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March 5, 2014


This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases To The 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. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.

*****

OCT131188 BLIGHTED EYE HC (MR) $100.00
This is a catalog of Glenn Bray's legendary comics art collection, almost 50 years in the making. That gave Bray a multiple-decades head start on getting his hands on work that wouldn't become valuable until relatively recently. In this book you see Ware to Wilson to Wolverton to Wood to Woodring -- that's a single letter. I'm not the original art fetishist that many of my friends and colleagues and I couldn't stop looking at this thing. If it's even in your comic shop, that's a compliment to your comic shop.

NOV130067 GASOLINE ALLEY HC VOL 01 COMPLETE SUNDAYS 1920-1922 $75.00
Three years of Sundays from Frank King -- the cartoonist whose reputation has probably been most completely rehabilitated in the last 15 years -- sounds like an awesome thing, and I would love to get my hands on this book in a comic shop to see first-hand the production on Dark Horse's long talked-about project. A big part of the King revival is to point out how humane and kind of engaged with everyday life the dailies her, but his reputation when I was a kid was as the member of the Original Justice League Of Mighty Newspaper Strip Cartoonists that worked way over his head on Sunday strips. They weren't McCay, but they were close. I have bigger eyes to take that material in now, and love that I'll get a chance to start.

imageJAN140130 LOBSTER JOHNSON GET LOBSTER #2 $3.99
DEC130197 FOREVER EVIL #6 $3.99
DEC130388 ROGUE TROOPER #1 $3.99
AUG130699 JUPITERS LEGACY #4 CVR A QUITELY (MR) $2.99
AUG130700 JUPITERS LEGACY #4 CVR B HITCH (MR) $2.99
OCT138154 JUPITERS LEGACY #4 CVR C MCQUE (MR) $2.99
JAN140531 STARLIGHT #1 CVR A CASSADAY (MR) $2.99
JAN140532 STARLIGHT #1 CVR B PARLOV (MR) $2.99
DEC130589 REVIVAL #18 (MR) $2.99
NOV130530 VELVET #4 (MR) $2.99
There is a lot of work out this week worth noting in the serial adventure book format. Here's a bunch of them; I'm not sure even with unlimited funds I'd buy all of these, but I'd certainly not their presence in the shop. You get Mignola-verse material, the latest issue of DC's sort-of ongoing (I say sort of because there are titles in which this storyline isn't present at all) "event" comic, about an invasion of the New 52 version of the DC Universe by the Crime Syndicate characters. I may review that one later today. Rogue Trooper #1 is a reintroduction to a character I never really got and I think at least one of the versions out there -- maybe the only version out there -- boasts a James Stokoe cover. You get a double-dose of A-list writer Mark Millar this week. The start of a ten-year-later style plotline in his collaboration with Frank Quitely, Jupiter's Legacy, and the first issue with Goran Pavlov of what seemed to me an almost blandly standard take on revenge westerns using their spaceman, Buck Rogers-ish, expression. Pavlov's art is super pretty if you've never had the pleasure. Revival is one of those strong-performing, just-under-the-top-titles comic series (and I mean in terms of press; for all I know it outsells Walking Dead) that I can imagine a teenaged me becoming obsessed with once upon a time. Velvet is the Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting spy series on the Miss Moneypenny archetype, and like a lot of the Image comic books seems at television-series friendly both as a potential adaptation and as a standard storytelling mode.

NOV130453 SATELLITE SAM TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99
JAN140552 FATALE DLX ED HC VOL 01 (MR) $39.99
JAN140559 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 20 ALL OUT WAR PT 1 (MR) $14.99
The range of Image's trade program is seen here, although really the Walking Dead and the Satellite Sam books are cheaper paperbacks of the kind people can -- and do, I think -- follow in serial fashion that way. Satellite Sam is the Matt Fraction/Howard Chaykin collaboration and I think is beginning to find its sea legs in a way that makes me want to revisit the first few issues in this format. The Fatale book looks to be something for the fancier comics bookshelf, and that Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips collaboration is certainly handsome enough to reward collection that way. I still read all three series in some form or another.

