Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews August 2018: “What If… Halloween is Coming?”

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 October.


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

The Walking Dead Day – Image (Front Cover, 4)

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at scouring Previews for every little thing that might be of interest. Stuff needs to have some kind of visual hook to be mentioned here. But I do think it’s a little ridiculous that I can’t seem to find any mention of “The Walking Dead Day” beyond the cover and a small blurb on page 4. As in, how to order the thing they’re promoting.

I’m still an avid fan of The Walking Dead comic book. I find every issue compelling and it goes to the top five of my stack every week it comes out. I think it’s amazing that we’ve gotten fifteen years of quality entertainment out of this title and I am in awe of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard for sticking to it.


Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #1 – Titan Comics (Back Cover, 406)

Babs Tarr is a favorite around these parts, so it’s great to see her art on the cover of Previews. Or anything, for that matter.

My feelings on our new Doctor are this – I haven’t been happy with Doctor Who for a few years now and I’m hoping the regime change will let me enjoy one of my favorite franchises again. I think it’s a damn shame that Peter Capaldi – like Matt Smith before him – never had the opportunity to work with a different showrunner.


Batman Secret Files #1 – DC (2)

Sold!

The Secret Files concept has always yielded fun, bite-size stories that give the reader different looks at the characters and situations. I’d love to see this as a quarterly release focusing on different corners of the DCU each time.


Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1 – DC  (3)

Also sold!

I will buy almost any Halloween special.


Blank Comics – DC (4-5)

Settle down, Captain Cynical. These are for 24-Hour Comics Day, which is when creators undertake the challenge to create an entire comic book in 24 hours.

I mean, yeah – DC is selling blank comics in order to cash in on a creator-oriented event. But, uh… I forgot where I was going with that. Also, I think there are supposed to be twenty pages, not sixteen. But I could be wrong. This is not a thing I’d ever participate in because it sounds effing bonkers.


Old Lady Harley #1 – DC (15)

Yes, I am absolutely down with a wacky, Harley-centric take on the “Old Person _____” trope that’s so big in comics lately. I’ve been a fan of alternate universe takes on things since I was a kid and I find my favorites are the ones that are a bit tongue-in-cheek as opposed to “THE WORLD IS SHIT IF BRUCE WAYNE DIDN’T ACCEPT TIM DRAKE” or whatever dystopian vision the writer comes up with.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy those, but it’s all about moderation, people. The bologna sandwich Reed Richards had or didn’t have when he was fifteen probably didn’t have the much impact on whether or not Doom was elected President.


DC/Hanna-Barbera Specials – DC (16-17)

The last round of these are still sitting at the bottom of my stack, unread, because I just don’t have time for everything. It’s great that DC is continuing them because apparently they’re good and they sell well, but I think I’m going to pass.


Vertigo: A Celebration of 25 Years – DC (18)

If I were going to create a list of the coolest comic book imprints of my lifetime, Vertigo would probably be at the top.

I came to Vertigo by way of about twenty consecutive issues of Hellblazer I got from the dollar bin of Dark Adventure Comics in the early nineties. From there I discovered Egypt, Black Orchid, Chairoscuro, Preacher, iZombie, all kinds of subversive miniseries, and many of my favorite creators.


All-Star Superman TP – DC (67)

Yeah, yeah – you’re sick of hearing about how this is the best Superman story ever and it would be so great if Warner Bros would take at least the spirit of this story and inject it into their big screen Man of Steel.

By the time I read All-Star a few years ago (probably closer to a decade now) I was sick of hearing how great it was. Sure – the creative team is one of the best ever. But it’s about Superman. Who cares?

Everyone should care. This is a truly fantastic story and if you’re any kind of fan of superhero comics you’re doing yourself a great disservice by not reading this one. It is not overhyped. It lives up to and even exceeds its reputation.


Batman: The Hush Saga Omnibus HC – DC (70)

Do we have to talk about this?

Okay.

Back when the individual issues of this story were coming out I was just starting to get back into comics. Or buying comics regularly, I guess. I asked the manager of my Local Comic Shop at the time what was good and I can’t remember his exact phrasing – it could have been along the lines of, “This is selling really well” and not “This is a great book that you should read” – but he recommended Hush.

