Comics Worth Reading » Graphic Novel News http://comicsworthreading.com Independent Opinions on Comics of All Kinds Mon, 23 Feb 2015 22:16:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Owly Books Leaving Top Shelfhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2015/01/11/owly-books-leaving-top-shelf/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2015/01/11/owly-books-leaving-top-shelf/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 00:34:04 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=37552 One small piece of news coming out of the Top Shelf acquisition by IDW was the fate of the wonderful Owly books by Andy Runton. Runton tweeted, in response to a question: “I’m actually gonna publish all of the Owly books myself.”

There are five paperbacks, currently from Top Shelf, and two larger-format hardcover picture books from Atheneum Books for Young Readers. You can get signed copies of all of the above at Runton’s online store.

I’m excited to see Owly continue, because I think the stories are terrific, so I wish Runton the best in keeping the books in print.

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TJ Editions Releases Stories of European History, Ypres Memories and Scout’s Honorhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2015/01/04/tj-editions-releases-stories-of-european-history-ypres-memories-and-scouts-honor/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2015/01/04/tj-editions-releases-stories-of-european-history-ypres-memories-and-scouts-honor/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 16:19:36 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=37463 TJ Editions is a relatively new publisher (started 2013) out of London and Belgium focusing on European graphic novels about either history or sport (such as their graphic history of the Manchester United football club). What I’ve seen so far from them has been firmly in the “boys’ adventure” tradition.

Ypres Memories by Philippe Glogowski came out last spring. Focused on “the plight of the Scottish Military who fought during World War I”, it was named the “official graphic novel of the 100 year commemorations of the 1st World War” in the UK.

A grumpy old man in 1986 goes to a military parade exhibition, which throws him back into his memories of the struggle of battle in 1914. (The timeline is barely workable.) Another story illustrates the diary of a lieutenant at the lines.

The art is solid, but the heavily captioned and narrated work doesn’t take full advantage of the comics format. The publisher is emphasizing the educational elements, so perhaps that’s why this feels like an illustrated text. Unfortunately, not enough context is provided for those who, like most Americans, don’t understand the importance of this battleground. The result is a generic “war is terrible” piece that feels overly familiar, made up of a series of horrific incidents, and is a struggle to get through.

Scout’s Honor is more rah-rah, less depressing. Three writers and five artists tell inspiring scouting stories.

The first tells of the first scout camp at Brownsea in 1907, led by Baden-Powell, whose tales of military adventure fire the boys’ imagination while they work together to build camp and pretend to hunt stag and whale. If you aren’t familiar with Robert Baden-Powell, acclaimed founder of scouting, the next story goes in to detail about his war service, with a digression into the Jungle Book work of his buddy Rudyard Kipling.

Oddly, the comic has all its dialogue in the word balloons also contained in quotes. Perhaps that’s to indicate authenticity — although no sources are cited — but I found it annoying and distracting.

The other stories include a modern scout’s encounter with a bear; a short version of the life of Guy de Larigaudie, a French venture scout, writer, and world traveler; the tale of a group of Girl Guides who worked underground during the Nazi occupation of Paris; and a hypothetical about a young Paul McCartney and Keith Richards meeting on a scout campout. Boys who adore scouting might enjoy this look at other times and places, but others may weary of the scattershot anthology. (The publisher provided review copies.)

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Signed Nelson Special Edition Something to Covethttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/12/23/signed-nelson-special-edition-something-to-covet/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/12/23/signed-nelson-special-edition-something-to-covet/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 16:43:59 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=37391 Nelson Special Edition

Three years ago, I enjoyed reading Nelson, a multi-creator anthology from British publisher Blank Slate Books with a huge range of talented names contributing. It’s a terrific exploration of one woman’s life, cultural changes to the country, and a variety of art styles.

Now, the publisher has announced a special edition. That post has the full history of how it came about, but the short version is: New cover by Frank Quitely. Signed by all the creators (two by reprint). Slipcased hardcover edition. Only 70 copies.

