Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 18/09/08

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to Gosh’s weekly pick’n’mix of joy and delight. It’s a medium one this Thursday; that is, unless you’re a DC fan!

Superman fans can both rejoice and cry at this: Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s tour de force All Star Superman comes to its titanic end with the much-anticipated issue #12. The Man of Steel has completed his twelve super-challenges, but Lex Luthor’s now super-powered. What will become of the dying hero, especially with Solaris, the aptly described “tyrant sun”, helping his arch nemesis? This will be sadly missed, and here’s hoping that DC see sense and make an absolute version of their best ever Superman book.

In an unusual move on the Gosh blog, we’d like to point towards some action figures in this week. To complement the end of All Star Superman, DC Direct bring us four All Star figures all based on the designs of their respective artists. Expect Batman, Superman, Super-Lois and All-Sweary Batgirl. From the pictures these look like some of the best figures the company has produced yet.

Action Comics finally appears this week (after being initially pulped due to Supes enjoying a beer on the cover) with the penultimate chapter of the Brainiac Saga. The evil Coluan mastermind has set his sites on Metropolis for his city collection. Can Superman save the day against this scarily beefy alien? This run is the prequel to the New Krypton event that hits the Super-world in a couple of months.

Another Super-book worth checking out is the hardcover collection of Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale’s Kryptonite story from Superman Confidential. The story tells of Big Blue’s first encounter with Kryptonite, as well as Lois Lane’s first post Superman crush. This story is some of Sale’s best work, and Cooke’s handling of classic Superman is up to New Frontier standard. This is a definite must for any fan of Superman or the previous works of either creator.

The other pulped book appearing this week is DC Universe Decisions. Timed to coincide with the American election season, Judd Winick, Bill Willingham and Rick Leonardi pit hero against hero, as they’re forced to put aside their political affiliations to catch a killer. Though not much is known about the book (other than it was destroyed for having a Condoleezza-a-like) the two writers have proven their skills over the years. And with a trusted artist like Leonardi handling art chores, it could be worth a look.

Vertigo introduce us to the greatest British super team of all time in Greatest Hits. Written by David (Bite Club) Tischman with art by fan favourite Glenn Fabry, the story follows The Mates, from their humble beginnings in the 1960s through the next four tumultuous decades. Imagine the Rolling Stones’ Shine A Light, but about a British super team.

Well it’s Wednesday, which means its time to talk about how much we love Jason Aaron. He’s dreamy. This week regular artist R.M.Guera returns to Scalped for the beginning of a new arc. This run focuses on Chief Red Crow and Dino Poor Bear, two characters on polar opposites of the reservation’s food chain. Will Red Crow change his murderous and violent ways after the death of a friend? Will Dino head down a dark path to make a better life for himself? Don’t expect a happy ending. Mr Aaron also treats us with the latest chapter of his Ghost Rider run. After last months pulse-pounding issue, Danny Ketch has set fire to the house containing the entire history of the Spirit of Vengeance. Johnny Blaze is after answers, so expect an epic throw down. To compliment the fantastic scripts, Tan Eng Huat is doing the best art of his career. Who’d have thought Ghost Rider could be one of Marvel’s best books? There’s a reason Gosh loves the work of Jason Aaron, so pick some up!

Marvel have a few other gems this week. Firstly Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin bring us two silver-age styled tales of the Golden Guardian in Age of the Sentry. This series, featuring art Nick Dragotta and Ramon Rosanas, kicks of with the origin of the Sentry and a battle against the Mad Thinker! For fans of artists like Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke and Dave Bullock (who provides covers with Michael Cho) this book is well worth a flick through. I imagine it’ll be a thoroughly satisfying read, as each story will be self-contained. Parker’s work usually injects some fun and joy into comics, and I have high hopes for this.

The Incredible Hercules starts its third arc this week, just as its first hits trade paperback. Originally spinning out of World War Hulk, the series is written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak and follows Marvel’s favourite rebel demigod. He’s joined by young genius Amadeus Cho as they cause havoc across the MU. The best thing about this series is the manner in which it uses its mythic source material. Hercules’ character is immensely flawed, desperate for redemption and greatness, but unfortunately his prideful, boisterous personality too often gets in the way. At first people worried that this was a strange move changing from Hulk to Herc, but the title is quickly proving its worth. The similarities between the two characters are played upon, and the storylines are intelligently written, action packed and fun to read. If you need a comparison, the most apt would be Walt Simonson’s Thor. It’s that good. In the first arc witness Herc’s ongoing feud with his estranged half-brother, Ares (god of war), and Amadeus Cho’s effort to bring down S.H.I.E.L.D. The collection also features an untold tale of Herc vs Hulk by Jeff Parker. After reading that and catching right up with Hercules’ subsequent Secret Invasion issues, the new arc sees Herc looking for comfort in the arms of Namora. Unfortunately not only is Ares back, but the Amazons have invaded Atlantis! Poor Herc.

