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: This month I am back to using Previewsworld.com for this post. As such, things don’t grab my attention in quite the same way. I’ll be interested to see what catches my eye once I do get my hands on a physical copy. Also, things are going to be way out of their usual order.
It’s an interesting experience because without the trappings of splash pages and ads I actually can’t tell what’s “hot” and what the publishers are pushing. On the website all things are relatively equal, aside from the occasional listing for something with twelve variant covers that is obviously a big deal.
Black Widow: Widowmaker TP – Marvel
Where the heck has Paul Cornell been for the last few years?!?
The writer of this collection of stories featuring Black Widow was on my hot list for years, but until seeing this listing right now I hadn’t thought about him in a while. Off the top of my head the last thing I remember him doing was the Wolverine book with Alan Davis. I can’t recall if the title was cancelled or got a new, less interesting creative team.
Anyway, Cornell is a fantastically gifted and entertaining writer and I’ll buy his stuff whenever I can. Now I’m going to have to do some poking around and figure out what he’s been up to lately.
The End One-Shots – Marvel
In 2003 Jim Starlin and Al Milgrom made the concept of “The End” a cool (and profitable) thing for Marvel. It depicts a non-canonical but compelling final story for the Marvel Universe.
Since then Marvel has dipped into the concept a few times, usually with superstar creative teams attached, such as Peter David and Dale Keown on Hulk, Garth Ennis and Richard Corben on Punisher, and Chris Claremont on, naturally, X-Men.
This time around Marvel is releasing five one-shots – Saladin Ahmed and Damion Scott on Mile Morales, Leah Williams and Filipe Andrade on Doctor Strange, Joe Kelly and Mike Hawthorne on Deadpool, Kelly Thompson and Carmen Nunez Carnero on Captain Marvel, Adam Warren and Chamba on Venom, and Erik Larsen flying solo on Captain America.
This falls under the “alternate reality stuff I tend to enjoy” category, so whenever Marvel releases the inevitable collection I’ll pick it up.
Death’s Head: Freelance Peacekeeping Agent TP – Marvel
I didn’t know what the heck Death’s Head was back when I first saw him in Excalibur back in the early 90s, but my friendly neighborhood comic shop clerk directed me to the few comics that were available in America at that point.
I sold whatever I had many collections ago, but I assume they are included here. This collects a number of his appearances from the late 80s, but not the Transformers UK comic in which he first appeared. Or the issue of Doctor Who(!).
Immortal Hulk: Great Power #1 – Marvel
Is the Hulk a ghost now? I have no idea.
This book is about Peter Parker being possessed – I guess? – by whatever Hulk is now. Tom Taylor has a solid reputation and Jorge Molina is excellent, so this will probably be a fun book. As if Peter Parker doesn’t have enough guilt, imagine how he’s going to react to the fallout from being a (the?) Hulk!
I’ve heard the Immortal Hulk comic is very good and I’d like to grab the first trade at some point. Maybe I’ll put it on my Christmas list.
Marvel Monograph: Art of Arthur Adams TP – Marvel
The solicitation for this is so overwrought that I can’t actually tell what it is.
If it’s just a collection of Arthur Adams’ Marvel work then I am all in. But it has a writer attached – John Rhett Thomas – so I’m not sure what that means.
Art Adams was an early favorite of mine; one of the first artists whose name I started recognizing and remembering. To this day I don’t think anyone is his equal as far as expressing body language and dynamic action.
Ravencroft Stuff – Marvel
Pardon my ignorance – and if you’ve been visiting Needless Things for any amount of time, you must – but I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about Marvel’s Arkham Asylum knockoff. I do sort of respect that they’re not even trying to hide the fact that it’s an Arkham Asylum knockoff.
These titles are all spinning out of “Absolute Carnage”, which I didn’t read because comics cost a lot of money and Carnage is not one of my dudes. I have to admit to being somewhat interested in all of this, mostly because it looks like this could be a pretty good Arkham Asylum knockoff. Besides the five issue limited series Marvel is also publishing one-shots featuring Carnage, Dracula, and Sabretooth. Frank Tieri is writing all of it, which is actually encouraging because it means a single creative force is driving the whole project.
