So the July Previews is here, signalling we’re half way through the year.  What that also means is we’re into the US Summer season, and as always the gloves come off and the big releases will be coming thick and fast.  As always, we’ve been having a look at what gems lie within the pages of this month’s Previews, some obvious and some no so.  Don’t forget to check our facebook page to as that is a quick and effective way for us to update you of highlights as we come across them.

Full listings for the main publishers’ September releases can be found at CBR – DC Entertainment, Marvel, Image, IDW, Dark Horse

So without further ado, let’s on with it!

 

Dark Horse – The Star Wars (8 part mini-series – see Previews front cover for image!)  This is based on the original draft Lucas did which changed significantly in detail in terms of what ended up on the silver screen.  But the basic framework of the saga we now know so well is there.  This could be a lot of fun to see a tale that feels familiar but will have enough difference to be entertaining.  The draft has long been available for reading, but seeing it brought to live in the magic of four colour will be hard to pass up.

 

Archie – Afterlife with Archie – Archie meets Walking Dead?  Well, they met Kiss a couple of  years back, so perhaps they were comfortable with the living dead (joke! Kiss are great – and well alive J).  If you want to see what happens when Sabrina really screws up and Riverdale is plunged into a zombie apocalypse, then this is where you want to be.  Also, if you want to see good ol’ Archie and the crew really done over, then this will suit nicely too….

 

 

 

Dark Horse – Robocop Last Stand – As far as I can tell, this is nothing to do with the reboot, this is Frank Miller’s story of ol’ tin head’s final story.  Miller is writing this so I think it should be a solid yarn in respect to this franchise.

 

 

 

Dynamite – Kings Watch – Now here’s a ensemble team I didn’t expect but I’m not surprised as ‘team’ and/or ‘mash up’ stories have been popular now for some years and these characters are certainly not unfamiliar with each other so it makes sense.  The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, all big names of their era and still have a large fan base to this day.   The tale as you’d expect is one of earth engulfing scale.  Monsters, real monsters are walking the earth on every continent and only this band of brothers can provide any hope.  I seriously suggest this could be one of the releases of the year.  Classic characters, classic Saturday matinée story but with a classy modern level of writing talent.

 

 

Hermes Press – Howard Chaykin. Honestly that’s it.  We all (I’m fairly sure) know who Commander Buck Rogers is, where he came from and his plight.  So why would you be interested in this beyond it being Buck?  Because Howard Chaykin is writing and doing the art.  If you’re not a Chaykin fan, then nothing to see here, move along.

 

 

IDW – Mars Attacks Judge Dredd – A couple of reasons to point out this crazy 4 part mini-series.  Firstly it’s Judged Dredd.  The story deals with the Mega-City Mafia and a boss that makes a power play thanks to an ‘unknown’ benefactor (who very likely is green and Martian like!)  Secondly, John McCrea is doing the art, his zany style will suit this well and he knows the Judge well so should be a treat.

 

 

 

DC – Forever Evil – Yep, this is the biggie, it hits all 52 related titles.  Geoff Johns  is the mad puppeteer behind this.  The Justice League is dead, and Villains rule the world.  Every title will have a Villain at the centre of September’s issues to support the Forever Evil series (it’s a  7 part series).  Some titles such as Batman, will have more than one issues that month given the size of Batman’s rouge gallery.  There’s so much to discuss, the easiest way is to follow the link to the full DC solicitation and check it all out!

 

 

Also worth checking out from DARK HORSE is Boozin’ and Brusin’ – the world’s first(?) superhero to derive his powers from alcohol, but he wants to go sober!  Also Criminal Macabre: The Eyes of Frankenstein – a four part mini-series where Frankenstein’s monster is going blind and seeks out the world’s foremost authority on the supernatural to help him regain its sight.  This is written by 30 days of Night creator, Steve Niles.

Orders close for the July Previews on Tuesday 23 July

The three other big players have some great stuff coming through.  I’ve highlight one new release from each of them for August but its worth taking a look through all their listings.  From Image, it’s great to see August sees the start of the second arc of Saga.  If you haven’t gotten on the Saga train yet, get me to get you the first trade paperback then hooks on to the monthly issue for the ride.  Ok, you can see the following releases for: Dark Horse here, Image here and IDW  here

 

HALO: INITIATION #1 (of 3) – Bucking the trend of those who thought Marvel (Disney) would be taking a licence (Star Wars) from Dark Horse, the ol’ nag has gone and taken Halo from Marvel!  Dark Horse is no stranger to licensed comics, in fact it’s what’s helped prop Dark Horse up while they’ve build up their other arms of their comic business.  And there licensed material has only gotten better over the years so i’d expect this to be as good, if not better, than the current Halo comic efforts to date.

 

THE SIDEKICK #1 (IMAGE) – Mmm, this could be really something.  First point to note, it’s written by J Michael Straczynski!  This looks to be his take on the darker side of ‘hero’ life, what are the true costs?   Though the cover looks  bit corny, along with the names (The Cowl and Flyboy!) but when the opening issue is going to deal with the assassination of The Cowl and how this derails Flyboy from public hero to public scorn and decent into darkness this could be a fresh angle on those in tights and capes

 

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 – IDW brings back another classic icon of super-hero history and gives the THUNDER Agents a new lease of life.  If you like the fresh approach IDW has been bring to some of their classic licenses, this will be worth a look.

Marvel, short in sweet for August, but don’t think nothing’s going on.  Infinity is the buzz for Marvel from August onwards.  Thanos is back and that means only bad news for the Marvel universe.  Aside from this Avenger$ themed event, I’d take a look at some quieter Marvel successes.  Deadpool continues to be a critical winner telling some very bizarre but entertaining stories, not quite of the normal Marvel mould.  Also, Mark Waid has been having a very popular run over the last couple of years on Daredevil, and his run on Indestructible Hulk appears to be worth catching hold of too.  Check out all the Marvel releases for August here at CBR.

 

INFINITY #1 (of 6) – This is it, the start of Marvel’s 2013 event, staring none other than… of course, Thanos!  Since he’ll be no doubt a major player in Avengers 2 (having made his cameo in the first movie) it makes sense they’ll be pushing his back to the forefront of the current Marvel story lines.  This storyline actually kicked off in the recent Marvel Free Comic Book Day effort, and doesn’t actually seem to bad at all.

 

 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #6 – The second issue with Neil Gaiman co-writing it as his creation from waaaaaay back in Spawn #9 fights Gamora (nope, i’ve no idea who that is) which has me interested.  Well played Marvel.  There’s still time to re-order issue #5 too for July if you want to catch Gaiman’s first co-credited Guardian’s début.

STK523039 ImageAnd so it passes that here we are at the end of another year, always marked by the release of a December Previews, which isn’t so bad a way to farewell the year that has been.   I’ve seen a number of December Previews over the years (going back to 1992!)  and what it reminds me is that I’m glad we get a Previews every month of the year, a small tease of things to come that give us something to look forward to.  The trick is also to make some time to enjoy the things we’ve been anticipating once they arrive (or living in the moment as they saying goes).

Enough of the waxing lyrical for the moment, on with the Previews preview!  We all know that the winter is a quieter time for the US comic industry, so no big events are kicking off just yet come February, but there are hints of things to come!   A big independent release is a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen one-shot graphic novel, Nemo: Heart of Ice.  Looks really nice as you’d expect with artist Kevin O’Neill teaming back up with Alan Moore.

We’ve already had a look at DC’s, Marvel’s and Dark Horses’ releases for February, so now to IDW.  I didn’t see much new stuff from Image this round I felt worth highlighting for you, so we’ll come back to them with January’s Previews.

You can check out the full listings for the February releases from Image here and IDW here.

Highlights recap:

Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova – Marvel

 Justice League of America – DC

Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #1 – Another 4 part outing for man with the rocket pack upon his back, the Indiana Jones of the skies, the Rocketeer!    This time out it will again me more pulp-style thrills, written by Roger Langridge who has worked on the recent Popeye from IDW and also Thor.  J Bone is the artist who did the fine work on Batman/The Spirit.   Set in the golden age of Hollywood, if you love your pulp, then these recent efforts from IDW have not be disappointing.  Nice, short story lines that are simply fun and make for good summer reading.

Kill Shakespeare: The Tide of Blood #1 (of 5) – I’ll confess to having not noticed the first mini-series of this title.  But check this out, with Lady Macbeth and Richard II defeated, Hamlet now faces the threat of Prospero who only wants to wipe out all of creation.  The type of stories utilising established, classical literary characters have really come into their own.  So many mash-ups and alternate version stories have been crafted.  I guess the genesis for this revival of genre of story telling is Mr Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Ok, that’s if for this round of the previews Previews, we’ll do it all again in the New Year!

You know what I like about this first look at comics releasing for January 2013?  It’s further proof the world isn’t ending in time for Christmas and that those profiteers of doom who don’t know a thing about Mayan culture (let alone their calendars) can shut the hell up and get a useful job to make the place we live in a bit better as we’ll be here for a while yet.

Sermon over, some nice bits from Dark Horse to kick of the year.  I haven’t caught up on too much info they’ve released at this week’s New York Comic Con though they do have a new chief at the helm coming in.   Make yourself comfortable and let’s have a look at some highlights then head over here to CBR and check out the full listings.

 

THE BLACK BEETLE: NO WAY OUT If you like your comic stories a mix of crime and pulp noir, then this should be one on your hit list.  The writer/artist is not well-known to me but he can’t be any slouch having won an Eisner award.  So if you want to recreate a story-telling vibe not dissimilar  to huddling around the wireless in the evening, to follow the exploits of The Black Beetle in Colt City and his fight against organised crime (that in the first issue appears may all but be wiped out by a mysterious bomber!) then slap your readies down for this 4 part mini-series.

 

 

EMILY AND THE STRANGERS A story about a rock chick, her cats and the pursuit to win a haunted guitar.  Love the art styles being put together for the various covers to this 3 part mini-series.  Not sure what to expect with this but it sounds like the wacky kind of story Dark Horse is good at nurturing and delivering.  For the risk of three issues and some interesting cover art at the least, if you want something different in your comic mix, this is worth a go.

 

 
STAR WARS  #1 (ONGOING) Back in the time and part of a galaxy far, far away that is most familiar to use, Dark Horse finally gets an ongoing Star Wars title that will continue the stories of Luke, Han, Chewie, et al.   The precise part of history to be further fleshed out is that following the destruction of the original Death Star.  I’d expect they’ll be the ever-present threat of Vader just off the page as the rebels will be on the run with Vader showing up every so often for maximum impact.   I know the Marvel run holds a special place for many people but I hope this new series sets the bar high for story telling in this part of the franchise.