Have you always wanted to know what it was like to be a comics retailer on the day that the PREVIEWS catalogue is due and it’s 2:47pm and you haven’t even looked inside yet? NOW YOU CAN. In a… surprising… experiment for this website, I’m going to liveblog my reactions to the March 2009 PREVIEWS catalogue (for comics and graphic novels and stuff scheduled to ship starting in May, 2009). It’s due today at Midnight and I foolishly called a TCAF meeting for 5:30pm today! Let’s see what happens!

2:48pm: SPAWN. Talk about your auspicious debuts! At least it’s not a toy? Anyway, apparently SPAWN: Architects of Fear is the long-awaited sequel to SPAWN: SIMONY. I have not heard of this. Auspicious debut.

2:50pm: I dunno if it’s just me, but I can’t remember the last time I read one of the articles in the front of PREVIEWS.

2:51pm: Exception to the rule: I really like seeing my Free Comic Book Day book in the little spread of FCBD books.

2:52pm: DARK HORSE! PIXU looks great, man. I was totally surprised to hear that DH picked up this one, but happy to hear it. It’s already a great couple of comics, it’s going to be an outstanding book. New issue of Buffy, which is our highest-ordered floppy comic of any given month, I think. BUFFY: Holy shit, it sells a lot. Still.

2:56pm: Almost didn’t realize that new Lobster Johnston book was a novel, and not just a comic with a pulp novel-styled cover. Crisis averted.

2:58pm: I’m not sure that anyone still cares about ALIENS comic books, but I’ll give the first issue a shot.

3:00pm: That BEANWORLD hc sold fantastically well for us, we actually sold out in under a month for what I thought was a generous order. Cool stuff. And look at that, a new version of CAGES on the opposite page. I hope the binding on this one is a bit better than the last HC edition. I loved that last edition (it’s the one I’ve got) but man, you hold that thing the wrong way for a few minutes and the binding just cracks.

3:02pm: So far, the recession hasn’t hurt the sales of prestige-edition books, but I guess we’re going to test that with this MARTHA WASHINGTON hard cover. Pardon me for being a jerk, but maybe this is the kind of thing that would’ve sold REALLY WELL during all that Watchmen hoopla? You know, the dude who did the book that WATCHMEN was based on, and the dude who did the book that the director of WATCHMEN directed before this one? No? Anyone?

3:09pm: New Usagi trade is always nice. Not really sure what to make of these Neil Gaiman Presents novels… We’re cutting back on prose here at the store, but Gaiman tends to have a real following that would likely extend to his favourite prose. We’ll give it a go. Also? VAMPIRE DANCE: As high-concepts go, vampires vs. neo-nazis isn’t bad at all.

3:13pm: Whoo, new Blade of the Immortal!

3:22pm: Digging into the stand-alone-for-this-month DC catalogue. If I can editorialize for a moment, I think we all know that comics, hell all literature, is not “essential”. Food, water, shelter, love. Essential. Comic books? Not so much. But within the context of comics, or more approrpiately superhero comics, certain books can seem “essential”. Like being a Spider-Man fan, and needing to pick up New Avengers to see all of the surprising developments with the character that happened there, that sort of thing. Using that scale, I can successfully say that FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: RUN #1, where we find out what happened to “The Human Flame” after Final Crisis,  is about as essential has stepping on a rusty nail. Awful.

3:29pm: I’m with Spurge, why the hell does Mark Waid on Batman need to be a one-shot? There are like 5 regular Batman books, you couldn’t slot a Mark Wait two-parter in there anywhere? (Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight #1)

3:32pm: Props to DC for bringing Supergirl back into the mainstream continuity of the Superman books., our sales are close to double what they were before the New Krypton stuff.

3:33pm: Not being a dick here, but I could swear that Booster Gold was cancelled. But no, here it is with a Keith Giffen fill-in issue. HUH.

3:37pm: Does the dude who lays out DC’s section of the Previews just hate alphabetizing things? 

Green Arrow & Black Canary #20
The Flash Rebirth #2
Jonah Hex #43
Mighty #4
Green Lantern Corps #36

What the fuck man?

3:40pm: Because I ordered more of THE LAST DAYS OF ANIMAL MAN than POWER GIRL, am I: a) sexist, b) sexist and a prime example of the sexism in comics, or c) counting on DC to keep one of these first issues in print should I need more, but not the other? Phrase your answer in the form of a bitter polemic.

