Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews July 2017: “Where For Art Thou, Toys?”

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 two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in September.

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

Marvel: Legacy – Marvel Comics (Front Cover)

Ugh. I know I’ve been kind of an asshole about Marvel Comics for the past couple of years, but I can’t help it. Over and over again I try their books and they simply aren’t good. And if they are, they get cancelled. The House of Ideas has problems everywhere from editorial to the seemingly simple task of keeping artistic teams consistent. I’m over it and waiting for a new regime to assume control before I truly care again. I think most of the people working for Marvel now are just so deep into the creatively corrupt quagmire that even if they have good intentions (or, God forbid, ideas), the powers that be are so hapless and set on the wrong course (or no course) that very little headway can ever be made.

I can’t muster any real enthusiasm for Legacy. The best case scenario is that Marvel is just straight-up ripping off DC’s Rebirth and will be starting fresh with a universe that incorporates the best versions of all of its characters and their histories without worrying too much about recent continuity; just moving ahead with the best possible creators and stories. Unfortunately, Marvel’s first line of talent includes a few creators that are part of the problems.

The one thing that has me wanting to pick up Legacy is the fact that Jason Aaron is writing and that he does not seem to be one of the problems.

Side Note: Because of the world that we live in now, I have to be clear about the fact that I do not think that Marvel’s younger legacy characters are part of the problem. I was excited about Champions until I discovered that Mark Waid’s normally incredible writing skills do not extend to subtly inserting his political agenda.

As I’ve said many times – comics should be political. But in a way that is subversive and intelligent. Not in a way that feels smug and condescending. Nobody learns from that.
Side Note 2: Is it telling that Marvel felt the need to put this on the front cover of the main Previews book? For quite some time now they’ve been content to keep their product on their own little book.

Dark Knights: Metal – DC Comics (Back Cover)

Then, waaaaay on the other end of my personal enthusiasm spectrum, you’ll find Dark Knights: Metal. Whatever story Snyder and Capullo are setting up with Dark Days: The Forge seems awesome. I don’t read too much about it because I want it to unfold organically for me, but that first issue was super cool.

Halloween ComicFest – October 28, 2017 (32-43)

Various publishers will offer FREE comic books (sometimes loosely) celebrating the season! Visit to find out more!

Hellboy and the BPRD 1955 – Occult Intelligence #1 (of 5) – Dark Horse (48-49)

I’ve loved these looks back in time at Hellboy’s earliest adventures. Recommended.

Aliens: Dead Orbit TP – Dark Horse (56)

This should read better as a collection. The art has been gorgeous and the story is engaging enough, but the first two issues left me a little flummoxed as to what was going on. I think this one-man project will be more cohesive when I can take it all in at once. I’ll be saving the remainder of the issues until then.

Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens: Splice and Dice TP – Dark Horse (57)

I trade waited this one, hoping that I would remember to order it. I’m excited to read it.

Black Hammer #13 – Dark Horse (60)

This book has been consistently satisfying from the start. If you love the history of superheroes and want a unique story about the archetypes you know without the messy modern continuity, give this book a shot.

Dark Knights: Metal Tie-Ins – DC Comics (80-81, 83)

This is my preferred method of event tie-ins – one-shot issues that feature the characters but do not interfere with the regular ongoing series. I still don’t quite know what the overall story is going to be here, but I’m all for monstrous, Elseworlds-style versions of our heroes!

Uh-oh… Perhaps I spoke too soon. It looks like DC is letting this event intrude into their regular comics. While they still have my trust right now, I am less enthused about this development. I just started buying Teen Titans because it was so good, but I don’t want to have to pick up Suicide Squad and Nightwing. If this was Marvel, I’d drop Teen Titans, but maybe I’ll give this a chance.

Batwoman #7 – DC (91)

I thought that the first arc of the new Batwoman book was very good. It didn’t electrify me, but the story and art were satisfying and it was great at not being “Batman, but with boobs”. The creative team told a very different kind of story and I dug it. Hopefully this series continues to get even further afield of what we tend to expect from the Bat Family.
Also, that cover is super creepy.

Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special #1 – DC (115)

This kind of stuff always appeals to me – the one-shot anthology tribute. I probably wouldn’t have gone with the cover art featuring another Jim Lee drawing of a vacuous, personality-free Harley, though. Seriously – take away the colors and the “Daddy’s Little Monster” on the shirt and that could be literally any female character.

See? I can be an asshole about DC, too.

Wonder Woman/Conan #1 – DC/Dark Horse (116)


This is an awesome idea. I hope it’s good. I haven’t enjoyed the last couple of projects I’ve read from Gail Simone, so I’m going to trade wait this one and hope for good word of mouth.

Batman: Night of the Monster Men TP – DC (132)

I thoroughly enjoyed this Bat Family crossover, but I know that there are some that didn’t. If you like crazy monster stuff and witnessing the dynamics between the various personalities that Batman has chosen to surround himself with, then give this a shot.