Now if you thought about ignoring Marvel Apes, I’d ask you to reconsider. Though not the world’s greatest comic magazine (that’s Fantastic Four if you’re to believe Marvel) it is genuine fun. The story follows the Gibbon (rubbish villain, I explained his origin 2 weeks ago, it is long) as he ends up in a monkey New York. This city features monkey versions of our heroes, unfortunately they protect the planet with the rules of the jungle. The series also features a great History of the Marvel Ape-verse with art by Barry Kitson. Another fun title, that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

One title that can’t be enjoyed by people of all ages is Punisher Max, which continues its latest arc this week. Frank Castle has ventured down to the little Mexican town of Tierra Rota, on the trail of a vicious killer. How far will the Punisher go to put an end to these terrible crimes? The story is a solid Punisher tale, but the highlight of this run is Laurence Campbell’s art. His dark tones are absolutely gorgeous, and he’s sure to be a rising star at the House of Ideas. Having a spy at the December solicits, we’ll soon see Mr. Campbell working on a Moon Knight one-shot with Peter Milligan. I’d keep an eye on this British artist, as he’s sure to being on a huge project in due course (or he at least should be!)

I’ll keep the Secret Invasion war report quick. Over in Mighty Avengers #18, we’re introduced to Nick Fury’s Secret Warriors, while in SI: Thor #2, the Skrulls reach Asgard, and Goldilocks is nowhere to be seen. Finally this week in the brilliant Guardians of the Galaxy, mistrust infects Knowhere (their base in the head of a dead Celestial) as Skrull agents are discovered.

Oni Press brings us a wonderful hardcover collection of Brian Wood’s Local this week. Local features 12 interconnected shorts, each a year apart, representing a slice in the life of Megan McKeenan. Megan begins the series leaving her home of Portland, Oregon with a backpack and a desire to find a place to call home. As the series moves on across twelve real life North American cities (including my former stomping ground of Park Slope, Brooklyn), we see Megan grow, and meet the people whose lives she intersects. Andrew says this series is a fantastic collection of vignettes that’s well worth a look. And you don’t want to know what happened to the last person who didn’t listen to Andrew’s advice.

Kirkfans of the world rejoice! Both Walking Dead and Astounding Wolf-Man are in! In the world populated by zombies, our heroes are reunited with crazy Michonne. Will she be friend or foe? Who knows? Will she still be a bit crazy? More than likely. Astounding Wolf-Man starts its new arc after the cataclysmic events of the last issue. Wolf-Man goes in search of the Elder: the one who turned him into a werewolf. But will this help him come to terms with what his life has become? If you’ve not yet tried this latest superhero offering from Kirkman, this issue picks up directly after the first trade, which we still have in stock. Huzzah!

Last but by no means least I must highlight a Manga release this week. Viz have recently been repackaging their most popular series into compendiums which house three regular volumes at a larger size, and a lower price. This week sees the release of the first Vagabond Vizbig edition. If you’ve not yet sampled this beautiful series, now is the time. The story is based on real-life swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (the inspiration for samurai rabbit, Usagi Yojimbo), in the early part of his career. The man himself, who became the most celebrated samurai of all time, started out as a brutish teen who becomes a hunted outcast. The series is by famed creator Takehiko Inoue (Real, Slam Dunk) and is one of best samurai manga ever made. The story is addictive and moving, and the art is absolutely beautiful.

As well as this first Vizbig collection we also have two Inoue Vagabond art books in this week: Sumi and Water. These large collections showcase the creators ink and colour work, and are absolutely stunning. They’re the books that Vagabond fans have been calling for, especially those of us who couldn’t make it out to his exhibition in Japan. We still have the regular Vagabond books downstairs in the manga department, if you wanted to get up to date. This series gets Gosh’s highest recommendation, artistically and story-wise. Not just for manga fans.

Apart from DC destroying their books, news has been little light on the ground this week. For those of you who want to know the swearwords that caused all the hubbub in All Star Batman, head over to Lying in the Gutters at CBR. We won’t do a direct link, as they are a bit naughty.

Be sure to check out the Siegel House auctions here. If you can’t bid, they do have cool T-shirts for sale, and it’s all for a good cause.

Tezuka fans (or indeed anyone with an interest in classic comics and animation) take note! The Godfather of Manga gets his due this week at the Barbican, with a weeklong season of films and an attendant art exhibition. Osamu Tezuka: Movies into Manga takes place at the Barbican, London EC2 ( 020-7638 8891), Sept 18-24 2008.

The nominations are in for the Ignatz Awards, with a healthy amount of material by independent publishers. Results will be announced 04/10/08 at SPX.

And finally a big thank you for anyone who came along to our Gilbert Shelton signing on Saturday. Those who braved the queues were treated to a lovely day of sketching and stories. Big thanks to Gilbert for making the day possible. Dom Sutton gives an account (with video!) over on his excellent London Loves Comics blog.

Look forward to seeing you all at our Jill Thompson signing in October! Expect more details next week!

And that’s that,


Parka said...

I've just bought the Vagabond art books and they are really great.