Via.


To all our readers -

There are now many people unjustly posting copies of manga on the internet. These unjust copies are inconsistent with mangakas’ feelings. They are also distorting the authors’ intentions of “I want the work to be read this way”. The actions of posting these unjust copies on the net, into which the mangakas have poured their hearts, are not only hurting mangakas in real life but are also against the law, even if done in a light-hearted manner. Every time we discover such “unjust copies”, we talk to the mangaka and consider every possible countermeasure. But the number of inconsiderate people is great, and at present we cannot deal with all of them. We have a request for all our readers. The unjust internet copies are deeply hurting the manga culture, mangakas’ rights, and even mangakas’ souls. Please understand once again that all of that is against the law. Also, the mangakas and Shueisha will severely deal with any unjust copies found on the internet. We ask that our readers please continue to support us.

~Weekly Shonen Jump editorial department

From: http://www.animevice.com/news/shonen-jump-asks-fans-to-stop-scanning-its-manga/4254/

- Chris


11:15pm: Oh man, what a day. Honestly I have no idea if I’m going to make it all the way through this, but there are a lot of really great, worthwhile projects in the back half of the catalogue this month and hell if I’m not gonna try and send some readers their way. So on the off chance that I drop out half way through, passed out at my desk: Sorry! I’ll try and pick it up again tomorrow morning.

So, Page 218, and we have Aardvark-Vanaheim’s triumphant(?) return to Previews after going POD a few months back… With “The CEREBUS GUIDE TO SELf PUBLISHING EXPANDED EDITION”, at 120 pages for $18.00. Frankly, that price point sort of implies digital POD, so caveat emptor.

I found the original guide to be hugely informative and helpful back when I was doing minis 15 years ago, so I have a genuine curiosity about just what might be lurking between these pages… Though my.. tolerance… for Dave Sim text-pages has definitely lessened since I first pick this up. “Updated with new material assessing the pros and cons of the computer revolution that continues to rock the comics publishing world from top to bottom”, according to the solicit. Honestly, I’m going to order the minimum on this, and then reorder if it turns out that what Dave Sim has to say about publishing in 2010 is in any way still relevant.

11:20pm: SLG Publishing (amaze ink) has a really interesting new series, and the first issue is only a buck! It’s called THE ROYAL HISTORIAN OF OZ, and the first issue is on page 218. Here’s what SLG has to say about the book:

THE ROYAL HISTORIAN OF OZ #1
(W) Tommy Kovac (A) Andy Hirsch
Frank Fizzle wishes his writer father would have just a single original idea, but instead Jasper Fizzle sees himself as the new “Royal Historian of OZ” as he insists on writing new OZ stories. When the failed writer discovers that Oz really exists, he makes an error in judgment that brands him a criminal in two worlds. Can Frank save the day and redeem the Fizzle family name, or will the drizzly ghost of the Wicked Witch of the West destroy them all?
24pgs, B&W SRP: $1.00

I’m gonna read that… As it is I dig Tommy Kovac’s work (though I’m not familiar with Andy Hirsch), and that’s a great high concept.

Also of note on page 218 (and shown in the image to the right there) is SHADOWEYES, a new original graphic novel from the increasingly prolific Ross (WET MOON) Campbell. It sounds like Campbell is branching out a bit into a sort of superhero/sci-fi realm, but with plenty of his trademark contemporary gothic horror. Sounds good. Ross Campbell has a fledgling website for the book here: http://www.shadoweyes.net/.

11:28pm: Ah,page 220 brings us to the Antarctic Press section, which is normally a mess. But honestly? Antarctic turns in their nicest catalogue spread yet. It’s still marred by a few basic design things (learn how to use columns consistently) but really, it’s totally readable with almost no eye-strain. It even has negative space for the eye to rest…! Good stuff. Oh, and a book! David Hutchison returns with another TIME LINCOLN one shot, this time called Fists of Fuhrer. The cover has Lincoln fighting Hitler ON the statue of Lincoln at Mt. Rushmore, which is kind of hilarious. #1 is $3.99 for 32 pages.

11:36pm: You know what’s picking up steam for us? Sonic The Hedgehog Comics. And it’s like a 60/40 split between hardcore nerds and actual children. That’s AWESOME. Archie continues to produce two series featuring the character, Sonic The Hedgehog #214 and Sonic Universe #17, both of which are on page 228, and they’ll set you back $2.99 a piece (30 cents more than a regular Archie book!). If I had to hazard a guess why this is happening? I really think it’s the Sonic Archives trade paperbacks, the much-demanded collections that finally give kids a ‘way in’ to the long, long running series. Glad that they finally published those…!

11:39pm: Speaking of continuing to do well, Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield’s FREAKANGELS gets a fourth collection in June (or later, probably) in softcover, hardcover, and signed hardcover editions. For a series serialized for free, online, it continues to do well for us in sales. It’s slowed a little bit, but honestly? Good stuff, and I’m glad to see the web-serialization to print-sales model actually works. All three versions of volume 4 are available on page 235 from Avatar, and they’ll run you $19.99, $27.99, and $39.99 respectively.

Also from Avatar, a collection of their NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD prequel (p236, 192 pages, colour, $24.99) that took absolutely forever to be released. They put about 200 variant covers of those 8 issues into the market, but a trade paperback collection couldn’t happen for 5+ years. No idea how that works.

12:18am: Here’s something funny; in the Dynamite Entertainment section (p.267), they’re doing the upcoming “Prince of Persia” movie prologue graphic novel as a four issue limited series. We’ve already ordered the graphic novel version of this, and so far as we’re aware it’s going to be out at least a month or two before this four issue mini-series.

Are people really going to pick up a comic book serialization of an already-existing graphic novel? That seems odd.

12:26am: It looks like Del Rey is going to start off their Penny Arcade collections picking up where Dark Horse left off… I was half-convinced they’d do an omnibus or something. Penny Arcade Volume 6: The Halls Below is another 208 pages of material for $15, on page 279.

