Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 06/05/10

We’re hoping this will be the last week of weirdness for a bit. We can’t blame the volcano anymore; everything is delayed by one day due to the lovely grey, freezing cold bank holiday Monday you all enjoyed earlier. But next week – gods of Stuff permitting – the Comics Delivery Guy will darken our doorstep on his traditional day. In the meantime, here’s what you’ll be spending your pocket money on this Friday:

iZombie gets top billing this week and looks to be another sure-fire Vertigo hit. Illustrated by Gosh! Favourite Mike Allred (Madman, Wednesday Comics) and written by Chris Roberson (Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love) it’s about a girl called Gwen Dylan, a gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery (that’s no embalming fluid, folks!) who has to eat a human brain once a month to keep her own memory, life and potentially shambling limbs intact. Once she’s scoffed the brain she becomes crowded with the dead guy’s thoughts and takes it upon herself to sort out any unfinished business. Zombie detective.

"I think it will appeal to two groups of people,” says Roberson, “those who like zombie books, and those who don't like zombie books. There’s a lot going on in iZombie, and if a reader isn’t crazy about the kick-ass kung-fu scene, there’s a tender romantic moment in just a few more pages. Or if they get bored with the scene with two girls talking about their favorite kind of food, hang on a minute because one of them is about to eat a brain."

You can read the iZombie prequel that appeared in the House of Mystery Annual last October here. The first issue’s only 75p.

If you still haven’t had enough Allred you can pick up the Madman Atomic Comics grand finale in the third trade paperback collection Electric Allegories. This one features the entire Tweenage Wasteland arc in which Frank Einstein and the Atomics meet Red Rocket 7. There’s also a few guest-star episodes by the likes of Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone, Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich, and the usual bevy of bonus features like pin-ups by James Jean, Craig Thompson, Dave Johnson, Joe Quinones, Jim Rugg, Dave Cooper and a bunch more.

Cooper also has a finger in the MOME pie with this week’s Volume 18 printing his first new comic in several years. MOME regulars Lilli Carré, Ben Jones, Frank Santoro, Jon Vermilyea, Nicolas Mahler, Ted Stearn, Renée French, Conor O'Keefe, Derek Van Gieson, and T. Edward Bak all get their regular look-in, alongside MOME debuts from Ivan Brun, Joe Daly, Jon Adams and Tim Lane. PDF preview!

Who’s Tim Lane? He’s the guy who did that great Abandoned Cars book from Fantagraphics a while back (2008? Was it really that long ago?). This week you can get it in a lovely-looking softcover. It’s his first collection of graphic short stories, noir-ish existential character studies of the alienated and hopeless. The Comics Reporter said “Lane's work reminds me a lot of the post-underground generation that kind of fell to the wayside in the mid-1990s in favor of the humorists, fantasists and more strictly literary-minded and formalist crowd. If this were 1993, we'd be getting Lane's comics in a $2.95 black and white comic book four times a year and Denny Eichhorn would be banging down his door for a chance to work with him in Real Stuff.” Lane talks here with The Comics Reporter about influences (Charles Burns, Adrian Tomine and more), Paul Auster’s early failures and the nature of train travel. Have a preview.

But if that’s all a bit introspective and you’re craving some fightin’ you can’t really go wrong with Blazing Combat, now also out in softcover. I wrote about it almost exactly a year ago today when it first appeared so I’ll just send you back that way if I may.

There’s more war in Joe Kubert’s Dong Xoai Vietnam 1965 HC, a graphic novel based on extensive first hand information from the surviving members of a Special Forces group who were sent on a simple mission in the village of Dong Xoai that quickly turned deadly. “I tried to do it in such a way that it doesn’t look like a comic book or a comic strip but perhaps more like a combat reporter – that is, somebody who was there while the events were happening. And that’s why I did it in pencil and a lot of it may seem unfinished because I wanted that feeling of immediacy and the illustrations that I’ve done convey that to the reader so they themselves would feel that they are looking at the events happening while they’re happening.” More of that interview with Kubert and loads of preview pages over at Comic Book Resources.

Matt Kindt was previously seen on the Gosh! Blog when his book 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man came out, but he’s probably far better known for his 2007 Eisner-nominated graphic novel Super Spy.

If you’re a fan, rabid completist or just like a bit of arts and crafts you’ll want to pick up a copy of the Super Spy Lost Dossiers which Kindt describes as “a collection of odd stories that I'd originally written to be included with the Super Spy book or specifically done for the web version of Super Spy during the year it took me to complete it. For various reasons - practical and artistic - I took them out of the Super Spy graphic novel. Some just didn't fit the flow of the book and others were just too oddly formatted to fit in that kind of context. I really like to think of the Lost Dossiers book as a giant spy activity book for adults.” Get your scissors out, some assemblage required.

Cautionary tales and lurid scare tactics abound in Teen-Aged Dope Slaves and Reform School Girls, a trade paperback collection of “preachy exploitation morality comics” from the 1940s/50s by Harvey Kurtzman, Louis Zansky, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Where else can you read a story about a cowboy with Syphilis?

Definitely not in this one but it sort of segues nicely because of the whole big cheese classic comic creator thing. The Romita Legacy HC is a book by Tom Spurgeon chronicling the rise of John Romita and John Romita, Jr. a powerful father/son force in the industry. It’s heavily illustrated with classic and unseen art (even pages from their teenage portfolios), alongside in-depth interviews and an introduction by Alex Ross. Preview.

Only a couple more and then you can run along, promise. Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (the two what done the Eisner Award-winning miniseries Hellboy: The Crooked Man) give you Hellboy in Mexico Or, A Drunken Blur One-Shot which sees our big red hero facing off against the undead, evil turkeys, and a terrible batgod alongside a trio of vampire-killing luchadores in 1950s Mexico. Also, much too much tequila. Preview.

Also big this week is Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #1 by the cracking creative duo of Gosh! Favourite Jason Aaron (Scalped) and Adam Kubert (Ultimate Fantastic Four, X-Men). There’s a preview here and Aaron talks about it here. “It's a buddy cop story and the tale of a bickering old married couple. It's two heroes fighting an insane array of villains, both old and new, as well as fighting to keep from killing each other along the way.”

Iron Man 2 Public Identity #2 has landed and if you’re wondering what happened to the first issue, so are we! #1 appears to be M.I.A. but we’re hoping it’ll turn up next week. We also haven’t been sent the waylaid Marvel Previews we promised you last week but we have had an email telling us to expect them next week. We’ll keep you posted.

And finally, a bit of news. Peter O’Donnell the creator of Modesty Blaise has died at 90. Good innings.

A bit of a downer to end on but there you have it.

See you tomorrow.

-- Hayley