Tag Archives: Dark Horse

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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ThrawnTrilogy

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!!!

Spooky Collected Editions Worthy Of Your Attention

Special Halloween Edition!

Is there one book that is a “must have” collected edition that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), Joey Nazzari (@CaptDS9E), Wallace Ryan (@ReverendLove) Chris Partin (@ChrisPartin) and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing some comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.

Carrie - 1976
Carrie – 1976

Picked by @adambesenyodi
Carrie (1976)
Distributed by United Artists
Starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta
A conversation with friends at the beginning of the summer prompted me to go back and rewatch as many Stephen King movie adaptations as I could. I tackled them in chronological order, based on the year they were released, and sat through Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Christine, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, and Cat’s Eye before running out of gas. Firestarter was unquestionably the worst of the bunch, not holding up in any way – acting, story, special effects. At the other end of the spectrum lie Carrie and The Shining. Although based on a Stephen King novel, I have always thought of The Shining as more of a Stanley Kuberick movie than a Stephen King adaptation. That leaves Carrie at the top of the list… And rightly so. Based on King’s first published novel in 1974, it’s also the first King adaptation to the big screen.

Sissy Spacek fully owns the title character, embodying the socially awkward Carrie White. The repressed daughter of a fundamentalist religious fanatic, played by a scenery-chewing Piper Laurie in a career-reviving role, the movie opens with Carrie’s torment at the hands of her peers in the school locker room. The scene introduces Chris Hargensen, played by Nancy Allen, who married director Brian DePalma and went on to star in the RoboCop franchise, as Carrie’s main antagonist. Barely recognizable in their youth as followers behind Nancy Allen’s character are P.J. Soles, later Bill Murray’s love interest in Stripes, and Edie McClurg, who became one of John Hughes’ most reliable actors. The rest of the cast is no less notable, with a who’s who of future stars of the ’70s and ’80s… Amy Irving (whose real life mom plays her mother in the film) as the lone classmate who tries to befriend Carrie; William Katt, who would make his name as the lead in Greatest American Hero, plays the popular guy trying to do good; John Travolta plays Nancy Allen’s repulsive boyfriend; and Betty Buckley debuted as Miss Collins, Carrie’s sympathetic gym teacher, before going on to star in Eight Is Enough.

Spacek and Laurie both earned the Academy Award nominations they received for their work in the film for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Beyond the recognizable faces, though, is where the movie truly shines. The story has heart, manipulating the audience in all the right ways despite any dating of the clothes or scenery. Capturing the angst of high school, Carrie is a movie that is more than the sum of its parts, ultimately settling as a mashup of the original X-Men outcast themes and John Hughes’ mid-’80s output filtered through a horror lens.


Picked by @CaptDS9E
Afterlife With Archie #1
Published by Archie Comics
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by the fantastic Francesco Francavilla.
Retail $2.99 (Read on for Halloween Deal)
When Jughead’s pet has a horrific accident, he goes to Sabrina the Teenage Witch for help. However the spell she casts, unleashes evil into the world, and starts bringing Riverdales dead back to life. A zombie apocalypse has begun in the world of archie. I have not read a regular archie book since I was 10, but the mix of Zombies, and Francavilla on art made me pick up this issue, and it was fantastic. And it is only a first issue, as this is an ongoing series that hopefully has a long Afterlife ;) Also if you read this before the end of Halloween night go tocomixology.com and use the coupon code ArchieZombie99 to get the issue for .99. It’s a steal. (Also a quick 2nd pick is Rachael Rising by Terry Moore which is must read as well)

