Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's Wednesday... 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

Just a couple of single issues on my radar this week, starting off with Rasputin #1 by Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo with colors by Ivan Plascencia (Image). I’m onboard for any work by Rossmo, plus, after reading Petrograd a few years ago, I can’t deny a affinity for anything related to the Mad Monk.

Of course, Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT #27 (Dark Horse) is a must-buy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re not reading Mind MGMT, you’re missing one of the best titles out there. 

I picked up the first issue of C.O.W.L. a few months back and enjoyed it enough to put it on my “Pick up the trade” list. The tale of the first superhero labor union is told in C.O.W.L. Vol. 1: Principles of Power (Image), story by Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel, art by Rod Reis. (Collects C.O.W.L. #1-5)

I won’t be getting this one today, but I’d love to take a look at Basil Wolverton’s Weird Worlds Artist’s Edition from IDW. Wolverton (no relation, at least as far as I know) produced some really wild stuff, so if you’ve never experienced his work, this might not be the place to start, and certainly not the cheapest. (A couple of good places to start might be with the more affordable Spacehawk or the upcoming volume Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life and Comics of Basil Wolverton Vol. 1, both from Fantagraphics

This one’s been out for a week, but you should certainly consider it: Lynda Barry’s new non-fiction work Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor, reviewed by me recently at The Comics Alternative

That’s it for me. How about you? 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

September Reads Part III

Yes, October is nearly over and I’m just finishing September’s reads. I can’t wait to see how far behind I’ll get during the holidays... Well, regardless, here’s the last of the September reads (and in case you missed them, here’s Part I and Part II): 

Youth is Wasted (2014) Noah Van Sciver (Adhouse Books)

Van Sciver’s short stories are honest, daring, often hilarious, and impossible to ignore. After reading this collection, I certainly want to check out his 2012 graphic novel The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln


An Iranian Metamorphosis (2012/2014) Mana Neyestani (Uncivilized Books)

An exceptional graphic memoir by Neyestani, an Iranian cartoonist whose cartoons featured in a children's publication landed him in a prison nightmare worthy of Kafka. While Kafka's Metamorphosis is a clear inspiration for this black and white graphic novel, it is not heavily derivative of that work. Neyestani instead creates something with a hint of the bizarre, yet very personal, unique and moving. Seek this out!


Thor: God of Thunder, Vol. 1: The God Butcher (2013) Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic (Marvel NOW!) 

The God Butcher tells the story of Thor during three periods of his life: the young Thor, the modern day Thor of the Avengers, and a future wearied, nearly depleted Thor. All the while, Thor battles Gorr the God Butcher, who has apparently been killing the gods for centuries. Now it’s Thor’s turn. Or is it? I love Aaron’s work on Southern Bastards and am eager to start Scalped, but despite some interesting artwork from Ribic, this book is painfully repetitive. 


Fatale, Vol. 5: Curse the Demon (2014) Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips (Image)

Brubaker and Phillips bring the story of the mysterious Josephine to a wild and satisfying conclusion. Now that the series is complete, noir and/or horror fans have no reason not to experience this stunning work. 


Hicksville (1998) Dylan Horrocks (Drawn & Quarterly) 

I first heard of Dylan Horrocks after reading his short story “Steam Girl” in Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rick and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant I instantly fell in love with Horrocks’s modern-day story of two young social outcasts and knew I’d want to read more of his work. After reading Hicksville, Horrocks’s work has now become a must-buy. 

Hicksville is the story of Leonard Batts, a young man who travels to New Zealand to gather research for a biography of world-famous cartoonist Dick Burger. When Batts arrives in Burger’s hometown of Hicksville, he can’t believe all the animosity the locals have toward cartoon legend. Hicksville is so rich in its storytelling, character development and pacing that it’s almost too good to be true. This is a book I plan to return to again and again. I can’t say that about very many books, but few are as good as Hicksville


White Cube (2013/2014) Brecht Vandenbroucke (Drawn & Quarterly)

Belgian cartoonist/illustrator Vandenbroucke’s first book is filled with color, humor, and absurdity as its two main characters - pink-faced twins - seek to understand the world of modern art. The short episodes are often hilarious jabs at the art world, but just as frequently fall flat. I think Vandenbroucke possibly assumes too much (at least as far as American audiences go) about the reader’s knowledge of art and artists, making some of the jokes go over our heads (or at least over mine). Yet I look forward to more from Bandenbroucke.


The Hidden (2011) Richard Sala (Fantagraphics) 

I love Sala’s art and the surreal/horror/German expressionism going on, but the story didn't completely work for me, at least not on a first reading. This is my first experience with Sala's work, but I hope to read more.


I’d love to hear about what you enjoyed last month...or this month! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's Wednesday... 10/22/14

October 22, 2014

Not much on my radar this week - no single issues, just one trade and one new deluxe edition.

Although I picked up a couple of Marvel trade paperbacks at the Annapolis Comic Con last weekend, I’m not a huge Marvel (or DC, for that matter) reader. I am, however, a Silver Surfer fan, and bought the first couple of issues of its current run by Dan Slott and Michael Allred. It’s wacky, goofy, and of course, cosmic. I’m looking forward to this new trade Silver Surfer, Vol. 1: New Dawn, collecting Silver Surfer (2014) #1-5 and some material from All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1. Cosmic, man...


A few months ago I read a slim volume of Scandinavian author Tove Jansson’s Moomin tales and thought it was delightful. I certainly wanted to read more and later saw the solicitation for Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, a hardcover slipcased edition of mostly black-and-white work, 448 pages. I actually looked through a pre-release copy of this at SPX and it looks beautiful. This edition also celebrates Tove Jansson’s legacy, 100 years after her birth. Check out some stills from the book at Drawn & Quarterly

That’s it for me. How about you? 


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!   


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.