Thursday, February 01, 2007

Independent Previews - April

Around the 15th of every month the major publishers release the new books, and around the first of each month, the upcoming indie books finally see light of day. In the semi regular tradition, Jim and Lee take a look at what's coming.

Sorta like Ebert and Roper.... In case your wondering, I'm the skinny one!!!!

Late Edit by Jim: I'm not the fat one either. Forgive Lee he doesn't get out of the basement often.

ANARCHY STUDIOS/HARRIS COMICS
Vampirella Morrison & Millar Coll SC
Collecting Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's legendary Vampirella saga from Vampirella Monthly #1-6 as well two very special stories in this special trade paperback. Considered one of the finest Vampi stories ever featuring artwork by Michael Bair and Kevin Nowlan.
Lee: This falls into the “gosh I don’t know” category. It’s got great writers and great artists but it’s Vampirella. Vampirella always had great art but it has never been the strongest of stories. If you believe the hype then this is the best ever but still… it’s Vampirella.
Jim: First a preamble. Lee finds more offbeat stuff then anyone else. I thought I tried to find some different stuff but Lee beats me out all hollow. Lee’s review is spot on, for me I wish someone would do some quality reprints of the old Warren stuff.
Lee: I couldn’t agree with you more. Reprints of the old Creepy and Eeries are definitely needed. They have reprinted the first 30 or so issues of Vampirella. But, as with all Bronze age stuff, a mixed bag.

ARCHAIA STUDIOS PRESS
Robotika HC
Creators: by Alex Sheikman & Joel Chua
Lee: I just got this and I must say, some of the nicest artwork around. Absolutely beautiful stuff. The story works fairly well but the art!!! Did I mention the art? I picked this up on a whim and am quite happy with it. I am recommending it for art fans everywhere. If you want to know more, google Robotika and you can find preview pages and lots, and lots of positive reviews.
Jim: Never heard of this before, but Lee shared a little of this book and the art is fantastic. Looks to be of interest.

ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Betty & Veronica Double Digest #151 - THE BEGINNING OF A SPECIAL FOUR-ISSUE SAGA FEATURING RIVERDALE'S FAVORITE TEENS IN A WHOLE NEW LOOK!
Lee: Is there anything more wrong in the world than this? Poor Steven Butler (artist) because he has the thankless job of updating B&V. I want to run away screaming. In fact, I shall AAAAUUUUGGGHHHH
Jim: Sometimes an old classic should remain the same. I know low sales may be driving them to try something different, but some things should remain timeless. I’m not sure if I want Betty and Veronica to be too real.

BALLANTINE BOOKS
Flight Vol. 1 & 2 SC
- Flight is a full-color anthology of short stories by some of the hottest creators in the field. The artists range from top animators working at Pixar and other major studios, to emerging web cartoonists and established comic book and graphic novel creators.
Lee: Believe it or not my local library had these. They are quite good. If you like stories that aren’t superheroes and like new and different art then these are the books for you. They are fun, light reads that I actually shared with my kids. Good stuff.
Jim: Lee knows good art, but I would have to see this stuff to know if I have an opinion on it or not.

BOOM! STUDIOS
Hero Squared Vol. 1 SC
–Lee: This falls into the “wonder what Jim thinks” pile. I’ve read mixed reviews. Jim reads darn near everything so I shall trust his judgment… or not. Depends if he’s being a weenie on the day in question.
Jim: Best sitcom going right now. A laugh out loud fun book, that portrays one powered and non-powered version of the same character, now forced to live in the non-powered one’s world. Great stuff, about heroes, relationships and exploring your inner self.

CHECKER BOOK PUBLISHING GROUP
Little Nemo In Slumberland Vol. 1 Limited Hc - by Winsor McCay, Lee: Let’s start with 280 pages. Sized 9x12. Price, $14.95. No matter what you cannot, absolutely cannot go wrong with this collection. Windsor McCay is considered one of the finest illustrators, bare none, ever. EVER. Little Nemo IS the standard for comic strip story telling. Besides being beautifully illustrated, it’s a good read. You can’t go wrong. If you have ANY interest in the history of your hobby, this book is for you.
Jim: Not for me.
Lee: 280 pages HC for $15???? You need to try this. I've wasted more on books that were far worse than this. $15!!!!

