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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.
Passings | Artist Sid Couchey, an illustrator who brought many a Little Lotta story to life during the halcyon days of Harvey Comics, passed away March 111. He was 92. Couchey’s long career stretched from serving as an assistant to Superman co-creator Joe Shuster to steady if uncredited work in a number of comics during the 1950s, Harvey in the 1960s and 1970s, and a whole second career as a local-interest cartoonist, drawing comics about Champy, Lake Champlain’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster. He also may have been the first artist to embed a real-life marriage proposal in a comic. [Press-Republican, via The Comics Reporter]
Creators | Heidi MacDonald talks to Brian K. Vaughan about Saga, his general absence from social media, and jumping from Marvel and DC to Image: “I think at the end of the day I really believe in creator owned books, I wanted to do a book that the artist and I could own and control outright and as much as I loved the other companies I worked for in the past, I feel that Image is one of the few companies left that I would consider having a real creator owned contract.” [The Beat]
Retailing | Borders Group, the second-largest book chain in the United States, reported a loss of $132.3 million in April, its second full month in bankruptcy. That figure follows on the $52.6 million loss reported in February and March as the bookseller sought Chapter 11 protection and began liquidating 226 locations. [Detroit Free Press]
Publishing | Ira Rubenstein, executive vice president of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group, has left the company to become executive vice president of digital marketing for 20th Century Fox. He begins the new job in Los Angeles on Monday. Rubenstein joined Marvel in 2008 after 12 years at Sony, and oversaw the launch of the publisher’s digital subscription service. His departure comes less than two weeks after news surfaced that Ron Perazza is resigning as DC Entertainment’s vice president of online. [Variety]
Publishing | Ada Price surveys the graphic novel exhibitors at this year’s BookExpo America, which opens today in New York City. [Publishers Weekly]
On his blog, cartoonist Roger Langridge muses on the fate of the last Muppet Show comics he drew for BOOM! Studios. We learned a few weeks ago that Disney had moved the license for Pixar comics from BOOM!, which had been making them for two years, to Marvel, but the fate of The Muppet Show license was conspicuously not mentioned. From what Langridge says, though, it looks like BOOM! has lost that license as well, leaving Langridge’s last Muppets story arc, The Four Seasons, in limbo:
As far as I understand it, the unpublished work I’ve done for Boom isn’t technically Disney’s until it’s published, and obviously Boom can’t publish it without a license. So it’s in a kind of limbo right now. In the best of all possible worlds, I’d like to think that Boom and Marvel can come to some kind of arrangement whereby Marvel can eventually release the work.
He posted a few inked pages from the story to tide us over while the suits figure it all out. BOOM! Studios had no comment.
Passings | Prolific colorist Adrienne Roy, who was a fixture of DC Comics for more than two decades, passed away on Dec. 14 following a year-long battle with cancer. She was 57. Although Roy’s work appeared in countless DC titles, from Green Lantern and Superman to Warlord and Wonder Woman, she’s best known for her extensive runs on Batman, Detective Comics and The New Teen Titans. Mark Evanier notes that “Her long tenure on Batman (more than 600 issues of various comics featuring the character) meant that her credit appeared on more tales of the Caped Crusader than anyone else except for Bob Kane.” CBGExtra posts an obituary written by her husband Anthony Tollin. [News from ME]
Publishing | Rich Johnston reports on rumored contract changes at DC Comics that would affect all new creator-owned titles in the DC Universe and Vertigo imprints. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Storm Lion, the Singapore-based multimedia studio behind the 2008 Radical Publishing miniseries Freedom Formula, has closed on the heels the summer layoff of 30 employees in Singapore and Los Angeles. The closing leaves a planned movie adaptation, to be produced by Bryan Singer, “in limbo.” [The Straits Times]
BOOM! Studios has sent out a straight-to-the-point graphic exclaiming a new day for the California-based comic publisher’s kids imprint. It looks like the publisher’s BOOM Kids! imprint will be turning over a new leaf in 2011.
Originally announced in 2007 at Comic-Con International, BOOM Kids! didn’t hit shelves until 2009 but did so with a bang with a stellar line-up of comics based on various Disney/Pixar properties including The Incredibles, The Muppet Show, Darkwing Duck and Mickey Mouse & Friends. Combining reprintings of foreign-produced comics and out-of-print classics with new works, BOOM Kids! made a real mark.
There’s no word on the exact shape of BOOM Kids! 2011 plans are, but one could easily picture an expansion of its Disney/Pixar line-up and perhaps some new original projects.
Welcome once again to our weekly round of “What would you buy if your budget was limited?” — or, as we call it, Food or Comics? Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comes home and what stays on the shelves. So join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what comics we’d buy if we only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad” money to splurge with.
