Flying Below the Radar: December 2014


by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

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 December they’re ordering the things that they’ll be selling in February, 2015.

This month we have a lot of great items that could have flown below your radar!  A charming all-ages webcomic comes to print at a popular price, digital comics in print format for people who just love paper, and Archie continues their revival of the Red Circle heroes with a more mature twist.  Lots of new original series, a new #100 for a red-headed she-devil with a sword, 50 issues for a beloved Goon, and a new twist for the Valiant Universe.  The legendary body of work by Jim Steranko at Marvel is completed in Artist’s Edition Format, some of the most epic super-hero art ever in all it’s original glory.  Check out these 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.

Most of the items shown here are things you may 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: Action Lab                                                          CREDIT: Archie Comics

Katie Cook (Writer/Artist)
Gronk is a monster… and not a very good one. Follow Gronk’s adventures as she leaves the monster world and joins up with her new family! Enjoy the first year’s worth of comics from this popular, all-ages webcomic in a wonderful, full color collection (the webcomic is B&W)!
FC / 64 pgs / $9.99

THE BLACK HOOD #1 [Archie]
Duane Swierczynski (Writer) • Michael Gaydos (Artist)
New Ongoing Series! “The Bullet’s Kiss,” Part 1 of 5. When Philadelphia police officer Greg Hettinger stepped into the middle of a gunfight, hot lead shredded his face-and he pulled the trigger, blind. Now Greg is waking up in a world where he’s a killer, hopelessly scarred and hooked on painkillers. What does a man do when he can no longer face the world, yet still wants to do good? He puts on a hood.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

CREDIT: BOOM! Studios                        CREDIT: BOOM! Studios

CLUSTER #1 [BOOM! Studios]
Ed Brisson (Writer) • Damian Couceiro (Artist)
In the distant future, as mankind discovers life on other planets, it needs soldiers to defend its colonies and outposts across the stars. In order to increase the number of boots on the ground, criminals are offered the opportunity to serve in the place of incarceration. But as wars wage on and more soldiers are needed, small-time crimes are given long-term punishments. When a group of prisoners serving their time as soldiers become stranded and abandoned on a war-torn planet, they’ll need to work together to survive and uncover the truth behind Earth’s role in deep space.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

CURB STOMP#1 (OF 4) [BOOM! Studios]
Ryan Ferrier (Writer) • Devaki Neogi (Artist)
Punk rock isn’t dead…yet. Turf wars, breaking rules, crushing violence, and Black Flag—these are a few of our favorite things! Three gangs. Five girls. No way out. Machete Betty leads a small gang of women under the self-appointed task of protecting their home of Old Beach, one of three boroughs surrounding a rich metropolitan city. When Betty takes the life of a rival gang member in an act of self-defense, she sets off a chain reaction of retaliation, gang warfare, and unlikely allies. It’s up to the The Fever—Machete Betty, Derby Girl, Bloody Mary, Daisy Chain, and Violet Volt—to defend their turf at all costs.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

CREDIT: Dynamite                                     CREDIT: Oni Press

RED SONJA #100 [Dynamite]
various (Writer) • various (Artist)
100 issues and probably 1000+ variant covers!
Past and present Sonja scribes Gail Simone (current monthly writer), Luke Lieberman (the man behind Queen Sonja), Mike Oeming (the first scribe of Red Sonja’s tenure at Dynamite), Eric Trautmann (who swept Sonja across the many Hyborian kingdoms), and Roy Thomas (the man who started it all back at Marvel Comics) pair up with beloved artists for this phenomenal five-story, supersized anthology, celebrating Red Sonja and her many roles and sojourns throughout the Hyborian Age!
FC / 48 pgs / $7.99

Jamie S. Rich (Writer) • Megan Levens (Artist)
Will Ares, a successful divorce lawyer, finds himself working alongside Gigi Averelle, a wedding planner, when their respective clients — movie producer Evans Beatty and Hollywood starlet Carrie Cartwright — plan to marry. As Beatty’s ex-wives come out of the woodwork to cause mayhem, Gigi and Will make a bet — Gigi agrees to go on a date with Will if Evans and Carrie really do go through with the wedding. Should they break up, however, Will must reveal, in a full-page newspaper ad, how many marriages he’s ruined. Is Will a fool for love, or is this the start of a beautiful relationship?
168 pgs / $19.99

CREDIT: Valiant                                        CREDIT: Valiant

IMPERIUM #1 [Valiant Next]
Joshua Dysart (Writer) • Doug Braithwaite (Artist)
Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet.
Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

DIVINITY #1 (OF 4) [Valiant Next]
Matt Kindt (Writer) • Trevor Hairsine (Artist)
At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent a man farther into the cosmos than anyone has gone before or since. Lost in the stars, he encountered something unknown. Something that…changed him.
Long thought lost and erased from the history books, he has suddenly returned, crash-landing in the Australian Outback. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Earth is about to meet a new god. And he’s a communist.
How long can it be before the first confrontation between mankind and DIVINITY begins?
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

bandette2 eight1
CREDIT: Dark Horse Comics                   CREDIT: Dark Horse Comics

BANDETTE Vol. 2 HC [Dark Horse]
Paul Tobin (Writer) • Coleen Coover (Artist)
The digital series is back to steal readers’ hearts once again! The Great Thieving Race is on, as Bandette and rival Monsieur compete to steal priceless artifacts from a criminal organization. But its response could make this Bandette’s final crime spree! Collects Bandette #6-9, first time in print! Includes “Urchin Stories” by guest artists Jonathan Hill, Lucy Bellwood, and Sheli Hayand plus new extras!
128 pgs / $14.99

EI8HT #1 [Dark Horse]
Rafael Albuquerque/Mike Johnson (Writers) • Rafael Albuquerque (Artist)
Welcome to the Meld, an inhospitable dimension in time where Joshua, a chrononaut, finds himself trapped. With no memory or feedback from the team of scientists that sent him, he can’t count on anything but his heart and a stranger’s voice to guide him to his destiny.
32 pgs / $3.50

girlfriend goon1b
CREDIT: Dark Horse Comics                   CREDIT: Dark Horse Comics

Arnold & Jacob Pander (Writers/Artists)
The Pander brothers are back and bloodthirsty with Girlfiend–their new vampire crime thriller! This meaty graphic novel finds the brothers doing what they do best: Taking comics to the edge. Sink your teeth into this pulp-infused thriller, as a human and his vampire girlfriend must hunt the criminal underworld to keep their love alive!
B&W / 280 pgs / $19.99

Eric Powell (Writer/Artist)
After the tragic events of Occasion of Revenge, the witch coven believes that control of the unnamed town will soon be in their grasp and the Goon’s tragic soul will contribute to the curse that increases their power. But has their plot destroyed the Goon or created a monster too savage for them to withstand?
32 pgs / $3.50

steranko-fury-and-cap-VARIANT-c222f steranko-fury-and-cap-REG-2-a2cb8
CREDIT: IDW Publishing/Marvel                CREDIT: IDW Publishing/Marvel

Jim Steranko (Writer/Artist)
Available with either a Nick Fury -OR- a Captain America cover!
This volume contains the second half of Steranko’s Marvel work, when he was at the very peak of his artistic powers, producing the stories that built his reputation and made him the renowned creator he is.
Contained in this volume are Strange Tales #163-168, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-3, 5, Captain America #110, 111, 113, as well as select extras. This Artist’s Edition will also feature the legendary four-page foldout as a massive double gatefold!
As with the first Steranko Artist’s Edition, the artist is handling all the design chores himself, making this truly a complete Steranko production! As a “net discount” item, the price listed is what your comic shop pays. Your price will vary based on your local shop’s mark-up.  Not cheap, but a fraction of what you would pay for even a single page of the actual original art.
These are made for comics art aficionados and while they can be read like a comic, they are not primarily intended for people who just want to read the story, other regular collected editions are a far cheaper way to get just the story.
B&W / 256 Pages / $112.50 net discount item / 12″ x 17″

CREDIT: IDW Publishing                       CREDIT: IDW Publishing

D4VE #1 [IDW]
Ryan Ferrier (Writer) • Valentin Ramon (Artist)
Primetime TV; mortgages; traffic jams. The robots conquered earth, wiping out all life in the galaxy, but nothing changed. Meet D4VE, the greatest robot war hero, now trapped behind a desk at a soul-sucking day job. Can something, somewhere snap him out of this slump? This is D4VE’s mid-life. Crisis. Also available with a variant cover by Fiona Staples.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

Robert Lazaro & Eric Gignac (Writers) • Steve Erwin (Artist)
An all-new series, based on the story by sci-fi master Robert A. Heinlein! Citizen of the Galaxy is an interstellar action/adventure coming of age tale! Just outside our galaxy the atrocities of slavery thrive, and young Thorby is just another orphaned boy sold at auction. But when he crosses paths with a mysterious crippled beggar, his destiny is forever changed.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

