A reminder of your two options: my highlights below, often with external links to previews or interviews followed by a link to where you can pre-order the books from us online (unavailable for UK books, I’m afraid.) Alternatively you can read the whole of Diamond’s own comic and graphic novel PREVIEWS here.
Can’t believe DC is finally collecting Grant Morrison’s FLEX MENTALLO!
Graphic Novels For December 2011 onwards
Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes h/c (£14-99, Jonathan Cape) by Mary Talbot & Bryan Talbot.
“Claims about men being unable to express emotion irritate me no end. My father did anger very well.”
The next graphic novel from the legendary Bryan Talbot is to be DOTTER OF HER FATHER’S EYES written by media, communications, language and gender author Dr. Mary Talbot. I’ve read the entire book, cover to virtual cover, and I can confirm unequivocally that the brilliances of it are manifold.
DOTTER OF HER FATHER’S EYES is a personal memoir of Mary growing up under the fiery gaze of her “feary father” James S. Atherton, a renowned Joycean scholar, and draws remarkable parallels and striking contrasts with James Joyce’s relationship with his own titular “dotter” on whom he doted.
The segues between the two colour-coded narratives are fluid and deft, the parallels between the two time frames perfectly accentuated. The art captures the chic of the period if you were privileged as well as the dowdiness if you weren’t, and the cream-on-watercolour texture is gorgeous. There are superb visual portraits of Joyce himself, and pages 37 and 83 are magnificent in every way.
It kicks off one morning on February 2nd when Mary, at home, stumbles upon the ration book and social security card of her now deceased father. This catalyses a day’s reverie illustrated by husband and visual chameleon Bryan Talbot who has shifted styles yet again from the multi-media, photo-montage of ALICE IN SUNDERLAND, the slick, computer-coloured anthropomorphic steampunk of GRANDVILLE and the watercolour Lake District landscapes of THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT accentuated by black lines on an acetate overlay, to soft washes over pencil and ink in two distinct, colour-coded palettes representing very different past periods in time.
What unites them is what I loved most about Raymond Briggs’ ETHEL & ERNEST: the candour and humanity which will resonate with readers. There’s an eternal and – I would have thought – ubiquitous fascination in the relationships between parents and offspring, and of school life often suffered under duress: everyone makes comparisons to their own. Like ETHEL & ERNEST it’s also an infectious double-dose of vital social history brought alive for those of us who take so much for granted these days, like contraception and birth before marriage. So many of my friends have children without bothering to get married and we think nothing of it but go back but a couple of decades and it was a very real social stigma. Did you know that James Joyce left it years into his daughter’s life to even consider marrying Lucia’s mother? I didn’t. Very brave of them both and almost certainly why they swiftly eloped from Dublin.
There’s one halting sequence in which Mary gives Caesarean birth which I was first presented with in portfolio form by Bryan and Mary over dinner. Also present: Jonathan whose wife was due to give birth within the month. I tucked those pages back into Bryan’s bag very swiftly indeed while outwardly smiling, “Nothing to see here!” Please, please don’t read this book if you are about to give birth until after the stork has delivered.
But it is as well to remember these things: sectarian divides still far from united, gender segregation, and the suffocating sway that any family can have over you. Like the LOGICOMIX graphic novel about Bertrand Russell which sold out of its first UK printing in under a week, DOTTER OF HER FATHER’S EYES will strike chords far beyond those interested in James Joyce and his own creativity; but it will be additionally fascinating both for those devotees and followers of Bryan Talbot, for there are insights to be gleaned into the comic creator’s teenage years when first meeting Mary, and their shared trepidation of life under the threat of nuclear annihilation.
DOTTER OF HER FATHER’S EYES is to be published by Jonathan Cape on February 2nd 2012. It’s a significant date, being the 130th anniversary of Irish author James Joyce’s birthday and the 90th anniversary of the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses.
In the meantime I’ll be “In Conversation With Bryan Talbot” at Thought Bubble in Leeds on Saturday 19th November at the Bury Theatre in Leeds from 2.15pm to 3pm, and we will definitely be discussing this book!
Pre-order Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes h/c and read Page 45’s preview with interior art here. Yes, interior art you can enlarge. Looks so beautiful!