3:45pm: Comic that I am fucking shocked is selling as well as it is: R.E.B.E.L.S. I had to reorder! Both issues! Apparently it’s really, really good. Good for you, creative team!

3:49pm: I think assuming that Andy Kubert will get the second half of that Neil Gaiman story done by July, in time for this hardcover edition, is wishful thinking. I kind of feel like the whole Andy-Kubert-exclusive-at-DC thing was Joe Quesada playing a practical joke on DC. What did he do, 150 pages of comics total in 2 years? Totally fucked the schedule on Morrison’s Batman and gave us Tony Daniel? TONY DANIEL!? Well-played, Mr. Quesada.

3:52pm: Kind of annoyed that DC opted to reprint the existing Hitman collections, and not just go for omnibus editions. 

3:54pm: I actually like the look of the DC kids stuff, though it’s odd to see STORMWATCH PHD and CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY on facing pages. Speaking of Stormwatch PHD, I remember Leandro Fernandez absolutely Kicking Ass on Queen & Country back in the day, but that art excerpt from Stormwatch looks awful. Is that actually his stuff? What happened there? Yikes.

4:04pm: Yeah, see, there we go! SLEEPER SEASON ONE! Take Sleeper vol 1 & 2, put it in one book, and knock $5 off of the total price. Good call DC Collections dept!

4:07pm: Holy shit there is a comic called KILLAPALOOZA. Trevor Hairsine too. Nice.

4:09pm: I am happy with myself that I had no reaction to the STARCRAFT comic book. Looks like I finally kicked that particular addiction.

4:12pm: Alright THE UNWRITTEN by Mike Carey, I shall give you the benefit of the doubt and order a bunch of your first issue priced at only a dollar. But I would double that number again if Yoko Shimizu did the interior art as well. JUST SAYING.

4:13pm: Hah. ABSOLUTE DEATH HC. I just gotta say, it shouldn’t take Neil Gaiman being pissy on his blog for DC’s Collections department to pull their heads out and keep to a consistant format for their prestige releases.  Particularly for Gaiman’s work. That said, speaking as a retailer who has sold a lot of $99 slipcase’d books, I am really happy that Gaiman got pissy at DC on his blog, because hey, another $99 slipcase’d book!

4:21pm: Man, Jeff Lemire’s artwork (THE NOBODY HC) really looks like it’s just slapping the Vertigo house-style across the face, doesn’t it? Like just having it’s way with it. Heh.

4:23pm: Are you fucking kidding me? The prop replica of all of the Green Lantern rings (all the different coloured rings from the new prism of lanterns)? RINGS ARE REMOVABLE BUT ARE PROP REPLICAS ONLY AND ARE NOT MEANT TO BE WORN. $250. Sorry to get all ‘internet’ on you here, but EPIC. FAIL.

…and that’s DC done. Way to go out on a low-note.

4:27pm: Image! OLYMPUS looks kind of neat actually. Interesting art, not sure if it’s pretty enough for comics fans, but it is nice-looking. I’ll give it a go. Spawn. Youngblood. More Liefeld. New Tennapel graphic novel, I wonder how he’s going to turn THIS one into a paean to the healing power of Christ?

4:31pm: Sure, why not steal the Marvel Digest design for your G-MAN trade paperback. Marvel stole it from Tokyopop in the first place…

4:32pm: If Kyle Baker is reading this, Kyle? Why is there a trade paperback collection of issues #1-4 of SPECIAL FORCES when that series is apparently a six-issue mini series?

4:34pm: There’s seriously a thousand-page Walking Dead book coming out, collecting issues 1-48. Huh.

4:35pm: Huh, Dead@17 is at Image now? Had no idea. Glad to have an omnibus collection though.

4:37pm: Huh, looks like Image is going to keep the first 5 POWERS trades after all, new printing of volume 1.

4:48pm: Got a little distracted there. Big-ups to EVIL AND MALICE SAVE THE WORLD on page 165. I coloured this, back in the day, and it’s a great series for all ages, particularly girls. If you like me or this site, then order one of these and support my friend Jimmie Robinson.

4:50pm: Ah. Marvel. Alright. Apparently “THE WORLD STILL NEEDS THE NEW MUTANTS”. “Disagree.” “Circle gets the square!”

4:52pm: Doesn’t the HALO UPRISING HC presuppose that the fourth issue will ever, ever come out?

No Idea what “RIFTWAR” is, I imagine a popular sci-fi novel series. Meh. You know what I’d read though? RIFTS comics. The old Palladium game. That was fun. Who owns the license to that? Is it BOOM? I imagine it would be BOOM. Hey Church, why don’t you pitch Ross on a RIFTS comic?

