COLUMNS

This Week in Comics This Week in Comics

THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (10/10/12 – Found Art)

Above you see many of the comics included in Chris Ware’s new release with PantheonBuilding Stories, a box jumbled all full and fecund with 14 unique comics, representing the artist’s preferred vision of his fragmented chronicle of several years in the life of a young woman. I notice a whole range of expert posts on the project is expected at the site this week, and while I am not *actually* part of the symposium, do consider this column header to be a veritable Shakedown Street outside the walls of the venue, where everyone is selling drugs and pottery. And $500 or so of new comics releases.

Because while I agree with Martha Kuhlman that the multifarious inclusions of Building Stories represent “frameworks through which a multilayered, intricate web of stories and relationships emerge,” I think we’d also do well to consider Ware-the-collector, and Ware the critic of collectors. To me, chief among the artist’s many skills is his often unheralded aptitude for recombining past works into new and more comprehensive packages – never have I felt a pang of anxiety re-buying Chris Ware comics in collected form, because books like The ACME Novelty Library (the big red one) represent a deft and judicious editing of older material into a more thematically unified experience. Indeed, some of Ware’s weekly serialized works had already been through this process in finding themselves transformed into comic books, much in the way bits and scraps of Building Stories originated in small magazine segments before becoming incorporated into something like ACME Novelty Library #18.

This I see as the impulse of a collector, who after arranging his best ragtime records into a smart little arrangement seeks to mix and match his own works into ideal, intuitive presentations – increasingly permanent, so that the wear and tear of age will become nearly irrelevant. It was destiny indeed that Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth effectively launched the bookshelf comics wave in 2000, because what other direction could Ware’s velocity suggest?

Ah, but now we see a breaking away. All pronouncements of its tribute to the enduring might of print aside, Building Stories does a number of things that might piss off the expectant Ware collector. Above, for example, I’ve made a little comparison between ACME Novelty Library #18 and the slightly larger, un-titled, un-stampled ‘facsimile’ edition included in the box. It deletes the two title pages and adds a new double-page spread of story, but other than that it looks to be the same book you bought once before. “What happened,” you might ask, “to the sense of unity Ware once pursued?” Why so many little books, so beholden to their original forums?

The answer, I think, lies in a parallel evolution. Ware has always experimented with upsetting the notion of chronological sequence on the page, but while the occasionally-deployed past-present-future ‘film strip’ effects of Jimmy Corrigan sought to underscore the inter-generational focus of the narrative, the Building Stories segments — scattered as they were throughout the ’00s — saw the artist experiment with page layouts that would often force the comics-savvy observer to read against their better instincts, following arrows clear across the page or grappling with circular layouts that trafficked in panels that could be read clearly in alternate sequences: left-to-right or right-to-left. The format of the ‘completed’ Building Stories, then, seeks to frustrate not only the temporarily of paneling sequence, but the very notion of having a ‘start’ and ‘end’ to a book: the fundamental linearity of book packaging, so pronounced in Ware’s prior harder-than-hardcovers.

Moreover, I feel Ware is also saying something about collecting books and comics. The salty collector might accuse the artist of laziness upon opening this fifty-dollar box, as most of the 14 items are fairly similar in makeup: they’re folded broadsheets, paper accordions and rather typical folded-stapled comic books, albeit generally without cover stock. This is not 14 unique flavors of print; more like a gun that squirts different flavored syrups over a vanilla custard base. They are flimsy items too, prone to ripping and ruination, or easy misplacement. But if Building Stories is a collection of anti-chronological memories, it makes sense that its physical components are delicate; everything you need is presented in the box, but everything is just as likely to fall apart, or become mixed up. They will fray, as print frays – in this way, Ware reemphasizes the ephemeral nature of holding items, teasing at a greater resonance to be had from packing them all together, but at the same time holding out the possibility that they could all just as well live, function and die on their own. You can just delete Bramford the Bee from the story if you choose. That you have obtained him doesn’t mean you need keep him.

Do you listen to records all the way through? Do you rip your albums to digital and trash all the tracks you don’t like? Someone made a joke yesterday about waiting for this thing on Kindle, yet I think Ware’s working through the same issues, in the only way an old luddite can: a tribute to print that’s rueful and bleak. Perfectly in character.

