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: I’m back on the book!
After a few months of writing this from the Previews World website, I can now resume my habit of delving into the physical copy of Previews. I thought about sticking to the online edition, but it’s easier to pick things out of the book.
Berserker Unbound #1 – Dark Horse (Front Cover)
Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato are good names to kick off a new series.
Sticking with his style of “Stuff you are familiar with in ways you don’t expect”, Lemire is spinning a tale that’s basically Conan stuck in modern times. It’s a fun idea with lots of possibilities.
WILDCATS #1 – DC (Back Cover)
I have no idea how that title is supposed to be stylized anymore.
Way back in the day when the original series started and I was buying the (very good) action figures it was WildC.A.T.s. I think. Maybe.
This concept has been through so many different iterations since then that I have no idea what it even is now. At one point Grifter was part of the DCU proper, right? Is this that or is it a different universe now? What’s “The Wild Storm”?
Warren Ellis is a badass comic book writer, so I’m sure this will end up being compelling, but I just don’t know how much I have to know to read it, you know?
Spawn #300 – Image
Whatever snarky little things you might have to say about Todd McFarlane, there’s no denying that he had a massive impact on the comic book (and toy) world. Spawn is a pop culture phenomenon worthy of recognition. I have to admit to being a bit baffled as to why the character isn’t bigger than it is at this point. After toys, a cartoon, three hundred issues of a comic plus countless spinoffs, and a movie (yes, an admittedly shitty movie) I feel like Spawn should be a bigger deal.
Perhaps it’s because McFarlane held the reigns a bit too tightly or because the character couldn’t ever really escape its inherent 90s-ness. Whatever the case, I still respect the work and the determination that led to this comic still being in publication twenty-seven years – to the month – after its initial issue was released.
Plus I love that cover.
White Trees #1 (of 2) – Image
Modern legend Chip Zdarsky and Runaways artists Kris Anka and Matt Wilson are doing the fantasy thing and I’m in. I love fantasy, I love Zdarsky, and I love good art.
Hellboy and the BPRD: Saturn Returns #1 (of 5) – Dark Horse
These miniseries are always good reads. Mignola, somehow, is still able to spin compelling, exciting yarns with this character after all these years.
The Umbrella Academy Library Edition Volume 1: Apocalypse Suit HC – Dark Horse
Netflix’s Umbrella Academy was something interesting and different, but ultimately I felt like it didn’t quite deliver. I was, however, left very interested in the world and the characters. For years now I’ve heard nothing but good things about the comic book series, so I’m going to give it a shot.
Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul #1 (of 8) – DC
If you read Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey then you know what that man is capable of. Ra’s al Ghul is one of my favorite villains, possibly my favorite Batman villain, and I can’t even imagine what kind of mayhem Adams will have him up to.
As an added bonus, Deadman guest stars!
Batman #232 Facsimile Edition – DC
The idea of these single issue straight-up reprints is quite charming, even if you are paying four bucks for a fifteen cent comic.
This is the issue that introduced Ra’s al Ghul as Batman’s ultimate nemesis!
House of Secrets #92 Facsimile Edition – DC
Wouldn’t it have been smarter to release this, I dunno, now? Swamp Thing’s first appearance is certainly significant, especially coming from the power duo of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, but I would’ve tied it into the premier of the new DC Universe show.
Marvel Comics #1000 – Marvel
In order to celebrate eighty years of Marvel Comics the publisher is releasing the thousandth issue of a title that does not have nine hundred and ninety-nine previous issues. I’m not sure what this is, but the description makes it sound less like a tribute to the past or a celebration of all things Marvel and more like a ten dollar hook for some new, awful company-wide crossover.
But maybe I’m just being cynical. I am a little salty today.
Absolute Carnage #1 – Marvel
Which is why I almost didn’t mention this crossover event.
Absolute Carnage seems like it’s probably meant to be a sort of spiritual successor to 1993’s “Maximum Carnage”. But if there’s no tie-in Super Nintendo game, I’m not interested.
Just kidding! Sort of!
The oft-mentioned Donny Cates is the mind behind this latest installment of symbiote family drama. The premise of some sort of god of the symbiotes seems interesting, but aside from Venom (and the SNES game) I never really got into that whole thing.
There are tie-ins and miniseries and all sorts of things I’m not going to get into, so I’ll leave it to you guys to read this one and let me know who Knull is.
Gwenpool Strikes Back #1 (of 5) – Marvel
Leah Williams and David Baldeon have a tough act to follow.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool was one of the weirdest and most fun comics I’ve read, winning me over despite its strongly Manga-influenced style. Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru developed a surprisingly unique and entertaining character in Gwen Poole. So entertaining that I went and bought a Japanese import figure because Hasbro’s release just wasn’t good enough.
I will give this book a shot because I love the character so much. Here’s hoping Williams and Baldeon are up to the task.
Savage Avengers #4 – Marvel
You might know by now that I only bring up series that are already underway in order to provide a little mini review. Savage Avengers #1 gave me exactly what I wanted, including a satisfying confrontation between Wolverine and Conan. I am completely on board for this title as long as this creative team stays put. Duggan has a great graps on his story and Deodato, Jr.’s art is perfection.
Immortal Hulk Director’s Cut #1 (of 6) – Marvel
These are tempting because this, perhaps more than any other comic I’m not currently reading, has a ton of positive buzz. I’ve seen positively glowing reviews everywhere online, even comments sections that are typically garbage fires.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Velocity #1 (of 5) – Marvel
While we all breathlessly await a sequel to Insomniac’s Spider-Man: Arkham City, it’ll be nice to have some stories to flesh out this fascinating new corner of the Spider-Verse. And Dennis Hopeless is definitely a fine choice to weave those stories.
Amazing Spider-Man: Venom 3D #1 – Marvel
Are you seriously telling me that in the same month that Image is releasing Spawn #300 with an Amazing Spider-Man #300 tribute cover by Todd McFarlane, Marvel is releasing a 3D version of Amazing Spider-Man #300 with a cover by Todd McFarlane?
Sensational Spider-Man: Self-Improvement #1 – Marvel
This is just a one-shot, so don’t panic.
Many Marvel fans are aware of the fact that a fan submitted the idea of Peter Parker donning a black costume before the events of Secret Wars occurred. For Marvel’s 80th anniversary, the publisher has tasked the incomparable Peter David and the amazing Rick Leonardi with building a story around that very idea!
Part What If…? and part potential future Spider-Verse plot point, this is a must-have for me. Not necessarily because of the concept, but because I can’t pass up a David/Leonardi collaboration.
Ditko is… Amazing! King-Size HC – Marvel
Three hundred and twenty-eight pages of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee Spider-Man, all in a big ol’ 13-5/8 x 21-1/4 format!
X-Men Milestones: X-Tinction Agenda TPB – Marvel
From the classic era of the X-Men, this is a personal favorite story. It’s got Genosha, it’s got Cameron Hodge, it’s got evil fascists trying to control our favorite mutants! This is the good stuff. Stuff that might have made for a great movie if Fox weren’t dum-dums.
X-Men Milestones: Inferno TPB – Marvel
My number one, undisputed, favorite crossover of all time! This only includes the X-titles – Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants, and the fairly awful X-Terminators. There are tie-ins to Spider-Man and other characters that you should also check out and Marvel has collected those, as well. But this is the core story.
I won’t even try to claim that Inferno would make a great movie because it’s too batshit crazy, but I would’ve loved to see the cartoon take it on. If Disney had their Marvel animated business together like DC’s is they’d bring back the Lewalds and make it happen!
Transformers ’84 #0 – IDW
Celebrating thirty-five years of robots in disguise, Simon Furman and Guido Guidi present this prequel to the events of the 1984 Marvel comic. Nostalgia is my bag, so you know I’m in!
