Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 8, 2011

Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked


By Tom Spurgeon


* not sure I'd seen the final-final cover design for Fantagraphics' shot at a complete Pogo series. I think it looks nice, and it's strangely reminiscent of the covers from their previous attempt at reprinting the series. It's very odd to live in times where something as monumental as a complete run at Pogo can almost be greeted as just another reprint project. I'm wary of people that occasionally declare "comics are great and we should remember that when dealing with all of these problematic aspects," because there's a big dollop of denial and fan-like, "oh well" shrugging of the shoulders inherent in that sentiment. In fact, I think a reaction to all these great comics coming out is to demand more of the industry and art form rather than less. Still, it's hard not to take a second every so often and blink in wonder at the number of quality projects hitting the shops.

image* this Frank Quitely cover for a Vertigo release of the Flex Mentallo series seems to me as nice as everyone said it was last week; there's something in me that kind of liked that this series never found its way out of serial comic books, although the reasons for that were terrible and it's nice that more people can read it if they'd like.

* in another of their moves that feels like a curious blend penny-pinching and a lack of a grand publishing strategy beyond the production of serial comics, Marvel is offering retailers a chance at a bunch of trade paperbacks that will soon go out of print.

* Marvel suggests that they will finish the massively delayed The Twelve. I remember not liking the one issue I read, but I guess it was a moderate hit with a lot of positive reviews.

* former Nickelodeon comics-interested folk Chris Duffy, Laura Galen and Carmen Morais have launched an iPad comics application for kids.

* A Long Day Of Mr. James-Teacher is discussed at Robot 6.

* Marvel has canceled a perfectly okay-looking series about their Doctor Doom character, even though it may be mostly to all the way done. Ditto a previously announced series featuring their "monstrous" heroes, which was silenced in pillow-over-the-face manner without anyone knowing about it until one of the creators mentioned it in a tweet. I can't see a way to spin these things as positives or potential positives. Such cancellations speak to these companies' general inability to get anything slightly off-beat over with an audience unless there's a stunt involved, underline the carelessness with which projects will be started and then killed way further down the pipeline than they should have gotten, and provide yet another example of Marvel's massive and slightly depressing display of penny-pinching over the last few months. Graeme McMillan has a few thoughts, but they don't seem all that cohesive, either. I do like his assertion that Marvel is going to double-down on major brands for a while -- you could probably even spin that into a positive for the company. Still, it seems to me that part of Marvel's problem right now may be that they tend to over-focus on major brands in a way that both devalues their "off" licenses and exhausts readers of the big-name material -- every Marvel property isn't the relatively concept-to-itself-light "Avengers." It also occurs to me that, once again, Marvel could really use a comprehensive digital strategy, and part of one that seems to be sitting there for them is the redirection of this kind of material into free on-line comics. Then again, as I recall, Disney in general has a really haphazard digital program.

* this is everywhere by now, but Dark Horse has added a bunch of manga to its array of digital offerings.

* Fantagraphics has made their latest catalog available for download, and discusses highlights on the download page.

* what the next Guy Delisle book looks like. Or may look like -- I suppose different editions might do different things with the material.

* Johanna Draper Carlson discusses Oni's plans for the serialized Wasteland.

* Kevin Church and Ming Doyle recently finished their The Loneliest Astronauts.

* I haven't said anything about Rub The Blood in a "look what's coming" way, but I look forward to seeing the anthology as much as anyone out there.

* finally, I like the looks of this cover to Spider Monkey #1.

posted 1:40 pm PST | Permalink

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