More good news for the company: “The Walking Dead” #115, the tenth anniversary issue that kicks off the “All Out War” arc and comes with 15 interlocking covers, is the best selling issue of the year (so far, at least) with around 350K orders. New titles “Velvet,” by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting and “Pretty Deadly” by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios are also off to good starts as they both had print runs in the neighborhood of 57K and have sold out of both. I want to be very optimistic about all this news, but part of me looks at how variant-happy “The Walking Dead” has become over the past year and wonders about what has become of the steady growth that has given the series such momentum almost from day one. Also, “Velvet” and “Pretty Deadly” were both made fully returnable by the publisher. As those numbers only count what comics shops ordered and not what people actually bought, there may be significant returns if those first issues wind up sitting on the shelf. We’ll get a good idea if that happens in the coming months’ sales charts show a steep decline from here.
(I’m planning on picking up both new titles once their collections arrive, so…)
Deadly Class #1: Rick Remender strikes again with this series about a kid in high school circa 1987. You could probably be forgiven for thinking it’s about an average kid who’s having trouble in class, is broke, getting hassled by jocks, and unlucky in love. Well… that’s all true except that this is a school where the assassins for the most powerful crime families in the world send their kids to be educated. So it’s the kind of story that sounds like it starts at over-the-top and only gets crazier from there. Sounds like a good place to start for me.
Minimum Wage #1: On the heels of the “Maximum Minimum Wage” collection from earlier this year, Bob Fingerman brings the series back as a monthly title. “Bleeding Cool” did a great interview with Fingerman earlier this week where he outlines his plans for the series. Expect it to be serialized in six-issue batches with a trade paperback in the gaps between -- just like “Saga.” As for the comic itself, it picks up three years after the end of the first series when Rob and Sylvia got married. In a twist that should surprise absolutely no one who read the collection, the two are now divorced with Rob adjusting to the single life again (at home too). I didn’t think that the title was everything that it was hyped to be, but it did grow on me after a while. I’ll be looking forward to those collected editions when they arrive too.
Elephantmen vol. 6: Earthly Desires: I’m currently up to vol. 3 in this series. It has been enjoyable more for being different than telling a compelling story that draws you in . Things were picking up momentum in vol. 3, which ended on a cliffhanger, but that’s still on my “to get” list at the moment. Eventually, though.
Satellite Sam vol. 1: Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin give us a B&W murder mystery set in the 50’s after the star of a sci-fi TV show is found dead in a flophouse. It sounds like a good setup for a story and the two creators are generally solid. In Fraction’s case, I think this may be the first creator-owned work I’ve read from him since “The Last of the Independents.” Given my thoughts on his superhero work, this should wind up being quite good.
Prophet #45: FINAL ISSUE! From the solicitation text, “The War in Space reaches its climax, but the story will continue…” With a billing like that, you’re left expecting to see the title relaunched with a new #1 issue next month. Which is probably what they should’ve done initially with this title. As annoying as that practice has become with the Big Two, and as amusing as it was to see it done for a title that hadn’t had a new issue in over a decade, “Prophet” probably would’ve gotten off to a better start with that shiny special comic number. It has since sold consistently after its launch in the range of 6,000 copies a month. With a dedicated audience like that, it’s not surprising that they may consider a relaunch. I’ll be onboard for it, so long as Brandon Graham and co. come back along with it.
Saga #18: We’re told that the cast’s stay on Quietus, home to the writer Heist who wrote the book that filled Alanna’s head with thoughts of inter-conflict-and-species romance, reaches its inevitable conclusion. That being, EVERYONE DIES! NO MORE ISSUES AFTER THIS! Nay, that’d be ridiculous. Starting a death pool for which of the existing supporting cast, or new cast members who showed up after the second collection, that’s a far more sensible way to handle news like this.
Spawn #239: The cover asks in big, bold letters, “How do you kill God?”
You know, the artist for this series, Szymon Kudranski, also provided art for some of the “land of the dead” sequences in the final volume of Geoff Johns’ “Green Lantern.” I’d never seen his art before and he gives those scenes a very creepy edge to them that really impressed me. Much as I love the work of the title’s regular artist, Doug Mahnke, Kudranski’s work stood out and was quite memorable in my opinion. Hopefully he’ll get more high-profile DC work because he’s got the chops for it.
That is all