BEST BETS

BATMAN ‘66 MEETS GREEN HORNET #1 (DC Comics, $2.99): If you're old enough (or watch Boomerang), you'll know that Green Hornet and Kato guest starred a couple of times on the 1966-68 Batman TV show. (Green Hornet was also a TV show running concurrently on the same network, 1966-67). The first time was only a cameo, but the second time Batman, Green Hornet, Robin and Kato battled Col. Gumm (before, in time-honored fashion, they battled each other). This miniseries acts as a sequel, with now Gen. Gumm the antagonist. Director Kevin Smith and actor/comedian Ralph Garman write the this miniseries, with Batman '66 regular Ty Templeton on art. Should be good.

RISE OF THE MAGI #1 (Image Comics, $3.50): Teased with a zero issue on Free Comic Book Day, Rise of the Magi blends magic, a mystery and a coming-of-age story in a mystic war by Marc Silvestri, one of the Image founders. That last doesn't guarantee a good book, but Silvestri is an excellent artist, and Image has been on a roll with new titles lately.

THE SUPERANNUATED MAN #1 (of 6, $3.99): Ted McKeever is one of the artists whose sketchy linework most people either love or hate. But his stories, always aggressively bizarre, are usually a thoughtful metaphor for the state of man (under all the weirdness). This book appears no different, where he explores "The Other," when The Other is us.

VAMPIRELLA #1 (Dynamite, $3.99): It's Vampirella's 45th anniversary, and Dynamite is celebrating by re-launching the series with horror writer Nancy Collins (Sunglasses After Dark) as writer. Vampirella is a fairly dopey concept that various talented creators have managed to make interesting now and then; Collins may be one of those creators.

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).

ARCHIE COMICS

AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE: ESCAPE FROM RIVERDALE (TPB)

Script: ROBERTO AQUIRRE-SACASA

Art: FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA, JACK MORELLI

Cover: FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA

$17.99 U.S./$19.99 CAN

6 5/8 x 10 3/16”

Trade Paperback, 160 pp, Full Color

When Jughead's beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to the only person he knows who can help bring back his canine companion -- Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark, forbidden magic, Sabrina is successful and Hot Dog returns to the land of the living. But he's not the same ... and soon, the darkness he brings back with him from beyond the grave begins to spread, forcing Archie and the gang to try to escape Riverdale! Collects issues 1-5 featuring the first storyline "Escape from Riverdale" from the new ongoing TEEN+ comic book horror series Afterlife with Archie.

The scattered issues I've read of Afterlife with Archie have really whetted my appetite for this TPB.

SONIC UNIVERSE #64

Script: IAN FLYNN

Art: TRACY YARDLEY, JIM AMASH, JACK MORELLI, MATT HERMS

Cover: TRACY YARDLEY

Variant Cover art provided by SEGA

32-page, full color comic, $2.99 US

Knuckles and the Chaotix are back in action! "The Great Chaos Caper" Part Two: The chaos continues with part two of this insane arc! It’s hijinks and high explosives galore with Knuckles caught in the middle of all the action! The Chaotix and the Hooligans are falling over each other to get to a Chaos Emerald -- the key to saving (or dooming) the world! It’s up to Knuckles to power through the madness and complete his own mission, and in his travels, you’ll never believe who he finds! Featuring new cover art from Tracy Yardley and a rad red SEGA Variant cover!

WORLD OF ARCHIE DOUBLE DIGEST #40

Script: FRANK DOYLE

Art: HARRY LUCEY, MARTY EPP, BARRY GROSSMAN

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

160-page, full color comic, $3.99 U.S.

Archie’s been commanded from on high (aka his parents) to do some outside chores. This doesn’t go over too well with Veronica, who Archie had to break his plans with. But no chores means no allowance which means no date! When she decides to go out with Reggie instead, will Archie be the better man? Or will he skip out on his responsibilities to win her over? Find out in “Job Well Done” the lead story to this fun-filled double digest!

DARK HORSE

ANGEL & FAITH SEASON 10 #3

Writer: VICTOR GISCHLER

Art: WILL CONRAD

Colors: MICHELLE MADSEN

Variant: CHRIS SAMNEE, JORDIE BELLAIRE

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Ongoing

New Players, New Rules, New Season!

Angel has found everyone is going to the same person in London’s Magic Town for advice -- and it’s decidedly not him. But she is someone Angel can take partial credit for. … And the pixie menaces have stepped up their muscle with another lady from Angel’s past. Meanwhile, Faith is screwing up. Again.

• Season 10 has just begun -- don’t miss a second!

• Will Conrad (Serenity) returns to the Whedonverse!

• Executive produced by Joss Whedon!

DRAGON AGE LIBRARY EDITION VOL 1 (HC)

Writer: DAVID GAIDER, ALEXANDER FREED

Art: CHAD HARDIN

Colors: MICHAEL ATIYEH

Cover: ANTHONY PALUMBO

FC, 232 pages, $39.99

HC, 9” x 12”

FROM LEAD WRITER DAVID GAIDER!

Helping set the stage for BioWare’s hotly anticipated Dragon Age: Inquisition, this deluxe oversized hardcover collects every Dark Horse Dragon Age comic to date -- The Silent Grove, Those Who Speak and Until We Sleep -- an epic trilogy complete in one volume, written by Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider!

• Prepare for Dragon Age: Inquisition!

• Featuring annotations from the creators!

• An essential addition to the Dragon Age canon!

“The industry needs to take note, if you want to do a comic book video game tie-in; you follow the blueprint that this title has set.”  -- Comic Bastards

FEAR AGENT VOLUME 3: THE LAST GOODBYE (2ND PTG TPB)

Writer: RICK REMENDER

Pencils/Cover: TONY MOORE

Inks: RICK REMENDER, AND PARKS

Colors: LEE LOUGHRIDGE

FC, 104 pages, $16.99

TPB, 7” x 10”

Fan-favorite creators Rick Remender and Tony Moore reunite to tell the pulse-pounding origin of the last Fear Agent! When Earth is attacked by the three feuding alien races, obliterating almost all life on the planet, weary trucker Heath Huston and his wife Charlotte face a living nightmare! Collects issues #12-15.

• From Rick Remender (Captain America, Uncanny X-Force) and Tony Moore (The Walking Dead)!

• A sci-fi homage to Two-Fisted Tales and the war comics of the EC era.

GHOST #4

Writer: KELLY SUE DECONNICK

Art/Cover: ARIEL OLIVETTI

FC, 32 pages, $2.99

Ongoing

A EULOGY FOR GHOST!

While Ghost is out busting Chicago’s scum, her friends discover a eulogy written for Elisa Cameron’s funeral. It speaks of her idyllic childhood ... and a tragic loss of innocence! One woman’s quest for justice comes into focus as past and present meld and the hero now known as Ghost is born!

Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Avenging Spider-Man) pens a poignant epilogue to the “White City Butcher” arc.

First solicited for April 2. Hey, only two months late -- they're getting better!

LOBSTER JOHNSON: GET THE LOBSTER #4 (of 5)

Writers: MIKE MIGNOLA, JOHN ARCUDI

Art/Cover: TONCI ZONJIC

Colors: DAVE STEWART

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

20 Years of Hellboy!

After shooting a gung-ho NYPD chief right through the head, Lobster heads to the villains’ massive laboratory, where he’s attacked by two huge steampunk cyborgs!

• Art by Tonci Zonjic (Where Is Jake Ellis?)!

“That's weird. That's cool. That's Lobster Johnson.” -- Comics Bulletin

I have no idea why I like Lobster Johnson so much. But I do!

MASS EFFECT FOUNDATION VOL 2 (TPB)

Writer: MAC WALTERS

Pencils: MATTHEW CLARK, GARRY BROWN, TONY PARKER

Inks: DREW GERACI, SEAN PARSONS

Colors: MICHAEL ATIYEH

Cover: BENJAMIN CARRE

FC, 120 pages, $16.99

TPB, 7” x 10”

Follow Miranda Lawson and Jacob Taylor as they chase Commander Shepard to the lawless and dangerous Terminus Systems, where no training can prepare them for what they’ll find! Then, join the beautiful and cunning Agent Rasa as she hunts Jack, the lethal biotic powerhouse, and crosses paths with the deadly master assassin Thane Krios! Collects Mass Effect: Foundation #5-8.

