Jim: The independent books are always a little different to do as often they will have re-solicits for books that never got published or just re-solicits to try and generate more sales on a book. The independents are more like prose books in that it is not just published once and forgotten.
ZOMBIES GN - B&W.
This zombie-themed anthology features thirty new and exclusive strips from Leah Moore (Savage Tales), John Reppion (Raise The Dead), Kieron Gillen (Phonogram), Steve Bissette (Swamp Thing), and a wealth of emerging talent from the UK and The Centre of Cartoon Studies. Don't miss this lively collection of self-contained scary, funny, tragic, and dramatic zombie stories, featuring a cover by Bisette! 168 pages.
Lee: I’m not sure who Accent UK is but they seem to have lined up some pretty impressive talent. New work by Bissette is not to be missed.
Jim: I would have to agree, but my guess is that we are talking about one or two pages by one or two strong talents and a lot of "I don't know who they are " talent.
GOLDEN AGE GREATS SPOTLIGHT VOL. 1 by Matt Baker & Various.
The most celebrated good girl art feature of the Golden Age - Phantom Lady! The biggest volume of vintage Phantom Lady reprints ever offered, dating back to her first appearance in Phantom Lady #13, and packed with lots of Matt Baker artwork!
Lee: I have this collection and it’s great. If you’ve never read Phantom Lady then you are in for a treat because it is Golden Age Silliness at its best. Seriously, this is some of the best GA cheesecake ever. The book has pretty good reproduction and currently the only way to see these stories.
Jim: Phantom Lady has always had the most outrageous costume of any super hero. It makes sense that she was created to just be a cheesecake type character. Lee you will have to let me borrow your copy of this book.
ARCHAIA STUDIOS PRESS
ENGINEER #1 - [of 4] Full Color. by Churilla, Shepherd & Churilla.
An ancient entity feasts on the fabric of space and time. Only one man can stop it: The Engineer. Utilizing a colossal pipe organ that enables pan-dimensional travel, The Engineer pursues the lost components of The Konstrukt, an archaic mechanism that enables whoever possesses it to manipulate reality itself. The Engineer struggles to restore The Konstrukt, to use it to defeat the creature and undo the damage already done. 32 pages. Previews can be found at http://www.brianchurilla.com/
Lee: It looks interesting that’s for sure. I wonder Archaia is getting this stuff? I’m really wondering if this was originally European.
Jim: A fair amount of their stuff is European. I had a chance to talk to one of the group at the Baltimore Comic-con and they do the translations on the books after they contract for the US publishing rights. In fact Secret History was supposed to be Seven books and now it may have 13 in total.
MISERICORDIA #1 - [of 11] Full Color. By Rebekah Brem
Humanoid robots have supplanted humanity and assumed dominion over the Earth, and for generations, human escapees from the asylums have built underground refugee cities. One such human - Luscinia Solita - journeys to the surface to trade drugs with the humanoids for records and information. Her misadventures on the Surface lead her to a young humanoid boy obsessed with humans. As infatuation and loneliness begin to push the boundaries between enemies, Luscinia's actions threaten to place the future of the human race in jeopardy. 32 pages.
Lee: Now, as hooks go this sounds far more interesting than the Engineer. Humans trading drugs to robots in exchange for information, that’s a hook. I wish I could find more information out about it but I think I am going to have to try this.
Jim: The premise does sound fascinating, I'm confused as to why robots need drugs, but heck if I buy the rest of the premise why quibble.
GIANT MONSTER SC - Full Color. By Niles & Nat Jones.
Featuring an introduction by Bernie Wrightson, with new art penciled by Bernie Wrightson and inked by Kelley Jones! Giant Monster is the ultimate giant monster story from Steve Niles, the writer-creator of the smash-hit vampire epic 30 Days of Night. In 2013 astronaut Don Maggert's first solo manned space flight sees him disappear in the grip of an intergalactic horror. Returning to earth, he's been transformed into something that will throw the entire planet into peril! 128 pages.
Lee: Ever since seeing Godzilla as a child, I’ve had a weakness for giant monsters. This is an older series that is finally getting traded. Got pretty good reviews and good art by Nat Jones. This just might have to some home.