***

PLEASE NOTE: What follows is not a series of capsule reviews but an annotated selection of items listed by Diamond Comic Distributors for release to comic book retailers in North America on the particular Wednesday, or, in the event of a holiday or occurrence necessitating the close of UPS in a manner that would impact deliveries, Thursday, identified in the column title above. Not every listed item will necessarily arrive at every comic book retailer, in that some items may be delayed and ordered quantities will vary. I have in all likelihood not read any of the comics listed below, in that they are not yet released as of the writing of this column, nor will I necessarily read or purchase every item identified; THIS WEEK IN COMICS! reflects only what I find to be potentially interesting.

***

SPOTLIGHT PICKS!

Building Stories: Right. Building Stories; $50.00.

Hmm, let’s do three this week.

The Understanding Monster – Book One (of Three): I’m no closer to adequately summarizing this book than I was last week, so let’s just say it’s the latest from artist’s artist Theo Ellsworth, a 72-page, 9″ x 11″ Secret Acres hardcover album seeing a lil’ critter guy undergo a very intense inter-dimensional journey at the beck and call of powerful beings. One of the profoundly immersive comics of 2012, a demanding work of psychotropic whimsy best experienced by those piqued at the implication of Pixar fusing with Fort Thunder in a happy quantum storm. Samples; $21.95.

Young Albert: If there’s anything that hit me acutely from Journal contributor Sean T. Collins‘ unexpected Heavy Metal namedrop in Rolling Stone’s Chris Ware/Dan Clowes/Jaime + Gilbert Hernandez roundtable, it’s that a lot of folks who even remember that rag seem to have the idea that it was mostly (a) Richard Corben and (b) dudes trying to be Richard Corben, a glamor not exactly dispelled by the forum’s traditional presentation on America’s newsstands, often to the left of Swank. So please indulge the holy mission of the column as I note that not only did Heavy Metal itself transmogrify into something of a clearinghouse for all manner of post-underground Euro/American sci-fi-ish strips as the ’80s began, but it also pulled away distinctly from the mission of Métal Hurlant, its French progenitor, which itself was beginning to downplay the ’70s avant-garde SF dominance of Moebius, Druillet, etc. in momentary favor of the Atom Style, an oft-ironic revival of ’50s BD aesthetics promulgated by Dutch artist (and Chris Ware favorite) Joost Swarte in the late ’70s.

Riding near the top of the wave was the late, great Yves Chaland, whose various contributions to Hurlant included Le Jeune Albert, a gag feature that began in 1981, utilizing slick, friendly clean line visuals to lay out dicey moral concerns and serve up some good old absurdity. This is a deluxe (read: expensive) Humanoids collection of those strips, 80 landscape-format pages at 16″ x 12″, in a limited edition of 550 pieces. To be honest, I wish Chaland’s stuff was made a little more accessible; this is only the third collection of his work ever released in English — following Humanoids’ prior publication of two volumes of the Chaland Anthology in the mid-’00s — and so much of it is fun and discomforting in equal measure. Nonetheless, we have a little more now than we did last week. Samples; $89.95.

PLUS!

Pippi Moves In!: I am pretty goddamned stoked for this Drawn and Quarterly hardcover collection of late ’50s Swedish comics derived from Astrid Lindgren’s beloved tales of Pippi Longstocking, a mighty little girl who’s full of tricks. The artist, Danish illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman, has a terrifically angular look to her pages, with hazardously sharp-edged characters jutting diagonally across fields of solid color to unnerving effect, as if their slapstick antics command such primacy to render the decoration of a wider community null. Hand the kids this and the Ellsworth above to grow ‘em up right, or perhaps inspire a lasting resentment that will lead them into prominent adult duties on highly mainstream entertainments that will support you financially in your dotage. Either way, you win! Preview; $14.95.

The Best American Comics 2012: Yes, it’s time once again for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to release a sampler of the last 12 months, again culled from a master list assembled by Series Editors Jessica Abel & Matt Madden. The culling itself has been performed by Françoise Mouly, of the all-time great anthology RAW, no doubt sending expectations soaring, though of course there are unique restrictions in place for a bookstore browser-aimed package comprised in no small part of judicious clippings from longer works. Contents; $25.00.

