Author: Scott VanderPloeg

Jiminy Christmas! | Absolute Mistake

DC solicitations for March 2011 went online yesterday and I was shocked, shocked, to see Absolute Promethea Volume 3 solicited. The final Absolute edition of Alan Moore’s epic collects issues #24-32 with the spectacular artwork of J.H. Williams III! ADVANCE SOLICITED • On sale AUGUST 17, 328 pg, 8.25” x 12.5”, FC, $99.99 US Last week I looked at Absolute sales numbers and found Absolute Promethea Volume 2 to be the worst selling Absolute edition ever at 805 units its premiere month.  I know Alan Moore is a big name in comics and J.H. Williams III has struck it big time with Batwoman but who is buying these Absolute Promethea volumes? This is a premium item priced at $100: why is material that received lukewarm sales at best during its initial production getting the “Absolute” treatment.  Based on production I’m sure modern works that DC already has large scans of is the easiest to remaster in any format.  But even then isn’t there better material to draw from in the last twenty years? The oldest material to see an Absolute edition is Ronin, published in 1983, followed by Crisis On Infinite Earths in 1985 and The Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in 1986.  We need to see smaller works get the Absolute treatment, 200 pages for $50; skip the slipcase if need be.  This oversized work should...

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Bound Together | The Rocketeer By Dave Stevens

It was the first hardcover collected edition I purchased: The Rocketeer from Eclipse Books, fresh off the press in 1986.  A solid 8.5×11.5″ seventy page book for $20; pricey even for that few pages.  Sadly my copy shows the wear and tear of banging around a teenagers room but later on I was able to pick up the Graphitti Designs edition.  Let’s take a step back and look at the history. Dave Stevens was approached by Pacific Comics around 1982 to provide something for them: they were a new publisher desperate for material.  Appearing as four backup stories in Starslayer and Pacific Presents The Rocketeer was a smash success: the art was vivid and captured a pin-up 1950s look.  As noted on the cover above there were five chapters: the story moved to Eclipse with The Rocketeer Special Edition in 1984.  The story arc was complete and Eclipse published the collected story in softcover and hardcover versions; based on trademark notices it looks like Dave Stevens owned the Rocketeer material outright by 1985. Graphitti Designs was also involved with The Rocketeer: a deluxe signed and numbered hardcover with a one thousand print run was produced along with a cloisonne pin, t-shirts and prints.  The content was the same as the Eclipse hardcover with the addition of a signature plate. Oddly Graphitti decided on a dust jacket and the book...

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Jiminy Christmas! | Wither DC Absolutes?

As anyone who reads this site can attest I love oversized hardcovers.  I want my serving of comic art extra-large if you please.  There is a size in the comic industry that companies are using, about 9×16″.  DC absolute editions, Dark Horse library editions, some Fantagraphics and IDW reprints.  They’re large and fall somewhere between $50-$100 but well worth the price of admission. Last week DC released publishing schedules for 2011 up to July and there was a glaring omission: no Absolute editions were solicited.  Is this the end of the line? I would have to say there will be more Absolute editions to come from DC, but at what frequency?  I trolled through online sales records and came up with the following: As you can see there are a few trends to consider.  No edition has broken 5000 units sold since 2006; yes Watchmen in its many printings has but that’s slightly outside our focus here since it sells well in every format.  Unfortunately graphics novels weren’t reported until December 2001, and then only the top 25.  March 2002 we had the top 50, February 2004 the top 100 and November 2008 on the top 300.  That’s why I listed Absolute Danger Girl as less than 1535 since that was what #50 sold that month. Properties known outside the comic store circle such as Sandman and Death do...

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Review | The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures Deluxe

Most people think of the Disney live action film when they hear Rocketeer but for comic fans Dave Steven’s beautifully illustrated character cheerfully fills our thoughts. December 2009 IDW published the collected Rocketeer works in a regular hardcover and in The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures Deluxe Edition.  It quickly sold out but IDW has recently released a new printing for this holiday season.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: The Deluxe Edition will feature everything in the regular hardcover edition but will be printed in a larger format (8 x 12 inches) and will contain more than 100 additional pages of sketches, preliminaries, layouts, and much, much more. A cornucopia of Dave Stevens art, many of these treasures have never been published before and will be printed here from the original art to ensure the highest quality reproduction possible. Based on that here’s the blurb for the regular hardcover edition: The Complete Rocketeer saga is collected into one handsome hardcover volume for the very first time, combining The Rocketeer and The Rocketeer: Cliff’s New York Adventure into great book. Dave Stevens’ classic adventure strip is set in the 1930s and is an homage to the classic pulp novels of the time. Cliff Secord is a stunt pilot who happens upon a top-secret experimental Jet pack and meets adventure head on! Long considered a classic, the Rocketeer has been out of print...

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Review | Conan Volume 6: The Hand Of Nergal

After thoroughly enjoying Conan Volume 7 I scanned my local comic book shop and found Conan Volume 6: The Hand Of Nergal softcover.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb: A mysterious curse lingers, following Conan as he attempts to return to his homeland, and a great darkness looms ahead in the doomed city of Yaralet. This latest collection in Dark Horse’s smart, innovative Conan series finds the cunning Cimmerian chased by both unfinished business from his past and a strange novice magician who seeks to deliver a dire warning to the wandering barbarian. A great evil moves ever closer while unfathomable terrors awaken and come into view. Conan is, of course, eager to meet both head on! First let me say these Conan volumes stand on their own and don’t require any previous readings of the series: they’re self-contained enough to enjoy just one but you get a deeper understanding of the character through his many adventures. The story is a great magic action tale.  Conan is on his way home to Cimmeria but needs some supplies and money so he enlists in a local army.  They’re waiting to escort the King’s betrothed back to the city but end up getting attacked by an undead army.  It seems the young new King made the mistake of listening to his magic adviser and got himself mixed up in bringing a dark god...

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