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By Christopher Butcher

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

SKULLFEST: A FESTIVAL OF SKULLS
In Toronto TONIGHT!
http://www.skullfest.com

[Blogger's Note: This is just a little bit of PR for some of my pals who are having an art show tonight that I unfortunately cannot attend. Make sure that you are there though, the last one they threw was 10 kinds of awesome...!]

A witches' brew of acclaimed artists and illustrators show their monstrous sides in Skullfest- A Festival of Skulls!
8 Toronto artists show what kind of ghouls, grave-dwellers, ghosts, goblins and other gory guys grow in their in their minds when they're not illustrating, animating and painting for clients. On Tuesday October 31st, the walls of the famous Steam Whistle Roundhouse will be transformed into a ghoulish gallery of works by Aaron Leighton, Anna McIntyre, Marek Colek, Clayton Hanmer and Christopher Hutsul, Melinda Josie, Steve Manale and Steve Wilson.
The creepshow runs from October 31st until December 3rd.

Skullfest!? Check it out ? If you've got the guts...


Now some images...



Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006 at 10/31/2006 09:53:00 AM
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Friday, October 27, 2006

The Beguiling and Scott Pilgrim? Best of Toronto!
Also, The Beguiling
http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2006-10-26/art_story.php

Now Magazine, Toronto's oldest and most widely-read independent weekly paper have released their Best of Toronto 2006, and The Beguiling (the comic store I work for) took home top honours for Best Comic Book Store in Toronto:
Best comic book store
THE BEGUILING
601 Markham, 416-533-9168, http://www.beguiling.com/
Batman's cool, but if you want to do more than feed your inner 13-year-old's spandex fantasies, check out the undisputed king of alt-comics in North America. From 18th-century caricaturist William Hogarth to classic strips like Little Orphan Annie to counterculture illustrator Robert Crumb, the boys at the Beguiling know their shit.

Also cool? They comissioned Bryan Lee O'Malley to do a new full-page Scott Pilgrim comic for the magazine, which you can see at their website.

Also cool? The comic and the website plug the Bryan Lee O'Malley signing AT The Beguiling this Saturday at 3pm.

Also cool? I'm getting married that day.

This was a pretty good morning, all around.

- Chris

Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 at 10/27/2006 11:20:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I hope you weren't expecting to read Seven Soldiers #1
6 months later, what's another week?
http://www.dccomics.com

I just got this in my e-mail from DC, and it isn't pretty:
SHIPPING ADVISORY ON SEVEN SOLDIERS #1 AND SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #23

Due to an error, retailers serviced by Diamond Comic Distributors' Memphis Distribution Center will not receive SEVEN SOLDIERS #1 (AUG060221) and SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #23 Standard Edition (AUG060226) this week

These issues now are set to reach retailers on November 1...

BEGUILING CUSTOMERS: We are still getting copies. This just affects the poor bastards in... most of the United States.

I'll try not to ruin the ending for anyone.

- Christopher

Posted Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 10/24/2006 05:54:00 PM
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Shipping October 25th, 2007
List courtesy of The Beguiling
http://www.beguiling.com

Big week for comics, huh? Let's get right to it.

AUG063347 11TH CAT VOL 4 GN (APR068170) 10.95
AUG060189 52 WEEK #25 2.50

AUG060180 ACTION COMICS #844 2.99
AUG068068 ACTION COMICS VAR ED #844 PI

That's right, it's the very first issue of Richard Donner and Geoff Johns' Action Comics! While the washed-out 'important' covers that Kubert is throwing on the books initially lowered my enthusiasm for the book, the preview pages that ran at Entertainment Weekly were actually pretty good; A fun Superman and a compelling premise. So long as Johns doesn't mandate that Lois needs to be brutally murdered to make Superman more heroic (ie: every other comic he's written) this might be a good little run and something we'll feel comfortable recommending. Living in hope...


AUG062028 ALL NEW OFF HANDBOOK MARVEL UNIVERSE A TO Z #10 3.99

JUL060252 AMERICAN VIRGIN HEAD TP (MR) 9.99
Steve Seagle and Becky Cloonan's first five issues of the new Vertigo series are collected here. Just for fun, I think I'll rack Demo and East Coast Rising next to this on the new-releases shelf and see what happens. As for the book itself? Nice art, and kind of 'meh' on the whole, until the lead character tries to fuck a coffin.


AUG063369 ANGEL MASKS 7.49
AUG063351 ANTIQUE GIFT SHOP VOL 3 GN (RES) 10.95
APR063079 ARMY OF DARKNESS VOL 3 AOD VS REANIMATOR TP 14.99
JUN063601 ART OF HP LOVECRAFTS CTHULHU MYTHOS HC (C: 0-1-2) 29.95
AUG063125 BART SIMPSON COMICS #32 2.99
JUL061678 BATTLE POPE VOL 2 MAYHEM TP (MR) 12.99
AUG062030 BLACK PANTHER #21 2.99

AUG062120 BLACK PANTHER BRIDE TP 14.99
Contains such a creepy, subserviant depiction of Storm that you almost swear Chris Claremont wrote it.


AUG063459 BONEYARD VOL 2 COLOR ED TP 11.95
AUG060266 BOYS #4 (MR) 2.99
AUG062040 CAPTAIN AMERICA #23 CW 2.99
AUG060239 CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY #26 2.25

JUL063130 CASTLE WAITING VOL II #2 3.95
Well, that was a little late. Still, I rather liked my return to Castle Waiting, particularly following the excellent hard cover collection this year. Hopefully we're able to convince a few more folks to jump on board with this series...!


AUG063812 CHARLES ADDAMS A CARTOONISTS LIFE HC (C: 0-1-2) 29.95
I actually only really 'discovered' Charles Addams earlier this year. His cartooning is pretty amazing, and I'll probably pick this up unless Peter tells me not to because we've got another, better book about Charles Addams.


JUL068173 CIVIL WAR CHOOSING SIDES 3.99
It's a Civil War Fill-in! With deadlines dangerously close and schedules falling apart, can a forgotten band of heroes collect enough money to keep Mark Millar in champagne enemas until the next real issue is released? All signs point to yes, true believer!


JUL063041 CLASSIC BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #1 3.50
Dynamic Forces? Marvel? I've got a pitch for you. Two words: Battlestar Galactus. All it'll take is some of that champagne-enema action. You know where to reach me.


JUN064291 CLASSIC BATTLETECH TOTAL WARFARE HC (C: 0-1-2) 39.99
AUG063387 CLIVE BARKERS GREAT & SECRET SHOW VOL 1 TP (APR068 19.99
NOV051737 COMMON FOE #4 (OF 4) (C: 1-0-0) 3.50
AUG060014 CONAN & THE SONGS OF THE DEAD #4 (OF 5) 2.99

SEP064844 DAME DARCY DELUXE BOOK/DVD BOX SET (O/A) (C: 1-1-2 37.50
This should be interesting. I've gotten to see Dame Darcy perform a few times now and it's a lot of fun. This collection sounds like it'll contain the same charming insanity as all of her work. The book in this set is "Dollerium", about a group of bad dolls who take drugs and practice black magic, apparently. The DVD features a full-length Dame Darcy movie, animation, live performances, and a buncha other stuff. Publisher Press Pop's other material has been really impecably packaged, so this should be a hell of a gift-set.


AUG062041 DAREDEVIL #90 2.99
AUG062115 DAREDEVIL DEVIL INSIDE AND OUT VOL 1 TP 14.99

That Brubaker Daredevil is really pretty good, eh? The first trade paperback collection is released this week, which is good as we've sold out of almost every issue.


AUG060255 DEATHBLOW #1 (MR) 2.99
AUG060256 DEATHBLOW VAR EDITION A #1 (MR) 2.99
AUG060257 DEATHBLOW VAR EDITION B #1 (MR) 2.99

I love how Brian Azzarello is a total badass who realises on some level that he really does want to tell stories about a dude called "Deathblow".


