Graphic Novelties: 2013 Preview!

It’s a new year, and that means lots of exciting new comics to look forward to!

First, let’s talk about some specific comics/graphic novels I’m excited about.

–Bryan Lee O’Malley, one of my favorites, has a BRAND-NEW graphic novel, Seconds, due out sometime in the fall. Following up Scott Pilgrim will inevitably be tough, but I have great faith in O’Malley’s abilities. Plus the art looks ADORABLE. And anyway, new volumes of Color Scott Pilgrim will be coming out in 2013 too!

Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrongthis is being serialized online RIGHT NOW and is super cute and entertaining. It involves class elections and robot wars! It’ll be published in May and will leave the internet then.

–Miriam Katin’s Letting It Go, a sequel to her graphic novel Holocaust memoir We Are On Our Own (which is sadly underrated and not talked about much, but which is still beautiful), dealing with her emotions when her son moves to Berlin.

–New Sandman! College nerd Alicia of twelve years ago is SUPER EXCITED about this.

–Plus plenty of other stuff—the conclusion of Locke and Key, ongoing series I love like Fables and Unwritten, more Princeless, etc.

Second, some possible trends for the new year!

–With the success of the Adventure Time and My Little Pony comics, I fully expect more tie-in comics to be announced this year—hopefully of the same quality.

–And speaking of tie-ins, I have to think that now that Disney owns Star Wars, we’ll see some new things for that comic book universe.

–Digital comics! This has been blowing up recently and I fully expect that trend to continue. Comixology is the number one iPad app and is expanding into creator-submitted titles. DC has made its comics available for Kindle and is even releasing digital-first comics. And it looks like even Archie will be exploring digital in the near future.

–Kickstarter! Especially with the success of projects like the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Hamlet book and Big Feminist But, crowd-sourcing is going to be even more prominent in 2013, I’m sure. Creators are very on board with this, too. It’s an easy (well, easier) way to get books published than through traditional publishers, and I think there will be some cool projects coming out this year.

Yay for a new year and new comics!

(Thumbnail by tmatt1075 via Flickr)

North Carolina’s British Queen

Here is a North Carolina history question: Which North Carolina counties were named in honor of women?

Dare, of course, in honor of Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in America.
Wake was named for Margaret Wake, wife of Governor William Tryon.
And then, Mecklenburg, named in honor of the wife of King George III, Charlotte, who grew up in the Mecklenburg region of Germany.
German Mecklenburg was part of the old East Germany. There was almost no connection between the two Mecklenburgs until the Wall came down.
Last month in Mirow, a small town in German Mecklenburg, important people from all over the world gathered to celebrate a “Queen Charlotte” connection that binds Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Perhaps the most important person there was British Ambassador to Germany Simon McDonald, who reported, “I was puzzled at first to find the place teeming with Americans; until I realised they were from Charlotte, North Carolina.  The delegation was headed by the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Mecklenburg County, and included the Deputy Mayor of Charlotte …. Charlotte, NC, was founded in 1762, the year after Charlotte became Queen.  Its symbol is still Charlotte’s crown; the Deputy Mayor proudly pointed out that a crown tops Charlotte’s tallest building, the Bank of America HQ.”
What brought all these Charlotte-connected people together? In the words of the ambassador, it was “to take part in ceremonies to mark the 250th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III.”
And why was this tiny town, population about 3,500, chosen to host the event? The ambassador explained that the future queen “was born at Mirow on 19 May 1744.”
Charlotte was living in the schloss, the German word for castle or palace, in Mirow when, at age17, she departed in August, 1761 for England to marry King George.
When I first visited Princess Charlotte’s schloss in 1990, it was lovely, but in bad repair. It seemed way too small to be a real castle. But, as the ambassador explained, that was a blessing. “Its small size and intact roof saved it during the DDR [East German] time when the authorities systematically demolished princely palaces.”
After the unification of Germany, it took the heroic efforts of a group of Mirow residents and the support of wise officials of German Mecklenburg’s government to keep the schloss from being sold to private owners.
The schloss, though small, turned out to be something very special because, as the ambassador explained, its first owner, Charlotte’s grandmother, “built beautifully on a modest scale; the final touches were provided by Italian painters and sculptors …coaxed north from Berlin when Frederick the Great could not afford to pay their fees during the Seven Years War (1756-63).”
The government of German Mecklenburg, with support from the European Union, is pouring millions of euros into restoring the schloss. One special small room, by itself, will cost almost a million euros. Expected completion date: 2014.
 Speaking to his fellow British citizens, the ambassador continued, “I recommend a visit in three years to see what you’re investing in as an EU taxpayer: it promises to be spectacular.”
I agree. But don’t wait. With the lovely grounds on the small castle island, a special gatehouse with a room dedicated to a partnership with North Carolina, a hotel, a marina, restaurants, and the historic church where Charlotte was baptized, all within sight of each other, and less than two hours from Berlin, Mirow cries out for a visit by North Carolinians—right now.
For British Ambassador Simon McDonald’s complete report on the events in Mirow, see
For a video of my search for Princess Charlotte see: