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June 18, 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.

*****

MAR141164 WITZEND HC BOX SET WALLY WOOD $125.00
This is a big week at the comics shops for the kinds of comics in which I'm most interested. Please don't let the cursory nature of these descriptions acts as a piece of fabrid dropped over a lamp. It was Wally Wood's birthday yesterday. I'd love to shop in a comics shop that carried something like this $125 boxed set of comics pages from Wood's contribution to the underground, overground and self-publishing movements. The great thing about this project is I haven't seen a lot of the pages, certainly fewer than any other recent reprint project this side of the Jacky's Diary book.

imageAPR141063 PHOTOBOOTH A BIOGRAPHY GN (MR) $20.00
Meags Fitzgerald's cultural history (its subject is in the title) was a sizable attraction at TCAF, selling out enough copies that publisher Andy Brown was asking after alternative supplies by Saturday night. This one seems like it's been coming out for a very long time, so I'm happy to see for it to find as much of an audience as it can.

MAR140376 ARCHIE SWINGIN SIXTIES DAILY NEWSPAPER COMICS 1963-1965 HC $49.99
I only have one rule about Archie collections: I look at them. I barely have any context for any of the publisher's material, so I'd have to count on what my eyes tell me volume to volume.

JAN140431 CHARLES SCHULZ PEANUTS ARTIST ED HC PI
It's the Superman/Muhammad Ali team-up of well-regarded reprint projects over the last 15 years. I was lucky enough to own a Peanuts for a while, and I always loved looking at it. Schulz's work was rarely labored, but it rarely settled right into place, either.

FEB141542 FEAR MY DEAR BILLY DOGMA EXPERIENCE HC $19.99
Dean Haspiel has enjoyed a mini-resurgence lately for a combination of different projects; this is his best and most affecting work.

MAR141573 WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED 1979-2014 HC (MR) $29.95
MAR141328 PETER KUPER SYSTEM HC GN $19.95
I can't imagine at that price that it's as fancy as the Witzend slipcovered presentation, but 35 years making politically-minded comics doesn't apologize for a single goddman thing, thank you very much. This might be one to look over in a comics shop, as some of the visuals are very interest and might sell the book to one or two of you on the fence. Peter Kuper may be that publication's greatest, affiliated artist, and this mid-1990s work for Vertigo has a lot of the WWIII political awareness to it.

APR140054 AXE COP AMERICAN CHOPPERS #2 $3.99
APR140014 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #120 $3.50
FEB140600 FATALE #23 (MR) $3.50
APR140596 SEX CRIMINALS #6 (MR) $3.50
APR141289 AUTEUR #4 (MR) $3.99
APR140486 WICKED & DIVINE #1 CVR A MCKELVIE & WILSON (MR) $3.50
FEB148313 WICKED & DIVINE #1 CVR B MCKELVIE & WILSON (MR) $3.50
FEB148314 WICKED & DIVINE #1 CVR C OMALLEY (MR) $3.50
Serial comic books! I haven't read any of the Axe Cop material (two brothers; one a young boy, the other a working comic book artist), but it's certainly popular and I'd love to remember to go look at some one of these days. There's your Mignola-verse offering, followed by an issue near the end of the Brubaker/Phillips Fatale run. It is filled with sex. Not filled with nearly as much sex is Sex Criminals, which I believe with this issue heads into its second volume as a still-growing, bonafide hit. The Auteur comic I liked okay when I read an issue, although I wonder after its tone. The Wicked & Divine is the latest Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/other super-talented people title. That O'Malley cover is super-cute.

MAR141569 NEIL GAIMAN TRUTH IS CAVE IN BLACK MOUNTAINS ILLUS HC $21.99
This is a book version of the short story that was illustrated by Eddie Campbell and then performed in Sydney. My primary interest here would be Campbell, although I assume most people would enter into through Gaiman; either way, I have to imagine it's worth a look.

imageFEB140525 GLORY COMPLETE SAGA HC $34.99
FEB140537 VELVET TP VOL 01 BEFORE THE LIVING END (MR) $9.99
Two recent serial comics trades. The first is reimagining of the 1990s Glory character by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell; the second is Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's take on the mid-20th century spy novel. I've enjoyed both, and see both as artist's comics in a certain way. Certainly the latter is more naturally up my alley in terms of the kind of material I tend to read on my own.

MAR141013 BLAKE & MORTIMER GN VOL 18 OATH FIVE LORDS $15.95
I don't follow these mainstream French album series at all, but they're certainly racking up the volumes. This is probably the major series in that world about which I know the least, and that's quite the contest. I do know the art is kind of ruthlessly handsome, and I'm a total sucker for straight-forward, well-mounted genre work.

APR141203 EC JOHN SEVERIN BOMB RUN HC $29.99
Severin was a world class talent with incredible good fortune he did not need in terms of collaborators: the great artist Will Elder, the iconic cartoonist/writer/editor Harvey Kurtzman. I think they've gone double-digits on these by-artist volumes at this point. I would love to read an analysis of the entire line. I certainly prefer the material arranged this way than by strict subject matter.

MAR141167 STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES TP VOL 01 STRANGE SUSPENSE $28.99
I believe this one has been out of print for a while. I like most of the early Steve Ditko stories, even though some of them are very rough, and he got better as his career progressed. Still, a superior comics maker.

APR141552 COMICS GLOBAL HISTORY 1968 TO PRESENT SC (MR) $39.95
This an obviously ambitious book -- just look at that title -- of the kind that's been attempted but not a bunch of times. I'm dying to read it if only for the connections through proximity of what was going on in Japan and France and the US particularly thorugh the late 1980s. This one is all in the execution, though, so until I read it I'm not going to have much of an opinion. If it's a rigorous exploration of one expression of comics with satellite-style detours into others, I'll be less interested.

FEB140264 GRAPHIC INK THE DC COMICS ART OF FRANK QUITELY HC $39.99
FEB140950 GLENN FABRY SKETCHBOOK SC VOL 01 (MR) $12.99
FEB120952 ART OF RAMONA FRADON HC SIGNED ED $49.99
Quitely is arguably the most interesting comic book artist working for the mainstream publishers the last decade or so. I don't have a ton of interest in the characters and settings he's doing here, but I am interested in how Quitely interprets them. Fabry has also done a bunch of work for the mainstram publishers. I'm not sure if this is a different edition from the limited release from late 2012, or just making that more widely available, but I'd sure take notice of it if my comics shop had one. The Fradon book is another one that I think was out a bit earlier in orderable form and had been delayed for a long time before that. She was an extremely artistly particularly in her 1960s mainstream heyday, and I'd look at anything she's done.

FEB140359 PARKER THE HUNTER NOVEL HC ILLUS BY DARWYN COOKE $29.99
This is the IDW re-release of the Parker prose series with illustrations and book design by Darwyn Cooke. The paintings are very different than Cooke's comics work, and I'm happy to see the books in print in a series format that might lead to a great deal of permanent-collection buying. I wanted to actually finish with this one, but I don't know what cover this comic-shop edition will have.

FEB141541 ESCAPO HC $24.99
So let's make Paul Pope's worthy stand-alone volume this week's last book listed, with a cover and all that goes with it. It's straight-up comics, too, from an equally reliable talent. I'm not sure that I have the sophisticated view of Pope's career to tell you where this one sits in terms of his artistic development, but I enjoy the bits of the story I've seen here and there over the years and I greatly enjoyed reading it all in one place.

*****

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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