Friday, October 6, 2017

THE PULL LIST: Comics I'll be buying in December 2017


Just sent my monthly pre-order to my local comics shop, Zimmie's, located in Lewiston, Maine. And, as per usual, I'm here to share what I've committed to buy — as a way to bloviate on what strikes me as the best the current market has to offer — and to solicit feedback on what you might be choosing instead — in hopes of discovering new favorites.

This is only my second month ever of trying to put together my pull list without the aid of a printed PREVIEWS catalog, my monthly ordering crutch for near on a quarter century now. Zimmie's offers one of two benefits to regular customers who pre-order their comics — 1) They can get a free PREVIEWS catalog, or 2) a free bag and board with each new comic purchased. Since the beginning of time I have taken the catalog. But, truth is, in recent years, most of what's in this regular behemoth of fanboy delights is released early online through various comics news sites, and I end up already knowing in advance what I'm going to see each month when I crack the cover. In fact, the last couple of years, I've had my order nearly complete by the time I get my catalog, having already filled in the major publishers.

It used to be that I simply loved poring through PREVIEWS each month and dreaming of all the stuff I wished I could buy. And, for a lot of years, I used to fantasize about opening my own comics shop and would actually go through the catalog each month, figuring out how much of each thing I would order to stock my own store. Yeah, I'm weird like that.

But I'm nearly 50 now, and financial realities have set in. I'm pretty certain by now that I'm never going to have capital enough to open my own comics store — of course, these days, it would have to me more of a pop culture/comics/gaming/toy store with a performance space and food service, I suspect — or that my monthly budget will ever grow to the point where ordering all the cool back-of-catalog stuff solicited by Diamond can actually happen. Me being able to afford one of those statues is real Star Trek antimatter universe stuff, to be sure!

So, I made the jump last month to skipping the printed catalog and taking the bags and boards. For this order, I primarily used the solicitation listings run my Newsarama, since I find their layout easiest to follow (although IDW solicitations are still a pain to wade through). I then jump over to Diamond to check out all of the small publishers.

As always, my monthly budget is $100 (or, $25 per week), after my 20 percent Zimmie's discount and 5.5 percent Maine sales tax. It used to be $120/mo ($30/wk), but as mentioned in a recent PULL LIST column, I've grown somewhat disenchanted with new comics of late, and am now reserving $20 from the previous monthly budget and putting that into the "mad money" checking account from which I purchase back issues — generally from eBay and mostly for comics from the mid-70s to early-80s.

And with that, let's take a look at what comics I've decided to buy in December. As always, we start with the main focus of my collecting interest, DC Comics.


DC COMICS
DC appears to be taking the spaghetti monster approach used by Image Comics in recent years — i.e. throw every strand of spaghetti you can lay hands on at a wall and see what sticks. It's not a bad publishing philosophy, I guess. I mean, who knows, something might catch on. You might even end up founding a new religion.

Unfortunately, none of the new No. 1s this month appeal to me. I hate to say this by I skip IMMORTAL MEN partly because the set-up sounds like a continuity nightmare, but also because of the writer. Granted, the only thing I've really read by James Tynion IV was his work on THE TALON, but that was enough to prompt me to drop the title. DC seems to be overrun with protégés lately, and while some of them may yet go on to become masters of the form, none have made me sit up and take notice, at least not in a good way. Most have been merely, "Meh," for me. Probably because they are, in most cases, protégés of protégés of protégés, several generations removed from writers I grew up reading. It's as if I started out with Batman and now have to make do with Merryman. In fact, more often then not, a credit box with one of the new crop's name in it will cause me to run the other way. I mean, they're not bad, per se. They just seem to lack the story construction skills needed to craft the kind of plot-centric tales I grew up on. They take decompressed storytelling to an extreme that makes me fully de-pressed.

Still, I'll check this out when it hit store shelves. It would not be the first time I'd've found myself to have been wrong in a pre-order prediction, and ended up adding to the pull list something I had initially scoffed at.

Of the other two new titles, I stop reading the solicitation copy for THE SILENCER at "deadliest assassin." Sorry, I am SO over grim 'n' gritty. That's not what I want from my escapist fantasy genre fiction at all. And as for DAMAGE, it just pisses me off. Maybe it's the aging fanboy in me, but it looks like a new Damage, who is more or less the same character as the old Damage, who was a young DC version of the old Human Bomb, only this Damage uses the military backstory employed when DC recently created a new Human Bomb. I'm like, Jesus, DC, pick a lane, already! I'm not predicting much out of a new character who appears to be a grafting of three old characters. Skip. (For now. Again, I'll flip through it when it hits stands.)

I kind of what to skip DOOMSDAY CLOCK, since a $4.99 cover price for a 32-page comic seems an obvious cash grab, but my curiosity is just too much to resist. Granted, I'm expecting the promised shoehorning of the WATCHMEN characters into the DCU to be a total train wreck, but if I was not willing to drop $5 for the privilege of being totally pissed off, what kind of fanboy would I be? I actually did balk at the $4.99 price tag on DARK KNIGHTS: METAL, though, and refused to pre-order it at first. I only relented and added it to the pull list when DC dropped the price down to $3.99 (which, frankly, I still think is too much for a regular-sized comic book, but then, they were 30¢ each when I started out.)

And speaking of extortion, while DC UNIVERSE HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2017 looks interesting, even at 96 pages, a $9.99 entry fee is way, way, WAY too much. But your mileage may vary. Let me know how it is if you buy in.

Beyond that, there's not much change to my regular DC order, and not much else to comment on. I do elect to drop THE FLASH, however. I decided I just wasn't enjoying it that much and was really only buying it each month out of habit and inertia. The same is true of WONDER WOMAN, and I was going to drop that, as well, but it's in the middle of a storyline right now, so I stay the ax.

