Flying Below the Radar: March 2014

FlyingBelowThe Radar-logo

This is a new Blog I’ll do once a month as I read through the advance solicits for comics shipping in two months.  In case people don’t know, every month your local comic shop (LCS) places orders with Diamond Comics for what comics will be on their rack two months down the road.  That means in March they’re ordering the stuff that they’ll be selling in May.

Comic shop owners are typically aware of the books from the big publishers particularly superhero stuff and “hot” indie books (AFTER they become hot) – beyond that there are no guarantees.  Even if they know about comics they may not order it all to put out on their racks.  I keep track of advance solicits that get posted on-line on the ComicSpectrum website each month, if there is something you really want that’s not guaranteed going to be on the rack (like Batman or Avengers), you should consider letting your comic shop know you’re interested so they’ll know to order it.

I’ll point out stuff here each month that catches my eye and I typically do not see on the racks in every comic shop.  If it looks cool to you, make sure you ask your LCS to order it.  Heck, start a pull list at your shop and add the books you’re interested in so your shop will save them for you and you don’t have to worry about them selling out.

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The Eltingville Club #2 (Dark Horse)
Evan Dorkin (W/A/Cover) – Dorkin is an Eisner and Harvey award winner
Issue #1 may have flown below your radar in February!
This is it! The final meeting of the Eltingville Comic Book, Science-Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, and Role-Playing Club! Ten years after the club’s breakup, Bill, Josh, Pete, and Jerry unexpectedly reunite at the San Diego Comic-Con. Can the biggest fan event of the year survive a decade of pent-up nerd rage?

The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of “Usagi Yojimbo” HC (Dark Horse)
Arthur Adams (A), Michael Allred (A), Sergio Aragonés (A), Howard Chaykin (A), Richard Corben (A), Dave Gibbons (A), Michael Golden (A), Matt Groening (A), Adam Hughes (A), David Mack (A), Alex Maleev (A), Mike Mignola (A), Bill Morrison (A), Paolo Rivera (A), Tim Sale (A), Walter Simonson (A), Jeff Smith (A), Paul Smith (A), William Stout (A), and many others!
The most amazing artists in the world have come together to celebrate thirty years of Stan Sakai’s marvelous samurai rabbit saga, Usagi Yojimbo. The participating artists bring their own interpretations and their own styles to the subject, making this book a one-of-a-kind treasure.  Produced in association with the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS). All proceeds from this book will go to Stan and Sharon Sakai.  Sharon is under home medical care and the costs are not fully covered by insurance.

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Star Trek: New Visions #1: The Mirror, Cracked (IDW)
John Byrne (writer, artist & photo-manipulation)
John Byrne once again sets sail aboard the Starship: Enterprise, this time with an All-new “photonovel” story set in the Mirror Universe!

LOLA XOXO #2 (Aspen)
Written and art by Siya Oum.
Issue #1 may have flown below your radar in February!
In the “Wasteland,” Lola, a young woman with a resolve fortified by a lifetime of survival on her own, must journey across the nuclear-decimated United States in order to find the family that was taken from her! As her quest for the truth begins, Lola uncovers the true inhumanity of the Apocalypse, as those who seek to hold power in a new frontier, will do so at all bloody costs-including her life!
In #2, Lola becomes a recruit for the notorious Wasteland Trading Company, but their true intentions may not fit with her own motives for survival. Meanwhile, a rogue group of carnies manage to escape from their delirious carnival, and Lola finds herself as the person responsible for retrieving this wild — and dangerous — bunch!

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C.O.W.L. #1 (Image)
story: KYLE HIGGINS & ALEC SIEGEL
art: ROD REIS
Welcome to the “Chicago Organized Workers League”—the world’s first Super-Hero Labor Union! While C.O.W.L. once stood as a beacon of hope against an epidemic of organized crime and an unbeatable “brotherhood” of Super-Villains, the union now faces its fiercest foe yet—a disillusioned public. In targeting the last of the great villains, C.O.W.L. attempts to prove its value to the world and to each other, while staving off villainy from both outside and inside its offices.

TALES FROM THE CON: YEAR ONE (Image)
story: BRAD GUIGAR
art / cover : CHRIS GIARRUSSO
Collects the first year of TALES FROM THE CON along with bonus material
If you’ve been to a comic convention, you’ll recognize the scenes in TALES FROM THE CON, the irreverent webcomic that has appeared on the Emerald City Comicon website since 2012. Written by Eisner-nominee BRAD GUIGAR (HOW TO MAKE WEBCOMICS, Evil Inc.) and illustrated by CHRIS GIARRUSSO (G-MAN, Mini Marvels), TALES FROM THE CON is an uproarious take on the world of comic books and conventions. Fanboys, fangirls, cosplayers, retailers, volunteers, and pros repeatedly collide on the convention floor (and beyond) to prove that comic conventions are one part festival, two parts group therapy.

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AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE #7 (Archie)
Written by Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, art by Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli, cover by Francesco Francavilla
“Betty, R.I.P.,” Part 1 (of 6): “Thanksgiving.” It’s been weeks since Archie and his friends left Riverdale. Now, they are wandering the deserted highways of America, one step ahead of the ever-pursuing vicious zombie horde. When they decide to set down roots to observe their first post-apocalypse Thanksgiving, Mr. Lodge leads a team into the forests of Pennsylvania to find dinner, but the hunters soon become the hunted, and not all of the gang will make it out of the woods alive!

UBER #13
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Cover & Art: Gabriel Andrade
“Uber Year II” continues to change the way we look at altered history stories as KIERON GILLEN’s war epic rages on. Katyusha was a misfit to the end. When she activated as an Uber, she escaped and wandered the countryside hoping to make it all the way to the Ukraine. But Russia sacrificed everything to make its own tank-men and the Soviet Union would not let someone so powerful walk away. Now Katyusha has found a new home…but the horrors of war are never far behind.

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THE WOODS #1 (Boom!)
Written by James Tynion IV, art by Michael Dialynas
On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.

LUMBERJANES #2 (Boom! Box)
Written by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, art by Brooke Allen
Issue #1 may have flown below your radar in February!
When you’re a scout, nothing is more important than being prepared, but how do you prepare for legions of supernatural creatures threatening to beat down your scouting camp’s door? Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are about to find out! It’s just supposed to be a normal day at camp with games and a bit of canoeing, but when the girls find themselves separated from the rest of camp they realize there really is a lot more going on and it might be a unhelpful river monster that gives them the key to figuring out what is really going on.

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DOCTOR SPEKTOR: MASTER OF THE OCCULT #1 (Dynamite)
Written by Mark Waid, art by Neil Edwards
Another of Dynamite’s Gold Key relaunches.
TV Legend. Wall Street Wolf. Internet Mogul. Tabloid Bad Boy. Master Metaphysicist. Spiritualist. Monster Hunter. Doctor Adam Spektor is all of these things… and less. For fifteen years, Spektor has traveled the globe to smoke out and defeat werewolves, vampires, ghosts and everything else that goes bump in the night. Yet his success has brought him no peace.. some part of him is missing; something he needs but can’t name. But he’s about to find what’s missing… in an unlikely place.

THE SHADOW: MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW #1 (Dynamite)
Written, art and cover by Howard Chaykin.
Even if you are not normally a Dynamite or Shadow fan, you might want to check this out if you like Chaykin.
New Year’s, 1950–The end of a tumultuous decade… and Lamont Cranston, the man the world and the underworld know all too well as The Shadow, has had enough. It’s time for the mysterious nemesis of crime to hang up his cloak, his slouch hat, and his twin .45s, and retire from public life… But despite this momentous decision, Margo Laine and the rest of The Shadow’s agents fear that mankind, teetering on the brink of nuclear armageddon, may not be quite ready to be bereft of the dark avenger.

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RAI #1 (Valiant)
Written by MATT KINDT  Art by CLAYTON CRAIN
If you have not checked out Valiant yet, here’s a good place to start!
The year is 4001 A.D. – led by the artificial intelligence called “Father,” the island nation of Japan has expanded out of the Pacific and into geosynchronous orbit with the ravaged Earth below. With billions to feed and protect, it has fallen to one solitary guardian to enforce the law of Father’s empire – the mysterious folk hero known as Rai. They say he can appear out of nowhere. They say he is a spirit…the ghost of Japan. But when the first murder in a thousand years threatens to topple Father’s benevolent reign, Rai will be forced to confront the true face of a nation transformed…and his own long-lost humanity…

DRYSPELL # 1 (Action Lab)
Writer/Artist: Ken Krekeler
Tom Ferris lives in a world of costumes and wonder. Figures streaking across the sky, hurling themselves over rooftops at night. They are commonplace. But Tom doesn’t notice that world anymore. His world is made up of spreadsheets, phone bills, software, coffee, collared shirts. Every night, he lies awake, wishing to be the man he once was. Today, Tom gets his wish. And the world will never forget him again.

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ATOMIC ROBO: KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE #1 (OF 5) (Red 5)
(W) Brian Clevinger (A/CA) Scott Wegener
One of the most consistently entertaining series out there and SO MANY shops just don’t rack it.
There was an explosion, some crystals, a lot of lava, and several nuclear warheads. Plus, a crazy time-traveling dinosaur. Now it’s 1884 and Atomic Robo is up against the notorious “Butcher Boys.” The fate of the West is at stake, but can Atomic Robo save the day before his nuclear fuel runs dry?

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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