July 2011 Previews: If It’s Summer, Why Am I Thinking Halloween?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1

Hmm, maybe it’s time to try the Buffy comic again. The series is relaunching with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1 (Dark Horse, JUL11 0017, $2.99, Sep 14), and we’re being promised “a fresh start”. Reading between the lines, it sounds something like a reboot. I didn’t care for the “everything bigger” approach of the previous series, and I couldn’t keep up with all the characters and cameos, so for me, that’s a good idea. We’re back to where Willow is no longer a super-witch (or a witch of any kind) and Buffy’s the only slayer. I was impressed by the one sample page shown, where she has to invite Spike in for a party. This could be a chance for even greater success of the comic.

With an Abe Sapien miniseries, a BPRD miniseries, and a Hellboy short original hardcover all new this month, I find myself thinking that there is too much Hellboy stuff. I’ve got 18 collections, and I quit buying several years ago (so I think I’m missing six more, at least). I suppose it’s none of my business if I’ve given up on the series, but while I enjoyed reading when it seemed single-threaded, it’s now too sprawling, and with so many other people working on Mike Mignola’s vision, I can’t help being cynical about how much is him wanting to tell stories and how much is just keeping the characters visible. Then I flipped through seven pages of Star Wars comics solicits, so … never mind.

I’ve already talked about DC’s 52 new #1s, so never mind that, but I was interested to see what else was offered in the catalog this month. I see that we’re still getting plenty of Batman and Green Lantern collections — their two most successful characters — with a few other books scattered in. The one I would most be interested in reading, if I hadn’t read the comics already, would be the end of Paul Dini’s run on Zatanna, collected as Zatanna: Shades of the Past (JUL11 0261, $19.99, Oct 5). It reprints #7-12. Dini also wrote #13, but it wasn’t very good, and the storyline it was setting up didn’t go anywhere, given the change of plans and the series cancellation. Issue #14 was a fill-in that didn’t match what was originally solicited, so who knows what we’ll get in the two remaining issues. Better to let this more substantial volume stand for the series in our memory.

Looney Tunes #202

Still available from DC are the kids’ titles, which means I can keep enjoying Tiny Titans. Also this month, Looney Tunes #202 (JUL11 0275, $2.99, Sep 7) promises a Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot story. They’re my favorite Warner Bros. cartoon. Vertigo is continuing on its previous path as well, with the usual fantasy and crime works.

Wow, only in comics. IDW is launching an ongoing Star Trek series (JUL11 0308, $3.99, Sep 28) that retells TV stories using the likenesses of the movie actors. Looked at one way, that’s the snake eating its tail, plus, they’re already tying into promotion of the movie sequel due next year. (If it hasn’t appeared as a movie, TV show, toy, game, or book, IDW doesn’t want it.) But from another perspective, that’s kind of genius, selling fans the familiar in new dress in a way that couldn’t happen in any other medium. Since this is IDW, you can also buy (for whatever high prices the market will bear) four variant photo covers and an autographed edition (by writers, not actors, so who cares). Also, each copy of the comic contains some kind of lottery ticket, which strikes me as a) desperate and b) legally iffy. I’m sure they’ve checked it out, though. Also, IDW will always be ok by me for publishing my beloved Love and Capes.

As readers know, I very much enjoyed the Iron Man movie, but I’ve had less luck with reading comics with the same feel. However, I did enjoy Iron Man: Industrial Revolution (JUL11 0750, $16.99, Oct 19). This story, reprinted from Iron Man Legacy #6-11 by Fred van Lente and Steve Kurth, shows the essentials of Tony Stark’s personality by taking away his money and throwing him into the wrong section of town. The start is stronger than the end, but I really liked the emphasis on Tony’s brains and ability to inspire, as well as the small acknowledgements to class distinction and bias in our culture. It’s nice to see a hero being inspiring in more ways than the obvious. Fans of the Marvel universe will also enjoy seeing the Pride, the villainous conglomerate of families defeated early in the Runaways series.

Small Press

Growing Up Enchanted Volume 2, “Fishing for Sea-Dragons, Understanding Death” (JUL11 0771, $9.95, Sep) is out from AAM Markosia. Written by Jack Briglio and illustrated by Alexander Serra, this cute story of a young sorceress who isn’t supposed to use her magic provides all-ages humor. The writer has posted pages online if you want to sample.

If I were advertising Ape Entertainment’s White Picket Fences, which returns with a new #1 (JUL11 0803, $3.99, Sep 28) for an ongoing series, I would find a way to work the phrase “Super 8″ into the ad copy somewhere, because I think that the “kids in a nostalgic neighborhood encountering science-fiction monsters” premise might have some crossover appeal. But no, missed opportunity.

Archaia’s got quite the catch, with Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand (JUL11 0825, $24.95, Sep 28), a graphic novel based on a previously unproduced screenplay by Henson and Jerry Juhl. It’s reportedly a bit strange, about a drifter wandering the desert, but the pitch that Henson fans will “recognize some of the inspirations and set pieces that appeared in later … productions” is intriguing. The sample pages, as seen in their Free Comic Book Day comic, were attractive and suitably moody.