Flex Mentallo: Man Of Muscle Mystery Deluxe Ed h/c (£16-99, Vertigo/DC) by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely.
Quick! Before the Charles Atlas foundation protests once more and DC get cold feet, pre-order this missing comicbook legend! From the pages of DOOM PATROL and out of legal limbo strides the old advertisement’s Hero of the Beach to investigate The Fact. Is truth stranger than fiction? In Grant Morrison’s eyes it probably is, but little is stranger than Grant Morrison’s fiction!
Criminal vol 6: The Last Of The Innocent (£10-99, Icon/Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.
Sixth self-contained series of my favourite crime comic bar none, so you can start right here or, if you prefer, read Page 45’s review of CRIMINAL VOL 1: COWARD with interior art here. This was me extolling the virtues of the first issue…
It’s all about the humanity and – crucially for noir – the first-person narratives are compelling, convincing and full of flawed individuality. For any successful first-person narrative you have got to want to spend time and then more time in the self-absorbed heads of these particular protagonists and that’s where Brubaker excels. That the intricate plots are so devious, the delivery so adroit (Brubaker knows how to write a great punchline) is of course icing on a multi-layered cake, and – you can check my reviews of CRIMINAL vol 5, SLEEPER, INCOGNITO etc – I have for over a decade pronounced Sean Phillips the finest draughtsman in this most twilight of genres. His faces stay cast and masked in a permanent semi-shadow. You’ll never trust anyone drawn by Sean Phillips, so do not ask Sean to sketch you: you’ll be riddled with self-doubt for years.
Momentarily, however, it’s all very different for Riley Richards is feeling nostalgic.
Summoned home by his father’s illness, he has ditched the city of his sins which have begun to cost him dear, and travelled back to the town of his youth. It was a sunlit life immersed in the relatively innocent pleasures of comics with his best friend Freakout; meeting down the diner where a stoned Freakout with monumental munchies would break records for scoffing ice cream. Then there was sweet Lizzie Gordon, the girl who lived literally next door: the girl all assumed he would marry…
But his life changed course dramatically upon the arrival of Felicity Doolittle, bringing with her the alluring, honey-pot cocktail of novelty, sophistication, self-confidence and sexual availability. Riley succumbed and then he made a mistake: he married her.
Now he is a man who witnesses the world around him at a remove, as if it’s not his own life at all. He’s become so detached that he doesn’t know how to feel at his father’s funeral; he just calculates what’s expected of him. He’s become so detached that when he caught his wife shagging Teddy, the man he loathes most, he concludes that it simply makes sense. He’s almost immune to his father-in-law’s long-voiced contempt.
But returning home has reminded him of how promising it all once looked. No one can reload their life and choose a different path like we can on PS3. Yet that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be rectified, that they cannot be fixed, and it occurs to Riley now as he surveys what his life has become, that there may well be a way to reverse all his fortunes in one single swoop and set his life back on a course that actually means something to him.
Allowed for once to play in the suburban sunlight rather than the metropolitan grime, Sean Phillips appears to have had much fun not only in capturing a much younger, less tainted crowd, but also in the flashback sequences: snapshots (as they always are) of memory rendered here in Archie Comics innocence, even when the style beautifully belies the content under Felicity’s prom-night gown. You’ll note how Teddy’s also pictured alongside Riley when Felicity first flies into town.
Attention to detail: another of Brubaker’s and Phillips’ fortes.
Kramers Ergot Vol 8 h/c (£22-50, Picturebox) by various, edited by Sammy Harkham.
The last edition of this fridge-fresh anthology wasn’t one of those coffee table art books – pop a few bricks underneath and it was a coffee table! Enormous! This edition is somewhat smaller than the average soccer pitch, measuring 6”x9” and includes some of our favourite creators: Kevin Huizenga, Gary Panter, Gabrielle Bell, C.F., Ben Jones, Jason T. Miles, Sammy Harkham, Leon Sadler, Johnny Ryan, Frank Santoro, Dash Shaw, Anya Davidson, Ron Regé Jr., Ron Embleton, Frederic Mullally and more.
The Life & Death Of Fritz The Cat h/c (£14-99, Fantagraphics) by Robert Crumb.
