Change comes to one of Comics’ Biggest Publishers! Does it spell DC New or DC Eww??? or DC vs Marvel

Change comes to one of Comics’ Biggest Publishers! Does it spell DC New or DC Eww???

by
Heroic Times
Copyright Heroic Times Jun 2011
All Rights Reserved

Okay most of you comic fans reading this know the gist of the big news that has recently been released. Specifically the recent announcement by Top 2 Comic Book Publisher DC Comics, a subsidy of Time Warner, to in essence revamp their entire publishing line, and their publishing model in September of this year.

Comics being very much serialized entertainment, like soap operas or television shows they build up a history. Overtime, some view that history as a resource and some as baggage. In the face of dwindling sales DC is taking the latter approach and cleaning house, restarting their whole line of books, from number one.

Come September, 52 titles will be kicked out by DC, starting at # 1, with the characters and stories supposedly streamlined to allow easy adoption, by new readers. On top of this they will offer the books via digital distribution, as well as through the traditional dwindling markets of the comic book store.

It is an unprecedented and bold move, in an age where all print media, from newspapers to books, is losing readers. And specifically a necessary move for DC, that has seen its place in the market continue to slip, as its major competitor MARVEL COMICS GROUP owned by Disney, continues to trounce them in sales/market share.

So all in all, I think this bold move by DC, while unexpected, is overall a good one, as obviously they needed to do something.

It’s a hail-Mary pass, and I see it working for them in the short term, generating interest in their books through the line wide shake-up, and the day and date (digital publication that coincides with print publication) digital distribution option, opening them up to a world of new potential readers/consumers. If they capture just a fraction of the digital market, they could potentially move very quickly from servicing tens of thousands of people to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people per issue.

There are some potential roadblocks, most remarked on being the pricing of the digital comic, as most agree the 99 cent or $1.99 cent model is the better price-point for easy mass adoption. However I have no doubt the pricing structure will work itself out in time.

So in short term I see this being a success for the company, however potentially not as great a success as it could be, and potentially not a lasting success as their competitors invariably jump into Digital distribution to compete.

No, I see DC’s biggest drawback to this line-wide overhaul, is the appearance (now this is only going by the miniscule data so far released on the books to come out in September, this is speculation not fact) that the streamlined books suffer the same problem as the pre-streamlined books, which is basically… they are not that good or interesting.

That’s harsh to say, but that is the current problem with DC comics that they seem to, with well meaning overtures to price and distribution and character’s costumes, overlook.

The main problem DC overlooks, to why their sales are dwindling… is the fact that their books themselves, particularly when compared to their main competition Marvel Comics, are not that interesting, they are in fact… lacking.

And it pains me to say this as someone who is not a fan of much of what Marvel does, and infact actively does not purchase Marvel Comics’ individual issues. Generally because of ads breaking up the story, and lack of back-matter or letters pages, failing these things I’ll just wait for the trade, and monthly buy Indie books, such as CHEW or WALKING DEAD that do offer these extras, that for me make the individual issues… worth their price.

If there is a story from Marvel that is getting particular buzz I’ll wait for the trade and pick it up at my local library or on Ebay or not.

On the other hand, DC comics stories are not particularly interesting, I listen to a number of podcasts and read reviews and articles to stay abreast of what’s drawing the buzz in this niche market of comics, and DC seldom… draws the buzz, in any meaningful way. The ones that do I’ll pick up via Ebay or Library, and am generally underwhelmed.

Particularly glaring is the fact that DC’s artwork is bland to subpar. For a medium defined by its art.. that’s not good. In general (in general, not across the board) the writers and artist of DC are not setting the world on fire.

There are exceptions such as Irving Frazier, Basri, Jock, J.H. Williams III (to name ones that spring to mind) in the art camp, and Scott Snyder, Morrison (when he’s the good Morrison) and Rucka (who DC has lost) in the writing camp; but in general the rule applies.

