So, the Dave Sim / IDW press release went out wide, and several sources are specifically reporting the story as though this means that IDW is publishing a paper collection of Cerebus comics. I do not think this is correct. In fact, I'm sure it isn't.
Read the release again, slowly -- this HAS to be for a DVD (?) collection of the digital files, not a print book. (Edit: they've changed the title at AMOC, indicting it IS a DVD. Toldja!)
Heidi also pitches it as being "rare and expensive" from "IDW Limited", which might be one component of it -- but given that "IDW Limited" items are NOT sold in stores, and the rest of the release talks about "comic store rights", this too must be wrong.
Tom is the only one who gets it "right", but I think that's only because he doesn't commit one way or the other to what "hard copy" means as to what it might be, giving him plausible denialability.
But, here's a question: is it too much to ask that reporters not run stories without confirming the details? I don't care if you JUST run a press release, but if you comment on it, can you get it right, please?
(that title somehow made sense in my head) Like I mentioned the other day, between school restarting, working on our September DC relaunch plans, a possible store remodel, us repainting the downstairs at our house, and what seems like 47 other "big" things happening at once, I've had a less time for reading comics. It also doesn't help that giant chunks of prose have been chucked at my head recently as well!
So, below the cut, some not-comics reading, even if it is related-to-comics!
THE COMICS JOURNAL #301: I really did miss TCJ. The deeply in-depth interviews, the in-depth criticism, and really more than anything else, the investigative reporting. We don't have anything like that kind of what I think of as shoe leather reporting -- long phone calls, attempts to look at issues from multiple sides, designed to examine and protect our field, rather than to score headlines in and of itself. Rich Johnston has taken over a tremendous amount of that role, but Rich comes from the Gossip Columnist angle, rather than Paper Of Record angle, so he runs a lot of shit that's sensational for it's own sake, and, far too often that's wildly wrong or misinformed.
Heidi is mostly our Social Secretary, and the "news sites" (Robot 6, CBR, Comics Alliance, etc.) seem more interested in entertaining or opinionating then in really getting to the heart of news (which is fine -- those are consumer entertainment sites, really).
I think Spurgeon (and, let me take a second to link you to his astonishing piece on his health problems if you haven't already read it -- all of the Savage Critics wish Tom very very well health indeed!) is the closest we have to Advocacy journalism, any longer, but I'd think even he'd admit he seldom uses Shoe Leather much in the (excellent!) work that he does.
I just sometimes daydream about what could have been if the Journal's News mandate had continued to this day -- I would have loved to read their in-depth coverage of, say, the Disney deal... or could you imagine what Michael Dean might have been able to get out of the DC reboot? Yeah, woulda been nice.
Damn, but I got off on a tangent there, didn't I?
ANYway, like the Meatloaf song sez, two outta three ain't so bad, as the Journal returns in a new bricklike bookshelf format (seriously, this thing has like 600 pages!), anchored by a massive Robert Crumb interview, and a whole freakin' lot of really strong criticism. I most especially liked the Cerebus retrospective by Tim Krieder. Cerebus is one of those works that I think is 90% genius, but the bits that aren't are really really hard. It was fascinating to see Krieder go through in a few weeks, the emotional range that some of us sustained for 25 years! I need to read Cerebus again, huh?
(I also miss the Cerebus Diablog where they petered out only by #11! Come back Laura, come back Leigh! You didn't even start getting to the GOOD issues!)
Wow, digressive much?
Right, so, Journal, yes! Great great great read! I'd still love to see it be maybe quarterly in the 200 page range -- there's a lot of Interviews that could be happening, and a lot of posterity that needs to be captured -- but this is way better than nothing. VERY GOOD
One last digression, which is actually kind of properly related. As some of you may know, Amazon really erred somehow with TCJ #301, and they offered preorders at a price that was about 20% BELOW their (and my!) wholesale price. Fantagraphics assures me THEY didn't offer Amazon any kind of special deal or promotion, so that was all on Amazon itself.
Whatever, I'm not dumb, I ordered my copies from Amazon, instead of from Diamond, and chose the free (very very slow) shipping option.
We had our copies two weeks ago.
Diamond, as far as I can tell, STILL has not distributed TCJ #301 to the West Coast.
So cheaper than Diamond by 20%, AND I received it weeks earlier, go figure!
A DANCE OF DRAGONS: I've been a fan of George RR Martin's "Song of Fire and Ice" long before "Game of Thrones" aired on HBO, and I really really really wonder what they're going to do when they start getting to the parts of the book that simply CAN'T be filmed (or faked!) on the budget they'll have. As is often (but not always) the case, as good as the adaptation is (and it's really swell!), the original material is much much much better.
We've been waiting a really long time for this, book five, because of what Martin termed "the meereenese knot", where a specific character find themselves in a specific place and simply wasn't able to leave because of the nature of the character themselves.
To an extent, you can't force plot on characters - plot should always stem FROM the characters, and some writers say that strong characters "write themselves". I believe this to be true, especially in this case. This is the first one of these books where I could really see the scaffolding (surrounding Meereen). It's not just the specific character, but everyone and everything related to it. Most of the Meereen stuff, I hate to say it, even some of the bits that I LIKED (Tyrion, in particular, takes the sharpest loss he has so far on a particular ride), probably should have been chucked... but they COULDN'T be because of what happened previously, and how a strong character with a strong POV simply wouldn't let it.
The problem is solved... or, at least, is set upon the path to probably being solved, and the solution is non-terrible, but it's still a little far from good to this reader. It does make for fascinating reading, however, playing "look for the welds".
On the other hand, all of the stuff that WASN'T tied in the Knot? Awesome awesome material -- maybe some of the strongest yet. In super particular, I nearly shuddered with joy when a certain sibling showed up about halfway through the book, and this one is rapidly becoming my favorite character.
Other than the Knot (which isn't GRRM's fault, per se), I was fairly outraged that he introduced a new claimant to the throne, one, who appears is legitimate, and not just a feint of some kind. I am firmly of the mind that it is far far far too late to be doing so, given the length of the narrative (and the idea that we're finished in just two more books). It's only like three chapters worth, but I was profoundly uneasy reading those, thinking "not FAIR!"
I think that GRRM is more likely to feint about who the leads really are, and what the battle and stakes even are in the first place (I largely think that the central question of who will sit on Westeros' throne will be mostly irrelevant in another thousand pages or so), just like the big switch at the end of "Game of Thrones" itself.
Overall I want to give A DANCE WITH DRAGONS a mild GOOD, but there were absolutely parts that I thought were EXCELLENT.
(how was that for spoiler free, huh?)
As always, what did YOU think?
Sunday and Monday I had a store project I needed to finish and forgot about until zero hour. All done, though. I just got back from the store (doing THIS week's books), so let's wrap LAST week by talking about all of the BOOKS you should go and pick up and your local funnybook emporium when you stroll in tomorrow.
In friendly alphabetical order (Or, at least, Alpha by Diamond listings):
B KRIGSTEIN COMICS HC: Yes it is pricey, but damnation, it's worth every penny. Krigstein was a genius, and even the slightest story in this big-ass volume is pure gold. My one quibble: despite it being in the first, biographical volume, I think they missed a big boat by not putting "The Master Race" in this edition.
BONE ONE VOLUME EDITION: Well, you probably can't buy it anyway. We got allocated at just over 1/3 of our order (*sigh*) and all of the rack copies sold out in like 10 minutes. Expect a much much longer thought on this in about a week in Tilting at Windmills over on Newsarama.... Either way, this is top notch comics by a top notch cartoonist, and some version of Bone should be in your collection. I can't wait until Ben is old enough for me to read this to him... (though, actually, it'll be the HC I'll be ordering once it is solicited. I left the SC at the store since we got allocated)
CEREBUS V 16: THE LAST DAY: End of an era, and this volume is worth it for the essay in the back, alone. Honestly, I think it explains a bit more than I had previously understood about the last few years. (Lester, read it before I come in on Friday -- should give us at least 30 minutes of conversation...) One of these days, if I ever find time, I'll write an essay about Cerebus as a complete work, but if you can find a better all-around cartoonist than Dave Sim, I'd like to meet him. The timing, the draftsmanship, the craft and care -- I don't really care if the whole thing ends on the biggest reductio ad absurdum ever, I don't really care if you don't care for his politics or his thinking (fuck, if George Bush could draw like this, I'd buy his comics too!), comics will be a poorer place for not having Dave Sim around, month-in, month-out showing us how to do it. Seriously, read Cerebus, you'll be better for it.
CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS V3 TP: Well, you know, I've always been a sucker for the JLA/JSA crossover, but, man, are these stinky-ass stories. ("TEPPY STRIKES BACK!") On the other hand, these stories suck so much they're actually great. C'mon, dude, THE HUMAN BOMB! Rocks out, with it's cock out!
FINDER V 6 MYSTERY DATE: Carla Speed McNeil is an amazing cartoonist -- kinetic yet compressed, mystical yet focused on human emotions. Why she isn't a millionaire is a mystery to me.
JIM WOODRING PUPSHAW & PUPSHAW: At $17 for what's effectively 16 panels (well, it is a Japanese import), you have to be a big Woodring fan to appreciate this. Thankfully I am. Plus I only have to pay cost, seeing how I own the store and all. But damn, if he can't draw and tell a reasonably compelling tale in those 16 panels....
KYLE BAKER, CARTOONIST V 2: An excellent companion to volume 1, though it feels a smidge light for the price point of $14.95. It's the week of excellent cartoonists, as you can see (it wasn't the comics what killed me, it was the books), and Baker is up there high in the firmament.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL'S LIBRARY OF THE OPERA V 3 HC: Yah, OK you could wait for the 6 weeks or whatever it will take for the SC to come out, I suppose, but I prefer to have a binding that will hold up for repeated rereadings. Loverly loverly stuff, and he makes the source material palatable to those of us who hate opera as it's own art form.
PAUL AUSTERS CITY OF GLASS: Finally this exquisite book of David Mazzuchelli's adapatation of the Auster story is back in print, and let me hear a fuckin' hallelujah! Despite the (very!) stiff competetition this week, this is the A #1 must have, bug-your-LCS-to-stock-it item of the week. Seriously.
POWERS V 6 THE SELL OUTS: The perhaps-ironically named first post-image volume. While it's begining to flag a bit at this point of the narrative, this is still sharper than 80% of the super-hero work on the market.
SAMURAI EXECUTIONER V1 : If you liked DH's presentation of Lone Wolf & Cub, you're also going to dig this story Koike & Kojima did before. I'm only about 10% into it, but it's reading just as well, to me.
OK, that's what I took home on the book side, at least.
See you.... tomorrow with the first part of this week's books!
(God, tomorrow already? Does this ever end?)