AUG063318 EC ARCHIVES WEIRD SCIENCE VOL 1 HC (C: 0-1-2) 49.95
It's the first of Diamond Gemstone's re-releases of the EC Archives, now with all-new colouring! Every conversation I've seen is trying to give odds on whether the colouring will be terrible, or fucking terrible. My money is on fucking terrible, and I stand to make 4:1.


AUG062076 EXILES #87 2.99
AUG063891 FAMILY GUY BRIANS GUIDE TO BOOZE BROADS ART BEING 14.95
AUG063242 FORGOTTEN REALMS CRYSTAL SHARD SEELEY CVR A #2 (OF 4.95

AUG060290 FOUNTAIN SC (MR) 19.99
Finally back in print...


SEP063928 FRANK PUPSHAW AND PUSHPAW IN LUTE STRING (C: 0-1-4 5.69
Oh Jim Woodring, you so crazy. And talented. Crazy-talented. Yeah.


SEP063764 GIANT ROBOT #44 (C: 0-1-2) 4.99
MAY062811 GLOOMCOOKIE #28 (MR) 2.95
AUG061736 GODLAND #13 2.99
AUG063496 GRAPHIC HISTORY ISLAND OF TERROR 9.95
JUL063357 GRAPHIC HISTORY SURPRISE ATTACK 9.95
JUL063358 GRAPHIC HISTORY THE BLOODIEST DAY 9.95
JUL063359 GRAPHIC HISTORY THE EMPIRE FALLS 9.95
AUG061743 HAWAIIAN DICK VOL 2 LAST RESORT TP 14.99
AUG060206 HAWKGIRL #57 2.99
AUG063328 HEAVY METAL FALL 2006 (MR) 5.99
AUG062047 HEROES FOR HIRE #3 CW 2.99
AUG062121 HEROES REBORN FANTASTIC FOUR TP 29.99
AUG061734 IMPALER #1 (OF 4) (MR) 2.99
AUG060205 ION #7 (OF 12) 2.99

JUN063075 IRON WOK JAN GN #20 9.95
I like Iron Wok Jan so much and I am so behind on this series. I think I'm just going to read manga for my entire honeymoon. Read manga and write reviews. :)


AUG060293 JACK OF FABLES #4 (MR) 2.99
AUG063251 JAZZ VOL 3 GN 12.95
AUG060209 JSA CLASSIFIED #18 2.99
AUG060210 JUSTICE #8 (OF 12) 3.50
AUG063710 JUXTAPOZ NOV 2006 VOL 14 #11 (C: 0-1-2) 4.99
JUL060216 KIKAIDER CODE 02 VOL 5 (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99
JUL060192 LEGION OF SUPER HEROES VOL 3 SUPERGIRL 14.99
JUN061687 LIBERTY MEADOWS COVER GIRL HC 24.99
JUN060041 LITTLE LULU VOL 12 LEAVE IT TO LULU TP (C: 0-1-2) 9.95
AUG060295 LOVELESS #12 (MR) 2.99
AUG063256 MAN WHO DOESNT TAKE OFF HIS CLOTHES NOVEL 8.95

AUG061810 MARC SILVESTRI SKETCHBOOK 2.99
AUG062108 MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN VOL 1 HC 19.99
JUL063672 MARVEL COMICS ENCYCLOPEDIA HC (C: 0-1-2) 40.00
AUG062098 MARVEL MASTERWORKS ATLAS ERA TALES SUSPENSE VOL 1 49.99
AUG062099 MARVEL MASTERWORKS ATLAS TALES SUSPENSE VOL 1 HC V 54.99
AUG062060 MARVEL SPOTLIGHT HEROES REBORN ONSLAUGHT REBORN 2.99
AUG062056 MARVEL TALES FLIP MAGAZINE #17 4.99
AUG062932 MEATHAUS VOL 8 HEADGAMES TP (RES) 14.95
JUL061708 NEGATIVE BURN #5 5.99
JUL061986 NEW AVENGERS #24 CW 2.99
AUG062079 NEW EXCALIBUR #12 2.99

AUG062063 NEXTWAVE AGENTS OF HATE #9 2.99
Between Warren Ellis' e-mail exhortation that this book just wasn't making enough money for Stuart Immonen to continue on it as artist and the much-linked Dan Vado interview laying the smackdown re: Street Angel not making enough for Jim Rugg to pay his rent, the economic realities of comics publishing really got the front-page last week. This week's theme? Champagne Enemas. Comics is so crazy.


AUG063344 ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS VOL 3 GN (APR068174) 10.95
AUG063252 ONLY RING FINGER KNOWS VOL 3 NOVEL 8.95
AUG060017 PERHAPANAUTS SECOND CHANCES #1 (OF 4) 2.99

AUG060277 PLANETARY #26 2.99
Huh.


SEP060005 PREVIEWS ADULT VOL XVI #11 (NET) 0.95
SEP068007 PREVIEWS CATALOG PACK VOL XVI #11 RETAILER EDITION PI
SEP060001 PREVIEWS VOL XVI #11 (NET) 4.50
JUL068386 PTOLUS CITY BY THE SPIRE 2ND PTG VAR #1 (OF 12) 2.99

MAR063123 RED SONJA VOL 1 TP (C: 0-1-0) 19.99
March '06! Wow. It's not November '05 like "Common Foe #4" up top, but it's still pretty impressive. Particularly considering it's all reprint material, and Common Foe #4 is ostensibly 'new'. Congratulations Dynamite, that took some doing.


AUG063255 RIN VOL 1 GN 12.95

AUG062110 RUNAWAYS VOL 6 PARENTAL GUIDANCE DIGEST TP 7.99
Well now, this was a crazy little series arc, wasn't it?


JUL063565 SAIHOSHI THE GUARDIAN VOL 2 GN (MR) 12.95
SEP063347 SAMURAI ELF SET APART BOOK 1 GN 13.95
AUG063196 SAVAGE RED SONJA QOTFW #3 (OF 4) 3.50
AUG063198 SAVAGE RED SONJA QOTFW CHO NEGATIVE INCV CVR #3 (O 3.50
AUG063197 SAVAGE RED SONJA QOTFW CHO VIRGIN INCV CVR #3 (OF 3.50
MAY063036 SCOUT VOL 1 TP (C: 0-1-1) 19.99
AUG060222 SECRET SIX #5 (OF 6) 2.99
AUG062020 SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #31 2.99

AUG060221 SEVEN SOLDIERS #1 (RES) 3.99
Yay!


JUL060189 SHOWCASE PRESENTS PHANTOM STRANGER VOL 1 TP 16.99
AUG063126 SIMPSONS CLASSICS #10 3.99
AUG063646 SNAKEWOMAN #4 2.99
JUN063076 SNK VS CAPCOM VOL 5 SVC CHAOS TP 13.95
JUN061724 SPAWN #161 2.95
JUN061678 SPAWN GODSLAYER ONE SHOT 6.99

JUL061684 SPAWN MANGA COLLECTION TP 17.99
Why would you collect three manga into one book? Three manga that are still in print? That's just weird.


AUG062024 SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE #11 2.99
AUG062071 STAN LEE MEETS THING 3.99
JUL060033 STAR WARS KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #9 (C: 1-0-0 2.99
JUN060051 STAR WARS OMNIBUS X-WING ROGUE SQUADRON VOL 2 TP ( 24.95
JUN063078 STRAY LITTLE DEVIL VOL 2 GN 9.95
AUG060226 SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #23 2.99
AUG060227 SUPERGIRL THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES VAR ED #23 2.99
AUG060181 SUPERMAN BATMAN ANNUAL #1 3.99

AUG063379 SUPERMARKET TP (APR068182) 17.99
Fantastic mini-series. Supermarket is high up on my list for best mini-series of the year. Brian Wood's story and Kristian's art mesh beautifully, it's wonderfully designed, and we sold tons and tons of the individual issues.


It's a damned shame that IDW's ridiculous pricing schemes mean that not only is this an $18 trade paperback for 88 pages of story, but that it's also actually two dollars more than buying the individual issues. I'm sure that Brian Wood (who is probably reading this--Hi Brian!) has little-to-no control over that kind of thing, and is probably pretty annoyed that I'm bringing it up, but $18 for a 104 page trade is nearly twice the industry standard for pricing. Is this the cost of original work? I really want this book and I'm gonna buy it, but I've got a real problem buying anything from IDW for exactly this reason and this type of pricing really doesn't build a lot of 'consumer confidence' in me.

In short, on this one, I am loving the player but hating the game.

JUL060217 SWAN VOL 8 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99
MAY062980 TAG #2 (OF 3) 3.99
AUG060236 TEEN TITANS GO #36 2.25

JUL063506 TEZUKAS ODE TO KIRIHITO SC (C: 0-1-3) 24.95
On the flip side, this is 800 pages for 25 bucks. Granted, Tezuka's been dead for a number of years, and I doubt he'd need the money anyway. I don't have much to say about this because the idea that anyone wouldn't buy this actually makes my head hurt a little.


Which is to say: buy this.

AUG063356 TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED MOVIE ADAPTATION #1 (OF 4) 3.99
AUG060231 TRIALS OF SHAZAM #3 (OF 12) 2.99
AUG062970 TWIN SIGNAL VOL 1 GN 9.99
AUG062016 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #101 2.99
AUG060232 UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS #4 (OF 8) 2.99
AUG063313 UNCLE SCROOGE #359 6.95

AUG062933 VAGABONDS #2 3.95
I like Josh Neufeld's comics quite a bit. I'm following him on ACT-I-VATE and have bought more-or-less everything he's had published. He seems like a perpetually below-the-radar kind of cartoonist though, and I wonder why? He's certainly solid--he reminds me of Matt Madden in a lot of ways--but he doesn't really have a lot of buzz. I think it might be because he's never tackled a longer work, all of his stuff tends to be short stories (and generally non-fiction too). I doubt that this issue, a collection of short travel-themed comics is going to change anyone's minds or win Neufeld any new readers, but if you do happen to be approaching the comics rack with an extra four bucks in hand, it'd be well-spent on this Vagabonds. Check out more of Neufeld's work at http://www.joshneufeld.com/.



AUG062964 VAMPIRELLA 2006 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL #1 2.95
AUG063032 VERONICA #175 2.25
JUN063585 VIDEO WATCHDOG #127 (C: 0-1-2) 7.95
JUL060219 VS (VERSUS) VOL 3 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99
AUG063314 WALT DISNEYS COMICS & STORIES #674 6.95
AUG060233 WARLORD #9 2.99
AUG060262 WETWORKS #2 2.99
AUG060263 WETWORKS VAR ED #2 2.99
JUL063564 WINTER DEMON VOL 1 GN (MR) 12.95
SEP062954 WIZARD COMICS MAG IRON MAN SPIDER-MAN CIVIL WAR CV 5.99
SEP062953 WIZARD COMICS MAGAZINE HOLLYWOOD TOUGHEST CHICKS C 5.99
JUL063056 XENA #3 3.50
AUG062084 X-MEN #192 2.99

AUG062105 YOUNG AVENGERS VOL 2 FAMILY MATTERS PREMIERE HC 22.99
If anyone from Marvel is reading (and after "Mark Millar's Champagne Enemas" how could they NOT be...?), we'd do really, really well with Young Avengers trade paperbacks in the digest-format, selling to all of our Runaways customers (and particularly library clients). Just saying.


AUG062089 ZOMBIE #2 (OF 4) (MR) 3.99

--

- Chris

Posted Monday, October 23, 2006 at 10/23/2006 05:35:00 PM
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kudos to Kagan!
Infinite Kung-Fu cartoonist on the front-page!
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/photogalleries/102006fashionweek.html

Congrats to Infinite Kung-Fu creator Kagan McLeod, as today's National Post (one of two Canadian national papers) saw fit to run his name and recent series of illustrations celebrating Toronto Fashion Week on the front page of the paper! McLeod was invited to accompany the always-fashionable Nathalie Atkinson out to the many catwalks of Fashion Week and cover the event through illustration. Better still, all of the illos in the paper are also available in a slideshow online.

Having seen Kagan work first-hand I know what amazing skill he's got for capturing likenesses, movement, and gesture, all important things when sketching your way through a live event. I know I'd personally like to see more of this reportage (I remember Maurice Vellekoop doing a comics-format Paris Fashion Week article (I think) a few years ago that was never collected; let me just say his depiction of Prince is adorable....!) and hopefully it pays off with the post through Pageviews on the current article.

Speaking of Kagan, when last I spoke with him he was readying Infinite Kung-Fu for production as a completed graphic novel, due out next spring with any luck. In the meantime, Kagan is doing illustration for the post, as well as for a little book called Archetypes (it makes fun of various professions... "Graphic Novelist" included) due out this fall.

But enough about that, go check out the slideshow.

- Chris

Posted Sunday, October 22, 2006 at 10/22/2006 12:48:00 AM
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Indulge Me

So between getting ready for the wedding, and a busy week at work, and getting a cold, I forgot some things and some people. I am sorry for this and will now try to make ammends.

Hope Larson: Congratulations on winning the Ignatz award for Promising New Talent this year! That's totally awesome and well-deserved. When you're up for it, I'd really like you to hook us up with some House of Sugar. Feel free to send'em with Mal if you want. We'll send him home with money.

Ed Mathews: Hey, Happy Birthday Ed! You're not getting older, you're getting more distinguished. Er, sorry again for that whole thing. You're doing a great job though.

Ryan North: Happy Birthday, Ryan! I hope I'm able to hook up with you tonight, so that we can make BAD DECISIONS together.

Chip Zdarsky: I fucking love you.

I think that's everyone? If you're waiting for something from me or I forgot your something, I'm sorry, I'm a total space cadet right now.

Love,

- Christopher

Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 at 10/20/2006 08:44:00 PM
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Monday, October 16, 2006

The 2007 Toronto Comic Arts Festival, August 18-19 2007
My hair is going grey really quickly, by the way.
http://www.torontocomics.com/tcaf



- Chris

Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 at 10/16/2006 06:49:00 PM
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IF YOU SELL LOTS OF INDY TITLES, YOU SHOULD BE SELLING TOKYOPOP!
I can't tell if this is genius or insanity.
http://www.tokyopop.com

Disclaimer: As a comic book retailer with an account set up through Diamond Comics Distributors, I receive promotional and advertising material that encourages me to buy more product. As several of my customers read this blog, I'd like to take a couple of seconds to share this with you.

So I got the weirdest thing in my e-mail on Friday, an advertisement from Tokyopop (sent through Diamond) encouraging me to order more of their titles. But not just any titles, their OEL titles... particularly ones with a more 'alternative' bent. This isn't weird in and of itself, but the language and reasoning behind the advertisement was unique... see for yourself:
***** IF YOU SELL LOTS OF INDY TITLES, YOU SHOULD BE SELLING TOKYOPOP!

If your store caters to a large number of independent comic readers - or you'd like it to - TOKYOPOP offers you many ways to expand your sales to those customers!

You already know how TOKYOPOP titles build big sales among your store's manga-lovers. But did you know that many TOKYOPOP titles are ideal for marketing to customers who love indy comics, too? Numerous TOKYOPOP titles offer exactly what those readers are seeking: fresh creative voices, dynamic art styles, and a broad diversity of subjects and genres!

Below are several examples of TOKYOPOP books that can broaden your indy comic customers' horizons, and increase your sales!
Followed by a list of 12 OEL titles that Tokyopop and Diamond think would be of interest to me, short descriptions of the books, and "if you like book X from another company you'll love this!" recommendations. Before commenting on any of this, I really want you to read the titles and recommendations in question (It's worth noting that only one of these books, ECR, had its creator credits listed in the original e-mail):
***** THE ABANDONED
IDEAL FOR: Anyone who enjoys TOO MUCH HOPELESS SAVAGES or SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

***** AFTERLIFE
IDEAL FOR: Consumers looking for a thought-provoking, moody exploration of the possibilities of life after death.

***** DOGBY WALKS ALONE
IDEAL FOR: Fans of FAMILY GUY, LUPIN III, SGT .FROG, SCOOBY-DOO, THE SIMPSONS and SOUTH PARK.

***** EARTHLIGHT
IDEAL FOR: Readers who like comics that confront real-world issues amidst political intrigue.

***** EAST COAST RISING
IDEAL FOR: Fans of the widely acclaimed DEMO (which Cloonan co-created), as well as rousing adventures LIKE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, MAD MAX and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS.

***** MY CAT LOKI
IDEAL FOR: Readers of PEACH FUZZ and GURU GURU PON-CHAN.

***** OFF*BEAT
IDEAL FOR: Anyone who likes their shonen-ai with a twist of ALLY MCBEAL.

***** PEACH FUZZ
IDEAL FOR: Anyone who delights in the misadventures of characters like STUART LITTLE, HAMTARO, and MEW MEW.

***** RE:PLAY
IDEAL FOR: Fans of Lijewski's acclaimed series NEXT EXIT, as well as such eternally popular supernatural blockbusters as INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and THE LOST BOYS.

***** SNOW
IDEAL FOR: Readers of star-spanning, hard-hitting action like FEAR AGENT.

***** SORCERERS & SECRETARIES
IDEAL FOR: Fans of such manga as MARS and KANE KANO, and fantasy films like LABYRINTH, THE NEVERENDING STORY and THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

***** STEADY BEAT
IDEAL FOR: Readers of the popular manga PEACH GIRL, SUKI and MARS.
Okay, everyone read all that? Good.

Where to begin? I think the smartest and safest thing to do would be, at the outset, to say that I think it is admirable of the publisher to be putting this effort into promoting these titles, particularly in the face of recent aborted moves to pull 'alternative' manga and OEL series away from comics retailers altogether. I think that many of these titles really are quite good; well-crafted tales that will appeal to comics readers who like "New Mainstream" material. I think that titles like ABANDONED, EAST COAST RISING, and SORCERERS AND SECRETARIES should be on the shelves of most comic stores anyway; there's a huge crossover potential for these comics and they're all solid reads.

That said, does anyone else find this really, deeply weird?

The most glaring, obvious deficiency in the piece is the lack of creator credits, in my humble opinion, as it is the creators of "Indy" books that give those books their "fresh creative voices, dynamic art styles, and a broad diversity of subjects and genres!" I feel that it misses the point of marketing indy books entirely to divorce the creator from the creation in this way, and I kind of find it offensive too. I think that's a larger problem with Tokyopop's corporate philosophy on the OEL titles, and that ties back into larger problems I have with their contracts and creator-treatment. Still, as a creator I'd be annoyed.

But the whole idea of looking for an audience for your (mainstream-oriented, bookstore-market, genre-driven) graphic novels by narrowcasting down to readers of "Too Much Hopeless Savages" seems bizarre. I get it, you want THE ABANDONED to do well and so you picked one of Ross Campbell's other works... but TMHS is essentially work-for-hire, whereas Campbell's other project, WET MOON, seems a lot closer to the mark. Or hey, why not recommend it to fans of a top-selling, character-driven zombie comic? I think Image publishes one.

And who still cares about "Ally McBeal"?

It was more-or-less revealed during the big Tokyopop kerfuffle of a few weeks back that some of the OEL titles aren't performing as strongly as they could, and that TP was going to undertake steps to improve sales there. I know that, true to my word, we've been giving titles like East Coast Rising, The Abandoned, Sorcerers and Secretaries, Dramacon, Fool's Gold, and others more face-time and hand-selling at the store, and our sales have improved for it on these titles. But I would kind of assume that a smart indy retailer already knows that they should stock East Coast Rising next to Demo next to American Virgin. I might be wrong? Maybe retailers aren't thinking to cross-promote The Abandoned with any one of the 15 zombie comics being released every month, but I find that hard to believe.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a number of these titles have more in common with the books that Oni Press, or Image Comics publish (and I'm sure both of those companies are really excited by the prospect of competing with Tokyopop for shelf-space and dollars in comic stores) than the Japanese- and Korean-originated titles they publish, but several of them really aren't very "indy" at all. Some of these books are exactly what the average person thinks of when they think of manga; relationship-oriented drama and teen-boy adventure stories. Nothing wrong with that, but I think it muddies the waters of your promotion somewhat...

Like I said though, maybe I'm wrong and this is just business as usual and the e-mail struck me the way it did because of something I had for lunch that day. But I'd be curious for everyone else's take on this.

- Christopher

at 10/16/2006 02:05:00 AM
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

IDEAS OF THE PAST: PREVIEWS BITCHFEST
Content you will never see at this site!

When I was trying to think up ways (easy ways...) to shove more content into this blog a year-or-two-ago, I thought about Scott Robins' and my Monthly Previews Bitchfest. You see we (and whoever else was around) would grab the new Previews catalogue on the day of release, head to a bar, and drink and bitch about comics. Sure, there would be some positives as well ("Ooo, that looks good!" etc.) but for the most part, we'd basically just tear solicitations and books to pieces, getting funnier as we drank more.

What a great idea for a podcast!

Er, no. Actually, both Scott and I have lots of professional and personal ties to the comics industry, be it publishers, creators, what-have-you. Sure, over beers, we'll happily talk the most entertaining smack about comics you've ever heard, but turning that into something "on the record"? In addition to it opening up massive claims of favourtism ("You only hate my book X because you're friends with Y!") there's also the issue of not getting invited to the good parties at Comic Cons. Oh, and the overall hatred we'd engender. You should see how pissy certain creators are when they get a bad review... imagine if we just tore their shit to shreads without any auspices of professionalism! (Quiet in the peanut-gallery.)

In the end, it was decided that the drunken Previews-bashing podcast was probably a not-good idea (actually, Scott decided and I finally came around to his point of view...). If you're ever in Toronto on the last Wednesday of the month when the new Previews comes out, though, drop me a line and we'll see about including you in a "live show"... ;)

- Christopher

Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 10/15/2006 02:06:00 PM
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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Shipping October 18th, 2006
List courtesy of The Beguiling
http://www.beguiling.com

Maybe I'm just getting old but I'm simultaniously anticipating and dreading Wednesday, as a metric fuckload of books are going to drop this week and I'm pretty excited about many of them. Two Grant Morrison books? Sounds great! Garth Ennis and John Woo? Sign me up! Casanova, MONSTER, Agnes Quill, and You Ain't No Dancer 2? That's quite the stack of books going home with me. Another 160 books on top of that? Maybe I'll call in sick.

AUG060283 100 BULLETS #77 (MR) 2.99
AUG060188 52 WEEK #24 2.50
JUL063278 ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN TP (MR) (C: 0-0-2) 16.95
JUL062777 ADRENALINE #1 (OF 8) 2.99

AUG062936 AGNES QUILL AN ANTHOLOGY OF MYSTERY GN 10.95

Agnes Quill is the brainchild of Dave Roman, cartoonist and editor at Nickolodeon Magazine. While I'd like to say that Agnes Quill is the newest young lady the in a long tradition of teen-girl detectives, Roman really wasn't familiar with the tradition at all according to this interview at The Pulse. What Agnes Quill is, then, is a teen detective in the fictional Victorianesque city of Legerdemain; the kind of place ripe for adventure and some creepy visuals that fit right into publisher Slave Labor's ouevre. Featuring four full-colour stories by Roman and artistic collaborators Raina Telgemeier, Jen Wang, Jason Ho, and Jeff Zornow, I'm really looking forward to this one. If you're inclined towards the spooky anyhow or are a fan of books like Courtney Crumrin then I have a feeling that you'll really enjoy Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery.

