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 seems to be going well this way. I’m still averaging the same number of items and it’s actually a little faster to just look at everything on the site.
I’ll go back to the book when I can because I enjoy turning pages and smelling ink, but for now the site is working better than I expected.
The Wicked + The Divine #45 – Image (Front Cover)
I loved this series about gods and pop culture and music when it started. It was so stylish and weird and different. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are remarkable creators. But then, about twenty-fiveish issues in things seemed to bog down pretty badly. I’m not saying the comic wasn’t still good, but things got a little messy and directionless. To me, anyway.
A few issues after I realized I had lost interest I finally told the comic shop to stop ordering it for me because that’s the way it always happens. Nobody ever stops as soon as they realize they don’t care about a comic book anymore – it takes a few issues piling up for you to realize, “Oh, hey; I’m not keeping up with that”.
But I fully intend to finish this series. I just need to have the whole story at once so I can get through it rather than suffering through too-long gaps in the story.
I also seem to remember some fill-in artists that I didn’t care for.
Whatever the case, if you skipped The Wicked + The Divine I recommend you give it a shot. Grab the first trade and see if it does anything for you (it will).
Blade Runner 2019 – Titan Books (Back Cover)
This is the damndest thing – I can’t find the solicitation for this. The back cover states that it’s coming in July, it’s written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson with art by Andres Guinaldo and cover art by Artgerm.
But not even the trusty ol’ “CTRL F” function can locate the actual listing.
It’s a mystery worthy of a replicant or something. I dunno. Blade Runner isn’t really my jam. I respect that first movie like any good sic-fi nerd should, but it’s not a franchise I’m gonna seek out. I haven’t even watched the new one even though Arian loved it.
I mean, inasmuch as he has the capacity to feel love.
Battlepug Compendium HC – Image
Mike Norton’s Battlepug is an inspiration. It’s basically Conan riding a giant pug. Why wouldn’t you want this? WHY AREN’T THERE TOYS?!?
If Axe Cop got a cartoon, Battlepug should get a cartoon.
Sonata #1 – Image
With Game of Thrones coming to an end soon, epic fantasy is all the rage as creators look to cash in on the success of the HBO series (and, most likely, the success and current absence of Saga).
Female-led narratives are also in demand, so Sonata is ticking off a couple of big boxes.
I am being unfairly cynical here. The art looks fantastic and the story sounds compelling. There is plenty of room in the world of comics for high fantasy and I hope Sonata takes off and is a huge success because that will only encourage others to create more.
Hellboy and the BPRD: Beast of Vargu – Dark Horse
The last run of Hellboy and the BPRD lost me a little bit thanks to some art I wasn’t wild about. Michael Avon Oeming is a talented visual storyteller, but I don’t care for his style at all. Especially interspersed with work from a more “traditional” Hellboy-style artist. It took me out of the narrative every time.
But it’s time for the next era and a new story and I’m still all-in on this title. I have yet to play catch-up on the main Hellboy titles,, so this is a nice look at the character’s past.
Archie vs Predator TP – Dark Horse
Our pal RT Ewell was such a big fan of this miniseries that he wrote a review of it for the old Needless Things!
Black Hammer ’45: From the World of Black Hammer – Dark Horse
Here’s what happened with me and Black Hammer, which is an excellent comic book:
I could’ve kept up with one series and the occasional miniseries tie-in. But it got to the point where I felt swamped by all of the Black Hammer-adjacent titles coming out and just couldn’t keep up. I like the world and the characters a lot and if I wasn’t reading any other comics – or had more time – I’d be all-in.
Blackwood TP – Dark Horse
From Evan Dorkin and Veronica Fish, this sounds like a mix of Scooby-Doo and the X-Men. Which is excellent. I think I mentioned Blackwood when the single issues were being offered, but I definitely want to grab this trade.
Only the End of the World Again HC – Dark Horse
I was super excited to tell you guys about a Lovecraftian story of a werewolf ushering the apocalypse, but I don’t care for the art in the preview at all. It’s purely personal taste and I feel like the storytelling is strong. The style just isn’t working for me.
Sword Daughter #1-7 – Dark Horse
First, this looks to be a weekly miniseries that starts on May 15th and runs through June 5th. This is the sort of information that the physical copy of Previews tends to relay a bit better, as there was probably a splash page or something to explain it. Since I’m using the website I had to figure out why seven issues of a new comic were all listed here.
