Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dark Horse / Image September Preview Review

Dark Horse and Image get their own lime light from Lee and I as they are the two largest independent publishers. Each of them have their franchises, but both of them reach out and publish some very different types of projects.

Dark Horse continues its series of vintage-style statuettes featuring the best characters.The sculpting and packaging design is inspired by the original "Hunter Rose" version of one of the modern era's most interesting heroes, Matt Wagner's Grendel. Produced in a limited edition of only 550 hand-numbered copies, making this a significant component in our celebration of Grendel's 25th anniversary. Sculpting by Yoe! Studio from designs by Wagner.
Each hand-numbered statuette comes packaged in a custom-tooled, full-color, litho-printed tin box. Also included is a small booklet about each character and a vintage-style pinback button of the character. 6 inches tall, limited to 550, $49.99, in stores on Nov. 17
Jim: I love Grendel, especially the Hunter Rose character. I’m glad to see that Dark Horse is starting to do some hard cover collections of Grendel. Also independent characters don’t get as many collectibles made as other characters.
Lee: This does look cool. But, as with all these pieces, 6” for $50 is steep. You can get the Grendel action figure on ebay for $5 and he moves…ummm I mean he has multiple points of articulation!

CRIMINAL MACABRE: MY DEMON BABY #1 Written by Steve Niles, art by Nick Stakal, colored by Michelle Madsen, cover by Tim Bradstreet.
To say that Cal's been through hell and back would be a misstatement. He's been to hell, all right, and he seems to be stuck there for good. When we last checked in on Cal, he and Mo'Lock had just witnessed the vile, horrifying transformation of Cal's lovely ex, Sabrina Lynch, into a minion of the vampire Nosferatu. After that Cal disappeared for a bit, and at the start of our new series, Mo'Lock finds him just in time to lure him off the filthy couch in an abandoned house with an offer he can't refuse‹either he gets up and takes a new case, or Mo'Lock will kill him before the drugs can. And what a case it is. Devil worshippers in sunny SoCal are doing their best to bring Satan into the world, and by the looks of things, Cal's already too late. What does one feed a bouncing baby Beezelbub, anyway?
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 19.
Jim: This is a series that I have ignored, but I now feel compelled to get into it. If I like it I will pick up the trades of the earlier runs, so trying something out that I have ignored before gets expensive. Still the premise of the current arc sounded too cool to pass up on.
Lee: I agree. DH keeps putting these out so there must be something there. I have always had an interest in the trades too. I agree that you should try it and let me know how it is.

DOCTOR SOLAR, MAN OF THE ATOM VOLUME 4 Written by Paul S. Newman, art by Frank Bolle.
After his debut in October of 1962, Doctor Solar swiftly rose to join Magnus, Robot Fighter as one of Gold Key's most popular original heroes. Stunning painted covers sucked in even the most casual comics reader, and the source of Solar's astounding powers -- nuclear radiation -- addressed one of the biggest fears of the day. While the character has been reinvented in the decades since, his adventures in this archive of Gold Key and Wilson comics completes the body of work that formed his foundation.
This collection restores and reprints issues twenty-three through thirty-one of the original Doctor Solar comic-book series -- the revolutionary science-fiction adventure that gave birth to one of comics' most distinctive and beloved superheroes -- for the first time in over forty years. His guest appearance in The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor #14 is also included, making this the biggest Doctor Solar volume of them all!
240 pages, $49.95, in stores on Nov. 21.
Jim: I’m a sucker for hard covers and this type of off beat stuff is very appealing to me. The shame of it is I haven’t read the first three archives of this material yet (but I did glance through issue #1 and it was some fun stuff).
Lee: You haven’t read these yet? Maybe you should before making the commitment. I am not saying they are bad, just very, very dated. I am interested to see the material but I don’t have the love for it that makes Masterworks no-brainers for me.
Jim: I read the first couple of issues and Lee is right, dated is a good term.

