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Compiled January, 2000 by Joe Zabel ---- Publishers Guide
Top Secret Comics ---- Comic Shop Locator: (888)266-4226

Indypreviews

For January, 2000

A Survey of Alternative Presses

This issue, we'd like to focus on the small group of mid-range companies who produce a substantial share of the best independent comics. Some of these companies are old standbys, and others are quite new. (Addresses and websites available in our Publishers Guide above.)

Alternative Press

Cover, Sunburn, copyright 1999 by James Kochalka This quality line of comics emerged out of Indy Magazine, and once featured important works by Ed Brubaker, James Kochalka, Tom Hart, and Jon Lewis. They've had no new releases in recent months-- another one bites the dust?

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics

Long active in the underground comics scene, Slave Labor has become almost a specialist in macabre sick humor books like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Stitch, and Lenore. But they still publish many notable art comics, such as The Waiting Place

Antarctic Press Comics

A manga publisher best known for NINJA HIGH SCHOOL and WARRIOR NUN, this company was the original publisher of STRANGERS IN PARADISE. More recently they've put out the notable series BOX OFFICE POISON, as well as the historical comic LUFTWAFFE 1946.

Avatar Press

A publisher of bloody horror titles, Avatar experimented with several all-ages titles such as DREAMWALKER for a short period. Notable for the odd combination of gentle fantasy comics with advertisements for Tim Vigil!?!

Caliber Comics

Originally an outlet for zombie and horror titles, Gary Reed's durable low-budget company has made numerous forays into the art comics arena, introducing the comics world to talents like Ed Brubaker and Dame Darcy. Recently they've been experimenting with historical and literature-based projects, and are always worth keeping an eye on.

Dark Horse

Cover art by Frank Stack from American Splendor: Terminal This major publisher of movie adaptation comics related to Star Wars and The Terminator has a history of infrequent art comics releases. It published Bryan Talbot's classic TALE OF ONE BAD RAT and continues to print Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR tales.

Drawn and Quarterly

Optic Nerve cover copyright 1999 by Adrian Tomine Probably the most prestigeous comics line, publishing Chester Brown, Seth, Joe Matt, Julie Doucet, and Adrian Tomine. Their output is small, but always of the highest quality. DQ should be credited as well with revolutionizing the format of alternative comics, experimenting with color interiors, quality paper, and odd sizes.

Fantagraphics Books

Cover, Love and Rockets copyright 1999 by Jaime Hernandez You love them, you hate them, but Fantagraphics is the undisputed leader of the alternative comics movement, with their sneeringly-elitist magazine The Comics Journal and a bullpen of the best and most popular underground cartoonists. Los Bros Hernandez, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Jim Woodring, Peter Bagge-- these artists' names are synonymous with the exciting directions in which Fantagraphics has taken the art comic form. Also notable is the company's ambitious project to reprint the life's work of comics mega-superstar Robert Crumb.

Fantagraphics reputation has been tarnished somewhat by their Eros series of erotic comics, some of which are quite coarse and mysogynistic. The publishers freely admit that the Eros line is an economic necessity to finance their other activities.

Also notable is Fantagraphics THE ULTIMATE CATALOG, the listings of which read like a compilation of the best comics in the history of the medium. The catalog includes many titles from Drawn and Quarterly and other publishers, and is a major resource for comics connoseurs. The Acme Novelty Library copyright 1999 by Chris Ware

Highwater Books

A new company with a handful of quality releases, including work by Megan Kelso and John Porcellino.

Humanoids Publishing

This company appears to be picking up some of the more intellectual material formerly published by Heavy Metal magazine, such as Bilal's THE HUNTING PARTY.

NBM

Cover, The Lost Girl copyright 1999 by Nabiel Kanan A longtime publisher of quality European graphic novels, NBM has recently begun publishing new works by Will Eisner.

Oni Press

Co-owned by film director Ken Smith, this company lives off the popular spin-offs to his film, Clerks. It has also published a number of slick alternative projects, most notably the graphic novel WHITE OUT.

