Yes, that’s right, kicking off the blog this week is a release that will have fans of disturbing surrealist fare salivating in their freaky, freaky dreams: Jim Woodring is back. Weathercraft represents the first full-length graphic novel by Woodring featuring his odd, cute-yet-unsettling hero Frank and – more importantly – his just-plain-unsettling co-star Manhog, who takes centre stage this time around. Why him? In Woodring’s words over at CBR:
“In a lot of ways, Manhog is the most interesting character in the Unifactor. He has the most potential for change and the widest range of dramatic possibilities. Besides, it’s fun to put him in awful circumstances and watch him suffer.”
Yes, let Manhog suffer for your pleasure in our Gosh pick of the week.
There’s also one called Jeff: Job Hunter by Jack Teagle who’s currently kicking off Nobrow’s maiden voyage into galleryhood with his exhibition Dungeons and Desktops, which “seamlessly melds the worlds of the fantastic and mundane, a cornucopia of staplers and swords, benefits and beasts, hair monsters and HR managers.” The show opens next week on the 27th at Nobrow HQ (Facebook event).
Have you ever started reading Jean van Hamme & William Vance’s XIII in English, only to have the publisher fold or just quit after one, two, or (if you were lucky enough to buy the editions by Catalan back in the late 80’s) three books? Annoying, isn’t it? Well, your time has come! UK-based Euro-book translator par excellence Cinebook is on the case, with a new volume of the book due every two months at the low, low price of £5.99. With the success of their titles both here and abroad, Cinebook aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so buy with the confidence that this time you’ll get to see it through to the end. Hell, we’re so excited about it we’re even going to run a competition! See the end of the blog for details!
Fans of the more satirical edge of Dan Clowes will want to sit up and take notice of the wonderful Wally Gropius HC released this week by Fantagraphics. Originally serialised in Mome, Tim Hensley’s razor-sharp satire of celebrity and power, with its grown-up Richie Rich-style protagonist, is a real discovery. With a visual style tipping its hat to the Harvey & Dell humour comics of the 50’s and 60’s, the slick, appealing surface of the art is a perfect mask for the darker, subversive belly of this colourful beast.
Classic strip folk will be happy to see the first volume of Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune, handsomely packaged by Fantagraphics in all of its full-colour glory. Crane produced some of the most innovative Sunday strip layouts of the ‘30’s during this run, and the adventure yarns of his stoic hero can be viewed as much as a masterclass in page layout as anything. Well worth picking up.
Almost every Marvel comic synopsis this week begins with The Heroic Age is Here, and I couldn’t be more excited. I know what’s going on my pull list this week!
Age of Heroes #1 is the first of a four-part anthology series by the likes of Kurt Busiek, Paul Cornell, Rick Remender, Dan Slott, Marko Djurdjevic, Chris Samnee, Leonard Kirk and Ty Templeton. It’s more along the lines of Nation X than 52, with each creative team working on their own bits rather than pooling their talents for one big storyline.
“This isn’t a side project or something happening outside the regular continuity or walled off from it in some way,” says Busiek (who, you may be interested to know, prefers to be called The Booze: try it out at conventions and watch him smile!) “It’s, for lack of a better word, a recalibration of the Marvel Universe in the wake of all that’s gone on the last few years. That’ll be happening throughout the line, of course, but what you’ll see in each book is how it affects things in that book. How does it affect things for the overall Marvel Universe, though? That’s what we’re exploring.”
All sorts of characters turn up in Age of Heroes (even the sh*tcanned MI:13 and Dr. Voodoo pop in and wave hello) and according to Busiek you’ll even get some new line-up Avengers stuff too. “The new team does appear in my Age of Heroes story, but I’m not involved in whatever’s going on with the team beyond that. I was delighted, working with the line-up I worked with, but I don’t think I’m allowed to tell you who they are. Brian Bendis doesn’t live that far away from me, and there’s always the possibility that he’s armed.”
He’s referring to the new monthly ongoing title Avengers (#1 out this week) illustrated by John Romita Jr. and written by (an unarmed, we hope) Bendis. While I’m sure it reads pretty well, the one thing we can certainly say is that it looks stunning. Preview here.
Also joining the Heroic Age gang is Atlas #1, written by Jeff Parker (Mysterius the Unfathomable) and illustrated by Gabriel Hardiman. It’s Agents of Atlas with the ‘Agents of’ bit cut off, basically. When asked what readers should expect Parker replied, “Readers can expect excellence.” Big words. Check it.
Over in the DC camp they’re getting their head around their own tangled web with DC Universe Legacies #1, the first of a ten-part history lesson that’s far from the textbook timeline stuff we’ve seen in the past (see History of the DC Universe).
“I’ve never been big on timelines, because as soon as you put a timeline down, you have to revise it because our characters don’t age at the same speed as actual time,” says editor Dan DiDio. “If they did, I’d have these 80-year-old guys in these baggy suits that would look really ridiculous.”
What they’re doing is they’re giving each of the five generations of superheroes two issues each, with a changing line-up of creators to match the evolving characters too. “We’re seeing the Flashes change. We see the Green Lanterns change. And we see how the world evolves around them by seeing it through the point of view of [the] characters… We tell stories, and it makes more sense to tell this info in a story than in text.” First stop: The Golden Age and the Crimson Avenger by Len Wein (Swamp Thing), Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock) and his son Andy Kubert (Batman, X-Men).
Competition time! As mentioned above, this week sees the release of volume one of Jean Van Hamme & William Vance’s classic thriller XIII. Last week we were lucky enough to have Cinebook supremo Olivier Cadic pop in with Mr Van Hamme himself, who kindly signed a couple of XIII prints for us. So, if you’d like to win yourself one of these limited items, then tell us: who is this?
Answers in the comments below, please. First two correct answers (or first correct answer and quickest person to copy it, you cheeky devil) get a print, which will be available for collection from the store. No mail order I’m afraid! Please be sure to leave your full name with your answer so we know who it’s for. Good luck!
By the way, this will be your last dispatch from Gosh! before the most excellent Dan Clowes/Chris Ware signing. So, here’s me tellin’ you for the last time: They don’t do it often, but they’re doing it right here on Tuesday at 12pm – or as Big Ben would say, BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG