10:16pm: …and we’re back. In case you’re just joining us, I am a comic book retailer who has to have his Diamond Previews order done and uploaded by tomorrow at midnight. I didn’t even look at The Previews until earlier today, and I really need to get back to my job right now, which is running a comic book festival next week. All of this has made me irritable, and I’m sharing this with you. Enjoy!

10:19pm: I know Wizard has been firing a lot of people lately, but seriously, did they let go of all of their designers? These Previews pages look like the intern threw them together, and the intern only knows how to use MS Word. Meanwhile, ANOTHER Obama cover on this issue. That poor dead horse that these guys keep beating.

10:21pm: I’m just saying, “Obama Cover, by Artist To Be Announced.” Come on…

10:22pm: Another month, another solicited issue of Anime Insider that is never going to come out. Actually, I just realized that these pages look like they’ve been designed by the PREVIEWS team, which is why I don’t like them. They look seriously weak. Oh how the mighty… etc.

10:23pm: Ah, and thanks to Super-Con in San Jose, we get a little Comic Sans. How Avant Garde.

10:25pm: Speaking of which, Cerebus Archive #2 has a Zombie/Obama Variant for $15.00. At least I’m not as cynical as Dave Sim.

10:27pm: I feel kinda bad, I never actually checked out Scott Morse’s first “Ancient Book of” book for Adhouse. Although this one is about Sex, so that will probably entice me more than Myth/War. Oh, and Johnny Hiro gets a lovely collection that I shall be ordering. Good series, that one. Nice price-point too, 200 pages for $15.00. That’s a steal.

10:29pm: SLG Publishing have thrown a lot of marketting muscle behind their new CAPTAIN BLOOD comic book, and it does look quite nice. Beautiful colours on the cover too. We had some success with The Black Coat, a pirate adventure series published intermitently over the past few years. Hopefully this one will do well for us too.

10:32pm: So I actually read the description for Bad Kids Go To Hell #1, from Antarctic. It’s a high-concept comedy/thriller, described as “The Breakfast Club” meets “The Grudge”. And, yeah, alright, it sounds like a sort of cheesy movie, I’d watch it if it came on the TV and it wasn’t censored on TBS or something. But it’s a movie on paper; a book about sexy teens intended for a sexy teen audience. Where in the hell are they going to find that audience at Antarctic Press? Why is this a comic at all, other than just as an intermediate step to getting it optioned soemwhere? It’s described as a movie, and the cover art just looks awkward (the proportions are all off). Why turn a movie pitch into a mediocre comic book? Or a comic at all?

10:36pm: Archaia Studios Returns! At least The Killer will end now, and Alex Sheikman who creates Robotika is a nice guy. But I don’t really feel good about the company, I’ve heard too much from creators unhappy how they were treated during the fallow period… and I’m not crazy about what I heard about their new parent company either. Anyway, whatever. I’ll order what I think will sell, but I’m certainly not going to ‘invest’ in the company until they get back on track and make amends with the people they’ve wronged.

10:41pm: Hey, a second collection of Julia Wertz’ Fart Party. Cool stuff. The first one was pretty great actually, recommended.

10:44pm: I have to bump the numbers on Gravel again. Nice to see a series picking up readers as it goes. Oh and Ignition City did alright too… And contrary to Ellis’ assertions that “we wouldn’t do variant covers if people didn’t buy them”, our order for the single-cover FRANKENSTEIN’S WOMB (there’s a HC too, but we’ll ignore that) just ended up being higher than our orders for all of the covers on Ignition or Gravel combined. We order the variants because they’re available, not because people are buying more than one. At least not in my experience. Or in an apples-to-apples comparisson, We’re ordering exactly as many copies of all Anna Mercury #1 with 4 different covers  as we did of Ignition City #1 with 3 covers, we just divided them differently. Anyway, not that this has anything to do with anything, it’s just been sticking in my craw, so to speak, seeing Ellis send that message out into the world.

10:55pm: Am i really supposed to order the Tek War comic? Really? Someone weigh in in the comments. I just don’t know.

10:57pm: I have to say, an extended, faithful adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a surprisingly ambitious project for BOOM to take on… i think that’s kind of amazing actually. I hope they do a good job, and I’m excited to see it.

I have to say, their section on the whole looks kind of put-together and organized this month, which is nice. I feel like the past few months have been a little haphazzard, particularly with the volume of books they solicit in a given month. A set-up in the Previews more like IDW would benefit them for sure.

brown-cover

11:06pm: Alright! I wanted to take a second to mention Box Brown’s Love is A Peculiar Type Of Thing! It’s a Xeric Grant winning book, a collection of webcomics and short strips, and it’s about this dude growing up and being fucked up and trying to get over it. It’s navel-gazing indy autobio comics, the exact sort of terrible filth that superhero fans like to step up and deride! Loudly! In an us versus them argument, this is THEM with a capital EVERY LETTER. It’s got Drug Use in it, for pete’s sake! Drugs! How could he!?

It’s great, I loved it. Totally worth your $10. Order two: one for you, and give the other one to a feckless 20-something that can’t figure a way out of their current situation.

More at:  http://www.topshelfcomix.com/ts2.0/artist/318  and  http://boxbrown.com/book/.

11:13pm: On the other end of the spectrum, Devil’s Due Productions has declared June OBAMA MONTH! Fuuuuuuuuuuuck. Comics you ruin fucking everything. I refuse to engage your awful offerings.

Actually, fuck it. I’m not ordering any of this for the shelf. We’re The Beguiling. We have principles. If you want any of this nonsense, I hope you pre-ordered.

11:26pm: So, First Second’s THE COLOR OF WATER by Dong Hwa Kim. I really liked this actually, it’s probably the only thing like it in English. It’s very strange though. It’s very much a book for women, about the life of a woman from being a girl to being grown. It’s a book club book; a Lifetime movie in the making. But it’s neat. And Kim is an outstanding artist, several of the sequences and illustrations featuring the countryside are just amazing. The first book, COLOR OF EARTH, is available from stores now, check it out. 

Oh, and to my friends at First Second? You mis-spelled COLOUR. I didn’t want to say anything to embarass you, but since the books are already printed and in circulation it’s probably alright now.

11:31pm: Taniguchi! Yay! Fucking Whoo! Hoo! Jiro Taniguchi, for those of you thus far uninitiated, is the wonderful creator behind The Walking Man, which I love. A new work is solicited here, SUMMIT OF THE GODS. Taniguchi is one of those creators on my automatic-buy list, just… he brings such incredible professionalism and skill to everything he attempts. It’s lovely.

11:35pm: The Fantagraphics section features what will be the book of the month for many, a the new collection of Peter Bagge’s reportage comic strips for REASON magazine. They’ve generally been good, thought provoking stuff, and I’m sure fans of his self-involved, self-pitying Buddy Bradley character will find a lot to interest them in a collection of comic strips from a Libertarian magazine.

Zing!

apr09079711:41pm: Actually, let’s go back a second. I Twittered a question to digital manga publishing but they don’t seem to be online, so I skipped over mentioning the fact that their SWALLOWING THE EARTH, by Osamu Tezuka, is shipping in June. Well, the first volume anyway. I am totally, totally interested in reading this. I own a bunch of Tezuka in French just to studdy the storytelling. But the cover of the book they’ve got here in PREVIEWS is just terrible, hideous stuff. It’s like they took a look at the great strides that Vertical had made in packaging 30 or 40 year old books and making them appeal to a contemporary audience and decided “That’s not really for us.” I love Tezuka, but some of his stuff is kinda goofy looking. I’m not saying every book needs to be abstract and downplay the comics connection, but the difference between the cover they’ve got for solicitation here and even the Buddha volumes? Miles and miles apart, and not in a good way. Granted, it’s got a great big ART NOT FINAL on it, but this is a little disappointing, because it seems like a wonderful work by Tezuka, and I’d really like the chance to sell it.

I don’t think this cover will help me.

11:50pm: Alright, back to Fantagraphics. The Abstract Comics collection soudns neat. The second massive Locas HC is a must buy. Another collection of comics by Fletcher Hanks, by Paul Karasik. A collection of Danish comics! Good month for Fanta.

