Previews Picks November 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 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.

 Top Shelf
GRAPHIC NOVEL: Cicada is the first full-length book by Josue Menjivar about the guilt of infidelity, which - like the title of the story - returns periodically. 112 pages for $13. [beyond genre]
GRAPHIC NOVEL: If Abe: Wrong for all the Right Reasons gets praise from Eddie Campbell, that's reason enough to consider buying it, sight unseen. Glenn Dakin is a long-time Brit cartoonist, and this book is the first collection of stories featuring the somewhat autobiographical title character. 176 pages for $15. [beyond genre]

NEW SERIES: I'm not sure what to make of The Skull Man by Shotaro Ishinomori and Kazuhiko Shimamoto. The solicitation copy and most of the art makes it seem dark and horrific, but the title character has a friendly smile showing beneath his mask (which is more bug-like than skull-y). [fantasy] [super]

Titan Books
GRAPHIC NOVEL: Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death is a classic from 2000 A.D. (the series, not the year) in which the "hero" confronts a parallel-world Judge who makes him look like a merciful wuss in comparison. It's by John Wagner and Brian Bolland, now reprinted in large-format hardcover as part of Titan's "collectors edition" series. 96 pages for $20. [sci-fi]

Second to Some
LIMITED SERIES: I've never seen Maxim magazine and only glanced at Penthouse, so the fact that Myatt Murphy writes for them tells me little about what to expect from Two Over Ten... except that it doesn't sound like stoopid sex jokes. (The backup story sounds like it could be a sophomoric laff fest... or just plain funny.) The publicity I've seen seems to hype the fact that this guy has an existing non-comics-reading audience, which could be a Good Thing for the industry, but of course that doesn't mean that those of us already here will dig it. In any case, I have to respect the ironic humility implied by the name of his imprint. 5 issues. [super] [beyond genre]

COLLECTION:: Monkey Tales, the third Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius book, collects three ape-related stories (half of the latest mini-series) featuring Judd Winick's foul-tempered and -mouthed child prodigy. 88 pages for $9. [humour]
SPECIAL: Jungle Belle Jubilee is about Santa's elfin daughter inviting a few friends over for Christmas Eve, written by Paul Dini with art by Steve Ralston, J. Bone, Dan DeCarlo, and Bill Morisson. Sergio Aragonés and Jill Thompson contribute game pages. [humour]

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Nabiel Kanan's previous books Exit and Lost Girl were both excellent, so I have high hopes for The Birthday Riots, the story of a London politico whose teenage daughter, civil unrest, and his own past threaten to drag him into the growing fray. 64 pages in hardcover for $15. [beyond genre]
GRAPHIC NOVEL: Will Eisner's adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick is now available in a more affordable paperback edition, still oversized and in color for $8. [beyond genre]

Note: Marvel solicits paperback collections a month further in advance; see last month's picks for collections shipping in August.
COLLECTION:: The impact of the "surprise" at the end of Thunderbolts #1 is probably diminished a bit by the fact that the cat has been out of the bag for a few years now, so I guess I can understand why Marvel doesn't bother being coy about it in the solicitation for Justice... Like Lightning, the new reprint of the first several issues of the series (and relevant guest appearances in other titles at the time). But you didn't read the spoiler here. {smile} Kurt Busiek's fondness for making use of Marvel Universe aracana turned me off from this series, but I'm told it's very good, as is Mark Bagley's art. 224 pages for $20. [super]
COLLECTION:: Once upon a time, inter-company crossovers were un-heard-of, and even after they started, they were a rare thing... something special. Crossover Classics reprinted those first meetings between Superman and Spider-Man, between the Batman and the Hulk, and between the X-Men and the Teen Titans. Thanks to Marvel's renewed interest in paperbacks, it's back in print. 320 pages for $25. (Crossover Classics III - featuring meetings between Marvel heroes and DC or WildStorm characters in more recent times - is also listed, but you can probably find these stories in back issues for less money.) [super]
COLLECTION:: The first six issues of Amazing Spider-Man written by J.Michael Straczynski (#30-35) are being reprinted. Illustrated by John Romita Jr, they were a fresh start for the character and readers under the new editorial regime. 114 pages for $16. [super]
COLLECTION:: A second set of Ultimate Spider-Man issues by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley is getting collected: #8-13, 144 pages for $15. [super]
REPRINT: A block of the early Dr. Strange stories from Strange Tales by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are being reprinted in inexpensive black and white as The Essential Dr. Strange. 544 pages for only $15. [super]
REPRINT: A bit more up-scale, Marvel Masterworks: Thor - a new addition to their revived hardcover library - reprints 224 pages of Journey Into Mystery featuring the thunder god. $50. [super]
REPRINTS: Marvel recently polled their readers to come up with a list of the 100 best stories the company has published. They're printing the results, and reprinting the top 5 stories themselves over the course of the month of November. 100 Greatest Marvels counts from #5 down to #1, which is kind of appropriate (as opposed to a numbering gimmick). The issues are either 32 or 48 pages each (the only direct clues as to which stories they contain), all priced at $3.50, with glossy paper and cardstock covers. Odds are that most fans knowledgeable enough to have voted would already have these 5 stories in one format or another, but they should be good promo pieces for newer readers (which any aging comics publisher needs these days). [super]
LIMITED SERIES:: Nightcrawler is the latest solo X-character mini-series, said to serve as either an introduction, or re-introduction to the blue guy with the tail. Marvel gets bonus points for spelling "playwright" correctly, in reference to series writer Chris Kipiniak. It's illustrated by Matt Smith and will run 4 issues. [super]
LIMITED SERIES:: Likewise with Domino, who sounds like one of those one-dimensional cyphers who's now being turned into a character. Joe Pruett is doing the honours there, with art by Brian Stelfreeze. Also 4 issues. [super]
NEW SERIES: If it sounds like I'm clueless about the X-Men, that's not true. I know the ones from the movie, and I know the ones from X-Men: Evolution, the animated series for kids (which I watched because it was often in the same hour-long block with Static Shock). It's no The West Wing, but the shows are a harmless way to spend half an hour. Devin Grayson will be writing the comicbook companion to the series, with art by Udon with Studio XD. (Remember when artists always had... names?) [super]
LIMITED SERIES:: Elektra & Wolverine: The Redeemer teams up writer Greg Rucka (best known in comics for writing Detective Comics) and illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (best known in comics for illustrating the sort-of-Sandman novel The Dream Hunters), on a team-up of two fan-favourite "bad" characters. Note: this isn't "comics", it (like the book Amano did with Neil Gaiman) is a prose novel with illustrations. Each of the 3 issues will be 48 glossy pages with cardstock covers and square bindings, for $6. [super]

Marvel: Max
COLLECTION:: The 12-part weekly U.S. War Machine series by Chuck Austen is going directly into paperback format a few weeks after it finishes. It'll be a hefty 288 pages for a modest $15. [super]

COLLECTION:: Gilbert Sheldon's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are one of the classic creations of last century's underground comix scene. For those of us who were too square, too young, or altogether too late to enjoy them at the time (or old fans who neglected to collect the stories), they're being reprinted. The first volume includes a whoppng 432 pages of counterculture fun for $33. [beyond genre]

NEW SERIES: Cool Cat Studio by Gisele Lagace and T. Campbell is making the jump from the "syndicate's" web site to print. You can peruse a bunch of the online strips to see if you might like it. The first issue spotlights Liz, the non-conformist lesbian who likes to wear skin-tight black clothing. [humour]

SPECIAL: Ultiman Giant-Sized Annual features 48 pages of homages to the light-hearted Superman tales of the Silver Age, courtesy of the Big Bang gang. $5. [super]
COLLECTION:: The second half of Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo's fantasy adventure series Tellos is being reprinted. Kindred Spirits collects issues #6-10 (some of which were published under the Gorilla Comics imprint), plus the "preview" from Section Zero, for a total of 136 pages for $18. The first paperback and the three 48-page specials that Dezago did with other artists are also relisted. [fantasy]

 I Box
COLLECTION:: It seems like it's been years since the previous Thieves & Kings book, and you know what? It has. Now I see why: it's a big 'un. Shadow Book reprints a full dozen issues, which - despite a pretty good work ethic by creator Mark Oakley - were nearly three years in the making. That makes this easily the biggest T&K collection (278 pages), but no more expensive than the previous one ($16.50). [fantasy]

NEW PUBLISHER / NEW SERIES: Double Image - the flip book featuring two independent series - has been cancelled, and Codeflesh (the feature by Joe Casey and Charlie Adlard) has relocated to Funk-O-Tron (best known for the obviously-irreverent Battle Pope). The new name of the series is Double Take, and the co-headliner is Rex Mantooth: Kung-Fu Gorilla by Matt Fraction and Andy Kuhn, combining spies, martial arts, and apes in a single feature. Each issue will be split between the two features. The series continues the issue-numbering of the Image series, beginning with #6 under the new name. [super]

