Welcome back, Legionnaires, for another exciting episode of "Comics Guide!"

Let's try a  couple of different things this week.

One, I'm going to go with plain, old bold with my comments, instead of the bold blue I have used to date. For one thing, I have to remember the XHTML code for the blue when I use it in the Comment area -- which is the bulk of the list! Irritating. Secondly, it comes across in large amounts -- at least to me -- as "dazzling" (to use a design term), and a little circus-y.

Two, instead of collating the solicitation material for The Captain's Picks, let's just chat about the books here, but leave the material where it is. That will have the benefits of 1) making The Captain's Picks more concise, 2) differentiating The Captain's Picks from the solicitation material, and 3) leaving the publisher lists comprehensive instead of swiss-cheesed.

Now, given that I will be sort-of columnizing in this space, and not really picking the best books of the week, I'll probably need to re-name "The Captain's Picks." Maybe "The Dillio This Week" or "Best and Worst" or "This Is the Week That is." Or maybe just "Captain Comics Sez." Any ideas, Legionnaires?

Anyway let's give it a try:

THE CAPTAIN’S PICKS

POWERPUFF GIRLS #6

What do y'all think of the cover at right? Go ahead and click on it, I'll wait. 

Did you think "nice cover"? Or did you react -- as I did -- by thinking: "Yikes! That is NOT how I want to think about the Powerpuff Girls!"

Of course, it's to be expected that *I* would have that reaction, because I Am Old. But as Bleeding Cool reports, lots of people had that reaction. One retailer, Dennis L. Barger, posted the image on Facebook, complaining, "Are we seriously sexualizing pre-teen girls like perverted writing fan fiction writers on the internet???? is that what this sh*t has gotten to? DISGUSTED"

Well! That sure got a lot of attention, including that of IDW's Vice President of Marketing, Dirk Woods, who posted a response on Barger's timeline, essentially blaming it all on Cartoon Network:

"Hey Dennis et al – That was actually a Cartoon Network mandated cover, by an artist of their choosing. I think they were thinking of it more along the lines of 'female empowerment' than the kind of thing you guys are talking about, but certainly, we’re sensitive to the issues here. We love making comics for kids, and always want them to be appropriate. For what it’s worth, CN has been a great partner in that regard… I know an 8 year old and 10 year old really well, and always look at these kinds of things through their eyes… Half of the employees have kids here, and we pride ourselves in making comics they’ll enjoy and not give them a warped view of the world (except, you know, in a good way). Anyway, I certainly see your points, and we’ll be sensitive to these things, as I think we mostly have been."

Now, there ain't no flies on Cartoon Network. Quicker than you can say "Powerpuff Girls Z!" they spiked the cover (as explained on ICv2.com). Then they issued a press release:

"In conjunction with our licensing partners, Cartoon Network Enterprises from time to time works with the artist community to reimagine and reinterpret our brands using their talents and unique points of view.  This particular variant cover for The Powerpuff Girls #6 from IDW was done in the artist’s signature style and was intended to be released as a collectible item for comic book fans.  We recognize some fans’ reaction to the cover and, as such, will no longer be releasing it at comic book shops."

So there ya go. Enjoy the cover above, because that's the only place you'll ever see it ... outside of a bajillion websites from now until the universe dies of heat death.

TOMB RAIDER #1

OK, I'm going to display some ignorance here: I don't know much about Tomb Raider. I know that it was a popular video game a few years back, but I'm no gamer, and all I gleaned from the media coverage was that the protagonist, Lara Croft, did Indiana Jones sorts of things -- the premise of the game -- and had really large breasts. I don't mean to be crass by mentioning the latter, but apparently that was a huge selling point. (Or two huge selling points. OK, now I am being crass.)

I also missed the movie. And all I know about that is the print ad that ran everywhere with an impressively proportioned Angelina Jolie. Again, female pulchritude seemed to be the selling point.

So here's my question: Is there a character there? A personality? Is Gail Simone -- a writer I greatly respect -- starting from scratch here, or does she have a character concept to work with? Is there really a "Lara Croft" behind the good looks?

Whatever Lara’s Croft previous characterization – if any – I trust Simone to do a bang-up job.  Her track record on books like Suicide Squad and Batgirl have earned her the benefit of the doubt for me. So the new book should be good. I'm just wondering how big a lift this is.

