Hey Gosh blog fans, Andrew here stepping in for that Hayley Campbell. She’s off taking her Guide troop on a tour through prominent Mayan ruins, so while she’s trekking from Uaxactun to Dzibilnocac, you and I can set a spell, catching up on old times and new comics.
This past Friday we were lucky enough to host the launch shindig for Steven Appleby’s Guide to Life HC, the latest collection of strips from, as you might expect, Steven Appleby. Steven’s weekly Loomus cartoon is one of the Guardian’s most popular strips, an absurdist meditation on all things family. Not only do we now have the book in stock, but Steven has done an exclusive tip-in mini-print for us to go with it, signed and limited to 200 copies. Given about half of the prints have already gone, you might want to get in quick on these. If you’re feeling like taking home something a little more high-end, we’ve also got an exhibition of Steven’s originals up and on sale, and at the very least, pop by and check out the lovely window painting he’s done for us.
Paul Grist has long been a favourite of ours, from St Swithins Day to Kane to Jack Staff, with what can only be described as a quintessentially British style (in a good way). Mudman Vol 1 TP collects the first five issues of his fun seaside superhero yarn, following student Owen Craig as he comes to terms with suddenly developing mud-based superpowers. Grist’s lighter touch is perfect for the material, which is all-ages in the truest sense. IFanboy had this preview up for #1.
Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back is one of the most sweetly sinister children’s books of the last few years, (available in our kid’s section plugplug) and he’s followed it up with another excellent moral tale of hat theft, This Is Not My Hat. We pick up the story following a small fish, who’s just nicked off with someone’s hat (because of course). To say much more would spoil the experience, but feast your eyes on this book trailer by the good folk at Walker Books.
Recent readers of 2000AD can skip ahead here if they like, because the next offering I want to highlight this week is Al Ewing & Brendan McCarthy’s Zaucer of Zilk #1, from IDW. Collecting the entire previously-serialised-in-2000AD story into 2 oversized issues, it’s a psychedelic punk fantasy (as our Tom likes to describe it) collaboration between two of the magazine’s best creators, past and present. Comic Book Resources had this preview when it was running in 2000AD. Chris Ryall from IDW says “It’s a blast to work with 2000 AD in bringing the gorgeous insanity of McCarthy and Ewing’s creation to readers here. The colorful wonderment Brendan McCarthy worked on the ZILK pages is already embedded in my eyelids forever, and I can’t wait for readers to experience the same thing.” And now he doesn’t have to wait any longer! Please, people, for poor old Chris Ryall’s sake! You won’t regret it.
Back in 1986 Howard Chaykin, at the top of his cage-rattling game, produced a 4-issue mini-series for DC starring old pulp favourite, The Shadow. The series, titled Blood & Judgement, caused quite a stir at the time, with it’s depictions of drug use, sex and violence. Not Black Kiss-levels, you understand, but it was pretty edgy stuff for the time, and was pretty damn good to boot. Now Dynamite, publishers of Garth Ennis’ new Shadow series, have collected Chaykin’s take on the character again, the first time it’s been in print since 1991. If you’ve not read it, do yourself a favour and pick it up. Chaykin in the 80’s was up there with Miller and Moore in shaping the language of comics, and this was one of his best works of the time. CBR have got you, preview-wise.
The Marvel Now train starts to build steam this week with the release of Marvel Now Point One. Similar to past Point One issues, the one-shot offers glimpses of a number of upcoming titles in Marvel’s big creative shuffle. Based on the teasers and reveals we’ve had thus far, it looks like the book will contain: Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie; Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis & Steve McNiven; FF by Matt Fraction & Mike Allred; Cable & X-Force by Dennis Hopeless & Gabriel Hernandez Walta; Nova by Jeph Loeb & Ed McGuinness; and Secret Avengers by Nick Spencer & Luke Ross. Judging from the cover, we may also get some kind of Nick Fury framing sequence, presumably flicking through holographic profiles while making ominous noises about people’s threat level. At a guess.
If you didn’t pick up the totally bonkers Infernal Man-Thing mini series by the late Steve Gerber and Kevin Nowlan recently, now’s your chance. Long thought lost to the drawers of never-finished projects, it’s a beautifully drawn callback to one of Gerber’s original Man-Thing stories about a writer who grapples with madness and imagination in the heart of the Everglades. It’s wonderfully weird stuff, and is of a piece with Gerber’s best work. Here’s some preview pages from what was #1.
It’s been a while since we last had an installment of the flashback BPRD miniseries, so I’m very excited to see the final part of what they’re billing as the “Secret Origins Trilogy”, set a year after the last, in the titular 1948. Sadly the twins Ba & Moon haven’t returned for art duties this time, but they’ve got a great replacement in the form of Four Eyes and Amazing Spider-Man artist Max Fiumara. The set-up is atomic space travel experiments creating horrible monsters, which sounds like incentive enough for me, but looking at the cover it also appears that Soviet demon munchkin Varvara is back, a character whose appearance in present day BPRD recently actually made me exclaim “&^$£ yeah!” So there you go, a recommendation if ever there was one.
Okay, time is against us, so let’s get bullet-pointy:
- Dark Horse continue their burst of new horror comics with the first issue of Tim Seeley & Josh Emmons’ vampire/serial killer Badlands-style romance Ex Sanguine. Preview.
- Jim McCann & Rodin Esquejo’s Mind the Gap has been quite popular around these parts, a twisty supernatural thriller where the “Gap” refers to the space between life and death. First collection out this week, and well worth checking out for fans of mysteries about near-dead women moving through the spirit world trying to discover the identity of attackers who put them in a coma. It’s a fairly niche genre, but who doesn’t love it?
- It’s hardly a jumping on point, but one of the most enduring of what I call the “modern” 2000AD characters (though is actually 15 years old now) comes to an end with the Nikolai Dante Sympathy for the Devil TP. Robbie Morrison, along with a host of artists over the years including Simon Fraser and John Burns, has completed a proper epic that stands alongside the magazine’s best, It’s also a good opportunity to remind everyone to rally the 2000AD bods to get the early volumes all back into print.
- The final collection of Jason Aaron & Steve Dillon’s excellent PunisherMAX run is out this week, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, the earlier three volumes are all still available. It’s been a very good run, with a tone that manages find a happy balance between Ennis’ Marvel Knights and Max runs on the character. And while I’m here, may I again state that Ennis’ Punisher Max run (still available!) is still one of the best things he’s ever written, a gruelling treatise on the futile, cyclical nature of violence.
- Speaking of violence (smoooth), the third collection of Rogue Trooper Complete Tales of Nu Earth is out this week. It’s the post-finding-the-traitor material, and technically speaking, as I recall, most of it doesn’t actually occur on Nu Earth, but why quibble? It’s still got some lovely Steve Dillon art, and that’s reason enough.
- Mike Carey’s still-great-in-case-you’ve-forgotten Unwritten reaches it’s sixth collection this week. All previous volumes still in stock in case you’ve missed it up to now.
- We’re treated to Billy the Kid’s Oddities & Orm Loch Ness #1 this week, a new mini from Eric Powell & Kyle Hotz featuring everyone’s favourite freakshow-running, believed-dead outlaw. This time out, Billy and his compatriots journey to Scotland to rescue the Loch Ness Monster from Count Dracula. You read that right. Preview.
- Kieron Gillen’s brilliant run on Journey Into Mystery sees it’s third collection, The Terrorism Myth, in softcover this week.
- And finally, if you’re looking for something a little Halloween-y, then Fred Van Lente returns to the Marvel Zombies universe this week with (duh) Marvel Zombies Halloween one-shot. According to Van Lente – who wrote some of the best MZ stories – “I can reveal that this is going to really focus on Marvel’s kid and teen heroes; Avengers Academy, Runaways and even Power Pack. You’ll see more gruesome versions of these teams than we’re used to seeing. It’s sort of what “Lost Boys” did for vampires.” Read more over here.
So, as you may be aware, we’ve got some cracking events coming up throughout November, which may be summarised as follows:
2nd November: The Phoenix Activity Day – Draw along with Neil Cameron, Gary Northfield & Lorenzo Etherington!
Ages 6 – 13 welcome, paper, pens and activity sheets will be provided. 1pm – 4pm
13th November: Alison Bechdel Signing - Come meet the award-winning author of Fun Home, Are You My Mother & Dykes to Watch Out For. 5pm – 7pm.
15th November: Jason Aaron Signing - In association with Thought Bubble, it’s the first ever UK appearance of the author of Scalped and Wolverine & the X-Men! 5pm – 7pm
20th November: Krent Able Exhibition & Book Launch – Followed by an after party with live music @ White Heat!
And believe it or not, still more to announce. Watch the skies!
And lastly, friends, let’s talk about How Late. You know How Late, don’t you? That venerable weekly listing sheet that’s sat on our counter since time immemorial, making sure you don’t miss anything on the new releases rack, as well as giving you a heads-up about what’s coming next week? Well, the sad truth is that How Late isn’t quite the thoroughbred it used to be, my friends. The numbers have dwindled over the years as this old statesmen of comic shop communication has been outflanked by some new upstart called The Internet. It seems that fewer and fewer of you require the services of old How Late, so we’ve made a decision to put the old boy out to pasture. That’s right, nostalgia fans, next week will be our final print edition of How Late, which will be…well…probably pretty much like any other edition of How Late, actually. But the last.
Not that we’re going to leave all you How Late junkies completely hanging, though. Starting from Wednesday 31st October, we’ll have a number of new release sheets at the counter for your reference. Simply grab one, use it to check over the new release shelves, and pop it back on the counter when you’re done. Easy! It’s the future of reference materials for new comics releases that are still printed.
Okay folks, that’s all for this week. You’ll have me back again next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!