September 2011 Previews: Mostly Snark, With a Few Gems

I was idly flipping through the DC section — I have nothing to say about all these third issues until I’ve seen the first issues first — when I stopped short with the atrocious vision of Red Lanterns #3 (SEP11 0142, $2.99, November 2). I know that the whole concept of that hue revolves around violence and hatred and anger and all that negative stuff, but I didn’t need to see an image of some chick groping herself and enjoying the shower of blood raining down on her. Wow, the new 52 DCU, really aiming at that younger audience, hunh? I’m really glad I don’t go to the comic shop myself any more, because I would expect to see a privacy screen on something like that on a magazine rack.

Red Lanterns #3 cover

I’m becoming very confused by the DC Comics Presents line — it now seems to have become a way to bring out-of-print trade paperback collections back into print in much inferior formats. Secret Identity, The Kents, The Life Story of the Flash… these are books that should continue in print perpetually, not be thrown into oversized newsprint comics temporarily. This is so weird that I have to wonder if there is some kind of contractual loophole they’re exploiting by using this hybrid, unsatisfying format.

On the other hand, it’s great to see a Chase collection (SEP11 0179, $29.99, December 21). I never imagined that this work by D. Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III, exploring some of the corners and crannies of the old DCU, would make it back in print, but never underestimate the willingness to exploit the name of an artist considered hot. This is the kind of thorough roundup that justifies buying comics you already own again, since it has just about everything featuring title character Agent Cameron Chase — the ten series issues, and all the varied Secret Files stories she was in. I’m looking forward to revisiting her and her world. Shame they couldn’t add a new short story to wrap it all up.

If Marvel can get 50 years and “hundreds of images from the superstars of five decades” into only 48 pages of History of the Marvel Universe (SEP11 0579, $3.99), then what are they using, microdot miniaturization technology?

I’m flabbergasted that Diamond’s special promotional effort this month — following in the history of trying to highlight kids’ comics, or products for those who want to make comics, or “manga month” — is Unsung Heroes. Which means “superhero comics done by people other than DC or Marvel”. Here’s their explanation:

This month, PREVIEWS pays tribute to these great characters, in hopes that they’ll find new fans, and newfound recognition amongst readers and collectors alike.

That’s so sad, that Diamond sees its audience as only interested in one small genre in the comic medium, so much so that they’re trying to say, “see, there are MORE superheroes over HERE!” Then again, they could be right, that only superhero fans are left shopping in and running the direct market shops that use their catalog. (As Kurt Busiek has reminded us, the entire system was set up just for superhero publications in the first place.) Me, I think there’s a lot more that’s special about this unique blend of art and text used for storytelling.

I’m excited to pick up the next issue of Princeless. Issue #2 (Action Lab Entertainment, SEP11 0698, $3.99, November) puts our young hero in touch with her next oldest sister. I really liked Princess Adrienne, and I’m eager to see her interact with a sibling, because I’m sure Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin will do a great job.

AdHouse Books reoffers one of my best books of 2009, Johnny Hiro, a wonderfully illustrated blend of urban slice-of-life, action, and fantasy battles symbolizing the struggles of a young adult.

I wonder what’s going on with Archie. They’re listing plenty of digests, still, but of the core Riverdale character comics, the only ones offered this month are Betty (which turned out NOT to be cancelled this year), Jughead, Veronica (which is finishing up the Kevin Keller miniseries-within-a-series), and the magazine Life With Archie. At the beginning of this year, the only monthly titles Archie Comics was still putting out were Archie and Archie & Friends, but those aren’t available, so I guess that’s changed as well. Digests are easier and cheaper for the company, anyway, since they’re almost all reprints.

I admire Boom!’s creativity in launching a comic book “straw poll” with 10 comics, each dedicated to one Presidential candidate, but there are several things about the stunt that are a little annoying. First, no creator names are given. Without knowing who are writing or drawing these bio books, it’s clear that they’re functioning almost solely as chips or markers instead of comics. Why not do trading cards, instead, since no one’s paying attention to the insides? Along those lines, if I have a favorite, presumably I know the facts of their lives that will make up the content, and I might be more interested in reading some of the others (especially if I believe in knowing one’s enemy, or if I’m curious to see how impartially these are written, or whether they dig into the juicy stuff). Yet if I buy them, that’s seen as a “vote”.

Then there are the collectors — if you wanted one of these, you might want them all. After all, the less interested someone is in one of these characters, the more rare they’ll be … and thus the more valuable, in the future, if there’s still a comic market then. And I haven’t even mentioned the difference between end consumers and what retailers choose to order. Would you want your store to look like it was campaigning for a particular candidate by not stocking them evenly? Then again, will you bother ordering any for the shelf at all, or will you assume that anyone who wants one will definitely pre-order?

Wow, with all this Tintin material being offered from both Last Gasp and Little, Brown and Company, you’d think that there was a movie coming out!

Speaking of wartime cartooning, here’s a fascinating project: Trina Robbins and Anne Timmons (who previously worked together on Go Girl!) are telling the true-life story of a little-known early woman in comics. Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer (Lerner Publishing Group, SEP11 1158, $7.95, November) introduces most readers to Lily Renee, who was sent by her parents out of Austria to England and finally the U.S., where she wound up working on Fiction House good girl comics of the 40s. I suspect the book will focus more on escaping the Nazis, less on battling sexism in the art world, but either way, brava to getting her inspiring story out there!

(And it’s still needed, in a month when Comic Buyer’s Guide is listing a book called the 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. What they should have called it was “100 Sexiest Female Comic Characters”, since it’s only about the fictional creations, not actual living Women in Comics. Plus, I keep mistyping it as Sexist, hmmm.)

Salt Water Taffy: Caldera’s Revenge Part 2 (Oni Press, SEP11 1196, $5.99, December 14), the fifth volume in the series, concludes the story from Part 1, which was released this spring. It’s great adventure for kids of all ages, with a wonderful sense of place.

Argh! Don’t read the solicit for Bakuman Volume 8 (Viz, SEP11 1271, $9.99, December 7) if you want the events of the upcoming Book 7 to stay a secret! Just order the book — it’s an illuminating series about what it takes to be a manga (or comic) creator.

Speaking of which, I’m glad to see another installment coming of I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow. Volume 4 (Viz, SEP11 1287, $12.99, December 7) continues the struggles of the older aspiring manga-ka, this time to find an editor willing to work with him.

And that’s my month, with more good stuff than I expected. What about you?


10 Responses to “September 2011 Previews: Mostly Snark, With a Few Gems”

  1. Eric Rupe Says:

    Actually, DC did a Presents mini-collection for Chase so they might be using them to gage if there is enough demand before offering a collection, instead of throwing something into an already crowded market and hoping it sells. The Flash one is only a 100 pages long and is probably too short to sell as an actually try and sell as a trade or hardcover. They reprinted Son of Supermand Green Lantern: Willworld in the format and I picked up them up but wouldn’t have if they were at their original pricing.

  2. Byron Says:

    @johanna

    “Then again, they could be right, that only superhero fans are left shopping in and running the direct market shops that use their catalog. (As Kurt Busiek has reminded us, the entire system was set up just for superhero publications in the first place.)”

    I thought by now that was a foregone conclusion.

    I thought the best thing in Previews was the Thor bottle opener. ;)

  3. William George Says:

    Wow, the new 52 DCU, really aiming at that younger audience, hunh?

    Metaphor: They may be trying to remix the song, but the tune will remain the same as for long as the band doesn’t change.

  4. James Schee Says:

    Okay.. blood & sex…. that’s a kink I don’t EVEN want to know about. I thought I was grossed out enough by Red Lanterns just having “vomiting blood” as their standard MO.

    Are the collecting the entire minis in that DC Comics Present line? I thought they were kind of samplers, but haven’t seen them.

    I feel like I should at least try something with Tintin, it and Asterix are two long running comic greats that I’ve never read a page of.

    Lily Renee book sounds intriguing.

    Things that look interesting to me (from looking at Diamond’s site since I don’t preorder so don’t have a catalog) …

    I’m both curious and horrified at the new Peanuts series by Kaboom. I love the characters, but just don’t know if anyone can or should work on these characters other than Schultz.

    I also find it odd that they someone is soliciting John Carter novels, given that you can legally download them all for free online. Since they are in the public domain.

  5. James Schee Says:

    Oh and for some reason I didn’t care for Chase way back then, but would love a crack at that tpb. If nothing else it’d be a good timestamp of what was big at DC at the time.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Eric, that’s a good point (although the Flash book was already released on its own) — perhaps this is a cheap way to justify reprints. But they’re undercutting their own future product in that case.

    Byron, the Thor bottle opener made me giggle, but wouldn’t Thor be more of a mug-and-keg drinker?

    James, the Secret Identity book was reprinted in two of the Presents issues, so no, not all of them are complete. I didn’t commit on the Peanuts project because there just isn’t enough information given on what it’s exactly going to consist of (new or reprint? why no creator names listed?). I’m expecting to see Chase with new eyes as well.

  7. KC Gets Snarky With Previews for November 2011 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] it comes to his latest trip through this month’s Previews (catalog dated September 2011 for items shipping beginning in November) for his Westfield column, [...]

  8. Brian J. Says:

    I agree, Johnny Hiro is a great read. It’s slice of life with a bit (or a lot) of the fantastic thrown in. Definitely a relatable read for 20-somethings. Highly recommended!

  9. Sebastian Says:

    Thought I’d throw in a recommendation for two titles NBM is bringing over from Europe for their “Papercutz” line: “Ernest & Rebecca” and “Sybil the Backpack Fairy”. These are titles from Italian artists that have already been published in translation in France and Germany (by Tokyopop BTW). The artwork is somewhat manga-inspired, but also bears traits of Franco-Belgian and Italian-Disney style.

    “Ernest & Rebecca” was one of my favorite new discoveries of 2009, when I stumbled across the first volume in French. The comic is about a little girl, Rebecca, who is sick so often, that she creates herself an imaginary friend in the form of one of her microbes. These two then proceed to get into trouble Calvin & Hobbes style. I liked how serious issues, like her parents separating, were handled in this framework. Three volumes have been published in France so far. Here’s a French preview for the 2nd volume (hope there’s no region lock): http://www.lelombard.com/player-5/ernest-rebecca/sam-repoussant,9782803625277.html

    “Sybil” is a much more straight-forward series of a girl encountering fairies and monsters and having adventures. Also three volumes, so far. Here’s a French preview for the 1st volume: http://www.lelombard.com/player-5/sybil-fee-cartable/nina,9782803624089.html

  10. Boom! Announces Winners of Decision 2012 Comic Straw Poll » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] September, Boom! Studios announced a plan to create a biographical comic book for each potential Presidential [...]




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