Monday, October 20, 2014

What Makes a Good Con?


Yesterday Orangerful and I attended the Annapolis Comic Con, representing our library system. I figure we spoke to at least 75 people about the library, about half of whom live in our county. The other half were from other counties in Maryland and about 10 people were from Virginia (and one from New York!), so some of these folks drove quite a long way. Although we didn't see as many people as we would've liked, we gave people a lot of information about all the things the library offers, including graphic novels, downloadable audiobooks and eBooks, Playaways, book clubs, and much more. (Many thanks to the organizers for inviting us to come again this year!) 

It was the second or third year for the con and it's pretty small, taking up about three-fourths of a recreation center's gymnasium. This was mainly a con for dealers and artists, although there were a few guests of honor and a couple of panels, but not much. (There was also a cosplay contest.) The entry fee was $10; kids 10 and under got in free. 

Anyway, the turnout wasn't so great. Orangerful and I both felt like attendance was down significantly from last year, but the con had previously been held on a Saturday and this one was on a Sunday from 10-4. We would really love to see this con grow and speculated on what would have to happen to take this con to the next level. 

So I guess my first question is...

What's the main thing(s) you need to take your con to the next level? 

And some other questions:

When is a con too small? 

When is it not worth your time to attend?

With cons in Baltimore and Washington DC, were people too "conned" out?

Are small cons such a bad thing? Aren't there too many large cons anyway?


Anyway, I'm eager to hear your thoughts.


(And just for fun, here are a few books I picked up at huge discounts yesterday.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Read in September Part II

Okay, so I'm a little late with the rest of my September reads, which started here. Lots of good stuff, so let's get going...


Baby Bjornstrand (2014) Renee French (Koyama Press)

I met and spoke with French at SPX, bought this book, and plan to discuss it with Derek on an upcoming episode of The Comics Alternative Podcast. Stay tuned!   

4.5/5

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Wednesday... 10/15/14


This is my story and I’m sticking to it: I’m saving up for the December release of Jack Kirby Mister Miracle Artist’s Edition (IDW), which is going to be a wallet-breaker, so I’m really limiting myself at the comics shop for awhile. I’m really not that interested in any single issues this week, but I hope to eventually pick up one new trade and possibly two reissues:


As far as new releases, hands-down it’s Rai Vol. 1: Welcome to New Japan by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain (Valiant). A few months back I bought the first issue of Rai and was just blown away. Kindt is one of my favorite creators, so I’d probably buy anything he writes, even if he decided to write a history of laundry detergent. (Really, Matt, don’t feel obligated to write that, but if you do...)  


Although I’ve perused it several times, I’ve never completely read Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s Action Philosophers. This new 10th anniversary edition looks like the way to go, with 20 pages of bonus material, covers, pin-ups, photos and script excerpts from the theatre production and a new 8-page story. Plus a new introduction by Hegel! (Just kidding about that last part...) 


And apparently Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative (originally published in 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company) is getting a reissue this week. This, along with Eisner’s other instructional books (Comics and Sequential Art, Expressive Anatomy for Comics and Narrative), are part of my constantly growing must-read pile. 


That’s going to do it for me. Be sure to tell me what you plan to pick up today.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

National Comic Book Day


Did you know that today is National Comic Book Day? Well, it is, and you can snag a nice variety of free digital comics over at ComiXology today only. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's Wednesday... 9/24/14

September 24, 2014

Lots of temptations this week, so I’m only listing a few...


Roche Limit #1 - Michael Moreci, Vic Malhotra (Image)
Man, all you have to tell me is crime noir, science fiction and Image. I’m in. Lots of folks have been waiting for this one for months, including me. 


Mind MGMT #26 - Matt Kindt (Dark Horse)

If you haven’t read Mind MGMT yet, I’m telling ya, get the first collected edition and dive in. Have I ever steered you wrong? Well??? Trust me. Read Mind MGMT


Star Trek: City on the Edge of Forever #4 - Harlan Ellison, Scott Tipton, David Tipton (IDW)

The penultimate issue of Harlan Ellison’s original teleplay adaptation arrives today. This project has been a wonderful experience. I’ve been buying all the single issues with the Juan Ortiz covers, which are absolutely stunning. Don’t wait for the trade. 


American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s - Jason Sacks, Keith Dallas (TwoMorrows) 

The folks at TwoMorrows have done a bang-up job of collecting an informative and entertaining archive of American comic book history so far, and I’m sure this edition is no exception. This is actually the volume I’ve been looking forward to the most, since I spent a large part of the 70s reading comics. If you’re interested in comics history, these volumes are a must-own.


Fatale Vol. 5: Curse the Demon - Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips (Image)

I’m sad to say that this is the final collection of Fatale, but happy to say that Brubaker and Phillips have delivered a series that’s nothing short of stellar. If you’ve never read their collaborations, Fatale is a great title to start with.  


