If you’ve been paying attention you’ll already be well aware that this Friday night we’re launching Steven Appleby’s Guide to Life with booze and books and a cartoonist on hand to autograph things. We’ve got original colour pages framed and up on the walls and if you’d like to buy one you are very welcome to. There’s two dozen to choose from. Come see ‘em before they come down next week!
There’s a few days in November coming up where you might wind up spending as much time here as I do. Bring a packed lunch. Not only do we have Jason Aaron coming in before his sojourn in sunny Leeds, we’ve also got Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, Are You My Mother?) signing for a couple of hours and what can only be described as a Krent Able extravaganza. Couple more events to announce but I think that’ll do you for now…
In the delivery this week comes the highly recommended first volume of Saga, Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples‘ (North 40) sci-fi thing that’s turned out to be one of the best comics of the year. The first six issues are collected in this trade paperback so if you’re yet to jump on board, now’s a good time – issue #7 isn’t out yet so you’ll be entirely up to date. There’s a mildly spoilery interview with both of them at io9 and one just with Vaughan at Comicbook Resources. (“Brian K. Vaughan plans to top himself,” it begins. No, no, not like that.) Vaughan was so confident he was onto a winner that back before #1 arrived he said that if you didn’t like it you could post the comic back to him and he’d refund you the three bucks. The offer, apparently, still stands.
Legendary cartoonist Yves Chaland‘s Young Albert is getting the deluxe treatment from Humanoids. The seminal comic strip is collected in one of those enormo-books like The Eyes of the Cat was briefly before it sold out, and they’re only doing 550 limited and numbered editions. Also, this is the strip’s first outing in English. Preview pictures at humanoids.
Frederik Peeters‘ (Blue Pills, Sandcastle) newly translated book, Pachyderme, might well be one of the weirdest books on the shelves. Our pals over at Dave’s Comics are already touting it as book of the year. “It all started,” says Peeters, “with an image I had in my head of a line of cars stuck behind a dead elephant in the middle of the road.” From there, a woman abandons her car to the traffic jam and sets off into the woods on foot where it all turns a bit David Lynch. Weird Fiction Review talks about it here and if you’re still unconvinced, the book comes complete with an introduction and seal of approval by the late, great Moebius.
If I had to pinpoint one reason why this blog post is took ages to finish I would have to come clean and say I scrolled through Sam Hiti‘s art tumblr for ages. Just ages. Sam Hiti, who you’ll remember from Death Day and Tiempos Finales, is brilliant. Now he’s gone and done a children’s book so that kids can have a go on him too. Waga’s Big Scare is about a tiny monster who’s lost his scare and has to find it again or he’ll disappear at dawn. The best pages are the monster crowd scenes featuring dozens of Hiti-designed beasties. Publishers Weekly review it and if you fancy waving goodbye to the rest of your afternoon here’s Hiti‘s art blog.
Another monster on the shelf has left The Comics Journal at a loss for words. “Theo Ellsworth‘s Euro album-format The Understanding Monster is unquestionably the most relentlessly psychedelic comic I’ve encountered in 2012, pitched somewhere in between the handmade decoration of Lynda Barry and the textured sci-fi chaos of Brendan McCarthy circa Freakwave, with lunges into post-underground Psychedoolia merriment and… I dunno, Joseph Cornell’s boxes. And Toy Story. I’m kind of at a loss for words, or even a plot summary.” Ellsworth himself says that “it’s the biggest leap into my subconscious that I’ve made with my art so far. I have no idea what people will think of it, but creating this book was a startling and rewarding process. It’s a hand colored, oversized, hardcover book. This first installment is one piece of a bigger puzzle that I’m building.” There’s a great and strange review over at Bookslut and Newsarama go and ask Ellsworth a bunch of questions.
More art stuff you might want to have a look at: Mattias Adolfsson, the Swedish illustrator whose sketchbooks are released in this part of the world for the first time. Mattias Unfiltered is published as a facsimile of the Moleskin he sketches in and you can see what kind of stuff you’re in for at his website. Just look at these goddamn amazing sketches.
The problem with getting cool weird art books in is that sometimes you try and find information on them and it transpires people only talk about them in Danish. Stig & Martha is one of those situations. Have lots of pictures instead.
