Thursday, May 11, 2006

First Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth!!!

There are far too many good comics to keep up with. Do you ever have this feeling? I went into Midtown Comics today, looked at all six of the First Second books, and just thought, there's no way.

By putting them all out in the same week, the publishers are asking people to spend $90.70 (though at least at Midtown Comics you get $20 free for every $100 you spend). So if we assume that the average comics buyer will choose his favorite two, what ends up happening is that First Second is forcing their artists to compete with each other for sales, when if they had just staggered the release dates, they might have sold more to the same art-comix audience.

It's pretty overwhelming to think about reading all six of those books, espeically when Eddie Campbell's book looks pretty dense (although unbelievably gorgeous). To really read and digest all six of these books could literally take months.

The two that I was most impressed with, upon initial flip-through, were The Fate of the Artist, and Deogratias (the Rwanda book). The others looked like they were targeted more for an all ages audience, though the design (by Danica Novgorodoff) and artwork are obviously impressive. But if I had to pick only two (I ended up buying none, though I know I will eventually get them all) those would be the two.

I just recently finished The Rabbi's Cat (which gives you an idea of how behind I am in general) and I have the taste for more Sfar work. I loved the shifting styles he uses, varying from detailed and textured closeups to sparse distance shots. He does it so seemlessly, you almost don't register it, which is a credit to his ability not to overuse this technique, and to use it at just the right moments. Vampire Loves has that same look, which would probably, for me, make it third on my list. Tough call though, as Grady Klein's The Lost Colony looked incredible, too. Reminiscent of Scott Morse's best work with such intense, vibrant colors!

Honestly, the other two books didn't interest me as much. A.L.I.E.E.E.N. (which is a real pain to type) looked like well illustrated mayhem in the surrealist sense. I don't know if there was a story thread there, but it sure looked like something Jim Woodring would have done. Fun to look at, especially after a few hits of LSD. Sardine in Outer Space looked like an above average kids book. Fun, but probably better suited for an eight year old girl than a 33 year old man.

I've no doubt that all of these books are incredible, and if and when I read them, I'll enjoy them. But when I think of all the things I've already bought and haven't read yet, I just wonder if dropping another $90 to add about six inches to the reading pile is really such a good idea.


DerikB said...

First Second are more going for the book market than the comic market, so it's not driven by the "it's new I must buy it" mentality of the comics direct market. Those books are made to be on a shelf and sell over a period of time like "normal" books.

Marc said...

That makes sense. Having shopped exclusively in direct market shops for most of my life, I'm pretty conditioned to the idea that new comics come out on Wednesday/forward looking mentality. Maybe that's not good. Still, given how many of these books did end up shipping through Diamond to comics shops, I wonder if this strategy hurt them at all. I also wonder what percentage of their overall initial orders were bookstores vs. comics shops. Anybody know?

M. Mancini said...

I was blindsided by the First Second books while I was in Barnes & Noble. I quickly forgot what I was there for in the first place, went home with "Deogratias", "Vampire Loves" and "The Lost Colony".

All three were worth the money and I will pick up the other two, but I must agree-six books in one day is daunting.