SUPERMAN: LOIS LANE #1

I was really appalled by Lois' introduction in The New 52. Whatever changes she's gone through in the past, one thing has remained constant: She's a competent and admired journalist. But in The New 52's early Superman, she violated ethics -- not just rules -- to achieve her aims, and was rewarded for it. That showed a poor understanding of not only journalism but of Lois Lane, and I was bitterly disappointed.

Also, Lois' father Gen. Sam Lane has always been a bit unpleasant -- a martinet, a bully, that sort of thing -- but in The New 52 he's downright despicable. And he's a criminal, despite using his military rank as a shield. That's a bit of a jolt.

Perhaps this book will fix some of that. If nothing else, I hope it does no harm.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS VOL 1 (TPB)

I loved, loved, loved T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in the 1960s. I loved spy stuff, like James Bond and Man from U.N.C.L.E.; I loved superheroes; and I loved anything drawn by Wally Wood. So T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was a dream come true ... even when it was clumsy or awful, which it often was.

A childhood love like that can last a lifetime, and so it has come to pass that I've read and collected every iteration of the Agents, from every publisher that's tried them (which is a lot of them). Some attempts have been good, many pretty bad. But I can't stop now!

So, naturally, I read T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Volume 1 the minute a review copy was available. Since it was a review copy, unfortunately, I'm barred from actually reviewing it until the embargo is up later in the week. But I'll say this: I enjoyed it. And I recommend it.

Is that because I love, love, love the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, or because it's really that good? Well, you'll have to try it for yourself, won't you?

FANTASTIC FOUR #1

Oh, here we go, another Fantastic Four #1. I don't understand Marvel's mania for rebooting its titles every year or two, but it's annoying. What is this, the fourth or fifth Fantastic Four #1? Makes collecting difficult, too.

But OK, that's just window dressing. What about content? Will it be any good?

I have to say that Magic 8-Ball says "signs aren't good." The first storyline is apparently going to be "The End of the Fantastic Four," with the team splitting up and going its separate ways. And you know, that was a pretty good story -- the first 300 times it was done. Honestly, has anyone, of any age, NOT read a "Fantastic Four break up" story? And according to solicitations, the Human Torch will lose his powers early on. Didn't the last "Fantastic Four break up" story have Johnny Storm "dead" for a while? That was only a couple of years ago, and the memory is still fresh. Too fresh for this concept to be exciting.

OK, that's the bad news. The good news is that the series is by James Robinson (Starman, Golden Age), with art by Leonard Kirk (Supergirl, Midnight Nation), which is pretty stellar. And as we like to say around here, it's not the concept, it's the execution. If anybody can breathe life into this tired idea, it's Robinson. And even if he doesn't, Kirk will make it look good.

OK, that's enough from me. On with this week's books!

ACTION LAB

Action Lab finally released some books this week after weeks and weeks of nuttin'. The books below, for example, were solicited for January! I'm only noting that for the record, though, and not complaining: I know that launching a funnybook firm is hard. As all Legionnaires know, the field is littered with failed companies that should have made it but didn't. I'm actually impressed with Action Lab's accomplishments, up to and including sailing over the high bar Diamond sets to distribute books. Anyway, here ya go:

FRACTURE VOL 2 # 3 (of 4)

Writer: SHAWN GABBORIN

Art: CHAD CICCONI

Colors: BILL BLANKENSHIP

Cover: CHAD CICCONI, BILL BLANKENSHIP (Double Jumpers)

1 in 5 Variant: JOHN "SUPER UGLY" WILLIAMS

1 in 5 Variant: BILL BLANKENSHIP

32 pages/Rated PG/$2.99

In this penultimate issue of FRACTURE volume 2, the path of Virtue takes unexpected turns, and the troubles of Jeff and his alter-egos ensnare unintended victims. Jeff seeks help yet again from the dubious Doctor Atomic, and an electrifying secret is revealed!

JACK HAMMER #2 (of 4)

Writer: BRANDON BARROWS

Art: IONIC

Cover: IONIC

1 in 5 variant Variant: BRETT WELDELE (The Surrogates)

1 in 5 “Ugly Love” Variant; JOHN "SUPER UGLY" WILLIAMS

32 pages/All Ages/$2.99

Private investigator Jack McGriskin is a magnet for trouble -- and this time it’s a doozy. Businessman Eddie Newman is dead and Jack has suspects, but can he make the charges stick? And more importantly, can be live long enough to? Stalked by a super-powered killer, Jack’s time is running out!

