Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shameless Friend Promotion: Steve Lieber

Go over to The Beat to see Heidi's video interview with pal Steve Lieber, focusing on the graphic novel Whiteout and the forthcoming, movie.

Super-assertive Cool Female Black Protagonists in Comics

In his recent review of Mark Haven Britt's Full Color, Tom Spurgeon remarks:
...one can count the number of super-assertive cool female black protagonists in comics history on one healthy foot and another foot ravaged by frostbite...

I took this as a challenge, and came up with:

Help me out: Who am I missing?

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of July 23, 2007

Here's a list of the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- Feeble attempts. /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions Inc, 2007.

Crécy, Nicolas de, 1966- Glacial period /New York : NBM, c2006.

Drawing the line. /[Toronto?] : [s.n.], 2004.

J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. /[White Plains, N.Y. : J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc., 200-]

Lonergan, Jesse. Flower and fade /New York : NBM ; London : Turnaround [distributor], 2007.

Ottaviani, Jim. Quantum entanglement, spooky action at a distance, teleportation, and you : a.k.a the official G.T. Labs guide to teleportation via quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance (including a brief but helpful section on why, perhaps, you should not try this at home) /A² [i.e. Ann Arbor], MI : G.T. Labs, c2003.

Raging Rhino Productions. Erotic screams : a catalog of the wicked, twisted & bizarre. /Hollywood, Fla. : Raging Rhino Productions, 1993- vol. 1 no. 1

Talbot, Bryan. Alice in Sunderland /Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse Books, 2007.

Toffolo, Davide. Il re bianco /Bologna [etc.] : Coconino press, [2005]

Zap comix. San Francisco, CA : Last Gasp. nos. 2-3

Zero zero. /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c1995- no. 2

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Monkey Covers

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

Pirates vs. Gorillas? It's hard to tell who to root for on the cover of Tom Strong #32.

(Standard disclaimer about pirate-fighting gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Review: Flower & Fade

Flower & Fade
by Jesse Lonergan
NBM/ComicsLit, $13.95

It's a pleasure to sometimes find a graphic novel I'd heard nothing about from a creator I knew nothing about, and have that comic turn out to be quite good. Jesse Lonergan's recent Flower & Fade is just such a graphic novel. It tells the story of a relationship--one between protagonist Kyle and his pretty neighbor Erika--from beginning to end, starting with the initial infatuation and hitting all the beats through to the bittersweet end.

Lonergan tells his story through a series a vignettes, each leading off with a title and a date over a six month period. There are no thought balloons, but Lonergan has a way with both dialog and emotions expressed through body language that gets across how the characters are feeling and relating. The art is an important part of the story; it may appear simple at first glace but really isn't, and Lonergan does a good job at pacing and moving the eye through the story; he also makes a great use of using blacks and contrast to set the tone.

Most importantly, Flower & Fade has a ring of truth about it. Many times I saw episodes from past relationships of my own being reflected in the story I was reading. It may not be a world-changing graphic novel, but Flower & Fade succeeds quite well in what it sets out to do.

Rating: 4 (of 5).

Friday, July 27, 2007

YAFQ: Omnibuses?

Today's Yet Another Friday Question concerns the latest craze in trade collections: omnibuses, those massive collections of previously collected comics.

From Runaways & New X-Men hardcovers to Star Wars & Buffy paperbacks to massive Palomar & Locas hardcovers of L&R material, omnibuses are a great way to get a lot of material you like under one cover. Many people will even buy material they already own just for the convenience of having it in one place.

Our question for you all today is:

What new omnibus edition would you like to see published?

I'd like to see an omnibus collection of Matt Howarth's various Bugtown material. It's all one connected narrative, but it was published in so many disparate places and much (if not most) of it is out of print. I'd gladly slap down a wad of bills for a nice hardcover.

How about you?

