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June 28, 2017


This Isn't A Library: New, Notable Releases Into The 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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MAY160528 ALACK SINNER AGE OF INNOCENCE TP $29.99
MAY171589 FOG OVER TOLBIAC BRIDGE HC TARDI $19.99
This strikes me as a smaller week in terms of title of interest, but a significant one in terms of the level of that interest. An Alack Sinner collection is about as good as surprise discoveries at the comics shop may get. Tight stories, funny and wise, magnificently drawn. I read them and then I go back and stare at them. I tend to do the same with Tardi, but I think the last decade or so of English-language releases has made my eye become at least a little accustomed to how Tardi savages a page. It's great to have so much of his work out now over here.

imageMAR171256 TITAN #5 (MR) $6.99
APR170863 SAGA #44 (MR) $2.99
MAR171254 REICH #8 (OF 12) (MR) $4.00
APR171032 BLACK PANTHER #15 $3.99
A shorter than usual week if you're just running in to pick up flopping. Francois Vigneault's harder-than-some science fiction story Titan runs to its first concluding moment (I only say "first" because I hope for more) with a lot of confidence in terms of tone and plotting. Saga #44 will make a lot of comics shops happy. Reich may make some people happy, too, I just don't know as many of those people anymore. I love all of my copies, though, and am glad for the series late-in-publishing-life chance at new DM stores. Black Panther strikes me as a title at a point in the series where Marvel traditionally starts to lose its readers, so that will be interesting to watch. I'm still buying them.

FEB170447 WALTER SIMONSON THOR RETURN OF BETA RAY BILL ARTIST ED HC $125.00
One of the most fun artists ever in the format that changed the way that I, at least, thought about him.

FEB170071 USAGI YOJIMBO TP VOL 31 HELL SCREEN $17.99
I will buy every comic that Stan Sakai ever makes.

APR170737 ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN COMP COLL HC $54.99
I read a lot of these in serial form. This was Robert Kirkman with Jason Howard on an extremely superhero-y take on one of the great monster concepts. This made it really stand out against the last 25 year of monster comics, and while it was never super-successful, it had fans that would seemingly delight in this gigundus collection.

FEB170536 COMPLETE CHESTER GOULD DICK TRACY HC VOL 22 $44.99
Dick Tracy ranks pretty low in my personal pantheon, but it's a fun strip that was frequently beautiful to look and it amazes me that there are people spending a thousand dollars to have all of these stunning-looking books in their personal library. Oh to be rich and a comics reader.

APR171966 LIFE CHANGING MANGA OF TIDYING UP $14.99
This looks fun: a fictional treatment of life-changing cleaning-up philosophies promoted by Marie Kondo. I would imagine that manga would be an efficient way to communicate that kind of news.

APR171801 CARTHAGO ADVENTURES DLX HC (MR) $34.95
I would stop and stare at this European adventure series for as long as my shop would let me.

APR170837 OCTOPUS PIE TP VOL 05 $19.99
AUG160477 TOM TOMORROW 25 YEARS OF TOMORROW HC $125.00
Here's a couple of other books that comics does well right now, or at least these are comics that come from fruitful places in recent comics tradition. The fifth volume of Octopus Pie concludes Meredith Gran's always funny, occasional touching and at times profane web series in a collected form that's always been flattering to that title. The Tom Tomorrow was a massively crowdfunded collection that was successful enough it was its own hyped object. I look forward to reading both.

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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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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Bill Boichel on Boundless.

* Françoise Mouly and Genevieve Bormes talk to Gary Panter.

* the cartoonist Chris Schweizer has a really nice advice post up for writers that want to break into comics, perhaps a bit more interesting than usual in that Schweizer's a cartoonist first (controlling the entire process) and I at least think of him as an artist/illustrator second, and this is directed at those that don't have many of his displayed skills. He also chides those that give "just make comics" level advice without further insight. I think his proposed path would work for anyone with the talent so that the resulting work would attract more of its kind. Comics has a low threshold for entry and a pretty dependable mechanism for finding jewels in the rough. It may be more difficult to break into the middle, and harder yet to move from the lower ends of industry gigs upward.

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Happy 34th Birthday, Ian Brill!

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Happy 73rd Birthday, Philippe Druillet!

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Happy 76th Birthday, Mike Royer!

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June 27, 2017


Go, Listen: Dustin Harbin On Process Party

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Parts Of Ted Rall's Defamation Suit Against LA Times Dismissed By Judge Last Week

There are couple of articles out there picking up on movement last week in the legal action Ted Rall filed against the LA Times a year ago March. Here's the Times itself. Here's Courthouse News Service.

The dispute is over Rall's no longer being carried by the Times following a 2015 opinion column in which he described a jaywalking arrest. The LAPD provided a tape of that arrest they -- and subsequently the Times -- felt ran contrary to Rall's claims, and thus made him not someone they wanted to keep using. Rall presented what he claimed was a cleaned-up version of the tape that supported his original story. He then raised money from friends/fans for legal action and drummed up a modicum of verbal support from peers. My memory is that the cartoonist also suggested the Times and the LAPD were working against him because of anti-LAPD opinion work and cartooning in the recent past.

Another motion will be heard this week, and one imagines future movement in the case will be dictated by these rulings and in part from Rall's decision whether or not to press the point -- both legally and/or in the court of public opinion by suggesting the legal strategy being used against him is a corrupt one.

I read and listened to a lot of this stuff early on and I found Rall's arguments about the tape only sporadically on point, and then only in an Internet-argument way. What I mean by that is that if the process being claimed were vetted and found indisputable, the potential for another point of view on some specific points might be possible -- possible -- but not all of them and not to the degree to provide positive support for the original claim and certainly not enough to discount a hiring body reasonably wanting to look elsewhere. I also read a few years of Rall's pertinent cartoons and police malfeasance didn't seem an overwhelming crusade on the cartoonist's part, at least not enough to justify the hints at conspiracy. Cops get it worse in Andy Capp. I realize that's just dormitory-hallway-at-3AM arguing, though, and the legal standards are being worked through now, whichever way they fall.
 
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Go, Look: Revisiting A Sacha Mardou Piece

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not sure why this has come back up as a thing to go read but it's a good one
 
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Assembled Extra: SAW Launches Ambitious Set Of On-Line Courses, Programs

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They're located here. The classes look like like they're in the few hundred dollars range for the most part -- certainly something someone could try without making a major, life-altering commitment. I hope they keep doing this until after I'm retired and have the time to enroll.
 
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Go, Look: Patrick Dean's HeroesCon 2017 Commissions

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Bundled, Tossed, Untied & Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* veteran cartoonist Rina Piccolo is ending her long-running Tina's Groove to partner with Hilary Price on Rhymes With Orange. Congratulations to Piccolo on that run, and it sounds like a fruitful partnership to me. The strip began its run in 2002, so this fits into a standard 10 year plus five more years pattern for a strip.

* here's a look at Rich Tommaso's Spy Seal in advance of August.

* Marvel teased big news last week which I and many others thought might be content-related but it was a "cover reveal" through several sites in support of an upcoming focused-on-the-past event initiative combining new and old Marvel concepts. Heidi and the gang collected a bunch of them here. Maybe all of them. There are many fine artists working on this for Marvel, but this wasn't flattering to the bulk involved.

* no matter how many comics you know, there are always more comics.

* there is apparently a new Robotech comic. I liked those cartoons when I was a kid; I can't imagine wanting any more than they already gave us, but I'm sure fervent fans disagree.

* finally, a change in gigs for Martin Rowson.
 
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Go, Look: Plastic Man #2

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through July 2017

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June 29
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

June 30
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This (DCC)
* If I Were Near DC, I'd Go To This (blerDCon)

*****

July 1
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This (DCC)
* If I Were Near DC, I'd Go To This (blerDCon)

July 2
* If I Were In Denver, I'd Go To This (DCC)
* If I Were Near DC, I'd Go To This (blerDCon)

July 8
* If I Were Near Clallam Bay, I'd Go To This (Clallam Bay Comicon)
* If I Were Anywhere In The UK, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (QCE)

July 9
* If I Were Near Clallam Bay, I'd Go To This (Clallam Bay Comicon)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This (QCE)

July 14
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (WW)

July 15
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (WW)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (SLCZF)

July 16
* If I Were In Albuquerque, I'd Go To This (WW)

July 19
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI Preview Night)

July 20
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 21
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 22
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 23
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This (CCI)

July 27
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 28
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 29
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

July 30
* If I Were Near Ft. Lauderdale, I'd Go To This (Florida Supercon)

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Events For August 2017 Onward Listed Here

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Go, Look: Mort Walker College-Era Work

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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Todd Klein on Astro City #44. Rob McMonigal on Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1. Angela Boyle on How To Be An Elephant.

* I don't know that I've ever seen Gil Kane's version of Batman's Crime Alley origin-story before.

* these images are beautiful and Jaime Hernandez is an amazing cartoonist.

* I enjoyed this slightly scattered survey-style look at the state of comics in libraries, bouncing as it does from topic to topic. Every thread presented for pulling is an intriguing one.

* that's a good sign, I suppose, when the increasingly movie-focused mainstream comics sites deign your plot point worthy of an entire article. My guess is that it's Ambush Bug.

* finally: congratulations to cartoonist Sasha Velour on winning season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race.
 
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Happy 89th Birthday, Joe Giella!

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Happy 39th Birthday, Debbie Huey!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Butch Guice!

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Happy 58th Birthday, Dan Jurgens!

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Happy 56th Birthday, Bernie Mireault!

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June 26, 2017


Go, Look: Giovanni Valletta

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Fantagraphics Hiring For Social Media Position Following The Departure Of Anna Pederson

I'm told that this job opening at Fantagraphics is the result of Anna Pederson leaving the company. Pederson worked for full two years replacing Jen Vaughn in the marketing/PR portion of the company, but had worked as an intern for the company as early as 2012. Pederson I believe also worked a stint as an intern at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund when the Fund was in New York City.

Here's an undated profile of Pederson hosted on the Fantagraphics site. According to her tweet about the opening, she'll be heading to Los Angeles.

"I love Anna and wish she wasn't leaving but I support her," Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds told CR. "She knows I'm really going to miss her, yet I am proud of her for taking a leap into the unknown."

The job opening closes on the fourth of July.

Best of luck to Ms. Pederson in anything she tries in the future, and a thank you for the work done.

Good luck to all those applying to a key position at one of the great publishers in the world.
 
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Bill Morrison Named MAD's Fifth Editor

They announced it through Hollywood Reporter, underlining that this comes with their move of the magazine to the West Coast. Morrison's primary preceding gig is the creative director work he did for Bongo. He's also connected, a multiple-skill comics creator and seemingly well-liked, all of which can be a great boon for someone undertaking a supervisory-style editing gig.

He is the current president of National Cartoonists Society.

CR wishes Morrison the best. I think there's room for that publication to become a higher-profile prestige gig for comics and for humor, although I have my doubts MAD is situated to provide the world with a lot of truly subversive material at this point in its corporate history. We will note that editor of MAD is one of the four or five comics gigs that has a Heisman Trophy/astronaut type pedigree. It's now Kurtzman, Feldstein, Ficarra/Meglin, Ficarra, Morrison.
 
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Go, Look: Diego Lazzarin

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Go, Read: Derf's Reminder That New Healthcare Programs Could Have Devastating Effect On Comics

The Beat was smart enough to pick up on Derf's recent note that more restricted healthcare could have a drastic effect on a comics community that depends on many of its younger artists taking some measure of financial risk. It's a game-changer for sure.

Take note of the dissenters in the comments section. Many of them have no clue that Derf is a successful cartoonist and call some version of sour grapes. The overall negativity may surprise some. Not me. A significant sub-group of comics fans has long had a negative view of anyone criticizing what many feel are dream jobs, end stop. I think it's an orientation that would be to comics' advantage to change.
 
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