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.
If I had $15, the third issue of Batman Inc. would be a must for me this week [after Chris turned in his picks, DC announced that the issue will be delayed until next month], especially since it features the return of Matches Malone, a character I wasn’t even aware I missed until now. I might also spring for the first issue of Axe Cop: President of the World, a new limited series featuring the hatchet-swinging lawman.
I read very little manga by Moyoco Anno, but what I have read has impressed me and what I’ve read about her has made me want to seek more of her work out. So with $30, I’d almost certainly nab Sakuran, Vol. 1, about a high-priced courtesan/geisha looking to escape her gilded cage.
If I really, really wanted to splurge, I’d plunk $125 down for the second printing of the Wally Wood EC Stories Artist Edition from IDW, of which I’ve only heard wonderful things. If my splurging had to be a little budget-friendly, and I was in a more academic mood, I’d at least flip through Cerebus: The Barbarian Messiah, a collection of critical essays on Dave Sim’s controversial opus.
Archie Comics have been more topical than ever lately, but when we heard that the Occupy movement was coming to Riverdale in an upcoming issue, we just had to get the details. Here’s writer Alex Segura on how they got the idea and where this comic is going.
Robot 6: OK, first of all—why? Whose idea was this, and why does it seem like a logical story for the Archie crowd?
Alex Segura: It came up while I was sitting and talking to our Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. We had just finished an interview to discuss the wedding of Kevin Keller and the reporter—I believe it was the AP’s Matt Moore—said “What’s next, Occupy Riverdale?” We all kind of chuckled at the idea, but once we got off the phone we stopped and thought “Why not?” Jon’s vision of Riverdale has always been of a modern city that reflects what’s going on around the world. So, once we decided we wanted to do it, I threw my hat in the ring and wrote up a proposal.
I really wanted it to be about Occupy but also not to stray too far from what an Archie comic should be, which is light-hearted, entertaining and, most importantly, funny. It wasn’t easy, but I think we got it. I looked back at a lot of the classic Archie stories from the 60s and early 70s that showed the gang dealing with current topics in an honest, but still “Archie” way. Not to mention our current, topical output, like Kevin Keller.
Webcomics have been part of the strategy for manga publisher Seven Seas (home of Afro Samurai, Hayate x Blade, and Gunslinger Girl, among others) from the beginning, but always as a way to sell a print book. Now they have set up Zoom Comics, an ad-supported webcomics site that will run both homegrown and licensed manga, launching with four original English language series: Amazing Agent Jennifer (a prequel to their six-volume Amazing Agent Luna), Dracula Everlasting, Paranormal Mystery Squad (a followup to another original series, Aoi House), and Vampire Cheerleaders. Coming soon are two licensed series, both from Korea: Witch Hunter and Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries
Seven Seas formed the site in partnership with Pixie Trix Comix, a webcomics portal set up by webcomics creators Gisele Lagace and David Lumsdon (Magick Chicks) that also runs comics by several other creators.
What’s interesting about the new site is that it looks a lot like a bootleg manga site: The comics are simply displayed in the web browser, rather than embedded in a Flash-based reader, and they are surrounded by ads. If you changed the banner, it could be MangaFox. And Seven Seas has something else in common with the bootleg sites, something traditional publishers tend to neglect: They do forums well, with editor Adam Arnold frequently dropping in to make comments or respond to questions.