X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics.
Wait a minute … “monthly”?
It’s true that we haven’t taken a What Looks Good tour in a few months, but the feature is back with an all-new approach that we hope will be more varied and useful than the old format. Instead of Michael and Graeme just commenting on everything that catches our attention in the catalog, we’ve invited Chrises Mautner and Arrant to join us in each picking the five new comics we’re most looking forward to. What we’ll end up with is a Top 20 (or so; there may be some overlap) of the best new comics coming out each month.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
1) Love and Rockets New Stories #5 by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics) — How do you possibly top the triumphant storytelling feat that was “The Love Bunglers”? I dunno, but Jaime Hernandez is certainly going to give it the old college try, this time shifting the focus onto the vivacious “Frogmouth” character. Gilbert, meanwhile, brings back some of his classic Palomar characters, so yeah, this is pretty much a “must own” for me.
2) Skippy Vol. 1: Complete Dailies 1925-1927 by Percy Crosby (IDW) — Percy Crosby’s Skippy might well be the great forgotten comic strip of the 20th century. Extremely popular in its day, and a huge influence on such luminaries as Charles Schulz, the strip has largely been forgotten and the name conjures up little more than images of peanut butter. IDW’s effort to reacquaint folks with this strip might change that — the few snippets I’ve read suggest this is real lost gem.
3) The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized Books) — Tom Kaczynski’s small-press publishing company drops its first major, “big book” release with this memoir from the always-excellent Gabrielle Bell. Collecting work from her series Lucky (and, I think, some of her recent minis), the book chronicles a turbulent five year period as she travels around the world. Should be great.
4) Godzilla: The Half Century War by James Stokoe (IDW) — I usually stay as far away from licensed books as possible, but there is one simple reason I’m including this comic in my top five: James Stokoe. Stokoe’s Orc Stain has quickly become one of my favorite serialized comics, and his obsession with detailing every inch of the page combined with his ability to incorporate significant manga storytelling tropes in his work convince me he can do a solid job chronicling the adventures of the big green lizard that spits radioactive fire.
5) Barbara by Osamu Tezuka (Digital Manga) — Speaking of manga, here’s one of the more noteworthy Kickstarter projects of recent years: Digital Manga’s attempt to bring the master’s saga of a famous author and the homeless, beautiful woman he takes in and assumes to be his literal muse. This is well regarded in many Tezuka fan circles as one of the cartoonist’s better adult stories, and I’m glad to see Digital willing to take a chance on bringing more Tezuka to the West. I’ll definitely be buying this. I should also note that Vertical will also be offering some Tezuka this month, namely a new edition of Adolph (originally published by Viz in the ’90s), here titled Message to Adolph but well worth checking out regardless of the title.
Auctions | Bids for the $412 check from Detective Comics to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that includes a $130 line item for the rights to Superman have already surpassed $31,000 in less than three days at auction on ComicConnect.com. The auction ends April 16. [ABC News, The New York Times]
Creators | Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo is working on a new series that will run in a Japanese shonen (boys’) magazine. [Anime News Network]
Comic strips | Richard Thompson is back on the job at Cul de Sac, with some help from Stacy Curtis, who will be inking the strip. [Cul de Sac]
There are two reasons to check out this 5-page preview of Wonder Woman #6 at io9: One is to look at Tony Akins’s drawings of Wonder Woman fighting the tentacled god Posiedon—no, no subtext there—and the other is to read the debate about the current direction of the series in the comments section. If you like a good ol’ Internet slapfest, it’s right there for you. But honestly, the art is reason enough. I’m not currently reading Wonder Woman, but these pages might just make me start.
Matt and Felicia, sitting in a tree — or, actually, more like a giant hole instead of a tree, and I guess Spider-Man being electrocuted kind of kills the mood …
Courtesy of Marvel Comics, we’re pleased to present an exclusive preview from Daredevil #8 by writer Mark Waid and artist Kano, with a cover by regular series artist Paolo Rivera (who returns to drawing the interiors with issue #9). It’s the second part of a crossover with Amazing Spider-Man #677, which is also written by Mark Waid and features art by Emma Rios. The solicitation text refers to the Spider-Man/Black Cat/Daredevil as a love triangle, so I guess we’ll see if sparks fly figuratively between Daredevil and Black Cat as the sparks fly literally for Spider-Man.
