The above number is not my checking account balance… Nor how much I spent to fill up my Humvee’s gas tank. (I wouldn’t own such a vehicle if you gave it to me.) It’s the amount I spent on comic book Hardcovers and Graphic Novels this week– with some of the books graciously discounted as much as 50%. (I didn’t even add in how much I spent on Comixology for this week’s IMJ Capsule Reviews™ column… That was another $15 bucks, at least.)
You’re welcome Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, IDW, Dynamite (and my comic retailer, of course– even though you got the smallest slice of this pie).
As much as I love them, I’m beginning to look at these IDW Artist Editions like kids… They’re great when you already have them… But there never seems to be a right time to suffer their financial expense. And this week was obviously not the week to release one of these expensive hardcovers. As much as I buy, you’d think I jam everything I can into my shopping cart and laugh when I hit the PayPal button. But I assure you I am no disconnected elitist. I know what it’s like not to have any money at all, to not be able to afford my rent or wonder when/where/how I am going to buy my next meal.
Like every other person not born with the elusive silver spoon in their mouth, I look at every book offered and wonder, “Should I buy this?” “Is this really worth it?”. Sometimes it takes me an hour or two to finalize the purchases in my cart.
I’ve given up attempting to change Diamond Distribution’s (the comic book distributor) haphazard release schedules that allow for Dump Weeks like this. And I understand the money would eventually be spent anyway– even if the product were more evenly spaced among the 4 Wednesdays each month. But week’s like this still cause sticker shock. And in this economic climate, in the continued miasma of comic book sales… You’d think these Dump Weeks would be one of the easiest problems to fix.
Considering the huge amount of praise for the Joe Kubert Tarzan Artist Edition, I know fans and professionals love, love, love this book. It’s a wonderful reminder of the unbelievably talented artist who sadly passed recently. But would any one of you have had a seizure if the book saw release a week earlier or a week later?
I’ll say it again: When collectors experience Dump Weeks, many recoil in distaste and/or despair– since they can’t afford to buy everything they want that week. This makes many people unhappy. They feel inadequate and question the cost of their hobby. Enough of these weeks in a row and some collectors decide it’s all too much money going out the door– and quit collecting comic books altogether.
I don’t know about you… But I don’t think publishers need to give their readers any more excuses to quit buying comics. Whether you spend $5.00 or $500.00, I refuse to believe I am the only collector who feels this way.
In other words, new column banner (thanks IMJ Logo Monkeys!)– otherwise, same old shit.
If you don’t know who Jay Faerber is… I won’t blame you. His two biggest independent comic projects, Noble Causes and Dynamo 5, ended their series’ runs in 2008 and 2009 respectively. My exposure to Faerber came when I was re-introducing myself to comics– when I was in my “If they print it, I’m gonna buy it!” phase. Good thing too, because if I’d been more selective, I would never have thought to pick up Noble Causes (essentially a well-written soap opera about a superhero family).
Overlooking NC would have been a shame, because it’s really a great comic book (despite its maddening penchant for changing artists with almost every story arc). The plots were soapy and entertaining without ever venturing into Mark Millar-like territory of sodomy and rape in nearly every issue.
Which brings me to Near Death– Faerber’s comic about an assassin named Markham who survives a near death experience, complete with a horrifying view of the Hell awaiting him in his afterlife. Shocked into some kind of understanding, Markham devotes the rest of his “new life” to saving people. Atonement is a big theme here… But like most Faerber vehicles, it isn’t oppressive or depressing. It’s assassin turned savior and it is exciting and thoughtful.
What makes me weep: Near Death is “on hold” as of Issue #11– mostly due to middling sales. Why am I so sad? Virtually every one of these comics were one-and-done stories. In an industry filled with story arcs extended three, four (sometimes 6 or more) issues longer than need be, Faerber stuffed excellent novellas in almost every issue. There are supposedly hordes of fans clamoring for these types of stories… So where were they when a project like Near Death needed them?
I seriously don’t know. Maybe potential readers were put off by the whimsical tone of Faerber’s earlier creations. But the same type of sophisticated reader that’s begging for change in comic storytelling should be the first to understand you can’t judge any creator by one or two series… Especially in the independent market. (You might also be surprised to learn Faerber wrote some of the better episodes of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s last TV series, Ringer.) Unless “Uncle Joe” got them a writing job in comics, most creators are not one-trick ponies.
