Thursday, June 30, 2005

Also New This Week

In my New This Week for this week, I totally forgot to mention the collection of Don Rosa's The Life and Times of $crooge McDuck from Gladstone, for no better reason than I skipped over it on the NCRL.

I also neglected to mention Jane Smith Fisher & Kirsten Petersen's WJHC: On the Air collection from Wilson Place Comics, because it wasn't even on the NCRL, but it showed up in my big box-o-comics from DCBS today anyway.

Death of a Comic Book Store

At the end of business today, The Underworld, which up until recently was my LCS of choice, will close its doors for the last time.

Earlier this year I rather publically aired on this blog the reasons why I was dissatisfied with the changes that the store was making and was thus taking my main comic buying business elsewhere (although I still continued to shop there from time to time, especially for gaming needs). I suspect that I wasn't the only one. Although the reason given to me by the manager for the closing was that the landlord was hiking the rent and they couldn't afford to stay in their current location nor could they find another suitable place in town for a reasonable price, I suspect also that there was a downturn in business due to their eliminating the subscriber discount and cutting back on the breadth of comic offerings.

Back in the boom days of the early 90s, there were four comics stores in Ann Arbor, with two more in neighboring Ypsilanti. For years I had been a loyal customer of Dave's Comics, but when they suddenly closed their doors (due to the landlord raising rents past their ability to stay--I'm sensing a pattern here...) I switched over to The Underworld. With the closing of The Underworld today, that will leave just one comic store here in Ann Arbor (the rather good but very inconveniently located indy-focused Vault of Midnight*) and another in Ypsilanti (the front-of-the-catalog Stadium Cards & Comics).

Of course, the big change is that bookstores these days have a wider manga & graphic novel selection than most comic stores. Ann Arbor is the home to the Borders book chain, and we have two Borders stores and a B&N as well, plus several independent bookstores and a plethora of used bookstores (I read somewhere once that Ann Arbor has more bookstores per capita than anyplace else in the world). Bookstores are now the outlet of choice for the casual comic reader, leaving comic specialty stores to fight over the constantly dwindling pool of hardcore comic buyers. (There's also a store in town that specializes in Japanese pop-culture merchandise that caries a healthy stock of manga titles.) While it's sad to see yet another comic store close, I see it as yet another indication fo the shift to a bookstore-oriented GN/collection based consumption model of comics in this country. It used to be that when a comic store closed in an area those comic consumers would be left in a lurch, but with bookstores and the Internet picking up the slack it's no longer the tragedy it once was.

So what course for a local comic store these days? To compete, a comic store has to offer quality service and a deep & broad selection. Ordering from the front of the catalog and sitting around playing Magic (or Yu-Gi-Oh or whatever) all day isn't going to pay the rent. Good comic stores will survive by being the place where those readers who encounter comics in libraries and bookstores will go to find the things they can't get elsewhere, and receive a level of service from a knowledgable staff which knows more about comics than the clerk at the local big box bookstore chain.

But back to me...

Like a buzzard circling a soon-to-be-carcas, I stopped by The Underworld yesterday to pick over their everything-must-go sale. Non-Marvel/DC GNs were going for 80% off, so I picked up about $375 of product for about $75, most of which will either get given away as gifts or donated to the library collection. It's amazing the stuff that I'm willing to buy at 80% off, and equally amazing all the stuff which I wasn't willing to buy even at 80% off.

(* for anyone wondering, our library has been buying the majority of our comics for our new collection through Vault of Midnight.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Adventures of Superman on DVD has all the details about the release of the first season of Adventures of Superman on DVD on October 18. This is the classic television show from the 1950s that starred George Reeves as the Man of Steel. It also includes the full-length feature Superman and the Mole Men that introduced Reeves in the role.

We here at YACB Central are quite stoked. (Do the kids even say 'stoked' these days?) Despite having been born nearly 20 years after the show first aired, we remember watching it in afternoon reruns as a kid. Yes, the production values weren't great, but it was a daily dose of Superman! Now we all can relive the nostalgia.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New This Week: June 29, 2005

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 Penny & Aggie #1 by T Campbell and Gisele Lagace--yes, it's an Alias book. I really liked Campbell & Lagace's now-defunct Cool Cat Studio, so I have high hopes for their new project, which appears to be told in the form of Sunday strips. (There's also an online comic, but this print version I think is all-new material.)

In other comics:

About comics have a new issue of Nat Gertler's Licensable Bear (#2).

Antarctic have the second issue of Oz: The Manga.

Ape Entertainment have Go Go Gorilla & Jungle Crew Summer Special--you can't go wrong with monkeys!

Checker have a trade collection of the old Topps X-Files comics.

DC debut the Moore/Moore/Repion reworking of old British super-heroes that no one else remembers in Albion #1. There's a trade collection of Matt Wagner's Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman: Trinity; an eigth collection of Lucifer; the Authority Lobo Spring Break Massacre one-shot; and new issues of City of Tomorrow (#3), Hellblazer (#209), JLA Classified (#9), The Losers (#25), The OMAC Project (#3), Planetary (#23), Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight (#3), Solo (#5), and Wonder Woman (#217).

Del Rey have the first volume of a new manga series, Perfect Day for Love Letters (sounds like Shojo!); and the latest volumes of Negima (vol. 6), Othello (vol. 4), and Wallflower (#4).

FC9 have the debut issues of Genie and Hell, Michigan. Yes, there really is a town named Hell here in MI. We also have a town named Paradise--sort of balances it all out.

Hyperion have the first volume of Disney's W.I.T.C.H. manga (although mine arrived last week...)

IDW debut Angel: The Curse and have the second volume of The Complete Jon Sable, Freelance.

Image have Jimmie Robinson's Avigon: Gods & Demons GN.

Kenzer & Co. have a new issue of Knights of the Dinner Table (#104).

Kyle Baker Publishing have the debut of Kyle Baker's Nat Turner biography.

Marvel have the debut issue of X-Men: Kitty Pride: Shadow & Flame (Paul Smith art!) and new issues of Machine Teen (#2) and Runaways (#5).

Viz have the seventh volume of the second edition of Fushigi Yugi.

Plenty of good stuff this week. Happy reading!

Runaways Contest Reminder

There are less than four days left in the YACB Runaways Contest. Entries are due by 11:59 pm EDT this Friday (July 1).

Response has been pretty underwhelming so far, so at this point your chances of winning are pretty good. But you have to enter to win...

King Kong

I had huge reservations about Peter Jackson's King Kong remake, but the trailer reveals a Giant Monkey vs. a Tyranasaurus Rex. I'm so there!

Monday, June 27, 2005

New Library Comics: Week of June 20, 2005

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Abel, Jessica. La Perdida : by Jessica Abel.Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c2001- no. 2

Abel, Jessica. Soundtrack : short stories 1989-1996 /Seattle : Fantagraphics Books, c2001.

B., David, 1959- Epileptic /New York : Pantheon Books, c2005.

Bagge, Peter. Buddy bites the bullet /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, 2001.

Bagge, Peter. Buddy's got three moms /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 1999.

Burns, Charles. Black hole /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphic Books, 2002-2004. no. 1-12

Chadwick, Paul. Salimba : deluxe graphic novel /El Cajon, Calif. : Blackthorne, 1989.

Cooper, Dave (David Charles) Crumple : the status of Knuckle /Seattle : Fantagraphics, c2000.

Crumb, R. The complete Crumb /Seattle : Fantagraphics Books, [1987?]- v.8

French, Renee. The soap lady /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf Productions, Inc., 2001.

Gauld, Tom. Move to the city /Geneve : Bulb Comix, 2004.

Gregory, Roberta. A bitch is born /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 1996.

Gregory, Roberta. As naughty as she wants to be! /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 1995.

Gregory, Roberta. Bitchy's college daze /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 1997.

Griffith, Bill, 1944- Are we having fun yet? : Zippy the Pinhead's 29 day guide to random activities and arbitrary donuts /Seattle : Fantagraphics Books, 1994.

Hart, Tom. Collected Hutch Owen /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, 2000-

Hernandez satyricon /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Book, 1997.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Blood of Palomar /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c2002.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Chelo's burden /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2001.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Duck feet /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c2002.

Hernandez, Gilbert. House of raging women /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2002.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Luba conquers the world /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 1996.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Luba in America /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, c2001.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Poison river /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics, 1997.

Hernandez, Jaime. Chester Square /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, c1996.

Hernandez, Jaime. Flies on the ceiling /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2003.

Hernandez, Jaime. Las mujeres perdidas /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c1990.

Hernandez, Jaime. Wigwam bam /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 2001.

Ito, Junji, 1922- Uzumaki. San Francisco, CA : Viz Communications, 2002, c1998. v.2-3

Jodorowsky, Alexandro. The white lama /Hollywood, CA : Humanoids Pub., c2000. v.1

Kochalka, James. American elf : the collected sketchbook diaries of James Kochalka, October 26, 1998 to December 31, 2003 /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, c2004.

Kochalka, James. Magic Boy & the robot elf /Marietta, Georgia : Top Shelf Productions, 2003.

Kochalka, James. Monkey vs. Robot and the crystal of power /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, 2003.

Kochalka, James. Pinky & Stinky /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, c2002.

Kochalka, James. The perfect planet & other stories /Marietta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, 1999.

Kominsky, Aline. The complete dirty laundry comics : a true family comic strip /[San Francisco : Last Gasp of San Francisco], 1993.

Kuper, Peter, 1958- Topsy turvy /New York, NY : Eye Press ; Marietta, GA : Distributed by Top Shelf Productions, c2000.

Leo Nuevo rodeo. Marseille : Le Dernier Cri, 2005.

Moebius, 1938- Icaro /New York : Ibooks ; London : Simon & Schuster, 2003-2004. v.1-2

Sacco, Joe. Notes from a defeatist /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2003.

Scheibner, Reinhard. Lino-metal : compilation gravures /Marseille : Dernier Cri, [2002?]

Takahashi, Rumiko, 1957- Maison ikkoku /San Francisco, CA : Viz Comics, c1993- v.1-9

Tezuka, Osamu, 1928-1989. Nextworld /Milwaukie, OR : Dark Horse Manga, 2003- v.1-2

Tezuka, Osamu, 1928-1989. Phoenix /San Francisco, CA : Viz, c2003- v.1, 2, 4, 5

Tyler, Carol. The job thing /Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 1993.

Ware, Chris, 1967- Quimby the mouse /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books ; New York : Distributed by W.W. Norton, c2003.

(I warned you that there were going to be a lot!)

As a reminder, there are just 5 days remaining in the YACB Runaways Contest...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Monkey Covers

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

From January 1974 it's Jungle Twins #8: "Tono and Kono confront a fearsome fugitive from the gorilla cult of Dr. Strangekind!" What more could you ask for out of a comic?

(standard disclaimer about gorillas not really being monkeys applies)

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

Friday, June 24, 2005

Runaways Contest!

It's time for a new contest here at YACB!

I'm giving away two prize packages related to Marvel's acclaimed Runaways series by Brian K. Vaughan & Adrian Alphona:

The Grand Prize is all three volumes of the Runaways digests, collecting all 18 issues of the first volume of the series.

Second Prize is the first six issues of the first Runaways series (the ones that are collected in the first digest).

What do you have to do to enter? It's simple:

In the series, a group of kids discover that their parents are secretly super-villains. To enter the YACB Runaways contest, just email me a paragraph addressing the topic: If your parents were super-villains, which super-villains would they be, and why? (Please put 'Runaways Contest' in your email subject.)

Fine Print: Deadline for entries is next Friday, July 1st, at 11:59 pm EDT. Due to postage costs, only U.S. and Canada residents are eligible. The decision of the judge (me) is final. Only one entry per person. Your name and entry may be used on this blog when the contest winners are announced.

So what are you waiting for? Enter today!

Super Manga Linkblogging Love Go!

So you want to know the latest news and commentary in the world of manga, but don't have time to go through all the news sites and message boards and blogs and whatnot? Then check out the fine work of Pata at Irresponsible Pictures and David Taylor at Love Manga, where high quality manga links are presented for your edification and enjoyment.

