Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews October 2017: “Getting It In Before Christmas”

By Dave

It’s early in the month, but it is here that we must take a break from our spooky activities to see what Diamond Distribution’s terrifying tome has in store for the future…

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 December.

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

Side Note: My copy of Previews smells kind of like vomit. Is this a Halloween thing? 

The Immortal Men – DC (Front Cover, 79)

This cover art is probably the most interesting thing I’ve seen Jim Lee do in over a decade. I don’t know how he manages to escape the flak that other 90s creators seem to attract from the internet.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved Jim Lee’s work at Marvel back then. I even loved Hush. But I can’t think of anything he’s done since then (other than apparently being a huge part of why DC Comics is the best comic book publisher right now) that has gotten me excited or even really pleased me.

I like these character designs. They’re different and exciting. And weird. But not so weird that I feel like, “What the fuck is this supposed to be?”, you know what I mean?

When this “New Age of Heroes” was first announced I was skeptical. Doubtful, even. How many times have publishers launched “exciting new heroes” with any degree of success?
If it weren’t for DC’s current level of quality and unbelievable momentum I’d dismiss this whole movement entirely, but as I mention each and every month, the Distinguished Competition has built up so much good faith with me that I’ll give anything that catches my eye a chance. I don’t even know what the story is, if it’s part of the regular DCU, or if it’s a long term plan. But I’m going to check it out. Oh, and James Tynion IV writing the thing is also a big motivator. He hasn’t let me down yet.

Side Note: I’m not gonna lie – the “UNPRECEDENTED VERTICAL FOLDOUT COVER” makes me a little nervous. But I also love gimmicks. I just wish it was die-cut and holographic.

Witchblade – Image (Back Cover, 195)

I have no feelings about this.

Back in the toy collecting boom of the late 90s and early 00s I bought just about everything that Moore Action Collectibles released because the sculpts were simply phenomenal. They were also sturdier than McFarlane’s figures. Because of that I have a few Witchblade figures but have never read a comic because my assumption was that it was just a cheesecake book.

I’m sure that will enrage Witchblade fans, and for that I apologize. I wear my ignorance on my sleeve.

Anyway, whatever kind of book it might have been back then, bigger publishers seem to make every attempt to avoid cheesecake nowadays, so Witchblade’s new look will probably involve black BDUs and a big helmet. Which is fine by me.

Halloween ComicFest – October 28, 2017 (33-39)

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

Hellboy: Krampusnacht – Dark Horse (50-51)

Obviously I am going to buy what basically amounts to a Hellboy Christmas special. The fact that the cover and interior art is done by Adam Hughes is just icing on the cake. Not that I’m super up on these things, but I didn’t know he even did interiors anymore.

The Silencer #1 – DC (81)

I’m always up for a good “spy/assassin/agent has to come out of retirement” story. The team of Dan Abnett and John Romita, Jr. doesn’t hurt, either. Plus, this ties in to established continuity with Leviathan and Talia al Ghul (answering an earlier question I had).

Batman/TMNT II #1-2 – DC/IDW (86)

The first series – and the animated version – was excellent. I’m on board for anything this creative team does with these characters. The fact that they lived up to the dreams of thirteen year old me is nothing short of incredible.

DC Universe Holiday Special #1 – DC (97)

I will buy all of the Holiday Specials, be they Christmas, Chanukah, Festivus, or whatever.

Batman: White Knight #3 – DC (95)

Whoo. A lot has happened since this series was first solicited two months ago.

*Sean Murphy for some reason felt the need to let social media – hive of scum and villainy that it is – know that Batman: White Knight is not “an SJW Batman”. Whatever that means. Obviously both ends of the political spectrum loaded their own issues onto that declaration and bad feelings ensued.

*The Joker in Batman: White Knight is Jack Napier, his identity from the controversial 1989 Tim Burton film (I was shocked to find out that some people really don’t like that movie; for me it defined an entire era of my childhood and while I recognize its flaws I forgive them absolutely).

