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Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Nineteen

Brian Hibbs

Enough of the creator shelves for a while, how about we move on to “Art instruction and comics careers” Here’s one where I AM going to go with the “obvious” pick. There are some terrific books on “how to draw” or even “how to approach a comics page” — Burne Hogarth’s DYNAMIC… (ANATOMY, WRINKLES & DRAPERY, FIGURE DRAWING, etc etc) series, Will Eisner’s COMICS & SEQUENTIAL ART or GRAPHIC STORYTELLING, and so on, but there’s one book that I think that each and every comics reader in the world, whether or not they have the SLIGHTEST interest in ever drawing a single comic ever, really should have on their bookshelf: UNDERSTANDING COMICS by Scott McCloud. McCloud’s book is just as…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Eighteen

Brian Hibbs

And today’s “Creator shelf” is Grant Morrison. (I don’t know if this image link thing will work — first time I’ve tried it, but I’m linking from our own site, so I’m guessing it will?) (That was a Thanksgiving window display we did several years ago. The art is by Christopher Hsiang) But, actually, like most of the previous “creator shelf” entries, I won’t go with the obvious choice of DOOM PATROL (or ANIMAL MAN or THE INVISIBLES)(though if FLEX MENTALLO was in print, that would probably be the one…) for multi-volume series or THE FILTH or WE3 for single-volume picks, though each and every one of those is really excellent comics work! No, trying to stay on the “obscure”…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Seventeen

Brian Hibbs

Continuing the creator racks, we’re on Frank Miller. Again, there’s some stupidly obvious choices here: SIN CITY, BATMAN: YEAR ONE, DAREDEVIL (though much of it is OOP), DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, but I’m going to go with a slightly less obvious one here: HARDBOILED Created with Geof Darrow in 1992, HARDBOILED is a masterpiece of over-the-top detail and carnage. Really the star here is Darrow, with more detail-per-square-inch than any five other comics combined. There are pages here you can stare at for five minutes each, pulling out details. There’s a level of outrageous here that I’d never seen before in a comic before this — where crazy background details do more for world-building than anything previous. And there’s a crazy…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Sixteen

Brian Hibbs

Continuing on the “creator racks”, we’ll move on to Warren Ellis. This one is kinda hard, actually, because it would be really easy to default to TRANSMETROPOLITAN. Which is great and awesome, no doubt, but it seems too easy. One of Warren’s greatest strengths as a comics storyteller is his love of telling a complete story in a single unit. You can see this on display in FELL or GLOBAL FREQUENCY (both which also could easily make the cut), which are collections of single-issue stories bound up as part of a larger narrative, but I think that for this pick, I’m going to edge myself over to PLANETARY v1: ALL OVER THE WORLD AND OTHER STORIES (which is, actually, a…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Fifteen

Brian Hibbs

The next few days we’ll focus on the “creator” racks, since those are easy to bat out (and I need easy since our bathroom is being remodeled, so I’m living at my parent’s house and have maybe 20 minutes of not-between-customer’s-computer-time each day) We’ve already done the Moore and Wagner shelves, so let’s move on to another one of my favorite writers: Garth Ennis. This one is super-double easy, actually. If I had to pick one SINGLE Garth book to hand you, there’s really only one choice: PREACHER. You’ve got a disillusioned Preacher from Texas, his hit-woman ex girlfriend, and an alcoholic Irish vampire who go on a quest to find God, and to make him answer for the state…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Fourteen

Brian Hibbs

I still feel pretty cruddy, but not so cruddy that I can’t write a little. So, let me babble about my history of comics collecting. Like many people, I’m started and stopped collecting comics more than once. From childhood to, dunno, 12 or 13, something like that, I kept myself a comics collection; then I discovered girls and decided comics were just for kiddies, and got rid of them all. I started collecting again a year or two later (about 15, I guess), trying to rebuy all of the comics that I had gotten rid of. Smart, eh? I also, at that stage, since I now had some kind of an allowance, started buying stuff that long pre-dated me (we’ll…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Thirteen