The Incal - Alexandro Jodorowsky, Moebius (Humanoids - new third printing)

Okay, let’s get this out of the way... If you haven’t read The Incal, you really shouldn’t call yourself a comics fan. The books from Humanoids are expensive, and I’ll confess, this is the only one I own, but it’s worth every cent of the $44.95 list price. Get it now. The Incal has gone out of print before and who knows if it’ll be reissued? Don’t risk it - pick it up.    


Batman: Gordon of Gotham - Chuck Dixon, Dennis O’Neil, Klaus Janson, Jim Aparo, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dick Giordano (DC) 

Aaaaaand... I’m not sure I’m going to get this one. This volume collects Gordon of Gotham #1-4, Batman: GCPD #1-4, and Batman: Gordon’s Law #1-4. Sort of looks like it might be a money-grab on the part of DC to cash in on the new TV series Gotham. If they’d been smart, DC would’ve collected Gotham Central into a nice omnibus edition, which I would gladly purchase. Don’t know why they didn’t... So for me, the jury’s out on Gordon of Gotham. (If you pick it up, or if you’ve read the individual issues, let me know what you think.)


That’s going to do it for me. Be sure to tell me what you plan to pick up today.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Read in September Part I

September is off to a potentially record-breaking start with 15 books read in 20 days. I hope you’ll find something that grabs you. 

(All works with a + are part of the ongoing SXSW 2014 Starter Pack review series.)

================


Marvel Masterworks: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, Volume 1 (1963-64/2006) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers (Marvel) 

Reviewed here as part of my ongoing exploration of Gene Kannenberg’s 500 Essential Graphic Novels: The Ultimate Guide. 

3.5/5


+ The Chair’s Hiatus (2011) Matthew Bogart (Matthew Bogart)

One of the best graphic novels from the SXSW 2014 Starter Pack from ComiXology earlier this year, The Chairs' Hiatus is nothing fancy or flashy, just a simple story (yet not simplistic) about a band, relationships, trust and forgiveness. Well worth seeking out digitally or in print.

5/5


+ Fighting Stranger (2013) Adam J. Monetta, Juan Romera (HicksVillain Productions) 

A stranger with amnesia wanders into a desert city seeking answers. What he finds is a robot who’s not too keen on delivering answers. A bit clunky early on, but things pick up as you go. Worth a look. 

3/5


Hip Hop Family Tree (2013) Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)

This first volume of Hip Hop Family Tree covers an enormous amount of ground in 100 or so pages (years 1970 - 1981), so much so that all the names can get confusing and overwhelming, but Piskor knows how to keep the story moving and interesting. I knew almost nothing about hip hop prior to reading this volume, but one of my co-workers - an expert in all things hip hop - was very impressed with the depth and accuracy of the book. I really enjoyed it and love the nod to the Marvel Treasury Edition format from the 70s. Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 2 (just released) covers 1981-1983.  

4/5


Aw Yeah Comics! And... Action! (J 2014) Art Baltazar & Franco (Dark Horse)


4.5/5


The Massive, Vol. 3: Longship (2014) Brian Wood, Garry Brown (Dark Horse) 

I was a bit disappointed in Vol. 2 of this series, Subcontinental, but Wood and Brown have really stepped things up with this third volume. The stories are suspenseful and the characterizations top-notch. Highly recommended. 

5/5


Lazarus, Vol. 2: Lift (2014) Greg Rucka, Michael Lark (Image)

Rucka’s world-building continues to impress as we learn more about Forever and the world she lives in. We also learn more about the “Waste” population and their pilgrimage to Denver, where they hope some of their number will be deemed worthy of being “lifted” to serve the Carlyle family. 


4/5

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Wednesday... 9/17/14

Since I spent a significant amount of $ at SPX this past weekend, I won't be going to the comic shop today.... But if did go, here's what would be on my radar:


Okay, I'm cheating a bit here since I already picked up Michel Fiffe's Copra Round One at the Baltimore Comic Con (where I also met and greatly enjoyed talking with/interviewing Fiffe). This volume collects the first six amazing issues of Copra (Bergen Street Comics), a book you should run out and get right now if you haven't already. Superheroes, action, mayhem, and boundless energy. This is a great book - do not miss it! 


I only read the first book of Michael Moorcock's Elric series many years ago, so I'm hoping to start Elric: The Ruby Throne, the first in the graphic novel series from Titan Comics. I'm somewhat surprised that this one comes in at a slim 64 pages, but hey, I'm onboard.


Who out there is not reading Peter Panzerfaust? C'mon, raise your hands... You in the back, there - you haven't read it, have you? Didn't think so... Your assignment is to read Peter Panzerfaust (Image) starting with Vol. 1: The Great Escape, then catch up to the newest volume, Vol. 4: Hunt

So tell me what's on your radar for today....