Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


There’s a couple of disquieting signs on the Valiant front.

They’ve always had some overlaps on their OHCs but previously they were not RRP $50 either.

They issued the Faith mini as a cheap OHC a couple of years back. The upcoming Faith OHC collects that, plus 8-10 issues of other material, but that ratio, for a $50 OHC is one I’m finding it hard to get past. They did the same on the Divinity trilogy, but whacked the price there up to RRP $60.

As of now, there are no other upcoming OHCs. So, depending how it plays out, A&A might be the end of the line. It would be a neat symmetry, as I started on Valiant with the new Archer & Armstrong.

That said, I would like an OHC of Bloodshot: Redemption, as it concludes Lemire’s epic run.


I just got my copy of the Ex Machina Omnibus, which looks great.

Kind of odd they didn’t get a new Introduction for it though; they reuse a Brad Meltzer one from 2008 that I guess was in one of the TPBs. No foreword or anything from BKV or Harris that I can see either.


This seems to happen a lot with DC omnibuses. The content is often just reused stuff from previous releases (see also the recent Seven Soldiers omnibus). It was a nice surprise to see a new foreword in the Grant Morrison Batman omnibus.


Had quite an insulting email from Amazon, granted, they don’t know all my alternate identities but really, I suppose I need to do a PR drive for The Dealer:

“we found a deal for you”

You found a deal for me? No, no, no. I find the deals here, me, not you.


Dealer Alert

Anyone want a 400-page Absolute-size hardback for just under £27? Of course you do, this pre-order just went active:


This is a bit unexpected:

I see from the latest solicits that DC are getting quite a bit of Bendis’ creator-owned stuff back in print too, like Jinx and Torso. Along with his raft of new creator-owned books at DC it feels like this stuff was a significant component of him signing with them.


Yeah. I can’t say I’m not tempted but I’d want to know the story has progressed further before buying this opening volume.

I read and enjoyed both volumes years ago, but the lack of continuation and the gap between them really hurt the book.


From his recent Word Balloon it definitely seems the case. He said Dan Didio encouraged him to do more and was disappointed he’d left that stuff drift. I think there’s no doubt in recent years while it has continued to exist Marvel have taken a sharply decreasing interest in Icon.


Calling it volume one is the most unexpected part of all.


There are new issues in the recent DC solicits so presumably there’s an eye to doing a second Absolute for them further down the line.

I think the series lost its way a bit in the latest issues and the big gaps have hurt it, so I’ll probably wait to see how the new stuff goes unless I see the Absolute at a really low price.


Do I want Bendis original content? Yes, but I want it consistently without numerous relaunches, issues taking forever to come out etc.

If Bendis has decided he really wants to do that stuff now then great. First, finish Powers. Next, progress Scarlet. Also finish Brilliant.

Plus there’s some new stuff in the works - all could be excellent, but it has to come out, on time, month in, month out. If he can do that then consumer confidence will go up and I’ll consider grabbing the stuff in trade.


Challengers of the Unknown HC

I’ve been reading this on and off over the past few months, which - considering it’s only an eight-issue HC - probably tells you something about how compelling it was. A little like the recent Wonder Woman Rebirth book, it sat on my bedside table while other books came and went and overtook it in my reading pile.

That’s not to say it’s bad, particularly, and as the first Loeb & Sale collaboration (and the only one I’d never read) it’s interesting to see their partnership in a rougher, rawer form.

That goes for both Tim Sale’s art and Jeph Loeb’s writing. The art is flatter and cruder, simpler than Sale’s later lush inkwashes and fine detail have conditioned me to expect, and Loeb’s writing seems to lurch from one idea to another without enough connecting tissue or enough of a through-line to quite make everything hang together.

(I remember from a podcast he did with Kevin Smith that he admits to basically making up a lot of the story as he went along, and relying on Sale to determine a lot of the visual ideas and panel-to-panel pacing.)

But there’s a lot of enthusiasm here and obvious affection for the team and for the wider DC universe, even if Loeb does that new-to-comics thing of dropping a few too many outside references and nods into his story. And there’s a nice sense of knocking down the team and building them up again - a pretty standard formula for these kind of revivals, but one that works.

There are also moments when both the art and writing show signs of reaching further than merely ‘pretty good’. Sale throws out some interesting layouts and splashpages, and has a real knack for facial expressions and body language that helps to sell the story well, even without Loeb’s words. And Loeb comes up with one or two nice moments that surprise you with a smart idea or a nice turn of phrase.

If you don’t have much affection for the Challengers (and I don’t, really), and you’re not interested in the Loeb/Sale partnership, there’s not really much to recommend this book. For me, it’s an interesting look back at what was the first building block that led to bigger and better things to follow, although you can definitely see occasional flashes of that later greatness here.


Ninjak OHC1-2

Re-reading OHC1 as preparation for OHC2 was a damn good idea. The arc as a whole though suffers from having to be part of the Valiant universe with everything that entails, which in this case, means a lack of permanence and resolution because superheroes don’t really do that. It’s not really surprising, it’s a staple of the genre but in this case, it really hurt the story for me.

In particular the Roku revelation is what the entire arc more-or-less revolves around - if it works for you then the story will be far better, but it didn’t work for me. Had this not been part of an ongoing universe then both Roku and Darque may not have made it out of the story and it would have been better if they had not. The same lack of resolution, the cyclical, circular nature of the genre applies to the Shadow Seven too, they get captured, they get rescued, captured by Darque, freed by Ninjak and leg it. The whole arc, when read as a piece, doesn’t really amount to much, even for the main character. So yes, if this was freestanding it could have been more radical.

Still, that’s what didn’t work in OHC2, what did? The revenge arc for Siege of Kings Castle was OK, title’s a bit deceptive given how it plays out, but also quite dreary - I can’t say plots of villain vengeance really work that well for me. In contrast Fist and Steel started off as a far future tale of Ninjak and Gilad and then became something far, far more interesting, cleverly tying together both the main and back-up stories.

I’d rank OHC1 the stronger of the two volumes, though I don’t think it matches the top tier tales of Valiant. Both volumes are excellent value, collecting three trades each, racking up nearly 30 issues of content between them, with excellent production values.


That seems to be his typical way of working, which is why there can be such a difference in the level of quality from project to project. If he’s working with someone who just wants to draw big action scenes (Joe Mad in Ultimates V3, the Liefeld/Platt/McGuinness stuff at Awesome), then that’s what he’ll end up “writing”.


I can believe it. I think it was especially true for his first comics work as he admitted to not really knowing how a book was put together.


If you read his Red Hulk run (which is actually quite fun but a bit throwaway), it’s the most obvious one where his approach has been ‘what do you want to draw Ed?’

Not that it’s a wrong approach necessarily, a lot of writers incorporate at least a bit of that into their collaboration but he takes it a lot further than most and I think that’s why his work is so variable.


And maybe also why he gets so many top artists to work with him. :slight_smile:


There was a lot of good stuff in that run. I thought he cheated on the mystery though with an LMD.


And the best issue of that run (by far) was the Red Hulk origin with Sale contributing to the art.


I didn’t know about that - which issue was it? I’ll have to track it down.