We had a good run, Blogger and I, but this is the last post on that system for the foreseeable future. Thanks to the Blogger folks for putting together a solid piece of software, but I guess we just outgrew it.
If your site-feed readers don't automatically pick up the new wordpress feed, please head to http://comics212.net to pick it up manually.
So my first piece of advice for 2007? Don't get sick, ever. I'm currently behind on every single project I'm involved in. Some only minimally, some massively, and one in particular I may have completely blown. If you're reading this Anne, I'm sorry...
Things are shaping up for the year though, with lots of freelance in the offing (writing, lettering, whatever) and lots of other big plans. I figured it's been long enough without a post that I better do something, and writing up my schedule for the year will be nice for both of us, dear reader. Maybe you'll learn something about me!
January 29th: New Blog - Keep your eyes peeled Monday, and make sure to update your RSS feeds.
February 20th: Bryan Lee O'Malley at TPL - As part of Toronto's Keep Toronto Reading month, The Toronto Public Library is bringing in library-friendly graphic novelist Bryan Lee O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim) to do an on-stage interview/presentation that I might be co-hosting? It's at 6:30pm at North York Central Library, but I'll be inundating you with reminders about that soon enough... I'm going to see if I can talk him into previewing the first chapter of Scott Pilgrim 4 there, which will make it a can't-miss event. View the schedule of events at http://www.keeptorontoreading.ca/
Self Portrait by Bryan Lee O'Malley
February 22nd-26th: New York Comic Con - I'll be participating at a couple of panels at this year's NYCC and blogging from the floor again. It should be a lot of fun, I think. The only announced panel appearance so far is "The Buyers Panel" retailers-only programming on the 22nd. I think I'll be on a few though, and wandering around for the rest of the time. Oh, and speaking of wandering around, I've got the better-part of a day to kill on Monday, so if anyone wants to hang out lemmie know. http://www.nycomiccon.com
February 27th: COMICS FESTIVAL 2007! Orders due - The last Tuesday in February is the last day that retailers can place their orders for COMICS FESTIVAL 2007, the Free Comic Book Day Offering that I'm co-editing with Chip Zdarsky. Darwyn Cooke, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Hope Larson, and many, many more contributors. Plus the book will be half-colour, and feature one of the coolest things I've ever seen in a FCBD comic, a secret I don't wanna give away just yet. Comics Festival 2007 is going to be the book to get on FCBD, believe-you-me. Please make sure to tell your retailer that you wanna see copies of this one in... Going up against 45 other comics is kind of... completely insane, and not every retailer is going to splurge on every book. Thanks!
May 5th: Free Comic Book Day - We'll be doing another big event at The Beguiling! Plus, hopefully Comics Festival 2007 will be available nationwide!
May 25th-27th: Anime North Toronto - The biggest show that we at The Beguiling do all year. It really is something to see, and I think we're gonna try and do something a little different and a little stupid at AN this year (good-stupid) to up the ante. Last year we brought Ryan North, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and Kean Soo to the event and had a book-launch for Ryan and Mal that weekend. This time out, I'm sure we can come up with something better/crazier and really promote the hell out of TCAF too. http://animenorth.com/
June 8th-10th: Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon - This is the not-evil mainstream comics show in Toronto. Guests include Terry Moore, Matt Wagner, Kaare Andrews, and many more. The Beguiling will be set up as per usual with a good mix of stuff, and a great time is generally had by all attendees at this event. http://www.torontocomicon.com/
June 22nd-24th: MoCCA Art Festival in New York - I never miss a chance to attend MoCCA, as it combines a ton of great comics creators with NEW YORK CITY, and who would want to miss-out on that? Plus, I've got my own Fest to promote two months later. I will say that MoCCA is just an amazing show to attend, busy and fun but also surrounded on all sides by business and fun too (not to mention the food). If you've never been, it's worth going. If you can only go to one east-coast show though, uh, scroll down two-entries. http://www.mocca-ny.org
July 5th: I'm turning 30. I'm hoping to throw a bigger party than we did for the wedding. You? Invited!
July 26th-29th: San Diego Comic Con - It's pretty-much guaranteed that I'll be at San Diego this year, although I felt a bit aimless at last year's without being tethered to a booth. Maybe I just need to psych myself up a little more for this one? 4 days though and I still don't feel like I saw it all... http://www.comic-con.org
August 18th & 19th: The Toronto Comic Arts Festival - Oh, you so totally have to come, it's going to be amazing. We're holding it this time out in a 100 year old University building! Three floors! Hundreds of guests! An amazing kick-off party on Friday night! It's kind of like a non-stop, 3 day party I guess, though I don't unclench until Sunday night at about 9pm. Details at http://www.torontocomics.com/tcaf. Expect the 2007 website to go live soon, with our preliminary guestlist (note: it's pretty darned great if you're a fan of this blog...)
After: It looks like I'm going to Japan in the fall with my hubby for a delayed honeymoon, which will be great. JAPAN. Yay! Also, Christmas, but that one might be just a little too-far-away to think about.
Anyway, thanks for reading this little trip through the future. Here's hoping you'll catch me at one of these events and we can raise a glass or two...!
What if my blog started over from zero? All the archives would be there still, where they are, but...? Bad idea? Wordpress isn't importing "New Blogger" right now and the idea of copying 1000 posts by hand is hilarious.
In his newest Conversational Euro-Comics column at Comics Reporter, Bart Beaty provides an overview of the forthcoming "Angouleme Essential Awards", to be handed out at Festival International de la Bande Dessinee. It's a great article and totally essential reading, so hurry up and go read it. He also name-checks me in the article, when talking about the manga entries on the 50-volume list of books elligible for the top prize:
So I figured, why not? Let's talk about which manga are or are not available in English.
Avant la Prison, by Kazuichi Hanawa. Hanawa's Doing Time is published in English by Fanfare Ponent-Mon, and it's a monotonous, unflinching portrayal of life in a Japanese prison. While it's considered a fairly difficult read, I can definitely recommend it as a unique and engrossing manga. This volume acts as something of a prequel to Doing Time, and we all hope to see it follow Doing Time to the shelves... Eh, Stephen?
Gyo, by Junji Ito. As readers of this blog are aware, Junji Ito's Gyo is published in English by Viz LLC, and books 1 & 2 were released in the 6x9 format in 2003 and 2004. Generally considered inferior to his Uzumaki series, Gyo has an aborted finish, but does deliver some truly terrifying visuals and moments (Sharks... WITH LEGS!). Also available from Junji Ito are Museum Of Terror Volumes 1-3 published by Dark Horse.
In the Clothes Named Fat, by Moyoco Anno. Despite an English title, this single-volume manga by Moyoco Anno is not available in English. It seems like a book worth translating though, as it deals with a woman who tries to lose weight to interest a man, and the body-image-related downward spiral she enters. Luckily for you reader, Moyoco Anno has been published in English before. A lot, actually: Happy Mania from Tokyopop features a desperate 20-something woman looking to settle down and find the right man, but Mr. Right-now will do; Flowers & Bees from Viz actually deals with body-image issues amongst men in a humourous way; Sugar Sugar Rune from Del Rey Publishing is an all-ages affair that has young witches breaking boys' hearts for power; Anno even has a cute short-story in Japan: As Viewed By 17 Creators published by Fanfare Ponent-Mon.
Jacaranda, by Kotobuki Shiriagari. Totally and completely unavailable in English, and probably pretty unlikely to become so. This single volume appears to be a meditation on the human condition as viewed through the lense of the apocalypse--a giant plant grows up in Tokyo overnight oblitterating the city--but actually might just be a comedy, pages and pages of death and destruction included. I hope we order a copy of this into my store to look at, hint hint.
Ki-Itchi, Hideki Arai. Man, this is so unlikely to come out in English. Evar. Volume 1 is about a hyper-violent three year old boy who doesn't show any emotions and is constantly lashing out at the world. It's sort of a more-realisitically drawn Dark Crayon Shin-chan you know? Then, at the beginning of the second volume his parents are killed by a mugger and he's left with no family and no understanding of what happened. Fierce socio-political commentary. I would totally, totally buy this if it were in English.
Non Non Ba, by Shigeru Mizuki. Oh wow. So I didn't recognize the name, but following a viewing of the Takeshi Miike movie "The Great Yokai War" I did a little bit of digging on "yokai", the various Japanese forest spirits and demons that make up Japanese mythology. It turns out that Shigeru Mizuki is probably the best-known manga-ka of yokai stories, and his 'Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro' is considered a shonen horror classic. NonNonbâ appears to be Mizuki's newest manga, another yokai tale about a boy who befriends a yokai and the problems it causes to his day-to-day life. Sounds really neat, actually, and seeing as we got some of Kazuo Umezu's excellent classic horror manga this year with Drifting Classroom from Viz, I think some Mizuki would go down nicely...!
Sorcieres, by Daisuke Igarashi. This would be known as "Witch" in English (making it, what, property #4 with that title?), but isn't currently known as anything because it ain't in English. We just got a copy of this book in this week at The Beguiling, because it was actually recommended by Black & White creator Taiyo Matsumoto in the back of the sixth French edition of his No. 5 series. Confluence! The plot seems a bit... magical such and such quest for grown-ups, but the art is lovely. It's like a sketchy euro-Otomo, where every drawing looks absolutely effortless and dashed-off, until you realise that a) they're beautiful, and b) he is not drawing easy-to-draw things. Absolutely beautiful, and I could totally see Dark Horse picking this up and fitting it seemlessly into their current slate of releases. YOU HEAR ME, CARL? :)
Zipang, by Kaiji Kawaguchi. You're totally unlikely to see this this in English, as Kawaguchi's previous English-language manga, the excellent socio-political drama Eagle from Viz, did not do well. This series, about a navy battleship from the Japanese Self-Defence Forces transported back to WWII, sounds like a gripping, mature story of tough choices and tougher consquences. So, TS, buy more Naruto.
There you go Bart, et al. I hope you enjoy this little run down of great manga that I cannot read as much as I enjoyed researching it all, only to find out after-the-fact that there's an English-language description of most of these books in a Festival Program (right click save as) and that David Welsh covered some of this in his column 4 weeks ago. Le Sigh.
I've got selfish reasons for appreciating the Toronto media's fascination with comics, obvious ones. For one, it makes my job easier when The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post, or even The New York Times recommends a comic ('graphic novel'), because I know what will be the easy sell for the next few weeks. You just make a little display of the featured, positively-reviewed book, situate 4 or 5 similar or related books around it, and the sales take care of themselves (particularly if you've actually read the books in question).
So today's review of Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip in The Star was lovely to see and, since I've finally read it for myself, dead-on accurate. Better still, where was the book reviewed you ask? Why, in the "small print" or Children's Books section of the paper, which is again, dead-on acurate.
One of the reasons I started this blog a thousand posts ago, aside from ripping on Stupid Marvel Tricks, is because I always wanted to see this day. Comics reviewed alongside other literature without the klarion-call in the headline or first paragraph that warned you about the strange format. A review that was utterly unnoteworthy, aside from it highlighting a great book and giving it an enthusiastic recommendation. While this sort of thing has been happening for a while, it was a wonderful thing to wake up to this morning and I thought it made for a lovely 1000th post. I hope you agree.
CUSTOMER REVIEW: This book reveals the secret history of Iron Man. I cant reveal how I got it because it may cost me my job (and no, I dont work for Marvel)
We learn that Tony stark was never in the iron man suit!! From the beginning Steve Rogers was Iron MAN and Stark was just the public image/persona. Rogers was never frozen after WW2, It turns out that was his clone, part of the super soldier program (I guess they had cloning tech back in the 40's).
I'm guessing Stark and the Real Steve rogers will reveal this to the cloned Rogers at the end of CW.
Whoever OKed this stupid retconn should be fired. The art was pretty good though, Zircher does classic superheroes right.
There's your Civil War Ending. Bahaha. I only hope it turns out to be true.
The following is a list of books scheduled to ship to The Beguiling Books & Art in Toronto next week. This doesn't mean they're shipping to every store, but it's probably at least worth asking about if these books don't show up in your local shoppe.
...so, it's always a bad sign when I replace one shipping list with another shipping list. In my defense I was powerfully sick for the last few days, and still am not really 'over' it right now. One more night of rest should probably do it, but until then I'm going to refrain from posting anything too 'opinionated' just in case it's more the fever talking than me. I will say that you shouldn't leave your comic store this week without a copy of the excellent short-fiction collection TANPENSHU under your arm. Paid for, hopefully.
Now, on to the list!
NOV060290 100 BULLETS #80 (MR) 2.99 NOV060200 52 WEEK #38 2.50 NOV062286 ALL NEW OFF HB MARVEL UNIV A Z UPDATE #1 (OF 4) 3.99 SEP060020 ARCHENEMIES SINNERS & SAINTS VOL 1 TP (C: 0-1-2) 12.95 NOV062288 AVENGERS NEXT #5 (OF 5) 2.99 DEC064011 BACK ISSUE #13 5.95 NOV063296 BETTY #162 2.25 DEC063560 BLECKY YUCKERELLA VOL 2 BACK IN BLECK GN (MR) 11.95 SEP060026 BLESSED THISTLE GN (C: 0-1-2) 9.95 NOV060209 CHECKMATE #10 2.99 OCT060014 CHRONICLES OF CONAN VOL 11 DANCE O/T SKULL TP (C: 16.95
NOV062268 CIVIL WAR THE RETURN 2.99 NOV068140 CIVIL WAR THE RETURN MCGUINNESS VAR 2.99 Because no one at Marvel is going to admit how badly they handled (read: fucked up) Civil War until years and years from now, I will note that the need to create a bunch of one-shots needed to understand the story (but that won't be collected in the trade paperback) sort of says it all for them, doesn't it? It's Secret Wars ][ all over again.
NOV063686 CLIVE BARKERS GREAT & SECRET SHOW #9 (OF 12) (MR) 3.99 NOV063816 COLD HEAT #2 (OF 12) (MR) 5.00 SEP063530 COMPLETE NEMESIS THE WARLOCK BK 1 (C: 0-1-2) 28.99 NOV060218 CONNOR HAWKE DRAGONS BLOOD #3 (OF 6) 2.99
NOV062344 CRIMINAL #4 (MR) 2.99 I'm really enjoying this, which is usually the kiss-of-death for Marvel and DC series. Here's hoping the ICON logo shields some of that bad luck. Oh, and on the "my store is the best store because" tip, "My store is the best store because weve got all three issues in stock as I'm writing this." If any of my customers happen to be reading, make a point of checking this noirish crime series out, you won't regret it.
