Summer is finally here so why not grab a Diamond Comics Previews, sit out on the porch and take a look at what’ll be hitting comic shops during the dog days of August. While you do, here are ten things in the later half of Previews that you might miss.
Most nerds have even a passing familiarity with Dungeons & Dragons (even if it’s only that occasionally one will go “Rah Rah” as if they themselves were a dungeon dragon), but many may not know that in 2008 a new edition of the game was published that completely changed gameplay. For those that liked the previous edition (3.5, for those not in the know), game company Paizo continued publishing rulebooks, settings and adventures for that system under the name Pathfinder. Now Pathfinder comes to comics thanks to Dynamite Entertainment. The first issue of the Pathfinder (JUN121004) ongoing is $3.99 for 40 pages written by Jim Zub, with art by Andrew Huerta and will have four equally distributed covers by Matteo Scalera, Lucio Parrillo, Dave Dorman and Erik Jones. The issue even contains a map you can use with the role-playing game as well as stats for the characters in the issue. While it’s not surprising that it’s coming in the form of a licensed product, it’s always nice to see the fantasy genre get a bit more representation in comics.
Jeff Lemire had a breakout hit with Essex County and has begun to take DC’s New 52 by storm with Animal Man, Frankenstein, Justice League Dark as well as Sweet Tooth from Vertigo. This August Lemire returns to his roots with a new graphic novel he’s written and drawn called Underwater Welder (JUN128076) from Top Shelf, a 224 page, $19.95 black & white softcover. In it, the titular aquatic welder finds himself facing “the pressures of impending fatherhood” as well as the coastal waters of Nova Scotia. While underwater he encounters something life changing, in what Damon Lindelof calls “The most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced” and Scott Snyder says “is a testament to the basic truth that down in the depths or up on land, there’s nothing more haunting and wondrous than the human heart. A masterpiece of visual storytelling.”
Ross Campbell is another indie creator that has seen some mainstream success lately (in the Extreme Comics relaunch of Glory), but he’s made his mark with the Oni Press published Wet Moon. Told with his distinctive art style, Wet Moon volume 6 (JUN121222) is a 1601 page black & white $17.99 6” by 9” softcover that continues the critically acclaimed teen drama.
Speaking of teen dramas, no one has been doing them longer than the good folks at Archie Comics . Not only have they been pushing the envelope with current issues in the present day their Life With Archie series has been exploring the lives of the Riverdale gang in the future…well, two of them: one where Archie marries Betty and another where he marries Veronica. In issue #16 of the series, recently added gay character Kevin Keller got married. Apparently the honeymoon is over in Life With Archie #22 (JUN120810), a magazine sized 48 page $3.99 issue written by Paul Kuperberg with art by Fernando Ruiz. It’s not entirely clear how it’ll go down, but it looks like Keller’s husband is the victim of a violent assault. As they told USA Today, “People live and die, are injured, face violence or theft — just like everyone else. Riverdale has always been a reflection of the real world, and this continues that.”
On a slightly more positive note from Archie’s Red Circle Comics imprint is the first issue of New Crusaders (JUN120819), a 32 page $2.99 issue that brings the heroes back to the publisher after an unsuccessful relaunch at DC. Initially offered on-line with a unique 99 cents a week subscription service that included access to all of the older material with the characters, the superhero relaunch by writer Ian Flynn and artist Ben Bates hits the printed page for the first time this August. The “new generation of heroes aided by a few old stalwarts after the rest of the heroes are gone” isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but the series has gotten good buzz and fresh take on some classic characters.
Speaking of classic characters, Ardden Entertainment gets the “high concept of the month” award (possibly in both senses of the word) with Comeback Kings (JUN120824), a $14.99 96-page black & white graphic novel that reveals that Bruce Lee, Andy Kaufman, Tupac Shakur, Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison are not dead (nor are they holograms) but alive and well, living normal lives until they are needed to band together and fight crime. Matt Sullivan and Gabe Guarente write and Ethan Young draw this quirky piece of pop-fiction which was originally in stores and on-line as individual issues but it now going the graphic novel route to finish the story. While that’s a bummer to those who were buying it in issue form, at least the story hasn’t ended prematurely…
Death & The Girls (JUN120884), a 48 page black & white 11” by 8” for $8.99 comic from UK writer/artist Donya Todd, looks to hit the mark for any of you out there that are looking for that special brand of insane and phantasmagorical the likes of which you’d find in Ren & Stimpy or Adventure Time. From the solicitation: “Meet the Nubian sisters: Betsy, Bunny, and Batstone. A hangover is the least of their problems after a tequilla-fueled night in the Mexican desert leads to Betsy having a threesome with an anthropomorphic washing machine and Death himself. Love-struck, the Grim Reaper decides that he wants Betsy’s fleshy pink hand in marriage. As if that weren’t bad enough, Betsy’s woes are magnified when she discovers she’s pregnant with Ol’ Washy’s child!”
Kickstarter has brought plenty of new projects from new talent to light, but occasionally it helps bring something new from an established creator. In this case, it’s manga legend Osamu Tezuka (you know, the guy who created Astro Boy). Digital Manga used the crowdfunding website to “accelerate” the first translation of Tezuka’s single volume manga Barbara (JUN121083), a 444-page black & white softcover for $19.95. Originally written in 1974, this story of a woman found wandering a train station by a famous author who takes it upon himself to look after her and in the process is drawn into a web of thugs, magic, curses and secrets that challenges his sanity.
Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules! series has been a staple of young adult comics for young women, and now the latest volume has been solicited. Amelia Rules! volume 8: Her Permanent Record is 160 pages and available as a 6” by 9” softcover (JUN121274 $10.99) or hardcover (JUN121275 $19.99). In this volume the precocious 11 year old goes off in search of her missing aunt with the help of some unlikely friends.
If you’re looking for a fancy splurge item to get later this Fall, look no further than ArtFX’s Dark Knight Rises Batman statue (JUN121932) from Kotobukiya. It’s 15 inches tall, comes with an EMP Rifle or grapple gun that you can switch out as well as a light-up bat-symbol base. It’s a pretty bad-ass look for someone who may be meeting his end in the new film, but at least when it’s released in November (for $129.99) you’ll have gotten over that…unless you drop him and break him in half.
That’s all for this instalment. If any of these (or other items from this month’s Previews) strike your fancy, remember to let your retailer know by using the order code in each listing before June 28th as that’s when their orders are due.
Filed Under: Best of the Back Pages