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Free Comic Book Day: What to look out for

Today is Free Comic Book Day, and here’s a rundown of some of the comics that caught my interest. If you want to check ‘em out before you go, CBR has previews of many of the FCBD titles. (My FCBD comics came from my favorite Boston comics shop, Comicopia.)

Hands down, the one comic everybody wants is Archaia’s hardback anthology, which includes brand-new stories from six of their titles: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, Return of the Dapper Men, Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, and Cow Boy. The stories stand on their own but also tie in to the books in clever ways; the Mouse Guard story is a puppet show, and the Rust story features a boy writing a letter to his father (as his older brother does in the book). This book is a keeper; it even has a nameplate inside the front cover. Here’s a list of where Archaia creators will be doing book signings this FCBD.

BOOM! Studios has a nice flipbook with several Adventure Time comics on one side and Peanuts on the other. The Peanuts comics are mildly funny, but the Adventure Time side is edgier and features extra stories by Lucy Knisley and Michael DeForge. The stories are colorful and lively, and DeForge’s contribution, about a bacon ecosystem that supports tiny breakfast organisms, is downright surreal.

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A peek at the editor’s desk at First Second

As a former editor myself, I was naturally drawn to Calista Brill’s first-hand account of a day in the life of a First Second editor at the company blog. But as I was reading it, I kept going, “Hey, wait! They’re publishing that?!

Like, I didn’t realize First Second was publishing a new book by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, the creators of Skim. But here it is: Awago Beach Babies, due out next year. And Calista shows off some tiny samples of art from the book she is currently editing, Relish, a book about food by Lucy Knisley, which seems like the perfect project for Lucy and a bit of a departure for First Second.

Another project I didn’t know about — but that I’ll be following from now on — is Jerusalem, written by filmmaker Boaz Yakin and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi. It’s the story of a Jewish family at the time when Israel was just becoming an independent country. Also coming up: new books from Gene Luen Yang and Paul Pope and a sequel to their popular anthology Nursery Rhyme Comics, this one featuring fairy tales.

With a lineup like that, being an editor at First Second is my new dream job, even if the microwave in their kitchen isn’t working properly. (Here’s a recent CBR interview with Calista and her boss, Mark Siegel, that mentions a few of these projects.)

Lucy Knisley gets ‘Scaredcited’ (with a little help from her fans)

From "Scaredcited," by Lucy Knisley

Getting into the Halloween spirit, Lucy Knisley has posted a terrific two-page comic called “Scaredcited,” a crowdsourcing experiment. “I asked my twitter followers (LucyKnisley) to send me a deep fear of theirs along with their photo in order to incorporate them into the second page,” she writes. “It’s sort-of auto-bio-for-everyone. [...] One thing that struck me as I was drawing out the page was that so many of us share specific fears. Drawing everyone in a place where we all faced our fears was really comforting. At least we’re all in it together.”

Lucy Knisley pays attention to Harry Potter

Lucy Knisley (Stop Paying Attention) has created a series of posters, each abridging one of the Harry Potter books. You can see the first four on her LiveJournal and the first three are available as prints.


What Are You Reading?

Here at Hogwarts

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly discussion about the comics we here at Robot 6 have been checking out lately. Today’s special guest is Lauren Davis, who blogs about webcomics at Storming the Tower and io9, and is the editor of the San Francisco comics anthology The Comic Book Guide to the Mission.

To see what Lauren and the Robot 6 gang have been reading lately, click below …

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Comics A.M. | February’s record low, skepticism about digital plans

Green Lantern #62

Publishing | February brought a noteworthy, if unwanted, record for the direct market: The lowest-ever top title on record. Green Lantern #62 led Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 300 with an estimated 71,500 copies, 18,400 less than the previous record holder. Chart watcher John Jackson Miller writes, “For the first time, we probably cannot say that when all reorders and newsstand sales are added, the total will be above 100,000 — although we certainly would expect its eventual readership to go above that mark given reprint editions (to say nothing of digital).”

DC’s $29.99 Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne deluxe hardcover helped to push year-over-year dollars sales up 6.92 percent, offsetting a slight decline in periodicals to and nudging combined sales up .94 percent. “Sales of those ‘long tail’ titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list,” ICv2 notes. “Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales.” [ICv2.com]

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Start Reading Now: Stop Paying Attention

Lucy Knisley’s webcomics version of It Gets Better has been getting some much-deserved linkery; this one is aimed at all 16-year-olds, straight and gay, and it’s dead on (although her experiences are a bit more extreme than most). What I didn’t realize until I went to look at it, though, is that Knisley draws a regular webcomic, Stop Paying Attention. She only updates twice a month, but this is no three-panel gag strip; each self-contained episode is a full-page, full-disclosure look at a life issue that usually manages to be funny, painful, and truthful all at once. In between these episodes, according to her bio, Knisley (the author of French Milk) is working on a graphic novel about food for First Second; my day has already gotten better thanks to that news.


Lucy Knisley’s ’30 Wonder Women’

"30 Wonder Women," by Lucy Knisley

“30 Wonder Women” by Lucy Knisley. This is a photograph of an almost-finished painting Knisley is doing, presumably for the  Wonder Woman Day art auction to benefit domestic violence programs.


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