underground Toys (470)

I’ve never done an official review on these, but as I’ve mentioned on Earth Station Who multiple times, they’re excellent. These are sturdy toys that fall just a tiny bit shy of being prop replicas (mostly the materials used – visually they’re almost perfect). They have great sounds, including hidden ones. This is a good opportunity to grab one or more since they aren’t easy to find in the States.

Shogun Warriors 1964 Godzilla – Bandai (?) (474)

I want this SO BAD. But no way am I paying $250 for it. It looks fantastic, but I just can’t justify that.

Pacific Rim: Otachi Action Figure – NECA (476)

I am absolutely ecstatic that NECA’s Pacific Rim line has lasted long enough to produce Otachi, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed that it isn’t deluxe enough to include winged arms. I can only assume that NECA wants to get the winged Otachi just right and knew they simply wouldn’t be able to do it without producing a whole other figure.

Sons of Anarchy Action Figures – Mezco (477)

Look at Gemma’s accessory:


Big Trouble in Little China POP! Figures – Funko (535)

Every once in a while me or the missus will buy one of these POP! figures to put on a shelf in the living room. I wouldn’t say we collect them, but if it’s a character we mutually love or think is irresistibly cute, we buy it.

This is a whole different story.

Big Trouble in Little China is my favorite movie of all time, so I’m buying pretty much any related toys that come out. Including this whole line of POP! figures.

Cthulu POP! Figure – Funko (536)

I would get this for Gary as well, but I don’t see how it would help get him out of Seattle.

Star Wars Signature Steins – Underground Toys (543)

I feel like Underground made a mis-step here. I would much rather these be traditional steins with tops influenced by the characters’ heads and designs and murals on the mug portion. This figural thing does not work for me. I’m a sucker for Boba Fett merch and I have no interest in this thing.

That's all I've got this konth. I hope you guys enjoyed the higher quality pictures. I got a new scanner and it's much easier to use than the old piece of crap I had. I would like to thank Phantomaniac Money Ham for offering to scan this month's book for me.

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