Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews December 2017: “Your Purple Friend”

By Dave

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 February.

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

Kick-Ass – Image (Front Cover, 184-185)

I like movies based on Mark Millar’s work a lot more than I like Mark Millar’s work. Possibly because Hollywood takes more care to not directly offend its customers.

No – I’m still not over the ending of the  Wanted comic. Fuck you too, Millar.

I think I liked Kick-Ass just fine, but I’m not sure I need any more of it. I’ll wait for word of mouth.

Dark Knights: Metal – DC (Back Cover, 77)

Okay, so it turns out my problem isn’t with big crossovers, it’s with big crossovers that aren’t good. As opposed to Metal, which has been awesome.

Do I even need to say anything about a comic with a cover that features Batman in full-on Swedish death metal armor riding a Joker dragon and flanked by some kind of Frazetta/Kirby Superman and Wonder Woman?

Play Arts Kai Justice League Flash Action Figure – Square Enix (2, 531)

I still don’t care for this as Flash’s costume, but the movie explained it really well and honestly it looked fine in action. More than that, it looks really cool as an action figure. Shockingly, Mattel’s DC Multiverse Flash is my favorite figure from that line. This Square Enix release looks even better. All of that armor plating and wiring and crap make for really fun details in plastic.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles – Dark Horse (48-49)

When I first heard that Joss Whedon was returning to comics for a book about Rupert Giles I was excited. The Watcher’s early years are of great interest to me. Unfortunately, this isn’t that.

This is Giles as he exists in the current comics continuity – grown man Giles in a teenage body. I didn’t like it when it happened in the comics (almost as much as I didn’t like the fact that he died in the first place) right before I stopped reading them and it seems to me that it could be even more problematic when you introduce this concept to high school.

Don’t get me wrong – this could be brilliant. But I’m just not interested. Plus, the art is way too “teen romance” for me. And yes, I realize how dumb that sounds when we’re talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Aliens Predator Prometheus AvP: Fire and Stone TP – Dark Horse (64)

This epic tale took place across four different miniseries that could be enjoyed separately, but formed a cohesive – and compelling – tale when read together. If you’re a fan of the shared Aliens and Predator universe, I recommend you check this out. Twenty-five bucks is a steal.

The New Age of DC Heroes – DC (70-73)

These got pushed back to account for delays with Metal (I think). I can’t wait to read The Terrifics. See last month’s post for more on that.

Grren Lantern: Earth One Vol. 1 HC – DC (124)

As of late I’m less interested in Green Lantern, but the Batman and Superman Earth One books have been so good that I want to check this one out. I know the name Gabriel Hardman, but can’t think of what I’ve read from him. Thus far, though, the Earth One imprint has been a mark of quality and one that I’m happy to keep giving a chance.

Young Monsters in Love #1 – DC (83)

They had me at the Kelley Jones cover, never mind the fact that Frankenstein is looking on in dismay as Swamp Thing plants one on the Bride. I don’t normally go in for Valentine’s Day specials, but DC knew the way to my heart this year.

Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman HC – DC (84)

The first time I read the solicit I thought DC was selling Action Comics #1000 for thirty bucks. Like, a 384 page issue of a comic series for $29.99. Then I read the part where they say it’s a hardcover companion to the actual issue 1000 (which will probably be ten bucks).
This is why reading is important, people. Some websites you visit regularly might have posted a headline along the lines of “Action Comics #1000 Will Be Thirty Dollars?!?”. I haven’t checked online yet to see.

Regardless of what you think of Superman, I think this is a must-have for any comic book fan. I love anniversaries and events, and the birth of Superman is one of the biggest of all time.

Mera: Queen of Atlantis – DC (87)

That Nicola Scott cover is amazing.

I’ve never delved into the undersea world of Aquaman, not even when Peter David was writing him. It has nothing to do with the whole stupid “he just talks to fish” thing, I’ve just never given the character a shot. It’s kind of surprising given my affinity for aquatic-themed stuff.

Putting Dan Abnett on a book about the redheaded queen of Atlantis is probably a step in the right direction towards getting me to check out this side of the DCU.

Batman: White Knight #5 – DC (92)

You know I don’t normally comment on series that are already underway, but I want to mention that Sean Gordon Murphy’s Batman passion project is excellent and not at all what you think it was going to be. It’s a brilliant take on lots of versions of DC characters. I’m enjoying the monthlies and I can’t wait to sit down and read the eventual hardcover all at once.

Dark Days: The Road to Metal HC – DC (125)

If you skipped Metal due to event fatigue, I understand. But it has been totally awesome. This hardcover collects the stories that led up to the event and I think you should pick it up and see what you think. It’s crazy and epic and fun, despite the apocalyptic undertones. This time around I don’t feel like the creators are really trying to convince us that it’s The End and that Nothing Will Ever Be The Same, they just want to tell a massive, badass story. And they are.

