Wednesday 30 May 2018

What IS truth?

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 saw Dave Sim's 11th Cerebus notebook in Purple Unicorn from July 2017. The notebook covers Cerebus issues #96 through 102 and had 114 pages scanned. Looking through the notebook, Dave has drawn very detailed thumbnails of several pages from several different issues. On page 63 we see pages 18 and 19 from Cerebus #98, or if you're following along in the phonebooks, Church & State II pages 954 & 955.

Notebook #11, page 63
I cropped this page to the material on it and changed it to a JPG (from a PNG), but didn't reduce its size. That way you can click on it to see the pencils underneath the pen.

Other then missing Gerhard's background, the thumbnails for page 18 are pretty dang close to the finished page. The thumbnails for page 19 are almost the same but some subtle differences. For example, in panel 4, instead of Astoria's full body in the frame, we only see her from mid-chest and up. Dave also changed the last two panels to move the text from above Cerebus' head to below him on the stairs - as it seems to make the eye move more easily from the word balloon echoes in the previous panel.

Cerebus #98, pages 18 & 19


Benjamin Hobbs:

Today's the last Wednesday of the month... and you know what that means!  There's a new CEREBUS IN HELL? #1 at your LCS! 

This has been a busy week for CIH?! The following is a brief summary of everything that's gone on, although there's so much,  I'm sure I missed something!

THE UNDATEABLE CEREBUS lands on the shelves of your LCS. Hurry! Stop reading this and go out and buy it! We'll wait....  Okay? You have THE UNDATEABLE CEREBUS in hand? Good. Read on!

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY CEREBI is being proofed and checked for errors. The solicitation for LEAGUE has been sent to Diamond!

CERBERUS IN HELL? #1 is being populated with strips. Up-sizing the online strips is a true joy!

The cover of CANADIAN VARK is getting ready for print. Here's a sneak peek at the in-progress logo:

 Next week: CIH? COMPARATIVE COVERS: PART THREE! Or whatever lands on my desk before then.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Previews Stuff (June/July edition)

Hi, Everybody!

Thursday, June 7th, the day you have a rendezvous with destiny! (Ya know, as long as your destiny is to go to Comiclink and spend money...)

And because I'm a shameless whore, go buy my crap if you have any money left.

Gold, sliver, copper, whatever. Just give him all your monies...
And since I'm in the mood to get every last penny you got: It's PREVIEWS time!

Diamond Preview Picks: APRIL(?) MAY(?) JUNE(?) I dunno... SOON 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.

Go ahead and buy ten, if they keep getting rarer, you could make a grand apiece for 'em...
(W) Dave Sim, Sandeep Atwal (A) Dave Sim, Gustave Dore (CA) Lee Thacker
Un-Bedable Vark & Batvark crossover; Batmite and Un-Bedable Vark, "partners"? Batmite's Mom & The End of "Un-Bedable"; Pimping Un-Bedable Vark; Cerebus, Dante & Virgil play Grand Theft Auto; Central Voodoo Grocery Spam; Cerebus buys Twitter; Batvark & Nietzsche Team-Up; Jingles, the Manticore and Minotaur critique Nietzsche; Batvark & The Puzzler's Macro-Enlarg-O-Ray; Cerebus vs. the Infanto-Throw-a-phobes; "Baby-Throw Shaming"; How Can You Throw a Baby?; Jingles on Puppy-Throwing; The Strange Death of Todd McFarlane's Grey Hulk; The Manticore recovers from the Homonym Ray; Deconstructing the Batvark Codpiece.

Travis sez: Hey, it's that guy again.  This is a really good cover, btw.

This is what you get when you're AMOC's Special Friend, a BIG cover pic. Take note Frank Miller...
(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: Apparently something delayed this book by our pal Jimmy Gownley, but that just means I get to mention it again!