OCT061856 OFFICIAL HANDBOOK O/T INVINCIBLE UNIVERSE #2 (OF 2 4.99 OCT060053 ONE MISSED CALL 1 PLUS 2 TP (C: 1-1-2) 14.95 NOV063523 OUR KINGDOM VOL 5 GN (MR) 12.95 NOV060021 OUTER ORBIT #2 (OF 4) 2.99 NOV063818 PAPER RAD BJ & DA DOGS GN (MR) 29.95 JUN060044 PENNY ARCADE VOL 3 WARSUN PROPHECIES TP (C: 0-1-2) 12.95 JUN063269 PHANTOM MAN EATERS GN 12.95 DEC060003 PREVIEWS VOL XVII #2 (NET) 4.50 NOV062312 PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #3 CW 2.99 AUG061775 PVP #30 2.99 NOV063929 RAMAYAN 3392 AD #5 2.99 OCT060275 RED SONJA CLAW DEVILS HANDS TP 12.99 NOV063522 RIN VOL 2 GN (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 12.95 NOV060176 ROBIN #158 2.99
OCT064017 ROBOT VOL 6 (C: 1-1-3) 45.99 Just a reminder, this is the Japanese version.
OCT060025 SAMURAI HEAVEN & EARTH VOL 2 #2 (OF 5) 2.99 AUG063137 SAVAGE BROTHERS #3 (OF 3) 3.99 AUG063689 SE7EN GREED #2 (OF 7) (MR) 3.99 NOV063521 SEVEN GN (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 12.95 OCT060228 SHOWCASE PRESENTS BRAVE & BOLD BATMAN TEAMUPS VOL 16.99 NOV062316 SILENT WAR #1 (OF 6) 2.99 NOV063395 SIMPSONS CLASSICS #11 3.99 NOV063305 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #171 2.25 NOV062279 SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE #14 2.99 SEP060040 STAR WARS DARK TIMES #2 (OF 5) (C: 1-0-0) 2.99 NOV060241 SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #26 2.99 JUL062993 TAG #3 (OF 3) 3.99
OCT060056 TANPENSHU VOL 1 TP (MR) (C: 1-1-2) 12.95 Holy shit! Three kinds of awesome! TANPENSHU is a short-story collection featuring the work of Hiroki Endo, creator of EDEN (also from Dark Horse). I've read a couple of these stories in scanlation previously, but being able to get them all in print (along with a bunch of stuff I've never read) really seals the deal, in my humble opinion.
Hiroki Endo's short stories are just excellent, short literary fiction in comics form. They're 'very Japanese' in their pacing and style, of course, but Endo's use of silence and no-way-out situations creates some really brilliant and affecting pieces. I've been hoping for this release since they first announced EDEN a year-or-two back, and by God am I going to do everything in my power to sell it. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR STORE WITHOUT IT, you won't regret it.
NOV060250 TEEN TITANS GO #39 2.25 OCT064019 TOGIHIMEZOHUSHI NO 2 MASAMUNE SHIRO FOLDING ARTBK 31.99 NOV063654 TRANSFORMERS ESCALATION #3 3.99 OCT061884 TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD IMAGE ED #3 2.99 NOV063183 TWISTED TOYFARE THEATRE VOL 8 TP (C: 0-1-2) 12.99 NOV062360 ULTIMATE ANNUALS VOL 2 TP 13.99 NOV063937 WALK-IN #2 2.99 NOV060276 WETWORKS #5 2.99 AUG061800 WITCHBLADE LINSNER CVR #103 2.99 AUG061801 WITCHBLADE TURNER CVR #103 2.99 NOV062327 WOLVERINE #50 3.99 NOV062328 WOLVERINE BLACK AND WHITE VAR #50 3.99 NOV062356 WOLVERINE & BLACK CAT CLAWS HC 17.99 OCT060032 WORLD BELOW TP (C: 0-1-2) 12.95 NOV062331 X-FACTOR #15 2.99 NOV062355 X-FACTOR LIFE AND DEATH MATTERS PREMIERE HC 19.99 NOV063986 ZESTY VOL 1 GN 12.95 NOV063690 ZOMBIES ECLIPSE OF THE UNDEAD #3 (MR) 3.99 NOV063692 ZOMBIES VOL 1 TP FEAST 19.99
Here's what's in stores this week. Looks like a big week for floppies and trades, with The Spirit #2 and Ultimate Spider-Man #104, and the long-awaited BATMAN: YEAR 100 trade paperback... Plus, new Bone! But more on that on Wednesday...
NOV060199 52 WEEK #37 2.50 OCT063591 AEGIS VOL 3 GN (MR) 9.99 SEP063481 ALMOST HIGHLY CLASSIFIED VOL 1 GN (OF 3) 17.99 NOV063208 ANGEL DUST NEO MANGA ONE SHOT TP 10.95 OCT061852 ANGRY CHRIST COMIX TP (MR) (C: 0-1-2) 16.99 NOV060205 AQUAMAN SWORD OF ATLANTIS #48 (RES) 2.99 NOV063293 ARCHIE #572 2.25 NOV062357 AVENGERS ASSEMBLE VOL 4 HC 34.99 NOV062284 AVENGERS EARTHS MIGHTIEST HEROES II #5 (OF 8) 3.99 NOV063993 BACK ISSUE #20 (C: 0-1-2) 6.95 OCT060164 BATMAN YEAR ONE HUNDRED TP 19.99 SEP063225 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #5 2.99 AUG063192 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA FOIL CVR #4 (NET) PI SEP063226 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA RAYNOR SKETCH CVR INCV #5 2.99 NOV060207 BIRDS OF PREY #102 2.99 SEP060035 BLADE O/T IMMORTAL SHORTCUT VOL 16 TP (MR) (C: 1-1 16.95 NOV063423 BONE VOL 5 ROCK JAW MASTER OF EASTERN BORDER COLOR HC 18.99 NOV063422 BONE VOL 5 ROCK JAW MASTER OF EASTERN BORDER COLOR SC 9.99 NOV062322 CABLE DEADPOOL #36 2.99 OCT063592 CANT LOSE YOU VOL 4 GN (OF 6) 9.99 OCT063403 CASTLE WAITING VOL II #4 3.95 NOV060183 CATWOMAN #63 2.99 SEP063235 CLASSIC BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #3 3.50 NOV064010 COMICS BUYERS GUIDE APR 2007 #1627 (C: 0-1-2) 5.99 OCT063822 COMICS REVUE #249 (C: 0-1-2) 6.95 NOV060013 CONAN #36 (MR) 2.99 NOV060012 CONAN & THE MIDNIGHT GOD #1 (OF 5) 2.99 NOV062267 DAILY BUGLE FEBRUARY NEWSPAPER (BUNDLE OF 50) (NET PI OCT061900 DARKNESS VOL 5 DEMON INSIDE TP 19.99 OCT063258 DAVE JOHNSON FC SKETCHBOOK 2006 (JUN062970) 9.99 NOV063493 DEMONWARS THE DEMON AWAKENS SEELEY CVR A #1 (OF 3) 4.99 NOV063663 DESPERADOES BUFFALO DREAMS #1 (OF 4) 3.99 OCT063594 DOKEBI BRIDE VOL 4 GN 9.99 NOV062376 ESSENTIAL X-FACTOR VOL 2 TP 16.99 NOV062323 EXILES #90 2.99 AUG062045 FANTASTIC FOUR #542 CW 2.99 SEP062992 FIRST MOON GN 12.95 NOV060040 GHOST IN THE SHELL 1.5 HUMAN ERROR PROCESSOR #4 (O 2.99 NOV062295 GHOST RIDER #7 2.99 NOV061871 GIRLS #21 (MR) 2.99 OCT063593 GREAT CATSBY VOL 4 GN (OF 6) (MR) 19.99 OCT060197 GREEN LANTERN #16 (RES) 2.99 SEP060227 GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES VOL 6 HC 49.99 NOV060203 HELMET OF FATE DETECTIVE CHIMP #1 2.99 OCT063334 HIGHLANDER #3 2.99 OCT063335 HIGHLANDER HARRIS SKETCH CVR INCV #3 2.99 NOV061860 IRON GHOST GEIST REICH TP 15.99 MAR060041 JACK HIGHTOWER TP (RES) (C: 0-1-2) 14.95 NOV060222 JLA CLASSIFIED #32 3.99 OCT060248 KIKAIDER CODE 02 VOL 6 (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT061860 LIBERTY MEADOWS VOL 4 COLD COLD HEART TP (C: 0-1-2 14.99 SEP063625 LOST BOOKS OF EVE #1 3.25 FEB063205 LOVE AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE #6 (MR) 5.95 NOV060258 MAD MAGAZINE #474 3.99 NOV062305 MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS #9 2.99 NOV062304 MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR #20 2.99 NOV062358 MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN VOL 5 DIGEST TP 6.99 NOV062383 MARVEL TALES FLIP MAGAZINE #20 4.99 OCT062210 MARVEL VISIONARIES JOHN BUSCEMA HC 34.99 OCT061851 MIKE CAREYS ONE SIDED BARGAINS (ONE SHOT) (MR) 5.99 AUG063630 NEW ONIMUSHA NIGHT OF GENESIS VOL 2 GN 12.95 NOV068018 NEWUNIVERSAL 2ND PTG RIBIC VAR #1 (PP #747) 2.99 SEP063100 NIGHT O/T LIVING DEAD BEGINNING #2 (OF 3) (MR) 3.99 SEP063101 NIGHT O/T LIVING DEAD BEGINNING PAINTED CVR #2 (MR 3.99 SEP063102 NIGHT O/T LIVING DEAD BEGINNING ROTTING CVR #2 (MR 3.99 NOV060235 OMEGA MEN #4 (OF 6) 2.99 OCT060250 RECIPE FOR GERTRUDE VOL 3 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV060283 RED MENACE #3 (OF 6) 2.99 OCT063321 RED SONJA SDWAS ANNUAL B&W CVR INCV #1 3.50 OCT063320 RED SONJA SHE DEVIL WITH A SWORD ANNUAL #1 3.50 SEP063163 ROACH #2 (RES) 2.95 NOV060305 SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE SLEEP OF REASON #2 (OF 5) 2.99 NOV060257 SCOOBY DOO #116 2.25 NOV062276 SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #34 2.99 NOV060236 SHADOWPACT #9 2.99 JUL060047 SHAMAN WARRIOR VOL 1 TP (C: 0-1-2) 12.95 NOV062315 SHE-HULK 2 #15 2.99 OCT063747 SHOJO BEAT FEB 07 VOL 3 #2 (C: 1-0-0) 5.99 NOV061861 SILENCERS TP 14.99 AUG063442 SILENT GHOST #2 3.50 NOV063394 SIMPSONS COMICS #126 2.99 NOV060285 SKYE RUNNER #6 2.99 NOV062281 SPIDER-MAN REIGN #2 (OF 4) 3.99 OCT068239 SPIDER-MAN REIGN 2ND PTG ANDREWS VAR #1 (OF 4) 3.99 NOV060234 SPIRIT #2 2.99 NOV063645 STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION THE SPACE BETWEEN #1 (OF 3.99 SEP063170 STARDUST KID #5 (OF 5) 3.50 NOV062351 STORM PREMIERE HC 19.99 NOV062352 STORM PREMIERE HC VAR ED 19.99 OCT060174 SUPERMAN EMPEROR JOKER TP 14.99 NOV063755 TALES OF TMNT COLL BOOKS VOL 2 LEONARDO TP 12.00 NOV060307 TESTAMENT #14 (MR) 2.99 OCT060296 TESTAMENT VOL 2 WEST OF EDEN TP (MR) 12.99 NOV060287 TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE #3 (MR) 2.99 NOV063920 TEZUKAS BUDDHA VOL 5 DEER PARK SC (C: 0-1-2) 14.95 NOV063656 TRANSFORMERS SPOTLIGHT ULTRA MAGNUS 3.99 JUL060046 TRIGUN MAXIMUM VOL 11 TP (C: 1-1-2) 9.95 OCT063086 TRON #3 3.50 NOV062271 ULTIMATE POWER #1 DIRECTORS CUT 3.99 NOV062272 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #104 3.99 OCT068143 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN 1 FOR 100 WHITE VAR #104 (PP # PI OCT068109 ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN BAGLEY 1 FOR 50 VAR #104 (PP#7 PI NOV062274 ULTIMATE X-MEN #78 2.99 OCT063736 VILLAINS VOL 1 THICK AS THIEVES TP 12.95 NOV063665 WAR OF THE UNDEAD #1 (OF 3) (MR) 3.99 NOV063403 WHAT WERE THEY THINKING SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN ON 3.99 OCT062196 WISDOM #2 (OF 6) (MR) 3.99 NOV063182 WIZARD ANIME INSIDER TRINITY BLOOD #41(NOTE PRICE) 4.99 SEP063238 XENA STRANGE VISITOR ONE SHOT 4.95 SEP063239 XENA STRANGE VISITOR ONE SHOT VIRGIN INCV CVR 4.95 NOV062334 X-MEN FIRST CLASS #5 (OF 8) 2.99 NOV060308 Y THE LAST MAN #53 (MR) 2.99 OCT063595 YOUR LOVER VOL 2 GN (OF 4) 9.99 OCT063518 ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS #2 (OF 2) 3.99
Hey, Flash Gordon fans, I gotta question. When you hear Queen's theme song to the film version of the Flash Gordon movie, you know:
Flash - a-ah - saviour of the universe! Flash - a-ah - he'll save everyone of us! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Flash - a-ah - he's a miracle! Flash - a-ah - king of the impossible!
So, when you hear that, is it sort of like when die-hard Batman fans hear the wacky Adam West-version opening song and they wince in pain because that's not the REAL Batman? Or like, the cheesy/excellent Spider-Man cartoon theme from back in the day, that has absolutely no place near the sophisticated new motion pictures and feels like needles in Sam Raimi's skin?
I ask, because I was just reading at The Forbidden Planet Blog about a new 22-episode, "contemporary retelling of the comic-strip story" from the SciFi network--the people who brought you the ultra-gritty new Battlestar Galactica--and all I can see in my head is the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, which makes the original Battlestar series look like cinema verite by comparisson... All I'm saying is, wouldn't it be awesome if a 'contemporary' retelling of Flash Gordon really did use the Queen soundtrack and all the trappings thereof? All bold pop-art graphics and cgi and design that eschew realism for fantasy and escapism?
I'd be on the couch watching that every week, instead of the miserablists that populate SciFi's current major hit...
So, Friday I missed my first day of blogging for reals. I had meant to post the shipping list (coming up next), but I just plumb ran out of time and energy and so I flubbed my New Year's resolution. C'est la vie, I suppose, and that's no reason not to just get right back up on that horse... Expect lots of posting in the next day or two as this week seems to have a bunch more to talk about.
