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 March.
Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!
Legends in 3-Dimensions – Diamond Select Toys (Front Cover, M24)
Like most toy companies, DST has varying levels of quality. I’ve never seen any of their half-scale busts in person, but if they’re as great as the vinyl banks they’ve done in the past, I have no problem recommending them.
From these pics it looks like they have all of the personality and attention to detail of Diamond’s other releases, so if this sort of thing interests you at all, give them a closer look.
Sharkey The Bounty Hunter – Image (Back Cover, 34-37)
I seem to have grown out of thinking Mark Millar is any good.
And yes – I can be just as shitty and elitist as anyone else sometimes.
There’s no denying Millar’s drawing power and acclaim, but he hasn’t presented a concept in the last decade that didn’t come across to me as snarky and hipster-y. Simone Bianchi’s art is –phenomenal, but there are plenty of Millar-free places to experience that.
DC Zoom/DC Ink – DC (Cover, 2)
I wish DC the best of luck in launching these two new imprints – Zoom for readers 8-12 and Ink for readers 13-up – but I’ll tell you right now I never would have read a book about Superman and Batman that depicted them out of their costumes on the cover, and my son probably won’t, either.
On the other hand I love the art and the cover for the Mera book and think it looks much cooler and more superheroic.
In the end, though, my opinion doesn’t matter one bit. It’s all about how DC markets these and how successfully they can make them seem similar to other things that their target demographic are into.
Heroes in Crisis Tie-In Event – DC (4-5)
In general I try not to just straight-up talk shit in these articles, but this is one of the worst covers I have seen from DC in ages. I’ve never been a fan of Chris Burnham’s art and it would be reason enough for me to drop any book I was reading, but this piece is so bad I didn’t even initially recognize it as his. I don’t care for his style, but this is the first time I’ve thought something of his was outright bad.
As for Heroes in Crisis, I’m not reading it yet. I’ll probably check out the collected version, but I’m way too far behind to try to keep up with an event right now.
Female Furies #1 – DC (6)
This isn’t from the Mister Miracle team of Tom King and Mitch Gerads, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome. It just means that, due to aforementioned backlog, I won’t be picking up the single issues.
Absolute Batman: Arkham Asylum 30th Anniversary Edition – DC (61)
This is one of my favorite graphic novels, but I don’t see how DC can value it up to seventy-five bucks.
That being said, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth was my first exposure to Grant Morrison, Dave McKean, and weird fucking comic books. I love it, I still think it holds up, and it easily transcends the medium to become something a bit more than just sequential storytelling. I would love to see an animated adaptation that kept the art style, almost like the Beastie Boys’ video for Shadrach.
Batman Arkham: Ra’s al Ghul TP – DC (63)
Ra’s al Ghul is one of my favorite of Batman’s nemeses. Maybe my favorite depending on what day it is. I just love the idea of Batman’s physical and mental match, but in a man that isn’t his direct opposite.
This volume collects some of the Demon Head’s most significant appearances that aren’t otherwise collected (like Son of the Demon).
Batman: The Long Halloween (DC Modern Classic) HC – DC (66)
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale created this, a spiritual sequel to Batman: Year One and I still love it to this day. Never mind the title being Halloweeny, it’s just a fun story with some mind-blowing art. And tons of villains (back before every Batman villain ever showing up in a single storyline was a thing that happened all the time).
Joker: The Bronze Age Omnibus HC – DC (71)
I do love some 70s-era Joker! From creators like Denny O’Neil, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, and Doug Moench, this collection of stories is probably the Joker I know best. It’s a pricey book, but I might have to break down and order this one.
DC Artists Alley: Chrissie Zullo Vinyl Figures – DC Collectibles (80-81)
I’ve been following Chrissie Zullo’s unique, stylized work for years after meeting her in the Heroes Con (I think) Artists Alley. Her characters have a clean, uniform look that you don’t always find from an artist with a more cartoony style. I think they’ll look great in 3D and I’m looking forward to putting them on the shelf next to the Christopher Uminga vinyl figures that came out a few months ago.
DC Designer Series: Wonder Woman by Jenny Frison Statue – DC Collectibles (83)
All of DC’s best variant covers that aren’t by Frank Cho are by Jenny Frison. Her work is phenomenal, with Diana being sort of her signature character. This would be an absolutely gorgeous piece to have in the house, but the price is such that I’ll be checking with the missus before ordering. This is an upstairs piece, not something to be stowed down in the Phantom Zone.
Daredevil #1-2 – Marvel (18-19)
Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto?
I don’t care what they’re working on, I’ll buy it.
Age of X-Man – Marvel (30-33)
This story sounds interesting and the cover art shown in Previews is excellent, but I am not committing to four different miniseries to read this thing. Marvel’s handling of its mutants over the last decade or so has absolutely not inspired enough confidence for me to commit to these.
