Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dark Horse / Image Preview Review for November

Jim: Well DC and Marvel were a little boring this month, so let’s see what Dark Horse and Image have to light my fire. We will start with Image books and then jump on the Dark Horse (poor pun intended).
Lee: GROAN. Do we have to start of with bad puns? Couldn’t we save them for the end? With Marvel and DC being so dull, there’s nowhere to go but up.
CAPTAIN VICTORY AND THE GALACTIC RANGERS HC story JACK KIRBY art JACK KIRBY, MIKE ROYER & MIKE THIBODEAUX376 PAGES, FC, $44.99 Image Comics’ archival collections of JACK “KING” KIRBY’s creator-owned work Pacific Comics continue with CAPTAIN VICTORY AND THE GALACTIC RANGERS! Featuring lovingly re-constructed color work, this deluxe hardcover chronicles the adventures of Captain Victory and his unique crew of space rangers as they battle such foes as the lethal Lightning Lady, the uncanny Wonder Warriors and the ominous Blackmass. A must-have for any Kirby Collector! Collects CAPTAIN VICTORY #1-13 and CAPTAIN VICTORY SPECIAL #1
Lee: Awwww, the sweet smell of Kirby. This is so excellent I can’t even begin to describe it’s greatness. Awww, who am I kidding? Of course I can describe it. Yes, yes, this came at the end of Kirby’s career but you can feel the energy that he poured into the pages. The story is… well, Kirby writes it so you know what you are getting. But, the art, the art is so nice.
Jim: I know it is Kirby, but this is like seeing Michael Jordan play for the Washington Wizards, yeah its Jordan, but it is not the prime time what an athlete Jordan. A pale imitation of their own greatness is not always to be celebrated.

ARCHIBALD SAVES CHRISTMAS #1 story DWIGHT L. MacPHERSON art & cover GRANT BOND 32 PAGES, 2C, $3.50 Archibald Aardvark went insane after the brutal murders of his brother and friends. After spending five delirious years chewing on his tongue in a mental hospital, Archibald finds himself back on the spiraling streets of Tinsel Town. Desperate and alone, Archibald has two choices: catch a psychopathic murderer or blow his brains on a wall at the Hopeless Hotel. The only problem is… he may have to do one to accomplish the other.
Lee: I am getting old. Once again that fact is proven to me because I don’t find this title humorous in the least. Don’t get me wrong, years ago I bought “Lobo’s Para Military Christmas Special” wherein Lobo killed Santa and laughed the entire time. Now that I am older, and have kids, it’s no longer funny. This is for the rebellious teen crowd, just not me.
Jim: Yeah, this is an easy pass for me. There comes a time when you understand why your parents looked at you oddly as you laughed at things that appalled them.

PAX ROMANA #1 (of 4) story art & cover JONATHAN HICKMAN32 PAGES, FC, $3.50 “CREATE THE FUTURE, DESTROY THE PAST”From the mind of comic book innovator JONATHAN HICKMAN, comes the exhilarating time-traveling epic, PAX ROMANA. The creator of THE NIGHTLY NEWS brings his unique sensibility to science fiction and the result is a visually stunning look at a new history of the world. PAX ROMANA tells the tale of 5000 men sent on an impossible mission to change the past and save the future. It's the end of the world: Will they succeed, or will they fail?
Lee: Take note all wanna be creators, one hit series leads to another. Hickman from “Nightly News” is back. And NN was so good I will definitely be giving this a try.
Jim: Hickman definitely got my attention and I’m also signing up for this book. My main worry is that he may be stuck on just one type of design.

THE CIRCLE #1 story BRIAN REED art & cover IAN HOSFELD 32 PAGES FC NOVEMBER 14 $2.99BRIAN REED, writer of the mega-hit Marvel Comics series NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI and top seller MS. MARVEL, joins forces with red-hot artistic newcomer IAN HOSFELD (ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN video game) to bring you pulse-pounding adventures in the world of international espionage!“THE GOLIATH TRAP,” Part One A stringer for MI6 has stumbled into a continent spanning battle between the deadly mercenary group, "The Circle," and a rogue CIA assassin hell bent on revenge. The prize: a stolen nuclear missile train!
Jim: This could be very good or this could be a ho-hum sort of book. Brian Reed is not a draw for me and Ian Hosfeld I am unfamiliar with, but his cover looks very good. I enjoy an intelligent action adventure, so I’m trying this one out. The hype is over stated as he is co-writer of that big hit book with Brian Bendis.
Lee: Eh. I can’t decide if there is a sign of market diversification or just a flood of crime/espionage books. Cover seems static and doesn’t impress me. A pass for me.

