With Free Comic Book Day behind us we now look towards the terrible future where comics must be paid for and we can’t just sample them at a whim. Thankfully, we’re here with a look at ten things from the latter half of Diamond’s Previews catalog that you may have missed out on. They may not be free, but at least you can get the heads up on them and not miss out when they ship this July.
The Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series is one of the seminal indie comic sensations of our time and for the first time it’s being re-released in a color hardcover edition. Not only that, the Scott Pilgrim vol 1: Precious Little Life (MAY121234) hardcover is larger than the original at 6” x 9” (compared to the 5.5” x 7.5” original size) and includes previously unreleased “bonus materials,” which may be sizable since the original black & white volume has a page count of 168 pages and the new volume weighs in at 192 pages. While it’s about twice the price of the original ($24.99) these bi-annual “remastered” editions of the the Pilgrim saga may well be the best way to experience the series yet.
Valiant continues its summer of relaunches with Bloodshot #1 (MAY121309), written by acclaimed novelist and comic scribe Duane Swierczynski (Birds of Prey, Immortal Iron Fist) with art by Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi, this 32 page debut issue is $3.99 and promises to be full of “cutting-edge technology,” “the perfect confluence of military necessity” and a “walking WikiLeaks that is a reservoir of dirty secrets that could set the world on fire.” Hyperbole aside, Swierczynski is a top notch writer and Garcia’s pencils look to be a perfect match for this kind of story. Bloodshot may sound like the epitome of 90’s extreme storytelling, but this one looks like it might surprise you.
If there’s one thing we know it’s that the kids love them some Adventure Time. The quirkiest, hippest and downright weirdest cartoon on television has already been a huge success as a comic book for Boom! Studios’ Ka-Book! kids imprint, so it’s only natural that they’d offer a spin-off in the form of Marceline & the Scream Queens #1 (MAY120990), the first 32-page $3.99 issue of a… well I’m going to assume it’s 6 issue miniseries, but who knows? How hard is it to add an “…of 6” or what have you to a solicit or press release? In any case, Marceline the Vampire Queen has assembled a rock band and with Princess Bubblegum in tow they’re going to tour the land of Ooo and make it to the “RADDEST GIG EVER!” no matter what obstacles are in their way. The all-girl jam comic’s main story is written and drawn by cartoonist Meredith Gran with a back-up feature by Jen Wang and covers by Colleen Coover, Jen Bennett, Chynna Clugston, Lucy Knisley and Ming Doyle. Take that, Womanthology!
Speaking of women, Zenescope Entertainment has built quite niche for themselves sexifying fairy tales and kids stories with scantily clad kick-ass ladies. The latest incarnation of that is the launch of a Wonderland ongoing series, based off the Return to Wonderland series of miniseries. Wonderland #1 (MAY1360) is written by Zenescope and Wonderland mastermind Raven Gregory with art by Robert Gill, this $2.99, 32 page comic continues to story of Callie Liddle and her daughter Violet on the road and on the run from the madness that is Wonderland.
If for some reason Zenescope’s scantily clad fairy tales are too tame for you, Seduction Cinema comics has your back with the release of the Play-Mate of the Apes (MAY121270) deluxe pack. For $9.99 you get a DVD of the “seminal” 2002 soft-core late night Showtime film Play-Mate of the Apes (in case you haven’t realized it’s about “sexy lesbian astronauts” crashing on a planet filled with people in store-bought ape masks) featuring all new audio commentary, as well as the 24 page comic adaptation written by John Bacchus with art and cover by Noel Scotch Anderson. The film, starring Misty Mundae (a veteran of the Videos:Adult section of the Previews catalog) was called “better than the Burton Apes movie,” but even given the NSFW clips I’ve seen on-line I’d have to disagree. I realize that this May Previews’ theme was “Movie Month,” but seriously guys…?
Back in the realm of sanity, Slave Labor Graphics has Pinocchio Vampire Slayer volume out. Yes, the story of a wooden puppet whose nose grows when he tells lies and does so that he can break it off and stake vampires with it is more sane than Play-Mate of the Apes. I stand by that. Pinocchio Vampire Slayer Volume 3: Of Wood and Blood Part One (MAY120799) is the first two-part story in the PVS series and begins the end of the acclaimed trilogy. Written by Van Jensen with black & white art by Dustin Higgins, this 6” x 9” graphic novel is 130 pages for $10.95.
Those of you who have been paying attention to Panels on Pages know how we feel about Th3rd World Studios’ Stuff of Legend series, so it should be of no surprise that I point out with the highest of recommendations the Stuff of Legend Omnibus, volume 1 (MAY121284). This 8” by 8” 260 page hardcover collects the first two volumes of the New York Times Bestselling graphic novels (The Dark and The Jungle), written by Brian Smith and Mike Raicht with art by Charles Paul Wilson III. This book is a bargain at $29.99 and the perfect comic for any of those high-falutin’ literary friends of yours that say “I don’t like comics.” They’re wrong, because they’ll like this.
I’ve never entirely understood the appeal of Archie, the odd little goody-goody that has been able to attract and string along two young women for decades, but lately the folks that make his comics have been at the forefront of nearly every social issue imaginable making his brand of cheery nostalgia relevant and entertaining for today’s audiences. July’s Archie #635 (MAY120841) makes another stop on the Current Issues Express as the Occupy movement comes to Riverdale. Written by Alex Segura with art by Gisele Lagace, this issue is $2.99 for 32 pages and probably won’t feature Betty and Jughead arrested and pepper sprayed. Probably.
Speaking of serious social issues, Harvey Pekar’s final memoir examines one of the most controversial and tumultuous events of our time: the formation of the state of Israel. In Not the Israel my Parents Promised Me (MAY121182), Pekar (along with illustrator J.T. Waldman) recounts the history of the Jewish people from Biblical times up to present day while examining Pekar’s “gradual disaffection” with Israel and the political realities surrounding it. While there aren’t any easy answers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this 6” by 9” 176 page $24.95 hardcover may give us the historical context to ask the right questions.
The good people at Kotobukiya have made a fair amount of statues in their time and this month they add to their line with the Harley Quinn Bishoujo statue (MAY121905). At $59.99, this affordable 10” tall statue is perfect for those looking for a depiction of Dr. Quinzel in her traditional, Bruce Timm designed, costume. After all, there’s little you need to do to improve on a crazy lady in a body-stocking with a giant hammer.
That’s all for this month, gang. Remember, if you want to let your retailer know you want any of these use the Diamond order codes and let them know by the 24th of May, as that’s when their initial orders are due.
Filed Under: Best of the Back Pages