Very, very good news.
Edit: Much longer post (by me) here: http://comics212.net/2010/03/09/matt-thorn-to-edit-curate-new-manga-line-for-fantagraphics/
Never Safe For Work
Very, very good news.
Edit: Much longer post (by me) here: http://comics212.net/2010/03/09/matt-thorn-to-edit-curate-new-manga-line-for-fantagraphics/
Most of the Random Japan posts here are about food, because (more often than not) food was a sort of in-between thing when I was travelling. My visits to Akihabara were punctuated by a stop for Ramen, a stop for McDonalds, and a stop for Curry, but none of those three things really has much to offer by way of commentary on Akihabara… at least so far as the contents of this blog are concerned. But they’re a fascinating glimpse into day-to-day life in Japan, so I documented as much of that stuff as I could.
Case in point: Lotteria. One of Japan’s big fast-food chains, coming up alongside McDonalds, and Mos Burger. Where McDonald’s is all about its brand, and Mos Burger is all about ‘freshness’, Lotteria seems to be all about making as many random burgers as possible. Lotteria is a cross between food manufacturer “Lotte” (they make lots of kinds of candies and snack foods amongst other things) and “cafeteria”, which is a delightfully Japanese mash-up. Case-in-point on the weirdness front btw, that to the right is a burger with two patties, a fried egg, and teriyaki sauce. It was delicious.
I really dug Lotteria, their particular brand of fast food was just this side of obscene (seriously, check out their website – anything with melted cheese on it looks like a heart attack). But one of their best menu items is also one of their simplest and most straightforward: The Lotteria Potato. The potato comes inside this cute, branded box, alongside a rather generous helping of sea-salt in a little packet.
This particular Lotteria Potato was purchased from inside Sapporo JR Station, at the last possible minute before I’d miss my train and be stuck in Sapporo for another 12 hours. You can see it alongside our drink-of-choice on the trip, Kirin Lemon Chi-hi.
Opening the box reveals the potato. So far as we can tell, it’s a whole potato that’s been par-boiled and then sliced. It is then deep-fried to order, resulting in a very crispy skin and as the potato blooms in the friar, crispy and delicious insides. It sort of fans out, and is attached at the bottom. It’s sort of like a blooming-onion, but less unhealthy.
The delicious sea salt is then sprinkled in-and-on the potato. If the Potato is fresh enough, the salt will adhere to the bits where there’s still cooking oil on the exterior. At this point the potato is really, really hot, btw. So despite the fact that it looks and smells delicious and the salt is melting on top of it, consuming it at this point will burn your mouth.
Instead, you just take arty pictures of the potato, waiting for it to cool, wondering how you’re ever going to get a blog post out of pictures of a potato. And yet, here we are.
Andrew estimates he had three of these in three weeks, I think it was closer to five. For those of you travelling to Japan, I heartily recommend the Lotteria Potato.
Actually, we just learned something. I had my friend Dave translate this for me, the menu item listing for the Lotteria Potato. Apparently, in the lower-left corner there, it lists additional sauces for your potato for a small extra charge. They are “butter” and “caramel sauce”. Seriously. So in closing, I guess I’d like to apologize to all of you for not being able to tell you what a salty fried potato with caramel dipping sauce tastes like, as I wasn’t able to read the signage at the time. Should I have occasion to return to Japan, I promise you a full run-down.
Hello! And welcome to the first FUN strip in the second trade paperback collection of DORK: Circling The Drain. This is also from issue #8, as neither issue #6 (the special Eltingville Club issue) nor issue #7 (the Evan Dorkin’s nervous breakdown issue) had any FUN strips…!
As always, you can buy all 11 issues of Dork as well as the two trade paperbacks and a host of other great work by Evan Dorkin at the SLG Publishing website, http://www.slgcomic.com/.
Thanks again to Evan and the guys at SLG for letting me run all of this stuff, and thanks everyone for reading and commenting and sharing and all that, awesome times.
Here’s to hoping I can maintain the ‘daily’ in the title for the next few months!
“But if there is a lesson here, it’s this. Comics are too expensive, You make them cheaper, much cheaper, and people will buy them. Buy lots of them. Buy them more than anything on Amazon.” – Rich Johnston
Actually, no. Comics are not ‘too expensive’ at all. Some of them are pricey, like $50-100 omnibus editions, but they’re very much in line with what everything else costs, particularly printed matter (trees, ink, and labour are not “free”, Johnston).
