Thursday, March 24, 2005

June 2005 Stuff of Interest

Comic publishers have released information on what they'll be releasing in June 2005. Lots of stuff, here are a few things that I think are worth a second glance.

GEMSTONE PUBLISHING

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK TP
by Don Rosa
All twelve chapters of Don Rosa's celebrated, Eisner Award-Winning series, detailing the history of the World's Richest Duck, are presented here in this affordable trade paperback edition! Look for a limited edition hardcover edition to be released later in 2005!
SC, 7x10, 256pgs, FC SRP: $16.99


Wow, Gemstone is releasing some Disney stuff in a decent format with a decent price? How did that happen? Anyway, this is fun stuff, it'll be good to finally have it in a handy volume, and maybe they'll do more stuff in this kind of format.

KYLE BAKER PUBLISHING

THE BAKERS #1
by Kyle Baker
By popular demand! More true life adventures of comicdom's cutest family. Baby Jackie learns to walk and immediately becomes "Miss Bossy Boots"! Dad unwisely brings energetic toddlers into a jewelry shop! Special "Consumer Info" section compares "Toys That Hurt Your Feet When You Step On Them" with "Toys That Keep Playing The Same Irritating Tune Over And Over All Day." It's like your own life, but it's funny because it's happening to someone else!
32pgs, B&W SRP: $3.00

NAT TURNER #1
by Kyle Baker
Like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, Nat Turner was a key leader in the fight to end slavery. Nat Turner is a new series based on Turner's own confession, dictated in prison as he awaited execution for leading his famed 1831 slave revolt. Historically accurate, Nat Turner is ideal for classroom and family education.
32pgs, B&W SRP: $3.00


These should be interesting, in particular the NAT TURNER book, which is much better looking than a lot of recent Baker (see this preview). Definitely looking forward to taking a look.

VANGUARD PRODUCTIONS

WALLY WOOD'S LUNAR TUNES SC
In this previously-unpublished work, comics legend Wallace (Wally) Wood combines the satirical wit and humor that made him a star at MAD with the far-out sci-fi settings that made him famous at EC. Created shortly before the comics genius's death, only a few Lunar Toons sample pages saw print in the later issues of witzend but Vanguard presents, for the first time anywhere, the complete Lunar Toons. Classic Wood characters Bucky Ruckus, robot Iron Myron, Pip, Nudine and Snorky are joined in their cosmic excursions to the moon by a surreal parade including Russians, JFK, Bogart, Bob Hope, Elton John, Jack Webb, Patty Hurst, Playboy bunnies, Wally Wood himself, and the Rolling Stones! Lunar Toons is a hilarious roller-coaster ride
reminiscent of a late-60s-style cocktail party - complete with minor nudity.
MATURE THEMES
SC, 8x11, 52pgs, FC MSRP: $9.95

I'll have to see this before deciding if I want to read it. Wood's work can range from brilliant to just plain sad, and this one sounds like it could go either way. Anyone read the parts that appeared in WITZEND?

A FINE LINE

A FINE LINE PRESS COLLECTION
Collecting everything that Donna Barr's A Fine Line Press has published by traditional printing methods since the company was founded in 1996, including Stinz, The Desert Peach, and Bosom Enemies. Nearly $100.00 worth of books for less than half price! Containing 13 books in all. Take advantage of this clearance opportunity to turn on your friends to Donna Barr's work!
MATURE THEMES
Set (x 13) SRP: $45.00

Ive already got most of these (except the BOSOM ENEMIES stuff, I think), so it's obviously not for me, but for anyone who has been thinking about trying Barr's work this is a great deal for some great comics. In particular I guess this would have the SEVEN PEACHES collection of the earliest DESERT PEACH stuff, plus the last five or six issues of the series, and some good STINZ stuff. You can also order this directly from Barr at her website.

TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING

SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS: THE ART & LIFE OF GENE COLAN
From Daredevil to Dracula, from Batman to Brother Voodoo, from Howard the Duck to Stewart the Rat, Secrets in the Shadows: The Art & Life of Gene Colan is the ultimate retrospective on one of comics' all-time unique artists. Featuring rare childhood drawings, photos, recently-discovered wartime illustrations, and original art and sketches from throughout his nearly 60-year career, this book offers new insight on the inspirations, challenges and successes that shaped Gene 'the Dean' Colan. Among the highlights are: A comprehensive overview of Gene's glory days at Marvel Comics! Marv Wolfman, Don McGregor and other favorite writers share plot/script samples and anecdotes of their Colan collaborations! Tom Palmer, Steve Leialoha and other noted artists show how they approached the daunting task of inking Colan's famously nuanced penciled pages! Plus: a new portfolio of never-before-seen collaborations between Gene and such masters as John Byrne, Michael Kaluta and George Perez, and all-new artwork created specifically for this book by Gene Colan, who is still inspired by the "Secrets in the Shadows." The Deluxe Hardcover Edition is limited to 1,000 copies, and features 16 extra black-and-white pages and 8 extra color pages, plus custom endleaves and dustjacket. Written by award-winning journalist Tom Field, who was given unprecedented access to the Colan family's insights and archives, this book paints an intimate portrait of one of comics' most inimitable talents.
HARDCOVER-HC, 8x11, 192pgs, PC SRP: $44.95
SOFTCOVER-SC, 8x11, 168pgs, PC SRP: $21.95

MODERN MASTERS VOLUME 5: JOSE LUIS GARCIA LOPEZ SC
The latest volume of the Modern Masters series looks at the life and work of one of today's top comic-book artists, José Luis García-López. Ask any comic book artist who the best draftsman in the business is, and you'll come up with one answer: García-López. A master of anatomy, composition, and storytelling, he not only astounds his readers, but his peers as well. He is also one of the most visible artists in the industry, as his illustrations can be seen on toy packaging, in DC's "Got Milk?" advertisements, and even on jars of peanut butter. But it's his work on DC's "Big Three"-Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman-that earned José Luis García-López the title of Modern Master.
Modern Masters Volume 5: José Luis García-López is composed of an extensive, career-spanning interview, lavishly illustrated with rare and unpublished art, as well as a large sketchbook section.
SC, 8x11, 128pgs, PC SRP: $14.95


Those are going to be two pretty books, that's for sure. I always hate it when they add extra pages to the hardcover version of these things, though. I'll probably pick up the softcover of the Colan book soon after it's published, and maybe be tempted by the García-López one until I break down and pick it up (it always feels odd to me for there to be career retrospectives of creators who didn't even start in comics until the 1970s. Plus while I like JLGL's art, he's only rarely done comics I actually want to read).

VERTICAL INC

TEZUKA'S BUDDHA VOLUME 2: THE BIRTH SC
In Buddha Volume 2: The Birth SC, Siddhartha is born to a fanfare of miracles in the wild. His birthplace, Kapilavastu, forever threatened by the expanding Kosalan empire, recieves providence in his powerful birth, which proves the end of his mother's life.
SC, 5x7, 256pgs, B&W SRP: $9.95


I've read the first four hardcovers (which probably makes it up to about v8 or so of what the softcovers will have) and I highly recommend this book. While not my favourite Tezuka (I like ADOLF and PHOENIX more) it's fun and inventive stuff, and I'll be fascinated to see how it ends. Plus unlike most manga it's printed the right way, so that's a bonus.

W.W. NORTON

THE PLOT: THE SECRET STORY OF "THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION"
by Will Eisner
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a book written one hundred years ago. It has been represented over the decades as a blue print for Jewish world domination. In truth, though, it has long been exposed as an utter fraud, and one of the most successful anti-Semitic myths in history. Eisner takes on the whole history of the wretched book and once again pushes the medium for all its worth. The result is a compelling page turner of a graphic novel, one destined to win awards and accolades inside the comics field, the general book trade, and elsewhere.
HC, 7x10, 100pgs, B&W MSRP: $19.95


This might be interesting, it's one of those tightwire things to write about a topic like this and not become preachy, but I'm sure Eisner was capable of doing it, and it'll almost certainly at least have some visually interesting things. I'll probably see if my library gets a copy, and pick up the eventual softcover if I like it.

