Welcome to the latest dispatch from Gosh! HQ, currently a very dark corner of a basement while I await the changing of the bulb. On another (brighter) day, I rounded up all of the signed books in the shop for those of you who are into that sort of thing and put it on the blog. I took pictures of my hand holding said books for a more interactive online experience. Pretend it’s your hand. Is this weird? I’m sorry. Also, I posted about Marcel Theroux popping in to talk about Craig Thompson’s Habibi for BBC Two’s The Review Show. Maybe you saw him on the telly the other night. No? Good job it’s on iPlayer then.
In the boxes we’ve just hauled off the back of a delivery truck we found the following things:
The Eyes of the Cat in deluxe £52 hardcover, an amazing reproduction of my favourite comics of all time. It’s Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first collaboration with Moebius before the two of them went on to do The Incal, that other great book that was inexplicably unavailable for a ridiculously long time bit is now upstairs in a lovely hardcover courtesy of SelfMadeHero.
The Eyes of the Cat originally appeared as a giveaway book for a publisher back in 1978, but I first saw it was in a volume of Steve Bissette’s Taboo in the very early ‘90s. It’s never been reprinted since. Now Humanoids have produced this 12 x 16 inch behemoth, a super-limited edition by a publisher that never prints enough copies of anything (they’ve splashed out on a whole 750 of them this time and if someone wants to explain to me why they do this I would be happy to hear it while pulling faces). It will sit on the shelf for exactly 10 seconds. In the likely event you don’t get one, here’s a recent interview with the mad Jodorowsky over at The Comics Journal to keep you happy, in which he says: “This question is too long and annoying for me. I stop to fart.” And here’s another one that I’ve included almost entirely because it features a picture of Jodorowsky schmoozing with a cat.
Speaking of dudes who photograph best with cats, we’ve just had a delivery of beautiful Edward Gorey books (like there is any other kind). In 1968 Gorey had been contracted to illustrate the Donald and the… books by Peter F. Neumeyer who he’d never met before but would do in the summer of that year, when Neumeyer accidentally dislocated the illustrator’s arm and they made pals in the waiting room at the hospital. Floating World collects the flurry of postcards and letters that the two exchanged in the year that followed. “If I sound like a pompous old foof, it’s probably because I am,” said Gorey in one of the letters. They talk about films, art, Kierkegaard, Flann O’Brien, and Mervyn Peake and lots more (“If nothing else,” says this reviewer, “it provides a great reading list.”), as well as the book they’re working on at the time. Floating World reproduces all the letters – illustrated envelopes and all – and if you don’t immediately want to send a proper letter of your own there must be something wrong with you. Go look at this. Oh, to receive a letter like that.
Someone who I imagine does send letters like that is our pal Barnaby Richards (The Observer Magazine) whose series A Postcard From Cosmo was a weekly treat over at Trapped by Monsters for some months (read the first one here). Barney’s started a new weekly strip and the very first one went out yesterday here. Incidentally, it is one of my personal beliefs that Mr Richards has one of the finest author photos around.
The other Gorey books are The Lost Lions (or, Having Opened The Wrong Envelope) about a young chap called Hamish who opens the wrong envelope and ends up suddenly wealthy with a job in the movies and decides to raise some lions, as you do. It’s been out of print since 1973 so chances are you’ve never seen it before (unless you saw it in Amphigorey Too). Lastly there’s the Treehorn Trilogy (words by Florence Parry Heide) in a slipcase collection.
For a weekend last month it seemed like the entire comics community was up in Leeds for Thought Bubble. If you (like me) were still in London wondering where everyone went then you probably missed out on the Thought Bubble Anthology. Pick one up at Gosh! for stuff by Andy Diggle, Stuart Gordon, Antony Johnston, Charlie Adlard, Duncan Fegredo, D’Israeli, and most importantly our own pink-haired Julia Scheele, whose comic The Peckham Invalids with Howard Hardiman has been flying off the small press shelf this past week. CbR spoke to Lisa Wood (editor of the anthology and director of the festival itself) and you can find some preview pages there too.
The third and final volume of Michael Farr’s The Art of Hergé series lands on the shelves this week. It covers the years from 1950 to 1983 and includes previously unpublished drawings and all sorts. Everything’s arranged in chronological order so there’ll be not a whinge to be heard in the land. I can’t find any previews of this new volume anywhere but they are gorgeously produced volumes, and if you don’t believe me the first one looked like this.
Elsewhere, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Volume 1 is out in softcover, collecting Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133 – 139 and the first three issues of Forever People, New Gods and Mister Miracle. While you’ll get to see the debuts of Orion, Darkseid and Mister Miracle himself you’ll have to wait until the next volume to meet Big Barda.
