Friday, October 30, 2009

Marvel Comics on IPhone

The providing information has been copied and pasted from

My comments are below.


Marvel titles being made available for iPhone and iTouch users through the iPhone Apps systems. And not tied down to any one App provider, but spread out a bit. So what’s out there?

Comixology: (71 issues, $1.99 each)
Age of Apocalypse #1–6Astonishing X-Men #1–24 (Full Whedon Cassaday run)Captain America #1–30 (Brubaker, Epting)Marvel Zombies #1–5X-23 #1–6

iVerse: (37 issues, $1.99 each)
Age of Apocalypse #1–6Amazing Spider-Man #519–524Astonishing X-Men #1–12Captain America #1–6 (Brubaker, Epting)Invincible Iron Man #1–6X-23 #1–6

Panelfly (84 issues, $0.99 each)
Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #1-25 (Lee, Ditko)Amazing Spider-Man #519-524Astonishing X-Men #1-24Invincible Iron Man #1-16X-23 #1-6Age Of Apocalypse #1-6

Comixology gets the lion’s share of new content at $1.99 a title but no Iron Man or Spider-Man. iVerse also has a different lesser range for $1.99 with some Iron Man and Spider-Man but no Marvel Zombies and only a little Captain America. PanelFly has a stack, no Captain America or Marvel Zombies but much more Iron Man and a stack of Lee/Ditko Spider-Man. More importantly, they’re only charging $0.99. So if you want Iron Man, Age Of Apocalypse, NYX or Astonishing X-Men, it would be silly to get them from the rival providers.


We all knew it was going to happen, so this isn't really a shock or anything. I'm just waiting to hear when DC is going to get in on this new stream of cash. I can never argue with comics being available in and on multiple mediums/platforms. If we can convert a few new readers, it can't be a bad thing. Personally, I'm not very interested in reading any comics on a small screen, such as an IPhone or IPod. I've discussed the new tablet that's coming from Apple at some point before (big color screen, unlike the Kindle) and what that could mean for comics, but until such time that that is the norm for everyone on the planet, we can only look at this new digital content as a positive for the industry. One of the most dangerous things about an IPhone or IPod is all the ways you can blow your cash, what with apps, music, games, and movies/tv shows. It's all a little crazy. If you happen to be one of those lucky souls that can spend all kinds of cash on digital apps, than go crazy! I'm old school, I know this, but I still like the physical comic and GN's, and most likely always will. This whole topic is more for getting NEW readers into the medium, this is for all the youngins that are used to only having their products digitally.

When DC makes the move, I wonder what titles they are going to start with and what era, interesting thing to ponder. Kingdom Come is a no-brainer, as well as Y, Fables, Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, V, Sandman, Batman: Killing Joke, the various Crisis stories, etc. They certainly have a lot of great stories to choose from once they make the move.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tony Isabella's New Book!

Tony Isabella's new book arrived at LCS this week: 1000 Comic Books You Must Read published by Krause Publications in hardcover, retailing at $29.99. There are a couple of reasons that I would like to recommend this book. Tony is a long-time contributor to Comic Buyer's Guide, as well as a comic writer and editor. (He created Black Lightning, DC's first headline African-American hero).
From the back of the book: "1000 Comic Books You Must Read is an unforgettable journey through 70 years of comic books. Arranged by decade, this book introduces you to 1000 of the best comic books ever published and the amazing writers and artists who created them." Full color, on glossy paper, this book would look great on any coffee table.
Chapter One: "This is a job for Superman." This is a very short chapter about the man himself, Superman, highlighting 6 of his golden age tales.
Chapter Two: The Fighting Forties. This is a pretty meaty chapter, highlighting many famous and not-so-famous but worth reading, golden age issues. Important books that are of course included in this chapter: Detective #27 (first Batman, for those of you that aren't good with issue numbers), Marvel Comics #1( first Human Torch and Sub-Mariner), Flash Comics #1 (first GA Flash), Planet Comics #1 (first sci-fi comic ever), and all the other major books of the Golden Age, and wow there are a lot of important ones. It's really something to see them all pictured together, with the explanation beneath each one detailing WHY the book is important enough to include in the book.
Chapter Three: the Fearful Fifties. This chapter is even bigger than the GA chapter. This of course details the non-superhero era. All of the important EC comics are showcased, as well as the famous western comics, the famous romance comics, Archies, Tarzan, Disney stuff, war titles, and other fun stuff that many folks may have forgotten. The last half of the chapter details the onset of the Silver Age (second age of heroes), with Showcase #4 (first SA Flash) as well as other important DC books of the day.
Chapter Four: The Swinging Sixties. Lots of great books are discussed in this chapter, no surprise here, what with the barrage of BIG Marvel releases this decade: first Spidey (Amazing Fantasy #15), first FF (FF #1), the first Avengers (Avengers #1 duh!), the first X-men (in X-men #1, surprise surprise!), and other such cool issues of note.
Chapter Five: The Surprising Seventies. Lots of great books came out in the 70's, despite the over-use of the word "groovy" and too many characters wearing bell-bottoms. Highlights include: Green Lantern #76 (first GL/GA), a bunch of good Kirby stuff (New Gods #1, Mister Miracle #1, Forever People #1), a ton of cool horror titles (Tomb of Dracula #1, first appearance of Werewolf by Night, first appearance of Ghost Rider, Swamp Thing #1), and many many other cool books that I now want to go back and reread.
Chapter Six: The Energetic Eighties. The Direct Market changed the comic book world forever, and made it possible for such gems as: Detectives #1, Jon Sable #1, Groo #1, Badger #1, Love and Rockets #1, Nexus #1, American Flag #1, Zot #1, TMNT #1, and holy shit there are a TON more of these great non-Marvel/DC books that made it in a big way back in the 80's! Wow, I remember my weekly trips to the local shop and there were just so many choices it was crazy fun.
Chapter Nine: The Noisy Nineties. The 90's were full of good and bad, 92-93 saw many many bad books hit the market. Notable exceptions: Sandman, From Hell, Bone, the Milestone books, Marvels, Tale of One Bad Rat, all 17 "Big Book" anthologies from Paradox Press (one-time imprint of DC), and as usual, many more amazing books.
Chapter Ten: The New Millennium. Blankets, Persepolis, Alice in Sunderland, and so many more. Two wonderful books that I am super excited have been included in this tome of comic book knowledge: Phantom #17 (part 1 of 3) of the Invisible Children storyline and Pat Novak: for Hire. Two Moonstone books in this most important collection of what should be read by all. We are very excited and proud to be part of this book. Both Phantom #17 and Pat Novak are available for purchase at all four Amazing Fantasy locations, your LCS, or if your LCS does not have them on hand, you can order directly from us :

There you have it, a small sampling of the 1000 comics that Tony has included. This is a book that all libraries should have on the shelf, every comic shop should also have it for sale, every book store and, of course every true comic book connoisseur should also make an effort to pick this up. It's a wonderful overview of over 70 years of sequential storytelling at its best.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NEW Stephen King comics from VERTIGO!

This is pretty damn cool news!
(More of my thoughts and comments after the copy and paste)

Via the Vertigo blog, news of a new vampire series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, written by well-regarded horror writer Scott Snyder with art by rising star Rafael Albuquerque, and stories written by one Stephen King.


