An Indie Eye on Previews: January

Once again it is time to take a look at the big book of possibilities that is Previews.  This month we look at the January Previews with books hitting the shelves in March.

Channel Zero TP (Dark Horse pg. 52)

A blistering take on media control in a repressive future America! DMZ and The Massive creator Brian Wood launched an all-out assault on the comics medium in 1997 with Channel Zero, an influential, forward-thinking series that combined art, politics, and graphic design in a unique way. Touching on themes of freedom of expression, hacking, cutting-edge media manipulation, and police surveillance, it remains as relevant today as it did back then. 
The Channel Zero collection contains the original series, the prequel graphic novel Jennie One (illustrated by Becky Cloonan), the best of the two Public Domain design books, and almost fifteen years of extras, rarities, short stories, and unused art. Also featuring the now-classic Warren Ellis introduction and an all-new cover by Wood, this is the must-have edition. See where it all began!

I do love Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan.  Although, I think this is one of the few times I can recall an introduction by another writer as one of the selling points of the book.  Is this “classic” intro by Warren Ellis really that good?

Fear Agent vol. 6 (Dark Horse pg. 54)

The final tale of the last Fear Agent! Heath Huston is the only remaining human in a universe that has been totally amalgamated by Tetaldian robotic conquerors. As the Tetaldians continue to hunt him, Heath uncovers the history of the robot hordes and their secret co conspirators. The odds stacked higher than ever, his body aged and broken, he”s finally presented with one final opportunity for redemption – can the last Fear Agent move past his role in it all and give the bastards a little back? Sure he can! A drink is poured, a rocketship ignited, and a cigar lit – the last Fear Agent sets off on his closing bid for redemption!

I have been waiting for sooooooo long for this volume!  I am going to read through the previous five volumes so that I am primed and ready for this. Bring it on Remender!!!

The Art of Molly Crabapple, Vol. 1: Week in Hell (IDW pg. 179)

In September 2011 artist and firebrand, Molly Crabapple, locked herself in a hotel room, covered the walls in paper, and filled 270 square feet of wall with art. The project, called “Molly Crabapple”s Week in Hell,” is a wild ride through the imagination of an artist stretching herself to the limits of her endurance. Gorgeous photographs by Steve Prue show Ms. Crabapple”s sheer talent, audacity, and ambition at work. From the first stroke of pen upon paper to the glorious 360-degree view of a room full of art, this book chronicles the trials and joys of the Week in Hell, including visits from some of New York City”s artistic luminaries, absinthe parties, live models, and musical accompaniment. The project was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign which garnered 745 backers who watched the whole week unfold in live webcasts with the artist, following Molly Crabapple into the madness of art.

One of the most intriguing and artistic people working in art today.  This was an ambitious project and I cannot wait to get a tour of the mayhem she produced.  And, for $9.99, it is a heck of a steal!

The Walking Dead: Cutting Room Floor (Image pg. 204)

For the first time ever: an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at ROBERT KIRKMAN’s original, hand-written plot lines for the early issues of the Eisner-award winning series!  See what plot lines were left on the cutting room floor and get an in-depth look at how the series came together.  This collection includes commentaries on KIRKMAN’s original plots with never before seen material. This is the WALKING DEAD collector’s item of the year!

Collects NEVER BEFORE SEEN WALKING DEAD PLOTS!

I am curious to see what is in here.  I really enjoyed the early Walking Dead stories (up through about issue 60).  In addition, I have been enjoying the Walking Dead tv series which has veered wildly from the comic in many ways while still being familiar.  I would be curious to see what other ideas Kirkman had that eventually fell by the wayside.

Rachel Rising vol. 1: The Shadow of Death (Abstract Studios pg. 232)

Rachel Beck wakes in a shallow grave and claws her way free as a mysterious woman watches from a bluff. With no memory of the night before, Rachel enlists the help of Aunt Johnny, the town mortician, to find her killer. But when repeated attacks send her to the morgue, Rachel’s ability to wake from death again and again prove to be a blessing and a curse, and the eerie town of Manson will never be the same! Collects issues #1-6.

Right now Terry Moore is 2 for 2 with me.  Strangers in Paradise followed by Echo.  Will this be the Hat Trick?

Cow Boy (Archaia pg. 242)

“Justice ain’t got no age.”

NATE COSBY (Pigs, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller) and CHRIS ELIOPOULOS (Franklin Richards, Misery Loves Sherman) present COW BOY, the story of a young bounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. He travels the Old West on a horse that ain’t his, and won’t stop til every one’a his kin’s in the clink.

Also in this volume: Short stories by the likes of ROGER LANGRIDGE (The Muppet Show Comic), BRIAN CLEVINGER & SCOTT WEGENER (Atomic Robo), MIKE MAIHACK (Cleopatra In Space) & COLLEEN COOVER (Jim Henson’s The Storyteller).

This seems like a lot of fun.  The price point is a bit steep ($19.95 for 96 pages), so I may wait for the soft cover release.

I’m Not a Plastic Bag (Archaia pg. 243)

Based on the real-life occurrence of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island of floating trash in a remote area of the Northern Pacific Ocean more than twice the size of Texas, I’m Not a Plastic Bag tells a moving story about loneliness, beauty, and humankind’s connection to our planet.

Another great idea and a book that I am itching to read!  but what is it with Archaia’s price point???  $19.95 for 88 pages seems steep!  However, Archaia will plant two trees for every one that is used to produce this book.

An Elegy For Amelia Johnson (Archaia pg. 244)

In her 30 years on earth, Amelia Johnson has touched many lives with her compassion, intelligence, and spirit. Now, at the end of a year-long battle with cancer, she asks her two closest friends to take her final messages to the people who have touched her life the most. Henry Barrons is a cocky, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker whose demeanor hides deep insecurities. Jillian Webb is an acclaimed magazine writer with an inability to make long-term commitments. They set out across the country to fulfill Amelia’s dying wish…and end up learning more about her – and themselves – than they ever imagined.

This sounds like an interesting concept and there is definitely some room for a good story.  even though I am not familiar with these creators, I think I will check this one out!

Tanpopo Collection Vol. 1 (Boom! pg. 270)

Celebrated creator Camilla d’Errico delivers a stunning visual journey exploring emotion, self-discovery/innocence and what it means to be human. TANPOPO is superhumanly intelligent and inhumanly emotionless. Attached to a mysterious machine and ruled by her vast knowledge, one day her heart rises up to struggle against her ruling mind. Torn and confused, she now seeks humanity, longing to feel what other humans feel. Each chapter of TANPOPO is inspired by a classic piece of literature or poetry, woven into its own epic story, and contained in this beautiful hardcover edition.

I am constantly amazed by the art of Camilla d’Errico.  It is dreamy and constantly brings me back for more.  However, I have never actually read any stories by d’Errico, so I am looking forward to seeing if the storytelling is as engaging as the art.

Pete and Miriam (Boom! pg. 271)

In his first full graphic novel since his Eisner Award-winning performance on Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Rich Tommaso delivers another gem with Pete and Miriam. From the trouble caused by youthful impulses to exploring the seedier side of what life has to offer outside their suburban confines, Peter and Miriam forge their friendship through the odyssey of coming of age in America. This hot item at Angouleme is now available in the U.S. for the first time!

While the solicitation text doesn’t sound that thrilling, I really enjoyed Satchel Paige: Striking out Jim Crow.  I am willing to take a chance that Tommaso will come through with a fiction piece as well.

Take What You Can Carry (Henry Holt pg. 307)

In 1977 suburban Chicago, Kyle runs wild with his friends and learns to shoplift from the local convenience store. In 1941 Berkeley, the Himitsu family is forced to leave their home for a Japanese-American internment camp, and their teenage son must decide how to deal with his new life. But though these boys are growing up in wildly different places and times, their lives intersect in more ways than one, as they discover compassion, learn loyalty, and find renewal in the most surprising of places.

I am a sucker for books where there are echoes of the past that reverberate to the future.  I am curious to see how this story unfolds.

Tails vol. 1 (Hermes Press pg. 307)

Quirky, funny, and surreal, Tails follows the semi-autobiographical exploits of hapless and hopeless hipster cartoonist Ethan. Ethan uses his comic book creation Crusader Cat to get away from the real world – and things get interesting when his escapist work starts to talk back to him. Poignant, funny, and daring, Tails is an unflinching portrait of a believable character as he starts to fall into the abyss of an unbelievable world, with the results ranging from hilarious to heart-breaking.

Tails is a fantastically entertaining comic that is full of all kinds of fun twists and turns.  Check out this interview we did with Tails creator Ethan Young.

Ichiro (Houghton Mifflin pg. 308)

Ichiro lives in New York City with his Japanese mother. His father, an American soldier, was killed in Iraq. Now, Ichi’s mom has decided they should move back to Japan to live with Ichi’s grandfather. 
   Grandfather becomes Ichi’s tour guide, taking him to temples as well as the Hiroshima Peace Park, where Ichi starts to question the nature of war. After a supernatural encounter with the gods and creatures of Japanese mythology, Ichi must face his fears if he is to get back home. In doing so, he learns about the nature of man, of gods, and of war. He also learns there are no easy answers—for gods or men. 

I can’t put my finger on why this one sounds so appealing.  Is it the the relationship between a grandfather and grandson?  Is it the supernatural element?  Is it the re-evaluation of the meaning of war?  Not sure, but I will be reading this one for sure!

Breathe Deeply (One Peace Books pg. 315)

Breathe Deeply begs readers to forget what they know about manga. This exhilarating piece of graphic fiction will leave the reader with no alternative but to judge it on its own merits. Award-winning manga-ka team Doton Yamazaki broke the mold when they created this controversial medical thriller, and it will break your heart every time you read it.
A battle ensues over life and death, belief and science, ethics and progress. Two boys, Sei and Oishi, fall madly in love for Yuko. Her loss wreaks havoc in their young lives as bitter memories cease to fade and their tender hearts cling to the dream where debilitating illness disappears in the face of science. But, what would happen if they discovered all they believed was a lie? Will mercy and love prevail?
This exhilarating masterpiece of graphic fiction will force you to forget what you know about manga.

Hmmmm.  Something that will “force me to forget what I know about manga”?  I don’t know.  I like manga.  do I want to forget that?  Either way, I think I will be picking this up!  I have not read a medical drama manga yet (I know, Tezuka’s Blackjack is a medical manga, but I haven’t read it yet *gasp*!), so I am looking forward to seeing how this is tackled. Seems like manga may be the right medium (as long as I don’t forget about it).

The Coldest City (Oni pg. 317)

November 1989. Communism is collapsing, and soon the Berlin Wall will come down with it. But before that happens there is one last bit of cloak & dagger to attend to. Two weeks ago, an undercover MI6 officer was killed in Berlin. He was carrying information from a source in the East — a list that allegedly contains the name of every espionage agent working in Berlin, on all sides. No list was found on his body. Now Lorraine Broughton, an experienced spy with no pre-existing ties to Berlin, has been sent into this powderkeg of social unrest, counter-espionage, defections gone bad and secret assassinations to bring back the list and save the lives of the British agents whose identities reside on it.

Oni produced one of my all-time favorite spy series, Queen and Country.  Antony Johnston even wrote a three-issue mini-series, Declassified, that took place in the Q&C universe.  This is a must-have for me!  My only question: does this really come out in March? Everything I can find (including on Oni’s site) says that it comes out in May.  Either way….I want it!

Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X (Red 5 Comics pg. 325)

Forget volume 1 – this is the perfect place to start your Atomic Robo adventures, since every collection stands alone in any reading order. In this tale, Robo is the only hope to save astronauts trapped in a rapidly deteriorating orbit. And when he gets there? Things go from utterly doomed to Aaaauuuugh!

Stop reading.  Go get this book!  It is the ONLY book I get in individual issues.  I cannot wait each month for the latest installment!  Doesn’t matter if you have never read an issue of Atomic Robo before, you have to get this book!  What are you doing still reading????  Go get it!!!! (Then come back here and finish reading)

Unterzakhn (Schocken Books pg. 327)

A mesmerizing, heartbreaking graphic novel of immigrant life on New York’s Lower East Side at the turn of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of twin sisters whose lives take radically and tragically different paths.

For six-year-old Esther and Fanya, the teeming streets of New York’s Lower East Side circa 1910 are both a fascinating playground and a place where life’s lessons are learned quickly and often cruelly. In drawings that capture both the tumult and the telling details of that street life, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for “Underthings”) tells the story of these sisters: as wide-eyed little girls absorbing the sights and sounds of a neighborhood of struggling immigrants; as teenagers taking their own tentative steps into the wider world (Esther working for a woman who runs both a burlesque theater and a whorehouse, Fanya for an obstetrician who also performs illegal abortions); and, finally, as adults battling for their own piece of the “golden land,” where the difference between just barely surviving and triumphantly succeeding involves, for each of them, painful decisions that will have unavoidably tragic repercussions.

Hmmmm.  I thought this book was coming out from Pantheon.  Oh well.  This seems like an interesting idea.  There is the conflict of the new world vs. the old world.  the new life vs. the old life.  Right vs wrong.  And a whole slew of other cultural issues that make good fodder for any story.  I look forward to the airing of dirty secrets and a few undergarments!

Bakuman vol. 10 (Viz Media pg. 336)

Moritaka and Akito will need to come up with an amazing new manga idea if they ever hope to get back into Weekly Jump magazine, and they only have six months to do it! But with Hattori, their former editor, helping behind the scenes, the duo might have everything in place to create the perfect story.

So much fun.  LOVE this book!  Not sure there is much else I can say about it.  Plus there is an anime on the way!!!

The Drops of God (Vertical pg. 341)

Few comics have ever exhibited such sway over the economics of an industry as The Drops of God. The legendary wine comic that dictated wine prices worldwide is now available in English for the first time! A wine critic and his rival brother must compete against each other to determine who will inherit their father’s estate – a wine collection featuring 13 heaven blessed wines.

I just finished vol. 1 and am headed out to get vol. 2.  This is a fantastic book that has the balance of art and storyline usually reserved for more mature storytelling.  There is no silliness or chibis hiding out in this book.  It is drama from the word go!  Vertical has chosen another winner!

Twin Spica vol. 12 (Vertical pg. 342)

In these final installments, graduation looms for what is left of the Tokyo Space School’s first class. As the teens focus on their final days in school, many of them take the opportunity to finally share some long hidden feelings and settle a few differences. And finally, Japan’s first student astronaut is selected! Will Asumi finally be able to drive the rocket of her childhood dreams?

If you haven;t been reading it, this is a lousy time to start.  Twin Spica is one of the best books of the past few years.  Full of emotion and impact in each volume.  Well worth the investment of time and money to read this series.  It will be missed.

 

that’s what I found this month.  What looks good to you?

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One Response to An Indie Eye on Previews: January

  1. THE COLDEST CITY comes out in May, yeah. Apparently Diamond requires certain books (mostly those printed overseas) to be solicited in advance, now. We’ll have more info about the release, some samples pages, etc. in the next few days :)

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