Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dave's Dozen: Collections/GNs

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

Huntress: Dark Knight DaughterHuntress: Dark Knight Daughter TP
(DC, $19.99, p. 69)
I'm actually a bit surprised that DC would go to the trouble to clear the reprint rights for a bunch of non-continuity stories about a b-list character that will have limited sales appeal. But since the author is company VP Paul Levitz, I can see how that might have greased the wheels. Still, I won't complain, and neither will Earth-2 fans, who will have a chance to get all of these disparate stories in one handy package.

New Teen Titans: Terra Incognito TP
(DC, $19.99, p. 91)
DC already collected the second part of this story several years ago as The Judas Contract; now read how it all began. This storyline is probably the height of the Wolfman/Perez Titans as wel as being one of the best straight-forward corporate super-hero stories of the 80s.

New X-Men OmnibusNew X-Men Omnibus HC
(Marvel, $99.99, p. M90)
Yes $100 is a steep price, but with over 40 comics worth of content it's cheaper than buying all the individual issues, and there aren't any ads either. You get one of the best runs on the X-Men in years all between two sturdy covers.

Avengers and Power Pack Assemble!Avengers and Power Pack Assemble! Digest
(Marvel, $6.99, p. M95)
If you have something against fun all-ages super-hero comics then don't order this! The rest of you though can enjoy the stories at a reduced size and price!

Girl Genius: Omnibus Edition #1Girl Genius: Omnibus Edition #1
(Airship, $14.95, p. 228)
The first three volumes of Phil & Kaja Foglio's fun Gaslamp Fantasy series that features "lots of running around in Victorian underwear, occasional innuendo, a certain amount of violence and the occasional 'damn!'", all in glorious black & white at an affordable price. If you haven't yet tried it, now's your chance!

Yuggoth CulturesAlan Moore's Yuggoth Cultures TP
(Avatar, $29.99, p. 246)
A collection of Moore miscellany: a few stories by Moore, including a From Hell coda; adaptations of stories by Moore; stories inspired by Moore's other stories; interviews; and illustrated essays. Love that cover!

Mammoth Book of Best New MangaMammoth Book of Best New Manga
(Carroll & Graf, $13.95, p. 260)
When they say Mammoth, they mean it: over 500 pages of stories from creatorsboth new and established. Even if only half of the stories turn out to be any good, it's still a good deal.

Dork DecadeDork Decade: The Dork Tower 10th Anniversary Collection TP
(Dork Storm, $15.99, p. 280)
Every one of John Kovalic's Dork Tower strips from Shadis & Dragon magazines collected together. Very funny stuff for gamers and those who know gamers.

CursesCurses HC
(Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95, p. 281)
I've expressed my admiration of Kevin Huizenga many times before on this blog, so it should come as no surprise that this collection is a top pick of the month; even though it's all material that has previously appear in disparate sources, having it all in one hardcover collection will be swell.

New Adventures of Jesus: The Second ComingNew Adventures of Jesus: The Second Coming
(Fantagraphics, $19.95, p. 286)
Frank Stack's underground classic finally gets collected. Probably won't be a hit with the bible belt crowd...

Mister iMister i volume 1 HC
(NBM, $13.95, p. 315)
I really dug Trondheim's Mister O, and this looks like more of the same, with a different letter of the alphabet.

Blank vol. 1Blank Volume 1
(TokyoPop, $9.99, p. 329)
Pop Mhan was one of the artists who came on the scene with a manga-esque stle just before the big manga explosion in the US, so it's gratifying to see him get an OEL series to strut his stuff. It's a high school comedy/action/romance type thing.

