by KC Carlson
MARVEL COMICS: Despite the fact that Marvel is Event City right now (AvX, Avengers and Spidey movies, a gay wedding, Spidey meets Spidey, etc.), they’ve found time to launch a couple of new titles featuring classic characters. Hawkeye #1 is a no-brainer considering the character’s appearance in the Avengers flick. It’s written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by David Aja (Immortal Iron Fist) and it stars not one, but two Hawkeyes! Classic Clint Barton teams with my favorite Young Avenger, Kate Bishop, in this new ongoing series. Also, fan-favorite mutant Gambit gets another shot at solo stardom. (Fifth time’s the charm!) Perhaps he’d be more popular if he was gay… Gambit #1 & 2 are by James Asmus and Clay Mann.
Marvel’s going to cause conniption fits in X-Men fans with the new First X-Men miniseries, set before Xavier formed the original X-Men. And it stars Wolverine and Sabretooth. (Wonder if it ties into Howard Chaykin’s great Avengers 1959 mini, which also starred Sabretooth?) The series is conceptualized, co-written, and drawn by Neal Adams, with the extra good news being that Christos Gage will be assisting with the writing! Can’t get enough of seeing Adams’ soaking wet Batman? Don’t miss his soaking wet Wolverine! I’m dripping with anticipation!
August is Spider-Man’s 50th Anniversary (Holy Camoly! I am old), and to celebrate, Marvel is publishing a 64-page issue of Amazing (#692) as well as Point One versions of Spidey titles that haven’t been around for decades! (Huh?) At least it’s an occasion to bring back some great old Spidey writers like Roger Stern (Peter Parker, Spider-Man #156.1) and Tom DeFalco (Sensational Spider-Man #33.1 & 33.2). Not-so-old (but still great!) Stuart Moore writes Web of Spider-Man #129.1 & 129.2. Also, the current Amazing Spider-Man book features the Lizard (also in the upcoming movie) and is promising to lead up to something huge for Amazing #700 — but the set-up begins in Amazing #691 on this month’s order form. If you’re not currently reading one of the best superhero titles around — then #691 is your should-not-miss starting point!
Also new this month are all four issues of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, which would be cool if I didn’t think this happened a couple of times already. Seriously, who cares if some Marvel badass flips out and kills everybody? That happens every other month. But Lockjaw Kills the Marvel Universe or Aunt May Kills the Marvel Universe — now that would be something! Or Howard the Duck Kills the Marvel Universe. (He knows Quack Fu, you know…)
Peter David has written an all-new hardcover novel adaptation of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men: Gifted storyline. Except Marvel’s buried the solicitation of it in the back of Previews with all the reprint stuff, so you might otherwise miss it. You’re welcome.
Finally, Avengers Assemble #6 guest-stars the Guardians of the Galaxy (featuring Rocket Raccoon and Bug from the Micronauts, if you haven’t been paying attention). Roger gave me a quarter to put that in.
DC COMICS: The New 52 gears up for its first Anniversary, as in August they’re shipping their #12 issues. And in comics, it wouldn’t be a celebration without a funeral. Justice League International is canceled with #12 (but with a JLI Annual!), and the final issue features an actual funeral for a beloved DC character. The rumor mill has JLI being replaced with something else (and similar) very quickly. Speaking of Annuals, the new DC has a flock of them this month including Superman Annual #1, Detective Comics Annual #1, The Flash Annual #1, and Green Lantern Annual #1.
DC’s also putting the spotlight on some of their traditionally second-banana characters in August. Phantom Lady is a new four-part miniseries featuring the female Freedom Fighter, as well as her partner Doll Man. It’s re-imagined by writers Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti, drawn by Cat Staggs and Rich Perrotta, with covers by Amanda Conner. (Who, no offense to the previous artists, should be drawing this series, based on the first issue cover. Alas, she’s currently busy with Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre.) . . . The next issue of National Comics will be Looker #1 featuring the superhero who was turned into a vampire. Once upon a time, she was with the Outsiders, but who knows nowadays. Wonder why they’re bringing her back? She was kinda in the Twilight of her career. It’s by Ian Edginton and Mike S. Miller . . . And Kid Flash gets a solo shot in DC Universe Presents #12 by Fabian Nicieza and Jorge Jimenez.
