Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My Daughter's Birthday

Katy turns four today. She shares her birthday with Mariah Carey, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Jamiroquai and Quentin Tarantino.

This year we bought her a scooter, which she loves and is learning to use. Don't worry... we also bought her a helmet.

Weekly Comics to Come - March 28, 2007

Daredevil #95 (Last arc wrapped strong, where does Brubaker go from here?)
DMZ #17 (Finale of the latest arc, which has been really good)
Fables #59 (The readers questions issue... should be very interesting)
Fantastic Four #544 (Dwayne McDuffie's run on FF starts in earnest this issue)
Pirates of Coney Island #5 (The story of Cadillacula revealed! One of my favorite series of the moment)

52 Week #47 (Big happenings as the series draws to a close... only 5 weeks left)
Gamekeeper #1 (Andy Diggle and Guy Ritchie doing a comic... I'm there, even if Virgin's offerings mostly leave me cold)
Godland #17 (More cosmic super action from Casey and Scioli)
Grendel Devil By The Deed Hc (Looking forward to digging back into Grendel)
Half Dead Tp (Vampires, conspiracies, secret agents and paramilitary units... a good mix)
Houdini Handcuff King Center Of Cartoon Studies Hc (True tales of Houdini by Jason Lutes)
Spider-man Loves Mary Jane Vol 1 HC (Finally, Miyazawa's gorgeous art and McKeever's great stories in oversized format that shows them off)
Previews #27.4 (Down the Line is already half-written... no huge delays this month)
Superman Confidential #4 (Running late, but probably worth the wait)
Texas Strangers #1 (All-ages fun from Image)
Usagi Yojimbo #101 (After a terrific roast issue, back to more traditional samurai stories)
Wonder Woman #6 (I'll check out Jodi Picoult's intro, but honestly, after Heinberg's more or less aborted run, my interest is lower than ever)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Graphic Novel A Day: Extreme Cheater Edition

I've been a little busy, but I have been reading graphic novels on a mostly daily basis. I just haven't had time to do write-ups. So rather than go through and back-date a bunch of posts, find images, etc., which I'll probably just keep procrastinating on, here's a list of what I've read and quick thoughts:

Star Wars Visionaries TP (Dark Horse) - Stories and art from concept artists who worked on Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. Most of the stories are pretty weak, save a decent offering about a soldier on Hoth by Alex Jaeger and M. Zachary Sherman and an interesting and beautifully painted story about the origin of General Grievous by Warren Fu. But the art throughout is really nice, and the concept art showcased really cool. I would have preferred this to be a gallery piece, mostly showing off unused concept art, but it's an interesting idea for a Star Wars book at any rate.

Mutation Vol. 1 TP (Markosia) - Really nice Bruce Timm-esque art, some solid superhero slugfests, but the stories just don't make any sense. It's clear what writer George Singley is aiming for, a basic no-calorie superhero action book, but he needs a little bit more of a hook to make it anything but pretty fights by Ethan Beavers.

Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril TP (Penny-Farthing) - A somewhat overwrought and melodramatic take on the pulps, Dysart's script should have dialed back a little on the angst and aimed for a more fun, pulp spirit, but despite that, it's a pretty solidly entertaining yarn that is more or less true to the nature of pulp superheroes. Also, terrific art by Sal Velluto (with some inks by his Black Panther compadre Bob Almond), nice colors by Mike Garcia and solid production values from Penny-Farthing. Never rises to great, but a solid B offering.

B.P.R.D. Vol. 6: Universal Machine TP (Dark Horse Comics) - Another fantastic offering from the regular BPRD creative team, revealing some of the secret history of zombie captain Ben Daimio and really allowing non-powered agent Kate Corrigan time to shine as she bargains with a sadistic demon for the return of Roger the Homunculus. Plus, as always, Guy Davis and Dave Stewart just bring the house down with the art.

Ex Machina Vol. 5: Smoke Smoke TP (DC/Wildstorm) - The best Ex Machina trade since the first one, including flashbacks to Hundred's days as a hero, intrigue within his cabinet, great supporting cast (love the two gay firefighters more than most of Mitchell's actual support staff) and a fantastic single issues shedding light on the past of his bodyguard Bradbury. Terrific art by Harris, Feister and Mettler as well. This might be my favorite Brian Vaughan book at the moment.

