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Monday, October 19, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 101909 -- What's going on? Not much, it seems...

* Tom Spurgeon talks about how and why he uses Abe Books to buy comics and related books. I'm always fascinated by how others seek out and acquire their comics; at the moment, I probably buy 60 percent of mine in area comic shops and 40 percent online on eBay, mycomicshop.com and Amazon.com, among other sites. I am intrigued by Tom's endorsement of Abe Books, though, and will definitely be giving that a look in the next few days.

* Mark Evanier -- a guy who truly knows his comics history -- remembers artist George Tuska and uses his recent death as a springboard to a very thoughtful reflection on the difference between today's comics industry and the comics industry in which Tuska and countless others plied their trade. There's some genuinely important perspective to be found in both these pieces, but the latter is a show-stopper that every comics reader should take the time to read and ponder.

* And actually not beyond, but rather within the galaxy, the Trouble with Comics gang have been keeping busy: David Wynne reports on a recent UK comics convention, Alex Ness talks to some comics retailers about where the industry is going, and the most recent Flashmob Fridays features a number of views on the final issue of Planetary.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 092109 -- "A scrampance of links," my co-worker Kathy might say. It means there ain't much. Let's hope they make up in substance what they lack in quantity.

* New at Comic Book Galaxy's Trouble with Comics: Marc Sobel looks at Disappearance Diary and David Wynne goes in-depth on Grant Morrison's legendary Zenith, and d. emerson eddy has a look at recent Batman developments. Lots of good stuff planned for our new group blog in the days and weeks ahead, and I'm thrilled with how it's come together, and the positive reaction its received from readers and pros so far. I hope you'll give it a look.

* Marc-Oliver Frisch remembers Steve Gerber on the anniversary of his birth; here's my own appreciation, written just after his death.

* Tom Spurgeon considers the changes in comics since he started The Comics Reporter five years ago. I hope I remember to do something that smart when Comic Book Galaxy's tenth anniversary comes around less than a year from now.

* Ooh, see? Substance.

* Uncomics: James Howard Kunstler's new essay "Original Sin," nicely explains how Los Estados Unidos gleefully embraced the elements of its own undoing.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 091409 -- I read these and I think you should too.

* Now through Friday, September 25th Top Shelf is practically giving away many of their books at drastically reduced prices, many as low as $3.00. I suggest some stuff you should definitely consider buying here.

* Michael Crawford gives a thorough going-over to the David Mazzucchelli Batman statue that I love so much it hurts.

* Check out Comic Book Galaxy's new group blog, Trouble with Comics. Some new writers are on board, as well as some old faves. Tell your peeps via your tweets, or whatever it is the cool kids do these days.

* Tom Spurgeon's most recent Five for Friday tackles comics anthologies; I'm in there someplace with my two cents.

* Speaking of comics anthologies, here's my review of Abstract Comics: The Anthology, new from Fantagraphics Books.

* Uncomics: Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart talk Fringe and Star Trek. Worth it for Nimoy's comments on Karl Urban's performance as McCoy in this year's movie.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 091009 -- Today is gonna be great, because it's the one after 9/9/09.

* In what is rapidly turning into Comics Retailing Discussion Week, Chris Allen responds to despondent, lazy retailer Ilan Strasser's recent plea to please let him keep doing everything the same as he always has. Allen also looks at Ng Suat Tong's recent think-piece on writing and collaboration. I really like that smart people are talking about the comics industry they want these days instead of just accepting the loathsome status quo of the past few years.

* Shaenon Garrity examines her relationship with The Comics Journal on the eve of the magazine's gala 300th issue (link via Spurge).

* Tom Spurgeon looks at the shakeup at DC Comics. Long time coming, but we'll see if ultimately means better comics. Kurt Busiek also weighs in, honing in on Paul Levitz's job change with an interesting anecdote and analysis.

* Tony Isabella's 1000 Comics You Must Read is on the way. Tony's writing is always fun and informative, so I'm anxious to see what he highlights in this new volume.