Also in manga-blog-land, David Welsh (writer of the weekly Flipped column at Comic World News) blogs frequently and intelligently about manga at Precocious Curmudgeon, and Johanna of Cognitive Dissonance does a lot of good manga reviewing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

New This Week: June 22, 2005

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 the debut issue of Viz's new anthology, Shojo Beat. It's hundreds of pages of girl-friendly manga for the price of just two House of M or Infinite Crisis crossover comics--you should at least give it a try.

In other comics:

Aeon have the final issue of Matt Howarth's Bugtown (#6).

Alias actually have some second issues: Deal with the devil, Judo Girl, Killer Stunts, and Lethal Instinct.

Antarctic have the Heaven Sent Stand Alone Special and Fred Perry's last issue of his Ninja High School arc (#129).

APC debut three series: Dark Mists, Gloom, and Lexian Chronicles Full Circle.

Dark Horse have the debut of Hellboy: The Island, a trade of Steve Rude's The Moth, and new volumes of What's Michael (vol. 10) and Little Lulu (vol. 4).

DC have the debut of a new Astro City maxi-series, The Dark Age, and the debut of the rather unnecessary adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (read the book or watch the video instead!) They also have new issue's of Legion of Super-Heroes (#7), Otherworld (#4), and Teen Titans. Lots of Batman stuff too--you'd think there's a movie out or something...

IDW have the penultimate issue of Grimjack: Killer Instinct (#5).

Image have a new issue of Noble Causes (#11) and a third paperback collection of Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows strip.

Marvel have the second issue of House of M, along with many crossover comics, and new issues of Captain America (#7), Spellbinders (#4), Supreme Power (#17), and Ultimate X-Men (#60).

NBM have the second volumes of their Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew OGNs.

Shuck Comics have the first issue of Shuck: The Sulfurstar.

TokyoPop have a gaggle of new manga volumes, including the debut of the rock-n-roll manga Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad.

That's it for this week. As always, plenty of comics, no matter your tastes!

Germans Also Love The Manga

Article from Expatica (an online magazine for English-speaking ex-pats in Germany):

Manga Mania

"The cult Japanese 'manga' comics have conquered Germany, with fans spending hundreds of euros a month on comics and dressing up as their heroes at conventions. Yuriko Wahl looks at the craze."

Replace the names and places, and you'd have exactly the same kind of article that appears in the American press whenever a reporter 'discovers' The Manga.

(link via the Comix Scholars email list)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Monkey Covers

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

From 1969's Iron Man #15, artists George Tuska & Frank Giacoia bring us ol' shell-head facing off against the Red Ghost's Super Apes.

(standard disclaimer about apes not really being monkeys applies)

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

Friday, June 17, 2005

Previews-o-Rama part 2: The Middle

We continue now with the second half of our monthly stroll through the lastest Previews for items scheduled to come out in August (loosely defined...)

Aardvark-Vanaheim & Win-Mill continue with issue #5 of Following Cerebus, this time looking at the role of editors in creating graphic novels.

Active Images has Joe Kelly & Ilya's Ballast One-Shot, about a contarct killer who goes to work for God.

Amazingly, Alias has decided to stop launching new series. They do have new issues of Penny & Aggie (#4), Opposite Forces (#2), and David: Shepherd's Song (#2), as well as collections of two series that initially appeared when they were publishing through Image: Imaginaries, vol. 1: Lost & Found; and Lullaby, vol. 1: Wisdom Seeker.

AiT/PlanetLAR has a third volume of Mike Brennan's Electric Girl, with over 50% all-new material!

ADV has the third volume of the badass highschool manga parody Cromartie High School.

Rex-Libris #1: "I, Librarian"--a gun- & dictionary-toting librarian who fights evil gods and powerful alien warlords. It's from James Turner & Amae Ink/Slave Labor; how could I possibly pass this up?

Judging by the sample pages, APC's Abiding Perdition looks kind of interesting...

Several interesting things from Antarctic this month: in addition to new issues of Gold Digger (#67), Ninja High School (#131), and Oz: The Manga (#3), there are collections of Rod Espinosa's Chronicles of the Universe: Desperado Brothers & Ben Dunn's Mighty Tiny, a well-done furry comic; MetaDocs, a one-shot about doctors who treat super-heroes from Joe Dunn (M.D.) and Rod Espinosa; and the debut of Jasen Lex's Science Fair.

Arcana has the sixth issue of 100 Girls.

Archie has a new issue of Tania Del Rio's Sabrina (#69).

Checker have a collection of Theodor Geisel's pre-Dr. Suess work: Theodor Seuss Geisel: Early Works, vol. 1

Boom! have a colorized version of Keith Giffen's classic The March Hare one-shot.

A new issue of Dave Roman & John Green's Quicken Forbidden comes out so rarely I usualyl think that it's cancelled, but Crytic Press have issue #13 this month.

D.E. have the first volume of Carlos Trillo & Eduardo Risso's Borderline. I've never cared much for Trillo's writing, but Risso's art is always worth a look.

Devil's Due continue to think that the 80's toy-based comic craze is still in full swing, as they debut G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes: Declassified.

Del Rey have two new manga series: Gacha Gacha & Love Roma; I'd love to be able to tell you more about them, but the descriptions in Previews are so generic as to be worthless.

Drawn & Quarterly have a third issue of Kevin Huizenga's Or Else, the comic where each issue is a different size & shape! Issue #2 was really good though, so this next issue is undoubtedly worth a look.

Fantagraphics go in a somewhat unexpected direction and start up a hardcover reprint series of Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace. They also have a Jessica Abel interview in The Comics Jornal #270.

Gemstone's Donald Duck and Friends #331 & Uncle Scrooge #345 both have Carl Barks stories.

Girl Twirl have a new printing of the first Jane's World collection.

GT Labs has Bone Sharps, Cowboys & Thunder Lizards--I gave out 50 free copies of the FCBD preview, so now you're all primed to go buy this, right? They also have a companion book, a previously unpublished autobiography of dinosaur illustrator Charles R. Knight, with illustrations by Mark Schultz (I saw the pencil roughs a couple of months back, and they were looking good.)

I Box have a new issue of Mark Oakley's Thieves & Kings (#47)--is this book back on a quarterly schedule yet?

Graphix/Scholastic have a new OGN from Chynna Clugston: Queen Bee (I wonder what happened to the -Major?)

Warning: Snarky Political Comment ahead:
Heroic Publishing's Flare Adventures #1 features the League of Champions "on a mission... to prevent President Bush from being replaced by an evil demonic duplicate." How exactly would one be able to tell the difference? (C'mon, man, the joke was just lying there--I had to make it!)

IDW have Spike: Old Times, a one-shot written by Peter David--overpriced but I'll probably get it anyway, fanboy that I am. They also have a trade collection of Desperadoes: Banners of Gold, and The Complete Mars collection the entire classic First Comics series by Mark Hempel & Marc Wheatley.

Komikwerks have a new anthology, Thrills & Chills, nicely priced to compete with manga.

Peter David pops up again, this time writing Moonstone's Kolchak Tales: Black & White & Red All Over one-shot.

NBM collect the first three issues of Zorro in a pocket-sized trade.

Oni have the secon dissue of Banana Sundays (monkeys!); Lola, a graphic novella from J. Torres & R'John Bernales; and a second collected volume of Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures by J. Torres & J. Bone.

Renaissance Press finally have a new issue of Jimmy Gownley's Amelia Rules (#14)--resolicited, of course.

Serve Man Press have a collection of Sean Wang's sci-fi adventure series, Runners: Bad Goods.

Puffin have two new adaptations of classic literature in a manga-shaped package: Treasure Island and The Wizard of Oz.

Titan Publishing have Star Trek Comic Classics volume 1: To Boldly Go, a collection of the first six issues of DC's first Star Trek comic series from 1984, by Mike W. Barr, Tom Sutton & Ricardo Villigran. While not quite as good as Peter David's later work on the title, these issues, set improbably between Star Trek II & Star Trek III, were actually pretty good.

Speakeasy have a colelction of Jamie Delano's old Vertigo series, 2020 Visions, with artists Frank Quitely, Steve Pugh, Warren Pleece & James Romberger in tow. Their new series, Rocketo by Frank Espinosa, also looks promising.

Look at all those TokyoPop books! This month's OEL manga debut is War on Flesh, a zombie story by Greg Hildebrandt, Justin Boring, and Tim Smith. Also debuting is Girls Bravo, a 'harem manga' (I'm a bit disturbed that there's now a term for that...); and Off Beat!, a shonen ai series about a 15-year-old genius. Also, Shobei Manabe's existential horror series Dead End returns with a third volume, and OEL manga Van Von Hunter returns for a second volume.

Top Shelf make a series stab for your wallet with Tricked, Alex Robinson's new OGN; and Aaron Reiner's Spiral Bound OGN. They also have the first two Owly valumes available for re-order, just in case you missed them before.

Viz have a lot of new volumes of their same stuff; nothing new really stands out, and you pretty much know by now which of the regular stuff you like by now.

Hiding way back in the Books section is Larry Gonick's The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry (with Craig Criddle), which has actually been out in regular bookstores for a while now. I've only read the first couple of chapters, but so far it looks like the same high quality learning & fun as his previous Cartoon Guides.

Also hiding back in the book section is the third collection of the Unshelved online comic strip: Library Mascot Cage Match. It's a fun comic strip about what goes on in a public library--funny stuff!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

New Library Comics: Week of June 6, 2005

Here are the comics we got in for our library collection last week:

Bagge, Peter. Buddy does Seattle /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, 2005.

Barr, Donna, 1952- Losing our bearings /Bremerton, WA : Fine Line Press, c2000.

Seto, Andy. Crouching tiger, hidden dragon /Fremont, CA : ComicsOne Corp., 2002- (v.1)

Thompson, Craig. Good-bye, Chunky Rice /Marietta, Ga. : Top Shelf Productions, 2005.

(We've been in kind of a lull recently, but looking at the recently cataloged list things should pick up soon...)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

New This Week: June 15, 2005

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 the trade collection of Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca's Street Angel (via Slave Labor). Good stuff, funny, tragic, and refreshing. If you like your comics about homeless tween skateboarding super-heroines with ninjas and squids, the what are you waiting for?

In other comics:

A-V and Win-Mill have the fourth issue of insightful Following Cerebus. Even if you were one of those who thought the series went way off the tracks, you should consider picking up this magazine of comics criticism (and I think that this issue is the Eisner tribute issue).

Abstract have a new issue of Strangers in Paradise (#74) and the Molly & Poo collection.

AiT/PlanetLAR have the Black Diamond On Ramp one-shot/preview.

Alais have the David's Mighty Men novella.

Antarctic have a new issue of Gold Digger (#64); the final issue of Heaven Sent (#11) (at least until the one-shot follow-up next month); and the debut issue of Oz: The Manga.

Dark Horse have the final issue of P. Craig Russell's Conan & The Jewels of Gwahlur (#3).

DC have a third Sandman Mystery Theatre trade collection; the final issue of Vimanarama (#3); new issues of Authority: Revolution (#9), Birds of Prey (#83), Day of Vengeance (#3), Ex Machina (#12), JLA: Classified (#8), Lucifer (#63), Manhunter (#11), Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy (#2); and digest collections for Bugs Bunny & Daffy Duck.

Fantagraphics have a new edition of Richard Sala's wonderful & sublime Peculia collection.

Kenzer & Co. have a new issue of Knights of the Dinner Table (#103).

Marvel have the Captain America by Jack Kirby trade; new issues of GLA (#3) & Powers (#11); and the final issue of the Power Pack mini (#4).

Oni have the second Scott Pilgrim OGN.

Viper have the third issue of Oddly Normal.

And by all that is holy, please do not buy the trade collection of Superman: Godfall--it really is that bad! (Though sadly not the worst Superman story in recent memory...)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Non-update update

The recurrance of an old injury last Thursday evening left me unable to do much of anything involving my right arm over the weekend, especially typing. Which means I wasn't able to do much of anything on the computer, inclduing blogging (thankfully I work up my Monkey Covers in advance!) Anyway, I'm a bit better now, but I expect that my blogging over the next couple of weeks will be sporadic at best. (As always, you can stay tuned to the comics blog-o-matic 12000-X for update announcements.)

(On the bright side, I had plenty of time over the weekend to sit on the couch and read--lots of comics and graphic novels and whatnot. Also cleared up a lot of space on the TiVo!)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Monkey Covers

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

From 1974's Shazam! #9, artist C. C. Beck brings us Captain Marvel Monkey. (And here you thought that Superman was the only flying hero with a cape who has a monkey analogue!)

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

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Previews-o-Rama part 1: The Front

It's time to go through the latest Previews to discover the good, the bad, and the strange:

Dark Horse

The big debut this month for DH is Paul Jenkins & Humberto Ramos's Revelations; this supernatural thriller set in the Vatican looks like it could be good, but like most Dark Horse offerings it also has 'Wait for the Trade' written all over it.

Speaking of waiting for the trade, Mignola, Arcudi & Davis's BPRD: The Dead gets collected; their new BPRD mini, The Black Flame also debuts.

The second issue of the Serenity preview hits the streets, again with 3 covers. I'll opt for Jo Chen's Kaylee cover.

There's a second hardcover Conan collection: The God in the Bowl and Other Stories, which collects issues #7, #9-14, mysteriously skipping issue #8. (Presumably the paperback will show up in next month's listings.)

Mark Verheiden's old series The American gets a thick, trim-sized collection.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures gets a fourth volume of all-new material.

Jack Pollack's Devil Chef: The Man with the Soft-Serve Brain is a digest-sized full-color OGN about, well, a devil chef.

Paul Dini and company's recent Jingle Belle series gets collected.

In classic series collections, Mark Verheiden's old series The American gets a thick, trim-sized collection, and Paul Chadwick's complete Concrete gets a second collection, Heights.

Manga-wise there's the debut of Kazuo Koike & Kazuo Kamimura's Lady Snowbird.

New Recruits would appear to be Dark Horse's version of Rising Stars, soliciting submissions from undiscovered talent.

DC Comics

Andrew Helfer & Tan Eng Huat bring us Batman: Journey Into Knight, a twelve-issue series that "explores the formative years of the Dark Knight." C'mon, does no one there even remember Miller & Mazzuchelli's Batman: Year One? Helfer & Huat are decent enough creators, but do they really need to compete with one of the best Batman stories? And for twelve issues? The memory of Superman: Birthright is still fresh in my mind: fool me twice, shame on me!

David Lapham's "City of Crime" in Detective Comics goes on a hiatus for a month so that the title can cross voer for two issues with Batman for a "War Games" epilogue. And as if that wasn't enough to get me to skip the title, The cover for issue #809 features the bloody corpse of Robin/Spoiler prominently splayed for all to see. Disgusting. Ah well, that's money I can save to buy more worthy comics.

Gotham Central goes for crossover gold by featuring the Teen Titans on the cover, but you should buy it anyway.

There's another Catwoman collection, Wild Ride, collecting the last of the 'good' issues before they decided to go back to T&A artwork.

There's a fourth collected volume of classic post-Crisis Superman stories. This voluem includes the excellent Superboy/Legion crossover with Legion of Super-Heroes that tried to harmonize the post-Crisis Superman mythos with the pre-reboot Legion.

Supergirl debuts. Depending on which cover you choose, Supergirl has added either the power of super-collagen or super-bulimia.

Identity Crisis gets a relatively reasonably-priced hardcover collection.

Two issues of DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy means twice the Jose-Louis Garcia-Lopez art this month!

Want some fun space opera action? Pick up the Adam Strange: Planet Heist collection by Andy Diggle & Pascal Ferry.

Warren Ellis & Gary Erksine's Jack Cross series would apepar to be the standard Ellis protagonist, but set in the DCU.

Justice. Twelve issues. Bimonthly. It'll take two years. If you're inclined to buy this, wait for the trades.

If you don't get all giddy at the thought of the DC's Greatest Imaginary Tales collection, there must be something wrong with you!

Gail Simone & Rob Liefeld on Teen Titans--I wouldn't miss this for the world!

Solo #6 features Jordi Bernet, a european artist virtually unknown in the States. Good that DC are going outside to expose people to such talent, but probably not the best move sales-wise.

Wonder Woman gets handcuffed on the cover of issue #220, but she's apparently lost her blindfold...

Watchmen: The Absolute Edition is a muy-expensive hardcover, but I'll be interested to see the results of the new coloring by John Higgins & WildStorm FX; printing realities of the mid-80's mean that this otherwise excellent comic has always been somewhat marred by rather garrish colors.

For some reason I have a soft-spot for J. Scott Campbell. Even so, I'll probably wait for the trade on Wildsiderz (even with its kewl spelling).

The two new CMX titles, Testarotho & Young Magician are labeled as Mature Readers, so maybe they won't try to censor them and piss off the otaku? Otherwise though they look like standard fare that one could get from TokyoPop and the like. DC should pay more attention to what Del Ray has been doing when it comes to a major publisher selecting manga to bring Stateside.

The Winter Men is a new eight-issue series with art by John Paul Leon, featuring the Russian Mod vs. ex-Soviet super-heroes. Don't wait for the trade on this one folks, because if you do there might not be a trade.

Lots of ABC stuff this month, with Terra Obscura vol. 2 & Tom Strong's Terrific Tales getting trades and Tom Stong book 5 out in hardcover, plus Paul DiFilippo & Jerry Ordway on a new Top 10 mini.

Fables #40 promises to finalyl reveal the identity of The Adversary.

Sandman Presents: Thessaly - Witch for Hire was a decent story by Bill Willingham with good art by Shawn McManus & excellent covers by Tara McPherson. Not essential, but if you're in the mood for a Sandman universe fix it's a pleasent enough and is now available in a handy trade collection.

V for Vendetta gets a hardcover collection after all these years, just in time for the movie that Alan Moore hates.

I normally don't touch DC Direct items (except of course for the plush toy of Beppo!), but there's something compelling about the Superman #1 cover statue...


Every month Image debuts several series, most of which last just three or four issues and then fold. This month's choices are Ant, Dusty Star, Season of the Witch, and Ferro City. Of those, Ferro City, a "sciece-fiction robot pulp noir," by Jason Armstrong, is the one that looks the most interesting.

