Flying Below the Radar: August 2014


This is a Blog I do once a month as I read through the advance solicits for comics shipping in two months.  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 August they’re ordering the things that they’ll be selling in October, 2014.

This month we have a Free Comic Book Day preview come to light, the continuation of one of the best modern war comics, a scratch-and-sniff comic, a $1 primer on philosophy (and a bunch of other $1 comics, WOW!), a meme that could end the world, the return to print of a Grant Morrison classic after 20 years and many more comics that could have easily flown below your radar!  I cover lots of cool stuff that you may miss if you’re not reading though all the solicits like I do…  I scour the solicits so you don’t have to!

Comic shop owners are typically aware of the books from the big publishers particularly superhero stuff and “hot” indie books (usually AFTER they become hot) – beyond that there are no guarantees.  Even if they know about a particular comic they may not order it 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 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.

CREDIT: Aspen Comics                                CREDIT: Avatar

Peter Steigerwald (writer/artist)
I’ve been looking forward to this since I saw the Free Comic Book Day preview!
There IS life on other planets — THEY find it. Abros Kel is a ZooHunter — a man who is hired to capture animals for zoos on alien worlds. He and his young son Ty have lost everything due to a tragedy, and together this uncomfortable pair set out into the stars to train Ty as a ZooHunter. Along the way they encounter scores of alien life-forms on far away worlds including Qaurecoan unscrupulous rival ZooHunter who is hunting Abros down. Can Abros and Ty stay one step ahead of his villainy and prove successful in their quest?
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

WAR STORIES #1 [Avatar]
Garth Ennis (Writer) • Matt Martin (Artist)
Garth Ennis’ War Stories find a new home at Avatar with the launch of this ongoing monthly! Pulling tales from real conflicts throughout modern history, this series is where a master storyteller brings the horrors of war to life in comics. Ennis travels the timeline to pull some of the most harrowing tales of valor and bloodshed from history’s most violent battles with his trademark wit and spot-on dialogue to show the humanity within the inhuman horrors. The first story is Castles in the Sky, a tale of early bomber pilots and their incredibly difficult missions.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

CREDIT: Image Comics

Wes Craig (writer/artist)
Check out a preview of these comics on-line.  I’ve checked these out and they really appealed to me!  Presented in original landscape format.
Attention purveyors of fine comic products everywhere! You won’t want to miss this incredible offer! From the co-creator of DEADLY CLASS comes a collection of stories that stretches the limits of sequential storytelling itself!  Includes the instant classics “The Gravedigger’s Union,” “Circus Day,” and “The Seed!” Perfect for the casual hobbyist and obsessive collector alike! First time in print!
FC / 104 pg / $19.99

CREDIT: DC Comics                                       CREDIT: DC Comics

Becky Cloonan & Brendan Fletcher (writers) • Karl Kerschl (Writer)
After lamenting the general ‘sameness’ of DC comics New52 books they announced this book and it sounds different. I’m going to give it a chance!
WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange is the students!
Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!
GOTHAM ACADEMY is a new, monthly teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City, with new characters and old plus a secret tie to Gotham’s past…
FC / 32 pg / $2.99

Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (writers) • John Timms (artist)
The “scratch & sniff” issue Jimmy & Amanda were talking about at their SDCC panel!
We have to warn you, readers: This issue stinks! Seriously! Like, unpleasant odors are literally in the story! In this first-ever HQ ANNUAL, take a trip to Harley’s home of Coney Island in a groundbreaking “scent-ticular” issue, featuring actual, honest-to-gosh smells. This issue comes polybagged to contain the stench.
FC / 48 pg / $5.99

CREDIT: Dark Horse                                      CREDIT: Dark Horse

#1 for $1: Action Philosophers [Dark Horse]
Fred Van Lente (writer) • Ryan Dunlavey (artist)
For one buck you need to try this great series!!
Get a taste of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s award-winning, best-selling Action Philosophers! Read about Plato, the wrestling superstar from ancient Greece, and learn the lessons of Nietzsche, the original übermensch!
• Plus, read a preview of Fred Van Lente’s exciting new creator-owned series Resurrectionists!
BW / 32 pg / $1.00