Update: Both John Jakala & David Welsh recently addressed this topic!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Shameless Friend Promotion

Pal Sara Ryan has not one, not two, but three new comics coming out, just in time for ComicCon:

Click is a story that fills in the gap between her two well-received YA prose novels. It's drawn by Dylan Meconis (who also drew the recent Wire Mothers from GT Labs).

Einbahnstrasse Waltz is a stand-alone story about a high school orchestra trip to Europe, drawn by Cat Ellis (an animator making her sequential comics debut).

And there's the third issue of her irregular ongoing Flytrap, with art once again by Ron Chan.

Sure I'm biased, but I'm sure they are all three fabulous. If like me you can't make it to ComicCon, there should be online ordering info available soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New This Week: July 25, 2007

"In brief" is now the default format for New This Week. Highlights instead of a more exhaustive list. Hope it's good for you!

Run, don't walk, down to the comic store today and get yourself a copy of the first volume of the reissued Gon, Masashi Tanaka's wonderful manga from DC/CMX. Seriously, this is up there with Yotsuba&! as one of my favorite fun mangas of all time. Heck, I'm buying it again and I already have the first editions!

Avatar have the first issues of two new Warren Ellis comics: Black Summer (which actually started with a 'zero' issue) and Doktor Sleepless. Just ignore the multiple covers.

A new issue of Buffy, a stand-alone issue about the pseudo-Buffy from that Angel episode, and the last penned by Joss himself for a while.

Wait wait, two issues of All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder in the same year?!

And on the same day as a new issue of Queen and Country?!

After too long of an absence from sequential story telling, Mark Crilley returns with the first volume of his new Miki Falls GN series.

So get thyself to thy local comical shoppe!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of July 16, 2007

Here's a list of the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Abbott, Wes. Dogby walks alone /Hamburg ; Los Angeles : Tokyopop, c2006

Alexander, Jed. Yellow baby /Gainsville, Fla. : Alternatve Comics, 2003- no. 1

Aragones, Sergio. Sergio Aragonés solo. /New York : DC Comics, 2006.

Ashihira, Hinako. SOS /San Francisco, CA. : VIZ, LLC, c2005.

Bell, Marc. Worn tuff elbow /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 2004- no. 1

The blend. /Victoria, B.C. : Bad Sign, 2002-2003. no. 2

Brown, Jeffrey (Jeffrey David), 1975- Cat getting out of a bag and other observations /San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c2007.

Cheung, Man Wai. Top speed /Fremont, CA : ComicsOne, 2004.

Crumb, R. Home grown funnies /Milwaukie, WI : Krupp Comic Works, Inc., 1971.

Crumb, R. XYZ comics /Milwaukee, Wis. : Krupp Comic Works, c1972.

Daisy handbook. /[Plymouth, Mich.] : Daisy Manufacturing Company, 1946-1948. no. 1

de Leon, Franz. Vagabond /Toronto, Ont. : Helikon Comics, 1995- no. 1

Delisle, Guy Aline and the others /Montreal Drawn & Quarterly 2006

Fisher, Mindy. Undeciluna /Cleveland Heights, Ohio : Love Bunni Press, 2004- no. 1

Frick, Carl Vaughn. Watch out comix. /San Francisco, CA : Last Gasp, c1986- no. 1

Griffith, Bill, 1944- Yow comics /Berkeley, Calif. : Last Gasp, c1978- no. 1

Highly dubious. /[Halifax, N.S. : s.n.], 2001- nos. 1-2

Howarth, Matt, 1954- Crazy for the girl /Providence, R.I. : Brave New Words, 1992

Howarth, Matt, 1954- Star crossed /New York : Helix-DC Comics, 1997. nos. 1-3

Howarth, Matt, 1954- Temple snare /Seattle, WA : Mu Press, 1990.

Howarth, Matt, 1954- Weirdfall /San Antonio, Tex. : Antarctic Press, 2005- nos. 1-3

Howarth, Matt. Afternoon in the sun. /Levittown, PA : Matt Howarth, c1976.

Howarth, Matt. Con and C'Thulu: The cardboard condo concert. /Seattle : AEON, 1996.