Image gets in on the 80's indy nostalgia bandwagon with a collection of Englehart & Rogers Coyote.

Dude, where's my Hawaiian Dick?

Negative Burn gets a Summer Special--how much do you want to bet that there's snow on the ground when it actually comes out?


Lots of things tying-in with House of M, so depending on what sort of consumer you are you'll either be saving a lot of money or spending a lot of money. (Or, you know, just ignoring it completely.)

Remember Annuals? Well, the Ultimate Marvel U does--and they're back!

You know, it's just too easy to make Daredevil: Father late jokes.

Okay, so people were willing to spend #3.50 an issue for the original Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert, but do they really think that the same will be true for Marvel 1602: New World by Greg Pak & Greg Tocchini?

Hey look, it's Wha... Huh? again.

Oh Sean McKeever--why are you spending your time writing stuff like Mega Morphs?

Takeshi Miyazawa comes back for a two-issue stint starting with Runaways #7.

Defenders by DeMatteis, Giffen & Maguire continues with a second issue, as does Peter David & Jim Muniz's Hulk: Destruction.

David Mack has book 5 of his occasional art book, Kabuki: Reflections.

All 18 issues of the first volume of Runaways in one handy hardcover!

Marc Sumerak & Gurihiru's Power Pack mini gets an affordable digest. Now you have no excuse.

Ultimates 2 gets a collection, and there's a second trade of Astonishing X-Men. Peter David's Hulk: Tempest Fugit too.

That's it for the front of the catalog. Part 2, the middle, will be along shortly...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Quick GN Reviews

Small Gods, vol. 1: Killing Grin
by Jason Rand, Juan Ferreyra & Kristen Simon
Set in an alternate world where psionic powers exist--though there public acknowledgment is only about a decade old--Small Gods tells the story of Detective Owen Young, a cop with precognitive abilities that allow him to see crimes before they are actually committed. Although the basic premise is ripped straight out of a well-known Philip K. Dick story, Rand goes off in a completely different direction. He's more interested in telling a story along the lines of Homicide or Gotham Central than a scifi think piece. It's done to good effect, and the story is told complete in this volume (a nice bonus these days for collections of continuing series). I was completely unfamiliar with the creators involved before reading this, but they do a darn good job; the story is clearly told, and the black and white toned art, while ocasionally a bit inconsistant, is still attractive and appropriate. This one flew under my radar when it first debuted as a series, so I was glad to be able to pick it up in an affordable collected edition. If you like cop stories with a tinge of the speculative, you'll probably like Small Gods too.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Alia's Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq
by Mark Alan Stamaty
A graphic novella in the guise of a children's book, Alia's Mission is the story of an Iraqi librarian and her struggles to save the books of her library from the ravages of war. Avoiding the politics of the war itself (for the most part--though neither Saddam's troops nor the British army come off very well) Stamaty instead focuses on the true story of the heroism of Alia and the people she inspires to help her preserve the knowledge of her culture. It's not a deep story, and the art is mostly just functional, but it's always inspiring to see ordinary people pushed to extraordinary deeds and succeeding. Plus, how often to librarians get to be refered to as super-heroes? (Well, outside of the fictional Oracle...)
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Marvel's 'Wait for the Trade' List

A couple of weeks ago, Comics Continuum posted a listing of Marvel trades & collections for the second half of 2005. So if you're wondering what to buy now and what to wait to buy later in a bookshelf-friendly, ad-free edition, now you can make an informed decision.

A word of caution though: just because Marvel pre-announces a trade of something in this fashion, that doens't mean that the trade will actually materialize--witness the numerous Tsunami collections that never showed up. So if you really want to read something, you'll want to buy it in floppy form.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

New This Week: June 8, 2005

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 Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze, vol. 2: Sacrifice, the second collection of his retelling of the Trojan War, is now available in paperback. (I watched Troy on DVD this past weekend, and trust me when I say that Age of Bronze is much better.)

In other comics:

Amaze Ink has a new issue of Patty Cake and Friends (vol. 2 #14)

Antarctic has Fred Perry's new OGN, Peebomanga.

Archie has a new issue of Tania del Rio's Sabrina (#67).

DC has new issues of Action Comics (#828), Fables (#38), Gotham Central (#32), Majestic (#6), Rann/Thanagar War (#2), and Tom Strong (#33).

El Capitan has a new issue of David Lapham's Stray Bullets (#38).

Evil Twin has the Action Philosophers All Sex Special.

Fantagraphics debuts their new anthology, Bete Noir.

HK Comics has a 'revised and expanded' edition of the fourth volume of Andy Seto's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon adaptation.

IDW has a collection of Puffed.

Image releases a new issue of Age of Bronze (#20) as well; debuts Strange Girl and Ploog & DeMatteis' Stardust Kid; and the Negative Burn Winter 2005 finally shows up, now that it's June and 90 degrees ouside.

Marvel has the first issue of Gravity; the final issues of Mary Jane: Homecoming (#4) and District X (#14); new issues of New Thunderbolts (#9), The Pulse (#9), The Punisher (#22), Ultimate Spider-Man (#78), and Ultimate FF (#19); a third Ultimate Fantastic Four collection, N-Zone; and those of you who were waiting patiently for the trade of Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602 can finally read it.

Pantheon has Dan Clowes' new OGN, Ice Haven (which I predict will sell much better in bookstores than in comic shops).

Shooting Star has the debut of Nick Landmine vs. The World Crime League (with no BB in sight!)

Once again there's plenty of stuff to but and read; when will the madness end?!

More on Harlequin Manga

Via the GNLIB list, there's a Website with sample pages from a few of the Japanese versions of various Harlequin comics at

It's all very, um, generic... The best of the lot is All Male (no, it's not a yaoi title...) which at least has some decent backgrounds in the establishing shots.

