Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews August 2016: “Go Figure”

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 three months away.

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.

Hawkman and Adam Strange: Out of Time - DC (Front Cover, 116)

I don’t find it unusual that DC has paired these two up. They’ve crossed paths before. But I do find it interesting that not only are they getting a miniseries relatively early in the Rebirth launch, but also that it warrants the cover of Previews. I recognize the names of the talent involved, but I don’t know that I’ve read anything they’ve worked on before.

The story is simple enough – retired Adam Strange teams up with Hawkman to prevent war between their worlds. Sounds good.

Side Note: Hawkman’s boots are terrible.

Labyrinth Artist Tribute – BOOM Studios (1, 305)

That’s a damned respectable list of artists. I don’t love Labyrinth as much as I do The Dark Crystal, but the idea of folks as talented as these creating art inspired by this admittedly beautiful movie is exciting.

Wacky Japanese Spider-Man Action Figures - (3)

These look awesome. I’m not usually a fan of armored Spider-Mans, but this is a line that is intended to be weird and experimental. It has nothing to do with any narrative. Both Spidey and Venom look very cool. If I was made of money I’d get them both.

I guess it would be weird if I didn’t mention the Iron Man standing right there with them. He’s okay. The sculpt is nice – especially the battle damage – but the color is dull.

Halloween Comic Fest 2016 (33-39)

How awesome is it that this is a thing? Plenty of publishers are taking part in what is sort of a spookier version of Free Comic Book Day. On October 29th, we can all put on costumes and head out to the Local Comic Shop to grab some nifty free books! Contact your LCS now and urge them to plan an event!

Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 – Dark Horse (44-45)

Further adventures of the Serenity crew by Chris Roberson and superstar Buffy artist Georges Jeanty? Yes, please and thank you.

Kid-Friendly Relists – Dark Horse (77)

I love this.

If we want our favorite storytelling medium to continue, we have to be able to get the next generation into it. Marvel and DC don’t seem overly concerned about that with their overwhelmingly mature slate of titles, so it’s great to see Dark Horse putting a focus on books that everyone can enjoy.

Side Note: The other day my eight-year-old son told me he had an issue of Detective Comics that I knew was recent (it was one of the variant LEGO covers that we had bought to put aside for him). I was immediately concerned that he might have actually read it. How messed up is it that I have to worry about my kid reading a Batman comic book?
More on this down below in “Unaffiliated Thoughts”. Which will be slightly more affiliated this month.

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #1 – DC (80)

I’m a sucker for unnecessarily long titles. I also love adventures in the middle of the Earth (like Inhumanoids) and ridiculous super science. This book seems primed to make me happy. I’m gonna check it out. This whole “Young Animals” thing is off to a promising start.

Teen Titans #1 – DC (84)

My only experience with the Teen Titans is the old cartoon and the new cartoon. I know the characters well enough from various other works, but I’d love to read a Titans comic (yeah, I’ll get to the Wolfman/Pérez stuff eventually). I’m not familiar with this creative team at all, so I’ll probably wait for word of mouth. Ra’s al Ghul is one of my all-time favorite villains (probably my favorite Batman villain), so I’m hopeful that this will be good.

Side Note: I just remembered that I did have a Teen Titans comic when I was a kid. I vividly remember Cyborg on the cover and Starfire in the interiors. Because of course you’re going to remember Starfire. I think it was one of the ones where I didn’t understand what the heck was going on.

I also, now that I think about it, recall a story in one of the collections I own. I specifically remember wondering why Jericho looked like such a goober.

Superwoman #3 – DC (108)

There is something very early 80s about this cover. One of the Batman books struck me that way last month. Whatever the case, I like it a lot.

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1 – DC (115)

WOW! I didn’t know there was a new Deadman book coming! And it even has a ridiculously long title!

I thought about just waiting for the trade, because $5.99 is a lot for a comic and I’d really prefer a collection for this type of thing anyway, but I can’t. I have to have new Deadman. And look at that cover – beautiful!

Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1 – DC (119)

Must-have. I love these kinds of specials that are just about celebrating a character. I do wish it didn’t have a “#1” by the title, though. Something about that bugs me.

He-Man/Thundercats #1 – DC (122)

Oh, MAN. This is crazy. Not Batman/Ninja Turtles crazy, but still a total wish fulfillment. Now that dorks my age are in charge of things, awesome stuff like this keeps happening! I’m not crazy about the art shown here. It’s great for most of the characters, but He-Man looks weird. I’m sure it’ll be fine, though. I’m certainly not going to let it stop me from buying this dream come true.

Speaking of Batman/TMNT, this is the same artist. So it will be good.

This makes part of me regret not signing up for’s Club Thundera, but most of me is still glad I’m not having to deal with that bullshit.

DC/Dark Horse: Justice League Vol. 1 TP – DC (134)

I believe I highlighted this collection when it was offered in hardcover. If you didn’t get it then, you should now. Just look at this list of talent: David Michelinie, Alan Grant, James Robinson, Mike Kennedy, Alex Maleev, Steve Pugh, Mike Mignola, and Ryan Benjamin.
I’d buy this book if it was about a rock fighting a snail.

Sandman: Overture TP –Vertigo (146)

This was a fantastic companion to the original Sandman series. I was worried that it might feel tacked-on or unnecessary, but it’s just another example of Neil Gaiman’s magical storytelling. And J.H. Williams III, for that matter. This is a must-have for fans of the franchise.

DC Rebirth JLA Action Figure 7-Pack – DC Collectibles (152)

I really like this new scale they're providing so you can tell how big the figures are.

This is an incredible deal for some excellent figures. I own a couple of DC Collectibles’ Icons and they’re second only to Mezco’s One:12 Collective (and a heck of a lot cheaper). If you love the Justice League and would like to have figures of all of them, this is a very economical way to accomplish that. I’d be willing to bet this set doesn’t include the scads of accessories that come with the single carded releases, but this is still a heck of a deal.

Disney’s Giant Halloween Hex #1 - IDW (181)

I love Disney Halloween specials, and so should you! That sub cover is fantastic, but IDW’s requirements to get such covers make them tough to get. I had always thought they were just options that customers with in-store subs could ask for, but it turns out the retailer has to order a certain number of copies of a book to get them. that broke my heart a couple of years ago when Berkeley Breathed did some variant covers.

Super Weird Heroes – Yoe Books/IDW (189)

I would love to pick this up, but I can’t see shelling out fifty bucks just to laugh at some weird shit. Ten years ago I would have, but responsibility and stuff.

Champions #1 - Marvel (Cover, M2-3)

This is great! I never predict anything correctly outside of pro wrestling, so I feel pretty darn good about calling this last month. My hope would be that this is a bright, hopeful title that is appropriate for all ages and avoids the grim, grinding tone of dread that the Marvel Universe seems to be these days.

I’ll read anything by Mark Waid. I know I’ve said before that I didn’t like Humberto Ramos’ work on specific titles, but I love his work when I feel it’s appropriate for the book. And it’s perfect for this one.

Granted, I’ll probably drop this six issues in when Marvel crosses it over with every other book they publish, but I’m still excited for it.

Champions: No Time for Losers #1 - Marvel (M5)

I’ve never read any of the original Champions books, but between this image and the description, it sounds like I need to. Eight bucks for five issues isn’t bad. I’ll pick this up, if only to see if Iceman and Hercules are checking each other out.

Jessica Jones #1 - Marvel (M42-43)

I loved the character of Jessica Jones on the Netflix show and I know that pretty much all of that came from Brian Michael Bendis, but I can’t help but be wary of this book. Bendis is responsible for the best ongoing comic book I have ever read, but also responsible for some of the most unreadable drek I’ve ever seen printed. Hopefully he can work the same magic he did in the original Alias series and bring us some great new stories with this troubled lady.

