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: For various reasons I’m not going to bore you with I am once again using the online catalog. It didn’t actually cause too many problems last month, so I’m not going to worry about it and neither should you!
Excellence #1 – Image (Front Cover)
This is a comic book that is being created entirely by people of color. Personally I feel like this is an important thing, and I’m going to do my best to discuss race a bit and explain why without pissing anybody off (LOLOLOLHAHAHAHAHA).
I’ll never claim that I’ve had a constant supply of non-white friends in my life. I hang out with people I get along with and for the most part that’s been white people, whether due to disposition or exposure. I was raised to judge people by their actions and not their appearance. I have just happened to be in mostly white situations my whole life.
I have had friends of color, though, and something that all of the males have had in common is that they love comic books. I know that sounds like a generalization, but it goes beyond just people that I consider friends – I’d say that the percentage of people of color who are comic fans vastly outweighs the percentage of white people who are comic fans in my personal experience.
I’m speaking carefully here so as not to be misinterpreted because this is a sort of touchy topic and the written word is impossible to calibrate in the way that spoken words are. I guess here’s my point:
Black folks and Latinos tend to be big nerds and the comics industry is run by and mostly about white people. And that probably sucks for people who are not white. Or is at least something they’re very conscious of as they’re immersing themselves in their favorite hobby.
I know this is a conversation that’s been going on for years now, but I think there’s a tendency to over-simplify things and a failure to account for nuance. Making Batman a gay black woman does not address this issue. Putting Christopher Priest and Brian Stelfreeze on the main Batman title for a year or more and letting them create new characters who they then spin off into a new, top tier book that will continue to receive support from the publisher because it’s an important statement to make helps the issue.
Basically, all of this is easy and complicated at the same time, but the publishers have to look at their slate with their hearts and minds and keep the big picture in perspective rather than just letting money make the decisions. They put it on us, the customers to support new books from different creators, but it is not incumbent upon the consumer to propagate the future of the publisher. The publishers need to take responsibility for their image and for the future generations of customers they can cultivate by growing their IP and their reputations now.
To a certain extent I think that Marvel has been doing this, to the sound of wailing and the gnashing of teeth from morons who seem to be under the impression that Spike Lee or Louis Farrakhan is going to show up at their doorstep with a gun and force them to buy the newest issue of Ms. Marvel.
Man. I got way off track.
I think that Excellence is cool because it’s coming from a creative team consisting entirely of people of color. Maybe it’s the next Saga, maybe it’s the next Image book that’s cancelled after four issues. But whatever the case, creators of color have ownership of this creation and will ultimately determine its fate. And I think that’s an important thing for everyone to see. Because in this day and age being able to work outside of the Big Two and call your own shots and succeed could be an even bigger message than getting to write Batman.
But I still want Priest on Batman.
Stranger Things: Six #1 –Dark Horse (Back Cover)
Unlike Dark Horse’s prior Stranger Things series, which followed Will Byers’ experience in the Upside Down and ran parallel to the TV show, this series is about the government agency that caused everything and a test subject that preceded the girl we know as Eleven.
This is much more intriguing to me than the previous miniseries. It looks like the creators of Stranger Things might have loosened the storytelling reigns a little bit, which gives Dark Horse room to do what they do best with licensed tie-ins – fill in gaps between or prior to existing media and enhance the mythology.
Gogor #1 – Image
This is a new fantasy comic from writer/artist Ken Garing. I’m not familiar with him, but this preview from Previews looks great. The arts is clean and tells the story well. I like the look of the world – just from the brief preview it’s clear a lot of thought went into building it. And the sneak peek itself ends with a humdinger of a cliffhanger!
Gogor feels familiar and fresh at the same time, and that’s my favorite kind of new thing.
Spawn Origins TP Vol 1 – Image
Whatever you might think about Todd McFarlane, there’s no denying his place in comic book history. Or toy history, for that matter.
I haven’t read the first six issues of Spawn since they were originally published, so I don’t know how well they’ll hold up, but for ten bucks I’m gonna grab this just for McFarlane’s art. His stuff absolutely blew my mind back in the day and it’s been too long since I sat down to read a book filled with his work. I think maybe people have forgotten just how dynamic and exciting his stuff is.
Of course, doing this is just going to make me want to read his Spider-Man, but I still own those.
Art of Todd McFarlane: Devils in the Details TP – Image
Speaking of McFarlane’s exciting art, here’s a bunch of it!
This was previously released in hardcover. It’s not just Image work, it also includes McFarlane’s Batman, Spider-Man, Hulk, and more. It looks like a great retrospective on an influential creator. I’ll grab this edition.
Disney Dracula starring Mickey Mouse TP – Dark Horse
The idea of a Disney adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is awesome, but I have to admit I’d rather watch a cartoon of it than read a comic. Still, it’s cool that Dark Horse is releasing this and I hope it can bring some new and younger readers into both comics and literature.
