Previews Picks October 2000
Highlights and 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, [beyond genre]Beyond Genre.
Just Say No to Microsoft Listings are in reverse order by publisher. Prices and page count are mentioned only 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.

- NEW SERIES: Randy Reynaldo's intrepid and handsome young detective/spy from Adventure Strip Digest is returning to an ongoing series in Rob Hanes Adventures. The first issue is designed to (re)introduce the star character to readers, by taking literally his two-year disappearance from the comics-publishing world, and going to look for him. The new series is slated to come out quarterly, and Reynaldo says he has the first year's issues already in the drawer ready to go, with the the next year's stories (each issue self-contained) already planned out. If you like classic adventure comics, this is definitely worth a look. [super]

 Top Shelf
- COLLECTION: Speechless: Tales From The System is a hardcover retrospective of the illustrated pantomime work of Peter Kuper, from World War 3 to Spy vs. Spy, with stops at The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone along the way. It includes both reprinted cartoons and commentary by and about the artist. 112 pages for $20. [beyond genre]

Sleeping Giant
- ONE-SHOT ANTHOLOGY: Haunted is a collection of short horror pieces by sometimes-off-beat-superhero creator David Yurkovich. The main piece is an illustrated adaptation of "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs. 48 pages for $4. [fantasy]

- ONE-SHOT: There's something apt about a book called Love Bites! that doesn't ask you to make a commitment. {grin} This is a single issue by newcomer Daniel Fu, about a young man who finds the woman of his dreams, only to have her invite him to her wedding. The online preview features some nice storytellling. [beyond genre]

- SPECIAL: The Nocturnals, for those unfamiliar with Dan Brereton's characters, are a group of otherworldly and freakish monsters... but more or less on "the good side". One of them is Halloween Girl, a sweet little kid who carries toys that are seemingly possessed by demons. Troll Bridge is a story of her adventures one Halloween when she goes out trick or treating in the wrong part of town. It's illustrated by a dozen various top-notch artists, many of whom will feature cameos by their own characters (e.g. Usagi Yojimbo, Jingle Belle, Scary Godmother). 48 pages in black, white, and orange, for $5. [fantasy]
- COLLECTION: And speaking of Jingle Belle, Paul Dini and Stephen DeStefano's mini-series featuring Santa's naughty elfen daughter is being reprinted, along with the short story from Oni Double Feature, and a new prose story. 88 pages for $9.50. [humour]

- RETURNING SERIES: Those of you who've been (not so) patiently waiting for Ben Edlund to get back to The Tick and finally finish the story he left hanging after #12... well, you're going to have to keep waiting. He's way too busy with the new live-action TV series. But NEC are instead publishing The Pseudo-Tick #13 which provides someone else's resolution to the cliffhanger. (You can also order the current printing of #12, in case you missed out on the set-up of the cliffhanger.) [humour] [super]

- UNIVERSE-WIDE CROSSOVER: A bunch of series from Marvel (including Spider, X, and Knights titles) are taking part in Maximum Security, a story about the Earth being set up by the rest of the galaxy for use as a prison planet. The architect is Kurt Busiek who is writing the framing story (penciled by Jerry Ordway). One eye-catching item is Thor vs. Ego "by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby", which turns out to be a 64-page reprint of two previous stories featuring Ego, the living planet. Tie-ins include: Thor, Black Panther, Iron Man, Capt. America, Thunderbolts, Avengers, Marvel Knights (just the series by that name, not the whole line), Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker, Bishop, X-Men, Gambit, and X-Men Unlimited (not to be confused with X-Men Universe or Uncanny X-Men or Ultimate X-Men which are not involved). [super]
 - LIMITED SERIES: Maybe the folks at Marvel figure that if they can't get a single ongoing Daredevil series out each month, maybe by running two series, they can fill in the gaps. In any case, Daredevil: Ninja is a 3-issue series written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Rob Haynes (not to be confused with the character Rob Hanes by Randy Reynaldo, mentioned elsewhere on this page). [super]
- REPRINT: Frank Miller and Bill Sinkiewicz's legendary Daredevil spin-off Elektra: Assassin is going back into print. Being something of a Marvel newbie myself, I'm eager to read this. 264 pages for $25. [super]
- REPRINT: The much-demanded, under-ordered, and (mostly) highly-praised Italian (English language) collection of Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD has gone back to the printers. In case you missed it before, this reprints some of the ground-breaking late-1960's material from Strange Tales by Jim Steranko, 248 pages of it for $19. [super]
- COLLECTION: And in an attempt to follow up on that, they're also releasing Nick Fury: Scorpio, a collection of issues #1-3,5 of the series Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD itself, also by Steranko. This isn't quite as nicely priced: $15 for 96 pages, presumably because Marvel U.S. did this on their own, without simultaneous European editions to bring the unit price down. [super]
  - THIS MONTH IN... the Backpacks reprints, are Avengers #181-186 by David Michelinie and John Byrne, and Uncanny X-Men #174-179 by Chris Claremont, and Paul Smith/John Romita Jr. Each is 160 pages for $7. [super]

