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May 4, 2010


This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases To The 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. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would be fondling the following, in the hopes of following them fondly.

*****

FEB108488 INVINCIBLE RETURNS #1 2ND PTG (PP #916) $3.99
MAR100183 BATMAN AND ROBIN #12 $2.99
MAR100159 BRIGHTEST DAY #1 $2.99
FEB100233 ASTRO CITY THE DARK AGE BOOK FOUR #4 (OF 4) $4.99
Here's some superhero stuff that interested me on the list enough I'd be looking at them in a comics shop. Invincible Returns is one of those occasional efforts by Robert Kirkman to provide an easy jumping on point for his engaging series without breaking up the series' momentum. He's really good at those kind of touches. Batman and Robin is more Morrison but not the once-thought conclusion of Morrison. Brightest Day is the latest DC mini-series for which I'm detecting very little excitement relative to the one with all the super-powered corpses. I haven't even heard what the one-line pitch is on that one, which is alarming considering that's what mainstream comics events comics do now. That Astro City book is the last in a bunch of interconnected mini-series, which I've been picking up for a dollar here and a dollar there because the market is broken.

MAR100042 HELLBOY IN MEXICO OR DRUNKEN BLUR ONE SHOT CORBEN CVR $3.50
JAN100464 KING CITY #8 (MR) $2.99
JAN100465 ORC STAIN #3 (MR) $2.99
MAR100675 GLAMOURPUSS #13 $3.00
MAR100293 IZOMBIE #1 (MR) $1.00
FEB100775 MUPPET SHOW #5 $2.99
Here are the rest of the comics which aren't more traditional-looking superhero comics. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory. I thought that issue of King City was really good. I, Zombie is a Mike Allred-drawn comic that sounds like a cynical Showtime TV show pitch.

AUG090046 EERIE ARCHIVES HC VOL 03 $49.99
JAN100128 BARRY WINDSOR SMITH CONAN ARCHIVES HC VOL 02 $49.99
JAN100131 ERB JOHN CARTER OF MARS JESSE MARSH YEARS HC $29.99
On Friday, CR's putting up an interview with retailer Brian Hibbs. Among the many topics discussed is rational scheduling, a phenomenon where among other crimes against the funnybook shop publisher fail to spread out their releases and thus overwhelm the standard serial comics buyer. A kind of boil the frog slowly thing. I'd say dropping three massive collections of quality material that appeals to the art-in-comics crowd could be an example of this. Aside from that observation, I really want to see that John Carter Of Mars book and I want to eventually own all three of these books.

FEB101009 RIP KIRBY HC VOL 02 $49.99
We live in an age of infinite wonders that there can be multiple giant Rip Kirby collections.

FEB100355 ELEPHANTMEN HC VOL 03 DANGEROUS LIAISONS $34.99
FEB108471 ELEPHANTMEN TP VOL 03 DANGEROUS LIAISONS (PP #916) $24.99
We live in an age of infinite wonders that a handsome-looking series with animal-headed beings has run for so long I've totally run out of Sun Runners references.

FEB100367 MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS TP VOL 03 ELECTRIC ALLEGORIES $19.99
NOV090362 WALKING DEAD HC VOL 05 $34.99
These are two series that I followed as comic books that also are quite easy to follow as serial trades. I'm not sure I understand a damn thing that's going on in that Madman comic.

OCT090850 DREADSTAR THE BEGINNING HC (RES) $29.99
As a kid my view was the Dreadstar concept started out with some promise, a science-fiction examination/use of the "we had to destroy the village to save it" idea. My memory also tells me it seriously petered out in the comic book ongoing, with an eventual tone shift towards stand science fiction superheroes so abrupt it was like the Vin Diesel character in Pitch Black joining Will Smith as one of the Men In Black. I think I'd prefer to have these as comics rather than in a collected volume as much as I want to have them at all, but this might delight some old-school comics fan out there.

MAR100946 JAPAN AS VIEWED BY 17 CREATORS TP (O/A) (MR) $25.00
I don't know why this is being offered again now, and don't know of any length of time that this anthology of nouvelle manga wasn't available, but it's a killer line-up, a nice concept (manga creators doing places they live; french creators doing places they visit), it's consistently attractive, and has to be one of the seminal books of the last decade. Like if you wanted to portray 2006 in shorthand, this is one of the comics you put beside your character's bed.

JAN100309 DONG XOAI VIETNAM 1965 HC $24.99
This is hall of fame mainstream comics industry alpha male Joe Kubert's fictional treatment of the largest battle fought during the initial phases of the US involvement in the Vietnam War. Anything Kubert does should make you at least pay the respect of a flip-through.

JAN101113 SUPER FUCKERS TP (MR) $14.95
James Kochalka's treatment of teen superheroes as arrogant, self-absorbed, sex-obsessed dopes, which is notable for it being intentionally funny. You'll know after you read a page if this one is for you.

JAN100952 KRAZY AND IGNATZ TP 1916-1918 $24.99
Still the greatest comic. The design on this is like it's the ninja issue of the series.

FEB101118 HIKARU NO GO TP VOL 19 $9.99
It's not a great sports manga, but it's a solidly entertaining one and I'll take anything I can get in a category that hasn't quite hit all the way in the US. I always read it with Sai as a girl, because I can't scan it the other way.

FEB101150 TWIN SPICA GN VOL 01 $10.95
I liked but didn't love the first volume of this, a soap opera set amongst school-age astronauts-in-training in a not-too-distant future Japan. I always think these books get a little too much credit for being serious when they're mostly just not hyper.

*****

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 didn't list your comic here, I blame the lousy USA/Canadian exchange rate.

*****

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