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As the reviews editor for Comic Book Resources, I accumulate a lot of collected editions. For better or worse, trade-waiting has become a part of the comics landscape, but it’s easy to tell when a collection rises above the pack. Whether it’s through superior craftsmanship, incredible bonus material, attention to the little details or a combination of all three, there are always a few trades that rise to the top, and make for an enjoyable reading experience and a fantastic display piece.
Thus, here are a few of my favorite collected editions of 2014, factoring in the strength of the original material, and what makes the collection worth picking up for those that might already own the single issues — ranging from budget-conscious trades up through the incredibly pricey omnibus editions.
As we inch that much closer to New York Comic Con, which opens Thursday, Oni Press has revealed its full rundown of convention exclusives and premieres, ranging from color editions of the fourth volumes of Scott Pilgrim and Courtney Crumrin to the debut of Letter 44.
NYCC will be held through Sunday at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Oni Press can be found at Booth #1844.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Although this installment is a little late — curse you, technical problems! — we’re still left with plenty of time to prepare for this weekend’s Motor City Comic Con, Dallas Comic Con and the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention.
What’s more, our contributors have cast their eyes over Wednesday’s releases, singling out such favorites as Battlestar Galactica #1, Betelgeuse, Vol. 1, and The New Warriors Omnibus.
Following a nearly year-long delay, Sony has finally released downloadable content for its Scott Pilgrim vs. The World game that not only adds Scott’s roommate Wallace Wells as a playable character but also introduces an online multiplayer feature.
Released in 2010 by Ubisoft in conjunction with the big-screen adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a side-scrolling beat-‘em-up that, in its original form, allowed gamers to play as Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Kim Pine or Stephen Stills, who must to battle their way through Ramona’s Evil Exes (Knives Chau was later offered as DLC).
The new content pack is available for $4.99 on the PlayStation Network. Watch the trailer below.
To see what James and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Last weekend I posted a couple of ways you can help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and here’s another one — Perhapanauts creators Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau are offering a $20 Jersey Devil T-shirt on their site, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. Help folks out and look good while doing it–what could be better than that?
Each Tuesday at Robot 6, we run a look the week’s comic releases in a feature called “Food Or Comics?” The title implies the choice in spending money on either food or comics, but lately we’ve been able to get morsels of food and comics in a growing number of titles. Food as subject matter might seem odd, considering the intense action scenes that many comics are built upon, but as tastes vary and develop, comic fans are getting a craving for more than just one type of comics.
The first major entry I remember of food into American comics was in the second volume of Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. In it, the character Stephen Stills does his best impression of a food show host by outlining his process in making Vegan Shepherd’s Pie. Cartoonist Bryan O’Malley goes in depth, labeling all the ingredients and doing a step-by-step primer on Stills’ method for making this dish. Although certainly not the first, it was the first one that hit me as a reader– and many others as well.
No matter how nerdy and cool you think you are, you’ll never be as cool and nerdy as this Scott Pilgrim fan, who proposed to her boyfriend during their trip to Toronto by sending him on a scavenger hunt involving locations depicted in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s bestselling series of graphic novels.
Instead of battling Seven Evil Exes, the lucky guy was tasked with finding such locations as Honest Ed’s and Pizza Pizza before ending up at Casa Loma, where his girlfriend popped the question, presenting a ring box (below) with “Level Up?” printed inside.
Check out more photos below, or — better yet — view the entire gallery.
Bryan Lee O’Malley has largely maintained a veil of secrecy around Seconds, his follow-up to the bestselling Scott Pilgrim series, teasing fans with panel excerpts and the above limited-edition print while waving off questions about the graphic novel. “I don’t want to tell anyone just yet,” he writes in his Tumblr FAQ. “Please enjoy the mystery for now.” But in a new interview on the Random House of Canada website, the cartoonist offers what may be the first significant details about the highly anticipated book.
“I came up with the general idea for Seconds right after completing the first volume of Scott Pilgrim,” O’Malley says. “I worked in a restaurant in Toronto for a little while to pay the bills while writing the second volume and planning the rest of the series, and I had a few ideas for this other story, a story about a restaurant. So, Seconds is about a restaurant, and the restaurant is called Seconds, and 90 percent of the story takes place within it. Beyond that it’s really hard for me to explain and I’m going to have to work on that so I can talk about it properly when it comes out. But it’s funny and weird and kind of big and crazy despite the mundane setting.”
The sixth annual Crazy 4 Cult art show at New York City’s Gallery 1988 features lots of fun pieces of interest to comics fans, but I didn’t want to plug it unless I found some work there that I could honestly describe as comics-related. I was therefore glad whenever this turned up in my inbox: Glen Brogan‘s Scott Pilgrim Versus The Archade poster, influenced by old-school arcade cabinet graphics. Gallery 1988 is selling an extremely limited (just 50 copies!) signed and numbered print of the design at its webstore.
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, it’d be an eclectic bunch featuring Jesus clones, retired spec-ops workers, environmentalists and Batman. First up would be Punk Rock Jesus #2 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), following Sean Murphy’s big-time foray into writing and drawing. Murphy’s delivering the art of his career, and while the story might not be as great as the art, it still has a synchronicity to the art that few other mainstream books have these days. After that I’d get Dancer #4 (Image, $3.50); Nathan Edmondson seemingly made his name on writing the spy thriller Who Is Jake Ellis?, and this one takes a very different view of the spy game – like a Luc Besson movie, perhaps – and Nic Klein is fast climbing up my list of favorite artists. After that I’d get Massive #3 (Dark Horse, $3.50), with what is disheartedly looking to be the final issue of artist Kristian Donaldson. No word on the reason for the departure, but with a great a story he and Brian Wood have developed I hope future artists can live up to the all-too-brief legacy he developed. Delving into superhero waters, the next book I’d get is Batman #12 (DC, $3.99), which has become DC’s consistently best book out of New 52 era. Finally, I’d get Anti #1 (12 Guage, $1). Cool cover, interesting concept, and only a buck. Can’t beat that.
If I had $30, I’d jump and get Creator-Owned Heroes #3 (Image, $3.99); man, when Phil Noto is “on” he’s “ON!” After that I’d get Conan te Barbarian #7 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I’ve been buying and reading this in singles, but last weekend I had the chance to re-read them all in one sitting and I’m legitimately blown away. The creators have developed something that is arguably better than what Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord started in 2003 and shoulder-to-shoulder with the great stories out of the ’70s. This new issue looks to be right up my alley, as Conan takes his pirate queen Belit back to his frigid homeland in search of a man masquerading as Conan. Hmm, $7 left. Any other Food or Comic-ers want to grab some grub?
If I could splurge, I’d excuse myself from the table dining with my fellow FoCers and get Eyes of the Cat HC (Humanoids, $34.95). I feel remiss in never owning this, so finally getting my hands on the first collaboration between Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky seems like a long time coming. I’m told its more an illustrated storybook than comic book, but I’m content with full page Moebius work wherever I can get it.
For Scott Pilgrim fans who were unable to get their hands on the coveted Collector’s Edition last month at Comic-Con International (in either regular or Evil flavors), Oni Press is offering another (limited) shot.
Sometime on Wednesday, Aug. 8, the publisher will post a link on one of its social-media platforms — blog, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr — to its online store, where (utilizing a combination of speed and luck) you’ll be able to purchase one of the 500 copies available of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life Collector’s Edition. Okay, two, as that’s the limit per billing address.
The $100 package gets you: a numbered book plate signed by O’Malley; five art prints featuring both versions of the cover and three of the first volume’s biggest moments; 11 vinyl stickers, two embroidered patches featuring Scott Pilgrim and Matthew Patel; a hand-crumpled set list from Crash & the Boys drummer Trasha; a two-inch metal Scott Pilgrim 1-up coin; and a code for the digital edition of the full-color Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1, from comiXology.
You can see the visual breakdown below.
Bryan Lee O’Malley, whose bestselling Scott Pilgrim series is packed with vide0-game allusions and imagery, has provided the cover art for Fez, the long-anticipated game from developer Polytron that finally arrives April 13 on Xbox Live Arcade.
In Fez, gamers play as Gomez, a 2D creature living in what he believes is a 2D world until an artifact reveals the existence of a third dimension. Players are able to change between 2D and 3D perspectives. Polytron goes a little more in-depth on its website.
Check out O’Malley’s full cover, as well as a gameplay trailer, below.
The Emerald City Comicon wrapped up yesterday in Seattle, with plenty of announcements from attending publishers. Here’s a round-up of news from the show:
• Image Comics officially announced Revival by Tim Seeley ad Mike Norton, the title we teased all last week. Seeley described the book as “rural noir,” and it is set in his home state of Wisconsin: “Both Mike and I grew up in small towns, he in Tennessee, me in Wisconsin. We both hated the towns we were from as teenagers and young adults and got the hell out,” Seeley told CBR. “But, now that we’re both older, we can look on those towns with more understanding and affection. Central Wisconsin is a really interesting place. It’s like concentrated America. It has all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses. All of the good stuff, and all of the conflicts on a more intimate scale. We thought it’d be the perfect setting for our story of a cop charged with policing the dead.”
• James Stokoe will write and draw Godzilla: Half Century War, which arrives from IDW in August. The miniseries is set in a different continuity than the Godzilla ongoing series by Duane Swierczyski and Simon Gane.
• Writer Christos Gage will team with artist Jorge Lucas for Sunset, an original graphic novel from Top Cow’s Minotaur Press. The story revolves around a retired Vegas mob enforcer.
Fresh off the Emerald City Comicon floor is news that Bryan Lee O’Malley is delving back into the world of Scott Pilgrim . Oni Press will release full-color hardcover editions of the six-volume series. Speaking from the “On the Not So Late Late Show with Oni Press” panel earlier tonight, O’Malley said the coloring will be done by Nathan Fairbairn (Batman Inc., Swamp Thing) and will be published in a 6″ x 9″ “ultra swank” format.
This isn’t the first time Scott Pilgrim has appeared in color. In addition to a rare Free Comic Book Day one-shot put out years before, several pages from the final volume of the series, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, were published in color. Oni has used several colorists over the years to color O’Malley’s SP work, but the choice of Fairbairn looks to live up to the “ultra swank” promise said at the panel.
In addition to the new size and coloring, each volume will include previous unpublished bonus materials. Oni plans to release the first hardcover in August. The publisher is careful to note that the original black and white versions will remain in print as well.
Here’s several preview pages Oni has released along with the announcement: