Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Lucille is a new 500 page graphic novel (well it's new in the United States, recently translated) written and drawn by Ludovic Debeurme and published by Top Shelf. Lucille won the Angouleme Essential Award and it is already being compared to Craig Thompson's Blankets. Largely the comparisons to Blankets are because Lucille is a coming of age / first romance story and it is a very big book.

While Lucille is a coming of age / first romance story, it's a darker version of this type of story as the central character, Lucille, is anorexic, and the other central character, Arthur, comes from a family with a sad history. The art in Lucille isn't the typical style even associated with alternative comics, as there isn't a panel to panel structure and the dialogue isn't circled in dialogue balloons, but the minimalistic style Debeurme works in is very much the equal of this powerful story that you will want to share with others and will certainly be on many top ten best graphic novel lists of 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DC relaunches their line in September; some thoughts...

It's been about a month or so now since DC Comics announced that they were going to relaunch their entire line (excluding Vertigo and their kids comic line) with 52 new #1's in September. That means that even Action Comics, Detective Comics, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, will have new #1's (Action Comics, since 1938, has never had a reboot of its numbering). This is really big news because no comic book company has done anything to their line on the scale EVER. Seriously, the internet is still trying to put itself together with this news. Comic book news sites and message boards haven't seen this level of activity for information and opinions on how this is going to play out since I can't remember when.

Why is DC doing this? The simple answer is they want to shake things up and reach whole new audiences or lapsed audiences. A lot of people are saying that this would be easier to swallow if DC just rolled out a few new rebooted #1's a month, instead of 52 new ones in one month. I agree that 52 new #1's is a lot in one month, but after thinking about it these past few weeks, I think that doing the relaunch / reboot all at once definitely will have more impact and already has gotten more attention than if they just did a gradual roll out (I still think on a big level that this is too much, but we're living in a world of too much everything in terms of entertainment and this genie isn't going back in the bottle).

There is some confusion on what is being rebooted and what will just be continued from the DC universe prior to September. This hasn't been clarified, but they have said that titles and characters like Batman and Green Lantern, which are doing well and on the "right" path, will largely continue as they are presently, but we've heard rumblings that characters like Superman and Firestorm will have significant changes when we see those titles / characters in September. Yes, some of our favorite characters (such as Barbara Gordon as Oracle) will be very different from what we're enjoying now, but whatever happens to these characters, I'd like to suggest / remind people that whatever they don't like about the new DC in September won't negate all the great comics they've already read (such as James Robinson's Starman, Gail Simone's Birds of Prey, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, Ed Brubaker's Catwoman) and they can be revisited once you unearth them from whichever storage method you use. It's also highly possible that people who were concerned about a new direction for a character they think should be left alone, will really like what the new creative teams have planned. Will there be missteps? Yes there will be, but I'm thinking that DC is thinking that nothing ventured, nothing gained and they won't know what works until they plunge ahead. The people at DC Comics are not going to just disregard their rich history and they are aware that what they are doing could alienate fans that have followed them for many years, but at the same time they need new readers. I also think that DC Comics has plans with how this balancing act they're doing is going to work, but they don't (can't / shouldn't) want to show all of the cards they have up their sleeves at once.

In regards to people that are wondering how their pocket books will absorb all of the new #1's that DC has coming out in September, well I don't have an answer for this (but I used to be on the other side of the register as well and know how hard making choices of what to get and what not to get can be). I want to mention again that I think there's too many new #1's coming out, but as I've also mentioned above, there's too much everything and this too much everything is not going to go away.

At Alternate Reality Comics, I (like many other comic book stores), have a subscription pull and hold service so that people can reserve the issues of titles they don't want to miss an issue of. Within two weeks, I'll have a new club sheet that people can use to sign up for these new DC #1's (and other new series from other companies of course). I know that when my customers see the new sheet they'll be overwhelmed and not sign up for comics that they'll probably pick up when they arrive and I can understand that a person wants to check out something first before committing to a particular title. Ordering DC Comics in September is going to be especially tricky for comic book retailers everywhere because with DC set to launch their biggest advertising campaign in years, the very real reality exists for lots of newbies to flock into comic book stores and quickly absorb what was ordered. I appreciate everyone who shops at Alternate Reality Comics, but I (like comic book stores everywhere), especially appreciate those who sign up with our club service, as this helps us to get a better handle on how we should order a particular title. Just as an individual who comes into a comic book store doesn't have an infinite budget for what they want to get on any given week or month, a comic book store (with the plethora of titles there are from numerous companies) also doesn't have an infinite budget so they can't order hundreds of all titles to see what people will be receptive to.