and…
World War Z
Paramount and Skydance Pictures
Featuring Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos
My second pick is a recent movie, also with zombies called World War Z (loosely based on the book by Max Brooks). Gerry Lane is a former UN investigator who left his job to spend more time with his family. One normal morning in Philadelphia, while in the car with his wife and two kids (stuck in traffic like any major city) something goes horribly wrong.There are car accidents, explosions, and something is headed towards them. We soon learn that a virus has started turning people into Zombies at an alarming rate. And these are not slow zombies, these are fast moving killers like in the game series Left 4 Dead. As we move along, the UN once again asks Gerry to help them figure out what is going on. He agrees to help, as long as they give his family a safe place to stay. That sets Gerry off on a globe trotting adventure from the US, to Asia, to the Middle East, to Europe and back again as Gerry pieces together how this epidemic may have started. I have to say that I was very surprised by this movie. I never read the original book, but hearing stories of some of the problems during production lowered my expectations. However Brad Pitt put’s in a terrific performance, andI really felt danger for his character in more then one instance. The fact that we see what is going on all over the world is another plus. I love the walking dead, but I always wish we would see more of the big picture of things. This movie gives that to us in a fun way.

Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson
Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson

Picked by @Dief88
Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson
Published by Dark Horse
$19.99
Over the last few years, Dark Horse has managed to pump out nearly twenty volumes (each!) of its Creepy Archives and Eerie Archives hardcover series, collecting the 1970s’ two most legendary horror magazines. But if you’re looking for the very best of the best (or if you don’t have the hundreds of dollars you would need to complete your Creepy and Eerie collections), look no further than Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson. This incredibly-low-priced hardcover collects nearly 150 pages of stories illustrated by the incomparable Bernie Wrightson, one of the artists whose style is most associated with the two magazines. Wrightson’s work here is a whole different ball of wax from his more mainstream work in titles like Swamp Thing (the original series) – presented in stunning black and white at the original magazines’ full size, this is truly the stuff that nightmares are made of. He’s at his best in this collection in his work with writer Bruce Jones and in his adaptations of classic stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, but everything here delivers. The book ends with a fully-colored story, as well as a color collection of Wrightson’s amazing covers and frontispieces from both Creepy and Eerie. Whether you’re looking for a veritable artistic portfolio from a great artist or just some scary comics to read on All Hallow’s Eve, you really can’t go wrong with this book.

EC Archives - Tales From the Crypt Volume 4 HC
EC Archives – Tales From the Crypt Volume 4 HC

Picked by @ReverendLove
EC Archives – Tales from the Crypt Vol. 4 HC
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Collects Tales from the Crypt #35-40
216 pages, $49.99

It was a roller coaster of a ride for the EC Comics Archives over the past few years as the collection lurched from Gemstone to GC Press and finally came to rest at the hallowed halls of Dark Horse Comics where at last, they seem to have found a safe and happy home. EC Comics was owned and operated by the one of the nicest men in comics, William Gaines who’d inherited the company from his father Max, the creator of the comic book format. Gaines created, along with many others, a grotesque and violent line of horror comics that terrified the parents of the 50′s and yet, delighted their kids.

I was one of many who bemoaned the troubles the Archives have been having as they tried to find a publisher who could guarantee their continued existence and was as happy as one could be when I heard that Dark Horse had taken up the torch. I enjoyed the first few incarnations and was a bit worried about how Dark Horse would be presenting these classic comics until I picked up “Tales of the Crypt” volume 4, the first book from the latest guardians of these treasured pieces of graphic literature at it’s height! But I was pleasantly surprised at their slight redesign on the spine and elated to see that they repositioned the “the EC Archives” text below the original title logos of the comics instead of ghosting them over the logos. Thank you ever so much for that design improvement and for the beautiful job done on the design of the inside text pages. This is how I like my archive editions to look!

This volume contains 6 issues of EC’s best known horror title, Tales from the Crypt and are a treat with their unseemly and lurid violence with a casual smattering of campy horror. The stories are all written by William Gaines and Al Feldstein and feature a wide range of classic horror stories from your usual vampire tales to werewolves and cannibalistic ghouls. I always loved the surprise endings common to all the EC titles and this baby is no different.

The art is handled by an all star roster of some of EC’s best graphic storytellers including Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Jack Kamen, George Evans, Reed Crandell, Graham Ingels, Bill Elder and Bernie Krigstein. The pages are all based on a simple panel system and yet all these diverse artists were able to adapt and flourish in that environment. I love all their work from the cartoony Davis to the slightly disturbing Ghastly Graham Ingels to the sleek design master, Bernie Krigstein. Some may find some of these stories dated in some aspects but you can’t deny the graphic jubilation that these men brought to these tales of sheer terror and teeth grinding suspense.