If automobiles were 90% off today, and people who liked automobiles and had a couple already and might like some more splurged on a bunch of cheap automobiles, we would not take home the message “well, automobiles are too expensive,” because that would be utterly stupid. We would take home the message that “people like a deal” and “90% off is a good deal”.
But comics go on a sale–admittedly one that is entirely in error according to Johnston himself–and the message he takes away from it is “well comics are just too expensive and ‘people’ would buy more if we sold them for less than it cost to print them, let alone pay the creators.”
Talk about the self-loathing of comics fans…
And this strip marks the end of DORK #5, which had a massive 8 pages of FUN strips in just one great issue!
I just wanted to take a second out to apologize to all y’all, and especially Evan, for the delays in posting these awesome strips over the past few months. Really, I meant to do this daily, and didn’t, and I’ve let everyone down. But I am really gonna try and get my sh!t together and get the next few months of strips up and ready-to-go.
Thanks for your patience!
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!
I am a comic book retailer in Toronto, Canada. I do lots of my ordering from Diamond Comics Distributors’ PREVIEWS catalogue, which solicits products coming 2 months (or more) down the road. This month’s order, the February catalogue for items beginning to ship in April, is due in a little more than 24 hours. I have not yet cracked the spine of the catalogue, despite my orders being due. Join me now for my rushed, off-the-cuff reactions to what the comics industry has to offer this April.
6:55pm: The Covers this month are… well the Iron Man one is nice, the Brightest Day one is meh, but at least they’re both tied to salable product. And have no doubt, both of those products will sell well.
It is nice when the ordering catalogue I order my comics from is interested in helping me sell comics…
7:01pm: Man, I’m not even going to pretend to read those front pages of the previews catalogue this month. I can’t deal. I will just jump right into Page 25: Dark Horse!
Page 26 actually. We got an original series from DH called “HELLCYON” which is… a dude in an orange Kaneda-from-Akira jumpsuit on a bitchin motorcycle that ALSO turns into a robot. Looks like a sort of “sum of its parts” thing for people that are livid that there isn’t a volume 7 of Akira. I am not against this, but it doesn’t look like it’s bringing a lot to the party.
Meanwhile, Page 33 sees a resolicit for THE END LEAGUE VOLUME 2, which now collects the entire last half of the series. I have no idea if this series ended well, or if it even ends rather than just… stops… due to lack of sales? Ihope it’s a good conclusion, I really liked the first half.
7:09pm: Still on DH, page 35: 600 page omnibus featuring ALL of Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons’ MARTHA WASHINGTON? For $30? Sounds like a plan. THE LIFE TIMES OF MARTHA WASHINGTON IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY drops June 30th.
Hahaha… oh shit, I totally just laughed out loud. Apparently on page 36 they are, in fact, re-soliciting Jim Steranko’s RED TIDE, which may have been solicited during the very first month I worked as a comics retailer…. in like 1997 or something? Hey, I hope it comes out, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.
7:19pm: Page 44 has a brand new HELLBOY collection! VOL 10: THE CROOKEDMAN AND OTHERS collects the Mignola/Corben mini-series, and a couple of short stories and one shots not previously collected. All for $18, June 23rd.
7:21pm: Flipping the page reveals one of my favourite books of the month…! BEASTS OF BURDEN HC collects the recent 4-issue mini-series from Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, one of my favourite minis of 2009 and a gripping, funny, beautiful adventure story on the whole. It also includes all of the “Dark Horse Book Of…” prequel short stories and maybe some extras. 168 pages for 20 bucks in hardcover, coming June 16th.