The new ongoing series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, will introduce readers to a new breed of vampire—a more muscular and vicious species of vampire with distinctly American characteristics. The series’ first story arc, to be told over the course of five issues, will feature two different stories, one written by Snyder, the other by King. Snyder’s storyline is one of decadence and deception and Jazz Age glamour. Pearl is an ambitious modern woman with starlet dreams. She frequents Hollywood’s speakeasies and dance-halls searching for her first big break, only to find something far more sinister waiting for her. King’s story provides the origin of the very first American vampire: Skinner Sweet, a bank robbing, murdering cowboy of the 1880s. Skinner is stronger and faster than previous vampires; he has rattlesnake fangs and is powered by…. the sun? Following the conclusion of the first story arc, Snyder and Albuquerque will trace Skinner’s bloodline through various decades of American history.


More info via The Beat:

The Daily Beast has some more art, some of the origin story of the project:
When American Vampire was in the early stages of being greenlit, the editors at Vertigo asked Snyder if he knew anyone that would be willing to give a blurb to the project. Snyder had maintained a friendship with Stephen King after King had written a blurb for Voodoo Heart, so he sent King what he had so far of the series.

“He came back saying he loved it and he’d actually be willing to do a few issues at some point if we wanted him to,” Snyder says. “I went back to Vertigo and pretty much made sure that they were gonna take it regardless. It was really important to me that they weren’t going to take it because Steve was involved, because I’m the one who has to carry the series beyond Steve.”


This is great news for Stephen King fans as well as comic fans in general. All of King's forays into comics thus far have been adaptations of his existing work. (Marvel has published several very successful Dark Tower mini-series, and a few Stand mini-series thus far. DelRey is starting their Talisman comics very soon too. ) This would mark King's very first ALL NEW original story and characters for the comic book medium we know and love. This could possibly prove to be one of the best-selling Vertigo series of all time. This might also mark the first time that Vertigo will offer hardcover collections FIRST for a title BEFORE the paperbacks. Vertigo has been slowly offering hardcover GN of some of their best-selling series, way way after the fact. For example, Fables is on volume 12 in the paperbacks and volume 1 of the hardcover was released last month. Each volume of the Vertigo hardcovers contains two volumes of the paperback. They did a similar thing for Y and for Preacher. Well after the series was over, the first Preacher hardcover was published a few months back. Y's first hardcover volume shipped for the X-mas holiday last year. Marvel, on the other hand, has released the Stephen King Dark Tower collections in hardcover ONLY, the same with the Stand. Marvel's normal formula is to releases a paperback release of the hardcover volume of the same name, about 2-3 months after the hardcover release. The first Dark Tower HC volume came out 2 years ago. Similar to the Harry Potter novels, there is little reason to publish paperback editions of a book when the hardcovers continue to do well. Those first three volumes of the Harry Potter books were in hardcover ONLY for a few years before the paperbacks were finally released.

One other note about the future collection of this yet-to-be released, not even officially solicited series, American Vampire. Traditionally, Vertigo releases all of their volume ones for ongoing Vertigo series in a super affordable $9.99 edition. There are exceptions to this of course (Madam Xanadu volume 1 leaps to mind) because this is a newer development, sometime in the last 5-7 years, starting with Fables volume 1 if I'm not mistaken. I don't think they were able to offer this attractive price point for Madam Xanadu because the first story-arc is longer than the normal initial story arc. Books that I can think of that started off with a $9.99 collection: Scalped, Fables, DMZ, Crossing Midnight, American Virgin, Exterminators, House of Mystery, 100 Bullets, the forth-coming Unwritten collection, Sandman Mystery Theatre, and Young Liars. I am therefore guessing that Vertigo will not release a $9.99 paperback edition of American Vampires because they will not be able to afford to do so. Stephen King is not cheap labor, so they may well try to milk the hardcover for as long as possible before releasing a paperback edition, and when the paperback is finally released it will most likely be in the neighborhood of $14.99, but it is a little premature to start guessing about this kind of thing. More food for thought: American Vampire could well be the first $3.99 monthly release from Vertigo also, again because of the price tag for Stephen King.

Much to speculate about, and much to look forward to with this announcement!

This new American Vampire comic could well turn out to be the True Blood of comics. I'm definately interested to check this series out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Library Craziness!

Check out this story that I found on Comic Book Resources:


Libraries Two library employees in Nicholasville, Kentucky, were fired last month after they refused to allow an 11-year-old girl to check out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which they dubbed pornographic. However, the policy of the Jessamine County Library states it's the responsibility of parents to decide what's appropriate for their child to read.
The fired employees, Beth Bovaire and Sharon Cook, stand behind their decision, asserting that the award-winning comic by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill contains lewd pictures that are inappropriate for children.
"If you give children pornography, a child, a 12 year old, can not understand and process the same way a 30 year old can," Cook told a local television news station. [WTVQ, WTVQ]


I have to say, I'm a little torn over this. I don't think the library employees deserved to be fired for this. I understand and applaud the library's policy, BUT maybe the employees were just trying to cover their own asses. I know I've done this at the shop several times. Not that long ago, a 14 year old came in to buy League volume 1. His mom was with him, I told her she might want to look at the book first to make sure it would be appropriate for him. I, as a retailer, do not want to be the one to decide what is appropriate for any child to read. For example, all of the Vertigo books out there, have a "suggested for mature readers" printed on the front of the comics and the graphic novels. If I encounter a child (if you can't drive yourself to the store, I will consider you a "child") that wants to buy Vertigo books, I always double check with the parents. I don't want to get slapped with a law suit for selling pornographic material to a minor. I support the CBLDF but hope to never have to use them as a source for launching a legal defense. I absolutely agree with the principle that the library supports of not censoring any checkout by a minor, I find it downright amazing that a library in Kentucky supports this right so strongly. Couldn't the library just have reprimanded the employees instead of firing them? It seems a little extreme. I'm betting if these employees had gone ahead and let any under age child check LOEG out, there would be at least one parent out there trying to sue the library for exposing their precious children to "pornography." I do not agree with the assessment of these employees that LOEG is "porn" . "Lost Girls?" Oh yeah, definitely porn, but LOEG Vol 1? Adult themes and situations for sure, but I would call it "suggested for mature readers" before labeling it "adult", "porn", or even "erotica". Volume 3 on the other hand, what with the Tijuana Bible insert perhaps could be considered "adult." Thanks for the controversy Alan Moore! (That crazy old White Wizard loves to stir up controversy over any type of porn. If the old man had it his way, there would be a whole class devoted to Victorian Porn in kindergarten.)

Odd note: I just walked over to the shelf, and I'll be damned, NO WHERE on the LOEG graphic novels does it say "suggested for Mature Readers" I guess that is only a Vertigo thing, not America's Best Comics (Moore's imprint at Wildstorm, which in turn is a imprint at DC). I checked a bunch of the Vertigo GN's, and yep, sure enough they do have the "suggested for Mature Readers" tag line printed on every volume. That is really all we need on these books, so that the publisher's ass is covered. Every store and library needs to find some kind of middle ground for how to handle these situations. I'm betting that most bible-belt conservatives would NOT want their children checking out LOEG or any other "suggested for mature readers" title, in fact these very folks would stage a protest outside of any public institute that has these types of materials on display on a shelf low enough for the kiddies to stumble upon. How many times have I heard stories about comic shops that sold "adult" or even "suggested for mature readers" books to minor, only to be slapped with a lawsuit or at least threatened with a lawsuit? Thank god that the CBLDF exists for this very reason.