I will continue to collect any and all EC Comics Archives that Dark Horse Comics cares to bring to life and I recommend that you do the same. Boo!

Batman Volume 3- Death of the Family HC
Batman Volume 3- Death of the Family HC

Picked by @andrewjtom
Batman Volume 3: Death of the Family HC
Published by DC Comics
Collects Batman #13-17
$24.99
If you listened to the Collected Comics Library episode from a couple of months ago you’ll know what a tremendous Batman fan I am. So; is it any surprise that I chose Snyder and Capullo’s Death of the Family hardcover for this week’s pick? Regardless of how big of a Batman fan I am, I can recommend this book as a tome that needs to be read by not only Batman fans, but fans of the comic medium in general. This book craft’s one of the best Joker stories I’ve ever read. Let’s face it… we know that at the end of any Batman story, the status quo will always end with Batman defeating the bad guy, and the core characters of the Batman mythos will be completely in tact and ready to take that next leap into another adventure with the Dark Knight. But this time; Snyder and Capullo actually had me believing that Batman and his sidekicks were in serious jeopardy of not only letting the Joker get away, but not surviving this story. I’m not gonna’ ramble on about this tale, but it’s the type of Batman story that will end up being an “evergreen” title in the future (a comic that never goes out of print and stands the test of time). Do yourself a favor and pick up two of these from Instocktrades or Forbidden Planet International. You’ll need one for yourself, and one to loan out to your friends.

The Monster Club
The Monster Club
Picked by Shane
The Monster Club
Starring Vincent Price and John Carradine
By Amicus Productions.
There is no shortage of good horror comics or movies to enjoy this Halloween. I decided to review a film near and dear to my heart since first seeing it at a young age. The Monster Club has been long out of print on DVD, but was recently released in a beautiful new Blu-Ray edition thanks to the folks at Scorpion Releasing. I have never seen this 1980 film look so beautiful. What we have is a trilogy of stories made for your Halloween viewing. The stories are framed by a fun, yet cheesy wraparound at the “famous” Monster Club, where no humans are usually welcome. The incredible cast of famous horror personalities alone will have you wanting to grab this release. The film stars Vincent Price, John Carradine, Donald Pleasance and Britt Ekland to name just a few. Vincent Price stars as a vampire who feeds off of famous horror writer R. Chetwynd-Haynes played by John Carradine. In order to pay him back for his “kindness”, the vampire invites the author to the Monster Club where he can find new stories to write. The wraparound segment of the club is very cheesy. There are musical numbers, animated sequences and other forms of craziness, but it all adds to the charm of the film. The three tales are what are worth the price of admission. The first one, being the best and most memorable is about a Shadmock, a creature who packs a deadly whistle. The other two stories are fun as well, one being a comical take on vampires and the last being a tale of a film director looking for a location for his latest film. Of course, the small village he finds is not exactly what he is expecting! The film is a blast and very fun to watch on Halloween. It is also relatively tame and safe for at least ages ten and above. Definitely pick this up and make it part of your Halloween viewing.

6 Collected Editions Worthy Of Your Attention #41

Is there one book that is a “must have” collected edition that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), Joey Nazzari (@CaptDS9E), Wallace Ryan (@ReverendLove) Chris Partin (@ChrisPartin) and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing some comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.

X-Men: X-Corps TP
X-Men: X-Corps TP

Picked by @Dief88
X-Men: X-Corps TP
Collects Uncanny X-Men (1963) #394-409 and Annual 2001
Published by Marvel
$39.99
Starting in 2001, Grant Morrison catapulted superhero comics into the new millennium in the pages of New X-Men. Can you even imagine being the guy assigned to write Marvel’s other X-Men comic at the time?
But while it may have played second fiddle in its day (and been widely overlooked in the decade since, for that matter), Joe Casey’s run on Uncanny X-Men has a lot going for it. Although the key players of Morrison’s comic are essentially off the table, Casey assembles a great B-team in Angel, Nightcrawler, Iceman, former Generation X member Chamber, and (on occasion) Wolverine. Chamber is an especially inspired choice; his presence makes for some suitably dramatic moments when the team comes up against his former mentor, Banshee, whose new X-Corps organization has been attempting to fight crime through decidedly questionable means. It’s not all perfect – Casey’s run introduces the ill-conceived Stacy X, a mutant prostitute whose power is basically that she can seduce people – but on the whole its unique cast and story structure separate it (in the best way) from most other X-Men collections out there.

Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation: The Complete Series HC
Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation: The Complete Series HC

Picked by Shane
Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation: The Complete Series HC
Published by IDW
$34.99
Crossovers are always hit or miss, especially with well-established franchises. In the nineties, the Star Trek/X-Men crossover wasn’t very well received, but the recent Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes was a pretty solid story. Having both Star Trek and Doctor Who licenses, IDW tempted fate and brought two of television’s oldest science fiction franchises together. The result was a very well written and fairly seamless crossover. Both Doctor Who with his companions and the Next Generation crew fought similar enemies in the Cybermen and the Borg, so it was a natural fit to team our heroes together against these horrible adversaries. Both enemies have a mission to basically rob people of their humanity and make them part of a collective consciousness. It was a lot of fun seeing the characters from two iconic scifi shows working together against great odds to try to defeat these nearly unstoppable foes.
I had recommended this series before when the two trades came out. Now we have the option of a nice hard cover edition collecting the entire series. I rarely buy monthlies anymore, but did on this occasion. I couldn’t wait for this series to be collected. If you did wait and haven’t read it yet, there are no excuses now. If you are fan of either franchise or both, you’ll want to read this story.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 6: City Fall, Part 1 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 6: City Fall, Part 1 TP

Picked by @CaptDS9E
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 6: City Fall, Part 1 TP
The latest collection of the red-hot ongoing series kicks off with Kevin Eastman’s solo issue #21, a prelude to the first three parts of “City Fall”
Published by IDW
$17.99
City Fall is the first major event in the latest incarnation of the TMNT comics by IDW. Over the course of the first 7 trades (including the Heroes Micro series, and the Secret History of the Fall Clan) the Shredder has been moving his pieces into place, and has decided finally is now the time to strike and take over the entire city criminal empire. To do so, he will have to not only take down all the major crime families/gangs, but also the Ninja Turtles as well. Moving things into place ,Shredder and his foot clan abduct one of the Turtles closet allies. The turtles with a little bit of help, arrive at the place their friend is being held. A little late, as the Shredder does something horrific to their friend, starting a major battle. What the Turtles do not know, is that this has been Shredder’s plan all along. He has set this up to set up a larger plan. Something so shocking that even I could not believe it when it happened (it even ties back into the Secret History of the Foot Clan series I recommended before),And I’ve read and watched everything ever made of this property. Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman are doing comic of the year type story telling in this series, but the shining star of this arc is Mateus Santolouco (Secret History of the Footclan) on art. His work is so damn good I had to buy a page from the first issue of City Fall. Hell I may buy another down the road. It’s must see stuff

Cowboy Ninja Viking Deluxe HC
Cowboy Ninja Viking Deluxe HC

Picked by @ChrisPartin
Cowboy Ninja Viking Deluxe HC
Collects Cowboy Ninja Viking #1-10
Published by Image
$39.99
If there was a series I really thought deserved more attention and more issues it would be A.J. Lieberman and Riley Rossmo’s COWBOY NINJA VIKING. The series was about counter-intelligence unit that were transformed into people called Triplets and imbued with multiple personalities, in this case three of them, where they were able to tap their abilities and go into combat. The best of the bunch was a man named Duncan who had the abilities of a cowboy, a ninja, and a Viking.
I had a chance to talk to A.J. Lieberman back on my podcast, Image Addiction, about the series. At this point I was already a huge fan of the series because of Riley Rossmo’s amazing visuals. Lieberman’s conversation with us on the podcast elevated that excitement for the series. There really had been very little like this series before it, and there’s not been anything like it since and it’s a shame this series only lasted ten issues. The possible life this book could have had focusing on various Triplets over the course of a story arc could have been a lot of fun. What does make me happy is to see Image has not given up on this series and is giving it this deluxe hardcover treatment.
The series was originally printed in Golden Age format which really allowed Rossmo the room he needed to produce some of his best work of his career. The trade paperbacks that were released carried on this format, but now having it in an oversized volume collecting all of the series – breath taking! This deluxe hardcover will look great on your shelf as well as great in your hands as you read it over and over again. Definitely a must have in 2013 for me, and it should be for you as well.

