Saturday, April 23, 2011

Expanded showcase section & new adult section!

The past few days, with the able assistance of my buddy Jim McKenzie, I've been punching up some sections of Alternate Reality Comics. I've also ordered some other displays that will hopefully arrive in the next two weeks for the front section of the store.

This first photo shows the addition of another showcase display for older titles. The display with the white trim used to be a front window display, but I've got another display that works better there. This white-trimmed display is a display that even predates my ownership of this store (1995) and with Jim having just newly painting it yesterday, I think it makes a nice addition to the back issue section of Alternate Reality Comics.
This bright yellow display (painted by Jim a couple of months ago) now used for my adult titles used to be at the front of my store's new location (not with the adult titles though), but I used this display at the store's old location (it was blue then, for anyone who cares about that side note) and I think this display is really the best display for adult titles (it covers up a lot of the "naughty" parts of the cover - grin!).

I'm also going to be doing a fairly big remodel to a section of the back of my store (hopefully in May or early June) that I think will be an exciting part of Alternate Reality Comics, but I don't want to "spoil" what this will be until it happens. This also applies to the new things I'm doing with the front of the store, so I hope all of you Ich Liebe Comics! readers will look forward to these Alternate Reality Comics changes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dark Horse Presents #1 & creator sale!

Today the fat packed (80 pages!) first issue of Dark Horse Presents comes out. Just look at this line up of creators within: Paul Chadwick, Howard Chaykin, Carla Speed McNeil, Neal Adams, Harlan Ellison, Michael Gilbert, Richard Corben, and Paul Gulacy!

In celebration of the return of Dark Horse Presents, Alternate Reality Comics is having a 20% off sale on all comics and graphic novels by the creators that are in this first issue through the end of April! A perfect opportunity to try Finder and Concrete if you haven't already!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mister Wonderful; Daniel Clowes

No spoilers following:

Mister Wonderful is a new graphic novel by Daniel Clowes (Ghost World, Wilson), published by Patheon Books that will be gracing Alternate Reality Comics' shelves tomorrow (Wednesday, of course).

Mister Wonderful is wonderful, but not in a happy fluffy way. Mister Wonderful is subtitled: A Love Story, but while it is of sorts, it is a love story as only Mr. Cynical himself, cartoonist Daniel Clowes, could tell. While Mister Wonderful isn't as negative and nihilistic as Clowes' last graphic novel, Wilson, Mister Wilson's characters have his "trademark" self awareness and not bright outlook on their place in society or the state of the world around them.

Following is an example of Clowes' writing from Mister Wonderful for Ich Liebe Comics! readers who are unfamiliar with his prose (this scene is Mister Wonderful musing on what propelled him to agree to go on the blind date he's waiting for to show up):

"It was sort of like 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' except in this version, Holly Golightly is an unstable, crank - snorting sociopath. It wound up costing me $800, my grandmother's earrings and a laptop, but such is the price of transformative human events, I suppose. To be honest, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. It's only because of her intervention that I have the strength to be here right now."

As much as I enjoyed Clowes' last graphic novel, Wilson, I thought we weren't going to see any more long narratives from Daniel Clowes (Wilson was a series of one page vignettes that had a punch line of sorts at the end of each page, which did lead up to a greater whole, but it wasn't a conventional story - which doesn't mean it wasn't still highly entertaining). Mister Wonderful is a truly great alternative graphic novel (as well as being darkly humorous) and I'm elated to see that Daniel Clowes voice and cartooning prowess aren't fading with age!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Return of the Dapper Men

Return of the Dapper Men, a GORGEOUS over-sized hardcover graphic novel written by Jim McCann and illustrated by Janet Lee, published by Archaia, came out towards the end of last year and has gotten several nominations in this years Eisner Awards. Return of the Dapper Men is an all ages graphic novel that like the best in all ages graphic novels, doesn't talk down to younger readers and older readers will be just as mesmerized with its magic. This is a book about loss, innocence, discovery, and every page is filled with wonderments.
Just look at this art! It's so lush and evokes Windsor McCay's Little Nemo, without being derivative in any way. After the story here in Return of the Dapper Men, there's a gallery section in which other fine comic book artists such as Joyce Chin, David Mack, Collen Coover, and Skottie Young display their interpretations of the Dapper Men world. If you'd like an additional example of what Return of the Dapper Men looks like, check out this youtube trailer:

As a reminder, Return of the Dapper Men is one of the featured titles on Alternate Reality Comics' 2011 Eisner Award nominees display and is on sale for 20% off through April (as are all of this years Eisner nominated titles)!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011 Eisner nominees sale!

A couple of days ago, the Will Eisner Award nominees of 2011 were announced, so I was thinking what better way to celebrate some of the very best in sequential art from last year then to have a sale! So through the month of April, Alternate Reality Comics, in fabulous Las Vegas, will have the 2011 Eisner nominees on sale for 20% off!

The Eisner Awards are named after Will Eisner, the creator of The Spirit and many excellent graphic novels such as A Contract With God and Fagin the Jew. Basically they are like the Oscars for the comic book medium. The Eisner Awards are headed by Jackie Estrada and have different judges every year. I had the honorable distinction to have been an Eisner judge a few years back and it has been one of my highlights of my many wonderful years "working" in this industry. This years judges were Ned Cato Jr., Karen Green, Andrew Helfer (who was a long time DC editor and wrote an excellent Shadow comic for them), Rich Johnson (comic news site Bleeding Cool), Chris Powell (the brains behind the Lone Star Comic Book store operation), and John Berry.

I usually have at least one book that I think was overlooked by the judges on any given year, but this year I was on board with just about all of the selections, although I would have included Sarah Glidden's How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less as one of the best reality based graphic novels of last year. The full 2011 Eisner nominations can be seen here:

I KNOW that amongst this years Eisner nominees there is a selection or selections that would speak to whatever sparks your comic book reading buttons and probably quite a few that have fallen under most people's radar in the sea of great comics and graphic novels that come out, so remember to check out Alternate Reality Comics' 20% off sale on some of 2010's best through the month of April!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Elegy for Amelia Johnson

An Elegy for Amelia Johnson is one of the newest Archaia releases, a nice handsome hardcover (with no annoying dust jacket) written by Andrew Rostan and drawn by Dave Valeza and Kate Kasenow. While Archaia publishes many fine comics and graphic novels such as Fraggle Rock, The Killing, Mouse Guard, and Days Missing, An Elegy for Amelia Johnson is unique to all of the previous books they've done as it is not fantastical in any respect - it's fantastic, but it's a fantastic people story, not a story in which otherworldly things happen.

An Elegy for Amelia Johnson is about Amelia Johnson (sorry for stating the obvious), who is close to death from cancer and wants two of her friends to make a little film about how she's impacted others. This isn't a biographical graphic novel, but it reads as if it could be. It also is more about Amelia's friends then it is about her in a lot of ways. The characters and situations in An Elegy for Amelia Johnson are very captivating and this graphic novel isn't just sad, rather like a good elegy, it is a celebration of a life lived and how that life affects / affected others. I hope these creators work together again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chimo; David Collier

Chimo is Inuit for "hello" and is the title of the new graphic novel by David Collier. David Collier has been creating graphic novel biographies for years with an art style very evocative of Robert Crumb. I'm going to say something that some people will think is sacrilegious, but I'm not the biggest fan of Robert Crumb's (or similar styles) artwork. I say this not to be shocking, rather to illustrate that though I'm not a big fan of Collier's art, he's a great storyteller and how one feels about his art, will not get in the way of enjoying Chimo.

In Chimo, David Collier recounts his stint with re-enlisting in the Canadian army at the age of 40 to be a part of the Canadian War Artists Program. This book is fascinating because it shows how Canada actually allows a person that's 40 years old to re-enlist, but they still have to go through basic training. David Collier details how he sustained an injury during one of the training exercises, went through some intensive rehabilitation, and went on to complete his training to serve in the artist program of the Canadian Army. My hat is off to David Collier for re-enlisting in the Canadian Army and showing the kids that a person of the "advanced" age of 40 can still do what it takes (and makes for a highly entertaining graphic novel to boot)!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ivy; Sarah Oleksyk

Ivy is a newish hardcover graphic novel from Oni Press that collects the five issues of Sarah Oleksyk's mini comic of the same name. Ivy is about Ivy, and is a coming of age story about teenage girl who aspires to be an artist.

Anyone who remembers high school and wasn't amongst the popular in crowd will relate to Ivy's journey. Though that period in our lives may not have always been what we wanted it to be and can be painful to reflect upon, reading Sarah Oleksyk's Ivy isn't just an angst driven experience and her art (as seen here) is a delight through and through.