PIRATE EYE VOL1 (TPB)

Writer: JOSIAH GRAHN

Art/Cover: CARL YONDER

128 pages/ Rated PG $11.99

Once a pirate with a keen eye for finding wealth in unlikely places, Smitty now lives exiled from the sea. Landlocked, he has carved out a new niche as a "finder," a man who, for a price, will utilize the same skills that served him as a treasure-hunting scoundrel to unearth any item, person or secret. As his reputation and caseload swell, Smitty must contend with the gangster who all but rules his new hometown, a dangerous collection of local brigands and politicians, and the pall of threats from old enemies.

Through it all his focus on what he values most -- his own success -- never wavers. Though his circumstances have changed, in his chest still beats the heart of a pirate!

Collects the first four issues of the quarterly Pirate Eye comic. An all-new cover!

PRINCELESS ENCORE EDITION # 4 (of 4)

Writer: JEREMY WHITLEY

Art: M. GOODWIN

Cover: M. GOODWIN

1 in 5 Variant: JOHN "SUPER UGLY" WILLIAMS

32 pages/All Ages/$2.99

Be there for the epic conclusion of the first Princeless story! Adrienne and Bedelia are in deep trouble with the city guards, but they're not about to back down! Fisticuffs will be had! Hijinks will ensue! Stereotypes will be challenged! Princeless!

ARCHIE COMICS

BETTY & VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST #221

Script: BILL GOLLIHER

Art: FERNANDO RUIZ, RUDY LAPICK, BILL YOSHIDA, BARRY GROSSMAN

Cover: JEFF SHULTZ, BOB SMITH, ROSARIO "TITO" PENA

160-page, full color comic, $3.99

Betty and Veronica are always in competition with one another—but that gets kicked into high gear when the two enter the Miss Riverdale Teen Contest! But there’s another contestant that really steams things up. Enter: Cheryl Blossom! May the best woman win in “She’s a Beauty”!

JUGHEAD DOUBLE DOUBLE DIGEST $200

Publisher: ARCHIE COMICS PUBLICATIONS

Script: CRAIG BOLDMAN

Art:REX LINDSEY, JIM AMASH, JACK MORELLI, BARRY GROSSMAN

Cover: REX LINDSEY, ROSARIO "TITO" PENA

320-page, full color comics, $5.99 U.S.

Celebrate 200 issues with this extra special double DOUBLE digest! While vacationing at an exclusive ski resort, Mr. Lodge confesses that he’s made a “checkout” list of things to do before he, well, “checks out.” Archie and Jughead take that one step further and make a list of things they plan to do before they literally check out of the resort! Leave it to Reggie to raise the stakes and make their challenges even more interesting. Find out how much they can accomplish in “The Jughead List”! Features a 200th milestone 5th color cover!

LIFE WITH ARCHIE #34

Script: PAUL KUPPERBERG

Art: FERNANDO RUIZ, PAT KENNEDY, TIM KENNEDY, BOB SMITH, JIM AMASH, JACK MORELLI, GLENN WHITMORE

Cover: FERNANDO RUIZ, ROSARIO "TITO" PENA

Riverdale Confidential Variant: ROBERT HACK

32-page, full color comic, $2.99 U.S.

Archie Marries Veronica -- “Up in the Air!”: Archie and Veronica are doing their best to not let the tumultuous events of their lives effect the love they have for one another. And they’re doing pretty well, too, but is love enough to keep their legal battles at bay? Speaking of love and battles, Jughead and Ethel have some planning to do … but hopefully their stubbornness won’t get in the way! And Kevin’s trying his best to not let people’s perceptions of him effect his Senate job, perhaps some encouraging words is all he needs. And Clay’s back to work -- but things still seem new and strange. Could it just be his imagination?

Archie Marries Betty -- “Not So Great Expectations!”: Archie’s finally had enough of Betty’s busy schedule -- and he’s not the only one! Will all of her hard work have paid off or has it only made matters worse? And who is it Archie’s really mad at -- Betty for neglecting him? Or himself for being selfish and feeling guilty? Meanwhile, Kevin dives head first into the investigation on the nearby mall shooting after discovering that the tragedy hit closer to home than he ever could have imagined. And Jughead’s waiting on bated breath as Midge’s due date draws closer and closer. Oh baby, things are crazy in Riverdale!

I find it remarkable that this far into, essentially, a story gimmick has maintained my interest for so long. I've never been much of a fan of Paul Kupperberg's work before, but he has sustained an impressive level of quality here.

SONIC SUPER SPECIAL #10

Script: IAN FLYNN

Art: JENNIFER HERNANDEZ, RICK BRYANT, JACK  MORELLI, DUSTIN EVANS

Cover art provided by SEGA

128-page, full color comic, $9.99 US.

Dash along with Sonic on another all-new story featuring the world of the hit SEGA iOS game: SONIC DASH! The SONIC SUPER SPECIAL MAGAZINE gives you the world of Sonic the Hedgehog comics as you've never seen it before, with tons of comic stories, special features and exclusive articles on the latest and greatest in the world of everyone's favorite blue hedgehog-hero! This issue also features a special spotlight on SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG, and what place he and Team Dark have in the NEW Sonic comic universe! All this plus all of the extra features you love, and interview with Sonic colorist Steve Downer AND a super special shiny foil-enhanced cover!

DARK HORSE

ANGEL & FAITH VOLUME 5: WHAT YOU WANT, NOT WHAT YOU NEED (TPB)

Writer: CHRISTOS GAGE

Art: REBEKAH ISAACS

Color: DAN JACKSON

Cover: STEVE MORRIS

FC, 136 pages, $17.99, TP, 7’’ x 10’’

Angel’s quest to restore Giles’s life has entered its last stage. As he and Faith prepare to carry out their task and resurrect an old friend, Season 9’s Big Bads enter the last phase of their own plan to restore balance to earth.

Executive produced by Joss Whedon!

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if Gage and Isaacs work on a comic together, I’ll buy it, no questions asked. As always, good times.” -- Comic Book Resources

BREATH OF BONES: A TALE OF THE GOLEM (HC)

Writers: STEVE NILES, MATT SANTORO

Art/Cover: DAVE WACHTER

B&W, 80 pages, $14.99, 8" x 12"

A British plane crashes in a Jewish village, sparking a Nazi invasion. Using clay and mud from the river, the villagers bring to life a giant monster to battle for their freedom and future. Collects the entire miniseries.

• 2012 Russ Manning Award nominee Dave Wachter!

• From the creator of 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre!

• Steve Niles’s Breath of Bones has been called one of 2013’s best series!

“Everything Steve Niles touches is magic. Breath of Bones is a wonderful and emotional story.” -- Comic Book Therapy

CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT #8

Writer: JOSHUA WILLIAMSON

Art: FERNANDO DAGNINO

Colorist: EGO

Cover: FELIPE MASSAFERA

FC, 32 pages, Ongoing, $2.99

On a mission to catch up with his future, Captain Midnight reunites with his long-lost love to learn how his hardware has made it into so many enemy hands. Revealing her own hunt for the Nazi Fury Shark, Cap’s old sweetheart turns his world upside down when she discloses the fate of his best friend!

• Written by Joshua Williamson (Ghosted, Masks and Mobsters, Uncharted)!

“Fernando Dagnino nails the action. His art is kinetic and exciting.” -- IGN

THE CHRONICLES OF KING CONAN VOLUME 7: DAY OF WRATH AND OTHER STORIES (TPB)

Writer: DON KRAAR

Pencillers: MIKE DOCHERTY, JUDITH HUNT

Inkers: GEOF ISHERWOOD, VINCE COLLETTA, ART NICHOLS

Color: GEORGE ROUSSOS

Cover: MICHAEL KALUTA

FC, 208 pages, $19.99, TP, 7” x 10”

While Conan’s army is defeating the Picts, an enemy alliance assails Conan’s crown city. His depleted legions have no chance against these new adversaries, but a pact with his homeland is possible . . . if Conan can defeat the fearsome Cimmerian chieftain in a battle to the death!

• New editions of long out-of-print Conan titles from Marvel Comics!

• See new King Conan comics from Dark Horse!

CREEPY COMICS VOL 3: THE LURKING FATE (TPB)

Writer: Various

Artist: Various

B&W, 184 pages; TP, 7½ x 10½, $19.99

Creepy Comics packs multiple dark dimensions of horror into one convenient, cadaverous collection!

This latest volume of the abominable anthology features over a dozen new terror tales, including Uncle Creepy's instantly classic Lovecraft, romance and unlucky #13 specials! Our contemptible contributors include, J. Torres, Amy Reeder, Jo'lle Jones, Peter Bagge, Dan Braun and many more! Don't miss out on a single panel of the frightening fun! Collects Creepy Comics #10-13 and stories from Creepy Comics #8-9.

* Chillers from Richard Corben, John Arcudi, Gilbert Hernandez, Darick Robertson, Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook, plus art by Mike Mignola, Stan Sakai and Matt Wagner!

I wonder how Richard Corben feels about contributing to Creepy ... again!

FURIOUS #2 (of 5)

Writer: BRYAN J.L. GLASS

Art/Cover: VICTOR SANTOS

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Miniseries

The media can’t get enough of the high-flying supercelebrity known as Furious! But the authorities are convinced she’s a danger and a menace—they’ve had more than enough of the privileged vigilante! Stuck in the crosshairs of her past, Furious must balance her desire for justice with her quest for redemption.

• Writer Bryan J.L. Glass and artist Victor Santos join forces once again for a creator-owned superhero series!

• From the artist of Polar!

HALO: ESCALATION #3

Writer: CHRIS SCHLERF

Penciller: SERGIO ARINO

Inker: JUAN CASTRO

Colors: MICHAEL ATIYEH

Cover: ANTHONY PALUMBO

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Ongoing

Commander Palmer confronts the traitor who has betrayed her team, as the Covenant closes in on their position. With time running out, Lasky is forced to make a costly sacrifice to save the peace delegation from the impending attack.

• An essential addition to the Halo canon!

• The Halo franchise has sales eclipsing $3 billion over its lifetime!

• From Chris Schlerf, lead writer of Halo 4!

“Atiyeh’s colors ...  make the action pop off the page.” -- Comic Book Therapy

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF DOG MENDONCA AND PIZZABOY VOLUME 2: APOCALYPSE (TPB)

Writer: FELIPE MELO

Art/Cover: JUAN CAVIO

Colors: SANTIAGO VILLA

FC, 160 pages, $14.99, TP, 6’’ x 9’’

“There’s real wit on every page.” -- George A. Romero

A middle-aged werewolf, a six-thousand-year-old demon, a nervous gargoyle, and an out-of-work pizza delivery boy take a stand against the four horsemen of the apocalypse! A humor-filled romp through Judgment Day, this edition includes a foreword by director George A. Romero, a special “making of” section, and all Dog Mendonça stories from the Eisner Award–winning DHP anthology!

• Includes all Dark Horse Presents stories!

Foreword by legendary filmmaker George A. Romero!

KING CONAN: THE CONQUEROR #1 (of 6)

Writer: TIMOTHY TRUMAN

Art/Cover: TOMAS GIORELLO

Colors: JOSE VILLARRUBIA

FC, 32 pages, $3.50, Miniseries

In the port city of Messantia, the deposed, fugitive Conan could uncover the key to regaining his throne -- or he could get a knife in the back! Conan follows a lead to a lost relic, revisits an old friend, and finds that he’s not alone in his risky hunt for a missing, magical gem.

• Continuing the acclaimed Hour of the Dragon adaptation!

• “Truman, Giorello, and Villarrubia ... have created possibly the best Conan adaptation ever made.” -- Comics Bulletin

MASS EFFECT: FOUNDATION #8

Writer: MAC WALTERS

Art: TONY PARKER

Colors: MICHAEL ATIYEH

Cover: BENJAMIN CARRE

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Ongoing

DEATH FROM THE SHADOWS

Disgraced after the failure of her most recent mission, Cerberus agent Rasa receives a chance at redemption from the Illusive Man. But is it absolution she will find at the hands of the assassin Thane Krios -- or damnation?

• Written by Mac Walters, lead writer of Mass Effect 2 and 3!

• Ties directly into Mass Effect 2!

“Another great addition to the lore of Mass Effect.” -- EGM Now

THE MASSIVE #20

Writer: BRIAN WOOD

Art: GARRY BROWN

Colors: JORDIE BELLAIRE

Cover: J.P. LEON

FC, 32 pages, $3.50, Ongoing

On the run from Arkady and the Russian hacker Yusup, Cal weaves his way through a crumbling Europe, through riots and crackdowns and widespread social unrest. With little more than a vague memory as a trigger, he starts to put together the mystery of the missing Massive ... and perhaps the Crash itself.

