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

- LIMITED SERIES: Apparently Garth Ennis didn't quite get all of the American Western theology out of his system with Preacher, because he's doing more of it with Just A Pilgrim, a 5-issue series with Carlos Ezquerra. It's not just a rehash, of course, this one featuring a mysterious stranger in a post-apocalyptic wasteland under a dying sun. Well, not a rehash of Preacher, at least. {smile} [sci-fi]

 Top Shelf
- COLLECTION: James Kochalka's Sketchbook Diaries has one of those titles that pretty much says it all. This book collects a year's worth of his daily comic-strip journal. 96 pages for $8. [beyond genre]

- ONE-SHOT: Studiosaurus contributor and inking-instruction-book-writer Gary Martin is putting out a volume of strips featuring his Captain Stupendous. (There's at least one other "Captain Stupendous" out there.) It looks like your basic superhero parody, but with the assurance that at least the art (and especially the inking) will be good. 38 letter-size pages for $5. [humour] [super]

- NON-FICTION: The Trademark & Copyright Book is a graphic textbook (how's that for a contradiction in terms?) by intellectual property attorney Michael Lovitz, illustrated by the Fillbäch Bros, claiming to explain the essentials you need to know about intellectual property in the comics industry. Which in my humble opinion is a lot more than most people actually know. I'm not sure how much he'll be able to squeeze into 24 pages, but since the fundamentals (like the difference between the two terms in the title) really aren't that complicated, it may be enough. There's also a edition that includes additional reference material and template documents in digital format... adding $22 to the price. [beyond genre]

Phoenix Enterprise
- ONE-SHOTS: Phoenix Enterprise is publishing a couple more wordless creations by acclaimed Italian cartoonists (which certainly keeps the translation costs down). Cut by Guiseppe Palumbo is about a man with a veritable mane of hair on his head and his reaction to yet another suggestion that he get a haircut. Angel by Alessio D'Uva and Alberto Pagliaro is about a boy whose guardian angel isn't quite what one would hope for. Each is $6 for 48 pages. [beyond genre]

- NEW SERIES: Queen & Country is a spin-off from the first Whiteout series by Greg Rucka, starring "Lily Sharpe" the British spy. (Except that's not her real name.) Steve Lieber won't be handling the art, but from what little I've seen, Steve Rolston looks like a good choice, more "tidy" with his linework, but still unafraid to splatter stuff on the page when needed. The series will be ongoing and bimonthly. [super]

 - COLLECTIONS: Not one, but two new Avengers paperbacks are on the way, demonstrating Marvel's new interest in building a catalog of them. (They're also getting a lot of previous collections back in print, so if you're interested the old stuff, check in on their backlist pages from time to time.) Ultron Unlimited reprints the story arc of the same name in issues #19-22, plus a #0 issue from Wizard. It's $15 for 112 pages. Supreme Justice includes both the Squadron Supreme story from #5-6 and the "Live Kree or Die" crossover from #7, the 1998 annual, and issues of Iron Man, Captain America, and Quicksilver. Somehow they think they'll get 304 pages out of that (it's under 200 by my estimate, maybe that the was the page count when they were thinking they'd include the already-reprinted #1-4 in it?) for $18. [super]
  - COLLECTION: While they're promoting the scarcity of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 as some kind of "collectibility" benefit, at least they're making it widely available: on the web, in a quickie reprint with #2 and #3, and now in a real collection of #1-7. And since they've already sold oodles of copies of the first few issues to pay for the production costs, it's only $15 for 192 pages, actually cheaper than the original issues' cover price. [super]
- THIS MONTH IN... UItimate Marvel is a meeting between Spidey and the Ultimate version of the Hulk, with the art handled by Phil Hester. [super]
 - LIMITED SERIES: The acclaimed team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are doing Daredevil: Yellow, a story set back in the yellow-costumed days of the man without fear. 6 issues. [super]

Lone Star
- RETURNING SERIES: Could it be? Is Pantheon really going to finish? First off, I want to reiterate (since he feels I've been saying otherwise) that Bill Willingham is not the cause of this series' on-again-off-again publishing; that fault apparently lies later on down the production line. But what began two and a half years ago as a bimonthly 12-issue limited series has only gotten through 6 issues, the latest of which came out over a year ago. But #7 is now being solicited. [super]

- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: Citymouth is a story by acclaimed Brit cartoonist Hunt Emerson about these things with entire urban metropoli in their mouths. $6 for 54 pages. [humour]

- LIMITED SERIES: I can only assume that the debut of a new bimonthly Dungeons & Dragons series at this date is related to the release of the recent movie starring Jimmy Olsen. Let's hope In the Shadow of Dragons here is better. (Give me a break; I'd already seen all the good movies that were out, and a friend offered to pay for me to see it with him.) Since it's being published by the gamer-friendly folks at Kenzer, fans of the real D&D have reason for optimism. [fantasy]

- NEW SERIES: Not to be confused with the new Double Image is Image Two-In-One, a series by Erik Larsen and Chris Eliopoulos. Each issue will contain a pair of full-length 24-page features, all for only $3. [super] [humour]
- COLLECTION: For those who've heard to positive buzz about The Red Star, and want to pick it up... well, there's good, bad, and indifferent news. The good news is that the first four issues are being collected in paperback, called The Battle of Kar Dathra's Gate, and it's in a large 9x12" format. The bad news is that it costs $25 for 144 pages. And the indifferent news (at least to me) is that part of that is gratuitous "behind the scenes" material. [sci-fi]
- NEW SERIES: The main series Tellos is taking a break, to give its creators time for some other projects. In the meantime, the bimonthly Tales of Tellos will fill in, featuring various characters by various creators . [fantasy]
- SPECIAL: Galaxy-Sized Astounding Space Thrills is a self-contained story about space-faring adventure Arosy Smith, by Steve Conley. $5 for 48 pages. [sci-fi]

- COLLECTION: The first five issues of The Saga of the Metabarons are being reprinted in a paperback entitled Path of the Warrior. It's a story told by two domestic robots about the rise of the intergalactic warriors of the title, by Alexandro Jadorowsky, and Juan Gimenez. The series itself is slated to run 16 issues. $15 for 152 color pages. [sci-fi]

Eddie Campbell
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Autobiography? How-To book? History? How To Be An Artist sounds like a little of both. It's by Eddie Campbell, which ought to be recommendation enough, but he also drops Alan Moore's name as a character. $14 for 128 pages. [beyond genre]

Drawn & Quarterly
- ONE-SHOT: This was previously serialised in Dark Horse Presents, but I'd never seen it, so I consider it new. It's The Fall, written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Jason Lutes, about a young man who uncovers a past murder (hopefully not the same as in Brubaker's An Accidental Death). By the way, I don't know what it means, but the price in the catalog ($3.95) conflicts with the one on D&Q's web site ($2.95). [beyond genre]
- COLLECTION: For those who haven't been picking up the periodic installments of Berlin by Jason Lutes (whose work Scott McCloud features in Reinventing Comics), now is your chance to see what you've been missing. It's a story set in the capital of Germany between the wars, as the openness of the Weimar Republic fades away under the advance of National Socialism. This book is the first of three volumes which will complete the story. $16 for 212 pages. [beyond genre]

Dork Storm
- NEW SERIES: Another gamer-friendly publisher is bringing the online strip PVP ("player versus player") to print. This strip by Scott Kurtz is about the staff of an online gaming magazine. It will also run as a backup feature in Dork Storm's other titles (Nodwick and Dork Tower), and vice versa. [humour]

DC Universe
- ONE-SHOT: Ed Brubaker's Deadenders is ending (buy the collection and try to get the remaining issues), but he's keeping busy with the Bat. The Elseworlds story Gotham Noir actually focuses on Jim Gordon as an alcoholic ex-cop who finds himself wrongly suspected for murder, and a masked vigilante in the wings. Art by Sean Phillips. $7 for 64 pages. [super]
- IMITED SERIES: In War In Heaven, Garth Ennis takes on DC's old World War I character, the German dogfighter Enemy Ace, who finds himself in the middle of World War II. Penciled by Chris Weston. 2 issues, each $6 for 48 pages. [super]
- ONE-SHOT: The theme of Green Lantern: 1001 Emerald Nights is pretty self-evident from the title. Kyle Rayner is cast as the Sultan, to whom Sheherezade tells tales of the genie-wielding Hal Jordan stand-in. Written by Terry Laban with painted art by Rebecca Guay. $7 for 64 pages. [super] [fantasy]
- COLLECTION: The Flash and Green Lantern: The Brave and The Bold was a limited series by Mark Waid Tom Peyer, penciled by Barry Kitson, about the friendship between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. It's $13 for 144 pages. [super]
- THIS MONTH IN... Wonder Woman, George Pérez joins Phil Jimenez to co-plot a two-part story about trouble on Themyscira. (Jimenez is handling the scripting and penciling solo.) [super]
- THIS MONTH IN... Legends of the DC Universe is the first half of a story about Ray "The Atom" Palmer, by Rich Faber and Todd Dezago, penciled by Drew Johnson, in which the hero has to act in both of his identities to save the world from the evil Chronos. [super]
- THIS MONTH IN... Detective and Superman is a crossover between the two titles, in which the two characters come into conflict over the kryptonite ring in President Luthor's possession. [super]

