Solicitations hit last week so you know what that means! It’s time for Soliciting Multiversity, our monthly look at the best that each publisher has to offer. As usual, we kick things off with Dark Horse. To start off the year, Anthony Bourdain makes another journey into comic books, new series get started and a great Game of Thrones figure comes out. Let’s jump into this month’s picks.
10. Drugs Are Bad M’Kay
There was a time where marijuana was the worst thing you could ever put in your body. At least, that’s what people thought. I truly get a kick out of things like “Reefer Madness” because the reaction to kids smoking weed is still to this day kind of amazing. It’s not at this level anymore but it’s still pretty wild. I think this would be a fun book to look at just because it represents a very specific time of American culture.
Reefer Madness TP (advance solicit)
Jerry Siegel (W), Joe Shuster (W), Jerry Robinson (A), Jack Kirby (A), Frank Frazetta (A), and more
On sale Apr 4
FC, 216 pages
TP, 8 1/2″ x 11”
Degradation! Crime! Madness! Hysteria surrounded marijuana as a perceived gateway drug from the 1930s to the 1950s and beyond. Adventure Comics, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and works by Frank Frazetta, Jerry Robinson, Jack Kirby, and many more, reveal the social reaction to this era of “Reefer Madness.” From comically misinformed to soberly concerned, these comics lament the impact of weed on youth culture.
Eisner and Harvey Award winner Craig Yoe brings us his newest collection of wacky, wild, and culturally relevant comics.
9. All Stars Do AvP
“Fire and Stone” was a big crossover between the Alien and Predator properties and it really had a huge all star line up. Because of that, it was pretty good and now you can get the whole thing at a really affordable price point. It’s worth it if you’re into these properties.
Aliens Predator Prometheus AvP: Fire and Stone TPB (advance solicit)
Paul Tobin (W), Chris Roberson (W), Christopher Sebela (W), Joshua Williamson (W), Kelly Sue DeConnick (W), Juan Ferreyra (A), Patric Reynolds (A), Ariel Olivetti (A), Chris Mooneyham (A), Agustin Alessio (A), John Lucas (I), Dave Stewart (C), Dan Brown (C), David Palumbo (Cover)
On sale Apr 11
FC, 416 pages
TPB, 7″ x 10″
The moon of LV-223—resting place of the doomed Prometheus expedition, enigmatic source of all organic life, and nightmarish source of ultimate destruction. Now a new generation of explorers hope to uncover the mysteries of this strange and dangerous world, but what they find may lead to humanity’s undoing. First time in paperback! The full Fire and Stone story cycle in a value package!
8. “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone, Take This!”
One of the things that Dark Horse has done steadily in the last couple of years is publish art books and encyclopedias for video game franchises. This one seems like it’ll be a big seller, particular this deluxe edition because of how far it leans into nostalgia. I think this will be a must have for Zelda fans and personally, I’d really like to see this book in person.
The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition HC (advance solicit)
On sale Apr 24
FC, 336 pages
HC, 9″ x 12″
The Legend of Zelda™ is one of the most successful franchises of all time, with nearly twenty video games and thirty years of history, but it all started with a gold cartridge . . .
The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition honors the game that started it all by recreating the original gold cartridge as faithfully as possible. The cover is a gold foil paper with gloss lamination and a spot gritty varnish. The details are embossed and debossed. It has gold gilding on the top and foredge, with black gilding on the bottom. This book looks and feels so much like the original cartridge you might find yourself blowing into the bottom before you open it. The book comes with a black polypropylene sleeve, lined with velvet flocking, and a scale instruction booklet with fun, theme-appropriate material inside.
Celebrate over thirty years of The Legend of Zelda with a heartfelt homage to the origins of this legendary franchise!
• Looks and feels like the original gold cartridge!
• Protect your book with a scale reproduction of an NES dust sleeve!
• Instruction booklet to complete the set!
• Content exclusive to this edition!
7. Hellboy and DINOSAURS?!
If this comic book has Hellboy fighting dinosaurs then it already is the best one shot of 2018. Case closed.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 – Burning Season
Mike Mignola (W), Chris Roberson (W), Paolo Rivera (P/Cover), Joe Rivera (I), and Dave Stewart (C)
On sale Feb 21
FC, 32 pages
Hellboy investigates a rash of spontaneous human combustions in a Florida town unlike any supernatural phenomena he’s seen before—and the fire has an appetite for Bureau agents.
• Paolo Rivera returns!
6. Forget “Doomsday Clock”
Do you want to support Dave Gibbons? Don’t buy “Doomsday Clock” and buy this instead. This is his actual work and not a sequel to his biggest work that totally ignores anything he ever contributed to it. Support creators’ rights.
The Originals: The Essential Edition HC (advance solicit)
Dave Gibbons (W/A/Cover)
On sale Apr 18
FC, 192 pages
HC, 9″ x 12″
Deluxe oversized edition of the Eisner Award-winning mod sci-fi coming-of-age graphic novel from Dave Gibbons, co-creator of Watchmen. Includes 32 pages of never-before-seen development art, process pieces, and behind the scenes extras—all annotated by Gibbons.
In a retro-futuristic city of industrial gray where hover scooters, music, and drugs rule the street, the Originals are the toughest, most stylish gang around. For two childhood friends, nothing is more important than being one of them. But being part of the crowd will bring its own deadly consequences.
• The only graphic novel that Dave Gibbons has written and drawn. An Eisner Award winner!
• Extra material included in this oversized edition highlighting artwork, with annotations by Gibbons.
“The Originals is Dave Gibbons doing what he was born to do: telling a story that’s all his own, and telling it with grace, verve, and drama. The result is, well . . . original! Top-notch comics.”–Frank Miller
“As smart as a fashion-forward suit…has the powerful tug of a timeless fable.”— Entertainment Weekly
5. Berger Books In Full Swing
By February, it seems that the Berger Books imprint will be in full swing with all the major titles having started. I talked about this in the last column but I’m really interested in reading “Incognegro” for the first time. This is a prequel so I’d wager that you’d be fine just jumping right into this.
Incognegro: Renaissance #1 (of 5)
Mat Johnson (W) and Warren Pleece (A/Cover)
On sale Feb 7
b&w, 32 pages
After a black writer is found dead at a scandalous interracial party in 1920s New York, Harlem’s cub reporter Zane Pinchback is the only one determined to solve the murder. Zane must go “incognegro” for the first time—using his light appearance to pass as a white man—to find the true killer, in this prequel miniseries to the critically acclaimed Vertigo graphic novel, now available in a special new 10th Anniversary Edition.
With a cryptic manuscript as his only clue, and a mysterious and beautiful woman as the murder’s only witness, Zane finds himself on the hunt through the dark and dangerous streets of “roaring twenties” Harlem in search for justice.
A page-turning thriller of racial divide, Incognegro: Renaissance explores segregation, secrets, and self-image as our race-bending protagonist penetrates a world where he feels stranger than ever before.
• Mature readers.
“A talented writer of both fiction and creative non-fiction, Johnson’s publications have established himself as an important new voice in the African-American tradition.”— Walter Mosley
4. Back To School
One of the strangest things to happen in the “Buffy” comics is Giles’ deaging. He died but was brought back and is now the age that Buffy was when they first met. Now, he’s going to get a do over in life and is going back to high school. Also? This is written by Erika Alexander. YES, that Erika Alexander. She wrote a fantastic series in 2015 (“Concrete Park”) and I’ve been hoping she’d get more comics out there. This is a big title and so hopefully it’ll get her more jobs down the line.Continued below
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles #1 (of 4)
Joss Whedon (W), Erika Alexander (W), Jon Lam (A), Dan Jackson (C), Steve Morris (Cover), Arielle Jovellanos (Variant cover), and Jenny Frison (Ultra variant)
On sale Feb 28
FC, 32 pages
From Joss Whedon and Erika Alexander comes a series that returns Buffy’s Rupert Giles to high school! But this time—as a grown man living in a teenage body—Giles will be a student instead of a teacher. At an inner-city LA-area school, when a mystical influence is detected and teachers start to go missing, Giles enrolls to investigate. What he finds is more than vampires and demons; something unusual and frightening is happening here. If Giles can get through one day as a student, he’ll have a chance to find out who, what, and where—but high school is still hell, y’all.
3. Miniseries Finale
I had not read “Jenny Finn” before this re-release with the new coloring and honestly, it’s one of my favorite first issues I read this year. I’m excited to see how it ends. You can still catch up before this final issue comes out or use this as a reminder to tell your LCS you want the eventual collected edition.
Jenny Finn #4 (of 4)
Mike Mignola (W/Cover), Troy Nixey (W), Farel Dalrymple (A), and Dave Stewart (C)
On sale Feb 14
FC, 32 pages
Jenny has been captured and the terrible plague is coming to an end, but when Joe has the chance to escape London, a ghost from his past forces him to stay and finish what he started.
2. 40 Years Is A Long Time
I have no idea what “ElfQuest” is actually about but I think it is amazing that it has gone on for 40 years. That’s a very long time for any comic to run that exists outside of Marvel or DC and even then, that’s still saying something. Goodbye to you “ElfQuest.” I hope that you deliver an ending your fans will love and maybe one day, I’ll jump into this.
ElfQuest: The Final Quest #24
Wendy Pini (W/A), Richard Pini (W), and Sonny Strait (C)
On sale Feb 28
FC, 32 pages
What words can possibly do justice to this, the grand finale to the greatest ElfQuest series of them all? Forty years in the planning and making, heroes’ journeys that were begun in the Original Quest will find their resolutions here. Fateful events set in motion last issue continue to have unstoppable consequences, as dire battles are fought on both the physical and the spiritual realms. Now decisions must be made that will affect everyone—elves and humans alike—on the World of Two Moons far into the future. Can the Great Wheel of time and history, broken so many thousands of years ago, ever be made whole again?
• A finale forty years in the making!
1. A Legend Re-examined
I love historical fiction. I am obsessed with watching every television show or movie that takes real life people and tells their story in some soapy, sensationalized fashion. I’m talking about less Oscar baity biopic and more sexy cable show like The Tudors. I don’t know what “Mata Hari” will give us but she’s a woman who deserves a closer look. She was a complex woman who was called many things by many people since her death. I’d really love to see more of this in comic books so hopefully this takes off.
Mata Hari #1 (of 5)
Emma Beeby (W), Ariela Kristantina (A/Cover), and Pat Masioni (C)
On sale Feb 21
FC, 32 pages
Dancer. Courtesan. Spy. Executed by a French firing squad in 1917.
100 years on from her death, questions are still raised about her conviction.
Now, the lesser-known, often tragic story of the woman who claimed she was born a princess, and died a figure of public hatred with no one to claim her body, is told by breakout talent writer Emma Beeby (Judge Dredd), artist Ariela Kristantina (Insexts), and colorist Pat Masioni drawing on biographies and released MI5 files.
In this first part of a five-issue miniseries, we meet Mata Hari in prison at the end of her life as she writes her memoir—part romantic tale of a Javanese princess who performed “sacred” nude dances for Europe’s elite, and part real-life saga of a disgraced wife and mother, who had everything she loved taken from her.
But, as she sits trial for treason and espionage, we hear another tale: one of a flamboyant Dutch woman who became “the most dangerous spy France has ever captured”—a double agent who whored herself for secrets, lived a life of scandal, and loved only money.
Leading us to ask . . . who was the real Mata Hari?