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!
X-Men #1 – Marvel
Mike from Titan comics – possibly my first mentor in the world of dorkery and comics in particular – posted on Facebook that “House of X is the real deal” and he was right. Both of Jonathan Hickman’s new X-books are the real deal and I haven’t been this excited about Marvel’s merry mutants in years.
I was somewhat less excited to discover that those two miniseries were spinning off into six effing titles, but I’ll jump off that bridge when I get to it.
One of those titles is, of course, Hickman’s own ongoing series with artist Lenil Francis Yu. Even without the House/Powers afterglow I’m currently experiencing I’d probably add this one to my subs.
It’s worth noting that this team consists almost entirely of Summers family members – Scott, Rachel (one of my favorite mutants), Nathan, Alex, and Christopher (Corsair); plus Wolverine (because of course), and Jean Grey. That guy in the back might be sort of a spoiler.
Excalibur #1 – Marvel
Needless Things favorite Tini Howard has been chosen to resurrect one of my favorite X-books – Excalibur. With Marcus To on art, the book will be following Betsy Braddock as the new Captain Britain, along with her team of Jubilee, Rogue, Gambit, Rictor, and an Apocalypse that I’m presuming must be Kid Apocalypse, but I dunno.
Between the pedigree of the creative team, Betsy finally assuming the mantle of Captain Britain, and my affection for the old series, I’m in.
And I’m gonna need a Marvel Legends figure of that Betsy ASAP.
Marauders #1 – Marvel
This one is a little harder to wrap my head around.
I’m not saying it won’t be good because Gerry Duggan (I love his Savage Avengers) and Matteo Lolli are proven commodities, but the concept of this particular team – Kitty, Iceman, Storm, Bishop, Emma Frost, and Pyro – having adventures on the high seas doesn’t grab me. At least, not as one title out of a possible six that I might end up having to buy.
And that’s the other thing – I’m not buying all six books and I know as soon as there’s a crossover I’ll drop everything. My resistance to being bullied into buying stuff I don’t want is at an all-time high right now. I’ll be happy if I can get a year’s worth of the books I do buy before that happens.
I bet they won’t make it six months.
X-Men True Believers Month – Marvel
Reprints of old X-books for a dollar. Just buy them all.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1 – Marvel
It’s a ten dollar, 96 page book that basically all of the best writers contributed to… somehow. I don’t quite get what this is or why so many different people are part of it, but I want to read it.
It looks like maybe the creators passed the story on to each other and added to it as they saw fit, kind of like a game of telephone, maybe? If that’s the concept, I like it.
Spider-Verse #1 (of 6) – Marvel
I just want to point out that this is not a tie-in to Into the Spider-Verse. It might be a great book and Marvel is certainly banking on the quality of that movie to sell it, but it’s not related.
Bizarre Adventures #1 – Marvel
Pretending to know about stuff isn’t my thing, so I’ll go ahead and say I know nothing about the legacy of Bizarre Adventures. What I do know is that I’ll buy anything with Becky Cloonan’s name on it.
Marvel Comic Premier Collection Hela Resin Statue – Diamond Select Toys
PREDICTION: 100% of these will show up broken.
Basketful of Heads #1 (of 6) – DC
Joe Hill is getting his own horror-themed imprint as part of DC’s Black Label – Hill House Comics. I’m curious, but I’m going to need you guys to let me know if this is any good.
If you liked AMC’s Nos4a2, please lead with that so I can disregard your opinion.
PS – I am not holding that against Joe Hill. His dad hasn’t always fared much better with adaptations.
The Batman’s Grave #1 (of 12) – DC
Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch on a Batman book. Sign me up.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1 (of 9) – DC
Good lord, haven’t you had just about enough of Harley Quinn?
Me either! Especially if we’re getting an Elseworlds or even White Knight type of thing where it’s an alternate take on the characters and worlds we know and love. While I’m not usually a fan of too much grim n’ gritty, I do love the idea of looking at the Joker/Harley relationship through the lens of forensic psychiatry and investigation.
