Shipping April 4th, 2007

Buffy Season 8 - Issue 2 CoverUpdated April 2, 2007. Hi there folks. These are the comics that are scheduled to ship to The Beguiling Books & Art in Toronto, Canada this week. These books may not show up at all retailers at the same time, but if you see a title here it’s probably at least worth asking your local retailer about… 

Here’s my top 5 choices this week:

FEB072146 RUNAWAYS #25 2.99

Despite bumping up our orders on Buffy, I just don’t think we’re going to have enough copies in stock to meet demand (and so I put in a reorder on the weekend). It’s pretty incredible, how this book has taken off, and starting this issue we’ll start heavily cross-promoting this book with other works. Luckily, Marvel does a little bit of our work for us, by releasing writer Joss Whedon’s first issue of Runaways on the same day as Buffy #2. Despite not really digging his Astonishing X-Men run so much, I liked Buffy and am eager to see what he does with Runaways. Here’s hoping it hooks readers!

I enjoyed the second issue here as well, happily. It’s looking like a good series on the whole, and it’s shipped very promptly, which I think everyone appreciates.

JAN073935 DRAGON DRIVE VOL 1 TP (C: 1-0-0) 7.99
JAN073552 SHUGO CHARA VOL 1 GN 10.95
I know ‘manga’ all seems like it’s “For Kids” to most readers over 18, but it’s actually really tough finding manga for actual children, as even many of the Shonen Jump titles have a 16+ rating on them. DragonDrive is a new Shonen Jump title, rated and aimed at the under-10 set, and while I have absolutely no interest in it I’m overjoyed that it exists, we’ll sell a ton of them just because there’s not that much out there for that market… Borders and B&N probably won’t do anywhere near as well with it because kids will always grab for the older material, but for librarians and educators? They need stuff on the shelves for kids, and Naruto with it’s booby-humour in volume one doesn’t make the cut.

On a similar note, Shugo Chara from Del Rey will do well for many of the same reasons. It’s about little girls, middle-school cliques, and Guardian Angels. We’re gonna sell a ton. 🙂

DEC063960 ELKS RUN GN (C: 0-1-2) 19.95
Now complete after it’s aborted run through Speakeasy, Elk’s Run got really good word-of-mouth during it’s release. I didn’t find out until recently that it’s illustrated by a Canadian, Noel Tuazon, which is pretty exciting. The Beguiling is teaming up with some local folks to throw a release party for Noel and the book on April 26th. Details forthcoming on the blog. Congrats Noel!

FEB072144 OMEGA FLIGHT #1 CWI (OF 5) 2.99
Speaking of Canadiana, seeing as how Alpha Flight has been treated over the past 10 years or so, at best I hope this just doesn’t out-and-out suck. I don’t have high hopes. Actually, it’s not so much that I care–am I a bad Canadian if I admit to not giving a shit about Alpha Flight?–but that I’d really rather not hear about how bad it sucks from the customers at the store. Actually, I probably didn’t order enough of this one either…

This was a pretty darned good little mini-series. Glad to see that there’s finally a trade paperback.

Complete shipping list behind the cut…

Continue reading Shipping April 4th, 2007

Three Diversions of Note

We can’t be reading, blogging, and thinking comics all the time, right? Right? Whilst surfing the interweb, I came across three great little flash games that I figured would be of interest to you reading here. Please note though, they’re incredibly diverting, probably too much so, so if you’ve got a deadline you might just want to come back and check these out after it’s safely past.

Note: All of these games probably require either Adobe Flash 8, or Adobe Flash 9. It’s a free download.

