Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace Volume 5 is a lovely hardcover from Fantagraphics and my pick of the week. This instalment collects everything from 1959-60, the end of the Postwar Era. Nat’s a big fan and you may remember he wrote about the series mid-last year on this very blog. Here’s a chunk of what he had to say:
“In some ways it baffles me that these Dennis the Menace collections don’t sell nearly as well as the Peanuts equivalents. Like Peanuts the strips themselves are gently comic, rather than laugh out loud funny, although this often doesn’t prepare for the occasional really funny, dark or even borderline sinister gag that can take you quite by surprise. Like Peanuts it’s also steeped in that lovely 50s Americana that gives you that wonderful feeling you can only usually achieve by watching a live action Disney movie on a wet Bank Holiday Monday while enjoying some hot tea and toast.”
Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing is also published in hardcover for the very first time, including the never-before-reprinted #20 and the seven issues thereafter. It’s this chunk of Swamp Thing that first put Moore on the map and even if you’ve got all the trades this is worth having a look at.
Everything else is Batman this week so I’m going to link to The Count’s Batty Bat under the pretence that it’s relevant, which it isn’t. Batman RIP concluded not that long ago but it’s already out in hardcover! You may have heard Grant Morrison (Final Crisis) had Batman whacked in the final issue. It seemed to divide fans – some loved it and others were annoyed in the same way Ned Beauman was annoyed which I’m directing you to not entirely for the article but more for the amusing fight on the message board beneath it. If you’re old enough for a beard you’re too old for comics, apparently. For what it’s worth: Be warned, there be spoilers in them thar hills.
Speaking of Morrison, the last half of his and Frank Quitely’s epic, award-winning All Star Superman is out in hardcover. There’s a great review of it, along with some selected pages, over at I am NOT the Beastmaster.
But back to Batman. Neil Gaiman’s highly anticipated story Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? begins in this weeks #686, illustrated by Andy Kubert (Marvel 1602). It promises to leave no stone unturned and concludes in Detective Comics #853 (out later this month). Gaiman sneakily put up some Kubert pencils last month and no one’s told him off yet so they’re still there. There’s also a full page of it over at Newsarama.
Nat has just told me to tell you all that Batman Confidential #26 is something you should all be excited about. He says you probably won’t be, but you should be because King Tut (from the late ‘60s TV Batman TV show) puts in an appearance. It’s the first of the three-part story arc about murders and riddles. It’s written by Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis, with art by the team supreme of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan. Consider yourselves excited!
After a quick and fruitless google I thought Richard Peel was perhaps the only guy on earth without a website. But Alan Moore (the mastermind behind such brilliant movies as Constantine, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Watchmen) (I kid. Or rather, Richard Peel kids.) proved me wrong on the back of his latest small press comic Captain Cape Versus Zombiac. It’s here, hiding from Google, and it’s as charmingly rubbish as I hoped it would be. Here are a few feckin’ brilliant samples of what you’re in for. You should also have a look at his blog where I found this page of Creepodrome and laughed heartily.
Last week I forgot to mention the trade-paperback Punisher: Girls in White Dresses written by crime novelist Gregg Hurwitz (The Kill Clause, The Crime Writer) with moody, darkness-drenched art by Lawrence Campbell (Punisher Special: The Hunted), which collects #61-65. Hurwitz is one of three crime writers Marvel brought in after Ennis left, the two others being Duane Swierczynski and Victor Gischler. Hurwitz, who made his debut last year with Wolverine Special: The Deathsong of Patrick Smitty and Foolkiller, says:
"My story is sort of a take on the Western tradition, with The Seven Samurai mixed in. [It's set] in an industrial town in Mexico, a lot of girls and young women are disappearing. The townsfolk feel utterly powerless, and their last-ditch effort is to pool their resources and send one guy north to find the Punisher." More here.
Lawrence Campbell popped in this morning and signed all our copies. Grab one before they're gone!
Something I did mention last week was Jersey Gods. But I’m going to do it again because Andrew keeps gushing like a fanboy. Read Jersey Gods! Everybody likes it. Even this guy who says "...if Darwyn Cooke and Jack Kirby had a baby and you’ve pretty much got Jersey Gods!"
The enormous raft-boat of a book Kramer’s Ergot Volume 7 is back in stock! We sold out almost immediately last time so I thought it was worth mentioning. Comics Reporter has an interview with Sammy Harkham, along with a complete list of creators which I’ve purloined just for you: (deep breath) Rick Altergott, Gabrielle Bell, Jonathan Bennett, Blanquet, Blex Bolex, Conrad Botes, Shary Boyle, Mat Brinkman, John Brodowski, Ivan Brunetti, C.F., Chris Cilla, Jacob Ciocci, Dan Clowes, Martin Cendreda, Joe Daly, Kim Deitch, Matt Furie, Tom Gauld, Leif Goldberg, Matt Groening, John Hankiewicz, Sammy Harkham, Eric Haven, David Heatley, Tim Hensley, Jaime Hernandez, Walt Holcombe, Kevin Huizenga, J. Bradley Johnson, Ben Jones, Ben Katchor, Ted May, Geoff McFetridge, Jesse McManus, James McShane, Jerry Moriarty, Anders Nilsen, John Pham, Pshaw, Aapo Rapi, Ron Rege Jr., Xavier Robel, Helge Reumann, Ruppert & Mulot, Johnny Ryan, Richard Sala, Souther Salazar, Frank Santoro, Seth, Shoboshobo, Josh Simmons, Anna Sommer, Will Sweeney, Matthew Thurber, Adrian Tomine, C. Tyler, Chris Ware, and Dan Zettwoch.
Speaking of Adrian Tomine, keep and eye (ear?) out for Alex Fitch’s interview with him on Resonance FM tomorrow at 5pm. There’s a repeat of it on the 15th but if you’re like me you’ll manage to miss both and just wait for the podcast (I’ll mention it here when it appears, no doubt). I also noticed that Fitch spoke to director Julien Temple about his film The Eternity Man, the true story of a man who wandered the streets of Sydney for decades writing the word ‘Eternity’ in chalk everywhere. It reminded me of the Eddie Campbell four-pager (available here courtesy of the Wayback machine) about the turn of the millenium. Sydney spunked their New Year’s fireworks budget on a bridge-sized reproduction of the chap’s chalky ‘Eternity’ and it was wonderful.
Shop news! The bookplated editions of Scott Pilgrim are now sold out, but we still have loads of copies of the regular edition which has a very shiny cover. Our sale wall is crammed full of Masterworks, Archives, Showcase and Essentials stuff so if you’ve been thinking about getting some of ‘em for a while now’s yer chance. Carpe diem and all that bollocks.
That’s me done.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009