Friday, February 26, 2010

This just in...

Bankers still @$$holes.


When everything's said and done (and I'd kind of like that to happen as soon as possible, please) this won't be remembered as a week in which dreadful things happened to me. In spite of that, I feel dreadful in pretty much every conceivable way. So I'm going to recycle some stuff I wrote for/to the guys at Happy Harbor about February's Previews magazine. Each month HH employees are asked to make a couple of suggestions (plus an alternate in case there's overlap) for what they think customers might want to pay special attention to in the latest Diamond catalogue. This last time out, I wrote my picks and then kinda kept going for a bit...

STAR WARS OMNIBUS: A LONG TIME AGO... VOLUME ONE, by a whole lotta folks. As a reader, nostalgia very rarely drives me to buy anything, especially comics. There's so much awesome new stuff out there to be found, and I'm, like, the exact opposite of wealthy. And let's face it, if I'm really in a mood to try and recapture the rush of excitement I got from, say, Claremont and Byrne's Dark Phoenix saga or Frank Miller's Daredevil stuff, well, I do pull a few hours a week behind the counter at a comic shop. Once Jay's drunk himself into an insensate coma (usually happens by around 2:00), provided the vacuuming's done, there isn't a whole lot stopping me from plucking a trade off the shelf or something out of the back issue bins to remind myself of the appallingly bad taste I had as a boy. You can't go home again, and the days of me being heart-palpitatingly excited to find the latest issue of New Teen Titans hidden on the spinner rack at Patton's Place are gone, gone, gone. Having said all that, this Star Wars Omnibus, reprinting the first 26 issues of Marvel's original Star Wars series--which, as it happens, are among the first comics I read, actively sought out and collected--hits all my ageing fanboy happy buttons. ALL OF THEM, every single one. And at 25 yankee dollars, I can almost afford it. Even if I couldn't--I mean, come on, the first storyline after Star Wars proper features a humanoid green rabbit bounty hunter fighting alongside a delusional old librarian who thinks he's a Jedi Knight named Don-Wan Kihotay. DON-WAN KIHOTAY. It works on so many levels! So yeah, I don't care if I am buying this for all the wrong reasons (as I recall, Jabba the Hutt in this version is a tall, skinny, purple walrus guy. Which is an improvement over a glaringly obvious CGI inserted slug, really.) I MUST HAVE IT.
BEASTS OF BURDEN, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. You know what's fun? Reading the entire Previews catalogue looking for a couple of suggestions for stuff Happy Harbor customers want to buy, only to discover that your two picks both appear in the first fifty pages of the FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY+ PAGE BOOK. But what can you do? From the classic Star Wars Omnibus to this almost brand-spanking new book, Dark Horse is where it's at this month. With the kind of high concept that inspires burning envy in those of us who didn't think of it first, from what I've seen so far, this tale of a bunch of dogs (plus a cat) taking on supernatural menaces in their neighbourhood is possibly the cutest horror comic ever created. What I've seen so far consists of the first issue of the four issue miniseries this 8x11" hardcover collects (along with several previous short stories that appeared in the various Dark Horse Book of (scary things) series, if I understand things correctly). Having read that first issue, I realized this one was a keeper, something I was going to want to own as a collected edition, and now here it comes--maybe, POSSIBLY just in time to get artist Jill Thompson to sign it when she appears at the Calgary Expo in April. Fingers crossed.
TURF #1, by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards: "A hardboiled noir crime thriller with guns, fangs and aliens." The solicitation might as well be, "Hey, Andrew Foley! READ THIS COMIC!" How creepy would that be if that actually was the solicitation? For me, I mean, for you it would probably just be an oddity to be frowned over briefly and then forgotten. Anyway. If the pitch wasn't enough to get me interested, and artist Tommy Lee Edwards weren't enough to get me interested, the sample pages would probably be enough to get me interested. For a modern comic, there's a lotta text on those pages. If the full 22 pages is like the three on display here, this is going to be a two-bathroom trip read, minimum. That might frustrate some readers, but for me it says the creators are trying to give the pamphlet-reading audience something they can sink their teeth into. I like that, even if there are occasions where the writer's reach exceeds the artist's grasp and word balloons end up cropping artwork that I'd kind of like to see more of, as occurs in the very first panel of the first sample page. Still, I'd rather have creators try and put too much in and not quite make it than have them not bother trying to push the limits of what the comic page can comfortably hold at all.