Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Gosh! Authority 31/05/11

First up, IMPORTANT BORING STUFF: [Blah blah Bank Holiday Monday blah blah delay] This week's comics are arriving on Wednesday ie. the same day we put them on the shelf. They could arrive late in the afternoon, or early in the morning, my point being: nobody actually knows but the truck driver. If you're able to wait until Thursday to pop your cheery face through the door that would probably be a better idea.


Given that the International Alternative Press Festival was held over the weekend just around the corner from this very shop, it make sense that the best stuff on the shelf is of the hand-delivered, self-published variety (mostly dropped in by the artists themselves on the way home from said festival). Becky Cloonan’s Wolves arrived in a FedEx box of course, but that’s no reason to discount it:

“Anyone who has been following my blog for a while might remember that last year I published this short story in an anthology me and some friends published in Japan for a convention in Tokyo - it was originally in Japanese; this version will be in English, and will have a few added pages,” Cloonan said on her blog a while back when she was still looking for a printer. Inside Pulse has a review and tells you what it’s all about. It’s a limited, screen-printed and signed edition of only 1000 copies so if you fancy one you’d best hurry in.

The second issue of The Comix Reader is piled high on the Gosh! counter, full of one-pagers by those you’ll have seen in the previous issue (Lord Hurk, Ellen Lindner et al) as well as new additions to the line-up including our very own ridiculously talented Mr Barnaby Richards. If you missed the first issue here’s Richard Cowdry, the brains behind the whole operation, telling you what the point of it all is:

Hey Comix Reader dudes!
Put some previews on The Internet or I will continue to use year-old flyers!
Love, Hayley

“A few years ago I went to an exhibition of 60's Underground Comix at the ICA. Even though they were presented under glass display cases, they radiated the power and energy of artists who were free to do as they pleased. There was also some modern cartoon art on display, and comparing the two, I had to ask : Where did all the fun go? The Comix Reader is in part an attempt to recapture some of the free spirit of the underground press.”

Meat Hill #2 is the second instalment of the story set in a distant retro-future London, “a heady mix of superheroes, monsters, jazz bands and greasy spoons,” by the aforementioned Gosh! Favourite Lord Hurk, who also dropped in the second issue of Static Revolter. That’s “revolter” with a “t” which I have been calling Static Revolver for probably about a year – I can only blush and apologise. It’s by Hurk and Gosh! alumni Kevin Ward and it looks even better than the last one. Here’s a teaser picture of some screenprinted covers drying on the rack (and a colour off being completed but it’s the best I’ve got for now).

Ian Edginton and Ian Culbard add another Sherlock Holmes classic to their line of graphic novels, The Valley of Fear. It’s the fourth and final book in the series which Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing is such a fan of:

“…These four volumes are among the most exciting treatments of the Holmes novels that I've ever seen -- Culbard's pulpy, golden-age illustration style complements Edginton's sharp eye for pacing to great effect… I've loved Sherlock Holmes all my life, and I've read the original novels a dozen times or more, but these adaptations still brought new life and energy to the familiar texts.”

Paul Hornschemeier (The Three Paradoxes) has been serialising a story in Mome for years and this week sees it collected in softcover. Life With Mr. Dangerous is about a girl who spends too much time watching a cartoon and starts to think the main character is talking to her through the television. In an interview with Newcity Lit he said he “wanted to write a story about that strange time between your early twenties and whatever adulthood is supposed to be. When you’ve embraced reality by getting a job, renting an apartment, getting a cat or a dog or a car or a fern — but you don’t really know who you are yet.” Here’s another preview in the form of snapshots taken at the printer’s before the book was assembled into a book. But in this one you get the added bonus of a jetlagged author smiling next to it.

Also collected is Citizen Rex by Mario and Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets) which was a six-issue miniseries set fifty years in the future where an anti-robot movement is happening. “I just like the whole idea of robots, always have. To me, they’re free of the constraints of race, religion and societal mores that hamstring humans, and of course they piss people off,” said Mario in an interview with Comicbook Resources. It runs alongside some preview pages if you need ‘em.

Howard Cruse (Wendel) sees his Stuck Rubber Baby reprinted in honour of its 15th anniversary. It’s about gay and race relations in the 1960s American South, and is partly autobiographical. It comes with a new introduction by Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and Newsarama have a review. If you’ve never seen it before head to Cruse’s website to see the teaser pamphlet he drew way back before the book was printed for the very first time.

Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun), Shawn Lee and Matt Kindt (Super Spy, 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man) have teamed up for something they admit is totally ludicrous – The Tooth – a 200-page graphic novel whose main character has no face or eyes and is essentially just a yellow fang on legs. “[It’s] Swamp Thing-meets-Clash of the Titans-meets all the awesome comics your mom threw away when you went to college kind of a book," said Bunn at CbR, where they have a preview too. There are monsters, dragons, vicious demons, sorcerers, vengeful spirits and from the sounds of it they all take a thorough beating from The Tooth.

Constructive Abandonment is a hardcover collection of small surreal paintings accompanied by minimal text by two founding members of The Royal Art Lodge – an influential Canadian collective that parted company about three years ago – Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber. “Beyond often being extremely funny, there is frequently something poignant in these works that speaks succinctly to culture and human experience more generally; I am totally amazed at how these two are able to say so much with such an economy of means,” says the Drawn & Quarterly blog. Preview here.

From Fantagraphics you can have Eye of the Majestic Creature which is a collection of semi-autobiographical and fantasy-based comics by Lesley Stein. “Larrybear is a na├»ve woman on the verge of Whatever, a cute Candide floundering about in an increasingly complicated world,” writes The Comics Journal in their review. PDF preview available here.

