COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR JUNE 2015: BIG BOOKS, STRIPS, ZINES, OVERSTREET, AND SOME RED-HEADED KID AND HIS PALS

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.


by KC Carlson

Archie #1 cover by Fiona Staples

Archie #1 cover by Fiona Staples


ARCHIE #1 (No, Really!)

Most long-time Archie fans thought it would never happen. The Archie characters are being updated to reflect the modern era. Sure, the cast and the publications always played with the fads and trends of the time, and Archie’s Girls, Betty and Veronica, were always fashion-forward (especially in the hands of artists like Dan DeCarlo, who kept up with the fashion mags, thanks to his wife Josie!). But for almost 75 years, and despite The Archies band supposedly touring around the world, Archie was all about growing up with small-town values where nothing much ever changed. Until a couple of years back, when Archie “walked down Memory Lane” and dreamed of marrying both Betty and Veronica. (Calm down! It was in separate storylines!) Plus, an actual gay guy moved into town, and Riverdale didn’t get swallowed up by the earth itself. And then there were the zombies…

The old Riverdale is closing its doors in June, and a new series of Archie and the gang — tweaked a bit (adding personality and depth, rather than just changing) — will start up very soon after, courtesy of writer Mark Waid (longest active resume in comics) and — for at least the first three issues — artist Fiona Staples (Saga, previous variant Archie covers). Those three issues will be an “origin” of sorts, setting up the characters in the new Riverdale. Staples will be using her usual art style on her issues (rather than the old Archie house style), designing “a new look and edgier tone” for the series. Waid has indicated that while there will be ongoing developments over multiple issues in these new stories, he was striving to make each issue a full-length “done-in-one” story. “Don’t be afraid of the phrase ‘edgier tone,’ though,” Waid says. “All that means is that there’s a little more emotion to the stories. Trust me, the comedy is still there — particularly the big, slapstick moments!”

To celebrate this major event, Archie Comics has commissioned a whopping 22 covers (one of which is a blank sketch cover), by a nice cross-section of great artists with very different styles. Most notable is the “regular” cover by Staples, which happily makes the “new” Archie look very different, yet immediately recognizable. Most of the variants can be seen here.

I’m very excited by the prospect of a new-look Archie, especially one in the hands of these two talented creators. You should be also. It’s kinda funny in a way that both Marvel and DC are looking backwards for their big summer events, while Archie Comics is finally looking forward. And I’m looking forward to reading it! Can’t wait!

BIG BOOKS

Absolute Batman: The Court of Owls

Absolute Batman: The Court of Owls


Absolute Batman: The Court of Owls (DC Comics): The explosive “Court of Owls” storyline gets the Absolute Edition treatment, collecting Batman #1-11. A series of brutal murders rocks not only Gotham City to its core but also the Caped Crusader himself when the prime suspect is one of Batman’s closest allies –- Dick Grayson! After a series of deadly discoveries, Bruce Wayne learns that the Court of Owls is real — and a deadly threat out to control Gotham City. Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. Cover by Greg Capullo. 384-page 8.25” x 12.5” color hardcover. Advance solicited — available in October.

Bacchus Omnibus Edition: Volume One

Bacchus Omnibus Edition: Volume One


Bacchus Omnibus Edition: Volume One (Top Shelf): Eddie Cambell’s amazing series, originally spanning a decade of work, is now being collected in one place. (Well, two, actually. It’s quite long. This book is the first.) In Bacchus, Campbell presents his version of “an American-style comic book” filtered through his own brilliant, whimsical, and wide-ranging sensibility. With a fine blend of action, comedy, suspense, and an ear for a great story, Bacchus brings the gods and myths of ancient Greece to modern life, as if they had never left. Neil Gaiman quite likes it, saying “Bacchus mixes air hijacks and ancient gods, gangland drama and legends, police procedural and mythic fantasy, swimming pool cleaners and classics. It shouldn’t work, of course, and it works like a charm… Eddie Campbell is the unsung king of comic books… The man’s a genius, and that’s an end to it.” This deluxe volume collects the first half of the Bacchus saga (including Immortality Isn’t Forever, The Gods of Business, Doing the Islands With Bacchus, The Eyeball Kid: One Man Show, and Earth, Water, Air & Fire) with new notes and commentary by Campbell. 576-page 7.5” x 10” B&W softcover. Available in July.

