Anthony’s graphic novel picks for July 2020

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Here’s my look at graphic novels and trade paperbacks of interest coming out in July 2020.

DC Comics

A full list of solicitations is available here.

  • Superboy: A Celebration of 75 Years (HC), on sale July 7, $40
  • DC Super Hero Girls: Weird Science, on sale July 14, $10

Marvel

A full list of Marvel solicitations is available here.

  • Ms. Marvel Meets the Marvel Universe, on sale July 29, $13

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DC ditches Diamond for good

2016 DC Comics logoDC has decided that their recent switch to two new, non-Diamond distributors for their comics will now be permanent. It’s finally cutting ties to Diamond, save for a few temporary arrangements; UK customers will also still receive DC material through Diamond. Otherwise, if you want new DC material, it’ll have to be through their new distributors. DC’s new comics will also stick with their Tuesday shipping schedule, chosen to match up with when book channel books (including graphic novels) go on sale.

This is a pretty major shift from the past few decades. As others have noted, the reaction from direct market retailers seems mixed. Personally, since I view the direct market business model as problematic, outdated, house-of-cards-like, and ludicrous, I don’t have much empathy for Diamond. Granted, since DC made up 30% of Diamond’s business, its long term fate is looking questionable, especially if there’s another pandemic-related mass shutdown in the near future.

Superboy turns 75

Superboy (or at least the original Clark Kent version) turns 75 this year. As such, DC’s putting out a 75th anniversary hardcover volume of Superboy stories this month.

The original Boy of Steel debuted in “More Fun Comics” #101 (January-February 1945), and was published for 40 years. After the 1986 Byrne Superman reboot dropped Clark’s Superboy career from continuity, several others came along; the most notable ones are Kon-El (Superman’s clone) and Jon Kent (Lois and Clark’s son). Less notable is “Superboy-Prime,” the now-villainous and obnoxious Superboy of Earth-Prime, who’s basically a bad “strawman comic fan” take on the Boy of Steel.

Superboy
Art by Jim Lee.

Kal-El Superboy stories included:

  • “More Fun Comics” #101: the first Superboy story.
  • “Superboy” (vol. 1) #10: the first appearance of Lana Lang.
  • “Superboy” (vol. 1) #89: the first appearance of Mon-El.
  • “Adventure Comics” #210: the first appearance of Krypto.
  • “Adventure Comics” #247: the first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • “Adventure Comics” #271: the origin of the Silver Age Lex Luthor.
  • “Adventure Comics” #369-370: the first appearance of Mordru the sorcerer.
  • “Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes” #233: a late 70s Legion story (the first appearance of Infinite Man?).
  • “Legion of Super-Heroes” #259: the first solo Legion title; Superboy leaves the team for awhile (for his 1980 solo series).

Kon-El Superboy stories included:

  • “Adventures of Superman” #501: the first appearance of Kon.
  • “Superboy” (vol. 4) #59: Kon actually gets his Kryptonian name of “Kon-El.”
  • “Teen Titans” #24: presumably the 2005 story centered around Kon (during his membership with the team).
  • “Adventure Comics” (vol. 2) #2: Kon-El and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • “Young Justice” #3: it’s not clear from the solicitations whether it’s the original 90s comic or the TV show spin-off title that’s included here.

Jon Kent Superboy stories included:

  • Superman (vol. 4) #6: Jon helps his father fight the Eradicator.
  • Superman (vol. 4) #10-11: Jon meets Damian “Robin” Wayne.

Superboy-Prime stories included (for some reason):

  • “DC Comics Presents” #87: the first appearance of Superboy-Prime.
  • “Infinite Crisis” #6: yay?

Overall, it’s mostly Kal-El and Kon-El Superboy stories; given those are the two longest-lasting and most prominent versions of the character, not surprising. The Legion of Super-Heroes is also prominently featured, which also isn’t surprising. On one hand, I notice we don’t get the “Pocket Universe” Superboy (which I don’t exactly miss); on the other hand, we do get saddled with a few Superboy-Prime stories.

On the Kal-El side, a few stories I’d have thrown in include: “Adventure Comics” #283 (the first Phantom Zone story); “Adventure Comics” #453 (Superboy meets a young Barbara Gordon); and an issue of the 1980s Superboy run. Another possible one is “Adventure Comics” #128, where Clark first meets Lois Lane as a teenager (at a “Daily Planet” youth editor internship/contest).


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