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 2 TP – DC (128)

Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl is one of my favorite comics ever. If you never read it, you should. As far as I’m concerned it set the stage for what Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, and Brendan Fletcher would do with Barbara years later (to much more acclaim).
Also, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that gorgeous Dustin Nguyen cover.

Batman and Harley Quinn HC – DC (129)

I assumed this was an adaptation of the horrible DC Animation film that recently came out, but it’s actually a sequel to the worst animated Batman project I have ever seen. Yes, even worse than The Killing Joke. I’ve been a proponent of DC’s animated projects for many years, but they’re on something of a bad streak right now.

Batman: Gothic TP – DC (130)

I honestly don’t remember this story specifically, but I can assure you that at least the first forty or so issues of Legends of the Dark Knight were excellent. So if you want a good Batman story that isn’t weighed down by continuity, pick this up.

DC Comics: The Art of Darwyn Cooke TP – DC (132)

Darwyn Cooke’s art was both familiar and unique at the same time. It’s reminiscent of the idealized visions of heroes from decades past, yet immediately recognizable as Cooke’s modern take. Obviously we all need to own this collection.

Deathbed #1 – DC/Vertigo (136)

This sounds awesome – a Doc Savage/Indiana Jones-type reappears after a twenty year absence. Insane, out-of-this-world adventures ensue. Joshua Williamson is another name I know but can’t place, but Riley Rossmo is providing the art and I loved his work on The Batman Who Laughs. I’ll be buying this based on that.

Batman Black & White Statue by Becky Cloonan – DC Collectibles (141)

I’ve been a huge fan of Becky Cloonan’s work ever since her guest spot on art for Batman #12 and subsequently meeting her at Heroes Con. I’ll grab any merch – within reason – based on her art. This Batman looks badass.

DC Essentials Action Figures – DC Collectibles (143)

Aside from the fugly hip joints these look great, but I simply cannot trust DC Collectibles anymore. Not that I got invested in the Icons line like some did (I know of a couple of folks who sold their entire DC Universe Classics collections in favor of collecting Icons), but the abrupt abandonment of the line seemed harsh. I suppose I understand if consumer demand wasn’t there – after all, Icons were smaller than DCC’s normal 1:11 scale – but they can’t think people will be eager to start all over again.

Normally I’ll order a new Batman just to have it, but the more I look at those hip joints, the more I hate them. And you can’t have shared parts this obvious and still charge $26.00 apiece. Mattel’s DC Multiverse has better figures right now in my opinion. They’re $20, often on sale for less.

GI Joe: A Real American Hero vs. The Six Million Dollar Man - IDW (149)

This is a weird but interesting concept. Honestly, all that matters to me is that GI Joe looks like GI Joe and the art isn’t some crappy webcomic style. I mean, it also matters that Ryan Ferrier is writing and the excellent SL Gallant is doing the art, but what I’m saying is this is what GI Joe is supposed to look like.

Saga Hazel & Izabel Action Figure 2-Pack – McFarlane Toys (233)

Judging by the proliferation of McFarlane action figures in stores, some people must really like the way they’re done. I don’t I can’t deal with the glaring, hideous joints on their 5” scale figures. Or the fact that they’re 5” scale. I think it’s an absolute tragedy that McFarlane is doing the Saga figures. I never imagined a scenario where I wouldn’t buy action figures of the characters from the greatest comic book of all time.

X-Men Red #1 - Marvel (Cover, M2-5)

While I don’t plan on buying this, I also don’t have anything negative to say about it. I’ve heard that what’s going on in the current X-Men books is pretty good.

I’ve also heard that it isn’t.

Marvel hasn’t done much to earn my trust lately, so I’m not too interested in taking chances on what they’re offering. The X-Men will always be one of my first and best comic book loves, but until I see some evidence that Marvel is changing direction, I’ll be skipping them.
As far as this specific book, Taylor has been good and I like Mahmud Asrar’s work quite a bit.

Star Wars: Thrawn - Marvel (M75)

Just from that cover image I could tell that this was an adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s recent Thrawn novel. That’s pretty impressive. As much as I enjoyed the book, I don’t know that I need to read the comic version. I tried the old adaptations of the original trilogy and while they were very well done, I didn’t get much out of them.

It’s not you, Thrawn, it’s me.

X-Men: Grand Design TPB – Marvel (M82-83)

I’ve been talking about this retelling of the X-Men’s history by Ed Piskor for months, but if you skipped the regular issues you can order the trade collection now. And you should.

Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan & Adrian Alphona Omnibus HC – Marvel (M95)

Don’t buy this because of the new show on Hulu, buy it because it’s awesome. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say it’s revolutionary on the level of Watchmen or early Vertigo stuff, but at the time it was like nothing we’d seen before.

Complete Calvin & Hobbes Slipcase Edition – Andrews McMeel (271)

This has been offered several times before, but I’m going to mention it every single time it shows up. Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip of my generation. Bloom County will always have my heart, but I think even Berke Breathed would agree with my opinion.