Robert Crumb‘s bitter, whining, self-pitying correspondences from when he was about 15 to his mid-30s are collected in what is still my favourite titled book ever, Your Vigour For Life Appalls Me. It’s not a new book but it hasn’t been in print for ages. He talks about his first failed marriage, his obsessions, his early days with (his now wife) Aline, and how the only reason he’s stuck with this drawing thing so diligently is spite, to get even with society for not accepting him. Some of it’s typed, some of it’s handwritten and peppered with marginal cartoons. PDF preview care of Fantagraphics.
Speaking of Crumb, design critic Steven Heller‘s tribute to Crumb‘s ZAP comix is just one of the articles collected in the latest BlabWorld collection. Drew Friedman writes about Will Elder, and there are comics by the likes of Peter Kuper, Denis Kitchen, Gary Baseman and more. Editor Monte Beauchamp talks about the new volume and its themes with Heller in this interview. “Lately I’ve been having real interesting dreams, so that’s what I’m gravitating towards — it’s an issue about dreams.”
Best American Comics HC 2012 is guest-edited by RAW founder and art editor at The New Yorker, Françoise Mouly, who’s picked the best stuff from comics, newspapers, magazines, minicomics and stuff on the internet to produce a boiled-down good comics concentrate. Expect to see Charles Burns, Chester Brown, Joyce Farmer, Jim Woodring, Jaime Hernandez, Michael Kupperman, Blab‘s Nora Krug doing a bit on kamikaze pilots, Jordan Crane, David Collier, Chris Ware and a bunch more regulars and up-and-comers, all topped off with a Gary Panter cover.
The second volume of Graphic Canon is here. Last time round we saw Robert Crumb doing Boswell‘s London Journal, and Don Quixote by Will Eisner. For volume 2, Gris Grimly takes on Edgar Allan Poe and Bill Sienkiewicz does Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn. It’s another backbreaking phonebook of a thing and Publishers Weekly really like it.
Also Poe-related, remember Lou Reed and Lorenzo Mattotti‘s collaboration on The Raven? Came out last year and AnOther magazine have a preview. It’s out in softcover as of this week.
J. Torres (Teen Titans Go!) and Faith Erin Hicks (Friends With Boys) have a book for the younger readers in the house. Bigfoot Boy: Into the Woods is reviewed over at the Comics Bulletin.
It’s the 75th anniversary of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – their first full-length animated movie – and The Fairest One of All is a big hardcover that goes into the making of the film. Lots of concept artwork you won’t have seen before and stories from people who worked on the film itself. Simon & Schuster have a preview.
Neal Adams‘ Batman Odyssey is out in hardcover, and if you want some 1980s Batman stuff make sure Legends of the Dark Night: Alan Davis is in your pile. It collects Detective Comics #569 – 575, Batman: Full Circle and a story from Batman: Gotham Knights #25. “It is a magnificent little collection of some truly wonderful, old school, lighthearted Batman stories,” says the FPI blog alongside some great scans of what’s inside.
Also in hardcover is Castle by Brian Michael Bendis, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Lan Medin, being the comic inspired by the Castle television series I’ve never seen which was adapted from the Derrick Storm novels by Richard Castle who is a fictional character and a also pseudo-realistic author? I have no idea what any of this means.
There’s a new bi-monthly series called Haunted Horrors which reprints classic old horror comics from the 1940s before the Comics Code Authority took all the fun out of everything. Craig Yoe and Steve “Karswell” Banes (the same dudes who brought you Zombies: The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics) are in charge of this one so it should be good. In the first issue you can see – along with two other pieces – a Golden Age story by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby called Slaughter-House. £2.85! Bloody Disgusting have a preview.
More horror and monsters in Transfusion #1, the first bit of a three-parter by Steve Niles. Bloody Disgusting have a preview of that too.
Walking Dead: Michonne Special is a one-shot reprinting The Walking Dead #19, Michonne’s first appearance, plus the origin story that turned up in Playboy Magazine. It’s a recap for watchers of the TV show. Michonne is just about to turn up in the third season.
Jonathan Maberry writes Marvel Universe Vs. Avengers #1 (of 4), previewed here, and elsewhere the whole Marvel Now thing kicks off: Kieron Gillen launches AvX Consequences #1 (of 5), previewed here, and Rick Remender gives you Uncanny Avengers #1. Preview of that one here. Red She-Hulk #58 carries on the numbering from Hulk so don’t go looking for the 57 Red She-Hulk backissues you missed.
Finally, there’s a writing workshop with Mike Carey (Lucifer, The Unwritten) on next week at the Peckham Library. Tuesday the 16th of October, 6:30pm. It’s £30 and you can book online if you fancy it.