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While the internet community still reels from the firing of Mark Waid (and Joe Quesada's response to the internet responses), CrossGen releases news of the last book that suddenly found itself without the estimable Mister Waid's talents.

Continuing their laudable goal of repackaging and repricing their books into pocket-sized editions, CrossGen has gotten around to Ruse with their "Traveler" edition of Enter The Detective. This series got a lot of attention at its initial release, and deserved every bit of it for being an engrossing and sometimes amusing take on Victorian adventure. However, I still have no idea how the gargoyles got there.

Here's what Bill Rosemann at CrossGen has to say:

Mark Waid certainly seems to be in the headlines lately, and if you're curious about his work at CrossGen, you may want to snag RUSE TRAVELER VOL. 1. On sale June 18th, this 192-page collection introduces the dynamic detecting duo of Simon Archard and Emma Bishop, the sensational sleuths that keep the cobblestone streets of Partington safe! If Victorian-era mystery is your cup of tea, then only $9.95 will deliver the story that Booklist called "a thoroughly enjoyable visual take on the detective genre" and that the Library Journal praised as "offbeat...(and) amusing...(with) fine writing aided by excellent and detailed artwork."

So join Waid, penciler Butch Guice, inker Mike Perkins and colorist Laura Martin for a puzzling good time...and another portable and affordable Traveler!

The timing is so perfect, you'd think Bill Jemas owed Mark Alessi a favor.


It looks like DC has taken a page from the CrossGen book, too, aiming straight at the audience most underserved by the comics industry: the kids.

This just in from DC:

Starting in September, the world-famous characters from Warner Bros. Entertainment and the Cartoon Network, will star in a new series of digest-sized (5 1/8" x 7 9/16") trade paperbacks. The line kicks off that month with two 112-page volumes spotlighting The Powerpuff Girls.

"One of the key things we learned when we conducted our saturation test last year is that there's more interest in all-ages material than anyone knew," says Bob Wayne, DC's VP - Sales & Marketing. "By collecting stories starring the most popular animated characters in the world in this attractive format, we continue to reach out to new readers."

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 1: TITANS OF TOWNSVILLE (collecting THE POWERPUFF GIRLS #1-5), written by Jennifer Moore, Sean Carolan, and Abby Denson with art by Phil Moy, Dan Fraga, Stephanie Gladden and Mike DeCarlo and a cover by Craig McCracken and Mike DeCarlo, includes the stories "Squirrelly Burly," "Buttercup's Boyfriend," "Power Play," "Video Main," and "Holy Molar!"

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 2: GO, GIRLS, GO! (collecting issues #6-10), written by John Rozum, Chuck Kim, Chris Savino, Abby Denson, Moore and Carolan with art by Ricardo Garcia Fuentes, Mike Manley, Cynthia Morrow, Moy and DeCarlo with a cover by Moy, includes the stories "Dial 'M' for Mojo!", "Remote Controlled," "Mayor, May I?", "Creature at Large," and "Rogue Clowns."

Upcoming months will draw from such perennial favorite series as SCOOBY-DOO, JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES, CARTOON NETWORK PRESENTS, and others.

THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 1: TITANS OF TOWNSVILLE and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS VOLUME 2: GO, GIRLS, GO! is solicited in the July issue of Previews (Volume XIII #7) and are scheduled to arrive in stores on September 10 with a cover price of $6.95 U.S.

Once again, affordable and the right size to fit on kids' bookshelves. Way to go.

However, there's still a question of distribution. The digest format has been working quite well for Archie Comics for at least three decades. One of the reasons for that has been their constant presence at grocery stores and other places where kids tend to be. (And this has to be how Archie has stayed alive - does anyone go to a comics shop to buy Archie Comics?)

Marvel experimented with the form a few years ago -- anybody remember Backpack Marvels? Perhaps the time just wasn't right, but you'll notice that those books aren't around anymore.

Hopefully DC will get the same market penetration as Archie. Their price is certainly right. And making a push with digests should remind us all that comics are meant to be read.

One last question: saturation test? For some reason, that phrase makes me nervous. I have visions of Looney Tunes seeping out of my pores.

Derek McCaw

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