Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Gosh! Authority 23/10/08

Fancy seeing you here! It’s getting a bit dark and chilly out so it’s just as well we’ve got plenty to cheer you up. This week’s all about revisiting old things. But fear not, they don’t have an overwhelming aroma of mothballs like your dear ol’ Granny. Ah, bless her Werther’s Originals.

For instance, we’ve got Dave Gibbons’ huge new hardcover Watching the Watchmen. And it’s great. It’s big and it’s clever and you’ll love it. Over the years, Gibbons has kept a thorough record of the production of the groundbreaking series, and lends his memories – and a wealth of previously unpublished art – to this behind-the-scenes guide.

He’s had a scramble around under his drawing table and collected all sorts of things fans want to see including early sketches of the iconic characters, page thumbnails, and Alan Moore’s extensive scripts (highlighted and scribbled on by Gibbons himself!). Then Chip Kidd and Mike Essl’s graphic design talents turned it into a handsome hardcover and made sure it wasn’t all held together with paper-clips and sellotape.

This week we at Gosh! we’re also thrilled to receive The Fireside Cookbook, a facsimile edition of James A. Beard’s seminal 1949 culinary tome. James A. Beard was a chef, author, teacher, and television personality whose knowledge of every aspect of cooking in America led to his being widely regarded as the father of American gastronomy. With over 1,000 tempting recipes on offer, you will find clear, easy-to-follow instructions for the basic preparation of every food.

Of course, the cookery tips are but a gilt-edged frame for the over 400 beautiful illustrations by husband and wife team of Alice & Martin Provensen. The Provensen’s name may not be familiar to you, but you will have certainly felt their influence.

After an early career in animation - Alice at Walter Lanz, home of Woody Woodpecker; Martin at Walt Disney, working on Fantasia, Dumbo and Pinocchio - The Provensens relocated to New York where, through former Disney colleague Gustaf Tenggren, they began their new illustration career for clients such as Golden Books and Kelloggs where Martin designed Frostie’s iconic Tony the Tiger mascot.

Other Provensen books available at Gosh! include The Color Kittens, Glorious Flight and A Visit to William Blake’s Inn.

Another classic is revisited in The Spirit: Femme Fatales trade-paperback when DC Comics collects some of Will Eisner’s most memorable stories featuring the Spirit’s sultry opponents! There’s 23 tales of mystery to be found here, all published between 1940 and 1949, including characters such as P’Gell, Sand Saref, Silk Satin, Thorn Strand, and Autumn Mews. Definitely one to have a look at before Frank Miller’s version hits the big screen in December (ish).

If you like struggling with heavy bags on the tube then the next books are for you! Don Lawrence is a big presence on our shelves this week with volumes 8 and 9 of the deluxe leather Storm hardcovers arriving within mere days of Karl the Viking. The eighth volume in the series collects stories from ‘The Living Planet’ (1985) and ‘Vandaahl the Destroyer’ (1987) as well as part eight of the illustrated Storm-dossier, ‘The Search for Storm’. Part nine of that dossier is conveniently continued in Volume 9, which also collects ‘The Twisted World’ (1988) and ‘The Robots of Far Sied’ (1989). The equally enormous Karl the Viking box-set contains every story ever published – even those drawn by artists other than Lawrence! They’re presented in four hardcover books contained in a big shiny slipcase.

More Vikings abound in Northlanders Volume 1: Sven the Returned trade-paperback! This first volume collects issues #1-8 by DMZ writer Brian Wood, who brings us a fresh take on what it means to be a warrior. It’s what Entertainment Weekly calls “a well-researched, richly realised world that illuminates politics and culture without getting bogged down in history-book stuff."

Not enough Norse? How about the Thor: Truth of History one-shot by legendary writer/artist Alan Davis (Fantastic Four: The End)? He’s sending Thor on one of his most epic adventures in history, which sees the God of Thunder visiting Midgard’s ancient Egypt and changing our world forever. Preview here!

