Oh boy. Another big week. Let’s get to the ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics, led by an important launch.
1. Random House Graphic, Here at Last!
We’re starting off with a quick one, as I’ve written about this crew a lot, but if I had to pick one story from the week that was the most important to the present and future of comics, it’d undoubtedly be the official launch of Random House Graphic. This new kids and teens graphic novel imprint is Gina Gagliano’s baby, and if you asked anyone who knows what’s up in comics, Gagliano would be on the shortlist of the smartest and most important people in comics. Her insight into the medium and rolodex of creators is hard to top after her time at First Second, so an imprint fronted by her coming is a big deal, especially with the weight of Random House behind her.
The first title to arrive was from cartoonist Johan Troianowski, whose The Runaway Princess graphic novel kicked the whole endeavor off this week. There is plenty more to come, including books from names like Trungles, Lucy Knisley, and many more, with Thom Pico and Karensac’s Hilda-esque Aster and the Accidental Magic topping my to-read list. This will be a big deal. It already is one. Congrats to everyone at Random House Graphic. I can’t wait to see everything they come up with, because it’s going to be gold.
2. Dawn of X, Expanding + Contracting?
We had another announcement for the X-Men line this week, as Vita Ayala and Bernard Chang’s Children of the Atom now stands revealed. It’s a book about, effectively, sidekicks for the X-Men, and how the mutants we haven’t met handle life on Krakoa. That’s a new angle on the Krakoan premise, and one I dig. I like the vision for it, and the pair of Ayala and Chang is a good fit for it. Ayala’s the right voice for this type of story, and Chang has the swagger needed to handle young folks but also the chops to make it flow. I dig it.
On the flip side, we also saw that Carmen Carnero is taking over Miles Morales’ solo title with issue #17, which makes me wonder what’s going on with the only revealed in a Marvel letters column X-Corps book. Carnero was announced as its artist there, but since then, we’ve gotten nothing. This is either a very short run for Carnero with Miles or she’s off it entirely (or perhaps she’s unreal fast), but it does make me wonder what happened with that title.
We’re in an interesting place right now with the X-Men books. There’s been a lot of talk on the internets (both Twitter and the SKTCHD forums) about the volume of X-Men titles, and whether it’s too many. The general take is “yes, there are too many,” to the point where Jonathan Hickman tweeted, effectively, that everyone doesn’t have to read all of them. Generally, I agree with both takes.
I’ve written here before that Marvel’s piling on these X-Men books, and to me, it’s diminishing returns…from a sales standpoint. I’m not sure the market can hang with this, and the saturation is there already. But at the same time, we’re in a time where there are less massive hits in any medium and it’s more about finding small wins in a variety of places. As Hickman noted, this feels more designed to provide an X-Book for all fans, and for that reason, the simple answer to the problem for everyone is only read the comics they want to from the line.
After at least four issues for every title, it’s easy to see that they each have their own separate identities that might sync up eventually. The right move for everyone is just read what works for them. For me, that’s X-Men, Marauders, New Mutants and X-Force. I’m on Giant Size and FF/X-Men for sure, while I’m a maybe on X-Factor, Wolverine, and Cable, and a no go on Hellions from the jump. I’m probably missing several books, but the point is, this X-Men line expands or contracts based off your own interests. X-Men is the main book, so sticking around there makes sense, but the rest is about fit. If a title doesn’t fit you, I say cut it and do you. You can figure out the rest from there.
Again, I’m unsure if the market can sustain all of these books from that premise – and it might lead to completionists turning away from them because they feel burned – but it’s an idea I like in theory, the one of delivering a different X-Men book for different readers.