One book I do add is BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT. I initially skipped that title as just one more superfluous Bat-book, and probably a pointless METAL tie-in t boot. But according to this recent article in the PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, artist Sean Murphy moved to Maine about a year ago and used locales in the state's largest city as photo references for certain panels in this book. That piqued my interest, to be sure, so I got the first issue last week and added it to the pull list with No. 3

One book I will get in December is HAWKMAN: FOUND, which was advanced-solicited last month for release in December. But no No. 2 offered in the current solicitations.

This month's order from DC then comics to 17 books, down from 19 last month.

• ACTION COMICS #993-994
• AQUAMAN #31
• ASTRO CITY #50
• BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #3
• BLACK LIGHTNING: COLD, DEAD HANDS #2
• DARK KNIGHTS: METAL #5
• DOOMSDAY CLOCK #2
• FUTURE QUEST PRESENTS #5
• GREEN LANTERNS #36-37
• THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE #12
• RAGMAN #3
• SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #33
• SUPER SONS #11
• WONDER WOMAN #36-37



MARVEL COMICS
Marvel remains, in my estimation, a sloppy, wet, hot mess. I won't even look at any of the X-books. I mean, c'mon, just the title, PHOENIX RESURRECTION: THE RETURN OF (ADULT) JEAN GREY says it all. They only way Marvel could've triggered me more is if they had titled the book, PHOENIX RESURRECTION: THE RETURN (AGAIN) OF (ADULT) JEAN GREY.

As per usual, I mostly stick with my regular purchases, a grouping based for the most part on favorite writers Mark Waid, Jason Aaron, G. Willow Wilson, and Brian Michael Bendis. The one exception, and one new book I add this month is MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE, although for the life if me, I don't get why the title is starting at No. 1 and not No. 101, given the ongoing "Legacy" hoopla. I've asked on twitter, to no response.

And speaking of legacy numbering, I consider trying out the new TALES OF SUSPENSE, but it annoys me to no end that *this* title is starting at No. 100 — meaning Issue Nos. 1-99 are counted both in the new numbering sequence for this title and CAPTAIN AMERICA. Yes, I get that this is a pretty petty fanboy gripe, and little cause to justify not buying a title, but as Popeye said best, "I y'am what I y'am."

Thus, my Marvel menagerie for the month comes to eight titles, up from seven in November:

• THE AVENGERS #674
• CAPTAIN AMERICA #696
• THE CHAMPIONS #15
• THE DEFENDERS #8
• JESSICA JONES #15
• MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1
• THE MIGHTY THOR #702
• Ms MARVEL #25



IMAGE COMICS
Most of my regular Image titles, including KILL OR BE KILLED, MAGE: THE HERO DENIED, and MANIFEST DESTINY take the month off, leaving just one of my usual books.

Of course, Image pumps out a slew of new series, although one launch is actually a re-lauch. I was never big on WITCHBLADE though, so that's an easy pass, I guess. RUMBLE promises to be a new version of a character I've never even heard of, so I give that a wide berth, as well. BONEHEAD sounds interesting, and I might've taken a chance if the solicitation included the preview pages one usually finds in the printed PREVIEWS catalog. As it is, I decide to wait and see if Zimmie's orders in any of this, and check it out on the stands before making a decision.

Everything else is just "everything else" from Image — stuff I either have no interest in, missed the boat on, or tried and already dropped. That makes it just one Image book for me in December, down from five the month before.

• PAPER GIRLS #18



ARCHIE COMICS
I've already dropped all of the new-style Archie comics I had sampled, and keep on keeping-on with only the infrequent horror titles. Case in point is this month's SABRINA, which is a re-solicitation of a book I first ordered, oh, I don't know, about 100 month ago.

Also, against my better judgement, and only because I was otherwise running under budget for the month, I elect to take a chance on Archie's latest iteration of its Mighty Crusaders team. I expect to be thoroughly confused by all the character changes. But the solicitation copy promises dinosaurs terrorizing the nation's capital, and that, at least, should be fun. Although I do wonder why The Fox does not appear to be part of the team, or The Black Hood.

• CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #9
• THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1



AND THE REST . . . 
Not much of anything floats by boat this month from American Mythology, Boom Studios, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, or Titan Comics. Meanwhile, most of my go-to small publishers, including Abstract Studios, AC Comics, Albatross Funnybooks, and Bongo Comics have nothing coming out in December. That seems weird. I would think everybody would strive to put something on shelves for the holiday shopping season. I even check in on some newer, upstart publishers, like Alterna Comics and Black Mask Comics, to see what they have to offer, as well as Fantagraphics and Oni Press, even though I've largely given up on their avant-garde offerings.

I almost try a copy of RICK & MORTY, just because Walt Flannagan went on and on about how great it was on one of last season's COMIC BOOK MEN episodes. But I ultimately decide to just limbo a little under budget in December in order to sock away a few extra dollars for that copy of TIME WARP #5 I've been looking for to complete my run of that title. I also need a DOORWAY INTO NIGHTMARE #2, if that's the kind of thing you have laying around. 

As it is, the Professor and Mary Ann portion of this month's pull list comes to just two additional books:

• CHASING HITLER #2 (Red 5 Comics)
• UNCLE SCROOGE #33 (IDW Publishing)



And that's it. The monthly order comes to 30 comics for a retail total of $112.70 — or, $95.12 after discount and sales tax. 

You can expect to see most of the above comics reviewed here on Shanghalla during December and into January.

And, as usual, I close out this month's PULL LIST by asking, what will you be buying?





No comments:

Post a Comment