Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 15/05/08

Hello! It’s rough justice week here at Gosh Comics, so prepare for a column so raw, so extreme, that it had to be brought to you in the magic of monochrome text. Kings of rough justice this week are comic creators Bryan Talbot, Mark Buckingham, Sean Phillips, Charlie Adlard, Mark Stafford, Hunt Emerson, Ian Edginton, D’israeli and Gilbert Shelton, who were kind enough to sign, and in some cases sketch, a big load of trade paperback collections for us! The products of these unions are now for sale in the shop for not a penny more than cover price! Check it out.

Tripwire creators Joel Meadows and Gary Marshall, who recently completed their book Studio Space, were good enough to get copies to us ahead of the release date! These guys are so daring that they actually infiltrated the inner sanctums of such dangerous dudes as Mike Mignola, Brian Bolland, Frank Miller, Joe Kubert and many, many more to retrieve confidential information about the creators’ working process. There’s also reprints of some of the creators’ prettiest and most obscure work, so grab yourself a copy while they’re still early!

DC have shown their familiarity with tough love by threatening to knock off two of their classic Bat characters! First up, there’s the first part of the supposedly groundbreaking storyline Batman RIP, by the series’ current regular writer, Grant Morrison. Though the story is going to have some knock-on effect for concurrent issues of Detective, Nightwing and Robin, they won’t be essential to the main plot, which will be totally self contained in the monthly Batman title. The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul this ain’t, so hop on board and don’t sweat the crossovers. Unless you want to, in which case that’s fine too.

Secondly there’s Bat Lash #6, the final issue of the miniseries that has thrilled us, chilled us and, through candlesticks in the shoulder and arrows through the neck, embodied the true spirit of rough justice. A suggestive cover and some unsubtle solicitation hints tell us that we might be so unlucky as to never see Bat or his compadres alive again! But who can say for sure in this wacky comics world of ours? For myself, I’m hoping that DC gives Bat a break, because some more adventures of the West’s weirdest hero from Aragonés, Brandvold and Severin would be much welcome.

Marvel joins in the party as well, with the latest issue of Garth Ennis’ final Punisher Max story. While Ennis’ run has had its weak patches, his recent arcs have been firing on all cylinders, both metaphorically and literally. If the phrase ‘firing on all cylinders’ was a reference to guns and not cars, that would have been brilliant what I did just there, but never mind. Not only has Ennis brought more captivating drama to a Punisher series than you might expect, he’s also presented a convincingly human cast of characters and an over-arcing story that deals with cycles of violence and revenge’s erosion of the soul. But don’t worry, there’s lots of guns and shooting and stuff too. The series plays off its own past history cleverly, and this looks to be the most action-packed arc yet, sending Ennis off with a bang. Rough justice.

Also worth noting from Marvel this week are the final issue of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine run and the first issue of Dan Slott’s second arc on the thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man. This time, Slott is backed up by the most excellent Marcos Martin of Batgirl Year One and Doctor Strange The Oath fame. Like Zeb Wells’ recent run, this is one even for those who hate the Brand New Day and everything it stands for, because it’s just plain good Spidey.

There’s no justice rougher than that of a psychotic sister, and Roger Langridge knows it, which is why his character, Knuckles the Malevolent Nun, is making a long overdue return to comics in a new special issue. While the majority of it is drawn by Langridge himself, there’s the odd fill-in by top New Zealand talent and some beautiful pin-ups by Bob Fingerman and Mike Mignola to round out the package. And all for only two pounds. Why, that’s such a bargain that I’d accuse us of being soft on the customers during rough justice week. Oh, also it’s really funny. Pick it up, you!

There are two more comics I want to push this week, those being The Goon #24 and Screamland #3 respectively. You’ve heard me bang on about Screamland before, but trust me, it’s worth the reading, and if my comely contemporary Matt’s recommendation of The Goon’s back catalogue the other day didn’t persuade you, think again. It’s a complete package of a comic which, especially lately, has balanced plot with humour and art brilliantly. Grab it and witness the magic.

Seeing that comics and the art of graphic storytelling have received little-to-no attention in the halls of British colleges, the co-ordinators at Newi College in North Wales have sorted it out. The college now offers a course which ‘enables students to specialise in writing and developing extended narratives (images and characters) for graphic novels through practical experience and detailed knowledge and techniques’. So watch out, Kubert!

Fans of cartoons and excellent paintings should check out Cherubs artist Mark Stafford’s new exhibition at the Railway Tavern at Station Rise in Tulse Hill, Lambeth. The exhibition itself is called Mark Stafford’s Pandemonium Carnival: A Series of Unfortunate Paintings, and is running from this Saturday 17th May. Mark’s paintings are rough glories of lowbrow art justice, and are going for bargain prices. Take a look and you might well find it impossible not to buy one to fill a space on your wall. You have been warned.

And now for this week’s competition! To celebrate this roughest, toughest of weeks, we’ve got two hardcover editions of Virgin Comics’ Garth Ennis’ John Woo’s Seven Brothers to give away. It’s a blood-drenched, mythic yakuza epic in a style that could only be brought to you by the one-two punch of Ennis and Woo. To win, you need only answer the following question:

John Woo has served as producer for exactly one Hollywood comic book movie – what was that movie called?

If you think you know the correct answer, just comment on this post on our blog. 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 two people to comment with the correct answer win a copy of the book. Please note that the judge’s rough justice 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 now – but please remember to observe rough justice week in your own personal way.

- Tom


Anonymous said...

Bullet Proof Monk which was a great bit of fun.

"Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns only come in packages of just eight?"

-Paul Dok (who will be in soon to say Hi)

John Soanes said...

Agreed, tis Bulletproof Monk, the tale of a monk, a punk and ... was it 'a chick'? Very dodgy tagline!

BatFreak said...

Bugger - got in late for the answer. Bulletproof monk :)

benlefoe said...

Yes I agree - Bulletproof Monk

Gosh! said...

Congratulations to Mssrs. Dokoupil and Soanes, you'll both be getting a copy of the book!