Previews Picks August 2001
Selective highlights and researched insights into the most interesting new comics offered in each month's Previews catalog (without spoilers).
About these pages, and other months' books

Key:[super]Super/Action, [humour]Humour/Fun, [sci-fi]SF, [fantasy]Fantasy, [all ages]All Ages, [les/bi/gay]Les/Bi/Gay, [smut]Smut [beyond genre]Beyond Genre.
This month's theme is The World, with creators from around the globe getting a lot of the spotlight (as well as jobs here in the US... not that there's anything wrong with that), plus a few books about The World. (The first person to correctly identify - specificly enough that I know you're not just guessing - where my "world" icon is taken from gets a prize.)

Listings here are in reverse order by publisher. Prices and page count are mentioned if it's outside the arbitrary industry "norm" for pamphlets (i.e. 24-32 pages, $2-4). Items I think are especially worth checking out are offset in boxes.

- GRAPHIC NOVEL: The Man Who Grew Young is a new book by philosopher/author Daniel Quinn, illustrated by Michiganian manga artist Tim Eldred. It takes place in a world where time runs backwards, with the sun rising in the west and setting in the east, and people living from grave to cradle... except for one man who doesn't seem to have a womb to be "de-born" into, living on and on into the past. 204 pages for $20 (or $29 in hardcover) [sci-fi]
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: The Horns of Elfland is a reprint of an older book by Charles Vess. 48 pages for $15. [fantasy]

Wet Earth
- COLLECTION: The Adventures of Edgar Mudd (and Elaine) was a painted, full-color series by R. Busch and J. Bilicic, about a hapless accountant caught up in the bizarre. Don't expect Alex-Ross-style painted art, though, this is a rather expressive and cartoony paint job (exampled in their full-page advert for the original series). 96 color pages for $14. [beyond genre]

- SPECIAL: Kimota!: The Miracleman Companion Contains a whole bunch of info about the Captain Marvel clone whom Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman turned into the last word on superheroes... but never managed to finish. Some pieces from the finished-but-unpublished #25 will be included, and an unpublished 8-pager by Moore and John Totleben, as well as a bunch of pin-ups by a mixed bag of artists. Some of the profits will go to Totleben, who's suffering from the hereditary degenerative eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa. I'm not privy to the details of his condition, but two of my cousins have this condition, which has left them both nearly blind in early middle age, so this is serious business for an artist. 128 pages for $13. [super]

 Top Shelf
- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: Top Shelf is putting out a boxed set of graphic novellas by Actus (formerly Actus Tragicus, but I guess they've decided things aren't that bad after all). Actus are a quintet of Israeli cartoonists, and for this year's joint project, each of them is doing a 32-page, full-color, square-bound book for the set. The subject matter of the various stories sounds pretty eclectic and interesting. (And yes, they're in English.) The whole set costs $32. [beyond genre]

Titan Books
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Titan are dusting off some more classics, early works by members of the current British invasion. This month's is the first volume of Zenith by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell, a quirky look at superheroics and pop culture. This the first of four volumes, the first of which is 96 pages for $15. [super]

Three Finger Prints
- COLLECTION: Sadly, Geeksville has come to an end, a victim of the current "soft" market, the fact that it relied upon still-active readers with a sense of humour and some introspection, and the difficulty of getting such stuff into the right hands. Anyway, you can still get some of Rich Koslowski's 3 Geeks material by picking up this collection, which reprints the last four issues of their "solo" series (before they joined in a single title with Innocent Bystander) plus a couple of short pieces from elsewhere. $152 pages for $15. [humour]

- NEW SERIES: The Watch is a series that's already been out for several issues in its native Australia. Coinciding with its debut on the world stage, they're relaunching the series, so us folk "up over" won't be lost. This is writer Christian Read's first superhero series, about a world in which riches were - briefly - the key to super powers, and now super powers - in the hands of the noble and the ignoble - are the key to fame and fortune. Read describes it as "a political story", trying to apply the genre to a different kind of tale. Andrew Phillips is the artist, and the first dozen pages of #1 are available online in PDF. [super]

