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The Gosh! Authority 22/02/11

It was looking like a pretty mediocre week until about five minutes ago, when Self Made Hero’s latest book turned up. To avoid of being blocked by all your profanity filters (again) (sorry), it is [expletive deleted] gorgeous.

Self Made Hero are on a roll, and everything they’ve expertly ushered onto our shelves is highly recommended. Last week they personally carted in a box of signed Kiki de Montparnasse (which I wrote about a couple of weeks back), and then Ian Edginton and Ian Culbard carted themselves in and signed all three of their Sherlock Holmes books. You should snap them up quickly before someone else does.

Their latest is Baby’s in Black by Arne Belstorff. It’s about The Beatles’ time in Hamburg, particularly the relationship between former band member Stuart Sutcliffe and the young photographer Astrid Kirchherr, or (if you’d prefer) it’s very much like the “Official Comic Book Adaptation” of the film Backbeat as my colleague Nat so succinctly put it.

Bellstorf’s blog chronicles the book’s development, occasionally peppered with the photography of Kirchherr herself whenever a Beatle’s birthday rolls around. I’ve not read the book yet, but from the looks of it Criswell predicts this one may soon reach Gosh! favourite status.

Speaking of Gosh! favourites, Posy Simmonds will be giving a talk at the French Institute about the adaptation of the moustachio’d Gustave Flaubert’s novel into what has now become a classic on its own terms, Gemma Bovery. It’s on Thursday the 24th of March and the reason I’m telling you over a month in advance is because tickets are already on sale. They will undoubtedly sell out swiftly, as well they should, because Simmonds is excellent. But you already knew that.

Other books this week include Thor: Godstorm, a hardcover collection of the three-part mini-series from ten years ago.

Written by Kurt Busiek (Astro City) and illustrated by Steve Rude and Mike Royer, the series “has every hallmark of the classic Lee/Kirby era Thors and then some,” says this reviewer. And if that ain’t enough you’ll also be getting a bonus story by Mike Mignola to boot.

Outlaw Territory Volume 2 is the follow-up instalment of the critically acclaimed Western anthology featuring a gaspingly long list of excellent creators: Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire), Paul Azaceta (Captain Marvel), Marc Bernardin, Werther Dell’edera (House of Mystery), Joshua Dysart (BPRD), Tom Fowler (Mysterius the Unfathomable), Francesco Francavilla, Adam Freeman, Stuart Immonen, Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead), Andy Kuhn, Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), Joshua Ortega, Greg Pak (Silver Surfer), Sean Phillips (Incognito), Dustin Weaver, Len Wein, John Whalen, and Michael Woods. Nic Klein provides the front cover and there’s even more people behind it. Preview over at the Daily Blam.

Frequent collaborators Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, currently the duo bringing you Scarlet, see their Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. released in trade-paperback this week. If you missed it the first time round, the story spins out of the New Avengers and the whole Secret Invasion thing, which seems like a terrifyingly long time ago now. “[S.W.O.R.D. is] more intergalactic while this is more Earth-bound. What’s interesting about Spider-Woman and S.W.O.R.D. is how different in tone they’ll be. This is much more gritty and nourish [noir-ish? – Hayley], almost like Alias and my other work with crime comics,” says Bendis. You can have several positive reviews if you need ‘em.

Autobiographical cartoonist David Chelsea (of David Chelsea in Love) has cut out a new career for himself producing top notch How To books. His previous, Perspective! For Comic Book Artists, is now joined by Extreme Perspectives For Artists in which, as the subtitle suggests, you can Learn the Secrets of Curvilinear, Cylindrical, Fisheye, Isometric, and Other Amazing Systems that Will Make Your Drawings Pop Off the Page. Comics Worth Reading reckon it’s a comic worth reading. More details on its innards over at Flipkart.

As for regular comics, rising star Nick Spencer (Infinite Vacation) is becoming the ubiquitous Nick Spencer with no less than three things new on the shelf. His new ongoing series, Iron Man 2.0, stars Iron Man’s friend and partner, James Rhodes, last seen in 2009’s cancelled series War Machine and the Blu-Ray cover of Iron Man 2. “When I was a kid, Rhodey was Iron Man,” Spencer told Newsarama, referring to the character’s two stints filling in for Tony Stark. “I had always viewed the character as a little bit more of a lead than maybe a lot of other people do.” Preview here. Spencer’s Morning Glories #7 is also out so if you grab last week’s Morning Glories Volume 1 TP, which collects the first six, you’re bang up to date.

The Mission #1, written by Jon and Erich Hoeber (RED) and illustrated by Werther Dell’edera (Dark Entries, Loveless), is a new thriller from Image about a an average guy who is dragged into a battle between good and evil when he’s handed a mission by what he thinks is an angel. “One of the things we’re trying to do in this is essentially have no supernatural elements in play,” said one of the Hoebers in an interview with Comicbook Resources. “In a lot of ways, genre-wise, it’s sort of like these old spy thrillers where there’s a handler who gives these assignments and tells you to do things, but you don’t know which end is up. You see a lot of evidence that this is all true, but it’s very oblique evidence. Part and parcel of this concept is the idea of what is real, what is not, questions of epistemology, what do we know and how do we know it. It’s all bound up in this guy’s head.” Preview over at Image.

There’s a few X-books worth noting this Wednesday: X-Men Legacy #245 and New Mutants #22 are the first two parts, respectively, of Mike Carey’s Age of X, for which you can find a checklist at Comicvine. Astonishing X-Men #36 (previewed here) is the first issue post-Warren Ellis, with Daniel Way (Wolverine Origins, Deadpool) and Jason Pearson (Body Bags) taking up the reins. You can pick up the last five issues of Ellis’ run on the series in Astonishing X-Men TP Volume 6: Exogenetic, also out this week.

And finally, don’t forget about our 25th Anniversary Sale! You’ve got until this coming Friday to stock up on 25p backissues. We’re restocking the bins with new stuff daily so it’s worth popping in more than once, though if you’re after anything WWE related prepare for disappointment: I saw one ten year old boy blow his entire month’s pocket money on the lot.

Before I sign off let me recommend a thing I’ve just finished reading that’s not in Gosh! but probably should be: Michael Chabon’s Maps & Legends – Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands. It’s a collection of sixteen incredible essays in defence of genre fiction. He writes about detective and horror fiction, ghost stories and fantasy, M.R. James and Arthur Conan Doyle, but the bits that hit home hardest are about comics: Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg!, Ben Catchor’s Julis Knipl: Real Estate Photographer, and Jack Kirby and Will Eisner’s everything. Originally published in hardcover by McSweeney’s, if you get yourself a copy of the 4th Estate paperback edition you’ll get an extra essay, written too late for inclusion in the initial collection – it’s called Secret Skin: An Essay in Unitard Theory, and you can guess what it’s about. HOWEVER! The original edition had a Jordan Crane (The Last Lonely Saturday, Uptight) cover design. So, weigh up your options.

If you ever find your enthusiasm for comics waning, just let Chabon tell you why they matter. His rapture is totally and unavoidably infectious.

– Hayley

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