Postal-01-7de5c Surface-01-36375
CREDIT: Image Comics                            CREDIT: Image Comics

POSTAL #1 [Image]
Bryan Hill & Matt Hawkins (Writers) • Isaac Goodheart (Artist)
The townsfolk of Eden, Wyoming wake up to the first official murder the town has seen in 25 years. Their reaction to this isn’t normal, and there’s a reason for that. Eden operates as a haven for fugitive criminals who remain here while new identities, often including facial reconstruction, are created for them. There is zero tolerance for any illegal activity that might draw attention to the town and an “official murder” is the last thing they want. A single, tight-knit family runs Eden with the youngest oddball son Mark Shiffron overseeing the postal branch, the only means of shipping in or out of the city. THE FBI has repeatedly been foiled trying to insert an undercover here; they see Mark as the weak link to exploit. This murder gives them a new opportunity.
FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

THE SURFACE #1 [Image]
Ales Kot (Writer) • Langdon Foss (Artist)
Welcome to Africa in this mind-bending action SF epic. Ebola is no longer a problem. The West and the East are moving in—and three hacker lovers are searching Tanzania for the place that can change everything: THE SURFACE!
FC / 32 pgs / $3.50

Hinges-01-0e130 Avengers_Rage_of_Ultron_OGN_Cover-590x900
CREDIT: Image Comics                                    CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Meredith McClaren (Writer/Artist)
New to the city of Cobble, Orio must depend on help wherever she can find it, but her assigned familiar Bauble has other interests. And as the two explore the walls of their city, they find that they are not the only new arrivals.
FC / 112 pgs / $15.99

Rick Remender (Writer) • Jerome Opeña (Artist)
It was another glorious victory for the Mighty Avengers. Good triumphed over evil and Ultron was shot into space, never to be seen again. Or so they thought. Now, years later, the homicidal artificial intelligence — so long devoted to ending life on Earth — has found a new world to conquer…one with its own horrific legacy. When Titan, birthplace of Thanos, falls, Planet Ultron rises in its place! Thanos’ brother Starfox must seek the aid of his former allies — but the Avengers he finds are radically different from the ones he once knew. Among them is Ultron’s creator Giant-Man — and when Hank Pym confronts his now planet-sized “son,” the responsibilities of fatherhood have never loomed so large.
FC / 120 pgs / $24.99

L+R New 7 SUICIDERS-cover1-e4c26
CREDIT: Fantagraphics                                             CREDIT: DC/Vertigo

Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez (Writers/Artists)
Yes, new Love & Rockets stories are still coming out!
The seventh annual volume of Love and Rockets: New Stories, the most important and enduring alternative comics series in the history of the medium, finds Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez writing and drawing at the top of their game. In Jaime’s stories, Maggie and Hopey take a much-needed break from their humdrum domestic lives and go on a road trip to visit a “sick friend.” And, when the cat’s away, Ray visits some old, sick friends of his own. Plus Tonta’s nutty family! Gilbert offers a suite of stories, including “The Magic Voyage of Aladdin,” a sweeping epic of derring-do in which Morgan Le Fey (Fritz) teams up with Aladdin to stop the evil Circle from obtaining the magic lamp; “The Golem Suit,” a WWII sci-fi thriller starring “Killer”; and “Daughters and Mothers and Daughters,” in which flashbacks to Luba’s mother Maria reveal how ugly secrets of the past affect their family today.
B&W / 100 pgs / $14.99

SUICIDERS #1 [DC/Vertigo]
Lee Bermejo (Writer/Artist)
In the post-apocalyptic city of New Angeles, killing isn’t just a crime – it’s entertainment.
When the “big one” finally hit the West Coast, Los Angeles was left in ruins. And when the U.S. government decided to cut the city loose, things went from bad to worse. To survive, L.A. did what it does best: It turned survival into entertainment.
Now, thirty years later, the city of New Angeles is thriving once more thanks to the blood sport known as SUICIDERS – a TV series that combines the spectacle of hand-to-hand combat with elaborate, high-tech obstacles that test each competitor’s ability to survive. But these competitors have an edge: They’ve been freakishly enhanced by drugs and technology. The results are both marvelous and monstrous, as the man called The Saint begins to rise above his fellow Suiciders.FC / 32 pgs / $3.99

Bob Bretall: Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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