* Wow: Fantagraphics is publishing two books about Love and Rockets this year. One’s a companion volume with interviews, unpublished art, character guides, family trees, and so forth; one’s a Love and Rockets Reader with essays by Marc Sobel. Pretty great timing given that the series is getting as much attention now in its 30th year as it ever has, because it’s as good as it ever was.
* Marvel beat DC in dollar share and market share in the direct market in December. Think for a moment about everything that changed not just at DC but across the entire industry — some for the good, some for the bad, some for the “jury’s still out” — in the name of what amounted to a three-month sales goose. Same-day digital pretty much industry-wide, new continuity, new costumes, all the redundancies and obsolescences created by same in everything from licensing to ongoing storylines to planned and abandoned storylines to licensing images to the recently launched DC MMORPG, a new business model in terms of release schedules for DC, a competing new business model in terms of release schedules for Marvel, a new way of working with talent, new internal procedures for editing and trafficking books, various controversies over race and gender and sex, hirings and firings of creative personnel, new baselines for page count and price point, big-name writers carving out little bubbles of continuity-independence for their books, major media pushes, a shaky retail sector adjusting on the fly to all of the above…and Marvel beat DC in December. Really, really, really remarkable. Tom Spurgeon has more analysis, including the always welcome remonstrance that publishers who complain about the inaccuracy of publicly available sales estimates have it within their power to provide more accurate numbers in seconds, and on a basis more comprehensive than crowing about sellouts when it suits them.
* Speaking of Spurge, I enjoyed quite a few of his final “holiday” posts, including his interviews with Laura Hudson and Chester Brown and his New Year’s resolutions, at least two of which can be summed up with “Don’t be an asshole.”
* I have a pretty low tolerance for other people’s opinions on David Bowie’s songs — through no fault of its own there are few things I’d rather read less than that one blog that’s writing about every single Bowie song in order — but I sure did enjoy Matthew Perpetua’s take on “TVC-15.”
* Michael DeForge’s latest Ant Comic manages to be the most awful one yet.
* Plenty of interesting work being discussed in Kevin Czap’s fifth and final BCGF haul roundup.
* Panels of 2011 is an accurately named and visually compelling new tumblr.
* I’m historically not the biggest fan of the writer doing the adaptation, but the coming Conan comic being illustrated by Becky Cloonan will at least look as good as Conan comics have ever looked.
* Man did I like that one At the Drive-In record, a pretty peerless effort in terms of coming up with lyrics that demand to be shouted. DANCING ON THE CORPSES’ ASHES!!! Glad they’re getting back together.
* Real Life Horror: When is terrorism not terrorism? Related: I wish I’d bookmarked the post where he first made this connection, but in light of the apparent secret campaign of orchestrated murder against Iranian scientists it’s worth reiterating Greenwald’s contention that the wall of state secrecy behind which the United States hides violent overseas acts like these assassinations and our multinational drone wars is in every important way equivalent to the more voluble propaganda to which our despotic enemy regimes subject their populace, propaganda which we never fail to decry when we see it in others. The North Korean who believes the birds are crying over the death of internationally revered statesman Kim Jong-Il is not a world apart from the American who doesn’t know about all the children slaughtered by our army of flying killer robots.
* Finally, behold the awesome power of Pizza Boomerang.