I'm mostly excited about what DC Comics will be doing in September, but just as comic readers / buyers will have to make hard choices on which DC comics to follow, and DC is risking a lot on how their present fanbase reacts to the 52 new #1's in September, I'm more than a little curious as to how high I should be ordering these new titles (so for those of you filling out the new club sheet for titles in September, thank you in advance for any feedback and commitment you make for DC Comics' upcoming titles). While my excitement also goes hand in hand with a concern with how to order (I've done this comic retailing thing for seventeen years now and wouldn't trade this for anything else), but never has there been a change to a companies publishing policy as DC is undertaking in September. And not to flog a dead horse, while I wish on some level that DC wasn't going to be launching 52 new #1's in one month (or there to be not so much of everything), I do think that what DC Comics is doing is going to make more people look at their titles in ways they wouldn't have if DC just continued on their present course. There will be pros and cons to the new DC come September, but I like to think that the positives will outweigh the negatives. Off the top of my head, I'm most looking forward to J.H. Williams' Batwoman, Johns & Lee's Justice League, Jeff Lemire's Swamp Thing and Animal Man, Morrison & Morales' Action Comics, and SGT. Rock. I'm looking forward to what patrons / friends of Alternate Reality Comics are looking forward to from the NEW DC!

Thanks to everyone who visits and shops at Alternate Reality Comics and reads Ich Liebe Comics!

Keith Knight visits & a cool new t-shirt!

Today I got a visit from cartoonist Keith Knight (K Chronicles and The Knight Life), who stopped by to check out my new store space (he lives in Los Angeles) and deliver me copies of his new (th)Ink Anthology. The big guy is Keith and the little guy is his son, Jasper. Jasper even knows how to speak German (his mother is from Germany)!
Hot off the presses! Too Small To Fail (the new (th)ink Anthology) - available in Las Vegas only from Alternate Reality Comics! Page after page of great one panel political cartoons!

This t-shirt is not related to Keith Knight, but it is also cool and it's new at Alternate Reality Comics - hopefully people will "get" this t-shirt or I'll have to take out a mortgage on my house!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Welcome to Oddville!

Jay Stephens comic book work has been amongst my favorites since he first came on the scene in the mid 1990's with his JetCat / Odville and Atomic City Tales comics. Most people who are familiar with Jay Stephens probably know him through the two cartoons he also created, Tutenstein and The Secret Saturdays (which are both great!). This week, a wonderful full colored hardcover arrived, called Welcome to Oddville! (for only $14.95!!)that collects Welcome to Oddville! comic strips that Jay Stephens still does (and can be read over on his website:, nd then you'll want to have this handsome hardcover edition). When I first ordered this book, I thought it was just a back in print color version of previous Jay Stephens JetCat / Odville comics, so I was uber delighted to read new stories! And what a FANTASTIC cover, aye!?

Jay Stephens' Welcome to Odville! are great all ages comics (but like really great children cartoons, they work on an adult level with the odd humor on display) with fun characters and great art. JetCat is the alter-ego of eight year old Melanie McCay and some of the other regular characters are her brother, Tod Johnson, Petty the Snail, Bandage, Mr. Suckley, and Kyle (a black cat) - FUN STUFF!

Some low cost new items...

On the top shelf of this display are some new plush creations I started carrying this week. They're called Flaky Friends and are all individually made by local artist Sarah Flake (a recent transplant from Los Angeles). The little skeletons rattle when you pick them up, the orange fishes have catnip in them, and over to the left the tan colored circular thangs with glasses are bookworms! Sarah Flake also makes some cloth iron on patches such as colorful aliens and mustaches which will make any of your clothes pop out (and I have them at my shop also). So you can get something cool by a local artist at affordable prices.

I also got in some DC and Marvel key chains and buttons. Here's some of the DC key chains.

And here's some of the Marvel key chains.

A small selection of the new DC and Marvel buttons that arrived (the retro DC ones are amongst my favorites).

As anyone who has ever been to Alternate Reality Comics already knows, comics and graphic novels are ALWAYS going to be the focal / main driving force of the store, but there is a lot of cool other things relating to comics / pop culture that are fun to have to show others where your passions are (like letting your geek flag wave proudly)! I hope I haven't sounded too much like a shameless advertiser with this Ich Liebe Comcis! entry as I just wanted to give a shout out for some cool stuff!

Friday, June 10, 2011

What's happening with DC Comics in September!?

As many of you already know, DC Comics made an announcement Tuesday, May 31st, that has come as close as any other comic book news since the creation of the internet, to break said internet in half. For Ich Liebe Comics! readers who haven't heard this news, basically this September, DC will be relaunching their WHOLE line (not counting Vertigo) to the tune of 52 (!!) new number one issues that month! This means titles such as Action Comics #1, Batman #1, and Wonder Woman #1! The past ten or so days, they've been rolling out what these 52 titles will be come September and who the creative teams are. As to how much of a reboot this is and or how much of previous continuity will be retained has not been clarified yet (of course they don't want to show all of their cards at once), but September will be an especially interesting time to be a super hero comic book fan!

Here's a listing of the 52 new DC Comics #1's that are coming out in September for those of you who haven't already seen this on the million other comics news sites:

Here's the full list as posted by BLEEDING COOL:

1. JLA#1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

2. Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales

3. Superman #1 by George PĂ©rez

4. Superboy #1 by Scott Lobdell and…

5. Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

6. Detective Comics #1 by Tony Daniel

7. Batgirl #1 by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes.

8. Batwoman #1 by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder

9. Catwoman #1 by Judd Winick and Guillem March

10. Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort

11. Batwing #1 by Judd Winick and Ben Oliver

12. Nightwing #1 by Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows

13. Batman And Robin #1 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

14. Adventure Comics DC Universe Presents #1 by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang

15. Green Lantern #1 by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

16. Green Lantern Corps #1 by Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna

17. Green Lanterns: New Guardians #1 by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt

18. Red Lanterns #1 by Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter.

19. Animal Man #1 by Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman and Dan Green

20. Swamp Thing #1 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette

21. Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Chris Batista? Pete Woods

22. Birds Of Prey #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz

23. Teen Titans #1 by Fabian Nicieza Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

24. Savage Hawkman #1 by James Robinson Tony Daniel and Philip Tan

25. Blue Beetle #1 by Tony Bedard and Ig Guara

26. Supergirl #1 by Brian Wood Michael Green and Mike Johnson

27. Wonder Woman #1 by Brian Azzarello #1 and Cliff Chiang

28. Fury Of Firestorm #1 by Brian Clevinger Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar.

29. Aquaman #1 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

30. Mr Terrific #1 by Eric Wallace and Roger Robinson

31. Flash #1 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul

32. Green Arrow #1 by JT Krul and Dan Jurgens

33. Justice League International #1 by Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti

34. Captain Atom #1 by JT Krul and Freddie Williams II

35. Grifter #1 by Nathan Edmondson and…

36. Legion of Superheroes by Paul Levitz and Chris Batista? Francis Portela

37. OMAC #1 by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen

38. Batman: The Dark Knight #1 by David Finch

39. All-Star Western #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey and Meridat. ( Vigilante #1 by Darwyn Cooke inside?)

40. Justice League Dark #1 by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin

41. Demon Knights #1 by Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert

42. Frankenstein: Agent Of SHADE #1 by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli

43. Resurrection Man #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino

44. I, Vampire #1 by Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino

45. Voodoo #1 by Ron Marz and Sami Basri.

46. Static Shock #1 by Felicia Henderson, John Rozum, Scott McDaniel and Jonathan Glapion.

47. Hawk And Dove #1 by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld

48. Sgt Rock And The Men Of War #1 by Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick.

49. Stormwatch #1 by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda.

50. Deathstroke #1 by Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert.

51. Suicide Squad #1 by Adam Glass and Marco Rudy

52. Blackhawks #1 by Mike Costa and Ken Lashley

Of course the title everyone is most excited about is JH Williams III Batwoman #1, right!?

Monday, June 6, 2011

You're gonna be jealous!...

Presenting my newly decopatched table at the store done up by Michelle Irish! Click on the photo to enlarge the image and it looks even cooler, but to get the full effect it's even cooler in person! Doing this to the surface of the table was more involved than I thought it would be, especially if one does it with the precision that Michelle employed, but it looks even better than I imagined!

20% off Sale on introductory graphic novels!

Starting today, Monday, June 6th, here at Alternate Reality Comics, I have a 20% off sale going on covering almost 40 different first volumes of some great graphic novel series! Some of the titles included are: Swamp Thing, Ex Machina, Marvel Zombies, Buffy, Terry Moore's echo, Astonishing x-Men, Star Wars Legacy, Hellboy, Unknown Soldier, Unwritten, FreakAngels, and Jason Aaron & Steve Dillon's crazy good Punisher Kingpin! I'm thinking this is a great way to try a graphic novel series you've always had your eye on but haven't sampled yet, or a great way to turn on a friend and or loved one to one of your favorite graphic novel series!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

X-Men First Class - Go see this!

No spoilers following - just some excited impressions I had after seeing X-Men First Class today:

Kate and I LOVED XFC, we didn't have a problem with anything that was done in this movie! This movie was cool, smart, and very well paced. I really enjoyed the Thor movie, but I liked X-Men First Class even more! I didn't know until the credits rolled that Bryan Singer co-wrote XFC. Had I know this beforehand I would have been concerned because Singer did a horrible job with his Superman movie.

Anyway, X-Men First Class is a REALLY good movie and although, yes there are changes in respect to comic book continuity, I actually think all of the changes were good changes and I wish the X-Men comics were as engaging as this movie was. And I was rooting for Erik the whole film.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Criminal The Last of the Innocent

Anyone who has read any of the collaborations by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, such as Point Blank, Sleeper, and Incognito, already know that their Criminal series of mini series is great. For those of you unfamiliar with Criminal or the work of Brubaker and Phillips, all you have to know about Criminal is that every mini series / trade paperback (of which there is five volumes) can be read unto themselves and like Sin City or Hellboy, you don't have to read them in any particular order. The only thing necessary before reading Criminal is a desire to read some of the VERY best in noir crime fiction.

The newest Criminal, The Last of the Innocent, of which the first issue just came out this week, is maybe my favorite first issue of a Criminal series yet and that's saying a lot because all of the five previous Criminal mini series are seriously amongst the best of the best of this genre. And artist Sean Phillips, who couldn't be more perfect for noir crime fiction sequential art, is still at top form, with the added treat this time around of a new style he's employing for the flash back sequences.