Slab of Concrete

This English publisher has produced a handful of quality releases, including the graphic novel LUX AND ALBY.

Sirius Entertainment

Rising to prominence on the popularity of the horror heroine DAWN, this company publishes the acclaimed all-ages books AKIKO and SCARY GODMOTHER. It also occasionally experiments with other alternative titles, such as SHEBA and WANDERING STAR.

Top Shelf Productions

Cover, Goodbye Chunky Rice, copyright 1999 by Craig Thompson A vigorous new company producing titles at breakneck speed, including the acclaimed graphic novel GOODBYE CHUNKY RICE, the underappreciated underground series HEY MISTER, and the superb TOP SHELF ANTHOLOGY.

Top Shelf is also notable among reviewers for the neat promo items they send us, including designer boxes of matches and bubble gum!

Viz Communications

This Manga specialty house (responsible for the POKEMON popular culture apocalypse) publishes a notable manga underground anthology, PULP, and reprints graphic novels such as VOYEUR and BANANA FISH from it.

Westhampton House

Another new publisher with a handful of quality titles, mostly by artists little known in this country, like Ruta Modan and Itzik Rennert.
CONNECT SALES COMICS

  Hardknock Press

HARDKNOCK
This impressive full-color satire of slick magazines
is innovative and very much comics-oriented.  Includes
work by Craig Gunderson, Mick Wetmore, & Mikel Samson.
Issues 1-6 available from 
Hardknock Press
261 East Lincoln Highway
Suite 203
DeKalb, IL 60115

____________________________________________
  Hermenaut

HERMENAUT, THE DIGEST OF HEADY PHILOSOPHY
Only somewhat comics-oriented, with illos by Jessica
Abel and a short strip by Dame Darcy, this zine is
nevertheless essential reading for those who yearn
to be hip-deep in the real issues of our culture!
$20 for a 4-issue subscription
Hermanaut Subscription Bureau
P. O. Box 141
Allston, MA 02134 

DIRECT SALES COMICS
  A Fine Line

BOSOM ENEMIES: LOSING OUR BEARINGS #1
Donna Barr fans won't want to miss this
parable in which military brass are held
prisoner by a civilization of horse people. 

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  A Silent Comics

ARSENIC LULLABY #8
Dark satirical tales!

____________________________________________
  AAA Pop Comics

THE ATOMICS #3
Mike Allred.

____________________________________________
  Aardvark Vanaheim

CEREBUS #252
Dave Sim!

____________________________________________
 Abstract Studio	

STRANGERS IN PARADISE VOL. 3 #31
Terry Moore!

____________________________________________
  AIT/Planetlar

ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE:  SPACE: 1959 #3
Larry Young and Clarie Adlard's retro-SF
series continues!

____________________________________________
  Alan Bunce

ZZZ #1
All-ages absurdity and innovative 
storytelling!  Looks very promising!

____________________________________________
 Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics

BLACK HEART BILLY #1
Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer's punk 
thriller about a kind of skate-boarding
Frankenstein!

GLOOME COOKIE #4
Serena Valentino & Ted Naifeh!

LOVE IN TIGHTS: ANNIVERSARY #1
Superhero romatic satire anthology!

RARE CREATURES #2
Kelley Seda's weird coming-of-age fantasy!

THE WAITING PLACE VOL 2 #3
S. McKeever, Norton, and Yurkovich continue
this true-to-life series about high-school 
days!

____________________________________________
  Anti-Ballistic Pixelations

GREMLIN TROUBLE #22
E.T. and Elizabeth Bryan!

____________________________________________
  Arrow Comics

LAND OF OZ #9
Further adventures on the yellow-brick 
road by Bishop, Bryan, and Mesner-Loebs!

____________________________________________
  Asiapac Books PTE LTD

CELESTIAL ZONE #3
This import from Singapore by Wee Tian Beng
promises adventure with a healthy dose of
Chinese culture!

