Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Gosh! Authority 16/09/09

If DC’s Absolute Editions are your thing you’re going to have one hell of a trip home after you get your mince pies on these:

Neil Gaiman’s popular Death spin-off stuff was originally going to be collected in a deluxe hardcover called Compleat Death because that’s what they’d been calling it for the last ten years. But after a rethink and some helpful prodding from Gaiman and his fans DC decided to release it as an Absolute Edition to fit nicely with the other four Sandman volumes on your creaking bookshelves. Beneath its slipcased, fancy hardcover you’ll find Death: The High Cost of Living (now completely relettered by Todd Klein) and Death: The Time of Your Life, both illustrated by Chris Bachalo and the lovely Mark Buckingham. There’s also the Death Talks About Life AIDS pamphlet, and a whole bunch of other bits and bobs you can read about at the DC website. Providing the intro is Gaiman’s ukulele-wielding girlfriend Amanda Palmer who recently starred alongside the brilliant Bill Nighy in his short film which you can see on the telly some time around Christmas.

Alan Moore’s Promethea is also getting the Absolute treatment, finally. This is the first of three oversized volumes and collects the first twelve issues all illustrated by the spectacular J.H. Williams III. He’s also got a Flickr photostream by the way, full of Promethea art and other stuff you’ll want to see, right click, save. Tom Strong – another Big Hairy Moore classic – is apparently unworthy of an Absolute but it gets a nice deluxe hardcover edition instead. This week we see the first of three volumes (again, the first dozen issues) illustrated by Chris Sprouse and a wealth of other people you like – Jerry Ordway, Dave Gibbons, et al.

That’s it for big Absolutes so be still your (accountant’s) heart! We’ve got lots of strange things in from Fantagraphics this week including West Coast Blues, a graphic novel adaptation by Jaques Tardi of the book by French master crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette. It’s one of those about a normal guy (in this case and aimless, young executive) who gets dragged into a world of violent crime after witnessing a murder. Jog the Blog (a blog you should watch) reviews it along with other bits about Cooke’s Hunter to boot. From the 10-page PDF preview it definitely looks like one that’s going to be around for a long time to come. And given that it’s the first in Fantagraphics’ new series of Tardi imports there’s thankfully more where that comes from.

Another offering from Fantagraphics is Love & Rockets New Stories Volume 2 in their new L&R trade-paperback format. There’s a 100-page chunk of new stuff by The Hernandez Brothers including Hypnotwist, Gilbert’s 39-page Lynchian story about a beautiful redhead’s surreal night with shady characters, violence and high heel shoes. There’s another PDF preview for you here and even an early (and very thorough) review with pictures and everything! The brothers Hernandez pop up on our shelves again this Thursday with the third issue of Citizen Rex. They talk about the series here and if it’s only just caught your eye you’ll be happy to know we’ve still got copies of the first two issues.

The big issue #1 of the week is Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden – the first of a four-issue miniseries about the heroic gang of cats and dogs introduced in the Dorkin/Thompson Eisner award-winning short story Stray from 2004’s Dark Horse Book of Hauntings. After grim supernatural doings threaten the community of Burden Hill it’s up to the four-legged crowd to sort it out.

“The area is attracting the dead, the damned and the diabolical, and the human inhabitants of the Hill are blind to this as they go about their everyday business commuting to work, watching TV, worrying about money and their kids. The people there are barely aware of their natural environment, let alone the unnatural environment. So it’s fallen to these animals, whose eyes and ears and snouts are more attuned to what’s happening, to counter these malevolent forces and try to get to the heart of the mystery of Burden Hill,” says Dorkin.

It’s all fully painted by Gosh! Favourite Jill Thompson (Magic Trixie) but just because there’s animals in it doesn’t mean it’s cutesy and sweet. It’s horrific but it’s not horror. Uh, here’s what Jill means:

“I'm not an overtly gory person. I subscribe to the old-movie style of violence depiction, which is that nothing that I can create is as disgusting as what you can create in your imagination. Of course, in the first issue, there's a bunch of gore. But if there's something really bad that happens, I'd prefer to show what's leading up to it or the aftermath, not the actual impact.”

You can preview it here.

The huge manga release this week is Pluto Volume 5 by Urasawa and Tezuka and if this review is anything to go by it’s another cracking instalment that you’ll want to get your mitts on ASAFP.

Phillip Marsden is a Liverpool-based small-press comic artist that you’ll probably hear of very soon if you haven’t already. From now until late November there’s a retrospective exhibition of Marsden’s comic work since 2004 which is also partly a launch for his new comic True Stories which collects what you’ll see on the walls at the Riverside Gallery plus a bunch of new stuff too. All details are over at his website and there are even some attractive postcards on the counter here at Gosh!

And last of all, don’t forget about our Joe Sacco signing on Wednesday 30th of September! We’ve got three more signing announcements to make (properly) so keep an eye on the Gosh! Blog.

-- Hayley