* I wonder if I have the discipline to start saving now for TCAF 2010. That and MoCCA are the two shows I would like to go to at least once before I die. And yet I've been to a Rick Olney-organized convention. Go figure. At least I met Tony Isabella there. Hey, see how I I tied it all together there?

* Uncomics: Howard Stern explains in plain (and occasionally adult) language why racism is what's at the bottom of the rampant hatred for President Barack Obama.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 090909 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Tom Spurgeon follows up on Chris Butcher's analysis of the current, broken Direct Market distribution/retailing model. Must-reading.

* Staying at TCR for a moment, this Tom Spurgeon review of a naff old Teen Titans trade paperback is noteworthy to me because, well, pretty much all Marvel and DC superhero titles read this way to me at the moment. Sometimes pretty, almost always empty.

* Thanks to CBR's Tim Callahan for a very thorough look at my new eBook, Conversations with ADD. It's really intriguing to see what people like and don't like about something like this, and since I have more planned for the near future, I appreciate the feedback. I also totally agree with Tim about Q&As vs. feature interviews pretending to be interviews. Maybe it's growing up with the long Comics Journal interviews, but I love the way a well-conducted and well-edited Q&A can get to the heart of a subject so much better than sprinkling some quotes throughout a feature article ever will.

* Uncomics: The Beatles' 2009 remasters explained (via Sean T. Collins).


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 090809 -- Updated because Christopher Butcher has upset the apple cart of comics discussion with an amazing and enlightening post on comics distribution and retailing.

* Here's the most important comics-related post you'll read this week: Christopher Butcher goes into deep detail to explain how Diamond broke the back of the Direct Market, turning it from what it was in the early 1980s (a spectacular array of new and different wonders in every comic shop from coast to coast) into what it is now (too depressing to even describe). As I said in the comments to Chris's post, the 1980s DM was "a beneficent byproduct of multiple distributors all vying to be the most relevant and the best at what they were doing. That’s the model that allowed Cerebus, Love and Rockets and (yep) Bone to find their audience despite the fact that initial orders on all of them were virtually non-existent. It’s heartbreaking to think the next Jaime or Gilbert could be out there right now making nascent miracles of comics in their bedrooms that we’ll never know about thanks to Diamond’s shortsightedness and eye-poppingly poor stewardship of their role in the current scheme of things." The Beguiling (where Butcher works) and the very few stores like it should be the model for any retailer who wants to still be selling comics in five years. Be active, look forward, find ways around Diamond's self-destructive policies before they kill your comic shop. I hope every single person reading this post will click over and see what he has to say, and do comics a favour and pass the link along.

* I doubt anyone browsing their comics blogs stops here before they stop at Tom Spurgeon's The Comics Reporter, but in case you did and you took the US Labor Day holiday off, check out Ng Suat Tong's piece on Writing, Collaboration and Superheroes; then read Jamie S. Rich's response.

* Chris Allen's Humbug review won me over with the amazing observation that "We've lived long enough that Frank Miller embarrasses Jim Lee with his effort."

* Matt Brady previews this week's new releases (available in most shops on Thursday this week instead of Wednesday, if you care).

* Oh, I posted my own graphic novel shelf porn over the weekend. Have a look, if you missed it.

* Uncomics: How to Speed Up Your Computer. I'm more than a little leery of PC tweaks after screwing up my machine so badly a few weeks ago, but these maintenance tips seem pretty basic and sensible.


Download my free new eBook of nearly four dozen interviews with comics creators, Conversations with ADD, by clicking here. A full list of interview subjects can be found here.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 090509 --

* At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins looks at the wide world of Cold Heat, the comic too tough for Diamond to kill, despite its best efforts.

* Johanna is giving away a copy of X-Men: Misfits, but you have to enter to win before Sunday night, so zip over to CWR now.

* Chris Allen dives into the mini-controversy over comments Marvel editor Tom Brevoort made about the racial makeup of the Marvel Universe (and the Marvel Readership). Some interesting notes here about the way other writers chose to present Brevoort's statement.

