The "Everything Else" Looking Forward column is pretty dense this month! We’ve got stuff from Dark Horse, Image and several other publishers! Look for the return of a classic Sergio Aragones character, an anniversary issue for a certain yellow kid from Springfield and a pair of one-shots from Dark Horse Comics, part of their "One-Shot Wonders" series!
But first, Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane with…
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Greg Capullo, Ryan Ottley & Todd McFarlane
Daniel Kilgore is dragged into his estranged brother Kurt’s secret life of murder and espionage… by his ghost. With no training whatsoever, guided by the spirit of his secret-agent brother, Daniel must now solve his brother’s murder and save the world – or die trying! It all starts here, people: Witness the birth of Haunt!
It’s one of comics’ brightest stars – Robert Kirkman – teaming up with some of the legendary names of Image Comics, in particular Mr. Todd McFarlane.
DC has a ton of books including, Kevin Smith’s new book BATMAN WIDENING GYRE #1 (OF 6), BATMAN AND ROBIN #3 which I dissed yesterday for lateness, the much delayed FLASH REBIRTH #4 (OF 6), the newest Blackest Night chapters GREEN LANTERN #45 and BLACKEST NIGHT TITANS #1 (OF 3), SCALPED #31 and of course WILDCATS #14. Looks like an excellent DC Week.
Marvel has even more books coming out. Three Avengers books. Four Hulk books. Five X Books. Plus a boatload of variants. Quite a lineup. Gonna be reading all night! FANTASTIC FOUR #570 is also on the list. First issue by Jonathon Hickman. His Dark Reign Fantastic Four mini-series was good and this is a great time to jump on the regular series if you haven’t been reading it.
Everything else looks a little light in a week that is going to be dominated by the big two but it is also Previews and Wizard week.
Based on the art of George Pérez. The exciting new action figure line continues! DC Direct presents figures to add to the ongoing line that spans the history of the DC Universe, as presented by artist George Pérez in the classic book THE HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE. Planned to include more characters than any DC Direct line ever, THE HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE will help fulfill the requests for many fan-favorite characters.
Each figure features multiple points of articulation and a base. 4-color clamshell blister card packaging.
Choose from the Creeper, Aquaman, The Flash, and Black Lightning.
MARVEL SELECT SABRETOOTH AF
Presenting a new take on a classic villain, this seven-inch action figure release features Wolverine’s most hated enemy – Sabretooth! From the pages of Marvel Comics history, Sabretooth is depicted with his classic costume and features a deluxe base and multiple points of articulation. Designed by Dig Deep Entertainment and sculpted by Gentle Giant, this is one heavy-hitting mutant you don’t want to miss!
MARVEL MINIMATES SERIES 28
Journey into the comic history of Wolverine with the latest Marvel Minimates release! Featuring friends and foes of the unstoppable mutant berserker, this assortment includes Gambit & Psylocke, Wolverine & Deadpool, Sabretooth & Skrull Soldier plus the variant First Appearance Sabretooth! Each Minimate stands two inches tall with 14 points of articulation and a variety of removable and interchangeable parts and accessories.
So, I was all ready to talk about the latest action-adventure bonanza I read when something strange happened. I discovered a book so cool and so different it immediately jumped to the top of my “I gotta talk about this book” list. Last night, I decided to take a break from all the angst I’ve been reading and go for some light hearted humor. Not just any humor book but a classic humor book from the Silverage! This week I read “Melvin Monster” by John Stanley, published by Drawn & Quarterly, which collected the first three issues of the original 1965 series.
Melvin is anything but your typical little monster. In fact, Melvin is the nicest little monster in all of Monsterville which always gets him into trouble. In the first issue, Melvin gets into trouble because he actually wants to go to school. Baddy, Melvin’s father, can’t believe his son wants to go to school! Melvin eventually makes it to school, manages to travel to the human being world, and come back home all in 33 pages. There are plenty of humorous supporting characters such Damon the Demon, his guarding demon, and Ms McGargoyle the school teacher who hasn’t had to teach a class for 600 years. Until Melvin came along that is. There’s also his pet alligator Cleopatra who is always trying to eat him.
It’s true, I am currently on vacation in the Land Down Under (Australia, not Mexico). But still I have managed to put together a Best Covers of the Day column for you, my teeming readership. I obviously don’t know what hit the racks today, so I put together a selection of titles from what could turn out to be the most important character of the summer: Green Lantern. We start with a classic from the Silver Age.
