CCL Podcast #373 – The Valiant Masters

Valiant Masters: Bloodshot Vol. 1 HC - Blood Of The Machine

Valiant Masters: Bloodshot Vol. 1 HC – Blood Of The Machine

Collected Comics Library Podcast #373
24.9Mb; 26m 36s

If you listened to last week’s show then you’ll know I have started my annual “Adopt A Character” excursion. I picked two things for 2014: The classic Valiant comic books and Namor, The Sub-Mariner.
This week I go over the first four volumes of the Valiant Masters, which can be compared to the the Marvel Masterworks or the DC Archives. The first four volumes are as follows:

Valiant Masters: Bloodshot Vol. 1 HC – Blood Of The Machine
Collects Bloodshot (1994) #1-8 and featuring an all-new, never – before-seen story by the original creative team of Kevin VanHook and Don Perlin, $24.99, Oct. 24, 2012

Valiant Masters: Ninjak Vol. 1 – Black Water HC
Collects Ninjak (1994) #1-6, #0, and #00 and featuring special, rarely seen sketches and process art from the Valiant vault, $24.99, Feb. 27, 2013

Valiant Masters: Shadowman Vol. 1 – Spirits Within HC
Collects Shadowman (1992) #0, 1-7 and material from Darque Passages (1994) #1, $24.99, June 5, 2013

Valiant Masters: Rai Vol. 1 – From Honor To Strength HC
Collects Rai (1992) #1-8, $24.99, Dec 18, 2013

Valiant has also announced:

Valiant Masters: Eternal Warrior Vol. 1 – The Fist And Steel HC
Collects Eternal Warrior (1992) #1-7, Archer & Armstrong (1992)/Eternal Warrior (1992) #8, $24.99

…but has been postponed with no date set…and the just solicited:

Valiant Masters: H.A.R.D. Corps Vol. 1 – Search And Destroy HC
Collects HARBINGER (1992) #10-11 and H.A.R.D. CORPS (1993) #1-6, $39.99, April 16, 2014

That’s a lot to go over, but I do manage to sneak in some Fantagraphics and Dark Horse collected editions news and a bit on the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming to Netflix.

Chris

Next week: yep, you guessed it: Namor! Imperius Rex!

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CCL Podcast #372 – Adopt A Character 2014

Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes Volume 3 Namor, The Sub-Mariner

Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Heroes Volume 3 Namor, The Sub-Mariner

Collected Comics Library Podcast #372
29.6Mb; 31m 42s
Well it’s that time of year again, time to Adopt a Character, creator, genre or just about anything else in the world of comic books and get acquainted with it all year long. It’s more of a challenge than anything else, and it’s been a fun way to read something out of the norm or try something new.
Here’s the rundown of what I have picked in past years:

2007: Thor
2008: Luke Cage and Iron Fist
2009: The Spirit Archives Volumes 1-27
2010: Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man
2011: Silver Age X-Men
2012: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
2013: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

As you can see, it’s been mostly Marvel and that’s no different this time around. I’m going with Namor, The Sub-Mariner. I have all of the Masterworks, but I am going to forgo the Golden Age for now and start with Namor’s appearances in the Atlas Era and then move to his solo Silver Age adventures. Namor, of course, was created by the great Bill Everett and was with him all the way up until his death, a death that came all too soon. You may recall that Blake Bell has put together a very nice two-volume set of The Bill Everett Archives and the biography Fire & Water over at Fantagraphics. I read Volume 1, but have yet to read Volume 2. I think that is where I will begin. I will keep you posted throughout the year on my progress and for fun I will also be reading more of the Classic Valiant universe. More on that in the podcast.

