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July 10, 2013


This Isn't A Library: Notable Releases To 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.

*****

MAY131143 EYE O/T MAJESTIC CREATURE GN VOL 02 $19.99
This is the work of cartoonist Leslie Stein, collected from her very modestly-formatted serial comics work. Stein is a very intriguing cartoonist given over to work that's specifically and idiosyncratically taken with elements of human character and relationships. There's a great deal that's visually appealing about her chosen style, too. If you go to the comics shop or hit Amazon.com or stop by convention tables looking for newer work from a distinct, creative voice, I'd encourage to check this one out.

imageMAY131161 GENIUS GN $17.99This is the latest collaboration between Steven Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen, in the works for a long while now, about a scientist in need of the workplace boost that could come from inspiration and insight and the enormously tentative and sideways link to Albert Einstein that might just provide what he needs. It's a dour work, an exploration of a really specific mindset and circumstances, which is something comics does very well.

MAY130027 TRUE LIVES O/T FABULOUS KILLJOYS #2 $3.99
MAY130576 WALKING DEAD #112 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
MAY130663 DAREDEVIL #28 $2.99
MAY130656 INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #10 NOW $3.99
This seems like sort of a light week for higher-end comic-book format genre comics. The top one is the Gerard Way/Becky Cloonan work whose first issue sold really well for a comic book publisher not in the top three and actually for any comic book publisher period these days. Walking Dead is as reliable and can be counted upon as, well, you know... the bottom two are Mark Waid-written Marvel Comics; Waid's recent work with that company has been well-regarded by fans of that sort of material. I might just look at the mini-comics rack were I in a comics shop, though.

MAR130265 BEFORE WATCHMEN COMEDIAN RORSCHACH DLX HC (MR) $29.99
MAR130266 BEFORE WATCHMEN NITE OWL DR MANHATTAN DLX HC (MR) $29.99
This is the other half of the Before Watchmen hardcover bookstore release, collections of two series each grouped by writer. I read most of this work in serial form and while I preferred the former to the latter it's not by a whole lot and I don't have a lot of affection for any of the work collected. I think these books are presented in smart fashion, though, and are handsomely mounted; maybe they're something you enjoyed.

MAR130252 HARLAN ELLISONS 7 AGAINST CHAOS HC $24.99
A stand-alone collaboration between Harlan Ellison and Paul Chadwick, two very distinct creators each with a respective fanbase that's probably in one this one without having to be convinced. It's end-of-the-world science fiction, although I'm not sure how rigorously that definition might apply for those that make strong distinctions within the various genres -- in other words, it sounds more fantastic than rooted in science, but that could be my poor reading of the advance PR. The commercial copy uses the words "alien seven samurai." Checking back on the book, Ken Steacy is also involved, which is another inducement for a number of you, I'd bet.

APR130686 HAWKEYE #12 $2.99
MAR130726 HAWKEYE TP VOL 02 LITTLE HITS NOW $16.99
Two from the successful Hawkeye series, which found a new level of general critical praise with #11's dog-focused formal play issue. I like when Marvel has a good superhero series out that doesn't plug into continuity in a strict or unfriendly way; it gives me something to buy in the comics shops that don't carry much of anything beyond Marvel and DC comic books. I can imagine these trades doing pretty well, too, although one of my friends thought the shift away from David Aja's art for an issue or two very jarring when they were buying it this way. At any rate, I'm sure there are a lot of decent Marvel books right now because they have a pretty deep bench of fun creators, but it's hard for me to tell them apart, so I'm happy for Hawkeye.

JAN131167 AMAZING ENLIGHTENING TRUE ADV KATHERINE WHALEY HC $29.99
If you were going to only buy one book this week, this would be my choice -- a lengthy, illustrated story set in the wider Waldo-verse that occasionally slips in and out of comics-making like a formal version of the tenuous hold on reality maintained in a lot of cartoonist Kim Deitch's work. It's an amazing-looking thing, too; Deitch has to be like 70 now, or right there on either side of it, and the craft chops haven't left him. It's as handsome a book as he's made.

APR131086 ANIMALS WITH SHARPIES HC (MR) $16.95
I don't know too much about this one but I think I liked the last little D+Q book from creators Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber, 2011's Constructive Abandonment. I also always enjoy just looking at these more directly art-book type books from that publisher. Comic shops are great like that.

MAY130977 BLAKE & MORTIMER GN VOL 14 CURSE OF 30 PIECES OF SILVER PT 2 $15.95
MAY130981 VALERIAN GN VOL 03 LAND WITHOUT STARS $11.95
MAY131320 WOLFSMUND GN VOL 01 $12.95
Two things I always consider: the latest in higher-end mainstream BD as more and more of those series are brought here in album form; anything new from Vertical. I know next to nothing bout the latter, although adding this sentence after I published this form and checked out what Joe McCulloch wrote at TCJ means I learned it was a take on William Tell and that there are already multiple volumes in Japanese. I don't know if I've seen that particular bit of folk legend used in a comic book series before.

MAR131169 JASON LOST CAT HC $24.99
Your remember-Kim-Thompson book of the week. I'm not sure there will be a ton of these because my sense is that Kim worked pretty close to the edges of his schedule and you have to remember he was sick and not working for about a third of a year before passing away. Jason is always fun to read, although this book struck me as a fairly minor one. I'd have to read it again to have something more to say.

MAY131280 WORKBURGER GN (MR) $20.00
A continuation of the Stripburger anthology, one of those books that kept a lot of folks with something in their hands to read during various fallow periods in alt-comics making. Lot of great artists in there, and if you're lucky enough to be in a store that carries it, pick it up and also thank the owner of that store. The rest of us will look at samples on-line or perhaps purchase it directly from Top Shelf at one of their appearances on a still-aggressive shows schedule. That strikes me as an excellent price point.

MAY131162 TEMPLAR GN $39.99
This is the Jordan Mechner knights/caper book, of which a portion was released as the first book in a projected trilogy. We're getting the whole thing together right now, no serialization necessary. I like the project for the sake of a project -- a successful creator doing the labor-of-love thing, and working aesthetic territory I'm not sure a lot of people are interested in right now. It kind of reminded me of the comic book version of a live-action Disney movie from the 1950s/1960s, the kind you really didn't mind running on TV instead of more cartoons.

FEB131251 SUPERHERO READER SC $30.00
NOV121179 LOVE AND ROCKETS COMPANION 30 YEARS SC (RES) $29.99
Solid week for books about comics, including the long-awaited Love & Rockets book and the unholy team-up of Jeet Heer, Kent Worcester and Charles Hatfield editing a book of cape-and-cowl focused writing. I've already run an interview about the latter, and I may try to do something with the former.

MAR130353 BEST OF EC ARTIST ED HC PI
There are some amazing artists here and while an anthology isn't the same as a Wally Wood solo book, these tend to go out of print and see the prices go up dramatically in the used book market. Why would you ever want to sell such a pretty thing, though?

*****

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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