* Here's a preview of the next Criminal storyline. Really looking forward to re-immersing myself in this world.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Beyond The Galaxy 090309 -- It's the very nearly all about me edition.

* In talking about my new eBook Conversations with ADD, Bubba at Comic Book Galaxy's A Criminal Blog digs deep into the eBook to find an interesting nugget: Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips once planned a comic called Black Sails. What happened to it, and what elements from it ended up in Criminal and Incognito? Also: Some Twitter highlights from recent Brubaker posts.

* Related: Chris Allen watches Ed Brubaker's Angel of Death and reports on what he sees. I saw it the wrong way, edited and censored on Spike, and still managed to love it.

* Blogger Stephen Saperstein Frug plugs my new eBook and another interesting new PDF release as well, and makes an intriguing observation about the relative perceived value of internet writing in PDF form vs. blogs or websites. This one has me thinking about the future, for sure.

* Received but not yet read: Jeff Lemire's The Complete Essex County in gorgeous, limited edition hardcover. Buy this book, folks.

* Picked up last night: David Mazzucchelli Batman Black and White statue. I love Mazzucchelli's work, and his Batman is my desert island Batman, if you know what I mean. This statue is so great that I literally now have six bucks left to my name and don't regret it. Much.

* Uncomics: I've been loving Tom Crippen's recent Star Trek writing. Like this one.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 090209 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Looking at the six-page preview for the final issue of Planetary made me want to re-read every Ellis-written issue of Stormwatch, The Authority and Planetary over a long weekend.

* Steve Bissette is on tour supporting his new book, The Vermont Monster Guide.

* The final (for now) issue of Incognito by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips hits the streets today. As usual, Bubba has the news and analysis at Comic Book Galaxy's spinoff site A Criminal Blog. I'm looking forward to reading the entire series in one sitting, and even more eager to find out what that no-good Lawless boy has been up to when Criminal gets back under way.

* File under things I learned on Facebook: Amazing comics creators Rob Vollmar and John Porcellino agree with me that September is better than all the other months combined.

* Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talks to cartoonist Mike Dawson about his upcoming work, Ace-Face. Looking forward to that, and loved Freddie and Me. What I really want, though, is a Gabagool Omnibus. Come on, comics!

* Thanks for linking to my eBook yesterday: Jog, Johanna, Khaled, Mike, Mike, Tom. And whoever else I missed!

* Hilarious Because It's True Department: The Code of the Self-Checkout.

* Serious question: Whatever happened to Dick Hyacinth?

* Not Comics: Leonard Nimoy explains the emotions behind his return to Star Trek after an 18-year layoff. Fascinating.


Download my free new eBook of nearly four dozen interviews with comics creators, Conversations with ADD, by clicking here. A full list of interview subjects can be found here.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 083109 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Tom Spurgeon moves his Best Comics of the Decade list into the next phase.

* Eddie Campbell makes a long, impassioned argument for the relevance and beauty of Will Eisner's work on the military maintenance magazine PS. Campbell's ultimate conclusion is a bit startling, and definitely thought-provoking. I hope this one gets people talking.

* Chris Allen reviews the Xeric Award-assisted Old Man Winter by JT Yost.

* I'm looking forward to seeing what Sean T. brings to Robot 6 this week.

* Reminder: Tuesday (tomorrow) is the day my new eBook Conversations with ADD becomes available for download. I hope you stop back here and have a look. It kind of freaks me out that I've already published the download post in Blogger, so even if I drop dead five minutes from now, you'll still get to read it. Not that I want to put any pressure on you or anything.

* Not Comics: Roger Ebert on The Plague of Movie Trivia. Applicable to discussions of comics trivia as well. I find much of what Ebert says is relevant to comics as well...just substitute "comics," where he says movies, "Alan Moore," when he says "Orson Welles," and "Geoff Johns," when he says "Michael Bay."


