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Chris vs. Previews: July 2010

The 500+ page Previews catalog can be pretty tough to get through, even for the most jaded comics reader. That’s why every month, ComicsAlliance contributor Chris Sims sits down to scour the pages for the best, worst, and most mind-bogglingly insane items and bring them to you, the discerning reader, in our recurring feature, Chris vs. Previews!

P. 44 – The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects: If “Hellboy” was the only thing he’d ever done, Mike Mignola would still be one of the best creators in modern comics. Still, while I do love me some Hellboy, it’s always a treat to see him working on one of his side-projects, whether it’s something tied in like “Lobster Johnson” (which was worth it for the faux “article” on the lost Lobster Johnson luchador films), or something a little bit stranger, like “The Amazing Screw-On Head.”

Despite an Eisner win and a half-hour TV pilot directed by “Pushing Daisies” creator Bryan Fuller and starring Oscar-winner Paul Giamatti (which, unfortunately, didn’t get picked up), “Screw-On Head” is still relatively obscure, probably because it’s been a long while since the original one-shot was available.

Now, however, it’s getting a big ol’ fancy hardcover collection alongside a couple of other Mignola side projects and 50 pages of new material. I’d go on about how that sounds pretty awesome, but since the solicitation itself already includes the sentence “when Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on earth, President Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head,” I’m pretty sure that’s unnecessary.

P. 48 – Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London #1: And speaking of Dark Horse creators doing esoteric high concept books, this issue of “Previews” also includes the return of Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz’s “Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities,” a series in which, after faking his own death at the hands of Pat Garrett and joining a traveling freakshow, Billy the Kid fights Jack the Ripper.

If I’m remembering the first series right, it’s pretty much in tune with Powell’s more famous creation (although on the average, it might work out to being more serious), and that brings up something else notable about this one: It contains “Goon” backups by Powell, which is pretty nice since I don’t see the series listed anywhere else in the catalog this month.

P. 69 – Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2: Huh.

That is definitely a woman throwing up on Guy Gardner’s face on the cover of a comic book.

P. 87 – Superman #703 and Action Comics #893: For those of you keeping score at home, here’s how this month’s Superman solicitations are shaping up: Over in “Superman,” the guy who can fly is just walking around, while in “Action,” a guy with no super-powers at all is having a fistfight with a telepathic talking super-gorilla. Go figure.

P. 98 – Teen Titans #87: “Aw c’mon, guys…”

“…ONE of us has to pick Paper or Scissors EVENTUALLY!”

P. 100 – Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga Deluxe Edition HC: For me, the biggest announcement in “Previews” this month is that DC is finally putting “The Great Darkness Saga” back into print in the form of a deluxe hardcover. It’s one of the biggest Legion stories ever — if not the biggest — with a scope that actually feels like it’s been building for a thousand years and takes an entire galaxy to deal with, setting a high mark for the team that’s very rarely been reached since, and it’s also an incredible combination of a franchise rooted in DC’s bright, optimistic, completely insane Silver Age with a franchise rooted in Jack Kirby.

The only thing wrong with it is that it’s pretty famously the story where the Legion fights Darkseid — his big ol’ mug’s right there on the cover, after all — which means that readers don’t get the awesome surprise of Darkseid being the big villain, which is brilliantly played out in the way that Levitz and Giffen have Brainiac 5 totally lose his mind when he realizes they’re fighting the ancient, all-powerful god of Evil.

It’s still pretty great even if you know it’s coming, though, and while I was initially a little put off by the fact that it’s forty bucks, it’s got a total of 13 issues, most of which have never been reprinted. All in all, not a bad deal, and worth it to get one of the best Legion stories ever printed.

P. 137 – Ame-Comi Heroine Series: Duela Dent as the Joker PVC Figure: So this month, DC’s selling a sexy anime steampunk lady Joker statue.

Usually I have to wait until the last hundred pages of the catalog to see a Voltron formed by that many fetishes at once.

P. 172 – Chew #15: If you haven’t been reading “Chew,” then I don’t know what to tell you that you probably haven’t heard before, the short version of which is that it’s probably the best new comic to come down the pike in the last few years and that by not buying it, you’ve bought yourself a good ol’ fashioned shunning from me, Sir or Madam.

What’s interesting about this solicit, though, is not just the promise of a gatefold wraparound cover by Rob Guillory riffing on the Last Supper (which sounds awesome), or even the note about how we’re a quarter of the way through “Chew’s” planned 60-issue run (which gives me the harrowing thought that eventually, we’ll be living in a world without Tony Chu’s monthly adventures), but that this is the first solicitation I’ve ever seen that explicitly advised readers not to “trade-wait.”

P. 180 – G-Man v.1 and v.2: If you did, however, wait for the trades, then you could do a heck of a lot worse than picking up the new volumes of Chris Giarrusso’s G-Man, which get a nifty matching trade dress this month.

Most readers are probably familiar with Giarrusso from the “Mini-Marvels” comics he did for so long, but while those are great, the G-Man stories are actually even better. They’re every bit as funny, but with the freedom that a creator gets from creating his own universe underscoring the great gags that he pulls off in each issue.

P. 70 – Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4:

I don’t really have a joke for this one, I just think it’s going to be awesome. Look at how happy Volstagg is to be in this book!

P. 77 – Wolverine #1: This month brings a new relaunch for “Wolverine,” and while I’m actually pretty excited about it — every single comic Jason Aaron has done for marvel so far has been nothing short of spectacular, and his work on “Wolverine: Weapon X” was no exception — I’m a little mystified by the way they’re promoting it as “The Only Wolverine Series This Month!”

Maybe they just ran out of room for the full text (“The Only Ongoing Wolverine Series This Month That Has a New #1 Issue), but, well, I’ll let retailer and comics blogger Mike Sterling handle this one:

Well, yes, I guess…but if you need more Wolverine-style action, there’s the Wolverine: The Road to Hell one-shot, the new Daken: Dark Wolverine ongoing series, the ongoing X-23 spin-off character, there’s Wolverine’s appearance in X-Force, and he’s prominently featured in the Avengers: The Children’s Crusade ad, and there he is as the feature character in New Avengers #4, and oh, look, there he is in Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #3, and Astonishing X-Men #4, oh, and Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #1 Director’s Cut, and there’s his origin in Origins of Marvel Comics: X-Men #1, and I can see him there in X-Men #3, and there’s a little tiny pic of him on the cover of X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – X-Men Vs. Vampires #1, and he might be in Avengers #5 or some of the other X-titles, but I’m not seeing him in the ads, but you know, maybe, if we’re lucky, Wolvie might in those titles, too. So thank goodness, we’ll hopefully have sufficient Wolverine content in the months to come!

The best thing about that list? Sterling actually missed one.

P. 106 – Avengers: The Coming of the Beast HC:

Hey, I think we found the title for Axel Braun‘s next feature!

P. 250 – Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #16: Much like their television counterparts, the Simpsons Comics “Treehouse of Horror” issues are all worth checking out, as they tend to hand the reins over to great creators. This issue’s no exception, featuring work from CA favorite Evan Dorkin and HOLY CRAP DOES THAT SAY LEMMY?!

Evan Dorkin, Peter Kuper, Kelley Jones, Kelvin Mao, Lemmy Fan-favorite Evan Dorkin graces the pages of this year’s annual with a tale of an intergalactic monster bent on conquering distant worlds named ‘The Glavin’, who intercepts a space broadcast from none other than Professor Frink! Alternative and political cartoonist Peter Kuper shows off his penchant for Edgar Allan Poe with a story entitled ‘The Tell-Tale Bart!’ Kelley Jones teams up with Kelvin Mao to tell a tale of burial and betrayal as Flanders finally exacts his revenge on Homer! And finally, brace yourself as cult icon and metal music maestro Lemmy (of Motörhead)), takes Homer on hard rockin’, heavy metal trip to Hell!

Oh man. Lemmy Kilmister, the frontman of Motörhead and quite possibly the most metal man alive, is writing a Simpsons comic where Homer goes to Hell.

That is quite possibly the best reason for reading a comic that I have ever heard.

P. 260 – Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #64: In order to let retailers prepare themselves for horror-seekers at Halloween, “Previews” has noted spoooookier selections with a “Trick or Treat” tag, like so:

Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and go with “trick.”

P. 282 – Treasure v.1: For a while there, the taglines of DMP’s yaoi titles were the highlight of the catalog, but lately, they’ve been slipping. This month, though, I’m glad to say they’re back:

Thanks for thrown’ those quotes around the word “payment” there, DMP, otherwise I’m not sure I would’ve caught the innuendo (I think they mean hugging?).

P. 352 – DC Super-Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book: With the possible exception of gallon of kerosene and a commemorative “Dirty Pair” zippo lighter, a pop-up book is about the last thing I need to be adding to my bookshelf. But let’s be honest here:

This thing has a 3D pop-up Batcave and a light-up Bat-Signal, and when those words hit my eyes, my brain immediately translates them into “how can I give you all of my money?”

P. 383 – Sexy GI Joe Costumes: Wow, is it that time again already?

Yes, this year may have swapped out Sexy Silk Spectre for “Sassy Ironette” (which is actually not the costume Tony Stark’s cheerleaders wore in “Iron Man 2,” a fact that I spent a good deal of time verifying), but what caught my eye were the GI Joe costumes.

The Sassy Cobra Soldier one I can kind of understand; as crazy as it is, I like that there’s a “sexy” version of the Cobra Soldier alongside Sexy Nurse, Sexy Fireman and Sexy Frog, and if nothing else, there actually was an episode involving Cobra’s dedicated team of burlesque dancers, the Cobra Cuties (seriously). The Baroness one, however? I mean… wasn’t the Baroness’s costume already sexy? This is basically just Sexy Witch With Belt.

P. 423 – Evangelion 2.0 Asuka Shikinami Test Suit Ani*Statue: For a minute there, I thought that Sexy Steampunk Joker would be the weirdest statue-related thing I saw this month, but I think the lurid description of a statue of a girl fixing her hair in an inexplicably translucent mechasuit probably ties:

Creepy as it is, though, I’m glad to see that the dude who really, really wants to have sex with inanimate objects got a sweet job writing ad copy. Nice one, bruvva!

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