This is the comic that topped CBR’s recent top 100 comics of 2011 list, and many of us here at the blog are big fans as well. It’s kind of cool to see a title like Daredevil, which has had very strong creative teams working on it for the past 10 years or so, reinvent itself with a completely different tone and still remain impressive.
Enjoy the preview, and look for both Amazing Spider-Man #677 and Daredevil #8 in shops later this month.
Courtesy of Fantagraphics, we’re pleased to present one more preview from the publishing house–Dutch comics artist and graphic designer Joost Swarte’s Is That All There Is?
The book collects virtually all of Swarte’s European alternative comics work from 1972 on, including stories published in Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly’s RAW Magazine in the 1980s. It also includes an introduction by Chris Ware. Some of the stories were done in watercolor, retro duotones and Zip-a-Tone screens, and Fantagraphics is putting a lot of care into matching the coloring.
Please note this preview contains some nudity, so it’s probably Not Safe For Work and isn’t for children. Check it out after the jump. It comes out in February.
Retailing | In the wake of the August closing of the Atomic Comics chain, Mesa, Arizona-area retailers are searching for ways to diversify in an attempt to keep their own stores afloat. Mike Banks, owner of Samurai Comics, has even opened a new location next to Atomic’s former flagship store to serve customers who suddenly found themselves without a comics shop. [East Valley Tribune]
Creators | Mike Mignola talks about his plans for next year’s Hellboy in Hell: “It’s a personal story about him, but with huge ramifications for the structure of Hell. I’m trying to get Hellboy free of the giant, Beast-of-the-Apocalypse storyline. That story has to get bigger before it can be put away. This first arc is the culmination of all the prophecy crap I’ve been trotting out throughout the years. We put a lot of things to bed.” Mignola also discusses his plans for B.P.R.D. and why he can’t watch the pilot of The Amazing Screw-On Head. [io9]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon continues his holiday interview series with a lengthy chat with Jeff Parker that spans his early comics-reading experiences, the influence of his artistic background on his writing, and his career at Marvel. [The Comics Reporter]
Courtesy of writer Nathan Edmondson (Grifter, Who Is Jake Ellis?), we’re pleased to present a preview of the second issue of The Activity, which goes on sale Jan. 11. Illustrated by Mitch Gerads and published by Image Comics, The Activity debuted this past week and focuses on the U.S Army’s last secret special operations tribe, The Intelligence Support Activity, or Gray Fox. Within Gray Fox is a team of elite men and women whose mission is flexible, whose technology is bleeding edge, and whose execution is precise and lethal. They are Team Omaha, and they serve The Activity.
“After the overwhelming response to issue #1, we’re primed to light the fuse on issue #2, out in just two weeks!” Edmondson said about the preview.
Check out the preview and solicitation text after the jump. You can read more about the series in CBR’s interview with Edmondson about the book.
Of all the Archie lines, the Jughead comics seem to be the most interesting. I know the main Archie comic has Kevin Keller and Kiss and all that, but the Jughead authors seem to mix things up a bit more and come up with more original story lines.
What struck me about this preview, though, was the art in the first story—it’s very much in the Archie tradition (look at Jughead’s sideways smile in the first panel, below) but somehow more dynamic as well. Penciler Ron Frenz seems to be a longtime Archie artist, so I don’t know why I’m noticing this for the first time, but it really pulled me in. That said, the first page is a bit disturbing; I think it’s the look on Archie’s face that does it. He’s simpering. Archie does not simper, dammit!
Anyway, here is a quick look at two stories from Jughead Double Digest #176; if you like ‘em, the comic goes on sale this week.
While the Life With Archie magazine is getting a lot of attention, something interesting is going on in the Jughead comic as well. In the current story, written by Craig Boldman, Jughead leaves home after a disagreement with his parents and crashes in the homes of various friends. As I mentioned earlier this year, this storyline shows Jughead being a bit more introspective than we are used to seeing him—just a bit, as every situation is still played for maximum laughs. It all seems to be coming to a head in Jughead #210, when he decides to move in with Trula Twyst, a fellow student with a penchant for pop psychology. The comic comes out next week, but we have an exclusive preview after the jump.
Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson said on his blog yesterday that the cover for Pigs #6 and an image from Glory #23 include swastikas and thus will not be featured as originally drawn in Diamond’s December Previews. The catalog is distributed in Germany, where the law prohibits the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations,” which includes the swastika if used in conjunction with Nazi idealism.
“This is nothing new,” Stephenson wrote. “Swastika-laden images have been prohibited from appearing in publications sold in Germany for decades at this point. I’m not sure I understand what the point is, though. World War II did happen, and Nazis did exist. I understand not wanting to encourage modern day Neo-Nazi groups, but censorship isn’t a particularly effective weapon against hate groups of any kind. Plus outlawing specific Nazi iconography seems strangely revisionist, as though it’s best to just not acknowledge the impact that symbol had, or the evil associated with it.”
The law Stephenson refers to is a remnant of the “Denazification” efforts in Germany by the Allies after World War II. Among other initiatives, the Allies sought to remove all symbols of Nazism, such as the swastika, from German culture. In a post written in 2009, when a swastika appeared on a cover for The Boys, German writer Marc-Oliver Frisch noted that the law has an exceptions clause, that it “shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes.” While The Boys issue with the swastika was not distributed in Germany, the German version of Maus, however, uses the original cover art that includes the swastika — but convention posters that used the Maus artwork have also been known to be confiscated by German authorities.
“Now you could argue that the paragraph clearly says that one of the exceptions is a work of art, which comics clearly are,” German blogger Subzero wrote in a post earlier this year. ” Well, not here in Germany and I guess it’s going to take a few decades till somebody here is willing to go to court on that point. In Germany comics don’t have that position.”
The Glory image that will appear in the catalog will not include the symbol, while the Pigs cover will be blurred out, as seen in the above image. You can find the Glory image by artist Ross Campbell, and a larger version of the uncensored Christian Ward-drawn Pigs cover, after the jump.
The second volume of Jarrett Williams’ awesome wrestling comics, Super Pro K.O.!: Chaos in the Cage, headbutts its way into comic shops today. Courtesy of Oni Press, we’re pleased to present a look at 23 pages from the new volume. Check it out after the jump.
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, “ Life with Archie 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.
Richie Rich Gems Winter Special - In addition to their modern-look Richie Rich, Ape has also re-introducied the classic version in both new and reprinted adventures. I missed the solicit for Richie Rich Gems #44 last month (which picked up where the Harvey series left off in 1982), but the series continues with not only the Winter Special, but #45 as well.
Dragons vs Dinosaurs - I haven’t had great luck with Arcana’s books in the past, but c’mon. The title alone…
Hero Happy Hour: On the Rocks - This, on the other hand, is no risk at all. I’m a big fan of Dan Taylor and Chris Fason’s superhero bar stories and this is an all-new, 80-page adventure. Not reprints; not even a printed version of the webcomic. It’s all-new and I need it.
The Dare Detectives: The Snow Pea Plot Collected Edition – Archaia prepares for their publishing Ben Caldwell’s Dare Detectives: The Kula Kola Caper by re-publishing the first story that was originally put out by Dark Horse.
I’ve written before about my frustration with Previews, the monthly catalog that’s roughly the size of what we used to call “a phone book” — just think, one day phone books won’t exist, and yet we’ll still say that things are “like a phone book,” because that’s how language works — but this weekend, I realized: Previews is still better than the Internet.
Those of us in the East Coast Division of Robot 6 have already endured an earthquake, which knocked the pictures on my office walls askew and caused several moments of consternation; now there’s a hurricane pounding its way up the coast towards us. Time for some escape reading! In these previews of B&V Friends Double Digest #217 and Jughead Double Digest #173, both due out next week in comics shops and digital apps everywhere, Betty and Veronica are still at the beach, battling over bikinis, and at the mall, battling with Jughead. Get some bottled water, make sure there are batteries in your flashlight, and settle down for a little light reading!
Another Comic-Con is over, and even those of us who didn’t go are probably suffering convention fatigue from the deluge of news and awesomeness. Time for a break! Here’s a quick preview of B & V Friends Double Digest #216, which is out in comics stores tomorrow — but here at Robot 6 today!