Para TP (Penny Farthing) - Stuart Moore's tale of a supercollider accident, a grieving daughter and an investigation into what happened starts off intriguing and creepy and then quickly goes off into bizarre, borderline superhero/sci-fi territory where it doesn't belong. Too much over-the-top technology like killer robots and other-dimensional ghosts, and the spooky, X-Files-ish vibe of the early issues is lost. Good mystery setup, extremely dissatisfying resolution.

One Page Filler Man (Image) - Jim Mahfood just cuts loose and makes it up as he goes along. The results are mixed, but the art is strong and there are great, fun bits throughout.

The Norm In Color (The Norm.com) - This is a gorgeously produced book. Michael Jantze is an extremely talented cartoonist, and his work in color is jaw-dropping, comparable to some of the greats like Berke Breathed or Bill Watterson. Seriously, there's a visual imagination at work here that takes aspects of pop culture and cartoon culture, breaks them down and incorporates them, and it's stunning. Unfortunately, the subject matter of too many of the strips and the gags resulting are often overly familiar riffs on guys and girls and relationships, without much new to offer. That's not to say there aren't laughs to be found, or genuinely touching moments, or that The Norm is bad. Indeed, it's very entertaining most of the time, in the same way that a good, solid sitcom can be entertaining. It's just that visually, the book is breaking boundaries, but its story and characters are of a more standard variety, and art this great deserves stories just as great.

Avengers/JLA (Marvel/DC) - Finally broke down and bought this deluxe hardcover, and I still really like the story. It's a kind of old school team-up we'll not see again, given that the fans seem to want a much different kind of darker, more "realistic" superhero universe from both Marvel and DC. Makes for a last great hurrah for these types of stories, though, with amazing art by George Perez and a real love-letter to the characters by Kurt Busiek that still manages to be an exciting, classic style superhero story at the same time. The companion volume, with all the background on the Marvel/DC crossovers in general (and JLA/Avengers specifically), is also a nice treat.

Degrassi The Next Generation Vol. 1: Extra Credit (Pocket Books) - Planning to write a review of this J. Torres-penned graphic novel at Comic Pants at some point. In short, it's a lot like Breaking Up (with art by Christine Norrie) - good craftsmanship, and though I'm not really the target audience, I can tell that it does what it sets out to do very well.

King City Vol. 1 (Tokyopop) - This one I did review at Comic Pants. Loved it. My favorite graphic novel read of the month thus far.

Giant Robot Warriors (AIT/Planet Lar) - Reviewed this one at Comic Pants as well.

Essex County Vol 1 Tales From The Farm TP (Top Shelf) - An emotionally charged look at a sad little boy and the uncle who tries desperately to connect with him, and a has-been hockey player who finds a friend in the boy. Lovely art, and a poignant, effective portrayal of complicated relationships.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - March 21, 2007

Brave And The Bold #2 (One of my favorite superhero debuts this year, looking forward to issue two)
Empowered TP (Adam Warren pokes fun at how the superhero genre treats women... potentially entertaining, certain to look great)
Spider-man Loves Mary Jane #16 (David Hahn joins on art, Firestar shows up in the story)
Spirit #4 (Issue #3 was excellent... can't wait to see what's next)
Y The Last Man #55 (On the home stretch)

52 Week #46 (Nothing new to say here... still reading)
Gunsmith Cats Omnibus Vol 1 (Curious to check out this car chase, guns and hot girls manga)
Marvel Adventures Avengers #11 (Since Parker's return, this book has been a lot of fun again)
Walking Dead #36 (I'm back onboard after a strong issue #35)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - March 14, 2007

BPRD Garden Of Souls #1 (One of my favorite series is back with a new miniseries)
Damned #5 (Great miniseries gets a conclusion, can't wait to see how it ends)
Fables #58 (The second of two with Allred's guest art)
King City Vol 1 (New OEL manga from imaginative and talented artist Brandon Graham)
Pvp Vol 4 Pvp Goes Bananas TP (Another volume of Scott Kurtz's delightful humor title)

52 Week #45 (Coming into the home stretch, and I'm still interested)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1 (Wary of superhero version of Buffy, but still curious enough to give it a read)
Hack Slash Vs Chucky (Cassie Hack faces off against her first licensed villain... should be fun)
Irredeemable Ant-man #6 (More superhero depravity, but in a good way)
Tag Cursed #2 (First issue was spooky and effective, curious to see more)
Thunderbolts #112 (Disliked the second issue, but I'll give it another chance to win me back)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Adventures in Retailing: Bitch, bitch, bitch

Kind of interesting to read the various reactions around the Internet, from the retailing perspective, on Captain America... and find myself agreeing with none of them.

Joe Riley's angry tirade against Marvel seems unfair and a bit pissy that Marvel didn't anticipate the retailers' every move and counter it. Yes, Marvel could have given the info about the overprint a little earlier so that everyone could have gotten onboard with a direct ship delivery next week instead of having to wait another week until March 21st. Yeah, I'm a little annoyed about that turn of events, too. But you know who I'm most annoyed at? Me, for not going with my instinct and trying to put in an order on Wednesday. Instead, reality slapped me in the face at 2 PM on Thursday when I realized that even if they weren't available, I should call in to Diamond and see what future plans would be. Retailing isn't supposed to be easy, it's supposed to be work, and you're supposed to use your head and try to think about what's coming. Frustrating when it doesn't work, and certainly Marvel could have made things easier, but this is not something for which editorial heads should roll.

Customers are coming into your store, excited about a comic book. Many of them are not regular customers, but new people, full of potential to buy comics from your store. If they're leaving frustrated, it's at least partly your fault, because they *can* get their comic, they might just have to wait a week or two for it. If they've ever tried to buy a hot videogame or videogame system on release day (and the odds are good that they have) they're going to understand that. Unless you gripe at them about Marvel's short-sightedness and how they're trying to screw your business, in which case they might just decide you're right and comics aren't worth it.

Of course, Garner Loudermilk's defense of Marvel is arrogant, insulting and factually wrong. First of all, he considers DC's over-printing of Superman a mistake, lamenting that "now the book is barely worth a little over cover." He further spews "If Marvel has learned from DC's mistake then I for one am glad of this. If they over-printed the book then there is no chance of the book rising in value."

Garner, as someone who watched the entire industry nearly collapse thanks to assholes speculating on comics like commodities, allow me to offer a hearty "go fuck yourself." Rising in value? Bullshit. A secondary market where the book rises in value benefits Ebay, and those who view comics as stocks and bonds with four-color covers. It doesn't help Marvel (should they not print a trade, too, just in case?), it doesn't help retailers in the long run, it doesn't help the fanbase, it doesn't help the industry. Your knowledge of the comics industry is about 12 years late, so maybe you ought to clam up and do some research before you go shooting your mouth off.

Garner also offers this gem: "Where it went wrong is store owners failing to capitalize on it. Don't blame the industry, blame yourself. You knew it was selling, you read three months ago in Previews when it said someone was going to die. If you failed to order up on it and are losing out on sales, it's your fault."

In point of fact, no one read three months ago in Previews that someone was going to die. You know what we read? "CIVIL WAR - CLASSIFIED - More information to come." Except it didn't. Again... get your facts straight before you start making accusations. What the hell does a marketing associate for a toy company know about comics retail, anyway? Then he goes on to blame the fans for not pre-ordering:

"But if the customers didn't have it on their subscription list at their local comic shop then again that is their fault, not Marvel's."

Yeah, fanboys, why didn't you know that Captain America was going to die and that CNN and every news organization was going to pick it up and it was going to sell out? Why didn't you plan to buy a comic you don't regularly pick up three months ago because Marvel said it was going to be big? They've never lied about that kind of thing before, and really, shouldn't everyone be buying their comics three months ahead of time instead of coming in to the shop to browse and buy what they're interested in then?

Again, what Garner knows about comics retailing could clearly fill a thimble. But he's got a Grand Canyon sized bowl full of disdain for retailers and comic fans.

But I think I might start calling Chris Butcher before I place any of my comics orders in the future... he has some sort of crystal ball that always allows him to get things exactly right. And if some of us were caught unawares by the level of the demand, we must be idiots. Because anyone who didn't *know* that it was going to be a giant media event and thus quadruple their regular orders so they could sell out the next day rather than the day of is clearly not doing their job properly. As we all know, there are no variables to ordering comics retail, and if you don't guess everything 100% correctly all of the time, you are not doing your job properly.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Adventures in Retailing: Feeding Frenzy

So... anybody reading Captain America lately?

