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November 20, 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.

*****

SEP131276 MYSTERIOUS UNDERGROUND MEN HC $24.95
I greatly admire the pair of books about early, pivotal manga that Ryan Holmberg has arranged for release through PictureBox, as both collections of odd comics and as history lessons contextualizing those comics. It's like they made books just for me, which makes me admire them even more because that means it's likely they don't sell very well.

imageSEP131391 SUNNY HC VOL 02 $22.99
It may be my imagination, as I'm not a devoted reader of that material to the extent that so many other writers about comics are, but it seems like there's been a number of volumes of manga suitable for readers of North American literary/arts/alternative/indy comics. This week's volume in question is the second volume of this Taiyo Matsumoto autobiographical series. I just got these first two books in the mail, they are super nice-looking, too, just the entire package of each one.

SEP130052 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #113 $3.50
SEP130410 MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #13 [DIG/P+] $3.99
SEP130638 SEX CRIMINALS #3 (MR) [DIG] $3.50
SEP138207 VELVET #1 2ND PTG (MR) $3.50
SEP130728 DAREDEVIL #33 $2.99
SEP130070 CONAN THE BARBARIAN #22 $3.50
SEP131006 ADVENTURE TIME #22 MAIN CVRS $3.99
It's a mixed bag for me when it comes to serial comic books this week. There's a little Mignola-verse right up top: the most dependable series of its type, and one of the most dependable period. At some point I'm going to have to read a My Little Pony comic just to figure out the genuine reader-response there. Sex Criminals and Velvet are comics series by Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky and Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting, respectively. The latter is a re-issue of a sold out; the former is brand-new. I think both seem like pretty solid, entertaining comics of the kind that I went nuts over when I was a regular comics shop shopper. The Daredevil I know will be solidly constructed (Mark Waid) and super-pretty (Chris Samnee), so I'd look at it for sure. I might slip my eyes over to the Conan book just because that's one of those series that's occasionally pretty good. Adventure Time I'm less clear on just in terms of what's out and when and how; I still like seeing those when I get them, though.

SEP130035 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #30 (MR) $7.99
That is an astonishing number of anthology issues in this day and age.

JUL130017 FIFTH BEATLE THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY COLLECTORS ED HC $49.99
JUL130016 FIFTH BEATLE THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY HC $19.99
JUL130018 FIFTH BEATLE THE BRIAN EPSTEIN STORY LTD ED HC $99.99
This might make a fine contrast to that early Beatles book that First Second did where everyone looked like inky, luminous dolls. I haven't seen the art here, but this is the project where Kyle Baker is contributing sequences, so I assume there will be some attention to that fact. I also think this one is worth noting for the release of multiple versions -- that used to be tiered more frequently than it is now, and I'm not sure exactly why that's happened. It might be the desire to follow the PR all at once and serve multiple markets in a way that's perceived not to have an effect on the cumulative sales.

MAY130486 NOWHERE MEN TP VOL 01 FATES WORSE THAN DEATH $9.99
This has been a slow builder in terms of the serial comic, which isn't always the model for the better-selling Image series. These first volumes being sold at $9.99 seems to be one of the things that Image has been doing that direct market retailers have enthusiastically endorsed.

AUG131404 ASTERIX OMNIBUS HC VOL 08 $27.95
It's Asterix, one of the highest performing world comics properties, so I'd certainly look at it. I've never been able to figure that one out, and it was one of those things where smart people like Kim Thompson explaining it to me never helped.

imageAUG131369 BRIONY HATCH GN $19.95
SEP131198 CUTE GIRL NETWORK GN $17.99
SEP131199 TUNE GN VOL 02 STILL LIFE $16.99
This is the group of books you go to for stand-alone graphic novels you probably haven't seen before, although the first I think may have had a previous iteration and the third is the second in a series. I liked Tune's Derek Kirk Kim just generally, the same way I like another person with work out this week, Kyle Baker. I'm very comfortable in his comics world.

JUL130033 VIOLENT CASES HC $19.99
JUL131283 MARADA SHE WOLF HC (MR) $24.99
SEP131143 ACME NOVELTY DATEBOOK HC VOL 01 10TH ANNIV PTG (MR) $44.95
SEP131208 CITY OF LIGHT CITY OF DARK GN $10.99
SEP131209 CITY OF LIGHT CITY OF DARK HC GN $19.99
Strong week for book re-releases: my favorite of the Gaiman/McKean collaborations, a sword-and-sorcery epic from the slick magazine days, Chris Ware's astonishing entry into sketchbook marketplace, and the 1993 proto-hybrid work. I would suggest in particular Violent Case and the ACME if these are things you don't have on your bookshelf and you're amenable to both of those kinds of storytelling (not everyone loves either one).

JUL131289 SCENE BUT NOT HEARD HC $14.95
This is a collection of Sam Henderson's work for Nickelodeon bearing this name. That wasn't my favorite work of Henderson's, but I imagine it was his most widely enjoyed, and I'm grateful for any book bearing his name being in the marketplace.

SEP131048 VALERIAN GN VOL 05 BIRDS OF MASTER $11.95
SEP131403 WALLY WOOD EERIE TALES OF CRIME & HORROR DLX SLIPCASED NEW PRINTING $69.95
Another pair of books I would check out for the creators and their legacies, even without knowing quite what they are or how they fit into a wider publishing context.

JUL130990 ART OF SEAN PHILLIPS SIGNED HC (MR) $69.99
I believe I recommended the not-signed edition last time out, but I can certainly recommend this one, too, if autographs are your thing. I assume this is a handsome book, and Sean Phillips still looks the same as he did twenty years ago.

SEP131173 PRETTY IN INK WOMEN CARTOONISTS 1896-2013 SC $29.99
Finally, all hail Trina Robbins. This looks like a survey work, which means the value may be strip mining it for names. This cover is one of the many "not for final publication" works where it looks like this was indeed the final cover.

*****

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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