(W) Arnold Drake, Bob Haney (A) Bruno Premiani, Bob Brown (CA) Evan Shaner
This fast-paced volume introduces the Doom Patrol! Led by their wheelchair-bound chief, Niles Caulder, three outcasts of society - Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Robotman - take the qualities that make them freaks and become heroes. Together, the trio takes on bizarre menaces including General Immortus, the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man and the Brotherhood of Evil. Collects MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #80-85 and DOOM PATROL #86-95.

Travis sez: The original adventures of that team of bizarre heroes led by a guy in a wheelchair.  No, the other one. 

(W) Kevin Eastman (A) Kevin Eastman (A/CA) Simon Bisley
After being out of print for years, a grindhouse-style classic returns-better than ever. Inspired by the magazine Heavy Metal and the films of John Woo, creators Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley present a much darker take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, spinning a pulse-pounding yarn of over-the-top action and more than a bit of the old ultraviolence. In gritty 1990s New York, our boys Raphael and Casey are swept up into an international murder/revenge/assassination plot, complete with gangsters, thugs, cops, cyborgs, machine guns, and (of course) hockey sticks. Don't miss what might just be the longest-running gunfight in comic book history! Collects Bodycount issues #1-4 with all-new colors by Kevin Eastman.

Travis sez: Not sure why this is from Top Shelf per se, (nor why the cover appears to have a Heavy Metal logo on it) (I mean, I know why it did, Eastman published HM, but still), but Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley's Raphael and Casey Jones ultra violent comic is collected here.

(W) Stan Sakai (A/CA) Stan Sakai
Now In Paperback! Usagi Yojimbo is one of the most iconic modern comics characters and a perennial favorite amongst comics fans. Stan Sakai chronicles the action-packed wanderings of a masterless samurai in feudal Japan as told with funny-animals. This slipcase set collects the first ten years with over 1,000 pages of story along with extras including a gallery of 50 covers, preparatory sketches, two stories co-starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the rare "How I Draw Usagi Yojimbo" strip plus introductions by Stan Sakai and Stan Lee and a careerspanning interview with Sakai.

Travis sez: Fantagraphics offers this set again, of the earliest Usagi Yojimbo comics that they released in the '80s.  They first offered this right after they'd reprinted most of the smaller volumes that this collection is comprised of, which was rather annoying....

(W) Kyle Starks, Josh Trujillo, Tini Howard (A) Marc Ellerby, Rii Abrego, Sarah Stern (CA) Howard M. Shum
In this action-packed issue drawn by guest artist (and former series colorist) Katy Farina, Rick and Morty get arrested for smuggling and are being sent to the worst penal colony in the universe. Can they escape this space paddy wagon before they get locked up forever? Will there be additional shenanigans? You know there will be!

Travis sez: Normally I wouldn't care about a book like this, but I noticed that this variant cover is by Gun Fu's Howard Shum, so I figured I'd mention it!

(A) Rick Veitch
Broken Glory is a graphic history told in epic verse of Bobby Kennedy's life and times leading up to the fateful 1968 election campaign, with 100 illustrations by artist Rick Veitch. It encompasses the story of his convicted killer, Sirhan Sirhan, as well as Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, and Eugene McCarthy, and it recalls the major events that made 1968 a turning point in American history: the Tet offensive and battle of Hue, followed soon after by the My Lai massacre, the Memphis sanitation workers strike, the assassination of Martin Luther King, and the riots that ensued. Broken Glory's hybrid mashup of graphic biography, epic poem, and conspiracy-theory reconstruction of the assassination gives it a fascinating novelty value. 
Travis sez: It's got art by Rick Veitch, which is the main reason I'm including this, but it's an epic poem of RFK's life told by Ed Sanders of the Fugs.  Odd doesn't begin to describe it.

(W) Sholly Fisch (A/CA) Dario Brizuela
To stop a spectral menace in the 21st century, the gang will have to travel back through time to solve the mystery before it even begins. But that's easier said than done, as visiting World War II means facing spies, saboteurs and Nazi monsters! Good thing the gang isn't alone, fighting side by side with the Golden Age's premiere superhero team: the Justice Society of America! 

