Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dark Horse / Image Preview Review for August

Lee: Well, it was a good month for Dark Horse but an absolutely amazing month for Image. They are really offering some great things these days. The influx of foreign artists has given the line some truly breathtaking art these days. I am looking forward to many of their offerings.
Jim: Image seems to be acting as a packaging house for different studios. Very reminiscent of the golden age. The only difference is that we have credits.

CLASSIC COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS #7: THE GREEN LAMA 5"tall, Limited to 350 hand-numbered piecesPackaged in a full-color tin box with a small booklet and a vintage-style pinback button The sculpting and packaging design is inspired by the original “Golden Age” version of one of the era’s most interesting heroes, The Green Lama, and echoes the look and feel of his earliest comic appearances.
Lee: This is really pricey for $50 but I think that it’s a great idea. The Green Lama was one of the bigger Golden Age heroes and it’s nice to see him getting some love. This is a great idea if only to raise awareness of the Golden Age characters. It would be better if it were cheaper but I take what I can get.
Jim: If he was one of the bigger Golden Age characters how come I never heard of him until just recently. I agree that it is nice to see something like this get some love, but let’s get the material itself reprinted also.

THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE DEPARTURE OF MISS FINCH NEIL GAIMAN (W) and MICHAEL ZULLI (A)FC, 56 pages $13.95 HC, 7" x 10"Come, come and hear of the strange and terrible tale of Miss Finch, an exacting woman befallen by mystery and abduction deep under the streets of London! New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman delivers another stunning hardcover graphic novel with longtime collaborator Michael Zulli (Creatures of the Night; The Sandman). This “mostly true story” combines the author’s trademark magic realism with Zulli’s sumptuous paintings, and has been newly rewritten for this hardcover. Join a group of friends, with the stern Miss Finch in tow, as they enter musty caverns for a subterranean circus spectacle called “The Theatre of Night’s Dreaming.” Come inside, get out of the pounding rain, and witness this strange world of vampires, ringmasters, illusions, and the Cabinet of Wishes Fulfill’d. This is the first comics adaptation of his popular story "The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch," which saw print only in the U.K. edition of Gaiman's award-winning work Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions and was recently interpreted for his Speaking in Tongues CD.
Lee: I’ve read Gaiman’s “Smoke and Mirrors” and it was excellent even without pictures. Now a chance to see it with pictures… AND pictures by Zulli!!! Not to be missed.
Jim: Newly rewritten? What does that mean? Also “mostly true” means it is all a fiction. Still Lee (and I’m sure my daughter Gwen) enjoy Gaiman. Still, I’m not 100% sold on Gaiman for my taste in books.

Lee: Everyone knows about Fear Agent at this point but I love the cover. Basically bloodless except for the poor slob in the background who gets his face disintegrated. Hee hee face disintegration. Gotta love that!
Jim: The cover is terrific, has a very ECish feel to it. Fear Agent is a really cool book and I’m glad to see it thriving as a franchise.

THE GROO 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL MARK EVANIER (W), SERGIO ARAGONÉS (A), and TOM LUTH (C)Celebrate twenty-five years of the world’s stupidest barbarian doing stupid and barbaric things! After a brief hiatus, the Champion of Cheese Dip is back to battle the menace of “The Plague,” an all-new story by the same guys responsible for all the Groo stories for the last quarter-century, Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier. Also, thrill to The Groo Alphabet, a primer of that hero’s friends and foes (mostly foes), followed by a special illustrated text story by Sergio and Mark on how this comic came to be and why it just won’t go away. Plus other silly features.
Lee: Groo turns 25. A major accomplishment in this day and age and still good. It helps to be done by two of the best in the industry. But, this is a great book to try if you are wondering about it. Highly recommended.
Jim: Groo was always a sometimes read for me as I thought the humor became redundant at times, but it is very well done and if you have never read any of it you should try it out.

GLENN BARR’S 11" HELL’S PROPRIETOR VINYL FIGURE Glenn Barr’s the Hell’s Proprietor vinyl figure. Available in two colors and standing 11" tall, Hell’s Proprietor has made an appearance in many of Barr’s paintings and sketches.
Lee: $75 is pricey but these guys are so cute. And Glenn Barr is an excellent underground illustrator. Check out his site…
Jim: At $75 they are no longer cute, they are ridiculous and destined for bargin basement sales in 3 to 6 months.

Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean present their masterpiece in a completely remastered and redesigned edition overflowing with bonus material! Serialized in The Face in 1989, expanded and revised into a graphic novel in 1992, and adapted for radio in 2000, Signal to Noise has never stopped evolving. The bonus material in this first-time hardcover edition captures every leg of the journey, including three related short stories unseen in nearly two decades, an additional chapter created for the CD release of the radio drama, and a new introduction by Dave McKean along with the original by Jonathan Carrol and the radio drama introduction by Neil Gaiman.
Lee: This must be Gaimen month because this looks like another great release. McKean’s art is always a sight to behold.
Jim: Completed remastered and redesigned = reprint and new version of old material. The fans loved getting soaked and I fall into this category of buying the same material over and over again, glad I can pass on this.

HARVEY COMICS CLASSICS VOLUME 2: RICHIE RICH SID JACOBSON (W), WARREN KREMER (W), STEVE MUFFATTI (A), and ERNIE COLON (A)FC, 480 pages $19.95TPB, 7" x 10"This mega compilation of the essential Richie collects his earliest and most substantial stories for the first time ever. Contains over one hundred of the very best of The Poor Little Rich Boy, from the beginning of the series in 1953 through the classic years of the mid-1960s. Reproduced from the crisp black-and-white printer’s proofs and original artwork from the old Harvey archives, along with sixty-four pages of color meticulously restored from the original comic book pages.
Lee: I love comics in all shapes and sizes and this is soooo cool. It’s nice to see reprints of material other than superheroes. People seem to forget that there were lots and lots of comic books besides the superheroes and this is a great way to see them. Vol 1 was Casper, now Richie Rich. Can Hot Stuff be far behind? AND, best yet, part color. Now if only Marvel and DC would put 64 pages of color into the Showcase/Essentials reprints.
Jim: I think Richie Rich probably is cheaper to reproduce and maybe the artist have no reprint page rates that are owed. This is a pass for me, but I certainly enjoyed this books when I was a child and they are certainly worth reprinting.

STAR WARS OMNIBUS: TALES OF THE JEDI VOLUME 1 FC, 440 pages, $24.95, TPB, 6" x 9"Discover the earliest known stories of the Jedi and the Sith in this massive collection! Containing the Tales of the Jedi stories “The Golden Age of the Sith,” “The Fall of the Sith Empire,” “Knights of the Old Republic,” and “The Freedon Nadd Uprising,” this humongous omnibus is the ultimate introduction to the ancient history of the Star Wars universe!
Lee: Over 400 pages for only $24.95! AND, all color. Gotta love that the Essential format is alive and well. A must for a Star Wars fan.
Jim: Star War fans even scare me. I mean the last three movies sucked and still they worship all things Star Wars. This franchise will go on forever.

EMILY THE STRANGE #1: THE DEATH ISSUE Written by Rob Reger, Jessica Gruner and Cosmic Debris, art by Buzz Parker and Stan Hill.
. . . and in the end, everybody dies! Actually, not just in the end -- they also die in the beginning and in the middle, and in all the pages in between. This is the Death issue, after all, and this is Emily the Strange we're talking about -- the black-haired girl from the underground who's taking the world by storm. Emily isn't afraid of much, and this is the issue where she proves that by going face-to-face with death itself. Now she's dying to tell you all about it. 48 pages, black and white, $3.50, in stores on August 22.
Jim: I’m not sure why these seems so appealing to me, but it is. I will probably check it out.
Lee: Let’s see, this appeals to you???? Couldn’t have anything to do with the age thing and your own proximity to death could it???? Makes a person wonder. I believe this is targeted to fan of Ed Gorey… Always interesting.

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: APOCALYPSE SUITE #1 (of 6) GERARD WAY (W), GABRIEL BÁ (A), DAVE STEWART (C), and JAMES JEAN (Cover)Once, the Umbrella Academy was unstoppable. Under the tutelage of their guardian and mentor, Dr. Reginald Hargreeves, its members spent their childhoods fighting evil and honing their extraordinary gifts. Until something went terribly wrong. Now, nine years later, the estranged members of the Umbrella Academy are reunited by the death of the only parent they’ve ever known and the rise of a new and terrible threat. Will they be able to overcome their history for long enough to save the world—one more time?
Conceived and written by Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Umbrella Academy features interior art by Eisner Award-nominated artist Gabriel Bá (De:Tales), colors by Eisner Award-winning colorist Dave Stewart, and covers by multiple-Eisner Award-winning painter James Jean (Fables).
Lee: There was a sample story in the DH FCBD book and it was interesting. It appears to be very reminiscent of Morrison’s Doom Patrol with very odd characters in very odd situations. The art will be great but I wonder about the author, Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance.
Jim: I’ll wait until a trade comes out after the series is deemed a raging success before signing up for this one. Unknown writer (with dubious credentials – what does being a lead singer in a band have to do with writing?), an artist I’m not fond of and a so-so concept.

