Friday, April 10, 2009

Update on Indiana Jones

In 1981, Marvel Comics got the license to release a three-issue adaptation of the hit film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The comic turned out to be pretty terrible, even if goodwill and curiosity turned the three-parter into a commerical hit. You know how Indy figures things out silently in the movies, and acts without telling people what he's up to? That's not how Indy works in that comic. Anyway, Marvel continued their license and released a pretty successful series of follow-up stories under the title The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones from 1983-86. This was a pretty uneven title, but it was occasionally very entertaining. The book seemed to suffer from the lack of a consistent creative team, but even if some of the contributions were a little underwhelming, you can tell from rereading the stories that veterans like John Byrne, Denny O'Neil, Howard Chaykin, Archie Goodwin and David Michelinie all enjoyed working with the character, and doing something a little different than the typical Marvel title.

Dark Horse has been Indy's comic home for several years now, and last year, they landed the rights to the old Marvel series, which had lapsed. The publisher has a really interesting reprint line, principally used for their licensed properties like this, Aliens or Buffy, which repackages about 350 pages in color for $25 in a format a little smaller than a standard American comic. Dark Horse had already released two of these Omnibus editions for their own Indiana Jones miniseries in 2008. This is the first Omnibus to reprint the Marvel series, and it collects the three-part Raiders adaptation and the first 12 issues of the ongoing series. Despite some genuinely awful coloring (as noted with examples in February at my LiveJournal), the comic has aged pretty well for something with so many thought balloons on the page, and the creators put Indiana through some pretty thrilling and fun paces. It's certainly worth checking out!

I have not seen any substantive reviews of this book. If you see any or have written any, drop me a line and I will list them here.

In other reprinting news, Yen Press has announced the release dates for the next three volumes of Yotsuba&!, the addictive family comedy series by Kiyohiko Azuma which had previously been published by ADV Manga. Volume six is due out in September, with the next two following in December and in April 2010.

There have been rumors for ages that DC Comics will one day be releasing a complete collection of the 1940s Captain Marvel storyline "The Monster Society of Evil," a much-loved serial that ran for several months and was recently revisited by writer/artist Jeff Smith in a very fun new version. Looks like we'll finally be seeing this classic in December. The Amazon listing is right here if you'd like to pre-order it.

In other DC news, looks like they've finalized plans for their Showcase Presents volumes through the end of the year, in a mix of $17 regular 500-page books along with ten buck 300-page "Skinny Showcases" in the summer, although it does appear they are slowing the number of titles released to allow people to actually catch up to them. Titles include Super Friends in May, The Creeper in June, the long-awaited Western adventure Bat Lash and the fourth collection of 1960s Batman in July; Eclipso in August; Warlord in September; House of Secrets volume two in October; DC Comics Presents the Superman Team-Ups in November; and the third volume of Wonder Woman in December.

News of some other new releases from the good fellows over at Titan have crept out. October should see a sixth collection of Charley's War along with new sets of stories from Dan Dare ("Safari in Space") and Modesty Blaise ("Death in Slow Motion," with the previously-announced October collection, "Scarlet Maiden," moved forward to August). No announcements yet about a third set of Jeff Hawke adventures - the second collection was reviewed last month over at my bookshelf.

Viz has not formally announced it yet, but it looks like they've got a plan for Rumiko Takahashi's InuYasha that I can get behind. The series, her longest-running but, to my mind, the least compelling, recently concluded and the 56th digest collection was issued in Japan in February. I picked up a few of these cheaply, but the prospect of having 56 of the darn things on my shelf was a little unappealing. Fortunately, it looks like they're going to begin issuing the series in their "VizBig" line, which collects three digests in a thick package priced about the same as two of the smaller ones, starting in November. They've already had some success with Dragon Ball, Rurouni Kenshin and Fushugi Yugi in this format, and I'm much more likely to follow InuYasha to its conclusion if I can spend less money on it, and not have to devote shelf space to 56 little books.

Finally this time, Rebellion looks to have settled on October for release of the fifth Sinister Dexter collection - the fourth volume was just issued in England - and the first proper collection of the excellent Judge Dredd epic "Mechanismo." This should include the first two arcs, with artwork by Colin MacNeil and Peter Doherty, which were once compiled by the previous book publisher Hamlyn in an incomplete package, but ideally this one will also include the never-before-reprinted third arc, with art by Manuel Benet.

See you next month! Thanks for reading!

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