Jim: Steve Niles and Nat Jones doing giant monsters, you can cut me in for this one also. Just to see Bernie Wrightson inked by Kelly Jones on an art piece could be worth the price of entry.
SALEM #0 - [of 4] Full Color. By Morgan, Walsh & Hawthorne. From the screenwriter of Cellular and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift! Colonial America. Salem. For mankind's greatest sin against God, they were born - the Coven of Thirteen. Thirteen witches granted elemental powers, each one derived from an aspect of Christ's crucifixion. One man stands against them: Elias Hooke, a new hero in the tradition of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane or Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name! 24 pages.
Jim: The premise and the publishing company are two things that make this book one to order for me. BOOM seems to have a good knack for finding interesting stories that can translate into a graphic format. So the fact that the writer has done screenplays means nothing to me as some writers can cross over and some can't. The premise sounds good and BOOM produces some very good stories.
Lee: It certainly sounds interesting. I agree that Boom has a knack for finding good stories.
DOC FRANKENSTEIN #6 (COVER A) - Full Color. By the Wachowski Brothers, Darrow & Skroce. Burlyman humbly submits Doc Frankenstein #6 and while acknowledging that this issue may be a wee bit tardy, we boldly suggest that an issue that includes the origin story of Yahweh himself (whom you may know as God) has gotta be worth the wait! 32 pages.
Lee: WHOA!!! Doc Frankenstein has another issue??!!! It’s amazing. I like how they fess up to the lateness in the hype. It’s be nice of them to trade this and Shoalin Cowboy too.
Jim: The publishing schedule of these books is apparently once a year, still they are both entertaining books. A hardcover of Shoalin Cowboy would be fantastic, as I know Darrow would make sure it was done right.
WALT DISNEY TREASURES VOL. 2: UNCLE SCROOGE SC - Full Color.
Follow Scrooge McDuck's 60-year career in this riveting, unprecedented anthology! We've got the Beagle Boys in Carl Barks' Seven Cities of Cibola! Scrooge earns his Number One Dime in the first-ever unedited American printing of Tony Strobl's Getting That Healthy, Wealthy Feeling! Scrooge battles Magica De Spell in Marco Rota's legendary Money Ocean, then Brigitta MacBridge in Romano Scarpa's Eyewitness! John Lustig and William Van Horn present DuckTales' Windfall on Mt. G'zoontight, then Don Rosa's A Little Something Special offers a Flintheart Glomgold-plagued birthday celebration. Finally, Lars Jensen visits the far-flung future to ask, Whatever Happened to Scrooge McDuck?" 160 pages.
Lee: This is a great way to read and experience Uncle Scrooge. I have WD Treasure Vol 1 and I love it. The art is really good. The stories are great and are a great deal of fun. Just because it’s the Ducks doesn’t mean it isn’t fun or exciting.
Jim: Over the years I have tried to read some of the ducks and it just never was a genre that interested me, so this is a pass. I will say one thing the artwork by many of these guys is excellent, the amount of information that they can convey in a few simple lines is uncanny.
SATCHEL PAIGE: STRIKING OUT JIM CROW HC – by James Sturm & Rich Tommaso
Baseball Hall of Famer Leroy Satchel Paige changed the face of the game in a career that spanned five decades. Much has been written about this larger-than-life pitcher, but when it comes to Paige, fact does not separate easily from fiction. A tall, lanky fireballer, he was arguably the Negro League's hardest thrower, most entertaining storyteller, and greatest gate attraction. Now the Center for Cartoon Studies turns a graphic novelist's eye to Paige's story. Told from the point of view of a sharecropper, this compelling narrative follows Paige from game to game as he travels throughout the segregated South. In stark prose and powerful graphics, author and artist share the story of a sports hero, role model, consummate showman, and era-defining American. Available in softcover and hardcover editions. 96 pages. (7x10)
Lee: As I look closer and closer at the indy listings I see more and more historical work. I love baseball and Satchel Paige was one of the best. It will be interesting to see if they gloss over some of his “habits” that cost him a chance in MLB. And, Rich Tommaso is a great artist so this is a definite add for me.