Boy, I want one, but at 75 British pounds (which works out to about $116 US) and having it shipped (which risks damage and costs an additional 6 pounds), I think I’ll have to admire it from afar. Regardless, it was neat reading about how hard they worked to design it and put it together.

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Poorcraft Sequel Now on Kickstarterhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/11/17/poorcraft-sequel-now-on-kickstarter/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/11/17/poorcraft-sequel-now-on-kickstarter/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 04:16:50 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=37095 I’ve previously recommended Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less, an advice-heavy graphic novel by C. Spike Trotman and Diana Nock covering all kinds of personal finance information. Now, there’s a sequel.

Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here cover draft

Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here changes things up. It’s again illustrated by Nock, but this time, it’s written by Ryan Estrada, a seasoned traveler who’s going to give us advice on vacation and travel on a budget. Spike returns to run the Kickstarter, which has various bundles of the new book and the previous. (Note that shipping is extra, depending on your location.) The project is almost a third funded after one day, so this looks like it will be successful.

The original Poorcraft is being serialized online, and beginning today, that site is featuring a preview of the new book, which has already been drawn.

This is a fascinating idea for a burgeoning franchise — maybe, continuing on from a chapter in the first book, we’ll see an illustrated Poorcraft cookbook in the future!

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Best of the Year Lists Are Startinghttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/11/11/best-of-the-year-lists-are-starting/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/11/11/best-of-the-year-lists-are-starting/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:40:02 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=37037 In conjunction with the growing tendency to start pushing shopping for Christmas (decorations! gifts! peppermint-flavored anything!) as early as possible, early November is now when the “Best Books of 2014″ lists start appearing. What’s the connection? Selling more books, of course. It’s terribly unbalanced, of course, because a great read might come out in the one-sixth of the year left to go, but I suppose publishers know and work the system. The last two months of the year is now for large gift books, not high-quality tomes in competition for the critical push.

Anyway, Amazon picked 20 graphic novels, with Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? topping the list.

It’s a great book, it’s true, and one of the most horrifying I’ve read in a long time. (In the true sense, as “wow, I feel like this could happen to be and I’m deathly scared of it”.) As cartoonists, and their parents, age, and as daily life memoir becomes a more prominent comic genre, I expect to see more of these kinds of stories, having to struggle with helping aging relatives. See also Lucy Knisley’s Displacement, due out early next year.

Amazon’s list is notable for how diverse it is — they always include a good range of types of works, although I have trouble believing anything Deadpool is really one of the top 20 of the year. One might think that they were driven by marketing concerns as much as artistic quality, but slamming Amazon for being a business is already one of the top ten news stories of the year. If nothing else, their list is a good indicator of the range of titles and subjects and art styles out this year.

(Weirdly, although Batman: A Visual History [note: not a comic!] made their list, nothing from DC proper did. Hmm.)

Less obviously commercial is Publisher Weekly’s list, which consists of these five titles, all also included on the Amazon list:

Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis
The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez
Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët

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Smut Peddler Publisher Launches New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Anthology, Opens Submissionshttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/11/08/smut-peddler-publisher-launches-new-sci-fifantasy-anthology-opens-submissions/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/11/08/smut-peddler-publisher-launches-new-sci-fifantasy-anthology-opens-submissions/#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 15:30:13 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=36948 New World logo

Iron Circus Comics, publisher of the successful Smut Peddler anthology series, has announced that they are taking submissions for New World through November 20. This anthology will be a black-and-white book due out in spring 2015 containing science fiction and fantasy stories focusing on

“exploration, colonization, conquest, assimilation, “going native”, appropriation, imperialism, strained relations… essentially, what happens when mutually un-contacted cultures, continents, and species collide. We want your strangest stories about situations where characters are encountering — and having to deal with — the alien.”

Creators already planned to contribute include Carla Speed McNeil, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Matt Howarth, Sophie Goldstein, and Zach Weinersmith. This looks to be a book to watch.

