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 August.
Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!
Remember – DC and Marvel each have to have their own little catalogs now, so I’m starting with them and then getting into the rest of the catalog. I won’t be spotlighting their covers anymore, just taking a look at what I think is noteworthy. Additionally, the page numbers noted are the ones within their respective catalogs.
I’ve decided that I do think DC’s decision to list everything in alphabetical order regardless of imprint or content is a good idea. Now people that use this catalog are going to see everything DC has to offer and might find something they would otherwise have missed if it had been in a section they wouldn’t normally look at.
Sandman Universe #1 – DC (Front Cover, DC 2-3)
That title is a bit lacking in the mysticism and excitement department, but maybe that’s just because “Universe” is the ridiculous title WWE has bestowed upon its fans. We all know DC was using it first, but Sandman Universe just sounds like, I dunno, a Malibu Comics book. I think something involving the Dreaming might have been better.
Let’s move past the title and to the content, which sounds promising. I’m all for the further adventures of Lucien, Daniel, and whichever other characters the folks writing this want to bring in. I loved Sandman and despite the bland title will be happy to see them all return.
The weird thing is that Si Spurrier is the only writer working on this that I’ve heard of. I dug his run on X-Force, but I don’t know any of these other names. The same goes for the artists. Aside from Tom Fowler, whose work I enjoy, I don’t know any of them. But that’s okay because DC seems to be selling this more on the concept than the creators and maybe it means some new blood will get some recognition.
(patiently waits for someone to point out that these people have all been working in comics for 30 years)
The Seeds – Dark Horse (Back Cover, 86-87)
I hate it when I’m not interested in one of the cover titles because I can’t help but sound like I’m poo-pooing it when it’s more likely that whatever it is simply isn’t up my alley.
David Aja is a phenomenal artist. If you didn’t read Hawkeye from him and Matt Fraction, you really should. And that’s coming from someone who has disliked a good portion of what he’s read from Fraction.
Other than Aja nothing in this solicitation does much for me, especially the fact that it very noticeably puts Ann Nocenti’s somewhat questionable “filmmaker” credit before her much more known “comics writer” credit. I hate that kind of stuff. To me it reads like, “She’s a well-known and respected comic book writer with decades of work to her name, but she’ll sound more legit if we mention that one documentary she co-directed”.
I hate to accuse Dark Horse or any comics writer of such a thing, but that’s what it looks like to me.
Adventures of the Super Sons #1 – DC (1)
This certainly looks like some Bendis fallout.
As Bendis’ plans for the Man of Steel play out, it looks like the status quo that fans were previously enjoying more than any Superman narrative in recent memory has been undone. DC has been reassuring customers for months with the promise that Super Sons would still be around, but this solicit clearly labels this as a “flashback miniseries”.
In defense of Bendis and DC, I’ll note that it’s twelve issues, so it might actually be an ingenuous way to keep Jon Kent on the publishing roster while Bendis does whatever he’s doing before (hopefully) bringing the Super family dynamic back. That’s a whole year, so at least a week of time should pass within Bendis’ comics, right?
Scarlet #1 – DC (5)
Bendis and Maleev’s original Scarlet series was great, but completely lost me due to an erratic publishing schedule. Now, you guys know I always say that great comics shouldn’t be rushed and that I’d rather wait than have creative teams disrupted. But this series tested my patience. Ten issues over six years with up to three years between issues is not a publishing schedule I can follow.
Someday I’ll pick up whatever collected editions occur, but something likely to be this erratic isn’t worth my time or money right now.
Having said all of the and having been more than mean enough to poor ol’ Bendis for one day, I definitely recommend those original ten issues. Or the first five, at least, which is as far as I got.
Batman: Kings of Fear #1 – DC (7)
“Kelley Jones” is all I need to see to know that I’m buying something and Scarecrow will be the perfect villain for him to handle. I will, however, be waiting for the trade collection.
Supergirl #21 – DC (10)
Much has been made of Supergirl’s new costume, but most of the articles I’ve seen neglected to mention that she’s getting several new costumes. I think that’s awesome.
There is no reason whatsoever for most superheroes to wear the exact same costume all the time. Obviously there needs to be a certain level of brand recognition, but do you know anyone that wears the exact same thing every day?
