Since the last time you heard from me I have learned two words: “bunting” and “flotilla”. Because of the same event that brought about this new and largely useless knowledge to my brain your comics will be exactly one day late. That’s Thursday. Also, because you went and did a bank holiday double-decker your comics next week will also be out on Thursday. No crying now, I’m sure you’ve had a lovely couple of days in your pajamas.
While it’s been quiet our Mike has been carefully organising our new stairwell gallery. Currently there’s original art by Shaky Kane, Richard Short and Luke Pearson – and you can buy this stuff, too. More info to come. We’ll get some stuff online too for the benefit of those who are catastrophically maimed or live in Devon.
There’s a bunch of stuff that’s arrived over the last week so before we get onto this week’s shipment, here’s them:
Firstly we’ve got No Man’s Land by the award-winning and very excellent Blexbolex, being his much anticipated 140-page sequel to Dog Crime. It’s from Nobrow again so usual recommendations re: book smells apply. The whole book happens in the second before the main detective dude in Dog Crime blows his brains out. It’s Nice That got a preview copy and have this to say about it:
“Thrust into the inner workings of the main character’s mind, a series of interspliced survival scenarios that manage to feel at once confusing and coherent, we the readers fall through time and space. It’s a nightmare world of suspended reality – a giant snake-infested swamp, an abandoned liner, a Hieronymous Bosch meets Joseph Heller war scene and some kind of rendition submarine.”
We’ve got the Complete Flash Gordon Library Volume 1: On The Planet Mongo, which is the first time the strip has been collected (and restored!) in chronological order from the very beginning, encompassing both dailies and Sundays. Alex Ross has provided the introduction. Over at Titan there’s a blogpost on what they’ve got planned for the series but they’ve neglected to mention how many volumes it’ll be when it’s done. At any rate you’ve got art by Austin Briggs, Mac Raboy, Dan Barry to look forward to, but this week you’ll get the man who drew him first: Alex Raymond.
The new Pixar film Brave won’t be out here until August but you can get a preview of it in The Art of Brave which we’ve had on the shelf for a couple of days or so. It’s set in Scotland, so they’ve rounded up every Scottish actor in Hollywood including at least two from Trainspotting. It looks lovely, and like every other Pixar film will probably break your heart twice before the title screen (it’ll be years before I can do Toy Story 3 again). Pixar Planet has a review of the book and you can see the kind of thing you’re in for here and here.
Leaping Tall Buildings is a history of American comics through the stories of the people who made that history and those comics. Basically, it’s a series of interview-based essays accompanied with some arty portraits. There’s stuff in here right from the beginning with Siegel and Shuster, Will Eisner, through to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Spiegelman, Pekar, Bagge, Morrison, Gaiman, Chris Ware, and loads more in between. There’s a good review here that says: “…by far the most charming and enjoyable parts of the book are those that present substantive artists like Mr. Ware, Jaime Hernandez (“Love and Rockets”) and Jeffrey Brown (“Unlikely”). By a quirk of the comics industry, artists like these, who deal with the stuff of real life and whose work is treasured by people who read books that have spines, are tagged as “alternative” or “underground.” It’s amusing to see how, in “Leaping Tall Buildings,” such artists come off as normal, thoughtful people, while contemporary superhero creators tend to come off as pretentious autodidacts or failed cult leaders.” Ouch. There are a couple of strange omissions but when the portrait of Steve Ditko is this brilliant, who’s complaining.
Ed the Happy Clown HC finally collects the long out of print stuff from Chester Brown’s (Paying For It) cult comic Yummy Fur. The page I remember most is The Man Who Couldn’t Stop which horrified Wee Hayley in such a way that I have never forgotten it. To try and summarise the plot of this thing is madness, so I won’t: it’s disturbing and surreal and kind of gross. Brown has written a new foreword for the collection and D&Q says there’s an extensive notes section too, which if it’s anything like Paying For It will be properly extensive.
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (of 6), the first of DC’s most controversial editorial decision in some time. It’s written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke who has this to say about it: “My initial response was ‘absolutely not.’ The reason for that was simple – I consider Watchmen a magnificent book, and I just didn’t see doing anything that could live up to it, especially after all of this time. [Then] the idea for the Minutemen [series] fell into my head. I sat down, plotted a treatment, and it really got me excited. It fit perfectly into the scenario they had set up for these characters, so I contacted Dan [Didio] and told him, ‘Count me in.’” More of that at Comics Alliance. Comicbook Resources have a preview.
Amazing Spider-Man Movie #1 is a between-the-scenes comic filling you in on the stuff they put in the film, and Activity Volume 1 is the first five issues of Nathan Edmondson’s series with Mitch Gerads. There’s a review and preview of #1 here.
Elsewhere on the shelves there’s Creator Owned Heroes #1 which is basically what it says on the tin: superhero stories told and owned by Steve Niles, Kevin Mellon, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Noto. They’ve also shoved in an interview with Neil Gaiman (that man again) and some other articles. There’s a preview here and Warren Ellis is talking about it on his blog.
Also, Thunderbolts is now called Dark Avengers. Now you know.