“Doctor Alec Holland says: if you have an inflamed knee, wrap it in cabbage leaves and cellophane. Cabbage leaves contain a natural anti-inflammatory amino acid.
Doctor Stephen Holland says: if you have an inflamed cabbage, for Pete’s sake keep John Constantine at a distance. He’ll only provoke it further.”
- Stephen on Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing.
“Whooooo! Also: ker-ching! Plus yowsa!”
- Stephen again on the Scott Pilgrim Colour editions. That’s the basic level of journalism you can look forward to. *sigh*
Comics & Graphic Novels for July 2012 onwards
Punk Rock Jesus #1 of 6 (£2-25, Vertigo) by Sean Murphy.
I am so looking forward to this!
“The newest reality show hit has the unlikeliest celebrity of all in this new black and white miniseries from writer/artist Sean Murphy (JOE THE BARBARIAN, American Vampire vol 3)! J2, the TV series starring a clone of Jesus Christ, causes chaos across a near-future United States. J2 causes outrage and adulation. Religious zealots either love or hate the show, angry politicians worry about its influence on the nation, and members of the scientific community fear the implications of cloning a human being at all – let alone the Son of God. And what effect will this all have on Gwen, the young woman who is selected, through an American Idol-style process, to be the mother of the new Messiah? All this leads to the hiring of Thomas McKael, the clone’s bodyguard and a former IRA operative with a turbulent past who must protect the new Messiah – a baby who captivates the world, but grows up to become an angry teenager.”
The Eyes Of The Cat h/c (£25-99, Humanoids Inc.) by Jodorowsky & Moebius.
“The very first graphic storytelling collaboration between two masters of the medium, Alexandro Jodorowsky and Moebius. In a desolate dreamscape world, a man, a bird, and a cat interact in a unique apocalyptic yet poetic fashion.”
I originally read this is Stephen Bissette’s horror anthology TABOO, but this is a fresh translation and thankfully a great deal less expensive than the previous Humanoids edition of THE EYES OF THE CAT which Hayley Campbell reviews in The Comics Journal. A couple of pages of interior art there too.
The Song Of Roland (£14-99, Conundrum Press) by Michel Rabagliati.
Aaargh! From the creator of PAUL GOES FISHING etc., I nearly missed this because it didn’t have “Paul” in the title! Love this guy. Love him, love him, love him. And so did Mark. And so does Jonathan.
“The Song of Roland focuses on the life and death of the father-in-law of Rabagliati’s alter-ego Paul, who has been called ‘The Tintin of Quebec’ By Le Devoir. As the family stands vigil over Roland in his hospital bed, Rabagliati weaves a story of one man’s journey through life and the legacy he leaves behind. The French edition, Paul à Québec, was critically hailed, winning the FNAC Audience Award at France’s Angouleme festival, a Shuster Award for Outstanding Cartoonist, and was nominated for the City of Montreal’s Grand Prize, and the Audience Award at Montreal’s Salon du Livre.”
Scott Pilgrim Colour Hardcover vol 1 (£18-99, Oni Press) by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Whooooo! Also: ker-ching! Plus yowsa!
Scott is a clot. He really is. He’s a total dumpling, and in terms of a Chinese take-away, dim doesn’t even begin to sum the lad up.
He is kinda cute, though, and as the series kicks off Scott is living with gay housemate Wallace for whom sly, dry mockery is a default setting. They’re so poor they even share the same bed. But Scott sleeps soundly until this girl called Ramona comes skating through his dreams – she’s a delivery girl and as you well know the quickest way from A to B is to skate through someone else’s dreams, right? Then Scott meets Ramona in his waking life, falls head over heals in whatever the hell that thing is (he may figure it out eventually) but is casually informed that if he wants her as a girlfriend he’ll have to defeat her seven evil exes in combat!
