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.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

November Previews Highlights: Erin's Picks

This isn’t the most stellar of months, but there are certainly some books worth reading.

Pick of the Month:
Four Letter Worlds
Image – page 139, $12.95; 144 pgs.
The list of contributors caught my eye first in this solicit. Check out the lineup: Amber Benson, John Bernales, Joe Casey, Chynna Clubston-Major, Kieron Dwyer, Jay Faerber, Matt Fraction, Steven Griffen, Mike Hawthorne, Phil Hester, Mike Huddleston, Anthony Johnston, Robert Kirkman, Steve Lieber, Jim Mahfood, Jamie McKelvie, B. Clay More, Scott Morse, Mike Norton, Jeff Parker, Jamie S. Rich, Mark Ricketts, Matt Roberts, Steve Rolston, Eric Stephenson, J. Torres, and Andi Watson. The anthology is framed around the concept of four four-letter words and how they shape our lives: Love, hate, fear, fate. But with so many talented people working on the book, it doesn’t even really matter what it’s about.

Featured Comics:
Superman: Strength #1
(of 3)
DC – page 65; $5.95; 48 pgs.
Scott McCloud, Aluir Amancio and Terry Austin with cover by Alex Ross
This three-issue prestige format series will explore the true source of Superman’s powers. The collaborators on this issue made me want to put this on my buy list even though I’m not a huge Superman follower. However, after reading the preview pages, I wasn’t terribly impressed and will have to rethink buying this one. I do think it still has a lot of promise, though.

The Chaos Effect
DC/Humanoids – page 97; $19.95; 168 pgs.
Pierre Christin and Enki Bilal
This Humanoids collection publishes in full color “The Black Order Brigade” and “The Hunting Party” together in one book. The first story is a political thriller about a group of aged Cold War radicals who band together one last time to spoil a terrorist conspiracy. The second story is also about post-Cold War cronies, this time coming together for a hunting trip that leads to political turmoil.

Classic 40 Ounce: Tales from the Brown Bag TP
Image – page 135; $12.95; 144 pgs.
Jim Mahfood
Mahfood is one of the funniest indie comics creators out there. So, I’m happy to see this offering from Image that collects Girl Scouts #1 and #2, Cosmic Toast #1, a new short story, and a sketch book from the mid-90s when most of the material was originally created.

AiT/Planet Lar Offerings
Both on pg. 215
There are two offerings of interest from AiT/Planet Lar this month. The first is a new chapter in the Couriers series. The Couriers Volume 3: The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker is by Brian Wood and Rob G.; the price is $12.95 for 88 pages of action.

The second listing is for the DEMO Scriptbook. This trade is $12.95 (144 pgs.) and contains the 12 original scripts for DEMO by Brian Wood along with early notes, and 12 new illustrations by Becky Cloonan.

Creep #1
Conspiracy Productions – page 250; $2.99; 28 pgs.
Ethan Nicolle and Brinton Williams
The cover drew me to this solicit, which reads: “Creep is the story of a city that can’t understand its saviors aren’t always beautiful. Adam, a freakish-looking bookworm, lets his rage take control, beating a date-rapist in a park on his way home. He was painted as a monster by the press for his horrendous appearance. Working as a team, Freddy (his only friend) becomes Adam’s face to the public, never allowing people to see the freak that was saving them. With a pair of dysfunctional detectives, an over-eager television reporter, a failed cop and every lowlife in the city after them, Adam and Freddy lead a fanatical life pursuing the only sense of justice they know.” I’ll be picking this book up, and not just because I have also been described as “a freakish-looking bookworm.” Really, I swear.

Berlin #11 and third printing of Berlin Book 1 TP
Drawn & Quarterly – page 268; $3.95 and 32 pgs. for #11; $19.95 and 212 pgs. for the trade
Jason Lutes
Berlin is a gritty, intrigue-laden historical fiction series set in Berlin beginning in 1928 after World War I. The trade collects the first eight issues of the series.

Stalagmite #2
Headless Shakespeare Press – page 292; $7.00; 72 pgs.
Various contributors
This anthology revolves around depictions of masculinities, containing stories about, for example, “America’s love of baseball, coming to terms with a mixed heritage, young military love gone awry, a desire to fly” along with interviews with Seth and Mark Newport.

Quick Picks:
Other books worth mentioning are Jane’s World #17 (pg. 290), with more of Jane’s social adventures; Furious Fists of the Drunken Monkey #2 (pg. 303), where Chip the alcoholic ape fights a new menace – The Exhibitionist; and Don’t Eat the Electric Sheep #2 (pg. 305), a series that features Myles, a mental patient at an asylum who is in reality a highly advanced robot.

Trade Treatment:
Some comics getting the trade treatment are Ex Machina from Wildstorm (pg. 105), District X from Marvel (pg. 74 in the Marvel supplement), and Daisy Kutter from Viper Comics (pg. 341). If you haven’t read Ex Machina or District X yet, these trades are definitely worth purchasing. I haven’t partaken in “Daisy Kutter” yet, but I’ve heard many good things about the series, which follows Daisy, described as a notorious bandit of the New West, as she takes a last train heist before leading a normal life. Each time I see samples of the book, the art grabs me. So, this title joins my trades of note section as well. As a sidebar, I’m a little disappointed that Wildstorm won’t be publishing a new issue of Ex Machina in January. I hope this doesn’t mean anything more than just a hiccup in production.

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