Andrew here, covering for Hayley once again, who has taken a week off to finish writing a book. Haha…no, no, just another one of my silly stories. She’s actually spending a week in Medvezhye, working as a consultant on a new gas pipeline. I know it seems an odd way to pass her time, but we all have our passions and European gas supply is hers.
Anyway, time keeps on slipping through my fingers despite my desperate attempts to hold on, so let’s make this quick. Turn down the lights and get over here…
Meathaus! Been a while since we’ve had any stocks of the excellent anthology series that has included such luminaries as James Jean, Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland, Jim Rugg, Dash Shaw and many, many more. Now, not only do we have restocks of issues 4-9, but also for the first time we have volumes 2-4 of Go For The Gold, a sketchbook anthology series that is a satisfyingly chunky look into the artistic process of the abovementioned artists and, yes, more. More than 30 artists are represented in each volume, and I’d say they were a must for aspiring artists. Hell, I think I might buy them myself, and I can barely draw a stickman.
Speaking of…uhh…drawing, that Michael DeForge is pretty good at it, isn’t he? And if you’re not sure who I’m talking about, why don’t you pick up a copy of Lose #4, the latest issue of his award-winning series? A single-artist anthology, this issue features “a post-adolescent punk’s leather-and-spike-laced metamorphosis, a look at the lives and fashions of the exquisite corpses that make up the Canadian Royalty, and a town that is haunted by its past, which happens to look a lot like its present.” Koyama have a preview.
Those nice folks at Retrofit Comics have sent us a little package, too. Secret Prison #7 is an anthology of cartoonists doing comics right-to-left in a tribute to classic manga anthology Garo. It’s gloriously oversized, and features folks such as Luke Pearson, James Harvey, Angie Wang, Box Brown, Ryan Cecil Smith, Tom Hart, & the ever-popular “many more”.
Fantagraphics are breaking out a few classics for the Christmas train this week, most obviously with Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking HC. A collection of two short pieces Schulz did for a couple of lifestyle magazines back in the 60’s. It harkens, of course, to a time when that lousy showboating gloryhound Snoopy hadn’t quite taken over as the popular face of the strip, which is to say: a better time. There’s a preview here.
Ahh…where was I? Oh yes, Fantagraphics collections. We’ve also got a couple more classic Disney books out this week. Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown HC is the third collection of their Carl Barks library, and Disney’s Micky Mouse HC Vol 4 House of the Seven Haunts continues their series of Floyd Gottfredson newspaper strip collections. The attention to detail and quality in these books is great, and they’re well worth checking out whether you consider yourself a fan of the Disney stuff or not. It’s just bloody great comics.
Dr Seuss fans have reason to celebrate this week with the release of Dr Seuss The Cat Behind the Hat HC, a generously illustrated guide to the art which Theodore Geisel described as his “Midnight Paintings”, produced on his own time and his own terms. Most interestingly, it shows examples where images and ideas from this art have later migrated into his better known works.
Couple of nice crime books this week. Scene of the Crime Deluxe HC reprints the excellent Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark & Sean Phillips noir collaboration from 1999. Long out of print, this new edition is packed with extras and designed by Phillips, and is a must-buy for fans of Criminal, or just good stories in general. Also available is a softcover of the first volume of IDW’s Torpedo collections, featuring work by none other than Alex Toth, as well as series regular Jordi Bernet.
Delayed by nearly a year, this week at last sees the release of Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland HC, a spin-off original GN starring Bigby Wolf by regular writer Bill Willingham featuring art by Jim Fern & Craig Hamilton. Searching for a new site for Fabletown, the former sheriff finds a town full of werewolves and things go rapidly downhill from there. Willingham talks about it here.
The importance of Jim Henson to at least a couple of generations worth of kids, and probably more to come, can’t really be overstated. Whether it’s the Muppet Show, Sesame Street, or even The Storyteller there aren’t many of you reading this who haven’t been influenced by him in some way or another. So you might want to get behind the scenes a little with Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal, an overview of Henson’s career told in photos and artwork from the man himself, from his professional beginnings in 1954 right though until 1990, the year of his death. It’s a lovely book, as this Muppets fan will attest.
Big week for Flesk Publications, they of the excellent production value artbooks, with three titles getting hefted through our doors this week: James Bama Personal Works HC, Jim Silke Sketchbook Vol 1 & Naughty & Nice The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm Big Pocket Edition. They make a handsome book, those Flesk folks, though I wish Bruce Timm would stop going on about his Big Pocket Edition.
While both have since made their names for the big boys, Mike Carey & Michael Gaydos did a story together years ago for Caliber Press called Inferno (which I remember reading & enjoying at the time), now being made available again as Inferno: Sleep and a Forgetting GN. Horror Talk (the best in horror since 2002, apparently) review it here.
