Sunday, June 26, 2011

Archie Comics in the Wild!

June 26, 2011

Borders Books and Music (Apparently there are still a few open here and there)
Waldorf, MD

Pretty cool to see a nice selection on a spinner rack. And as I look at this fine picture I can't help but wonder to myself why in the world I didn't take a picture of the other side where all the digests were.

Love how the Archie books keep the masthead nice and neat and easy to read. Not too big on the Betty and Veronica books at the bottom. Not a great design, but that could be because I've seen those covers so much in the ads that they don't look like covers to me anymore. I kept looking at them thinking they were ads for books and not the actual books themselves.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Archie: The Best of Samm Schwartz-COMING SOON

This is a short one. Short because I just found out about Samm Schwartz and am in the process of researching this fine Jughead artist.

I came across the link for this book on Amazon and wondered just who the heck this guy was, did a Google search and was pretty amazed. I think I've seen a lot of his work in the Jughead Double Digests I've bought over the years and am looking forward to seeing more!

So, I'm happy to share the news that The Best of Samm Schwartz is coming soon!

Check it out. I will be.
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The Samm Schwartz page
A few words about Samm Schwartz
A closer look at Samm Schwartz
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Archie: The Best of Harry Lucey-COMING SOON!

 I was browsing Amazon today and came across this gem of a book! WOW! A Harry Lucey book! I couldn't believe it, and it looks like it's going to be pretty darn good.

It looks like it has the same good design sense as The Best of Dan DeCarlo. Archie is really knocking me out with their hardcovers. I really need to have a couple more birthdays and Christmases through the year so I can get more Amazon gift cards!

All I know about Harry Lucey is that he was an influential Archie artist in the 50's and 60's. I just discovered him this year and am very excited that I can read some of his stories. I've looked at every image on every page of of Lucey pages and I can't get enough. I've studied every Archie artist I can see and he's my favorite, I just never knew where to find his stuff, 99% of Archie comics aren't credited, so I'm always at a loss at which books to buy to see a particular artist.

But I'm a fan, I really like his work and I'm excited this book is coming out.

Now I just need DC to release a big book of Wayne Boring Superman stories. Have you seen his stuff? I don't follow Superman at all and haven't read much, but I've come across Boring recently and he might be the best Superman artist ever.

Anyhow, The Best of Harry Lucey is now in my Amazon wish list and will be in my grubby hands this August!

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Archie: The Best of Dan DeCarlo, Vol 1

This is a great book!

Not quite what I expected as far as content, but the art is top-notch. I was expecting a little more variety, hoping to see some Josie stories and some Sabrina stories. This book is a really well designed, well colored hardcover featuring stories from Betty & Veronica, and they're pretty darn good.

I had just recently discovered Dan DeCarlo through The World of Archie Double Digest, which started to reprint the first She's Josie stories, and some nice early Sabrina stuff, and was blown away. Then I was doing my daily review of books on Amazon and came across this little beauty. I have no regrets adding this to my collection. Very nice book by IDW and Archie Comics!

Quality points: It's a nice oversized hardcover. I'm not usually a big hardcover book fan, but the design of this book really brings the whole thing home. It's big and fun to look at. The coloring inside is fantastic and it really looks like somone put a lot of thought into what paper to use, instead of just going for some popular glossy garbage. The art, which is the bread and butter of the book, is amazing. I think DeCarlo is a little stiff compared to Bob Montana and Harry Lucey, but that doesn't mean he isn't one of the top Archie artists. His characters are just about perfect in style and personality. I really get the sense that he "knows" who each character is and they just speak to him.

I haven't bought Volume 2 yet but it's definitely on my list.

(All reviews are, naturally, my own opinion.)

World of Archie Double Digest #6 Review!

It's time for another book review, can ya believe it?

First, I want to show you this, because it got on my nerves:

More on this later.

It came out a few weeks ago, but this is another fine addition to the World of Archie series. It's six issues in and has only faltered once. Justin Bieber. That's all I can say in this paragraph.

Fernando Ruiz draws a good cover, doesn't he? His covers and interior pages all look really good in here.

My one complaint with this and all of the Double Digests is that they really should say when they are published. It's hard to tell what was drawn in the 50's and what was drawn last month. I read somewhere in a message board post that Stan Goldberg doesn't work for Archie anymore, and he's featured in this book. Is it old or new? Anyone got the answer to whether or not Goldberg still works for Archie?

I'm drawn to the older stuff. I like the nice clean lines of that era from the 50's and 60's. My favorite Archie artists are Bob Montana and Harry Lucey and Dan DeCarlo. I haven't had the time to do enough research to figure the names of all the rest of the artist of that era, but this is what I like in comics.

The World of Archie Double Digests are great collections of the old and the new, all mixed together. The Archie Double Digest and the Jughead Double Digests are similar, but focus more on character stories. World of Archie Double Digest is more of a showcase of the talent and funny stories through the years. They still feature the Archie's Mad House stories in here, and they're about the farthest things from mainline Archie comics as you can get, but they fit. It's nice to get a sampling of the part of the Archie universe I've never read.

This issue has a couple Bob Bolling stories. Once again, I can't tell when these were drawn, but it looks like they're pretty new. Naturally, I could be wrong. I just started reading Bolling in the first Little Archie  paperback. It was good and fun. I'm glad I got to meet Mad Doctor Doom before I read The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. The stories in here are good and fun, and another good example of why this is a good series.

Of course, there are the single pagers, the gags and jokes that are great. There's a Bob Montana Archie Joke book coming out soon, I hope it's full of these.

I love this book. And, in addition to the issue-length Archie's Mad House, there's another issue in the ongoing She's Josie series by Dan DeCarlo. The art is as solid as the characters, it's a treat to read. Why were there no Josie stories in The Best of Dan DeCarlo books?

And then there's Justin Bieber.

When I read what I'm about to describe to you, dear reader, I almost gave up on Archie for good. Man, it ticked me off and I had a hard time finishing the book. Took me two days to pick it back up. Go ahead and ask my wife if I'm stubborn. I think she'll say "yes."

So I turn to this, and I'm excited about it. The colors and the art are there, it looks like a good, classic story, the reason I'm a subscriber.

What's not to like?

THEN, I get to this panel and my head explodes:

COME ON!!! REALLY??!?!?!??!!!!!!
Why take a good story, a story that looks like it's from the late 60's or early 70's and edit out the text and replace it with "Justin Bieber?" It's just not necessary, and they almost lost me. I hate when this happens. I GUESS I can understand why it was done, but I hate it when they change the original. Fixing a typo is OK (Peter Palmer, anyone?) but changing a story from the past to bring it to the future is just wrong. Especially in a book full of reprints. It's being reprinted for nostalgia, not Bieber-Fever.

So I put it down and thought to myself: How many other times has this happened? And that ticked me off. It really bugs me and stripped me out of the story, and the whole book. That story's just not as good as it was before I got to that panel. And I'm sure it's not the first time and I'm going to be looking for it all the time.

But I'm still a fan. This is just one (noticed) transgression, and I can get over it. Hopefully it doesn't happen again. Or hopefully it doesn't happen where I notice it. I'm 37, I don't know every little reference that the kids are into these days.

And all of my petty, childish, possibly stupid ranting leads me to another thing I love about Archie comics.

What's better than knowing the exact date the next issue's coming out?

Naturally, everything here is my own dumb opinion.

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Stuff you might like:
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Fun Amazon books: