Sunday, September 06, 2009

Diamond Previews September 2009

Haven't blogged in quite a while, but seeing all those Previews live-blogging posts recently made me want to try, too. So here's my take on the September 2009 Previews:

Dark Horse

  • Dr. Horrible: Art by Joëlle Jones. Probably good then.

  • Age of Reptiles - The Journey #1: Art looks interesting. Apparently this is already the third mini in this series. I missed the other two because they came out in 1993 and 1996, respectively.

  • Star Wars - The Thrawn trilogy SC: I remember liking the style of adaptation for the first book (done by Olivier Vatine who also worked on some notable series like "Aquablue" for the French market), but not the other two. Even though I like some of the current Terry Dodson stuff, his style was barely recognizable back then (either because of it being an early work or because of the muddy inks/colors). Not sure if I need a complete collection now.

  • Chobits Omnibus: Passed on the series back when. This might be a good way to get the complete series.

  • other notable series: Groo, Usagi Yojimbo

DC Comics

  • Lobo - Highway to Hell #1: New Lobo from Sam Kieth. Interesting and notable, but not my cup of tea.

  • Cinderella - From Fabletown with Love #1: Haven't read any Fables yet. Didn't quite like the art. This looks better and being a mini, I'll probably check it out.

  • other notable series: Red Herring, The Unwritten

CMX Manga

  • Emma v10: Must have. Final volume.

  • Dorothea v6: Also final volume.

  • Go West! v4: Another final volume.

  • Teru Teru x Shonen v6: Finally, not a final volume ;)

  • Crayon Shinchan v10: Stupid fun.


  • Image United #1: Somewhat nice idea, but calling it "Crossover of the Century" seems a bit premature. And as I'm allergic to most crossovers, I won't buy it.

  • I kill Giants - Titan Edition HC: Nice subtitle. Liked the series and bought the singles, but I'm not sure if I need a hardcover for it.

  • Underground #3: Thought about buying it when #1 was solicited, but I'm waiting for the trade here.

  • other notable series: G-Man, King City


  • The Marvelous Land of Oz #1: Wow, that was quick! It's already the first issue of the second Oz-adaptation by Shanower and Young. Must-have.

  • Sky Doll - Doll's Factory #1: This is an artbook / short story collection.

  • Kookaburra K #1: I quite liked the original three volumes of the Kookaburra series with art by Crisse back in 1997. Straight space-opera and good fun. Problem is: this isn't it. Why Marvel is starting their translation with this spin-off trilogy with art by Humberto Ramos, the third part of which isn't even published yet in France, is not quite clear to me. Well, at least you get one full original volume of 48 pages in each issue for less than a third of its original price.

  • Strange Tales #3: Waiting for the trade here.

  • Star Comics v1: Somewhat interesting from a historical point of view. Not quite sure if it's worth the price of admission.

  • other notable series: X-Babies

Other publishers

  • FCHS v1 GN: Very curious about this one, as I liked the preview here. Reminds me: I still haven't gotten the preview issue from FCBD this year.

  • Dead Duck GN: The art looks nicely cartoonish here, but I fear the humor isn't quite for me. The author has a preview on his blog.

  • Sherlock Ninja - The Curious Case of the Iron Monkey #1: It's not often that Ben Dunn does something outside NHS these days. This idea is just like him, though, mixing Sherlock Holmes with Ninjas. Sounds fun.

  • A Christmas Carol: "Adapted by Rod Espinosa", says the subtitle. Which means: bought.

  • Gunnerkrigg Court v2: I liked this series somewhat when I read the beginning some years back, but not enough to have bought the first volume. This is an online comic based here. Gotta catch up and see how it is these days.

  • Supergod #1: I like Warren Ellis. Sometimes. I certainly don't like all his collaborating artists. Not sure about this one. The idea sounds intriguing (and reading him explaining it on page 206 was somewhat hilarious), but my budget isn't limitless. Tradewait probably.

  • Freakangels v3: One of the definitely readable Ellis series.

  • Sparky O'Hare - Master Electrician: I already have the German original of this. The original title was "Meister Lampe", which is what hares are called lyrically in old German fables, while "Lampe" also means lamp and "Meister" master, so the translation preserved the original pun somewhat. The "O'Hare" was obviously taken from the strip on the back of the book, BTW, where it was used as the name of an ancestor of the main character (see here, replaced by "Buck" in the translation). The book is reproduced in its original small size. The story consists of one-pagers in loose continuity in a rigid 2x2 panel grid and lives off its very own peculiar sense of humor. Instead of trying to describe the story and its appeal myself, I'll just link to the review by Forbidden Planet with more preview pages. Judging from their opinion, the humor seems to have survived the translation process quite intact. Pick of the month, I'd say.

  • Bone one-volume SC: Whoa, 13th printing already. Good for them ^^;

  • The Complete Alice in Wonderland #1: While I would have considered buying it with interiors like the cover, I'm even more intrigued after finding out that Brazilian artist Érica Awano actually favors a very manga-ish style. Samples of her earlier work look nice, they seem to be solid examples of global manga, but I'd love to see some samples of interior art for this series before preordering it. More here.

  • Itazura na Kiss v1: Quite a few manga bloggers have been talking about it recently and the art looks pleasantly 80s to me. I'll have to check it out.

  • Demons of Sherwood: I read the first pages of this online-comic a while back and liked them. It has grown quite a bit since then and the art and coloring has only gotten better. 146 of the 160 pages in this volume can still be found here.

  • Bringing up Father v1: Another comic-strip collection by IDW, probably the first one I'll be buying, even with the high price-point and the less-than-stellar cover design.

  • Love Buzz GN: Resolicited from Oni after half a year. Still looking good, still on my list.

  • Alex Rider v3 - Skeleton Key: The third Alex Rider adaptation.

  • Kat & Mouse v4: Brought back from limbo by Tokyopop. Glad to see it in print (and in print it already is), even though TP's motives may be somewhat questionable.

  • Silent Möbius v2: Old-school Kia Asamiya style. Not sure if I'm still into that. The preview pics don't look bad, though.

  • Loverboy - An Irwin Hasen story: Somewhat interested in this, as being by the author of "Dondi", but no additional info is to be found, so far.

  • Detroit Metal City v3: Wasn't certain about this when it was licensed. The art didn't seem so great and I was unsure about the humor. Now I recently watched the live-action movie adaptation and it won me over. I'll have to check out v1 soon.

  • Butterflies, Flowers v1: Best new manga this month. Check it out. Yoshihara is an outstanding artist and has her very own brand of twisted humor. She uses SD in a fashion that has to be seen to be believed ;)

  • other notable series: Glamourpuss, Echo, Gold Digger, Gold Digger Tech Manual, Princess Resurrection, Hunter's Fortune, Nanovor, Rurouni Kenshin vizbig, Ooku, Children of the Sea, Yen Plus, Cat Paradise


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Penny & Aggie #4 to be cancelled?

Well, that sucks.

Penny & Aggie is a wonderful online comic by T Campbell and Gisèle Lagacé (Cool Cat Studio). Alias started to publish the strip as a four-issue mini, but now Campbell writes on his blog that issue #4 will be cancelled, due to "reasons [that] are strictly business". Meaning too little sales, probably. In a later post, he muses if this had something to do with the much discussed tightening of Diamonds solicitation rules. Campbell doesn't blame them, since he thinks their rules actually needed a bit of tightening, but still...

...that sucks... -_-;

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Preliminary September Previews Fun

Had a little time on my hands today and the online order forms were already out, so even though it's not as useful now as with a real copy of Previews (not much point in evaluating unknown series by title alone), it already gives me the impression that the summer break is over and September (or November/December) will be quite an expensive month.

Dark Horse

First up are the first two of DH's Harlequin manga line. It's certainly something new and intriguing, but I really need more information about these before I order, especiall since I'm (pretty obviously) not part of the target demographic. That won't be too hard though, since I can't preorder them through Diamond anyways (they're not allowed to ship them outside the US). I have to get them from after they come out.


Oh My Goddess volume 22, the third one in right-to-left format. I want to sample the new format with volume 1 before I decide if I really need to ditch my German volumes and replace them at this excrutiatingly slow pace (the German and French editions of OMG are both still mirrored LTR).

SEP05 0019 OH MY GODDESS VOL 22 RTL TP (C: 3 & 4) SRP: $10.95

Usagi does not need to be explained.

SEP05 0023 USAGI YOJIMBO #89 SRP: $2.99

I haven't read Penny Arcade in years. I really have to sample it again - and find out what part of the storyline will be in here. Something's puzzling me, by the way. This is listed at the Dark Horse site as scheduled for 2006-01-25. Did they solicit it one month early?


This has already been discussed elsewhere. It's a sub-optimal presentation of an interesting concept, but judging from some of the names that have been dropped I'll want to order it anyways.

SEP05 0027 SEXY CHIX TP (C: 4) SRP: $12.95

DC Comics / CMX

I started that series solely because of Middleton (and because it's short... less chance of an NYX-like muck-up). I think I don't even know what it's about, yet... ^^;


The first two volumes were quite well done, so I'm staying with the series (reminds me to order volume 3 and 4 soon).