Whatever else I may think of this epic storyline in hindsight, it got me back into comics. And I don’t think I’ve had a break in collecting since then.

It also led to a line of amazing-looking figures from DC Direct that are now mostly held together by superglue and a total lack of desire to ever touch them.

I haven’t read Hush since I bought the hardcover collection after the issues were done, but I have to give it credit for whatever pop culture hotness and relevance it had at the time because it’s the reason I kept going into comic shops, which is where I met my wife just over a year later.

So yes – I owe my marriage to Hush. Thanks, Tommy or Jason or whoever that bandaged idiot actually ended up being.


Harley’s Little Black Book TP – DC (76)

When I was starting to get a little tired of Conner and Palmiotti’s Harley book, this team-up series was a refreshing change. It consists of six separate stories, each a bit longer than standard comic. They’re all great and they each explore Harley’s interactions with very different characters from the DCU.


Justice League Vol. 1: The Totality – DC (77)

To me this is basically a modern day Total Justice – taking our favorite Leaguers and putting them into a bonkers, over-the-top story that feels very animated movie/video game/toy line ready. It’s the logical continuation of the vibe from Metal and No Justice and I think as long as the story doesn’t get drawn out too long it’s going to be a lot of fun.


Mister Miracle TP – DC (79)

Did they offer a hardcover? I can’t remember. And if they didn’t, it’s absolutely bizarre on the same level as not offering one for White Knight. I’m only up to issue #6 right now, but I’m very comfortable recommending that you go ahead and order this. Tom King is amazing at creating very, very dark stories that somehow still manage to be fun and even elicit the occasional laugh. Mitch Gerads’ art and storytelling are, of course, phenomenal.


DC Essentials Action Figures – DC Collectibles (90-91)

In case you missed it, I don’t care for these and don’t have much faith that the line will last very long anyway. Out of these I think the Batgirl looks best, but not as good as the Icons release or even Mattel’s version.


Spider-Geddon #1 - Marvel (2-5)

Spiderverse is currently still wrapped in plastic on my “To Read” shelf of collections. I’ve heard it’s awesome and I expect nothing less from this follow-up, but I can’t really comment.


Spider-Force #1 – Marvel (6)

You know how you get me to read a three issue miniseries that’s part of a crossover even that I might not get to for years? Have Christopher Priest write it. I cannot wait to read his take on Jessica Drew.


Avengers Halloween Special #1 – Marvel (12)

As I’ve mentioned countless times over the past decade (and once in this very post) – I’ll buy almost any Halloween comic. This one is extra interesting thanks to the inclusion of the Soska sisters in the creator credits. If you don’t know, they’re film directors responsible for American Mary, See No Evil 2, and other weird and unique horror projects. I don’t know if they’ve done comics before, but I like their stuff and I’m curious to see what they’ve done with some of Marvel’s Mightiest.


Shatterstar #1 – Marvel (26)

This guy could use a little rehab.

While Peter David did a great job making him an interesting character in the pages of X-Factor, ol’ Shats hasn’t exactly had the best rep since then. As far as I know he mostly disappeared from comics and his last major appearance in Deadpool 2 was, uh… [SPOILERS].

Normally I wouldn’t give half a fig about the guy, but one of my favorite writers – Tim Seeley – must have an interesting take to have jumped on this one.


What If?(s) #1 – Marvel (30-34)

Wow! This classic series seems to be back in a big way. I hate to keep circling back around, but as I said earlier I’ve always been a big fan of these kinds of things.

This relaunch features six all-new stories about the endless possibilities of the Marvel Universe. Alternate takes on how Illyana Rasputin, the X-Men, Thor, Robbie Reyes, Flash Thompson, and Peter Parker might have turned out if things had been even worse in their lives.

Okay, they might not all be “even worse” stories, but that’s usually how these things go.


What If? True Believers Month – Marvel (36-37)

Even more What If?!

