My first post at Comics212 went live in December of 1997 (I installed blogger a few years later), making this my 11th Anniversary of writing about comics. Thanks everyone for continuing to read, and I hope you enjoy the changes I have planned for the future. I hope 2009 is a more fortuitous year for all of us.

All the best,

- Christopher
Image by J.C. Leyendecker


You may remember me mentioning my friend Dave Lapp’s new graphic novel from Conundrum Press, Drop-In, a little while back when we did the signing. It looks like Dave got a nice little feature in today’s installment of The Toronto Star, which is pretty cool:

“Dave Lapp has drawn a graphic novel homage to the Regent Park art centre he’s worked in for 12 years. It says as much about him as it does about the centre and the kids who frequent it.

“Drop-In is defined by tension and anxiety, attained through assembling peculiar moments perched on a razor’s edge between awkward and actual danger.” - Ian Marlow, Toronto Star

Congrats, Dave!

- Chris
Header image contains element from photo by VINCE TALOTTA/TORONTO STAR.


So for Christmas I decided to treat myself a to a complete reading of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, an 18 volume manga series translated and published in English by Viz. I’d read the first five volumes as they were coming out, but unfortunately got sidetracked as the series progressed. Since I had a free day, deliberately clear of any obligations, I decided I’d give it a go.

So, honestly? It’s just an exceptionally well-done comic. There’s no way to look at this and not recognize the incredibly high level of craft, the sheer ability put into this series. The character development, the labrynthine plot, and just how compelling it is as a story! There wasn’t one point while reading that dragged for me, where I wasn’t propelled into the next chapter, the next book. And the art! It’s understated, probably doesn’t give the best impression on the ‘flip-test’, but it’s pretty clear that Urasawa and his legion of assistants can draw pretty much anything; any expression, any angle, any background character, and dozens of unique faces and body-types and even body language. He has a wonderful gift for caricature too, character faces that could seem cartoony (or in some cases grotesque…) work very well within the context of the story. The series is in almost every respect fantastically accomplished.

The thing that bugged me, is bugging me, is the ending. It’s why I am blogging at 5:10am instead of, you know, being asleep for when I have to get up for work in 3 hours. :(

I’m having a hard time reconciling the decisions of some of the characters, and am… unclear… on how some of it played out. I’ve got theories on some of it, and my theories are leading me to be more disappointed than not. I think part of the problem is that enough of the “plot” was resolved, but a lot of it was left open-ended as well, giving us instead the emotional resolution we needed. But in a page-turner thriller graphic novel series, I’m not… entirely… ready to just accept the emotional resolution and forget the rest.

I don’t really want to read it again at this point, as I am tired, but I kind of hope I get to wake up tomorrow and there’ll be lots of discussion in the comments section here. I know there was lots of discussion when this series wrapped up in Japan (and in scans), and lots of… heated… commentary arose out of it, but honestly I tried to stay away knowing that I’d read it all one day for myself.

Anyway, your thoughts would be welcome, dear readership, if you’ve read it yourselves. Maybe I’ll try and coax some of my buddies out for a beer after work tomorrow (today…) and we can try and figure it out.

Until then, feel free to let loose in the comments section!

- Chris


Thanks for reading the site. I hope you and yours have a Happy Holiday Season, and a Merry Christmas.

- Chris


I just read 1200 posts from my feed. Well, maybe skimmed? I read most of them though. Brain’s a little mushy now, but I stand by the last post. Ugh. Anyway, I feel like I’m kind of getting back in the game here, with the blogging and whatnot. So, here are thoughts on the last 2-3 weeks of comics internet:

Spurge, I think manga is going to stay how it is, but it’s going to be pushed more to the extremes: big sellers (high end shonen and shoujo, licenses/OEL) and boutique products with higher price points (yaoi, art manga, porn). We’re going to lose about 50% of the midlist by the end of 09, imho.

I think the artcomix vs. superhero dichotomy is stupid, and I’m kind of done with binary arguments when it comes to comics. Comics is comics, good or bad. Trying to reduce arguments down to us and them is unevolved. Get with it.