BIG HEAVY COMICS THAT WILL HURT YOUR FOOT IF YOU DROP THEM: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man Omnibus is a hardcover collection of all the issues of last year’s saddest story, including Ultimate Comics Avengers vs. New Ultimates and Ultimate Comics Fallout. Amazingly, it’s only 600 pages. But then again, it probably takes at least 100 just to reproduce all the alternate covers . . . Not quite as heavy, physically, is the Superman Earth One Volume 2 HC, the sequel to the best-selling re-imagining of Superman by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis. In this new chapter, Superman faces a dictator, a new love interest (who’s NOT Lois Lane), and loses his powers because of a super-villain . . . Speaking of re-imagined, Dr. Strange Season One is also offered this month from Marvel, featuring an all-new take on Dr. Strange that’s part Indiana Jones and part Lord of the Rings. (Contest: Find the irony in that last sentence.) It’s by Greg Pak and Emma Rios . . . In more (physically) heavier fare, DC has Legends of the Dark Knight: Alan Davis HC (272 pages) and Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld Volume 1 (648 pages, and a personal favorite) — both of which Bob Greenberger will be yakking about soon — and Starman Omnibus Volume 2 TPB (416 pages). From Vertigo we have The Annotated Sandman Volume 2 HC (520 pages) and Death: The Deluxe Edition HC (320 pages), both by Neil Gaiman and friends. Back at Marvel, we have Essential Warlock (576 pages) by Jim Starlin, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, John Buscema, John Byrne, and many others. That one probably won’t hurt your foot (it’s softcover!), but it might hurt your brain if you try to read it all in one sitting! Final question: Who has bookshelves this big?!?
ARTISTS: Joe Kubert has two great projects featuring his work this month. First up is Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures: The Joe Kubert Archives Volume 1, featuring 33 of Kubert’s best golden age post-war stories, emphasizing both horror and crime. Published by Fantagraphics Books, this full-color 240-page hardcover volume features state-of-the-art restoration and extensive notes provided by editor Bill Schelly and others . . . Also this month, IDW’s prestigious Artist Editions focus on one of Kubert’s favorite series — Tarzan of the Apes. Originally published by DC Comics in 1972, it’s one of Kubert’s exceptional works, from a career full of them. This 152-page oversized (printed at the artwork’s actual size) book includes six Tarzan stories — including the four-part Tarzan of the Apes story — all written and drawn by Kubert. Tarzan is 100 years old this year (he could be Spidey’s great-great grandfather!), and this collection is a wonderful way to celebrate!
Michael W. Kaluta also has two new books devoted to him this month. First up is the definitive collection of Starstruck — featuring 360 pages of Starstruck (all 13 issues, completely remastered) plus Galactic Girl Guides adventures, covers, pin-ups, postcards, a helpful glossary, and many other features. Starstuck was written by Elaine Lee . . . Also available is the Michael Wm. Kaluta: Sketchbook Series, Volume 2 — 48 pages of material personally selected and annotated by Kaluta from his archives. Both projects are published by IDW.
Speaking of great old Epic miniseries, Chris Claremont and John Bolton’s The Black Dragon is being collected in a new edition by Titan Books, with the artwork digitally restored from the original art for the first time. Plus, it’s packed with extra material! The Black Dragon was first published in 1985. Apparently (according to Wikipedia), the Black Dragon is also the nickname of the New Jersey Turnpike, a superhighway that I am intimately familiar with (although I don’t know where the bodies are buried).
Speaking of things from the Eighties, one of the more notorious projects from that era — Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss — is getting a sequel. Black Kiss II is the six-issue story behind the legendary erotic thriller. Like the original, it’s published (by Image) in glorious black and white. And who else could do it like Howard Chaykin himself? Adults only. (I love the “black box” censored pages in Previews.)
NDY: It Girl and the Atomics (part of Mike Allred’s Madman universe) spins out into its own ongoing series from Image, written by Jamie S. Rich and drawn by Mike Norton. The Allreds handle the covers (Editor’s Note: Check out our exclusive interview with Rich to learn more about this series.) . . . Archie’s (and DC’s) on-and-off superheroes, the Mighty Crusaders, are back — but this time the new book is called New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes. It’s a brand new team! Find out what happened to the old guys in August as Ian Flynn and Ben Bates create a new generation of heroes. Plus, Archie is reviving its old Red Circle imprint just for this book! . . . Speaking of Archie, things have been getting stranger in Riverdale lately, but Archie #636 (featuring two different covers) gives us a decidedly different “love triangle” when teenage witch Sabrina (and her cat Salem) gives the gang a “makeover” after watching the boys and girls argue. When the magical dust settles, Archie’s now a red-headed girl (Archina) pursued by male versions of the girls (Billie and Ronnie). Genderbending fun from writer Tania Del Rio (manga-style Sabrina) and penciler Gisele Lagace (Eerie Cuties webcomic). I smell spin-off title . . . IDW is offering Archie: Best of Harry Lucey Volume 2 this month. The first one was amazing, and they haven’t even gotten to some of his best stuff yet!