And speaking of The Beguiling, our nation's capital newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen, interviewed me in my capacity as manager for an article this week. Well, me and Shenzhen and Pyongyang author Guy Delisle, so I'm in good company. I come off really well in the article, and as a primer for comics and graphic novels it's a strong piece, though maybe a little behind the curve. That's Ottawa, I suppose. Also? I'm sure I'm every Ottawa comic book store's friend now, because we spent the article recommending books they don't generally carry, and a guy from Toronto gave all the quotes for the article instead of anyone local. Maybe someone will write an angry letter! Haha...
Oh, and if you check that article out, you'll notice that it has a sneak-peak at the staff of The Beguiling's top ten list for 2006. All of the staff got to pick ten books, and whichever books had the most total votes went on the list. We've got a pretty diverse staff here, and the list is significantly more... balanced... than you might expect. I'll be putting a written/explained list of the top-20 later today, with pictures and things. Actually, I've got a post in me just on best-of lists, particularly after reading that absolutely brutal best of that the dude at "Comics Should Be Good" did this morning. Maybe I'll get that up for tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone who commented on and linked-to the preview of To Terra (post below this one). It is exactly the sort of manga/comic/graphic novel that needs attention and hype, so anything you could do to spread the word would be appreciated. Hopefully I'll be able to get more previews online soon.
To Terra, Volume 1 By Keiko Takemiya 308 Pages, 6"x8", SC, $13.95 Published by Vertical Inc. 978-7-932234-67-1 Coming February 20th, 2007
One of the things I wanted to do this year was start putting more actual comic books up on the blog. Granted, this is often fairly illegal so it's a matter of working with publishers and things, but I feel that actually putting good comics in front of people and letting them participate is the easiest way to convince a reader that a book is worth their money. I hope that this preview manages to convince you.
Our first preview of the 2007 is the result of the last piece of mail I got in 2006; an advance reading copy of Vertical's first non-Tezuka manga, To Terra. It's the kind of over-the-top space-opera and sci-fi exemplified by the work of Leiji Matsumoto; the Galaxy Express and Captain Harlock manga, not to mention the kick-ass anime music videos for Daft Punk's 'Discovery' album ('One! More! Time!). I went on a total 70s sci-fi manga binge last year, buying up whatever I could in Japanese, it's so incredibly bizarre and wonderful. Now, we've got some brand new translated material, and the icing on the cake is that it's by Keiko Takemiya, one of the "Magnificent Forty-Niners" that revolutionized shoujo manga in the 1970s. This series is going to run for three volumes, all at the same page-count and price point, and I think it's really going to surprise people. Anne Ishi and the fine folks at Vertical chose this 16 page sequence as the best introduction to the sprawling sci-fi epic, and falling as it does at the end of the first 'act', I have to agree.
Thanks to Anne Ishi at Vertical for helping me set this up. If you want to find out more about Vertical's line of books, visit their website at http://www.vertical-inc.com. If you're a publisher interested in running a preview here at the site, as always I can be contacted at email@example.com, removing the 1's from the e-mail address of course.
Feel free to tell me what you thought in the comments section...!
Hi there! I'm switching to Wordpress soon, and the site design will be getting a considerable overhaul at the same time. I need your help. Can you point me at some websites that you like? Stuff that features really regular updates, imparts a lot of information, and is clean and well laid-out? I almost don't want any suggestions from comic sites, but if that's what works, then by all means. But I've seen Comicsreporter, and it looks and works great.
Examples: I think BoingBoing meets my criteria, but the entries are generally very, very short and that doesn't really suit my more ranty moods (I also don't like hiding stuff behind a cut, generally). Same thing goes for Drawn, which is functional for small entries but wouldn't work for big ones, imho.
Also, if you know of any storehouses for great 'off-the-shelf' wordpress templates, those links would definitely be appreciated.
Comic book writer A. David Lewis will probably not be up for a Platinum Studios contract any time soon, after taking the stand that Platinum Studios' market manipulation is not a good thing:
"But it’s ridiculous for [Cowboys & Aliens topping the sales charts] to serve as an accurate temperature of the industry, especially in as high a profile magazine as Entertainment Weekly. In fact, it’s quite suspect that the magazine chose this particular week on which to report as well as this particular store — one that was giving away C&A for free and keeping count." - A. Davis Lewis, Loose Pages
The thing is, Rich Johnston has been posting about this scam for months now over at "Lying in the Gutters"? Add to that, the dirt on Platinum has been growing thick around the edges for a while now, and some very deep pockets and a very 'connected' industry, and it's really not surprising at all that Entertainment Weekly was mysteriously on hand to cover Platinum Studios' big launch week. Don't get me wrong, it's fairly disgusting for the "story" to be tarted up as it was, but it's not really surprising either because, much like the small-press scam pulled by people like Open Book Press, the bar is pretty low for pulling the wool over comic fans' eyes. Hell, look at nearly any comics award to see exactly where quality ranks...
However! It is my opinion that 2007 is the year to stop whining on the internet and actually get shit done. So, if this story really offends you, either through EW being duped or your conjecture that EW was in on the duping, why not contact them directly about it? Chances are that this is a low-level PR manoeuvre, and that if enough noise is made about it someone higher-up will catch wind of it and do something about it. What I'd maybe recommend is that anyone who can write a smart, sane letter do so, and send it either via Entertainment Weekly's online contact form, or directly to their mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, hey, here's all of their contact info:
Entertainment Weekly 1271 Avenue Of The Americas New York, NY 10020 (212) 522-1212
Entertainment Weekly Magazine 1675 Broadway # 29 New York, NY 10019 (212) 522-5600
If this bothers you, and why wouldn't it, then do something about it! It's surprisingly easy. Create the comics industry and the comics industry coverage that you want, and don't just leave it up to whomever has the deepest pockets.
Oh Chip. Chip Zdarsky, you know just what to get me when I'm feeling down.
Thanks to Chip's post over at The Beat, I found the most brilliant little gem relating to this week's Mr. Scootles post. If you head on over to http://www.amazon.com/How-Published-Open-Book-Press/dp/0973571640, you get to take a look at How To Get Published The Open Book Press Way, a 48 page pamphlet ringing in at $8, in which publisher Mike Gagnon will tell you all of his secrets on publishing.
The comedy! It writes itself!
- It doesn't even have a proper cover, the font is all fucked up. That's the best part.
- "Oh, and what the fuck is the “Vancouver Book Revue?” According to google, the only thing associated with it is that fucking Amazon page. " -Chip Zdarsky, commenting that the source for the book's sole editorial review seems to be entirely fictional.
- From the book: "If we do like your book and we decide to publish it you will find that we are not only one of the fastest, most efficient publishers in the industry, but we also pay a much larger percentage out in royalties than any of our competition! A minimum royalty of 40% of our share of sales profits!"
- The best, best part? It's not actually a how-to book at all, it's a 48 page advertisement that creators that want to work with OBP are expected to pay for, including stuff like "Submission guidelines."
Thank you, Chip Zdarsky.
- Christopher P.S.: If I were the person(s) who just 'acquired' this 'publisher', I'd maybe pull this book down right away.
