by KC Carlson
Has to be just a few things this time around, because my LCS didn’t get any Diamond Previews (Stupid Diamond!) this week, so I’m just going to concentrate on Marvel and DC (‘cause I can get their info from la internet), and I’ll be back next week with some indy and book picks!
October’s going to be a weird month for comics. At DC, somehow they’ve managed to set up their schedule so that they are issuing 52 different #2 issues — which are almost impossible to talk about since we won’t see any of the #1s for another few weeks yet. (And get this.. Next month is all #3’s!) “What are the new DC Comics going to be like?” may be the most important question since “Toilet paper: Over the top or behind and under?” The ultimate answer: Only you can decide!!!
As for Marvel, their big summer storylines (Fear Itself and X-Men: Schism) are wrapping up simultaneously — although there’s plenty of new concepts and titles springing out of both those events. And there’s an upheaval in the Hulk-centric books this month — but isn’t there always? He’s (They’re?) just that kind of guy.
STUFF I REALLY LIKE
Daredevil #1 by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Marcos Martin was one of the most refreshing superhero comics I’ve read in years! It harkens back to the old freewheeling DD of years past — before he was dipped in absolute misery — but the real magic of the book is that it doesn’t deny anything from the last decade or so of the series. In the current era of instant reboots every 20 minutes, it’s almost inconceivable to see a creative team focusing on adding to the legend of the character, rather than taking away from it. But it’s not all fun and games — Waid is a well-known expert in both character-building and -destroying, meaning that behind all the fun, there are actual consequences for the characters. I love it when a creative team does a complete job of entertaining me.
Anybody else love the 1950s Avengers subplot (more than ably illustrated by Howard Chaykin) from the last New Avengers arc as much as I did? Then you’re gonna love Avengers 1959 — a five-part miniseries both written and drawn by Mr. Chaykin, who has a unique flair for Fifties-style projects. Nick Fury and a bunch of morally-challenged characters and by Chaykin. I’m SO there!
I’m also loving Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, which, if you haven’t been paying attention, has been dealing with not only the Avengers but the Young Avengers and various X-Men all trying to resolve the Scarlet Witch situation once and for all. It’s getting down to the wire as October’s issue #8 (of 9) is announcing “The Death of an Avenger!” which would usually be a total turn-off for me, but since the most entertaining thing about this series is that I don’t think it’s going where I think it’s going — and how many comics can you say that about? — a death seems almost secondary to the plot. Or at least secondary to the ultimate resolution.
Mary Jane Watson with Spider-Powers? Kewl. Maybe I need to re-think this Spider-Island thing… If you’re trapped on Spider-Island too long, do you start to see other people as hamburgers and turkey legs?
The solicitation copy for Casanova: Avaritia #2 says: “This Issue: Something Happens!” Why can’t more comics be like that?
Marvel Masterworks: Captain Marvel Volume 4 features the original Marvel Captain Marvel (but not the original original Captain Marvel… Oh, never mind!), reprinting issues #34-46, a particularly good run featuring work by Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Chris Claremont, and others. This volume features the story that ultimately leads to the character’s death, but readers at the time did not find this out for a couple more years. So consider yourself forewarned (or forearmed… I can never remember which). Remember, Captain Marvel is on Roger Ash’s approved list of comic book characters that stayed dead.
The Annotated Sandman stands to be one of the biggest Gift Books of the season this year because, just like Hypnotoad, everybody loves Sandman! Now they can look super smart-reading it, because it will be forever linked to actual literature! (“And here is where Dodgson was inspired to write Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Gaiman’s unique use of staples in Sandman #42.”*) Since most of us already know it’s literature, we can look forward to seeing all of the commentary, historical and contemporary references, hidden meanings, and more, presented side-by-side with the series’ art and text. I’m hoping that they point out the actual panel where you start both The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (but for Sandman, you have to play it backwards — but don’t tell anybody!!!). It’s the first of four beautiful (and big! — it’s almost 12” x 12”) hardcover volumes. Volume One is 560 pages, collecting Sandman #1-20. Please note: the comic pages are presented in beautifully toned black and white (see example). Published by Vertigo.
