Regular readers of downthetubes will recall that as a result of distributor Diamond's recently-introduced minimum order levels, this latest edition of ace comics and genre magazine Tripwire is not being distributed in the US. (See news story).
While not the only victim of distribution changes brought on by the recession and, we assume, an attempt by Diamond to focus on promoting releases from bigger companies on the assumption they are to be of higher quality than material published by small independents, in the case of Tripwire this decision was a mistake, because the editorial team led by Joel Meadows have really pulled out the stops with this Annual and delivered a jaw-dropping publication well deserving of purchase and wider (that is, US, availabilty).
The magazine's stunning "Samuel l. Jackson as Nick Fury" cover by Jeff Carlisle (prompted by an in-depth look at Marvel Comics and its 70th anniversary) is the first indication of the title's quality. Design throughout is also superb, with strong text carefully counter-balanced with no shortage of great visuals - both art and photographic. (I'd argue for a consistent three-column layout and same point size throughout in future issues, but this niggly editorial view shouldn't diminish the worth of this product).
Editorially, the annual offers an incredible range of features including an exclusive interview with award-winning genre master Guillermo Del Toro discussing his new novel The Strain as well as a few tidbits on Hellboy 3 and upcoming movie projects; a guide to the critically-acclaimed low budget British sci-fi movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones; a Bongo Comics interview with Bill Morrison; an exclusive and beautifully illustrated interview with comics veteran Joe Kubert, a guide to the rise of Tintin and a look at European comics, a handy retrospective to 30 years of Alien films - handy, given news that director Ridley Scott is to return to the franchise; and much, much more, including an eclectic 'Stripwire' section that features comic strips from the likes of Roger Langridge, Declan Shalvey, David Hitchcock and others..
When the project was announced earlier in the year it was described as the best Tripwire yet, and I can only concur - and how. Anyone who argues print is dead should be shown this top-notch, high-quality magazine, to show not only how print still has its place in terms of promoting the comics industry, but also as a template for future magazine publishing in a more digital age.
This is a truly awesome edition of Tripwire - buy it now!
• The Tripwire Annual 2009 is available now from all right-minded and quality comic stores in the UK and online from: www.tripwire-magazine.com
• UK retailers can order Tripwire from Diamond UK, item number APR097907. US retailers should contact Tripwire direct about ordering copies for their stores. Do it now!
• Latest Tripwire news on the Tripwire Twitter feed
• Tripwire on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/31004024@N04
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