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November 8, 2009


Publishers' Lists: Five For 2010

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The publishing year 2009 is far from over. It says something about the ridiculous wealth of comics talent making work right now that two book of the decade candidates have yet to arrive on shelves: Joe Sacco's wonderful new Footnotes In Gaza, featuring the cartoonist at the height of his considerable comics-making power, and the career-spanning Alec: The Years Have Pants from the great Eddie Campbell.

That doesn't mean we can't cheat ahead and look at new books, though. There are obvious highlights one can already pinpoint in the year 2010. For example, Drawn and Quarterly is working with Dan Clowes to publish his new and I would have to think much-anticipated book Wilson. Fantagraphics is adding what could be the last major strip multiple-volume reprint project they take on for a while with a fresh run at the frequently sublime Wash Tubbs/Captain Easy Roy Crane action-adventure comics. Belle Yang will be the latest illustrator and children's book author to take a shot at a long-form comic through a major book publisher with her Forget Sorrow. The manga companies continue to push new series they hope will buttress some of the continually successful titles later in their volume run. Even in a mainstream comics sense, we should start the see the impact of new ownership/management at the Big Two companies -- how DC plans to continue with its multiple imprints and program, how Marvel builds (or chooses not to build) to the release of another Iron Man movie. There are stop-and-watch stories galore.

As we all know, however, the strength of comics right now is the depth of the publishing efforts from the best houses. In that vein, here are five projects that caught my eye that I wasn't quite aware of before scoping out 2010.

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1. Market Day, James Sturm, Drawn and Quarterly
I can't really tell if any of the big book companies are up to anything interesting for next year, which throws an even more penetrating spotlight on trustworthy art comics houses like D&Q and Fantagraphics. I liked James Sturm's editorial and occasional cartooning efforts on behalf of the kids books his school has done with Hyperion, but I miss engaging his work directly. Looks like I'll get to reintroduce myself this Spring.

*****

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2. Set to Sea, Drew Weing, Fantagraphics
I wasn't aware at all that Fantagraphics was going to collect Drew Weing's ongoing on-line comic about a poet that get swept up and into a life at sea, but Amazon.com has this listed for early summer and I actually caught it this time. Weing's a natural cartoonist, I think, and his comics have an idiosyncratic sense of pacing and panel construction that makes his projects memorable.

*****

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3. Night Animals, Brecht Evans, Top Shelf
At some point Top Shelf's European international connections are going to start resulting in a series of awesome books. That's not to suggest any sort of criticism in how this work has been handled, it's just that I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of these comics and I want them to hit as hard as possible when they arrive. I'm certain the company's first high-profile, Japanese alt-comics project Ax volume debuts this year. I'm also looking forward to some one-offs with European talents, too. Brecht Evans seems both a likely candidate for release in 2010 and for a shot at a bit of crossover success as a result -- there's a significant amount of visual appeal there. D&Q should have another book of Evans' out during the calendar year as well, which could help build buzz.

*****

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4. Playboy's Trump! The Complete Collection, Harvey Kurtzman And Various, Dark Horse Comics
The title suggests that Dark Horse is publishing this work through their strong connection to the Playboy empire through some of the collections it has published. Getting to spend approximately two weeks' worth of evening time in the company of Fantagraphics' nice work with the Humbug material has me wanting to see as much Kurtzman-directed comics work as possible. There's Wally Wood work here, and I'm always susceptible to falling under the spell of Wood's work for a few days, weeks, months. I should mention that a project maybe more directly in line with the other choices here is Dark Horse's Carol Swain retrospective, Crossing The Empty Quarter, but that may still come out in 2009.

*****

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5. I Will Bite You, Joe Lambert, Secret Acres
I don't know if the above comics panel is in Joseph Lambert's forthcoming collection from Secret Acres, I just know that I'm ready to read a collection of Lambert's work and Secret Acres seems like a good match for the cartoonist's work. In general, barring unique setbacks there should be a ton of good stuff coming out from the more boutique press publishers like Secret Acres, Buenaventura Press, Sparkplug Comics and PictureBox, it's just that it's harder to tell what and when. Just in stuff that's been spotlighted on previous days here at CR, Adhouse Books should kick the year off in style with its Afrodisiac book, while Blank Slate has two interesting books out early with Oliver East's Berlin and That (seen above) and Darryl Cunningham's Psychiatric Tales.

It should be another fun year.
 
posted 3:55 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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