Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 20/03/08

Hello everybody, and welcome to a somewhat unusual column, as first off I’m going to push a comic from last week! And a weird one it is too. Last week I gave Screamland #1 a slight mention out of mere curiosity, describing it as seeming ‘at once intriguing and utterly commercially suicidal’. It’s a very odd comic, for numerous reasons. It’s about the classic Universal monsters as though they were actors, struggling for work in today’s CGI-centric movie industry, and reads like a high-concept TV sitcom. More importantly - and I was genuinely surprised about this - it is flat-out excellent. It’s endearing, well drawn with a honed sense of design, and wittily written. Genuinely comic comics are few and far between these days, so please believe me when I say that Screamland #1 deserves the hype I’m giving it. Check it out or, if it sells out too quickly, back-order it; this is a writer / artist team that are deserving of some attention.

Marvel’s biggest release of the week is Thor #7, which begins the much-vaunted two-part run by famed cover artist Marko Djurdevic. How does it look? Well, the short answer is: a bit disappointing. The layouts are impressive and the colouring work (provided by Marko’s wife, Jelena Kevic Djurdevic) stands up to the series’ high standard, but I can’t help but feel that Djurdevic’s first non-painted internal work has been let down by an unsuited inker in Danny Miki. Had Djurdevic’s work had the smooth, clean work of regular series finisher Mark Morales laid over it, I suspect we would have seen a more satisfying final result. Still, don’t let my nit-picking put you off! The writing’s still spot-on, with some very memorable moments in an issue that manages to drive the over-arcing plot forward while retaining the series’ light touch and background sense of humour. And for those of you following the lead-up to Secret Invasion, your lucky number this week is Captain Marvel #4.

It’s a bit of a slim showing from Dark Horse, but worry not, as Image brings out the must-have Invincible #49, which I am especially happy about because I just managed to catch up with the back-issues. As such, I can now confirm that writer Robert Kirkman’s work on this series has not slipped in the slightest over the last several issues and his masterful grasp of interweaving storylines and a large cast of characters continues to provide superlatively rewarding reading. His recent issues of Walking Dead have shown that he can really pull off impressive change and surprising twists in his ongoing titles, so I think we can believe his hype about the lead-up to issue #50.

In shop news, don’t miss this week’s release of Joann Sfar and Lewis Tronheim’s excellent Dungeon Monstres Vol 1 paperback, featuring two guest artists - Jean-Christophe Menu and Mazan - chronicling the adventures of some of the fantasy series’ colourful supporting characters. Fans of pitch-dark humour will be glad to hear that we’ve finally secured more copies of the Sam and Max Surfin’ the Highway paperback. What’s more, Marvel has very proactively released an early second printing of Fantastic Four #554, the first issue of Millar and Hitch’s run. Some might say too proactively, as we’ve still got quite a few copies of the first printing in stock if you still want to grab the original. What’s more, for those of you wondering what on Earth Piq Magazine is, that’s the renamed and revamped anime & manga magazine Newtype.
This week, we’re sad to have to bring you the news of the passing of Dave Stevens on March 10th at the age of 52, succumbing to the leukaemia that he had battled for several years. Stevens was best known as the creator of Rocketeer, a character that first came to light in the early 80s, but whose high-spirited pulp tone was spiritually a product of the 30s. He staked out a patch of the industry early on in his career, with his high-detail pin-up styled illustration, and was much loved for it, having caught the eye of such luminaries as Jack Kirby and Russ Manning as early as the late 70s. Though his presence in the industry has waned in recent years due to his illness, his body of work has secured his legacy as both a writer and an artist and he will be much missed. Loving tributes have flooded in from across the creative scene, including from writer Mark Evanier, whose obituary of Stevens can be found here.

DC provided a chunk of news all at once this week via its Countdown to Final Crisis panel at the Wizard World LA expo. There was word of a new, separate Justice League title to run alongside the current Justice League of America devised and written by James Robinson, entitled, funnily enough, Justice League. Though no artist has yet been announced, Robinson spoke in detail about the new team and its motivations. The characters involved will include Hal Jordan - the Green Lantern - leading, and some somewhat less likely heroes such as Batwoman and ‘a 90-year-old man named Bill’. Huh.

However, the panel’s discussion wasn’t limited to continuity books, but also discussed the upcoming project of another panellist, Darwyn Cooke. Cooke is apparently slated to contribute at least one story to the upcoming second wave of Vertigo American Splendor comics, as well as at least one upcoming issue of Jonah Hex. The origins of the Jonah Hex story apparently come from an agreement Cooke made with the title’s writers, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, that he’d only provide the artwork for a story which took the title character to Canada. Palmiotti and Gray delivered, so the Cooke issues will indeed be coming.

Advance word from writer Greg Pak about the fate of the stinger on the tail of World War Hulk: Skaar, Son of Hulk. Pak insists that he’s got big plans for the character in the vein of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk in the ongoing title. However, hottest news of late is that Ron Garney, whose excellent work can currently be seen in Wolverine, will be providing internal artwork indefinitely. There’s also word of a ‘dream’ cover artist circulating, though who it actually is remains under wraps for the time being.

And finally, it’s COMPETITION TIME! Yes, it’s the inauguration of our – for the forseeable future – weekly blog competition. It’s easy to enter: simply comment on this post to answer the question below, first person in is the winner! This week’s prize? One for all those Peter David fans out there: a complete set of volumes 1-4 of the new X-Factor hardcovers, plus the hardcover of the Madrox mini-series. That’s five hardcovers, free to a good home for those who can answer the question of the week. What question? This question:

During his initial run on X-Factor back in the early ‘90’s, Peter David wrote an acclaimed issue in which each of the team members has a chat with super-psychiatrist Doc Samson. #87 to be precise: it’s a great issue and well worth your time tracking down. But which of the creators was credited as the “Doctor of Gynecology” at the end of the issue?

First person to comment with the correct answer wins! Please note that the judges decision is final and that it is the responsibility of prize winners to arrange collection of the prize within a period of 14 days, after which any non-collected prizes will be offered to the runner-up.

Good luck!
- Tom

-Dave Stevens photo courtesy of The Beat


Anonymous said...

Joe Quesada.

Paul Dokoupil

Gosh! said...

Congratulations Paul, the books are all yours! They're behind the till for you now, so swing by and pick 'em up!