3:00pm: Continuing on from yesterday.
Sorry i got a late start, I was actually finishing my Marvel numbers. Did you know that, not counting posters, Marvel has 215 line items of product this month? Lots of variant covers in there, but it all takes time to count, and rack. I checked the previews order from 3 years ago and there were only 113 line items. They’ve doubled their output in 3 years, which is… well, it explains why there’s so little space on our shelves. But, and here’s the kicker, we’re only ordering about 15% more Marvel books total. A 90% increase in line items for a 15% increase in sales. That’s fucked-up.
3:02pm: Actually, speaking of continuing on from yesterday, I was pretty gung-ho about the Adam Hughes artbook COVER RUN from DC yesterday, but a commenter pointed out the ‘fine print’ of the solicit, that the book isn’t complete but is instead a ‘best of’, AND it’s printed at regular comic book size. At 208 pages for $40 for an incomplete book, my estimation of the project has dropped considerably… as have my sales. So, sorry I got that one wrong, I’ll go back and ammend after I get this done.
3:05pm: Okay, so here we are on page 186! It’s good to see GROWING UP ENCHANTED in print again, as it was an early for-kids series that maybe was ahead of the graphic novel curve. Luckily AAM Markosia is bringing the work back as a graphic novel, $9.95, 112 pages. Hopefully we can get it locally as well (I think the creators are in Ottawa) because Diamond’s discount on Markosia is pretty awful. :-/
Meanwhile, same page, TERRY MOORE’S ECHO continues with a fourth collection, COLLIDER, for $16. Moore’s quick, non-arc oriented 5 issue collections are really handy at keeping the series in print for both audiences, I kind of wish more serial comics guys were following his model. I guess Jeff Smith is with his collections every 3 issues, but those aren’t coming out at quite the same pace as Moore’s new series.
And a couple of reprints (same page)! SLG has a new printing of perennial favourite JONNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC: DIRECTOR’S CUT for $21.95, and Phil Foglio’s Airship Entertainment has a long-awaited new printing of GIRL GENIUS VOLUME 2 for $22.95. Oh, and I mis-read. GIRL GENIUS VOLUME 9: AGATHA HETERODYNE AND THE HEIRS OF THE STORM is in fact all new, and comes in a $22.95 softcover or a $48.95 hardcover.
3:23pm: And here we are, page 192 and Avatar seems to have just-about their cleanest layout ever. It’s still not… good. Like I still don’t think their guys have any design training (inconsistent margins are the obvious giveaway), but, yeah, at least I can tell which solicit refers to which book. On that note, book of the month from them is THE LITTLEST ZOMBIE #1, because zombies still sell and it’s written and drawn by Fred perry (Gold Digger), and his fans will buy anything he does (as long as he does the whole thing). Ben Dunn’s… tightly… photo ref’d Robin Hood is just weird.
3:27pm: So, I don’t know how to say this because… well, I have a lot of friends doing licensed books. But seriously? Archaia’s FRAGGLE ROCK #1 may be one of the nicest-looking licensed books of ALL TIME. The image in the previews catalogue is pretty shitty, it doesn’t look even half as good as the preview art I saw, so i went and grabbed the cover from the website. Check this out:
Like, where do you even start with that? They’re photo-reference digital painting fraggles. That’s fucking gorgeous. Those are some pretty, pretty Fraggles. Oh, and you can click for larger.
Anyway, FRAGGLE ROCK #1 is $3.95, 32 pages, and follows on the free comic book day preview story.
3:46pm: The “Tasty” cover of Crossed #7 features baby-eating. But more fucked up than that.
3:57pm: Just realized I haven’t really had a lot to say about the last few pages. I do think that it’s neat that Page 230 has STAN DRAKE’S THE HEART OF JULIET JONES VOL 1 from Classic Comics Press. That should make a few of our customers very happy indeed… And who would’ve thought that Mary Perkins On Stage would’ve gone for 7 volumes now?
4:37pm: Jeez, sorry folks. I do this while working at the store, and sometimes I gotta stop typing and stop ordering comics and help some customers out. It makes my job a little harder, but at least I am helping the customers out… Oh, and we’re also putting in tons of new shelving at the moment, so it’s noisy as fuck in here. Ah well.
So where were we?
