Insideman’s Pull Lists – Two Week Catch-Up Showcasing the Best and Worst Hardcovers, Graphic Novels and Manga from 6.27.12 & 6.20.12!

And I don’t know why. I’m back in Los Angeles, my Hell Away from Home™, my Mom’s doing much better, my Agent’s not screaming at me to get to work (for once), the Super Computer is faster than ever (after getting a Logic Board upgrade) and I’m seriously thinking of rescuing some gorgeous kittens. I’m just grumpy.

This should be fun.

Roy Thomas is renowned for– among many things– his decade plus run on Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian comic book. Like any massive commitment, there were some definite highs and lows for the original Conan series… But the good stuff always far outweighed the bad.

Then, one day, it was over and I never thought I would see Thomas associated with Conan again.

Thankfully, that prediction proved erroneous. Dark Horse (publisher of the new, highly praised Conan comics) brought Thomas back to the character… Proving, despite all admonitions to the contrary, that– if you’re talented–  you can go home again. Thomas acquits himself more than admirably with Road of Kings… Almost as if he never left.

Favorably, there’s no “wink wink” allusions to the past– just straight-forward Conan-style action and sword swinging. Welcome back, Roy– if only briefly.

Anna and Froga Want a Gumball HC
Archie Americana Vol 4 Best of the 70s HC
Art of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter HC – How many of you bought this? Seriously.
Avenger Double Novel Vol 7 – Recommended
Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs Vs Aliens HC
Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol 1
Berkley Breathed Outland Complete Collection HC
Birdseye Bristoe HC
Boy Who Made Silence
Buckaroo Banzai Return of the Screw HC
Chronicles of Conan Vol 22 Reavers Borderland
Conan Vol 11 Road of Kings – Hot Pick of the Week!
Darkness Compendium Vol 2
David Mazzucchelli Daredevil Born Again Artist Edition HC
Defenders By Matt Fraction Vol 1
Doc Savage Double Novel Vol 50 Bama Variant Edition – Recommended
Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde Vol 5 HC (Limited Signed Edition)
Fatale Vol 1 Death Chases Me
FF by Jonathan Hickman HC
Furry Trap HC
Game of Thrones Vol 1More expensive than the Bantam Hardcover!
Get Jiro HC
GI Joe Roots of Retaliation
Gloriana HC
Goon Vol 11 The Deformed Body and the Devious Mind
Gotham City Sirens Vol 3 Strange Fruit – Own the Hardcover
Guild Vol 2
House of Night HC
Infinite Crisis Omnibus HC – This Week’s POS*
Jewish Images in the Comics HC
Judge Dredd Complete Case Files Vol 5 (S&S Edition)
Judge Dredd When Judges Go Bad
Legion of Super Heroes Vol 1 Hostile World
Lovely Horrible Stuff HC
Madagascar 3 Prequel Long Live the King Digest
Magdalena Vol 2
Morning Glories Vol 3 P.E.
MMW Uncanny X-Men Vol 5
Mystery Men – Own the Hardcover
Nick Fury Classic Vol 1 Agent of Shield
Punisher Official Index to Marvel Universe
Shadow Double Vol 62
Spandex Fast and Hard HC
Spellbinders Signs And Wonders
Star Trek Legion Of Super-Heroes HC (DM Exclusive)
Tales of the Beanworld Vol 3.5 HC
Ultimate Spider-Man Omnibus Vol 1 HC (DM Bagley Variant)
Usagi Yojimbo Vol 26 Traitors of the Earth – Just can’t get into it
Usagi Yojimbo Vol 26 Traitors of the Earth HC (Limited Edition)
V Wars HC (Prose) – Runner-Up Pick!
Walt Disney Uncle Scrooge Vol 1 Only a Poor Old Man HC
Wayne Of Gotham HC (Prose)
Wolverine The Best There Is Broken Quarantine – Own the Hardcover
X-Men Legacy Back to School HC
X-Men Schism – Own the Hardcover

Attack On Titan Vol 1
Bakuman Vol 11
Drops of God Vol 4
Mardock Scramble Vol 5
Moon & Blood Vol 2
Royal Pain

I don’t usually read books. I just don’t have the time. But with a talent like Jonathan Maberry, you have to make an exception.

I’ve increasingly noticed that, despite the book publishing (prose) business being in the toilet, the comic book publishing business must be even worse… As many Independent Comic Publishers and Manga Houses are increasing the amount of genre prose novels they are offering. Hey, I’ll take it… Especially when it gives people like Maberry more work.

Obviously, I haven’t read V Wars yet but that’s not stopping me from recommending it. I think Jonathan’s past body of horror work (plus tons of glowing reviews from people I trust) should be more than enough to give new book a recommend rating. Plus, a lot of other quality writers contribute additional stories to the tome: Nancy Holder, John Everson, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Gregory Frost, Keith DeCandido and Scott Nicholson.

Now if we could only get him to slow down long enough to write his Inveterate Media Junkies column more often. Hello, Jonathan? Are you listening? We miss you, man!

It’s hard to mask my disdain for DC Comics Infinite Crisis: Jumbled, Non-sensical, Ham-fisted, Idiotic and Unnecessary are just a few thoughts coming to mind. You should also remember, as a Trade Waiter, I had the advantage of leisurely reading this mess all at once… And I still didn’t get it.

I mean I got it. I just didn’t understand why it existed. Like the other “Crisis” events before it, I didn’t understand what this new one was supposed to be “fixing” or why it even existed. In other words, it was Superman, directed by Bryan Singer.

Here’s something else I never understood: After being responsible for the whole OMAC business (the over-reaching plot that bridged DC’s Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis), I’m surprised that anybody ever talked to Batman again… Or didn’t put his head on a pike, Games of Thrones style. I’ve searched my memory banks and I can’t remember Batman bothering to apologize for any of it. If he did, it was so fleeting– the apology didn’t register. Bruce Wayne’s a guy who doesn’t use a gun, who agonizes over not being able to save every Gotham City innocent… But he develops a satellite/computer program to watch over his supposed superhero friends– that ends up killing tons of them (albeit under the direction of Maxwell Lord)… And there are little, if any, consequences for the Caped Crusader?

Is your brain frying yet? This is just one of many stories that lead into Infinite Crisis… And things only get more convoluted from there. As one series critic puts it, you’ll need a PhD in every esoteric piece of DC continuity to attempt to understand the majority of what happens in this omnibus… And I agree.

For completists, I recommend the The Omac Project and Infinite Crisis trade paperbacks– both still available– with the Crisis graphic novel being sold for around 32% Off cover price. You can read Omac and the crossover’s main story– while giving your wallet and back a break.

On a design note, the Infinite Crisis Omnibus clocks in at a whopping 1152 pages. This would be fine, if not for the fact the book has a glued (not sewn-in) binding. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for those of us who have ever spent $150 on an omnibus only to have the book virtually disintegrate in their hands (or worse, have a huge chunk of the book snap off the binding and fall on their face)… Believe me, it is a big deal.

Read all the Best & Worst Picks for the week of June 20th after the jump.

Besides being one of the best lines from a song from one of the best rock albums of all time, this is exactly how I feel about the mainstream comic book industry and some of the “top talent” populating same. Specifically two untalented, repetitive men/children hiding behind a false veneer of self-invented cool… Two idiots that should be shunned and never allowed to kill another tree.

I’ve gone through a lot of books since my return… Approximately 40 hardcovers or trades– not too shabby considering I’ve been in LA for just over two weeks. I read two books in a row last night that made me so fucking angry, so fucking disgusted that I am about to blister some hides shortly. Hacks are hacks, after all. I feel so strongly about these two untalented assholes, I’m going to send my critiques to their mothers. (Assuming they’re still alive.) I want these women to know what kind of inconsiderate, self-absorbed, talentless cretins they’ve spawned.

Yeah. You read that right. After all the crap my family just went through, I played the Mama Card. Stay Tuned.

I’m doing something this week I hardly ever do: I’m recommending books I haven’t read. You might be asking, “How in the holy heck can you do that?” and I agree… I am breaking the first major rule of reviewing… Sort of like if I agreed to take a stranger’s suitcase onto a plane. Everybody knows you just don’t do it.

Which is probably why I am doing it. Cause I like doing things that break the rules and don’t end up with me spending the night in jail.

Which brings me to this week’s Hot Pick: Angel and Faith Volume 1: Live Through This. Jose is incredibly high on this comic… And when you consider just how few books he buys these days, it’s amazing he’s not boycotting anything other than crap comics. But that seems to be more than enough to whittle his buy pile down to a select few titles… So how could I possibly not tout this book?

After all, I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon— and his Buffy The Vampire Slayer characters Angel and Faith. Especially Faith. And yes, I favor Faith over Angel because I think Eliza Dushku is both talented and gorgeous. When Sarah Michelle Gellar decided to quit playing the only role she’ll ever really be known for, stopping production of new television episodes of Buffy… I was firmly in the camp wanting a Faith spin-off series. Alas, that didn’t happen.

Whedon seems determined to fill a Buffy-less TV void with these comics– and that’s a good thing. After Angel’s ultra-disastrous run at IDW, it’s nice to see the character in competent hands. A comic book based on a TV property rises and falls on the creators ability to recreate the television experience and give the fan base more of the same characters– in different situations… And comic book history is littered with the pages of hundreds of print series that failed to live up to the standard established by their live action counterparts.

That’s why it’s so nice to see Jose liking this comic. Finally, another TV series done right in comic book form. Really, I expect no less from Whedon and the team he’s assembled. (You knew there had to be at least one Avengers reference somewhere in this review, right?)

Alpha Flight Complete Series By Pak and Lente
Amazing Spider-Man Movie Prelude
Angel and Faith Vol 1 Live Through This – Hot Pick of the Week!
Art of Howard Chaykin HC
Batman Archives Vol 8 HC
Batman Vs The Black Glove Deluxe Edition HC
Bloom County Complete Library Vol 5 HC (Limited Signed Edition)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Sundays Vol 1 HC
Buckaroo Banzai No Matter Where You Go HC
Challengers of the Unknown Omnibus By Kirby HC
Comics on Trial Vol 2 SC
Complete Flash Gordon Library Vol 1 Planet Mongol HC – Delayed, apparently
Drow Tales Vol 1 Moonless Age
Dynamite Art of Alex Ross HC (Signed & Remarked Edition)
Fear Itself Fearless HC
First Wave – Own the Hardcover
Frankenstein Agent Of Shade Vol 1 War Monsters
Godzilla Legends
Green Hornet Vol 4 Red Hand
Hellblazer Vol 3 The Fear Machine (New Edition) – Own it
Illustrated Masques
Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron Vol 1 HC – This Week’s POS*
International Rescue Thunderbirds Owners Workshop Manual HC
Invincible Iron Man Vol 9 Demon HC
Johnny Red Vol 2 Red Devil Rising HC – Runner-up Pick of the Week!
Journalism HC
Jungle Girl Omnibus
Kade Mourning Sun
Last Phantom Vol 2 Jungle Rules – The first volume suuuucked
Liberty Meadows Sunday Collection Book 1 HC
Los Angeles Ink Stains Vol 1
Lost Dogs
Lovecraft Library Vol 2 Call of Cthulhu & Other Mythos Tales HC
Magic The Gathering Vol 1
Mars Attacks Classics Vol 1
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Comic Reader Vol 2
Meskin Out of the Shadows
Out Of The Night Vol 1 HC
Phantom Complete Dailies Vol 4 1940-1943 HC
Red Sonja Vol 10 Machines of Empire
Rio HC
Robert Jordan Eye of the World Vol 2 HC
Silver Streak Archives Original Daredevil Vol 1 HC
Silver Surfer Rebirth Of Thanos (New Print) – Own it
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Vol 18
Song of Roland
Spawn Origins Vol 15
Spider-Man Trouble on Horizon HC
Star Trek Next Generation Intelligence Gathering
Static Shock Vol 1 Supercharged
Superman High Flying History Of America’s Most Enduring Hero HC
Twelve Vol 2 HC – How old were you when Volume 1 came out?
Usagi Yojimbo Vol 5 Lone Goat Kid
Voltron Force Vol 2 Tournament Of Lions
Walking Dead Vol 1 Rise of Governor (Prose)
Wolverine Back in Japan HC – You think Japan would’ve pulled Logan’s VISA by now
Wonderland Alphabet Alice’s Adventures HC
X-9 Secret Agent Corrigan Vol 4 HC
X-Man Man Who Fell to Earth
X-Men X-Club

Alice In The Country Of Hearts Omnibus Vol 1
Alice In The Country Of Hearts Omnibus Vol 2
Alice In The Country Of Hearts Omnibus Vol 3
Bloody Monday Vol 6
Bokurano Ours Vol 6
Fairy Tail Vol 19
Gantz Vol 23
Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex Vol 3
Gon Vol 6 (Kodansha Edition)
House Of Five Leaves Vol 7
Jormungand Vol 9
Kamisama Kiss Vol 9
Kobato Vol 6
Nura Rise Of The Yokai Clan Vol 9
Olympos Vol 1
Persona 3 Official Design Works
Slam Dunk Vol 22
Spice And Wolf Vol 6 – Prose!
Sunshine Sketch Vol 6
Tenjo Tenge Vol 7
We Were There Vol 14
Witch And Wizard The Manga Vol 2

This week’s Runner-Up Pick comes from Locusmortis (unofficially of course– as I did not contact him before writing this up). LM is a big fan of comics. (I think we all know that.) He’s a passionate person, who makes his comic book buying decisions both intelligently and carefully. In my mind, that’s a perfect way to collect and read these things.

LM also likes to “chastise” me when he thinks I make bone-headed buying decisions. In his defense, he also pats me on the head when he thinks I’ve done something right. Here’s what I’ve learned: When Locusmortis really likes something, it’s worth checking out. One of the books he touted quite some time back was Titan’s Johnny Red: Falcon’s First Flight. So I bought it.

And it was great.

As puts it, retired Johnny Red writer Tom Tully has a writer’s portfolio that looks like “a who’s who of British comic strips”. He’s joined here by an artist of similar status, the late Joe Colquhon— who also illustrated another Locusmortis favorite, Charley’s War. (A series of great hardcovers I purchased, again, on LM’s suggestion.) What’s important to note here: Both writer and artist served in WWII (Tully as an accountant for the RAF and Colquhon in the Royal Navy). While I think creators, with proper research, should be free to create and imagine any story they like… It never hurts to have experienced a subject– especially war– when one decides to write or draw about it.

Johnny Red chronicles the exploits of RAF pilot Johnny Redburn— discharged after striking a superior officer. Through a series of events, Redburn continues to fight against the German war machine as a Russian pilot. (You’ll just have to read the book to see how/why.) This unique take on Word War II aerial action is well worth the price of admission… And there’s no reason to believe Johnny Red Volume 2: Red Devil Rising will be any less exciting.

Another winner, Locusmortis. Take a bow.

This is one of those wacky POS* moments where I’m not actually critiquing a book’s content… I am criticizing the price. According to all the documentation I have, The Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron Volume One collects “Incredible Hulk #1-7 and material from Fear Itself #7“. Okay, being generous here, I am going to assume this hardcover has seven 22 page comics (154 pages) and some additional material from the rancid Fear Itself series. Either way, the total number of pages is listed at 176— which equals exactly EIGHT 22 page comics.

Eight comics multiplied by Marvel’s ridiculous cover price of $3.99 is $31.92 USD… Not $34.99— which is this reprint hardcover’s cover price. In truth, I have read the entire Fear Itself series but have not read Incredible Hulk #1-7. Still, I can’t figure out how these additional Fear Itself pages are essential to the first seven issues of Aaron’s new comic.

Think about this: Despite Marc Silvestri leaving the book as primary penciler somewhere in the middle of Issue #2– his scratchy, poorly colored drawing (and last name) adorn this book’s cover. Plus the hardcover is filled out with seemingly superfluous material from a different series. And the reprint collection is overpriced— given the cover price of the original comics. That’s several reasons why The Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron Volume One is This Week’s Piece of Shit.

You know what’s truly superfluous at this point? Whether the book is any good or not. As many have pointed out, Marvel prices SIX ISSUE Hardcovers at $24.99 USD. Someone please explain the price disparity here.

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3 Responses to Insideman’s Pull Lists – Two Week Catch-Up Showcasing the Best and Worst Hardcovers, Graphic Novels and Manga from 6.27.12 & 6.20.12!

  1. Tiger Topher says:

    “Inconsiderate, self-absorbed, talentless cretins,” eh? It’s kind of sad that that doesn’t really narrow things down nowadays.

  2. ed2962 says:

    Dude, you can’t keep us in suspense! Who were the creators and what were the books that got you so angry?

  3. Locusmortis says:

    Chastise? I do it with love of course 😉

    Infinite Crisis came out during the 3 and 1/2 years or so that I was boycotting DC comics so I basically know of it via other peoples reactions to it. It seems to me that Infinite Crisis is one of those “events” prevalent in recent years that use characters as pawns to serve the plot rather than have the plot develop naturally from good storytelling. Characters are forced to act out of character, like Batman in this instance as long as it serves the almighty plot, as good as Geoff Johns can be, this is one of his major weaknesses. I hate glued spines as well btw.

    Rebellions publication strategy in america is quite odd, I stick with the casefiles as they go by chronological order. Their other collections though like Mega-Masters, Crusade, When Judges go Bad etc are problematic in my view, they put writers or artists names on the front of these books who have become “names” in America, unfortunately the quality of some of the strips is variable which I think harms the Dredd brand. The only named collections I could recommend are of the more recent material (mostly John Wagner written thankfully) like Origins, Total War, Tour of Duty, Mandroid.

    I’m happy to hear you enjoyed Johnny Red, I realised that it might have been a tough sell to someone not familiar with British comics, especially the format of 4 page weekly chapters, it certainly can’t be accused of bring decompressed!. People like Tom Tully and Joe Colquhoun deserve to be more widely known, they came from an era before British creators went to America and made their fortunes. You’re right that these comics mean something to me, they helped mold how I look at comics and the quality I expect to receive from them. While these comics were sold to young kids they certainly didn’t patronise them and the stories still hold up well to an adult audience, can you imagine a Marvel Adventures story set during the Battle of Stalingrad or the Somme and showing the emotional turmoil that Johnny Red and Charley Bourne have to deal with?

    Anyway, good column as always, I can’t wait to see which creators you’re going to blast with both barrels! 😀

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