Monday, July 22, 2013

Sex Criminals, Rat Queens, the Dial H swan song, and the strangest Star Wars tale ever told?

We are right in the middle of the dog days of summer and, before you know it, the school bells will be ringing again. Here are a few books coming out in September you might want to add to your pull list.

Let's start with a story which almost didn't see the light of day:

Writer: J. W. Rinzler; Artist: Mike Mayhew; Colorist: Rain Beredo, Brad Anderson; Cover Artist: Nick Runge
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Before Star Wars, there was The Star Wars! This is the authorized adaptation of George Lucas’s rough-draft screenplay of what would eventually become a motion picture that would change the world.

Annikin Starkiller is the hero . . . Luke Skywalker is a wizened Jedi general . . . Han Solo is a big green alien . . . and the Sith . . . Well, the Sith are still the bad guys. High adventure and derring-do from longer ago, in a galaxy even further away!

* Official adaptation of George Lucas’s original screenplay for Star Wars!

Apparently the idea to adapt it has be floating around for years, but Lucas was adamant this would not be made. That was until Dark Horse showed him 10 pages of art and he relented and signed off.

It's an 8-issue limited series, so the commitment isn't huge if you're curious to see how Star Wars might have looked.

Written by: China MiĆ©ville; Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Jeff Lemire, Jock, Alberto Ponticelli, David Lapham, Riccardo Burchielli + 14 more! Cover by: Brian Bolland

You can’t stop dialing! In a special VILLAINS MONTH coda to the fan-favorite DIAL H series, a lost E-dial is discovered by four young criminals on the run in Littleville. But who is chasing them? And will they figure out how to control this nefarious dial before it’s too late? Hindsight is twenty-twenty when you’re sprinting through dark alleys! This issue features 20 new villains, 20 pages of creative insanity—and 20 top artists, each drawing a page of the action!

If you've been reading Dial H, you're going to want to pick up this one. This will be the unofficial final issue of that series. If you haven't been, track down the back issues or the collected edition. This books is the closest to the early days of Vertigo (Grant Morrison, Jamie Delano) DC is putting out right now. The entire series is a short run - it ends in August after 15 issues, which is unfortunate considering MiĆ©ville had just started to hit his stride and the book was starting to really sing.

This issue is one of the four Justice League books for Villains month - JLA will see another four and JL Dark will have two - so it would be easy for this one to fall through the cracks.

This issue will feature 20 great artists across 20 pages. Sure it seems gimmicky, but Dial H is one title where this concept can be pulled off naturally and possibly to great result.

Okay, two more books worth a look, both of them new this month, both from Image, both called out as "Gems of the Month" by Previews:

Story: Matt Fraction: Art / Cover: Chip Zdarsky

A sex comedy for comics

Suzie's a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John...  who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. In the vein of THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN and BRIDESMAIDS, Image Comics invites you to come along with MATT FRACTION (HawkeyeSATELLITE SAM) and CHIP ZDARSKY  (Prison FunniesMonster Cops) for the series that puts the "comic" back in “comics” and the "sexy" back in “sex crimes.”

Matt Fraction has been making waves recently with his excellent Marvel book Hawkeye. Most of the people I talk to are reading it, and if you aren't I encourage you to take a look. It's funny and it has a lot of heart. A rocking good time.

I don't know much about Zdarsky's comic work, but I am familiar with the illustrations he does under his real name, Steve Murray, for the newspaper National Post. Wikipedia also says he lives up Highway 400 in Barrie.

Story: Kurtis J. Wiebe; Art / Cover: Roc Upchurch


Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all gods’ creatures for profit.

It’s also a darkly comedic fantasy series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

A new ongoing series from PETER PANZERFAUST’s KURTIS J. WIEBE and featuring a gorgeous incentive cover by SAGA’s FIONA STAPLES!

Wiebe (a Vancouver boy) is writing. He picked up a Shuster Awards for Outstanding Comic Book Writer in 2012 for Green Wake. Currently he writes the excellent Peter Panzerfaust.

Based on the few pages of previews available, Rat Queens doesn't appear to be a spoof on the sword & sorcery genre so much as a humorous love letter. If you enjoy Skullkickers (created by Toronto scribe Jim Zub), this one might be for you too.

If you're looking for a taste to help make a decision on whether or not to pick it up, click on over to Wiebe's blog for some free webcomic shorts featuring the characters.

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