There is you food for thought for the weekend, nothing like scratching your head over the strangness of it all. What a strange f'd up world we live in.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fables: Peter and Max Novel Review

Finally finished Peter and Max by Bill Willingham. LOVED it! I'm so glad that Vertigo decided to go ahead and publish their very first foray into prose. Comic fans should love this story because it explores until now, unknown information about Peter Piper and Bo Peep, their mysterious past back in the Homelands and their secret role in the recent War for Fabletown. The story moves along very quickly, alternating between past events in the Homelands and present events in New York and Europe. Willingham manages to get most of the important "Peter" fables moments in this story: he gets his hand stuck in a jar of pickled peppers, and he puts his wife in a pumpkin shell and keeps her very well, and of course more Piper related story than I thought would be possible. Did you know that not only is the Piper of legend that leads the rats away Peter's brother Max, but there was a whole family of pipers back in the Homelands. The same with Bo Peep, she was just one sister among 5 other Peeps. The Peeps and the Pipers were friends back in the Homelands, which is how our two lovebirds met. I don't want to give too much away, but Bigby, Snow, Red, King Cole, and Frau Totenkinder all make key appearances, especially Frau Totenkinder back in the Homelands. Frau Totenkinder at one time she was not only powerful, but youthful and beautiful. This is a story of two brothers, two pipes, the past and the present, true love, and true evil. A magical tale for fans of the Fables comics/graphic novels as well as potential new fans. The 8 page comic at the back of the book places the story within the Fables current continuity, hopefully spurring more readers to pick up the trades. The above illustrations are peppered throughout the book, along with countless others, making it heavier on illustrations than the average novel. I expect that DC will see another surge in Fables GN sales after this release gets hold in the book stores.

Every Fables fan should read this book. Highest possible recommendation.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Some of These Are Just WRONG

As a lifelong fangirl, I am excited by the sheer number of female superhero costumes now available for the average gal for Halloween. Last year, we saw a great assortment: Supergirl (which I did pick up, and even wore last year), Wonder Woman, Batgirl (granted the Batgirl costume they produced looked NOTHING like any Batgirl I've seen, but that's besides the point), and a female Robin. (Female Robin is pictured above). I applaud all of these choices because all of these characters have actually appeared in comics. (Don't forget that there was a female Robin first in Miller's Dark Knight Returns and then briefly when Spoiler took over a few years back for something like a half a issue). New this year, apparently: Jade (I think they are actually calling it Green Lantern on the packaging, but those of us in the know can approve of this costume), Emma Frost the White Queen (again, makes sense, because both of these are indeed female characters in the comic book world). Pictured here are just some of the new offerings for this Halloween season that defy logic: a female Captain America (sorry boys, but no matter how hot she looks, this just doesn't work for me on any level. yes I know that there was that female Captain America character in the M2 universe, but she didn't look like this), Spider-man (god knows if they are calling this costume "spider-man" or "spider-woman" on the package, but this reeks of WRONG. and yes, I know there is a Spider-woman in the Marvel U, but THIS is not her costume. If they had produced a costume that actually looked closer to Spider-Woman's regular costume, I wouldn't have an issue with this), Black-costumed Spider-man/Venom (ugh, this looks awful! make a Black Cat costume already if this is what you want to do!), Flash (OMG, really?). And last but not least, we have the slutty version of poor Zorro here. Wow, that one is in a category all its own. The Zorro people should sue this company for making this piece of shit. I understand the need to produce sexy super-hero costumes for the ladies, but couldn't they just work with the ones that already exist? I've yet to see a store-bought version of Harley Quinn, what about Power Girl (that outfit is sexy enough without tweaking), Raven, Starfire, Vampirella (I mean COME ON, this is already such a whore-ish costume it's a no brainer), any of the female Legion characters, BATWOMAN already please (and no the weird Batgirl costume they've been producing does NOT count, it needs to come with a beautiful long-locks red wig thank you very much), Question (they could sell the Batwoman and Question costumes as a two-pack!), Storm, Marvel Girl/Jean Gray, and the list goes on for some time. Now maybe some of these do exist out there at the stores, it's not like I did a ton of research, most of the ones I mention and picture here were offered through Previews (with the exception of that god-awful Zorro-whore). I am VERY happy that suddenly we have SO many options for the fangirl and non-fangirl alike (who knows, maybe somewhere out there a gal will pick up the Green Lantern/Jade costume and then will wander into a comic store to pick up Blackest Night, it COULD happen), but some of these choices have left me rather annoyed. It's like the companies didn't bother to ask REAL fangirls what we would like to see available on the shelves this year. I guess I wouldn't have a problem with this whole thing if they started making MALE versions of the Wonder Woman costume, the Catwoman costume, and Emma Frost. Surely if we can have female versions of male characters as costumes, how about the other way around. Turnabout is fair play if you ask me.

I'm sure most of the men on the planet don't care one bit if any of these are actual characters or not, as long as they can convince their girlfriend or wife to wear it they will be as pleased as punch. Btw, if that is indeed the case, I too have issue with THAT because these same comic fans have TONS of issues with various super-hero movies or video games not staying true to the character etc., but THIS is ok. I really shouldn't try to find logic where there is none to be had, I should know better, after being in this industry for 18+ years.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lantern Symbol Ramblings

Red=Rage (Love that choice, it’s perfect!)

Orange=Avarice (Because of this storyline, there are now millions of geeks in the world that can use “avarice” in a sentence. See, comics CAN make you smarter).

Yellow=Fear (Yellow is suppose to be a cheerful color, but in the DCU it’s scary!)

Green=Will (Classic, there can be no argument for this choice).

Blue=Hope (Aw…hope is so "hopeful", isn’t it?)

Indigo=Compassion (Another aww color/word combination. Now if only they could be consistent with the hue, see my rant below).

Violet=Love (9/10 times it looks Magenta to me, again see my gripe below. I’ve yet to see any guy buy the “Love” shirt btw, lol. Come on men, you should be secure in your masculinity!)

Black=Death (Zombie, zombie, zombie fun in the DCU!)

White=Life (It has to be, right? It is the opposite of black after all. Will Wonder Woman be a White Lantern? Who knows, but it does look like Dove is a White Lantern, right?)

We received the lantern prom rings on Wednesday. Now, don’t freak out, we only received one of each as a promo for the promo. Seriously. A PROMO for the PROMOTION. Damn, this is nuts. All that aside, they looking amazing, I mean really. They have a metallic sheen to them, giving the impression that they are made of metal, pretty cool. So we made a nice little display showcasing them. Sigh…. So cool. So fun. Congrats Geoff Johns, the various Lantern symbols has really been a way to get people excited. The various symbol t-shirts are definitely selling like crazy, along with the ultra cool black shirts with the words on them, like “Compassion,” “Will,” “Fear,” etc. man I really like those black shirts, and if you don’t know what I’m referring too, you really don’t come into the Frankfort store enough. We have a lovely wall display showcasing all the Lantern symbol t-shirts.

Is it just me, or is it rather sexist that Star Sapphires can only be of the female persuasion, I mean really, what gives? It seems a little unfair, like only women are able to experience true love or some such bullshit. I don’t like it, not one little bit.