Bravo, Fantagraphics’ for beginning to build a more coherent Robert Crumb library. We already have THE BOOK OF GENESIS and THE BOOK OF MR. NATURAL while you’ll also find him. Here every single Fritz story is reprinted along with sketchbook pages and an introduction by Crumb. These certainly aren’t your Dad’s anthropomorphics. Oh wait – yesthey are!
Keep Our Secrets Board Book (£11-99, McSweeneys) by Jordan Crane.
Oh, heat-sensitive ink which reveals secrets when you rub the black spaces! Here’s video footage of KEEP OUR SECRETS being tested on a toddler!
“Two young children tour their noisy house with fresh eyes, discovering along the way that all is not as it seems. Featuring heat-sensitive, colour-changing ink on every page, this book contains dozens of delightful surprises. Among them: a giant dog slumbering in a piano, a wishing puddle full of dimes, a raccoon that is actually a robot, and a camera that is secretly made of cheese.”
Same Difference Special Edition h/c (£12-99) by Derek Kirk Kim.
“Kim captures the ups and downs of early adulthood with sensitivity and gentle wit…. (And also) captures the small but significant moments that define young adult personalities.”
- The Comics Journal
“No American cartoonist has more promise in 2003 than Derek Kirk Kim.”
- Scott McCloud
Of its original printing Mark wrote:
The main story has two friends who should really get together, they’ve got such a good spark. Simon tells of an almost-romance he had with a blind girl at school and how he bottled it at the last moment. Nancy has been misleading a guy through a postal romance after opening a letter meant for a previous tenant. The two Korean-Americans decide to set off to sneak a peek at the deceived Romeo. Derek keeps the beautifully toned artwork simple and direct, taking some cues from manga without straying near the amerimanga that I’ve seen too much of recently.
The Muse h/c (£22-50, Humanoids) by Denis Pierre Filippi & Terry Dodson.
“The sexy, dreamy adventures of one Coraline, a beautiful young lady who serves as governess to wealthy and always mysterious homeowners. Muse is a lyrical and titillating ride through reverie and nostalgia.”
Before The Incal Deluxe, ltd ed. (£75-00, Humanoids) by Jodorowsky & Janjetov.
Now that THE INCAL with Jonathan’s monumental review is finally available at a more affordable price, here’s its prequel at a price that isn’t!
Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary h/c (£13-99, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Keshni Kashyap & Mari Araki.
“Tina M., sophomore, is a wry and endearing observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy. (‘The name makes it sound fancier than all the public schools in the area. You’d really think the Prince of Wales attended.’) And of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. She’s on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honours class assignment to keep an ‘existential diary.’ From Tina getting dumped by her smart-girl ally to a kiss on the mouth from a cute skateboarder, Neil Strumminger, Tina’s Mouth answers the pressing question: Can an English honours assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl’s path to enlightenment?”
Polly & The Pirates vol 2: Mystery Of the Dragonfish (£8-99, Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh.
Hugely successful and beautifully drawn high-seas skulduggery, VOLUME ONE was reviewed by Tom with relish.
Polly Pringle reunites with her pirate crew at long last! Honour-bound to rescue Emperor Norton from his unfair imprisonment, Polly escapes her cosy boarding school and returns to the high seas! But Polly and the Emperor have stumbled onto the fiendish plot of a foreign power, which endangers not only their own lives, but everyone in the Americas!
The Intrepid Escape Goat (£9-99, Th3rd World) by Brian Smith.
The Cartoon Introduction To Economics vol 2 (£13-50, Hill & Wang) by Yoram Bauman & Grady Klein.
Yep, you were going to skip right past this, weren’t you? Don’t! THE CARTOON INTRODUCTION TO ECONOMICS VOLUME ONE was riveting, funny, accessible and applicable to us all in practice. Unlikely, I know, but I promise.
Mush! Sled Dogs With Issues h/c (£13-50, First Second) by Glenn Eichler & Joe Infumiari.
“Venus wants Buddy to quit asking her to ‘make puppies.’ Buddy wants Winston’s help wooing Venus. Winston wants Guy’s respect. Guy wants Dolly’s job. Dolly wants to know the meaning of it all. Nobody knows what Fiddler really wants, not even Fiddler. But mostly, these sled dogs just want to run. Sounds simple? It should be, but even dogs have their problems. From Colbert Report writer Glenn Eichler comes a post-modern tale of heroism on the tundra, epic romance, and yellow snow.”
