Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 12/05/10

GOOD GRIEF! IT’S ALL BACK TO NORMAL! G’bye, ashcloud! So long, bank holiday Monday! Hello New Comics Day, you’re looking swell.

It’s the 20th anniversary of Steven T. Seagle and Tim Sale’s phenomenal three-issue miniseries The Amazon so Dark Horse have released a fancy deluxe hardcover to brighten our shelves. It’s one of their earliest projects and one that Sale says spoiled him for life. “[Seagle] wrote a full script for The Amazon and asked for three panels on a page. It opened my eyes and I loved it… So I have very good memories of The Amazon, and it started me on the path of my whining and complaining to every writer afterwards: 'three panels on a page'."

It’s a lovely looking thing with new colours by Matt Hollingsworth which you will have seen in the recent re-released issues but if you missed ‘em here’s a preview.

Morrison’s ongoing Batman saga continues with the hotly anticipated six-part series Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. He’s not really dead, merely lost in time with nowt on but his utility belt. We first find him in an actual cave in prehistoric times and follow him through to the 1950s and the present day as he battles history to get there.

“For me, the time thing is to take Bruce Wayne to the limit of what he is as a character, because he's thrown back into prehistory with no memory and no uniform and no tools apart from the fact that he's got his belt. I like of the idea of exploring Batman with this time travel story, but to do it quite convincingly and realistically so that he's really at the edges of what Batman can possibly be. I wanted to see him survive out there, and expose him to these challenges through history that would allow us to watch Batman being born from nothing, basically, from this amnesiac man. I kind of explored him psychologically in Batman R.I.P.; I broke him down and deconstructed him, and this is really about putting Batman back together again, but in a sequence of what will hopefully be pretty cool one-off stories, with each set in a different time and with a different genre feeling to it.”

Each issue is illustrated by a different artist, the first being Chris Sprouse then Frazer Irving, Yanick Paquette, Cameron Stewart, Ryan Sook and Lee Garbett. There’s more of the Morrison interview over at Comics Alliance and a preview too.

On the subject of not being quite dead, Gilbert Shelton’s got a brand new full colour affair sitting right next to Fat Freddy’s Cat and the infamous Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Not Quite Dead #6 Last Gig in Shnagrlig (I spell it differently every time; if I got it right it’s a miracle) is a satire on fundamentalist religion and Western imperialism starring the least successful rock band in the world, Crème Brulee. Or did I get that wrong too.

We’ve had a shipment of interesting British things including various stuff by Oliver East and one called Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham, a semi-regular face on the indie comics scene since the eighties. As day jobs go his was one of the most interesting – a health care assistant on an acute psychiatric ward – during which he kept a diary and amassed a huge amount of material on the workings of a mental ward, the characters therein and his own deep depression. Originally he envisioned it as a prose story but then came the simply drawn black and white Persepolis, a huge inspiration for Cunningham who began work on the webcomic which would go on to be praised by the likes of Boing Boing and The Comics Reporter.

Psychiatric Tales is first and foremost a book that attempts to demythologise mental illness. Forget what you've seen in movies or on TV, this book shows what the experience of mental illness actually is for both patients and the staff who treat them. Media representations of people who suffer mental illness tend to be appalling. We live in an age where racism and sexism is considered unacceptable, yet the mentally ill are still considered fair game for ridicule and are subject to the worst kind of prejudice.” Cunningham talks more about it with CbR. Preview pages there too.

While we’re the subject of the unwell, Gene Colan still needs a helping hand in the dosh department for a growing pile of medical bills. The Hero Initiative have put together the Invincible Gene Colan, a hardcover benefit book edited by comics historian Clifford Meth (who recently began the Colan benefit auction). It’s a visual biography of the man with written bits by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, John Romita, Walter Simonson, Neil Gaiman, Tom Palmer and Tom Spurgeon. Colan talks about it with CbR.

There’s also a new five-parter by superstar comics duo Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews you might like. In Astonishing X-Men Xenogenesis #1 a newborn baby sprouts metal electrodes and explodes. If that sounds like your bag, here’s a preview. Then there’s the Siege: Fallen one-shot written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Tom Rainey which follows on from the end of the core Siege series. Final issue of that out tomorrow.

Now, remember last week how I said that Iron Man 2 Public Identity #2 had arrived yet the previous issue had never deigned to grace our shelves? Well, you’ll never guess. Not only do we have the #1 we’ve also got #3 and we have some left over copies of #2 so you can grab the whole three part series in one wallop and may be never speak of this debacle again.

The other thing we’ve been watching the skies for is the belated Marvel Previews. This too has arrived. All rejoice.

Andrew reckons you should all head over the Pillars of Hercules on Sunday night for another NerDgasm quiz night. Here’s what happened on their last one.

And in what I hope isn’t going to become a Gosh! Blog tradition, here’s another sad bit of news to end on. This week it was Frank Frazetta’s turn to shuffle off this mortal coil and he did it aged 82.

There’s a great old interview with him over at The Comics Journal and Comics Beat write about the Frazetta legacy. A cool cat if ever there was one.

-- Hayley


Tom Murphy said...

Just curious - did anyone else have problems the other week with their copy of Spider-Man: Fever #1?

Mine had the first/last pages bound in upside down, and seemed to be missing a few more pages.


Oliver East said...

on a very random note; those books of mine have arrived at yours on my birthday today. that means you have to up sell them tomorrow as a birthday present.

Gosh! said...

Tom: No one else has mentioned a problem like that, oddly. You're welcome to bring it back and we can try to get you another copy if you like.

Oliver: We'll do our damndest!

Hayley @ Gosh!

Tom Murphy said...

Hi Hayley

Thanks for the message - if you've got a Spider-Man: Fever #1 lying around I'll nip in and swap it, but don't go to any trouble to get hold of one.

Maybe my copy is a unique variant that'll be worth a fortune!