Journalism at its best is a window on the world, and journalists at their best are constantly peering through it, pointing at things and learning from their experiences.
– Stephen on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man vol 3: Death Of Spider-Man Prelude.
Sherlock Holmes: The Valley Of Fear (£14-99, SelfMadeHero) by Ian Edginton & Ian Culbard.
“I have been in the Valley of Fear. I am not out of it yet. Sometimes I think I never shall be.”
THE VALLEY OF FEAR, THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS…It’s all about fucked up geology for Ian Culbard, isn’t it? Don’t you think he should mellow out a little? I’m thinking The Glacier of Gloom, The Estuary of Ennui, or The Meadows of Mild Malaise.
I read this on a sunny Sunday afternoon in my Garden Of Ineffable Joy, and the book matched the setting perfectly. I was thirteen the last time I read Sherlock Holmes and this brought back its brilliance indescribably well. The mere mechanics of the mystery alone are compelling enough – truly it’s a devilish plot with plenty of misdirection and false assumptions – but Edginton has distilled the prose to a gripping perfection whilst abandoning none of its original language. A note is scrawled “rudely” rather than crudely and the murder is reported by a “much excited” Cecil Barker rather than one agitated or alarmed as we might say now.
Moreover artist Ian Culbard has choreographed Sherlock Holmes’ confident performance with a quiet intensity, focussing on the eyes and the knowledge behind them, so that he is imbued as much charisma as any actor I’m aware of that has taken the role to date. Holmes immerses himself in the tiniest details and revels in any mystery that successfully challenges his wits. To Holmes it is the perfect opportunity for a piece of theatre he can direct which is why he insists that it plays itself out in front of his captive audience of fellow detectives as they lie in wait for one of the cast to walk on stage and make his telling move:
“Watson insists that I am a dramatist in real life. Some touch of the artist wells up within me and calls insistently for a well-staged performance! Surely our profession would be a drab and sordid one if we did not set the scene so as to glorify the results. The blunt accusation, the tap on the shoulder – what can one make of such a dénouement? But the quick inference, the subtle trap, the clever forecast of events, the triumphant vindication of bold theories – are these not the pride and justification of our life’s work?”
Importantly throughout that speech, far from gesticulating melodramatically like some self-obsessed lovie, he stares straight ahead from under hooded eyes watching eagle-eyed for his prey, for it is the prize itself – the solving of the riddle and that way that it plays itself out – which absorbs him.
Similarly I will allow the mystery to present itself to your own good selves in the way it was intended by Mssrs Edginton and Culbard, with but a note that the central murder is framed by Holmes’ earliest insistence on the culpability of Professor Moriarty who lies waiting patiently in the wings without one single line, but with a presence all the same which makes itself felt.
Sherlock Holmes is an enduring creation, part of whose allure is his smiling conceit: he knows he will get there first. Privately, I was amused to find our merchant of mischief employing a phrase I’m inordinately fond of myself:
Echo vol 6: The Last Day (£11-99, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore.
Northern California overlooking the coast:
“You’ve been in a funny mood today. Cancelling your appointments, staying home with me and the dogs. Is everything okay?”
“What time is it?”
“So, five in Alaska.”
“What’s in Alaska?”
“Nothing. Cold people.”
“Are you hungry? Do you want me to start dinner?”
“No thanks, Casey. Just… sit with me. Watch the sunset. It may be spectacular tonight.”
Oh, it will be.
Final volume and possibly the last day on Earth as the morons in charge of the Phi Project and the military backing them are on the brink of activating their super-collider deep down under the snow. They’re going to accelerate Alloy 618, the metal our Julie is now virtually covered in.
“Don’t worry – you’re in no danger, the alloy is completely safe… in the right hands.”
“Think of Alloy 618 as a key, a harmless tool… capable of unlocking the universe itself. There are even early indications of medical benefits to mankind. The future is limitless. Alloy 618 opens many doors, gentlemen. Today the bead in your hand will open a black hole and hold it open… for as long as we dare to play chicken with nature.”
You don’t want to play chicken with nature – it has a habit of snapping back – and the climax here is no cop-out, I can assure you. That’s simply not Terry’s style. It’s fast and it’s furious and as funny as always until there’s no time left for laughter; only survival.
Entertainingly Terry Moore asked readers recently if they’d prefer a sequel to ECHO or to STRANGERS IN PARADISE, and some shouted for a crossover. Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but SiP readers who haven’t been reading Echo are really going to regret that. Who do you think Casey is talking to?
Terry’s new series Rachel Rising is due very soon indeed. Place your reservations now!
New York: The Big City (£13-50, Norton) by Will Eisner.
Will Eisner Instils Writer’s Block Shock!
When confronted with a book as beautiful as this, it’s difficult not to be daunted. It was a massive relief to have thought myself done, having reviewed every Will Eisner book out there and come close, I would hope, to having done most of them justice. Type “Eisner” in our search engine and see for yourself. You can search by creator as well as title, you know, and you don’t have to use their full names.
Eisner’s architecture has always been phenomenal and here it is lit with a soft, hazy light that throws bridges into silhouette, evokes a quiet early morning before the tenement stone stoops are crowded with city-life spectators, and illuminates that receptacle of lost or jettisoned treasure, the city’s grated drains.
“From the beginning when it first became the main arterial connecting the East Side with the West Side, Avenue ‘C’ carried the mainstream of the city – a channel in a sea of concrete.
“Over its asphalt surface moved the traffic afoot – or in wheeled galleons.
“Then came the subways and their grated air shafts pocking the surface with grimy crevices that caught the droppings and the inevitable wreckage of countless collisions in the flow of life.
“There to lie for countless years awaiting the treasure hunters.”
As you can tell immediately this is a very different book for Eisner. They’re generally longform (hence his term, the “graphic novel”) and normally driven by dialogue, punctuated rarely with prose, but here he has achieved poetry.
This is a book of themed impressions, vignettes or miniature plays which wouldn’t be out of place, most of them, in the finest of comedy sketch shows. Until you’re hit with an encounter that’s too moving for words. Together they paint a portrait of a living city, specifically New York, populated by lovers, losers, the rich and the poor, those co-dependent and others cut off from the outside world either by their own fear or volition, or a great big fucking skyscraper that rises abruptly between you and your much-prized sea-view.
The sheer wit of a day in the life of a civic bin! The deafening din of traffic or boomboxes making nuanced courtship impossible, just like a nightclub. The dance of a drunkard. Gentrification. Age and the comforting familiarity of long-loved surroundings so much more vital than the isolating exclusion that comes with a move, too late in life, no matter how much more affluent the environs.
Eisner shines prismatic light from so many angles on the life we all lead today, not just the life of one particular city in one specific time zone, although it is yet another perfectly preserved piece of social history. We don’t have fire hydrants per se in this country, so you may need to stop and think on those occasions, but how cool is that? I love a little learnin’.
Bits, as I say, may break your heart for Eisner was forever perceiving, acknowledging and then spotlighting the plight of those mostly ignored, but that works particularly well when juxtaposed against pithy comedy, just as when Spitting Image once concluded yet another bombastically satirical episode with the song Walk On By, played without puppets, with a straightforward film montage of individuals crouched rough on the streets as the well-heeled brogues of city bankers did indeed pass by, oblivious.
Eisner was always about inclusion. His work is the very epitome of “multi-cultural” long before the term, I imagine, was ever invented. In works like DROPSIE AVENUE that element is obviously sign-posted on each of its city street corners, but so often here the great man manages it with only his ear for dialect and the space that is shared on one city block or the single page that portrays it.
Fucking genius, our Will, and if there is one comicbook creator in the history of this medium that I will forever regret not being able to thank in person – not just for his craft, but for his abundance of love – it is he.
Compleat Moonshadow restocks (£29-99, Vertigo/DC) by J. M. DeMatteis & Jon J. Muth with Kent Williams.
I am so fond of this fully painted, coming-of-age fantasy, not least because when young Moonshadow originally grew up, he turned into my musical guru, Dame David Sylvian..
Now that Jonathan has loaded up the interior art I scanned for the site – vital for comparisons I make – could I possibly ask you to read the rest of the review in situ as you can for all of our weekly posted reviews by clicking on…
Scary Godmother Comic Book Stories (£18-99, Dark Horse) by Jill Thompson.
