21 March 2006

On The Shelves: 3/22/06

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month...or not. Who cares?

Between Blogger and Gmail's sporadic outages the past week or so, and some behind-the-scenes dustups that are really testing my patience for this labor of love shit, I'm feeling rather jaded and cynical these days. That's a bad combination, but there's light at the end of the tunnel, so I still have my fingers crossed.

Anyway, here's my weekly look at select comic books being released Wednesday, 3/22/06. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

PICK OF THE WEEK



Scatterbrain


ACTIVE IMAGES
Nightmarist GN, $14.99
Strange Embrace TPB, $14.95


I normally skip entries like this one, with a publisher and titles I've never heard of, but today I'm debating whether the glass is half full or half empty. When I browse the shelves at a regular bookstore -- say the Mystery section, looking for the next Lawrence Block -- do I get annoyed by the number of publishers and titles I've never heard of? Or, do I appreciate the broad selection that increases the likelihood that I'll find something interesting every time I'm in there, no matter what mood I'm in? This, in contrast to a comic book shop, even one like Midtown, where there's a pretty good chance that if I miss something the week it comes out, I may never come across it again. Comics are a unique animal whose distribution caters to the fanatic and I'm realizing more and more that I'm simply not the fanatic I thought I was. I just want to read good comics.

ALIAS ENTERPRISES LLC
Atomik Mike #1, $3.50
Hyperactives #1 (Of 5), $3.50
Sixgun Samurai #4, $2.99


So, is the Christian market keeping Alias afloat, or is there a more interesting story behind this perceived train wreck-in-waiting's survival?

ANNE FRANK CENTER USA
Family Secret Vol 1 GN, $17.95


I had to Google this one:

A Family Secret
Illustrated by Eric Heuvel
Story by Eric Heuvel, Menno Metselaar, Ruud van der Rol, Hans Groeneweg

A young boy goes to his grandmother's attic to find old things to sell at a flea market and makes an amazing discovery. The family secret is revealed by the grandmother and so introduces the reader to the Holocaust as it affected one Dutch family and their neighbors during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. The authors and illustrator succinctly focus on collaborators, resisters, by-standers, helpers and victims through a compelling story line and age appropriate illustrations. This is a great educational tool to introduce middle-and-high school students to the history of the times; this book will dovetail readily with classroom curriculum.

Anne Frank House/Resistance Museum Friesland
English Language Edition
Illustrated soft cover: 60 pages (item #212)

Price: $17.95
Very interesting. Worth looking into further, maybe. At $17.95 for 60 pages, though, it's clearly not targeted to the direct market. Or mainstream bookstores, for that matter.

BOOM! STUDIOS
Jeremiah Harm #2, $3.99


The first issue was solid, if somewhat uninspired; yet another take on the "it takes a criminal to catch a criminal" genre, in this case with the standard Star Wars sci-fi trappings. More than anything, it made my desire to see a Chronicles of Riddick adaptation that much stronger.

DC COMICS
American Way #2 (Of 8), $2.99
Batman #651, $2.50
Testament #4, $2.99
Top 10 The Forty Niners SC, $17.99


OYL and it's still DC's imprints that are getting most of my money, though Testament has dropped to flip-through status as three issues in, it's still just potentially good. American Way #1 was a good read, one of those high concepts that have been in the back of my mind for years, solidly executed by John Ridley, Georges Jeanty and Karl Story.

D. E.
Red Sonja #8, $2.99
Red Sonja Vs Thulsa Doom High End Foil Ed #2 (Of 4), AR


I have to admit to being pleased by the plunging sales figures for this misbegotten license. Its success would have meant there was some merit to targeting the collector's market with multiple variants in order to boost sales, but that boost's been thankfully short-lived.

DEVILS DUE PUBLISHING
Forgotten Realms Dark Elf Sojourn Seeley Cvr A #1 (Of 3), $4.95


For all the knocks on licensed comics, and I've thrown a few of those jabs myself, Devil's Due does a good job with the D&D and G.I. Joe stuff. A really good job. Because seriously, when you think about it, isn't that all most of Marvel and DC's superhero titles are these days, licensed comics?

IDW PUBLISHING
Supermarket #2 (Of 4), $3.99


I didn't hate the first issue, which for me and a Brian Wood scripted comic, is a great start. The combination of artist Kristian's coloring and the paperstock really worked for me, too, making the $3.99 price tag a little easier to swallow. I still wish IDW would use at least a page or two of the "extras" in the back for things related to the specific comic, though.

