Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Gosh! Authority 14/06/11

Everybody stop what you’re doing and set up a standing order for THIS: The League of Gentlemen III triptych bookplate set. That’s a fancy way of saying Kevin O’Neill is retroactively adding a bookplate to the already-published-and-probably-already-in-your-house Century: 1910, and doing two more for the upcoming volumes (the next due in late July with the final one expected in summer next year so you’ve got something to read in the likely event you missed out on Olympics tickets). Don’t get pre-emptively stroppy if you already own a copy of Century: 1910 – it’s all taken care of. Read the blog post.

Joe Porcellino sent us a big care package of small press stuff from his side of the world. They’re sitting neatly (well, we’re trying – they’re funny-shaped) beside his own offerings of last week: The Game and the Monologuist Paper Blog Update. Along with issues of his own King-Kat Comics and Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, there are a handful of issues of late 90’s work by Tim Lane (Abandoned Cars) in his series Happy Hour in America.

The Jeffrey Brown influence is very strong in stuff like the AOA diary comics by Melinda Boyce, and Ten Thousand Things To Do by Jesse Reklaw. Diary and autobiographical comics account for most of the swag – L.A Diary by Gabrielle Bell, the Noah Novella by Noah Van Sciver (whose Blammo #6 and #7 are here too), and My Alaskan Summer by Corinne Mucha. Blindspot #1 is by Joseph Remnant, someone who has evidently spent a long time looking at the crosshatched panels of Robert Crumb. Bound & Gagged is the result of Tom Neely asking all the artists, cartoonists and writers he knows to do one-panel gag comics which could have been disastrous.

There are Clutch comics by Clutch McBastard, Jin & Jam by Hellen Jo, Asthma by John Hankiewicz, and one of the biggest of the lot – I Want Everything To Be Okay by Carrie McNinch. There’s Ruts & Gullies: Nine Days in St. Petersburg by Phillipe Girard, and bagged and ribboned comicbook diaries with Post-Its saying “Open me in private” by I-don’t-know-who because I’m sticking to the rules and can’t see inside them. There are several issues of Tugboat Press's award-winning anthology series Papercutter, which is dedicated to showcasing underexposed and emerging artists but you’ll most definitely know at least a few of them -- Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole), Jim Rugg (Afrodisiac), and Drew Weing (Set to Sea) are all here.

As for the rest of it – there are anthologies from countries I can’t locate on a map, like Latvia, which has also produced some big fold-out posters and bundles of colourful mini-comics from the their own equivalent of Nobrow. Some of them aren’t even in English (I’m looking at you, Colibri #2) but they look cool, so whatever. There’s a big anthology called Cyclops collecting an array of contemporary narrative art from people in Canada. I’m pretty sure I know where Canada is.

Speaking of which, here’s something nobody outside of Toronto has seen yet – except for this preview. Welcome to Oddville is a hardcover collecting all of (phenomenally talented and eye-wateringly busy animator and cartoonist) Jay Stephens’ all-ages weekly newspaper comic strip about an eight-year-old girl called Jetcat that originally appeared in the Toronto Star between 2003 and 2006.“It's pretty crazy, they tell me,” says Stephens to Comicbook Resources. “You'll meet a Ghost Pumpkin, Talking Bandage, Gangs of Apples and a very rude snail.”

Anya’s Ghost is another graphic novel by an animator, Vera Brosgol, who currently lives in Portland and does storyboard and concept art for Laika Entertainment – the company that produced the Henry Selick adaptation of the Neil Gaiman book, Coraline. As Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing said in his review, Anya’s Ghost starts out as a simple young adult story about a girl who's having a hard time fitting in at school, moves smoothly into a lighthearted story about an awkward girl and her ghostly BFF, and then slides precipitously (and scarily) into a no-fooling ghost story that'll have you jumping out of your skin while you finish it off.” It’s Brosgol’s debut book (previewed at First Second) and if I were you I’d head over to her sketch blog to see what else she’s up to.

Also from First Second is Level Up by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) with art by Thien Pham (a man who is the president of his own fan club) about a guy whose parents want him to become a doctor but all he really wants to do is play video games. Preview at :01, and review over here. The cover of this book makes me miss my old Game Boy like nobody’s business.

Seeds is a graphic novel by Ross Mackintosh, who grew up in Yorkshire. In this, his first book (having spent the time between growing up in The North and Now as a graphic designer) Mackintosh charts the autobiographical story of how his own father’s unsuccessful battle with cancer affected him and his family. "Until the events in the book happened, I'd not really thought how it might feel when I get to the end of my life; who will be there, what will cause it, how I might react and how it will feel," Mackintosh said at CbR, alongside preview pictures. "I have young children myself and feel at the prime of life – at the beginning of something – but seeing my dad as a dying parent made me realise that's just what I am, albeit 40 years younger." It’s already been optioned for an animated film, says Geek Syndicate. That was quick. It’s £6.99 and a share of the proceeds will go to cancer charities.

