The End of American Comic Books?

With the major two American Publishers (Marvel Comics and DC Comics) Marvel Comics (Real) | Spiderman animated Wikia | FANDOM powered ...Dc Logo Png Transparent - Dc Comics Logo 1976 - Free Transparent ...largely pricing themselves out of the periodic comic book market, ($4 for a 22 story page comic? Are you on crack?! 🙂 ) and failing to engage any sizeable readership in the sub-thirty market, and losing readers in their dwindling above 30 market, they are kept around largely to just be an idea space/loss leader for the actually profitable divisions of the multinational oligarchies that own them.

That is not to say there are not brilliant writers and artists that work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, but unfortunately they are crippled by a few things.

First a pricing structure (over $3 for a couple dozen pages of comics. 10 minutes of reading entertainment is moronic. It is a poor value for dollar when compared to just about anything else) , second a quality structure ( abhorent paper and cover quality. Poor and obtrusive placement of ads, especially when compared to better Indy publishers. Marvel Comics is especially culpable in this) and third a flawed editorial structure/mindset ( lets inundate the MARKET, dilute the brand and confuse and frustrate the readership, with too much overlapping, and conflicting, and redundant books, and events, and storylines. Let us not give prospective readers one clear on-ramp to our comics, a single Batman book to follow, or Spiderman book to follow, when we can publish 20 poorly selling, and market-fractioning books instead. And let us not place the books or advertise the books, places where our demographic could actually find them).

All three of these ingrained ‘sales’ structures of major American comics, seemingly just designed by moronic frat boys, rather than capable professionals who really love and want to grow/expand the medium.

Marvel and DC comics for the last few decades since the 90s, proving themselves inept at selling American Comics to Americans or anyone else. Think about it, Marvel and DC comics, these publishers, their inability to sell 100 thousand comics in a nation of 300 Million people, is an unprecedented level of failure. Especially with the hard work of selling these characters to the mainstream already done by the movies and TV shows.

If I were the parent companies, AT&T and Disney, I would wholesale fire the Marketing and Editorial departments of both companies, and bring in fresh blood with fresh ideas. Because, clearly the people currently running these divisions have not the slightest clue how to sustain and grow their print model/readership.

Now on the Independent comic book publishing Front, there are still promising companies, IMAGE COMICS, and some of the smaller companies such as Alterna and Albatross etc. these companies are really challenging the ingrained pricing and content and quality deficits of marvel and dc. these companies resembling more the mad creativity and broad appeal of marvel comics in its bronze age glory days, before it lost its way. before the peter principle took hold of marvel and dc, and they grew past their best and most useful state.

WHERE I BUY JUST ABOUT NOTHING MONTHLY FROM THE BIG TWO (Exception being Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE) I buy just about everything from ALTERNA, and ALBATROSS and a bunch from IMAGE. Dark Horse, IDW, Ahoy, Aftershock, Titan, all companies putting out great books.

However a recent rash of buyouts of Indy comic companies, by deep pocket Chinese companies may bode ill for true Indy American Comics. and may signal an end to this current golden age of american comics.

AND YES, I WOULD ARGUE THAT LOW SALES AND OTHER ISSUES TO THE CONTRARY, WE ARE IN A GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC BOOKS, graphic literature, slims. cause when you get away from the reprehensible shenanigans and mismanagement and flooding the market tactics of the big two, the comics themselves, have truly never been better, or richer, with nearly every genre of book being published, and across the board, a higher level of story and art then ever before.

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Ahoy Comics | Expect More

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i grew up in the bronze age of comics, i love the bronze age comics, and there were some great comics. but across the board the quality and creativity is better today. you just have to push a lot of that noise of the big two out of the way so you can see eric powell’s hillbilly and goon, so you can see brubaker’s criminal, so you can see rucka’s lazarus so you can see walker’s bitter root, so you can see dingess’ manifest destiny, and the list goes on. and even in marvel, great comics are being made,  ta-nehisi coates black panther and captain america, jason aAron’s thor, montclare’s moon girl and devil dinosaur, g. willolw wilson’s ms. marvel and the list goes on, it is just marvel has made these books (for reasons mentioned) unpalatable to pick up monthly. it is better to wait for the collected edition and read the story that way.

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for monthly comics I really like the Alterna model in terms of pricing, and seeking old fashioned newstand distribution. And hopefully other companies can follow their homegrown lead so we continue to have American comic book companies not potentially censored by allegiance to foreign interests.

Hope you found the above slight tirade useful. It comes from a place of love for the medium, and love that a home grown, domestic comic book company… can endure.

If you want to buy the back issues of any of the books I mention, or subscribe to books (preorder new books, I highly recommend it) use the below link. You will get great books, and it will earn a few pennies for this blog. Enjoy!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/?AffID=200301P01

 

YouTube CHANNEL of the Day: PROFESSOR THORGI & Why Marvel and DC Comics are not selling!

Stop by Professor Thorgi’s channel and check out his review of new series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK. As someone who with rare exceptions no longer gets monthly comics from the major comic publishers, me being interesred in anything new from DC or MARVEL comics… is rare.

The excellent coverage YouTube channel Professor Thorgi provided today on series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK has me interested.

I really want to rush out and buy this series from DC Comics, however… I will not.

DC has recently followed Marvel in pricing their comics at S4 a book. The cost of hiring Bendis perhaps. Whatever the reason, for me that translates into both companies charging more for new comics than they are worth. $4 cover price at a minimum, with many of the books being even more expensive at $5 and up. 

I can spend that money to buy bronze age back issues that will hold their value as opposed to new issues, that 99% of them will be in the surplus dollar bins in a couple months. WHY ON GOD’S EARTH WOULD YOU PAY $4 for A NEW COMIC , when you can get a classic fantastic four or kubert comic for the same price?

Our Army at War #254

Fantastic Four #104

Fantastic Four #133

Buy Back issues here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com?&AffID=200301P01

That pricing for new comic books is just pure greed, from two companies that are backed by billion dollar parent companies. Unlike smaller publishers, these companies have the infrastructure and scale to support bringing in these books at $2.50  or at least hold the line at $2.99.

I feel the companies inability to do so, and in the case of Marvel, unwillingness to do so comes down to greed, short sightedness, and mismanagement.They would rather try and price gouge the same aging customer base of about 70000 readers to buy multiple copies of overpriced issues, than price the issues at an attractive $2ish price point, to try to sell to millions rather than just thousands.

Contrary to the minority of loud but wrong right wing nuts, comic fan pretenders, screaming against creators and against diversity, as the failing of comics, comics are, in terms of creativity,  in a golden age.

Comics as someone who has been reading these books longer than most of the vocal minority have been alive, comics across the board have never been better in terms of writing, art, stories, creativity, diversity of genres, etc.(with minor exceptions such as Nick Spencer’s racist Nick Fury Jr idea. Really?? That is your idea? I don’t think so. :). Just have the Black Nick Fury be the black Nick Fury. Don’t hamstring him with some insulting, denigrating  and moronic story about him being the ‘son’ of the White Nick Fury. Just stupid and insulting on so many levels. An example of the movie division just being better and  smarter and less racist than the comic book division. And who would have thought that? 🙂 )

But that one caveat aside, the reason the comics are not selling is they are overpriced. Bottom line. And the big two publishers are over saturating the market to try to get their few readers to buy a lot, everything, to keep up.

Newsflash… people can not afford to get a lot, much less everything, especially at $4 a book.

So they choose, like I choose, to either severely limit their consumption or get nothing at all ( I get from DC only one $4 book, Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE, and their few remaining $2.99 books.  However with DC poised to ruin the good work Priest has done on DEATHSTROKE, by putting the character in the JLA, hampering Priest’s ability to write for the comics unhindered, I see me dropping even that title. And according to the rumor mill the $2.99 books are going away. As far as Marvel, I  get nothing at all.)

The fact that Marvel is not legitimately selling millions of copies of Ta-na hesi Coates or Donny Cates or Al Ewing or Mark Waid or David Walker has nothing to do with those creators, those creators are doing their job;  but marketing and management and editorial mandates are failing these books.

I will definitely be reading Coates Captain America run, or the latest Moon Knight. But not monthly, Marvel and DC have taught me that they are not good or affordable publishers of periodical material and to rather wait for the collected edition and read it for free at the library, and the ones worth buying, to purchase in collected form, at a substantial discount over the individual issues. That is just smart shopping in this day and age, and for periodicals to not adjust their price point and marketing plan to make their product more attractive to an audience with a glut of choices and demands for their time… is to be bad at your job.

Marvel and DC’s periodical publishing arms… are bad at their jobs. People in charge of getting these numbers up and selling these books, should be given a deadline to turn things around and make improvements. And if they don’t  maybe what Marvel Upper Management needs is to sweep out the old under-performing and stagnant comic selling paradigm that has taken root at Marvel and DC and replace it with fresh faces, with fresh, innovative ideas for moving product, and winning readers. Do mail order subscriptions at a discount through Amazon, like Entertainment Weekly and other magazines do. Even selling the books as a loss leader, by increasing your subscriber base to millions rather than tens of thousands, you dramatically  increase what you can charge for ad space. But it takes change to make positive changes.

 

Now on the other hand, companies that are worth supporting in periodical form are ALTERNA, CHAPTER HOUSE, they provide inflation friendly comics, that allow you to pick up great books at a sub $3 price.