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #4 - Marvel (M44-45)

Machine Man and Domino are characters I like quite a bit. I haven’t been reading this because I just can’t read everything. Heck, I couldn’t even read everything just by Cullen Bunn – the guy is writing about fifty titles a month. But this makes me curious. And it’s the start of a new arc, so it’s a good jumping-on point.

Plus, I don’t remember any of the Deadpool books crossing over with other stuff. Not in a serious way, anyhow.

CAGE! #1 - Marvel (M46-47)

At long last, Genndy Tartakovsky’s vision of Luke Cage is seeing print! The creator of Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, and the incredible animated Star Wars: Clone Wars is bringing his unique perspective to Power Man. I’m dying to see this. If we’re lucky, maybe Marvel will animate it.

The Punisher Annual #1 - Marvel (M78)

One of the co-creators of The Punisher is writing about Frank Castle dealing with Halloween. It’s bound to be entertaining. I love it when the publishers do special things like this. It could be just another annual (granted, it probably would have been written by Becky Cloonan and still would have been awesome), but why not do a Halloween story at Halloween?

Enchanted Tiki Room #1 (of 5) - Marvel (M96-97)

This looks like an awful lot of fun and all of the Marvel Disney books that I’ve read have been great, but I just can’t buy a Tiki comic that doesn’t have the names Mike Gordon and Peter Cutler on the front.

Star Wars Original Marvel Comics Vol. 1 TPB - Marvel (M122)

I’m not typing out that ridiculously overwrought title.

I’ve read the original Star Wars comics many times; especially the ones being reprinted here. When I was a kid they left me equal parts delighted and confused. As I got older and re-read them alongside the EU stuff from Dark Horse and the novels, the Marvel Comics just didn’t fit, despite the ongoing EU drawing from it from time to time.

A few years ago I bought a stack for cheap and they didn’t do much for me. But now, at the ripe old age of 40 and with appreciation and tolerance for all different kinds and tones of storytelling, I think it might be time to revisit Jaxxon the space rabbit, who I hated even when I was a kid (sorry, Joe).

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 1 TPB - Marvel (M123)

Everybody loved Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens. If you want more of the guy, this is the place. The first six issues are a lot of fun and flesh put the post-ROTJ galaxy more than anything else I’ve read so far (I haven’t read those present-tense books; I can’t).

The Unbelievable Gwenpool Vol. 1 TPB - Marvel (M133)

Think of me what you will, but I recommend the heck out of this book. It gets Phantom’s Highest Marks. The story is pure fun and the art is dynamic and a joy to behold.

Black Widow Vo. 1 TPB - Marvel (M145)

From the guys behind Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Daredevil comes Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow!

I know that was a tough sentence. I’m tired.

Buy this. It’s great. Everything these guys do together is golden. And if you haven’t read their run on Daredevil, just go and buy it all right now. It’s incredible. Just writing about it right now is making me want to read it again. And don’t be all cynical and think, “Well that’s the one that everybody likes, so I’m not reading it because I’m cool”. Yes, everybody likes it. For a reason!

Runaways Vo. 1 - Marvel (M154)

Man, Marvel is making me write up a lot of trades this month!

This is the series that made me fall in love with Brian K. Vaughn, who writes Saga, the greatest comic book ever published. It’s about the children of superpowered people discovering that everything is not what it seems in their world. This, too, gets my highest recommendation. It’s an essential part of any true comic book fan’s collection.

Archie Meets The Ramones #1 – Archie Comics (284)

I love The Ramones. I love comic books. I can enjoy Archie comics when they’re done a certain way. Not that I think this will be all grim and gruesome like Afterlife With Archie; the opposite, in fact. It should be tons of fun.

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York #1 – BOOM! (302-303)

I have to address this because it involves my favorite movie of all time and one of my other favorite movies, both by my favorite director.

I don’t like anything that BOOM! has done with these properties. I dropped the Big Trouble in Little China comic after four issues of trying really hard to like it. I felt obligated to like it. I wanted to like it. But it was too much of a cartoon for me. Personally, I felt like they totally missed the tone of the movie.

I dropped their Escape from New York comic after one issue because I didn’t care for the art. As I’ve said so many times before, I love cartoons and cartoonists, but it needs to match the subject matter.

Greg Pak is a talented writer, but firstly I’m not that interested in these worlds crossing over and second BOOM!’s track record leaves something to be desired. I’m not saying the stuff is bad, it’s just not what I want from these franchises. Kind of like Sammy Hagar with Van Halen.

Homies #1 – Dynamite (342-343)

I don’t know if you remember Homies, but I still have a bunch of them. They were little plastic figures of Latino stereotypes that came out of quarter machines. They first came out in 1998. Every Toys R Us and quite a few Krogers and Walmarts had the machines up front, so I’d always drop my spare change in and get a couple. I used to carry cash back then.
I think I might have actually been more financially responsible. Maybe I should ditch the debit and credit cards.

Anyway, Homies creator David Gonzalez is doing a comic book based on the characters, which I think is pretty neat.

Harley Quinn #1 Jae Lee Cover – Dynamic Forces (365)

I almost didn’t post this because I feel like such a chump for ordering it, but I always try to be straight with you guys.

From her days on Batman: The Animated Series to the Arkham video games to her current solo series, I have always loved Harley. Nothing will ever top the original animated version voiced by Arleen Sorkin, but I dig the current comic book version as written by the genius power coupling of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.

Jae Lee is one of my all-time favorite comic book artists and the only other comic I’ve ever bought from Dynamic Forces was an issue of Transformers/GI Joe that he illustrated and did the cover.

I have to get this. It’s one of those things that will leave a tangible hole in my collection if I don’t. It hits two sweet spots for me, so I’m gonna shell out the twenty bucks and be glad I did. I didn’t order the autographed version because, to me, autographs don’t mean anything if I didn’t get them myself.

Plus, the illustration has a bunch of dogs on it. As you guys all know, I love dogs, too.

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend - :01 First Second (372)

This is one of the most wonderful graphic novels I have ever read. It’s a sweet story of Andre Roussimoff’s life, as told to Box Brown by many different individuals. The illustration is beautiful, simple, and compelling. This is another that gets my highest recommendation.
Check out my interview with Box Brown on Needless Things Podcast Episode 27!

Boba Fett Backpack (536)

I do not need a backpack. But I want this one so bad. The Alliance pilot style one next to it looks cool, too, but I actually prefer the older model.

Batman 1989 Movie Watch (550)

If you need a Batman watch and you need it to be very specific about which Batman you prefer getting your chronal information from, DC has you covered. As much as I love this Batman, and as classy as everything surrounding that Bat Symbol looks, the symbol itself looks a little cheap in the middle of that watch face.

One:12 Collective Action Figures - Mezco (556-557)

The amazing just keeps coming. This month we have the opportunity to order Space Ghost, Frankenstein, Reverse Flash, and Superman. I want all of them, but I have to be practical. I have a lot of Frankenstein action figures, so I’m just going to have to let that one go. I already preordered the Entertainment Earth Excusive Glow-in-the-Dark Space Ghost, so I don’t need this one. I like this Superman an awful lot and don’t have a good comic book Superman figure. He might be on the order form.

As for Reverse Flash, I am only now getting into the comics where this guy shows up and I don’t feel attached enough to pay $80 for a figure of him.

Oh, and this will probably be the first Superman figure that can be posed to look like he’s actually facing forward while flying. That alone makes it worthwhile.

DC Comics 8-Inch Action Figures – Figures Toy Company (557-558)

If you dig action figures with fabric clothes but need a more affordable alternative, our pals at Figures Toy Company do a fantastic job bringing the Mego style back to life. They cover everything from Superfriends to comic style to the Batman television series. They’re also producing what I think is the best-looking Ra’s al Ghul figure ever.