Howarth, Matt. Con and C'Thulu: Uberdub /Seattle : AEON, 1996.

Howarth, Matt. Scan /Plymouth, MI : Iconografix, a division of Caliber Press, 1992. nos. 1-2

Howarth, Matt. Those annoying Post brothers : disturb the neighbors. /Seattle : AEON, 1995.

Howarth, Matt. Video Hiroshima : jungle cunning. /Seattle : AEON, 1995.

Jademan collection. /Hong Kong : Jademan, 1989- nos. 1-3

Jademan kung fu special. /Hong Kong : Jademan (Holdings) Ltd., c1988- no. 1

Marcucci, Massimo. Ombre arcane : i misteri dei musei. /Ravenna : Alta Fedeltà Edizioni, c2004.

Miniburger : dirty dozen & the lucky 13th. /Ljubljana, Slovenia : Forum Ljubljana, 2004.

Mousli, L. G. X. Lillian, 1960- Lilli & Poldi : das erste Jahr /Berlin : Jochen Enterprises, 1997.

Panel (Columbus, Ohio) Panel. /Colmbus, OH : Panel, c2003- Fall 2005

Paper Rad (Artists' collective) Pig Tales Cartoon Workshop /Brooklyn, NY : Don Nadel, 2007.

Parisi, Paolo, 1980- Chernobyl : cronaca a fumetti : [di cosa sono fatte le nuvole] /Levada di Piave (Treviso) : BeccoGiallo, 2006.

Pop art funnies /Detroit, Mich. : MPH comics, [2004]- nos. 6-8

Q-Ray. Wang /Melbourne, Vic. : Q-Ray Comics.

Shrigley, David. Who I am and what I want /San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2006.

Twisted sisters comics. /Northampton, MA : Kitchen Sink Press, c1994- nos. 1-4

Vox pop. /Fairfield, CT : Vox Populi Comix, 1999- no. 1

Wacky adventures of Cracky. /Poughkeepsie, N.Y. : Western Pub. Co. no. 1

Wendy, the good little witch. /Sparta, Ill. : Harvey Picture Magazines, 1960- no. 82

Wide awake (Greenville, S.C.) Wide awake. /Greenville, SC : J Chris Campbell nos. 3, 5

Wild penny : a collection of comic shorts. /[Richmond, Va.] : Young American Comics, 2001- nos. 1-6

Willingham, Bill. Fables /New York : DC Comics, [2002- no. 1 Special Edition

Monday, July 23, 2007

Market Share: So What?

Warning: Rambling rant ahead.

The big news from the June sales figures from Diamond was that Marvel trounced DC on market share, 44% to 27% (in dollars). But why should that matter?

In practical terms it doesn't. Unless you hold so much of the market share that you can dictate terms of the market (like Microsoft in operating systems, or Apple in digital music sales), being #1 in market share doesn't mean much. Let's face it, after the Heroes World fiasco, any threats that Marvel might make about leaving Diamond won't be very convincing.

What really should matter is profit. And that's what's missing from all the sales figures, because we have no idea how much it cost to produce any of these comics. Does Marvel make more profit from an issue of The Dark Tower than DC does from Justice League of America? We'll never know.

Sure 52 was a huge seller for DC week after week, but how much did they have to pay Waid, Morrison, Johns, Rucka, Giffen and all the artists involved for each issue, not to mention all the editorial time necessary to push out a weekly series. (There are also opportunity costs involved; would DC's relaunches of Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman et al. have floundered so badly if editorial's attention hadn't been distracted?)

Never mind the fact that the Diamond numbers are just one segment of the total comics market these days, and they present a very short term glimpse at that. I still maintain that one of the most successful comics of recent years must be Fables, given its strong trade sales in both the direct market and regular bookstores, and its seeming evergreen status.

Market share doesn't really mean much. Look at how many years General Motors was the #1 automobile seller in North America, yet for many of those years, especially recently, they were losing money hand over fist.

In my experience, those who tout market share position or gains do so because that's the only good news they have; it distracts from the fact that they aren't making profit.

Unless making profit isn't your goal; which is the case at both DC and Marvel.

Positioned as it is as a minor part of the Time-Warner publishing empire, DC's goal isn't to make money. It's to a) protect the trademarks of their iconic assets (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.); and b) generate content that can be exploited by other arms of the empire, like movies and television. Any actual money made from publishing comics is probably nice, but I bet there are many years in which the DC Comics division operates at a loss.

Similarly, Marvel's goal--until recently--was to make money from licensing their characters; now that they're making their own movies, it'll be to generate content that can be exploited on celluloid. Again, profit from publishing comics is nice, but the potential money that comes from a successful Iron Man movie is far greater than any that can be made from an Iron Man comic book.

And where does all of this leave us, the readers? Unless we own stock in Marvel or Time-Warner, it shouldn't matter one lick. As long as there are comics being published that we want to read, it shouldn't matter where the big two stand against each other in terms of market share.


When the big boys are playing market share games, they are likely to push out an enormous number of titles month after month, in the attempt to crowd each other off the shelves. This has two effects: One, Marvel or DC may keep a marginal selling title around a little longer just to keep shelf space (and I stress 'may,' as they are just as likely to cancel it and put something else in its place). Two, they potentially push titles from other publishers off the shelves, other publishers who do rely on profit (or at least breaking even) to survive.

The good news is that the trend--at least in dollar sales--is in growth. But in the direct market served by Diamond, most of the growth seems to be going to Marvel & DC, and there doesn't seem to be much trickle-down. If everybody were playing the same game, "Let's Make Profit," then things might be different. But Marvel & DC aren't playing for profit, they're playing for visibility, operationalized as market share. It's like a bunch of eight-year-olds playing tag on the same field that a bunch of junior high kids are playing tackle football.

Somebody's going to get stomped.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monkey Covers

Monkey vs. Robot and the Crystal of PowerSunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

A little for you James Kochalka fans out there with the cover to his 2003 graphic novel Monkey vs. Robot and the Crystal of Power.

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

Friday, July 20, 2007

YAFQ: Giant Squid?

(Warning: Spoiler of sorts for the end of Watchmen)

The origin of this week's Yet Another Friday Question is in a conversation I had a couple of days ago:

The conversation turned (as sadly a majority of my conversations do) to graphic novels. M mentioned that she had recently read Watchmen, only her third graphic novel ever (after Maus and Persepolis). She liked it, but didn't care much for the ending, specifically the giant squid. J and I--both long-time comic readers--said that we didn't mind the giant squid and thought that it worked. M said that she had done some unscientific polling and that people had one of two reactions: "Giant Squid? Really?" or "Yeah, Giant Squid!"; and that those reactions broke down along gender lines.

So our Friday question to you is this:

What did you think of the giant squid in the last chapter of Watchmen?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of July 9, 2007

Here's a list of the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Baker, Bill Alan Moore's Exit Interview /Milford, CT Airwave Publishing 2007

Baumann, Suzanne. Turtleneck Boy /Hamtramck, Mich. : Suzanne Baumann, [1998]- no. 5

Beland, Tom. True story, swear to God : [chances are...] /San Francisco, CA : AIT/Planet LAR, 2005, c2003.

Beland, Tom. True story, swear to God : this one goes to 11 /San Francisco, CA : AiT/Planet Lar, 2005.

Character sketches : Trauma & Joy /Applecross WA, Australia Gestalt Publishing 2007

Coyle, Matt Worry Doll /Derby, UK Mam Tor Publishing c2007.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Heartbreak soup : a love and rockets book [the first volume of 'Palomar' stories from love & rockets] /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; 2007.

Hernandez, Jaime. Maggie the mechanic : a love and rockets book [the first volume of 'locas' stories from love & rockets] /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; 2007.

Hyland, Mike. Trip /Lower Sackville, N.S. : Costello Comics, [2000]- no. 2

Jensen, K. Thor. Red eye, black eye /Gainesville, Fla. : Alternative Comics ; London : Diamond [distributor], 2007.