If horned helmets don’t float your boat, then maybe you should cast your eyes back into the murky moral quagmire of the Elektra by Frank Miller Omnibus HC. This spanky new collection features the madness that is Elektra Assassin #1-8, plus the lushly painted Elektra Lives Again, all topped off with rarely reprinted Bizarre Adventures #28 and What If (vol 1) #35.

Fancy something new? In Criminal 2 #6, Ed Brubaker (A Complete Lowlife, Criminal. What’s he trying to tell us?) and Sean Phillips (Sleeper, Hellblazer) keep the hits coming in a new expanded format! Jacob K. has a special talent, and a dark secret, and is on the run for his life. Will he get out alive? As well as the usual bevy of pretty ladies, the single issues of Criminal feature a back-pages section full of noir articles by Brubaker and other top crime writers, including novelists, screenwriters and comic writers. They’re only available here!

More crime and murder this week in Jason Aaron (Ghost Rider) and R.M. Guera’s Scalped #22! This is the second part (of four) of ‘The Gravel in Your Guts’ storyline, which sees Chief Red Crow doing everything he can to walk the straight and narrow, but Mr. Brass and his murderous ways aren't making that very easy. Don’t forget that the third Scalped trade-paperback was out last week, and we’ve still got some bookplate editions of the first trade in the shop.

If you like Jason Aaron, be sure to grab a copy of Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1 (of 4) which sees him team up with rising star Stephen Segovia (Wolverine: Origins). The X-Men are now living in sunny San Francisco but judging from how things are going they probably should have stayed in New York. This issue sets the stage for things to come so don’t miss it. Here’s a preview.

More beginnings in Superman: New Krypton Special #1! The entire Superman writing team – that’s Geoff Johns (Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge), James Robinson (Starman) and Sterling Gates (Supergirl) - joins forces, with art by Pete Woods (Action Comics) and others, to formally launch the Superman event years in the making! What is Superman going to do with 100, 000 Kryptonians? This story leads right into Superman #681, expected next week. Newsarama’s got a big wossname on it here.

There’s yet another beginning in Unknown Soldier #1! This is the first issue of a monthly-shipping, all-new interpretation of the classic Robert Kanigher/Joe Kubert DC character which involved writer Joshua Dysart (Swamp Thing, B.P.R.D. 1946) spending a month in Uganda on a research trip. With art by Alberto Ponticelli (Sam and Twitch), this one’s not for the faint hearted. Northern Uganda in 2002 is a place where tourists are hacked to death with machetes, 12-year-olds with AK-47s wage war, and celebrities make futile attempts to get people to care. Can you fix a problem with murder? Again, the ever reliable Newsarama’s got a preview for you here.

Fancy some Ellis in your diet? Luckily enough we’ve got something to fit the bill! The prolific writer releases a 48-page graphic novella this week as a part of his Apparat line: Warren Ellis' Aetheric Mechanics GN. It’s an alternate history/steampunk/murder mystery sort of tale and we’ve got it available in both the standard cover and the ginchy Convention Exclusive (but obviously not so exclusive after all) cover! Quids in!

We’re midway through Grant Morrison (The Filth) and J.G. Jones’ (Wanted, Y: The Last Man covers) Final Crisis with #4 of 7 out this week! It’s a whole month after the Anti-Life Equation was released worldwide which saw millions enslaved by Darkseid. And in a world overrun with his relentless storm troopers, do you choose to Submit? The lines between Super Hero and Super-Villain become blurred in the Final Crisis: Submit one-shot, written by Morrison with art by Matthew Clark and Norm Rapmund.

Speaking of evil, the final mention this week goes to the DC Universe Halloween Special ’08. These tales of terror feature Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Titans, El Diablo, Faust and others, all brought to you by Mark Verheiden (Evil Dead), Mike Johnson, and Brian Reed (The Circle) with art by Trevor Hairsine (Judge Dredd), Duncan Rouleau (Wolverine, The Metal Men) and more.

In the spirit of all things Halloween and frightening, one quick reminder before I sign off:

Scary Godmother Jill Thompson signing here at Gosh! on October 25th from 2-4pm. Bad things will probably happen to you if you don’t come and wave hello. It’s the month of Halloween, after all. Just saying.