BEST BETS

THE DELINQUENTS #1 (of 4, Valiant, $3.99): The new kid on the block launches a miniseries combining the stars of their two funniest books, Quantum & Woody and Archer & Armstrong. It's superhero-ish action, but should also serve as an antidote to the shroud of grimness that seems to cover all superhero comics.

THE FADE-OUT #1 (Image, $3.50): The team of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips have demonstrated their mastery of noir in such books as Fatale and Criminal, and now launch a book that perfectly suits their strengths: a crime noir set in 1930s Hollywood. That's all I need to know to sign up for the ride, which is bound to be good.

JUSTICE INC #1 (Dynamite, $3.99): If you're a fan of The Shadow, Doc Savage and/or The Avenger, the "Big 3" of Street & Smith pulp magazines in the 1920s and '30s, you've probably wondered what would happen if these very different characters tried to work together. It's happened once before at another publisher, but not for very long, so this new title from Dynamite should be very, very interesting.

LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND #1 (IDW, $3.99): This all ages book brings a beloved character back to print, albeit without the genius of creator Winsor McCay, who died in 1934. That's pretty gutsy -- this book is bound to be compared to the Little Nemo strips, long regarded as classics -- but they must have a reason for their confidence, and it's worth a look to find out if it's justified.

THE MULTIVERSITY #1 (DC Comics, $4.99): DC has made a lot of missteps with its multiverse of late, but this promises to be a huge on in the right direction. Grant Morrison, one of the best writers in comics, will use this book to tell stories from at least six different parallel worlds, with the fan favorite President Superman of Earth-23 as the backbone. This should be quite a ride!

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #1 (DC, $3.99): The Amazing Amazon got her start in Sensation Comics back in 1940, and now DC is reviving the title with Wonder Woman stories that first appeared online. The chief draw here is that the first tale is by the excellent Gail Simone, which answers the fervent prayers of a lot of fans.

THE STRAIN: THE NIGHT ETERNAL (Dark Horse, $3.99): If you've been watching the excellent TV adaptation of Guillermo del Toro's Strain trilogy on FX, you know what a great story it is. Dark Horse has already adapted the first two books (available in trade paperback and hardback), and this issue begins the adaptation of the third.

THIS WEEK'S COMICS

The Comics Guide is assembled using the Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. website, as a guide, and is subject to change. Clicking on most images results in a larger image. All information is from Diamond and/or publisher solicitations and press releases, except for random comments by Captain Comics (in blue), and occasional comments by The Baron (in this here purplish color).

ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT

SKYWARD #9

Writer/Art/Cover: JEREMY DALE

32 pages/ All Ages/ FC $3.99

All-out war! Three Rivers is under attack by Herod's armies, and it may just beup to Quinn, Abigail, and the Rabites to save the city from certain destruction! But wait ... who rides on the horizon? Plus: A HUGE REVELATION you won't see coming -- not to be missed! THE SMASH HIT SERIES CONTINUES! From rising star creator Jeremy Dale (GI Joe, Marvel Kapow!), this issue also features a stellar homage RETAILER INCENTIVE variant cover by Gene Ha (Top Ten, Action Comics)!

ARCHIE COMICS

BEST OF ARCHIE COMICS VOL 4

Script: Frank Doyle, Various

Art:  Bob Montana, Harry Lucey, Dan DeCarlo, Dan Parent, Fernando Ruiz

Cover: Bob Montana

$9.99/$10.99CAN

5 1/4  x 7 1/2”

TPB, 416 pp, Full Color

Direct Market On-Sale Date: 8/20

The BEST-SELLING Best of Archie graphic novel series is back! This fun, full-color compilation that collects more all-time favorite Archie and friends stories, lovingly hand-selected and introduced by Archie creators, editors, and historians from 200,000 pages of material. It is a must-have for any Archie fan--for that matter, it’s a must-have for any fan of comic books!

