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Month: December, 2013

Need To Know… 23.12.13

only what you need

only what you need


Hey Everybody! Christmas is around the corner, which means we can almost stop talking about it, and commence with the January blues. Yay!

But the key word in that sentence is “almost”. So here are a few more end of 2013 & round-up style posts; firstly the second part of the incredible Zainab Akhtar’s 2013 Notables, then Faith Erin Hicks dashes off a “quick and dirty” list of 2013 stocking fodder, CBR’s best comics of 2013 top 25, Frank Santoro looks back over the last 6 years in Bests, The Comics Journal look like they just linked to everything they published this yearPaul Gravett reviews 2013, and FPI has asked a bunch of creators for their picks, so let Owen Michael Johnson school you beyond comics.

That enough for you? Good, here’s some more forward looking links, to a preview of Mega City Two (ooh!), Locust Moon Comics’ Nemo in Slumberland zine, and the return of Stray Bullets, from Image this time (and if you’re not familiar with this canon work, check out this nice commentary on canon). Diverging from canon, have we reached Peak Comics? Because here’s another list of awards nominees for next year (for SPACE), and a slew of brand new, evidently talented names. Can we cope with this much comics talent?

Stop. Before you go any further, feed your cat. You’ll thank me.

Finally, Paul Dini is able to shed some light on why women continue to be underrepresented in comics and its peripherals. Mind boggled. Sophia Foster-Dimino‘s work, thankfully, lets nothing hold it back, but on the flipside Rachel doesn’t appear to have continued Rising, despite the comics community’s best efforts. If all that saddens you, then revisit one of comics’ prouder moments, and let Don McGregor walk you though the first interracial comics kiss.

With a little break coming up, you may be looking for a long online read to fill your time, in which case Evan Dahm has you covered. Alternatively, Tom Spurgeon has started his Holiday Interviews Programming, and so far we’ve got Paul Pope, Genevieve Castree, and wonder-duo Sean T Collins & Joe McCulloch. If you’re feeling really brave, Tom Scioli will hold your hand through some GI Joe comics, and Fast Company has a smart, informative feature on the Science of Strips, but its probably much more important that you learn the wonders of Matter-Eater Lad. Not kidding.

Free comics for Christmas? Sure. Go ahead, click through, we’re not playing reindeer games here, we’re pretty serious, serious like electrocomics, serious like Sikoryak doing Robot Rapture. Has that all made you hungry? Try some Brooklyn Quesadillas, they’re 90’s sitcom-licious.

Doomed Comics Pitch #9377835908: Lemire & Foreman on Doom Patrol. Nah, that’d never work.

And finally, a Christmas quest. Hunt down a copy of A1 Annual, from Titan, for Steranko’s FROGS. Looks like a must-read.

Finally, thank you for reading these links, supporting comics, and for all your suggestions. Need To Know… will be back in 2014, with a vengeance!


Need To Know… 16.12.13

only what you need

only what you need


Hey Everybody, the year is almost done and the new year is almost upon us after which another year will pass and it all repeats on and on with new presents and different wrapping and more comics every week more comics….

Ahem. It’s all getting a bit much really, isn’t it? Let’s dial down the noise, and dial into some good stuff. Like Dan Didio feeling Christmassy and undoing the Detective Comics #27 mess. Like pages from new Darwyn Cooke Parker book, Slayground. Or a comic featuring the worst sidekick ever, for the hero who really deserves better. The opportunity to read The End of The Fucking World online for free at whatthingsdo. An early glimpse at The Midas Flesh, perhaps. Best of all, the ultimate beginner’s comic-making kit.

Ooh, that feels better. If you want to feel even better, Comics Alliance’s epic 5-part (and growing) Best Comic Books of 2013, is a hell of a way to celebrate the year, and comics. Tom Spurgeon’s Five For Friday: The Year in Comics is a diverse celebration, too, while more thoughtful types will want to ponder his Things I’ll Be Thinking Over as 2013 Becomes 2014.

Too thinky, too soon? Look, pretty Tomer Hanuka! Pretty creepy Laurie Lipton!

For those of you who can’t get enough best of 2013 lists, look here, here, and here. For the forward-looking among you, 2014 looks like rich pickings, promising new Gilbert Hernandez, a Bat-leap into the future, Tradd Moore Ghost Rider (yes, I mention this every week but I DON’T CARE and now there are new images!), a new DC weekly, Hitch’s Real Heroes (preview pages, so at least we know some of it is done), Jae Lee back on Batman/Superman, Scioli’s Transformers vs GI Joe, Nijigahara Holograph from Inio Asano, and of course…

Marvelman. Recoloured. Which will require some context. And poses an interesting conundrum.

Wonder whether Marvelman does without all of these cliches?

Seems like the season of Rucka, right now, with The Beat and CBR picking his brains. Gabriel Rodriguez tries to make up for ruining Christmas with this reflection back over Locke & Key’s life. And for those of you bamboozled by Godland’s finale, Chad Nevett is on hand to help out. And if allthat’s a bit talky, check out this political webcomic with the most impeccable creator pedigree we could imagine.

Last of all, solicits are up for March’s shipping. Check ’em out, & let your retailer know what you want!

Need To Know… 9.12.13

only what you need

only what you need

You know when you forget to hit “Publish”? Sorry folks!

It must be almost 2014, because everyone wants to help you spend money. Tom Spurgeon offers his excellent “holiday shopping guide“; Robot 6 wants to help you go straight to the source and buy from artists; TIME magazine’s top 10 comics and graphic novels is a shopping guide in all but title; and the excellently named Locust Moon Comics has a terrific list that’ll take you deeper down the rabbit hole of indy comics. And best of all, Multiversity are doing their usual job of rounding up creators to pick the best of 2013, across a bunch of categories. Find out who the stars’ stars are.

This, though, is the most important list. Comics Alliance name and shame the worst presents for comics readers. Circulate it widely, and lets all spare ourselves the grief. Or you could just make it a Love & Rockets Christmas?

Is it too early to look ahead to 2014? To new Alan Moore comics? To Goran Parlov breaking out as the next big thing (with a Millar assist)? To Box Brown doing an Andre the Giant bio comic? The return of Strangehaven (wait, what?)? The DiCaprio Watterson biopic?

Its enough to make you wonder if comics are the dominant art form for this century? Or does it just make you groan?

It’s not all good news though. Last week we lost Picturebox, in an interesting contrast with Fantagraphics’ crowdfunding success. Robot 6 bid Picturebox farewell, and The Comics Reporter wrote the definitive obituary, so if you don’t know why it’s sad, you can learn. And then be sad too. And if that doesn’t move you, Six-Gun Gorilla has ended. Sad face.

Do you ever wonder what happens when superheroes overdo the Christmas pudding?

And finally, even DC is getting festive, this is a kind of funny blog post from them! About Superman! Yay!

Need To Know… 2.12.13

only what you need

only what you need

Hooo boy! It’s a big one. Let’s lead off with the elephant in the room. Holiday season, and the gifts people will want. Have you tried anything by Youth In Decline, because their 2014 subscriptions look hot? Copra #12, the last issue of the first volume, is almost here, so maybe catch someone up on this year’s most exciting book? Crowd-source presents can be great, maybe pay tribute to the Spider King? The New York Times has Christmas recommendations for comics lovers and their puzzled gift-givers, or you could get all avant garde and be guided by the Angouleme selections, or the Fnac longlist, to give your gifting that continental BD flavour. Playing it safer, you could track down any of these 100 greatest comics storylines ever. The Holidays are about giving, though, so maybe you could extend some needed charity to Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai. Its also about people… Christmas zine social, anyone?

Maybe you’re super-organised and have your gifts all wrapped up? Treat yourself with a few peeks into the future, courtesy of Paul Gravett’s February picks, Alison Sampson’s Think of a City project (you should totally track Sampson down online and follow her, she has great taste) which is ongoing and doubtless will only get richer, the badass Tradd Moore Ghost Rider coming in 2014, Douglas Wolk and Ulises Farinas’ Judge Dredd: Mega City Two, or the enchanting and great-looking Monsters. Next year is shaping up nicely, we may even get an Offset Comics release!

So nicely, in fact, that its easy to forget the bounty we have now. Fortunately a Thought Bubble reading list from Laura Sneddon, and full con report from Steve Morris should catch you up.

If your idea of Holidays is learning, then you’re probably in the minority, but don’t let that put you off! Instead, learn speed-comicking, or familiarise yourself with Thrillbent’s storytelling grammar, get to know just who this Rube Goldberg dude was, and experience Curt Swan’s X-rated Superman comic. You’ll likely learn a thing or two about the artistic collaboration of colourist and penciller from Matteo Scalera, while you may not be aware that there are, in fact, two Silver Surfers. Oh, and Captain Kirk will teach you how to fight. Of course, Leon Beyond will teach you more than all of these people put together, but how much of that teaching can you trust? Finally, Marvel can teach you how to market with lies.

Couple of milestones this past week. The Phoenix hit 100 (and we stock it now)! Aaand Infinity ended. Was it great? Plus, if you missed out on Letter 44 #1, you can read it here. You may prefer a beautiful trip to the long-awaited Firelight Isle, or to just binge on art and more art (check the Punisher’s tee). Maybe you’d prefer something shorter? Whatever, you should totally trust your Gut Feelings, and trust your judgment around Bad Houses.

Is this you? Because it doesn’t have to be.

Remember this.