Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews December 2016: “Remember December”

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 are typically about three months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in February.

Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!

Justice League of America – DC (Front Cover, 72-73)

I have never read a Justice League book for more than a few issues. This isn’t because I don’t like the idea of the Justice League; I love it. I just don’t seem to have had good luck with jumping-on points.

This is an interesting team. Billed as “the roughest, toughest Justice League of all time”, I dig that nobody seems overpowered. This is a group of characters that feel like they have a reason to be on a team. Not that they’ll be good at it, but that’s part of the charm of this lineup.

I’m not overly familiar with the writer, Steve Orlando. Ivan Reis is great and, as the designer of the DC Icons action figure line it makes sense for him to be on a flagship book. I don’t know alternate artist Joe Prado, either, but DC editorial has been pretty good at matching up styles so far.

I think I’ll give this a shot. Maybe it’ll be my first Justice League success.

25 Years of Image Comics - Image (Back Cover, 192-193)

Robert Kirkman’s titles are twenty-five cents each for this month to celebrate. Pretty neat.

Vampirella #0 (of 3) – Dynamite (Inside Front Cover, 5, 326-327)

Dynamite’s last twenty-five cent introductory title, Red Sonja, did gangbusters. I don’t know if it reeled people in for the next issue, but obviously the publisher enjoyed having such high order numbers because they’re doing it again. This time around it’s a Vampirella book written by one of my favorites, Paul Cornell. I’ll have to check it out.

Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern – BOOM! Studios/DC (1, 294-295)

Star Trek/Green Lantern and Star Trek/Planet of the Apes were both great. I expect this to also be awesome. Hopefully the follow-up will be Star Trek/Green Lantern/Planet of the Apes/Doctor Who. Because why not?

The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed #1 (of 5) – Dark Horse (36)

Someday I’ll get caught up on Hellboy books. Until then, I’ll keep picking up the tie-in stuff like this.

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea – Dark Horse (40)

And this. I love these hardcover one-shots.

Batwoman: Rebirth #1 – DC (74)

DC has been handling Kate very well in the pages of Detective Comics (my favorite Rebirth book) and I hope it continues here. Marguerite Bennett is very good when she isn’t too agenda-oriented and I’ve dug everything I’ve read from James Tynion IV. I have high hopes for this book. Rebirth has been a resounding success as far as I’m concerned. I hope Batwoman continues that trend.

Super Sons #1 – DC (75)

Everything about this book looks good, but I’ve got a budget, people. I’m sure Tomasi will tell some fun stories and Damian is one of my favorites.

Deathstroke #12-13  – DC (85)

Priest is killing it with this book. A++ highly recommended. Slade Wilson is a villain. After the last issue I read, I want Priest on a Batman book. He wrote one of the best lines of Dark Knight dialogue I’ve read in years. He gets Batman and he gets Deathstroke. He knows and respects these characters and who they are in a way that many modern writers do not. Especially over at Marvel.

As a side note, looking at what DC has done and is doing with Rebirth makes Marvel’s current events look like an embarrassing mess.

Deathstroke Vol.1: The Professional TP – DC (123)

See above. This needs to be in your library.

Batman: Ego and Other Tails Deluxe Edition HC – DC (126)

I believe I have most of these Darwyn Cooke stories already, but I’m going to have to check. If you don’t, this is a collection that needs to be on your shelf. Cooke is one of the standout talents of my lifetime.

Batman by Brian K. Vaughn TP – DC (126)

Vaughn  writes Saga, which is the best comic book I have ever read. I know I’ve read some of his older superhero stuff, but I’m definitely curious to check out his work on the Dark Knight. I imagine this will be a worthy pickup.

GI Joe #3 - IDW (160)

I got three pages into the first issue and had to put it down because of the art. Not my bag. Especially not on a Joe book. I wish someone other than IDW had this license.

Judge Dredd Annual #1 - IDW (168)

I can’t help but notice the JUDGE LUCHADOR ON THE COVER OF THIS BOOK:

It’s been years since I’ve read a Judge Dredd comic book, but that has me intrigued. Unfortunately, the description makes it sound like this thing is pretty heavily steeped in continuity.

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (of 5) - Marvel (M98-99)

Cullen Bunn writes a shit ton of books. I’ve liked just about everything I’ve read of his, but that represents only a tiny fraction of what he actually produces. I have faith that this will be good, though, because Marvel’s track record with Star Wars since they got it back is almost perfect.

Plus, I’m just really interested in reading about Mauls’ time as an apprentice. It’s one of those things that I don’t think even the old EU covered.

Deadpool: Bad Blood OGN-HC - Marvel (M106-107)

This demands comment.