Batman: Hush 15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC – DC (137)

This story got me back into comics. I returned to my Local Comic Shop after an absence and asked for the hot thing. They told me to pick up the recently released Hush Vol. 1 hardcover. I did and I loved it. I picked up the rest of the story as it came out and, as a result of visiting the shop regularly, started collecting again.

I haven’t read Hush in years. I’ve seen criticisms of it and am curious to revisit it. I might do so with this edition, as my collection is a mess right now and it might be a huge hassle to dig up the old individual issues.

Batgirl: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 1 HC – DC (138)

It’s getting harder and harder for me to justify spending money on these omnibus editions as I watch my pile of unread collections grow. I simply can’t keep up with those and with my regular, monthly (or more) titles. I have read several Barbara Gordon stories from this era and would love to read more, but I know this would just add to the pile and sit there for the next five years (or more).

The Demon by Jack Kirby TP – DC (139)

The same goes for this one. I know Etrigan entirely from his appearances in other characters’ stories, probably starting with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. I’d love to read the original stuff by the King! But I have no idea how long it would take me to get around to it.

Batman Black & White: John Romita Jr. Statue – DC Collectibles (150)

Hayyyyy, gurl”

Rock Candy Mountain Vo. 1 TP - Image (207)

Another excellent yearn from Kyle Starks! I didn’t realize it wasn’t a miniseries, so that “Vol. 1” up there made me pretty happy.

The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan! HC - Image (208)

This collects the Negan origin story that originally ran in Image+. I read the first chapter as part of my review of the first Image+. As a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic book (just the comic book), I knew I wanted to read this, but also knew that I could wait until it was collected.

Venomverse - Marvel (Cover, M32-37)
Jiminy Christmas.

Some might scoff at the ridiculousness of the concept. Some might recall Maximum Carnage (which spawned a fun video game with a RED CARTRIDGE) or Planet of the Symbiotes. Some might fail to see how Venom is worthy of a solo book, let alone an event (I don’t understand those people).

Personally, I’m all for this. The concept is clearly (to me, anyway) meant as a tongue-in-cheek play on events. I like when Marvel takes this “Why the Heck Not?” approach to doing things rather than the overly serious self-importance with which they treat so many of their titles. This just looks like crazy fun.

Venom #154 - Marvel (M38)

The story of this entire issue takes place from the perspective of the symbiote, which I think is very cool. So cool that I might have to pick it up. I’ve liked what I’ve read of Mike Costa’s work, so I expect this will be good.

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Captain Phasma #1 & 2 - Marvel (M88-89)

I might not be as interested in this direct tie-in if it wasn’t for the solid creative team of Kelly Thompson and Marco Checchetto. I do want to know what the heck happened to Phasma on Starkiller Base and, sadly, I’m pretty sure The Last Jedi is going to be way to buys with other stuff to do anything but gloss over that aspect of the narrative.

Tomb of Dracula: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TPB - Marvel (M129)

I’ve read a few issues of this classic comic, but would definitely like to experience more.

Werewolf By Night: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TPB - Marvel (M130)

I’ve also read a few Werewolf By Night comics, but mainly know him from appearances in other books like Amazing Spider-Man. This one goes on the list because, much like me at his age, my son is into werewolves big time. This is through no influence on my part – it just happened.

Dark Ark #1 – Aftershock Comics (262)


At the same time Noah was building his ark to save all of the animals, a sorcerer is building another ark to save all of the monsters. I’m always reluctant to add brand new stuff to my pull, but this concept plus Cullen Bunn writing has me willing to take a chance.

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #1 (302-303)

This sounds like a fun idea for a Jack Burton story, even if the title is a little too on-the-nose. I haven’t been a fan of what BOOM has done with this franchise, but if I can get a look at the art for this one I might give it a chance.

Never mind. A Google image search reveals that the artists’ style is not my cup of tea. Not for this franchise, anyway. No wonder it isn’t featured in the solicits. Nothing in these pages looks anywhere near as cartoony as Jorge Corona’s work.

John Wick #1 - Dynamite (332-333)

John Wick was a surprisingly awesome movie. From what I’ve heard the sequel is just as good (I haven’t had time to check it out yet), so it’s no surprise that a comic book is happening. What is surprising is that Greg Pak is writing it. I’m very interested in this origin story and how it can fill in Wick’s background without completely removing the mystique that makes him so compelling.

Sheena #1 - Dynamite (334-335)

I never would have guessed I’d be adding a Sheena comic to my pull list, but I love Moritat’s art; particularly how he draws women. With Marguerite Bennett writing there’s a chance for eye-rolling agenda, but hopefully it’ll just be grand adventure.

The Little Red Wolf – Lion Forge (404-405)

This looks charming. I’m ordering it for Mrs. Troublemaker for Christmas. Don’t tell her.