The reason for Kara’s (wait – this is Kara, right?) new wardrobe is that she’s setting off into deep space for reasons. This sounds pretty cool to me and I might check out a Supergirl comic for the first time since she fought that space werewolf.
DC/Looney Tunes Specials – DC (11-14)
Despite the acclaim that the Batman/Elmer Fudd comic received I still haven’t read any of these, though I just picked up a few of the most recent ones from my Local Comic Shop yesterday.
These all seem pretty great with the exception of the absolute effing nightmare that is Porky Pig on this cover:
The standouts for me are Harley/Gossamer by Palmiotti & Conner and Joker/Daffy.
Batman: The Gates of Gotham Deluxe Edition HC – DC (74)
This was the story where I fell in love with Trevor McCarthy’s incredible artwork, and also became a fan of Kyle Higgins’ writing. It’s a great, self-contained story that also serves as a companion to many of the themes of Snyder’s run on Batman.
Fantastic Four #1 - Marvel (2-9)
Marvel is making an appropriately big deal of the return of one of the most beloved teams/families in pop culture history. Of course, most of these pages are devoted to highlighting the many variant covers that retailers will have to jump through ridiculous hoops to obtain, thereby inflating the sales numbers that Marvel can claim.
The bottom line here, though, is that I am darned excited to read the FF from Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli.
(I still don't like that cover)
Fantastic Four #1 Facsimile – Marvel (10)
This kind of stuff is neat – a fancy reprint of the first FF story with extra features.
West Coast Avengers #1 – Marvel (24-25)
Oh, so this is where my favorite new Marvel character ended up.
I don’t know anything about America Chavez or Fuse, but the rest of this team looks like a lot of fun. Gwenpool was an awesome comic for its entire run and Clint and Kate can be great in the right hands. Same goes for Quentin Quire.
As for the creative team, I’ve enjoyed some of Kelly Thompson’s work and I dig Stefano Caselli.
This book looks promising, but I think I’m going to have to wait for some word of mouth before investing my dollars. It could be Champions all over again, and I don’t need that sucking up my limited comic book budget.
The Punisher #1 & 2 – Marvel (26-27)
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
They’re not even changing writers and they’re relaunching this book? With a $5 first issue?
Marvel needs to get their shit under control. I’m thoroughly enjoying Rosenberg’s take on Castle – I just told my comic shop guy yesterday, as a matter of fact – but this is exactly the sort of thing that makes me want to say, “Fuck it – I’m out”.
Star Wars: Beckett #1 – Marvel (92)
If you listened to the most recent episode of the Needless Things Podcast you know that we all want more stories about the characters featured in Solo: A Star Wars Story (which everyone thoroughly enjoyed).
It looks like this one-shot will explore the backstory between Beckett and Enfys Nest, one of the more compelling bits of potential lore related to the prequel movie. I’m in.
Marvel Knights Black Panther by Priest & Texeira: The Client TPB– Marvel (108)
It’s surprising that I never read this considering how much I dig Priest and Mark Texeira, but Black Panther has never been one of my guys. In all honesty I don’t know if this is the legendary run that people refer to when they speak of Priest on Black Panther because I don’t know is he had multiple runs.
Whatever the case, I’m going to read it now.
Marvel Knights Fantastic Four by Morrison & Lee: 1234 TPB– Marvel (110)
Grant Morrison and Jae Lee are two of my favorite comic book creators ever and I had no idea this even existed.
For those of you that read something like that and wonder how a comic book fan could not know about so many comic book things, here’s the deal – I like a lot of stuff. I like comics and movies and TV and books and toys and all kinds of stuff. But I’m not a guy that feels like he has to know everything about everything. There are a lot of comic books, you guys. Like, more than a thousand. And I don’t need to be aware of them all because there are always new ones coming out.
Every once in a while something like this will pop up and it’s super neat because it’s a new old thing that I get to be excited about. And if it doesn’t ever come into my sphere of awareness, then oh, well. Plenty of other stuff to look at.
GI Joe: A Real American Hero Omnibus, Vol. 1 – IDW (137)
This is the stuff, right here. The original Marvel comic as written by Larry Hama. I already have these 12 issues in a couple of forms, but if IDW had given them a classy, hardcover release I would have bought them again.
Bloom County: Best Read on the Throne – IDW (159)
Surprising everyone – or me, at least – Berkeley Breathed is continuing his revival of Bloom County comic strips. They’re great. It’s still the best comic strip of all time.