I loved Rob Liefeld’s stuff when I was younger. I didn’t notice his failings, I just enjoyed the explosive, dynamic look of his work. It wasn’t until the internet told me he sucked that I began to perceive the flaws. Overall I still have a mostly favorable impression of the guy. He was a young hotshot that got an opportunity. Good for him.

Having said that, I’ll wait for word of mouth. I think it’s cool that Marvel is publishing this, though.

X-Book Epic Collections - Marvel (M128-131)

Marvel continues to indicate their renewed interest in the mutant side of things with several Epic Collections of the material I grew up with. I am not entirely familiar with the format. If these are simply large trade paperback collections I want all of them, but if they’re like the old black and white reprints (the name of the line is escaping me), I’m not interested.

I used to own the single issues of most of these, but time and bad decisions have left me lacking. At the very least I want the Excalibur collection.

Bedtime Stories for Impressionable Children #1 – American Mythology (265)

Jim Shooter writing horror? I’m in.

The Explorer’s Guild Volume 1: A Passage to Shambala – Atria Books (275-276)

Art by Rick Ross, written by Jon Baird and… Kevin Costner?

What? Like, actor Kevin Costner? The guy that’s seemingly devoid of emotion and talent? Superman’s nihilist father?

Neither the ad nor the listing specify, but how many Kevin Costners are out there? Putting aside my feelings about the bizarrely successful actor, this looks very cool. The bits of art shown are nice and the presentation is certainly stylish.

Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal #1 (of 12) – BOOM! Studios (296-297)

Lisa Henson’s message about this comic book is powerful and sincere. It got me really excited for this direct sequel to The Dark Crystal, in which Jen and Kira are now monarchs but perhaps no longer heroes. The concept of growing old and losing your heart resonates very strongly with me and that seems to be one of the themes here. Everyone involved seems to be taking this project very seriously and treating it with the utmost respect, so I’m on board. Normally I’d wait for the trade for something like this, but I’m too excited to begin this new story on the world of Thra.

The Shadow: The Death of Margo Lane LE HC - Dynamite (329)

I’ll pick up pretty much anything by Matt Wagner. But this, in particular, was of interest to me. I have a soft spot for The Shadow because of my dad. Years ago in trying to find some kind of connection with his weird son that hated sports and only seemed to like comic books and movies, he got me a collection of tapes of the old Shadow radio show. To my surprise, I ended up enjoying them.

I collected this story as the single issues were published and I think even if you don’t know much about Lamont Cranston you’d enjoy this adventure tale.

Madballs Volume 1 HC – Lion Forge (371)

I have the full run of single issues of this new Madballs comic and I thought it was awesome. The creators involved knew the source material and hit the tone perfectly. This series really took me back to the fun of those old Star comics from the 80s (which I also have).

Judge Dredd: Cursed Earth Saga Uncensored TP – 2000 AD (3861)

February will mark the 40th anniversary of 2000 AD magazine, a landmark of science fiction and pop culture. To celebrate, they’re releasing a number of special editions. The one I’m most excited about is the first-time unedited collection of “The Cursed Earth Saga”, one of the most famous Judge Dredd stories and the one referenced in Anthrax’s ode to Dredd, “I Am the Law”. I’ve never read the whole thing, so this is a great opportunity.

For reference, this will be the first collection to feature the gang wars between Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, and the Jolly Green Giant. They were originally used without permission and the corporations obviously sued. In 2014 European law changed to allow parody usage of copyrighted characters and 2000 AD immediately went to work putting this edition together.

Charlie the Choo-Choo (451)

If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, this is a must-have. It’s perfectly executed. Almost too perfectly. I actually felt a bit uneasy while reading it.

Gotham TV Select Series 4 – Diamond Select Toys (483)

Gotham might be the television show that I most look forward to watching. It’s completely bonkers and has little, if any, relation to anything that has ever happened in a comic book published by DC. But it’s fun and the characters are awesome and the actors are all-in.
I bought the Alfred action figure with the intent to have Sean Pertwee sign it at Dragon Con. Sadly I never found the time to locate Mr. Pertwee, so now I just have this one Gotham figure. It’s pretty darn good, as opposed to the Barbara figure I saw recently that tragically looks nothing like Erin Richards.

Anyway, I wouldn’t mind having all three of these figures if I was collecting the line. Hugo Strange is one of my favorite Batman villains and BD Wong was amazing in the role. Azrael is one of the most costume-y characters we’ve seen. Except, of course, for this Mr. Freeze, who looks like a cross between the versions from the Arkham video game series and the old TV show and Arnold’s. I mean that as a good thing.

