It’s a pretty small week but the sun’s out so you’ve got exciting stuff to do other than going to a basement in Soho to buy comics in a temperature-controlled environment where there is no ice cream. That is unless you prefer basements, prefer dank, and loathe ice cream and parks and beaches. In which case:
On your way down to see our pale faces, be sure to pause on the stairs and have a look at our relatively new and steadily growing gallery space. There are originals by Brendan McCarthy, Sean Phillips, Laurence Campbell – and the list keeps growing. All of the stuff is for sale and we’ll get an online gallery up and running pretty soon.
This Friday night is Tom Humberstone‘s launch party for Ellipsis, starring free booze, signings and (according to Humberstone himself) – awkwardness. The comics are slightly less free but you should get one anyway. Details are in this blog post here. In the meantime, you can see some preview pages of the newly printed comic at his blog, along with an invitation to subscribe to the series in advance and thus fund his ability to make the later issues at a speed faster than, say, Jason Lutes‘ Berlin. Go read. Especially if you’re a small press person trying to make comics. Go read. He’s got smarts.
We got a funny-shaped parcel yesterday which turned out to be a new delivery of Benjamin Marra comics. We’ve had them before but they worth mentioning here simply because they never stick around for very long. People just keep buying them and no matter how many we stick on the shelves they are gone all too soon. Marra is a dude whose author photos are mad enough to rival the comics themselves and Rob Clough reviews photos and comics over at High-Low:
“At first blush, Benjamin Marra’s comics are bewildering. The violence, sex and general levels of misogyny on display give one pause as to when these comics were actually made. There’s a certain stiffness in these black & white comics that is highly reminiscent of the weird, crude and frequently trashy comics of the 80s black and white glut, when the boutique publishers of that day were looking to make a quick buck and hoping to catch fire like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Marra’s comics capture that feeling, but with a satiric edge that almost never “breaks character” as he tweaks 80s exploitative entertainment (especially film), takes white power fantasies in the person of gangsta rap to their ultimate extreme and even spins a tale of liberal espionage. There’s no question that his comics are ugly and brutal, but the relentlessly over-the-top nature of his satire is hilarious, even as it makes you wince.”
Arf. Bewildering. Preview pages/amazing sound effects can be seen at Marra’s own site.
This week’s Archie #635 is worth picking up simply for strangeness. Alex Segura explains how it happened: “We had just finished an interview to discuss the wedding of Kevin Keller and the reporter—I believe it was the AP’s Matt Moore—said “What’s next, Occupy Riverdale?” We all kind of chuckled at the idea, but once we got off the phone we stopped and thought “Why not?” Jon’s vision of Riverdale has always been of a modern city that reflects what’s going on around the world. So, once we decided we wanted to do it, I threw my hat in the ring and wrote up a proposal.” It’s a stand-alone story illustrated by Gisele Lagace so you can jump right in now with whatever minimal knowledge of Archie you might have. The rest of that interview is here.
Rebetiko came in last week just a wee bit too late for the blog. By French author David Prudhomme, it’s the story of the lives and culture of the once persecuted Rebetiko (Greek folk) musicians in Athens, 1936. The English language SelfMadeHero previews are pretty rubbish (there aren’t any) but the art is definitely worth a look so never mind the French words and go look at this.
Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) is on our shelves twice this week because he is one busy dude. Underwater Welder is a 200-odd page graphic novel about a new father working on an oilrig of the coast of Nova Scotia, which turns from a blue-collar character study into some kind of supernatural mystery. He’s being pretty coy about it in interviews so maybe you’re best just heading straight to the preview.