5 Minutes To Kill Yourself

1. 5 Minutes To Kill Yourself –
Courtesy of Adult Swim, the fine folks who grace us with The Venture Bros. and Harvey Birdman: Atourney at Law, and fucking curse us with The Aqua Teen Hunger Force, comes a game that’s so good it’s meta. You’re a bored office-drone throwing your life away in one of a million identical cubicles, while the collection of freaks that makes up your co-workers jabber on about inane nonsense. It’s enough to make you wanna take that stapler and jam it right into your eye-socket. Well now you can! You’re in control of a virtual office-drone, and you must get him killed in 5 minutes or less! Say the wrong thing to a co-worker, pee on some faulty electrical equipment, push the guys in I.T. over the edge or just pick up that stapler! The clock is ticking, and it’s either suicide or one more stupid meeting about nothing that will go on forever. It’s like “My Dad: The Virtual Simulator”. Awesome.

Desktop Tower Defence

2. Desktop Tower Defence –

We’ve all been bored at work, and maybe imagined the collection of paperclips, erasers, and other detrious that adorned our desks were little invading armies. You know: The erasers have to defend the rubber bands from the invading staples? Maybe it’s just me. That won’t stop you from enjoying Desktop Tower Defence. Essentially, little enemies are entering the screen from the top and the left, and you need to situate little towers that will fire things at them and stop them from reaching the other side of the screen. Each tower can also be upgraded for better range and to do more damage, and some towers can slow down enemies, or are stronger against enemies in the air or on the ground. In short, it’s like a really nerdy table-top RPG, but completely animated and really strategy oriented. It’s great fun, and an addictive time-waster. After 5 tries I was able to beat it… on easy. I’m kind of afraid of what HARD is gonna be like.

Understanding Games

3. Understanding Games – 

We’ve had McCloud’s Understand Comics, and John Kovalic took a stab at Understanding Gamers in his Dork Tower series, but we’ve yet to see anyone attempt the same thing for Video Games, or at least, I’ve yet to see it. But why would a text on the nature of video games be a book? Why wouldn’t it be… a video game? It is! The people at ‘Pixelate Environment’ have created Understanding Games, a series of informative flash games that talk about the nature of gaming (if that’s too techy/nerdy for you, just think of them as ‘chapters’). Starting at the very basics of gaming and what games are, and gaining in difficulty of both concept and execution as the series moves forward, these are really informative, thoughtful examinations of what makes a game. There’s even some semiotics in there. It’s got a lot of potential, and I hope new installments make their way to the net soon. Check out Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 now.

I hope I’ve sufficiently ruined your productivity for the next day or two. All of these links were grabbed from Kotaku, a video-game blog sponsored by Gawker. Check’em out.

– Chris

On Entitlement

So today I broke a girl’s heart.

It’s not the first, despite my ‘delicate’ nature, and it probably won’t be the last. But this one was different, because the girl in question was only… 17.

“Do you want to see my sketchbook?” She asked me. “I don’t care, I’ll show you anyway.”

PopImage Volume 1 Book Cover - By Aman ChaudharyBefore I worked for The Beguiling, my job title at the last comic book store could more appropriately be described as “Comic Book Bartender” rather than “clerk”. This is because, in addition to dispensing the poison of the customer’s choice–Pokemon Cards, Action Figures, Warhammer, T-Shirts, Anime, or somtimes even comics–I was also the guy behind the counter that listened to your problems, offered you open-ended, non-comittal advice, and was a friendly face in a world that hated and feared you. Customers would spend quite a bit more time at that store, just hanging out. The boss didn’t mind as long as they spent money, and I provided a wonderful little co-dependent service for them. Did I mention I wasn’t very happy, in general, back then? Anyway.

Every once in a while, I would get marginally more involved with someone’s life. Either I would ‘make friends’ with select individuals at the store, or I’d actually give the tough advice that would be helpful, in the end, but probably a little harder to hear in the short-term. Sometimes I even picked up! At the comic store! Whoo! I’ve got a few really good friends from those days, people who I really love and treasure, but many of them? I feel like an asshole for saying this, but many of the people I spent hours and hours and hours talking to, I wouldn’t recognize if I passed them on the street. But yeah, I put a lot of time in with people, and one of the big areas of discussion was “how do I break into comics?”

