If you don’t know, Previews is the catalog that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for.
It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.
So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but are typically about two months away. Most of this month’s offerings are scheduled to ship in January.
Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!
The Other History of the DC Universe – DC Comics (Front Cover, DC4)
I think it’s really cool that DC is giving someone the opportunity to tell the story of the DCU through the lens of its less-represented heroes (aka “not white people”). Hopefully it will get some attention and bring a wider audience into comics. Isn’t that always the hope, though?
The idea of a mostly prose format turns me off, but maybe it will get the project taken a bit more seriously by the public at large? I dunno, but I’ll be curious to see how this turns out and what the general reception is.
Fight Club 3 – Dark Horse (Back Cover, 88-91)
I’m mostly a fan of Chuck Palahniuk’s work and definitely a fan of Fight Club – both the book and the movie. But Fight Club 2 fell completely flat for me. I gave it a couple of issues, but it didn’t click.
For fans of that one and of Palahniuk in general I hope this one delivers, but I won’t be adding it to my list.
Young Justice #1 – DC (Cover, 2)
This is part of Brian Michael Bendis’ new Wonder Comics imprint. It seems to be aimed at getting teenagers to read comics. The ratings for the two books listed are “T+”, which seems a little off-target to me, but I’m honestly not entirely clear on why these are a separate imprint.
Whatever the case, it’s good to see a title as universally lauded as Young Justice returning and I’ll be interested to see how long it lasts and how freely it can tell stories.
Mysteries of Love in Space #1 – DC (5)
This is essentially a Valentine’s Day special, which is fine by me. I’m a sucker for holiday-themed gimmick books. Even if they’re all lovey-mushy. Or tragic. I bet at least a couple of the stories will be tragic.
Old Lady Harley #3 – DC (37)
I mention this because I just read the first issue and it’s a lot of fun. Some of the jokes don’t land, but I like the art and the story is great. The overall theme of parodying the “dystopian future where our heroes get old and die miserably” type of comics is executed very well.
You should be able to find the first issue in stores now, so if you like Harley and you like fun, go grab a copy.
Batman: Death of the Family Saga (DC Essential Edition) TP – DC (76)
In my opinion this was Scott Snyder’s best story arc while writing Batman and one of the greatest Joker stories of all time. If, in twenty years, people are looking back at and discussing the comics of today I think this is a story that will get brought up. It encapsulates not just the Joker, but the nature of Batman and his family so perfectly.
Blackest Night Saga (DC Essential Edition) TP – DC (79)
To be fair to me, I haven’t read this since 2009-2010 – the years it came out. But back then I loved it. It was around that time that I was really getting back into the DCU and the epic storylines were blowing me away.
However, I can’t recommend this title when the next one has all of the badass Blackest Night titles included…
Blackest Night Omnibus 10th Anniversary Edition HC – DC (79)
This includes the main series and all of the tie-ins, which were my favorite part. DC had a powerful stable of talent on this crossover – Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, James Robinson (on the Starman issue that made me rabid for that book), Greg Rucka, Sterling Gates, and more. Even without as expansive a knowledge of the DCU as our Head of Research Ryan, I thoroughly enjoyed this massive event.
Note: You may well be able to buy all of the single issues for dirt cheap. I’m not sure. I still have all of mine, but I’m not selling!
DC: The New Frontier TP – DC (80)
Darwyn Cooke’s masterpiece is rightfully one of the most acclaimed comic books of all time. If you don’t already own it, you really need to add it to your shelf. I’m not usually big on “any real comics fan” types of statements, but here you go – if you’re any kind of real comics fan, you should own this.
A Very DC Valentine’s Day TP – DC (81)
This is a collection of DC’s past Valentine’s specials. I’ve got them and they’re all fun.
Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Book One TP – DC (82)
Man, they’re really pushing the Johns Lantern stuff.
I absolutely loved this run and I’m confident in saying that if I re-read it I still would. And I’d love to revisit it, but I can’t even keep up with all of the current stuff I want to, let alone going back to older titles.
Now I’ve made myself sad.
