Wednesday, September 12, 2012

IDW Preview Review for November

I’m running solo again with some commentary (unless one of my compatriots wants to add commentary after the fact) on selected IDW offerings. In general I consider IDW to be the premier publisher of hard cover collections. They will have some higher cost offerings, but every hard cover collection I have gotten from them is a quality product. The comic book offerings are a mixed bag of licensed material and original material, but the licensed side appears to be a method for a smaller publisher to guarantee a built in audience for some of their books. Also IDW appears to give thoughtful consideration to what they do with their licensed characters and care about what they produce.

Written by Duane Swierczynski, art by Nelson Daniel, Paul Gulacy, cover(s) by Zach Howard, Ashley Wood, Jim Starlin, Whilce Portacio.
In the 22nd century, crime runs rampant in Mega-City One, home to over 400 million citizens, robots, criminals and lunatics. The only line of defense between anarchy and chaos are... the Judges. And Judge Dredd is the toughest of them all. In this, Judge Dredd's 35th anniversary year, IDW is proud to re-introduce Judge Dredd to America in this all-new ongoing series. 32 pages, $3.99. 
Jim: I’m happy to see Judge Dredd back. I have not read any Dredd adventures for a long time and it is fun to see this series come under the IDW umbrella. The old 2000 AD material was so raw and Dredd was an uncompromising character. I hope those elements remain in the book coming out in a more PC time. I also loved the Cursed Earth story lines and enjoy many of the supporting characters. It is safe to say that I’m excited to see this US revival.

Written by John Wagner, art and cover by Brian Bolland.
This luscious, oversized hardcover volume collects as many Brian Bolland-illustrated Judge Dredd stories as THE LAW* will allow! (*Seriously, there's one we can't publish. Ever.) Within these covers the turmoil of John Wagner's Mega-City One rages, captured in such legendary tales as "Luna-1 War," "The Cursed Earth," The Day the Law Died!," "Judge Death," and many more. 248 pages, black and white, $49.99.
Jim: This is such a no-brainer. If you have the publishing rights for Judge Dredd you should collect the Brian Bolland material. Another thing I love about IDW, instead of hemming and hawing and wondering what to collect, just collect some of the crème de la crème of the series and Bolland’s work was the pinnacle of the series.
Matthew: It is good stuff and I have about 33 issues from the early 80's reprints, but I doubt I'll ever reread them now.  Anyone interested in buying them?

Written by J.M. DeMatteis, art and cover by Vassilis Gogtzilas.
Augusta Webster thought she was an ordinary girl living an ordinary life in an ordinary town. But that was before the Snabbit -- half-snake/half-rabbit -- arrived to turn Augusta's world upside down and reveal that she's anything but ordinary. A new all-ages fantasy from J.M. DeMatteis, creator of Abadazad, with astonishing art by Vassilis Gogtizilas. 32 pages, $3.99. 
Jim: Not the type of book that I would get at this point in my life. The reason I picked it out and mention it is because DeMatteis is a quality writer and I like that this type of material is being produced. If I had a young daughter I would be buying this to read with them or let them read on their own depending on their age. My daughters are a little old for me to get this book for them (26 and 30). Heck the cover looks so good I may get it anyway.

Written by Joe Hill, art and cover by Gabriel Rodriguez
A season of lies and murders has come to a head; the shadows rise and the water falls, as Dodge approaches the Black Door... with the Omega Key in his possession and nothing left to stand in his way. 32 pages, $3.99. 
Jim: The final arc in what is one of the best comic book series ever produced. You can put this up with Echo, Scalped, Preacher and other stories that have been produced over the years. In addition let me state that Gabriel Rodriquez’s art absolutely brings to life Joe’s characters. The book would not have been as great of a series without him.

Written by Harvey Kurtzman, art by Wally Wood, Bill Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Basil Wolverton, more, cover(s) by Harvey Kurtzman.
Celebrate the 60th anniversary of MAD in a BIG way! Before MAD Magazine was read in nearly every household, there was MAD Comics. Written and edited by the brilliant Harvey Kurtzman, and drawn by the best and most creative cartoonists of the time, including Wally Wood, Bill Elder, Jack Davis, and Basil Wolverton, MAD was the most innovative satirical publication ever unleashed upon the youth of America.
This very special Artist's Edition features nearly 20 incredible stories and a dozen classic covers -- Every issue of MAD from #1 to #18 is represented by either a cover or story (and often both!) and is scanned from the actual original art and printed same-size as drawn -- A massive 15 x 22 inches! If you are a fan of MAD, or just great cartooning, this is the Artist's Edition for you! 176 pages, black and white, $112.50. 
Jim: I would love to buy this, but have to draw the line with some stuff. The artist editions are fantastic books. I have been reading the Wally Wood book, which is the largest book I own. It is amazing to see the level of detail that Wally put into his work. This was long before the computer was around to help with so many details. The shame of that time frame is the art was shrunk so far down I think it hurt the presentation and made some of the work look cluttered and muddy. I only read a story or two at a time and almost cringe since I know that the act of actually reading this book impacts its condition, but these books are a great way to be able to enjoy the art and to read the stories. Plus I will never sell this book and believe in enjoying what I own. I would recommend buying at least one of these books especially if they collect one of your favorite artists.

Written by Mikey Neumann, art and covers by Augustin Padilla.
"Roland." For the millions and millions of fans of the smash-hit video game BORDERLANDS, a lingering question exists: how did the Vault Hunters get on the bus with Marcus in the first place? Find out how Roland got on the bus with Mordecai, Lilith, and Brick in this exciting look at the soldiers of the Crimson Lance and what made him leave their ranks and search for the Vault. Surprises abound in the first part of a four-issue series chronicling where Borderlands began! 32 pages, $3.99. 
Jim: I picked this book just to highlight all the licensed material that IDW is involved in. Like Dark Horse, it appears from my view to be the foundation for the company to help ensure financial stability. These books may not always appeal the regular comic book fan, like me, but they have a built in audience. I have gotten into GI Joe Cobra series and find it to be one of the better ongoing series which goes to show there is broader appeal with some of the books. IDW does GI Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, TMNT, True Blood, Magic The Gathering and others. Not all of this material is stellar, but there is a level of care and craft that IDW seems to put into every project that is not matched by all publishers.

Written, art and cover by Berkeley Breathed.
It's Berkeley Breathed's final spin around the dance floor with his most quirky and endearing character -- Opus. The Pleasant penguin has long been the moral center of the Berkley-verse, and nowhere is that as abundantly clear as in his own self-named book. Aside from our waddling friend, this book contains numerous characters readers will fondly remember from the days of Bloom County. This volume collects the entire run of Berkeley Breathed's Opus, from first to last, and features an introduction and running commentary from Breathed. 288 pages, $39.99. 
Jim: I have absolutely loved Berkeley Breathed work over the years. Along with Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes I thought it was some of the best cartoon strips ever produced. Both men, to my knowledge, did all of their own work. Also both walked away from their strips when it was no longer working for them. Breathed’s work is often a little more “of its day” and may not be as ageless as Calvin and Hobbes, but the last gasp for the strip is collected here and focused on Opus. This completes the run and I love have this collected edition on my book shelf.

Matthew: I don't have much to add to Jim's picks, but they're are a bunch of other cool books worth mentioning...

Written by Thom Zahler, cover(s) by Zahler and Mike Manley.
After last issue's surprise announcement, Amazonia has returned to her home dimension of Leandia. And that's not the only thing that's new. Darkblade has sidekicks to train, Amazonia gets a replacement back on Earth, and Abby's bookstore does something it never has before. The baby's not the only change that's coming. 32 pages, $3.99.
Matthew: This is one book I will definitely NOT be getting, but only because I’m getting it in Trades.  I LOVE this series; it’s superb and I can’t wait to see Thom at Comic-con where  hopefully I’ll commission him to do something special to celebrate my upcoming 20th wedding anniversary (I’ve already got prices, but need to sell some Silver Age Spidey’s first).

Written by Mike Johnson, art by Stephen Molnar, cover by Tim Bradstreet.
The countdown to next year's STAR TREK sequel continues here, in an all-new re-imagining of the classic "Mirror Universe" story! Witness the transformation of the new Enterprise crew in part one of this blockbuster story, overseen by STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci! 32 pages, $3.99.
Matthew: Another book I probably won’t be getting, but from what I’ve heard is a great series anyway.  I picked up the first few issues and liked them, but dropped it due to financial considerations.  “Mirror Mirror” is my favorite original Star Trek episode, so this should be great (I really love the new alternate movie universe too.)

Written by Scott & David Tipton, art by J.K. Woodward & Gordon Purcell, covers by Woodward.
The Doctor and his companions must travel into the past and navigate through one of the Federation's most crushing defeats in order to prevent an even worse fate in the present! 32 pages, $3.99.
Matthew:  This is a fantastic series or as the ninth doctor would pronounce it – FUNtastic.  The dialogue is perfect and it’s reawakening my long dormant love for Next Generation too.  I originally got this primarily for my daughter, but I’m now looking forward to each new issue.

Written by Brandon Seifert, art by Philip Bond, cover by Mark Buckingham.
First issue in a special two-part story featuring the art of Philip Bond! The stress from their past few adventures have the Doctor and Rory at each other's throats, and Amy has had just about enough. So she sends them on a boys night out, must to their chagrin, but with a TARDIS at their disposal... 32 pages, $3.99.
Matthew:  Based on the above title, I’m finally going to try the monthly comic too.

Written by Mark Waid, art and cover by Chris Samnee.
Cliff Secord, AKA, the Rocketeer, finds himself flying high over the smog-drenched skies of Los Angeles, locked in mortal combat with an ancient and terrifying creature... and then it all starts to go to Hell! Plus, the ultimate truth about Peevy's niece is revealed! The final issue of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's Rocketeer series is going full throttle and the thrills show no signs of slowing down -- miss this comic at your own peril! 32 pages, $3.99.
Matthew:  The first issue this past week was great, but man what a way to spoil the cargo surprise by soliciting this cover?!

Written by Katie Cook, art by Andy Price, cover(s) by Price x 6.
Welcome to Ponyville, home of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and all your other favorite Ponies! Something's not right in the town though, as some of the inhabitants are acting very, very strange! It's up to the Mane Six to find the source of the weirdness before it's too late! 32 pages, $3.99.

Matthew:  WHAT?!!  Oh, wait I put the wrong cover with the text…
Matthew:  We missed the IDW previews last month, but the one huge hardcover I’m looking forward to (if I sell my books again) is the Gill Kane Artist Edition.  I got the Born Again one this summer and loved it, this should be similarly AWESOME!!!

That puts a lid on IDW for this month. Often IDW costs me the most money in a month as my reluctance to buy more collected editions is over ridden by the quality of the material and quality of the presentation of the material.
Matthew: IDW is probably my favorite publisher right now and I agree they're collected editions are the GOLD standard! 

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