COLLECTION:: Chris Ware has been getting well-deserved raves from the literary world for Jimmy Corrigan, the graphic novel assembled (like a cut-out project) from issues of Acme Novelty Library. But as regular Library readers know, there's been more in the series than Jimmy, so why not also assemble a book of Quimby the Mouse material as well? The collected edition preserves the large format of the original issues (11"x13"). It's 56 pages, available in hardcover and softcover, for $25 and $15, respectively. [beyond genre]
SET of COLLECTIONS: Fanta is offering a set of six "Buddy" books, reprinting several hundred pages chronicling the life and times of Buddy Bradley as originally featured in Peter Bagge's Hate. They can all be yours for $70 (somewhat shorter, much funnier, and considerably less expensive than a complete set of Cerebus books). A new full-color Hate annual is also coming (as well as a relist of the first one), 48 pages for $4. [beyond genre]
REPRINT: They're also filling a hole in Black Hole. Fanta picked up Charles Burns' still-ongoing horror series a couple years ago when the plug was pulled on Kitchen Sink. They're reprinting #1, making the whole series (to date) available again. A new issues (#9 of 13) is also being offered. $4.50 each. [sci-fi]

 Exhibit A
COLLECTION:: The Vampire Brat reprints several self-contained case files of Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, all by Batton Lash. This collection includes the last issue under the old title (#23), the second Mavis special, and the first half-dozen issues under the current (more Hollywood-friendly) title of Supernatural Law. [humour] [fantasy]

NEW SERIES: With all the flags draped about on the cover of the first issue, the name of the publishing imprint, talk about "fallen soliders", and the reference to "the history of freedom", I can't help wondering what socio-political agenda writer Jim Parducci has for Nighthunter. (The only info I've been about to find about him is a page on a French site that has some uninked (or lettered) pages by (rather talented) penciler Jean Jacques Dzialowski's with no information about the story except that Parducci seems to be from the US.) But even if it lives up the military jingoism these symbols often represent, the possibility that is has something to say interests me more than it did at first impression (which was that this was just another dark superhero wannabe series). [super]

El Capitán
COLLECTION:: For those who held off on buying Murder Me Dead by David Lapham anticipating a collected edition, your time may have arrived... or maybe not quite yet. The whole series is available in hardcover (232 pages for $35) or in an unbound set of all 9 issues for $25. No paperback collected edition, at least not yet. [beyond genre]

DC Universe
SPECIAL: The fourth of Paul Dini's and Alex Ross' large-format collaborations spotlighting DC's oldest and best-known "iconic" heroes is on the way. Spirit of Truth celebrates Wonder Woman's 60th birthday with a full-painted 64 page story. [super]
NEW SERIES: Those of us without cable or satellite TV service won't be able to watch the new Justice League animated series, but maybe Justice League Adventures will suffice. It's a JLA series modeled after the cartoon, featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, J'Onn J'Onzz, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (John Stewart), and Hawkgirl. It will have rotating creators, but they're starting off right with Ty Templeton writing the first issue, with pencils by Min S. Ku. [super]
GRAPHIC NOVEL: The timing of JLA: Riddle of the Beast (coming just before the Lord of the Rings movie debuts) seems a bit like bandwagon-jumping, as it's an Elseworlds in a rather Tolkeinesque motif. It's follows a young man named Robin who journeys to recruit aid from re-imagined versions of DCU heroes. It's written by Alan Grant with designs by Michael Kaluta and painted art by over a dozen artists. 104 pages in hardcover for $25. [fantasy] [super]
ONE-SHOT:: A JLA story with connections to current DCU continuity is JLA/Haven: Arrival, which introduces the alien city of Haven and its super-powered denizens to the coast of California in the DCU. The idea was pitched to DC by newcomers Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus and Matthew P. Schuster, and the powers that be decided to run with it. This introductory story is illustrated by Ariel Olivetti. [super]
GRAPHIC NOVEL: Green Lantern: Legacy, The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan sounds like it would've made a good ending to the story of Hal Jordan (if not for the decision to make him the new Spectre). It's written by Joe Kelly and illustrated by Brent Anderson, joining Hal's former pal Tom Kalmaku at Hal's funeral and following him through a mystery that reflects back on the hero's career and legacy. 112 pages in hardcover for $25. [super]
COLLECTION:: Green Lantern: Traitor reprints a trio of stories which were origially serialised in Legends of the DCU, each featuring a different GL (Abin Sur, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner) against a common grudge-holding foe. They were all written by Steven Grant. 144 pages for $13. [super]
REPRINT: The Green Arrow by Jack Kirby features several obscure stories illustrated in the late 1950's by the King (with help from his wife Roz). Captain America was on ice, and Kirby hadn't been hired yet to help create the modern Marvel Universe, so he went slumming with Ollie, illustrating stories by Dave Wood, Ed Herron, and Bill Finger. 72 pages for $6. [super]
REPRINT: The Deadman Collection reprints a bunch of classic Boston Brand stories, including all of those written and drawn by Neal Adams, with work by Bob Haney, Robert Kanigher, Denny O'Neill, and Carmine Infantino included as well. 356 pages in hardcover for $75. (A new ongoing series starts in December.) [super]
NEW CREATORS: Superboy is being handed to writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Dan Didio and penciler John McCrea, who'll be taking the character and series in a new direction. Some of their plans (having the kid deal with some mundane every-day issues) sound interesting, though I have to say I'd prefer it if cover artist J.G. Jones were doing the interiors rather than McCrea who (IMHO) doesn't convey the character's sex appeal. [super]
NEW SERIES: Catwoman is getting an overhaul by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke (and inked by Mike Allred). While one can argue pro and con the merits of her previous characterisation (mostly by Chuck Dixon) and depiction (mostly by Jim Balent), I like what I've heard and seen of the updated version: a sensible explanation for her life straddling the fence between hero and villain, and a sexiness without fetishism. [super]
LIMITED SERIES:: Batman: The Ankh is written by Chuck Dixon with painted art by John VanFleet. It's the story of an ancient Egyptian adversary (no, not King Tut from the TV series) with mysterious plans involving kidnap of Gotham's elite and the theft of Egyptian artifacts. Two issues, 48 pages for $6 each. [super]
THIS MONTH IN... Legends of the Dark Knight is the beginning of a 5-part story by J.M. DeMatteis featuring young Dick Grayson in an early adventure. Art by Trevor VonEeden and José Luis García-López [super]