DC Designer Series: Bombshell Harley Quinn and Joker by Ant Lucia Action Figures – DC Collectibles (100)
I think DCC made a HUGE mistake in not making this a 2-pack. I predict retailers are going to end up stuck with a ton of sailor Jokers. It’s not that it’s a bad figure, but for $28 a pop I’ll stick with just Harley for my borderline-creepy Harley shelves.
Harley Quinn: Red, White, & Black by Frank Cho Statue – DC Collectibles (101)
I adore Frank Cho’s artwork and I’ve been buying Harley Quinn just to get his variant covers. I mean, I fully intend to get back to the story at some point, but those covers are incredible.
This statue is based on his art for issue #50 and is an obvious homage to the 1966 Batman movie. I have to have it.
By the way, if you’re a fan of Cho’s work he has a Kickstarter for a new art book called Ballpoint Beauties going right now. He’s a proven entity in the world of fan-funded work, so you can feel safe backing the project. If you’re interested, click here.
Conan the Barbarian #1-2 – Marvel (1-7)
I don’t think Marvel could have put together a more perfect creative team for the launch of their reacquisition of Conan. This feels like the comic Jason Aaron was born to write, and Mahmud Asrar’s art is perfection. If you’re not following him on IG, you should be.
If this were somehow accompanied by a line of Diamond Select Conan toys, that’d be just super.
Conan True Believers Month – Marvel (8-9)
For just a buck you can pick up selected Conan comics from Marvel’s legendary first run with the character. Some of the best creators in the history of the medium worked on Conan back in the day, so it’d be worth your ten bucks to get a nice sampling of these.
Captain Marvel #1– Marvel (12-14)
Sure – I’d like to read a Captain Marvel comic!
I’ve read a few appearances here and there, but I mostly know Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel thanks to her relation to Rogue in the old Uncanny X-Men comics. I know basically nothing of this modern Captain Marvel, though I think her costume is awesome.
I’ve enjoyed a few things I’ve read from Kelly Thompson, so no worries there, but I’m a little concerned by the fact that Marvel isn’t showing off the interior artwork the way they tend to do with other launch titles (see Conan).
But then I Googled “Carmen Carnero” and saw some excellent stuff. If she can stick to a schedule and gets past the initial story arc, this could be something really cool for Marvel.
And yeah – of course the Amanda Conner covers are great. But I’m not going to be sold on a new comic based solely on covers.
Black Widow #1 – Marvel (15)
Whoa! I was not expecting to see a Marvel comic from horror’s Soska sisters. I can’t say they’re huge names, but they’re definitely known and I, for one, am a big fan of their work. I’ll be very curious to see what kinds of stories they tell with Natasha.
Invaders #1 – Marvel (18-20)
As part of my sacred vow to buy any comic with Chip Zdarsky’s name on it, I will add this title starring characters I wouldn’t generally buy to my pull list.
Yeah – I love Cap. But every time I’ve tried to read an ongoing (which by Marvel’s definition is right issues or more) Captain America book in the last decade, things have gone bad. Hopefully a Zdarsky team book will do the guy more justice.
Marvel Comics Presents #1 – Marvel (33)
I had so much fun reading so many of the stories from the original run of Marvel Comics Presents. I discovered great artists and storytellers like Barry Windsor-Smith and Sam Kieth in those pages.
Because of that, the prospect of a new version of the book almost feels like a letdown. I’m old now and nothing is as magical as it used to be. Rarely do modern comic artists truly blow me away the way those guys did and even more rarely do I find a new talent that I want to (or can) follow. Creators stick with something for a few issues then move on to something else. The consistency of the comics world seems to be gone.
So even if I do find an exciting new talent in these pages, sooner than later they’ll be off to a different company or onto a book I don’t care about or just quit comics and decide to grow palm trees. Or something. I dunno.
Today’s column has been more depressing than I expected.
The Punisher Vol. 1 TPB – Marvel (122)
I stopped reading the current Punisher run when Marvel renumbered because I effing hate their stupid renumbering so much. Especially when it’s in the middle of an ongoing story.
Matthew Rosenberg was great, however, and I guess I’m going to have to pick it back up at some point because I genuinely miss reading this book. That almost never happens after I drop something.
Excalibur Epic Collection Volume 3 TPB – Marvel (134)
I finished the first Epic Collection and I’m about halfway through the second, which collects the issues I started with back in the 80s – “The Cross-Time Caper”. Not everything from back then holds up, but Excalibur totally does; for me, anyway.
These stories are so wild and fun and Claremont does such a good job with characters and arcs. Each issue flies by.
I left the book when Claremont did back then (with issue 34), and his last issues are included in this collection, along with some that followed. I’m excited to revisit them and see if maybe the successors crafted some stories that hold up as well.
Gunning for Hits #1 – Image (44-45)
Moritat’s art always catches my eye, but the story sounds like a cool concept – a music producer in 1980s New York is up to shady stuff and trying to recruit a rock band to “conquer the world”. It’s described as a music business crime thriller and is being written by an actual music producer.
Aliens: Resistance #1 – Dark Horse (94-95)
This is a follow-up to the excellent Alien: Isolation video game that I still haven’t finished.
Look – right after I got it a new God of War came out, then Spider-Man (which I also haven’t finished), and now Red Dead Redemption 2 (which I’ve barely even started).
Anyway, Resistance is written by Brian Wood with art by Robert Carey and I’m sure it’ll be great. I’ll buy it after I finish the game.
Spoiler: Apparently, despite the results I kept getting, Amanda Ripley does survive.
The Mask Omnibus Vol. 1 – Dark Horse (101)
The comic book version of The Mask is very different from the Jim Carrey movie.
I love the movie and absolutely wouldn’t change a thing about it, but the comic is ripe for a re-interpretation, as the original is gory, foul, and very much R-rated. I read the first two series – The Mask and the Mask Returns and still stand by them. They were outrageous at the time and honestly might be even more so today, despite a spate of imitators and wannabes.
Star Trek: The Q Conflict #1 – IDW (151)
Scott and David Tipton wrote the excellent Doctor Who 50th anniversary comic Prisoners of Time and I have faith that they can handle the intertwining of Starfleet’s best.
I have to admit that I’ll probably wait for the trade, but I’m definitely excited for this epic story!
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1 – Dynamite (178-181)
Kieron Gillen returns to superhero comics!
I don’t know anything about Peter Cannon, but I know that Gillen’s humor and intelligence are well-suited to provide commentary on the state of modern superhero comics.
“He’s very clearly aware he’s the smartest man in the room.
And he hates being in the room.”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 – BOOM! Studios (208-209)
As someone who feel that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest television show of all time, I feel obligated to mention this new comic.
This is a reboot, so while Buffy still looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar, everything else about Sunnydale sounds like it’s going to change. This is fine and probably necessary and I’m sure BOOM! has big plans or they wouldn’t have bothered acquiring the license to make Buffy comics in the first place.
LOUD – Black Mask (278-279)
From Maria Llovet, the artist on there’s Nothing There, one of my favorite comics from last year. And that’s basically all I need to know.
Also, strippers, hitmen, vampires, lesbians, a dominatrix, and probably not a partridge in a pear tree, all in a nightclub together.
One:12 Collective Cyclops Action Figure – Mezco (52M)
This is one of my least favorite Cyclops costumes, but damn this figure looks good.
Predator 2 Ultimate City Hunter Action Figure – NECA (56M)
As great as NECA’s Ultimate releases have been, I’m not sure I’m going to pull the trigger on this one. I’ve already got a really good City Hunter and I find it hard to believe that this one is enough of an upgrade to be worth thirty more bucks.
Now, if they had released a two-pack with Danny Glover, that’d be a different story.
Predator Ultimate Jungle Hunter Action Figure – NECA (56M)
The same goes for this one. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing, and if you don’t have older versions of these two, definitely get them.
This one should have been a Jesse Ventura/Carl Weathers three-pack.
Think I missed something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!