These one dollar reprints of classic stories are always a great deal. I have no problem recommending you order all ten of them. That’s ten comics for ten dollars! It’s like when Kroger has a ten for ten sale, except it’s comics instead of Corn Nuts!


Multiple Man #5 (of 5) – Marvel (78)

Just checking in to let you know that this is a great series and also that it references Oingo Boingo and Faith No More in the first two issues.


Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Captain Marvel – Halloween Spooktacular #1 – Marvel (95)

I can’t overlook this one!

Look – I get that Captain Marvel is about to be bigger than sliced bread if Disney can get out of the James Gunn mess that they’ve created for themselves, but I feel like shoehorning her name into the title of this one is just a bit ridiculous.


Blackbird #1 - Image (40-43)

The tried and true narrative of “crazy person isn’t crazy but knows stuff” is one that I like. Add “magic underworld” and the threat of “The Great Beast” to that and I’m definitely intrigued. Sam Humphries has done some stuff I liked and Jen Bartel’s art looks great. This is one I’ll keep an eye on.


Infinite Dark #1 - Image (52-53)

I can be finicky with my comic book tastes. The last two thousand humans on a space station after the end of the universe sounds cool and a murder mystery in that setting sounds cool, but for whatever reason I’d prefer to experience it as a movie. That’s not to say that the comic won’t be great – for some reason I like my hard sci-fi in a more kinetic form. 
Maybe due to the possible threat of too many words. I don’t think of myself as a dum-dum, but I’ll admit that when I open a comic and the word bubbles are taking up almost as much real estate as the art, I tend to want to put it down. If want that much verbiage I’ll read a book.

I’m not saying that will be the case with Infinite Dark, just that it seems to happen more often with sci-fi comics.


Tales From Vader’s Castle #1-5 – IDW (138-139)

Halloween and Star Wars may not seem like the most obvious combination, but this may well be the most exciting solicitation I’ve seen this month. I absolutely adored Joe Schreiber’s Death Troopers novel and have always wanted more horror-themed tales from a galaxy far, far away.

(Yeah, I read Red Harvest, too – it didn’t quite deliver)


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Macro-Series: Michelangelo – IDW (149)

WTF is up with Sexy Workout Wear Mikey? Is this from his Suicide Girls IG account?


Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County Artist’s Edition – IDW (172)

I’ve never forked over the big bucks for one of these Artist’s Editions before, but this might be the one that breaks me. The thought of seeing recreations of the original Bloom County strips as they were when Breathed submitted them for publishing is super exciting.


Mars Attacks #1 – Dynamite (184-185)

There have been dozens of comic books based on Mars Attacks over the years and as much as I love the premise I have never even considered buying one until just now when I saw the name Kyle Starks on this solicitation.

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from Starks and he’s also a super nice guy that I really need to get back to about coming on the podcast.

Anyway, his style will fit this series perfectly. If you have any interest in the slaughter of mankind and our last stand against a horde of green-blooded alien freaks, I recommend you give this title a look.


Halloween One-Shots – Dynamite (196-197)

There’s no doubt in my mind that Dynamite will do a great job with these character-oriented Halloween comics.

In case I don’t post pictures for all of them, Dynamite is offering Army of Darkness, Bettie Page, Elvira, Red Sonja, and Vampirella.


Fangoria Volume 2 #1 – Cine State Fangoria (316)

Like Circus, Wizard, Starlog, and Toy Fare; Fangoria  was an essential part of my youth. Unlike those titles, I had to hide it from my parents so that they wouldn’t be alarmed by the likes of Pinhead, Freddy, Pumpkinhead, and Chucky on the covers.

I would read every single article, editorial, review, and even ad in each issue. In a time when the internet was not available to give me a horror fix any time I needed it, Fangoria was a constant ally in the war against normalcy.

Twenty bucks for a magazine is pretty steep, but I’m going to give this first return issue a shot and support this beloved periodical as long as it delivers. I’d love it if Starlog was next to be resurrected.


Bath Time With Aquaman – Downtown Bookworks (324)

Presented without comment.

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?)