Also on that page from Del Rey’s manga division comes Avatar: The Last Airbender Film Comic #1 (96 pages, $7.99) which is, funnily enough, a new edition of Tokyopop’s cinemanga from back in the day, hopefully with MUCH better binding. There’s also Dave Roman, Alison Wigus, and Joon Choi on The Last Airbender Movie Adaptation Graphic Novel (176 pages, 10.99), which looks alright from the cover art, and should be getting a preview at FCBD this year. That said, I’m pretty conflicted about the film as a whole, but I’m not sure how far that extends…?

Finally on p.279, Tyler Page takes another run at self-publishing with NOTHING BETTER VOLUME 2: INTO THE WILD, the next 162 pages in the lives of a pair of mismatched college roommates. If you’re curious, you can check out the series at http://www.webcomicsnation.com/tylerpage/nb/series.php.

12:42pm: So I don’t normally mention the porn very much (sorry!) but I did want to note that Eros Comix has a brand new mangarotica title for the first time in a good long while! TOO HOT TO HANDLE is absolutely filthy-sounding, and comes from mangaka Tsukino Jyogi (don’t google that at work), 184 pages for $18.99.  You can find a slug that says “more info in the adult previews” if you turn to page 283, but of course they don’t publish that anymore, so if you wanna find out more I recommend you head to Icarus Publishing’s website. Specifically, every month Simon at Icarus goes through the Previews Adult catalogue, highlighting hentai and yaoi releases for you. Unfortunately he’s not including cover images (which are censored in the catalogue anyway), but he’ll give you links to the mangaka’s websites and more.

Speaking of Icarus, flip ahead to page 294 and you’ll see the fine folks at Icarus soliciting the AREA graphic novel by Tetsu Hagane, 208 pages for $19.99. It sounds similarly filthy, and if you want to sneak a peak the first chapter is available LEGALLY to read in “Comic Ag Digital #5″, available at http://www.icaruscomics.com/wp_web/?page_id=1034.

12:52pm: So the cover to Anders Nilsen’s BIG QUESTIONS #14 is lovely (48 pages, $7.95, Drawn & Quarterly), and I just want to run it here.

Yeah. Awesome. May or may not be the final issue…? Hmm.

Also from D&Q this month is Brecht Evens’ Wrong Place (184 pages, $24.95) about which I know nothing but it seems lovely, and the fifth Moomin book ($19.95, 100 pages), which is guaranteed to be lovely.

1:11am: Wow, the Fantagraphics section is lovely this month, very easy to read and clear as to what’s new, and what isn’t. Bigger font size this month too, cheers all around.

It’s also CHOCK FULL of amazing graphic novels…! So cool! Page 284 has LUCKY IN LOVE: A POOR MAN’S HISTORY, a graphic novel by George Chieffet and the extremely talented illustrator Stephen DeStefano. I really like DeStafano’s work; Fanta compares his cartooning to Milt Gross and classic Disney Animation and comics, and I’d say that’s probably bang on. Destefano’s got an infrequently updated blog at http://stephendestefano.blogspot.com/ which has some examples of his cartooning, but folks with a wide-variety of material in their collections may remember his work from ‘Mazing Man or Instant Piano, from the last several years of CARTOON NETWORK books at DC, or from his animation work on The Venture Bros. (!) (!!!). LUCKY IN LOVE is 120 pages, hardcover, for $19.99 and will be gorgeous.

Similarly gorgeous is Drew Weing’s SET TO SEA, a graphic novel he’s been serializing a panel-at-a-time over at his blog, http://www.drewweing.com/. It’s a beautifully drawn story though I have to admit that I’m going to hold off reading it until the book is in my hands–Drew’s work really seems to LOVE being in print, and all of his minis and comics I’ve bought to date have been better for having been in physical form… Maybe I’m just a paper fetishist? Anyway, SET TO SEA is a 144 page graphic novel, HC, for $16.99.

Moving to page 285, NEW JASON GRAPHIC NOVEL!  Woo hoo! Werewolves of Montpellier is the next ‘monster’ book from Jason, where he uses classic monsters to illuminate the human condition in ways that always surprise. His Zombie epic “The Living and the Dead” is probably my favourite so far, but his “You Can’t Get There From Here” about Frankenstein’s Monster and Bride is also lovely. Both of those were recently collected, btw, in the book ALMOST SILENT and that’s worth tracking down. Anyhow, WEREWOLVES OF MONTPELLIER is a full cover graphic novella, 48 pages for $12.99, and worth every penny I assure you… if every other book he’s released has been any indication.

Wrapping up Fantagraphics’ best month ever (maybe)? 2 new IGNATZ books, SAMMY THE MOUSE #3 from Zak Sally ($7.95, 32 pages) and HOOLIGANS ($7.95, 32 pages), the third in the Wish You Were Here series by Gipi. Ah, new Gipi comics, we’re truly blessed aren’t we?

They have a new Drew Friedman collection, and a new strip collection of very strange stuff too, but I gotta leave something to the imagination, don’t I?

1:18am: Well here’s something you don’t see everyday. “Feral House” publishing presents SIEGEL AND SHUSTER’S FUNNYMAN TP, 240 pages, $24.95, page 286. The solicit describes the project thusly:

SIEGEL AND SHUSTER’S FUNNYMAN TP

(E) Thomas Andrae, Mel Gordon (W) Jerry Siegel (A) Joe Shuster

Here is a kaleidoscopic analysis of Jewish humor as seen through Funnyman, a  little-known super-heroic invention by the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Following the completion of their 10-year-long contract with DC writing and drawing their first creation, Superman, Siegel and Shuster were determined to create a new superhero; one that would prove that justice, fair-play, and zany craftsmanship were the true “American way”, and would lead to their ultimate victory. This book tells the back-story of the unsuccessful strip and Siegel and Shuster’s ambition to have their funny Jewish superhero trump the Man of Steel. Included are complete comic-book stories and daily and Sunday newspaper panels from this lost classic. (C: 0-1-2)

SC, 7×10, 240pgs, FC SRP: $24.95

Does anyone know if the Siegel/Shuster estates are getting any money out of this? Or is it one of those projects that falls between copyrights? At any rate, it sounds fascinating.