Also, it might not be a miniseries. I’m not sure.
Whatever the case, this is basically Lone Wolf and Cub, but with Vikings. Brian Wood is writing and the art by Mack Chater looks excellent. I’m in.
Transformers/Ghostbusters #1 – IDW
They finally got me.
I’ve been avoiding IDW’s licensed stuff ever since their GI Joe let me down so badly years ago. And their Transformers for that matter, though I’ve heard some of the more recent series have been very good. I’ve also heard good things about their Ghostbusters books.
Now I get to find out, because what better way to celebrate thirty-five years of both franchises than with a crossover?
I preordered the Ecto-1 Transformer the second it became available on GameStop.com. This was even before I got totally sucked into the new War for Cybertron: Siege line.
I’m thrilled there’s a comic to go along with it and it’s not just a toy cashing in on nostalgia. It’s also a comic book cashing in on nostalgia. TAKE MY CASH.
Note: “PRIME GETS SLIMED” is the tagline of the year.
Canto #1 (of 6) – IDW
If you aren’t compelled to find out what sort of adventures this adorable little clockwork knight gets into, then I don’t think you and I can be friends.
I’m not familiar with any of the creators, but that cover image alone is enough to make me want to check this one out.
The Crow/Hack/Slash #1 – IDW
If this wasn’t being written by Tim Seeley I’m not sure the premise would be enough for me. I love Hack/Slash and The Crow was cool when I was in high school, but this almost seems like too much gothy, Hot Topic-y business. With Seeley at the helm, though, I have no doubt it will be entertaining.
Jim Cornette Presents Behind the Curtain: Real Pro Wrestling Stories – IDW
Whatever you might think of Jim Cornette’s public persona, there’s no denying that he’s a pro wrestling genius and one of the best storytellers in the business. This is a must-have for any wrestling fan. And I love that cover art!
Event Leviathan #1 (of 6) – DC
I can’t believe this wasn’t on the cover.
Whatever I may have said about Bendis over the years, when he teams up with Alex Maleev magic happens. There’s no way I’m missing out on an event book where those two have been given the keys to the DCU.
Plus, I just want to see what kind of relationship he creates between Batman, Green Arrow, and the Question. That is a Bendis-ready clash of personalities.
Green Lantern Vol. 1: Intergalactic HC – DC
This series has been exactly what I wanted from a Grant Morrison book about Green Lanterns. And Liam Sharp’s artwork has been perfection. This gets the Official Needless Things Seal of Approval.
Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror Deluxe Edition HC – DC
This collects several short stories from the past few years. I happen to have bought all of the specials that they are from and can verify that they’re some great Swamp Thing tales. In the absence of a regular ongoing title, DC has been keeping this character alive by having the best creators provide standalone tales from time to time.
I’m looking forward to the upcoming DC Universe show and, hopefully, a new ongoing comic to go along with it. Until then, this is a solid collection to satisfy your need for a Green fix.
Batman and Robin by Tomasi and Gleason Omnibus HC – DC
Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason created some of my favorite Batman and Robin stories. Picking up where Grant Morrison, left off, they truly defined the relationship between Bruce and Damian and a whole new era for this Dynamic Duo.
I know omnibuses come with a hefty price tag, but this one is well worth your hard-earned dollars.
Batman: White Knight HC – DC
The solicitation claims that this is being offered again, but I have been keeping my eyes out for this since the series concluded and don’t remember seeing it. DC offered a trade paperback, but not the hardcover I wanted.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite non-continuity Batman stories of all time and gets my highest recommendation. Buy it.
Mister Miracle HC – DC
I’m still not sure I understand everything – or, indeed, anything – that happened in this twelve-issue miniseries, but it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever read.
I have very little previous experience with Scott Free, Barda, the New Gods, and Apokoplips, but this was still a riveting tale. The character work and dialogue is incredible and propels the engaging story along with enough momentum to propel you through the more perplexing elements. I think it demands repeated readings, which is why I’ll be happy to go ahead and purchase this collection.
Superman: Year One #1 (of 3) – DC
Oh, boy. People are gonna have opinions about this. Here’s mine:
Superman’s origin story as told by Frank Miller with a MATURE READERS warning from DC’s mature Black Label imprint seems like a massive pile of bad decisions. Like, this is the complete opposite direction from where I’d like DC to go with Superman.