Also from DC comes DC Comics Presents: Captain Atom by James Robinson, Greg Rucka and Cafu, being the previously uncollected co-feature that ran at the back of a handful of issues of Action Comics in 2009. And Bill Willingham’s various odds and sods from the Vertigo world have been rounded up and stuck a deluxe hardcover called Bad Doings and Big Ideas. In it you’ll find the miniseries Proposition Player, The Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad and Thessaly – Witch For Hire, The Dreaming #55, Merv Pumpkinhead: Agent of D.R.E.A.M., The Sandman Presents: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dreams But Were Afraid To Ask, plus stuff from House of Mystery and Flinch.
I’d never heard of Captain Canuck until now, but then my base knowledge of Canada has not yet progressed from Degrassi Junior High. Dressed in a costume adapted from the 1963 flag design, Canuck is Canada’s first ever superhero. Created by Richard Comely and George Freeman, they talk about him over in this interview, along with the practical problems of self-publishing your own full-colour comic in 1975 and what’s happened to the character since. “Ron and I felt that a Canadian superhero was an important ingredient missing from Canadian pop culture at the time. We saw a void that needed to be filled… Captain Canuck stands for what Canadians believe in – freedom, unity and security. He’s become a national icon and the standards he represents are standards that most Canadians identify with.” He’s back on our shelves this week in the only complete collection published to date. IDW have collected the 15 issues, the Summer Special and all the newspaper strips into one trade paperback.
Issue #1s on the shelf include Matt Fraction’s Defenders, which Fraction says will explain everything that has been and will be in the Marvel Universe. “This book is like Marvel’s Grand Unification Theory… You don’t need to know anything about anything to plug into this. There’s something very pressing and very immediate about it all. I want to say it’s deep, in a x/y/z planar way, and not like, “Oh, it’s really smart.” It’s vertical and horizontal. By the end of the first storyline, there’s a thread on a sweater that the Defenders have their hands on; they give it a yank, and it unfurls.” More of that at Comics Alliance and a preview at Comicvine.
Valen: The Outcast #1 is what happens if you cross Conan The Barbarian with The Walking Dead and let Michael Alan Nelson (28 Days Later) write it. For just 75p (first issue special price) you can see a dead king try to restore his lost soul. It’s a big epic fantasy thing that you’ll probably be into if you like stuff like A Game of Thrones. Preview Matteo Scalera’s artwork here. Similarly epic is Michael Moorcock’s Elric: The Balance Lost by Chris Roberson (iZombie) and Francesco Biagini, the first five issues of which are now in trade paperback with an afterword by Neil Gaiman. The new #6 will be sitting snugly beside it. And if you like either of the above chances are you’ve been waiting for the next annual instalment of Spectrum, the art anthology devoted to fantasy, horror, science fiction and everything surreal. The 18th volume arrives this week and you can preview some of its strange innards here.
‘Tis the season of Christmas specials and it looks like Deadpool’s the first out the gate. DeadpoolMax X-Mas Special sees wanted terrorists Deadpool and Bob spending their break faking their own deaths and causing a riot in a mental home, for starters. You’ve got Kyle Baker and David Lapham to thank for this one. Also on the X-shelf is X-Club #1 (of 5) by Simon Spurrier and Paul Davidson. Preview at CbR.
Marc Singer has one of the best-named blogs around over at I am NOT the Beastmaster: Comics and culture commentary from some other guy named Marc Singer. But a couple of years ago he reeled in the amount of time he was spending on that thing and turned his attention to writing the book that is released into the wild this week: Grant Morrison – Combining Worlds of Contemporary Comics. To quote the tagline, it’s “a critical study of a postmodern comics writer who flaunts superhero conventions”, or in other words, it’s one of those books from University Press that’s got loads of words in it. The Mindless Ones got their mitts on an advance copy and interviewed Singer about it late last month.
In hardcover there’s S.H.I.E.L.D: Nick Fury Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D, collecting the six-issue miniseries from way back in 1988, and The Art of Spider-Man: a big coffee table book of classic Spider-Man art by loads of different people. Incidentally, The Stan Lee Universe comes out too. It’s a collection of old interviews with him as well as interviews with other people (John Romita Sr. & Jr., Todd McFarlane, Dennis O’Neil, Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, Al Jaffee, Larry Lieber, Jerry Robinson et al) about him. There are rare photos, sample scripts, personal correspondences and the like that he dug out of his attic especially.
In a big omnibus hardcover is Peter Milligan (Hellblazer) and Mike Allred’s quirky X-Statix, the mutant superheroes specifically designed to be media superstars. It’s 1200 pages long! There’s stuff in here by Sean Phillips, Duncan Fegredo, Nick Dragotta, Darwyn Cooke, Paul Pope, Nick Derington, Philip Bond, and Marcos Martin too. Best reinforce those shelves somehow.
Over at the Trichrome Gallery in Fulham (previously hosts to a Hannah Berry exhibition) will house a rare treat: a Lorenzo Mattotti (Stigmata) exhibition. It opens on the 15th of December at 6pm and you should go. Details here.
And lastly, Eddie Campbell is onto his twelfth essay on romance comics over at his blog. He’s pouring loads of work into it and it’s well worth a read, though he does admit to being a fan of the sitcom Two and a Half Men. You can’t have everything, I guess.