Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Offended Aristocrat

MARGARET LISS:
A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We last looked at Dave Sim's notebook #20 in July of last year in Drunk Attic. It covers Cerebus #186 through 201 and as you can imagine, most of the 71 pages scanned were text.

Notebook #22, page 29
Some commentary on Superman #165, some quotes and Viktor Davis talking about artistic license.
This next page caught my eye because the way the slanted text looked like it belonged in a word balloon. It sounds like Mr Zulli talking with Jaka from issue #193.

Notebook #22, page 38





Paper to Pixel to Paper Again: the Last Installment? Working with Color Part 4

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29
A guide to creating the best looking line art in print in the new digital print world

Addendum E:
Working in Color, Part 4
Greetings!

This is the second addendum to Paper to Pixel to Paper Again, a series that explains (in an overly thorough manner) the how-to's of preparing line art for print.


And as always, if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!

***

In the last three addena installments, we discussed various ways to scan and manipulate full-color artwork to wring as much detail as possible from the final product.

Which leaves us with really only two concerns.

What about digital color?

If you do color work digitally, none of the principles I've discussed so far are really fundamentally different, other than the fact that digital color is generally very... soft... compared to real-world media. Lots of gradation. Lots of transparency. Lots of, let's say it, blurry effect going on. And so a lot of the sharpening stuff we've discussed isn't as relevant to digital color.
Which isn't to say you shouldn't give it a shot! 

Especially if you save lots of process layers, or use lots of digital "dry media" or "natural media" style-brushes, sharpening can be effective in bringing out certain effects. 

Here's a poster I drew several years ago. This is probably the last thing I colored digitally without any traditional media involved. It's digital color (in Paint Tool Sai) over a drybrush drawing.


If you take a peek at the layers, you can see that I kept things fairly separated, including the texture layer on top that helps take away some of the digital unnatural smoothness.





It's not until I strip it down all the way to the bottom layer, the original drybrush drawing, that I see a place for some improvement here. The drybrush could really be sharpened up to give it some more of its natural texture in print. You can see it's looking fairly soft here.

Of course, since it's actually a separate layer... does it really have to be halftoned at all?

Hence our last topic.

If I work in color, does everything have to be half-toned?

And here's where things get really interesting again...

If you work with a layout program like Adobe Indesign, and you send your files to your printer as PDFs, you can keep your various layers separated, with one (line art layer) going straight to plate/print without halftoning, and another separate layer either full-color or grayscale, which will be halftoned!

In fact, it's a pretty easy process to do. If you want to, you can even do it with traditional media (though it involves a lightboard!)

First--why would you do such a thing?

Basically, as we discussed in early installments of this series, there are some real advantages to not half-toning line art. Mainly, you can get a degree of detail that's impossible with material that's been screened/half-toned. And you can avoid any moire that might result in halftoning material that's not intended to halftone (for instance, screen tone, etc).

Let's take a look at an example that has all of these issues and more. Benjamin Hobb's hilarious cover to THE UNDATEABLE CEREBUS, available for order from your local comic store right now!


To start this cover off, Benjamin created the line art layers, working layer by layer and building up the file. 

Notice that this cover has both mechanical tone that would cause moire if it were halftoned, and a heck of a lot of teeny tiny little lines.


Once he was done with the line art portion, he saved the multi-layered file, then flattened it all, reduced the resolution to 600 ppi, changed the color mode to RGB, and then started the color layer on top.

Working with each of the color layers in Multiply blending mode enables you to see the line art from underneath as you work. Once the color was done, he hid the line art layer, then flattened the remainder.

Here's what the image looks like with only the color layer.


Once you have the two flattened files (in our case, one 600 ppi RGB file and one 2400 ppi 1-bit line art file), you can combine them in Indesign. Just place both files in the same layout and voila, you're ready to export. Assuming you have your PDF export settings set correctly, both files will retain their original resolutions and both will be handled appropriately by the printer.

And here's the final result!


For the real deal, check your local comic store shelves the last Wednesday of May!

...