OCT130745 MUPPETS OMNIBUS HC LANGRIDGE CVR $59.99
DEC130768 OZ HC EMERALD CITY OF OZ $24.99
Not only is this a reasonably sizable week for Image collection buyers, but we get to see two positive aspects of the Marvel books program, or the two of the five foundational steps one imagines Marvel could take for a consistently more profitable book arm if that were a goal of theirs. In this case we have a Disney property that saw expression elsewhere that is now brought under Marvel's wing in the Muppets book, which features a ton of well-liked work by the great Roger Langridge. I do know some people that reject Langridge's work outright -- I assume they extend the same dissatisfaction in the direction of the other artist with a significant number of pages here, Amy Mebberson, but I'm not sure -- but I liked it. I thought it was recognizable as working within the same general milieu of that television show, but off-model just enough to make it kind of a fun comic book on its own. The Oz material has been the belle of Marvel's book-line ball for about five years now, or whenever lap it passed the Stephen King books that Marvel sometimes does. I haven't read that material, but it's attractive-looking, and the Oz milieu is one of the sturdiest when it comes to adaptation and add-on work. This is weird only in that I'm an adult man that's read all of the Oz books since turning 30.

JAN140705 LOKI AGENT OF ASGARD #2 ANMN $2.99
JAN140675 MAGNETO #1 ANMN $3.99
JAN140638 MOON KNIGHT #1 ANMN $3.99
JAN140723 SHE-HULK #2 ANMN $2.99
This is the other part of what Marvel is doing this week that drew my attention a bit, although I have to admit I might have skipped right over this stuff there's so much in the shops this week. Anyway, Marvel is introducing another round of secondary-character books. Marvel uses those books in a variety of ways, but I think what they do best with them is poking at the edges of those properties in terms of developing approaches that can be a new standard approach if it clicks, and developing talent. The surprise success of the Matt Fraction/David Aja/Other Talented Folk Daredevil has also made more room for quirkier approaches to the material. The Moon Knight art from Declan Shalvey and the She-Hulk art from Javier Pulido looks very pretty in previews. Charles Soule may round into a major figure at these companies over the next 24 months, too.

OCT130749 X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST HC $39.99
One last Marvel book, which I put here because it's something that would be part of a program the company really doesn't have: identifiable, always-in-print, foundational works -- maybe 40 or 50 titles -- to which fans could be constantly directed. It does seems that they're sort of rounding in on limiting the number of titles they release in conjunction with movies, although it only takes two books instead of one -- or confusing copy, or a lack of emphasis -- to confuse retailers as to which book they should buy and push to movie fans.

DEC131190 DUMBEST IDEA EVER GN $11.99
Stepping away from the Marvel part of the store a bit, you might check out Jimmy Gownley's graphic memoir about growing up and trying to do comics all of the time. As many kids that are interested in comics that also see doing them as a possibility these days, that could be a fine choice for many of them.

JAN140850 FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE HC ITS ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER $22.99
I'm a bit confused by the For Better Or For Worse trade program, but the fact that they're re-running Lynn Johnston's strip from its beginnings makes confusion understandable. The books I've seen are more functional than archival, but it's nice to have big chunks of her work available that way.

JAN141202 HENRY SPEAKS FOR HIMSELF TP $24.99
I reviewed this yesterday.

DEC131161 NIJIGAHARA HOLOGRAPH HC (MR) $29.99
It's hard for me to think of an Inio Asano book being this far down the page without me drawing attention to it before now, but here it is. I think for many comic readers this will be the only reason to head a to a comics shop this weeks, and that these are readers with a completely sensible and satisfying approach to reading comics. This ambitiously constructed horror book is on-deck on my bedside reading table, and I'm looking forward to regretting reading it before bedtime.

JUN131174 WALT KELLY POGO COMP DELL COMICS HC VOL 01 $49.99
Oh, and here's Walt Kelly, who at his best drew as well as anyone to ever work in comics. This is a Hermes Press collection, so I'd want to look at it, and I have no particular fondness for the Pogo comic book material I've seen other than to recognize that it seems to be generally attractive, but nothing about comics giving us yet another book for library shelves, another book to read in our cranky old age, that shouldn't surprise at this point.

JAN141416 WILL EISNERS MINOR MIRACLES TP WW NORTON ED (MR) $17.95
It's Will Eisner week, and I'm a total scumbag for not driving more attention to that fact. I think WW Norton has done a good job keeping Eisner's library of work in print in what I believe is a couple of formats for different-sized wallets. I haven't gone through and figured out what books I need for that part of my bookshelf yet, but I'm happy to have the options Norton provides and about half of my Eisner stuff is already from this program.

JAN141154 WHITE CUBE HC (MR) $22.95
Let's end on work that you might not have seen before, presented by one of the great boutique publishers in all the world: Drawn and Quarterly. This Brecht Vandenbroucke debut is a really pretty book, and consists of wordless goofing on excesses of the art world, which is the kind of collision of style and approach that makes for an interesting read aside from craft considerations. I like how mean-spirited a lot of it is.

*****

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.

*****

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*****
*****
 
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