Color problems in the DCU. There seems to be some discrepancy in the Indigo Lantern’s true color. Have you noticed the problem? Sometimes it looks dark blue, sometimes it looks like a grayish dark blue, and now with the promo rings, the Indigo ring looks surprisingly PURPLE and then the Star Sapphires ring looks magenta. I don’t get it. We need consistency here people! The t-shirts for the Star Sapphires are definitely PURPLE, but in the comics and now the rings, they are MAGENTA. Magenta and Purple are NOT the same color, ask any artist. It is really that hard to get this stuff right? Does DC have no control over the colors that Graphitti Designs uses for the t-shirts themselves nor for the colors used for the images on the shirts? Do they not have control over the colors of the promo Lantern rings? I would find that very hard to believe. There is also a problem with the yellow shirt Graphitti used for the Sinestro Corps shirt. It looks like a Colonel Mustard color, why couldn’t they use the shirt they used for the Reverse Flash symbol shirt? THAT is the perfect color. And have you seen the Sinestro Corps hoodie? I won’t carry it at the store because it looks like beige or tan, not the right color AT ALL!

The first wave of Blackest Night action figures will be shipping next Wednesday. I guarantee that they will fly like the wind coming in off the lake. They will be here, and then *snap* they won’t be. Just like that. At the rate these figures are being delayed from DC Direct, I certainly hope that the next two waves of figures aren’t as late, because then Wave 3 would be coming out AFTER issue #8 of Blackest Night, and THAT just won’t do. Nope.

The spin-off Blackest Night mini-series, like Batman, Superman, and Teen Titans are doing WAY WAY better than I ever dreamed. Again, kudos to Geoff Johns for bringing this project together in such a cohesive way. Personally, I’m reading the Batman and Superman Lantern tie-ins and they are pretty good, I recommend them in fact, if you are enjoying the Blackest Night so far, pick them up. Teen Titans isn’t doing it for me, but there is another batch of Blackest Night mini Min-series on the horizon: Wonder Woman (the one to watch, I’m sure of it), Flash (written by Geoff so it should be good) and JLA (written by Robinson, so again, should be good). Can’t wait for all three of those to come out! Those minis will be starting in December.

Who knew zombies in the DCU would be THIS exciting? Thanks Geoff Johns!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comic-con 2009 Cosplayers

You REALLY really really need to go check out this site. 600 costumed cosplayers from this past year's San Diego Comicon. WOW! It's fun to see of these collected on one site. Being at a con that size, it's almost impossible to see all of the costumes, and I don't know if this is ALL of them, but this is a good chunk anyway. This selection of costumes blows away the paltry selection at this year's Chicago Wizard World (or Chicago Comicon, whatever it's called these days). Some people obviously take a full year to work on their costumes, and some...not so much. I'm sorry but if you BUY your costume off the rack somewhere, say at the local Halloween costume shop, it DOES NOT count in any cosplay world, so sayith I, the Comic Book Goddess. I too own the Supergirl costume pictured in this selection of 600 costumes, at least 4 times, but you don't see me wearing that to a con because it does NOT count. It's cheating plain and simple. Some of these you can tell the insane attention to detail that some people put into their costumes, and they there are some that, well, just make me scratch my head. Of course that is the point of cosplaying, to make people stop and ask to take your picture, right? Lots of people will stop and ask to get a picture of someone in costume, even if they don't know who it is they are taking a picture of, so there you go. Really, go check out the link, it's tons of fun.

Zombies, Zombies, Everywhere!

The current zombie craze imo started with Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, published in 2003, along with Walking Dead #1 also published in 2003. Which really started the trend? For comics, it was obviously Walking Dead, but for the rest of the world, it was The Zombie Survival Guide. Comics folks sometimes forget that the rest of the world doesn't necessarily notice which comics are "hot." The Zombie Survival Guide was on the New York Times Bestseller list for a long ass time, and it's on its 25th printing. Yep, you read that right, 25th printing. Walking Dead Vol. 1 is on it's 7th printing. As respectable as 7 printings of a trade is, I think the Zombie Survival Guide's 25 printings blows that away.
The three books pictured here are some of the zombie offerings for this Halloween season.

The much-anticipated, graphic novel by Max Brooks, entitled The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks just came in this week. This book has been in the works for quite some time, I'm so glad to see that it finally has been released. Published by Three Rivers Press, with spooky black and white art by Ibraim Roberson, $17.00. "Scripted by the world's leading zombie authority, Max Brooks, Recorded Attacks reveals how other eras and cultures have dealt with - and survived - the ancient viral plague. By immersing ourselves in past horror we may yet prevail over the coming outbreak in our time. The New York Time bestselling author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, Max Brooks has been called 'the Studs Terkel of zombie journalism.' " If you want this book, pick it up sooner rather than later, I'm guessing the first print is going to be sold out very soon.

I didn't even realize that the newest Star Wars novel release was zombie-related until it was pointed out to me yesterday. It's called Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber, published in hardcover for $24.00. If you think about it, it was only a matter of time before zombies found their way into Star Wars fiction. I can't believe it took this long. From the front flap: "When the Imperial prison barge Purge - temporary home to five hundred of the galaxy's most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels, and thieves -breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope appears to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting, derelict, and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party from the Purge is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back -bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours nearly all aboard the Purge die in ways too hideous to imagine. And death is only the beginning. The Purge's half-dozen survivors - two teenage brothers, a sadistic captain of the guards, a couple of rogue smugglers, and the chief medical officer, the lone woman on board -will do whatever it takes to stay alive. But nothing can prepare them for what lies waiting aboard the Star Destroyer amid its vast creaking emptiness that isn't really empty at all. For the dead are rising: soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakable hungry." I stopped reading Star Wars novels year ago, after the first Zahn trilogy, but I'll be damned, this one sounds good! I do so enjoy the overuse of the words "scoundrel," "rebel," "only hope," and I can't forget "rogue." I think it's a prerequisite for all Star Wars licensed comics and novels, they have to use these four words at least 20 times. If they used all four of these words in just the description of the novel, it makes you wonder how many times they are peppered throughout the novel. This book sounds appealing anyway, so I might just give it a go. Star Wars: Death Troopers has to be the most intriguing of this newest batch of zombie themed works to come out this Halloween season.
I can't wait until next con season, you know there will be at least a half a dozen zombie-troopers, maybe they will be called Legion 666 or something.

Zombies: a Record of the Year of Infection field notes by Dr. Robert Twombly was also just released. It's a nice oversize paperback, full color, for $19.95. "This illustrated journal was discovered in the aftermath of the worldwide necrotic infection that began on or around January 7, 2012 and lasted for approximately one year, killing more than 5 billion people. The journal is a unique record of the time of infection in that its author sought to understand the undead by living among them. It is also the record of the author's day-to-day experiences at a time when such records were not commonly kept. The manuscript was found inside an empty cottage at the edge of Hudson bay in northern Canada. The fate and the whereabouts of the author remain unknown. The contents of the journal are reproduced uncensored and in their entirety. " Damn clever idea. Highly recommended for all zombie fans! It reminds me of Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Journal by Terry Jones and Brian Froud from several years back.

Well that should be enough zombie fun to keep even the most feverish zombie fan happy, or at least satisfied until they are able to eat more brains.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Comic Books and Bloomingdales

The above link is about the much discussed Bloomingdale's line of DC t-shirts. These extra cool (read "sold in Bloomingdales") are going to retail for about $60 each. Be sure to check out the link, if only to see the rest of the hipster boy posing in DC-ware pics. Wow. After all my oohing and ahhing over the Tokidoki line of Marvel t-shirts and hoodies coming out, I'm really the last person who should be ragging about this topic. The only reason I bring it up is because it seems a little odd that comics are really EVERYWHERE, which is all well and good, but I don't see the circulations numbers going up exponentially across the board for comics. I would love to see this wider exposure for comic book properties make comics sell MORE, but that isn't really happening. Yes, graphic novel numbers have gone up over the years it's true because the book stores and libraries have really expanded their graphic novel sections, but I'm talking the monthly floppies, why can't those numbers go up? I know all the answers to this, believe me I do, but still, it does annoy me.

