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 June issue which includes comics scheduled to ship in August 2014.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser
Rob N: As a creative team, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are the dream ticket, promising the same level of consistent quality as Led Zeppelin albums up to and including 1975. These days I will put my name down for any new title they solicit without even bothering to check the advance publicity blurb. Their most recent work, Fatale, has been one of my favourite comic books of recent years, blending just the right balance of pulp noir and Lovecraftian conspiracy horror. The Fade Out is, it seems, the first in what amounts to a five year publishing deal with Image for Brubaker and Phillips. Like all their work together it draws heavily on the classic genres of American pulp fiction, but always with an execution that lifts the stories above the level of simple homage and pastiche. This time around the setting is the dark underbelly of post war 1948 Hollywood where the showbiz glitz hides murder and despair in equal measures. I can't see how it can fail.
SIXTH GUN: DAYS OF THE DEAD #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt
Art: Mike Norton & Bill Crabtree
Oni Press $3.99
Matt C: I remain a huge fan of Sixth Gun even if I don’t big it up here as often as I should. Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt have created such a rich fantasy world that it easily allowed plenty of scope for last year’s miniseries, Sons Of The Gun, so an additional mini, expanding the world even further makes a lot of sense. Days Of The Dead puts Sword Of Abraham priest Brother Roberto front and centre, and as he’s been one of the most mysterious and enigmatic characters in the main series, he’s ripe for a bit of backstory. Fans of Sixth Gun will obviously want to pick this up.
Writer: Joe Casey
Art: Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg & Ulises Farinas
Dynamite Entertainment $3.99
Kenny J: Joe Casey is a member of Man Of Action, the brain trust behind the moneyspinning Ben 10, so there is never any sense of him phoning it in, no holding out for a pay day. Casey makes comics because he loves them. Although his humorous and sometimes biting backmatter have become infamous, this affection is no more apparent than in the panels and words of the comics themselves. Good examples of this can be found in his two recent titles, Sex and Bounce, where he took on dark vigilante and ill-prepared teen hero archetypes respectively. Casey has made a career out of taking worn and well-trodden tropes, twisting, moulding and prodding them into something iconoclastic, and they come no more iconic than Jack Kirby, the creator and original writer of Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers, a New Gods tinged tale of a heroic space sheriff and his teammates. Since then character has found a home at a variety of publishers but now resides at Dynamite where Casey will be joined by a number of talented artists including Jim Rugg, Jim Mahfood, Michael Fiffe, Ulises Farinas and, previous collaborator, Nathan Fox. With Casey’s experience writing his own Kirby inspired comics and Fox’s kinetic art style, I hope we get something epic, action packed and infused with that Kirby krackle.
ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! HC
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Art: Ryan Dunlavey
Dark Horse $29.99
James R: I absolutely, totally love this series! This is the only comic that I can truly say 'I use this in my classroom!'. Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Ryan Dunlavey crafted a series of both smart and funny tales concerning some of the greatest thinkers in philosophy - it's one of those rare things that entertains and educates in equal measure. Even though I've got individual issues of Action Philosophers! and the collected editions on my shelves already, I can't resist this: a deluxe package featuring a whole tonne of extras. Socrates may have said "All that I know is that I know nothing", but if he was alive today, I'm sure he would have revised that view to "All I know is that Action Philosophers! is total genius!"
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Art: Humberto Ramos
BOOM! Studios $3.99
Simon M: Come August we get to return to the world of Fablewood, the creation of Jenkins and Ramos. The first volume of Fairy Quest, Outlaws, was originally a Kickstarter project which was very well supported, then was later also released through BOOM! Studios. The story followed the adventures of Red and Mister Wolf as they act out their fairytale every day without deviance under the watchful eye of Mister Grimm and the Think Police. Any delay or variation from the officially sanctioned version will result in citations and reprimands and, if they push it too far, they could get the Mind Eraser! The second volume continues on with their adventures as they try to escape the clutches of Mister Grimm and navigate their way through the Dark Forest hoping to get to the Real World! This project is clearly a passion for both Jenkins and Humberto and they have created an incredibly rich and immersive world that anyone should be able to dive right into. The fact that they have worked together previously (Revelations and Spectacular Spider-man) shows and they are becoming one of the premier writer and artist partnerships.
THIRD TESTAMENT: THE LION AWAKES VOL. 1 HC
Writer: Xavier Dorison & Alex Alice
Art: Alex Alice
Titan Comics $9.99
Matt C: I may have mentioned here before that I’m a huge supporter of Euro comics getting the ‘English translation’ treatment. I have a bunch of said translations on my ‘To Read’ pile to prove it! It allows us ignorant ‘one language only’ speakers to sample work by some top tier creators we’d otherwise miss out on completely. This one was published in France in the late ‘90s, and I believe it had a short-lived English version on the shelves about a decade ago, but now Titan have made a commitment to bringing it back for those who may have missed out the first time around (or still haven’t learnt to speak French). I have little idea what this is about, bar it’s medieval setting, but the artwork looks pretty phenomenal and it makes me jealous of a culture where a far wider spectrum of genres get the comic book treatment than we’re used to seeing over here.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Dave Wachter
Stewart R: I've a big love for 2013's Godzilla effort from James Stokoe, The Half Century War and the news that IDW are heading back to the five-part miniseries formula certainly has me interested in what they have to offer. The fact that Cullen Bunn is writing Godzilla: Cataclysm puts an instant tick in the box of quality as he's a talented writer with a broad skill base and I'm certainly keen to see what he can do with a post-apocalyptic setting where everyone's giant reptilian behemoth hero has not been seen for years and other monsters have put their backs into mankind's destruction. I will also admit that I'm judging a book by its cover a little bit here as Dave Wachter's preview work teases that same sense of great scale that Stokoe managed to attain in his book, and I can't wait to see what he brings to the table with his interiors.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Sandy Jarrell
Oni Press $19.99
Kenny J: When you compare a comic to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind you are going to instantly pique my interest. I’m a big fan of that style of cerebral science fiction that had its heyday in the 1970s and early ‘80s. When you throw Jeff Parker into the mix you’ve got a guaranteed sale. I’ve mentioned here before how I think Parker is a master of managing those character moments when simultaneously dealing with world changing events; perfect for an adventure about a teenage boy who may be the key to saving the human race from alien invasion. I’m really only aware of Sandy Jarrell from the quietly wistful art of digital comic Unfair and the beautiful cover of this OGN from Oni Press, but that alone is enough to instil confidence that this will be one gorgeous looking book.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Ivan Reis
James R: We've often commented on what a divisive and frustrating writer Grant Morrison can be. For every moment of All Star Superman or We3 genius, there's also fair chunk of incomprehensible bunkum. However, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this, as it's (allegedly) one of his last mainstream comics, and the premise alone is pretty tasty: a book eight years in the making, spanning a vast array of alternate Earths, and promising that YOU (their shout, not mine!) will be the latest hero of Earth-Prime! Can Morrison and his team of artists pull off such an ambitious goal? I don't know, but I think it's going to be fun finding out!
DARK AGES #1
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: I.N.J. Cublard
Dark Horse $3.99
Stewart R: Abnett and Culbard's New Deadwardians was a well-conceived piece of comic book fun, melding vampire and zombie tropes into an Edwardian setting, and now it seems this creative partnership is going to be bringing us a medieval tale with science fiction elements to it. The premise has a mercenary corps trudging across the land in search of battle and coin, only to stumble across beasts “born not of hell, but of somewhere else entirely”! The key here I believe will be Abnett's handling of the dialogue considering the time and setting, and while Culbard has delivered some simple, effective art on the aforementioned New Deadwardians and the recent debut of Brass Sun, I'm intrigued to see how he handles a story that may possibly call for a darker edge to his linework than we've seen before.