DC: WildStorm
NEW SERIES: Tom Strong's Terrific Tales is designed to open up the Tom Strong universe to more creators. Each issue will contain self-contained shorts featuring Tom and his supporting cast, plus a new feature "Jonni Future" set four billion years from now. [super]
COLLECTION:: Planetary: The Fourth Man is (perhaps a bit confusingly) the second collection in the series by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday. Fortunately, it has a big "2" on the cover. It reprints #7-12, 144 pages for $15. [sci-fi]
SPECIAL: The Authority: Widescreen features two stories: one written and illustrated by former series artist Bryan Hitch, and another by recent series writer Tom Peyer illustrated by Cary Nord. 48 pages for $6. [super]
COLLECTION:: Star Trek: Voyager - Encounters with the Unknown reprints a few one-shot stories (7-of-9/Borg spotlight False Colors, videogame tie-in Elite Force, and pseudo-Camelot story Avalon Rising) and the how-to-out-do-Kirk Planet Killer mini-series. 208 pages for $20. [sci-fi]

DC: Vertigo
LIMITED SERIES:: Grip: The Strange World of Men is a 5-issue series by Beto Hernandez, in which he quite possibly goes off the deep end into another reality... or at least the central character seems to. Sounds fun. [sci-fi]
COLLECTION:: 100 Bullets: Hang Up on the Hang Low reprints issues #15-19 of the series, adding a third volume to the progressing mystery behind the man who gives people untraceable means for revenge. 128 pages for only $10. [beyond genre]

DC: Miscellaneous
GRAPHIC NOVEL: The Name of the Game is a new novel by Will Eisner. In case that's not enough to entice you to buy it, it's the story of a Jewish family's assimilation into mainstream American society in the first half of the last century, in particular the two paths traveled by the heirs to the family garment business. 176 pages in hardcover for $30. [beyond genre]

 Dark Horse
- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: Rodrigo is a book by by noted European creator Hermann Huppen based on a script by his son Yves. It's an adventure story set in the 14th century during the wars between the Moors and Europeans in Spain. Hermann's painted art is generally excellent, so it should be nice to look at. 56 huge 10x13" pages in hardcover for $17. [beyond genre]
- COLLECTION: Too Much Coffee Man's Amusing Musings reprints a bunch of TMCM stories, presumably from the newspaper strips and the pages of Shannon Wheeler magazine. 144 pages for $13. [humour]
- NEW SERIES: There are three big X's on the cover, and a huge cylinder jutting from the crotch of a trim young man, its blunt tip ending at a pair of spherical breasts. Has Dark Horse branched out into explicit porn? Or is it just Cannon God EXAXXION by Kenichi Sonoda? It's only a "mature readers" title, so the guardians of public morality can put away their torches. Or can they? The secondary sex traits of some of the non-human characters are said to be rather exaggerated, so the freudian imagery on the cover is probably intentional. The first issue is 48 pages for $3; the rest of this first 8-issue mini-series will be standard size. [sci-fi]

NEW SERIES: Negation is a new "reluctant team" series written by Mark Waid and former DC editor Tony Bedard, penciled by Paul Pelletier. It's about a diverse bunch of people plucked from different CrossGen worlds and put together on a world where not even the laws of physics can be counted on. Their challenge is to survive and escape. They're starting with a "prequel" issue, with the series proper starting a month later. [sci-fi]
COLLECTION:: The first seven issues of The First - the series written by Barbara Kesel about the self-styled gods of the CrossGen universe - are being reprinted in paperback. 192 pages for $20. [fantasy]

LIMITED SERIES:: I'm always fascinated by non-Americans' perception of the United States. In some ways they have a better perspective on us than we have on ourselves, and in other ways they often Just Don't Get It. This is especially true regarding the concept of "class", a sociological term with two different - but not entirely distinct - meanings on either side of the Atlantic. Cla$$war is a 6-issue series by Brit Rob Williams with art by Trevor Hairsine that should be a good example of one phenomenon or the other (i.e. explaining America to Americans, or Getting It Wrong), using a mix of superhero action with a political angle on it. [beyond genre] [super]

 Bud Plant
SETS: First Kingdom was a sci-fi series written and illustrated (with nudity) by Jack Katz, in the 1970's I believe. Bud Plant are offering three sets of issues, which unfortunately promise to leave holes in the story, since they don't have enough of every issue to offer them as complete sets. But at least they give you a good idea of which issues you'll definitely get and which ones you might get. (See the solicitation for the details.) Each set is six issues for $12. [sci-fi]

LIMITED SERIES:: Anyone remember Glory, the Wonder Woman clone Alan Moore wrote - but it never got published - way back when? Well, it's finally seeing the light of day. In the "interview" accompanying the solicitation for the first issue, Moore talks about how he tries to make his scripts "artist-proof" so that even an unimaginative hack can follow the instructions to tell the story properly; this may be a good test of that. It's being illustrated - with no input from Moore beyond the script - by Marat Mychaels, and if the cover he drew for #1 (there are a total of seven versions of each issue) is any indication, it could be painful to look at. (Comic Cavalcade is also re-offering the Glory #0 issue that did get published a while back, featuring a brief story illustrated by Brandon Peterson and a bunch of pin-ups.) [super]

COLLECTION:: It's a little late for Back-To-School, but what the heck. Ninja High School Textbook (volume 1) is a 600-page tome reprinting the first couple dozen issues of the long-running manga series by Ben Dunn. $50. (I'm guessing they have another two or three of these planned). [sci-fi] [super]
NEW PUBLISHER: Lea Hernandez' Cathedral Child and Clockwork Angels - originally published by Image - are now being published by Antarctic, who are selling each 112-page book for $11. [sci-fi]

Amaze Ink / Slave Labor
SPECIAL: The Skelebunnies - cutesy bunny characters transformed into undead skeletons - were one of the highlights of Tommy Kovac's mini-series Stich. If you bought the collected edition of that story (or skipped it altogether - your loss), you missed out on the mini-features about them... but now you can get them in Skelebunnies Spanktacular. A few new pages of material are included to tempt those of us who already have the 16 pages of reprinted material. [fantasy] [humour]

MULTIMEDIA: Don't Trust Whitey is a CD-and-comicbook combo by James Kochalka, featuring a bunch of his recordings and a comicbook insert about his life as an underground rock star. 16 pages of comics and probably about 45 minutes of music for $15. [beyond genre]

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Sky Ape: Waiting for Crime is an new story featuring the jetpack-powered simian crimefighter, written by Phil Amara and Tim McCarney and penciled by Richard Jenkins. 56 pages for $79. [super]

NEW SERIES: Santo features the famous Mexican wrestling star. The subject matter is ripe for parody, but Chris Yambar and George Broderick and taking it seriously... at least as seriously as an over-the-top near-superheroic adventure story can be expected to be. [super]

Abbane Ink
NEW SERIES: Apparently I missed volumes 1 and 2; this is volume 3 #1 of Another Piece by Toc Fetch. "The Tenaciously Sane Adventures of a Noman" is an interesting story title, though I have to admit the solicitation copy goes over my head. [beyond genre]

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