Comments Off | Posted: December 31st, 2006 | Filed under:Uncategorized
For the first time in years, I’m doing something on this most drunken of holidays: going to a friend’s house. Normally, I stay at home and avoid the whole amateur hour scene that causes people to puke in the flowerpots near my house, but the lovely Munsons are having a thing, so I’ll mobilize.
Aaaaanyway. I had about four paragraphs of rambling about the past year and what it meant to me, but I realized I could sum it all up with: thank you all for reading this site and maybe even buying comics I’ve written. There’s more to come in 2007, all of which promises to be momentarily diverting at the very least.
Comments Off | Posted: December 29th, 2006 | Filed under:Uncategorized
So, one of my favorite people on the planet and top-notch design type Liz teaches at Portfolio Center in Atlanta and she’s been incorporating comics into her design history courses for a little while. Yesterday, she sends me a comic from one of her students, Kevin Scarbrough, and I was blown away. Equal parts Nil and Vimanarama, Sin and Virtue uses an interview with Josh Chen to launch a surreal meditation on design and how it fits into the grander scheme of things.
I liked it so much, I’m presenting it to you here. Click to download Sin and Virtue (8mb pdf) by Kevin Scarbrough. It’s polished to a finish so fine that it’s hard to believe that it was a classroom assignment. Scarbrough’s told me he’s going to continue refining for submission, which means the end product should be spectacular.
Comments Off | Posted: December 29th, 2006 | Filed under:Uncategorized
Awesome Plus Ten.
This is one of my favorite projects going on right now – DMP’s translation of the business manga series Project X. The first volume went into the world of automotive design with a look at the development of the Datsun Fairlady Z, and the second got quite a bit of notice because it involved that staple of dorm life, Cup Noodle. The latest, however, trumps them with the tale of a retail empire that started with a faltering retail chain that clung to a precarious 17th place in their sector. Eventually, Ito-Yokado became a 50,000 location juggernaut thanks to Japanese innovation on an American idea combined with the staff’s unwillingness to back down.
After the Cup Noodle book, I thought maybe I’d be done with my exuberance at watching a salaryman get some victory out of an untenable situation, but upon seeing Toshifumi Suzuki and Hideo Shimizu’s determined faces after they saw their future in a convenience store, I had to see what was going to happen next. Hell, I even ended up buying a second cup of coffee so I could justify taking up the space at Diesel Cafe while I finished the book on the spot.
This volume greatly benefits from having an emotional centerpiece in the form of a small businessman mired in the company’s problems getting the convenience store idea started. Kenji Yamamoto placed his family’s future in the hands of Ito-Yokada after seeing an ad in the newspaper and thinking anything had to be better than the paltry profits his liquor store was generating. His arc gives the readers a touchstone that wouldn’t have existed with descriptions of an inaugural location that had problems performing.
While we now how this story ends from the fact that there’s a business success manga written about it, the Project X series manages to help readers view profit margins and business presentations into the epic things that the characters see them as. This is the sort of comic I’d love to see take off and wonder if sales would increase if DMP offered this in an English-style left-to-right format, removing one of the stupidest barriers that exists in the minds of bookstore buyers and educators.
No, I have no idea what Bahlactus is saying when he wants us to know that we’re going to get some “comics clue,” either. I’ve got plenty of clues already, thank you, and know that we can blame it all on Stan Lee.
If you ignore the “look how influential our copyright-violating little community is” treatise that starts off this entry, you can gander at about 15 pages of one of my favorite Marvel comics of the 90s, Doctor Strange / Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment. Man, scans_daily makes it hard – there’s occasionally a real gem in there (usually contributed by someone like 44oz_soda, who recently gave readers “The Man Who Hated Christmas” from Action Comics #105) but for the most part, it’s filled with churlish, delusional people who bitch and whine about the direction of comics they’ve downloaded without paying for. They also tend to like really shitty superhero books and let slash creep into every conversation ever. Yes, we get it, Batman’s gay, blah blah fucking blah.
(Note to my 46-year-old brother: yes, that was some R-Rated language. Please do not call our 65-year-old mother and complain that her 32-year-old son curses on the internet ever again.)
Ink and Thunder is Becky Cloonan’s new blog, where she shows off a bunch of her in-progress art.
Go read Immortal by Dean Haspiel. (Some cartoon nudity, so be careful at work.) I’d rank this among my ten favorite comics of this year, if I were going to do such a list, but I’ve decided not to. Haspiel’s a national freakin’ treasure. If I ran Marvel Comics, he’d be on a retro-ish Hulk title in about 8 seconds.