1:33am: So! Last year maybe, webcomics creator Tracy J. Butler dropped by a nice little package with her work LACKADAISY, a beautifully illustrated furry comic about the prohibition era, and she did absolutely everything right in promoting her work to us. But sometimes shops… fall down a little, heh, and despite that first burst we haven’t been very good about keeping that work in stock. But with the solicitation for LACKADAISY VOLUME 1 (p.288, 98 pages, colour, $19.95) we’ll have the book back in stock again soon.

Tracy, thanks for all of your hard work getting the word out! And if you reading here have never checked out Lackadaisy, you can find it online at http://www.lackadaisycats.com/.

1:42am: On page 290 now, imagine my surprise to find that Scholastic/Graphix is doing a Doug Tenapel graphic novel? It’s called GHOSTOPOLIS, 272 pages, full colour, for $12.99 (or $24.99 in hardcover).

Also on that page we get a new Keither Knight collection, THE KNIGHT LIFE: CHIVALRY AIN’T DEAD (208 pages, $17.99).

Oh, here we go, page 291? HUMANOIDS IS BACK! After a series of… fairly disastrous publishing partnerships… Humanoids returns to self-publishing and self-distributing in North America. Their first month on the job is a great, surprising range of comics and graphic novels… The comic book thing is a little shocking to me actually, though I guess Archaia and Devil’s Due must have had a measure of success with the individual issues collecting French graphic albums that they’ve been soliciting.

Anyway, the books that they’re debuting with include:

- The Bouncer: One Armed Gunslinger #1 (32 pages, $3.50), alongside an offered again of The Bouncer VOlume 1 HC ($15.95)
- Jodorowski and Gimenez’s Metabarons Volume 4: Ahgora & The Last Metabaron ($17.95, 136 pages) alongside offered agains of the first three volumes of the series
- Unfabulous Five: The Greasers From The Black Lagoon #1, a new edition of the Lucha Libre comics previously released by Image Comics I believe, by Jerry Frissen and Bill… I hadn’t heard about this moving pubs or changing names, I’d hope some journalist out there would get the scoop
- and finally Whispers in the Walls #1 from David Munoz and Tirso, a spooky-sounding Czech horror story.

Good month for those dudes.

1:53am: Thieves & Kings creator Mark Oakley’s been pretty quiet as of late, and I’d guess the brand new 194 page STAR DROP original graphic novel on page 294 would explain why ($9.99, iBox Publishing). The description, about a gentle alien princess escaping intergalactic conflict to try and fit in as a normal girl on earth… It reminds me a little of Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, but then Oakley’s work has always echoed Miyazaki’s, and that girl-out-of-context-riding-a-train-car on the cover doesn’t do much to dissuade comparison. Still, there are faaaaar worse things to be reminded of when looking at someone’s work, you know?

Always nice to see new graphic novels from Oakley, and hopefully this means more Thieves & Kings soon too!

2:04am: My, I do go on don’t I? Man I gotta wrap this up. Okay, only mentioning the most awesome things from now on…

So of course there’s one one page later.

PAGE 295 has Not Quite Dead: Last Gig in SHNAGRLIG, the 48 page graphic album collecting Gilbert Shelton’s recent story serialized in the pages of MOME magazine! This stand-alone edition comes to us from Knockabout Comics, and is now in full colour for just $9.99. I’m a bit behind on Mome, but I liked the first few chapters of this satire piece, and Shelton’s a consistently interesting creator, and has been for the better part of 40 years! Interesting format for this release, as the offered again section reminds us that Knockabout’s two most-recent Gilbert Shelton releases were massive 200+ page omnibus editions.

Page 298 brings us to NBM’s solicitations, and a brand new volume of Rick Geary’s MURDER books. This time it’s A Treasury Of 20th Century Murder Volume 3: The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans HC, at $15.99 for 80 pages.

Page 299 huh, Netcomics is publishing again.

2:13am: ONI PRESS on page 300 with one of the funnest looking original graphic novels in a long, long time. I’m not even a big wrestling guy, but I gotta admit that Super Pro K.O.! Volume 1 by Jarrett Williams ($11.99, 256 pages) looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Here’s PREVIEWS:

So I don’t normally do that, but man, doesn’t this look totally fun, and utterly unlike everything else on the stands? Make sure not to miss that one.

2:23am: Page 312 has a new graphic novel from Roaring Brook Press that sounds like it’s going to be a very big hit. Tracy White’s How I Made it To Eighteen is memoir about a young girl’s mental breakdown and transformation, and this is a book that I’m very happy to see is coming. How rare was it to get a book from the perspective of a teenaged girl even 10 years ago? Let alone one actually for teenaged girls, and that dealt with real issues? I can count the creators on one hand. Anyway, good to see more interesting work, more unique voices, and more work for young women coming out.

2:29am: Page 313 has a new Sunday Press Book, worth buying almost regardless of content and just for their superb presentation. This one happens to be KRAZY KAT: A CELEBRATION OF SUNDAYS, a best-of collection of George herriman’s Krazy Kat Sunday pages produced in colour, and at their original size. Includes a bunch of material not reprinted in other Krazy Kat books. 16.5 inches by 14 inches, 160 pages, full colour, for $100.

Oh my God… the staff pics on page 314 really are something… Let’s just say that of the 5 books picked on this staff picks page, not one of them is one I’ve mentioned in my write-up. Previews: Written by and For people who like PREVIEWS. Iccccccccccccck.

2:35pm: Okay, that last one broke my spirit. Sorry, I’m done. Maybe I’ll pick up tomorrow morning. Sad. Still a hundred pages to go.

Okay, it’s now Thursday, April 15th! I am in a better mood. Let’s finish off the Previews catalogue together.

1:06pm: Top Shelf productions on 318 looks to be having a good month! Their big release is Eddie Campbell and Darren White’s The Playwright, a brand new 160 page, full colour graphic novel for the princely sum of $14.95. It is, and I quote the solicitation here, “a dark comedy about the sex life of a celibate middle-aged man,” and doesn’t that sound like something you don’t read every day? I like both of these fine creators, and I’m looking forward to this release.

The solicit also mentions that the book is co-published between Top Shelf and Knockabout, the same UK publisher that acted as co-publisher of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s A Disease of Language HC, and I wonder if co-publishing would make sense for more independent publishers? Just an idle thought though.

