(Originally Posted June 25, 2010)

So there are two thing I’m really looking forward to this July. Okay, there’s lots of important things I’m looking forward to in July. My brother’s wedding, teaching computer art summer classes, and completing my Master’s Degree come to mind. But I’m also looking forward to some of the great new graphic novels that are coming out this month. Sure, getting new comics may not be milestones like those other events, but it seems like a better topic to write about on an internet full of strangers who aren’t exactly breaking down the door to learn about my personal life. (Of course, if strangers were breaking down my door to learn about my life, that’s probably all the more reason to keep it quiet.)

Whew, long introduction. Now where was I?

Oh yes, new graphic novels. As we all know, late spring/eary summer means a beautiful new book from cartoonist Doug TenNaple. For the past eleven years, good ol’ Doug has been producing big, fat books that each tell a complete, stand alone story full of sci-fi fantasy. Doug’s greatest talent is that he can write about something completely strange that no one else could ever even begin to imagine, but his story telling is so clear, you would think that you knew about these ideas for all of your life.

Anyway, the new book, Ghostopolis, hits stores on July first. I suggest you run, run to your nearest book store. Then, realize that driving would have been faster but you’re already there so you might as well go in. Race to the “Graphic Novel” section and scan the shelves for that book. Search again, the graphic novels in book stores are never clearly organized. Search a third time before asking a bookstore employee to look it up. The employee will tell your that, although the national chain carries books by Doug TenNaple, the stores in your city are not planning on stocking them. Go home and order the book on Amazon. Check your mail every day until the mailman thinks that you’re coming on to him. Then 5 to 7 days later (because you can’t afford rush delivery) you will be all set to enjoy comic nirvana. Then you can do it again next year. (Note: This year, Scholastic Graphix is publishing the book, so copies might be a little easier to find, thank heavens. However you may need to check the “Children’s Graphic Novel” section, where most of the stores keep Scholastic books.)

The other book release I’m waiting for is the seventh installment of Flight, a compilation of comics by various authors, edited by rising-star Kazu Kibushi. The Flight books always provide an artful mix of stories and styles. The contributions are always well written and beautifully colored. Yes, that’s right. The books are indeed printed in full color. Full color! Not 3 to 15 colors like those cheap comics. I mean elaborate color with highlights and gradients. The whole song-and-dance!

One of the most remarkable things about the Flight books is that, as comics go, the books appear really classy and artsy. Anyone who follows any kind of art knows how this appearance can be a little intimidating. You know that the experience will be rewarding, but “rewarding” does not always mean “fun.” I can confidently say that the Flight books are indeed “fun.” And they are also “rewarding” and “artistic” and “classy” and “inspiring”… In short, the authors tell stories that are good for your soul, yet still completely enjoyable. Open one up and see what I mean.

Flight 7 should be released on July 20th and will be easily found at most retailers.

I wonder how one goes about submitting stories to Flight…

Have fun and read comics.

-Marj