The other thing on the shelf is his contribution to DC’s new series National Comics in which creators get to pick some old character in the DC Universe and have just one issue to tell you what is so great about him, like a TV pilot. Lemire‘s an old Vertigo fan, so after kicking around a few characters (Black Orchid was one) he settled on Kid Eternity. “He’s a police mortician who almost died, and he has a strange contact with the afterlife as a result. So he can resurrect the recently dead, for 24 hours. And together, they have 24 hours to kind of solve the mystery of who murdered them. So that’s the high concept. And then I started on it and came up with this whole other mythology that, if it were to become a series, it would turn into a bigger mythology.” More of that interview here. CbR have another one where they talk about Grant Morrison and such.
Eric Powell is the subject of the latest Modern Masters, featuring lots of interview with and about Powell alongside art and sketches, etc. It’s volume 28 so I’m sure you now the drill by now. Here’s a PDF teaser. Goon #40 hits the shelves too, with the promise that it will now be a monthly appearance on your comicbook calendar. We will see.
Three Ladies By the Sea is a book written by Rhoda Levine and illustrated by the great Edward Gorey, which has been largely unavailable since 1963 (except for being technically available since 2010 but nevermind). It’s about love found/lost/never-ending featuring some brilliantly drawn Edwardian maidans by Gorey. There are some preview pages here. That Gorey shelf is growing.
Ben 10 fans or parents of Ben 10 fans should pick up a copy of Batula by Steven T. Seagle and Marco Cinello (Spongebob, Rugrats). It’s a vampire story for kids about a regular fruit bat called Livingston who gets bitten by a vampire. The art’s great and Wired’s Geekdad has some preview pages.
Marie Severin: Mirthful Mistress of Comics is a book about the career of the late John Severin‘s sister, who spent 30 years working for Marvel (doing everything from production and colouring to pencilling, inking, and art direction) and coloured horror, science fiction and war comics for EC. It’s full of old sketches, family photos, hand-painted Christmas cards, and interviews with both Severins, Jack Davis, and more. Big old PDF preview here.
Monolith by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray was a series from the mid-2000s that was cancelled after 12 issues. Evidently DC didn’t like it enough to continue the series, and have – in a strange move – off-loaded the rights to the creators. Which is rare and weird. Anyway, it’s getting a second life in a hardcover collection because Palmiotti and Gray have a lot of faith in the thing: “We have a monster created in the 20’s that has been alive and bricked behind a wall waiting to be released back into the world with a single mission…to right what is wrong in the world. We have two main characters, Tilt and Alice, that are trying to keep themselves away from their old habits and start a new life together and last, we have a backdrop of a city in constant turmoil. A lot of this book does some jumping back and forth in time and it has its roots in classic fable storytelling. It’s a romantic story at its core and I think that’s the thing most readers in the past remembered most about the series.” More of that at Newsarama.
Secret Avengers By Rick Remender HC Volume 1 collects #21.1 and #22-25, and #29 is brand new this week and will sit somewhere near it on the shelf (preview at ComicBookMovie). Daredevil By Mark Waid TP Volume 1 collects the first six issues of the Paolo Rivera-drawn series that’s been going down very well at Gosh. And X-Men/Steve Rogers: Escape From the Negative Zone is now in trade paperback, collecting the 3-part crossover that concluded not so long ago.
Other mentionables: MAD magazine are sticking all their Batman parodies in the aptly titled MAD Presents Batman, Everybody Loves Tank Girl #1 (of 3) is a new miniseries by Alan Martin and drawn by Jim Mahfood instead of that other bloke (preview video), Kurtis K. Wiebe and Riley Rossmo launch a four-part series with Debris #1 (preview here), and Greg Pak‘s X-Treme X-men #1 spins out of Astonishing X-Men so if you get that we’ll file it for you automatically. Preview at Comicbook Resources.
Lastly, DC are postponing the release of Batman Inc #3 because it has some guns in it. The new release date is the 22nd of August, by which point one hopes America will have at least started doing something about their completely insane and wholly unacceptable gun situation.
And on that cheery note, that’s it from me. I’m not here next week so Andrew will have to fill you in. I’m going somewhere where there is no internet, only sheep.