July 27, 2011

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Opinions on Some San Diego Comi-Con Announcements

So the San Diego Comi-Con wrapped up a few days ago, and while I wasn't there despite my best efforts to get my astral form to float all the way there (best I could do was reach Peoria), I did spend much time as I could following the efforts of my comics-writing friends who were there.

This is the second of my two follow-ups to the Comi-Con, where I look at a few of the many, many non-digital announcements. (You can read the digital article here.) Thanks so much to all the comics bloggers who were out there providing information to the rest of us. I couldn't have written this without you, even if I don't directly link to something you posted.

For a pretty-good general roundup, may I recommend Comics Alliance?

Overall, the biggest news for me was Viz going digital for all web browsers. But a close second was Fantagraphics' announcement that they not only have the rights to EC Comics, they're going to release them by artist instead of in a chronological order. This is incredibly awesome, and while my wife was teasing me about collecting them like they were Pokemon, I love the idea of being able to pick and choose. While I love reading old comics, not all of them are awesome enough to need to be on my bookshelf, ya know? Can't wait for these to start arriving, so I can start buying them.

Image also had great news, with a new series by Brian K. Vaughan that might be a bit too fantasy-oriented for my normal taste, but after loving Runaways and digging Ex Machina on the second try, I am all about new Brian K. Vaughan. If Image does this as day and date digital, I might even spring for full price to read it as it happens, a first for me.

Image, by the way, is sure working hard to make themselves a player in the comics world. Maybe I've been napping a bit in this regard, but when I was hearing about Vaughan, Chaykin, Hickman, and others, along with the prolific Kirkman, it occurred to me that Image is not a company to be laughed at anymore. Probably hasn't been for years, I just wasn't paying attention. It does seem to me like they're taking some of the stuff Vertigo might have gotten in the past. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years. Ifanboy called them the publishing star of the show, but I think that might be pushing things a bit too far.

Holy Holy Terror, Batman Batman-looking dude! Frank Miller finally gets this out before it becomes completely irrelevant. I'm hot and cold on Miller's work, so I'll reserve judgment until I can see it for myself. My favorite comment on this is still my friend Ben Towle's, in which he asks how long it's gonna take someone to Photoshop Bat-ears on the thing and send it out into the torrenting world. My guess is on about an hour.

Neither DC nor Marvel had any news that really wowed me. It's not that I don't read capes comics anymore (as a matter of fact, I'm reading more than I did in years thanks to digital comics and a routine of reading one Marvel or DC trade every week from the library), it's more than I no longer really care about the big events they're perpetually coming up with. Once they became a never-ending affair written basically by one person for each company, they stopped being at least different. (I mean, giving Chuck Dixon a company crossover might not have been a brilliant idea, but at least he had a different take on the same old game-changing concepts, ya know?)

Also, seems like the heads of DC are jerks, but some of their creators are not, with Paul Cornell standing out in particular as being a nice guy who really does care about the concerns fans have with the books as they've been pitched. I can't see any world in which I'm not sitting on the sidelines for the DC reboot, given that I don't plan on paying 4 dollars per digital comic. Overall, it feels like DC is really losing the PR battle here left and right, to go along with losing the sales wars and the movie wars. Is Warner Brothers paying attention? Because it strikes me as a recipe for regime change.

Drawn and Quarterly had some good indie stuff for me to pick up at SPX this year, assuming they aren't priced too high, including Kate Beaton's new book and work from Anders Nilsen and Daniel Clowes.

Finally, maybe I'm just not in the loop in the manga world, but this time around, there was nothing announced that really wowed me. It seemed rather subdued in terms of coverage and buzz, which makes me wonder if the translated manga market is in worse shape than we--or at least I--thought.

Okay, that's probably more than enough. Thanks again to everyone from Chris Sims to Laura Hudson to Paul Cornell to Daniella Orihuela-Gruber to the teams of things like Comics Beat and Comics Alliance for helping those of us who weren't at the Con to feel like we were in the loop the whole time. Can you do it again for me next year? Thanks!