mal_tcaf_ad_500px…but there is a FUCKLOAD of TCAF coverage coming in the next 5 days. Like, obscene. If you’re not going, you’re going to be sick of hearing about it, but if you are going OH MY GOD I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN STAND IT. AWESOME. AWESOME.

- It is now Ontario Graphic Novel Month, courtesy of Open Book: Toronto’s WHAZAMO!
- We’re getting daily coverage in Toronto’s National Post daily newspaper, with profiles on about half of the total guests of the festival. I don’t know if people know this, but many of these are appearing in the newspaper as well as online.
- I gave a run-down/preview of TCAF last Saturday.
- Oh, it looks like my interview with Comic News Insider’s Jimmy Aquino just went live. Fun-fact: I hadn’t slept for 24 hours before I did this interview! Let’s go and listen and see if I’m coherent.

    More TCAFy goodness soon. Tom and Dirk are doing a great job of linking everything, check’em out in case I don’t get back here to after it’s all over.

    Oh, and I just got back from a sorta-private reception for Mr. Tatsumi at The Japan Foundation, where he did an illustration in every book that people brought him, which was kind of amazing. By the by, Mr. Tatsumi is warm, funny, and likes to laugh. Neat guy.

    So, yeah, that’s about where I’m at right now. Excited, a little nervous, busting my ass every day, good stuff.

    - Christopher


    Hey readers,

    I’m totally totally swamped so I can’t really be blogging. But I found this incredibly cool. From Mark Ellersby’s livejournal:

    “Hey everyone, I hope you’re all enjoying May bank holiday. I spent yesterday plowing through cheap stapled goodness at the London Zine Symposium and watched The Wedding Singer. Oh, and I booked a last minute flight to Toronto for this week. No, really.

    “I’ll be appearing at the TCAF festival, though I won’t have a table and I’ll just be doing the odd hour signing at the Oni booth, details of which to come. Basically, I was listening to the TCAF preview edition of InkStuds and it sounded so bloody amazing that 2 days later I booked a flight and a hotel room for me and Anna. Wooo!”

    So, yeah. That’s kind of insanely heartening to hear.

    I actually heard that John Pham would be coming up to Toronto as well! Cool beans.

    Back to work,

    - Christopher


    Hey folks! Due to e-mail problems, when we were putting together COMICS FESTIVAL 2009 (available at FREE COMIC BOOK DAY events EVERYWHERE! TODAY!) we missed out on a great strip. Andy Belanger (Andy B. to his friends) has created a great new character/story, ANNIE ARCADE, and her first published adventure was scheduled to be in Comics Festival! 2009!

    Unfortunately Annie and her crew didn’t quite make it into the book this year, but that just means we can make this strip EXTRA FREE! So check out the first ever adventure of Andy B.’s ANNIE ARCADE below. And if you’re at The Beguiling today, stop by the store to meet Andy and get a special “tip-in” version of the comic strip to insert into your copy of Comics Festival!  

    anniearcadegroup

    annie_arcade_1

    For more of Andy B.’s work, and more adventures of Annie Arcade, check out http://andybelanger.com/?p=203

    Happy Free Comic Book Day!

    - Christopher


    10:16pm: …and we’re back. In case you’re just joining us, I am a comic book retailer who has to have his Diamond Previews order done and uploaded by tomorrow at midnight. I didn’t even look at The Previews until earlier today, and I really need to get back to my job right now, which is running a comic book festival next week. All of this has made me irritable, and I’m sharing this with you. Enjoy!

    10:19pm: I know Wizard has been firing a lot of people lately, but seriously, did they let go of all of their designers? These Previews pages look like the intern threw them together, and the intern only knows how to use MS Word. Meanwhile, ANOTHER Obama cover on this issue. That poor dead horse that these guys keep beating.

    10:21pm: I’m just saying, “Obama Cover, by Artist To Be Announced.” Come on…

    10:22pm: Another month, another solicited issue of Anime Insider that is never going to come out. Actually, I just realized that these pages look like they’ve been designed by the PREVIEWS team, which is why I don’t like them. They look seriously weak. Oh how the mighty… etc.

    10:23pm: Ah, and thanks to Super-Con in San Jose, we get a little Comic Sans. How Avant Garde.

    10:25pm: Speaking of which, Cerebus Archive #2 has a Zombie/Obama Variant for $15.00. At least I’m not as cynical as Dave Sim.

    10:27pm: I feel kinda bad, I never actually checked out Scott Morse’s first “Ancient Book of” book for Adhouse. Although this one is about Sex, so that will probably entice me more than Myth/War. Oh, and Johnny Hiro gets a lovely collection that I shall be ordering. Good series, that one. Nice price-point too, 200 pages for $15.00. That’s a steal.

