Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 15/09/10

It’s a relatively smallish week but Fantagraphics have beefed it up with two brilliant looking books. Lucky in Love: A Poor Man’s History HC is the first of a two-part story written by George Chieffet about Lucky Testatuda, a rascally teen from New Jersey’s Little Italy and his experiences before, during, and after the war. But it’s not your usual take on the old familiar when-I-went-to-war tale...

"It's a serious novel, telling the story of one man's relationship with the Hollywood dream. We follow the title character Lucky from his teenage years, to his time in the Pacific during WWII, and then his personal triumphs and tragedies in his post-war life. Despite the occasionally serious tone of our story, I drew it in a very traditional cartooning style, reminiscent of Popeye, but also other classic strips, like DeBeck's Barney Google, Chic Young's Blondie, and the work of Milt Gross. I've always liked the idea of combining a serious story with the look of a classic Sunday newspaper strip, and I felt like Lucky was my opportunity to do it."

I yoinked the above quote from an interview with the incredible artist Stephen DeStefano about his work on Popeye for which he is best known, along with Looney Tunes, Spongebob Squarepants, Dexter’s Lab and Ren & Stimpy. From the looks of this preview (or trademark Fantagraphics video if you fancy it) he’s excelled himself in this one. You can check out some early sketches of the character over at DeStefano’s blog, before they’d even settled on a name for the guy.

“...Lucky wasn’t always Lucky. Originally he was named ‘Cholly Potatoes’. A year or two after that, he was named ‘Lefty’.”

Part of me wishes they’d kept Cholly Potatoes. You can expect the second half of the story some time in 2013.

The other offering from Fantagraphics is From Shadow to Light: The Life & Art of Mort Meskin, a coffee table art book, biography and critique of a highly influential Golden Age artist who for some reason is nowhere near as well known as peers Joe Kubert or Steve Ditko. He was the first guy to draw Sheena of the Jungle, shared a studio with Jerry Robinson, worked for Simon, Kirby and Stan Lee, but unless you’re an expert on old comics you’ve probably never heard of him.

This book not only looks at his entire comics career which spanned for about 30 years from the 40’s but also goes on to include stuff from 1965 and onwards, when he went on to become some sort of Don Draper character (one cheerily imagines) in an advertising firm in 1965. Here’s the Fantagraphics man fondling some pages again.

Friend of Gosh!/lady with impeccable taste in eyewear Ellen Lindner (Undertow) popped in last week to drop off the latest issue of Whores of Mensa, a small press comics anthology taking its name from Woody Allen’s 1974 New Yorker piece (you can find it online if you subscribe) which she says “is the kind of writing they aspire to: sexy, original, and slightly cra-zay.” The book was funded by donations through Kickstarter and having exceeded the target Lindner & co. used the extra dosh to bump up the original 44 pages to a whopping 52, thus being able to include the incredible Patrice Aggs of the DFC in their already stellar line-up. So who else is here? The ridiculously talented Sarah McIntyre (last seen on the Gosh! Blog drawing yours truly – be sure to check out her blog where she posts new drawings pretty much every single day. She must be ordering big boxes of time from Amazon or something; I have no idea how she does it), Howard John Arey, Francesca Cassavetti, Richard Cowdry, Jeremy Day, Peter Lally, Cliodhna Lyons, Tanya Meditzky, Emily Ryan Lerner, Maartje Schalkx and the lovely Lindner herself.

Two books from the Alison Dare series about a young, female Indiana Jones type character by J. Torres and Darwyn Cooke’s frequent collaborator J. Bone are on the shelf this week. You’ll have seen Bone and Cooke’s work in Justice League: The New Frontier Special, The Spirit, Batman/Spirit, Witchblade Animated, Spider-Man’s Tangled Web and Wolverine/Doop, and his work with Torres most recently includes Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Comics Worth Reading reviews both Alison Dare books – Little Miss Adventures and Heart of the Maidenhere. Incidentally, Bone’s blog is worth keeping an eye on – there are new sketches going up all the time.

Lots of issue #1s out this week so here’s a round-up:

Captain America: Patriot #1 (of 4) by Karl Kesel and Mitch Breitweiser which takes place after WW11. “Jeff Mace became the Patriot because he was inspired by Captain America, so, we do start there. We start with his origin, which as far as I can tell has never been told before.” More of that interview with Kesel here and a preview too.

Thor First Thunder #1 (of 5) by Harvey Award Winning writer Bryan J. Glass and Eisner Award winning artist Tan Eng Huat. It’s a modern day retelling of the Thor origin story and Glass talks to GeekTyrant all about it here. Preview.

There’s a new X-book in X-23 #1 by Marjorie Liu and artist Will Conrad, taking place after the whole Second Coming thing and spinning out of Wolverine #1. Preview of that one here.

The latest in DC’s war comics line is Our Fighting Forces #1 by B. Clay Moore and Chad Hardin. Preview here. Only Star-Spangled War Stories by William Tucci and Justiniano and G.I. Combat by Matt Sturges and Phil Winslade to go. Expect ‘em over the next couple of weeks.

And finally, there’s a bunch of Red one-shot specials based on the film which was based on the comic by Warren Ellis. You might need to read that sentence twice. There’s four in total – Frank, Joe, Marvin and Victoria. In coming weeks you can expect a final one-shot called Red: Eyes Only which stands as a prequel to the original miniseries. None of them are written by Ellis but you can get a full run-down on the creative teams here.

Speaking of creative teams, there’s a change in the post re: Batman & Robin. Grant Morrison’s run comes to an end with October’s issue #16, at which point former Green Lantern Corps team Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason takeover. But fear not, Morrison fans, November brings a new ongoing Batman series called simply Batman, Inc. drawn by Yanick Paquette and penned by the bald one. The Hero Complex talks to Morrison about his plans for the series.

The follicly unchallenged Alan Moore will be giving a talk in his hometown of Northampton in early October to help benefit The Northampton Committee of Fight For Sight. Tickets are 20 quid a pop and all proceeds help fund world-class research into the prevention and treatment of blindness and eye disease. You can even say hello to his beard at the signing afterwards. Phone 01295 768516 or email for tickets. And do go, you can’t read comics without eyes after all.

And lastly, if you’re up in Leeds this Saturday the 18th of September you should head on over to the first Leeds Alternative Comics Fair taking place behind the City Art Gallery from 12pm ‘til 6pm. Their website, for all your informational requirements.

And that’s about the size of it.

-- Hayley