All Ages

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

And now for something a little different...

DON'T TOUCH ME is a Toronto-based comics anthology (some racy content in here so definitely not for kids) that's sometimes themed and sometimes not. The latest issue, #11 has no theme but features the very first comic by a talented and good friend of mine, Christa Rowley. Her two-page comic called THE TYRANNY OF HIGH HEELS is an off-the-cuff and funny look at why stilettos have become such a highly charged sexual symbol for men. Christa has a lot of great stories in her and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of her work as a burdgeoning comic creator.

For more info on the anthology, how can submit, where to buy it and more visit www.donttouchme.ca

Friday, June 25, 2004

I love getting mail.

Brian Ralph sent me a copy of his Free Comic Book Day title, REGGIE 12. It's a collection of the adventures of a boy robot originally published in the pages of Giant Robot Magazine. The stories are really fun and off-the-wall, sometimes a bit non-linear, which always works in Ralph's favour. Most of his stuff that I've read has that wacky quality. Some of the humour will definitely go over some kids' heads but there's plenty here to keep them entertained.

Brian Ralph is one of the guy's doing comics for kids that truly gets it -- from panel layout to kid-relevant content to a genuine good sense of humour.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Did I miss something?

Who the hell is Johnny DC?

Sure he's the brand new mascot for DC Comics' kids line but I can't seem to find any pictures of this ellusive mascot in his previous incarnations. Don't get my wrong, I love Rian Hughes' design (his covers on Wildcats were some of the best of last year) but I'm having a hard time thinking this is newsworthy. Not sure if an 8-year old is really going to care about his little mascot up in the corner. Call me cynical but meh...

Seems to me an imprint name would be a more effective way of branding. Curious if DC is planning on expanding this line beyond licensed characters and their toon properties to compete with Marvel's ever-growing Marvel Age line.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Book Expo America

Better late than never eh?

In response to my friend Chris Butcher's rant
on the lack of coverage of Book Expo in Chicago two weekend's ago from the big comic news sites (Pulse, Newsarama, etc.), I've decided to step up to the plate and give you my perspective on the show. And it's a pretty important show considering the amount of attention that graphic novels have been getting in the bookstore market and in the media these days.

Graphic novels definitely had the most buzz throughout the show with big presence from VIZ, DIAMOND DISTRIBUTING and DC COMICS in the Graphic Novel pavilion, which to be honest wasn't really a "pavilion" but just a row or two at the show. I guess pavilion just sounds more important.

TOKYOPOP was clearly the leader with their display in the CDS megabooth towards the main entrance -- huge amount of visibility. On top of that they offered giant shopping bags with the TOKYOPOP logo on it for everyone to drag their freebies around in. These bags were everywhere at the show. Even more exposure for Tokyopop came from their REVOLUTION logo on the cover of ICV2's Retailers Guide to Selling Graphic Novels, which was hailed as THE book you needed as a bookstore buyer if you were getting into the graphic novel market.

FANTAGRAPHICS had a small booth in CDS mostly pushing the new Peanuts books.

SLAVE LABOR GRAPHICS had a great booth as well right across from DC giving them good exposure. I finally met editor Jennifer de Guzman after a year of reading her blog. I asked her for a copy of their newest all ages graphic novel, Emily and the Intergalactic Lemonade Stand. Watch for a review of it here soon.

The guys from REED GRAPHICA were really great as well. What drew me to the booth was a mocked-up cover for a collected edition of Jon Pham's EPOXY, which is some of the most exciting comics you'll read today. Pham is definitely going places.

Booksellers seemed very enthusiastic about graphic novels and were voraciously picking up all the swag that these publishers were giving out. It's definitely an interesting time for the medium, but of course I have some concerns. I really hope that buyers will take the time to get to know what's out there instead of letting smart sales people dictate what their stores should be selling. Without being informed, I'm afraid that buyers will just take whatever they're shown -- titles that may not be right for their store or their main buying market. The books will sit on the shelves, they won't sell and buyers won't be willing to try anything new in the future.

A quick anecdote that relates to this: I was cruising the kids section in Chapters a few months ago and was happy to see that they were shelving manga there -- mostly TOKYOPOP's Cine-manga line and a few VIZ titles. Although I was pretty surprised to find a copy of Gravitation, one of TOKYOPOP's shojo-ai (gay manga for girls) staring me on the shelf. I have no problem, obviously, with gay-related comics, but this is the kind of thing that could cause an uproar -- the book is mis-shelved, a parent buys it for their 8-year old son, happens to flip through it, complains to the bookstore, the bookstore stops selling ALL manga. These rash, grand sweeping decisions happen all the time and with this being a very sensitive time for graphic novels and manga, booksellers have to make sure to tread lightly and make informed decisions.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

BEA story #1

A conversation with me and Douglas Rushkoff (slightly paraphrased because I don't know it word-for-word but you'll get the picture):

Me: Hey cool, your graphic novel is finally out?

DR: Yeah, it's my first one ever.

Me: I'm really into graphic novels here.

DR: Great. What do you do?

Me: I work for Scholastic, the children's publisher in Canada

DR: Oh cool, publishing. Do you know Evan Solomon?

Me: I know OF him. I don't KNOW him.

DR: Oh. Do you know (some other woman's name that I forget)?

Me: Nope. Don't know her either

DR: Well, just so you know this isn't for children.

Me: Oh I know. It's for me. I've read your nonfiction before.

DR: Ok. (signs it For Scott, for YOU. Douglas Rushkoff)

SR: Thanks

DR: Yeah lemme know what you think of it.

SR: Ok.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Hiatus and BEA

I can't believe the last post I made on this was in mid-April. Shame on me! In any case, I've been going through some serious personal stuff and am finally seeing a bit of the light at the end of the tunnel and should be back on track bloggin' in the next week. That said, I'll more than likely have lots to talk about since I'm heading off to Book Expo America in Chicago tomorrow. Lots of commentary about kids books and kids comics to come. If you've been patiently waiting for me to update, thanks for sticking around.