Thursday, September 17, 2009

"You Know, For Kids!"

We get these Marvel freebie sampler comics all the time. We toss them right near the cash register and just hope that people take them with them as they go. I don't know why we just don't throw them in the garbage, but some people like them (especially parents who want to get away with getting their kids a comic-shaped book that costs them absolutely nothing).

The MOON KNIGHT SAGA, until recently for me, was no different. Just another one of those filler comics that could, maybe, potentially lead to someone actually buying...I dunno...a MOON KNIGHT trade.

So hey, remember how I mentioned how this sort of thing parents love to grab for their kids? And there should be no problem with this as the book is rated "A" for "Appropriate for ages 9 and up", right?*

My friend Lawrence picked this up while he was waiting for me to finish ring out at the end of the day, started to laugh, and showed me this particular image from it.

I guess I can start giving away PREACHER to the kids too! Well, I think ol' MOON KNIGHT SAGA is going to find itself in the garbage pretty quick...


*Parents get pretty freaked out by the "A" on the front of comics...something like this probably wouldn't alleviate any fears either. Seriously, "A"? "For ALL, Silly! Not Adult. Or Anal."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Short random thought while looking at this week's invoice: three of the best selling 'wait for trade' series (INVINCIBLE, WALKING DEAD, FABLES) all ship in the same week...meaning the dozen people collecting those series via collected form at my store have no reason to come in again for the next nine months to a year.

Oh, and the box with all that stuff that's mine from last post? Yeah, it has disappeared (ie. wound up at some other shop). Of course, it only took until this past Monday (so nearly two weeks after expected delivery) for Bob to finally get credited and have those all put onto another order (maybe next week, likely next week). It wasn't only my stuff in there: there was probably around $1000 retail in that box, a lot of it reorders for the shelf that could have been put up on the shelf and, you know, sold. Oh the hiccups of the Direct Market!


So not too much posting activity from me again lately: been working midnight shifts at my other job (hotel desk clerk!), so have wound up working on a proposal for a studio class in the fall semester, reading/sketching for entertainment (I've fallen in love with Christophe Blain comics), but not so much thinking about what it is I'm reading. I have been seriously toying with doing some outright research and discussion of Al Columbia's work, which I just really discovered in the last few weeks. I found a copy of BIOLOGIC SHOW #1 in a dollar bin while in Saskatoon visiting Shanell which has gone on to cost me a chunk of change finding BIOLOGIC SHOW #0, ZERO ZERO issues (anyone got a #26 they foolishly don't want anymore?), BLAB #10, even DOG HEAD. Now, after having read Dan Nadel's devastatingly good review of Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of Richard Stark's THE HUNTER...I'm feeling wholly inadequate to do anything of the like. I think Tom Spurgeon made a pretty good comment on the review itself:

"I like the book, and if my site ever comes back and I can figure out how to write again I'll finish my piece on it.

I think the writing on it has been largely idiotic, though, and I can't imagine taking any of it seriously in a way that the book would then disappoint. Ninety percent of the positive reviews read like textbook examples of writing about a book that would then disappoint, if you know what I mean. There's not a lot of direct engagement with the work.

Also, I think Cooke's reputation as a standard-bearer of '50s mainstream art traditions is actually a misapplication of his working on period material combined with his occasional statements that such characters work best as close to the original concept as possible, not because his art really works that way.

Also, beating someone about the head and shoulders with John Stanley is jive."

Nadel doesn't write a volume of reviews*, but when he does they are pretty well thought out, publishable even (I still think a lot about his review of that Dave Stevens artbook). I don't necessarily agree with Nadel in either case, but he makes his case (one not popularily held), and makes it well, and makes you reconsider something you'd just smile and nod about. I like that feeling, and not much online does that. My other favourite online comic reviewer, Tucker Stone, produces a lot of writing obviously more from the hip and immediate than Nadel (or even a Wolk or Jog), but even as belligerently he writes it, it doesn't make it any less true (and HI-larious).

Well, once I stop feeling really out of my league, I'm going to give it a try hopefully.


*Me being obvious, but I think the lack of thoughtful, engaging commentary regarding most comics is that something like THE HUNTER is often being read in the context of 'the weekly releases', and in that sense, THE HUNTER is probably excellent comparatively. Taken by itself, the successful approach that Nadel has (criticism of the John Stanley comparison aside) defies the lowered expectations of the kind of default format of comics reviewing (lump summary of someone's shopping list). Also a fear of being left behind in the online critical world creates a rush of getting a word in before everyone else might drive, without stopping and realizing maybe in that rush you are neglecting the work intellectually.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Reordered Comics That Still Haven't Shown Up This Week!

So most of the Diamond shipment arrived this week...except on box. With almost all of my reorders from the last couple of weeks in it.

Oh, they always ship it all at once, don't they? With the album collections, I'm not sure if I'm incredibly happy with the reduced size. I dunno, it seems like a real poor fit for the French format of publishing. The ALPH ART book sounds really interesting as it sounds like all the layout/groundwork of Herge's style, before the finishing touches of his studio streamlined it into what we know today. When I started ordering these, I was surprised that Last Gasp had released so much of the North American supplemental material.

Now that I've caught up with TERRY AND THE PIRATES, it is almost out of obligation that I move on and tackle yet another series of archival reprints. Because, ha!, I have nothing else better to do. I dunno, if Art Spiegelman and Seth like Gray's stuff so much, I can't imagine it will be awful.

Considering this just plum didn't get shipped to us the first time (this is a replacement copy), and now the box that is missing contained it...perhaps it simply wasn't meant to be.

Sort of ordered on a lark (yeah, because I really don't have enough to fucking read), giving post-apocalyptic Bob Fingerman a try. You know, after I think about three or four attempts, I've never been able to finish BEG THE QUESTION?

You wouldn't expect this would still be in print after so many years, but hey!

I really liked Vol. 2.

Since apparently you can't just get #2 by itself anymore, and I've shown my #1 to about three different people in the past week, and they all asked where the next one is.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Comics Of Today

As I write this, I am waiting for Fantagraphics' website to load up so I can attempt placing an order. If there's one thing I learned the last couple of days while visiting Shanell in Saskatoon, it is I can always find new ways to spend what little money I have on comics.

Let's try something different this week...breaking it down into Books, Comix, and Comics


Ordered ahead with this series because I really want to see Herge draw spacecraft and the moon. My French-Belgian comics fascination has started to mild out a bit, mostly because there is just so very little of it available in this part of the continent. What I did manage to order were a few Christopher "GUS AND HIS GANG" Blain graphic novels, specifically ISAAC THE PIRATE and THE SHIP ABATER.

But speaking of orange-haired action-adventures staples...

Aaaand…scene! These are going to look pretty fab right in between DICK TRACY and PEANUTS. Oh, but this doesn't mean I'm done with these hardcover archival reprints! Why, there's still two WALT & SKEEZIX I have to get, as well as getting a start on LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE. The good news I actually started reading TERRY Volume 1! The aim is to keep up a rotating of comic strip reading: TERRY, POPEYE, KRAZY KAT, DICK TRACY, and so on.

Came out last week for the rest of the world it seems, but better late than never. If you don't know Richard Stark/Donald Westlake, Darwyn Cooke, or Ed Brubaker...crazy. If that is the case, you should read this great Tom Spurgeon/Cooke/Brubaker interview from back in May. Probably one of the best interviews I've read in years.

Kind of excited for this.


Hey, Hernandez comics! Will we be getting GRIP? Or SLOTH? Or maybe SPEAK OF THE DEVIL? CHANCE IN HELL?

Hey, Fantagraphics Ignatz comics! I forgot all about you!