Okay, as I mentioned a month back, this will be my last post here for the foreseeable future. Although I'll still be restoring every Cerebus volume as they come up for reprint, I'm taking the next two months off from any production work to focus on some commissioned illustration work.

Speaking of which...if you're ever in need of illustration or design work, I'm always available at Livingtheline.com, or at seanmichaelrobinson at gmail dot com.

It's been a pleasure writing for you. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The ol' AMOC mailbag...

Hi, Everybody!

Again: AUCTIONS!
Nick Calm Agent of C.O.D.P.I.E.C.E. #1 sold for $152.50 ($120.33 American) so, "Y." "A." "Y."
Teenage Mutant Ninja Cerbi #1 sold for $177.50 Canadian ($140.05 American) so, "Yay."
The Undateable Cerebus #1 sold for $107.50 Canadian ($84.82 American) also, "Yay."
The Un-Bedable Vark #1 also sold for $107.50 Canadian ($84.82 American) again with the "Yay.".

Still up for grabs:

CEREBUS IN HELL? original artwork #2 -- 7 strips for publication 2019
CEREBUS" trade paperback test STUDIOCOMIX EDITION #1/1 signed by Dave Sim
The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood 
(And if he posts something after I post this, look for bonecrusher86 on the eBays.)
So open your checkbooks and bid, Bid, BID!!! (Or not, I don't care what you do. I lie. You sumbitches better outbid me!) (I have no money...)

Anyway:

I got THIS in the ol' AMOC mailbag:
https://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/11/21/swipe-file-a-stranger-in-hell-and-gamora/  - I wrote it.  Esteban Maroto designed the costume; I created the character.  And it's been translated all over the world!  "A Stranger in Hell" by T. Casey Brennan & Esteban Maroto from EERIE #38 was reprinted in EERIE ARCHIVES Vol. 8.  It's also prominently noted in FOLLOWING CEREBUS #6 as one of the stories that inspired Dave Sim in his own creations.

Regards,
T. Casey Brennan
T. Casey Brennan has previously been mentioned here. (there's a comic by Dave too...)

Speaking of Bleeding Cool, back when we were discussing Spawn #10I noticed that there was Fan Art with a familiar silhouette:

That was credited to "Richard Johnston Gateshead, ENG". I contacted Mr. Johnston at Bleeding Cool, and he confirmed that that was him.

Okay, go ahead and start arguing about who the other guys are...

Next Time: It's Wednesday, I don't "do" Wednesdays... Ask Sean, or Ben...

Monday, 26 February 2018

Reading Cerebus #10

Hi, Everybody!

First off: AUCTIONS!
Nick Calm Agent of C.O.D.P.I.E.C.E. #1 sold for $152.50 ($120.33 American) so, "Y." "A." "Y."
Teenage Mutant Ninja Cerbi #1 sold for $177.50 Canadian ($140.05 American) so, "Yay."
The Undateable Cerebus #1 sold for $107.50 Canadian ($84.82 American) also, "Yay."
The Un-Bedable Vark #1 also sold for $107.50 Canadian ($84.82 American) again with the "Yay.".

New is:

And these are still going strong:
CEREBUS" trade paperback test STUDIOCOMIX EDITION #1/1 signed by Dave Sim
The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood 
(And if he posts something after I post this, look for bonecrusher86 on the eBays.)
So open your checkbooks and bid, Bid, BID!!! (Or not, I don't care what you do. I would think you guys would know this by now...)

Anyway:
"Say kids, what time is it?"
"It's 'READING CEREBUS' time! "
It's "READING CEREBUS" time.
It's "READING CEREBUS" time.
Kevin reads Cerebus for you,
It’s such a nifty thing to do.
Let’s give a rousing cheer,
Cause "Reading Cerebus" is here,
Nobody liked last week's bit,
So you can all go eat 
No Swearing!

Kevin Kimmes:

Welcome back to “Reading Cerebus”, a new (some-what) weekly column here at A Moment of Cerebus. The goal of this column is to bring a fresh perspective to the 300-issue saga of Cerebus as I read through the series for the first time and give my insights into the longest running independent comic book series of all time. Think of this as part book club, part lit-crit, and part pop culture musing. Oh, and they told me Dave Sim himself may be reading this, so I hope I don’t screw this up. Let’s continue.

