Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 13/03/08

Hello and welcome to a week that sees publisher Dark Horse putting out comics like they’re going (even further) out of fashion! Included among these is the Pick of the Week, Serenity: Better Days #1, and don’t be fooled: while it may say Serenity on the cover, this is Firefly Season 2 through and through, set during the crew’s halcyon days of space pirate adventure. Sadly, creator Joss Whedon is only plotting, not fully scripting the issues, though he’s backed up by the very capable team that supported him on the previous Serenity series: Brett Matthews (on script) and Will Conrad (on upright bass). As a Firefly fan, I did have my grievances with Serenity: Those Left Behind, but chief amongst these was the somewhat rushed storytelling, covering about a season’s worth of plot in three issues. As such, I’m very keen to see what this creative team can do with the freedom of this new series.

DC’s most change-earning release of the week is, surprisingly, Superman Confidential #13. This is the second issue of teetering-ever-so-close-to-superstardom creators B. Clay Moore and Phil Hester’s run on the series, and for those of you who missed part 1, we’ve got copies left in the back-issues. It’s worth jumping on, as the arc so far has showcased Phil Hester on top form and B. Clay Moore’s deeply entertaining, proto-retro take on the character. Full of fun, explosions and giant mechanised toy soliders, just like Superman ought to be.

Another second issue to catch up on is Wolverine #63, the second part of Jason Aaron’s run offsetting the hellzaclawpoppin’ Canadian’s hunt for Mystique against their previous skirmishes through history. For those of you still hurting from Mark Guggenheim’s recent writing stint, let me assure you, this is a different league of material altogether. Ron Garney’s artwork goes far above and beyond his recent work on Amazing Spider-Man, and Aaron continues to cram each issue full of more action, adventure and cleverly-woven exposition than one would expect from the average X-book. Don’t just wait for Millar’s run – jump on early!

No catching-up required for Punisher #55, however, being as it is the first part of Garth Ennis’ final story on the title! This gritty take on the character has been the Max imprint’s most successful title, and it’s certainly the steady hand of Ennis that cemented the series as one of comics’ greatest treats. Given the strength of recent arcs, there’s no doubt that this final five issues, entitled Valley Forge, Valley Forge: The Slaughter of a US Marine Corps and the Birth of the Punisher, should provide a finale as grandiose as its title.

As previously mentioned, Dark Horse has brought a huge number of titles to the table this week (The Goon, two Star Wars titles and BPRD 1946 to name some of the more impressive), but Image’s efforts by no means pale in comparison! In addition to such mainstays as Walking Dead and Madman Atomic Comics, there’s the debut issue of a title that seems at once intriguing and utterly commercially suicidal. Screamland #1 tells the 21st century story of cinema’s Frankenstein’s Monster, scrabbling for work and distraction in a world of hi-tech CGI. Mad? Yes. But for that reason, worth having a look at! And speaking of mad, there’s also the new issue of Simon Spurrier and Frazer Irving’s Gutsville, after many months of waiting! Will wonders never cease?

The greatest happenings in comics are, as always, a-happenin’ within our very walls, as this week our sale has expanded! Stock clearing is a beautiful thing for the consumer, and our formerly measly £1 sale section has arisen once more, like the Phoenix, and now sees new life as the £5 or less sale section! There are some real treats to be had in there, too. So drop in and have a rummage, you won’t regret it!

This last week has also seen the beginning of an exhibition like no other! China Comics Now, set up by comics historian Paul Gravett, is an extensive gallery exhibition showcasing the latest and greatest in manhua art, and is running at the London College of Communication in Elephant and Castle until Friday 11th April. More information can be found at:

Jeff Smith fans found reason to be guardedly pleased this week when it was announced that the film rights to his epic series Bone have been snapped up once again – this time by Warner Brothers. The producer, Dan Lim, is also working on the studio’s on-again, off-again Justice League movie. Early reports suggest that the film is either going to see the light of day as a fully-CGI cartoon or as a CGI-enhanced live action picture. It almost seems a shame, given Smith’s much-publicised love of traditional cel animation, but it’s a story that could well lend itself to adaptation in many forms if handled correctly. We say: yeah, why not?

Finally, those of you who have wondered if Marvel are ever going to do anything with The Eternals again after Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr’s splendid run last year can put your wondering minds to rest. Marvel have just revealed a brand new ongoing Eternals series to be written by up-and-coming father-son writing team Daniel and Charles Knauf and drawn by former Flash artist Daniel Acuña. Acuña can really bring good work to the table when motivated, and that certainly seems to be the case here, as preview internal art has been very impressive indeed. So, one to look out for in June!

Happy reading!
- Tom