There’s a big tin of Quality Street on the counter and if you don’t come in and save us from ourselves we will be too obese to file your comics. Meanwhile, the How Late?!? is on red paper this week which means it’s the FINAL ONE before Christmas. Opening times over the next few days are as follows:
Today – Wed:
10:30am – 7:00pm
Thurs – Sat:
10:30am – 8:00pm
New Year’s Eve:
New Year’s Day:
… And new comic book days are old-fashioned Thursdays for the next two weeks (being the 29th of December and the 5th of January). Please keep in mind that we’ll be getting the comics off the back of a truck on the same day they’re due on the shelf, so if you turn up first thing in the morning you will probably get nothing here but a withering look from me. There’s always the highly likely chance that they won’t arrive at all until the afternoon so follow us on Twitter and Facebook where we’ll trumpet their arrival, or you can phone us on 020 7636 1011 if you’re into that sort of thing.
Last week on the blog I announced an Eddie Campbell signing/talk that’s happening in early February. He’ll blather for an hour or so, doing the talk he previously did at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year. I saw a version of it in Barcelona and it’s very funny.
I also posted about The Celestial Bibendum by Nicolas de Crecy, an amazing book co-published by us with Knockabout. So not only will you have hopeful glimpses of sunlight to look forward to in the post-Christmas months, you’ll also have a totally weird-looking book about a seal. Frankly, I think you’ll need little else.
Paul Gravett popped in yesterday and signed a big pile of his new guidebook, 1001 Graphic Novels You Must Read Before You Die. The Guardian wrote a review of it (“an essential collection for serious comics fans”) and if you like the sound of it you can pick a copy up here at Gosh! for £2 off the cover price.
The final delivery before Christmas includes the following box of delights:
The big comic this week is Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes, a giant-size one-shot conclusion to the pre-DC 52 Batman & Robin series by Morrison. Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham provide the pictures (preview here).
Chris Burnham pops up on the shelf again in Joe Casey’s Officer Downe: Bigger, Better Bastard Edition HC which is named thusly on account of the bonus pages and additional sex and violence. The first regular edition sold out really quickly and since then no one’s been able to get their mitts on it. “I’m super psyched that they’re finally going to see our contemptible depravity in such a big classy format,” said Burnham, while Casey added: “What could be a better X-Mas gift this year than an oversized hardcover filled with sex and gore and weirdness and gore?” If you’ve no idea who this guy is go and read this review at Comicbook Resources where they put it into Police Academy terms for the uninitiated.
Meanwhile, Norwegian cartoonist Jason Conquers America in a one-shot floppy comic from Fantagraphics. For £3.65 you can get 32 pages of unpublished Jason strips and artwork, a checklist of his books, a Q&A with the man himself plus a gallery of Jason fan-art by people like Mike Allred and Kim Deitch. Preview at Fantagraphics’ Flickr.
500 Portraits by Tony Millionaire collects over two decades of portraits by the guy who you’ve probably said horrible things about as you tried to wedge an awkwardly-shaped Maakies collection back onto your bookshelf. They’re pen drawings of famous people, fictional people, a cockroach, and Nosferatu. Most of them were done for The Believer magazine – it was these pictures that helped define the look of the thing when it started and his stuff continues to appear in it even now. Some of the other portraits are from The New York Times, The New Yorker and some other swank-ass places. He talks about it over at Rolling Stone and there’s a PDF preview at Fantagraphics.
Incidentally, The Believer 2011 Art Issue has arrived, replete with Charles Burns cover, as per. Their website lets you read the first three paragraphs of every article including Daniel Handler’s latest column on stuff he’s read. This time he talks about sex scenes in fiction or the lack there-of, and it’s very funny. “…And then has people fall into each other’s arms and shut the bedroom door and then there are three asterisks and it’s the next morning.”
Five minutes ago we received a big pile of Mould Map 2, the amazing technicoloured small press comics anthology featuring stuff by 28 different artists. As well as the comic itself you’ll also get seven prints. It’s the brightest thing in the shop. It’s so bright it sort of hurts (see?).
There’s also a new addition to Blank Slate’s Chalk Marks line (joining Joe Decie’s The Accidental Salad) called Dinopolous. It’s “one part bande dessinée adventure, one part video-game homage, all parts dinosaur-inspired”. It’s also the debut of Nick Edwards, who was actually born in the 90s. Check out his stuff on his blog.
A Tale of Sand is a graphic novel adaptation of an un-produced screenplay by the great Jim Henson. He came up with the idea in the late 50s and spent the next decade or so turning it into a script with frequent writing-partner Jerry Juhl, but because of the strangeness and scope of the thing he was never able to turn it into a film. The man who made the book happen – Ramón Perez (Put This Book Back On The Shelf: A Belle & Sebastian Anthology) – spoke to Comicbook Resources about it. “I think with A Tale of Sand, it’s much more arthouse, it’s much more pop culture, it’s much more experimental. It’s more of a comment, also, on society of that era, but I think it’s also a personal note to Jim’s own life and struggling art at the time… It’s very much about a man who is racing against time. He doesn’t know when the clock stops, he doesn’t know where the destination is, but he’s riding to get there, and a lot of things are going to play into that, into the story as well. I think it’s going to be a more intellectual, more experimental side of Jim that readers are going to experience through A Tale of Sand.” Preview pages there too.