You know what I REALLY like about this whole Bloomingdale's DC t-shirt and merchandise hype? The super suave dude modeling the t-shirts, just look at him. He has to be the coolest guy on the planet to ever don a Batman shirt, I'm sure of it. I think it's great that Bloomingdales thinks the DC superheroes are trendy enough to put this much money behind the promotion. We here in the Chicago suburbs aren't going to see any of this action of course, not even the Bloomingdales in Chicago is going to have the hubbub that the New York store is going to have. New York, New York, New York, I'm sick to death of hearing about New York and all of their comic themed events going on what seems like daily if not several events a day. Is it because New York is home to both major comic book publishers, Marvel and DC, or is it because New York is the most populated city in the States, or is it a combination of the two? Heidi over at The Beat is posting New York after New York comic book themed event of some sort or other almost daily. Signings, conventions, discussions, awards, release parties, gallery shows, book fairs, fashion shows, and the list goes on and on. I'm not sure if I lived in New York if I would be attending every single one of these events because really how much can one do in a given weekend, but still, it's nuts. Go New York is really I can say isn't it? You know what would be really cool? If Bloomingdales offered these studs for sale at the shop. That would be awesome, walk into your local Bloomingdales and look at a row of hot guys in comic book themed shirts, pick one out, and take him home. Why not? Oh come on now, let me dream. I never thought I would see the day that Bloomingdales embraced its inner nerd, but here we are. Strange times.

James Jean Is a God

Who doesn't love James Jean? I came across the above image from the forth coming Warren Ellis scripted Castlevania film. Jean is doing some of the concept art, and this pic is enough to make me want to go see the film, and that's saying something because to be quite honest I haven't played all that many video games in the last 20 years. I do have a Wii, but I don't think that counts. Anyway, I haven't blogged about my love for this man yet, and I've been blogging for a few months now, I can't believe it hasn't come up. His covers on Fables have been collected into a wonderful hardcover for $39.99. Get it. Right now, get in your car and drive over to your local A/F. Makes a great gift for yourself or a friend. It's great being able to see all of his covers without the logo and trade dress.

There have been two recent releases for Jame Jean fans over the last few months: Process Recess vol 3 that retails at $34.95. Every few years he releases one of these books, it's mainly a sketchbook with all kinds of doodles, sketches and paintings reprinted for all to see. Get this before it's gone, the first 2 volumes have been sold out for a while and go for BIG bucks, I'm talking hundreds of dollars a piece.

The other big release is just amazing, it's called Kindling and contains 12 removable prints. This collection is HUGE, it measures 12"x 16" and retails for $29.95. This is easily the art bargain of the season. Here is the write up from the back of the collection: "In the richly colored universe of James Jean's paintings, the worlds of animal, vegetable, mineral, and man merge in haunting dream scape fantasias. From his award-wining illustrations and paintings to his beloved work for fashion icon Prado, Jame Jean's art continues to defy expectation. The 12 high-quality pull-out prints in this portfolio showcase the invention and imaginative scope of one of the contemporary art's most important voices. Each double-sided print features sketches and preliminary art on its reverse side. If only I had more wall space, I would frame every single one of these pieces. I've included a small sample of the prints available in this collection, see above.

I believe Jean's days in comics are past at this point, he's moved on to bigger and better things, but we can still pledge our undying adoration to him. We will continue to carry his books whatever else we can get our hands on at the shop. If the above mentioned books are too high end for you we also carry his postcard book entitled Hugs and Kisses and it only costs $9.95.

If it wasn't for Fables I might have been a little late to the James Jean love-fest, but thankfully I've been there since the very beginning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Hardcover Goodness!

This upcoming Holiday season every publisher is pulling out all the stops! Great selection, really. Here are three more "must haves."

The brilliant Bryan Talbot releases another stellar selection from Dark Horse. (Two years ago Alice in Sunderland was one of the best received original graphic novels of the year). This year it's Grandville: A Detective-Inspector Lebrock of Scotland Yard Scientific-Romance Thriller. This book along with Alice in Sunderland wins points for production value alone. Beautiful embossing on the silk-screened cover. No dust jacket, no flat matte cover either, this one is old-school treated cloth, like the children's books of old, and don't forget the lovely end papers. Not that this is a kids book, not really, but it is an awesome book! For fans of Blacksad, this is for you! Bryan did the publication design and you can tell that Dark Horse trusted him to do what he thought was best. From the original Dark Horse solicitation: "Two hundred years ago, Britain lost the Napoleonic war and fell under the thumb of French domination. Gaining independence after decades of civil disobedience and anarchist bombings, the Socialist Republic of Britain is now a small, unimportant backwater connected by a railway bridge, steam-powered dirigible, and mutual suspicion to France. When a British diplomat's murder is made to look like suicide, ferocious Detective-Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard stalks a ruthless murder squad through the heart of a Belle Epoque Paris, the center of the greatest empire in a world of steam-driven hansom cabs, automatons, and flying machines. LeBrock's relentless quest can lead only to death, truth...or war." You owe it to yourself to pick this up. At least flip through it next time you are in your local A/F. $17.95 written and drawn by Bryan Talbot.

Dark Horse also released a long-overdue Absolute sized hardcover collection of The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-first Century a few weeks ago. A masterpiece nearly twenty years in the making, this archival volume contains the complete life story of Martha Washington, the twenty-first century freedom fighter by comic book megastars Frank Miller (creator of the "little" known books Batman: Dark Knight Returns and Sin City.) and Dave Gibbons (artist of another "lost" gem Watchmen). "The story begins in the squalid corridors of a maximum-security housing project, where a young girl will rise from the war-torn streets of Chicago to battle injustice in a world insane with corruption. Her fight will take her far: from the front lines of the second American Civil War, to the cold, unforgiving reaches of space. She will be called a hero, a traitor, and nearly everything in between, but along the way, her courage, her integrity, and her unwavering commitment to that most valuable of rights - liberty - will inspire a movement that will never surrender. Collecting meticulously remastered versions of every Martha Washington story - including some which have never before been reprinted - and featuring a comprehensive behind-the-scenes section, a new introduction by Frank Miller, and extensive commentary by Dave Gibbons, this is the ultimate edition of a modern comics epic crafted by two of the art form's greatest living masters." 600 pages for the low low asking price of $99.95. If we priced books according to weight this one would definitely be one of the heaviest books we've ever carried. 600 pages in hardcover plus the slip-case makes for the kind of book that if you happen to drop it on your foot not only will you yelp in pain but it would also cause major damage, easily breaking a few bones. It's nice to see that some of the "unknown" creators in the industry are getting their due! Yes, I am being sarcastic of course. If you don't know who Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons are you are beyond my help. Frank Miller's name alone is probably one of the biggest names in comics outside of the realm of comics. People that have never set foot in a comic store or cracked open a comic know who Frank Miller is, wow think about how very famous that makes him indeed. Frank Miller and Kevin Smith, for all the public knows they write every comic on the stands between the two of them. I shudder to think of that possibility, what a strange bizarro world that would be, where every comic uses nothing but profanity and is consistently late. It feels like that now, at least to some extent, because sometimes after reading some of the drivel out there I curse like a sailor for at least ten minutes, and how many of our "big event" books have been on late in the last few years, on average? Oops, went out on a tangent there. Back to our regularly scheduled holiday book breakdown already in progress.

