Coming Up: Books Due in April 2006

I’m working on a longer review of Solstice (Active Images, FEB06 2780), but since it’s offered again in this catalog, I figured I’d quickly recommend it. It’s an involving exploration of the ways people strive to make themselves remembered, whether through power or children or the search for a way to avoid death at the cost of everything else, all wrapped up in an exciting quest story. Think “what if Indiana Jones was the Kingpin?” Here’s an interview with writer Steven T. Seagle complete with preview pages.

Noted art-comic publisher AdHouse Books launches a superhero title with Superior Showcase #1 (FEB06 2786), following up last year’s Free Comic Book Day zero issue. The cover’s by Hope Larson, and the stories are by Nick Bertozzi, Mike Dawson, and Dean Trippe.

Yotsuba&! is just as cute and fun as everyone says. She’s a green-haired girl with a unique perspective on daily life. Book 1 (FEB06 2789) and Book 2 (FEB06 2790) of the manga series are reoffered from ADV.

Yotsuba&! Book 1 cover
Yotsuba&! Book 1
Buy this book

What a pleasant surprise! Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules) is putting out an omnibus edition of his previous series, Shades of Gray (Century Comics, FEB06 2937). I loved this realistic tale of teenagers trying to grow up and discovering first love, done in a fluid black-and-white line with innovative layouts. I think it prepared me for later discovering manga.

Yotsuba&! Book 2 cover
Yotsuba&! Book 2
Buy this book

First Second launches this month with an impressive and diverse lineup of graphic novels: ALIEEEN, a collection of alien oddities by French genius Lewis Trondheim (FEB06 3050); Eddie Campbell’s latest semi-autobiographical book, The Fate of the Artist (FEB06 3051), in color; the first of the cartoony Lost Colony series (FEB06 3053), a historical fantasy about greed; and Sardine in Outer Space (FEB06 3055), an all-ages parody of superheroes, space exploration, and kids’ adventure.

Why random variant covers aren’t a good idea for small publishers: Moonstone’s Buckaroo Banzai #1 ships with two covers, one of which is cool, featuring most of the cast, and one of which is ugly. At $3.50, I’m not willing to risk winding up with the ugly one, and since I’m probably the only person ordering this from my store, I won’t have a choice. So I’ll wait and see if I see this on the rack somewhere, at which point I’ll see if I still want to buy it. Because I can’t guarantee getting the cover I want, Moonstore turned a sure sale into a maybe.

Attitude 3 cover
Attitude 3
Buy this book

I always enjoy the Attitude books (NBM, FEB06 3181), so I’m glad to see a third collection of social and political cartoons. This time the focus is on online cartoonists, and although I can’t stand Ted Rall’s other work, he does a good job as interviewer.

I’ve never heard of new Korean manga publisher Netcomics, who are offering the launches of ten different series this month, some of which include the first two books of the title. That’s an ambitious strategy, but not a very good one. With many direct market retailers still unsure about manga, I suspect few will be willing to gamble on so many titles, especially if they’re asked to buy the first two at once. At least they have lots of sample chapters at their site.

Little Star cover
Little Star
Buy this book

Andi Watson’s newest graphic novel, Little Star (Oni Press, FEB06 3203), puts the emphasis on “novel”. It’s the character-driven story of a father coming to terms with life choices: balancing work and home, buying the right house, and dealing with his young daughter developing her own personality. The solar system frequently appears as a metaphor for his emotional state, and Watson captures faithfully the small moments of parenthood, both in flashback to the birth and currently with his toddler. The big questions covered are immediately relatable and even painful in their impact. It’s the most mature work yet from an astounding talent.

If you’re interested in Zoom Suit, bear in mind that your retailer is getting a bigger discount on it than usual, so look for a good deal. I admire the publisher’s immense promotional efforts, but the concept of “Greatest American Hero meets Cinderella” doesn’t do anything for me — it seems too constructed — and I’m turned off by the multiple covers.

Confidential Confessions: Deai cover
Confessions: Deai
Buy this book

When I reviewed the first volume of Confidential Confessions, I wished that the teen prostitute story was longer to allow for more insight and character development. Now, I’ve got my wish — Tokyopop is releasing a sequel, Confidential Confessions: Deai (FEB06 3274), that promises “a shocking look into the hard-hitting issues that teens face today”.

Kat & Mouse cover
Kat & Mouse
Buy this book

Alex de Campi (Smoke) turns her hand to all-ages manga with Kat & Mouse (Tokyopop, FEB06 3277). It sounds like a modern Nancy Drew crossed with Veronica Mars: a private school girl has to solve a mystery in order to protect her teacher dad from being fired. I like the science emphasis and the Mouse character, a computer nerd, sounds like fun. Note that it’s half the size of a typical manga at a lower price, $6.

Yay! Another Kindaichi Case Files mystery! House of Wax (FEB06 3302) sends the teen detectives to a mystery game run by Mr. Redrum. (Ruh-roh, Shaggy!)

ArchEnemies #1 (Dark Horse, FEB06 0051) has a cute premise — two roommates don’t realize that in their secret identities they’re really superhero and archenemy — and an accomplished art team: Yvel Guichet and Joe Rubinstein. New writer Drew Melbourne has been writing a column about his experience with his first published comic. It’s good enough that I’m interested in seeing the comic itself. Check out the book’s website for more information.

Noted in passing: all of Marvel’s comics are now priced at $2.99 each, except for the special issues and limited series that are more. This contrasts with DC’s $2.50 price for its big-name books (such as all the regular Batman titles except for certain miniseries and All-Star). DC’s inching towards matching that mark, though, with the newer Superman and DCU titles priced at $2.99. At least their kid books are still $2.25 — those are often better superhero reads than the “real” DCU comics.

3 Responses to “Coming Up: Books Due in April 2006”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Yay on a new (to me) Andi Watson book to read!

    That was the one CC story that interested me, so a continuation is good to hear about.

    I’ve always wanted to try Shades of Gray, so that’ll be fun.

    Kat & Mouse looks fun from the cover.

    Not sure about the superhero related books. I’ve grown kind of tired of the genre, and when I do rarely want to read one I’d just as soon go with the familiar.

  2. Chris Says:

    Thank you for pointing out Shades of Gray; I’d missed that in the dense forest of Previews. And I’m always on board for an Andi Watson trade (I prefer to read a story from him in one sitting). Here’s hoping Baby-Sitters Club doesn’t get pushed back again.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I’m glad to hear from more Shades of Gray fans!

    Greg McElhatton mentioned reading a preview copy of Baby-Sitters Club, so I’m guessing it’s ready to go this time around. I’m looking forward to that, too, because I love Raina Telgemeier’s art.




Most Recent Posts: