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December 4, 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.

*****

JUN131140 BLACK IS THE COLOR GN $14.99
This is Julia Gfrorer's fine-looking work, very idiosyncratically told in a way that makes you love cartoonists that take those opportunities and run with them. The work Fantagraphics has been doing with younger alt-cartoonists hasn't been spotlighted to the same degree as their work with archival material has been the last few years, and that's a shame.

imageSEP131169 COUCH TAG HC $26.99
Jesse Reklaw is near my age and has been around for years and years, so his Couch Tag isn't the work of a newer cartoonist the way that Black Is The Color might be. Still, it's another work in a very strong year for Reklaw that included the short he did for Robyn Chapman. An autobiographical tale that gets increasingly unhinged, Reklaw's work also reminded me of some of the emotionally infused alt-manga I read this year: a really unique comics-reading experience.

AUG130114 CBLDF MANGA INTRODUCTION CHALLENGES & BEST PRACTICES TP $15.99
Everything thing CBLDF puts out there is worth checking out. Challenges is a great word here.

OCT130066 HELLBOY IN HELL #5 $2.99
JUL130536 PROPHET #41 [DIG] $3.99
SEP130646 VELVET #2 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
It doesn't seem like a whole lot in the way of genre-driven serial comic books for teenagers and older this time out. The Velvet is the second issue of the Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting series and is the kind of comic book one reads in an airport when one can't find an issue of Monocle.

JUL130701 FANTASTIC FOUR BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 $125.00
JUL130700 FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 NEW PTG $99.99
I have a few friends that buy a lot of material in Marvel's omnibus format, which all by itself makes me suspect that this is one of the stronger ways they present people in the kind of heaving, decaying, Miyazaki-creature like mess that is their books program viewed from the outside-in. The Fantastic Four material is some of the strongest ever made in superhero comics, and the echoes of it into the '70s and then again with the John Byrne-driven 1980s stuff and even the more recent Millar/Hickman written material are all sort of fun as well.

SEP131012 ADVENTURE TIME ORIGINAL GN VOL 02 PIXEL PRINCESSES $11.99
I always try to keep an eye out for the Adventure Time material because I don't all the way understand it. I mean, I sort of get that property and those comics when I read them, but the publishing of it with the various series and the variant covers frustrates me in the same way that I don't understand all the different superhero titles with the different adjectives and the revolving artists. Still, I always look.

OCT131190 CAPTAIN EASY HC VOL 04 SOLDIER OF FORTUNE $49.99
I could just have this and be happy with comics this week. I don't actually think as much of this run of material as I do the earlier stuff -- there's a shift in tone that doesn't capture my little-boy imagination the way the more rambunctious stuff in the first two volumes does. Still, Crane was an important figure and when it came to his set pieces, he never cheated.

OCT131241 FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE VOL 4 SC NEW PTG $8.99
I would imagine these being a part of every serious comics library, but I'm also guessing that they're a part of relatively few. I once named my publishing "company" -- by which I mean the name on my business cards that I did at the local copy shop during lunch break in Lancaster, Pennsylvania -- after an Oscar Wilde fairy tale.

imageOCT131031 BROOKLYN QUESADILLAS GN $15.00
SEP131222 GUY WHO FLOATS GN $12.95
This is two books about which I know very little -- as opposed to the two Fantagraphics books -- but which I'd also seek out and look over were I in a shop. The latter is what looks like an honest to go self-published OGN (I could be wrong) from a cartoonist with intermittent but real world-publishing credentials. The former is a CAB debut which looks potentially lovely; I just haven't caught up to it. I have this weird blind spot when it comes to Conundrum works, and they've had a really solid last 36 months or so.

JUL131211 MERMIN HC VOL 02 $19.99
This is a continuation of Joey Weiser's saga, which I didn't know until encountering it on this list had another volume's worth of continuation. I sure as hell would look at it in a store, were I near one today.

SEP130878 MOUSE GUARD LEGENDS O/T GUARD HC VOL 02 $19.95
JUL130786 MOUSE GUARD LEGENDS O/T GUARD VOL 2 #4 $3.50
This is an extremely sturdy franchise that performs well yet still feels under-appreciated. I like looking at it without ever taking that final step to becoming immersed.

OCT131364 ONE PIECE TP VOL 69 $9.99
OCT131360 SLAM DUNK GN VOL 31 $9.99
Add them up to get a hundred. One Piece is of course the most popular series of significant length regular published right now, while Slam Dunk is to modern manga series what the show Oz is to modern cable drama: a series that allowed for other series but is sort of not paid attention to itself. Okay, that's probably not the best comparison. Still, basketball manga! Incredibly, painstakingly incremental basketball manga! The conclusion to an English translation of a really fun, incredibly and painstakingly incremental basketball manga!

OCT131189 COMICS JOURNAL LIBRARY TP VOL 08 EC ARTISTS $28.99
I hate that the fine craftsmen that wrote and drew the EC book are becoming signposts for old and outdates ways of doing and looking at comics outside of the superhero norm. A lot of those folks were very thoughtful artists, and this TCJ generated book can take you into what many of them were thinking.

SEP131230 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH GN $23.00
I've always thought that the fact that so many best-of-year lists find themselves published so early works at the detriment of the art form -- at least as much as best-of-year lists matter. One reason this isn't a bigger deal, I think, is that most of the material that fits into "best of" parameters -- prestige projects -- come out from publishers that really make sure those books are out in time for at least the holiday buying season and are well known to those gatekeepers. This Isabel Greenberg book strikes me as the first book in some time that might have slipped past the attention of critics that would like it very much in best-of-year ways.

*****

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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*****
*****
 
posted 5:45 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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