Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 17/04/08

Hello and welcome to the week in comics! And it’s... well, another slow one for new issues. But this is truly a week to expand your field of reading with some exciting new trade collections! Excited? You will be, after this week’s episode of The Gosh Authority!

For my money, the most significant release of the week is the Howard the Duck: Media Duckling paperback. No, really. This series is one of the funniest in recent memory, scripted by the all-too-rarely-used Ty Templeton and drawn by the perennially excellent Juan Bobillo. You might remember Bobillo from the early issues of Dan Slott’s She-Hulk, which are now of course preserved in marble inscription on the library tablets of paradise. So to speak. But back to Howard the Duck. It’s a wonderful series, brilliantly topical and relevant without being obnoxious with it, and, naturally, beautiful to look at. If you ever doubted the potential of a Howard the Duck series not written by Steve Gerber, calm your fears and treat yourself –this is an excellent example of how Gerber’s characters can find vivid life even in the hands of other writers.

Fear not, however, as slim as the single pickings are, there’s still the odd treat here and there. For example, there’s the latest in Aragonés and Evanier’s wild West hang-‘em-up, Bat Lash #5. This week, the still not-yet-hanged Bat Lash teams up with Comanche buddy Two-Moons and his fellow warriors to chase down his lady love’s father and show him the error of his ways before he sends her away for good! Thrilling stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree, and all rendered in the lush old-timey inks of John Severin. It’s been an eminently likeable series so far, rich and flush with the adventure sensibility of old, so follow these creators back to the prairie – where men got drunk and women got kidnapped by rustlers most weeks. Yee-haw!

DC also releases two of this week’s collections-to-collect, both featuring the art of angular Scotsman Jock! On the hardcover front is Green Arrow Year One, written by boisterous Brit Andy Diggle. Despite a somewhat cheesy ending, this is a raucously enjoyable, Rambo-channelling story of jungle survival and guerrilla warfare featuring rich boy Oliver Queen and his impromptu longbow made out of car parts. A much-needed reintroduction to the character that hinted at a more serious take on the character in the vein of Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams’ run in the 70s. But instead they went for the rip-roaring insanity of Green Arrow / Black Canary. Ah well.

The second Jock trade is the paperback collection of Mike Carey’s Vertigo mini Faker. On the one hand, it’s a wittily-scripted, nicely-drawn psychological thriller with some mild paranormal undertones, but on the other hand it reminds me slightly of the TV show Skins, so I’m torn. Seriously, though, folks – my pop-culture baggage aside – if you’ve been looking for a quick jolt in the Vertigo vein, grab this one and just forget that the characters are all wearing stripy jumpers.

Marvel does slightly better on the periodical front with a new issue of Incredible Hercules (featuring new cover artist John Romita Jr.), still written by the jackpot combination of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, but with the new inclusion of artist Rafa Sandoval. Along with Warbound, which is also out this week, Incredible Hercules is evidence of the success of Pak’s post-World War Hulk Incredi-verse, which has brought with it a string of big, fun comics with amusing gags and sympathetic characters. Jump on board and look forward to Skaar: Son of Hulk with the rest of us. There’s also the final part of Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo’s series-saving run on Amazing Spider-Man and the long-awaited Powers Annual 2008, the latter of which features artist Mike Oeming’s first co-writing credit for the series!

If you’re really feeling the lack of weeklies, then have a go at last week’s Number Of The Beast #1. It purports to be involved with Wildstorm’s re-re-launch under the Armageddon banner, but in practise just reads like an issue of an alternate Astro City with some very nice Chris Sprouse artwork in with the deal. Presumably, the Wildstorm superheroes are soon to be tied back into events, but for now it works just as a superhero comic in its own right. There’s also the new issue of the Comics Journal, spotlighting a mammoth (and surprising) interview with superstar writer Robert Kirkman! Dig that Ryan Ottley cover.

But now for more beautiful, exciting, expensive books. There’s the first in the oversized, hardcover Hellboy Library Editions, containing all the material from the first two trades, and the complete American Flagg Book Set. But bear in mind, this isn’t the new Image American Flagg edition we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this is brand new stock of Graphitti Designs’ old limited collectors edition! It’s a miracle we’ve got these, so snap them up while stocks last!

There are also a couple of choice indie books worth looking at, the first being Josh Simmons’ new offering, Jessica Farm. It’s more psychedelic goings-on, as we witness our heroine’s attempts to get out of bed and eat breakfast with her grandparents. This proves somewhat more difficult than it sounds, however. Simmons’ previous book, House, got its fair share of acclaim despite not featuring Hugh Laurie, and this new graphic novel is poised to take the scene by storm. Jump on now and be cool. The second is Tonoharu, the first graphic novel from cartoonist Lars Martinson. The story deals with a number of trainee teachers from abroad, working in Japan, in what Martinson describes as an ‘anecdotal’ style. The book combines classic pen-and-ink illustration with expressive cartooning, and is well worth a flick-through.

In the news this week, Gosh Comics is pleased to announce that it will be receiving copies of superstar comic artist Stuart Immonen (Nextwave, Ultimate Spider-Man)’s newest sketchbook, Centifolia! The book runs to 128 pages and contains comics, sketches and completed illustration work in a perfect-bound softcover format and will cost a mere £12.99. We don’t have a firm arrival date yet, but we should have it in the near future. I, for one, will be having that, thank you very much. And in other sketchbook news, Criminal and Marvel Zombies artist Sean Phillips has just released a new sketchbook of his own, though that one is only available to buy directly from

Also in the news, famed Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell (Human Nature/The Family Of Blood) has announced that he’s writing a brand new out-of-continuity series for Marvel entitled Fantastic Four: True Story. No, it’s not another Unstable Molecules, instead, this series features the superheroic family’s journeys into other fictional universes! It’s the Invisible Woman vs. The Invisible Man! Mister Fantastic vs. Mister Hyde! Ben Grimm vs Jane Eyre! And so on. Sounds like a right old laugh, rendered in lavish cartoon curves by newcomer Horacio Dominguez. One to look out for, coming this July!

And finally, as usual, the resplendent glamour of our competition! We’re all pleased that DC has chosen to take another chance on their classic western series such as Jonah Hex and Bat Lash, but if you’ll remember, Marvel also brought back a slew of their cowboy crusaders under the Marvel Westerns banner a couple of years ago. Well, we’ve got a copy of the hardcover collecting the entire series, featuring characters like Kid Colt, the Black Rider and Two-Gun Kid as imagined by such modern greats as Dan Slott, Jimmy Palmiotti and Eduardo Barreto. Fancy having that for free? You’ll just have to answer the following question:

Kid Colt is most famous in Marvel Comics as a cowboy adventurer, but there was another Kid Colt who debuted in the present-day Marvel Universe in the pages of Heroes Reborn: Young Allies #1. What was this later Kid Colt’s civilian name?

If you think you know the correct answer, just comment below. If you can’t sign in to a personal account, you can comment anonymously – but don’t forget to leave your name in the comment itself! The first person to comment with the correct answer win a copy of the book. Please note that the judge’s 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.

That’s all for the week, happy reading!
- Tom


David Carnegie said...

Elric Whitemane

Anonymous said...

Issue 2, not 1.

At least according to the Marvel wiki. And the host body was oriignally Elric Freedom. You know, just in case you cared.


John Soanes said...

Was it Gary Wilmot?


Gosh! said...

Congrats David, the book's all yours!