- COLLECTION: The Coffin could be called a gothic version of Iron Man, about a mad scientist who is forced to seal himself into an experimental suit designed to preserve his soul when he's fatally wounded. It's written by Phil Hester who evidently is leaving the illustration up to Mike Huddleston (though the look of the character practically screams "Hester"). 112 pages for $12. [sci-fi] [fantasy]
- LIMITED SERIES: Hopeless Savages is a story about the offspring of two ThatcheReagan-era punks, written by Jan VanMeter and illustrated by Christine Norrie, with flashback sequences illustrated by the appropriately-omygodispunkalready-retro Chynna Clugston-Major. 4 issues. [humour]

 - NEW PUBLISHER: Castle Waiting is back where it began, under Linda Medley's own imprint. This issue is labeled as either volume 2 #6 (the numbering since the switch to Cartoon Books) or as #13 (what it would've been without the switch, and reflecting what Medley will be using from here on out). So if you've been buying the Cartoon issues, just get out a pen and put #s 8-12 on the covers, so you won't be confused further down the line. [fantasy] [all ages]

- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Did you read Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past in high school? Neither did I, but this once-scandalous book is considered a classic of French literature. This is a best-selling (in France) adaptation by Stephane Heuet (in English), 72 large-format color pages for $14. [beyond genre]
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: I bet you didn't read Herman Melville's Moby Dick either. No less than Will Eisner is offering to help correct that with his (significantly shorter) adaptation of the story about obsession and revenge. In hardcover (and they haven't been doing paperback editions of these) for $16, or a deluxe signed edition for $50. [beyond genre]

M.R. Neno
- NEW SERIES: Michael Neno's Reactionary Tales is a Xeric-funded publication by the creator of the online strip Quacky Pig and Friends, which has been praised by such noted cartoonists as Steve Lieber and Paul Pope. This book features the (clearly ironic) adventures of Larvae Boy, Emperor of the Insect World, and the beginning of the superhero epic "This Eternal Flaw". [humour]

Note: Marvel solicits paperback collections a month further in advance; see last month's picks for collections shipping in August.
- LIMITED SERIES: Two core X-Men characters - Rogue and Cyclops are being featured in 4-issue mini-series. Hers is written by Fiona Avery and penciled by Aaron Lopresti and delves into the psyche of the orphaned mutant with a deadly power. His is by Brian K. Vaughan and Mark Texiera and follows him on a dangerous solo trek through northern Canada. [super]
- RETITLED SERIES: Deadpool: Agent of Weapon X reclaims the "merc with a mouth" as a mutant. Hard to tell whether returning the character to the X-book fold - now that the X-books are hot again - will revive interest in the formerly-critically-loved series, but I guess Frank Tieri and Georges Jeanty will make a go of it for the next four issues. [super]
- THIS MONTH IN... Tangled Web, Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo - whose Enigma is one of my all-time favourite Vertigo books - team up again for the first of a two-part story entitled Flowers for Rhino, taking a different sort of look at he guy in the rhinoceros suit. [super]
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Captain America/Nick Fury: The Otherworld War sends the two WWII heroes after the Red Skull, who ducks into an horrific other dimension where Cap and his Sargeant friend are a bit out of their metaphysical league. By Peter Hogan and Leondardo Manco. [super]
- SPECIAL: Avengers: The Ultron Imperative appears to be an part-of-continuity special issue, tying in with events in the ongoing series, so readers of the monthly will probably want to pick it up. It's cowritten by Kurt Busiek and Roy Thomas with pencils by Paul Smith. Also included are an assortment of pin-ups or a total of 80 pages for $6. [super]

Last Gasp
- NONFICTION: The World of Chick? is an exploration of the genuinely twisted world of pamphleteer Jack Chick, whose fanatic, paranoid religious tracts are a legendary part of the heritage of this medium we all love. This book is written by Robert Fowler, who approaches the material from an academic perspective, analysing the work of the artists as well as the messages. 160 pages for $17. [beyond genre]

- NEW SERIES: Mr. Right is another creator-owned series by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in the "classic" fun superhero vein (much the same style DeFalco used for the now-defunct "MC2" family of series over at Marvel). The hero of this series is an artificial construct who becomes real when he is linked to an idealistic boy through the kid's computer. The first issue contains three stories, including a team-up with DeFalco's other new hero: the M@N, drawn by Ron Lim. [super]
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Bluntman and Chronic is a book starring the superhero alteregos of Silent Bob and Jay, supporting characters taking the spotlight in Kevin Smith's upcoming film. The book is illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming. 96 color pages for $15. [humour]
- THIS MONTH IN... Hellspawn (a Todd McFarlane series), is supposedly the return of Miracleman. But frankly, I'm already prepared to consider this purely apocryphal (even more so than the stories in Miracleman: Apocrypha), since I have little faith in McFarlane (or his work-for-hire writer Steve Niles) to stay true to Moore's and Gaiman's vision of the character. Heck... even Ashley Wood's rendition of the chest emblem doesn't match. For that matter, neither does the emblem on the teaser page at the front of the Image section, which features a different non-standard variation on the "MM" design. Perhaps the "real" logo (as first featured in Moore's revival of the character) is still someone else's trademark? I did some searching of the trademark database and didn't find an active registration for it... but there are a lot of "MM"s to look through and I gave up. {shrug} [super]
- COLLECTION: The middle volume of J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars is being reprinted in paperback. Reprinting issues #9-16, the art will range from passable to beautiful as Brent Anderson takes over as regular artist by the end of it.
- COLLECTION: Gary Frank's series Kin - about one of the technologically-advanced Neanderthals who've survived to the present day - is being reprinted. 176 pages for $18. [sci-fi]

- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: Son of the Gun: Born in the Trash is the first in a series (they don't say how many) of color hardcovers by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Georges Bess, about a baby born with a tail in the slums of Huatuclo in South America, who survives to become a bodyguard for the Governor. 48 pages for $15. [beyond genre]

- COLLECTION: The fourth and final paperback edition of Scud: The Disposable Assassin is finally being released. Yellow Horseman collects issues #16-20 of this genuinely wacky series. 160 pages for $15. (The three previous collections are still available.) [super] [humour]

- LIMITED SERIES: Artbabe Presents: La Perdida is a 4-issue story from Jessica Abel about a US-raised Mexican young woman who tries to connect to her absent father's heritage, and her involvement with an upperclass Mexico-bound slacker. If Abel's past work is any indication, this should be quite good. Each issue is 56 square-bound pages for $5. [beyond genre]
- COLLECTION: Taking advantage of the publicity the upcoming Ghost World film will bring to Daniel Clowes' work, Fanta is releasing Twentieth Century Eightball, a "Best Of" collection of material selected from his long-running series. 112 pages (some of them in color) for $19. A new stand-alone issue of the series (in color) is also coming out at the same time. And of course there are the previously announced Ghost World paperback and screenplay. [beyond genre]

F.52 Diffusion-Galerie
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: La Nouvelle aux Pis (The Worst News, if my tourist-quality grasp of the French language is correct) is a wordless fairy tale (so the language shouldn't be a problem) told in stark black and white, by multi-media artist Stephane Blanquet. Some European critics have raved about this book. 120 pages for $34. [beyond genre]
- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: A bit easier on the pocketbook is Desir (Desire) by Austrian Nicolas Mahler. This one is wordless as well, telling a story about a man seeking a woman, in a loose cartoony style (which can be sampled briefly here. 48 pages for $8. [beyond genre]
- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: If that's still too much cash and too foreign for you, take a look at Vesite Guidée (Guided Tour), another wordless comic, by Martin Brault. It's about a museum visitor expressing his love for the United States, using postage stamps in the place of dialog. 48 pages for just $4. [beyond genre]

