Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews January 2017: “Where For Art Thou, Kaare?”

By Phantom Troublemaker

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 March.

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

Before I get into the contents, I want to acknowledge the changes to Previews’ exterior. There’s a new flat finish on the cover that I like a lot. I also dig the lower profile month/date/website in the top left corner. The book looks classier.

American Gods – Dark Horse (Front Cover, 56-59)

I don’t know a thing about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods other than it is soon to be a TV show. I know plenty of people love the book and that the creative team on this comic is a blockbuster team. This will be a huge hit for Dark Horse, I’m sure. I guess I need to read the book.

Hellboy and the BPRD: 1954 – Ghost Moon #1 (of 2) (60-61)

Okay, publishers – if you absolutely have to release new number one issues all the time, this is the way to do it. Just keep putting out miniseries that go however many issues they need to.

I’ve loved the ongoing Hellboy 195_ books and will keep buying them regardless of numbering.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium HC (78)

This is essentially a He-Man encyclopedia. Basically, if you’re not fortunate enough to have Mister Beau Brown at your disposal, this is all of the Masters information you might ever need to know. Heck, I can shoot Beau a question pretty much any time I want and I’ll still be ordering this!

Dark Horse has done a fantastic job with these special release Masters of the Universe books and I can’t wait to see how thorough and beautiful this one is.

Batwoman #1 – DC (98)

I can’t help but be excited for a new Kate Kane book with James Tynion IV involved. I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read for Marguerite Bennett as long as she stays on track. It’s a shame when a writer lets an agenda interfere with their narrative. Here’s hoping DC will be a good environment for Bennett.

Teen Titans #6 – DC (118)

Teen Titans was one of the Rebirth books I wanted to put on my list, but just couldn’t justify. Now that they’re bringing Kaldur into the book I think I’m going to have to add it. I absolutely loved his character on Young Justice, and while there’s no guarantee that this version will do the animated Aqualad justice, I want to check it out. With a third season of the excellent series on the way (someday), I’m hoping they’ll take good care of my favorite Aqualad.

All-Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy HC  – DC (140)

Recommended. Scott Snyder is telling a fascinating story and is using a lot of older characters in interesting ways. “Batman and Two-Face on a road trip” doesn’t quite sum up what this book is. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. If you skipped it, this collection is worth your money. Or at least the trade paperback when it hits.

Batman Vol 2: I Am Suicide TP – DC (141)

Tom King has totally won me over as the new Bat writer. I am thoroughly enjoying his take on the Dark Knight and the stories he is telling. Something about King’s vision of Batman and Gotham feels very much like home to me, like the comics I grew up reading.

Superman: The Animated Series Action Figure 2-Pack – DC Collectibles (160)

This is it. The first DC Collectibles Animated releases to be out from under the “Batman” banner. This paves the way for the rest of the DC Animated Universe to be immortalized in articulated, plastic form. Even as I gaze at Superman’s ugly hip joints, I am excited.

DC Icons: Blue and Gold Action Figure 2-Pack – DC Collectibles (164)

Delightful! If I was collecting the Icons line, I would absolutely be ordering this set. They look amazing and are even different heights – Booster is 6.38” and Blue Beetle is 6.25”. They even use distinctly different bodies, unlike the DC Universe Classics versions I have. Granted, those cost half as much…

Deviations - IDW (166-170)

The “Deviations” titles I picked up last year were pretty entertaining, so I’m happy to see IDW continuing the concept. I’ll pick up the Star Trek and Judge Dredd. I hope they’re planning more.

Deviations: Alpha HC - IDW (171)

Speaking of last year’s “Deviations” titles, this is them. I think Ghostbusters is the one I didn’t; particularly care for, but this collection is worth your dollars.

The Complete Phonogram HC - Image (249)

Until recently I adored The Wicked + The Divine (the artist shuffle last year and the magazine style issue turned me off). Have any of you guys read this? I know how great Gillen and McKelvie can be, but I also know I’m not always on board with what they do. I’d like to have an idea of where Phonogram lies on the entertainment/masturbation front before I order.