Mark Schultz: Various Drawings Volume 5 is one of the best looking books on the shelf this week and also the proud bearer of the most pretentious blurb in my own living memory: Schultz has never stopped expanding his visual vocabulary, never shied away from experimenting, never slowed in his relentless pursuit of graphic Nirvana.” But ignore that – this book is full of pulp and noir femme fatales, pin-ups, dinosaurs and scary ladies, spaceships and more, and it’s very good indeed. Most of the art is unseen stuff from private collections and commissions, as well as a few previously published bits so brilliant they warranted a second outing. Head to Flesk for some preview pages. It comes in both a limited hardcover edition and a softcover too.

Two art magazines full of old and beautiful illustrations this week courtesy of Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr (The Comics Journal archive now includes a piece on his whole unlikely publishing enterprise). There’s the Vadeboncoeur Collection of Images #12, showcasing stuff by Lejaren A. Hiller, Henry Clive, Sigismund de Ivanowski, J. C. Leyendecker, Arthur Rackham, Frank Godwin, Heinrich Kley, René Vincent, Willy Pogany, Gustav Tenggren, Charles Robinson, Eric Pape, Herman Vogel, Sarah Stilwell Weber, and Erich Schutz. Then there’s the Black & White Images Fifth Annual Collection which includes Daniel Vierge from the French L'Image of 1897, part two of Railton's Haunted House and Helen Stratton's Little Mermaid (both from 1899), comic art (shot from the originals, obviously) by Will Crawford and more.

Teen Angels & New Mutants by horror comics guru Steve Bissette (Taboo, Swamp Thing) originally began, as Forces of Geek said in their review, “as a companion article for the aborted, hardcover edition of [Rick Veitch’s] Brat Pack. It quickly expanded into a total dissemination of the sidekick phenomenon –considering every sociological condition that contributed to the real world environment that indulged them. Way more than a loving tribute to the work of a dear friend, this is the absolute, authoritative text on the subject, and should be required reading in every Sociology of Media program.” It’s a history of the boy sidekick, traces juvenile delinquency through the ages, is “a 400-page crash-course on teen pop culture, the fetishism of childhood, [...] the impact of the independent press on sequential publishing” and covers every ancillary topic that pops up along the way, however uncomfortable they may be. In other words: far too thorough and far-reaching a thing to sum up in a paragraph. In short, it looks worthy of your pocket-money.

In trade paperback this week you can have Walking Dead Volume 14: No Way Out, and Sam Keith’s original Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum: Madness which is both reviewed and previewed over at CbR. Ed Brubaker’s Captain America: Red Menace Ultimate Collection in softcover collects the entire story arc that followed Winter Soldier, featuring Russian General Aleksander Lukin and Cap’s eternal nemesis the Red Skull. The creator-centric Fantastic Four collections continue with Fantastic Four by Waid and Wieringo Ultimate Collection Volume 1 which means this might be one of those weeks where I totally lose the ability to say “ultimate”.

As for comics, there’s a new Alpha Flight eight-part series by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak which ties into the whole Fear Itself thing (preview here) and no less than four Flashpoint titles to cross off your checklist. Assume the prefix Flashpoint is a given here so I don’t have to keep saying it. Deadman and The Flying Graysons #1 (of 3) by J.T. Krul and Mikel Janin is written about and previewed on the DCU Blog. There’s the Grodd of War One-Shot by Sean Ryan and Ig Guara, Legion of Doom #1 (of 3) by Adam Glass and Rodney Buchemi, and Wonder Woman & The Furies #1 (of 3) by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art by Scott Clark and David Beaty – none of the aforementioned being even remotely previewable anywhere on the Internet.

That Hellbound Train #1 is the first of a three-part miniseries based on Robert Bloch’s (Psycho) Hugo-winning short story of the same(ish) name. Joe and John Lansdale (30 Days of Night: Night, Again) are taking care of the words, while Dave Wachter (The Guns of Shadow Valley) is on art duties. Wachter talks about cover art on his blog and you can see some interiors over at Chris Ryall’s site.

Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths #1 (of 5) by John Layman (Chew) and Eisner-nominated artist Alberto Ponticelli is tailor-made for those of you who aren’t getting enough rampaging monster in Eric Powell, Tracy Marsh and Phil Hester’s series. “I'm very into Asian cinema, arguably moreso than American cinema, which mostly bores the crap out of me,” said Layman. “I wanted to fuse two of my favourite Asian cinema genres -- the monster movie with the hard-boiled gun-fu cops and gangsters movie. So the story is about a framed cop, wanted by the underworld and the police force, trying to clear his name, trying to protect his family, and trying to get revenge. He gets some help when he gets hold of the Mothra Twins, and starts using Mothra to systematically eliminate the families of the Tokyo criminal underworld.” More of that at CbR.

In other news, we’ve got more Paying For It on the shelf, a book which is still causing comics reviewers to have arguments with themselves. Read this at The Comics Journal and see what I mean. And we’ve still got some signed copies of Chico & Rita hanging about, but sadly none of them include this Mariscal strip which landed in my inbox a couple of days ago and cheered me up no end:

-- Hayley