Twelfth Doctor 2nd Sonic Screwdriver – Underground Toys (559)

This will be the first sonic screwdriver that I do not purchase, and that makes me very sad. Doctor Who has changed into a completely different kind of show since it’s 2005 return, and it’s not something that I love anymore. This sonic is very symbolic of that. It’s flashy and artificial and has the appearance of something that was designed to look cool without a thought to function.

Except for the looking cool part. It looks effing stupid. I can’t believe a grown man is going to hold this on what was once my favorite television show of all time.

Suicide Squad 10-Inch Plushes (571)

These look awful and Joker and Harley are the wrong color. I wouldn’t throw a free dart at a balloon to win one. Let’s move on.

Ring of Honor Action Figures – Figures Toy Company (574)

Jay Lethal, the Briscoes, and Kevin Steen (now Owens) make up the first series of Ring of Honor action figures! Hear all about them on Episode 45 of the Needless Things Podcast!

Table Museum: The Vitruvian Man Figma - FREEing (605)

I’m sorry. But seriously. Little plastic weiner.

A Clockwork Orange Alex RAH Figure – MEDICOM (611)

$389.99 is a little steep for me. If Diamond wants to do a line of characters from Stanley Kubrick movies, I’ll preorder them right effing now. But that’s a heck of a lot of loot to drop on a sixth scale psycho.

Suicide Squad MAF EX Action Figures – MEDICOM (619)

I promise I am not starting down some crazy path where I start spending ludicrous amounts of money on action figures. But I have grown pretty tired of reviewing the same kinds of figures over and over again. I’ve decided I’m going to buy the various Harleys that are coming out so that I can not only review them but compare the releases from the various import toy companies that I’ve been seeing so much about over the years.

I’ll keep the best one and put the rest into the Patreon Mystery Boxes. Click that link and help a brother out!

Toy Story: Woody Robo Sheriff Star Combiner Chogokin Figure – Tamashii Nations – (622)

This is one of those dream toys. I would love to have it, but I’m not spending $169.99 on it. If any of you pick one up, let me know how rad it is.

Pick of the Month!
(that he doesn’t know about)

Cthulu Stress Doll Keychain (629)

It might seem like a small trinket this time around, but Dragon Con is fast approaching and I’d bet dollars to donuts our ol’ pal Gary could use one of these. Heading up the American Sci-Fi Classics Track - much like pimpin’ - ain’t easy.

Garbage Pail Kids Masks (641)

These are amazing! If I had anywhere to display them and had two hundred and fifty bucks to throw away, I’d totally get them! Unfortunately I’ve already got a bunch of masks I really shouldn’t have bought. I might even put them in October’s Patreon Mystery Boxes!

Howard the Duck Mug (643)

I love this, but I don’t need a mug. Not even to put pens in.


If you pick up this month’s issue of Previews and can guess which item on page 569 was my favorite, I will send you a signed piece of Phantom art and a Random-Ass Toy from the Phantom Zone!

Follow @PhantomTrblmkr on Twitter and tweet your answer to me. First correct guess wins!

Unaffiliated Thoughts

SPOILER – I am appalled by what happened to Krypto in the pages of Superman. If you don’t know, Eradicator ate him. In front of Superman’s son. Going back to being concerned about my son reading DC comics, he would be terribly upset if he had read that. He loves the DC super pets and while I understand that bad things happen or life lessons or blah, blah, blah, there is simply no good reason for that to have happened as far as I am concerned. I am a big fan of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason – the writers behind this atrocity – and I suppose they had a good reason for this, but I don’t care. I think it’s awful. I’m not boycotting DC or anything because I’m not an idiot, but I just didn’t like this at all.

I am not a fan of what I’ve heard about the animated adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke, not of Brian Azzarello’s behavior upon being asked about it. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I have spoken to people who have and it sounds like the worst has happened. You guys know I am not a social/political/whatever guy, but it seems to me that they have undermined everything that is great about Barbara Gordon in order to sell the impact of Joker’s actions. It’s pretty gross. But I’ll save further commentary until I’ve actually seen it.


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!