AFTER THE CAPE II #1 (of 3) Story HOWARD WONG & JIM VALENTINO art & cover SERGIO CARRERA 24 PAGES BW NOVEMBER 7 $2.99 "SEASONS IN CHANGE" Six months later...a new super-villain is terrorizing the city, a member of the United Heroes is crippled for life, and Ethan Falls’ wife has moved on to a new job and a new life. Ethan's alcoholism grows worse as he believes he has nothing left to lose… but he’s wrong.
Jim: The first three part story was intriguing. It is a good character study seeing Ethan Falls (a little obvious with the name) continue down into the abyss. Will he ever find a way out or has alcoholism claimed another victim.
Lee: This does sound interesting. I don’t remember that much about the first series. But, at least it’s a different take on superheroes.

THE FIRST HALF OF THE BAD PLANET SAGA CONCLUDES! It’s a spine-tingling cliffhanger that will leave you with your hair standing on end, praying that the Earth has a quick and painless end. Plus Nikola Tesla's inventions set the stage for an unwitting hero.
Jim: A book people need to be reading. If nothing else it has a DAVE STEVENS cover. This man can flat out draw. He is an illustrator of extraordinary skill. This story is fun. It has Alien Invasion of Earth, beautiful well endowed woman and an Alien Monster as a savior. What’s not to love?
Lee: Aahhh. What would an Image preview be without a mention of Bad Planet? HEY WAIT!!! What happened to Invincible? Shouldn’t we be mentioning that too?

Onward and upward to the Dark Horse picks.

• This volume features interviews with the following notable figures: Nicolas Cage, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Will Smith, and Bruce Willis.
Jim: Let’s start with a different type of project where Dark Horse is publishing some of the best of elements of Playboy magazine. I remember reading many great interviews over the years, often I would read them after I had burnt out my orbs from looking at the centerfold for that month. The best interviews were with the centerfolds. “I like long walks on the beach and just holding hands.” Which meant “I like large wallets and big gobs of cash.” I would like to see a nice collection of the Annie Fanny cartoon.
Lee: What? There were pictures in Playboy? You’re kidding me! I was so busy reading all the insightful articles and cutting edge interviews that I missed all the pictures. I fondly remember the July 96 interview with Johnny Depp. Ahh, the very big insightful interview. You could describe it as great big tracks of land of insightfulness. Sigh. Those were some good interviews. Although, they may have touched up some the articles, or brushed over some of the flaws, it made for good viewing. I mean, good reading. AND, they already did a nice Annie Fanny collection, ya missed it.

MATT WAGNER (W/A), JOE MATT (C), and GREGORY WRIGHT (C) On sale Dec. 19HC, 216 pages $99.95 Ltd. Ed. HC, 7" x 10" Limited to only 300 copies, each one autographed by the artist and numbered, this hardcover edition of Batman/Grendel is a must-have for all serious fans of master storyteller Matt Wagner!
Jim: So screw the trade paper back I have to get me one of these hard cover puppies. Price be damned!
Lee: ME TOO! And, since I know the owner of store we visit is getting one, that’s 1% of the order going to Maryland.

THE SCREAM #1 (of 4) PETER DAVID (W), BART SEARS (P), RANDY ELLIOTT (I), and LUCAS MARANGON (C) On sale Nov. 21FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries Danny Duncan’s life is a mess. His job is mind-numbingly boring, his elderly father is slipping into senility, and since Danny got out of the Belle Foux treament facility people have been saying he’s crazy. On top of all that, odd things have started to happen around Danny. People are behaving strangely around him, as if they’re reacting to his thoughts and daydreams . . . What is this strange phenomenon, and how is it tied to Danny’s recent stay at Belle Foux? Don’t miss this exciting first issue written by Peter David and illustrated by Bart Sears and Randy Elliott to find out all the answers! • Created by Mike Richardson!
Jim: Okay in my selection of comics I need a good writer (Peter David – check), decent art (Bart Sears – sometimes – check) and a good premise – check. I’m sold.
Lee: I have to agree. Peter David = good. Bart Sears = uuummm yeah. But, close enough. Peter David and Alan Moore always get passes in my book which means I am buying this.

CLASSIC COMIC BOOK CHARACTER #10: THE GOON On sale Apr. 095" tall Includes a booklet and pinback button $49.99
Jim: For the Goon this type of collectible really works. Plus how many Goon figures do you think they will make.
Lee: Even though these look great, I have trouble on $50 for 5”. That’s $10 an inch of entertainment and collectiblity. I’m just not convinced.

THE GOON: FANCY PANTS VOLUME 2—THE RISE AND FALL OF THE DIABOLICAL DR. ALLOY ERIC POWELL (W/A) On sale Jan. 23 FC, 136 pages$24.95 Ltd. Ed. HC, 7" x 10" This special volume collects all the tales of one of The Goon’s most nefarious villains—the diabolical mad scientist, Dr. Hieronymous Alloy—in one handsomely designed (and handsomely priced) signed hardcover. Chronicling the rise of the mysterious evil genius from his early days as a misunderstood visionary, to his status as one of the finest scientific minds in the world, and finally to his inevitable spiral into madness, this hardcover is a must-have for every serious fan of the Goon. What’s more, every volume is signed by Powell himself. Buying this book should be like dodging a brick—a no-brainer!
Jim: Still mad that I had not become a Goon fan when the first hard cover came out and now it is a hard one to find. So I’m signing up for this one now.
Lee: I have the first HC. I will get this one. The first one was really, really good. I am so glad I have one. I am sure that this will be good too. Did I mention I already have a copy of the HTF first HC? I am so glad I can get the second one to match the first one that I have.
Jim: Ha, ha, ha - rub it in.

GRENDEL: BEHOLD THE DEVIL #1(of 8) MATT WAGNER (W/A) On sale Nov. 21b&w&r, 24 pages $3.50 Miniseries The original Grendel, Hunter Rose, returns in this new miniseries written and drawn by Matt Wagner! This is an untold chapter in the life of the greatest criminal mastermind in history—a thrilling and horrifying glimpse into a time when Rose’s novels were at the top of all the bestseller lists and rumors of the assassin Grendel were on the lips of every terrified mobster unfortunate enough to present an obstacle to Rose’s utter domination of the city’s underworld. For the first time in over a decade, Wagner returns to the character that made him famous to reveal the biggest secret of Rose’s illustrious and bloody career as Grendel!
Jim: Okay this one has me all of a quiver with giddy fanboy glee. To see Matt Wagner return to Hunter Rose is a dream come true. I actually gave up years ago of him ever returning to Grendel. Can’t wait!
Lee: OK. Let’s start with Jim shaking and quaking in “giddy fanboy glee” just makes me… well, it makes me squeamish. BUT, I love Grendel and this is an easy pass. Why? Because I am waiting for the eventual HC that will be coming and I can’t invest twice. But, to reiterate Jim’s giddy fanboy glee, this is so cool.

Jim: Lee’s pick, because the cover reminds him of some of his favorite romance novels. I can picture a word balloon contest with this cover. “Is that your light saber Luke?”
Lee: OOOHHH, can you imagine what she would say if she encountered Darth Maul’s double ended light saber???

FEAR AGENT: HATCHET JOB #1 (of 4) RICK REMENDER (W), JEROME OPEÑA (A), and MICHELLE MADSEN (C) On sale Nov. 28 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries With little hope, left Heath and Mara are forced to separate on two desperate missions to either relocate the remnants of humanity to a new world or cleanse Earth of the infestation of Feeder aliens. On the road to the Feeders’ home world, to seek the monsters’ natural predator, Heath finds himself facing the consequences for deeds committed by humanity years before. On the other side of the galaxy the motivations for Mara’s treachery hold dire consequences for Charlotte and the new Fear Agents.
Jim: Have we mentioned Fear Agent is a good book? Well it is and you need to go and buy it and read it. Tongue in cheek, action, adventure, humor, drama and a whole lot of drinking.
Lee: I see you mentioned the adventures and drinking but did you mention the main character is pretty darn unlikable? I read Fear Agent, and Heath, the hero, is one of the few that really, really grates on me. It is a good series if you can get past the obnoxious, anti-hero lead.

