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May 21, 2014


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

*****

FEB140355 GENIUS ANIMATED CARTOON ART OF ALEX TOTH HC VOL 03 $49.99
This third volume in Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell's lavishly illustrated, lengthy exploration of the artist Alex Toth's career, by virtue of subject matter and the general high quality of previous volumes this one is the obvious one-book-if-you-had-to-limit-yourself purchase of the week. My generalist's take on the animation part of Toth's career is that it was a place to which he was well-suited given his design chops and tendency to reduce visual elements to their core functionality, but that it was always sad that comics didn't have a grander place for craftsmen of Toth's virtuosity. I suspect I'm not even close, which will make cracking open this volume a real voyage of discovery. Congrats to the authors on reaching the finish line.

imageMAR140047 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #36 (MR) $7.99
This is the final volume in this iteration of the anthology magazine, which has been a sturdy if only rarely inspired showcase for a lot of underutilized talents, many of whom are older than the median age of your standard Big Two creators.

MAR140081 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #119 $3.50
FEB140476 INVINCIBLE #111 (MR) $2.99
MAR140468 MPH #1 CVR A FEGREDO $2.99
OCT130611 PROPHET #44 $3.99
MAR140517 SAGA #19 (MR) $2.99
DEC130602 VELVET #5 (MR) $2.99
These are the high-end serial genre comics that catch my eye this week, with one Mignola-verse making its usual appearance and then a bunch of Image books. Invincible is Robert Kirkman's superhero book with Ryan Ottley; Ottley is celebrating a 100th issue with the title. The comic book's "Spider-Man with arm in sling" visual motif is superheroes with missing teeth or bloody faces, and I think this issue has more of that kind of thing than usual. MPH is Mark Millar's new book with Duncan Fegredo, and along with Kirkman Millar is in many ways the career role model for a lot of aspiring creators so new work of his receives a great deal of attention. This is the second to last issue of Prophet in this particularly creative iteration -- there's a side series and a sequel series yet to come, I think. Saga is a giant book for a lot of comics shops and a big seller generally; this is its return after a brief hiatus. I believe this issue ends the first narrative arc for the Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting comic Velvet. It features a lengthy flashback and it's rare for a comic whose concept is dependent on the character being a certain age to hold our attention that well with flashbacks, which is a good sign for its potential longevity.

MAR140341 TMNT 30TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL $7.99
I have little to no idea what this is, but I'd sure look at it. 30 years, my god. Even as an early teen reading the first TMNT books as they came out, I could never make the claim they were anything more than fun, forgettable, crudely-down comics, but it's one of the more charming entertainment industry success stories, that's for sure.

MAR140671 ALL NEW DOOP #2 ANMN $3.99
MAR148148 ALL NEW GHOST RIDER #2 2ND PTG MOORE VAR $3.99
MAR140641 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2 ANMN $3.99
MAR140730 AMAZING X-MEN #7 $3.99
MAR140687 AVENGERS WORLD #6 $3.99
MAR140652 DAREDEVIL #3 ANMN $3.99
MAR140658 ELEKTRA #2 ANMN $3.99
MAR140656 HULK #3 ANMN $3.99
MAR140666 MAGNETO #4 ANMN $3.99
MAR140721 NOVA #17 $3.99
MAR140627 ORIGINAL SIN #2 $3.99
MAR140740 SAVAGE WOLVERINE #19 $3.99
MAR140708 THOR GOD OF THUNDER #22 $3.99
MAR140700 ULTIMATE FF #2 $3.99
MAR140737 UNCANNY X-MEN #21 $3.99
MAR140741 WOLVERINE AND X-MEN #4 $3.99
MAR140729 X-MEN #14 $3.99
These are the Marvel serial comic books out this week, and some of the Marvel comics are pretty well done, I think, or at least they seem to be whenever I catch up to them. That price point would have freaking killed me as a teen, though, just the difference between being able to buy three comics with ten bucks and not being able to afford five with a $20. That's how I felt comics back then, anyway. I don't know how these comics stay afloat because I don't think the audience is big enough that the buying isn't multiple series at a time. They just must have great, great fans, conditioned to a certain kind of buying. But when people suggest they don't know why their middle-sellers are kind of weak, the miracle may be why they aren't in the toilet. Were I twelve right now, I might download, maybe? It would be tough to even think of engaging with comics the same way. Most inflationary calculators have the 40 cent comics I bought as a kid going for about $1.45 now, adjusted. That would feel great.

imageJAN141331 FIRST KINGDOM HC VOL 04 (MR) $24.99
I have all of these in comics form, and I think I prefer them that way -- Jack Katz's comics seem very much of the time they were published, andin that time strange magazine-sized comics could be found here and there on newsstands and in the early comic book shops. Still, this seems like a sold re-presentation of these works, which are genuinely difficult to find in a casual sense, just looking around comics shops for them. They are certainly informative of a lot of the science fiction favored in modern comics, from independents to alternatives.

JAN141122 MARK WAID GREEN HORNET #12 $3.99
I still always get a little excited when I see that full title.

MAR141198 RETURN OF ZITA THE SPACEGIRL GN $12.99
MAR141199 RETURN OF ZITA THE SPACEGIRL HC $18.99
And so she has; Zita is very popular with young reader, and the creator Ben Hatke is very popular with his peers. Note the simultaneous hardcover/softcover release, something that's routine and makes sense and yet 10 years ago various pundits would have greeted it like blood falling from the skies like rain.

MAR141551 ART & FLAIR OF MARY BLAIR UPDATED ED HC $45.00
Not really comics, but certainly it's fun to look at Blair's work and it's certainly baseline influential in terms of cartoon art and movie-making in the 20th Century. I'd give it a look , for sure.

MAR141348 CELESTE HC GN $24.95
Now this one's interesting; it's one that I saw people picking up in Toronto without actually knowing what it is. INJ Culbard's done a ton of interesting comics artwork, and this is a first written/drawn, stand-alone effort. It's why we go to the comic shop, to see what appears on the stands.

*****

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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