Friday, November 30, 2007

The Simpsons on Hulu

I've now got a Hulu beta account, so here's "Husbands & Knaves," the recent episode of The Simpsons that featured Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman & Dan Clowes as The League of Extraordinary Freelancers (complete with ads).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New This Week: November 29, 2007

New comics arrive Thursday this week, I guess because Thanksgiving was last week? No, it doesn't make sense to me either.

Boom! have a trade collection of their rather enjoyable Talent mini. While the story by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski reads like the pilot for a television series, it's a rather good one, and the art from Paul Azaceta works well. (I reviewed issues #1, #2, #3-4.)

There's a third collection of Eric Shanower's retelling of the Trojan War, Age of Bronze. I haven't finished the second one yet, which means I'm a good-for-nothing slacker.

The first Popgun anthology is 400 full-color pages of stories from some nifty comics creators; a good bargain which some very likely good stories within.

DC have the third collection of Douglas Rushkoff's Testament, a comic which seems so tailored to my reading interests that it's no surprise that hardly anyone else is reading it; and Garth Ennis's Midnighter: Killing Machine, which I thought was good for what it was, and has art from the always-nifty Chris Sprouse.

Speaking of Ennis, he and Gary Erskine resurrect Dan Dare for Virgin Comics. (Last resurrected by Grant Morrison & Rian Hughes, so they have a lot to live up to.)

Other floppies of interest include Casanova (#11), Madman Atomic Comics (#5), Jack of Fables (#17), and All Star G-dd-amm Batman and Robin (#8)

Tons of manga this week, though not from the usual suspects (although Viz have a handful), but rather from Seven Seas, NetComics, Digital Manga, Del Rey and Dark Horse. And Fanfare/Ponent Mon have Ice Wanderer, a collection of six man vs. nature stories by the master manga-ka Jiro Taniguchi.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why Isn't Previews Free Online?

Why isn't Diamond's Previews catalog available online for free? Seriously, they could just create a PDF file from the InDesign (or whatever program they use) file and let people download it. Sure it would be a large PDF, but so what? Then more comics and graphic novels would get exposed to those who don't get the paper version, and people who never set foot in a comic store may find something they like. Most comic stores I know of either provide Previews for free to their regular customers, or sell them at cost; so they could save on shipping charges by not having to get multiple boxes of the print version. Seems like a win-win-win situation to me.

(Of course, the information from Previews is already out there each month from the various online comic shops; but a PDF version provided by Diamond would I think be more user-friendly.)

New Library Comics: Week of November 19, 2007

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

Cohen, Michael, 1950- Strange attractors / Bellingham, Wash. : RetroGrafix, 1993-1997. no. 8

Moore, Terry. Strangers in paradise / Houston, TX : Abstract Studio, c1994- nos. 5, 8

Oakley, Mark, 1970- Thieves & kings / Toronto : I Box Pub., 1994- nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10

Smith, Jeff, 1960 Feb. 27- Bone / Worthington, Ohio : Cartoon Books, 1992 nos. 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 19

Smith, Jeff, 1960 Feb. 27- Bone holiday special / [Lombard, IL : Warrior Publications], c1993.

Smith, Jeff, 1960 Feb. 27- Bone sourcebook. / Anaheim, CA : Image Comics, 1995-

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New This Week: November 21, 2007

While last week saw the release of some great OGNs, this week is the Week of the Floppy at your local comics store.

Topping the list is the first issue of Angel: After the Fall, the officially blessed Angel Season 6 comic. If this sees even half the sales of Dark Horse's Buffy continuation, it will probably be IDW's best-selling comic ever.

Pulling in at a close second is the latest issue of my favorite romantic comedy super-hero comic, Thom Zahler's Love & Capes (#6).

Matt Wagner returns to his most famous creation, Grendel, in the first issue of Grendel: Behold the Devil.

Also in new issues are the librarian sci-fi/fantasy/action/humor comic Rex Libris (#9); The first issue of the ongoing Hawaiian Dick; Groo: Hell on Earth (#2); Ex Machina #32; Castle Waiting II (#9); Gødland (#20); Captain America (#32); and Powers (#27).

So go grab yourself some comic books, and spend the four-day weekend reading your favorite stories!

Friday, November 16, 2007

YAFQ: Do You De-Bone Your Comics?

Last week when I ranted about Marvel's extra ad pages I mentioned without explaining a process that I call de-boning. So what exactly is de-boning?

You know how your magazines usually come with one or two (or more) cardstock inserts (usually subscription cards) that bridge the saddle? I find it very hard to read with that cardstock flopping up, so I tear them out.

I do the same thing to my comics, and not just the occasional cardstock insert. I take out those bound-in eight-page advertainment comic-like things too.

When DC adds extra ad pages, it's usually in the form of an extra four-page signature that's bound in; it quite often is of a slightly different paper quality, and you can tell by the fact that each of the four pages has an ad. I rip those out too. I can slim a DC comic down to its natural 32-page size.

One of the reason why I hate it when Marvel adds extra ad pages is that hey do it in such a way that you can't be-done the comic without tearing out story pages; a sheet will have three ad pages and one story page on it. Boo.

I know that some people would be shocked and horrified at this, as the comic is no longer near-mint or whatever. I decided that I don't really care; I buy comics for reading, not collecting, and it's easier to read without extra ads in the way.

So, after that long explanation, my Yet Another Friday Question to you is this:

Do you de-bone your comics?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Empty Graphic Novel Shelves

The comics & graphic novels shelves are empty, because Google has come to take them away for scanning. (They'll be back in a week or so.) Not sure how much useful they'll be having been scanned; they cannot be presented online because they're under copyright, and I imagine that the OCR for searching on the hand lettering in most comics will be hit-or-miss.

Digitization in Progress

Empty Graphic Novel Shelves

Empty Calvin & Hobbes Box

(For info on the Google Scanning and the Michigan Digitization Project, see

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New This Week: November 14, 2007: Best Week Ever!

We have a new Best New Comics Week Ever!

I previously declared March 29, 2006 as the Best New Comics Week ever, but I think that this week supercedes it.

At the very top of the list is Zombies Calling, the debut graphic novel from Faith Erin Hicks. Back in May I declared my enthusiasm for this comic based on the preview pages I'd seen, and now it's finally here! You may think you're burned out on zombie comics, but ZC looks to be a fun take on an old trope.

Many have expressed great enthusiasm for Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim, so if you're one of those people I suspect you'll be awfully excited that the fourth volume, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, is out this week from Oni.

Oni also have the new Courtney Crumrin and the Fire Thief's Tale from Ted Naifeh. Naifeh's Courtney Crumrin is one of the best comics starring a kid ever, and can be enjoyed fully by readers of all stripes.

Also also from Oni is the eigth (and for the time being final) volume in Greg Rucka's Queen and Country series, Operation Red Panda.

Also hitting stores (at least in the U.S.) is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, the long awaited OGN from Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neil. Despite all the drama involved in this comic's production, it's sure to be a good read.

Are you looking for a comic with plenty of smashing? The finale of World War Hulk (#5) finally arrives. And if you want your super-hero action a bit less angsty, Marvel obliges with the fourth Marvel Adventures The Avengers digest, collecting Jeff Parker's final issues.

You want even more great comics? There's a new issue of Morrison & Quitely's All Star Superman (#9), which is always worth the wait. Also from DC is a collection of Morrison's JLA: Ultramarines, as well as new collections of Ex Machina (vol. 6) and Jonah Hex: Origins; plus a Showcase Presents volume for Sgt. Rock!

There's plenty of other good stuff as well, including large batches of manga from TokyoPop and Viz. So rush out to your friendly local comic store and be prepared to part with some cash in exchange for some fine entertainment!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Library Comics: Week of November 5, 2007

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

DeMatteis, J. M. Seekers into the mystery / New York : DC Comics, 1996-1997. nos. 3-5

Grist, Paul. Kane / England : Dancing Elephant Press, c1993- nos. 3-8

Pope, Paul. THB / Columbus, Ohio : Horse Press, c1994- nos. 1-5

Pulgarcito. Barcelona : Editorial Bruguera. nos. 154-155

Shrigley, David. Let's wrestle / San Francisco, CA : Chronicle Books, 2007.

The Starjongleur collection. Portland, Or. : Trylvertrell Press, 1986- nos. 1-2

TBO (Barcelona, Spain) TBO : almanaque humorĂ­stico. Barcelona : Ediciones TBO, nos. 1966, 1969, 1972, 1980

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Cover by Joe Kubert from Our Army at War #297.

(Veterans Day was technically yesterday, but we're honoring it on Monday, just like the post office and the banks.)

Sunday, November 11, 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.

Tarzan fights some kind of monkey/ape thing on the cover of Tip Top Comics #47.

(Standard disclaimer about monkey/ape things possibly not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Friday, November 09, 2007


LA Times has a feature story about Disney's upcoming Enchanted, along with a video clip from the movie featuring Amy Adams singing "That's How You Know."

I was on the fence about his movie, but after seeing the clip I'm totally in. Sure, one look at the trailer and you can figure out exactly how the movie is going to play out, but it's got big all-singing all-dancing musical numbers in Central Park!

Gun-toting Yotsuba&! Netflix wha...?!

Originally uploaded by edcool1
Stumbled across this weird flickr photoset, featuring a gun-toting Yotsuba&! toy and a Netflix envelope. Bizarre...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I swear Marvel, if you keep doing this crap I'm going to stop buying your floppies

Notice anything about many of your Marvel comics this week. They're thicker! No, Marvel didn't give you extra pages of story, they gave you extra pages of ads.

For example, Astonishing X-Men increased from 32 to 48 pages (not counting covers). Those 48 pages are:

1 'previously on' page
23 pages of story
18 pages of ads
6 pages of dubious editorial material

Basically the thing is half advertising.

Why do I care? After all, they didn't raise the price, so I'm still getting the same story value for my $2.99.

One, the plethora of ads really breaks up the flow of the story. It's often a page of story, then a page of ads, then a page of story, then three pages of ads. (Unlike when DC ads an extra insert of advertising, you cannot 'debone' the Marvel comics of their extra bulk.) So why not just wait for the trade, where I can read the story uninterrupted by advertising?

Two, the extra-thick comics add up to extra bulk. 50% more. That 50% more weight that your retailer has to pay in shipping, which eats into his/her profits. Retailers raised holy heck before when Marvel did this, and Marvel promised to knock it off. Guess they forgot.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New This Week: November 7, 2007

What looks good at the comic shop this week?

The Middleman: The Third Volume Inescapability is a new OGN from Javier Grillo-Marxuach & Les McClaine. The first two volumes (released as mini-series) were a good deal of fun with plenty of action, so this should be good too.

I'm a huge fan of Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsuba&!, but I've never really warmed to her earlier comic, Azumanga Daioh. However, many other people have, so if you're looking to give it a try, ADV has a massive omnibus edition collecting the first three volumes.

Lots of manga from both Viz and TokyoPop (nothing that particularly excites me, but YYMV).

Dark Horse makes a bid for your pocketbook with a new issue of Buffy (#8); the first issue of the new Groo mini, Hell on Earth; and a new volume of Eden: It's an Endless World (vol. 9).

Marvel send new issues of Astonishing X-Men (#23) and Criminal (#10) your way.

Enjoy your new comics!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Comic Blog Popularity Contest

I've always been a bit too fascinated by Website statistics. Waaay back in the mid-90s (an eternity in Internet years) I wrote one of the first programs for doing transaction log analysis of Web server logs.

So of course I obsessively pour over my blog statistics.

I always figured I was on the third tier of comics blogs in terms of readership. The first tier being the blogs that nearly everyone reads, namely Dirk, Tom & Heidi. The second tier being those who have been around for a while and who post either long, highly entertaining posts or who blog frequently, like Mike and Chris1 and Johanna and Dave and others. The third tier being schmoes like me who have been at this for a while but who don't post every day. There's probably a fourth tier as well, mostly those bloggers who are just getting started and who haven't found a readership yet.

Based on the stats I get--and let's be clear, Web stats are an imprecise science at best--I figure that I have about 300 regular readers, and another 250 or so a day who come at me from random linkage2 or Google searches3. So put my total daily-ish readership at 550 people more or less.

In a post today, Johanna reveals that she gets over 3,555 readers a day, which puts her an order of magnitude higher than me and confirms my supposition that she's in a higher 'tier' of the comics blogosphere than me.

So, anyone else want to reveal their comics blog readership numbers?

1 Man, if I worked in a comic shop, I'd no doubt have no end of things to blog about!

2 Getting linked to by ¡Journalista! or When Fangirls Attack or Mangablog is a surefire way to pump up one's blog stats for a day or two.

3 Seriously, if you ever want to get a permanent boost to your Google search stats, write a post titled "Girls in Mini Skirts Kicking People" and get it linked to by Dirk; your Google page rank will soar!

Sunday, November 04, 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.

Peter Cannon — Thunderbolt! battles in the Ape Arena on the cover to Secrets of the Unknown #229. That's right: The Ape Arena! I love comics!

(Standard disclaimer about apes in arenas not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Librarians and Other TV News

ITEM! A writers' strike is looking imminent, and it appears that the first casualty is the Heroes: Origins series, as NBC needs to free up the budget money for non-scripted programming (i.e. crappy reality programs).

ITEM! One quote I read about the upcoming strike (I forget from whom and where) was that "a lot of novels are going to get written." With the number of writers from television moving into comics these days, I suspect there will be a lot of comics scripts written too; who knows, maybe this'll mean that Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk finally gets finished!

ITEM! Despite the troubles, FOX has greenlit a new series from Joss Whedon starring Eliza Dushku called Dollhouse for probably the 2008 season (unless the strike is still going on...) Reportedly Tim Minear will be involved too. Hmm, Minear + FOX = Cancelled within four episodes, so don't get too attached.

ITEM! Not really comics or television, but related to both, is the news that a new X-Files movie will begin shooting in December for a Summer 2008 release.

ITEM! And from a land (Australia) where there is no strike looming: I've always thought that a public library would be a perfect setting for a television comedy, and finally someone agrees with me! Yesterday marked the debut of The Librarians, a six-episode series on ABC (That's the Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Of course you can't see it on the telly outside of Australia, but for the time being you can go to the ABC Website and watch the pilot episode in YouTube-like-quality streaming video. It's not a laugh-a-minute sitcom, but rather a workplace comedy in the humour mode of the UK version of The Office. There were also some great background gags, and those of you who have worked in libraries will recognize the characters who work at the fictitious library, no matter which country you are from.