Kemble, Joshua NUMB /Long Beach, CA Joshua Kemble 2006

Kominsky-Crumb, Aline, 1948- Need more love /London : MQ, c2007.

Lehmann, Matthias. HWY.115 /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; London : Turnaround [distributor], 2006.

Linsner, Joseph Michael, 1968- Angry Christ comix /Berkeley, Calif. : Image ; London : Diamond [distributor], 2006.

Mahler, Nicolas Lone racer. /Atlanta : Top Shelf Productions, 2006.

Marti Calvario Hills /Seattle Fantagraphics Books - Coconino Press 2007 no. 1

Messner-Loebs, William. Welcome to heaven, Dr. Franklin /Thousand Oaks, Calif. : About Comics, c2005.

Nicholson, Jeff. Colonia : islands and anomalies /San Francisco, CA : AiT/PlanetLar, 2002.

Nicholson, Jeff. Colonia : On into the great lands. /San Francisco, CA : AiT/PlanetLar, c2005.

Niles, Steve. Big book of horror /San Diego, Calif. : IDW ; London : Diamond [distributor], 2006.

Nilsen, Anders The End. /Seattle Fantagraphics Books and Coconino Press 2007 no. 1

Omand, Jennifer. Squarecat comics : small, square and sarcastic /Rochester, NH Jetpack Press 2006 vol. 2

Ortalani, Leo. Tutto Rat-man /Modena [Italy] : Panini Comics, 2002- nos. 6, 7, 19

Thank God it's ugly. /Sittard, Holland : Monguzzi Foundation, 1994-2002. nos. 5-6

Thurber, Matthew 1-800-MICE /Brooklyn Picture Box 2007 no. 1

Tinkle digest. /Bombay : H.G. Mirchandani for India Book House, [199-?]- v.10 no. 11

TRS-80 computer whiz kids. /Mamaroneck, N.Y. : Archie Comics, 1984-

Turok, son of Stone. /New York, N.Y. : Dell Pub. Co., 1954- nos. 105-106

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New This Week in Brief: July 18, 2007

Going 'in brief' last time worked well, so here's another quick look at what should be good on the shelf tomorrow:

Two non-fiction graphic 'novellas' from my pal Jim Ottaviani: Levitation: The Physics Psychology Service of Deception with art by Janine Johnston; and Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow & the Science of Love with art by Dylan Meconis. You should buy and read both; you'll be both entertained and a little smarter when you're done.

Eric Powell's The Goon returns with issue #19.

Two of Boom!'s best series have new issues: Cover Girl #3 and Fall of Cthulhu #4.

A couple of once-in-a-blue-moon comics hit the shelves this week: Licensable Bear #4 and Lenore #13.

The final issue of Jeff Smith's delightful Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil comes in from DC.

Random House releases the fourth installment of the super-popular Flight anthology.

If you've got some serious coin weighing down your pocket, you may want to take a gander at Mike Allred's Madman Gargantua hardcover, presenting every Madman story to date (prior to the recent Image series, that is).

And for maximum destructive fun, Marvel has the second issue of World War Hulk.

I know, I know, I said 'in brief'. There's even a heck of a lot more waiting for you tomorrow at your FLCS!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Monkey Covers

Mad House Comics #122Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Giant gorillas know how to cool off on those hot midsummer days, as per the cover of Mad House Comics #122.

(Standard disclaimer about giant ice cream eating gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Friday, July 13, 2007

YAFQ: This Year's "Wow" Comic?

It's the return (for one week at least) of Yet Another Friday Question! This week's question is:

Has there been a "WOW" comic yet in 2007?

We're already more that halfway through the year. Has a comic come out that's really made you stand up and take notice? That you can't stop telling people about?

For me, not really. Don't get me wrong, there have been some very good comics: Jeff Lemire's Tales from the Farm; a new volume of Yotsuba&!; a couple of issues of All-Star Superman; Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #12.

