Saturday, 22 April 2017

Diamond Preview Picks: April 2017

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. 

Shang-Chi: Master Of Kung Fu Vol 4
by Doug Moench & Gene Day
Marvel, $125
In stores: 4 October 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR171135

The publisher says:
These iconic Marvel masterpieces have never been reprinted before, so don't miss your chance to experience the Master of Kung Fu! Collecting MASTER OF KUNG FU (1974) #102-125, MASTER OF KUNG FU: BLEEDING BLACK and material from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS (1988) #1-8.

Travis says:
The fourth volume of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu has the Gene Day run collected here (along with including him with the writers in the credits as well, that's cool).  Finally, you can see what the world lost with the death of Gene Day, and marvel (ahem) at the untimely loss of his talent.  And see that continuous background page that got colored all wacky even though Archie Goodwin said it read fine!

Dave Sim said:
(from Howard Eugene Day, Mentor, Cerebus #270, 2001)
...Meanwhile, on Master of Kung Fu, as the sudden sales spurt continued to attract editorial attentions, Gene ran afoul of many of Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter's Rules of Good Comic-Book Storytelling. "No continuous backgrounds" was a big one (that is, no pages where a single background ran across two or three panels: a cornerstone of Steranko's storytelling.) Loyalty isn't the only attribute of a Scot. There's also stubbornness. Gene was part of a hit -- or, at least, a book whose sales were going up, a book that was being talked about. He must have known that that success could only be attributed to his storytelling since that was the only thing that had changed (he could never say that, or course -- not even to himself -- his natural modesty, his self-effacing Eastern Ontario nature would forbid it). But, there was another way to make his point. He did a sequence that ran across four or five pages.
One. Continuous. Background.
That, of course, led to The Phone Calls: Knock off the continuous backgrounds, said Shooter. Get them coloured properly, replied Gene (Shooter had told the colourists to use different colours on the backgrounds in different panels, so a continuous wall changed from mauve to red to yellow. Unbeknownst to Gene, the colourist was Shooter's long-term girlfriend) (oops, as they say) It was an unhappy situation. Shooter called the shots. He was Editor-in-Chief. It was his job to call the shots. Gene was a freelancer. It was his job to do as he was told...

Spiderman: Webspinners
by various
Marvel, $39.99
In stores: 28 June 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR17116

The publisher says:
A host of comic-book talents spin yarns across the web of Spidey history! Dive deep inside the goldfish bowl for a look at the early motivations of Mysterio! Solve the decades-old mystery of why the Silver Surfer abandoned his plan to attack mankind! Head back to Midtown High's senior prom with ladies' man Peter Parker - but who invited the Sandman? Chameleon spirals out of control, Vulture plots the perfect crime and a black-suited Spider-Man joins Silver Sable on a mission of international intrigue! And there are no positives to a trip to the Negative Zone - particularly when Cletus Kasady is along for the ride and Blastaar the Living Bomb-Burst is the welcoming party! Plus: Two rarely seen black-and-white tales! Collecting WEBSPINNERS: TALES OF SPIDER-MAN #1-18 and material from SHADOWS & LIGHT (1998) #2-3.

Travis says:
Another Marvel book?  I know, right?  But this one features art by friend of the blog Michael Zulli, as the short-lived Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man (a la the Legends of the Dark Knight comic that DC did for Batman, with not-necessarily in-continuity tales featured) is collected in toto, along with a couple of good black and white stories, including one with fantastic Jill Thompson art (aping Ditko, and doing a not-too-shabby job of it, as I recall).

Captain Canuck Compendium
by Richard Comely & George Freeman
Chapterhouse, $34.95
In stores: 28 June 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR171504

The publisher says:
In celebration of Canada's 150th-anniversary, Captain Canuck is back in Chapterhouse Comics' hardcover Compendium line. This 366 page compendium features all of the issues from the 1975-81 series, including issue #15 in full-color. Never-seen before art and extras by Richard Comely, George Freeman, and Claude St. Aubin make this a collector's item a must have for fans of the Captain, new and old! Forward by Captain Canuck creator Richard Comely! 

Travis says:
It's a hardcover compilation of the original Captain Canuck comics, in which the Dave Sim's Beavers appeared. If you love Canadiania (that should be a word, dang it!), go for this. I also recommend other Chapterhouse comics, as they're pretty good from what I've seen.