Bill Sienkiewicz: Revolution – Six Foot Press
Back in my early comic book years Bill Sienkiewicz opened my eyes to how much more comic book art could be. I will always be a fan of more traditional art styles, but Sienkiewicz incorporates top-notch storytelling into his wild, psychedelic style rather than just being weird for the sake of weirdness. I think he’s one of the all-time greats and certainly had a huge influence on my taste and what I read.
This edition is available as a Trade Edition and as a signed Limited Edition.
Tron Select Action Figures Series 1– Diamond Select Toys
These look really cool. Amazingly cool, even. The sculpts are fantastic, the deco perfectly captures the look of the original Tron, and the accessories and effects look great. I don’t even like Tron and I kind of want these.
Marvel Animated Venom & Spider-Man Statue – Diamond Select Toys
Has possession by a malignant entity ever been more adorable?
We have a few of these animated statues already. I don’t love every character in this style, but Spidey and Venom are great!
One:12 Collective Aquaman Action Figure – Mezco
This is a tough one.
I think this figure looks incredible. Mezco did the comic book costume justice in a very cool way and the variety of accessories is solid. Aquaman just isn’t one of my guys, though. I hate to say it, but if they had included an alternate head that looked at least a little bit Momoa-esque I probably would have ordered this already.
As things stand I might still grab one form our new pal at Sidewalk Toys.
For more on Mezco’s amazing line of action figures check out Episode 2 of the Needless Things Minicast!
Slimer Life-Size Wall Sculpture – Hollywood Collectibles
File this under “Stuff I’ll Buy When I’m Rich”.
One:12 Collective Pennywise (2017 Movie) Action Figure – Mezco
This figure looks awesome and I have no doubt it’ll be one of the best Pennywise figures released, but I’m not doing One:12 horror figures.
One:12 Collective Hellboy (2019 Movie) Action Figure – Mezco
David Harbour is awesome as far as I can tell. A very interesting, stand-up dude; at least as far as interviews and Maron’s podcast show. So it’s a little tough for me to feel like that not only did this Hellboy movie not look good, but the design for the character looked terrible, too.
This figure looks much better than any shot of the character from the trailer, but I’m not interested. If Mezco had offered a Ron Perlman or a take on the comic version similar to their Popeye I would’ve preordered in a second.
Horror Burst-A-Boxes – Mezco
These look like costumes for your penis and nobody can convince me otherwise.
Monstarz Horror Figures – Monstarz
These 3.75” figures based on various horror properties are a little overpriced, but if you love the franchise enough they’re worth it. I have both of the Re-Animator releases and it makes me happy every time I look at them. If the single figures could’ve hit the Super 7 $14.99 price point I’d probably have them all.
Freddy vs. Jason – Jason Voorhees Ultimate Action Figure – NECA
I never would’ve guessed it, but it turns out I’m pretty much all-in on NECA’s Jasons. Each of the regular versions has been different enough or included an interesting enough variety of accessories to warrant a purchase. And now they’re branching out into versions like the 2009 Jason and this one. Fingers crossed for a couple of Jason X reveals at SDCC!
This figure is about a million times better than the one NECA released alongside the movie, which was actually a very good reboot. I don’t know that it calls for a sequel because what it did was present a self-contained version of the first three movies in a modern way, but I wouldn’t mind more horror from the folks responsible for it. They get it.
Muhomono Wolverine Manga Realization Action Figure – Tamashii Nations
For the most part I don’t even bother looking at these higher-priced Japanese figures anymore, but this Wolverine caught my eye. It looks badass.
16D Collection Legend Masters: Abdullah the Butcher Vinyl Figure – 16 Directions
This is my favorite Abdullah the Butcher figure ever. I wish it had a little fork, but it’s still great. Unfortunately it’s only 13.5cm tall and also fifty bucks.
Think I missed something awesome? Let me know in the comments, or join the discussion in the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group!