Seriously, one of the best books in the catalogue this month! Pick this one up, or at check out the single issues still available from better comic book stores everywhere…
7:27pm: In the category of delightful extravagances comes THE ART OF BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL on page 50, a 160 page hardcover for $29.99. BotI creator Hiroaki Samura is an amazing illustrator as well as being a great comics guy, should be a lovely book…
7:30pm: And now we’re onto the DC COMICS section, page 63. I don’t really have a lot to add about the Brightest Day stuff. It’s gonna sell to fans of the material, we’ve got really good tracking on it thanks to 9 or 10 months of BLACKEST NIGHT. I will say that I appreciate DC offering full-returnability (with a small penalty) on the first 6 issues to build up interest, that’s definitely the right way to launch a series like this… and That recentlyannounced white ring dealy isn’t going to hurt either. Ultimately, it looks like a successfully-positioned launch. Good for them. (Likewise, I have little to add about Flash or JLA, though at least they managed to get some cover art for JLA this month…)
7:37pm: Meanwhile, I do think it’s very interesting that they’re putting out BLACKEST NIGHT DIRECTOR’S CUT (page 68), which seems to be a bunch of the trade paperback bonus material in its own book. I actually can’t figure out how much to order, because it seems like all the secret-reveals it promises are gonna end up on the internet within hours of being printed… Still, there are a lot of completists out there. I’ll order low and bump it up if we’ve got a lot of pullfile customers who want it.
On page 69 comes the original Joker graphic novel ARKHAM ASYLUM: MADNESS by Sam Kieth. Given how well Arkham Asylum-anything stuff is selling thanks to the game, and with the JOKER ogn firmly in mind, we’ll be doing a solid initial order on this one.
7:46pm: So the FIRST WAVE stuff. I dug that Batman/Doc Savage crossover from a while back, I thought Phil Noto’s art was a nice fit for Azzarello’s script. It updated the characters but didn’t pull things too far away from what people like about them… But the cover for DOC SAVAGE #1 by JG Jones just looks… Stiff? Old? I dunno. I think about how John Cassaday updated the character in Planetary, and that really worked. This… I’m not feeling it.
That said though, THE SPIRIT #1 with a cover by Ladronn? That looks great, really contemporary but still gritty and energetic, and I absolutely love what Tony Harris did for the variant cover on FIRST WAVE #2. I think paying homage to the pulp past but updating the books is the way to go… I’m just not convinced that Jones’ look suits the new direction. Got my fingers crossed though.
8:02pm: I haven’t forgotten about you guys, there was just a whole-lotta nothing in the middle section there. Well, nothing worth pulling out and noting, I guess.
All of that changes on page 87, with the long, long-awaited COVER RUN: THE DC COMICS ART OF ADAM HUGHES. In work for a very long time I believe, this will collect all of Hughes covers in one place, alongside prep-work, commentary, and more. Should basically sell-itself, so long as the presentation and printing are up to snuff. $40 for 208 pages, page 87, HC.
Also on Page 87 is the Deluxe HC collection BATWOMAN: ELEGY, collecting the first 8 issues of Rucka and Williams’ Detective Comics run. The oversized HC will show off Williams’ art very nicely, and at onl $24.95 for 192 pages it’s actually pretty reasonably priced. I’m not usually one for HCs, but given the size and price-point (and Williams being awesome) I might just pick this one up.
8:10pm: Huh, page 90, it looks like starting with the Willingham run onJustice Society, they’re going to skip the ridiculous premiere HCs and go straight to the trade paperback. Our sagging shelves thank you, DC. JUSTICE SOCIETY: BAD SEED is the first out of the gate.
Meanwhile, on the opposite page  comes the oversized HC collection of Grant Morrison & Co’s SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY VOLUME 1, weighing in at $40 and 400 pages. Collecting the first half of the series. I’ll be picking that one up.
Ooo, and on page 94 it looks like DC are doing a whole new round of WHAT’S NEXT samplers to introduce people to their trade paperback lines. Anything with a media-tie in it looks like. Check out $1 introductory issues of BATMAN & ROBIN, HUMAN TARGET, GREEN LANTERN, THE LOSERS, and EX MACHINA.
8:19pm: Well that certainly took long enough. Now on issue #15, BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM finally gets a trade paperback collection of the first six issues. 144 pages for $12.99. DC, guys, step it up a little if you can eh?