You can read an excerpt of MUSH here.
Ningen’s Nightmares (£9-99, Dark Horse) by J. P. Kalonji.
From the creator of 365 SAMURAI AND A FEW BOWLS OF RICE:
In ancient Japan, a witch seeks to use the warrior-monk Ningen’s enlightened body and spirit to resurrect a demon-samurai and unleash an era of chaos on an already-troubled country. After leaving the safety of his temple to protect poor commoners who are caught in bloody battles between feuding warlords, Ningen soon finds that several colourful bounty hunters are on his trail-seeking his head and his very lifeblood for the witch’s twisted spells!
Hellboy vol 12: The Storm And The Fury (£14-99, Dark Horse) by Mike Mignola & Duncan Fegredo.
There be rubble! Oh, so much rubble! And the best stairwell in comics. Concludes Fegredo’s magnificent stint on the book.
American Vampire vol 3 h/c (£18-99, Vertigo/DC) by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque, Sean Murphy, Danijel Zezelj.
Vampires come to World War II in this series which constantly surprises from the writer who’s just had the most monumental hits with DC’s relaunch of BATMAN and SWAMP THING. Sean Murphy you may know from Si Spencer’s exceptional HELLBLAZER: CITY OF DEMONS. Unbelievably this contains both AMERICAN VAMPIRE #12-18 and the 5-issue mini-series, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. Page 45 Review Of America Vampire vol 1 Complete With Interior Art.
Unwritten vol 5: On To Genesis (£10-99, Vertigo/DC) by Mike Carey & Peter Gross.
Mind-boggling series from the author of the ten LUCIFER books. From Jonathan’s review of UNWRITTEN vol one (yes, now with interior art!)…
“Tom Taylor’s father is responsible for the best ever selling series of fantasy novels (making Harry Potter look like small change) featuring a boy wizard called Tommy Taylor. Unfortunately for Tom, the fictional Tommy has been so closely modelled on him that obsessed fans have decided to virtually worship him as though he actually were the boy-wizard Tommy Taylor, something Tom professes to find particularly embarrassing and excruciating. Unfortunately for Tom, the circumstances surrounding his father’s mysterious disappearance a few years previously mean he’s not been able to touch a penny of his father’s vast wealth, hence he’s reduced to scratching a living touting himself round fan conventions, signing autographs and glad-handing fans as Tommy Taylor. Although, his reluctance to get a proper job which actually seems like a little too much effort for him, suggests perhaps deep down Tom is actually slightly addicted to his Z-list fame. However, when a sequence of strange occurrences begins to cause some fans on internet forums to suggest that Tom might really be the boy-wizard made flesh in our world, he begins to find himself drawn into a sinister conspiracy that reaches back far further than we can imagine…”
Sweet Tooth vol 4: Endangered Species (£12-99, Vertigo/DC) by Jeff Lemire.
At the same babies have been born with animal characteristics, America has been hit by some sort of plague which has ravaged its population and turned those that remain into pretty brutal bastards. Sweet Tooth himself has the antlers of a deer but is unique, so far as we know, in missing one key body part: a belly button. He’s neither an innie nor outie, so what does that mean? His parents might know but they’re now both dead. Fortunately they left behind clues to a life Sweet Tooth knew nothing about.
The Walking Dead vol 15: We Find Ourselves (£10-99, Image) by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn.
Monster zombie hit which was enormous here long before the TV series, so I really don’t need to tell you any more than that it’ll be in on Wednesday 7th December. Yes, before Christmas!
Spontaneous h/c (£18-99, Oni Press) by Joe Harris & Brett Weldele.
“Phenomenon, conspiracy, or delusion? ‘Kelvin’ Melvin Reyes was only three years old when Spontaneous Human Combustion took his father from him. He’s since devoted his life to exploring the mystery behind the phenomenon, searching for a pattern and predictors so that he might save others from that same fiery fate. But the closer he gets to his goal, the further things lead down a well of secrets, horrors, and terrible truths? Is SHC real? And, if so, can it be stopped?”
