Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 04/09/08

Heya gang, welcome to the first Gosh Blog of September! Where has 2008 gone?

Those of you hurting from last week’s huge delivery will be happy to know it’s a small one this Thursday. As ever, though, there are still some gems.

To start off this week, we want to spotlight the long-awaited release of the second volume of the critically acclaimed Berlin, from Drawn & Quarterly. Berlin: City of Smoke continues Jason Lutes’ saga of politics and culture set against the decline and fall of the Weimar Republic. I’m not overstating the case to call Berlin one of the most significant works of comic art being published at the moment. Lutes is building a complex mosaic of historical fiction filled with rich and interesting characters, not the least of which is the eponymous city itself. Berlin receives nothing less than our highest recommendation.

Meanwhile, over in the DC and Marvel camps we have several new series starting this week. First up Gail Simone and Nicola Scott relaunch the Secret Six into their new ongoing series. Catman, Scandal, Deadshot, Ragdoll and a few new faces characterise the darker side of the DC universe, so look for lots of shooting, sex and dismembering if the last series were anything to go by. If you prefer your comics western and haunted, then DC’s other new book is just for you. Jai Nitz (Blue Beetle) brings us the new El Diablo. This reimagining of the old character is a six issue tale of ganglord Charo Santana and the Faustian deal he makes to end a local gang war. The art is handled by the Green Arrow team of Phil Hester and Ande Parks.

Talking of DC’s west, J H Williams is the guest penciller on Jonah Hex this week. Arguably one of DC’s most consistently well put together books, this issue sees the titular character after a gang of murderous outlaws. While that isn’t unusual for the scarred Greyshirt, after a fierce battle he’s asked to dinner by a marshal named Roth and his young wife. As ever with Jonah Hex, don’t look for a happy ending. I know every week I tell you to go back and check out the trades or back issues of series, but this title is really worth a look. The stories are usually just over one issue, and Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s stories are intoxicating and involving. That’s not even mentioning the fact that the series has boasted tales drawn by the likes of Jordi Bernet and Darwyn Cooke.

Marvel has two very different mini series debuting on Thursday, with Marvel Apes and Sub Mariner: The Depths.

Marvel Apes, the series born from a convention joke by Joe Quesada, follows old Spidey villain the Gibbon into a world populated by monkey versions of the Marvel heroes. “The Who?” do I hear you cry? Well sit by the fire and let Uncle Matt tell you a story: The Gibbon was originally a mutant with an ape-like appearance and corresponding agility. He wanted to be Spidey’s partner, but was pretty much laughed out of the room. He was then talent spotted by Magnum P.I. look-alike Kraven the Hunter, who gaves him a sip of his special super-broth, sending him into a berserker rage during which he tried to kill the wall-crawler. Unsurprisingly he was beaten and later returned as part of the self-esteem-challenged Legion of Losers (with villains The Spot, Kangaroo and Grizzly.) Realising the futility of his actions, however, he decided to reform. He was under consideration for the Initiative, but was rather ignominiously blown up in a villains-only bar by the Punisher (where he was presumably just catching up with old buddies). He was last seen considering vengeance on the Punisher, but giving up on the idea and walking off into the sunset. Thanks Wikipedia.

I like the idea of taking a completely random character and doing something interesting with them, if sending them to a world with monkey Avengers can be defined as such. At the end of the day this looks like it could be a lot of fun. The four issue miniseries is out every two weeks, and there’s a preview here.

Another of Marvel’s new books this week is slightly different. Written by Peter Milligan with lush, painted art by Esad Ribic, Sub Mariner: The Depths is a dark story about the Marvel U’s first mutant. Though the story details have been kept under wraps, expect an out of continuity story in a similar vein to Silver Surfer: Requiem (which Ribic also painted.) If you like your stories atmospheric, this ones for you.

The next chapter in the X-Verse begins this week in X-Men Manifest Destiny #1. The X-Men have relocated to San Francisco and have re-defined their mission. Cyclops has created a centre for mutant research and protection, and hopes the recent birth of a mutant baby signifies that his race isn’t dying out. But old foes are waiting in the wings, so this four-issue mini should shape up to be eventful. Each issue features Mike Carey writing a continuing Iceman story, but will also have tales by other creators, the first issue featuring a story by C.B. Cebulski and Skottie Young. Hopefully this’ll be as good as Messiah Complex was, which is due out as a TPB at the end of October.

