Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Gosh! Authority 28/05/09

Brace yourself - there’s going to be far too much stuff to carry home this week!

Last Friday Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910 officially hit the shelves. Many of you have already nabbed one in the past few days so this is just a gentle prod for those of you who were looking the other way when this post went up.

This week you’ll see another handsome Seth design wrapping itself around the latest D&Q hardcover collection. It’s John Stanley’s Melvin Monster, the first of three volumes collecting the nine-issue children’s comedy comic about the little monster boy from Monsterville who was far too much of a good lad be the bad guy (much to his parents chagrin). Over the coming months D&Q will be collecting all of Stanley’s non-Little Lulu work, and Melvin’s definitely worth a read, nostalgic or otherwise. Preview here!

More old stuff is reprinted in Century 21 Volume 2, which you’ll be needing if you’re a Gerry Anderson fan. Down the Tubes have a list of everything in this and the previous volume (we’ve still go copies of that one too if you missed it).

Pixar fans listen up!

The Art of Up is in our shop. Right now. And it’s lovely. It’s got over 250 bits of concept art, storyboards, full-colour pastels, digital and pencil sketches and more, plus a foreword by Pete Doctor (director of UP and Monsters Inc, and the co-writer of and Toy StoryToy Story 2). You can read all about its conception and construction on the Pixar blog, where they also have an interview with Tim Hauser, the writer of this hardcover compendium of astonishingly brilliant artwork. The film’s not out ‘til October in the UK so perhaps this may help tide you over.

Speaking of animation and such, Will Kane’s latest oddity in the shop is the first graphic novel by Ben Balistreri, currently a storyboard artist for Dreamworks and previously an award-winning character designer at Nickelodeon and Disney TV. It’s called Seaweed: A Cure for Mildew and it’s feckin’ huge so you’ll find it by Little Nemo and Kramers Ergot. Seaweed’s a pelican who’s lost his ability to fly, and together with a hypochondriac bat called Mildew they embark on an adventure to find The Devil’s Cookbook which can cure everything - even death. Lots of brilliantly designed characters thwart their plans along the way and if you’re a fan of stuff like Bone you’ll probably like this too. As a special bonus there’s an original pencil sketch on the title page.

In new comics this week we’ve got a self-contained storyline in Northlanders #17 and not only is Andrew very excited about it, Warren Ellis is too. This issue’s a good jumping on point for newbies, and probably a good test to see if you’d like the rest of the series. Lots of preview pages and fighting here! In an unrelated aside, Wolverine #72 – part 7 of 8 of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s Old Man Logan story – has finally arrived.

A couple of big one-shots are dragging their late and lazy selves onto the shelves this Friday. Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight sees the pre-Battle for the Cowl Caped Crusader end up in Spain after a string of puzzling murders rocks the city. Writer Mark Waid says it’s moody, but “…it's not a Brian Azzarello comic, [nor is it] a Bronze Age pastiche. It's really a sort of hardcore pulp adventure.” And why Barcelona? “Essentially, what has happened is Killer Croc has been brainwashed by Scarecrow and the Mad Hatter into believing he is the reincarnation of the dragon that slew St. George in the original myths.” Not up on your Spanish mythology? Never mind, Waid explains it all for you. It’s illustrated by Spaniard Diego Olmos (Supernatural: Rising Son) and features a Jim Lee cover. Preview pages and more here!

If you’re after some cheering up I’d recommend picking up Spider-Man: Short Halloween (like Loeb/Sale’s Batman: The Long Halloween, geddit?), the first foray into comics by Saturday Night Live writers Bill Hader and Seth Mayers. Our hero conks out after a knock to the head and a drunkard in a Spidey costume steps in to take his place. It’s not the most original premise, but it’s what they do with it that’s important (and very funny), says this reviewer. There’s also a bunch of previews on that page featuring the art of Kevin Maguire (Justice League).

In trade-paperback this week we’ve got Garth Ennis’ Battlefields: Dear Billy of which there is a preview if you missed it, and a review too.

Then there’s Kyle Baker’s Special Forces, which you must read because everyone loves Kyle Baker. This hit series is a comedy following the lives and deaths of misfit soldiers who by rights should not be in service but have nevertheless been sent off to fight in Iraq because the US is desperate for troops. “First and foremost, this book is about teenage hot-bodies blowing sh*t up," said Baker back in 2007. “The best comic books are about fights and teenage angst. You want messages, buy a phone. This story is more about teenagers growing up in the 21st century. A world where kids post suicide manifestos on YouTube before shooting up their school with easily obtained automatic weapons. A world where the hot underground drugs are Adderall and Xanax. You can't make this stuff up." The trade collects the first four (and so far only) issues of the series which is partly reviewed here.

Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece’s Incognegro (out in softcover) sees a 1930s pale-skinned African American reporter passing for white in the Deep South investigate lynchings. It got loads of much deserved attention when it was published and if you like a hardboiled mystery it’ll be right up your street.

Bayou is set in the same place and the same time as the above only it’s weirder.

A white girl is kidnapped by an evil creature called Bog and an innocent black man is accused of the crime. When his daughter follows the stolen girl’s trail to solve the mystery and save her dad she enters a world of gods and monsters. It’s a fairly unsettling story by Jeremy Love and one I’m sure Andrew will be rabbiting on about in the coming weeks. You can see it here!

This is a Souvenir: The Songs of Spearmint and Shirley Lee is a brand-spanking anthology in the tradition of the Tori Amos Comic Book Tattoo and Put The Book Back On The Shelf, (the Bell & Sebastian one).

Loads of creators have reinterpreted the songs of the Britpop band in an LP-sized book of over 200-pages of stuff and stories. If you’re a fan of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Phonogram), or Chynna Clugston-Flores (Blue Monday) this should most definitely be included in your weekly swag. You can see some of the pages here and editor Eric Stephenson talks about it here.

And last of all, Christian Ward came in yesterday afternoon and sketched on the covers of his new comic Olympus. Come and get one before they’re all gone!

- Hayley