And having looked at some of the talent launching their 52 new books (again not privy to all of them, just going by the early news released as of this date), I see the rule of bland storytellers and bland art and bland takes on characters… continuing.

Where is the talented, amazing writers that are blowing the roof off the place, and everyone is talking about for their Indie work? Where are the Remenders and Aarons and Hickmans and Van Lente’s and Spurrier’s?

With very few exceptions all the exciting writers in comics are working for Marvel. Add to that the fact that Marvel blows DC away in terms of art, and it is a powerful combination.

DC’s art style is largely still stuck in the 90s Image era, and with DC co-headed by Jim Lee, perhaps that’s no wonder, but it is a mistake.

This is the age of the Simone Bianchis and Copiels and Djurdevics and Eptings and Braithwaites and Molinas, guys who offer a level of detail and beauty and storytelling that makes you want to turn pages. And all those guys are Marvel artists.

Now it’s true none of those names, either writer or artist, is known to this new potential readership, that digital distribution offers the opportunity to tap, however my point is… quality will out.

Which means people may be introduced to comics through DCs digital books, but just as in the paper books… they will quickly transition to more sophisticated art and story; which means Independents and Marvel. And they will gravitate to the artists and writers that are steering, capably, the ship.

Now, best of luck to DC’s policy of giving artists they are trying to keep (they tend to lose creators to Marvel), writing assignments of popular characters… to entice them not to jump ship. However, It is a suspect policy.

Not every artist is a Frank Miller (who before being Hollywood Frank Miller, started out as an artist, than became an iconic writer, DARK KNIGHT, 300 etc) and even Frank Miller took a while to be THE Frank Miller.

I am saying it is idiotic to give your flagship titles/characters to unproven writers. No disrespect, beyond the truth, intended to David Finch and Tony Daniels (two popular DC artists and now Writer/Atists), but I’ve never been a huge fan of their art, and by all reports their writing isn’t setting the world on fire. Now it is quite possible with practice they could become kick-ass writers, but you don’t let them practice on your flagship characters such as Batman. It’s thinking like this from DC, again that 90s Image model, mantra of “art is all”, that has been hurting their market share.

Art is important, desperately important. But the writing is also desperately important. And when you can bring top writers AND top artists to a title (which is what Marvel does), then you have a title to hype and to generate sales. And DC fails with both aspects, the writing… and the art.

Nearly every single book Marvel puts out, looks great. That’s how deep their pool of artists is; as opposed to DC that has probably less than a handful of artists I consider great, and the rest, are a “grin and get through it” bunch.

Add to this Marvel Comics are better art designed, and you point out another major failing of DC. The first thing you see of a comic is its cover, and Marvel’s covers are not just better in terms of the actual cover art, they are better in terms of typography and design.

They are, as a whole, as a gestalt, the more interesting covers (exceptions to this being Sam Basri’s phenomenal covers for POWER GIRL).

And fault Marvel for what you will, I think a lot of this has to do with artists such as Quesada and Bendis, who have strong visual instincts, being in editorial control of Marvel and knowing what a compelling cover should look like.

These are the reasons Marvel is # 1. And this whole DC overhaul of their universe and digital delivery announcement while groundbreaking and exciting, will be less effective than it can be if it does not also look at improving quality.

For DC’s announcement to really have had teeth in it, and pit-bull like hang on staying power, they needed to release these 52 titles with a substantial number of amazing creative teams, and from the early solicits, I don’t see this happening.

The most high profile announcement of the new books is Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on the JLA.

Jim Lee’s style was interesting to me in the 90s, but I find it less so in the 2010s. I think part of that is… he’s not the artist he was 20 years ago, looking more like Lee acolyte Ed Benes… than himself, and paradoxically he’s enough of the old Jim Lee for his style to seem very dated. Of course that’s to me, there are huge fans of his, so no doubt the relaunched JLA will garner huge numbers. I just don’t think I’ll be among them.

Along with the art, another thing that raises early flags regarding this new JLA title… is the makeup of this new team. DC makes lip service to diversity, but tokenism is not diversity. First you remove John Stewart as the Green lantern, which is this generation’s Green Lantern (thanks to the JLA cartoon), and you fill it with a boring 70s lineup, and add Cyborg as a concession to tokenism?

I would prefer people not use any characters of color, then drag out just one Black character on a team. I hate seeing just one Black character on a team, give me at least two Black characters, or don’t do it at all. Because without exception that one Black character will be poorly and stupidly written.

And I dislike Cyborg in particular as a character. What is it with Black male characters in comics having to be missing limbs or in someway physically or psychologically damaged? What is that? for the writers to feel comfortable writing him? Be it Cyborg or War-machine over at the esteemed competition. Which is why if you’re going to do diversity, the mass media familiar John Stewart makes more sense than Cyborg, and toss in Vixen and/or Firestorm to go with him. Both characters offering a lot more to work with than the neutered Cyborg. Or don’t do it at all, because (say it with me) tokenism is not diversity.

And while we’re on the subject of Firestorm, what the eff is it with Black characters having to wear yellow? What is that about? You see all these sly little digs they get in? Even as a kid reading Power Man in the day, I was like…”he’s cool and all, but what the f–k is he wearing a big yellow shirt for?!” Even at age 7, I knew that just wasn’t kosher. I mean really? WTF?

Seriously, Mix non-people of color, writing people of color, and typically this is the kind of almost subconscious bs you get. Sad isn’t it? :)

Beyond the JLA, everything else mentioned suffers a bit from that underwhelming writer/artist syndrome that DC has.

Now I am interested in the MR. TERRIFIC comic announced, though I’m not familiar with the writer, and while the cover art is good, the interior art… not making me do handstands.

So yeah, it’s great that DC is doing this massive overhaul, and particularly pushing the digital distribution issue, but ultimately how ever you distribute the books… they have to be good, and if DC’s books, can’t currently compete with Marvel traditionally, digital delivery won’t change that.

DC will have the upper-hand for the time it takes Marvel to get a digital presence, but once the playing field is even again, DC loses again… unless they address the underlying problems with their comics. Those being: 1/ that they are still written for a white 1950s audience, rather than a multicultural 2011 audience, and 2/that they actively need to court the hot writers and artists, ala Marvel.

That’s the bottom line. There ain’t no more. I do wish DC well, and here’s hoping they evolve sooner rather than later.

The return of UNDER THE RADAR Vol2 Iss 2! Pt 2 of 2!

Here’s the remainder of recommended pre-order items that will arrive in stores in January (Along with links to buy current issues):

IMAGE COMICS

$3.50 INFINITE VACATION #1

story NICK SPENCER art & Cover CHRISTIAN WARD JANUARY 12 32 PAGES / FC $3.50 WELCOME TO THE INFINITE VACATION, WHERE CHANGING YOUR LIFE IS ALWAYS JUST A CLICK AWAY! Mark lives in a world where alternate realities are up for sale, and buying and trading your way through unlimited variations of yourself is as commonplace as checking your email or updating your status. But when other “hims” start dying suddenly and he meets a mysterious girl who wants nothing to do with “life-changing,” he’ll learn the truth about the universe he stumbles through, and what happens when your vacation turns on you.

I’m hearing good things about this Nick Spencer, I’m pretty sure this is the 3rd of 4 books I’m picking up by him. Hoping the story and writer… impress.

$2.99 INVINCIBLE #80

story ROBERT KIRKMAN art & cover RYAN OTTLEY & FCO PLASCENCIA JANUARY 19 32 PAGES / FC $2.99 DINOSAURUS returns! Hellbent on righting what he sees as wrong in the world he comes face-to-face with Invincible and the result is devastating.

