Sean Maher's Quality Control

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bits and Pieces

This'll be the only post for Wednesday AND Thursday. Apologies, but I worked full shifts at two different jobs today and I'm doing it again tomorrow - only so much time in the day, and I'm trying to fix my own fuck-up with school registration as well.

I told Isotope's resident Bon Vivant, Ian Yarborough, about my schedule this week. He looked at me and said, "You're an idiot."

I sighed, looked back at him and said, "Yeah."


So, I'm working my third job today, at The City Club of San Francisco. It's some business luncheon thing with a hosted bar. The luncheon winds down, and my manager tells me to stop serving people and close up shop. A couple minutes later, a guy I haven't seen all day comes up and asks for a vodka tonic.

"Sorry, I'm closed up. No more drinks."

From behind my would-be customer, another fellow's hand reaches out and tucks a twenty dollar bill under the bar. I've been unable to make any cash tips today, as the gratuity is included in my paycheck and sometimes it's just not kosher to put out a tip jar when it's supposed to be a hosted party - I can dig it.

But when the guy drops the Jackson underneath the bar and says, "How 'bout one more," I'm no sucker. Tip like a man and help me out with some discretion so my boss doesn't see me takin' cash? Just to help out your boy who came late and missed out on the free drinks? One vodka tonic, coming right up.

Then as I'm trying to clean up, I find a half-empty Cape Cod that belongs to some douchebag who's been at the bar six or seven times already. It's in my way and I ask if it's his so I'll know not to throw it away. He interrupts.

"I'll have one more."

"Sorry, I'm closed up."

"The vodka's right there! Just make me one more!" His voice gets high and shrill.

"I'm in the middle of cleaning up. I've got other things I have to do right now. Sorry."

"Well, real fuckin' nice. Way to be a good guy. Merry fuckin' Christmas."

And off he goes.


I need a hand. I'm not buying enough indie comics right now. Image launched a bunch of great titles last year, but half of them aren't coming out anymore and most of what I've noticed from the company this year has been Indie Superheroes, which don't interest me at all outside of Noble Causes and Invincible (which, funny enough, are two of the three or four very best superhero books I'm reading).

Of course, I also pick up The Walking Dead, though Battle Pope was a little too rough around the edges for my taste. I'm buying Fell mostly to support the format experiment - it's enjoyble, but Ellis has begun to feel kinda schticky to me.

I'm so far enjoying Rick Remender's work on Strange Girl and Fear Agent, and it's nice to see Tony Moore doing sequential artwork again, particularly with Lee Loughridge bangin' out those rich colors. Of course, I'm a big fan of Phil Hester's writing and so I've been reading The Atheist when it comes out. I'm looking forward to Dusty Star, which looks like it treads some similar genre-mixing ground as Daisy Kutter, which was one of my favorite mini-series last year.

I'm digging The Expatriate, which came out today, mostly for Jason Latour's distinctive art style.

Of course, y'all know of my love for Elk's Run, and Stray Bullets, and The Goon, as long as we're talking genre-benders. And Shaolin Cowboy has been a lot of fun.

Local's made a pretty strong first impression, but I need to see the second issue to decide.

Still, that really doesn't feel like enough.

So, help me out. Don't just pimp your own books - you fuckers do that enough, you work too hard - sit back and let's see what everyone else is trying.


(Before you say anything, yes, I know about the Indie Solicitations thread on Millarworld. I was the first person to start that thread. And I love it to pieces. But there's a world of difference between solicitations and real world product, and I'm looking for something I can buy today. Something I know is available. And, hopefully, something that comes out with anything close to regularity. Let's reward those independent publishers who really put forth the A-game and make it happen from a business standpoint as well as a creative one.)


  • At 6:47 AM, Blogger Franck Mars said…

    Hi Sean,

    Usually, we meet at Millarworld, but I’m also a regular visitor of your blog. Our tastes have a lot in common and I am always interested by your reviews here. Keep it up!

    To answer your request, I selected what I consider the five best regular books on the stand. I support them without any reservation and I think you may enjoy them.

    Concrete: Dark Horse is reoffering Paul Chadwick’s masterpiece in affordable B&W TPB. It’s a good time to catch the train.

    Usagi Yojimbo: Stan Sakaï is a master of characterization and it’s a real pleasure to follow Usagi on the road.