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus HC
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus HC

Picked by @AndrewJTom
Hellboy: The Midnight Circus HC
Published by Dark Horse
$14.99
Look… I love me some Hellboy comics. Mike Mignola is responsible for some of my favorite stories over the last 20 years. That said, (I know this may sound “blasphemous”) but my favorite Hellboy stories are the ones drawn by Duncan Fegredo. Now, I know that this makes no logical sense when you consider that caliber of talent that has contributed to the Hellboy mythos in the past. Guys like Mignola and Richard Corben (both Master Cartoonists) have turned in wonderful HB stories. But Duncan Fegredo has really done some career defining work with Hellboy. He’s crafted a Mignola style sensibility, but, with his own flair that makes his issues seem both familiar and fresh at the same time. Hellboy: Midnight Circus is the latest Mignola/Fegredo collaboration. It’s an out of current continuity story that recounts a tale from Hellboy’s youth, which always lends itself to great time in the Hellboy universe. Pick this book up when you get a chance, it’s one that you won’t want to miss.

Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 by Steve Ditko and Blake Bell
Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 by Steve Ditko and Blake Bell

Picked by @ReverendLove
Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 by Steve Ditko and Blake Bell
Published by Fantagraphics
$39.99
I was elated today as I entered my local comic book store and found a copy of “Impossible Tales: the Steve Ditko Archives Volume 4” waiting to jump into my trembling hands.
I have been an admirer of Mr. Ditko’s work since I was a kid and was first introduced to the Maestro of Mystery by his 60′s DC character, the Creeper. I don’t know what it was, but I was entranced, reading that first issue over and over until it passed into comic book heaven. As I grew older, I discovered his work on the Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange and it cemented my love of Ditko’s dark lines of delineation and moody shadow work. Over the past few years, Fantagraphics has been releasing of Steve Ditko Archives covering a lot of his early work from the 1950′s and reprints a lot of his work that I had never seen before these archive editions.
This volume has stories from such classic comics as “Tales of the Mysterious Traveler”, “Out of this World”, “Strange Suspense Stories” and many others including my personal favourite, if for the title alone, “This Magazine is Haunted”. In these stories, you can see hints of future creations and techniques that would later grace the pages of the Atlas monster comics and lead eventually on to Dr. Strange and the Creeper.
When I read these stories, I could see the path that Ditko would continue to tread for decades as he progressed as an artist and a quiet pioneer of graphic storytelling.

Now it’s your turn. What books that came out this week do you recommend? Take a look at the sidebar to see this weeks collected edition releases.

6 Collected Editions Worthy Of Your Attention #40

Is there one book that is a “must have” collected edition that came out this week? My friends Andy Tom (@AndrewJTom), Chris Campbell (@ChrisCampbell8), Marc Diefenderfer (@Dief88), Shane Hannafey, Adam Besenyodi (@adambesenyodi), Joey Nazzari (@CaptDS9E), Wallace Ryan (@ReverendLove) Chris Partin (@ChrisPartin) and I (@ChrisCCL) are sharing some comic book collected editions, reprints and/or graphic novels released this week that you may be interested in.

The Black Beetle Volume 1: No Way Out HC
The Black Beetle Volume 1: No Way Out HC

Picked by @ChrisPartin
The Black Beetle Volume 1: No Way Out HC
Published by Image
$19.99
Francesco Francavilla is one of those creators that once you see what he can do with a comic book page you can only want to see another and another and… well, you get the point. BLACK BEETLE is Francavilla’s creator owned series at Dark Horse that will make you stand up and pay attention to what he’s capable of as a writer and as an artist.
BLACK BEETLE is a love letter to those pulp comic greats like THE SHADOW and THE SPIDER and there’s not a page or panel that you see in this hardcover that does not remind you of Francavilla’s influence by those characters and stories. The moment you open this book to the time you get to the last page you’re enveloped into a world of action and mystery. There’s very little opportunity to catch your breath and that is what makes this book so enjoyable – there’s no need to slow the pace down. The story is wall to wall action and you’re pulled in and are dragged behind the Black Beetle as he swings from roof tops, punches bad guys, and defeats the big, bad evil guy. All of it, you’re pulled in and Francavilla does an amazing job at keeping you in and entertained.
BLACK BEETLE VOL 1 HC is something that fans of high action and old-school mystery should pick up and be entertained by because that’s what it’s here to do.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck Volume 5: Christmas On Bear Mountain by Carl Bark HC
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Volume 5: Christmas On Bear Mountain by Carl Bark HC

Picked by @ReverendLove
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Volume 5: Christmas On Bear Mountain by Carl Bark HC
Published by Fantagraphics
$28.99
I was never a huge cartoon duck fan outside of Howard the Duck and would have remained so if not for picking up Don Rosa’s Eisner winning “the Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” a few years ago. It turned me into a huge fan of the duck genre and then, to make matters worse, Fantagraphics decided to release an archive series that would collect the work of the Maestro of Cartoon Ducks, the legendary Carl Barks! I was trapped and had to give in to the guilty pleasure that comes from reading a well crafted duck tale.
This volume’s title story, “Christmas On Bear Mountain” is the first appearance of the richest duck of them all, Uncle Scrooge McDuck. In this story, Scrooge is a lot grouchier, bitter and ill tempered than his later incarnations and closer to the Dickens persona rather than Bark’s character. It’s a typical Christmas story with Donald, short on funds again, taking his nephews to Uncle Scrooge’s chalet on Bear Mountain to find some way to celebrate Christmas. As usual, the situation goes from calm to madcap crazy as Scrooge dresses up as a bear to test Donald and his nephews and somehow, a bear cub and his Mother get into the chalet and caught up in the story.
As with the other books in this series, there are a couple of other long form stories including the classic Barks tales “Volcano Valley”, “Adventure Down Under” and one of his more moody graphic works, titled “Ghost of the Grotto”. The book has seven 10 page short gag stories similar to the other books in the series and these certainly do not disappoint. Although the longer form stories are my favourites, I still enjoy Bark’s shorter pieces for their energy, light frivolity and slapstick timing.
I know that whenever I bring up the subject of ducks with my comic book pals, they look at me a-scant but I highly recommend this fabulous collection from Fantagraphics that celebrates the life and prodigious body of work of the Dean of Duckdom, the irreplaceable Carl Barks.

Bloodshot Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars TPB
Bloodshot Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars TPB

Picked by @CaptDS9E
Bloodshot Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars TPB
Collects Bloodshot #10-13
Published by Valiant
$14.99
Valiant’s first big event, The Harbinger war is upon us. When Bloodshot attacks the PRS, all hell breaks loose. The Harbinger children (who have all sorts of special abilities) who were being help captive, escape into the general population. A large group goes into nearby Vegas and takes over a hotel, along with the Harbinger renegades from the proper Harbinger book. In this trade, another group escapes and travels with Bloodshot. Not only trying to evade the PRS who are hunting them down, but the Harbinger Foundation as well. They try to make there way to Vegas to join up with the other escaped group, but even though the young group he travels which thinks him to be their hero, Bloodshot does not realize that he has had a massive impact on these kids lives before, and not all of them who escaped may want his help, or call him ally. Bloodshot has been one of my favorite books since the Valiant relaunch because he is a very interesting character. Not even he knows his true history, because of all the reprogramming done to him over the years. Duane Swierczynski does a great job during this event showing his side of the tale, and Barry Kitson does a great job on the art duties. Not really a jumping on point, but more a recommendation to catch up on this series to this point.

Complete Golden Age Airboy And Valkyrie HC
Complete Golden Age Airboy And Valkyrie HC

Picked by @ChrisCCL
Complete Golden Age Airboy And Valkyrie HC
Published by Canton Street Press
$24.99
First, I want to thank Canton Street Press for supplying me a copy of this book. As many of you know, I’m a fan of Golden Age material and especially Golden Age material that is reprinted for a new generation. Canton Street Press is a relatively new company and as they say on their website, “specializes in quality restorations of long out-of-print books of historical significance”. There’s no doubt that Airboy is one of those comics. Airboy was first published in Air Fighters Comics Vol. 1 #2 (November 1942) and was created by writers Charles Biro and Dick Wood and artist Al Camy. But as the title says, “Airboy AND Valkyrie”, so this books collects all the Golden Age appearances of the villainess – and later heroine. After reading the stories she reminds me of several women featured in Will Eisner’s The Spirit, particularly Sand Saref and Silk Satin. Not only is she dangerous, but she has dangerous curves and could give The Phantom Lady a run for her money in a cleavage contest.
The book, itself, is very affordable at $25 and the restiration and presentation is top notch. I only have one small complaint – the table of contents does not include the month and year of the comics collected in this book. Therefore, I have added them here for reference:

Air Fighters Vol. 2 #2 Airboy Meets Valkrie – November 1943
Air Fighters Vol. 2 #7 The Dath Lights – April 1944
Air Fighters Vol. 1 #12 Misery! – September 1943
Airboy Vol. 2 #12 The Return Of Misery! – January 1946
Airboy Vol. 3 #6 An American Legend – July 1946
Airboy Vol. 3 #12 The Wind of Battle – January 1947
Airboy Vol. 4 #10 Valkrie’s Viking Flying Club – November 1947
Airboy Vol. 9 #2 Valkrie Strikes Again – March 1952

With a quick glance it looks like the story “Misery” is out of place, but really if it was not included then “The Return Of Misery!” wouldn’t make much sense, hence it is included for continuity sake, but interestingly, it does not contain Valkrie. I hope CSP will be able to reprint the entire Airboy series in thicker editions similar to Marvel’s Masterworks, but I understand if there isn’t a market for them. If you are interested pick up this hardcover and be sure to check out other offerings from Canton Street Press including the complete Canteen Kate from Matt Baker.

and…

DC Comics Essentials: Wonder Woman #1
DC Comics Essentials: Wonder Woman #1

DC Comics Essentials: Wonder Woman #1
Collects Wonder Woman #1 (Volume 4)
Published by DC Comics
$1.00
I’ll make this recommendation very simple – if you haven’t picked up Wonder Woman yet – do it now. For only a buck you can experience, what is now my favorite book of DC’s New 52. What artist Cliff Chiang and writer Brian Azzarello are doing is nothing short of spectacular. What’s nice is that it doesn’t feel like a “superhero” book because it intertwines with Greek mythology and the JLA stays out of it. In fact, it’s difficult to pinpoint just where in DC continuity this takes place, which is fine by me. 5 Stars!

and…

Marvel's Thor: The Dark World Prelude TP
Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Prelude TP

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Prelude TP
Collects Marvel’s Thor Adaptation #1-2, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Prelude #1-2 and Thor: God Of Thunder #13
Published by Marvel
$14.99
It’s that time of year again – time for another Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie. That movie is Thor: The Dark World and with it comes this easy to read trade. You can plainly see why they first two min-series are collected but why God Of Thunder #13? That’s because it features the Dark Elves who play an integral part in the Dark World film. As with Wonder Woman above, the God Of Thunder series by writer Jason Aaron and artist Ron Garney is one of the best books on the market and one that’s at the top of my “to read” pile every month. If you’re interested in catching up, you can do so by picking up the first two collected editions of God of Thunder: Vol 1. God Butcher and Vol. 2 Godbomb.

Now it’s your turn. What books that came out this week do you recommend? Take a look at the sidebar to see this weeks collected edition releases.