The Comic Queen

Zip ribbons and word balloons, Wednesday bliss and Previews dreams. If these phrases mean anything to you, then you're in the right place. But if they don't -- hey stick around anyway. You might just like what you see.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

July Previews Highlights

I will never tire of going through a new edition of Previews. For the uninitiated, Previews is the monthly catalog published by Diamond Comic Distributors, by far the largest distributor in the biz. And cracking open the inch-thick volume every month roughly equates in kid-dom to ripping open that new G.I. Joe or Masters of the Universe package in the car because you just couldn’t wait a minute longer.

Here are my highlights of the July issue of Previews for items mostly released in the month of September.

Pick of the Month:
Ninety Candles by Neil Kleid (Rant Comics)
The solicit on page 314 reads, “An experimental and improvisational graphic novella, Ninety Candles documents the life of cartoonist Kevin Hall – one panel per year. Written with no script (each page only based on the previous one), the panels form the shape and breadth of our intrepid protagonist’s life – choices, decisions, and all.”

Kleid won a Xeric Foundation grant to publish and distribute this comic, and I’ve been looking forward to getting my grubby hands on this since I first heard of it. For just $5.95 for 48 black & white pages, you shouldn’t pass this one up.

Featured items:
Runaways Volume 2: Teenage Wasteland Digest
Marvel Age – page 48 in the Marvels insert
For just $7.99 collecting issues 7-12, I’ll be picking this one up. I had been hearing so much about Runaways that when the first digest came out, I snapped it up to check it out. And bam! I was hooked – what a great series. Oh, but wait Marvel decided to jerk my chain. I just can’t understand why a company would put out a trade volume, get readers introduced/hooked, and then cancel the book. Now I know Marvel is saying that it’s just “season one” (don’t even get me started on this) that’s ending, but come on – give me a break. Anyhoo, if you haven’t checked out Runaways, these digests are a great way to do so without spending much money (or time locating back issues).

Superman: True Brit HC
DC – page 71; $24.95
This hardcover original graphic novel looks like a lot of fun. This light-hearted GN rewrites the Superman legend as if he were raised in the UK.

Adam Strange #1 of 8
DC – page 76; $2.95
Adam Strange has been around the DC Universe for quite awhile, but I’ve never read any of his adventures before. With writer Andy Diggle (Losers) and artist Pascal Ferry, this limited series looks extremely promising.

Also in the realm of promising was the art for Hulk & Thing: Hard Knocks #1 of 4 (page 3, $3.50) and Black Widow #1 of 6 (page 2, $2.99) both by Marvel. The titles alone didn’t catch my eye for these two, but the sample pages really grabbed my attention.

The Art of Usagi Yojimbo: 20th Anniversary Edition HC
Dark Horse – page 25; $39.95
This is a must have for any Usagi Yojimbo fan. Even without any samples, I have a feeling this will be a beautiful book displayed prominently on many, many bookshelves.

Caper #12
DC – page 80; $2.95
This is the last of 12 issues for the limited series by Judd Winick. I’ve ordered the first several already published and will be reading them soon – I’ve heard lots of good things about the series and am waiting anxiously for my copies.

Batman Strikes #1
DC – page 96; $2.25
I’m more looking forward to the Cartoon Network series “The Batman” on which this comic is based, but I’ll at least pick up this first issue to check it out.

Star Trek: The Key Collection Volume 2 TP
Checker Book Publishing Group – page 240; $22.95
This second volume reprints issues 9-16 from the late 60s, early 70s Gold Key Star Trek series. The originals are out-of-print and hard-to-find, so this is a great opportunity to check out a classic series for a reasonable price.

The Originals HC
Vertigo – page 115; $24.95
Another higher-end book, but it looks quite intriguing. This original graphic novel by Dave Gibbons (of Watchmen fame) is somewhere between sci-fi and street. Sample pages are included in Previews.

Warman’s Pez Field Guide TP
Page 379; $12.99
I’m mostly including this to point it out to my friend Kerry, a BIG Pez fan. At 512 pages, this would be a riot to page through.

Funky Comic of the Month:
Every month there is at least one odd item that jumps out at me from Previews. This time it’s the Wonder Woman chapter books on page 388. I think it’s the solicit rather than the concept that made me chuckle this time around: “Wonder Woman has been a classic icon and the perfect role model for girls for decades. Now young readers can experience a wonderfully fresh, new look for this amazing crime-fighter as they learn about her transformation from Amazon Princess to super-hero in these exciting chapter books.” Heehee, “perfect role model for girls for decades” – would that be the bondage part or the man-hating part? I’m just kidding, I love Wonder Woman – the comic is on my pull list after all -- but perfect role model is a stretch!

Unfeatured Item of the Month:
Marvel – page 36 in the Marvel insert
I just have to point out how craptacular the preview for Rogue #1 was in the Marvel insert. Oh, man, these preview pages usually highlight the best of an issue. If this was the best this title has to offer—yikes, it won’t be around long. Here’s a line that will sum it all up for you: “Why – she’s just a kid!” Groan.


  • At 7:09 AM, June 24, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That Dave Gibbons book is gonna kick some ass. It's my book of the month.

    Er, I mean... um... everyone order NINETY CANDLES.



  • At 9:27 AM, June 24, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'll pick up that Runaways collection, but between now and then will also have to pick up the first one. Any idea what it's called? (Need... more... Brian K.)

    I'd get the True Brit Superman if it weren't hardcover. John Cleese and John Byrne together at last! I'll wait for softcover.

    Have to admit, not looking forward to the Batman cartoon. I really feel like we've already been there, done that. I can't imagine it being that much better or different from what Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and all them did. I don't see this as any more than a quick attempt to drum up interest in the upcoming movie.


  • At 12:33 PM, June 24, 2004, Blogger Erin M. Schadt said…

    Hey Neil, stand in front of a mirror and repeat after me: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darnit, self promotion is my friend." ;-)

  • At 12:40 PM, June 24, 2004, Blogger Erin M. Schadt said…

    Woody -- the first Runaways digest is called "Runaways Vol. 1 Pride & Joy Digest." I'm with you on waiting for the softcover of True Brit. I also hope they come out with a softcover of The Originals. I guess I'm not so much a hardcover kind of gal -- I mean they are really nice and make a great gift, but they are a major splurge if just buying for myself.

  • At 10:58 AM, June 25, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm all over those Wonder Woman chapter books. I love when they try to make comics for the tween girl. Do you suppose they'll be available at the big stores like Barnes and Noble? I think Marvel's Mary Jane book was. Do you also think that this is DC's response to the Mary Jane books? Either way I'll pick up the first one and then we can both read it.


  • At 11:00 AM, June 25, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Um, how did I miss the pez book? Is this a new issue of Previews that I haven't seen? I can't believe you scooped me on this.

    Also, I saw Pez pajama pants at Walmart the other day and I didn't buy them.



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