Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #18 - October 1996


The Staros Report

Publisher:	Chris Staros / Starhouse
Story:		Chris Staros
Art:		Mike Hoffman & various
Cover Price:	$4.95 (112 pages!)
Frequency:	Annual

What It Is:

I'd like to say The Staros Report is the ultimate fanzine - but that just doesn't do it justice. This is not some stapled-together pile of Xeroxes with amateurish artwork and questionable commentary. This is the comic reader's companion, a primer on all things sequential, absolutely the best and the most useful handbook of information to have at your side when you are reading good comics.

Chris compiles within these thick pages complete bibliographies of the works of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, and Eddie Campbell. A 20-page interview with Eddie Campbell of a scope you won't find even in the Comics Journal. An index to the over 250 characters in Love & Rockets. A list of addresses & phone numbers for hundreds of publishers, artists, writers, retailers, magazines, and more. An op-ed piece about why he thinks the public still perceives comics as kids' stuff. And best of all, leading off the issue, a directory to the 121 comics (and 9 magazines) available in the comics industry today that he thinks are the "most intelligent and innovative." In other words, he thinks these are just plain great.

He calls this part the "Amateur's Guide" to the best in the comics industry, and it is just what we need! How often have you been confronted with that curious reader who wants to know "what's good?"

Perhaps it's the guy who currently only reads Hate but one day stops in to ask "What else should I read?" Maybe it's the woman who stops in and says her brother told her comics weren't just for kids, and could you recommend something. Sure, you can recommend books to them, but sometimes you're just drawing a blank - or you just don't have the time to describe every book currently on your stands. For anyone who's in need of knowing what's out there, not just what's "new this month", hand them a copy of the Staros Report.

Want to know more about Stray Bullets? Number 44 on the list. Longshot Comics? 79. Miracleman? 13. Through the Habitrails? 31.

It's all ranked in order of Chris' personal opinions, but it's the collection as a whole that matters. It's possible he's missed your favorite comic in this list, but not all that likely - he's been fairly comprehensive. He favors the darker, more serious comics over the lighthearted ones (Ranma doesn't get listed, but both Sanctuary and Crying Freeman do; Buck Godot misses the cut, but Thieves & Kings makes it). But Chris makes no claims this is a comprehensive list - it's "constantly evolving", as he says, and has no set size. It is simply the list of books he thinks people "should read." And it's hard to argue with most of his choices.

The Staros Report is frankly an indispensable resource that all comic lovers, and especially all beginning comic readers, should pick up.

Added Bonus:

To avoid it being branded a "non-comic", Chris has also turned this giant book into a flip-book, with a 12-page comic story "The Amateur Philosopher" on the other side. Written by Chris and drawn by Mike Hoffman, TAP is about a teenage boy's agonizing over asking a girl to a Valentine's dance. A well-written and well-drawn, though not particularly awe-inspiring, vignette.


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