Forget the coming cold months and their holidays, this is the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s October! The zombies are returning to television. And it seems like there’s enough new comics on the horizon to get us through a winter hibernation.
So whatever brand of geek you choose, this fall’s a fantastic one for print, television and movies.
The wait is almost over! Soon we will have a new “Sandman” series.
I’ve mentioned this in past columns, but now October has finally arrived – which means DC’s subsidiary called Vertigo will finally be releasing “The Sandman: Overture.”
In the years since it initially printed, writer Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” series has grown from a cult favorite to one of the most critically acclaimed and respected comic series of all time. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the start of the series, and at Comic-Con last year it was announced that this new “Overture” series will be a prequel of sorts to the original series.
But that’s not all. Also this month and down the road, Vertigo will release a half-dozen other new books, bolstering their publishing line. What follows is a short list about the individual books, with info taken from Vertigo’s blog and the company’s announcement in The New York Times:
HINTERKIND – Something called “The Blight” has all but wiped out the human race, and Mother Nature is taking back what’s hers. There’s another new element in this post-apocalyptic world though! All the creatures of myth and legend have returned and they’re not happy. After her grandfather disappears, Prosper Monday must leave the security and seclusion of her Central Park village to venture into the wilds to find him, unaware of how much the world has changed. Being billed as an “epic fantasy adventure” by the publisher, “Hinterkind” is written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Francesco Trifogli.
COFFIN HILL – When she was 15, a girl named Eve Coffin summoned a darkness that had been buried since the Salem Witch Trials. Now Eve has to harness the evil that destroyed her friends and is slowly taking over the sleepy town of Coffin Hill. Written by Caitlin Kittredge and illustrated by Inaki Miranda, “Coffin Hill” promises to be a series full of magic, madness and murder.
THE WITCHING HOUR – Just in time for Halloween, this anthology-style one-shot collects short stories about witchcraft, written and drawn by some of the most talented veterans and newcomers in the business.
DEAD BOY DETECTIVES – Here’s a more familiar title! The “Dead Boy Detectives” come from Neil Gaiman’s world of “The Sandman,” having appeared in the pages of that book and having already had their own solo graphic novel. Now the two dead British school boys star in their own monthly series and solve crimes in the 21st century with the help of a new female accomplice. The book arrives in November and is being written by noted British novelist Toby Litt with layouts and painted covers by Mark Buckingham.
THE DISCIPLINE – Not out until December, “The Discipline” will be a dark, erotic thriller about a privileged young woman named Melissa who is thrust into a centuries-old battle between good and evil. An affair with a man named Orlando opens Melissa’s eyes to a sexually sinister world she never knew existed. It’s through something called “The Discipline,” which is a ritualistic seduction, that Orlando unlocks Melissa’s inner power and then enlists her into a shadowy war which has been being fought for centuries. The book is being written by Peter Milligan and drawn by artist Leo Fernandez.
SUICIDERS – Also out this December will be a new book by Lee Bermejo, his first ongoing series as both writer and artist. The story in “Suiciders” follows the lives of two futuristic boxers – one on top of the world, the other trying to fight (and kill) his way there. Set in Los Angeles after “The Big One,” “Suiciders” is the wildly popular reality sport that contestants are literally dying to participate in. Bermejo is known for his extraordinary art on the solo “Joker” graphic novel as well as “Batman: Noel” and “Watchmen: Rorschach.”
MAKE MINE MARVEL
A funny thing happened in September. I started reading more Marvel books than I have in a long while.
The switch in publishers came as a result of the many poor-quality DC books that I had to slod through during Villains Month.
I had such high hopes way back in August for the month-long gimmick, but September just didn’t deliver. Sure, there were a few neat issues during the four weeks when DC’s villains were on the stands, but even the best books just felt like a springboard for the stories set to be told this coming month.
So even though I read a decent number of DC books, I read even more Marvel, such as titles like: “All-New X-Men,” “Uncanny X-Men,” “Superior Spider-Man” and the “Superior Foes of Spider-Man.”
Here’s what kept me reading, just three simple things: Good, compelling stories, great action and a decent amount of humor.
Marvel’s been killing it in the movie world. Ever since “Iron Man,” all those Marvel movies have balanced a nice bit of humor within the standard movie formula for superhero origin stories.
As a DC guy, it’s sad to see DC movies keep falling a little flat. The humor card just doesn’t work for them when they try their hand at it, like the little one-liner jokes in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. Y’know, like when the valet tells Bruce Wayne that his wife took the car.
Then there was “Man of Steel.” I liked that movie as a whole, but something felt off with the pacing. The action sequences were amazing, but that forced the short-lived moments of levity farther and farther apart, like when Clark totals some jerkwad’s logging truck. Sure, Zach Snyder might’ve gotten a few smirks out of me here and there, but they were nothing in comparison to the balance of action, adventure and humor which Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel have in an “Iron Man” movie, especially “Iron Man 3” (which is out now on DVD, so go watch it).
But back to print comics … What I found out this past month was that a number of Marvel’s ongoing titles have that same great balance as the company’s movies. You don’t have to read just a Deadpool comic to get a laugh out of a Marvel book. It seems like every issue of “Battle of the Atom” hassomething worth chuckling about, such as Kitty Pride and Iceman pantomiming Wolverine and Captain America.
So here’s my advice: If you missed out on the 3D covers for DC’s Villains Month, I don’t recommend buying any of the plain cover issues. Spend that money on a Marvel book. Or get invested in DC’s “Forever Evil” series. I really can’t express how happy I am that Villains Month is over. Now hopefully DC gets its New 52 back on track and starts pumping out some compelling stories.
Up for an afternoon trip to the Queen City?
Well, there’ll be comic books and more at the Marriott in Amherst on Sunday, Oct. 20, as part of the Buffalo Comicon 2013.
At its website, www.BuffaloComicon.com, the event boasts that this is the event’s 14th year and that there will be a surprise comics guest. There will also be a costume contest, a comic art group and others to talk with. Plus everything else you’d expect from a Comic-Con, such as comic books! There’ll be books to buy, which is really the only reason I need to go!
Scott Snyder has become quite popular for his New 52 work on DC’s “Batman” title. But where’d he get his start? Skip to the “Assorted Etceteras” section for the answer.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!? The Walking Dead!? Thor: The Dark World!? There’s just never enough time in the day or space in this column to properly Nerd Out! So let’s just skip to the answer of this month’s trivia question: Writer Scott Snyder got his start at Marvel in 2009, but really kicked his career into high gear with his “American Vampire” series for Vertigo in 2010.
More from me in a month’s time.
Nerding Out With Nick Dean is a monthly column about comic books, movies and more. For more, visit Nerding Out With Nick Dean.blogspot.com.