Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 10/02/10

I’ve swiped a Pogo-themed page from this one so naturally it gets top billing so I can use it. Newave! Underground Mini-Comix of the 80s is a hardcover from Fantagraphics collecting some of the best small press cartoonists that came after your classic Crumb, Shelton and Spiegelman stuff in the 60s. Inspired by the DIY spirit of those chaps, people like Dan Clowes, Sam Henderson (Magic Whistle), and Rick Geary (Treasury of Victorian Murder) visited their local photocopy shop to make their A4 twice-folded mini comics. By the 1980s these had become known as Newave Comix (taken from the UK’s New Wave music scene) and their manifesto went thusly:

“Newave is not about artsploitation. Newave is about ideas. Nothing is taboo. Nothing is censored. No one is told what or what not to draw... Newave is social, political, rebellious, humorous, irreverent, libellous, inane, argumentative, blasé, blatant, belligerent, blasphemous, insane, kinky, ridiculous, absurd, loving, sleazy, and topical. Newave is back talk... Newave is the child of instant printing. Anyone can learn it. Anyone can participate. There are no aristocrats of newave, no comix stars. Newave is communication returned to people. It is out of the control of the mind manipulators...”
– From Clay Geerdes’ Newave Manifesto, 1983

Here’s a 36-page (!) PDF preview for you and an early review if you’re so inclined. But more importantly, over here is one of those videos of a man flipping through a book that we Gosh! folk like so much. It’s worth watching because up until I hit ‘play’ I was under the illusion that the book was going to be massive given that it’s 900 pages long. Thick it may be, but unless this bloke has enormous hands it’s definitely minicomix size. And to be honest I should have seen that coming.

Also a product of the ‘80s is the ever-popular chain-smoking John Constantine. 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the his first appearance back in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and to celebrate Vertigo have got Jamie Delano – the very first Hellblazer writer – to pen an original Constantine graphic novel.

Hellblazer: Pandemonium
is illustrated by Jock (The Losers) and set in Iraq, where we find Constantine in war-torn areas and detainment centres. Delano missed writing Hellblazer “kinda like how you miss banging your head on a wall when you stop” but jumped at the chance to make Constantine engage with some of the moral ambiguities of the war on terror, he says in an interview with USA Today. Here’s another huge preview for you.

Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. Ultimate Collection TP has arrived. Never read it? Nextwave are a bunch of potty-mouthed Z-list superheroes who’ve discovered that their former employers and so-called anti-terrorist organisation are actually evil terrorist masterminds. So they proceed to blow a lot of stuff up. It’s a series that lampoons the Marvel Universe, fruity tights and funnybook tradition and it’s very, very good. This collection reprints everything including the original letters pages that are just as funny as the comic itself.

Dylan Horrocks’ acclaimed Hicksville is finally back in print in a definitive edition paperback from Drawn & Quarterly. If you’ve never read it you’re in for a treat. A Canadian writer arrives in the tiny New Zealand town of Hicksville to research the early life of a world famous cartoonist called Dick Burger. Everyone there is an expert on comics (their local library stocks Action Comics #1) and everyone hates Burger. It’s a fictionalised history of comics and as this reviewer said, the book can be summed up by one of the Hicksville mob:

“The official history of comics is a history of frustration. Of unrealised potential. Of artists who never got the change to do that magnum opus. Of stories that never got told – or else they were bowdlerised by small-minded editors… A medium locked into a ghetto and ignored by countless people who could have made it sing… Well, here it is. The other history of comics. The way it should have been.”

Here’s a PDF preview.

Also back in print (though more surprisingly so) is the Marat/Sade Journals of Barron Storey. First published by Tundra near the end of their existence and limited to just 1000 copies, you’d be hard-pressed to find a copy that didn’t cost you your right kidney. This edition is reconstructed by re-scanning the original journals and has section-sewn binding so it’s more journal-y that the original glued edition. Storey’s work most notably influenced Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz so if you like either of them you should stick you nose in this. David Mack (Kabuki) provides the introduction and if you head over to Storey’s blog you can see some of his artwork.

The other Fantagraphics offering this week is King, a hardcover special edition of Ho Che Anderson’s biography of Martin Luther King.

Originally published in three volumes, this edition includes the original 240-page graphic novel plus the usual bevy of special DVD features they like to include in this sort of thing: pages of script, preliminary sketches, essays, etc. Here’s another of those cracking videos we like to watch plus an 18-page PDF preview if you don’t like to see a man mauling a book with his big sausagey fingers.

This week you’ll also get another instalment of Lewis Trondheim’s Little Nothings which he himself has described as a whole lotta not much. Volume 3: Uneasy Happiness gives you more daily anxieties, funny observations, and obsessive hypochondria, all of which will undoubtedly be brilliant because it’s by Lewis Trondheim. I stole this Little Nothings page from his website and chose it because it was silent and therefore not French, just like they do with foreign film trailers in the UK. You should head that way so I feel like less of a thief.

Ramayana Divine Loophole is another book from veteran Pixar animator Sanjay Patel whose Little Book of Hindu Deities has always been a big hit here at Gosh! In this hardcover picture book he illustrates one of the best-loved stories from Hindu mythology (which is explained here if you’re not familiar with it) in over 100 full-colour full-page illustrations. It’s a lovely looking thing. Pictures abound over at Pardon My Hindi.

Bob Fingerman’s apocalyptic From the Ashes is collected in trade-paperback this week. I wrote about it back when #1 arrived in June last year so head this way for a recap and a preview of the first issue.

And finally, in comics we’ve got the first issue of a brand new Human Target six-issue miniseries (no doubt because the big exciting Fox TV series). Written by Len Wein and illustrated Bruno Redondo (Push), it also features a backup story illustrated by Chris Sprouse (Tom Strong). Don’t forget Peter Milligan’s original Human Target trade was reprinted not so long ago and is definitely worth a read.

Also out is Adventure Comics #7 which I know nothing about because all DC Comics say about it is “TOP SECRET!” Two words, that’s all they’re giving me. It’s got Black Lantern Superboy in it so you’ll probably want to pick it up if you’re following Blackest Night. Have a preview.

And if you’re liking Hit Monkey’s appearances in Deadpool and you want to know his origin story, you’re in luck. Hit Monkey #1 tells you all you need to know about the pink-faced simian assassin. Preview.

Abadee abadee, tha-tha-that’s all, folks!

-- Hayley