Dark Horse has FINALLY reprinted the Spirit mini-series from years ago in the Will Eisner's The Spirit: The New Adventures hardcover. This is technically the 27th volume of The Spirit Archives, but if you buy only one volume of this series this is the one! This lovely volume "collects the long out of print miniseries that reintroduced The Spirit to a new generation of readers in 1998. The Spirit, Commissioner Dolan, his daughter Ellen Dolan, and all of the familiar characters from Will Eisner's landmark series are here. This Dark Horse Archives volume features stories by some of the best-selling multi-award-winning creators from around the world: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell, Mike Allred, John Ostrander, Tom Mandrake, Paul Chadwick, Kurt Busiak, Brent Anderson, Joe R. Lansdale, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, and many more. " Interesting note about this volume, the first 26 volumes of The Spirit Archives were published by DC for their Archives line. Very excited to see this finally hit shelves. Those issues are very hard to come by and for me they were the stories that got me excited about The Spirit. I was aware of the character before that and had read bits and pieces of the reprint issues, but this mini-series really drew me in to the world of The Spirit. I hope that someday Dark Horse finds it in their hearts to release a paperback volume of this. This hardcover collection retails for $49.95.

Wednesday Comics Collection!

DC announced that they are indeed going to be publishing a large format hardcover collection of the recently wrapped-up, much-discussed, critical-darling Wednesday Comics. It will retail at $49.99, not bad considering the enormous size: 11" x 17". I can only assume that it will be printed on nice quality paper, NOT newsprint. I loved the fact that DC published the original 12 issues of Wednesday Comics on newsprint, but geez do those babies yellow FAST. I know why they printed it on newsprint, to give you the feel of reading the Sunday comics (that many papers are doing away with all together or the section is so damn small and over-crowded with ads, it's not even worth the effort to read) but man my Wednesday Comics display at the shop looks rather old because the issues are yellowing so badly. I know they've talked about more Wednesday Comics projects sometime in the future. Hopefully they can up the quality of the paper a bit or at the least use a nicer paper for the cover. I'm sure these decisions were not made lightly because DC had no way of knowing how well Wednesday Comics was going to be received, the numbers could have come in VERY low. So all things considered, Wednesday Comics was a grand success. This newly announced collection will be a wonder to behold. Can't wait! DC has not announced a month for release yet, my guess is sometime late spring 2010.

Starman RETURNS! OMG!!

I am SO fricking excited! Starman returns for ONE issue in January, written by none other than James Robinson himself! If you haven't read the Starman trades, now would be the PERFECT time to catch up. It looks like that DC is taking a month off of the regular Blackest Night title in January to bring back 8 "dead" titles for special Blackest Night tie-in issues which includes Starman #81. There are rumors that Tony Harris is coming back for this one-shot, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm sure we will hear more as we get closer to release. Here is the link with the info about the other titles that DC is resurrecting for one issue only in January 2010:

I never thought I would see the day....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rotten #1 Review

I've decided to open this blog to our other customers besides "The Colonel" that would like to review a comic or graphic novel. Upon review of submission, I will post the reviews with the reviewers name attached of course. This review is by a long time customer and friend of Amazing Fantasy Frankfort: Mr. Tom Tolios. Tom loves anything zombie, as long as it is done well. He thinks that Moonstone's very own Rotten is one of those "well done" zombie books. Here is his review:

Comic books that use suspense to slowly build the tension are difficult to review. Spoilers are the enemy of these kinds of books and the creators probably don’t want people spilling the beans prematurely.

Reviewing such books are even more difficult when they’re as good as Moonstone’s ‘Rotten’ and the reviewer wants to tell you everything about it in order to justify just why you should be reading it.

I’ll tread carefully, and instead focus mostly on WHY this book is so good, which also accomplishes the goal of touting its many virtues and will hopefully convince you to give it a try.

The easiest descriptor for Rotten is that it is a zombie comic set in the old west. But before you make any mistakes or assume that this is ‘The Walking Dead’ with six shooters and southern drawls, let me dispel those notions entirely.

This is not a zombie story about a world that has gone completely to hell. It’s about a world that may or may not be on its way to the fiery perditions. And, as with any good zombie story, whether or not there’s to be any hope for mankind depends entirely on the dispositions of the ‘mankind types’ inhabiting it. However, the fact that society still exists in 'Rotten', and is so vividly portrayed on a number of levels, helps to separate this book and give it its own identity.

Splintered into their small communities, each region the protagonists find themselves in lives under their own code of conduct and set of territorial rules. As most people in those days weren’t well travelled, had limited access to national/international information and were products of their small environments, it only stands to reason that when people come in from out of town with the intent of solving problems, the greater world views of the would-be heroes will clash with the small minded sensibilities of the homers they’ve come to save.

This is a problem for William Wade, reluctant secret agent working for President Rutherford B. Hayes, and his partner J.J. Flynn, the more brainy and resourceful half of the pairing. Wade seems to be the muscle of the two and Flynn is the smarts, but this is not to shortsell either of the characters in their partner’s key attribute-Wade has enough ingenuity to get by and Flynn knows how to put the hammer down when he has to. However, it’s clear why these two have been made into a team and it is a natural pairing that the writers have given wonderful chemistry to. They’ll need each other for the job they’ve been given: hunt down and deal with supernatural problems.

This is the old west. It’s not like they can just flash a badge or documents from the president and everyone accommodates them. There are a ton of social and political logistics for them to have to work through. From the three arcs in the comic so far, we’ve seen what happens when special agents show up to do their job in

A.) a corrupt mining business run by an unscrupulous boss,

B.) a religious community that refuses to accept the findings of medical science even when it’s right in their faces, and

C.) a remote army base where boredom, isolation and dwindling resources have reduced the troops to disinterested malcontents who have allowed the military order at the camp to wither to a state of near dystopia.

As you can imagine just by reading the above paragraph, Wade and Flynn aren’t going to have an easy time getting through to any of these broken souls. They all have their own perceptions of what the zombies are and they’ve all made their own conclusions on how to deal with them. There is no standard operating procedure to enforce because in a place and time like the old west, the law was a flimsy thing, selectively interpreted by each community individually. And when frontier justice performed by people given the right to bear arms is commonplace, rolling into a problem area and issuing government decrees isn’t really a viable solution for a couple of secret agents lacking in resources any greater than their own capabilities. This isn’t the modern day: battalions of armed troops aren’t easily mobilized and search warrants don’t come with dozens of armed and armored ATF agents ready to bust on to a scene and tear a place apart looking for clues.

And lest I forget to mention it, Rutherford Hayes wasn’t exactly a widely embraced president back in the day. Many considered him to be a corrupt politician who somehow swindled his way into office, and because of this not everyone is receptive to Wade and Flynn showing up and expecting cooperation just because they work for Hayes. While the perception of corrupt politicians is nothing new, mix that with isolationist justice systems and an 'every town for itself' mentality and you have a far more volatile situation to consider. Wade and Flynn can't always play it straight with the people they're investigating. In the few instances where Hayes is brought up, commentary by the surrounding characters suggests opinion on him is widely spread, and violence over the matter isn't unlikely.

