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

April 11, 2007

This Isn't a Library: New and Notable Releases to the Comics Direct Market


Here are a few books that jump out at me from this week's 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 following, but were I in a comic book shop I would likely pick them up and look at them, potentially annoying my retailer.


OCT060165 ALL STAR SUPERMAN #7 $2.99
One of the best superhero comics of the last 30 years, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman manages to combine a fairly straight-forward, imaginative story about the limits of the Superman myth as they exist right now with an homage to Silver Age storytelling with a running commentary about such storytelling's strengths and limitations. I think it's way more self-aware than people give it credit, but it's pretty enough and quirky enough to work on any level you'd like it to.

JAN073808 COLD HEAT #4 (OF 12) (MR) $5.00
Brian Hibbs' favorite comic series of 2006 has become one of my favorites. While Frank Santoro's art isn't for everyone, I'm in the camp that finds it evocative. I haven't yet processed exactly why I like it, but I'm enjoying the feeling I get from it of being lost in its waves junk media effects and ideas from the 1980s.

FEB073454 COMPLETE PEANUTS VOL 7 1963-1964 HC $28.95
Just because we've become accustomed to seeing these books twice a year shouldn't diminish our appreciation of the work's consistent excellence. One thing that's great about reading individual volumes of Peanuts is that you realize how crappy our conventional wisdom was regarding the series overall, and how it progressed. For instance, there's a lot of humor here that I thought Schulz moved away from by the end of the '50s. This volume includes an introduction by Bill Melendez which is really fun when it comes to describing how the animated specials started, and less so in an understandable way when it comes to his appraisal of the later works.

I would really love to be in a comic book shop today and pick this up, and not just because the rarity of shops carrying this tome would likely put me in one of four fun-to-visit cities on a Spring day. Mostly, I'm just not sure what I'm getting here, and want to see the book for myself. Dupuy & Berberian are one of the world's great cartooning teams, probably ever, so of course it's of interest.

FEB073843 DR SLUMP VOL 12 TP $7.99
JAN073862 DRAGON HEAD VOL 6 GN (OF 10) (MR) $9.99
The two best manga series with offerings out this week. Dragon Head is one of those comics that sells moderately well in a baffling way, because it touches on all the usual points required of a big, genre-defining hit. Dr. Slump is Akira Toriyama's early, popular comedy work that is really fast and loose and silly in a way a lot of comics aren't anymore.

FEB073470 GARAGE BAND GN $16.95
A really solid offering from one of Europe's better cartoonists right now, this First Second-published story of group of youths pursuing the rock and roll dream only as far, for now, as getting a decent practice space and maybe letting a label to hear their demo, has enough in the way of universal relationships and the physicality that is expressed through music to appease fans seeking something familiar, and a touch of the kind of class and money issues that seem more specifically European for those who want a window on a different world.

JAN073618 MOME VOL 7 GN $14.95
This is the one book most comics fans need to buy this week, for a few reasons. First, Al Columbia begins a publishing comeback that should culminate in a massive art book with a sketchbook section here called "Chopped-Up People." Second, Lewis Trondheim's extended mulling over the issue of aging in comics "At Loose Ends" this issues features his correspondence with the just-passed Yvan Delporte and a lot of wonderful pacing and lovely imagery. There's a two-page glossary explaining people and some events that follows the story, but I didn't think it was necessary. Third, Eleanor Davis joins the line-up with a wonderful fable-like short story; Davis was 2006's out-of-nowhere emerging cartoonist for a lot of art-comics fans who saw her mini-comics for the first time, and it's great to see that her work continues to develop. Jog liked it as much as I did.

FEB073427 OPTIC NERVE #11 (MR) $3.95
The conclusion to Adrian Tomine's best story to date, and about as satisfying a comic book package as exists out there. Tomine even manages to get better letters than just about anyone.


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.

To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, 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.

If I didn't list your new comic, it's not because I missed it by accident or that our tastes differ. It's because I hate you.
posted 1:13 pm PST | Permalink

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