The Joker: Killer Smile #1 (of 3) – DC
Master worldsmith Jeff Lemire and the super-talented Andrea Sorrentino are crafting a psychological thriller that sounds like its straight out of 90s movie theaters. The Joker is a character that can be portrayed in so many ways, but he’s at his best when he focused on effing with one specific person.
With Todd Phillips’ Joker coming out in October, expect more Clown Prince of Crime tie-ins than you can shake a laughing fish at.
Secrets of Sinister House #1 – DC
While I will never understand why Marvel and DC insist on numbering one-shots, I will always buy Halloween specials.
Tales from the Dark Multiverse One-Shots – DC
Why they’re not just calling these Elseworlds, I’ll never know.
Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins present a story where Bruce Wayne never recovered from Bane’s assault and Jean-Paul Valley remained Gotham’s guardian, creating a reign of terror.
Meanwhile, Jeff Loveness picks up a tale after the Death of Superman where Lois becomes the Eradicator and eradicates.
I’m in for both of these.
Batman: The 1989 Movie Adaptation Deluxe Edition – DC
I don’t need this. It’s a blatant cash grab and I still own my original copy. I had it for Needless Things Presents: The Summer of the Bat live from Atlanta Comic Con!
But I will buy it. Because it’s a legitimately great adaptation with beautiful art and because I am a chump who will buy just about any 1989 Batman merch I can get. Heck, just today I grabbed Mattel’s new retro flashback tribute whatever-you-want-to-call-it Batman figure that’s based on the 1989 Toy Biz figure. It kind of looks like crap and doesn’t even have a bizarre belt grapple, but I bought it anyway! And I love it!
(but I’d love it more if it had that grappling belt)
The Mask: I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask #1 (of 4) – Dark Horse
But not the mischievous, lovable version portrayed by Jim Carrey in the 1994 movie; no, this is the OG Mask – committing gory acts of violence and murderous mayhem. And apparently also running for political office.
CHOKE GASP! The Best of 75 Years of EC Comics HC – Dark Horse
Now this is what I need. I’ve picked up random EC reprints and single issues over the years, but I’ve never had a feel for what EC’s greatest hits might look like because what I’ve got is hit-or-miss.
Hellboy and the BPRD: Long Night at Goloski Station – Dark Horse
I’ll recommend every Hellboy comic, every time.
Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle #1-5 – IDW
2018’s Tales from Vader’s Castle miniseries was easily the best Halloween season comic I read. This year the creative team is back together to weave more spooky stories from a galaxy far, far away and I can’t wait!
Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle TP – IDW
If you missed it last year, amend that situation now!
The Boys Omnibuses Volumes 1-3 – Dynamite
Me and the missus just finished watching Amazon’s The Boys and I thought it was excellent. I never read the comic because I was suffering from Ennis fatigue at the time. While Preacher is one of my all-time favorite comic books, after that I felt like Ennis got a little too reliant on shocks and let his storytelling skills atrophy.
After watching that show and hearing for years now how good the comic was, I have to give it a shot.
Hellmouth #1 (of 5) – BOOM! Studios
I wish I was reading BOOM!’s Buffy comics so I could be hyped for this. Even without having read them, Hellmouth seems pretty exciting.
If you don’t know, these comics are a sort of reboot of the Buffy show, set in modern times. I’ve heard it’s very good. Our friend Chad Shonk compared it to Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man, which to me is about the highest praise you ca n give this sort of thing.
This special miniseries details the fateful first meeting and hesitant alliance of this universe’s Buffy Summers and… well, for now he’s still just Angel.
Love and Other Weird Things – IDW
Weird cartoons by Rich Sparks. It looks very Far Side-inspired, but that’s not a bad thing.
