Sunday, September 27, 2009

What I Bought - September 26, 2009

The first stop on my end-of-September comic book buying spree was Barbarian. I was there to pick up three items that I had asked them to order for me a couple weeks earlier. Two of the three had arrived:
  • Daredevil: Lady Bullseye - next-to-last collection of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark's run.
  • Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit v1
I also bought an item that I had been thinking about buying for the past few months. It was expensive but it was also on sale, 20% off:
  • The X-Men Omnibus v1 - collects X-Men # 1 - 31
I spent a total of $113.39.

My next stop was the Wheaton Library Book Sale. I was there primarily to look for books but I also browsed the two or three shelves that they have dedicated to cartoons and comic books. I found a couple items of interest, each of which only cost me $1:
  • Blue Monday v4 - link - I'm in the midst of reading v3 and I don't usually buy ahead like this but it was inexpensive and I think there's a reasonably good chance that I will want to read it after I finish v3.
  • Rex Libris: I, Librarian - link - This series has caught my eye a number of times over the years in the Previews catalogs. The price was right so I decided to take a chance on it.
My third and final stop was the Small Press Expo. It had been quite some time since I last went to one of these. They used to hold them in downtown Bethesda but this year's event (which continues today, although I won't be going back because I've got other stuff to do) was in North Bethesda near the White Flint Metro Station.

It was $10 to get in but that's nothing compared to what you pay to get into some of the big shows, like the Baltimore Comicon.

I meant to sit in on a panel or two but I ended up spending all my time at the expo browsing the exhibitor booths looking for things to buy. I originally intended to buy stuff from a couple of creators that I know from their web comics, Diesel Sweeties and Octopus Pie. Business seemed to be brisk for them, besides which for the most part all they had for sale were collections of their web comics. There was lots of other creators with other stuff for sale, some of which I had heard of on various comic book podcasts.

I made my first purchases at the Oni Press booth based on recommendations that I heard on the Dollar Bin podcast:
  • Crogan's Vengeance - link
  • Black Metal - link
I like Oni quite a bit. They've published a number of series I've read including Queen & Country, Blue Monday, and Love Fights.

I did a lot of walking around. At first I moved quickly to get a feel for what was there. The floor was fairly crowded. Some booths had more people crowded around them than others.

The Fantagraphics booth had some very beautiful looking reprints of old work that certainly caught my eye (Prince Valiant v1: 1937-38; Blazing Combat) even though I decided not to buy either of them just yet.

The guys on 11 O'Clock Comics have talked about Jeff Lemire's comics lately and I stopped by the Top Shelf booth to get an idea of what it is the 11 O'Clockers see in his work. I flipped through Essex County Tales. I wanted to flip through The Nobody but they had that wrapped in plastic. I wasn't ready to buy a 500 page book by a creator that I am unfamiliar with so I kept my $30 and kept looking elsewhere.

One of my goals in going to SPX was to find new comic books by people that I had not heard of before. The books at Just Mad Books' booth caught my eye the first time I walked past. On my 2nd, 3rd, or possibly 4th time around the floor I finally stopped to take a closer work. I couldn't figure out what it was (until just now) but something felt familiar about the look of creator Justin Madson's artwork. I'm thinking now that his artwork reminds me of Guy Davis work, at least on Nevermen.

I asked him about the books he had on display, Breathers # 1 - 4. I was really liking the artwork and wanted to know what kind of story there was to back it up. What he pitched to me was a story about a world in which the air is no longer breathable. People have to wear gas masks most of the time, at least when they are outdoors. It made me think dystopian future which in turn made me think of Y: The Last Man and Walking Dead. I bought the first two issues, which cost $5 each. He said he was planning to wrap up the series with # 5.

Walking around the con floor I saw a number of things that didn't appeal to me. I wanted to spend my money on books and stories. I wasn't interested in buying artwork, no matter how pretty, if it didn't have a story attached to it. There were also a few tables/booths that seemed to showcase topics (farts, politics) that just did not appeal to me.

After leaving the Just Mad Books table and walking around a little more I had yet to buy any mini-comics even though I wanted to. I finally stopped in front of the Last Dollar Comics table. I took a quick flip through some of creator Jim8Ball's comics. I liked what I saw. He was asking for $1 per mini-comic. I was trying to decided which ones to buy when I noticed that he also had a box full of mini-comics available: 25 mini-comics for $10. Seemed like a pretty good deal, given the price per comic and the fact that I liked the look of his work.

I made my final purchase at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) booth. They had a number of very good looking books (including some by Will Eisner) available at very reasonable prices. I was tempted to pick up a book or two by Eisner but bought something else instead. I bought a non-comic book which only cost me $10:
  • Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk
I looked around a little more but I had spent more than $65 at this point and I needed to get going.

Altogether I spent about $190 yesterday. It blows my mind. I now have a fairly large stack of books to read. I need to lay off buying more comics until I have made a significant dent in my current pile.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Next weekend is SPX, the Small Press Expo. I'm going to try to go for at least a couple hours. Two of my favorite web cartoonists are going to be there, R Stevens (Diesel Sweeties) and Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie). Its been a few years since I last went to SPX. I might even stay for a panel or two.

The following weekend I'm hoping to have time to stop by the Capital Associates Convention in Dunn Loring on Oct 4. I still haven't finished reading all the comic books that I bought at the last Capicon but it was fun browsing through the back issue bins. Who knows what I might find.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What I Read - September 12, 2009

Watchmen continues to amaze me. I've now read 9 of 12 chapters. I'm tempted to call it the best comic book I've ever read; tempted. It definitely makes the short list. It works on so many different levels. I love how the text pieces at the end of each chapter help to fill in the back story. I also like how each chapter tells a story. Some are better than others. There have been some chapters that have left less excited to read on than others. Chapter 8 was like that. It was a little more diffuse than other chapters like 7 and 9, for instance.

As I get closer to the ending I'm hoping it will live up to the what I've read so far. I've heard mixed things about the ending. Regardless, I think this is one book that I will be re-reading in the next year or two.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What I Bought - September 12, 2009

I just made a list. I think I've got too many comic books that I have yet to read; and I went to Barbarian and the Wheaton Library Book Sale this afternoon. I kinda of splurged at Barbarian where I bought...
  • Sleeper: Season 1 - Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips. Collects the entire first series (12 issues). I've heard so much good stuff about this series. I'm enjoying Brubaker's run on Daredevil and I've heard that this is better.
  • The Spectre v1 - Written by John Ostrander and drawn by Tom Mandrake. Collects # 1 - 4 of the series which dates back to the early to mid-90s. I loved this creative team's work on Firestorm in the late-80s. Once again, I've heard good things about this series which ran for over 60 issues. The book was a little beat up so they gave me 35% off the cover price of $9.95.
  • Six From Sirius - Written by Doug Moench and drawn/painted by Paul Gulacy. This isn't new. It was originally a mini-series published through Marvel's Epic line in the early 1980s. Never read it before but it looked interesting and they were selling it for cover price $8.95.
  • Bleach v25 - Written and drawn by Kubo Tite. So far I'm not wild about the current story arc but I still bought the next book in the series. I may put down this series for a while after finishing this volume. Its probably about time I took a break from it. Maybe I'll give Naruto a try instead
  • 20th Century Boys v4 - Written and drawn by Naoki Urasawa. I have yet to read v3 but the first two volumes were really good. The stage is still being set. I'm eager to see how things unfold.
I also asked them to order a few books for me...
  • Daredevil: Lady Bullseye - written by Ed Brubaker and Greg
  • Ooko v1
  • Ikigami v1
I wrote about Ooku and Ikigami a few weeks ago.


Since I was in the neighborhood I decided to drop by the Wheaton Library Book Sale. The only thing I found of interest was an old copy of Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes. Originally published in 1965, it reprints a bunch of golden age comic book stories, along with a longish introduction by Feiffer. They were only asking $2.00 for this beatup, hard-bound collection and I couldn't resist it at that price. The reprints aren't the best quality but I'm not too picky when I feel as I have found a steal.

Links: Sleeper - Spectre - Bleach - 20th Century Boys