If you’re a fan of action and one-and-done self-contained comics, I strongly urge you to pick up Jay Faerber’s Near Death. Let’s get this comic started up again– with the recognition and sales it deserves.
Absolute Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War HC - This Week’s POS*
Alien Illustrated Story Ltd Signed HC
American Vampire Vol 3 – Own the Hardcover
American Vampire Vol 4 HC
Anita Blake Circus Of The Damned Book 3 Scoundrel – Own the Hardcover
Archie Best Of Harry Lucey Vol 2 HC
Avatar Last Airbender Vol 3 Promise Part 3
Barack Hussein Obama HC
Bear Vol 1 Immortal
Best Of The Three Stooges Vol 1 HC
Black Panther Man Without Fear Fear Itself – Own the Hardcover
Christmas Carol Night That Changed Eliza Scrooge HC
Daredevil By Brubaker And Lark Ultimate Collection Book 3
Dark Matter Vol 1 Rebirth
Dave Stevens Stories And Covers HC
Falling Skies Vol 2
Fear Itself Uncanny X-Men – Own the Hardcover
Fight Vol 2
Finder Talisman HC – Own the Trade. Recommended
Finder Talisman Ltd HC
Flash Vol 2 The Road To Flashpoint – Own the Hardcover
Gasoline Ally Vol 1 HC
Hack/Slash Vol 1 First Cut (New Image Print) – Own the Original Trade
Heavy Metals Dracula HC
Hole Of Tank Girl Slipcase Collectors Edition HC – Own the Trade
Joe Golem & The Drowning City Deluxe HC
Joe Kubert Tarzan Of The Apes Artist Edition HC - Recommended
Judge Dredd Cry Of The Werewolf
Judge Dredd Restricted Files Vol 4 - Recommended
Leeroy & Popo
Lobo Portrait of a Bastich (New Print)
Marvel Zombies Destroy HC
Marvel’s Avengers Avengers Initiative Digest
Memorial Vol 1 HC
Mighty Thor By Matt Fraction Vol 3 HC
Milkman Murders HC
MMW Invincible Iron Man Vol 2
Near Death Vol 2 - Hot Pick of the Week!
Next Men Vol 3 HC
Nobrow Vol 7 Brave New World
Roy Crane Buz Sawyer Vol 2 Sultry’s Tiger HC - Recommended
aga Of The Swamp Thing Book 2 – Own the Hardcover
Showcase Presents Amethyst Vol 1
Spawn Origins Vol 16
Spider-Man Lizard No Turning Back HC
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation Vol 1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ongoing Vol 3
Tellos Colossal Vol 2 HC - Recommended
The Immortal Demon in the Blood
Tower Chronicles Vol 1
Ultimate Comics X-Men By Nick Spencer Vol 1 – Own the Hardcover
Voodoo Vol 1 What Lies Beneath
Walking Dead Vol 8 HC – Recommended
Wasteland Vol 7
Where’s My Shoggoth
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol 3 HC
X-Men War Machines
Ai No Kusabi Space Between Vol 7
Angelic Layer Vol 1
Deltora Quest Vol 8
Genshiken Omnibus Vol 2
Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations Vol 2
Only The Ring Finger Knows Vol 5
Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes Official Complete Works
Tyrant Falls In Love Vol 7
You could never tell from my IMJ Capsule Reviews™ comments, but I swear I’m not on a Geoff Johns bashing binge. That said, there is no way in Hell the Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War deserves the DC Comics Absolute Edition treatment.
The story was fair, the art a little better– and if you aren’t already knowledgeable about Green Lantern, near impossible to follow. And what does this edition say about DC’s New 52 comic line? Did something about the “old” DCU need a drastic overhaul or not? I’ve mentioned before how it’s becoming harder and harder to get excited while reading the older DC collections– mainly because 99.9% of the stories don’t matter any more. Still, a great story is a great story… Despite whatever gimmick one of the Big Two devises to sell us more crap.
Problem is, the Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War isn’t a great story. It’s a busy set piece, slowed by too many characters and sub-plots and way too much action, action, action to the detriment of story and character depth. If you want to buy this over-hyped, over-priced POS*– I, of course, can’t stop you.
All I can do is warn you.