Page 235 has KEVIN SMITH’S GREEN HORNET #2, though the first issue actually drops tomorrow and I’m really anxious about how it’s going to sell. I kinda wish I could set my numbers after seeing the actual in-shop reaction. What makes me doubly anxious is that this month D.E. launch two more Green Hornet Ongoing Series, YEAR ONE and KATO. I hear next month they launch two more.
Remember what I said up top about Marvel Comics releasing twice as many series for an extremely marginal increase in sales? These are the lessons that the industry is learning, and it’s a fucking nightmare… particularly if you’re trying to figure out how to order this shit.
5:08pm: Fuck, it is busy today.
So we’re on page 258, Gestalt publishing has “Changing Ways” by a fella named Justin Randall. It looks alright, but I almost 0′d out my order for it. Why? Because the solicit information is a plot synopsis. It doesn’t tell me anything about why I should order a 120 page book for $18. I’d never heard of it before page 258 of the previews catalogue. I googled the author, and his homepage is the first search result for his name (good for him). It’s a photo-ref’d work, looks a little Ben Templesmithy in a good way. It turns out this creator has pro credits on: “30 Days of Night, Silent Hill, The Executioner, Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday, 24Seven, Popgun, and Flinch” amongst other stuff, and he’s a University lecturer and commercial illustrator. All of that would’ve been a lot more helpful to me, when it came to ordering this book, than a sort-of interesting plot synopsis. That “volume 1″ on the cover is a piss-off too, because it implies that this 120 pages for $18 isn’t even a complete story.
So, yeah. I am an open-minded retailer, but even I’m not ordering everything in the catalogue. Pubs, creators, SELL ME on your work, on your book as a project. Don’t just pitch me on the story, because that’s just not enough. I need to know if your stuff is gonna sell.
More on Changing Ways at http://www.changingwaysbook.com/.
SQUEEEEEE. LAST UNICORN COMICS. IDW, page 259, 4 issue mini-series for $3.99 each. I’m likely going to wait for the trade on this one, but man, does this thing look pretty. That’s the Variant cover by Frank Stockton, the regular cover is lovely too.
EDIT: 8:39pm: The writer of KILL SHAKESPEARE #1 (page 263, IDW, 32 pages for 3.99) showed up to remind me that his book exists. Seriously, I am very sorry for having forgotten it. We’re ordering like a hundred copies. We’re doing a special signing with the entire creative team, including writers mcCreery and Del Col, Artist Andy Belanger, and Cover Artist Kagan McLeod, to celebrate the release of the first issue. It’s basically Shakespeare’s characters meets Marvel’s SECRET WARS, where they all end up on an island together and fight. It sounds great, we’re totally excited about it, and my excuse for having missed it on the first pass is that it was my 400th consecutive page of solicits (counting Marvel’s book) without a break.
Anyway! Seriously, check it out, it should be really neat. Website at http://killshakespeare.com/
5:23pm: Page 264? Sorry IDW, you heard mommy. No more Wire Hangers.
5:24pm: “I am shocked by the world’s appetite for Ashley Wood,” says my co-worker, and I may agree with him but I’m still looking forward to ASHLEY WOOD’S FUCK IT! #1, a 12×12 inch magazine assembled by Wood and co. I am expecting to sell quite a few of this one, as it’s about all kinds of artists (including Wood), and we haven’t really hit the ceiling yet for cool art magazines. I’m sure it’s coming though. 48 pages, $9.99, page 264.
5:35pm: Holy shit a Danger Girl HC. Coming in between Absolute Danger Girl ($75 360 pages, 8.5×13), and the softcover Danger Girl Ultimate Collection ($20, 256 pages, 7×10) is IDW’s new edition, DANGER GIRL: THE DELUXE EDITION HC ($50, 262 pages, 8×12). With a cheap softcover still in print from DC and 10,000 copies of the Absolute out there with another 100 pages of bonus material… I have no idea who the audience for this is supposed to be. And I’m actually a Danger Girl fan (secret shame, I know I know).
5:46pm: And IDW closes out their section with one of my picks for book-of-the-month with SWORD OF MY MOUTH, the new graphic novel from Jim Munroe and Shanon Gerard. Set in the same world as Munroe’s hit graphic novel THEREFORE, REPENT! the book follows survivors of what some people believe to be “The Rapture” to the burned out hollow of Detroit. Munroe’s first graphic novel (with Salgood Sam on art duties) is a great read, and I’m expecting similarly great things from this new sci-fi/fantasy entry. Don’t let the religious tagline of the series, A POST-RAPTURE GRAPHIC NOVEL, fool you. This isn’t about religion so much as it’s about humanity and belief, and it’s great.