Travis sez: The Scooby gang meets the Justice Society of America.  If that doesn't make you want to buy this automatically, what kind of monster are you? heh

(W) Bill Willingham (A) Cezar Razek (CA) Cary Nord
Heroes and heroines - along with the villains - from the entire Edgar Rice Burroughs library stand together!
Tarzan, Jane Clayton and Meriem Clayton, John Carter and Dejah Thoris, Korak The Killer, Jason Gridley, Billy Byrne, Bridge, The Oskaloosa Kid, Barney and Victoria Custer, Jim Stone, Townsend Harper, Virginia Maxon, Johnny La Fitte, The Rider, Shannon Burke, Ulysses Paxton, and more! Together for the first time!

Travis sez: Bill Willingham writes this story that brings together a lot of the Edgar Rice Burroughs characters, like Tarzan and John Carter. 

(W) Alan Moore (A/CA) Kevin O'Neill
After an epic twenty-year journey through the entirety of human culture, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill conclude both their legendary League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and their equally legendary comic-book careers with the series' spectacular fourth and final volume, "The Tempest." This six-issue miniseries is a celebration of everything comics were, are and could be. Opening simultaneously in the panic-stricken headquarters of British Military Intelligence, the fabled Ayesha's lost African city of Kor and the domed citadel of 'We' on the devastated Earth of the year 2996, the dense and yet furiously-paced narrative hurtles like an express locomotive across the fictional globe. This is literally, and literarily, the story to end all stories. Here's how it begins.

Travis sez: This is supposedly the swan song for both Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, wrapping up the series they've been working on for 20 years as well as their comics careers.  It's good stuff.

(W) Alan Moore, Various (A) Brian Bolland, Various
From Alan Moore to Al Ewing, Kevin O'Neill to Jon Davis-Hunt, Future Shocks have been a staple of the UK's best-selling comic 2000 AD! This exciting first volume takes us back to the earliest days of the strip and showcases the burgeoning, immense talents of such luminaries as Steve Moore, Alan Moore, Brett Ewins, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, John Cooper, Carlos Pino, Jesus Redondo, Steve Dillon, Peter Milligan and many, many more. The all-time greatest selection of the ground-breaking graphic short stories which were the backbone of the UKs best-selling comic 2000 AD.

Travis sez: A collection of all the great little short short stories from 2000AD, including Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, Steve Dillon, Peter Milligan, and more.  It looks good from what I've seen of it so far.

(W) Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham (A/CA) Mark Buckingham
These dark and imaginative tales feature an odd and subtly linked world of bizarre venereal diseases, a creepy old woman who feasts on raw meat, a man obsessed with a skin model from a magazine, and a story within a story about ghosts.  

From Hugo, Eisner, Newbery, Harvey, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning author Neil Gaiman and his longtime, Eisner award-winning collaborator Mark Buckingham (Fables) comes a graphic novel not to be missed!

Travis sez: Another in Dark Horse's adaptations of Neil (himself) Gaiman's stories, these ones drawn by Mark Buckingham.  I'm not sure, but I think some of these appeared before.

(W) Louise Simonson, Others (A) John Byrne, Frank Miller, Dave Gibbons, Erik Larsen, Arthur Adams, Howard Chaykin, Others (A/CA) Walter Simonson
Legendary writer/artist Walter Simonson takes on Jack Kirby's Fourth World! These tales star the heroes and villains of the Fourth World as Darkseid seeks the Anti-Life Equation and Orion battles to stop him! This volume includes material from ORION #1-11, SHOWCASE '94 #1, DC UNIVERSE HOLIDAY BASH #1, NEW GODS SECRET FILES #1, SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPER-VILLAINS 80-PAGE GIANT #1, LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE 80-PAGE GIANT #2 and more!