Brian Hibbs

So, since it is the (spooky!) 13th day of this little experiment, let’s go with something off the Horror rack? I think I mentioned before that we also have a Licensed rack, and an awful lot stuff in “Horror” could fit there as well — EVIL DEAD, Clive Barker comics, HALLOWEEN, and so on. Ditto with today’s pick — RICHARD MATHESON’S I AM LEGEND. After all, it was originally a prose book (and, eventually, several different films as well). IAL was originally published back in the day by Eclipse, and it was one of the first books that IDW “rescued” from Eclipse’s backlist. It is adapted by Steve Niles, back in the days in which he was primarily known as…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Twelve

Brian Hibbs

OK, so I’ve clearly lost the daily pattern we had at the start — my apologies, it’s been a rough and busy week. I SHOULD be able to do daily through Wednesday this week, but then I have to disappear again (ComicsPRO’s annual in Vegas) Matt Wagner is one of my favorite creators in the whole wide world. (Come by the store some day and I’ll tell you the story of why I’m in comics, and why Matt is really the one to blame) You can tell if you look at the store, because I’ve got more than 20 pieces of original Matt Wagner art (most commissions) hanging around the store — including an on-going series of JSA portraits (in…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Eleven

Brian Hibbs

Yeah, looks like “daily” is starting to peter out, what with having to retour schools and stuff thanks to the incredibly screwed up results of the SFUSD system for placing elementary schools… Since I did a DC superhero comic last time, let’s go with “Equal Time” and do a Marvel one this go round. Find out what it is after the jump! So, the real problem with a Marvel GN is that they don’t exactly have their shit together in terms of keeping things in print, or at least in a format that I especially want to recommend — I’m a little so-so on something like the MILLER BY DAREDEVIL COMPANION HC, when I’d rather tell you to buy DAREDEVIL…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Ten

Brian Hibbs

OK, how about a superhero comic, since I’ve gone nine days without one… This one is from our DC rack, and represents one of the best re-imaginings of a classic character that I think has ever been done. The late 80s were a weird period for DC comics, still reeling from the impact of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. As I understand it, one of the various plans was that the entire “universe” was to be “rebooted”, and started from scratch. This pretty much didn’t happen in a satisfying fashion, with some books starting over, while others didn’t. MAN OF STEEL revamped Superman, but Batman kept on being the “same old” BATMAN (barring, of course, BATMAN: YEAR ONE), and the less…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Nine

Brian Hibbs

Comics, of course, aren’t just an American thing (or just a Japanese thing, for that matter) — there’s tons and tons of really amazing work coming out of Europe. Virtually none of it makes it to America, however, at least not at a price that most Americans are willing to pay. And probably 2/3rds of what DOES arrive in the states in Erotica. This is a dire shame, really, because there’s so much good material out there that could find an audience if only someone would publish it here. DC tried and failed with the Humanoids deal (I think it was mostly overproduction of fairly mediocre material, at the same time they overproduced the CMX manga stuff), and Marvel is…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Eight

Brian Hibbs

Did I mention that I’m making this up as I go along? I don’t have a list books that I’m covering or anything, I’m just wandering in the store each day and coming up with whatever suits my fancy that day. I’m also trying to (in the end) cover each of the racks in the store — some racks have 2-5 genres/authors on them (like the Miller/Moore/Morrison/Creating Comics) rack — if I just do one book in each category as I have them at the store, then I’d be at like 28 books from just that. Some of them are easier than others. For example, today I think I’m eyeing the “licensed comics” rack, and that’s a pretty hard one…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Seven

