Thursday, June 18, 2009


Underground, a new series by Parker and Lieber

Longtime followers of the Ramble may recall that I've raved before about the work of Jeff Parker, and in particular his creator-owned Mysterius the Unfathomable and his Marvel series Agents of Atlas.

Well, Parker has a new book coming out, with art by Steve Lieber (probably best known for Whiteout, coming soon to a megaplex near you...). Here's the brief from the official Underground website:
UNDERGROUND is a five issue color series beginning in September from IMAGE COMICS. Written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Steve Lieber, and colored by Ron Chan, the story follows Park Ranger Wesley Fischer as she tries to save Stillwater Cave-- and then has to save herself.
It's tough out there for a creator-owned series these days, as the criminally low sales figures on Mysterius make all-too-painfully clear. (When the details emerge about the Mysterius trade collection, due out next year, I will be insisting that you all go out and buy it.) Comics are ordered by retailers months before they hit the stands, and with a miniseries the orders for the first two or three issues are due before the first issue has even been released. That came make it very difficult for new work to survive and thrive.

So here's what we're all going to do, in a handy three-step process.
  1. Head over to the Underground website and READ a complete black and white pdf of Issue 1.
  2. Decide for yourself that it is awesome, and that you NEED to read the rest of the series.
  3. March into your local comic shop and tell them that they MUST order sufficient copies of Underground #1. The first issue is in the July Previews, page 132. In stores September 23. Diamond Order Code: JUL090341
Isn't that simple? So what are you waiting for? Get to it!

I really liked the Mysterius series, and agree that it was a shame that more people didn't discover it. Of course, with the economic situation (and now with the quantum leap from $2.99 to $3.99), many of us are looking to see what we should cut from our weekly gleanings at our Local Comic Shop (mine's Zanadu Comics in Seattle's University District). Do I want to experiment with a new series or save my pennies for Ignition City and Incognito, or switch to just doing trades like many people?

It's a tough question.
I'm right there with you, Stu. I tend to take it on a case-by-case, with the deciding factor usually being the question of how likely the inevitable trade is going to be (and how long am I willing to wait to read it, too). So Incognito I'm reading in individual issues, because I can't wait a minute longer than absolutely necessary for each new chapter, but Ignition City I'm content to wait for the trade. Captain America, I wait for the hardcover omnibus, while Agents of Atlas I buy the second it hits the stands.

I've just cleared out and took to Half-Price Books another few years worth of individual issues of titles I later bought collections of, and was reminded as I always am what an absolute waste of money it is to do it that way. I'm willing to shell out for Astro City in individual issues and hardcovers alike, but these days there's not much else that commands that kind of respect.
I spent the weekend reading JSA: Kingdom Come volumes (thank you public library) - glad I read them, glad I didn't pick up the individual issues, even gladder about that with Final Crisis.

Ed Brubaker CRIMINAL next...
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