Insideman’s Pull List™ TWO WEEK SPECIAL: Hot Hardcover, Graphic Novel & Manga Picks for 4.18.12 & 4.25.12!

Yes, we’re back to this CRAP.

Had to take the last week “off” for obvious reasons. But I have returned with a vengeance… I think. It’s been a very long two weeks– punctuated by the need to upgrade the upstairs computer in my Mom’s house. (That was fun.) I would have used the Awesome Super Computer™ in the downstairs lair but there’s no telling what Mom would have gotten up to without supervision… As she tends to get very mischievous when nobody’s looking. Just trying to get her to sit down and rest for a few minutes is an exhausting tasks… And if I wasn’t upstairs keeping a keen eye on her, she’d probably start refinishing the floors.

The computer situation– while trying to help run a website– has been the most interesting. I actually did last week’s Rate the Covers! post on THREE different computers over a span of 2 days. When I told Jose about it, he said it would have been “perfectly okay” for me not to do it. I could literally hear him shaking his head as he said that, once again marveling at me dogged stupidity.

The following listings will cover the most complete Hardcover, Graphic Novels & Manga released for the last two weeks… And there might even be a few surprises. Please keep in mind I’m a little crabbier than usual (Oh, Yay!) And crabby can translate into extremely sarcastic or nasty real quick.

I would be very remiss if I didn’t thank profusely all that have wished my Mom well. Thank you for all your kind thoughts and good vibes. It worked! She’s on the mend.

Now on with the great, the mediocre and… The ugly.

I’m getting so damn redundant with these two, I’m starting to feel like I am on the Jimmy Palmiotti – Amanda Conner payroll. But I could think of much worse places to be, believe me. Plus excellence demands attention. This week’s pick from this dynamic husband/wife duo is actually a solo effort. This book is all Amanda– all the time.

And yes, Locusmortis (and a couple of hundred others who rightly chastised me when I first wrote I didn’t like Art Books those many months ago)… It’s a fucking ART BOOK. Mea culpa, mea culpa. Good God Almighty, I have seen the light!

But truth be told, if this was the “old Ian”, he would have bought The Art of Amanda Conner anyway… Because, well, the “old Ian” is in love with Amanda Conner. And I do NOT use the word “love” because Amanda’s (obviously) a woman. I’m in love with a lot of different Dudes and their work too.

Why do I love Amanda Conner’s art? Let me count the ways: It’s gorgeous. Sumptuous. Pops off the page.

But mainly why? Because Amanda knows there’s a segment of fanboys who perv out on scantily clad female superheroes… But unlike a lot of popular artists who have gained their status pandering to these dorks, Amanda never does… No matter how adult the material she produces.

She celebrates the female form… And offers up beautiful images of mature women with a joy and effortless savvy unrivaled by her male counterparts. While some artists can’t seem to draw women as anything more than overdeveloped underage strippers (*cough* David Finch *cough*), Amanda never shies away from the adult side of comics and finds a way to portray such scenes with a knowing, mature sarcasm dripping from every pencil stroke.

Amanda gets the comic art form like few of her peers do… Or probably ever will.

My only wish? That Amanda were more prolific. C’mon Amanda, throw us some more art! One book is not enough!

Art Of Amanda Conner HC - HOT Pick of the Week!
Astonishing X-Men Exalted HC
Batman Knightfall Vol 1 (New Print) – Been there, read that
Black Orchid Deluxe Edition HC – See above, enjoyed BATS more…
Chew Vol 5 Major League Chew - Recommended
Classics Illustrated Deluxe Edition Vol 8 Oliver Twist HC
Classics Illustrated Deluxe Edition Vol 8 Oliver Twist SC
Connie Menace of Mo Tung
Cruisin’ With Hound Life & Times Toote
Daken Dark Wolverine Big Break – Own the Hardcover
Dark Shadows The Best of the Original Series - Own the Hardcovers
Dark Tower Battle Of Jericho Hill - Own the Hardcover
Darkhawk Classic Vol 1 - Fun it can be, “classic” it ain’t!
Domino Lady Blonde Ambition Ltd Ed HC
Dream Reavers
Dungeon & Dragons Vol 3 Down HC
Essential Daredevil Vol 1 New Edition
Essential Hulk Vol 4 (New Print)
Fear Itself Wolverine New Mutants HC
Frazetta Funny Stuff HC
Gears Of War Vol 2
Gotham Central Book 4 Corrigan - Recommended
Grimm Fairy Tales Different Seasons Vol 2
I’m Not A Plastic Bag HC
Incredible Hulk Pardoned
Jerusalem Chronicles From the Holy City HC
Leviathan (Simon & Schuster Edition)
Mass Effect Vol 3 Invasion
Michael Turner Soulfire Definitive Edition Vol 1 – Not for me
MMW Daredevil Vol 3
Penguins of Madagascar Vol 1
Play Ball HC
Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City
Red Hulk Hulk Of Arabia - Own the Hardcover
Showcase Presents The Spectre Vol 1 - Recommended
Sinbad the Legacy Campfire
Sixth Gun Vol 3 - Runner-up Pick of the Week!
Spider-Man Flying Blind HC
Star Wars Invasion Vol 3 Revelations
Stormwatch Vol 1 HC – This seems like a cash grab
Superman Secrets Of The Fortress Of Solitude
True Blood Vol 3 The French Quarter HC
Turok Son of Stone Archives Vol 10 HC
Ultimate Comics X Origins - Own the Hardcover, unfortunately
Wolverine Wolverine’s Revenge – See above
X-Force Toy Soldiers Premiere HC
X-Men War Machines HC

Air Gear Vol 23
GTO The Early Years Vol 12
Yotsuba & ! Vol 1

You say you like Westerns? Then this is the book for you. You say you DON’T like Westerns? Then The Sixth Gun is still the comic for you.

Yeah, it’s that kinda book. The kind that makes people who like Westerns eat it up… And also the kind of comic that makes you totally forget that it’s set during the time period of cowpokes and gunslingers. Filled with mysticism, engaging mysteries, inveterate liars, cheats and the occasional demon (and a few guns, of course), The Sixth Gun Vol 3: Bound continues an epic tale that melds and transcends all the genres and stereotypes one might attempt to pigeonhole it with.

And it really isn’t set in the “Wild West” per se anyway… As the story revolves around New Orleans and the surrounding Louisiana Bayou– an area always perfect for wacky exploitation. (True Blood fans take note.) And this comic isn’t about bath-deprived, hard-bitten gunmen constantly testing their testosterone levels by calling each other out. It is so much more.

Used to be when you heard one of your indie faves, like Sixth Gun creator Cullen Bunn, got hired by the Big Two… You’d cheer. But after the lackluster mainstream work produced by the likes of Mike Carey, Jonathan Hickman, Jason Aaron and Nick Spencer– every time I see one of these announcements now, a tiny piece of hope inside me actually dies. Sixth Gun is so smart though, I fully expect more from Mr. Bunn. He may be the one to finally break what some of us have come to call The Marvel Curse.

Maybe this is the new definition for Comic Fan Insanity… Expecting a different outcome when faced with the same result time after time. No matter how much the mainstream behemoths seem to beat the talent and uniqueness out of Carey, Hickman, Aaron and Spencer– they all seem to bounce back with riveting independent work… Still giving us something to look forward to.

But what if Bunn can’t overcome the heavy hand of Marvel Editorial… The same group that has muted most of Marvel’s new breed of “Architects”? Well, hopefully we’ll have The Sixth Gun around to soothe our wounds for a very, very long time.

I was really pissed I couldn’t squeeze in the time to comment on last week’s book last week (bigger concerns, of course, took precedence). But the vast amount of hardcovers, graphic novels and manga released for 4.18.12 was fucking unbelievable. Yes, I’m back to my repetitive complaint of the Distributor not controlling product flow properly. Just a few books delayed by a week here or there would have made all the difference on this list and my wallet.

THERE WERE FIVE OMNIBI RELEASED ON 4.18.12!