Also on the show there’s a great question that I received from LinkedIn, of all places, on “What are the best Omnibus’ to buy?” – a loaded question, if there ever was one! That’s leads me to the unofficial announcement of the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus due out in July. Here are the particulars (which are different from the Wikipedia entry):

Silver Surfer (1987) 34-38, 40, 44-60; Thanos Quest 1-2; Infinity Gauntlet 1-6; Cloak & Dagger (1988) 18; Spider-Man (1990) 17; Incredible Hulk 383-385; Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme 31-36; Quasar 26-27; Sleepwalker 7; 1248 pages; July 15, 2014

Lastly, I do a rundown of the contents included in Batman: The TV Stories. This book is on the heels of the excellent Batman ’66 comic and the companion book will add a “Biff! Bam! Zonk! Pow!” punch to your collected editions library. You’ll be surprised just how DC put together this very affordable, very fun trade.

Chris

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CCL Podcast #371 – This Year’s Changes

Grant Morrison’s Zenith Book 1 Tygers

Grant Morrison’s Zenith Book 1 Tygers

Collected Comics Library Podcast #371
19.7Mb; 20m 01s

You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Yep, it’s time for more changes.
You may have read a few days back that I’m doing away with the Release Schedule portion.
Well, I’ve accepted all the bribes and it’s not going away, but It will be modified to better adhere t my own schedule. More on that in the podcast.

Today, is a bit of catch-up since I haven’t talked to you in so long. So I have a bit of old news regarding IDW, Craig Yoe and Alice in Wonderland; Grant Morrison and his unwanted Zenith reprint and Dylan Horrocks’ Incomplete Works and that it might, just might, get published here in the US.
I also have some updates on the official IDW T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents forum including comics.org, the Valiant Master series and an update on my pending EC Archives: Dark Horse vs. Gemstone comparison video.

Chris

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Best of Dark Horse Star Wars

With the news about the Star Wars license moving to Marvel in 2015, I thought I would do a quick post post about some of my favorite Dark Horse releases over the years. There have been twenty years of some great books from them, and you still have plenty of time to pick them up.

ThrawnTrilogy

Star Wars Thrawn Triology HC

Five years after the fall of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is the first in a new line of Jedi Knights. Han Solo and Princess Leia have married, together assuming many burdens of the New Republic’s government. But across the galaxy lies a dying part of the Empire – all the more dangerous near death – and it has just discovered something that could bring it back to life! The last of the Emperor’s warlords, Admiral Thrawn, is ready to destroy the New Republic – and the odds are stacked heavily against Luke, Leia, and Han!

The Thrawn Trilogy is an adaption of Timonthy Zahn’s best selling novels which came out in the early 90′s. When these novels came out it was a big event, as they were promoted heavily in newspapers, magazines, and other forms of media.  It also helped that they are some of the best Star Wars stories ever written. That is in part because Admiral Thrawn became a fan favorite Villain, and even to this day he has still been mentioned or shown in books, comics, and toys.  Fans have been hoping these would have been the stories for the next films.  That may never happen, but at least we have this great comic adaption . I have read it many times over the last few years, enjoying it more every time.

 

Dark Empire Trilogy

 

Star Wars Dark Empire Trilogy

Six years after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, the battle for the galaxy’s freedom rages on. The Empire has been mysteriously reborn under an unknown leader, wielding a new weapon of great power. Princess Leia and Han Solo struggle to hold together the New Republic while the galaxy’s savior, Luke Skywalker, fights an inner battle as he is drawn to the dark side, just as his father…

 

This first part of this Trilogy is of major significance for a variety of reasons. It is one of the first Star Wars books Dark Horse published, the first comic to spin directly out of the events of the Thrawn Trilogy, Boba Fett returns, Luke tangles with his Dark Side, we meet the first child of the Solo’s, and a major player from the original movies returns (won’t spoil it). It’s success has paved the way for all the Star Wars comic’s Dark Horse has published after it.

Crimson Empire

Star Wars Crimson Empire Vol 1

Kir Kanos is the last surviving member of the elite Crimson Guard. He’s on the run — and the Empire will stop at nothing to destroy him! The story details an amazing encounter with Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine and reveals at last what happened to the Crimson Guard after the death of the Emperor in Empire’s End! The final battle of the last of the Royal Guards is about to begin — and you have a ringside seat!