GREEN LANTERN #61
It might be a little tough to make out, but this cover has Hal Jordan chastising Alan Scott: "Your abuse of green power destroyed every person on Earth!"
A) That statement in and of itself is hilarious. It could only be better if he had said, "Your abuse of green power destroyed every living thing in the history of the universe! … EVER!"
B) My knowledge of Alan Scott is a little limited but I didn’t even think he had green power? Or maybe just not the same green power as other Green Lanterns. I have to wonder if Hal is here talking about Alan’s devotion to eco-friendly energy solutions. "Your abuse of wind turbines, solar panels and that stupid Prius you drive everywhere destroyed every person on Earth!"
A few very exciting releases from DC set to come out in October. Lots of Batman action, a little JLA, some Astro City and a title many people never thought would actually see the light of day.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #38
Written by James Robinson
Art by Mark Bagley
A new era begins for the World’s Greatest Heroes as superstars James Robinson and Mark Bagley take over! It all begins as a one-time member of the JLA falls before he can warn the team of looming peril while what’s left of the JLA journeys to the heart of their past to decide if the team has any future at all.
Of course, that means this is the best time for a savage villain from the team’s past to attack the demoralized heroes! The team will have to muster enough will to win not only today, but in the harrowing months to come.
This issue marks the start of a spanking new odyssey for the JLA that will apparently lead in the coming months to a fresh line-up for DC’s flagship team. If there was ever a time to get onboard with JLA, it’s now!
In the 1980s, Frank Miller redefined how the world saw Batman. Miller’s Dark Knight stories have been as influential in the medium as you can imagine and are hailed as comics masterpieces. In fact, Dark Knight Returns was responsible for the launch of the Batman movies. Along with its sequel, Dark Knight Strikes Again, and the equally important Batman: Year One, we have this week’s Trade Paperback Spotlight.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS TP
It is 10 years after an aging Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now as his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.
What is that? Gravel #13? Archie #600? I just know everyone is anxiously waiting for those so I had to give them their props. Gravel Rocks! and Archie proposes to Veronica. It’s comic book history in the making!
Of course Marvel and DC also have books shipping this week. Who would have guessed!?
DC gives us the brand new Batgirl #1 and Blackest Night Superman #1 in a relatively big week for them. While Marvel counters with Daredevil #500, 3 Punisher titles (5 if you count trades), Mighty Avengers and X-Factor.
And don’t forget Invincible #65. Will Mark’s bones heal? Will Eve find some clothes? Can I get a bloody punch in the face. Or more appropriately a bloody punch through a face. You know I can!
The bestselling Marvel Minimates line continues with this themed assortment featuring the stars of Marvel’s award-winning Ultimates series! Each case includes Ultimate Thor & Ultimate Iron Man, Ultimate Hulk & Ultimate Nick Fury, Ultimate Captain America & Ultimate SHIELD Agent plus the variant Ultimate World War II Captain America!
Each Minimate stands two inches tall with 14 points of articulation and a variety of removable and interchangeable parts and accessories.
And now for something completely different, this week I decided to read two collections of comic strips! That’s right, not a graphic novel or even a collection of comic books, but comic strips as seen in your newspaper everyday.
The first was Nemi by Lise Myhre, published by Titan Books. Nemi is actually a Norwegian newspaper strip that is seen in European newspapers. It’s a traditional gag a day strip ala Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbs. What makes this strip different is the main character is a pale, chain smoking, heavy drinking, anti-establishment Goth girl named Nemi.
I was immediately drawn to this because there aren’t many daily strips that involve Goths. And, even fewer ones that antagonize the establishment like Nemi does. Nemi is often seen in the bar making fun of jocks and nerds alike. Actually, she makes fun of just about everyone that doesn’t look like her. She often drinks too much and her idea of a committed relationship is taking the same man home twice. In between the sneer and punk attitude, Myhre manages to squeeze in typical mainstream humor. Nemi complains about the lack of quality television, her weight, and the general lack of quality men in her life.
While never laugh out loud funny, the jokes are humorous and light. It’s a quick read if you’re looking to bring a smile to your face.