Over 300 pages of all-ages comicbook mischief with a whimsy that’s witty and design that’s divine. If a Young Adults graphic novel isn’t lapped up by adults, then it’ll be rubbish for kids. I’ve lapped up SCARY GODMOTHER since Sirius first published it a dozen or so years ago and most the copies sold here have been to adults for adults.
You can tell when an artist is having a ball, and the sheer exuberance of the cartooning – with its lithe, snaking forms, exotic creatures, and undead denizens positively buzzing with life – is an infectious joy. You’ll meet two aristocratic vampires steeped in tradition reacting to modern amenities with varying degrees of curiosity / bewilderment; their be-spectacled son Orson with his craving for chocolate spiders; a big, multi-bug-eyed purple hairy monster who couldn’t be any less scary; a walking, talking skeleton with a keen eye for fashion; Scary Godmother (or Jill Thompson herself!); and a boyish Werewolf still living in his human mother’s horse-driven caravan and addicted to internet chat-room point-scoring. Like any teenager’s bedroom, It’s a little… musky in there!
Add to that all the Addams Family reversals of taste and an unending avalanche of Frightside punnage and it’s a laugh-out-loud comedy classic, a superb present for the younger generation and a real heartwarmer for us pension-aged children. This monstrous collection with its enormously tactile embossed cover reprints everything to date that isn’t in the fully painted SCARY GODMOTHER hardcover: the ACTIVITY BOOK full of recipes, mazes, crossword puzzles, word games and instructions on making comics, SCARY GODMOTHER #1-6, GHOUL’S OUT FOR SUMMER, HOLIDAY SPOOKTACULAR, BLOODY VALENTINE, WILD ABOUT HARRY #1-3, the SCARY GODMOTHER & FRIENDS ASHCAN, Six Feet South Of The Border from ACTION GIRL and a 19-page full-colour sketch section annotated by Jill herself!
Of GHOUL’S OUT FOR SUMMER I wrote:
The regular cast disperse on their various holiday activities, some more reluctantly than others. Whilst Mr. Pettibone, the skeleton, sun-bleaches himself in the desert, Hannah is forced to endure teenage love crushes at summer camp as everyone falls for the activity coordinator Jane (including an amphibious nightmare), Bug-A-Boo visits his nagging parents, Orson is shipped off to Summer Ghoul where it transpires that the most important lesson on offer is how to avoid being eaten by the Dark Master, and Scary Godmother is kidnapped and impersonated at the Witches Around The World conference.
My favourite line still comes from Chicken Little: “Is that a support beam?”
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man vol 3: Death Of Spider-Man Prelude h/c (£18-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Sara Pichelli with David Lafuente, Jamie McKelvie, Chris Samnee, more.
“I feel there’s something between us, you and I. I hope that doesn’t sound odd. You baffle me. I’ve been in the centre of the city for my entire life. I have met drug dealers and kings and everything in between. But I have never met anyone like you.”
I adore Sara Pichelli’s art. She is perfect for this title, keeping it young, sprightly and chic. Indeed each of the artists here is on top form but there’s one unassuming show-stealer: Chris Samnee whose subtle expressions do total justice to a scene I never thought I’d see, for the final chapter in this book contains the most surprising yet convincing, fully thought-through portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson since the newspaper publisher was first created fifty years ago. The quiet conversation – the exceedingly frank discussion – he has with young Peter breathes a real life and humanity into a character used in the regular Marvel Universe as nothing more than a two-dimension foil, a bellicose bully, and a very thick man. No one who has achieved what J. Jonah Jameson has achieved in newspaper publishing could possibly be as incessantly stupid as that human hurricane of expletives, that Ian Paisley of pejoratives.
Journalism at its best is a window on the world, and journalists at their best are constantly peering through it, pointing at things and learning from their experiences. Over the past 150+ issues, J. Jonah Jameson has seen a lot he never thought he’d see – a great deal he hoped he’d never see – and his experiences have indeed shaped him. They have changed the man; he has learned stuff. Specifically, he has learned who Peter is and what he really does, and why.
“I know I just said this two minutes ago… but I have never ever met anyone like you before in my entire life.”
