Everything’s back to normal now. You can saunter in on Wednesday safe in the knowledge that everything is going according to plan. That is unless we all get beamed up in the night, or the world ends, or stuff just goes properly wonky. It might, but then it always might.
Ten minutes after I posted last week’s blog, this thing went up on The Comics Journal: The Day I Almost Killed Kurt Busiek, or rather: What Happened During My Week Away When Andrew Had To Write The Gosh! Blog. It’s a report on the Barcelona comics convention I went to. Sort of.
Farm 54 (originally Ferme 54) by Galit and Gilad Selikt arrived a few days ago. It’s a hardcover collection of three semi-autobiographical stories from three key moments in one person’s life: Noga, a Jewish girl born in the early 1970s who grew up in rural Israel. The FPI Blog posts a very good review (preview pages here) from someone who originally wanted to do the translation. “It might be one of the most important graphic novels to hit the British stores this year,” he says. Go read his review to see why. He also reckons it’s good companion piece to Joe Sacco’s war reportage.
Riffing on a similar theme here: Yossel – April 19, 1943 is one of two classic reprints from Joe Kubert this week, a man famed for his war stories (Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace). It’s about a 15-year-old aspiring artist in the Warsaw Ghetto, and also an alternative reality – this could have been Kubert himself had his family not emigrated to America back in the twenties. It’s part of Kubert’s paperback trio from DC Comics this May – the other being Jew Gangster, with Dong Xaoi to follow a little later.
Jew Gangster is set in Depression-era New York and indulges in pretty much every gangster cliché you can think of (in a good way). Says the man himself: “Yossel, Jew Gangster and Dong Xoai should not be listed as ‘comic books,’ because that would be a misnomer. As a friend stated in a recent discussion we were having about today’s narrative art and graphic novels, “There are no boundaries anymore, only the horizon.”’ I don’t know, I rather like just calling them all “comics” because it annoys The Guardian.
Jason Shiga (Meanwhile) gives you Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not), about a stereotypical geek who follows a girl to New York City because he likes her, and arranges to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building because it’s a Sleepless in Seattle in-joke. In fact, according to this interview with Shiga, the book pretty much picks up where Sleepless in Seattle left off.
“It’s part coming-of-age story, part love story, part comedy, part geeky reflections on the world. What it isn’t is your traditional rom-com filled with hilarious hi-jinks that ends up with the guy and the girl overcoming outlandish obstacles to discover that they’ve been in love all this time after all,” says Wired.
Seduction of the Innocent HC is not the book you might think it is, if you’re thinking it’s the one written by Class-A killjoy Frederic Wertham, M.D. This is instead a collection of pin-ups by indie creators featuring pretty ladies reading comics. It’s a new edition of a previous one (obviously), boasting 20 more pages of girls on beds strewn with copies of Bone, Cerebus, or Dave Cooper’s Weasel.
Talent includes Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Dylan Horrocks, Danny Hellman, Sam Henderson, Peter Kuper, Johnny Ryan, and Richard Sala. If you like those dudes, girls, or comics, this might be up your alley. Scroll down this page for some preview pin-ups.
Garden is a newly translated manga from Yuichi Yokoyama through the illustrious PictureBox (that same publishing house we get all sorts of brilliantly strange things from). A group of friends break into a hidden garden to find that it’s not the Eden they had expected, but “a landscape of machines, geometric forms and nonorganic objects.” You can see some preview bits over at the publisher’s website. If you’ve never read anything by Yokoyama go get yourself a cup of tea and work your way through this piece over at The High Hat. Now imagine the fury if this guy misplaced his ruler.
Deadman TP Volume 1 finally collects the stories that introduced Boston Brand to readers in the late ‘60s. Created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino, Brand was a circus trapeze artist shot dead on the high-wire by an unknown marksman in the first issue. He returns when (made up) Hindu goddess Rama Kushna tells him to go find his murderer. Sans a body of his own, the ghostly Deadman gets to commandeer whoever he likes, and I seem to remember the ballerina being a particularly good choice for sprightliness. Anyway, worth a read (I like it), especially if you’re following all the Blackest Night/ Brightest Day goings on. It collects Strange Adventures #205 – #213 so you’ll get some classic Neal Adams stuff too.
Also in trade paperback is Origins of Marvel Comics TP which gives you the Cliff’s Notes versions of everyone’s backstory, as written by the likes of Fred Van Lente, Jeff Parker, Jim McCann, Chris Yost, Mike Carey and Peter David, and illustrated by John Romita, Jr., Leinil Francis Yu, Alan Davis, Greg Land, Mark Brooks, Nick Bradshaw, Jill Thompson and more. Plus there’s over 200 pages of character files (heroes and villains alike) as compiled by Steve Rogers himself in the aftermath of Siege.
On the (imaginary) new comics spinner-rack you can find 30 Days of Night: Night, Again #1 (of 4), the beginnings of a new miniseries by horror writer Joe Lansdale (who has done more novels than I’ve done Percy Pigs) and Sam Keith (The Maxx, Lobo). “My approach was more akin to the old movies House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. I brought different problems into the story beyond the vampires. We’ll see how it works. I think it’s going to be good. Sam Kieth’s art is awesome,” said Lansdale. No previews. Wait and see.
Jim Starlin dusts off Breed for another outing in Breed III #1 (of 7). The character’s the result of demonic rape, raised on Earth by regular humans. “We’re leading up to him confronting his father. That’s natural, that’s what everybody’s waiting for,” Starlin said to Comicbook Resources. Preview there too.
Geoff Johns kicks off Flashpoint #1 this Wednesday, with Andy Kubert on drawing duties. Johns told Newsarama that it’s his most accessible series to date – there’s nothing you’ll need to have read as a primer beforehand, so just dive in. Mostly Johns has been saying “the first rule about Flashpoint is, don’t talk about what happens after Flashpoint,” but he did let this slip: “There are a lot of new characters in here. This isn’t just one of those stories were you take the DC Universe, shake it up, and say, “This is what happened to so-and-so.” There are a lot of new characters in here as well. So you, as the reader, are in this universe with Flash, meeting all these characters for the very first time. Some of them are brand new. Some of them are characters that you maybe aren’t familiar with, who are in a different place. But it’s very much a journey where Barry’s in the dark as much as the reader.”
Here’s your Flashpoint checklist to cut out and stick on your bedroom wall. For classic Flash stories be sure to pick up DC Comics Presents: The Flash #1, which reprints stuff by John Broome, Robert Kanigher, Infantino again, and Joe Giella. They’re all things that have so far managed to dodge trade paperback collections.
Richard Corben (Hellboy: The Crooked Man) teams up with Mike Mignola again for a new one-shot, Hellboy: Being Human. Hellboy teams up with Roger to crash a dinner party hosted by a witch and her zombie servant. Over at Comicbook Resources Mignola talks about everything in store for the big red guy.
And lastly, Moriarty #1 is a new one from Image by Daniel Corey and Anthony Diecidue, which is basically a Sherlock Holmes comic in a Sherlock Holmes-less world. “Would Moriarty revel in victory, spend the rest of his life smoking cigars and sleeping on stacks of money?” Corey wondered. “Probably not. I think he’d fall on hard times, and it would take one heck of an event – say, a World War – to jolt him back to life.” Bleeding Cool have a preview.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. See you Wednesday.