Art by Matthew Clark (Supergirl, Ghost Rider), Garry Brown (The Massive), and Tony Parker (X)!

“You definitely should add this to your pull list.” -- Florida Geek Scene

NEXUS OMNIBUS VOL 5 (TPB)

Writer: MIKE BARON

Pencils: STEVE RUDE, PAUL SMITH, ADAM HUGHES

Inks: JOHN NYBERG

Colors: LES DORSHEID

Cover: STEVE RUDE

FC, 440 pages, $24.99

TPB, 6” x 9”

Multiple Eisner Award winner!

When Horatio Hellpop resigns as Nexus, the mantle of cosmic executioner falls to the vengeful and dangerous Loomis sisters. It isn’t long before the amazing power that accompanies the office begins to corrupt Stacy and Michana Loomis, and the nigh-omnipotent Merk must supplant them with a new, nobler host! Collects issues #53-65 of Nexus volume 2 and issues #2-4 of The Next Nexus!

• Features early work from Adam Hughes, Peter David and Phil Hester!

• Over 400 pages!

ROBERT E. HOWARD'S SAVAGE SWORD #8

Writers: JOHN ARCUDI, GARY CHALONER, DAN JOLLEY, ROY THOMAS, PAUL TOBIN

Art: GARY CHALONER, ALBERTO ALBURQUERQUE, FRANCK BIANCARELLI, JOHN BUSCEMA, JOHN NADEAU

Cover: PHILIP TAN

FC, 80 pages, $7.99

Ongoing

Eighty pages of adventure from the mind of pulp master Robert E. Howard! Solomon Kane comes to the rescue in a wolf-infested forest, while Conrad and Kirowan plumb the depths of the supernatural ... plus more pioneering adventures of Breckinridge Elkins and an original Conan story by John Arcudi!

• An original, haunting story of globetrotting adventurers Conrad and Kirowan!

• Featuring adventurous poetry in the tradition of “Solomon Kane’s Homecoming.”

TOSHIRO (TPB)

Writer: JAI NITZ

Art/Cover: JANUSZ PAWLAK

FC, 168 pages, $19.99

TPB, 7” x 10”

Steampunk horror from Jai Nitz!

The mechano-samurai Toshiro travels a Victorian clockwork world, battling horrors too dark for mankind. With his mysterious partner, the world-famous adventurer Quicksilver Bob, Toshiro must face Earth’s greatest foe yet: the soul-stealing, zombie-creating jellyfish from beyond.

• Genres collide in this adventure where steam-powered tanks clash with katanas!

• Janusz Pawlak’s jagged inks and moody watercolors create a world of dread and mystery.

• From the critically acclaimed writer of Dream Thief!

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Richard Willis said:

Whoever their source is at Marvel may be just wildly speculating. If the FF is cancelled, even temporarily, it will probably be because of low sales. They've had problems for years selling the FF books to the new readers.

I wonder if that source of Marvel was just pulling the guy's leg. 


ClarkKent_DC said:

I saw that story, and it strikes me as EXTREMELY petty. Not publishing Fantastic Four comics won't end the deal that licenses the characters to Fox.

And there is no "By devaluing the characters, they [Marvel] might someday be in a position to buy them back." They're already in a position to buy them back. Fox doesn't want to sell.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

That's kind of what I mean. Marvel wants the FF movie to flop -- and flop hard -- so that Fox will start to see them as a money hole, and eventually be open to selling the property back. It's not a great strategy, and it is petty -- they're really just shooting themselves in the foot. But if a big bag of money won't pry the property loose, maybe they're thinking a disincentive to keep them will.

I doubt Disney/Marvel has offered a big bag of money to pry the property loose. Sure, they want it back, but not at any cost -- or, at least, not at the cost Fox would demand.

But undermining Fox's Fantastic Four movies by shutting down the comics makes NO sense. The success or failure of Fantastic Four comics -- the very existence of Fantastic Four comics -- is no longer relevant to the success or failure of Fantastic Four movies. The movies are their own thing, and stand or fall on their own merit and marketing.

In other words, how many moviegoers knew, or cared, that Scott Pilgrim, Kick-Ass, Men in Black, Ghost World, or Wanted were comic books first? Sure, the comics fans who saw those movies cared ... and the other 98.5 percent of the people sitting around them didn't. Movie fans -- and there are far, far more of them than comics fans -- don't care so much about what's in the comics that the disappearance of Fantastic Four comics would affect their interest in the next movie.