One:12 Collective The Joker Clown Prince of Crime Action Figure – Mezco (37M)

This is a great-looking Joker figure. It’s like a variant from one of those offshoot kid-oriented lines where they make him different colors just because they’re sick of the regular old purple and green Joker.

I’d be tempted to order it if I hadn’t just received the Mezco Exclusive Joker with a bunch of extra heads and weapons and jackets. It’s certainly the best Joker figure I own, and one of the best figures overall.

Still, this one has a lot of style and gets points for being something different.


A Nightmare on Elm Street: Chef Freddy Retro Action Figure – NECA (38M)

NECA is just killing it with these retro figures,  but I have to slow down on them. An ordering mishap resulted in the tuxedo version not coming in at the comic shop and I decided if it ends up shipping, great, if not, that’s okay, too. I need to get more conservative about these, no matter how great and beloved the specific versions are.

If this one had the soul pizza, though, I’d be all over it.


Friday the 13th Part V: Dream Jason Action Figure – NECA (42M)

Hopefully we’ll get a proper Part V “Jason” figure, but in the meantime this one is pretty badass. I’ve bought more of NECA’s Jasons than I’m comfortable admitting, but they each have something interesting that makes the purchase worth it.


Ultimate Gremlin Action Figure – NECA (42M)

I’ve been kicking myself for the last few years for not buying more of NECA’s original run of Gremlins figures, but it looks like they’re coming to my rescue with new Ultimate versions. I wish this one included sunglasses and a fedora, though. Those would have gotten a lot of extra mileage.

SNARKY  NOTE: What would be really great is if it has the same inconsistent paint job that some of NECA’s releases have so that multiple figures really would look different besides just having popcorn bags on their ears or whatever.


One:12 Collective Dawn of the Dead Action Figure Set – Mezco (42M)

These will, without a doubt, be the nicest zombie figures in your collection. But personally I can’t justify paying $130 bucks for a couple of famous but also sort of average zombies. I’m curious to see who will pick these up.


King Kong of Skull Island 7” Action Figure – Mezco (42M)

Mezco recently posted a hi-res gallery of this beauty and it looks far, far better than I had originally anticipated. Kong isn’t one of my monster heroes, necessarily, but any monster figure that looks this good is very tempting to me.

There’s also a Previews Exclusive black and white version, but I’ve never been one to prefer those over color variants.

Oh, and I appreciate that Mezco is using the same type of promotional image for this that they do for the One:12 figures. There's something that feels very classy and professional about this presentation.


The Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts 1/6th Scale Action Figure – QMx (44M)

I’m ordering two of these just for our pal Derek.


Child’s Play Talking Pizza Face Chucky 15” Action Figure – Mezco (44M)

Based on the same body as Mezco’s excellent Sam (from Trick R’ Treat) action figure, this Chucky looks absolutely disgusting and has a sound chip. Mrs. Troublemaker has already insisted we order one.


Silent Night, Deadly Night Billy Retro Action Figure – NECA (44M)

When Scream Factory offered their special Silent Night, Deadly Night set with a special edition of the movie and this figure I ordered it even though I hadn’t seen the movie in decades, if at all (I’m still not sure I ever saw it when I was younger – I didn’t love Christmas-themed horror movies). I just knew I’d be mad if I passed up a Santa figure of any kind, especially one from NECA.

Now you can get the figure by itself, and I recommend you do. It’s weird and creepy and great. And the movie is awesome.


Unaffiliated Thoughts

ENHANCED FOIL COVERS!!! – In October DC is offering enhanced foil covers as a variant option and I have to say, they all look great. Aside from my Frank Cho Harley I’ll go with the foil on the regular titles I pick up. Now if they’d just do a die-cut month I’d buy every damn book in the line.

Preacher – I’m out. The show simply isn’t good in my opinion. The characters barely resemble their comic counterparts (other than Herr Starr). The snail’s pace plot would be okay if the showrunners remembered it was supposed to be equal parts shocking, compelling, and FUN, but they don’t. Instead the show is an absolute fucking drag to watch.

Dragon Con – It’s nearly upon us and I am BUSY. More details soon.

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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