$3.50 MORNING GLORIES #6

story NICK SPENCER art JOE EISMA cover RODIN ESQUELJO JANUARY 19 32 PAGES / FC $3.50 Mutually Assured Destruction. “Nick Spencer gives each of our six teens a distinct voice, whereas Joe Eisma gives them each a distinct look. I think this is a case where one is not better than the other, they expertly mesh into a fairly flawless book.” -Newsarama Best Shots “Verdict is that anyone that loved the Runaways needs to check this out. It’s a strong story with awesome artwork. This will be a book I will watch very closely!” -Eric Ratcliff, Comic Related

I was late to the game with the Luna Brothers’ THE SWORD , which was a great series that recently ended. I’m getting the same vibe from MORNING GLORIES. You can pick up the previous issues here.

$3.99 PROOF ENDANGERED #2

story ALEX GRECIAN art & cover RILEY ROSSMO JANUARY 12 32 PAGES / FC $3.99 “ENDANGERED,” Part Two–Proof’s deadliest enemy is going to kill the people Proof cares about. And he’s willing to destroy all of Chinatown to get at them. Elvis and Ginger are in for the fight of their lives and there’s no way they can win unless Proof surrenders himself.

I missed out on the first series of PROOF, so happy to get on board with this new series.

$99.99 SWORD COMPLETE COLL DLX HC #1

If you can afford it, I highly recommend the Luna Brothers’ THE SWORD. I own the original issues and I’m still tempted to get this oversized collected edition. It’s odd about the art of the Luna Brothers, the cover artwork I don’t typically find impressive, it can look very stilted, but their interiors I find excellent. They are very good storytellers. Try preordering this book to get it for at least 30% off.

$100.00 WALKING DEAD OMNIBUS HC VOL 03 (MR) #3

story ROBERT KIRKMAN art & cover CHARLIE ADLARD & CLIFF RATHBURN JANUARY 5 560 PAGES / B&W $100.00 S&N LTD ED $150.00 This deluxe hardcover features the next 24 issues of the hit series along with the covers for the issues all in one massive, oversized slip-cased volume. Perfect for long time fans, new readers and anyone needing a heavy object with which to fend off the walking dead. Strictly limited to a print run of 3000. Collects THE WALKING DEAD #49-72 WARNING: MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES

I had owned the previous two omnibuses, but sold them both for multiples of what I paid for them, and now I’m kicking myself, because it would be nice to have them back. So I’m definitely buying this one. The quality goes up and down, but I’m generally now convinced of writer Kirkman’s skill, and am along for the ride. And I don’t even like ghoul/zombie movies or books!

$3.50 WEIRD WORLD OF JACK STAFF #9

story PAUL GRIST art / cover PAUL GRIST & BILL CRABTREE JANUARY 26 32 PAGES / FC $3.50 Sgt. States is the embodiment of the American Dream–a symbol of hope in a time of despair. He’s also a bloodsucking vampire killer, but everyone has their dark side. But what could make Sgt. States seek out the help of his former teammate, Jack Staff, and the woman he killed, Becky Burdock?

$2.99 MURDERLAND #5

story STEPHEN SCOTT art DAVID HAHN & GUILLEM MARI JANUARY 19 32 PAGES / FC $2.99 “LOOSE ENDS & FRIENDS”–Before The Arabber renews his pledge of non-violence, he has a pair of loose ends to tie up: The Fairy Bombs. But to any roller derby squad, there are more than just two players. It may be hard to kill the Arabber, but it isn’t impossible. WARNING: MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES

DARK HORSE COMICS

$24.99 FINDER LIBRARY TP VOL 1

Carla Speed McNeil (W/A) On sale Mar 16 b&w, 616 pages $24.99 TPB, 6″ x 9″ Lose yourself in a world beyond your wildest dreams… Since 1996, Finder has set the bar for science-fiction storytelling, with a lush, intricate world and compelling characters. Now, Dark Horse is proud to present the first four story arcs of Carla Speed McNeil’s groundbreaking series in a single, affordably priced volume! Follow enigmatic hero Jaeger through a “glorious, catholic pileup of high-tech SF, fannish fantasy, and street-level culture clash” (Village Voice), and discover the lush world and compelling characters that have carved Finder a permanent place in the pantheon of independent comics. * This first of two Finder Library volumes collects the multiple Eisner Award-nominated story arcs Sin Eater, King of Cats, and fan-favorite Talisman. * Introduction by Douglas Wolk (Reading Comics).

IDW

$39.99 AMAZING 3D COMICS HC

(W/A) Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Bob Powell, Al Jaffee, Russ Heath, Milt Stein, Alex Toth, and more (C) Various Before there were 3-D movies, there were 3-D comics! In the mid-fifties, comic-book great Joe Kubert hit upon the idea of doing comics in 3-D, which resulted in some of the best-selling comics of all time–print runs in the millions! Eisner Award-winner Craig Yoe collects the best of these stories and samples by artists like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Bob Powell, Al Jaffee, Russ Heath, Milt Stein, Alex Toth, and many more. Carefully re-mastered and reproduced in large format so that every dynamic, eye-popping effect can be looked at in astonishment. The comics cover every genre: superhero, jungle adventures, horror comics, science fiction, funny animals, satire, western and romance! The fascinating behind the scenes introduction is by the mastermind behind 3-D comics himself, Mr. Joe Kubert! Rare art and ephemera as only Yoe Books does it. And, yes, of course, this book comes with special FREE 3-D GLASSES! BUT WAIT! There’s more! This must-have hardback book has a special lenticular 3-D cover that puts the amazing in Amazing 3-D Comics! Expected in-store date: 1/19/11 HC, 9×11, 176pgs, FC $39.99

AARDVARK VANAHEIM

$3.00 GLAMOURPUSS #17

(W/A) Dave Sim glamourpuss “tees off” on “honor killings” by certain unnamed South Asian and Middle Eastern religions while Dave Sim provides the cover feature, “The Wit and Wisdom of JFK.” In the History of Photorealism in Comics section, the events of September 6, 1956 continue to unfold. 24pgs, B&W $3.00

I’m not a fan of Dave Sim’s views, but I find his artwork/history rumination in the pages of this mag, extremely compelling. Pick up current and previous issues
here.

ANTARCTIC PRESS

$3.99 SARAH PALIN VS WORLD ONE-SHOT

(W) Fred Perry (A) Ben Dunn Sarah Palin — politician, author, commentator… maverick. She’s on the way to meet her dream job. But to get it, she’s got to defeat some of the nastiest opponents in the country. From career politicos to “gotcha” media men to secret service agents, they all want some control of her dream. Has she got what it takes to beat the world? You betcha! 32pgs, B&W $3.99

Not a Palin fan. But to be fair I don’t like most people, but still this looks idiotic enough to give me a chuckle or two.

$3.99 TIME LINCOLN CUBA COMMANDER ONE-SHOT

(W/A) Fred Perry Time Lincoln his Travelers Team journey to the Bay of Pigs on April 1st, 1961 to face Cuba Commander and his Chronocommunists! The villains plan to have their own monstrous agents replace key CIA operatives who are running a secret mission in Cuba, turning the whole country into a massive atomic “time bomb” factory. Things turn sour for both Time Lincoln and Void Stalin when Cuba Commander double-crosses his leader and traps everyone within a paradoxical vortex. Now Stalin’s only hope for escape is the Travelers Team, and Lincoln’s salvation lies with the Chronocommunist cabal! 32pgs, FC $3.99

Wow! What an insane description. Have no idea what it means, but I’m interested.