AUG063690 ALTER EGO #62 (C: 0-1-2) 6.95

AUG062022 AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #1 2.99
AUG062023 AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL MCGUINESS VAR #1 2.99
JUL063210 ANGEL DIARY VOL 4 (DEC058247) 10.95
JUL068379 ANITA BLAKE VH GUILTY PLEASURES #1 (OF 12) 2.99
AUG063014 ARCHIE #570 2.25

AUG060252 AUTHORITY #1 (MR) 2.99

AUG060253 AUTHORITY VAR EDITION A #1 (MR) PI
AUG060254 AUTHORITY VAR EDITION B #1 (MR) PI
What kind of a world do we live in when Gene Ha is keeping a tighter schedule than Jim Lee? Well if it's the kind of world where I get two brand-new concept-heavy superhero comics from Grant Morrison on the same day, then I'm not going to complain too much. Adding Gene Ha's slickly-realistic digitally-painted art to a Grant Morrison script about a team of Super-bastards seems like a match made in heaven, and the ongoing Morrison/Millar scuffles will very hopefully add some wonderful subtext to Morrison's take on a book that Warren Ellis invented and Mark Millar took credit for.

JUL063412 AVATAR VOL 3 CRACKS OF MY CAVERN GN (C: 0-1-2) 12.95

AUG060170 BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #3 (OF 6) 3.50
JUL060141 BATMAN GOTHAM COUNTY LINE TP 17.99
JUL062857 BEOWULF #2 (OF 3) 2.99
AUG060195 BIRDS OF PREY #99 2.99
JUL060159 BIRDS OF PREY THE BATTLE WITHIN TP 17.99

AUG063114 BLACK DOGS GRAPHIC SHAKESPEARE KING LEAR GN (C: 0- 12.95

AUG063115 BLACK DOGS GRAPHIC SHAKESPEARE MACBETH GN (C: 0-1- 12.95
I don't know if all adaptations of Shakespeare suck, or I've only seen sucky adaptatons, but please let these not suck as bad almost everything else that's come out in this genre over the last little while.

AUG062032 BLADE #2 2.99

JUL063571 BUZ SAWYER VOL 2 SULTRYS 1945 TO 1946 (C: 0-1-2) 25.00
AUG062075 CABLE DEADPOOL #33 2.99

AUG061764 CASANOVA #5 (MR) 1.99

I've sort of fallen down on my reviewing, and nowhere does that bother me more than in not getting a chance to sit down and really strongly recommend Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's CASANOVA from Image Comics. Every issue is just wonderful, a complete 180 from everything else on the racks by virtue of it being good and cheap and pulpy and dense. Everyone going on about how much they're enjoying the "done-in-one" Batman stories by Paul Dini in Detective Comics right now oughtta pick up Casanova to see what Fraction can do with less pages and without the weight of an established franchise behind him. It gives "done-in-one" a whole new meaning...!

AUG060172 CATWOMAN #60 2.99

AUG062937 CEMETERIANS #3 2.95
JUL063429 CHARLEYS WAR VOL 3 OCT 1916 FEB 1917 HC #3 (C: 0-1 19.95

AUG060197 CHECKMATE #7 2.99

I really like Greg Rucka, but this is barely a shadow of his work on Queen & Country, which this is clearly designed to emulate. It's still readable of course, but it suffers from one of the same problems as his and Brubaker's Gotham Central: these are all trademark characters and as such the level of actual risk is practically negligible. In Q&C pretty-much everyone except for Tara has the threat of imminent demise floating over their heads. In this, Queen Bitch Amanda Waller will happily live forever because there's going to be another comic next month. A real waste of Rucka's talents and focus.

AUG062038 CIVIL WAR X-MEN #4 (OF 4) 2.99

AUG063143 CIVIL WARDROBE 3.50
AUG060268 CLAW THE UNCONQUERED #5 2.99

AUG062031 CLAWS #3 (OF 3) 3.99

I can't get over how bad this is. I can't tell if it's a joke or not, that Lisner has transposed Wolverine and Black Cat onto the ultimate shitty 80s action movie. Did you ever read the PREACHER: Good Old Boys one-shot? That's what this is like, except played straight. Awful.

AUG063706 COMICS BUYERS GUIDE JAN 2007 #1624 5.99

AUG060013 CONAN #33 (MR) 2.99
AUG060198 CREEPER #3 (OF 6) 2.99
AUG062913 CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL MANGA VOL 8 TP 10.95
AUG063487 DAMNED #1 (MR) 3.50
JUL063654 DAVE MCKEAN POSTCARD FROM VIENNA HC (C: 0-1-2) 15.00
AUG060287 DEADMAN #3 (MR) 2.99

AUG060274 DESOLATION JONES #7 (MR) 2.99

Shit, missed this one in my little recap up top. I loved Desolation Jones, and with the trade released last week that should more-or-less bring everyone up to date with the series just in time for this new issue. I have to admit that, much like everyone else, I was convinced that this series was over as soon as J.H. Williams announced his departure. Danijel Zezelj is a pretty outstanding replacement, bringing something entirely different to the table artistically and forcing Ellis to stretch his style to accomodate him; should be great!

APR063333 DEVILS PANTIES #5 4.95

AUG063310 DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #345 2.95
JUL063304 DONE TO DEATH #3 (MR) 3.50
AUG063889 DOONESBURY HECKUVA JOB TP (C: 0-1-2) 19.95

JUL063554 DRIFTING CLASSROOM VOL 2 TP (MR) 9.99

I was just about to type "Drifting Classrom Volume 1 looked really good, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet," and I'm tired of typing and saying variations on that sentence. So I went and read it. It's really, really great; exactly what I wanted from the book. It's sort of like every character is screaming "HOLY SHIT I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT IS HAPPENING" for 150 pages, which is excellent. Super-early survival horror manga by a master of horror manga. Better still, it's a lot of fun to compare the 1970s suspense-horror of Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu (essentially: Japan's Stephen King) to Dragon Head, a more contemporary take on the sub-genre. Drifting Classroom leaves less to the imagination about the fate of the characters and what they face, but it also has the reactions of the characters ratchetted way above Dragon Head to achieve similar effects... You really oughtta be buying and reading both, I think.

JUL063023 DUCOBOO KING OF THE DUNCES TP (C: 0-1-2) 9.99

AUG061766 ELEPHANTMEN #4 2.99
JUL063100 E-MAN RECHARGED 3.99
AUG062123 ESSENTIAL MARVEL HORROR VOL 1 TP 16.99
AUG062117 EXILES VOL 13 WORLD TOUR BOOK 2 TP 23.99
AUG060291 EXTERMINATORS #10 (MR) 2.99

JUL060245 FABLES 1001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL HC (MR) 19.99

So many books to buy, and I'm only at F... So I hated the first volume of Fables, did I mention that? I hated the first one and found the second one boring (for the most part). Sure, James Jean's covers are just absolutely gorgeous and all, but... the whole book just felt a bit crap. I'd still read the occasional issue (because that's my job) and the execution seemed really lacklustre a lot of the time. Just not my book, I guess. Then something funny happened, I accidentally orderd an extra 50 copies of Fables #50. Well, that's not funny so much as "fuck, I hope my boss doesn't notice that I fucked that up". Not funny 'ha-ha'. Anyway, I felt like the least I could do is buy one, and the 50th issue is actually really good. Not only that, but for the first time it made me want to read the next one as well! This new interest in the series really couldn't have come at a worse time, as this Wednesday an original hardcover graphic novel is released based on the series, featuring a pretty outstanding array of artists. I figured I was inoculated from 1001 Nights of Snowfall's charms by my disdain for the series but since issue #50... I'm not sure. With series creator Bill Willingham promising this book will be as interesting to established Fables fans as it will be to newcomers, I have to admit my resolve is weakening a little and it looks like the stack of books I'm taking home Wednesday might just increase by one.

