A lot of comics come out every week. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of #1s and dramatic new status quos as they crash. That’s why I’m here. Whether you said you’d revisit checking that series out when it was collected in trade or you simply never noticed the announcement of that awesome OGN, whether you’re just waiting for that hardcover to be published as a trade or have been longing for a collection of your favorite stories since childhood, Tradewaiting is here for you, with the complete Diamond list of graphic novels and collections as well as some recommendations to scoop up.
This is a big week for trades and collections, so let’s quit dawdling. It’s time to look at the releases for February 12th, 2020.
Big Black: Stand at Attica
Prisons are a faraway concept for our society. They exist with a theoretical purpose of reform or perhaps containment, but for much of America they serve to put the very concept of crime out of sight and out of mind. But in 1971 the Attica Prison Riot forced America to look at the question of carceral justice and its interplay with race and politics.
As the title suggests, the book examines the issue through the life of Frank “Big Black” Smith. Written by Jared Reinmuth, based on lengthy conversations with (and sharing the writing credit with) Smith before his death in 1997, Big Black is a biography of a man dropped in the center of impossible situations, but it uses that focus to highlight how small one man is in the face of the Prison Industrial Complex. Big Black didn’t create the uprising, nor did he choose its outcome. He was a man whose choice extended only so far as doing the right thing while politicians tried to force it to resolve their way. In seeing him struggle to hold the line, both during the actual revolt and in the long years after, readers learn both about Big Black and the system that he fought to uncover and undo.
The book opens with the demands made by the inmates and there’s a scene where the prison superintendent negotiates with the movement, only to find their requests entirely reasonable. This is the book’s ethos. The requests made were not radical fifty years ago but, were that not enough, the story shows, not tells, how necessary prison reform is through the war of optics that develops. Watching the coverage on TV, the prisoners discover that the media is reporting that they have no demands, fueling the perception that they’re unruly, uppity criminals lashing out without reason. Even this book exists partially to undo the toxic misinformation campaign that still clings to public perception of the incident. Reinmuth wisely makes certain that you cannot read the book without the creeping, sickening acknowledgement that this was supposed to continue quietly, that the Attica Brothers’ truly unforgivable sin was allowing the country at large to see their side at all when their jailers were meant to control both prison and perception.
Big Black: Stand at Attica is one of those “important” comics. I’ve already seen plentiful comparisons to John Lewis’ March, but, while they’re certainly not unfounded, it also lessens this book to reduce it to something that ought to be read. Améziane fills the pages with clarity that suits its biographical nature but also leans hard into pop art, a difficult thing to do with such a limited palette. For his part, Reinmuth succeeds in communicating the severity of his lead, but also his humility and fear in a way that is not only beautiful but important right now. Unlike March, there’s no attempt made to argue that there is a happy ending here, but it documents how, if right failed, it made injustice stumble, for all the world to see.
Big Black: Stand at Attica is a beautiful telling of a controversial, horrific, and incredible moment in the American Civil Rights Movement. Whether you know the details intimately, watched the coverage on TV yourself, or had never heard of it, this telling will inform and contextualize exactly how, less than fifty years ago, a coastal, Northern state like New York was the site of one of “the bloodiest one-day encounter[s] between Americans since the Civil War.” This original graphic novel retails for $19.99.
Zatanna and the House of Secrets
If you asked me to pick a DC superhero who most deserves greater cultural recognition I could probably think of a few, but there’s a strong argument in my mind that Zatanna is the best answer. Zatanna just belongs to so many worlds and is perfect for so many different perspectives. Justice League adventures, Buffy-esque monster of the week mysteries, mature readers looks into the dark side of magic and showmanship, all-ages glimpses at wonder. Her history and personality bear them all out and, luckily, we’re getting a stab at that last genre with Zatanna and the House of Secrets.
Zatanna’s had a myriad of stories recently that have looked back on her formative years, but this seems to be the most determined of them, aimed squarely at middle grade readers. The set up sees a tweenaged Zatanna discovering her magical heritage when the Witch Queen arrives to reveal that her dorky father is in fact a powerful sorcerer and her cozy home is in fact the mysterious House of Secrets.
