Crystal Ball: September 2006 Solicitations, Part I

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My monthly look at select comic books being solicited for release in September 2006. The full solicitations for DC, Marvel and Image are available at Comic Book Resources. Dark Horse’s solicitations are available at Comics Continuum. Independent publishers will follow in a separate post.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your local comic book shop (LCBS) offers a pre-ordering service, download a convenient order form from Diamond and be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

PICK OF THE MONTH: MAJOR PUBLISHERS

The American Way #8
DC Comics

BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #2
Written by Matt Wagner; Art and cover by Wagner
On sale September 27 o 2 of 6 o 32 pg, FC, $3.50 US

Wagner’s Batman and the Monster Men was a fantastic read, nailing the character and the milieu perfectly, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

THE CREEPER #2
Written by Steve Niles; Art and cover by Justiniano & Walden Wong
On sale September 6 o 2 of 6 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

I didn’t love Niles’ take on Batman in Gotham County Line (TPB solicited for September) — the jetpack still stands out as the most memorable thing — but I like his writing in general and have always been curious about the Creeper.

THE AMERICAN WAY #8
Written by John Ridley; Art and cover by Georges Jeanty & Karl Story
On sale September 27 o 8 of 8 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Mark my words: Assuming the last four issues are on the same level as the first four, The American Way will go down as one of the most underrated comics of 2006. It’s definitely on my short list for best of the year. If you’re not already reading it, you’re certainly not going to jump onboard for the last issue, and judging by the pathetic sales figures there’s no guarantee of a TPB, so you better snag the first four issues from eBay while they’re still available.

FABLES: 1001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL HARDCOVER
Written by Bill Willingham; Art by Charles Vess, Brian Bolland, John Bolton, Michael Wm. Kaluta, James Jean, Tara McPherson, Derek Kirk Kim, Esao Andrews, Mark Buckingham, Mark Wheatley and Jill Thompson; Cover by James Jean
Advance-solicited; on sale October 18 o 144 pg, FC, $19.99 US o MATURE READERS Edited by Shelly Bond

I’ve read the first two TPBs so far and while I enjoyed them, I don’t consider them to be essential reading. That said, this sounds like it might be really good: “Running the gamut from horror to dark intrigue to mercurial coming-of-age, FABLES: 1,001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL reveals the secret histories of familiar FABLES characters through a series of compelling and visually illustrative tales.” On a side note, DC is soliciting three other Fables-related comics this month, which suggests they see some real potential in the franchise. Can Hollywood be far behind, or is the premise generic enough that someone else can tweak it, Shrek-style, and produce it as their own “original” work?

Marvel Comics

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #100
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS; Pencils & Wraparound Cover by MARK BAGLEY; Variant Cover by MARK BAGLEY
64 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

“CLONE SAGA” Seriously? I’ve only read the first TPB of this series — and was underwhelmed — but I just don’t understand the appeal of remixing previously told stories for five years (six?) and acting like you’ve accomplished something worth noting. Isn’t that what Invincible and all the other indie superheroes are for? If Bendis had any class, he’d step aside before breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record for longest running creative team on a Marvel comic. If not, the new “record” should come with a Barry Bonds-style asterisk.

BLADE #1
Written by MARC GUGGENHEIM; Penciled by HOWARD CHAYKIN; Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Color me curious about this one. Robert Rodi’s Tomb of Dracula mini-series a couple of years back was a solid if unremarkable ensemble story that has the dubious distinction of being the rare Marvel mini-series to not get a TPB, and it featured a prominent but surprisingly underpromoted Blade presence, so I’m still surprised to see him get an ongoing series. I’ve always liked the idea of the character, though, and I know he was one of those, like Moon Knight, for whom they were waiting for the “right pitch” so I’ll check it out to see what Guggenheim’s got to offer. Chaykin is both a weird and interesting choice of artists.