MAY063569 FANTASY ART OF OLIVER FREY TP (C: 0-1-2) 29.95

AUG060200 FLASH THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #5 2.99
JUL063074 GHOST HUNT VOL 5 GN 10.95
AUG062046 GHOST RIDER #4 2.99
AUG063237 GI JOE DECLASSIFIED MANAPUL CVR A #3 (OF 3) 4.95
AUG061768 GIRLS #18 (MR) 2.99
JUL062859 GOLD DIGGER ANNUAL 2006 4.50
AUG062977 GOLD DIGGER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2006 2.99
JUL062862 GOLD DIGGER SUPER POSTER MANIA #1 4.99

JUL063555 GOLGO 13 VOL 5 GN (MR) 9.99

I'm still really behind on my Golgo 13 though...

JUL063793 GOTH LOLI VOL 7 (C: 1-1-3) 18.99

AUG063775 GRAFFITI WOMEN STREET ART FROM FIVE CONTINENTS (C: 29.95
JUL063541 HANA KIMI VOL 14 GN 9.99
AUG063322 HARD BOILED COMICS #1 (MR) 2.95
AUG060288 HELLBLAZER #225 (MR) 2.99
AUG063321 HELLCITY VOL 1 GN (MR) 13.95
AUG060016 HELLGATE LONDON #0 (OF 4) 2.99
AUG062087 HELLSTORM SON OF SATAN #1 (OF 5) (MR) 3.99
JUL068355 HELLSTORM SON OF SATAN 1 FOR 10 TEXEIRA VAR #1 (OF 3.99
AUG063180 HIGHLANDER #1 2.99
AUG063183 HIGHLANDER DELL OTTO RRP CVR INCV #1 2.99
AUG063181 HIGHLANDER HARRIS SKETCH CVR INCV #1 2.99
AUG063019 HOLIDAY FUN DIGEST #11 2.49
JUL063526 INU YASHA ANI MANGA VOL 17 GN 11.99
JUL063527 INU YASHA VOL 27 TP 8.95
AUG062091 JACK KIRBYS GALACTIC BOUNTY HUNTERS #3 2.99
AUG068144 JOHN WOOS SEVEN BROTHERS CVR COMBINE #1 (C: 0-1-2) 2.99
AUG063023 JUGHEAD #177 2.25
JUL063075 KAGETORA VOL 3 GN 10.95
AUG063149 KAMUI GN #5 9.99
AUG060237 KRYPTO THE SUPER DOG #2 (OF 6) 2.25
JUL063076 KUROGANE VOL 2 GN 10.95
JUN061714 LAST CHRISTMAS #4 (OF 5) (MR) 2.99

AUG063193 LONE RANGER #2 2.99
AUG063194 LONE RANGER ALT CVR INCV #2 2.99 AUG063195 LONE RANGER VIRGIN ALT CVR INCV #2 2.99 I was prepared to ignore this book, much as I do the rest of Dyanmite Entertainment's output, but Alan Doane wrote a glowing review of it and so I felt I would check to see how crazy he was. It turns out; much less crazy than you'd expect! Lone Ranger #1 was actually a pretty-good read. Structured and illustrated exactly like, say, an Ultimate Marvel book (comics as 6-issue origin story suitable for filming) I was pretty impressed. Enough that I'm going to read the second issue this week, and recommend it to all of you looking for a good western comic.

JUL063024 LUCKY LUKE GHOST TOWN TP (C: 0-1-2) 9.99

DEC050017 MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER VOL 3 4000 AD HC (RES) (C: 0- 49.95
AUG062050 MARVEL 1602 FANTASTICK FOUR #2 (OF 5) 3.50
AUG062051 MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS #6 2.99
AUG062109 MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS VOL 1 HEROES ASSEMBLED 6.99
AUG063312 MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS #294 2.95
AUG063388 MIXTIONARY HC 9.99
AUG063628 MODERN MASTERS VOL 6 ART ADAMS SC NEW PTG (C: 0-1- 14.95
JUL063729 MONSTERS CELEBRATION OF CLASSICS FROM UNIVERSAL ST 29.95
AUG062064 MS MARVEL #8 CW 2.99

JUL063556 NAOKI URASAWAS MONSTER VOL 5 TP 9.99

We got this early. A customer bought it Thursday, and then came back Friday just to tell me how it's the best one so far. I haven't read volume four yet. Jerk.

JUL063786 NEON GENESIS EVANGELION IRON MAIDEN SPECIAL EDITION 39.99

There was a role-playing game for the computer, a side-story to the main Evangelion storyline that involved a new 'child' (pilot) and this is the art book of that. Now You Know!

JUL060184 NEW TEEN TITANS ARCHIVES VOL 3 HC 49.99

AUG062947 NEXT EXIT #10 2.95
AUG062987 NINJA HIGH SCHOOL #143 2.99
JUL061709 NOBLE CAUSES #24 3.50

JUN060013 OHIKKOSHI TP (C: 1-1-2) 12.95

Now this is very cool (and even resembling 'on time', a rare feat from Dark Horse lately...!). OHIKKOSHI is a collection of stand-alone short stories by Blade of the Immortal creator Hiroaki Samura. Except not about samurai! You might figure that after 18+ volumes of period sword-fighting action that you might get a little restless and draw something else for a little while. Apparently? Yes! This is a collection of short stories set in the present day, involving folks who don't have to kill a thousand evil men in order to die, but are seemingly no less interesting. Check out the preview at the Dark Horse website to see Samura's style transplanted to what the DH people call a "Japanese Art School Confidential".

AUG060218 OMEGA MEN #1 (OF 6) 2.99

JUL063077 PASTEL VOL 4 GN (MR) 10.95
JUL063551 POKEMON LETS FIND POKEMON SPECIAL COMPLETE ED 14.99
JUL063454 PRINCESS AI BOXED SET 24.99
JUL063006 PRIVATE STASH (MR) 24.95
JUL063078 Q-KO-CHAN VOL 2 EARTH INVADER GIRL GN 10.95
MAY063339 QUEEN & COUNTRY #31 (MR) 2.99
AUG063644 RAMAYAN 3392 AD #2 2.99
JUL060214 RECIPE FOR GERTRUDE VOL 2 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99
JUL063050 RED SONJA #15 2.99
JUL063051 RED SONJA MCNIVEN B&W CVR INCV #15 2.99
AUG060035 REX MUNDI DH ED #2 2.99
AUG060176 ROBIN #155 2.99
AUG063714 ROUGH STUFF #2 (C: 0-1-2) 6.95
AUG062067 RUNAWAYS #21 2.99
JUL063534 RUROUNI KENSHIN NOVEL (C: 0-1-2) 9.99

AUG060282 SANDMAN #1 SPECIAL EDITION (MR) 0.50

Wait, why is this 50 cents for a reprint when the Fables #1 reprint that shipped last week was only 25 cents? I HATE IT WHEN DC RAISES THEIR PRICES I AM NEVER BUYING ONE OF THEIR BOOKS AGAIN.

JUL061713 SAVAGE DRAGON #129 2.99

AUG060241 SCOOBY DOO #113 2.25
AUG062104 SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN FERAL PREMIERE HC 19.99
AUG062916 SEVEN SONS GN 12.95
AUG060223 SHADOWPACT #6 2.99
JUN060214 SHOWCASE CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN VOL 1 TP 16.95
AUG063127 SIMPSONS COMICS #123 2.99
JUL068664 SKYE RUNNER #5 2.99
AUG063030 SONIC X #13 2.25
JUN060047 STAR WARS EMPIRE VOL 6 FOOTSTEPS OF THEIR FATHERS 17.95
JUN063257 STARSHIP TROOPERS DEAD MANS HAND EDWARDS CVR A #2 3.50
JUN063258 STARSHIP TROOPERS DEAD MANS HAND STEGMAN COVER B # 3.50
JUL063292 STARSHIP TROOPERS DIRECTORS CUT #1 (JAN068274) 3.50
AUG063554 STUDENTS OF THE UNUSUAL EXTRA CREDIT SPECIAL #1 2.95
JUL060150 SUPERMAN RETURNS THE PREQUEL TP 12.99
JUL061677 TABULA RASA #1 4.99
AUG063124 TAILS VOL 1 LIFE IN PROGRESS TP (MR) 12.95
AUG063448 TALES OF TMNT COLL BOOKS VOL 1 DONATELLO TP 12.00
JUL060218 TENJHO TENGE VOL 10 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99
AUG060296 TESTAMENT #11 (MR) 2.99

JUN063167 THIEVES & KINGS PRESENTS WALKING MAGE GN VOL 1 9.95

Huh, full-colour humourous Quentin stories? I'm in!

