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Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Thanks to some of the fastest turnaround time on a mail order I've ever seen, I now have a copy of Ivan Velez's TALES OF THE CLOSET v1, collecting the first three issues of the series originally published in 1987/88 in the first of four planned volumes (the last being an all-new conclusion to the story). I already knew that the comics were good, so now I can add that the production on the book is really sharp as well. Nice white paper as opposed to the newsprint of the originals more than makes up for the slight reduction in size (it's a large digest size, about the size of Tezuka's PHOENIX books from Viz).

Read more about the book in this earlier post. - Reviewers / store owners note the offer for a sample copy.

Order the book here if you want it now.

The book will also be offered in the September 2005 Previews if you prefer to get it from a comic store / mail order company. Page 314, order code SEP053064

You can check out some summaries/review of individual issues.

Just released is the first volume of Ivan Velez Jr.'s TALES OF THE CLOSET. Originally published (and unfinished) in nine issues from 1987 to 1993, it's now being re-released in four volumes from Velez's own Planet Bronx Productions, with the fourth volume set to contain the new conclusion of the story. It's a long time in coming, and sadly most of the issues it discusses are as relevant today as they were then.

"Once upon a time, in a high school in Queens..."

TALES OF THE CLOSET is the story of eight students in a New York high school, coming to terms with questions of their sexuality and the reactions of society to their identities. It has elements of soap opera and "afterschool special" (especially since one of the purposes it was created for originally was educational), but manages to transcend most of the flaws associated with those labels. While there are a few rough bits in the early going there's an earnestness and enthusiasm which carries it through, and it's great to see him improve by leaps and bounds with each issue.

I pick up some new thing in the script or art every time I pick it up, and it's a very smooth but dense read. I can never believe that the first issue is only 24 pages but somehow manages to introduce the eight main characters, with enough of their background and personality to get a handle on them, and several minor characters. By the last published issue there are a few dozen characters, and even ones you thought were minor background bits take on more significance, and that their own stories that impact on the main characters in unexpected ways. This is going to be best $8.50 you can spend on comics this year, and it'll only get better in later volumes. And the more of you who buy it the sooner I'll finally get to read the ending, so buy early, buy often.

Anyway, it's great to see one of my favourite obscure books finally get released in a permanent commercial format. Check it out if you get a chance, and you might agree.

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