Publishing | Todd Allen analyzes the sales of DC Comics’ New 52 titles from their September 2011 launch to the past month. Sales of any series tend to drop off from one issue to the next — Allen compares it to radioactive decay — and when the numbers drop below 18,000 for a couple of titles, DC tends to cancel them in batches and start up new titles to replace them. That plus crossovers and strong sales of some flagship titles has kept the line fairly stable until recently, but as Allen notes, the replacement titles tend to crash and burn pretty quickly, and overall sales have dipped a bit. [Publishers Weekly]
History | David Brothers has a great column for Black History Month, featuring Krazy Kat, All-Negro Comics and other titles by black creators. [Comics Alliance]
Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Ryan Ferrier, who I spoke to a couple of weeks ago about his comic Tiger Lawyer and recently kicked off an Indie GoGo project to fund the second issue.
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Krazy Kat, April 4th 1937. George Herriman.
George Herriman has spent the better part of a century as the pick of those who know for greatest cartoonist of all time. And yet his masterpiece, Krazy Kat, is a much less striking thing than work by so many others in the pantheon of immortal comics makers. It doesn’t bowl the reader over visually like McCay or Moebius, and it doesn’t grip and not let go like Mignola or Kirby. One doesn’t marvel at its intricacy of structure like one does with Ware, or feel dizzied by its singularity of vision as in Panter. Krazy Kat is not a comic of surface effect, and Herriman did not intend it to be so. Rather than stretching a dazzling skin over his creations, he left them open — full of empty space, available for differing interpretations — and simply put forth content.
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, a new Peter Bagge comic is always cause for celebration, so my first grab would be for Reset #1, Bagge’s new limited series having to do with virtual reality and the opportunity it affords a washed-up comedian to fix his past mistakes. And then there’s Linda Medley, who’s been laying low for awhile, but is back this week with a new issue of her ongoing, low-key fantasy series, Castle Waiting. These will probably be the first comics I read once I get home from the comic store this week.
If I had $30, I’ve already gone on about The Shark King, R. Kikuo Johnson’s warm and charming all-ages story based on a Hawaiian folk tale of a shark god and his half-human, mischievous progeny. It’s a lovely little book that I thoroughly recommend checking out even if you don’t have any kids in your home.
There’s also a number of notable manga out this week so I’d likely pick up one of the following: Either the latest volume of 20th Century Boys, the latest volume of Gantz or volume 2 of Katsuya Terada’s The Monkey King. There’s been a bit of a wait (seven years) for that last one, which is a gonzo, sex-and-violence rendition of the classic Journey to the West myth.
It’s not so much a splurge as a must-buy for me — Krazy and Ignatz 1922-24: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True is the final volume in Fantagraphics’ collection of Sunday Krazy strips and full of the same George Herriman magic as the previous volumes. There’s a tinge of sadness here as I believe the late Bill Blackbeard, who helped bring this project into fruition, has an essay here, as well as a remembrance by Kim Thompson.
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 this week, the first thing I’d grab would be a complete nostalgia-buy: DC Retroactive: Justice League of America – The 70s #1 (DC, $4.99), because I am a complete and utter sucker for JLA stories, and grew up reading old back issues of the title I found at used bookstores. This would be worth it for the reprint at the back alone, never mind the new story by Cary Bates that looks like it’s playing around with the multiverse one more time. To accompany that, I’d also pick up the first two issues of Joe Harris and Brett Weldele’s Spontaneous (both $3.99), because – even though I missed the Free Comic Book Day release of the debut – I’m a fan of Harris’ Ghost Projekt and Weldele’s work on The Surrogates, and curious to see just where a book about spontaneous human combustion can actually go.
Retailing | Although the 14th volume of The Walking Dead wasn’t released until June 21, it still managed to secure the No. 2 spot on BookScan’s list of graphic novels sold in bookstores that month, behind the 51st volume of Naruto. It’s the ninth consecutive month that at least one volume of the horror series has appeared in the BookScan Top 20, a run that began as marketing geared up for the AMC television adaptation. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Darwyn Cooke has announced that the release of Parker: The Martini Edition will be postponed for a few months, and takes full responsibility for the delay. The book is now scheduled to debut at the Long Beach Comic Con in October [Almost Darwyn Cooke's Blog]
Publishing | John Jackson Miller looks at the history of comics numbering, which he traces back to dime novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries: “Comics are anomalous in American magazine publishing because most comics don’t use volume numbers and issue numbers that roll over ever year; rather, the numbers keep on going. In that, our numbering is much like that used for the cheap, disposable fiction of the earlier days.” [The Comichron]
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
This month we’re looking at a man routinely regarded as one of the most significant creators in the history of the medium, and his central work one of the finest comics has ever produced. I’m speaking of Mr. George Herriman.
To see what Tony, Johnny and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click the link below.
Passings | Colorist Jonny Rench, who worked on such DC Comics and WildStorm titles as The Authority, Gen13, Human Target and Ratchet & Clank, has passed away from a heart attack. He was 28. “He was an incredibly talented artist,” the WildStorm Twitter account states, “and also an amazing, kind, joyful man.” [Twitter]
Publishing | Fantagraphics Co-Publisher Kim Thompson reveals what was believed to be a sketchbook of early versions of several years’ worth of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strips “is almost certainly the work of a very intense (perhaps contemporary with Herriman?) fan who diligently, even maniacally, copied each new strip into his sketchbook over a period of three years.” The publisher had planned to release the sketchbook but now, of course, won’t. Refunds will be issued on pre-orders. [FLOG!]
The Muppet Show writer/artist Roger Langridge shares a really awesome Krazy Kat commission he did in exchange for some books. He really manages to capture the spirit of George Herriman’s creations, from the mischievousness of Ignatz Mouse to the surrealism of the setting to just the overall playfulness of the layout of the piece.