Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Gosh! Authority 17/04/09

Hello folks! That rascally Hayley Campbell is still sipping sophisticated, exotic Australian cocktails (Cider, lager and blackcurrant? Zany!) on far away shores. Meanwhile I’ll be your blogger on the side, here to bring you up to speed on what’s coming out this week. It’ll be a brief fling, but I hope you’ll always think of me fondly, if not with respect.


It’s the end of an era this week, as Vertigo mainstay 100 Bullets comes to its conclusion. Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso’s labyrinthine crime saga has been winding its way toward its end for some time now, tying up plot threads and tying off a fair few characters. My recommendation? Go back to the beginning before picking up the end. The complexity of the series rewards it. Additionally, it’s a sad, sad day that heralds an impending lack of regular Risso art. Fans of the Argentinean artist may also want to check out the softcover collection of his Wolverine miniseries Logan, created with Brian K. Vaughn, also out this week.

Cecil & Jordan in New York is a collection of Gabrielle Bell’s short works from the past five years which have appeared in titles such as Kramers Ergot, Mome and D&Q Showcase. Bell is one of the real shining lights of contemporary graphic fiction (if I may be so pretentious). Each of these stories is a showcase of her ability, marrying human concerns to a sense of magical realism which lacks the cloying, irritating whimsy so often present in that kind of work. An indication of the regard in which Bell is held is her collaboration with acclaimed director Michel Gondry on an adaptation of this collection's titular story (with a change in location and title), as featured in the anthology film Tokyo.

If I were to describe Dylan Dog as the Italian Wolverine, you may get the wrong idea. But in terms of his popularity, he’s a match for the clawed Canadian and then some, selling over a million copies each month of his own comic. None other than Umberto Eco, lauded author of titles such as Foucault’s Pendulum and Name of the Rose, said: “I can read the Bible, Homer, or Dylan Dog for several days without getting bored.” A fiction staple in his homeland, the horror-hunting detective has had strangely little success with previous attempts to bring his adventures to English-speaking audiences. On the heels of their successful Savage Sword of Conan reprints, Dark Horse are trying a new tack with a massive omnibus edition of DD stories. At 680 pages of black and white pulpy goodness, you could do a lot worse than dropping £18.50 on the Dylan Dog Casefiles. Tell ‘em Umberto Eco sent you.

Fans of Kieron Gillen (and I happen to know there are many of you) will be thrilled to see the talented young fella getting some more high-profile work with this week’s exhaustingly named Secret Invasion Aftermath Beta Ray Bill: Green of Eden #1. In this mini, the horse-faced alien Thor (it’s a long story) rescues a space-faring alien colony but gets a little more than he bargained for. It all sounds like quite good fun and with art by Dan Brereton, I’m certainly going to give it some quality time.

Kevin Huizenga. Know the name? He’s one of the leading lights of independent comics at the moment, a successor to the likes of Dan Clowes, Chester Brown and all those other guys who don’t draw as many comics as they used to. His titles Or Else and Ganges are wonderful little slices of semi-autobiographical observation, but his new title this week – Fight or Run – is something a little different. In what he describes as “an open source comics game”, Huizenga has created an improvisational, stream of consciousness series of fight or flight responses between ever weirder protagonists. High art it’s not, but a fun experiment it looks to be.

Mr Kane has sourced us another beautiful art book this week in the form of The Whimsical Work of David Weidman, a career retrospective of one of the most influential animators of the 1950’s. Making his name as a background painter for Hannah Barbara, Weidman’s style became the signature look of cartoons of the era. Moving out of the field in the 60’s, Weidman’s work found favour with designers and decorators of the time, and the resultant ubiquity of his designs has made his style instantly recognisable. Highly recommended.

Dungeon Zenith returns at last this week, with Back in Style, the third instalment of Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim’s brilliant fantasy series. It’s been a while since they carried on the story of the eponymous lair at its peak, concentrating instead on the various spin-offs such as Early Years, Twilight, Monstres and Parade. Well now it’s back to Herbert, everyone’s favourite enchanted sword-slinging duck, as he fends off the attentions of The Keeper’s wife, Isis. Trondheim sticks to co-writing duties only this time around, with the art now supplied by Boulet.

A quick round-up of some other goodies this week! Incognito #3 ships at last, continuing Brubaker & Phillips’ noir-drenched tale of a bad guy finding it tough to be good. Sure, he riffs on the work of Hammet, Chandler and the like, but did they have a femme fatale named Ava Destruction? I think not.

Insanity abounds in the third volume of Dark Horse’s Herbie Archives. Honestly, all those folks out there who love the craziness of Fletcher Hanks or Boody Rogers should pick these books up. Why? Here’s why.

Paul Pope (no doubt celebrating the optioning of his upcoming Battling Boy) gets a second showing of his wonderful 100% this week, given the same deluxe hardcover treatment that Heavy Liquid had a short while back. With three tales revolving around a near-future Manhattan nightclub, this is one of Pope’s best works as a writer, effortlessly laying out a world that’s a slightly dubious pleasure to revisit. And, of course, it looks stunning.

Speaking of movie options, Ron Howard picked up the rights to a series which is just starting this week, The Strange Adventures of HP Lovecraft. The Image series features a fictionalised Lovecraft as a man whose personal demons are unleashed on the world as he sleeps, a world that only he can them save from himself. It’s HP Lovecraft: Monster Hunter, in a title that seems to be worth a look, particularly given it features all-too rare art from Tony Salmons.

Hey, so you know that Darwyn Cooke, right? Mr DC New Frontier? The stunningly accomplished artist who also turned out to be frighteningly good writer? Well in case you haven’t heard, his latest project is none other than a series of four adaptations of the Parker novels of Richard Stark (aka the late Donald Westlake). A hard-boiled anti-hero, Parker is one of the most memorably reprehensible protagonists in crime fiction, brought to vivid life by Lee Marvin in the John Boorman film Point Blank. The first of Cooke’s adaptations, The Hunter (the source material for Point Blank), is due in July.

The reason for this early heads-up? Well, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be doing one of our special, Gosh-exclusive Bookplate Editions for the graphic novel! Strictly limited to 200 copies, the edition will feature a high-quality tip-in art print created especially for us, signed and numbered by Mr Cooke. We’ll post more information soon, including a sneak peek at the plate itself. We expect these to go super-fast, so those who are keen would be well-advised to put their names down now!

And that’s about that. Still no Hayley next week, but perhaps the return of a familiar old face!



Mark Clapham said...

Old face... Billy?

Where do I sign for a bookplated Parker? Can't wait for this.

Dom Sutton said...

Mr Salmond,

Can you put me down for a Darwyn Cooke bookplate please?