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
















August 5, 2015


Go, Look: Summer Holidays...

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posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink
 

 
This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases Into 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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APR150469 AMERICAN BARBARIAN COMP SERIES HC $29.99
FEB150458 BERKELEY BREATHEDS ACADEMIA WALTZ & OTHER TRANSGRES HC $39.99
MAR150343 FRANK MILLERS DAREDEVIL ARTIFACT ED HC PI
MAY150450 X-9 SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN HC VOL 06 $49.99
It's a really good week for IDW, their second concentration of prime material in the last couple of months. I don't know if this is a new or a reprint or what of Tom Scioli's American Barbarian material, but that is wonderfully dense and ruthlessly idiosyncratic work, maybe even the Scioliest of them all. A collection of the Berke Breathed student work I believe caps off the IDW reprinting of his library; of course, now there's going to be new material which I can imagine one day making up its own volume. That's been a good relationship for both author and publisher. I can't keep track of the various editions, but I think this is the mostly original one that bounces around a bit; I like all those Frank Miller Daredevil comics as genuine industry-shifting game-changers, so I'd be open to look at a new presentations of them. Finally, the Secret Agent Corrigan material remains as generally strong as anything in the Library Of American Comics portion of IDW, perhaps the consistenly strongest publishing area for the entire company. I'd like to own all of these.

imageJUN150499 DARK CORRIDOR #1 (MR) $3.99
JUN150492 AIRBOY #3 (MR) $2.99
MAY150534 DEADLY CLASS #15 (MR) $3.50
JUN150502 HUMANS #7 (MR) $2.99
JUN150506 MINIMUM WAGE SO MANY BAD DECISIONS #4 (MR) $3.99
MAY150564 SEX #23 (MR) $2.99
APR150983 DEATH IN OAXACA #2 (MR) $4.99
JUN151260 WILL EISNER SPIRIT #2 CVR A POWELL $3.99
JUN150080 BALTIMORE CULT OF THE RED KING #4 $3.99
Rich Tommaso's new series leads off a straong and varied comic book format week. It'd be nice to see Tommaso have a commercial act if only that it might push him towards concentrating on one story or series of stories for a while. Airboy now has an issue between itself and its criticized #2. I'd love to see if that controversy had an effect on sales in either direction. Deadly Class and Humans are two fun books that haven't quite become huge hits yet for the company (perhaps Deadly Class has performed that well; I'm not sure). Both are enjoyable to look at. Bob Fingerman's latedt Minimum Wage seires explores the psychological damage wrought all the way back in the very first. Sex hums along. Death In Oaxaca is the latest from Alternatives; Steve Lafler's visual are as refined as ever. Finally, a lot of people suggested the new Spirit to me. I didn't quite get it; everyone working on it is a pro, but I never figured out why it had to exist. Enough people I know liked it, however, in a way I'm happy to point out to some of them that #2 is out. And then there's our Mignola-verse offering.

APR150073 ART OF SATOSHI KON HC $29.99
APR150032 BOWERY BOYS OUR FATHERS HC $19.99
Two offerings from areas for which Dark Horse doesn't get a ton of credit. Its pipleline into anime and manga, and also art book related to same; its tendency to pick several projects a year for book form from webcomics. I'd definitely take a look at both. There's been no more pleasurable artist to watch over the last three decades than the late Kon. The Bowery Boys work has a nice crispness to it as well. I'd certainly pull each out and give it a look.

JUN151648 NARUTO GN VOL 71 $9.99
One day we'll look back and I bet we start with the well-planned, thematically precise fight scenes. Or the lead character's design. Or something else entirely. But we will come back to this one.

JAN151446 STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES HC VOL 05 DRIPPING FEAR $39.99
Always, always, always look at Steve Ditko.

JUN151727 COMICS OF JOE SACCO JOURNALISM IN VISUAL WORLD HC $60.00
There are textbooks about Joe Sacco now, a cartoonist whose career in comics was guaranteed to continue until about 1999 or so. I haven't come to any significant conclusions about Sacco's work on my own, so it'd be fun to read an academic's take on what he's doing.

APR151502 BRIGHT EYED AT MIDNIGHT HC $22.99
Leslie Stein is one of the brightest lights of current day comics-making; her comics are very personal, both in her motivation to do them and the iconography she chooses to realize those stories. I like this color week, read every single strip as it was posted, and look forward to reading them again. If you had to buy one, this would be that one.