Wolverine vs Sabretooth 3D #1 – Marvel
If you know me you know I love gimmicks and there’s nothing more gimmicky than 3D.
1989’s Wolverine #10 by Chris Claremont and John Buscema was an excellent issue of a great comic series, featuring one of the best confrontations between Logan and his at the time still mysterious nemesis Sabretooth. If you haven’t read it, grab yourself a copy.
It would be really great if this $7.99 book includes a standard reprint as well as the 3D version, but there’s no page count listed so I don’t know if that will be the case.
Birds of Prey #1 – DC Black Label
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is just a few months away from premiering, so that means it’s time for Birds of Prey-related stuff to start filling the shelves!
This one-shot (STOP NUMBERING ONE-SHOTS, DUM-DUMS) is part of DC’s Black Label imprint, which usually denotes a prestigious creative team and/or a more “mature” level of content. This one comes from Brian Azzarello and Emanuela Lupacchino.
Daphne Byrne – DC Black Label
Television writer Laura Marks joins forces with legendary spooky artist Kelley Jones for a new horror comic from Joe Hill’s Hill House branch of the Black Label branch of DC Comics. I don’t know how to categorize any of these things, but they had me at “Kelley Jones”.
Batman: White Knight Deluxe Edition HC – DC Black Label
I guess DC is doing things a little out of order these days, ostensibly to milk the consumer for every last penny they can get. Years ago when a miniseries or arc was collected they would release a hardcover, then a trade paperback, then if sales warranted it a deluxe edition; typically years later.
For some reason White Knight was released as a trade paperback first, then a hardcover, and now this deluxe edition. This is the one I’ve been waiting to get. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to sound all smart. I bought the single issues and will be buying this, so they’re still getting me twice. But this is one of my favorite Batman stories, so I’m okay with it.
Batman Black & White Statue by Todd McFarlane – DC Collectibles
Not only was this in last month’s Previews, it was in this exact spot on my post.
I don’t know what the deal is, but if you wanted this, it’s probably best to check with your Local Comic Shop and see if you need to order it again.
Harley Quinn Red, White, and Black Statue by Guillem March – DC Collectibles
Based on the cover to Harley Quinn #58, this is one of the more fun Harley statues DCC has produced, and most of them are pretty great.
Frankenstein Undone #1 (of 5) – Dark Horse
I enjoyed Mike Mignola’s Frankenstein Underground a lot. Bringing Mary Shelley’s creation into the Hellboy universe just made sense.
This miniseries covers the period of time between the end of Shelley’s novel and Underground. The same creative team – Mignola, Scott Allie, and Ben Stenbeck – will make for a smooth continuation/prequel/whatever.
Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1 (of 5) – Dark Horse
This idea of telling stories outside of Hawkins that are about other escapees from Dr. Brenner’s experiments is great. Due to the nature of the Netflix show there’s not a whole lot extra that could be done with the characters we know, so expanding the world and the mythology was a great way to go, as opposed to doing a mini about Dustin’s summer camp or something.
Although I’m sure people would buy that, too.
This one is about a pyrokinetic, which means it’s basically Firestarter by way of Stranger Things, which is fine.
Hellboy Winter Special 2019 – Dark Horse
Everything Hellboy is good. It just is. Especially their seasonal specials when they do them. Buy this. It will be good.
Alien/Predator/Prometheus/AvP: The Complete Life and Death HC – Dark Horse
Written by Dan Abnett with art by Andrea Mutti, Moritat, and Brian Thies, this was a massive and engrossing crossover that incorporated, well… all of that. There have been a couple of these four-way crossovers now and I’ve enjoyed the way they handle these two franchises that were never really meant to be combined. While they involve smaller, more intimate stories they succeed in making this universe seem bigger. Many familiar elements are involved, such as Weyland-Yutani, but the characters have tremendous variety and bring different perspectives to the never-ending conflict between humans, aliens, predators, and whatever the Engineers are.
By the way, if you’ve never seen a Predator fight an Engineer, you should.
Ghostbusters: Year One #1 (of 4) – IDW
I love the idea at deeper looks at each of the Ghostbusters.
This four issue miniseries follows an interviewer who is writing a story about the wild success of the supernatural start-up. Writer Erik Burnham and artist Carl Schoening start with the most criminally overlooked member of the team – Winston Zeddemore.
This series seems to be aimed at fleshing out the montage of ghostbusting that takes place in the middle of the first movie and I think that’s awesome. Since The Real Ghostbusters is squarely after that movie and Ghostbusters II is fun but did not, technically happen according to me, this is a nice spot for some narrative embellishment.
What? If you’re determining canon and you have to choose between Ghostbusters II and The Real Ghostbusters is there even really a question? While I appreciate it now, I’ll never forget that after three seasons of an excellent cartoon, that movie came along and was one of the biggest disappointments of my young life.
We won’t discuss the later seasons.
Westworld Select Action Figures Series 2 – Diamond Select Toys
I didn’t necessarily want action figures, despite how much I love Westworld, but if that Jeffrey Wright ends up looking good in person he’s going on the miscellaneous shelf.
One:12 Collective Supreme Knight Batman – Mezco
This is the final evolution of Mezco’s trilogy of Batman figures that has actually been more of an epic saga if you consider all of the variants. While I don’t know how I feel about them naming this one after a taco, I do think it’s a suitable finale. The new accessories are appropriately heavy-duty and that old Bruce head is great.
As for the figure itself I think it incorporates a great, heavy look that instantly conveys an older and slower Dark Knight. No less intimidating and likely cagier than ever, but more monolithic than dynamic. It feels very inspired by The Dark Knight Returns without being a retread of that figure (those figures; even more variants).
Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast Action Figures – Incendium LLC
While I hate to pick on Iron Maiden action figures, this seems like the time to point out how much I dislike this trend of soliciting toys by showing computer-generated models rather than physical prototypes. To me that screams, “these haven’t been properly invested in and likely won’t happen”, which decreases my interest level by about 98%.
It also displays something the toy company desires rather than what they can actually accomplish. Granted, that’s the case with prototypes too, as the factory usually makes changes, but this is a whole different level of expectation versus reality.
I do love the tributes to Toy Biz’s Marvel lines.
Savage World Thundercats Wave 2 Action Figures – Funko
Okay, yes. Funko does the same thing.
Funko is a massive manufacturer with, like, billions of toys currently in stores. Plus, we already know that they can deliver nice-looking toys in this format thanks to the existing Savage World and Primal Age figures. Just don’t move their hips.
I got the first wave of Thundercats and I think they’re great. I’m pleased and surprised that we’re getting a second wave because, as with most Funko action figure lines, the older ones were plentiful after being clearanced out.
Dr. No & James Bond 1/6 Scale Limited Collection Action Figures – Big Chief Studios
I suppose I’ll keep mentioning these even though I have Sideshow’s very nice sixth scale figures and can’t imagine spending $250 to replace them.
I’ve seen some of Big Chief’s products in person and they’re phenomenal. The price is fair for what you get. In a way I prefer these to Hot Toys, as they have a slightly more toylike appearance and look less like tiny humans standing on your shelf.
Bond includes a wealth of screen-accurate props – his pistol and case, a cigarette case with a lighter and cigarette, a dealing shoe with playing cards, and an illuminated stand with a backdrop.
Dr. No comes with a Buddha, four extra hands, a champagne bottle, a cigarette, a tarantula in a cage, and an illuminated display base with a backdrop.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Action Figures – Mego
These, for me, are a dream come true. I have wanted toys of the Enterprise crew in their movie uniforms since I was a little kid. Some have been made over the years, but they’re usually not great and they never complete the crew.
Judging from Mego’s other lines since their massive resurgence, I have faith that they’ll at least deliver the full crew and maybe even more film figures beyond that like David, Carol, and some of the Botany Bay crew. Heck, maybe we could even get some Search for Spock Klingons and Space Jesus Spock from the Voyage Home.
I will buy it ALL.
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