15 Aug 2013

Ten Forward: October 2013

Every month we spend an evening scouring the pages of the latest issue of Previews and pick the ten titles we are looking forward to the most. This month it's the August issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in October 2013.

For this instalment of Ten Forward, we welcome new member Kenny J to the PCG team.

SANDMAN: OVERTURE #1
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Art: J.H. Williams III
DC/Vertigo $4.99

Rob N: Sandman was arguably the first big success that Vertigo had, crossing over as it did from the mainstream of DC into the new 'For Mature Readers' imprint along with similar titles such as Hellblazer and Doom Patrol. To my mind it was at its peak in the early years, declining in quality somewhat in the middle period when Gaiman's writing became a bit 'cutesy twee', but then redeemed itself with 'The Kindly Ones' story arc. Since then DC have constantly invited Gaiman to revisit his creation, which he has done a few times with stories that haven't really added much to the mythology of the series. One of the great unanswered mysteries of the original run was the question of what exactly happened 'off panel' that led to Morpheus being summoned and imprisoned by the Aleister Crowley like sorcerer in issue #1. A prequel of sorts was obviously the ideal subject for a decent miniseries, and at long last Gaiman has agreed to write it. Paired up with J.H. Williams, we're guaranteed a visual feast in addition to a promising story. The timing of all this is of course a little coincidental, coming just after the Before Watchmen initiative, and a cynic might be forgiven for wondering whether Neil Gaiman's choice might have been 'write another Sandman series, or we'll get other writers to do it for you...'

IMAGINE AGENTS #1
Writer: Brian Jones
Art: Bachan
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Stewart R: BOOM! are a publisher who continue to grow and forge a path in similar vein to that of Image with new, exciting series that provide the very best in creator-owned vision. Imagine Agents follows Dave and Terry as they work for a department charged with keeping the imaginary friends of children and adults alike in check. That sounds like an instant recipe for fun and plenty of laughs and while the Previews blurb lists Men In Black, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Layman and Guillory’s very successful Chew as comparable and influential works, I’ve a feeling that this could stand on its own two feet and hopefully avoid anything resembling a ‘copycat’ performance. The early preview art looks very promising indeed and BOOM! have shown a clear liking for comedy comic books with some of its property work such as Peanuts and The Muppets so I’ve fingers crossed that this will get those smile muscles working.

BATTLING BOY GN
Writer: Paul Pope
Art: Paul Pope
:01 First Second $15.99 SC/$24.99 HC

Kenny J: I've been aware of Paul Pope's work through the odd issue of X-Statix or Catwoman from the early 2000s, instantly falling in love with his kinetic, fluid art style, but I’ve never read any of his writing until the recent The Death Of Haggard West, a one-shot lead into this 208-page original graphic novel from First Second Press. That was a fast-paced but emotional dip into Acropolis, a world where monsters hunt children, and it seems Battling Boy is more of the same. If Haggard is Pope’s grizzled vigilante character then this twelve year-old is his god amongst men and Acropolis' only saviour. Pope has promised cover to cover action in this first volume and at only $15.99 for that much story I for one will be battling [sic] down Paradox's door for my copy.

VELVET #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting
Image $3.50

Rob N: My favourite spy stories are 'period ones', generally set during the classic Cold War period when World War Three was a paranoid possibility and spies routinely double, triple and quadruple crossed one another with unpredictable predictability. Ed Brubaker excels at all forms of thriller writing, and so this tale of a Miss Moneypenny style character in a Three Days Of The Condor scenario bodes well, especially if he gets the period detail right – something many writers often fail to do. It will of course look very much like Brubaker's run on Captain America, thanks to the art chores of Steve Epting, a man who I thought at the time would excel at drawing a Cold War spy book. Nice how things turn out sometimes.