Father’s Day #1 (of 4) [Dark Horse]
Mike Richardson (writer) • Gabriel Guzmán (artist)
As a mob enforcer he was called the Eastside Butcher, but twenty years later Silas has found peace. That is, until his abandoned daughter shows up to give him a piece of her mind . . . and unwittingly leads a legion of hit men to settle accounts with Silas!
FC / 32 pg / $3.99

CREDIT: IDW Publishing                             CREDIT: IDW Publishing

Edward Scissorhands #1 (of 5) [IDW]
Kate Leth (Writer) • Drew Rausch (Artist)
I was not excited about the announcement of this series until I heard 2 things:
1) It’s an all-new adventure revisiting Edward Scissorhands two decades after the end of the movie.
2) It’s by Drew Rausch who I’ve admired since I saw his art on his creator-owned series Sullengrey and the Haunted Mansion series from SLG in 2007. His style is perfect for this series.
In castle just outside a sleepy suburban town, a brilliant inventor created Edward Scissorhands…but left him tragically unfinished. Two generations of exile have left Edward digging through abandoned experiments, but once he wakes up a creature left buried, he discovers he isn’t the only one missing a vital piece. As Edward tries to fix a grave mistake, he comes face to face with a teenage girl who was sure he was only myth… despite the stories her grandmother told her, about the man she could never touch.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

The October Faction #1 [IDW]
Steve Niles (writer) • Damien Worm (artist)
The creative team behind Monster & Madman would like to introduce you to the ongoing adventures of retired monster-hunter Frederick Allan and his family… which include a thrill-killer, a witch, and a warlock. Because sometimes crazy is the glue that binds a family together.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

CREDIT: IDW Publishing                                  CREDIT: Image Comics

Joe Kubert’s Enemy Ace: Artist’s Edition [IDW]
Bob Kanigher (writer) • Joe Kubert (artist)
Enemy Ace has always been my favorite DC war comic from Kanigher & Kubert. Getting the opportunity to see this is full-sized Original Art format will be a rare treat! Perfect for fans of original comic art, this is not meant for someone who just wants to read the story, but for someone who really wants to appreciate the comics pages as they were originally drawn and put together for publication.
In 1968, Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert launched a new kind of war book, one that showed military conflicts from the other side of the coin. Thought by many to be Kubert’s most powerful work, Enemy Ace told the story of a World War I flyer who had a keen sense of honor and deep-rooted nobility. Kubert took this new concept and rose to the challenge. Collecting Star Spangled War Stories #139, 140, 141, 142 144 (and added bonuses!)
HC / BW / 152 Pages / 12” x 17”

WYTCHES #1 [Image]
Scott Snyder (writer) • Jock (artist)
Snyder & Jock on a creator-owned book? I’m there!
Across the globe, century after century, men and women were burned, drowned, hanged, tortured, imprisoned, persecuted, and murdered for witchcraft. None of them were witches. They died protecting a terrible and hidden truth: witches, real witches, are out there. They are ancient, elusive, and deadly creatures that are rarely seen and even more rarely survived. We’re introduced to a world of unimaginable horror in a special EXTRA-SIZED FIRST ISSUE with 30 pages of story and no ads.
FC / 32 pgs / $2.99

Birthright_01 Rasputin_01
CREDIT: Image Comics                                  CREDIT: Image Comics

BIRTHRIGHT #1 [Image/Skybound]
Josh Williamson (writer) • Andrei Bressan & Adriano Lucas (artists)
For the Rhodes family, losing their son was the most devastating thing that could’ve ever occurred… but it couldn’t prepare them for what happened when he returned. Skybound’s newest original series turns fantasy into reality in this EXTRA-SIZED FIRST ISSUE.
FC / 40 pgs / $2.99

RASPUTIN #1 [Image]
Alex Grecian (writer) • Riley Rossmo & Ivan Plascencia (artists)
In one night Rasputin was poisoned, beaten, stabbed, shot in the head, drowned, then tied up and thrown in a frozen river. It was really bad timing. His beard was just coming in nicely. Grecian & Rossmo reunite for the first time since their critically acclaimed series PROOF!
FC / 32 pgs / $3.50

