Hayley Campbell’s away on her Club 18-35’s tour to Spain this week, no doubt reliving her favourite Benidorm moments. To console yourselves until her return, why don’t you go and check out her recent Comics Journal reviews of Kiki and Pinocchio? In the meantime you’re stuck with me, so it'll be link-lite and maintain a certain air of panicky, deadline-looming desperation. Let’s do this, plaster torn from hairy leg-style!
First up, did someone say “Free Comic Book Day Signing Featuring 2000AD Stalwarts Dan Abnett, Al Ewing and Robbie Morrison”? Well, if you are that person, have I got some news for you! Y’see, we just happen to have a Free Comic Book Day signing, featuring 2000AD stalwarts Dan Abnett, Al Ewing and Robbie Morrison! How’s that for service? If you’re not immediately jumping off on that link, here’s the short version: those three talented gents will be jetting in from their respective Caribbean island getaways to sign for YOU. Saturday 7th May, 1pm – 2.30pm right here in the Gosh basement, and we’ll even have a pile of FREE comics for you.
Late last year a book came out to universal acclaim as one of the most important new works by an emergent creator in the last decade. Comparisons were made to Dave McKean and David Mazzucelli, among other luminaries, and the internet went nuts shortly before its release. That book was Duncan the Wonder Dog, by Adam Hines, the first in an incredibly ambitious planned series of nine graphic novels. And I don’t have the slightest idea of how good it was, because it sold out in, like, two seconds flat. Seriously, we only received one copy of our full order. So it’s with no small amount of happiness I’m able to announce the arrival of the second printing of Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One! Will this tale of sentient animals taking militant action against their human tormentors live up to the hype? I sure hope so, but either way it certainly looks nice. Massive 28-page preview here.
We love us some Jill Thompson. It’s that winning combination of being a ridiculously talented writer/artist along with being a thoroughly lovely human being. And we know you love you some Sandman. Not for nothing do those books continue to fly off the shelves year after year, edition after edition. So we’ll all be thrilled this week to get our hands on Delerium’s Party, a hardcover storybook keeping to the same format at Thompson’s previous Little Endless Storybook HC. This time around the ever-popular Li’l Endless are having a party, as Delerium tries to cheer up her sister Despair. Each member of the Endless brings along a gift in order to perk the living embodiment of hoplessness up, but is it a lost cause? It’s all-ages existential fun!
Enjoying Butcher Baker? Well Joe Casey isn’t resting on his controversial laurels this week, turning out the first oversized, hardcover volume of Marijuanaman. Created in collaboration with musician Ziggy Marley and artist Jim Mahfood, Casey promises “MARIJUANAMAN is not going to be what people except it to be.” Given his track record, I don’t doubt that at all. Casey is great at turning expectations on their head, and is – I think at least – one of the most underrated comics writers working today. There’s an interview with Casey & Mahfood over on Newsarama and Marley himself joins them over in the mass media outlets.
Pioneering comics journalist Joe Sacco gets a remastering this week. Safe Area Gorazde, his harrowing account of life under siege in the Muslim enclave of Gorazde during the Bosnian conflict, has been expanded with all manner of supplementary material. In similar fashion to the Special Edition of Palestine from a few years back, Safe Area Gorazde: The Special Edition HC features material such as an essay on the book’s origins by Sacco, reference photos (and panel comparisons), and follow up on some of the people featured in the book and more. If you only know Sacco from Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde is a must-read. I still think it’s his best work to date (though Footnotes in Gaza comes close). There’s a nifty video flick-through here. Seriously, Fantagraphics, whose ever idea it was to start doing those videos deserves some kind of bonus.
Drawn & Quarterly releases are always worth noting, especially when they’re debuting new talent. In this case it’s Zach Worton’s The Klondike, an historical tale of the Klondike goldrush of the late 19th Century which helped to shape Canada’s Great North. As one would always hope of such histories, it features colourful characters with names like “Soapy Smith” and “Skookum Jim Mason”, as well as the essential cast of plucky entrepreneurs, shady opportunists, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Not to mention glossary notes on how to pan for gold. Looking forward to it!
Dark Horse Presents was the first title published by Dark Horse back in 1986. It ran in print for nearly 15 years, and had an amazing line-up of talent pass through it’s covers. As well as debuting titles like Next Men, Concrete and an obscure little thing called Sin City, it also featured a who’s who of comic talent. Mike Mignola, Frank Quitely, Pat McKeown, Dave Cooper, Dan Brereton, Arthur Adams, Eddie Campbell, Moebius, Paul Pope, Bill Wray, Mike Allred, Roger Langridge, Matt Wagner, Geoff Darrow and so many more. Resurrected in 2007 as an online-only title (with occasional TP collections), this week sees the triumphant return of the regular ongoing title with an all new first issue. And what an issue: 80 pages of comics from the likes of Richard Corben, Howard Chaykin and Neal Adams, a brand new Concrete story from Paul Chadwick, a new full-colour Finder story from Carla Speed McNeill, Michael Gilbert's Mr Monster, a Harlan Ellison prose piece AND…inhale…a special sneak preview of Frank Miller’s upcoming 300 prequel, Xerxes. Not bad, eh? And all wrapped in your choice of cover by Frank Miller or Paul Chadwick. Dark Horse give the low-down here.
Astounding Wolf-Man co-creators Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard launch their new all-ages title Super Dinosaur this week, a title Kirkman describes as “a Pixar movie on paper”. As you would expect, it’s about a kid who is a boy genius and his best friend, a genetically altered Tyrannosaurus Rex, and their battles with the evil Dr Max Maximus. Kirkman has a bit to say about it all here.
Big, fold-out newspaper-style anthology Pood returns this week with it’s third issue. It’s 16 pages of comics gold, including the one and only Jim Rugg of Afrodisiac fame. And if you like what you see, well we’ve still got a few copies of #2 lurking about as well. Check out the video preview!
Marvel golden boy Jonathan Hickman is doing great things in that neck of the woods, creating comics that feel pleasantly distinctive from those of his contemporaries. Furthermore they’re all linking together by way of his groundbreaking S.H.I.E.L.D. series, which is laying down the foundations for a secret history to the Marvel universe. Now you can catch up on the series that featured Galileo taking on Galactus in this week’s S.H.I.E.L.D.: Architects of Forever HC, collecting issues 1-6 plus extra material from the #1 Director’s Cut. If you’re reading Secret Warriors, or FF, then you should definitely be checking this out.
Couple more nice collections out this week: Winterworld, the Chuck Dixon / Jorge Zaffino science fiction story originally published by Eclipse in the 90’s, gets a softcover release. Dixon talks a little about it, from when the hardcover was released, here, and there’s some lovely preview pages too. DC continue to repackage the classic Garth Ennis series Hitman with the release Ace of Killers, the 4th volume in the series. Dynamite are bringing out a collection of Bullet to the Head, the crime thriller by Matz and Gosh Favourite Colin Wilson. And lastly, lest we ever take it for granted, the newest Astro City collection is out: the Astro City Shining Stars HC brings together all of the interludes and one-shots that peppered the recent Dark Age epic.
Your Future Tyrannical Overlords
And that’s about that! Hayley will be back with you next week, her pockets full of tapas and bottles of Estrella Damm (and hopefully some Spanish sweets). And don’t forget: Free Comic Book Day 2000AD Signing, Saturday 7th May, 1pm – 2.30pm. Get your arse down here, meet some great British writers, and get a bunch of free comics!