I’m Thacher E. Cleveland, one of the Super-Fly Comics podcast hosts and until the end of November I was one of the two owners of Super-Fly Comics & Games. After a lot of soul-searching I decided it was time to hang up my Comic Guy license and move on to new adventures. Not only do I have a new job in a new city but I’ll be buying comics again for first time in almost 7 years instead of just reading whatever I want, whenever I want. With the comic industry at a turning point with price wars, “event fatigue” and digital distribution, I’ve picked a hell of a time to get…Back in the Game.
I’m going to get of my soapbox a little this week and get back into what I’m buying now , what’s coming to an end and what’s coming in the future. The new Diamond Previews magazine came out this past week and while we talked about it in general terms on the Super-Fly podcast this week it’s time for me to take a look and see what’s tickling my personal fancy. Once again there weren’t a whole lot of “ZOMG must have that!” moments but there were a couple of special order items that I’m looking to get my hands on, like the “The Art of Doug Sneyd” from Dark Horse ($39.99 for 248 pages of classy and classic Playboy cartoons) and the $7.99 reprint of Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City (one of my favorite Batman stories ever).
What this moths Previews did make me realize was that, like it or not, there was going to be some shuffling around on my pull-list. Brightest Day, New York Five, Incognito and Echoes are miniseries ending by the time May (the ship month for this Previews) rolls around, plus Streets of Gotham is going to be cancelled by then as well. Since last we talked pull list stuff I’ve decided to cut the cord on three titles, including one from The First 15 (which almost seems contrary to that group’s little distinction but I’m nothing if not arbitrary). Those books are Thunderbolts and DeadpoolMAX from Marvel and Crossed (of The First 15) from Avatar.
While I was really enjoying Jeff Parker’s take on the Thunderbolts, the recent incarnation of the team (losing Crossbones, adding “King” Hyperion) and the book’s direction has left me a cold. While the group of anti-heroes has been slowly coalescing into more of a unit there isn’t much propelling the story along aside from “go on this mission” and “go on that mission.” Individually the missions have been interesting but I feel like I need a little more development over the course of a title to stay invested. The closest we’ve come to that is the introduction of Troll, the young woman the team found that was raised by, well, Trolls and is apparently being raised/rehabilitated in prison with them (which seems like an odd choice, even if she did eat people). While not bad by any stretch of the imagination I just can’t come up with a compelling reason to keep spending money on it. I’m going to keep an eye on it in case they make any radical changes but until then I’m going to have to put it down.
DeadpoolMAX and Crossed, both by David Lapham (who is an excellent writer), are facing the similar problems for me. While they’re interesting and have all manner of “Wow SHOCK!” moments due to their mature readers nature that seems to be their primary method of story telling. I’ve never been a huge Deadpool fan, so while seeing him engaged in the ultra-violent and grotesque is fun it’s not enough to keep me shelling out $3.99. Crossed is far more violent and grotesque but has the advantage of telling different stories with each miniseries. In this case I’ll probably just switch over to reading Crossed in trade (as Denim suggested I do for some of these).
All total, those changes opened up eight spots in my pull list. Sure, I could do the smart thing and decide to just roll the savings into some sort of Roth IRA but I almost never do the smart thing and I have no idea what a Roth IRA is, so let’s take a stab at filling in those gaps.
Both Marvel and DC have big events this year that they want to cram onto my pull list but they’re going to have to work overhard to get me to bite on them. Both Flashpoint (DC, $3.99) and Fear Itself (Marvel $3.99) are by creative teams I really love (Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert; Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen respectively) so my lack of enthusiasm comes as a bit of a surprise to me. It’s not just that Flashpoint seems to just be a big “We changed the Universe for realsies!” story (a la “Age of Apocalypse”) or that Fear Itself seems to revolve around an expansion of an accessorized hero’s universe, leading to established characters getting new designs, powers and motivations based around similar-yet-slightly-different accessories of their very own (except that it’s hammers and not multicolored rings this time). Those are admittedly very broad and slightly unfair generalizations but until I see the first issues that’s all they look like to me. I’m sure I’ll give them a try but they’ll have to move a bit beyond their premises in the first issue to change my mind (in other words no just getting to “the universe changes!” or “the Fear God shows up!” at the end of the first issue).
