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Next: Harajuku.

- Chris


Due to unforgivable oversight, I hadn’t linked Christopher Bird’s website MightyGodKing in the side-bar here… Mr. Bird just showed up in the store here (he’s local) and I recognized my oversight immediately. Anyhow, Chris and I got to talking about the current state of the comics industry and his most recent blog post. I don’t want to misrepresent Mr. Bird’s position so I’ll only talk about my own: I may be a loud-mouthed jerk with a blog, but I know I don’t know better than the creators of my comics when it comes to how those comics are distributed.

I really don’t understand the entitlement of a fan/torrent distributor/comics scanner to say that their desires supercede those of the people who create the work that we’re scanning, distributing, and/or possibly enjoying? I appreciate that Marvel is a terrible corporate and comics citizen, that their online initiative is naive and their promotional interviews are content-free and full of double-speak; it’s all a terrible situation but so what? That doesn’t change the fact that they’re the ones who say what goes with Spider-Man at the end of the day. My frustration extends as far as the end of my nose… and my fingertips as far as the blog is concerned… but no farther than that. Just because Marvel’s comics have a shitty interface or an unwanted run of Gambit comics doesn’t validate my pirating their stuff, it doesn’t excuse or justify it or give me any moral or ethical high-ground. If I’m stealing their IP then I’m a thief, and I either make my peace with that or I don’t, and stop stealing.

Which isn’t to say I’m not a thief, a criminal. We all are, in different ways. Jaywalking, taking a free refill when you’re not supposed to, parking illegally for 5 minutes because “you’re just running in and out”. Whatever, we all break the law every day. The difference is the rhetoric surrounding these infractions and the ones against creators, both ‘real’ and ‘legal’, of our favourite entertainments. In the latter case, it’s a bunch of people screaming very loudly that information wants to be free (or variants thereof) and that the market will sort itself out as long as they get to do whatever they want. In the former case, there is no rhetoric because everyone knows they’re doing something wrong, they’re just taking their chances and maybe donating a few extra dollars to The United Way at Christmas so they feel like a good person.

No matter how egregious, wrong-headed, or flat-out stupid the online policies and initiatives of the publishers of our favourite comics, at the end of the day that’s their business, and they’ll fail or succeed on their merits. Making, hosting, or distributing material that’s illegal? I just don’t have any sympathy for folks getting shut down for that, no matter how good their intentions are.
On the other hand, a work that’s transformative? That parodies, significantly alters, or illuminates an existing work? Excerpts for review? Educational purposes?  Making fun of shit on your blog? Go for it! I’m right there with you! Which is why I wanted to link to Christopher Bird’s MightyGodKing in the first place, because he does superhero comics parodies better and on a more consistent basis than anyone, and he makes me laugh… I just can’t say that I agree with his positions all the time.
- Chris


manara-butterscotch.jpgDude, listen. I’m not a prude, alright? I’m about the most liberal guy you’re going to meet. And in case you didn’t notice? I’m actually SELLING the porn, so clearly, I don’t have that much of a problem with it. Whatever you want to buy is your business, I’m just here to take your money. But do you really have to be so incredibly awkward about buying your porn? Really? Because it’s… it’s making it hard for me to deal with you. Like, stop pretending that you are here for anything other than porn. Yes, you’re very interested in the magazine rack… for about 10 seconds. Let’s also stop pretending that you don’t know EXACTLY WHAT THE NAME OF THE BOOK YOU WANT is, because we both know from your awkward stumbling that you’ve been researching it on the internet for weeks. “I… I think it might be called ______?” Yeah, you think. Good one.

Listen, buddy, whatever floats your boat. I’m even here to put you at ease and facilitate your purchase, but honestly? You’ve gotta acknowledge that you’re buying porn and then move on… because you’re really not making this a very pleasant transaction for either of us.

Thanks.

- Christopher
(P.S.: He kept asking for “Anime” over and over again like he had aspergers, and then I would show him the anime, and then he’d be like “No, I want the Anime books” which is manga, and I’d explain that and… yeah. It turns out in the end he wanted Butterscotch by Milo Manara, which is very not-manga. Now he’s digging through every porn title wanting to take it out of the shrink-wrap… We won’t be doing that. Those are shrink-wrapped for our protection as much as his.)


ageofbronze_vol3_sm.jpgHappy Turkey Day, AMERICANS. Thanks to your little holiday, it seems as though we got The Beguiling’s shipping list a day early. Since everyone has taken the day off, that means I’m probably THE ONLY PERSON UPDATING, and it’s about next week’s comics, which no one can resist! I’ve got 100% marketshare! Quick, bid on my Project: Wonderful ads while they’re only 20 cents!

Ahem.

There’s a fucking ton of comics coming next week. Floppies, manga, graphic novels… Something for everyone and then some. Here are some of the highlights:

MAY071857 AGE OF BRONZE VOL 3 BETRAYAL HC 27.99
MAY071856 AGE OF BRONZE VOL 3 BETRAYAL TP 17.99
Man, I haven’t read this since half-way through the second trade. It’s gorgeous, but it’s so dense and detailed it takes me forever to get through a volume. That’s not a complaint, it’s more like intellectually psyching yourself up to read a real book after you’ve subsisted entirely on PEOPLE Magazine for 4 months… Age Of Bronze is an under-appreciated gem of a book, do your part by picking it up today!

