Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gosh! Authority 08/12/10

Best thing out this week by miles is Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson by our very own Will Bingley and friend o’ Gosh! Anthony Hope-Smith and you can call me biased if you want to. You may remember I mentioned it last week, alluding to maybe having a special Gosh! Exclusive Bookplate Edition round about now. Well, that is a thing that definitely happened. Read about it here. Excellent Christmas present for anyone who likes the grandaddy of Gonzo and we’ve even got the wrapping paper to match it.

We’ve also got a boatload of stuff from those arty folk Nobrow whose screenprinted offerings are some of the best-smelling books we stock (I’m quite serious – stick your beak in next time). There’s Nobrow #4: Like Night and Day, their (possibly) biannual anthology featuring excellent illustrators from the world over. We’ve got all three previous issues on the shelves downstairs if you missed ‘em – Gods & Monsters, The Jungle, and Topsy Turvy. They only ever print 3000 copies of these things so if you’re thinking about it I’d get in before they disappear. Here are a few images I stole wholesale off their fancy website:

There’s also A Graphic Cosmogony HC which not only includes a fun word to say on its cover but an introduction by the Man at the Crossroads, Mr Paul Gravett behind it. It’s a comics compendium in which 24 artists tell the history of life, the universe and everything in a few pages as if it’s their own personal Genesis, though as this reviewer quite rightly points out there’s “no specific religion unless your spiritual allegiance lies with the great comic in the sky”.

The first edition of this one sold out completely but Nobrow has improved it for round two: A Bento Bestiary is the result of two Bristolian men’s efforts to draw the near-forgotten Japanese Yokai, an ancient race of demons who further down the family tree would become Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan and terrorise the earth. You’ve probably seen the drawings by Toriyama Sekien who attempted to illustrate each one of them in the 18th Century. Here’s what Ben Newman and Scott Donaldson’s look like:

Wolf’s Whistle is the first in Nobrow’s Behind the Tails series, which is a line of prequels to the fairytales we all know. This one’s all about what happened before the Three Little Pigs, when the Big Bad Wolf was just a scrawny little dude who drew comics after school. It’s by a guy called Bjorn Rune Lie who has preview pages and loads of amazing bits of art over on his blog.

And the last one out the bag Nobrow-wise is Hildafolk by Luke Pearson, in which a girl called Hilda follows the sound of a bell and ends up in strange lands ruled by magical folk. As with all of the Nobrow people he has a decidedly beautiful blog. Look at it with your eyeballs.

We’re about a month late for the Mexican Day of the Dead but that’s generally how publishing tends to work. Day of the Dead: El Dia De Los Muertos is from the same people who brought you those two usual Gosh! suspects, Burlesque Poster Design and Wildsville: The Art of Derek Yaniger. It’s another big, beautiful coffee table book of graphic design giving you a tour of how the Mexican tradition with its sugar skulls, flowers and devils has been appropriated by contemporary artists, hot rodders, tattoo artists and even Latino gangs. There are girls in corsets with their faces painted like skulls, manipulated ancient magazine covers, cartoons and all sorts. I approve.

IDW’s Eisner-Award winning Library of American Comics (dedicated to preserving and reprinting the very best comic strips in American history) launch their new oversized hardcover Champagne Edition series this week, starting with Cliff Sterrett's Polly and Her Pals, considered by critics and historians to be one of the essential old timey strips. This book collects every Sunday page from 1925 to 1927 in full colour, along with the topper strips Damon and Pythias and Dot and Dash. It’s edited by Dean Mullaney (former publisher of Eclipse Comics: MiracleMan, Zot!) who also provides you with the biographical and background stuff that we’ve all come to expect from them. They do things properly, they do.

In trade paperback you can get Sweet Tooth Volume 2: In Captivity, the ongoing series by Jeff Lemire (Essex County) of which Andrew is a raving fan. There’s also Orc Stain Volume 1 by James Stokoe (Oni Press’ Wonton Soup), a fantasy story set on a war-ridden planet overrun by orcs. Stokoe spoke to Comicbook Resources about it late last year where you can see a bunch of preview pages too.

The first four issues of Gosh! Favourite Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger (previously seen on the Gosh! Blog here) are collected in trade along with a couple of early Journey into Mystery reprints to keep them company. You can also pick up #7 of the series as well, previewed here.

New titles starting this week include Let Me In: Crossroads #1 (of 4) which is the prelude to the American version of the Swedish film. I’ve not seen the remake yet so I don’t know why the blurbs are being so specific, but I can (in a pointless aside) highly recommend the original film and not just because of the top notch Scandinavian knitwear (but it has to be said they are very good at jumpers). The cover’s by the exceedingly excellent Sean Phillips (Incognito), written by Marc Andreyko (Manhunter) and drawn by Patric Reynolds (Serenity). Preview at CbR.

27 is a new one from Image by Charles Soule and Renzo Podesta which – if Bleeding Cool is right – will potentially go the way of Chew with respect to its soaring popularity. It’s about musicians who die at the age of 27 (Kurt Cobian, Jimi Hendrix et al) and a 27-year-old musician who tries to change his certain fate. There’s a preview over at iFanboy.

Marvel’s latest is a four-parter called Widowmaker (first issue out this week) in which an all-new Ronin targets Marvel’s super-spies for death. Head to CbR for a sneak peek.

And finally, this year Brendan McCarthy is urging you to give the Gift of Weirdness at Christmas. Comicbook art dealer Albert Moy has acquired a huge stash of art from all periods of McCarthy’s career. There are outtakes from his DC Solo book, Spider-Man: Fever, character designs like The Spark and Battery Girl, some great concept art for a Beatles project and many other rare and bizarre pieces. Moy’s doing a one-off online sale of the work in the run up to Christmas here. It’s unlikely this stuff will turn up again so nab it while you’re able.

That’s about your lot. See you Thursday. I’ll be the one shivering in a big jumper.

-- Hayley