Side Note: Shop for neato stuff throughout the year and save it. It makes the holidays much less stressful.

Hammer Comics: Captain Kronos #1 – Titan Comics (432-433)

One of my favorite movies of all time is getting a comic book with a very good creative team. I am very excited. If you haven’t experienced Hammer’s magnificent Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, I recommend you do so immediately.

Grimm Fairy Tales 2017 Halloween Edition – Zenescope (482)

Zenescope knows how to do holiday editions. I’m very comfortable recommending any of their specials to anyone that enjoys fun anthology comics.

Alien Glow-in-the-Dark T-Shirt (522)

What with all of the Alien excitement not so long ago on Needless Things, Ryan Cadaver and I ended up discussing the fact that neither of us owned any Alien shirts. For such a big franchise, there has been a remarkable shortage of apparel. This one is pretty cool, with the basic movie poster and a glow-in-the-dark facehugger overlay. I like it.

Batman: The Animated Series Harley’s Holiday Statue – Diamond Select Toys (527)

This is absolutely awesome and I’d love to have it. You guys know that I’m pretty picky about statues, but $150 for a 12” piece like this isn’t bad at all. This is one of those things where I’m going to ask the missus what she thinks and she’ll probably say we need it.

The Infernal Manor by Brandt Peters Vinyl Figure – Beautiful Plastic (547)

I don’t do high end vinyl toys, but if I did this would for sure be on my list. This thing is awesome. Actually, I just noticed that this thing is 16” tall(!), so the $150 price tag isn’t so crazy. I mean, it’s still a ton of money, but I figured it was six or eight inches, so twice the toy seems more reasonable. If you’re a crazy toy person in the first place.

Valerian 7-Inch Action Figures - NECA (?)

This is my big movie pick for the year. I have high hopes for it and truly wish I could manage my expectations, but I can’t. Luc Besson is tremendous and I like both of the leads quite a bit. All of the trailers have been magnificent. But I so wish NECA weren’t waiting until three months after the movie comes out to produce action figures because that’s probably killing any chance of a second series. Unless Valerian ends up being some kind of blockbuster juggernaut, which, regardless of how good it is, it won’t.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo ¼ Scale Action Figure - NECA (562)

I have Donatello and it’s one of my favorite action figures I have ever owned. I wish it wasn’t so darned big, but it’s excellent. Raphael and Leonardo are on order and obviously I have to have Mikey to round out the set. I doubt we’ll get a quarter scale Shredder or Splinter, and maybe that’s for the best.

If they do Splinter, I want real fur on him.

Ghost in the Shell Movie: Major 1/6 Scale Figure – Three A (593)

Your mileage may vary, but I thoroughly enjoyed Ghost in the Shell. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing it again when I buy the Blu-ray and wish there was a more expansive (and less expensive) line of toys. I would’ve bought a full set of NECA figures. This will be the first Three A product I’ve picked up, so I’m curious to see if the product lvies up to the expectations I have after years of eyeing their stuff.

Marvel X ThreeA Captain America 1/6 Scale Figure – Three A (593)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted by this unique and incredible-looking Captain America. All of Three A’s Marvel designs have been special, and this one is no exception. I’d be stoked to have this on my shelf alongside their Black Widow and Iron Man, but these prices are too high for me.

Classic Horror Enamel Pins (613)

How do I order these individually? Who’s making them? Are they hard or soft enamel? I NEED MORE DETAILS, PREVIEWS!

Golden Girls Clue Board Game – Parker Bros./Hasbro (629)

The Golden Girls Clue features a custom illustrated game board, where players attempt to solve the crime of who ate the cheesecake, what they left at the scene of the crime, and which room they did it in.”

I kid you not. I know someone who’s getting this for Christmas or whatever she celebrates.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

American Gods finished its first season and, quite frankly, I’m glad. Parts of it were incredible – mostly the ones with Emily Browning, Kristen Chenoweth, and Pablo Schreiber – but more often than not I found it a chore. I appreciate what it is and that the creators are accomplishing what they’re going for, but it’s not for me.

What is for me is Rick and Morty, which I finally got around to checking out two years after Miss Lady Flex dressed up as Sexy Rick Sanchez for The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show. I’m almost through the first season and it is a hoot and a holler.

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!

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  1. I collected Werewolf by Night and Tomb of Dracula as a kid although it was called Dracula Lives over here. It was a bw anthology with Dracula as the main story, backed up by Werewolf and Frankenstein with Brother Voodoo as a replacement for Frankenstine later in the run. My mother gave them away to one of my cousins as mums do, so I lost the run at around 15 and yes I still feel the pain. So long windedly these books are definitely on my radar, along with Captain Kronos #1 I'm keen to see if Titan can catch the magic of that film.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Robert! I think that Dan Abnett and Tom Mandrake are a great team for Captain Kronos - I hope I'm right!