FANTAGRAPHICS
Our Gang Vol. 2 Sc – Creators: by Walt Kelly
Lee: Walt Kelley of Pogo fame does the infamous Little Rascals. Vol 1 of this series was a great read and my understanding is he starts to hit his stride with Vol 2. A great series of shorts, that gives great insight into what life was like before TV and video games. As close to slice of life as the 40’s would allow.
Jim: Never was a fan of Pogo, but admired the art. I personally don’t enjoy many comic strips. Prince Valiant is my favorite, then I go for humor with Calvin and Hobbes as the all time best. This – not so much.
Lee: To clarify, this isn’t a strip reprint. These are reprints from the actual comic books so they read like comics and not like strips. You have to remember, especially in the 50’s, comic books were the ugly step child of cartooning. The real money was in newspaper strips or animation. Many creators only took jobs in comics so they could hone their skills enough to go into the dailies. Still, highly recommended.

FRECKLEBEAN GROUP
Nick Cardy Comic Strips Sc -
Nick Cardy's complete run on the 1950 Tarzan strip, published for the first time in its entirety! Also, see Nick's gorgeous renditions of Lady Luck, Casey Ruggles, and more!
Lee: Another just don’t know. Adventure strips were so huge in the 40-50’s and had such an impact upon many of the modern cartoonists. And Nick Cardy is such a good artist. This is worth noting but not sure if it’s coming home yet.
Jim: Now with Nick Cardy and Tarzan, you could convert me to getting this book. Sounds great.

IDW PUBLISHING
Adventures In Oz Hc – by Eric Shanower
Lee: Supposedly Eric Shanower created some of the greatest Oz stories ever. He is a huge Oz fan and it showed. But, the details, 328 pages at 8x11. So far so good. $75 OUCH. If it was less I would consider it but $75 is a killer. This might be an ebay special some day!
Jim: Also from IDW this Month is Templesmith’s Wormword the Gentleman Corpse #7. It’s only $4. I love Shanower’s work, but Oz and $75 – no way.

Complete Dick Tracy Vol. 2 Hc - Volume Two once again contains nearly 500 comic strips from the series' early years, this time covering material that originally ran from May 1933 through January 1935.
Lee: More adventure strips. The classic Dick Tracy. I am working my way through volume 1 now. Good stuff.
Jim: Again not a fan of this stuff.
Lee: I am not the worlds best historian on strip art but I feel that it is such a part of the heritage of comics that it is worth investigating. The first comic books were reprints of daily strips so there must be something to them. AND, with the really fancy HC’s they produce them in, they look nice on the shelf.

MARKOSIA
Hunger Vol. 1 Sc - Description: While on vacation in New Orleans, a college student named Charlie is kidnapped, murdered, and brought back to life as a zombie. Now he must find a way to go about his day-to-day unlife in the face of a criminal organization, the police, and his own uncontrollable fits of homicidal rage. Lee: There is so much out there these days that could be good, could be bad. This definitely falls into that category. An interesting premise, just not sure if I can commit to it.
Jim: Good premise, but I like 30 Days of Night and Walking Dead and after that I’m now zombie’ed out.

NBM Publishing
Trailers SC -
Lee:
This is one of the books that I took a chance on and was really happy with. This wasn’t all that much of a risk because NBM has some great books. They tend to be very conservative in their listings so you know that you are getting quality. But, this is your basic $12.00 graphic novel that puts ordinary teens in really bad spots. Very similar to the movie “Shallow Grave” if you’ve seen it. Boy ends up killing bad man who deserves it, chops up the body to hide it, and then… here’s a surprise…. Things start to go wrong.
Jim: Sounds very cool, but I want to see this product before buying it.