CREDIT: BOOM! Studios                             CREDIT: Oni Press

MEMETIC #1 (of 3) [BOOM!]
James Tynion IV (writer) • Eryk Donovan (Artist)
A Meme is an idea that starts with an individual, and then spreads throughout multiple persons and potentially entire societies. Richard Dawkins suggests a meme’s success comes from its effectiveness to the host. But history shows that destructive memes can spread just as rapidly through society. MEMETIC shows the progression of a weaponized meme that leads to the utter annihilation of the human race within 72 hours. The root of this apocalypse is a single image on the internet, a “meme” in the popular sense. A meme that changes everything.
FC / 48 pgs / $4.99

HELLBREAK #1 [Oni Press]
Cullen Bunn (writer) • Brian Churilla (artist)
Try it for a buck!!
There are thousands of Hells, each unique, each terrible. Mega-cities ruled by vicious gangs. Empires where the most perverse are well-respected. Wastelands roamed by prehistoric monstrosities. With the proper tools and know-how — you can infiltrate Hell whether you’re dead or not. With the proper tools and know-how, you can break out. Project Kerberos has developed this forbidden technology, and a special forces extraction team is dispatched to rescue lost souls from the infernal realm.
FC / 32 pgs / $1.00

CREDIT: Valiant Entertainment                CREDIT: Valiant Entertainment

One-Dollar Debuts [Valiant]
Archer & Armstrong #1 / Harbinger #1 / Quantum & Woody #1 /
Rai #1 / Unity #1 / X-O Manowar #1

If you have not yet given any of these titles a try yet, jump on them for $1 each!
All these series are well worth checking out and the cost barrier to entry is VERY low at $1 each.  Each has their own strengths and all are great comics reading.  Ask you local shop to order these for you and you can try out the new & improved Valiant Universe on the cheap!
FC / 32 pgs / $1.00

CREDIT: Hermes Press                                     CREDIT: New Paradigm Studios

The Phantom #1 [Hermes Press]
Peter David (writer) • Sal Velluto (Artist)
The original Ghost Who Walks — The Phantom— returns in this late-1940s adventure.
This classic tale pits The Phantom against the Singh Brotherhood and their metal-handed leader who are intent on plundering an ancient fabled City of Gold. Only The Phantom, Diana and a newly found alley —taken from the pages of the first Phantom adventure— can stop them!
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

World War Mob TP [New Paradigm Studios]
Vito Delsante (writer) • Giancarlo Caracuzzo (artist)
Finally in print! I reviewed the digital release of issue #1 here.
World War II! Five men, all members of different crime families, all US soldiers, undertake a clandestine mission ordered by the heads of New York’s Five Families: for crimes against the Mafia, Mussolini must be killed. They must overcome bad blood, the Nazis, the men loyal to Mussolini and go behind the Army brass’ backs to do it for “La Cosa Nostra!”
FC / 100 pgs / $12.99

CREDIT: Rebellion/2000 AD                                 CREDIT: Storm King Productions

Zenith: Phase One HC [Rebellion/2000 AD]
Grant Morrison (writer) • Steve Yeowell (artist)
Available for the first time in 20 years, the legendary early work by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell! Berlin, 1945: The allies unleashed the World War II hero Maximan upon the German super soldier Masterman. Maximan’s defeat was only kept secret by the nuclear bomb which destroyed both men. Forty-plus years later, and twenty years after a generation of ’60s British superpowered heroes came and went, the teenage pop star Zenith is the only superhuman left – and his only interest in women, drugs, alchohol and fame. So when he is contacted about the threat from the many-angled ones and the impending destruction of our world, his first reaction is to steer well clear. But the superhumans of the past have other plans!
B&W HC / 112 pgs / $25.00

Bruce Jones & Various (writers) • Leonardo Manco (artist)
I’ve seen (but not yet read) a review copy and the art is AWESOME!
There’s a war coming to the City of Angels. In the tunnels and dark alleys of the city, demons lurk… and Lucifer bides his time. One man knows and sees the truth. Father Daniel Beckett has seen demons and he’s spoken to the Devil, but he can’t say the same about God or his angels. Obsessed and driven as much by betrayal as righteousness and anger as redemption, he walks the smoke-filled homeless encampments of lost souls, like Dante’s nine rings of the Inferno. He is God’s warrior… at war with God. With this step into the comic book world, John Carpenter brings it all to the serial world he’s loved since childhood. Supernatural horror with that twist of fate that only flawed mankind can provide!
FC / 128 pgs / $19.99

Bob Bretall: Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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