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.
Now it’s time to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition!
Note: In what is surely a cost saving measure – because everything is a cost saving measure – Diamond has discontinued the pull-out short order forms in favor of a regular page. While I’ll miss the perforations, I will not miss the stupid gloss that made it so hard to write on. I’ll mark this down as a sort-of-improvement.
Dial H for Hero – DC (Front Cover, DC8)
Sam Humphires and Joe Quinones are an excellent combination for a superhero book looking for a wider appeal. I had thought that the Wonder Comics imprint was going to be all-ages – not “for kids”, but “without people being brutally raped and cut into pieces” – but I see by the “RATED T” DC didn’t want to fully pull that trigger.
Obviously the “T” should still exclude the aforementioned atrocities, but I still feel very strongly that there should be Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Avengers, etc. comics that are for everyone and fall into a Pixar level of maturity without being marketed directly to kids.
Then again, I was reading Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men when I was eleven and there’s some crazy stuff in there. Maybe I’m idealizing things too much.
Nah – that doesn’t sound like me.
Little Bird – Image (Back Cover, 54-59)
This looks like a bold, massive project and I don’t want to do it a disservice by summarizing it incorrectly, so please use your Google to look it up if what I say piques your interest.
The story is about an America in the future where the Church has taken over the state. On the surface this seems like a well-tread premise, but I think the creators have grand plans. It’s following one young girl as she attempts to fight the system and good lord does it sound like they’re checking off all of the mandated liberal boxes, but something about what I’m looking at makes Little Bird seem deeper than that.
Yes, it feels like a reaction to our unfortunate times, but I think it might be using politics to tell a story rather than using a story to tell politics, if that makes sense. I’ll be very curious to see where this (likely initial) 5 issue miniseries goes.
Whatever the case, the art is captivating.
The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 – DC (Cover, 1)
I’m feeling sassy as this new year starts, so I’m gonna go ahead and talk some shit:
Has anyone else completely ceased to care what Scott Snyder is doing?
I don’t know when it first happened, but for the past several months as soon as I see his name, before I can even really think about it, my brain goes, “Nah”. I mostly enjoyed Dark Knights and Metal, but I’m also ready to be done with all of those ideas. I’m not interested in seeing the fallout from that big, fun, yet somehow also super dark story for the next five years. Let’s just wrap it up.
I am in no way saying that this won’t be good or even that the post-Metal stuff isn’t full of narrative promise. But for some reason I am just not interested.
Feel free to fire back in the comments. I’m curious to know where you guys are on this one. I mainly ask because every time I see “The Batman Who Laughs” I think, “Really? Still?”
Detective Comics #1000 – DC (4-5)
Even if I hadn’t added Detective back onto my pull list when Tomasi and Mahnke became the new creative team I’d be picking this up. What kind of Batman fan could skip a milestone like this?
I’m thrilled that they’re doing the same era-specific cover gimmick they did with Action Comics, though to be honest these aren’t as exciting.
The Terminus Agenda – DC (10-11)
Another Teen Titans/Deathstroke crossover by Christopher Priest?
Shut up and take my money.
All-Star Superman (DC Modern Classic) HC – DC (60)
All-Star Superman is often referred to as the perfect way to write the character of Superman, and with good reason. We see the Man of Steel at the end of his days living a sort of greatest hits of things that Superman does. Morrison and Quitely get to play with the biggest and smallest Superman trope sand they do so to great effect.
This is the book that made me understand how Superman can be a great character and that I had been wrong for years in assuming he was boring.
Batgirl of Burnside Omnibus HC – DC (61)
Some people chafed at the re-characterization of Barbara Gordon, but I thoroughly enjoyed every issue of this series. It’s in a tier of quality just below Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man and Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl and that’s damned fine praise coming from me.
If you haven’t read this and like fun comics that are a visual treat – Babs Tarr is one of the best working today – then trust me and just grab this edition.
Batman: Death of the Family Saga (DC Essential Edition) TP – DC (62)
I was thinking, “Didn’t I just write about this?” and apparently I did because this is a resolicit.