The Red Wing (£10-99, Image) by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Pitarra.
From the creator of NIGHTLY NEWS and current writer of Shield and FANTASTIC FOUR, a science fiction series and a second stab at time travel, this one with far more space and lighter on the text. Here we’ve jumped back to the Tithonian Age where the slim ships have to navigate past vast, feeding dinosaurs:
“Just look at that, Captain. Over twenty tons of vegetarian monster the likes of which the world has never seen again… I wonder what they taste like.”
So much for evolution.
“Time travel should have ushered in the golden age of scientific discovery — It should have ushered in the golden age of MAN. Instead, we were reduced to using it for war. And in war total victory is not defined by simple dominance of the battlefield. Overcoming the enemy is not enough. In many ways, victory simply means bitterness and bile for the defeated — The genesis on a deep-seated hatred that is always seen again.”
That’s certainly how WWI turned into WWII, and there’s plenty more to give you pause for thought in the first chapter alone, for if you can wage war in four dimensions – if a battle really isn’t over until you say it’s over as long as you can cling to the technology to travel back in time and change its outcome repeatedly – when do you stop? At what point do you decide enough is enough for any given battle and at which point of time do you begin or go back to start your temporal chain reaction? Also, if your enemy is similarly equipped, surely the only option is to bomb them back into the Stone Age or obliterate them completely or they’ll just reboot things themselves? That’s a whole new frontier you’d need to constantly patrol: you’d need to defend not just your finite, physical borders but an almost limitless number of chronological borders too.
As it transpired, the series ran in a different direction I never foresaw. The focus is on Dominic, a new recruit flying in the wake of his father who went missing in action and so presumed dead, for no one has survived a shield failure during time travel. Mathematically it is so improbable as to be practically impossible.
“But ask yourself: isn’t a statistical improbability a massive number when standing in contrast to all of space-time?”
So what happened to Dominic’s father?
Moon Knight by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev vol 1 h/c (£2-99, Marvel) by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev.
“Oh, my God. Put your gun away.”
“You take your gun out.”
“If you show them your gun, that is a declaration of –“
“It’s a declaration that I have a big gun.”
From the creative team behind the best-ever run on DAREDEVIL, plus SCARLET (ooh look, interior art there – cracking book), ALIAS (nothing to do with the TV series) and SPIDER-WOMAN too, a 7,205th attempt at Moon Knight to coincide with the number of personalities battling away in his nocturnal noggin. You can definitely add three more, and they’ll be readily familiar to you.
Finally after 50-odd years of Marvel continuity, some of the supervillains have figured out that if 963 superheroes have chosen to live in Manhattan and only one in Los Angeles, they’d be 963 times less likely to get busted if they relocated to L.A.. Marc Spector happens to be in L.A. now, overseeing the launch of his Legend Of Khonshu TV show, so the Avengers call on him to scare the bejeezus out of the criminal community there… IN HIS MIND!
Lo and behold, however, a new Kingpin has indeed set himself up – one with a power level that makes Mr. Hyde’s look puny. That’s pretty unfortunate for Marc because Moon Knight barely survives a dust-up with Hyde. Instead he’s deep under Hyde’s yacht when the two villains confront each other, and when they do there’s little left of Hyde or the yacht, so Spector retreats with the prize he’s salvaged from the boat: the head of an Ultron. Obviously Moon Knight is way out of his league – this is going to take a whole team of Avengers. Shame, then, that they’re ALL IN HIS MIND!!!
A clever new twist in Marc’s long-standing mental illness and whilst Maleev is being far more economical with the art here than he is in SCARLET, there are some exceptional light effects under the water and high above the smoking remains of the yacht.
Fear Itself h/c (£25-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Stuart Immonen.
“People are mad right now, and broke and they’ve been lied to and ripped off – And when people who’re already mad get scared then all hell kinda breaks loose.”
After enduring a United States under Norman Osborn (or George W. Bush – read it how you will), and with the economy in freefall catalysing mass unemployment and the repossession of homes, the American people are fractious. They’re raw and hurting. When Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter are caught in the middle of a riot they cannot control, they’re alarmed to discover there’s no foul play involved: no unusual energy signatures, no enchantments, nothing toxic in the air or water. It’s just how the temperature is.
