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

April 27, 2010

This Isn't A Library: New And Notable Releases To The 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. But were I in a comic book shop tomorrow I would be definitely be stowing the following on my great, fleshy person.


FEB100028 USAGI YOJIMBO #128 $3.50
JAN100462 INVINCIBLE #71 $2.99
JAN100468 WALKING DEAD #71 (MR) $2.99
OCT091041 STUMPTOWN #3 (MR) $3.99
A pretty good-day for stand-alone, serialized genre comic books in their classic format: the ageless Stan Sakai, the super-solid performer Robert Kirkman with twin offerings in his best series (though ideally these would be spaced out; being able to count on a Kirkman book every other week might do wonders for a certain kind of DM customer over the long haul), shiny Iron Man and the reflected glow of his hit movie, and the mystery book Stumptown, which is probably about Portland rather than the adventures of the Dwarf Attack cartoonist Greg Stump.

FEB100234 GARRISON #1 (OF 6) $2.99
This sounds like a forgotten 1972 television show starring David Janssen as a Treasury Department agent, but it's actually a WildStorm comic about the world's most dangerous man.

This comic book gave me the giggle as a series, because I couldn't wrap my mind around how anyone on planet Earth wanted to read a series about Solomon Grundy, Born On A Monday, short of its execution making it the greatest comic of all time. I'm not sure a trade paperback is as big an in-my-face as it might have been ten years ago, but apparently this material has some kind of audience, or they just collect everything. Wait, don't answer that; I don't wanna know.

JAN100191 BPRD TP VOL 12 WAR ON FROGS $17.99
Two crowd-pleasing series that I tend to pay attention to as series rather than as trade paperback, although it occurs to me that if that's how you like to spend your comics money they would read perfectly fine that way.

I quite liked this book, which is exactly what it sounds. I'd say I'm a sucker for fancy reprint editions, but that's not a confession, that's basically a pre-condition of being a modern-day comics fan.

JAN100949 OUR GANG SC VOL 04 $14.99
I don't find the comics all that appealing even though I'm a big fan of both Walt Kelly and the Our Gang comedies. The cover and the presentation on these books has been mostly nice. I'm sort of waiting to be able to see these with kinder eyes at some point.

I don't know if the Star Comics material is any good, on any level, but we certainly have a greater appreciation for Harvey artists and creators than we did at the time these were coming out, so maybe there's a bunch of stuff of value here.

MAR100947 FOILED GN $15.99
FEB100909 RESISTANCE GN $16.99
FEB100908 CITY OF SPIES GN $16.99
Three from First Second. I didn't care for Foiled, and haven't seen the other two, which look like stylish YA comics about life and resistance during wartime. Come to think of it, I hope they didn't cut me off.

No comic that came out in the last decade confused me more than Matt Kindt's Super Spy material, which at times seemed like a comic made just for me and at other times like a comic made for a me that doesn't exist anymore. This book apparently contains all the pieces that didn't go into the book proper, many of which are clever and formally audacious.

I worked on this book a long time ago, providing the bulk of the interviews and maybe an essay. The timing didn't work out to have it published then. I was supposed to work on getting the book back up to speed for publication now, but I failed to come through. I hope it came together okay under the editors' very skilled hands. If they're publishing it I'm sure it did. The DF people were really nice and very professional and the Romitas are an awesome subject. I remember being charmed by John Jr, to whom I'd never spoken before; he came across to me like the living embodiment of comic book work ethic as much as his dad might have at an earlier age.

Two Fantagraphics softcover editions of two super-attractive hardcovers: the debut book from the muscular cartoonist Tim Lane and an absolute must-have reprint of Archie Goodwin's Warren-era war comics. No one with even a tiny bit of interest in war comics could fail to like that Blazing Combat book.

DEC090034 TALE OF ONE BAD RAT HC (MR) $19.99
Down the road in Portland, in grown-up offices rather than a decaying house, Team Dark Horse sees Fantagraphics' re-releases and offers up two of their own. The first is a welcome re-packaging of their Little Lulu material. The second is Bryan Talbot's graphic novel that blew a lot of people's eyelids off when it initially came out, back when people didn't know quite what to do with stand-alone work like that. They sure know now.

FEB100867 WILSON HC (MR) $21.95
I like how this was near the bottom of the comics listings like some sort of last-minute, walk-on, massively famous celebrity guest on a 1960s telethon. This is of course Dan Clowes' first original graphic novel published all at once (if you don't count Eightball #23), and it's very good. You'll want one.


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, it's the greatest compliment I can pay you. Okay, not really. Sorry.


posted 7:45 pm PST | Permalink

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