Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

What I bought, read, watched, or otherwise consumed – December 2022

And yet it was beautiful, the shadow of the trees, the sunlight on the glade, the white roar of the little fall, the iciness, the solitude, the laughing, the nakedness; moments one knows only death will obliterate. (John Fowles, from The Magus)


Manifest Destiny #43-48 by Chris Dingess (writer), Matthew Roberts (artist), Owen Gieni (colorist), Pat Brosseau (letterer), Arielle Basich (associate editor), and Sean Mackiewicz (editor). $23.94, 122 pgs, Image.

This series staggered to the finish line, as the back half was plagued by many, many delays, and this final arc took a year-and-a-half or so to come, but dang, if they didn’t stick the landing. Dingess gives us a pretty cool explanation for what’s going on with the monsters that Lewis and Clark have encountered on their expedition, there’s a ton of moral tension with how they’re going to resolve things, the deus ex machina could have been introduced a bit earlier, but it’s still a good one. Dingess doesn’t really write a happy ending, because he couldn’t do too much due to the fact that he’s dealing with historical figures (Lewis’s murder … or suicide? for instance, takes on a different context thanks to this book), but the ending is powerful, and there’s even a tie back to why there’s an arch in St. Louis. I don’t want to say too much, because this has been such a good comic for its long existence, and Dingess really does a nice job with it. Roberts and Gieni continue to do stellar work on the art, as Roberts gets to draw a few more weird creatures, but he also does such a wonderful job with the powerful emotions roiling in the characters as they meet their fate, and Gieni’s colors bring the “wild” West to life beautifully. It’s an impressive comic.

I don’t know if Skybound or Dingess plans to shop this to other media, but dang, this would make a terrific television series. I’m sure it lost a lot of momentum over the years as its schedule slipped further and further away from anything resembling timely, but it would be nice if they could do a couple of nice big hardcovers of 24 issues each to introduce the series to new readers. It’s a very cool monster story, and it delves a lot into what makes America “America,” and it’s just a good adventure horror tale. Give it a look!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That’s … gonna leave a mark

Grim volume 1: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephanie Phillips (writer), Flaviano (artist), Rico Renzi (colorist), Tom Napolitano (letterer), and Eric Harburn (editor). $14.99, 112 pgs, Boom! Studios.

This is a pretty keen series in which a woman named Jessica Harrow (which is not too on the nose) is a Reaper, one of the beings tasked with escorting people to the afterlife when they die. Death used to handle it herself, but she got too busy being all Goth, so she had to farm it out! On one job, Jessica both loses her scythe to the dead dude she’s taking to the afterlife and is seen by a living person, neither of which is supposed to happen. Because the afterlife is just another bureaucracy, her boss suspends her for her transgressions, but we also learn that Jessica is the only Reaper who can’t remember her own death, which vexes her and she wants to do something about it. Being suspended, anything she does gets her in hot water, and her boss does something fairly diabolical and the shit really hits the fan. There’s a lot going on here, as Jessica learns about her past and awful stuff is happening in the afterlife and she and two other Reapers go to Las Vegas, because of course they do. It’s a fun adventure, and Phillips does a good job pacing it along, ending with a cliffhanger we could see coming but still manages to be a nice way to tie everything up and lead into volume 2. Flaviano is a good artist, so the book looks cool. He uses some nice effects to highlight the supernaturality of the afterlife, and his fluid line helps make the action sequences flow nicely. Renzi’s colors are on point, especially when Jessica and her friends head to Vegas, which Renzi colors a bit more hallucinatorily than even the afterlife. I’m looking forward to more of this comic!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Uh … nothing good, I reckon

Ascencia volume 1 by John Dolmayan (writer), Tony Parker (artist), Blond (colorist), Taylor Esposito (letterer), Brendan Wright (editor), and Thomas Healy (editor). $14.95, 132 pgs, Wake Entertainment.

Tony Parker is a good dude and a good artist, so I tend to get his stuff to support him, but it helps that he usually draws good comics. His work on Ascencia is basically what you get from Parker – he makes tweaks here and there, but unless he decides to shift his style radically, it’s going to look like it does, and that’s a good thing. He has a nice fine line and a good eye for detail, so the worlds he builds in his comics are always interesting to look at, and in this book, he gets to build a world from scratch, so the futuristic city of Ascencia and the beaten-down slum of Bethany where this story takes place are well-realized, with a lot of ancillary stuff that you might not get with another artist but which adds a good layer of verisimilitude to the proceedings. He does a nice job with the people, too – it’s a decent-sized cast, and Parker does a good job making them all unique and also differentiating, just a bit, between those who live in Ascencia and those who live in Bethany. Dolmayan’s story is good but nothing spectacular – a Bethany cop arrives in Ascencia to help them solve a murder (because murders don’t happen in Ascencia, they’re not very good at solving them), and he discovers things might be a bit rotten in Denmark, as you can expect. Meanwhile, in Bethany, a bunch of ragged-looking people are up to shady things, which you might also expect. The stories don’t really dovetail, but they will, I’m sure. The Ascencia parts are better than the Bethany parts, to be honest, because the Bethany parts feel a bit unfocused, and Detective Thomas and his Ascencia liaison, Captain Carpenter, are interesting characters. I don’t doubt that Dolmayan has plans to bring the two parts together, but right now, the Bethany half of the book is not quite as good.

This trade was delayed a long time, and I don’t know if the single issues are delayed, but I do hope Dolmayan and Parker get to finish the entire thing (I don’t know how long it’s planned for; January’s Previews offers issue #18, but I don’t know how many have actually come out), because it’s a neat story and I always like seeing Parker’s art. Give it a whirl and see for yourself!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I’m going to go with … no

Rogues’ Gallery by Hannah Rose May (writer/storier), Declan Shalvey (storier), Justin Mason (artist), Triona Farrell (colorist), Hassan Otsame-Elhaou (letterer), and Heather Antos (editor). $16.99, 80 pgs, Image.

This is an interesting comic about toxic fandom and celebrity culture, and it’s more thoughtful than I thought it would be (it’s still a big-ass thriller, though – it’s not super-deep, just more than I thought it would be). It’s structured in an unusual way – the first issue is about a group of fans of a superhero who believe the star of the show based on the comic has ruined it. They find out she has quit and they’re canceling the show, so they decide to break into her house and steal a rare comic that she recently bought at auction, because she doesn’t “deserve” it. They’re not sympathetic in any way, but neither is the woman playing the superhero. However, in issue #2, we get the story from her point of view, and she becomes a lot more sympathetic, as May does a nice job showing how hard it is on the actors who are, after all, just trying to do a good job (May’s an actor, so this is not terribly surprising). The fans invade her house, and things get very violent, and the actor – Maisie – fights back. It becomes a very tense battle for survival, with one of the fans – Kyle – at least trying to stop his friends from going too far. What’s interesting about the book is that May gives Kyle, at least, a decent backstory, so while he’s not exactly sympathetic, he’s easier to root for than his friends, and so the very end of the book hits a bit harder. May also takes aim at the media, which also makes the ending a bit more knife-twisty. It remains a thriller, but May does get some good, pointed shots in. Mason’s kinetic art fits the subject matter very well – his costume designs are pretty cool – but he also nails the exhaustion of Maisie as she tries to make the fans happy with her portrayal but fails to do so. It’s a pretty cool comic, although a few things are bit messy, like the timeline at the end of issue #1 and even some of the characters’ ultimate motivations. Still, it’s pretty keen.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I dig the sound effect

Manor Black volume 2: Fire in the Blood by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (writer/artist), Tyler Crook (painter/letterer), and Daniel Chabon (editor). $19.99, 86 pgs, Dark Horse.

It’s been a while since I read the first volume of Manor Black, but it wasn’t too hard to pick back up – Bunn is a good writer, and he’s able to get you back into the world pretty easily. This time he and Hurtt focus on Roman Black’s past as well as his present, because we need to get a bit more context about why he took a young girl whose magic is antithetical to his under his wing. So we see Roman’s history with his own father and how contentious it was, and we see how his son is dealing with Ari, whom he doesn’t trust. It’s just a good, solid family drama, with magic, of course. Having Ari be black is part of Bunn’s plan, as in the past, some of the characters’ ethnicity is more important than anything in the first volume, and it’s good to see Bunn leaning into it a bit. Hurtt’s art is always good, of course, and Crook is a very good painter, so their work blends together beautifully. It’s a cool comic.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that’s not fun

Superman: Red and Blue by many writers and artists. 424.99, 240 pgs, DC.