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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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posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Amazingly Crude, Oddball Later Underground Cover

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Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through September 2015

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August 6
* If I Were In Tampa, I'd Go To This

August 7
* If I Were In San Antonio, I'd Go To This (Texas Comicon)
* If I Were In Cambridge, I'd Go To This

August 8
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Autoptic)
* If I Were In San Antonio, I'd Go To This (Texas Comicon)
* If I Were In Dover, I'd Go To This (Dover Comic Con)
* If I Were In Seattle, I'd Go To This

August 9
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Autoptic)
* If I Were In San Antonio, I'd Go To This (Texas Comicon)

August 14
* If I Were In Connecticut, I'd Go To This (Connecticut ComicCONN)
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

August 15
* If I Were In Connecticut, I'd Go To This (Connecticut ComicCONN)
* If I Were In Dublin, I'd Go To This (Dublin Zine Fair)

August 16
* If I Were In Connecticut, I'd Go To This (Connecticut ComicCONN)
* If I Were In Dublin, I'd Go To This (Dublin Zine Fair)

August 22
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

August 28
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)

August 29
* If I Were In Auckland, I'd Go To This (Auckland Zine Fest)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)

August 30
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)

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September 3
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (AAEC Annual Convention)
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This

September 4
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Meta Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (AAEC Annual Convention)

September 5
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This (Helsinki Comics Festival)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Meta Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (AAEC Annual Convention)
* If I Were In Birmingham, I'd Go To This (ICE)

September 6
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)
* If I Were In Helsinki, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Fan Expo Canada)
* If I Were In Minneapolis, I'd Go To This (Meta Con)
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This (AAEC Annual Convention)
* If I Were In San Francisco, I'd Go To This (SF Zine Fest)

September 7
* If I Were In Atlanta, I'd Go To This (Dragon Con)

September 10
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)

September 11
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)

September 12
* If I Were Near Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)

September 13
* If I Were Near Long Beach, I'd Go To This (Long Beach Comic Con)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (HawaiiCon)

September 14
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)

September 15
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)

September 16
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)

September 17
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)

September 18
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (The Amazing Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Palermo, I'd Go To This (Palermo Comic Convention)

September 19
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were Near Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Brisbane, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (The Amazing Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Palermo, I'd Go To This (Palermo Comic Convention)

September 20
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This (Rose City)
* If I Were Near Bethesda, I'd Go To This (SPX)
* If I Were In Brisbane, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Cincinnati, I'd Go To This (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival)
* If I Were In Hawaii, I'd Go To This (The Amazing Hawaii Comic Con)
* If I Were In Palermo, I'd Go To This (Palermo Comic Convention)

September 21
* If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This (Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Events)

September 23
* If I Were In Winston-Salem, I'd Go To This

September 24
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake Comic Con)

September 25
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake Comic Con)
* If I Were In Northampton, I'd Go To This (Topatocon)

September 26
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This (Salt Lake Comic Con)
* If I Were In Sydney, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Northampton, I'd Go To This (Topatocon)
* If I Were In Houston, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Greensboro, I'd Go To This

September 27
* If I Were In Baltimore, I'd Go To This (Baltimore Comic-Con)
* If I Were In Sydney, I'd Go To This (Oz Comic Con)
* If I Were In Northampton, I'd Go To This (Topatocon)

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Events For September 2015 Onward Listed Here

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posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Go, Look: Tales Of Suspense #33

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posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I missed Andrew Wheeler's long take on the Hercules character specifically and the idea of representation at Marvel comics more generally. I start from a position of not having a ton of interest in those characters to begin with, and identifying in ways that means I don't feel the sharp pang of not being represented in a fantasy world that meant a lot to me at a much young point in my life. Just as a casual consumer I can tell you a rigidly depicted world is a much more boring world, just as a rigidity in voices contributing to that world is almost always a more boring world. Again, I don't understand how such hard choices make sense.

image* Sean Gaffney on Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto Vol. 1. Rob McMonigal on the comics of Kendra Josie Kirkpatrick.