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PR: What Not to Do: Forget to Tell Us What the Reprint Book Is Abouthttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/10/27/pr-what-not-to-do-forget-to-tell-us-what-the-reprint-book-is-about/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/10/27/pr-what-not-to-do-forget-to-tell-us-what-the-reprint-book-is-about/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 19:22:41 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=36831 I’m really glad we’re living in a golden age of comic reprints, with all kinds of terrific books and strips easily available. However, too many times, when announcing a new reprint project, publishers assume readers already know about the comic. I know those decision-makers are familiar with how great the project is, or presumably, they wouldn’t choose to republish it, but particularly when you’re reprinting something from more than five years ago, there’s a whole generation of potential customers that may have never heard of your comic.

Don’t forget to tell us what the comic is about, for those who might be interested but weren’t buying comics 5 or 10 or 20 or more years ago. I’ve selected an example from Dark Horse here, but I have seen this problem from several other publishers as well, so don’t think it’s just them. (This came out during the New York Comic Con, which may account for why the press release was abbreviated.) Here’s the PR:

DARK HORSE TO PUBLISH ‘THE COMPLETE PISTOLWHIP’!

From Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT, PastAways) and Jason Hall (Beware the Creeper) comes the complete collection of intricate mystery stories perfect for any fan of crime fiction.

Named one of Time magazine’s top ten comics of 2001, the breakout graphic novel series from Matt Kindt and Jason Hall returns with a deluxe edition collecting every Pistolwhip story, in color for the first time.

The edition includes the two Pistolwhip books for the first time in hardcover, along with the Mephisto and the Empty Box one-shot and a story from Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings. Thrill to the twisty, interconnected tales of Mitch Pistolwhip, Charlie Minks, Jack Peril, Captain January, the Human Pretzel, and a monkey!

The Complete Pistolwhip is in stores April 15, 2015, from Dark Horse Comics. Preorder your copy today!

From that I get that Pistolwhip is about crime and mystery stories, but what’s the premise? Who are the characters listed, and why do they matter? The two main volumes came out over 10 years ago, and all I remember is that Mephisto had a magician in it. It’s great that Time liked it — oh, wow, remember when Time.com had some terrific comic coverage? — but that’s not enough for me to know whether *I’d* like it.

I am hammering on this because I want books to be easy to find for new readers. Promoting reprints only to those who remember the original may be easier, but it’s a game with declining rewards. Be more expansive! Reach out wider! Tell us what your comic is about!

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Interview With Matthew Bogart, Author of The Chairs’ Hiatushttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/08/08/interview-with-matthew-bogart-author-of-the-chairs-hiatus/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/08/08/interview-with-matthew-bogart-author-of-the-chairs-hiatus/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:01:32 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=36293 I was really impressed when I stumbled across Matthew Bogart’s The Chairs’ Hiatus a couple of weeks ago, so I asked him a few questions about the project and his history.

Matthew Bogart

You can find out more about his work at his website, which includes full comics to read, and his Kickstarter is already backed with 12 days to go. Just a few more dollars means a new story with the characters, though, so go pledge.

How long have you been making comics? Why and how did you start?

I’ve been making and publishing comics since I was in middle school. Those early comics were 11×17 photocopied sheets folded in half and stapled that my friends and I sold at our local comic store.

I recently wrote the shop owner who let my friends and I sell our comics in his store and told him that, while a Kickstarter doing well is amazing, there’s nothing that compares to having your comics sold in a real live comic shop when you’re in middle school!

I know that some people don’t consider that kind of thing “real” comics, but I do. I’m not sure I’d consider what we made “good” comics but who’s to say?

You seem to be very forward-looking in terms of your use of online tools, with free copies readable on the web, selling PDF downloads, use of ComiXology Submit, a Patreon, and now your first Kickstarter. How successful have the various outlets been for you?

Thanks! I don’t write about it a lot, but I’m really into technology. I feel a pull towards technology similar to when I first discovered comics. I read more tech sites than comics sites. It’s something I really enjoy experimenting with. The trick is to try and balance what is interesting for the creator to play with and what is actually helpful to the reader.

The Chairs' Hiatus page by Matthew Bogart

By far the most rewarding experience I’ve had publishing on the web has been my Patreon. I share weekly video updates, post early versions of my pages, and offer behind-the-scenes posts about how I make my comics. The folks at Patreon, who really seem to have their hearts in the right place, are building something very special for both fans and creators. It’s a wonderful platform.

Am I right in thinking that your Kickstarter is your first time in print?

I could see how you would think that. This is certainly the first time I’ve attempted to have a large print run done of a nicely printed book. I’ve been printing my own work since I was a kid, however. I like to do things that experiment with print as well. I’ve published flipbooks and gate-fold comics. I made a set of cards to be viewed in a turn-of-the-century stereoscope. I’ve even printed a small batch of The Chairs’ Hiatus before, using a print-on-demand publisher. They were black-and-white paperbacks made to take to a few conventions.

What inspired the story of The Chairs’ Hiatus? Why that subject and characters?

That’s a tough one to answer. I’d had an idea for a story about a musician that died and asked a friend of his to complete his final album for him. Around the same time I’d had a friendship dissolve in what seemed like a very permanent way. I can see elements of both of those things in the finished story. I also wanted to tell a story that all took place in one crazy night. I’d read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and thought it was an interesting restriction to put on a story. I’m not sure if it’s totally clear, but in the last panel of The Chairs’ Hiatus the sun is just starting to come up.

Both The Chairs’ Hiatus and Oh, It’s the End of the World deal with major life changes told through substantial use of flashbacks. What determines your use of that structure?

It’s almost always used to make an emotional beat or scene land in the present. For example, in Oh, It’s the End of the World, there’s a flashback about how what a crazy romantic whirlwind the previous summer was for this character named Erin. It establishes how badly she regretted not expressing her feelings for this boy and how, now that he’s back for summer break again, she’s decided to come out and tell him how she feels. This is all to make the moment later in the story, where the reader finds out that he’s actually started hiding from her, more uncomfortable.

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Papercutz Launches First Original Graphic Novel, Announces Second WWE Serieshttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/27/papercutz-launches-first-original-graphic-novel-announces-second-wwe-series/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/27/papercutz-launches-first-original-graphic-novel-announces-second-wwe-series/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:34:18 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=36129 The Lunch Witch cover
The Lunch Witch

Papercutz, an all-ages graphic novel line, has announced their first original graphic novel. The Lunch Witch is due out March 17, 2015. Previous Papercutz publications have been licensed properties (Lego Ninjago) or translated comics (such as Dance Class and Geronimo Stilton), much like their sister company NBM handles, or reprints (Classics Illustrated).

Says publisher Terry Nantier, “We’ve published original graphic novels for adults for almost 40 years at NBM. And ever since we started Papercutz, I’ve wanted to create quality original material for kids. When Deb Lucke sent us her proposal for THE LUNCH WITCH, I knew we’d found the perfect property to launch into all-new, creator-originated graphic novels for young readers.”

Lucke is a children’s book author, and her art style here is described as “inspired by the likes of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey”. The title character is a witch, Grunhilda, who’s out of work because “nobody believes in magic anymore”. Obviously, school lunch lady is close enough to cauldron stirring for her to transition. She meets a little girl, Madison, and becomes conflicted over whether to do something nice for someone or stay true to the Witches’ Code.

