- Posted by Johanna on May 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm
- Category: Shopping Guide
I’ve been meaning to go through the May Diamond Previews catalog for two weeks now, but I kept putting it off. I’m still barely timely, since today’s the last day — consumer orders are due to shops today. I wonder why I’ve been dawdling about it, and then I stumble across something that reminds me of how much I sometimes despise the whole process. Exhibit A: a full-page ad for the digital version of Previews that calls it an “evolution”, one that they want to charge you $3.99 for. I can possibly see an argument for Diamond being reimbursed for printing and shipping costs for the paper catalog version — although it is typically short-sighted to charge people to buy things from you — but a digital version? That costs you nothing, since you have to produce the catalog for retailers anyway? Why should they charge for that, let alone almost full cover price?
Although I don’t read a lot of their titles, I admire Dark Horse’s tenacity and the way they’ve kept going all these years. However, I can’t get excited about their big plan, announced here, of putting out more superhero books. The world has more than enough of those, thanks. I understand, I think, why they’d want to do that — that’s about all that the direct market is set up to cope with, still, and they’re going to have to do something when the Star Wars comics go away. (You know it’s coming. Probably not immediately, but Disney now owns them, and you saw what happened to The Muppet Show comics that used to come from Boom!.) Given how targeted much of their releases are to the traditional direct market, relying heavily on horror, science fiction, Conan, and video game and other licenses, it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re keeping with that young male approach.
Moving to DC’s section, I stumbled across Batman and Catwoman #22 (MAY13 0162, $2.99). “Oh, neat!” I thought, “I wonder how long that teamup has been running?” Then I realized it was a relabeled Batman and Robin. Now that Robin is dead, Batman is apparently rotating through a bunch of other characters who likely hate him, creating a tracking and filing nightmare for the obsessives as the book goes from Batman and Batgirl to Batman and Nightwing. Also, I suspect the cover artist (Patrick Gleason) doesn’t realize just how hot those spotlights are.
The Batman 66 title (MAY13 0204, $3.99) I’ve been looking forward to is now available for order. So there’s one DC comic I can look forward to. Oh, wait, I forgot Batman: Li’l Gotham #4 (MAY13 0239). Cuteness works for me, too.
I haven’t heard a thing about Right State (Vertigo, MAY13 0262, $16.99, due August), but I liked Mat Johnson’s Incognegro, and after the departure of Saucer Country, I’d like to see more comics take on politics in an entertaining (as opposed to hectoring) way. Andrea Mutti draws the original graphic novel thriller about an attempt to assassinate the second African-American President.
I am stunned to finally see the solicitation of The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer: Volume 8 (NBM/Eurotica, MAY13 1198, $15.99, due July), the new conclusion to the adults-only furry sex series. The previous book came out five years ago, and the reprint series started in 2005! (I first heard of the comic in 1989 or so, when a friend of mine got the picture disc featuring music by Reed Waller’s band.) I guess patience really is a virtue. I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up.
Be sure to check out the first issue of Watson and Holmes (New Paradigm Studios, MAY13 1211, $2.99, due July). There were previously two issues released digitally, but the series by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi was so well-received that it’s moving to print. It’s a good read, an African-American take on the Sherlock Holmes setup. Jon Watson is an overworked intern at an emergency clinic in Harlem. Holmes had dreds, a fedora, and the annoying certainty you expect from the character. The art’s astounding, gritty and dramatic. You’d think with Sherlock and Elementary and all that people would be tired of another take on the character, but this one is fresh and interesting. Some of the conventions of the genre — the motherly housekeeper Mrs. Hudson, the use of street kids as Irregulars to gather information — actually make more sense in this setting. There’s a lengthy preview online.
Stumptown Volume 2 (Oni, MAY13 1214, $29.99, due September) collects the mystery by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth. It’s gripping, with a strong sense of place and culture, updating the traditional PI-style story for Portland and the music scene.
I’ll miss Bakuman, the crazy manga series about two young creators. It was nice having new volumes to look forward to, since I enjoyed reading a soap opera about making comics. Volume 20 (Viz, MAY13 1321, $9.99, due August) completes the series.