11:53pm: Oh shit, how did I miss the Rand Holmes retrospective!? They’re gonna take away my Canadian citizenship. Basically:

Rand Holmes was Canadas most revolutionary artist in his heyday, the star cartoonist at the Georgia Straight newspaper in British Columbia during the 1970s. His hippie hero, Harold Hedd, became the spokesman of the emerging counterculture as he avoided work, explored free love, and flouted drug laws. The Adventures of Harold Hedd spread across the globe in the wave of underground comix and newspapers of the era and Holmes became famous – or at least notorious. While his comic character was bold and blatant, the artist was shy and quiet, well on his way to becoming a complete hermit.

This book is an intimate and expansive account of a very private man who expressed his deepest feelings in the then disreputable medium of comix. He didnt talk much but he sure wrote a lot, avowed his widow Martha. This biography/retrospective includes generous selections from his private journals and correspondence, family photo albums, sketchbooks, and personal anecdotes from his friends and colleagues. His artistic history began haltingly on the lonely windswept plateau of Edmonton, flourished in Vancouver and San Francisco, and concluded peacefully on Lasqueti Island, a remote backwater in the Straits of Georgia where he lived out his dreams of pioneering and homesteading.

Holmes life story is richly illustrated with drawings, comic strips, watercolors, and paintings that span his whole career, from the hot rod cartoons he drew as a teenager, dozens of covers for the Georgia Straight, pornographic cartoons for the sex tabloid Vancouver Star, to complete comic stories from Slow Death Funnies, Dope Comix, All Canadian Beaver, Death Rattle, Grateful Dead Comix, and many more. The full-length Harold Hedd comic novels, Wings Over Tijuana and Hitlers Cocaine are reprinted in their entirety together for the first time. 

Essentially, it’s the only book on a Canadian Underground cartooning legend. And a GIANT OF THE NORTH, actually (Google it). Sorry I forgot to mention it on the first pass.

12:03pm: See, here we are, in the IDW section and they’ve got a book called THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE BARACK OBAMA and you know what’s different about this one? It’s not co-opting the man’s image to sell your some other idea. It’s a book about Obama. And sure, that’s as much of a commercial product as the stupid barbarian one the DDP is publishing, but this one is actually about the man, his beliefs, his life. I can get behind that.

12:19pm: So, big-ups to fellow Canadians New Reliable Press, who have got their new books TRUE LOVES 2 and JAN’S ATOMIC HEART in the new Previews. These fine cats are gonna be at TCAF, TCAF’n it up, and TRUE LOVES at least managed to get a lot of press first time around. And hey, retailers and customers? THEY’RE GIVING AWAY BOOKS. For every copy of TRUE LOVES 2 you buy, they’re shipping out a free copy of TRUE LOVES 1. That’s a steal!

12:23pm: Okay, Oni Press has got the first issue of the just-relaunched RESURRECTION comic, now in full colour. Fine, interesting enough, Except they’re shipping out 10s of thousands of copies of the #0 prequel for Free Comic Book Day, AND (AND!) the trade paeprback collecting the first RESURRECTION series? SIX BUCKS. Six dollars for like, 184 pages. And it’s all gonna be out in the next 7 days. So, you know, KUDOS, Oni. You win this month’s award for “working your ass off to support your new ongoing series”. Buuuuuut unfortunately you’re disqualified because the first issue here doesn’t feature a 1 in 250 variant cover. Too bad, so sad. :P

12:28: Page 282 has an indy anthology from “Poseur Ink” called SIDE B: THE MUSIC LOVER’S COMIC ANTHOLOGY. It’s got a bunch of stories from folks including Jeffrey Brown, Brandon Graham, Ryan Kelly, and Jim Mahfood. That’s some pretty cool shit. 