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: RISE OF ARSENAL #2: Hey, when did Winter Soldier join the DC Universe? ...Sorry, couldn't resist.
DV8: GODS & MIONSTERS #1: On the one hand, I promised myself I wouldn't flag something just because of the cover. On the other hand, I promised myself I'd shamelessly hype the wonder and glory that is Fiona Staples at every possible opportunity. What should I do, Happy Harborites? WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?!?!?
IMAGE FIRSTS: YOUNGBLOOD #1: Because finding a cheap copy of Youngblood #1 is SO. FREAKING. HARD.
ARMAGEDDON NOW: ANTI-CHRIST: Jesus, who wrote this solicitation copy? "Anti-Christ" is hyphenated IN THE TITLE and they can't be bothered to use a dash in the solicits? And "Corbin pursues Jada assassin in Rome."? How would the world work if everyone actually talked like that? "Hey, Jay comic shop owner. How's it going?" "Not bad, Andrew comic shop tillmonkey and sometime writer. How's your wife, Tiina graphic designer?" "She's good. Right now she's taking Data dog and Dare puppydog for a walk." Oy. It's times like this I'm glad my Allah is the Flying Spaghetti-Monster...
PROJECT SUPERPOWERS: CHAPTER TWO #10: In this issue: superheroes nobody remembers play jacks in a futuristic subway station!
THE PHANTOM: GHOST WHO WALKS #10: In this issue, an obese Phantom takes a long hard look at himself and decides to make some changes. Be here next month for the start of brand-new series THE PHANTOM: GHOST WHO JOGS.
SPELL CHECKERS, VOLUME ONE: Teen witches in high school, in a manga-influenced art style. My nieces will LOVE THIS.
MERC: BROKEN WORLD #3: I would bet five dollars pencils aren't finished on this already-solicited comic. Prove me wrong, Dan Schneider. Prove me wrong.
PREVIEWS PAGE 338 & 339: There is nothing on these two pages that is not wrong, wrong, "abomination in the eyes of God" WRONG.
NEW AVENGERS #64: "Plus the fate of the one they call Mockingbird!" Anyone want to give odds it's better than the fate of the one they called Wasp? And what happens if she dies and Hawkeye takes over her superhero identity (which is the style of the times), and then he's got a fate? What do they say then, "Plus the fate of the OTHER one they call Mockingbird!"?
FIRESTAR #1: Because somebody demanded it? Incidentally, Angelica Jones wasn't JUST a "friend." She was an AMAZING friend.
DEADPOOL CORPS #1: I hope you guys are wearing steel-toed boots, because if you aren't, sooner or later you're going to have to stop kicking that horse.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #630: Chris Bachalo drawing the Lizard. That is tempting...
NEW AVENGERS MGC #1: Now you can read the first issue of the title whose last issue we solicited a few pages ago! (Still the best comic of the cheap cover price MGC bunch, though. At least for this month.)
NEW AVENGERS: LUKE CAGE #1 (of 3): "So for the cover, what you do is you take this HELLBOY image, flip it around, lose the goggles--oh, those are horns? Well, whatever they are, they're gone. And you make the skin black instead of red and the big hand thing silver, but only, like, the arm part, the hand itself can be black too. Oh, and make sure it's got the right number of fingers." (All joking about the cover aside, I am a fan of Eric Canete's art and will probably check this out on that basis alone.)
DAREDEVIL #506: Hey Marvel? For future reference, there's no H in "Antony".
NEMESIS #2: "The most talked-about new series of 2010 rages on!" So Millar and McNiven's Nemesis is part of the Watchmen sequel/prequel thing? Got to admit, I did not see that one coming.
DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE TPB: Hey Marvel? For future reference, there's an "Antony Johnston" in "Antony Johnston".


1 comment:

Andrew Gilbertson said...

If you've got any fondness for Don-wan Kihotay and the rest, those first Marvel issues have been adapted and spun off into an audio drama...