Notice I haven’t brought up the actual zombies yet or talked about them in any detail. That is because, like ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Rotten’ and all good zombie fiction, they are merely the foils for very human storytelling. They represent all our vices gone irrevocably out of control. Worthy zombie fiction finds ways to make us look at ourselves through our ghoulish counterparts. It’s not about the gore or the brain eating or the ‘quality zombie kills.’ We are not in Tromaville here, and ‘Rotten’ is not the kind of story that winks at itself, tongue planted firmly in cheek. If you like zombie fiction that allows you to turn your brain off, I recommend you rent ‘Return Of The Living Dead 5: Rave To The Grave’ or ‘Dance Of Death’, which won’t leave any lasting impression beyond ‘I’ll never get those ninety minutes back.’

The writers, Mark Rahner and Robert Horton, understand this and write the story in the real world of the time. The social dynamic is an important element to capture in any period piece and these two seem well enough versed on the era to pull it off convincingly. Where there seems to be a question on how to proceed, they've reasoned out what might be the logical flow of events based on decisions made and actions taken to that point. As a reader who enjoys intelligent fiction, I can assure them that their efforts to write a compelling and realistic story of this type are appreciated.

It also helps that their characters are just vivid enough to be believable but never so overwritten that they are trying to force the issue. There is a very wonderful, subtle characterization to everyone in the book and they never spend too much time trying to convince you of their personalities or distinctions. They write what they feel are ‘real’ characters and if you can accept that, fine. If you can’t, they waste no time trying to buy your suspension of disbelief.

The artwork by Dan Dougherty, isn’t what I would describe as lavish or overproduced. It looks weathered and beaten, much like the world the characters inhabit. The old west as portrayed in ‘Rotten’ is in mid death rattle before shuffling off this mortal coil. Fences look like they will break if you sit on them. The horses look dehydrated and exhausted. The people all seem forlorn souls, lost and abandoned by fate. The lighting used to illuminate the world of ‘Rotten’ feels like perpetual twilight, even in the morning. It helps that there are few details left out. Dougherty takes effort to fully furnish a bedroom or the living quarters of down on their luck miners so that you have a real sense of the space and place these people occupy. Looking at the pages of ‘Rotten’ is an almost visceral experience. There is one series of panels near the end of the fourth issue where I could almost feel a Native American woman’s dirty, tangled hair just by touching the page.

When ‘The Walking Dead’ first started, I had this implacable feeling that I was at the start of something big. I am feeling the same way about ‘Rotten.’ There is a sadness to the best zombie fiction because it asks us questions about where we are headed as a species, and it’s not at all shy about pointing out to us exactly what it is we stand to lose and, just as importantly, what we've already lost.

Anybody who knows me knows I consider ‘The Walking Dead’ the best monthly comic I’ve ever read. In the course of my thirty plus years of reading comics, no series has sustained its momentum over sixty five issues the way Kirkman’s zombie apocalypse masterpiece has. If ‘Rotten’ can continue to be as compelling a read for that long, it will also go down in my book as one of the finest monthlies I’ve ever read.
WOW! I guess Tom REALLY REALLY likes Rotten!
If anyone else has a comic review they would like to share with this blog, feel free to email me at with the "review for blog" in the subject line. I will post up to one review a day upon approval. For example I will not post a review made up of nothing but curse words or a review that refers to any creator in a derogatory manner.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Three Absolutes, in time for the Holidays!

DC is killing me here! Three MUST HAVE Absolutes have shipped in the last month!
Absolute V for Vendetta, Absolute Promethea Vol 1, and Absolute Death. WOW. Death ships this Wednesday, but the other two Absolutes came out in the last couple of weeks. I want all three of these, but I just don't have the room. All four of our shops on the other hand stock these wonderful books. You might wonder why we need these Absolute editions? I'll tell you why, there are a plethora of reasons.

Absolute V for Vendetta
The book that inspired the movie! If you haven't read Alan Moore and David Lloyd's masterpiece yet (shame on you!) THIS is the perfect way to enjoy it. From the back of the book:
"Crafted with sterling clarity and intelligence, this ground-breaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit which rebels against it. The Absolute V for Vendetta collects DC Comics' original ten-issue series in its entirety, including all of the never-before-reprinted "bridging" pages - newly colored by David Lloyd for this edition - which ran between the issues' story pages. This deluxe ship cased volume also includes Lloyd and Moore's introductions to the series as well as Moore's extended history of its creation, "Behind the Painted Smile," and a newly-expanded sketchbook section by Lloyd." This is a HUGE book, well worth the $99.99 retail. V, along with Moore's other earlier works like Watchmen and Swamp Thing turned the comic book world upside down upon publication. No one was expecting such a politically minded series to hit the stands in the US. I know there was some fear at the beginning for DC, would US audiences be able to latch onto such a British-centric tale, and the answer was a resounding YES. Not only did US audiences embrace this tale of loss of freedom and identity in a frighteningly believable big brother state, but the comic book buying public in the US thought so highly of this work that Alan Moore and David Lloyd's names become synonymous with avant guard political expression in the comic book medium. Nothing like this had ever hit these shores, and to be quite frank it still stands up, 20 plus years later. The movie of the same name was good, but nothing could come close to capturing the feel of the original comics.

Absolute Promethea Book One
Another Alan Moore must-read, from the more recent past this time. This book collects issues #1-#12 of the series, so I'm guessing there will be a total of 3 volumes for this series. This time Moore is joined by the amazing J.H. Williams III. For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of checking out Promethea yet, here's a quick synopsis, from the back of the book: " When university student Sophie Bangs begins researching the fabled warrior named Promethea, she expects a high grade on her report. She does NOT expect to assume the mantle, and therefore become the living avatar of Imagination. Sophie's first adventures - including introductions to her powers along with gods and monsters - are collected in this over-sized slip cased edition." Why buy the Absolute edition when the paperback editions of Promethea are readily available? Quite simply the $99.99 price tag is worth it for the J. H. Williams art alone. If you are one of those newer fans of Williams work, thanks in no small part to the gorgeous work he is doing on Batwoman in Detective Comics, you need to see where it all began for J. H. Promethea is one of the MOST beautiful comic book series I've ever seen which is why the over-sized Absolute edition is a must have for fans of beautiful art. The story of Promethea is well done of course, it makes me think of a "what if" scenario "what if Alan Moore was able to write HIS version of Wonder Woman with no ties to the DCU?" Promethea is a very strong female character and J. H. captures all of her power and beauty to perfection. There isn't another artist on the planet that could have done a better job on Promethea. Just poring over the issues there are so many two page spreads with tons of detail in every single panel. J.H. draws women the way they should be drawn in comics, beautiful but not ill-proportioned. His style is rather art nouveau, a favorite inspired time period for me as an art fan, therefore I adore this series. Sigh...just thinking about J.H.'s art makes my heart flutter. What a talented artiste. Buy this book. If the price point is too steep for you, at the least you should check out the paperback editions at your local Amazing Fantasy location to see what has caused all my gushing.

