This week’s delivery is taking a backseat for a second in light of my sudden realisation that I have never properly mentioned our Mike’s ongoing art project. Mike’s the guy in charge of our gallery space on the stairs which means he is also the man to blame for the increasingly regular traffic jams on the landing (my knowledge of traffic jams begins and ends with Michael Douglas in Falling Down but so far there’s been no trouble). On the walls right now are several pages from Laurence Campbell‘s recent Judge Dredd story, although they’re disappearing fast (probably because they’re massively cheap for original art – I sold a page for £70 yesterday), and also his Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine. There’s more stuff from Luke Pearson, Sean Phillips, and Paolo Parisi – all for sale, and more out back in portfolios. Come see. And when you eventually get to the bottom of the stairs have a flick through our backissue collection. Tom’s getting in new collections of old comics all the time so you never know what’ll turn up.
Speaking of Mike, he is one half of Comics Goship – the reading group that meets here once a month to drink tea and talk about comics. The routine is they pair one big well-known book (From Hell, All-Star Superman, Epileptic) and team it with a small press one (The Peckham House For Invalids, Chloe Noonan, The Strumpet). Sometimes they get video interviews with the creators of the big books and sometimes the small press creators join the table to talk about their own stuff or act as moderator for the bad stuff simply by being there. The next meeting is this Wednesday the 12th and you’ll want to stick your nose in a copy of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon‘s Daytripper and The Comix Reader #4, both available upstairs.
Because Doug from SelfMadeHero just came in and handed me a copy of this one himself, and because the author is very nice and currently shaking some Posca pens in our window: The Nao of Brown is our pick of the week. It’s about a girl who works in a shop who has murderous thoughts so you’d be forgiven in thinking it’s a book about me. Nelson‘s Glyn Dillon wrote and illustrated the whole thing himself – the first time he’s done so – and it’s one of the best looking books on the shelves in a long time.
There’s a big long interview by Paul Gravett here along with lots of preview pages. We’ve got four different bookplate designs to go with the £16.99 hardcover, all signed by Dillon himself. I don’t know what he’s got planned for the window but I’ll make sure there’s a picture up next week.
And the four bookplate designs you can choose from relate to different bits of the book. They are:
As for the what we’re hauling out of the boxes:
Fantagraphics sent us a new Lorenzo Mattotti (Stigmata) book, which is nice because Lorenzo Mattotti does books like no one else out there. The Crackle of the Frost is about ex-lovers turning up in each other’s lives again, or something; I haven’t read it yet and book blurbs about emotions are always too cringey to repeat. I have seen the fully-painted artwork though and it is, as ever, completely amazing. “Mattotti tells his story in a exhausting run of medium-range shots, like a camera person just one step too close to their subject matter to fully contextualize what they’re seeing. It’s not a bad reflection of how life can be lived, our orientation in question in a way the world itself really isn’t.” That review comes from the Comics Reporter, who aren’t sure that The Crackle of Frost will be the “one acknowledged [Mattotti] masterwork, the point and nod book around which all the others act as satellites,” but there is no closer contender. PDF preview at Fanta.
Is That All There Is? is a softcover version of the recent hardcover from RAW contributor Joost Swarte, a man much admired by Chris Ware, who says: “I have loved Joost Swarte’s perfect cartoons, drawings and designs for decades and it’s nothing short of ridiculous that a comprehensive edition of this brilliant artist’s work has never been available in America until now.” He’s a national treasure in his native Holland (even going so far as to let him design buildings) but none of his stuff had been available in English until that hardcover came along months ago. This is the same thing, only cheaper: a collection of almost all of his alternative comics work from 1972 to now (even the RAW ones) and Fantagraphics have done their damnedest to try and make the new printing look just like they did back in the day with their retro duotones, Zip-a-Tone etc. They’ve got a PDF preview of the book here.
The Cavalier Mr Thompson is by by a guy who includes his two cats — Maggie and Hopey — in his short biography, as well he should do. (Rich Tommaso is also notable for his book with James Sturm, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow which won him an Eisner). Fantagraphics have been leaking teaser panels for the last couple of months and they are gorgeous. Now we’re in the future you can have both a PDF preview and the whole book if you fancy it. It’s a Western set in a hotel in Texas that houses all the bootleggers and wrong’uns you’d expect.