But nothing that's really Wowed me. Nothing on the order of Fun Home or We3 or Ganges yet.

Of course there's still 5 and a half months left in the year. And with all the comics coming out these days, I'm sure to have missed something really good.

So tell me: Has a comic come out this year that's Wowed you?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of July 2, 2007

Here's a list of the comics that we added to our library collection last week:

Chadwick, Paul (Paul H.) World below /Milwaukie, Or. : Dark Horse ; Enfield : Publishers Group UK [distributor], c2006.

Goff, Cindy. Tales from the heart /Brooklyn Center, Minn. : Entropy Enterprises, 1987- no. 1

Hurd, Damon. Temporary /Newburgh, N.Y. : Origin Comics, 2004- no. 1

Kochalka, James. Super f*ckers /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf, 2005- nos. 271, 277

Kouno, Fumiyo. Town of evening calm, country of cherry blossoms /San Francisco, Calif. : Last Gasp, 2006.

Kraatz, Rebecca. House of sugar /[Canada] : Tulip Tree Press, 2006.

Kupperman, Michael, 1966- Tales designed to thrizzle /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2005- no. 1

Lasko-Gross, Miss. Escape from "special" /Seattle : Fantagraphics, 2006.

Moebs, Chris. Taters and gators /Taylor, Mich. : Lefty Comics, 2004- no. 1

Richie Rich & Casper. /New York, N.Y. : Harvey Publications, 1974- nos. 9, 17

Roberts, Scott. Patty Cake & friends /San Jose, Calif. : SLG ; 2006.

Ryan, Johnny. Back in Bleck /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics ; London : Turnaround [distributor], 2007.

Sandlin, David, 1956- Swamp preacher /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2006. no. 1

Spain (Cartoonist) Subvert comics /San Francisco, Calif. : Rip Off Press, c1970- no. 1

Suburban high life. /San Jose, Ca. : Slave Labor Graphics no. 2

Superior showcase. /Richmond, Va. : AdHouse Books, 2006- no. 1

Takashige, Hiroshi. Striker : the armored warrior /San Francisco, Calif. : Viz Communications, c1992. nos. 1-4

Tales from the crypt (Prescott, Ariz.) Tales from the crypt. /Prescott, AZ : Gladstone Pub., c1990-1991. no. 1

Tales of the closet. /New York, NY : Hetrick-Martin Institute, 1987- nos. 7-8

Tomine, Adrian, 1974- Optic nerve. /Montreal, Que. : Drawn & Quarterly Publications, 1995- no. 11

Tytler, Cassandra. Relax baby /[Melbourne, Vic. : s.n., 199-?- ] nos. 1-2, 7

Quick Boom! Reviews

Two recent comics from Boom! Studios showcase the worst and best that the publisher has to offer.

Unfortunately, Warhammer: Forge of War #1 is a muddled mess. The story by Dan Abnett & Ian Edginton would appear to be about some sort of fantasy-era battle, flashing back to the minutes of preparation before the battle. But as a reader I could neither follow said battle nor did I care one whit about who the participants were. The art by Rahsan Ekedal is on the surface competent but lacking in any sort of fluidity or dynanism required of an issue-long battle scene. Perhaps this comic will make sense to a die-hard Warhammer fan, but I suspect that even they will find a better use of their $2.99.

On the other hand, Cover Girl #2 is a joy to read, even better than the first issue. Last time we were introduced to up-and-coming leading man Alex Martin, an actor who witnesses something he shouldn't and whose live is placed in jeopardy because of it. This time out we and Alex meet Rachel, Alex's new no-nonsense bodyguard, along with Rachel's partner Dwight. The story by Andrew Crosby and Kevin Church moves along at quick pace, the dialog crackles, and there's plenty of action, plot, and character to go around. The art by Mateus Santolouco and R. M. Yankowicz fits the script wonderfully, clear and dynamic with just the right touch of cartoonishness when needed. Here's a comic that not only gets the big things right but also the little things, such as introducing the characters by name within the first couple of pages and providing a recap of the previous issue that fits organically with the story in just a third of a page. And there's plenty of story here to make it $3.99 well spent.

Warhammer: Forge of War: 1.5 (of 5)
Cover Girl: 4 (of 5)

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New This Week in Brief: July 11, 2007

Pressed for time, so here's a shorter look at what's good on the comic shelves today:

Librarian comic book fans get a one-two punch of Showcase Presents Batgirl vol. 1—500+ pages of the original kick-ass comics librarian—and the first collected edition of Rex Libris—the latest kick-ass comics librarian—with more library-funny per page than any other publication ever.

Frank Miller & Dave Gibbons provide the long-awaited end to the Martha Washington saga with the Martha Washington Dies one-shot.

Samurai Commando Mission 1549
from DC/CMX looks interesting and I think it's only two volumes long. Bu tthen again it's seinen and nobody reads that, right?

Nexus returns after a long absence with issue #99.

The second NextWave hardcover comes out, just in case you're one of those who weren't buying it in floppy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lettering Flashback

Letterer extraordinaire Todd Klein has a basic how-to guide on his Website, and he talks about using an Ames Letter Guide:

Which caused me to flashback to high school drafting & architecture classes, where I made use of just such a guide extensivey. Although admitedly lettering was the weakest part of my drafting, I did have a legible print style, which 20 years later has atrophied into chicken scratch.

(link via Dirk)

Monday, July 09, 2007

While We Were Out...

SanctuaryYou all may have noticed that posting was very light this past week. That's because I was on vacation and decided to take a vacation from blogging as well.

Unfortunately we missed the latest comics blogosphere hysteria, the whole OMG Seinen isn't selling bruhaha. The initial reaction was that it's because the manga market is dominated by females, and isn't it tough/just that male comics fans now have to see what it's like to be in the consumer minority.

However, missing such things means that there's a chance for more rational thoughts to prevail. Jason Thompson rightly points out that it's not a girl-boy thing, but a teen-adult thing, as josei sells just as poorly as seinen. How the whole manga-targeted-to-males-don't-sell idea even got started is something of a mystery, since titles like Naruto and the monthly anthology Shonen Jump are among manga's best sellers. Chris Butcher also points out that, in comics stores, seinen actually sells quite well thank you very much; not surprising since the male 18-35 audience typically gets its comics fix in comics stores. In other words, when its audience can find it, seinen is being bought.

The issue that interests me in all of this is what happens to manga when its readership grows up? I see one of three possibilities:

1) It's like the US comics market pre-1980, when kids grow up, discover the gender of their choice, and leave manga behind, whilest at the same time new kids come in to take their place.

2) It's like the US comics market of the past 20 years, where the kids grow up into their 20s and 30s and want more of the same that they read as kids, just with more 'adult' content.

3) It's like comics markets in Japan (and other parts of the world), where people become lifelong comics/manga readers and new kids are constantly being added into the stream as well.

Obviously the best outcome is #3, as long as there's material available for all who are interested. #2 presents interesting challenges, especially if the manga publishers don't see it coming and keep on turning out kids manga for an audience that doesn't want it. #1 would be the most comfortable for the publishers, as they can continue with what they know works.

(I don't think that a fourth possibility, manga flames out in a few years, is very realistic at this point. Despite many early naysayers going on about how manga was just a flash-in-the-pan, it's become pretty clear that it's here to stay for a while.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Monkey Covers

Sky Ape: King of GirlsSunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Richard Jenkins draws the cover to 2006's Sky Ape: King of Girls #1.

(Standard disclaimer of the fact that, while an ape with a jetpack may be the third best idea ever in comics, it is not really a monkey.)

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

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of June 25, 2007

Here's a list of the comics we added to our library collection last week:

Benson, John. Confessions, romances, secrets and temptations : Archer St. John and St. John Romance Comics ; John Benson. /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, c2007.

Biblos. J-boy /Gardena, CA : Digital Manga Pub., 2006.

