Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: The final (for now) round-up

I thought I'd wind down our look at the year ahead in comic books and graphic novels with a look at indie/small press publishers Secret Acres and Sparkplug Books, and the manga publisher Seven Seas who is now under the Tor Books umbrella.

Don't worry, this feature isn't going away permanently. As the months pass and new preview catalogs come in the mail I'll get back to typing these run-downs.

Let's star with Secret Acres. The company plans to release at least three graphic novels this year, which I've listed below, with some informative quotes from company co-founder Barry Matthews:

PS Comics by Melanie Lewis. "PS Comics collects all four issues of Minty Lewis's PS Comics mini-comics and includes a new story. The stories center on two groups of friends (the "Fruit Pals" and a group of talking Yorkies)." The book will debut at MoCCA and be in stores in July.

I Will Bite You and Other Stories by Joseph Lambert. "Joseph Lambert's story, 'Turtle Keep It Steady,' was included in Best American Comics 2008. He is a recent Center for Cartoon Studies graduate and he's writing and illustrating a book about Helen Keller for Hyperion." Look for it at SPX and in stores in November.

Monsters by Ken Dahl. Ah, now this will surely create a bit of buzz when it makes its appearance at SPX (and in comic book stores in November). It's Dahl's autobiographical tale of contracting herpes. I've read the first three chapters, serialized as mini-comics, and it's real nitty-gritty, cringe-inducing, emotional roller-coaster stuff.

Oh, and here's one final item of note from Matthews:

Before I forget, we're also planning on doing a very limited edition book by JB. His work was included in Kramer's Ergot 7 and we're publishing his collection, Curio Cabinet, in 2010. The project is still in development, so I won't have any additional details for a month or so.

Moving on to Sparkplug Books which, according to publisher Dylan Williams, has three books out this year so far:

Jin & Jam #1 by Hellen Jo. Two unlikely teen-age companions -- one can't wait to leave town, the other never plans to -- forge a friendship in this $5, 36-page comic.

The Airy Tales by Olga Volozova. Russian animator/artist/puppeteer/what-have-you Volozova offers up a collection of short stories about "the invisible threads that connect all the things around." $15 for 138 pages.

Danny Dutch by David King. Web and mini-comics artiste King devotes a book to some delighfully amusing four-panel tales of Mr. Dutch and his "back alley rowdy" friends. $5.50 gets you 28 pages.

Williams also said he planned to release a new book by upcoming artist Dunja Jankovic entitled Department of Art. More on that news as it develops.

Let's wrap this up with a quick look at Seven Seas' manga plans:

Hayate X Blade Vol. 3 and 4 by Shizuru Hayahiya. This is a yuri-tinged action/comedy series about two mis-matched partners attending a sword-fighting school together. Volume 3 will be out in May. Volume 4 will be out in August. $9.99 each.

Inukami! Vol. 3. Story by Mamizu Arisawa. Art by Mari Matsuzawa. A wacky love comedy in the vein of Negima and Girls Bravo about a boy and a dog-like goddess who battle monsters together. I think. Lots of fan service though. $9.99, May.

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