Jim: I have to agree with Lee, that the closer I look at the indy listings the more I find of interest. I just read Parade with Fireworks which is about an oral history and that was a good book. First in Space by Oni about the first Chimpanzee shot into Space was another good historical piece. Net message, check out the listings and find what you might miss without looking closely.
CLAWS COME OUT HC - B&W. by Pat Lewis (w/a)
An apathetic scientist works late defrosting the Abominable Snowman; a naive blood donor dates a rageaholic vampire; a two-bit fortuneteller inadvertently sparks a zombie epidemic... and it's all played for laughs. Martians, werewolves, serial killers, and B-movie monsters square off against a variety of tough women in this slam-bang hardcover collection of comedy/adventure stories by acclaimed indie cartoonist Pat Lewis who has been nominated for multiple awards, including an Ignatz and the Howard E. Day Prize. 152 pages. (6 tall) Preview pages and links at http://www.lunchbreakcomics.com/theclawscomeout.htm
Lee: I love the tag line “Astounding tales of Broads and Monsters”. Just great. Of course, someone should have corrected Pat and let him know Broads (and chicks too) is passé. They are “Ho’s” these days.
Jim: LOL, I think Lee only added this book to have that remarked added in, as this was a joke between Lee and I and his horrid comic con shirt. The book sounds very funny.
WORMWOOD ONE-SHOT - Full Color. By Ben Templesmith (w & a)
Wormwood just wants a quiet beer down the club, with some time to reflect. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and their televangelist groupies might have different plans, however. as the hookers and blow that've kept them occupied since they arrived on Earth are quickly running out, and boredom is setting in. This special one-shot features an incentive wraparound cover from creator Ben Templesmith, too. 32 pages.
Lee: I love wormwood. BUT, I shall wait for the trade because I know that I will read it again years from now.
Jim: Waiting for the trade for this touch of madness is DUMB! Buy it as a comic, buy it as a trade, Wormwood Gentleman Corpse rules, baby - I said it RULES. I'm concerned that this sprang from someone's imagination and I have no idea what sort of alcoholic dreams produced it, but this is Templesmith at his best.
COMPLETE BADGER VOL. 1 SC - Full Color. Creators: Mike Baron (w); Jeff Butler (a & c) Description: Take a wild ride through comics' stereotypes with the Badger! This debut collection, in the same vein as IDW's deluxe reprints of original GrimJack and Jon Sable Freelance, includes the first four issues from Capital Comics, as well as issues #5 and #6 as published by First Comics, all written by series creator Mike Baron. What's more, Badger is back with an all-new series (which you just read about above... right?), so catch up with the original series that started it all-you'll never look at woodland creatures the same again! 176 pages.
Lee: The original Badger series was one of the first series I ever completed. This has so much sentimental value for me I will definitely be getting it. But, the first six issues are pretty good. If you want to see more I wrote a review of the first six issues at http://www.cosmiccomix.com/comics/Badger/b_index.htm
Jim: Promoting your other work in the blog - shameless. The Badger is an odd book and I understand Lee having the sentimental attachment to it, but I will have to pass. Still check it out as it is a solid read at the beginning.
MUNDEN'S BAR VOL. 1 HC - Full Color.
Written by John Ostrander, Mike Baron, and more. Art by: Brian Bolland, Steve Rude, Timothy Truman, Rich Veitch, and more
Hey, GrimJack fans, Munden's Bar has re-opened for business and you won't believe who's grabbed a stool at the Bar. Mike Baron! Hilary Barta! Steve Bissette! Brian Bolland! Rick Burchett! Del Close! Phil Foglio! William Messner-Loebs! Jerry Ordway! John Ostrander! Steve Rude! Joe Staton! Timothy Truman! Jim Valentino! Rick Veitch! Bob the Watchlizard! And, of course, ol' GrimJack himself! 208 pages of four-color bizarre thrills from the pages of the classic First Comics GrimJack run-surrounded by an all-new cover by classic underground comix legend Skip Williamson! 120 pages.
Lee: This reads like a who’s who of comics in the mid 80’s with creators all at there peak. Great writing. Even better art. These were some great stories. Well, worth adding to your collection.
Jim: Really too good to pass up. These were all stories written and drawn just to have fun. Almost like a jam session for a band.
