Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Comic Shop News #1069

sg...I'm glad to see I'm not the only one lamenting the end of DC's digest line!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Archie's Pals 'n Gals #116 - Dec. 2007

sgI had decided awhile back to check in on the current crop of Archie digests, but had yet to get around to picking one up.

Then a few weeks ago, I had to take my Dad to get some surgery (minor, thankfully) and I was waiting around while it was being done. I knew I had an hour or so, so I went to the nearest supermarket to run a few errands, and while I was waiting in line, I saw this and I grabbed it.

So there I sat, in the waiting room, listening to the audiobook of Alan Weisman's World Without Us on my iPod, while reading an Archie digest. Yes, I am a renaissance man.

You do get quite a value for your money with these--over 190 pages of material from various eras of Archie comics, starring(in order) Nancy, Archie, Reggie, Sabrina, Big Moose, Lil' Jinx, Jughead, Coach Kleats, Little Sabrina, Little Archie, Ethel, Josie and the Pussycats, plus lots of fun, old-school puzzle and game pages. They could've published this same collection in 1997, 1987, or 1977; and that's part of Archie Comics' enduring charm.

There's a one-page sequence, the only one of its kind in the book, featuring Archie and Jughead but rendered in full Photoshop coloring. Nice try, but when you've got such a cartoony set of characters, trying to put them inside a more realistically-colored world just doesn't work. Flat color is just fine, boys!

...and that wraps up our first Digest Comics update(Archie always seems like a good one to go out on). But I'm sure we'll be back before you know it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Disney Adventures - November 2007

sgThis is the final issue of Disney Adventures...*sniff* I even bought this at an old-fashioned, tobacco-aromaed newsstand, to make the whole experience just a little more perfect.

Inside is the usual fun grab-bag of features, like:
a collage of all the previous DA covers
kids writing in to say what hero they'd like to be the sidekick for(one young girl picked Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman...hey, that was my idea!)
"Dizzy Adventures" by the great Matt Feazell
an article on Ratatouille(Matt Feazell and Patton Oswalt in the same issue? tre cool!)
a cutely clever puzzle sequence starring a werewolf
"Wulf and Merl" by Drew Weing
"How to Draw Chef Skinner"
"The Replacements" by Todd Clark and Min Ku
"Jet Pack Pets" by Michael Stewart and Scott Koblish
"Kid Gravity" by Landry Walker and Eric Jones
"The Great Mouse Detective" by Elizabeth Watasin
an absoslutely gorgeous one-page feature on The Scarecrow(meeting the Headless Horseman, no less), painted by Bret Blevins
"Fozzie Bear" by Roger Landridge
"Duck Tales" by Walker and Jones
"Gorilla Gorilla" by Art Baltazar
and "Disney's Tall Tails" by Glenn McCoy

...I feel a little ashamed that I overlooked this magazine for so long, considering the amount of really fun material that's in it, especially the Comic Zone stuff, which probably introduced more kids to comics in a single issue than a year of DC and Marvels.

Nice job, Disney Adventures!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Magnus The Robot Fighter Golden Comics Digest

sgDigest Fan Neal Snow was so bothered at the idea that Gold Key never did a Magnus, Robot Fighter digest collection that he went ahead and made one up for himself! Love that good old-fashioned "can do" spirit!

Beautiful job, Neal, now get going on the other hundred or so pages!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Golden Comics Digest #34 - Jan. 1974

sgAnother guest submission, this time from DigestFan Neal Snow:
Lotsa reading fun for a measly 50 cents. Looney Tunes favorites like Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety, Elmer Fudd, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester, Daffy Duck and the Roadrunner are featured, and I have no clue which Gold Key artists are responsible, but it's a solid package.

Sad that these kind of comics, especially in this format, are not published anymore."

Amen to that, Neal, and as anyone can see from the scan you sent, this copy was obviously read, re-read, and re-read some more, just like good comics are supposed to be!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The House of Mystery #1 - 1973

sgThere was definitely a movement happening in the early 1970s, where we saw mainstream comics publishers try their hands at paperback editions featuring prose stories and spot illustrations--y'know, just like real books!

Marvel did a book called Haunt of Horror(they also did a b/w magazine with that title), and DC did this, a paperback edition of the House Of Mystery. I had never seen this volume before, but when I saw this awesomely creepy Berni Wrightson cover, I couldn't say no(well, I could have, I guess--I just didn't want to!).

The book features eight prose stories, all by Jack Oleck, about twenty-thirty pages each:
"Chamber of Horrors", "Nightmare", "Collector's Item", "Born Loser", "Tomorrow, The World", "The Haunting", "You Only Die Once", and "Act of Grace."

Each story also features a sweet full-page illustration by Wrightson, and as you can see he was in his element here, doing some of his best work(and that's saying something!):
sg...there's also a nice opening page piece featuring Cain, the only reference to the comic's host in the entire book.

I don't know if these stories were ever adapted into comics(before or after), but it does make for a nice spooky collection of tales.

DC did do a second volume, but I think that was it. I don't remember ever seeing an ad for these in the comics themselves, which seems odd to me.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Zombies Calling - SLG

sgI saw this in Previews a month or two back, and the cover was so cool that I ordered it on a whim. Plus its hard to go wrong with zombies!

This is a digest-sized, 116-page book that obviously owes more to the style of manga than a classic "digest" comic, but I enjoyed it throughly, and I thought why not occasionally talk about something current?

It's the story of a college student named Joss and her two friends who know zombie movies by heart, yet are still a little shocked when real zombies show up on their college campus!

The story moves at a nice clip, the characterizations are sharp, and I especially liked the art(by Faith Erin Hicks, who also wrote it)--kind of like a cross between the loosey-goosey linework of Paul Pope over the thick, big-eyed stylization of Chynna Clugston, which was appealing to the eye. There's a lot going on in this book, but it never seemed crowded or hard to read, and Hicks has a nice sense of design(as the cover indicates).

There's also some character sketches and some bio material, making for a very nice package. And for $9.95, it's a good value, too(especially when you think about how a 22-page floppy book that takes two minutes to read costs a third of this!).

I really think this format is going to be the future of comics--more value, no ads, and hopefully more of a singular voice. And you know, we're not talking about some esoteric, navel-gazing self-involved comics-as-therapy book here, this is a good old-fashioned zombie story! It's commerical as hell, and I hope we see more from Ms.Hicks in the future.