Pipeline: Pipeline Previews - September 2003

Fri, July 4th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

PIPELINE PREVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER 2003

[Previews]You know the drill by now, right? Buy PREVIEWS. Look through it. You'll like some stuff that didn't catch my eye or that I didn't include here because I was sick to death of typing all of this up. Pre-ordering is your friend. Post your PREVIEWS picks at the Pipeline message board.

DARK HORSE

The thing I notice about Dark Horse more and more is that their trade paperback and hardcover program is excellent, while their monthly books are easily skipped. Most of them end up as trades, anyway. So it is that when it comes time to write about Dark Horse in this column, I find myself looking more at their compilations and not so much on their pamphlets or floppies or whatever word I'm supposed to be using this month.

There are exceptions. The big one this month is, once again, B.P.R.D., the Hellboy spin-off by different creative teams. Every issue is a self-contained one-shot by a new creative team that you'd easily recognize from other work. You don't need to wait for all the issues to be out to get the whole story. Last month saw Michael Avon Oeming's drawing; September 17th will see the FLASH creative team of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins giving the Hellboy universe their distinctive touch. All these one-shots will probably be compiled into a trade at the end, but they read well enough on their own that no waiting is necessary.

I do plan on reading a couple of the Rocket Comics books when they come out, but right now I'm not all that excited for them. I'll let them win me over when I have them in my hands. I also enjoy USAGI YOJIMBO, but I'm not a devoted reader. I sample the monthly series here and there, and pick up a trade paperback once a year or so. Stan Sakai is one of the great pure cartoonists of our time and deserves the loyal fan following his title receives.

This gets us to the Dark Horse graphic novel and trade paperback line, which is as deep and as broad as any other comic company's. First, they're reprinting the classic Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean collaboration, VIOLENT CASES, just because we can't have enough Gaiman writing in print this fall. It will be $15 for the 48-page story, complete with cover flaps. I love those cover flaps. They help minimize the likelihood of damage to the covers and provide some extra space to include editorial material and make the book look more "bookish," if you know what I mean. It's a pseudo-hardcover.

DEAD MEMORY is a new hardcover reprinting a European graphic novel by France's Marc-Antoine Mathieu. It's the English-language debut of the artist, and the short plot synopsis (modern society and the control of information in it) sounds intriguing. It's oversized and black and white for $15.

The expensive listing for the month is the WILL EISNER SKETCHBOOK. For $50, this hardcover runs 200 pages of the master artist's pencil sketches and design work across his entire career. Yes, there's even SPIRIT material in here. As I try to reign in my comics spending habit little-by-little, there come books like this one to make it all seem so futile.

DC COMICS

We start here with one of the coolest Batman images I've seen in a long time. It's a dramatic up-angle on Batman, Robin, and Oracle as drawn by Jim Lee. It's all for the conclusion of the "Hush" storyline, but this is something they should seriously consider making a poster out of.

DC's listings are slowly turning into a compendium of trade paperback solicitations with a smattering of monthly issues. They're even spotlighted up at the front with four trades per two-page spread. It's tough to keep track of all of them. They're not all books I'm expecting to pick up, either. SUPERMAN/DOOMSDAY was a disappointment, despite the work of Dan Jurgens, Bill Sienkiewicz, and John Workman. SUPERMAN: END OF THE CENTURY is a long-overdue softcover reprint of an original hardcover graphic novel drawn beautifully by Stuart Immonen. BATMAN: BRUCE WAYNE - FUGITIVE hits its third volume a year and a half after initial publication. Does anyone care anymore?

The one I'm most looking forward to is Sam Kieth's ZERO GIRL: FULL CIRCLE. I read and enjoyed the first issue of the mini-series, but then decided to hold out for the trade. It works well with Kieth's mini-series, as I did the same thing with FOUR WOMEN. 100 BULLETS is another series I'm seriously considering moving to trade paperbacks on, as those come out now more closely after the original issues, while the on-going title grinds on ever-more-slowly. "Six Feet Under the Gun" collects all the one-shot stories in the series from issue #37-42. This is the sixth book in the series, already.

IMAGE COMICS

CAPES is the new three issue mini-series from writer Robert Kirkman. Once again he's having fun with the superhero genre, this time poking fun at the superhero team and the misfits that might make one up. Mark Englert, whose style includes an Erik Larsen-esque feel, draws the series. He's also drawing the MIGHTY MAN back-up serial slated to start in SAVAGE DRAGON real soon now. It's in full color for $3 a month, and is the new Image book I'm most looking forward to this month.

Speaking of whom, SAVAGE DRAGON: WORLDS AT WAR is the next collection of issues from Erik Larsen's venerable series. Collecting issues #41-46, the book is available in both trade paperback and hardcover (regular or signed and limited). Unlike previous special edition hardcovers, the price is kept down to a more manageable $35. The regular edition HC is only $25.

