Sunday, April 22, 2007

Image / Dark Horse - July Preview Review

Part three of our five part series of the books solicited for July.

JACK KIRBY’S SILVER STAR HC, art & cover JACK KIRBY JACK “KING” KIRBY’S SILVER STAR is collected in an oversized full color hardcover at last! SILVER STAR is a surreal masterpiece! Insightful, thought-provoking, uproarious, frantic and deadly! SILVER STAR was Kirby’s final creation, originally published by Pacific Comics in the early ‘80s. It’s a huge, sweeping epic, filled with classic Kirby trademarks: crackling energy, memorable characters, outrageous dialogue, explosive action and ham-fisted romance!Featuring lush inks by Mike Royer and lovingly reconstructed colors by Erik Larsen, this deluxe hardcover is a must-have for any Kirby fan!
Lee: This is so out there, I can’t decide. I will probably get it because it’s Kirby. I probably won’t read it because it will be awful. BUT, I will look at it many, many times because the pictures will be so nice. Be warned, this is truly for the Kirby collector because I’m not about the writing.
Jim: I have a desire to see this material, especially since I hear that they are re-coloring it and treating the material as best they can, but I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on this stuff. The Fourth World Omnibus series and the Devil Dinosaur stuff is enough.

THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #2 story ROBERT KIRKMAN, art & cover JASON HOWARDTHE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN #1: DIRECTOR’S CUT Gary Hampton puts his newly acquired powers to the test. Wolf-Man finally takes to the streets – saving lives and doing good. How will the public react to him – and can he control the beast within? Don’t miss out on the first action-packed adventures of THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN!
Lee: Wow. So not only can I get Astounding Wolf Man #2 BUT I can get a directors cut of #1!!!! Double WOW do I not care. The premise is interesting enough. For some reason Kirkman writes crap for Marvel but good stuff for Image. AND, for some reason I am always willing to give Kirkman a second chance. I do have to wonder about the decision about a directors cut. I haven’t seen issue one so this is a preorder. Why would I pay an extra dollar for a book that I might have bought the month before AND might not be any good. Makes ya wonder.
Jim: In this case I just think it is a shot at trying to charge us for something that is being given away free on Free Comic Book Day. Knowing the way Kirkman does things it is probably his way of trying to but some money into the artist hands. I have to agree that Kirkman’s Image work is so far superior to his Marvel work that I’m looking forward to this book.

THE CHEMIST story art & cover JAY BOOSE Vance Larroche is not your typical drug dealer. He’s a manufacturer – a chemist, to be exact. He doesn’t waste time making street drugs like Heroin. He’s looking to the future. The real money is in prescription drugs. Lately, it seems everyone wants him dead. Will he be able to survive when a mysterious woman further complicates his life?FEATURES ARTWORK BY PIXAR ANIMATOR JAY BOOSE!
Lee: Interesting look. And another animator makes the jump to comics. I have no idea if this will be any good but I like the premise. Cover art looks nice too.
Jim: I agree that the premise sounds okay, but for whatever reason it is not compelling enough to rope me in. I guess I really don’t care about reading a story about a drug dealer.

DUST #1 (of 2) story mink & PAOLO PARENTEart & covers PAOLO PARENTE
It’s THE DIRTY DOZEN versus robots, zombies and more! Jump into battle as the Allies and the Sino-Soviet Union join forces to fight the evil Axis; a powerful group (Germany, Japan and Africa) whose plans to dominate the world are bolstered by their amazing weapons – built using alien technology taken from a crashed space ship.
Lee: Three books in and already Image has upped the BS hype factor in there solicits. They are almost as bad as Marvel. The good news is, if you can survive it there are some really interesting books here. This for example Parente has a great visual style. The writer is untried but it should be stunning to look at. Check out the link.
Jim: Wow, the artwork is stunning and maybe worth the price of entry.

THE BAKERS: BABIES AND KITTENS HC story art & cover KYLE BAKER Shock and “Aaaw.” After a humiliating defeat at the hands of a mouse, Dad is covered in glue traps. Mom & the kids adopt a cat against Dad’s wishes and hide it from him. Dad doesn’t catch on for days. (You can’t make this crap up. I live like this!) Baby Jackie demonstrates fifteen wrong ways to pick up a cat, then suddenly discovers she’s been replaced as the center of her big sister’s attention! It’s an all-out war between the jealous baby and the fuzzy kitten, and no Baker is safe!
Lee: I love Kyle Baker. From Plastic Man to his slice’ohome life “The Bakers”. Always good stuff.
Jim: I think another plus is when you meet Baker or hear him talk at a convention. He comes across as such a nice person and a real family man that I occasionally want to buy his stuff just to support someone of such character.

