Let's try something new this week: Let's lead with the comics the publishers are most proud of, judging by the press releases and previews. They're not really my picks, even though I plan to pick up a number of them, as it's the publishers who are bringing attention to them. So let's call them ...

 

PUBLISHER PICKS!

'68 HALLOWED GROUND ONE-SHOT

In my never-ending quest to provide you, dear Legionnaire, with all the knowledge necessary to make your comics purchases, I have expended my precious, irreplaceable time (although not my precious, irreplaceable money) boning up on as many of this week's releases as I could.

To that end I read the available review copies of '68, which happened to be the last two issues of the mini-series that preceded this one-shot, '68: Jungle Jim #3-4. And what I discovered there is pretty much what I expected: '68 is a zombie apocalypse story set, weirdly, during the Vietnam War.

And it's actually a lot better than I expected, in that it's not exactly an apocalypse. It's what you'd expect if the dead came back to life under The Walking Dead rules: It's a problem, sure, but it's (literally) not the end of the world. Groups of disciplined, heavily armed men -- like, say, the U.S. Army and the Viet Cong -- do all right vs. the undead. (I also expect that American South and Rocky Mountain states would do all right, too, what with so many ordinary citizens armed to the teeth. We haven't seen that yet in '68 that I know of, but maybe we will with this one-shot, which is set in Mississippi.) I've felt this way since I first started reading The Walking Dead, and realized that those slowly shambling, brainless monsters wouldn't really be a match for the U.S. Army, especially given how a bunch of Georgia rednecks have managed to survive them for more than 100 issues now. Are you telling me Rick and his crew are better warriors/survivors from the get-go than the U.S. Marines? Give me a break!

So '68 scratches an itch I've had for a while that other zombie stories haven't.  Which, honestly, is a pretty low bar, given how many zombie books there are currently. Take that as you will.

Anyway, what makes this issue special is that artist Josh Medors passed away during this book's production, and this one-shot is dedicated to him. Plus, there's a Berni Wrightson variant cover, which is very cool. Plus plus, there's a screen print to benefit the Medors family.

All this info came across in various press releases which I've tried to stitch together, but there's still a lot of it, so I'll just post it all and let you read as much as you're inclined to.

Story MARK KIDWELL

Art JOSH MEDORS, KYLE CHARLES & JAY FOTOS

Cover A JOSH MEDORS, NAT JONES & JAY FOTOS

Cover B BERNIE WRIGHTSON, NAT JONES & JAY FOTOS

32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99

THIS SPECIAL ONE-SHOT IS DEDICATED TO THE LATE JOSH MEDORS AND HIS FAMILY — A SPECIAL STORY FOR A SPECIAL FRIEND.

In ‘68, the Vietnam War coincided with the rise of flesh-eating zombies. American G.I.s were forced to contend with not just the Viet Cong, but the fact that every fallen ally and enemy soon turned into an entirely new, mindless, and nearly unstoppable threat.

The setting changes from Vietnam to Streiner, Mississippi in February, 1968 in ‘68: HALLOWED GROUND. A passenger train derails as a result of a zombie attack, causing the death of hundreds. Survivors of the wreck find sanctuary in a small rural church, hoping to hold out against the coming swarms of living dead. Their only hope rests on the shoulders of two soldiers, both recently returned from Vietnam. One sits in the belfry, taking out zombies from afar, while the other defends the barricaded sanctuary against the onslaught. But will their efforts be enough?

Comics artist Josh Medors passed away late last year after a years-long battle with cancer. ‘68: HALLOWED GROUND is a very special one-shot comic dedicated to his memory and family. Written by Mark Kidwell and drawn by Medors, Kyle Charles, and Jay Fotos, the issue features a wraparound cover by Medors, Nat Jones and Fotos, and a special guest cover by horror comics legend Bernie Wrightson.

Wrightson is a legend in the comics industry and beyond for his work co-creating Swamp Thing and drawing a wide variety of classic horror comics. Artist Jay Fotos explains the one-shot, and Wrightson’s contribution:

"A unique storyline, told from two separate POVs, the ‘68 series' return to the grim American Heartland, covers by artists Josh Medors, Nat Jones, myself and very special guest cover artist, master of the macabre BERNIE WRIGHTSON make ‘68: HALLOWED GROUND a milestone in horror comics history!"

‘68: HALLOWED GROUND is not only dedicated to the memory of Medors—it was the last book he worked on. Fotos is excited about the influence that Medors had on the one-shot:

"When comics artist and longtime friend Josh Med passed away last year, the book he was working on was ‘68: HALLOWED GROUND. Josh was a true fan of horror, loved zombies and was very excited to be working on a ‘68 title. You can see the passion and care Josh gave his work on the book in the startling imagery of his cover. In tribute and thanks to our friend, the entire '68 crew has worked diligently to ensure that every thumbnail and layout Josh produced went into the final look and feel of the book."

Special edition print to benefit the family of Josh Medors 

The creators of the Image Comics series ‘68 are proud to present a limited collector's edition print in memory of the late comics artist Josh Medors. A courageous survivor of a rare form of spinal cancer, Josh outlived his original prognosis by years before finally passing in 2012. The print is an 11"x17" double-sided glossy reproduction of the ‘68: HALLOWED GROUND one-shot cover image by Medors, with a matching back cover illustration by Nat Jones and Jay Fotos. Printed at full production size, this print is limited to only 100 copies, and comes hand-numbered and signed in pencil by ‘68 series founders Mark Kidwell, Nat Jones, and Jay Fotos. It ships in a protective rigid Mylar sleeve and will be available worldwide. To honor their friend and colleague, the ‘68 creators are donating all proceeds from the sale of the print to Medors' wife Charlotte and son Garth.

