Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Gosh! Authority 08/02/10

If you’ve been paying attention to the twitters you’ve probably already heard about the huge-ass sale we’re about to have, starting Saturday:

While the rest of the world is buying tacky lovehearts and watching terrible romantic comedies, we Goshers will be collectively blowing out twenty-five candles. The 14th of February 2011 marks twenty-five years of selling comics from this little shop on Great Russell Street, and I’ll bet there are some of you who’ve been coming here to spend your pocket money since Day One.

It’s our party and instead of crying we’re knocking 25% off all books for this weekend only, and until the 25th you can grab any backissue in the backissue bins downstairs for a meagre 25p, which is considerably less than a bag of crisps and will take you longer to finish.

Kiki de Montparnasse is a book from SelfMadeHero (the same publishing house who brought you the Gosh! recommended Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson, Ian Culbard’s At The Mountains of Madness and more) by José-Louis Bocquet and Catel Muller. It’s about Alice Prin, the French model, nightclub singer and painter whose face I see every day in the numerous Man Ray photographs on my wall. You’ve undoubtedly seen her before but perhaps you didn’t know who she was:

The book is teeming with cameos which comes as no surprise given that she was a celebrated character in bohemian circles and inspired countless artists in 1920s Paris, such as Fernand Léger, Maurice Utrillo and most famously Man Ray, who fell in love with her. Her wild and debauched life as the muse of a generation is chronicled in this lovely looking black and white graphic novel, which got a rave review in the Guardian on Sunday. If you’re really into it you can go along to SelfMadeHero’s special Valentine’s Day dinner on Monday and meet the creators while being entertained by ladies in frilly garters or somesuch.

If the shelves are looking nicer this week it’s probably got something to do with the fact we’ve got two new Rian Hughes books to look at. There’s the second instalment in his line Custom Lettering compendiums, this time showcasing the handlettered typographical wonders of the 40s and 50s (last time we had the 60s and 70s). Eye Magazine review it and its predecessor. Then there’s On the Line HC, a collection of his experimental newspaper strip in The Guardian written by Rick Wright, which evidently involved a lot of faffing about with the Adobe Illustrator vector tools. And if you still haven’t picked up a copy of Yesterday’s Tomorrows, featuring comics written by Grant Morrison and the like, we’ve got a few going for a tenner. Who wants one?

Femina and Fauna: The Art of Camilla d’Errico is the largest collection of the pop surrealist’s work to date, full of strange manga-tinted young girls with big-eyes, trees on their heads, and numerous other oddities from the highly lauded paintbrush of the Canadian d’Errico. Dark Horse have a preview for you.

There’s hardly a shortage of stories about mid-life crises, but this new one from Drawn & Quarterly looks like a painful and worthy addition to the genre, if I can call it that (and I will). Tom Spurgeon said in the Comics Reporter that Joe Ollmann, a fixture on the Montreal cartooning scene, “sees the world as a relentless drip drip drip of indignities and nettlesome situations through which one must grimace and/or shift uncomfortably in one's seat.” It’s a thinly veiled autobiographical story about a man who goes through the process of getting married and having kids all over again at the age of forty. “There is a bit of the idea of therapy on paper in this for the simple reason you have to reexamine the past and analyze it a bit and also knowing that the other people involved in it will read it forces a sense of over-honesty. That's probably why I come off as such a dick in the story.” PDF preview courtesy of D&Q.

Jeff Smith’s Bone saga continues in Quest for the Snark, the first of three prose novels by fantasy author Tom Sniegoski (of Bone: Tall Tales) available in both hardcover and soft. If you remember back when Tall Tales came out, Smith wasn’t overly keen on handing the reigns to someone else, until he actually read the thing: “I laughed so hard, I agreed to do it.” Smith provides twenty or so full-page illustrations, all coloured by the excellent Steve Hamaker who is responsible for those amazing single colour volumes of the original series. Here’s a review and you can read the prologue on the internet.

