An Indie Eye on Previews: October Previews

It has been far too long since i dove in to Previews.  Here is what has caught my eye over the past two months.

(NOTE: I am only looking at collections and OGN’s.  While there are some exciting issues coming out, I will be waiting fro the trade on all of them.  In addition, despite the fact that they may be published by companies outside of the Big Two, I am not looking at licensed properties.)

Form the October Previews:

Brody’s Ghost (Dark Horse, $3.50)  Former slacker Brody has vowed to uncover the identity of the serial killer known only as the “Penny Murderer.” Will he complete his intense training to develop physical and psychic abilities before the mysterious killer strikes again? Collecting four stories from MySpace Dark Horse Presents, this one-shot issue continues the hilarious, poignant, thrilling tale of Brody’s fight for justice.

Any time you get hilarious, poignant, and thrilling all in one, I am curious.  Add in the fact that it is by Mark Crilley and I am in.  Somehow I managed to miss the graphic novel when it debuted, so this will give me a chance to decide whether or not I want to hunt it down.

Ningen’s Nightmares (Dark Horse, $12.99) Ningen’s enlightened body and spirit to resurrect a demon-samurai and unleash an era of chaos on an already-troubled country. After leaving the safety of his temple to protect poor commoners who are caught in bloody battles between feuding warlords, Ningen soon finds that several colorful bounty hunters are on his trail-seeking his head and his very lifeblood for the witch’s twisted spells!
365 Samurai and a Few Bowls of Rice was an absolutely amazing debut.  I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!  I must have shown that book to a dozen people, and it made my “Best Of ” list for 2010.  Can. Not. Wait.

Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes (Dark Horse, $14.99) Part personal history, part biography, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes contrasts two coming-of-age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Social expectations and gender politics, thwarted ambitions and personal tragedy are played out against two contrasting historical backgrounds, poignantly evoked by the atmospheric visual storytelling of award-winning graphic-novel pioneer Bryan Talbot. Produced through an intense collaboration seldom seen between writers and artists, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is smart, funny, and sad–an essential addition to the evolving genre of graphic memoir.

I love memoirs.  I love historical pieces.  Add in Bryan Talbot and this seems like a home-run!

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery Deluxe Edition (DC/Vertigo, $22.99) Collected for the first time, an early classic from the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, newly recolored.Once he was Hero of the Beach . . . and of the Doom Patrol. Now Flex Mentallo, the Man of Muscle Mystery, returns to investigate the sinister dealings of his former comrade, The Fact, and a mysterious rock star whose connection to Flex may hold the key to saving them both.This fast-paced tale twists super hero tropes, introducing one mind-boggling concept after another in a tour de force of innovative storytelling.This long-asked-for Vertigo title is collected at last, presenting an early collaboration between writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, who would win much acclaim on ALL-STAR SUPERMAN and WE3.

All-Star Superman is, by far, my favorite Superman story of all time.  While I may not enjoy everything that Morrison does (I personally wasn’t a huge fan of is X-Men work), All-Star Superman makes me want to at least sample his work.  The top of the list for me is Flex Mentallo.  Talk about the forbidden fruit!  The rumors and stories about Flex Mentallo (or at least the lack of collected edition thereof) has made this a storyline I never thought I would get a chance to read.  Luckily something has changed and it will soon see print!

The Unwritten Vol. 5 (DC/Vertigo, $14.99)  In this new title collecting issues #24-30, Tom heads to New York, where the worldly goods of Wilson Taylor are being auctioned off – and the only thing more dangerous than the other bidders is the auctioneer. Then, Tom goes to extreme measures to learn about his father’s activities in the Golden Age of comic books!

The Unwritten continues to be one of the best ongoing series being published.  All Unwritten collections are a must-have until further notice!

The Last Battle (Image, $7.99) In 52 BCE, General Caius Rodius, retired hero of Caesar’s Legions, is called back to war. In nearby Gaul, Rome’s combined armies lay siege to the Gallic stronghold of Alesia in a conflict fated to shape history. A third barbarian horde prepares to attack the Romans from without, led by the rebel Cammius, who once fought for Rome. Rising star Julius Caesar dispatches Rodius to track through the wilderness and bring back the rebel’s head. Who better to hunt Cammius than the man who taught him the very skills he now uses to defy Rome?  Rodius must choose between duty to Rome and Caesar or the barbarian he raised as his own son.

I think it is safe to say that Dan Brereton is producing his most gorgeous work in years.  The previews for this book look breathtaking.  Sounds like the story might be up to the task as well.

The Red Wing (Image, $14.99) To stay alive in the future, the best fighter pilots in the world not only have to perfect their skills and master their aircraft, they also have to know how to travel through time.

This was the mini-series that Hickman just could not help but brag about at Emerald City.  It was clear that he was quite proud of this.  When Hickman is in complete control, his work is far better than when he is working on corporate comics.  Hopefully this will live up to his (and my) expectations.

Witch Doctor (Image, $12.99) Meet Vincent Morrow, a doctor looking for a vaccine… for the apocalypse! In this stand-alone first issue, a family needs Dr. Morrow’s help with their son’s illness: Demonic possession. But when Morrow attempts an experimental cure, he discovers the boy’s disease isn’t all spinning heads and pea soup – it’s like nothing you’ve seen before!

This is the litmus test for me.  I read one of the self-published issues and was pretty nonplussed by it.  But then the title got picked up by Skybound.  And then it started to get a little press.  And a few good reviews.  And I began to wonder if there was something to this series that I might have missed.  So I am back and ready to try the first collection.

Extinction (Across the Pond, $16.99) The end is nigh! Wrong! The end is here, now! A deadly virus has swept across the globe wiping out ninety percent of all life on Earth.Only a handful of the surviving population remains resistant to the infection, but by no means are they unaffected by it. The infected have discovered a secret to hold the sickness at bay – cannibalism!

I am on the fence about this one.  On the one hand, the dilemma of having to do something so inhuman to maintain humanity is an intriguing storytelling proposition.  On the other hand, if it is not handled carefully and correctly, you will end up with a story like Crossed which misses the point entirely and focuses on the gore.  There is a second solicitation text at the back of the Previews issue that I found a bit more interesting.  But, I am still not sure.  Hmmmm.  Maybe if I can find an online preview I will have a better idea.  If not, I will have to hope that my LCS has a copy I can thumb through before I decide.

Astronauts in Trouble (AIT/Planetlar, $19.95) Fifty years after Armstrong’s one small step, the world’s richest man claims the moon as his own personal property… and Channel Seven is there! This graphic novel shows what happens when absolute power corrupts absolutely, when The Mob has nuclear first-strike capability, and when cows jump over the moon. Witty banter, one-sixth gravity derring-do, and an explosive finale from a tale that Sci-Fi Universe says has “a wide-eyed sense of wonder and a clear appreciation for adventure-based science fiction.” This book is like “Die Hard” meets ‘Broadcast News” on the moon and was nominated for the American Library Association 2002 Popular Paperbacks. It has an introduction by Warren Ellis.

Harkening back to the early days of AIT when Larry Young could do no wrong.  Add to that Charlie Adlard art and I think this could be some fun!

Victorian Secret: Winter Wardrobe (Antarctic Press, $3.99)  Whether you’re traipsing ‘cross the glaciers of Hyperborea or merely facing the frigid facts of a snowy season at home, our daring damsels will warm your body and soul! Be they in leather or fur or padded brass fittings (and oh, how they fit), they’ll make your steampunk steamier than ever before!

Don’t judge me.  It’s research for my own steampunk comic!

Lady Mechanika #4 (Aspen, $3.50).  I’ll believe this when I see it.  This title comes out about as often as Captain Swing.  But, that being said, the latest issue of that tardy title was waiting for me last time I visited my LCS.  So I guess it isn’t entirely out of the picture.  But, that being said, I’ll be waiting for the trade…whenever that comes out.