SEP070172 ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #8 2.99
SEP070173 ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN VAR ED #8 2.99
I just don’t understand how people don’t like this.

SEP071981 CASANOVA #11 (MR) 1.99
This story-arc has been excellent. I’ve finally settled in to the Acid-Blue tones of the book, and all of the characters (new and old) are delicious. I hope you’re reading this… it’s only two bucks!

SEP074035 DAN DARE #1 (OF 7) 2.99
I’m really, really curious to see Ennis’ take on this character. I really enjoyed his two WAR STORIES mini-series from Vertigo a few years back, and this feels very similar…

SEP073469 DOC FRANKENSTEIN CVR A #6 3.50
SEP073470 DOC FRANKENSTEIN CVR B #6 3.50
This whole line has been powerfully depressing, because these books are SO GOOD and they dribble out at no pace at all. Still, I’m happy to see a new issue at least.

icewanderer.jpgJUL073549 ICE WANDERER GN (RES) (C: 0-1-2) 21.99
Holy shit, a new Jiro Taniguchi book! Fucking yes. Thank you, Fanfare/Ponent-Mon, for continuing to translate this wonderful nouvelle manga. I wish it sold well enough that we could have a new book every single week. By the way, whether-or-not your local comic book store ordered this book is how you tell a poor-to-average store from a great store. This book, this publisher? They’re the dividing line. Now you know.

From the Fanfare Website (with assistance by Jason Azzopardi:

Lost in the Great North, two men are saved by the appearance of an old hunter who divulges a strange legend to them…Surrounded by wolves and fighting for their survival, two explorers head for Alaska to bury their companion…A marine biologist begins a quest to fi nd the mythical graveyard of whales.

In total six shorts with as many stories of men confronted by savage nature which is sometimes cruel, sometimes forgiving but always vast. Through tales filled with respect for animal life, this splendid collection, which lies at the crossroads of poetry and adventure, shows master storyimager Taniguchi at his award-winning best.

THIS BOOK IS PUBLISHED IN IT’S ORIGINAL JAPANESE FORM THEREFORE SHOULD BE READ FROM RIGHT TO LEFT.

SEP073950 LITTLE SAMMY SNEEZE COMP COLOR SUNDAYS 1904 – 1905 55.00
From the Sunday Press Books website:

Before his remarkable Litttle Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McCay created two strips starring young children. This book features all of the Little Sammy Sneeze color pages (1904-05) plus Hungry Henrietta, McCay’s other comic, which appeared on the back of Sammy in the Sunday New York Herald. The unique style of this book presents two other “flipside” comics of 1904: The Woozlebeasts and The Upside Downs, along with the complete 27-chapter saga of Hungry Henrietta. All digitally restored in the original size and colors.

Sounds pretty great…

SEP073634 NEW TALES OF OLD PALOMAR #3 7.95
That’s weird, usually the Ignatz books ship three to a week. Still, don’t go looking a gift horse in the mouth…
Full shipping list behind the cut:

Keep reading…


inoue-smiling.JPGHey everybody! I just got back from the reason for my little sojourn to New York, a rare in-store appearance of manga-ka Takehiko Inoue, author of Vagabond, Slam Dunk, and Real. The event was part of the opening ceremonies for Kniokuniya Books’ new store location on 6th Avenue across from Bryant Park, and it featured an original mural from Inoue-sensei, and a swank little cocktail party followed. I… I actually got to interview Inoue-sensei and I found him to be a charming, thoughtful creator and it really was a once-in-a-lifetime interaction. The results of my interview will be making their way online in the next little while, but I did take a ton of photos of the event that I’m gonna share with you here… enjoy!

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Kinokuniya’s new location is lovely, and packed to the gills with manga and anime. The location was decked out in Viz schwag and featured a rather nice Inoue boutique selection.

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The centerpiece of the event was this giant mural that greets customers at the top of the escalator. According to reps, each wall took about 3 hours to get to the stage you see them at, and the lower-right side of the standing figure (and the characters eyes) would be finished during the event, in front of an audience.

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Fewer attendees picked up on this much smaller painting in the stairwell… but it’s pretty darned great.

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Before the event got underway, Inoue-sensei gave a number of interviews which should be making their way onto the internet momentarily. From l to r, Takehiko Inoue and Viz Editor and translator Andy Nakatani.

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The show got underway, with Inoue-sensei mixing up his paint and getting ready to finish his mural.

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I can think of fewer things more terrifying than trying to paint a mural to be seen by thousands, and doing it while 30 people are constantly photographing you.

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Following the completion of the mural, representatives from Viz addressed the audience, announcing that in addition to the launch of Inoue’s Slam Dunk in the Shonen Jump line, Viz will be releasing Inoue’s wheelchair-basketball saga REAL this summer, and will be reformatting Vagabond this fall into an omnibus edition that will collect 3 standard-sized volumes in each new volume, as well as releasing both of Inoue-sensei’s artbooks in English language editions. Inoue then addressed the audience directly thanking them for coming, and enjoying his work. Then we toasted! Bubbly for everyone.

