It’s an autobiographical book about prostitution and being a john from the guy who did I Never Liked You. I can’t remember the last time a book arrived with such anticipation heaped before it (probably it’s because Chester Brown is excellent and the last time we saw a book from him was five long years ago – Louis Riel, an A+ piece of work). There are interviews all over the place but the most extensive one comes courtesy of The Comics Journal. Brown talks about how Dave Sim’s famously misogynistic rant section in Cerebus #186 had an effect on how he viewed romantic relationships:
“Up until [Cerebus #186] I just kind of accepted [that] everyone’s supposed to have a girlfriend and that’s the natural order. If you don’t have a girlfriend, you’re a loser. That’s what men do, they either have girlfriends or they marry—well, as long as you’re heterosexual. So, reading Cerebus #186, even though I didn’t agree with all the misogynistic views—I didn’t agree that women are inferior, all that stuff—still, here was a guy who was looking at male-female relationships in a different way. It kind of showed me, you don’t have to think like everyone else thinks about these things. Part of it was that I respected Dave a whole lot, and I knew him, and I thought he was very intelligent. That issue of Cerebus was a bombshell in a lot of ways. Like a lot of people at the time, I wasn’t sure, “Is he kidding? Is this a joke? Is he serious?” But it got me re-evaluating the whole male-female dynamic, and thinking about it in a different way, even if my conclusions are different from Dave’s.”
“Marriage is such a ridiculous, outdated institution that it almost doesn’t seem worth the energy to point out how stupid it is,” says Brown in another interview in the Montreal Gazette.
Jeet Heer, a friend of Brown’s (“Chester’s sex life has long been a staple of amused and amazed conversation in my social circle”) writes a guest column at Canada’s Globe and Mail. “Ultimately,” he says, “sex work should be considered a trade, like auto repair or journalism. (Some people will never accept it; then again, some people will always hate the media, or mistrust their mechanics.)”
It’s causing a stir on the internet and people are arguing for and against it (prostitution and the book). Either way, I’m looking forward to reading it. Here are a couple of reviews at our favourite comic book acronyms, TCJ and FPI.
The biggest comic this week has got to be the Rocketeer Adventures #1 (of 4) – an all-new anthology series featuring Rocketeer stories by some of the best guys in the business: Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, Michael Kaluta, Mike Mignola and Jim Silke (and that’s just the first issue!).
Comicbook Resources have a huge feature on it (preview pages too) in which they talk to everyone involved in this week’s issue. A portion of the profits go straight to the researchers currently trying to figure out a cure for the type of leukemia Dave Stevens died from back in 2008. A good cause and all that, but from the looks of it you won’t be needing that extra incentive.
Chico & Rita arrived some time last week so chances are you’ve already nabbed a copy. It’s the graphic novel version of the animated film (a Waltz With Bashir type deal) illustrated by the great Mariscal (legendary Spanish cartoonist who appeared in Raw back in 1980) and written by Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba.
Inspired by the true story of Cuban band leader Bebo Valdes, it’s about a young piano player and his romantic entanglement with Rita, a singer. “1948 was the first year of the fusion between jazz and Cuban music: Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo,” said Trueba. “We set it in 1948 [because] we love all the Chevrolets and old advertisements,” added Mariscal, “Everywhere in the US and Europe people were dancing to cha cha and mambo. There was a big explosion of Cuban music.”
Ralph Steadman’s gone and done another book of splattery dog pictures. “To do another book about dogs in the wake of my three other books about dogs is, I am aware, a trifle excessive,” he said. The Independent are into it – read their review here – and if you want to woof at some preview hounds point your nose at this.
Big heavy coffee table books from Gingko Press are all over the new release shelf this week making everything else look small and insignificant. In the unlikely event your gaze misses them, here’s what they’ve sent us:
Discrepancies HC by Alex Gross gives you pop surrealism aplenty. It includes most of the pieces from his most recent exhibition, as well as the entire show before that and various other bits from the sands of time. He talks to Hi-Fructose about it and they’ve got a fair whack of previews for you too.
More pop surrealism in Joe Sorren’s Painting/Sculpture: 2004 – 2010, published in conjunction with an exhibition of his in California. Head to Hi-Fructose again for an interview/preview.
EMEK: The Thinking Man’s Poster Artist HC collects a load of posters from the LA artist who helped revive the popularity of good old fashioned rock art. They’re a bit ‘60s psychedelia, a bit punk, and they’re done for the likes of NIN, Nick Cave, and Bright Eyes. Pictures at Gingko and the LA Weekly has an interview.
Monster Revolt! The Art of Dirty Donny HC gives you more rock and lowbrow art from the guy most famous for his work with Metallica (who provide the commentary in this book). Pictures at Gingko.
Not a big heavy hardcover at all but an artbook nonetheless is Zero: Jm Ken Nimura Illustration TP, a collection of colourful whimsy from the Eisner-nominated artist on I Kill Giants. Preview at Comic Buzz and if you’re interested in the details of the guy’s technique there’s a video interview over at The Comic Archive.
Joe Kubert’s Dong Xoai, Vietnam TP is in, thus completing the Kubert trifecta I mentioned last week.
“What I expect people to see, and the way I tried to draw it, are those events the way that I imagined them, having read the material that [retired colonel] Bill gave me. I tried to do it in such a way that it doesn’t look like a comic book or a comic strip but perhaps more like a combat reporter – that is, somebody who was there while the events were happening. And that’s why I did it in pencil and a lot of it may seem unfinished because I wanted that feeling of immediacy and the illustrations that I’ve done convey that to the reader so they themselves would feel that they are looking at the events happening while they’re happening.” More at Comicbook Resources.
Liar’s Kiss HC is the debut graphic novel by Eric Skillman, a man whose name you probably don’t know but whose work you’ll definitely have seen (he designed the cover of Eddie Campbell’s Alec: The Years Have Pants, for starters). “Without giving too much away—it is a whodunit after all—the book is about a private detective, Nick Archer, who spends his nights with the woman he’s supposed to be surveilling on behalf of her jealous husband,” he tells MTV Geek. “But when the husband turns up murdered, his cheating wife is the prime suspect and it’s up to Nick to clear her name… and even in those two sentences I’ve already lied to you at least once. Sorry, it’s just that kind of book.” With classic crime noir influences worn on his sleeve, you’ll probably be up for this if you’re a fan of Brubaker. Preview at Top Shelf, and a review at TCJ.
Yummy SC is a sort of true story – a graphic novel about the life and death of Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer, an 11-year-old gang member killed by his own gang, as seen through the eyes of a fictional classmate. “Back in 1994 I was a filmmaker teaching workshops to kids in the inner-city schools of Los Angeles. When the Yummy story broke, a lot of discussions started popping up among the kids. Some felt Yummy was a straight-up thug who got what he deserved. Others felt he was a victim too. At the time, there was a gang war going on in the area and there had been several memorials for students who’d been killed. Many of the kids had siblings who were in gangs or had been affected by gangs. It was a loaded topic.” Author G. Neri and illustrator Randy DuBurke talk about it here.
Having now met Robbie Morrison at our recent Free Comic Book Day signing, you should read some 2000AD stuff he did almost ten years ago. Collected for the very first time, The Bendatti Vendetta is a bloody gangland story set in contemporary Europe. Fully painted John Burns art throughout.
Chris Hastings’ The Adventures of Dr McNinja TP Volume 1 is a comic from The Internet.“In a world where a doctor can also be a ninja, you can expect some things. Little boys with large moustaches, giant lumberjacks, raptor riding banditos, Dracula’s moon base… If you like action mixed with comedy and doctors mixed with ninjas, Dr. McNinja is a comic you’ll most likely enjoy.” And why not? Anything can happen on The Internet, except for whatever happens in the story that’s exclusively print-only. They’ve put together a list of 10 Most Awesome McNinja Moments so you can do some preliminary detective work to see if you like it.