It’s Walt Simonson week although you may be unaware of it. We’ve got Alien: The Illustrated Story, being the 1979 comic book adaptation of the film that’s been out of print for over thirty years. They haven’t just scanned from some old yellow backissues: they went to Simonson‘s studio and actually scanned straight from the original artwork so it’s proper nice. There’s also The Judus Coin, a hardcover comprised of six stories featuring DC heroes spanning the Roman Empire right through to 2085. There’s a huge recent interview with Simonson over at Comicbook Resources about it, containing some of the most verbose answers to short interview questions I have ever seen. I guess it’s because he doesn’t have to worry about fitting all the words into those little balloons.
Ted McKeever‘s Mondo miniseries is collected in trade paperback. You remember that one, it’s the one about chickens. Also “unleashed craziness, twisted humor, dark foreboding evil, monkeys with top hats, surfer dudes who shoot fire out of their eyes, bikini dames with giant paper-mache heads – well, you get the idea. I want to have a story where anything is possible, but not totally abstract. One of the things I can’t stand in any given story is the lack of reality foundation. That said, it doesn’t mean things can’t go bat-shit crazy off the charts, but only as long as the crazy is anchored to the reality of the world in my story,” he said. Preview there too. Contains: rooster.
Jeff Parker (Thunderbolts) and Erika Moen‘s (DAR) webcomic Bucko is out in a hardcover collection. A 20-something hungover job interviewee becomes the suspect in a murder after discovering a dead body in a bathroom. Interview here and a preview too.
Dr Strange Season One is the latest in Marvel’s early years graphic novels and it’s drawn by Emma Rios who talks to writer Grek Pak on video here. Elsewhere Greg Pak says: “I love that at the beginning of his origin story way back in Strange Tales #115, he’s a complete jerk. He’s a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who’s also totally selfish — refusing to talk to prospective patients until they’ve paid up. That’s a phenomenal set up for a comeuppance and a hero’s journey. And that’s what we’re doing here in Doctor Strange: Season One. But what makes it fun is that our story is set early enough on that journey that Strange is still essentially that selfish jerk, which means he’s funny and he misbehaves and he’s a blast to write and read about.” Read the rest of that interview here. I’ll spare you the other one I found, conducted by the kind of person who probably puts Breaking Bad spoilers on the internet before the episode even ends. You don’t need to know everything about a book before you read it, right? Have a preview.
The only ongoing comic mention this week goes to The Creep #1, John Arcudi and Jonathan Case‘s series that comes off the back of the Dark Horse Presents appearances. It’s been talked about here at Gosh! as being a good one to get on board with. Preview here. Arcudi talks acromegaly and suicide over at Bloody Disgusting. Cheery.
British illustrator Denis McLoughlin is best known for his hard-boiled detective stuff, producing hundreds of those amazing pulp magazine and book covers where they have good hats, good coats and guns and stuff. The Art of Denis McLoughlin features scans from all surviving artwork where possible, and scans of book covers where originals no longer exist . You can see what you’re in for over at Book Palace. McLoughlin also turns up in Illustrators Magazine #1, a new quarterly thing that is not Illustration Magazine although it looks almost exactly the same and is aimed at the same audience. If I hadn’t pointed out the difference you probably would have bought it accidentally anyway. Preview here.
Also, biography-wise, is Tomorrow Revisited: The Complete Frank Hampson Story which not only explains how Frank Hampson came to be, but Dan Dare too.
Trail of Steel 1441 AD is a large format European-style book, beautifully illustrated classic adventure story by Marcos Mateu. My only beef with it is the computer-generated word balloons that contain computer lettering, which is the same beef this reviewer has (from this lowly knackered soapbox I plead with designers once again: No. Stop. Down with this sort of thing.) There’s another review here along with previews.
And in trade paperback you can have the first four issues of Kieron Gillen‘s fan-favourite run on Uncanny X-Men. Here’s an old interview where he talks about his plans for the series (if you’ve already read it you can go back and see if he changed them).
And finally, if you’re in Brighton this Saturday head down to see our pals at Dave’s Comics. They got the Pleece brothers signing copies of their book The Great Unwashed, a collection of all their small press stuff over the last 25 years. Details here.