Issue 10 - Merchant of Unshib


Issue #10 Merchant of Unshib

Broke, delirious, and wandering through the frozen wilds, Cerebus is reunited with Red Sophia and finds himself embroiled in a plot to steal and sell "The Black Blossom Lotus".

Ever Fallen In Love With Someone, Ever Fallen in Love

Everyone has that ex. The one that you count your lucky stars to have out of your life. The one that you want nothing to do with ever again. 

In this story, Red Sophia is that ex.

See, the thing is that sometimes desperate circumstances can make for strange bed-fellows (in this case literally), and when you are cold, wet, starving, and hopeless, even the least attractive option is still an option. Unfortunately for Cerebus, this option is not nearly as clear cut as it initially seems.

What begins as a simple heist scheme quickly becomes much more complex as the other members of the team are introduced:



 - Meirgen: The son of the jeweler who was previously in possession of the Lotus. Believes he will be receiving "special favors" from Red Sophia

 - Throgo: A traitorous Tcapmin and the apple of Red Sophia's eye. Currently owed 1/2 of the eventual sale price of the Lotus.

We're Tiny, We're Toony, We're All A Little Loony
Seriously, the plot to this issue is very much influenced by the tropes established in old Bugs Bunny cartoons. We have a "Rabbit Season/Duck Season" moment that leads to Cerebus' inclusion in the caper. We have repetitive beating of Meirgen ("And right now what I have to do is..."). We even are treated to Cerebus' use of Throgo's fur to convince his compatriots that Throgo has been transformed by Khaiven sorcerers
.


Lone Wolf, Hold the CubAs mentioned previously, Cerebus operates best as a lone operative. This story again proves that. In the end Cerebus is the sole possessor of The Black Blossom Lotus, sicking the Tcapmin mercenaries on his cohorts and walking away from the caper with the prize all to himself. 

All comics pages courtesy of CerebusDownloads.com 
Final Thoughts
This is the first issue in my collection that is an original print, so it feels good to finally be seeing the stories as Dave originally intended. The story again felt like a one and done after several stories that chained together nicely into a bigger story. Maybe I'll be proven wrong next issue.

Join me back here next week as we look at Issue 11: The Merchant & The Cockroach

Currently Listening To: Grateful Dead - Dick's Picks Vol 14 11/30/73 & 12/2/73 (Disc 3)

Kevin Kimmes is a lifelong comic book reader, sometime comic book artist, and recent Cerebus convert. He can be found slinging comics at the center of the Multiverse, aka House of Heroes in Oshkosh, WI.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

"T.L.:D.R." DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON JOHN 19!"

Hi, Everybody!

First off: AUCTIONS!

The Undateable Cerebus #1 sold for $107.50 Canadian ($84.82 American) So, "YAY!!"
The Un-Bedable Vark #1 also sold for $107.50 Canadian ($84.82 American).

New are:
"CEREBUS" trade paperback test STUDIOCOMIX EDITION #1/1 signed by Dave Sim
And The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood 

And these are still going strong:
(And if he posts something after I post this, look for bonecrusher86 on the eBays.)
So open your checkbooks and bid, Bid, BID!!! (Or not, I don't care what you do. But, come on. You were just gonna blow that money on something stupid like food or rent anyway...)

Anyway, From Dave Sim:

17 Feb 18

Hi Matt!  
Since you were asking about Biblical commentaries, I thought I'd send this to you.  It's part of my RIP KIRBY COMMENTARIES which hit a religious off-ramp requiring a lengthy digression (about a year or so now) into the "Song of Deborah" (Book of Judges) with the November 8, 1950 strip.  Which then dovetailed with John's Gospel, which then dovetailed with my commentaries on Gertrude Stein's THE WORLD IS ROUND and BLOOD ON THE DINING ROOM FLOOR, finally circling back to John 19. So this is, really, the 17-page punch-line.
I can't imagine anyone would be interested, but you did ask about Bible Commentaries. 
You could maybe run it a page a week on sequential Sundays.  "T.L.:D.R."
DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON JOHN 19!"

