JUST AROUND THE CORNER FOR APRIL
I'm calling an audible.
It's Thursday night and CSI just ended. I realize that I don't have a column done for tomorrow yet, and the reviews I've been struggling with all week just aren't coming together.
Thus, the audible.
I'll be looking, instead, at this week's PREVIEWS for items shipping in April 2002. As always, this is not a comprehensive look at all the listings. I highly suggest you do that yourself. It's worth the effort. Don't forget to pre-order special items to ensure that your retailer knows what you want and the printer can print enough to accommodate your needs.
We'll get to those reviews I was working on next week, I hope. I've got all weekend. Should be a breeze, right?
It's a somewhat lackluster month for comics, to tell you the truth. Unless you're counting the minutes to the SPIDER-MAN movie and are gobbling up every possible tie-in to it, this isn't going to be the jam-packed month that last month was. I should just count my blessings and be happy for it.
Call me a masochist, but I like good comics. And lots of them.
Let's look in the "Other Comics" section at the back of the book.
Cerebus is wearing a Charlie Brown yellow and brown t-shirt on the cover of CEREBUS #277. Cute. On page 364, there's a solicitation for HOW TO DRAW PEANUTS. Charles Schulz is credited with authorship of the book. I find it almost ironic that the man who would allow nobody else to draw his strip (and good for him on that), did a How To Draw His Strip book. Different audience, I'm sure.
CBR's own Larry Young has a new book out called TRUE FACTS, collecting all his articles from savantmag.com into one small book. Yes, I realize his column here has ended, but we still like him. We'll always consider him one of us here at CBR. Besides, he won't leave. He's still occasionally seen at his message board.
SANDWALK ADVENTURES #2 came out this week, it is alleged. I haven't tracked down my copy yet. If you liked it, though, you can order the third issue for April. Still $2.95. Still 24 pages. Still Jay Hosler goodness.
The fine folks at Bongo Comics are releasing a trade of the first three issues of Bill Morrison's much-loved ROSWELL series. For only $12.95, you'll get 120 pages of full color goodness, including new pages of art and story. I've never read the book, but I'll be picking this one up due to strong word of mouth.
CrossGen's big news is their new compendium editions, reprinting selected issues of various comics into an anthology format at a low price. They'll definitely get points from me for the cardstock cover, the color printing, the paper stock, and the sheer volume for the $10 price point. I'm a little less excited about the oddball content nature of it. It seems scattershot. I don't know. We'll have to see how this works. Maybe an anthology idea like this is what's needed to give readers a broad cross-section of the line to see just what it is they would like to see more of.
There's also something really cool about collecting all the series at once in a neat lineup of spines that face out on your bookshelf. On the other hand, if I were interested in that, I'd be waiting for the standard trades of each series, individually.
See page 261 for more information.
The cover to RUSE this month is one of the best covers I've ever seen in comics. I love it. There should be a poster of it. I'll have to check the CrossGen web site in the months ahead to see if they add it to their mall.
Dreamwave Productions is making a big splash with a full color multi-page layout/solicitation starting on page 271. The big pull is, obviously, THE TRANSFORMERS. They're soliciting for comics, special edition comics, special preview edition covers, posters, ½ issues, and more. This will be a big test for the company, which once had problems meeting solicitation deadlines while at Image. Can they hack it on their own? We shall see.
Dynamic Forces has created a 13" bust of Spider-Man's head. $150.00 if you order today. It's $200 if you wait until tomorrow. See pages 281-285 for more details. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but I think it may just be the ultimate in geek busts. I've never bought a bust or a statue. The only thing that tempts me right now is the nice Benjamin J. Grimm bust, which I just think is cool because it's the Thing with a cigar in his hand.
ELECTRIC GIRL Vol. 2 comes out in April from Mighty Gremlin. The first trade is a fun clean read that's enjoyable for the whole family. The second trade is more of the same done better. Mike Brennan has a good grasp of his art and knows how to use its often simplistic look to best effect. For $14, you'll get a charming 152 page book. Not a bad deal at all.
Possibly the most exciting news for me in the whole catalog is on page 312. NBM Books is releasing a trade paperback compilation of the first four issues of Richard Moore's excellent series, BONEYARD. The fifth issue just came out and is as good as ever. If you were waiting for a trade to jump onto the series with, here's your chance. As a bonus, it'll be slightly larger than comic format, as 8 x 12 inches. Final cost is $13.
Alongside that, the sixth issue is also solicited. Looks to be a big month for BONEYARD fans.
Oni Press' high point for the month is the new original graphic novel by Andi Watson called DUMPED. It's 56 black and white pages for $6. The solicitation copy describes it as "…a poignant story about things abandoned, feelings rejected, and what we just can't leave behind." If you've read BREAKFAST AFTER NOON or have been following SLOW NEWS DAY, you know how enjoyable and comfortable his storytelling is. Give this a shot if you're looking for one thing to experiment on past superheroics this month.
Finally, two hardcover prose books are coming that look at comics in a slightly different way.
The first, from Vanguard Productions, is called JOE SIMON'S THE COMIC BOOK MAKERS. Written by Joe and Jim Simon, it tells the stories of comics' Golden Age, as seen through Joe Simon's eyes and written down by his son, Jim. The book promises to tell stories of the behind the scenes madness that often went into the creation of comics at their very beginnings. The book is a hardcover and will set you back $35 for the 200 pages. I'd understand if you wanted to wait for the paperback somewhere down the line.
The other book, perhaps slightly more downbeat, is called COMIC WARS. Written by Dan Raviv and published by Comic Themes, the book tells the story of Marvel's troubled years in the 90s, when Ron Perelman and Carl Icahn were battling it out in "a crisis as strange as one of [Marvel's] comic book stories." Marvel still hasn't fully recovered from that era. However, now that we've had enough distance from it, I think we might all be able to look back at some of those insane years with something close to a sense of humor. The hardcover book runs $25.
As always, please post the things that jumped out at you over at the Pipeline Message Board.
There does exist the chance that I'll look at the front half of the catalog in a column next week. First, I have some reviews to write…
Special thanks to Matt, John, and David at Dewey's Comic City in Madison, NJ for their help with this past Tuesday's column. A thousand apologies for forgetting to thank you earlier, guys.
More than 350 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns or so are still available at the Original Pipeline page, a horrifically coded piece of HTML.