S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus

S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus


S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus (Marvel): Marvel is proud to present — in a single complete volume — one of comics’ most-innovative series! With international threats on the rise, Tony Stark and a council of global powers tapped Nick Fury to protect the US from Hydra, A.I.M., Baron Strucker, and the Yellow Claw. The greatest team in comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, dove into the world of covert ops, mixing Cold War drama with the mighty Marvel manner. They set the tone, but when Steranko took over, he rewrote the entire rulebook. Steranko turned S.H.I.E.L.D. into one of the most visually innovative comic series ever published and every early story is presented in oversized glory. You’ve been granted Priority A-1 access, so reserve your copy today! Collecting the Nick Fury stories from Strange Tales (1951) #135-168, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1968) #1-15, Fantastic Four (1961) #21, Tales of Suspense (1959) #78, Avengers (1963) #72, Marvel Spotlight (1971) #31 (which reveals an important Nick Fury secret!), and material from Not Brand Echh (1967) #3, 8, and 11. Features work by Lee, Kirby, Steranko, Roy Thomas, Denny O’Neil, Archie Goodwin, Jim Starlin, Howard Chaykin, John Severin, Herb Trimpe, Don Heck, Barry Windsor-Smith, Sal Buscema, Joe Sinnott, and more. 960-page oversize color hardcover. I love this stuff! My favorite Marvel series/character. Available in September.

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 3

Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 3


Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Volume 3 (Marvel): The original Star Wars comic book saga concludes! Savor an all-action adaptation of Star Wars: Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi, and find out what happens after the Battle of Endor! Luke, Leia and their allies seek to establish a new galactic government — but Imperial Forces still stand in the way. When Darth Vader falls, a Dark Lady will rise. Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewbacca head to Wookiee World! The Ewoks go to war! And tragedy strikes close to C-3PO — could it be that even a droid can cry? Plus: a cornucopia of Star Wars rarities– including exclusive stories only published in the UK! Collecting Star Wars (1977) #79-107, Annual #3, and Return of the Jedi #1-4 — plus material from Pizzazz #1-16; Star Wars Weekly (UK) #60, #94-99, and #104-115; Empire Strikes Back Monthly (UK) #149, #151, and #153-157; and Star Wars Monthly (UK) #159. Features work by Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson, Jo Duffy, Roy Thomas, Chris Claremont, Alan Moore, Steve Parkhouse, Ron Frenz, David Mazzucchelli, Tom Palmer Jan Duursema, Sal Buscema, Klaus Janson, Howard Chaykin, Walter Simonson, Dave Cockrum, Carmine Infantino, John Stokes, Alan Davis, and many others. 1,136-page oversize color hardcover. Available with two cover options: a painted cover by Tom Palmer or a Direct Market Only version painted by Greg Hildebrandt. Available in September.

Werewolf by Night Omnibus

Werewolf by Night Omnibus


Werewolf by Night Omnibus (Marvel): He’s Jack Russell by day, but he’s the Werewolf By Night! On his 18th birthday, Jack discovers that he has inherited his father’s curse — and that’s when things really get hairy. Can he save his sister from sharing his fate? Discover how Jack became one of Marvel’s supernatural stars of the seventies in these classic adventures, serving up everything from witches to aliens to Dracula himself! But which horrifying heroes will join Jack in the Legion of Monsters? Whether he’s teaming up with Spider-Man, eclipsing Moon Knight, or fighting like cats and dogs with Tigra, Jack is one lycanthrope you’re guaranteed to like. Features work by Doug Moench, Mike Ploog, Don Perlin, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman (‘natch!), Tom Sutton, Gil Kane, Gene Colan, Ross Andru, and others! Collects Marvel Spotlight (1971) #2-4, Werewolf By Night (1972) #1-43, Marvel Team-Up (1972) #12, Tomb of Dracula (1972) #18, Giant-Size Creatures #1, Giant-Size Werewolf #2-5, Marvel Premiere #28, and material from Monsters Unleashed #6-7. 1,176-page oversize color hardcover. Available with two covers: one by Mike Ploog and one by the mysterious artist TBA. Available in October — just in time for Halloween!

Wonder Woman by George Pérez Omnibus Volume 1

Wonder Woman by George Pérez Omnibus Volume 1


Wonder Woman by George Pérez Omnibus Volume 1 (DC Comics): This omnibus collects the first two years of George Pérez’s 1980s run on Wonder Woman, including issues #1-24 and Wonder Woman Annual #1. These stories reestablished Wonder Woman’s heroic career with appearances by the gods of Olympus and villains including Cheetah and Silver Swan. Back when these stories were first published, it sometimes seemed that DC corporate just considered publishing Wonder Woman a contractual obligation. They didn’t really get behind the series until the fans weighed in — in a big way! Glad to see this amazing work is finally getting more spotlight. Written by George Pérez, Greg Potter, and Len Wein. Art by George Pérez, Bruce Patterson, and others. Cover by George Pérez. 640-page oversize color hardcover. Available in August.

THIS MONTH IN CLASSIC COMIC STRIP COLLECTIONS

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection! Volume 1: 1977-1979

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection! Volume 1: 1977-1979


The Amazing Spider-Man: The Ultimate Newspaper Comics Collection! Volume 1: 1977-1979 (IDW/LoAC): Granted, this material has been reprinted several times before, but given the Library of American Comics’ stellar reputation for quality and completeness (as well as larger reproduction), these will be the definitive hardcover collections to get. The wondrous wall-crawler’s long-running newspaper strip by Stan Lee, John Romita, and others is given the deluxe LoAC treatment, with all Sundays in color and integrated with the dailies, just as they originally appeared in newspapers worldwide. Edited by Bruce Canwell, this first volume includes the complete strips from the series start in 1977 through January 1979. A major fan-favorite in its best presentation yet! 312-page 11” x 8.5” B&W and color hardcover. Available in July. Web-dissolver not included.

Barnaby Volume Three

Barnaby Volume Three


Barnaby Volume Three (Fantagraphics): Continuing the long-lost comic strip masterpiece by legendary children’s book author Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon), collected in full, and designed by graphic novelist and Barnaby superfan Daniel Clowes (Ghost World). Volume Three collects the postwar years of 1946–1947, continuing five-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his Fairy Godfather J.J. O’Malley’s misadventures. Bumbling but endearing, Mr. O’Malley rarely gets his magic to work — even when he consults his Fairy Godfather’s Handy Pocket Guide. This volume also features essays by comics historians Charles Hatfield and Coulton Waugh, as well as Johnson biographer Philip Nel. 372-page 10.5” x 6.8” black and white (with over 50 pages of color) hardcover. Available in July. Highly recommended.

The Definitive Betty Boop: The Classic Comic Strip Collection

The Definitive Betty Boop: The Classic Comic Strip Collection


The Definitive Betty Boop: The Classic Comic Strip Collection (Titan Comics): Before Marilyn and Madonna, Betty booped and wriggled her way into hearts worldwide with her unique mix of wide-eyed innocence and powerful cartoon sensuality. Although she made her film debut as a curvaceous canine cabaret singer in the Max Fleischer short Dizzy Dishes on August 9, 1930, Betty Boop remains animation’s first leading lady and a glamorous international icon. (She later evolved into the more human-looking character.) This volume collects Betty’s adventures as they appeared in the funny pages of newspapers (by Bud Counihan, assisted by Hal Seeger) from 1934 to 1937 — the most complete collection of these strips ever! Also includes Helen Kane strips (based on the real-life singer/actress who sued the Fleischers — and lost — for character infringement), Out of the Inkwell comics, presumably based on the early Fleischer animated series which featured Koko the Clown (who later co-starred with Boop), and never-before-collected “lost” Betty Boop strips. (In 1984-1988, Mort Walker’s sons Brian, Neal, Greg, and Morgan produced a Betty Boop revival strip. These “lost” strips may be some of those.) 208-page color softcover. The dimensions are either 9” x 12” or 5” x 8” — both are mentioned in Previews. (Proofreading, people!) Available in September.

Also Available:

The Complete Peanuts 1955-1956 (Volume 3) Paperback Edition

The Complete Peanuts 1955-1956 (Volume 3) Paperback Edition


The Complete Peanuts 1955-1956 (Volume 3) Paperback Edition (Fantagraphics): The more-affordable softcover collection freaturing strips from the mid-fifties, when the popular characters were still evolving. By Charles M. Schulz. Introduction by Matt Groening. 320-page 8.25” x 6.5” partial color softcover. Available in July.

ARTIST/GALLERY EDITIONS

IDW’s Artist’s Editions present complete stories with each page scanned in color from the actual original artwork, printed the same size as first drawn. IDW’s Artifact Editions (like an Artist’s Edition) also present pages scanned from the actual original artwork. Unlike an Artist’s Edition, these will present books even if all the original artwork cannot be obtained. They can also include extras such as advertisements, portfolio pieces, color guides, and more.Graphitti Designs Gallery Editions are somewhere in the middle, striving to present complete stories (when possible), while also providing a selection of available pages and other artifacts. Everything is scanned from the original artwork. So far, they are exclusively producing work from DC Comics and its imprints.
Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist’s Edition

Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist’s Edition


Mike Zeck’s Classic Marvel Stories Artist’s Edition (IDW): Well isn’t this timely… (pun intentional)! This includes the entire first issue of Marvel’s original Secret War. When this becomes availble, the 2015 sequel will be all over the comics racks. Mike Zeck was one of the classic Marvel artists of the 1980s, and this Artist’s Edition of his original work is just chock-full of great stuff. Like, the first two issues of the first Punisher miniseries; a classic two-part Captain America story — featuring Nick Fury, Spider-Man, and Deathlok; and the first part of what many consider one of the very best extended Spider-Man stories: Kraven’s Last Hunt. Plus, since he’s acclaimed for them, there’s an extensive gallery of Zeck’s best covers! 192-page 12” x 17” B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. Available in July.

Miracleman Artifact Edition

Miracleman Artifact Edition


Miracleman Artifact Edition (IDW): All from the original Miracleman, as published by Warrior Magazine in the 1980s, has a history which I’m going to assume most everyone knows. The title has seldom been out of comics news due to a remarkable (and near-impossible to write about in less than a million words) publishing (and courtroom) history. This volume reproduces a lot of the breathtaking artwork from the original series, mostly by Garry Leach, Alan Davis, and John Totleben. All written by “The Original Writer”. (See? What did I just say!). This one’s going to be nice. 144-page 15” x 20” B&W (but scanned in color) hardcover. I bet this one goes fast, so don’t wait too long! Available in August.

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS

The Incredible Herb Trimpe

The Incredible Herb Trimpe


The Incredible Herb Trimpe (TwoMorrows): From running the first photostat machine at Marvel Comics to being the first to illustrate Wolverine, no other member of the Marvel Bullpen has had such a varied and remarkable career as Herb Trimpe. Best known for his incredible eght-year run on the Incredible Hulk, Trimpie was actually a jack-of-all-characters at Marvel, equally amazing on toy licensed books like G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Godzilla (his Godzilla vs. Dum Dum Dugan issue is one of my favorite comics ever!) to long stints on Iron Man, The Defenders, Spider-Man, and even Captain Britain! This new book chronicles the life and art of Trimpe through his own voice, as well as including comments from friends and collaborators like Stan Lee, Tom DeFalco, Roy Thomas, John Romita, Sal Buscema, Joe Sinnott, Larry Hama, Doug Moench, Eliot Brown, Len Wein, Ron Frenz, Steve Englehart, and his son Alex Trimpe. There’s a reason why he’s been dubbed “The Incredible Herb Trimpe” and you can learn why here! 160-page 8” x 11” color hardcover.