Full disclosure: Jim has become a friend over the years of working here at The Beguiling, and SWORD OF MY MOUTH is likely to debut at or around TCAF this year. I’d buy it anyway though :)
6:11pm: Actually, I forgot to type anything this time, and got ahead of myself. Speaking of TCAF dudes, Dash Shaw’s BODYWORLD HC is on page 283, and it’s gonna run $27.95 for 384 pages. It’s going to collect Shaw’s outstanding webcomic, and by all accounts the package is going to be as fascinating as the contents. Good stuff.
Same page, RAW Jr has the third Benny & Penny kids book, THE TOY BREAKER, which sounds kind of hilarious and amazing. $12.95 in HC.
6:16pm: Top Shelf has got a whole bunch of Swedish cartoonists with new work this month, which is really exciting! A bunch of pro-level guys with interesting artistic styles. I’m pretty excited about these books. For more on all of them, head over to Top Shelf’s recently re-designed website at http://www.topshelfcomix.com/news/521.
6:19pm: Because of the way I order manga (months and months in advance), my immense enthuiasm for the new SigIkki solicitations in this issue of Previews has dulled somewhat. But that said, I’ve greatly enjoyed all I’ve read of I’LL GIVE IT MY ALL TOMORROW by Shunju Aono and SATURN APARTMENTS VOLUME 1 by Hisae Iwaoka ($12.99 each, about 200 pages, page 301) and I strongly recommend you check them both out. Actually, rather than wait for the books in a few months, here’s yet another reminder to head over to http://sigikki.com and read a bunch of chapters of these, and other series, for free.
6:28pm: As we reach the end of the Comics section, we happen upon the nice folks at Vertical who are bringing Osaum Tezuka’s ODE TO KIRIHITO back into print in two volumes ($14.95, about 400 pages each), which is lovely.
But for hardcore fans, the real news this month is the release of TWIN SPICA VOLUME 1, at 192 pages for just $10.95. So far as I can tell, TWIN SPICA is the spiritual successor, at least for more mature manga fans, to PLANETES the critically accclaimed (though low-selling) sci-fi series from Tokyopop. TWIN SPICA follows a group of teenagers in Japan’s Astronaut vocational school, and sets their everyday lives against the larger concerns of manned interplanetary spaceflight, politics, and social commentary. It’s supposed to be very good, and I have to admit I’m pretty stoked about it now myself… and I really had no interest initially when I saw the cover. I have a feeling this is going to fly under the radars of some sci-fi and manga fans who might otherwise write it off as yet another ‘cute girl’ series, and that would be a shame. Looking forward to the first volume.
Edit: The previews lists this first volume as being 480 pages. That is incorrect.
6:40pm: What the hell, I’m making good time. Let’s go through the books section.
Page 313 & 314 have the first two books in the NATE BANKS novel/comics hybrid series from Scholastic, with art by mini-Marvels creator Chris Giarusso (who apparently doesn’t get cover credit at Scholastic: Lame.)
Page 314 sees the soliciation of ART IN TIME: UNKNOWN COMIC ADVENTURES 1940-1980 HC by Dan Nadel, a sequel to the groundbreaking ART OUT OF TIME collection, which explores a bevvy of pre- and post-code comics that will blow your mind! That’s $40 in hardcover for 300 pages or so, from Abrams. Dan’s going to be at TCAF hyping this one too, which is pretty exciting for me. :)
Page 314 also has the new COMIC HEROES MAGAZINE #1, a movie-oriented magazine from the SFXmagazine people out of the UK. Apparently it comes with free Watchmen 1″ pins, which, if you know about Alan Moore and Watchmen, is kind of hilarious and ironic. 132 page magazine for… whoa! $19.99! Holy shit. How much is that on newstands I wonder?
Page 322 has INSTRUCTIONS, the new children’s book from Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, following up on the spectacular success of their BLUEBERRY GIRL collaboration last year. Instructions will set you back fifteen bucks for 40 pages of beautiful art and what is sure to be a charming story. Oh, and Previews has f’d this one up too, claiming it to be 160 pages. Oh, Previews.
6:59pm: And we’re done.
Well, we’re not done. I still have to go through and add in the customer special orders, then do the data entry and upload. I’ll be here late! But the hard work is over.
Thanks to everyone for reading. Peace out!