“Brian Wood’s The Massive proves that there’s room for political comics.” -- Complex

“Much like DMZ, the glimpses of savagery [in The Massive] are unsettling because this world isn’t as divorced from ours as we’d like it to be.” -- IGN

MIND MGMT #19

Writer/Art/Cover: MATT KINDT

FC, 24 pages, $3.99, Ongoing

The second half of Matt Kindt’s MIND MGMT epic begins with just as many questions as the first! Meru is back on the team, but can she ever trust Lyme again? What role did the Magician play in the Management in the 1960s through the 1980s? And what is the secret of the seven Immortals?

• New story arc!

• Don’t miss the prologue in Dark Horse Presents #31!

“This is why I read comics.” -- Weekly Comic Book Review

PARIAH #1 (of 8)

Writers: ARON WARNER, PHILLIP GELATT

Art/Cover: BRETT WELDELE

FC, 32 pages, $3.99, Miniseries

Trapped in space, the genetically engineered geniuses known as “vitros” must band together and create a plan to get back to Earth before their failing satellite turns into a deathtrap!

• Created by Academy Award–winning producer Aron Warner (Shrek).

• Art by Eisner-nominated painter Brett Weldele (The Surrogates).

• Written by Philip Gelatt (Petrograd).

SERENITY: LEAVES ON THE WIND #2 (of 6)

Writer: ZACK WHEDON

Penciller/Variant: GEORGES JEANTY

Inker: KARL STORY

Colors: LAURA MARTIN

Cover: DAN DOS SANTOS

FC, 32 pages, $3.50, Miniseries

Forced out of hiding, Serenity’s crew gets separated, and it becomes clear that everyone looking for the outlaws is on the verge of finding them. River offers to uncover the secrets that are hidden within her in the hope that the crew might have something to bargain with.

• Buffy’s Season 8 and 9 artist conquers the galaxy!

• Zack Whedon returns to Serenity!

• The story finally continues after the film!

• Executive producer: Joss Whedon!

STAR WARS: LEGACY #12

Writer: CORINNA BECHKO

Writer/Art: GABRIEL HARDMAN

Colors: JORDAN BOYD

Cover: AGUSTIN ALESSIO

FC, 32 pages, $2.99, Ongoing

Ania Solo: junk dealer, adventurer ... murderer?

A meeting with an old friend lands Ania Solo in handcuffs! Now that she’s a wanted criminal, even her pals Sauk and Imperial Knight Jao are wary of her. Held captive by one bounty hunter and pursued by another, Ania is one blaster shot away from a life sentence—or death!

• Ania’s past is revealed ... or is it?

“Grab your lightsaber and your blaster, kids, it’s time to go Sith hunting.” -- Unleash the FanboyTOMB RAIDER #1

Writer: GAIL SIMONE

Penciller: NICOLIS DANIEL SELMA

Inker: JUAN GEDEON

Colorist: MICHAEL ATIYEH

Cover: DAN DOS SANTOS

FC, 32 pages; Ongoing, $3.50

Superstar writer Gail Simone picks up Lara Croft's story where the smash hit Tomb Raider game left off, in a new ongoing comics series!

Following the game acclaimed for its bold and sophisticated new vision, this series launches Lara Croft on the formative adventures that will change her life forever!

* The official continuation of Lara Croft's story!

* The 2013 video game sold over 3.5 million copies!

"Tomb Raider is the quintessential example of a reboot done right." -- Gaming Trend
Click here to preview

VANDROID #1 (of 5)

Writers: TOMMY LEE EDWARDS, NOAH SMITH

Art: DAN MCDAID

Colors: MELISSA EDWARDS

Cover: TOMMY LEE EDWARDS

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

JUSTICE IN THE FRONT, VENGEANCE IN THE BACK!

When Palm Springs Entertainment studios burned to the ground in 1984, the most definitive motion picture of a generation was lost before its time. Thirty years later, the extraordinary talents of Tommy Lee Edwards, Noah Smith, and Dan McDaid unite to resurrect this lost epic.

• Complete the Vandroid experience with the remastered soundtrack from Ed Banger Records and the unearthed 1984 movie trailer at Vandroid.com!

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My picks:

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 
FLASH #28
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #19
SATELLITE SAM #6
SUPERMAN LOIS LANE #1
WAKE #6 (OF 10)

I just reread last month's issue of Flash this morning. This story is looking great -- a reach change of pace, with art by Patrick Zircher that is reminiscent of those great Kubert Flash covers from the 70s. 

Decided against Fantastic Four after all. I flipped through it, saw the huge two-page spread of just the title, and decided to give it a pass. (There are 20 actual story pages in the comic, but it kind of rubs it in our face that there *should* be 22.) It's $3.99 I can spend elsewhere, and then catch up sometime in the future, when a digital sale comes around.

Kurt Busiek? Wow, that's quite a recommendation.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I've never read Mary Perkins On Stage either... but Kurt Busiek apparently agrees with Emerkeith -- he's raved about these reprints. I fully intend to pick them up sometime.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

 

MARY PERKINS ON STAGE: If anyone on this board is familiar with this strip you’d expect it to be me, right? Sorry, I haven’t read it. My LCS has every volume on the shelf and I do plan to read it someday, but so far the owner and I have merely argued about whether it is better known as “Mary Perkins” or “On Stage” (even though he has it alphabetized under “L”). It’s by Leonard Starr, though, and I am familiar with his Little Orphan Annie, so I am confident that I will enjoy it once I get around to it. (The Heart of Juliet Jones is another series on my retailer’s shelf but not my own. I was especially keen to read this one back when Dave Sim as analyzing it in glamorpuss but didn’t.)

For Annie -- not Little Orphan Annie, as this strip was a tie-in to the then-hot Broadway play -- Leonard Starr was aping Harold Gray's art style, so if that's all you know, you don't have a true sense of his work. On Stage (I always knew it as "On Stage",not as "Mary Perkins") was drawn in his own style, a very slick, photo-realistic manner that would be right at home with the best of any romance comic art.

Starr collaborated with Stan Drake -- another comic stuck aping someone else's work, in this case Chic Young's Blondie -- on an early series of graphic novels under the umbrella title Kelly Green. They were a mix of romance and crime noir, featuring a lissome young lass who stumbles into and out of trouble. Starr wrote the stories and Drake did the gorgeously rendered art. More here: "Kelly Green: When Comic Strip Creators Go Bad (In a Good Way)"

ANNIE: Noted. I stand corrected.

RUSTY RILEY: I bought this yesterday. My first impression was “What if Norman Rockwell drew Little Orphan Annie?” For some reason, I never made the connection that the Frank Godwin who drew Rusty Riley is the same Frank Godwin who drew Connie (a strip with which I am slightly more familiar). I haven’t read it yet, but the pencil style is lush and detailed, like a fine woodcutting. Even if the stories turn out to be not so good, this collection is worth buying for the art alone (if you agree with me that Frank Frazetta’s Comet is worth buying for the art alone). I’ll likely have more to say after I actually read it, but that may not be for a while.

I have either two or three of the Kelly Green series. I've been looking for them and haven't been able to find them. I'm certain they're in the house somewhere. It's a terrific series, truly one of the earliest graphic novels.

ClarkKent_DC said:


Starr collaborated with Stan Drake -- another comic stuck aping someone else's work, in this case Chic Young's Blondie -- on an early series of graphic novels under the umbrella title Kelly Green. They were a mix of romance and crime noir, featuring a lissome young lass who stumbles into and out of trouble. Starr wrote the stories and Drake did the gorgeously rendered art. More here: "Kelly Green: When Comic Strip Creators Go Bad (In a Good Way)"

Clark's link says the albums were created for a French publisher. The album has long been a common format for French language comics. Formerly stories were often first serialised in comics like Tintin and then published as albums. The later Tintin stories first appeared in Tintin. Asterix first appeared in Pilote.

I have the first three Kelly Green graphic novels. I never knew there was a fourth one until I found that article. 

...Were the Kelly Green novels R-rated , or at least " hard PG-13 " in content (by American prevailing standards) (in " what is shown " - okay , bluntly , basically , nude/peekaboo scenes) , as much Euro material that is not intended as " X-rated " I believe is ?????????

ClarkKent_DC said:

I have the first three Kelly Green graphic novels. I never knew there was a fourth one until I found that article. 

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