At that time I had the excellent cache of being ‘an expert’. I’d been published as a colourist, I’d interviewed a bunch of big-name creators for PopImage, and I could draw. Not great, but a hell of a lot better than I can draw now. So, knowing this, people would show me their art, or story pitches, or whatever, and say “What do you think?”

  • Rule #1: No one ever wants to know what you actually think.
  • Rule #2: Only 1 in a 1000 artists is going to break into the comics industry without any formal training. It won’t be the person I’m talking to.

I never met an artist who ‘broke in’ without formal training. Most of the artists who showed me their stuff were convinced that they were going to be that one though, which was harrowing. So I did a lot of tip-toeing around the issues. I recommended post-secondary education, a lot. Life-drawing. Specific areas of improvement (“Draw Feet. And Hands. And Backgrounds.”) I tried to put people in touch with other people when I could. I tried to be open, and friendly, and supportive, but honest. And I was trying to steal as much as I could because I wanted to draw for a living too. 🙂

I never sent anyone out of the store unhappy, we always had a good conversation and, like I said, I developed friendships with some of them. Alex Milne and James Raiz were both friends from that time, and they’re both working professionally in comics today, which is great. We see each other at conventions every once in a while, and catch up on how things are going, career-wise. Let’s just say that the pages Alex was doing that Pat Lee was signing his name to, they didn’t come as much of a surprise to me, but unfortunately it wasn’t my place to say anything. I do have good memories from my employment there, mostly the time spent interacting with customers, and it did help me develop a lot of the skills I’d need for later in life. People-skills, mostly…

So against my will this girl flashes her sketchbook at me.

“I only need to learn to draw hands,” she says, handing me the book. “They’re hard. I’m really great otherwise.”

I’ve posted about fangirl entitlement before. Mostly it comes up in relation to yaoi, and the fans therof. Straight girls and women deciding to boldy stake a claim on homosexual sex, logic or cultural appropriation be damned. But I invite all of my non-manga readers to really spend a day visiting anime and manga fandom: It’s fucking monstrous. You’ll find many of the most reprehensible children imaginable, running wild across forae that encourage their stupidity and encouraging a sort of fake-drama-based high school clique system that rules every facet of their lives. I hate to say this, but the Newsarama commenters, as attrocious as they are, don’t hold a candle to some of the bullshit I’ve seen.

To say that this girl had an air of entitlement about her work would be something of an understatement.

The thing is, she was very good at what she was doing; she’d refined her one very cartoony character design with different hair styles bleeding off the bottom edge of the page so as not to draw feet/legs to a “T”. She did that for roughly 200 pages, actually, venturing outside of her niche to attempt a more realistic figure three times, and to do 4 or 5 pages of heads floating in space. True to her word, she could not draw hands, as they were most often circles at the end of arm-tubes. When she initially said she couldn’t draw hands, I recommended she check out the Bridgeman DRAWING DYNAMIC HANDS on the main floor. This was a mistake, as I should’ve just told her to try drawing her hand 4 or 500 times, just to get a start.

So, where did I begin? By flipping through every page without saying anything at all. Honestly, I wanted to see how long she’d had the book, and if she showed any development or variation at all, before I opened my mouth. She took that differentlt, as while this happened, her opinion of her work changed dramatically.

I draw cartoons for my school newspaper.”

“Uh, you don’t like these do you?”

“I’m not very good at faces.”

I didn’t get up this morning, looking to break some girl’s heart. She’s even a nice kid, a regular customer. But she’s really into the yaoi, and the online thing, and when she and a few friends are in the store the squealing and the decibel levels rise, and I realise the kind of fan community that she’s a part of. It’s one that is all-supporting, all-encompasing, and completely unlikely to give her any constructive feedback whatsoever. Obviously.