    10:29pm: SLG Publishing have thrown a lot of marketting muscle behind their new CAPTAIN BLOOD comic book, and it does look quite nice. Beautiful colours on the cover too. We had some success with The Black Coat, a pirate adventure series published intermitently over the past few years. Hopefully this one will do well for us too.

    10:32pm: So I actually read the description for Bad Kids Go To Hell #1, from Antarctic. It’s a high-concept comedy/thriller, described as “The Breakfast Club” meets “The Grudge”. And, yeah, alright, it sounds like a sort of cheesy movie, I’d watch it if it came on the TV and it wasn’t censored on TBS or something. But it’s a movie on paper; a book about sexy teens intended for a sexy teen audience. Where in the hell are they going to find that audience at Antarctic Press? Why is this a comic at all, other than just as an intermediate step to getting it optioned soemwhere? It’s described as a movie, and the cover art just looks awkward (the proportions are all off). Why turn a movie pitch into a mediocre comic book? Or a comic at all?

    10:36pm: Archaia Studios Returns! At least The Killer will end now, and Alex Sheikman who creates Robotika is a nice guy. But I don’t really feel good about the company, I’ve heard too much from creators unhappy how they were treated during the fallow period… and I’m not crazy about what I heard about their new parent company either. Anyway, whatever. I’ll order what I think will sell, but I’m certainly not going to ‘invest’ in the company until they get back on track and make amends with the people they’ve wronged.

    10:41pm: Hey, a second collection of Julia Wertz’ Fart Party. Cool stuff. The first one was pretty great actually, recommended.

    10:44pm: I have to bump the numbers on Gravel again. Nice to see a series picking up readers as it goes. Oh and Ignition City did alright too… And contrary to Ellis’ assertions that “we wouldn’t do variant covers if people didn’t buy them”, our order for the single-cover FRANKENSTEIN’S WOMB (there’s a HC too, but we’ll ignore that) just ended up being higher than our orders for all of the covers on Ignition or Gravel combined. We order the variants because they’re available, not because people are buying more than one. At least not in my experience. Or in an apples-to-apples comparisson, We’re ordering exactly as many copies of all Anna Mercury #1 with 4 different covers  as we did of Ignition City #1 with 3 covers, we just divided them differently. Anyway, not that this has anything to do with anything, it’s just been sticking in my craw, so to speak, seeing Ellis send that message out into the world.

    10:55pm: Am i really supposed to order the Tek War comic? Really? Someone weigh in in the comments. I just don’t know.

    10:57pm: I have to say, an extended, faithful adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a surprisingly ambitious project for BOOM to take on… i think that’s kind of amazing actually. I hope they do a good job, and I’m excited to see it.

    I have to say, their section on the whole looks kind of put-together and organized this month, which is nice. I feel like the past few months have been a little haphazzard, particularly with the volume of books they solicit in a given month. A set-up in the Previews more like IDW would benefit them for sure.

    brown-cover

    11:06pm: Alright! I wanted to take a second to mention Box Brown’s Love is A Peculiar Type Of Thing! It’s a Xeric Grant winning book, a collection of webcomics and short strips, and it’s about this dude growing up and being fucked up and trying to get over it. It’s navel-gazing indy autobio comics, the exact sort of terrible filth that superhero fans like to step up and deride! Loudly! In an us versus them argument, this is THEM with a capital EVERY LETTER. It’s got Drug Use in it, for pete’s sake! Drugs! How could he!?

    It’s great, I loved it. Totally worth your $10. Order two: one for you, and give the other one to a feckless 20-something that can’t figure a way out of their current situation.

    More at:  http://www.topshelfcomix.com/ts2.0/artist/318  and  http://boxbrown.com/book/.

    11:13pm: On the other end of the spectrum, Devil’s Due Productions has declared June OBAMA MONTH! Fuuuuuuuuuuuck. Comics you ruin fucking everything. I refuse to engage your awful offerings.

    Actually, fuck it. I’m not ordering any of this for the shelf. We’re The Beguiling. We have principles. If you want any of this nonsense, I hope you pre-ordered.

    11:26pm: So, First Second’s THE COLOR OF WATER by Dong Hwa Kim. I really liked this actually, it’s probably the only thing like it in English. It’s very strange though. It’s very much a book for women, about the life of a woman from being a girl to being grown. It’s a book club book; a Lifetime movie in the making. But it’s neat. And Kim is an outstanding artist, several of the sequences and illustrations featuring the countryside are just amazing. The first book, COLOR OF EARTH, is available from stores now, check it out. 

    Oh, and to my friends at First Second? You mis-spelled COLOUR. I didn’t want to say anything to embarass you, but since the books are already printed and in circulation it’s probably alright now.

    11:31pm: Taniguchi! Yay! Fucking Whoo! Hoo! Jiro Taniguchi, for those of you thus far uninitiated, is the wonderful creator behind The Walking Man, which I love. A new work is solicited here, SUMMIT OF THE GODS. Taniguchi is one of those creators on my automatic-buy list, just… he brings such incredible professionalism and skill to everything he attempts. It’s lovely.

    11:35pm: The Fantagraphics section features what will be the book of the month for many, a the new collection of Peter Bagge’s reportage comic strips for REASON magazine. They’ve generally been good, thought provoking stuff, and I’m sure fans of his self-involved, self-pitying Buddy Bradley character will find a lot to interest them in a collection of comic strips from a Libertarian magazine.

    Zing!

    apr09079711:41pm: Actually, let’s go back a second. I Twittered a question to digital manga publishing but they don’t seem to be online, so I skipped over mentioning the fact that their SWALLOWING THE EARTH, by Osamu Tezuka, is shipping in June. Well, the first volume anyway. I am totally, totally interested in reading this. I own a bunch of Tezuka in French just to studdy the storytelling. But the cover of the book they’ve got here in PREVIEWS is just terrible, hideous stuff. It’s like they took a look at the great strides that Vertical had made in packaging 30 or 40 year old books and making them appeal to a contemporary audience and decided “That’s not really for us.” I love Tezuka, but some of his stuff is kinda goofy looking. I’m not saying every book needs to be abstract and downplay the comics connection, but the difference between the cover they’ve got for solicitation here and even the Buddha volumes? Miles and miles apart, and not in a good way. Granted, it’s got a great big ART NOT FINAL on it, but this is a little disappointing, because it seems like a wonderful work by Tezuka, and I’d really like the chance to sell it.

    I don’t think this cover will help me.

    11:50pm: Alright, back to Fantagraphics. The Abstract Comics collection soudns neat. The second massive Locas HC is a must buy. Another collection of comics by Fletcher Hanks, by Paul Karasik. A collection of Danish comics! Good month for Fanta.

    11:53pm: Oh shit, how did I miss the Rand Holmes retrospective!? They’re gonna take away my Canadian citizenship. Basically:

    Rand Holmes was Canadas most revolutionary artist in his heyday, the star cartoonist at the Georgia Straight newspaper in British Columbia during the 1970s. His hippie hero, Harold Hedd, became the spokesman of the emerging counterculture as he avoided work, explored free love, and flouted drug laws. The Adventures of Harold Hedd spread across the globe in the wave of underground comix and newspapers of the era and Holmes became famous – or at least notorious. While his comic character was bold and blatant, the artist was shy and quiet, well on his way to becoming a complete hermit.

    This book is an intimate and expansive account of a very private man who expressed his deepest feelings in the then disreputable medium of comix. He didnt talk much but he sure wrote a lot, avowed his widow Martha. This biography/retrospective includes generous selections from his private journals and correspondence, family photo albums, sketchbooks, and personal anecdotes from his friends and colleagues. His artistic history began haltingly on the lonely windswept plateau of Edmonton, flourished in Vancouver and San Francisco, and concluded peacefully on Lasqueti Island, a remote backwater in the Straits of Georgia where he lived out his dreams of pioneering and homesteading.

    Holmes life story is richly illustrated with drawings, comic strips, watercolors, and paintings that span his whole career, from the hot rod cartoons he drew as a teenager, dozens of covers for the Georgia Straight, pornographic cartoons for the sex tabloid Vancouver Star, to complete comic stories from Slow Death Funnies, Dope Comix, All Canadian Beaver, Death Rattle, Grateful Dead Comix, and many more. The full-length Harold Hedd comic novels, Wings Over Tijuana and Hitlers Cocaine are reprinted in their entirety together for the first time. 

    Essentially, it’s the only book on a Canadian Underground cartooning legend. And a GIANT OF THE NORTH, actually (Google it). Sorry I forgot to mention it on the first pass.

    12:03pm: See, here we are, in the IDW section and they’ve got a book called THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE BARACK OBAMA and you know what’s different about this one? It’s not co-opting the man’s image to sell your some other idea. It’s a book about Obama. And sure, that’s as much of a commercial product as the stupid barbarian one the DDP is publishing, but this one is actually about the man, his beliefs, his life. I can get behind that.

    12:19pm: So, big-ups to fellow Canadians New Reliable Press, who have got their new books TRUE LOVES 2 and JAN’S ATOMIC HEART in the new Previews. These fine cats are gonna be at TCAF, TCAF’n it up, and TRUE LOVES at least managed to get a lot of press first time around. And hey, retailers and customers? THEY’RE GIVING AWAY BOOKS. For every copy of TRUE LOVES 2 you buy, they’re shipping out a free copy of TRUE LOVES 1. That’s a steal!

    12:23pm: Okay, Oni Press has got the first issue of the just-relaunched RESURRECTION comic, now in full colour. Fine, interesting enough, Except they’re shipping out 10s of thousands of copies of the #0 prequel for Free Comic Book Day, AND (AND!) the trade paeprback collecting the first RESURRECTION series? SIX BUCKS. Six dollars for like, 184 pages. And it’s all gonna be out in the next 7 days. So, you know, KUDOS, Oni. You win this month’s award for “working your ass off to support your new ongoing series”. Buuuuuut unfortunately you’re disqualified because the first issue here doesn’t feature a 1 in 250 variant cover. Too bad, so sad. :P

    12:28: Page 282 has an indy anthology from “Poseur Ink” called SIDE B: THE MUSIC LOVER’S COMIC ANTHOLOGY. It’s got a bunch of stories from folks including Jeffrey Brown, Brandon Graham, Ryan Kelly, and Jim Mahfood. That’s some pretty cool shit. 

    Oh, and on page 284, as a favour to my friend George I wanna give a shout out to ATOMIC ROBO AND THE SHADOW FROM BEYOND TIME #3. The Atomic Robo stuff has been fun, well drawn, and a consistent seller for us here at the store. I’m happy to recommend it to fans who like Hellboy for more than just Mignola’s art. :)

    12:39pm: So! The one thing in the Viz section that I didn’t know about before I got to it is STARTING POINT: 1979-1996 By Hayao Miyazaki. It’s “A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches, and interviews by 9and with) Hayao Miyazaki.” It’s 500 pages of reading for $30. That’s sort of a given, isn’t it? Like, that one is an automatic purchase? Awesome. Thanks Viz!

    12:56pm: FLIGHT VOLUME 6 IS COMING SOON. Excellent news! New stories from all of the Flight Creators and friends. Page 301, preorder your copy, etc.

    Alright, I think that’s it for this month. I gotta go through the last few pages of the catalogue and see what kinda magazines and stuff I’m gonna order. Thanks for reading…!

    - Christopher


    apr0901472:20pm: Man do I not have time for this. I should be doing TCAF stuff, but unfortunately I can’t just quit my day job at The Beguiling to do TCAF for 2 months… So I have to do the Previews Catalogue. And since it always takes me about a day to do, and last month when I did this it took me about a day to do, I may as well do this again. LIVEBLOGGING THE PREVIEWS: ONE RETAILER’S HONEST REACTION TO DIAMOND’S PREVIEWS CATALOGUE. Why Not?

    First up? We totally sold out of PREVIEWS this month, because the cover looked great and had a top-notch creative team featured. I don’t know what it is, but usually the cover of previews is either an incomprehensible mess of digital paint, or just plain hideous. Morrison and Quitely’s BATMAN AND ROBIN for the win.

    2:25pm: Huh, the Editor’s Note on page 7 actually mentions that the Previews is thinner, and they’re being “more choosy” with what they offer. I always thought choosey was spelt with an ‘e’, but perhaps in this “tough economic climate” we can’t afford a surfeit of e’s.

    Oh, and I’ll try to mention page-numbers for those of you playing along at home.

    2:27pm: God’s honest quote: “What would William Shatner Do? Apparently, create some good comics.” Thank you, “indieEdge”, for the most depressing thing I’ve seen in days. And we’re only at Page 9.

    2:28pm: Is this the fourth or fifth consecutive month of Free Comic Book Day ads in the front of the catalogue? Yikes. Though it is still nice to see Comics Festival in there.

    2:29pm: This is actually what I meant about a mess of digital paint on the covers of Previews. This Predator #1 cover is a nightmare. Comics fans aren’t known for being big “impressionist art” fans at the best of times, and this is just all rendering and no composition. Although the strictly realist interpretation of the Predator on the facing page is… ugly. I mean, perhaps that’s the point, but it’s not attractive at either. At least there’s some thought to the composition with the figure framed by the window/doorway. Still, not auspicious for a debut to the section.

    2:33pm: The Art of Tony Millionaire has an introduction by Elvis Fucking Costello. That’s cool, but is that gonna sell the book? It’s so cool.

    2:42pm: I think I mentioned these “Neil Gaiman Presents” novels last month…. I just saw that the first one was cancelled by Diamond on my last invoice. Does anyone know if it’s just going to get resolicited or if the line isn’t happening? Because this one, Spave Chanety, with are by Vaughn Bode, that will probably do alright for us.