* not an actual quote (hopefully).
Also worth looking at this month is Tales of The Batman: Don Newton Vol. 1 (saluting the late, great artist) and Marvel Firsts: The 1960s, but Bob Greenberger will be along soon to tell you more about both.
DC MINIS: As if 52 new comic series weren’t enough, DC has added a number of new miniseries to their October schedule — some with long-awaited characters and concepts. One of the most eagerly anticipated is The Shade, the antihero from the acclaimed Starman series. Starman writer James Robinson returns in the 12-issue series, and Cully Hamner is the regular artist, with Starman artist Tony Harris providing the covers. An attack at the Starman Museum sets the stage for a globe-hopping (and time-travelling!) adventure, revealing secrets of the Shade’s true origin . . . The Huntress returns in a six-issue miniseries written by Paul Levitz, the creator of a completely different Huntress (Earth-2 Batman’s daughter). I’ll be very intrigued to see how he might change the character (if at all) for her New 52 debut. This storyline will eventually tie into events in Birds of Prey. Art is by Marcus To and John Dell . . . My Greatest Adventure resurrects one of DC’s classic titles for two of their newest characters. The adventures of Garbage Man by Aaron Lopresti and Tanga by Kevin Maguire continue from Weird Worlds, adding a new Robotman series by Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins. It’s a six-issue series . . . Penguin: Pain and Prejudice is a five-issue mini detailing the dark and painful past of the Bat-foe. It’s by novelist Gregg Hurwitz and artist Szymon Kudranski . . . Neal Adams’ Batman Odyssey returns for a seven-issue Volume 2, picking up right where they left off.
LEGION-O-RAMA: Seeing as how DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes franchise is reportedly staying pretty much the same post-New 52, there seems to be a little added LSH activity this month. A six-issue miniseries by Paul Levitz, Chris Batista, and Rich Perotta begins in October, taking a definitive look at LSH origins in the new DCU. Legion: Secret Origin fills in the gaps about not only the Legion’s earliest adventures, but explains how the United Planets was formed, and offers details on R.J. Brande’s first assassination attempt . . . One of my favorite LSH stories is finally back in print! Superboy’s Legion is a great look at an alternate Legion, dreamed up and written (and inked) by life-long Legion fan Mark Farmer and pencilled by long-time LSH cover artist Alan Davis. It’s a loving Elseworlds tribute to the concepts and characters of the Silver Age Legion. Don’t miss it . . . And the much-loved Legion of Super-Heroes Archives are back in the high-quality hardcover format. The 240-page Volume 13 reprints Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #224-233, featuring work by Jim Shooter, Paul Levitz, Mike Grell, Joe Staton, Jim Sherman, and others in stories featuring Stargrave, The Fatal Five, and the Dark Circle.
DISAPPOINTING COLLECTION: One of my all-time favorite Superman stories — Superman: Secret Identity — by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen is finally back in print — but not in the quality book collection that it deserves. Instead, it’s being presented in two issues of DC’s $7.99 comics reprint format. (I remember when this format used to be a buck.) But at least it’s back for a new audience to enjoy. And hopefully we can share the secret about why it’s being reprinted now in a month or two.
FINALLY, SOME THINGS JUST CONFUSE ME: DC’s New 52 is still weeks away, but that isn’t stopping them from soliciting both a 1,216-page hardcover collection of the first issues of “The New 52” (at just $150) and a portfolio set of all 52 #1 covers (for $129). All of which will still be completely unseen before you have to order them. Confidence or foolhardiness? You be the judge! . . . Similarly, Marvel has three new posters (Wolverine and the X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, and Fantastic Four) for October. Which are represented in the new Marvel Previews by three giant black boxes with only the word CLASSIFIED. (What a waste of a page of Marvel Previews!) Now, they ultimately may be cool posters — but who buys a poster sight unseen?
More comics goodness next week!
KC CARLSON: Reminding you that sometimes logic and comic books don’t mix. Try chocolate sauce and dynamite instead.