So I decided, then and there, that this would be the first customer in quite some time that I would actually help, like I used to. So I did. I offered constructive criticism along the following lines that I think might be helpful to most artists:

  • “You look like you’re Drawing all of the surface elements of manga and anime, without thinking about WHY you’re drawing them. Specifically, highlights in anime-style eyes, blush/form lines on cheeks, etc.”
  • “You’re not doing any under-drawing at all. No guidelines, no skeletons, nothing. That’s a huge problem.”
  • “You’ve totally written off your art classes as not teaching you anything, but it looks like you’re not doing any figure drawing, or backgrounds, or characters in a three dimensional space, or any non-people objects. All of that stuff is what art class is good for.”
  • “You’re not pushing yourself to get better. You’re comfortable drawing what you’re drawing, and you’ve done it for 200 pages here, but if you want to draw what you see in your head, you need to try and actually draw it.”
  • I then re-drew a picture in her book on a piece of scrap paper with a ballpoint pen in 30 seconds to show her how she could easily improve her drawings with a little bit more planning, and it was better than most of her work.

How to Draw Anime and Game Characters Volume 1I didn’t break her heart at that point, but I may have destroyed her whole world.

I motioned her to follow me over to the ‘How To Draw Manga’ books. She was nowhere near any of the advanced stuff, so instead I showed her How To Draw Anime and Game Characters Volume 1, which is probably the best intro-to-manga book on the market. Translated from the Japanese, and featuring all of the basics of figure-drawing, anime stylization, perspective, faces, posture, and design detail. It’s a solid book, and the only thing you really need to put into it is practice; it’s not teaching you anything wrong. I showed her how the under-drawings worked, how to use guidelines, how to move characters around three dimensionally. She seemed to be ‘getting’ it, and finally connecting the dots between what she was taught in art class, and what she actually liked to do with art. This is a HUGE chasm, by the way, for most artists.

“My parents really want me to go to Sheridan. I always thought I’d study history, but I really want to go!”

Sheridan College is a local school that has one of the top five computer animation programs in the world. They also have a highly-regarded illustration program. It’s a pretty top-notch school.

“I’m really sorry,” I said. “But I don’t think you’re ready for Sheridan right now. If you work really, really hard for the next 7 months, you could get in to their Art Fundimentals course, on the road to illustration, but I don’t think if you applied now, you would get in.”

Actually, I knew she wouldn’t get in. I was being nice. Her face dropped.

My friend Jim Zubkavich is the director of the Animation Program at Seneca College, another highly-regarded local school. Every six months or so, he posts his reaction to the portolios of work submitted to get into the Animation program. Every six months or so, we are treated to a truly hilarious, cringe-inducing post that makes you wonder how in the hell these people got as far as they did in life without anyone opening a window and letting the blinding rays of truth shine on their work. Selections from Jim’s most recent post include:

  • Having letters of reference from your high school art teacher, your school librarian, the manager at your part-time job and your family doctor is all well and good I guess, but when the actual artwork is extremely poor after delving through all that rah-rah cheerleading, it’s a bit comical.
  • Disproportionate limbed anime fantasy katana-wielding caped screaming Dragonball-headed dude: It’s a genre all its own.
  • I know you want your shoujo winged angel anime dude to look relaxed but the sword lazily slung over his shoulder looks like it’s impaling him in the head.
  • Writing ‘I have trouble with perspective drawing’ on your room drawings is honest, and I appreciate honesty, but it doesn’t bolster your case.
  • Tracing hand pictures from a sign language book doesn’t show me that you can draw hands.
  • I almost thought I was going to get through a whole batch of applications without seeing a bad drawing of a crying girl holding a rose while floating in empty space. Unfortunately not.