BLACK CHERRY OGN story art & cover DOUG TENNAPEL Down-on-his-luck Mafioso, Eddie Paretti is so desperate for cash he’s agreed to steal a dead body from his own mob boss! Things only get worse when he discovers the body isn’t human!
With few options and fewer people he can trust, Eddie calls on the man who raised him, Father McHugh. The priest tells Eddie that the body was stolen from his monastery by the Mafia. Father McHugh is accompanied by a beautiful woman Eddie swears looks just like a stripper he once fell in love with named Black Cherry.
Blending crime thriller with TENNAPEL’s utterly breath-taking brushwork, BLACK CHERRY is delicious.
Lee: Doug Tennapel’s work is either really good or really bad. He has never found a middle ground for me. But, this sounds darker and grittier than most of his other work. It’s always worth a try.
Jim: Yeah, I have to pass. I enjoy that such a wide variety of material is getting published, but I don’t want to read ever single genre out there.

FULL COLOR story art & cover MARK HAVEN BRITT 176 PAGES $15.99 A lifetime marked with Napoleonic bosses has generated a rage in Boom that she can’t contain anymore – only aim. Her target? Her boss. That same day, Boom comes home to find an old friend standing on her fire escape. David’s double-crossed a drug dealer and he's looking for help. FULL COLOR is an action-packed odyssey through New York. Fast-paced and thoughtful, compelling and funny, FULL COLOR is a revenge-fueled morality tale for a post-September 11th world. BY XERIC AWARD-WINNING ARTIST MARK HAVEN BRITT!
Lee: I have a weakness for new stuff. There is something about being the first kid on the block to find “the next big thing”. This looks like it might have potential. Art looks solid and free preview at
Jim: I have an understanding of Lee’s sentiment, but this is still a pass for me. I want to wait until someone reads the whole thing and then tell me this is worth my time or not.

SCRAP METTLE HC art & cover SCOTT MORSE, 400 PAGES, $39.99
Award-winning storyteller Scott Morse’s SCRAP METTLE is the culmination of every spare moment spent away from the creation of his graphic novels and his duties at Pixar. This book is the reservoir of the products of a mind that won’t empty of its ideas.
SCRAP METTLE, a gargantuan volume of both electrifying images and smaller, personal thoughts, is a must-have for any admirer of sketching and painting, and a sure favorite of any follower of the retro pop art scene.
Lee: I really like Scott Morse’s stuff. And I am sure this is real pretty to look at but… 400 pages of sketches? That’s an awful lot.
Jim: I’m not a big Scott Morse’s fan, so this is an easy pass for me, but still if you like his work this looks to be a nice edition.

When a tiny U.S. town becomes an independent country, its clueless citizens decide to model their new nation after America – with hilarious results! This collection of the first 150 strips of the popular webcomic includes pin-ups by special guest artists, exclusive never-before-seen strips and an Introduction by GREGORY ITZIN (President Logan on the TV series “24.”)
Lee: Well, I checked out the link and read a couple of strips. It actually seemed pretty funny. Heavy on the social commentary and sarcasm. Might be worth checking out.
Jim: Social commentary and sarcasm – sound like I should check this one out also, but I do enough of that on my own.

THE COLLECTED normalman TP story & art JIM VALENTINO Rocketed into space by his Junior CPA father, who thought his planet was going to explode -- it didn’t – he traveled for 20 years until landing on the planet Levram (read it backwards) where everyone has super powers, except him! Befriended by the witless Captain Everything – who can negate all known laws of physics, but forgets how to fly in mid-flight – normalman only wants to escape from this insane world (don’t we all)!
Collected for the first time, every single story and drawing from JIM VALENTINO’s award-winning seminal parody series, in glorious black and white!
Lee: This is a great parody series. It collapsed under its own weight by the end but it had some great moments. Gotta love the Legion of Superfluous Heroes roll call. I still chuckle at that.
Jim: Again Lee has this one called spot-on. For me reading the first couple of issues was enough and I will pass on this material easily as a trade. Once is enough for this material.