The ‘68: HALLOWED GROUND benefit print is available for purchase at http://68zombie.acmeprints.com/josh-medors-benefit-print/ and costs $40.00.

Here's a couple of press releases announcing the sell-out of Afterlife with Archie #1, a second printing for issue #1 (out this week), followed by a video. Yes, a video!

Archie zombie series receives colossal demand amongst fans and retailers

NEW YORK - October 14, 2013 - Afterlife with Archie, the brand new ongoing series written by Harvey award winning writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Stephen King's The Stand) and Eisner award winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle) sold out in less than 5 hours at Diamond and will be immediately going back for a 2nd printing.

The highly anticipated horror series dominated New York Comic Con and has received rave reviews from notable comic and news sites including THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, USA TODAY, HUFFINGTON POST, FANGORIA MAGAZINE, IGN, COMIC BOOK RESOURCES, NEWSARAMA, BLEEDING COOL, BLOODY DISGUSTING and many more.

"It is blood-soaked and wonderful" -- Complex Magazine

"Afterlife With Archie #1 not only surpasses expectations, it's one of the few truly scary comics in recent memory" -- Comic Book Resources

"A genuinely terrifying horror comic that looks absolutely stunning" -- IGN

It's everything about Archie taken to this moody, blood-soaked extreme, and Francavilla's art hits that note with absolute perfection" -- Comics Alliance

"Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa bridges the world of horror and Archie in a way you never thought possible" -- Comic Vine

Series artist Francavilla created a special cover for the 2nd printing of Afterlife With Archie #1. The debut issue was the fastest selling Archie comic of all time and is Archie's first direct market only series ever, taking the Archie characters in a dark, horror inspired direction.

**Archie Comics urges consumers to order Afterlife With Archie #1 and future issues through their local comic shop as the series has already generated buzz from all corners of the media and will continue to do so in the coming months with more sold out issues anticipated.

Afterlife with Archie, the most anticipated new horror series of 2013, is exclusively available at your local comic shop and digitally on the Afterlife with Archie App.

Afterlife with Archie #1 sells out, returns with new printing

Archie Comics is proud to announce the selling out of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #1, the debut issue of the ongoing horror series by Harvey award-winning writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Stephen King's The Stand) and Eisner award-winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Guardians of the Galaxy). The most talked about launch of the year, Afterlife with Archie explores what would happen if the zombie apocalypse began in Archie's hometown of Riverdale and the results are horrifying.

The issue has received widespread coverage from THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, DEADLINE, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, TODAY, NEW YORK TIMES, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, HUFFINGTON POST, ABC NEWS, MSN, LA TIMES, USA TODAY, COMPLEX MAGAZINE, MTV, BUZZFEED, YAHOO NEWS, FANGORIA MAGAZINE, BLOODY DISGUSTING, COMIC BOOK RESOURCES, NEWSARAMA, BLEEDING COOL, and many more.

Afterlife with Archie owes this victory to its loyal fans, the supportive retailers who jumped on board, plus the deadly combination of the creative team Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla for making this a tremendous success.

"Working with Roberto and Francesco on Afterlife has been an incredible experience," said Archie Comics Publisher/co-CEO Jon Goldwater. "Our expectations at Archie are always extremely high but the work they've done in bringing Afterlife with Archie alive has exceeded them. Thank you to all the retailers and fans for supporting Archie's first ever direct market only comic book."

Aguirre-Sacasa is also scripting the highly publicized live-action Archie feature film, previously announced in DEADLINE. Francavilla won an Eisner last year for best cover artist in part for his work on Archie Meets KISS, which lead to the creation of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE.

From Archie Comics. Shocking Second Printing - with a new Francesco Francavilla Cover! New Ongoing Series! "Escape From Riverdale." This is how the end of the world begins! Harvey Award-winning writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Archie Meets Glee) and Eisner-winning artist Francesco Francavilla (Batman) take Archie and the gang where they've never been before - to the grave and back! A horrific accident sets off a series of grim events and Sabrina the Teenage Witch must try to repair the unspeakable evil her spell has unleashed. Gasp in horror as Riverdale faces an impending zombie Arch-pocalypse in this brand-new, spine-tingling ongoing series - but be warned, kiddies, this one's not for the faint of heart!

Afterlife with Archie, the most anticipated new horror series of 2013, is exclusively available at your local comic shop and digitally on the Afterlife with Archie App.

ALEX + ADA #1

I'm on the fence on this one, because the Luna Bros. are only 50/50 with me. I loved Girls at first, but over time the story just kinda went south for me, and the ending left me cold. But I loved Ultra from start to finish. Then came The Sword, which I started buying and then lost interest. 

What do you guys think? Read the poop below and let me know.

Story JONATHAN LUNA & SARAH VAUGHN

Art / cover  JONATHAN LUNA

32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $2.99

After three years away from comics, Jonathan Luna (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) is back, drawing and co-writing ALEX + ADA with Sarah Vaughn (Sparkshooter). In this near-future tale, Alex is attempting to recover from a setback in his life and return to normal. Ada, a Tanaka X5 and the latest and greatest model of companion android, comes into his life. She lives to serve, as long as her programming allows it, but does he want to be served?

The world of ALEX + ADA gives us a glimpse of what our own future may be like. It features a thriving robotics industry, alarm clocks that are floating holographic displays, breakfast served by floating robots, and normal human beings who are able to control their home electronics with a thought. Vaughn says that readers can expect "drama, humor, love, loss, and more robots than you can shake a stick at" in the series.

Luna took a break from comics after the finale of THE SWORD, producing an illustrated prose book named STAR BRIGHT AND THE LOOKING GLASS in the interim, but he’s excited to be back at the drawing board. "It’s so great. I feel like I’ve lost some time, but at the same time I’ve learned so much in the past few years from photography, painting, Star Bright, and life experiences. I’m reinvigorated and I feel so fortunate to be working in comics."

When asked to describe their working relationship, Vaughn said, "It looks a lot like Misery. I ended up having to hobble Jon. All kidding aside, we’ve been able to reach a good balance between our friendship and creative partnership." Luna, too, praises his co-writer: "Sarah is a good friend first and I never would’ve guessed that we’d be working together in this capacity. I’m very glad that we’re able to. It’s all been a very pleasant surprise."

Both creators debuted ALEX + ADA in an interview on Comic Book Resources, discussing both Luna’s break from and return to comics, the research required for ALEX + ADA, and their working process. Follow both creators on Twitter: @jonathanlunacom and @sarahvictoriav.

AMAZING X-MEN #1

Apparently, enough Nightcrawler fans have clapped their hands, and the elf is back. Naturally, that calls for a new series, and a new first issue. Here's the solicitation:

JASON AARON (W) • ED MCGUINNESS (A/C)

Blank variant also available

VARIANT COVER BY KEVIN NOWLAN

Nightcrawler variant by Milo Manara

Sketch variant by Ed McGuiness

Variant by Skottie Young

Deadpool variant by TBD

An AMAZING new era for the X-Men starts here! Ever since his Nightcrawler’s death in X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX, the X-Men have been without their heart and soul. After learning that their friend may not be gone after all, it’s up to WOLVERINE, STORM, BEAST, ICEMAN, NORTHSTAR and FIRESTAR to find and bring back the fan favorite fuzzy blue elf! Super star artist ED MCGUINNESS (HULK) joins master X-Writer JASON AARON (WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, X-MEN: SCHISM) to bring you the most exciting comic on the stands!

Here's the press release:

To save a fallen companion, the X-Men must attempt a daring rescue mission from beyond the grave!

What would you do to save a fallen friend? This November, in the wake of Battle of the Atom, Wolverine must assemble the X-Men’s finest to attempt a daring rescue in Amazing X-Men #1, a swashbuckling new series from red-hot writer Jason Aaron and blockbuster artist Ed McGuinness!

The X-Men are through mourning the loss of Nightcrawler, the “heart and soul” of their family – it’s time to act! Wolverine must lead Storm, Beast, Ice Man and more on an epic journey to recover one of their greatest allies – in a story that’s been building since Wolverine and the X-Men #1!

“AMAZING X-MEN is the newest can’t miss X-Men book.” says Senior Editor Nick Lowe. “Two creators at the top of their game, fully committed, bringing back possibly the best X-Man ever… and that’s just the first arc! Just wait until you see what Jason and Ed have up their sleeves!”

Deadly foes! Swashbuckling adventures! Plenty of little blue Bamfs! How far will the Amazing X-Men go to rescue one of their own? And what price will they pay? Find out just how far this November when Nightcrawler returns in Amazing X-Men #1!

AMAZING X-MEN #1 (SEP130740)

Written by JASON AARON

Art & Wraparound Cover by ED MCGUINESS

FOC – 11/06/13 On-Sale 10/14/13

32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

You know, I'll just skip over the "revolving door of death" debate. What's the point? It's flagrantly obvious that nobody really dies in comics any more, and Nightcrawler was a pretty popular character at one point, and he starred in one of the movies, so his return was inevitable.

I was never a big Kurt Wagner fan, back when he was alive the first time. He was all right, you know, but not one of my favorites. However, I can think of a number of people (hi, Fluit family!) who are probably kicking up their heels. And good for them!

So let's give Kurt a big ol' "Welcome back, bub." And somebody tidy up Charles Xavier's room, all right? I'm sure he'll be needing it soon.

Meanwhile, here are the preview pages:

 

 

TRANSFORMERS DARK CYBERTRON #1

The Transformers cartoon was after my time, in that I was a grown-up by the time it hit Saturday morning. But I understand better than most that what we love as kids stays with us forever, so for those of you in the sweet spot for Transformers, here's some robot-y goodness for you.

Further, it looks like actual progress in the Transformers saga, as their are hints that this storyline may even result in a Decepticon and Autobot team-up. I'm not Transformer expert to know if that's new, but it sure sounds new. And superstar Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman) is part of the show!

Anyway, here's the solicit/press release:

(W) James Roberts, John Barber

(A) Phil Jimenez & Various

(CA) Phil Jimenez

$3.99

THE END OF EVERYTHING!

Darkness falls on the AUTOBOTS this November in the comic book event Transformers: Dark Cybertron! This series pushes the TRANSFORMERS characters to their limits, but they’ll have the help of some creative superstars on their journey. Joining writer and IDW senior editor John Barber and fan-favorite scribe James Roberts in a top-secret meeting earlier this year, the artistic force of Phil Jimenez helped plan Dark Cybertron from the start! “I’ve been a fan of the TRANSFORMERS brand since I was 13,” said Jimenez, “and this was a fanboy dream come true. The beauty of this story is it plays to the strengths of the characters and to my strengths as a storyteller; epic, world-shattering scale as well as those beautiful character moments that make readers care about a bunch of giant ‘Robots in Disguise.’”

The war between the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS is over—but when the relentless SHOCKWAVE enacts a scheme millions of years in the making, yesterday’s nightmares tear apart today’s peace. “OPTIMUS PRIME, RODIMUS, BUMBLEBEE, even STARSCREAM—all these characters believed war was behind them, for better or worse,” says Barber. “The big question—other than who will survive—is whose side will the DECEPTICONS be on?”

The twelve-part series starts in Transformers: Dark Cybertron #1, then alternates between the monthly TRANSFORMERS titles Robots In Disguise and More Than Meets The Eye, concluding in a finale issue in March. This is the first time that both Transformers series have crossed over. “It’s thrilling to see the two casts crash back into each other’s lives,” says Roberts. “Fittingly, given the scale of SHOCKWAVE’s ambition, this is a massive, galaxy-spanning story—and one that shakes everything up.”