Travis sez: Simonson actually does right by The King in this collection of Orion.

(W) Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin, Various (A) Gene Colan, Mike Ploog, Don Heck (CA) Neal Adams
He rose from the grave in 1972, ushering in an Age of Horror like nothing seen before or since! Now behold the Prince of Darkness' first encounters with his most implacable enemies of the era, including legendary Blade the Vampire Hunter! With ghosts, mutants, mad scientists and more! Plus a tour of the Lord of the Vampires' earlier U.S. activities, with such stops as the Pool of Blood and the Devil's Heart! Featuring Werewolf by Night and Lilith, Daughter of Dracula! 

Travis sez: A new printing of a big collection of one of Marvel's longer running series-with-the-same-creative-team. 

(A/CA) Bill Sienkiewicz
Bill Sienkiewicz is a modern master having worked on some of Marvel's most iconic comics of the 1980s: Moon Knight, The New Mutants, Elektra: Assassin, and much more! His unique style is unreplicable, yet so many artists have been inspired to emulate him. This collection is filled with some of his finest covers, pin-ups, and exceptional pages. All have been meticulously scanned from the original art and reproduced to the exacting Artist's Edition standards that have won IDW Publishing five highly coveted Eisner Awards (to date)!

Travis sez: If you've got plenty of cash to spare and a heavy duty drool guard, Billy the Sink's got an Artist Edition style collection of different art he did for Marvel in the '80s.  Not sure if there are any examples from Stray Toasters, looks like it's mostly Marvel Universe stuff, but day-um, it's purty.

(W) Lee Ames, Johnny Craig, Ed Moore, Graham Ingels, Frank Bolle (A) Al Feldstein, Lee Ames, Jack Kamen, Stan Asch, Leonard Starr, Various (CA) Johnny Craig
Thrilling tales of the conflict between gangsters and cops in what was described to be "Real Stories from Police Records!" Collecting issues #1-#6 of War Against Crime featuring the twisted artistic talents of Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Lee Ames, Jack Kamen, Ed Moore, Graham Ingels, Stan Asch, Leonard Starr, and more, and more.

Travis sez: It's EC, so it's bound to be good anyway, but this volume does feature Leonard Starr art as well.

(A) Various, Pete Morisi (A/CA) Steve Ditko
An action-oriented medium, comics have long used wars-real and fictional-as narrative fodder. Now, discover the secret, surprising history of anti-war comics with this marvelously curated collection.
A few comics portrayed the horrors of war, but no blatantly anti-war stories were known to exist-until now! Buried in rare comics published during the Cold War were powerful war, fantasy, and sci-fi stories that strongly condemned war and the bomb, boldly calling for peace.

Travis sez: I'm not sure anti-war comics were quite as unknown as this solicit copy claims, but here's a collection of Cold War era comics, including Ditko stories.

(W) Craig A. Taillefer (A/CA) Craig A. Taillefer
A powerful voice sings and a long slumbering evil awakes. Rock singer Alicia is forced to go beyond the veil of reality and confront the being that has been haunting her every moment in the conclusion to this character driven mash-up of Slice of Life drama, comedy and Magical Urban Fantasy.

Travis sez: In the late '90s, this book was a casualty of the distributor wars and Image taking on a bunch of self-publishers and then dropping them soon after.  I'm glad Craig Taillefer got to conclude his story after all these years, at least!

(W) Daniel Brereton (A/CA) Daniel Brereton
Incredible rarities of Dan Brereton's Nocturnals are showcased in this amazing book benefiting Hero Initiative! Hero commissioned 50 top artists including Arthur Adams, Glenn Fabry, Stan Sakai, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Texeira, and more to create new Nocturnals art for this book, and amazing rarities from the past including Mike Allred, Mike Mignola, and Bruce Timm are also included! In addition, two amazingly rare Nocturnals stories previously available only in one-shots and never reprinted are presented here. This book is a must for Nocturnals fans and art fans of all stripes!

