What-ho! This first post of October comes to you from the somewhat frozen Hayley Campbell who only yesterday boasted that she was the only person in London happy to wave goodbye to Summer. English niceties out of the way – onto the comics!
There's something for everyone this week; we've got superheroes, rude words from Garth Ennis, sarcastic teenage girls from Dan Clowes, booze-drenched writers - and everything else you'd never think of (what about Amputee Love?) is covered in Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury's brand-spanking new book The Leather Nun And Other Incredibly Strange Comics! Peter and Paul have diligently scoured the darkest recesses of forgotten collections to gather the most weird and wonderful comics ever published. There's purple people-eaters, surreal Japanese baseball dramas, gigantic alien monsters in swimming trunks (that's not just holiday snaps from Blackpool Beach on an August afternoon), hip-hop superheroes fighting crime, and peasant-girl Hansi fervently worshipping the swastika. The Leather Nun herself really is something to behold. What would her mum say?
These 61 rare and bizarre comics are each featured in a colourful double-page spread with an eye-popping cover shown in full. Perhaps I'm being a bit previous, but at £9.99 this definitely looks like the best Christmas presents around for comic fans and perverts alike. Just ask Jonathan Ross - he says so on the cover, which features art by Black Hole’s Charles Burns!
Speaking of odd comics, we've just received a small press mini-comic called Minder based (as you’re probably imagining) on the popular 80s ITV series of the same name. It’s latest offering from Gosh-favourite Hurk (along with his new mysterious collaborator Janet Roque) and is not so much a parody of the show as an actual unfilmed episode. Anyone with even a passing fancy to the series will love it. Highly recommended.
What's Not to Love about a boozed-up, sexually confused, hopelessly romantic and entirely fictional novelist who's a bit like Jonathan Ames? The real-life writer of the critically acclaimed Wake Up, Sir!, The Extra Man and, of course, What's Not to Love? (See what I did there? I should be poked in the eye for that) teams up with Dean Haspiel (The Quitter, Opposable Thumbs) in The Alcoholic, a hardcover collection telling the story of the fictional Jonathan A., a man to whom writing and drinking come easy; the hard parts in life are love and hope. This is Ames' first original graphic novel and it features an inebriated evening with an amorous, octogenarian dwarf. That's probably enough to warrant picking up a copy.
Next up is the definitive special edition hardcover of Clowes' cult classic Ghost World. He's expanded the original 80 page graphic novel into a lavish 288-page behind-the-scenes tour through the making of the book and subsequent film by Crumb director Terry Zwigoff. It includes a new introduction, several pages of new(!) strips, the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Clowes and Zwigoff and dozens of pages of never-before-collected ephemera (unused concept drawings, notes, movie posters, foreign edition covers, merchandise, artwork created for the movie by Clowes, Sophie Crumb and the cast), all annotated by Clowes, probably very meticulously just like Seymour. Cor blimey.
Enough about the girls! Garth Ennis' The Boys is collected into its third volume this week, which conveniently brings us right up to date. If you've missed out on this series you can grab the first three trades and pick up issue #23 (also out this week) while you're at it. It's the beginning of a major new storyline by fan-favourites Ennis and Darick Robertson about the world's most profitable band of misfit superheroes, the G-Men. It’s bound to be full of naughty words so careful now, as Father Ted would say.
Speaking of foul-mouths, Tank Girl has been spewing filth and fury since 1988 and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett's anarchic creation you should check out The Cream of Tank Girl! It's packed full of unseen artwork, rarely seen comic strips, every Hewlett Tank Girl cover ever, publicity posters, script samples, and all-new commentary from Alan Martin. It's the ultimate guide to Tank Girl and very much adults only!
More classic characters abound in Top Ten, when a new season dawns on the science-city of Neopolis. Mr Moore's nowhere to be seen, but Gene Ha (http://www.geneha.com/) makes an impressive return to the series with Zander Cannon at the writing helm. You can see a preview over at Newsarama.
Another trade hitting the shelves this week is the astoundingly popular Marvel Zombies, finally in softcover! Not even Marvel's greatest heroes - including Captain America, Spider-Man and the Hulk - have escaped the horrific virus that turned every man, woman and child on Earth into undead zombies. It's a grimly gory vision of a hell on Earth from The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman and Sean “Criminal” Phillips.
But if brutal barbarian violence is your thing, you’re bound to want a copy of the massive fourth instalment of the Savage Sword of Conan! It’ll be full of horrific, chilling surprises all beautifully reproduced in black and white, including the sprawling, ambitious adaptation of the Conan the Buccaneer novel by the powerhouse team of Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Tony DeZuniga.
Before we get knee-deep in superheroes, there’s one last classic that deserves a mention on the hallowed Gosh! Blog – Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack in hardcover! It’s his third most famous work after Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, about a mutinous and enigmatic surgeon. This 300-page volume is the first of two and will feature over a dozen stories printed in English for the first time.
Pretend this sentence is an interesting and witty superhero segue. Joe Kelly, writer of Amazing Spider-Man, Action Comics and Supergirl begins a new ongoing series this week with Four Eyes! It’s something of a departure from the realm of tights as it’s set in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. But this isn’t just a vision of our doomed economic future – this story’s got dragons in it. Honest! Looks like it could be a lot of fun. Have a sneaky preview over here.
Big events seem to be laying low this week, as there’s just one Secret Invasion tie-in: Punisher War Journal #24 . With an alien armada laying the world to waste, Stuart Clarke decides to make his move. Is it end of the world as we know it? We’re guessing….no.
Oh dear. Batman #680 R.I.P. could see Bats resting in pieces if the Joker gets his way, and in Nightwing #149 he’s M.I.A! Nightwing faces off against The Dark Knight’s most dangerous enemies – Killer Croc, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and the Joker – to save the life of a woman marked for death. Be sure to download the Batman R.I.P. checklist so you don't miss a thing. We’ll have no tears in the shop!
Speaking of superheroes, over in Warren Ellis’ corner of Avatar Press, this week sees the first issue of his new sci-fi supers mash-up No Hero, with Black Summer co-creator Juan Jose Ryp on board to provide some of his usual eyeball-popping detail. Expect post-modern anti-heroics, casual drug-use and a heaping helping of ultraviolence. Oh, and maybe some political commentary.
If that doesn’t sound like your thing, then perhaps you should cast your eyes over some of the classic 2000AD material this week. Not only do we have the latest Complete Dredd Casefiles, which includes Brendan McCarthy-drawn mega-epic Oz, but there’s also a new Strontium Dog collection and (most exciting to Andrew) the first volume of the Complete Ace Trucking Co!
And finally, if you’re after something a little more literate, might I recommend Aya of Yop City or last week’s Meathaus SOS? The second semi-autobiographical volume of its eponymous heroine’s life in 1970’s Ivory Coast, this volume of Aya looks to be every bit as entertaining as its award-winning predecessor. The Meathaus SOS anthology, meanwhile, features some of the most exciting names currently on the indie scene, with new work from James Jean, Brandon Graham, Faryl Dalrymple, Ross Campbell, Jim Rugg and Tomer & Asaf Hanuka, to name but a few.
Oh! And don't forget about our upcoming Jill Thompson signing! 25th October, 2pm-4pm, the divine Ms Thompson will be signing and sketching down in our basement, with all attendees in to win a piece of original art created by Jill especially for the event! If you can't make it on the day, let us know so we can reserve a signed copy for you!
That’s it this week so I’ll be off.
Hayley, spewing filth and fury since 1986.