Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New This Week: November 1, 2006

The Dreaming volume 2Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop tomorrow:

The Pick of the Week is the second volume of Queen Chan's The Dreaming from TokyoPop. Volume one was a perfect blend of gothic wonderfulness, so I"m really looking forward to this next installment (just in time for the day after Halloween--thanks TP & Diamond!)

In other comics:

Abstract have a new issue of Strangers in Paradise (#85).

Antarctic have new issues of Gold Digger (#78) and Ninja High School (#144).

APE Entertainment have a new issue of Athena Voltaire (#2).

Archaia Studios have a new issue of Mouse Guard (#5).

Boom! Do for pirates what they've done for zombies and Cthulhu with Pirate Tales #1.

Dark Horse have the fifth volume of Eden and the third volume of Go Girl.

DC have the fourth Gotham Central collection; the debut of Ennis & Sprouse's Midnighter; the debut of Cooke & Sale's Superman Confidential; and new issues of 52 (week 26), All New Atom (#5), American Splendor (#3), Blue Beetle (#8), Detective Comics (#835), Ex Machina (#24), Jonah Hex (#13), and Justice League of America (#3).

Fantagraphics have Paul Hornschemeier's Let Us Be Perfectly Clear, and a new issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle (#3).

IDW debut the first volume of their Complete Dick Tracy; a fifth Jon Sable, Freelance collection; and a new issue of Fallen Angel (#10).

Image have the first issue of Nightly News.

Marvel collect Joe Casey & Chris Weston's Fantastic Four: First Family; Start up Spider-Man & Power Pack; and have new issues of Agents of Atlas (#4), Criminal (#2), Irredeemable Ant-Man (#2), and She Hulk 2 (#13).

Oni have a new issue of Local (#7).

Top Shelf have their second Sequential Art Anthology: Science.

TokyoPop have a ton of stuff, including new OEL volumes for A Midnight Opera & Off*Beat; and the fourth and final volume of Telepathic Wanderers.

There's a ton of stuff this week--I hope you got some extra change in your tricks-and-treats bag!

Happy Halloween

Marge's Little Lulu #178

(Image from Marge's Little Lulu #178, courtesy of the GCD.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Quick Halloween Comic Reviews

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #20Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #20
by Peter David, Mike Norton & Norman Lee
Marvel, $2.99

Back to the past when Peter Parker was still in high school, that time when he teamed-up with Hawkeye to fight Frankenstein's Monster at a school Halloween party. MAS-M is the Spidey title for those who like their Spider-Man in the classic mode without a lot of continuity bogging him down (and without that silly Iron Spider costume!)

Rating: 3 (of 5)

Gold Digger Halloween Special #2Gold Digger Halloween Special #2
by Fred Perry & Friends
Antarctic, $2.99

The lead story by Fred is a GD-18 adventure of young Brit & Gina as they start the evening trick-or-treating as a Cylon & Imperious Leader from Classic Battlestar Galactica, and end the night bass fishing. Yeah, bass fishing; you'll just have to read it. The second story by Jessica Moffett has Brit trying on a bunch of cosplay outfits, and might have been more interesting to me if I knew more of the characters she was emulating. The final story by David Hutchinson features his Mischief & Mayhem kids mixing it up with the Peebos during tricks-or-treats. It's rounded out by a variety of pin-ups of varying quality, though Ben Dunn's pic of Gina dressed up as Dr. Who is a winner.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #12Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #12
by Kyle Baker, Terry Moore, & Eric Powell
Bongo Comics, $4.99

Part of the fun of these annual ToH specials is seeing how you favorite comic artists interpret the Simpsons. Unfortunately (and a bit surprisingly) neither Baker nor Moore acquit themselves very well. Their stories are okay, but nothing too special. On the plus side Eric Powell's Simpsons look great and his story has the right tone for a ToH segment. Make this year a 1 for 3 then.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch #79Sabrina, the Teenage Witch #79
by Tania Del Rio with Jim Amash
Archie, $2.25

Sabrina and her other witch friends learn that on Halloween witches are allowed to use their magic freely in the Mortal Realm, just so long as they don't get caught. They decide to go to a haunted house to have a little fun, but when they get tired of standing in the long admission line Salem convinces them to visit a 'real' haunted house instead. The Four Blades plot takes a backseat this issue, and though it looks like none of the overall plot is advanced, based on reading solicits for future issues I suspect that what Salem discovers inside the haunted house may have implications down the line. Tania Del Rio continues to quietly turn in one of the best OEL manga with each issue.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