So what will happen, do you think, when the Serpent arises? When the Red Skull’s daughter lifts the hidden Asgardian hammer her father could not, is transformed into something else, and frees the ancient Skadi, the real All-Father, from the mystic bonds of Odin? What will happen when The Worthy summoned by Skadi touch down in Pacific Ocean, Brazil, China, Manhattan and the small town of Broxton where Asgard lies in rubble?
That’s where the Avengers – both overt teams – are gathered today, to launch a new Stark initiative to further the bond between Gods and man and put 5,000 Americans back to work by designing and then building a new Asgard here on Earth. But Odin isn’t happy. Disdainful of the creatures he is more used to being worshipped by, he is adamant that Asgard should be rebuilt by enchantment far from this blue and green marble. And when he senses that Skadi is loose upon the world, he orders it so, even if it means dragging Thor behind them in chains.
With robust and shiny art – like John Buscema inked by Jimmy Cheung – this is something rather different from recent superhero events. SIEGE, SECRET INVASION, Blackest Night and even CIVIL WAR to a certain extent, had all been brewing for a while. But this is about to hit our heroes out of nowhere and they don’t even know it yet. All they know is that the Gods have left them to fend for themselves, and if that wasn’t enough, Odin is prepared to destroy the whole of planet Earth just to get rid of the threat. As their fear rises, Skadi grows stronger fuelling further panic.
This year’s Marvel blockbuster includes major Avengers fatalities and the prelude by Ed Brubaker & Scot Eaton.
Spider-Man by Mark Millar Ultimate Collection (£25-99, Marvel) by Mark Millar & Terry Dodson, Frank Cho.
The complete Mark Millar saga which amply answered J. Jonah Jameson’s broken record of a question: “If he’s such a great guy, why does he need to wear a mask?” Because the mafia like to know where your family live.
Aunt May has been abducted by someone who obviously knows who Spider-Man is, but there’s a limit as to who could or should have known and what they could possibly gain. The most obvious culprit is Norman Osborn, The Green Goblin, but he’s under lock and key and swears he has nothing to do with it.
Hampering Peter in his desperate search – harrying him, it seems, at every juncture – is a virtual “Who’s Who” of his worst and oldest enemies, some of them remarkably enhanced since their last encounters. Is this a coincidence, or part of a larger scheme? And could Peter’s worst mistake have been to put his greatest threat behind bars? Because if the stakes are that high, don’t you make contingency plans? If you’re a businessman, don’t you take out insurance, especially when your own life is in danger? It all goes back to control, to the early days of the first superheroes, when those were used to being in charge – politicians and businessmen alike – found these self-appointed crusaders for justice getting just a little too close for comfort, and a little too enthusiastic about their moral crusade. They’re not going to take it lying down, they’re going to provide… distractions.
Sexily drawn by the Dodsons, Millar pushes all the fanboy buttons whilst delivering on the entertainment rather than just stuffing the stocking for the sake of it. It’s the classic Spider-Man tale so far. If you like your Spider-Man you will love this: a rollicking good read with moments of true emotional rather than just splash-page drama, and some clever, logical thought behind it.
Stormwatch vol 1 h/c (£29-99, DC) by Warren Ellis & Tom Raney, Jim Lee, more.
THE AUTHORITY in gestation. Oh yes! Unavailable for a very long time now, this is where Ellis first came alive, remaking a rubbish Wildstorm/Image series in his own iconoclastic image, slowly replacing the team’s ranks with Apollo, Midnighter, Jenny Sparks, Rose Tattoo et al. See one of comics’ undeniable giants do for clapped-out superheroes what Alan Moore did for DC horror with SWAMP THING, sowing all the original seeds for Vertigo. It takes a while to work out, but work out it did and, if you ask me, Warren was far more of an influence on Mark Millar than Morrison ever was, whatever Grant may say.
Catwoman vol 1 (£22-50, DC) by Ed Brubaker, Darwyn Cooke & Darwyn Cooke, Michael Allred, more.
Hopefully the beginning of a concerted effort to reprint all the Ed Brubaker CATWOMAN material. Someone asked for it just the other day. Reprints CATWOMAN #1-9, DETECTIVE COMICS #759-762 and CATWOMAN: SELINA’S BIG SCORE about which I wrote:
The first person to bring some serious style to Catwoman since Siouxsie Sioux donned a black skin-tight leather leotard for the Banshees’ Batman II single, Cooke also has an eye for crime somewhere between Bruce BATMAN ANIMATED Timm and David STRAY BULLETS Lapham. It’s a heist affair as Selina finds herself presumed dead, and so cut off from her fortune. Her desperation for money compromises both her judgement and her scruples.
Cartoons, Art Books etc.
Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons h/c (£16-9, Fantagraphics) by Flannery O’Connor.
One of America’s great Southern writers of the 20th Century once sought a career as a newspaper cartoonist, and there’s an excellent article from The Guardian anticipating this collection here: LINK
“Flannery O’Connor was among the greatest American writers of the 2nd half of the 20th century; she was a writer in the Southern tradition of Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and Carson McCullers, who wrote such classic novels and short stories as Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” She is perhaps as well known for her tantalizing brand of Southern Gothic humour as she is for her Catholicism. That these tendencies should be so happily married in her fiction is no longer a surprise. The real surprise is learning that this much beloved icon of American literature did not set out to be a fiction writer, but a cartoonist. This seems to be the last well-kept secret of her creative life.
Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons, the first book devoted to the author’s work in the visual arts, emphasizes O’Connor’s most prolific period as a cartoonist, drawing for her high school and college publications in the early 1940s. While many of these images lampoon student life and the impact of World War II on the home front, something much more is happening. Her cartoons are a creative threshing floor for experimenting and trying out techniques that are deployed later with such great success in her fiction.
O’Connor learns how to set up and carry a joke visually, how to write a good one-liner and set it off against a background of complex visual narration. She develops and asserts her taste for a stock set of character types, attitudes, situations, exaggerations, and grotesques, and she learns how to present them not to distort the truth, but to expose her vision of it.
She worked in both pen & ink and linoleum cuts, and her rough-hewn technique combined with her acidic observations to form a visual precursor to her prose. Fantagraphics is honoured to bring the early cartoons of this American literary treasure to a 21st century readership.
For an audience resistant to your views, O’Connor once wrote, “draw large and startling figures.” In her fiction, as in her cartoons, these shocks to the system never come without a laugh.”
Terry Moore Sketchbook vol 1: Hot Girls & Cold Feet (£8-50, Abstract Studios) by Terry Moore.
Comics For December 2011 onwards
Berlin #18 (£350, Drawn & Quarterly) by Jason Lutes.
One of comics’ greatest accomplishments, and I do believe this is Jonathan’s personal favourite. He certainly went to great lengths eloquently reviewing BERLIN VOL 1 and BERLIN VOL 2. Anyway, historical fiction with one heck of a backdrop.
“A new chapter of Berlin: City of Light, the final volume of Jason Lutes’ epic trilogy. Confronted by the hatred and fear that has begun to seep through the cracks in the Weimar Republic, Kurt Severing retreats into drink and despondency. Across the city, Silvia Braun has fallen in with a gang of young Communists, who are dumbstruck when she single-handedly attacks two Nazis in the street. Meanwhile, the idyllic nocturnal escapades of Marthe Müller and Anna Albrecht are shattered by a police raid on one of their favourite nightclubs, which leaves their relationship in ruins.”
Streakers (£4-99, Mean Dog Comics) by Nick Maandag.
Comedy about three friends determined to accomplish the “perfect streak”! Illustrated interview here: LINK. Preorder here:
The Defenders #1 (£2-99, Marvel) by Matt Fraction & Terry Dodson.
I can’t believe I just typed that! Top-tier team on this supergroup of oddities, The Hulk, Dr. Strange, The Silver Surfer, Namor, now with added Iron Fist and whoever that Red She-Hulk turned out to be. Was it Betty Banner? I’m sorry, I couldn’t endure Loeb’s HULK beyond book one. I very much hope it’ll be played for laughs.
The Strain #1 of 11 (80 pence, Dark Horse) by Guillermo del Toro, adapted by David Lapham & Mike Huddleston.
“When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Centre for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event: an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness.”
Better than covering it in Marmite.
Page 45 Previews written by Stephen. Thank you for reading!