In other Papercutz news, they’ve announced a print edition of the online wrestling animated series WWE Slam City. The graphic novel will be written by Mathias Triton and penciled by Alitha E. Martinez, and it

recounts the humorous adventures of popular WWE Superstars like John Cena, Kane, and Rey Mysterio after they’ve been fired from their regular jobs by a mysterious character known as “The Finisher”. Forced to find employment in the real world, the Superstars end up performing jobs like auto mechanic, crossing guard, and lunch lady. The series depicts the hilarious consequences as these sports entertainers put their skills to work in everyday situations. Since its debut, SLAM CITY has proven wildly popular, amassing over 3 million views online and spawning a successful toy line from Mattel.

WWE Superstars #9 cover

WWE Slam City: Finished is due out August 26. Meanwhile, the other wrestling comic series, WWE Superstars, is doing a storyline perfect for comics. The four-issue “Legends” story arc will pit current-day wrestlers against past stars. You can’t do that in the real world, with many older performers retired, but comics is a great way to show some team-up battles.

“We all love to fantasize about who would win dream matches, like say between Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin. Or Roddy Piper versus the Rock,” hinted [writer Shane] Riches. “With ‘Legends’ we can see all these exciting dream battles. We’re trying to fit as many Superstars as possible, from the Wyatt Family to George ‘The Animal’ Steele. Whether you’re a comic book fan, a WWE fan, or both, the story will appeal to anyone who loves a big, crazy crossover where anything can happen!”

Other featured players include “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Randy Orton, The Rock, John Cena, The Road Warriors, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The comic is drawn by Paris Cullins, and the story starts in WWE Superstars #9, available October 1.

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Scholastic Celebrates 10 Years of Graphix With Bone Tribute Editionhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/25/scholastic-celebrates-10-years-of-graphix-with-bone-tribute-edition/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/25/scholastic-celebrates-10-years-of-graphix-with-bone-tribute-edition/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:43:34 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=36103 Bone: Out From Boneville cover
Bone: Out From Boneville
(previous edition)

It will have been 10 years next year since Scholastic started the Graphix comic imprint to publish graphic novels for kids and teens. To celebrate, they have announced a new edition of Bone: Out From Boneville, the first volume in the immensely popular fantasy series by Jeff Smith. That book launched the imprint in February 2005 with its color edition.

Bone: Out From Boneville, The Tribute Edition will be published on February 24, 2015, with two new content items: “a brand-new illustrated poem from creator Jeff Smith plus original Bone tribute art from sixteen additional top artists in the form of mini-comics and full-page artwork. The contributors include major artists working in comics and illustration today, such as Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Kazu Kibuishi, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier, and Craig Thompson.” I think that lists indicates just how many creators of a certain generation were influenced by Smith.

Graphix has gone on to publish the acclaimed, award-winning, and best-selling Smile, Drama, The Lost Boy, Amulet, and many more.

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The Chairs’ Hiatus a Beautiful Story of Heartbreakhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/25/the-chairs-hiatus-a-beautiful-story-of-heartbreak/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/25/the-chairs-hiatus-a-beautiful-story-of-heartbreak/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:23:34 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=36081 Now this is how to run a Kickstarter. Matthew Bogart, whom I’d never heard of before today, has created a beautiful graphic novel called The Chairs’ Hiatus. Don’t take my word for it — you can read it all online. It’s the story of a woman who used to be part of a moderately successful band, and how she ran away from it and why, told in flashback. I eagerly zoomed through the pages wanting to know what happened, because I quickly found myself caring about these characters. It helps that Bogart’s art is so lovely, simple in style but evocative, with well-used monochrome toning. He’s good at creating an attractive air of mysterious melancholy.

And he’s running a Kickstarter to put the book in print. You can also get the stories as PDFs, and because they’re already available online, he’s doing a bonus short story only for Kickstarter backers. The base print level is a reasonable $20 for the color hardcover book, signed and sketched, and the digital copy. I’ve pledged, and I hope you will, too, because I’d like to read this story, although I’ve seen it already, again in print, so I can ponder it without a screen in the way. It’s one I know I’ll be rereading in future.

He’s halfway funded now, and to commemorate, he created new art with his characters:

The Chairs Hiatus promo art by Matthew Bogart

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Displaced Persons Preview of Time-Travel Noirhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/09/displaced-persons-preview-of-time-travel-noir/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/07/09/displaced-persons-preview-of-time-travel-noir/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:56:33 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35904 Image Comics has released a substantial preview of Displaced Persons, a noir graphic novel by Derek McCulloch and Anthony Peruzzo. It can be pre-ordered with Diamond code JUN14 0499, and the $17.99 paperback is due in comic book stores August 6, in bookstores August 19. The story is a twisty puzzle that, typical of the genre, explores the darker side of human nature and family interactions. I read it multiple times.

Displaced Persons promo image

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Amazon Names “Best Books of the Year So Far”http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/27/amazon-names-best-books-of-the-year-so-far/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/27/amazon-names-best-books-of-the-year-so-far/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35778 Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale cover
Afterlife with Archie:
Escape from Riverdale

People love lists. And people are impatient. So why wait for the end of the year (or nowadays, October) to get a list of great books? Amazon has published a set of “Best Books of the Year So Far”, and among the categories is Comics & Graphic Novels.

The fifteen titles are well-chosen, with a good mix of material. I’m not sure I agree with their top pick, though. Oddly, the list is arranged “in best-selling order”, so no ranking, but they include a note that Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale was “our pick for the best book of 2014 (so far) in Comics & Graphic Novels.” It was a fresh look at the ancient characters, true, and although episodic, it does a good job capturing the dread and fatalism of a zombie scenario, but I would have chosen (from those on the list) This One Summer over it.

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Colleen AF Venable’s Kiss Number Eight Coming From First Second in 2016http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/26/colleen-af-venables-kiss-number-eight-coming-from-first-second-in-2016/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/26/colleen-af-venables-kiss-number-eight-coming-from-first-second-in-2016/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:53:06 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35769 This excites me. Colleen AF Venable, respected designer and author of the outstanding Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series, is writing a graphic novel titled Kiss Number Eight that will be released by First Second in 2016. Art is by Leela Wagner, her first book.

The link has more information on the project and a couple of preview pages, but here’s the killer part of the description for me, from Venable: “I wanted to write a hopeful book about growing up queer in a conservative community.” So, yes, coming-of-age, but one focused on a still-fraught topic. And so pretty!

Kiss Number Eight by Colleen AF Venable and Leela Wagner

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Amazon’s Scary Proposal to Publishers May Affect Book Qualityhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/25/amazons-scary-proposal-to-publishers-may-affect-book-quality/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/25/amazons-scary-proposal-to-publishers-may-affect-book-quality/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 00:49:27 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35748 While the Amazon/Hachette dispute continues in the US, word is coming out of the UK about a similar Amazon/publisher showdown. There’s a noticeable lack of actual sources cited, but one bookselling website reports:

Amazon logo

Along with improved discounts on wholesale contracts, Amazon has introduced a number of new clauses in publisher contracts. One causing particular worry is a proviso that should a book be out of stock from the publisher, Amazon would be entitled to supply its own copies to customers via its print-on-demand facilities.

As someone picky about quality, I hate this idea. The POD books I’ve seen are immediately distinguishable as such, with various details that I don’t care for (such as less solid-feeling binding, more generic sizing and title stock, paper quality issues). If a seller is going to substitute a product I consider inferior without telling me that’s what they’re doing, I’m — Folgers Crystals ads aside — going to be upset.

I suppose someone who just wants to read the content, and/or someone who destroys the books they read (a quality I don’t understand — some of my favorites look untouched), won’t care. They just want to get the product quickly. But part of the reason Amazon has been so successful is that every book is the same, so you can choose to buy based on price, convenience, or service, since the product is interchangeable. This policy would change that.

Then again, that nature also allows those who are unhappy with Amazon to shop elsewhere easily.

