Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Gosh! Authority 29/03/11

Instead of enticing you into the shop I’m going to throw you a curve ball and urge you to go somewhere else. Foyles on Charing Cross Road are currently hosting an exhibition of original art from the French graphic novel Pinocchio by Winshluss (a.k.a. Vincent Paronnaud, who fairly recently won an Academy Award for co-writing the animated Persepolis film with Marjane Satrapi).

It’s an incredibly loose adaptation of the eponymous novel by Carlo Collidi, a sort of demented fever dream of fairytale characters in a wrong and horrifying Mad Magazine kind of way. The exhibition launched last night and runs until the 9th of April. All the details you need are over at the Foyles website but ignore their blurb because that ain’t what the book’s about. Also, heed me when I say Don’t Take Your Kids or you’ll end up having to explain what those seven leather-clad dwarves are doing to the unconscious Snow White.

Pinocchio won’t arrive on our shelves until late April so you can consider this a fancy preview, one which you theoretically have to get out of your pajamas to see.

Winshluss sketching at the exhibition launch last night

Also out today is Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic #8, in which he makes the following confession of madness: “I’m sure you’ll be as astonished as I was that our initial strategy of paying contributors, high production values, no stinking capitalist advertising and an affordably low cover price (basically, ‘Let’s do everything backwards and see what happens’) seems not to have worked. We’ve never quite broken even, despite the terrific response we’ve had to the mag where people had heard of it and could find it.” So this is the last issue of Dodgem Logic in its print form, at least for a while.
Alan Moore (herein noted as Mull of Kintyre, Wrath of Khan, and hated waxwork-faced dictator in ridiculous clothes) and the Dodgem Logic crowd are going to continue putting new material on the website (their spectacular new cyber slum!) and hope to see a return to print either late this year or early next. “As this is the last issue,” Moore continues, “I think you’ll agree that we’re going out in a thermonuclear fireball of glory rather than a whimper.” There’s the first chapter of Melinda Gebbie’s forthcoming autobiography, a ten-page reminiscence by Michael Moorcock about being a child during the Blitz, a page from Kevin O’Neill, as well as stuff from comedian Robin Ince and all the other usual suspects you’ll miss when it goes. Buy it and encourage its swift and welcome return.

Also changing formats is Nobrow Magazine. The fifth issue hit the shelves earlier this week entitled A Few of My Favourite Things in which 30 artists have created repeatable patterns of, uh, their favourite things. This is the last Nobrow Magazine to have the regular format and page run that you’re probably used to by now, and what they’ve got planned for the next issue is a total mystery. Grab one before they go – it’s a screenprinted, limited edition of inky loveliness. Pictures over at the Nobrow site.

From Fantagraphics you can have 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente HC, who was a Puerto Rican baseball player in the ‘60s and died in a tragic plane crash on a relief mission to an earthquake-torn Nicarugua.

All I know about baseball is that there are some bases and a ball, but from this PDF preview it looks like one of those books that fools you into thinking you like a sport when you clearly don’t, just because it’s presented so beautifully (as Exhibit A I offer you anything by David Foster Wallace about a thing called “tennis” versus my face when I mistakenly watched some Wimbledon). Wilfred Santiago’s (Pop Life, In My Darkest Hour) art is amazingly expressive. Looks like a good’un.

Chimo by Canadian cartoonist David Collier is about a man re-enlisting in the army at the age of 42 simply so that he can document the war in Afganistan in cartoon form. According to The Comics Journal’s review, it’s a stream of autobiographical anecdotes – pieces of story rather than one master plan wrapped up in a bow – which if you’ve been reading Collier for years (he was first published in R. Crumb’s Weirdo magazine) it’s the kind of thing you’re probably used to. Chris Ware said it’s “…an idiosyncratic, compelling and hilarious musing-in-comics... Seemingly a quirky memoir about soldiering, it’s really a quest for survival — both basic and artistic — and a meditation on ageing, family and the fight to simply try and understand oneself, all told by one of the most unpretentious cartoonists in North America.” Preview over at Bleeding Cool, who wonder if it’s the Asterios Polyp of 2011 or the Safe Area Gorazde. No pressure, huh?