I’m not saying this won’t be good. It might be incredible. But it feels very wrong to me.
Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1 – Marvel
Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, and Sam Keith are all I need to see to know that I’m buying this collection of short stories.
Conan the Barbarian: The Life and Death of Conan Vol 1 TP – Marvel
Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar have been doing a fantastic job. If you’re a Conan fan, give this a shot.
Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown TP – Marvel
This is one of my favorite comic book miniseries of all time.
It takes Alex Summers and Logan out of the normal environment of the X-Men comics and places them in a sort of Cold War spy story. Between the focused, distinctive narrative and the incredible artwork, this is one of the coolest things Marvel released in the 80s. To me Meltdown just screams for a film adaptation along the lines of Logan, but that is never, ever going to happen.
Jim Lee XXL HC – Marvel
There’s no denying that these are some of the seminal issues of the 90s-era X-Men comics. Heck, the World War II issue alone would be worthy of some kind of deluxe reprint.
This volume includes twelve of Jim Lee’s biggest issues of Uncanny X-Men and the 1991 X-Men.
Epic Collection – New Mutants: The Demon Bear Saga TP – Marvel
These Epic Collections from Marvel are the best deals going in comics today. The three Excalibur volumes have been a blast to read and I’m looking forward to this one, which is a whole lot more than just the legendary “Demon Bear Saga”. You also get Lila Cheney, Cloak and Dagger, and the debut of Legion!
Epic Collection – X-Men: It’s Always Darkest Before Dawn – Marvel
This is a particularly interesting Epic Collection, as it presents stories about the X-Men that aren’t from actual X-Men comics. In other words, there’s a lot here that I’ve never read before. This volume pulls from Amazing Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Marvel Team-Up, Avengers, Captain America, Defenders, and Fantastic Four for extracurricular tales of Marvel’s Merry Mutnats!
Westworld Select Action Figures Series 1 – Diamond Select Toys
HBO’s Westworld has proven to be a shockingly good show with great action, a deep story, and some of the most compelling characters on television. It’s destination viewing in our household (when it’s on).
Oddly enough, though, I never really thought about toys the way I usually do with shows and movies that I love. It seems obvious, what with such memorable characters and great costumes, but my mind just didn’t go there.
Now we’re getting them and they’re from DST, so these should be some pretty nifty figures, complete with a build-a-thing that is the maze artifact from the show.
DC Gallery Suicide Squad Harley Quinn – Diamond Select Toys
Do I really need another figure of this Harley? Especially one that isn’t even articulated?
Yep. Because DST’s Gallery figures are great and have a specific style of their own that’s somewhere between comic look and realistic. I like it and I’ll be getting one of these.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Select Action Figures Series 7 – Diamond Select Toys
I am completely addicted to this line and there’s nothing I can do about it. Unfortunately I am a series behind because Diamond is only selling these in cases now and I haven’t decided how I want to purchase the last few releases. I definitely don’t want two of each, so I didn’t order through my Local Comic Shop.
That guillotine is great and all, but I MUST HAVE THAT PENGUIN.
Game of Thrones Drogon Deluxe Action Figure – McFarlane Toys
I haven’t been blown away by online images of the human characters from McFarlane’s Game of Thrones line, but I knew as soon as they released the Ice Wight Viserion that the dragons, at least, would get me.
Not that Viserion, though. I don’t need a constant reminder of the most heart wrenching event in the entirety of the show’s run. But this Drogon is going to find a home on my shelves. I just wish it came with a tiny Daenerys.
Halloween Ultimate Laurie Strode Action Figure – NECA
From the second that NECA revealed their 2018 Halloween Michael Myers I began hoping that they’d release a Laurie Strode to go along with him. They are and the figure looks incredible. I do wish it had alternate arms for the tank top look, but they’ll probably release a separate one in a two-pack or something. After a good run with the Ultimate figures NECA seems to be backsliding into releasing multiple versions of the same character.
Living Dead Dolls The Shining Grady Twins – Mezco
If ever there was a pair of characters meant to be immortalized as Living Dead Dolls, this is them.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare Freddy Krueger Retro Action Figure – NECA
You probably know that these are my favorite horror toys right now and this Freddy looks to be the best one so far. Complete with his edgy trench coat, goth boots, and insane demon goat head, this is for sure the Freddy of the 90s. I’ll buy two.
Think I missed something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!