Today's the day we check in to see
THE TOP 05 GN/TPB/HC OF 2005, WEEK 10 (MAR 06-12)
05. Fables v5: The Mean Seasons TPB (DC/Vertigo)04. True Facts TPB (AiT/Planet Lar)
03. Teenagers From Mars TPB (Gigantic Graphic Novels)
02. Sleeper v3: A Crooked Line TPB (DC/Wildstorm)
01. The Long Haul GN (Oni Press)
Very nice to see a book that's three years old still being a vital and performing part of the scene. If I'm not mistaken, that means an AiT book has been in every week this year... and it's always a different book. Who says I don't love all my children equally?
And speaking of Khepri,
check out the cool promo BSJ's running until the end of next week:
"Celebrating AiT/Planet Lar's 6th Anniversary! Full details on KMB2.
Sale! - 03/17 through 03/25, AiT books with SRP: $12.95 will be 3-for-$25.
You save $13.85 - that's 36%, an extra 6% savings for the 6th anniversary!"
"On this fine St. Patrick's Day, raise your Irish whiskey (or Shamrock shake?) to Uncle Lar, Larry Young
, who is celebrating AiT/Planet Lar
's 6th Anniversary today...
"...and so is Khepri.com
! Today through 3/25, all AiT GN with SRP: $12.95 are 3-for-$25."
That Brian Scot Johnson sure knows how to take care of his peoples; he knows that today's the sixth anniversary of the first day you were able to walk into a shop and buy a copy of Astronauts in Trouble: Live From the Moon
My pal Nate Southard's book Drive
is now available, and I wrote his intro:
Back when I was cutting granite, I met The Psychic Cop.
You must have heard that song by the B-5sÖ "Love Shack"? Chances are, you heard it coming out of your car radio, as you drove fast from here to there. Remember that bit "I'm headin' down the Atlanta Highway, lookin' for the love getaway"? Címon; of course you do. Well, the Atlanta Highway is a real road, and one day, I was heading down it. Going to the mall to pick up my girlfriend from her job at the bookstore.
Never did have a problem going in to pick her up, and I was never late. It wasnít because I was particularly punctual, or that I was gentlemanly and thoughtful to the point of not making her wait. No, it was because I thought then, and do now, that thereíre worse things you can do than browse a bookstore. I just like books. So Iíd head in a bit early and look at the Harlan Ellison novels, and page through the odd Heinlein, and give a ruffle to the Philip K. Dick. Me, Iíd be fine, in a well-stocked bookstore.
But this one day, when I showed up, the place was awash with the local constabulary. Seems as though, before I got there, thereíd been a bit of shoplifting, and my girlfriend and her manager were filing a police report. None of my business, yeah? But I was sort of hanging about on the periphery, anyway, just to soak up the vibe. It was like a particularly slow episode of Hill Street Blues
, you know? Just wanted to see the details, and I had an excuse to be there, so I hung around.
As one of the cops took statements, his partner gave me the eye. You know what Iím saying? Iíd been around enough of Our Nationís Finest to see this in action, and I still pay attention. One of the things that makes me good at what I do is that I pay attention to details that most folks let slide. And believe me, the devilís in the details. Thatís where the fun is.
So anyway, this one cop started paying attention to me,
because maybe it looked to him like I was paying a little too close
of attention to the scene, you know? I donít blame him, really. But so we got to talking.
"Do I know you?" he said.
"No, Iím pretty sure you donít," I replied. Never had
seen him before.
"I ever stop you? Give you a ticket, recently?" The cop is staring at me, maybe a little hard.
"Nope," I said. Back then, I was a solid, tax-paying citizen, living with my folks as I saved up money to go back to college. Straight-and-narrow; that was me.
"Whereíd you go to high school?"
"Back East, man. Iím a Yankee. Iím telling you, you donít know me."
The cop sort of looked askance. If he hadnít have been taking notes for his partner, Iíd have bet you his arms would have been akimbo, too. He looked like that kinda guy.
"All right; OK," he said, and went back to what he was doing. My girlfriend finished up her statement and we went on our way and had a nice night. Next day, same thing. I headed up the Atlanta Highway from her apartment, towards the bookstore, to pick her up after work. This day, though, it was raining pretty good. Not a downpour, but not a sprinkle, either. Raining pretty good.
So I was sitting at a stoplight in my Oldsmobile Starfire GT Iíd bought with my rock-cutting money, and itís idling a little hard. It was a cheap, old car, and I was saving every penny I made to get back to school. I wasnít real fond of cutting big hunks of rock into smaller pieces of rock so rich guys could get richer, yeah? So maybe I didnít do the upkeep on the Starfire like I ought to have, but who could blame me, right?
At the red light, I looked over to the side of the road and I saw two cop cars doing the 1-Adam-69. You know? One car facing east, and the other facing west, so the drivers can talk to each other? So I didnít think anything of it, and the light turned green and I hit the accelerator. I travelled forward a quarter mile or so, and the tires lost the road. Ever hydroplane? Itís not very fun. The carís just out of your control, and thatís not good. Hurtling metal you donít have a hand on just isnít good at all.
