The Gosh! Authority 15/11/11

Thanks to everyone who came to the Frederik Peeters thing and last night’s Richard McGuire/Steven Appleby event. I failed to get pictures of either of them but Chris Thompson did (one, two) and put them alongside a round-up of the evening’s conversation which is a thing he does regularly instead of sleeping. I had other things on my mind, like dinner, and when that was over and done with I did get this picture at The Stockpot where Paul Gravett takes people to introduce them to fine English cuisine and round green things that used to be peas. This is pre-treacle pudding. Post-treacle pudding is a thing we need not think about, suffice to say we all have diabetes.

Paul is throwing a club night down in Shoreditch tonight so if all you’ve got on your immediate horizon is playing catch-up on iPlayer then you should go here instead. There’ll be live performances, a film screening, comics and appearances from people whose stuff you like. Plus booze.

We’ve got two more things happening before the month is out: a couple of Germans, a book launch party, and another book launch. You should come. One of the books we’re throwing a party for is Nelson. It’s already on the shelf sporting an exclusive Frank Quitely bookplate so grab a copy now so you’ve got something to talk about when you meet the people who made it.

As for this week’s delivery, here’s what you can expect to see on the shelves when you darken our doorstep this Wednesday:

Our collective pick of the week is the inaugural issue of Paul Grist’s (Kane, Jack Staff) new ongoing series, Mudman. “This is my ‘Back to Basics’ superhero comic,” he said at Comicbook Resources. “It’s not about alien menaces or cosmic powers (though they may pop up once in a while); it’s all about growing up and finding your way in the world, and how the decisions that you make can affect others. In a way, it’s probably the most autobiographical comic I’ve ever done. But with added mud.” Preview at iFanboy.

Michael Zulli’s been MIA some time, but this week he returns with The Fracture of the Universal Boy. I’ve not read it yet and I don’t really know what it’s about because the synopsis goes like: “…a semi-autobiographical tale that takes readers into the most treacherous recesses of the human experience… less a graphic novel and more a self-exorcism onto the printed page.”

Zulli himself puts it thusly:

“Everything begins as a dream. Or, in somewhat less esoteric terms, an “idea”.

The computer you may be reading this on, and the desk on which it sits, hard its origins in the realm of the intangible, the unreal, a dream. The inner life is your real life, one that begins before you were born, and remains with us, constant and pervasive all the days of our lives. The outer, tangible world we all say is the “real” world is only a manifestation of the one that lives in the space out side our five senses. Without this inner life, nothing would happen.

The Fracture of the Universal Boy is my attempt in story form to address these ideas.”

A bit of light reading on the bus home. It was all funded by Kickstarter with the most generous tier of donation getting you a Zulli illustration of Batman.  As Bleeding Cool points out, you’d think publishers would be falling over each other to publish a Zulli book (he of Sandman fame, and Taboo). But I guess if they had done we wouldn’t have a Zulli Batman.

Craig Yoe continues to collect and remaster the strange and wonderful comics of the past in Bob Powell’s Terror, the second in The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics series (following Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein of a while back). Terror covers Powell’s entire career, from working in the Eisner-Iger studios in the late ‘30s, to pencilling the famous Mars Attacks trading card series that later spawned a Tim Burton film. In its 148-pages you’ll also find 1950s horror comics so rare you won’t have seen them unless you personally forked out the money after an outrageous and probably drunken eBay bid.

Also in the old-stuff-collected box is Archie: The Best of Samm Schwartz HC Volume 1, showcasing the best work of one of the main Archie artists in the 1950s/60s. He’s most famous for his Jughead, but I’ll let this guy tell you all about it. Gosh! favourite Kevin Nowlan provides the intro. Then there’s the Spy Vs. Spy Antonio Prohias Omnibus which collects the original 1960s strips from MAD Magazine by their creator.

This is one of those books that’s usually followed by a pained cry of I am so old! by anyone who walks by it on the shelf. It’s the Bone: 20th Anniversary Edition, a slipcased hardcover collection of the entire series in full colour (so far you’ve only been able to get coloured Bone in those single volumes from Scholastic). That’s 1344 pages to drop on your toe, with a lovely satin ribbon bookmark to flutter in its wake as it falls. Jeff Smith has written a new essay to mark the book’s twentieth birthday, and the box it comes in has all sorts of things in it like a commemorative coin, some pewter figures, a facsimile of the first issue as it appeared back in 1991… All sorts. Head to Boneville for a full list.

Barry Lyga (The Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl) has teamed up with Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil, Sandman) and produced Mangaman: a story about a manga character falling through a rip and into the real world. Kirkus gave it a rare starred review and called it “A daring piece of graphic-novel meta-fiction [that] explores the tropes of manga versus Western comics.”

(Probably) thanks to a bunch of demanding fans, Alan Grant’s epic fantasy Mazeworld is back in print this week. It’s the story that first appeared in the mid-90s in which a hanged man – Cadman, the first person hanged in Britain since 1964 – wakes up in a world of mazes. It’s only ever been collected in the US and even then it was only in a couple of black and white volumes. See it in full weird colour for the first time in over a decade.

Valve Presents: Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories is a hardcover collection of games-related comics from the worlds of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Portal. It includes stuff like Portal 2: Lab Rat by Michael Avon Oeming, the entirety of which you can read here, plus other stuff you can catch fleeting glimpses off in this Dark Horse preview.

In the Big Art Book section of the shop you can have Overkill by the award-winning Tomer Hanuka whose work has popped up in places like The New Yorker, Nike ads, and most recently Waltz With Bashir. Juxtapoz have a preview. There’s also The Marvel Art of John Romita Jr. which is quite different to the first book in this paragraph and does what it says on the tin.

In trade paperback there’s Who is Jake Ellis? the sell-out five-issue miniseries by Nate Edmondson (Olympus, The Light) in which a spy on the run is protected by a man only he can see. Broken Frontier have an interview with Edmondson in which they discuss imaginary friends and what the world is like without a Hobbes.

If you’re as big a fan of Laurence Campbell as we are you’ll want to grab a copy of Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine HC written by Jonathan Maberry, who did a podcast interview fairly recently over at the Comicbook Informer. As for Campbell’s work, here’s a preview.

In comics there’s Fear Itself #7 Point Three by Matt Fraction and Adam Kubert, and ’68 Hardship, a one-shot by Mark Kidwell and guest artist Jeff Zornow in which a battle-fatigued soldier returns home to find it’s all gone horribly, apocalyptically wrong in his absence. Preview here. Things are similarly grim in Hawken #1 (of 6) by the father/son team of Tim and Ben Truman, a violent and supernatural six-parter set in the Wild West with scalps aplenty. Preview! And in the DC Comics Presents camp you can find John Ostrander’s Superman: The Kents 12-part series being reprinted in four-issue chunks. The first one’s out tomorrow.

That’s it for books this week. Here’s the bit of the news that would be about a lonely ginger seal or a cat up a tree if this was a real news broadcast. Ben Moor mentioned in the shop yesterday that Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is being turned into a musical, and I didn’t believe him. So he sent in this link and now I have to eat my hat. If you’ve never read Fun Home before, Bechdel’s character sums it up pretty well when she says: “My father and I grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town and he was gay and I was gay and he killed himself and I became a lesbian cartoonist.” It’s set in a funeral parlour. What japes!

— Hayley


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