There’s not a lot I can say about this comic – it’s an anthology of excellent writers and artists doing Superman stories, so why not check it out! I’m not the biggest Superman fan in the world, and this collection does nothing to change my mind – Superman is too much of a boy scout, no matter how hard writers try to give him a personality, and there’s only so much of that you can take. Clark Kent is a bit more interesting in this comic, because he’s allowed to have a personality, but as usual with these kinds of books, the writers always fall back on stereotypes – they can’t have the Kents be anything less than the greatest parents ever, or have Clark or Lois be less than the greatest reporters ever (although Matt Wagner’s story about what sells newspapers at least hints that Lois is more cynical than most writers portray her), or have Superman be ever less than perfect but be plagued by doubts nevertheless. It’s fine, I guess, but it makes the stories less compelling. In small doses it can work, which is why this collection works for the most part, but it does become a bit dull. The art is gorgeous, though, and it’s fun to see how the creators fit in the red and blue color scheme (Dan Watters and DaNi do it the best). It’s a fun comic – there’s a silly Mxyzptlk story in which Superman becomes the prankster, there’s a fun Streaky story in which they try to put the cat in a carrier, there’s a fun story in which Bruce and Diana bet on Clark’s arrival at dinner – it’s nice to see a fairly wide variety of stories to break up the ones where everyone is upright and brilliant. Mostly, it’s just cool to see all the great art!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I mean, they had to know that was unwise

Afterschool by several writers and artists. $16.99, 120 pgs, Image.

The past few years I’ve been doing the top five collections I read each month and just doing brief sentences about the rest, but in December, I only bought seven things that “count” – the rest are reprints or graphic novels or issues that are just part of a bigger arc, so I decided to review them all. Hence the Superman thing and this, which is another fun anthology. Four creative teams tell stories about high schoolers that become horror tales very quickly, and what’s fun about them is that they take simple high school scenarios and spin them into ridiculous but nasty horror tales. The first is about a shy girl whose parents get her a dog to help her be more outgoing (because it calms her down), but the dog is not all it appears to be, and the girl needs to come to terms with that. In the second one, a girl who is pregnant and doesn’t want it and knows her mother won’t be happy about it hears about a monster stork that kills kids who want abortions, which of course turns out to be a true story, and the stork hunts her down. In the third story, a girl whose parents want her to watch her younger sister gets grumpy about it, but when someone … or something … violent shows up at their house, she has to save her sister from it and learns some lessons about being a good sibling. Finally, the fourth story is about a teacher at a school who decides to start a club … which gets really weird really fast. They’re all fun stories with good art, but they’re also just kind of inconsequential horror stories, which is why this isn’t a stronger comic. But it’s fun, which is nice.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Storks are scary, yo!


1848: Year of Revolution by Mike Rapport. 461 pgs, 2008, Basic Books.

The revolutions of 1848 are fascinating, because as Rapport points out, they seem so specific to their own countries yet they spread due to a kind of proto-“European-ness” – one spurring another on, which fed back into the first one, so to speak – even though “European” wasn’t really a thing back then. They’re also still influential, as so much of what the revolutionaries were fighting for is still relevant, even though they also helped create some of the nastier aspects of European history over the past few centuries. Rapport does a fine job keeping the timeline of revolution clear, as usually with the revolutions, you read about them in the context of the particular country that experienced it without getting them in the context of the others, and Rapport keeps making sure the reader understands where the Italian revolution, for instance, belongs in relation to the French one. It makes the book a bit of a mess, chronologically (not too much, but a bit), but ultimately, it’s very helpful, because none of these revolutions were taking place in a vacuum.