ALIEN: 40 Years 40 Artists – Titan Comics
A tribute to one of the greatest movies of all time in the best way possible – 112 pages of original art inspired by and used in various ways for the film.
I always get a kick out of seeing the various ways that different artists portray the complicated design of Giger’s Alien. There are so many choices to be made when creating an image of the creatures and each artist has their own vision. This book is particularly exciting to me for that reason.
The Addams Family: The Art of the Animated Movie HC – Titan Comics
The jury is still out on whether we should even be excited for this movie. In general I liked the trailer and I love Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac, but that first trailer had a couple of red flags (the balloon bit) and the new movie posters are unbelievably terrible.
The biggest saving grace for the whole project is that they’re sticking with character designs fairly close to the original comics, and I’m hoping this book will give insight into that process and those decisions.
I love Charles Addams’ weird, old comics and the TV show is still fantastic. Chances are we’ll be seeing this opening day. And then I’ll make my decision about whether or not I want this book.
Disney Select Classic Action Figures Series 1 – Diamond Select Toys
The idea of an action figure line that encompasses old live action Disney films is fantastic. The possibilities are limitless – Lt. Robin Crusoe, Dexter Riley, Wilby Daniels (in human and canine forms), the Swiss Family Robinson. I’d buy them all.
Of course, we have to start with a mix of long-absent classics and a puzzling notorious peg-warmer. I mean, you can’t go straight to the Apple Dumpling Gang.
PREDICTION: TONS of people will express excitement over this Rocketeer figure and none of them will buy it.
Alter Nation Action Figures – Panda Mony Toy Brands
It’s pretty wild to see a completely original toy line come from out of nowhere and from a seemingly brand-new company.
Okay, it’s not that wild. I see it all the time. But this one isn’t a Kickstarter and actually looks pretty legit. They were at Toy Fair and SDCC with this one. Because some of these designs are super cool and I want to support this, here’s the pitch from Previews:
Developed by asking kids what they wanted in a new line of action figures, the first phase of Alter Nation figures launches this October! The product of a military experiment on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, the GK Delta Special Forces are a team of human-animal hybrid given extraordinary powers and abilities to create the ultimate soldier! They uncover the secret conspiracy that created them while also saving a humanity that fears them!
That’s a solid, if not entirely original, story. But the important part is that the figures look very cool and are coming in at a standard deluxe 6” figure price point. I’ll be very interested to see how this goes. For more info, check out their website.
Gremlins Christmas Carolers 2-Pack – NECA
While I want a shelf absolutely full of Gremlins, the ones I have won’t stay standing up, so it’s a tough sell for me to buy more. But they’re Christmas-y and adorable, so there’s a good chance I’ll grab these.
Before you say “get some stands” know that I am generally opposed to action figure stands, especially if they are not included with said action figures.
Predator Lasershot Ultimate Action Figure – NECA
Out of all of the retro Kenner Predators that NECA has produced, this one is the retro Kenner-ist. This design is a glorious display of 90s toy excess, from an era where every character had giant armor and huge laser cannons. It’s beautiful.
Trick R’ Treat Sam Ultimate Action Figure – NECA
NECA’s original Sam figure is great. I’ve still got it on my shelf and to be honest I don’t know that I need an update. Sure – more articulation would be nice, but I bet you I’ll put it in almost the same exact pose.
But yeah – I’ll buy this anyway.
Flash Gordon: Savior of the Universe 1/6-Scale Action Figure – Big Chief Toys
I thought I was done, but then this gorgeous mook caught my eye. From the same company that has been producing reportedly wonderful Doctor Who sixth scale figures for years, this Flash Gordon looks amazing and comes with a wacky Mongo sword.
BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!!!
Ming the Merciless: Emperor of Mongo 1/6-Scale Action Figure – Big Chief Toys
The sixth scale figure game got too expensive for me years ago, but holy moly. If they do a Prince Vultan: Ruler of the Winged Bird-People I might succumb.
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