It was an interesting week. We knew something big was coming, because when the writer of the book tells you "Order more copies" you're more inclined to do it than when you hear it from marketing or (especially) from an editor in chief who is given to hype. So we doubled our orders on Captain America #25, a book that already has been selling pretty well for us.

As a result, we sold out by 4 PM instead of by 1 PM. I don't feel like I could have done much better... based on vague promises of "This is going to be big," I really couldn't hit my Civil War numbers. I mean, Marvel promised the same thing with Civil War: The Return, and if I had ordered Civil War numbers on that book, I'd *still* be eating the costs. By the time we get our Cap reorders, we'll be well over Civil War's numbers, though.

This being my first time dealing with Diamond back orders and a book this highly anticipated, I almost missed the boat entirely on putting in back orders, and as it is, I missed the somewhat arbitrary Thursday noon deadline, so that the majority of my books will be arriving a little later. I'm not quite sure why the direct ship deadline is Thursday noon for Captain America and Monday by 5 PM for everything else, but hey, it's an unusual situation, so I'm willing to roll with it and hope my customers can hold out for the extra week it'll take me to restock. I'm not *happy* about it, but I'm not gnashing my teeth and screaming at Diamond or Marvel about it. I've noticed that retailers like to bitch, about everything, and frankly I don't want to be one of those guys. I'd like to reserve my bitching for when I think it's constructive and at least a little bit fair.

Sure, Marvel could have handled it better. They knew enough about how big this was going to be to coordinate with the media, and to have an overprint ready. What would have been nice is if they had made sure the overprint was available the day of, so that when intrepid retailers who use the Diamond website to check stock went to see the availability, they didn't get the rather daunting impression that the book was gone, and there wasn't any point in calling my Diamond rep to ask about it.

But they really couldn't have told retailers what was going to happen. Truth is, someone in the retail community would have blabbed, ruining the story not only for the media and diminishing its attention from a business standpoint, but for the fans. We would have known the story two months ago, rather than having Yahoo! news spoil it the day of. I don't like ordering based on the invisible solicits we've been getting from Marvel, but this was a big secret to keep, and as long as it doesn't become a habit, I'm OK with it this one time.

My bigger worry is the larger scale implications of it. I was working comics retail when the Death of Superman hit. I remember lines out the door, excitement and frustration at the prices. I remember skyrocketing sales, brought down by a near-crash of the industry when people realized they'd essentially been scammed. And I worry that we're watching the whole thing repeat.

But... with any luck, the retailers who are left are smarter. I hope that a lot of the fanbase is too. The people buying Cap should know that Superman came back, and Cap will too. So far, it seems that a lot of people looking for the issue aren't looking to fund their kids' college education, but just to read what sounds like a pretty earth-shattering story. I know I've been doing my best to tell people who are buying it that it's a good story, not a commodity that's going to appreciate with time. In the short term, the comic is going for insane amounts on Ebay (and if you bought Cap #25 for like $50 or more, I'm very sorry because in about two weeks, anyone should be able to walk into a comics shop and get it for less than $5), but in the long-term, it's going to have the price of Spawn #1 or the Death of Superman issues.

This is a huge opportunity to get outsiders into comics. I hope we don't fuck it up this time. For my part, I'm going to be making up bookmarks to give away that point readers to Brubaker's Cap trades, to Criminal, to Sleeper, to Daredevil. I'm going to be doing my best to make sure that folks who come in to see Captain America's death see the breadth of what comics have to offer. And I'm going to do my best to make sure that anyone who walks out with Captain America #25 has bought it with their eyes open, so that in a few months they don't decide that comics made a bunch of false promises and the whole medium isn't worth their time.

Now, might this cost some short-term sales? Might we accidentally turn off a speculator who wants to buy 10 copies and slab them at CGC? Might we make a mint selling a few copies on Ebay for outrageous prices? Sure. But I'm more interested in the long-term, in using this very successful event to gain fans of the medium. I'd love it if in a few years, when I'm telling people "I own a comic shop" they don't say "Oh, yeah, what's my Captain America #25 worth?" but rather "Oh yeah, I started buying comics again after they killed Captain America... there's a lot of good stuff in comics."