CHARACTERS RETURN: Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is an all-new four-issue adventure by writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee. All the classic Rocketeer chops will be there, plus the guys will be introducing a new femme fatale as a rival of Betty’s. It’s from IDW . . . Waid’s gettin’ busy, as he’s also writing the return of the original Avengers — Steed and Mrs. Peel are starring in a new ongoing series with artist Steve Bryant. Published by BOOM! and starting with a #0 issue . . . Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike is a new five-issue mini featuring the return of the former vampire that everyone now wants to cuddle. Well, maybe not, as Spike travels to the dark side of the moon in a steampunk ship filled with oversized alien cockroaches while trying to figure out where his life is going. It’s by Victor Gischler and Paul Lee and published by Dark Horse . . . Love and Capes: What To Expect finds comics’ favorite couple, Mark and Abby, expecting a super-baby while trying to keep it a secret from everybody. Yeah, like that will work… One of the most heartwarmingly funny comics out there, by Thom Zahler and published by IDW.
MORE BOOKS (NOT SO HEAVY):
Comics About Cartoonists is a new 192-page full-color hardcover collection of comic book stories about cartoonists by cartoonists — including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Windsor McCay, Chester Gould, Sheldon Mayer (I bet a Scribbly story), Milton Caniff, Basil Wolverton, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Will Eisner, Elize Segar, Harvey Kurtzman, Charles Schulz, George Herriman, and a comic story about Walt Disney. Just to set the appropriate tone, the cover features a cartoonist brutally murdered at his drawing board! (Considering that these guys are artists, I’m surprised that the dead guy isn’t an editor!) It’s from Yoe Books! and IDW.
We Go Pogo: Walt Kelly, Politics, and American Satire is a 272-page book, available in either hard or softcover and it looks great, although a bit scholarly. For more detailed info, click on the title to go to their website.
Totally Mad: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity, and Stupidity is a 256-page hardcover collecting their best (or worst) stuff from the last 60 years, featuring work by all their classic artists, including Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Tom Richmond, Don Martin, Al Jaffee, Dave Berg, Sergio Aragones, Antionio Prohias, and many, many others. Compiled by the staff of Mad, the book also contains a set of 12 prints of their greatest covers, suitable for framing or for wrapping fish. Speaking of stupidity, Stephen Colbert provides an introduction.
THIS AND THAT: Please note that both Archie Comics’ The Art of Betty and Veronica and TwoMorrows’ Matt Baker: The Art of Glamour are being resolicited this month. Which means that if you want ‘em, you have to reorder ‘em, as all previous orders have been canceled. Speaking of TwoMorrows, they’re putting their great Modern Masters: John Byrne (Volume 7) back into print soon!
CLASSIC COMIC BOOK COLLECTIONS
ACG Collected Works: Forbidden Worlds Volume 1 HC (PS Artbooks)
Archie: Best of Harry Lucey Volume 2 $24.99 (IDW)
Creepy Archives Volume 14 HC (Dark Horse) Collects #64-68
Steve Canyon: The Complete Comic Book Series Volume 1 (Hermes Press) Collects all 7 issues of the Dell Four Color Steve Canyon
Superman Chronicles Volume 10 TPB (DC) Collects stories from 1942
Young Love (Pure Imagination) 160 pages of romance comics drawn by Jack Kirby
CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS
The Complete Flash Gordon Library Volume 2: The Tyrant of Mongo HC (Titan) (Resolicitation: Please reorder)
The Complete Peanuts 1985-1986 (Fantagraphics)
Nipper Volume 3: 1967-1968 TPB (D&Q) 1960s suburbia by Doug Wright
Rip Kirby, Volume 5 HC (IDW/LoAC) Strips from 1956-1959
KC CARLSON: Well, now it’s time to say goodbye to KC and all his kin.
And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin’ in.
You’re all invited back again to this locality
To have a heapin’ helpin’ of their hospitality.
Hillbilly that is. Set a spell, take your shoes off.
Y’all come back now, y’hear?
(lyrics by Paul Henning)
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.