AUG063359 TRANSFORMERS SPOTLIGHT NIGHTBEAT 3.99
AUG063362 TRANSFORMERS STORMBRINGER #4 (OF 4) 2.99
AUG062014 ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #35 2.99
AUG062112 ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR VOL 6 FRIGHTFUL TP 14.99
AUG062073 UNION JACK #2 (OF 4) 2.99
JUL063557 VAGABOND VOL 23 TP (MR) 9.95
JUL063079 WALLFLOWER VOL 9 GN (MR) 10.95

AUG063486 WASTELAND #4 (MR) 2.99

I've definitely been enjoying this (I actually got to read a copy of the first issue, finally) and it looks like this series is going to be a winner, long-term. While I liked the relative intimacy of the first issue quite a bit, the mythology that Johnston is building works as well (though I feel like Christopher Mitten's art doesn't always make it as clear as it needs to be, particularly in a relatively alien landscape and time). In short, it feels like the excellent sci-fi series Finder by Carla Speed McNeil finally has some company on the shelves.

AUG063131 WHAT WERE THEY THINKING MONSTER MASH UP ONE SHOT 3.99

AUG061740 WICKED WEST VOL 2 ABOMINATION & OTHER TALES GN 15.99

JUL060220 WILDCATS #1 2.99
JUL060221 WILDCATS VAR EDITION A #1 2.99 JUL060222 WILDCATS VAR EDITION B #1 2.99 I've always really liked Wildcats. I'm sorry.

AUG062081 WOLVERINE #47 CW 2.99

AUG062103 WOLVERINE ORIGINS VOL 1 BORN IN BLOOD PREMIERE HC 19.99
JUL063260 WORMWOOD GENTLEMAN CORPSE #3 3.99
AUG062083 X-FACTOR #12 2.99
AUG062086 X-MEN FIRST CLASS #2 (OF 8) 2.99

AUG063478 YOU AINT NO DANCER VOL 2 GN (MR) 8.95

I really love the title of this series of short, autobiographical tales about the worst times in your life. I also rather enjoyed the first volume which, despite a few production growing pains, was a solid collection of short stories by quite a few excellent young cartoonists. I'll likely pick this one up as well.

AUG061741 ZOMBEE GN (MR) 12.99

AUG063383 ZOMBIES #5 3.99

That's it for this week, probably!

- Chris

Posted Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 10/14/2006 03:35:00 PM
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Thursday, October 12, 2006

If SPX happens and I'm not there, does it make a sound?
Skipping my first SPX in 4 years.
http://www.spxpo.com

SPX begins tomorrow afternoon in sunny Bethesda, MD. I assume it's going to be sunny, anyhow; I haven't checked. It's been tradtionnally sunny though, for what it's worth.

We will never see this stock-shot again. :(I, like a few cartoonists who shall remain nameless, am skipping this SPX. That's right, not just 'missing out' but actively avoiding it. The big reason that I've heard from others is that this is the first new location SPX. Moving from the hallowed Holiday Inn down the road to The Marriot Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Centre. I'm pretty sure that, barring terrorist incident, the show was a fixture at the (increasingly hostile) Holiday Inn since its inception. Much like the aborted plan to merge SPX with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the current move is being met with a fear and suspiscion (there isn't even going to be a softball game this year!).

My reason for avoiding this year's SPX is quite a bit more simple: I'm getting married in two weeks and was threatened with physical harm if I fucked off in the middle of planning a wedding to go to a comic convention. My fear is real, folks.

My first SPX (or The Expo as it tried to be known for a little while there) was maybe 5 or 6 years back. I came out of a once-thriving Toronto mini-comics scene. It's hard to define a scene I guess, but essentially people like Tara Jenkins nee Talan and Franz De Leon (Salmagundi), Chris Brown and Jeff Wasson (Dressed for Success), and Stephen Geigen-Miller and Greg Beettam (Xeno's Arrow) created really well-produced, above-average mini-comics (or digest-sized comics as The Americans would complain) that, after I discovered them, provided a pretty amazing template to follow for an aspiring comics creator. I put together four issues of my comic over a few years, and took it to shows in and around Toronto and Detroit, where I got to meet even more amazing mini-comics creators. Folks like Sean Bieri (Jape) and Matt Feazel (NormalMan) and every show I'd come home with a box of minicomics. It was a great thing to be a part of (even at the tail end), and really instilled in me a love of home-made comics and creator-owned work.

My first SPX therefore, was heaven.

Sure, I'd stopped making comics and 'zines and had started writing about them online. Sure, I'd been to APE back when it was down the street from the Slave Labor offices in San Jose (I met my first crackhead!). But SPX was... awesome. Nothing but zines and artcomics as far as the eye could see. Screen-printed covers, fancy paper stocks, and creators from across North America. I came back with two boxes of stuff from my first SPX, and that's after sleeping through half of it!


SPX 2002, featuring me and Bob Schreck. Picture by Ed Mathews.

My second SPX two years later was even better, getting to meet friends from around the world and drink my weight in booze on someone else's credit card. Profoundly inspiring and important. The trip to SPX in 2002 changed my life: It's where I demanded a job at The Beguiling (and got it), and where I pitched the idea that would become TCAF (which we would hold 5 months later in March 2003). It's where we had the second Big Gay Dinner, even. I've been going back every year since then, and posting drunken con reports the whole time.

SPX 2004, featuring Jason, Kean Soo, Scott Robins, (front) Bryan Lee O'Malley, and myself. (Not shown: Hope Larson and Vera Brosgol)
Art by Kean Soo.

The car rides down have been a big part of the fun as well, as 8-10 hours trapped in a car with people really cements friendships and puts the trips into perspective. It certainly did for those Toronto cartoonists I mentioned, who stayed friends right up until the bitter, blood-soaked end.

Last year was probably the craziest, we put eight people into a mini-van barely designed for seven with no luggage, and stopped to pick up what looked like a 14 year old hitchhiker at a gas station. In reality, it was actually the dude who does Perry Bible Fellowship and he won an award and stuff at the Ignatz's, which is great, but... definitely an odd year. No con report either, just pictures of Eric Kim sleeping.

I have to say that the drive to Halifax recently, all 17 hours of it, was dead-easy. Driving long distances for comics events has made me tough; I don't even feel the Red Bull until the fourth can now. I wonder if I could do Toronto to San Francisco without stopping? APE is coming soon.

At any rate, SPX wasn't the first show I went to and (I'm sorry) it's not the best show I go to, but I always manage to have a great time. Finding stuff I've never seen, catching up with people I don't get to see, and the inevitible flood of new comics and graphic novels that show up just after the event as all of the publishers realise they're not going to make any money unless they've got something new at the show. Meathaus 8 in a week or two, yeah! I'm genuinely sorry not to be attending this year, and if you get to go I wish you nothing but the absolute best time; have too much to drink for me. Oh, and make sure to buy something from someone who publishes their own stuff, it's good karma and they need the sales, badly.