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG ARCHIVES 23 (TPB)

Script: KEN PENDERS, KARL BOLLERS, DANNY FINGEROTH

Art: STEVEN BUTLER, RON LIM, SAM MAXWELL, SALEEM CRAWFORD, JIM AMASH, VICKI WILLIAMS, JEFF POWELL

Cover: PATRICK "SPAZ" SPAZIANTE

$7.99/$8.99CAN

5 x 7 3/8”

Trade Paperback, 112 pp, Full Color

Direct Market On-sale: 4/2

It's adventure and questing galore in this installment in the acclaimed Sonic Archives series! Sonic fights for his life against, not one, but two robot doubles! Is the armor to Silver Sonic II really unbreakable? Is the latest Metal Sonic truly faster than the Blue Blur? Its up to Sonic and Tails to find out for sure! Meanwhile, Rotor makes a dangerous trek home to find the fate of his people. Monkey Khan is forced to relive his tragic past while a village of innocent lives hangs in the balance! And Knuckles begins to recover from the assault on Angel Island with some surprising and familiar faces! Sonic Archives 23 collects Sonic the Hedgehog #85-88WORLD OF ARCHIE COMICS DIGEST #42

Script:  Dan Parent

Art:  Dan Parent, Jim Amash, Teresa Davidson, Barry Grossman

Cover:  Dan Parent, Bob Smith, Tito Peña

On Sale Date: 8/20

160-page, full color comic, $4.99 U.S.

Pack your bags with Veronica, she’s tagging along on her father’s business trip to Paris! When a family friend introduces her to a handsome young French filmmaker who just so happens to share a name with Veronica’s favorite redhead back home, Veronica finds herself falling for him! When the Archie back in Riverdale hears what happened, he’s ready to take drastic action! Take an international ride with a new love triangle in “Archie or Archie?!”, the lead story in this exciting Comics Digest! (Formerly World of Archie Double Digest.)

DARK HORSE

B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH #122

Writers: MIKE MIGNOLA, JOHN ARCUDI

Art: JOE QUERIO

Colors: DAVE STEWART

Cover: LAURENCE CAMPBELL

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Ongoing

The perfect place to dive into a world gone mad!

Johann travels to Japan to fight giant monsters, but what he discovers is even more disturbing. A man with no brain has been drawing pictures ... and they tell a terrifying story.

Perfect jumping-on point for new readers.

“If you’ve ever fantasized about fighting monsters, there’s no reason to not pick this thing up.” -- Comic Bastards

BRAIN BOY: THE MEN FROM G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #4 (of 4)

Writer: FRED VAN LENTE

Pencils: FREDDIE WILLIAMS II

Colors: JEREMY COLWELL

Cover: FREDDIE WILLIAMS II, DAN SCOTT

FC, 32 pages, $2.99

Miniseries

Fred Van Lente and Freddie Williams II!

The president is in danger! The White House is under siege!

Brain Boy and his handler, the deadly secret agent known as Faraday, are locked in a psychic battle. But which one is trying to save the leader of the free world, and which one is trying to kill him? Which one of them is a pawn of the mysterious Men from G.E.S.T.A.L.T.? This turbulent climax will extend your cerebral cortex to its very limits.

“This book has action, mystery, the supernatural, humor, and fantastic visuals; the whole package.” -- All-Comic

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 10 #6

Writer: CHRISTOS GAGE

Pencils: KARL MOLINE

Inks: ANDY OWEN

Colors: DAN JACKSON

Cover: STEVE MORRIS

Variant: REBEKAH ISAACS

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Ongoing

What should have been a simple exorcism turns into a disaster for Buffy and the Scoobies when, instead of horrors, a demon fights back with blissful childhood fantasies!

Fray artist Karl Moline returns!

“Anyone who was on the fence about Season 10 should be convinced that it’s going to be one hell of a ride.” -- Newsarama

“Dark Horse has brought their A-game talent to this comic, and it shows.” -- Comic Book Resources

DARK HORSE PRESENTS #1

Writers: GEOF DARROW, FRANK MILLER, PETER HOGAN, BRENDAN MCCARTHY, JIMMY PALMIOTTI, JUSTIN GRAY, DAMON GENTRY, DAVID MACK

Art: GEOF DARROW, BRENDAN MCCARTHY, DAVID MACK, STEVE PARKHOUSE, ANDY KUHN, AARON CONLEY

Cover/Variant Cover: GEOF DARROW

On sale Aug 20

FC, 48 pages, $4.99

Ongoing

New DHP 48-page format!

Geof Darrow and Frank Miller’s Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot returns in this new volume of the award-winning, long-running anthology powerhouse Dark Horse Presents! Also in the 48-page tome of awesome comics: Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s Resident Alien, Brendan McCarthy’s Dream Gang, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Andy Kuhn’s Wrestling with Demons, Damon Gentry and Aaron Conley’s Sabertooth Swordsman, and David Mack’s Kabuki!