Chew Smorgasbord Vol 3
by John Layman & Rob Guillory
Image, $100.00
In stores: 28 June 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR170766

The publisher says:
Presenting the third and final CHEW Smorgasbord, a massive, deluxe hardcover featuring the final 20 issues of the New York Times bestselling, Harvey and multiple Eisner Award-winning series about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals, and clairvoyants. Enemies are confronted, mysteries are solved, and the body count rises so very, very high. Collects CHEW #41-60 in addition to the blockbuster one-shots featuring everybody's favorite homicidal rooster, WARRIOR CHICKEN POYO, DEMON CHICKEN POYO, and the dual crossover event, CHEW/REVIVAL and REVIVAL/CHEW. 

Travis says:
Chew, the fantastic series about a cop who can solve crimes by "reading" evidence that he eats, wrapped up its 60 issue run recently, and this is the third of 3 big collections of the story (the first 2 are also offered again).  Artist Rob Guillory is wonderfully cartoony, and writer John Layman does a great job with an odd premise.  John Layman is also a huge Dave Sim/Cerebus fan.  It's going to hurt my wallet, but I think I'm going for these!

John Layman said:
(from John Layman Takes A Bite Out Of Chew, MTV, 2010)
...When I was growing up, in the 80's, everyone wanted to do their Cerebus and not many people pulled it off. This is the closest thing to my Cerebus, which is a finite series, that if I'm not known for anything else ever, that's fine...

The Divided States Of Hysteria #1
by Howard Chaykin
Image, $3.99
In stores: 7 June 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR170684

The publisher says:
An America sundered. An America enraged. An America terrified. An America shattered by greed and racism, violence and fear, nihilism and tragedy... and that's when everything really goes to hell. 

Travis says:
Howard Chaykin returns with what will undoubtedly be a divisive comic with The Divided States of Hysteria 1 from Image. Chaykin's never one to do the politically correct thing, and this surely will be no different.

Dave Sim said:
(from the Cerebus Yahoo Group Q&A, August 2004)
...If Howard ever needed me for anything, he remains on a short list of people I would drop everything to help in any way that I could -- un-work related, I would assume. He’d be my first choice of someone to have dinner with in just about any comic-book context I could think of. And a big reason for that is that I would never have to wonder where I stood with Howard Chaykin. He would never say anything behind someone’s back that he wouldn’t say to that same person’s face. As was the case at the Aardvarks Over San Diego party. He had something to say and he said it. It cleared the air so that I didn’t hesitate for one second before approaching him the next time I saw him. Those are the sort of people I have always admired and whose company I have most enjoyed...

Savage Dragon #225
by Erik Larsen
Image, $9.99
In stores: 21 June 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR170688

The publisher says:
"THE MERGING OF MULTIPLE EARTHS," Conclusion. Giant-sized 25th anniversary special! Savage Dragon is restored to his former glory as he bulks up to take on Darklord in a final battle! Mr. Glum's devious plot to merge the multi-verse comes to its cataclysmic conclusion! Savage Dragon and Malcolm Dragon join forces to save Angel Murphy and the very earth itself! 

Travis says:
Savage Dragon gets closer to Cerebus territory with issue 225, the 25th anniversary issue (add in the debut mini and you're at 228, of course), which averages about 9 issues a year, putting Erik Larsen on track to match Dave and Ger in about 2025.  Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the original Dragon dies this issue. Just sayin'.

Spawn #275
by Todd McFarlane & Szymon Kudranski
Image, $2.99
In stores: 12 July 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR170699

The publisher says:

Travis says:
Todd McFarlane is closer with his numbering, but he's done less of the art and writing than Larsen or Dave and Ger, so even if he hits 300 in the next couple years, it's not quite the achievement of Cerebus. Still, kudos to Todd for *ahem* having the balls to keep doing what he does. 

Todd MacFarlane said:
(from Comic Book Resources, 7 June 2013)
...I've got to at least get to #301 so I can break Dave Sim's independent record! He's got the record for the longest running independent comic book with Cerebus the Aardvark. I've gotta beat him by at least one. It's just a little competition amongst fellow Canadians...