Congratulations, Peter Parker! Congratulations, Bruce Banner! You know what frightens me? I was doing some house cleaning the other week, and I realized I have almost complete consecutive runs of both AMAZING and HULK starting at their respective #300 issues. For every issue of ARCADE, or ZERO ZERO, or ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY, or DIRTY PLOTTE, or Al Columbia comics I have, my Marvel superhero comics outnumber them...what, 10, 15, 20 to 1?


Hey, did you know that Alex Ross is one of the 21 artists who changed mainstream comics (for better or worse)? Actually, has been doing a real comics beatdown this week: Seth talking comics, the already mentioned list, an interview with Michael Kupperman, now I see an interview with Grant Morrison.

Let the wholesale slaughter for profit continue! Actually the first TALES OF THE CORPS was pretty good. Actually times two, as much as I pretty well scoff at the absurdity of this comic book, at least it is entertaining in an incredibly stupid way. I just find it tragic that for many comic shop denizens this is literally the best thing they'll read this week.

Why, Garth Ennis, do you write this? Why, John McCrea, do you draw this? Why, Jarrett Duncan, do you buy this?

Last issue, yeah? Thanks to Caleb for bringing this highlight in the Marvel superhero line-up to my and others' attention, if even for a short time.

I want to grow up to be the 40 to 50 year old dads who come in and this and JONAH HEX are all we know.

A really random order, hopefully turns out better than last week's CREEPY #1.

What a fuck up. I’ve never really liked George Perez (save that CRIMSON PLAGUE comics, which was suitably trashy and nice to look at), so none of this seems worth all the delays. Oh, I feel a rant coming on.

Speaking of fairly popular, incredibly late limited series: please, Marvel, make sure you overprint your OLD MAN LOGAN GIANT-SIZED SPECIAL thing, because being so incredibly slow and late no retailer will be able to remember how much to bring in initially. Do we order high, supporting the numbers of the various printings and various runs we've sold beyond initial orders on, say, #72? How about all those people who have since cancelled WOLVERINE off their file because 1) Mark Millar/Steven McNiven aren't on it, and 2) what is DARK WOLVERINE, who would still like to get that last issue? This is all very short term, no big deal in the end, but definitely drives people in the long run into the waiting arms of 'waiting for trades' (meaning decreased over all sales because waits become never buys), or into Other Less Demanding and Needlessly Convoluted Hobbies.

I’m curious whether or not IRON FIST will continue after this miniseries of one shots by different creators wraps. Same thing is happening with GHOST RIDER, which I actually just started to really enjoy once Jason Aaron had a good artist. Hey, did you hear that Jason Aaron is going to continue on with PUNISHER MAX with Garth Ennis in mind? Could be great, based on that hilariously dark PUNISHER CHRISTMAS SPECIAL he did!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Tale of Three Connies

A confluence of "Connie" the last 24 hours.

The daily comic strip CONNIE!
ANd what's Traylor got to say to John Constantine of HELLBLAZER fame?Oh, it looks like George Webster "Connie" Confucius has something to add.
Poor Connie...


The Comics I Read Today - July 15th, 2009

Michael Kupperman tackles Marvex, The Super Robot! Fuck, this was hilarious. Are you a TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE fan? Have you heard of TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE? This is a must own comics if you are. Boring, shithead comics fans will hate it, but if you're a Michael Kupperman fan, this cannot disappoint. What's most fucked up is that I thought Kupperman was totally playing around...and then you get to the reprinted original Marvex, The Super Robot story...and he was playing it Almost straight. Compared to the shit I'd be reading very soon, this was the best comic pamphlet of the month.

Even the Javier Pulido-drawn story looks really nice (didn't bother to read it though).