Sorry this was so late--hopefully you still have time to let your FLCS know that you want one or more of these fine books. I'll be back next month! (Earlier this month I had my picks for mainstream and indy comics.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

YAFL2: Week 3

Here are the results from Week 3 of Yet Another Fantasy League 2:

The Defenders 62
Kickers Inc. 68

Star City Archers 62 44

Superteam 71
Power Pack 47

Delphi Oracles 45
Flex Mentallo 60

Current Standings:

Team Record Pct Points Streak
-------------------- ------ ----- ------ ------
1. Kickers Inc. 3-0-0 1.000 224.00 W-3
2. Flex Mentallo 3-0-0 1.000 206.00 W-3
3. Star City Archers 2-1-0 .667 206.00 W-1
4. Delphi Oracles 2-1-0 .667 138.00 L-1
5. The Defenders 1-2-0 .333 195.00 L-1
6. Superteam 1-2-0 .333 150.00 W-1
7. 0-3-0 .000 144.00 L-3
8. Power Pack 0-3-0 .000 143.00 L-3

Week 4 Games:

Power Pack
Kickers Inc.

The Defenders

Delphi Oracles
Star City Archers

Flex Mentallo

Good Luck to All!

In my other leagues: I won 57-30 in my friends and family league, but dropped down to 2nd place due to points; I lost 61-48 in my public league and dropped to 3rd place; and scored a pathetic 189.05 points in my pass & kick league, dropping to 4th place.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dave's (Half) Dozen: Indy Comics

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

Rex Libris #6Rex Libris #6
(Amaze Ink/Slave Labor, $2.95, p. 232)
Rex has to save a library patron who is sucked into a refernce book of monsters. Why is Rex Libris so fun? Because James Turner knows to use terms like 'patron' when refering to libary users. More library-related jokes per page than any other comic shipping this month!

Tigers of Terra SpecialTigers of Terra Special
(Antarctic, $3.95, p. 237)
Ted Nomura celebrates the twentieth anniversary of his futuristic military comic will an all-new installment in the Families of Altered Wars saga.

Youngblood: Bloodsport #2
Youngblood: Bloodsport #2
(Arcade, $3.99, p. 237)
Issue #1 came out over two years ago, and was so bad that it took Rob Liefeld this long to draw the second issue. Buy it for the train wreck it is bound to be!

Ninja Tales #1Ninja Tales #1
(Boom!, $6.99, p. 255)
Ninjas get the Boom! anthology treatment. Now if they ever do a Ninjas vs. Zombies Tales comic, we'll have reached nerd nirvana!

Castle Waiting vol. 2 #2Castle Waiting vol. 2 #3
(Fantagraphics, $3.95, p. 283)
I hear tell that, although Linda Medley's hardcover collection is selling quite well thank you, the comic-sized bites of all-new Castle Waiting stories ins't doing so well. Come on people, I know you're waiting for the trade, but good quality indy comics need your support in comics form as well.

The Lost Books of Eve #1The Lost Books of Eve #1
(Viper, $3.25, p. 349)
Josh Howard goes all apocrypha on us with an off-book tale of Adam, the first man, going missing and Eve, his wife, battling monsters, wizards, demons and what-not to find him. Probably won't be a hit with the Southern Baptist crowd.

I covered mainstream comics last week. Hopefully maybe I'll get GNs and collections done before orders are due...

New This Week: September 27, 2006

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

The Pick of the Week is Superman: Up, Up and Away!, the collection of the one-year later story from Action Comics & Superman. It's eight issues worth of quality super-heroics from Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns and Pete Woods for the reasonable price of $15.

In other comics:

Amaze Ink have the second issue of Sonny Liew's Wonderland.

Antarctic have the latest Ninja High School (#142).

Bongo have this year's Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror (#12), with Kyle Baker, Tony Moore, & Eric Powell.

Dark Horse have a new issue of Usago Yojimbo (#97).

DC have the final Losers collection (vol. 5: Endgame); a first collection of Phil Jimenez's Otherworld; and new issues of 52 (week 21), Action Comics (#843), American Way (#8--final issue), Batman (#657), Bite Club VCU (#5--final issue), Blue Beetle (#7), Hawkgirl (#56), Jack of Fables (#3), Justice League of America (#2), Secret Six (#4), Supergirl and the Legion (#22), and Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters (#3).

Fantagraphics have a new issue of The Comics Journal (#278).

IDW have the first issue of Spike: Asylum.

Image have the fifth Walking Dead collection; the Image debut of True Story, Swear to God; and new issues of Invincible (#35) and Lions, Tigers & Bears (vol. 2 #3).

Marvel have a hardcover collection of Richard Corben's Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe; the 100th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man; and new issues of Captain America (#22), Civil War Front Line (#6), Daredevil (#89), Eternals (#4), Punisher (#38), She Hulk 2 (#12), Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (#10), and Ultimates 2 (#12).

Oni have the third issue of Northwest Passage.

WW Norton have a hardcover Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City, which includes New York, The Building, City People Notebook, and Invisible People. Well worth your time and money if you haven't read these yet.

That wraps up another week of new comics. Enjoy!

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of September 18, 2006

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

Anderson, David. Bastard Bunny in "Don't you know who I am?!" : the collected works /London : Virgin, 1998.

Art out of time : unknown comics visionaries, 1900-1969 /New York : Abrams, 2006.

Chadwick, Paul (Paul H.) Think like a mountain /Milwaukie, Or. : Dark Horse, 2006.

Denson, Abby. Tough love : high school confidential /San Francisco, Calif. : Manic D, c2006.

Dupuy, 1960- Get a life /Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, c2006.

Forney, Ellen. I love Led Zeppelin : panty-dropping comics /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, c2006.

Hernandez, Gilbert. Sloth /New York : DC Comics, c2006.

Legg, Barnaby. Eminem : in my skin /London : Omnibus, c2004.

Rege, Ron. Skibber bee bye : a book /Montreal : Drawn & Quarterly, 2006.

Sienkiewicz, Bill. Stray toasters /Anaheim, CA : Graphitti Designs, c2003.

Weissman, Steven. Chewing gum in church /Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics, c2006.

Minicomics Monday

Today I have two minicomics from Marek Bennett:

Mimi's Doughnuts #5Mimi's Doughnuts #5 is a lot of fun. There are several short stories in this 12-page mini, all about awkward teenager Shayna during the summer she turns fifteen. Divorced parents, odd birthday gifts from relativeness, hanging out with your friend, eco-sabatage, and writing fantasy stories--it's all here. Bennett has an engaging cartoony style and knows how to pack a page without it looking too cramped.

Dog Bless AmericaDog Bless America is a 24-hour comic, and is the perfect illustration about what frustrates me about 24-hour comics. There's a germ of a clever story about a secret-agent dog sent on an assignment to the Middle East, but the story wanders and never gels and the art is kind of sloppy, especially compared to the more polished art that appears in Bennett's minis and Webcomics. Had he taken the time to develop this story properly it could have been better.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monkey Covers

Space Family Robinson #59Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

We're Lost in Space with the Robinson family as they take on a giant four-armed cycloptic gorilla on the cover of Space Family Robinson #59.

(Standard disclaimer about giant four-armed cycloptic gorillas not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Friday, September 22, 2006

Review: Siberia

by Nikolai Maslov
Soft Skull Press, $19.95

Like I suspect most Americans who grew up and the end of the cold war, I really only knew two things about Siberia: 1) It was cold; and 2) it's where the Soviets sent their dissidents to live out their lives in misery. In the back of my mind I must have assumed that there were 'regualr folks' who lived in Siberia, but up front was the idea that everything there was like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Siberia is a graphical memoir by Nikolai Maslov, one of the 'regular folks' from a small farming village in Siberia. An aspiring artist and Francophile, Nikolai has dreams that, due to the circumstances of his life, may never be realized. He grows up; gets drafted and serves in Mongola; and returns to Siberia, where life revolves around labor during the day and swimming in vodka in the evening. Nikolai seems destined to live a life a quiet desperation, until a fortuitous trip to the big city leads him to art school, a wife, and eventually to Moscow. But Nikolai's dreams are halted as his prefered western art style does not agree with the Party's idea of what Soviet art should be.

As a story, Maslov's memoir is alas somewhat lacking in a narrative drive. It mostly seems to be a series of events in a life (which, let's face it, most of our lives would seem like if put to paper!) Where Siberia succeeds quite admirably is in painting a picture of that life. Done entirely in soft pencil, both the desperations and the small pleasures come through. Over the course of nearly 100 pages, Maslov's art pulls you into his world.

In the afterword, Emmanuel Carrère, the original French publisher of Siberia, tells the story of how he visited Russia and came upon Maslov and his memoir. It is quite remarkable to learn that, outside of a few Corto Maltese volumes, Maslov had little exposure to western comics. It is also said that Maslov has no future plans to do any more comics; which I think would be a shame.

Rating: 3.5 (of 5).

(a review copy of Siberia was provided by the publisher)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

YAFL2: Week 2

Here are the results from Week 2 of Yet Another Fantasy League 2:

Star City Archers 66
Kickers Inc. 78

Delphi Oracles 53 52

Superteam 47
The Defenders 65

Flex Mentallo 74
Power Pack 58

Current Standings:

Team Record Pct Points Streak
-------------------- ------ ----- ------ ------
1. Kickers Inc. 2-0-0 1.000 156.00 W-2
2. Flex Mentallo 2-0-0 1.000 146.00 W-2
3. Delphi Oracles 2-0-0 1.000 93.00 W-2
4. Star City Archers 1-1-0 .500 144.00 L-1
5. The Defenders 1-1-0 .500 133.00 W-1
6. 0-2-0 .000 100.00 L-2
7. Power Pack 0-2-0 .000 96.00 L-2
8. Superteam 0-2-0 .000 79.00 L-2

Week 3 Games:

The Defenders
Kickers Inc.

Star City Archers

Power Pack

Delphi Oracles
Flex Mentallo

Good luck to all!

In my other fantasy leagues, I won 75-69 in my public league (1st place); won 90-55 in my friends & family league (1st place); and scored 404.05 points in my pass 7 kick league (moved up to 2nd place).

Dave's Dozen: Mainstream Comics

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

First up for the September Previews (comics supposedly available in November) are the following baker's dozen mainstream comics picks:

Batman/The Spirit
(DC, $4.99, p. 65)
Sure, Will Eisner might not approve. But with Darwyn Cooke handling the art, I bet that this comic will at least look fantastic. As for the story, well, that will depend on whether or not the good Jeph Loeb or the bad Jeph Loeb shows up. For the sake of the project, let's all hope that it's the good Loeb.

Superman Confidential #1
(DC, $2.99, p. 74)
You know how it goes with these kind of books: for the first two or three story arcs they have superstar creative teams, then they drop off to mid-level teams, and after a few years they're using the books to try out new talent. But hey, it's the first issue, so we get Darwyn Cooke (him again!) writing this time out, and Tim Sale drawing (though in a style decidedly different from what he used on Superman for All Seasons).

Birds of Prey #100
(DC, $3.99, p. 81)
Who'd've ever thunk that book staring second-tier female characters would survive this long? Just goes to show that sometimes a good idea and good writing will make it. Of course this book is about change more often than not, so this big anniversary issue feature the formation of a new Birds of Prey team.

Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage #1
(DC, $5.99, p. 85)
Howard Chaykin and... G'Nort? Two things that really, really shouldn't go together. And yet, it all seems so right (in a really wrong sort of way).

Midnighter #1
(DC/WildStorm, $2.99, p. 110)
When I think of Chris Sprouse artwork, I think of good and fundamentally bright comics like Tom Strong or Legionnaires. But then I see that mister anti-super-hero Garth Ennis is writing this comic, and I'm fascinated to see how it will all turn out.