$3.99 SOCORRO #2 (OF 2)

(W) Steven Grant (A) Tony O’ Donnell, Adam Sutherland Socorro is a CIA-trained former soldier of a brutal Latin American dictatorship. When he finds that he cannot stomach the atrocities of his superiors, he escapes to Los Angeles and begins a one-man crusade to bring justice to the poor, the disenfranchised, and those with nowhere else to turn. Created and written by comic legend Steven Grant (Punisher, 2 Guns)! 32pgs, FC $3.99

APE ENTERTAINMENT

FREAKSHOW #1 (OF 3)
(W) David Server, Jackson Lanzing (A) Joe Suitor Ape Entertainment’s long-awaited dark superhero epic launches with a giant-sized debut issue! When five refugee survivors develop monstrous mutations from a devastating chemical explosion that leaves their city in ruins, they band together to seek revenge. But do these terrifying new abilities make them monsters — or heroes? 48pgs, FC (1 of 3) $3.95

$6.95 TEDDY SCARES RASPUTINS REVENGE GN

(W) Jim Hankins (A) Various The Teddy Scares are back for vengeance in the second season premiere! Artist Rob Guillory and Rolando Mallada head up a twisted group of artists in this latest installment, which features a revelation about Rita’s past and a fight for the dump with the terrifying Rasputin! (C: 0-0-1) 6×9, 52pgs, FC $6.95

ARCHAIA ENTERTAINMENT LLC

$14.95 TUMOR HC W/ DUST JACKET

(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov (A) Noel Tuazon Frank Armstrong has an inoperable brain tumor that’s killing him. In his final days, with his body, senses, and mind failing him, he’s going to do the one thing that he’s never been able to do before — save the girl. After debuting on the Amazon Kindle and holding the #1 spot on the Kindle Graphic Novel Bestseller list for over two months, Archaia is pleased to bring this acclaimed graphic novel to print! (NOV090604) (C: 0-1-2) MATURE THEMES HC, 6×9, 224pgs, FC $14.95

$3.95 FREAKSHOW #1 (OF 3)

(W) David Server, Jackson Lanzing (A) Joe Suitor Ape Entertainment’s long-awaited dark superhero epic launches with a giant-sized debut issue! When five refugee survivors develop monstrous mutations from a devastating chemical explosion that leaves their city in ruins, they band together to seek revenge. But do these terrifying new abilities make them monsters — or heroes? 48pgs, FC (1 of 3) $3.95

ASPEN MLT INC

$2.99 LADY MECHANIKA #2 CVR A BENITEZ

(W/A) Joe Benitez THERE’S A NEW LADY IN TOWN! From the imaginative mind of Joe Benitez with colors by the incomparable Peter Steigerwald, comes this all-new supernatural action-adventure series! The tabloids dubbed her “LADY MECHANIKA”, the sole survivor of a psychotic serial killer’s three-year rampage through London. Found locked in an abandoned laboratory amidst countless corpses and body parts, with her own limbs amputated and replaced with mechanical components, her life began anew. With no memory of her captivity or her former life, LADY MECHANIKA eventually built a new life for herself as a private detective, using her unique abilities to solve cases the police couldn’t or wouldn’t handle. But, she has never stopped searching for answers… Now, disturbed by haunting memories from her past, LADY MECHANIKA is consumed by a need for answers and focuses all her efforts on investigating the mystery of the Mechanical Girl. The trail leads her to a traveling show run by a band of gypsies, where help might not come as easily as anticipated. But even with the aid of the Gypsy Queen, can LADY MECHANIKA discover who created the Mechanical Girl and why? And will the answers bring her one step closer to uncovering the truth about herself? LADY MECHANIKA#2 is in stores January 12th, 2011! FC, 32pgs $2.99

BONGO COMICS

FUTURAMA COMICS #53
(W) Rogers (A) Kazaleh, Pepoy A volatile cargo, a damaged ship, no food or water or means of communication to the outside world, and a renegade group of cannibalistic robots are all part of the Planet Express crew’s latest mission. And this time it looks like Professor Farnsworth will be paying his employees in wages of fear! 32pgs, FC $2.99

$2.80 SIMPSONS CLASSICS #27
(W/A) Matt Groening When Moe’s gall bladder goes on the fritz, Homer, Carl, Lenny, and Barney are forced to face the prospect of life without beer — unless Moe’s Bar’s best barflies bound from their barstools becoming bartenders to save their buddy’s bread and butter. Then, Homer drives a tank to work, escalating tensions and hurl Springfield toward the brink of destruction! Magazine, SC, 64pgs, FC $3.99