Oooh, I hate it when publishers do that! Last month, Archie offered a Best of Archie Comics as a small-size paperback of 416 pages for $9.99. KC recommended it as a good value, but with a caveat about the small size. This month, Archie offers the same book — in the full-size hardcover it should have been, with “an additional 16 pages of extras” for $29.99 (JUL11 0838). Everyone I know interested in this would have waited for this preferable format, but it looks like Archie was trying to milk them for double orders, now that they can’t cancel the ones they placed for the softcover. And companies wonder why I think preordering is for suckers!

Finally! How exciting! I hope it comes out this time! The very lengthily named Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Volume 1 “Through the Wild Blue Yonder” is offered by Fantagraphics (JUL11 1086, $39.99, Sep 28). After teasing us with this book for several years, I’m convinced that this will be the best version it can be of Walt Kelly’s game-changing political and cultural satire. This first of 12 books contains two years of dailies and Sundays in color. (You can preorder at a great discount at Amazon right now, but since they’re listing a release date two months later, you may have to wait for your savings.) I’m looking forward to finally getting a chance to see this classic for myself. I’m sure, given Fanta’s high production values, it’ll be worth the wait.

If you’re looking for reliable entertainment for youngsters, you could do a lot worse than two new series installments from Kids Can Press. The latest volume of Binky the Space Cat, about a funny cat who thinks he’s an astronaut, is Binky Under Pressure (JUL11 1140, $8.95, Sep 28), while Scott Chantler’s Three Thieves series continues with its second book, The Sign of the Black Rock (JUL11 1141, $8.95, Sep 28), in which the three heroes are on the run and shelter at an inn.

Also aimed at the younger set (but enjoyable by more, if I’m any indication) is Power Lunch (Oni Press, JUL11 1193, Oct 12, $12.99), a 40-page hardcover about a boy with food-based superpowers by J. Torres & Dean Trippe. The creativity in connecting up the abilities and what Joey’s eaten is clever, and any kid can relate to such an easy way to get powers!

The manga debut of the season is Vertical’s The Drops of God (JUL11 1259, Sep 21, $14.95), the translation of a wine comic that that ended up causing such crazes as to affect the industry. I’ve enjoyed previous food manga, even when I couldn’t eat what was being praised — I imagine this will be similarly enjoyable.

Starting the holiday book race, The Batman Files (JUL11 1343, $100, Oct 26) promises “news articles, crime scene photos, blueprints, schematics, and actual maps of Gotham City that were collected, and in many cases even drawn, by the Caped Crusader himself.” It’s got upscale production quality to match the price — “black matte gilding, as well as a high-tech fabric cover, complete with a metallic Batman emblem to secure the secret contents within.” In short, it’s a fake scrapbook, delving into the minute details — I particularly liked one fussy menu of a day’s meals — of being the Batman and key points of his career. It’s the perfect choice when you want to spend a silly amount of money on a comic fan but you don’t really know what he likes, because he’s not likely to get this for himself.

Oh, Sim, it’s Halloween time again. Which means pages of costumes where the guys are covered neck to foot, and the women are wearing thigh-high boots and cleavage-bearing shiny fabrics. Your instant lesson in geek sexism: check out the full-body padded guy Ninja Turtle costume next to the four different “Sassy Deluxe” girl turtle costumes. There are four because the different “turtles” have different colored sashes and thigh high shiny shoes. Also, the boy Star Wars costumes come in standard and Extra Large, while the Slave Leia “Secret WIshes” costume only comes in small and medium.

7 Responses to “July 2011 Previews: If It’s Summer, Why Am I Thinking Halloween?”

  1. Ralf Haring Says:

    The various Hellboy stories are at just the right amount for me. I buy them as collections, but I believe they come out usually at a rate of a single issue per month. There have been three collections so far this year and I wouldn’t be surprised by at least one more. I think the model they set up was pretty good – alternating Hellboy and BPRD miniseries by different creative teams along with planned one-shots to provide additional breathing room. I’m definitely glad to have had Guy Davis’ BPRD that way when a faster schedule probably would have meant he couldn’t do them all. BPRD was frequently better than Mignola’s own Hellboy stories! The two storytelling strands recently both reached a bit of a turning point which helped ratchet up my enthusiasm for both again.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I was hoping someone who’s still following would come along and educate me, so thank you. I get the impression that the issues are coming out a bit more frequently than one a month, but if the fans are happy with the pacing, that’s what matters.

  3. Sean Says:

    I can only speak for myself but I couldn’t be happier with a Hellboy graphic novel by Richard Corben! The Hellboy comics he’s drawn have been among my favourites.

  4. Øyvind Says:

    Batwoman by J.H. Williams III. He’s one of the best artists.

  5. KC Likes Some Stuff for September » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] For the first time in months, I beat KC to the Previews recommendations! KC’s latest Westfield column covers his journey through the list of material due in […]

  6. Thomas Says:

    Can’t wait for the Hellboy graphic novel. Great Post

  7. January 2012 Previews: Recommendations, Reminders, and Ramblings » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] 48 extra pages containing KISS photos, comic scripts, and other bonuses.) This demonstration of learning from history almost makes up for how their female-led titles are disappearing. This month, the only periodical […]




Most Recent Posts: