Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 26/06/08

Hello all, and welcome to a week ripe with horror, humour and ectoplasmic expectoration! But first, I want to tell you about a little comic called What If – The Fantastic Four Tribute To Mike Wieringo. As we all know, comic book artist par excellence Mike Wieringo tragically passed away last August, to a flood of retrospectives, tributes and charity auctions in his honour from his contemporaries in the industry. However, less well-known is the fact that he was halfway through a special one-shot What If story at the time of his death, refitting the ‘replacement’ team of Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Hulk and Ghost Rider as the new Fantastic Four team.

Marvel were generous enough to donate the full scripts and the completed artwork to the Hero Initiative, the stalwart charity behind many an effort to give a boost to the unfortunate golden-and-silver-age comic creators who retired without a pension or royalties due. Now, they’re publishing the completed story, as finished by a number of Wieringo’s closest friends in the art world including Stuart Immonen, Art Adams, Cully Hamner, Alan Davis and Mike Allred, all in one big 48-page comic, all for
just £3.35, and all for charity. Grab it! It’s our pick of the week.

Another biggie worth taking note of this week is the long-overdue arrival of Mythos: Captain America. The Mythos comics have been an interesting experiment – retellings of superhero origins, sure, but not revamped to fit current continuity. In fact, they’re more like returns to silver-age tradition, told in a pleasantly offbeat style by writer Paul Jenkins and showcasing the utterly gorgeous painted artwork of the underused Paolo Rivera. It’s a series that actually intrigues me, to a chin-stroking degree, making me wonder why it exists, and if perhaps it’s building up to something on a grander scale. But if not, and it’s just going to continue as a series of lovely one-shots, that’s fine too. You might know Mister Rivera’s work from his recent covers for The Twelve and Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad and he’s easily one of the best painters working in comics today. Check out his very swish internals work in this one-shot special celebrating Marvel’s first Avenger – you won’t be disappointed.

And it doesn’t end there! Marvel also brings us four (count ‘em) more issues worthy of mention. There’s New Avengers #42, once again fleshing out the background to Secret Invasion with superstar artist Jim Cheung and Marvel 1985 #2, continuing Mark Millar’s Secret-Wars-era nostalgia-fest. What’s more, there’s a Matt Fraction double-bill with Thor Reign of Blood, the second in a series retelling the thunder god’s epic Nordic history and Young Avengers #6, the final issue in the series, focusing on Hawkeye wannabe Kate Bishop, featuring art by the inimitable Alan Davis.

DC parries with the very timely release of Final Crisis #2, continuing Grant Morrison’s universe-spanning, mind-bending, nice-looking event series. My enthusiasm is reinforced by previews of the issue promising an appearance from Japan’s showstopping Super Young Team and their leader Most Excellent Superbat. I’ll read that. Also out this week is the first issue of James Robinson’s much-vaunted run on Superman, featuring lovely art by Renato Guedes and a lovely cover by Alex Ross. Robinson promises a more compelling universe for Supes to dwell in, with a deeper focus on character development for the Kryptonian crusader, and, most importantly, a reason to pick up both Superman books each month. Sounds interesting!

From Vertigo we get the next volume of superlative spin-off Jack Of Fables: The Bad Prince. You see what they did there? I like that, that’s funny. So far this series has been a swashbuckling romp across America with one of comics’ most loveable anti-heroes, and this most recent storyline has been no exception. If you’ve held back from checking out the series for fear of a limp, directionless spin-off series, hold back no more. It’s a great laugh with some compelling plots and some golden one-liners.

By contrast, it’s quite a bare week from the indie types, with two major exceptions. BPRD: The Ectoplasmic Man is another fine one-shot for the Bureau, written by Mignola and Arcudi as per usual, but this time with art from concept artist Ben Stenbeck. This is Stenbeck’s comic art debut, and it looks very promising indeed, riding the rail between the distinct but complimentary styles that Mike Mignola and Guy Davis have defined the world of the BPRD with. From Image we get Walking Dead Vol 8: Made To Suffer in paperback at long last. This collects the run-up to issue #48 and that issue itself, containing more surprise deaths, more betrayals and more twists and turns than in the whole series to date! Things truly will never be the same again, and it’s a teeth-grinding read from start to end.

One of the finest books on sale at the moment, and one of the best bargains in the shop, is the Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics, edited by comics historian Paul Gravett, and showing the extent of his knowledge and research. It’s 24 of the best thrillers in comics history, containing an extended Spirit story from Will Eisner, Jordi Bernet’s Torpedo, a story written by Dashiell Hammett and drawn by Alex Raymond (I know, right?), and a couple of out-of-print yarns from comics grandmaster Alan Moore. There’s even more than that, but if I went through them you’d never believe it’s only £12.99! Which it is. Pick one up and while you’re there, check out the rest of our Crime Comics Spotlight display, showcasing what we reckon is the best in police procedurals, heist thrillers and car chases.

There have been a few bits and bobs in the news this week, largely thanks to the recent New York Heroes convention. Image Comics announced that Mike Allred’s sci-fi rock-and-roll classic Red Rocket 7 would soon be reprinted with new material in a new format – 7” size! In other Allred news, it was confirmed that New Frontier and The Spirit writer/artist Darwyn Cooke would be providing a backup story for Madman Atomic Comics #14. A while to wait, but it’ll almost certainly be worth it.

There was also talk of a BBC Television production of live-action skits based on episodes of Nicolas Gurewitch’s Perry Bible Fellowship comic strips. This would be frighteningly excellent, but after the strip’s success in The Guardian and Michael Kupperman writing for the Peter Serafinowicz Show last year, not totally out of the question. What’s next? Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer starring in a new series of Coupling? Why if that were to happen, the Earth would probably crack straight down the middle due to the excessive concentration of brilliance. Boom!

And now finally for our devilish dervish of a competition, this week in honour of the release of the What If Mike Wieringo tribute, with the phenomenally attractive prize of Tellos Colossal Vol 1 in oversized hardcover format! This is Todd Dezago and Wieringo’s resplendent fantasy epic packed full of lions, tigers, bears, swords and sorcery. The hardcover collects the complete run of issues that the team produced wrapped up in one big bundle, also containing sketches and pin-ups aplenty. To stand a chance of winning Tellos, all you need to do is tellus...

Who is this?

If you think you know the answer, just comment with your answer. 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! First person to comment with the correct answer wins a copy of the book. Please note that the judges 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...

It is of course Todd Dezago!


Anonymous said...

well I want to say Rob Liefeld - but probably that's just his hat. So I'm going to guess it's Ringo (not the Beatle one). And this is Ed Hillyer here.

Anonymous said...

Or Todd DeZago.

Gosh! said...

Mr Le Foe wins the day, it is in fact Perhapanauts and Tellos writer Todd DeZago! Congratulations!

Also, we did toy with the idea of using a picture of Ringo Starr but it seemed too easy.