Also from Top Shelf on the same page is the fourth of James Kochalka’s new kids books, JOHNNY BOO AND THE MEAN LITTLE BOY. These are profoundly strange books for kids, and kids seem to love that. The pacing and production and everything, it’s so idiosyncratic and so Kochalka, it’s kind of amazing. The fourth book is another HC, 40 pages, for $10.

Finally, Top Shelf are soliciting a new edition of Nate Powell’s SWALLOW ME WHOLE, a fantastic graphic novel, truly excellent, and I’m chuffed to see that it’s needed a second (or third?) printing. Powell’s an underrated gem of a cartoonist, and this book really shows off his chops. $19.95 in hardcover.

1:24pm: I know I’m not supposed to ‘give away secrets’ here on the blog, about work and things like that… but I honestly can’t believe how successful UDON’s Manga for Kids line has been for us. Finding manga for the under-10 set is difficult at the best of times, and finding series that appeal to girls (rather than ‘for-boys, but equally-for-boys-and-girls’), and UDON’s stuff is great. They’re friends of mine so this is all horribly biased, feel free to disregard, but the numbers don’t lie. Kids _love_ these manga. UDON has the next round of books this month with The Big Adventures of Majoko Volume 5 and Fairy Idol Kanon volume 4 for $7.99 a piece, and the full-colour Swans in Space Volume 3 for $8.99 on page 323.

1:30pm: Do you like adorable pictures of kittens on the internet? If you said yes, you are likely “a person” because if you don’t like pictures of adorable kittens I worry that maybe you’re not real, but also if you said yes then you are the audience for Vertical Inc.’s newest manga CHI’S SWEET HOME VOLUME 1 (Page 324, 176 pages, $12.95). The latest release from Vertical is the second that moved away from their initial publishing plan of ‘classic’ manga into releasing more contemporary manga works, alongside their releases of contemporary fiction. This book is about a kitten that is adopted by a family that isn’t allowed to have pets in their apartment building, it all sounds gentle and funny and worth reading.

Incidentally, the first book in Vertical’s ‘new direction’ is Twin Spica, the second volume of which is solicited this month (page 324, 200 pages, $10.95), and the first volume of which is due in stores any day now, I believe.

1:35pm: Still on page 324 we’ve got Villard Books (imprint of Random House) and the first official collection of Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie Volume 1: There Are No Stars In Brooklyn (240 pages, partial colour, $16.00)! This is one of my favourite webcomics, a funny slice-of-life story about mismatched roommates living together in Brooklyn. It’s really, really well-observed and Gran’s background in animation really gives the art a polish and sheen; the characters feel real, which is about the nicest compliment you can pay a funny slice-of-life comic. I’m buying it… ARE YOU!?

P.S.: Meredith Gran will be appearing at the 2010 TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL, May 8th to 9th in Toronto, Canada. More info at http://torontocomics.com.

P.P.S.: You can check out Octopus Pie online at http://www.octopuspie.com/.

1:41pm: Still on page 324, and it looks like ONI isn’t the only pub doing wrestling comics this month. Viper Comics is releasing Battle Smash vs. Saucer Men From Venus ($3.25, 32 pages), a group of non-superpowered luchadores that defend their neighborhood from threats. This fullcolour one shot comes your way from Dale Mettam and artist ‘Zanker’. So.

Meanwhile, finally flipping the page to 325(!) we get to Viz’s section. The first release is Gente Volume 1 (176 pages, $12.99) by Natsume Ono. This is the ongoing series follow-up to Ono’s recently released one-shot Ristorante Paradiso, which I greatly enjoyed. It’s about a young woman coming to confront her mother about years of abandonment, and finding herself coming to understand her mother and the choices she made. It’s all set in a restaurant run by attractive older men…! It’s like, a whole thing. Anyway, it was a lovely way to spend an hour or two, and I imagine Gente will be similarly enjoyable. :)

Actually in getting to the Viz section, I noticed I accidentally skipped over Tokyopop. I’m too lazy to go back and write about that, but I will say that it’s great to see new volumes of Sgt. Frog and Suppli in there.

Moving forward, not much else in the Viz section was worth noting for me. Following that, apparently Zenescope is producing a CHARMED comic, based on the long-finished TV Show. And hey, it’s about the original three characters, and not the crappy fill-ins that they secured when Alyssa Milano and Shannon Doherty wanted off the show. Heh.

Geezus, I just admitted to knowing something about Charmed, didn’t I? Does that mean that people are going to by this? Or does it mean that, like me, they’re going to feel a deep sense of shame when they realize they know about Charmed? Developing.

Moving on, not a whole heck of a lot jumping out at me in the books & magazines section… and that’s it. Just the wasteland of products beyond.

Well, while it took… 5 days this month, I want to thank everyone who read. I hope you found something cool in the Previews, and I hope you’ll tell your local comic book store to make sure to bring it in for you and other folks at the shop, and I hope the industry doesn’t collapse between now and when it’s supposed to ship…! :)

- Christopher


So this morning it was announced that Marvel is pulling their book trade business away from Diamond’s book distribution arm, and moving it to Hachette. They’re still going to keep distributing to comic book stores through Diamond, but Borders, B&N, Chapters/Indigo, etc., are all going to Hachette. You can find a good write-up with all of the details at The Beat.

I don’t really have time to write a full blog post on this, a lot going on today. So I figured I’d just update this one post with my thoughts as I went.

- Question: Was Diamond Books’ recent downsizing because they knew they were losing Marvel? Or is there more downsizing to come?
A representative of Diamond Books answered this one on Twitter: “hey Chris – recent re-org not related, no down-size planned”

- Thought: I’d heard through industry channels that Marvel makes up more of DBD’s business, percentage-wise, than it does of Diamond Comics’ business… That’s a pretty big hit for anyone to take.

- Thought: Related to that, man, Diamond had been really, really pushing Marvel’s books… because Marvel was really, really pushing Diamond to do so. I guess at its base level that’s their job, but I’ve heard a story or two that would make your hair curl. I guess everyone else Diamond distributes now gets 100% more attention for their books? More?

- Question: Does this give any additional credibility to Checker Books’ comments about their decision to leave DBD?

- Q: Did this come from Disney? Or is this just natural growth?