The biggest temptation for me to order these is actually the accessories. Strange comes with an Arkham Asylum restraint chair and the other two come with the parts to make an entire holding cell. Between that and the gate piece that came with Barbara, DST is on its way to an Arkham Asylum build-a-playset.

iZombie Season 2 Liv Moore – Diamond Select Toys (484)

This figure looks great, but I don’t like it as much as I do the season 1 figure. I’d like to see more characters from the show.

Marvel Gallery Gwenpool PVC Figure (487)

I love the Gwenpool comic and I want a figure of Ms. Poole ASAP. But I don’t think that this is that figure, as great as it looks. I want a Select figure or, even better, a Marvel Legend. Heck, I’d shell out for a One:12 Collective version, but at the rate Mezco is releasing those it’d be 2021 before it came out.

Side Note: I have no problem with how slowly Mezco is releasing those. I’d rather them be perfect and be delayed twenty times than be shoddy and come out on time.

One:12 Collective Previews Exclusive Action Figures - Mezco (500-503)

Arsenal, Black Adam, and Red Son Superman are considered variants of Green Arrow, Shazam, and Superman. As such, these are Previews Exclusives like Reverse Flash and Cursed Earth Judge Dredd before them. I love how Mezco looks at variants.

These are the best action figures ever made. Yes, they’re pricey. But they’re some of the only toys I’m collecting right now that I feel are truly worth what I’m paying for them. I don’t need Arsenal and I don’t care much about Red Son Superman, but that Black Adam is on my list.

Madballs - Kidrobot (504-505)


I can’t believe Madballs are finally back! I have been waiting patiently for my Mondo Madballs to ship (should be soon). In the meantime, it was announced that Kidrobot and Just Play would be releasing their own lines of Madballs.

Truly, these are the best of times.

This month’s Previews features Kidrobot’s Madballs, including large and small vinyl versions, classic foam toys, and keychains. The keychains are currently available from Kidrobot’s website and I already ordered some because I CAN’T WAIT.

Hellraiser: Pinhead Life-Size Bust – Hollywood Collectibles(516)


I love the Hellraiser movies and comics and the whole world and concept of the Cenobites, but no way is this thing gonna be in my house. Not because it’s seven hundred dollars – though that is relevant – but because Pinhead is fucking terrifying and I would never sleep again. Especially considering how realistic this thing looks.

I met Doug Bradley once and could barely even look at him and that wasn’t even in makeup.

One:12 Collective Red Skull Action Figure - Mezco (517)

Man, this one looks so good. They all do, but Red Skull is one of the ones that really caught my eye. That being said, I don’t love Red Skull. If this was Magneto or Doctor Doom it would be a different story. And I’m sure Mezco will get to those sooner or later.

Masters of the Universe M.O.T.U.S.C.L.E. Figures – Super 7 (517)

I bought the big box set that Super 7 offered for SDCC and it included both of the first series. They’re green and not pink, but I can’t justify buying them again. You, on the other hand, totally should if you don’t own them. These are fun little figures that perfectly meld the aesthetics of both toy lines they represent. Me and Phantom, Jr. had fun playing with them.

(that he doesn’t know about)

Komoda’s Cthulu Polystone Statue - Gecco (553)

This is, by far, the scariest damn Cthulu thing I’ve ever seen. I feel my sanity slipping away as I write. Let’s move on.

Suicide Squad MafEx Action Figures - Medicom (554)

I don’t own one of these MafEx figures yet, but I’m anxious to. I started noticing them a year or so ago, but none of the characters they were offering were anything that I felt like I needed. Joker and Harley, though, are characters I want. I loved Suicide Squad, warts and all. The only thing that truly disappointed me was that there weren’t any quality toys. Hopefully these are them.

ThreeA X Marvel: Black Widow 1/6 Scale Figure - ThreeA (575)

This is an awesome-looking action figure. I’ve liked all of ThreeA’s weird takes on Marvel Charatcers, but I feel like this Black Widow is the coolest one so far.

Deep Blur Diver 1/6 Scale PVC Figure - Coreplay (577)

Another awesome, stylized action figure. I’m not familiar with Coreplay, but they’ve definitely got cool sensibilities.  

Unaffiliated Thoughts

Heroes v Aliens was a whole lot of fun. You still had characters acting stupid (“I can’t trust you, Supergirl”) and weird narrative cheats (cyborg woman who shows up just to be a plot device), but the fun and excitement outweighed the dumb, which is my personal requirement for good entertainment.

Let me know what you’re looking forward to in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!


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!

If you enjoy comic books, toy collecting, or Needless Things, you might enjoy

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