THE GOON #20 Written and art by Eric Powell.
Eric Powell has clawed his way out of Albatross's basement and back into the hearts of horrified readers everywhere with the return of his flagship character in a new (or at least only gently used) ongoing series. The diabolical magician Draxton Entity and his saucy avian sidekicks are back -- with a mission! Can Goon and Franky's resolve withstand the charms of these tartish harpies? Does Franky even have resolve? Do we even care?
THE GOON: CHINATOWN Written and art by Eric Powell.
Dark Horse is very proud to present the first original graphic novel from Eisner Award-laden swami Eric Powell. Powell has been sowing the seeds of Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker for years in his award-winning bimonthly series The Goon, and salivating fans may now feast their eyes on the Goon's formative backstory of love, loss, and extortion -- a lengthy tale that demanded to be told in this uninterrupted format.
Spiritual leader of Tennessee and hero to the Great Unwashed, Powell escaped catastrophic death and mother-shaming scandal to bring this work to fruition. He's a sensitive man in insensitive times. But be warned: this book ain't funny.
128 pages, $19.95, in stores on Nov. 21.
Jim: A double dose of Goon goodness. I was a Johnny come lately on this book, but now I totally sold on the crazy world of the Goon. Plus Eric Powell has such a nice drawing style that the art alone is worth the price of entry.
Lee: The Goon returns! Yippee!! I am surprised they haven’t put the original run out in HC yet. But, I will take all the Goon goodness I can get.
Jim: Actually Lee they did do a hard cover Goon, but that came and went before I got interested in Goon.

GROO: HELL ON EARTH #1 Written by Mark Evanier, art by Sergio Aragones, colored by Tom Luth. Groo is back . . . and oddly enough, that may not be the biggest disaster looming over the world. It seems to be getting hotter everywhere . . . that is, in those places where it isn't getting colder than ever before. The usual suspects -- Sergio Aragon├ęs and Mark Evanier -- bring you the first chapter of what will eventually be four issues. That is, if the planet in the comic survives that long!
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 19.
Jim: New Goon and new Groo, it feels like Christmas in September. Groo on a monthly basis can get old, but I like it as a four part mini-series ever once in awhile.
Lee: You know this is a humor series right? You don’t do humor very often but I am glad to see you coming to the bright side. And, you are right, 4-6 issues of Groo a year is perfect.

On sale Nov. 28, FC, 160 pages, $19.95 HC w/dust jacket, 7" x 10"
Wizard Top Ten and multiple Eisner Award-winning writer Brian K. Vaughan tells the tale of three aspiring comics creators with big dreams, small cash, and publishing rights to one forgotten Golden Age hero—The Escapist!
Inspired by Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay , this is Vaughan's love letter to his chosen medium, a story about what it takes to start out with nothing in Cleveland, Ohio and end up with a comic so hot a major corporation wants to steal it from you! Brilliantly interweaving the lives of the creators with the world of their creation, artists Steve Rolston and Philip Bond bring the comic-booking trio Maxwell Roth, Case Weaver, and Denny Jones to life, while the inimitable Jason Shawn Alexander and Eduardo Barreto illustrate the thrilling trials and exciting extrications of the new—and old—Escapist!
Lee: This has some great names attached to it and was very well received if I remember correctly. I might have to give this a try.
Jim: Bran Vaughn is only an okay writer in my book. It’s a pass.

SERENITY: THOSE LEFT BEHIND Written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, art by Will Conrad, colored by Laura Martin, cover by Adam Hughes.
Dark Horse's biggest hit of 2006 is now available in a special-edition hardcover! Joss Whedon, the pop-culture mastermind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bridged the gap between his cult-hit Firefly TV series and his Serenity motion picture with this three-issue miniseries.
96 pages, $19.95, in stores on Nov. 14.
Jim: I passed on the mini-series, but I loved this show and I maybe sucked into buying this book as it was written by Whedon who was behind the TV show. If you never watched it, pick up the 13 episodes of Firefly and watch it. I can loan it to you Lee if you haven’t seen it.
Lee: Honestly, I watch so little TV these days all of these projects are meaningless to me. I haven’t made it through the first season of Sopranoes in the 4 times I’ve rented from the library (total 1.5 episodes watched) so don’t loan Firefly to me because you will never get it back.

STAR WARS: DARK TIMES #7 40 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 26.
STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH PHOTO COMIC 96 pages, $9.95, in stores on Nov. 21.
STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #21 40 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 26.
STAR WARS: LEGACY #16 40 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 12.
STAR WARS: REBELLION #10 40 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 12.
Jim: I’m always amazed by how much Dark Horse must rely on their agreement with Star Wars. I mean if they lose that license, they lost at least 25% of what they produce. I’m not big at on Star Wars at all, after the first three movies, the rest has been crap in my opinion, but man does it live on.
Lee: I give DH credit for this stuff though. They milked the Alien/Predator franchises for a very long time. And now they are doing the same to the Star Wars line.