There’s another Richard Stark Parker book on the shelves – that’s the prose variety rather than the Darwyn Cooke adaptations. Backflash is the eighteenth volume of a hefty twenty-four, and they all come highly recommended from us lot behind the counter.

Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth sees the light of day again in the form of a deluxe hardcover. The Planetary crowd cross paths with Batman – that is every version of Batman that has ever existed in the character’s history: Bob Kane’s original, Adam West’s ‘60s camp extravaganza, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight and all the others in between. No reviews of this new edition as yet but Pop Matters wrote a good one back in 2003 when the comic was originally published. This hardcover differs from previous editions in that it now boasts Ellis’ script for the story at the back of the book.

As for new comics, here are some of the things you can slap on your standing order:

Hellboy: The Fury #1 (of 3) by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo which Mignola says “is kind of this giant, apocalyptic wrap up to this middle chapter of Hellboy's life.” He talks about the whole crazy story arc in an interview over at Comicbook Resources, and there’s a preview of Fegredo’s typically excellent artwork here.

Reed Gunther #1 is an all ages comic by two brothers (Shane and Chris Houghton) which was existing as a self-published series until Image picked it up not so long ago. Reed Gunther’s a goofy cowboy who – along with his bear, Sterling – rides through the Old West fighting monsters and catching runaway trains. Comicvine has an interview with the pair (who also run How To Make Comics classes for kids over in the US, aw) and Comics Alliance have a preview.

Jonathan Hickman (FF) embarks on the second chunk of his popular series with S.H.I.E.L.D. Volume II #1 illustrated by Dunstin Weaver (X-Men). The League of Comic Geeks has a preview.

Grim Ghost #2 is a new supernatural series by screenwriter Stephen Susco (The Grudge) and Tony Isabella (Black Lightning), illustrated by Kelley Jones. We missed the boat on this one, first issue-wise, but we’re trying to get some more in. Broken Frontier have a review already, and say it’s “highly recommended candy for your brain.”

Static Shock Special is a one-shot tribute to the late comic creator and TV animation legend Dwayne McDuffie, who was instrumental in the production of animations like Justice League and Ben 10 (he died earlier this year following complications after heart surgery). It’s 32 pages of stuff by Felicia Henderson, Denys Cowan, Prentis Rollings and loads of others. Henderson talks to CbR about the project.

50 Girls 50 #1 (of 4) by Frank Cho and Doug Murray with artist Axel Medellin. There’s a big interview at CbR with all of them, but Cho summarises its content thusly: “We've got dinosaurs, we've got primitive aliens and giant bugs and women getting their clothes torn off. Issue #3 is all about dinosaurs. Doug wrote a great story about a race of dinosaurs that were descendants of these hyper-intelligent reptiles. So, you have the women who are evolved from apes versus the reptile people who evolve from dinosaurs. Issue #4 has more aliens in a haunted ship type of story.” I think that covers everything but you can have a preview just in case.

All the Flashpoint stuff is kicking off so if you’ve lost your checklist here it is again. You can cross these ones off this week:

Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #1 (of 3) by the 100 Bullets crowd – Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso with covers by Dave Johnson. “I think this Batman is a little bit more of a bad-ass than we've seen before,” Azzarello told Newsarama, “And that includes when I've written Batman, even though I've written some bad-ass Batman stories. This Batman is older, and he's much more angry. He's not the brilliant detective. He's still a brilliant tactician. I think he's even called that in Flashpoint. But he's much more of a pragmatic individual. His motivations come from a different place, and how he acts on them. It's not what you'd expect from Batman.” Preview here.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1 (of 3) by Peter Milligan and George Perez. “I don't know if I'm Vertigo-izing the Secret Seven, but it doesn't feel like a straight up superhero team book, whatever the hell that is. There is some weirdness and strangeness in there, as you'd expect from a book featuring Shade, The Changing Man. It's pretty dark and psychological, which I suppose suggests there are elements of Vertigo in it.” More of that interview here and a preview too.

And Flashpoint: Abin Sur The Green Lantern #1 (of 3) by Adam Schlagman and Felipe Massafera about which I can tell you nothing but where they’ve stashed the preview.

Lastly, in the world of the redesigned Wonder Woman you can get Wonder Woman HC Volume 1: Odyssey, which collects the first seven issues of J. Michael Straczynski’s run (or six issues plus the short in #600 if you’re being pedantic). It’ll be on the shelf next to this week’s Wonder Woman #611.

That’s it for comics. If you’re looking elsewhere for entertainment let me point you towards Stratford. Children’s authors Neal Layton, Ed Vere and Gosh! Favourite Sarah McIntyre (Vern & Lettuce) have created a 3D Monsterville which I’m not even going to both explaining because it won’t do it justice. Go look at these pictures.

Or (or “and”) you can go to Brighton and see Steve Aylett’s documentary on pulp science fiction author and philosopher Jeff Lint (The Caterer). According to Wikipedia, “He was the first person to steal Michael Moorcock's 'Multiverse' idea and the first to point out to Jack Vance how unfortunate the title Servants of the Wankh really was.” The movie stars Alan Moore, Stewart Lee, Steve Aylett, Josie Long, Jeff Vandermeer, D Harlan Wilson, Robin Ince, Mitzi Szereto, Bill Ectric, Andrew O'Neill, Vessel (of A+ band David Devant & His Spirit Wife fame, aka Mr Solo), Leila Johnston, 7-Inch Stitch and more, and is screening in Brighton on June 26. More on the movie at its website, and you can secure your seat in the West Hill Community Hall here. The man wrote an (as yet unpublished) novel called The Man Who Gave Birth To His Arse. How could you not want to see this film?

-- Hayley