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Audience members included indie cartoonist and SVA Professor Tom Hart, and Sva Prof and soon-to-be-Dad Matt Madden.

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Towards the end of the evening super-fabulous designer Chip Kidd arrived and the two artistic gurus conversed and bonded over the galley Kidd brought with him of his new book for Pantheon, a collection of Adam West-inspired 1960s Batman manga! (It looks absolutely AWESOME, by the way.)

Then, like all good things, it came to an end and it was time to go. I snapped a few photos of the finished murals on the way out.

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Congratulations to Kinokuniya on a fabulous new store, and to Viz throwing a wonderful bash celebrating the work and career of Inoue-sensei, a wonderful creator. I’m looking forward to even more-stuffed bookshelves in the coming months.

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Viz’s full press release for the event and the Takehiko Inoue announcements is after the cut:

Keep reading…


It’s wonderful. I’m at a conference for teachers and librarians that I sort of crashed… Why is every singly conference I go to nicer and better-appointed than comics shows? It’s a little depressing. Note to pubs: Splurge on some carpet, your feet (and mine) will thank you for it.

- Christopher


The following comics and graphic novels are scheduled to ship to The Beguiling Books & Art in Toronto, Canada this week. Not all books make it to all retailers at the same time, but if you see something on the list below and not in your local store, it’s probably at least worth asking about.

The big book this week is Angel: After The Fall, the comics-format sequel to the cancelled ‘Angel’ television show, a spin-off of the popular ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’. Originally it was going to be titled “Angel Season Six” but… I dunno, someone somewhere is a jerk. Anyway, this one is also written by original creator Joss Whedon and answers a pretty major cliffhanger for a lot of fans, so I expect sales will be quite brisk. Will they be Buffy #1 brisk? I don’t see it happening myself, but that Joss Whedon does seem to have the magic touch, lately. Speaking of which, it looks like retailers who ordered Buffy #1 are getting a Limited Edition “Thank You” Buffy Hard Cover this week. Can you say “instant, expensive collectible”. I’m sure you can…

Also of note in the floppies are new issues of Powers and Walking Dead, showing that those books might just eventually get back on schedule yet. The new Hawaiian Dick ongoing series launches, written by B. Clay Moore and featuring the lovely art of Canadian (and good buddy) Scott Chantler. I’ve had a chance to read the first issue and it’s really good, I hope everyone out there will give it a shot this time out.

Finally, my friends at UDON are releasing STREET FIGHTER: BONUS STAGE, a collection of all of the back-up stories from the first two volumes of Street Fighter comics. Whether you’re a fan or not, they assembled a pretty stellar array of mainstream and international comics artists, including Joe Mad, J. Scott Campbell, Adam Warren, and I think all of Corey Lewis’ ‘Cheap Shots’ comics are in there too. Very cool. Apparently I get a thank-you in the book because I sorta came up with the idea for it, which is nice of the guys. I’m just happy to have all the work.

Full shipping list is after the jump:

Keep reading…


Dark Tower By Peter DavidIt seems like only yesterday that I picked my favourite comics of 2006, and a month and a half before the end of the year various media outlets are already making their “Best of 2007″ lists. Yikes. Today I managed to trip over Amazon.com’s Best of the Year list, and they picked the Dark Tower adaptation as the best graphic novel of the year. I mean, yikes. So much for your literary comics conspiracy. The rest of the includes titles like the Joss Whedon Buffy collection, Tomine’s Shortcomings, and a bevvy of strip collections for Perry Bible Fellowship, Peanuts, The Complete Mad: Don Martin, and Pearls Before Swine. I have to say that I’m kind of surprised to see Bryan Talbot’s excellent Alice in Sunderland on there, but I’m glad it is. On the other hand? Nothing there from DC Comics or any of their imprints, which I find a little surprising given the diversity of DC’s output and their deep pockets…
Meanwhile, as part of the new Publisher’s Weekly Comics Week, the PWCW staff releases their picks for best of the year and, much like their 2006 list, it’s a balanced, considered thing that speaks more to playing nice with every genre and outlet and less about a passionate collection of The Best Of 2007. Here’s the list:

Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings, Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland, Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, Jason’s I Killed Adolf Hitler, Nick Abadzis’s Laika, Nick Bertozzi’s The Salon, Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie’s Aya, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together, Taiyo Matsumoto’s Tekkonkinkreet: Black and White, Osamu Tezuka’s MW, and Eiji Otsuka and Sho-u Tajima’s MPD-Psycho Vol. 1.

Surprisingly, they didn’t think Dark Tower was the best of the year, I wonder how that works?

Anyway, I really just posted this to remind myself to get my ass in gear and start reading more of this year’s comics and graphic novels. Of the 12 books on PW’s list, I’ve read 9, which is a pretty good average, but if I’ve only read 3/4 of that best of list, who knows how few of the actual best comics of 2007 I’ve read? Who knows how many more are still to come?! I need a vacation where all I do is read comics… not for fun, but for completeness.

- Christopher