A tree grows in Ventura.

§ June 22nd, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on A tree grows in Ventura.

Occasionally, when we get in restocks of some of the more popular trade paperbacks at the store, I’ll take a quick peek at what printing the book is at. No real reason, aside from idle curiosity.

This Wednesday we received a large restock of Superman books (which I thought the store had better have, since I hear tell that there’s a new talkie with Supes coming soon), and in that order were The Death of Superman and its follow-up, World Without A Superman.

The Death of Superman is on its thirteenth printing. That’s no surprise…it was an enormous seller right out of the gate, during the ’90s comics boom, and it’s been a steady seller ever since.

The copies of World Without A Superman we received? Still first printings. The book is thirteen years old, and I’m still able to get first printings (assuming that’s not some kind of misprint) as new items from our distributor.

I know WWAS is hardly the seller DOS is, but I’ve moved my fair share of copies of the book over the years, and surely we’re not the only ones selling the book. So either it’s not selling nearly as well as I thought it had been, or DC, buoyed by the success of the DOS trade, vastly overprinted WWAS…almost certainly a combination of both.

Just thought that was interesting. Yeah, I know, I’m the only one.

Dear Marvel: Why is the Uncanny X-Men Annual numbered #1? Did the previous couple dozen annuals not count? Did the Uncanny X-Men monthly series restart from #1, too, requiring a renumbering of the associated annuals, and I didn’t notice? And why did you release the annual on the same day as the new issue of the monthly series? That annoys me, for some reason.

And cancel New Excalibur already. I mean, honestly…who asked for this?

Love, Mike

Giant-Size Hulk #1 – On one hand, I’m glad that Marvel finally reprinted the Hulk: The End one shot from a few years ago. On the other hand…crap, I already own half this book, but I’m still buying it to get the new stories. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds, really…the new stories are pretty good, with a couple nice self-referential gags — what? In a Peter David story? Surely you jest — in the Hulk/Champions clash, noting the “sliding time scale” of Marvel continuity. And the second story includes a gag reference to events in that Mystery of Edwin Drood of the comics industry, Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine. Plus, it’s nice to be able to read The End in a format that allows you to lay the book out flat on the table, instead of the squarebound “prestige format” which you have to hold open while you read. That last sentence may be the laziest thing I have ever written.

Couple new Boom! Studios books:

Stardust Kid #4 – Picking up where the Image series left off, J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog continue their lushly-illustrated fantasy series, which remains one of the most beautiful-looking comics on the shelves. No one does fantasy setting quite like Ploog, and having his work on the shelves again is quite welcome. DeMatteis’ strength is evoking the emotional depths of characters, and there’s one page in the book, in which two of the characters have a heartfelt discussion, that suprised me at just how effective it was. It’s a full-page splash, with the conversation restricted to a baker’s dozen of captions, and I don’t think it would have been improved by expanding it to a more traditional ten or twelve comic panels filled with word balloons. So, yeah, both these guys really are at the peak of their form here.

X Isle #1 – This is Boom!’s latest entry in the “people thrust into mysterious, unexplained happenings” cultural zeitgeist that’s generated TV shows like Lost and Invasion…this time, it’s mysterious animals washing up on beaches, driving researchers to seek their source.

Now, when I was a kid, I was fascinated by stories about UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and so on…and one of my favorite books was a big hardcover book (still in the Mikester Library) about supposed seamonsters. As an adult, I’m quite a bit more skeptical about this sort of thing (as in “if these things do exist, I haven’t seen any convincing proof yet” — and please, dear reader, don’t take that as a challenge and fill my comments section with links to “evidence”), but seeing the panels in this comic, with the crowd standing around the beached carcass, and the image of the unusual animal found in that carcass’ stomach, reminded me of that same sense of mystery and wonder I once had looking at the grainy photos and old woodcuttings in that seamonsters book. So the comic got my nostalgia sense tingling right from the get-go.

Which doesn’t tell you much about the comic, I realize…Andrew Cosby and Michael A. Nelson do a good job gathering the charcters together and giving them individual voices, while keeping the plot barrelling along and moving our heroes to the source of the mystery. Greg Scott’s art is well done and appropriately moody, but it seems a bit…stretched, as if the art were slightly reformatted to fit the proportions of the page. Everyone seems to be a tad on the skinny side. Yeah, I know, that’s an odd criticism…I’m unfamiliar with the artist’s work, and maybe that’s just his style. If so, don’t mind me. But go get yourself a copy and check it out…it’s a fun read.

For most of our new comics day, the city disallowed all parking on our block while workers jackhammered and ground and dug and just generally made lots of noise. I was thinking we were going to have no business whatsoever, but thankfully our customers’ need for comics outweighed their need for convenient parking and we had one of our busiest Wednesdays in quite a while.

The end result of all that work in front of the store? We now have a tree in front of our shop. A pencil-thin, Charlie Brown Christmas tree-style tree, but a tree nonetheless. Not the tree that was dedicated to my memory, but I’m going to pretend it is, and none of you can stop me.

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