Well, this had never happened to me before, and back then I was still a pretty green wheelman, so I did what every inexperienced driver does when hydroplaning, and I just jumped on those brakes. I mean, I was all up on
those things. I couldnít have locked it up harder if I was Fred Flinstone jamming my bare feet on the pavement. Of course, this is the worst thing you can do, and it sent my little Starfire into a spin across four lanes of highway trafffic, across the divide, banging the DO NOT ENTER sign from the turnaround up over the top of my hood, and spinning, uncontrollably, by the two cop cars in a circular skid of hot rubber and steam. I went down into the median and up towards the oncoming traffic and I think I maybe saw a guy in a pickup go by, just for a second, there, thinking about that girl in sixth grade who taught him French as I went by him in a sixty-mile-an-hour hot metal spin.
Finally, miraculously, I stopped in a skein of mud and weeds and tire and rain, heading pretty much in the direction Iíd first intended, albeit in a small depression of dirt between lanes instead of on an actual road. Still. I hadnít hit anything except the sign and I was in one piece myself, although I gotta admit I was white-knuckling the steering wheel, even though I thought I had had a handle on it.
I heard sirens and I looked up to see those two cop cars heading my way.
By the time they got to me, I had got untangled from my seatbelt and was standing there in the drizzle holding my license and registration. The guys in the two cars jumped out and ran towards me.
"Holy crap!" the first cop said. "I thought you had had it, for sure. You wouldnít believe it. You missed that pickup by inches! I thought this was it, for the rest of the day, for us. Nothiní but paperwork."
The second guy drove up, and got out of his squad car, slowly. Sure enough, it was the guy from the day before. The cop from my girlfriendís bookstore.
"I told you I knew you!
" he yelled.
And sometimes, that happens, like that cop and me in the bookstore; sometimes you get the vibe off of someone or something that thereís gonna be something heady and dangerous and illicit and sexy and practically unlawful about to happen. Thatís the vibe I got off of Nate Southard and Shawn Richter and their work on DRIVE. I knew they were gonna skid by me at sixty miles an hour before I was finished with the first bit they did, and it was all I could do to just white-knuckle it and believe I was in good hands.
Nate and Shawn took care of me, and theyíll take care of you. You can sit back and enjoy, because even though it may seem like itís all out of control, Nate and Shawn have got a handle on it.
Buckle up.Larry Young is the author of the ground-breaking science fiction series
Astronauts in Trouble, the comic book industry allegory
Planet of the Capes, the self-publishing how-to book
True Facts, the online comics columns
Loose Cannon and
Proof of Concept, and the upcoming high-octane action-adventure
The Black Diamond. He's also the publisher of the award-winning publishing house AiT/Planet Lar. Heís a married old homeowner now, and drives a 2005 Honda CRV and a 2004 Derbi Boulevard.
Of course we're known in the comics direct market mostly for the testosterone-laden action-adventure books we publish like Astronauts in Trouble
and Last of the Independents
and The Couriers,
and the like, because I'm the frontman and mouthpiece for the company and I apparently favor flannel shirts and workboots and don't shave. Mimi calls those books the "boys and noise" part of our catalogue.
What you may not know, because the direct market hasn't fully developed or yet exploited this market, is that our best-selling book is Electric Girl.
We have a whole section of trade paperbacks (known internally and to select retailers as "Mimibooks") that live a life outside of the direct market and enjoy the fresh air in the Real World. Entertainment Weekly
said about True Story Swear to God: 100 Stories
"Tom Beland is funny, you know, for a bald guy who documents his life in comic form. His rectal exam, for example, is hilarious." and Variety
said of Ursula
"The art is a perfect blend of fluid storytelling and contemporary style that should help the book appeal to young readers as much as older ones...those who read it will find an instant gem well worth their time and money. A+"
The latest "Mimibook" to get national acclaim is the Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden
series. The Voice of Youth Advocates
magazine reviewed them, under the headline "The Girls Have It" and the subhead "Although manga ó Japanese comics and their Korean and Chinese counterparts ó is a great source of girl-centered stories, Western comics also contribute some great books." Here's an exerpt from what columnist (and 2005 Eisner judge) Kat Kan wrote:
"Jax Epoch is a heroine who is unstuck in time and who must deal with the magic she thought she wanted in her life. Fans of Harry Potter
who aren't quite ready for the works of Charles de Lint should find much to like in these volumes. Jax is a great character ó quite real but with flaws that get her into deep trouble while possessing the aplomb to get herself out. It's fine for older middle school and high school readers, and the harshest word is 'damn,' which appears infrequently."
At AiT, "all ages" doesn't mean "kid stuff;" it means all ages.
Being Beau Smith's
evil twin isn't that hard a job; Beau gets all the ladies and the good looks in the family, and I get all the orneriness and the West Coast.
