Speaking as someone who cycled to work on a gloriously sunny morning only to be drowned in the evening with buckets of rain which then mingled with furious tears as I peddled sadly across Dalston Junction: I would prefer to write about something that isn’t a book about bicycles. Just for my own soggy mental stability. But Nobrow have delivered a thing called Bicycle and now I have to mention it here because that’s my job. Maybe we can all look at it from underneath our umbrellas and think about what might have been.
Like Flesh & Bone or the more recent High Times: A History of Aviation, Bicycle is another concertina thing only massive. It’s taller than an A4 and stretches out to 2 metres in length – making a continuous 4 meter long picture if you turn it round. I was trying to get a picture of our Steve holding it stretched out but his wingspan is something of a handicap. So naturally, when Oscar Zarate turned up we made him stand there and hold the other end.
By Ugo Gattoni (who is only 23, which is ridiculous) it’s an intricately drawn picture of a bike race through the streets of our sunny town featuring a whole host of characters you know and regularly swerve to avoid: athletes, cycle couriers, bankers, delivery boys, hipsters on fixie bikes. And if you look closely there are even people doing it on the pavement. I mean the rude “it”, not just cycling on the pavement although that is also rude. Here’s a video of Gattoni and Nobrow‘s McBess working on a drawing at the Hayward Gallery.
Also in the delivery this week is a hardcover collection of Gilbert Hernandez‘s rare foray into all-ages stuff. The Adventures of Venus collects all of the Hernandez stories that appeared 10 years ago in the anthology kids’ comic, Measles, featuring the niece of Luba, along with a brand new story you won’t have read yet (heads up, completists). Incidentally, I don’t know how closely you’ve been following the San Diego Comic-Con on Twitter but here’s a family portrait of the Hernandezes hanging out in the Fantagraphics booth. They look nice. PDF preview here.
Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture is a hardcover career retrospective of master caricaturist Jack Davis, who starting off at EC Comics and then ended up defining the humour magazine zeitgeist of the 50s in magazines like MAD, Trump, and Humbug, before making an excellent career as a commerical illustrator of movie posters, record sleeves, etc. This book covers the lot of it – as well as comics proposals he never managed to sell, abandoned drawings for magazines, and stuff he doesn’t even remember doing. Here’s a PDF preview from Fantagraphics. It doesn’t include the numerous tributes and whatnot they’ve stuck in the back of the book by the likes of Pete Bagge, Tony Millionaire, and Jim Woodring.
Fans of ancient old newspaper strips take note: Mr Twee Deedle by Johnny Gruelle is back this week in its first appearance since the strip ended in 1914. The strip exists because the New York Herald lost Little Nemo to a rival newspaper and needed something to succeed it. Mr Twee Deedle was one of 1500 submissions and ran for about 3 years, but Gruelle‘s later strip Raggedy Ann was so successful that Twee Deedle was overshadowed to the point of being almost completely forgotten. It’s about a magical wood sprite who befriends two kids called Dickie and Dolly. The Washington Times has a review and more on the history of the thing, but if you just want to see some beautiful big Sunday pages then head this way.
Speaking of old cartoonists: they were all such dudes. This blogger has been collecting pictures of them at their drawing boards in their suits and ties. The best one is Milt Caniff. Those eyebrows!
Harvey Pekar‘s been strangely busy since being dead. In the latest posthumous publication, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me (finished and epilogued by Joyce Brabner) Pekar contends with the idea of the Jewish state that was planted in his mind as a kid at Hebrew school. It’s an illustrated conversation with the guy who drew it, JT Walman, about his beliefs versus his parents’, and the situation in Palestine. “I’m sure someone out there has a workable solution. But what do I know? I make comic books and write about jazz. I do know the difference between right and wrong, though.” Guernica magazine has a preview.
Hilary Florido has twice popped up as a notable name in the America’s Best Comics volumes so it’s high time we saw her first graphic novel. Bloody Chester is a fairly gruesome horror story co-written by film director JT Petty, about an orphaned teenager out in the Wild West who takes on a job to blow up an abandoned settlement, which it turns out isn’t actually abandoned. The full colour artwork’s lovely and you can see it over at Macmillan.
The third volume of Wandering Son is on the shelves, being the story of two friends: a girl who wants to be a boy, and a boy who wants to be a girl. Apparently this volume picks up the pace so if you’ve found it lagging then don’t despair. Here’s a PDF preview.
The excellent Radioactive Man comics are being collected in a deluxe hardcover for the first time. They turned up intermittently over the last 18 years, each issue purported to be a random reprint plucked from the fictional comic book series’ 50 year history, satirizing the different comic book eras in which it was supposed to have arrived in (Golden Age, Silver Age). Or at least that’s what this guy says and he’s evidently read them all and loved them all, and I haven’t, so I’ll go along with it. Go read the opinions he’s spouted all over his blog re: how the Radioactive Man comics compare to the, say, aborted terrible idea that was Lisa’s own series. That’s what the internet is for. Up and at them.
On the X-shelf there’s Counter X: X-Force Rage War by Ian Edginton in trade paperback, and Wolverine #309 which you might have thought we neglected to give you a couple of weeks ago but you would have thought wrong. For some reason #310 shipped two weeks before #309.
A couple of shelves up you’ll find Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces, a one-shot collecting Paul Chadwick‘s stories from the recent Dark Horse Presents, and somewhere near that you’ll find the first issue of the newly relaunched Captain Marvel featuring Jamie McKelvie‘s (Phonogram) costume redesign. Here’s a preview of the art by Dexter Soy.
That’s yer lot. Don’t forget that next week we’re launching Tom Humberstone‘s new comic, Ellipses. Also, so as not to alarm you: Karrie Fransman (The House That Groaned) has installed a creepy grandma in the corner of the shop.