Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Everybody's Happy Nowadays

"It just feels like it's a wonderful time in comics right now. The range of creative material seems to be expanding everywhere you look. The reactions to it are getting both warmer and wider. More places are talking about the medium seriously; covering it seriously; Not quite proselytizing it in the literal sense that some of the people in comics have done for years, but really joining in that effort of reaching out because they're buying into what we've been saying for so long..."

-DC Comics Publisher Paul Levitz
Yeah. Isn't it terrific? Isn't it a wonderful time?

So why such hubub about my pal Fantagraphics' schill/publicist Eric Reynolds upset by walking into a comic store in the college town of Pullman, WA, whose extent of independent offerings could be narrowed down to a copy of Watchmen, some Vertigo books, and a copy of Gilbert Hernandez's new Dark Horse books. When Eric asked the store's owner if he had anything by Fanta or Drawn and Quarterly, the reponse was a question: "Are those guys still in business?" And this despite carrying comics ordered from a catalogue that Eric and his company extensively advertise in month after month (Previews).

Now, while I agree with those who contend that the store has every right to carry only what they wish, I do believe that Eric has a right to be overtly incredulous. The fruits of his efforts, and the efforts of everyone that effectively, enthusiastically promotes this wonderful medium (the endless litany of fellow activist retailers, publicists, bloggers, fans, and print and web reporters for that matter), have in this instance fallen on deaf, blind and otherwise unreceptive ears, exemplar of many comic outlets.

You can only please some of the people some of the time. No store that sells comics can be a full-line establishment. There is just too much material published in the last hundred years for that to even be remotely possible. That being said: hopefully Forbidden Planet pleases you as we strive to try. If you're looking for books or comics not currently in stock, please ask me to procure them. I probably have them on order or will bust my butt to get. Either way -- we know Fanta and D&Q are still in business.

Amazing Spider-Man #544 - J. Michael Straczynski (w) and Joe Quesada. Coming from someone (me) who admittedly has no love for the character, rather an idifference really, a good review of Marvel's big Spidey event book will probably fall on the deaf ears of his loyal fans. You're gonna pick it up anyway. It is to you, the casual reader that I say this: It's not bad. #544 is still the soap opera that is Peter Parker's life, still the fallout from Civil War, but a helluva lot better than recent perusals I've given the title. It would seem Joe Mike has been saving his usually excellent writing (dialogue, esp.) for "One More Day" The addition of the dynamic super-hero pencils of Marvel honcho Joe Quesada don't hurt, neither. There's also the nifty long-time-coming showdown with Iron Man, who screwed Spidey over royal last year. Plus, if forty or so years of convoluted Spidey continuity are too intimidating to us lay folks, there's a terrifically terse history and character outline in the back. Not too shabby.

Process Recess 2 Portfolio - Published by Adhouse Books. Eisner and Harvey award winning Fables cover artist James Jean presents his second art collection and includes editorial and annotated pages that give an insight into the working methods of an illustration prodigy blending media such as acrylics, oils, computer work, and sketching. The first Process Recess was one of our best-selling books of all time, and deservedlly so for all its splendor. Vol. 2 is twice the size of that sexy little hardcover (for almost the same price!) so I want double the sales. Highly recommended.

Sentences: The Life Of MF Grimm HC - Here's something interesting. Underground NYC rapper Percy Carey, aka MF Grimm's memoir (deftly illustrated by Hellblazer: Papa Midnight artist Ronald Wimberly) is published by DC/Vertigo this week. Percy, paralyzed after taking eleven bullets in an attempt on his life in 1994, delves into the facets of an extraordinarily troubled life in his first comic work. The streets, to rap entrepreneur, to jail, to comics writer. There's a fascinating profile of him here: Let's hope this book is his first of many.

Yes, it would seem there's something for everyone out this week. But isn't there always? Highlights include:

Paul Dini's Madame Mirage #2 - Two Garth Ennis treats in the form of a new printing of his hilaiously lewd and unsavory The Pro (hooker super-heroine) and The Boys #10, Exterminators #21, Buffy #6, Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vol 2.

"Bet you are tired of being upset
Always wanting something you never can get"



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