MOON KNIGHT #6
Written by CHARLIE HUSTON; Pencils & Cover by DAVID FINCH; Bloody Variant Cover by DAVID FINCH
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

Bloody variant cover? Yeesh. Marvel’s doing everything they can to turn me against this series. I have faith in Huston, though.

DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON: SAMURAI BULLETS TPB
Written by JUSTIN GRAY & JIMMY PALMIOTTI; Penciled by KHARI EVANS; Cover by KHARI EVANS
144 PGS./Parental Advisory …$15.99; ISBN: 0-7851-1944-2

This has been a suprisingly entertaining mini-series, and as long as they don’t screw up the final issue, should make for a great escape from the Civil War madness that grips the majority of September’s offerings.

Image Comics

THE CROSS BRONX #1
story by MICHAEL AVON OEMING & IVAN BRANDON; art & cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING; variant cover by ESAD RIBIC
32 pg; FC; September 7; $2.99

Yikes! I’m always leery of comics that attempt to portray the Bronx, and Oeming’s appallingly derivative gangsta tale, Wings of Anansi, left a foul taste in my mouth that still lingers, but I loved Brandon’s NYC Mech so…I’m curious. EDIT: Check out this great trailer for the mini-series. I’m a little more than curious now!

DEATH, JR., VOL. II #2 (of 3)
story GARY WHITTA; art TED NAIFEH; cover CHAD PFARR
48 pg; FC; September 13; $4.99

Death Jr’s first go-round was a delightfully morbid romp that made me want to go out and buy the video game it was based on, but I don’t do PlayStation so that didn’t work out. Fortunately, Whitta’s back for another round and I’m looking forward to it.

EMISSARY #5
story CHRISTOPHER E. LONG; art & cover JUAN E. FERREYRA; created & co-plotted by JIM VALENTINO
32 pg; FC; September 27; $3.50

What’s with Valentino and the creator merry-go-round over at Shadowline? First he goes through two writers in 10 issues of ShadowHawk before taking over the writing himself, and now The Emissary gets a new writer as of the 5th issue? With the first issue’s sales not exactly burning up the charts, how long before Ferreyra is replaced and the series is cancelled outright? Oh, and the solicit for ShadowHawk #15, which Valentino is now writing and drawing himself, suggests yet another change in tone for the directionless series: “Eddie gets laid. Finally.” Who says creator-owned means better comics?

Dark Horse Comics

CONAN #32
Written by Kurt Busiek, art and cover by Greg Ruth.
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 20.
CONAN AND THE SONGS OF THE DEAD #3
Written by Joe R. Lansdale, art by Timothy Truman, colored by Dave Stewart.
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on Sept. 20.

Busiek returns to Conan for another of his superb “Portrait of the Barbarian as a Young Man” done-in-ones, the inevitable collection of which will be as good a read as any regular Conan story arc. Meanwhile, new Conan writer Timothy Truman works both sides of aisle taking on the art chores on the latest Conan spinoff mini-series in which “famous horror and western writer Joe R. Lansdale continues to give [him] the most hard-hided sword-and-sorcery scenes ever drawn.” Sign me up!

SOCK MONKEY: THE “INCHES” INCIDENT #1
Written and art by Tony Millionaire.
24 pages, black and white, $2.99.

I love Millionaire’s Maakies comic strip, and I’ve always liked his Sock Monkey visuals, so I’m curious about this one.


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2 thoughts on “Crystal Ball: September 2006 Solicitations, Part I

  1. Fables is great, but I don’t think it would work well as a movie. As you said Shrek is already out there, and there was another CGI this year about similar material. The real difference is tone. Willingham uses more of the real, non-Disneyfied stories that are almost always bloody and violent and occasionally sexual. Very few studios would touch something likr that.

  2. Thanks for the good eye on the Emissary creative change … since that means it’s one more title off the pull list. I was in for Rand and Ferreyra, but doubt it’s worth continuing when I know that team gets broken up after the first arc.

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