Heh. You really oughtta check those posts out for yourself. But the best part is in his post from a month or so earlier, where he talks about what the submission process is really like:

“The tough part comes in understanding how much hard work that will be for some people. If you work hard and you still aren’t making it, then a lot more hard work is required. There is no motto that states “Your hard work will be the same or less than anyone else who has ever succeeded”… Do the research, look at your work and be honest about where it’s at. I’m not saying this to be mean. I don’t think I know everything, but I have a decent idea of where my skill falls on the ladder and what I can and can’t do at this point. I wish my skills were stronger, but wishing alone doesn’t make them better. Blaming someone else doesn’t improve them either. It’s not like a I sit around cackling like Doctor Doom raising up or destroying people’s lives as they apply to get into this course.” – Jim Zubkavich

Once Upon A Time I Used To DrawSo I totally broke her heart. Lower-lip quivvering and everything.

“Yeah, I know,” she said. “I know my stuff isn’t good enough to get in.”

I’m not the devil you know. I’m not. I could see that, despite giving her the same talk I’d given dozens of times about paying attention and working hard, about the realities of being a working professional in art or illustration, gleaned from having roughly 250 friends currently making a living from art or illustration, not to mention knowing lots of people employed in art instruction, despite all of that, she’d just never heard it before and she was not taking it well.

Change in strategy!

“I don’t think your work isn’t good enough to get in right now,” I said. “You’ve shown a lot of dedication here, filled up hundreds of sketchbook pages in no time and the stuff that you like to draw, you do pretty well! You’re just not pushing yourself as an artist. You’ve got the dedication, now you really need to concentrate on improving all of the stuff that needs to be improved. I think that if you put the same energy into learning and improving as you do on drawing already, you’d be ready to apply for Sheridan’s art fundementals course by the winter, and that’s a good first step.”

“You think so?” Fighting back a tear.

“Yeah, I really do. You have lots of friends, get them to pose for you. Draw from life more, and see if it’s not too late to get back into your highschool art class, and learn whatever they’ll teach you, it’s a lot more useful than you think.”

“Okay, yeah,” she said, and I started to feel a little better. She even cracked a smile.

We chatted a little as she packed up her sketchbook, about things to work on in general and places to talk about art online, social circles and the like. I told her that I’d more-or-less given up on my artistic dreams, but she had about 12 years on me and could do whatever she wanted with her life, as long as she was prepared to work for it. She seemed in better spirits, and when I went to put the How To Draw Anime and Game Characters Volume 1 back on the shelf, and she actually snatched it from my hand, and then paid for it. That’s a pretty good sign, I think. Her heart might just be on the mend.

So how was your day at work?

– Christopher

References: PopImage Volume 1, How To Draw Anime & Game Characters 1.
Bottom art: I drew that 4 years ago.

Top 20 Canadian Frontlist Comics & Graphic Novels Sales

Negima Volume 13 CoverEveryone loves sales lists! According to Canadian Book Industry periodical Quill & Quire and the graphic novel sales tracking agency Booknet, these are the top 20 frontlist comics and graphic novels sold for the two weeks ending March 11th. This is based on titles first published in August 2006 or later.

This isn’t a regular feature at Quill & Quire, and this information is actually locked behind a subscriber wall. But I figured industry watchers might appreciate a look-see as to what’s selling in Canada.

As to what’s selling? The answer is manga, and most of the titles that you might expect. I remember this list being a lot more Tokyopop-heavy the last time I checked, so it looks like Viz’ Canadian Distributors Simon & Shuster have made significant inroads into the Canadian market over the last 12 months, armed with strong properties like Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, and Full Metal Alchemist.