- Q: Marvel said in the PR at the beat that Diamond had grown their bookstore sales by 300% over 3 or 4 years… Was that not good enough or was it a corporate directive saying that the move had to happen?

- Q: Is it just a question of a company not putting all of their eggs in one basket? Because man, does the comics industry EVER LOVE to put all of its eggs in one basket.

More to come,

- Chris



April 2010 Previews - Front Cover

So usually I liveblog my initial reactions to The PREVIEWS catalogue — the main ordering catalogue through which most retailers order most of their comics and graphic novels product from Diamond Comics Distributors — on the day before or day that the order that has to be placed from that catalogue is due. It’s just the way it goes at the store, a thousand other things going on.

But not this time. You see this time, The Previews is due during the week of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, a big comics event in Toronto that I happen to be in charge of putting together. And you know what I’m not gonna have time for? 18 hours of going through Previews. So I figured that since I’m supposed to be working anyway today, I’d just do that whole order now. It does take a considerable ammount of the… urgency… out of my responses to do it with basically an open deadline, but I wanna be done this whole thing by midnight, tonight, and that should be incentive enough to tear through… And hey, since I’m actually doing this weeks before the Previews is due, it might actually be of use to someone trying to figure out what to buy…! It’s nice to be helpful.

Alright, ready? Let’s go through the Previews catalogue.

April 2010 Previews Back Cover

2:20pm: The front cover image this month is that Green Arrow piece, a character subject to some of the worst writing over the past few months. Awful, implausibly bad stuff. And now the series is getting it’s third relaunch in 3 or 4 years…? Terrible. The back cover is for another novel-to-comics adaptation, this time from Dark Horse. Didn’t we have one of those last month…? Or is this the same thing…? Either way, it’s nice to see something a)not superheroes and b) intended for a female audience on the cover of The Previews… That’s a VERY rare thing.

2:24pm: Page 1 has a WHAT MAKES A HERO ad featuring the BPRD… Dark Horse has been running these all-purpose BPRD ads for a few months now, I suppose trying to push the (large) superhero audience to read a slightly different sort of Superhero book. By all accounts this is very good stuff, it’s one of our best-selling monthly comics at The Beguiling, so I feel like it has a wide crossover…

2:27pm: Who is Previews for? Previews is for people who read Previews. Check this out from page 4′s “Previews Art Gallery” section:


Bad Girls Forever, my friends.

2:38pm: Uh… Adrian Brody and Samuel L. Jackson are in a new PREDATOR movie? And that movie is called PREDATORS? I’m sorry, that’s ridiculous, particularly because now all I can think of is To Catch A Predator which turns this whole exercise into a Robot Chicken sketch. Meanwhile, if’n you’re looking for a 4 issue prequel mini-series (that will be collected in trade imminently) to all of this, Dark Horse has got you covered on page 27, for $2.99 a pop.

2:42pm: Okay, I’m losing my mind because I swear I ordered Troublemaker Book One (Dark Horse, $17.99, Page 32) last month… Lemmie check this.

Hah! Yeah, I knew I did:

DARK HORSE
GEM	MAR10 0015	JANET EVANOVICH TROUBLEMAKER HC BOOK 01 (C: 0-1-2)	$17.99	07/20/10 06/10/10

So why is this in here again? Especially with nothing telling folks it’s solicited a second time?

It’s clearer in the order-form, that we can order it under last month’s code if we want to, but… I dunno, I just feel like there should be a slug or burst or something in the actual previews catalog that spells it out, “Hey, this has a final order date of June 10th, order by then!”. Common courtesy.

2:48pm: So on page 37 we’ve got GROO: THE HOGS OF HORDER trade paperback, collecting the recent mini-series rather pricely at 120 pages for $17.99. That’s almost IDW pricing. Meanwhile, pages 38-39 have a plethora of Usagi Yojimbo, with new “remastered artwork and new story notes” in brand new editions of Usagi Yojimbo Volume 8, 9, and 10. These are great books… It never occurs to me to really get out there and mention it because Usagi and Stan Sakai are such an industry institution, but these really are fantastic books. If you’ve never read Usagi pick up a book, you won’t be disappointed.

2:53pm: I almost feel like I shouldn’t bother mentioning it because it’ll probably get cancelled and resolicited again, but Dark Horse has CAGES by Dave McKean in a brand new softcover edition for $29.99, incredibly affordable for a long out-of-print book. It’s another classic, and a must read for both its visual and narrative ingenuity. That’s on page 40.

Meanwhile, on page 41 comes “MOGWORLD”, a novel from Yahtzee, the fella who does those fantastic ZERO PUNCTUATION video game reviews. Normally we stay away from novels at the store, but I’d say that this one has all the makings of a genuine hit, and I’m looking forward to having a copy for myself… $7.99 for 350 pages.

I should point out here that though both of these books are being solicited in The April 2010 Previews Catalog for items beginning to ship in June 2010, they both have August in-store dates. And CAGES has already missed it’s first in-store and needed to be resolicited. So… Grain of salt, folks. Grain of salt.

3:14pm: Sinful admission time: I am glad they are being produced, but I generally don’t care about classic comic strip reprints. Like… at all. I’ve even been told (repeatedly) that I would really like a couple of them, but I have no enthusiasm for them at all. I promise one day to at least commit to reading a whole tome of unfunny 70 year old ‘gags’ just out of spite. But that day is not today.

3:15pm: Check out this cover on from ABE SAPIEN: THE ABYSSAL PLAIN #1 (page 44):

Dave Johnson did that one, it’s quite nice. It’s also the exact opposite of a BPRD cover, which tend to have very rigid cover treatments, and have for more than 11 volumes of material now. Interesting to see how this one goes over, or if they just cram it into the existing cover style.

3:20pm: Okay, I’m too much of a nerd to let this one go, but: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: CAMPUS APOCALYPSE VOLUME 1 is a shoujo manga (girls’ comic) reimagining of the giant robot anime as a boarding school secrets sort of thing, and it all sounds ludicrous and kind of fun, too. Like, way too serious and angsty, but that’s the point? Anyway I’m going to have to at least try to read it.

