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    Soliciting Multiversity: The “Best of the Rest” For December 2015

    By | September 29th, 2015
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    Hello and welcome to Multiversity’s look at the “Best of the Rest” of what’s coming your way in the now-available October 2015 Previews catalog. Having already gotten the Diamond-designated ‘Premier Publishers’ offerings out of the way (Marvel, Dark Horse, DC, and Image), we can now check out both IDW and what’s commonly referred to as the “Green Section”, a.k.a. the other 75% of the catalog.

    Also, as one-half of the Robots From Tomorrow podcast, I go through the whole Previews catalog each and every month with co-host Mike Romeo, talking about things that catch our eye and quicken our pulse. If you listen to those episodes, you should still read this column because there will not be a 100% overlap, and if you don’t listen to those episodes, they are a great way to hear Mike & I go into further detail about some of the things I’ve spotlighted here.

    That said, let’s dive in!

    10.Northern Exposed!

    This is the first of three BOOM! Books on this month’s list. I do, in fact, love a good noir story and this one looks like fun. Well, fun for the reader, not the protagonist. But that’s true of every noir story I enjoy.

    Snow Blind #1
    Written by Ollie Masters
    Illustrated by Tyler Jenkins
    Published by BOOM Studios!

    What’s to Love: With books like Hit and Day Men in our library, you can tell we absolutely love noir stories, and the more unconventional, the better! Critically acclaimed writer Ollie Masters (The Kitchen) and artist Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust) have crafted a tense noir story in the tradition of Criminal, Scalped, and 100 Bullets, set in the bleak, snow-covered landscape of Alaska, a perfect setting to highlight the cold nature of crime.

    What It Is: What happens when you discover your dad isn’t the man you thought he was? For high school teen Teddy, life in a sleepy suburb in Alaska turns upside-down when he innocently posts a photo of his dad on Facebook, only to learn he and his family are in the Witness Protection Program. A man seeking revenge invades their town, and soon FBI agents arrive, too. But what if his dad’s reasons for going into the program aren’t as innocent as he says?

     

    9. How To Train Your Dragons

    Carl Potts is a name more comic fans should recognize because he’s had an influence on a lot of the things that have shaped today’s comics. Not only has he been the creator and guiding force behind “Alien Legion” since its inception, he’s also the guy who gave an unknown Jim Lee his start in comics. And not only that, but a lot of Lee’s early work that led to his “Uncanny X-Men” stint was done over Potts’s art breakdowns. So for not being a name artist, Potts has always surprised me with the quality of his art. So combine that with help from Terry Austin and Marie Severin and you’ve got a pretty solid looking book. And the folks over at Dover know how to represent these forgotten 80’s works up to today’s standards.

    Last of the Dragons SC OGN
    Written by Carl Potts & Dennis O’Neil
    Illustrated by Carl Potts, Terry Austin, & Marie Severin
    Published by Dover Graphic Novels

    Along with a team of comic book legends — Dennis O’Neil, Terry Austin, and Marie Severin — Carl Potts presents an awe-inspiring and gloriously illustrated tale set in nineteenth-century Japan, a land of noble and serene dragons. But when a sect of deranged monks begin training the huge reptiles to kill in Northern California, only an aging samurai and a half-American ninja stand in their way. Originally published as a six-part series in Marvel’s Epic Illustrated magazine, Last of the Dragons combines an exciting, action-packed story with fascinating elements of Chinese and Japanese mythology and philosophy.

     

    8. Man versus Mother Nature’s Big Sister

    Stories of humans against the environment are always more dramatic because you can theoretically outsmart someone else or find a way to restrain yourself but Nature does not give a damn what you do or what your plans are. No bargaining with it, no reasoning with it; it’s the unstoppable force that’s going to do what it’s going to do. You can only hope to get out of its way before it runs you over. So putting that kind of scenario on another planet takes that base idea and increases it exponentially. There’s a reason people are psyched to see Matt Damon science the shit out of things in The Martian; he’s going up against the biggest enemy of all: an uncaring universe. And we want to see him make it out alive.

    Continued below

    Venus #1 (of 4)
    Written by Rick Loverd
    Illustrated by Huang Danlan
    Published by BOOM! Studios

    What’s to Love: Surviving against all odds. Adventures on the frontier. Lying on the cusp of discovering something new. Rick Loverd (Berserker) and artist Huang Danlan brought us a story that evokes the history of great adventurers from the pilgrims to the Western pioneers, from deep-sea explorers to polar trailblazers, all of whom searched for a new beginning.

    What It Is: In 2150, Earth’s resources are depleted, and countries race to outer space to mine what they need from other planets. China has laid claim to Mars, so the U.S. and its allies have to make do with getting what it needs from the inhospitable world of Venus. But for a group of Americans making its way there, survival has become all too real. After their ship crash-lands on the planet, the scrappy crew is forced to do whatever it takes to navigate the harsh landscape in their journey to find the science base they were flying toward. In the vein of great adventure survival stories like Lost and The Martian, there’s only one reality on Venus-adapt or die.

     

    7. One Of Those Guys Your Favorite Artist Loves

    Mike Ploog’s comics were a little before my time to catch on the stands, but that man has his fingerprints all over my childhood in other media. If you want to know why people refer to him in hushed tones or wide-eyed giddiness, this is probably the book to pick up!

    The Art of Ploog
    Illustrated by Mike Ploog
    Published by FPG

    FPG publishes the long-awaited Mike Ploog retrospective art book, The Art of Ploog. This comprehensive art book is an oversize 9″ x 12″ retrospective that covers every aspect of Ploog’s career, from his earliest days of working with Leatherneck Magazine while still a young man serving in the Marines, to his extremely popular work in comics and film, right up through his latest work on Goliath. The Art of Ploog will contain hundreds of pieces of art, as well as commentary by the likes of Ralph Bakshi, John Carpenter, Frank Oz, Roy Thomas, and the master himself; Mike Ploog. Included is work he did for Marvel comics (including Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, and Man-Thing) as well as a wide range of his film work on animated features (such as Lord of the Rings, Shrek, and Wizards) and live-action features (including Little Shop of Horrors and X-Men). The book will also contain paintings he worked on for the collectible card games Guardians and Magic the Gathering, most of which have never been reproduced larger than trading card size. This is the ultimate collection spanning Ploog’s entire career. Also available in a signed and numbered edition, limited to 250 copies.

     

    6. All That Jazz!

    I’m not really familiar with cartoonist Hunt Emerson or his work, outside of flipping through a copy of a “Calculus Cat” collection and thinking it was pretty good. But as it turns out, this collection has a hardcover edition that was Kickstarted earlier this year, and as such you can watch Emerson pitch the book directly to you. His cartooning looks like it’s got some zing and zip to it, and I’m kind of a sucker for music-based comics. At the very least he gets points for having Max Zillion hold his saxophone in the proper way.

    Hot Jazz
    Written and Illustrated by Hunt Emerson
    Published by Knockabout Comics

    The story of Max Zillion, the ace saxophonist man-handling his chosen instrument Alto Ego, rising to artistic heights with music and sinking through financial depths thanks to the machinations of Mean McMudda, the eternal agent who takes 100% and then some. Hunt Emerson is the only cartoonist who has had the courage to take jazz as his story, and he improvises on it like Charlie Parker did. Includes a twenty five page gallery by such luminaries as Dave McKean, Peter Bagge, Jay Lynch, Gilbert Shelton, Rian Hughes, and many more.

     

    5. Where’s Wallace?

    If I start reorganizing each month’s picks into separate categories, one of them would definitely be “Essential For Home Reference Library” and books like this would be perennially listed. Wally Wood was an absolute genius with the pencil and brush, but that facility came with an equally massive weight on his character and mind. Before his passing in 2014, former Wood assistant Bhob Stewart spent decades compiling material for a definitive biography of the man. I’m not entirely sure if this book is an expanded version of Stewart’s earlier book “Against The Grain: The Mad Genius of Wally Wood” or more of a companion volume, but it’s combination of 9×12 trim size, copious amounts of Wood artwork, and $35 price point makes it something every comics fan needs on their shelves.

    Continued below

    The Life & Legend of Wallace Wood
    Edited by Bhob Stewart
    Illustrated by Wallace Wood
    Published by Fantagraphics Books

    His World is a penetrating biographical portrait of pioneering cartooning legend Wallace Wood, generously illustrated with gorgeous art as well as little seen personal photos and childhood ephemera. This collective biographical and critical portrait explores the humorous spirit, dark detours, and psychological twists of a gifted maverick in American pop culture. Contributions by Bill Gaines, Grant Geissman, Larry Hama, Paul Kirchner, Trina Robbins, John Severin, Tom Sutton, Al Williamson and more!

     

    4.Kaiju Are The New Orange

    This has been, consistently, one of my favorite reads of 2015. Now you can catch up in one sitting with this handy-dandy collection. You could also follow that up with my Zander Cannon interview if you wanted to hear about what went into making the prison dramedy…

    KAIJUMAX Season One TPB
    Written and Illustrated by Zander Cannon
    Published by Oni Press

    THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE! On a remote island in the South Pacific lies KAIJUMAX, a maximum security prison for giant monsters. Follow doting father Electrogor as he stands up to the cruel space-superhero warden! See corrupt guard Gupta manage his illicit uranium-dealing empire and pay off his gambling debts to the Queen of the Moon! Watch Mecha-Zon battle his own programming when the monster he was created to destroy shows up on the pound! These stories and more will assault you from every angle in the cesspool of corruption that is KAIJUMAX!

     

    3. A Most Non-Non-Non-Heinous Collection!

    Marvel’s 90’s licensed humor comics were completely off my radar at the time, probably by choice. I mean, you can’t really blame me for thinking they sucked because it was kind of a rule back then that licensed humor comics sucked. Knowing then what I know now, I would have slapped my younger self and bought the whole stack of those “Bill & Ted” for under 20 bucks (comics were cheap back then, kids!) and told him/me to get to reading. Evan Dorkin seems to only have one speed when it comes to cartooning: foot to the floor. He packs more gags on a page than most people do in whole issues. And he’s funny! Subversively so, which is the best kind. So make sure to treat yourself to this honest-to-God-hilarious collection when you’re picking up his other hysterical collection this month from Dark Horse.

    Bill and Ted’s Excellent Comic Book Archive
    Written and Illustrated by Evan Dorkin
    Published by BOOM! Studios

    What’s to Love: We’re having such an excellent time with Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return that we want to step back in time and bring back Evan Dorkin’s (Milk & Cheese, Beasts of Burden) classic Bill & Ted comic series to new readers.

    What It Is: The Eisner Award-nominated series, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book has returned! Completely re-mastered and collected in prestigious hardcover format, experience the entire Dorkin Bill & Ted run like never before. Station! Includes the bodacious adaptation of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, a foreword by Evan Dorkin, and behind-the-scenes art.

     

    2. Zero Connection To Any Ridley Scott Movie

    This is such a gorgeous one-shot that it actually is being displayed in a museum. You can hear creator Josh O’Neill talk about it specifically in last week’s SPX episode of Robots From Tomorrow, but all you need to know for now is that the people behind the Eisner- and Harvey-winning “Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream” have another book out.

    Promethus Eternal
    Written by Grant Morrison, Josh O’Neill, Dave McKean, Andrea Tsurumi, David Mack, James Comey
    Illustrated by Farel Dalrymple, Dave McKean, Andrea Tsurumi, David Mack, Lisk Feng, Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu, James Comey, Bill Sienkiewicz
    Published by Locust Moon Press

    Grant Morrison. Paul Pope. Dave McKean. Bill Sienkiewicz. Farel Dalrymple. Yuko Shimizu. David Mack. Legendary artists through the ages have interpreted the timeless tale of Prometheus’ gift of fire, creating a powerful visual tapestry that spans centuries. In this landmark collaboration between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Eisner-winning minds behind Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, the torch has been passed to these visionary creators, who together explore the gift of creation and price of defiance.

    Continued below

     

    1. NEW STORIES AT LAST!

    The previous installment of these “New Stories” came out in February, which isn’t really that long ago for an annual title like this one. But because the stories Los Bros Hernandez tell are usually spread over more than one volume, it feels like we’ve been waiting for new stories to plop down and read in one sitting since the conclusion of #6 almost two years ago. It’s been especially tough on the Jaime fans since we’re seeing so many older characters coming back in the Maggie & Hopey strip. The wait never gets easier, but when we do finally get new installments, they always go to the top of the list!

    Love & Rockets: New Stories #8
    Written by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez
    Illustrated by Jaime & Gilbert Hernandez
    Published by Fantagraphics Books

    In this eighth annual volume of New Stories, Jaime takes us to the punk reunion that Maggie & Hopey were road tripping to last issue. Will Hopey actually show up, or will Maggie have to go it alone? Hell, will anybody show up? Lots of old friends and enemies make appearances in the second chapter of this latest Locas epic. Also, what happened to Princess Animus? The film may have broke but the movie was most definitely not over. All this and Tonta, too! Meanwhile, Gilbert serves up the second and concluding part of “The Magic Voyage of Aladdin,” which establishes the rivalry of its two stars, Fritz and Mila. Who’s Mila, you ask? And to make matters worse, who are the Fritz lookalikes that are coming out of the woodwork? You’ll have to read Love and Rockets: New Stories No. 8 to find out! Black & white illustrations throughout

    Well, that was fun! Be sure to check out the Robots From Tomorrow October Previews episode next week and hear us talk about these books and a whole lot more. And let me know what books YOU’RE excited for in the comments section.


    //TAGS | Soliciting Multiversity

    Greg Matiasevich

    Greg Matiasevich has read enough author bios that he should be better at coming up with one for himself, yet surprisingly isn't. However, the years of comic reading his parents said would never pay off obviously have, so we'll cut him some slack on that. He lives in Baltimore, co-hosts (with Mike Romeo) the Robots From Tomorrow podcast, posts on his Tumblr blog, and can be followed on Twitter at @GregMatiasevich.

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