NOW TURN THE ARTICLE OVER SO YOU CAN READ THE TOYS/APPAREL/COLLECTIBLES SECTION!
(I’M JUST KIDDING, OBVIOUSLY, BUT WOULDN’T THAT BE STUPID?)
Muppets Swedish Chef Action Figure Deluxe Set – Diamond Select Toys (17M)
DST’s line of Muppets action figures has been great. I wish I had collected them, but you just can’t buy everything. Now the line is coming to an end, but thankfully they’re still releasing their last few figures.
As you can see, the Chef comes with a ridiculous amount of accessories and looks amazing.
One:12 Collective Darkseid Action Figure – Mezco (40M)
I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way – I am not buying this one.
He looks awesome and I particularly like the cape, but I’m not paying $180 for a One:12 figure. I’m not saying he isn’t worth it, but that’s way over my line.
Puppet Master Blade 1/1 Scale Prop Replica – Full Moon Features (44M)
Okay, yes – I talked some shit about Full Moon a couple of weeks ago. But when I was a kid I wanted those models of the puppets they featured at the end of the VHS tape so bad. And I still love Puppet Master as a concept, even if the movies don’t hold up for me as well as I’d like. If I was going to get just one, it’d be Blade. Yeah, he’s the Batman of the puppets, but I can’t even pretend he isn’t my favorite.
Puppet Master Jester 1/1 Scale Prop Replica – Full Moon Features (44M)
It’s also worth mentioning that these are being produced using the original puppets as reference. They have foam rubber over wire frame bodies – which isn’t great – and resin hands, head, etc. It doesn’t mention if Jester’s head spins appropriately, and that’s something I’d definitely need to know prior to purchasing.
One:12 Collective Ghostbusters Action Figure Set – Mezco (44M)
Do you want to hear something ridiculous?
These still do not appear to have the leg tubes that are part of the Ghostbusters’ uniforms and Mezco has not responded to any inquiries about adding them.
I can’t buy these if that isn’t fixed.
As picky as I’ve been about Mattel’s mostly okay and DST’s actually very good Ghostbusters figures, I can’t very well spend a fortune on Mezco’s knowing that they’re wrong out of the box. The worst part is that other than those missing hoses these look completely amazing.
Modern Godzilla 24” Long Action Figure – NECA (44M)
NECA is offering this huge Godzilla again and if you’re any kind of fan of monster toys you should really jump on it. It’s one of my favorite Godzilla figures and totally worth the money. He’s also way more poseable than he looks.
One:12 Collective Friday the 13th Part 3 Jason Voorhees Action Figure – Mezco (46M)
So very tempting. This will be a fantastic action figure, no doubt, but I’m perfectly happy with my ever-expanding collection of NECA Jasons. If you’re more selective than me, though, and don’t need all of the variations, this will be the twelfth scale Jason to own.
One:12 Collective Blade Action Figure – Mezco (48M)
This one, on the other hand, is a must-have. But Mezco had better be doing a Marvel Dracula sooner than later. Until then this guy is just going to have to stalk my Flatt World Dracula.
One:12 Collective Popeye Action Figure – Mezco (55M)
Finally Mezco’s nightmarish vision of the world’s most famous sailor is up for preorder!
In all honesty I’ve recovered from my initial shock at the character design and have decided I really like this figure. It comes with a ton of accessories and feels to me like it has a little more love invested in it even over Mezco’s other outstanding One:12 figures. This might go on the order form, you guys.
*Deadpool 2 – I need to do a podcast about this one. I laughed long, hard, and loud, but that didn’t keep me from noticing A LOT of plot holes and narrative issues that could have been easily fixed. I also couldn’t get past Domino looking like Barf, even though Zazie Beets was pretty good in the role.
*Legion – The show has felt a bit decompressed this season. I still love watching and I’m thrilled that it’s been renewed, but I feel like more could have happened. I don’t need the mad pacing of Gotham, but a bit more forward momentum would be nice.
*Creative Changes – I’m dropping some books due to creative changes, among them Detective Comics and Teen Titans. It’s entirely possible the new writers will be great, but the solicited stories haven’t excited me enough to keep paying what I am for these titles. I’m always trying to be a more budget conscious, and this is an easy way to do it.
Along those same lines, I honestly don’t know if I’ll stick with Punisher. That relaunch is really annoying.
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!