Also IMAGE, DARK HORSE, IDW, even though they are in the $3 and $4 range, they give you a lot more for your money than DC and Marvel do,  The smaller companies offer you a better periodical experience, they give you more pages, less ads, on better paper, and with additional content such as letters pages and special features.

All that creates a very simple take away for where and how I buy comics in the 21st century:

  • These days when I buy comics, I buy them via pre-order courtesy of MY COMIC SHOP. COM, at a sizable discount off of cover price. I am an affiliate for My Comic Shop, so when you use these links you earn a few pennies for this blog.
  • But the reason I am an affiliate, is because i use and love the service, so it becomes easy for me to hawk them. I have tried other mail order services, and have been pretty disappointed and felt pretty ripped off by them.
  • My experience with MCS has really kept me from quitting the hobby all together. They have been that good for me, and you may find them similarly for you, an easy on-road to a medium, comics, that seemingly has more off-roads.
  • They let you read synopsis of the many, many companies out there.
  • And I get these great books mailed directly to me in great condition.
  • And generally speaking…  I am not buying Marvel and DC. And I have to tell you my reading experience has never been better, and my wallet thanks me.

Use the link below, and your wallet can start thanking you as well:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice?&AffID=200301P01

Today’s best and worst Comic Book related Youtube Channels

First Point, Youtube via your laptop or computer I find annoying and not worth your time.

Youtube via Roku, on my big screen TV, and absent all stupid comments I find incredibly useful and watchable.

Here without further ado, my additional points, Youtube Winners and  Losers for First Quarter 2018.

BEST

I like buying artbooks, and graphic novels, and collected editions, so I find some of these channels very helpful in helping me decide if  an item is worth buying. Especially when you are dealing with something like artist editions that can run hundreds of dollars.

So here are channels that helped me make great purchase decisions.

GABE INFINITY WATCH

GEM MINT COLLECTIBLES

NEAR MINT CONDITION

WALT’S COMIC BOOK CHANNEL

EARL GREY

OMNIBROS  LIVE

GORE VIDAL

WALLACE RYAN

 

WORST

Anyone who uses acronym’s such as SJW in their headlines, or as a snarky insult (I’m looking at DIVERSITY & COMICS channel, which is not about Diversity and is not about comics, but is about click baiting and laziness) is generally not a channel you should support or be subscribed to. The thing with acronyms is you end up blindly lumping things together that have nothing to do with each other. And instead of dealing with a specific argument, you tend to become the very caricature you are arguing against. You become as misinformed, in your ‘lumping together and your stigmatizing’ as those you accuse of lumping together and stigmatizing others.

Here’s the thing, we are all of us (if not idiots) more than the party line.

Let me say that again, we are all of us more than the party line.

Whatever party you choose to support this day or that. We are conservative when it comes to some things, liberal when it comes to some things. And biased when it comes to some things.

Take me.

I’m not a fan of witch-hunts. Whether that is the Salem Witch trials, or the McCarthy Witch Trials. Or today’s sexual harassment witch trials. I believe no one should lose their job or be punished, based on unproven allegations. I believe people are innocent till proven guilty in a COURT OF LAW. That goes for Cosby, or Weinstein, or Lauer, or Singer or Spacey, or Gibson, or as it affects comics, Berganza.

I do not like mobs. And I do not like Mob mentalities, and I do not like knee jerk responses, and I do not like talk show mentalities, and most of all I don’t like people tried on twitter and Youtube, and based on the accusations of the unproven, the opinions of the uninvolved, and the fear, and in some cases the vendettas of the powerful, people before trial… are tried and punished.

I do not like it.

Not when it comes to movies, or sports, or newscasters, or the medium of comic-books.

I do not know Editor Berganza from a hole in the wall. He could well be guilty. My problem he was fired on allegations rather than proof. As were all those I’ve mentioned. Accolades and awards and honors they have earned, stripped from them at the merest whiff of scandal. So until proven guilty, a man is innocent, and should be treated as such. I don’t like that comic book artist Adrian Syaf was fired for placing the numbers ‘212’ and the number ‘5:51’ in the background of drawings. Artists sneaking easter eggs into the background of drawings is not new for comics or any other medium. And how that is any different from Christians putting bible verses in the background of their scenes. Long story short, it isn’t. That’s what an editor is for to catch that stuff, and if you don’t you don’t. Based on the agregiousness of it, you take  the appropriate action. Which usually involves a good talking to, not ruining someone’s career.

So I do not like witch hunts..

Whether led by a republican, a lesbian, a trans-gender person, a bigot, I do not like witch-hunts. You have a case, prove it in a court of law, not by gathering lynch mobs.

And this overreacting is on both sides of the fence, and the quickness to throw broad dismissive labels, obscures the fact of what you are fighting against, and what you are fighting for.

That is the folly of labels, it makes people side with fools, and fools lead good men to horrible acts.