And while I am speaking to DC’s kids collected editions dept (heh), where are the rest of the themed collections from CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK? You guys must’ve done 2 or 3 hundred pages of BEN10 by now. Do you think you could manage a trade paperback collection? Or a new Looney Tunes maybe? It’s a little depressing, given your wealth of material and your vast resources how few kid-oriented collections are coming out. I know the digests didn’t pan out the way that you wanted, but… still…
8:29pm: Apparently it’s THE month for long, long delayed projects! NEIL YOUNG’S GREENDALE HC has been in the works since at least 2007, although the rumours extended back even further. While originally Joe The Barbarian artist Sean Murphy was on board for the book, in between concept and execution the art chores were handed to Cliff Chiang, one of my favourite mainstream comics illustrators. As for the book itself, there’s no previews up online anywhere I could see, but I trust Chiang to deliver a pretty-looking book. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed Dysart’s work, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Either way, it’s going to make a hell of a media splash, particularly here in Canada. We’ll be invested in it. 160 pages of original graphic novel for 20 bucks, drops June 9th.
8:43pm: Page 112, does anyone else think it’s wierd that CODENAME KNOCKOUT VOLUME 1 is getting collected? Did it get optioned somewhere and I missed it? Still, big ups to Robert Rodi for the royalties that’ll get sent his way. :) 160 pages, $19.99, ships May 19th.
8:47pm: Wow, very good month for Vertigo…! On page 118 they’ve got SWEET TOOTH v1: OUT OF THE WOODS, collecting the first 5 issues of Jeff Lemire’s new ongoing series for just $10. Same page has Lemire’s original graphic novel THE NOBODY in softcover for $15. I’m just going to insert a little plug here, and mention that Jeff Lemire will be one of our featured guests at The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, may 8-9 in Toronto Canada. For more visit http://torontocomics.com.
Ahem, that out of the way, let’s look at the opposite page (119) and see a brand new edition of Howard Cruise’s STUCK RUBBER BABY, an incredibly, visceral semi-autobio account of the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, and women’s librartion in 1960s America. It’s a great, great graphic novel and deserves considerably more acclaim than it’s ever gotten. I certainly hope that this new edition (with an introduction by Alison Bechdel!) will draw it some deserved acclaim.
8:53pm: Well how about that! It’s the long-awaited sixth volume of Fred Gallagher’s hit webcomic MEGATOKYO! This one collects chapters 9 and 10 of the online series 240 pages for 11 bucks. Not that I’m DC or Fred Gallagher, but if I WERE DC or Fred Gallagher I’d maybe do more frequent, thinner collections of this series so it isn’t 3 years between new collections. Just a friendly bit of free advice… (Page 122)
9:09pm: Okay! We’re back and on page 138, THE IMAGE COMICS SECTION! What wonderful stuff as Image got for us this month? Why, it’s TURF #1, the first issue of the mini-series by UK television presenter, documentarian, and comics-uberfan Jonathan Ross. Showing excellent taste, Mr. Ross has brough Tomy Lee Edwards along for the ride, in this cross between 1920s gangsters, vampires, and a crashed spaceship. I came across a preview of this one in last week’s THE WALKING DEAD #70 and I dug it, and it turns out the same preview is duplicated here in the Previews starting on page 140. It’s really solid, and then a spaceship lands (which is a little jarring) but, all-in-all, it’s a pretty compelling first few pages (a little dense though…). Definitely going to be a neat first issue.
9:14pm: Wow, it looks like everyone’s getting on the dollar-comic bandwagon, and Image Comics is releasing 10 different first issues for just a buck a pop (p144-145). I… I don’t think I’m down with most of’em, to be honest. I’d say we’re going to do really big orders on The Walking Dead, Chew, and Invincible, solid orders on Age of Bronze, Girls, and Proof, and… well, it’s nice that the Image-founder superhero books are there, I just don’t see their usefullness to me and my store. Of course, maybe those are the four that are going to net the highest sales. Diff’rent strokes.
9:39pm:THE LIGHT #1 is… it reminds me a lot of the current apocalyptic road trip fiction that’s going down right now, with The Road and Book of Eli and Blindness and all that. I can’t tell if it’s too close, and it’s not going to appeal, or if it’s just into that niche of contemporary fiction and will, instead, do awesome. Then again, maybe it’s more of a trade paperback book anyway? Hmm. Conservative order, hope for reorders.
9:42pm: So, let’s play a little game where we look at the last few issues of in-store dates for Spawn, in honour of the Due-April-2010 solicitation for SPAWN #202.
Spawn #191 – Due April 09, Shipped April 29th (so far, so good)
Spawn #192 – Due May 09, Shipped June 3rd (oops, slipped a week or two)
Spawn #193 – Due June 09, Shipped July 1st (almost picked up the slack!)
Spawn #194 – Due July 09, Shipped July 29th (way to go, back on schedule!)
Spawn #195 – Due August 09, Shipped October 21st (Uh oh).
Spawn #196 – Due September 09, Shipping March 3rd, 2010 (oh noes…)
There’s just a tiny peek into my world.
Now, ask me how many times I’ve been asked for WALKING DEAD VOLUME 5 HC in the last week, due out before Christmas (seven).
9:53pm: Meanwhile, in happier news, Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber have hit every on-sale date for their new mini-series UNDERGROUND, a spelunking adventure comic with great characterization and art. If you somehow passed on the mini-series (the final issue ships this week), definitely don’t miss out on the UNDERGROUND TP, coming this April. 126 pages, $15, fine fine adventure comics. (page 158)
10:00pm: Okay, and we’ve just finished out the Image section and we’re on to MARVEL! Kids, switch over to your Marvel Previews.
Page 1 and… Dude, I’d really like to be on-board for “Leonardo Da Vinci, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” but I do not think I am. I’m sorry. Though kudos to Dustin Weaver for doing a bang-up Traves Charest impression with that cover. Really, bravo, that’s some very good Charesting.
10:04pm: Page… 4. “Iron Man by Design Variants”. Every issue this month will have a variant cover with artists doing their take on the Iron Man armour. I’m not really blown away by any of the art on display, sad-to-say.
Flipping the page and we get to the actual comics. SIEGE #4 wraps up the mini-series with the return of Iron Man. The following pages seem like epilogue after epilogue, which makes me wonder if they’re going to make any attempt to collect this in a way that makes sense to the story, or if they’re going to go the normal route of a half-dozen inter-related collections that add up to “what happened”. Because, it would be nice if they could just put out “stories” every once in a while.
10:08pm: Ultron looks fun to draw. (page 10)
10:09pm: I can’t be the first person to say this, but here goes:
“Bryan Hitch is drawing NEW AVENGERS FINALE? Here’s hoping that that the first issue of that new Avengers series doesn’t give away what happens in it. Or the second issue. Or the third issue.”
10:14pm: Huh, Marvel’s adapting Philip K. Dick’s ELECTRIC ANT with a five issue mini-series. That’s pretty cool. I think I’d seen reference to that, but didn’t realize it was coming so soon. Written by David Mack, cover by Mr. Paul Pope, though I’m not familiar with interior artist Pascal Alixe.
10:18pm: So… Marvel is solciting the second printing of “Deadpool Corps #1″ alongside the first printing of that issue. That’s… well, whatever.
10:20pm: Oooo! Page 34 has the first issue of Brendan McCarthy’s three-issue Dr. Strange story, cleverly called SPIDER-MAN: FEVER #1 so that people that think they don’t like Dr. Strange will pick it up. McCarthy’s a great artist and has a truly unique voice in comics, it’s frig’n bizarre to see him doing a mainstream marvel book but shit, why not right? Awesome days. Another one of my picks of the month.
Oh, 32 pages, $3.99.
10:26pm: So FALL OF THE HULKS leads into WORLD WAR HULKS? But FALL OF THE HULKS: SHE HULKS is still going on when the WWH book starts. Poor planning, or just a mini-series redundant to the main ‘through’ of the series?
10:30pm: Page 56 and 57 have Marvel relaunching their young-readers line, with SPIDER-MAN #1 and SUPER HEROES #1, both with a “Marvel Adventures” tag on the cover, but seemingly not in the solicit description. Still, that cover by Karl Kerschl is lovely on Spidey #1, and the books sell consistentlyhere at the store. Here’s hoping that the relaunch will see a boost in sales.
10:37pm: I know it’s for a good cause and all, but the fact that NEMESIS #2 by Mark Millar, solicited for April, wasn’t so far along in the production schedule that Millar could auction off the name of the character? It does not fill me with confidence that this series will come out on a schedule any different than Kick-Ass, which is to say a sort-of pathetic schedule.