R.I.P. Best of 1985 – 2004 by Thomas Ott (The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8) is a hardcover omnibus collecting his long out-of-print EC Comics-style totally wordless shock-ending horror stories, along with other previously unreprinted bits from MOME and a collaboration with David B. (Epileptic).

If you like murder, terror, mutilation, crime, nuclear annihilation, and the idea of a suicidal clown sticking a gun in his mouth, this is the very fellow for you. PDF preview courtesy of Fantagraphics.

Indie creators get to do whatever they like with classic Marvel characters in Strange Tales II HC, which includes one of the last things ever written by the late, great Harvey Pekar (American Splendour).

Other creators include Alex Robinson, Dash Shaw, David Heatley, Dean Haspiel, Edu Medeiros, Farel Dalrymple, Frank Santoro, Gene Yang, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Jeff Lemire, Jeffrey Brown, Jhonen Vasquez, Jillian Tamaki, Jon Vermilyea, Kate Beaton, Nick Gurewitch, Paul Hornschemeier, Paul Maybury, Rafael Grampa, Shannon Wheeler, Terry Moore, Tim Hamilton, and Tony Millionaire. Here’s a preview of the Pekar issue.

Fans of classic American newspaper strips should look out for Brian Walker’s comprehensive omnibus collection this week, The Comics, which combines the two previously released volumes – The Comics Before 1945 and The Comics Since 1945. There’s over 1300 images featuring the likes of Krazy Kat, Pogo, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Mutts, and the pedantic will be pleased to know they’re all organised chronologically. Comicmix has a review, and Juxtapoz gloat about their free copy along with posting some pictures.

Frank Frazetta’s classic comics get their own hardcover collections thanks to Vanguard Productions (which is odd given their history, but everything seems to be sorted, now). Volume 1 collects the newspaper strip Johnny Comet with all pages shot from the artist’s own personal proofs so everything’s top-notch, reproduction-wise. Volume 2 is 200 pages of the White Indian, collecting the entire 16-issue run from the back of Durango Kid.

Independently Animated: Bill Plympton is, as the subtitle suggests, about the life and art of the King of Indie Animation. Matt Groening refers to him simply as “God” and Terry Gilliam likes him so much he provided the foreword to this book. Plympton was nominated for an Academy Award in 1987 for Your Face but if you want to check out what he’s been up to recently there’s all sorts of things on his Plymptoons YouTube channel. The Comics Journal review it and Juxtapoz are all over it too.

Ivan Brunetti’s work is some of the most horrifyingly neurotic stuff around, but if you want to be just like him he’s helpfully provided you with a How To manual. In Brunetti’s Cartooning, he gives you fifteen lessons on terminology, techniques, tools and theory – but if that all sounds a little dry it you can rest assured it probably isn’t. Over at Yale Books he’s written a great little essay on why he cartoons. “I am happy to be a subatomic particle whizzing around inside the seemingly infinite ocean of cartooning. I believe that cartooning, we shall always have with us. The calligraphic quality that I see in cave paintings is still there in Kandinsky and in Leonardo’s beard in red chalk and in the way Charles Schulz drew Patty’s hair in the early Peanuts strips. The line in all its incarnations is, to me, the mind asserting itself, absorbing and transforming experience. We cartoonists are trying to perfect a blend of drawing and writing, via observation, memory, and imagination. I hope, in some small way, to contribute to this Sisyphean quest, even though, ultimately, everything will be ground to dust and forgotten and reborn into something else, over and over and over again, world without end.”

Cheery dude, as ever.

Titmouse is a book by some jokers who pitch it as 1/3 Heavy Metal, 1/3 MAD Magazine, 1/3 Juxtapoz, and 1/3 Ralph Bakshi film-on-fancy-paper. With Dave Johnson as its captain (he of 100 Bullets covers fame) it presents the work of a motley crew of “weirdo artist-types” (such as Dave Cooper) doing comic strips, paintings as well as a bunch of interviews too. It’s 100 pages long and “is intended for the enjoyment of consenting adults. It is for mature audiences. Not like a porno, but like an 80s comedy.” Preview pictures at the Titmouse website.