SEP05 0285 MUSASHI #9 VOL 5 (C: 3) SRP: $9.99


What the hell is that?

SEP05 1669 SPAWN MANGA VOL 1 TP SRP: $9.99

What shall I say... I like Kurtz' humor.

SEP05 1701 PVP #21 SRP: $2.99

When will Cho finally get around to publishing Liberty Meadows again? The last solicited issue is - what - half a year lat now. Shanna is finished now (and I'd prefer more LM to Zombie King).


Yes, I'm only buying this series, for Wieringo. Crossovers are a red flag to me. I refuse to buy those other titles. That's what scans are for, if they can't write self-contained series. Sue me.


The first mini was a nice read. I hope the second will only get better.

SEP05 1968 X-MEN AND POWER PACK #2 (Of 4) SRP: $2.99

A.D. Vision

What's up with those lamers. Still no new Those Who Hunt Elves or Louie the Rune Soldier. The only reason I'm not totally pissed at them is that they're giving me so much Yotsuba&!.

Alias Enterprises

I still haven't read the last part of the Image mini, but I'll stay with the series. Wouldn't consider it all-ages, though, as it has been called elsewhere.

SEP05 2680 LULLABY #3 SRP: $2.99

Amaze Ink / SLG

I so want this. But why does it have to be 20 bucks?


Antarctic Press

Gold Digger is like Usagi, a classic. (Don't lynch me.)

SEP05 2723 GOLD DIGGER #69 SRP: $2.99

If I hadn't seen a preview in another AP-comic I'd never have known that apparently Rod Espinosa is doing the art here. The cover I've seen certainly doesn't look like it.


Isn't the first new Dunn-issue already a bit late? I hope he does it right this time around. Wasn't all that impressed by Heaven Sent or Quagmire USA.

SEP05 2727 NINJA HIGH SCHOOL #133 SRP: $2.99

Devils Due Pub.

Yes, I'm a sucker for early Salvatore. And since you can't read the man himself anymore (another victim of the brain-eater), I'll gladly take this.


Girl Twirl Comics

Another regular.

SEP05 2964 JANES WORLD #22 SRP: $4.95

HK Comics

Final volume, it appears.



Oooh. New Sinfest collection. And just when the month is already overfull.


Oni Press

I think this might just be the most interesting newcomer this month.

SEP05 3053 OFF ROAD GN SRP: $11.95

The first volume was nicely done. I'll be waiting for this.


Speakeasy Comics

SEP05 3088 GRIMOIRE #7 SRP: $2.99
SEP05 3096 SPELLGAME #3 SRP: $2.99

I hope they really pick up late Kandora's Jade Fire soon.


It's gotten quite rare for me to order a TP-manga. But this vampire action/romance/comedy is just too good to pass over.


Viz Media

Wacky premise, wonderful execution. Guy wakes up one day and has a minature girl instead of his right hand.

SEP05 3260 MIDORIS DAYS VOL 3 GN (C: 3) SRP: $9.99

I think the series will be over with vol. 16.

SEP05 3261 TUXEDO GIN VOL 15 TP (C: 3) SRP: $9.99

I only heard good things about this Shojo Beat title.

SEP05 3278 CRIMSON HERO VOL 1 TP (C: 3) SRP: $8.99

Category "if I had money to spare".

SEP05 3266 STEAMBOY NOVEL VOL 1 (C: 3) SRP: $17.99

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dark Horse's Harlequin gambit

Well, it's not really fresh news anymore - the press release (accessible in various places, e.g. Anime News Network) is dated June 1. Still, it's interesting enough to throw in a couple of comments of my own.

A 6 book deal starting the new line, 3 for younger readers (Harlequin Ginger Blossom: pink), 3 for older (Harlequin Ginger Blossom: violet). The first 2 books to be published in December. Those first titles have already been announced: A Girl in a Million written by Betty Neels with art by Kako Itoh (or Itou, as alternative transscription), Response written by Penny Jordan with art by Takako Hashimoto.

Harlequin has had a publishing deal with Ohzora Publishing Company for publishing manga adaptations of Harlequin novels in Japan (under the label Emerald Comics) for quite a while. The press release cites over 250 Harlequin manga published to date. As reported from various sources, samples of some of those manga may be seen at CuppaCafe.

What the press release didn't state was if those announced titles would be taken from their library of exisiting manga adaptations or if they would just use their resources (artists, etc.) and create something new for the US market. I did some digging, and I found two published manga from the japanese Harlequin manga line adapting the indicated novels and illustrated by the indicated manga-ka, so I suppose they'll just re-import those.

