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.

darwin bea 2013First 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?

SAMSUNGsuperman AMM bea 2013Over 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.

SAMSUNGDowntown Bookworks caught my eyes with this display, and I had seen the “My First” titles a year ago when they arrived at the office.

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”!

tib timtum bea 2013bag marbles bea 2013william lost spirit bea 2013

Lerner had some interesting titles on display, imported from Europe.

steampunk 2013

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).

allan sherman bea 2013

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.)

SAMSUNGTwo MAD Magazine books are forthcoming.  From Time Home Entertainment (the other book company still owned by TimeWarner), come the sequel to “Totally MAD”.

Inside MAD (yup, not only do they recycle material, they recycle titles!) will feature reprints as well as commentary about them.   Hardcover, October.

dave berg bea 2013Running 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.

SAMSUNGAnd from the other Warner publisher… but not published by DC Comics (which has zero presence here…again).  Much lighter, much cheaper than the big boxed tome.

I’m still hoping for a nice desk calendar, but that seems unlikely.

SAMSUNGSAMSUNGMeanwhile, 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.

SAMSUNGO’Reilly also had a sneak preview of their latest Lego book, “Beautiful Lego” by Mike Doyle.

SAMSUNGOver at Candlewick, once again Toon Books had their own bookshelf, with new titles!

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.

crab monsters bea 2013SAMSUNGSAMSUNGSAMSUNGStar Trek.  Star Wars.  Maurice Sendak.  Rube Goldberg. Roger Corman.


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.

awesome robot bea 2013Nobrow 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!)

artbook_2264_1382293381At 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:

Here’s Paul Pope:

Mark Siegel

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.


  1. You mentioned that DC was not there. Were any of the other big comic publishers (Marvel, Image, Titan, Dark Horse) there? My understanding is that they’ve all been skipping this show.

  2. I thought it was great. I was there for my day job, but got a chance to play quite a bit. I went to the Paul Pope and Gene Luen Yang signings on Thursday, and the signings at the Image booth today. However, the absolute highlight was getting to meet Rep. John Lewis at the Top Shelf booth and getting a BLAD of the forthcoming MARCH signed by him and Andrew Aydin.

  3. DC and Marvel skip BEA because the show has become an expensive and largely irrelevant relic. Book trade buyers aren’t really making decisions based on what they see there anymore.

  4. Marvel had a token presence at the Disney Press booth, via the picture books they have been publishing.

    DC is distributed via Random House, but there was little on display from Random House Publisher Services (which distributes titles from other, non-RH, publishers).

    Book Expo is transitioning to a buzz event. The blogger conference which runs parallel to BEA brought in a lot of people who publicize books with a PASSION. (for example: ) With the Power Readers day on Saturday, BEA will probably morph into a W-Th-Fr trade show, and a Sa-Su book-con.

    Diamond Book Distributors hosted:
    Dark Horse, Boom, Oni, Image, Paizo, Top Shelf, IDW.
    Each had a booth, plus the general DBD area for meetings. Archaia was also there, doing business.

    Revolutionary (2000AD) had their own booth elsewhere. I did not see Fantagraphics in the Norton aisle.
    Macmillan had just a signing area, nothing on public display.
    Andrews McMeel had their usual presence, but downsized. Three creators were scheduled, including a ticketed signing for Matthew Inman, of Oatmeal fame.

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