Some classic comics from the 90s are being repackaged this week and John Byrne turns up in both of ‘em. There’s the Acts of Vengeance Omnibus HC, collecting all the strands of Marvel’s crossover series from 1989/90 in which Loki rallies a bunch of master supervillains to team up and rally against the Avengers. Mark Gruenwald, Paul Ryan, Vince Mielcarek, Dwayne Turner, Al Milgrom, Kieron Dwyer, Ron Lim, Erik Larson, Todd McFarlane, Sal Buscema, Alan Davis and the aforementioned Byrne are all here. Then there’s Namor Visionaries TP Volume 1: John Byrne, collecting Namor, The Sub-Mariner #1 – 9 from 1990, also written and illustrated by he of Next Men fame.

New comics include Cinderella: Fables Are Forever #1, the first issue of a six-parter by Chris Roberson (iZombie) and Shawn McManus (who illustrated the previous Cinderella miniseries too). There’s been a bad murder up on the Farm and all signs point to an arch-nemesis thought long dead. Roberson talks about it with Newsarama here, and there’s a preview at the DCU Blog. Don’t forget you can pre-order your iZombie Gosh! Exclusive Bookplate Edition signed by Roberson and Allred, due in March.

Li’l Depressed Boy #1 is the inaugural issue of a series by S. Steven Struble (colourist on Chew) that found its beginning years ago as a webcomic drawn by the likes of Sam Keith (The Maxx), Jim Mahfood (Mixtape) and Jamie McKelvie (Phonogram), whose strips you can still see here. Sina Grace took over regular art duties three years ago and it’s his artwork you’ll find in the new ongoing story. Grace is interviewed at Book Banter. If you’ve never read it before, start here.

Other issue #1s include Fred Van Lente’s (Action Philosophers) efforts to reunite a Marvel mismatched duo in Power Man & Iron Fist #1 (of 5). Comicbook Resources give you the scoop on the buddy-up and a preview too.

The Death of Spider-Man arc continues in Mark Millar’s Ultimate Comics Avengers Vs. New Ultimates, previewed here, another one of those comics conspiring to make the word “ultimate” a totally meaningless sound to this comicshop employee.

Wolverine #1000 is a super-sized special featuring the work of people you probably like, such as Jimmy Palmiotti and a whole lot more. Preview at CbR. And Wolverine #5.1 gives you a chance to jump on board something you might like: a Point One Wolverine story, being a contained one-shot which sets up everything you need to know in order to make sense of the regular series. It’s written by Jason Aaron (Scalped), so it’ll probably come recommended to you by Andrew who loves that guy. Preview at Newsarama.

And finally, the new Spongebob Comics ongoing series plans to take you to Bikini Bottom twice-monthly, steered by the likes of Hilary Barta (Fear Agent), Graham Annable (Grickle), Gregg Schigiel (X-Babies), Jacob Chabot (Mighty Skullboy Army, X-Babies), and the very excellent James Kochalka (Johnny Boo, American Elf) who has just been appointed Vermont Cartoonist Laureate. You can here him interviewed on the radio about it here.

That’s it from me, but if you fancy even more blather about comics and graphic novels you can join the Islington Comic Forum, which meets on the last Tuesday of every month – it’s like a bookclub, but a bit less Richard and Judy. They also have a blog which is an index of some of the best books in the Islington Library collection (sourced from none other than Gosh! Comics). This seems as good a place as any in which to shoehorn a Save Our Libraries plea, so I will, because the idea of a world without libraries is a pretty horrible thing. It was my favourite place to be when I was wee, and I have no idea what I would have done with my afternoons had libraries not existed: I probably wouldn’t have read as much horror (I probably would have slept better), or got that thrill of borrowing a book which was clearly marked as being a thing not for the eyes of eight-year-olds. But I’m sure many people use the powers of library for good, and Alan Moore has a lot more to say about it in this video:

-- Hayley