X-Men Prime - Marvel (Cover, 16-17)

Man, this art is garbage. It appears to be credited to Ardian Syaf, whose name I know but can’t place. Regardless, I can’t believe this is the image that Marvel chose to put their best mutant foot forward for a new X-Men initiative.

Putting my own personal opinion about that cover art aside, Marvel has made such a mess of the mutants that I don’t know if I will ever care or be compelled to come back. It will take a lot of trusted word of mouth to get me to spend my hard-earned dollars on a modern Marvel X book.

Correction – there is a poster of this cover being offered in the back of Marvel’s Previews and it is credited to Ken Lashley. That name I do not know.

Iron Fist #1 - Marvel (M20-21)

Obviously Iron fist gets a new book, what with the show hitting Netflix on March, but I want to know what happened to Kaare Andrews’ story. His Iron Fist book was awesome and I was hoping to see a follow-up with Danny and the little Kung-Fu girl and her dragon. I’m not begrudging anyone the opportunity to tell their Iron Fist story, but I want more of that one.

Spider-Woman #17 - Marvel (M46)

I have caught back up with Spider-Woman – my pick for best ongoing comic book of 2016 – and I still give it my highest recommendation. Just thought I’d mention that here.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude #1 - Marvel (M49)

Marvel has always published these MCU cash grabs tie-ins, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one. But I really want more of this particular Spider-Man. Especially since my preferred version of the wall crawler – the one in Spidey has been cancelled (GRRRRRR). Are these ever relevant or, more importantly, any good? Phantom needs to know.

Mockingbird Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda TPB - Marvel (M134)

Agenda or no, this was an excellent book that I was sorry to see concluded. But, as I often say, better to go out strong that to stick around long enough to become tiresome. Buy this or wait for the inevitable omnibus of the full run.

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon Complete Collection - Marvel (M136)

Oh, look – it’s that thing I mentioned earlier!

Buy this. I love Kaare Andrews’ work and his Iron Fist story is fantastic. This belongs on your shelf. Even though I still have the single issues, I might buy this just to have the collection handy.

Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality #1 – Black Mask (306)

Somehow I missed the first volume of this book. I’m going to have to track it down and this is definitely going on my pull list. 

Look at this art!

Luke Cage T-Shirts (506)

This is the kind of merchandise that I really dig. In-universe stuff is the coolest kind of geek wear that gets made, and it’s so nice when it isn’t adorned with company logos or copyright BS. These are both great-looking shirts with simple, believable designs.

Disney Showcase: Art Deco Collection Figures – Enesco (539)

These are awesome. I don’t normally make too much of a fuss over Disney’s villains, but these are just cool as heck. I hope my wife wants them, because I want to buy them.

Dragon Figurines – Safari, Ltd. (541)

Look at these! These are adorable! The “PI” (please inquire) price point is not a great sign, but these are nifty, well-done dragons. I love the variety of forms and colors. I want to see these in person. They’re listed as miniatures with no size reference. More information is needed, Safari, Ltd.

Table Museum: The Scream - FREEing (595)

These Table Museum figures came to my attention recently. I’m pretty sure I laughed about the penis on DaVinci’s anatomy guy last month. The ones that got me were this one and the Thinker. I really want them in my collection. Just thinking about all of the fun things I can do with a The Scream figure is exciting. I just hate to have to wait until June to have it.

Star Wars Die-Cast Action Figures - HEROCROSS (604)

I LOVE the look of these.

They’re superdeformed, very expensive, and small for the price, but they look great. I won’t buy any – not even Boba Fett – but I have to admire the design and craftsmanship of these figures. If they were plastic and twenty bucks apiece, I might start a new collection.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

Speaking of Marvel Covers, someone by the name of Elizabeth Torque is doing some and they are fantastic. I am not familiar with this lady, but her work is awesome.

Justice League Action! made its debut on December 16th. It took us a while to get around to watching the hour-long premiere and I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t love the animation or the tone. But I historically haven’t loved many of the DC cartoons at first, so it may just take some adjusting on my part.

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 comics, toy collecting, or Needless Things, you might enjoy

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