I wonder if that source of Marvel was just pulling the guy's leg.

Could be. You have to be careful what you say in jest. Some people can't tell it's a joke without a laugh track.

Beyond the problem of nobody reading, I think one of the disconnects between movie-goers and comics is that they can no longer walk by a newsstand or a comic rack in a drug store and make an impulse comic book purchase. If you just saw a great Spider-Man, Avengers or X-Men movie you might be inclined to pick up a comic if you saw one. "Do they still publish comic books?"


The main reason there are so many Starbuck's stores is the impulse purchase. If you had to find the one Starbuck's in town or in your part of the state they wouldn't get new buyers either.

The only place I've seen the FF story is Bleeding Cool, which is quite openly and deliberately a rumor site. I take everything I read there with a ton of salt.

Still the way the FF has been shoved into the background almost lends it credibility. I think Marvel and Disney would like nothing more than to have the entire character line under one production roof, I think DC and Warner would like that too with their characters. How far they'd go to do that... I don't know and I dislike marvel too much to be fair in any speculation.

Sure, Marvel and Disney would like nothing more than to have the entire character line under one production roof. Daredevil and Ghost Rider have come back to the fold because those deals have expired.

But killing Fantastic Four comics and downplaying the characters is an insanely stupid way of reaching the goal, and it can't work! Not to mention, an attempt to "devalue" the characters would not ease the way for a sale -- it would give Fox grounds to sue!

About the Fantastic Four and their issue sales (forget the stuff about the movie), I always want to have a good Fantastic Four series coming out. Almost anything else, I can take or leave. In fact, yes, anything else, I will buy it if it's good, and I won't buy it if it's bad. I don't get it when people buy a book of their favorite character being written or drawn badly because they just love the character so much that they are compelled to buy it.

But the FF, I want to give that book more of a shake.

That having been said, I can't buy a book (no matter how awesome the artist is--Leonard Kirk, you're awesome!) that starts off by saying, "Watch as we put the Fantastic Four through hell until they fall apart!" I don't want to see that. I want to see stories of triumph.

If this story ends up with a big upswing at the end, and I hear that it was awesome, then I will go back and pick it up in hardcover. Until that happens, or until someone else steps in to do this book, I can wait.

'

The FF are my favorite Marvel characters, but I don't always buy them regularly. I don't begrudge the current creators for telling another story where a combination of forces tear the group apart for a while... it really is their shtick. We've seen it a zillion times, but every comic circles around its main themes every so often. Demonstrating the strength and resilience of the family unit is the theme of these stories, and if that's not tested, there's no story. Breaking up to the FF is like kryptonite to Superman. It's what weakens them so they're on the verge of defeat, and then they rally and win anyhow. 

As for the possible cancellation, it's not just Bleeding Cool that's saying it. CBR confirmed the possibility independently, as well. 

My feeling, ultimately, is that they're going to put the Fantastic Four book on hold for a while, and fold the characters in to something else -- as part of an Avengers team, perhaps, calling them something like The Fantastic Avengers. That way they can make a legal case that any new characters that appear in the new book are Avengers concepts, not FF ones. I'm not a lawyer, but I think Marvel's lawyers could certainly make that case, even if it's on conceptually shady grounds. (Remember, at one point they argued that the X-Men weren't human for the purposes of their toy profits, even though the whole theme of the X-Men franchise has always been that they ARE human.)

I love the FF, too, but gave up on Fantastic Four the second to last time they were canceled and it split into Fantastic Four and FF.  When those folded, I went back and got the back issues fairly cheap. When I read what the two new series were going to be about -- the FF exiled in space and faux FF in the other book -- I wasn't interested enough to start reading it. (The classic "jumping off" point!) And then the new series started, and it seems to be going out of its way to be something I don't want to read.

C'est la vie. 20 years ago I would have bought it anyway, but now I'll just wait for it to be something I want to read before spending money on it. The issues coming out now (or the trades) will be available at half price down the road if I ever want to go back and catch up.

Or, pay $70 for Marvel Unlimited, and read all the back issues you want! 

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