Greetings, all! It is with great sadness that I must tell you this is my last column for a few weeks. Tonight I fly off to the continent of Australia and I must leave this column in the hands of another writer. That writer surely has a challenge on his hands, filling the shoes of a scribe so superb as yours truly.
Lucky for you that writer is ME, ho ho!
You see, next week and the week after I have set up two editions of "Classic Covers" for your enjoyment. So while you won’t get any critique on the covers that came out during those weeks, you WILL get plenty of sass and spunky commentary on a few select covers from yesteryear. Hope you enjoy.
And now, on with today’s covers!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #602
From the moment I unpacked this one I knew it would be my #1 pick of the week. And in fact, how could it not be? Mary Jane is SMOKIN’ on this cover, as illustrated by Mr. Adi Granov. And that little Vespa is pretty hot, too, if I do say so.
I just have one question: do those legs go AAAALLLLL the way up?
August 10th, 2009 at 11:15 am - Uncategorized -
As an avid reader I try not to limit myself to my favorite medium, comic books. In this regard I’m always on the lookout for an interesting short story, periodical or book to satisfy my other literary cravings. Two weeks ago I saw a book that peaked my interest and decided to give it a go. The book in question was a take on the first meeting of Batman and Superman, entitled ENEMIES & ALLIES: A NOVEL, written by Kevin J. Anderson.
For those that haven’t read Kevin J. Anderson, here’s a little background. He is an American science fiction writer mostly known for his spin-off novel work for Star Wars, X-Files and Dune (which includes both the prequels and post Chapterhouse novels). His most prominent original work has to be the Nebula Award-nominated Assemblers of Infinity (a must-read for syfy lovers). In addition, those JSA and Dark Horse readers out there should recognize his name as he has also written several comic books including the JSA: Strange Adventures mini-series, Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi and some Predator titles. Anderson also has another DC-based novel entitled The Last Days of Krypton, which tells the story of how Krypton ceased to be and the tough choice that Jor-El and Lara made by sending Kal-El to earth.
The setting for our novel takes us into the Golden Age of comics before Batman and Superman became friends. LBJ is President, Sputnik is in orbit, nuclear weapons are proliferating and McCarthy is looking for Communists. Anderson is able to bring a refreshing perspective on two great comic icons that read more like a classic crime noir or Ian Fleming spy novel than a comic book.
What’s that you say? It’s only August? Bah! That’s why we call this the Looking Forward column! These are the releases set to come out in October from Marvel Comics that just might interest you. We kick it off with a brand new day in the world of Spidey.
WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1
Written by J.M. DeMatteis, Tom Defalco & more
Penciled by Val Semeiks, Ron Frenz & more
Tying into upcoming events in Amazing Spider-Man including Who is Ben Reilly? and The Gauntlet! Even with all the action jam-packed into every issue of Thrice Monthly Spidey, we STILL don’t have enough room to tell the wall-crawler’s exploits! So behold! The brand-new, state of the art Web of Spider-Man! Thrill! To the return of Kaine, the ill-fated Peter Parker Clone – where has he been all these years? Where is he now? And how does it tie into Kraven?! Then – Marvel! At the continuing adventures of May-Day Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Girl! And More! Get caught in the web this October!
It’s been about a year with just Amazing Spider-Man. Now we’re going to get Web of Spider-Man, too. And it even includes some Spider-Girl action for all you fans of May Parker.
It’s hard to decide who leads off this week because both of the big two have several high-octane books coming out. I flipped a coin, it came out in DC’s favor.
This week from DC we’re set to get Adventure Comics #1 by Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul. DC also gives us Blackest Night #2 AND Blackest Night: Batman #1. The first issue of Blackest Night was awesome and we still have it in stock. Not too late to get on board! Also look for Green Lantern Corps #39, Batman #689, Red Circle Inferno #1, Red Robin #3!
Marvel is coming pretty strong, too. Look for Marvels Project #1, which was initially set to come out last week but got bumped. Just as exciting, be sure to check out the beginning of an all-new Ultimate Universe with Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 and Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1. Also, Uncanny X-Men #514, Cable #17 and Amazing Spider-Man #602.
