Saturday, May 31, 2008

BEA Day 2: Comics Oughta B-E-A Fun

BEA 2008 logoWhew! Saturday is always one of the busiest days at BEA, and today was no exception. From dawn to dusk this little stuffed bookseller was kept busy and running, and while he's much rather snuggle into bed and dream of free comp copies and fabulous authors, it's my duty instead to bring you the news from the floor. Today: a look at some of my favorite comics and graphic novel related books coming out from the many fine publishers at BEA. First however, this morning I went to the "Graphic Novel Distribution, Bookstores, and the Direct Market" panel to cheer on my bestest pal John, who was up on the dais talking about his work with Norton and Fantagraphics. (Yay, John!) But then it was onto the busy BEA floor to start filling out my Christmas list with all the best and most interesting books coming out this fall in the comics field. Let's take a look at a few of my favorites, shall we?

Our old pal John Cunningham, VP-Marketing of DC Comics, was also on that panel this morning, so I had to stop by the DC booth to check out their upcoming list.

Another star of the DC Universe

While I was there, I was lucky enough to be inducted into the Justice League of America:

I'm a member of the new Justice League!

As befits my position as the newest JLA member, Mr. Cunningham was kind enough to hand me a copy of the upcoming DC Comics Fall 2008 catalogue, 132 pages of glorious graphic novel goodness. Among my future favorites are a new hardcover edition of Watchmen...

Watchmen deluxe hardcover

...a deluxe recolored hardcover edition of Camelot 3000...

Camelot 300 deluxe hardcover

...Jack Kirby's The Demon Omnibus...

Jack Kirby's The Demon Omnibus

...a new edition of The Vertigo Tarot (gee, guess I better sell my old set on eBay stat!)...

New edition of the Vertigo Tarot

But the book I can't wait for is the drive-it-yourself because it comes with a freakin' Bat-Steering Wheel: Batman's Batmobile:

The best Batman book ever!

Movin' reluctantly along, I find there's a whole lotta manga goin' on at Viz...

A whole lotta manga goin' on

...and at TokyoPop. Hey, Uhura, ask Captain Kirk to have a talk with them about that new contract, huh?

Manga Uhura

Even venerable trade magazine Publishers Weekly gets in on the action with the magazine I like to call Mike Sterling Monthly:

In this issue of "Mike Sterling Monthly"...

Nostalgia Ventures was at the show promoting their beautiful series of Doc Savage pulp reproductions:

Doc Savage reissues from Nostalgia Ventures

University of California Press was promoting the upcoming paperback edition of their KRAZY!: The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art:


I'm very excited about DK's Marvel Chronicle, a year-by-year history of Marvel Comics...

Marvel Chronicles

...although I'm not so fond of the book designer's decision to reletter classic word balloons:

Marvel Chronicle interior spreads

DK also has, perfect for stuffin' in your Christmas stocking (if you have really, really big feet), a revised and updated edition of The DC Comics Encyclopedia and, never before in print, The Vertigo Encyclopedia:

The DC Comics Encyclopedia (Updated) and The Vertigo Encyclopedia

The DC Comics Encyclopedia features heavily-illustrated, full-color and completely updated entries on 1,000 of favorite DCU heroes and villains. We can only hope it features Bob Hope, Sugar and Spike, and Captain Carrot:

DC Encyclopedia interior

...while The Vertigo Encyclopedia covers 80 of your favorite dark fantasy comics series in depth with sections on characters, storylines, creation notes, outstanding moments and spin-offs:

Vertigo Encyclopedia interior

If you like the Rough Guide series of travel books and cultural guides, here's Danny Fingeroth's The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels:

The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels

I don't want you to think that BEA is all looking at comicky-style books, oh no no no. It's great for socializing, whether you're meeting friends new:


...or old:

"Make it so, Mister Bull."

Hey, Mister Bruce, would you like me to get you some Band-Aids?:

Hello, Bruce!

