- Posted by Johanna on December 10, 2006 at 3:55 pm
- Category: Shopping Guide
Going through the Previews catalog reminds me of how disconnected I’ve become from the comic market these days. There are very few series I’m following in traditional stapled comic format —
True Story, Swear to God #5 (Image, DEC06 1892)
X-Factor #16 (Marvel, DEC06 2349)
Action Philosophers #8 (Evil Twin, DEC06 3558)
Castle Waiting #5 (Fantagraphics, DEC06 3562)
— and with so many options for buying graphic novels and manga, no need to preorder. That’s my way of trying to explain why I haven’t felt the need to write up this kind of post in the past few months.
But when I saw this, I had to applaud the publisher. IDW is doing a second Maze Agency collection (DEC06 3706, $24.99). When I reviewed the first book, I concluded that we probably wouldn’t see any more, and I’m thrilled to find out I was wrong.
There’s little specific information given about artists and issues reprinted, but no one would be buying for that, anyway. The appeal is the way writer Mike W. Barr manages to craft entertaining mysteries and appealing characters.
Also of note this month is Divalicious (DEC06 3884, Tokyopop, $9.99). Webcomic writer T Campbell (Penny and Aggie, among others) and As If! artist Amy Mebberson take on the star system of American pop music, a subject ripe for drama, soap opera, and parody.
I’m thrilled to see Elk’s Run (DEC06 3960, Villard Books, $19.95) finally collected, and from a “real” publisher, too. Those guys, after everything they went through trying to get their story out, deserve all the success they’re going to get. And we’ll finally get to know what the secret of that mysterious West Virginia town is.
If you’re looking for a new manga series to try, I got the chance to see a preview of Backstage Prince (DEC06 3988, Viz, $8.99), and I enjoyed it. It’s a straight romance between an ordinary girl and the loner actor she falls in love with. He reciprocates her feelings, but he’s not sure how to relate to anyone, let alone a girlfriend. Together, they have to figure things out. I thought the characters’ emotions were nicely believable.
I was also asked to review a PDF version of Character Sketches 2007, an eight-story Australian anthology (DEC06 3592, Gestalt Publishing, $7.95). I can appreciate why creators would find anthologies desirable, especially if the book is intended to serve as a kind of portfolio piece, but… I don’t look forward to them, and they no longer seem to serve any purpose (gathering attention, sampling, tryouts) that a website doesn’t do better.
Most of the pieces are professionally done (although as with any anthology, I thought there were a few not up to the quality of the rest), but I don’t appreciate the exploration of the grotesque, so I didn’t make it through all of the stories. Those I did, I finished, thought “hunh”, and moved on. I don’t expect to remember or go back to any of them, so I can’t recommend purchasing the book.
It’s unfair of me, I know, that I’ve lost my curiosity to discover new artists and support experimental works. These days, I want the filter of a publisher selecting work; I want to know that they’ve passed certain barriers to entry to deserve my attention. If I invest time in a story, I want a bigger chunk than just a few pages, too — a series or at least a graphic novel.