BONDS #1 (of 3) story, art & cover DURWIN TALONFaith Warner is an up and coming cellist leading a seemingly perfect life until the night she loses her father to an assassin’s bullet. So when Faith discovers she has the opportunity to use long dormant magical abilities to exact her revenge, she takes it. Her path of retribution is a bloody one. To become an instrument of vengeance, she must sever the bonds of her happiness… and sacrifice her future. BONDS is by DURWIN TALON, artist on BATMAN: OFFICER DOWN. For more information and preview pages visit…
Lee: This looks really nice and sounds interesting too. I am intrigued that Talon is an associate professor, Indiana University School of Informatics, New Media program. I wonder if that will make the book more “artsy”.
Jim: Now this I will try out, great premise, some professional credentials, but still no writing experience, but premise wins out.

CASANOVA #8 story MATT FRACTION art FABIO MOONAn all-new storyline drawn by the stunning Fábio Moon ignites here as CASANOVA returns with the perfect jumping-on point for new readers.
Lee: If you missed Casanova the first time around then this is the place to start. The first series was excellent even though I thought the last issue faltered a little bit. BUT, this is interesting, new artist Fabio Moon is the twin (fraternal) brother to the artist on the first series Gabriel Ba. It will be interesting to see the stylistic differences.
Jim: See now I read issue #1 and hated the book. I really think it is a generational thing as a certain demographic seemed to enjoy this book. The odd thing is that I heard one person say the last issue pulled it all together and Lee says it faltered a bit. Still I don’t care if Fraction mail order monkey is drawing it, I’ll pass.

ELEPHANTMEN: HIP FLASK Jigsaw puzzle Art LADRÖNN, 1000 PIECESBecause you demanded it -- the first HIP FLASK
Lee: I hate to tell them but I never demanded this. Must have been you Jim! BUT, I do think it is an interesting gimmick. And, based upon the color palate of blue and black, I bet its really hard to put together.
Jim: Yes, I demanded the Hip Flask jigsaw puzzle, but was hoping for the 2500 piece variety. Now if you made a Legion of Super Hero puzzle I’d might consider it.

KILLING GIRL #1 (of 5) story by GLEN BRUNSWICKart & cover by FRANK ESPINOSA
What if the Mafia had their own secret service...? Sara doesn’t remember her real name. What she does know is that she traded away misery as a former prostitute and became a world-class killing machine.
Lee: Honestly, I could care less about the premise because it really doesn’t matter. All that matter is Frank Espinosa has another book out. Seriously, that is too cool for words. If you haven’t seen his art on Rocketo… Shame on you!!!! Seriously, Shame on you. You should buy this for the pretty pictures alone!!!
Jim: Rocketo was very cool, but I can see Espinosa’s art not being everyone’s taste. His style is extremely fluid and loose and at time almost tends to be too few lines. I think it conveys a real dynamic and adds to the story, but for me the premise and the art, make this a yes for me.

story DWIGHT L. MACPHERSON art THOMAS BOATWRIGHTcover DAVID HARTMAN Edgar Allan Poe just lost everything. His dead wife is haunting him in his dreams, his latest book has bombed, and the imagination that fueled his stories has become a curse. His prayer to never dream again is answered one evening as he falls asleep in an outhouse. His discarded creativity takes the form of his dream child, Edgar Allan Poo, who must now undergo a strange odyssey through the poet's troubled mind.
Lee: Jim made me pick this. His call…
Jim: Damn right I made you pick this. What a wonderfully glorious bizarre premise. A wraped childhood fairy tales and a trip through the mind of Edgar Allan Poe. The concept sold me and the fact that it is a one and done graphic novel.

