Cartoon Books has released a 10-page color preview of the hardcover collection of RASL, Jeff Smith’s sci-fi noir series about a dimension-hopping art thief. The comic, his first major work following Bone, was originally serialized in black and white over 15 issues from 2008 to 2012.
“[Doing the Bone books in color] did give me more confidence,” Smith told CBR TV in April at WonderCon. “It also made me think color sells a lot. There’s a lot of people really attracted to the color. So, I kept Bone in black and white because that’s what I really like, and Scholastic does the color versions. Now, I’m self-publishing RASL again, but I wanted to explore color with it on my own. I got Steve [Hamaker, Bone colorist] back and we discussed — it’s got a noir-ish, hard-boiled feel to it, so it can’t be the same thing as Bone. It’s not a fantasy, it’s not a comedy and we worked really hard. We struggled for months until we came up with a palette that was very rich and very smoky and very different from Bone, and yet it is actually better than the black and white. I’ve very happy with it.”
The 472-page RASL hardcover can be pre-ordered now for release in September.
It’s time once again to take a look at those comics that were unfairly ignored. With more graphic novels and comic books coming out in stores than ever before, it’s perhaps inevitable that some titles slip through the cracks, not due to a lack of quality, but simply because they got lost in the Wednesday shuffle. The books listed here aren’t necessarily my personal favorite books of 2012. Rather, they’re good — even great — books that, for whatever reason, didn’t get the sort of praise — either online or in print — that they deserved.
Following up on Kevin’s post from last week on holiday-related sales, here area few more comic-related deals for Cyber Monday — plus a few that extend into the month of December:
• Fantagraphics will hold a 30 percent off sale on almost 100 items on their site Monday, where you can also get their exclusive minicomics.
• Dark Horse Digital is offering comics fans 50 percent off their entire order ($15 minimum) for 24 hours on Monday, if you use the code “dhdcyber” when you check out.
• The Devastator kicks off a round of holiday deals tomorrow on their site. “Subscriptions, single issues, art prints and other goodies will be bundled up for Christmastime Consumerism.” They’ll have deals tomorrow through Dec. 15.
• Writer Ron Marz once again has kicked off his annual “Comics for Tots” drive, where you can buy comics autographed by Ron and others, and he’ll use the money to buy toys for Toys for Tots.
• Any books purchased from the Cartoon Books store through Dec. 19 will be autographed by Jeff Smith. If you haven’t read RASL, you can pick up all four volumes of it for $50, plus they’ve got some cool Bone hoodies available.
With the Comic-Con International coming up next week, no doubt eager fans are getting ready for their trip to San Diego. What should I bring? How much cash do I need? And most importantly, what should I wear?
You’ve got your chest covered for at least one day if you choose to purchase one of these cool T-shirts from the Cartoon Books booth. They feature full-face action from those lovable stupid, stupid rat creatures that always gave the Bone cousins a hard time. Adult shirts will be in brown, and the kids sizes will be in purple.
Head on over to the Cartoon Books site for more details on what else you can get at the booth. Smith won’t be there this year, but they’ll still have the shirts, a new print and more.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d start out with Prophet #22 (Image, $2.99) by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; it’s an Old West pioneering comic set on an alien world. Next up would be my favorite comic from Marvel these days, Uncanny X-Force #22 (Marvel, $3.99). Remender was raised on Claremont-era X-Men, and this is excavating the intricacies of Captain Briton and late ’80s Excalibur comics for Otherworld, Jamie Braddock and a swashbuckling Nightcrawler. Last up with my $15 bounty would be A Long Day Of Mr. James – Teacher (Blank Slate, $7.99). A great looking piece of cartooning from an artist, Harvey James, I’m looking to learn more about.
If I had $30, I’d double back and first pick up Dark Horse Presents #9 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Seriously, this is the comic that some fans were hoping for several years back: one book containing new stories from Paul Pope, Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson… and pin-ups by Geoff Darrow? Seriously, I second-guess any comics fan I meet who isn’t buying this. Next up would be Wolverine and The X-Men #6 (Marvel, $3.99) by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. Seeing Wolverine and Kid Omega going to an outer space casino sounds like everything the X-Men haven’t been in over two decades, but I’m liking it. I can only hope they run into Lila Cheney. Lastly, I’d pick up Jeff Smith’s RASL #13 (Cartoon Books, $3.50). The last issue was history-heavy focusing on Tesla, so I hope this one is bit more kinetic.