Brian Hibbs

Look, I made it a whole week! I like comics that make me laugh. I also like comics that are smart and teach me something new. Even better when they do both! More after that ol’ jump! EPICURUS THE SAGE is a clever little book. Set in Ancient Greece, in concerns philosophy, philosophers, and the Greek Gods. Socrates is a jerk, Plato is a boob, and Epicurus tries to find a reasonable position based upon moderation. Throw in a young Alexander the Great, and quests from Hades and Hera and such like and you’ve got a pretty rich comic stew. EPICURUS, by William Messner-Loebs and Sam Kieth was orignally published by Piranha Press, DC’s attempt at an “eclectic” imprint in…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Six

Brian Hibbs

So yesterday I did a “kid’s” comic, let’s go 180 degrees the other way today, and talk about something that’s fully for adults. With like screwing, and everything. More after the jump, but if you’re a prude, you should probably stop reading here. Erotic comics are a difficult thing, a lot of the time, because you have to rate them both on how well they tell their story (when, that is, they HAVE one), as well as how “hot” it is. That latter is SUPER subjective. I think most erotic comics really (no pun intended) suck. Especially these days. There were a couple of years were stuff of pretty decent quality was coming out, that was human-driven (instead of purely…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Five

Brian Hibbs

If you’re old enough, you might remember when DC comics had a slogan int he UPC box of their Direct Market-shipping comics that said something “DC Comics: They’re not just for kids anymore!” And, in general, the comic book industry has really followed that lead — comics AREN’T for kids any longer (except for a very small number of titles) To me this is kind of a shame. When I bring home the new week’s books, and plop on the sofa to start reading them, I often have to chase Ben (now four-years old) away when I’m reading something even as supposedly as innocuous as SPIDER-MAN or SUPERMAN, because there’s just so much violence and in them. Unnecessary violence and…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Four

Brian Hibbs

I was going to write about a completely different book this morning, but then I saw the news that DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS co-creator Gary Gygax died on Tuesday morning. The intersection between comics and games is often a pretty deep one — our forms of geekness are different, but there’s a lot of overlap between the two camps. Back when I opened Comix Experience in 1989, it was de rigueur for comic book stores to carry gaming material. I opened my stores 4 doors down from San Francisco’s best (and, today, only) game store, Gamescape, so that I wouldn’t have to touch the things. It’s not that I’m not a gamer (I am — dude, I was playing D&D when…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day Three

Brian Hibbs

I’m not the biggest fan of most Japanese manga; largely this is down to the common tropes that comprise the majority of what’s been brought over — the big round eyes and so on. But there’s a handful of pieces of manga work that I think are utterly terrific. My number one favorite series is after the jump! I love me some DEATH NOTE. Part of it is that it is largely unlike any other manga that I’ve ever read, the other part is is it unlike any Western comics that I have ever read, either. First of all: there’s very little action of any kind. There’s plenty of suspense, and plenty of twists and turns, but almost none of…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day 2

Brian Hibbs

Our second book is one that I hadn’t read in nearly 20 years before opening it back up yesterday. The book is extremely well known, but, at a guess, the vast majority of Comix Experience regulars have never read it. It is one of the oldest continually-in-print comics on the American market, too. More after the jump! art speigelman’s MAUS is a very important book. I mean I know, “duh” and all, but it really is the best known comic in the “real world”, having won the Pulitzer; but it’s also entirely important as a piece of work, both as a piece of reportage and history, as well as a completely honest piece of autobiography. Some people complain about the…  Read More…

Around the Store in 31 Days: Day One

Brian Hibbs

I have a plan. With the idea of having as much fresh content on the Savage Critic site as possible, I’m going to ATTEMPT to do a post-a-day for the month of March. These may not appear strictly every 24 hours, but I’m going to try. I’ve decided the theme is going to be “31 classic graphic novels”, trying to show the range and breadth of comics material that’s available to a 21st century comics shop. Please join me after the jump! I opened Comix Experience in April of 1989. There really weren’t a lot of graphic novels available back then — I think there were under twenty items that were in print and perpetually available at that point. I…  Read More…