Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Favorite Magazines; Summer Reading; Grand Comics Database; James Payette, Comics Dealer

Comics Revue

This week I'd like to tell you about two excellent magazines--that we don't handle--that you might enjoy as much as I do. The first is Comics Revue with is now in it's 276th issue. It collects the best in both contemporary and classic comic strips every month. It includes both dailys in black and white and Sundays in full color...for instance, right now each issues includes four Tarzan Sunday pages by Russ Manning. Every so often they get a new, original cover by a pro who loves the magazine...to the left is the latest issue with this wonderful new 2008 painting by Tom Yeates, who has done many wonderful Tarzan projects over the years.

Click here to check out their website. A 12-issue, one year subscription is $45. You may recognize the publisher, Manuscript Press.They also publish Prince Valiant: An American Epic in full page size. We handle these, they are such magnificent books collecting the first three years of PV. Tell Rick at Manuscript you want a new release--I sure do!

Hogan's Alley Special Offer
If you are old enough to remember fanzines--you know, where us comic fans used to get all our information before the internet--you know what I mean when I say Hogan's Alley is like a great old fanzine. It's a pure labor of love (it has to be with so many pages for so little a price). Anyway, below is a special offer to introduce you to this fine magazine or click here for their website.

Perhaps you've never read the print edition of Hogan's Alley...here's your chance to visit the Alley inexpensively and with no strings attached! For a limited time, you can order a copy of Hogan's Alley for only THREE DOLLARS (and that includes postage)! We decide which issue you get, but you're sure to get more than three bucks' worth of reading pleasure! Click here to order now! See what everyone's talking about!

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You might ask me why Bud's Art Books doesn't handle these magazines. Well, the story is this. First of all, we can't get the information to you on new issues until we have then in our warehouse...thus, you don't see them in a catalog until weeks or maybe a month or two after they are released, due to the time it takes for us to put the catalog together. Most reasonable people prefer getting the new issue a bit faster...so they subscribe or they pick it up at the local comic book store or magazine or book store.

So we have edged away from handle periodicals for this reason. Books don't have such a "on time" value and also continue to sell over a long time, whereas new issues of magazine wain in popularity very quickly. So do do a better job for you, we stick to books except for the rare case of a magazine that is somewhat timeless and also is hard to find in retail locations. Two examples are Illustration Magazine and Images.

One more favorite mag I'd like to mention is Alter Ego. We handled this for many years but also have been forced let it go. I still avidely read every issue, which covers the world of comic book artists and writers with in depth interviews. If you click on the link, it'll take you into the publisher Two-Morrows website, where they currently are offering 15% off on their huge line of books and magazines.

Summer Reading
The Comics Journal runs an annual "summer reading" list and they ask for submissions from comics professionals. My reading is pretty eclectic, although I image many of us have similar far-ranging tastes. I mentioned in my first blog that I was re-reading the "Master and Commander" novels by Patrick O'Brian.

I've been thoroughly enjoying the new HBO series The #1 Ladies Detective Agency. So I thought I'd read something by the author, Alexander McCall Smith. He's written four books in another series called The Sunday Philosophy Club. It's every bit as good, but with the twist that the "heroine," Isabel Dalhousie, edits "The Magazine of Applied Ethics" and she applies ethical and philosophical considerations to everything she does in life. It's a great example of the value of slowing down and thinking a bit about our actions. In the first book, a young man falls to his death in a theatre and they just happen to lock eyes for a brief moment on his way done. So she figures out she owes it to him to get the the bottom of this accident, murder or suicide. There are four books so far in the series, all quite easy reads. The added treat is that Isabel lives in Edinburgh, Scotland--McCall Smith also lives in Edinburgh--so there is a lot of great local color where the old world meets the new.

Don't miss Neal Gaiman's Newbury Award Winner: The Graveyard Book. It's an all-ages story of a toddler who's adopted by ghosts and raised in a graveyard to hide him from the killer who wiped out his family and still is hunting for him. It's a great story, I just bought another copy for my daugher Alison. Pretty much all ages and a great, upbeat take on the afterlife with the twists that Gaiman is so good at. Here's what the NY Times says about it.

Which brings me to the comics I have been reading...or rather, re-reading. Like many collectors, I often wonder why I need to keep accumulating more comics when I have so many already. So I took the philosophy to heart, particular considering the current economic times, and have been looking backward...at what I have already. I've ended up having a great time re-reading serveral of my old favorites: Magnus, Robot Fighter (the first Russ Manning issues), Strange Adventures (specifically the classic Schwartz issues, #100-160), and Mystery in Space, which I'm currently working through (I'm up to #25). It's great fun, because each of these are not only well written by well drawn, in the case of SA and MIS by guys like Murphy Anderson, Carmine Infantino, Dan Barry, Gil Kane, Sid Green, et al.

This also gives me a chance to let you know about a GREAT website, the Grand Comics Database. If you click on any of the titles above comic titles, it will take you into what they call the "Gallery" which is pictures of most or all issues in each of these runs! GCD also offers creator credits, searches by character, story titles, cross-over info...you name it. My old partner, Jim Vadeboncoeur, is currently correcting and completing the data for several of the major Fiction House titles, Jumbo, Jungle and next up, Planet. Because I also collect these, I've been able to help by loaning him my issues to complement what he doesn't have.

And another fine site for nice large images of runs of comic covers...I just captured the image to your left from there. It's called Cover Browser.

Finally, as long as I'm talking about old comics, here's the link to my #1 favorite dealer, Jim Payette. He's one of the fairest graders ever; he has a huge selection of all grades, from inexpensive reading copies to top grades; and his website is very easy to use. Jim also publishes a great catalog, with a new edition coming in June. If you are looking for any back issue comics, give him a whirl. He's also very easy to get by phone. He doesn't do shows, so his stock isn't picked over. Tell him I sent you his way, please.

Until next time,