If I could splurge, I’d go back for a second Blank Slate book—Hector Umbra (Blank Slate, $26.99). I’ve heard nothing about cartoonist Uli Oesterle, but after seeing the preview on Blank Slate’s website I’m kicking myself. Long story short, DJ kidnapped during his set (at Robot Mitchum nightclub no less, best club name ever), and his friend Hector Umbra, an artist-turned-detective, goes after him. Some people compare Oesterle’s art to Mignola,but I see some Paul Grist in there as well.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Dark Horse Presents is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Puss in Boots Movie Prequel – I don’t care for movie prequel comics as a rule, but swashbuckling cats are awesome in any incarnation. As long as these are fresh gags and not just ones warmed up from Shrek, I expect to enjoy this.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Book 1 - I just introduced my son to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth a couple of weeks ago, so this is great timing. He had the same questions about The Dark Crystal‘s world that I always do, so I’m looking forward to seeing Archaia’s take on answering those. Totally feel like the world’s in good hands with this publisher and these creators.
The Sigh - If Archaia’s snagging Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis, Chicken With Plums) new book has been reported already, I missed it. I’m surprised that wasn’t bigger news.
Siegfried, Volume 1 – I’ve been meaning to read P Craig Russell’s Ring of the Nibelung adaptation for years, so I think this might be what pushes me to finally do it. It would be fun to read Russell’s and compare it to this version by Alex Alice.
Publishing | Chart-watcher John Jackson Miller wades into the grim direct-market sales figures for August, and notes that they mirror the state of the market in 2000: “Like 2010, 2000 was a year with a successful super-hero movie release — the first X-Men film. In that year, however, it had little impact on the market partially due to the cash-poor position of retailers at the time — and we might expect retailers were in the same position this year. [...] In 2000, by contrast, the reason wasn’t the general economy, but rather the seven-year industry recession that preceded it. Another similar element: price increases. From 1999 to 2000, Marvel went from benchmarks of $1.99 and $2.50 to $2.50 and $2.99. Other titles increased as well; $2.95 first became the industry’s median price in late 1999. The 2000 jumps are one of the more drastic previous increases by percentage — eclipsed, of course, by the current $2.99-to-$3.99 move.” [The Comichron]
Legal | India’s Delhi High Court has refused to hear a complaint by Archie Comics challenging the use of the name “Archies” by Mumbai-based Purple Creations. The court said it had no jurisdiction in the matter because Archie doesn’t have an office in India. [Deccan Herald]
Thanksgiving may be only a day away, but we’re not going to head off to our relative’s house without an extra helping of Shelf Porn, no sirree.
Today’s collection comes to us all the way from Ireland, courtesy of one Dave Tobin. Click on the link to see Mr. Tobin’s impressive set of comics. Oh, and pass the stuffing please …
Earlier this week Jesse Reese at the Are You A Serious Comic Book Reader? blog noted that the biggest drawback of Jeff Smith’s RASL was the relaxed publishing schedule.
“The biggest problem with RASL is its slow production schedule,” Reese wrote. “A general problem with serialized comics, especially when a creator has a larger picture in mind, is focusing obsessively on what is the equivalent to a single chapter in a book. RASL suffers intensely from this reading experience.”
(I should note that the rest of the review, which focused on the story itself, was very positive and is definitely worth your time if you’re interested in learning more about the book).
Apparently Jeff Smith has heard Reese and other readers who have had similar concerns, so he’s moving the book to a new schedule. Starting with issue five, the book will be fewer pages — 24 versus 32 — and in the fall Smith will publish it bimonthly.
“When I came up with this format, I thought the extra pages would make up for a slower release schedule, but the demand for more issues gets louder every time a new chapter comes out,” he writes on his blog. “I think everyone I heard from liked the extra pages, but they’d rather have less time between issues.”
He also notes that he has a “secret project” he’ll be working on in the late summer timeframe, which is why the bimonthly schedule won’t kick in until October. He also notes that this means he’ll publish more issues of the book, as he still plans for it to be about “350 pages or so.” Click on over to read his full post and to see some work-in-progress blueline images.