Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A drib and three drabs

For those reading on MySpace, or those reading on Blogger who don't look at the sidebar, or those reading on Livejournal who aren't actually reading it at all, you may be interested to know that I've had a cost-effective midlife crisis and started up a Twitter account. Because I'm really a Cool Guy and not at all a decrepit old wannabe desperate to prove he's down with the kidz. Go to if you're interested in keeping track of my nonsense in sporadic, 140 character bursts. And if you aren't interested...well, I can't say that I blame you, but I do pity you.



As you may or may not know, in addition to being a Professional Comics Editor and Occasional Comics Writer and Aspiring Well-Paid Writer Of Whatever People Will Pay Well For Me To Write, I also do a few shifts a week at Canada's Best Comic Shop of 2007 (and arguably 2008 and 9, but you get the Shusters' Outstanding Retailer Award once and once only), Happy Harbor Comics. A regular paycheque and expanded health coverage are both nice, and I feel slightly less guilty about reading comics without buying them this way, my admittedly self-serving argument being that it's part of my job to try and stay abreast of the latest developments in mainstream comicdom.

Anyhoo, as part of my duties at Happy Harbor (heh. I said "duties"), I'm expected to write up recommendations for a few books from the latest Previews, two of which are then sent out to everyone on the mailing list along with the other staff picks. The one that isn't sent out is an alternate, in case there's overlap and more than one person decides to promote the same thing. This has, unfortunately, left some of my favourite recommendations unseen by all but a couple people, and possibly not even that many.

So, because I'm feeling guilty about how much I haven't been blogging lately and some content's got to be better than no content and because I have a personal interest in seeing VEHICLE succeed but don't feel great about its chances, considering where it's been placed in the magazine, I present to you all three of my picks from this month's Previews magazine, something I may continue to do with future picks. Or not.

This was all written with a Harbor-specific audience in mind, so apologies for any comments that may skew a little too inside.

VEHICLE MAGAZINE #3, by Various. Seeing as the (relatively) locals have had their anthology magazine sentenced to the outer reaches of Previews (AKA "the magazine section waaaaay at the back"), it falls to me to point out the first issue of Calgary creator collective Black Sheep Studios' to appear in Previews to all you Harborites. Previous issues have featured work by Scott Kowalchuk, who you may know better as "the guy who did the Steve Ditko and Chester Gould prints at the Visions of Comics art show", and future issues probably will as well. "But Andrew," I hear you saying, "Why should we try the third issue of a magazine sight unseen (other than someone with your impeccable good taste saying we should, of course)?" I'm glad you asked, Imaginary Harbor E-Mail Reader. My answer is, you don't have to do it sight unseen: the first two issues can be downloaded free of charge from VEHICLE's website at So there.

SUPERNATURAL: BEGINNING'S END #1, by Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin and Diego Olmos. On top of being one of, if not the most entertaining show on network television this fall, CW's Supernatural also has pretty strong geek credentials, with much of the writing staff having written either comics or something Joss Whedon created. And a couple of the writers, most notably Ben Edlund, AKA the creator of THE TICK, started in comics and migrated to television writing. Andrew Dabb is another Supernatural writer who started in comics (with Vertigo's HAPPYDALE: DEVILS IN THE DESERT) before moving into television, only to find himself back in comics writing the same characters he's writing on television. This is the third Supernatural miniseries, and like the others, it's a prequel. This time out, the story goes into the reasons Sam Winchester to give up the not-so-glamourous life of monster-hunting to go to university. Ought to be fun.
THE WEIRD WORLD OF JACK STAFF #1, by Paul Grist. It's Paul Grist, it's Jack Staff, and if you're sick of me going on about how great Paul Grist and Jack Staff are, just know that I exercised some restraint this month and didn't make it my #1 choice. If you're reading this, someone beat me to the punch suggesting either Supernatural: Beginning's End #1 or VEHICLE #3 and as a result, this, the alternate Preview pick Jay forces us to make in case there's some overlap, got used instead. Fortunately, I happen to be the staff member whose name comes first, alphabetically, so I can at least tell you that it's not me but the person who recommends Supernatural or Vehicle you should blame getting yet another plug for Grist's superhero masterpiece. All that said, you really should read Jack Staff. I'll take any issue of JS over any three issues that have the words "Blackest" or "Dark" pasted over their titles. Also, "willpower" isn't an emotion and the Black Lanterns are zombies.


I just know the boss, die-hard Geoff Johns Green Lantern fan that he is, will make me pay for that last sentence. But it's totally worth it.


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