56 PAGES, FC, SEPTEMBER 5, $3.99
For the young mouse Karic, the Mice Templar are merely an exciting legend. They were real, though, and a vicious civil war left them scattered and all mouse culture in the grip of brutal rat masters. When Karic’s family is enslaved, he realizes their only hope of freedom lies in his paws…if he can only find the courage and strength to become one of the legendary Templar himself.
Jim: Really looking forward to this, between this and Mouse Guard, mice are finally getting the attention they deserve. Image is calling this a “Gem of the Month”. I don’t know if that is a good idea, I know it might be coming from what the Diamond Catalogue does, but for their own solicitation, doesn’t that push any other new launches down a notch?
Lee: I thought you “purchased” gem of the month status. It’s all hype anyway so I don’t think it hurts other titles. I wonder if Mice are going to be the new Zombies? Next launch, the Ultimate FF crosses over into the Earth 669, the MouseVerse.

The elite Angels, known as the Caste of Architects, needs the help of Spawn to retrieve one of their living weapons that has gone amok, the Horsaak-El. For centuries this “weapon” has been absorbing the souls of the damned to keep them from joining the armies of Hell, but now it is preying on the souls of the innocent. And just to make sure Spawn carries out their plans, the Caste have placed his brother Marc in the weapon’s path.
Lee: WOW. I am not a Spawn fan but did you see the preview art for this? Now this looks like a scary, bad-butt (family blog you know) Spawn. Dark, dreary, horrific Spawn. This might actually be good.
Jim: No it won’t be, its Spawn. Plus McFarlane is the devil incarnate as I blame him for the Miracleman material being tied up when I should have a new high quality hard cover on my bookcase.

The first issue in an ongoing anthology series based on the successful wrestler themed designer toy line. Includes three ongoing series: THE LUCHADORES FIVE are masked wrestlers protecting Los Angeles from tiki warriors and werewolves. The incompetent PROFESOR FURIA teaches his life “lessons” to aspiring wrestlers. The LUCHADORITOS is part “Peanuts,” part “Dennis the Menace” and lots of Lucha Libre!
Jim: This is a total pass for me, because wrestling is something I have no interest in, but damn give credit to Image for really being the most diverse publisher in the business.
Lee: Diverse publishing to pandering to the latest craze. There’s a fine line there. A big pass for me too. Is Mexican wrestling really that big?

PARADE (WITH FIREWORKS) #1 (of 2) story MICHAEL CAVALLAROart & cover MICHAEL CAVALLARO 32 PAGESFCSEPTEMBER 12$3.50 In 1923, Italy was pulling itself from the wreckage of one World War while unknowingly plummeting towards another. The Nation seemed to be holding its breath, and the slightest perceived transgression could result in violence. On the evening of The Feast of the Epiphany, it did. Young Paolo is caught between a rowdy group of local Fascist Party members and his family. And the choice he’s about to make will change his life forever!
Jim: Count me in for this book. Historical fictional if well done is fascinating to me and although the creator is not a name I’m really aware of, I want to try this book.
Lee: Yeah yeah book. Got it… but Michael Cavallaro is interesting indeed. A punk rock guitarist turned comic book writer…. From a bio I found:Former STICKS & STONES and ZERO ZERO guitarist and one time BOUNCING SOULS collaborator Johnny X (a.k.a. MIKE CAVALLARO) has turned his attention to his other love; comics. Having storyboarded Celebrity Deathmatch and an upcoming Barbie movie, he's also worked on Cartoon Network's Codename: Kids Next Door and teamed-up on nearly 100 comics by both major and independent publishers.Give the man credit, he appears to be talented.

Astrid and Dave are teenagers stuck in a dead-end suburban town living uneventful lives – until Astrid gets a visit from her childhood imaginary friends, who tell her something big is about to happen. Are they real or is she crazy? Life is about to get a lot more interesting for the pair – interesting and very, very dangerous. From the co-creator of PHONOGRAM comes this tale of magic, mystery and underage drinking.
Jim: Another book I will try. I almost liked Phonogram, so I will try out this series to see if a different subject matter will work better for this creator. As you can tell by what I’m saying, I’m only half sold on this book.