ONI
Annotated Northwest Passage SC

Lee: Historical fiction. Excellent creator. Award nominated. This just might have to come home. Google the author and you can locate a five page preview too!
Jim: Hmmm – I may have to look into this also. Lee may cost me money.

PANTHEON BOOKS
Black Hole Collected Hc - by Charles Burns
Lee: Yes, yes I have this too. BUT it’s classic horror. And a great looking HC to boot. If you haven’t gotten it already then you really need to.
Jim: Lee is the master of the obscure, I have never seen or heard of this.
Lee: I can’t believe you never heard of this. Burns art is fantastic and the story is great too. Very, very strange. This was done around the same time as Art Spiegelman's underground stuff. Spiegelman of Maus fame for the uneducated. AND, if you haven’t read Maus, SHAME ON YOU!!!

PURE IMAGINATION PUBLISHING
Will Eisner: Edge Of Genius Vol. 1 Sc - B&W.
Lee: This is a great collection but really only for those interested in the Golden Age. A great way to see some of the classic artists. Expensive but really nice quality.
Jim: I have done enough of Eisner for awhile. Great man and a true genius, but I don’t need to see every page he has done.

STERLING PUBLISHING
Batman: the Dailies 1943-1946 HC
Batman: the Sunday Classics 1943-1946 HC

Lee: Another, this looks so cool. For the Superman movie, they did the dailies and Sundays in HC and those were great fun. I expect no less from this.
Jim: Again not a fan of this material, so I’ll defer to Lee’s opinion.

TASCHEN AMERICA L.L.C.
Little Nemo Complete Works Hc - Available again. Creators: by Winsor McCay Description: A reproduction of some of the Little Nemo comic strips from the early 20th century. This volume reflects the distinctive art-noveau style of the original drawings and follows Little Nemo as he journeys nightly into the world of dreams.
Lee: I already spoke about Little Nemo BUT, this collection, not complete is 432 pages at 9x12, for $30. This I already have and I love it. It’s oversized so if you have any wishy-washy, mamby, pamby, “ooohhh I don’t like big books on the bookcase” issues. Stay away. BUT, if you want a good Little Nemo primer, start here.
Jim: Enough of the Little Nemo, Lee thinks I have issues??

TITAN PUBLISHING
Shaun The Sheep Comic #2 -

Lee: I won’t get this but Shaun the Sheep is AWESOME. I loved Wallace and Grommit!!! It’s worth mentioning because every time I see it advertised it brings a smile to my face. And, if my kids were just a wee bit older I would be getting it.
Jim: Cool that there is a comic book on this, love Nick Parks stuff, but I will pass on the comic book form.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 1 & Vol 2- Creators: by Peter David & LeSean
Lee: I am not a huge turtles fan but I am a huge Peter David fan. I can’t imagine this not being good. BUT, will it come home? I just don’t know. Probably because my love affair with PAD’s writing overcomes all else.
Jim: Sounds like PAD getting a check and TMNT – yawn!!!
Lee: I saw somewhere that they are thinking of reprinting the original TMNT run from Eastman and Laird. How much fun would that be!!!

VANGUARD PRODUCTIONS
Bucky O Hare And The Toad Menace Gn
- Larry Hama & Michael Golden
Lee: I include this only because THIS IS THE BIGGEST RIPOFF EVER!!! Seriously, Black & White 5x7??? What is that crap??? Bucky O'Hare is a great, great story with some of Michael Golden’s best artwork. SOME OF HIS BEST!!! Right off the micronauts series (which will never be reprinted) … it doesn’t get any better than this. SO THEY SHRINK THE ART AND MAKE IT B&W. Not to mention they don’t leach the color for the B&W, they only use a B&W copier which really smears everything. What a colossal waste. I have the original series as published by Continuity in “Echoes of Future Past” series. Find those instead… usually in the dollar bin.
Jim: Sounds like a crap reprint. But Buck O’Hare – great, great story. Maybe I was high when I read it back in the day.
Lee: It is a crap reprint and you aren’t alone thinking it’s good. We definitely need more Golden material reprints. Heck, we need any Golden material reprinted.

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