Grab a Bible and follow along!
13 Feb 18 pg.1

Since I'm the only person who believes that there were two Jesus': the Synoptic Jesus (the YHWH's Christ, Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the Johannine Jesus (God's Christ, John's Gospel), it's always interesting when I find what I infer to be confirmation of the theory x number of years after having arrived at it. 

I think that's what I'm looking at in the NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY entry for "John the apostle" (see attached):

if, as the writers at the end of the 2nd century assert, John resided long at  Ephesus and exercised such influence, it is remarkable that there should be an entire absence of any reference to John in the extant Christian literature which emanated from Asia during the first half of the century, particularly in the letters of Ignatius and the Epistle of Polycarp. 

I don't think "John resided long" at Ephesus. Or, rather, I think he did, but it was for an extended period before he was exiled to Patmos when he was -- as the record the NBD references -- completely ignored and definitely not referred to.
 
 I think he did did linger on 'til the days of Trajan" in the sense that he lived to a very ripe old age for the time (80-90 years?) but I think he was only recalled to Ephesus after having been exiled to Patmos -- exiled not by the Romans, as is traditionally believed, but by the Christians -- because he was, by the late stages of the first century, the only person who still believed in the Johannine Jesus' existence. Everyone else, I infer, had been steamrolled by the "Peter succession"  into believing exclusively in the Synoptic Jesus (the Christian schisms of the time being exclusively between "Matthew-ists", "Mark-ists" and "Luke-ists").  
 I think that John had been the only one of the apostles to adhere primarily, if not exclusively, to the Johannine Jesus, he of the handful of miracles (which, I think it must be said, were Greater Miracles than their Synoptic counterparts: foremost among them: healing a man blind from his birth and raising Lazarus from the grave after he had been dead for four days).

And, by the late decades of the first century, I infer that John's unwavering loyalty was becoming a major theological  problem for the Church because -- although there are similarities between the Synoptic gospels and John's gospel, they are few and far between and the differences pose more problematic questions than they answer. 

For the earliest post-Peter, post-Paul generation of Church leaders, exiling John to Patmos must have seemed to them the best "shortest distance between two points is a straight line" solution.  Dump the old man on a distant island and count on his eventual death as the last remaining "Johannist" to eliminate awareness that there had ever even existed a Johannine Jesus. 


I know this got run before, but I'ma starting fresh!

Next Time: 13 Feb 18 pg.2! Can you contain your excitement? 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Previews Stuff (February edition)

Hi, Everybody!

The Cerebus in Hell? Auctions continue:
*NEW* The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood *NEW*
And The Un-Bedable Vark #1.
(And if he posts something after I post this, look for bonecrusher86 on the eBays.)
So open your checkbooks and bid, Bid, BID!!! (Or not, I don't care what you do. I got Girl Scout Cookies to hustle...)

Anyway, Travis is back:

Diamond Preview Picks: February 2018

Travis Pelkie returns with his regular monthly selection for Cerebus fans of comics and books featured in the latest Diamond Previews catalog. Travis is co-founder of the Atomic Junk Shop, a site about comics and other fun pop culture. To see your comics featured here or at the Atomic Junk Shop feel free to send an email to Travis at: atomicjunkshoptravis [at] outlook [dot] com.

The jokes on Cerebus, VIRGIL stole the iPod...
LOVE AND AARDVARKS #1
FEB180955

(W) Dave Sim, Sandeep Atwal (A) Dave Sim, Gustave Dore (CA) Lee Thacker
Jingles' 10 CGC-graded copies of Love & Rockets No. 21; if only Cerebus had married Maggie and Hopey; Jerusalem Crickets and The Crazy Catholics Hallelujah Chorus; An Ox's Nard;  Cerebus develops "Cerebus Go"; God vs. Tarim; Philosophers on Jesus' teachings; "Aardvark Amuck"; Epic-length "Satan the Closeted Gilbert & Sullivan Fan";  Infernal Realms Police Training; John Lennon in Hell?;  Drinking in Hell;  Infernal Intercontinental Wrestling Title. 

Yay! Another phone book with my name in the back!
MINDS REMASTERED EDITION
APR178991

(W) Dave Sim (A/CA) Dave Sim
The multi-year Cerebus Restoration project continues! Minds, the tenth volume of the 6,000 page Cerebus epic, finds the titular misanthropic aardvark hurtling through space alongside Cirin, his opponent and fellow aardvark, both heading for a direct collision with their small-m maker - "Dave" - a mysterious being who talks with them about themselves and their world, and who just might resemble Cerebus writer/cartoonist Dave Sim. Minds is the groundbreaking conclusion to the first two-thirds of the Cerebus epic, presented here for the first time in remastered form: painstakingly restored page-by-page from original artwork and photo negatives, and revealing detail never before present on the printed page. This volume also includes eight brand-new pages of extras, including a 6,000 word essay by Sean Michael Robinson.


Travis sez: Of course you're getting these.  A Love and Rockets parody cover for Cerebus in Hell?, and the remastered Minds?  Just take my damn money already! 
ACTION COMICS #1000  
FEB180146

(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Michael Allred
Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today's explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow's future-this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories!
Travis sez: The one that basically started it all, Action Comics reaches issue 1000 (through numbering shenanigans, of course).  Variant covers, because of course there are, but the '60s one is by Mike Allred and is of course stunning. 

APAMA THE UNDISCOVERED ANIMAL #1
 FEB181600

(W) Sikora, Ted, Miller, Milo (A/CA) Benito Gallego
The most inexplicable superhero of all time! Cleveland ice cream truck driver, Ilyia Zjarsky, goes hiking and stumbles upon the spirit force of the most savage creature mankind has never known! The acclaimed saga is printed in single issues for the first time ever in a new monthly ongoing series!
TAP DANCE KILLER #1
FEB181601

(W) Sikora, Ted (A/CA) Nikolaus Harrison
Actress Nikki St Clair was the sweetest gal in the city until she was cast in a horror show musical as the Tap Dance Killer. Now, unable to shake the role, this 1920s-esque bizarre mobster assassin is out on the streets dealing damage with a theatrical flair that leaves 'em, quite literally, slain in the isles! This first issue also features the first appearance of a knockout new villain!
Travis sez: The folks at Hero Tomorrow have some good comics, especially if you like Silver Age Marvel.  Apama is quite good, although you can probably find the trade with this issue easy enough, but it's very good stuff and worth a look.



BACKISSUE #104 
FEB181869

Back Issue is the "Fourth World After Kirby" issue, exploring the enduring legacy of Jack Kirby's DC characters! The Return(s) of the New Gods, Why Can't Mister Miracle Escape Cancellation?, the Forever People, Mike Mignola's unrealized New Gods animated movie, the Fourth World in Hollywood, and more. With an all-star lineup, including the work of John Byrne, Paris Cullins, J. M. Dematteis, Mark Evanier, Michael Golden, Rick Hoberg, Walter Simonson, and more! Cover by Steve Rude, re-presenting his variant cover for 2015's Convergence #6.


Travis sez: Back Issue 104 features the story of the Fourth World after Kirby.  Awesome cover by the Dude! 
 BATMAN '66 OMNIBUS HC
FEB180295

(W) Jeff Parker, Tom Peyer, Art Baltazar, Franco, Len Wein, Harlan Ellison, Mike W. Barr, Ray Fawkes (A) Jonathan Case, Ty Templeton, Ruben Procopio, Chris Sprouse, Christopher Jones, Michael Avon Oeming, Dario Brizuela (CA) Michael Allred
Put on your go-go boots and get ready to "Batusi" as DC reimagines the classic Batman TV show! In these tales, the Dynamic Duo takes on the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, the Penguin, the Mad Hatter, The Joker and more of the world's most colorful Bat-villains! And in BATMAN '66: THE LOST EPISODE #1, an outline from the original TV series featuring Two-Face is adapted to comics for the first time! This new Omnibus collects BATMAN '66 #1-30, BATMAN '66: THE LOST EPISODE #1 and a story from SOLO #7.


Travis sez: If you dig the Batman TV show, or just like good groovy comics, this collection of the entire Batman '66 series is a great bunch of comics.

BEANWORLD OMNIBUS
 FEB180057

(W) Larry Marder (A) Larry Marder
The iconic inhabitants of Larry Marder's unique Beanworld universe are introduced in this complete collection of the Beanworld comic-book run! Join Mr. Spook, Professor Garbanzo, Beanish, and many others as they experience adventures in their world that prove, whether friends or adversaries, they are all ultimately dependent on each other for survival. Marder's deceptively simple artwork illustrates a self-contained ecological fantasy realm with its own unique rules, truths, and lingo. Collects issues #1-#21.

Travis sez: The Beans are collected in a Dark Horse Omnibus, which is good because I missed the third HC, and holy cats, it's expensive on Amazon!  This collects the 21 issues of the original comics series.

EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE
FEB180444

(W) John K. Snyder III (A/CA) John K. Snyder III
In crime-ravaged 1980's New York, a troubled ex-cop turned unlicensed detective takes on his most dangerous case, hunting down a serial killer-hitman, and ultimately coming face-to-face with his deadliest enemy, himself, in John K. Snyder III's graphic novel adaptation of the celebrated story by Lawrence Block.
Steeped in traditional pulp, Block's writing has a true gift for capturing the art of conversation between his characters. These are the lowlifes of society, for whom Block occasionally finds redemption, but who are more often among the vilest beings in human existence. Snyder's art both encapsulates and elevates these rough-cut gems in a graphic, grainy, and moody setting that evokes the dark, noir magazine covers of the period.

FASHION IN ACTION
FEB181731
(W) Various (A) Various
The 2080s haven't changed much from the 1980s, except for the jetpacks, Mars colonization, and rocket-fueled cars. Celebrities still need protection from crazed fans, and that's what Frances Knight and her squad Fashion In Action provide with bravado and style, all while facing up against the evil machinations of Dr. Cruel and his sidekick, the violently unpredictable superfan Roxanne. This classic 1980s independent comic series has been painstakingly restored by creator/artist John K. Snyder III, and includes a foreword by John Ostrander, new essays by comic book legends Trina Robbins and Martha Thomases, and an all-star pinup gallery by artists Kevin Wada, Jen Bartel, Rahzzah, Sara Richard, and Gisèle Lagacé.
Travis sez: You go ages without seeing John K. Snyder III, then he's in two books the same month.  IDW features his adaptation of a book by great crime writer Lawrence Block, and then Renegade Arts features a collection of his Fashion in Action comics series from the '80s.

BONE CODA BEHIND THE SCENES BUNDLE
FEB181319

(W) Jeff Smith (A/CA) Jeff Smith
For a limited time only, Bone Coda, the companion volume to Jeff Smith's Bone will be bundled with the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, Bone, and The Changing Face of Comics! Through interviews with Smith, Scott McCloud, Colleen Doran, Paul Pope, Terry Moore, Harvey Pekar and others, this bonus DVD takes an inside look at the story, art and commerce of Bone from the earliest days of self-publishing to the world wide phenomenon of the Scholastic color books and the creation of the Young Adult graphic novel movement. Coda, which includes behind the scenes essays and photos, as well as the revised edit of comics librarian and historian Stephen Weiner's Bone Companion, also includes the 37 page new Bone chapter!
Travis sez: I think these have both been offered before, but they're bundled.  The Coda to Bone, as well as a DVD about Jeff Smith's rise in comics.  I'm sure there will be a measured, unbiased feature about Dave Sim's impact on comics self-publishing, right?