Here’s some stuff you’ve seen before but it’s gone to great effort getting all gussied up in new clothes so you might want to see it again (Why, yes! I am running out of ways to say This thing is being collected!):

Peter Milligan’s Vertigo Crime book, Bronx Kill, is out in softcover. It’s illustrated by James Romberger who’s most famous for his New York-themed art so it’s in the right hands. There’s a preview at the Vertigo blog if you missed it the first go round. Incidentally, if you’re a Milligan fan the final issues of both 5 Ronin and After Dark are out so be sure to grab them too.

Strange Science Fantasy by the award-winning Scott Morse is collected in trade-paperback this week. Here’s the interview I linked to when the first issue was preparing to land.

When he’s not photographing his burgeoning beard, Paul Cornell writes a lot of comics. Superman: The Black Ring HC collects Action Comics #890 – 895 in which there is an appearance by The Sandman’s big sister, Death. Next to it on the shelf will be the Jimmy Olsen One-Shot which is not written by Cornell but the impossibly busy Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Infinite Vacation). It reprints the first four parts of the Action Comics co-feature and then smacks 30 all-new pages on top of it to make an 80-page special for well under a fiver.

Probably a lot of death in this next one, but not in a cute smiley goth-girl way. David Lapham (who most recently brought you Crossed: Family Values) now takes on the Roman Emperor Caligula in a six-issue miniseries. “I'm approaching it from the perspective that every vile rumour that could possibly be tied to Caligula is fact. Then I make up more stuff….The guy's name is synonymous with depravity, excess, and insanity,” he told Comicbook Resources. There’s no preview on this one but if it’s anything like Tinto Brass’ infamous efforts you’re probably better off without one anyway.

Captain America #616 is a big bumper issue in celebration of the man’s 70th birthday. Ed Brubaker, Howard Chaykin and Paul Grist all appear among long list of others and if you head over to iFanboy you can have a sneaky peak. Next to it you’ll find Captain America Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special – it’s not a reprint of the James Robinson/Marcos Martin thing that came out a couple of years ago which inexplicably had the same name and claimed to be a 70th anniversary special, though I and the science of mathematics can’t figure out how that can be. It’s something different.

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters is a new ongoing series written by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh, illustrated by Phil Hester. “Godzilla was originally an allegory for the nuclear age, and we’re definitely going for a modern-day interpretation of that,” Marsh said to CbR. “But readers want to see Godzilla and his buddies eff stuff up. So that’s what they’re gonna get.”

And the last mention of the week goes to what might otherwise end up buried by the ongoing cavalcade of X-books: the Cyclops One-Shot written by Lee Black and illustrated by the very excellent Dean Haspiel (Opposable Thumbs, The Alcoholic). Check out the preview. While I’m here I should probably mention that this week’s X-23 #8 is part of the Daken Dark Wolverine crossover.

This year the 6th International Digital Cartoon Competiton is being held at the 15th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival (SICAF) in South Korea. It’s run by an organisational committee who evidently like their numbers because they provided us with these ones too: since the competition’s inauguration in 2006, they have received around 3000 works from all around the world. 84 of them in 2007 were from the UK, 18 in 2008, 5 in 2009 and exactly zero in 2010. UK animators – fix these terrible statistics! Details here.

Anyone who’s been in the shop recently will probably have noticed the original artwork on our walls by Gosh! Favourite Jason Atomic. It’s all part of the Hail To The King! exhibition currently on at Bethnal Green’s Resistance Gallery – a celebration of all things Jack Kirby. Details and pictures galore over at the Resistance blogspot.

Well, that was fairly longwinded but it’s over now, I promise.
-- Hayley


Luc said...

The older Captain America 70th Anniversary was the 70th anniversary of Timely Comics, the Marvel predecessor and publisher of Marvel Comics #1. This year's is the 70th anniversary of Captain America #1.


Great blog btw, would have never found out abour that tribute exhibition otherwise, so cheers!