Check out Diamond’s full release list if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15 …
Morning Glories #2 ($3.50)
Image promoted this book pretty heavily before it came out, and I hope it paid off … I really enjoyed the first issue, and I hope it sticks around for awhile.
Unwritten #17 ($3.99)
This issue hearkens back to the days of my youth with a “Choose Your Own Adventure” issue, as Mike Carey and Peter Gross continue to have fun with literature of all sorts (with an assist from Ryan Kelly this issue). I was always a total cheater — I would read ahead to get a good ending, which is probably what I’ll do with this issue.
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately.
Today’s special guest is Ryan K Lindsay, a staff writer for comic news and reviews site The Weekly Crisis. He also runs a comic scripting challenge site called thoughtballoons where each week a character is picked, and every member of the site must write a one-page script about that character. He’s also been known to throw a think piece up at Gestalt Mash and is hoping one day to have his many comic pitches drawn by people with pencils.
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, click the link below …
If you’re headed to San Diego later this month for Comic-Con International and you’ve been wondering what exclusive merchandise you’ll be able to get at the show, wonder no more … the con’s site has a whole slew of exclusive items that’ll be available from various retailers, publishers and such at the show. Yes, everything from variant covers of BOOM! books — from Roger Langridge’s homage to Comic-Con to Darkwing Duck’s homage to Frank Miller — to Venture Bros. figures to Hot Wheels versions of Wonder Woman’s jet and the Ecto-1. Check them all out right here.
It’s been 20 years since The Muppet Show creator Jim Henson passed away, and ToughPigs.com paid tribute to him by asking several artists — including David Petersen (above), Amy Mebberson, and Roger Langridge, among others — to contribute original illustrations honoring the visionary creator. Go take a look.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is blogger and critic David Uzumeri, who can be frequently found at Funnybook Babylon, Savage Critics or Comics Alliance. Guy gets around.
And now we have him here as our special WAYR guest! To find out what David and everyone else at the mighty Robot 6 is reading this week, simply click on the link below.
The holidays are a time for family, food, fun and, of course, the spirit of giving. I thought I’d check in with the members of the Robot 6 crew to see what comic-related gifts they received this year, along with any they gave as presents. Feel free to share anything comic-related you gave or got this year as well.
Tom Bondurant: I got The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics (Abrams Comicarts), selected and edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly. A good bit of Carl Barks Duck work, from what I can tell. My parents gave it to me.
BOOM! Studios has several SDCC exclusives this year, including hardcover collections of their recent Incredibles, Muppet Show, Cars and Farscape limited series. They’ll also have a preview book of their upcoming Kill Audio comic by Claudio Sanchez. And signing at their booth during the con will be Sanchez, Mark Waid, Muppet Show writer/artist Roger Langridge, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, Eureka’s Andrew Cosby and Ed Quinn and many more.
Check out their full schedule after the jump.
Given today’s announcement that Roger Langridge will be appearing at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, it seemed like the ideal time to run my email interview with him regarding his Muppets work at BOOM! Langridge’s industry profile has been elevated by his recent Muppet work, and it was my pleasure to interview him about it. His grasp of the Muppets characters is amazing and given that I’m a longtime fan of the Muppets, I’m truly enthused when he says some of the characters have “hidden depths you could spend a lifetime mining.” I could spend a lifetime reading what Langridge mines, honestly.
Tim O’Shea: Your Muppet work for BOOM! Studios was the first time I saw you work in the Muppet-verse. But you worked with the Muppets back with the Disney Adventures magazine. How much has your Muppet style changed (if at all) between the Disney era work and now?
Roger Langridge: The Disney Adventures stuff was a bit less on-model; they’d been running some Mickey Mouse cartoons by Glenn McCoy that were drawn in a raggedy, undergroundish sort of style and they were popular enough that they were looking for something similar with the Muppets, so I was encouraged to just go with my own style entirely. The BOOM! material, being more in the nature of a piece of official merchandise, is stylistically somewhere between that and the official models: not entirely my own take, although still recognisably “me.”
O’Shea: How did the Muppet assignment come about–did you contact BOOM! or did they seek you out?
Langridge: They found me! I guess the unpublished Disney Adventures material had been circulating behind the scenes, and I suppose somebody liked it well enough to track me down.
Welcome to What Are You Reading, where we talk about stuff, but mostly books, especially comic books. Our guest this week is our fellow CBR blogger Brian Cronin, whom most of you no doubt know via the excellent blog Comics Should Be Good and author of the new book Was Superman Was A Spy: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed!
To discover what Brian and the rest of the crew are reading, simply click on the link below.