Quick Super-Hero Comic Reviews

The Incredible Hulk #82
by Peter David & Jae Lee
David kicks it old school, telling a done-in-one mystery in which Banner/Hulk tries to help the ghost of a sorceress determine who killed her before her spirit dissipates. It feels like old times--ina good way--and the story draws on Lee's strengths as an artist, providing lots of opportunity for spooky, moody drawing. Yes the end may be a bit too pat, but it's such a novelty these days to read a Marvel comic that brings closure at the end rather than serving as prologue to a long decompressed slow-moving tale.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Power Pack #3
by Marc Sumerak, Gurihiru, & Chris Eliopoulos
Those complaining about the lack of action in the previous issues of this mini will be pleased to know that there's plenty of action here, as the Pack family teams up with Marvel's first family, the Fantastic Four, to take on a bevy of Doom-bots while on a camping trip. Sumerak continues his accessible stories and spot-on characterization, and Gurihiru's art remains very attractive and looks like it jumped off of an animation cell and onto the page. It's good all-ages uper-hero family fun. The bonus story (that's 27 pages of story in all folks!) once again features young Franklin Richards messign around with one of his dad's inventions and continues the fun as well. I had high hopes for this latest Power Pack series, and so far Sumerak and company have lived up to those expections.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Superman/Batman #20
by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines
It's the start of another story arc in Superman/Batman, and that means more incomprehensible stuff with alternate timeslines and people acting out of character for reason that hopefully may become clear before it is over. Supes and Bats seem somehow to have made their way to an analogue of Marvel's Ultimate universe where they face off against The Ultimates-lite. But the true joy in this comic comes from a seemingly unrelated section with Bizarro & Batzarro, where Loeb totally takes the piss out of his own pompous 'voice-ovr narration' style with Batzarro's narration; I chuckled big, so bonus points for that.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Firestorm #14
by Stuart Moore, Jamal Igle & Rob Stull
Stuart Moore comes aboard the title, and his first order of business is too smooth things out to give us a straightforward super-hero title. He ably sets the new status quo for Jason/Firestorm, moving him out of the house with a new job and preparing him to start college. In the span of one issue, Moore sets the stage for further adventures and throws in some action besides. The series is still set in Detroit, but it actually looks like one of the many non-descript suburbs, with 'Lowrence' University (actually Lawrence Tech) and Star Labe Detroit taking up space in a strip mall. The art from Igle & Stull is good too; not flashy and a bit stiff in the non-action scenes, but their Firestorm looks nuclear powerful.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Monday, June 06, 2005

FCBM Wrap-Up

Free Comic Book Month here at YACB was a smashing success! I received 98 entires, and 50 of those people received free comic books. If I could have given everyone free comics I would have, but it was becoming a bit expensive: I spent $80.66 on postage, not to mention the costs of envelopes, bags & boards, etc. All told I probably spent around $100 on FCBM--but that's money well-spent if I was able to turn some people on to new comics!

I gave away a total of 121 comics; 50 of those were the Free Comic Book Day Edition of Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, and the rest were other comics from my collection.

Some people wondered why I was giving away my comics. Was I crazy? Well yes, a little bit. Some of you may recall back in mid April I posted my little essay on Ranganathan & Comics. In that essay I said: "If I have 25,000 comics, it does no good to anyone to leave them locked up in my closet--they need to be set free!" So I decied to put up and give away some of them. Of course, 71 comics is just a drop in the bucket, but it's a start. Sure I suppose I could try selling them on eBay, but this results in slightly better karma :) (I've also been donating comics to the library these past few months.) It can be fun to give stuff away; I've been a member of Bookcrossing for a while now, leaving books around to be picked up and mailing off books to people who ask.

Plus, giving away comics is just fun. Matching people up with reading material is something at which I think I do a decent job, and it was fun trying to match people up with comics they might like based on the list of comics they gave me.

I also wanted to promote comics, and free comics is a good way to do that. That's why I decided to toss in copies Jim's Bone Sharps; the additional postage wasn't much to add them into the envelopes, and hopefully some of you will like it enough to get the full graphic novel when it comes out in August (it's in the current Previews--pre-order now!) More than one person has posted that they liked the free comic(s) I sent them and plan on looking for more of that title or by those creators, so by that measure it was a success too.

I also knew that May was going to be a somewhat-busier-than-normal month for me and that I wouldn't have time to do though-intensive posting like reviews and such; that's why regular content took a breather during May for the most part.

As suspected, traffic to this blog went up a bit suring FCBM, especially during the first half of the month. But I got kind of hard to measure the effects, as partway through the month linked to my Ranganathan post and stats took a huge bump from that. But by the end of May my stats were back down to normal levels, and it was my non-FCBM posts that generated the most traffic; I guess that some of you got tired of seeing me give away comics to others. But as you can see, we're more-or-less back to normal around here.

It was interesting to see what comics people told me that they liked. I did some compiling, and here are the comics listed by all 98 of the entrants:

16 people: Y, the Last Man
12 people: Fables
11 people: Ex Machina; Planetary
9 people: Daredevil
8 people: Astonishing X-Men; Gotham Central; Hellboy; Sleeper
7 people: Runaways
6 people: Hellblazer; Sandman; The Invisibles
5 people: Birds of Prey; Powers; Supreme Power; The Walking Dead; X-Men
4 people: The Authority; Bone; Captain America; Girl Genius; Green Lantern; JSA; Legion of Super-Heroes; Queen & Country; Strangers in Paradise; Stray Bullets; Teen Titans; Tom Strong; Top Ten; Watchmen
3 people: Batman; Conan; Doom Patrol; Eightball; Flash; Love & Rockets; Madman; Marvel 1602; Promethea; Spider-Man; Starman; Street Angel; Superman; Swamp Thing; The Goon; Transmetropolitan; Ultimate X-Men; Ultimates
2 people: 100 Bullets; Amazing Spider-Man; Astro City; Blankets; Blue Monday; Cerebus; Concrete; Dr. Strange; Flaming Carrot; From Hell; Global Frequency; Green Arrow; Grendel; Hikaru-no Go; Invincible; JLA; Kabuki; Losers; Love Fights; Marshall Law; Milk & Cheese; Outsiders; Plastic Man; Preacher; PS 238; Ranma 1/2; Rex Mundi; Rom, Spacenight; Sandman Mystery Theatre; Scott Pilgrim; Seaguy; Seven Soldiers; Superman/Batman; The Maxx; True Story Swear to God; Ultimate Spider-Man; We3; Wonder Woman; Young Avengers

Plus another 159 titles chosen by one person each (too many to list!)