But that doesn't stop ol' Cousin Beau from giving me a shout-out for the daily update here, and I sure do appreciate it: "Larry gives ya just enough company news and plugs without sounded like TV preacher with his hand in your pants or one of those PBS librarian types that puts ya to sleep faster than a bag full of Ambien. Larry also does a pretty good job of bein' a west coast Beau Smith. Right down to the beady eyes and ball cap. Larry tends to run with a little more liberal bunch than I do, but hey... he's west coast."
Boy, you see those two items juxtaposed and you really can tell that between Mimi and me, we have everybody
The Comic Queen, posts an excellent review of True Story Swear To God.
I particularly liked her insight into present-day marketing realities: "Like I said, I had heard good things. I was not in any way prepared, however, for how great this series truly is... I'm at a loss to find a flaw with this series, and I can pick at and be critical of most anything, so that's truly saying something. I'm giving this series my highest recommendation. Bottom Line: A+
" Sometimes, apparently, you really can
believe the hype.
That Pop Culture Gadabout
himself, Bill Sherman, looks at the latest incarnation of Scurvy Dogs:
"For those unfamiliar with the adventures of this dissolute band of pirates - who rummage their way through modern times, getting into pointlessly violent scrapes with monkeys ("pigeons of the seas," they calls 'em) and hobo kings, tossing off the occasional "Yar!" and silly pop culture reference (one that made me laugh out loud on the reread: a set of Hummel figurines done in tribute to violent deaths in the Great War) - well, to you I say, plunk down $12.95 for a copy of this collection today.
Because Boyd & Yount need to be encouraged to do more of this sublime silliness. And because any
form of intentional silliness is all too rare inAmerican comics these days..."
Jason over at Comic RIOT! has a real nice review of the Scurv
as well: "But apart from the hilarious 'origin' stories of each pirate and the apparent disdain they have for anything that doesn't revolve around their little world, these stories still have a 'screw you' relevance that delicately mocks the comic book industry itself. Kind of a 'Who cares about success and glamour? We'd rather stab you in the kneecap and laugh.'"
Truer words, never spoken, etc. "'Screw you' relevance" is my new motto.
Khaled over at Broken Kode, after tearing my old pal Bri Wood a new one way back when,
finally uncovers True Facts
and writes: "There were a couple of articles in there that were exceptionally useful to me. Some articles were very amusing to read,
while others went absolutely nowhere." That's pretty much the whole gamut run, there. Spectrum,
I say. Still, I'd make the argument that a straight-line trend benefits those paying attention more than a Bell Curve any day, and that's a fact.
Thank God Greg Burgas wrote "I May Have Caused Larry Young Some Vexation"
when titling his latest, at least allowing for the fact that maybe there was some tongue-in-the-cheek on my part in my last post about his review of the Capes.
Nice work, Greg! Anyone who has "ABBA rules!" at the top of their site is OK with me by definition. All the other stuff in your review is as Joe Casey tells us: "People see what they want to see." This quote of yours, though, is spot friggin' on
: "Planet of the Capes
accomplishes what it wants to do, I suppose, but it's done so brutally and nastily and humorlessly that I recoil against whatever point Mr. Young is trying to make." Bubala: the point is
brutal and nasty and humorless. You got it exactly: recoil is the only sane response. Go, and sin no more.
There's one last bit of business with that one: "Anyway, just because I didn't like one thing that AiT/Planet Lar puts out doesn't mean that I hate the publisher, and just because I didn't like one thing Mr. Young wrote doesn't mean I'm never going to read anything else he writes." Nobody said you weren't,
Greg. People see emotional responses in dispassionate disagreements in Real Life all the time, even with
the cues that dry Internet postings lack. So to prove my good will, I see you also wrote: "I have heard good things about Astronauts in Trouble
and want to check it out (I will someday!)." Just email me your mailing address at:firstname.lastname@example.org
and I'll hook you up with a hardcover collection, gratis, for you to check out at your leisure. Heck, I have half a mind to throw in a Proof of Concept,
too, just to show I've got no hard feelings.
But, seriously, commentators, isn't that whole line you toss to creators (who try to interact with you as an audience member) of "creators should just grow thicker skins" as silly as the creator line (thrown back at commentators) of "just try to produce a comic book and then we'll listen to you about what you
think of our comics!"? I mean, really? Does context mean nothing?
Yes, if a genetics professor tells me "Emancipating Lincoln" from Proof of Concept
is implausible because you can't get clonable DNA from Abe's blood-soaked shirt in the museum under Ford's Theatre, well, yeah, maybe that's an interesting exchange to have. But if some college sophomore half this writer's age says that you can't have a society of Lincoln clones in the future because some Star Trek: The Next Generation
episode said you can't clone a clone without introducing disastrous results in the resulting organisms... well.
You can see how creators maybe would tend to look at context a little closer than commentators, just on a sanity-preserving level alone.
"Perhaps something offends you about this column. I'm sure it does. Remember: Your outrage trumps any defense I might make. It doesn't matter what I meant, it's what you think I meant." ó Jon Carroll