The Absolute Death
It was inevitable wasn't it? Once DC wrapped up their reprints of Neil Gaiman's Sandman run, we were bound to see a similar collection of his Sandman spin-off series, Death. From the back of the book: "From the pages of Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, comes the young, pale, perky, fan-favorite character Death in a new Absolute Edition collecting her solo adventures. Featuring the mini-series Death: The High Cost of Living #1-#3, the second mini-series Death: The Time of Your Life #1-#3, the give-away pamphlet Death Talks about Life, stories from Vertigo: Winter's Edge #2 and The Sandman Endless Nights Death story, the short story from the 9-11 tribute book, Sandman #8 and #20 and extras from the Death Gallery. Introduction by Amanda Palmer, lead singer for the hit musical group The Dresden Dolls. It's all combined right here for the first time in one volume. This Absolute Edition slipcased hardcoer is also the perfect companion for The Absolute Sandman and ideal for fans of Gaiman's sprawling, intimate comics work. " Note: Amanda Palmer is Gaiman's current girl friend and she sort of looks like Death, so I say it's a match made in heaven. This baby has another steep price tag of $99.00, but really, we shouldn't be shocked by this. I'm glad they are finally collecting these stories into an Absolute edition, they were some of my all time favorite Sandman spin-off stories. One of my favorite comic artists from the 1990's is Chris Bachalo, he did the pencils for both of the Death mini-series collected in here, and his work back then was just wonderful. He also worked on a good chunk of Shade: The Changing Man, also from Vertigo. Chris is the seminal Death artist if you ask me. Most artists when drawing Death, use Bachelo's original interpretation as a spring board. I bought one of his original Shade pages, eons ago, and I still love it. His work now isn't bad, but it's changed so very much that it's hard for me to even consider his more recent work as Chris Bachelo art, when I think of Chris's work, only his work on Death and Shade spring to mind. Sorry Chris! I know most artists evolve over time, but I loved his original work so much, I just can't look at anything else he's done without being overcome with sadness.
There you go! If you have an extra $300 bucks burning a whole in your wallet, I just helped you spend it! (I know in these economic times who does, but let's say you have an extra $100 to treat yourself with something nice for the holidays, any one of these Absolutes would do the trick. ) More hardcover gift idea coming soon! So many great releases right now it's hard to keep up!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cool stuff for the Holidays (Yes I know it's only October)

I know, I know, it's not Christmas-time YET, but... there are an awful lot of cool books coming in right now. I LOVE this time of year, yay!

This bad boy came in yesterday: Marvel: The Expanding Universe Wall Chart. Damn, this is one HUGE book! It's hardcover and measures 11" x 18" and it FOLDS out. From the back of the book :

"part decorative poster, part insightful history, part reference work, and all interactive fun - draws upon the collective contributions of many of the finest comic book artists of the 20th and 21st centuries to create a pictorial tapestry of more than 300 Marvel Comics characters. Through its atomic design pattern, which reflects the effects of radioactivity on the denizens of the Marvel Universe, the chart also demonstrates how the character sets and their stories interconnect and relate to each other. What's more, flip the chart over and it reads like a book. There are pages of fun facts and trivia, including listings of different characters who have shared the same name; characters who have changed names or identities over the years; characters that have wed each other; and characters who have been "killed" only to return. There is even a Marvel Universe brain-busting quiz! With an interior that expands to 12 feet and custom Marvel three-dimensional art on the cover [this book] will not only be cherished for its content, but will also be a visually stunning addition to every comic fan's collection."

WOW! Impressive ad copy! This baby retails for the low low price of $45.00 Seriously, you get a lot of bang for your buck here. I'm half-tempted to order one to use as reference for the shop. It's always handy to have a book like this available, in case the Colonel isn't in the shop at the time. When this book came in, I immediately thought of Daron "The Colonel" Jensen! And then one of our regulars mentioned that Daron doesn't NEED this book because he must have made his own wall chart by now, hanging proudly on the wall above the mantel next to his Captain America shield. (I don't think he's every gone quite that far, but for those of you that know him, you would agree that this is not a stretch by any means). Every Christmas for the last few years there's been a nice coffee-table size Marvel-related book that makes a perfect gift for the Marvel Zombie in your life, and this years selection looks GREAT! Why didn't they make this kind of stuff when I was a kid, I would have KILLED to have something like this hanging on my bedroom wall. Instead I had to make do with the only walking encyclopedia of comic book knowledge that I was aware of at that time: my brother Joe! I think he got sick of all my silly questions. If a book like this was available c. 1980, it would have been SO much easier for me! I wonder how often they are going to make a revised version of this book, since things change in the Marvel U every summer at least, depending on what GIANT event they have running.

The other SUPER cool new comic-related gift book that came in this week: The Batman Vault. This is third in this amazing series. Last Christmas we saw the incredible DC Vault, and the year before that for the holidays we were thrilled to witness the Marvel Vault. If you've never seen these books, do check them out next time you are at your local Amazing Fantasy. If I had the room on my coffee table I would so be buying all three of these! Here's the description for The Batman Vault from the back of the book:

"It was a time primed for super heroes, and Gotham City needed a Guardian. Born out of the rich and dark atmosphere of the pulps, Batman swung onto the scene in 1939 and has since enthralled generations of comic fans, while confronting a barrage of villains, mentoring a series of sidekicks, and saving Gotham time and time again.

The Batman Vault unlocks little-known nuggets about the Caped Crusader's origins and exploits, assembling stories, sketches, and memorabilia from the DC Comics archives into one definitive volume on the Dark Knight. Fully illustrated with drawings from Batman's most celebrated artists, this fascinating collection features 19 plastic-encased pieces of ephemera to remove and pore over, such as creator Bob Kane's sketches, a make-your-own Batplane, and a hand-pencilled "Right Way to Draw Batman" booklet. Detailing the back stories of each villain, femme fatale, and Batgadget, and spanning Batman's entire crime-fighting career, The Batman Vault is a colorful and compelling biography that will resonate with any fan."

This book is SO cool! It makes a great gift for any Batman fan on your gift-giving list or for yourself. I totally want it for the "authorized" Batman reproduction paper mask included. All of the reproduced collectibles in this book/set would be very pricey and hard to find on the secondary market. I can't wait to see what Marvel character they do a vault for NEXT year, my money is on Spider-Man. Because you know as well as I do, that following fast on the heals of this Batman Vault, there will be a Superman Vault and gods willing, a Wonder Woman Vault. If for some reason, this does NOT happen, someone will need to get fired over at Running Press. This Batman cornucopia retails for the low low price of $49.95. Again, not bad, considering all the goodies inside.

Both of these books, the Marvel: The Expanding Universe Wall Chart and The Batman Vault make great holiday gifts of course, but on top of that they help both the book industry and comic industry. These kinds of books are the very thing that CAN'T be downloaded or viewed on a Kindle or an IPhone. Yay! Some things just work better physically, so take THAT technology! Now if only we can come up with a way for comics to be a more hands on experience, maybe they can all become pop up comics or something. You've all heard me talk about the digital market for comics before, and in no way do I think it's a bad a thing, I just want to make sure that comic books, the way I know and love them, in a physical form, are still around in 25 years. What better way to make sure that they ALL can't go digital? Pop-ups are the solution. Yes, I'm sure of it. (Hey, I know that would cost an arm and a leg, but it would be cool, wouldn't it?) There are a few publishers that have already done "pop-up" comics, such as Candlewick Press and their cool Spider-Man and X-Men pop-up books/comics. Want to see the pop-up comics/books that I'm talking about? Go to your local A/F and check them out.

More cool books are going to be released over the next few weeks as we ramp up for the holidays, and I'll be blogging about all of them!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fables Novel: Peter and Max ships 10/7/09

I am SO excited about this book coming out tomorrow! You're probably sick of hearing me go on and on about it. I posted a blurb on Facebook already and I tweeted about it the other day too. I CAN NOT wait to read this book! The first full length Vertigo novel, and it's a FABLES book. It can't get much better than that! All four Amazing Fantasy locations should have copies available on Wednesday, so if you are Fables fan, pick it up! I can't write a review yet, because it takes a bit longer to read a novel than a 22 page comic, but maybe I'll be able to read it over the weekend and then I'll post a review. I haven't been THIS excited in a long time. :) Until then, read this interview with Bill Willingham from Newsarama: