It’s been a busy couple of weeks and you only have to look at our recycling bin to know it. For starters there was The Comix Reader #3 launch (photos of which exist here) and the opening of Joel Meadows’ ongoing photography exhibition featuring the enlarged black and white faces of Messrs. Moore, Morrison and co. But the biggest one of the lot was on Friday, when we threw a party for Tom Gauld’s brilliant graphic novel Goliath while the giant himself stood sentry by the door. Were you there? Did you get your book signed? It was a mighty crowded room. If you missed out on a signed copy, don’t despair! The Exclusive Bookplate Edition is sold out but Tom’s just popped in to sign some non-bookplated copies because he’s nice.
We’ll give you a breather for a bit and be back in April with Simone Lia’s Please God, Find Me a Husband! Details on the events page.
Significantly less thrillingly, over the weekend the news hit that the great Moebius has died in Paris. There’s a big obituary over at The Comics Journal by Kim Thompson, as well as an ongoing page of tributes by the likes of Mike Allred. I wrote a review at the Journal last month of the big oversized Eyes of the Cat book from Humanoids. It was supposed to be a review but really just turned into an essay about how much I liked his work particularly when I was about seven years old (and probably shouldn’t have). If you’ve never read his stuff before it’s slowly coming back into print in English and we’ve got The Incal upstairs.
In the delivery this week there’s Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in a deluxe hardcover edition designed by Chip Kidd, featuring all the usual bonus material that kind of production includes. DC also offers you the entire DC Universe by Alan Moore in one hardcover, collecting all of Moore’s Superman, Batman, Green Lantern et al stories from the 1980s illustrated by the likes of Brian Bolland and Dave Gibbons. But you knew that. For a full list of contents you can head to the DC website.
Dark Horse have collected Gary Gianni’s entire cult favourite pulp adventure Monstermen in one hardcover. If you’re a Hellboy fan you will have seen it as back-up stories in the pages of The Wild Hunt and such. It’s set in a world full of zombie cowboys, squid pirates, abominable snowmen – you get the idea. Michael Chabon, who provides the introduction, writes occasional essays on genre fiction that are so enthusiastically persuasive they make you want to go out immediately and buy stuff. This will no doubt be just as brilliant, but with Gary Gianni artwork like this to follow it, the intro is just gravy. Gianni talks about his entire career (including being only the third person in its seventy-year-history to illustrate Prince Valiant) at Comicbook Resources.
Fans of Y: The Last Man will be glad to know there’s a new ongoing series from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples starting this week. Vaughan’s pretty confident you’re going to like Saga #1: “I think people are going to love it so much they’ll want to forever tarnish their flesh with bad tattoos of our characters, but in the off-chance the book’s not for you, I’ll happily buy our first issue back from you (my address is included in what promises to be a trainwreck of a letter column),” he says. It’s a Star Wars/Game of Thrones kind of thing in which two new parents try to raise their new baby in the midst of a never-ending galactic war. “Forget a world; we’ve got entire galaxies, and each planet is unique. But we’ve also got clear-cut rules, real stakes and maybe even a badass map or two to show where we’re headed. Our corner of the universe definitely combines elements of science fiction and fantasy, but I think the story will also appeal to people who aren’t necessarily fans of those genres. My goal is always to make comics that you’ll hopefully like enough to force on your significant other, especially if he or she isn’t into comics yet.” It’s a special double-sized inaugural issue for just the regular £2.20 and there’s a preview here. Review too. “This definitely a new story by and for adults. We routinely hit the complete checklist of obscene language, graphic violence and full-frontal nudity. Sorry again, Mom.” Full interview with Vaughan over at Comicbook Resources.
The Complete Crumb TP Volume 1: Early Years of Bitter Struggle has been out of print for ages, but Fantagraphics are on the case and have produced an expanded version of the long-lost collection so that it now includes a previously unpublished 48-page comic from 1962. You can consider the whole book a sort of Robert Crumb: Year One because it includes all the stuff he (and his strange brother Charles) did between the years of 15 and 19, before Crumb was properly Crumb. It’s probably not the best introduction to his work if you’re brand new, but long-time fans will like seeing the seeds of ideas that would run through his work in later decades (such as the first appearance of the quintessential Crumb girl). While looking for a good review to show you I accidentally read the bottom half of the Internet where some idiot wrote: “it has a boring intro by some guy who isn’t even robert crumb.” Said intro is by Crumb’s childhood friend, Marty Pahls, who was there at the time this was all happening. And if some idiot on the internet doesn’t like something I generally take this as a sign that said thing is probably excellent.
More old stuff reprinted in the Crime Does Not Pay Archives Volume 1. The Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped Primer they put together in August last year was evidently such a hit they’re going to publish the whole thing in brutally violent instalments. As I said when the primer came out, the 1940s series was edited by Bob Wood who murdered his girlfriend in 1958 and then ended up getting murdered himself a few years later. It was pre-Comics Code Authority and was one of the reasons the Code came into being. It’s all incredibly hard to find these days so if you’re ever been curious: now’s your chance. There’s a preview over at Dark Horse where you can see it sporting another cover that we won’t want to stick in our shop window. Matt Fraction provides the intro this go round.
The Sunday Funnies should be a good one if they pull it off. It’s three issues of a 32-page monthly newspaper in a bag, reprinting historic Sunday pages from as far back as 1895 including the likes of Gasoline Alley, Little Nemo, Krazy Kat and other things you might not have seen before. They’ve all been reproduced from the collection Bill Blackbeard strove to save. The tagline reads: Comics as you remember them! But as this reviewer points out “unless you’re over 80 there’s no way you remember these as they were first printed.” It’s a cheap way to see this stuff in the size it first appeared. You can see some preview pages alongside that review.
Last of the reprints is Showcase Presents Young Love Volume 1 which is the first time the popular 50s romance comic has reappeared. John Romita, Mike Sekowsky, Don Heck and Gene Colan are all on the bill.
The Art of Molly Crabapple: Week in Hell is the result of a plan she hatched for her 28th birthday and then funded by Kickstarter. She locked herself in a hotel room for a week, covered the walls in paper, and drew all over the place with Sharpie pens. The whole thing was photographed and streamed live on the internet, while friends dropped in to visit so she could draw them on the walls (like Stoya, who you can see in Comics Alliance’s preview). The drawings are all the elaborate, burlesque-y, tentacle-y stuff Crabapple is famous for. She’s got a bunch of photos up in her aftermath blog post. Her occasional collaborator, Warren Ellis, wrote the introduction.
Skinner: Every Man is My Enemy is another art book, though quite a different one to the above. If you’re a reader of Juxtapoz magazine you’ll know his stuff. They’ve got a short piece on him alongside some preview images, here.
Mark Twain: Tales of Mystery is a prose book with illustrations by Menton John Matthews (whose stuff you’ll have seen in Lovecraft Library: Horror Out of Arkharm). It’s a collection of Twain’s lesser-known short stories – whodunits and detective stories, and even his own Sherlock Holmes story. Can’t find a preview anywhere so you’ll just have to wait and see.
Queen Crab is another Kickstarter venture, this timed headed by Jimmy Palmiotti. It’s a about a newlywed who gets chucked overboard and starts to turn into a crab. Palmiotti talks to Girls Read Comics about it.
Speaking of girls reading comics, Womanthology: Heroic is a 300-page hardcover anthology made by exclusively by women. 140 of them, including the likes of Colleen Doran. Preview at Comic Book Critic.
The Avengers shelf is looking pretty well populated this week so here’s a run-down on what’s what: Avengers Assemble: An Oral History of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes TP is a prose book by Brian Michael Bendis who’s written it as through the Avengers themselves are telling the story. Bendis also writes Avengers Assemble #1 which is a good jumping-on point if you’re new to the game. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Ultimate Collection TP is the entire eight-issue miniseries and the follow-up series by Joe Casey and Scott Kolins from back in 2005 (review here), and Avengers: Road to Marvel Avengers TP collects a bunch of comics in the universe of the upcoming film (details here). Spare a thought for comic shop employees who lost the ability to use the word “avenge” long ago, along with “origins” and “ultimate”.
Those Phonogram boys both have X-Men hardcovers out this week. You’ll find them holding hands on the X-shelf. Uncanny X-Men by Kieron Gillen collects the first four post-Schism Uncanny X-Men issues, as illustrated by Carlos Pacheco. Jamie McKelvie’s offering is X-Men: Season One HC, written by Dennis Hopeless. Season One is like DC’s Earth One line, but from Marvel. Hopeless said to Newsarama, “I’m an X-Men fan, so I have plenty of that history rolling around in my head. But all I had to re-read for research was those first few Stan and Jack issues. Our story takes place in and around that handful of early X-Men stories…I love writing the original five as teenagers. They’re all messed up in such interesting ways. They trip over their own feet and hurt each other’s feelings and fall in love every ten minutes. Just like we all did. But these are X-Men, so afterward they have to go out and fight Magneto.”
New comics this week include Saucer Country #1 by Paul Cornell who descibes it as The West Wing meets The X-Files. “The key thing is that it’s politicians, not the military or some sort of special team, that become involved with UFO mythology, so this isn’t about firefights and a standard “alien invasion.” It’s much more about the mythology itself, and how that myth has been shaped by, and actually done its part in shaping, America.” He talks about it at Comicbook Resources and there are lots of preview pages of Ryan Kelly’s art, too.
Elsewhere, there’s a new four-parter starting with Exile of the Planet of the Apes #1 (sequel to Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes) and the second issue of Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer’s Thief of Thieves. We’ve also got a 2nd printing of the sold-out first issue. Brian Churilla’s The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1 hits the shelves, and Warren Ellis is a fan: “[It] plays like Mike Mignola at his most hard-boiled adapting every goofy film about dreams that you ever sat through. If you love Mignola’s Hellboy, you’ll find a lot to like in Churilla’s comically grim, energetically cartooned tale of an oneiric sniper scowling his way through Lovecraftian mindscapes. Also, Occult Mutilated Teddy Bear. Money in the bank.” iFanboy’s got a preview.
That’s it from me. I’m off to the other side for the world for the next two weeks. I’ll see my wee cat for the first time in years and I’ll say to him:
Tom will keep you company while I’m gone.