Chris vs. Previews: May 2010: Jane Wiedlin, Margaret Thatcher, and The Schoolgirl RPG
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. 30 - Conan: The Frazetta Covers Series #5: I've always been a little mystified by the "Frazetta Covers" Conan comics that Dark Horse has been putting out for the past couple of years. It's not that I don't get why people would want to see Frazetta covers -- 2,000,000 Molly Hatchet fans can't be wrong, after all -- but why put them on reprints of comics that have already come out? Since "Conan" readers have already gotten the actual comic, why not just do a nice art book for the Frazetta fans?
This one, however, does have an advantage over the other installments, both in that it collects both parts of a two-part story (making it a 72-page miniature trade paperback, really), and that the story in question is "Rogues in the House," where Conan straight up suplexes a gorilla that thinks it's people.
Which is awesome.
P. 35 - Empowered v.6 - I don't really have a joke here except to say that this is a pretty good month for long-running graphic novels to have their sixth volumes solicited...
...but lest this one get overlooked in the shuffle, Adam Warren's sexy super-hero sitcom is back for another round. Like the other 5 volumes in the series so far, I'm expecting it to be top-notch, ridiculous fun with a surprising amount of heart to it, but more than that, this might just be the one where we finally see the Were-Giraffe By Night. Warren has been promising/threatening to drop him in for a few years now, and while part of me wants to see what the guy who brought Maid Man could do with such a thing, there's another part that just doesn't want the mystique ruined.
P. 132 - Blackest Night Action Figures: As Mike Sterling pointed in his End of Civilization "Previews" roundup, the number of people who would actually be interested in buying an action figure of Aquaman's wife from her recent stint as a blood-vomiting Red Lantern could be graphed as a curve rapidly approaching (but never actually reaching) zero. Package her with figure of Dex-Starr, the Red Lantern that is actually a tiny blue kitty cat from outer space...
...and that becomes guaranteed sales, with the only question left being how many loose Mera figs it's going to take to crash eBay's servers.
Interest in Indigo Lantern Ray Palmer, however, continues to be a mathematical impossibility.
P. 163 - Archie: Pureheart the Powerful TPB: I realize that this may be of interest only to me as ComicsAlliance's resident Archie Historian, but I've been pleasantly surprised at what IDW's chosen to put in their collections of older material.
I can do without the newspaper strip and the Dan DeCarlo book speaks for itself, but between a paperback of Pureheart (which saw the "Archie" cast become super-heroes with disturbingly muscled bodies) and Archie's own revival of "The Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E." (a spy parody from the same era), someone's finally taken an interest in the more esoteric corners of the Archie empire. Now if only they'd actually re-released stories from "Life With Archie" where Archie had to rescue Betty and Veronica from burning buildings, quicksand and racism rather than just recycling the title for the new book about Archie's imaginary alternate future marriages.
P. 172 - Lady Robotika #1: The idea of a comic written and drawn by Bongo Comics co-founder BIll Morrison starring a corset-, fishnets-, and diaphanous-miniskirt-wearing character inspired by the infinitely crushable Go-Go's guitarist Jane Weidlin would be more than enough to sell this comic to certain parties...
...but the fact that it's actually about Jane Wiedlin herself getting taken to space and becoming a cyborg so that she can fight an evil space dominatrix? That puts this one over the top into being one of the single greatest concepts ever put down on paper. Seriously, out of all the celebrity-based comics that have cropped up in the past decade, someone finally realized that if you're going to do a comic about a celebrity, you might as well go all-out with it and make it about them.
I mean, really, who wouldn't have bought that Samuel L. Jackson comic if it was actually about Samuel L. Jackson fighting crime? And if "Jennifer Love Hewitt's Magic Box" had actually been about what it said on the cover, "Previews Adult" might still exist today.
P. 234 - Aspen Splash Swimsuit Special 2010: You know, I really thought swimsuit specials were a lost treasure of the '90s, but apparently the good people at Aspen are dedicated to making sure that David Uzumeri and I stay employed.
P. 249 - Female Force: Margaret Thatcher:
It's probably too much to hope that this'll just be illustrated lyrics from Elvis Costello's "Tramp The Dirt Down," isn't it?
P. 320 - The Sixth Gun #1: In case you missed it on Free Comic Book Day, the first issue of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's "The Sixth Gun" is solicited in this issue (along with the second), and really, you need to get on that.
Bunn and Hurtt's last project, "The Damned" (no relation to the British punk band), was a story that blended horror and crime pretty much perfectly for a tale of demonic mobsters and a guy who just couldn't die. It was also criminally underrated, especially the second volume, which mixed in comedy and action for something that fans of "Hellboy" and "The Goon" should jump on immediately.
Judging by the first issue, "The Sixth Gun" looks like it's following along the same track, but this time substituting a high-stakes Western for the noir elements. And by that, I mean that there are demonic forces that siege a "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"-esque monastery and are met by monks with machineguns. Which, you know, is pretty rad.
P. 322 - Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour:
Fun fact: Nobody on the planet needs me to tell them to buy this.
P. 426 - Toys and Statues:
"Who wants a high five?"
P. 430 - A Page Full of Anime Statues: Normally, this is the page in "Previews" that gets me to either drop my jaw or shake my head sadly, but this time, it's actually not so bad. Not by its usual standards, anyway:
Sure, there's the almost mandatory girls-in-swimsuits statues (including Kagura, another high school girl from "Azumanga Daioh") and the solicitations are almost indistinguishable from the poorly translated descriptions you'll find on websites selling Russian mail order brides ("Clalaclan smiles in cheerful greeting as though saying 'Welcome home, Master.' Her beautiful blonde hair flows under a pretty tiara and is tied at the end in a big purple bow."), but at this point, that's downright restrained.
And I've got to confess, I'm pleasantly surprised. I mean, if a maid's outfit that actually looks like something a maid might wear is the most exploitative thing I've got to see this month, then--
P. 434 - Ikkitousen Suckin' Down Popsicles Statues
OH COME ON.
P. 453 - Hellcats and Hockeysticks: Back when I worked at a comics and games store, I thought there was a roleplaying game for every conceivable niche. High fantasy, low fantasy, super-heroes, pasty vampires, pro wrestlers, Western gunfighters, Pokemon, all of the above except they're also zombies..., I figured all the bases were covered.
And I was wrong. Until now. Ladies and gentlemen: Hellcats and Hockeysticks
Finally, a roleplaying game for the person who wants to reconcile his love of pretending to be a naughty schoolgirl with his love of rolling dice.
Truly, we live in the finest of all possible worlds.