Rapport does go chronologically a bit, as he breaks the book into sections – he begins early in 1848, when the social and economic issues of the 1840s began to boil over and the old order, which had been hammered into place after Napoleon’s fall by Klemens von Metternich (one of the most influential modern-age Europeans that most people have never heard of), had begun to crack. Then he moves to the spring, when most of the revolutions began, the summer, when the revolutionaries reached a high-water mark, the autumn, when the reactionaries struck back, and then into the winter and spring of 1849, when the revolutions were truly squashed. In each of these sections, he goes to each country – France, Germany, the Austrian Empire, and Italy all experienced convulsions, and shows how the revolutions progressed and how they were tied into the others. He does a good job showing how the radicals were able to use the decrepitude of the monarchist institutions to get some important laws passed – universal male suffrage was a big part of the revolutions – and also how their insistence on pushing things too far led to cracks in their alliances with the more moderate liberals, which allowed the reactionaries to fight back. In some places – France most particularly – the liberals had more success than in a place like Prussia, where Otto von Bismarck made his first mark on the world scene by helping to rally the conservatives, but everywhere, the cause of progress creaked forward a little. In a place like Italy, which was riven by regional factionalism and religious ruptures, the revolutions became entwined with a call for unification, allowing the Piedmontese monarchy – which provided a united Italy with its first king a decade later – to rise to the ascendancy by positioning itself as a revolutionary force against the Austrians (who ruled northern Italy) but also a stabilizing and unifying force against the radicals. Rapport also points out the ugly side of the revolutions, as many groups – the Hungarians most notably – were perfectly happy trying to create a state out from under the influence of the Austrians but weren’t willing to allow other ethnic groups to get out from underneath them. Nationalism might be the most long-lasting legacy of the year, as ethnic groups Europe-wide decided that they didn’t need to be ruled by a distant monarch who spoke a different language and had a different culture than they did. While the counter-revolution ultimately succeeded, 1848 saw the beginning of the end of multi-ethnic empires that helped stabilize Europe. In a real way, 1848 led to World War I.

It’s a well written book, and Rapport does a good job keeping the large cast of characters from becoming an unrecognizable mess of unfamiliar names. Obviously, men like Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius IX, King Charles Albert of Piedmont, Frederick William IV of Prussia, Garibaldi, Mazzini, Kossuth, and others are going to be featured prominently, but Rapport makes sure to show how the revolutions affected the masses of people living in Europe, including women. It’s a comprehensive book, and it’s neat to get a broad-based examination of the famous year. It’s an important moment in European history!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


Night Sky (Amazon). Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons do a lot to make Night Sky worthwhile, as it’s a decent enough science fiction story with some dumb stuff in it, but Spacek and Simmons are so good we can forgive some of the goofiness. They’re a long-married couple who discovered a portal buried underneath their land which leads to a room on another planet (seemingly). They go there to hang out (they never leave the room, because Simmons once put mice outside and something bad happened, so they believe it’s unsafe), but one night Spacek goes there alone and discovers an unconscious man in the room. She brings him home and helps him regain his strength and memory, and the larger plot reveals itself, and it’s a bit silly and involves a Shadowy Organization (doesn’t it always) that wants to catalog and control all the portals (because of course there are many). Toward the end, Spacek and Simmons have to go back to the planet because their obnoxious neighbor found out about it, wanted to explore the planet (and he and Simmons make some clever “spacesuits”), and disappeared, so they have to look for him, and they find something that will propel the series forward. It’s not bad, but a bit dumb when Simmons and Spacek aren’t on screen. When they are, it’s just nice to watch two great actors doing their thing. [Oh, well, it looks like it’s not coming back. I guess … never mind? That kind of sucks, because while it wasn’t great, it was pretty good, and that’s too bad. Sigh.]

Wednesday (Netflix). There are things to like about Wednesday – Tim Burton always gets moods right, and the show looks great, Gwendoline Christie is excellent, Christina Ricci is excellent (and she replaced Thora Birch, which … you were going to make this show originally without finding a part for Ricci?), Riki Lindhome is good in a smaller role, and Luis Guzmán and Fred Armisen are fun as Gomez Addams and Uncle Fester, respectively (Guzmán doesn’t have a ton of chemistry with Catherine Zeta-Jones, unfortunately, which sucks because Gomez and Morticia are supposed to be so in love). Jenna Ortega as Wednesday is … ok, I guess, but she’s not done any favors by the script, which makes her less evil and just … nicer, I guess, than she should be. She’s not all warm and fuzzy, certainly, and a dramatic television show specifically about her probably has to show some growth of the character, but Ortega doesn’t do a great job with it, although she’s not terrible, either. The show ignoring the Addamses and focusing on Wednesday at Hogwarts, basically, feels wrong, as Wednesday isn’t particularly odd at this school, even when she interacts with the “normies” in the town where the school is located. She’s just a Goth girl, and Goth girls aren’t terribly weird, and therefore, she’s less interesting. As usual, writers of shows don’t have teenage kids or don’t know any teenage kids, because they write teenagers poorly. Every guy she meets is fascinated by Wednesday, and let me tell you, if she was as much of a bitch to them as she is, they’d ignore her pretty quickly and not be fascinated by her. But she’s the star, so every boy has to be fascinated by her. It just feels like a missed opportunity – it’s not a bad show, certainly, but the Addams family should be weirder than everyone around them (which is why the fact that they’re such a great family is such good satire), and by getting rid of them (Gomez and Morticia are in two episodes, and Fester is in one), the show loses a lot. Oh well.