Laughing Buddha
- NEW SERIES: Budget Strips is a long-running strip by Dan Zelig and Rick Guinan about your standard group of housemates, their dogs, and a demon. It's making the leap to the quarterly comicbook format. It's a little uneven, but often funny. [humour]

 - SET: A set including all five of the recent Gorilla #1's (which includes Tellos #8, the first issue of the series to be released as part of the ape imprint) is being offered, along with what I gather is a collection of 5-page prologues for the various series, for a total of 6 books, for $10. You can also re-order any individual #1 (or #8) separately. [sci-fi] [fantasy] [super]
- COLLECTION: Torso by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko is being reprinted in a single 280-page volume for $25. It's the true story of Eliot Ness' attempts to solve the first serial killing spree in America. And if you want to, you can spend twice as much for the limited-edition hardcover. [beyond genre]
- GRAPHIC NOVELLA: Avigon features the art of Jimmie Robinson (in a cartoony goth Nightmare-Before-Christmas style rather unlike his previous published work) adapting (at first without her knowledge) the book of the same name by Ché Gilson. The title character is a robot who escapes her creator to discover the world and herself. [sci-fi]
 - COLLECTION: The first 1/3 (8 issues) of J.Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars is collected in a "deluxe" paperback, 192 pages for $20. [super]

 I Box
- REPRINT: If you've heard good things about Thieves & Kings by Mark Oakley (and if you haven't, drop me a line and you will {smile}) but weren't ready to buy one of the collections, and didn't want to walk in on the middle of the story by picking up a recent issue, here's your chance to take a low-risk look. The first issue is being reprinted, with two significant changes in the cover. No, not holofoil... just a different painting and a price of only $1. And if you like it, then you can start buying the collections. [fantasy]

G.T. Labs
- ONE-SHOT: The latest book from Jim Ottaviani in his ongoing quest to demonstrate that scientists can be entertaining, is "Talking" Orangutans in Borneo, a sequel of sorts to Wild Person in the Woods, about sometimes-life-threatening adventures experienced while teaching orangs in the wild to use sign language to communicate. It's cowritten by Orangutan Foundation Intl's Nancy Briggs and illustrated by Anne Timmons. [beyond genre]

- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Mail Order Bride is a hefty new graphic novel by Disney animator and Harvey nominee Mark Kalesniko, about a 39-year-old Canadian virgin who orders a Korean bride, expecting that she'll be the perfect spouse he imagines he wants. She instead turns out to be a person, with her own dreams and aspirations, and taking inspiration from an American-born Asian woman she meets. Sounds fascinating, and $20 for 264 pages ain't bad. [beyond genre]
- COLLECTIONS: Both Jaime and Beto Hernandez have collected editions of their recent solo works on the way. The former's is called Locas in Love and features the first four issues of Penny Century, along with the full color Maggie & Hopey special. The latter's is Fear of Comics, reprinting a bunch of short pieces from New Love and various anthologies. Each is 120 pages. Locas is $15 (due to the color pages); Fear is $13. [beyond genre]

