The Gosh! Authority 24/01/12

Photo by Joel Meadows

Well, we never thought Craig Thompson would have a sit-down chat with every single person in the signing line when we were organising the thing for a mere two-hour time-slot. But that’s what he did, and he didn’t scrimp on the sketches either. Gosh! customer Bruce Marsh gave us a look at just what was going on with those brush pens:

Thanks to everyone who came along! Proper lovely bloke, isn’t he? He also signed mountains of books for the shop so if you missed out you can come and grab one of those. No sketches in these, but then he did have to eat dinner at some point like the rest of us.

Next week is the Eddie Campbell event on Friday the 3rd of February. He’s signing at 6:30pm and you’re all welcome to come along with your Alec and From Hell bricks in tow. His talk starts at 7pm and that is now sold out. If you’ve put your name down on the reserve list make sure you come because we’ve had to turn people away. Also, we just announced our Kramers Ergot 8 signing set for the 11th of February.

Latest news from Dave McKean is that his latest book, The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins (for which McKean provided some excellent illustrations) is going to be let out into the world sans pictures when it comes time for the paperback version. Insane, yes, but publishers are weird sometimes. So if you’ve been thinking of picking up a copy of the book – it’s a scientific, obviously non-religious explanation of the origin of the universe aimed at children – and you’re a fan of McKean: buy now! We’ve got a stack of them on the table upstairs. On the same subject, this piece in The Independent about the disappearance of illustrations in prose novels is causing a bit of a stir, mostly because of the quote from Jonathan Cape editor Dan Franklin.

News on The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen front is that Century 2009 is all on track and currently being coloured. It’s slated for a late May/early June release. Also, Moore and O’Neill are set to start work on a new 48-page stand-alone book in the coming week. More than that we cannot say.

Anything by Gosh! favourite Bruce Timm automatically becomes pick of the week and his latest art book is no different: Naughty & Nice – The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm is a softcover, 300+ page thing from Flesk Publications who were allowed to plunder the last 15 years worth of archives for this book. Timm, who’s best known for his work on Batman The Animated Series and Joker/Harley Quinn book, Mad Love, has drawn a bunch of nude and partially-nude ladies (125 all-new ones) from all corners of the earth, from savage jungle queens to hard-boiled dames. This is on top of the stuff from his archives, adding up to over 300 images in total. Jim Steranko provides the introduction.

If you’re a fan of Timm you’ll probably also count Darwyn Cooke amongst the best dudes in comics too. This week you can grab his Ed Brubaker collaboration The Trail of Catwoman which ran in Detective Comics #759-762 back in 2001, in trade paperback. The trade also collects Selina’s Big Score, and Catwoman #1 – #9 (not the current DC 52 run).

Assassin’s Creed: The Fall by Cameron Stewart (writer of Batman & Robin, and inker of the Cooke work above) and Karl Kerschl (Teen Titans: Year One) is out in trade paperback. Before the first issue came out, Stewart wrote on his blog about how the comic had been receiving a disappointingly low buzz before its release which he put down to it being based on a computer game. “[We’ve] worked hard on this book, and we’ve poured a lot of effort and energy into it, because we wanted to do something that wasn’t just a shallow, cash-in spin-off. Believe me, I’ve worked on that type of project before, and I can admit that I’ve half-assed it for the paycheck. But not so here – with the amount of creative freedom granted us by Ubisoft, it really feels like this is a very personal project for Karl and I and we’re very proud of the final product. We’ve tried to make it accessible for non-gamers, engaging for people already familiar with Assassin’s Creed, and above all, the kind of comic that we’d like to read.” So if you’re a non-gamer: don’t be put off. Here’s a preview of the first issue.

Government Issue Comics For The People: 1940 – 2000 collects a bunch of stuff you might not even know existed. Did you know that in 1943 artist-turned-soldier Theodor Seuss Geisel (that’s Dr. Seuss to you) produced a comic about malaria? It was written by fellow Army colleague and children’s author Munro Leaf (The Story of Ferdinand) and because they needed something to get the soldiers’ attention it starred a sexy mosquito! Her name was Ann:

Elsewhere in the book you’ll see government-sanction comics in which Li’l Abner joins the Navy and Charlie Brown teaches readers about lazy eye. Richard L. Graham has dug up a host of this sort of stuff covering topics like how to fill out Social Security forms, pregnancy and forest fires. Will Eisner’s efforts in the Army were recently collected into a book of their own called P.S. and I mentioned it on this old Gosh! blog post. Might be of interest if the first part of this paragraph appeals.

The Someday Funnies is a collection of 1960s colour strips that were created for a project that never happened. Rolling Stone rounded up an army of famous cartoonists (including the aforementioned Eisner, Art Spiegelman, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby, Ralph Steadman, Sergio Aragones, Moebius, Gahan Wilson, Barry Windsor-Smith), writers (William S. Burroughs, Harlan Ellison and more), and musicians (Pete Townsend, Frank Zappa) for a proposed insert in the magazine, but then the bottom fell out of it and the strips were left unpublished until now. The whole book is a history of how it happened and then why it didn’t, put together by Michel Choquette who travelled the world to find out. There’s a big preview over at Boing Boing but there are naked boobs and stuff so mind how you go.

Brenda Starr, Reporter: Collected Strips Volume 1 is the first of a new ongoing series from Hermes Press, reprinting the adventures of the iconic female reporter who was created, written and drawn by Dale Messick, the first woman to do so for a syndicated strip. It ran for the next 60 years (it only ended last January), even going so far as to be the basis of a film starring Timothy Dalton and Brooke Shields which I have never heard of. MTV’s Geek News have a big article on the book along with a few excerpts.

There’s more ancient stuff in Girl: Sister Paper To Eagle which collects the best of the 1950s/60s weekly girls’ comic. There are no previews or anything of that sort so it will remain a mystery until it arrives.

Ian Edginton (Scarlet Traces) and Simon Davis’ (Judge Dredd) fully-painted Ampney Crucis Investigates: Vile Bodies TP is out this week, collecting the occult detective story that’s been running in 2000AD for the last few years. It’s described as being ‘PG Wodehouse meets HP Lovecraft’ full of well-dressed aristocratic buffoons in the 1920s, with creeping horrors on the doorstep. There’s a review over at Sci-Fi Bulletin.

More fully-painted artwork in Warren Ellis’ Atmospherics, which sees Ken Meyer’s artwork totally re-mastered for this new edition. In this interview with Bleeding Cool Meyer talks about what that ‘re-mastered’ bit actually means. It turns out he didn’t just colour this stuff on the computer but sprayed the grey-tone originals with Sureguard and painted over the top of them. The whole interview is pretty painterly and technical, but from the looks of it he had a lot of that to do. Lots of pictures there too.

Fantastic Life is Kevin Mutch’s first full-length graphic novel but you might have already seen the first chapter of it in last year’s Best American Comics anthology, where it was included by editor Alison Bechdel (Fun Home). That first chapter is now online but don’t go reading it at work or you’ll get in trouble (boobs). It’s about a young slacker who begins to question his sanity, and the sheer volume of beer bottles and cigarette stubs reminded a reviewer over at The Comics Journal of the work of Gosh! pal Ellen Lindner (Undertow), which can only be a very good thing. Mutch talks about it at Graphic Eye.

Nate Powell, who you’ll remember from Swallow Me Whole and the more recent Any Empire, illustrates The Silence of Our Friends, a semi-autobiographical story by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos about a white and black family in segregated 1967 Texas where five wrongly accused black college students are charged with the murder of a policeman. There’s a massive preview over at Publishers Weekly and a short interview here.

In trade paperback there’s Resurrection Man Volume 1 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, which collects issues #1 to #14 of series from the 90s that was recently rebooted in DC’s big overhaul. There’s also Strikeforce Morituri Volume 1 by Peter B. Gillis and Brent Anderson (Astro City) which is no doubt being dragged out its 1980s unreprinted purgatory because there’s a feature film in the works. Other collections on the shelf worthy of your notice are Captain America by Ed Brubaker Volume 1 HC, Daredevil by Brubaker & Lark Ultimate Collection TP Volume 1, Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 1 HC (collecting the first six issues of the current run), and Hawkman by Geoff Johns Omnibus HC Volume 1 which collects the first 25 issues of his run, plus some other bits and pieces from JSA and Hawkman Secret Files.

A.D.D: Adolescent Demo Division is a book about ADD being both a defence mechanism and a desirable feature in a world where corporations are clamouring for our attention – how if our attention is darting all over the place it does it somehow make us freer – or at least that was Douglas Rushkoff’s thinking behind it. He wrote an essay over at Boing Boing to accompany their exclusive preview which they probably got because Corey Doctorow liked the book so much. “It’s a tight, action-packed comic wrapped around a serious, thought-provoking critique of the commodification of youth culture,” he said in his review. Full-colour art by Goran Sudzuka and Jose Marzan Jr. (Y: The Last Man).

In comics there’s the first bit of the new Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred, another insane six-parter by David Hine and Shaky Kane. Comics Bulletin have a big interview with Hine on what it’s like writing a comic like this one, and if you need some visual reference there’s a preview here. Not enough? Bleeding Cool has five of the six covers, too.

Elsewhere, Rick Remender pens Secret Avengers #21.1 which is designed to be a jumping-on point for those who are thinking of jumping on (preview), Infestation 2 #1 (of 2) by Duane Swierczynski sees HP Lovecraft’s Old Ones face off against various IDW characters (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Mark Crilley adds a one-shot story to his ongoing manga series Brody’s Ghost, though it’s not new stuff but a tidy round-up of the four stories that have appeared in MySpace/Darkhorse Presents over the years. Preview here.

That’s all there is. While the Gosh! sale table has been annexed by the art books there are still massively reduced books hanging around on the benches. There’s the huge Collected Doug Wright: Canada’s Master Cartoonist for a mere tenner (PDF preview), Brian Bolland’s Bolland Strips! for a fiver, and Rian HughesYesterday’s Tomorrows for just £10.

Also: you know we’ve got a Tumblr now, right? We are all over your Internet.

— Hayley

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