DARK HORSE HEROES OMNIBUS RANDY STRADLEY (W), CHRIS WARNER (W), MIKE RICHARDSON (W), ADAM HUGHES (A), DOUNG MAHNKE (A), PAUL CHADWICK (A), CHRIS WARNER (A), PAUL GULACY (A), JERRY ORDWAY (A), TERRY DODSON (A), BRAIN APTHORP (a), and various On sale Jan. 16FC, 424 pages$24.95 TPB, 6" x 9" In the not-too-distant past, the first nuclear weapon test changed the world forever . . . but not in the way we expected. Unleashed upon the planet was a microscopic technological virus of unknown origin that infected millions—some to no effect, some to horrifying agonies and disfigurement, others with the gift of incredible and sometimes terrifying power. But would a world populated by supermen become a battleground for good against bad . . . or bad against worse? Is it true that with great power comes great responsibility . . . or does it truly come with great license? Dark Horse Heroes Omnibus collects Comics Greatest World and Will to Power, the two hit maxiseries created by Dark Horse Comics that turned the concept of the superhero universe on its head, bringing together an all-star team of creators.
Jim: A cheap way to see what for me is some really forgettable stuff. Back in the 90’s every company launched a super hero universe, this was Dark Horse’s ill fated attempt.
Lee: Yes, yes some of it’s really bad but some of the art is really, really good. And collected like this, the material may read better.

SERENITY REAVER SHIP ORNAMENT On sale Feb. 13 5 1/2" long, 2" wideCan be hung or placed on stand for display $39.99 With the fabulous response we’ve received for our Serenity ships, we are happy to continue with this line of ornaments. Last month we offered Inara’s Shuttle, and this month we are pleased to announce the Reaver Ship.
Jim: We have had sparse material for embarrassed to be a fan of comics material, but I will nominate above as the what to buy the 40 year old virgin in your life award, because if you are buying these ornaments and hanging them on your tree you are living alone and have been for a long time.
Lee: The really sad part about this ornament, DH offered a similar one last month. Someone must be buying them.

And now back to Image For:

Lee: AND, my nominee for Embarrassed to be Fanboy cover is SORROW #4
Not, only does it have the heroine in underwear, but her shirt is ripped in “convenient” places. Image and Dark Horse are never without an embarrassing cover.
Jim: Nice to know that we still have some of these covers for continued fodder as the big two has been a little light on the embarrassing covers lately.

Jim: So that’s a wrap for Dark Horse and Image and I have to say I’m more jazzed about these two companies projects then I am about DC or Marvel this month. Pax Romana and Grendel are two projects I’m really looking forward too.
Lee: It seems to be me that Image and DH are offering more and more stuff that I want to see and try these days. Maybe it comes from 20 yrs of reading Marvel/DC or maybe it comes from being sick of megaevent crossovers. Whatever the reason there’s lots of good stuff here to read.


  1. Well, I was going to say save your dough and get a free sketch and autograph by Matt Wagner at comic-con this year, but I just checked the guest list and he's not on it. Oh, well, I'll have to be content with my Batman sketch I got last year. He's a friendly guy.

    I'm hoping to get a Herb Trimpe commission this year.

    Oh Jim, I'm really enjoying those Killraven books I won.

  2. Glad you are enjoying them.

  3. the Grendel books are exciting

  4. I'm looking forward to NEW GRENDEL.

    I wish I could afford the hardcover, but next month ABSOLUTE SANDMAN VOLUME 2 comes out and I need that more than anything save a brilliant one night stand with the female cast of BUFFY.

    All of them.


  5. Ah, that's too bad you'll pass on Archibald Saves Christmas simply after reading the solicit.

    I've described the book as a cross between "Sin City" and "Roger Rabbit" or the love child of Max Fleischer and Alfred Hitchcock. It's obviously not for kids, but it IS a twisted murder mystery and a heck of a fun ride.

    Chacun son goût.

    Best wishes,
    Dwight L. MacPherson

  6. Dwight - I'm willing to be proven wrong, send us a pdf copy for a review and I'll read it and reconsider our viewpoint. Especially given how much I loved Edgar Allen Poo.

  7. Jim - I can definitely do that. Just drop me a line at and I'll get the PDF out to you.

    Dwight L. MacPherson

    PS - I'm happy you enjoyed Edgar Allan Poo!

  8. It's not a pointless cover if you actually read the story. I'm sorry to hear it wasn't to your liking,

    The wolf-headed demon character features prominently in the third issue. It's what Faith's journey has been leading up to. It made sense to feature it on the cover. That doesn't seem very pointless to me.

  9. Guin-

    As far as I can tell you're talking about "Sorrow." I can't confirm that because we don't keep images that long...

    BUT, the point of the comment was the cover features a female in a silly situation. Wether that be with ripped clothes or being a contortionist.

    It wasn't meant to be a comment on the quality of the book itself. Just on the silliness of the girl on the cover.