Travis sez: Dan Brereton's neato Nocturnals has an art book benefiting the Hero Initiative, and includes pinups of a lot of great creators.  Cool stuff.
(W) Rafer Roberts (A/CA) Kristen Gudsnuk
A young Ranger woman who came to the city with dreams of adventure, her drug dealing reptilian wizard roommate, and her boisterous Dwarf maiden BFF embark on a modern day quest to save the world while struggling to keep their crappy day jobs and pay off their student loans. The roommates become embroiled in danger when one of their significant others finds himself taken by criminals, and the trio must save him.

Travis sez: A fun sounding mashup of The Office and Dungeons and Dragons, I think.  This is written by Rafer Roberts of Plastic Farm, a book Dave has praised before, and drawn by Kristen Gudsnuk of Henchgirl, a rather good take on peripheral characters in a superhero world.  I've actually met both of these creators in person before!

(W) Joe Gill, Dennis O'Neil (A/CA) Sam Glanzman
All thirteen issues of Hercules: Adventures of the Man-God collected for the first time! Sam Glanzman, Joe Gill, and Dennis O'Neil (as Sergius O'Shaughnessy) brought this thrilling adventure to life in the late 1960s and now you can experience it in its entirety! This timeless run of one of the most iconic heroes in comics returns in valiant fashion, collected in a beautiful archival format and showcased exactly as they appeared in their original state.

Travis sez: Featuring art by the late great Sam Glanzman, this presents the Charlton Comics series "exactly as it appeared in its original state", whatever that means.  Proceed with caution.

(W) Erik Larsen (A/CA) Erik Larsen
"NOTHING BEATS BUFFALO STU!" Malcolm Dragon comes face to face with an all-new foe: the unstoppable Buffalo Stu!

SPAWN #287
(W) Todd McFarlane (A/CA) Jason Shawn Alexander
Spawn busts out of jail, and a prison riot ensues as he gets closer to his wife's murderer.

Travis sez: Well, we were just discussing them "recently".  Spawn should reach issue 300 in just over a year, while Savage Dragon needs probably another 6.

(W) Stuart Kerr (A/CA) Vince Locke
Long before The Walking Dead there was Deadworld. Here is one of comics' longest running independents as Deadworld has had over 100 issues and graphic novels published and over one million copies sold over the years. And it all starts here! A supernatural plague has been unleashed on the world. The dead return to walk the Earth, but this is no standard zombie story. The dead are just soldiers for those who have crossed the Gateway. Now seven wayward teens on a school bus, scramble to escape the zombie apocalypse. Little did they know that there were also intelligent zombies and they had a plan...and they had a leader, King Zombie. Collects the first 4 issues.

Travis sez: It came from the '80s!  The long-running Deadworld zombie comic is collected (at least the first 4 issues here), and it's decent if gory stuff, with early art by Vince Locke.

See Frank, THIS is what happens
 when you're NOT AMOC's
"Special Friend" Small pic, no link,
 and you go last...Makes ya think, huh?
(W) Frank Miller (A/CA) Frank Miller
Frank Miller's six-issue miniseries RONIN returns in a new trade paperback! It's the tale of a 13th century samurai who is reborn in a futuristic 21st century New York City with one last chance to regain his honor: he must defeat the reincarnation of his master's killer, an ancient demon called Agat. This new edition includes promotional art, fold-out pages and more special features.

Travis sez: Another version of this series by Frank Miller, so if you're like me and don't have this yet, here's a chance to pick it up.

Next Time: More Previews, RIGHT NOW!!!

Diamond Preview Picks: July 2018

Travis Pelkie returns with his regular monthly selection blah, blah, blah you JUST read this up at the top...