4:55pm: Heh, Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers. That is actually kind of amazing. Props for Speedball’s tabbycat.

4:56pm: I can’t help but feel like Roy Thomas’ TROJAN WAR #1 isn’t going to be nearly gay enough. All the naked dudes are drawn in shadow (in the middle of the day).

4:58pm: “Spider-Man: The Short Halloween” actually wins funniest title of the month, so far. 

5:00pm: Heh, I think the DARK REIGN YOUNG AVENGERS should have lesbians. Are lesbians the dark reflection of gay dudes? Or is that sexist too? What’s the dark reflection of gay teenagers? Gay teenagers that have killed themselves? Also, wait, the Dark Avengers are bad guys that are pretending to be Avengers. But these are kids pretending to be bad guys but calling themselves Young Avengers. So would that make two of the characters gay guys PRETENDING to be “Ex-Gay”? But aren’t all of the Ex-Gay’s just pretending anyway? Fuck it, too complicated. I’m not ordering this one.

5:12pm: And, done Marvel. It turns out I am not that interested in Marvel. Gotta take a little break, be back in an hour or two to do the back-half of Previews. Actually, I’ll put that in a separate post. Thanks for reading along…!

- Christopher


You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

  1. Jaume says:

    Waid’s Batman is a one-shot because is going to be simultaneously published in Spain and Italy. In Spain is going to be published in spanish and in catalonian, and the on sale date of the product is the International ComicCon that takes place every year in Barcelona.
    Not to defend DC’s saturation of the market with more batcomics, but to clarify his decision. ;)
    I hope you meet de Previews deadline ;)

    A comic book retailer from Mallorca (Spain)

  2. Jason Marcy says:

    I actually have the first six novels of the Riftwar books by Raymond Feist, but then he went all sub series this and prequel that, and then did a bunch of other spin offs. The first five were pretty damn good though…

  3. Leigh Walton says:

    Toronto’s own Ramón Pérez did a bunch of RIFTS comics back in the day, published by Palladium (bundled with various RPG supplements, with Palladium’s trademark lame book design). I’d buy the hell out of a new edition.

  4. Chip Zdarsky says:

    Mind. Blown.

  5. Paul Bazinet says:

    Awesome. You should do this every month, you have lots of free time. Bring on part 2!

  6. Bitter Matt says:

    1) This is great. Please consider doing at least one more, next month hopefully?

    2) This seems like as good a place as any to finally make the comment that, uh, the whole rainbow-brite lantern corps thing? Migawd. I’m trying to think of some parallel in awfulness. There must be one, but nothing’s coming to mind. Migawd.

  7. Chris says:

    Holy shit, how did I miss that Marvel is doing a trade paperback REPRINTING MARVEL SAGA’s? That is the worst thing I’ve ever heard. The Ents should be super-pissed-off about what a waste of trees that shit is. The Ents should attack the Marvel offices, and throw boulders through the windows at them.

  8. Amy says:

    I love this.

  9. Shawn Richter says:

    Oh, man! Leigh beat me to it. Yeah, I have a copy of that Perez RIFTS story – Chris, I’m surprised you haven’t read it. You should totally check it out.

  10. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » April 1, 2009: An aberration says:

    [...] walks you through the Diamond Previews catalogue from a Direct Marketeer’s perspective: one, [...]

  11. Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment » Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes says:

    [...] Christopher Butcher live-blogs his monthly order from Diamond’s Previews catalog. [Comics212, Part 1 and Part [...]

  12. LurkerWithout says:

    Got beat to Riftwar explanation, but Special Forces was only four issues…

  13. Halliday says:

    I think the Dark version of the potentially gay Young Avengers characters (I still say that Marvel has yet to actually say that they’re gay… which is kind of pussy of them. How can they have no problem with Ultimate Colossus making out with Ultimate North Star, but can’t actually definitively out Wiccan and Hulkling?), would be southern football players who, while totally gay themselves, are deeply closeted because of their horrific, close-minded, heavily conservative backgrounds, and to convince themselves they’re not gay, constantly talk about how gay everything is… but secretly go home and make out while watching SEX IN THE CITY. See, it’s dark because they don’t accept their inherit gayness. Or something.

  14. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Linkarama@Newsarama says:

    [...] place an order through the Previews catalog the same day the order is due. Hilarity ensues. (Click here for hilarity part one, and here for part two). For more retailer-on-Previews action, please see Mr. [...]

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