Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Previews Review October 2003

Yes, I'm going to join the parade of online folks who post their thoughts about Previews each month. This is not a complete list of books I'm thinking about ordering, and it doesn't contain any of my regular titles. These are just things I thought were worth commenting about.

For starters, DC's latest "Lost Annual" features Plastic Man. I think they're starting to stretch the concept a bit, but I do like that they're continuing to make these affordable reprints available. It'll be an odd book, though, with Jack Cole stories mixed with later incarnations. Kyle Baker's new Plastic Man series is listed too. I've got mixed feelings about that one.

The best Vertigo can seem to do this time out is an oddly formatted book called Vertical. I wonder if the time may have come to retire Vertigo as an ongoing imprint and just use it for special publications, like the Gaiman hardcover. Or at least shrink the line down to a few core titles and concentrate on doing them right.

I don't at all care for Mark Millar. He goes for broad shocks, usually without anything substantial backing them up. There seems to be no reason for doing anything he does other than to draw attention to himself and his work. That said, I'll probably check out The Chosen from Dark Horse. His take on the modern day return of Christ is sure to ruffle some fundamentalist feathers, which sounds like a recommendation to me. He's got the chance here to develop a meaty story that delves into dark areas and asks hard questions. Will he live up to the potential or be satisfied with showing his teen Jesus as he loses his virginity? We'll see.

SLG collects the first several issues of Halo and Sprocket, and Oni starts a new Courtney Crumrin mini-series. More Courtney is always a good thing.

Fantagraphics is soliciting a collection of 50's romance comics. Titled Romance without Tears, it's an unlikely offering from them. If they're getting into oddball reprints, I'd love to see a collection of those Red Scare comics put out by various Catholic and right wing organizations in the 50's. They've also got new books from Richard Sala (Maniac Killer Strikes Again) and Carol Swain (Foodboy).

In manga, Viz has another volume from Junko Mizuno, featuring her Hello-Kitty-on-acid take on mermaid tales. Anyone who thinks all manga look alike should check out Mizuno's work. In addition, they've got a new series from Yu Watase (creator or Fushigi Yuugi), Alice 19th. From the description, it seems like it will deal with some of the same themes as FY: learning to handle great power, accepting responsibility for one's actions, loyalty, dealing with the dark side. Fushigi Yuugi was an interesting take on the magical girls subgenre of manga. I'm betting this will be too.

Finally, the highlight of this month's Previews for me comes from Top Shelf, which is releasing the long-awaited Mirror of Love. With gorgeous art from Jose Villarrubia, this adaptation of a poem by Alan Moore gets my vote for book of the year! Moore's work was originally written as part of a protest against homophobic legislation in Britain in the 80's. He deals with the history of same-gender love and the impact that queer people have had throughout history. It's going to be a beautiful book, and I hope it gets wide distribution in the bookstore trade, particularly the gay bookstores. Or, at least the few that are left these days. I won't be pre-ordering this one, but I'll be getting it. This is the kind of work that I want to support through locally-owned bookstores, both because it comes from a comic publisher and because it deals with LGBT themes.

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