Seriously, there's less and less of these issues. Buy in bulk, and corner the secondary market. It's a gold rush JUST waiting to happen...
(W) Dave Sim, Benjamin Hobbs (A) Dave Sim, Gustave Dore (CA) Gary Boyarski
Rembrandt! Van Gogh! Pollock! Picasso! Holding down the top four places on the Fortune 500! Multi-billionaires! Pollock declares the TMNC "greater than Jack Kirby"; Van Gogh disembowels himself for Cultural Misappropriation! Francis replaces him! Picasso & Pollock get broken backs! The Team Reborn as ... ????? One bipedal aardvark & three guys named Francis?? Teenage Mutant Ninja Rembrandt And Pals? Relive every moment of the Pop Culture Legend! Plus! Cerebus gets psychoanalyzed by Francis; Batvark-mite, Batvark & The Infernal Tax Service: The Stygian Depths Lads and Ladies Rock-Climbing Society; #WhitelivesDon'tMatter; Cerebus searches for his missing body; Batwinged Demons & Amazon's Drone Delivery; Batvark-mite's autograph; 3D Super-Holographic Sensurround Supercerebus; "Red-State, Blue-State, Dead-State, You-State."

Travis sez: This guy again.  Why are there four of them, wasn't one bad enough?

(W) Mike Wolfer (A/CA) Jeff Scherer
Everyone's favorite odd couple of cartoons step into the limelight for the first time!  Join us for the crazy escapades of Ant and the relentless Aardvark in "The Mad Lab" - the Aardvark thinks that he has the Ant trapped in the basement of a spooky, old house, but the tables will be turned on him when he finds that he's actually stumbled upon the laboratory of a mad scientist!  And in "Over and Under," the Ant has found the perfect refuge from the hungry Aardvark- a military base surrounded by an electric fence. But modern technology won't stop a hungry Aardvark, who devises one scheme after another to get over and under that fence!  Pink Panther Presents: The Ant & The Aardvark #1 comes with three covers - Main Ant Flavored & Blue Hippy Covers by Jeff Scherer, and a Flashback Animation Limited Edition Cover!

Travis sez: We regret to inform Cerebus that this is what a real aardvark looks like.  Sorry, I don't make the rules.

(W) Richard Starkings, Tyler Shainline (A/CA) Shaky Kane, John Roshell
Chuck Carter is a mild mannered slaughterer of cows at THE BEEF meat processing plant. When the object of his affections is pursued across a strawberry patch by a mad cow, Chuck takes on the mantle of THE BEEF and vegetarians break loose; ketchup everywhere.

Collects THE BEEF #1-5

Travis sez: Elephantmen's Richard Starkings co-writes and Shaky Kane draws a story about a guy who works at a meat processing plant... becoming a meat based superhero, I guess?  It's Starkings and Kane, who cares about the premise, it'll be good!

(W) Richard Fairgray, Paul Eiding (A/CA) Richard Fairgray
A prequel issue of the all-new series that was New Zealand's top-selling indy comic for the last 10 years! The story set up the full series and gives readers insights into the unique relationship between a mutant triceratops and two little kids. Together they battle and befriend an octopus and a ghost, save a man and everyone in Freak Out City from a newly opened alien portal. It's just another day in the life of our detective hero, Blastosaurus!

Travis sez: What is apparently New Zealand's top indy comic features a mutant triceratops and is influenced by Eisner.  Talking humanoid animals in an otherwise human world?  That can never work!

(W) Rick Veitch (A/CA) Rick Veitch
Just as Moore's Watchmen dissected the notion of superheroes, this underground classic deconstructs the implausible comic book mainstay that is the kid sidekick. Both darkly comic and just plain dark, Rick Veitch's Brat Pack has been considered a must-read almost since the release of its first issue in 1990. Now, fifteen years after its last printing, it's back in a new hardcover edition.
Subversively subtle yet completely over the top, Brat Pack is uncompromising, uncomfortable, and
unforgettable. It's also an essential for every graphic novel collection. This black and white hardcover edition includes Neil Gaiman's introduction, as well as a new essay by Rick, extra art, and the original 23-page series proposal.