Wildcats #2
(DC/WildStorm, $2.99, p. 111)
I skipped doing a Dave's Dozen in July, so I didn't get a chance to mention that GRANT MORRISON AND JIM LEE ARE DOING A COMIC TOGETHER. That is all.

The Nightly News #1
(Image, $2.99, p. 140)
Based on the solicitation text, I really have no idea as to what this comic is about. Based on the preview art, this comic by Jonathan Hickman looks to be one of the most visually interesting comics to come about this year. So I'll buy it for the eye candy, and hope that the story matches up.

Casanova #6
(Image, $1.99, p. 157)
Each month Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá give us sixteen pages of pure cool 60s sci-fi spy thriller goodness. Don't you owe it to comics to be reading this? (answer: yes you do!)

Spider-Man and Power Pack #1
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M16)
I don't care if none of the rest of you are buying this. It must be making money *somewhere*, because Marvel keep putting out this fun Power Pack comcis by Marc Sumerak & Gurihiru, so I get to keep reading and enjoying them.

Bullet Points #1
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M25)
JMS seems to have given up on television for now and is devoting his writing to comics. That's fine with me, because he's able to get Tommy Lee Edwards to draw a tale of World War II super-heroes.

Franklin Richards: Happy Franksgiving!
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M37)
Everyone's favorite son-of-a-genius returns for an all new special from Marc Sumerak & Chris Eliopoulos. Vootie!

X-Factor #13
(Marvel, $2.99, p. M71)
New regular artist Pablo Raimondi comes aboard, and Peter David has him drawing 22 pages of X-Factor in therapy!

Walt Disney's Christmas Parade #4
(Gemstone, $6.95, p. 288)
If it's September, it must be time to pre-order your Christmas comics! This 80-page compilation includes Carl Barks' classic "Christmas in Duckberg."

Look for the other two parts, Indy Comics & Collections/GNs, sometime soon, I hope...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New This Week: September 20, 2006

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

The Picks of the Week are the three volumes of Jimmy Gownley's Amelia Rules, re-issued in 'bookshelf editions' in hardcover and paperback. Smart comics about kids.

In other comics:

A-V and Win-Mill have a new issue of Following Cerebus (#9).

Abstract have a new issue of Strangers in Paradise (#84).

Dark Horse have the debut issue of Dwight T Albatross' The Goon Noir; and a new issue of Conan (#32).

DC kick off the new wave of WildStorm with Wetworks #1; debut Krypto the Superdog #1 as a tie-in to the kids tv show; and have new issues of 100 Bullets (#76), 52 (week 20), Birds of Prey (#98), Catwoman (#59), Hellblazer (#224), Superman (#656), and Testament (#10).

Image have a second collection of Gødland, and new issues of Negative Burn (#4) and The Walking Dead (#31).

Marvel finally ship Civil War #4; debut the Howard Chaykin-drawn Blade and the Jeff Parker-written X-Men: First Class; and have new issues of Astonishing X-Men (#17), Nextwave (#8), Runaways (#20), and X-Factor (#11).

A relatively sane week, but I'm sure that you'll find something to your liking at the LCS this week!

Monday, September 18, 2006

New Library Comics: Week of September 11, 2006

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

Creature features /Austin, TX : Mojo Press, c1994.

Tezuka, Osamu, 1928-1989. Adolf : an exile in Japan /San Francisco, Calif. : Cadence Books, c1996. vol. 2

Thorne, Frank. The iron devil /Seattle, WA : Eros Comix, 1995.

Thorne, Frank. Lann /Seattle, WA : Eros Comix, 1995.

Minicomics Monday

Linda Medley's lightbulb mini
A grab bag this time out:

Linda Medley's untitled minicomic with lightbulbs on the cover plays with the formal visual language of comics for an enlightening little vingette. It doesn't compare to her Castle Waiting, but then it's not suppsoed to. I'd like to see more of established cartoonists using the freedom of minicomics to try out things they normally wouldn't do. (from One Percent Press)

Evan Keeling's Ataxia Overdrive (vol. 1 pt. 1) resembles a scene from Run Lola Run, if Lola was being chased by creepy monsters in cloaks. Keeling produces a fun little action scene, but there's no story to go with it--it's begun in media res and just stops before any sort of conclusion. But since it looks like this mini is meant as a trailer for his Webcomic I guess that's okay.

Eleanor Davis's I've Lost My Spots will probably remind you of one of those children's picture books with holes in the pages, where you peek through to the next page and it melds with the image of the page you are on. Davis applies this technique to a fun little mini comic.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Monkey Covers

Star Spangled War Stories #126Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

Joe Kubert let's us known that "You Can't Pin a Medal on a Gorilla" on the cover of Star Spangled War Stories #126.

(Standard disclaimer about gorilla NCOs not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Thursday, September 14, 2006

YAFL2 Week 1

Here are the results from Week 1 of Yet Another Fantasy League 2: 48
Kickers Inc. 78

Superteam 32
Star City Archers 78

Flex Mentallo 72
The Defenders 68

Delphi Oracles 40
Power Pack 38

Current Standings:

Team Record Pct Points Streak
-------------------- ------ ----- ----- ------
1. Kickers Inc. 1-0-0 1.000 78.00 W-1
1. Star City Archers 1-0-0 1.000 78.00 W-1
3. Flex Mentallo 1-0-0 1.000 72.00 W-1
4. Delphi Oracles 1-0-0 1.000 40.00 W-1
5. The Defenders 0-1-0 .000 68.00 L-1
6. 0-1-0 .000 48.00 L-1
7. Power Pack 0-1-0 .000 38.00 L-1
8. Superteam 0-1-0 .000 32.00 L-1

Week 2 Games:

Star City Archers
Kickers Inc.

Delphi Oracles

The Defenders

Flex Mentallo
Power Pack

Good luck to all!

(In my other fantasy leagues, I won 57-53 in my friends & family league; won 67-57 in my public league; and scored 296.40 points in my pass & kick league, good for 3rd place. I also lost 4-5-1 in the first round of fantasy baseball playoffs.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New This Week: September 13, 2006

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

The Pick of the Week is Yukinobu Hoshino's adaptation of James P. Hogan's The Two Faces of Tomorrow (from Dark Horse). If you're a fan of hard sci-fi manga like Planetes, you should enjoy this.

In other comics:

Alias have the extremely affordable B&W collection of ArmorQuest: Genesis.

Boom! have the third issue of the highly entertaining Talent.

Buenaventura Press have the 6th Kramer's Ergot.

DC have Musclebound, the fourth collection of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, featuring the Secret Origin of Flex Mentallo, Hero of the Beach! They also have new issues of 52 (week 19), DMZ (#11), Ex Machina (#23), Fables (#53), and Firestorm (#29); a collection of the new Jonah Hex series; and Brian K. Vaughan's new hardcover OGN The Pride of Baghdad.

Fantagraphics have a new issue of Love & Rockets (vol. 2 #17) and the fifth volume of Mome.

First Second unleash their second have of GNs; unlike some other bloggers I didn't get preview copies of any of them, but they all look nice, especially Journey into Mohawk Country.

Image have new issues of Casanova (#4), Girls (#17), and Phonogram (#2).

Marvel have a collection of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man; and new issues of Thunderbolts (#106) and Ultimate X-Men (#74).

Oni have the third issue of Wasteland.

You could very easily unload a ton of cash at your FLCS today, so hold on tight to your wallet!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More TokyoPop & Viz Charts

Following up on my post from earlier today about the volume number counts for TokyoPop & Viz:

I ran the numbers from the August & July Previews as well. Here are the histograms (you may need to click to see the larger version to read them fully):


TokyoPop vol counts


Viz vol counts

Series 1 (blue) = September
Series 2 (red) = August
Series 3 (yellow) = July

For TokyoPop:
September: Count: 39; Median: 3
August: Count: 42; Median: 2
July: Count: 39; Median: 3

For Viz:
September: Count: 38; Median: 8.5
August: Count: 31; Median: 9
July: Count: 35; Median: 9

(Note: for both publishers, I did not count books/novels, just manga volumes.)

With three months of data, it looks like the pattern is holding; TokyoPop produces more manga with low volume numbers, and more new titles each month than Viz.

New Library Comics: Week of September 4, 2006

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

Pekar, Harvey. Ego & hubris : the Michael Malice story /New York : Ballantine Books, c2006.

Sim, Dave. Cerebus guide to self publishing /[Kitchener, Ont.? : s.n.], c1997.

Ware, Chris, 1967- Jimmy Corrigan : the smartest kid on earth. /New York : Pantheon Books, c2000.

TokyoPop & Viz Output

Over at Crocodile Caucus, Lyle asks:
Why does the large number of titles that Tokyopop publishes inspire phrases like “flooding the market” and “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” when Viz, who also publishes a large number of titles never generates the same complaint?

It's a good question. In terms of sheer number of volumes, TP & Viz put out about the same number of titles per month, but they definitely have a different image in the comics blogosphere. Some of the responder comments point to things like quality, shipping schedule, and Viz's use of imprints.

Those are some good anectdotal possibilities--and when you're dealing with perception, anectdotal evidence can go a long way. But I suspected there was something else going on as well, so I did some number crunching. I looked at the TP & Viz sections in the current issue of Previews (September, for items supposedly on sale in November). A pure count shows that TP has 39 volumes, Viz has 38 (for purposes of this analysis I didn't count Shojo Beat or Shonen Jump). But then I counted how many titles each publisher had with a particular volume number; i.e. how many titles were on vol. 1, how many on vol. 2, etc. Here are the results in handy histograms:


TokyoPop output by volume number


Viz output by volume number

As can be plainly seen from these graphs, TP's output is weighted far more towards the early volume numbers, while Viz's output as a whole is far more mature. The median volume number for TP is 3, while the median for Viz is 8.5.*

So that's where the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” image for TP comes from; they're putting out a lot more new series every month, while Viz is more likely to stick with longer-running series. This means that each month readers and retailers are faced with an array of many new choices (or ordering decisions) from TP, while with Viz they know more what they're getting into.

Just another piece of the puzzle.

(* You might be tempted to try to take an average, but I think that your college statistics professor would likely have told you that you cannot take averages of ordinal data.)

Update: Three months worth of data graphed here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Minicomics Monday

Two minicomics from Drew Weing:

BlarBlar is a fun little comic that parodies barbarian parody comics, like Groo and Thrud. Through several short stories, Blar--the titular barbarian--uses his sword to slice easily and wordlessly through a host of enemies, often hillariously. Weing has a fun drawing style with a light line that recalls E.C. Segar's Popeye a bit. (samples here)

UntitledUntitled is, in fact, untitled. In a series of one-panel pages, Weing draws himself coming home from the market, when suddenly all reality breaks loose and he has to wander through a void in search of his love, Eleanor. It's an exercise in formalism that compares favorably with the work of Kevin Huizenga.

I enjoyed both of these comics, and I see from Weing's Website that he has a few more available; I'll look to get them from Little House Comics, where Weing's (and Eleanor's) minis can be purchased.

What's Distracting Patricia?

Dave Lartigue asks: What's Distracting Patricia?

Patricia Ponders The Beanworld

She's obviously pondering the wonders and mysteries of Larry Marder's The Beanworld! (It is, after all, a most peculiar comic book experience...)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Monkey Covers

52 week 18Sunday is Monkey Covers day here at YACB. Because there's nothing better than a comic with a monkey on the cover.

From just this past week we have J. G. Jones's cover to 52 week 18, featuring Detective Chimp investigating the mystery surrounding Dr. Fate's helmet.

(Standard disclaimer about chimpanzee detectives not really being monkeys applies.)

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

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Star Trek Comics, part 2

We're celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek by taking a look at Star Trek comics through the ages. In Part 1 we looked at the first 30 years of Trek comics, and at the end of 1995 Paramount did not renew the licenses of DC and Malibu, leaving the fate of Star Trek comic adventures up in the air. Now, read on:

Star Trek Unlimited #8

After 30 yers of licensing Star Trek to various comics companies, Paramount decided to produce their own series of Trek comics. Or, rather to hire Marvel to do it for them. In late 1996 Paramount Comics debuted as an imprint at Marvel, with not one or two but several comics devoted to Trek. Star Trek Unlimited was a doubled-sized bi-monthly that featured two stories in each issue: one Classic Trek and one Next Generaion.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Paramount) #6

There were also ongoing monthly series based on the two Trek properties that were airing at the time, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Both were decent reads, but hardly essential.

Star Trek: Early Voyages #1

The best of the lot of this new batch of Trek comics were two series that were not directly based on an existing Trek show. Star Trek: Early Voyages showed the adventures of of the Enterprise crew before Captain Kirk. Captain Pike was in command, with a young Mr. Spock and the enigmatic Number One in tow.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #11

The most surprising of the new series was Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, which followed Nog from Deep Space Nine to Starfleet Academy an introduced a group of new cadets. By tying into the backstory of the Dominion War storyline from DS9, Starfleet Academy managed to be entertaining and worthwhile reading.

Star Trek / X-Men #1

The most infamous comic of the Paramount/Marvel collaboration was Star Trek/X-Men, a one-shot that featured the meeting of Kirk's classic Trek crew and Marvel's most popular franchise. If it sounds like a bad idea, well, it was. If readers ever needed proof that super-heroes and classic science fiction didn't mesh well, here it was in four color glory. Despite the train wreck, it must have sold well enough because a year and a half later there was a sequel, Star Trek: The Next Generation/X-Men.

Star Trek: Untold Voyages #1

In early 1998 another ongoing series joined the line-up: Star Trek: Untold Voyages told of the post-Star Trek: The Motion Picture Enterprise crew, with Kirk et al. on a second five year mission in their pajamas. But it was to be short-lived; it turns out that 1997-1998 was a horrible time to enter into the comics business, what with the collapse of the speculator bubble a couple of years previous and the near suicide distribution move by Marvel that thrust them into bankruptcy and almost brought down the entire direct market with them. In mid-1998, just a year and a half after its debut, Paramount Comics folded, taking Trek comics with them.

Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Embrace the Wolf

The Trek franchise would lie fallow for two years, until in 2000 it was licensed out again, this time to WildStorm (now an imprint of DC). WildStorm produced a series of one-shots and mini-series related to the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager franchises.

Star Trek: The New Frontier -- Double Time

WildStorm even brought Peter David back to Trek comics with Double Time, a one-shot based on David's highly successful New Frontier novel series.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Gorn Crisis

But by this time interest in Trek was declining, and despite bringing in big name Sci-Fi author Kevin J. Anderson to write The Gorn Crisis, a hardcover OGN, WildStorm could not drum up enough interest to make the Trek license worthwhile and let it quitely lapse, with little attention paid by fans. Thus Trek entered into its longest ever abscense from the comic shelves, with the new television series, Star Trek: Enterprise, coming and going without a comic book companion.

Star Trek: The Manga

But in 2006, coinciding with Trek's 40th anniversary, Star Trek comics would return from an unlikely source: TokyoPop. Star Trek: The Manga was an OEL manga anthology of stories based on the original series, done in a manga style. Reactions were mixed, as many traditionalists weren't quite sure how to take this new spin on a venerable franchise.

There's no news yet as to whether TokyoPop will continue to produce Trek manga, leaving the fate of Star Trek in comics up in the air. But after a forty year legacy, surely this is not the last we'll see of Trek comics, leaving fans to wonder just if/when a Star Trek Webcomic will make an appearance...

(images courtesy of the GCD and other places)