Every month Diamond releases the 400+ page Previews catalog, a guide to everything available in the world of comics and geekdom two months from now. Such a massive volume can be a terror to make it through. This guide is designed to highlight some of the great things coming to the world of comics in July of 2011. This installment covers upcoming titles from Dark Horse, DC Comics, and IDW Publishing.
Dark Horse Comics opens their section of the catalog with Dollhouse: Epitaphs. Based on the two season Joss Whedon-created television series, this book follows the events of both the television series and the previous one shot and should be a treat for Whedon fans awaiting the release of new Buffy and Angel comics.
BPRD returns with Hell on Earth: Monsters issue 1 of 2. For the first time in years, the present day stories of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense will not be drawn by Guy Davis. Davis has moved on to other projects, though new artist Tyler Crook promises to slip in quite nicely to continue the second half of the tale Davis started in the previous Gods limited series.
One of the strangest comic licenses Dark Horse has ever picked up starts a four issue limited series this month.Kult is based on a rather obscure role-playing game that revolved around a bunch of weird cults and Gnostic teachings. Despite not really being noticeable in the RPG community for a few years, Dark Horse and writer Jeremy Barlow seemed to have picked up the license and ran with it.
DC’s solicitations seem to be mostly filled with continuing Flashpoint limited series, but a few highlights do step out from inside the mess of stories. First up is The New Teen Titans: Games, a graphic novel 25 years in the making. New Teen Titans creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez unite to produce a book that by all accounts should be absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, like most DC book solicitations, this is an early solicit, and Games doesn’t hit stores until September 7th.
DC Retroactive is a new summer initiative at DC to bring back classic takes on their most famous characters, most by their original classic creative teams. This month they will have titles based on 70s characters, with 80s and 90s versions on the way shortly after. The solicitations seem a little early, as none actually show art from the projects, but a few of the titles stand out.
DC Retroactive: Wonder Woman – The 70s brings back the classic white-garbed powerless version of Wonder Woman. Written by frequent contributor Dennis O’Neil (as the regular writer/artist of that era, Mike Sekowsky, passed away in 1989), the book has art by modern comic impresario J. Bone. Though his style is far different than Sekowsky’s, his retro-cartoon style should fit the book perfectly.
DC Retroactive: Green Lantern – The 70s also features writer Dennis O’Neil, who as Denny O’Neil wrote some of GL’s most famous adventures (in the legendary Green Lantern/Green Arrow run with Neal Adams). This time around he’s joined by the artist that took over from Adams, Mike Grell (Jon Sable Freelance, Green Arrow), to produce a new classic Hal Jordan adventure.
Finally DC Retroactive: The Flash – The 70s brings back a man that wrote more Flash stories than anybody: Cary Bates. Bates recently wrote a very, very good (and alas, uncollected) Marvel series called True Believers that really showed how much he grew as a writer from his days working at the Bronze Age DC Comics. Even then, Flash was the best of his work. His long time collaborator Carmine Infantino is retired (and seems to be in bad standings with DC after a 2004 lawsuit), but Spanish artist Benito Gallego’s John Buscema-inspired art should fit the project quite nicely.
Wonder Woman 613 brings the final chapter of the 13 part “Odyssey” story arc started by J. Michael Straczynski and written by Eastern Iowan Phil Hester. Look for this issue to reconcile the Wonder Woman of the past 12 issues with her more traditional DC counterpart, though how that will happen remains to be seen.
IDW opens their section with a book that seems more appropriate for this month then July: Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition. The oversized hardcover reprints seven issues of Simonson’s classic run on the Marvel character, all from the original (gorgeous) inked pages. Hopefully this will be the start of more multi-publisher collaborations from IDW and the great artists of comic history.
Joe Hill has become something of a comic legend with his amazing series Locke & Key. Now he’s debuting his second original series The Cape alongside co-writer Jason Ciaramella. The story seems to focus around a normal man that found a cape that makes him superhuman, and has nothing to do with the poorly-received NBC series.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, video game action hero Duke Nukem finally gets a comic series with the four issue Glorious Bastard. If the games are any example (the fourth of which will be available soon after a decade plus wait), the book will feature large amounts of raunchy humor and one-liners wrapped around an insane action story. The book could be surprisingly good fun.
Our next installment will cover upcoming titles from Marvel and Image Comics, while our third comic covers the massive second half of the Previews catalog.
As always, all the titles listed here are available for order at comic shops worldwide, including Cedar Rapids/Marion’s Alter Ego and Iowa City’s Daydreams.