Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due June 2010

Welcome to the big game, IDW. I didn’t realize how much of their line depended on licensing, though — if it’s not G.I. Joe, Transformers, Angel, or Star Trek, then it’s big-name franchise novelists like James Patterson or TV actors like Michael Chiklis. I’m glad they’re having so much growth, but my tiny idealistic side wishes that some of their success came from original-to-comic projects. But maybe those don’t work any more; maybe you’ve got to have some kind of other-media tie-in to get attention in an over-crowded periodical market.

Love and Capes Volume 2 cover
Love and Capes Volume 2
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Then again, they’re putting out a second volume of Love and Capes (APR10 0387, $19.99), my favorite superhero series. Thom Zahler keeps the issues going under his own Maerkle Press label, but IDW handles the collections.

Things have been tough out there for traditional print comic publishers, and there’s no sign they’re getting better any time soon. Negative Burn used to come out from Desperado Publishing; now it’s with IDW. Hack/Slash was part of Devil’s Due; now it’s from Image. Creature Tech also moved to Image from Top Shelf. It’s all about small publishers and creators seeking shelter from a larger umbrella and moving up in the catalog if they can. There’s not much room any more for the small publisher, one step up from a self-publisher, with only a handful of titles.

Nothing Better: Into the Wild cover
Nothing Better: Into the Wild
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I feel for the older indy publishers, most. They remember the days when the direct market was all that mattered, and they struggled through (for decades, sometimes) trying to survive that market when their material really was aiming elsewhere. Now that bookstores and digital distribution are the growth markets, they still have a foot in the previous camp, and I wonder sometimes if that split focus won’t tear them apart. Or I’m just shooting off my mouth about things I don’t know enough about.

I’ve already had the pleasure of reading Nothing Better: Into the Wild (APR10 0929, Dementian Comics, $15); in fact, it was one of my Best Graphic Novels of 2009. Now you can order it through your comic shop, and if you enjoy funny and heart-warming stories about college roommates, you should.

The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans cover
The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans
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It’s not a graphic novel, but I must recommend the new issue of Comic Book Comics. There’s no other comic series like this, providing a factual yet funny overview of key moments in industry history. #5 (APR10 0977, Evil Twin Comics, $3.95) is the All-Lawsuit Issue, covering Jack Kirby’s fight with Marvel, Howard the Duck, Dan DeCarlo’s Josie and the Pussycats, Miracleman, and more!

Every June, there’s a new entry in Rick Geary’s Treasury of 20th Century Murder series. This year, it’s The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans (APR10 1022, NBM Publishing, $15.99), a killer of grocers, of all things. And I’m glad they come out in summer, when sunny breezes and bright days can shake off the maudlin, creepy stories told authentically. I wish Geary didn’t have such fascination for unsolved murders, because I’m always left wondering just what really happened, an answer we’ll never know. (There’s a preview online.)

When I read Past Lies back in 2006, I liked the supernatural mystery enough to hope we’d get more stories with the characters. Instead, we’re getting a hardcover reprint (APR10 1040, Oni Press, $19.99). Maybe that’s a good sign that there’s still potential for followup?

6 Responses to “Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due June 2010”

  1. Greg McElhatton Says:

    “Negative Burn used to come out from Desperado Publishing; now it’s with IDW.”

    Well, it’s still with Desperado too; just as Desperado was initially publishing as an imprint under Image (before deciding to go it on their own), it’s now an imprint under IDW.

  2. Cuteaholic Says:

    “I’m glad they’re having so much growth, but my tiny idealistic side wishes that some of their success came from original-to-comic projects.”

    Yeah, but that’s not really their fault…I mean, obviously any publisher would like to see *everything* they release be successful. The problem is that the direct market is too obsessed with spandex to make most creator-owned indy stuff a hit. Licensed projects at least have a built-in audience, which makes them a better gamble for a small company.

    The real problem here isn’t “stupid licensed stuff”, it’s “stupid fat guys who only like superheroes.” Honestly, I can’t understand why companies like IDW even bother with the direct market…if I were them I’d concentrate on bookstores and digital.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Greg, I didn’t see any mention of Desperado in the solicitation copy, so that may be a bit of a pointless distinction. But I’d forgotten that history pre-Desperado, so thanks for the reminder.

    Cutey, yes, you’re right, although let’s not get so personally insulting as “stupid fat guys”. There are plenty of skinny guys who also only buy superheroes. :)

    But yes, having an existing audience is a huge help for a publisher, whether that group is “Spider-Man fans” or “Transformers fans”.

  4. ADD Says:

    I love that Geary has this obsession — it frequently leads, in this series, to little moments where what is probably the truth become apparent, but of course we can’t really know for certain. I think Geary’s level of research and artistry makes the series one of the best continuing comics of all time. I hope he never stops.

  5. Johanna Says:

    But I want eeeeeasy answers! (whine)

    Yeah, it’s an absolutely wonderful series, both in its fascination and level of craft.

  6. Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due Later Than September 2010 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] not the only anticipated return from Oni. Back in April, I noted that Oni’s hardcover reprint of Past Lies might be an interesting sign of something […]




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