Truly a unique series with a heart of gold, and a wit and a Nintendo logic all of its own. There is not a single comic reader who could fail to fall in love with Scott, Wallace, Ramona or Bryan himself. O’Malley isn’t even close to running out of innovative ideas: his visual gags keep tumbling onto the page, and so convinced are we that this book is for everyone that if you try the first and aren’t immediately hooked, we’ll give you your money back and even pay return postage.
You will, on the other hand, have totally failed to earn The Power Of Love, so no power-up of a flaming sword for you guys!
The Lost Art Of Ah Pook Is Here: Images From The Graphic Novel h/c (£25-99, Fantagraphics) by Malcolm McNeill.
Do you have any idea how stunning this is going to be? Try Malcolm McNeill’s blog. Yes. Exactly.
“The Lost Art Of Ah Pook gathers the visual elements from the legendary unfinished collaboration between William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill. Begun in the early 1970′s, Ah Pook was to be a meditation on time, power, control and corruption that evoked the Mayan codices and specifically, the Mayan god of death, Ah Pook. Although the work was never completed, Malcolm McNeill created over a hundred paintings, illustrations and sketches for the book, and these are finally seeing the light of day in The Lost Art of Ah Pook. Even in a context divorced from the words (Burroughs’ text will not be included), they represent a stunning precursor to the graphic novel form to come. Also included is a historical essay chronicling the long history of Burroughs’ and McNeill’s work together.”
Wizzywig h/c (£14-99, Top Shelf) by Ed Piskor.
“In the world of phone phreaks, hackers, and scammers, [Kevin 'Boingthump' Phenicle] is a legend. His exploits are hotly debated: could he really get free long-distance calls by whistling into a pay phone? Did his video-game piracy scheme accidentally trigger the first computer virus? And did he really dodge the FBI by using their own wiretapping software against them? Is he even a real person? And if he’s ever caught, what would happen to a geek like him in federal prison? Inspired by the incredible stories of real-life hackers, WIZZYWIG is the thrilling tale of a master manipulator — his journey from precocious child scammer to federally-wanted fugitive, and beyond. In a world transformed by socialnetworks, data leaks, and digital uprisings, Ed Piskor’s debut graphic novel reminds us how much power can rest in the hands of an audacious kid with a keyboard. — A 288-page hardcover graphic novel, 6.5” x 9”.
“Extremely pleasurable… A gripping story with lots of good, meaty forbidden knowledge and insight into the hacker mindset.” — Cory Doctorow
Click on the blue button for an 11-page preview of WIZZYWIG and watch the young scam-merchant in action. Ed also blogs BRAIN ROT: HIP HOP FAMILY TREE online. Here’s ‘Fab 5 Freddy Meets Blondie (With Basquiat & The Clash)
Adventure Time: Marceline And The Scream Queens #1 (£2-99, Boom! Studios) by many.
The all-ages ADVENTURE TIME itself took us completely by surprise. Not going to happen again.
“Thanks to a newfound interest in music, Princess Bubblegum joins Marceline’s paranormal rock band for a tour across the landof Ooo! But when they’re threatened by everything from scenesters to beasts born of self-doubt, can they make it to the RADDEST GIG EVER in time?! Written and drawn by acclaimed cartoonist Meredith Gran (OCTOPUS PIE) and featuring a back-up story from Jen Wang (KOKO BE GOOD), with variant covers by rockstar lady cartoonists Chynna Clugston (BLUE MONDAY), Ming Doyle (POPGUN), and Colleen Coover (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS)!”
Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me (£18-99, Hill & Wang) by Harvey Pekar & J. T. Waldman.
Great title, that. From the creator of AMERICAN SPLENDOR, then:
“In Harvey Pekar’s final memoir, he recounts the entire history of the Jews to explain how he lost his faith in the state of Israel. Pekar grew up a staunch supporter of the Jewish state, but as he grew up he confronted more and more questions his parents couldn’t answer. Not the Israel My Parents PromisedMeinterweaves Pekar’s gradual disaffection with the modern state of Israel with a comprehensive history of the Jews, from biblical times to the present, as Pekar and the book’s illustrator, JT Waldman, wrestle with the mythologies and realities surrounding the Jewish homeland.”