____________________________________________
  Astonish Comics

HEROBEAR & THE KID #2
More all-ages adventures about a tike whose
toy bear turns into a superhero!  By Mike
Kunkel!

____________________________________________
  Behemoth Books

BRAINBOMB SC
Brian Clopper, Mike Manley, Scott Morse, Lea
Hernandez, Jenni Gregory, and others contribute
to this all-ages anthology for the national
outreach project, Cartoonists in the Classroom!

____________________________________________
  Black Cat Comics

REX HELLWIG #1
Offbeat comedy by Burch, McKenny, and 
Shannahan about a descendant of a heroic
lineage of knightly virtue who's stuck in 
a modern world with no dragons to slay!

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  Black Daze

BALLAD OF UTOPIA #1
Engaging bizaare Western by talented
writer Barry Buchanan, teamed with artist
Mike Hoffman!
See review in the year-end issue of Amazing Montage Magazine!
  
____________________________________________
  Bryce Alan Publishing

FASHION POLICE #2
Penn, Manley, and Zubiaga's thriller about
crime in the fashion industry continues!

____________________________________________
  Caliber Comics

COLD BOOM #1
Weird thriller by Jon Proctor about a woman
obsessed with Adolf Hitler!

____________________________________________
 Carbon Based Comics

FAITH, A FABLE
Reknowned THE FURIES creator Bill Knapp's
astonishing short graphic novel is a 
tour-de-force of textured realism about a
young woman whose empathic talents attract
a cult of worshipers and a media frenzy!
Highly recommended!
See review in the year-end issue of Amazing Montage Magazine!
  

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  Cartoon Books

STUPID STUPID RAT TAILS TP
Collecting the 3-issue series
by Jeff Smith, Tom Sniegoski, and
Stan Sakai!

____________________________________________
  Corsair Publishing

DORK TOWER #8
Fanboy satire!

____________________________________________
  Cryptic Press

SMITH'S ADVENTURES IN THE SUPERMUNDANE
Surreal journey through a young child's 
mind! 

____________________________________________
  Dancing Elephant Press

KANE #29
Paul Grist's noir thriller series!

____________________________________________
  Drawn and Quarterly

PEEPSHOW #12
A new issue of Joe Matt's acclaimed 
series!

____________________________________________
  Eddie Campbell Comics

EDDIE CAMPBELL'S BACCHUS #51
More terrific stories about Alec!

____________________________________________
  Fantagraphics Books

GOODY GOOD COMICS #1
Comics legend Gilbert Hernandez returns
with a new anthology series in the same
vein as NEW LOVE!

NIMROD #4
Lewis Trondheim's low-key humor is the
draw in this comics anthology!

Also by Trondheim:
MCCONEY VOL. 1:  HARUM SCARUM
Rabbits, cats, and dogs inhabit this
1930's Parisian tale of humor and horror!
FULL COLOR!

NAUGHTY BITS #31
Roberta Gregory's Bitchy Bitch copes with 
the post-Y2K world!

PENNY CENTURY #7
Comics great Jaime Hernandez continues
his terrific follow-up to LOVE AND ROCKETS!

____________________________________________
  Felix Comics, Inc.

FELIX CATA-A-STROPHIC WRESTLING SPECIAL #1
Anthropomorphic smackdown!

____________________________________________
  Fink, Inc.

PINING PETER PINESEED
Offbeat mystery about a confused man's
puzzling substance abuse!  Also, a new
story by TRUE SWAMP artist Jon Lewis!

____________________________________________
  Humanoids Publishing 

THE HUNTING PARTY DELUX HC
Pierre Christin and Enki Bilal's classic
political thriller about a deadly 
recreational outing of the Soviet Politburo!

____________________________________________
  I Box Publishing

THIEVES AND KINGS #31
Still going strong, Mark Oakley's 
marvelously-written and drawn fantasy
saga is worth a look!

