Comic Foundry #2
The design is excellent, welcoming and readable. There are plenty of short features covering a range of material, including webcomics, indy publishers, superheroes, and manga. With two or three items on most pages, none of them are terribly deep, but they’re entertaining enough introductions to the subjects.
I did weary of them a little before the longer pieces started, more than halfway through the issue. I think I’d have preferred to have short, long, then short again.
My favorite items included the “Where Are They Now?” page on Milestone Media, although I wish they’d had better news to report about the characters and company. And the cover feature was excellent. Even though I’ve read other Matt Fraction interviews and even talked to him myself, I still learned meaningful things from it.
I do have a handful of quibbles. If you want to set yourself apart as a non-traditional comic magazine, having your first feature be a three-page focus on the big summer events from DC and Marvel might give the wrong impression (although it is in keeping with the tone of the mag to see Bendis and Morrison sniping at other creators at their respective companies).
I still don’t see the point of the fashion coverage. They look like ads, and not even informative ones. The only one I appreciated was the Jimmy Olsen, where a typical real-life look for him was paired up with key images from his comic history. The page of underwear and the two pages of t-shirts were wastes of paper.
The strong design focus made it difficult for me to tell later story introduction pages apart from the few ads. And of the six features, half were non-comic; I don’t care much about the Venture Bros. or LARPing or some guy from Friday Night Lights who’s a geek. Those stories may have more crossover appeal to others.
The newly added review section appears to be an afterthought, appearing next-to-last. There are five graphic novels and a Marvel comic issue covered, in short form, with the lengthy opening piece recommending the book Kirby: King of Comics. There are also two graphic novel series mentioned under the title “Permanent Collection”. I’d like to see more, but there are so many other possible sources that maybe it’s not a valuable area to focus on.
Overall, the magazine is well worth seeking out for your own flip-through. The diverse coverage is appreciated. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)
Tom Spurgeon talked to Tim Leong about many of the decisions behind the magazine — how it started, his design and content selection sensibilities, why they cover non-comic material, and whether it has a New York focus.