Free Samples: Boom!, North Wind, and Online Comic Releases

It’s tough to be a comic publisher these days. Superhero publishers are pumping out more connected comics to suck up more of the regular customer dollar. Art comic customers are switching to graphic novels. Retailers have hundreds of small press publications to choose from, and many don’t want to stock shelf copies without some indication of customer interest, driven by the publisher. When one publisher tried a new method of building customer interest, through that perennial of marketing, the “free […]

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Archie Sales Figures

It’s that time of year again… Archie Comics is the only major publisher I’m aware of that still publishes its Statements of Ownership, Management, and Circulation, a post office requirement to use certain mail classes. That means we know what circulation numbers they’re reporting to the government. Here’s the figures I’ve seen so far for Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation. The first number is the Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months; the second is No. Copies of […]

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Queen & Country: Operation Red Panda

I’ve missed Tara Chace. Now I’m trying to catch up with her, but it’s like meeting an old friend who’s been away longer than I’ve realized, and an awful lot has happened to her in the meantime. When last I saw her, at the end of 2005’s Operation: Saddlebags, she had failed her first mission as Minder One and was crying, alone, in the shower, with a bottle of whiskey. Since then, there have been two novels that covered life-changing […]

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Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun by Ben Towle is a tale of survival based on a true story, where the crew of an Italian airship become stranded after the vessel crashes on its way to the North Pole in 1928. It’s told from the perspective of HR, an American reporter who spends his afternoons getting drunk. He’s given a last-chance choice: travel with the rescue party up north, or lose his job. His boss also tells him to dry out on the trip. […]

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Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together

I’d been looking forward to this latest volume in the series, but when I started reading it, I realized I was having a hard time telling the characters apart, since O’Malley’s minimalist blockhead style doesn’t give very many points of reference. So I reread the previous books: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness That greatly improved my enjoyment, as well as aiding me in realizing the depth of the characters […]

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Walkin’ Butterfly Volume 1

I’m so glad to see more josei manga titles becoming available. These are books aimed at women, skewing older than the better-known shojo books for girls. And you’ll know that Walkin’ Butterfly by Chihiro Tamaki is for an older reader (it’s rated 16+) from the first page, which is a full-body nude image of the protagonist glowering at the reader. It’s an appropriate choice, since it sums up the core conflict of the story. Michiko is very tall, and as […]

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The Problem With Blind Items

Colleen Doran talks about the danger of blind items [link no longer available] and points out the major problem with them: The tricky thing about writing blind items is some people guess the blind item is about the wrong person. Every time you mention a “woman in comics” the assumption is that you are talking about Jill Thompson, someone I don’t really know very well. The people I know always guess, confusingly, Colleen Doran. Perhaps the best-known example in recent […]

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Geary’s Great Expectations

I hadn’t paid much attention to Papercutz’s Classics Illustrated line revamp. Although a wonderful idea, doing classic works of literature in comic form, it never seems to work out quite as intended. (This is at least the third attempt at the idea with that name.) I suspect kids can tell that what they’re getting is supposed to be good for them, and adaptations, even of great books, don’t inspire quite the creative achievement that more original work does. Given my […]

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