Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 05/06/08

Hello! Last week was huge, undoubtedly so, but permit me to prove how totally out-of-touch my taste in comics is by revealing that this week, to me, is even bigger! It won’t be for you, most likely, or anybody else in the world. But for me, this is a delivery of unremitting joy.

I’m giving the spotlight in this exquisite showcase to an exclusive Gosh acquisition – Roger Langridge’s Teabag! No, that’s not a euphemism for an indecent act, it’s a bag containing seven of the Kiwi wonder’s finest minicomics! Namely, Frankenstein Meets Shirley Temple issues #1 and 2, Spitoon Funnies #1, Doctor Sputnik issues #1 and 2, Fred the Clown and Mugwhump’s Big Night. That’s a whole lotta lafffs (and those three Fs were intentional) in one supercheap bundle at the low, low price of just three pounds!

It’s the perfect gift for someone you care about but don’t know very well! It’s the perfect pick-me-up on a rainy Spring afternoon! It’s some of the most gorgeous cartooning on the stands, and the ideal companion piece to this week’s restock of copies of Knuckles the Malevolent Nun #1, also from the House of Langridge. If you’re not convinced, check out some of his material at and find yourself groaning, zombie-like, for funnies.

And if it weren’t for the welcome interference of Hotel Fred Press, my pick of the week would have been Criminal 2 #3, the final instalment of three standalone issues kicking off the title’s new expanded format. For those who missed the review previously posted on our blog, I reiterate: get into the single issues! There’s more story and more magazine features per issue than ever before, making it perhaps the most collectible comic on the shelves today. Story-wise, this issue tackles a perennial noir staple: the femme fatale, as told from the viewpoint of the femme herself. Despite the plot being independent of any other issue, this story also promises to wind up the loose threads from the previous two one-offs, closing up Criminal’s terse 70s transplantation.

DC brings us not one, not two, but three must-have titles this week, kicking off with octogenarian Joe Kubert’s remarkably timely Tor #2. See, kids, this is how you keep up a monthly title. If you’ve ever enjoyed Kubert’s superlative cartooning or his true-blue adventure comics stories, then I probably don’t even need to recommend this, but it’s worth saying that he’s still very much on the top of his game, and this new Tor series needs to be seen to be believed.

The second is House of Mystery #2. The first issue of this was a wittily-written, high-concept slice of Vertigo success, presenting a promising construction of monthly standalone horror tales wrapped up in an ongoing plot. The artists fit around this format, with the ongoing story drawn by talented newcomer Luca Rossi, and big-name guest artists drawing the short stories. Last month was Wet Moon creator Ross Campbell, MD, and this month it’s Vertigo royalty Jill Thompson helping out, with HoM veteran Berni Wrightson and comics’ coolest cat Mike Allred appearing in upcoming issues! Should be a sight to see. Jack of Fables writers Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges kept the first issue entertaining and compelling right to the very last panel, so this should be one to keep a very close eye on.

Finally from DC, there’s Trinity #1, the latest in DC’s series of weekly comics. For those of you who’ve sworn off them forever, then look again! This one’s the first to be written and drawn entirely by a consistent creative team (not counting various back-up strips, etc.), and the first to focus its action entirely on DC’s big three: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The aforementioned consistent creative team consists of Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, which should add some incentive! Looks to be a romp in the true blue DC tradition!

Marvel delivers as well, with the final part of Dan Slott and Marcos Martin’s superb run on Amazing Spider-Man. We’ve still got the first two parts in stock, too. Buy them! Also notable are Secret Invasion #3, a likely fixture on most Marvel readers’ list, and the penultimate issue of Omega the Unknown, Jonathan Lethem’s retelling of Steve Gerber’s 70s classic. I expect that within a couple of months we’ll be seeing a bumper-sized 10-issue Omega collection being made a fuss of, and with good reason. This wild, weird and wacky comic both plays off and pays loving tribute to the character’s origins and the history of comics in general to mesmerising effect. Comic book literature in the truest sense of the phrase.

The final Marvel pick for this week is Wolverine: Dangerous Game, yet another Logan-based one-shot, but one that is particularly noteworthy for being co-written by Gutsville creator Simon Spurrier, presumably to inject an authentic shot of Englishness into this tale of aristocratic fox hunters plaguing the Louisiana forests. With Spurrier and artist Ben Oliver at the helm, this should be a deeply fun trip, all wrapped up in a pretty cover by 2000AD alumnus Boo Cook, and featuring a backup story by the Fear Agent team of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. Climb on board and watch some insufferable toffs get gutted. Rough justice!

Also in the Brit corner, we’ve had a swathe of nice trades come in from Rebellion’s 2000AD archives. In particular, there’s John Wagner and Peter Doherty’s classic work of black comedy Young Death: Boyhood of a Superfiend. Learn the tragicomic origin of young Sidney D’eath and his controversial policies on law enforcement. There’s also the most recent of the complete Strontium Dog collections, consisting entirely of the epic series Final Solution, including Colin MacNeil’s fully-painted later episodes in full colour. What’s more, there’s a collection of some of Grant Morrison’s earliest comics work, in Doctor Who: The World Shapers, reprinted in collection for the first time ever. Another significant release is the legendary John J Muth’s complete retelling of the silent Fritz Lang classic M newly collected in a single hardcover. Give it a look, it’s quite the lush item.

Top of the news this week is the announcement of Marvel’s next Dead of Night star – Devil-Slayer. The series, following on from the recent Man-Thing mini, is being written by Brian Keene and drawn by star of Queen and Country and Daredevil Blood of the Tarantula, Chris Samnee, with additional character design work by Kaare Andrews. Relaunching the character completely, this is a whole new Devil-Slayer, finding a host in US Army Sergeant Danny Sylva. In other advance preview news, Garth Ennis announced and spoke about his upcoming series of WWII war stories for Dynamite Comics under the banner Battlefields. Three series have been announced so far: Night Witches, about the eponymous squadrons of Soviet female fighter pilots, Dear Billy, about a nurse in Singapore set immediately after the invasion, and Tankies, a tale of tank warfare set in Normandy following the D-Day landings. Ennis is usually at his best writing howling war tales, and these should be no exception.

In honour of last week’s beautiful first issue of Marvel 1985, we’re giving away two copies of the trade paperback collection of Tommy Lee Edwards’ other recent Marvel series, Bullet Points, written by J Michael Straczynski. This quizzing question, however, tests the old, old, old-school Millar fans in the audience.

Who is the gentleman standing third from the left in this picture?

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.

Happy reading, everyone!
- Tom


David Carnegie said...

Big Dave?

Chris Hunt said...

Am going to also say Big Dave

Anonymous said...

John Major?


David said...

Big Dave, co-created and co-owned by Millar and Morrison.