The Killer Omnibus h/c (£18-99, Avatar) by Matz & Luc Jacamon.
Welcome to the return of the ruminative assassin, and a welcome return it most certainly is in this reprint of THE KILLER VOL 1 and THE KILLER VOL 2, and if you click on either of those titles you’ll find their full reviews. Click on the second, which we made Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month, and you’ll be blown away by the interior art.
Here he’s particularly preoccupied with the disadvantages of dying in your sleep. And whom it is wise to hang out with.
“The hard part is not the loneliness. The hard part is choosing the right people to have around you, when you finally decide to have people around you. Loneliness offers guarantees that vanish as soon as you try and trust someone. Stepping away from it is running a risk. Especially for me.”
You never do know whom he should trust in this series. It’s its greatest source of suspense. Even the man he’d always placed the greatest trust in, long-time accountant Edward, turned out to be capable of treachery. Pretty stupid into the bargain. Edward had been the conduit in a contract on a man called Martini, and then gone one further and tried to take out The Killer himself. Didn’t really work out for Edward, no.
As to Luc Jacamon, his colouring has always impressed me no end, particularly when it comes to the dappled shadows under a boulevard of trees, and I love the way that there’s this constant presence throughout, even outlined in negative on the side of a building, of an Orinoco Crocodile – the very essence of patient, predatory guile. He excels at details others would never think to incorporate like scaffolding netted in green supporting the side of already impressive edifices. There’s a gorgeous sense of space no matter what he’s asked to draw in whichever country, and there’s plenty of globe-trotting to be done here. I’m a very big fan of 100 BULLETS but it can become bogged down by words whereas Matz never allows any self-indulgence to crowd out Luc Jacamon, maintaining a perfect equilibrium for a smooth and pleasurable read in his medium of choice.
Criminal Deluxe h/c vol 2 (£37-99, Icon/Marvel) by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.
The best crime fiction on the market. Destined to sit beautifully on your shelves next to the CRIMINAL DELUXE h/c vol 1, this too will include loads of extras including short stories, art and essays and behind-the-scenes material plus CRIMINAL: BAD NIGHT, CRIMINAL: THE SINNERS and CRIMINAL: THE LAST OF THE INNOCENT, all of which I’ve taken the trouble to like to there because they are reviewed. They are! That last one at length.
Wasteland vol 7: Under The God (£10-99, Oni Press) by Antony Johnston & JustinGreenwood.
From the writer of THE COLDEST CITY (still have a few signed, limited editionPage 45 bookplate editions left at the time of typing!):
“Mysteries within mysteries and an original mythology to become immersed in,” wroteWarren Ellisbefore this meaty, post-apocalyptic fiction first hit the stands, and now that I’ve read further than the first issue which merely hinted at the heart and depth of what’s been created here, I can see exactly what he means.
There’s a constant dread of danger in this catastrophically damaged world. The various factions and indeed a whole semi-industrialised, mountainous city teeter precariously on the verge of violence, under threat as they are from ruthless political power-play, religious intolerance, and the very terrain which is barren and broken. Whether it’s the environmental armageddon we currently face, the lorry loads of immigrants smuggled then sold into slavery, the destructive politics of tyrants like Mugabe or wilfully ignorant racism that doesn’t even bother to lurk beneath the surface of our societies, Johnston has found novel ways of building them into his depraved new world, giving it far more bite than most.
For more, please see the rest of my review of WASTELAND VOL 1.
Thieves & Kings vol 1: The Red Book colour edition h/c (£18-99, Archaia) by Mark Oakley.
Beautifully crafted in both illustrated prose and comic form, this is a joyous tale of one small boy and his imp, travelling a rustic kingdom in search of lost friends. Little does he know that his story has been brewing for a thousand years. Within pages of M’Oak beginning this epic one already feels steeped in centuries of ancient lore, caveats and oaths. The marketplaces bustle, the ships sail, and the streets are medievalEurope.