• Big Guy and Rusty return!

• The award-winning series returns at a new price -- $4.99!

• Features special Geof Darrow gallery!

“Dark Horse’s prestigious anthology series showcases emerging talent alongside some of the greatest writers, artists and cartoonists comics has to offer, as well as promising new and underground talents.” -- ComicsAlliance 

EYE OF NEWT #3 (of 4)

Writer/Art/Cover: MICHAEL HAGUE

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

From fantasy legend Michael Hague!

The imaginative genius of Michael Hague weaves an unforgettable myth of sorcerers and dragons! As the wizard’s apprentice Newt continues his trek through the Netherworld, he finds magical clues to solve the mystery that is his fate!

From the renowned illustrator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Hobbit!

A SECOND CHANCE AT SARAH (HC)

Writer: NEIL DRUCKMANN

Art/Cover: JOYSUKE WONG

FC, 96 pages, $14.99

HC, 6" x 9"

NEIL DRUCKMANN!

As his wife Sarah lies dying, John makes a deal with a demon for a desperate chance to save her! Transported to their childhood, John gets a single day to prevent the tragedy that led to Sarah’s present-day doom, all while trying to convince her that he really is who he says!

An original graphic novel from the Last of Us creative director!

STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL – SON OF DATHOMIR #4 (of 4)

Writer: JEREMY BARLOW

Pencils: JUAN FRIGERI

Inks: MAURO FARGAS

Colors: WES DZIOBA

Cover: CHRIS SCALF

FC, 40 pages, $3.50

Miniseries

Doom on Dathomir!

Count Dooku is possessed by the spirit of Mother Talzin! Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective is shattered! The Separatists attack! And Darth Sidious himself enters the fight!

Based on unproduced episodes of the television series The Clone Wars!

THE STRAIN: THE NIGHT ETERNAL #1

Writer: DAVID LAPHAM

Art: MIKE HUDDLESTON

Colors: DAN JACKSON

Cover: E.M. Gist

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Ongoing

It’s been two years since the Master’s plan succeeded and a near apocalypse coated the world in darkness. Now able to roam freely, the Master’s legion of vampires rule the world -- a horrifying police state where humans are harvested for blood. As humanity despairs, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and an unlikely team of heroes continue their fight against extinction and hope to unlock the secret to the Master’s demise.

The final chapter in the Strain Trilogy, by Guillermo del Toro and novelist Chuck Hogan, begins here!

“A truly engrossing tale.” -- Bloody Disgusting

“Great writing Lapham. I'm locked in.” -- Comic Bastards

WITCHFINDER: THE MYSTERIES OF UNLAND #3 (of 5)

Writers: KIM NEWMAN, MAURA MCHUGH

Art: TYLER CROOK

Colors: DAVE STEWART

Cover: TOTINO TEDESCO

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Miniseries

From horror fiction legend Kim Newman!

Local officials present a façade of normalcy, but the Witchfinder knows there’s something wrong with the denizens of Unland, and he’s starting to uncover what that has to do with the dying founder of the town and the elixir he invented that put the town on the map ...

• Created by Mike Mignola!

• From the pages of Hellboy!

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The mermaid story reminds me of an old song Ted Knight recorded. A man sings about a mermaid he lived with, saying she was beatiful from her head to her waist, but he didn't like the tail. Eventually she swims away, leaving him alone in mourning. Until her sister shows up and he forgets all about her. Her upper part he tells us was an ugly fish but the bottom part was a woman. The song ends with Ted saying "I don't give a damn about the upper part!"

The Spider was published by Popular Publications. I did specify the "Big 3" of Street & Smith in my comments, of which The Avenger was one.

But Dynamite does have the rights to The Spider, so they could have used him. My guess is that he's too similar to The Shadow -- he was created as competition for The Shadow, and is very similar in operation. And speaking of The Shadow, I agree with your assessment that he and Doc Savage would have serious issues with each other. That's why I think this series could be interesting. What could force these two to work together?

As to both Nemo and Spektor, these are updates to sell to a modern audience so changes are to be expected. And honestly, to be encouraged -- concepts that don't evolve to remain engaged with current audiences simply die. That doesn't mean all changes are good, and whether a change improves or detracts from the concept is the yardstick we should use.

I haven't read Nemo yet, and can't comment. As to Spektor, the original wasn't anything to write home about -- he was pretty stodgy. So I've enjoyed the revamp more than I did the original!

