Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
The talk this week’s been focused on September, but let’s not forget that there’s some great stuff coming in August too. It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Dark Horse Presents is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Gunnerkrigg Court, Volume 3 - I’ve only read Archaia’s first volume of Tom Siddell’s webcomic about a young girl at a strange school, but I’m eager for more. As much as publishers like to shove series at me telling me they’re going to scratch my Harry Potter itch, this is the only one that’s actually done it.
Planet of the Apes, Volume 1 - If the rest of the story is as strong as the first issue, this collection will be well worth having. Likely even better than re-watching some of the PotA movies themselves.
Roger Langridge’s Snarked! - Roger Langridge (The Muppet Show, Thor: The Mighty Avenger) has built a lot of clout for himself in the way of writing kid-friendly comics that adults love too. Should be fun to watch him keep that going on this Lewis Carroll-inspired series.
Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1 – I haven’t checked out Baltimore yet, but it looks like a worthy addition to Mike Mignola’s oeuvre. Is it?
Hellboy, Volume 11: The Bride of Hell and Others - These short story collections are always my favorite Hellboy volumes. And this one’s got space aliens, a man-eating house, and a vampire luchador.
Criminal Macabre Omnibus, Volume 1 - Steve Niles’ Criminal Macabre has had a rough publishing history, occasionally making it difficult to keep up with. Difficult, but rewarding. Niles’ Cal McDonald combines modern noir, supernatural horror, and humor in a uniquely awesome way. And now Dark Horse has conveniently collected it in one place, including the impossible-to-find Supernatural Freak Machine story.
Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth – The first Axe Cop mini-series gets collected and makes me realize that what I want more than my next breath of air is an Axe Cop/Dr. McNinja crossover. Somebody get on that.
Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers - This is probably just showing my age, but there are a few artists who define Batman for me and people of my generation: Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, and Marshall Rogers.
Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales, Volume 2 - For anyone who loves (or even just sort of likes) fun.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus - If you don’t have a bookshelf edition yet of this modern classic, here you go.
Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland - Bigby Wolf vs a town full of werewolves is a battle I want to see. And finding out why the werewolves simultaneously revere and restrain him is a mystery I want to read.
The Bionic Man #1 – Kevin Smith gets the big marketing push in the ads, but his co-writer Phil Hester is the reason I want to read this. Well, that and it’s Steve Austin. It’s too bad that none of the art is even trying to make him look like Lee Majors, but still, the Six Million Dollar Man concept is cool enough to stand without a celebrity likeness. As long as Bionic Bigfoot shows up at some point.
Graphic Classics, Volume 21: Poe’s Tales of Mystery - There’s already been an Edgar Allan Poe Graphic Classics volume, but this one focuses entirely on his detective and mystery stories. “Murders in the Rue Morgue” is adapted of course, but so are several lesser-known tales. Graphic Classics don’t get enough attention and are highly recommended.
Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954 – Everyone knows that you’re supposed to revere Alex Toth, because chances are your favorite comics artist already does. Here’s where you find out why.
The Deep: Here Be Dragons - I’m not familiar with the quality of books published by Gestalt, but I’m all for giving them a shot with this graphic novel about “a multicultural family of underwater explorers.” Sort of a post-modern, Marine Man version of The Incredibles.
Bad Island - If there’s one genre that gets me every time, it’s the one where a family shipwrecks on an island and has to evade “dangerous inhabitants” and “a mysterious entity” in order to unlock the place’s secrets. Oh, and Doug TenNapel’s doing this one.
Gumby’s Arthur Adams Specials - Yeah, I know. Gumby? But if you read these as individual issues in the late ’80s, you know why it’s exciting to have them finally collected. If you haven’t, let’s just say that writers Bob Burden and Steve Purcell knew the kind of stuff that Adams enjoys drawing and threw plenty of it into their scripts for Gumby to meet up with. If you’re at all an Art Adams fan, you need to have this.
The Phantom: The Complete Series, Volume 1: The Gold Key Years – Hermes Press is collecting some exciting stuff lately. For kids in the ’60s and ’70s who were unfortunate enough to have local papers that didn’t run The Phantom, Gold Key and Charlton comics were our source of ghost-walking, jungle adventures.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 – I’ve lost track of how many times TMNT has been re-launched as an ongoing, but I think that IDW may just be the company to make it last.
Little Jackie Lantern - There’s a bit of nepotism going on with this entry, because artist Jessica Hickman is a friend of mine. But if there’s any artist genetically created to illustrate a simultaneously sweet and spooky children’s story of a boy frightened by Halloween, it’s Jess.
The Vault #1 – It’s a good month for undersea adventure. This one has a group of underwater treasure hunters trying to raise a possibly supernatural prize before a massive storm hits.
Malinky Robot: Collected Stories and Other Bits - Sonny Liew (Wonderland, Sense and Sensibility) draws stories about “stinky fish, philosopher-labourers and summer rain.” Also, giant robots.
Sweets: A New Orleans Crime Story - Louisiana native Kody Chamberlain’s innovative, lush, pre-Katrina (and I mean, right pre-Katrina) murder mystery gets a collection. My mouth is watering already.
Gon, Volume 1 - I bought the Paradox edition of this a long time ago to share with my dinosaur-loving son, but he was only three or four at the time and…well, Gon is a bit violent for a cute little theropod. I’d forgotten all about it until Kodansha announced their version, so even though I probably won’t re-buy Volume 1 to share with The Boy, I’ll look forward to their future releases making my search for more Gon a lot easier.
Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #1 – On the one deadly hand, I think Shang Chi needs Spider-powers like the Hulk needs kick-boxing lessons. On the other, I understand it’s part of this whole, bigger thing and I’m just happy that the Master of Kung Fu is getting some spotlight.
Secret Avengers #16 – Hey! Warren Ellis is taking over! That’s pretty cool.
Mystic #1 – I never read the CrossGen series this is based on, but I totally dig the concept of a couple of hillbilly girls’ learning magic and having to save the world.
Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus, Volume 1 - Along with Walt Simonson’s Thor and Frank Miller’s Daredevil, this is one of those classic Marvel runs that everyone should read. Start saving your moneys now.
Black Widow: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider - Devin Grayson and Greg Rucka’s two mini-series introducing the “new” Black Widow, Yelena Belova were remarkable for not getting rid of the old one in the process. These are very much Natasha Romanova stories, but they explore the idea of replacing old heroes in a meta-textual way as well as a literal one. Glad they’re getting collected together.
Bubbles & Gondola - One of the rare, non-adventure titles to make my list, Renaud Dilliès’ fable about the writing process sounds beautiful and moving. It’s the story of “a mouse who’s trying to write, but has a block” and the bird named Solitude who comes along to help him.
Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #1 – Unfortunately, the solicitation text for this issue has to spend most of its time convincing you to give Atomic Robo a try if you haven’t read it. That’s a noble goal; it’s just sad that it’s necessary.
You should give Atomic Robo a try if you haven’t read it. Because you will love it once you do. And you don’t have to start at any particular volume. It’s scientifically designed in labs so that you can read the volumes in any damn order you want. This particular one seems to have something to do with astronauts and ghosts, which sounds like as good a place to start as any.
The Ultimate 7: Playing God #1 – I know nothing about Zyo or The Ultimate 7 or any of its creators, but that Greg Horn cover looks like a lot of fun and the interior art looks pretty good too. I’m in the mood for some big, space pulp adventure, so here’s hoping its as fun as it looks.