ROCKET GIRL #1
Writer: Brandon Montclare
Art: Amy Reeder
Image $3.50

Stewart R: In a month where it seems there are a great many interesting titles being released, I will admit that it was Amy Reeder’s preview art that hooked me straight away when it comes to Rocket Girl. The bold, vibrant visuals are drool-worthy and there’s no doubting that this will be a pure treat for the eyes. Luckily I’m also rather taken with Brandon Montclare’s premise for the book as well which sees a teenage cop from the future sent back to 1986 to investigate a company suspected of illegal manipulations in the timestream. When Dayoung discovers that her future origin potentially shouldn’t exist at all, things are sure to get interesting. That description already has the ring of a reverse Back To The Future vibe to it and as far as the slew of new Image offerings for October goes, this is sitting top of my list.

LETTER 44 #1
Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Albert Alburquerque
Oni Press $1.00

Matt C: An incoming President gets a letter from his predecessor essentially confirming an alien invasion force is being assembled in the Solar System and that a crew of astronauts have been sent to investigate. Secret histories, political intrigue and, of course, aliens… I’d most likely check this out based on the premise alone, but positive advanced word from trusted sources and an introductory price of $1.00 means there really is no reasonable excuse not to give this book a shot.

PRETTY DEADLY #1
Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Art: Emma Rios & Jordie Bellaire
Image $3.50

Kenny J: October sees Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios, the creative team behind Marvel's Osborn miniseries, reunited and relocated to creator-owned friendly Image. Recent interviews with Deconnick have mentioned the initial influence of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns on this title. As the story has taken shape and more details come to light since this books announcement, I am now hoping for something more akin to Jodorowsky's surrealist forays into that same genre. Coupled with Rios' art looking its absolute best with Jordie Bellaire’s complimentary Far Eastern palette, it seems Image have another certain hit on their hands to go with Saga and Lazarus. Like the latter of those titles, anyone familiar with Deconnick’s current work on Captain Marvel will know we are assured of a strong anti-heroine in Pretty Deadly's own woman with no name.

DOGS OF WAR GN
Writer: Sheila Keenan
Art: Nathan Fox
Graphix $12.99 SC/$22.99 HC

Stewart R: I’ve had my eye on this graphic novel for several months now having seen Nathan Fox livestream several of his drawing sessions for it over the internet. Having impressed me with his work for Image’s Haunt I was eager to see what other projects he may get involved in and I have to say that this one is really intriguing. Keenan will provide us with a collection of stories that follow the fictional exploits of human/canine partnerships through missions during WW1, WW2 and the Vietnam War. Whilst being fictional in nature these stories are to be based on the real-life roles of dogs and their handlers during such conflicts and I think the combination of education, adventure and A-grade illustration could make this an unmissable October purchase.

GRINDHOUSE: DOOR OPEN AT MIDNIGHT #1
Writers: Alex de Campi
Art: Chris Peterson
Dark Horse $3.99

Rob N: Alex De Campi isn't exactly the most prolific writer I've come across, but many years ago I read her miniseries Smoke and said many good things about it, so a new title from her easily slips onto my radar. The subject matter is of course, as the title suggests, her own take on the exploitation genre beloved of low budget movies and cheap dime store paperbacks from the late ‘50s to early ‘70s. We are apparently talking story titles like Bee Vixens From Mars, Prison Ship Anteres, Bride Of Blood and Flesh Feast Of The Devil Doll, and between you and me I have quite a few vintage paperbacks with titles very similar to those.

THE FOX #1
Writer: Dean Haspiel & Mark Waid
Art: Dean Haspiel & Allen Passalaqua
Archie Comic Publications $2.99

Kenny J: I have to admit I'm not familiar with Archie's Red Circle superhero line, however a talented writer like Mark Waid will immediately draw my attention to any title no matter how unknown or obscure it may first seem. Waid’s run on Daredevil has proven to be a constantly imaginative read with his skill for writing great dialogue and action. So much so that I often wonder exactly how thorough his panel descriptions are as most artists he works with channel that same creativity (although these artists are no slouches in their own rights, with recent collaborators including Walt Simonson and Marcos Martin). From the previews of The Fox we can add Dean Haspiel to that distinguished list. His pages zing with big bold lines and vibrant colours by Allen Passalaqua that give a very fitting pop feel for this self-proclaimed 'freak-magnet's' adventures.

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