Looking beyond the big events there are a couple of books coming in May that are definitely in the category of instant pulls for me and that’s Batman: Gates of Gotham ($2.99), written by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins (Snyder on anything Batman is a get for me now), and the new Static Shock ($2.99) series. I’m almost hesitant to add another Bat-family title but since we’ve lost one let’s go ahead and put this mini on the pile. The Static book is actually a hard one for me. While I’m over joyed that the character is getting a book again I’m not sold on Felicia Henderson’s storytelling abilities in the comic medium. Her Teen Titans was very rough, but I’m going to remain hopeful that she’ll do better on a book focused on a single character that she’s expressed a great deal of enthusiasm about.
Aside from the above four there’s a bunch of other books I’d like to try making their way to us over the next couple of months that I’d like to give a try. From Image there’s Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker ($2.99) by Joe Casey & Mike Huddleston as well as Super Dinosaur ($2.99) by Robert Kirkman & Jason Howard; Axe Cop (Dark Horse, $3.50) which has already come out to rave reviews from most everyone I know and I debated heavily on picking up last week; Marvel’s relaunched Crossgen 4-issue miniseries Ruse ($2.99) and Sigil ($2.99), both of which have very strong creative teams (Mark Waid and Mike Carey, respectively) as well as the new Moon Knight ($3.99) series from Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev. Sticking with my love of all things Batman, Judd Winick has a three part arc beginning in Batman & Robin #23 ($2.99), focusing on Jason Todd. I’m very interested to see what Winick does with the character since Grant Morrison picked him up, shook him around and made him into a crazy, lipstick-headed guy. Winck is responsible for Jason’s return and has been the only writer thus far to not make him seem out and out insane.
That’s eleven potential new series for eight spots. There are, however, a couple more series hovering around the chopping block and three series that haven’t even come out yet (Xombi and Batwoman from DC and Venom from Marvel). To balance out The First 15 I’m going to promote Amazing Spider-Man and Darkwing Duck (although Incognito and its soul-twin from the same Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips creative team, Criminal, will make it back on this list once they’re solicited again). I’m not going to add it all yet, as I’m still mulling some things over, but with the stuff I know I’m going to check out that leaves the list as follows (new adds in red, yet to be released titles in green):
The First 15
- Sixth Gun (Oni, $3.99)
- Morning Glories (Image, $2.99)
- Chew (Image, $2.99)
- Walking Dead (Image, $2.99)
- Scarlet (Marvel/Icon, $3.95)
- Batgirl (DC, $2.99)
- Detective Comics ($2.99)
- Birds of Prey (DC, $2.99)
- Secret Six (DC, $2.99)
- Locke & Key (IDW, $3.99)
- American Vampire (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)
- Ultimate Spider-Man (Marvel, $3.99)
- Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel, $3.99)
- Fantastic Four (Marvel, $3.99)
- Darkwing Duck (Boom! $3.99)
- Red Robin ($2.99)
- Batman: Gates of Gotham ($2.99)
- Green Lantern ($2.99)
- Static Shock ($2.99)
- Wonder Woman ($2.99)
- Xombi ($2.99)
- Batwoman ($2.99)
- Batman, Incorporated ($2.99)
- Action Comics ($2.99)
- Superboy ($2.99)
- THUNDER Agents ($2.99)
- Teen Titans ($2.99)
- Batman & Robin #23-#25 (2.99)
- Secret Avengers ($3.99)
- Avengers ($3.99)
- Avengers Academy ($2.99)
- Venom ($3.99)
- Thor ($3.99)
- Wolverine ($3.99)
- Iron Man 2.0 ($2.99)
- Invincible Iron Man ($3.99)
- SHIELD ($2.99)
- Secret Warriors ($3.99)
- Hack/Slash (Image, $3.50)
- Jennifer Blood (Dynamite $3.99)
- Infinite Vacation
- Who is Jake Ellis?
For the first time there’s a disparity in my list between the Big Two, which makes things a little interesting. If anything, this month’s Previews has reminded that a pull list is a house with a foundation built on sand: ever changing and requiring constant maintanence. Next week we’ll talk about that disparity and what to do about it, those series teetering on the brink and the new #1’s I’ve picked up since this column started: Iron Man 2.0, Jennifer Blood and next week’s new arrivals Venom and Sigil.