Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews April 2015: The Month That Marvel Forgot! (but not really)

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.

Note: As of this writing Marvel’s portion of Previews is unavailable due to a printing error. This reinforces my belief that Marvel’s decision to separate their section from the rest of Previews is just silly.

At this point I don’t know if I’ll have a copy of Marvel Previews by the time this posts. If I don’t I don’t and too bad for them. I can’t imagine the tens of dollars they could potentially lose due to the lack of my coverage.

Justice League of America – DC (Back Cover)

A new era of widescreen action”. Does this mean that I’m going to have to hold comic book sideways like an idiot? Like I did with the that one issue of Batman/Superman? And yeah – I know that was a three-issue arc. I didn’t buy the other two because I hate holding my comics like that.

I suppose I should actually look at the interior entry before I go off on a rant about this. I’ll be right back… 
Interesting. Just more widescreen talk inside. I was interested in this one, as it was supposed to be a title with no ties to continuity and that appealed to me. But if I’m going to have to hold it sideways like a freaking N-Gage (who gets that reference?), then no thank you.

Free Comic Book Day 2015! (25 - 35)

Free Comic Book Day falls on May 2nd this year. I’m working with no way out. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing something special for the event. I’ve already lined up a special guest for the podcast. More to come soon!

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At the Earth’s Core – Dark Horse (71)

I love that cover. Vicious flying dinosaurs chasing scantily-clad cavegirls is something I can get behind. I also really dig “inside the Earth” stories. The idea that there’s stuff going on right under our feet has always fascinated me. And then on top of all of that you have the suggestion that Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness was inspired by this story – good stuff.

This one was written by friend of the site Award-Winning Bobby Nash. Since he’s a stand-up guy and pretty much a genius, I’m going to go ahead and give it my recommendation.

Post-Convergence – DC Comics (82 - 127)

Oh, boy. I hadn’t realized it was already time for DC’s post-Convergence titles to be solicited. It’s time to get an idea of how much of my money DC is going to be getting for the rest of the year…

Also – some characters are getting new looks that are even dumber than their New 52 designs. So it’ll be interesting to see how that shakes out.

Black Canary #1 – DC Comics (86)

SOLD. I love the current Batgirl comic and I really liked the portrayal of Black Canary in that comic. I’ll happily follow that Dinah Lance into another comic with the same style and aesthetic sense. I really dig the art here, as well.

Green Lantern: The Lost Army #1 – DC Comics (91)

I miss reading Green Lantern comics, especially ones about the Corps. But I never liked what was going on in the New 52. Now there’s a fresh start that sounds like it has nothing to do with interminable wars between and within Lantern factions. That shit got OLD. Plus, I really like Cullen Bunn’s work, so I’m excited to give this a shot.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 – DC Comics (92)

This is the unseen adventure from the end of Harley Quinn #20. I love that comic, so I’ll be getting this. If you like comics that are fun, you should be reading anything with the names “Palmiotti”, “Conner”, and “Gray” on it.

Robin: Son of Batman #1 – DC Comics (99)

I trust Patrick Gleason to guide the solo adventures of Damian Wayne. 
Starfire #1 – DC Comics (101)

Remember what I said up there about Palmiotti and Conner?

Batgirl #41 – DC Comics (119)

I’m very excited about following the new adventures of Barbara Gordon. I am not excited about this dumb new Bat-Bunny robot thing. Look, I try not to be a naysayer, but I SAY THEE NAY. I hated that thing the second I saw it. And not in a “They shouldn’t do that” kind of way. Of course they should do it. Nothing is going to hurt the legacy of Batman. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t try new things. Dick Grayson as Batman is still one of my favorite stores ever. I was crushed when they undid it. 
So I support experimentation. But I don’t have to read it until somebody tells me it’s good.

Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile – DC Collectibles (148)

I think we discussed this enough on the Toy Fair Episode of the Needless Things Podcast and in my Toy Fair recap. I’m buying one.

Batman Animated Series: Mad Hatter, Bane, Nightwing, and Scarecrow – DC Collectibles (149)

As was discussed in the above linked recaps, I don’t like these designs for Bane and Scarecrow. I won’t be buying ‘em. Even if they don’t make the versions from the original series, I’d rather not have the characters than own these. Nightwing and Hatter look great, though I am a little bummed Hatter doesn’t come with a mechanical White Rabbit like the Kenner version did.

Wonder Woman: The Art of War Statue by Jill Thompson – DC Collectibles (151)

I love this design. It’s very different, but everything about it says “Wonder Woman” I love the lines and the look and the expression on her face. The vibe is very Greek. Only one thing is keeping me from buying this – the stick. What’s with the stick? It just seems odd to me that Wonder Woman has a Gandalf staff.