Best,

- Christopher
PS: Good luck to the organisers and volunteers, I hope the move to the new digs goes off without a hitch. If not, I promise not to write about it Monday. ;)

Posted Thursday, October 12, 2006 at 10/12/2006 11:45:00 PM
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

First Post
Hope you love it.
http://comics212.net

It's gonna take me a little while to get used to droping that extra 'dot'.

This is just a test post, I guess, to make sure the comments and tracking and stuff still works.

Wish me luck,

- Christopher

Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 10/11/2006 01:07:00 AM
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Hi there.

This is the last post at comics.212.net for the forseeable future. The whole enterprise is moving to http://comics212.net.

Please update bookmarks/links/etc. I believe that this site is staying up for a few weeks, and the entire archive has been moved to the new site, but I'm not entirely sure about any of it at the moment, other than that the new site works and looks Just Like The Old One. No WordPress for me as I just don't have the time, though if anyone wants to help my find a good theme and edit it a little, I'd be eternally grateful.

For those of you reading on the cbutcher feed at LJ you're screwed, and I'll set up a new feed shortly. If you're following the standard feed, uh, it should work at the new site soon? But this one has likely stopped?

Can you believe I had the same address on the internet for 9 years in December? My first column for www.212.net/comics (the old address, before subdomains) was about buying graphic novels as Christmas gifts in 1997. People are still writing the same article today, but instead of coming from a crank on the internet, it's a feature story in national newspapers... and they're recommending a lot less Star Wars than I did at the time (sorry).

Thanks to JMS and Bob for the hosting and fixing stuff and taking care of the site for so many years. It sucks to go.

- Christopher Butcher

at 10/11/2006 12:33:00 AM
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Monday, October 09, 2006


Comics
Just a little post...
http://www.kozyndan.com/indoorland1.html

I have to admit that I'm feeling a little disconnected from comics right now. I get up in the morning and read Tom, Dirk, and Heidi (in that order, usually) and feel like I'm keeping up with what's going on, but little of it speaks to me. About the only thing that [almost] provoked a post from me this week was How To Make Money Like A Porn Star, an exceptionally trash "graphic novel" that Kevin Church tore to pieces... When the book showed up at the store this week I thought I'd give it a flip; maybe Kevin was off the mark a little? Nope! It turns out it's just terrible. The worst part is that it's so completely sex-negative, much more a reflection of the author than the sex-industry... Just a horrid little book.

Even that didn't get my back up sufficiently to post, I'm sorry to say.

Maybe I'll come out of it shortly. I certainly hope so, I'm actually pretty excited about getting to meet Jamie Hernandez and Dupuy & Berberian at the end of the month (scroll down for more info), but I'm not that into communicating that enthusiasm at the moment.

At any rate, there's a lot of good stuff being written right now (interviews, reviews, etc.). You won't miss me if I'm gone for a little while. Jog and Bill Sherman alone should keep you hip-deep in interesting stuff to read.

See you soon, and Happy Thanksgiving.

- Chris
PS: I thought these comic strips from Kozyndan were lots of fun: http://www.kozyndan.com/indoorland1.html. (Image from Kozyndan's Archival Print Shop, by Kozyndan.)

Posted Monday, October 09, 2006 at 10/09/2006 07:47:00 PM
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Friday, October 06, 2006

Oh yeah?

My brother called me just to give me shit for not updating this morning. My brother doesn't even read comics. Also? Dirk has been calling me a rotten liar all week and I haven't had the time to respond. Sigh.

Sorry. Things are a little hectic. I'll try and write things about comics soon I guess? I need about three weeks off just to read.

Alright, here's something:

Things that are good: Arrested Development Season 3, The Venture Brothers Season 1, Clone High.

Things that are bad: Publishers that don't keep their backlist in stock, money, holidays.

Things that are ugly: Corporate comic books, my schedule, Dirk's momma.

- Christopher

Posted Friday, October 06, 2006 at 10/06/2006 06:57:00 PM
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hernandez, Dupuy & Berberian in Toronto this fall.
Comics authors at International Festival of Authors
http://www.readings.org

The International Festival of Authors is an annual event at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre that brings authors from around the world out to discuss (and promote) their works. For the past few years the organization has been really good about bringing in graphic novelists with past years featuring appearances by Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Adrian Tomine, Chip Kidd, and many more. This year is no exception, as there are a number of graphic novelists (and authors with comics connections) in attendence. Oh, and following up on a successful run last year, The Beguiling will be at The IFOA selling graphic novels by the participating authors as well as important works of note.

While Jamie Hernandez's appearance makes for an obvious headline grabber, I'm really excited to meet Dupuy & Berberian as their new graphic novels Get a Life and Maybe Later are phenomenal, and I think a peek into their creative process will be both rare and excellent. The tickets to each of these events is $15, but there are free tickets available to high-school and post-secondary-enrolled 'students'... Free is good.

Here's a little guide to where and when you can find the comics creators this year:

Saturday October 21st, 3:00PM
Phillipe Dupuy and Charles Berberian
Interviewed by Seth
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront
Phllipe Dupuy and Charles Berberian, creator of the "Monsieur Jean" series of stories and graphic novels (published in Canada by Drawn & Quarterly), will do a presentation of their new graphic novels Get a Life and Maybe Later. The presentation will be followed by an interview with Canadian graphic novelist Seth. Dupuy and Berberian have collaborated for twenty years, with their most successful comic series, "Monsieur Jean," selling over 120,000 copies in France.

Saturday October 21st, 5:00PM
Jamie Hernandez Interview
Studio Theatre
Jamie Hernandez's life's work is the comic book Love & Rockets, a collaborative ongoing series that has become nearly synonymous with alternative comics. His graphic novel Locas collected more than 10 years of his stories from L&R into an irresistable and acclaimed single graphic novel. Hernandez will be interviewed by film and television director Jerry Ciccoritti about his newest graphic novel, Ghost of Hoppers.

Sunday October 22nd, 1:00PM
Bernice Einstein Reading
Premiere Dance Theatre
Bernice Einstein's I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors, told in prose and pictures, is a brilliantly crafted, compelling memoir of her relationship with her parents, who met in Auschwitz. "With her words and pictures working together, Einstein captures the insular world her parents shared with their group of other Holocaust survivors (Globe and Mail)." The reading will feature Einstein as well as Ami McKay, Rosemary Sullivan, and Sarah Waters.

Sunday October 22nd, 5:00PM
Bernice Einstein in Round Table Discussion
Lakeside Terrace

Join Bernice Einstein in a round table discussion of her work with authors Yves Beauchemin, Alon Hilu, Marisha Pessl, and moderator Ken Alexander.

Friday October 27th, 8:00PM
Ralph Steadman Reading
Brigatine Room
Ralph Steadman's The Joke's Over, is a memoir of his remarkable friendship and collaboration with Hunter S. Thompson, a relationship which spanned more than thirty years. Steadman is the illustrator of many books, including Thompson's legendary Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the fiftieth-anniversary edition of George Orwell's Animal Farm. He is the author of The Grapes of Ralph, which won a Glenfiddich Food & Drink Award, Still Life with Bottle, The Book of Jones, and Gonzo: The Art. Steadman will be reading alongside Patrick McCabe, Tom McCarthy, and Clifford Chase.

Saturday October 28th, 1:00PM
Ralph Steadman Interview
Premiere Dance Theatre
Legendary illustrator Ralph Steadman is interviewed by Ben McNally, manager of Toronto's Nicolas Hoare Books.

Saturday October 28th, 4:00PM
Jodi Picoult Reading
Lakeside Terrace
Who's Jodi Picoult, you ask? Why, in addition to being the author of several bestsellers like The Tenth Circle and Plain Truth, she's also going to take over the reigns of DC Comics' Wonder Woman following Alan Heinberg's departure this fall. Just think, you could be the first fanboy to get her autograph! Picoult will be reading alongside Caroline Adderson, Elizabeth Novle, and Meg Wolitzer.

--

For more information including how to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.readings.org.

- Christopher

Posted Thursday, October 05, 2006 at 10/05/2006 05:53:00 PM
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