Co-written by Roberts and Barber, superstar artist Phil Jimenez provides layouts and covers for issue one, and variant covers for the whole series—as well as doing the art for the GENERATIONS action figure releases from Hasbro and planning the event from day one! Jimenez is joined by a who’s-who of Transformers artists, including Robots in Disguise series artist Andrew Griffith, who provides finished art on the lead-off issue. According to Jimenez, “the script for #1 was probably one of the best I’ve worked from in years. Totally awesome stuff —I just hope people don't mind me butting in and adding my own two cents (or three) to this super cool universe. I think it all worked out pretty seamlessly, actually!”

This is an exciting time to be a fan of Transformers, with multiple series from IDW, fantastic toys and more from Hasbro. In that spirit, and in an unprecedented publishing move, Dark Cybertron comic books will be included in select GENERATIONS action figure releases from Hasbro, following their initial release from IDW. This is the first time that an entire mega-event has been distributed in such a way. “TRANSFORMERS fans are some of the most loyal and dedicated—but many of them have never seen our comics,” says Barber. “Dark Cybertron will introduce these fans to the world of comics—and we can’t wait to bring these new readers into the fold.”

PROTECTORS INC #1

This one doesn't excite me as the rest. I've kinda cooled on Straczynski's work, beginning with the tepid "The Other" and the inexcusable "Sins Past" in Amazing Spider-Man and continuing into the present. And I can't say I'm excited about yet another re-examination of the superhero genre from yet another angle. I think I've seen just about all of them.

But don't let me stop you if you're interested -- and if you pick it up, let me know if I'm missing anything! And first chance I get I'll read a review copy and let you know if my mind changes.

Story J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI

Art GORDON PURCELL & MIKE ATIYEH

Cover A GORDON PURCELL & MIKE ATIYEH

Cover B WHILCE PORTACIO & MIKE ATIYEH

32 PAGES / FC / M / $2.99

What's it like to be a hero in a world without villains? In PROTECTORS, INC., the life of a superhero is wonderful, thanks to a bevy of corporate sponsors, an adoring public, polite rivalries, sports franchises, and best of all, no super-powered bad guys to worry about. Wonderful, that is, until a hero is murdered in such a way that the only possible culprit is an unknown person with superpowers, throwing the status quo into upheaval. PROTECTORS, INC. comes from a place of deep appreciation for genre fiction.

"I've always loved superhero stories told from the bottom-up, from the point of view of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances, between people with massive amounts of power that can be used for good or ill," says Straczynski. "The book is a twelve-issue maxiseries, a superhero story crossed with a mystery and a procedural police story, and should be a fun read for folks interested in any one of those three genres."

The latest project from writer J. Michael Straczynski (TEN GRAND, SIDEKICK, RISING STARS) and artist Gordon Purcell (Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who, The X-Files), PROTECTORS, INC. focuses on Lieutenant Detective John Riley's search for the truth behind the murder of a being that shouldn't have been able to be murdered by anyone. Nothing is as it seems, however, and Riley's case will lead to a fifty-year-old secret, love affairs, and possibly even more death.

Purcell is equally excited and ready to unleash PROTECTORS, INC. on the world.

"Protectors, Inc. is one of the best projects I've ever worked on! Joe's script (I have all 12 issues here!) is fantastic and fascinating, and I feel like I'm drawing on all my comic experience to flesh out the Protectors world. I'm so jazzed to be able to share this project with the fans! Dig in--this is tasty stuff!"

PROTECTORS, INC. #1 features two separate covers. Cover A features art by Gordon Purcell and Mike Atiyeh, while Cover B features art by Whilce Portacio and Mike Atiyeh.

QUANTUM AND WOODY #5

Here's another one I'm trade-waiting, and I'm as excited for this one as much as I was for Archer & Armstrong -- and for much the same reasons. In the old Valiant, both A&A and Q&W managed to mix a huge dollop of humor with the heroics, and the new series are doing much the same. So count me in!

Anyway, judging by the cascade of press releases, which I've edited together, Valiant is pretty proud of this one. In addition, there are four covers, and a preview. Enjoy!

 

Written by JAMES ASMUS

Art by MING DOYLE

Cover by ANDREW ROBINSON

Pullbox Exclusive Variant by LEE GARBETT

Variant Cover by DAVID LOPEZ

Variant Cover by MIKE McKONE

$3.99 / T+ / 32 pgs.

All-new arc, all-new jumping-on point! All-new…problems?

Valiant is proud to present an advance preview of Quantum and Woody #5 – the FIRST ISSUE of "In Security," an all-new story arc from award-winning writer James Asmus (Thief of Thieves, Gambit) and fan favorite artist Ming Doyle (Mara)! Start reading here on with an all-new arc, an all-new jumping-on point, and all-new…problems?

Imbued with unpredictable new superpowers in the wake of an energy experiment gone wrong, Eric and Woody Henderson have just had their lives turned upside down – and they need to "klang" together every 24 hours or else their atoms will disperse. So what do you do when the most annoying person in your life is also the only thing keeping you alive? You move in with him! And his goat. And his barely legal clone girlfriend. Besides, every team of heroes needs a secret headquarters…and this one has a slightly used hot tub. Plus: Quantum gets a job – and meets his first true blue super-villain!

Before they can rid the night of evil, the world's worst superhero team takes on a junior two-bedroom, only in Quantum and Woody #5!