It's a pretty good time for a comic book retailer to snag casual customers. I got a big 'ol stack of $30 300 hardcovers today... three of them were presold, it wouldn't surprise me too much if I wind up having to reorder more in the next week. Transformers is right around the corner, and is raising interest in IDW's well-produced Transformers books. Fantastic Four hits this summer, and while I question the timing of replacing the familiar team with Black Panther and Storm, having Dwayne McDuffie on as writer means that fans coming off the movie will have something cool to read. Add in Dark Tower (which sold gangbusters with its second issue this week), Buffy (coming next week), Anita Blake, etc. etc. and comics are doing better than ever at reaching out to new audiences. I feel like this was the right time to buy a shop.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I have not, in fact, vanished from the planet. I have been doing three things:

1) Attending (and helping run) STAPLE!, which went great this year. Report to follow... eventually.

2) Running my shop - things going well, except that I am now preparing for federal income tax, and there is nothing I hate and fear more than dealing with taxes. My experience thus far this year is doing nothing to change my mind on that score.

Seriously. I'd rather go to the dentist, and I'm notoriously bad about going to the dentist.

3) Wasting time on the Internet. This one's mostly tonight, as I finally dove into about a week's worth of RSS feeds. But I did find some really cool stuff. Such as:

Josh Neufeld's work on A.D. After Deluge, a must-read story about Hurricane Katrina that features as one of its characters my friend Leo.

Self-proclaimed "art nerd" and creator of very funny posts and an amazingly cool steampunk re-invention of Star Wars Eric Poulton's blog.

There's plenty more, including some new features up at Act-i-vate, but those are a couple of links to look into where people are actually producing regular content, unlike me.

I have been reading graphic novels, but haven't posted Graphic Novel A Day posts for them. Tomorrow is a day off (mostly), so maybe I'll finally get to write some of those, and maybe write Down the Line for this month as well.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekly Comics to Come - March 7, 2007

Captain America #25 (I'm nervous about the "big change," but excited to see what Brubaker and Epting will do, as always)
Criminal #5 (The end of the first arc, and this is easily my most anticipated book of the week... I'm so happy to be quoted on the cover)
Essex County Vol 1 Tales From The Farm Tp (Interesting new book from Top Shelf, I glanced at it during STAPLE! last weekend and it looked good)
Fantastic Four #543 (Anniversary issue, I believe, with a number of contributors including Paul Pope)
Shazam The Monster Society Of Evil #2 (First issue was among the best things I've read this year)

52 Week #44 (Still reading... will probably read Countdown... DC has their hooks in me)
Authority #2 (After this long of a wait, I honestly don't care... but I will at least give it a flip-through)
Borrowed Time #2 (First issue of this Oni series was amazing Twilight Zone-esque stuff, looking forward to more)
Dynamo 5 #1 (Promising new superhero with a twist series from Jay Faerber at Image)
Ex Machina Vol 5 Smoke Smoke Tp (Good storyline in this trade)
Fall Of Cthulhu #0 (Boom! does Cthulhu, and I'll be checking it out)
Manhunter #29 (Not cancelled - yay! Now if only they'd get a new number one to really promote it)
Marvel Zombies Army Of Darkness #1 (First was a guilty pleasure, with Layman writing this is gonna be pretty whacked)
Strongarm #1 (Interesting new Image series with manga-style art)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Graphic Novel A Day: Jack of Fables Vol. 1

Writers: Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges
Artists: Tony Akins & Andrew Pepoy
Company: DC Comics/Vertigo
Price: $14.99

I wasn't sure about a spinoff from Fables, despite it being my favorite book, but as it turns out, Jack of Fables is different, but every bit as good, as the book it originated from. Following Jack, the archetypal scoundrel, the book features a willfully fourth-wall breaking narration style that really works, cleverly populated Fables worlds outside the ones we see in the Fables book itself and the same sense of humor, strong plotting and great moment-to-moment writing I've come to expect from Fables. Tony Akins and Andrew Pepoy hit the same high notes as Fables artist Mark Buckingham, and the whole thing feels like a fun roadtrip out of Fables land and into the real world, with one of the most larger than life Fables as your guide. A fun read even if you've never read Fables, an absolute must-read if you like that book.

Adventures in Retailing: Civil War

No, not the Marvel event, although, well, sort of.