The Quality Companion is a softcover book detailing the history of a publisher that was a highly influential part of the Golden Age of comics. Among their many titles they had stuff like Blackhawk, G.I. Combat, Plastic Man – things later revived by DC Comics who bought the company in 1956 – and The Spirit by Will Eisner. They also did some romance titles, and if you head over to Eddie Campbell’s blog (that man again) you’ll find he’s spent the last month or so writing essays in defence of romance comics (Quality’s stuff turns up in it). Well, I think that’s how it began anyway, and now he’s in too deep to stop. Here’s a PDF preview of The Quality Companion.
Streakers is the first professionally printed book by Nick Maandag (this collection is the result of winning the Xeric grant, headed by Peter Laird of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame, which allows self-published comics creators to step away from the Xerox machine). It’s about a group of streakers. In an interview over at Sequential Maandag talks about the people who do it – not the attention seekers at the football, but an underground group of people who do it habitually. Weird crowd. Mostly I just like the way Maandag draws pubes.
Doug TenNapel is the man who gave us Earthworm Jim and is thus the man to blame for my lazy description of people with a weird neck-to-head size ratio. Ratfist is his first foray into the world of webcomics, brought about his pal Ethan Nicolle (Axe Cop) spurring him on. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a man talking to a rat that only he can hear while also slowly turning into a rat himself, and it’s out in trade paperback tomorrow. He tells you more about it in this interview at Comicbook Resources, where he also talks about the difference between print comics and webcomics, how comics on the internet invite comment on every single page which he apparently found both useful and interesting. Conversely, internet comments drive me mental and for the sake of my own sanity I do not scroll down.
Also in trade paperback is Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, illustrated by Ben Stenbeck. It follows the travels of Lord Henry Baltimore, a WW1 soldier with an obsessive mission to kill the monster whose plague has transformed Europe’s population into vampires. Comics Alliance have a review and preview.
In Graphic Classic Volume 22: African American Classics 23 stories and poems by America’s earliest black authors are illustrated by contemporary black artists. There’s great stuff in here (and not so great stuff, as is the plight of anthologies) but the highlight has to be Kyle Baker illustrating the great W.E. B. Du Bois’ short story, On Being Crazy. Here’s a preview.
Cinebook’s historical series continues with The Wright Brothers written by J P Lefevre-Garros and illustrated by Marcel Uderzo. In a review over at Down The Tubes they say: “[It’s] not an action packed tale of daring pilots but it is a detailed and well illustrated account of the logical design steps of two engineers that lead up to a moment in history – and that is what makes it worth reading.” Beautiful illustrations throughout – see ‘em at the review page.
Doonesbury fans will want to pick up Red Rascal’s War, the first all-colour Doonesbury book in the history of everything. “This recent collection hits on everything from the Afghan War to the BP oil spill to the legalization of marijuana to the tweetification of the media to the Arab Spring revolutions, and does so with such wit and heart that, while the world may be going to hell, at least we can smile at the ridiculousness of it all,” says Kirkus.
In hardcover there’s Brian Michael Bendis’ Siege which collects not only the core series but also The Cabal, The Prologue and stuff from New Avengers and Dark Avengers too. Then Captain America and Bucky HC Life of Bucky Barnes collects issues #620 to #624 of the Ed Brubaker/Marc Andreyko series, detailing the duo’s first mission together through the eyes of Bucky himself. Preview Chris Samnee’s art at Newsarama. Also in paperback collection is John Byrne’s Spider-Man series from the late 90s, Spider-Man: Chapter One.
Issue #1s this week include The Activity, a new ongoing series by Nathan Edmondson of Who Is Jake Ellis? and Olympus. He talks about it at Giant Killer Squid and Comics Bulletin have already read it and reviewed it. Ian Edginton’s (Sherlock Holmes) Immortal: Demon in the Blood is the first of four parts about the perils of living forever. Here’s a CbR interview and a preview too. And the incredibly busy Chris Roberson (iZombie) launches Memorial #1 (of 6), being a series that he describes as “Doctor Who meets Sandman by way of Miyazaki.” Preview at Newsarama.
And lastly, Tito Faraci (Dylan Dog, Diabolik) and Dan Brereton (Nocturnals) gives you The Last Battle, an 80-page one-shot story set in 52 BC. It’s already been translated and loved in Italy, Germany, Spain and Brazil but this is the first go at it for us English-speakers.“The ‘peplum’ or ‘sword and sandals’ genre was very popular in Italy, mostly in the seventies,” said Faraci at CbR. “As a child my imagination was formed by the gladiators, centurions, slaves, rebels and charming maidservants of those films. As a student, I studied, learning how the ancient world truly was… and found it fascinating. In The Last Battle, I tried to transmit the ‘peplum’ emotions of my youth with a correct, trustworthy historical approach.”
Swords and sandals are fine, socks and sandals are not.