The Umbrella Academy seasons 2 and 3 (Netflix). We finally got around to watching season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, and then we just kept on watching season 3 for good measure. It’s an enjoyable show, not as good as the comic, but still pretty good. The fact that they mock the fact that they’re always trying to stop an apocalypse is nice, and the fact that they don’t actually have villains to fight is pretty fun, too. As usual, I dislike shows where almost everyone sucks and is kind of stupid, but I guess if I didn’t want that I’d have to stop watching television. I mean, Vanya (who becomes Viktor in season 3, and the show handles Page’s transition really well) doesn’t suck, and Luther kind of doesn’t, but he’s stupid, so there’s that. Allison is both stupid and awful, as is Diego. Number Five isn’t stupid, but he’s a jerk. Klaus is fun but stupid. It’s very hard to be too invested in the characters when you’re constantly yelling at them because they’re doing something horrible or doing something stupid or both. The weird plotting is fun, though, as the keep the spirit of the comic with its seeming non-sequiturs that lead to important things down the line. The racism of 1963 is handled pretty well, which is good to see. I don’t know – it’s tough to love this show, but it’s interesting, so when season 4 shows up, I’ll have to check it out. It’s just a bit frustrating.

His Dark Materials season 3 (HBO). This show was never as good as Philip Pullman’s book trilogy (and it had a dumb name, too), but it goes balls-to-the-wall for the final season, throwing a ton of junk up on the screen in the hopes that most sticks, and whaddayaknow? it does, for the most part. Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) is on-screen too much, because he doesn’t have much to do until the final few episodes, but if you have James McAvoy, I guess you want to use him. Mrs. Coulter, who was played wonderfully by Ruth Wilson, relies far too much on plot armor – far too many people should have killed her in this show, and she always get put in places where she can do the most damage even though everyone knows she’s going to do damage – but Wilson is terrific, so who cares? The anti-religious angle of the show, which was muted a bit in the first two seasons, is in full display here, as McAvoy keeps going on about killing God and breaking Heaven, even though he uses “The Authority” instead of “God.” The show rises and falls on the performances of Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will, and while Keen usually acts circles around Wilson, he does well enough so that the final few episodes, which are meant to tug hard on the heartstrings, work very well. The show is more subtle about the transition from childhood to adulthood than it is about the anti-religious stuff, so that works a bit better, and Keen and Wilson sell it hard. It’s a good ending to a only decent show. Keen hasn’t done a lot of work, but she’s very good, and I’m interested to see what she does next.


Here are the “classic” reprints I got this month!

Papercutz keeps cranking out Asterix Omnibuses, and I will keep getting them! This is volume 8, with no end in sight!

New York Review Comics has a nice collection of Bungleton Green and the Mystic Commandos, which is a newspaper strip from the 1940s by Jay Jackson, a pioneering black cartoonist. He took a middling strip and jazzed it up by sending the characters into the future and commenting on race in America. It’s pretty keen.

IDW keeps doing English translations of the gorgeous “Obscure Cities” series, with The Invisible Frontier being the latest one. It’s gorgeous, naturally!

There’s an Absolute Multiversity from DC that I couldn’t fit on the scanner, but it exists! It’s pretty cool, too – I know Morrison isn’t everyone’s bag, but they still have some neat ideas and they get cool artists to work on their books, and this collection is very nice.

Erik Larsen is still cranking out Savage Dragon, and Image has a new Omnibus of the early stuff, and I figured I’d give it a look. There are no breaks to show where one issue begins and another ends, and it feels like it’s missing some crossovers that Dragon refers to in the course of the book, but it’s a pretty nice package, so there’s that.

