Coming Up: Graphic Novels Due December 2010

Nothing sums up Previews for me like this month’s Customer Order form — open the boobilicious near-naked Lady Death cover (she’s back! I didn’t know, or care, she was gone), and the first inner page says “Looking for Kid Friendly Comics?” It’s a month to highlight books for all ages, apparently, so lots of modern classics are reoffered. Take this opportunity to try something well-recommended. (Not Lady Death.)

Finder: Voice cover
Finder: Voice
Buy this book

There are plenty of treasures to be found. Like the return of Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder with the new graphic novel Voice (Dark Horse, OCT10 0041, $19.99, due February 16, 2011). It’s been over four years since the last book, and I’m thrilled to see this come back, because it’s always excellent and thought-provoking, both in story and cartooning. Simply genius, and a good read.

Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising cover
Drawing Power: A Compendium
of Cartoon Advertising
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Fantagraphics’ Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising (OCT10 1013, $28.99, December 29) has a much better description on its Amazon page than it does in the Previews catalog — it’s an overview of print ads that featured comic characters or cartoonists, focusing on “the commercial roots of newspaper strips; the cross-promotions of artists, their characters, and retail products; and of the superb artwork that cartoonists invested in their lucrative freelance work in advertising.” Here’s a key part: “A special section will showcase ads that featured cartoonists themselves as hucksters.”

If you’re looking for something educational but entertaining, last summer’s Trickster (Fulcrum Publishing, OCT10 1030, $22.95, December 29) is an anthology of Native American folktales in a variety of graphic styles. Many feature origin tales, or Coyote (the classic trickster) or Raven. Since the writers aren’t always experienced with comics, several of the stories are captioned, illustrated tales. The diversity will suit it well for a library collection.

Trickster cover
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As part of Kids Comics month, Harper Collins reoffers the three Magic Trixie books by Jill Thompson (OCT10 1041, 1042, 1043, $7.99, December 1). They’re wonderful stories that not enough people saw their first time out. Don’t miss this chance to pick them up.

Bless Knights of the Dinner Table! They’ve been running as a comic since 1996, and are now up to issue #170. I don’t read them — the minimal art and gamer-focused subjects aren’t for me — but I’m very impressed that it book has found its audience and is continuing to do its thing consistently.

Cost-cutting: I’m halfway through the indie publishers, and I’ve counted three Sherlock Holmes comics already. Public-domain material is a great way to minimize creative costs, and a familiar brand with no licensing costs means customers already think they know what they’re getting.

I’ve been hearing excellent recommendations about Sarah Oleksyk’s Ivy (OCT10 1085, $19.99, January 26, 2011) for a while now (since she self-serialized it as minicomics), and I’m thrilled to see outstanding publisher Oni Press has picked up the collection. It’s beautifully illustrated, capturing the feel of teenage uncertainty and dislocation. Ivy is prickly, an aspiring artist who doesn’t fit into her town, and with a tendency to tick off those who care about her. A classic coming-of-age story. There’s a lengthy preview at that link.

The Sixth Gun cover
The Sixth Gun
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If you haven’t yet checked out spooky Western The Sixth Gun, you should. I liked it, in spite of its genre, which I think speaks to its quality. This month, Oni has the first collection (OCT10 1087, $19.99, January 12, 2011), completing the opening storyline.

Pirate Peg’s Rangerette Handbook (Transfuzion Publishing, OCT10 1148, $24.99, January 5, 2011) promises to collect the entire Strange Attractors saga in one big book — by my recollection, that’s 15 issues of the mid-90s series and the two issues of the aborted Moon Fever miniseries. I quite enjoyed this bizarrely postmodern story of female space pirates who loved reading comics. Sophie’s a museum curator, living in the future but living in the past, who gets caught up with the heroines of her favorite reads. She thought they were fantasy, but it turns out their comics are subversive reading. I don’t think this collection has any extras, but I still hope that there are some hints of how it all was intended to work out.

Gotham City 14 Miles: Essays on Why the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters (OCT10 1262, $22.95, December 22) is the latest book of essays from Sequart. There’s something about the cover perspective on that signpost that doesn’t work for me, but the material inside features stellar contributors, including comic writers Chuck Dixon (comparing TV and comic character versions), Paul Kupperberg (the show’s legacy), Robert Greenberger (on Batmania), plus an episode guide and pieces on bat-camp, the show’s guest stars, its visual design, and the TV theme song. With such a beloved show as subject matter, there should be some good reading ahead. A sample chapter is available at the link.

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

  1. Argo Plummer Says:

    Ahhh, I knew the magic was too good to last. We couldn’t keep agreeing forever. You sing Finder’s praises, but I just don’t see it. I have tried twice to read this and can’t get through the first volume. I know Carla Speed McNeil has her fans and I respect most of them–as I do you–but I found the first volume to be very boring and confusing (maybe I’m just slow) and I didn’t enjoy her artwork either. Oh well.

    I am planning on picking up the Sixth Gun collection though. I got the first issue at FCBD this year and liked it, so I am happy to see this collection. I am intrigued by the book of essays about the Batman TV show, but I don’t know if I can fit it into my budget.

  2. DeBT Says:

    By “The First Volume”, are you referring to the first half of Sin-Eater, or the Omnibus collection released a few years back? It requires a certain frame of mind to get used to the storytelling. Not to mention all the notes at the back of the book that explain all the subtleties that were missed to make the conversations more natural. After all, people in real life don’t talk like commercials, singing the praises of the perfectly ordinary everyday appliances they use.

    As much as I appreciate seeing a new Finder trade being released, I’m still waiting for another omnibus collection. After Dark Horse said that their version would be colourized, I was a little hesitant, especially since Carla’s art works so well in Black & white. But if the results end up in creating another Bone-like hit, I’m all for it.

    If it helps at all, just imagine Jaeger as being the Indy equivalent of Wolverine. After all, that same math also applies to Blade of the Immortal, which helps its sales somewhat. Never underestimate the appeal of a badass gruffian.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Argo, you might enjoy one of the other volumes more. The later books were more focused on story concepts instead of world-building. Or it might just not be your thing, especially if you don’t care for the art.

  4. Lynn Says:

    Finder being available from both Dark Horse and Amazon is a bit of a surprise. There was no hint of it at that I could see.

    I hope the added exposure works out for her. I’ve gotten so used to the pencil raws for the past few years, just seeing inks again is going to be an adjustment.

  5. Rivkah Says:

    I may have to pick up The Sixth Gun. The art and storytelling remind me of Guy Davis and Duncan Fegredo while the colors have a lot of the clarity and beauty of Dave Stewart. I’m surprised Dark Horse isn’t publishing these guys. Looks fantastic!

  6. Prankster Says:

    Finder is amaaaaaaazing. One of the most underrated indie books out there.

    Argo, try one of the other volumes. “Sin-Eater” is, I admit, a little dense, and kinda weird inasmuch as it’s a cyberpunk post-apocalyptic SF tale that focuses more on relationships and character studies. Which never really changes, actually. But “King of the Cats”, the first story after Sin-Eater, is somewhat more of a conventional adventure story (or as conventional as this series ever gets, anyway) and the rough edges of McNeill’s storytelling have been conquered at that point.




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