3:55pm: Back! So now we’re at page 64 and DC Comics. A tale of two properties here, with Superman #700 weighing in at 56 pages and $4.99 on the left page, and Batman #700 weighing in at 56 pages and $4.99 on the right page. Honestly? Our sales on Batman are roughly FIVE TIMES AS HIGH as they are on Superman, and ordering responsibly (and that means ignoring rounding-up the numbers to get extra variant covers–a 1:25 and 1:75 on each book) means that I wouldn’t qualify for any variants at all on the Superman book. I know there are a hundred and one excuses as to why Superman is in the toilet, but the buck stops at Dan DiDio and I kinda wish he’d just step up and say “hey, i totally fucked up. Sorry.” because the last 2 years of superman comics have been DOA, sales-wise.

4:03pm: I didn’t really talk about the books, there, just bitched, but I’m relatively happy to see Morrison back on the main BATMAN book, and Straczynski taking over Superman will be interesting. I mention that because page 66 has the news that JMS is also taking over Wonder Woman with the anniversary issue #600. I remember the hype and fanfare around the series when Gail Simone took over as writer–”For the first time ever, a woman writing the ongoing Wonder Woman book!” Though that announcement had its caveats, I do think it was a noteworthy event, and Simone is doing some good stuff on the series. Kinda sucks to get bumped off the book like that.

4:15pm: I’m still here, I just don’t have a lot to say about the DC stuff so far. “Brightest Day” Flash #3 has a blood-splattered hero on the cover, with a chalk-outline being drawn around him… Like… I wonder if these people even read their own press releases any more? That doesn’t seem very Brightest Day to me, you know? Seems like Exactly The Same As The Last 10 Years.

4:21pm: Now that’s a pretty nice cover:

That’s the cover to Batman Beyond #1, by Dustin Nguyen. Interior art is by Ryan Benjamin, whom I also dig. See, that looks like a sharp, stylish, contemporary comic book. That looks like something I can sell… I have no idea if it will sell.

4:24pm: Page 80. So I know I kind of ‘knew’ this, but I was surprised flipping the page here to see BATMAN & ROBIN #13, with art by the awesome Frazier Irving and still written by Grant Morrison. That makes 3 Morrison Batman books coming out this month, which… you’d think that’s overkill, but really, it’s all been selling great. Actually, issues 4-6 of B&R aside, it’s been selling great too. But yeah, I had thought that with Morrison’s return to the main series, and the Bruce Wayne book, that this was the end of B&R. I’m very glad indeed that it is not. :)

Just below that on page 80 is a Dennis O’Neil done-in-one story with art by Dustin Nguyen in Detective Comics #866, which should help soften the blow of a Rucka-less Detective… at least for a month or so.

4:36pm: So the Legion can’t seem to support itself for more than 12 issues at a go before needing a team reboot or a creative team reboot, but now there are two ongoing Legion books? Adventures Comics and The Legion of Superheroes? Both written by Paul Levitz? That seems… well not “Overkill” exactly, as both Marvel and DC have gone way past overkill into a whole new territory of making-the-Lorax-weep-at-the-waste-of-trees, but it seems like throwing money away doesn’t it? Why have one Legion book that not-enough people want to read when we can have two?

Bizarre.

4:41pm: Hah! Here’s how to do a bloody and bruised hero without it seeming grim and stupid:

Left: Booster Gold #32, solicited last month. Right: Booster Gold #33, solicited this month (page 90, $2.99). Art by Kevin Maguire. Click for larger.

So, yeah, there you go, that’s kind of amazing actually.

4:49pm: Huh, last issues for the two Archie books… Sorry “The Red Circle” books, the shield and the web. I am… unsurprised. I didn’t really see DC needing yet another bunch of superheroes. I only hope they don’t waste our time and shelf-space producing trade paperbacks of these awful, pointless, failed series. Page 95 though if you’re curious.

4:56pm: Since I did not do this last month, I missed the chance to express shock and amazement that Paul Dini had been allowed to write an ongoing ZATANNA mini-series! That’s pretty exciting, actually, as Morrison’s Seven Soldiers mini was really great reading (with gorgeous Ryan Sook art…) and Dini has an affection for the character that comes through in the writing, it makes for a fun time. I’m expecting good things out of this one. Zatanna #2 is on page 96, features lovely art by Stephane Roux, and is $2.99.

5:01pm: I know that it’s a clever writers’ trick to say, ask DC not to publish an unsellable piece of trash and then see that piece of trash 5 pages later in the catalogue, but I swear I did not employ that here. I am _genuinely mystified_ as to why DC would publish THE SHIELD: KICKING DOWN THE DOOR containing the relaunch of the character, on page 99. $14.99 for 160 pages that could have been better served by just donating money to the homeless. Seriously, the series isn’t that bad, it’s not a crime against humanity or anything, but it’s an abject and undeniable sales and creative failure. Why is DC committing that material to a ‘permanent’ edition, when it’s pretty clear that there’s NO audience for it? Why are they wasting my time as a retailer asking me to order this, when 5 pages earlier they cancelled the series and told me ‘no one wants this’. Is tricking JMS’ fanbase into buying bad comics in the book-trade their new sales tactic?

Mind-boggling. Seriously.

Oh and that Red Tornado trade paperback on the same page ain’t no prize either.

Gaaah... How did ANYONE think that was a good idea?

5:11pm: Superman: Secret Origin Deluxe Edition HC. Well, this is just-about the last time I’m going to have to see the creepy-child-with-Christopher-Reeve-Death-Mask drawn by Gary Frank and Jonathan Sibal, so that’s good. This is a pretty enjoyable series (plagued with delays… I think the last issue is still-to-come) but man, drawing a young Clark Kent like an adult Christopher Reeve? I cannot stress how bad an idea that is, that should have occurred to everyone early on. Page 101 for the $30, 240 page HC.

5:31pm: A highly-demanded reprint volume, though the cover price of $40 for the 80-page “facsimile edition” is out to lunch… DC’s last round of Treasury-sized books were the Dini/Ross collaborations and they were 10 bucks a pop! The smaller “Deluxe” edition is a slightly more reasonable $20, and 96 pages with a bunch of extra material and a new cover by Neal Adams.

I’m not trying to talk anyone in-to or out-of a purchasing decision here, if you want this in the big size then that’s how you want it, no problems. I just wish DC could’ve been a bit more reasonable with the pricing.

5:40pm: Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #1, featuring the return of Alan Moore’s pulp-novel pastiche character in a story by Peter Hogan, whose writing I’ve been pretty ambivalent about, and Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, who I’m very excited to see return to the character…! Honestly I’m pretty surprised to see any new ABC comics at all… Though they could hardly fare worse than the red circle stuff. Page 107, six issue mini-series at $3.99 a pop, from Wildstorm.

6:11pm: Sorry, got a little distracted there.

So! Andersen Gabrych and Brad Rader, two out gay comics creators who’ve done work for DC in the past, are the newest creative team to tackle one of the Vertigo Crime graphic novels. According to our official reader of these books, Jason Azzopardi, “Milligan’s is the first one that was readable,” referring to Peter Milligan’s Bronx Kill released a month-or-so back, and the fifth or sixth in the line…! This is not a line that has been getting good reviews. So when I hear that two out gay comics creators are going to tell a story about a deeply-closted private investigator in 1950s San Francisco, my feelings switch back and forth between anticipation and apprehension so fast it’d make other, weaker men a little dizzy. I want this one to be good, but I don’t have high hopes given its contemporaries. Still, come August 4th I will be checking out Fogtown, 176 pages, $19.99, Page 114. I’ve got my fingers crossed…

Actually, here’s something. In the Previews, Fogtown is listed as a hard cover. But at the DC/Vertigo site it’s listed as a softcover. Here’s hoping that it’s the ‘official’ site that’s in error, because dropping this down to a sc (the only one in the line) with no reduction in price would be pretty lame.

6:22pm: And speaking of original Vertigo hard covers, the facing page (115) has DARK RAIN: A NEW ORLEANS STORY. Seems like a straight-ahead crime/caper story set in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, by the creative team of Incognegro. Except this one is full-size, and $24.99 instead of being smaller and $19.99. Doesn’t make much sense to me…

6:25pm: Huh, well I lost that bet.

Fables: Covers by James Jean – New Printing HC
Written by JAMES JEAN • Afterword by BILL WILLINGHAM • Art and cover by JAMES JEAN

Due to popular demand, this collection of James Jean’s FABLES covers is back in print! The deluxe, oversized hardcover includes 10 vellum sleeve inserts, an embossed case and commentary from Jean, making it as elegantly unique as the FABLES covers themselves.

Vertigo 208pg. Color Oversized Hardcover $49.99 US Mature Readers
On Sale October 6, 2010

So, I know it’s only their job to make this clear and easy to understand in the solicitations, but it would have been nice if they could have actually done that. As far as I can piece together, the “new printing” of this book actually isn’t just a new printing. It’s now going to come with a slipcase (which the first one did not have), and 10 vellum inserts (which the first one did not have), and it’s going to cost $10 more. Considering the market for this book is collectors, it would have been nice if the solicits in Previews, the catalog for collectors, were presented in such a way as to imply DC gives a shit about this book, because currently, it is not presented in that way. The new information is just sort of lain there on the page with no extra info.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the new ‘vellum inserts’ will contain the FABLES cover images that were not collected in the book, thereby wrapping up all of Jean’s work on the series. I would also hazard a guess that the slipcase & images will be made available separately at some point in the future, for the thousands of people who bought the book the first time it came out and didn’t get the bonus material.

All in all though, an EXCEPTIONALLY poorly written solicitation. Shameful, really.

I don’t generally mention series that are still ongoing, but I did want to give a nod to Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy’s Joe The Barbarian, which I am really enjoying. The 6th issue hits in June, and I liked this cover. I think the final colours will be nice too. That’s all :) Page 121, $2.99.

6:53pm: And that takes us to Im… no, it takes us to IDW! That’s right, April 2010 is the first month that IDW books gets to sit at the grown-up table at the front of the catalogue. Congrats to everyone there for their hard work.

Unfortunately for retailers, literally nothing changes for us. Same discount (lower than the rest of the premier publishers), same reorder penalty, same everything. Kinda disappointing, as I think whatever benefits that IDW would have gained by the move will be somewhat tempered by the similar terms… Here’s hoping I’m wrong though.

Meanwhile, IDW starts their move off with… a licensed book based on a movie. Not personally thrilling, but the writer is Bob Schreck in his first post-DC outing, and it comes witha variant cover by Frank Miller? That’s kind of a big deal. The interior art shown on the page honestly doesn’t thrill me, but with Jurassic Park being one of the best-selling books and movies of all time, and this being a direct sequel to the first film, Jurassic Park: Redemption #1 (it’s official title) will definitely have its fans. Page 140, $3.99.

7:02pm: James Patterson continues to sell very well in the states while remaining virtually unknown in Canada, it’s kind of amazing. This month debuts another of his many comics projects, The Murder of King Tut #1, $3.99, page 148. Nice Darwyn Cooke cover there, working in a style similar to his Shuster Awards poster from a couple years back.

7:13pm: Going through the catalogue here, it ocurrs to me that a) there are a _lot_ of second issues in here, for series’ whose launches would’ve been better served in this catalogue than in the last, and b) there are no relists/offered agains for a lot of this product, where something like Love & Capes Volume 2: Going to the Chapel (p.159, 192 pages, $19.99) is probably being seen by a LOT of retailers for the very first time (yes, despite FCBD and everything else), and being able to conveniently order v1 at the same time would’ve been a boon… Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Meanwhile,  TRIBES: THE DOG YEARS ($24.99, 200 pages, page 159) looks like the sort of weird/neat sci fi graphic novel we’d get if we lived in France or something, about a world where adults have been wiped out and only tribes of kids remain in a sort of bloody series of battles. It also sounds exactly like the late-90s tv series THE TRIBE, about exactly the same thing, though the solicit info doesn’t mention anything to do with any of that. I certainly hope this is a licensed product, or there’ll be one hell of a lawsuit coming down the pipe…

7:22pm: it’s been quite a while since there’ve been Felix The Cat comics in print, and it looks like IDW will be bringing bat the classic Otto Messmer Dell/Harvey stories in Felix The Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails (p164, $34.99, 224 pages, hardcover). Edited by Craig Yoe.

5:35am: Well hello there! So right around 7:30 I went for dinner, came home, had a nap, and woke up about 20 minutes ago. So, hopefully you weren’t waiting up all night for me. Or if you were: I’m starting to update again, you can head to bed now if you want. :)

So we’re on page 167, which is the announcement of creator-owned book HACK/SLASH debuting at Image. To announce this, the lead character has a baseball bat pointing directly at her vajayjay, and one of her combat boots improbably pointed inwards and upwards to do the same.  Also “Kiss It” is written ON the bat, which is hovering over her vajayjay. Don’t believe me?

HACK SLASH COMES TO IMAGE: HEY, DID YOU NOTICE MY VAJAYJAY?

Now the question becomes: Did the artist do that on purpose, or is it all subconscious?

5:45am: That’s the thing about Image, the first page is… well, the above… and then you flip the page and it’s like you’re in a whole ‘nother publisher’s section. The Bulletproof Coffin #1 has a sort of a lovely Geoff Darrow, late-80s/early 90s alternative comics thing going on, courtesy of David Hine and Shaky Kane. I’m not familiar with Mr. Kane’s ouevre of alt-brit comics, but he certainly seems to be well regarded on the net and the whole thing owes a debt to utterly bizarre… well, Wikipedia says Silver Age but the whole thing has a sort of an anything-goes Golden Age quality to it, at least from the description. Here’s the solicit:

ALL NEW SIX-ISSUE SERIES! Relive the Golden Age of comics! The Legendary Kane and Hine return to their greatest creations! SEE! Coffin Fly Vs. Zombie Nam Vets! The Shield of Justice walks the Dead Beat! The Unforgiving Eye sees all, forgives nothing! Red Wraith: He’s red! He’s dead! Ramona: Buxom, Beautiful and Bound! Big 2 Publishing, eat your heart out!

See, sounds like fun, right? And it looks like Geof Darrow! Win-win. And it comes on page 168, for $3.99, just after HackSlash. America, what a country!

5:59am: I don’t want to make this the month where Chris Talks About Sexism In The Previews Catalogue, and I know mags like Heavy Metal have a long and proud history of doing exactly, this, but… The bad-ass chick with a gun that is otherwise heavily clothed for a cold, outdoor mission, has her flight suit unzipped to her ribcage to show off her tits, and a come-hither look.

I get it, I get it, sex sells, etc., but does stupidity also sell? This book takes place on the equivalent of the ice planet of Hoth, according to the preview pages… All of the dudes are covered head-to-toes, and it is freezing and snowy with steam rising out of their wounds… And this chick is like “Hey boys, look at this!”

It’s just fucking dumb.

That’s Dust Wars #1 (Seriously, I think it was supposed to be like Dust: Wars but yeah, even the title is dumb) on page 176. $2.99, 1 of 3.

6:05am: And again, washing the unplesant taste out of my mouth, page 178 has META 4, a brand new 5 issue series from Ted McKeever for $3.50 an issue.  It sounds really, really Ted McKeevery. But the preview art looks lovely, I gotta say. There’s a page with a Ferris Wheel on fire. Nifty.

Oh, and then on page 181 is SEA BEAR AND GRIZZLY SHARK by Ryan Ottley and Jason Howard, which I feel is some sort of in-joke that I heard about and cannot remember, but it’s about a shark who stalks his prey on land and a bear who roams the seas, what else do you really need to know? $4.99 for 48 b&w pages.

6:12am: It looks like Image is comitted to keeping Garth Ennis, Amanda Conner, and Jimmy Palmiotti’s THE PRO in print, as that book gets another edition on page 182, 72 pages for $7.99. Speaking of new editions, Doug Tenapel’s CREATURE TECH gets its first Image edition (produced many moons ago by Top Shelf) for $17.99 on page 183.

6:17am: The Walking Dead Volume 12 is solicited on page 185, due out on June 2nd. That’s good news. :)

6:33am: Ah, the Marvel section of the catalogue. I have to say that I’m actually getting a little sleepy here, I’m not normally up at 6:34am and my post-dinner sleep could best be described as ‘restless’. I think maybe I’ll finish off this section and then go back for a nap before it’s time to go to work… in 4 hours. :-/

So whaddawegot? p4 Marvelman Primer, a stop-gap nothing of a release, 26 pages of text, 6 illustrations, almost no creative costs and they’re charging 4 bucks for it. ARE people so desperate to get Marvelman/Miracleman anything that they’re willing to pay $4 for advertising material? Or no. I’m betting on no, orders-wise.

p13. At least when that pale vampire dude in Anita Blake unbuttons his shirt to show off his tits, he’s safely indoors where they won’t get frostbitten. Also, he’s a vampire so he probably doesn’t feel cold.

p.16. X-Campus is… a reimagining of the X-Men mythos as if they were all in highschool at the same time. It’s a neat idea, one I’ve had myself, a bit like the movies too actually. It’s Marvel’s version of the European graphic album, but for some reason they stuck a Todd Nauck cover on it… Anyway, looks interesting. 2 issues, 28 pages and $4.99 each.

… sorry, was reading. Kinda lost interest in the Marvel section. It’s all a bit rote, isn’t it? Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ll be back with part two –the back of the catalogue — at some point soon.

- Chris


The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is a celebration of comics and graphic novels—and their creators—that takes place annually in Toronto, Canada. The next TCAF is  happening Saturday May 8th, 9am-5pm, and Sunday May 9th, 11am-5pm, 2010, at Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, and it’s FREE TO ATTEND!

The 2010 Festival will feature over 200 comics authors and artists, including including Daniel Clowes (Wilson, Eightball, Ghost World), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Paul Pope (Wednesday Comics), Dash Shaw (Body World), James Sturm (Golem’s Mighty Swing, Market Day), Charles Vess (Stardust, Blueberry Girl, Instructions), and Jim Woodring (Frank). Other special installations include The Webcomics Pavilion featuring Kate Beaton, Jeph Jacques, and Ryan North, The Toronto Small Press Schooner (presented by Broken Pencil and Wowee Zonk!), The Publishers Pavilion, and more than two-dozen creators from outside of North America!

For more information on TCAF and related events, please visit http://www.torontocomics.com.

- Christopher