    Queen & Country: I don’t usually like spy books, but this one is different. Greg Rucka’s stories are tense as hell and all artists produced their very best art there.

    Fables: Love this series! Great concept and execution.

    Y the last man: But I think you read it already.

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger the Isotope Communique said…

    Dude, you so need to come into your regular comic book store and ask this question. We've all been under the impression that you didn't want us showing you all the cool shit you're missing out on because you were still recovering from being out of work for a while. I honestly can't tell you how many times Jared or Ian or Kirsten or myself have said, "Maher would love this. I can't wait till that guy lets us turn him onto new comics again!" So I'm guessing this post is your way of telling us... without, y'know, having to tell us.

    New indy comics it is!

  • At 11:30 AM, Blogger Sean Maher said…

    Franck: Brilliant work, my friend. I may just have to give Concrete a second shot... my only impression is from getting a copy from the library YEARS ago and finding it really corny. 'Course, I read comics for different reasons then, so maybe it's time to bend and give one of those cheap B&W trades a shot.

    Usagi Yojimbo, Queen & Country and Fables are all books I follow, though I didn't list the first two because I wait for them to come out in trade. Generally, it's my M.O. to support indies in the serial format unless there's a good reason I shouldn't - UY has been around for twenty years and has a lot of trade sales to bouy the title if I don't support the monthlies, and ONI is fuckin' brilliant with their "trade support" so I know Q&C will always come out that way in due time.

    I'm a little conflicted about Y:TLM. Something about Vaughan's writing has always frustrated me. I dunno, somehow I can see his talent for this kind of writing, but he's got these ticks that just really get on my nerves and fuck up the experience.

    Fables is fucking brilliant.

    James - Always on the ball, eh my friend? Indeed, you Isotope folks have always been tops when it comes to getting me the widest array of indie information available. I've found many a wonderful book just by having you folks talk about it or put a copy in my hand. It just occurred to me last night, as I was thinking, "What should I write about?", that I needed... well, more to write about. And while I'm happy to throw the love at DC and Marvel's best books now and then, those titles have a zillion venues for support and discussion - so whenever possible, I like Quality Control to bring folks to something new, something they might not have heard much about. That means independent books.

    So, I pulled the classic cheat and basically wrote the poem about not being able to write a poem.

    I'll look forward to the bum's rush of "new classics" in indy comics literature!

  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger Tom Waltz said…

    Well, I've been digging on COMMON FOE from Image. Great military/horror crossover (and who would've figure that I'd be into something like that, eh?).


    Tom Waltz

  • At 2:20 AM, Blogger murm said…

    you should write about meee.

    no, i know, i'm not so regular with the new stuff, or very markety right now (one & a half more weeks & i'm finished my degree, [more or less] [god willing] though!)

    um um. i remember you thinking of checking out cerebus when people were talking about letterers once. it's one heck of a commitment, though. the collections are honking large, it takes dave sim a while for him to hit his stride, & he does literally go slowly insane on camera. it takes a certain amount of orneriness to stay with him.

    i was kind of intrested in y the last man at first, but by the end of the second book i'm totally turned off. i could dig it if there was any camp to it at all, but there doesn't seem to be. & if he's going to play it straight, you'd think he'd do some, you know, research. on any sort of feminist theory, or on the fact that a clone of a female is never a male (in fact i think, as of now, all clones are female. that's certainly how it works in mitosis).

    i mean, he has somebody helping him with his hebrew, that gives me a little smug satisfaction to read those balloons, which are mostly right (my boyfriend reads me the french in queen & country). but then there's stuff like, "but i thought you feminists were pacifists!" ugh.

  • At 3:32 AM, Blogger Sean Maher said…

    Tom - You know, I wasn't really interested in that book from the solicits, but I've heard a lot of rumblings about it being a strong series. Thanks for reminding me and recommending it - I'll take a look.

    Miriam - You know, I do want to write about you: I was literally thinking of doing that today, having just re-read the third issue of your lovely book. But it's been like a year since I read the first two, and I've moved since then and haven't organized my comics in months! There's so much stuff I wanna pull back out and re-read from the last couple years... Anyway, I'll just quit being a pussy and just write about the issue I *can* find. Look for an entry on your book tomorrow.

  • At 12:51 AM, Blogger jeje said…

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