Drawn & Quarterly
- OCCASIONAL SERIES: Drawn & Quarterly's eponymous publication is coming out in August, with a hefty collection of Good Stuff. The centerpiece is "The Adventures of Hergé", a biography of the Belgian creator of Tintin. Canadian posters for WWII, and look back at Gasoline Alley are also included. Perhaps the most intriguing item is by R. Sikoryak: a re-take on The Scarlet Letter as told by Little Lulu. [beyond genre]

Denis Kitchen
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Denis Kitchen's first new publication since Kitchen Sink went down the drain is a watercolor adaptation by comics legend Harvey Kurtzman of the Æsop fable of The Grasshopper and the Ant, done 40 years ago. Here it's reproduced full size in full color, 80 pages in hardcover for $25. [humour]

DC Universe
- LIMITED SERIES: Deadman: Dead Again is a 5-week series designed to lead into a new ongoing series the next month, featuring the deceased acrobat who can interact with the living only by taking over living people's bodies. The mini-series will focus on Boston Brand's encounters with several key death scenes in DCU history. It's written by Steve Vance (best loved by me for Bongo's original Radioactive Man series) with pencils mostly by Leonard Kirk, with Jim Aparo and M.D. Bright taking an issue each. Newcomer Josep Beroy will be penciling the ongoing series. [super]
- LIMITED SERIES: Generations II is a companion to John Byrne's earlier Elseworlds featuring a DCU in which Superman and Batman debuted in the late 1930's, and proceded to age, go through changes in their lives and surroundings, and so forth. This series will fill in some of the gaps, introducing the Generationsverse versions of other DCU characters. The 4 issues will be 48 pages each (Prestige Format) for $6. [super]
- LIMITED SERIES: Batman: Orpheus Rising is a story by Alex Simmons and Dwayne Turner, introducing a new character to Gotham in the midst of a series of police shootings, a mysterious black man whose loyalties are unknown. 5 issues. [super]
- COLLECTION: The Officer Down story that ran through the Bat-family books several months ago - about the shooting of Commissioner Gordon - is being reprinted. 168 pages for $13. [super]
- SPECIAL: The Flash: Iron Heights is a special focusing on Keystone City's equivalent of Arkahm Asylum, introducing characters who'll be appearing in future issues of the ongoing series. It's written by series scribe Geoff Johns and penciled by Ethan VanSciver. 48 pages for $6. [super]
- COLLECTION: The first eight issues of Judd Winick's ongoing run writing Green Lantern is being reprinted as New Journey, Old Path. While it hasn't knocked my socks off, I've been enjoying the series since he took over, and at $13 for 192 pages, this is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to see what he's up to. [super]

DC: Vertigo
- LIMITED SERIES: Howard Chaykin and David Tischman are writing the return of Angel and the Ape in a 4-issue series. She's a smart babe and a martial arts expert. He's an artist and a gorilla with limited mental powers. Together they're detectives! Philip Bond will be illustrating. [humour] [super]
- COLLECTION: Continuing the long-overdue reprinting of Alan Moore's run writing Swamp Thing, A Murder of Crows collects issues #43-48, plus annual #2, featuring pencils by Steve Bissette and John Totleben. (As a reference point, this is where Crisis on Infinite Earths intersects with Swampy's story.) 192 pages for $20. [super]
- LIMITED SERIES: Operation Bollock is a 3-issue sequel to Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, featuring Garth Ennis' trademark brand of low-brow British humour, and the art of Carlos Ezquierra. [humour]