The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby

The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby


The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby (Marvel): Last September, it was announced that Marvel and Jack Kirby’s heirs had reached a (out-of-court) settlement, amicably resolving their legal disputes. We’ve recently seen any number of “Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby” credits for many of Marvel’s top titles and characters (and even a “Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby” credit for Captain America). This book also seems like a long-overdue tribute to the King, packed with essays and commentary about Kirby, alongside much of his often mind-blowing art. We don’t have a lot of details about this yet, but it is going to be a art-book style collection that reviews the comics, the influence, and the times of Kirby — and puts a special focus on the month that changed everything, November 1961, the birth of the modern Marvel Universe. As Stan himself used to say, “Don’t ask — just buy!!!” Written by John Rhett Thomas with art by you-know-who. 240-page oversize (landscape) color hardcover. Available in October.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Season Two: Declassified

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Season Two: Declassified


Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Season Two: Declassified (Marvel): Season One revealed much about the small-screen adventures of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now learn new secrets of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in this second keepsake volume! In the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse, Agent Coulson and his team must work even harder to oppose Hydra and protect the planet against the threats it doesn’t even know exist… even as their own world becomes more inhuman every day. Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge along with a star-studded list of guests (as well as new cast members), Season Two is a whirlwind of betrayal and heroism. Features exclusive interviews, detailed production art, and never-before-seen photographs. The creators of the hit show reveal all! Written by Troy Benjamin. 240-page slipcased color hardcover. Available in July.

Marvel’s Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie

Marvel’s Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie


Marvel’s Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie (Marvel): Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in size but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats in Marvel’s latest cinamatic masterpiece (as Stan would put it!). Stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas take up the mantles of Scott Lang and Hank Pym as Marvel’s Ant-Man brings the founding Avengers member to the big screen for the first time. In this keepsake volume, explore script secrets and production designs that showcase the creativity of Marvel’s talented filmmakers. With intricate concept art, full-color photography from the set and finished film, plus commentary from the filmmakers — including director Peyton Reed — this new movie book has the low-low-lowdown on everything Ant-Man! Written by Jacob Johnston. 240-page slipcased color hardcover. Regrettably, only available in human-sized editions. Available in July.

ZINE SPOTLIGHT:

Ace Magazine #4

Ace Magazine #4


Ace Magazine #4: Cover features Ant-Man, plus interviews with Kelly Sue DeConnick and Michael Allred and a feature on the 50th Anniversary of Teen Titans.

Alter Ego #135

Alter Ego #135


Alter Ego #135: Len Wein in the late Silver Age (Justice League of America, Superman, Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, and more).

Back Issue #82

Back Issue #82


Back Issue #82: Bronze Age Events! Secret Wars! Crisis on Infinite Earths! Invasion! Infinity Gauntlet! Plus, an Avengers/Defenders War cover by John Byrne!

Comic Book Creator #9

Comic Book Creator #9


Comic Book Creator #9: Everything you wanted to know about Joe Staton. Plus, John Romita Jr. and the late Stan Goldberg.

Marvel Fact File Special: Ultron

Marvel Fact File Special: Ultron


Marvel Fact File Special: Ultron: From the UK (so it’s kinda pricey). A 20-page fully-illustrated history of comics’ latest movie star, with a way-cool 5 3/4 “ figurine. Comes on a slow boat from the UK, so may not arrive here until after the movie!

AND FINALLY…

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide


It’s Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide time again, with this years’s Volume 45! As usual there are multiple covers, including Captain America and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Greg Land, Bloodshot/X-O Manowar by Cary Nord, and Captain Action by Paul Gulacy. But one cover this year features an incredible historic find — an unpublished Superman drawing by co-creator Joe Shuster! Feature articles are about the 75th Anniversary of Captain Marvel and the 50th Anniversaries of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and Wonder Girl! (Published by Gemstone.)

Vintage Marvel Comics 2016 12-Month Wall Calendar

Vintage Marvel Comics 2016 12-Month Wall Calendar


Also, check out the great 2016 comic book-related calendars being offered for ordering now, including Avengers and Ant-Man movies, DC Comics Bombshells, Spider-Man, Justice League, and vintage DC and Marvel covers!

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KC CARLSON: Sorry. Not much extra to say after I got SHOT by that Elf with a Gun last week. Ow.

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Stupid Elf.

 

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