For the last time this year, here’s what I spent in the month!

7 December: $136.24
14 December: $111.83
21 December: $105.83
28 December: $54.62

Total for the month: $408.52 (Last December: $728.89)
Total for the year: $10604.06 (+ $1940.95 from 2021)
2021 Total: $8663.11
2020 Total: $7535.93

Well, dang. My spending went down a lot in December (see? I am trying to cut back!), although December 2021 had five Wednesdays in it, so that skews the total a little. Are the prices just going up, or am I getting more comics? I think the former, but let’s check out the raw numbers with the publisher breakdown!

Here’s how I spent money this year:

Under $100: 3 times
$100-$199: 26 times
$200-$299: 13 times
$300-$399: 4 times
$400-$499: 1 time
$500-$599: 1 time
$600 +: 1 time

The huge one there is from the end of October, when I picked up three weeks’ worth of comics after my vacation, so I don’t really count it too much. Last year I spent under $100 14 times, and this year I only did it thrice, so that’s a change. I spent in the hundreds the same amount of times, but I spent in the $200 range only 9 times and over $300 4 times instead of the 6 (or 7, if you count the end of October) I did this year. My top ten spending days (ignoring 26 October):

30 November: $515.52
16 March: $432.80
13 April: $384.33
27 April: $383.49
9 March: $338.39
19 January: $313.10
10 August: $291.53
25 May: $276.18
27 July: $274.14
28 September: $262.92

I guess it’s good that most of the top spending days were earlier in the year? It means I’m actually trying to get better, right?

Anyway, that’s my spending. Here are the publishers!

Boom! Studios: 1 (1 trade paperback)
Dark Horse: 2 (1 graphic novel, 1 trade paperback)
DC: 4 (1 “classic” reprint, 2 single issues, 1 trade paperback)
Dynamite: 1 (1 graphic novel)
Epicenter: 1 (1 graphic novel)
IDW: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Image: 7 (1 “classic” reprint, 2 graphic novels, 2 single issues, 2 trade paperbacks)
It’s Alive: 1 (1 single issue)
Kodansha Comics: 1 (1 manga volume)
Marvel: 1 (1 single issue)
New York Review Comics: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Papercutz: 1 (1 “classic” reprint)
Viz: 1 (1 manga volume)
Wake Entertainment: 1 (1 trade paperback)

5 “classic” reprints (77) (+11 from 2021)
5 graphic novels (141) (+16)
2 manga volumes (9) (+1)
6 single issues (146) (+27)
6 trade paperbacks (196) (+9)

The numbers in the first parentheses are the tallies for the year, meaning I bought 569 individual pieces of comics in 2022. In 2021 I bought 505. So yes, I did buy more comics in 2022, so the fact that I spent almost $2000 more lines up (and I bought more “classic” reprints and graphic novels, specifically, which is why the average price of the stuff I bought on top of last year’s total was $30). I have cut back a little, and I’m going to keep doing it, for a variety of reasons, so we’ll see how 2023 goes (hint: It’s not off to a great start!).

Let’s check out the publisher list!