This is one of my favorite Joker stories and you should read it if you haven’t. And there’s something nice I can say after not being too keen on Scott Snyder earlier.
Batman Eternal Omnibus HC – DC (62)
More Snyder love!
I recall enjoying this year-long story, though I cannot tell one thing about it. I might have to dig the issues up and read it again.
Batman Noir: Gotham by Gaslight HC – DC (63)
I’m a bit confused by this.
I don’t really think of Gotham by Gaslight as a noir story, but I’m also not sure I could explain to you what “noir” was without mentioning Nicolas Cage. The truly vexing thing is that I have always looked at Howard Chaykin’s Batman/Houdini: The Devil’s Workshop as a sequel to Gaslight, but it is not included here. Am I the only one that thought this? Comments please.
Also, I’ve never even heard of Master of the Future. Do I need to read it?
Final Crisis (DC Essential Edition) – DC (67)
This is the story that got me back into the DCU. I have no idea how other people feel about it, but I thought it was exciting, weird, and awesome.
Batman: The Animated Series Batcycle Action Figure Set – DC Collectibles (80)
I’m still hopeful that the DC Animated action figure line can be rejuvenated, though I haven’t read good things about the DC Universe exclusive JLU figures.
I wouldn’t mind having a Batcycle and sixty bucks isn’t even a bad price, but I just don’t find it essential. Unfortunately for the line I’ll probably just keep an eye on Amazon to see if it drops to under forty bucks. If it doesn’t, I’ll just have to be happy with my Batmobile and Batplane.
Honestly I would’ve preferred that wacky Jokermobile.
Spider-Man: Life Story #1 (of 6) – Marvel (20-21)
Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley tell the story of fifty-seven years of Peter Parker’s life. I’m not sure how you get that much into just six issues, but this is a phenomenal creative team, so I’m in!
Spider-Man: City at War #1 (of 6) – Marvel (34-35)
Last year’s Spider-Man video game was a very good “let’s make an Arkham game with Spidey in it” sort of thing. I didn’t find it perfect, but for a first effort at this sort of thing it was tons of fun and the story was fantastic.
So fantastic, as a matter of fact, that I’ll be more than happy to shell out for a trade collecting a comic book version.
Assassin Nation #1 – Image (60-65)
Kyle Starks is one of those writers who I like enough to just buy anything with his name on it. I don’t always take the bait for Image’s “THIS IS GONNA BE THE NEXT HOT THANG”, but I do believe this one will be worth your time. A bunch of self-centered assassins having to deal with one another is exactly the sort of thing you want Starks writing.
It looks like the artist – Erica Henderson – has a style that perfectly complements the kinds of worlds Starks creates.
SCUD The Disposable Assassin: The Whole Shebang! TP – Image (73)
This is weird, brilliant, and unique visual storytelling from Rob Schrab, who you may or may not know. He has a heartfelt, incisive sense of humor and a compelling artistic style. SCUD was part of my Weird Phase back in the day, but remains great because it’s also fun and relatable. So much of what I was reading in the mid-90s was weird for the sake of weirdness and is mostly impenetrable, masturbatory garbage to 42-year-old me. That’s not the case here.
Wandering Luminations: The Art of Tara McPherson HC – Dark Horse (128)
Speaking of weird, Tar McPherson creates some of the weirdest, most beautiful art I’ve seen.
I first saw McPherson’s work years ago in Artists’ Alley at Dragon Con, then saw her speak on a panel about horror art. Her vision is a sort of sweet bubblegum-pop infused with surrealistic oddness. I am not an art critic and don’t really know how to describe it, so you should probably just Google her work and check out her Instagram.
I’ll be buying this book.
Transformers #1 & 2 – IDW (136)
This sounds pretty good.
I’m not familiar with any of the talent involved, but I think going back to the past and exploring the genesis of the Autobot/Decepticon conflict on a once-peaceful Cybertron sounds interesting. Especially in the framework of police investigating the first murder in living memory. Robot conspiracies are neat!
GLOW #1 – IDW (151)
The Netflix show is my favorite streaming show and Tini Howard is an awesome and clever writer, but I don’t know that a GLOW comic is something I, personally, want. There’s no doubt in my mind it’ll be entertaining, but as someone who is facing a strict 2019 comic budget, I don’t think I can give this a slot.
You mileage, in all likelihood, will vary.
Go-Bots #5 – IDW (153)
I finally read the first issue and it’s as crazy and wild as I was hoping. If you like 80s fun, grab the trade when it comes out.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle TPB – IDW (161)
This was a great Halloween treat – an anthology of spooky tales set in the galaxy far, far away. Included – The Wicker Man, but with Ewoks!
Needless Things’ highest recommendation!
Batman 80th Retro T-Shirt – Graphitti Designs (432)
The newsprint color scheme on the dark grey shirt looks great. I might grab this one.
Friday the 13th Jason Mask Knit Cap (435)
These gimmick beanies are usually awful, but for some reason I like this one. The only problem is that my gross, sweaty head would turn that pure white an all-too-real nasty color in no time.
Godzilla Figural Banks – Diamond Select Toys (25M)
It’s been awhile since DST has featured any of their coolest figural banks, so if you haven’t heard, they’re awesome. These are statue-quality pieces for a fraction of the price. If you put one of these on your shelf, nobody is going to think you only paid forty bucks for it.
These are some of the neatest collectibles I’ve ever seen offered, so hopefully Diamond is going back into production on some older models and maybe even has some new stuff in store.
NECA Originals: Street Scene Diorama – NECA (38M)
This is a reworking of the street diorama that came with the 1990 TMNT movie Turtles last year and it is fantastic. I know a hundred bucks seems steep for a glorified back alley, but this is one of the best playsets of the last two decades. It looks amazing and your figures look so good standing on it.
One:12 Collective Green Lantern John Stewart Action Figure – Mezco (41M)
I know there’s some division about the look of this figure’s uniform, but I really dig it. But then, I really liked the uniforms in that crappy movie, and this resembles those.
Now, I do question the wisdom of going with a design that seems so similar to one used in such a reviled film, but personally I’m glad Mezco went with it. I ordered this one and the Previews Exclusive Hal Jordan.
One:12 Collective Freddy Krueger Action Figure – Mezco (43M)
Freddy is my guy. If I have to pick one horror icon, he’s it.
I’ve assumed for some time now that when Mezco offered a One:12 Freddy that I’d have to break my rule about not buying the horror stuff, but I never imagined they’d go with the sweater from the original movie.
Look – I know it’s classic and that’s what it looked like at first, but nobody thinks of this sweater when they think of Freddy Krueger. It just doesn’t look good. And when you’re offering a high-end figure that needs to appeal to as many hardcore collectors as possible, you should probably go with the more recognizable look.
And yes – I am fully aware of how this lines up with my feelings on the Green Lantern figures. Hush.
Friday the 13th (2009) Ultimate Jason Voorhees Action Figure – NECA (44M)
This was a really good remake!
It did the smart thing and streamlined the story of the first three films while updating it to a modern setting. The story was solid, the kids were good, and Jason was scary – what more do you want?
I have the original release of this Jason, but I’ll be happy to upgrade to one with tons of articulation and accessories.
IT (2017) Well House Pennywise Action Figure – NECA (44M)
Well, here we go.
I do believe that this is the first time NECA has released a second version of the same character from the same movie under the “Ultimate” banner. Which makes it not-so-ultimate.
The Nun Valak 8-Inch Retro Action Figure – NECA (44M)
Some people didn’t seem to like this movie as much as I did, but I thought it was the best of the Conjurverse spinoffs and in a way even more interesting than the two main films from the series. It certainly opened up the possibility for more direct sequels to itself.
Me and the missus have been waiting for a good toy version of Valak ever since it showed up in The Conjuring 2, so we’re thrilled that this evil demon is on the way.
GLOW: Debbie & Ruth Action Figure 2-Pack – Funko (51M)
As I mentioned above, GLOW is one of my favorite shows and I’ll happily buy every figure Funko releases. I do hope we get more than just these two and what I really need is a Marc Maron action figure. And I bet Marc Maron wants one, too.
Think I missed something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!