While we’re with Marvel, those of you who missed out on the first three issues of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s Kick Ass are in luck! Thursday brings us a collected edition of 1 to 3, so you can get up to date with their sweary gorefest.

Savage Dragon finally re-appears on the shelves this week. As we told you last week, the fin-headed wonder endorses Democratic hopeful Barack Obama on the cover, but what we didn’t tell you was Mike Allred’s Madman and the Amazing Joy Buzzards appear inside. If you’ve not kept up to date on the title, Dragon’s wife has been missing since the loss of her powers and he’s been searching for her across the Image Universe. This issue also features Hitler’s brain inside a robot monkey. If that isn’t a reason to buy it, then I don’t know what is. Preview here.

Dark Horse’s junior-fication of the Lucas world continues with the first volume of Indiana Jones Adventures. Based on the Bruce Timm style, this series of mini graphic novels are short, all ages tales filled with fun and action. If the Star Wars Clone Wars volumes are anything to go by, this should be a solid read. And at £4.50 for 80 pages of comic, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value book. Dark Horse have announced they’re adapting the original trilogy in this style, so keep your eyes open for that. Preview here.

Rejoice Bill Willingham fans, he has two books out this week! First up, Fables reaches the milestone that is #75. As Fables fans know, the events of this issue are a closely guarded secret, but given the revelation that someone is going to die, expect tears before bedtime. Those of you who catch up in the trades fear not! You need but wait until the middle of November to read this exciting tale from Messrs Willingham and Buckingham.

Willingham and frequent collaborator Matthew Sturges also have House of Mystery continuing this week. This issue finishes up the first arc, and may very well reveal Fig’s strange connection to the House.

On the more offbeat side, we’re happy to see the third volume of Osamu Tezuka’s supernatural samurai saga Dororo arrive. It’s the final volume, unfortunately, but rest easy Tezuka fans, as new collections of surgeon saga Black Jack are coming real soon. Meanwhile we also received copies of UK-grown drug-smuggling comic Him & Hers Drug Smuggling Vacation. Setting aside the tabloid-baiting controversy over the book’s subject matter, it’s well worth a look. Under the hood, it’s a well-crafted comedy tale in the vein of Hunt Emerson or Gilbert Shelton.

Now to the comics news!

The biggest news of the week has been the shutting down of Virgin Comics’ main offices. Word is that the Indian headquarters have shut, along with their New York offices, and most of the staff have been let go. There are some people who’ve been retained and the official word is that they aren’t dead, but are moving their operation to Los Angeles to pursue film options. We’re unsure whether or not we’ll see future issues of Virgin titles. Our advice is, hope for the best, but don’t hold your breath.

Brad Meltzer has rallied together comics’ top talent to help save the house where Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster created Superman. While researching his latest novel, the author visited the house and found it in an awful state. Meltzer decided to do something about it, and has started a cavalcade of auctions to raise money for its restoration. Visit here for more info.

Comics tutor Scott McCloud has turned his skills of description through graphical depiction to the world of web surfing. Google have hired Mr McCloud to produce a 40 page comic to introduce the world to Google’s new Chrome browser. It can be viewed for free here.

We at Gosh are all very excited to hear the announcement of a brand new web strip by the amazing Roger Langridge. Hosted on the Act-I-Vate comics site (alongside a number of esteemed creators), Mugwhump the Great marks an all-new serial from the Kiwi Colossus (of art). An interview with Langridge can be found over at Newsarama.

And now to Gosh news. Gosh has finally succumbed to everyone’s favourite work dodger, Facebook! Our new page will be an extension of our blog, with events, reviews and news. We’re also hoping it’s a useful tool for our loyal customers to meet, and share their love of funnybooks.

A big thanks to Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard for naming us in his celebrity tour of London in last Friday’s London Paper! Visit the Mercury Award-nominated band’s website here.

And finally, don’t forget about our Gilbert Shelton Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers signing on Saturday 13th September. Gilbert will be in from 2pm to 4pm signing the new complete Freak Brothers collection (which is only £20!) If you can’t make it on the day, drop us a line and we can get you a copy signed.

That’s all for this week!