Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
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.
This is one of those tough weeks when the floppies aren’t doing it for me, so I want graphic novels, and graphic novels aren’t cheap. At the $15 level, I’ll pick up vol. 1 of Soulless ($12.99), Yen Press’s manga-style adaptation of the first volume of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. With a sharp-witted heroine pitted against vampires and werewolves, and detailed yet dynamic art by the talented rem, it is a solid and entertaining read.
My first choice of the week has to wait until I have $30, though, because Faith Erin Hicks’s Friends With Boys is priced at $15.99. Worth it! Hicks is another talented storyteller and her tale of a home-schooled girl starting high school with three brothers looming over her—but without her mother, who has recently left—is funny and sweet and very heartfelt. So when I’m done with the vampire-killings, this is the book I want to read.
For my splurge, I’ll start with the thick second volume of Archie: The Married Life ($19.99), which collects the second six issues of Life With Archie magazine. The “Archie Marries” stories are fast-moving soap operas, and this comic is one of my guilty pleasures. And then I’ll add the first volume of the Girl Genius hardcover omnibus ($34.99), which is truly a splurge as it’s a free webcomic, but I’d love to have this one in print, for keeps.
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, “ Mouse Guard 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.
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes - With the Flight anthologies done, the all-ages version, Flight Explorer has morphed into this. I expect it to be as lovely as its predecessors and especially like the Mystery Box theme.
Jinx – J Torres and Rick Burchett’s graphic novel aimed at tween girls.
Kevin Keller, Volume 1 and Kevin Keller #1 – Archie collects the first appearances and mini-series of their major, gay character and also launches his ongoing series.
Flash Gordon: Vengeance of Ming – The third volume in Ardden’s Flash Gordon series.
Finalists have been announced for the 2011 Hugo Awards, which recognize the best in science fiction and fantasy.
Presented annually since 1955 by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo is among science fiction’s most prestigious awards. This year’s winner will be presented Aug. 20 in Reno, Nevada, during Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention.
The nominees for best graphic story are:
• Fables, Vol. 14: Witches, written by Bill Willingham; illustrated by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Jim Fern, Craig Hamilton and David Lapham (Vertigo)
• Girl Genius, Vol. 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
• Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse)
• Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler; colors by Howard Tayler and Travis Walton (Hypernode)
• The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man, written by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross (Vertigo)
This is the third year for the graphic story category. Girl Genius won the award the two previous years.
The full list of nominees can be found on the Renovation website.
Add a new holiday to your calendar: Phil and Kaja Foglio, creators of the long-running webcomic Girl Genius, have dubbed Jan. 12 Girl Genius Day. “We’re hoping you’ll do something suitably mad and/or steampunkalicious for the occasion,” they write at their site. In particular, they are hoping you will buy a copy of Agatha H and the Airship City: A Girl Genius Novel, which is based on the comic and officially went on sale yesterday. The idea is to give the book a boost in the Amazon ranking, a la Machine of Death, and hopefully bring it to the attention of booksellers.
In fact, the Night Shade Books site already shows the print version as “sold out,” but that turns out to be a good thing, as Phil found out when he asked:
Everybody thinks this book is going to do well, so everybody “ordered heavy”, so they’ll have a lot of books ready to meet demand. Great. Now there’s performance anxiety. And the publisher is still sold out, but they fully expect that they will have to reprint. The question is when. Thus they are now waiting to see how quickly the shops and wholesalers “sell through’ on the books they have in stock.
There are also two e-book editions, and this is where it gets a bit sticky. The Kindle version is $7.99, but you can also buy a DRM-free e-book edition from Webscription for $6. Obviously these sales won’t count in the Amazon rankings, though, so fans might want to consider whether it’s worth spending an extra two bucks to help give the Foglios that boost. If it helps, today is Kaja’s birthday as well, and if you’re in Seattle, you can wish her well in person, as the Foglios will be doing a book signing at Ravenna Third Place Books.
As we reported last August, Phil and Kaija Foglio have signed multiple contracts to adapt their webcomic Girl Genius into a number of different formats, including novels, audiobooks, and an omnibus edition of the comic. Now we’re seeing the first fruits of this effort, as Teleread reports that Baen Books is offering the novelization of the story, Agatha H and the Airship City, as an e-book for $6. This is $1.99 less than the Kindle version and a considerable savings over the print edition, both of which will be released on January 1, according to Amazon. Unlike Kindle, Baen Books downloads are DRM-free; if you’re a sci-fi fan, you might want to check out their site, because they offer the first volumes of a lot of series for free.
Phil Foglio is also blogging about the process of producing and promoting the book at his LiveJournal, and he is asking readers who are planning to buy the book through Amazon to do so on January 12, Kaija’s birthday, in order to push the book up the best-seller chart (a la Machine of Death)—and also give his wife a nice birthday present.
The ninth volume of Girl Genius, the popular fantasy-adventure series by Kaja and Phil Foglio and Cheyenne Wright, has won the prestigious 2010 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. This marks the second win for the comic in the two-year-old category.
Presented annually since 1955 by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo is among science fiction’s most prestigious awards. This year’s winners were announced today in Melbourne, Australia, at AussieCon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention.
Described as a “gaslamp fantasy,” Girl Genius follows the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne, a student at Transylvania Polygnostic University who inherited the Spark, the element in the comic’s world that makes mad scientists what they are. The series debuted in print in January 2001, and made the move online in April 2005. There Girl Genius has flourished, with storylines appearing in webcomic form before being released in print collections.
The other nominees for Best Graphic Story were: Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert and Scott Williams (DC Comics); Captain Britain and MI13, Vol. 3: Vampire State, by Paul Cornell, Leonard Kirk, Mike Collins, Adrian Alphona and Ardian Syaf (Marvel); Fables, Vol. 12: The Dark Ages, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross, Andrew Pepoy, Michael Allred, David Hahn, Lee Loughridge, Laura Allred and Todd Klein (Vertigo); and Schlock Mercenary: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse, by Howard Tayler.
Last week, Phil and Kaja Foglio announced a whole slew of new projects tied to their long-running webcomic Girl Genius: Prose novels, audiobooks of the prose novels, games, a Danish translation of the comic, and a full-color omnibus edition of the first three volumes of the Girl Genius comic, to be published by Tor to kick off their new graphic novel line. Come 2011, it seems, Girl Genius will be everywhere.
Curious about how this came about and how it will play out, I called Phil yesterday and asked a bunch of questions. Here’s what he has to say.
Brigid: Why are all these things happening at the same time?
Phil: I was working with our agent ages ago, and the first thing of course we sent out were the graphic novels, and they got circulated around, everybody looked at them and were like, “Wow, we love this story but this isn’t what we do.” Then when we had the novel finished, or finished enough, we sent that to the agent and he sent it around, and one of the responses we got was, “You know, we read the novel and we remembered how much we loved the graphic novel. We aren’t interested in publishing the novel, but we would like to publish the graphic novels.” So the one reminded them of the other.