DC Comics Constantine Statue – DC Collectibles (154)

Okay, is it just me or does his face look like Keanu Reeves? I’m not going to talk shit about Keanu because I do genuinely like him and John Wick was fucking phenomenal, but maybe he isn’t the John Constantine we all want.

Constantine (TV) Dr. Fate’s Helmet – DC Collectibles (155)

Another beautiful prop replica from DCC. Only thing is, it doesn’t specify if it’s wearable or just a shelf item. Because I notice it doesn’t actually say “Prop Replica”.

If you’re an insane person, there’s also a 24K gold plated version for three hundred dollars more.

Empty Zone #1 – Image (206-209)

I’m not familiar with the creator of this title – Jason Shawn Alexander. I’m also not too terribly prone to checking out new titles that look “gritty”, “edgy”, or “dark”. But the above image got me. 
It’s sort of a Tank Girl-like chick on the floor and it kind of looks like she’s trying to relax. But she has a bunch of machinery instead of a right arm, SO THAT’S PROBABLY A LITTLE FREAKING DIFFICULT. The artistic style reminds me a lot of Kent Williams, who did some of my favorite art in Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown. If you haven’t read it, you need to.
So that image got me and I had to read the sneak preview, which I don’t do very much. It was cool. It might end up being a little too grim for me, but I’m going to give it a try because I dig the art and the preview hooked me. 
American Gothic Press (261-263)

This, to me, is big news. Famous Monsters of Filmland is starting its own comic book imprint. They’re kicking it off with a book from Paul Tobin that looks kind of like a more horror-oriented Pacific Rim. That sounds pretty great to me. I’ll be following these releases closely. Forthcoming titles include more from Tobin, as well as books from Steve Niles and Nat Jones. I’ll be curious to see how close they can stick to what I consider to be Famous Monsters material. So far it looks like they’re off to a good start.

Lieutenant Cthulu T-Shirt – Antarctic Press (264)

This is Gary’s Madness of the Month, even though Gary had no say in the matter.

Archie #1 – Archie Comics (270-273)

Okay, Afterlife With Archie is great. Sabrina is great. But I don’t; want to buy a regular Archie comic. I don’t. But how can I pass up a book by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, two of my absolute favorite creators right now? This almost doesn’t seem fair. I’m not interested in regular Archie stories at all, but Waid and Staples are two of the most talented people working in comics.

Dammit. I guess I have to give this a look.

Femme Fatales Cassie Hack Statue – Diamond Select Toys (Splash 353/Offered 494)

SOLD. Hack/Slash is one of my favorite comics. I loved everything about it except for the rough times where the book couldn’t seem to get decent artists. Other than that it’s always been a fun title that hit all of my sweet spots. I’d prefer a Cassie Hack action figure, but I’ll support and Hack/Slash merchandise that gets made.

As far as the statue itself, it looks great. This is classic Cassie Hack, exactly as I would want a statue of her to look.

What I like about these Femme Fatale statues is that they’re PVC, so you get a 9” statue for under fifty bucks. It’s a little pricier than an action figure would be, but it’s not a two hundred dollar statue.

21st Century Tank Girl #1 – Titan Comics (407)

It’s a pretty big deal that Jamie Hewlett is returning to Tank Girl. He’s been off doing his Gorillaz (one of the greatest bands ever created) thing for a while now. I don’t know if anybody really expected him to come back to this one. 
The blurb mentions contributions from “a host of series stalwarts and newcomers”, so I’m wondering just how much Martin and Hewlett are doing here. I mean, it’s only 32 pages. But I’m going to find out, because I love Tank Girl.

Side Note: I find it somewhat odd that this #1 issue does not offer eighty-seven variant covers.

ED-209 T-Shirt (472)

This is awesome. I don’t need any more t-shirts, but if I had the closet space I’d get this one. The design is perfect – it looks like something OCP would have given its employees at the 4th of July company picnic. Right before ED-209 blew them into millions of little gobbets of gore.

DC Movie Poster Variant Cover T-Shirts – Graphitti Designs (474)

These covers are coming out this month, so keep an eye out. There are some amazing ones. If they had done the Purple Rain Batgirl cover I would have bought it. It’s funny – the Superman ones aren’t even in my Top Ten. That Aquaman is my number two pick, though. So subtle and perfect.

Tattooine Falcon T-Shirt – Mad Engine (477)

Another triumphant design from Mad Engine! These guys must be around my age, because they produce a lot of things that punch me right in the nostalgia. I had a shirt almost exactly like this when I was eleven, except that it had no sleeves and was a Miami cityscape. I’ve never even been to Miami.

Of course, I haven’t been to Tattooine, either.

I totally believe they sell these in the Chalmun’s Cantina (or whatever it’s called in the post-EU galaxy) gift shop, right beside the thimbles and shot glasses.

Nightmare Before Christmas Select Figures – Diamond Select Toys (487-488)

DST has been upping their game with both licenses and quality lately. I’ve owned many, many NBC toys and these look top-notch. It’s going to be hard to resist these, especially the Oogie Boogie with the removable face. My only gripe is that the bases don’t appear to be interlocking. That might have actually been a big selling point for me. The idea of a massive Halloweentown diorama would have been too good for me to refuse.

Batman Classic TV Series Batgirl Statue – Diamond Select Toys (490)

If I were going to spend $200 on a statue, it would be on this Yvonne Craig Batgirl sculpted by Clayburn Moore. It’s gorgeous. 
Star Trek: The Next Generation Enterprise D Electronic Ship – Diamond Select Toys (496)

If you love TNG and you’ve got the scratch for it, I can’t recommend this beautiful ship highly enough. You can check out my review here.

Firefly Legacy Collection Action Figures – Funko (506)

We also covered these pretty thoroughly in the above linked Toy Fair posts and podcast. The crotches look weird, but otherwise they’re awesome. It’s Firefly – the greatest show ever made. These are not optional.

Aliens: Power Loader Deluxe Vehicle – NECA (508)

NECA got us good with this one. Those of us that purchased their incredible Alien Queen pretty much have to buy one of these. And it looks awesome, so I don’t have much of a problem with that. Other than the price tag, I mean. Yikes.

Side Note: Is it kind of sad that we’ll probably never see the drop ship or the troop transport, but that we’re getting a fancy forklift?

Alien: 1979 Version Quarter Scale Figure – NECA (508)

I want this something terrible, but I just can’t buy everything. And the crummy part is that if you don’t get it when it first goes on sale, the price is going to triple. The regular scale Big Chap is around fifty bucks now and rising.

Predator: Dark Horse 25th Anniversary Action Figure – NECA (508)

If you’re reading this, then I assume you’re at least a little bit of a comic book nerd. And I would also assume that you, being a right-minded individual, love Predators. This is the Predator action figure for you. It commemorates the Predator’s first appearance in comic book form from the cover of Predator #1 from Dark Horse. The color scheme perfectly matches that of the interstellar hunter’s print version. This is a great-looking figure and one of the best of NECA’s series of repaints.

Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Retro Action Figure – NECA (511)

This isn’t necessarily my favorite Jason (that would be Jason X), but this might be the best version of Jason Voorhees to make as a retro action figure (except, maybe, for Jason X). I think this one looks great and now that I’ve already fallen down NECA’s retro rabbit hole with their Misfits, Ash, and Snake Plisskin figures I might as well dive further.

Living Dead Dolls Creature from the Black Lagoon – Mezco (511)

I own one Living Dead Doll – a luchador from a Day of the Dead series a few years ago. Now I will own two. 
Of course, Mrs. Troublemaker thinks she owns them just because she owns all of the other Living Dead Dolls. But these two are mine.

Bettie Page Sixth Scale Action Doll – ? (514)

The description on this thing is crap. Is it poseable? Are the clothes removable? Will the plastic it’s made of give your dog diarrhea? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, I just mention this figure because it’s the best-looking Bettie Page likeness I’ve seen on a toy. There’ve been a few Page toys over the years and most of them have been pretty bad.

Hammer Horror Busts – Titan Merchandise (545)

These look great, but busts aren’t my thing (mostly). If they ever do a Captain Kronos series I’m going to be in trouble, though.

Masters of the Universe Mouse Pads – ? (563)

These are beautiful and I’d love to have prints of the artwork, but who pays for mouse pads?

That’s all I’ve got for this month. Start putting your pennies in your Diamond Select figural bank and remember to drop your order form off at your Local Comic Book Shop!


  1. Heh. Phantom called me a genius. hee, hee,... He might be the first to utter that word about me. Thanks, pal.

    We'll miss ya at FCBD.


    1. I wish I wasn't working.
      But that goes for pretty much any day.

    2. Understood. I recently returned to corporate life and it's put a big dent in my writing time.

  2. Man, those Batman: Animated Series figures are sweet. I want!


    1. They're great so far. I'll have reviews up for Dick Grayson Robin, Joker, and Man-Bat next week.

    2. Cool. I've not actually seen any in person yet. My bank account is already a twitter. :)