This week lacks a headliner that desperately needs to lead the way. Instead, we’ll start my look at ten things I liked or didn’t like from the week of comics with something I was quite fond of, as a top artist does a pitch perfect homage on an unexpected cover.
1. Paolo Rivera, Building on Watterson
I’m a very big fan of Eight Billion Genies, the Image series by Ryan Browne and Charles Soule from this year.
I’m also a very big fan of Paolo Rivera, the artist supreme.
I’m also also a very big fan of Bill Watterson and Calvin & Hobbes, the greatest comic strip in the history of comic strips.
What would happen if those three things were merged together? That’s not a question I had ever considered asking, but thankfully, someone did. That fusion can be seen in Rivera’s variant for Eight Billion Genies #8, the finale to the miniseries, as Rivera homages Watterson – specifically from this Calvin and Hobbes strip – with a phenomenal piece that perfectly fits the glorious madness of 8BG while delivering a crackling cover for all to enjoy. It’s immediately one of my covers of the year, full stop, without further consideration.
But there’s something that makes me love it even more, even if it is at least in part head canon. This implies that Calvin is a character in the 8BG-Verse. Your genie always looks like you! This is a continuation of that strip in some ways! That’s a thing! Now, that’s a thing that’s complicated, because this piece suggests to me that Calvin is in fact the T-Rex, which is tough to imagine because the genie is still around, so how exactly did Calvin become the dinosaur? But that’s something for my deep comic logic mind to shut up about. The goal here is to instead simply bathe in the glory of this piece, and a mad genius in Rivera delivering additional mad genius to a series filled with it.
God, I’m going to have to buy a variant, aren’t I? THANKS PAOLO!
*shakes fist* *like the T-Rex does* *this cover rules*
2. Comic Shop News, Changing Hands
Comic Shop News, a weekly free newspaper filled with news and notes from the direct market side of the comic world that so many of us love, might seem more than a little antiquated. It feels like a relic of yesteryear, something that doesn’t necessarily belong in the social media era.
And yet, I’m glad it still exists. When I was growing up, Comic Shop News was a treat, a way to extend my awareness of the comic world thanks to the coverage the team would do. While I didn’t love it as much as I did Wizard Magazine — but what did I love more than Wizard at that point, really? — it certainly was part of the early formula that helped me understand that this world was much larger than just my local comic book shop of Bosco’s Comics in Anchorage, Alaska. It was a charmer, something I’ve always been happy to see, even if I don’t even remember the last time I did.
Similarly, it warms my heart to learn that someone is ready to pick up the mantle as the writers and editors of CSN – Cliff Biggers and Ward Batty – prepare to move on after over 35 years of running it. Digital marketer David Witting and comics retailer Brad Gile have bought Comic Shop News, with the pair taking it over early in 2023 with issue #1847. I genuinely have no idea what sort of place it is has in the grand scheme of this comic book world we live in, but there’s something pleasing about knowing it’s out there still, and that a new passionate duo will continue onwards with it. I might have to look into this story more, because I’ll be honest: it’s charmed the heck out of me. I’ll keep an eye out for Biggers’ final chapter writing it too, because that’s an event worth celebrating.
Congrats to the original squad for 35 years of excellence, and best of luck to Witting and Gile on bringing a new era of Comic Shop News to the direct market going forward!