No, I'm referring to the Civil War within myself, a retailer who cannot stand most of the creative decisions Marvel is making these days... even as I find myself applauding them from a business standpoint.

If you look at the numbers, the current regime at Marvel looks like geniuses. Civil War was a sales monolith, a crossover that boosted numbers on every book it touched (in some cases raising books sinking towards cancellation, like Black Panther, up to become viable entities). And post-Civil War, they're capitalizing better than DC did on Infinite Crisis.

Now the events themselves, Infinite Crisis and Civil War, suffer from much of the same problems. Lackluster plots. Recognizable heroes acting wildly out of character for shock value. Tons of C-lister characters that the average audience doesn't care about and the audience that *does* recognize them probably mostly cringes expecting the writers to off them for shock value. A weak ending, helped not at all by storytelling that seemed to veer off in one direction or another throughout, rather than aiming at one particular story target and hitting it. In the case of Civil War, lateness. In the case of Infinite Crisis, dozens of fill-in artists to avoid lateness.

However, after Infinite Crisis, DC had two big plans to hang onto their sales boost: A weekly title and "One Year Later," an event allowing the creators to shake up the main books. The weekly title was a big hit, but it probably drained some excitement from the main books. And the main books didn't help but being really, really dull in general. As with the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, despite having that very thing as an example, editorial tried to have its cake and eat it to. Rather than biting the bullet, renumbering every book with a new number one and giving the whole thing an across the board shake-up/ground-up relaunch, some books were radically altered, most were given cursory pretend alterations and some just went on with business as usual. The result? Fast sales drops back to pre-OYL levels.

Marvel, on the other hand, seems poised to capitalize. The Spider-Man books had been sinking in sales prior to Civil War, but saw a big boost during Civil War. So how do you keep that audience? Knock off a major supporting character, bring back the popular black costume. Did it work? Anecdotally, the answer seems to be yes in my store. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man sold twice what it usually does for us, Sensational Spider-Man sold about 50% more, and we haven't seen Amazing Spider-Man yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's back up to healthy numbers as well.

Civil War had a limp ending, but it did offer up a new status quo, and Marvel is poised to jump on that, with a handful of new series and miniseries and new directions for many of its titles. Too soon to tell how it's going to shake out, but Iron Man, Director of SHIELD sold better than any Iron Man issues since the first few of the Ellis/Granov run (before it became so late nobody cared). Folks seem excited about the idea of the Initiative. Captain America #25 has huge buzz as being something big. New Avengers sold out fast and got reordered. Mighty Avengers has some buzz.

Now personally, what's selling is the last thing I want to read. I found New Avengers #27, which sees Doctor Strange, Power Man and other notable heroes fighting ninjas (that fight should take about one page... it's a waste of the characters), ridiculous and annoying. The idea of Iron Man as director of SHIELD isn't awful, but it doesn't hold any particular interest for me. And the notion of all the Marvel heroes forming some sort of nationwide army split into 50 states seems like a bizarre decision to completely uproot the foundation of the Marvel Universe as it has stood since the beginning.

But... as a retailer, I can't help but be happy that Marvel has found a way to reinvigorate interest in these characters. I mean, a Moon Knight series selling the way Charlie Huston's book has is amazing, even if I find the whole thing banal and pointlessly ultra-violent. The Avengers are a complete and utter betrayal of the concept of the team, and yet it's selling better than any version of the book that I've loved. Spider-Man: Reign seems like a viciously nihilistic misunderstanding of the appeal of the character and a weak Dark Knight Returns ripoff, but it's doing pretty solid numbers and selling out.

So what can we learn? One, it's clear that my general guidelines for Marvel and DC superheroes (let them be heroic, make them at least somewhat consistent with the past, don't be embarrassed about superhero conventions) may in fact be diametrically opposed to what the readership at large wants. And two, it is possible to be mostly bored and/or disgusted with what's going on in mainstream superhero comics and at the same time elated by it. Just tie your financial fortunes into the very books you don't very much like. ;)

Archaia Press Unveils 2007 Offerings

Archaia has an impressive line-up already, and it looks like they're doing some major expansion in 2007. There's a pretty stunning array of artists in a variety of styles, and some intriguing new concepts, which can be seen in their beautiful PDF catalog.