 HER INFERNAL DESCENT #1
FEB181023

(W) Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson (A/CA) Kyle Charles
A tale of loss told in five parts. Any good mom would march through the inferno of HELL to get her family back. Unable to cope with the burden of grief, a middle-aged mom descends the nine circles of hell to retrieve her forsaken family. Guided by the ghosts of William Blake and Agatha Christie, this no-nonsense mother journeys deep into a bizarre underworld filled with celebrity sinners, surreal landscapes, and absurd tasks. Her Infernal Descent is a retelling of Dante's Inferno that updates the themes for a modern audience. From the writers of the break-out hit The Dregs, and the artist of Roche Limit, this is HELL like you've never seen before. 
Travis sez: It's a retelling of Dante's Inferno with William Blake and Agatha Christie guiding a woman through the nine circles of hell.  Why not?  Wonder if they'll bump into any stray aardvarks?  (Ooh, Stray Aardvarks, there's a parody cover idea!  I could see an aardvark in the place of the ghost costume girl on this issue: https://www.comics.org/issue/103111/cover/4/ )


ELFQUEST: THE FINAL QUEST
 FEB180084

(W) Wendy Pini, Richard Pini (A/CA) Wendy Pini
A tribe of elves navigates friendships and dangerous enemies in a fantasy world of goblins, dwarves, fairies and humans!

This is it-the startling conclusion to the most world-changing chapter in all of ElfQuest: Final Quest! It is time for the Palace of the High Ones to return the elves of the World of Two Moons to their original Star Home, but not all have chosen to go. As human invaders threaten the sacred Father Tree itself, in the heart of the Wolfriders' home, freedom of choice comes with a terrible price. Volume 4 collects issues #19-#24 of The Final Quest.
Travis sez: The final trade of the final issues of the Final Quest (I'm sure there will never be another, after all, didn't the Who also retire in 1982?).


 BATMAN: GHOSTS
FEB180299

(W) Sam Kieth (A/CA) Sam Kieth
When a supernatural creature begins to kill in Gotham City, Batman tries to fight something that he can't even touch. Further complications arise when the monster says he knows about Bruce Wayne's parents' deaths! But when Batman discovers a link to a blind woman, can he defeat this bizarre threat? Collects BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #40-43 and BATMAN/LOBO: DEADLY SERIOUS #1-2.  Travis sez: The Maxx's Sam Kieth on Batman, always an interesting time.
UNCLE SCROOGE #37
FEB180371

(W) Jerry Siegel, Joe Torcivia (A) Giorgio Cavazzano (CA) Dave Alvarez
"Few and Pharoah Between!" In a new-to-USA duck tale by Jerry Siegel (Superman), Scrooge McDuck travels through time to find riches in ancient Egypt-only to wind up stranded in a dystopian future!


Travis sez: Wha?!  Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel wrote Uncle Scrooge stories for the European market?  Whoa.... 
STRANGERS IN PARADISE GALLERY EDITION
 FEB180963

Terry Moore's work as a writer and artist (and letterer) are on display for all to see in the new Terry Moore: Strangers In Paradise Gallery Edition. Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of SIP with this presentation of Moore's art spanning the entire Eisner Award-winning series. The evolution of Terry together with Francine, Katchoo, David and all of the other characters that inhabit the SIP world is captured in this 248-page, large-format, hardcover edition. The artwork contained in this Smythe-sewn deluxe edition is framed by the original 20-page version of the very first SIP story and SIP #90, the series' 2007 finale. Included between these "bookends" is a representational page from each of the 105 issues published between issues #1 and #90. Also included is an extensive Gallery section containing covers and miscellaneous SIP art from the last 25 years. Sourced from high-resolution scans from the original art and reproduced at the actual size, this 12" x 17" deluxe volume is printed at 200 line-screen on heavy paper stock to approximate the look and feel of the original art itself.


Travis sez: Undoubtedly you have a spare kidney, liver, or spleen you could give up for this, a collection of Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise art in Graphitti Designs's Gallery Edition.  So tempting....

A STUDY IN EMERALD
FEB180021

(W) Neil Gaiman (A/CA) Shane Oakley
This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder.
This complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen's Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!
From the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, Nebula Award-winning, and New York Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman comes this graphic novel adaptation with art by Eisner award winning artist Rafael Albuquerque!
Travis sez: a comics adaptation of a story by Neil Himself mashing up Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu.  The story is dang good, and Rafael Albuquerque is a good artist, so this should be a cool looking book. 