    2:46pm: I’ve been really, really hard on Dark Horse in the past. I know it’s not easy keeping tons and tons of backlist in print, but I’ve never understood their handling of the Usagi Yojimbo series by Stan Sakai. Volumes out of print for huge stretches of time, and a general confusion about how to handle the series seem to pervade it. I’m really glad to see that they’re doing new editions of all of the Usagi stuff, starting with volumes 8-10. Completely remastered and rescanned artwork, new story notes. Sounds good, you know? Sounds good.

    2:50pm: So Buffy the Vampire Slayer is doing a new TALES OF THE VAMPIRES one shot featuring Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, and covers by Ba and Moon and Jo Chen. Sounds like a pretty amazing crossover, and given the creative pedigree is likely to be awesome. My only fear is that the hardcore Buffy fans won’t pick it up because it’s not “cannon” or by “Joss” or whatever, even though it’s quite likely to be a really strong genre comic. Blessing and curse of setting the bar high?

    2:54pm: Man, 12 volumes of EDEN: IT’S AN ENDLESS WORLD. Nice. If you’re the kind of person who misses Masamune Shirow’s regular output, but kind of wish he stayed on the “interesting philosophical digressions on humanity + kick ass art” track, instead of, you know, a cyber-version of Hot Biker Sluts, you should check this out. Also, if you’re the kind of person who was repulsed by every part of the previous sentence, you can check this out too, it’s actually really solid and enjoyable.

    2:58pm: Alright, DC COMICS! … You know, I even LIKED Final Crisis (seriously, it was a lot of fun) but? Is anyone at all gonna care about these Final Crisis spin-off books by the time they come out, months after the end of the series?

    BTW, I decided the one written by Joe Casey and drawn by Chris Cross has the strongest crative team, despite having the most ridiculous (within the context of superhero fanboy names), so that’s the one I’m ordering the strongest.

    3:00pm: It would be nice if there was not a 1-in-250 variant on Batman and Robin #1.

    Actually, let me expand on this. This is fucking stupid. It either rewards the absolute largest retailers, the ones who are already ordering thousands of copies of these sorts of books anyway (chains mostly) while thumbing its nose at the mass of small-to-mid-sized accounts that make up the meat of the orders on many of these books. 

    Or? Or it’s encouraging retailers to take untennable positions on books, in a time of economic downturn. Is it a biased, favouritist promotion, or just totally irresponsible?

    We are going to qualify for this incentive, we are going to be fine. But “I got mine” is not an acceptable way of doing business in the same month that the editor of Previews says “We all have to tighten our belts.”

    3:20pm: Okay, that out of the way, is anyone going to be rushing to pick up these new Batman books that don’t have the real Batman in them? Like, Gotham City Sirens I kinda get, put a bunch of popular sexy characters in the same book, get a cheesecake artist to draw them. But like, Paul Dini’s “Another Batman Ongoing Series” has a solid creative team, but are people on board with reading this? I have no feeling, except negative.

    Also, Red Robin #1? Really?

    I feel disconnected from this. I am ordering low.

    3:24pm: Our Superman sales are really taking a hit right now. That is unfortunate… but unsurprising.

    3:25pm: Really? Superman vs. The Flash cover on issue #3? I… I dunno.

    The DC section is kinda depressing me here.

    3:28pm: Man, new series are Not having a good go of it right now. Dead Romeo #1? Tanked. The Mighty #1-3? Not promising numbers. I guess I could’ve done more to promote both series, but with so much on the racks it’s a little tough. But the lack of sales were not for a lack of copies on the rack…

    3:35pm: You know, I like Mike Oeming’s artwork; I own all of Powers. I think that Kevin Nowlan is an incredibly talented artist, just the bees knees. What I am less on board with, is getting Kevin Nowlan to do a cover for The Spirit #30, and then having Mike Oeming draw (and write) the interiors. Because, you know what? Those two artists are very different. Their work does not compliment one another. That is what we in the biz call a bait-and-switch. That is a poor choice.

    3:40pm: Time for the monthly “bitching-about-DC’s-collected-editions-department”. Listen folks, I DON’T LIKE DOING THIS ANYMORE THAN YOU LIKE HEARING ABOUT IT. But what do you want me to do, exactly? Huh?

    You’re releasing a prestige-format Alex Ross project years after the demand was at it’s peak! AND you’re asking me to order it now, but it’s not arriving until November 25th, 2009. I’m officially ordering Christmas Product here when, and let’s be honest with ourselves here, last Christmas would’ve been a much more realistic window for release of this book.. Hell, Christmas 2007 would’ve been the ideal time to release this book. The “heat” has sort of dissipated from this project… released as it was 3 years ago, when everyone knew there was an absolute edtion coming. Who knew it would take DC this long to put it together.

    3:46pm: Who is the audience for the “El Diablo: Haunted Horseman” collection? I thinik Phil Hester and Ande Parks are great, but did this mini-series get rave reviews or huge sales and I missed it? I am willing to accept that I missed it.

    3:47pm: The Final Crisis: Revelations Miniseries does not need a hardcover.

    3:48pm: Ugggggh. Why are you doing simultaneous Hardcover and Softcover releases of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League Material? We only have so much shelf space, Jesus. Just stop it. The HC and SC are coming out within a year of each other for a series of books. JUST PICK A FORMAT. PLEASE. Stop with these dual releases on projects, it’s So Fucking Pointless.

    3:51pm: Seriously. Like, DC must know that these collections are broken, right? Terror Titans? Is someone really demanding a Terror Titans collection for the ages? I honestly don’t give a shit if Terror Titans is your favourite mini-series of all time, good for you! But… But we don’t need a trade paperback of a series that people are going to be fishing out of quarter bins in under a year. It’s a waste of trees, of shelf-space in my store, of resources on DC’s part.  Not everything is worth collecting, not everything is worth a larger audience.

    Prepare for me to cut and paste this when we get to the Marvel section.

    11927_400x6003:56pm: That really, really looks like Blue Beetle on the Cartoon Network Action Pack #38 cover.

    3:59pm: I had no idea that the kangaroo that Sylvester thinks is a mouse is named “Hippety-Hopper”. At least according to the cover of Looney Tunes #175. Weird.

    4:05pm: The first Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash mini-series sold well, and surprised the hell out of by actually sending new customers to my store, asking for a book by name. That’s how licensed books are supposed to work, offering fans of other media something that they can only get from a comic book. Unfortunately most times these books are just aimed at existing comic fans, doing nothing to grow the market… So yeah, we’re putting a solid order in on this new series.

    4:13pm: Oh man, I just read the most brutal, brutal review of Azzarello’s Filthy Rich graphic novel. I mean, I dig his work and all, 100 Bullets is aces, but I avoided that Joker HC specifically because it seemed callous and awful and… and tossed-off even. Just random. So to read this dude at The Oregonian just tear this book to pieces. I cringed a little. I don’t think it’ll affect the first few weeks of sales, actually, negative reviews rarely do. But I know that I personally am not that interested in picking it up anymore… Yikes.

    4:18pm: …but by all accounts 100 Bullets ended well. My orders on the last trade, WILT, are going to be pretty darned strong.

    4:25pm: Second Northlanders TPB. Good good.

    4:26pm: Does Nightwing always look constipated, or just in this statue on page 128?

    4:28pm: IMAGE: I’m not really a Dawn/Linsner fan, so maybe I don’t know, but I kind of get the feeling that these one-shots? If you slapped a hardcover on them and charged $14.99 instead of $5.99 for the same story? We’d sell just as many. I understand the French-market “album” format doesn’t really work for North America, but I can’t help but feel that this is one of the few properties that could really make a go.

    chew_14:31pm: Writer John Layman e-mailed me about his new series here, Chew, from Image. I have to admit that I didn’t actually read the email very closely, I’ve been incredibly busy for the past month. But I’m looking at this here, and the art is a very appealing indie/lo-fi sort of a thing, and the idea of a detective who gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats? Pretty good, pretty good. I’ll give this a shot for the store. And then probably go back and read the e-mail and figure out I shoulda ordered more. But, you know, only so many hours in a month.

    Oh, and John Layman’s website is http://themightylayman.blogspot.com/.

    There, good deed done for a creator-owned book. I can go back to being a jackass.

    4:38pm: Fair enough, I could probably discern that T.RUNT by Derek McCulloch and Jimmie Robinson is going to be in an odd format, a square book, just by looking at the solicit image. But it would be nice if that information was in the actual solicit somewhere.

    4:43pm: Douglas Fredericks & The House of They is written by Joe Kelly, whose work I generally enjoy, and illustrated by Benjamin Roman, whose work is kind of hideous, but also in an enjoyable way. OGN for 13 bucks, I’ll give it a whirl.

    5:06pm: sorry for the big break, I had a rash of customers come in and sadly had to stop working on the previews… this is exactly why I’ve started working from home btw. Someone at The Beguiling needs to build me an office before I go all Les Nessman and start taping up the floors. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING PETER? I AM JUST A FEW WEEKS AWAY FROM LES NESSMAN. That reflects poorly on all of us.

    5:08pm: There are WALLS here.

