Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Gosh! Authority 21/01/09

If Chris Ware has taught us specky gits anything it’s that the good bits are in the tiny details. But Charles M. Schulz was doing it all along.

When Schroeder pounded on his piano, his eyes clenched in a trance, the notes floating above his head were no random ink spots dropped into the key of G. Schulz carefully chose each snatch of music he drew and transcribed the notes from the score. More than an illustration, the music was a soundtrack to the strip, introducing the characters’ state of emotion, prompting one of them to ask a question or punctuating an interaction.

You should read that. It’s a good article complete with pictures of gallery-types leaning on walls and wearing Snoopy jumpers and such. And you’ll probably find yourself wanting macaroni cheese for tea because it was cited as Beeth-oven’s favourite in an interesting aside.

So that was my interesting aside. Now, funnybooks!

Because I like the cover, the second volume in the Ted McKeever Library gets top billing this week. The first, Transit, was released not so long ago and if you’re a fan of McKeever’s Metropol world you’ll be after Eddy Current too. Collected for the first time since its debut in 1987, this is a darkly funny story about an asylum escapee obsessed with a superhero known as The Amazing Broccoli. So much so in fact, he buys a mail-order battery-powered Dynamic Fusion Suit and decides to save the world. Well you would, wouldn’t you. McKeever talks about it here.

Next we’ve got something Nat’s been rabbiting on about for a while – Angora Napkin by Troy Little. You’ve probably seen Little’s work before in Chiaroscuro, a series of graphic novels about an angst-ridden twentysomething artist whose life of drinking and whingeing changes forever after a case of mistaken identity. Angora Napkin’s very different. It’s about an all-girl pop group called who take a short cut on Halloween and run into one of the walking dead. So they bring him along to a secret underground party, naturally, and accidentally convince him to get rid of all life on earth. The art’s great (Little talks about it on his blog) and it’s soon to be a cartoon on the telly. Buy the book and pretend you got there first.

Another offbeat release this week is Mysterius the Unfathomable #1 by Jeff Parker (X-Men: The First Class, Agents of Atlas) and Tom Fowler (Green Arrow, Caper), a six-issue miniseries about a rude, cowardly, manipulative, lecherous, middle-aged and dangerously bored magician who looks a bit like Geoffrey Rush. Jeff Parker is interviewed about the series here and talks about how he got together with MAD artist Tom Fowler

“In [the proposal], I had talked about wanting to capture some of the quality of Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently novels. Lo and behold, what was Tom reading just as this arrived in his inbox, but Long Dark Teatime of the Soul! Synchronicity like that can't be ignored, especially with this kind of subject matter.”

Then it’s writer versus artist here, when Parker interviews Fowler in amongst some preliminary sketches. It’s very funny. If they’re as much fun in Mysterius the Unfathomable it’s going to be a great series. Keep track of it on their blog!

Long time collaborators and malcontents Kathryn (Hellcat) and Stuart Immonen (Ultimate Spider-Man) see their year-long web project Never As Bad As You Think published in limited edition hardcover this week. Fifty-two full colour strips about paranoid urbanites and their pitiful failures, scorned waiters, cats, dogs, cake and everything in between. Boom! have some preview pictures put up by a very excitable Ross Richie who says this ‘ere book is ‘THE AWESOME’. In capitals.

So what are the proper superheroes up to this week? Dark Avengers #1 promises to be the dawning of a new era by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato Jr. Newsarama have a preview for you!

And in what is quickly becoming a weekly fixture, Here Are Some Things I Forgot Last Week That Are Good:

If you’ve been in the shop you will no doubt have seen Shaun Tan’s (The Lost Thing, The Red Tree) beautiful book, The Arrival. His new one Tales From Outer Suburbia was out last week in hardcover, and it’s already flying off the shelves. I’ll leave the reviewers to tell you all about it (ignore their Australian edition covers!), but be sure to have a look at selected pages from the book on Shaun Tan’s website.

Also missed last week was Joe R. Lansdale’s four-issue mini-series Pigeons From Hell: a fresh take on Robert E. Howard’s 1938 Weird Tales short story about an abandoned house where pigeons gather after dark, now collected in trade-paperback. Nathan Fox (DMZ) and Dave Stewart (Conan, The Umbrella Academy) provided the art and it’s well worth a read. There are some preview pages and babble from Lansdale on Newsarama from when it was shiny and new.

Another good’un was Parade (With Fireworks) in trade-paperback – an Eisner-nominated true story about loyalty and betrayal in cartoonist Michael Cavallaro’s family in the years between wars. Definitely worth a look and I would have said so last week if I wasn’t looking the other way when it came in.

So that’s yer lot! But I’ve got more news. If you’ve looked at your diary and found your February 3rd sadly empty, then here’s what you can do: Come to Gosh! between 12:30pm and 2pm to get your favourite Adrian Tomine book signed, then head on over to the ICA at 7pm to see him in conversation with Toby Litt as part of Paul Gravett’s ComICA festival. More details here!

But wait, there’s more! London-based artist and friend of Gosh! Jason Atomic unofficially broke a world record by painting 42 full-length portraits in the time it takes you to eat a sandwich and arse about on Facebook. Unofficial because no one’s willing to define what makes a portrait. See the video here and if you’re in Berlin on February 14th you can see him do it again.

And lastly, here’s something so desperately exciting that a customer almost exploded Mr Creosote-style when I told him. A Scott Pilgrim Gosh! Exclusive.

-- Hayley


Ross Richie said...

Hey Hayley,

I'm not excitable, it's just THAT GOOD!

...dammit, used all caps again...