Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Gosh! Authority 12/08/09

Hello campers!

Hayley is feeling a wee bit poorly this week, so you’ve got me to jaw on a bit this week. Don’t worry, I’ll make it quick and painless.

As you’re no doubt aware by now, our Darwyn Cooke bookplates have arrived! The fully assembled,signed, limited bookplate editions of Parker: The Hunter are now on our shelves and selling fast. Seriously, as of writing there are only around 50 left, so get in quick! If it helps at all: the book is bloody great.

Locas is the name of Jaime Hernandez’ (aka “The Instantly Accessible One”) world of stories revolving around ex-mechanic Maggie, punk rocker Hopey and an eclectic, ever-expanding cast of Los Angelenos. Following from the finale of the first Locas volume, Locas Volume 2: Maggie, Hopey & Ray collects the post L&R Vol 1 stories, including the sublime one-two of “Ghost of Hoppers” and “Frogmouth”. Unfortunately, like the second Luba volume, they seem to have ditched the great format of the first bumper hardcover. Still, it’s classic, must-have work, whatever way you package it.

David Tischman returns to comics with a new series from Wildstorm this week. Red Herring is a conspiracy-driven satire, as erstwhile shopaholic Maggie MacGuffin (yes, really) is drawn into the world of Red Herring, an obsessive nutcase. Or is he? Highjinks would appear to ensue as a secret organisation in Washington DC tries to cover up an imminent alien invasion. Or does it? (Yes, it probably does.) Anyway, it looks fairly entertaining but the real drawcard is the presence of none other than Phillip Bond, up near the top of the Gosh list of Artists Who Should Really Do More. Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Speaking of things to give a chance, fans of cosmic weirdness, most especially that epitomised by the wonderful Godland, should pick up the first Charlatan Ball trade paperback by Joe Casey and animator Andy Suriano. The titular character is a low-rent stage magician who is sucked into another dimension, and a tournament of battling wizards. What at first seems like a case of mistaken identity turns out instead to be a nefarious plan hatched by evil genius Demon Empty. Insane fun.

A few big trades out this week. First up is Fables Vol 12: The Dark Age. Really, it’s Fables: The Post-War Years, as we examine the aftermath of the previous volume. Deals are made, unwelcome visitors and shown about, the messy aftermath of war is addressed and two characters whom Fritz Leiber may have recognised unearth an ancient power that sets us up for the new direction of the series.

Meanwhile, in Walking Dead Vol 10: Everybody’s Happy, Rick and Carl have a lovely picnic out in a sunny meadow, while Dale & Andrea have a simply delightful wedding with delicious canapes. The volume concludes with a party, at which Sophia plays an hilarious practical joke on Michonne, who laughs and laughs and laughs. Oh, okay, it’s called What We Become, and people die. Like, a few people. And not nicely. As always, it’s brilliant.

Invincible has a new collection out as well, number 11 to be precise. It is actually called Happy Days, and it’s all about dating and romance and beating up the Astounding Wolf-Man. Also brilliant, if you like that kind of thing.

Last thing Kirkman: similar to his classy decision last month to include a B&W version of Chew #1 as a flipbook to Walking Dead #63 at no extra charge (which we still have a couple of copies of), this month he’s done the same with Viking #1. That’s a black and white, slightly shrunk down version of the excellent new series’ first issue at no extra cost! Not bad, eh?

Speaking of death and misery: Geoff Johns.

That is to say, Geoff Johns is back to his tricks this week, with Blackest Night #2 lurching onto the shelves. I rather enjoyed the first issue, despite its excesses. The art was excellent and Johns can really shine as a writer when he wants to, even through some of the po-faced ultra-violence. Just a shame we never got any of those ginchy promo rings.

Meanwhile, over in Blackest Night Batman #1, it’s not what you probably think! Dick Grayson teams up with Deadman to take on the Black Lantern Flying Graysons. Recruited for their super-acrobatics, presumably. Anyway, it’s written by the underrated Peter Tomasi and drawn by apparently “hot new talent” Adrian Saef.

Oh, and if I could jump back to Geoff Johns for a moment, Adventure Comics makes its debut this week. Originally touted as the replacement Legion of Superheroes book, it was revealed in the wake of Legion of 3 Worlds #4 that it is in fact a showcase book for the returned Superboy. The Legion still feature, but more in the ongoing back-up features. Nice art by former Legion penciller Francis Manapul.

DC continues its mission to collect the entirety of Jack Kirby’s DC output with Sandman by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby HC. Simon & Kirby, the Lee & Kirby of their day, took the Sandman from his pulpy roots and made a true-blue superhero out of him, complete with youthful sidekick “Sandy the Golden Boy”. This volume collects their complete run, comprising of World's Finest Comics #6-7, Adventure Comics #72-97, #100-102 (1942-1946) and Sandman #1 (1974).

Dominic Fortune was always an odd fit for Marvel. A pulpy costumed adventurer created in the 70’s by Howard Chaykin, they never seemed to know quite what to do with him. The last we saw of him was a new version of the character, teaming up with Silver Sable in a Modesty Blaise-style spy thriller. Well, the original Depression-era character is back in brand new mini-series starting this week, with none other than Howard Chaykin back at the helm, handling writing and art chores. It’s a MAX affair, so not for the kiddies. Expect stockings, handguns and…smoking!

Okay, a quick roundup:
- Surprised I didn’t mention it sooner? So am I! Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 is out this week, with the triumphant return of Mark Millar to the characters that helped make his name. The art is by Carlos Pacheco, so it’ll certainly look good and Millar really did shine on the first two volumes of Ultimates. Well worth a look. Hey, it has be better than vol 3, right?
- Speaking of Ultimate relaunches, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man is also out this week, with writer Bendis still incumbent, but new artist David Lafuente bringing his distinctive (and very well suited) style to the mix.
- BPRD 1947 #2 and Hellboy The Wild Hunt #5 both grace us this week. Honestly, is there a comics universe that offers such reliable quality as this one? Mike Mignola has a great eye for talent and the work Joshua Dysart and the brothers Ba & Moon are doing on this BPRD mini is outstanding. As for Mignola & Fegredo, well, what would you expect?
- A reprint with some pedigree, Starstruck #1 begins a 13-part remastered representation of the classic Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta space opera. Originally published variously by Heavy Metal, Epic Comics and Dark Horse, the series has been recoloured and also features Galactic Girl Guides backups by Lee, Kaluta & Charles Vess.

And that’s about it! Hopefully Hayley will be back on fine form next week, so until next time, au revoir!