Labels and acronyms are always shorthand for the lazy, who can’t be bothered to know what or who they are really arguing against or about. If you are using the acronym SJW you might as well carve a swastika in your forehead because that’s the level you are arguing on.

We are all of us gradations of right, and gradations of wrong, and we are all gradations of irrational.

Being aware of those places where the unfair and the fair fight for possession of our soul, being aware of our culpability in any argument, makes us less likely to glibly go along with the mob, or those who would throw the first and last stone.

Being unaware that anyone who uses the term SJW or dem or repub, is in and of himself, guilty of being the exact same thing they would denigrate; makes you ignorant.

But that is fine, we are all ignorant of something.

Staying ignorant however, makes you stupid or evil.

And that is not fine.

You have to know in any argument, you may not be on the side of the right. And you must learn to accept no truth you went to bed with, as the truth you’ll wake up with. Only through constant questioning of yourself, and the things you love and the things you hate, and the things you believe, can you grow and stay on the right side of those things.

And just as surely… assuming you are always right, especially your side or group or acronym is always right, is the surest way to go marching down the road to hell.

Deep waters for Youtube and comics, huh?

Here is the thing, it doesn’t matter over what we conflict, How seemingly trivial or important.  it matters that we always know, the conflict is with ourselves first. And reason and right is not a given, it must be continually retried within ourselves.

I generally do not gravitate to comics that have trans-gendered or homosexual people in it. That has nothing to do with either of those groups, and everything to do with me. I would like to think it is less about homophobia and more my aversion and dislike of talk shows and reality shows and Lifetime movies, and not wanting that in my comic. Though definitely homophobia plays a part. But mostly its an aversion to those topics heavy handedly crowbarred into what should be a a superhero/action genre. That was my problem with Supergirl Season 2. And why I stopped watching it. It was the gay subplot, handled incredibly annoyingly.

Now contrast that to JH Williams III’s BATWOMAN which was a brilliant superhero book, that just so happened to have a Lesbian character. Or Priest’s DEATHSTROKE with its bisexual character, and these things aren’t written in 20 point type, it’s just another brilliantly layered part, or a brilliant superhero story.

But most people aren’t as talented as a Priest or Williams, so when my comic reads more like a mission statement it is time for me to find a different comicbook.

And it is specifically a superhero/comic related bias, I have an archaic definition of what Superhero and other comics are and should be, an idea that works for me. An idea of what entertains me in comics,  So I understand this bias in me, and I buy the comics that appeal.  However I’m not going to have a problem with their being homosexual or trans-gendered comics or creators, that do want to focus on the lifetime channel or talk show extremes. If there is an audience for those stories great. I won’t be reading them, but neither am I going to have a fit because these stories or creators or characters exist. And that is because I ‘m good with the world being what it is, and me being what I am, and I am aware what part of the failing is me rather than the world.

There is a lot of talk on youtube about social justice warriors, mostly by white men (mostly but not exclusively, there are also enough Black and Brown and Red and Yellow idiots to go around), who see comics by creators not like them, and filled with new characters not like them, and they are not comfortable with that.

That  is not a problem. Like I said, I also feel that discomfort for things outside my comfort zone.

But here is the difference, they feel threatened by these things out of their comfort zone, and attack. Rather than allow people to ‘do them’ (as the kids would say), and simply choose to not patronize the books and creators they don’t like, and just buy and read and enjoy the things they do, instead they want to attack, and force the industry to only reflect them and exclude the other.

That is a problem.

It is a problem of ignorance, and it is a problem of fear, and it is a problem of not knowing yourself, that the world is wide and wonderful, and we don’t have to agree to like the same books or like the same creators.

But we do have to agree to, not stop others from liking what they like.

We do have to agree, to fight with ourselves before we fight others, because most of the time when we lose control, and take up arms against others, it is because we haven’t solved something with ourselves.

So that was an incredibly long aside to get you to my list of Youtubers who are doing a disservice to our hobby, by waging war with others, because they can’t just  embrace this idea… that ‘you do you’.  :).

 

Case in point…

cAPN C-SUMTHING (not worth remembering the dudes correct channel, or name) – emphasizes one of my pet peeves, people who think having an opinion is enough. When it comes to sharing and broadcasting it to a larger audience, it is not enough to have an opinion. It needs to be an informed. You are sitting in a movie theater, and because you are warm you start screaming fire, and spreading an opinion, that with two seconds to inform that opinion… you may have realized you still have your jacket on, or the person a row in-front of you is smoking; so the theater is not actually on fire. So your initial knee-jerk animal brain opinion may have been ‘fire’, but shouting out that uninformed opinion, in the theater to a crowd, would create panic and possible injuries; whereas a moment to look around and inform that opinion, makes all the difference.

