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
















August 27, 2014


Go, Look: My Metal Pizza

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This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases To Comics' Direct Market

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Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.

I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

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JUN141357 ARIOL SC VOL 05 BIZZBILLA HITS BULLSEYE $12.99
It's a strange week at the comics shop for my very specific taste -- by which I mean I think it will be a very good week for a lot of comics fans, I'm just not included in their number this time around. That's fun, though, because you get to poke around and see some things you might not otherwise have the time to check out. I don't care what week it was, I would buy the new Ariol book; I very much like the rhythm and pacing of these stories, how ephemeral their stakes are except if you're a tiny kid negotiating these things. It's one of my favorite series, period.

imageAPR140085 BURROUGHS TARZAN SUNDAY COMICS 1934-1936 HC VOL 02 $125.00
APR140084 ARCHIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 10 $59.99
MAR141213 JOHNNY HAZARD DAILIES HC VOL 03 1947-1949 $49.99
Three bigger collections caught my eye. The Hal Foster Tarzan work isn't as well known as his later, epic run on his own Prince Valiant, but those are some lovely-looking adventure comics in a way that comes through even now that we're removed as a culture from an automatic fascination with that character. I've seen two originals of that work, and they were pretty flawless. You can tell looking at old strip work when changes are made because a lot of times it's just a matter of the cartoonist rubbing out inkwork and drawing over a mistake. Didn't see any of that on those Tarzan's. The Archie stuff I always look out, although I'm totally lost as to what's out there and what I might want to buy. The Johnny Hazard stuff I'd look at just for the Frank Robbins art -- I couldn't tell you a single thing about that strip's basic storyline or its characters. That strip ran more than 30 years, I think.

JUN140640 ALL NEW ULTIMATES #7 $3.99
JUN140019 GOON OCCASION OF REVENGE #2 $3.50
JUN140043 GROO VS CONAN #2 $3.50
JUN140035 MIND MGMT #25 $3.99
JUN140567 REVIVAL #23 (MR) $2.99
JUN140570 SAGA #22 (MR) $2.99
JUN140497 SEX #15 (MR) $2.99
MAY141592 ALIEN LEGION UNCIVIL WAR #3 $3.99
JUN140980 REGULAR SHOW #14 $3.99
I'd take a lot of different thing this week. The All New Ultimates is Michel Fiffe writing, so I'm interested in that. Giannis Milonogiannis drawing, too, so ditto there. I haven't caught up on the Goon and Groo/Conan books, so I'd definitely take a peek there. Mind Mgmt and Revival are two longer-running works that are always sold when I read them in single-issues form; I'm not the natural audience there, but on a week like this one I'd check them both out. Saga is the Image heavy-hitter this time out. I'm actually more interested in what they do for the storyline after this storyline, and if you've been reading you might know what I mean. Sex I've been enjoying for its take on 1980s-style building of setting and milieu. Speaking of the 1980s, I had no idea someone was doing an Alien Legion book. Fourteen-year-old me was a big fan of Jugger Grimod and gang -- 14-year-old me being in charge until I was about 23. And, as always, there are animated tie-in for me to check out. That's a whole worl of comics I haven't accessed yet.

JUN141418 CHARLEYS WAR OMNIBUS TP VOL 01 $24.99
I suspect we owe the 100th anniversary of World War I this new iteration of the long-running 1970s/1980s Pat Mills/Joe Colquhoun serial. This makes the war totally worth it. Oh, of course it doesn't, but I'm thinking about acquiring this work in this specific form after taking a pass before now, so it looks like the timing works for a new collection.

JUN141626 HERGE & TREASURES OF TINTIN HC $49.95
I had to go looking for this one, and I'm glad I did -- this looks like an archives-informed process book, with supporting materials and facsimile documents standing side by side, all to tell the history of this great comics series' creation. I'm dying to see it.

JUN141322 INVINCIBLE DAYS HC $19.99
This is previewed here. This isn't the style I remember for Patrick Atangan, best known to me for The Yellow Jar, which has to be a decade in the rearview mirror at this point. I'd take a look at it for the visual style employed in the preview all by itself.

JUN141169 EVEN MORE BAD PARENTING ADVICE GN $12.95
Finally, if you have a little bit of summer left or, lacking the role as a primary caretaker for school-attending children, it's a season that extends into September when the lakehouse rentals are cheaper, maybe try out this one from Guy Delisle and Drawn and Quarterly. The first one made me laugh quite a bit, but felt like it needed a companion volume -- not for value, but it's just not a type of humor I wanted out of as soon as that first one took me there. Two books should be just about perfect. This might pair well for an afternoon's worth of reading with the Anouk Ricard and Pascal Girard books from earlier in the year.

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The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.

The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.

If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.