Over the years there have been a few books about different parts of the Galactic Empire. However none have been as good as the first part of the Crimson Empire Trilogy. I found Kir Kanos, and the supporting cast to be very interesting characters. I love reading about the internal doings on the Empire,  and I could never tell which way the story would turn next.

 

SWLegacyVol1

 

Star Wars Legacy Volume 1-3 HC Omnibus

A legion of Sith have conquered what was left of the Empire, the Jedi have been purged-or fled into hiding-and the galaxy is divided. Meet Cade Skywalker, a bounty hunter who doesn’t want anything to do with the Jedi, his famous name, or his legacy . . . But his legacy is determined to follow him as the good guys and the bad guys begin to search for him-as a savior, and as a threat.

Anytime someone asks me what Star Wars Comics to start with, I always point them to Star Wars Legacy. It is the series that everyone recommended to me years back when I wanted to get into SW Comics. It has Jedi, Sith, The Empire, bounty hunters, great action, political intrigue, and everything else you would want from a Star Wars story. It was also one of the longest running stories in SW comics, and had a great finale.

SWLegacyVol2

 

Star Wars Legacy 2 : Volume 1

A new hero is introduced to the Star Wars saga: Ania Solos, the great-great granddaughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. Ania Solo is just a girl trying to make her way in the galaxy – and have a little adventure along the way! But when she stumbles upon a broken communications droid and a missing lightsaber, a little adventure turns into a whole lot of trouble… for Ania and her friends! Suddenly on the run from local police and a determined Imperial Knight, Ania discovers that one little lightsaber seems to be the center of a much bigger plot, filled with impostors, prisoners, missing planets, and the Sith!

The last on my list is the newest Legacy series written by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Behcko. This is one of the series that will end because of the loss of the license. You do not have to read the original Legacy to enjoy this book, but it does mention a few things from it.  The story of Ania Solo who was just working in a Junk Yard, which led to her getting into Galactic affairs,  has been a lot of fun. Gabriel and Corinna  have come up with a great supporting cast, which I hope will show up in the Marvel books.  I love the way Hardman draws Star Wars, and I hope Marvel gives him that chance again down the road,  because they would be fools not to.

 

There are many other great Star Wars books that have been published by Dark Horse over the years, but these are a great place to start. By the time you finish these, I am sure Dark Horse will have a few Digital Sales before the clock hits 2015. Enjoy!!!

Thoughts On Star Wars Comics Moving Back To Marvel

Star_Wars_MarvelNews broke on Friday that the license to publish Star Wars comic books was moving back to Marvel after having been at Dark Horse for over 20 years. This was inevitable. Disney, in the span of two short years, bought up both Marvel and Star Wars (and even Indiana Jones). Speculation was, at first, that Dark Horse was to keep the license, but now we know it is official – no dice.

This is terrible news for Dark Horse, but news that they have been preparing for even though 2013 brought us two of the best titles Dark Horse has ever produced: “THE Star Wars” (culled from the original George Lucas draft) and “Star Wars” by Brian Wood, which was to be an ongoing but will now cease with #20.

The move back to Marvel will hurt sales, as the Star Wars line is one of the most popular and profitable of all the comics they publish. Dark Horse will survive with other licensed properties but they will be hard pressed to have another line as popular and with so much cache.

star_wars_mangaIt’s also sad for many of the long time creators that have overseen the line. Randy Stradley, John Ostrander and John Jackson Miller have spearheaded the line and they have been true to the vision that George Lucas put forth all those years ago. They took chances. Chances that Disney and Mavel may not be so eager to attempt. “The Tales Of the Jedi” (1993-1998) which brought readers to the beginnings of the universe; “Union” which is the marriage of Luke Skywalker to Mara Jade and “Chewbacca” in which an old friend passes. Dark Horse also published Star Wars Manga overseen by editor David Land, a bold retelling of the original trilogy and one that has been sorely forgotten.

star_wars_wild_spaceAs far as collected editions go, the Omnibus editions have been coming out at an astounding rate and I’m pretty sure just about every single Dark Horse title has been collected. These 6×9 softcover editions are easy to read and pack a lot of material in them. Dark Horse has even published 2 volumes called Wild Space which collects some of the more bizarre and hard to find comics, not only published by Dark Horse but other non-Marvel companies, as well.

star_wars_color_tradeSpeaking of Marvel’s books, Dark Horse has published the Marvel line of books 107 issues plus 3 annuals a few different times. In a 5-Volume Omnibus line subtitled “A Long Time Ago”; a full color, 7-volume trade paperback series called “A Long Time Ago” and not to be confusing, but in another “A Long time Ago” 6-volume collection, which is a digest series that reprinted the comics, seemingly randomly and in back and white. These digests featured Ralph McQuarrie’s original Star Wars painting as cover art.

But what of the future? After all that’s what we want to know.

First of all I don’t think Marvel will screw anything up such as an X-Men/Star Wars crossover like they did with Star Trek. Why? Because Lucasfilm will still be the end-all, be-all editor of the series. That’s right. Anything that is published – comics, novels, toys and even TV shows (think Family Guy and Robot Chicken) must go though the proper channels.

star_wars_vaders_queststar_wars_35This has helped with continuity over the years, too. Even when it came time for Dark Horse to expand the reveal of how Darth Vader found out about Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star. In “Vader’s Quest”, they adhered to Marvel’s own adaptation in issue #35, which interestingly was the last Marvel Star Wars comic to be published before The Empire Strikes Back was released.
Here is the breakdown:

Vader’s Quest #1 (pages 1-3),
Marvel SW #35 (page 1),
Vader’s Quest #1 (pages 2-20)
Marvel SW #35 (page 2) (there’s a minor discrepancy with the type of ship Vader takes back to the Star Destroyer),
Vader’s Quest #1 (page 21-end),
Marvel SW #35 (pages 3-11, panel 3)
Vader’s Quest #2-4
Marvel SW #35 (pages 11, panel 4-end of the issue)

But it’s unknown how Marvel will incorporate the Dark Horse stories. I’m sure they would like to attempt their own “Day After the Death Star” comic and focus on the core characters like Luke, Han and Leia, but if you squeeze them into the Dark Horse timeline, there isn’t much room between the end of A New Hope and the beginning of Return Of The Jedi. You can bet there will be a Boba Fett series and perhaps even the origins of Darth Maul (which has been written in novel form). And of course Marvel will be adapting Episodes VII, VIII and IX. It’s also unknown if Marvel will get the reprint rights to the Dark Horse line, but I’m sure they will reprint the original run along with the 4-issue Marvel Return Of The Jedi comic in either the Masterwork or Omnibus format. Whatever Marvel may do expect a copycat of Dark Horse’s successes: a slue of mini-series and one-shots with an ongoing that will garner huge fanfare.

To paraphrase Han Solo, “Hey Marvel, May The Force Be With You”.

Collected Editions Release Schedule To Close

books_on_floorWith a new year comes new changes.

Last January I removed the Library portion of the CCL site. It was just too much trouble updating information that could be easily found on Wikipedia or Comics.org.

This year I have decided to stop the the Collected Editions Release Schedule. I know this will be a sore spot for many of you. Truth is that it’s a lot to upkeep (almost daily) and I would rather spend my time getting back to reading more collected editions (and periodical comics), writing reviews and podcasting – yes podcasting!

In the meantime you can always get updated lists from Comiclist.com. Charlie does a wonderful job updating his site at what seems to be an hourly rate.

Don’t fret too much, though. Besides spending more time here at the CCL, I’ll also be tweeting out the news and having discussions on the Facebook page.

As for the current 2014 list, I’ll keep that and the past lists up for a week or two, so download them if you want too.

As for other happenings, I just wrapped up an article for an upcoming Back Issue and I’ll be hosting the TwoMorrows Publishing booth at C2E2 2014 in April.

And who knows, there may be a few other surprises in store.

Happy New Year!

Chris