10:47pm: Okay, that’s it folks! Thanks for reading! We’ll pick it up tomorrow morning with the back-half of the catalogue, and all of the wonderous new books sure to be contained within!
Oh Nick Simmons. I kind of wanted to post a spirited defense of you using scans of Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga, but I had to draw the line when you weren’t just biting BLEACH, but biting BLEACH FANART. Like… yow, lowest of the low.
Deb Aoki spent the night asking difficult questions on Twitter, about the difference between what Simmons did and what thousands of anime-convention artist alley kids do every year, when they sell their own illustrations and stories based on the work of famous manga creators like Tite Kubo. The short answer is that anime fandom sat up and said “NO! We do what we do out of love and have very strict rules about that sort of thing!” and blah blah blah, which basically ammounted to “It’s us doing it so it’s okay, but Nick Simmons is them, so he’s a pariah we’re all going to tear our garments over.”
Got news for you, champs.
When you sell illustrations, or short stories, featuring your favourite characters, you’re entering into exactly the same dirty world of “commerce” that poor Nick Simmons did. You may be, in your head, doing it in ‘tribute’ to the manga or the creator, but out in the real world? You’re ripping him off, just like Nick Simmons did. You’re more honest about your sources, but you’re less creative. You may even have a much higher degree of craft, but as soon as you violate someone’s copyright or IP in that way, making money based on (legally and artistically) derivative works? You’re all just a batch of Nick Simmons, building your careers on the backs of others creators.
Are there lots (lots) of people who do it? Yes. Is their a “community” of like minded people all telling each other that what they do is okay? Fuck yeah! Does it make a lick of difference…?
Here’s the thing: I’ve got infinitely more respect for obvious thief Nick Simmons than I do for the legions of artist-alley dwellers selling mass-produced copies of their fanart for characters. Nick Simmons is (badly) taking his influences and turning them into something (horribly derivative but at least nominally) “new”. It’s not original, it may not even be good, but every artist or writer is comprised mainly of the sum of their influences and experiences. But at least Simmons on his first shot out of the gate managed to synthesize all that shit into something other than “Here is a terribly drawn portrait of two BLEACH characters making out, in tribute to an author who clearly never wanted this to happen or he’d have done it himself. I am charging $10 for this colour photocopy.”
Paying “tribute” to an author like Kubo by selling work based on his creations is about the same as “building his popularity” by distributing illegal scans and fansubs of his work, I personally put the two in exactly the same category: complete fucking fiction.
What I’m saying is Nick Simmons’ behaviour is embarrassing and the work is getting the smackdown it deserves. But North American anime “fandom” for their legion of sins have no reason to be so comfortable in their condemnation, particularly because the behaviour they condone–and celebrate–is worse.
P.S.: I love fan creations, I am happy that people legitimately pay tribute to artists they love on DeviantArt and in the myriad of Fanfic communities. Sell that work and you cross a line.
Edit Sat Feb27: Normally, I wouldn’t bother approving some of the stuff in the comments section, because there’s a combination of wrong-headedness and pomposity from a bunch of alias’d anime fans that’s off-putting at best, but I decided this time out to let the comments ride. Mostly because I think that the more ridiculous comments speak for themselves, but I also kind of knew that this would be a contentious one going in. As such, I don’t particularly recommend reading the comments here, but instead would recommend that the most compelling rebuttal to my ideas comes from Simon Jones at Icarus Comics, http://www.icaruscomics.com/wp_web/?p=4319, and you should check those out if you’re interested in more on the subject.
For my part, I do understand that plagiarism is bad news, but then I didn’t think that need to be stated. Instead my position was (and still is) that the culture of complacency and all of the mealy-mouthed defence for selling unauthorized work based on a creator’s IP that permeates anime fandom? Far, far worse than any individual instance of plagiarism, no matter how famous the plagiarist is. Seriously, the general attitude of North American Anime & Manga Fandom with its fansubs, it’s scanlations, it’s complete disregard for intellectual property, ethics, or fairness in the face of what they want (everything) and what they want to pay for it (nothing) is so much more utterly damaging to Tite Kubo, to manga and anime, and to Art and Artists hoping to make a living from their Art, than Nick Simmons could ever hope to be. Get your own house in order before crucifying this guy.
Thanks for reading!