Book Expo America happens every year, and I take time off from work to wander Javits to see what’s new and interesting (this year’s Zeitgeist: mustaches).
“Tireless Torsten” is tired. Maybe, after 29 years of reading and collecting comics, I’ve hit a mid-life-Crisis. (Whether it’s “infinite” remains to be seen.) I can’t get excited about comics. I can’t generate the energy to write about comics. Maybe I’m bored.
Or maybe we’ve won the war. Librarians love graphic novels, with one library in Illinois raising money to construct a giant Hulk sculpture at a branch (and buy more graphic novels). Bookstores and publishers are offering titles in a variety of diverse subjects. TV and movies feature lots of comics-inspired stories (including an arthouse film sure to generate some interesting press in October).
But I will soldier on. Here’s what I saw at the revolution, Thursday, May 30th.
Small press is located on the far north side of Javits. So I entered Hall 3E on the south side and worked my way up and down the aisles.
First stop: The Smithsonian, which printed their first graphic novel in February! (Yes, they’ve published excellent anthologies in the past, like that massive book on comic strips!) This is an import from Britain, supposedly published for Darwin’s bicentennial in 2009. How soon before they publish the letters of William Moulton Marston?
Over at comic strip publisher Andrews McMeel, they had some new titles to add to their young adult AMP! line of comics reprints. Since those trade paperbacks are similar to the old Holt, Rinehart, Winston Peanuts paperbacks from years gone by, it’s no surprise that there will be Peanuts volumes added to the line.
There will also be a Cul de Sac volume as well.
I remarked that some of the Lio strips in the AMP! collection were a bit unsuitable to young readers (yes, they appeared in newspapers, but still a bit dark), which is one reason why Tatulli is publishing Desmond Pucket, a bit more parent-friendly title.
Also on the shelves, a Superman book, similar to the Batman dossier they published a few years ago. Brainiac 5 (which version?) writing.
Of note today: a DC-themed cookbook, which contains recipes from a variety of superheroes (including Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow). It’s due to pub in October, so I could only look at sample PDF printouts. Can’t wait to try out the recipes? Try these, from thirty years ago! Just stay away from “Batman batter”!
Lerner had some interesting titles on display, imported from Europe.
It’s not comics, but still geeky. Schiffer had this title prominently displayed, and many other art titles on the shelves. They also had some interesting tarot decks (but not as intriguing as the Hello Kitty tarot deck).
And then there was this surprise. Brandeis University had published a biography of
Stan Freberg Allan Sherman, titled “Overweight Sensation”. I chatted with the author, Mark Cohen, who had painstakingly researched Sherman, including locating numerous unpublished songs! Mark Cohen will be on All Things Considered tomorrow discussing Sherman, so wind up your radios. If that’s not enough, visit the blog. (Did I just scoop Mark Evanier? Of course not.)
Inside MAD (yup, not only do they recycle material, they recycle titles!) will feature reprints as well as commentary about them. Hardcover, October.
Running Press continues their creator spotlight, this time featuring Dave Berg. I prefer his early style, and hope MAD includes examples of his pre-“Lighter Side” work. This comes out in hardcover in November.
I’m still hoping for a nice desk calendar, but that seems unlikely.
Meanwhile, over at DK, two giant Lego Chima sculptures were on display. A Lego giveaway was exhausted in 20 minutes (I was too late). There’s a new minifigure title due soon, showing the chronological evolution of the line (like the recent Batman book), and including THREE minifigs in the cover. Yes, these sculptures served as a geek magnet, as The Beatrix almost immediately walked by.
O’Reilly also had a sneak preview of their latest Lego book, “Beautiful Lego” by Mike Doyle.
The great thing about beginning reader books: you can read them in minutes! My fave: “Otto’s Backwards Day”! Frank Camusso (one to watch and read!) and Jay Lynch tell a great birthday story!
And then I found Abrams…
Evil, sinister, devious Abrams, publishing beautiful pop culture books, including some amazing graphic novels.
BEA also features publishers from other countries (Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia…), so I always take a look for graphic novels in other languages. This is the only one I could find, from Sextopiso in Mexico.
Nobrow has a new kids imprint, Flying Eye Books, and I was smitten with “Welcome To Your Awesome Robot”. It’s part comics, part instruction booklet! Lots of beautiful books on display! I hope to see lots of WTYAR cosplay at future comic cons!
I discovered Papercutz/NBM just as Stan Goldberg was finishing up sketching. We talked about his working at Marvel back in the 1980s, as part of John Romita’s production crew, and other sundry topics. NBM has some great titles forthcoming, including the Stanford White shooting from Rick Geary! That’s right… Rick Geary drawing all sorts of period New York architecture! (Wowzers! Evelyn Nesbit!)
At this point, my cell phone started to peter out, so I had to resort to old fashioned pen and paper. Over at the Artbooks booth, I discovered an interesting exhibition book titled “Walt Disney Productions” by Betrand Lavier. Here’s how it’s described:
After reading a cartoon in which Mickey and Minnie Mouse visit an art museum, Paris-based artist Bertrand Lavier (born 1949) decided to create a series of sculptures and paintings that replicate its contents. This publication presents his playful but critical works.
That’s right. He took the artwork shown in the comic, and reproduced it in real life!
After this, I attended the panel
The New Graphic Novel: Faith Erin Hicks,
Ed Piskor, Paul Pope, Gene Luen Yang and Moderator, Calvin Reid (Publisher’s Weekly)
over on the Uptown Stage from 4-5 PM. It was a great discussion, and all three have some great books coming up! It was streamed, and I think it’s archived on the BEA website… And they say Neil Gaiman’s talk will also be shown on Saturday.
Try this website: http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/Show-Info/Streamed-Live-Events/
Here’s Paul Pope:
After that, the floor closed, and I still had about ten rows to traverse (including Diamond Book Distributors). Tomorrow, I’ll finish up the show floor. There will be some signings I want to stand in line for, but I don’t know how punctual I will be.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!