Oh, and on page 284, as a favour to my friend George I wanna give a shout out to ATOMIC ROBO AND THE SHADOW FROM BEYOND TIME #3. The Atomic Robo stuff has been fun, well drawn, and a consistent seller for us here at the store. I’m happy to recommend it to fans who like Hellboy for more than just Mignola’s art. :)

12:39pm: So! The one thing in the Viz section that I didn’t know about before I got to it is STARTING POINT: 1979-1996 By Hayao Miyazaki. It’s “A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches, and interviews by 9and with) Hayao Miyazaki.” It’s 500 pages of reading for $30. That’s sort of a given, isn’t it? Like, that one is an automatic purchase? Awesome. Thanks Viz!

12:56pm: FLIGHT VOLUME 6 IS COMING SOON. Excellent news! New stories from all of the Flight Creators and friends. Page 301, preorder your copy, etc.

Alright, I think that’s it for this month. I gotta go through the last few pages of the catalogue and see what kinda magazines and stuff I’m gonna order. Thanks for reading…!

- Christopher


11 Comments on “Liveblogging The Previews: April ’09 Pt. 2”

You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

  1. ryan says:

    wow, um… that can’t really be the Swallowing The Earth cover, can it? That’s such a nasty color and type treatment… I. DON’T. UNDERSTAND.

    To actual make this a useful (?) comment, I was wondering Chris: When you set out to fill out your Preview orders, do you have a set $$$ ceiling for what your order total will be, or is it spread like an average month to month? I’m just curious how much that plays into the monthly fluctuations in your orders (shelf space, all that stuff). Feel free to simply say, “It’s complicated!” if it’s… well, complicated to type up here :)

  2. Phil Nelson says:

    This is a terrifying amount of comics content for me to digest right now.

  3. Box Brown says:

    Thanks so much for the plug!

  4. Jim Kosmicki says:

    thanks for doing this — it really is good to see the thought process behind ordering. Yes, yes, every shop will be different, but your shop is a successful, indie-friendly shop,so it’s nice to hear those thought processes and not just the Marvel/DC processes that most retailers give. I can remember back in the day, at the shop that I helped run while in grad school, that we still got the packet of individual flyers from publishers — Previews (and Advance Comics) were such a step forward simply in organizing all that material.

    and besides, you reminded me of a few things that I had missed on my order — thanks.

  5. Torsten Adair says:

    Ah… another Mother Theresa manga biography!

    A signed Alex Ross print of Obama for $35? Stash some away for the eBay crowd…

    Oz comicstrips written by L. Frank Baum?! ($75 HC? oog…)

    Gaiman/McKean Crazy Hair (another poem from Gaiman, this one in the spirit of Shel Silverstein)

    Graphitti’s Groo HC, Showcase Bat Lash, PvP HC…

  6. Eric says:

    I would like to encourage the folks at BOOM to adapt The Man in the High Castle into a comic book.

  7. Jason Marcy says:

    I’ve been loving me the “Liveblogging the Previews”…
    :D

  8. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Linkarama@Newsarama says:

    [...] “It’s a waste of trees, of shelf-space in my store, of resources on DC’s part.  Not everything is worth collecting, not everything is worth a larger audience”: I linked to it the last time Christopher Butcher of The Beguiling liveblogged his ordering from Previews, and I’m going to link to it again, because it’s pretty funny and, if you’re interested in comic as an industry from the retailer’s perspective, it’s also kind of fascinating. That quote is in response to the existence of a Terror Titans trade paperback. I’ve always wondered about why everything seems to get a trade now, especially poor sellers that seem extremely unlikely to find a wider, more appreciative audience outside the direct market. Also , Butcher’s comments on DC’s variant cover scheme for Batman and Robin #1 are especially worth paying attention to. Here’s part one, and here’s part two. [...]

  9. Nick H says:

    Am i really supposed to order the Tek War comic? Really? Someone weigh in in the comments. I just don’t know.

    I wouldn’t touch that drek with a barge pole. Maybe I’m wrong and it’ll actually be really good, but… no.

  10. Warren Ellis says:

    I never said “we,” I said “they.” And I had to fight tooth and claw to NOT have variants on the Apparat books. You of all people should know better than to mistake the writer for the publisher. Tell Avatar.

  11. James Moar says:

    There’s a preview for Swallowing the Earth here which has an improved version of the cover: http://www.tezukaenfrancais.com/ste/cover.html

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