Are you fucking kidding me? 4 different companies released them (Marvel, of course, was the only repeat offender with 2)… So this is more a distributor problem. If Diamond had any negotiating power… Any at all… They could discuss a situation such as this with their supposed “publishing partners” and delay one (preferably 2) expensive volumes to the next week or so. The publishers could all rotate on a simple list stating who has delay a big-ticket book next. That way no one would feel unfairly picked on. But as it stands, nobody seems to give a rat’s ass about the consumer. Nobody.

If they did, they wouldn’t do this again… Ever.

I spent $588.82 on comic book hardcovers, trades and manga on Wednesday 4.18.12– and some items were discounted by 50%! If I wasn’t on my “new” Stop Buying Shit™ campaign (I know, it only took me two years to heed my partner’s good advice), I would have spent well over $700 US last week… And that’s just friggin’ ridiculous. To compare, I spent $152.74 for the week of 4.25.12– this coming week looks to be even less expensive.

If the publishers don’t give a shit about their paying customers, when are they (and the distributor) going to realize they are hurting themselves? Many people feel turned off and pissed on when the industry dumps so much product in one week. It makes them question their role in the hobby. Retailers loathe the huge invoices associated with these dump weeks. It truly is out of line.

I am currently reading the Amazing Spider-man Hardcover featuring the Electro story– where the supervillain uses his amped up powers and some YouTube video rants (airing his distaste for how Wall Street mismanaged his ill-gotten gains) to rally New Yorkers against a bailout of the Daily Bugle (now called the DB) newspaper.

This was back when the “Spidey Brain Trust” was still writing the title… And it sucks. Unbelievably sucks. Has to be one of worst stories Mark Waid has ever written. (Little did we know back then Dan Slott would take over as solo writer and suck just as hard.)

The story is chock full of stock characters and hackneyed dialogue– using the bad US economy as a homogenized plot point… Making me wonder when, exactly, the flagship Spider-man title turned into a cartoon. Was it right after J. Michael Straczynski left? Jeez, I never thought I would pine for the “Spider-Totem” or”Norman Osborne Banging Gwen Stacy” days… But anything is almost better than this shit.

To give you an example, Waid has Peter Parker thinking that if a Grade B villain like Electro could amp up his powers and give Spider-man so much trouble (love it when Peter thinks in third person– like Spider-man is a separate individual)– then he would really be in trouble if all of Spidey’s villains amped up and went after him at once.

Since this is just before the Gauntlet story arc begins in earnest (even though the cover screams “The Gauntlet” in big red letters), writers would describe Waid’s having Peter thinking about the other villains as a use of foreshadowing. I call it leading the audience by the nose– treating them like children.

To make matters even worse, Paul Azaceta’s Spider-man art is the sloppy anti-thesis of his grand Daredevil (and many other titles) work. It looks rushed and cartoony– I guess to fit the abominable story tone. Some artists, try as they may, should never be allowed to draw Spider-man. Their heavy line work is much too thick for Spidey’s outfit. Azaceta is definitely in the “Never Draw Spider-man Again! Club”. And I am not saying Azaceta can’t draw. I love his art, usually. (In my opinion, I just think he’s a poor choice for Amazing Spider-man.) Can’t believe I am going to have to endure this artistic mismatch for many of the other Gauntlet hardcover volumes as well. Whee! I can’t wait!

Whew! That rant was a roundabout way to praise The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Volume 2. You won’t find any poor story-telling in this doorstop omnibus. This collection is Spider-man all grown up and becoming one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Just like his (then) young creators, Peter Parker is hitting his stride here. Plus such series stalwarts as the Rhino, Kingpin and Captain Stacy are introduced in these pages.

See? You knew there was a reason I brought up that new crap to hawk this fine older material. You just knew I was going somewhere with this rant! And if you’re still reading (and that’s a BIG “if”), as of 4.29.12– Barnes and Noble and Amazon are selling the omnibus at 48% OFF with free shipping! (Maybe nobody bought it last week because they already spent several hundred dollars on newer stuff.)

Abe Sapien Vol 2 The Devil Does Not Jest
Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol 2 HC - HOT Pick of the Week!
Any Similarities To Persons Living Or Dead HC
Archie Archives Vol 5 HC
Army Of Darkness Omnibus Vol 2
Avengers Serpent Crown HC
Batman Venom (New Print)
Captain Commando Vol 1
Cinderella Fables Are Forever - Recommended
Dark Shadows Original Series Story Digest – Own the Hardcovers
Darkstalkers Ultimate Edition
Darth Vader And Son HC
Hellcyon
Elmer
Emma – Own the Hardcover
Fear Agent Vol 6 - Runner-Up Pick of the Week!
Fear Itself Home Front HC
Fear Itself Uncanny X-Force Deep HC
Folly Consequences Of Indiscretion
Gutters Absolute Complete Omnibus Vol 1
Harvey Horrors Black Cat Mystery HC Vol 1
Harvey Horrors Black Cat Mystery S&N Slipcase HC Vol 1
Harvey Pekar Cleveland HC
Hellraiser Vol 2
HP Lovecraft The Dunwich Horror
Krazy & Ignatz 1922-1924 Drim of Love
Krazy & Ignatz 1916-1924 First Sundays Ltd HC
Legion of Monsters – Man, I hope this is good…
New Mutants Date With Devil HC
New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol 2
Pixiv Almanac
Pocket God Vol 2 Tale of Two Pygmies
Popeye Vol 6 Me Lil Swee Pea HC
Red Hulk Hulk Of Arabia
Shooters HC
Showcase Presents All Star Squadron Vol 1
Six Guns – Another book that intrigued me just by the covers
Spawn Origins Vol 6 HC – Own the Trades
Terry Moore Sketchbook Vol 1
Transformers Classics Vol 3
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 4 – Own the Hardcover
Ultimate Comics Avengers By Mark Millar Omnibus HC - This Week’s POS*
Vampi Omnibus Vol 1
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol 1 HC
X-Factor Vol 13 Hard Labor – Own the Hardcover
X-Men Hidden Years Vol 1 – Where/Why were these years hiding? Hmm?
Young Lovecraft Vol 1 (New Print)
Young Lovecraft Vol 2

Azumanga Daioh Collected Edition
Betrayal Knows My Name Vol 3
Black Butler Vol 9
Bloody Monday Vol 5
Black God Vol 16
Cage of Eden Vol 5
Dorohedoro Vol 6
Durarara Vol 2
Excel Saga Vol 23
Gantz Vol 22
High School of the Dead Vol 6 - Manga Pick of the Week!
Higurashi When They Cry Vol 18
Katsuya Terada The Monkey King Vol 2
Maoh Juvenile Remix Vol 10
Mega Man Robot Master Field Guide
Oh My Goddess RTL Vol 41
Omar Dogan Girl Seven
Tenjo Tenge Vol 6
X 3-In-1 Edition Vol 2

I don’t know about you, but I feel a real sense of loss when entertaining things I love end. Movies. TV Series… And of course, comics.

It’s a testament to how good Rick Remender’s Fear Agent is that I can reign in how pissed off I am the book is ending to recommend it.

There might have been one or two moments in one or two Fear Agent stories where I might have wished that things had gone a different way… But if there were, I can’t remember them. I am so fully invested in this series that I had been waiting for months already when Remender began his Marvel stint. He’s fared better at the House of Recycled Ideas than many of his contemporaries… But I wanted my Fear Agent comics, dammit!

Then, when it finally did happen, to discover the next Fear Agent arc would also be the series swan song? That day was a mixed bag– good news with a bad feeling, for sure.

But I am big enough (and less of a fanboy ) to set those disappointments aside– so I can HIGHLY recommend this entire series to you. To be blunt, if you’ve judged Remender’s talent on anything other than FA, you have done him– and yourself– a massive disservice. I know no writer likes to be defined by only one creation– as every creator likes to think they are a font of different great ideas. Then again, I don’t see Robert Kirkman agonizing over being known by most as “The guy that created The Walking Dead.”

If you think about the number of writers who enter and leave comics without ever creating– or even writing– anything of note… Then you’ll quickly understand what a monumental achievement it is to be a writer who does create something of note. And Fear Agent may not be Remender’s shining achievement in another 30 years. (I am sure there are many characters and stories left to be told in that brain of his.)

But right now, Fear Agent is Rick Remender’s best thing ever.