    5:09pm: Okay, MARVEL. Hah, Halo. It’s funny, last month I made mean jokes about how Halo #4 and Detective #857 were never going to come out, and then they both came out less than 4 weeks later. Perhaps I have a gift? Perhaps my snide disbelief and criticism is what Gets Shit Done TM. Alright, let’s try this: “Yeah, a MIRACLEMAN trade paperback! That’ll be the day! Haw Haw haw!”…

    If it’s announced in the next 30 days you’ll have to give me credit, you know that right?

    Huh, no shit. Colourist Richard Isanove is now illustrating the Dark Tower series. I would not have seen that coming. I’m not really digging the cover; it’s well-illustrated but lacks the broody menace of the series, and of Jae Lee’s take. Still, this is just the cover.

    5:14pm: Really? Spider-Man election day seems… Like a poor choice. I’d really like a book that has the (terrible) Spider-Man/Obama book in it, but the story arc it’s attached to… How accessible is that? Isn’t there material in the archives that would serve as a better introduction to the character, or would be of the same sort of kitsch-value as the Obama material in the first place? Or what about just doing a thin stand-alone collection, like 48 pages for $15 or something? This product just doesn’t make any sense to me as anything other than “the next Spider-Man collection”. 

    Which is a missed opportunity, considering.

    5:20pm: I have no specific interest in the golden age Marvel reprints, but I do find the 832 page omnibus of Golden Age Marvel Comics incredibly tempting. 

    8_anita_blake__the_laughing_corpse___necromancer_35:23pm: Jesus does Anita Blake ever do anything other than stand around with her hands in her pockets? What an intensely boring looking comic book. Also, I guess those are supposed to be “Ladies of the night” milling about behind her on this cover. but you know what? That’s just what all women in mainstream comics look like, so it totally fails as a visual cue! Even moreso because that cover is horribly underdrawn hackwork.

    5:27pm: Fun-fact: This month in the Marvel Previews “illustrated” section there are colour-bars with the names of the classic authors in all caps. It’s very Marvel. Like, we can visually pick up what Wolverine looks like, even “Wolverine Noir”, but who’s that buncha chicks in that image? Is it one of those “The ladies of X-Men go shopping” down-time issues? Oh, no, wait, it’s JANE AUSTEN. Dude with a sword? HOMER. Got it. Sadly no similar one for L. FRANK BAUM. Actually, Baum isn’t mentioned anywhere in the solicit for Shanower and Young’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptation. Kinda disappointing.

    5:32pm: Marvel’s got way, waaay too much sub-mediocre product out here. All of these Dark Reign tie-in mini-series and stuff. You’ve got an almost-weekly Spider-Man book now, the story of his mysterious new villain introduced in that series couldn’t be told in that series? We need a mini-series for this? Well, no, we don’t. But we’re getting one. Weaksauce.

    5:40pm: Is Reed Richards uncovering a mass grave in the middle of New York? That’s a bit much, isn’t it? Am I just being a prude?

    5:47pm: Wow, the new creative team on Runaways seems awesome! Kathryn Immonen, really lovely cover by David Lafuente, and the interior art by Sara Pichelli looks great too. Cool beans, I hope this team sticks around for a while.

    5:50pm: The cover to Deadpool: Suicide Kings #3, is stupid.

    5:52pm: I’ve been out of the store for a while so I had to check, but it says Kick Ass #5 came out in April. That means the last two issues have gotta come out monthly for this hardcover to release in July… I don’t really see it happening? Did someone give an interview somewhere where the editors and creative team promised monthly shipping on issues 6-8? I’m willing to accept that I missed it. But I find it unlikely.

    5:59pm: Ugh, really? The Jeph Loeb FALLEN SON story is getting an oversized hardcover? That’s just brutal.

    Edit: Okay, I’m a huge jack-ass. Somehow I completely missed the page (99 in the Marvel Previews) where Joss Whedon’s Runaways was solicited as volume 8 of the Digest series. Missed it completely. So, officially? I am a huge jack-ass. Apologies to Marvel, and thanks, for giving us product that I know we can sell. But because I don’t believe in editing these things to make myself look better, here’s me being douchey to Marvel (although in my defence my heart was in the right place):

    6:01pm: Maybe I’m inappropriately holding out hope here, but this will make the third regular-sized hardcover RUNAWAYS collection since we had a digest. We Really Sell A Lot Of Digests. Please Print More Digests. This would be volume 10. And you know, Runaways sells like manga for us, and manga sells _well_. Please let us keep selling these books to more than just anal fanboys who need to own everything in bullshit prestige-format hardcovers. Please.

    6:04pm: Ah, I’ve answered my own question. Regular-size tpb of the first Terry Moore Runaways arc. And $16 for 136 pages too, lovely. Marvel: You’re kind of fucking up a good thing here.

    6:08pm: …and I’m done. Well, the first half here anyway. After I take a little break to do something about this headache and maybe have some dinner, I’ll come back and do the back-half of Previews. Thanks for reading so far!

    - Chris


    Comics Festival! 2009, cover by Emmanuel GuibertFREE COMIC BOOK DAY FOR EVERYONE
    Saturday, May 2nd, from Noon-5pm
    @ The Beguiling, 601 Markham Street, Near Bloor & Bathurst
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M6G 2L7
    FREE!

    It’s FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at comic book stores around the world, and that means THE BEGUILING! If you’ve never been to Free Comic Book Day before, here’s the deal: Come by The Beguiling on Saturday May 2nd from noon to 5pm, and we’ll give you a bunch of Free Comic Books! Publishers like Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Marvel, and DC, have all produced special new comics just for this occasion, and you’ll be able to choose to take home, for free!
    IN ADDITION! This year The Beguiling and The Toronto Comic Arts Festival have teamed up to produce a special comic book, COMICS FESTIVAL!, an all-ages comic featuring cartoonists who will be exhibiting at The Toronto Comic Arts Festival… and many of them will be at our Free Comic Book Day event! This means you can get a free comic book AND get it signed by nearly a dozen cartoonists! Plus many of them will be sketching for fans, autographing books, and selling their own great work!
    Cartoonists participating include:

    12pm-3pm
    Kate Beaton, Willow Dawson, CTON (Clayton Hanmer), Jason Kieffer, Ryan North, Ramon Perez, Kean Soo , Tara Tallan, Zach Worton, Chip Zdarsky

    2pm-5pm
    Brian McLachlan, Willow Dawson, Ray Fawkes, Ryan North, Zach Worton, Chip Zdarsky

    For more on Last Year’s Free Comic Book Day Event at The Beguiling, check out:http://www.beguiling.com/2008/05/free-comic-book-day-2008-wrap-up.html 
    If you’re not in Toronto or can’t visit us for Free Comic Book Day, visithttp://freecomicbookday.com/ to find out about Free Comic Book Day events in your town!

    F.A.Q.
    1. WHY DO YOU DO THIS? WHAT’S THE CATCH, COMPADRE!?: Simply, The Beguiling Likes Comics, and The Beguiling Feels You Should Be Reading Comics. So one day a year, we work with the industry to give good comics away to people, in the hopes that they’ll come back to the store and buy the next one. No purchase necessary, though obviously encouraged.

    2. ARE ALL OF THE COMICS FREE? No. Only the ones we say. They will be clearly marked.
    3. RAIN OR SHINE? Rain or shine.
    4. HOW MANY FREE COMICS DO I GET?: Probably 5 or so per person. No you cannot have more for people who are not with you.
    5. ARE YOU ORDERING ALL OF THE FREE COMICS THAT ARE GOING TO BE AVAILABLE ACCORDING TO FREECOMICBOOKDAY.COM?: Yes, but we’re ordering almost none of the sucky ones, and lots of the good ones. We define “good” in this instance. If you’re looking for a terrible, terrible book, chances are we won’t have it for you, because no one needs more sucky comics. To quote the Lorax: “Think of the trees.”
    6. CAN I BRING A FRIEND?: Bring all of the friends you have. We’ve go enough comics to go around.

    hipstermanga_400

     Tlönista clears things up for those of you who don’t quite get it.  Click through to see the girl version as well.

    But yeah, go ahead and be as critical as you want, or as critical as you need to.  But I’ve got no problems calling people on empty snark… just like no one should have a problem calling me on the same.

    - Chris


    I have a thousand things to do right now but I’m honestly a little burnt out at the moment. It’s gorgeous outside, I’m going to be done everything this weekend anyway (more or less), so I’ve decided to take today off except for emergencies and just catch up on my reading. So I thought I’d blog while I read.

    IDEA: I think the news of Alvin Buenaventura deciding to “pick up the perodicals flag” and do floppy comics this year is kind of amazing and fun, I’m on board with that. I was actually just thinking that they should go ahead and print a regular comic-sized version of Kramers Ergot 7, now that it’s sold through its first (and maybe second?) printing in giant, beautiful, oversized hardcover. I think it would be amazing to print that and “make the material available” for all those people who pissed and moaned about there being a comic they could not afford, as if all comics should be made to their budget. I think a similar 3-pack of comic books that reprint Kramers 7 for $11.95, with no adjustments made for legibility at that size, would be amazing.

    Actually, fuck that, they should print the whole thing at the D&Q “Petit Livres” size, a little smaller than a postcard. I think if you could turn spite into a commercial product, that would be its ideal form.

    I wonder if that’s profitable?

    - Chris