Blab World Vol. 2: Meanwhile, as if sensing the partial reemergence of one of the old anthologies, Monte Beauchamp issues the second edition of his follow-up project to the storied BLAB!, a 128-page Last Gasp hardcover mixing and matching comics and illustrations in a manner that couldn’t help but burbling up into memory while I paged through the thoroughly hyped new Nobrow anthology from the UK. Peter Kuper, Drew Friedman and Denis Kitchen contribute art to topics ranging from homage to the afterlife; $24.95.

Once Upon a Time Machine: This one’s a totally new anthology, if working off an old premise – fairy tales, reimagined. Art by Farel Dalrymple and Brandon Graham is advertised among 432 pages(!) of stuff. The editors are Andrew Carl & Chris Stevens, and the publisher is Dark Horse. Official site; $24.99.

The Graphic Canon Vol. 2 (of 3): From “Kubla Khan” to the Brontë Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray: Another Russ Kick-edited 512-page brick of reprinted/excerpted comics adaptations of fine literature, this time from all over the 19th century (the literature, not the comics). Selections from John Porcellino, S. Clay Wilson, Dame Darcy and others. A Seven Stories Press release. Samples; $34.95.

SpongeBob Comics #13: Lucky number thirteen marks this Halloween issue of United Plankton Pictures’ licensed series, noted here for an ultra-rare interior art appearance by Stephen R. Bissette, joining Tony Millionaire and Al Jaffee in realization of terror tales from beneath the ticklish waves; $2.99.

Monster Turkey: Also in kid-friendly thrills from consummate stylists, NBM/Papercutz wraps up its English publication of Lewis Trondheim’s 1999-2004 line of Monstrueux comics with a 32-page story of kidz ‘n their pet beastie fighting off mutated crazy animals out in the woods. An 8″ x 10″ hardcover; $9.99.

Liō: There’s a Monster in My Socks: Kids also allegedly enjoy the daily newspaper funnies, and consistent among the picks for best new-ish strip is Mark Tatulli’s Liō, an absurd collection of macabre mischief starring an imaginative little boy. While obviously fit for general consumption, Andrews McMeel Publishing has nonetheless elected to put together this 224-page package of strips appropriate for the wee ones, best kept locked away from the feral children swinging their copies of Pippi Moves In! That shit is really dangerous, I once felled a prowler with John Stanley’s Nancy; $9.99.

Moomin: The Complete Lars Jansson Comic Strip, Book 7: Oh god, another avenue for calamity! It’s 8.5″ x 12″ of sheer peril as the man of the title brings those gentle Finnish trolls and their British newspaper strip 112 pages deeper into the 1960s. (The publisher also has two new 48-page softcover recalibrations of creator Tove Jansson’s stuff readied: Moomin’s Winter Follies and Moominvalley Turns Jungle.) Samples; $19.95.

Finder: Talisman: Speaking of recalibration, this is a new Dark Horse hardcover edition of a Carla Speed McNeil storyline already in print via the Finder Library vol. 1 softcover, though admirers may prefer its 96-page entirety be seen at 8 1/2″ x 11″. A limited signed edition is also available. Preview; $19.99 ($75.00 limited).

Saga Vol. 1: How much of a nerd am I? As soon as I saw that ‘facsimile’ edition of ACME #18, I immediately flipped through to see if Ware preserved Brian K. Vaughan’s cameo, which was originally facilitated through some charity auction in which the winner would become a character in a new Chris Ware comic. Indeed, Vaughan endures. Which reminds me – this is the first compilation (issues #1-6) of Vaughan’s new Image series with artist Fiona Staples, a family drama set against the backdrop of a fantasy/sci-fi clan war, and probably the biggest orthodox comic book serial out there at the moment not owned by a large corporation or beholden to the threat of zombies. I confess, Vaughan’s blend of rat-a-tat quips and gale-force sentimentality is viscerally not for me — or, rather, it wasn’t in the one issue I bought, I’m told it gets better — but curious eyes will find an engaging price point for sampling; $9.99.

Mattias Unfiltered: The Sketchbook Art of Mattias Adolfsson: I dunno, just a 128-page Boom! Studios facsimile Moleskine by Mattias Adolfsson, a Swedish artist with some really cool images to his name. SIDEBAR: How many fucking books are out this week? And I’m only planning to make some stupid joke about the Marvel (not-really-a-)relaunch; $16.99.

Batman: Odyssey: Being a 368-page hardcover compilation of a notoriously offbeat 2010-12 Neal Adams bat-project, careening from gory urban action to ‘early years’ flashbacks to Vernian exploits beneath the Earth’s surface, communicated via circuitous stories within stories and rambling conversational text. Definitely a singular experience, with Michael Golden & Bill Sienkiewicz among the guest inkers. Adams is not resting on his laurels, as his First X-Men series continues at Marvel, albeit with Christos Gage on board to level out the scripting. Hey, did you hear Marvel’s (not really) relaunching a bunch of stuff? That’s starting tomorrow too; $29.99.

Haunted Horror #1: A less weighty reprint project, in which IDW replicates their Popeye strategy by putting out an ongoing series of 48-page comic books stuffed with vintage reprints, here mid-century horror stuff from the likes of Jack Kirby, Jack Cole and Jay Disbrow (of The Flames of Gyro) (as if any parenthetical is necessary on the point!). Samples; $3.99.

Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor: Pretty much the last stop before Masamune Shirow dove into eerie-slick digital art and drowned himself in porn, this is 176 pages of clipped subplots from Ghost in the Shell 2, all of which closely resemble the original series’ b&w pen-drawn future cop scenarios, rather than the fearsome glass wall of tech jargon and crotch renders we slammed into face-first in the twilight of our youth. A new Kodansha edition, picking up from Dark Horse; $17.99.

Paradise Kiss Vol. 1 (of 3): Actually a lot of ongoing manga series this week — Vertical has a self-contained Drops of God storyline from later on in the wine tasting series’ run, while Viz brings sports manga in Slam Dunk and manga-creation-as-sports-manga via Bakuman — but I’m really feeling this Vertical repackaging/re-translation of an older Ai Yazawa series, a TokyoPop license rescue concerning a girl who really wants to get into the world of fashion. Salve your aching for more of Yazawa’s Nana with 280 pages of this; $16.95.

Rookie Yearbook One: Man, I remember Tavi Gevinson as a columnist for POP Magazine around the time they had Takashi Murakami art-direct a Britney Spears photo shoot that turned out to be an elaborate homage to smut mangaka Seiji Matsuyama (don’t click that) in protest of Japanese legislation prohibiting sexual images of virtual children. Those were the good days. Gevinson struck me as a perceptive, funny writer, and I was only very briefly thrown into suicidal dismay upon learning she was literally 14 years old. Then the next year she started an online teen magazine, of which Drawn and Quarterly is now publishing 352 color pages’ worth of highlights. Your not-a-comic pick of the week, though I sure did sweat to find a connection! Eiken, god. Samples; $29.95.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story: WAIT, THIS ISN’T A COMIC EITHER. And if you’re like me, you’ve sat transfixed for every single gossip-glazed excerpt out of Sean Howe’s massive missive on history re: the House of Ideas, be it bits ‘n pieces from the official tumblr or that huge slice of herb-scented ’70s at Grantland, or the Big ’90s shit posted just for me, here, today. I can only imagine the havoc 496 pages will wreak; $26.99.

New York Drawings: Okay, seriously. Chris Ware, Yves Chaland, Lewis Trondheim, new Blab!, a Françoise Mouly-edited anthology, multiple Nordic countries in hardcover, a huge doorstop of superhero backbiting red meat, Stephen R. Bissette drawing a comic you can buy in a brick & mortar retail facility – it’s a pretty busy week, and I’ll just wrap it up here with yet another entry that may well have sat at the top of a similar list at some other time: Adrian Tomine’s complete contributions to The New Yorker to date, annotated by the artist with additional sketches and illustrations relating to NYC. It’s 176 pages from Drawn and Quarterly, in hardcover at 8.125″ x 11″. Samples; $29.95.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Oh wait, we’ve still got $100+ of good-looking Fantagraphics books to cover. I’ve heard a bunch about Steven Weissman’s Barack Hussein Obama, a cracked fantastic vision of the contemporary political scene, and now it’s time to witness its 112 pages on my own; $22.99. Roy Crane proffers 228 pages of vintage derring-do with Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry’s Tiger; $35.00. Lou Reed & Lorenzo Mattotti rise again with a softcover edition of their collaborative The Raven; $19.99. And Robert Crumb inspires us all with a new paperback edition of selected dispatches in Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me: Robert Crumb Letters 1958-1977; $19.99. Crumb, Ware, Chaland, Mattotti, Trondheim, Mouly, Ellsworth, Jansson, Adams, Beauchamp, Bissette. 10/10/12.