(Apparently DC refuses to put up a cover for this, so here's my lousy scan). Azzarrello/Risso BATMAN continues to be serviceable. Gibbons/Sook's KAMANDI is sticking to its PRINCE VALIANT riffing, and you'll either admire it or will just skip it. Arcude/Bermejo SUPERMAN is just a dull, bitchy conversation between a Superman and a Batman made even sadder when you know they are printing this in USA TODAY, and not Paul Pope's ADAM STRANGE or Kyle Baker's HAWKMAN. Bullock/Heuck DEADMAN continues to showcase a very Darwyn Cooke look to it that I love to look at, indifferent to read. Busiek/Quinones I've already completely forgotten (it looks ok?). Gaiman/Allred's METAMORPHO deliver one three-panel comics, and a second utterly stupid additional strip that makes me think about how much more Neil Gaiman got paid for this page compared to everyone else. Berzanga/Galloway TEEN TITANS continues banality. Paul Pope STRANGE ADVENTURES is just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and probably the true success of this project right now. Palmiotti/Conner SUPERGIRL makes me wish Amanda Conner would draw a comic for someone who can write well outside of JONAH HEX. Didio/Garcia Lopez's METAL MEN can just go away, as well as Caldwell/Marston's WONDER WOMAN. The Kuberts' SGT. ROCK continues to turn at a snail's uninteresting pace. Kerschl/Fletcher/Leigh/McCraig's FLASH/IRIS WEST is just so nice to look at, and in many ways far more interesting than the event FLASH: REBIRTH. Simonson/Stelfreeze create an attractive looking page that I just don't want to read. And Kyle Baker HAWKMAN continues to really leave me happy. You know, they could really do something interesting with HAWKMAN, based on this and that one HAWKMAN strip in BIZARRO COMICS!

"A Very Special Issue of" CAPTAIN AMERICA #601
O-oh. Maybe we did order just right. Total placeholder comic while the whole CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN thing gets rolling. In some ways, I think this was a complete missed opportunity. You have a vampire story and Gene Colan...and you don't throw actual DRACULA in there? I love ol' Baron Blood and Union Jack (that Roger Stern written story from the #250s of CAP? Awesome! Or, hell, Paul Grist's JACK STAFF), but I kept hoping and hoping, and just got Old Man Gene Colan art, and a flashback story with Winter Soldier and Nick Fury watching videos at some undisclosed place and time.

Wow, that was shockingly stupid and bad. Ok, "The Curse" and "All The Help You Neeed" were typical and only guilty by association, but "Hell Hound Blues"? "Chemical 13"? What the fuck was the point of this? Don't try to appease me with old Alex Toth art either!

Did the original CREEPY and EERIE have this EC Horror Comics Intro/Outro bit character "Uncle Creepy" in it?

SPOILERS AHEAD, chit'lins!

Remember what I was saying about HAWKMAN in WEDNESDAY COMICS and BIZARRO COMICS? Geoff Johns and DC Editorial seem to think otherwise about his future.

Summary: So zombie Elongated Man and zombie Sue Dibney show up inexplicably in Hawkman/Hawkgirl's house, spearing Hawkgirl and smashing Hawkman's head in with his own mace. And THEN Elongated Man tears out Hawkman's heart, and then we're left hanging off a cliff (as the saying goes) with the promise of Hawkman/Hawkgirl coming back as zombie Hawkman and zombie Hawkgirl. And a man wearing a costume made out of a bodybag (revealed last issue!) who just shot himself in the head after murdering his family is carrying around the skull of Batman (?), watching.

Before all this goes down, there's a lot of creaky setting up of all these dead folks which makes sense from a marketing/selling perspective as DC is trying to make this their big selling book of the year, and since almost no one reads DC or DC comics, they have no idea who the hell any of these dead characters are (the logic goes if they were popular, they wouldn't be dead). And a blue scarred midget attacks another blue midget by biting into the neck, and greenish yellow goo comes pouring out because they are aliens.

Ok, one genuinely good bit in this? The swarm of black rings spreading through the galaxy, making sounds like flies. The rest of it is all kind of funny in the way I've always found Geoff Johns' comics to be.

Poor Hawkman. *Sniff*