And here I am in the line to audition for a part in Avenue Q:

Auditions for the BEA version of "Avenue Q"

All busy BEA work and no lunch makes Bully a hungry, hungry guy. Here's my BEA tip for you: eschew (meaning, don't chew at) the convention center snack bars and head outside to find the friendly local taco carts. Get yourself a savory Mexican lunch and eat it in the sun! Sit down for a while, relax, and regain your strength after your busy morning. Your hooves, and your tummy, will thank you for it.

Tacos for lunch! NOM NOM NOM

Hey look, comics blogosophere: it's lovable Dorian Wright from!:


After being online pals for a couple years it was wonderful to meet Dorian in person and have him shake my hoof. He even brought along the famous co-star of his blog, Puppy!:

My pal Puppy

I wish I could have a puppy.

I hopped on by to the Chronicle Books booth to check out their offerings. Since I likely won't be getting that big wooden boxed set of STar Wars books I mentioned yesterday, I'm very excited by Obsessed by Star Wars. It's a book and an electronic quiz show in one! I'll take "Princess in metal bikinis" for five hundred, Alex!:

Electronic Star Wars quiz inside a book!

Chronicle also has the perfect antidote to dull walls, the MAD Poster Book:

MAD Poster Book

And here's a couple gift books I'd love to get this holiday season: The Art of Pixar Short films and Rogue Leaders: The Story of Lucasart. Looks like it's gonna be a book-giftin' Christmas this year with cool stuff like this!:

Two books from Chronicle I want!

Yale University Press has a sequel to their lovely Ivan Brunetti-edited collection in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, Volume 2:

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories, Vol. 2

I hopped by Titan Books, where they greeted me with a cheery "pip pip," handing me a cup of tea and some lovely blads (short for book layout and design, a glossy pamphlet to show the layout and specs of a to-be-published book). I'm frightfully keen on Watching the Watchmen by Dave Gibbons. I think I spotted Alan Moore in the background, furiously erasing his name from all the bl;ads, but he was moving so quickly all I could spot was a bushy, bushy blur.

Watching the Watchmen by Dave Gibbons and not at all by Alan Moore

It's obviously being released to coincide with the upcoming Watchmen movie, but it looks like the book will be a real treat for fans of the graphic novel: the blad showed off lots of rare and little-seen Gibbons artwork:

Watching the Watchmen sample spreads

Speakin' o movies, here's The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion:

The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion

Hey, I didn't know this movie was directed by Lamont Cranston!:

The Spirit movie book interiors

My love of Jamie Hewlett's work makes me a sucker for Titan's upcoming The Cream of Tank Girl. Hey, they oughta make a movie outta that!:

The Cream of Tank Girl

Over at Andrews McMeel, they didn't haved a mock-up of their upcoming Dilbert 2.0 mega-boxed set, but they were handing out blads. Now I can cut all the comics out of it and hang them up in my work cubicle!

Dilbert blad

Also at Andrews McMeel: you could enter the New Yorker Book Expo Cartoon Caption Contest:

Enter the New Yorker Book Expo Cartoon Caption Contest! Or, not.
"Someday son, this will all B-E-A yours."

Here's my entry: "Someday son, this will all B-E-A yours."....No? Darnit! I shall never get to work for The New Yorker!

With hooves a-achin' I round out the day with a visit to the Convention Center's West Hall, home of the Graphic Novel Pavilion, which is mostly presses distributed to the book trade by Diamond. Frankly the graphic novel pavilion is lookin' a little sad this year, and you can't help but feel sorry for some of the publishers who don't have distribution deals with larger trade houses to get their books into trade bookstores. I'm not exactly certain if the giveaways or displayed are well-targeted towards bookstore owners and buyers...

Comics for nothing? I have nothing!