STRAY TOASTERS TP story, art & cover BILL SIENKIEWICZ224 PAGES, $24.99 Locked up for a crime he didn't commit, burnt out detective Egon Rustemagick is released from a high security mental institution in order to catch a serial-killing monster who is murdering and mutilating housewives and young children. Thus STRAY TOASTERS, the legendary seminal graphic novel written and painted by one of the world's most innovative and influential comic book artists, BILL SIENKIEWICZ. STRAY TOASTERS, a full-color definitive annotated volume, showcases SIENKIEWICZ at the top of his game. Contains new cover, cover gallery and a few surprises.
Lee: Jim made me pick this too. His call…
Jim: Glad that Lee is willing to add his great thoughts to these picks. This is Bill Sienkiewicz at his most outlandish. What I remember about this book is reading it and wondering what the frell it was I just read. At $25 it is a little too pricey to dive in and read it again, but still this was Sienkiewicz learing to be the artist he wanted to be and not the Neal Adams clone he started out as.
Lee: In my defense, Yes Bill learned to be his own artist but it didn’t make the stories any more comprehensible. You said it yourself.. you read it and wondered what you read. BUT, I may buy it just to look at the pretty pictures.

Bon Jovi (Jon + Richie) 1 page- Jon Bon Jovi Item - Richie Sambora item As they say, “100 million Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong.”
Lee: OOOHHHH. McFarlane, not to be outdone by those cheap Iron Maiden action figures comes out with these!!! I CAN’T WAIT. Well, maybe I can wait alittle longer, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT. I can put Mr. Jovi on the shelf right next to Eddie from Iron Maiden, leave for an hour and see which one has “suddenly fallen off the shelf!” Mr. J gonna give Eddie a taste of some Bad Medicine!!! ROCK ON BAY-BEEEEEEE!!!!
Jim: ………………………..okay Lee.

SORROW #1 (of 4) story RICK REMENDER & SETH PECK art FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLAcover KIERON DWYER 32 PAGES BW $2.99 In 1952, the U.S. Government’s nuclear testing killed all of the good people of Sorrow, Nevada. Today, the sign in front of town reads “population zero”. The locals, however, will tell you a very different story... When a car accident strands four young travelers in this desolate ghost town, they soon find that not all that is buried is dead. A modern take on the classic ghost story SORROW mingles the psychological terror of The Exorcist with the eerie dread of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks to inspire fear in the most hardened of horror fans.
Jim: Fear Agent’s Rick Remender and a co-writer tackle a horror story. Rick Remender and good premise equals another book for me to try out.
Lee: We shall see. It sounds interesting but the hype seems to talk of all sorts of other great projects. Maybe if it were zombies….

STEVE NILES’ STRANGE CASES #1 (of ???) concept STEVE NILESstory by DAN WICKLINEart by DAVID HARTMAN 32 page FC $2.99 “THE GATHERING”The greatest monster hunters in the world are called to Holcomb Manor to hear an offer they may not live long enough to refuse. From the mind of horror master Steve Niles along with writer Dan Wickline (30 Days of Night, Unravel) and artist David Hartman (Rob Zombie’s American Witch) comes the first part of the multi-format collaboration with D2C
Jim: I like Steve Niles work and this sounds interesting, but I’m not sure how the tie-in to a video game will work. I want my comic to be in and of itself a story to follow and if I have to get a game to understand or appreciate the comic fully, then count me out.
Lee: Game comics never seem to work. And Niles didn’t write this… only the concept. I agree with Jim. A pass.

Lee: Well, I might not have been impressed with Marvel or DC this month but Dh/Image really elevated their offerings. The month looks good!! AND, even though 100 million Jovi fans may not be wrong but they can still be mullet haired geeks.
Jim: Amazing how far Image has come in offering so many diverse creators. Acting as a packaging house for Raw and Platinum studios has really given a good eclectic feel to their offering. Dark Horse has always found different niches to fit into and continues to do a great job.


  1. Colleen always insisted I looked like Emily the Strange - I guess it's the hair and the cats.

  2. You could look like Killing Girl or the cover of Sorrow too - I don't really see it, the hair is the closest thing.

  3. Jim, you should borrow the hardcover of CASANOVA from Rusty and read the whole damn series.

    It's awesome, though I will disagree with Lee on the last issue which tied everything that happened up from the previous 6 issues in a lovely fashion. (especially since he did it in less pages than a normal comic book.)


  4. Thank you for including Edgar Allan Poo, Jim! We sincerely hope you enjoy it.

    Best wishes,
    Dwight L. MacPherson
    Creator Edgar Allan Poo

  5. Dwight - Your welcome and I look forward to reading it - sounds great.