I don’t know if this is a new work or something that has existed for years.
Disney Frankenstein starring Donald Duck TP – Dark Horse
Mostly see above. I think Donald is a great choice to stand in for Victor von Frankenstein. This one sounds a little more exciting to me than the Dracula adaptation.
Aliens Original Comic Series 30th Anniversary HC – Dark Horse
If you’re not a fan of Alien 3, this might be the sequel for you.
In 1988 Dark Horse published this sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens. Written by Mark Verheiden with art by Mark A. Nelson, this collected series presents a very different story from the film sequel, one in which Newt and Hicks enjoy very different fates.
It’s an excellent follow-up with great artwork and definitely gets the Needless Things seal of approval.
Note: If anybody would like to design a Needless Things Seal of Approval I’ll send you a Mystery Box.
Aliens Essential Comic TP Vol 1 – Dark Horse
Collecting Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum, and Earth War; this collection would be a great starting point for anyone looking to dip into Dark Horse’s massive expanded Aliens-centric universe. There’s no denying the fact that the best Aliens stories of the past three decades have come from Dark Horse Comics.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula TP – IDW
Speaking of Dracula adaptations, here’s another one! Only this one is adapting Coppola’s film and not Stoker’s original novel.
This comic comes from Roy Thomas and Mike Mignola and was actually solicited a couple of months ago, but this offering is an updated edition with new colors.
No colorist is credited, but I find it hard to believe that Mignola came back and re-colored the thing. Maybe it’s just some re-mastering thing? I dunno.
UPDATE: The original comic was black and white, this one has color added. But I still don’t know who did the coloring.
OH – maybe IDW released one of those adult coloring books of this and had a contest to see who could color it the best and this is the winner’s?
GI Joe Modern Era Legends Art Portfolio – IDW
This contains ten prints of GI Joe artwork in unspecified dimensions from modern artists.
I’m so glad IDW is devoting resources to something like this rather than releasing collections of original box art.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (of 3) – DC
I might be a little burned out on Scott Snyder, but I have to admit that a Black Label story where he and Capullo get to play outside of continuity is very appealing. I won’t get the single issues, but if I hear good things I’ll grab the collected edition.
DC’s Year of the Villain #1 – DC
This doesn’t do much for me. It features an all-star roster of creators – Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, Francis Manapul – but it sounds like something that’s just going to interrupt my regularly scheduled monthly comics. My Batman just got interrupted with some tie-in to Superhero Hospital or whatever and I was annoyed.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #1 – DC/IDW
Both of the existing Batman/TMNT miniseries are excellent and this one is from the same creative team, so I couldn’t be more excited. When the original series debuted I had been dreaming of a crossover for two decades and, amazingly, it delivered in every way possible.
It’s worth noting that DC Animation is releasing an animated Batman/TMNT feature and I cannot wait to see it!
DCeased #1 (of 6) – DC
Remember Marvel Zombies? Well, get ready for 28 DCs Later!
DC’s heroes dealing with a worldwide plague that turns average citizens into crazed murder machines isn’t by any means a bad idea, but it doesn’t seem all that fresh, either. I feel like I’m a little down on DC this month. Maybe the next solicitation will cheer me up.
Dog Days of Summer #1 – DC
A summer special with Bat-Cow on the cover always cheers me up!
Batman: Damned HC – DC
AKA Batman: Donged.
Although from what I hear DC is de-donging all reprints and future pressings. Poor Bruce.
Kidding aside, I’m genuinely interested in reading this story. Azzarello and Bermejo are a powerful creative team and I’m sure they created something distinctive and cool.
Batman/Flash: The Button TP – DC
Just because I was complaining about a crossover interrupting my stories above doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a good crossover every once in a while.
The Button was the precursor to whatever the heck is going on with the concepts of The Watchmen being integrated into the DCU. It’s been roughly eight years since the most recent issue of Doomsday Clock came out, so I’m not even sure where we are with all of that. Heck, I don’t even know if that book is supposed to be regular continuity or not or if it matters if it is.
Anyway, this was a fast-paced, well done story that is entertaining in and of itself regardless of what has come after it.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II Deluxe Edition HC – DC/IDW
Buy this! Buy the original! Get the deluxe versions that include scripts and variant covers and extras and all that jazz! It’s all great!
Batman: The Black Glove Saga DC Essentials Edition – DC
Meet Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian, in Grant Morrison’s wacky Batman comix!
I need to stop using exclamation points, but all of this is so exciting!
This is the run that got me back to reading Batman comics regularly, so I have a soft spot for it. I find Morrison compelling and he always chooses strong collaborators. I’m not a fan of every artist he selects, but they’re always going to provide storytelling that keeps up with Morrison’s quality of work.
