testing… sorry to get your hopes up, not a real post yet.

It’s nice to know that the internet can go batshit insane about normal, everyday issues without me, warms my heart. Thanks to Johanna for picking up the slack.

- Christopher

I’m actually 16 days behind on my google feed-reader, so my knowledge of comics news is limited to what people are asking me at the store (for the record, that statue is atrocious, but unsurprising)… Except for the Tim Leong/Comics Foundry thing, because Tim E-mailed me. More on that later. The event that it’s tied to in the public consciousness, Twomorrows Publishing and all the shit that they’ve got going on… Again, it’s a little too deep to wade into in depth (They’re seriously selling their own promotional samplers?). But the big thing? About their sales being steady but unspectacular given their outreach efforts?

They’re publishing 6 regular magazines, three or four lines of books, and a huge assortment of standalone books. At what point are they canibalizing their own sales, their own marketting? The mass-market might have four magazines about high-end pen ownership (seriously), but they’re not generally published by the same people.

I’m a retailer, and I’m telling you I don’t really need Alter Ego, Back Issue, Draw!, Jack Kirby Collector, Rough Stuff, Write Now, Modern Masters (effectively a “mook”), and one book about apes or the Batcave or whatever every other month.

Add to that, that several of the magazines sprung out of features/columns in other magazines and, yeah, I’m willing to come out and say that Twomorrows is caught in a cycle of diluting their own readership with umpteenth variations of the same article. If Twomorrows really wants the sales that come with appealing to a mass-audience, they need to produce a product that appeals to a mass audience, instead of a litany of ever-narrowing niche magazines. Sure, sometimes you end up with a Comicology or some other noble failure, and some magazines are all about their format (the massive Kirby Collectors), but…? Draw, Write, Rough Stuff? All of that together is barely one monthly magazine. And economy of scale? I’d rather have one magazine that sold 3000 copies than 3 that sold 12-1500.

My 2 cents.

- Chris

Hey there, this week is mostly about The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, for me. Hopefully I’ll catch up on the backlog of posts soon. Thanks for reading!

- Chris


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 7 for this week, and links to more info cos I’m a bit too tired to do much more than that right now:

MAR073498 30 DAYS OF NIGHT EBEN & STELLA #1 3.99 – Props to my friend Kelly Sue DeFraction on her new mini-series with Steve Niles. More at: http://www.kellysue.com/blog/2007/04/11/hey-kid-wanna-buy-a-nine/

FEB070258 BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE VOL 3 HC 24.99 – I like superhero comics when they’re like this: artistically innovative, editorially hands-off, and continuityless. I’ve got the first two hard covers, and this one collected various shorts and back-up stories should be good. http://dccomics.com/comics/?cm=7136

DEC063568 MISERY LOVES COMEDY HC (MR) 24.95 – It’s Ivan Brunetti time! Schizo 1-3 plus a fuckload of other material. Hopefully this will be a big heavy reminder for him to keep doing comics… http://fantagraphics.com/artist/brunetti/brunetti.html

FEB073160 MOUSE GUARD VOL 1 FALL 1152 HC (C: 0-0-1) 24.95 – I’m not actually convinced that this holds together. That said, I’m looking to give it a go, and from what I hear the packaging on this one is gorgeous. http://www.davidpetersen.net/mouseguard/index.htm

MAR073788 NARUTO VOL 14 TP (C: 1-0-0) 7.95 – I’m really going to have to catch up on this one day… For now though, I’ll just let it pay my salary.  http://www.shonenjump.com/mangatitles/n/manga_n.php

FEB070235 PLAIN JANES 9.99 – The first release in Vertigo’s MINX line-up. I’ve had an ARC of this for a little while and just haven’t found time to read it, but the reviews I’m reading all seem to be tending towards “Solid, if unspectacular” which seems very Vertigo-y in a lot of ways. Still, I’m rooting for this line for a couple of reasons: more comics for girls, more concerted effort to market comics at girls, more opportunities for creators working outside of the monthly superhero comic paradigm. http://dccomics.com/minx/

OCT062127 ULTIMATES 2 #13 3.99 – Who had May 16 in the pool? Despite myself, I want to see how this ends. Also this week: All Star Batman and Robin #5. Which I think is like “doubling down” at Blackjack. http://marvelcomics.com/catalog/?book_id=5715

Full list after the jump: 

Keep reading…

shirtlifter-cover.gifCongratulations to Canadian Steve MacIsaac and his comic Shirtlifter, they managed to snag a Xeric Grant! Steve is, I believe, unofficially debuting the second issue at TCAF this summer, and I rather liked the first issue. You can check out my review of the first issue here. To find out more about Canada’s Steve MacIsaac (and read a bunch of his comics for free), check out his website at http://www.stevemacisaac.com/.

The rest of the Xeric Nominees for this year have been covered quite nicely by Heidi MacDonald at The Publishers Weekly Blog. Congrats to all of them too, but someone’s gotta give props to the Queer Canadian artists. :)

- Christopher

Darwyn Cooke's cover to Comics Festival 2005!Lost in the crazy of one of my previous posts was the note that, in honour of Free Comic Book Day, we put the very first edition of Comics Festival! up online in its entirety. There’s lots of cool stuff in it, you should go check it out if you’ve got some time to kill reading comics…

Comics Festival 2005: Free!

- Christopher
P.S.: Just because I’ve already been asked: We don’t have plans to put this year’s Comics Festival online until sometime after TCAF. Sorry… :-/

Pick up Buffy #3 this week (which is selling amazingly well for us) and flip to about half way through. See, we’re seriously happy about these sales, and gaining all these new readers and turning them onto other books, but every issue we sell creates a problem for us (mo money, mo problems). In the book itself is an advertisement for other graphic novels: DISCOVER DISCOVER HEROES DARK HORSE JOSS WHEDON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and it lists three books:




and previous letters columns have mentioned:

All of these are books with stories by or co-written by Joss Whedon. All of them are getting a huge promotional push right now, thanks to the phenomenal sales of Buffy: Season Eight. All of them are completely unavailable for at least a month, if not longer (and if not much longer in some cases).

I’ve bitched about Dark Horse’s inability to use their trade paperback program to properly capitalise on media events in the past, lots, but after they were almost able to meet demand for 300 (periodic multi-week outages of product, but not so bad if you were expecting it and just front-loaded a few hundred copies of the book) I figured they’d turned a corner. Not so, as you may have noticed above. The thing is, Dark Horse have actually been really good about keeping the single issues in print, and new printings of Buffy: Season Eight #1 and #2 are due in this week! But every single Joss Whedon trade paperback they publish is gone-daddy-gone, and 5-8 weeks from store shelves. Not to belabour the point, but this is totally unacceptable when the heat for the series is on NOW.

A big part of the problem is overseas printing, which I’ll be upfront and say I am totally in favour of. Better quality, lower prices, making the publishing of comics occasionally profitable: I’m on board. But the real root of the problem is inventory management and cashflow. Dark Horse’s backlist has become far, far too big for them to keep in print, and in order to maximise the return on their investment they’re needing to find cheaper, slower printing solutions. If massive outages of Sin City, Hellboy, 300, and now the Joss Whedon backlist haven’t shown them that this solution is if not entirely untennable than at least massively unprofessional, I don’t know what will.

Guys, please, find another solution. Do anything else. But please stop keeping your hottest product out of our hands for months at a time, you’re fucking killing us over here.

- Christopher
P.S.: BUFFY: TALES OF THE VAMPIRES with a story by Joss Whedon in it is currently in stock at Diamond. I don’t think it’s been mentioned in the letterscolumn/advertising yet.