ICCC MEDIA INCORPORATED
VATICAN CITY LAS VEGAS GN - B&W. by F. Rex & T. Wolfinger.
The grotesque patrons of casino Vatican City, Las Vegas pursue an elusive jackpot token called The Godhead. Dying author Thomas Carlyle faces mafia intrigue as Vatican City's management, the Medici Crime Family, enslaves the casino patrons with dreams of avarice. Desperate to restore some meaning to his dying life, Carlyle undertakes a surreal quest to renew a failed love affair. As the forces of evil threaten to rob human existence of all significance, Carlyle dreams a final reckoning that will bring the Medici Crime Family and all of Vatican City's managerial clergy to justice in a shocking cinematic twist! 145 pages.
Lee: I’m not sure if this is any good but there is a certain amount of irreverence about this. A casino called “Vatican City”, gotta love that. BUT, seriously a casino is a pretty good place to have a battle for souls and good vs. evil. I really wish I could find a preview somewhere before committing.
Jim: Without any sort of preview this will be a pass for me. The premise has an outlandish quality that appeals to me, I admit, but not enough to bet (pun intended) on the total unknown.
DAN BRERETON'S NOCTURNALS VOL. 1 HC - Full Color. By Dan Brereton. Doc Horror knows there are sinister forces at work trying to bring the downfall of the human race. An outcast, Doc Horror is forced to live by the dark of night, and there he finds compatriots who must also shun the light of day. Polychrome, The Gunwitch, Starfish, Firelion, Komodo, and The Raccoon join Doc in his mission to save this planet - and they don't care how many monsters stand in their way! The first of three hardcovers reprinting the entire critically acclaimed Nocturnals storyline, dramatically oversized to show off every ghastly, spectral detail! Each volume contains the addition of new story material - all in preparation for the relaunch of the series on the Nocturnals' 13th anniversary in 2007! Volume 1 contains the original six-issue Bravura mini-series, Black Planet, the Witching Hour story arc from Dark Horse Presents, and the all-new origin story of how Doc Horror met the Raccoon, entitled Clean Hands. The Previews Exclusive Hardcover Edition includes an alternate Brereton cover and an additional 16 pages of sketchbook material, not found in the regular edition! 224 pages. (8x11)
Lee: Ahhh, now this is a book that I have been waiting YEARS for. It was solicited two years ago or something ridiculous like that. Now, it’s finally arriving. A nice oversized HC of Brereton’s art. This bad boy is coming to my house.
Jim: Brereton's art is extremely dark and I don't mean subject matter, he just uses a lot of heavy blacks in his artwork. I have noticed that Lee is drawn to that type of artwork. So the fact that this book is headed to his house is no surprise.
ONI PRESS INC.
QUEEN & COUNTRY VOL. 1 SC (DEFINITIVE ED.) - B&W. by Rucka & Various.
Greg Rucka's Eisner Award-winning espionage series gets a face-lift with a new series of massive trade paperbacks that collect the entire critically acclaimed series in just four volumes. This first installment collects Queen & Country #1-12 along with the short story from Oni Press' second Color Special! 376 pages. (6x9)
Lee: I’m glad this is getting collected. The series is supposedly really good but how about full size???? Is that too much to ask for?
Jim: I liked the smalled format for Whiteout and look forward to getting this one also. It is not as "bookshelf" worthy in this format, but it is very readable and portable.
PURE IMAGINATION PUBLISHING
COMPLETE JACK KIRBY VOL. 1 SC - [of 5] B&W.
Out-of-print for over a decade, The Complete Jack Kirby, Volume 1, presents 186 pages of great art by Kirby, the King of Comics, including his first 125 published pages, childhood art, early newspaper strip art, interviews, and a historical overview by Kirby authority Greg Theakston. The art has been Theakstonized for maximum clarity. 160 pages. ( 8.5x7)
LOU FINE READER VOL. 2 SC - B&W
Golden Age artist Lou Fine was influential to a generation of artists, and this 160 page retrospective will show why! Stories republished here include The Ray, The Black Condor, Doll Man, and Uncle Sam! All art has been restored using the Theakstonizing process for sharpness and clarity. 160 pages. (8x11)
Lee: These are lumped together because they are both equally amazing. Early Kirby is a treat to see but for me, this is all about Lou Fine. He is one of the greatest all time comic book artists. Kirby could tell a story but fine was an artist. This is well worth you time and money.
