When I was a younger man things were a lot different than they are now. Not all of it was for the better. As depressing as the internet can be it does make it easier for everyone's dirty little secrets to come to light. I don't miss that part, so much. But what I do miss is the way comics used to be priced. Back in the day, I could scrounge some change out of my Gran's couch cushions and take it to a local recycled bookstore that was renovated out of an opera house my family used to own. I would swagger through the front entrance tipping a derby at the doorman, and flashing a glint of silver between my fingers. The cashier nodded, and pressed a button under the register. A bookcase slid across the floor revealing an iron wrought staircase, and I descended it into what I always imagined was what used to be the orchestra pit under the theater. That is where I found what I desired: Rows and rows of white boxes filled with every comic book imaginable, illuminated by soft white light that somehow filled the entire room. A subtle series of bells sounded from an unseen source, and a single poster board said the words I would never forget "All comics $.25." It was a magical time, but unfortunately one that would not last.
Then quickly things changed, and comics were no longer $1.25. Suddenly they were $2.50 and came with a bullshit trading card I already had. Put a crappy Wolverine Hologram on the cover, and now they are $3.00. Make that cover two pages and it's $3.25. Make the Hologram 3D, and now the book is $3.50. The whole pricing point just kept getting worse and worse. At one point a comic book fan and affluent banker looked at me condescendingly through a monocle and said "Outrageous prices, you say? Perhaps if you would stop being so lazy and get a second job you could afford comics". Then he cackled like the Penguin and drove off in a Ford Escort trailing exhaust and laughter in his wake. Comic book fans all over cried out for a Champion. We needed a man so large in stature and girth that the truth could not escape the pull of the gravity of his conclusions.
We needed Jude Terror. For a time, things were good. Jude's legendary "5 Comics for Under $5 Dollars" articles were a big hit. At the height of their power, they did something that no one thought was possible. Jude's article caused DC Comics to reduce their entire line below the $5 dollar pricing point. Maybe it had to do with something else, maybe not. But something inescapable changed in Jude. Someone offered him money, and suddenly he could afford $5 comics. The internet cried out for help again.
I answered that desperate call. Rising from the ashes of the success of Judas Terror, I give you the phoenix reborn! Welcome to ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT SAY NO TO $5 COMICS NOW!
Titan Comics - Anno Dracula #2 - $3.99
By Craig Engler and Edu Menna
Anno Dracula is an alternate history fiction novel written by Kim Newman that follows the events of Bram Stoker's Dracula only with the twist that Van Helsing died, and Dracula goes on to conquer the British Empire and put vampires at the top of the pecking order. With only the weakest Solicit to guide me I couldn't wait to pick this one up. Boasting a cornucopia of Victorian era characters from fiction and history, issue one was a slow crawl depicting a secret society of vampires and mortals attempting to unseat Dracula, that erupted into beautiful violence at the end of the book. I couldn't wait to pick up the second comic, and now it's time!
Here's the solicit:
AN ALL-NEW COMIC SERIES BASED ON THE BEST SELLING ANNO DRACULA NOVELS BY KIM NEWMAN!
Image Comics - Plastic #1 - $3.99
By Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard
If ever this was a book the defies description, this book is it. This book is literally some of the craziest shit I have ever read, and I work for the Outhouse. This comedic tale of a serial killer obsessed with saving the life of a blow up doll he believes is alive is easily one of the most damaged premises for a comic that has come across my desk, and I can't help but laugh my ass off .
Here's the solicit:
SERIES PREMIERE Retired serial killer Edwyn Stoffgruppen is in love with Virginia, a girl he 'met online.' Her affection quiets his vile urges. Together, they tour the back roads of America in their LTD, eating doughnuts and enjoying their healthy appetites for each other. Life is good?until a Louisiana billionaire kidnaps Virginia, forcing Edwyn to kill again in exchange for her freedom. Oh, and did we mention that Virginia is a sex doll? 'This is the weirdest shit I've ever read. I love it!' - ROBERT KIRKMAN (THE WALKING DEAD, OUTCAST BY KIRMAN & AZACETA, INVINCIBLE)
Valiant Entertainment - Generation Zero #9 - $3.99
By Kim Newman and Paul McCaffrey
Generation Zero is a stunning book that I was excited to read because it doesn't have anything to do with Valiant's shared universe. Generation Zero follows the adventures of a young girl who used a phone application to request help investigating the death of her high-school boyfriend. When those heroes arrive through a portal, her life is turned upside down and the conspiracy behind her boyfriends death turns out to be larger than what she imagined. Generation Zero is one of the best hero team books I have read in recent years, and I immensely enjoyed myself. This may be the final issue, but it is definitely worth picking up the back issues or collecting the trade.
Here's the solicit:
Zeroes to heroes! Generation Zero's mind-bending journey through the HeroScape-a strange dimension where the world is filtered through any person's perspective-reaches its final stop! But even if they can escape the deadly apparitions of Rook's collective conscience, can they stop the strange threats and mysteries that can't seem to leave their new hometown alone? Take cover, because Valiant's paramilitary prodigies are about to enter the greatest mission of their violent careers...and when the dust settles, their final fates will be no fantasy!
Image Comics – Eclipse #6 - $3.99
By Zack Kaplan and Giovanni Timpano
From Image comics comes this clever and well-written piece of apocalyptic science fiction. Set ten years after a solar flare rendered the earth largely uninhabitable as any who dare to go outside would easily be burned to a crisp. This nocturnal society struggles to survive, but it becomes clear that things as they are cannot last. The narrative behind this story only grows more epic the closer the main characters get to truth.
Here's the solicit:
As Cielo digs further for answers, she meets a new ally in the city's seedy and secret Underground, but also finds herself pursued by her father's agents. Meanwhile, Bax has discovered a new man in the wasteland who doesn't burn in the sunlight, but to learn more, Bax must confront an old friend turned dangerous enemy.
Pick of the Week: Dynamite Entertainment – Greatest Adventure #1- $3.99
By Bill Willingham and Cezar Razek
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Dynamite has a gift for taking licensed properties and transferring them to comic book form. I thought they couldn't get any better, then they go and do a thing like this. Combining all of Edgar Rice Burroughs most famous characters into a single narrative is a masterstroke of comic book genius and it should not go unremarked. I have no regrets jumping into an adventure so epic it threatened many worlds from the deepest part of Tarzan's jungle to the hallowed halls of Barsoom itself.
Here's the solicit:
In ancient days, Jason gathered the greatest heroes of his age and set out on the ultimate sea voyage. Now, in Tarzan's era, Jason Gridley does the same. The greatest heroes of the Edgar Rice Burroughs universe come together as the crew of the good ship Venture, with none other than Tarzan as their captain. It's a race this time, against a battleship of dark hearted villains, and the fate of many worlds hangs in the balance.
Remain ever vigilant in the face of certain unnecessary costs, True Believers! Did I miss something you think deserves to be mentioned? As always, let me know in the comments below.