Hi there! I'm feeling a bit under the weather today, so last week's marathon Shipping List commentary will not be duplicated. All apologies,
NOV063671 24 NIGHTFALL #3 (OF 6) 3.99 NOV063682 30 DAYS OF NIGHT SPREADING THE DISEASE #2 (OF 5) ( 3.99 NOV060198 52 WEEK #36 2.50 NOV062283 AGENTS OF ATLAS #6 (OF 6) 2.99
OCT063384 ALINE & THE OTHERS GN (MR) 9.95 This is a very good little wordless comic by Shen Zhen and Pyong Yang author Guy Delisle. 26 letters of the alphabet, and 26 1-8 page short comics about a woman whose name starts with one of those letters. A delicious little trifle. NOV062277 AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #4 2.99 NOV063674 ANGEL AULD LANG SYNE #3 3.99 OCT063669 ANIMA VOL 3 GN (OF 10) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 JUL061696 ANT #9 2.99 NOV063910 ARE WE FEELING SAFER YET A TH INK ANTHOLOGY TP (C: 12.95 OCT063786 BASTARD VOL 14 TP (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV060174 BATMAN #662 2.99 NOV060173 BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #2 2.99 NOV060251 BATMAN STRIKES #29 2.25 OCT063676 BATTLE CLUB VOL 3 GN (OF 4) (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV062290 BLADE #5 CW 2.99 NOV060039 BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL #121 (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 2.99 OCT063630 BOOGIEPOP DUAL VOL 2 10.99 NOV062372 CABLE DEADPOOL VOL 1 IF LOOKS COULD KILL TP (O/A) 14.99 OCT063657 CALLING YOU GN (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV060254 CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK #9 2.25 OCT063787 CASE CLOSED VOL 15 GN (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV062362 CHAMPIONS CLASSIC VOL 2 TP 19.99 OCT063656 CHIBI VAMPIRE VOL 1 NOVEL (OF 7) (C: 1-0-0) 7.99 NOV062379 CIVIL WAR FINAL BATTLE POSTER 6.99 OCT061846 CRYPTICS #2 3.50 NOV063694 CVO AFRICAN BLOOD #2 (MR) 3.99 SEP061868 CYBERFORCE VOL 1 TP 14.99 OCT060245 DENSHA OTOKO VOL 2 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV063496 DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES VOL 2 KURTH CVR A #4 (OF 4) 4.99 OCT060190 FALLEN ANGEL VOL 2 DOWN TO EARTH TP (MR) 14.99 NOV060288 FRIDAY THE 13TH #2 (MR) 2.99 NOV062275 FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #16 2.99 OCT060246 FROM EROICA WITH LOVE VOL 8 (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT063789 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST VOL 11 TP (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV060270 GEN 13 #4 2.99 NOV060271 GEN 13 VAR EDITION #4 2.99 NOV062364 GHOST RIDER VOL 1 VICIOUS CYCLE TP 13.99 NOV063510 GI JOE AMERICAS ELITE #19 2.99 OCT061874 GODLAND #15 2.99 SEP063657 GOLGO 13 VOL 6 GN (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV063544 GRAPHIC CLASSICS VOL 5 JACK LONDON NEW PTG 11.95 NOV060217 GREEN ARROW #70 2.99 NOV060215 GREEN LANTERN CORPS #8 2.99 SEP063664 HANA KIMI VOL 15 GN (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV062336 HELLSTORM SON OF SATAN #4 (OF 5) (MR) 3.99 OCT063659 HIBIKIS MAGIC GN (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT068191 IMMORTAL IRON FIST 2ND PTG DELLOTTO VAR #1 (PP #74 2.99 OCT063668 INNOCENT W VOL 2 GN (OF 2) (MR) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 SEP063651 INU YASHA ANI MANGA VOL 18 GN (C: 1-0-0) 11.99 OCT063790 INU YASHA VOL 28 TP (C: 1-0-0) 8.95 OCT063382 IRON WOK JAN GN #22 9.95
OCT063436 JANES WORLD OMNIBUS VOL 1 (MR) 19.95 Collecting the first three Jane's World comics in one volume. The early strip was a mix of creator Paige Braddock's syndicated material and new work meant to bridge the gaps bewteen storylines. It was an interesting experiment, but the real treat is seeing the comic book develop into its own thing as the series progresses. You can't beat the price either...! NOV060226 JSA CLASSIFIED #21 2.99 NOV060224 JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #2 2.99 NOV060225 JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA VAR ED #2 2.99 OCT063665 KAMEN TANTEI VOL 2 GN (OF 4) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT063677 KARE KANO VOL 21 GN (OF 21) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV062340 MAGICIAN APPRENTICE #5 (OF 12) 2.99 OCT060274 MAJESTIC VOL 3 THE FINAL CUT TP 14.99 OCT063791 MAR VOL 11 GN (C: 1-0-0) 7.99 NOV060230 MARTIAN MANHUNTER #6 (OF 8) 2.99 NOV061873 MELTDOWN #2 (OF 2) 5.99 SEP060027 MESSENGERS GN (C: 0-1-2) 6.95 OCT063661 MUGEN SPIRAL VOL 1 GN (OF 2) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV062307 MYTHOS GHOST RIDER 3.99
SEP063658 NAOKI URASAWAS MONSTER VOL 6 TP (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 Speaking of collosal Diamond shipping fuck-ups, we STILL haven't received our full order of this title. What the hell? NOV062325 NEW EXCALIBUR #15 2.99 NOV062368 NEW MUTANTS CLASSIC VOL 2 TP 24.99 NOV062324 NEW X-MEN #34 2.99 NOV061875 NIGHTLY NEWS #3 (OF 6) 2.99 SEP063653 O PARTS HUNTER VOL 1 TP (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV060232 OMAC #7 (OF 8) 2.99 NOV060233 OUTSIDERS #44 2.99 OCT063662 PEARL PINK VOL 1 GN (OF 4) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT063663 PHANTOM VOL 1 GN (OF 5) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 SEP061825 PHONOGRAM #4 (OF 6) (MR) 3.50 SEP063646 POKEMON BEST OF POKEMON ADVENTURES YELLOW (C: 1-0- 7.99 OCT063785 POKEMON TALES VOL 12 LAPRAS MAKES A FRIEND 2ND ED 4.95 OCT063784 POKEMON TALES VOL 14 DIGLETTS BIRTHDAY PARTY 2ND E 4.95 NOV062337 PUNISHER #43 (MR) 2.99 OCT063793 READ OR DREAM VOL 2 TP (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT063314 READING COMICS POSTCARD BOOK (C: 0-1-2) 11.95 SEP060028 REX MUNDI VOL 2 THE RIVER UNDERGROUND TP DH ED (C: 16.95 NOV064024 ROUGH STUFF #3 (C: 0-1-2) 6.95
OCT062172 RUNAWAYS #23 2.99 Have I ever mentioned that I really like Runaways? I do.