Collects GØDLAND issues #1-12 plus over 40 pages of cosmic-powered, behind-the-scenes extras!
Lee: Joe Casey can either write wonderful over the top silliness (Deadpool, Majestic Vol 1) or some real junk. Luckily, this falls into the real silliness. Good stuff.
Jim: I have never been drawn into this stuff. I know it is Kirby homage and they have fun with it, but Kirby’s own work was too chunky for me the later in his career we get. So reading a homage type book is another pass.

MELTDOWN: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION TP story DAVID SCHWARTZ art SEAN WANGThe Flare is dying. His own super-powers are eating him alive, melting him down from within. During his final days, The Flare must struggle with his volatile life and the questionable decisions he's made along the way, hoping to find redemption before time runs out. See the final moments that prove what a hero can -- and should -- be, in the stunning mini-series that took the comic industry by storm. One of the year’s MOST CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED series is finally collected in this ULTIMATE trade paperback edition,
Lee: I did hear good buzz about this. And now available in a nice trade… Did you read it?
Jim: I did read this and was very impressed. The artist did a good job of changing styles as we flashback into the hero’s life. Also I thought it was a good story of how someone deals with knowing they are dying. At the end he showed what a true hero he was and it was really an inspirational story.

THE GOON #19 Written and art by Eric Powell.
The long winter of our discontent is over -- feast your eyes on the return of Eric Powell and The Goon! That's right, Powell has finally escaped Albatross's basement and returned to the sweet, nurturing bosom of funny books. The regular ongoing series picks up right where it left off as the Zombie Priest's sanity cracks up. His endless swarms of beastly little minions attack the Goon and Franky en masse, and there's no telling how long the brand-new Norton's Pub will last this time around!
Lee: Eric Powell returns to The Goon!
Jim: It took me awhile to get around to this book, but it is really a fun read and well worth picking up a trade or two of this material.

GRENDEL: BEHOLD THE DEVIL #0 MATT WAGNER (W/A)b&w&r, 16 pages 50 centsMatt Wagner (Batman: The Mad Monk, Sandman Mystery Theatre) presents a 50-cent primer to his all-new miniseries staring Hunter Rose, the original Grendel, launching this fall.
Lee: All new Grendel. Do I have to say anymore?
Jim: This is a book that all Grendel fans have been waiting for, now the problem is once you have anticipated something for this long can it possibly be as good as you have built it up to be in you mind. Matt Wagner’s latest Batman work was almost perfect, so I think this should be very, very good.

MARTHA WASHINGTON DIES FRANK MILLER (W), DAVE GIBBONS (A), and ANGUS MCKIE (C)This all-new story by two of comics’ legendary creators is the unprecedented conclusion to one woman’s epic struggle for life’s most valuable quality—freedom.
Lee: Either you have read Martha Washington and enjoyed it or not. I have always liked it. BUT, I won’t get this issue. I am waiting for the nice HC because I know it’s coming.
Jim: Martha Washington has always been a hard sell for me. Sometimes I read it and think this is fascinating stuff and other times I really don’t like it. I do not think this will ever make it onto my bookshelf even as a hard cover.

ZERO KILLER #1 (of 6) ARVID NELSON (W), MATT CAMP (A), and DAVE STEWART (C)The creator of Rex Mundi presents his vision of a shattered alternate future, as brutal gangs struggle for supremacy in a New York City ravaged by nuclear war. All that remains of the once mighty city are skeletal, irradiated skyscrapers, inhabited by thugs who abide by their own twisted rules. While crime lords vie for power and amoral paramilitary forces torment survivors of the devastation, one skilled outcast—the mysterious Zero—uses his strength and wits to stay a step ahead of everyone. Working for anyone while pledging allegiance to none, Zero is a bounty hunter who hunts the dregs of a ruined society . . . he is the Zero Killer.
Lee: Rex Mundi is excellent so this is worth looking at. It will be interesting to see if Nelson can handle the change from people to Superheroes.
Jim: Lee has been kind enough to loan me a Rex Mundi trade, so once I read that I may be interested in looking into this series. I love the post apocalyptic type future books so the premise has me curious.

The independent comics reviews usually clocks in at two parts and we should have something cobbled together for that in a week or so.

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