Reed Crandall: Illustrator Of The Comics
by Roger Hill
Twomorrows Publishing, $49.95
In stores: 26 July 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR172092

The publisher says:
From the 1940s to the '70s, Reed Crandall brought a unique and masterful style to American comic art. Using an illustrator's approach on everything he touched, Crandall gained a reputation as the "artist's artist" through his skillful interpretations of Golden Age super-heroes Doll Man, The Ray, and Blackhawk (his signature character); horror and sci-fi for the legendary EC Comics line; Warren Publishing's Creepy, Eerie, and Blazing Combat; the THUNDER Agents and Edgar Rice Burroughs characters; and even Flash Gordon for King Features. Comic art historian Roger Hill has compiled a complete and extensive history of Crandall's life and career, from his early years and major successes, through his tragic decline and passing in 1982. This hardcover includes never-before-seen photos, a wealth of rare and unpublished artwork, and over eighty thousand words of insight into one of the true illustrators of the comics.

Travis says:
I learned a bit about Reed Crandall I didn't know just from the solicit text, so the book is bound to be quite good.  He worked for Warren and EC, as well as doing Flash Gordon, it seems.  TwoMorrows is very good, so this is undoubtedly going to be a good one.

Comics Revue: June 2017
edited by Rick Norwood
Manuscript Press: $19.95
In stores: 28 June 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR172361

The publisher says:
America's longest-running magazine of classic comics now has twice as many pages of strips as the earlier version, on better paper, includes 8 pages of full-color comic strips, and features Tarzan by Russ Manning, Rick O'Shay by Stan Lynde, Flash Gordon by Harry Harrison, Gasoline Alley by Dick Moores, Alley Oop by V.T. Hamlin, Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff, and Casey Ruggles by Warren Tufts, plus stories in black & white.

Travis says:
Here's Comics Revue again, publisher of good comic strips!

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


Travis Pelkie said...

Heh, back in the '90s at some point in Wizard Magazine, Erik Larsen also said he wanted to do at least 301 issues "just to piss off Dave", if I remember the quote correctly. Kudos to the Image boys for getting at least this close so far!

Also, Tim didn't include all the books I recommended (there are more?!), so I may mention the others here in the comments later when I get a chance. Or just look at the Flippin' Through Previews column at the Atomic Junk Shop, I think I mentioned them all there.

Michael said...

If I remember correctly though Mr Larson also later lamented the fact that he participated in the company wide crossover that image did back in the early days as this deprived hm of the ability to say he had an uninterrupted run on his comic to beat/match Mr Lee and Mr Kirby as well as later on Mr Sim.

Apropos about nothing but is Image even considered to be an Independent Publisher?

Michael said...

Larsen not Larson, ITs the Swede in me that caused the sen to become a son.

Travis Pelkie said...

Larsen did go back and do his version of the issue of the Image X book, so he's sorta kinda got an uninterrupted run. It was fairly early on in the run (#13, I believe), so even if he doesn't count it, he's still done over 200 issues, basically solo, so kudos on that.

I would still consider Image to be an indie publisher. As I understand their structure, the comics put out through it get the Image I and their promotion (and placement in Previews), but the costs of printing, etc. are on the creators. I could be wrong, though. But that seems indie to me.

Dominick Grace said...

On IMage as indie, I can see the argument ... except for the fact that at least some creators have basically farmed out their books as work for hire.

Speaking of which . . . when Todd actually writes and mostly draws 301 consecutive comic books, he can say he's beaten Dave, but til then....

Jeff Seiler said...

FYI, I have the MOKF Vol 3 book (which reprints several issues that Gene inked), and I can heartily recommend this reprint series. It looks (whether or not it is) remastered, with really sharp reproduction. The fine ink lines are really sharp. The garish colours are still there, but everything else is very, very high quality. Volume 3 also included an extensive introduction by Doug Moench, which I assume Volume 4 will also feature. It is $125 well spent.

Travis Pelkie said...

Cool, thanks for the info, Jeff.

Also, according to the Diamond site, Cerebus in Hell? 3 is on the schedule for 5/3. This might work ok, as that means it should be on the "new comics" shelf that many retailers have when Free Comic Book Day rolls around the Saturday afterwards. So it could be a net positive!