This is going to be bizarre.
2001 was a banner year for the comics industry. Marvel kicked serious ass, actively forcing my account near breaking point, revamping titles and assembling creative teams simply too exciting to miss. CrossGen hit stride with the arrival of Mark Waid, complementing a stable of outstanding artists, and they just picked up Chuck Dixon. The Chuck Dixon. Image and Oni continue to bring diversity to the industry, though I wish their releases were slightly more frequent…if only to have more cool books to read. And though I’ve directed many a not-so subtle barb at DC over their lack of progression…they did have several highlights this year.
But here’s the thing ladies and gentlemen…it all means nothing. 2002 is approaching and everything could be turned on its ear in a matter of months. Companies cannot simply rest on their laurels, basking in their successes from previous years. The tireless pursuit of the comic dollar must continue with reckless abandon.
Enter the good news…I’ve seen the future and judging by January’s Previews offerings, everybody is taking this shit seriously. And strange as this may sound…I’m here to gush about it. Nothing is bothering me this week, so prepare yourself for a touchy-feely edition of Ambidextrous.
Let’s break it all down.
Dark Horse Comics:
The Art of Comic Book Writing by Randy Stradley appears quite interesting, especially to an aspiring scribe such as myself. Though carrying a hefty price tag, this tome is a must-buy, if only to complement Mark Salisbury’s Writers on Comics Scriptwriting and J. Michael Straczynski’s The Complete Book of Scriptwriting on my bookshelf.
On the manga side of things, we have the final trade of Kenichi Sonoda’s Gunsmith Cats hitting the streets, and his latest series in the form of Cannon God Exaxxion, which I’m quite excited about, despite the fact that the first issue hasn’t seen release yet.
As usual, there’s also a variety of Star Wars material available, which I may just pick up, if this high from seeing the Episode II teaser trailer hasn’t worn off by then. Getting slightly off subject, I have no doubt that Attack of the Clones, despite the ridiculous name, is going to live up to the lofty expectations that the Phantom Menace didn’t satisfy for the majority of viewers. I think it’ll be interesting finding out I’m right again…
Now with that random tangent out of the way…moving along to my best buds from DC.
Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure will set me back a thin dime and leads into the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer?” saga that looks almost brilliant, and believe me, I was expecting something a lot worse. This crossover appears downright, dare I say, progressive. DC is threatening to throw a series of major curveballs into the life of the Dark Knight, and if they live up to the hype…a portion of my complaining may cease. We’ll see…
The raging Power Company stunt, consisting of seven one-shots, will go largely ignored as I prefer to wait for the regular series to begin, and for DC to abolish such trickery. The Dark Knight Strikes Again #2 is out, and it’ll be mine for only eight freakin’ bucks. If this series is anything less than revolutionary, I’m going to be quite upset.
The Superman titles will appear in my weekly stash by force of habit, and Joe Casey’s plans for Adventures of Superman #600 sound intriguing. Haven is coming home, and Joe Kelly’s in the process of beginning his run on JLA, while my fascination with The Legion will continue.
Wildstorm and Vertigo have secured a handful of guaranteed sales that will include The Establishment, The Monarchy, 100 Bullets, American Century, and The Crusades.
Athena Inc. has one of the best premises I’ve come across in a long time, and Jay Anacleto’s art is always beautiful. If only he produced more work, though I’ll happily settle with this title for the time being. Trent Kaniuga’s work on Marvel’s Ghost Rider will prompt me to check out the latest installment of his creator-owned Creed series.
Over at Top Cow, Mike Turner is making his righteous return to the comics’ world with Fathom #13, featuring Sara Pezzini and Ms. Lara Croft. Jay Faerber’s Noble Causes makes its official debut and Bendis offers up Powers #18.
Paying homage to the ones that started it all, Todd will receive my 2.50 for Spawn, and Erik Larson just may hook me into buying his Savage Dragon trade, even though I’m not fond of the book’s current direction.
Perhaps this would be more productive if I told you what I wasn’t going to buy.
All the MAX comics, including Howard the Duck come home. Moment of Silence should be golden and don’t even get me started about The Ultimates. Those that don’t believe this project won’t kick major ass on several levels are simply nuts. Mark Millar? Bryan Hitch? Can’t wait. The remainder of the Ultimate titles get their customary buys as well.
Something inside me is strangely drawn to Marvel’s Mangaverse event, and will probably check out a couple of the offerings, most notably the Fantastic Four by Adam Warren and Keron Grant. Hopefully, Ron Garney and Joe Casey will be cranking up the volume on Uncanny X-Men to match stride with the brilliant New X-Men. Origin will be wrapping up, and if the conclusion is as stunning as the first two chapters, I want the trade paperback now.
All books within the Spider-Man, and Marvel Knights lines will be purchased without hesitation, and I’m anxiously waiting to experience Greg Rucka’s take on Elektra. Anyone that’s read Queen and Country will understand. The Iron Man revamp looks promising, as does the Incredible Hulk by way of Bruce Jones. Black Panther is one of the most consistent reads available, and the stylistic pencils of CrissCross on Captain Marvel are not to be missed.
A collection of solid reads that always come out on time. Sigil, Sojourn, Scion, Crux, and Ruse secure spots within my personal archives. The Negation will probably be there too, and I’m taking a serious look at this CrossGen Illustrated trade. If it wasn’t 25 bucks, this decision would be relatively simple.
Let’s round the corner now that the power company has taken away my electricity due to my obsession with comic books.
Com X continues its Cla$$war series, and Funk-O-Tron’s Double Take concludes Joe Casey’s Codeflesh. Ashley Wood’s Popbot looks curious enough for a buy and Oni’s Queen and Country and Kissing Chaos are served up for consumption.
Just when I think it’s safe to close my wallet, something in the rear of Previews catches my eye. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One on DVD. I’ve become a recent convert to Buffy’s cause by way of re-runs and will snatch up every last one of these collector’s sets they put on the shelf.
January appears to be an interesting month in our little industry, and will prove particularly difficult on a personal level after this rampant spending finds me evicted from my apartment.
Maybe in February they’ll release some crap books so I can regroup…
Next time: The cynic has returned as we discuss late books…