Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 22/05/08

Hello! This week the Gosh Authority’s pole position goes to the Superman Escape From Bizarro World HC, written by Superman mainstay Geoff Johns and drawn by Eric Powell, creator of The Goon. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the Legion story that followed it in Action Comics (understandably, being only three issues long), this arc still stands up as exceptional and the artwork alone justifies it. Eric Powell’s interpretation of Bizarro-World and its inhabitants is rivalled only by Frank Quitely’s recent efforts in All-Star Superman, and he does a surprisingly good job of portraying the clean-cut Supes at his blemish-less best to boot. It’s a heap of fun, with an assortment of classic Bizarro stories thrown in to round out the collection, and is well worth any Bizarro-fan’s time. Or should I say: it am not worth any Bizarro-fan’s time.

Many of you crazy kids out there will be pleased to see that Scalped #17 has arrived (not me, I’m still on the trades), but you might also be thinking that it is about chuffing time. Still your raging tempers, though, because we’ve got the mainline gossip from artist R.M. Guéra that the reason it took so long to come out is because it’s an extra-special issue, and he had to take the time to get it just right. How can we possibly be so in touch with the intricate details of the process of such a high-profile artist? We found out while arranging our exclusive Scalped bookplate! Keep an eye on the blog for more news on that coming very soon indeed!

Otherwise, Marvel dominates the new release schedule, with an assortment of other gems. First up is Incredible Hercules #117. If you’ve ever felt that the industry was lacking a comic featuring a genius kid and a drunken demigod tearing around the country wreaking bitter revenge on the unfeeling government that wronged them, then you literally can’t miss out on this series. If you wanted this hypothetical comic to tie in with the latest big event, it might actually approach criminal negligence not to pick this (and the previous) issue up right now. But seriously, folks, writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have done a great job carving out a fun story in their own little corner of Secret Invasion, and new series artist Rafael Sandoval is doing an excellent job replacing Khoi Pham. Grab it; it is – in a strange way – the best Hulk title currently on the racks.

Time for a quick nod to a title you might have missed from last week – Genext #1. While you might mistake it for just another post-Messiah Complex X-title, don’t be misled! This is in fact the sequel to the immensely popular X-Men: The End, brought to you by that series’ mastermind, Chris Claremont.

There’s also the second issue of Dan Slott and Marcos Martin’s arc on Amazing Spider-Man. From the number of issues left of the first part of this story, I can tell you’re not really listening to me out there. However annoyed you were at One More Day, no matter how uninspiring you’ve found… certain recent storylines… anything with Dan Slott’s name on it is always worth a look. What’s more, this is Marcos Martin drawing Spider-Man! That doesn’t happen nearly enough! Did you SEE Doctor Strange: The Oath!? It was gorgeous! Anyway, as I say, we’ve got plenty of copies of last week’s first part of the storyline, so catch up in time to grab these next two issues. And then go buy Doctor Strange: The Oath and Batgirl: Year One. Go on!

But you don’t get off that easy, folks. Time for more unashamed comic-pushing with the much-awaited arrival of Hawaiian Dick #4. After two fine miniseries (Byrd of Paradise and The Last Resort), I did wonder how the title would survive the leap of becoming an ongoing series, but the short-term answer appears to be ‘very well’. It’s not like the title’s changed very much, it’s still the perfect daiquiri-esque blend of private snooper noir, tropical tiki voodoo and post-war politics, only now brought to you by artist Scott Chantler. At least, that was the original pitch, but it turns out that original co-creator and artist Stephen Griffin is still working his lowbrow art magic with back-up stories written by his own good self. There’s just no downside, folks!

By far our most exciting indie arrival of the week is Monster Truck, by long-time favourite Shaky Kane. Described by Gosh staff member Nathaniel Metcalfe as a ‘four-colour pop culture explosion for the eyes’, this book collects some truly inspired insanity from a creator of whom we don’t hear nearly enough these days. What’s more, our copies came from the man himself and they’re all signed! The book also contains more than four colours, but we’ll let young Metcalfe off on that one.

The news this week starts on a low note, with word that one of the all-time great cartoonists from the original Mad Magazine Usual Gang of Idiots, Will Elder, passed away last Wednesday at the age of 86. Alongside Harvey Kurtzman, Elder helped set the tone of Mad from the very first issue with his madcap style, anarchic humour and layer upon layer of background gags. The latter of these was such a popular element that it garnered the nickname ‘chicken fat’ and remained a Mad mainstay. Later, after a string of ultimately unsuccessful humour magazines, Kurtzman and Elder created the wildly popular Little Annie Fanny, which ran in the back of Playboy magazine for 26 years. Elder will be remembered for the huge body of work he left behind and the revolutionary vein of humour he helped America tap into.

On a more positive note, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support for comic book art great Gene Colan in the form of an online auction of donated art. After Colan’s recent liver failure, he and his wife Adrienne were left with formidable medical bills which they are struggling to meet, prompting comic creator Clifford Meth to organise the fundraiser. Among the earliest contributors of signed items were such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, Mark Evanier and Peter David, with many, many more following. More information can be found at Meth’s blog here: Keep an eye on that link, as information as to the channel and date of the auction will be going up soon.

Now to our competition! This week we’ve got two copies of the Vertigo hardcover original graphic novel Cairo to give away. In true Vertigo style, it blends real-world concerns with folktale background to produce a magical realist thriller packed full of guns, ghosts and gibbons (okay, no gibbons) from acclaimed illustrator M. K. Perker and Cairo-based journalist G. Willow Wilson. To win a copy, all you need to do is answer the following question:

The creators of Cairo have a new ongoing Vertigo series in the works – what’s its name?

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 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


benlefoe said...

The answer is AIR

John Soanes said...

Is it Air, shipping in August?


Gavin Beattie said...


Gavin said...

Drat - too late!

Gosh! said...

Congratulations to Ben Le Foe and John Soanes, who walk away this week with a copy of the graphic novel free of charge. The lucky devils!