DC: Vertigo
- NEW SERIES: Howard Chaykin and David Tischman are the writers of American Century, with Chaykin doing breakdowns, Marc Laming penciling, and John Stokes inking. It's the story of World-War-II fighter pilot who is recalled into duty in Korea, but says "fuck it" and abandons his middle-class life to go rogue and experience adventure in the steamy underside of 1950's America and the globe. [super]
- SPECIAL: To those who scoffed when Steven Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen said that the last issue of House of Secrets would not be the final one, they've just made good on that promise. Façade returns to Rain and the Juris for another story. Two issues, each $6 for 48 pages. [fantasy]
- COLLECTION: DC is also responding to calls for them to reissue the rest of the first volume of The Invisibles in paperback. Apocalipstick reprints #9-16, which presumably means one more collection will be along later to fill in the gap, and they can then pick up where they left off, and reprint vol.3. $20 for 208 pages. [sci-fi]

 DC: WildStorm
 - ONE-SHOT: Scott Lobdell and Adam Pollina are the creators of Stray, about a young waitress/actress and her new pet dog... who is actually possessed by an alien being trying to save Earth from destruction. $6 for 48 pages. [sci-fi] [humour]

 Dark Horse
 - NON-FICTION: Will Eisner's Shop Talk is a collection of interviews by one industry giant with other industry giants: Neal Adams, C.C. Beck, Milton Caniff, Jack Davis, Lou Fine, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Harvey Kurtzman, Phil Sueling, and Joe Simon. 250 pages (text with some illustrations) for $20. (Not due until April.) [beyond genre]

 Comic Library Intl
- COLLECTION: Not to be confused with the Battle Pope series that's been getting a bit of press attention lately, nor with the furor over a recent comic book starring Pope John Paul II, Mass Appeal: the Collected Fire Breathing Pope is a book by Chris Yambar, reprinting earlier material plus a bunch of new stuff. $13 for 128 pages. [humour]

- LIMITED SERIES: The first three series from the somewhat pretentious folks at Com.X are beginning. Razorjack by John Higgins looks like just another misogynist effectively-naked demon babe book, fortunately only 2 issues long. Bazooka Jules by Neil Googe and Leonard O'Grady (10 issues) looks a bit like Tank Girl with basketball implants, honestly labeled "for immature readers". Puncture by Russel Uttley and Ben Oliver (12 issues) features a character visually reminiscent of Wolverine, and more than a little grim-n-gritty, but at least with some artistic style. [sci-fi]

 Bud Plant
 - COLLECTIONS: You can pick up the first two Madman collections pretty cheaply. Reprinting the original two-color Oddity Odyssey, and the full-color Madman Adventures series, Bud Plant is offering them with suggeted retail prices of $6 and $7, respectively. (The cover prices will be higher, so make sure your retailer will give you the cheaper price Bud Plant is suggesting.) [super] [humour]
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: The Little Sister is a favourably-reviewed full-color adaptation by Michael Lark of the Philip Marlowe novel by Raymond Chandler, in a style that lends itself well to the film-noir pedigree of the material. It's offered here at $9 for 144 pages. (Similarly, the cover price will be $15, so check with your retailer.) [beyond genre]

- SEQUEL: Courageous Princess: The Quest is a sequel to the earlier one-shot by Rod Espinosa . Lest you dismiss it based on the title as sappy sunshiney girly stuff, Warren piss-and-vinegar himself praised the original. $13 for 72 color pages. Pricey, but arguably worth it. [fantasy]

  Amaze Ink / Slave Labor
- COLLECTION: The first series of The Waiting Place is being reprinted, providing the background behind the current "volume 2" series. The same great writing by Sean McKeever, and with also-great art by Brendon and Brian Fraim. $16 for 144 pages. [beyond genre]
- LIMITED SERIES: Readers of Super Information Hijinks: Reality Check! by Rosearik Rikki Simons and Tavisha Wolfgarth will probably remember the computer-generated ghoul from Europa and Pumpernick, the stars of Ranklechick and His Three-Legged Cat (respectively). It's a full-color (the creators are digital-media geeks who'd chafe at not getting to color it), four-issue series, $4 each. [humour] [sci-fi]

- COLLECTION: Grickle is a collection of short pieces by Canadian award-winning animator Graham Annable, done for personal enjoyment (catharsis?) in his off hours. It promises wry - but innocent - humour, which sounds good to me. $15 for 128 pages. [humour]

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