 TANGLED THE SERIES VOL. 2 THE WRITE STORY
FEB181724

(W) Jimmy Gownley (A) Jimmy Gownley, Various, Veronica Di Lorenzo
A new graphic novel series featuring original stories starring Disney Princess Rapunzel from the hit Disney Channel show Tangled: The Series by New York Times-bestselling writer/artist Jimmy Gownley! Rapunzel is totally fangirling because she's about to meet her favorite author! After starting a book club to catch up on anything and everything she missed over the last 18 years, Rapunzel becomes obsessed with the books by J. K. Yewgise. The king invites the author to Corona, and she offers to write Rapunzel's authorized biography. Rapunzel is thrilled! But after a series of mishaps, Eugene accidentally ends up telling most of her story - and he tends to exaggerate. Now Rapunzel's biography is full of lies! Will the princess be able to get herself out of this pickle?
Travis sez: Our pal Jimmy Gownley returns with another Disney Tangled book, although he probably belongs in pun prison for "J.K. Yewgise" (sound it out).  Shaking my head.... 

FRANK THORNE'S BATTLING BEAUTIES 
FEB162027

(A/CA) Frank Thorne
Hermes Press celebrates the career of Frank Thorne, renowned good girl artist extraordinaire with a comprehensive art monograph where he explores his art and the process of creating it step by step. See pencils, preliminaries, final artwork, as well as the final printed comics created by Thorne. This extensive art monograph presents artwork from such titles as Red Sonja, Ghita, Lann, The Iron Devil, and more. This book explores not only the comic book artwork of Thorne but also illustrates the motion pictures concepts and storyboards for the never-made Ghita film.
Travis sez: I think this is offered again, but it features the art of Frank Thorne, one of the few besides Dave and Ger to do a Cerebus cover.

JUGHEAD'S TIME POLICE
FEB181126
(W) Various (A) Rex Lindsey (CA) Ron Lindsey
Get ready for a wild ride through time! Jughead has been drafted into a time-traveling police force, tasked with keeping history from going haywire. ...But is Jughead the right kid for the job? Collects the complete Jughead's Time Police storyline!

Travis sez: Jughead.  Time Police.  Need I say more? 
XERXES FALL OF HOUSE OF DARIUS #1
 FEB180011

(W) Frank Miller (CA) Frank Miller
Frank Miller returns to the world of 300 with this sprawling historical epic! Persian King Xerxes sets out to conquer the world to avenge his father Darius's defeat and create an empire unlike anything the world has ever seen . . . Until the hardy Greeks produce a god king of their own, Alexander the Great.
Travis sez: Frank Miller returns with a sequel to 300, and it looks ok.

X-MEN: THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA
FEB180915
(W) Chris Claremont, Jo Duffy (A) Dave Cockrum, John Bolton, Mike Collins, John Buscema, Jerry Bingham (A/CA) John Byrne
  The greatest comic-book saga ever told, in one cosmic-sized Omnibus! It begins with a shocking story in which Marvel Girl sacrifices herself...only to be reborn as Phoenix! But when a galaxy-spanning adventure reveals that Jean Grey has somehow attained power beyond conception, Cyclops and the X-Men can only watch as Phoenix is corrupted, absolutely. As the team faces the Shi'ar Empire, Hellfire Club and more, can Jean Grey be redeemed? Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and John Byrne weave an epic tale of triumph and tragedy that changed everything for the X-Men - and all of comics! It's the full Dark Phoenix Saga, with bonus tales illuminating Jean Grey's defining story! Collecting X-MEN (1963) #97-105, #107-108 and #125-138; and PHOENIX: THE UNTOLD STORY - plus material from CLASSIC X-MEN #6, #8, #13, #18, #24 and #43; BIZARRE ADVENTURES #27 and WHAT IF? (1977) #27.
Travis sez: The classic run of the X-Men, collected here, from when Dave and Chris Claremont had a mutual admiration.

More Diamond Previews picks at Atomic Junk Shop's regular Flippin' Through Previews column.