An informed opinion is worth sharing, an uninformed opinion is not. This Capn C-something perfectly illustrates the type of knee-jerk reactionary that is the bane of the Internet and the world.

First he has the money to buy a 100+ dollar Artist Edition, the time and resources to want to do a video on it and share his opinion on it, however he doesn’t even know what it is. When the description of the artist Edition is on every blurb about it, as well as on the back and inside cover You don’t even know what you are buying, and you are trying to do a review on it. Strike one.

Next he’s one of these reactionaries who uses acronyms and labels coined seemingly just to be denigrative. Social Justice Warrior, and then he is too lazy, to use the whole word. The kind who resorts to shorthand like SJW and Dems, the sign of someone who can’t be bothered to research the bandwagon he is jumping on, or the things he supports or objects to in any great depth. Strike two.

Third he sees a post by Christopher Priest, lamenting his pigeonholing by DC Comics as a Black Writer,and Priest stating that a good writer can write characters outside his ethnicity and gender, and that the publishers should not be lead by the ‘twitterverse’ the vocal minority who comments on titles they have not read and subjects they are not informed on. Capn Crumudgeon responds to this by saying ‘this Priest guy gets it’ while showing his ignorance by not knowing the writer currently works for DC and is one of their most acclaimed writers, and that Capn Cummudgeon by definition is the vocal minority Priest is calling out. Priest is not railing against diversity, he’s railing against editorial mandates decided by people who can not be bother to be informed on the positions they take.

Strike 3, you are out. What really lit me up about this, is a lazy acronym user like this guy, has more subscribers than actually informative people like some of the users listed above. It’s like people subscribing to JERRY SPRINGER instead of COSMOS. People stumble across his channel, probably like I did  (i did not subscribe  to him) because of his numerous Artist Edition reviews, and then he uses that as a platform for this half baked uninformed drivel, posing as a stance or world view. It reminds me of the brain damaged circus that passed for the last presidential debates. Something that debases viewer and viewed. If you are subscribed to this guy, unsubscribe. There are better places to get your book reviews from. And I list a bunch of them above. :).

 

And to not end on a down note here are more people/channels you should be watching and even subscribing to:

 

JARED OSBORN- He offers weekly pull list comic book hauls, and the occasional collected edition

POPE CEREBUS THE FIRST-

THE DARK NATE

IDWPublishing

24FRAMES

CURTISCAMRON

DRACIR’S COMICS AND THINGS

SOLID4STBEND

BRANDON 191

LUTHER MANNING

MARCUS LIM

JACKKIRBYBRONZE

So any of the above are better than those who embrace attacking the difference of others, rather than simply trying to better understand… the difference of themselves.   CAP’N and DIVERSITY (in name only), Youtube channels, come to mind, but any channel using acronyms such as SJW to cloak their ignorance and fear, you should strongly consider unsubscribing from.

Don’t support the uninformed who want to spend their time screaming fire, in a theater where there is no fire. Instead support the above channels that are trying to help people just find the seats, that are a good fit for them.

Here endeth the lesson.

2016 and 2017 : Remembering Writers and Artist – Wrightson & Wollstonecraft and The Best Pen & Ink Artists!

Things lost in the Fire, may yet be  found in the Ashes

“There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been the first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we’re doing the same thing, over and over, but we’re got on damn thing the phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we’ll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember every generation.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called revealed religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament of the other.”
― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

“Father… you speak with absolute assurance, completely convinced that your vision is the only proper way, and like all men who speak thus … you are mad.”
— Steve Englehart, MASTER OF KUNG OMNIBUS VOL 1

 

RIP to:

Bernie Wrightson, Len Wein, Rich Buckler, Darwyn Cooke, Steve Dillon – great creators lost in 2016/2017

They were not actors, and they were not sports figures, they were creators and myth makers working in an oft castigated medium, but delivering words and images and concepts, that would transcend their newsprint origins and outlive naysayers.

This installment is dedicated to Bernie Wrightson. Over a year into his passing and I wanted to reflect on Wrightson, the artist, again:

Bernie Wrightson had a suitably Baroque name for someone whose beautiful, exquisitely detailed and ornate artwork and sensabilities was the best of the Baroque meets the gothic. I’m an art lover, I own a large selection of art books from Dali to Duncanson, and Wrightson”s mesmerizing FRANKENSTEIN where he created full page plates to accompany Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s celebrated and cautionary tale, remains not just the only version of FRANKENSTEIN one needs own, but one of the most significant art books made in the latter half of the 20th century.

Wrightson quickly proving himself one of the preeminent Pen and Ink artists of all time, up there with the 19th century’s celebrated Louis-Auguste Gustave Dore and the criminally under-heralded mid-20th century Virgil Finlay.