Maintaining the American frontier theme, this week I decided to read SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BAT LASH. I picked this because Bat Lash has long been one of those series revered by Silver Age collectors. As far back as Amazing Heroes, the precursor to Wizard, the fan press always praised it. And it was said to be some of Nick Cardy’s best work ever (I’m an art guy). For ten bucks, I got 240 pages of western style goodness, consisting of the entire Bat Lash series and a couple of one shots. And, it was worth every penny
Bat Lash first appeared in Showcase #76, published in 1968, and had his own series for eight issues. The stories from the original series are plotted by Sergio Aragones, scripted by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Nick Cardy. Each story is self-contained with Bat Lash helping people… and sometimes himself along the way. The stories all open with Bat Lash in some precarious situation when a woman, or pack of women, rushes in to save him. After a kiss for the woman who saved him he heads off to find the real adventure of the story. Typical stories include preventing bandits from stealing gold or trying to save a damsel in distress for the reward money. And, in the course of each adventure Bat Lash meets a pretty woman and woos her.
Firstly, good readers, let me tell you something: you are all SUPERSTARS. Why? Because you are reading this column and that makes you pretty cool in my book. I mean, where else can you find this level of incisive critique into the landscape of the four-color medium? Basically, I’m like the Barry Manilow of comic book cover reviews. ? "I write the columns that make young girls cry…."?
Anyhoo, let’s get right into it with the hottest comic book since X-Men #1.
This comic has been flying off the shelves. And when I say flying, I mean literally flying. I think these comics are possessed!
In all seriousness, a very creative story and a huge amount of interweb buzz has made this one a hot pick. Did I mention that this cover is fantastic? The lady looks like something from a scary Bill Plympton cartoon!
August 3rd, 2009 at 11:00 am - Uncategorized -
Here’s what I’ve got for you comic loving heathens this week. A little Avatar, a little DC and a little Marvel.
Ignition City #4 (Avatar): I have been enjoying this mini-series so far, but this issue really kicked it into high gear. I have to consider it the best comic of the week. In electrifying fashion, Warren Ellis introduced a new character to the mix of downtrodden personalities that fill the island in Ignition. We get to meet the resident island genius Dr. Vukovic who seems to have no problem expressing his feelings either verbally or physically. There is a great reveal in this issue but only Mary Raven and the potty-mouthed Doc are privy. If you love character-driven books, then hurry up and grab some back issues or at the very least get the trade when it comes out. In addition, Pagliarani’s art does well to complement the grime, grit and hopelessness that many of Ellis’ characters express. I’m looking forward to the final issue and so should you.
This week was another adventure story, but it was American style adventure. I left the world of samurai behind to read about life on the American frontier in the 1800s. I read JOURNEY VOL. 1, written & drawn by William Messner-Loebs, published by IDW.
Journey is a massive, 424-page phone book that collects the first 16 issues of the series, which was published in the early 1980s. Journey was one of the books that appeared during the birth of the direct market. During that time there were many opportunities to publish new and exciting material and Messner-Loebs produced some one of the best in Journey.
Journey is a classic adventure set in the 1800s on the Michigan frontier. Joshua "Wolverine" McAlistaire is one of the toughest trappers on the frontier. And he proceeds to prove it over and over in the 16 issues collected here. The first story arc introduces McAlistaire and life on the frontier. He encounters Indians, a wild bear and a British Earl who has come to lead a revolution against the forces of tyranny! If you’re wondering, the “forces of tyranny” are lead by a Mr. Washington. It quickly becomes evident why this particular Brit was chosen for the mission after we learn he traded his guns for a “snow map.” A snow map, which shows where it snows in Michigan, can be a huge tactical advantage to any army.
This Saturday, August 1, (tomorrow!) our next-door neighbors at Beat Street Music are having a big event in the parking lot with live music, food, drinks and more.
They invited us to join in the fun… so we are! To make the event that much cooler we’re going to have a one-day sale: EVERYTHING IN THE STORE WILL BE 25% OFF!
Comics, action figures, trade paperbacks, you name it. They’ll all be 25% off all day next Saturday! We’re even gonna blow up a few balloons and give the place a downright festive atmosphere.
Meanwhile, over at Beat Street, Carmine Appice ("the original heavy hitter") and Michael Angelo Batio ("the number one shredder of all time") will be giving guitar and drum clinics. Just click the image at right to learn more.
So come on down and we’ll add some comic book folks into the mix with the musicians!
Updated August 1, 2009
If you couldn’t make it, check out what you missed!