Sean Michael Wilson Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

NBM’s spring slate of graphic novels builds on its strengths

A preview from Kerascoët's "Paper Dolls"

A preview from Kerascoët’s “Paper Dolls”

NBM Publishing has announced its spring 2016 list, and if it seems a wee bit familiar, well, that may be because the publisher’s recent books received such an enthusiastic reception that it’s dishing up more of the same. But there are a few twists.

Let’s start with Paper Dolls, by the husband-and-wife team of Kerascoët, whose Beautiful Darkness (co-authored with Fabien Vehlmann) was nominated for an Eisner Award; NBM has also published their Beauty and Miss Don’t Touch Me, both created with Hubert. Their graphic novels are well-loved by critics, but what NBM is doing here is something a bit different: Paper Dolls is an art book, featuring a lot of extra touches and published in a limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies. The concept sounds extraordinary:

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Comics A.M. | Mark Waid celebrates 25 years in the industry

Mark Waid

Creators | Although he almost missed the anniversary, Mark Waid celebrates 25 years as a comics professional by recalling his first day of work at the DC Comics offices: “If you’re wondering what an Associate Editor does – or did in 1987 – I’ll list my job duties those first two days. Ready? Here we go: I erased Green Arrow pages. Eight hours a day for two days.” []

Publishing | DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham are pretty upbeat about DC’s most recent graphic novels — with some justification, as a number have made The New York Times graphic books best-seller list. “Batman: Earth One has been a runaway bestseller for us, even better than Superman: Earth One,” Wayne said. “People are familiar with the Superman: Earth One title and we don’t have explain what the new book is about.” [Publishers Weekly]

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Kickstarting an economic revolution

Sean Michael Wilson and Carl Thompson have an interesting idea: Revolution via Kickstarter.

Their proposal is for a comic called Parecomic that seems to have a dual purpose: On the one hand, it’s the story of real-life activist Michael Albert, which stretches from the demonstrations of the 1960s to the present. And while telling us of his adventures, it also discusses the structural problems of our economic system and how we could be doing things better. Here’s the pitch:

PARECOMIC shows us Michael’s story, and at the same time the ideas and issues that influence both our society and the better alternative that we can build via the anarchist influenced system of participatory economics.

It’s “participatory economics” that gives the comic its name. In addition to the graphic bio, Albert will contribute a text section discussing participatory economics to go at the end of the book, and Noam Chomsky will write the introduction.

Does that sound entertaining or just earnest? Admittedly, economics is a bit of a tough sell, but as Jon Gruber and Nathan Schreiber just demonstrated with their graphic novel about health care reform, the graphic medium can be an effective way to convey quantitative information. What intrigues me is how Albert’s story illustrates the economic principles involved. If it “puts a face on it,” as we say in the newspaper biz, it could be fascinating. If it’s panel after panel of Albert explaining economics, then… no. But the whole point of Kickstarter is to give these things a chance, after all. And if the book ends up sparking a revolution, or inspiring a new movement like the Occupy folks, then that could be the best pledge reward of all—even better than a five-page comic of your own life.

Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Batman Inc. #7

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

I’d pick up Batman Inc. #7 ($2.99) and that would be it, so afterwards I’d pat myself on the back for not blowing my whole $15.

If I had $30:

I’d go with Farm 54 ($25), a new hardbound collection of stories by the brother and sister team of Galit and Gilad Seliktar, courtesy of Fanfare/Ponent Mon. It’s basically a semi-autobiographical collection of tales capturing a young woman at various critical stages in her youth, adolescence and young adulthood, all done in a tentative, wispy watercolor. Lovely stuff to flip through, at the very least.

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If there were a comics version of the Netflix Watch Instantly queue, what would you put on it?

Today Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson did something that some consider too revealing even in this socially networked, airport x-ray’d age: She posted 20 movies from her Netflix “Watch Instantly” queue. Like anyone else’s, it’s a motley crew of movies made possible by a massive library of films and the power to watch any of them at any time with a few clicks of a mouse — a blend of “comfort food” you want access to at all times, unwatched stuff you’re dying to see at the next available opportunity, major investments of time or energy you haven’t been prepared to make just yet, “eat your vegetables” fare you know you ought to watch eventually, and goofy guilty pleasures you’re simply tickled to be able to watch whenever you feel like it.

This got me thinking. I know there are any number of logistical and financial reasons why such a thing doesn’t exist for comics. But we comics readers are an imaginative bunch, no? And today I choose to imagine a world where I can load up pretty much any book I can think of and read to my heart’s content. So here’s what my imaginary “Read Instantly” queue would look like, circa today. Check it out, then let us know what’s on your queue in the comments!

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‘Ax’-ing questions: An interview with Sean Michael Wilson


Ax: Alternative Manga

One of the more anticipated books of 2010, at least among manga and alt-comix fans, is Ax: A Collection of Alternative Manga. The anthology, which collects stories taken from the first ten years of the experimental magazine‘s history, has garnered interest and curiosity since it was first announced more than a year ago. That interest has only increased after its debut at this year’s San Diego Con, where many pundits dubbed it one of the best books at the show. If nothing else, the collection should finally put to rest the notion that Japanese comics are all about big eyes and spiky hair and giant robots. There is a wealth of different art styles and methods of storytelling on display in this book, suggesting that the history of manga is richer and deeper than many suspect.

I recently talked over email with the book’s editor, Sean Michael Wilson, about the new collection, Ax’s history and influence in its native country of Japan, and what other comics he’s got coming down the pike.

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