Thankfully, Wrightson’s most lauded work, FRANKENSTEIN, often rumored of rather than seen, was republished by DARK HORSE BOOKS in the 21st century, in an even better quality version.

In this writer’s opinion it is a book, not just any American household should have, but all households should have. The myth of Frankenstein is old and oft told, but you will not find it better told in print anywhere, than in this pairing of Wollstonecraft and Wrightson.

 

Bernie Wrightsons Frankenstein

It is currently out of print, but I see this book as one that Dark Horse will bring back in print. Especially considering next year, 2018, marks the 35 year anniversay of the book’s initial release.

As far as Gustave Dore, here’s a nice affordable coffee table overview of his work:

The Drawings of Gustave Dore:Illustrations to the Great Classics

And Virgil Finlay,

Book of Virgil Finlay

This remains the best introduction and overview of his work, including many of his quality works that fail to show up in later versions. Unfortunately a softcover, however do what I do, pay a book binder to make a hardcover out of it.

And a few other departed genius that deserve mention in the above company… Segio Toppi, Franklin Booth and Basil Wolverton:

Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights

The Collector

FRANKLIN BOOTH

Franklin Booth: American Illustrator

 

Creeping Death from Neptune: The Life And Comics Of Basil Wolverton Vol. 1

BASIL WOLVERTON WEIRD WORLDS ARTIST ED HC

And some living, breathing pen and ink geniuses that you should be seeking out, buying their books, hiring for projects? Glad you asked, they are:

Tim Bradstreet

Maximum Black
A very prolific and in-demand artist, Bradstreet’s MAXIMUM BLACK art book dates from the turn of the century. A new collection of his art, covering the work he has done in the two decades since, would make a welcome addition to this first book.

Oscar Chichoni

Chichoni: Mekanika – A game, film, and dimensional artist, Chichoni does very little printed work. This is his only art book to-date. That it is also one of the best artbooks, only makes it more pressing that he does another one. His art is that good.

Andy Brase – This guy is going to be huge. Looking forward to his first artbook.

Stephen Bissette  & John Totleben ( yes I’m cheating here)- Bissette’s pencils married to Totleben’s inking, on DC’s revamping of floundering title SWAMP THING, with evolutionary writing by relative newcomer Alan Moore, and all of it mid-wifed into being by the late great Len Wen, remains, 30+ years later, seminal, ground breaking and unsurpassed work. And Bissette not only as instructor for new generations of creators, but as scholor and historian and reviewer and Indie Comic supporter remains an essential and insightful voice for the medium of words and pictures. His podcast interviews on a variety of shows, starting with the late Indie Spinner Rack, remains, like his artwork, top notch. I’ve sought out podcasts he has done, and each one reveals more about comics as hobby, as job, as calling, as artform, and as cultural touchstone.

Look for his podcast interviews on MAKING COMICS, INDIE SPINNER RACK, and DECONSTRUCTING COMICS to name some. And in addition he is a prolific reviewer and writer.

Teen Angels & New Mutants

Geof Darrow – When you think of detailed, intricate artists, Geof Darrow’s name comes up near the top of the list. Long before there was an IDW publishing doing tabloid sized treatments of famous artists, there was Frank Miller and Geof Darrow ‘s ground breaking tabloid work for Dark Horse Books. A superlative addition to any library.

Big Damn Hard Boiled

Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot (King Size B&W) (Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot)

 

Mark Schultz

Mike Hoffman

The Mike Hoffman Comics Reader: 300 Pages Volume One

Tim Vigil

 

Lucas Ruggieri

Predrag Djukic – I will be at the front of the line to get this gentleman’s first artbook

Art Adams

Like any list, this one is also a distillation of the writer’s biases, his experiences, his major passions, and his minor blindspots, as such it can by definition not be comprehensive, only revealing. Chalk up any omissions of your favorite pen&ink artist to my head and not my heart. Brevity demands limiting the list, but shine light on those I have missed, by leaving your comment of those past and those present… deserving of attention!

Thanks for looking!!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!

 

You can order most items listed below (or earlier issues) by going here:

LONE STAR COMICS

or going here:

from this link you can search for everything else Highlighted in this installment.

IMAGE

Back Issue #81 (C: 0-1-1) -Well last installment we covered comics you can pre-order in March for May shipment, and covered some of the best from a variety of publishers. But we have saved the absolute best publisher and its best books for this installment.

 blksci14

As the Dimensionauts struggle to save a helpless reality from the chaos the Pillar has wrought, their newfound heroics are threatened by one of their own. Is Kadir up to his malicious old ways again?

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Rick Remender
  • Artist: Matteo Scalera, Moreno DiNisio
  • Product Code: MAR150556
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/6/2015

dyingatded5

‘THE CITY’ All our disparate players collide together in an underground City, and it all hinges on an ultimate betrayal.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Jonathan Hickman
  • Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
  • Product Code: MAR150562
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

inject1

Once upon a time, there were five crazy people, and they poisoned the 21st Century. Now they have to deal with the corrosion to try and save us all from a world becoming too weird to support human life. INJECTION is the new ongoing series created by the acclaimed creative team of Moon Knight. It is science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and ghost story all at the same time. A serialized sequence of graphic novels about how loud and strange the world is getting, about the wild future and the haunted past all crashing into the present day at once, and about five eccentric geniuses dealing with the paranormal and numinous as well as the growing weight of what they did to the planet with the Injection.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Warren Ellis
  • Artist: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
  • Product Code: MAR150468
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

Once upon a time, there were five crazy people, and they poisoned the 21st Century. Now they have to deal with the corrosion to try and save us all from a world becoming too weird to support human life. INJECTION is the new ongoing series created by the acclaimed creative team of Moon Knight. It is science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and ghost story all at the same time. A serialized sequence of graphic novels about how loud and strange the world is getting, about the wild future and the haunted past all crashing into the present day at once, and about five eccentric geniuses dealing with the paranormal and numinous as well as the growing weight of what they did to the planet with the Injection.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Warren Ellis
  • Artist: Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
  • Product Code: MAR150468
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

 

intersecttpb

The terrifying, surreal journey of the Intersected begins in this volume! Start at the beginning with the book critics have called ‘truly original, truly unreplicable, and truly terrifying…’ Collects INTERSECT #1-6

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer/Artist/Cover: Ray Fawkes
  • Product Code: MAR150538
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

 

intersect

NEW STORY ARC A new chapter in the twisted world of Intersect brings readers to a disturbing new setting, following the story of the mysterious Lady Flock as she flees the remains of Detroit and navigates the new world…

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer/Artist/Cover: Ray Fawkes
  • Product Code: MAR150567
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

lazarus17

 

NEW STORY ARC: ‘POISON,’ Part One The Families are at war, Malcolm hovers at death’s door in the wake of Hock’s assassination attempt, and Forever must hold the line against enemies from without as well as within…including her siblings.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Greg Rucka
  • Artist: Michael Lark
  • Cover Artist: Owen Freeman
  • Product Code: MAR150572
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

manhattanproj3

‘UNRELIABLE’ If you’re depending on a lying robot not to get you into trouble with an intergalactic criminal science organization called the Library, then always bet on Black. The greatest FEEL GOOD, BAD SCIENCE book in the long history of man returns in THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS: THE SUN BEYOND THE STARS.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Jonathan Hickman
  • Artist: Nick Pitarra
  • Product Code: MAR150574
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

manifestdest16

One of the crew goes native, while the rest try not to lose their heads. Or get them ripped off. Or bitten off. An issue of unimaginable horror!

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Chris Dingess
  • Artist: Matthew Roberts, Owen Gieni
  • Product Code: MAR150575
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

 

material1

A man comes home from Guantanamo Bay, irrevocably changed. An actress receives an offer that can revive her career. A boy survives a riot and becomes embedded within a revolutionary movement. A philosopher is contacted by a being that dismantles his beliefs. Look around you. Everything is material.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Alex Kot
  • Artist: Will Tempest
  • Cover Artist: Tom Muller
  • Product Code: MAR150477
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

mythic1

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE OF $1.99! Science is a lie, an opiate for the masses. The truth is, magic makes the world go ’round. And when magic breaks, MYTHIC fixes it. Apache shaman Waterson, Greek immortal Cassandra, and cell phone salesman Nate Jayadarma are the crack field team assigned with keeping the gears of the supernatural world turning, and more importantly, keeping you from ever knowing about it. Join Eisner nominee PHIL HESTER (Green Arrow, The Coffin) and Eisner winner JOHN McCREA (Hitman, The Boys) on their latest expedition to the dark heart of weird comics.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Phil Hester
  • Artist: John McCrea
  • Product Code: MAR150473
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/6/2015

 

nameless4

The world descends into chaos and the astronauts stranded in the Tunnels of Xibalba must endure unspeakable tortures when their captors finally reveal themselves. As all human hopes, fears, doubts, and dreams are subjected to the cruel and merciless scrutiny of an inhuman, sadistic intelligence, is reality collapsing? Or sanity?

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Grant Morrison
  • Artist: Chris Burnham
  • Product Code: MAR150580
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

outcast9

What lurks within.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Robert Kirkman
  • Artist: Paul Azaceta, Elizabeth Breitweiser
  • Product Code: MAR150584
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

sex21

The next phase begins right here.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Joe Casey
  • Artist: Piotr Kowalski
  • Product Code: MAR150594
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

spread8

‘THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE’ There is a place that offers sanctuary from the Spread. The only problem? No and company need to escort a group of children through the Spread to get there.

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Justin Jordan
  • Artist: Kyle Strahm, Felipe Sobreiro
  • Product Code: MAR150601
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

surface4

The city mutates. Nasia runs. The ghosts are more than ghosts now-they are real, and decisions are made.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Ales Kot
  • Artist: Langdon Foss, Jordie Bellaire
  • Cover Artist: Langdon Foss & Various
  • Product Code: MAR150603
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

notlikeus6

CHAPTER SIX: ‘COMPLICATED SHADOWS’

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Eric Stephenson
  • Artist: Simon Gane, Jordie Bellaire
  • Product Code: MAR150605
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

velvet13

Velvet’s answers begin falling into place, and everything is much worse than she ever thought it would be!

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Ed Brubaker
  • Artist: Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser
  • Product Code: MAR150612
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

walkingdead141

Opportunity.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Robert Kirkman
  • Artist: Charlie Adlard & Various
  • Cover Artist: Charlie Adlard, Dave Stewart
  • Product Code: MAR150613
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/13/2015

 

wicked11

The end of Fandemonium. The end of Ragnarock. The end of the arc. The start of something else. Everything’s going to be okay.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Kieron Gillen
  • Artist: Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson
  • Cover Artist: Matthew Wilson, Jamie McKelvie
  • Product Code: MAR150616
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

wytchestpb

SPECIAL LOW INTRODUCTORY PRICE OF $9.99! When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry. Collects WYTCHES #1-6

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Scott Snyder
  • Artist: Jock
  • Product Code: MAR150524
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/20/2015

zero17

There’s still time.

 

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Writer: Ales Kot
  • Artist: Robert Sammelin, Jordie Bellaire
  • Cover Artist: Robert Sammelin, Tom Muller
  • Product Code: MAR150617
  • Expected Ship Date: 5/27/2015

 

the majority of titles listed i read, and the others i am interested in, and have pre-ordered to read. titles like velvet, lazarus, spread, wytches, outcast, manifest destiny are not just good comic books/slims, they are great books. surpassing the quality of most tv shows you’ll find, and the fact that one company, image, produces all these quality books is impressive, to say the least.

if new to graphic literature, or comic books, or slims (pick your name) there is no better company to start with and no better books to start with than those listed above.

use the above links to try them for yourself. We’re getting this month’s list out late, next month april, we’ll get our list out earlier. THANKS FOR PERUSING THIS segment, AND IF YOU FIND IT USEFUL SHOOT ME A MESSAGE.

HAPPY READING!

 

TODAY’S BEST COMIC BOOK AND TPB COVERS

TODAY’S BEST COMIC BOOK AND TPB COVERS

THUNDER AGENTS 2. Hearing nothing but good things about Nick Spencer’s work on this series.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Vol. 1

BLACK PANTHER 527. Great Francavilla cover highlights this issue. I’m going to pick up the trades.

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, Vol. 1

Fear Itself: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear
Black Panther – The Most Dangerous Man Alive: The Kingpin of Wakanda

I would also recommend picking up the following Christopher Priest trades to see the character at his best:
Black Panther Vol. 1: The Client
Black Panther: Enemy Of The State TPB

Saw some pages of this horror story that takes place during the era of Napolean. Looks promising.
Black Fire

X-MEN 23- Too many X-MEN books, translates into me being uninterested in reading any of them. That said, that’s a great cover.

AVENGERS ACADEMY 24- Simialy too many avengers books, means I have no interest in reading any of them. That’s the problem with MARVEL/DISNEY comics, they saturate the market, choking their own products/brand to death. It’s like a garden with too many plants, too close together, fighting for soil and light… they all end up dying. That said, another great cover.

VESCELL 5- That’s a great cover. Unfortunately the interior sample pages were just a bunch of talking heads, gabbing on about nothing. Too bad, the cover showed promise.

VAMPIRELLA VS. DRACULA- Great cover.

BLUE ESTATE TPB VOL II- That is a phenomenal cover. Unfortunately the interior art that I saw doesn’t look anything like that, and the writing was pretty darn pedestrian/boring. You can decide for yourself.

Blue Estate Volume 1 TP
Blue Estate Volume 2 TP

FATALE 2- Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have for the last few years been making some of the best comics available, and one of the few you really should be buying monthly rather than waiting for the collected edition. Though you can’t go wrong with their CRIMINAL DELUXE EDITION. Their take on pulp noir is always highly recommended.

Criminal (Deluxe Edition)

COMIC BOOK COVERS OF THE DAY

COMIC BOOK COVERS OF THE DAY


ultimates7


ultimatespiderman7


spiderdynamite1


jenniferblood9


warlordofmars10


allstarwestern6


avengers21

You can buy all these comics either from your local comic store, or online. I’ll post various online sellers you can get these from or just drop me an email.