With Matthew Cody (Supers of Noble’s Green) at the helm, there’s a definite middle grade pedigree associated with this release and the very concept seems perfect for a DC that’s eager to reach younger audiences and try different things with its classic characters. And, as if that wasn’t enough, this is also the graphic novel debut of Yoshi Yoshitani.
I haven’t had many opportunities to talk about my love of Yoshitani’s work here at Comicon, but her sharp, borderless compositions are hypnotic technicolor daydreams (and occasionally nightmares and somethings in between) put to paper. Her colorful, often queer, and always stunning art has made Yoshitani one of my favorite artists to see at conventions but to see her art, rather perfectly, directed towards an all-ages take on a favorite heroine for her first graphic novel absolutely checks boxes for me. In Zatanna’s normal life you can see Yoshitani morphing to match the styles of all-ages comics, but glimpses into the magical reality behind the curtain assure readers that this is the real deal and that Yoshitani’s unique style and color sensibilities are going to shine through.
Whether you’re excited about it for the platform it gives a terrific character, the addition of another story from a popular voice in all ages comics, the entrance of an enormous artistic talent into comics, or just the joy of handing a beautiful story to the young reader in your life, this book gives us a lot to be excited about. Especially at just $9.99, you can expect it to disappear from store shelves like magic. Barg ti ta ruoy lacol cimoc pohs won!
The deluge of tremendous comic collections and OGNs continues this week. From indie trades like She Said Destroy to collections from DC’s late 80s renaissance to a slew of IDW all-ages releases to the “Dawn of X” there were many more great comics than I could fit here. Here are Diamond’s complete listings to sift through if you’re looking for that personalized (excuse the pun) diamond in the rough.
DARK HORSE COMICS
- ART OF MANA HC $39.99
- DISNEY CINDERELLA STORY OF MOVIES IN COMICS HC $10.99
- DREADFUL ED & MARY SCARY HC $19.99
- WES ANDERSON`S ISLE OF DOGS HC $19.99
- WHATS MICHAEL TP VOL 01 FATCAT COLLECTION $19.99
- MARVEL ACTION AVENGERS TP BOOK 03 THE FEAR EATERS $9.99
- MARVEL ACTION SPIDER-MAN TP BOOK 03 BAD LUCK $9.99
- SONIC THE HEDGEHOG TP VOL 05 CRISIS CITY $15.99
- STAR WARS ADVENTURES TP VOL 08 DEFEND THE REPUBLIC $9.99
- ANIMAL MAN BY GRANT MORRISON TP VOL 01 $29.99
- BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE TP VOL 03 $34.99
- BILLY BATSON AND MAGIC OF SHAZAM TP BOOK 01 $19.99
- BLACKHAWK BLOOD & IRON HC $49.99
- DC POSTER PORTFOLIO JOSHUA MIDDLETON TP $24.99
- HARLEY QUINN AND THE GOTHAM GIRLS TP $16.99
- JUSTICE LEAGUE CORPORATE MANEUVERS TP $24.99
- SWAMP THING TALES FROM THE BAYOU TP $16.99
- WONDER WOMAN BY GEORGE PEREZ TP VOL 04 $34.99
- ZATANNA AND THE HOUSE OF SECRETS TP $9.99
- AERO TP VOL 01 BEFORE THE STORM $17.99
- AGE OF CONAN TP VALERIA $15.99
- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EPIC COLL TP SECRET OF PETRIFIED TABLET $39.99
- BLACK PANTHER HC VISIONS OF WAKANDA $29.99
- BLACK WIDOW EPIC COLLECTION TP BEWARE BLACK WIDOW $39.99
- DAREDEVIL BY BENDIS & MALEEV OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 NEW PTG $100.00
- DAWN OF X TP VOL 01 $24.99
- FANTASTIC FOUR TP THE END NEW PTG $15.99
- HULK TP THE END NEW PTG $17.99
- LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL MARVEL SELECT HC $24.99
- MILES MORALES GN TP GREAT RESPONSIBILITY $12.99
- SPIDER-MAN MILES MORALES OMNIBUS HC $100.00
- STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA TP VOL 07 ROGUES END $17.99
- STAR WARS TARGET VADER TP $17.99
- ULTIMATES BY MARK MILLAR & BRYAN HITCH OMNIBUS HC NEW PTG $100.00
- AVANT-GUARDS TP VOL 02 $14.99
- BIG BLACK STAND AT ATTICA GN (MR) $19.99
- GO GO POWER RANGERS TP VOL 06 $16.99
COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
- ARIFURETA COMMONPLACE TO STRONGEST ZERO GN VOL 02 $12.99
- AT THE END OF YOUR TETHER TP $19.99
- BALLAD OF YAYA GN VOL 05 PROMISE $9.99
- BEYOND CLOUDS GN VOL 01 $12.99
- BOY WHO BECAME A DRAGON BRUCE LEE STORY HC GN $27.99
- BOY WHO BECAME A DRAGON BRUCE LEE STORY SC GN $14.99
- BRAVE TUBER GN VOL 02 $12.99
- BUG BOYS YA HC GN $13.99
- BUNGO STRAY DOGS NOVEL SC VOL 03 UNTOLD ORIGINS AGENCY $14.00
- COTTONS HC GN VOL 02 (OF 3) WHITE CARROT $19.99
- COTTONS SC GN VOL 01 SECRET OF WIND $14.99
- CRYPTOID HC (MR) $19.99
- DESTINY LOVERS GN VOL 02 (MR) $13.99
- DOCTOR MIRAGE TP VOL 01 $14.99
- GIVEN GN VOL 01 $12.99
- GO TO SLEEP I MISS YOU CARTOONS FROM FOG NEW PARENTHOOD $14.99
- HOPE TP $17.99
- HOW HEAVY ARE DUMBBELLS YOU LIFT GN VOL 02 (MR) $12.99
- HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DEVIL GN VOL 02 $12.99
- I SURVIVED GN VOL 01 I SURVIVED SINKING OF TITANIC $10.99
- I SURVIVED HC GN VOL 01 I SURVIVED SINKING OF TITANIC $24.99
- INTERSPECIES REVIEWERS GN VOL 03 (MR) $13.00
- IS WRONG PICK UP GIRLS DUNGEON FAMILIA LYU GN VOL 06 $13.00
- JUGHEAD HUNGER VS VAMPIRONICA TP (MR) $17.99
- KAMO MANGA GN VOL 03 PACT WITH SPIRIT WORLD $10.99
- KINOS JOURNEY BEAUTIFUL WORLD GN VOL 05 $12.95
- KOMI CANT COMMUNICATE GN VOL 05 $9.99
- LAB RAIDER TP VOL 01 $16.99
- LOUD OGN (RES) (MR) $16.99
- MAN AND HIS CAT GN VOL 01 $12.99
- NICOLA TRAVELING AROUND DEMON WORLD GN VOL 02 $12.99
- NORTHGUARD TP VOL 02 ENEMY OF THE STATES (RES) $12.99
- OVERLORD A LA CARTE GN VOL 03 $13.00
- PESTILENCE COMPLETE SERIES HC GN $39.99
- RE ZERO SLIAW CHAPTER 3 TRUTH ZERO GN VOL 10 $13.00
- ROYAL TUTOR GN VOL 13 $13.00
- SHE SAID DESTROY TP VOL 01 $17.99
- SHE-RA GN VOL 01 LEGEND OF FIRE PRINCESS $12.99
- SHE-RA HC GN VOL 01 LEGEND OF FIRE PRINCESS $24.99
- SILVER SPOON GN VOL 13 $15.00
- SKULL-FACE BOOKSELLER HONDA-SAN GN VOL 03 $15.00
- TALES OF WEDDING RINGS GN VOL 08 $15.00
- TROPICAL FISH YEARNS FOR SNOW GN VOL 02 $9.99
- VAMPBLADE TP VOL 10 BACK IN BLACK (MR) $14.99
- WORLDS END HAREM FANTASIA GN VOL 02 (MR) $13.99
- YARICHIN BITCH CLUB GN VOL 02 (MR) $14.99
- YEAR OF THE RABBIT GN (RES) (MR) $29.95