* not comics: I'm happy for cartoonists I like to get deals in other media they want and are interested in doing -- and hey, these look fun -- but my primary interest as a comics reporter is in keeping track of Gary Tyrrell's idea that comics are the new stand-up: a low-threshold performance art that will drive talented people to other, more profitable media for the next 20 years.
* bundled extra: happy to see Greg Stump's Disillusioned Illusions, which was essentially a handmade and distributed comic in its most recent iteration -- will get a bump up in public profile via an edition with FU Press. Stump is a deeply funny cartoonist, and I don't know anyone who does comics quite like he does: more Donald Barthelme than Donald Duck.
* look at this cool Jim Osborne comic. Osborne is one of the many artists in the underground tradition that has almost no penetration into our general knowledge of comics. I hope that the undergrounds have a more comprehensive legacy in 2050 than they have right this moment, but it's going to be tough.
The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events
By Tom Spurgeon
* Image Expo has announced for July 2, the week before Comic-Con International. They made some headlines last summer by having their summer event the Wednesday before the big show -- which got them more buzz than actual press, what with people having to file right before they start filing all of their Comic-Con article. They sure owned the news cycle early on, though, and I think moving it five days back will have a similar effect.
* David Letterman ended his lengthy run as a late-night talk show host and reluctant celebrity last night. That's a great broadcasting career and a significant one in American comedy for its gentle, curdled, insistent chiding nature against Reagan-era cultural banality using both very modern snark and even older, even dumber show business tools: a two-front war with more battles won than anyone might have predicted. 1985 was the worst year of my life. The two things that kept me sane were Letterman's NBC show and the Chicago Bears. I worked at a newspaper readjusting type on the sports pages. I would come home an hour after everything had to be released upstairs, a little bit after midnight. I slept on the couch in my Mom's living room, because I was afraid of being seen from an outside window and my bedroom was next to the garage, easily accessible. I would watch Letterman's show every night it was on until I fell asleep. I am very grateful to have had that TV show at that time in my life, as dumb as "having" a TV show sounds. I hope he has a happy retirement, as best as he's able. Comics has a culture of constantly proving one's love to the medium, many times through whatever of its representatives with which you had close contact at a key point in your life. I think some of it is a pose, and some of it is a general longing and ache that people hang onto because they like to keep a part of their mindset in that space. Some of it is very real and very personal. An object, a work of art, a recurring experience can save your life if it comes to you with the right thing at the right time, no matter what that thing might be. Sometimes it's just the distraction. Sometimes it's something more. It's always welcome. Thank you, Mr. Letterman.
* the writer Matt Fraction appears on Seth Meyers' late-night show this evening. I'm very happy for Matt to receive an opportunity like this, to build the kind of cultural cachet that he deserves and I hope will continue to go to comics-makers. I hope he has fun. I suppose there may be a television show announcement of some sort.
Another nice thing is that he's linked to the pages for each podcast, so you get to see the photos that Amy Beadle Roth does when she's in attendance, like the one above featuring Nina Bunjevac. Amy is a fine photographer.
Eurocomics USA Invasion: IDW To Publish Complete Sinner
One of the 100 great comics of the last 20th Century and one of the ten all-time best drawn, if IDW does bring us a complete edition of Jose Munoz and Carlos Sampayo's Sinner, that will be a line drawn across the page at or near the top on the "missing comics editions" list in this golden age of reprints. That is just a lovely comic, cynical and cool, the ur-modern crime comic.
This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases Into Comics' Direct Market
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.
MAR151285 OPTIC NERVE #14 (MR) $6.95
It's weird that there's only 14 of these, because I feel like I've done about 14 of these "library" piece where I extol the virtues of the last man standing of the 1990s alt-comics regulars (there are likely others, and there are definitely a few indie-comics survivors. But yeah, this "appointment serial comics buying" if such a thing exists. Drawn and Quarterly's big year continues.
