Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reprint This! Update on Flex Mentallo

Everybody online has beat me to this, but Flex Mentallo, featured here back in August of '09, is currently scheduled for a new hardback collection in the fall of 2011. Commentary is ongoing at several good blogs, including Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading and Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sugar & Spike: DC Comes to its Senses, Then Remembers That it is DC and Screws Up Again

For about ten seconds, all was right in the universe. Next summer, DC Comics is going to reprint the first ten issues of Sheldon Mayer's amazingly funny and cute Sugar & Spike.

Unfortunately, reality soon set in. They're doing it as a pricy, sixty dollar hardcover in their Archives line. Amazon listing.

I think somebody at DC missed the bit about these being kid's comics. The really crazy thing is that they have recently started up a line of 100-page $8 books reprinting recent superhero comics, and that's a line that makes sense for the material, even more than those big, thick Showcase Presents books. Look, Sugar & Spike is wonderful and silly, but it is for children. Sixty-dollar hardcovers are not. Get your heads together, DC!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fantagraphics Announces Barnaby for 2012

Here's some nice news from Fantagraphics. Just the other day, I was selling a customer on how she needed to buy a copy of The Carrot Seed on account of the nice cover artwork by Crockett Johnson, and now one of our favorite US-based publishers announces a complete run of the artist's celebrated Barnaby, which ran in newspapers from 1942-1952. Says Eric Reynolds over at Fantagraphics:

"This is a dream come true for us at Fantagraphics; Barnaby has literally been at the top of our wish list (or mine, personally, at least) for over a decade. The series will collect the strip's original run of dailies (, from April 1942 through February 1952, including the Ted Ferro and Jack Morley run from January 1946 to September 1947, for which Johnson consulted on before coming back to the strip for good until it's end in 1952."

Of course, we have to temper our enthusiasm just a hair when the announcement goes on to include a request of collectors for best-possible-quality copies of the first nineteen months of the strip. I think that's the same damn issue that's delayed their projected Pogo reprints for more than three years. Here's hoping the first book of Barnaby will indeed be on the shelves in April '12, in time for the strip's seventieth anniversary!

Additional, superior reporting available from Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter, who broke the story and Heidi McDonald at The Beat.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crash and Burn: What the heck is happening with British reprints?

Downright depressing news from lots of places, but what has spurred me into action is a new report from the otherwise always-a-pleasure-to-read Steve Holland at Bear Alley. Looks like we're coming up on a winter of discontent, and many hoped-for projects have been postponed, delayed or canceled outright.

Doctor Who: "The Crimson Hand": I've been watching this develop for several months now, and the news gets worse all the time. After twelve collected editions of the Doctor Who comic, a license dispute between the BBC and Panini has scuttled the third and final edition of Tenth Doctor episodes and left the whole line up in the air.

Panini collected all of the terrific Fourth and Fifth Doctor stories, all the weird Sixth Doctor ones and all the amazingly good Eighth Doctor ones. There weren't quite enough Ninth Doctor stories, but they did release a 100-page magazine with all those, and they released one in a proposed series of Seventh Doctor books, some of which at least were drawn well. (The late 80s and early 90s were a... troubled time for the comic.)

The Tenth Doctor's adventures were compiled in a pair of books called "The Bride of Sontar" and "The Widow's Curse." The storylines were meant to be wrapped up in "The Crimson Hand," but DWM's editor Tom Spilsbury confirmed on the Gallifrey Base Forum that the book never went to print. Spilsbury has, understandly, been tight-lipped about the rumors that have been spreading about why it was canceled and whether we might see it in the future, but there's a wide gap between "understandable" and "preferable" when you're a fan.

For my money, the strip has been weaker since the property returned to TV, but that's not to say it's at all bad, and that last Donna Noble comic, "Time of My Life," was so terrific that there wasn't a hat size to fit it. I don't buy Doctor Who Magazine, but the consensus among fans is that this last chunk of Tenth Doctor stories really was fun and special. I was really looking forward to Panini's collection of them.

Century 21: I reviewed the fourth volume of these reprints over at my Bookshelf blog last month, concluding that their production was going to keep me from preordering any more of them. An anonymous commenter suggested that Reynolds & Hearn was having some business trouble.

In a post earlier today, Steve (who, unlike me, enjoyed the reprints, which included wonderful artwork by the likes of Ron Embleton and Frank Bellamy) confirmed that Reynolds & Hearn has liquidated and resolved to close the company, leaving the proposed fifth volume up in the air. Whether another company which has acquired their publishing list does put "They Walk Among Us" back on the schedule has yet to be determined.

Titan Books: Charley's War, James Bond, Battle Picture Weekly, Action, Misty: But the real personal heartbreak comes from learning that internal business at Titan has left a whole pile of long-anticipated classic comics in limbo. There have been problems here for some time; Diamond did not ship the most recent volumes of Charley's War (from last year, vol. 6) and James Bond (from the spring, vol. 17) to my comic shop, and has no additional stock to meet my store's request, so I'm waiting for Titan to make an "offered again" opportunity for Bizarro Wuxtry to reorder them.

In the meantime, Titan has been soliciting one Battle collection after another, without actually producing any of them. Every few months, Previews will list another title and it will get ordered and everybody will wonder what the heck has happened to all the previous titles that they've offered. For those without long memories, these include:

Johnny Red Vol. 1: Falcon's First Flight
Darkie's Mob
The Best of Land Battle
Rat Pack Vol. 1
Major Eazy Vol. 1
The Best of Action Vol. 1
The Best of Misty Vol. 1

None of these have been formally canceled, although Holland does believe that the company's Roy of the Rovers line is dead. Darkie's Mob, by John Wagner and the late Mike Western, hasn't been officially kicked to 2011 yet, but nobody's optimistic enough to suggest that it will actually arrive before Christmas. And the seventh volume of Charley's War, which I believe deals with the infamous "monocled mutineer" Percy Toplis, is still scheduled for next month. Shame I can't read volume six first.

Oh yeah, and Fantagraphics pushed the first Pogo book back again, to December. That's not British, but it's intended as a Christmas gift, so I'm steamed about it.

Hopefully the next time I find some reason to update this blog, it'll be with good news...!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reprint This! Update on Major Eazy

The great war series Major Eazy by Alan Hebden and Carlos Ezquerra has been my personal favorite strip from the pages of Battle Picture Weekly, and was among the original features listed here hoping for a reprint. (See the original article.) A handful of episodes showed up in Titan's Best of Battle trade paperback last year, and we've been waiting for more.

The current (August 2010) issue of previews at last includes a solicitation for a hardcover collection of the series. It reads as follows:

From the pages of Battle, Britain's best-loved war comic! Major Eazy is a maverick soldier in a dirty war, caught up in the Allies' invasion of Italy in 1944 and determined to see justice done. Even when that means taking on villains on his own side, he doesn't pull any punches! More movie star than military, Eazy was the most laconic British officer ever to grace the pages of a comic.

The book, hopefully first in a series, is scheduled for release October 27 with a $19.95 retail price.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Announcements and things in the wake of Comic-Con

I've been setting aside a few announcements over the last couple of months that I thought were interesting. In the wake of some new good news, I'm putting these in one place to reference. Honestly, things have been pretty slow on this front lately, with no new licenses announced from among the few dozen I've mentioned in this blog previously. That said...

Drawn and Quarterly announced a series of annual collections of Doug Wright's Nipper. Obviously, Seth thinks more of this guy's stuff than I do, but I'm curious to sit down with some of it at some point.

Dark Horse has a mammoth 496-page collection of Dave McKean's Cages as well as a new edition of Jill Thompson's Scary Godmother.

Fantagraphics finally - boy, this is overdue - has a September 2010 release date for the first in their long-anticipated collections of Walt Kelly's Pogo. Also, they've got a second hardcover collection of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting, which my wife enjoys more than me, in December. They've also got a series of collections of the classic Mickey Mouse adventure strip coming in 2011.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reprint This! Update on Rian Hughes

In April of last year, I proposed that what we really needed on bookshelves was a nice set of Rian Hughes' work for 2000 AD. It turns out that the good folk at Rebellion have met me halfway on the project and, this month, released all of Hughes' splendid episodes of Robo-Hunter.

To give a little background, Robo-Hunter, as told by John Wagner, Alan Grant and Ian Gibson, concluded in 1985. Seven years later, the property was revived by Mark Millar and a rotating team of artists. Two one-off episodes were also contributed by writer John Smith. These episodes proved to be very unpopular with readers, and when Peter Hogan took over as writer, most people didn't notice, despite the fact that Rian Hughes illustrated all but one of the fourteen episodes. I've written extensively about the underrated magic of Peter Hogan's tenure and it won't take you long to find a Thrillpowered Thursday or a dozen or so message board threads where I've raved about them.

Last year, Rebellion issued a big phonebook omnibus of Robo-Hunter tales. This was solicited by Diamond to American comic shops but the distributor later canceled the orders, leaving those of us who wanted it to buy it from England. The second volume was not even solicited here, but the first reports on the book came out last week. Frankly, I was expecting a slightly thinner volume than the first, just concluding the Wagner/Grant/Gibson canon of stories, but Rebellion has pulled a nice surprise on us.

Nobody was expecting the Mark Millar run to be included, and of course it is not. Despite some occasionally nice art by Anthony Williams and Simon Jacob, his run is universally derided as a point-missing waste of paper. However, they did include one of the two Smith-written episodes, with art by Chris Weston, and all fourteen Peter Hogan episodes - that's thirteen episodes drawn by Hughes and one drawn by Jacob. The stories are silly, whimsical detective adventures and Hughes draws the hell out of them, designing a strange, timelost world of atomic-age architecture and zap guns. Their inclusion is just about the greatest news we've ever had, and it's downright criminal that Diamond didn't want to carry this book. (And that it has completely snuck up on buyers without a word of hype!!)

That's something like seventy pages of Rian Hughes awesomeness that many people have never seen, just waiting for you in a book that's also got something like 250 pages of Ian Gibson at his greatest. Here, I even found it on Amazon UK for you. Run, don't walk!