I visited Milwaukee this past weekend with my parents, and before I left, I decided to visit the local Barnes & Noble store, and browse the graphic novel section. I always like to see what the chain stores in various cities are carrying, because even if the stores have a homogeneous atmosphere, their selection can vary a lot. (Border’s selection is better than Barnes and Noble, and usually more in tune with what people will actually buy. B&N’s selection is often more slanted to arty comics, and more often located by the Role Playing Games)
A couple of teenage girls came into the aisle, (one of them was looking for Ghost Rider and Transformers, and her friend just wanted to leave the store) and I helped them try and find what they were looking for. “Ultimate Spider-Man can bite me. Did I say that out loud?” the one girl said. “Yes, you did.” said the other.
Stuff that caught my eye:
Comic Book Tattoo -this is the comic anthology based on the music of Tori Amos. The art and the colors in the book looked great, and this book is M A S S I V E. This isn’t simply a book you could kill a small animal with, this is a book you could kill several small animals with. It’s got a bigger than normal page size, and it’s got to be at least 600 pages. With books this size I almost think they’re impractical for reading, and wish they would publish them as two volumes and package it in a slipcase. I’m kind of interested in it because I heard the editor Rantz Hosely interviewed on Indie Spinner Rack and he mentioned:
Put The Book Back on The Shelf: The Belle & Sebastian Anthology -This book is much more the standard format GN. Image comics agreed to publish the Tori Amos book based on the success of this one. But I have to think that selling a huge tome at higher price point is something entirely different than a standard size trade paperback. Of course -the existence of both of these books is due in part to the Flight books and their success. How many of these things (mainstream-ish color anthologies) do we have? Afterworks, 24/7, Out of Picture… Was there really a time when anthologies tended to be in black and white?
Zot: The complete Black and White stories -This is handsome book with a nice cover design. I have half of this material in paperback, but that book’s falling apart. I love love LOOOVE Zot.
Watchmen -this book had an unlikely sales boost from the trailer for the movie. I can’t help but think that was mainly people that were already comics fans wanting to brush up on the story before they see the movie. (The better to complain about it, my dear.)
V for Vendetta – I don’t remember this book being almost as thick as Watchmen. But it is.
Boom Trades: Cover Girl, Two Guns, and Fall OF Cthulhu -These books all have very consistent book design. Maybe too consistent. Two of them also represent the genre of “action-movie-in-comic-form” which is, perhaps surprisingly, a small niche.
In Odd we Trust – Based on the novels by Dean Koontz and published by Del Rey/Del Rey Manga. -There are more and more of these graphic novels by top selling authors or based on their books, and publishers seem to know how to market them now. Dark Tower by Stephen King, Shannara by Terry Brooks, Discworld Graphic Novels by Terry Pratchett, Maximum Ride by James Patterson, Babysitters Club by Ann M Martin, and if we stretch this – the 9-11 Report Graphic Novel.
Tekkon Kinkreet -Still need to read this before I can see the movie. It looks really good.
Uzumaki -Reconsidered this book when trying to find more grotesque Horror manga that’s not by the Author of Drifting Classroom. I really don’t like that guy’s artwork.
Parasyte -I read the first volume, which awakened an interest in grotesque horror manga. This book is bizarre and great.
Thee Shadows -I like the cartoony, animation-y style of the character design in this book, even though I have no idea what it’s about. No one publishes the same kind of material as First Second books.
What It Is -Lynda Barry’s work is oddly compelling. A lot of it is kind of charmingly ugly. I read a portion of this in the Free Comic Book Day preview, and I will say that this looks a lot more easy to navigate when its printed in color. It makes me impatient for the series of Ernie Pook’s Comeek collections – which will present Lynda Barry weirdness within the regular structure of the weekly comic strip.
REAL by Takehiko Inoue -This seinen manga about wheelchair basketball has been getting a lot of attention. The artwork is very attractive, looking more like his work on Vagabond than his work on Slam Dunk and Harlem Beat. I wonder if that’s just a matter of progressing as an artist or moving from shonen to seinen.
Kafka -There are two Kafka books in the graphic novel section- A Graphic Novel version of The Trial, and a Biography of Kafka illustrated by Robert Crumb. Crumb is unusual for being a comics master without a masterpiece. It’s like Alan Moore without Watchmen, or Art Spiegelman without MAUS. For that reason, I might be interested in getting this.