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Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Time Event
12:33a
Deck us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla, Wash., and Kalamazoo
By popular demand (I'm sad that at this point one person asking me in real life and a single comment constitutes, to my mind, popular demand), comics shipping this week:

Cut for nerds who don't like comics.Collapse )


So there you go, Nate and Dave. I hope you find that helpful.

Nate actually won't find it helpful because a) he probably won't buy anything coming out this week and b) he's gone to Florida for God knows what reason.

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February is not a particularly inspiring month for Previews orders, speaking of uninspiring. I've got five items on my list, three of which are just straight-up normal-ass size comics. Tell me if I missed something awesome.

BENITO HATE PREVIEWS; MARCH 2008 EDITION

1) SCUD THE DISPOSABLE ASSASSIN #21 -- DEC07 2049



After an over ten-year hiatus, the best comic ever is back. If you don't know about Scud, we cannot be friends, not even fake internet friends. The final issue has now been split up into a four-issue miniseries. Will these issues be peak-level Scud full of awesome and random and amazing? No, I will probably be super disappointed because dude is putting all of his love into dressing in drag and coercing Nate to rub some out to mutant cookies. Still buying it. And still buying the inevitable omnibus hardcover.

2) JENNY FINN TP DOOM MESSIAH -- DEC07 3492



Mike Mignola. Troy Nixey. Farel Dalrymple. HP Lovecraft. Four men enter, all of them leave probably? Except Lovecraft who is dead basically. The whole story all together for the first time in one place. A must have for Mignola fanatics like myself. Solicit:

"JENNY FINN: DOOM MESSIAH TPB
Written by Mike Mignola
Cover Art by Mike Mignola with new colors by Dave Stewart
Art by Troy Nixey and Farel Dalrymple
SC, 6x9, 128pgs, B&W SRP: $14.99

Finally collected in one volume for the first time! From the mind of Mike Mignola, creator of HELLBOY, comes this Lovecraftian tale of a mysterious girl who arrives in Victorian England with carnage in her wake. Is she evil incarnate or a misled child? Just in time for HELLBOY 2!"

3) RASL #1 -- DEC07 3519



New Jeff Smith. I could wait for the trade, but I expect to be dead before I'm 30. I'm pretty bummed that it won't be the giant tabloid size he was touting, but that's the kind of thing that retailers and fans ruin for those of us who actually like comic books.

This image will tell you what it is about:




4) ATOMIC ROBO #5 (OF 6) -- DEC07 3863



Hey, that there guy drew the dang Punisher. I guess it's safe to buy his book now. (No.) (It's not.)

"In 1975, with pressure to deliver a success, NASA turns to Atomic Robo to act as a top-secret escort for their troubled Viking mission to Mars. But one small step for a robot may not be the kind of giant leap for mankind they were hoping for!"

5)EAST COAST RISING GN VOL 02 (OF 3) -- DEC07 3910



My theory is that if I keep buying Becky Cloonan's comics, we will eventually get comics-married. So far, no good.

(Also, I looked all over Previews for Gyakushu vol. 2, which is, according to all sources, coming out in February, but it's not listed among T-Pop's Feb. releases. Seriously, to quote Hannibal Tabu, WTH, T-Pop?)

"When his ship is attacked by pirates, Archer is left floating adrift in a violent sea. But the young urchin is nothing if not resilient. He soon finds himself sailing with the infamous Cannonball Joe aboard La Revancha, the fastest ship on the East Coast, in search of a legendary hidden treasure. Their dangerous quest will lead directly to a showdown with the Hoboken, one of the most feared pirate vessels ever to sail the Jersey shores, and its reckless captain, Lee. But there are far worse things than pirates that call these waters home...From Eisner Award-nominated artist Becky Cloonan comes a rousing nautical adventure unlike anything you've ever experienced before!"

So that's it for February. I briefly considered ordering Kean Soo's Jellaby, but ultimately did not, because I was not feeling it at literally the exact second I was putting in my order. Was this a mistake?

Did I miss anything tenrad? Can you amend my grievous (potential) error? Do any of you jerks ever look at a Previews anyway?

(Also, to make up for the lameness of this month, DC has decided to wreck me next month. Five books from DC alone, including a $50 Starman hardcover. Yeesh.)

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Here is a thing that I hate that Nate said I should talk to you about:

Anthology disease.

And before I really get into the meat of this, or before I even realy explain what I'm talking about, let me say I am not pointing fingers at anyone or anything. I am certainly not talking about a certain recently release anthology that I may or may not have been a part of in some capacity (even 80% less than expected capacity). I'm not calling anyone in particular out; I am not saying, "Hey, random blogger, please come share with me some ideas you have about comics." I'm just saying a thing. That's all I'm doing.

A lot of people, I have noticed, have made some noise about anthologies needing some kind of theme, and a lack of theme means a poor anthology (I am not pointing out anyone in particular! I have seen numerous people make this complaint!). My reaction to this is: Really? Apparently when some people sit down to read an anthology, it had better by-God be 250 complete pages of "Why I am Straight Crazy about Dachshunds." Personally, I just want to read a big thick book full of awesome comics. Sometimes it helps to have a theme (AdHouse's Project: Whathaveyou books) or a specific genre (Western Tales of Terror), but plenty of anthologies are more of a comics sampler; viz. that McSweeney's issue. What's the theme there, smart guy? And I'm pretty sure there's not really a set theme to those Mome or Kramer's Ergot anthologies, unless that theme is "Some Doodles I Made out of Farts on a Baby Wipe."*

(Also, sometimes a theme, motif, or genre type means you end up with a book full of twenty stories about precocious children and the whimsical monsters who sacrifice themselves to help them through the difficult phase of pre-adolescence. I'm looking, but not pointing a finger, at you, latter Flight volumes.)

But this perceived lack of cohesion is not anthology disease.

No, Anthology disease, as I reckon it, is a syndrome that befalls comics creators as they are asked to take part in an anthology. In an age when it takes top-tier Marvel/DC guys six issues to "tell" a "story," apparently comics dudes cannot handle a short story format? So they turn in some BS piece of BS featuring half-assed characters that have no distinguishing features in a mess of pages that don't go anywhere or manage to BE ABOUT anything at all.

I mean, experimentation is cool. I can understand if you're like, "Man, I totally draw this same character every day, I am ready to draw six pages of a guy sitting on a tree stump and pissing on the sunset." But anthologies tend to be full of this kind of thing. Stories that want to be pretentious without the talent to be pretentious. So ultimately it is a short, unsatisfying piece that doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

"This is a story in a bank. There is a man there. He shoots someone. I drew this. The end."

WHAT.

I don't care if you normally draw action comics, and are now ready to break from that mold and do a short slice-of-life story about some no-name dude who is, like, totally in love with this one girl. That's cool. Do it. JUST MAKE IT AN ACTUAL STORY WHERE A THING HAPPENS.

I mean, I understand story sketches, literary vignettes, little pieces that aren't quite a whole thing; but those things still contain themes, events, uh, interesting things? It's not just poorly-wrought nonsensical garbage. DON'T DO IT, CARTOONIST. DON'T DO IT.

You can make a complete short story in a few pages. It can happen. I'm not saying they're any good, but I have totally built my comics career** on 2-10 page stories. Please try harder.

I want to make my own anthology. This is a true thing. It's something I've considered for a while.

I would fill it full of people I know and like, and, dammit, every story would be ABOUT something. A thing would TOTALLY happen in every story. Less self-reflection, more kicking. Less verbal meandering, more sharks eating people. Every story--EVERY STORY--ends with a twist or a punchline. A satisfying morsel of comics entertainment in two to ten pages.

You want a theme? You want a unifying element? This is it:

All hit, no lit, no filler, no shit.

No capes, no whiny autobio. Comics is about more than that. Good creators telling stories with their signature characters or else by-God creating some new ones that they at least pretend to care about, not some throwaway halfassery.

GUTS BALL.

One day. I don't want to create something that would conceivably compete for market space with a book I'm, you know, contributing to. Also, I want to wait until I have some actual clout in comics, rather than pandering to an audience of three for eight LiveJournal comments, so I can actually get some people whose work I admire into the book.

One day.

*This is not my actual opinion.
**I do not have a comics career.

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Speaking of my increased clout, projections seem to indicate that Atom Eve #1 will likely hit shelves in the next week or two. Run out, get it, and be ultimately disappointed.

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I guess that's all. I'll try to get in some chit-chat about the holidays, and maybe do a year-end best-of blah blah.

We'll see.

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