Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Gosh! Authority 25/01/11

2011 seems to be taking its time to kick in, probably, I egotistically imagine, to give me a chance to actually get the date right at least once before August. Another small-ish week it may be, but there’s definitely gold in them thar hills.

First though, make sure you get your pre-order in for next week’s Superman 80-Page Giant because everyone who does so automatically goes in the prize-draw to win an original piece of Superman/Bizarro art by wearer of the Gosh! Favourite crown, Dan McDaid (Jersey Gods). When was the last time we had a prize-draw? Who the hell knows. Get amongst it before the next dry spell sets in.

It’s a Euro-themed week but that doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing any Antoine de Caunes or Lolo Ferrari bouncing about. Of the bunch, Fantagraphics’ incredible Stigmata gets top billing because it’s illustrated by an Italian artist we’d like to see a lot more of: Lorenzo Mattotti (RAW, The New Yorker, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), whose Ignatz book Chimera you’ve undoubtedly seen on our discerning shelves. The award-winning screenwriter Claudio Piersanti provides the bits in the balloons.

The story is about a shambling wreck of a man who wakes up to find his palms bleeding like Christ’s. Thanks to his stigmata he loses his job, joins the circus and falls in love (as you do). It’s all hunky dory until the past catches up with him, in what Paul Gravett calls “A moving and thoroughly modern morality play.”

In their review, the Comics Reporter said:Lorenzo Mattotti draws like Caruso sang, and... reading this latest work with screenwriter Claudio Piersanti is at times an assault of exquisite visual pleasure of the kind that makes your whole face sting.” Ouch. Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson has started doing this thing in which he interviews himself in lieu of an interview with the creators, and I’m rather liking it. I’m picturing a man in a cell with a light shone directly into his eyes, talking endlessly to himself about comics. In this one he says, “For my money [Mattotti is] one of the most brilliant cartoonists in terms of sheer virtuoso draftsmanship who ever lived. I think among the current breed of Europeans he's rivalled only by Moebius and Blutch and I'd still rank him first.” Treat yourself to a PDF preview.

The other one from Fantagraphics is King of the Flies: The Origin of the World, the second instalment of the French Black Hole-esque suburban soap opera by Mezzo and Pirus. I neglected to mention the first volume when it arrived last year, but it has since gone on to be named one of Amazon’s Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2010. If I could retroactively add a paragraph and pretend I always thought so too, I would, but that would be cheating.

The series is like something by Charles Burns, David Lynch and Stephen King all at once. Kim Thompson describes it (in a question he put to himself in this interview) as “maybe the grimmest, darkest book [Fantagraphics] have released, except for War of the Trenches, which at least you could defend as historical.” It looks like a lot of fun too, and there’s more going on in it that you might think. Can you spot the pop art parody on the cover? The clue is in the title. Rude. PDF preview.

The third and final book on the Euro-bill is The Killer Volume 3: Modus Vivendi HC by Matz and Luc Jacamon, whose recent work you’re probably enjoying in the form of Cyclops. In Modus Vivendi a professional assassin comes out of retirement and winds up involved in an international conspiracy. It was a well-received six-issue miniseries now collected in hardcover. You can see a preview of #1 here, and a review of the same over at IGN.

When Sean Murphy (Joe the Barbarian) wasn’t getting any work in the early 2000s, he spent a year writing and drawing his first graphic novel, Off Road. “I read a lot about scripting and writing and felt that a coming of age story was appropriate and easy enough for my first attempt at something creator owned.” It’s about three misfit friends from high school who reunite as failed twenty-somethings to go on a road trip in a jeep. Originally published in 2005 by Oni Press (home of Scott Pilgrim), it went on to win the American Library Association for Best Novel for Young Adults. For some reason it has been unavailable for ages, and IDW bring you this latest edition. There’s a great review at Comicbook Resources along with some preview pages, and another rave review at IGN, whose writer has an interesting take on the book:

“Everything about Off Road screams Calvin & Hobbes, in the best way possible. From priceless reactions to the scenery, it's almost strange that we don't see Hobbes pounce from the trees. Every fan of Bill Watterson's comic masterpiece probably wonders what Calvin's life would be like as a young adult. Sean Murphy gives us the closest thing to an answer that any of us can ever expect to read.”

Anything by Neil Gaiman doesn’t really need much of a push, so if you’ve been waiting for the Newbury Award-winning and however-many-other-awards-winning novel The Graveyard Book to come out in paperback, the time is now, comrades. This is your Dave McKean adult version, as opposed to your Chris Riddell children’s version which has been out in paperback for a while already.

Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit) gives you another bucket of bodily fluids in Blecky Yuckerella Volume 4: FUC_ __U, _SS __LE. "Fucussle'?! What's that mean?" It’s Johnny Ryan so you pretty much know what you’re in for, but if you don’t, here’s a preview. I am sorry.

Brian Wood (Demo, DMZ, Northlanders) and Ryan Kelly (Lucifer, Local) have been dropping references to a follow-up series to The New York Four, their 2008 DC Comics/Minx title, for ages. The New York Five finally starts tomorrow, this time as a four-issue miniseries from Vertigo. Want a preview?

Infestation #1 (of 2) is a new crossover series from IDW which, speaking as one who now knows, I would suggest not googling because “infestation” is one of those words which need not be googled, ever. Two issues of Infestation bookend a crossover event in which zombies invade the universes of Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe, Star Trek and Transformers. It’s written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art by David Messina. You can expect the final part some time in April.

The Gosh! Exclusive Bookplate Edition of Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s Daytripper is scheduled to arrive next week, so get your pre-orders in now. Here’s proof that they signed it and not just one of us out the back:

And finally, thanks for all the interest in the job vacancy here at Gosh! We’re happy to announce that those positions have now been filled, so you’ll be seeing a new face or two around the shop very soon. Also, remember that McSweeney’s head I mentioned last week? Well check this out, courtesy of the their weekly mailer:

Well, where’s yours?

-- Hayley