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The Big Feminist BUT Changes Content for Wide Releasehttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/08/the-big-feminist-but-changes-content-for-wide-release/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/06/08/the-big-feminist-but-changes-content-for-wide-release/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 01:12:44 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35598 The Big Feminist BUT cover
The Big Feminist BUT

The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men, and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of Feminism is an anthology edited by Shannon O’Leary and Joan Reilly that was funded through a successful Kickstarter a year and a half ago. The title comes from how many people feel the need to say “I’m not a feminist, but…”

Now, Alternative Comics has done a second edition for the purpose of “wide release to the book store and comic book shop markets.” Oddly, they’ve changed the content. They’ve added a two-page comic, “She-Drive” by Joan Reilly; two additional illustrations, one each by Jen Wang and Ed Luce; an illustrated statement about how modern feminism has lost its way called “Same War” by Kristina Collantes; and replaced the afterword by Hugo Schwyzer with one by Noah Berlatsky.

I’m not sure why they felt the need to do that. It’s annoying to supporters who made the book possible to feel as though they don’t have the later, more complete edition, but then again, Kickstarter backers got signed editions, their name on the Acknowledgements page, and a year and a half of reading the book before everyone else. Either way, it’s some good cartooning on a fascinating set of topics.

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Interview With Batton Lash, Author of Supernatural Law: Zombie Wifehttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/05/06/interview-with-batton-lash-author-of-supernatural-law-zombie-wife/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/05/06/interview-with-batton-lash-author-of-supernatural-law-zombie-wife/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 13:04:47 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35319 If I’m remembering correctly, I first “met” Batton Lash, author and artist of Supernatural Law, way back in my CompuServe days, twenty or so years ago. It’s easy to take such a consistent, long-running series for granted, but Batton is constantly keeping up with the latest comic marketing methods, from introductory issues to reprint collections to moving to the web. Now, he’s running a Kickstarter to print the latest series graphic novel, Zombie Wife and Other Tales of Supernatural Law. He was kind enough to talk to me about the process. I thought his perspective would be valuable as someone who’s seen a lot of comic market changes. My thanks to him for his time.

Batton Lash

This isn’t the first Supernatural Law volume you’ve Kickstarted, right? How many previous, and how successful were they? 

Zombie Wife and Other Tales of Supernatural Law is the third Supernatural Law book I crowd funded. The first was The Monsters Meet on Court Street (2012) and then last year’s The Werewolf of New York, which was my first full-color, full-length SLaw graphic novel. Both were successful campaigns, both funded well beyond my goal! (You can find out more about the Supernatural Law books at the publisher’s website.)

How has this one differed from the previous? 

As far as format goes, this will be the first SLaw collection that will collect selected stories from the supernaturallaw.com webcomic with several issues of the SLaw comic book in full color. It represents the transition I’ve made with SLaw, going from black and white to color, from “floppie” to webcomic. I’m now concentrating on creating content for the online strip with an eye on collecting the stories (or extended storyline) for print.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the “floppie” format (I grew up with it!), but unfortunately, for a lot of indie/self-publishers like myself, the direct market-distributed, 32-page periodical format is not an economically feasible one anymore. I have to go with what works.

What advice do you have for those contemplating Kickstarter? 

Give it a try! I believe crowd funding and print-on-demand has given the indie/self-publishing cartoonist a shot in the arm. Kickstarter is akin to pre-ordering a book. Just make sure you fill the orders and fulfill your premium obligations once your project is funded! That’s a level of trust that pays off in your subsequent Kickstarter campaigns.

Zombie Wife and Other Tales of Supernatural Law cover

What do you see for the future in terms of use of the crowd funding platform? 

I believe it dovetails with the growing DIY aesthetic. Why wait for someone to give you the green light? I think a creative person can tell if he or she has a “winner” if the project is successfully funded. If there’s no interest in the project, the artist will realize it when the goal comes up short. I like that an artist can control his or her destiny; rather than be at the mercy of a prickly executive or an indifferent bean counter who could put the kibosh on a project because . . . well, because they can! Enough of that. In a way, crowd funding harkens back to the Renaissance when artists had “patrons of the arts”.

Does this volume finish reprinting all the comic book issues?

No, but there will be several issues of the black-and-white comic collected in Zombie Wife that will see print in full color for the first time! Selected stories from the webcomic (including the title story) round out the volume.

Will you be offering it through the direct market? 

Comic book stores can order Zombie Wife through our bookstore distributor, Baker & Taylor.

You’ve been running a long time, and you have a lot of devoted fans, but what about new readers? Can they approach the series, and how are you reaching out to them?

I have always tried to make Supernatural Law as accessible as possible to the new reader. As for reaching out, I promote the series at conventions, on podcasts, and through Q&As, such as this one! Wolff & Byrd have been around for 35 years, but people are discovering and hearing about them for the first time all the time. I always say, “one reader at a time!” And I think going to color has helped pique the interest of new readers.

What’s up next for Supernatural Law? Are you still serializing new stories online? 

Yes! But I had to take a “sabbatical” due to several unforeseen personal concerns. The Supernatural Law webcomic is on hold and will be back ASAP. Also taking up my time is the new strip I’m writing, drawing, and coloring for David Lloyd’s online anthology, ACES Weekly. It’s called The First Gentleman of the Apocalypse. And the story behind that story is a whole other Q&A session if you’d like to hear about it sometime!

Is there still a possibility for the movie? 

Not if I can help it! I think television is a better vehicle for a Supernatural Law adaptation. What’s up? Stay tuned!

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Smut Peddler 2014 Kickstarter in Final 3 Dayshttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/05/02/smut-peddler-2014-kickstarter-in-final-3-days/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/05/02/smut-peddler-2014-kickstarter-in-final-3-days/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 19:52:03 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35267 There are fewer than three days to go on the Kickstarter for Smut Peddler 2014. The project has raised over $145,000, most of which is going to the creators and contributors in the form of bonuses, over $1,200 each (which are much appreciated).

Smut Peddler 2014

There’s still time to order your preferred format (print or digital) of this outstanding, women-friendly porn anthology. You can see some sample pages in this interview with C. Spike Trotman, guiding force, as well as finding out more about her story. (Hint: it’s about Yahweh seducing the Virgin Mary, she put a lot of historical research into it, and it sounds amazing.) She also wrote a great piece about problems finding printers due to Puritanism.

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C2E2: Mysterious O’Malley Seconds Cardhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/04/30/c2e2-mysterious-omalley-seconds-card/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/04/30/c2e2-mysterious-omalley-seconds-card/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 23:10:46 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35214 Coming this July is the much-anticipated new graphic novel Seconds. It’s a stand-alone story by Bryan Lee O’Malley, one of the major cartooning success stories of the past decade with his Scott Pilgrim series.

Not much news has been released about the story so far, although we know it’s about Katie, a chef with a restaurant where things start going wrong. To promote the book, the publisher was handing out these cards at C2E2 last weekend.

Seconds promo card

So I’m guessing that the story maybe has a “be careful what you wish for” message, or one about appreciating what we have. It would be awfully tempting to try one of the magic mushrooms that gave you a second chance…

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Tomboy, Liz Prince’s First Graphic Novel, Due This Fallhttp://comicsworthreading.com/2014/04/16/tomboy-liz-princes-first-graphic-novel-due-this-fall/ http://comicsworthreading.com/2014/04/16/tomboy-liz-princes-first-graphic-novel-due-this-fall/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:07:22 +0000 http://comicsworthreading.com/?p=35109 Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir cover
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir

Liz Prince, the creator behind Alone Forever and the award-winning Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?, is releasing her first graphic novel this fall. Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir is a long-form comic story, in contrast to her previous strip collections. As you might guess, it’s also autobiographical, about struggling with gender expectations.

Prince has written in depth about the process of creating the book, and the publisher has posted preview pages. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing both how she handles the longer form and her story.

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