SAM & MAX: SURFIN' THE HIGHWAY - Partial Color. By Steve Purcell.
Steve Purcell's dog and rabbit Freelance Police Sam & Max - who first appeared in comic books twenty years ago - are returning in a new edition of the long out-of-print collection Surfin' the Highway! In addition to all contents from the 1995 original (including Monkeys Violating the Heavenly Temple, Bad Day on the Moon, and On the Road), the new edition contains extra Sam & Max content from the last decade and an updated cover. 188 pages. http://www.telltalegames.com/community/comics/samandmax/issue-1
Lee: This is one of those books that I always seem to hear about. It’s a buzz about an insane little book that I should be reading. Well, this is a nice little collection and an easy way to find out what it’s all about. The preview is cool but kinda a pain to work. Hold the mouse over each panel to get dialogue. AND, click “next” in the upper right to get to the next page. Yeah yeah lots of work but think of it as a free comic book.
Jim: Partial color? What the hell is partial color? They use just yellow and not blue. I have heard the buzz on this book for years also, but I can only get so much and this has to remian off my list at this time.
TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS
LOWER REGION GN - B&W. by Alex Robinson.
You tasted his Box Office Poison then got Tricked, so brace yourself for Alex Robinson's Lower Regions! The award winning creator follows up his acclaimed graphic novels with a bold new direction: a pretty barbarian lady with an axe chopping her way through a dungeon filled with monsters! And if that doesn't make you curious, how about this: this bloody, funny 56-page story contains only one word: Thoooom! A unique blend of mayhem, cheesecake and humor, Alex Robinson's Lower Regions will leave you breathless. 56 pages. (8x11)
Jim: I loved Box Office Poison and Tricked, so Alex Robinson has already won me over into his good graces that I'm willing to follow him as he changes up what he is writing about. I know if I ever get a chance to write, that I never want to be pigeonholded as a one trick pony, so I'm signed up for this book.
Lee: Alex Robinson does have a really good track record. The odds are in your favor that this will be good. And, I agree, it's nice to see writers trying new things. Maybe Steve Niles should do a love story! That would stretch him. Clarification, love story without zombies, werewolves, vampires or other monsters.
VIRGIN COMICS LLC
DAN DARE #1 - [of 7] Full Color. By Garth Ennis Art and Gary Erskine
Dan Dare was once a hero. He brokered peace with alien races, pushed the frontiers of space, and saved the planet from total annihilation... repeatedly. But now, his Space Fleet has disbanded, the United Nations has crumbled, his friends scattered to the solar winds. Britain is once again the world power, but Dare, disillusioned and disappointed in his once-precious home country, has quietly retired. But there's trouble mustering in Deep Space. The H.M.S. Achilles is picking up strange signals when, suddenly, an enormous fleet of hostile ships ambushes the destroyer. As the crew struggles to stay alive, they realize with horror that the hostiles have brought a weapon of unimaginable power. Dan Dare, pilot of the future, has been called out of retirement! 32 pages. Jim: I'm a little scared of this book, but will still try it out. Ennis seems to hate super heroes, so this maybe another ripping about of an old time hero. Still he is not an America hero so we shall see. Either way Ennis is a veriiy good writer and Erskine is a good artist.
Lee: I have read the original Dan Dares and they are good for 1950's science fiction. I am not sure why the revival for a British superhero and I really wonder about the decision to use Ennis. If the Boys or Punisher is any indication this isn't going to be wholesome superheroes. Bottom line... I have no idea what to make of this but the creators are good.
Lee: This is looking to be a really good month and the Nocturnals HC is the topper. I can't wait to get it.
Jim: What I enjoy about the indy review (of which you have to include Dark Horse and Image) is that you find new things you would have never dreamed were being produced. I recently got "The Arrival" a hard cover graphic novel that Lee, Gwen and I will be reviewing in a couple of weeks. I would have never noticed it until Lee and I started really going through the small press offers and it is a fantastic piece of work. So every month is a good month even if you only find one absolute gem.