Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due November 2010 (or Later)

Dark Horse

I am thrilled to see Dark Horse listing another volume of Sinfest, because it’s my favorite comic strip, but I am confused by what to expect from it. Let me explain.

Sinfest Viva la Resistance
Sinfest: Viva La Resistance
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Back in June 2009, Dark Horse released Sinfest Volume 1, reprinting the webcomic from the beginning. It contained the same strips as the previously self-published first book and part of the second. The same month, they solicited a Volume 2, which was rescheduled for April 2010, has yet to be released, was never cancelled (that I can tell), and has disappeared completely from their website. (Although Amazon still remembers it.)

Now, they’re offering Sinfest: Viva La Resistance (SEP10 0105, $14.99, due January 2011), which is being promoted as “an entire volume of never-before-collected strips”. That suggests to me that the reprint content of the first book is thought to have hurt sales, given how many readers the strip has online. There’s no information on what years are contained in this new book, so it’s hard to tell how far ahead they’re skipping.

Yay for more Sinfest books, but does this mean we’re not going to get Volume 2? Ideally, Dark Horse will get back to the sales level they’re expecting with this all-new book, then release the second volume, which I’m hoping will perfectly fit in between the other two books. (If that’s the case, it would likely contain the rest of the second self-published book and all of the third.) But it’s hard to tell with no volume number on this book. Or maybe I’ll just have to live with having some of the same material in their volume 1 and the previously self-published volumes.

Regardless, buy Sinfest. It’s great stuff.

Image Comics

Battle Chasers Anthology

Battle Chasers Anthology

Image offers the Battle Chasers Anthology hardcover (SEP10 0443). It’s only $100 to own a piece of comic history. Joe Medureira’s popular independent series was once the talk of the direct market, only to ship late (nine issues in four years) and never finish (#9 ended with a cliffhanger). Now, “every issue ever published of one of the most beloved comic book series of all time” is contained in an “oversized graphic novel” with new sketches and a fold-out poster.

Battle Chasers #3

Battle Chasers #3

I’m surprised to see that the relatively drab cover doesn’t remind us of what really made this series popular, the infamous Red Monika (as shown on the cover of issue #3). I do wonder — it’s been 10 years since this handful of comics was released. Does anyone still care? Especially enough to pay an extra $50 for the signed limited edition? (Limited to how many? They don’t say.)

Maybe I’m looking for meaning where there isn’t one, but I found it illustrative to compare DC’s section organization to Image’s. Both start with the special things they want to highlight that month, then DC runs all its periodical comics, with collected editions at the end. Image, on the other hand, follows its spotlight items with trade paperbacks and hardcovers, all of which are also spotlighted. Only after that come the single issues. Is that an indication of how they see the market focused for their publications, or just an attempt to get higher sales for collections?

Small and Self-Publishers

Wow, how time flies. Terry Moore’s Echo is offering its fifth collection, Black Hole (Abstract Studios, SEP10 0739, $15.95), collecting issues #21-25. I hadn’t realized so many issues had been released. The series is also described as ending with issue #30, so just one more book to go, and it’s all over. Do you think people will remember it (and keep buying it) the way they do his first series, Strangers in Paradise?

Return of the Dapper Men cover
Return of the Dapper Men
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AdHouse Books is distributing a Xeric Grant winner, Jed McGowan’s Lone Pine (SEP10 0742, $15). Based on the online preview, it’s a silent graphic novel about a guy getting drunk in the woods; we’re told by the solicitation that he stumbles into “a world of cryptic messages, shadowy figures, guns and philosophical crisis.” The illustrations are minimally old-fashioned, but I like the light turquoise spot color.

I’ve been anticipating Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia Entertainment, SEP10 0782, $24.95) since I saw preview art at this year’s Heroes Convention. Writer Jim McCann and artist Janet Lee present an unusual steampunk story with a distinctive look and eye-catching ideas.

Best of the 90s Book 2 cover
Best of the 90s Book 2
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Archie Comics continues expanding its Archie Americana reprint series with Volume 11, Best of the Eighties Book #2. Amazon also tells us that the Nineties get a second volume due in April 2011. Check out Veronica as a Sailor Moon Scout on the cover! And I think that’s Betty pretending to be Britney Spears. I enjoy the odd flashbacks these series provide, even if they are quick, not very memorable reads.

What a tragedy! I didn’t realize Lady Death wasn’t easily available in collected editions until now. Boundless Comics will be remedying that with paperbacks, hardcovers, and signed limited editions. Everything old is new again these days. I’m surprised the word “chromium” hasn’t reappeared yet.

I got my copy of xkcd Volume 0 (Breadpig, SEP10 0918, $18) last September. Now you can buy this print collection of the outstanding webcomic without having to pay shipping costs. Or from Amazon right now at a 30% discount. Poor comic retailers. It’s a nice book, though, capturing all the geek and relationship humor plus the rollover text jokes and added commentary and page puzzles.

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition cover
Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition
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New trend I abhor: comic covers featuring naked women covered in blood. The Alex Ross variant cover for Vampirella and one of Jim Balent’s Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose editions both follow this pattern. Strangely, only the Ross gets a black bar covering the boobies. (Perhaps Balent’s ridiculous anatomy meant the viewers couldn’t quite realize that that’s what those oddly shaped lumps were supposed to be on his piece?) And people wonder why there’s still a popular perception that comic readers are immature man-boys.

I’m very impressed that Usagi Yojimbo is celebrating its 25th anniversary! Kudos to Stan Sakai for creating such a long-running, high-quality series about a samurai rabbit. In its honor, Fantagraphics has a two-volume slipcase Special Edition, collecting 1200 pages for $100 (SEP10 1020). That’s impressive, but for me, it’s wrong for the material, which I enjoy because it’s a cartoony, pulpy, historical adventure starring animals. An upscale presentation, while well-deserved, doesn’t match the mood I want while reading it. I prefer the floppies.

Castle Waiting Volume 2 cover
Castle Waiting Volume 2
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It’s about time! I adore Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting, and after four years, I’m especially eager to read Volume 2 (Fantagraphics, SEP10 1022, $29.99). It doesn’t matter what happens or what the premise is — the stories are new to me, and I can’t wait for this gorgeous blend of skilled art and imaginative fantasy with a modern perspective.

Kickstart Comics is the newest company set up by Hollywood folks looking for cheap material to base films on. (See also Radical, whose painted comics I find unreadable.) They’re listing four books in this catalog with generic-sounding premises, such as a modern take on Greek gods, a spy due to die in 24 hours, and a secret mystical society. I’d like to know more, but their website (which doesn’t even come up on the first page of a Google search for “Kickstart Comics”) only sometimes reprints the minimal solicit copy for each book, and the news section hasn’t been updated for two months. Lame. But this isn’t their target market, anyway, since their press coverage promotes that they’re getting their books into Wal-Mart; they’re aiming for mass audiences, those who buy once the book is available, not those who preorder.

Comics Shop cover
Comics Shop
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It’s a shame that Oni didn’t get Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Boxset (SEP10 1090, $72) out before the movie tanked, but I’m guessing they were aiming at the holiday gift-giving crowd instead. There’s no discount for buying the six books all in one set, but you get a slipcase and exclusive poster, although I can’t yet find an image of either. I still recommend the series, and if you haven’t read it yet, this is a nice way to start.

A new price guide, Comics Shop (SEP10 1235, $24.99), is being brought out by Krause Publications, the folks behind Comic Buyers’ Guide. Given how important sourcing is when determining whether a price guide is reliable, I found that important information, but you won’t learn it from the Previews catalog writeup. That, instead, talks about how Hollywood is making comic movies (?) and how different it is that this guide is in full color (with columns of figures, who cares?). Whoever submitted this ad copy needs a new job. And Previews would be much improved if they listed publishers in their Books & Magazines section, since knowing who’s putting out a book can be an important guide to its likely quality.


9 Responses to “Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due November 2010 (or Later)”

  1. Barry Deutsch Says:

    Of all of these graphic novels, the one I’m most excited about is Castle Waiting. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I don’t love about that series.

    And Hereville comes out in November, as well. Just mentioning. Not that I’m biased or anything. :-D

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yes, I’m very much looking forward to your book, too, but wasn’t it solicited last month? I skipped doing a writeup back then, my oversight.

  3. ~chris Says:

    I have all the three self-published Sinfest volumes, so I hope that Viva La Resistance is in effect Volume 4, with all new material. Otherwise I’ll have to think twice before spending money on it.

    I wonder who’d want to spend $100 on a complete collection of a series (Battle Chasers) that is not complete? New readers? Old readers who already have the floppies?

  4. Grant Says:

    Thanks for mentioning Echo. I was always a fan of Moores art, but never really got into SIP when it first came out. But I really enjoy Echo and never really see any reviews for it or hear any mention of it at all.

    It’s a terrific read and I have to say, with very few exceptions it’s one of the most entertaining stories I’ve read in probably 15 years. I didn’t discover it until issue 13 and quickly bought the trades. I couldn’t wait for the 5th collection so I bought the individual issues. I’ll be sad to see the story end and I look forward to a cool omnibus of the series. Thanks again.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Chris, I never knew why anyone would spend money on anything Joe Mad did, so I can’t help with that. :)

    Grant, I suspect SiP stood out for being something different at the time, but Echo seems more traditionally superheroic. What do you enjoy about it?

  6. ~chris Says:

    Johanna, I believe you mentioned a pair of reasons. :-P

    I also enjoy Echo (I’m buying the trades rather than the floppies), though not as much as SiP. It differs from Big Two comics in that there’s more emphasis on character than on superheroics (the main character reacts to her powers in a more realistic manner than most “superheroes”), and of course there’re no multi-decade multi-title multi-creator continuity issues. Also, I love Terry’s art.

  7. Grant Says:

    Johanna:

    Echo is a really interesting twist on Captain Atom, IMO (this may mean more to me as a fan of both Ditko and Captain Atom than to others perhaps).

    I hope that doesn’t make it sound like a rip off or that it doesn’t still have a lot of originality and complexity to it, because it does. It’s one of the more refreshing takes on the old “regular person accidentally becomes superhero” formula that I’ve seen in a while. It has really enjoyable characters. Everyone, the villains, and even those with smaller roles or those who might only appear in several panels are interesting in some way.

    The issues are only 17 or 18 pages, but there is more story and character development in one issue of Echo than in an entire Marvel or DC event/crossover (Hopefully that didn’t sound like a back handed compliment). Also the art is very easy on the eyes. The characters look like real people with actual facial expressions that matches the dialogue that comes out of their mouths.

    Just a lot of fun. I’ll be sorry to see the story end. But Echo has made me want to revisit SiP again.

  8. James Schee Says:

    Interesting that its Image that is putting out the BattleChasers collection. It was originally under the Jim Lee, Wildstorm imprint … I think Homage?

    I remember reading it for the first time when I started getting the DC comp box just as DC aquired it. I thought it actually had an ending.. with the bad robot/guy whatever being destroyed.. run off.

    Castle Waiting V. 2 is a great to hear of! Question though, is this the first collection of her new stuff through Fantagraphics or is it the second? I’m afraid I got behind…

  9. Johanna Says:

    Castle Waiting is the first set of new stories. V1 (Fantagraphics) was the original series, I think. It’s been a while, so I hope I’m remembering correctly.




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