Travis sez: The Veitchmonster's look at the absurdity of kid sidekicks in superhero comics.  As it says, dark stuff.

(W) Simon Furman, Roger Stern (A) Adam Blaustein (A/CA) Jose Delbo
Wreckless the bear! Soar the eagle! Surfstreak the dolphin! Hip Hop the kangaroo! And Lionheart the - you guessed it - lion! They're the cybernetically enhanced protectors of the environment, Brute Force! And they're fighting to save the Earth, whether you asked them to or not! But to claw their way to victory, Brute Force will have to battle their beastly rivals, Heavy Metal - a cyborg shark, rhino, gorilla, octopus and vulture! The anthropomorphic adventurers' escapades are collected alongside fun-packed wildlife fact sheets created by Disney's Animals, Science and Environment! Plus: If Brute Force isn't wild enough for you, check out more offbeat antics from Marvel's vaults: the crimefighting elephants known as the Power Pachyderms! Collecting BRUTE FORCE #1-4 and POWER PACHYDERMS #1.

Travis sez: So, this is kind of Marvel's response to TMNT, but mostly it's just WTF?  So WTF?  Why is this being reprinted?!

Matt says: Who cares why, it's got Power Pachyderms. The X-Men as elephants!!!

(W) Neal Adams (A/CA) Neal Adams
When we last left Deadman, the true story had barely begun! Deadman's death was unsolved, and his fate was intertwined with that of his parents and siblings. Even the Dark Knight Detective couldn't solve the mysteries of Boston Brand's fantastic secrets! Now Batman is back, confronting Deadman about who was really behind his death. Was Boston Brand's assassination a test for the League of Assassins? Why does Batman think Ra's al Ghul was involved? And why does Deadman need the help of Zatanna, the Phantom Stranger, Doctor Fate and the Spectre to defend Nanda Parbat? Collects the six-issue miniseries.

Travis sez: I mentioned some of the individual issues of this, but here's the collection of the latest run of Deadman stories by Neal Adams, from a recent miniseries. 

(W) Stan Lee (A/CA) Jack Kirby
Stan Lee called it "the World's Greatest Comic Magazine," and he wasn't kidding. If Lee and Jack Kirby set the comics world on fire in 1961 with the debut of the Fantastic Four, in 1965 they burned it down. Letting loose an unmatched burst of rapid-fire creativity, they gave birth to the Frightful Four, the Inhumans, Galactus and the Silver Surfer - and even pulled off the first super-hero wedding! There are also monster menaces galore, including Dragon Man - and out-of-this-world villains, from the shape-shifting Skrulls to the undersea warlord Attuma. But it's not just the panel-bursting action that makes FANTASTIC FOUR great. It's the drama of a family, united to explore all the wonders of the Marvel Universe side by side! Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #33-51 and ANNUAL #3.

Travis sez: There's a new Fantastic Four comic coming after a few years without one, so they're pushing all sorts of FF stuff out, including this book collecting a great run of the Lee/Kirby stuff.

(W) Shannon Wheeler (A/CA) Shannon Wheeler
    New Yorker cartoonist and multiple Eisner award-winner SHANNON WHEELER offers an irreverent book of personal short stories and gags featuring his critically acclaimed humor, pathos, and honesty-including a 40-page full-color section!

A brand-new collection from the bestselling author of Sh*t My President Says, God Is Disappointed In You, Too Much Coffee Man, and many more.

Travis sez: Too Much Coffee Man's Shannon Wheeler has a collection of cartoons, which despite the title's apparent reference are actually about him.