HAWAIIAN DICK returns for a new four issue adventure. The first mini-series is being collected next month, so you'll have the chance to jump on before the next mini-series starts.

Finally, a very close runner-up to Most Awaited Book from Image in September is Todd Nauck's WILDGUARD. Titled "Casting Call," his new series starts off with a six issue mini that will help determine who makes the team and how. You can read more about the voting process to determine the series stars at The Comic Wire.

MARVEL COMICS

16 months after it was originally announced, JLA/AVENGERS #1 sees print. George Perez's preview pages have looked great so far. It ought to be a fun fall with this mini-series.

Meanwhile, Scott Kolins rejoins Geoff Johns for a run on THE AVENGERS.

The twelfth issue of THE ULTIMATES is scheduled for September, 20 months after the first issue. This means we can begin the countdown to the hardcover edition of the series' first year.

Brian Bendis begins the "Ultimate Six" storyline with an issue of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN leading into the first two issues of the six-part ULTIMATE SIX mini-series with art from Trevor Hairsine. The first issue will include the nine-page story drawn by Joe Quesada for WIZARD #0. If you were planning on picking up WIZARD to catch the whole story, don't worry about it.

David Mack's five-part Echo storyline in the pages of DAREDEVIL begins with issues #51-52 of the series.

In the hardcover department: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN Volume 3 will collect issues #28-39, plus the story from WIZARD #1/2 for the amazing price of $30. NEW X-MEN is a title I've dropped in favor of collections, so September will be a good month as the second hardcover in that series collects issues #127-141. And Chuck Austen's run on UNCANNY X-MEN gets a third trade with "Holy Way," collecting issues #421-427.

Peter David's CAPTAIN MARVEL -- the undisputed winner of the U-Decide event -- returns with a second trade titled "Coven." You'll get issues #7-12 there, with art from Ivan Reis and Kyle Hotz.

Finally, Zeb Wells' run on PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN gets collected in one big trade paperback for $15.

AND EVERYONE ELSE. . .

If you've always wondered about THE RED STAR, but didn't feel like picking up two oversized trade paperbacks to read the whole thing, you needn't worry anymore. THE RED STAR COLLECTED EDITION Volume 1 trade runs 312 pages, with the first ten issues and annual bundled up together under one cover. It's only $25 for the whole package, which is at the smaller 7 x 10 inch size.

Michael Turner is soliciting more books for September under his Aspen label. There's a man with faith in his lawyers.

The Eisner Award-winning series, BART SIMPSON'S TREEHOUSE OF HORROR returns for its ninth outing this year. This time, it features the likes of Dan Brereton, Ian Boothby, Paul Dini, J. Bone, and Gary Spencer Millidge. It's the last creator that intrigues me the most, as he's set to do a Simpsons take on Alan Moore's FROM HELL. The two panels that accompany the description capture the mood of the book perfectly, right down to the lettering. I can't wait for this one.

CrossGen kicks off EL CAZADOR in September. It's the new pirate series from Chuck Dixon and Steve Epting. All of the preview art from the series, as well as the big preview piece on display at Wizard World East a couple months back, looks spectacular. As great a job as I thought Epting did on CRUX, he looks to be surpassing it here. The first issue comes out the first week of September and runs 32 story pages for the standard $2.95 cover price.

SCION #40 is a key issue, as all of the long time SCION fans hold their breath to see what the new creative team's take on the book will be.

THE CROSSOVERS gets its first trade paperback, collecting the first six issues of the series as drawn by Mauricet.

Robert Kirkman shows up this month at CrossGen, in addition to his usual bank of titles at Image. He has a new series from the CG6 imprint. This one is called TALES OF THE REALM and follows the adventures of three Hollywood actors who suddenly find themselves in a real sword and sorcery world. Matt Tyree draws it up.

The MAINSTREAM: RAW DVD that I reviewed here a couple of months back is now solicited through PREVIEWS. This disc contains raw footage of interviews with Frank Miller, Colleen Doran, Matt Wagner, Joe Quesada, Dave Gibbons, and Bob Schreck. Interesting stuff. $30.

Fantagraphics is capitalizing on the critical success of the B. KRIGSTEIN biography with a new hardcover book collecting 240 pages of his stories in brand new color from Marie Severin. It's a bit pricey at $50, but it's also oversized at 9 x 12 inches.

OPPOSITE FORCES #3 finally arrives from the animated pen of Tom Bancroft. This time, you get a front cover from J. Scott Campbell and a back cover from Phil Noto. The series, itself, is a sweet and humorous look at a pair of mismatched heroes thrown together by fate. She's an uptight corporate type, while he's a bit of a slovenly but lovable comic geek. Bancroft's animation background shows through on every page, where the characters never sit still. It's great stuff for $3 from Funnypages Press.

Gemstone continues its expansion with two new series aimed at the more casual or budget-conscious reader. MICKEY MOUSE & FRIENDS and DONALD DUCK & FRIENDS are 32 pages in the usual stapled format for the price of $2.95. (The listing on page 324 mistakenly lists the books as prestige format. They're not.) If a parent walks into a comics shop with their child and asks what's available for him or her, these books will now be there for them. Instead of the more weighty $7 prestige format book, the parent can be talked into a slightly less expensive $3 book. No, it's not a dime, but you can't please them all.

King Hell Press is making Rich Johnston happy by reprinting Rick Veitch's 1980s Marvel mini-series, THE ONE. Now in black and white, the entire story is published with a new Alan Moore introduction for $17.95. I've picked up a couple of issues from this series in quarter bins through the years, but I'm looking forward now to seeing the whole series in one package.

NBM has three exciting books in the works for September. BONEYARD gets a second collection with issues #5-8 in an oversized format, retaining all of Richard Moore's beautiful line work for the merry band of monsters and their tax problems. It's only $10.95. The first volume is still available through the STAR system, as item STAR15834.

THE FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE, Volume 1 is the first paperback edition of P. Craig Russell's adaptations of -- well, read the title to figure it out. It'll run you $8, but it retains the 8x11 inch format of the hardcover edition. The hardcover is still available at STAR01186 for twice the price.

Finally, HAPPY HALLOWEEN LI'L SANTA might sound like something Tim Burton would put together, but it's the next graphic novel featuring Li'l Santa by noted cartoonist Lewis Trondheim, with Thierry Robin. It's a 48-page 8x11 inch hardcover for $15.

Frank Cammuso's pig detective returns from Nite Owl Comics with MAX HAMM: FAIRY TALE DETECTIVE Volume 2, #1. This time, it's a three-issue storyline, each one running 48 black and white pages for $4.95. There's no info on the paper size of this, so I don't know if it will match the format of volume 1 or not, but it's definitely recommended, sight unseen. The first one was a punster's delight done with imagination and flair, and is also still available as STAR17083.

PRIVATE BEACH fans should keep an eye out for Pulp Mag Press' KILLER STUNTS INCORPORATED #1. The new four-issue mini-series features art by David Hahn. It's on page 350.

THE NORM is one of those little comic strips that could. Creator Michael Jantze has kept the series in print via a series of small comic books, but is now moving onto the next challenge, THE NORM MAGAZINE. This quarterly mag will begin reprinting the strip from its very beginning, along with Jantze's daily journal to go along with each gag. It's 48 pages and perfect bound for $5.

Are you a new COWBOY BEBOP fan? Did you miss the manga graphic novels? There have been five so far, and now TokyoPop is packaging them all together as a boxed set for $40, a savings of ten bucks on the original prices. The comics are entertaining and a must-read for all die-hard BEBOP fans.

TwoMorrows did such a great job with Eric Nolen-Weathington's first MODERN MASTERS book focusing on Alan Davis, that he was kind enough to put together volume 2 for them, focusing on George Perez. As with the first volume, the book will feature one of those career-spanning interviews with the master artist, plus excerpts from his sketchbook, rare art finds, and more. It'll run you $12.95 for the paperback book.

If that's not your style, TwoMorrows is also putting out a LEGION COMPANION and a WALLY WOOD retrospective. There's plenty of fun for everyone. Check out the solicitations beginning on page 363.

If that's not all enough for you yet, COMIC BOOK ARTIST, Volume 2 #3 has a comprehensive interview with John Byrne. The whole issue is devoted to him. This one is 96 black and white pages for $7.50 from Top Shelf Comics.

Finally -- assuming you're not satiated yet -- fanboys and fangirls everywhere will be screaming for what's on page 400. It's MYTHOLOGY: THE DC COMICS ART OF ALEX ROSS hardcover. Weighing in at 272 pages in a 9 x 12 inch format, it'll run you $38, but it's promising a great reprinting of a large swath of Ross' work, plus two new stories written by Paul Dini and Chip Kidd.

I just hope THAT'S enough for you, because I'm sick and tired of typing. I thought this was going to be a short one until I hit the second half of the book and cool things kept popping up. Whoever said that this isn't a really great time to be reading comics is off his rocker.

Pipeline Commentary and Review returns on Tuesday with some of the overload of comics reviews I want to do. Right now, I'm guessing that you'll see Giffen's return to JUSTICE LEAGUE, plus the return of the Disney Duck books, and Matt Fraction's LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS.

If the San Diego Comic-Con programming schedule goes up in time, I might just slip in another column next Friday to run over some of the panel highlights.

Various and Sundry has been updated all week with the usual DVD Release List and other bits of business, including links to card-throwing, 24 on DVD, and more.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

Nearly 500 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are still available at the Original Pipeline page.

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