Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 30/05/08

Hi all! Here’s hoping the late delivery didn’t result in shaking and cold sweats for the comic fans of the capital! Still, not to worry, we’ve got more than enough in this monster of a week to calm those shakes! Most significantly, there’s that most welcome of items – a new Hellboy paperback in the form of the Darkness Calls collection. The more astute of you will remember that this is no ordinary collection, either! This collection boasts, on its title page, our exclusive bookplate featuring original artwork by Duncan Fegredo, signed by both him and Mike Mignola! It’s a big event for us and we’d love you to be a part of it, so grab these beautiful treats while they’re still around.

Pride of place in the single issue releases goes to the biggest event of the week – Final Crisis #1. Yeah, everybody’s bored of THE BIGGEST EVENT EVER YOU JUST CAN’T MISS IT, but this is the biggest thing Grant Morrison’s ever been in control of at DC, so it ought to be entertaining at the least. The preview pages that have been floating around suggest two things – firstly, that this is Morrison on top form, drawing the reader in with suspenseful writing rather than putting them off with abstruse references to obscure tie-in titles, and secondly, that artist JG Jones is seriously putting the effort in. Give it a try, it looks genuinely interesting.

And speaking of Morrison at his best, here comes All-Star Superman #11 like a bolt from the blue. It’s one of the best things DC’s had on the shelf since New Frontier, and delivers in every department, checking all the boxes on the messianic superhuman list. Action, adventure, excitement, characters you can love and hate (sometimes at the same time), and some gorgeous artwork. What’s more, this is the second-last issue of Morrison and Quitely’s big storyline! Don’t give up now!

Marvel’s biggest release of the week must be 1985 #1, kicking off Mark Millar’s ‘Narnia of comic books’ epic. Once upon a time this was going to be a photo-comic, with big money invested in models, costumes and photography equipment, but apparently unsatisfactory results led to the enlisting of artist par excellence Tommy Lee Edwards. I only mention that because it’s such an amusing little oddity, and here’s hoping that somewhere there are photos of people in Ultron costumes leaping around on a dock somewhere. But to the point – the concept’s intriguing and the artwork looks gorgeous, and this is Millar writing in a more gentle tone than normal, which often results in some of his best work (see Superman Adventures). Grab a copy and revisit YOUR childhood as a pop culture junkie. Go on.

Yet again I’m going to give a plug to Thor, which I can only describe as business as usual, but with an addendum that this is an extremely good thing. J Michael Straczynski is still working the good sense of humour, high-adrenaline action and strong characterisation that’s made this series a real joy. Coipel’s back on the artwork, so get ready to start drooling over epic vistas, hideous frost giants and beautiful princesses rendered in divine detail.

Oh, and what’s more, this week’s Marvel Comics Presents #9 should be worth a look as well, as it features an unexpected standalone 8-page story written by newcomers Mark Parsons and Tom Cohen and drawn by none other than rip-snorting Hulk series artist Ed McGuinness!

Image brings out two fine indie superhero books this week, Firebreather #1 and Astounding Wolf-Man #6. Firebreather is probably the most obscure of these titles, being as it is the re-launch of a character who’s only had four issues of a title before. But don’t let that fool you, Phil Hester’s great concept of the half-human son of a Fing-Fang-Foom-alike dragon really paid off before and it’ll most likely pay off again. What’s more, after his brilliant turn in Next Issue Project #1, I’m really keen to see how artist Andy Kuhn handles his return to this title. Wolf-Man is another Kirkman blast, whose concept is similarly straightforward – a werewolf superhero. So far events have progressed in the less-than-smooth manner you might expect, with the teammates of a murdered superhuman hunting down the Wolf-Man for revenge. I’m hopping up and down with excitement already. Seriously, it’s embarrassing.

And speaking of embarrassing, there’s an embarrassment (seamless link) of trade collections releasing from DC this week.

First up there’s Jack Kirby’s OMAC HC, collecting the King’s classic stories of genetic experiment Buddy Blank, straining against the shackles of a totalitarian government in a world he never made. Sorry, got carried away there. This book, in the eminently readable Fourth World Omnibus style, collects eight issues of Kirby at his prime, preaching pacifism through robot carnage. The whole world’s gone Kirby-mad of late, and not a moment too soon. From any one of these recent hardcover collections, even the most jaded reader can see how well his ideas and his vibrant style have dated, and OMAC is no exception. Grab it if you want a cheaper introduction to these omnibuses, or if you love superhero sci-fi in any form.

There’s also a new Fables collection out, and I’m sure by now that I don’t need to tell you how good that series is, and it’s probably the same with Tom Strong Book 6 in paperback, you know how good all this is already. Oh, which reminds me – after plugging it blindly last week, I caught up on the issues of Scalped, and my colleagues are right, it really IS that good, with a particularly heart-wrenching conclusion to the latest storyline. Twisted allegiances and raggedy old truths that just don’t sit right any more – this is the business, and exactly what you want from a publisher of ‘mature’ comics.

In the news this week – Disney has decided to reinvigorate its comics wing by striking a deal with media titans Ahmet Zappa, Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek. It’s big money, and hopefully that means big talent. No titles or creative types have yet been announced, so stay tuned for future developments!

For all those Alan Moore fans who thought that movie maker Zack Snyder would never attempt to capture some of Watchmen’s wilder moments, good news! He’s followed up on his projected plans to film a complete version of the Tales of the Black Freighter pirate comic for release on DVD at the same time as the Watchmen movie. The two will later be edited together for DVD release to form an extra-long ‘megamovie’. Sounds like a one-film movie marathon worth attending to me. Not content merely to revitalise DVD business the world over, Snyder also announced Warner Bros’ plans to release the complete Watchmen comic book as a series of filmstrip webisodes in advance of the film’s release, with voiceover narration in audiobook style. Here’s hoping that the film’s half as good as all this effort suggests!

And now for this week’s competition! We’re celebrating the release of Final Crisis by giving away two copies of the hardcover collecting all of JG Jones’ covers to 52. These were a fine assortment of beautifully-drawn, strikingly-designed weekly wonders, and this collection presents them all along with design sketches and notes from the artist! To win this prize you need only show that you love DC’s multi-layered history as much as Grant Morrison does, by telling us...

Who is this?

If you think you know, 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 this week, so happy reading!
- Tom


Gavin Beattie said...

It's Naiad, the water elemental (wet version of Swamp Thing).

Sach said...

Yup, I agree - it's Naiad

Sach said...

And here's some Wiki-love

Gosh! said...

Congratulations Gavin and Sachin! Your keen eyes will soon be alighting upon copies of the 52 Covers book, free of charge!

Dom Sutton said...

gaaah! Two minutes from question to answer. That's some sort of record. What chance do we freebie coveting mortals stand against these quiz uber lords?

John Soanes said...

I thought she looked like Chemo, and was female, so I was about to suggest it was She-mo.

I'm glad I didn't now, I would have looked like a total fool.


...oh, hang on.