Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Gosh! Authority 23/04/09

Hello, Goshketeers! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Tom’s back! Yes, it’s me, here as a special guest treat for just one week because I’m so desperately in need of the money.

In this humble guest blogger’s opinion, this week’s most exciting book is BPRD Vol 10: The Warning. This might, however, have a great deal to do with the fact that I’ve missed this most recent series of the ever-entertaining Hellboy spin-off in single issues, and I’m in desperate need of my fix. This could well prove to be the most thrilling instalment to date for the frog-busting freak brigade, as a host of old adversaries and dangers come to the fore all at once. We’ve got long-dead lobster-themed adventurers, we’ve got mummified Egyptian queens, we’ve got megalomaniac executives pledging their souls to the beasts of the underworld. In short: we’ve got everything you need in one slim volume.

Wait, let me try that paragraph again.

In this humble guest blogger’s opinion, this week’s most exciting book is Scalped Vol 4: The Gravel in Your Guts. This might, however, have a great deal to do with the fact that I’ve missed this most recent series of Jason Aaron’s excellent cop thriller in single issues, and I’m in desperate need of my fix. But seriously folks, if you’ve not heard us raving about Scalped before, you must have been living in a crawlspace somewhere. Either that or you’ve just become very good at blocking out the ramblings of comic shop employees. Scalped is one of those rare titles that seems to get everything right, from pacing to characterisation to RM Guéra’s beautiful artwork, and from what I hear, recent issues have been no exception.

So, Scalped’s the pick of the week. No, wait, BPRD. No, Scalped...

Well, never mind. Moving swiftly on, we’ve also got a much-anticipated new arrival in the form of Detective Comics #853, the second and final part of Neil Gaiman’s out-of-continuity tribute to Bruce Wayne’s epic tenure as The Bat-Man, Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Preview materials promise an ‘exciting and unexpected climax’, so look forward to that.

On the indie comics front, we’ve got a new Harvey Pekar joint emerging this week in the form of The Beats: A Graphic History. Pekar takes us through the life and times of a veritable cornucopia of bohemian poets of the 50s and 60s, from Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to more obscure figures like Kenneth Patchen, alongside a number of small anecdotal tales by Pekar himself and some other writers. Most notably, famed singer/songwriter Jeffery Lewis provides words AND art for his own biography of publisher, writer and cartoonist Tuli Kupferberg.

On top of all this collected wonderment, we’ve also got the latest issues of a number of apparently fairly successful periodical comics. Kick-Ass #6, by a Mister Mark Millar, has apparently even been optioned to be turned into a Hollywood film! A big-budget film adaptation of a mere comic book story? What will they think of next. This sixth issue boasts yet more beautiful artwork from the pen of John Romita Jr and a conclusion to the tale of the titular teenage hero’s origin. There’s also a new issue of Robert Kirkman’s little-indie-superhero-book-that-could, Invincible, and the start of a new story from much-loved writer Peter Milligan in this month’s edition of Hellblazer, featuring art from the versatile Goran Sudzuka!

Another single issue well worth a look is Viking #1. I remember a while ago admiring the cover work of painter Nic Klein on such titles as New Warriors for Marvel, and now he arrives as a fully-formed pop-art demon in this, his first full series all to himself. Providing words to go in bubbles is Ivan Brandon, the co-writer of not-that-popular-but-really-cool Image series Cross Bronx, so this should be one to check out. At least, the comics retailing industry seems to think so, because this first issue already has a second printing on the way! Also out this week is Fantastic Force #1, written by the TV world’s Joe Ahearne. Can’t place the name? Well, he wrote the UK TV show Ultraviolet, and directed a few episodes of the modern Doctor Who. Odd, right? Well, he’s working for Marvel now, writing this new spin-off from Mark Millar’s current run on Fantastic Four.

In British-Isles-related news, we’ve also got some new compendia of 2000AD hits, including my own personal favourite Sinister Dexter, in the paperback Eurocrash, including the seminal tale of the duo’s bodyguard work at gang boss Demi Octavo’s wedding. Finally, for all you fans of classic British serial entertainment, we’ve got the latest set of adventures for everyone’s favourite femme fatale, Modesty Blaise.

Well, it’s been a pleasure to be back, but soon you’ll be returned to our regular programme of fine antipodean comics criticism and this will be but a fleeting memory. Happy reading!
- Tom