Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 12/06/08

Hello all! I continue to define myself as the human with the least representative taste in comics ever, as this week’s delivery is a) of tremendous and powerful interest to me, and b) dominated by that publishing house known as Image Comics.

I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. This is Image week. Somehow the stars (and the creators’ schedules) have aligned to permit the independent organ to deliver all of its most thrilling material in one fell swoop. These are varied in nature, ranging from long-standing favourites to perennial resurrections. However, they’re also launching a brand new title that I’ve decided to give the top spot to this week: Charlatan Ball.

This title’s of particular interest to me as I’ve just been catching up on the trade paperback volumes of writer Joe Casey’s other big Image series, Gødland, and it’s superb. Deeply demented and sublime, and eminently worthy of the Jack Kirby sensibility that it strives to recapture. That’s why this new series excites me so much, as it appears to be coming at the same notion from a more comedic angle. It’s the story of Chuck Amok, conjurer of cheap tricks, who gets transported into a world where magic actually works, filled with magicians and monsters of every order. The art, provided by Andy Suriano, looks beautiful; a kind of Kirby by way of Steve Purcell, and for obvious reasons that is an extremely excellent prospect. Give it a go, this one’s got more potential than a mechanical Morris dancer at a May fair.

I’ll run through the rest of the releases snappy-like since I’ve bigged them all up before and you know you should be reading them. There’s Jack Staff #17, which has survived its re-launch as a monthly series totally unscathed and is as fresh and funny as ever; Madman Atomic Comics #9, which begins a new storyline for Allred’s ginchy superhipster; Elephantmen #12, marking a return to the regular series after its excellent War Toys excursion; and Screamland #4, this week focusing in on the fate of silver screen star Dracula.

Finally, wrapping up Image week, is a title that seems to have become the company’s flagship publication, and with good reason. Invincible #50 promises to be the end of one era and the beginning of another, with big changes to the title’s status quo (and a shiny new costume on the way to boot). It’s also quite an achievement in itself – an independent creator-owned superhero comic reaching such a lofty issue count is almost unheard-of, but as I say, there’s a reason: it’s the best superhero comic in the universe. Grab it now!

Well, that’s Image week for you, but the other publishers are bringing out the new comics thick and fast too. There’s Dark Horse with The Goon #25 and BPRD War On Frogs #1, the latter beginning a series of one-shot stories set in the Bureau’s past. This first issue is devoted to Roger the Homunculus and is brought to you by artist Herb Trimpe! How will the former Hulk maestro handle stories of a more modern persuasion? There’s only one way to find out!

Those other two companies what do comics haven’t forgotten about you, however, and Action fans will be pleased to note that regular writer Geoff Johns is joined once more this week by artist Gary Frank. Their Legion of Super Heroes story was an instant hit, but can this new arc live up to it? Well, it promises to bring you the definitive Brainiac story for the new generation of Super-fans, so we know it will involve revelation, scintillation and a robot man with a big green face. That’s enough for me and it should be enough for anybody.

Meanwhile, Marvel releases the first issues of two thrilling new series, Eternals and Skaar: Son of Hulk. Many people will immediately reject the new Eternals because it’s not written by Neil Gaiman, but this is a mistake! Father-son writing team Daniel and Charles Knauf have done some sterling work writing for the ongoing Iron Man title in recent months, and artist Daniel Acuna’s work has really found focus in the pages of this title. It’s got the potential to be tons of fun, so adopt early and enjoy.

Skaar: Son of Hulk is the latest entry in Greg Pak’s new Incrediverse, richly rendered in pure pencil-o-vision by Spider-Man and Wolverine artist Ron Garney, looking for all the world like the lovechild of John Romita Jr. and Joe Kubert, if such a product were biologically feasible or advisable. It’s a rip-roaring space fantasy featuring the not-so-jolly green giant’s imperial offspring. Conceived in armageddon, gestated in the cold Earth and born into a post-apocalyptic world of chaos and torture. If I didn’t know better, I’d call that rough justice. While this first issue does seem to get through a lot of story very quickly, it still manages to entertain while setting up a new adventure in one of the most exciting corners of the Marvel universe. Skaar smash!

There’s also a nice slice of indie graphic novel pie in the form of the confusingly-titled Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by scratchboardmeister Thomas Ott, of Cinema Panopticum and Tales of Error fame. The silent story deals with a prison guard who discovers a strip of paper bearing the titular series of numbers in the cell of a late death row inmate, and the strange twists and turns his life takes as he attempts to discover their meaning. Ott’s artwork is breathtaking and affecting, and should be incentive enough to take a look at this latest offering.

Our big book exclusive for the week is Centifolia, the latest self-publishing endeavour from Nextwave and Ultimate Spider-Man artist Stuart Immonen. What’s it all about? It’s a book crammed full of quick comic strips, sketches, design work and all manner of out-of-the-ordinary junk. Only it’s Immonen, so of course every page is utterly gorgeous. Readers, grab it for irresistible coffee table browsing! Artists, grab it and weep with envy into your Bristol board! It’s a resplendent item and well worth the meagre asking price. If only so you can say the name ‘Immonen’ a lot. Immonenimmonenimmonen.

We’ve also got a brand new acquisition in our small press department, entitled 89˚, by regular Private Eye contributor Phillip Warner. He’s honed a charmingly striking style through his years as a cartoonist, and this sprawling story belies a strong talent for storytelling which really deserves a look. It’s a silent story filled with humour and pathos about the history of an icy mountain, and the generations of attempts to reach its summit.

Alan Moore fans will want to take a good long listen to Resonance FM’s interview with him here: mainly because it’s a really good interview. But as an added bonus, there’s a thrilling competition announced at the very end which ought to pique anybody’s interest! Don’t be thrown by the date of broadcast, this contest is still open and waiting for your entries, so hop on board!

And so to competition time! We’ve got a set of big old Incredible Hulk hardcovers to give away, namely the first two volumes that Marvel put out collecting the memorable moments of Bruce Jones’ run on the title, featuring art by John Romita Jr. and Stuart Immonen, amongst others. To win, you need only answer the following question:

Who is this?

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 person to comment with the correct answer wins a copy of the books. 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.

And that’s all for the week! Have a good one.
- Tom


Ben said...

greg pak do i win one?
ben moor

John Soanes said...

It's Greg Pak isn't it?

benlefoe said...

Greg Pak?

Gosh! said...

Congratulations Mister Moor, it is indeed the beautiful Skaar Son of Hulk writer Greg Pak! Those hardcovers are now being held aside for you.

Ben said...

thanks guys - i guess i got in there by a minute!

wolfboy said...

Wow, thanks for the nice words and top billing, no less! I'm a big fan of Jack Staff as well as Purcell's Sam & Max, so thank you very much. How cool!

Free Charlatan Ball teeshirt for you!