AUG060220 RUSH CITY #4 (OF 6) 2.99 OCT063709 SCRAPPED PRINCESS SONG O/T FORGIVEN VOL 2 NOVEL (O 7.99 SEP063790 SCRIBBLINGS VOL 3 SC (MR) (C: 0-1-1) 15.00 OCT063664 SEIKAI CREST O/T STARS VOL 2 NOVEL (OF 3) (C: 1-0- 7.99 OCT060229 SHOWCASE PRESENTS JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL 2 16.99 AUG063033 SHRUGGED #4 2.99 AUG063038 SOULFIRE CHAOS REIGN BEGINNINGS (C: 0-1-2) 1.99 NOV062317 SQUADRON SUPREME HYPERION VS NIGHTHAWK #1 (OF 4) 2.99 NOV063711 SQUARECAT COMICS SMALL SQUARE & SARCASTIC GN (MR) 11.99 SEP060043 STAR WARS CLONE WARS ADVENTURES VOL 7 TP 6.95 OCT060042 STAR WARS KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC #12 (C: 1-0- 2.99 OCT060043 STAR WARS LEGACY #7 (C: 1-0-0) 2.99 NOV060274 STORMWATCH PHD #3 2.99 NOV060275 STORMWATCH PHD VAR EDITION #3 2.99 SEP061829 STRANGE GIRL #13 3.50 NOV060195 SUPERMAN BATMAN VS ALIENS PREDATORS #1 (OF 2) 5.99 NOV060245 TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #4 (OF 8) 3.99 NOV062318 THUNDERBOLTS #110 2.99 NOV062319 THUNDERBOLTS YU VAR #110 2.99 AUG063499 TOTALLY SPIES VOL 3 EVIL JERRY HC 12.95 NOV063181 TOYFARE HASBRO GHOST RIDER MOVIE FIGURE CVR #115 ( 4.99 SEP063654 TRAIN MAN DENSHA OTOKO VOL 2 TP (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 OCT063666 VAMPIRE DOLL GUILT NA ZAN VOL 2 GN (OF 3) (C: 1-0- 9.99 OCT063149 VERONICA #177 2.25 OCT063672 VISITOR VOL 5 GN (OF 5) (C: 1-0-0) 9.99 NOV060277 WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY #2 2.99 NOV060278 WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY VAR ED #2 2.99 NOV062320 WHITE TIGER #3 (OF 6) 2.99 NOV062329 WOLVERINE ORIGINS #10 2.99 NOV062321 WONDER MAN #2 (OF 5) 2.99 SEP063173 YOSHITAKA AMANO HERO GALLERY 3.99 OCT063738 YOULL HAVE THAT VOL 2 TP 4.95 SEP063655 ZATCH BELL VOL 10 GN (C: 1-0-0) 9.99
Hey all, it looks like I've come down with something. I took the day off work and have been doing as little as possible all day. I'll post the shipping list a little bit later this evening, but I just wanted to apologize for the lack of original content today. Maybe I'll try and comment on the shipping list or something.
All About Publishing Smash Comics? Open Book Press? Just go to Kinkos and save yourself the hassle. http://comics212.net
Edit: I fixed the link to the Newsarama article below. Sorry about that!
Mike Gagnon is an object of scorn, not pity. You know, 2006 was the year I started telling people not to fucking bother with their dreams of making comics, as their work is terrible. Or they had no idea what they were doing. They weren't words I delighted in saying or anything, but I figured if my honesty would save them time, money, and keep a terrible comic book off of the shelves, then it was worth the hurt, surprised looks. Prior to this lifestyle change, I would just sort of smile... and nod... as they told me their grand plans and I couldn't stop shrieking "AHHH NO YOU ARE AN IDIOT" inside of my head. My one and only conversation with Mike Gagnon was one of those times. He was using the store for a backdrop; he was being interviewed for a television program about his desire to make comics and the company he had founded (they may have been 3 or 4 companies ago at this point...). Hearing him talk was like nails on a fucking chalkboard, but the kicker is in the interview about how he had built his own publishing company and how he was going to make it big and whatever, that his #1 goal in comics was to finally get a chance to write The Incredible Hulk. Ever since that time, I've watched his continued fuckery with absolute delight, because he honestly, truly didn't have a clue and deserved all the screws that were put to him.
Now though? I actually feel terrible, because Mike Gagnon's lack of business savvyand ability has ruined someone else's creation. I'm genuinely sorry that this dude, HC Noel, had his work and creation fucked around so badly. Granted, it was fucked around in that spectacular jaw-dropping way that makes for good internet reading and drama, but I still feel like a well-timed word 4 years ago might have sent Gagnon in another direction, away from comics.
With that in mind, I'd like to present to you a couple of key points about independent comics publishing, and finding a publisher.
Rules of 'finding a publisher':
1. Real publishers do not use 'digital print to order' or 'print on demand' services. Those are for hobbyists and the very vain, and you owe it to yourself to have a professionally printed book if that's what you're going to do. 1a. I lied. Real publishers occasionally do use PoD services, to print "Advance Reading Copies" that they then give away for free, to the press, before the real book is printed. 1b. If you're using Lulu or whomever to print your own stuff, more power to you. Just don't build a publishing empire on it alright? It's sad and you're losing money on every book you sell, if the point is to actually sell books.
2. Sometimes, 'finding a publisher' is not as important as simply not sucking. Do you suck? You should maybe figure that out before asking someone else to invest money in your art. Here's a simple way to find out if you suck: a. Print up 10 copies of your comic story in mini-comics form. Don't go to Kinkos, they're too expensive. Go to Staples or something. b. Take 10 copies of your mini-comic to a convention. Any convention, your choice. c. If you can't sell all 10 copies of your mini-comic in a convention weekend, you suck, and should not be professionally or 'professionally' published. d. Try harder, either way.
3. Is this really mean? Probably, but until you have to wade through Previews every month, I don't want to hear about it. If some of the jaw-droppingly awful shit that gets into Previews can be professionally printed and distributed, then the bar is simply not that high. Unless you're doing high-quality art comix (see: House of Sugar, Picturebox), in which case, fuck Diamond and smart people will leap to your defence anyhow.
4. Your publisher should have, theoretically, published a comic at some point. Which is to say, had it printed, distributed through Diamond at the least, and maybe even done a convention appearance or two. Publishers publish, they do not make grand publishing plans that are... untennable... at best, and then fall apart before they've begun.
5. Also? Always remember that publishing comics is for fools. I know lots of fools who publish comics, and I love them dearly. They believe in the medium and are dedicated to craft and storytelling and Capital 'A' Art. They are beautiful, wonderful fools and I love them for publishing. The role of the fool is one that I personally enjoy, and it takes a bit of the crazy to try and force good comics into a marketplace that generally hates quality and likes... well, you've seem the top 100 list. However, it is important to know the difference between a fool and an idiot. An idiot uses his time on national television not to promote himself or his company, but to instead lend credibility to his competitors so they might more easily crush him down the road. You do not want an idiot publishing your comics.
6. You know what's free? The internet! Maybe look into publishing your comic, yourself, on the internet. Save a tree!
7. You can do everything right and still have shit fall apart on you. That's they way it goes. That's why no matter what kind of contract you sign, you make sure that you wholly own what you wholly create, and you make very sure what kind of rights you do end up signing away. Don't sign bad contracts, it's that simple.
Those are my simple rules for finding a publisher. It's not foolproof, mind you, because things like Speakeasy still go down and that's not a lot of fun, but it would have saved the Mr. Scootles dude from his fate.
Every year Heidi MacDonald's column The Beat invites a selection of creators, publishers, retailers, commentators and other comics observers to give a quick look at the year that was, and a hint of the year that may be. This year Heidi had a huge response, and the whole thing was broken up into three parts. Unfortunately, my response wasn't in any of those three parts because I forgot to send it in. Hell, I didn't even write it. I was swamped. So I figured that I'd have a blog cross-over and post my answers here, because why not? Maybe if she's feeling charitable Heidi might even link me :). Anyway, here we go:
What was the biggest story in comics in 2006?Geez, that's a tough call. I'm really tempted to say that Alison Bechdel's Fun Home getting the book-of-the-year nod from Time Magazine is the biggest story of the year, but I actually think it ties into a bigger, if not less reported story. Sitting where I do in the comics industry, I get to see so many different 'scenes', for lack of a better word. I've got friends who are successful in so many areas of comics, not just genres like "superheroes" and "indies", but wholy different applications of comics as a medium to their art and business model: Fine artists and outsider artists who use powerful comic imagery and narrative to make their work, webcomics leaders who operate in a different world than the direct market, manga publishers and staff, superhero publishers and creators, art comics publishers and creators, 'indy' comics publishers and creators, illustrators who do comics on the side and incorporate comics into their work, librarians and educators, comic store owners and employees, mass-market bookstore staff, folks who work in the media or at the distribution level who deal with comics every day, and my relatives who excitedly approach me at family gatherings who bought CIVIL WAR, their first comic in 20 years. And the thing is, all of these little segments of the population that are touched by the medium are, by and large, having a banner-fucking-year. Interest is up, the sales are alright if not fabulous, and everyone can (more-or-less) interact with one-another at a party due to their common interests. I think that 2006 is the year that proved that comics, as a real medium, are big enough for a multitude of successful artistic visions (with only a little bit of trash-talking, mostly in relation to best-of lists). I think seeing all of these people find artistic, critical, and personal success has really renewed my faith in the medium and made me more enthusiastic about the possibilities.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2007?I think 2007 is going to be where the "non-direct-market" publishers will really hit. Put simply, I don't think there's one book market publisher that really knows how long it takes to make original work, and there are a lot of projects that were tentatively scheduled for 2006 that might start crawling out towards the end of 2007. First Second's first two seasons were extraordinary, but they're one of many publishers significantly ramping up their production for next year (if all goes according to plan). The early-2007 announcements of the first two Centre for Cartoon Studies graphic novels (and of course The Salon) are just the tip of the iceberg, your warning for what lies ahead. And I think this wave of expertly-produced, heavily-promoted material is going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back... the camel being Diamond Comics Distributors. How many BIG! BIG! BIG graphic novels being available earlier, cheaper, and more reliably OUTSIDE of Diamond is it going to take for Diamond to either lose those sales entirely, or enact a massive overhaul of their ordering and stocking policies? Probably not much for the scales to tip in either direction, but I think this is going to be the year of the sea-change for comics distribution, and it'll be made by the publishers that have nothing to lose thanks to the current DM set-up.
What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2007?Geez, I dunno. My guiltiest pleasure is watching industry shit explode on the internet, but I wouldn't say that I'm looking forward to it so much as it is an inevitability that I will take advantage of at the time. I think my guilty pleasure will be spending more time blogging, and rearranging other aspects of my life to fit that. I find blogging about the comics industry, and the requisite trips to New York, San Diego, and hopefully overseas(!) to be immensely enjoyable, and I have a feeling it'll be a good year.
Thanks Heidi! Sorry I missed the deadline.
- Christopher Photo by Nathalie Atkinson. Thanks Nathalie!
So a deadline sort of snuck up and bit me in the ass this morning.
It hasn't come up just yet, but I've been contracted to do the lettering for Degrassi: Extra Credit: Volume 3 and Volume 4. I took the job because writer J. Torres asked me if I'd do it, and because I kind of feel like I'm wasting my life if I don't at least keep a toe in the pond of comics creation. Granted, I don't know that 250+ pages of lettering still constitutes a 'toe', but here we are. I was reminded about 12 hours ago that there is a fuckton of work due tomorrow, and so I'm busting my ass to get it done. It's thrilling being a 'freelancer' again, it's really helping me maintain my sympathy for people who create comics for a living, because I know that I'm doing 250 pages of work that will only be commented on, if at all, in a negative fashion. Luckily, there's a paycheck attached.
Anyhow, that's why day two of posting-every-day for a year is only a couple paragraphs and a question. Sorry if I've let you down, but my baby's gotta be kept in fancy running shoes.
So, those were the paragraphs, here's the question:
Why aren't webcomics, by and large, included in all of these critical "Best Comics of the Year" lists? For my money*, Dinosaur Comics, Achewood, Diesel Sweeties, and Penny Arcade were as enjoyable reads as most of the other comics topping my list. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.
- Christopher * 'For My Money' is theoretical, as I read these strips for free.
So back in the day, the day being 1997 y'all, I would write a little "How to give comics for gifts" sort of a column. This Christmas season, the promise of that naive optimism my 19-year-old self posessed was fulfilled, as it was a record year at The Beguiling for folks coming in to shop for comics... for someone other than themselves! Ever since I started at the store, I would get excited about the forthcoming Christmas sales season and I'd try to put together displays and things and Peter would do his best to kill my excitement (it's probably unfair of me to say that Peter enjoys killing excitement, but I do think it every once in a while). "People do not shop for gifts here," he would say. People would come to our store during the dark, cold winter months to treat themselves after shopping for gifts elsewhere. We don't do the toys or gew-gaws that other stores do, and like so many Jehova's Witness households, Santa would pass our store bye every year.
The thing is, I used to work at a mall comic store for years; I spent many an Xmas season knee-deep in frenzied holiday shoppers. We stocked toys and action figures, DVDs, magic and pokemon cards, Warhammer, even stamps at one point, whatever we could make a buck on. We were the nerd emporium, and as such the most important shopping destination for parents with nerdy children. We sold a lot of stuff (almost none of it comics, btw) in December, staying open late most nights to meet the demand (it's where I built my vast product knowledge of crap!). I always wanted some of that for The Beguiling, but on my own (and the store's own) terms. I wanted comics to be considered a thoughtful, appropriate, and suitably impressive gift for the holidays, and I've been pushing for it--hard--ever since.
It turns out that I really only needed to be patient.
Granted, I'm not one for patience, for the most part, but apparently the flood of reviews, interviews, and feature articles in the mainstream media became a critical mass this year, with Time's nomination of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home breaking the 'dam' and sending wave after wave of customer into our store the last two Saturdays before Christmas. Obviously there were a lot of informed fans of the medium in the store picking up stuff, but from conversing with the customers it was clear that many of them had only read a graphic novel or two themselves, and were both new to and very excited about the medium. It was awesome to guide them through the books they'd heard about, my favourite titles, and the best sellers at the store to find something perfect for the person on their list.
What was selling? Dude, everything! Fun Home did very well of course, but there were a number of surprising sales too. One young woman wanted something fabulous for her graphic designer parents, and the great-big-crazy Ninja by Brian Chippendale fit the bill. Anyone who said that they needed something really 'good' got directed towards Kevin Huizenga's Curses, one of my favourite books of the year. I've got my one-sentence description of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series down to a science and, particularly in Toronto, the Toronto-based series tends almost to sell itself. My favourite sale was of Miriam Katin's We Are On Our Own, as a gift for someone who'd only read Maus. Lots of Sandman, Fables, Naruto, Bleach, Inu Yasha, and Assorted Alan Moore books on X-Mas lists as well. It was surprising, and exciting, and the days where I only worked the sales floor simply flew by.
Anyway, from my vantage point this was the year that comics may have actually entered the mainstream, at least as far as gift-giving is concerned. It's been gratifying for me because I've really wanted it, but it made for a particularly positive ending to a year during which I invested a lot of myself into the medium. To comics!
- Christopher P.S.: I've started work on my Best of 2006 list, hopefully it won't take until May to appear this time out.
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About This Site
Christopher Butcher lives in Toronto, Canada. He is the manager of the world-famous comic book store The Beguiling, in addition to being a freelance writer and the co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Contact him at chrisatbeguilingdotcom.
Sorry, we couldn't find the post you were looking for. Perhaps you'd like to search for it?
About This Site
Christopher Butcher lives in Toronto, Canada. He is the manager of the world-famous comic book store The Beguiling, in addition to being a freelance writer and the co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Contact him at chrisatbeguilingdotcom.