Comments Off | Posted: December 28th, 2006 | Filed under:Uncategorized
This surreal, funny graphic novel by the multimedia artist Mr. Clement is one of the best surprises I’ve had in the past year. Yes, the art and story (such as I think it is) are great, but a large portion of my love for this is the pleasing format and clean graphic design. Diamond should still have copies available – solicitation code OCT063582.
(Yeah, yeah, more of that rah-rah-new-comics crap. Sorry. I’ll go back to savaging crappy books from the 70s in the new year, I’m sure.)
Comments Off | Posted: December 27th, 2006 | Filed under:Uncategorized
No review or anything, just general boosterism: the first issue of Housui Yamazaki’s Mail is a fantastic bit of J-Horror entertainment. The lead’s likable and just mysterious enough and the individual stories manage to build to a nicely terrifying climax without any wasted space. I’m not a huge manga person for the most part, so I can’t tell you if qualitatively the art is superior to most, but it’s very effective.
Here are some pithy soundbites concerning some of them.
Dark Horse Comics
SEP060024 BPRD UNIVERSAL MACHINE TP $17.95
I’d always liked BPRD enough to get it and enjoy it, but this arc really let me feel like I cared about what happened in the book. I’m hating the wait between series, though.
OCT060181 BLUE BEETLE #10 $2.99 SEP060220 BLUE BEETLE SHELLSHOCKED TP $12.99
Buy this or Rogers and Giffen swear they’ll murder the cat. Cully Hammer has nothing to do with this threat and I’m sure he’d want to assure you that he loves cats, really.
OCT060267 BOYS #6 (MR) $2.99
In this one: the beatings.
SEP060200 HUNTRESS DARK KNIGHT DAUGHTER TP $19.99
I may have ordered this out of some hazy sentimentality for comics I never read in my youth. Or maybe it’s the awesome Bolland cover.
OCT062226 CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON NOMAD TP $24.99
$25?!? I mean, yes, still cheaper than buying singles, but between this and the last volume of Kirby Captain America stories costing $30, I suspect Marvel is doing something of a mark-up for the “nostalgia” market.
OCT062167 NEXTWAVE AGENTS OF HATE #11 $2.99
Soon I will have to say goodbye. Tears will streak down my face when I hold #12 in my hand and I will probably dive into a 64-gallon drum of fine Kentucky bourbon to erase my sorrows.
OCT062218 SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE VOL 2 NEW GIRL DIGEST TP $7.99
I adore this comic. I want to kiss it every time I see one of its digests on my bookcase. It’s just so darned pure.
NOV063210 CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL MANGA VOL 9 TP $10.95
And I just finished the last volume while I was on Cape Cod! Timing like this surely is not coincidence, but proof of a higher power. A higher power that wants me to be a total badass.
OCT063984 MY FIRST MARVEL SUPER HEROES FACTBOOK $9.95
Here’s an exclusive excerpt:
Wolverine kills people and is still tolerated by the hypocritical X-Nen because many Marvel comics fans look at him as a surrogate father, one who would shred those who mocked them for wearing a Guardians of the Galaxy t-shirt to class!
He is Marvel’s meal ticket, and no force is going to stop him from making sure that the publisher’s offices in Manhattan are lined in gold.
Yes, you can leave the usual hate mail in my comments section.
Comments Off | Posted: December 22nd, 2006 | Filed under:Uncategorized
Is it just me, or does this one indicate how DC completely missed the point of Marvel’s schtick with characters like Spider-Man? It’s not just enough that superheroes have problems – they have to be ones that are something the readers can relate to, such as Peter Parker’s problems with a crazed supervillain throwing his girlfriend off a bridge, or Reed Richards bankrupting a multimillion-dollar corporation and getting kicked out of a Manhattan high-rise, or Tony Stark having to choose between a red or white to go with pork medallions.1
1You can use either without much concern unless there’s some serious spice issues going on. Hell, some people even recommend a malbec, which is both interesting and intriguing.
MySpace is to make its first move into print publishing through a deal to turn an edition of UK style magazine Marmalade over to user generated content.
Marmalade’s March issue will feature cover-to-cover MySpace content submitted by users.
MySpace users can make themselves and their work known via Marmalade’s profile on the website myspace.com/marmalademag, and the magazine’s editorial staff will also be trawling MySpace to find talent.
…I’m starting to feel like somebody needs to keep an eye on the site’s terms and conditions in case this move turns out to be a way to generate more revenue by bleeding the userbase. It’s of note that the service was already forced to change their terms and conditions when musicians found out that they didn’t own their music1 once they posted it on the site.
As someone who makes a little bit of cash writing, I find the simultaneous democratization and exploitation of content to be a fascinating thing.