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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.
Crime | The comics community of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, just north of Edinburgh, has rallied around a local comics shop after thieves broke in two weeks ago and stole cash, a computer, a two-and-a-half-foot-tall Darth Vader figure and a copy of New Mutants #98 (the first appearance of Deadpool), with a total value of more than £500 (about $835 U.S.). It could have been worse: The thieves left some comics boxed up, ready to go, but apparently they were interrupted. But you won’t believe what happened next: Kingdom Comics owner Andrew Magee says customers donated their own comics and DVDs to help rebuild his stock, and a number of local artists have donated art to be auctioned off to help the store. [The Courier]
Creators | Bryan Lee O’Malley discusses his new graphic novel Seconds, and how it reflects where he is in his life. [BoingBoing]
Known on ROBOT 6 for his superhero/pop culture mashups, Brazilian artist Butcher Billy has added a little alcohol to the mix with his latest project, The Comic Book Super Drunk Hangout, in which he envisions beer brands featuring comic-book heroes, or antiheroes, who enjoy a good brew.
This collection of design concepts gather a distinctive line of heroes, antiheroes — or not heroes at all — that have in common a certain way of not being exactly the role model for your kids,” he explains. “Yet they’re in the pages of comics in your local book shop. These characters are the ones that enjoy a pint or two at the local pub before saving the world or — very often — making an even bigger mess. Like it or not, they are the interesting ones, not to mention the most fun.”
“I know there’s a certain appeal for creators to work on the classic characters like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, but I’ve said this before: I asked creators who have worked on those books who the people were doing the books ten years ago, and they don’t know! But I can say, ‘Who worked on Sin City?’ and they’ll go ‘Frank Miller.’ Who worked on Hellboy? Mike Mignola. Who worked on The Goon? Eric Powell. They know it instantly. So to me, the lure of creating your own character and owning it — owning your own universe and being associated with that — in the long run for talented writers and artists makes me question why someone would toil away on a company owned character for years and years of their lives.”
– Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, discussing his company’s commitment to publishing creator-owned work
Ahead of the August premiere of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s movie sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Dark Horse has announced it will debut a massive omnibus hardcover collecting the artist’s entire landmark crime saga.
In addition, the publisher will bring Frank Miller: The Art of Sin City back into print in trade paperback format, and re-release the hardcover edition 1993’s A Dame to Kill For. All three are scheduled to arrive on June 25.
Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City brings together Miller and Lynn Varley’s seven hardboiled tales — The Hard Goodbye, A Dame to Kill For, The Big Fat Kill, The Yellow Bastard, Family Values, Booze, Broads & Bullets and Hell and Back — in one 1,344-page volume that Dark Horse contends is “suitable for home defense.”
The omnibus will be accompanied by the softcover edition of the long-out-of-print Frank Miller: The Art of Sin City, featuring an introduction by critic R.C. Harvey, and the 212-page A Dame to Kill For, in hardcover for the first time in years. See the covers and solicitation text for all three books below.
UPDATE (Jan. 3): Dark Horse has notified us that Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City will retail for $100. The price originally listed was incorrect.
Shawn Crystal sends word that a stellar group of artists have formed a new sketchblog, Ashcan All-Stars. The line-up includes Crystal, Christopher Mitten, Erik Jones, James Stokoe, Khary Randolph, Moritat, Nathan Fox, Robbi Rodriguez, Ryan Stegman, Sheldon Vella and Tyler Crook. This week the crew kicks off their blog with a bunch of Sin City sketches, while future themes will include Blacksad, Zelda and Skydoll.
I should also point out that Sin City features strippers, so several of the pieces are not safe for work.
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.
Strap yourself in for a long read, because this month we’re looking at the rather lengthy and considerable career of one of the most influential comics creators of the past 40 years, Mr. Frank Miller.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from Big Two stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Amongst the various adaptations, though, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — and one of those is Frank Miller.
You could see glimpses of Frank Miller on the screen going as far back as Tim Burton’s Batman and even in the more recent Daredevil, but he didn’t become a name to movie-going audiences until the smash hits 300 and Sin City, both based on his original work. But there’s more to Miller’s oeuvre than just those two seminal works, so we thought we’d point out some overlooked items in his catalog and posit what a film adaptation would look like.
Give Me Liberty – “From the creator of 300 & Sin City and the co-creator of Watchmen.” That’s how any promotion for this would start out, and the movie itself would show a burnt-out husk of a world with humanity pulling itself out from the wreckage. Fronted by the a freedom fighter named Martha Washington, it would cover her humble beginnings to her time in the second Civil War to her death as glimpsed in the recent coda story Miller & artist Dave Gibbons released. I’d love to see Children of Men‘s Alfonso Cuaron on this, and this could be a starring vehicle for Rosario Dawson.
On the heels of similar initiatives from DC Comics, Marvel and Image, Dark Horse has announced its “1 for $1″ program offering reprints of 12 of its most popular comics for $1 each.
The campaign debuts in August with six comics: Aliens vs. Predator, Sin City: The Hard Goodbye, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, Usagi Yojimbo, Conan and The Goon.
Twenty-eight page comics from creators like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Stan Sakai, Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord and Eric Powell — for $1 apiece? That’s tough to beat.
You can see the solicitations for the six titles below:
Dark Horse sent over three new covers that you’ll find when their next round of solicitations go live … first up is the cover for a new edition of Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s De:Tales, which collects several of their short stories. The softcover is out of print, so Dark Horse is releasing it as a hardcover in October. If you like their Daytrippers series from Vertigo, you’ll most likely like this:
He’s only been on Twitter for five days, but already Frank Miller is making the most of his newfound outlet: This afternoon he posted a pair of new cover illustrations for what I assume are new versions of the Sin City trade paperbacks. That’s Miho above, for Family Values; click here to see Dwight from The Big Fat Kill.
Meanwhile, this is a bit on the cryptic side, but there appears to be more art to come: “ps. DINOSAUR is coming next week,” read Miller’s final pre-weekend tweet. That’s a callback to the “really cool dinosaur” he announced having drawn in his Twitter debut. Dare I hope for a full-length Cretaceous-Era Frank Miller thriller?