Image: 90
Dark Horse: 70
Marvel: 59
DC: 42
AfterShock: 26
Boom! Studios: 21
Fantagraphics: 16
AWA Studios: 10
Humanoids: 10
IDW: 10
Ablaze: 9
PS Artbooks: 9
Clover Press: 8
Scout Comics: 8
Titan Comics: 8
Abrams Comicarts: 7
Ahoy Comics: 7
Viz Media: 7
Oni Press: 6
Rebellion/2000AD: 6
Vault Comics: 6
Archaia: 5
Bad Idea: 5
Behemoth: 5
Dynamite: 5
Forged by Fire: 5
Source Point Press: 5
Epicenter Comics: 4
Graphic Mundi: 4
Magnetic Press: 4
Papercutz: 4
Red 5 Comics: 4
Drawn & Quarterly: 3
Floating World Comics: 3
SitComics: 3
Top Shelf: 3
Tuttle Publishing: 3
Black Caravan: 2
Action Lab: 2
Caliber: 2
ComixTribe: 2
Darby Pop: 2
Dead Reckoning: 2
Del Rey: 2
Fairsquare Comics: 2
HarperCollins: 2
Invader Comics: 2
SelfMadeHero: 2
NBM: 2
TKO: 2
A Wave Blue World: 2
A14 Books: 1
Amulet Books/Abrams: 1
Antarctic Press: 1
Archie Comics: 1
Asylum Press: 1
Avery Hill: 1
Black Mask Studios: 1
Black Panel Press: 1
Bliss on Tap: 1
Bold Type Books: 1
Cartoon Books: 1
Centrala: 1
Cex Publishing: 1
ComicMix: 1
Conundrum Press: 1
Fanfare/Ponent Mon: 1
Frank Miller Presents: 1
Gallery 13: 1
Graphic Universe: 1
Graphix: 1
Harper Alley: 1
Heavy Metal: 1
Hermes Press: 1
Holiday House: 1
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 1
Insight Comics: 1
It’s Alive: 1
Legendary Comics: 1
Little, Brown and Company: 1
Kodansha Press: 1
New York Review Comics: 1
NoBrow Press: 1
One Piece Books: 1
Outland Entertainment: 1
PM Press: 1
Second Sight Publishing: 1
Silver Sprocket: 1
Simon & Schuster: 1
Soaring Penguin Press: 1
Udon Entertainment: 1
Uncivilized Books: 1
Wake Entertainment: 1
West Margin Press: 1
Z2 Comics: 1

Last year, Dark Horse was in the lead with 78 separate comics, but that fell off just a bit while Image made a roaring comeback from 71 to 90. Marvel went up a bit, from 42 to 59, while DC moved from 40 to 42. Those are always going to be the Big Four, and AfterShock and Boom! remains 5th and 6th. IDW has taken a bit of a fall from previous years – they’ve “lost” their status as a premier publisher in Previews, and they don’t put out as much as I want to read these days, so they’ve fallen from 19 separate comics last year to 10 this year. So sad! Last year I bought comics from 78 different publishers, this year it was 95. Comics are thriving, people, as long as you look outside the DC/Marvel paradigm!

I ended up finishing 20 prose books this year, which is slightly less than last year’s 22, but what are you going to do? I read a lot of comics, too, people! I also watched 43 different television shows, which is all right, I guess. Aren’t you glad you know this about me?


Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s make this a good one! I would write a bit about the shitshow going on right now in the United States House of Representatives, but it’s more fun to just sit back and watch, especially now that some Republicans and their toadies on Fox News claim this is good for democracy because they’re not marching in lockstep to vote for a Speaker. You see, it’s good for democracy when the government can’t function! Yay, democracy! The jokes are flying fast and furious, of course, and feel free to post your own in the comments – I will only do one, because I laughed out loud when I saw it:

I mean, that’s pretty funny. And this isn’t a joke by everyone’s favorite garbage human being, but it feels like satire, except it’s not:

I’m here for all the pettiness of a political party cannibalizing itself. Maybe by the time I post this (it’s 12.55 Mountain Standard Time currently, and it might be an hour before I actually post it), we’ll have a Speaker, but I hope this goes on for at least another week. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

Anyway, Happy New Year, as I wrote above. Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. Even if I were still buying comics, I could never spend what you do. $10K is about half what I get in Social Security annually. When I was buying, I was getting 30% off, and they were a lot cheaper.

  2. Rantel

    I also had mixed feelings on the Wednesday show (though overall I enjoyed it, and will definitely come back if they make more) but I’m gonna have to disagree with you on Ortega’s performance. I personally thought she was terrific, one of the big highlights of the show for me. Her dance scene in episode four has been playing on repeat in my head for days.

    1. Greg Burgas

      It’s tough, because I’m not sure if it’s the script or the performance, just that there’s something off about it. I don’t know if a better performance could have made Wednesday’s transition to slightly less prickly better, but I don’t think Ortega pulls it off. She’s pretty good as the nihilstic Wednesday, and I don’t know if anyone could sell her new, slightly nicer version. So I don’t know if it’s Ortega or the script.

  3. tomfitz1

    BURGAS: Manifest Destiny is one title that I’ve heard about through reviews but never got around to reading it. One of these days …

    His Dark Materials is a series that I’ve watched, mostly because of Ruth Wilson, but never read the books. I’d preferred her in Luther and The Affair.

