Sunday, March 25, 2007

June Preview Review Dark Horse & Image

It seems like the big two of the independent world are in the midst of a lot of mini-series and we are on 2nd or 3rd issues of, so really very little in new material.

Matt Wagner (w/a)FC, 200 pages, $39.95, HC, 9" x 12"
Many artists have lent their vision to the seductive mystery that is Grendel, and this handsome hardcover volume contains rare and never-before-seen work—including production sketches and designs—by Tim Sale, Teddy Kristiansen, John K. Snyder III, Edvin Biukovic, and more!
Lee: This looks great! I am huge Grendel nut so this is definitely coming home. With great art by Tim Sale, Teddy Kristiansen, John K. Snyder III, Edvin Biukovic how can you say no???? The text this is like the “Art of Hellboy” and “Art of Sin City” which were other DH art books. That leads to my only qualm about this, which is, while I love art books, it’s still only an art book. I question how many times I will go back and revisit this.
Jim: See, I agree whole heartly with you on this one. Great art, but I won’t open it enough times in the future to make it worth it.

Charles Vess (w/a)FC, 200 pages, $39.95, HC, 9" x 12"
This magnificent oversized hardcover edition is the ultimate presentation gallery for Vess’ stunning visions, and will never again be available in hardcover.
Lee: And, this is another of the oversized HC’s. In this case I really like Vess’s artwork but I am not sure I want 200 pages of fairies and sprites. No matter what, I am sure this will be really pretty to look at.
Jim: To look at from afar. Vess is a wonderful artist, but the material he covers most often I can only deal with in smaller doses.

FEAR AGENT: THE LAST GOODBYE #1 Rick Remender (w), Tony Moore (p), Ande Parks (i)
Lee: The first issue of Fear Agent at his new publisher. If you haven’t been reading this series then this is a great place to jump on. Highly recommended.
Jim: Fear Agent is about a die hard kind of hero, who is a hard drinking cynical, half assed cowboy. All over the top fun and monster chasing, with an underlying story that slowly fills in the character and back story. Just a flat out terrific book and will probably be a motion picture one day.

Mark Verheiden (w), Dan Barry (w), Chris Warner (a), Ron Randall (a), Dan Barry (a), and various
FC, 440 pages, $24.95, TPB, 6" x 9"
Now, the three core Dark Horse Predator graphic novels—Concrete Jungle, Cold War, and Dark River—and several other chilling Predator tales, some never before reprinted, are collected together for the first time, in a value-priced, quality-format omnibus, featuring over 400 explosive story pages in full color. The definitive comics collection of all things Predator starts here!
Lee: I am glad that DH is collecting these old movie tie-in series. Between this and Aliens, it’s good to see the old material back in print. But, here comes the same-old same-old complaint. Why the small size?
Jim: Because it is in color. Also I think they are experimenting with the smaller size for book store sales. When you walk into a Barnes and Noble and go into the graphic novel section I see kids always sitting down and reading all of the magna books and the “American” graphic novel get no love form these kids.

SCREW HEAVEN, WHEN I DIE I’M GOING TO MARS Shannon Wheeler (w/a)For longer than a decade Shannon Wheeler’s flagship character Too Much Coffee Man has cast his tender, cynical gaze on lots of stuff that deserves to be made fun of, from the insipidity of coffee consumer culture to the horrendous reality of dating. This latest collection of short cartoons takes a step back from the cartoonist’s usual scrutiny of mundane pettiness and takes a somewhat sweeter look at life’s bigger issues. The result is the funniest, most sharply executed collection of Wheeler’s comics ever.
Lee: Don't know what this is about but I love the title!! Shannon Wheeler is best known for Too Much Coffee Man so if you like that you will like this.
Jim: This is one of the few times I have been tempted to buy a book, just for the title. The fact that I’m a big John Carter of Mars fan helps and I may steal this line in some future conversation.

STAR WARS: 30TH ANNIVERSARY VOLUME 6— ENDGAME John Ostrander (w), Welles Hartley (w), Jan Duursema (a), Douglas Wheatley (a)FC, 144 pages, $24.95, HC, 7" x 10"
Each month, this series will bring readers a limited-edition hardcover of the best of Dark Horse’s Star Wars graphic novels. Available only through Direct Market retail outlets, each volume’s print run is limited to initial orders.
Lee: I don't know how I missed this previously but this looks neat. I assume that it’s a must have for any Star Wars fan. I find it interesting that this is done as DM only. Interesting.
Jim: Star Wars has never been all that for me and I have lost interest in the franchise over the years.

ReelArt Studios presents a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs's iconic jungle hero, Tarzan of the Apes. Inspired by the classic illustration of Burroughs artist J. Allen St. John, the statue depicts Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja, his fierce golden lion from the dust cover of the 1923 first edition A. C. McClurg book of the same title. 10 inches tall, limited to 1,000 units, $189
Jim: This is the type of stuff that I love. I won’t buy it because I have no where to properly display and still maintain my marriage, but if you want to buy it for me as a gift, then I will find a place to display it.
Lee: I don’t know. If I gave a gift of this obvious excellence would it be …. Weird? I wouldn’t want this statue to interfere with our relationship!!! OH FOR GOODNESS SAKES JUST GO BUY IT ALREADY!!!! If my wife didn’t divorce me over the Godzilla snow globe your wife won’t leave you over this trinket.

THE RIDE: DIE, VALKYRIE! #1 written Doug Wagner art Brian Stelfreeze, cover Jason Pearson Hot chicks, a stolen '68 Camaro, tons of guns, a car chase and a mess of dead bodies. All this and the hottest teen-assassin in comics as a cherry on top!
Jim: There are so many things wrong with this book, that it makes me want to buy. A too young “hot” girl as an assassin and the nuns are what – her teachers? Looks like it might be worth checking out.
Lee: Wow. Talk about the ol’ Bait-n-Switch. Dollar says the story has little or nothing to do with the cover art! BUT, if this looks interesting you may want to try…

THE RIDE, VOL. 1 TP (NEW PRINTING) story Ron Marz, Chuck Dixon, Doug Wagner & Cully Hamner art Jason Pearson, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Rob Haynes, Chris Brunner, Doug Gregory, Georges Jeanty & Dexter Vines BACK IN PRINT - WITH MORE PAGES!
Volume 1 contains five amazing stories featuring bullets, babes, murder & mayhem, all from the driver's seat of a car that exudes muscle and power. Exclusive bonus material includes: a new color cover gallery, character designs, pin-ups, commentary, plus a foreword from industry legend HOWARD CHAYKIN!
Lee: This collects the 4 issue miniseries The Ride. It’s basically 136 pages for $13 which isn’t all that bad a deal. The story itself is pretty good but the art… oh la la the art is great. It’s worth for the Pearson art alone but all in Stelfreeze and Hamner and the others. A very good deal. Now, my only complaint… since I purchased the first print, why the added pages? All this does is screw me. That part doesn’t make me happy at all.
Jim: But at least you got screwed.

SAM NOIR, VOL. 1 TP story Eric A. Anderson & Manny Trembley art & cover Manny Trembley
Follow along with Sam Noir as he blazes a trail of blood and vengeance from the Far East to the deep tropics! Collected for the first time ever in one volume are "Samurai Detective" and "Ronin Holiday"... including extras that no Sam fan can live without-now with 20% more stabbing!
Lee: I am looking forward to this. Fantastic art from a potential up-n-comer and a hoot of a story too. AND, with 20% more stabbing how can you go wrong?
Jim: I have heard nothing but good things about this book and may have to try it out.

INVINCIBLE #44 story Robert Kirkman art & cover Ryan Ottley & Bill Crabtree
Lee: OH OH OH!!! Jim, I’m not sure if you have ever read this book BUT, Invincible is one of the best books on the shelves these days. You just have ta have ta have ta read it!!!!
Jim: Geez, Lee aren’t you over hyping this book. I mean sure it is this generation’s Amazing Spider-Man and sure to be a classic in later years. I mean once the movie hits and the underoos, then everyone will like it, but a little restraint every now and again is a good thing.

DYNAMO 5 #4 story Jay Faerber art & cover Mahmud a. Asrar & Ron Riley Father's Day. Big deal, right? You buy your dad a tie and call it good. But what if you've just discovered your real father is a dead super-hero, and you've inherited one of his super-powers? Father's Day kinda takes on a whole new meaning then, doesn't it?
Jim: The first issue of this book was a great introduction to a new team book. It gave a brief origin, established the players and told a decent story all in one issue. This could be an up and coming series.
Lee: It’s hard to believe but Image seems to be slowly but surely building a steady line of superhero books. Invincible, Noble Causes, and now this. Kudos to succeeding where so many have failed. But, I’m still gonna wait for the trade.

Next up with be our review of the June books for the rest of the independents and that takes a little more time as we try to look through a lot of material from a lot of small companies. so it will be a while before we get that done.

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