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December 18, 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.

*****

JUL131237 INFOMANIACS HC (MR) $22.95
This is the comic-shop debut for the last book out from Dan Nadel's PictureBox Inc. publishign house, and I agree with Nadel's sentiment that it's a fine one to end on. If your store was a supporter of PictureBox and has this book on hand, you shop at a very fine comic book store.

SEP130460 TARZAN RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC VOL 02 1969-1971 $49.99
Back in the 1990s when jaded comics fans would come to me for an area of comics they might enjoy exploring, a new genre or group of books, I always recommended "Tarzan" as its own category. One of the better expressions within that category is the newspaper strip work by Russ Manning, something that might have avoided even the wealthiest and most obsessed comics fan of my acquaintance 15 years ago. You only have to have a reasonable amount of money to have tons of this material now. I'm glad these are being done.

OCT130046 DARK HORSE PRESENTS #31 (MR) $7.99
I have very little to say about the content of these books issue to issue, but I'm always amazed at how regularly published this title is, how many issues they've done so far. I can imagine a life for myself that didn't involve working at Fantagraphics where this new version of their anthology is a major stopping point for my comics shop visits.

OCT130958 SERGIO ARAGONES FUNNIES #11 $3.50
OCT130060 BPRD HELL ON EARTH #114 $3.50
OCT130055 ITTY BITTY HELLBOY #5 $2.99
OCT130185 HARLEY QUINN #1 $2.99
OCT130595 BOUNCE #8 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
OCT130619 SAGA #17 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
OCT130622 SEX #9 (MR) [DIG] $2.99
OCT130713 FANTASTIC FOUR #15 $2.99
OCT130714 FF #15 $2.99
This is a compelling week for the higher-end genre material in serial comic book form. You want everything that Sergio gives us, and this anthology comic has had a lot of primetime material, I think. There are the standard two Mignola-verse titles -- one and a half, if you insist. The Harley Quinn title has some buzz because of a page that was featured in a try-out contest by DC that featured a joke about suicide that didn't seem like the best idea for the company given issue concerning the depiction of women in mainstream superhero comics. I read this issue; it seems like a really standard borderline superhero/supervillain story, and those bored me to tears even when I was a kid. Lot of good artists for that kind of material contributing a page here and there. Two Joe Caseys sandwich the very popular Saga comic, which has a nice rhythm to it in terms of balancing this kind of epic sprawl represented by the child's life story with the jittery quality of a narrative that could kill any character any time. That doesn't strike me as common or necessarily easy. Finally, these two Fantastic Four series are nearing their post Marvel soft not-a-relaunch run; I don't know what you do with that title at this point, and I'm almost afraid that the only thing you can do is an unnecessarily grim approach that would be like watching one of the characters on Downton Abbey starting to cook meth.

OCT130281 WAKE PART ONE #1 (MR) $9.99
This Scott Snyder/Sean Murphy series is at its halfway point and this expanded "floppy" represents an odd strategy for getting out those first five issues not just putting them into trade form. Snyder is box-office gold right now in certain worlds of comics, so I imagine it will do very well, but I don't get why Image can do trades at this price and DC can't. If I were a fan, I'd skip it entirely, and I might not if it had a spine.

AUG130398 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR A RODRIGUEZ [DIG/P+] $7.99
AUG130399 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR B BISLEY $7.99
AUG130400 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR C FABRY $7.99
AUG130401 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR D KALUTA $7.99
AUG130402 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR E SIENKIEWICZ $7.99
AUG130403 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR F SIM $7.99
AUG130404 LOCKE & KEY ALPHA #2 CVR G WRIGHTSON $7.99
Not a big fan of the variant covers, but that's a semi-astonishing line-up of superstars from the last 35-40 years of genre comics-making. That's interesting to me in and of itself.

AUG131403 ASTERIX AND THE PICTS HC $14.95
A passing of the torch, as this 35th volume in the popular series is the first not written by Rene Goscinny or Albert Uderzo. It will sell bonkers-level amounts anyway. I don't exactly know what it is about the classic series in the French-language market, but they seem to have unique event status due to the cultural ubiquity. I can't imagine this isn't the best selling comic of the year in Europe, and don't know the One Piece numbers to be able to suggest "the world."

JUN138036 COMPLETE PEANUTS HC VOL 05 1959-1960 (NEW PTG) $29.99
It's good that Fantagraphics is keeping these in print.

OCT131323 WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED #45 (MR) $7.00
Finally, I'd look at this publication based on the cover even without the pedigree. I always think of WW3I as a very New York book, and it seems to have become even more so over the year -- at least to my way of thinking.

*****

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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