-Are there any decent comics shops in Oregon outside of Portland? I mean, like in Eugene or Salem or points in between? My research has been inconclusive, though this scared the hell out of me.
-I'm excited by the prospect of a Fantagraphics' FCBD offering for this year: an Ignatz sampler. This, in and of itself, would be nice enough, but the lineup suggests that we're in for a year of great Ignatz releases. The book includes excerpts from: Sammy the Mouse #2, Delphine #4, Babel #3, Calvario Hills #2, Niger #3, Grotesque #2, and Wish You Were Here #3. I'm really, really happy to see more volumes of Gipi's Wish You Were Here, Zak Sally's Sammy the Mouse, and Sergio Ponchione's Grotesque, but I guess I'm most excited by two things. First, it seems that we'll see two volumes of Richard Sala's excellent Delphine series next year. I assume this means #3 will be out before FCBD? Second, and apropos of recent discussion in the comments section here, we finally get another volume of David B's Babel. Those who liked Epileptic really need to seek out the first two volumes of this series, which is similar and yet better in a lot of ways. There's a sequence at the end of the first volume which is as good a demonstration of what comics can do better than any other medium as anything else I've ever read.
My one concern is that there are no new series represented in the FCBD sampler. Hopefully this is just a sign of Fantagraphics/Coconino publishing a sudden backlog of completed volumes, rather than a sign that the series is winding down. I'd say that the publication of a sampler volume indicates that Fantagraphics still has big plans for the imprint. Which would be great, because the Ignatz line might be my favorite thing in all of the comics industry.
-A few other FCBD offerings which bear mention: Drawn & Quarterly are releasing a very nice-looking sampler of their manga offerings, under the fitting title Gegika. Actually, there are only two titles being excerpted here: the third (and possibly final?) volume of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's work, Good-Bye, and the much-anticipated Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi. There's also an EC Comics sampler, featuring the likes of Alex Toth, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, and Wally Wood. Both of those should be worth picking up.
I see at least three high-quality all-ages titles: This year's Disney reprint focuses on Gyro Gearloose, one of my favorite supporting characters from the classic Barks era. Top Shelf is once again offering an Owly and Friends comic, the friends including Korgi and Johnny Boo, a new character created by James Kochalka. Finally, there's a Gumby coloring book featuring the regular creative team and a few other folks.
And for those who go to the comics shop for things other than comics, there's some Star Wars miniatures and even a Heroclix Iron Man. Don't let the kids mess them up!
-I promise you that I'm not Jog's roomate. Although I did house sit for Tom Spurgeon when he was at San Diego one year. (Quick question: is "house sit" the right word when you and nine of your friends occupy someone's home without their knowledge or consent when your bus breaks down on the way to Burning Man?)