Hey there, Goshovites,
No Hayley this week. I could spin some fanciful tale to explain her absence, but the fact is sometimes she just likes to take time out to tackle huge jigsaw puzzles. I believe this week it’s this wonderful waterhole scene. Lovely.
In that spirit, like thirsty elephants to the sweet life-giving pool of comics, let’s splash in! (And please excuse the swarming typos, like crocodiles in the reeds, as this slightly rushed week is lacking the — err — alert hyena of effective proofreading? Oh, forget it.)
If you were one of the unlucky souls who waited more than 90 seconds to try and purchase a ticket to tonight’s sold out Alan Moore/Mitch Jenkins Unearthing event, we’ve an excellent consolation prize: the release of the Unearthing book in a standard softcover version, or in a super-sized hardcover edition. Either is worth getting, but the over-sized format (limited to 1,500 copies) really showcases Jenkins’ striking photography.
In case you’re sitting there thinking “What the hell are you talking about, Andrew, you bearded buffoon,” allow me to explain. Unearthing is a piece originally authored by Moore in 2006 for an Iain Sinclair anthology, examining the life (and corresponding South London geography) of Moore’s friend and mentor Steve Moore (no relation). Revised and recorded as a spoken word piece in 2010 and published at the time as a deluxe LP/CD box set accompanied by photography by Mitch Jenkins, now the piece has evolved into an exquisitely designed prose book full to the brim with photos. It’s an excellent work, an intensely personal portrait of a fascinating character.
While you’re at it, don’t forget those other Moore/Jenkins collaborations, the short film Jimmy’s End, and its prequel Act of Faith, both available to stream RIGHT NOW. Unless you’re at work, because they’re possibly (definitely) a bit NSFW. And if you like those, you’ll be happy to hear there’s more to come, with two more shorts already in the can.
And also on the Moore front, you may be aware that next week marks the release of the Nemo: Heart of Ice HC by Messrs Moore and O’Neill. Now we’ve been asked a lot if we’re going to be doing a mini-print with this edition, as we did with the LOEG Century volumes. The answer is no, I’m afraid. No, no, we’re doing something much more grand, but to find out what, you’ll just have to wait until next week…
What else this week? Well, the second volume of fantasy anthology Spera is out, and looks to be every bit as beautiful as its predecessor. In case you missed it, Spera is a fantasy webcomic written by Josh Tierney about two princesses and their fire-spirit dog friend setting off to discover the magical land of Spera, getting entangled with evil forces and such along the way. Each chapter is drawn by a different artist, sometimes pushing the main story forward, sometimes taking digressions with subplots and supporting characters. It’s a lot of fun, and the line-up of artists who get involved is astounding, including Hilda guy & Friend Of Ol’ Gosh Luke Pearson, webcomic wunderkind Emily Carroll & Prophet artist Giannis Milonogiannis. Totally worth checking out, and you can find the first handsome volume as a more or less permanent fixture on our table upstairs.
Almost forgotten now, Albert Dorne was one of the masters of advertising art in the golden age of Madison Avenue. A contemporary of Norman Rockwell and one of the principal founders of The Famous Artists School, he was at one point the highest-paid artist in the business, and a cursory glance through his work shows why. Luckily, thanks to the good folks at Auad, you can wrap your tastebuds around an entire career retrospective’s worth with the Albert Dorne, Master Illustrator HC. Auaud have some preview pages here , and there’s a heartfelt tribute over at the Today’s Inspiration blog.
Another artist – happily still with us – to get a retrospective this week is the one and only Mitch O’Connell, whose work has graced everything from Coca Cola ads to Playboy magazine, with a few comic covers thrown in for good measure. This book really digs through his career, from early submissions to Marvel (rejected by Jim Shooter) through commercial illustration to tattoo work, band posters and more. There’s plenty to give you a taster on the very fellow’s blog.
Kings in Disguise was a story of hobo life during the great depression, initially serialized by Kitchen Sink back in 1988. It’s widely considered to be among the greatest one of those high-falutin’ graphic novels ever made (it was republished by Norton back in 2006), with even that Alan Moore chap calling it “one of the most moving and compelling human stories to emerge out of the graphic story medium.” Well at long last James Vance & Dan Burr have returned to the story of Fred Bloch in a new hardcover GN. Bloch has settled into life as an assistant to a travelling show escapologist, but the secrets he and his new boss are harbouring might be the ruin of them both, while labour unrest and economic instability threaten to tear the country apart. Cheery stuff.
Nice looking new Humanoids book this week: District 14 HC, by Pierre Gabus & Romuald Reutimann. It’s an odd brew, to be sure. A cast that looks like an anthropomorphic fever dream, with a caped crimefighter and a few aliens thrown in for good measure, get embroiled in a mystery in early 20th Century New York. It certainly looks interesting, and has won its share of awards in France. I’ll be checking it out.
New comics, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya.
Batman Inc. #8 is in, the issue which Grant Morrison as described as the pay-off to everything he’s been building up to with the Bat-titles. There are some pretty serious spoilers floating around on that there internet, so be careful if you want to go in fresh.
There would seem to be few creative teams so perfectly suited to their material as Roger Langridge & J. Bone on a new Rocketeer mini-series. The Rocketeer requires a certain light touch that so many creators today have seemingly forgotten. It should be the right mix of drama, excitement, action and – most crucially – fun. So we’re certainly looking forward to The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror #1, the beginning of a mystery story set in the underbelly of Hollywood’s golden age.
One of the most hotly tipped titles in the Marvel Now line-up so far has got to be Brian Michael Bendis & Steve McNiven’s Guardians of the Galaxy, no doubt in no small part due to a certain upcoming film. This week sees the release of issue #0.1, which is to say a prelude to the main event, setting the stage for next month’s #1. Given the positive creative refresh we’ve seen from many of the Marvel Now titles so far (including Bendis doing the best work he’s done in ages on All New X-Men), I would say this is worth checking out.
The regular Baltimore team of Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden and (New Zealand’s own) Ben Stenbeck bring us a double-feature one shot this week. Baltimore: The Widow & The Tank tells the tales of a woman sheltering her vampire husband after his return from WWI, and of a vampire hiding from even worse beasties in an abandoned tank. Saying one of these Mignola-led books is going to be good is like saying it’s going to rain in the winter-time in London. You might be wrong, but no-one is going to bet against you.
Couple of collections out this week that might tickle your wicket, if that’s what you’re looking for.
If you’ve enjoyed Scott Snyder’s take on Batman in the New 52, but that was your first exposure to him, then do yourself a favour and check out the Batman Black Mirror TP, collecting Snyder’s Detective Comics work with Jock & Francesco Francavilla (including the incredible Jock cover above, which isn’t the cover of the collection, but I’ll take any excuse to trot it out). There’s also a softcover of New Teen Titans Games, the OGN by the classic Titans team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez that was 20 years in the making. And finally the fourth hardcover collection of Mark Waid’s Daredevil run hits the shelves this week. It not only features the usual sterling work by regular artist Chris Samnee, but also collects the issue drawn by special guest Mike Allred.
In other news, those titles delayed by the US blizzards are all in this week, including the new issue of Saga, so dry those eyes, science fiction fantasy family drama fans!
And events wise, don’t forget the Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill signing for Nemo Heart of Ice on the 9th March, and heads up in case you missed it for our launch of Tom Gauld’s new collection, You’re All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack, on the 24th April.
And that’s that! Hayley will be back as normal next week for all your blogging needs, almost certainly without clumsy African wildlife similes, and don’t forget to look out for that special Nemo-related announcement. It’s a good ‘un.