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Tue, September 14th, 2010 at 1:28pm PDT

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

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RELEASES FROM 09 SEPTEMBER 2010

Each week in the Pipeline Podcast, I go over the list of new releases and pick ten items to talk about from them. Since a small percentage of you listen to the podcast and since some ideas could use some fleshing out in writing, here are some of those points from last week's podcast:

  • Humanoids released a deluxe edition hardcover of the John Cassaday-drawn "I Am Legion" last week. It's the same height as a standard American comic, but they widened the pages to fit the art better. This way, you won't see the extra white margins like you do in Marvel's Soleil line of titles. It's nice that they got the aspect ratio right, but I'd still rather see the larger page size. Baby steps...

    The bigger problem this brought to mind is that I had completely forgotten about Humanoids USA. When's the last time you thought of them? I was very excited to hear they were coming back earlier this year. Their digital comics initiative was excited. Eventual promises to do limited edition oversized editions were heartening.

    And then - silence.

    Giving credit where credit is due, others saw this coming. I think it might have been Brian Hibbs, in fact. He said that the bigger problem would be marketing. Turns out, he's absolutely right. There's no awareness in the comics market for these SKUs. Aside from the occasional though informative blog posts of the Humanoids editor-in-chief, Bob Silva, there's nothing out there on the web about these books. They're being released into a black hole.

    Heck, when I saw this title on the release list for last week, I went to the Humanoids website to learn more about it. The web page for this book is shockingly bare. There's the standard one paragraph tease for the storyline, and that's it. There's no information on what the volume is collecting or what size the pages are. You get a price ($29.95), page count (176), and ISBN number. I think this volume collects the entire story, but I'm not 100% sure of that. There's no answer to that simple, basic question.

    Maybe it's not exclusively Humanoids' fault. Maybe the mainstream American comics press doesn't want to cover this book, lumping it in with all the previous failed English translations of Franco-Belgian material. But with John Cassaday art inside and Humanoids' inability to inform anyone about what material they're offering on their own website, I'm beginning to think it isn't that simple.

    Sadly, Humanoids is doomed to die again.

    There we go. It only took me, what, four months to sour on this initiative? That might be a record, even for me.

  • "Scratch 9" #1, which I reviewed here a couple of weeks back, is now available in stores. Its publisher, APE Entertainment, also published "Shrek" #1 at the same time.

  • "Daytripper" #10 completes the well-received miniseries by everyone's favorite Brazilian brothers, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. It's a title whose every review has been glowing, each burning brighter than the month's before. Honestly, it's a title that I've been looking forward to reading in a collected edition for months. And DC already has it on the schedule. All we have to do is wait another five months.

    Five months?!?

    Way to capitalize on the good word of mouth for the title, DC. By the time the trade paperback - not even a hardcover, but a trade - comes out in February, it's going to take a few lengthy reminders to get people excited for the book again. And don't tell me that my local retailer has issues #1-#10 sitting on their shelves for me to read if I don't want to wait. Nor do I think any of the issues ever went back for a second printing. I don't think demand was ever that high. But once you've got a finished property like "Daytripper," I think it behooves you to capitalize on it with a quick turnaround. The people who read the first eight issues aren't about to skip issues 9 and 10 because they know they can buy a collection a couple of months later. And those who read the reviews along the line and heard many people mention it over the course of ten months are going to want their instant gratification. In February, they'll be talking about some other book.

    I think DC is squandering an opportunity here.

    By the way, "Joe the Barbarian" is slated for a hardcover collection in February as well, though I bet that gets delayed due to the monthly's tardiness. Of course, just as I say that, I see that the next issue is due in comic shops this week. Theoretically, it could make a February ship date. If the last issue ships that late and they still make a February publication date for the collection, then we'll know that DC is only beholden to the bookstores that they have to plan more than six months out in advance for. If "Daytripper" requires a five month waiting period, why shouldn't "Joe the Barbarian?"

  • I liked this listing: "Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #63 (Deluxe Edition), $19.99"

    The jokes write themselves here, don't they? Take your pick: Foil embossed, or die-cut cover? Which one raises dirtier thoughts in your mind?