    I really do hope that America can kiss MGT goodbye for good. Ugh. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Kevin McCarthy trying so hard to be Speaker of the House is just sad, pathetic even. He’ll never amount to the excellent class that Pelosi has shown during her tenure.

  4. Eric van Schaik

    I’m buying Manifest Destiny in trades so I’ll have to wait a bit. When complete I’m doing it in one reading.
    I got some Omnibuses. The second bwahaha league, The Peter Parker Omnibus (not through Amazon but a local shop who had it cheaper plus Amazon couldn’t give a shipping date).
    Also some Deluxe European stuff. Blueberry by Moebius. A bit old but still really great stuff.

    We’ll still have to finish the first Umbrella Academy serie so I skipped your review.

    We’ve been to 4 concerts and no new shirts so that made my wife happy 😉

    12/3 Perfect Storm and Chain Reaktor. 2 Dutch bands that really surprised me. Too bad that only 40 people were there to witness it. The guys of Perfect Storm were kind enough to sign my copy so that made me very happy.

    12/11 Plaid. It was the last in a set of Uncloud concerts to showcase electronic bands. The other 2 bands were not worth writing about. Plaid played most of there latest album and also some older stuff. All in all a nice evening.

    12/20 An alternative christmas with Anneke van Giersbergen.
    After a 2 year delay, thanks to covid, we finally got to hear this. She did some obscure christmas songs but also songs of het latest album. With Anneke you can’t go wrong imo.

    12/30 Progproms.
    A collection of musicians grouped by the old Kayak singer played songs of Yes, Genesis, Marillion, Argent and Alan Parsons. Most people were much older than us so a lot of canes around the venue 😉

    McCarthy is finally the new speaker (after 15 rounds). It even made the news in Holland.

    Now we’re counting the days until flying to Brasil.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Dang, I woke up to that bad news. Apparently, he wanted to be Speaker so badly that he just bent over and let the crazies cram whatever they wanted up his ass. So ends the long spiral downward of Kevin McCarthy. Good job, Mr. Speaker!

      I would love to go to Brazil. Now I’m jealous!!!! 🙂

  5. Of course now that the House majority has made McCarthy speaker it’s under terms where they can unmake him in an instant. And other than shielding themselves (no ethics committee! Authority to intervene in criminal investigations!) all they’ll do once they get organized is investigate how Hunter Biden’s laptop contains the secret Biden plan to make all Christian conservatives undergo gender reassignment surgery.
    I tried Manifest Destiny but it didn’t grab me at all. Savage Dragon I actively dislike: the one TPB I picked seemed to be nothing but a long, rambling Fourth World knockoff with no point.
    I agree with you Wednesday switches from the original concept — the Addams are the one weird thing in a normal world — to an urban fantasy/magical school story. This isn’t a plus, but I think Ortega’s fine.
    I do prefer Thing as a hand attached to Something to merely a disembodied hand. Have Wednesday set a box on her desk, have Thing’s arm reach out. Enid stares: “You name the hand Thing?” “No, Thing is the person it belongs to. He’s back at home but he has a long reach.” Enid tried to open the box. WEDNESDAY: “Don’t do that. I can’t afford the distraction of a roommate with severe PTSD and terrifying nightmares.”

    1. Greg Burgas

      I remember you disliking Savage Dragon, and I have to say … I wasn’t impressed either. It seemed very unfocused, and Larsen jumped from plot point to plot point almost randomly. I wanted to check it out because I know lots of people like it, but I doubt I’ll get the next big collection.

      1. mike loughlin

        I read the first 2 or 3 Savage Dragon Omnibuses (got them in a Humble Bundle) and they’re exhausting. So much stuff happens, but they’re pretty repetitive. The homages to other characters get annoying, the dialogue is nothing special, the humor is immature, the art is not to my taste… I doubt I’ll read the rest. I only plowed through as far as I did because they cost me so little and because I remember Kurt Busiek being a fan.

  6. Bright-Raven

    Wow. Nary a single thing you read in December is anything I bought or read. Also didn’t watch any of those shows because I don’t have any of those streaming networks.

    As for the year… I haven’t tallied everything in terms of money spent yet (need to get that done for taxes), but according to my podcast tallies, I reviewed 217 different comics items, purchased 276. I didn’t break it down publisher to publisher. (Just didn’t feel like doing all that work at the end of 2022. Rough year.)

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