Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Waiting for Wednesday, Issue 28

Welcome to a very special edition of Waiting for Wednesday! "Very special," in that comics don't actually ship today in the United States. Due to the Labor Day holiday this week, new comics ship tomorrow. So, really, we're Waiting for Thursday.

But, today, 9/9/09, is a pretty big day here at Exfanding, as it's a HUGE video game and music release day that will see the much-anticipated (in some circles, anyway) Beatles Rock Band go on sale. Much more important (in my circle) is the release of the entire Beatles' catalog, now (FINALLY) digitally remastered and cleaned up and presented in a way that is fitting for the music of the greatest band in history.

But, before we get to that, let's run through some comics that will be hitting store shelves tomorrow. From the looks of things, it's going to be a really big week, so make sure to arm thyself at thy local ATM machine beforehand.

First up, we have a book I've mentioned in the past, published by Dynamite Entertainment. The Complete Dracula, issue three, ships tomorrow, and it's one of those titles that I hope all fans of the original work are reading.

If you're a fan, and you're not reading this title, you certainly should be, as it's one of very few adaptations to receive an endorsement from Dracula scholar Elizabeth Miller. Kim Newman has also praised the work, and Leslie S. Klinger (whose New Annotated Dracula was recently released) gives a ringing endorsement of the book:

“A meticulous graphic adaptation of Stoker’s classic text, with powerful images that take the original tale to new heights of horror!”

And it certainly is that. The captions (which are usually taken from the diaries of each character in the novel) and the dialogue come straight from Stoker, and the art is dark and moody. The only complaint some may find with the art is that it is very "digital," for lack of a better word.

Still, the computer-created imagery is done in such a way as to somehow capture Stoker's England and drape it in fog and shadow. Really beautiful stuff, I have to say.

Now, if I've finally convinced you to pick this series up, but you've missed the first two issues, I'd suggest waiting for the trade, as each of the five issues carries a hefty $4.99 price tag.

The issues are longer than most books these days, clocking in at 32 pages of story per, and each issue is loaded with extras, and they feature beautiful card stock covers by John Cassaday.

Complete DraculaStill, five bucks is expensive for a monthly title, especially for one that will be collected in November for $25 (and much less on Amazon). But, Dracula fans, I'm begging you--check this book out.

Next up, we have two books from Mike Mignola--BPRD 1947, issue three, and Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, issue six. As promised, I've been making my way back through previous BPRD collections, and it's now a book near the top of my to-read list.

1947 is classic Mignola storytelling, and the haunting art by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (Umbrella Academy) is the perfect compliment to a creepy vampire tale. Here's the blurb from Dark Horse, followed by this week's cover.

The newest B.P.R.D. members are thrust into the jaws of a group of unsavory vampires as they search for a missing comrade in the bowels of a dilapidated old chateau.

B.P.R.D. 1947 You can check out a preview of the book at Dark Horse's site to see if it's the kind of thing you'd be into. And, if it is, then you might also want to pick up Mignola's latest Hellboy story, The Wild Hunt, which also ships tomorrow.

Hellboy: The Wild HuntThis latest offering promises to reveal some major plot points about Hellboy, and his world. If you're a fan of Mignola, then I'm sure these two books are already on your lists, but if you're looking to get into either title, I'd suggest a couple of things.

I was introduced to the BPRD with the current 1947 mini-series, and it made me want to go back and read some of the earlier trades of the title. Still, the story was presented in such a way that I really didn't need to read up on the characters, so in that sense, I think 1947 is a great jumping on point for new readers.

The Wild Hunt is a different story, though, and it has deep-rooted plot points from Hellboy tales of the past. So, if you're looking to get into the Hellboy mythos, start at the beginning, with the first trade, Seed of Destruction.

Moving on, there are also a few big releases from the Big Two, with major tie-in titles and event books shipping tomorrow. From Marvel, their Dark Reign: The List begins with a one-shot, Brian Bendis-penned issue of the Avengers.

Dark Reign: The ListDC has its share of big books, as well, with Blackest Night: Batman, issue two, hitting shelves. There's plenty of coverage on these books over at the big comics news sites, though, so I won't say much more about them.

I will, however, say quite a bit about the week's biggest release--the Beatles remasters, out today.

I've said many times that I am a Beatles fan, and a great admirer of John Lennon, so I'm quite excited about the prospect of owning these albums with the best audio possible. This is a big deal for Beatles fans, who have waited patiently for 20 years (!) as every other band on the planet got countless re-releases and remasterings and whatever else they could do to make an album sound better.

But not the Beatles. Not the greatest band in history.

But, today, all that changes, and we can hear the same, great songs in a new, great way. This is a must-buy for me, but the only question is whether I'll be picking up the (big, honking) box set with all 14 albums in it, or if I'll be buying each album from Rubber Soul-on separately.

Probably the latter, I think.

My Beatles CDs were purchased in the mid-nineties, and frankly, they don't sound that great. The audio quality just has not held up over the years. I need to pump the volume up way higher on those albums than I do for more recent CDs, both on my my car stereo and my home system. And my home system is of ridiculous (as in good) quality.

So, yeah, I'll be spending some money today to get these new albums. And it'll be worth every penny--it's the Beatles!

Additionally, today also sees the release of the The Beatles: Rock Band. How do I feel about this? Well, I own a Rock Band system--the game, the guitars, the mic, and the drums, as it was given to me by my brother for Christmas.

Rock Band: The BeatlesWe take the system out once a year (on Christmas Day, when the whole family is together) and we play it pretty much non-stop.

So, I'm not exactly a Rock Band fanatic, but I definitely understand those who are. It's a fun game, and one that can be played with a bunch of people. With the music of the Beatles, it becomes a game that can link generations. Parents will actually want to play along with their kids, and that's pretty cool.

Is it a big, giant sell-out like all the die-hards are saying? Sure it is. But in this new world of digital music (where The Album no longer is a viable, salable entity in the music business), it's a necessary sell-out.

Coming to Rock Band guarantees a whole new generation of Beatles fans, and makes the timeless (and always socially relevant) music of the Beatles now digitally relevant. And today, that's a hugely important thing for bands.

Even for the greatest of all time.

That's it for me today. What are you Waiting for?

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