Dork Storm
- COLLECTION: Dork Covenent reprints the first 6 issues of the ongoing series Dork Tower by John Kovalic, focusing on gaming-type folks, but entertaining to more than just that audience. It's 160 pages for $16. [humour]

DC Universe
 - NEW SERIES: Ongoing series starring villains are fairly rare, but the Bat team have done it before (in recent years with Catwoman and less successfully with Anarky and in bygone days with the Joker). And Harley Quinn is one of the most liked villains to come along in ages, who - unlike her boss - is a clown who's actually funny. She's been transplanted from the animated series into the mainstream DCU, and it'll be up to Karl Kesel and Terry Dodson (whose balloon-shaped breasts on Harley are at least plausibly proportioned) to try to preserve the inspired lunacy of the character in the more serious Gothman of the DCU. The first issue is 48 pages for $3; after that it's down to regular price/size. [super]
- LIMITED SERIES: Robin: Year One is a 4-part story by Chuck Dixon (no surprise) about the first 12 months of Dick Grayson's career in the cape and shorts, with pencils by Javier Pulido. Dick's first encounters with various Gotham baddies will be the theme, including the setup for something Dixon has planned in Nightwing. 48 pages for $5 each. Meanwhile Nightwing is getting an 80-Page Giant featuring a single story by Dixon and pencils by Michael Collins, for $6. [super]
 - HARDCOVER COLLECTION: Here we go again. In more ways than one. Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams' fairly brief run of Green Lantern/Green Arrow is being given similar treatment to Crisis, reprinted in a deluxe hardcover. And they're again saying that they don't plan to do a paperback. But the other reason I say "again" is that this isn't the first time these landmark "socially relevant" stories have been reprinted. They were collected two issues at a time back in the 1980's, and they were collected in two volumes entitled Hard Travelling Heroes back in the 1990's. So if you want a cheaper reprint, you can probably find one. And if DC decides they do want to release a cheaper reprint later, they can do so by just putting the two TPBs back into print without losing face. They're touting this as the definitive, complete reprint: in addition to all the issues of GL/GA proper (#83 was left out of the paperbacks, #88's not here because it was a reprint to begin with), it includes the serialised backup story from The Flash (in the 2nd paperback), and the covers of both the 1970's originals and the combined 1980's reprints (all of which are shown in reduced form in the paperbacks). 368 pages for $75. [super]
 - COLLECTION: Superman in the Seventies is pretty self-explanatory. The credits include more than a few recognisable names: Maggin, Kirby, Bates, Kanigher, O'Neil, Levitz, Wein, Swan, Dillin, Anderson, etc. For what it's worth, this is "my" Superman, and I appreciate that they invited my pubescent (and recent) idol Christopher Reeve to write the introduction. The inclusion of Lois Lane's oft-mentioned ("groundbreaking... for its day") look at race issues "I Am Curious (Black)" makes it all the more interesting. 224 pages for $20. [super]
- COLLECTION: Young Justice: Sins of Youth was a "fifth week" event that was actually worth the full price of admission (wacky hijinx as adult and kids switched ages), and retailers under-ordered to meet the demand. So now the bookends, the one-shots, and maybe the tie-in issues of Young Justice and/or Superboy are being reprinted. The package weighs in at 320 pages for only $20. Peter David was the architect, with a bunch of good writers doing a nice job with their respective rooms. [super]
- REPRINTS: For the first time, I'm actually interested in all four of DC's Millennium Edition selections this month. They include Adventure Comics #61 (featuring the original Starman, plus the Sandman, Hourman, and Manhunter), Showcase #22 (the introduction of Hal Jordan), New Teen Titans #1, and Superman vol.1 #1 (the first single-feature comicbook starring you-know-who). [super]

DC: Vertigo
- ONE-SHOT: Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham are producing Merv Pumpkinhead: Agent of Dream a spoof of the super-spy genre starring the Sandman supporting character. 48 pages for $6. [fantasy] [humour]
- COLLECTION: The Witching Hour, the limited series by Jeph Loeb and Chris Bachalo, is being reprinted in a 160-page hardcover for $30. A paperback edition is implicitly planned for March. [fantasy]