Romeo and Juliet: The War (1821 Comics, $19.99)

Two groups of superhuman soldiers who turned the Empire of Verona into the most powerful territory on earth. The MONTAGUES, powerful cyborgs made of artificial DNA, and the CAPULETS, genetically enhanced humans known for their speed and agility, worked in tandem to destroy all threats to the city. With no one left to fight, the Montagues and Capulets found themselves a new enemy: each other.  This is the story of a young Montague boy and Capulet girl who fall in love. They secretly plan to marry, hoping their union can be what brings peace between the warring factions. But forces beyond their control begin to conspire against them, threatening their love, their lives… and the entire Empire of Verona.

I am actually planning on using this in my Language Arts class this year to talk about different elements of storytelling.  In this instance, We will be discussing the difference in setting as it relates to the tone of the story.  I have a few other versions of Romeo and Juliet  (including West Side Story and a Japanese manga) that I  also plan on using.  Should be fun!  Hopefully the comic holds up.  Again, wish there was an online preview.

Muse (Humanoids, $29.95) The sexy, dreamy adventures of one Coraline, a beautiful young lady who comes to serve as governess to a wealthy and very mysterious young man.Written by frequent Humanoids collaborator D-P Filippi (JOHN LORD) and drawn by U.S. comics superstar Terry Dodson (UNCANNY X-MEN), Muse is a lyrical and titillating ride through reverie and nostalgia. Includes bonus art material from Terry Dodson.

The preview of this looks amazing.  I have heard nothing but good tings about the book.  I hear there is another one on the series.  Hopefully this volume will do well enough to warrant the release of another.

Streakers (Mean Dog Comics, $7.00) Three friends who run a local streaking club strive towards achieving the ‘perfect streak.’

Winner of a Xeric grant.  Hailed by Seth as “the book of the year”.  Not to mention I have a few fond college memories of streaking (and my friend who raised it to an art form).  This is a must-have.

Polly and the Pirates: The Mystery of the Dragonfish (Oni, $11.99) Polly Pringle reunites with her pirate crew at long last! Honor-bound to rescue Emperor Norton from his unfair imprisonment, Polly escapes her cozy boarding school and returns to the high seas! But Polly and the Emperor have stumbled onto the fiendish plot of a foreign power, which endangers not only their own lives, but everyone in the Americas!

YAY!!!!!!!!  It has been too long since we have seen Polly.  This little pirate will have you cheering and smiling from page to page.

Spontaneous (Oni, $24.99)  Driven to discover the truth regarding his father’s mysterious death many years prior, Melvin Reyes seeks to prove the existence of Spontaneous Human Combustion after fresh outbreaks of the phenomenon reveal a pattern only he can see, a predictability model only he can read, and the terrifying realization that whatever phenomenon consumed his father is also boiling inside of him, just waiting for release.

This book was one that I seriously considered following in single issues.  But, financial considerations won out and I waited for the trade.  Now I will joyously dig in and see if it is as good as I hoped.

Meta Maus (Pantheon, $35).  Art Spiegelman looks inside his modern classic, Maus.  Why the holocaust?  Why mice?  Why comics?  An essential work about the creative process.

Do you need to know anything else?

Kramers Ergot 8 (Picturebox, $29.95)  Look!  A Kramers Ergot that is a manageable size and price!!!

The Stuff of Legend: A Jester’s Tale (Th3rd World Studios, $15.95) Continuing the saga of the New York Times-bestselling graphic novel! Following the shocking revelations of The Stuff of Legend Volume 2: The Jungle, Jester embarks on a solo quest that will take him to the farthest corners of the Dark. High seas adventure awaits!

One of the most compelling and beautiful books returns.  It has been too long.

Speaking of too long, this post has gone on far too long.  I will return tomorrow with a look at this month’s Previews catalog.

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