DC: WildStorm
- COLLECTION: For a while it looked like this key bit of StormWatch wouldn't get reprinted, due to the fact that it involves not just issues the last two issues of vol.2 (#11-12), but the WildC.A.T.s/Aliens crossover, which introduced some ongoing licencing issues with Dark Horse and the movie studio to work out. But they've been worked out, it seems, because Final Orbit finally reprints the story of how the StormWatch ended, as Warren Ellis dispatches several of the team. 96 pages for $10. [super] [sci-fi]
- COLLECTION: The first seven issues of Alan Moore's Tom Strong are now available in paperback. The stories quickly started leaving me cold, but the series' fans love Moore's attempt to revive some of the spirit of old pulp adventures with a more modern sensibility. Chris Sprouse does most of the art, with help from various good guest artists on certain sequences. 208 pages for $15. [super]

 Dark Horse
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Video Noire is illustrated by Eduardo Risso, whose work on 100 Bullets I've definitely enjoyed. It's an occult mystery written by Carlos Trillo, published jointly by Dark Horse and Strip Art Features (an outfit readers of Fax From Sarajevo will recognise). 96 pages for $10. [fantasy]
- COLLECTION: The Horror of Collier County by Rich Tommaso - about a young mother who visits her mother in Florida, where she appears to be confronted by throngs of the undead and other strangeness - is being reprinted in one volume. 144 pages for $13. [fantasy]

 Comic Library Intl
- COLLECTION: As near as I recall, Steve Stegelin's Boondoggle pretty much disappeared following the demise of Caliber's Tapestry imprint. But here it is, back from limbo in a new collected edition, including all seven issues plus a new story to tie up loose ends. Going Nowhere (But Making Excellent Time) features the antics of a small circle of friends (who are drawn as if they were children, but are really young adults), in preparation for all-new material to be coming both online and in print. 152 pages for $14. [humour] [beyond genre]

Black Boar
- ONE-SHOT: Alan Moore has given us his rather lengthy take on the Jack the Ripper mystery; David Hitchcock is offering another... somewhat more succinctly. {smile} Whitechapel Freak is a nicely-rendered 40-page tabloid-format comic, raising the question of whether a member of a "Traveling Curiosity Show" might be the culprit. Note: The price listed in the solicitation is incorrect. The book is selling for $2.00 (as indicated on the order form and the advert). [beyond genre]

Big Card
- NEW SERIES: If the two wacky adverts are any indication, Mighty Eyeball should be worth at least a few chuckles. Rurik Tyler has a few minor industry credits which he simultaneously brags about and pokes fun of. The format of the book appears to be some kind of cross between a comicbook and a trading card. It's only 16 pages, but then it's only $2.69, which is 26 cents less than most small-press 24-pagers. And probably more clever. [humour]

- COLLECTION: Following in the footsteps of their massive Gold Digger collections, Antarctic is publishing a huge collection of Luftwaffe 1946, a war series by Ted Nomura set in an alternate history in which World War II continued after 1945. The book includes all 22 issues of the first two series, with some additional material (such as pages from crossovers) to help tie it all together. 600 pages for $50. [super]

Amaze Ink / Slave Labor
- COLLECTION: Witch is a new quarterly series by Glaswegian Lorna Miller. This collection does not reprint issues of that series, however. It's a collection of stories that pre-date the current series, so if you find issue #1 on the rack this month (June) and love her stuff (as Peter Bagge does), you'll want to order this as well. It's 80 pages for $12. [humour]
- NEW SERIES: Screaming Kitty by Dan Gregor looks like a bit of fun. No great "high concept" to it, just an assortment of odd characters about whom wacky talkes of hijinx might be told. [humour]

- OCCASIONAL SERIES: Another installment of Jon Lewis' beloved True Swamp is on the way. This series - about the denizens of a semi-authentic ecosystem - was one of the great finds of 1994, then disappeared for nearly six years before returning last year with the first of several new self-contained book. Stoneground and Hillbound is 64 pages for $5. [beyond genre]

[all] Reviews of all kinds of comics
[home] The main Beek's Books menu
[mail] Comments?
© Todd VerBeek, Radio ZeroTM