A word of caution: Go back and read the other volumes before you even think about reading Fear Agent Vol 6: Out of Step. If you’re like me– when you finished all of them, you’ll start wishing for the day Dark Horse announces Fear Agent will be getting the DELUXE treatment (like the oversized Fables or Y The Last Man Vertigo Hardcovers).

Couldn’t finish off the Longest IMJ Post Ever!™  (3404 words!) without at least one THIS WEEK”S POS* choice. And since is it a redundant pick, I figured the least I could do was have the IMJ Logo Monkey’s give you a new banner.

Since Jose and I have been railing against the material included in Ultimate Comics Avengers By Mark Millar Omnibus HC since IMJ’s inception (and Jose before that), you’d think I’d have run out of negative things to say.

Well, I haven’t.

Mark Millar adds Rape, Baby Killing, Misogyny– and even less respect for human life– to the Red Skull’s (and his own) resume in this volume… Like the Skull being a boot-licking sycophant and direct supporter of the mass murdering ADOLPH HITLER in the “regular” Marvel Universe wasn’t already enough to make the Skull a bad enough bad guy.

Don’t believe what you saw in Captain America: The First Avenger movie, kids. Despite the watering down of the Skull’s origin in that film, make no mistake about it: The Red Skull started his supervillain career as rabid acolyte of the mustached dictator. In the early days, his sole raison d’etre was to further the policies of subjugation and murder created by Herr Hitler himself.

I picture in my mind’s eye Millar smiling gleefully as he added the above acts to the list of Skull atrocities, maybe thinking, “This will make him look like a true bastard!”

But all Millar did was water-down the skinless maniac’s comic book origin, turning him into a petty street thug with a vendetta against babies, women and superheroes. As appalling as the Skull’s acts are in the Ultimate Universe, they will never match his actual origin.

I know Marvel’s Ultimate U is all about tweaking popular heroes and villains for a new audience… But in WHAT Universe is maiming and murdering in the name of one of the worst mass murderers in history NOT “bad” enough?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Shame on you, Mark Millar. And shame on Marvel for continuously reprinting this garbage in various formats. Any sane person who watches The Avengers movie and then happens upon this omnibus will rightly be turned off comics forever. And any protective parent who mistakenly buys this tome for their teenager (or *gasp* a pre-teen) will be rightly up in arms as well.

Marvel has already flooded the market with Avengers books the last few months. Many contain quite decent stories. So why reprint this shit over and over? If Uncle Walt’s body or head is really trapped in some ancient cryochamber somewhere, it’s spinning around faster than a proton in that canceled Texas Super Collider would have.

I’m seriously not attempting to censor anyone, but if Marvel thinks this POS* omnibus is a good ancillary release for The Avengers movie, then they are more far gone than I could have ever imagined…

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3 Responses to Insideman’s Pull List™ TWO WEEK SPECIAL: Hot Hardcover, Graphic Novel & Manga Picks for 4.18.12 & 4.25.12!

  1. megamanx4ever says:

    Fucking hell I remember I bought Ultimate Avengers when it came out a few years ago. Jesus I actually remember liking it though. That was of course BEFOR Millar had the Red Skull throw a baby out a fucking window and had his henchmen gang rape the baby’s mom. I mean what the fuck Millar. What the fuck.

    • Insideman says:

      Megamanx, after I wrote the above opinion rant about the Ultimate Comics Avengers Omnibus– I was double-checking some facts and I actually saw someone else had brought up a point similar to mine above… Then some crank jumped on the guy for saying that Hitler was a horrible mass murderer because Stalin was estimated to have killed 51 Million while Hitler was estimated to “only” have murdered 43 Million.

      Really?

      Per your Millar comment… The first few issues of his run were brash, different and read well… But when analyzed more closely, the same issues were all flash and noise… And misogynistic, hateful, petty… “Classic” Millar themes. :D

  2. ed2962 says:

    Always cool seeing Amanda getting love for her art. Like you said, one of the things that makes her stand apart even even she’s doing cheesecake is not only her understanding of anatomy and fashion, but also her ability to inject humor and personality into her figures. Way cool!

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