There’s not much that can be said about Prison Pit Vol 4. You’ve either experienced the gut-churning sci-fi action-fest that is Prison Pit, or you haven’t. But if you haven’t, and that sounds like your kind of thing, I suggest you RUN, don’t walk, to our General Fiction shelves, look under Ryan, and curse yourself for being too slow as the person ahead of you takes our last copy of Prison Pit Vol 1. But don’t worry: we can order you another one. Meanwhile, salve your gorehound within using this preview. Which is almost certainly NSFW.
Marvel Now is getting revved up again this week with a few new first issues: Jason Aaron (soon to be on these shores, see below), Esad Ribic & colour genius Dean White get epic on Thor: God of Thunder #1; Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley jump on Fantastic Four and get back to basics (preview); Brian Michael Bendis & Stuart Immonen bring the original X-Men into the present day in All New X-Men (preview); and Simon Spurrier & Tan Eng Huat bring some Legion-shaped weirdness to X-Men Legacy (preview). All new #1′s, all perfect try-out issues.
If you feel like dipping your toes outside the main pool, you could do a lot worse than Where is Jake Ellis #1, the follow-up to the excellent, Eisner-winning Who Is Jake Ellis (still available in TP). Nathan Edmondson & Tonci Zonjic return to tell the continuing story of former CIA agent Jon Moore and his invisible guide Jake Ellis. There’s a preview here. Otherwise Great Pacific #1 might be more your speed, about an oil fortune heir turning his back on his fortune to try and rid the world of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating island of refuse twice the size of Texas. It’s a sci-fi survival tale that has apparently caused a bit of fuss with its preview pages, and they do look rather swish.
End of an era this week, with the release of The Boys #72, a book that against all odds turned out to be the largest body of work yet in Ennis’ career. All the volumes are still available, so do check it out if you haven’t tried it before. Speaking of ends to eras, DC this week announced the end of the Hellblazer title at Vertigo with issue #300. It’ll be replaced with a DCU Constantine title at some point, but sorry to say that the days of effin’ and blindin’ are over. Still, the pre-Vertigo Hellblazer still had plenty of edge, and you can see some of that this week in Hellblazer TP Vol 4 Family Man, collecting one of the very best Jamie Delano John Constantine stories.
Other trades of note are Lobster Johnson TP Vol 2 Burning Hand, with more of that super talented Tonci Zonjic fella, Shinku Vol 1 TP, a surprisingly enjoyable vampire romp by Ron Marz & Lee Moder, the Spider-Men HC, collecting the Bendis/Pichelli Spidey crossover, and The Strain Vol 1 TP, the rather decent adaptation of the Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan horror novel by David Lapham and Mike Huddleston.
We’ve had a couple of rather special guests through the store in the last week. First Lucy Knisley, passing through on a research trip for her new Oscar Wilde project, popped by and signed a bunch of copies of French Milk for us. It’s a great book, chronicling a stay Lucy and her mother had in Paris when she was 22, and would make a terrific gift. And then Kate Beaton popped in and signed & sketched a big pile of Hark! A Vagrant, the collection of her brilliant web comic satirising history and literature. In fact, while she was here, Scott C also popped by, and signed our few copies of Amazing Everything. If you want any of these, drop us a line and we’ll pop one aside for you. Keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook, as we’ll have a load more signed stock in the run-up to Christmas, and we’ll probably announce it there first.
Speaking of signed books, we’ve got a few events in the next week.
Alison Bechdel, award winning author of Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home and Are You My Mother will be in-store to sign TONIGHT (Tuesday the 13th November) from 5pm-7pm. We’ve got plenty of copies of her books, but you’re also welcome to bring your own along.
Then on Thursday night (the 15th), in association with the Thought Bubble festival, we’ve got Jason Aaron in-store for his first ever UK signing, and only London appearance. He’ll be here from 5pm-7pm, and in a spot of good timing that will also be the day after Scalped Vol 10: Trail’s End TP, the final volume in the series, is released, not to mention Thor: God of Thunder #1.
And then next Tuesday, the 20th November, we’ve got the launch and after-party for Krent Able’s Big Book of Mischief. It all kicks off with a signing here from 6.30pm-8.30pm, then moves on to a club night until the wee hours with bands and all at White Heat.
But that’s not all! Looking ahead we’ve got the nobrow launch party for Luke Pearson, Jon McNaught & Kyle Platts on 23rd November, 7pm-9pm. Should be a blast (which is to say: FREE DRINKS!)
Then on the 24th, from 2pm-4pm, we have the just-announced Glenn Fabry/Simon Bisley Batman/Judge Dredd signing, in association with the good folks at 2000AD! We’ll have exclusive pre-release copies available on the day of the new omnibus edition of all the Bats/Dredd stories, so get in quick.
Anyway, enough from me. Hayley will be back next week, and I’ll be at Thought Bubble this weekend along with our own Julia (who will have a table with Tom Humberstone, and a new zine for sale) & Tom (who will be moderating a couple of panel discussions). If you’re headed up yourself, be sure to say hi!