Many years ago, when it seems attention spans were greater or maybe story telling was better, DC Vertigo had a stable of tiles that ran for many many years: Hellblazer ran from 1988 for 300 issues ending in 2013; Swamp Thing ran from May 1982 (starting as Saga Of The Swamp Thing) to #171 ending in 1996; Preacher ran from 1995 for 66 issues ending in 2000; Fables ran from 2002 for 150 issues ending in 2015; And of course Sandman ran from 1989 for 75 issues ending in 1996. All of these stories have been kept in print as graphic novels ever since.
Over the years, both Hellblazer and Swamp Thing have been revived in different fashions numerous times with varying results. One Vertigo title that did not suffer such a fate is Sandman, which has always remained under the stewardship of creator Neil Gainman. The good news this month is that Sandman is back, although this time Neil Gaiman will have a bit of help. In August there will be one-shot, The Sandman Universe, which is a 48-page special setting out the grounds for four new series set in the Sandman Universe. This is really great news for us, the readers, but also for Vertigo who have seemed to lose their way and voice over the last three or four years. Oh, and the art looks stunning on interiors and covers.
Marvel Comics are also going retro this month. It seems only yesterday that someone at Marvel made the most monumental goof and lost them the film rights to the Fantastic Four and X-Men. Then, for the last decade, they seem to have been fighting a stupid war of attrition by refusing to publish Fantastic Four and by trying to deter readers from the X-Men books and get them hooked into Inhumans instead. Did it work? Of course not. There is too much history in both series / franchises for replacements to work.
Marvel are finally ‘killing off’ the Inhumans in the Death Of The Inhumans five-issue mini series. I use the phrase ‘killing off’ very loosely as, in comics, no-one stays dead for long (except the original Captain Marvel, it appears). Hopefully they will return to being the key set of background characters as they used to be.
Then …fanfare and roll of drums… the Fantastic Four are back! Dan Slott is on scripts and Sara Pichelli on art. If Dan can come up with the same consistency he had on Amazing Spider-Man for the last ten years then we are in for a real treat.
Lastly, Marvel are really getting to grips with the X-Men and making them the foremost group again. There are some exciting plans ahead kicking off with the Extermination five issue mini series. Keep your eyes peeled for this and for future announcements.
As the strap line says, “what goes around comes around” and I, for one, am really happy about this.
Mentions for the month
In August, Dark Horse Comics will be releasing an Aliens: Essential Comics Vol.1. This will reprint all the early miniseries in a 416 page volume at a knock down price of $24.99 and in colour! This has to be one of the bargains of the year!
Then a mention for a Boom! Studios series starting in August, Black Badge. Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins produced Grass Kings, one of the finest comics of the last few years. Now they have moved on to a series about an elite group of boy scouts! Sounds a bit off-beat, but I can guarantee you it will be intriguing, thought provoking and a feast of artwork. Miss this one at your peril!
Mission for the month
Leave in the now.