Lee: Let me get this right… you didn’t like his last book so you are going to buy his new book????
Jim: But it was interesting, so a new subject matter another #1 is worth a look.
Lee: It does sound interesting, well as interesting as every other discovered the imaginary friend is real story. Sometimes, price point is a barrier for me and this is one of those cases. If it is that good then I’ll get the trade.

BOMB QUEEN IV #2 (of 4)story art & cover JIMMIE ROBINSON32 PAGES, FC, SEPTEMBER 26, $3.50
Jim: Embarrassed to be a fanboy award cover.
Lee: I agree but I am so disappointed in this cover. It’s too easy. I mean, seriously, DC did subtle… well sorta subtle with the Batman cover. This is just blatent. I might have to disagree and go with the embarrassing and misogynistic Spawn: Godslayer #5 cover Jay Anacleto.

Velocity: Pilot Season #1(W) Joe Casey (A)Kevin Maguire CYBERFORCE'S resident speedster, Velocity, finally gets her groove on in this one-shot brought to you by Joe Casey (UNCANNY X-MEN, AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES) and Kevin Maguire (JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUPERMAN/BATMAN)! How does a young heroine find love when she's the target of an all-new batch of super-villains?! Pure pop superheroics unlike anything Top Cow fans have ever experienced!
Full Color 32 pages $2.99 pilot issue
Jim: I think this pilot season crap is a dumb idea. I guess the book with the best sales gets its own series, but shouldn’t it be the best sell through sales or maybe best reviewed. Just because a bunch of people buy one issue of a book, that is not the making of a successful series.
Lee: Uuuummm work with me here, but Topcow isn’t known for the best marketing plans ever. Oh well, anyone who buys these knows exactly what they are getting.

SPECIAL FORCES #2 (of 6)story art & cover KYLE BAKER
Lee: And speaking of WHOA covers. Check this out. AND, from Kyle Baker big, time family man no less. I give him lots of credit for the shock value of it.
Jim: This is a whoa cover, but also making a political statement.

THE NIGHTLY NEWS TPstory cover & art JONATHAN HICKMAN184 PAGES, FC, SEPTEMBER 19, $16.99 Collects THE NIGHTLY NEWS #1-6 As an act of violence spirals out of control to encompass the entirety of the news media, a cult has emerged from the errors and retractions that have ruined careers, marriages and even lives. Under direction from his cult master, The Hand leads an army of followers committed to revolution, willing to die for their cause.
Jim: Buy this book. A good story, contains interesting factual snippets and is an excoriation of the major media. Political, against the status quo, trying to raise people’s awareness – hey I should be writing this. Also a really nicely designed book.
Lee: I agree. I actually stopped picking up the series because I knew the trade would inevitably come home with me. I wonder how well this will hold up in 5 years because it is so political. That shouldn’t stop anyone from buying it now but just a point to ponder.

The Darkness Wizard World Philadelphia Exclusive T-Shirt

Lee: I think the picture says so much in this case. On the left, we have the imaginary muscular, works-out guy flexing in his new Darkness t-shirt. On the right, we have the reality of fat-guy from behind who will be wearing this shirt.
Jim: Ha, ha, ha. Good point Lee.

That ends part 2 of all monhtly four part preview review. Tomorrow is Marvel and then in a week or so, the rest of the independent preview review.


  1. Fun trivia...least I think it's fun. The baby model on the Criminal Macabre cover is Tim Bradstreet's daughter.

  2. Fun trivia is cool. I did not know that.

    Gotta say... I hope he took some liberties otherwise his daughters kinda creepy looking.

  3. Jim-

    The Goon HC that was done was complete. It was snippets from previous issues that dealt with the Goon's origin. Good, but not all issues.

  4. Todd - Cool and Lee my kids looked liked that when they were younger, don't yours?

    Next - Todd -who's the model for Suburban Glamour and can I meet her?

  5. I was the model for Suburban Glamour. But I thought that was common knowledge.

  6. I did not look like that!

  7. Todd - Then you must clean up very well and may I say - you are one hell of a sexy woman for a man.

    Brainiac6 - You and Jamie did (just a little). Babies can be scary.

  8. Brainiac6 - Still green can be scary on a baby, no matter how cute.