Come Into Me #1 – Black Mask Studios (289)

Sometimes I take a leap. Not often.

That horrifying, Cronenbergian cover got my attention, but what’s getting my money is the fact that it’s being published by Black Mask Studios. If you’ll remember, Black Mask brought us the excellent, Phantom-acclaimed book There’s Nothing There, which was one of my favorite comics of the year.

Black Mask seems to have good taste in horror, so I’m going to give this one a shot.

Pumpkinhead #1 - Dynamite (323)

I’m a fan of the original Pumpkinhead movie, but I’m not sure it even needed those sequels, let alone an ongoing comic book. I tend to trust Cullen Bunn’s writing, though, so I might have to give this a shot.

And of course, that Kelley Jones cover is tremendous.

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #6 - Dynamite (336)

Just a note that I dropped this after issue #3 because it looked like Moritat was leaving and it wasn’t all that interesting anyway.

The Puma Blues – Dover Publications (342)

Something about this rings a bell. I don’t know if I actually read it or maybe there were ads for it in the comics I was reading when it came out.

Is This Guy For Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman GN - :01 First Second (352)

You might remember Box Brown from his incredible André the Giant: Life and Legend and also from episode 27 of the Needless Things Podcast! He’s got a new book about Andy Kaufman and we’re all gonna buy it!

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend GN - :01 First Second (354)

Speaking of the incredible André the Giant: Life and Legend and Box Brown’s appearance on episode 27 of the Needless Things Podcast, here’s that book, too! If you didn’t buy it back when I first said you should, you can now! It’s beautiful and genuinely brought a tear to my eye.

Dead of Winter: Good Good Dog – Oni Press (380-381)

My Phantom sense always tingles when I see the name “Kyle Starks” (you should know by now that I recommend everything he does); throw in a story about a heroic superdog during a zombie apocalypse and I can’t resist.

I don’t play tabletop games and I don’t have more than a passing familiarity with Dead of Winter, but the two above factors are all I need to grab this one.

Your Black Friend and Other Strangers – Silver Sprocket (398)

I picked up the original offering of Your Black Friend because while I may not be particularly vocal about it, I want to understand racial and cultural issues in America better. I think that’s the only way we progress. Then, once there’s some understanding, we talk instead of yelling.

Your Black Friend was talking. There were some hard truths in there, but it never came off as preachy or accusatory. Actually, the overall tone was somewhat pained. I think everyone needs to read it. And not you can get the original story and, it appears, some additional content all in once book.

It might be small, but stuff like this helps to pave the path to better times.

Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos (460)

Basil Gogos passed away recently. You might not know his name, but if you have any awareness of the world of horror you’ve seen his art. It’s gorgeous and lurid and haunting. If you’re any kind of horror fan at all, I recommend you pick up the new printing of  this collection of his work.

The Last Jedi “Rey Training” T-Shirt (477)

I like this design, but I love the style of the lettering. I’ve always had an affinity for alternate fonts on Star Wars stuff – like international posters and stuff.

Friday the 13th Part 3: Ultimate Jason Action Figure – NECA (504)

NECA have really become experts at offering just enough differences on variants to get me to buy them. How many Jason Voorheeses do I need? As many as it takes to get every weapon, prop, and body part NECA produces. Dammit.

Friday the 13th: Camp Crystal Lake Accessory Pack – NECA (504)

Speaking of weapons, props, and whatnot, here’s an awesome playset. I don’t own any of  NECA’s other dioramas because I find them to be overpriced, but for twenty-seven bucks this one seems like a steal. I can’t wait to build a little lake to put this on/in (I absolutely will never do that).

One:12 Collective Previews Exclusive Doctor Strange Action Figure - Mezco (508)

I’m just not a Doctor Strange guy, but I can’t just skip over a One:12 figure. This one looks awesome. If I was going to get a Doctor Strange, I’d want his classic look, but I can’t deny that this one looks really cool.

TMNT: Casey Jones Mask Prop Replica - NECA (509)

It’s key to note that this is from the still-excellent 1990 movie and not from the significantly less excellent recent movies. And while I think Stephen Amell is a tremendous human being, Elias Koteas will always be my Casey Jones.

Unaffiliated Thoughts

*Dark Ark wasn’t in this month’s Previews, so maybe it’s a limited series and I didn’t realize it, but I finally got to read the first three issues and it’s great. It’s written by Cullen Bunn and published by Aftershock. I imagine a trade will be released soon and I recommend it.

*Netflix’s The Punisher was excellent. I don’t know yet where it lands on the list, but it’s far, far better than Defenders was. I think right now Jessica Jones is the only one I for sure like more.

*I was blown away by how good Crisis on Earth X was. The shows vary greatly in quality from week to week, and last year’s event was pretty good at best, but this one was tremendous. If WB decides to release it as a feature on Blu-ray or whatever, I will buy it. This was all four shows at their very best.

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!

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