*Sean Murphy started an Instagram account - @seangordonmurphy – and is filling it with absolutely incredible artwork from Batman: White Knight. As of yet it features neither overweight white guys in fedoras nor analogs for #notmypresident. My favorite image so far is this one:

Justice League #34-35 – DC (111)

The last Justice League book I read was the first New 52 arc, which was so awful it put me off team books entirely (that’s only a slight exaggeration). But now Christopher Priest is on the title he so richly deserves and I cannot wait to see what he does. I just hope DC keeps a strong artist on it for the duration of Priest’s run.

Harley Quinn and the Gotham City Sirens Omnibus HC – DC (137)

C’mon, DC – that’s not the name of this book.

I only read a few issues of Gotham City Sirens, but I liked what I saw. I doubt I’ll shell out for the omnibus, but it’s neat that it’s coming out. Even if the title is ridiculous.

Super Powers by Jack Kirby TP – DC (139)

Marvel and DC have both been releasing some great old Kirby comics and it’s given me a desire to read more of his stuff. A world that I’m already familiar with – the Super Powers toy line – seems like a good place to start. I’ve heard mixed reviews about these, particularly the second volume, but I really want to check this out.

DC Designer Series Batman by Mike Mignola Statue – DC Collectibles (146)

Mignola is one of my favorites and this statue looks incredible. However, I already own the Black and White release. As much as I love the color treatment, especially the hue of blue, I can’t justify buying this one. It is twice the size of the B&W release, but also twice the price.

Harley Quinn Red, White, & Black Babs Tarr Statue – DC Collectibles (147)

Despite the changes made to the design, I still love this one. Babs Tarr is tremendous.

Here’s the original drawing:

Batman: The Animated Series Jokermobile – DC Collectibles (149)

This is a tough one. A hundred bucks seems like a lot to ask for a rarely seen vehicle that only appeared on screen for a few dozen seconds (if that). I obviously don’t need a Jokermobile like I did a Batmobile.

But this thing is amazing. Even if it was a completely original design that DCC made up from scratch as a toy I would want it. Having just recently reworked my DC Animated shelves, I now have space for another big vehicle and this will look so awesome there.
Merry Christmas to me, I guess.

30 Days of Night – Image (157)

If anyone other than Steve Niles was writing this I wouldn’t care. I see the potential for a Walking Dead-style saga using the ideas Niles created with the original 30 Days of Night books and I don’t want to be playing catch up six months from now.

I appreciate the fact that Ben Templesmith is providing covers (and not interiors).

Scarlett’s Strike Force #1 – Image (159)

Everything about this looks terrible. The last GI Joe series from IDW was garbage and the fact that they’re relaunching after just a few issues shows to me that they still have no idea what to do with one of my favorite franchises. The writing was excruciating and the art was, well, pretty much the same kind of thing in this picture. The same writer is responsible and clearly things aren’t getting better.

I can’t even appreciate the fact that those appear to be Army Ants on the cover because why the fuck is GI Joe fighting Army Ants?

Of course, this book doesn’t actually have “GI Joe” in the title, so it’s a little easier to disregard. I wish someone with a clue would take the reins of the Joe franchise.

Side Note: I do have to admit that, were this kind of goofy book being published alongside Hama’s A Real American Hero and a modern-style book that was actually good it could be a lot of fun. But for this to be IDW’s “flagship” Joe title is just gross.

Lovecraft: The Myth of Cthulhu – IDW (185)

I don’t have any prior knowledge of these comics, but if the art is the equal of what’s on this cover I’m very interested.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Illustrations by Eric Powell – IDW (185)

It never would have occurred to me, but Powell’s illustrations are perfect to accompany basically any of Mark Twain’s tales.

Spawn: A Holiday Krampus Tale – Image (201)

This will be the first Spawn comic I’ve bought in… this century? Every once in a while I miss reading Spawn and I consider checking back in. A holiday special seems like the perfect time to do it.

The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual #1 – Image (202)

If you read my recent comic book post then you know that I dropped The Wicked + The Divine because it just got a little too unwieldy for me. But I’ll pick up a fun Christmas story.

Happy! Deluxe Edition TP – Image (208)

Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson crafted a simple but compelling tale with 2013’s Happy! At the time I thought that it was ready-made to be a feature and probably even said so in a post similar to this one. Christopher Meloni as Nick Sax is one of the best casting decisions of the century. I love Meloni anyway – so much so that I watched Law & Order: SVU for a long time even though I didn’t really like it – but he’s perfect for this story’s broken protagonist.

Anyway, if you want to read the original comic before the TV show premieres on November 29th, grab it. I don’t recommend reading it until after you watch the show, though. You know the adaptation is never as good.

The Return of Jean Grey - Marvel (Cover, M2-4)

I find ti very telling that Marvel recognizes that they’ve turned their stories and characters into such a hideous shitshow that they actually have to refer to this as “Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of (Adult) Jean Grey” on the cover of their Previews book.

“Hey, so we need to hype that Jean Grey is returning.”

“What? Jean Grey has been around for years. Dude, she’d even got her own book.”

“No, it’s the old Jean Grey. People still seem to like her.”

“Just slap ‘Adult’ in parenthesis on the cover. That won’t be awkward at all. It seems to work for Boundless.”

Stupid. Also, Matthew Rosenberg seems to be writing 1 out of every 4 Marvel books. Is he the new Charles Soule?

Marvel 2-In-One #1 - Marvel (M5-7)

Time for me to shut up now.

As much disappointment as Marvel has created over the past several years, they are responsible for some shining bits of joy. Anything that Chip Zdarsky writes falls into the category. I knew that this book was coming, but somehow it had escaped me until just now that Zdarsky was writing it. I’m going to have to give this a shot.

X-Men: Grand Design #1 (of 2) – Marvel (M76-77)

I am so excited for this. I’ve read a bit of Ed Piskor’s Hip-Hop Family Tree and his talent for distilling stories down into digestible, compelling narratives should yield fascinating results when applied to the wacky history of Marvel’s Merry Mutants.

I don’t expect that this series is meant in any way to replace or supplant the decades of legendary comics we have available, but rather to be a new interpretation of classic stories.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Storms of Crait #1 – Marvel (M83)

Are we already to the point where creators are having to double up on similar-sounding names for things? Or is “Krayt” as in “Krayt Dragon” suddenly spelled “Crait”?

Honestly I’d be fine with that because I would love to see some live action Krayt Dragons. Crait Dragons.

Whatever. I’m buying this regardless.

Immortal Iron Fists TPB – Marvel (M107)

This is the sequel to the Kaare Andrews comic that I go on about all the time. I’m disappointed that Andrews didn’t do the art, but I’m eager to see what happens with Danny and Pei. I highly recommend you check out the original series if you haven’t. It’s gorgeous art and a great - but weird - story.

The Art of Evil Dead 2 TP – Space Goat (400)


I almost put this on my order form, but then I read the description and saw that it is not, in fact, a book containing art from the production of one of the greatest films of all time, Evil Dead 2. It is a book containing art from the production of Space Goat’s various Evil Dead 2 comic books. Which is fine if you’re interested in those. Just don’t think you’re getting a movie-related book.

Under: Scourge of the Sewer - Titan (404)


That was my first thought upon seeing that cover art. Whatever this is, it looks awesome. I LOVED the movie Alligator (coming soon to Needless Commentary) when I was a kid even though it scared the crap out of me. I always wanted a proper sequel, and one where our gigantic, scaly hero fights other oversized creatures would be awesome.

WWE Classic Superstar: Ric Flair Deluxe Robe - Mattel (482)

Think of this as the wrestling equivalent of that new Black Series Poe Dameron helmet or the Marvel Legends Mjolnir. I saw this in Toys R Us recently and it looks okay, but all of the designs are just screen print. For the price it’s actually pretty good, but it just looks like a cheap version of one of Flair’s robes.

WWE Classic Superstar: Macho Man Deluxe Robe - Mattel (482)

This, on the other hand, looks a whole lot more like the real thing. I dig it, ooh yeah.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Tunic Replica (482)

My absolute most-wanted costume is one of the Starfleet uniforms from Wrath of Khan, but a full TNG command uniform is definitely up there in my top five. Not for six hundred bucks, obviously. But man.

One:12 Collective Ascending Knight Batman Action Figure - Mezco (507)

SHOCKING NEWS: I am about to not recommend and also not order three One:12 figures.
This first one is simply because I don’t like the design enough and I already have two excellent Batmans from the line.

One:12 Collective Reverse Flash Action Figure - Mezco (507)

This turd, on the other hand, is just a fail. After three tries I gave up – each of the figures had a warped belt. Like, badly warped. Maybe I could’ve fixed it with a heat gun (by which I mean hairdryer), but I’m not fucking fixing and eighty dollar action figure.

I still love this line, but I will not tolerate the same bullshit I do from cheaper, inferior toy lines.

One:12 Collective Spider-Man Homecoming Action Figure - Mezco (509)

As for this one, it looks amazing, but I’m going to try not to order any MCU One:12 figures. I’ve been happy enough with Hasbro’s and don’t need to upgrade.

Also – and I am hesitant about saying this – I don’t think I loved Spider-Man: Homecoming as much as everyone else. Especially the suit.

Child’s Play: Ultimate Chucky Action Figure - NECA (513)

The picture does not do this figure justice. It comes with tons of weapons and different portraits. It looks amazing. I love the Chucky and Tiffany set that McFarlane released years ago, but this could top it. If they release an Ultimate Tiffany.

The Devil’s Backbone Santi Action Figure - NECA (513)

It’s so cool that NECA is producing a line of toys from Guillermo del Toro films, and me and the missus love The Devil’s Backbone, but I just don’t know that I need this. It looks amazing, though. I think maybe I’m going to wait until I can see it in person.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Ultimate Freddy Action Figure - NECA (514)

Much like Ash, I just don’t need any more Freddys. But this is Freddy from Nightmare 2, the first one I saw! And it has the horrifying nightmare dogs and flames that clip onto Freddy’s back! I have to get this. I just hope they release a Jesse Walsh figure.

TMNT Mutagen Canister Prop Replica - NECA (514)

I don’t think that I can justify this one. I want a light-up replica mutagen canister that comes with actual Ooze as much as the next guy, but what do I do with it? Maybe I can ask for one for Christmas.

I guess I just did.

TMNT Raphael in Disguise ¼ Scale Action Figure - NECA (519)

Fer the luvva Michelangelo, gimme a break, NECA!

As you know if you’re following me on social media - on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram – I fell prey to NECA’s quarter scale Ninja Turtles and I am delighted. 
They’re some of the best figures ever and my dream of owning toys of my favorite versions of the Turtles has finally come true, even if they are way bigger than I ever would have wanted.

This one annoyed me because they offered a naked Raph first, then this deluxe trenchcoat version with all of the same accessories and even more for the same price. But I think I actually missed ordering the regular version, so it worked out in my favor. Right now I have Donny, Mikey, and Leo at home just waiting for the final brother to arrive.

And of course, Shredder and whoever else in the future. Hopefully Splinter. And April and Casey and Tatsu.

Pop! Pickle Rick Vinyl Figures - Funko (528)

I have decided that, much like David S. Pumpkins, despite all of the reasons I shouldn’t, I am all-in on Pickle Rick appreciation. Even though shitty Pickle Rick cosplays made up approximately 80% of the things that annoyed me at Dragon Con (I’m talking about idiots in cheap pickle costumes with blue lines painted on their foreheads yelling “PICKLE RICK”), I love Pickle Rick.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

*Gotham is finally back and as good as ever. I’m not crazy about Barbara’s new lackluster personality, but I’m sure she’ll go bonkers sooner than later. Scarecrow looks amazing, but the actor’s voice work is terrible. The Pax Penguina storyline is delightful nonsense. And lasted exactly as long as anything should last in Gotham City. As the last episode started I told my wife, “You know, this really only has to make it about three more years and we’ll have him running around in a Batsuit”.

More like three episodes.

*American Horror Story is surprising me with some of the bold statements being made, but is also kind of tedious.

*Next week’s 31 Days of Halloween Needless Commentary is going to be our biggest and most insane yet.

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!

Be sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all of the latest toy news and live reports from the stores that carry them!

If you enjoy comic books, toys, or Needless Things, you might enjoy Huge thanks to our excellent Patrons Zack, Gary, Lucas, and Beau!

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