Monday, April 19, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 21/04/10

Greetings, Gosh fans, or as they say in Iceland, “Komdu sæll!” Now you must be aware, of course, of the volcanic ash currently drifting through our upper atmosphere, grounding all flights in and out of the UK (not to mention many of our Friends on the Continent). Unfortunately, as Hayley informed you earlier in the week, this means there will be no new comics shipping to us this week. We’ll let you know as soon as we have any more information on when titles might be arriving, but we’re looking down the barrel of some serious delays here. Even though flights have now resumed, the backlog of cargo will take some clearing, and alas, periodicals aren’t the highest priority. Fingers crossed for next week, but stay tuned for updates.

Meanwhile, we’d like you to think of this not as the Volcanic Death Cloud, but rather more as the Ashen Cloud of Opportunity. Yes, there’s not much new coming through the door, but there are plenty of great recent books out on our shelves, and now’s your chance to give ‘em a try!

First up, let’s go down the road of tights’n’capes, kicking off with one of the best recent Marvel titles we’ve had in: Spider-Man Fever #1 (AKA Brendan McCarthy’s Dr Strange: Fever, guest starring Spider-Man). It’s no secret that Brendan McCarthy is a master of surrealist narrative, and so a perfect fit for the weird astral worlds of Dr Strange. In this first issue, the good Doctor inadvertently unleashes an invasion of spider-demons, who nab the soul of Spider-Man for their greedy king. “A human soul? Prepare it immediately. I shall have it with custard!”

Marvel Zombies 5 started last week, and is much better than you might think. The MZ series have now basically become vehicles for D-list characters, including Machine Man, in full flesh-hating Nextwave mode, and have really regained the humour that made the first mini-series so much fun. This series promises to jump through different times in the Marvel Universe, starting here with the Old West, and next issue moving to the post-War of the Worlds Killraven era.

Geoff Johns’ new Flash series started last week, and we still have a limited number of copies on the shelf. Johns’ previous work in the Flash-verse remains a high-watermark for the title, and he’s off to a good start with this issue, helped along ably by the art of Francis Manapul, who actually got really good sometime in the last few years while I wasn’t looking. Lovely colouring to boot.

If you’re more of a Marvel kinda reader, might I recommend the X-Men Second Coming crossover. We’ve still got the first three chapters, and it’s the most focused X-story I’ve seen in quite some time. Reminiscent of the good old Mutant Massacre days, it’s primarily just a big, fun action story, interspersed with soapy character beats. And really, what more do you want from the X-Men?

Finally, a great segue title, the Strange Tales HC. It’s the Marvel heroes as imagined by some of the top indie creators working today. Talents include Paul Pope, Michael Kupperman, Peter Bagge, James Kochalka, Jason, Dash Shaw, Stan Sakai, Tony Millionaire, Jhonen Vasquez, Jeffrey Brown and many more! My favourite from the whole book? …AND CALL MY LOVER MODOK! by Nick Bertozzi. It’s as mental as it sounds. “Oh Modie…don’t think about killing—just KISSING.”

Meanwhile, have you seen McSweeney’s #33? It’s a whacking great San Franciscan newspaper, with everything you might expect from the weekend papers. And in amongst those supplements, including articles and stories from the likes of Junot Diaz, Michael Chabon, Stephen King, Roddy Doyle and more, is an amazing 16-page comics paper. It’s a veritable who’s who of great talent: Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Jessica Abel, Adrian Tomine, Alison Bechdel & Gabrielle Bell, to name a few. At £11.50 this thing is a snap, offering amazing value for money. I guarantee you’ll be reading your way through this for some time to come.

Afrodisiac, Brian Maruca & Jim Rugg’s love letter to blaxploitation comics. The book is an amazingly realised anthology of snippets from throughout the fictional career of the titular character, adopting all manner of different styles to show his depiction throughout the years. Rather than being a collection of full stories, it’s a make-believe archive of snapshots, as though Chip Kidd had fallen in love with a comics version of Shaft and wanted to show you his favourite splash pages, covers, pieces of ephemera and so on. Pure genius.

Speaking of genius, the first volume of Torpedo is still available, featuring the work of none other than Alex Toth, as well as the always impressive Jordi Bernet. Written by Enrique Sanchez Abuli, Torpedo is one of comics’ great bastards. A precursor to and indelible influence on the crime comics of Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello and others, Torpedo is still a blackly humourous treat with jaw-dropping art.

We’ve had two new bookplate editions in store in the last month or so: first up was the new collection of Phonogram by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie, a highly enjoyable collection of short stories meditating on love, sex, magic and music. While it’s enhanced by a reading of the first collection, this volume can be enjoyed on its own, so don’t be afraid to dip your toes (eyes?) into one of the great critical successes the UK has produced this past year. Our second recent bookplate is the lush, exciting collaboration by Ben Haggarty & Adam Brockbank, Mezolith. On the one hand it’s a high-falutin’ consideration of the power of stories and the manner in which they shape our lives, comparable to the best bits of Sandman, and on the other it’s also a collection of blood-chilling, exciting adventures: all witches, spears and swan-ladies. Not badly drawn, either, if I may massively understate.

Am I done? Am I heck. There’s more!

How about Mysterious the Unfathomable? The critically lauded but sadly low-selling series is now available in one handy collection. Jeff Parker and Tom Fowler have produced a little gem in this story of a jaded, slightly morally questionable magician and his good-natured sidekick, as they battle a rogues gallery ranging from a coven of naked witches, to a demonic Dr Seuss. It’s a fun treat, and completely unique.

And there’s Witchfinder, the newest addition to the Hellboy universe. Written by Mike Mignola and featuring lovely art by up and comer Ben Stenbeck, Witchfinder sees occasional flashback guest star Sir Edward Grey take centre stage in this tale of Victorian horror. Not only does the story stand well on its own, but it also offers important background to the world of Hellboy and the BPRD. The collection also features two short stories and a sketchbook section at the back.

Don’t forget Black Blizzard, Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s pulpy tale of two prisoners handcuffed together and on the run in a snow storm. Almost an antidote to the considered humanism of Tatsumi’s other works currently available in English, this is pure genre schlock, and a great deal of fun for that.

Did you pick up Turf #1? We’ve still got copies of Jonathan Ross’ sell-out, big-time comics debut, with lovely art by Tommy Lee Edwards. It’s 1920’s gangsters vs vampires vs aliens, and it promises to be some goofy fun as it develops. It’s also only £2.20 for a solid, enjoyable read, so well worth checking out.

Something else that came out a while back that we’ve still got some copies of is the Beasts of Burden mini-series by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. Each issue is a stand-alone story of the heroic dogs (and occasional cat) of Burden Hill, a small American town beset by all manner of supernatural beasties. They’re great stories, filled with humour, horror and drama. Grab ‘em now while we still have some left.

If you fancy trying out some older issues, then don’t forget that we have thousands of back issues downstairs, many of which are £1 or less. An inexpensive way to try out new things.

And there’s plenty more, like Batman and Robin Volume 1 Deluxe Hardcover by Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely, Other Lives HC by Pete Bagge, Peter Milligan's Bronx Kill HC, and Excalibur Visionaries: Warren Ellis TP, all of which came out in the last fortnight or so. Honestly, if you’re suffering from withdrawal this week, do feel free to pop on in and check out the shelves. We’re always happy to give you suggestions based on what you’d normally read, or recommend things a little out of the ordinary if you’d like to take a chance. Otherwise, keep watching the skies, and we’ll let you know as soon as we find out when the next new shipment is due to arrive.

Alex Fitch of Panel Borders fame is chairing a couple of great panels at this year's Sci-Fi London. On Saturday the 1st of May you can see Dez Skinn, Dan Abnett, Gary Erskine, John Freeman, and Simon Furman discuss the history of Marvel UK, and on the following Monday you can catch Woodrow Phoenix, Howard Webster, and Cyriak Harris talking comics and film. All details are over at the Sci-Fi London website.

Last bit of news and then we're off: the great Gene Colan (Howard the Duck) has broken his shoulder and can't work for the next three months (at least!). Because it's America there'll be a pile of medical bills to take care of and he needs our help. Over at Clifford Meth's blog you'll find all the details on the benefit auction which includes work by Mike Deodato, Harlan Ellison, Mark Evanier, Mike Henderson, Stan Lee, “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, Bill Messner-Loebs, Tom Palmer, Mike Pascale, Paul Ryan, Joe Rubenstein, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walter Simonson, Marv Wolfman and more.

Bæbæ! (As they say in Volcanic Doomland)



Anonymous said...


Nice to see you look for opportunity in adversity. Sadly I'll just use it as an opportunity to catch up with the last two weeks' worth of comics I have.

Thanks for the heads up about it though - I usually make a special trip into London on a Thursday or Friday for comics so posting this saved me some time and money.