RANDOM HOUSE

BIRTH OF A NATION: A COMIC NOVEL SC
by Aaron McGruder & Reginald Hudlin, & Kyle Baker
Written by one of the country's leading political humorists and a pioneering black filmmaker, and illustrated by one of today's most acclaimed graphic artists, Birth of a Nation takes the botched election of 2000 to an absurd (but not entirely impossible) conclusion, along the way hitting a range of hot political, social, and cultural issues, skewering black nationalists, white supremacist, and everyone in between, drawing real blood and real laughs in equal measure.
SC, 8x10, 144pgs, FC $13.95


Just checked and this is already available, so I might order one. I've heard good things about this book, but the hardcover was a bit pricey (and shrinkwrapped when I saw it, so I couldn't leaf through). This is much better. I like this cover better, too.

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS

LIFE'S A BITCH TP
by Roberta Gregory
Naughty Bits, the longest-running solo comic by a female alternative cartoonist, came to an end in 2004 after a 14-year, 40-issue run. This extra-thick, very reasonably priced volume collects the entire first half of the "Bitchy Bitch" saga, and it ranges widely in her eventful life. The book will also feature a brand new full-length story that chronicles the (never-before-revealed) death of Bitchy's tempestuous father, as Gregory once again finds the humor in even the grimmest situation.
MATURE THEMES
SC, 6x9, 240pgs, B&W SRP: $16.95


Some great stories in here, and this is a good price for them. There are a few early issues of NAUGHTY BITS that I'd never been able to find, so those and the new stuff should be worth getting. I'm glad that manga seems to have taught American publishers that thick books at a slightly smaller size and reasonable price are something they can sell.


SHATTERED FRAMES

ANGEL FIRE GN
by Chris Blythe & Steve Parkhouse
Part Faustian fable; part Gothic horror story - Angel Fire is a powerful tale of corruption and redemption, told by two of the UK's top comic book creators. John Dury is a corporate predator who hunts and kills businesses for money, power and bonuses paid in designer drugs. The latest drug to hit the city is Angel Fire. A powerful sedative and hallucinogen that seems to open the door to the next world, but instead of finding the keys to heaven, John opens the door to hell - spiraling into a nightmare of ghosts and demons - and the faceless shadow that waits in the deepest blackest reaches of his own soul.
SC, 9x12, 104pgs, FC SRP: $17.95


I've liked Parkhouse's art from the BoJeffries Saga days, and the sample pages online do look nice, so I might check this out.

TOP SHELF

COMIC BOOK ARTIST VOLUME 2 #6
In a tribute to comic legend Will Eisner, creators from all over the industry contribute to this months CBA. Celebrating a 70-year career and unprecedented impact on the art form, Eisner was responsible for inventing the modern graphic novel. Creators such as Frank Cho, Darwyn Cooke, Joe Linsner, Mike Mignola, Alex Ross, Craig Thompson, and many more contribute art to this massive issue, which includes a cover by Dave Gibbons. In addition, heartfelt stories and anecdotes from a wide variety of comic book pros, including Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, Richard Corben, Joe Kubert, David Mazzucchelli, and Joe Simon, paint a beautiful picture of a man dedicated to his art until his passing year. Join us to experience a spirit of good will as Will Eisners admirers celebrate the life and mourn the passing of a true giant.
Magazine, 8x11, 192pgs, PC SRP: $14.50


That's a nice image by Gibbons. I haven't been picking up CBA since the last few issues of the previous volume, but it's an attractive magazine and this might be worth looking at.


From the minor publishers, Dark Horse has an issue of USAGI YOJIMBO, Craig Russell on new CONAN and John Buscema on reprint CONAN. DC has a collection of some Wolfman/Pérez TITANS stuff I liked a lot (and some I liked a bit less but still liked), plus a new Titans related series including García-López and Pérez among the creators. Image has some FLAMING CARROT and an AGE OF BRONZE collection. Marvel has a lot of Kirby, some golden age Everett in hardcover, some Pérez FF in softcover, and a recent SPIDER-MAN / HUMAN TORCH series that looked funny as a cheap digest.

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