Or to this…
Uncanny X-Men #11 & 12 – Marvel (34-37)
Man, if there’s any writer that’s going to compel me to check out a book whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Rip Chudardsky”, it’s Matthew Rosenberg. In a very short time this guy has earned my confidence as a very good storyteller who knows his characters.
Captain Marvel True Believers Month – Marvel (41-43)
These True Believers reprints are some of my favorite things that Marvel does now. Not only are they a neat way to familiarize yourself with classic characters, they’re only a buck and are easy to stock up on.
The Marvel Art of Skottie Young HC – Marvel (101)
Skottie Young is one of the most delightful cartoonists working in comics today. Those that have been reading Needless Things for years know that an artist has to be something special for me to truly love a cartoon style in my comic books and Young fits that bill.
Wolverine Epic Collection: Back to Basics TPB – Marvel (133)
A collection of tales from way back in the late 80s just before Wolverine became the overexposed, watered-down character he is now. This is all great stuff.
NOTE: I’m sure there are some curmudgeons who would say that by 1988 he was already overexposed.
I’m sure that thirty years from now someone will be thinking a holopost about Wolverine and claim he wasn’t as overexposed in 2018.
It will be around this time that the Warner-Disony Megacollective will be producing the new Tom Holland vehicle “Old Man Peter”.
Spidey: The Freshman Year TPB – Marvel (141)
JUST BUY IT!
This volume collects all twelve issues of Robbie Thompson and Nick Bradshaw’s (and others) Spidey, which is my favorite Spider-Man comic behind Ultimate Spider-Man, but has the advantage of being a much quicker read.
It’s a relatively continuity-free book about Peter Parker’s first outings as Spider-Man. It’s family-friendly – as all Spidey comics should be – and a light, smart read. If this was coming out before Christmas, I would give everyone I know a copy.
Hellboy Day! – Dark Horse (82-84, 111)
March 23rd is Hellboy Day!
Your finer comic shops should have special products, contests, and events scheduled, so be sure to check with your favorite Local Comic Shop and see what they have planned!
Aliens: Dead Orbit HC – Dark Horse (92)
This was an absolutely gorgeous Aliens story featuring the kind of unique art and look that I relate to Dark Horse comics. If you love the Aliens franchise and pretty much trust me, just add this to your order.
If you love the franchise, but aren’t so sure about my opinions, wait for the trade.
The Girl in the Bay #1 – Dark Horse (98)
Whoa. This sounds like some good stuff – a young girl is attacked and thrown into Sheepshead Bay. After fighting her way back to the surface, she discovers that fifty years have passed and something took her place in that time.
I don’t love the art here, but the story sounds pretty darn compelling and movie-ready. I might have to give this a look.
The Art of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles HC – Dark Horse (98)
In my humble opinion the 2012-2017 Ninja Turtles cartoon is not only the best one to feature the Turtles, but one of the best animated series overall. Certainly one of the best comic book adaptations.
This book seems a little late to the game, but I’m happy to see that Nickelodeon hasn’t just thrown this version on the fire.
The raging dumpster fire that is the new cartoon, that is.
Anyway, the look and designs of the show were as fantastic as the storytelling, so I’ll be looking forward to an in-depth look at how it all came about.
GI Joe Portfolio – IDW (136)
Finally, a comprehensive book about the art of the GI Joe: A Real American Hero toy line, similar to the one that Dark Horse released for Masters of the Universe!
Wait… what the shit is this?
This is not a book but a collection of ten 11×17 prints featuring unspecified package art.
I hope IDW’s license with Hasbro for GI Joe expires soon.
GI Joe: Sierra Muerte #1 – IDW (137)
I try not to be too harsh about anything here, because everything has its fans.
So I just don’t have much to say about this.
I’m curious about the included feature about the original Marvel comic and the Larry Hama interview.
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive – IDW (146)
Wow! The Allreds doing Dick Tracy is so obvious I can’t believe it hasn’t happened before. I can’t wait to see what kind of insane rogues gallery shows up in this!
Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep #1 – Dynamite (170-171)
What an absolutely perfect combination.
I haven’t always loved what Dynamite has done with some of my favorite movie characters, but this looks promising. I’m not familiar with the writer, Scott Duvall or the artist, Vincenzo Federici, but I did Google the latter and his work is solid. Not the cartoony style that has been one of my issues with past titles.
Batman Neon Symbol T-shirt – Graphitti Designs (411)
Nothing will ever beat a classic Bat symbol on a shirt, but this design is pretty cool. I might even order it if I knew it wouldn’t have that ugly “Graphitti” logo on the sleeve.
One:12 Collective Cable Action Figure – Mezco (52M)
This one looks so good. Cable is col and all, but I can’t say that he’s one of my favorites. Certainly not a $100 action figure favorite.
Marvel Legends: Hail Hydra Action Figure 2-Pack – Hasbro (52M)
Good call, Hasbro. I’m sure these will be a hit. Especially considering that lots of people might want the Arnim Zola, who was previously only available as a build-a-figure, but nobody wants Nazi Cap
Think I missed something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!