* not comics: early evening yesterday someone sent me to this article from Alyssa Rosenberg on really crappy pay for personal memoir essay writing relative to the enormous place the written-about incidents might have in someone's life. There's some interesting over how to place a value on that kind of thing. I do know it's a different world than a generation ago in that we used to say that everyone had a book in them and now everyone has a Buzzfeed essay. I think a lot of art functions like that and that this process does have a say on what are willing to pay for comics.

* Sarah Mirk profiles Not Funny Ha-Ha and runs some preview pages. I think that's a book that can do a great deal of social good, and I'm grateful Leah Hayes made it.

* the Trouble With Comics contributors write about creators that had the most influence in how they perceive the comics form. Mine is Saul Steinberg, which sounds made up, but it was the biggest break I made between comics as I generally understood them and what was possible with comics.

* I both strongly agree with this and the wider scheme of things care not at all.

* James Whitbrook and Gordon Jackson pick ten comics with no words or next to no words. There are hundreds, I bet, and this is in no way a reporesentative list. No woodcuts, only one manga, no Trondheim, no Jason.

* finally, I hope there are more than this many drawings with the #draw4atena hashtag?
 
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Happy 62nd Birthday, Steve Mitchell!

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August 4, 2015


Go, Look: Simon Gane Sketches Syros

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Go, Read: A Lengthy Interview With Zapiro

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This is the best interview I've read with the South African political cartoonist Zapiro, and I've read about two dozen. If you get a chance, fire it up. This goes pretty deep into his past, including his time at SVA and his decision to become a cartoonist when that was a choice that not a lot of people knew how to make in a forceful, real way. It also gets into some of the politics of his cartoons, such as the pressure to spare a public figure if they were perceived as finding some weight as a serious political candidate.
 
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Go, Look: Big Daddy Roth #2

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Go, Read: Why I'm Boycotting Marvel Comics

There's an intriguing article here by a J.A. Micheline about the writer's personal boycott of Marvel Comics based on a combination of creative line-ups, character directions and social response to criticism of those first two things. I'm never quite sure if these kinds of actions are actually boycotts: the problem seems to be at the Marvel Comics level, so boycotting Marvel's comics doesn't seem like the kind of broader action that a boycott usually entails. The protest part of it is wholly real, though, and that's where our attention should be. Some of the elements of such a dispute may eventally get worked out. For instance, whether someone is in a group representing a small number of readers or a large number of readers no one really knows until sales figures start hitting, and maybe not even then. It's a time-honored tradition to disrespect any protest made in just that way, and also part of what we've come to expect to respond with umbrage and an argument that the disrespect is part of the problem.

Mostly, disputes raised like this continue to get worked on. I think most people I know that read these kinds of comics on a regular basis are surprised that there hasn't been greater diversity in some of these newer Marvel books in one way or the other or that Marvel's pushback against criticism has seemed unsympathetic to the point of being foolhardy. I get that's what comics people do, but still: everyone saw it coming. Comics are counted in such small numbers that one has a hard time imagining a boycott becoming a viral thing without a big triggering incident. In fact, this is the kind of protest that can be all over one person's social media consumption and not at all in another's. Still, you never know what's going to build momentum and how. It's also because of those relatively small numbers that any group of unhappy fans would seem worth a conciliatory gesture or several steps in their direction. Why would Marvel want DC to win any battle, even one of perception, if you want to define it that way? The wider point is I'm not sure there's a numbers threshold for doing good, and it's hard to find Marvel's positive formulation here. I'm not sure why some of these moves aren't made solely because many of these characters seem like they could use a new approach, and there's a readership for such approaches. There's immense cultural good that can be done here, and some narrative good, too. As I wrote earlier today about Hercules, making him sweep-of-dictator's-hand hetero just seems like stamping one's foot down for the most boring option on a character, a character that is in no way a guaranteed sales success in a way you wouldn't want to leaving one's options open. I'd be upset if I were Hercules' agent.

To take a couple of steps back, I continue to be amazed by folks treating these characters with such ownership, right down to professional assignments. I think it comes from a different place than just wanting a company one supports to act ethically. Remember, though, it's this kind of participation right down to character details that companies like Marvel have always wanted. They should want 400,000 more boycotting fans like this one. Me, it's hard for me to get my mind wrapped around anything being done by a giant corporation to a bunch of properties with legacies that are often very spotty creatively when they exist at all. That's my biggest break; I wasn't even one of those kids that ever thought characters acted "wrong." It's hard for me to boycott something I lost interest in in 1979 that's still not interesting to me for the same reasons. It's a lot more fun run to writer letters about anger than it is ennui, though. I wish them luck in shaping the companies after their more generous, inclusive spirit.
 
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Go, Look: Leonard Kirk Superheroes Mini-Gallery

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posted 1:36 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News

By Tom Spurgeon

image* Marvel's going to try again with their Hercules character. There's some speculation as to whether or not the character will have same-sex relationships. As I think he's depicted having relationships with men and women, it would be weird if he were suddenly fully hetero again.

* speaking of Marvel, they'll still have their policy of making more than 12 issues of their series in a year. They run a multi-million dollar publishing company and I don't, and I'm not even a prime consumer of that kind of material, but this strategy makes it difficult for me to read any issues at all. Almost no artist or art team can keep up, which means breaks in continuity. While an attentive can deal with different creative teams, given the fluidity of title it totally throws me off and I give up trying to buy the title I was previously buying. I also found that the cost of keeping up with one or series when I was expected to buy, say, 31 issues in a year as opposed to 24, made a difference in whether or not I desired to continue with series that made enough of an impression that the art teams hadn't confused me. That really seems like one of those slow beed for series of short-term gain kind strategies. Then again, if the numbers weren't working out in some way, they wouldn't be doing it. At that point moving away from that strategy becomes a "greater good" deal, and Marvel's publishing division is judged, many professionals tell me, by short-term numbers.

* congratulations to Yeti Press on four years of publication.

* Amazon.com listings can be fool's gold so much changes for most of the publisher, particularly those Fantagraphics-sized and smaller, between when a listing might be submitted and when it might actually find its way onto shelves. But it's a fine place to go for general reminders and some additional information if you don't take it as gospel. For instance, a May release for the Lucy Knisley wedding planning book makes perfect sense, and 304 pages sounds like a lot for Knisley and not so many for the general subject matter. Also, every March or so for the last several I've had a friend ask me what Dave Sim's Last Girlfriend is, and then when I tell them almost all make the same comment of "summer reading for me for sure. Looks like we'll get at least one more round of comments there.

* finally, Tom Hart alerted us through e-mail a couple of weeks ago that his Rosalie Lightning is going to be released by St. Martin's in January. It always seems like there's one book that comes out at that point of the year that dominates discussion through May or so, or at least contributes heavily to what we talk about when we talk about comics. I think there's an impulse from a very now-looking hardcore readership base that wants to jump into the new year. That could be the one for 2016, although every month is loaded now.
 
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Not Comics: Beautiful Big Little Book Cover Gallery

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Go, Look: Rare Jack Kirby Comedy Gig In Mid-1950s

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warning: festooned with racist imagery
 
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Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Kleefeld writes about missing out on Mike Parobeck. Comics is a lot bigger than we think it is. I thought I knew everything in 1994. I realize in 2015 that I know very little. It's one of the things that's most exciting about making room in your life for comics.

* Bob Temuka remembers the era of handbooks and guides.

* Todd Klein on Superman #41. John Kane on a bunch of comics and a bunch of other comics. Henry Chamberlain on Steve McQueen: Full Throttle Cool. Johanna Draper Carlson on The Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey. Michael Buntag on Archie Vs. Predator #3-4. J. Caleb Mozzocco on a bunch of different comics. James Baon on A Sailor's Story. Misti Cooper on Knight. Andy Oliver on Like A Shark In A Swimming Pool.

* Sean T. Collins talks to Matt Furie. RJ Casey profiles Dan Zettwoch.

* finally, Katie Skelly draws Valentina.
 
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Happy 39th Birthday, K. Thor Jensen!

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Happy 65th Birthday, Mike Gold!

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Happy 63rd Birthday, Franco Saudelli!

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Happy 73rd Birthday, Rick Norwood!

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Happy 49th Birthday, Charlie Adlard!

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Happy 48th Birthday, Robert Pope!

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August 3, 2015


Go, Look: Beautiful Jack Davis Splash Pages

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posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Festivals Extra: APE Puts Call Out For Panel Proposals

Here. APE is going through a big transitional year, so if you're attending or thinking about attending, they would likely love to work with you. I think that show will be very well-attended back out in San Jose.
 
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink
 

 
Not Comics: Strength Of Man Portfolio Images

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