TMNT Annual 2014

I dropped Teen Titans shortly after it was launched be the social media aspect of this issue has me curious. After what the Illuminati did last issue I really don't care if they live or die anymore. I think the one I'm most looking forward to is Giant Robot Maintenance. I'll probably pick up Little Nemo and Multiversity too.

That explains the garishness of the Shadow's and the Spider's original covers, compared to Doc Savage's who was always pretty reserved, the Spider was trying to top the Shadow. Lots of skulls and skeletons. There are a few skulls on Doc's covers, but they tend to be floating heads, implying Doc is about to face death, while the other guys have skeletons attacking them or looking at the audience while waving guns around. Marvel Mystery covers with their girls tied up and about to be murdered or experimented on by maniacs look very similar to Spider covers. Marvel always did go for the more sensationalist approach. I'm surprised with all the violence these days the Spider isn't more popular. I wouldn't be surprised if the "injury to eye" motif Wertham complained about in Seduction of the Innocent originated in a Spider interior drawing. Unless Weird Tales beat him to it.

What I like about Archie is, after pushing mostly 80s and 90s reprints in their digests for a couple of decades, they're finally opening up their vaults and dragging out 50s stories (seen now and then in 70s digests then rarely in 80s digests before vanishing almost completely) and even some 40s stuff, which I'm sure they've kept hidden until now since I have a lot of digests and no 40s material until recently. It's also interesting that Betty and Veronica somehow looked more risque in modest one piece swimsuits in the 40s than they do in modern bikinis. Maybe that's why they held back on the pre-Code stuff.

I've been enjoying Archie's re-discovery of its vaults as well. And I think the pre-Code Archie material was more risque than afterward. For example, pre-Code the girls would use their wiles to get adult men flustered and get their way. Post-Code they were still drawn sexy, but seemed completely unaware of their effect on men.

I remember them talking Mr. Weatherbee into something before, but not the way I've seen them do it in the 40s. I believe Betty once got him to help her by offering him a pie in the 60s. Pre-Code it didn't exactly sound like she was offering him food. And this was the company that said EC was corrupting kids? I think Goldwater had something personal against Gaines.

Wolverine. What a surprise.

Because a low-key yet successful series where every issue keeps going back to the printers needs a cynical sales gimmick at this point?

Or perhaps Wolverine has a bit of history working with neophyte young female superheroes, and actually fits here?

Ms Marvel is about the most un-cynical book on the stands right now.

And Warren Ellis is writing a Supreme mini-series and no-one told me?  I'm there.

Yes it is. I love it. I love a book that is about a teenage girl, and that is really saying something.

Figserello said:

Ms Marvel is about the most un-cynical book on the stands right now.

ALL NEW GHOST RIDER #6 I think this is the one with art by Damian Scott. I can't think of another more appropriate artist for this title, other than regular artist Tradd Moore. Brilliant move on the part of editorial.
DAREDEVIL #7 SIN
DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2014 #1 I'd be more than happy to give this one the old one issue try. I like that they've cut the cost.
ELEKTRA #5
INFINITY MAN AND THE FOREVER PEOPLE #3
MIGHTY AVENGERS #13 THE best Avengers book out there right now. Seriously. Please PLEASE do yourself a huge favor and pick this one up.
MS MARVEL #7 As Figs said earlier, this is the least cynical book on the stands right now.
MULTIVERSITY #1 Love me some Morrison. Still, I may need to take some ADHD medication before reading this.
ORIGINAL SINS #5 (OF 5)

Fables #143

The Fade Out #1 - I'm pretty excited to see what the Brubaker/Phillips team has planned next

Stray Bullets: Killers #6 - I wonder why Lapham decide on a new series here instead of continuing the numbering of Stray Bullets...

Katana vol. 1-  considering how quickly her series was cancelled, I don't think there was ever much interest in her.

Multiversity - I'm probably in the minority here, but I don't have a whole lot of interest in this series. Morrison has burned me a few times with utter crap. I might pick up later on the cheap though.

Hip Hop Family Tree - I would love to pick this series up, but just can't afford it right now.

Figs said:

Because a low-key yet successful series where every issue keeps going back to the printers needs a cynical sales gimmick at this point?

The constant reprints are also a gimmick that Marvel has been doing quite often. Cap even mentions it in quite a few of the guides.

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