MAR151663 DREAM FOSSIL COMP STORIES SATOSHI KON GN $24.95
While the flattening of the comics market can be frustrating for those who would have rather have three middle-class cartoonists than 12 barely making enough to continue doing what they do in the margins of their lives, one beneficial result is you get a lot of work in comics that wouldn't even been on the table in another art form, and some of it can even piece together a significant audience. I admired the films of Satoshi Kon in the general sense the way most people I know did, particularly Paprika, and I'd love to see his shorter comics works just to look at recurring techniques and continuities of tone.
JAN150100 BPRD PLAGUE OF FROGS TP VOL 04 $24.99
Stand-alone Mignola-verse trade. I buy these in comics form -- and older comics, too, so I'm pretty far behind -- but the other three people I know that are obsessive collectors of this material have switched over to the frequent trades. Don't have much to say beyond that -- I think this material may have already been done, although maybe not exactly in this format. It's gotta be three, four years old at least.
MAR150665 A-FORCE #1 SWA $3.99 MAR150081 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #131 $3.50 MAR150037 GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #5 $3.99 MAR150019 MIND MGMT #33 $3.99 MAR150032 RESIDENT ALIEN SAM HAIN MYSTERY #1 $3.99 MAR150038 USAGI YOJIMBO #145 $3.50 MAR150591 SATELLITE SAM #14 (MR) $3.50 MAR150512 TREES #9 (MR) $2.99
Comics! The A-Force is the all-female Avengers comics. Jill Lepore lit into it and writer G. Willow Wilson responded in one of those Internet battles that drive the world right now. I find the request for a specific contextual reading interesting giving everything going on in comics the last several months. Sergio Aragones and Matt Kindt are always worth checking out. The "Resident Alien" book is actually the second in the latest series because of how they're numbering them. I like the lead and the setting in those comics. Stan Sakai: another automatic buy; it's good to see him back with the regular run of the title. I'm about three issues behind on Satellite Sam, but I think that a fairly enjoyable series, too. Trees is a continuation of the Warren Ellis/Jason Howard science fiction story, pieces of which I thought a lot of fun during the title's initial burst of issues.
MAR151753 ART OF MAD MAX FURY ROAD HC $39.95 MAR150293 MAD MAX FURY ROAD NUX & IMMORTAL JOE #1 (MR) $4.99
I have almost no use for tie-in comics and there hasn't been a movie in a long while where I was interested in the art involved or art direction to want to purchase a giant book. That said, what little I've seen of the Mad Max film currently pleasing hardcore fans and fellow creatives across the world looks gorgeous, and who doesn't love Brendan McCarthy? The side project comic does not feature Mr. McCarthy, and has to stand more or less on it own. I'm suspicious of books that want to "fill in the blanks" on characters, and this sounds like it may be one of those. I'll pay attention to reviews as they start to accumulate. It seems like all of the properties that have riffed off of the Max movies have done comics, but there's been very little of the original in that form. I'll be interested to see how all that movement is portrayed.
MAR151725 OUT OF LINE ART JULES FEIFFER HC $40.00 DEC141691 WILL EISNER SPIRITED LIFE HC DLX ED $39.95
Two treatments of two great masters, one no longer with us. An art book featuring Jules Feiffer is welcome, although I'd like to see it in my hands before making a purchase. I live near a comic book store now, so that's a possibility. Wanting to see it has nothing to do with the artist; Feiffer's a wonderful image-maker, and his drawings are always lively -- or intentionally lacking same. Art books are difficult, though, so that last couple of percentage of skeptic in me wants to check it out. The Eisner I'm familiar with from reading the original Bob Andelman biography, to which material is added. It's on my reading table. I'm not a fan of this line-wide approach to its books that TwoMorrows has in terms of art direction; this looks like a book in a series instead of special edition of anything.
JAN150661 VELVET TP VOL 02 THE SECRET LIVES OF DEAD MEN (MR) $14.99
I find these comics entertaining, and the art is classic mainstream-school sumptuous. It's a good summer comic, and will eventually make an older actress very happy, I imagine.
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.