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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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Go, Look: Imagery From Top Ten: The Forty-Niners

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Michael Cavna digs deeper into that issue of Action Comics #1 that sold on eBay. His specific focus is on the decision to use eBay rather than one of the established auction houses. The seller's hunch that eBay would be competitive on a book with that kind of pedigree seems sound to me.

image* Etelka Lehoczky on How To Be Happy. James Kaplan on The Dream Merchant. Todd Klein on Aquaman Annual #2. Rob Clough on a pair of books from Conundrum Press. Jordan Dinwiddie on Seconds. Paul O'Brien on an unassuming Marvel crossover. Henry Chamberlain on Phantoms Of The Louvre. Johanna Draper Carlson on Now Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular Vol. 4.

* I love that Evan Dorkin is just randomly posting color work on his blog now. That's a treat.

* don't know that I've ever seen this Frank Quitely drawing of Daredevil. Kate Beaton draws Red Sonja.

* Ash Brown discusses Masaichi Makaide, whose work when translated into Star*Reach was the first of its kind, and of course is now a sizable part of the North American comics market. Brown notes that it's not the first manga translated for any American audience, just for the average comics reader, which is crucial all by itself.

* Qiana Whitted takes on issues posed by the comics grid.

* Sean Gaffney takes us for a walk through Crunchroll Manga. That is the manga-oriented digital comics service still in its relative infancy.

* finally, I'm not sure exactly what this is, but I'm fond of the Jiro Kuwata Batman comics and anything that works that same general visual territory.
 
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Happy 48th Birthday, Phil Hester!

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Happy 30th Birthday, Melissa Mendes!

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Happy 68th Birthday, Denis Kitchen!

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Happy 36th Birthday, Matt Wiegle!

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August 26, 2014


Go, Bookmark And Follow: Nod Away

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By Request Reminder: Seth Kushner Event Tonight

imageAs has been discussed on a dozen or more comics news sites, the photographer and comics-maker Seth Kushner has Acute Myeloid Leukemia and has been hospitalized for a lengthy time while his healthcare professionals pursue treatment options. Several of Kushner's friends and peers in the comics community have put together a benefit evening for tonight. It's hoped that if you aren't able to attend that you might consider making a direct donation to Kushner's GoFundMe campaign. All of these activities are designed to alleviate some of the burden that leukemia can have on an entire family. This site wishes Kushner and his friends the best luck in raising as much money as possible.
 
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Go, Look: Superheroes X Alcatena

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Go, Read: Joe McCulloch On Multiversity #1

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Joe McCulloch is a superior critic/reviewer of comics, likely the best ever in terms of consistently writing well on a quick turnaround. This review of Multiversity #1 is very entertaining and makes a bunch of solid, interesting points about that work and its context. One thing I like about McCulloch's writing is that he manages to make strong statements without closing the door to more conversation, which is a rare, rare skill.
 
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Not Comics: Maurice Sendak Illustrates Pierre

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Someone Bought A Super-Nice Copy Of Action Comics #1 For $3.2 Million Dollars On eBay

imageAs might be expected, Kevin Melrose at Robot 6 has the best, most link-laden, most concise report on the sale of a copy of Action Comics #1 on eBay by Darren Adams, owner of a Federal Way comics shop that seems to specialize in graded merchandise of this sort. I don't understand the numbers used in grading and so I don't want to perpetuate their legitimacy in such specific terms until I'm convinced it's a real thing, but this was reportedly a slightly better copy than the copy of Superman's first appearance owned by the actor Nicolas Cage, a comic that went for slightly over $2 Million in 2011.

The recent resurgence in high-end collectible comics has been sort of fascinating to watch. There's obviously still interest in that market, at least enough to drive feature articles and some staggering sales moments. It seems like that the idea that all comics go up in value has taken a beating as so many comics from the 1990s and 2000s have found their way into that world of comics sales. I know that I used to count on having to spend $8, $10, $20 to fill in holes with just about any series I wanted to own; now there's a bunch of titles where I can patiently wait out picking up individual issues until I find them for a dollar or less. I was once told that with a very-focused-on-particulars generation getting older and dying, what is likely to endure and even thrive price-wise are significant milestones, actual rarities within that umbrella and character moments over creator contributions. I also have to imagine that a more significant and elaborate market for original comics art plays into this somehow, if only because an original art page should be more valuable than a mass-produced comic book because of its singular nature. I talked to two different creators and one collector that reported a life-changing windfall this year because of the development of the art market.

One thing that's different now is I'm guessing fewer comics readers choose to justify their interest in comics in terms of bottom-line dollars and cents, the way a lot of my generation of readers felt they had to growing up.
 
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OTBP: Inkbrick Vol. 1

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Collective Memory: Chicago Comic Con/WizardWorld Chicago

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Chicago Comic Con, held August 21-24 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the village of Rosemont, Illinois.