That should pretty much wrap things up. If you received free comics, and you haven't already done so, please make a comment on the post announcing your comics whether you liked them or not; the feedback will help me improve my recommendation skills.

Oh, and we're not done giving away free comics here on the blog; later this month I'll be announcing a new contest; not quite as large in scope, but still with a couple of pretty good prizes. Stay tuned!

Thanks to everyone who participated. I had fun, and I hope you did too.

Quick Shojo Reviews

Imadoki! Nowadays, vol. 2: Magnolia
by Yû Watase
After having been pleasantly surprised by volume 1 of Imadoki! I found myself a bit disappointed in this second volume. Gone for much of this volume is main character Tanpopo's positive and forthright attitude; instead she comes off as yet another shojo manga girl pining for a boy who is distant and unavailable. The gardening club also moves to the sidelines, becoming a weak excuse for character actions rather that a prime motivator or a strong metaphor. Near the end of the volume we start to get a glimpse of the return of the old Tanpopo, but it's a little too late to save the whole book. It remains to be seen which way the story will go, but I'm hoping that Watase again veers away from standard shojo tropes in future volumes. Of course, art-wise the book still looks fabulous.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Doubt!! vol. 1
by Kaneyoshi Izumi
We all know the story of the Ugly Duckling and how she turns into a beautiful swan, but what happens after the transformation? Ai Maekawa was a dweeb/geek/nerd (a 'Jimi') in junior high, but when the opportunity comes to attend a new high school where no one knows her, Ai transforms herself over the summer into one of the beautiful people. Of course she now thinks that life will be so much better at her new school, but she's in for a rude surprise: the boys treat her like an object rather than a person, the popular girls don't like the new competition, and the other girls are jealous. And inside of her new look is still the same insecure Jimi, now terrified that her 'shameful' past will be exposed. Creator Izumi treads a fine line in presenting Ai as likable even though she can be vain and oftentimes petty, but through the first volume at least she does a good job. Izumi keeps the story moving and the characters show signs of growth in character and personality. It remains to be seen if she can keep a level of interest going through multiple volumes, or if like so many shojo stories it starts to bog down in repetition. Izumi's art is attractive, with a smooth line that gives the story a nice feminine edge, and the storytelling moves things forward without confusion.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Monkey Covers

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

For our return to regular monkey covers, we feature the grand mac daddy of them all, Gorilla Grodd, putting the smackdown on Barry Allen on the cover of 1984's The Flash #330, rendered by Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson. I have no idea who that kid is palling around with Grodd, but dig that crazy early-80's headband!

(standard disclaimer about gorillas not really being monkeys applies)

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

Friday, June 03, 2005

Harlequin Romance Comics

Undoubtedly by now you've all seen this press release from Dark Horse about their partnership with Harlequin Enterprises & Ohzora Publishing Company to publish manga adaptations of Harlequin romance novels.

I've thought for some time now that an alliance with Harlequin would make sense for a US publisher, seeing as: 1) there is a real dearth of romance comics for a mass audience; 2) the increasing number of female readers being brought into comics via manga creates a large potential market*; and 3) Harlequin is the 800-lb gorilla in romance novels and has large brand recognition. (I thought that I'd written about this before on this blog, but a search of the old posts comes up empty--I'm either imagining things, or the poor Google/Blogger search is letting me down again...)

It's unclear whether or not these will be translations of exisiting Japanese market adaptations or new adaptations for the US market; I would guess the former though, seeing as Ohzora has already adapted over 250 Harlequin romances to manga. In any event these are being done by Japanese artists, so there will probably be a manga-aesthetic to the art. But even within the manga style there can be a lot of variation; will they be more like Erika Sakurazawa or Ryoichi Ikegami or something else (I tried Googling the two artists they listed as doing the adaptations but came up empty). I for one would prefer a Dick Giordano/late 60's DC romance aestethic, but I realize that a manga-style is more likely to sell in the market. And of course I'm not the target audience here either.

There will be a 'violet' line and a 'pink' line; Dark horse says that the lines will be for 'sophisticated' and 'younger' readers respectively, which undoubtedly translates to 'sex' and 'no sex'.

One of the first books to be adapted is Betty Neels' A Girl In a Million, originally published in 1994. The description in Amazon is: "'I'm not aware that I am restricted in my actions by anyone or anything.' Arrogant, rich and devastatingly attractive, Marius van Houben was the sort of man who was used to getting his own way. He certainly wasn't prepared for Caroline's plainspoken, commonsense approach. After all, as a student nurse, both qualities were an asset . . . If only Marius thought the same!"

The other initial book is Response by Penny Jordan, first published in 1984. Again the description from Amazon: "Alexis Stefanides lived by a strict code of family honor. So when he thought his sister had been mistreated, he was determined to exact his revenge. Sienna became his innocent victim. It was only after the damage was done that Alexis realized he'd been wrong. Before she knew what was happening, Sienna had become his wife! But was this just appeasing Alexis' guilty conscience? He'd certainly never said anything about love."

Presumably one of these is a 'pink' book and the other is 'purple,' though it's not clear from ther description which would be which. I'm a bit surprised that they're going with older works instead of something more contemporary, but as far as I can tell Neels and Jordan are two of Harlequin's more popular authors.

Of course, getting these adaptations published is only the first step. More difficult will be getting them into the right places in bookstores** and into the hands of the consumers who want them. Will Dark Horse be able to launch a successful marketing campaign that goes outside of the regular comics press? (Hopefully publishers have learned the lesson from DC's disastrous handling of the Humanoids line...) Will they be available in check-out lines, drugstores, Target and the like? Will Harlequin promote the comics within their regular romance novels and on their Website? There are many ways that this enterprise could fail, and if it does the lesson learned will undoubtedly be that 'no one wants romance comics,' which would most likely be the wrong lesson and could set back comics' branching out into the mainstrream by another 10 years. Let's hope that's not the case.

* I'm not saying that romance comics are only for women, or that women are only interested in romance comics. But let's face it: the demographics of romance novel readers is overwhelmingly female, and it's now becoming socially acceptable for young women to read comics. Doing the math, the potential market should be obvious.

** Again let's be realistic; these are not going to sell in most comic shops.