I wrote that nearly two decades ago.
American Elf Vol 4 (£14-99, Top Shelf) by James Kochalka.
Autobiography rather than Transatlantic fantasy! Of American Elf vol 3 I wrote:
Two more years of square-shaped snippets as James chronicles his life each day, drawing himself as a big-eared elf, then immediately plonks them on the internet. It’s an odd thing to do. I mean, in a book after a little time has past is one thing, but straight onto the internet?
Do you think all his neighbours subscribe? Think about that: would you want everyone living down the nearest seven or eight roads to know what went on your life each day? Inside your house, with your wife and kid? It’s okay when Eli’s being cute (and he is), but what about the rows you had with the missus? Or when your son spotted you waking up with a massive erection? I guess James is far more secure than I am. Needless to say, I couldn’t tear myself away, in spite of the fact that I’m not too sure what most of them did for me. No one’s life is that interesting 365 days of the year. Maybe it’s just that life itself is fascinating. Here’s two years of someone else’s.
“What was your favourite part of our trip toCanada?”
“Going to the store.”
“You mean when Daddy and Tom and Eli went to buy stiff to make dinner?”
“The fondue? But I thought you were a little bit scared of Tom.”
“Yes. He’s a monster.”
“Sweetheart, he’s not a monster. He’s just a grown-up with a beard.”
The Making Of (£22-50, Drawn & Quarterly) by Brecht Evens.
Pieterjan is invited to a small town as an honoured guest. From the moment he arrives, things start going wrong, and since no one seems ready to step in, Pieterjan takes over the show. He decides to build a giant garden gnome as a symbol of Flemish identity, but the construction process brings buried tensions to the surface as the other artists become jealous of Pieterjan’s authority. In The Making Of, Evens delves deep into the petty tensions, small misunderstandings, and deadpan humour that pervade modern relationships. Sweeping watercolours jump off the page, surrealist scenery intermingles with crowds of people, and small suburban plot homes have never looked so lovely.
Swamp Thing vol 1: Raise Them Bones s/c (£10-99, DC) by Scott Snyder & Yanick Paquette.
One Of Our Mastodons Is Missing.
The natural balance is out of kilter. Weather systems run riot and creatures are being culled: pigeons by day and bats by night falling lifeless from the skies; in the ocean the fish are dying.
A former botanist whose life’s work was a bio-restorative formula capable growing vegetation in the driest regions of a planet, Alec Holland died in an explosion only to wake up six weeks ago in a swamp with memories of being a muck monster and intense, romantic feelings for a woman he’s never met. He’s tried to resume his work and got as far as he did last time round, but found the manual labour on a construction site infinitely less troubling. He receives two visitors: Superman urging him to resume his prior calling and help; someone – or something – he may find infinitely more persuasive. The art’s a bit Kevin Nowlan in places.
Doctor Alec Holland says: if you have an inflamed knee, wrap it in cabbage leaves and cellophane. Cabbage leaves contain a natural anti-inflammatory amino acid.
Doctor Stephen Holland says: if you have an inflamed cabbage, for Pete’s sake keep John Constantine at a distance. He’ll only provoke it further.
National Comics: Eternity #1 (£2-99, DC) by Jeff Lemire & Cully Hamner.
Kick Ass 2 h/c (£18-99, Icon/Marvel/Titan) by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.
I no longer know what to make of this series. I really don’t. It’s not just the level of violence, it’s who’s on the receiving end. Basically, a kid with no powers puts on a custom to fight crime. And everyone around him pays the price. Try Jonathan’s review of KICK-ASS VOL 1 if you’ve not come across this yet.
Loads More Marvel Graphic Novels Here
Loads More Dc Graphic Novels Here
In fact, there are loads more Graphic Novels and indeed Comics for July onwards in Page 45’s full on-line version of Diamond’s PREVIEWS here!
Previews barely written but at least selected by Stephen