In hardcover you can have Powers Volume 1: Who Killed Retro Girl? which is the fully reformatted, redesigned, re-everything’d original Eisner Award-winning series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. You can also get the controversial 2003 five-issue miniseries by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson, Trouble. It was a (failed) attempt to reach female readers with romance stories, and the book caused a stir for the two reasons listed over at CbR’s Robot6. Dodson provides the illustrated cover on this one, so casual browsers won’t be creeped out by the original photo versions.
Shadoweyes: Volume 2: Shadoweyes in Love continues the offbeat teen superhero story by Ross Campbell who’s cast aside the plump goth girls of Wet Moon for a bit. Preview at Ghetto Manga.
DC Comics Presents: Batman Dark City by Peter Milligan (Hellblazer) will be of interest to anyone reading Grant Morrison’s Bat-related titles, because he’s picked up on the Demon Barbathos plot point that began in this three-issue run by Milligan back in the early ‘90s. “I was interested – and still am – in the relationship between Gotham City and Batman. Interested in how Gotham is a character in itself, as important and Batman, The Joker or, indeed, The Riddler. Because of the varied nature of Gotham City I suppose it’s a story than can be told in a number of different ways,” said Milligan, talking about the (then uncollected) series in this interview from last year.
New series Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 (of 5) by Scott Snyder (American Vampire), Kyle Higgins, and Trevor McCarthy seems to be all about the same sort of thing: “I think when people refer to Gotham as a character, what they’re reacting to is the mood it creates, the shadow that the city casts. In our story, we’re really exploring the make-up of the city, and trying to take that concept of Gotham as a character to another level.” More at Newsarama.
Drums #1 (of 4) is a new one from El Torres, the writer of the recent miniseries Suicide Forest. Preview at MTV Geek.
Alpha Flight #0 Point One provides a good jumping on point for new readers courtesy of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, with Ben Oliver illustrating the Canadian superheroes. Van Lente said some stuff about it in USA Today (preview there too). Pick up Booster Gold #44 for the return of Dan Jurgens and a Flashpoint prelude (preview). And if you’ve been following James Asmus’ annuals crossover story Escape From The Negative Zone (in Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 and Steve Rogers: Super Solider Annual #1) you’ll be needing Namor First Mutant Annual #1 for the third and final chapter (preview).
Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker (Invincible) indulge in their Science Dog side-project again with Science Dog Special #2. “I think Science Dog is something Cory and I always wanted to do – even when we were doing Invincible; so it’s been fun to come back to it every 25 issues. After doing it in Invincible #25, #50 and #75 we didn’t want to wait until #100 to wrap up the story. So basically what we’ve done with Science Dog Special #2 is run the 12 pages from Invincible #75 that continued from the other two collected in Science Dog Special #1 and then go ahead and do a wrap-up conclusion to the entire story – and it ends up being pretty much a full-size issue. The story gets pretty epic by the end – at that point we’re 50+ plus pages into it.” More at Newsarama.
And finally, a bunch of notable X-books. There’s X-Men Giant Size #1 in which Christopher Yost, Paco Medina and Dalibor Talijic begin a story they’ll finish up in X-Men #12 next month (preview). Astonishing X-Men #38 continues with the parallel continuity thing (“The X-Men split into two teams, each on seemingly separate missions told by rotating creative teams that collide with major consequences for the X-Men!” writes The Comic Book Nerd), previewed here. Deadpool: Wade Wilson’s War is collected in trade, and if you missed the series by Duane Swierczynski and Jason Pearson you can preview the first issue at CbR. Dave Lapham and Kyle Baker’s popular run on DeadpoolMAX continues this week with #8, and you can get the first six issues of the series in hardcover too. “Will it be sophomoric? Yes. Will it be fun? Yes. Will it be smart? Define smart.” Preview of this week’s issue here.