The boxing bucket /San Jose, Calif. : SLG Publishing, 2006.

Cossi, Paolo, 1980- Unabomber : romanzo a fumetti /Ponte di Piave (Treviso) : BeccoGiallo, 2005.

Dalrymple, Farel. Pop gun war /Freeport, NY : Cryptic Press, c2000- no. 1

Dupuy, 1960- Complete universe of Dupuy-Berberian / Philippe Dupuy, Charles Berberian. /Amsterdam : Oog & Blik, 2006.

Ellison, Harlan. Harlan Ellison's dream corridor. /Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse Comics, 1996- vol. 2

Falcinelli, Riccardo, 1973- Grafogrifo /Torino : Einaudi, 2004.

Frazetta, Frank. Shining Knight and other tales /New York : DC Comics, Inc. for Sea Gate Distributors, 1983.

Green, Grass. Sinnin' /Seattle, Wash. : Eros Comix, 1991. no. 1

Hemak, Sean. Pole Land /Almont, Mich. : Grand Rapids, Mich. : Xeno Press, 1998- no. 1

Holmes, Mike. The strange adventures /[Halifax, N.S.] : HFX Comics, [2002?]

Howarth, Matt, 1954- Das loot /Seattle, Wash. : Aeon, c1994.

Howlett, David. Scenester /[Halifax, N.S.] : HFX Comics, 2002- nos. 1-3

Kudō, Kazuya. Pineapple army /San Francisco, CA : Viz Communications, 1988-1989. nos. 1-10

Miss Lips. Snitch /[S.l. : s.n.], 2003- no. 1

Pop art funnies /Detroit, Mich. : MPH comics, [2004]- nos. 3-5

Pran. Pinki. /New Delhi, India : Diamond Comics, 199-?- no. 5

Pure. Pixy junket /San Francisco, CA : Viz Comics, c1993- nos. 1-6

Reactor girl. /[Guelph, Ont.] : Tragedy Strikes Press, [1990?]- vol. 2 no. 6

Real girl. /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 1990- nos. 1-4, 6

Redmond, Michael. Street poet Ray /New York, N.Y. : Marvel Comics, c1990. nos. 1-2

Renate. /Berlin : Renate, [1990?- ] nos. 2, 4-10, 12-14

River würst comics. /[Milwaukee, WI : s.n., 2002-2004] nos. 3-4

The Rocky Horror picture show : the comic book /Westland, Mich. : Caliber Press, 1990-1991. nos. 1-3

Sad Sack and the sarge. /Sparta, Ill. : Harvey Hits, 1957-1982. no. 117

Sad Sack laugh special. /Meriden, Conn. : Harvey Publications, 1958-1977. no. 83

Sad Sack with Sarge and Sadie. /New York, N.Y. : Harvey Hits, 1972-1973. no. 3

Sandlin, David, 1956- Wonderfool world. /Kilkenny, Ireland : Butler Gallery, 2006.

Smith, Sean. Self-centered comics /[Halifax, N.S. : s.n., 200-?- ] no. 5

Stephens, Jay. Sin / by Jason Stephens.Guelph, Ont. : Tragedy Strikes Press, 1992-1993. nos. 1-3, 5

Stephens, Jay. Sin comics / by Jay Stephens.Cambridge, Ont. : Black Eye Productions, 1993. nos. 1-2

Stereoscomic /Pontault-Combault, France : Alban Rautenstrauch, [1999]- no. 3

Steudler, Joel. The rabid monkey /Pittsburgh, PA : D.B.I. Comics, nos. 1-8

Takemiya, Keiko, 1950- To terra -- /New York : Vertical, 2007- vol. 1

Valentino, Serena. Nightmares & fairy tales /San Jose, Calif. : SLG Publishing, c2004- vol. 1

Walton, Rob Ragmop. /Toronto : Big Bang, 2006.

Wighton, Tamara. Re: vulva girl /Melbourne, Australia : Strap On Productions, 1999- no. 1