FILED UNDER:

51 Responses to THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (10/10/12 – Found Art)

  1. RM Rhodes says:

    Yves Chaland actually shows up in Heavy Metal for the first time in February of 1979 with a four page strip that looks almost nothing like his later clear line stuff – there was shading and ziptones! It doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the material at the time and indicates (to me) that he came out of the same tradition as the rest of the Metal Hurlant imitators of the time.

    Also, the change in tone and content coincided with the change in editors – first Ted White for most of 1980, then to Julie Simmons-Lynch in December of 1980 all the way up until Kevin Eastman bought the publication in 1993. Ted White added four very interesting columnists, which generatated so much text that it takes twice as long to read an issue from 1980 as it does an issue from 1979, but the overall art style didn’t really start to shift until Simmons took over (I think – I’m still working my way through 1980).

  2. LWV says:

    I’m still in denial about GitS2. One of these days I’m gonna open that book and it’s all. Gonna. Make. Sense.

  3. John Farwell says:

    i went to your site and appreciated it. loved the Hugo Pratt article.

  4. Richard Baez says:

    Kudos for mentioning Ware and Chaland, Joe, but you forgot tomorrow’s most important release:

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=39694

  5. Joe McCulloch says:

    GitS2 does have its partisans, actually… any comic that weird is bound to attract a few admirers. It certainly has the courage of its convictions behind it, and I guess if you’re really interested in haaard SF in comics form, it does manage a uniquely demanding, keep-up-or-get-out demeanor to it. I suspect it’s the marriage of that sort of narrative style to Shirow’s Galgrease digi-fetishism that truly baffles and repels…

  6. RM Rhodes says:

    Thank you. I’m still working my way through the books that he did with Hector Oesterheld.

  7. Joe McCulloch says:

    Ugh, wake me when the Crow takes on a concentration camp… WHA?

  8. Derik Badman says:

    Appleseed was the first (real Japanese) manga I really got into (and I still like it a lot), but Shirow really lost me with Ghost in the Shell. I never even tried the sequels.

  9. Joe McCulloch says:

    My favorite Shirow remains the second Dominion series… Dominion: Conflict 1: No More Noise, which is ostensibly a years-later sequel to a rougher early work (which you don’t need to read) but actually comes off as Shirow doing a day-in-the-life story set in one of his crazy worlds, fairly low-key and observational… it definitely gets lost under his bigger, louder works, but it’s a mode I’ve always thought complimented his super-detailed environments…

  10. Ayo says:

    Jog, Dominion Conflict 1: No More Noise!

    I think we might be life-buds now. I had a random issue of that from Dark Horse and nothing else from Shirow’s bibliography grabbed me with–you said it–that combination of lazy everyday human stuff with blazing, speedline action.

    A+, would read again.

  11. nfpendleton says:

    Ellsworth in color and hardcover? Much much anticipated. As a fan of intricate linework, I think those samples look amazing. A deranged children’s book for grownups, with not a little Sendak in there.

  12. Pingback: The Carnival of Souls Returns « Attentiondeficitdisorderly by Sean T. Collins

  13. Tony says:

    A great new batch of Fantagraphics books have surfaced on amazon for next summer, and I’d like to thank you for the 2nd instalments of books like The Cabbie and Sybilline, which probably weren’t exactly successes in the first place, in fact the latter was “solidly in the red” if I recall right.

    Having said that, “Brindavoine” in paperback? Not a HC like all the other Tardi books?

  14. Scott Grammel says:

    Speaking of which…

    I’ve never gone this route before, but if Fantagraphics also doesn’t offer hardcover versions of their upcoming Wolverton collections, I might just have to get custom hardcovers made for my copies. Hell, that might be the time to do the Fletcher Hanks books as well.

  15. Kim Thompson says:

    BRINDAVOINE and the second Wolverton book, CREEPING DEATH FROM NEPTUNE, are in fact both hardcovers. There’s some data mistake on Amazon’s end on these. We’ll fix it. SPACEHAWK is still softcover, but then again we decided to make it BIG. Wait ’til you see it. Remember how I once argued that with few exceptions, I don’t think comics are well served by a presentation that’s larger than the size it was intended for? I think we hit on an exception.

  16. Chris Mautner says:

    Having seen the Spacehawk book I can indeed verify that it is very big. And beautiful.

  17. Tony says:

    You should start by fixing the info on your own page:

    http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop/creeping-death-from-neptune-horror-and-science-fiction-comics-by-basil-wolverton-2.html

    Speaking of sizes and what was intended for, there have been some complaints about the format of the Buz Sawyer and Mickey Mouse books. I swear I’m not alone on this, I’ve seen a number of people other than me complaining in message boards and blogs, so I was wondering about the size of your upcoming book of Mickey Sundays.

    Apparently there was a book published long ago in a whooping 12 ½” x 16 ½” in order to respect the “original published size”:

    http://www.brucehamilton.com/AR/Books/MMIC/Mickey%20Mouse%20in%20Color.htm

    “72 pages are devoted to the Mickey Mouse Sunday page by Floyd Gottfredson. These strips, from 1932-1936, are all reproduced their full, original published size.

    An additional 72 pages feature Mickey Mouse daily strips by Floyd Gottfredson. All strips reproduced their full original published size”

  18. R. Fiore says:

    Well, I think $250 might be an iffy price point . . .

    Actually, the linked Mickey Mouse book shows the impact of overseas printers. Pete Maresca brings off this kind of thing for half the price, in post-inflation dollars.

  19. R. Haining says:

    Please note that the volume in question is a deluxe limited edition of 3,000 copies that is signed by Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson, which is a partial explanation of the high price. The size of the trade edition of this book (Mickey Mouse in Color) was more in line with the Fantagraphics editions of the daily strips.

  20. Scott Grammel says:

    All the more reason for a good hardcover casing, I’d think.

  21. Kim Thompson says:

    Well, that ship has sailed, literally as well as figuratively. It’s ultimately a matter of cost and price. We realize that fans of any given book will pay pretty much whatever we charge, and we could theoretically make these books gigantic and charge $75 or whatever — but we have to sell a lot of books to non-fans as well to make a project like this viable, and at the size and page count for SPACEHAWK it was a struggle to keep it under $40, already dangerously high territory in terms of general appeal — especially in a depressed economic climate with a TON of competing classic strip and comic book reprints.

    This dilemma was vividly illustrated by an Amazon reviewer who complained that our first POGO book was both too small and too expensive. He didn’t seem to grasp that short of cutting our profit margin to zero, fixing one of his problems would exacerbate the other, and vice-versa.

  22. Tony says:

    Would it be viable to do simultaneous editions in hardcover and softcover? I see other publishers doing it: Avatar, Titan, Vanguard… sometimes with the HC version being more limited or “special” (like bigger or signed) than the SC.

  23. Kim Thompson says:

    It’s a thought. I guess I’m handicapped by my somehow not really giving a shit whether books that I buy are hard- or softcover… I guess it’s a personal blind spot. In any event, all of our classic comic strip and comic book reprints for next season are hardcover.

  24. Kim Thompson says:

    Also, dig it (since this season is now up on Amazon), I finally get to do a cartoonist I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do:

    http://www.amazon.com/Peppy-And-Virginny-In-Lapinoland/dp/1606996622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350235554&sr=8-1&keywords=peppy+herge

  25. R. Fiore says:

    The trade edition of Mickey Mouse in Color (Pantheon, $39.95) is on my shelf next to Volume 1 of the current Fantagraphics Pogo series. This is because they’re the same size. Practical collections of early comic strips in their full original printed size is going have to wait until (a) e-readers improve to the point where they can decently reproduce graphic material and (b) e-readers are manufactured in large screen formats. I think these things will happen. E-readers are at the Walkman stage now.

  26. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Wow! That is splendid news indeed Kim. Is this the same thing that Methuen published as “Popol Out West”? I bought that version (published in 1969) at a used book store in Amsterdam a few years ago and fell in love with it. But it has 60 pages and the Amazon listing for your book says 56 pages.

  27. Tony says:

    “Messages in a Bottle” too? All the Greg Sadowski books are going to be hardcovers from now on?

  28. Kim Thompson says:

    Same thing. 56, 60 pages, might just be a difference in title pages or something, don’t worry, it’ll be the full story.

  29. Kim Thompson says:

    “Messages in a Bottle” is actually basically the softcover version of B. KRIGSTEIN COMICS (with some re-worked and additional stories), so no. Also, that’s from the current season (Fall 2012. i.e. through March 2013), not next season (Spring/Summer 2013), sorry, I’m thinking in terms of book publisher/distributor “seasons” here.

    Future Sadowski books will be on a case by case (no put intended) basis. The second collection of Golden Age covers will likely be softcover to match the first.

  30. Dominick Grace says:

    I’m baffled by people who gripe about how expensive some of these current comics reprint series are, especially ones like those from Fanta or IDW (some of those Dark Horse ones do seem pricey, especially given how marginal some of th ematerial is). Perhaps that’s because I’m old enough to remember when a) nothing like the current crop of reprints was available at all, b) what wa sabaialble was for th emost part produced in far less attreacvtive formats, often from far worse sources–or with vastly inferior restoration, and c) cost as much or more THEN than many of the current better-produced, better-looking and more durable ones cost NOW. That said, I did think the first Mickey volume was a bit small–some of the eraly strips were hard tor ead (for these eyes, anwyay) before Gottfredson really hit his stride and streamlined his design. (IDW going to a somewhat bigger size for Dick Tracy was a welcome change, too–the Sundays in the early volumes were very hard to read at that size). (Much as I value my Prince Valiant and Flash Gordon reprints from thirty or so years ago, and much as I wouldn’t have known much about those strips without them, they don’t hold a candle to the current Fanta or IDW versions.)

    No easy solution, admittedly; hard to strike the balance between a size that’s both economically feasible and physically manageable (nice as a book the size of a newspaper page is, it’s much harder to read than a newspaper, what with weighing about a hundred times as much) and material originally designed to be viewed at sizes larger than economic/physical feasiblity really can accommodate….

  31. Kim Thompson says:

    Yes, there’s a point at which even if it were possible to release (say) the PRINCE VALIANT books at a reasonable price at the size the strips were originally printed, the resulting object would be so unwieldy that it would compromise the reading experience for some. (I mean, they were originally designed to be printed in a big, thin, floppy section you could easily hold in your lap.) Some of the classic reprints (ours and others’) are already edging into the territory where I find the books clunkily large… even as I appreciate the size at which the strips are printed and wouldn’t want them printed any smaller. This is a problem comic book reprints and (the overwhelming majority of) European comics reprints don’t have.

  32. Tony says:

    Are you keeping an eye on this book that goes on sale in 2 weeks? Is it any legit? Do you anticipate Fanta or D&Q getting interested in a translation?

    http://www.12bis.com/bande-dessinee/aventure/georges-tchang
    http://www.colonnier.org/bd_pages/g&c/page_bd_g&c.htm
    http://www.bleedingcool.com/hergè's-adventures-his-chinese-communist-gay-lover.html

  33. Andrew McIntosh says:

    What about printing those old Sundays across two pages, rotated 90°? At Prince Valiant’s 10.5″ x 14.25″, that’d be more-or-less the original newspaper, size, wouldn’t it?

    I guess it would work better for strips like Gasoline Alley that had grid layouts, rather than something like, say, Krazy Kat.

  34. Kim Thompson says:

    PRINCE VALIANT is three tiers; how’re you gonna break that across two pages? In theory that could work with a strip that’s four equal tiers (the tabloid POGO for instance) — but of course the four-tier full-page strips are missing a panel.

  35. James says:

    The Prince Valiant books are about as good as they could be and be manageable…it is hard to praise them enough. The reproduction of the proofs is simply gorgeous and if anything, the color saturation has been improving as they progress. If the books were any bigger, storage would become a major problem and as Kim says, larger formats become unwieldy to hold when you are talking about a hundred pages per volume— we are getting a hefty sampling for the money. I sometimes pull out a magnifying glass to see details, but at least it is not necessary for reading, as it often is for Chris Ware’s work no matter how big it is printed.

  36. R. Fiore says:

    For a 250-300 page book the LOAC Dick Tracy size is about as big as you can get and still read comfortably, and Rip Kirby size is actually a little bigger than you can read comfortably. I sometimes think the Fantagraphics Krazy Kat hardcovers are more shelf decorations than something you could read. The Sunday Press books are a niche product and are positively unwieldly. What’s really aggravating to me is when publishers put comics in fomats that don’t fit the proportions of the original publication for the sake of typical comic shop shelving. I think the Judge Dredd compilations are just insulting in that regard. I think it’s the one flaw in the Dark Horse Archie archives. Then, I assume Humanoids got punished in the marketplace for publishing books in large format, and so adopted the limited edition/trade edition procedure.

  37. Andrew McIntosh says:

    @Kim: Sorry, when I said “At Prince Valiant’s 10.5″ x 14.25″” I was pointing at the book size rather than Prince Valiant itself. I wasn’t trying to suggest you go and reprint Prince Valiant yet again.

  38. Kim Thompson says:

    Ah, right. Yes, although holding a book sideways is REALLY awkward to a lot of people. And it seems as if most of the strips that are really graphically splendid don’t split nicely in the middle.

  39. Tony says:

    Nothing?

  40. Andrew McIntosh says:

    Obviously Nemo or Krazy Kat wouldn’t work in such a format, but Gasoline Alley or Polly and her Pals might. Or a book of less-reprinted works, like Moon Mullins or The Bungle Family. Or a sampler of cherry-picked “graphically splendid” strips that happen to split well down the middle (I’m sure even a few Krazy Kats orNemos could be found to fit that bill).

    I have to wonder why people would find holding the books “sideways” would be uncomfortable. The same people have no problem holding their laptops that way.

  41. Kim Thompson says:

    I am keeping an eye on it. I don’t believe in theorizing as to my interest in something I haven’t seen yet.

  42. R. Fiore says:

    I absolutely hate holding a book sideways. Will. Not. Do. It.

    The LOAC Baron Bean format has possibilities. At least the possibility of having something to put on the same shelf as my Maakies books.

  43. Andrew McIntosh says:

    4.25″x11″ is an interesting enough concept, but not too bookshelf-friendly. And the concept behind it is a bit of a stretch: “it allows us to have an experience similar to what newspaper buyers had fifty to a hundred years ago—reading the comics one day at a time”—uh, except that it would have been one of half a dozen strips on a massive newspaper page, and wouldn’t have had the next day’s strip on the facing page.

  44. Pingback: Fantagraphics to publish Herge | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  45. Don Druid says:

    Anyone who won’t hold a book sideways hasn’t spent the last five years in a global business services firm dealing with pitch books, and may God bless them and keep them from such harm.

  46. James says:

    It would seem that the resistance to holding a book “sideways” is based on “programming”, like, when one is a child one is told, “this is how you read a book”. Frankly, it is an absurd limitation and I don’t have a problem with turning a book around. I can think of some people who used that reading format effectively—Alex Toth, Dash Shaw.

  47. Don Druid says:

    To be fair, the example I offered usually involves rings instead of normal bookbinding to allow for easy perusal, which probably isn’t feasible or wise for comics publishers. Pitch books aren’t designed to last – it’d be pretty easy to lose pages if they were perforated for rings.

  48. Briany Najar says:

    RE: book orientation.

    Our arms are left and right, not top and bottom.

  49. James says:

    Since the human race is doing it’s best to dispose of the book anyway, all bets are off and books can take any shape their creators damn well please. Anyway, rules are for suckers

  50. Tony says:

    Hi Kim,

    I see JODELLE is being resolicited in the November Previews, and the book is now 164 pages for the same price than before, and that is to be commended. I have to say though that I’m not yet enamored with the new definitive cover but that’s probably because it’s been many months looking at the first tentative one in my periodical googlings for news on the status of the book, and I had grown very accostumed to it. I know both designs are just blown up inside panels, at least the first one is, but I guess I was hoping all along that if the original was changed it would be for a better one, which I’m not convinced is the case.

    Then again, I suppose it’s just the boobs, which are magnificent in the former but not exactly so much in the latter…

  51. Thanks for the heads up on Spongebob 13…Rick Altergot did the inside front cover also! I got the Fanta Halloween give away also this week…very nice. Thanks Fantagraphics! Can’t wait to get Taint the Meat…It’s the Humanity now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>