I don't usually do the Wizard shows because of the dearth of comics-related material coming out of any of the press coverage. I made an exception because this used to be the #2 show in North America, and because I wanted to try out building one of these now that google won't let you specifically blogsearch -- an old-fashioned tool I used quite a bit.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people

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Institutional
* Convention Site
* Physical Location
* Host City

Blog Entries
* 8 Days A Geek
* Chicagoist
* Kleefeld On Comics
* Lipstick Alley
* Sebastian Stan Daily
* The Beat
* The Young Folks
* Wizard World Comic Con Searched On Tumblr

Facebook
* WizardWorld Facebook Page

News Stories and Columns
* Bleeding Cool 01
* Bleeding Cool 02
* Bloody Disgusting
* Chicago Tribune
* Daily Herald 01
* Daily Herald 02
* Daily Herald 03
* Technology Tell

Photos
* Daily Herald
* OneWithACollar
* Time Out Chicago

Twitter
* WizardWorld Account

Video
* jbricker65

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Go, Look: Black In America

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Not Comics: The Amazon.com Vs. Hachette Battle, International And Wider-Contextualization Edition

This article looks at some of the wider issues the bookseller Amazon.com faces trying to find a foothold in various European markets. It's more summary than descriptive, but it's good to be reminded of some of the broad strokes. One thing that popped for me was an executive expressing certainty that no one would stop shopping at Amazon.com because they don't like them anymore. I actually think there's always a chance of that happening. In fact, most of the people I know make a concerted effort to shop anywhere else if they can, solely because thye don't like Amazon as much as they used to.
 
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Go, Look: Russ Heath, Matt Fox And Bill Everett

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Matt Bors Is Hiring An Editorial Assistant At The Nib

Here. That sounds like an awesome gig, and you don't have to move for it.
 
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Go, Look: Henchgirl

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

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By Tom Spurgeon

* Zack Soto is trying to get Secret Voice #2 out in paper form for SPX. If he can't make that deadline, it'll be out for CAB. He's hoping for SPX because he'll be at the show, but feel it's a stretch.

image* one that will definitely be at that show is Frontier #5, the Sam Alden issue. Youth In Decline has had the cover up at their site for several days now. Frontier is their one-cartoonist-per-issue revolving spotlight title.

* Brigid Alverson has a lengthy write-up here on Magnetic Press' publication of a Matteo De Longis art book.

* from a first look, this list of 100 comics coming out this Fall that you need to check out has very little crossover with the kind of comics that tend to be covered here. That sounds mean, but I think it's true and I have no problem admitting there's a bunch of different ways of looking at comics.

* another forthcoming SPX debut: Cathy G. Johnson's Dear Amanda.

* Joe Gordon previewed the IDP: 2043 collaborative comic in advance of it receiving attention over last weekend at the Edinburgh Book Festival, one of the more comics-active book festivals out there.

* they've sent out a press release at this point, but someone told me that the Bleeding Cool site was the first one to post a breakdown of who is in the Scott McCloud edition of the series, due this Fall. I'm guessing it's this post. That sounds like a pretty strong line-up. Nice Jaime cover. Those are interesting books to parse critically. The comics are selected and usually pretty good and thus satisfying in that way; they seem like they would be fine books for students and potential comics readers to discover. At the same time, the critical conversation we're not having is distinguishing between all of these pretty good comics and the few truly great ones, so books like these are frustrating a bit, too.

* the fun Marvel comic book series Superior Foes Of Spider-Man is coming to an end, maybe a dozen issues after the Vegas over-under for how long it would last. This means that artist Steve Lieber will spend the next six weeks walking around Periscope Studios in a bathrobe, muttering. Actually, it just means the veteran artist moves on to the next project. It's funny, but these not-quite-hit superhero series that end early on are great to buy if you're a dollar-bin diver, which can't be a good model for Marvel.

* love Jason's progress reports.

* looks like Columbus is going to get a comics tabloid. As that city is The Best Place For Comics, this makes some sense.

* the writer Matt Fraction talks about ODY-C, his gender-switched take on Homer with the artist Christian Ward. That one debuts in late November. I love that he's writing it in "six-syllable dactylic hexameter."

* Andi Watson's book with First Second is in the production stages, which is good news.

* the Tardi World War I-oriented slipcase looks lovely, and I'm glad that Fantagraphics will have that out considering how good those comics are and the intense interest on that war to end all wars given its 100th anniversary. For whatever reason, it's the Tardi stuff that always makes me think of the late Kim Thompson, more than any of the legion of other projects he worked on.

* the visuals on this Gotham Academy comic look really nice. I'm not sure what DC can sell into the market with a comic like this, but I'm glad they're breaking out of this thing where all their comics look the same and are of a kind of general, franchised quality book to book.

* finally, Ron Rege promises a return to self-publishing, with a first run of Cosmogenesis and an additional run of Diana. More of his work is always great news. You can pre-order the latter work here.

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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

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