Comic Picks By The Glick
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus vol. 5:  WHERE IS IT?!

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Omnibus vol. 5: WHERE IS IT?!

June 15, 2020

...a thought pierced my thick fanboy skull a few days after I originally wrote this.  That now may not be the best time to start a movement towards buying a particular comic series.  Not when there are other, more worthy, causes you can put your money towards.  So if you can give to them, please do.  If you’ve still got something left to give after doing that, then read on...

 

If there were two comics that I was looking forward to reading this year, they were the fifth and sixth omnibi of “The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.”  I couldn’t believe it when Dark Horse announced that they were bringing this series back after it went on hiatus years ago.  The fact that I’d effectively be re-buying volumes 13 and 14 of the series to get the all-new vol. 15 with the fifth omnibus was fine.  That’s how much I wanted to read new “Kurosagi” after all these years.  The publisher had mentioned that publishing future omnibi would depend on how these sold, and I figured that would be the biggest hurdle facing the series going forward.

 

Then the Coronavirus pandemic hit and now it’s like that announcement never happened.

 

Really, I mean.  There’s no listing for it at The Right Stuf and I had to use a search engine to find a page for it on Amazon where it was listed with an estimated publication date of December 28, 2021, and no way to pre-order it.  I do think that date is being overly optimistic, however.  Manga titles like “Elfen Lied” and “Mob Psycho 100” have already found their way back onto Dark Horse’s publication schedule after being delayed.  The assumption there is that since these titles sell, the publisher wants to get them out into our hands as soon as possible.

 

With the fifth “Kurosagi” omnibus, sales success was always going to be something of a “Hail Mary” for the series.  As I’ve heard from its editor/adapter Carl Horn himself, the omnibus format got the series out of the red and into a position where they could try publishing it again.  As for now… well, with there being no good way to pre-order the fifth omnibus, my recommendation is that anyone reading this start filling out their collections of the previous omnibi.  Or, if you’ve already bought all four, buy some copies for your friends -- who wouldn’t want a series about unemployable college students who get jobs from dead people?  Sales speak volumes to publishers, and if they were able to get “Kurosagi” out of the hole once, they can definitely do it again.  We just need more of them.

 

glickscomicpicks@gmail.com

Reaver vol. 1:  Hell’s Half-Dozen

Reaver vol. 1: Hell’s Half-Dozen

June 14, 2020

Justin Jordan is a writer that I typically associate with a “style over substance” approach.  It can certainly be entertaining, as he showed with artist Tradd Moore in the “Luther Strode” series.  Other times it can just be tiring:  See “Dead Body Road” with Matteo Scalera.  “Reaver,” when it was announced had a description that made it sound like the writer was trying to stretch in comparison to past works.  As fantasy-based take on “The Dirty Dozen” about six unsavory individuals who wind up being forced together on a mission to save an empire, it sounded like the writer would be devoting more time to fleshing out his cast than showing their flesh getting chopped by the action.  This is true of the first volume, even though it takes longer than it should to really get going.

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The Eisners:  2020 Edition

The Eisners: 2020 Edition

June 13, 2020

I hear that James Stokoe managed to secure five nominations, the most of any creator, between his one-shot “Sobek” from Shortbox, and “Grunt” his book of art and unpublished comics from Dark Horse.  Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Stokoe’s work, so I hope he secures at least one win from these nominations.  If he manages to go five-for-five, then I’d be happy with that too.  As for everyone else who is nominated, I’ll tell you right now that I didn’t read everything that was nominated.  For good or for ill (more likely the latter than the former), this didn’t stop me from forming some opinions on who should win in their specific categories.

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The Direct Market:  So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

The Direct Market: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

June 12, 2020

News broke a week ago last Friday -- because everyone was ready for the weekend and therefore not ready to vent some outrage -- that DC would be ending its exclusive partnership with Diamond Comics Distributors.  You know, the distributor that has had a virtual monopoly on serialized comics distribution in the U.S. since the 90’s.  If you’re coming late to this discussion and wondering, “Why does Diamond have a monopoly?  Aren’t those illegal in the U.S.?”  Well yes they are.  It’s just that single issue comics are really low on the kinds of monopolies that law and order types in the U.S. actually care about.  So Diamond has been able to maintain its monopoly for over two decades until this last Friday when DC decided it didn’t want to be a part of it any more.  While DC deciding it doesn’t want to be part of such a thing would ostensibly seem to be good, it could actually spell the end of comic shops and single issue serialization in the U.S.

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Comic Picks #317:  No One Left to Fight

Comic Picks #317: No One Left to Fight

June 10, 2020

Myron and Rob join me for this podcast as we try to find out if this "Dragonball Z"-inspired series is a true homage or just a rip-off.

Dark Horse Previews Picks:  August 2020

Dark Horse Previews Picks: August 2020

June 8, 2020

While it looks like Dark Horse is playing catch-up with its single-issue solicitations here, they’ve got plenty of new collected editions on offer here.  Including one that tickles my fancy enough for…

 

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Edition vol. 1 HC

 

Seeing “Blade” reissued in this format just warms my heart.  While it was great to see that the omnibus editions sold well enough for them to fully reprint the series in that format, giving it the deluxe treatment is some next-level stuff.  Currently the only other Dark Horse manga to be reprinted in this format are “Berserk” and “Hellsing” (the latter still forthcoming), so it says something about “Blade’s” commercial viability that the company is giving it a go in this format.  While I’d like to think that this is down to the title’s overall quality, it’s a virtual certainty that the title’s recent anime adaptation raised its profile enough for Dark Horse to do this.  I’m glad that they were able to, even if I’m just the teeeeeeensiest bit disappointed that they weren’t able to do it entirely on their own terms.

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DC Previews Picks:  August 2020

DC Previews Picks: August 2020

June 6, 2020

Savor this round of Previews Picks from DC.  With Friday’s news that they were ending their distribution agreement with Diamond, this will likely be the last “Previews” picks you’ll read.  Not that I won’t cover their solicitations if they’re made available.  But something tells me that I have more of these columns behind me than ahead.

 

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Dark Nights:  Death Metal -- Legends of the Dark Knights #1

 

It’s another “Metal” series, so that means there’s another round of Nightmare Batmen for the heroes to deal with .  Including the Batman Who Is Also A Dinosaur.  Warren Ellis mentioned this in his newsletter, and it’s a two-page bit that he’s doing.  This should be fun since “Nextwave” showed that he can do demented superheroics extremely well.  That he’s doing a two-page story also explains the abundance of creators on this one-shot.  In addition to Ellis, and “Metal” mastermind Scott Snyder, there’s James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Peter Tomasi, Daniel Warren Johnson, Frank Tieri, Garth Ennis…

 

WAIT!  WHAT THE HELL IS GARTH ENNIS DOING ON A BATMAN EVENT BOOK?!

 

You’d think that’s the last place he’d want to be.  He may have contributed a miniseries to Marvel’s “Secret Wars” event, but that was basically just an excuse for him to write another “Phantom Eagle” miniseries.  Even if this one-shot is just a showcase for the craziest Batmen in the Dark Multiverse (in stories that are at least two or more pages), I’m still not sure it’s a good fit for the writer.  Judging by his last two “Sixpack” miniseries for DC, my guess is that he will be delivering the Batman Who Is So Incredibly Dumb And Awful That You Now Feel Shame For Liking Batman At All.  Just a hunch, really.

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Image Previews Picks:  August 2020

Image Previews Picks: August 2020

June 5, 2020

Image’s solicitations are also a mix of old and new titles.  Among the new, however, is one that I’ve been waiting a while to see…

 

Above-the-Board Recommendation:

Cruel Summer HC

 

Like a lot of other people, I’ve been waiting for the latest “Criminal” series from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to be collected.  While twelve issues have been solicited at the time that I’m writing this, only two have been collected.  And expanded upon in the “Bad Weekend” hardcover.  That was one of the best comics I read last year and it’s left me chomping at the bit for more of this latest incarnation of the series that Brubaker and Phillips have been most committed to over the years.  So not only are we getting a new collection in August, it’s also going to be the largest one for a new storyline to date.  That’s because while the collection is titled “Cruel Summer,” the storyline it’s collecting was called “The Last Days of Teeg Lawless” while it was being solicited.  So it’s the biggest storyline of the series and likely to be the most pivotal to the only recurring cast of characters this series has:  The Lawless Family.

 

Oh, and while I’m finally glad to see this collection solicited, it’s listed as collecting issues #1 and 5-12.  “Bad Weekend” collected issues #2 & 3, which leaves the question of when we’ll see #4 in a collection.