Friday, August 28, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 082809 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Only Chris Allen could convince me that maybe I should check out the new issue of Fantastic Four.

* Today is the anniversary of Jack Kirby's birth. I recently read Fantastic Four Omnibus Vol. 2, and taking in that much Kirby/Sinnott artwork all at once made me really and truly realize how powerful and paradigm-shifting their creative partnership was. Kirby could be, and frequently was, great under the hands of other inkers. But his FF work with Joe Sinnott redefined what superhero comics looked liked for an entire generation, and not just of comic book readers, either. I doubt the industry will ever see Kirby's unique combination of talent, energy and work ethic combined in one artist ever again.

* Hmm, this is intriguing. The Rolling Stone of comics discussion, you say?

* Not Comics: This came in handy as I was rebuilding my PC after having to reformat the hard drive -- 43 free Windows enhancements you should know about.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 082709 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Sean Phillips draws the living hell out of The Spirit. Man, that is one of the nicest pieces of art I have seen in a long, long time.

* My daughter needs to see Christopher Butcher's photos of this mammoth manga store in Japan.

* Tom Spurgeon's list of works to consider as best comics of the decade is getting longer and longer. One of the more useful projects on a comics blog in some time.

* Not Comics: My thanks to Brian Florence for saving my computer in a four-hour reformatting session Tuesday night. I wouldn't be here without him.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 082409 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Chris Allen reflects on his 40th birthday with a bravura post that you really have to read for yourself.

* Tom Spurgeon begins collating nominees for the best comics of the decade. This could be a very interesting project to keep an eye on.

* Not Comics: Mikal Gilmore examines the process of writing his new Rolling Stone cover article on the breakup of the Beatles. Planning to buy the issue as soon as I can, really looking forward to reading this piece.

Sorry so short today; spent most of Sunday editing the upcoming eBook, and besides, hardly anybody talks about comics over the weekend.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 082209 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Frank Santoro explains his comment about 80 percent of alt.comix lacking structure, and yeah, I get it now. Makes sense. I think I'm down with what he's saying here. That said, I'll take just about any "unstructured" artcomic over the "structure" found in 100 percent of current Marvel and DC titles any-freaking-day.

* Sean T. Collins looks at West Coast Blues.

* Chris Allen likes The Lone Ranger Vol. 2.

* In a rambling but extremely thoughtful essay, Geoff Grogan examines the effect of format upon the experience of art. Grogan knows from formats, being the creator of Look Out! Monsters.

* Not Comics: Wil Wheaton looks back at a key moment of his early fame, and remembers his experiences filming and promoting Stand By Me. Wheaton's reminiscences and anecdotes are always entertaining and insightful; I can't believe someone who's had the career he has is so straightforward and balanced, which is why I love his writing.

* Say, reader, you enjoying these Beyond the Galaxy posts at all? Just curious if you find them useful. Let me know.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 082109 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Sorry to see Shawn Hoke's Size Matters (which started here at Comic Book Galaxy) is calling it a day. Shawn's giving away a big box of mini-comics as a farewell gesture, so get over there and enter his contest. (Link via Sean T.)

* Tom Spurgeon reviews the new Jacques Tardi crime graphic novel from Fantagraphics, West Coast Blues.

* Do you know what Eddie Campbell's favourite TV series is? The answer may surprise you.

* Ah, Jason Marcy. Still willing to express the truth about your inner life at the cost of a peaceful dinnertime with the wife. It's just these kind of brutally honest strips of his that keep me coming back for more. I could find a way to link to the exact strip I am talking about, but scroll down -- it's the one with "July 13th" handwritten at the top of it.

* Not Comics: Nik Dirga writes something of an open letter to Kevin Smith. I'm kind of in the same place as Nik, although I haven't seen Zack and Miri Make a Porno and don't really plan to. I did get a review copy of Smith's latest book, a collection of transcripts of his podcasts, and other than a hilariously filthy story about his dogs mating against his will, the whole thing was really a waste of time, energy and paper. I love enough of Smith's work to think he could be pretty close to a Tarantino-level talent if he knew how to focus the gifts that he has, but it seems like he tends to go for the easy laugh and passive income-earning (how much work did he have to do to make the book happen once he'd recorded the podcasts?) rather than really planning out a career for himself.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 082009 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Abhay Khosla's Bram Stoker's Dracula is definitely in the running as one of the best comics of the year. And I don't say that just because I want to have a sex change operation and bear Abhay many ugly Doane-Khosla babies; I say it also because it's just the greatest thing since Street Angel.

* Tom Spurgeon weighs in with some of the negative effects the planned Diamond skip week could have on the direct market.

* Also in Spurgeville, Tom gets a quote from Eric Reynolds at Fantagraphics about the hiring of Jacq Cohen (congrats, Jacq!) as the publisher's new publicist. Having worked with Eric Reynolds for a decade now on all things publicity (both here on CBG and in my radio gig), I must say it's strange to see such a huge change at my favourite comics publisher, but Eric and Jacq are both extraordinary professionals who make the comics industry better by their participation in it, and I am pleased as punch for both of them.

* Chris Allen posts the second part of what it means to be a fan of an artist over the long term.

* Mark Evanier wants to bring back the comic book letters page. This kind of dovetails with my strong feeling that any first issue that doesn't have a well-written introductory text piece is really a failure as a first issue. I really find more value in any comic that takes the time and space to speak to me as a reader, recent good examples being Fell, Casanova and Criminal. The Conan letters pages are always of interest, as well, and I like the "Two-Gun Bob" strips they always include. That definitely rings of added value and caring about the reader beyond the basic demand of filling up 22 pages with comic book storytelling.

* Over on CBG spinoff A Criminal Blog, Bubba relates the latest news on Criminal and Incognito.

* Sean T. Collins shares his formula for graphic novels likely to get sales boosts from movie adaptations.

* Not comics: HP Lovecraft was born 119 years ago today. Read his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 081909 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* Chris Butcher on Diamond taking two weeks off from delivering comics at the end of this year. Having given up the weekly comic shop habit (I stop in once or twice a month to pick up my subscribed books, and buy more often online and at mainstream bookstores like Borders), I don't much care one way or the other, but the reaction could be interesting.

* The new Comics Journal (#299) is in Direct Market stores today. I got mine a week ago and love it, especially the absolutely essential Bob Levin cover article.

* TCJ message board discussion of the end of Richard Sala's Delphine, which I really dug and need to reread in its entirety.

* Hipster Dad looks at Bring on the Bad Guys, one of the essential superhero anthologies of my childhood. I've managed to find cheap copies of Origins of Marvel Comics and Son of Origins, wish I could find this one.

* Augie remembers the late and truly great Mike Wieringo, with lots of art and a great final quote from Ringo.

* Not comics: HP Lovecraft Wikipedia entry and archive of his fiction.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beyond the Galaxy 081809 -- Being an occasional assemblage of links to posts and articles I found enjoyable, informative and/or infuriating.

* A succinct summation of how the Watchmen movie missed the point of the graphic novel.

* Christopher Allen (and Happy Birthday, Chris!) begins a look at the fickle finger of fandom.

* Frank Santoro loves Tom Kaczynski's comics as much as me, and understands and explains them even better.

* Christopher Butcher does one of his long-ass posts that I always love, this one about the emerging Mega-Culture.

* Spurge interviews Josh Neufeld. I am really looking forward to reading AD: New Orleans After the Deluge.

* My favourite quote of the week, from Dirk Deppey: "Wesley Smith asks why movie sales don’t translate into comics sales. Actually, they sometimes do: Dan Clowes’ Ghost World and various Alan Moore-written books do in fact see a distinct increase in sales following the release of film adaptations. The trick is creator-centric, as the books that do well tend to be made by skilled storytellers and possess novel-like beginnings, middles and endings."

* Not comics: I loves me some chicken.

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