Comics Creators

The Trades Thread - Hardcovers, Graphic Novels, and More


Yeah - I’m talking about Shang-Chi.

I ordered a volume, I think it was 2 - because it was significantly less then the others. One of them was almost double.


Tomorrow Stories, Book One HC

Are you bored yet of me going on and on about how good ABC’s short-story collections are? No? Good, because I’m about to do the same again for Tomorrow Stories.

Collecting issues #1-6 of the series, this first book exceeded my expectations by being even better than the Terrific Tales volumes that I’ve been enjoying over the past couple of months. Partly, that may be because every single story in this series is written by Alan Moore, so the quality is right up there and there’s not much in the way of flab or filler; and partly it may be because the tone of Tomorrow Stories is noticeably lighter, with a much sillier and more carefree vibe overall to the book, which I really enjoyed.

The main strips featured here are Greyshirt, a riff on Eisner’s Spirit with art by Rick Veitch; Jack B Quick, a boy-genius strip featuring questionable scientific premises that’s illustrated by Kevin Nowlan; The First American, a superhero satire created with Jim Baikie; and The Cobweb, drawn by Moore’s Lost Girls collaborator and now-wife Melinda Gebbie. (As of issue #4, though, Jack B Quick drops out and is replaced by issue #6 with Splash Brannigan, a Plastic-Man-type hero - created with Hilary Barta - who is made of “four-dimensional ink” and behaves like a wild reject from a retro cartoon.)

I like them all for different reasons, but it’s Greyshirt that really stands out for me as the best of the bunch. It’s the kind of strip that offers Moore and Veitch the chance to really experiment with story structure, exploring any corner of Indigo City that they choose, and largely leaving Greyshirt himself as a relatively ill-defined and minor character in his own strip (much like the Spirit, really).

There are loads of great stories here - including a fun yarn about a crook who discovers a time machine, and a nice little spooky story about a mystery informant who helps Greyshirt crack a case - but it’s “How Things Work Out” from issue #2 which is the best example of what makes the strip so great. It’s a story that… well, I’ll let Moore explain it.

For those who haven’t read it, here’s the first page to help you visualise the idea.

It’s only an eight-pager, but it packs in a huge amount of character work, plot, and formal inventiveness. It’s a truly inspirational story for anyone who takes an interest in how comics work and what can be done with them, especially in the short-story format. In fact, you can check the whole thing out for yourself here.

After Greyshirt, it’s probably Jack B Quick that I enjoyed the best, mostly for the insistently silly approach to science that it takes throughout (and the running gag about how depressed Jack’s parents are to have such an irritating offspring). The art is very nice, and I like the way Moore’s scripts skewer the whizz-kid archetype and the spurious pseudo-science of kids’ comic book stories.

First American is pretty unfocused but still generally very funny, with quite a few gags that rely on specific pop-culture targets (and so inevitably feel a bit dated today, more than a decade-and-a-half on), while others concentrate more on making fun of superhero conventions in general. I’ve often felt that Moore’s talent for comedy is an underrated aspect of his writing, so it’s nice to see an overtly comedic strip like this one in amongst the others.

Finally, Cobweb worked for me in a retro/pulp way, with some deliberately overwrought purple prose, some interesting story ideas, a touch of vague eroticism and a beguilingly simplistic art style that I found quite charming (mixed with some occasional experimentation with photography and collage). But ultimately I didn’t find there was much to it, and didn’t ever really look forward to the next chapter.

Nevertheless, on the strength of this first collection, I’m thinking that Tomorrow Stories is going to prove to be even better than Terrific Tales, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m surprised that these stories aren’t more well-known and celebrated, because I think they represent some of the best work that Moore has done in the latter half of his career. Certainly I’ll be digging the book out for another reread soon.


Jack B Quick was hilarious when the cast of Tomorrow Stories showed up at the end of Promethea too.


I need to go back and reread that final Promethea storyline after reading all this stuff for the first time. There was loads of stuff in it that I must have missed.


All your ABC posts are making me want to pull out my Top Ten and Promethea trades actually.


It’s been years since I read those core series, Tom Strong too. At some point I will get around to giving them another look!


Ouch, does tend to happen with the first Omnibuses too, people seem to go mad for them more than any others. I’ve the Usagi Yojimbo hardbacks DHC are putting out, except for Vol 1 because everyone went nuts over it.

Don’t forget about the Deadly Hands of Kung Fui pair too, if anything the first one beats Shang-Chi for quality.


Yeah - like you, I didn’t ever think Shang Chi would be collected so I’ve got my eye on a bunch of that stuff.

It is expensive though.


As I understand it, Marvel have had to strike a fairly time-limited deal for the reprint rights to all the Master of Kung Fu and Deadly Hands stuff, which is why it’s all coming out so quickly. I think with these expensive volumes they would usually spread them out a little more.


I’m surprised they’re not doing some kind of premium collection for 600 pounds or something - with a little box and everything.


I think there were some buyers, like me, who were trying this material out for the first time with omnibus #1 - I imagine Marvel got a decent few sales on that one that didn’t carry over to the subsequent volumes.

With a big single set, you probably wouldn’t get those curious readers checking it out.


If time’s a big factor, they could easily have just done three omnibuses of Shang-Chi.


Interesting - was looking around SpeedyHen’s site and they’ve returned to their lower prices on the big books:

  • $125 = £58
  • $100 = £46-47
  • $75 = £35
  • $50 = £25.94
  • $40 = £21.37

So, probably worth keeping an eye on for normal print run books.


Cool, this means the GI Joe complete collections are back to sensible p-- oh, they’re all sold out.


As pointed out by Simon, a sale:

Does this mean they’ve finally got all of Nikolai Dante back in print again? As ever this comes very highly recommended if people haven’t tried it.


Quick question about the new Metabaron series: Is the dialogue significantly better than Jodorowsky’s other works? I ask because I know he’s only plotting and Jerry Frissen is doing the actual scripting. I love Jodorowsky’s ideas but those ideas paired with better writing would be too good to pass up.


Comme ci, comme ca. :wink:


Hmm, can’t really say as I haven’t noticed the problem you have.

Then again, I read Jodorowsky SF more for mad ideas than anything else.


DC’s trades through the end of the year are up on Amazon now, including the Rebirth Deluxe editions for Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Nightwing and Harley Quinn.


Amazon have updated their solicit and it now says the contents are JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-6, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #7-25, JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #26-30, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1-3 and JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE #1-6. That matches up with the page count.