...especially at Marvel, who is giving away leftover floppies of some of their recent books and samplers:

Marvel's giveaways

I kind of rant at Marvel every year, but it just seems as if they are not interested in promoting their graphic novels and trades to the bookstore market. In a year where they've had a mega-movie tie-in, and another movie on the way, Marvel, it would behoove ya to put Iron Man trade paperbacks front and center: why not some of the excellent Iron Man trades you've released recently, or some of the Marvel Adventures digests featuring your most popular characters? Capitalize on the major name recognition your characters have and bookstore buyers will be interested in stocking Marvel books. Sadly, putting free floppies front and center won't attract the correct attention: few indies or chains stock floppies (the economically-troubled Borders is an exception) and as those fall under the periodical bailiwick, the folks attending BEA aren't going to blink twice at floppies. The "Marvel's Bestselling Authors" is actually a nice sampler of brand-name writers known in the outside world (Stephen King, Laurell K. Hamilton, George R.R. Martin, Jonathan Lethem...authors BEA attendees know and can sell), but why not put the books that tie in up front and center? And whoops! When an interior spread of your Soleil sampler features the uncensored cover artwork from Sky Doll that you didn't even put on the actual comic, there's clearly some careless editing goin' on:

Whoops! Marvel's "Soleil" sampler contains the uncensored "Sky Doll" artwork that they didn't use on the book itself.

Whew! That's one comics-packed day at BEA, and this is one weary, achin' bull here. I'm off to a hot meal and a warm bed, everyone. See ya tomorrow for the final day of BEA, the aptly named Day 3!

Friday, May 30, 2008

BEA Day 1: Where does a 210-pound Star Wars book sit? Anywhere it wants.

BEA 2008 logoWhen nine AM comes in the Los Angeles Convention Center, brace yourself...what's that stampeding noise? It's thousands of happy friendly booksellers barreling onto the show floor in search of free books! Welcome back to the opening day of BookExpo America, home of author appearances, special book deals, and the four dollar bottle of water. It's also a busy, busy day for this little stuffed bull, running around and helping out my pals at Norton by stocking extra copies of book galleys, catalogues, and keeping stocked the plastic bowls full of giveaway vampire teeth to promoted The New Annotated Dracula. Why not stop by the booth, grab a pair, and declare to the world "Bite me!"

The new booth is ready for BEA Day 1

The new Norton booth looks absolutely fantastic. You're seeing it here at a quiet moment, but that's not typical on BEA Day 1: usually the place is crammed and crowded and packed to the newly-designed arches with booksellers and publishing people. You're only seeing it uncrowded here because this slight lull was the first time I was unbusy enough to take a photo! Mind you, the Dracula teeth have been going fast, so I've been keepin' occupied. Still, there's time to wander about and see the show. You can keep up on events, giveaway, and author appearances by picking up a free copy of PW Show Daily, the tabloid version of Publishers Weekly Hey! There are no comic strips in this! Please get that fixed immediately, Heidi!:

You can keep up on events with PW Show Daily

PW Show Daily will clue you in on the best freebies at the BEA: from advance galleys to finished books, toys and candy, posters and buttons, this show's got it all, and this bull's a happy hunter/gatherer of free swag. It helps, therefore, to start out by visiting a booth giving away a free canvas bag to store your loot in.

Make sure you pick up a free bag to carry your swag

However, as I often urge, don't be greedy! There's plenty of things available as free samples. Book galleys piled up on the floor are usually giveaways, but don't grab for single copies off the shelves of exhibit displays: those are usually the publishers' display copies. (If you're unsure, ask politely if it's a giveaway.) And keep this important lesson in mind: if you grab every book and galley in sight, publishers will giggle at you. Seriously, show some restraint and just pick up what you think you or your co-workers back at the bookstore will find entertaining and useful. There's no need to be loaded down this heavily ten minutes into the show:

Galley grabber

Exercising some restraint and politeness will make your BEA less stressful on your mind and your back! And really, half the fun is just scopin' out the stuff that's coming up. Hey, a new novel by one of my favorite mystery authors! I sure hope the title doesn't mean this is John Rebus's final adventure:

Hooray! A new novel by one of my fave mystery writers

Lots of publishers have upcoming books on display so you can see what they look like, but it's the very special publishers who let you see their books in three dimensions. Aieee, look out! Theropods comin' right at me!

Yowza! The dinosaurs are comin' right at me!

There's always plenty of celebrities to meet at BEA:

Dueting with Dolly. "Islands in the stream...that is what we are..."

And my good friends at DK Publishing showed me a big display of Eyewitness Guides. They know how much I love the London guide!:

DK Eyewitness travel books. I want 'em all, especially London!

A large number of books have raffles, drawings, and contests to win free books or other merchandise, so bring your business cards to pop into fishbowls for a chance to win some cool stuff. On the other hand, there are some drawings that are best left un-entered:

I shall not. I shall not enter.

The basic design of the book hasn't changed in 500 years, but that doesn't mean that the only things promoted at BEA have paper pages and cardboard covers. Here, my good pals at show off King Kong's Kindle. I imagine this is so he can read his favorite book.

Wow, that's the biggest Amazon Kindle I've ever seen

Not every volume that's displayed at BEA need by great literature, either. Some publishers thankfully remember that books oughta be fun:

Tee hee!

But my favorite item I've seen so far at BEA is this:


This is Star Wars: Frames, published by Insight Editions:
The ultimate limited edition, Star Wars: Frames brings together master filmmaker George Lucas's personal shot-by-shot selections from all six legendary Star Wars films. Limited to 1,138 copies and showcased in a sumptuous deco-inspired wooden box, Star Wars: Frames contains six books, each corresponding to one of the movies in the Star Wars saga....all six books reside in the beautiful wood-inlaid box, which is adorned with two exclusive high-relief sculptures of Darth Vader and Yoda...
Holy cow. This thing's big: 25.75 inches long, 12.25 inches wide, 13.5 inches tall. Each book is 44 inches across when opened. The weight of the whole shebang? A whoppin' 210 pounds. It'd take a Jedi to levitate that thing!

What's the price of all this Star Warsy goodness? I picked up the Insight Editions catalogue to look it up:

No price listed in catalogue. If you have to ask, you can't afford it

There is no price listed in the catalogue. In other words: if you have to ask, you cant' afford it. Oh my.

Dear Santa Claus...I have been a very good little bull this year. And I only want one thing this Christmas...

Still, a wonderful amount of stuff can be had at BEA for nothing more than the price of a "please" and "thank you." Here's the BEA swag I picked up today:


That's a whole lotta wonderful: free books, pins, toys, pamphlets, comics, CDs...even chocolate pirate coins and a stuffed buffalo to call my own! (I will hug him and squeeze him and call him "Bill.") I especially liked this pamphlet from Naxos Audiobooks that uses the London Underground map as a reference to find great literature on audio CD. But watch out, Naxos...your unauthorized use of their logo, map, and designs will surely attract unwanted attention from Transport for London. Don't get sued now!:

Transport for London's solicitors will soon be contact you, Naxos
(Also, you misspelled the name of Dickens's classic as Our Mutual Freind. Have you ever considered hiring a little stuffed bull to do proofreading for you?)

All the free stuff in the world isn't as lovely as great books in the future, however, and the very best news for yours little stuffed truly is Overlook Press's announcement of six more P. G. Wodehouse reissues this fall. Hoorah!

New Wodehouse reissues from Overlook

At the end of a long and busy day a weary little bull, his hooves a-achin', takes the shuttle bus back to the hotel and relaxes with a hearty meal at the nearby Curry House, home of Japanese-style curry and spaghetti. I enjoyed a delicious Katsu Pork Curry:

Katsu Pork Curry at Curry House in Little Tokyo, LA

As they say on the internet: NOM NOM NOM.

Tomorrow looks like another busy BEA day: it's graphic novel feature day at the show, with plenty of panels and events to celebrate and help sell comics and GNs in bookstores. My pal John, the very cool guy I live with, will be participating in a panel on "Graphic Novel Distribution, Bookstores, and the Direct Market" at 9:30 AM, and I'll be wandering the floor to see what's new and cool in comics-related books coming out this fall. I'll show you what I've most excited about tomorrow, but in the meantime, this little bull needs a good night's sleep. See y'all tomorrow at BEA Day 2!