Fan favorite artist and rising star Ming Doyle (Mara, Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite – Rocket Raccoon) is joining writer James Asmus and colorist Jordie Bellaire as the newest member of the world's worst superhero team!
As revealed by Comic Book Resources, Asmus, Doyle and Bellaire will make their joint debut in November's Quantum and Woody #5 – launching the next installment of the MUST READ VALIANT initiative with an all-new new story arc and easily accessible entry point for the wildly acclaimed superhero series about two estranged foster brothers struggling with their newfound superpowers...and no responsibilities whatsoever.

"Quantum and Woody's going to be my first chance to do a superhero action comedy buddy-cop type thing… It's going to be really different, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play with these characters because they're so funny," Doyle told CBR. "I really want to get into more physical acting with them and exploring body language, and all of that goofiness… This is going to be really fun."

Find out why friends don't let friends have sidekicks when Ming Doyle teams-up with Quantum and Woody #5! Start reading here when MUST READ VALIANT delivers an all-new arc, an all-new jumping-on point, and all-new problems for the world's worst superhero team in comic shops everywhere on November 6th!

And look for Quantum and Woody Vol. 1: The World's Worst Superhero Team – the first trade paperback collection of the series that IGN calls "freaking glorious" – in stores same day and specially priced at just $9.99!

For more information on Quantum and Woody and the rest of the Valiant Universe, visit Valiant on Facebook, on Twitter and at ValiantUniverse.com.

Attention fans and retailers: Look for the Quantum and Woody Vol. 1 TPB in stores the same day! Intro priced at only $9.99!


 

 

'A Treasury of XXth Century Murder MADISON SQUARE TRAGEDY: The Murder of Stanford White' by Rick Geary

This series has been so excellent, from its start as "A treasury of 19th Century Murder" to present, that there is no way I'm going to miss one of these, EVER. Rick Geary is simply a national treasure.

Stanford White is one of New York’s most famous architects having designed many mansions and the first Madison Square Garden. His influence on New York’s look at the turn of the century was pervasive. As he became popular and in demand, he also became quite self-indulgent. He had a taste for budding young showgirls on Broadway, even setting up a private apartment to entertain them in, including a room with… a red velvet swing. When he meets Evelyn Nesbit, an exquisite young nymph, cover girl, showgirl, inspiration for Charles Dana Gibson’s “The Eternal Question” and for the later movie “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing,” he knows he’s on to something special. However, Evelyn eventually marries a young Pittsburgh decadent heir with a dark side who develops a deep hatred for White and what he may or may not have done to her, setting up the most scandalous murder of the time.

“TOP TEN COMICS FOR FALL. No season would be complete without the latest in Rick Geary’s ongoing series of 20th-century murders: with elegant, unsettling penwork, Madison Square Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White tells the notorious story of architect Stanford White, who was murdered by a jealous husband in a theater atop the original Madison Square Garden.” – Heidi McDonald, Publishers Weekly

6×9, 80pp, B&W clothbound, $15.99

DARK HORSE

BALTIMORE: INFERNAL TRAIN #3

“If you’re a fan of Mignola, then you’ll definitely enjoy Baltimore.”–Geeks of Doom

I am a fan of Mignola, and as I said last week, I do enjoy Baltimore. The same rule would apply to any of you. It's a RULE!

Mike Mignola (W), Christopher Golden (W), Ben Stenbeck (A/Cover), and Dave Stewart (C)

FC, 32 pages, $3.50

Miniseries

Baltimore jumps aboard the Infernal Train and fights high-priest vampires and an evil witch to stop them from resurrecting a vampire god.

• From Hellboy creator Mike Mignola!

“Golden and Mignola understand . . . well-told spook story spun out in dramatic segments by shadowy characters in seedy settings.” – PopMatters

CATALYST COMIX #5

JOE CASEY REWRITES THE RULES OF (SUPER)COMICS!!!

Joe Casey (W), Paul Maybury (A), Ulises Farinas (A), Dan McDaid (A), Brad Simpson (C), and Paul Pope (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $2.99

Miniseries

Catalyst Comix is getting hot, with another 32 pages of pure superhero swagger! Amazing Grace discovers a deep, dark secret! The Agents of Change bust some sick moves! And newly enlightened Franks Wells’s public bed-in becomes a fight with more than just pillows! It’s three times the super!

“Writer Joe Casey seems bent on exploring the seedier side of life in his work these days.” –Comic Book Resources

• Cover by Paul Pope (100%, Batman: Year 100)!

• Artists Dan McDaid (Doctor Who), Ulises Farinas (Gamma), and Paul Maybury (Aqua Leung)!

• Three story lines for the price of one!

“I have seen the future of superhero comic books, and it's called Catalyst Comix.” -- Comics the Gathering

“I think the artist line-up alone sells the book for me.”–Joe Casey, writer

How closely related is this to the "World's Greatest Comics" version? Not that it needs to be for me to enjoy it; I'm just curious.

GRINDHOUSE: DOORS OPEN AT MIDNIGHT #2

EXCESSIVE, GRATUITOUS, AND TASTELESS, JUST AS IT SHOULD BE!

Exactly. I'm not reading this book, because excessive, gratuitous and tasteless isn't my thing, but if you call something Grindhouse, it MUST be excessive, gratuitous and tasteless. I quite insist.

Incidentally, I'm not grossed out by the suggestion of insect eating on this cover (although that, too, is not my thing). I am kinda grossed out by the purple-and-green tongue, though. That's just nasty.

Alex de Campi (W), Chris Peterson (A), Nolan Woodard (C), and Dan Panosian (Cover)

FC, 32 pages, $3.99

Miniseries

Just because Grindhouse #1 was the most messed-up comic you’ve read this year, don’t think #2 can’t top it! The bee vixens’ queen is ten feet of pissed-off buzzing stinger, and the only one left to stop her is shotgun-wielding, motorcycle-straddling Deputy Garcia. Good thing she don’t take no bull!

• Eisner nominee Alex de Campi (Smoke, Ashes) is a writer to watch in 2013!

MICHAEL AVON OEMING'S VICTORIES #6

(W/A) Michael Avon Oeming (CA) Nick Filardi, Andrea Wicklund

With all superheroes ordered to internment camps until research can prove that they aren't a diseased risk to humanity, and one of the world's most powerful heroes now a mind slave to mysterious powers, who will stand to save humanity from the shadowy group taking over the world?

$3.99

OCCULTIST #2

(W) Tim Seeley (A) Mike Norton (CA) Allen Passalaqua, Steve Morris

Introducing the Providences! A trio of Catholic school students who dabble in the occult-and they take our hero on a wild and dangerous out-of-body trip that is literally out of this world! How far will they go, in search of the ultimate high?

$3.50

PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: LAWNMAGEDDON HC

The hit zombie video game—now a hit comic!

Paul Tobin (W), Ron Chan (A/Cover), and Matthew J. Rainwater (C)

FC, 80 pages, $9.99

HC, 6” x 9”

The confusing-yet-brilliant inventor known only as Crazy Dave helps his niece, Patrice, and young adventurer Nate Timely fend off a “fun-dead” neighborhood invasion in Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon! Winner of over thirty “Game of the Year” awards, Plants vs. Zombies is now determined to shuffle onto all-ages bookshelves to tickle funny bones and thrill . . . brains.

• The first Plants vs. Zombies comic book!

• Collecting all Plants vs. Zombies digital comics into one nifty hardcover!

• Tobin and Chan take us on an original Plants vs. Zombies adventure!

STAR WARS #3

(W) J. W. Rinzler (A) Mike Mayhew (CA) Ran Beredo, Nick Runge

A Queen steps down! The Hidden Fortress destroyed! The Imperial army on the march!

Annikin Starkiller and Princess Leia rescue two wayward droids in the desert, Darth Vader recruits a famous Knight of the Sith to his army, and a squad of lazersword-wielding Stormtroopers attempt to arrest Jedi General Luke Skywalker!

$3.99

I see they're not calling this THE Star Wars any more, although I don't know why.

DC COMICS

ACTION COMICS #25

Written by GREG PAK

Art and cover by AARON KUDER

1:25 B&W Variant cover by AARON KUDER

40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

This BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in features the reintroduction of a major character! A cocky young Superman battles the forces of nature to save Gotham City, while a woman from his past tries to do the same thing on a smaller scale. But both are headed for a collision course...

With Morrison gone, I'm contemplating not buying this any more in trade. Is anyone sampling it currently, and if so, what do you think? Pak was pretty good on his Incredible Hulk/World War Hulk run, so I could be talked into it.

ALL-STAR WESTERN VOL 3: BLACK DIAMOND PROBABILITY

Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI

Art by MORITAT, PHIL WINSLADE and STAZ JOHNSON

Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI

176 pg, FC, $16.99 US

In these stories from issues #0 and 13-16, Someone has stolen the Black Diamond that Doctor Jekyll uses to create his infamous potion! Now it’s up to Jonah Hex to track it down! Plus: Find out how Hex got his famous scars!

Trade-waiting, and can't wait. Oh, Gray & Palmiotti, can you  do no wrong?

BATMAN BLACK & WHITE #3

BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE #3

Written by LEE BERMEJO, RIAN HUGHES, DAMION SCOTT, PAUL DINI and MARV WOLFMAN

Art by LEE BERMEJO, RIAN HUGHES, DAMION SCOTT, STEPHANE ROUX and RICCARDO BURCHIELLI

Cover by OLLY MOSS

48 pg, B&W, 3 of 6, $4.99 US • RATED T

It’s another spectacular selection of adventures by some of comics’ top talents, with tales of The Dark Knight by Lee Bermejo, Marv Wolfman and Riccardo Burchielli, Rian Hughes, Damion Scott, and Paul Dini and Stephane Roux.

BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE OWLS TP

Written by SCOTT SNYDER, JAMES TYNION IV, TONY S. DANIEL, PETER J. TOMASI, JUDD WINICK, DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI, GAIL SIMONE, SCOTT LOBDELL, KYLE HIGGINS, JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI

Art by GREG CAPULLO, JASON FABOK, TONY S. DANIEL, DAVID FINCH, PATRICK GLEASON, TRAVEL FOREMAN, ARDIAN SYAF, KENNETH ROCAFORT, GUILLEM MARCH and others

Cover by GREG CAPULLO

368 pg, FC, $19.99 US

In these stories from BATMAN #8-9, BATMAN ANNUAL #1, DETECTIVE COMICS #9, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #9, BATWING #9, BATMAN AND ROBIN #9, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #9, BIRDS OF PREY #9, BATGIRL #9, NIGHTWING #8-9 and ALL-STAR WESTERN #9, evil spreads across Gotham City as Red Robin, Batwing, Robin, Batgirl, the Birds of Prey, Nightwing and even Catwoman find themselves in a battle coming from all sides.

Honestly, if you haven't read this, you should.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #5

Written by GREG PAK

Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

1:25 Variant cover by JON BOGDANOVE

1:100 B&W Variant cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Retailers: This issue will ship with four covers. Please see the order form for more information.

When the new Toymaster uses a secret, potentially deadly element in his new video game, the characters created by players manifest in real life! The ultimate fighting game results—and a world-wide network of players must team up to create the most powerful, skilled Super Heroes imaginable with one goal: To kill Batman. Can Superman come to the rescue before the game claims its victim? Find out in this amazing issue that’s printed in a special horizontal storytelling format.

This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

BATWING #25

Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI

Art by EDUARDO PANSICA and JULIO FERREIRA

Cover by AMANDA CONNER

40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! As Gotham City descends into chaos, young Luke Fox is the only one who can stop one of his classmates from causing more destruction—but he didn’t count on his friend being so… VENOMOUS!

I am amazed and heartened that a superhero book starring an African-American has made it through its second year. I guess the bat doesn't hurt, but that can't be all of it.

And there's Gray & Palmiotti again, still doing no wrong.

DC COMICS ESSENTIALS JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

Written by GEOFF JOHNS

Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS

64 pg, FC, $1.00 US • RATED T

The issue that kicked of DC Comics—The New 52 is reprinted in this promotionally priced special! Don’t miss the start of the story that brought together Batman, Green Lantern, and the rest of the Justice League!

DETECTIVE COMICS #25

DETECTIVE COMICS #25

Written by JOHN LAYMAN

Art and cover by JASON FABOK

1:25 B&W Variant cover by JASON FABOK

40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! James Gordon confronts the corrupt elements in the G.C.P.D.—and the vigilante known as Batman!

This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

DJANGO UNCHAINED HC

(W) Reginald Hudlin, Danijel Zezelj (A) R. M. Guera & Various

The seven-issue comics adaptation of the Oscar-winning movie by Quentin Tarantino is now collected in hardcover! Don't miss this blood-soaked tale of a bounty-hunting dentist and his partner Django, a recently freed slave, as they search the post-Civil War South for Django's wife!

$24.99

I read a smattering of this book in monthly form and was intrigued enough that I'm going to read the HC. I didn't see the movie, so it's all new to me!

EARTH 2 #17

Written by TOM TAYLOR

Art by NICOLAS SCOTT and TREVOR SCOTT

Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

1:25 Variant cover by DOUG MAHNKE

1:100 B&W Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.

Batman fights to keep Brutal and the forces of Darkseid from taking complete control of Earth! Beginning a new story by Tom Taylor (INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US)!

So is Batman going to take over this book, too, even if it's not the original Dark Knight? That's a bummer, but I do like the new color scheme. And, frankly, he might be more interesting than the timid and tepid revamp we've gotten so far. (I'm a little disappointed, can you tell?)

And I'm guessing this guy is Earth 2's Thomas Wayne (Bruce's brother in a few variant stories), without a single reason to believe that.

FOREVER EVIL #3

Written by GEOFF JOHNS

Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND

1:25 Villain A cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

1:25 Villain B cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

1:25 Villain C cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER

1:200 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND

32 pg, FC, 3 of 7, $3.99 US • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Retailers: This issue will ship with six covers. Please see the order form for more information.

The first universe-wide event of The New 52 continues to explode across the DC Universe! With the world under the rule of the mysterious and deadly Crime Syndicate and our greatest heroes dead, it’s up to the unlikeliest of defenders to rise up to save us—humanity’s only hope—Lex Luthor?! Plus, a startling revelation about the dark secret of the Syndicate’s mission on Earth—and what it means for the future of the DC Universe and its heroes and villains.

This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

Some on this board have complained about heroes fighting heroes too much lately, so here's a switch: Villains fighting villains. Which always made more sense to me anyway. THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE PERSONS! Of course they would fight -- over turf, money, prestige, women, men, power, all kinds of things. And not just when the world's invaded by super-criminals. In fact, I've always kinda wondered why Lex Luthor hasn't been quietly offing villains who might someday pose a threat to his plans. Come to think of it, maybe he's been doing that all along, and he's so good at it we never knew!

FRACTION TP

(W) David Tischman (A) Timothy Green (CA) Tomer Hanuka

All six issues of the cult-favorite 2004 series are collected in this new edition of the collection! FRACTION stars four tough young men from Philly's mean streets who pull off a drunken robbery. What they end up stealing is a high-tech suit of battle armor. How far will each of them go to use the armor for his own purposes?

$17.99
This is a "cult favorite"? Really?

GREEN ARROW #25

Written by JEFF LEMIRE

Art and cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO

1:25 B&W Variant cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO

40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

A BATMAN: ZERO YEAR tie-in! He’s just returned from the island and must try to find his place in the world! Now, Oliver Queen becomes Green Arrow for the first time as he battles Killer Moth in Gotham City!

I completely lost interest in this character when The New 52 de-aged him and put him back in charge of Queen Industries. I wasn't always happy with how the middle-aged Green Arrow was written, but at least he had a definable past, and one that had clearly shaped him. He wasn't just a character, he had character, etched in every line on his weather-beaten face. Now we just have another wet-behind-the-ears character learning the superhero ropes. Again. Seriously, do we have to watch GA make the same mistakes all over again? Or will they simply be new mistakes? Either way, it feels too much like a rerun.

GREEN LANTERN #25

Written by ROBERT VENDITTI

Art by BILLY TAN and ROB HUNTER

Cover by BILLY TAN

1:25 B&W Variant cover by BILLY TAN

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Combo pack edition: $3.99 US

Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.

The shockwaves of “Lights Out” are just starting to be felt, as Hal Jordan makes a controversial decision that will change the mission of the Green Lantern Corps! But not everyone agrees with Hal’s goals, and the dissent could weaken the Corps further!

This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

I have no idea where this is going, as I haven't finished "Lights Out" yet. And that's a good thing.

HINTERKIND #2

Written by IAN EDGINTON

Art by FRANCESCO TRIFOGLI

Cover by GREG TOCCHINI

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • MATURE READERS

Having left the sanctuary of their Central Park village, Prosper and Angus find “the wild” lives up to its name as they run for their lives from the cannibal troll who lives under the Queensboro bridge. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the Queen of the Sidhe, the first family of the fair folk discovers her daughter Tersia has more than a passing interest in her crown. When you’re near immortal and almost ageless, advancement via assassination is the only way to get ahead.

I read the first issue of this and went, "eh." The premise is more or less the same as a half-dozen other post-apocalyptic titles, especially Gold Key's Mighty Samson. You know the drill: It's decades after the end of the world, most of the planet is overrun with plants and mutant animals, and we follow a group of survivors trying to restart civilization in -- OF COURSE -- what used to be Manhattan. (Despite the fact that in virtually any end-of-the-world scenario, NYC would get it first and worst.)

One interesting aspect is (SPOILER!) the advent of mutants that look and talk like fairy-tale characters, raising the possibility that this is actually taking place in the distant past, not our future, and somehow civilization repeated itself and we somehow retained racial memories of cannibal giants who say "Fe Fi Fo Fum."

Nah. That would be more interesting, so they probably aren't going to do it.

JUDAS COIN TP

Written by WALTER SIMONSON

Art and cover by WALTER SIMONSON

104 pg, FC, $14.99 US

The acclaimed graphic novel from legendary writer/artist Walter Simonson shows how one of the silver coins Judas was paid to betray Jesus has had an impact on the DC Universe, with chapters starring the Golden Gladiator, (A.D. 73), the Viking Prince (A.D. 1000), Captain Fear (1720) and Bat Lash (1881). In the centerpiece of the book, Batman faces Two-Face in an epic, present-day battle before the story blasts into the future for a final chapter set in the year 2087 starring Manhunter 2070!

I have a negative review of this somewhere in the REVIEWS section. I'm on a clock so I'm not going to find it and link it up, but you know it's there if you want to read it.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL 1 HC

(W) Geoff Johns & Various (A) David Finch & Various (CA) David Finch

Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren't the world's greatest Super Heroes-they're the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings? Find out in this collection of the first five issues of the new series as the team takes on the Secret Society of Super-Villains!

$24.99

I doubt it's on purpose, but it's interesting how many of the characters in this lineup wear secondary colors. You know, villain colors.

MOVEMENT #6

Written by GAIL SIMONE

Art by FREDDIE WILLIAMS III

Cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

As the Graveyard Faction terrorizes Coral City, the Movement is nowhere to be found!

Haven't read this yet. Any recommendations? The lack of Spandex is actually a plus, believe it or not.

SANDMAN OMNIBUS VOL 2 HC

(W) Neil Gaiman (A) Jill Thompson & Various

In this second SANDMAN OMNIBUS, Delirium prevails upon the Sandman to help her find their errant brother, Destruction. But their quest will lead to a painful reunion between Morpheus and his son, Orpheus. Then, the Sandman and others are trapped in a mysterious inn while a tempest rages-and all they can do to while away the time is tell the stories of their lives. And when a young woman's baby is stolen, she turns to The Kindly Ones for vengeance, only to set off a series of events that will lead the Sandman to his ultimate fate, and the baby to find a destiny no one could have foretold.

This massive tome collects THE SANDMAN #38-75, plus stories from VERTIGO JAM #1 and VERTIGO: WINTER'S EDGE #3.

$150.00

SCOOBY DOO WHERE ARE YOU #39

Written by HEATHER NUHFER

Art by ROBERT POPE and SCOTT McRAE

Cover by SCOTT NEELY

32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

Shaggy and Scooby weren’t excited about the Dog Show, but when some of the pooches go missing, the gang has to solve the mystery. And Scooby’s not just AT the Dog Show—he’s going to be a contestant!

 

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Replies to This Discussion

No worries, Jeff. My own gestalt of Golden Age books outside of Timely, National and Quality is pretty poor. That's one reason I'll be reading the Planet Comics reprints -- not only to learn what's in there, but to learn what isn't!

Chuck Dixon wrote Eclipse's Airboy series in the 80s, early in his comics career.

 

Mark Evanier was one of the writers of the Garfield and Friends cartoon.

The Movement: This is one of the few New 52 comics I'm keeping up with. I like it a lot: the main characters have picked a big fight with the cops, and they don't really think things through. Simone seems aware that the Movement's plans are pretty naive, and that they're also tarring some decent cops along with the corrupt ones in the town. It's the closest thing to the morally messy, grey-toned work Simone did with the Secret Six -- so even though I'm not as attached to these characters, I'm in it for the duration.

Hinterkind: I liked the first issue more than you did, Cap. I'm in the mood for a post-apocalyptic scenario that doesn't involve zombies, but instead, weird beasts. There's a little Kamandi in this book's DNA, and I can't complain about that!

Afterlife with Archie

Grindhouse: I loved the first issue of this, and am looking forward to starting a whole new story in issue 3. Plus -- check out the phony grindhouse movie posters in the back!

Ghosted

Fatale

And I hate to say, I'm still tempted by Earth 2. So, maybe that one, too.

PLANET COMICS: Maybe it was Flethcher Hanks I was thinking of and not Basil Wolverton. (If Flethcer Hanks never did any work for Planet Comics, please don’t tell me!) All I know is that Planet Comics has a certain reputation among Golden Age aficionados and I don’t know why. Let’s find out together, shall we?

DICK BRIEFER’S FRANKENSTEIN: Okay, here’s the scoop on this one: volume one was cancelled (and volume two, too). The one that shipped today was volume three. Roy Thomas explained in the introduction (as you will soon read for yourself), that PS Artbooks is still missing issues for the first two volumes, so rather than ship them incomplete, they opted to go with volume three and ship the first two at a later date after the missing comics have been located.

As you know, the “Prize” Group’s Frankenstein started out as a horror comic, then shifted to comedy when national trends changed. The Monster was featured in various issues of Prize Comics before being awarded his/its own title. Volume three begins with issue #1 of the “funny” direction. I’m glad to have it, but as I said at the time we were discussing the “Yoe Books” collection, I’m more interested in the horror version. Here’s hoping they locate those missing issues soon!

Cool! Thanks for the spade-work, Jeff!

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