Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 29/07/10

Tēnā koutou, folks!

Unfortunately Wee Hayley Campbell is off on some kind of crazed party week in France or something, so you’re stuck with me for what will, I’m sure, prove to be a (possibly) stimulating, (conceivably) enlightening and (god willing) brief encounter. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

So, Scott Pilgrim, huh? Who would have thought, all those years ago as Bryan Lee O'Malley shepherded the first volume into the world, that we’d have people in near-hysterics feverishly waiting for the release of the final chapter? But here we are, with midnight launches, street parties and a feature film for what is probably the biggest release of the comic book year. No kiddin’, and you know something else? It’s worth the hype. If you haven’t stuck your beak into Scott Pilgrim before now, put off by its style, affronted by its black-and-whiteness, or just plain unaware it existed, then may I highly recommend it to Sir or Madam? It’s a lot of fun, full of great characters, kung fu, love, swords, life, funny stuff and a good dose of storytelling magic to boot. We’ve got the lot, now in store! And I’ll tell you what: try it out with volume one, and if you don’t like it (and keep it in nice condition) then you can bring it back (with receipt) for full exchange of value. Fair deal?

Get on board now, and don’t forget your chance to meet the man himself at our signing: 18th August, 4.30-6.30pm. Tell your friends (and get here early)!

What else this week? Well, in the Shadow of Pilgrim there are a few other notable releases. First up has to be Flight Volume 7, the final book in Kazu Kibuishi’s amazing, award-winning anthology series. For those who don’t know, Flight is a showcase for artists and writers who, for the most part, are unknown in the comics world (many are animators). Kibuishi’s editorial eye is impeccable, and the quality of the contributions are second-to-none, with stories ranging from high-fantasy to motorbike racing history. In this volume, besides Kibuishi himself, contributors include Michel Gagné, Leland Myrick, Kean Soo and plenty more. Previews here. We should have the earlier volumes in too, so pick them up and have a look.

Another little gem this week is the Joe Kelly / Max Fiumara gangsters’n’dragons story Four Eyes. Set against a backdrop of depression-era Brooklyn in a fantasy world where gangsters are involved in illegal dragon-fighting, Four Eyes is about a young man whose father is killed while trying to capture dragons for a gangland boss. Taken under the wing of the gang, he begins to learn the trade, imprinting himself on a dragon in the process, before learning the dark secret that lies behind his father’s death. It’s intended to be an epic tale of gangland revenge, of which this TP represents the first arc, and so far it’s been a good old read. Fiumara’s art doesn’t hurt either. Hey, try before you buy: here’s the first issue for free.

It’s Whatever Happened week from DC, as Messrs Moore & Gaiman both get new softcover editions of their respective Superman & Batman stories. The Alan Moore collection of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow includes his and Curt Swan’s classic titular story, plus the Superman annual story “For the Man Who Has Everything”, with art by Dave Gibbons, and the Rick Veitch-drawn Superman / Swamp Thing team-up from DC Comics Presents #85. Meanwhile over in Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert’s existential Batman story is collected along with Gaiman shorts from Secret Origins and Batman Black & White, with art by Simon Bisley, Mark Buckingham, Mike Hoffman & Bernie Mireault.

Plenty more slightly off-centre bits and pieces this week. The Sean Phillips-drawn WWII Euro-actioner 7 Psychopaths finishes this week, and it’s been a fun ride while it lasted. Meanwhile Peter Milligan takes the scripting reigns for a dark science fiction mini-series published by the always-slick Radical publishing. After Dark is based on a story idea by Antoine Fuqua & Wesley Snipes (Hollywood pitch, anyone?), and drawn by Jeff Nentrup.

Eric Powell’s Goon spin-off Buzzard sees a second issue this week, with his usual lush art (and speaking of the Goon, have you seen the trailer for the animated film, produced by David Fincher?) Between this and Chimichanga, we’ve been a bit spoiled for Powell lately. Take advantage of it and encourage him to do more before he goes off and manages roller derby teams and cage fighters for a living, or something.

Also on the block this week: Rick Remender begins the final story arc of his reliably entertaining (and sometimes surprisingly affecting) Fear Agent; Jeff Smith continues to bring the Tesla-inspired fun in Rasl; Northlanders begins a new story arc entitled Metal, of which I heartily approve; Thunda, King of the Congo Archives reprints some classic Frazetta; and Hotwire Deep Cut #1 continues the adventures of Warren Ellis & Steve Pugh’s cyberpunk exorcist. Can I say cyberpunk anymore? Because that’s what it is.

If capes, tights’n’cowls are more your scene, there’s still plenty to keep you busy. Ed Brubaker continues the Serpent-Crown-On-Mars shenanigans of Secret Avengers, while Jonathan Hickman continues to bring us one of the best Fantastic Four runs we’ve seen in quite some time (with new regular artist Neil Edwards).

Over in the flowery wonderland of Jason Aaron-ville, he’s doing his always welcome thing in both PunisherMAX #9 and Wolverine Weapon X #15 (where, by the way, he has been doing an absolutely brilliant Deathlok storyline these last few issues), and Keiron Gillen’s hanging in there on Thor #612 before Matt Fraction takes over (and doing an admirable job with fellow Brit Dougie Braithwaite). Also in, Franken-Castle #19 continues the lunacy of Rick Remender’s run in a crossover with Dark Wolverine, Roger Langridge & Chris Samnee continue their great all-ages work on Thor The Mighty Avenger #2, and Ed Brubaker & Mike PerkinsMarvels Project gets the hardcover treatment.

Meanwhile DC get us the third issue of the pulpy actioner First Wave by Brian Azzarello and Rags Morales, Paul Cornell’s having fun with Lex Luthor in Action Comics #891 and J M Straczynski and Don Kramer begin to play the changed history game in earnest in Wonder Woman #601.

And last but certainly not least, Batman Return of Bruce Wayne #4 rolls into stores this week with Buffy stalwart Georges Jeanty on art chores in place of the previously advertised Cameron Stewart. So, after Caveman Batman, Puritan Batman and Pirate Batman, this week it’s...COWBOY BATMAN! With added Jonah Hex.

Don’t forget to check downstairs this week: we’ve got some great new packs in, including all the Hellboy mini-series, a brilliant Elephantmen pack including sketchbooks, Mike Allred Atomics goodness and lots more. Not to mention the usual array of super-cheap back-issues, both new and old, still in stock.

San Diego Comic-Con occured over this past weekend, of course, and every news outlet under the sun has coverage. Expect round-up posts for the next few days, but meanwhile here’s all the SDCC-tagged posts by The Beat.

And that’s about it! Hayley’s back from her Sex & the City-styled gallivanting next week, so normal service will be resumed.

Haere rā!