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Marvel Previews Picks:  August 2020

Marvel Previews Picks: August 2020

June 3, 2020

This is going to be a weird round of “Previews Picks,” as you might have guessed.  With the comics industry slowly working its way out of shutdown, August’s Previews are going to look veeeeeeeery similar to June’s.  With a few exceptions sneaking in here and there.  In Marvel’s case, there are only two:

 

Maestro #1 (of 5):  “Future Imperfect” is widely regarded as one of the best Hulk stories ever written.  In it, the Green Goliath is taken into the future of the Marvel Universe only to find out that every superhero is now dead.  Killed by a tyrant known as the Maestro.  It’s up to the Hulk to stop him, except that -- and spoilers for a 30-year-old comic ahead -- the Maestro IS the Hulk’s future self.  How did he get that way?  We didn’t get much in the way of answers, but this future version of the Hulk has proved popular enough that he keeps popping up in just about any kind of story he can be inserted into.  Maestro’s creator, and writer of a defining near decade-long run on “The Incredible Hulk,” Peter David, is back to tell the story of the character’s rise, with artists German Peralta and one of his former “Hulk” collaborators Dale Keown along for the ride.  I’ll be picking this up when it’s collected because David’s a reliable writer and I’m sure he’s had this story kicking around in his head for a while now.  One does have to wonder what shape it’s going to be in if it’s been kicking around ever since he wrote the original story, though.

 

Fantastic Four:  Antithesis #1 (of 4):  This has the same retro feel as the miniseries above, but it’s not calling back to a specific story.  Rather, the retro feel comes from former “Fantastic Four” writer teaming up with legendary “X-Men” and “Batman” artist Neal Adams -- illustrating Marvel’s First Family for the first time.  The solicitation for this issue has the FF working to stop a meteor from colliding with Manhattan.  Were I a betting man, my guess is that this is just the lead-in for the real story which will make itself known by the end of this issue.  Waid is such a writer that I’ll give anything he does a shot.  Adams, on the other hand, is someone who I’ve always been more familiar with by reputation than his actual work.  Usually whenever I hear about his current projects, it’s because he’s also writing them and the results are usually described as “certifiably bugnuts” in some corners of the internet.  With Waid handling the writing, that’s not likely to be the case here, so we’ll be able to enjoy Adams’ art on its own merits here.

 

glickscomicpicks@gmail.com

Delicious in Dungeon vol. 8

Delicious in Dungeon vol. 8

June 1, 2020

Most of the chapters in this volume are focused around our protagonists, yet it doesn’t feel like they’re the ones moving the story forward here.  Their stories are still good fun, starting off with a two-parter which shows us what effects stepping into the changeling ring at the end of the previous volume had on our party.  Are you ready for a Senshi who is also a pretty-boy elf?  Next up is a bit of backstory for Laios and Farlyn as the crew puzzles out what to do about the latter in her new form.  The answer isn’t quite a giant party involving cannibalism, but it’s close!  Then we come back to them at the end for a story involving the Unicorn’s evil counterpart, the Bicorn.  While seeing the cast work their way through the seven deadly sins is good for a laugh, the real meat of the story comes when it’s revealed that Chilchuck is actually a good husband.  From a certain point of view (Marcille’s).

 

While this is all good stuff, the real meat *rimshot* of this volume lies in the three-part “On Floor One” arc that’s led by Kabru.  He’s still determined to find a way to keep the Canaries -- an elvish dirty half-dozen -- from handling the dungeon themselves, only to see his plans go completely awry.  Not only does Kabru’s contact have his own ideas, but the dungeon-hunting elves have their own -- which sees the first floor overrun by mushrooms!  What starts off as a joke invasion quickly turns dangerous once the giant ones arrive and Kabru finds himself stuck between this threat and the Canaries themselves.

 

While most of the Canaries are only distinguishable by their appearance, one actually makes an impression through his presumably ruthless actions.  Captain Mithrun may not seem to have much of a personality (or sense of direction), but his skill with teleportation is one of the most inventive and painful-looking uses of the form that I’ve seen.  It’s through his skill with it that the battle winds up turning in their favor and we learn some more things about the dungeon and the one who’s in charge of it.  We also get to see a different side of Kabru at the end, which sets up a promising new direction for the story as things fall apart at the end.

 

glickscomicpicks@gmail.com

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