This reporting is based on Canada’s BookNet Canada Reporting Service, which tracks “over 600 retail locations”. Graphic novels, as a category, are considerably less developed in Canada than in the U.S., and I’d say that the Direct Market here would probably makes a considerably larger impression on the sales charts than the DM in the U.S. would. Of course, most direct market stores here are ordering the totallity of their graphic novels through Diamond as specialty booksellers, so… Anyway, here’s the list:

1. Negima! Volume 13, Ken Akamatsu
(Random House, $13.95 pa, 9780345495051)

2. Tsubasa Volume 12, Clamp
(Random House, $13.95 pa, 9780345485328)

3. Best of Pokemon Adventures: Red, Hidenori Kusaka
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $9.99 pa, 9781424509280)
They got the ISBN wrong, it’s actually 978-1-4215-0928-0

4. Naruto, Masashi Kishimoto
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $9.99 pa 9784421509280)
This ISBN doesn’t exist at all. I’m guessing this is Volume 12, but I have no idea.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 11, Hiromu Arakawa
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $11.71 pa, 9781421508382)

6. Bleach Volume 17, Tite Kubo
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $9.32 pa, 9781421510415)

7. Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories Volume 2, Shiro Amano
(TOKYOPOP/HarperCollins Canada, $12.50 pa, 9781598166385)

8. Best of Pokemon Adventures: Yellow, Hidenori Kusaka
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $10.99 pa, 9781421509297)

9. Death Note Volume 9, Tsugumi Ohba
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $9.36 pa, 9781421506302)

10. Vampire Knight Volume 1, Matsuri Hino
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $10.54 pa, 9781421508221)

11. Justice Volume 1, Alex Ross
(DC Comics/H.B. Fenn and Company, $26.99 cl, 9781401209698)

12. Fruits Basket Volume 15, Natsuki Takaya
(TOKYOPOP/HarperCollins Canada, $12.99 pa, 9781598160239)

13. The Marvel Encyclopedia, Tom De Falco
(Dorling Kindersley/Tourmaline Editions, $50 cl, 9780756623586)

14. Death Note Volume 8, Tsugumi Ohba
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $9.99 pa, 9781421506296)

15. Scrum Bums: A Get Fuzzy Collection, Darby Conley
(Andrews McMeel Publishing/Canadian Manda Group, $13.95 pa, 9780740750014)

16. Naruto Volume 11, Masashi Kishimoto
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $10.99 pa, 9781421502410)

17. Death Note Volume 7, Tsugumi Ohba
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $10.99 cl, 9781421506289)

18. Absolute Boyfriend Volume 3, Yuu Watase
(Viz Media/Simon & Schuster Canada, $10.54 pa, 9781421510033)

19. Infinite Crisis HC, Geoff Johns
(DC Comics/H.B. Fenn and Company, $33.99 cl, 9781401209599)

20. Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories Vol. 1, Amano Shiro
(TOKYOPOP/HarperCollins Canada, $12.99 pa, 9781598166378)

(Note: I have added additional information on titles and volume numbers where available.) 

For more information on this sort of thing, visit and the Quill & Quire Blog at Their prices are really reasonable if you’d like to sign up for this sort of info.

– Christopher

I’m Here, I’m Queer, Get Interested In It.

Fun Home CoverSo I’m not a fan of the GLAAD media awards.

I went on about this a few years back, but essentially GLAAD is the “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defimation” and every year they hand out awards for positive portrayal of queers in the media. Films, TV Series, News Programmes, whatever. Comic Books too, actually, and it’s the comic book section that really pisses me off. Why? GLAAD’s mandate pushes ‘mainstream’ or ‘visible’ material over quality material. So if something is really great and really queer, but say published by Oni Press, wheras something is mediocre on every level (including queer representation) but is published by DC Comics? DC gets the award. For Example:

Past Winners:
2006: Young Avengers, Marvel Comics
2005: Luba, Fantagraphics
2004: Catwoman, DC Comics
2003: Green Lantern, DC Comics
2002: Green Lantern, DC Comics
2001: Supergirl, DC Comics
2000: Supergirl, DC Comics

Yeah, congrats to Gilbert Hernandez and Luba, but that’s pretty odd and uninspiring company Gilbert finds himself in.

This year’s nominees for Best Comics are:

52 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid (DC Comics)
American Virgin by Steven T. Seagle (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
Manhunter by Marc Andreyko (DC Comics)
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn (Vertigo/DC Comics)

Which… With two queer authors and an actual book about queer issues, fills me with a hope that will almost certainly be dashed against the rocks when Y: The Last Man wins, but something like 52 even being nominated makes me more than a little queesy. I even like Greg Rucka and the Montoya character, but that series is neither of their finest hours.

But to get to the point of this post? It looks like the gay media is sick of supporting these awards, when the gay media are completely unlikely to get anything out of them. From the Queerty blog:

“Gay cable network here! isn’t having GLAAD‘s straight-washing of their Media Awards. Despite describing itself as dedicated to “promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of [LGBT] people and events in the media”, the watchdog group refuses to include gay programming in their nominations. To protest this queer contradiction, here! has yanked their support of the annual event.”

There are a lot of apologists for GLAAD’s mission statement and the awards themselves, but honestly? I’m glad a gay organisation finally stood up and against the awards as they stand. They’re effectively celebrating portrayals of gay people as either stereotypes or cartoons, and their celebrity worship at the expense of shining a spotlight onto smaller, more deserving works ranks pretty high on my own social injustice meter. In this specific instance, shutting out queer programming by queers in favour of truly dreadful crap like, oh, Brothers & Sisters is just… blaaaaaaaaaah.

I think a connected, political, entertainment-oriented organisation for Queers is important, and even telling Kevin Smith that he’s being a jack-ass at the risk of looking out-of-touch doesn’t bother me. But (to mangle a metaphor) they’ve got a huge voice and a big pulpit, and instead of Proselytizing to the masses they’re preaching to the choir.

– Christopher
P.S.: No manga? What the hell?
P.P.S.: Thanks to Dorian for the tip.

Shipping March 28th, 2007

Alice in SunderlandHi there folks. These are the comics that are scheduled to ship to The Beguiling Books & Art in Toronto, Canada this week. These books may not show up at all retailers at the same time, but if you see a title here it’s probably at least worth asking your local retailer about… 

Kind of a small week this week, overall, but there are some really solid books on the list. This looks to be the week that DramaQueen finally starts shipping their manga through Diamond, though due to Canadian customs issues I have no idea if any of their titles besides Audition are going to ship. But as far as graphic novels go, there are a couple of solid, high-profile releases worth noting.

OCT060027 ALICE IN SUNDERLAND GN (C: 0-1-2) 29.95
This is the new graphic novel by Bryan Talbot, but between the digitally painted cover art and the solicitation text that doesn’t actually say anything at all, I have no idea what this is actually going to be. It sounds completely outside of Talbot’s ouevre, at least so far as I’m familiar with it, and at least the solicit text is helpful enough to say that it’s “like no graphic novel before it”, so perhaps I’m not alone in feeling lost. The Beguiling is set to be doing an even with Mr. Talbot in April, which admittedly makes me even more anxious about this one, as we have an awful lot of fans of One Bad Rat looking forward to this new book and I’ve no idea whatsoever if it will appeal…


Just a heads-up, the second printings on these titles are in fact shipping this week. We’re now out of our reorder of Buffy first prints, and probably a day or two away from sold-out on the Captain America #25s.

The first ‘work for hire’ from The Centre for Cartoon Studies makes it’s debut this week, a graphic novella on the life of Harry Houdini. Call it ‘confluence’ if you like, but this morning there was a feature on the news about the mysterious death of Houdini, and a new examination of it. Coupled with the popularity of modern day illusionists like David Blaine and Criss Angel, not to mention films like The Illusionist and The Prestige, and I think there might just be a groundswell of interest in this material, so good on Hyperion for being just at the top of the curve there.