IMAGE COMICS

Like Marvel last week, nothing, and it's a bit disappointing.

MARKOSIA
Abiding Perdition Vol 1 TPB, $17.00
Lexian Chronicles Full Circle Vol 1 TPB (resolicited), $15.00
Scatterbrain Kudranski Cvr A #1


I picked up all three of these at NY Comic-Con, thanks to Harry Markos' generosity, and enjoyed Scatterbrain a lot. At first glance, it's a much darker Gotham Central, with a Batman/Scarecrow mash-up "hero", as drawn by Ben Templesmith, but better. And I understand the artist is some 19-year old kid, which is impressive. (Sorry, he’s got to draw more than a single issue before I compare him to Bill Sienkiewicz.) I've only flipped through the other two so far, but at a glance, they look nice. It's clear that production quality isn't really an issue for most of the bigger small publishers out there, but I have to wonder at what cost to their bottom line? Apparently one of the reasons for Speakeasy's initial stumbles was due to their printer, Lamppost -- owned by Alias' publisher, Brett Burner -- shafting them out of left field and forcing them to move to a more expensive printer, which drove up their bottom line. Bad enough there's only one national distributor for comics, but when your printing options are limited, too, it really is a sign that, as democratic as comics may seen, not just anybody can, or should, publish them.

MARVEL COMICS
All New Off Handbook Marvel Universe A To Z #3, $3.99
Black Panther #14, $2.99
Captain America #16, $2.99
Daredevil #83, $2.99
Daughters Of The Dragon #3 (Of 6), $2.99
Incredible Hulk #93, $2.99
Incredible Hulk 2nd Ptg Hitch Var #92, $2.99
Iron Man The Inevitable #4 (Of 6), $2.99
Nextwave Agents Of Hate #3, $2.99
Storm #2 (Of 6), $2.99
X-Factor #5, $2.99


Holy cow, that's a big week! If I were to institute my final pull list crackdown right now, only Iron Man, Next Wave and X-Factor would make the cut, while the Hulk would slip in as a sampler because Greg Pak sold me on the story idea and his plans to execute it.

SKATOON PRODUCTIONS
Convention Confessional #2, $3.95


I met these guys back at Wizard World Philly last year, and thought their first issue was a little too insiderish for my tastes, but entertaining, nonetheless. Feeling a bit too insiderish myself these days, I'm curious to see how it affects my reading of this one.

TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS
Every Girl Is The End Of The World For Me GN, $8.00


No idea what this is, but it sounds like my life from about 19-27 years old! My wife, of course, is the end-all, be-all, a completely different matter altogether!

Magazines
Comic Shop News #979, AR
Comics Buyers Guide June 2006 #1617, $5.99


Whenever I get a bug up my ass about the comics industry and its less-than-stellar journalistic efforts, I fantasize about starting up my own magazine. Then I think about how difficult it is to manage a free web site, and how badly Lo-Fi turned out, not to mention how unforgiving consumer publishing is these days...and I laugh off the temporary insanity.

5 comments:

aaron dumin said...

TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS
Every Girl Is The End Of The World For Me GN:

Jeffery Brown's finale to his "Girlfriend Trilogy"

redlib said...

Rob Reilly really deserves some backing for his indie comic Convention Confessional. A real indie nice guy.

And I'm going to try and back Markosia's work-- have you read Of Bitter Souls by Chuck Satterlee? Great New Orleans based stories, soon in TP. He's on the Markosia team.

Jason said...

Guy -

Whatever's getting you down just say "fuck it". It's just comics.

And yeah, "Every Girl..." is a good one to put on your "try something new" list but keep in mind it's kind of part four of his "Girlfriend Trilogy". I guess he had one more story in him.

Clumsy, Unlikely and AEIOU are the other ones.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Thanks Aaron and Jason for the "Girlfriend Trilogy" info. I'll have to give them a flip-through.

redlib: Yes, Reilly and Walters are good guys and I'm looking forward to seeing more from them both. And no, I haven't checked out Of Bitter Souls yet, but Satterlee's a good guy, too, and Markosia seems to have a solid business plan, so I'll be keeping an eye out for them.

Jason: "It's just comics." Yeah, and it's "just baseball," but it doesn't mean I didn't lose my mind during Art Howe's two disastrous years managing the Mets! ;-)

Jason said...

Well said. I can't argue with the baseball comment.