$2.10 SIMPSONS COMICS #174
(W) Boothby (A) Ortiz, DeCarlo While Lisa’s best humanitarian instincts lead her to restore an injured owl to health, Homer’s base behavior towards his fellow man intrigues Mr. Burns, who takes advantage of those qualities in a “get rich quick” real estate scheme. SC, 32pgs, FC $2.99

BOOM! STUDIOS

$3.00 (save $0.99) 28 DAYS LATER #19
(W) Michael Alan Nelson (A) Ale Aragon Britain is destroyed. The U.S. Military is trying to re-build the island. Someone in their ranks has their sights on Selena. Can Clint and Selena survive the Infected while also being hunted down by a rogue agent? You’ll know by the end of this senses-shattering issue of the horror series that continues to shock fans everywhere! Cover by Sean Phillips. SC, 32pgs, FC $3.99

I was not a fan of the movies, but I’m hearing good things about this series. Pick up previous issues or the trade
here.

$3.00 (save $0.99) WALT DISNEYS COMICS & STORIES #715
(W/A) Daan Jippes, Carl Barks, Don Rosa Classics are back at BOOM! Celebrating 70 years of Walt Disney’s comics, this oversized anniversary issue proudly presents some of the greatest Disney stories ever told! Join Donald, Mickey and the gang for the unforgettable adventure “70th Heaven!” by Daan Jippes in its American publishing debut. Check out the previously untitled Li’l Bad Wolf/Donald Duck tale by Gill Turner in its first appearance since 1950! See Ruud Straatman & Don Rosa’s Daisy Duck story “Forget Me Not” from 1989, and the 1969 Carl Barks written “Life Savers” story, redrawn by Jippes in the Barks style and staring those Junior Woodchucks — published for the first time in the U.S.! (C: 1-0-0) 40pgs, FC $3.99 (preview artwork is available)

BROADSWORD COMICS

$2.95 TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #66

(W/A) Jim Balent “The Trickster God,” Part 1: “Loki.” A thunder god falls to earth. A trickster god demands that Raven Hex be his mistress. Salem is cut off from the rest of the world. Tarot and her mother are imprisoned. A lone Graveyard Guardian with a legendary hammer in his hands sets off on a fatal quest to take on a God. MATURE THEMES SC, 32pgs, FC $2.95

KING HELL

$16.95 SHINY BEASTS GN

(W/A) Veitch (W) Alan Moore (A) S.R. Bissette Another showcase of Rick Veitch’s innovative Epic Magazine stories that seared the minds of a generation of Marvelites. These nine fully-painted fantasy shorts create unimagined worlds that entertain, enlighten, shock, and horrify. Completely remastered from the original art, this volume includes “Love Doesn’t Last Forever” (written by Alan Moore) and “Monkey See” (with S.R. Bissette). (FEB073614) MATURE THEMES SC, 10×8, 84pgs, FC $16.95

MOONSTONE

$2.99 SPIDER #1

(W) Martin Powell, Gary Phillips (A) Pablo Marcos, Roberto Castro For the first time ever, since his beginnings in 1933, The Spider now has his own ongoing straight-up comic book series! The most relentless destroyer of the guilty the world has ever seen is back in all of his “bloody pulp” action! There was no escape for Nita Van Sloan, abducted by a horde of inhuman monstrosities, doomed to become the victim of a diabolical experiment. The Spider, Master of Men, strikes back with a vengeance, fighting alone against the brutally brilliant creator of the Frankenstein Legion, in a desperate race against time to save the only woman who shares his darkest secrets! Covers by Dan Brereton and Doug Pagacz. (C: 0-1-0) 32pgs, FC $2.99

