Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Gosh! Authority 15/02/11

Happy birthday to us! We are now a quarter of a century old. Hands up who’s been coming here for twenty-five years? Doesn’t matter if you’ve only been coming since yesterday, you’re still welcome to raid our backissue bins and plug the holes in your comic collection to the tune of 25p a pop.

Almost as rare as a 25th birthday but not quite, is the arrival of a new issue of Uptight by Jordan Crane. We last saw an issue of this one-man anthology series two (gah!) years ago. As a recap, here it is being recommended on Boing Boing, whose opinion you no doubt hold in higher regard than my own (I certainly do). It doesn’t really matter what Crane does from here on out – he’s already got a lifelong fan in me thanks to The Last Lonely Saturday, that weird little book about an old man going to visit his wife’s grave – so I’ll pretty much recommend everything he does. Uptight #4 looks amazing though, and The Comics Journal have squeezed out an early review. Thirty-six ad-free black and white pages of indie comics excellence to look forward to this Wednesday. Fantagraphics have one of their videos for you.

Speaking of indie comics, a small-press book arrived this week that deserves to be shouted about because it’s brilliant. The Man Who Clapped is written by Tanya Meditzky and illustrated by Matt Abbiss, and one of the pages looks like this:

You can find it on the counter next to the latest Adrian Tomine book and it’s yours for a fiver.

On the new shelf you can find some previously unpublished stuff by Alex Toth. When he was stationed in Japan after being drafted in 1954, Toth created his award-winning newspaper strip Jon Fury. It was the first time he’d had total creative control over a story, and it would be years before he had the same kind of freedom again. Alex Toth: Adventures of Jon Fury in Japan is a 64-page special edition comic containing unpublished stuff that you won’t have seen anywhere else, along with the last interview he ever gave, “Life Ran Out of Time” which is a lovely turn of phrase if ever I heard one.

You can bag some other rediscovered stuff in the Joe Kubert Reader, a trade-paperback collecting lost horror/adventure/romance/superhero comics from the 40s and 50s by the guy who not only created Sgt. Rock but Adam Kubert and Andy Kubert too.

An Edward Gorey book never arrives in Gosh! without trumpets to herald it, so here’s another two you should add to your loot this week: The Evil Garden sees a happy family inadvertently wander into a garden where the peaches, apples, plums, and pears are guarded by ferocious bears, while Why We Have Day and Night sees four children and a cat stumbling around in the dark asking wondering what’s going on. The latter is penned by frequent Gorey collaborator Peter F. Neumeyer, whose previous efforts include Donald Has a Difficulty.

Finder is a series that for a long time has been hard to get hold of despite the best efforts of its self-publishing creator. By having Dark Horse take care of the publishing end of things not only will the Eisner Award-winning Carla Speed McNeil will have more time to churn out great comics but you’ll actually get to read them too. The first chunk to be released is Voice, which was serialised on her website – later we can expect two collections of the original series in Library Edition hardcovers. Bleeding Cool says McNeil is “one of the greatest modern comic book artists, occupying a space somewhere between Alan Davis and Jeff Smith, Terry Wiley and Philip Bond, Dave Sim and Bryan Talbot that is all her own,” so if you’ve not checked out her stuff before now’s your chance. She tells you all about it in this interview with Comicbook Resources and Dark Horse have a preview.

The latest off the Vertigo Crime conveyor belt is Noche Roja, by Simon Oliver (The Exterminators) and Jason Latour. It’s the story of a burnt-out ex-cop investigating a soup of corruption, money, sex and politics on the border between the US and Mexico. “I kind of have a fascination with borders,” said Oliver, “No matter where you are in the world any point that two countries meet always ends up being the worst combination of both countries.” They’re billing it as a hard-boiled noir tale akin to Chinatown or L.A. Confidential. Jason Latour illustrated a recent issue of Scalped so he’s no stranger to the grittier side of comics. You can see a preview of his stuff at the Vertigo Blog, read the rest of that interview with Oliver at Newsarama, and if you’re still unconvinced Fangoria will tell you it’s well worth a read.

Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s Nemesis is out in hardcover. Never read it? Here’s how Millar would pitch it to you: “Nemesis is a reversal of the Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark archetype. What if this genius billionaire was just this total sh*t, and the only thing that stood between him and a city was the cops? It's Batman versus Commissioner Gordon, in a weird way. Or maybe a super-villain version of Se7en. A billionaire anarchist up against ordinary people. The Joker's the best thing in the Batman movies, so this guy is a bit of an amalgamation of all the stuff we like.” I linked to it when the series was about the start, but I’ll point you at that interview all over again. It’s long enough to require at least three scrolls of the mouse and there’s preview images to boot.

Twilight of the Assholes is the latest collection of Tim Kreider’s political cartoons – after The Pain: When Will It End? and Why Do They Kill Me? – in which he is even more apocalyptic and deranged than usual. Fantagraphics have a big PDF preview if you’ve not seen his stuff in the New York Times before. It’s getting a mention here almost purely because of the quote on the press release from the late, great David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest) who said “These cartoons are extremely, extremely f*cking good.” Semi-related aside: Excellent twitterer George Lazenby linked to a recent radio documentary on DFW and if you like his stuff I think you should listen to it. But and so, as a disclaimer, you should be aware that if you don’t know what the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment is you will probably find it boring. See also: depressing.

In trade-paperback you can bag Peter Milligan’s (Hellblazer) Human Target: Second Chances, which collects all ten issues of the canned ongoing series from 2004. It gets the thumbs up from us. There’s also Morning Glories Volume 1: For a Better Future which collects the first six issues of the hit series written by rising star Nick Spencer, whose Infinite Vacation #2 (illustrated by friend of Gosh! Christian Ward) is out next week and bound to be in similarly hot demand.

In comics you should keep an eye out for a brand new ongoing series by Garth Ennis called Jennifer Blood, suburban housewife by day, ruthless vigilante by night. This first issue also comes with a bunch of preliminary sketches and an interview with Ennis, but if you fancy hearing what he’s got to say about it right this second there’s an interview over at the MTV site. “This is something she feels she has to do, and afterwards she reckons she'll be able to go back to suburbia and live happily ever after. One week of slaughter and out. Which I just think is funny, really; one minute she's reading the kids a bedtime story (although she doesn't, because she's already drugged their cocoa), the next she's loading the guns and priming the hand grenades.” Preview at Comicbook Resources.

Greg Pak has been shoehorning the Silver Surfer into everything he could for years, but this week sees the start of his series entirely about that one favourite character: Silver Surfer #1, the inaugural issue of a five-parter. “The Silver Surfer may be the most original character in superhero comics. No one had ever seen anything like him when he first appeared, and he remains an internationally recognized icon to this day. My earliest memories of the Surfer come from reading a battered trade paperback of Son of Origins over and over again. I think what compelled me was that intense combination of sacrifice, heroism, tragedy, romance, and mind-blowing cosmic adventure. And there was the sheer audacity of putting a silver dude on a surfboard — and making it AWESOME.” He gushes about the silver dude some more over at Newsarama, and if you want to see what it looks like IGN has a preview.

Jason Aaron’s Wolverine #6 is the start of a new arc called Wolverine Vs. The X-Men, and if you picked up Wolverine #5.1 last week you’re mentally equipped to jump on board now. Aaron talks about it here and you can have a preview too.

Doom Patrol #19 by Keith Giffen and Matthew Clark is part one of a two-part crossover story that concludes in Secret Six #30 by Gail Simone and J. Calafiore, out later this month. At the end of it a one of the Six leaves the team forever, so miss it at your peril.

The Venom/Deadpool One-Shot is a bunch of back-up stories and one-shots collected from hither and yon, answering the question “What would happen if the Venom Symbiote possessed Deadpool?” It’s by Rick Remender (Last Days of American Crime) and Shawn Moll so it should be interesting, especially if you’ve resolutely failed to collect all of those back-ups yourself over the last few months.

And if you want something light and fun or just want to wear some 3D glasses, pick up a copy of Captain Wonder, a 48-page 3D one-shot by Brian Haberlin (Witchblade) and Philip Tan (Spawn) in which the hero of the city has been missing for months and everything rests on the shoulders of a ten-year-old boy. More about it here.

And finally, here’s a thing from ex-Gosh! staff member Matt Zitron who became a proud dad two days ago. It’s a short fan film by Rob Pratt, who combined classic elements of Superman through the ages to create this rather wonderful thing.

-- Hayley


Jonathan said...

The Man Who Claps, is indeed brilliant. Thanks for giving it a mention, I got a copy when I was in the shop this afternoon.