J. Jonah Jameson could have outed Peter as Spider-Man weeks ago, and it would have sold him a million newspapers. He hasn’t. He’s thought about it long and hard, but he hasn’t. Here we learn why.
Before that, however, there’s a knock on Aunt May’s door. The government-sanctioned peace keepers, The Ultimates, have had a discussion of their own and some of them are adamant that Spider-Man needs locking up, shutting down or at the very least training. The destruction he leaves in his wake has been enormous (you can expect a great deal of destruction during this particular instalment with the return of the Black Cat and Mysterio hot on her tail). He’s young, relatively inexperienced and been going it solo with no one to advise or in anyway temper him. Up until now, they believe, luck has played no small part in Spider-Man’s survival, let alone his often pyrrhic victories. As to Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane… well, prices have already been paid and it’s a miracle that any one of them is still standing. And one day, they are sure… one day Peter’s luck will finally run out and there will be casualties.
Next: Peter’s luck finally runs out.
Secret Avengers vol 2: Eyes Of The Dragon (£18-99, Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Mike Deodato Jr., Will Conrad.
Steve Rogers. The Beast. Black Widow. Sharon Carter. Valkyrie. Moon Knight. Ant-Man. War Machine.
“Am I supposed to be scared or something? I mean, I know who you are… Captain America isn’t going to torture a captive.”
“That may be true…”
“But my friend Agent 13 and me…?”
“We’ve got no such qualms.”
“And I’m not Captain America anymore.”
Mike Deodato makes this book, just like he did Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts and Bendis’ DARK AVENGERS. The silence of his shadows and the roar of his explosions tearing through concrete, plate glass and personnel… plus so much of this series seems set at after dark which is perfect for his propensity towards half-lit faces, disguising their true thoughts.
Ed Brubaker, of course, is the man who completely reinvented the Captain America title as an espionage thriller rather than the gaudiest superhero comic of all time, and Steve Rogers here, now head of national security as well as this covert ops team, has learned how to cheat. He’ll need to.
Shang-Chi’s ancient, murderous Chinese father is back, albeit in a somewhat cadaverous form. To be fully resurrected and achieve immortality he’ll need to drain the life force of a family member – his son’s. Eternity versus paternity: what a very bad Dad.
Rage #1 of 3 (£2-75, Dark Horse) by Arvid Nelson & Andrea Mutti.
From the creator of Rex Mundi, this introduces the forthcoming console game from the developers of Doom and Quake, both of which I grew so addicted to that my dreams became one long obsession with pressing everything in sight in order to reveal secret areas. I can’t be alone, surely?
(Tombraider’s effect on my Mum was even worse: we spent a whole holiday in Venice in full philistinic throttle determining which rooftops where single jumps and which were “running jumps”. Unfortunately when we moved on to Florence my mother took a running jump off a curb and promptly broke her wrist.)
The joy of Doom some twenty years ago (warning: memory fail) was the sheer, lurid spectacle of it all with red and green and blue amped up to the max and fighting each other inside your eyeballs. You weren’t even on an alien planet, but a series of demonic realms bridged by teleporting flashes, surrounded by toxic seas and patrolled by creatures so foul that you’ve rarely encountered the likes outside the ‘80s Tory government. Pants-wettingly terrifying and fast. Oh, but you had to use your invisibility spheres wisely!
Quake’s majesty lay in its arsenal, with weapons that could melt through enemies like a white-hot samurai sword through butter – and at a distance. Then when I found my first BFG (Big Fucking Gun), oh how I cackled as it crackled before going nova. The environments were more industrial and the beasts this time round were increasingly well armed and preposterous cyborgs of sorts – but it was still all very exotic and certainly not the sort of holiday destination you’d let small children run around unsupervised.
Clearly, then, Rage will be no Shangri-La but if this comic is anything to go by it’s hardly going to be worse than Mansfield city centre on a Saturday night. Things have moved on in console games: mere mutations of human beings aren’t going to cut it any more, and that’s all I see here.
Earth has been hit by an asteroid. Five billion people died within 24 hours. In preparation the military elite bundled the science bods up in safety pods then thrust them underground. They sequestered themselves similarly but made sure they would awake from cryogenic suspension first. Now the scientists are resurfacing too to find the military in charge of a broken world roamed by mutations catalysed by Feltrite found in the alien debris. I’ve seen it all before.
Of course the gaming experience could prove far more thrilling; in which case authorising this comic as advance publicity is a severe miscalculation. You might want to try DEAD SPACE: SALVAGE instead by a writer closely attached to the project and an artist perfect for maximum fear. I’ll read it when I’ve finished making myself cry playing DEAD SPACE II:
Rare Softcover Review Of Previous Hardcover.
Fans of Marjane Satrapi’s PERSPEPOLIS, this one’s for you. Its review is equally long-winded but then the book is equally enlightening.
Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale s/c (£11-99, Norton) by Belle Yang.
“If your soul achieves peace, you can attain your goals.”
Belle Yang was born on Taiwan in 1960 where her father and mother were teaching. He named her Xuan which means “Forget Sorrow”, and he did so because it was nothing short of a miracle that he made it from China to Taiwan alive: there was an awful lot of sorrow to forget.
As the subtitle suggests, this is only autobiography in the same sense as MAUS, for it’s more about her father’s story than Yang’s. As the book opens Belle is living with her parents in Carmel, California, sheltering from an abusive ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker, and she’s at constant loggerheads with her father. Yang isn’t entirely safe where she is, either. Her ex knows where they live, he’s gone through their bins before and when I say ‘abusive’ and ‘stalker’ I mean that he shot up the offices of a lawyer who’d befriended her, at which point, fearing for their lives, almost all their friends deserted them. From graduating at the top of her class Belle Yang’s life was obliterated: she lost her car, she lost her path, she lost everything. However, it’s at this point that Belle takes more than a passing interest in her family’s history so, as their cat Chairman Mao listens in, her father Baba begins to expound. And slowly, ever so slowly as Belle becomes inspired to transcribe this ancestral tale, they begin to bond until finally, aged 30, Belle Yang starts to live up to her name, achieve her own peace and so attain her goals.
It’s the most extraordinary revelation to me, this history; for it’s another of those periods I’ve been hazy on, full of traditions new to me. The art is representational in a style completely different to PERSEPOLIS with landscapes, I assume, harking back to a Chinese tradition (I’m not going to bluff that, I really don’t know, but they feel so right for the story being told) and heads constantly cocked at delightful angles.
It begins with the Japanese invasion of China in 1931, after which they used Manchuria as a spring-board to attack China south of the Great Wall in 1937. But when in 1943 the Americans began bombing Shenyang city where two of Baba’s uncles lived, they fled with their families to the countryside village of Xinmin, seat of power of their House of Yang, so reuniting Baba, his father, his three uncles and his grandfather for the first time in years. It’s between Xinmin where Baba’s grandfather held power, the neighbouring hillside Shantouzi which was the Yang clan’s ancestral place of birth, and the sub-provincial city of Shenyang that the story oscillates. First, however, Baba’s grandfather tells him of the House of Yang’s origins as their ancestor Yang takes exception to a tax inspector, knocks him off with a hoe, then flees east to Shantouzi where they farmed long enough to lay claim to the land.
But the main focus here is on Baba’s life in Xinmin with his taoist grandfather, sour old grandmother, a father who is abrasively strict outside of his meditations, his mother, his six brothers and his father’s three brothers. His father is the oldest of these (and therefore First Uncle, if you like), and it’s to him that his grandfather usually listens. Second Uncle is a carefree charmer and a bit of a dandy if it weren’t for the fag burns in his clothes. His cross-eyed wife, however, is a cantankerous cow. Both refuse to control their children, Second Uncle’s opinion being that they’re born perfect spheres which would only be scratched if disciplined. Fourth Uncle is a musician with a passion for expensive instruments and a radio whose speaker he installs in grandfather’s house along with a microphone to eavesdrop! It’s Third Uncle, however, who’s the real problem and it’s his greedy machinations which will cause the ultimate downfall of the prosperous House Of Yang. And I mean its complete obliteration. It’s barely credible, as I said, that Belle Yang’s Baba made it alive to Taiwan. For yet to come is Third Uncle’s acquisition of the Yang farmland, the looting of the Soviet Red Army under the guise of liberating the country, the rise of the Nationalists in the cities, the rise of the Communists/bandits in the countryside, then the clash of those two warring factions until the ultimate victory of the Communists which results in reprisals, destitution, and a famine that starves 30 million people. Almost every member of the family will die in dire circumstances, but the fate of the itinerant grandfather, rejected, truly beggars belief.
There’s an interesting conversation in the middle of all this between Baba, returned to Xinmin on a visit from Shenyang, and his Second Uncle who’s eschewed material things in favour of a low-maintenance lifestyle of selling watermelons when in season then writing poetry in winter, using pages torn from books as rolled spills with which to light the tobacco in his water pipe. This horrifies Baba.
“Why would you do such a thing?”
“Aiya. These are valuable books, but if you hold on to them, you’re always worried about bookworms chewing on them. My nephew, a book of one hundred pages – you’re lucking to read ten pages of truth in it. Think of it – ten – that’s a damn good book. Most of the time, you get only a couple of useful sentences. The rest are simply wasted words.”
He has a point, but if 10 pages of truth is a damn good book, what does it make a 250-page graphic novel with at least 220 pages going for it?
“I spent the Chinese New Year with my grandparents,” writes Belle early on. “Their heads were frosted with memories.”
Did I mention she can really turn a phrase?
Reviews to follow except for softcover versions of h/cs like I AM LEGION which will aleady be up on the shopping area.
Signal (£7-99) by Paul Duffield (they’re signed! For free!)
Pinocchio h/c (£19-99, Knockabout) by Winshluss
Angel Omnibus (£18-99, Dark Horse) by various
Ratchet & Clank (£13-50, DC) by T. J. Fixman & Adam Archer
Angel vol 3: The Wolf, The Ram, And The Heart h/c (£18-99, IDW) by David Tischman, Mariah Huchner & Elena Casagrande, Jason Armstrong, Stephen Mooney
Lucille (£22-50, Top Shelf) by Ludovic Debeurme
Chester 5000 XYV (£10-99, Top Shelf) by Jess Fink
I Am Legion s/c (£14-99, Humanoids) by John Cassaday & Fabien Nury
Yakuza Moon (£11-99, Kodansha) by Shoko Tendo, Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa
Red Robin: Hit List (£13-50, DC) by Fabian Nicieza & Marcus To
Batman: Knight And Squire (£10-99, DC) by Paul Cornell & Jimmy Broxton
X-Force: Sex + Violence s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Grant Morrison & Gabrielle Dell’Otto, Leinil Francis Yu
Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga (£29-99, Marvel) by Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin, Bill Mantlo & Ross Andru, Gil Kane, Jim Mooney, Frank Miller, Frank Springer, Sal Buscema, Mark Bagley
Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher s/c (£10-99, Marvel) by Jonathan Maberry & Goran Parlov
X-Men: Second Coming Revelations s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Duane Swierczynski, Simon Spurrier, Chris Yost, Peter David &Steve Dillon, Paul Davidson, Harvey Tolibao, Tom Raney, Valentine De Landro
Young Avengers Ultimate Collection (£25-99, Marvel) by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung, Andrea Divito, Michael Gaydos, Neal Adams, Gene Ha, Jae Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, Pasqual Ferry
Deadpool: Dead Head Redemption s/c (£11-99, Marvel) by various
Daredevil: Yellow s/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale
Essential Spider-Man vol 10 (£14-99, Marvel) by various
Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor vol 3 (£18-99, Marvel) by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Daredevil: Reborn h/c (£14-99, Marvel) by Andy Diggle & Davide Gianfelice
Congratulations to my car on passing its MOT. I haven’t, and suspect that my bodywork alone would be enough to consign me to the scrap heap.
Also, big love to Emma Vieceli, husband Pud, Kate Brown, Paul Duffied, Lisa and Dan for an awesome afternoon down the Canal House on Sunday afternoon. I opened Page 45 especially for them as they dropped off signed copies of their DRAGON HEIR, Fish+Chocolate and Signal books. I paid them accordingly, took back more than they earned when they spent, and then made Paul (artist) and Kate (colourist on vols 3 onwards) sign multiple copies of Warren Ellis’ FREAKANGELS.
Because that’s the kind of tyrant I am. I’d move fast if I were you.