$7.99 SPIDER BURNING LEAD FOR THE WALKING DEAD GN

(W/A) Mark Wheatley Eisner Award-winner Mark Wheatley brings us a plague of blood crazed zombies that are spreading across the city. Only the swift cold justice of The Spider stands between the remnants of humanity and the hoards of the Cannibal Queen. Will even The Spider have enough burning lead for the walking dead? 7×10, 64pgs, B&W $7.99

NBM

$20.00 FRACTURE OF THE UNIVERSAL BOY GN

(W/A) Michael Zulli The acclaimed Sandman illustrator retreated for years to produce this semi-autobiographical tale that takes readers into the most treacherous recesses of the human experience. Nearly two decades in the making, Fracture is less a graphic novel and more a self-exorcism onto the printed page, evidence of how emotionally explosive graphic novels can be. MATURE THEMES SC, 208pgs, B&W $20.00

ONI

$3.99 SIXTH GUN #8

(W) Cullen Bunn (A/C) Brian Hurtt In a decaying mansion in the blackest heart of the Louisiana bog, Drake uncovers more secrets of the Six… and angers a spirit that wants to ensure the gunslinger never leaves the swamp alive! It’s man versus some of the meanest man-eaters to ever crawl out of the marsh! FC, 32pgs $3.99

REBELLION

$19.99 COMPLETE BAD COMPANY TP

(W) Peter Milligan (A) Brett Ewins, Steve Dillon Danny Franks knew that the war against the Krool would be hell. They kill without compassion, taking prisoners for torture and experimentation; their armies are infinite; their weapons are horrifying. But Danny had no idea that the real horrors would be his comrades — he’s in Bad Company! (C: 0-0-1) SC, 320pgs, PC $19.99

$22.50 GREYSUIT PROJECT MONARCH TP

(W) Pat Mills (A) John Higgins The covert operatives known as Greysuits enforce the British Government’s interests in the world’s most dangerous places. Specially conditioned to have heightened strength and reflexes, Greysuits are the most deadly secret agents alive. (C: 0-0-1) SC, 128pgs, FC $22.50

TITAN

$75.00 SUCKER PUNCH VISIONS O/T FILM LTD SGN ED HC

(W) Zack Snyder (A) Various From Zack Snyder, the director of 300, Dawn of the Dead, and Watchmen, comes Sucker Punch, an epic action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. In this official book, Snyder guides you through the many amazing worlds and characters of the film, with eye-popping production art and stunning photographs by Clay Enos (Watchmen: Portraits). This gorgeous limited variant comes in a slipcase exclusive to this edition, in a print run limited to 750 numbered copies, each signed on a special bound-in sheet by Zack Snyder himself! (C: 0-1-2) HC, 11×8.5, 256pgs, FC $75.00

VANGUARD PRODUCTIONS

$39.95 ART OF NEAL ADAMS HC

(W/A) Neal Adams From his Ben Casey newspaper strip to Creepy magazine work to his groundbreaking work in comic books, Neal Adams’ work serves as an inspiration for every illustrator who works in the field. Included in this collection are classic and rare works spanning the artist’s noted career and a unique selection of Neal’s seldom-seen paintings. Fully annotated by the artist, this is the one we have all waited for. This Deluxe Signed Slipcased Edition, which comes with 16 additional pages of vintage Adams artwork is a Previews Exclusive edition. A standard hardcover is also available. DELUXE SIGNED EDITION (MAY101154)–HC, 9×12, 152pgs, FC $59.95 REGULAR HARDCOVER (MAY101155)–HC, 9×12, 136pgs, FC $39.95

There are quite a few sites you can do online preorders from. DCB Service is a popular one among comic book pod-casters. However, I don’t use DCB Service because their site requires javascript for functionality. And I don’t support javascript… ever. So that and Flash required sites are probably the two easiest online ways to stop me from giving you my attention or my money.

So some other alternatives are Westfield, Mile High Comics, G-Mart and Lone Star Comics.

That’s all for this installment, quick and to the point. :) .