The work is illustrated by Nick Bertozzi over layouts from Jason Lutes, and Lutes’ early graphic novel Jar Of Fools features themes of illusion and Houdini, making for a nice companion-piece to this new work. Bertozzi also has a controversial graphic novel named The Salon coming out later this year; my employer has read it and says it’s outstanding. So, confluence being what it is, it looks like a heck of a lot of factors are going to go into making this one a success. Let’s see if I call it correctly or not…

You can see a preview of the Houdini: Handcuff King as Nick Bertozzi’s website,

NOV063528 OH SKINNAY HC 24.95
I’ve had a chance to see this and it’s a lovely book; a new edition of the original lovingly restored by Drawn & Quarterly. I’ve read about 20 pages and it’s just sort of… lovely. A gentle, affectionate celebration of youth. Also, in the vein of D&Q’s lovely Gasoline Alley reprints, this edition features an excellent afterword on cartoonist Claire Briggs that will be of note to classic cartooning fans. Actually, I may as well just steal the photo from the Drawn & Quarterly blog:

Oh, Skinnay! With Bonus Tom Devlin hand.

Pictured: Tom Devlin’s hand, Claire Briggs’ book. Photo by Tom Devlin.

It’s Previews time again… I think I’m going to do a Previews Review on this if it kills me. Hopefully it won’t. As for the covers? Fear Agent and Sinestro Corps. At least one of them is creator-owned…

JAN073851 TACTICS VOL 1 GN (OF 8) 9.99
Giving hope to manga fans, TACTICS is one of the many manga started by ADV and then abandoned after a volume or two, when ADV figured out they didn’t know what the hell they were doing, and now it’s back! From Tokyopop! Rejoice! Maybe ADV will finally drop the license for Yotsuba, and a publisher who actually, you know, publishes, will put out volumes 4 through 6. And maybe a new printing of 1-3… that certainly wouldn’t hurt…

The rest of this week’s shipping list is behind the cut:

Continue reading Shipping March 28th, 2007

Friday Morning

“My second thought is that I choose not to read free downloads because it seems in almost every case to be against the wishes of the creators or the people to whom they’ve ceded those decision-making rights. I’m not sure when that stopped mattering. I’m also pretty certain that second-guessing this, deciding you know what’s better for someone else’s creation, is kind of arrogant.”

– Tom Spurgeon,

Thanks for summing that up for me Tom, I’d been meaning to get to that for a little while.

I have to say though, I’m a bit of a hypocrite in this regard. I’m not morally or ethically opposed to reading stuff that simply isn’t available for me to buy, the grey-area material like Scanlations and Legally Contentious Material That Is Unlikely To Be Published. But yeah, this week’s She-Hulk? When the dude asks you to actually spend money on it, if you like it? That’s a pretty easy choice for me. I know too many creative people for whom even a few hundred dollars of lost sales is a rent cheque for them, a rent cheque that they desperately need.

– Christopher

Drawn & Quarterly Solicitations: June 2007

The following books appear in the April 2007 PREVIEWS catalogue, and will begin shipping in in June 2007 to better comic book stores everywhere. 

Spent HCSpent
By Joe Matt
Hardcover book, 6.5 x 9.25 inches, 132 two-color pages.

Meet the original antihero Joe Matt: a master of a domain that includes over twenty-three self-edited eight-hour-long videotapes of bootlegged pornography; a penny-pincher who never fails to make a dime off his friends; a chronic masturbator who doesn’t understand why he never has a girlfriend; an obsessive collector frantically searching for the toys of his childhood; a callous son who throws out every gift his adoring mother gives him; a man so lazy that he urinates in a bottle rather than walk to the bathroom. SPENT is Joe Matt’s first new trade hardcover in years, and it collects in a re-edited and re-colored form his best storyline from the past 4 issues of Peepshow. Also offered here are other Joe Matt classics, Fair Weather and The Poor Bastard.


Look for “Offered Again” Titles Behind the cut.


Continue reading Drawn & Quarterly Solicitations: June 2007

Never Safe For Work