The book industry is worried, but it’s actually a pretty good area for comics still, as compared to everything else. Comics still shows growth, or less loss, and comics is still a boutique product when compared to any other section of the bookstore. Again, the midlist is going to get shaken out (I wish it’d get shaken out HARDER personally), but enh. No big.

Speaking specifically to… someone’s… observation on First Second getting reorganized into MacMillan’s children’s group, and how “comics are automatically considered to be for children”, I think that’s jumping the gun. Children’s book editors and publicists are the only people at a publishing company who have experience editing narrative work with pictures. Graphic novels and children’s books share a wealth of common concerns from acquisitions through production through marketing, it’s probably a smart move… Who knows how it’ll play in the long run.

I’m working on my Best of 2008 list, but I have to finish my best of 2007 list first. Lots of good suggestions on other peoples lists though.

Here’s something: I don’t think I read even one post about the Buffy Season 8 comics from the last 3 weeks, but they were our best-selling comics of 2008 by a really good margin. I know that, 20 issues in, the newness of the story has faded a little, but I actually went and read them and they’re really well done, some of the best “licensed” work I’ve ever read and fans of the television show are totally in love with them… There was a bit of rough patch there for a minute, but people seemed to dig the Dracula and Fray arcs. I think the Buffy and comics like it might be their own little industry, operating underneath the radar but doing a lot of heavy lifting.

AdHouse’s 2009 line-up looks great.

Look for Comics Festival 2009! in the Previews catalog tomorrow. Nice new cover by Emmanuel Guibert.

Okay, that’s it. We’re getting our new comics on Christmas Eve, in Canada, and I need to be at work in a little over 5 hours. Wish me luck.

- Christopher
Photo of Kewpie Doll toys from Japan by me, because it’s weird.

I’m kind of sorry I ever picked on Blog@ previously… This whole new crew is just brutal. I’m done, delisting them from the sidebar, last post even talking about them until they shape up.

What pushed me over the edge? Well I’m about a week behind on my feed reading, but I just came across a post at the Blog, talking about Naruto and Bleach anime at iTunes in Canada. Which is a non-story, and just sort of lame, but fine. What pushes the whole thing into all-caps LAME is that they illustrated the article about Naruto anime… with Fan Art. Like they have no idea what Naruto anime looks like. Better still? Fan Art by COREY LEWIS (Sharknife). Not exactly an unknown creator, you know? And they didn’t credit him, or link his site, they just used his art commercially without asking him. And they didn’t correct the story when folks wrote in in the comments section saying “Hey, what’s up with this?”

Just… just amateur hour. I don’t need to be reading this site.

If you need to see for yourself, it’s a December 17th entry. I’m not linking them.

Merry Christmas.

- Christopher
P.S. Check out Corey Lewis’ stuff online at http://www.reyyy.com/

Just received from Archie Comics in a press release:

“Ever since Archie’s first appearance in 1941, Archie Comics has prided itself with keeping up with the fads and fashions of the times.  That includes technology.  Photocopiers, fax machines, microwaves, video players, compact music players, the internet. you name it. Archie Comics has been there through every innovation, exploring each with hilarious humor as the classic cast of characters both utilize and wrestle with modern technology.  This March, several stories highlight the latest gadgets in goofy fashion, as only Archie Comics can!”

The part that they forgot to mention is that they are consistently 10 years behind in doing so. For example, I present the rest of the press release:

“ARCHIE #595: “Home Insecurity”: After robbers break into his safe, Mr. Lodge upgrades his security system to protect his property. but who will protect him from the ever-pervasive new system?!”

I hate to be all “Simpsons Did It”, but just in terms of “keeping up with the fads” The Simpsons did wacky-home-security-antics with Pierce Brosnan 2 years ago. Yikes.

Other issues that month will have (not joking) Archie addicted to text messaging, Betty & Veronica joining “The Geek Squad” (like Best Buy! Only not-litigious!), and Reggie having some sort of problem with camera phones. I hear Archie might even get Vista for Christmas… next year.

Watch out Ellis, Archie’s nipping at your body-modified, cybernetically-enhanced heels.

- Chris