DC Poster Portfolio: Frank Cho – DC
This collection includes twenty 12×16 prints of past Frank Cho variant covers on heavy cardstock paper. I would have preferred 11×17, but this is still a must-have for me.
Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Edition – DC
DO NOT READ THE PREVIEWS SOLICITATION!
It contains spoilers for the current Detective Comics storyline, which has been very good. I started reading Detective again when Tomasi and Mahnke started and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m excited for #1000, and I’m even excited to spend an additional twenty bucks on this version of it just to see all of the extra stuff inside.
DC has been taking good care of Batman lately in my opinion and I’m going to support it.
Giant Man #1 – Marvel
I’m not familiar with the creative team of Leah Williams and Marco Castiello, but this is an instance where the concept alone is enough to pique my interest. A team of Giant Mans on a mission in Jotunheim is brilliant!
The fact that it’s “New Jotunheim” and is located in Flrida lessens my enthusiasm somewhat, but I’m going to have to assume that Marvel has good War of the Realms-related story reasons for that. My only concern here is that I might end up getting sucked into the crossover.
Savage Avengers #1 – Marvel
You could look at the idea of Conan on an Avengers team and think it’s ridiculous and takes away from both the concept of the Avengers and the character of Conan; that it’s a corruption of both franchises and such a bad idea that it simply doesn’t make sense in the modern Marvel Universe.
Or you could, by Crom, take the stick out of your ass and remember that comic books are supposed to be fantastical fun and that this is exactly the kind of thing that ensures comic books will always be the very best medium for sequential fantasy and science fiction storytelling.
I am 1000% IN on this book. And I cannot wait to see Conan lay the smackdown on Wolverine.
NOTE: I will almost certainly contradict myself later in this post by calling something stupid and ridiculous.
Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years #108 – Marvel
(Pretend there are a number of “WOW” emojis here)
This is certainly a surprise.
I only ever read a few issues of Marvel’s original Star Wars comic and it was pretty hit-or-miss for me. I vaguely remember one where Luke was stranded on a planet full of lice or something? I think that one was pretty good.
I can say with some certainty that I never got anywhere near issue #107, so this isn’t something that personally excites me. Seeing Matthew Rosenberg writing does give me enough confidence to recommend this to fans of the original book. I’ve read enough of Rosenberg’s work at this point to recognize him as a guy who writes things I like, so regardless of my level of interest in Marvel’s old Star Wars continuity, I might have to at least pick this up in my Local Comic Shop and flip through the pages.
Star Wars – Marvel
When I saw the title of the arc that issues 65 and 66 are part of a chill went down my spine.
“The Scourging of Shu-Torun” is the culmination of a story that Kieron Gillen started telling in his Darth Vader comic four years ago. The narrative has been gaining steady momentum ever since he took over the main Star Wars book and has been moving at a breakneck pace since issue 48 or so. This is the best Star Wars storytelling I’ve experienced since the old EU.
Star Wars Age of Republic: Boba Fett #1 – Marvel
I remain annoyed at Marvel and DC’s habit of giving one-shots a numeric designation.
I might be mistaken because I have not been keeping up with Disney’s expanded universe, but I believe this might be the first time we’ve seen a deeper characterization of Boba Fett in the new canon.
Nothing will ever replace what writers like Karen Traviss did for the character, but Fett will always be a favorite of mine and I’m curious to see where the new Disney era takes him, even if it’s straight down the Sarlacc’s gullet and no further. But I do believe a cool set of armor deserves better than that.
Star Wars Age of Republic: Han Solo #1 – Marvel
The monthly Star Wars comic is doing a fine job of filling in the spaces between films. What I really want is more of the post-Solo, pre-A New Hope Han. I’m not generally one to say any Star Wars is unnecessary, but a story set immediately after Episode IV seems unnecessary considering that era has been covered nicely.
Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash TP – Dynamite
This, in my opinion, is the best of the attempted Army of Darkness crossovers. It’s probably the best of the Hack/Slash crossovers, too, though that’s a higher bar.
Tim Seeley provides a tight story with genuinely great dialogue – he writes Ash very well and he created Cassie Hack – and Daniel Leister does his usual great work on the art. This is classic Hack/Slash as well as a great addition to the Evil Dead mythos.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol 1 TP – BOOM! Studios
I have not read this, but our friend Chad J. Shonk told me that the first issue was great and was basically the Buffy version of Ultimate Spider-Man, so I’m in.
DC Artists Alley by James Groman Vinyl Figures – DC Collectibles
James Groman is a legendary toy designer best known for his contributions to such “gross-out” lines as Madballs and My Pet Monster. Much of his modern output consists of high-end, collector-oriented vinyl toys, so I’m thrilled that DC Collectibles is bringing his art to the masses at a more affordable level.
These designs are unfiltered Groman at his best and I cannot wait to find a place for them in my collection.
Lucha Explosiva Action Figures – DC Collectibles
As you might imagine I think these are absolutely fantastic. Not just for being luchadores, but for truly capturing the look and feel of Lucha Libre, as well as the aesthetics of Latino art. These aren’t just white folks in masks – they are Mexican superheroes.
DC Prime Batman Action Figure – DC Collectibles
Here’s the copy:
Good. Better. Best. DC Prime.
From the team at DC Collectibles comes THE premium-grade action figure line for DC characters. These nine-inch highly poseable collectibles come with multiple pairs of hands and accessories, so fans can create their own ultimate renditions of their favorite characters. To help bring these figures to life, the team at DC Collectibles brought on concept designer Riccardo Federici, as well as sculptor and figure designer Wonil Song, to breathe life into these extraordinary action figures.
DC Prime is a best-in-class action figure line designed to be the centerpiece of any collection, direct from the source.
For the first release from the DC Prime line, the team could think of no better hero than the Dark Knight himself-Batman. This massive collectible was carefully designed to be the ultimate Batman action figure. With over 23 different points of articulation, multiple pairs of hands, a wired fabric cape and three unique heads, there are thousands of unique Dark Knight moments just waiting to be created. For those fans looking for the best-in-class Batman collectibles-your action figure has arrived.
We discussed this figure on Episode 253 of the Needless Things Podcast and I recommend you check it out.
The quick version is that it’s an odd scale and can’t compete with Mezco’s One:12 Collective.
Harley Quinn Red, Black, & White Statue by Greg Horn – DC Collectibles
This is a weird, creepy design for Harley and I’ve got to have it.
The Goon: Bunch of Old Crap TP Vol 1 – Albatross Funnybooks
Eric Powell’s The Goon is awesome. Buy this.
Hark! A Vagrant HC – Drawn & Quarterly
Even though I don’t always get the deep cuts, Kate Beaton’s historical cartoons are hilarious and charming. I own a previous edition of this collection and have read it cover to cover several times. This gets the Needless Things Seal of Approval!
Godzilla 1956 Movie Poster Action Figure – NECA
The colors on this release are awesome. This is the sort of thing NECA does that I love so much. They aren’t always up my alley – like the recent video game Predators – but I love that NECA does them and it’s a smart way to get more mileage out of their existing molds.
The coolest thing about this Godzilla is that it is situated in the packaging to look like it’s in the movie poster. It’s a great effect that ensures I’ll be leaving this one on the card.
Ultimate Pennywise the Dancing Clown Action Figure – NECA
I never imagined that the day would come when I’d feel that there were too many Pennywise action figures, but here we are.
This makes the third Ultimate Pennywise, which to me means that none of them are very ultimate. Don’t get me wrong – all three are awesome and each comes with parts that I absolutely want to have for a Pennywise figure. But man.
This one manages to stand out by having an LED light inside one of the heads and also including the creepy painting head that to me was the most disturbing visual in the movie.
Mega Scale Talking Freddy Krueger Figure – Mezco
I got Sam from Trick r’ Treat for the missus and I’ve got to say, it’s a fantastic figure. Based on the success of that one we’ll definitely be bringing a lil’ Freddy home, especially with the added bonus of a voice chip!
Alien 3 Creature Pack – NECA
I have mixed feelings about this set. I’m mostly a fan of Alien 3 and can get past the disappointment at the unfair treatment of Newt and Hicks. As such, I want this. But what happens to the poor dog is terrible and makes me sad and I’m not sure I need a constant reminder of that on my toy shelf.
But look at that little alien guy! He’s so adorable!
Aliens Series 14 Action Figures – NECA
Alien: Resurrection had a few good things to offer in an otherwise terrible movie. Crossbreed clone Ripley and the warrior alien design were two of the good things. I’ve been wanting these figures for a long time and I’m stoked to see how great they look.
Friday the 13th Corpse Pamela Voorhees – Lady of the Lake Action Figure – NECA
We all have to draw lines in our collections. I think it’s just super that NECA is releasing an action figure of Jason’s mom’s dead body, it just isn’t anything I have to have on my wall. It looks amazing and I’m sure will be a delightful addition to many Friday the 13th fans’ collections.
GI Joe: A Real American Hero Scarlett Bishoujo Statue – Kotobukiya
There just isn’t a whole lot of GI Joe merchandise being offered anymore. Quite a few t-shirts and hoodies have been offered in Previews in the last few years, but none of them have ever come in at my Local Comic Shop, so I don’t know what’s going on there.
Kotobukiya is not some fly-by-night operation, though. If they’re soliciting this amazing-looking statue of the Joes’ first lady I believe it’s happening. If we were in the midst of a glut of Joe merch I might not consider this one, but my Joe dollars are just sitting around, unspent.
Think I missed something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!