____________________________________________
  Insight Studios Group

LIBERTY MEADOWS #8
Reprinting the daily syndicated series 
by Frank Cho!

____________________________________________
  Jappa Comics

JIROBOY, THE MECHNORGANIC KID #1
All-ages fantasy adventure by Anthony Jappa!

____________________________________________
  Kenzer & Company

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #41
Wargamer satire!

____________________________________________
  Lethargic Comics International

LETHARGIC LAD #14
Greg Hyland's nutty superhero satire still
generates some fierce chuckles!

____________________________________________
  Mighty Gremlin

ELECTRIC GIRL #5
Mike Brennan's gentle all-ages adventure
series about a teen who generates sparks!

____________________________________________
  Mprints Publishing, Inc.

ERNOR #5
Primeval anthropmorphic adventure!

____________________________________________
  NBM

LAST KNIGHT HC
Will Eisner continues his adaptations of
classic tales (begun with PRINCESS AND
THE FROG) with this rendition of the
Don Quixote saga!  32 pages, full color!

____________________________________________
  Oni Press

THE BLAIR WITCH CHRONICLES #1
Boo!  Scared ya, didn't I?

THE ADVENTURES OF BARRY WEEN 2.0 #2
Judd Winick!

BLUE MONDAY: THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT #2
Adam Ant fan mired in romantic dilemas!

____________________________________________
 Peregrine Arts & Entertainment

FORTY WINKS BUZZBOY #1
Sneed, Gallagher, and Peters inject 
superhero antics into their dreamland
fantasy!

____________________________________________
  Sandburg Publishing

JUPITER #8
This offbeat series by Jason Sandberg was
recently named as one of the most underrated
comics by both Dave Sim and Scott McCloud!

____________________________________________
  Shanda Fantasy Arts

GIANT SHANDA ANIMAL #5
Walt Kelly's Pogo is parodied in this
anthropomorphic anthology!

____________________________________________
  Sirius Entertainment

AKIKO VOL. 4 TP
Collecting the popular all-ages adventure
series by Mark Crilley!

SCARY GODMOTHER: WILD ABOUT HARRY #2
Jill Thompson's macabre comedy!

POISON ELVES #55
Drew Hayes!

POE #22
Jason Asala!

____________________________________________
  Studio Chikara

TWO SIDES OF SANDY #1
Conte & Maus's story about the warring
personalities in one woman!

____________________________________________
  Studio Foglio

BUCK GODOT: GALLIMAUFRY VOL. 2
Phil Foglio & Barb Kaalberg!

____________________________________________
  Sunset Strips

DETECTIVE CHRONICLES OF MAX FACCIONI #3

____________________________________________
  Top Shelf Productions

HEY MISTER: TROUBLE WITH JESUS
Sacriligeous satire by genius nutcase
Pete Sickman-Garner!  Don't miss it!!

____________________________________________
  Viz Communications

PULP VOLUME 4 #4
Manga noir anthology!

DANCE 'TIL TOMMORROW VOL. 3 GRAPHIC NOVEL
Collecting Naoki Yamamoto's sex comedy
series from PULP!

EAGLE: THE MAKING OF AN ASIAN-AMERICAN
PRESIDENT #2: SCANDAL
Kaiji Kawaguchi's speculative political
drama!

____________________________________________
  Westhampton House

LIBRA RISING
From Germany, Minou Zaribaf's feminist-themed
fairytale anthology!

____________________________________________
  Wet Earth, Inc.

THE ADVENTURES OF EDGAR MUDD #3
H. Busch and J. Bilicic's hand-painted
full-color adventure satire!
____________________________________________

  Non-independent Comics Published by Huge
  Bloated Monoliths of Anti-Human Savagery

THE WORLD BELOW: DEEPER AND STRANGER #4 
(Dark Horse)
Paul Chadwick's weird subterranean saga concludes!

WAHOO MORRIS #1 (Image)
Rock and roll headbanging with the supernatural
in Craig A. Taillefer's indy cult hit now
being published by Image!