A Girl in a Million was published in March 2002 as Itsuka hanayume ni (something like Someday to be a bride... I think... my Japanese isn't that good). The ISBN is 4-87287-630-X and the book is listed at amazon and yahoo books.

Response came out in April 1999, titled Kakuu no rakuen (probably Fanciful Paradise or Fanciful Pleasure Garden). The ISBN is 4-87287-290-8 and the book is listed at amazon and yahoo books.

If you look closely at the covers at yahoo books, you can even see the original english titles of the novels. Both of them seem to be out-of-print now, by the way... at least doesn't sell them directly anymore.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Opposite Forces - "volume 2" vs. "version 2"

Opposite Forces is a fun little series written and drawn by Tom Bancroft. So far there exists a 4-issue mini, self-published through Funny Pages Press (you can still find sample pages there). For an overview of characters and premise I refer the interested reader to one of the many available reviews on the net (e.g. the one at Still on the Shelf). I learned of the series sometime in 2003 when I found a lonely #1 somewhere at a convention. Since #3 was already out by that time, I never got my hands on #2 and #3 of the FPP edition (though I took some steps towards procuring some copies, recently).

A couple of months ago, Alias Comics made their debut as a comics publisher... with a bit of an involuntary delay (which has been discussed in far more depth and breadth by the comics scene than the actual problem merited, IMHO). Opposite Forces is one of the properties they snagged for their second wave of titles. Diamond Previews May 2005 featured a solicitation for "Opposite Forces, volume 2 #1" (with a $0.75 price point), slated for a mid-July release. I didn't look any closer and just preordered the book, since "volume 2" definitely suggested new material to me.

As it turns out, though, it's more like a "version 2". A company rep recently posted on the Alias boards that the new books will be inked and colored versions of the FPP issues (which were for the most part b&w or even just pencils) instead of new material. The positive in this is that we'll finally get to see a polished version of the original series, the negative is that the solicitation in Previews was, even in hindsight, kind of misleading as a product description.

Personally it doesn't worry me that much. I'll take a second, better version of Opposite Forces over most of the current mainstream books any time, especially since I'm still missing the middle part of that arc. Also Mr. Miller of Alias was very nice and prompt in answering my question about this, and pointed out that it probably was some misunderstanding between Alias and Diamond and would be looked into.

Still, it won't be common knowledge yet, and I don't know in what way (and how soon) they'll manage to correct this in future solicitations (and a similar problem with Pakkins Land as well, though there the true facts were at least mentioned in the solicitation text), so even with the publication of #1 still more than a month away: the more sources for this exist on the web, the better informed potential buyers will be.

On a related note: I'm really curious to see how Alias will fare with the $0.75 introductory price point for most of the #1's in their second wave of titles (and also some of the first). Especially in comparison to Kandora Publishing, who are using a stratagem of $3.50 price point, but with a slightly higher page count, for their books. Interestingly enough, some Kandora titles (e.g. Jade Fire) were as late as the first ones of Alias (if not more), without the company getting as much flak for this (if any) as Alias did.

Who is this guy? And what's this Blog about, anyways?

A couple of words about myself: 26 years old, German, studying electrical engineering (automatic control), currently working on my diploma (kind of like a master thesis).

I've been reading comics in one form or another for most of my life. Got started on Micky Mouse magazine (which is still bigger over here than it's been in the US for decades) and Disney's Lustige Taschenbuecher. Then converted to German translated franco-belgian BDs and a narrow selection of German translated floppy-format super-hero fare. About 8 years ago the first German translated mangas started cropping up, like Appleseed, Dominion - Tank Police and other Shirow works. But it took another 2 years till the first right-to-left pocket books started the real boom. About that time I also found my first import shop for English language comics and discovered that there were US comics besides the super-hero genre.

At the moment most of the comics I buy are either manga (in German, English, French or Japanese language edition) or US small press books (indie, yes, but almost no art or underground comics). Germany's indigenous comics industry doesn't have much to offer me (with a few notable exceptions like Der Hartmut or Zuckerfisch), and French BDs (translated or in the original language) are just too expensive to follow more than a hand full of series.

The thought of starting a Blog didn't appeal to me very much, at first, but in the recent months I've been reading more and more Blogs by interesting personalities, while I myself just scattered my opinions over an ever-increasing number of webboards with disparate audiences. I think I'll try this for a change, as a way to concentrate my thoughts on subjects I care about in a single place. Nothing big, but my own. We'll see what comes of it.