52 week 2552 week 25
by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, Joe Bennett, Dale Eaglesham, Phil Jimenez, Pat Olliffe.
DC, $2.50

It's interesting that DC is keeping their weekly 'real-time' series in line with the current time, meaning that if it's Halloween here on Earth Prime it's also Halloween on New Earth. Aside from the wonderful J. G. Jones cover there are only a couple of the scenes taking place during tricks-or-treats in Boston & New York. There's not much here that couldn't have taken place at any other time of year, but the Halloween backdrop adds a nice bit of color. We also get some of the background on why Alan Scott and Michael Holt joined Checkmate, see the Black Adam Family in action, and witness the triumphant return of a classic Wonder Woman villain, whose last-page reveal is a crowd-pleaser.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

New Library Comics: Week of October 23 2006

Here are the comics we added to our library collection last week:

24 seven /Berkeley, Calif. : Image Comics, c2006- vol. 1

Baker, Kyle, 1966- Nat Turner /New York, NY : Kyle Baker Publishing, 2005- no. 1

Baker, Kyle. I die at midnight /New York, NY : DC Comics/Vertigo, c2000.

Baladi. Frankenstein : now and forever /London : Typocrat, c2005.

Baumann, Suzanne. 48 hours of pure entertainment! /Hamtramck, MI : S. Baumann, c2004.

Baumann, Suzanne. As eavesdropped-- /Hamtramck, MI : S. Baumann, c2003- nos. 1-2

Baumann, Suzanne. Cleopatra's hats /Hamtramck, MI : Fridgemag, c2001.

Baumann, Suzanne. The moldy bagels /Hamtramck, MI : S. Baumann, 1998.

Campbell, T. A history of webcomics : "the golden age" : 1993-2005 /San Antonio, TX : Antarctic Press, c2006.

Carre, Lilli. Tales of Woodsman Pete : with full particulars /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf, c2006.

Cater, Donovan. Null and void /Muskegon, Mich. : Donovan Cater, 2005.

Davis, Andrew. Billy Clockout : I walk the line /Greensville, SC : Wide Awake Publications, c2002.

Davis, Andrew. Hillbilly Clockout : plummet /Greensville, SC : Wide Awake Publications, c2003.

Davis, Andrew. Hillbilly Clockout : sellout /Greensville, SC : Wide Awake Publications, c2003.

Expo 2001 /[Bethesda, Maryland?] : The Expo, c2001.

Fish, Tim, 1970- Cavalcade of boys /Los Angeles, CA : Poison Press, 2006.

Huey, Debbie. Bumperboy and the loud, loud mountain /Richmond, Va. : AdHouse, 2006.

Huizenga, Kevin, 1977- Ganges /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, c2006- no. 1

Igort, 1958- Baobab : a graphic novel /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c2005- no. 1

Keenspace spotlight 2003. /Temple City, CA : Keenspot Entertainment, 2003.

Langridge, Andrew. The louche and insalubrious escapades of Art d'Ecco /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2006.

Le Tendre. The Riege master /New York : Nantier-Beall Minoustchine, c1988.

Lockley, Walt. The death of Antisocialman /Hamtramck, MI : Not Available Comics, c1990- nos. 1-3, 5-10

Nilsen, Anders Brekhus, 1973- Monologues for the coming plague /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2006.

Oda, Hideji. A patch of dreams /[S.l.] : Fanfare/Ponent Mon, c2006.

Sandlin, David, 1956- Alphabetical ballad of carnality /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2006.

Todd, Mark, 1970- Whatcha mean, what's a zine? : the art of making zines and mini comics /Boston : Grafia an imprint of Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Weisbrod, Aaron. Knee deep in the dead and other tales of terror /Morristown, TN : Funnel Cloud 9, c2005.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Monkey Covers

Jumbo Comics #99Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Uh oh! It looks like Sheena is in trouble of the cover to Jumbo Comics #99. Not only is she facing down a mean skeleton-carting gorilla in front of her, but it looks like there's another gorilla sneaking up behind her. Good thing she's got that knife!

(Standard disclaimer about skeleton-toting gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Too Many Comics

There are, I think, too many comics these days.

By that I don't mean that there's just too many in raw number of titles, although a look through the massive Previews tome that comes out each month shows that is a problem as well.

No, I mean that there are too many comics that I want to read. Too many original graphic novels. Too many manga paperbacks. Too many super-hero comics that serve as 'comfort food'.

This is ably illustrated by my growing Too Be Read pile, which now takes up three short boxes of comics and well over 100 graphic novels, manga & collections sitting on bookshelves. (Not to mention all the comics in the library that I could read if I had the time!)

It didn't use to be this way. Back in my college days I'd buy maybe 8-10 comics a week, and over the course of one or two evenings get them read. But today there are not only comics to buy--and more of them--but also a plethora of comics in book format.

I think it's a combination of several factors: the increase in the number of formats; a general increase in the amount of quality items available; too many other options for my time (including blogging about comics instead of reading them); and an increase in disposable income, so I can buy more comics than I have time to read.

Does anybody else have this problem, or is it just me?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New This Week: October 25, 2006

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop today:

Seven Soldiers #1The Pick of the Week is Seven Soldiers #1, finally bringing to conclusion Grant Morrison's epic interlocking mini-series. With the series being true-to-form though, some comic shops may not be getting this until next week...

In other comics:

Boom! have the second issue of Tag.

DC have collections for American Virgin and Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes; a Showcase Presents for The Phantom Stranger; Richard Donner's debut on Action Comics (#844); and new issues of 52 (week 25), Jack of Fables (#4), Planetary (#26), Secret Six (#5), Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes (#23), and Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters (#4).

D.E. have the first issue of Classic Battlestar Galactica. You remember, when Starbuck and Boomer were both dudes and they had that poor monkey in a robot dog suit.

Fantagraphics have the second issue of Linda Medley's new Castle Waiting series.

IDW have the Angel: Masks one-shot and the collected edition of Supermarket.

Image have a collection of the second Hawaiian Dick series; and new issues of Gødland (#13) and Negative Burn (#5).

Marvel have new collections for Daredevil and Runaways; and new issues of Captain America (#23), Daredevil (#90), Nextwave (#9), Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (#11), and Ultimate Spider-Man (#101).

NBM have a color edition of the first Cryptozoo Crew volume.

Vertical have Osamu Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito--over 800 pages by one of the best cartoonists ever.

Okay, that's plenty of comics for you!

One Week to NaGraNoWriMo!

Just one week remaining until I start in on NaGraNoWriMo: National Graphic Novel Writing Month. It's my version of NaNoWriMo, in which I'm going to try to write the script to a 175-page graphic novel during the month of November.

I've pretty much decided on which of my ideas I'm going to attempt, but now I'm getting all nervous about whether or not I'll be able to make it through. I've never written a comic script for anything before, so 175 pages seems like a big task. I'm sure that I'll learn a lot in the process, and in the rules of NaNoWriMo, it doesn't have to be good, it just has to get done!

At least one other person has said that they'll join in as well. Any more takers? Who knows--maybe we can start a new movement!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Review: Action Figure #1

Action Figure #1Action Figure #1
by Richard Marcej
Baboon Books, $3.50

In the first issue of Action Figure we are introduced to Richard Marzelak, a twenty-nine-year-old artist who works a 9-5 job at a toy company by day and draws comic strips for submission to the syndicates by night. Richard works in one of those offices we frequently see or read about in entertainment media that have the unfair, hard-ass boss; the sleazy sexual harasser, the impossibly unobtainable beauty, etc. In this first issue, Richard gets pulled off a plum assignment that is being given to the new artist and is instead stuck on a nowhere, no-brainer panda bear assignment instead, just as work comes down that the company has landed a plum contract with a Japanese anime property.

In his cover letter that came along with the review copy, Marcej as much as admits that he's drawing heavily on his own career as inspiration for this comic. He's no Harvey Pekar, and there's just too much in this first issue that feels like standard sitcom set-up. There are a couple of ways that Marcej could take the story to give it more of a unique vibe: bringing us deep inside the world of toys; and/or showing us why and how Richard Marzelak is a unique and interesting person in that world.

Fortunately Marcej has a couple of things going for him in this first issue. He has a good sense of storytelling and design; the comic flows very smoothly, and there's wonderful use of third color spot reds to highlight when Richard's active fantasy life takes over his attention. It's also an inherently interesting setting for a workplace comic, as long as the story gets beyond the standard office tropes.

According to Marcej this first issue did not meet Diamond's order threshold and will not be carried by the #1 distributor. Which is a shame, because this is an attractive, solid comic with an eye-catching cover and high production values, and one that shows promise. So while you probably won't be able to find it at your local comic store, if it sounds interesting you can order it directly from the self-publisher.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

(A review copy of this comic was provided by the creator.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of October 16, 2006

Here are the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Akahori, Satoru. Sorcerer hunters /Los Angeles, Calif. : Tokyopop, c2000- vol. 1

Arkas. You bring out the animal in me!-- Grunt! : crazy combinations /Athens, Greece : Grammata, c2004.

Baumann, Suzanne. Beasts of ball point : a sketchbook mini /Hamtramck, MI : Suzanne Baumann, c2005.

Bieri, Sean. From the desk of business chimp /[United States?] : Sean Bieri, c2005.

Bieri, Sean. Jape. /Hamtramck, MI : Sean Bieri vol. 2 no. 1

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- Every girl is the end of the world for me : December 26 2003 - January 15 2004 /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf, c2005.

Campbell, Eddie. The dance of lifey death /Paddington, Australia : Eddie Campbell Comics, c1998.

Cater, Donovan. Moore /Eastland, Muskegon, Mich. : Powernut Comics, c2002- vols. 1-2

Davis, Andrew. Heavenly friends /Greensville, SC : Wide Awake Publications, c2003.

Davis, Andrew. Young Billy Clockout : somewhere between Memphis and Hawaii /Greensville, SC : Wide Awake Publications, c2002.

Dondero, George M. DirtBoy /Napa, CA : Moronik Comiks, 2005- no. 1

Feazell, Matt. AntiSocialMan. /[Minneapolis, Minn.] : Not Available Comics, 1982- no. 6

Feazell, Matt. CuteGirl. /Detroit, MI : Not Available Comics, c1994- nos. 1-3

Feazell, Matt. The amazing Cynicalman. /Hamtramck, MI : Not Available Comics vol. 2 nos. 5-13

Golden-age science fiction treasury /Longwood, Fla., AC Comics, c2006- vol. 1

Hotwire comix. /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, c2006- vol. 1

Japan : as viewed by 17 creators /[Wisbech, England?] : Fanfare ; [Tarragona, Spain?], Ponent Mon, c2005.

Kalesniko, Mark. Alex /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, c2006.

Keret, Etgar, 1967- Pizzeria Kamikaze /Gainesville, Fla. : Alternative Comics, 2006, c2005.

Kurata, Hidevuki. R.O.D., Read or die /San Francisco, CA : Viz Media, 2006- vol. 1

Manjula Padmanabhan. This is Suki! /New Delhi : Duckfoot Press, 2000.

Micheluzzi, Attilio. Johnny Focus /Roma : Lizard Edizioni, c2004- vols. 1-3

Moore, Alan, 1953- The complete future shocks /Oxford : Rebellion, 2006.

Moore, John Blair. Invaders from home!!! /New York, N.Y. : Piranha Press, c1990- no. 1

Panel (Columbus, Ohio) Panel. /Colmbus, OH : Panel, c2003- nos. 1-2

Put the book back on the shelf : a Belle and Sebastian anthology /Berkeley, Calif. : Image Comics and Belle and Sebastian, c2006.

Robot : super color comic /Carson, CA : Digital Manga Pub., 2005- vol. 2

Tales from the Inner sanctum : a horror anthology /[Los Angeles?] : Steveniles.com, c2004.

Thompson, Albert Benjamin. Husk /[United States?] : Lucky Cobra Pub., c2005.

Van Loon, Borin. The Bart Dickon omnibus : including, in its entirety, "a servered head", a graphic novella ; /Ipswich : Severed Head Books, 2005.

Weinstein, Lauren R. Girl stories /New York : Henry Holt, c2006.

Wide awake 666 : a horror anthology. /Greenville, SC : Wide Awake Press, c2006.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Monkey Covers

Tom Strong's Terrific Tales #5Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

King Solomon leads the charge on Art Adams' cover to Tom Strong's Terrific Tales #5!

(Standard disclaimer about intelligent talking gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ms. Dewey

Ms. Dewey, a front-end to Microsoft's Live Search, is a search engine with attitude. Your searches are 'hosted' by Ms. Dewey herself, an attractive librarian who not only serves up your results but also make comments while she does so. There are plenty of little easter eggs to be found depending on what you search for; try searching for 'comic blogs' or 'comic books' and see what she says...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Diamond and the Long Tail 2

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post about Diamond and the Long Tail. This past Monday Chris Anderson was on campus and gave an interesting presentation about the Long Tail, which got me thinking about it again.

In particular, I decided to take a look at actual sales numbers from Diamond to see if any Long Tail lessons can be learned.

Anderson argues that--absent any market barriers--the natural shape of markets is to follow a power law. This can be visualized by graphing sales rank against number of units sold; on a log-log scale, the graph will be a straight line. Barriers and inefficiencies will cause the tail of the line to bend downward, and the area between the ideal straight line and the downward curve represent lost sales. Typically said graph will resemble a straight line at the top, but at some point it will deviate from the line; this represents an inflection point, and is a point where an analyst can look to see what the problem is and identify solutions.

For example, here's Anderson's graph (taken from here) of US Box Office Gross vs. Film Rank for 2003-2005:

US Box Office Gross vs. Film Rank for 2003-2005

You can see the inflection point at around 350; it turns out that the carrying capacity of US megaplex theaters is a little more than 100/year, and thus over three years they show approx. 350 movies (out of the approx. 13,000 movies that were show in film festivals over the same period).

Anderson surely explains this better in his book, but I think you get the jist here.

So I decided to do a little graphic of my own. I took the Diamond sales figures for August 2006 and graphed them out (click on the graphs to view them at a readable size):

Here's the raw graph:

Here it is as a log-log graph:

And here it is with an idealized market line imposed:

It's not surprising to see that the graph looks like many other markets. What is surprising to me is how soon the inflection point hits: right around rank #45. Looking at the raw data, it appears to be right between #45 (Sensational Spider-Man 29: 55,300) and #46 (Green Lantern Corps 3: 51,400). Put another way, that's right at about the mid-list for Marvel, just after the top books for DC, and above any other publisher.

Putting some names to the numbers: Comics like Y, the Last Man (91: 25,800), Fables (92: 25,300) & Runaways (93: 25,000) could probably be selling another 15-20,000 copies every month. Way down at the end of the tail, books like Gold Digger, Rocketo, & Action Philosophers which are selling 2,100 copies could be selling around the 20,000 range.

This represents quite an unserved market for Diamond. Of course the next question is where is that unserved market going? I suspect there are several places:

* Other distributors (for non-exclusives)

* Newsstand sales (things like Cartoon Block Party & Archie Dougle Digest)

* Trade collections (readers who don't get a comic monthly through Diamond wait for the trade, either at their local store or at a book store or through Amazon)

* Unserved at all (people who would enjoy the comics but don't know about or can't find them)

All of these of course are the concern of Diamond. The last should be a concern to all publishers.

The follow-up question after this is why is the inflection point occuring, and how can it be eliminated? I don't have a good answer yet, but I suspect it has something to do with either the promotional outlay, the 'rack space' for new comics in a typical store, or some combination of the two.

Any other thoughts?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cheesecake/Beefcake Appreciation Week

Kalinara & Ragnell have arbitrarily declared this to be Cheesecake/Beefcake Appreciation Week. So here are my contributions:

First for the Beefcake, here's Brett Booth's cover for the upcoming Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter; Guilty Pleasures #2, showing that Booth and Dabel Bros. know exactly what the appeal of Laurell K. Hamilton's vampire series is:

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter; Guilty Pleasures #2

For the Cheesecake, here's Frank Cho's cover to Liberty Meadows #12:

Liberty Meadows #12

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Collections/GNs

Concluding my look through the October Previews (for items supposedly shipping in December or January or later), here are a dozen collections and graphic novels that I feel are worth your attention:

Alice in SunderlandAlice in Sunderland
(Dark Horse, $29.95, p. 27)
Even after reading the solicitation copy I have no idea what this is actually about. But any new work from Bryan Talbot (Luther Arkwright; Tale of One Bad Rat) is cause for celebration.

The World BelowThe World Below
(Dark Horse, $12.95, p. 30)
Raise you hand if you like weird & creepy monsters! Paul Chadwick's underrated underground adventure story gets a long-awaited collection.

Gunsmith Cats Omnibus vol. 1Gunsmith Cats Omnibus vol. 1
(Dark Horse, $16.95, p. 40)
Kenichi Sonoda shows that you can do a manga with plenty of violence and fanservice and still have a story that's, well, good. And now you can get it in a big thick omnibus edition at a fraction of the cost that those of us who bought the original collections did.

Batman: Year One HundredBatman: Year One Hundred
(DC, $19.99, p. 63)
I heard plenty of excelent things about Paul Pope's take on the Batman of 2039, but didn't buy it because I just knew there would be a trade. Now there is.

Doom Patrol vol. 5: Magic BusDoom Patrol vol. 5: Magic Bus
(DC, $19.99, p. 117)
Another collection of the classic Morrison series, with plenty of Dada--the Brotherhood of Dada that is!

Action Philosophers! Giant-Sized Thing Volume 2Action Philosophers! Giant-Sized Thing Volume 2
(Evil Twin, $8.95, p. 278)
If you missed picking up issues #4-6 the first time around, now's your chance to laugh and learn about Karl Marx, St. Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Descartes, and the rest.

The Grave Robber's DaughterThe Grave Robber's Daughter
(Fantagraphics, $9.95, p. 278)
Richard Sala returns with a new GN story of Judy Drood, Girl Detective. More dark funny from Sala.

Jane's World Omnibus volume 1Jane's World Omnibus volume 1
(Girl Twirl, $19.95, p. 284)
It's a massive 400+ page compilation of Paige Braddock's lesbian slice-of-life comic; that is, if your life includes alien abductions, vegan Amazons, and super spies!

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry BlossomsTown of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
(Last Gasp, $9.99, p. 300)
Fumiyo Kouno's manga about a young woman in Hiroshima ca. 1955.

The Treasury of Victorian Murder volume 8: Madeleine SmithThe Treasury of Victorian Murder volume 8: Madeleine Smith
(NBM, $8.95, p. 308)
The latest in Rick Geary's line of darkly whimsical recountings of 19th century murders.

My Dead Girlfriend, vol. 1My Dead Girlfriend, vol. 1
(TokyoPop, $9.99, p. 322)
It's a story as old as time: awkward boy meets cute girl, finally asks her to the dance, and they fall in love. Problem: the girl's a ghost! Should be a fun OEL manga from Eric Wright.

Roadsong, vol. 2Roadsong, vol. 2
(TokyoPop, $9.99, p. 330)
The second volume of Allan Gross & Joanna Estep's OEL title promises to bring the two on-the-lam stepbrothers to Nashville for a little country twang to go along with the comedy/action hybrid.

Hey look, this month I actually managed to get all the way through Dave's Dozen before the end of the month! (Earlier in the week I posed my picks for mainstream comics and indy comics.)

Star Drop

Star DropYesterday I recommended as my Pick of the Week the paper-based collection of Mark Oakley's The Walking Mage Webcomic.

I recently discovered that Oakley has a new (well, new-ish) Webcomic called Star Drop, now up to sixteen installments. It's a scifi story about Achelle, a intergalactic princess who runs away to modern-day Earth, and it's a lot of fun. The first few episodes get all meta as Oakley tries to figure out what the strip is about and his characters complain, but around about episode six the story settles in and it's a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New This Week: October 18, 2006

Based on the NCRL list for this week's comics shipping from Diamond, here are a few things to look for at the local comic shop tomorrow:

The Pick of the Week is Thieves & Kings Presents: The Walking Mage, a colorized collection of Mark Oakley's Webcomic featuring Quinton the Mage. At $10 for 64 pages it's a bit on the pricy side, but well worth it I should think.

In other comics:

AD Vision have the eighth Cromartie High School volume.

Antarctic have this year's Gold Digger Halloween Speecial, and a new issue of Ninja High School (#143).

Boom! have another of their re-dialoged What Were They Thinking comics, Monster Mash-Up (featuring more than one story re-written by comics blogging funny guy Kevin Church).

DC have the eagerly anticipated Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall HC OGN; the third New Teen Titans Archive; a new Birds of Prey collection: The Battle Within; a Showcase Presents phonobook collection for Challengers of the Unknown; the Morrison-penned debut issues of the rebooted Wildcats (Jim Lee art) and The Authority (Gene Ha art); the return of Warren Ellis's Desolation Jones (#7) with by Danijel Zezelj ; and new issues of 100 Bullets (#77), 52 (week 24), Birds of Prey (#99), Catwoman (#60), Checkmate (#7), Exterminators (#10), Hellblazer (#225), Shadowpact (#6), and Testament (#11).

Fanfare/Ponent Mon re-offer Jiro Taniguchi's Walking Man, which if you haven't read yet you really should.

Image have new issues of Casanova (#5), Elephantmen (#4), Noble Causes (#24), and the debut of Tabula Rasa.

Lobrau have a new issue of Toupydoops (#4).

Marvel have a new Ultimate Fantastic Four collection (Vol. 6: Frightful); the debut of the new Amazing Spider-Girl comic; the debut of the Dabel Brothers' adaptation of Anita Blake, Vmapire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures; and new issues of Blade (#2), Runaways (#21), X-Factor (#12), and X-Men: First Class (#2).

Oni have a new issue of Queen & Country (#31).

Thrud have the fourth issue of Thrud the Barbarian.

Which wraps up another week of new comics. Enjoy your stack!

Quick Boom! Reviews

The Savage Brothers #2The Savage Brothers #2
by Andrew Cosby, Johanna Stokes, & Rafael Albuquerque
Boom! $3.99

With its second issue, The Savage Brothers unfortunately takes a turn for the boring. It's page after page of zombie killing as the titular brothers rescue a woman in distress; and when they're not killing zombies they're acting like pigs. These days if you want to do a zombie comic there has to be more to it then having your characters run around killing zombies, no matter how competently done it is.

Rating: 2 (of 5)

Jeremiah Harm #4Jeremiah Harm #4
by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant, & Rafael Albuquerque
Boom! $3.99

Rael Lyra is gone from the title, but it maintains the same level of senseless violence as the first Earth-based storyline draws to a close, more or less. Thankfully for the last few pages this title finds a semblance of a plot again, giving the book an interesting direction and the semblance of hope that the title might be worth sticking around for.

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

The Black Plague #1The Black Plague #1
by Joe Casey & Julia Bax
Boom! $3.99

A three way battle breaks out between the mob, a 'science organiation' with designs on world domination (think Hydra), and The Black Plague, a long-thought-dead super villain (in the Batman villain mode--complete with henchmen and a secret hideout). Writer Casey adds in a framing sequence of a retired hero and a retired villain playing chess in the park, and a twist of sorts to the set-up. Bax handles the art chores well. This is a one-shot that serve as a prelude to an upcoming mini-series and should appeal to those of you looking for a slightly different take on the whole super-hero/super-villain thing.

Rating: 3 (of 5)

(review copies of the above comics were provided by the publisher)

Dave's (Half) Dozen: Indy Comics

Continuing my look through the October Previews (for comics supposedly shipping in December), here are a half dozen indy comics that I feel are worth your attention:

DinoWars: Jurassic War of the Worlds #1DinoWars: Jurassic War of the Worlds #1
(Antarctic, $3.50, p. 222)
Ros Espinosa's latest has a race of intelligent dinosaurs returing to Earth after 65 million years away--and they're pissed!

Cthulhu Tales: The RisingCthulhu Tales: "The Rising"
(Boom!, $6.99, p. 248)
The first Cthulhu Tales was a good deal of fun, and there's no reason to expect that this second offering won't be more of the same.

Mr. Stuffins #1
(Boom!, $3.99, p. 250)
Another piece of high-concept pop-action from Boom!: A teddy bear secret agent!

Code #1Code #1
(Guardian Line, $2.99, p. 286)
One of three new Christian-themed titles debuting from new publisher Guardian Line this month, Code could be the best of the lot. A baddd-a$$ techno-sage in a trench coat and fedora with a comprehensive knowledge of saced writings. "Evil had best sit down and shut up." Indeed.

Maintenance #1Maintenance #1
(Oni, $3.50, p. 309)
Jim Massey & Robbi Rodriguez bring what looks to be a fun comic about a couple of janitors at an evil science think tank.

The 3 Geeks: Jim's Jerky!The 3 Geeks: Jim's Jerky!
(3 Finger Press, $2.00, p. 318)
Rich Koslowski takes a break from 'serious' graphic novels to come back to his original series of three comic-loving guys.

I covered mainstream comics a few days ago. I'll have the collects and graphic novels picks in a day or two.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Minicomics Monday

Cornelia Cartoons #5If I were a better comics blogger, I would have gone to SPX this weekend and come back with an armload of new mini comics to tell you about. But alas I didn't (although one of my friends did so I'll have pile to read when he's finished with them!) Or at the very least I would have gone to the Masters of American Comics exhibit in NYC and stopped off at Jim Hanley's and taken a photograph of their minis section. But alas, that twas not to be either.

Instead, I have a comic I picked up at last year's SNAP to tell you about:

Cornelia Cartoons #5 is by Ohio cartoonist Kel Crum. It consists of one 8-page story and four 2-page stories centering around young Cornelia as she interacts with the world of grown-ups. The energy in these comics reminds me somewhat of Scott Roberts' Patty Cake. Crum's drawing style is not sophisticated, but it fits the stories well and adds to their charm. I know there's at least an issue six in existance, so hopefully she'll be at SNAP again this year so I can pick up a copy of the new issue.

(Crum does not appear to have a Website, though you can try emailing her to check on availability.)

New Library Comics: Week of October 9, 2006

Here are the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Akamatsu, Ken. Love hina /Los Angeles : Tokyopop, c2002- vols. 1-5

Blab! (Princeton, Wis.) Blab! /[Chicago, IL : Monte Comix Productions, c1986- nos. 5-7

Buzz (Princeton, Wis.) Buzz. /Princeton, WI : Kitchen Sink Press, 1990- nos. 1-3

Dementia. Bondage obsession. /Seattle, WA : Eros Comix, c1999- no. 1

Feazell, Matt. Board of superheros /Detroit, MI : Not Available Comics, c1994-

Feazell, Matt. Understanding minicomics : the art and science of stick figures /Detroit, MI : Not Available Comics, c1993.

Garside, Katiejane. Indigo vertigo /Berkeley, Calif. : Image Comics, c2005.

Jacobson, Sid. The 9/11 report : a graphic adaptation /New York : Hill and Wang, c2006.

Kang-Suk, Hyun. Heaven above heaven /Los Angeles : Tokyopop, c2005- vol. 1

Kleid, Neil. Brownsville /New York : NBM, c2006.

Oh! Great. Silky whip /Seattle, Wash. : Eros Comix, c2002- vol. 1

Ottaviani, Jim. Not available science : can you spot the celebrity inventors?? /Ann Arbor, MI : G.T. Labs ; Detroit Michigan : Not Available Comics, c1998.

Ronin, Tenjiku. Lust /Seattle, WA : Eros Comix, c2002- vol. 1

Sacco, Joe. Soba /Montreal, Quebec : Drawn & Quarterly, c1998.

Stephens, Jay. The land of Nod. /Montreal, Quebec, Canada : Black Eye Productions, c1996- no. 1

Townsend, Stephen J. The hood : a change from within. /Los Angeles, Calif. : South Central Comics, 1993- no. 1

Yamamoto, Naoki, 1960- Dance till tomorrow /San Francisco, Calif. : Viz Communications, c1998- vols. 4-7

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monkey Covers

Picture Scope Jungle Adventures #7Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Oh no! Look out! It's a giant gorilla jumping out of the cover of 1954's Picture Scope Jungle Adventures #7!

(Standard disclaimer about 3-D gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

Image courtesy of the GCD. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Mainstream Comics

Each month (usually...) I go through Previews to highlight twelve items worthy of attention in three categories: Mainstream Comics, Indy Comics, and Collections/GNs.

First up for the October Previews (comics supposedly available in December) are the following dozen mainstream comics picks:

The Bakers Meet Jingle BelleThe Bakers Meet Jingle Belle
(Dark Horse, $2.99, p. 23)
Sometimes you don't even know that something will make you happy until you hear that it exists, at which point you then realize that there's at least one reason to go on living for the next couple of months. Kyle Baker drawing a Jingle Belle story--that'll do it for me!

All Star Superman #7All Star Superman #7
(DC, $2.99, p. 65)
Morrison! Quitely! Bizarro! That's pretty much all you need to know. Well, that and the almost certainty that given the delays this comic will not actually be coming out in December. Maybe by March?

52 week 33
(DC, $2.50, p. 71)
Phil Jimenez draws a special Christmas issue featuring Batwoman. And Mark Chiarello draws the origin back-up story. Should be a good looking comic.

Justice Society of America #1Justice Society of America #1
(DC, $3.99, p. 80)
Not much of a reason to start over at a new #1, excepting for the name change to bring it in line with the new JLA title. But I have to say that I'm pleased with the large team line-up. I wonder who the new Liberty Belle is...?

Manhunter #26Manhunter #26
(DC, $2.99, p. 84)
Kate Spencer returns from hiaitus to battle a deformed Wonder Woman. With a second trade collection and membership in the new Birds of Prey, DC is giving this book the push it needs; now it's you job to buy it!

The Spirit #1The Spirit #1
(DC, $2.99, p. 88)
Yeah, I'm going into this with a bit of trepidation with the rest of y'all; but I'm hoping that Darwyn Cooke can capture the right, um, spirit of The Spirit.

Justice League Unlimited #28Justice League Unlimited #28
(DC, $2.25, p. 94)
It's just not Christmas without the Phantom Stranger, now is it?

Fables #56Fables #56
(DC/Vertigo, $3.50, p. 117)
An extra-long issue that promises to answer the question: Is Santa Claus a Fable? I'm guessing no, because fables aren't supposed to interact with the 'real world,' and Santa does all the time. But we'll just have to wait for the issue and see for ourselves.

Marvel Holiday SpecialMarvel Holiday Special
(Marvel, $3.99, p. M39)
Roger Langridge does a Fin Fang Four holiday story. That's worth your $4 right there.

Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #19Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #19
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M40)
You probably flipped right by the little quarter-page spot for this comic and didn't realize that Kano is drawing this issue. Yup, Kano!

newuniversal #1newuniversal #1
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M43)
In the realm of things I never figured I'd see is Warren Ellis doing a reimagining of Marvel's New Universe.

NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #11NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #11
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M47)
I chuckle every time I see this cover. Mark Millar Licks Goats. Heh.