DC: Miscellaneous
 - GRAPHIC NOVEL: Will Eisner's first new book for DC is Minor Miracles, a set of four short stories (which, frankly, are more Eisner's forte than true graphic novels are) about everyday "miracles" set in the New York City neighbourhood he grew up in. 112 pages; the softcover is $13, the hardcover is $30. Also, The Will Eisner Reader is the next DC reprint, seven short stories (88 pages) for $10. [beyond genre]
 - COLLECTION: For a while it looked like Icon: A Hero's Welcome would be the only Milestone collection ever. But now the opening issues of Milestone's next-best series are being reprinted as Static Shock: Trial By Fire (the main title adjusted slightly to match that of the new animated series). It collects the first four issues, cowritten by Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III, and penciled by John Paul Leon. 104 pages for $10. (A mini-series picking up shortly after the original Static series ended will be coming later this year.) [super]

 Dark Horse
- GRAPHIC NOVEL: Just remember that it's written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Michael Zulli, and that Alice Cooper was only part of the "story by" credits. The Last Temptation also has nothing to do with the controversial movie. It's a reprint of the serialised Marvel Music feature of a decade ago, tying in with Cooper's album, 104 pages in duotone for $10. [fantasy]

 Cup o' Tea
- SET: The first story arc of the wonderful sci-fi series Xeno's Arrow can be had by ordering a set of #1-10 , for a mere $17. Cheaper than a TPB and no waiting between issues! [sci-fi]

- COLLECTION: Soulsearchers & Company is Peter David's "forgotten" series, the one he's been writing longer than any other current series, but which doesn't get as much attention because of its low-profile publisher. But it's quite good, and a second collection (they don't say which issues) is being offered for $13.

- SPECIAL: Patrick the Wolf Boy debuted last month, and he's back already in a Halloween special. It's about a wee little werewolf, by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. [humour]

- NEW SERIES: The solicitation for Complex City neglects to actually mention who the creator is: J.E. Smith. It's a sequel to his satirical superhero series Bulletproof, but with a broader focus, taking in the non-super characters of the setting, such as the bulldog police detective featured on the cover (by Jerry Ordway). [super]

- NEW SERIES: The League of Super Groovy Crime Fighters is obviously a bit of a satire of superheroes with a 1970's twist: what if some of those gimmicky items you could order from the adverts in comicbooks (X-ray specs, body building programs, sea monkeys, diplomas, etc.) actually lived up to the buyers' expectations? The result is a cast of heroes and villains that sounds pretty fun. Written by Jan-Ives Campbell and penciled by Mitchell Massey; and it's in living color. [super] [humour]

  Amaze Ink / Slave Labor
- COLLECTION: The second volume of Jim Starlin's classic Dreadstar stories reprints the graphic novels originally published by Eclipse and Marvel/Epic. 120 pages for $13. [sci-fi]
- RETURNING SERIES: Action Girl is back! This is an anthology of girl-friendly (but not anti-boy, though not necessarily for younger girls) material edited by Sarah Dyer. (As a side note, a t-shirt featuring the new AG logo is being offered, and I'm tempted to get one as kind of an "irony thing"... me not being a girl, y'see. But it's described as a "baby-doll" shirt, and I'm wondering just what that means. E-mail me if you can explain.) [beyond genre]
- NEW SERIES: Highway 13 is a series by graphic designer and illustrator Les McClaine about a teenager named Rick and his werewolf Garth, exploring America, with apparently comic results. The SLG web site's been neglected lately, but I found some more info at McClaine's site, which at least demonstrates he's a proficient artist. [fantasy] [humour]
- IRREGULAR SERIES: A year and a half after #1, the Slave Labor theme anthology Toxic Paradise is back with #2. The theme this time is Zombie-O-Rama, featuring 48 pages of short pieces by various creators for $5. [fantasy]

- ONE-SHOT: It's an Astronauts In Trouble one-shot called One Shot, One Beer, set in Cool Ed's, the only bar on the moon. It is, of course by Larry Young and Charles Adlard, and reprints the earlier short story entitled Cool Ed's along with 50 pages of new material, for a total of 72 pages for $8. [sci-fi]

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