  • "Image Firsts: Liberty Meadows" #1 is part of Image's comics-for-a-dollar plan. I've been told that those trades of Frank Cho's comic strip still sell, but I'm not sure I believe it. The comic strip is dead. Cho hasn't done much work in comics lately, and the work he has done has been on superhero properties, not funny bawdy talking animals. Is the improbably-titled "Ultimate New Ultimates" really enough to relight the "Liberty Meadows" fire? What is Image promoting with this dollar comic? Is there a warehouse somewhere at Diamond with far too many "Liberty Meadows" trades piled up in it? I don't see it.

    I half expect to see a "Liberty Meadows Omnibus" in the next Previews catalog now.

  • "Alison Dare" made her return to book publishing, with Tundra Books doing the honors. The two volumes collect her adventures from the Oni Press days a few years back. I'm afraid to look up just how long ago the stories first came out. I suspect it's about 7 or 8 years ago now. "Alison Dare: Heart of the Maiden" and "Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures" are slim trades for $11 that are fun for the whole family. J. Torres wrote the stories and J. Bone handled the art. Wonderful books. If you missed them the first time out, or just happen to have a daughter during this go-around, give the books a shot.

  • On the other end of the spectrum, Dark Horse reprinted Adam Warren's "Empowered" Volume 1 in preparation for that series' sixth volume to show up in stores this week.

  • Slightly related to the previous two bullet points, I was amused to see NBM's blog pointing out its December solicitations, posting their Eurotica releases just above "The Smurfs." Awkward!
PIPELINE: FIVE YEARS AGO

Let's travel back in time now, to Pipeline #431 for September 13th, 2010.

I was in the middle of the "Short Box Chronicles," a time when I was attempting to clear out the unread comics by reviewing as many of them as quickly as possible. 2005 was an interesting period.

"The Walking Dead" was up to issue #21. I not only reviewed that issue, but also an original graphic novel about zombies, "Dead West," and a short-lived Image reprint/remake (?) zombie series, "Dead World" #1.

Brian Bendis was ending his run on "Daredevil" with Alex Maleev. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey did a six part miniseries, "The Twilight Experience," at WildStorm.

Coincidentally, I reviewed one of my convention purchases of the year, Enrico Casarosa's "The Adventures of Mia" #2. Casarosa later did the wonderful autobiographical original graphic novel, "The Venice Chronicles," which I reviewed a couple weeks back.

JMS' "Amazing Spider-Man" run was in full swing, as Peter Parker was moving into the Avengers headquarters, and Mark Brooks was doing some nice fill-in art work.

And I had just added the Top Ten format to the Pipeline Podcast, which was only nine months old at that point.

Five years from today, I plan on chuckling over my wishes for larger comics and faster comics. So blows the winds of time, kicking sand up into my face.

OTHER QUICK THOUGHTS

  • Alan Moore might be a bit conspiratorial (or he might be dead-on right), but I don't blame him one bit. Good for him for walking away from it all. Personally, I'd take all of the money Warner Bros. wants to give me just to punish them. Moore is a bit more high-minded, though. In the meantime, Tom Spurgeon wins. I'm a bit disappointed by how quickly the collected wisdom of the internet ignored many of Moore's basic points, chose to pick on a couple of phrases, and let DC slide. Thankfully, Spurgeon cleared the muck.

  • Sold a big pack of "Walking Dead" comics on eBay last week for big (related to comics) money. I'm past the collector's mentality for my comics, so it didn't hurt to let them go. I have all of those stories in hardcover format, and I can live with that. I'll miss the letters columns in the back, though, just for historical purposes. This also marks the first time I've ever gotten rid of a comic that I had a letter printed in. That was issue #7.

  • Top Shelf is having an insane sale. Jeff Lemire's "Essex County" trilogy is collected for only $20 softcover/$25 hardcover. That's a ridiculous value for those books and I'd highly recommend them. "Three Fingers" is a classic for only $10. The Owly hardcovers are only $10.

  • Pardon me while I squeal with delight at seeing Ken Knudtsen's "My Monkey's Name is Jennifer, Volume 2" is now listed on Amazon. I loved that first series. The release date they list is August 10th, so maybe it's already available at both of the comic shops that ordered it?

Next week: More Pipeline!

Meanwhile, at VariousAndSundry.com, it's a week long photo essay on my trip to shoot the World Trade Center Memorial Lights.

How to get in touch: Twitter @augiedb || E-mail || Pipeline Message Board

Where else I hang out: AugieShoots.com || iPhone Photo Blog || VariousandSundry.com

TAGS:  pipeline, humanoids, i am legion

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