(W) Jules Feiffer (A/CA) Jules Feiffer
Eighty-nine-year-old Jules Feiffer delivers the tour de force of his illustrious career in this epic finale that dares "to try things that film noir could only dream of" (Chris Ware). In The Ghost Script, Feiffer plunges us into the blowzy, boozy world of Blacklist Hollywood, circa 1953: witch hunts and Reds and pinkos and starlets and a mysterious, orchid-growing mastermind, the renamed "Cousin Joseph," running a back-channel clearinghouse for victims of the entertainment world's purge. Stumbling his way through this maze is private eye Archie Goldman, a tough-talking good guy, always a step or two behind in this fast-moving story of plots, counterplots, and goon violence. Meet Lola Burns, the buxom Blacklistee, desperate to get back into pictures, and O. Z. McCay and Fay Bloom, the booze-swilling, hard-living communist screenwriters. In this satiric assault on our past and present, Feiffer shows how the arc of American history evolves from starry dreams to thwarted and sold- out dreams.

Travis sez: Apparently this is the concluding volume of the "Kill My Mother" trilogy, which also includes Cousin Joseph.  I read Kill My Mother and it was pretty good, Feiffer's still got it.

(W) Jack Kirby (A) Mike Royer, D. Bruce Berry, Greg Theakston (A/CA) Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta
At last, DC collects NEW GODS, the centerpiece of Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" saga, in its own trade paperback. This title introduces the sprawling cast from the twin worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips, including Darkseid, Orion, Highfather, Lightray and many more! This collection includes NEW GODS #1-11, plus the 48-page story "Even Gods Must Die" from 1984 and the original 1985 graphic novel THE HUNGER DOGS.

Travis sez: Kirby.  New Gods.  What more do you need to know?  (Orion is wrong, however, the word is not battle, the bird is the word.) [um, if the Orion splash where he says the word is battle isn't the image you use, take that line out, wouldya, Matt?]

For its 75th issue, the Jack Kirby Collector magazine presents this first-of-its-kind examination of the creators of the Marvel Universe, in an oversize book! It looks back at their own words, in chronological order, from fanzine, magazine, radio, and television interviews, to paint a picture of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's relationship, why it succeeded, where it deteriorated, and when it eventually failed. Also here are recollections from Steve Ditko, Wallace Wood, John Romita Sr., and more Marvel Bullpen stalwarts who worked with both Kirby and Lee. Rounding out this book is a study of the duo's careers after they parted ways as collaborators, including Kirby's difficulties at Marvel Comics in the 1970s, his last hurrah with Lee on the Silver Surfer Graphic Novel, and his exhausting battle to get back his original art - and creator credit - from Marvel.

Travis sez: Another fine TwoMorrows book, this is the 75th issue of Jack Kirby Collector, looking at what Stan and Jack said about how they laid the foundation of the Marvel Universe.

(W) Stan Sakai (A/CA) Stan Sakai
A complete collection of the iconic team-ups for fans of all ages! Collecting every existing Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover comic in existence, this book contains "Turtle Soup and Rabbit Stew," "The Crossing," "The Treaty," "Shades of Green," and the recent full-color tale "Namazu." This volume also includes tons of extra material from Stan Sakai's studio.

Travis sez: This collects all of the times that Stan Sakai has included the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Usagi Yojimbo stories.  Good stuff, natch!

(W) Wallace Wood, Bill Pearson, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Various (A) Various
Fed up with the restrictions of mainstream comics, cartoonist Wallace Wood created and published witzend. witzend became a cauldron of creativity for Wood and his cartoonist friends like Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Gray Morrow, and Reed Crandall, Steve Ditko, Art Spiegelman, Vaughn Bode, Jim Steranko, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Howard Chaykin, Bernie Wrightson and dozens more. Fantagraphics published the collected witzend in 2014 in a deluxe two-volume box set, selling out immediately. Now we present The Best of witzend, a 280-page distillation of that publishing milestone in a single handsome volume.

Travis sez: Like it says, the best stuff from Wallace Wood's Witzend comic.  So many great creators.

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

Next Time: "Paging Dr. Hobbs. Paging Dr. Hobbs. Will Dr. Hobbs please pick up the white courtesy telephone?"